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H. OF R.]
The Tariff Bill.
[Jan. 29, 1833.
It has often been asserted in the two Houses of Con Should the amount necessary for the support of the gress that the South, in particular, would be a gainer by Federal Government be levied by direct taxation, and the the system of direct taxation; a false position, which has negroes of the South pay according to the ratio establishbeen too currently circulated through the country, al- ed in the constitution, the proportion of South Carolina though there has been, during the frequent discussions would be about 900,000 dollars. I have selected the upon this subject, a very satisfactory refutation of this no. State of South Carolina to illustrate this proposition, in tion. I take it for granted that the only correct theory preference to North Carolina, because, from the nature is, that the man who buys and consumes an article is the of the situation of North Carolina, it is impossible to estione upon whom the tax, if any exists, ultimately falls. mate the amount of her exports. Our Southern counties It is said that in Louisiana a plantation producing a crop trade to Charleston, and our Northern ones wagon such of cotton worth about ten thousand dollars, consumes, articles as will afford the transportation over bad roads, in the production of that crop, about two thousand eight to Petersburg and Richmond, where they exchange hundred dollars' worth of articles not made on the plan their produce, not for State money, but for the money of tation. Of this consumption, one-fourth, about seven or the Union, and a peculiar manufacture, in which tắe lateight hundred dollars, is of taxed articles. This is a very ter town is said to be very skilful, called “State rights;". favorable calculation for all the planters north of Louisi. an article so cunningly contrived that it can be understood ana, particularly for those who make their own pork, as only by the makers, and of so little use elsewhere, that some have told us they do. Let us apply this rule to it is supposed to be made, like Pindar's razors, excluSouth Carolina. South Carolina exports about 8,000,000 sively to trade with. Should North Carolina, however, dollars of produce. All the productive labor, and all become imbued with the doctrines of the new philosophy, the plantations of South Carolina, are occupied in pro- and the taxes of the Government be directly levied, inducing this 8,000,000 dollars, one-third of which sum, stead of paying her portion of the revenue upon such 2,666,666 dollars, is the amount of articles consumed, articles as are consumed within her border, and by the perand not produced by the plantations, one-fourth of which, sons who do consume them, to the amount of some three viz. 666,666 dollars, are articles upon which the General or four hundred thousand dollars, she would be taxed, Government leaves a revenue. Now, supposing the duty according to her population, at least a million. Sir, let constitutes half the price of an article, an extravagant this Government ever change the present oppressive supposition, the enormous burden which is now weighing mode of collecting revenue for its ordinary peace estaSouth Carolina to the dust, and to throw off which she blishment, for the odious systein of direct taxation, and it is convulsing this country, and placing in jeopardy all our will hear a murmur, to which the present discontent is institutions, is 333,333 dollars.
like "the sweet South wind, breathing o'er a bank of
violets." ism, or sink into insignificance. The desire manifested When I first entered these walls, some three years by many, of increasing the hostility to the improvement ago, I did so imbued with the doctrines of the free trade of the country, by connecting it with the tariff, is unjust, school. I admired them for their liberality, thought them and an unstatesmanlike view of the subject. There is sound in principle, and best adapted to a republic. Disnecessarily no more natural connexion between the tariff posed to act upon these views, "I had hardly taken my and internal improvement, than any other modes of policy seat before I discovered that a great political drama was which produce great national benefits. With as much about to be acted, called “the Tariff;" that the characpropriety may it be said that the surveying and settle. ters were cast, the dresses provided, the speeches in ment of the public lands should be arrested, for fear of rehearsal, and even the home-made thunder prepared; I furnishing, in future times, a valuable market to our found that the old armor of the party was to give place domestic manufactures. These manufactures must, in to one more brilliant, more calculated for effect. Seeing process of time, if they succeed in supplying the home this to be the state of things, I very coolly and delibemarket, reduce the revenue: the policy, therefore, that rately took my seat in this very comfortable arm-chair, would unite these two interests is rather short-sight- determined to observe in silence the contest, to see if it ed, if it is supposed that one is to become a permanent would prove a tragedy or a farce. Equidem non fund to aid the other. While this temporary swell in the invideo, miror magis," and here I should have sat contreasury, produced by the American system, exists, sound tented had I not discovered that there was no longer policy demands that a surplus, unavoidably remaining in safety in inaction; "there is no great divinity in aye or our coffers, should be applied to the improvement of the no !” country.
