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from external nature is made a common standard, for the purposes of general convenience; and this is precisely the office performed by the precious metals, in addition to those uses to which, as metals, they are capable of being applied. There may be of these, too much or too little, in a country, at a particular time, as there may be of any other articles. When the market is overstocked with them, as it oflen is, their exportation becomes as proper and as useful as that of other commodities, under similar circumstances. We need no more repine, when the dollars, which have been brought here from South America, are despatched to other countries, than when coffee and sugar take the same direction. We often deceive ourselves by attributing to a scarcity of money, that which is the result of other causes. In the course of this debate, the honorable member from Pennsylvania has represented the country as full of everything but money. But this, I take to be a mistake. The agricultural products, so abundant in Pennsylvania, will not, he says, sell for money; but they will sell for money as quick as for any other article which happens to be in demand. They will sell for money, for example, as easily as for coffee, or for tea, at the prices which properly belong to those articles. The mistako lies in imputing that to want of money, which arises from wnnt of demand. Men do not buy wheat because they have money, but because they want wheat. To decide whether money be plenty or not, that is, whether there be a large portion of capital unemployed or not, when the currency of a country is metallic, we must look, not only to the prices of commodities, but also to the rate of interest, A low rate of interest, a facility of obtaining money on loans, a disposition to invest in permanent stocks, all of which are proofs that money is plenty, may nevertheless often denote a state not of the highest prosperity. They may, and often do, show a want of employment for capital; and the accumulation of specie shows the same thing. We have no occasion for the precious metals as money, except for the purposes of circulation, or rather of sustaining a safe paper circulation. And whenever there be a prospect of a profitable investment abroad, all the gold and silver, except what these purposes require, will be exported. For the same reason, if a demand exist abroad fur sugar and coffee, whatever amount of those articles might exist in the country, beyond the wants of its own consumption, would be sent abroad to meet that demand. Ilesides, sir, how should it ever occur to anvbodv, that we should continue to export gold and silver, if we did not continue to import them also? If a vessel lake our own products to the Havana, or elsewhere, exchange them for dollars, proceed to China, exchange them for silks and teas, bring these last to the ports of the Mediterranean, sell them there for dollars, and return to the United States; this would be a voyage resulting in the importation of the precious metals. But if she had returned from Cuba, and the dollars obtained there had been shipped direct from the United States to China, the China goods sold m Holland, and the proceeds brought home in the hemp and iron of Russia, this would be a voyage in which they were exported. Yet everybody sees, that both might be equally beneficial to the individuals and to the public. I believe, sir, that, in point of fact, we have enjoyed great benefit in our trade with India and China, from the liberty of going from place to place all over the world, without being obliged in the meantime, to return home—a liberty not heretofore enjoyed by the private traders of England, in regard to India and China. Suppose the American ship to be at Brazil, for example— she could proceed with her dollars direct to India, and, in return, could distribute her cargo in all the various ports of Europe, or America: while an English ship, if a private trader, being at Brazil, must first return to England, and then could only proceed in the direct line from England to India. This advantage, our countrymen have not been backward to improve; and in the debate to which I have already so often referred, it was stated, not without some complaint of the inconvenience of exclusion, and the natural sluggishness of monopoly, that American ships were at that moment fitting out in the Thames, to supply France, Holland, and other countries on the continent, with tea; while the East India Company would not do this of themselves, nor allow any of their fellow countrymen to do it for them.
