« AnteriorContinuar »
progress of popular rights, increased been the progress of the art, cannot general prosperity and an improved now be excelled, nor their designs condition of the laboring many attend- equalled. In England, in 1773, the ed the abolition of every time-honored silk-weavers of Spitalfields were prorestriction, the scales fell from the tected by a legalized list of prices, and eyes of the people, and they awoke to high duties. They enjoyed a close the wrongs they had suffered, under monopoly of the home-market for half the name of protection.” It is scarcely a century, yet the public ear was conone hundred years since the enactment tinually stunned with the story of their of a law of Parliament, prohibiting miseries. These protective laws were the wearing of all printed calicoes altogether repealed in 1822, and the silk whatsoever, either of foreign or do- trade thrown open; universal ruin and mestic origin. When we read the starvation were the least of the evils Spectator, enjoying the didactic humor predicted as the consequence. The and trim morality of Addison, who result has been an increase of 150 per did so much to advance the art of cent. in the manufacture, and a fair prose, we scarcely reflect that so low degree of prosperity among the opewas the science of political economy ratives. The same prosperity has uniin his day, that the above barbarous formly attended every business from sumptuary law was enacted some which “ protection” has been withyears subsequently by sapient legisla- drawn; and practical experience has tors, at the bidding of a London mob, demolished for ever the absurd theory for the reasons which were repeated of helping those who cannot help a few weeks since in Congress, in themselves. In the United States, favor of protection. The law, after where all other liberal principles have ten years, was modified, when British gained such vigorous growth, proteccalicoes were tolerated, provided the tive oppression has been clung to with warp was linen, on the payment of 6d. greater tenacity than even in Great sterling per yard. În France existed Britain. The reason is mostly be. the same prejudice against printed cause the benefits of unrestricted comcottons, the use of which was supposed merce have not been experienced. to injure the consumption of French Free trade has not been tried ; and flax. When the government intima- the fear of evils greater than those we ted a project for permitting the free now possess often prevents a change manufacture of cotton, the Rouen De- for the better. Many curious instanputies declared to the government that ces of this presented themselves du* the intended measure would throw ring the bank-suspension. At Newits inhabitants into despair, and make a Orleans, in particular, there were 16 desert of the surrounding country.” banks that failed in 1839; these instiThose of Lyons said, “ the news had tutions for three years continued to spread terror through all its work- deluge that section with from 7 to 9 shops." Amiens said, " that ihe law millions of depreciated paper, to cirwould be the grave of the manufactur- culate as money.
The discount on ing industry of France.” Paris de- this unredeemed and irredeemable paclared that her merchants came for- per was supposed to be indicative of ward to bathe the throne with their adverse exchange, and a national bank tears, upon that inauspicious occur was declared to be indispensable to the rence." These phrases are now, in restoration of the currency. the mouths of politicians, applied to During all this time is was gravely the new tariff of the United States. urged by legislators, bankers, and merThe protectionists appear to have bor- chants, that to compel the banks to rerowed, not only the cast-off theories, sume, and withdraw that paper from but even the phrases of European circulation, would leave them without monarchists. The French govern- a currency. There is no doubt but this ment passed the law, and Rouen, Ly- was seriously believed by otherwise ons, and Amiens, soon reaped unex- sensible men. The bank paper men ampled manufacturing prosperity, not then, as the protectionists now, had no that the new law did them any good, faith in the powers of trade to regulate but the old law ceased to do evil. The its own wants. What the law did not style of French calicoes, so great has do they supposed would not be done.