There is one point, sir, before I take my seat, that I am There is another reason for this view of the subject, desirous of saying a few words upon, with no view of which I wish to address to the South in the words of Mr. arguing the subject, but simply to express an opinion: ! McDUFFIE. In his letter on the subject of internal im- mean the constitutionality of our several revenue acts of provement, published in the Newark Advocate, of March 1824-28-32. I am the more inclined to do so, because 15, 1828, are these words: “I think the Southern and the members of the Legislature of North Carolina lately Western States are the natural advocates of a system acted on the subject, and although they forbore to exof internal improvements, and I regret that the consti- press any opinion themselves, have asserted that a large tutional scruples of a portion of the Southern people part of the people believe those laws unconstitutional. I should prevent a hearty co-operation. This is the only fully coincide with the general scope and tenor of those form in which the Southern States can be indemnified resolutions, and rejoice that the Legislature of my native for the tax levied upon them, to sustain the manufac- State has forborne to lend the sanction of its name to a tures of the Eastern States." That a power of this cha- temporary delusion. And I hope she will continue to racter may be abused, is very true; such is the fate of all pursue that course which honor and which duty points. human undertakings; it has, however, as yet, never been out, treating with contempt the silly jests and scoffs of much abused, and, from the conflicting interests always idle babblers and stump orators, come they whence they found on the floor of Congress, it is not very likely to be. may, or be they whom they may. It is with great diffiThe whole sum ever expended by the Government of the dence that at any time I would differ from a large portion United States, in drawing forth the resources of the of the people upon a mere constitutional question, but country, by aiding works purely intended for that pur- the construction of the constitution upon this subject has pose, does not yet amount to the expenses of its army and so long been settled by the concurrent sanction of every navy for one year.
President, the vast majority of the people, and of the
Jax. 29, 1833.]
The Tariff Bill.
(H. OF R.
ablest jurists of the country, that to doubt now that these the man who is not willing to bear a public burden for a laws are constitutional, is supposing the plainest and most public good, has the soul of a slave, and is unworthy the ubvious propositions in the constitution have for forty name of a freeman. If this power does not rest with the years been misunderstood. There is scarcely a public General Government, we exhibit the singular spectacle man of any character or standing, who for the last forty of twenty-four republics, populous and energetic in years has been before the people, that has not acquiesced themselves, yet self-immolated at the shrine of the avain the exercise of this power; nor do I believe doubts rice and extortion of the rest of the world. I said that I upon the subject were entertained until it was found con- merely intended to express an opinion, valueless as it may venient to retreat behind that eternal source of disputa- be--I would have been false to myself, false to every tie tion, the constitution of the country.
that binds me to the society in which I live, more than For myself, I have always regarded the constitution of all, I would have been false to those I represent, had I our country as a great charter of human libertya char. failed to do so. ter not wrested by the sword from some ambitious tyrant, Mr. SLADE, of Vermont, next obtained the floor. He but a free-offering of the American people upon the said he regretted the necessity which had been imposed altar of liberty-an offering composed of their local pas- on bim, by ill health and other causes, to defer the execusions, their local prejudices, and their local interests. Be- tion of his purpose of addressing the committee at so late lieving such to be its character, I have endeavored to a period of the debate. He felt deeply the embarrassapproach its construction, not with the feeling of a mere ment incident to any attempt which he could make to encarping attorney, but with that elevated philanthropy gage the attention of the committee, after the subject in that would endeavor to construe the instrument with the debate had been so fully and ably discussed by others. spirit that engendered it. Where it was necessary to give But it was too momentous in its consequences, both to the General Government a power, I believe it given fuky his immediate constituents and the whole country, to perand beneficially; when a power is denied, it is denied mit him to remain entirely silent. entirely.
