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the side of the South. Commercially speaking, it does not require an elaborate argument to prove that the liberation of the splendid seaboard possessed by the Confederate States and the enormous natural resources of their country from the Northern protection, which compels them both in exports and imports to pay large profits to the Eastern seaports, who act as middlemen between foreign manufacturers and Southern producers, must be of incalculable advantage to England and France; nor are they unaware of it.
Financially the question of this miserable war is one of a few months. If the North cannot crush their foes without delay, the spirit which now pervades them will increase in intensity and force; the horror inspired by such a murder as that perpetrated on Dr. Hooe by Lieutenant Budd will rouse them into ungovernable fury, and preclude all possible settlement except by wars of extermination.
The compromise tariff of 1833 calmed the public mind at the South, but it caused a feeling of resentment in the North, that has never ceased to seek revenge, and a restoration of the high protective system. If evidence were wanting to prove that the financial question underlies the agitation at the North against the South, the passage of the Morill Tariff immediately after the secession of the cotton States, leaving the Protectionists with a clear majority, would be sufficient. The compromise tariff of 1833 provided for a gradual reduction of customs' duties annually, untill 1840, when no more than 20 per cent, ad valorem, was to be collected. In 1842 the protective system was revived. The protective principle was again asserted by the ad valorem tariff of 30 per cent. in 1846, which was reduced to 24 per cent. in 1857. Northern shipping will no longer have the exclusive monopoly of the coasting trade of the Southern States, or be protected by high tonnage duties in Southern ports against foreign competition. Southern commerce with Europe, which has hitherto been forced through the port and city of New York, must hereafter pass directly between the Southern ports and those of Europe, augmented by the vast amount of exchangeable commodities which have hitherto been monopolised by the Northern States under the operations and effects of the protective system.
The movement of Northern and European merchandise south from New York and other northern cities having been cut off, the Confederate States must hereafter look to Europe for supplies; and if the growing crops of cotton, tobacco, and other products are to be exchanged for European goods, it is of the utmost importance that an unchecked and unrestrained intercourse should be immediately established between Southern ports and those of Europe. The summer, autumn, and winter supplies are wanted before the crops come in, and if they can be sent forward in time to meet the wants of the country, the export of specie to pay for them next winter may be avoided. It will readily be perceived that the consumption of the country must go on gradually, and that time is required to distribute supplies to a whole people inhabiting a country of such vast extent.
The South, with the full knowledge of the injurious operation of the protection system, consented to its imposition as a sacrifice. It has ever been watchful of the progress of the Union, and alternately leaned to the side of the Federation when it was too weak, and to that of the States when it was too strong. The constitution of the Federal States provided that the Federal Government, while it had the right to levy taxes upon all the property of the country for its own use, also conferred upon it the exclusive right to levy taxes upon imports. This right has been the surest bond of Union. The taxes laid under it were originally for revenue purposes only. The manufactures of the country were unimportant, and New England interests being commercial, free trade was the rule, and very low duties were imposed. It followed, as a matter of course, that that resource of revenue failed altogether in times of embargo and war, while these circumstances gave an impulse to manufactures. At the peace of 1815, the Government was $120,000,000 in debt; its revenues were small; its credit not great; and the effort to raise money by direct taxation brought it in conflict with the States in many respects. Instead of employing its own tax-gatherer, it apportioned the amount upon the States, and it was then at their mercy to pay or not; there were no means of enforcing payment. In this state of affairs the Government became very weak, and was in danger of falling to pieces. It was then that Mr. Calhoun came forward and devised a tariff, which not only gave large revenues to the Government, making it independent of the States, and enabling it to pay off its debt $10,000,000 per annum, but gave great protection to manufactures. He devised what was called the minimum system, by which merchandise was to pay ad valorum down to a certain point, below which the duty should not fall. Thus, cottons were to pay 20 per cent. duty, as long as the duty amounted to more than 6 cents per yard: but the duty was not to be less than 6 cents. This was a great boon to New England manufaeturers, as well as a great and indispensable aid to the Federal Government, but a great sacrifice to the South, where the consumers of goods were to pay the duty. Nevertheless, it was a tribute to patriotism, though Mr. Seward numbers it among the “concessions” of the North to the South. Mr. Calhoun received unmeasured abuse for his pains from the North, where the interests were then navigation, and Daniel Webster was the great apostle of free trade. A very few years served to make those two statesmen change places. Under Mr. Calhoun's tariff the New England manufacturers prospered rapidly; that interest came to predominate over the commercial interest, and became clamorous for more protection. Daniel Webster, accordingly, became a protectionist in 1824, and the tariff was raised. Success stimulated cupidity, and the “ black tariff” of 1828 marked the growth of abuse. The power of the Eastern manufacturers had become prodigious ; the Federal debt was nearly paid off, the finances redundant, and power was rapidly concentrated at the expense of the States. The tendency of the Federation, which had been centrifugal in 1815, had become alarmingly centripetal in 1830. It was then that Mr. Calhoun again stepped forth.