There is yet another subject, Mr. Chairman, upon which I would wish to say something, if I might presume upon the continued patience of the Committee. We hear, sometimes, in the House, and continually out of it, of the rate of exchange, as being one proof that we are on the downward road to ruin. Mr. Speaker himself has adverted to that topic, and I am afraid that his authority may give credit to opinions clearly unfounded^ and which lead to very false and erroneous conclusions. Sir, let us see what the facts are. Exchange on England has recently risen one or one and a half per cent., partly owing, perhaps, to the introduction of this bill into Congress. Before this recent rise, and for the last six months, I understand its average may have been about seven and a half per cent, advance. Now, supposing this to be the real, and not merely, as it is, the nominal par of exchange, between us and England, what would it prove? Nothing, except that funds were wanted, in England, for commercial operations, to be carried on either in England or elsewhere. It would not necessarily show that we were indebted to England: for, if we had occasion to pay debts in Russia or Holland, funds in England would naturally enough be required for such a purpose. Aid even if it did prove that a balance was due England, at the moment, it would have no tendency to explain to us whether our commerce with England had been profitable or unprofitable. But it is not true, in point of fact, that the real price of exchange is seven and a half per cent, advance, nor, indeed, that there is, at the present moment, anv advance at all. That is to sav, it is not true, that merchants will give such an advance, or any advance, for money in England, more than they would give for the same amount, in the same currency, here. It will strike every one, who reflect■ upon it, that, if there were a real difference of seven and a half per cent, money would be immediately shipped to England; becaiue the expense of transportation would be far less than that difference. Or, commodities of trade would be shipped to Europe, and the proceeds remitted to England. If it could so happen, that American merchants should be willing to pay ten per cent, premium for money in England, or, in other words, that a real difference to that amount, in the exchange, should exist, its effects would be immediately seen in new shipments of our own commodities to Europe, because this state of things would create new motives. A cargo of tobacco, for example, might sell at Amsterdam for the same price as before; but if its proceeds, when remitted to London, were advanced, as they would be in such case, ten per cent, by the state of exchange, this would bo so much added to the price, and would operate, therefore, as a motive for the exportation; and in this way, national balances are, and always will be, adjusted.
To form any accurutc idea of the true state of exchange, between two countries, wo must look at their currencies, and compare the quantities of gold and silver which they may respectively represent. This usually explains the state of the exchanges; and this will satisfactorily account for the apparent advance, now existing, on. bills drawn on England. The English standard of value is gold: with us, that office is performed by gold, and by silver also, at a fixed relation to each other. But our estimate of silver is rather higher, in proportion to gold, than most nations give it; it is higher, especially, than in England, at the present moment. The consequence is, that silver, which remains a legal currency with us, stays here, while the gold has gone abroad; verifying the universal truth, that, if lieo currencies be allowed to exist, of different values, that which is cheapest will fill up the whole circulation. For as much gold as will suffice to pay here a debt of a given amount, we can buy in England more silver than would be necessarv to pay the same debt here; and from this difference in the value of silver arises wholly, or in a great measure, the present apparent difference in exchange. Spanish dollars sell now, in England, for four shillings and nine pence sterling per ounce; equal to one dollar and six cents. By our standard, the same ounce is worth one dollar and sixteen cents; being a difference of about nine per cent. The true pur of exchange, therefore, is nine per cent. If a merchant here pay one hundred Spanish dollars for a bill on England, at nominal pur, in sterling money, thut is, for a bill for C'22 10, the proceeds of this bill, when paid in England, in the legal currency, will there purchase, at the present price of silver, one hundred and nine Spanish dollars. Therefore, if the nominal advance on English bills do not exceed nine per cent, the real exchange is not against this country; in other words, it does not show that there is any pressing or particular occasion for the remittance of funds to England.
As little can be inferred from the occasional transfer of United States' stock to England. Considering the interest paid on our stocks, the entire stability of our credit, and the accumulation of capital in England, it is not at all wonderful that investments should occasionally be made in our funds. As a sort of countervailing fuct, it may be stated that English stocks are now actually holden in this country, though probably not to any considerable amount.