The bill on your table, said Mr. S., contemplates a, Now, sir, with these principles of construction, can great and vital change in the protecting system; a system any rational man doubt the meaning of these expressions whose operations are more complicated, and affect a in the constitution? Congress shall have power to lay greater diversity of interests, than perhaps any branch of and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises," &c. “To our national policy. regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the The people, whose Government this is, and whose inseveral States, and with the Indian tribes." It is said the terests are deeply involved in this question, are not, and power to lay and collect duties and imposts is a part of cannot be here, to decide it for themselves. They have the taxing power, and was intended to supply the Go- entrusted the power of legislating upon it to us; and they vernment with revenue alone. This is probably true, have a right to expect that we will so exercise the power and very forcibly proves that the words “to regulate that our legislation shall be a faithful reflection of their commerce" were intended to have a more enlarged con- will; and that great and radical changes in the public postruction. The constitution, in saying "that no tax or licy shall not be made, but in obedience to strong and unduty shall be laid on articles exported from any State. equivocal expressions of that will. No preference shall be given, by any regulation of com. This, Mr. Chairman, is a new question. Congress has, merce or revenue, to the ports of one State over those of it is true, often legislated upon the tariff. But it bas been another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one State, be for the purpose of building up a system of protection to obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another,” shows the industry of the country. This is a question, not of clearly that, as regards commerce in all its various branch- building up, but of pulling down; not whether the Amees, we are one entire nation, and that the whole subject rican system shall be sustained, and so enlarged and mois surrendered to the Federal Government. That there dified as to perfect, as far as practicable, the long cheis no clause in the constitution giving Congress the power rished policy of extending protection to every interest to protect manufactures, eo nomine, is certainly true; and requiring it; but the main pillars of the system are sought it is likewise true that there is no clause in the constitu- to be prostrated, and its entire proportions changed. tion forbidding the Legislature to regulate commerce by Regarding the measure in this light, I have been led to discriminating duties, tonnage duties, or in any other inquire-does the public voice demand it? Who has way which to them may seem meet and proper.
heard that voice? Where are the evidences of the desire It is amusing to observe the inconsistencies in which of the people to commence the work of destruction? “the State rights gentlemen” involve themselves in ar. Are there any memorials on your table? Have the peoriving at the conclusion that the acts of 1824, 1828, or ple spoken to us in their primary assemblies? Have they 1832, are unconstitutional. They tell us, when reasoning resolved that their industry does not need continued proagainst the power of the General Government to appro.tection? Is there not, on the contrary, most obviously, a priate money for internal improvement, that the consti- general conviction of the beneficence of the protecting tution must be construed strictly; that all constructive system? And does not the unexampled prosperity of powers are dangerous to liberty; that it is inadmissible to the country bear the most decided and ample testimony seek out of the constitution the meaning of the constitu. to it? tion; that the General Government may have the amount But it is sometimes said, and urged in the form of arguof the bond, but nothing more; all I ask is, that it may ment, that the disposition of the country to abandon the have nothing less. How, then, do gentlemen discover protective policy has been plainly indicated by the rethese acts are unconstitutional? The power over the sub. election of the present Chief Magistrate. Now, sir, who ject is expressly granted. Will they apply to the pro. does not know that tens of thousands of votes were given ceedings of the convention that framed the instrument, to General Jackson without the slightest reference to the and the traditions of the times, to ascertain the meaning question, whether he was in favor of a high or a low of the words "to regulate commerce?” Certainly not-- tariff, or no tariff at all? And, besides, was he not urged their principles forbid it.
upon the freemen of New York, New Jersey, PennsylTi is melancholy to see, in the political discussions of the vania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Louisiana, as country, a constant disposition to reason from the inex. a decided friend to the protective policy-disposed to pediency of a measure to its unconstitutionality; and, carry it to the point of effectually sustaining the industry whenever a law bears a little upon our pride or our pre- of the country? Does any man believe that, but for this, judices, a desire to pronounce it unconstitutional. Sir, he could have obtained even one of the one hundred and
H. OF R.)
The Tariff Bili.
