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the same! Why, Mr. Speaker, do you know the proportion the producers of protected manufactured products in this country bear to the producers of all other products? You do not pretend that your tariff raises the price of the farmer's wheat, or his cotton, or his corn, or his meats; yet in spite of this great class, which is as three to one or more against the other, you gravely say that the producer and the consumer are the same!
Will you tell me how your protective tariff benefits the man who raises cotton, or corn, or wheat, or meats! The producers of those great staples are forced to seek their market abroad. A hundred years of this fostering system have not yet built up a home market for more than one-third of the cotton produced in the United States. Our market is abroad. Will you tell me how this protective tariff benefits our agricultural producers ?
Suppose a farmer in Minnesota has 5,000 bushels of wheat and a farmer in Georgia has 100 bales of cotton. That wheat at 80 cents a bushel is worth $4,000, and that cotton at 8 cents a pound is worth $4,000. Let those producers ship their staples abroad. The Minnesota wheat grower ships his wheat to Liverpool; whether he ships it there or not that is where the price of his wheat is fixed. The Georgia cotton raiser ships his cotton to Liverpool; whether he ships it there or not that is where the price of his cotton is fixed. The wheat and the cotton are sold in that free-trade market. The wheat is sold for $4,000; the cotton brings the same amount. The Minnesota farmer invests the $4,000 he has received for his wheat in clothing, crockeryware, iron, steel, dress goods, clothing-whatever he may need for his family in Minnesota. The Georgia cotton raiser invests the proceeds of his cotton in like kinds of goods. Each of those men ships his goods to this country and they reach the port of New York. When either undertakes to unload them he is met by the collector of customs, who says, “You cannot bring into this market those goods for which you have exchanged your products unless you pay to the United States a tariff fixed by the McKinley law-a tax of $2,000!"
The man will in vain refer the collector to the statement of the gentleman from Maine that the foreigner pays the tax. What is the result? The goods that cost $4,000 without the tariff cost him $6,000 with it.
Ah, but says the gentleman, he ought to buy his goods at home. Let him try it. Let him go into the home market; and, according to the statement of the gentleman from Maine, when he enters the home market he will buy the home products almost on equal terms, in competition with those same goods which are sent here from abroad, embracing the cost of raw material, plus labor and plus the present rate of the tariff. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
If he buys his goods abroad and pays the duty, it goes into the treasury of the United States and is called a tax; if he buys the goods at home and pays the increased price that is put upon them by the tariff, it goes into the pocket of the protected manufacturer and is called “protection.” [Applause.] In either case the increased price is practically the same amount, and in both cases the consumer pays it.
Perhaps it is dangerous to enter a field where the gentleman from Maine invites one. The gentleman is so cunning of fence, so wily an adversary, that it may be dangerous to accept his challenge; yet I will venture. The gentleman says he hopes he will never hear again the old cry that we have free trade in labor, and then proceeds to say that the laborer who comes here from abroad does not bring his reduced rates of wages with him. Nobody ever contended that that was the purpose or effect of the foreign laborer coming here; but the argument which the gentleman from Maine derides has been made by gentlemen on the side of the question which I represent to show that, while the manufacturers are seeking and the Republican party is granting them a high tariff to protect them from competition, yet that party has never passed any law to protect the wageearner from competition, but any man from abroad may come here and compete with him for the employment which the manufacturer has to give. [Applause on the Democratic side.]
Now, our friends on the other side criticized our bill because they said that it created a deficiency of $75,000,000. We have tried to relieve ourselves from that criticism. We have amended the bill. We have established a new subject or another matter of taxation. We recognize the justness of the statement of the other side, that we ought to show in our bill where we propose to raise the revenue. We recognize that. There will be a deficiency of $70,000,000 or $75,000,000 on the basis of last year's importations. We propose to raise $10,000,000 by increase of the whisky tax; a little by the tax on playing cards, and a little on an increase of the tax on cigarettes; and we propose to raise $30,000,000 by a tax on the incomes of corporations and on the net incomes of individuals. (Loud applause on the Democratic side.] That makes, say, $45,000,000. And we propose to meet the other deficiency if there be any, in the good old Democratic way-by reduction of expenditures. [Loud applause.]
Mr. Wilson closed the debate.
I must apologize to my friends on the other side if I pass by their arguments for lack of time to refute them. this I should delight to take up, at least for a few moments, the beautiful and elaborate oration which my honored colleague from Michigan [Mr. Burrows] brings into this House every Congress like a cluster of wax flowers under a glass case [laughter and applause), with a pathetic but firm admonition that no member shall fling at it a pebble of interruption or interrogatory. [Laughter.]