I will now proceed, sir, to state some objections which I feel, of a nsore general nature, to the course of Mr. Speaker's observations. Jbc seems to me to argue the question as if all domestic industry confined to the production of manufactured articles; as if the employment of our own capital, and our own labor, in the occupations of commerce and navigation, were not aa emphatically domestic industry as any other occupation. Some other gentlemen, in the course of the debate, have spoken of the price paid for every foreign manufactured article, as so much given for the encouragement of foreign labor, to the prejudice of our own. But is not every such article the product of our own labor as truly as if we had manufactured it ourselves? Our labor has earned it, and paid the price for it. It is so much added to the stock of national wealth. If the commodity were dollars, nobody would doubt the truth of this remark; and it is precisely as correct in its application to any other commodity as to silver. One man makes a yard of cloth at home; another raises agricultural products, and buys a yard of imported cloth. Both these are equally the earnings of domestic industry, and the only questions that arise in the case are two: the first is, which is the best mode, under all the circumstances, of obtaining the article; the second is, how far this first question is proper to be decided by governnient, and how far it is proper to be left to individual discretion. There is no foundation for the distinction which attributes to certain employments the peculiar appellation of American industry; and it is, in my judgment, extremely unwise, to attempt such discriminations. VVe are asked what nations have ever attained eminent prosperity without encouraging manufactures? I mav ask, what nation ever reached the like prosperity without promoting foreign trade? I regard these interests as closely connected, and am of opinion that it should be our aim to cause them to flourish together. I know it would be very ea.sv to promote manufactures, at least for a time, but probably only for a short time, if we might act in disregard of other interests. We could cause a sudden transfer of capital, and a violent change in the pursuits of men. We could exceedingly benefit some classes by these means. But what, then, becomes of the interests of others? The power of collecting revenue by duties on imports, and the habit of the government of collecting almost its whole revenue in that mode, will enable us, without exceeding the bounds of moderation, to give great advantages to those classes of manufactures which we may think most useful to promote at home. What I object to is the immoderate use of the power—exclusions and prohibitions; all of which, as I think, not only interrupt the pursuits of individuals, with great injury to themselves, and little or no benefit to the country, but also often divert our own labor, or, as it may very properly be called, our own domestic industry, from those occupations in which it is well employed and well paid, to others, in which it will be worse employed, and worse paid. For my part, I see very little relief to those who arc likely to be deprived of their employments, or who find the prices of the commodities which they need, raised, in any of the alternatives which Mr. Speaker has presented. It is nothing to say that they may, if they choose, continue to buy the foreign article; the answer is, the price is augmented: nor that thev nm use the domestic article; the price of that also is increased." Nor can they supply themselves by the substitution of their own fabric. How can the agriculturist make his own iron? How can the ship owner grow his own hemp?
But I have a yet stronger objection to the course of Mr. Speaker's reasoning; which is, that he leaves out of the case all that has been already done for the protection of manufactures, and argues the question as if those interests were now, for the first time, to receive aid from duties on imports. I can hardly express the surprise I feel that Mr. Speaker should fall into the common modes of expression used elsewhere, and ask if we will give our manufacturers no protection. Sir, look to the history of our laws; look to the present state of our laws. Consider that our whole revenue, with a trifling exception, is collected at the custom-house, and always has been; and then any what propriety there is in calling on the government for protection, as if no protection had heretotore been afforded. The real question before us, in regard to all the important clauses of the bill, is not whether we will lay duties, but whether we will angmtft t duties. The demand is for something more than exists, and yet it is pressed as if nothing existed. It is wholly forgotten that iron and hemp, for example, already pay a very heavy :tml burdensome duty; and, in short, from the general tenor of Air. Speaker's observations, one would infer that, hitherto, we had rather taxed our own manufactures than fostered them by taxes on those of other countries. >Ve hear of the fatal policy of the tariff of 1816; and yet the law of 1816 was passed avowedly for the benefit of manufacturers, and, with very few exceptions, imposed on imported articles very great additions of tax; in some important mstances, indeed, amountmg to a prohibition.
Sir, on this subject it becomes us at least to understand the real posture of the question. Let us not suppose that we are beginning the protection of manufactures, by duties on imports. What we are asked to do is, to render those duties much higher, and therefore, instead of dealing in general commendations of the benefits of protection, the friends of the bill, I think, are bound to make out a fair case for each of the manufactures which they propose to benefit. The government has already done much for their protection, and it ought to be presumed to have done enough, unless it be shown, by the facts and considerations applicable to each, that there i- a necessity for doing more.
On the general question, sir, allow me to ask if the doctrine of prohibition, as a general doctrine, be not preposterous? Suppose all nations to act upon it; they would be prosperous, then, according to the argument, precisely in the proportion in which they aboli«bed intercourse with one another. The less of mutual commerce the better, upon this hypothesis. Protection and encouragement may be, and are, doubtless, sometimes, wiso and beneficial, if kept within proper limits; but, when carried to an extravagant height, or the point of prohibition, the absurd character of the system manifests itself. Mr. Speaker has referred to the late Emperor Napoleon, as having attempted to naturalize the manufacture of cotton in France. He did not cite a more extravagant part of the projects of that ruler, that is, his attempt to naturalize the growth of that plant iUelf in France; whereas, we have understood that considerable districts in the south of France, and in Italy, of rich and productive lands, were at one time withdrawn from profitable uses, and