[Jan. 29, 1833,
twenty-four votes which were given him by those States? us with the production of the voluminous testimony relaWould his friends have dared to present a draught of this tive to manufactures, taken during the last summer, un-bill to the freemen of either of them, with an assurance der the direction of the Secretary of the Treasury; testithat he would, if elected, lend his influence to secure its mony which the public printer has not thought it necespassage? And yet the people are now told that his re- sary to print, and no part of which had been ever seen election furnishes evidence that the country calls for this by the other members of the House; but which they were
thus called upon to weigh in the decision of one of the Mr. Chairman, the people have not, either directly or most complicated and difficult questions which could be indirectly, spoken to us on this subject, for the best of all presented to them. I will not detain the committee with
Almost the whole of our last session was occu- an examination of that testimony. It has been amply expied in legislating upon it. We made a general revision posed by the “ cross-examination" of my able colleague, of the system, embracing numerous and material reduc- [Mr. EVERETT,] especially as far as it regards my own 'tions, in accommodation to the diminished amount of State. needed revenue, as well as to the complaints of our While the honorable member of the Commitiee of Southern brethren. The whole country considered the Ways and Means, who introduced this testimony, has utquestion, as to the extent of protection, to be, for the terly failed to sustain by it the bill on your table, he has present at least, settled. Nothing was further from the furnished what should be to him, certainly, a most con. imaginations of the people than that the same Congress clusive reason for postponing the whole subject to a which had thus revised the whole system of protection future period. By attempting to use the testimony, he with a full view of the existing and protective condition has shown us that he considers it material to the issue; of the revenue, and upon a deliberate consideration of and if it is material, then, certainly, should those whose all the arguments which the most excited ingenuity could interests are involved, have an opportunity to examine and urge against it, would, in the short space of five months, explain it. If it is to be used for the purpose of sustainand before their legislation had taken effect, be seriously ing such a bill as this, in the name of the people, I ask deliberating upon a proposition involving, substantially, that it may be published and submitted to their inspecan abandonment of the protective policy. So firmly, in. tion. Sir, the farmers and mechanics of the country are deed, had the conviction taken possession of the public on trial before this body. And is not this testimony a mind, that the question would not be soon moved, that surprise upon them? May not their agents here claim even the organ of anti-protection and nullification, in for them at least one continuance? Shall a decision be this city,* actually delayed the printing of the testimony forced upon them now? Mr. Chairman, if it must be, on the subject of manufactures, taken last summer and then, certainly, may those who represent them claim the ordered to be printed, upon the ground, as he himself has privilege, at least, of a patient hearing; and such a hearexpressly stated in his communication to this House, that ing assuredly they may expect at the hands of those who it would not be wanted at the present session of Con- aided in building up the system which they are now la. gress. And, after all, we are told that the people call for boring to destroy. the measure we are now urged to adopt. Sir, the peo
The first position which I ask the opponents of the prople, I repeat, have not spoken to us on this subject. tecting system to consider is, that the public faith stands They have not asked us to revise our legislation. They pledged to sustain it. The Government has legislated have, in fact, rested in full confidence that we would not forty years upon the principle of protecting, by discrimido it.
nating duties, the industry of the country. The tendency In this state of things, the present session of Congress of this policy-has been to invite the investment of capital was opened, and the President's recommendation that the in manufacturing establishments, and in the various revenue should be reduced to the wants of the Govern- branches of industry connected with, and dependent ment, was referred to the Committee of Ways and Means. upon them. These investments have been made to an The sessions of the committee were hastened, and a bill almost incredible amount; and made in the confidence was reported. And for what? To reduce the revenue justly inspired by our legislation, that no sudden change merely? No, -sir. A very different subject had engaged in the public policy would render them valueless. And, their deliberations. It was the system of protection; and sir, the pledge thus given derives additional sacredness to reduce that protection, rather than the revenue, seems from tlre fact that the investments of which I speak have to have constituted the burden of their labors. The been invited, not merely on the ground that they would bill on your table-a bill which carries the country back, be beneficial to capitalists, but on grounds of public poin the scale of protection, sixteen years in one, was the licy-not, in fact, so much for individual, as for public result.
benefit. Permit me, Mr. Chairman, to trace, for a moment, the. But the claims of domestic industry rest on still stronghistory of this bill. Soon after its introduction, the House er ground than this. The capital of New England was, was astonished by the declaration of a very distinguished on a memorable occasion, actually forced into manufacmember of the committee, (Mr. WILDE,] that he should turing; and that at the expense of sacrifices which are refrain from entering into an exposition of its principles now to be doubled in forcing it back again. or details, because he bad, in this case, adopted the Permit me to ask, Mr. Chairman, how much the right maxim, that it is for minorities to talk, and majorities to to protection, thus created, differs from the commonly revote. Sir, who authorized the honorable member of the ceived idea of a vested right? What difference is there, committee to assume that there was a majority of this in principle, between the plighted faith of the GovernHouse in favor of the bill? Was it to be carried by a ment in this case, and in that of a turnpike or bridge mere party vote, that the necessity of sustaining it upon company? A grant is as substantially made in one case its merits was thus, in effect, disclaimed? Well, sir, the as in the other; and investments are made upon the faith minority did talk; and they talked to so much purpose, of it. And can those who would revolt at the injustice that it began to be doubted whether the assumed minority of the legislation which should attempt to deprive such a would not turn out to be a majority. It was, therefore, company of the right of taking toll, after complying with deemed necessary by one of the committee, (Mr. Polk, 1 the terms of the grant, be indifferent to that withdrawal to attempt to sustain the bill; in doing which, he surprised of protection from millions of manufacturing and agri
cultural capital which must subject it to the most ruinous * The editor of the United States Telegraph, and printer to Con
I admit, indeed, that the affairs of men, so far as they
Jan. 29, 1833.]
