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importation of money and an importation of goods, the general prosperity of the people would be best subserved by the importation of goods. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
Suppose that instead of importing goods we imported gold; what would be the consequence? If you could maintain for any length of time large importations of gold you would soon bankrupt all the rest of the world and nobody would be left to trade with you. But, assuming for a moment that such a course of trade would not result in universal bankruptcy, what would be done with the gold after it had been imported? You know, my friend, it would not be left idle in the vaults; you are too good an economist for that. You know that the only use to which it could be put would be to exchange it against commodities. You would have to produce your commodities here. It would take time to produce them, the cost of production would be higher, amount of commodities would necessarily be smaller and the national wealth would be correspondingly lessened.
The true course is to bring in from abroad the goods that you can obtain best and cheapest in exchange for the goods that you can produce best and cheapest. If your natural position gives you an advantage in that trade, all the powers of earth cannot rob you of it unless you yourself close the doors of your ports in the teeth of your own prosperity, by a vicious system of protective legislation based upon all the errors that have ever afflicted political economy. (Prolonged applause on the Democratic side.]
Here Mr. Cockran pointed out that it was the military nations of Europe which had adopted protection.
One vice breeds another, one oppressive political institution is always buttressed and defended by other vicious institutions. Men instinctively adjust their economic systems to their political systems. As a sleeper on a cold night brings his knees in the direction of his chin, unconscious of the physical law which controls his action, so the Government, which prevents its most efficient laborers from engaging in industrial pursuits instinctively, unconsciously perhaps, but none the less surely, adopts a protective system, because it lessens production, reduces the demand for labor, and thus conceals from the people the worst features of a military system which forces into idleness a large part of the population and drives from the fields of industry the strongest productive forces in the country. And thus we see that an oppressive government adopts an oppressive commercial system as inevitably as a duck takes to water. [Laughter.]
What was it that caused the Corsican Napoleon to fall from the great eminence to which his military genius had raised him? It was not any decay in the strategic skill which he had displayed in the days when he commanded the army of Italy. His military reverses were not caused by the recklessness of his ambitions; they were the fruits of his economic mistakes. He wrote his abdication not at Fontainebleau in 1814, but at Berlin, when he penned the Berlin decrees by which he sought to command the course of trade and to limit the freedom of commercial intercourse throughout Europe. [Loud applause on the Democratic side.]
Mr. Chairman, let us dispose of this question in the interest of the American people, in the interest of freer trade, of freer production, of labor better paid because more widely employed. [Loud applause.]
In seeking to find the freest markets for our products, we seek the welfare of the whole human race, we seek to establish a commercial system which will make this land the fountain of civilization—this people the trustees of humanity—which will make the flag of freedom in the air above us the emblem of freedom on the earth beneath us—freedom in our fields, freedom in our mines, freedom on the seas, freedom through all the world, for all the children of men. (Loud and long-continued applause on the floor and in the galleries. ]
William J. Bryan [Neb.] supported the bill.
The committee has recognized that it had to deal with a system vicious in principle and yet present with us, and it seemed wiser to make a journey toward an ultimate revenue tariff than to attempt the accomplishment of it by a single enactment. The bill makes many reductions of prohibitory duties, so that in such cases the revenue will be increased rather than diminished. On other articles it both reduces the rate of duty and the amount of revenue, believing that the tax is greater than the people should bear even for revenue on those particular articles. Generally speaking, the bill leaves the tariff lowest upon articles of necessity and highest upon articles of luxury. Many duties upon agricultural products which afforded neither revenue nor protection were reduced or abolished.
One very important feature of the bill is the addition to the
free list of several articles classed as raw materials. Perhaps, technically speaking, there is nothing separated from realty and having value which can be called absolutely raw material, but commercially speaking those things are called raw material which lie at the basis of great manufacturing enterprises and which are only utilized after conversion into a finished product.
The average tariff left on woolen goods is a little over 39 per cent., which is a reduction of about 60 per cent. on that schedule.
Mr. Chairman, this bill brings to the farmer ten dollars for every dollar it takes from him. We have put wheat upon the free list because we are selling it in Liverpool in competition with the cheapest labor in the world, and if we can sell it there we can sell it here. But we put in a provision in regard to grain, limiting it to grain from any country which will admit ours free, in order to bring an influence to bear upon Canada to admit our grain products free.
JOHN A. PICKLER (S. D.). I thought you were not in favor of reciprocity?
MR. BRYAN.-I am not in favor of the reciprocity which you had last year, but I am in favor of commercial freedom. [Applause.) And I am willing to say to Canada, “We will treat your products as you treat ours. We will open our gates to you if you open your gates to us, " and that is what we have provided for in that clause. It may possibly do some good, although it is not absolutely necessary, for Canada has, I am informed, a standing offer to admit our grains free whenever we remove the duty from Canadian grains. Trade between the two countries will be profitable to both. But, sir, if that clause is left out and wheat is admitted absolutely free, and corn free, and these other great products of agriculture free, it will not harm the farmers of the United States a single dollar.
