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payment in coin. This class of financiers, believers, as they are, in the capacity of the government to extemporize wealth, or the representative of wealth, are either members of the Democratic party or in close alliance with it. When the country is prosperous they either diminish in number, or they lose audience among the people. Their voice is not much heard in the land when capital and labor are employed and are in the enjoyment of adequate returns.
In periods of depression they offer an unlimited issue of irredeemable United States notes as the sure and only remedy. This heresy had many disciples in the year 1873, and afterwards, until the return of prosperity. So powerful was their influence in the Democratic party that old and trusted leaders of that organization yielded, temporarily, to its control.
The remedy for financial and business disorders which these theorists propose is most frequently the cause of those disorders.
Periods of depression in business will occur. They are inevitable. There is no system of finance, no skill of administration in government that can protect a commercial country against their recurrence. Bad harvests, war, peace, pestilence, may, one or all, either cause financial disasters or contribute to their severity.
A sure cause of such disasters exists always in a paper currency that is constantly increasing in volume as compared with the increase of wealth. A currency based upon and redeemable in coin has its limits; but there are no assignable limits to the issue of irredeemable paper money. Additions to the volume of currency advance prices, promote speculation, lead men into dangerous or visionary undertakings, increase personal and family expenditures, all to end, finally, in failures, loss of confidence, a sudden depression of prices, suspension of manufacturing industry, loss of employment by the laborers, and losses of fortunes by capitalists. A stable currency is the best security against such evil consequences. Most certainly the remedy is not to be found in a policy which would produce the disasters. The Republican party is pledged to the system of redemption of all paper money in coin. Of the Democratic party nothing can be assured in regard to the currency.
The policy of the Democratic party in regard to the tariff system is either uncertain or dangerous, and if uncertain it is probably dangerous also.
The history of the Democratic party from 1837 to 1860, would lead to the conclusion that it would favor free trade as a principle of public policy, and a tariff for revenue only as a wise application of
the principle in a government that must rely upon customs duties as the chief means of support.
The history of the party and its traditions found expression in the platform of 1880. During the first session of the 48th Congress, Mr. Randall has taken ground as an advocate of the protective policy.
His defection has been sufficient, in alliance with the members of the Republican party, to prevent the passage of a bill framed upon the theory that the government should advance as rapidly as possible towards a free-trade system. The effect of the Morrison bill upon the existing industries of the country and its influence in promoting or retarding the introduction and development of new industries, are topics which demand attention; but the policy of the measure is of more consequence than its immediate effects. It is more importtant to understand the purposes of the authors of a tariff bill than it is to comprehend the effects of the measure itself. A bill framed by the friends of the protective system might prove injurious to some branches of industry, but the purpose being otherwise the country and the sufferers themselves would look for remedial legislation. On the other hand, when a bill is framed upon the theory that the price of American products should be controlled by the cost in other countries, the domestic manufacturers and the laborers may wisely assume that the business is to come to an end ultimately, or the wages of labor are to be reduced to the equivalent of the wages in that country where the laborer in each branch of industry is commanded at the lowest cost.
The proposition embodied in the policy which underlies every freetrade measure is that the American manufacturer and the American laborer are to be put into direct competition with the manufacturer and laborer in that country where the particular manufacture to which capital and labor are here directed, is produced at the least cost.
Under the protective system concessions may be made from time to time without injury to the industries to which the concessions relate. It is the theory of the protective system that protection should be granted to those industries only to which the country is so well adapted, in natural facilities and skill in machinery and in the use of machinery that we can rival the most favored or the most advanced nations within a reasonable period of time. This rule works the exclusion from the domain of the protective system of those indus
tries to which the country is not adapted by nature and by circum
When the country has attained to an equality with the nations farthest advanced, in the particulars of machinery and skilled labor, there will still remain a reason for the protection of the laborer in his wages and the manufacturer in his capital, in the matter of the rate of interest in the rival countries.
Equality of natural advantages being given, there remain four important elements to which competition in manufactures relate, viz.: (1.) Interest on capital. (2.) Wages of the operatives. (3.) Perfection of machinery. (4.) Skill of the operatives and mechanics who are employed in the business.
It has happened in some branches of industry that the skill of American operatives and mechanics was such as to defy competition; that our machinery was equal to that of other countries, and yet protection was needed as security against cheap labor and cheap capital. And even in cases where our skill is such as to defy competition a duty upon the importation of the article may be expedient. Assume that, in England, for example, there has been an overproduction of an article that is produced at the same cost as in the United States.
