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being of the whole country. If gentlemen can show me that this is, as they allege, class legislation which benefits the few at the expense of the many, I will abandon it and join them in opposing it. This is the legislature of the nation; and it should make laws which will bless the whole nation. I do not affirm that all the provisions of the existing tariff law are wise and just. In many respects they are badly adjusted and need amendment. But I insist that in their main features they are national, not partial; that they promote the general welfare, and not the welfare of the few at the expense of the many.
What sort of people should we be if we do not keep our industries alive? Suppose we were to follow the advice of the distinguished gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Tucker) when he said:
Why should we make pig-iron when with Berkshire pigs raised upon our farms we can buy more iron pigs from England than we can get by trying to make them ourselves ?
For a single season, perhaps, his plan might be profitable to the consumers of iron; but if this policy were adopted as a permanent one it would reduce us to a merely agricultural people, whose chief business would be to produce the simplest raw materials by the least skill and culture, and let the men of brains of other countries do our thinking for us and provide for us all products requiring the cunning hand of the artisan, while we would be compelled to do the drudgery for ourselves and for them.
The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Tucker) is too good a logician not to see that the theory he advocates can be realized only in a state of universal peace and brotherhood among the nations; for, in developing his plan, he says:
Christianity bids us seek, in communion with our brethren of every race and clime, the blessings they can afford us, and to bestow in return upon them those with which our new continent is destined to fill the world.
This, I admit, is a grand conception, a beautiful vision of the time when all the nations shall dwell in peace; when all will be, as it were, one nation, each furnishing to the others what they cannot profitably produce, and all working harmoniously together in the millennium of peace. If all the kingdoms of the world should become the kingdom of the Prince of Peace, then I admit that universal free trade ought to prevail. But that blessed era is yet too remote to be made the basis of the practi
cal legislation of to-day. We are not yet members of “the parliament of man, the federation of the world.” For the present, the world is divided into separate nationalities; and that other divine command still applies to our situation, “He that provideth not for his own household has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel”; and, until that better era arrives, patriotism must supply the place of universal brotherhood.
For the present Gortchakoff can do more good to the world by taking care of Russia. The great Bismarck can accomplish more for his era by being, as he is, German to the core, and promoting the welfare of the German Empire. Let Beaconsfield take care of England, and McMahon of France, and let Americans devote themselves to the welfare of America. When each does his best for his own nation to promote prosperity, justice, and peace, all will have done more for the world than if all had attempted to be cosmopolitans rather than patriots. [Applause.]
Too much of our tariff discussion has been warped by narrow and sectional considerations. But when we base our action upon the conceded national importance of the great industries I have referred to, when we recognize the fact that artisans and their products are essential to the well-being of our country, it follows that there is no dweller in the humblest cottage on our remotest frontier who has not a deep personal interest in the legislation that shall promote these great national industries. Those arts that enable our nation to rise in the scale of civilization bring their blessings to all, and patriotic citizens will cheerfully bear a fair share of the burden necessary to make their country great and self-sustaining. I will defend a tariff that is national in its aims, that protects and sustains those interests without which the nation cannot become great and selfsustaining. The system adopted by our fathers encourages the great national industries so as to make it possible at all times for our people to equip themselves for war, and at the same time increase their intelligence and skill so as to make them better fitted for all the duties of citizenship both in war and in peace. We provide for the common defence by a system which promotes the general welfare.
I have tried thus summarily to state the grounds on which a tariff which produces the necessary revenue and at the same time promotes American manufactures can be sustained by large-minded men for national reasons. How high the rates of such a tariff ought to be is a question on which there may fairly be differences of opinion.
Fortunately or unfortunately, on this question I have long occupied a position between two extremes of opinion. I have long believed, and I still believe, that the worst evil which has afflicted the interests of American artisans and manufacturers
THE PEN MORE FATAL THAN THE SWORD
MAKING AN AWFUL MESS OF IT"
has been the tendency to extremes in our tariff legislation. Our history for the last fifty years has been a repetition of the same mistake. One party comes into power, and, believing that a protective tariff is a good thing, establishes a fair rate of duty.
Not content with that, they say: “This works well, let us have more of it.” And they raise the rates still higher, and perhaps go beyond the limits of national interest.
Every additional step in that direction increases the opposition and threatens the stability of the whole system. When the policy of increase is pushed beyond a certain point, the popular reaction sets in; the opposite party gets into power and cuts down the high rates. Not content with reducing the rates that are unreasonable, they attack and destroy the whole protective system. Then follows a deficit in the treasury, the destruction of manufacturing interest, until the reaction again sets in, the free-traders are overthrown, and a protective system is again established. In not less than four distinct periods during the last fifty years has this sort of revolution taken place in our industrial system. Our great national industries have thus been tossed up and down between two extremes of opinion.
During my term of service in this House I have resisted the effort to increase the rates of duty whenever I thought an increase would be dangerous to the stability of our manufacturing interests; and, by doing so, I have sometimes been thought unfriendly to the policy of protecting American industry. When the necessity of the revenues and the safety of our manufactures warranted, I have favored a reduction of rates; and these reductions have aided to preserve the stability of the system.
The bill failed to come to a vote during this session of Congress.
In the presidential campaign of 1880 Gen. Winfield S. Hancock, the Democratic candidate, tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the tariff as a major issue, writing a letter in which he declared that “the tariff is a local issue.” A great deal was made of this statement by the Republicans during the campaign.
A TARIFF COMMISSION
[ACT OF 1882]
John A. Kasson [Ia.) Introduces in the House a Bill to Create a Tariff
Commission—Debate: Speakers of Varying Views, Mr. Kasson, Edward K. Valentine (Neb.), George D. Tillman (S. C.), George D. Robinson (Mass.), John G. Carlisle (Ky.), Roswell G. Horr (Mich.), William D. Kelley [Pa.), Abram S. Hewitt (N. Y.], William McKinley (0.], James A. McKenzie (Ky.), Samuel S. Cox [N. Y.), John R. Tucker (Va.), Richard W. Townsend [Ill.), William R. Morrison [Ill.], Samuel J. Randall [Pa.]-Bill Is Passed by Both Houses and Is Approved by the President-House Frames Bill from the Report of the Commission, but Drops It for an Internal Revenue Bill—Mr. Morrison Reports “Horizontal Reduction” Bill in 1884 to the House from Committee on Ways and Means-Bill Is Defeated—The Tariff as an Issue in the Presidential Campaign of 1884.
N January 9, 1882, John A. Kasson [Ia.] intro
duced in the House a bill to appoint a commis
sion to investigate the tariff and internal revenue. It was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means. On February 8 he reported a bill to this effect from the majority of the Committee. It came up for discussion in the Committee of the Whole on March 7.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, MARCH 7-MAY 5, 1882
Edward K. Valentine [Neb.] raised the point of order that the bill, not being a revenue one, could, by the rules, have no precedence over others on the calendar. In this he was supported by other Representatives, among them George D. Tillman [S. C.], who said:
Mr. Speaker, instead of this being a bill to raise revenue I think it is a bill to spend revenue, yet not being a “general ap