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ing and to a certain extent regulating the departments and machin. ery of government, to ordain only those things which depend on fixed facts and principles—in other words, those things only which are suitable at all times and in all circumstances. The amount of duty, if any, to be levied for revenue purposes on the salt produced in this State, cannot be classed among subjects of this description. The question, in its very nature, is one to be affected by circum. stances not durable in their character, but, on the contrary, liable to fluctuation and change. The financial situation and wants of the State, the condition of the salt manufacture itself-sometimes pros. perous, at other times depressed—the competition with other known sources of supply, the possibility always existing of new and fresh discoveries of brine, or of crystalized salt pouring new and fresh snpplies into the markets of the country-all these are circumstances of the character referred to, which seem to mark the subject as belonging to the domain of legislative enactment and wholly out of place in the fixed and organic law of the State.
The undersigned would refer particularly to other existing and prospective sources of supply which necessarily limit and depress and may hereafter more and more limit and depress the production and sale of salt from the springs of this State. He believes there is not on the globe or under its surface any natural product necessary for the use of man found in greater abundance and fitted for consumption with greater cheapness than the article of salt. In spite of a tariff intended for protection as well as revenue about onehalf the salt consumed in this country is imported. From the Danish, Dutch, British and French West India Islands, from Eng. land, France and other countries not far from 14,000,000 of bushels are annually brought into the United States. In this country inexhaustible brines and crystalized salts are found in Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Louisiana and other places. New discoveries are being constantly made, among which may be mentioned a brine of great purity and strength in Canada, upon the shore of Lake Huron. In the southern part of the Island of San Domingo exists a salt mountain or elevation of the purest rock salt on the globe, and sufficient in quantity for the supply of all mankind for generations to come. This vast deposit, easily accessible from the southern coast of the Island is now owned by citizens of New York, under favorable grants from the Dominican government, and the initiatory steps
have already been taken for its development, and for introducing the salt into the markets of the United States.
These general facts are of great significance. It must be evident to every one that the production of salt in this State has an intimate relation to other sources of supply, both foreign and domestic, and that every additional burden imposed on that production, gives a new and fresh advantage to the competitions which press upon us from every quarter. The facts referred to have a constant although irregular influence upon the production and market value of our own salt. Our own manufacturers cannot in general, sell for higher prices than those which are asked by rival interests competing in the same markets. At this time and under the tariff imposed by the federal government, they are barely able to maintain a close and doubtful competition on the sea board with the salt produced abroad at low prices, and imported as ballast or at low freights. A similar strug. gle is constantly maintained in the western States. Every bushel of salt we send there meets both a foreign and domestic rival. We are able to control the market only in a limited district of country consuming less than 2,000,000 of bushels, and composed of a part of this State and a much smaller portion of Pennsylvania. The proposed tax is simply an addition of so much to the cost of manufacturers, and every one can see that every such addition tends to expel us from the markets where competition is already close, and to contract more and more and into smaller and smaller dimension the circle into which competition does not enter. There might be wisdom and statesmanship in this policy if it tended in any degree to cheapen the price of one of the necessities of life. But to burden and tax the production of an article is not the way to cheapen its cost and value in the markets. The effect, plain enough to be obvious to every understanding, must be to compel the producer to withdraw from those markets where he bas maintained himself with difficulty and to demand higher prices in those of which he is still able to keep possession.
We have referred to the protection afforded by the duty on imported salt as one of the circumstances affecting the present question. That protection is of vital importance. There is probably no domestic interest more dependent in this respect on the legislation of Congress than the salt manufacture. If this protection were
withdrawn the salt of this state would be driven from the markets on the seaboard and tide waters and from all the western and northwestern states lying upon the Mississippi and Olio rivers. The effect upon our own salt manufacturing interest would be so immediate and so injurious that every one would regard it as the most suicidal folly to impose upon that interest a new and onerous burden to raise revenue for the use of the State. This would be so if the measure were proposed as one of legislation merely. No one, we are sure, would seriously think of proposing such a measure, because its effect would be the utter prostration of the interest to be affected by it. But what are we now asked to do? We bave no control over the legislation of congress. The protection afforded to-day may, without our consent, be withdrawn to-morrow, and yet we are asked, by an irrepealable provision of organic law, to impose on our own salt manufacture a duty which nothing but the highest condition of prosperity would justify or excuse. We have no guar. anty whatever against the repeal or essential modification of the tariff on foreign salt. There are many prejudices and there are plausible theories hostile to its continuance. Nothing can more clearly demonstrate the impolicy of a constitutional tax; which we shall find ourselves unable to repeal when the protection we now have may be wholly or partly withdrawn, and when such a tax may be fatal to the prosperity of the salt manufacture in this State.