The evil, however, ultimately became they then clamor for more protection. so intolerable, that redemption was They alledge, and with some show of forced upon six of the banks, and liqui- reason, that the government tempted dation upon ten others. The result them to leave a business comparatively has been a superabundance of money at successful; to withdraw their capital New-Orleans ever since. The banks from pursuits in which it yielded a have held some 5 to 7 millions of specie profit, and embark in new enterprises against 2 to 3 millions of issues. As from patriotic motives; that they are soon as the banks were compelled to suffering losses in cor sequence, and pay their debts, trade provided for its ought to be remunerated ; that more own wants, and the exchanges regu- restrictive laws ought to be framed for lated themselves. It would be difficult their benefit. The waste of time and now to persuade that community that capital thus brought about is a great bank suspension is necessary to the national calamity. Probably more labor existence of a currency. Had a na- and money has been wasted in this tional bank been established in 1841, the manner since the formation of the restoration of affairs would have been government, than all now engaged in ascribed solely to its influence, and manufactures. the public would have labored under Up to the time when the colonies the delusion 50 years longer, as it is, separated from the mother-country, the the notion is "obsolete.” The same idle colonial and protective policy was alsuperstition in relation to the necessity most 'undisputed. But a few years of high duties to manufacturing and before that event, as we have seen, national prosperity, are to be dispelled Parliament enacted laws prohibiting by the practical effects of low taxes the use of certain materials for clothing upon imports. It bas ever been ex not of native growth. Such barbarous perienced that tariff laws passed for tyranny was just beginning to be seen the encouragement and protection of in its true light. The clear demonmanufactures, have been followed by strations of Smith were disturbing the great distress among those manufac- theories, but not affecting the practice turers, and that that distress has caused of commercial legislation. The colorenewed clamors for more efficient pro- nial system was in most rigorous operatection, to the want of which the diffi- tion. The spirit of that system was, culties, whether arising from ignorance, after having formed distant settlements, improvidence, or incapacity, are always to profit by them by monopolising their attributed. Enhanced protection as uni- trade. The colony was permitted to formly increases the embarrassments. trade only with England. It was comThe reason is a very natural one. The pelled to buy all its manufactures of enactment of a law avowedly to give the mother-country, at a price dictated persons who will manufacture a partic- by it, and to sell all its raw produce to ular article the monopoly of the home it only. The prohibition of manufacmarket as a special reward or bounty tures here, and the restrictions upon for so doing, tempts many persons de- trade that now could not be tolerated ficient in capital or the necessary infor- for a moment, were then, in the low mation to undertake the business.- state of political economy, less comThey hope to get, through the opera- plained of than really a lesser evil, the tion of law, more than the fair profits direct tax, which was the immediate of regular business ; that, without cause of separation. being obliged to exercise their whole The state of feeling which existed faculties, ingenuity and skill, they will in the colonies at the approach of the be able to make more money than the revolution, was made evident in the most skilful and ingenious artisans resolves carried at the town meetings already in the business. The experi- of the active citizens of Boston.* ment is not attended with success, and The independence of the colonies
At a legal and full Meetinz of the freeholders of the town of Boston, on the 28th of October, 1767, the following votes were passed unanimously :
Whereas the excessive use of foreign superfluities is the chief cause of the present distres. sed state of this town, as it is thereby drained of its money; which misfortune is likely to be increased by means of the late additional burthens and impositions on the trade of the Province, which threaten the country with poverty and ruin :
being established, it was but natural the German states have formed the Zollthat the idea of encouraging manufac- verein. It was at first acquiesced in as tures here should immediately present the only possible means of providing for itself as a counter policy to the prohi- the public debt. Subsequently the power bitive system of the mother-country. was embodied in the Constitution of There were, however, 13 sovereign the United States, and the first regular and independent colonies, each of which tariff under it was passed July 4, 1789. possessed and exercised the power of The preamble of this law set forth, that imposing taxes on imports, and of pro- is was “necessary for the support of tecting its own internal industry against the government, for the discharge of the rivalry, not only of Great Britain, the debts of the United States, and the but of other states. The surrender of encouragement and protection of manthis right into the hands of the Federal ufactures, that duties be laid," &c. Government was one of the greatest The moderation of this view is suffiobstacles the framers of the Union had ciently striking, when we take into conto encounter. The customs union was sideration the state of the public mind finally perfected, yielding to Congress in Europe on the subject of political the power, precisely as of later years economy. There were no prohibitory
Therefore, voted, That this town will take all prudent and legal measures to encourage the produce and manufactures of this Province, and io lessen the use of superfluities, and partieularly the following enumerated articles imported from abroad, viz.: Loaf Sugar, Cordage, Anchors, Coaches, Chaises, and Carriages of all sorts, Horse Furniture, Men's and Women's Hats, Men's and Women's Apparel ready made, Household Furniture, Gloves, Men's and Wo. men's Shoes, Bole Leather, Sheathing and Deck Nails, Gold and Silver and Thread Lace of all sorts, Gold and Silver Buttons, Wrought Plate of all sorts, Diamond, Stone and Paste Ware, Souff, Mustard, Clocks and Watches, Silversmith's and Jeweller's Ware, Broad Cloths that cost above 10s. per yard, Muffs, Furs, and Tippets, and all sorts of Millinery Ware, Starch, Women's and Children's Stays, Fire Engines, China Ware, Silk and Cotton Velvets, Gauze, Pewterers, Hollow Ware, Linseed Oil, Glue, Lawns, Cambrics, Silks of all kinds for Garments, Malt Liquors and Cheese.-And that a subscription for this end be and hereby is recommended to the several inhabitants and householders of the town.
And whereas it is the opinion of this town, that divers new manufactures may be set up in America, to its great advantage, and some others carried to a greater extent, particularly those of Glass and Paper.
