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merely those, but penalties, oaths, and Heaven knows what besides. (Hear, hear.) AB of these are exceedingly inconvenient, and, what is more, they do no possible good. Thus, the whole trade will be put upon a footing, which, I am quite confident, will turn out to be most beneficial to both parties—the grower of British wool and the manufacturer of the foreign article. On that matter I feel none of the apprehensions which at times have been expressed by both parties. I am satisfied that the consequence of the change will be a grcat extension of our woollen trade to every quarter of the world, and it is beyond my comprehension to imagine how such a state of things can be otherwise than advantageous to those who sell the raw material-(Hear!)--therefore I see nothing but good to result from the repeal of the duty, and the removal of the restriction; and I hope that, in endeavouring to accomplish this object, I shall be supported by the House. (Much cheering.) The loss I anticipate to the revenue from such a proceeding, is 350,0001. per annum. The next item to which I shall call the attention of the Committee, is one which, I own, appears to be of paramount importance in this view of the subject. I mean in that view of the subject which relates to the removal of restrictions. I allude to the item of silk. (Hear.) This trade is thus circumstanced: there is a very high duty on the raw material, and a positive prohibition of the consumption of the foreign manufactured article. I will, with the leave of the Committee, take the latter first ; and, in the outset, I should wish to ask, where is the advantage of retaining the prohibitory system. (Hear, hear.) Where is the advantage of retaining it, looking at it either with reference to our intercourse with other nations, or with reference to our own domestic interests? (Hear.) For some years past there has certainly prevailed in this country, among its ablest statesmen and our most eminent writers, I should say, indeed, among all men of sense and reflection, a decided conviction that the maintenance of this prohibitory system is exceedingly impolitic. We have recently made a certain progress towards the removal of the evil. Are we to stop short? If we do stop short, what will foreign nations say, and justly say, of our conduct? Will they not say, that, though we profess liberality, we hate it in our hearts ? that we have been endeavouring to cajole them to admit our own manufactures into their territories, while we continue rigidly by every means in our power, and by adhering closely to an antiquated system, to exclude theirs? When our practice is so at variance with our professions, it is impossible that they should give any credit to our assertions. Whenever a foreign state imposes a new duty on any of our manufactures, my right honorable friend, the President of the Board of Trade, is assaulted by representations from all quarters ; instant measures are to be adopted to get the duty removed, and we are to remonstrate with the foreign power against its continuance. What would be the consequence ? Our Ambassador is instructed to state to the foreign court at which he resides, that the new duty imposed is very injurious to British interests, and is viewed by this country in an unfriendly light. The answer of the foreign minister of course must be— It may be so; we cannot help it; for how can we admit your goods, if you do not admit ours?' With such a reply, the British Ambassador must make his bow and retire, discomfited and ashamed; and I defy the ingenuity of man to invent an argument to retuite the powerful argumentum ad hominem of the foreign minister. Other countries must conclude that we are only attempting to delude them; that it is all pretence and hypocrisy on our part; and that we do not really believe that there is practical soundness in the principles we abstractedly recommend. I myself am well satisfied of the practical soundness of those principles, and that we ought to take the first opportunity of adopting them. (Hear, hear) There never was so favorable an opportunity as the present for carrying our principles into effect, and for inviting foreign powers to act in accordance with them. Let us invite them to join with us in cutting the cords that tie down commerce to the earth, that it may soar aloft, unconfined and unrestricted. (Hear, hear.) If ever an opportunity for accomplishing this great good was afforded, it is the moment when I am speaking--and for God's sake let us embrace it. Are not our manufactures now in a state of universal activity? Is not everything in a condition of improvement ? And is not capital in eager search of the means by which it may be profitably expended? (Hear, hear.) We have thus the finest opportunity for emancipating ourselves from ancient prejudices, and for making a new start in the race of wealth and prosperity. (Hear, hear.) On these grounds I am anxious to propose the adoption of this liberal system. But give me leave to ask, if there are not many others independent of those merely of a commercial nature, which strongly support it? In the first place, is it not perfectly well known, that, after all, these prohibitions, guard them and fence them with laws as you will, are, in point of fact evaded. (Hear, hear.) I remember, and I dare say many others have not forgotten, when the Hon. Member for Aberdeen, last year, even in this place, produced his Bandana handkerchief: he triumphantly unfurled the standard of smuggling; he hoisted, as it were, the colors of opposition to the Government and its laws, and having complacently blown his nose upon them, he returned them to his pocket. (Cheering and laughter.) He might not know at the time, though I reminded him of it afterwards, that there was not a gentleman near bim at the time who had not a right to take