Now, Mr. Chairman, there is another provision in this bill to which I shall very briefly invite your attention. The bill provides for a gradual repeal of the sugar bounty-one-fourth of one cent to be dropped each year. It also reduces the tariff on fine sugar one-half. I believe that this is the best solution possible at this time of the difficulties surrounding this schedule.
We had a condition to deal with—a condition brought about by Republican legislation and we made the best of it. When I was called upon to choose between a tax upon sugar which would raise the price of it to every consumer and a bounty reduced gradually, I chose the latter. I preferred to let the bounty fall by degrees, and raise the needed revenue in a way that, instead of taxing the poor man as much as the rich man on the same number of pounds of sugar, would make wealth bear its share of the expenses of government. [Applause.] In other words, I would rather give free sugar to the people and make up the deficit by an income tax. [Prolonged applause.)
And now, in conclusion, let me repel a charge which has been made against this bill by our opponents. They have said that it is sectional; that it is drawn in the interest of the South. They have waved the bloody shirt and drafted into service the Confederate constitution. Let us see what section will profit most by the duties retained. The gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Burrows] complained because we left a high duty on rice, but he forgot to tell you that we left the duty 28 cents on the dollar lower than the duty fixed in the McKinley bill; he com> plained that we had left a high duty on Tennessee marble, but he forgot to tell you that we had reduced the duty on that same marble more than one-third.
Our opponents entirely fail to mention the generosity shown by Southern members toward Northern industries. Texas has more sheep than any Northern State, and yet her members are willing to give free wool to the manufacturers of Massachusetts. [Applause.)
When Michigan iron ore is placed on the free list, Alabama ore is placed there also; when Pennsylvania coal is placed on the free list, West Virginia coal is placed there also; when the rough lumber of Maine and Wisconsin is placed upon the free list, the rough lumber of North Carolina and Georgia is placed there also.
The same bill which gives free cotton ties to the South gives free binding twine to the North; the same bill which gives to the farmers of the South free cotton bagging for export gives to the farmers of the North free agricultural implements. There is one section in this country which gets the lion's share, but it is not the South. [Applause.]
[Applause.) For every dollar that the Southern States receive in protection from this bill New England will receive five dollars. [Applause.) One State, Massachusetts, will reap more benefit from the tariff left in this bill than all the Southern States combined. The State of New York alone, and the State of Pennsylvania alone, will reap more benefit from the tariff left in this bill than all the Southern States together. Why, sir, the little State of Rhode Island has more money invested in the manufacture of cotton and woolen goods than all the States south of Mason and Dixon's line, yet they tell us that a bill which leaves 38 and 39 per cent. on these goods is a sectional bill drawn in behalf of the South.
Aye, sir, if this bill is sectional, it is not drawn to give special protection to the interests of the South; but the South is justified in voting for it. Why? Because, sir, you cannot aia the South and West by means of protection. You can lay burdens upon them and press them down, but you cannot build them up by means of import duties. The South and West can vote for this bill because, while it gives protection to the Northeastern States, it makes the tax less burdensome than it is now. History is repeating itself. A generation ago New England helped to free the black slaves of the South, and to-day the Southern people rejoice that it was accomplished. (Cheers and applause.] The time has come when the Southern people are helping to free the white slaves of the North; and in the fulness of time New England will rejoice in its accomplishment. [Great applause.)
On January 15 the question of wages arose.
MR. PAYNE said: What I want to do is to put the manufacturers of this country in condition such that they can pay higher wages; and one thing is certain, that the workingmen of this country, organized as they are, when the manufacturers shall have been enabled to pay higher wages, will compel them to do 80. [Applause on the Republican side.]
MR. COCKRAN.—Now, Mr. Chairman, my colleague (Mr. Payne) has placed this question before the committee in a shape in which it can be disposed of in the briefest possible space. He tells us that the theory upon which this protective system is maintained is to stimulate the profits in the hands of the manufacturers, and then trust to the trades unions to get those profits out of the manufacturers. (Laughter on the Democratic side.} We believe in putting the profits in the first instance into the hands of the laborers. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
JOSEPH H. WALKER (Mass.).—How?
MR. COCKRAN.-By increasing the demand for their labor and increasing production in this country. (Derisive laughter on the Republican side and applause on the Democratic side.]
Why are the laborers hungry and the manufacturers comfortable? What basis of division is that which enables these employers to look forward to this winter with composure, which forces the men over whose fate you gentlemen shed your tears