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goods is to pay an increased price for them. How far that will commend it to the favorable consideration of the committee is a question I leave them to determine. But the idea is utterly impracticable.
Mr. Stanton denied the truth of the assertion that all kinds of wool cannot be produced in this country. He gave an instance showing that a Maine manufacturer had made from Silesian wool a piece of cloth which took first prize at the World's Fair in London (1851).
He said in conclusion that the manufacturers must stand side by side with the wool-growers if they looked toward the preservation of both.
On February 5 Justin S. Morrill [Vt.] upheld the principle of protection.
It is generally conceded that we are to support the Government by revenue duties with moderate discriminations for protection. The absurdity that a duty levied upon imports is a tax pro tanto è upon exports no longer requires grave refutation. The project of a horizontal tariff-shutting our eyes to all discrimination whatever-has never yet been but once attempted, and never sustained with the sole object of an equalization of taxation. Nor will direct taxes ever be levied while the present provision in the Constitution stands for their apportionment. Even Secretary Walker, with all his transcendental vagaries, discarded the horizontal theory.
In my judgment ad valorem duties are the worst possible for either revenue or protection. They are expensive in the administration—variable at every custom house-subject to systematic frauds-offering most protection when prices are highest and require the least—and then affording the least protection when prices are lowest and require the most. Specific duties, on the contrary, dispense with the whole crowd of custom-house appraisers and experts, and are therefore cheaply administered-not liable to cheats, and are uniform and certain, as well for revenue as protection.
I stand on the principle of protection-moderate but certain -such as a wisely adjusted revenue tariff will abundantly afford. I am for ruling America for the benefit, first, of Americans, and for the rest of mankind” afterwards. American labor has the right to find employment and reward at home. American capital has the right to some security invested in the
development of the vast resources of our country. American skill should have sufficient encouragement to pursue “the track of glory” under our own flag.
I am aware there are some who would place wool at once on the free list. The agriculturist scarcely needs protection on anything save wool. In other things he only receives the indirect benefit of having some portion of agricultural competition withdrawn by being employed in other industrial pursuits. His cordial coöperation is expected to protect everybody else, but when the sole opportunity arrives of giving him a small boon he is told that, although he has been badly treated for ten years past or more, he must now offer himself up as a sacrifice.
“But still the great have kindness in reserve;
He helped to bury whom he helped to starve." Those who urge that wool should be admitted free of duty start off with the sober assurance that the effect will be to raise the price of wool, and they assert in the next breath that the home manufacturer cannot prosper because he cannot obtain wool as cheap as the foreign manufacturer.
Now the only rise that would be likely to occur would be in consequence of American wool-growers abandoning the business and slaughtering their flocks. Deserted by their Government, why should they struggle longer? The manufacturers would find themselves disappointed in their sanguine expectations. Their domestic sources for supplying the raw material would be cut off and they would speedily be at the mercy of foreign production and foreign legislation. Should woolen manufactures fail under such circumstances as these, it would be a hopeless task to attempt their revival.
We are cited to France and to England as examples which we should follow; and it is said that wool has risen in price in those countries in consequence of the abolition of all duties thereon. Now, it is notorious that the consumption of wool over all Europe has overtaken supplies. The production has not kept pace with the demand. The prices, therefore, have risen, but not by any means so much as represented, and perhaps not more than other products of the world within the same time. The influx of gold also into the commercial world from Australia and California has raised the value of all kinds of property within the last six years from twenty-five to forty per cent. Now, the fact is, as I understand it, that wool is not admitted entirely free of duty into France, but woolen goods are absolutely prohibited. This gives the home market to the French manufacturer exclusively. For this she has fiercely struggled for two centuries. That sort of legislation would be perhaps satisfactory to both the American wool-grower and manufacturer, but it is not proposed.
Take the next case, that of England. By a system of protection the most marked and persistent ever yet witnessed, commencing in the reign of Edward III, she has reached the goal she aimed at-capability of underselling in all marketsand can safely challenge the world to meet her on the footing of free trade.
The manufacturers of England have no further step to take in the march of protection. Sir Robert Peel led them to the summit. As omnipotent as Parliament may be, it has no more power to exert in their behalf.
Such being the position of England, now, in “the bone of manhood," I submit that it is preposterous to force America, but "yet in the gristle” to adopt the same legislation which may be proper for Great Britain and all her colonies. You might as well enter a grass-fed three-year-old colt on the race course against a thoroughbred and well-trained English race horse. Naked competition must end in the extinguishment of special pursuits, or the reduction of American labor to the English level, and I am inflexibly opposed to either result. Nobody who does not desire to see the labor of this country degraded can advocate such a proposition.