(H. OF R. stand connected with general legislation, must be subject For the purpose of rendering the system odious, we to its ordinary fluctuations, against which a prudent fore- are told that it builds up monopolies. Sir, nothing can sight will be able to guard. But no foresight could guard be more unfounded than this. What sort of monopoly is against the change which is contemplated by this bill. that which leaves to all the free enjoyment of its benefits, No man had a right to expect it. No man--I speak of which throws wide open the door to competition? I those upon whom its weight is mainly to fall-did ex- need not stop to expose such an absurdity. But the ob
jection sometimes assumes another form. The few, it is But, Mr. Chairman, our duty in this matfer rests upon said, are enriched at the expense of the many; and overbroader ground than this. We are bound, upon the grown capitals are accumulated, and lordly nabobs reared soundest principles of public policy, to sustain the system up to ride over the necks of the people. Sir, how is the of protection to the industry of the country, and to the capital which puts in motion the great mass of your mawhole industry of the whole country, against foreign nufacturing establishments invested? Is it not, to a very competition. Nor are we to limit the exercise of our great extent, in the form of joint stock companies, in power' of doing this, to the temporary counteraction of which all have an opportunity of participating who are some particular act of foreign legislation. We are bound able to purchase a single share? If, therefore, the beneto adopt and maintain a system which shall permanently fits were wholly confined to manufacturing capitalists, secure the country against the general tide of that legisla- there would be nothing to alarm even the most strenuous tion, in all its fluctuations. Let me illustrate this by an advocates for liberty and equality. But they are not example... Suppose that Great Britain suddenly abolishes alone, or mainly, benefited by this system. Their capital, her prohibitions of the importation of our breadstuffs, which is the object of so much jealousy and apprehenwhich she has long maintained, for the purpose of sus- sion, is but the minister of good to the farmers, the metaining her agriculture. Should we, therefore, imme-chanics, and the laborers of the country; and they, sir, Jiately open our ports to the admission of her manufac- have too much good sense not to see and feel it. Talk tures free of duty? Certainly not. What would be the to them of odious monopolies and overgrown capitalists, consequence! The moment our manufacturing establish they will tell you to look at the improvements in agriments should be prostrated, as they would be by this culture and the mechanic arts; the increased value of operation, with the sacrifice of millions, Great Britain every species of productive labor; the enlarged capacity, might resume her prohibitions, and we should be left and augmented products of the soil; the enhanced value with our agricultural produce rotting on our hands, while of the forests; the new created wealth of the mines; and she would enjoy a monopoly of our market for the sale of the flocks and herds covering the extended valleys, and her manufactures. Our true policy is to guard against all rambling upon the thousand hills; while they will invite such Aluctuations of foreign legislation, by adopting and you to listen to the busy hum of free and happy industry steadily maintaining a system which shall give the highest which is the crowning glory of the whole. Here, they possible development to the capacities of our people and will triumphantly tell you, are the genuine fruits of the our soil; and thus establish, upon deep and enduring found-protecting policy--these the creations of the American ations, a barrier against the broad stream of foreign po- system. licy which is perpctually struggling to overwhelo, us with But, we are told that this system is fraught with oppresthe productions of foreign labor, and paralyze the creatsion to the South--oppression which it cannot, and will ing energies of our own.
not, endure. This view of the protecting policy was obviously in the Mr. Chairman, my constituents are an inquisitive peocontemplation of Mr. Madison, when, in lis first executive ple; and, having incurred a full share of the responsimessage, he recommended manufactures to the prompt bility of building up the protective system, they want to and constant guardianship of Congress;" and this is what know what are the real grounds of the complaint that it Mr. Jefferson subsequently denominated the true re- is intolerably oppressive. They have, indeed, been told publican policy.” It has, sir, been the cherished policy that the exporters of our proiluctions, in fact, pay the of this Government, from the passage of the first revenue whole of the duties levied on the importations purchased law, in 1789, down to the present time.