Therefore, voted, That this town will, by all prudent ways and means, encourage the use and consumption of Glass and Paper, made in any of the British American Colonies; and more especially in this Province. The form of the sabscription voted unanimously by the town, is as follows:
Whereas this Province labors under a heavy debt, incurred in the course of the late war; and the inhabitants by this means must be for a time subject to very barthensome taxes. And as our trade has for some years been on the decline, and is now particularly under great embarrassments, and burihened with heavy impositions, our medium very scarce, and the balance of trade greatly against this country :
We, therefore, the subscribers, being sensible that it is absolutely necessary, in order to ex. tricate us out of these embarrassed and distressed circumstances, to promote industry, economy, and manufactures among ourselves, and by this means prevent the unnecessary importation of European commodities, the excessive use of which threatens the country with poverty and ruin-Do promise and agree, to and with each other, that we will encourage the use and consumption of all articles manufactured in any of the British American Colonies, and more especially in this Province; and that we will not, from and after the 31st of December next ensuing, purchase any of ihe following articles, imported from abroad, viz., Loaf Sugar, and all the other articles enumerated above.
And we further agree strictly to adhere to the late regulation respecting funerals, and will not use any Gloves but what are manufactured here, nor procure any new garments upon uch an occasion, but what shall be absolutely necessary.
Three years later, when the revolution became more advanced, holders of imported goods were required to deliver them up into the bands of a committee. On the 23rd of January, 1770, a town meeting" was held, William Phillips, Esq., being “ moderator.” The following resolution, among others, was passed :
WHEREAS, John Bernard, James and Patrick McMasters and Company, Anne and Elizabeth Cummins, and Jobn Meir, most of whom being strangers in this country, have set them. selves in open defiance of the will of the people throughout this continent, and have been sell. ing British goods, contrary to the known united sentiments of the merchants, freeholders, and inhabitants in every colony.
Therefore voted, That ihey have in the most insolent manner too long affronted this people, and endeavored to undermine the liberties of this country, to which they owe their little importance; and that they deserve to be driven into that obscurity from which they originated, and to the hole of the pit from which they were digged.
views entertained in the act, but the success, 'in Massachusetts and Rhode idea of the incidental protection that Island, “ of a quality that will bear the necessary duties would afford to the comparison with the like articles brought manufactures started into life during the from Manchester.” These duties were war, was held out to counteract in some and had been 75 per cent., and he condegree the popular prejudices against sidered that sufficient protection. Notall taxation. The political prejudice withstanding the propitious state of af Against British goods which existed be- fairs, these manufactures, if we believe fore the war was appealed to under the owners, have been going to ruin every the Union to make taxation palatable. year since. This tariff went into operaThe number of the population was tion Aug. 1, 1789, and was supplanted by then 3,500,000, and they owed 65 mil- a new tariff, Dec. 1, 1790. The amount lions dollars. The tax levied by the of imports under it was $23,000,000, new law, to provide for these wants, and the revenues were $2,239,746, amounted to 5 per cent. only on manu- being rather less than an average of factured goods, 124 per cent. on teas ten per cent. The tariff of August 10, and China goods, with specific duties 1790, went into operation Dec. 1st of on British and West India goods. The that year, and continued until June 30, plan of the iff appears to have been 1792. This act was entitled “ an act to very nearly the same as that just passed make further provision for the payment by Congress, except that the duties of the public debts ;” and the preamble were far lower. There was no dis- set forth, that “to discharge said debts," crimination of duties with the view to it was necessary to increase the duties. protection. The taxes appear to have This act was of the same general characbeen laid solely with the view to the ter as that which preceded it, with the revenue they would yield, and protec- exception of advanced rates. That is tion was entirely incidental to those to say, woollens, cottons, silks and taxes, and advanced to make them most manufactures, were advanced palatable. Notwithstanding that the from 5 to 7 per cent. ad valorem, law, however, embraced this idea of which was considered so important an protection, the principle was very far advance, as to require a special apolofrom being agreed in by all the great getic report from Mr. Hamilton, who men of the time. The sound and clear was a protectionist. Under this law mind of Benjamin Franklin was in ad- the imports were $60,700,000, and the vance of the age upon this subject, and duties were $8,401,666, being an averhis pen ably exposed the fallacies of the age of 13 per cent., including an adprotective notion. The public mind vance in the duties on spirits, by an act was not, however, sufficiently ripe to of March 3d, 1791. In May, 1792, a discard the sophisms which were not new tariff law, entitled "an act to raise only generally believed in, but acted a further sum of money for the proupon by the governments of Europe ; tection of the frontiers," &c., was passand the report of Mr. Hamilton, on ed. This took effect June 30th, 1792, manufactures, in 1791, reiterating the and continued two years, to June 30th, popular fallacies, retarded the spread of 1794. Under it the importations were sound views. It a little singular, $65,700,000, and the duties $15,186,however, that at the time Mr. Hamil- 823, being 225 per cent. In June, ton wrote, 54 years ago, the manufac- 1794, a new tariff took effect, which, turing industry of the country was in with an explanatory act of the followa high state of prosperity. He enume- ing year, continued until June 30, rates 17 kinds of manufactures, among 1797 ; under it the imposts were which are iron, cotton, wool, flax, and $226,571,838, and the duties $37,611,hemp, and remarks, " besides manufac- 521, or rather more than 16 per cent. turing of these articles, which are car The act of March 3, 1797, was an act ried on as regular trades, and have " for raising a further sum of money, attained to a considerable degree of by additional duties,”' &c. This conmaturity, there is a vast scene of house- tinued up to June 30, 1800; and under hold manufacturing,” &c. Iron works, it the imports were $238,873,516, and he states, “ have greatly increased in the duties $42,657,876, or 18 per cent. the United States." Cotton goods are The act of May 30, 1800, imposing admanufactured, he states, with great ditional duties, took effect June 30,
and continued until July, 1804 ; under goods that had accumulated abroad. it the imports were $337,363,600, and The latter offered to consumers a the duties $69,959,912, or 21 per cent. much better and cheaper supply.