It is proper to add in this connection that, when the tariff laws were adjusted on their present basis, Congress had under careful consideration the question of levying an internal duty on the manu. facture of salt. The salt producing interests of the country were represented before the appropriate committees of both houses, and the subjects both of foreign and domestic duty on that article were thoroughly examined and discussed. The unanimous conclusion was against imposing any duty for internal revenue on domestic salt, and this conclusion was unanimously approved by Congress. Is it wise then for the State of New York to impose a serious burden upon one of its own important interests-a burden from which similar and rival interests in the other States are wholy exempt! In no other State of the Union is there any internal tax or duty on salt. In all the markets of the West we meet in close competition with the salts of Michigan, Ohio and Kanawha. Those important interests are entirely free from State exactions, while we in New York
deliberate whether our own salt shall not be subjected to new and heavier burdens which can only benefit our rivals.
There is, however, this difference between the relations of this State to its Salt Springs and that of other States to similar interests. The State is the owner of the Springs, while every where else they are owned by private individuals or companies. On this distinction an argument is sometimes founded in favor of increased exactions upon the salt manufacture for the benefit of the public treasury. This argument is not based on any real or supposed necessity of raising revenue from salt for the use of the State, and it has no relation to the policy or impolicy of singling out this branch of industry for taxation. It is on the contrary an argument founded on the theory that the salt produced from the brines of the State and sold in the market is the product or result of a business carried on jointly by the State and the manufacturer, that each of the parties contributes capital or labor, or both, to the common enterprise, and therefore that the profits should be shared by the State and the manufacturer according to some fixed rule of division between them. This view of the subject has been urged in the committee, and it is next to be considered. Proceeding on this theory we put aside all questions of mere revenue, of wise or unwise taxation. We have nothing to do with statesmanship, and we come down to a question simply and purely of equitable jurisprudence in a case of partnership or quasi-partnership between the State and the individual. In this view of the subject what are the existing rights of the parties? Is the State entitled to withdraw from the common concern any annual sum for its own use, and if so what sum? This question depends upon facts easy to be ascertained and upon principles which have long been settled.
Pursuing the theory of the situation here suggested, it becomes necessary to know the amount of capital contributed by the State, and the manufacturers individually, and the sums received or with. drawn by each from the business, thus carried on in common. On the principles or analogies of a partnership or joint enterprise, there is no other mode of arriving at the existing equities between the parties. The contributions of the State, then are first a sum of money invested by the State in the year 1795, in the purchase of the springs and lands around them from the Indians, amounting to about
$11,000. That those springs have since become much more valuable is a fact wholly irrelevant to the question under consideration. The assumed partnership between the State and the manufacturers commenced with the original purchase of the property and on a partnership accounting, the State is entitled to credit for the purchase money only and the interest thereon. Again if they have since become very valuable, that result is wholly due to the private capital, labor and enterprise of the individuals who constitute the other party in the supposed association. It is enough for any present purpose to say that the increased value of the springs according to the plainest principles of law and equity, is to be regarded as equally for the benefit of both the parties, and gives the State no equity against the individual. It may be said that the State has always bad the reserved power and right at fixed periods of time to dissolve the partnership, and take the exclusive possession and control of its property.
But this right can only be exercised on the fundamental condition that the State shall first compensate the individuals for their works and erections built upon the lands of the State, and dependant for their entire value upon the use of the brine from the springs. This condition flows from recognized principles of equity, and from an express provision of law in the nature of a pledge of the public faith. In the fulfillment of this equity and the redemption of this pledge the State would be obliged to pay to private parties and companies a sum much greater than any estimate which has ever been placed upon the value of the salt springs. Unless therefore the State shall see fit to sell the salt springs and lands around them it may be safely assumed that the property of the State and of the manufacturers is incapable of being divorced and must remain inseparably connected. The owners of the works and erections cannot dissolve this connection because their erections are incapable of removal from the lands of the State, or of use and enjoyment separate from the springs. The State cannot dissolve it because an exclusive possession cannot be taken except under the conditions already referred to, requiring compensation to be made to private owners amounting as will presently appear to several millions of dollars.
The consideration paid by the State on the original purchase of the salt springs and reservation is not however by any means the whole of its expenditure. The Superintendent of the springs bas