with them; and that, inasmuch as the largest portion of And need I speak of its effects? how it has stimulated the dutiable imports are purchased, directly or indirectly, the industry, diversified the pursuits, developed the re- with the principal Southern staple, therefore the cottonsources, and augmented the wealth, and population, and planting States pay nearly all the revenues of the country. happiness of this great people? Is it not fully realizing Now, sir, the utmost ingenuity of the advocates of this the predictions of its early friends, and fulfilling the bene-new theory has never been able to convince either my ficent designs of the framers of the constitution? constituents or their humble representative of its cor
But, sir, a new era has arisen. The fathers of the re- rectness. We still adhere to the old doctrine, that the public are gone! The constitution, the noble monument consumer pays the duty, except when prices are so reof their wisdom, is committed to other hands. And now duced by competition, as, in effect, to throw a portion of in face of the construction undeniably given by them to the duty upon the foreign manufacturer, that instrument, and inscribed in broad characters upon Mr. Chairman, do gentlemen who advance this theory our statute book, in the memorable preamble to our first perceive in what, if carried out, it will terminate? If it revenue law; and notwithstanding that construction has be correct, it applies not merely to duties levied for probeen sanctioned and settled by the practice of this Gov- tection, but to all duties. It strikes at our whole system ernment for more than forty years, we are told, not only of revenue, and overturns the established opinions, not that there exists no constitutional power to regulate com- only of this, but of all coinmercial countries, with regard merce with a view to the protection of our industry, but to the operation of impost duties. And has the world that its exercise must be forthwith abandoned, at the been so long laboring under a delusion, which it is rehazard of revolution!
served to the political economists of South Carolina to I will not, Mr. Chairman, detain the committee a mo- dispel? If it is a delusion, it is certainly a most extraorment with an attempt to vindicate the exercise of this dinary one; for, in adjusting every system of taxation, the power upon constitutional grounds. It has been ably and leading and prominent questions must always be-upon conclusively sustained in this debate. I will ask the in- what objects is it to operate? And upon what portion of dulgence of the committee only while I advert, briefly, the community are its burdens to fall? And yet, upon to one or two objections urg:d against the protecting these vital questions the world has, for ages, been entire. system, on the ground of expediency.
Ily mistaken. Even the framers of our constitution, who VOL. IX.--92
H. OF R.)
The Tariff Bill.
(Jan. 29, 1833.
are generally allowed to have been, at least, respectable consumption of a portion of the population of South Cafor wisdom, were in uiter darkness on the subject. They rolina, equivalent, in point of political power, to fourprovided, among other things, for the laying of “imposts, fifths of the people of the State of Vermont. And yet, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence sir, South Carolina comes here and talks of oppression-and general welfare." * Does any one believe that it en- intolerable oppression! tered into their imaginations that the exporters of pro But, ask Southern gentlemen, is it not oppressive to duce, instead of the consumers of the merchandise pur- compel us to purchase the articles of our consumption, chased with it, were to bear the burden of these imposts? at an advance, resulting from the protecting duties, of Why did they provide that all imposts should be "uni- from fifty to one bundred per cent., when that advance form throughout the United States?" Obviously for noenures to the exclusive benefit of the Northern manufacother purpose than that of equalizing the rates of taxa- turer? The burden of this complaint rests upon the astion among the consumers of imported merchandise. sumption that, but for the protecting duties, the articles Upon the South Carolina theory, such a provision would upon which they are now levied might be purchased for have been idle and useless. They provided, too, that their present price, less than the whole amount of the du“no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from ties; and that, therefore, the South pays that amount as a any State." But here they were, according to the South tribute to the Northern manufacturer. Carolina doctrine, still in the dark; for while they intend Now, sir, let us test the correctness of this assumption ed effectually to secure our exports from taxation, they by reference to a few of the articles on which protecting did, in fact, subject them to the burden of paying the en- duties are levied. The price of nails, for example, is six tire revenues of the country. The wise men who framed cents per pound—the duty five cents. Does any body the constitution, did not, it seems, understand the work believe that, if the duty were entirely taken off, nails of their own hands; nor had the accumulated wisdom of might be purchased for one cent? Lead sells at Scents, the whole country been able, in the process of forty years' and there is levied upon it a duty of 3 cents. Who be. administration of the Government, to understand it, until lieves that it could be purchased at five mills, if exempted the light of the “forty bale theory” burst upon the world. from duty? So also the price of cottons within the 30
