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Political effect of
In America, until the Civil War, indirect taxation had supplied the wants of the national government, and, so far as that purpose was involved, was not objected to in any part of the country; but very generally throughout the South, and to no small extent in the North itself, very serious objection was made to the heavy protective tariffs. burdens imposed in this manner for the avowed benefit of a single interest-the manufacturing. New England and Pennsylvania were the chief benefi ciaries of this dangerous system. The proffer of tariff enactments for the benefit of specified branches of industry had become as important an element in the deter mination of presidential elections as were the donatives to the legions of old in the exaltation of Roman emper
The cheerful manner in which the American people accepted every form of taxation during the
tion of tax-burdens war must ever be regarded as a striking incident in their history. Their zeal in this respect outran the acts of the government. Not only did they bear these financial burdens with alacrity, but they dedicated large additional sums to secure the accomplishment of the purpose they had in view. There never has existed a more splendid example of organized benevo lence than the "Sanitary Commission," and yet it was only one of many forms which voluntary contribution assumed.
For a clear comprehension of the financial condition and measures of the republic during the first two years of the war, it is necessary to present an abstract of the report of the Secretary of the Treasury for the year ending on the 30th of June, 1860. The American fiscal year commences on the 1st of July and ends on the 30th of the following June.
The finance report for 1860.
In that report the secretary, Mr. Cobb, stated that the aggregate means for the service of that year Means for the year. were more than eighty-one millions of dol lars ($81,091,309 43).
The expenditures for that year were more than sevenExpenditures for ty-seven millions ($77,462,102 72). A balance therefore remained in the treasury of more than three and a half millions ($3,629,206 71). He farther estimated the means for the fiscal year next Estimates for the following, 1861, at more than eighty-four following year. millions ($84,348,996 75), and the expendi ture at nearly the same amount ($84,103,105 17). He remarked, however, that in practice, for many years past, the sums drawn from the treasury during any year had been much less than the amounts estimated as required during such year, and, applying such deductions to the case before him, he came to the conclusion that there would probably remain in the treasury on the 1st of July, 1862, a balance of about eight millions of dollars.
THE FINANCES IN 1861.
During the year 1860 the country had been in a very State of the coun- prosperous condition. The crops had been try at that time. very abundant and prices very remunerative. The exports of the preceding year had reached the enormous sum of four hundred millions of dollars ($400,122,296), the imports more than three hundred and sixty-two millions ($362,163,941), the revenue from customs having been fifty-three millions ($53,187,511 87). The exports of domestic produce for the current year, as far as they had been received, indicated an increase fully equal to that of preceding years, and probably surpassing it, thus authorizing an estimate of increased revenue from that source.
But Mr. Cobb added that a threatened financial revul An unfavorable fu- sion was impending, which threw uncertain
ty on the foregoing calculations. The causes
of this were outside of the financial and commercial operations of the country, and were of a political character. Already they had seriously affected the treasury, as shown by the diminished receipts from customs.
THE FINANCES IN 1861.
The permanent public debt, on the 30th of June, 1860, was $45,079,203 08, and the outstanding treasury notes at that date $19,690,500. By the act of June 22d, 1860, provision was made for the redemption of treasury notes and payment of the interest thereon. This act provided for the issuing of stock for an amount not exceeding twenty-one millions of dol lars, at a rate of interest not exceeding six per cent. per annum, and to be reimbursed within a period not beyond twenty years and not less than ten years. For satisfac The government tory reasons specified by the secretary, no negotiates a loan. negotiation of any portion of this loan was attempted until the 8th of September, 1860, when proposals were invited for ten millions of the loan, which was ample to meet all the treasury notes falling due be fore January 1st, 1861. The rate of interest was fixed at five per cent. per annum, under the conviction that the loan could be readily negotiated at that rate, for at that time the five per cent. stock of the United States was selling in the market at a premium of three per cent. The result realized the just expectation, and the whole amount offered was taken either at par or a small premium. HowIt is disturbed by ever, before the time had arrived for paya financial crisis. ment on the part of the bidders, the financial crisis referred to came. New arrangements, looking to an extension of the term of payment, had been necessarily accorded, and even with that some persons still remained unable to make their payments. Meantime the necessities of the treasury demanded prompt action. Not only were the treasury notes past due rapidly coming in for redemption, but those not due were being paid in for
The public debt in 1860.
INTRUSION OF SLAVERY.
customs, thereby withdrawing from the regular operations of the government its principal source of revenue.
To meet the remaining outstanding treasury notes, and An issue of treasury interest thereon, there were yet to be negotiated eleven millions of the stock authorized by the act of June 22d, 1860. The difficulties attending the payment for the stock already sold, in connection with the fact that capitalists, in the existing condition of the country, seemed unwilling to invest in United States stocks at par, rendered it almost certain that this remaining eleven millions could not be negotiated upon terms acceptable to the government. To meet the difficulty, Mr. Cobb therefore recommended a repeal of the act so far as these eleven millions were concerned, and the authorization of an issue of treasury notes to that amount, pledging unconditionally the public lands for their ultimate redemption. He also recommended, to relieve the treasury from its present embarrassments, the issuing of an additional amount of treasury notes of not less than ten millions of dollars.
Among other matters, such as the revenue marine serv Intrusion of slavery ice, the mints, etc., the secretary drew atteninto these affairs. tion to an incident which, though not strictly pertaining to the subject of his report, strikingly illustrates the cause of the political difficulty which had brought so much embarrassment to the treasury, and shows how the influences of slavery were felt every where. Congress had authorized the appointment of delegates to represent the United States in the International Statistical Congress which met in London, with a view of promoting the establishment of uniform standards of weights and measures, a uniform unit of currency, etc. To this meeting the Hon. Mr. Longstreet, of South Carolina, repaired-the only delegate from the United States. His statement is as follows:
"At the appointed time, a preliminary meeting was called to appoint officers and arrange the or sulted in London. der of business for the regular meetings. All the foreign delegates were declared to be vice-presidents, and, by invitation of the chairman, took their seats as such upon the stand. Lord Brougham was, I think, the last member of the Congress who entered the hall, and was applauded from the first glimpse of him until he took his seat; it was near, and to the left of the chair. Mr. Dallas (the American minister), appearing as a complimentary visitor, was seated to the right, in a rather conspicuous position. Things thus arranged, the assembly awaited the presence of his Royal Highness the Prince Consort, who was to preside and open the meeting with an address. He soon appeared, delivered his address, and took his seat. As soon as he concluded, and the longcontinued plaudits ceased, Lord Brougham rose, compli mented the speech very highly and deservedly, and requested all who approved of it to hold up their right hands. We did so, of course. This done, he turned to Mr. Dallas, and, addressing him across the prince's table, said: "I call the attention of Mr. Dallas to the fact that there is a negro present (or among the delegates), and I hope he will have no scruples on that account. This peal was received by the delegates with general and enthusiastic applause. Silence being restored, the negro, who goes by the name of Delany, rose and said: "I thank your Royal Highness and Lord Brougham, and have only to say that I am a man." This, too, was applauded warmly by the delegates. I regarded this as an ill-timed, unprovoked assault upon our country, a wanton indignity offered to our minister, and a pointed insult offered to me. I immediately withdrew from the body. The propriety of my course is respectfully submitted to my government.'
INTRUSION OF SLAVERY.