The tariffs of March 26 and 27, 1804, Those who during the war were dethe first for establishing a fund to pro- prived of accustomed comforts or luxtect seamen against the Barbary pow- uries, by the high price demanded for ers, and the latter altering the duties the domestic article, had them once and increasing the number of free ar more within their reach. The warticles, were in force until July, 1812, fostered and unskilful products of dothough the embargo and difficulties mestic manufacture could not withwith foreign powers, growing out of stand the competition, and they dethe decrees of Napoleon, and the or- manded of the government to interders in council of England. The im- pose 'and prolong by protective laws, ports during the eight years were the evils which had attended the war. $720,730,000, and the duties $141,379,- They required that consumers should 824, being an annual average of 20 per continue to pay exorbitant prices, to cent. The act of July 1, 1812, doubled shield them from a wholesome comall duties during the continuance of petition. In the same manner the inthe war, and in July, 1813, the duty terests that were created in England on salt was raised to 20 cents per lb. by the war were ruined by the peace ; The law of July 1, 1812, continued in a suspension of the Bank of England force four years, until July, 1816. It for 20 years, had filled the country simply provided that the duties im- with a depreciated paper currency, posed by the act of 1804, should be according to which, all property was doubled. The effect of such a re- valued and outstanding obligations quirement, if the operations of trade measured. The persons so interested were not changed by it, would be to exerted themselves to prevent a redouble the revenues on the same sumption of specie-payments, and sucamount of imports. This was, how- ceeded until 1821, when the bill, ever, far from being the case. The known as “Peel's Act," compelled a imports during the four years of its return to specie-payments, commenaction, were $295,114,274, and the cing that series of financial and comduties $62,315,140, or 28 per cent. mercial reform, which that able minHad the law produced the anticipated ister has, in 1846, brought to a sucamount of revenue, the duties would cessful issue. In the United States have been 113 millions, or 40 per cent. the demand of the war interests for The higher taxes, as is usually the protection was aided by a false patricase when they were too onerous, were otism, which supposed that having evaded or avoided. The commercial suffered wrongs from the English govinfluence of a war, is the same as that ernment, we could obtain redress by of an ultra protective policy. The refusing to exchange benefits with the vigilance of an active enemy more ef- English people. The tariff of 1816 fectually protects the home-manufac- was the first framed to recognise proturer, than can any parchment-edicts tection as a principle, and not incidenin time of peace. It therefore comes tal to the taxing-power. Of the tariffs to be true, that the enormous prices previously passed, none but that of obtained for those goods usually import- 1787 had recognised protection, and ed, forces into life the manufacture of that merely as incidental to a five per substitutes of all descriptions, These cent. duty. The protectionists introare usually poor in quality and extrav- duced into the tariff of 1816 the miniagant in price. The hardship thus in- mum valuation, or a fixed value for flicted upon the consumers forms one certain goods, on which the duties are of the greatest evils of a state of hos- to be cast. This was a species of untility. When, however, the peace re- worthy trickery, as by it the duty on turned, it found a large population, cottons appeared in the tariff as 25 per who had been driven or tempted into cent. ad valorem, when in fact it was a these pursuits by the state of affairs specific duty, which has been equal to incident to the warfare, and their wares 100 per cent. ad valorem. This tariff were now to be exposed to the com- continued in operation two years, and petition of the large stocks of similar under it the imports were 221 mil