possession of that handkerchief and export it to a foreign country. (Hear.). I mention this fact only as a strong practical illustration of the utter impossibility of carrying these prohibitions into complete effect. Everybody who has been on some parts of the coast, has seen foreign vessels coming in from the neighbouring continent, and has, no doubt, often observed females step out of them, apparently of the most uncomfortable corpulency. In due time, and without any surgical aid, they were safely delivered of their burdens, and were restored to the natural slimness of their graceful figures. (Laughter.) Such I believe to be a very common practice; and there is, in fact, no end to the ingenuity of the devices to introduce contraband articles. Not ouly ingenuity is displayed, but fraud and crime-perjury, and every possible evil moral consequence. We all know, that crime begets crime; that, in whatever it may begin, a progenies viliosior always springs up; Nemo repente fuit turpissimus ; and a man who begins as a smuggler will probably end as something much worse. Perhaps he smuggles in the first instance only with the innocent purpose of making a present to a female friend or relative; but when a man is accustomed to the violation of the law, he will not find it very difficult, by degrees, to go further. He finds that he cannot effect his object without concealment he takes a false oath, and becomes familiarized to that species of perjury. He commences by presents ; then thinks he may turn the practice to pecuniary advantage; he smuggles upon a larger scale; he extends his adventures, and instead of gloves, shots, or silks, he tries the experiment of more valuable articles. He makes money, and in time is induced to embark in more desperate and more criminal speculations. What is the consequence? You are obliged to keep up a navy to prevent contraband trade, a circumstance alluded to on a former night. Battle and bloodshed ensue—the loss of life, and perhaps deliberate murder. All this is very melancholy, and yet for what is it incurred ?' Under the fanciful notion that it is for the interest of the silk manufacture of this country. Why, Lord bless me, sir, we know very well, after all, that the British silk manufacture is so bighly thought of abroad at this moment, that I believe, if a market were open where the goods of this kingdom should compete with those of any other, the British goods would drive all rivalship out of the field. (Hear, hear, hear.) If this be so, there is not the slightest pretence for saying that, to change the system, would be to injure our silk manufactures. Let us accompany it with a reduction of duty on the raw article, and there is not a foreign country that will not be glad to take our manufactured silks. I, therefore, hope that the House will think it full time to throw down this hollow, gilded, and distorted idol of imaginary protection; to hurl it from its base, and to establish on the same foundation the well-proportioned statue of commercial liberty. (Hear, hear, hear.)”
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES, ON THE TARIFF BILL.
MAY 9, 1828.
MR. PRESIDENT,—This subject is surrounded with embarrassments, on all sides. Of itself, however wisely or temperately treated, it is full of difficulties; and these difficulties have not been diminished by the particular frame of this bill, nor by the manner hitherto pursued of proceeding with it. A diversity of interests exist, or is supposed to exist, in different parts of the country. This is one source of difficulty. Different opinions are entertained as to the constitutional power of Congress; this is another. And then, again, different members of the Senate have instructions which they feel bound to obey, and which clash with one another. We have this morning seen an honorable member from New York, an important motion being under consideration, lay his instructions on the table, and point to them, as his power of attorney and as containing the directions for his vote.
Those who intend to oppose this bill, under all circumstances, and in all or any forms, care not how objectionable it now is, or how bad it may be made. Others, finding their own leading objects satisfactorily secured by it, naturally enough press forward, without staying to consider, deliberately, how injuriously other interests may be affected. All these causes create embarrassments, and inspire just fears that a wise and useful result is hardly to be expected. There seems a strange disposition to run the hazard of extremes; and to forget, that in cases of this kind, measure, proportion, and degree are objects of inquiry, and the true rules of judgment. I have not had the slightest wish to discuss the measure; not believing that, in the present state of things, any good could be done by me, in that way. But the frequent declaration that this was altogether a New England measure, a bill for securing a monopoly to the capitalists of the north, and other expressions of a similar nature, have induced me to say a few words.
New England, sir, has not been a leader in this policy. On the contrary, she held back herself and tried to hold others back from it, from the adoption of the constitution to 1824. Up to 1924, she was accused of sinister and selfish designs, because she discountenance ed the progress of this policy. It was laid to her charge, then, that having established her manufactures herself, she wished that others
should not have the power of rivalling her; and, for that reason, opposed all legislative encouragement. Under this angry denunciation against her, the act of 1824 passed. Now, the imputation is precisely of an opposite character. The present measure, is pronounced to be exclusively for the benefit of New England; to be brought forward by her agency, and designed to gratify the cupidity of her wealthy establishments.