The gentleman from Maine, Mr. Reed, has appeared this morning in a rôle somewhat different from that in which he usually addresses the House. He has laid aside his ordinary methods of debating great public questions and has given us a set oration. He has endeavored to take up the stock arguments of protection and sickly them over with a pale cast of philosophy. (Laughter.] But, after all, his main argument was that which is heard on every platform in the country, that, because we have had protection in the United States for the last thirty years we have drawn all our prosperity, our national greatness, our individual and social advancement from a law of Congress, and not from the character and enterprise of our people, the resources of our country, the freedom of our Government, and the blessing of Almighty God.
An argument which gentlemen upon this side are using to excuse themselves for hesitating, at least, to vote for this bill is that the income tax has been added to it. I need not say to them that I did not concur in the policy of attaching an incometax bill to the tariff bill. I have had some doubt as to the expediency of a personal income tax at the present time, but when the committee decided otherwise I threw in my fortunes earnestly and loyally with them because I had never been hostile to the idea of an income tax. [Loud applause on the Democratic side.] It has been opposed here as class legislation; it is nothing of the kind, Mr. Speaker; it is simply an effort, an honest first effort, to balance the weight of taxation on the poor consumers of the country who have heretofore borne it all. [Loud applause.] Gentlemen who complain of it as class legislation forget that during the fifty years of its existence in England it has been the strongest force in preventing or allaying those class distinctions that have harassed the other governments of the Old World.
And now, but one word more: We are about to vote upon this bill. If I knew that, when the roll is called, every Democratic name would respond in the spirit of that larger patriotism which I have tried to suggest, I should be proud and lighthearted to-day. Let me say to my brethren who are doubting as to what they shall do that this roll call will be entered, not only upon the journals of this House, it will be written in the history of this country, it will be entered in the annals of freedom throughout all time. [Applause.]
This is not a battle over percentages, over this or that tariff schedule it is a battle for human freedom. [Applause.] As Mr. Burke truly said, every great battle for human freedom is waged around the question of taxation. You may think to-day that some peculiar feeling or view of your own will excuse you for not supporting this great movement; you may think to-day that some excuse which seems to cover you as a garment will be sufficient in the future; that some reason which seems strong and satisfactory to you, some desire to oblige a great interest behind you, may justify a negative vote when the roll is called, but the scorching gaze of a liberty-loving posterity will shrivel them away from you forever. [Applause.] The men who had the opportunity to sign the Declaration of Independence and refused or neglected because there was something in it which they did not like thank God there were none such, but, if there had been, what would be their standing in history to-day? If men on the battlefield at Lexington or at Bunker Hill, from some ground of personal or local dissatisfaction, had thrown away their weapons, what think you would have been their feelings in all the remaining years of their lives when the Liberty Bell rang out on every recurring anniversary of American independence? [Applause.)
This is a roll of honor. This is a roll of freedom, and, in the name of honor and in the name of freedom, I summon every Democratic member of this House to inscribe his name upon it. [Loud and prolonged applause.)
Various amendments were passed changing, not to a great degree, rates of duties on certain articles of the bill. An internal revenue amendment whose most important provision was the imposition of an income tax (see page 406) was adopted. The leading Republicans did not vote on the measure.
By a partisan vote of 204 to 140 the bill was then passed, amid great cheering and applause on the Democratic side. Mr. Wilson was carried in triumph around and out of the House on the shoulders of the Democratic Representatives.
The Senate referred the bill to the Committee on Finance, the chairman of which, Daniel W. Voorhees (Ind.] reported it with amendments on March 20. Justin S. Morrill [Vt.] announced that the Republican minority were opposed to the income tax, the many changes from specific to ad valorem duties and to the great bulk of the provisions of the bill.
The debate on the bill lasted until July 3, when the bill was amended in a number of material points, chiefly by the activities of Calvin S. Brice [O.] and Arthur P. Gorman [Md.], Democrats, and passed.
The amendments in general increased the duties of the House bill.
The bill was passed by a vote of 39 to 34.
When the amended bill came back to the House Mr. Wilson declared that the Senate had changed the principle of the bill, and so he advised the House to reject the amendments.
On Mr. Wilson's motion a conference was appointed between the two chambers. The joint committee failed to come to an agreement, and a second committee was appointed, which also failed to agree. Finally the House accepted the Senate amendments (on August 13) by a vote of 182 to 106. Tom Johnson [O.] voted in the negative. The Democratic Representatives resolved to mitigate their humiliation by subsequently voting to replace on the free list, in separate bills, the articles which had been stricken from it in the general bill.
Before the vote was taken Mr. Reed twitted the Democratic Representatives over their “back down." Amid cries of “Vote! Vote!” he said:
I think your feeling, gentlemen, is perfectly natural. The job that you have got to do is such that the sooner you get over it the better you will feel. (Laughter and cries of “Vote!” “Vote!” on the Democratic side.] But at the same time you will have to listen to a plain statement of what you are doing, and you will recognize it yourselves, and it is because you rec