It has not been my intention, Mr. Chairman, to detain cents minimum averages ten cents per yard. The duty the committee with a minute investigation of this theory. is equal to 7 cents. Where could they be purchased The arguments by which it has been met and overthrown for 2 cents, if the duties were removed?" I might are familiar to all, and I think I may venture to say that pursue the illustration, by a reference to numerous other there are not ten members on this Áoor, who would now articles which enter extensively into the consumption of soberly attempt its vindication. And yet, preposterous every part of the country. Indeed, I believe it may be and revolting to common sense as it is, it has been suc- safely asserted that the general effect of an increase of cessfully employed in South Carolina, to the purpose of duty for the purpose of protection, upon any particular seducing her people into resolutions of resistance to what article, has been to reduce its price to the consumer; they have thus been made to believe is intolerable oppres- while the sudden diminution of a protecting duty has sion--insupportable tyranny,
produced an advance of prices—if not immediately, at But we are told that the duties upon consumption are least after the domestic manufacture has been so checked oppressive, because unequally burdensome, to the South. as materially to affect the competition created by it, and Now, sir, how does it appear that the South sustains an subject the market to the control of foreigners. unequal portion of the burden of imposts? The rates of There seems to me to be a radical and fatal error in the duties are the same every where. The only question then reasoning of the opponents of the tariff on this subject. is as to the comparative amount of the consumption of du- Directing their attention, exclusively, to the transition tiable articles by different sections of the country. And from a high to a low duty, they ask-cannot the merchant as it is a fundamental principle of the constitution that who sells goods to-day on which he has paid a duty of 50 the burdens of taxes and the benefits of representation per cent., afford to sell 50 per cent. cheaper to-morrow, shall be equal, no State can justly complain of burdens as the same kind of goods, on which he shall bave paid no unequal, which do not exceed the measure of its repre-duty? Certainly he might; but whether he would or not, sentation. South Carolina, for example, ought not to depends upon the grand regulator of prices--the relation complain, if she pays no more taxes than another State, between the demand and supply. But whatever may be having an equal representation. Now, sir, South Carolina the momentary effect of this abandonment of a protecting has nine representatives on this floor, while Vermont has duty, we must, in legislating upon the subject, look at its but five. South Carolina, then, should pay nearly twice ultimate permanent effect. That that effect would not as much as Vermont. But who will seriously under- be a reduction of price equal to the reduction of duty, take to maintain that she contributes in that propor- would seem necessarily to result from the fact, that the tion to the expenses of this Government? Why should advance of price, on the laying of a protecting duty, has her contributions even exceed those of Vermont, when in no case been permanently equal to the augmentation of her white population is fifteen thousand less than that duty. The truth is, and it rests on undeniable facts, State? It is true, she has 315,000 slaves, with a repre- that such a diminution of protecting duties as has the sentation here of four on their account--one, only, less effect of diminishing the amount of any particular domesthan the entire representation of Vermont. But what tic manufacture, though the increased importation which amount of dutiable articles is consumed by these slaves, produces that effect may temporarily reduce prices, will compared with that consumed by an equal number of finally result in such an increase of the price of the subNorthern freemen? Almost the entire amount consists of stituted foreign manufacture in the foreign market, as to the coarsest and cheapest woollens; and yielding, there- keep it undiminished to the consumer here. So that the fore, even at a duty of fifty per centum upon their value, precious privilege of employing foreign labor to supply but a very inconsiderable portion of the whole revenue, our wants, will constitute the whole benefit of an abancompared with the more expensive clothing of the popu- donment of that protection which has hitherto cherished lation of the North. But even this pittance, constituting our own. almost the entire revenue derived from the slave con But, say our Southern friends, your system of protecsumption, has been nearly relinquished by the act of last tion diminishes the importation of British goods; and by session, coarse woollens, for the sake of peace, having as much as that importation is diminished, by so much is been brought down to a mere nominal duty of five per diminished either our export of cotton, or the prices of cent. -- thus almost entirely exempting from taxation thelit. Let us, therefore, have free trade. Now, sir', to test