Again, it is urged that we need not fear competition with England or Europe in raising wool, because our land is so much the cheapest. Those who make this statement lose sight of the vast plains and steppes of Russia, South America, and Australia, where single individuals own flocks of from ten thousand to sixty thousand, and where the cost of keeping them the year round is confined to a few shepherds and a few dogs.
It is stated that the wool-grower has been protected for the past ten years, but I deny the fact. Whenever the rate of duty upon woolens is less than that on wool, the latter receives no protection, because the former will be imported and crush both the wool-grower and the manufacturer. Our present tariff, as was obvious at its birth, and as it is now conceded by the present Secretary of the Treasury, has operated to discriminate against woolens, and, if against woolens, of course against wool.
I know of no other way of protecting wool but by putting the manufacturer's wheels in motion. To do this the duties on woolens must be higher than upon wool. When this is done to a reasonable extent, and when all, or nearly all, dye stuffs are admitted free of duty, then I think the manufacturer should say, “Hold, enough!?—and, if he attempts anything more, he may "go a wool-gathering and come home shorn."
The gentleman from Rhode Island (Mr. Durfeel the other day stated that “what we do want is a reliable, steady, increasing home market.” Exactly. I agree with him. But he is for opening our ports, so far as wool is concerned, to the competition of the world. Is that the way to give the woolgrower a home market? If you entirely prohibited the introduction of woolen manufactures, that would give us the home market, and the wool-growers would need to ask no other protection. That is what France does to-day, and when she recently proposed to remove the prohibition even that was coupled with a provision for a bounty upon all cloths exported. If we tax cloths and afterwards find France pays a bounty equal to our tax, what protection would be realized ?
The policy I have indicated would in the end be most to the advantage of the manufacturer-securing to him a home supply of the raw material and shielding him from the annual fluctuations of foreign markets and foreign hostile legislation, and it is fluctuations he has most to dread—not high prices of wool.
Without the production and control of the primary necessities of life we must remain the vassals of those who are the arbiters of our supplies. All admit that in war we should make our own cannon and our own gunpowder. Unless war be the natural state of man, and in proportion, as the years of peace are greater than those of war, it is quite as important that we shall be independent in peace as in war. Food and clothing are not less indispensable in peace than in war.
Such articles, then, of primary necessity, as there is any hope of successfully producing, should be waked into lifenursed into perennial vigor-by moderate and steady discriminations in their favor so long as their condition makes it proper, or so long as there is a probable chance of ultimate success.
On February 10 William W. Boyce [S. C.] opposed the principle of protection.
The report from the majority of the Committee of Ways and Means rests upon the idea that the protective policy is a wise policy and that the tariff should be modified in subservience to that policy. I wish to examine that question, and if I destroy the foundation upon which the report rests then the superstructure erected upon it must fall to the ground. To put the argument in the most striking and comprehensible light, I will state it in a simple and practical form. Certain persons wishing to go into manufacturing ask Government to aid them in a business naturally unprofitable by preventing the consumers of the country from buying foreign goods cheap in order that those consumers may be compelled to buy their goods dear. These are the three propositions necessarily involved in the demand for protection. Let us examine them.
As regards the first proposition, Government is asked to aid men in embarking in an unprofitable business. If it were profitable no application would be made to Government for aid. Assuming, then, that the proposed business is unprofitable, what course ought Government to take? Is it not plain that, if it did anything, instead of aiding persons to go into an unprofitable business, it should rather discourage them from it! For it must be observed that Government does not by its action increase the capital of a country; it can only give a new direction to it. The capital of a country, then, remaining the same, I insist it is unwise for Government, as a mere question of political economy, to aid in turning any portion of the capital of a country into an unprofitable channel, because, in the degree that the rate of profit upon the capital thus unprofitably directed is below the average rate of profits of the capital of the country generally, to that extent there is an absolute loss to the productive energies of the country. Therefore, it is unwise in any country to turn capital into any channel yielding a less rate of profit than the average of profits of the country. But such a policy is peculiarly unwise with us, having, as we do, a new, vast, and undeveloped country, needing only the application of capital and energy to produce the grandest and most profitable results.
As regards the second proposition, that the consumers should not be allowed to buy foreign goods cheap. I shall not dwell upon the injustice involved in this proposition, though it strikes me as a direct attack upon the right of property and the right of labor to prohibit a man from buying or selling to the best advantage. To the extent that he loses by your prohibition, to that extent you have confiscated the fruits of his industry. It is true, we are often told by the monopolists that it is ruinous to buy cheap foreign goods. But I can hardly conceive of a more monstrous fallacy than this idea. To show its infinite absurdity, let us suppose that foreign countries, instead