Both charges, sir, are equally without the slightest foundation. The opinion of New England, up to 1824, was founded in the conviction that, on the whole, it was wisest and best, both for herself and others, that manufactures should make haste slowly. She felt a reluctance to trust great interests on the foundation of government patronage; for who could tell how long such patronage would last, or with what steadiness, skill, or perseverance it would continue to be granted? It is now nearly fifteen years since, among the first things which I ever ventured to say here, was the expression of a serious doubt whether this government was fitted, by its construction, to administer aid and protection to particular pursuits; whether, having called such pursuits into being by indications of its favor, it would not afterwards desert them, when troubles come upon them, and leave them to their fate. Whether this prediction, the result, certainly, of chance, and not of sagacity, will so soon be fulfilled, remains to be seen.
At the same time it is true, that from the very first commencement of the government, those who have administered its concerns have held a tone of encouragement and invitation towards those who should embark in manufactures. All the Presidents, I believe without exception, have concurred in this general sentiment; and the very first act of Congress, laying duties of import, adopted the then unusual expedient of a preamble, apparently for little other purpose than that of declaring, that the duties which it imposed were imposed for the encouragement and protection of manufactures. When, at the commencement of the late war, duties were doubled, we were told that we should find a mitigation of the weight of taxation, in the new aid and succour which would be thus afforded to our own manufacturing labor. Like arguments were urged, and prevailed, but not by the aid of New England votes, when the tariff was afterwards arranged, at the close of the war, in 1816. Finally, after a whole winter's deliberation, the act of 1824 received the sanction of both houses of Congress, and settled the policy of the country. What, then, was New England to do? She was fitted for manufacturing operations, by the amount and character of her population, by her capital, by the vigor and energy of her free labor, by the skill, economy, enterprise, and perseverance of her people. I repeat, What was she, under these circumstances, to do? A great and prosperous rival in her near neighbourhood, threatening to draw from her a part, perhaps a great part, of her foreign commerce: was she to use, or to neglect, those other means of seeking her own prosperity which belonged to her character and her condition? Was she to hold out, forever, against the course of the government, and see herself losing on one side, and yet make no effort to sustain herself on the other? No, sir. Nothing was left to New England, after
the act of 1824, but to conform herself to the will of others. Nothing was left to her, but to consider that the government had fixed and determined its own policy; and that policy was protection.
New England, poor, in some respects, in others, is as wealthy as her neighbours. Her soil would be held in low estimation, by those who are acquainted with the valley of the Mississippi and some of the meadows of the south. But in industry, in habits of labor, skill, and in accumulated capital, the fruit of two centuries of industry, she may be said to be rich. After this final declaration—this solemn promulgation of the policy of the government, I again ask, What was she to do? Was she to deny herself the use of her advantages, natural and acquired? Was she to content herself with useless regrets? Was she longer to resist, what she could no longer prevent? Or, was she, rather, to adapt her acts to her condition; and seeing the policy of the government thus settled and fixed, to accommodate to it, as well as she could, her own pursuits and her own industry? Every man will see that she had no option. Every man will confess that there remained for her but one course. She not only saw this herself, but had, all along, foreseen, that if the system of protecting manufactures should be adopted, she must go largely into them. I believe, sir, almost every man from New England who voted against the law of 1824, declared, that if, notwithstanding his opposition to that law, it should still pass, there would be no alternative but to consider the course and policy of the government as then settled and fixed, and to act accordingly. The law did
pass; and a vast increase of investment in manufacturing establishments was the consequence.
Those who made such investments, probably entertained not the slightest doubt that as much as was promised would be effectually granted; and that if, owing to any unforeseen occurrence, or untoward event, the benefit designed by the law, to any branch of manufactures, should not be realized, it would furnish a fair case for the consideration of government. Certainly, they could not expect, after what had passed, that interests of great magnitude would be left at the
first change of circumstances which might occur.
As a general remark, it may be said, that the interests concerned in the act of 1824, did not complain of their condition under it, excepting only those connected with the woollen manufactures. These did complain; not so much of the act itself, as of a new state of circumstances, unforeseen when the law passed, but which had now arisen to thwart its beneficial operations, as to them; although in one respect, perhaps, the law itself was thought to be unwisely framed.
Three causes have been generally stated, as having produced the disappointment experienced by the manufacturers of wool, under the law of 1824.
First, it is alleged, that the price of the raw material had been raised too high, by the act itself. This point had been discussed at the time, and although opinions varied, the result, so far as it depended on this part of the case, though it may be said to have been unexpected, was certainly not entirely unforeseen.*
* Extract from Mr. Webster's Speech, on the Tariff of 1824.—“ This bill proposes, also, a very high duty upon imported wool; and as far as I can learn, a majority of the manufac