If the article can be sent to this country and sold without payment of duties the surplus would find its way to our shores.
As the price must be broken down in the United States or in England, it would be for the interest of the English manufacturers to save the home market and to crush the foreign market. The ruin of the foreign market, and the destruction of rival manufacturers would open the way for future sales at compensating prices. It is to be said also, that the imposition of a duty upon an article which is produced at home at its cost in other countries adds nothing to the price of the article in the domestic market.
Practically there can be no such system as a revenue system with incidental protection." If a system is devised for the purpose of obtaining revenue, the rate of duties must be such as to permit the importation of so much of each article as the country may need, and a rate of duty must be imposed, as heavy as can be levied, without encouraging the manufacture at home. The counter proposition is the true one. There may be a system of protection to domestic industry that shall incidentally yield a revenue.
A single example will illustrate both of these propositions. Assume
that a ton of English pig iron can be laid down in New York, under a free-trade system, at twenty dollars. Assume also that a ton of American pig iron will cost twenty-five dollars. Assume further, that the demand for the trade of New York is a million tons annually. If the duty be fixed at $4.50 per ton, a revenue of four and a half million dollars may be realized, and not one ton of American iron can be sold except at a loss.
If otherwise the duty be laid at six dollars per ton the American producer would have an advantage over the English producer, and in time the English article would be driven from the market, except for two or three circumstances. The English maker might have the means of reducing his labor and expense account to the extent of a dollar per ton, or an excess of product in England might compel him to seek this market, or he might occasionally avail himself of a sudden demand in America, which the home producer could not meet. Thus incidentally a system of protection will yield a revenue, but the same process of reasoning shows that a revenue system can not give protection as an incident.
Upon the question of protection the Republican party is a unit substantially. Any movement by that party, when in power, is accepted by the country as a friendly proceeding. Consequently, business is not disturbed. The organization of the Democratic party is hostile to the system of protection. Its measures, therefore, awaken apprehensions, disturb business, put capital in peril, and diminish the opportunities for labor. Nearly three thousand million dollars are embarked in manufactures. About two and three-fourths million operatives are employed at an annual aggregate sum in wages of nearly one thousand million dollars. These vast interests of labor and capital cannot be touched by a hostile hand without disturbing every other interest, nor without affecting unfavorably every branch of industry.
While it would not be just to say that the members of the Republican party are agreed in support of what is known as the system of Civil Service Reform, it is just to claim that there is a very general opinion in the party that there shall be a full and fair trial of the undertaking, and that at the end the results shall be accepted as the basis of a public policy. For the Democratic party no corresponding claim can be made. If its history be considered in connection with the declarations of leading Democrats, and the neglect of the national organization to commit itself to the new policy, it is reasonable to
assume that the existing law would either be repealed or its purpose would be avoided in administration should the Democratic party attain power in the country.
But these issues, one and all, are insignificant when compared or contrasted with the issue raised by the systematic and continuous suppression of the votes of half a million citizens in the States of the South. The fact of such suppression is proved conclusively and often it is admitted by those who profit by the proceeding. The records of Congress in regard to the conduct of elections in Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina so sustain the allegation that the justice of the charge is outside of the region of controversy. For excuse and defense it is pleaded that it is impossible to live under negro government. If this plea be allowed as matter for just fication or defense, then it follows that the minority may usurp the government of a State or of the United States whenever the rule of the majority is disagreeable or burdensome. The rule of the majority, when its authority is both derived and exercised by constitutional processes, is the law of our political life. If the rule of the majority may be overturned whenever the minority is dissatisfied, the government ceases to be a government of laws and becomes a government of men. If a minority may dispossess the majority, then a minority of the usurping minority may seize power, and the process may go on until a single person becomes supreme and absolute. It is thus that the government of an usurping minority runs rapidly into despotic sway.
The vital element of Republican institutions is in the right and the recognition of the right of every citizen, who is duly qualified to vote, to have his vote counted, and in the consequent proposition that the government, as constituted by the majority vote, shall be recognized and obeyed. In the States of the South the right to vote has, in some instances, been denied; in other cases the votes cast have either not been counted or they have been counted for candidates of the opposite party; and in other cases the legally constituted governments have been overthrown by force, or abandoned through fear of force.
In 1875, the government of Mississippi was seized by force, whose incidents were murder and other brutal crimes.
In 1877, South Carolina and Louisiana were seized by the representatives of the minority party.
In all these States the Democratic party enjoyed the benefits of the political and personal crimes committed; and in all these States the