Page images

farmer will increase his fields, the grazier his herds, the manufacturer his spindles-yes, sir, and even the sheep master will stock his pastures and his walks with larger flocks. These great interests will grow, not at the expense of each other, but with mutual support and sympathy. The increase of one will but extend the market for another. Auxiliaries, and not adversaries, they will live and thrive together.

The bill as sent from the House of Representatives proposes that whatever advantages are to be derived from its operation shall be given to the manufacturer alone, making his raw material free, and keeping the existing rate of duties on everything else; the consequence of which must be that, when the necessity arises again for reducing the duties and changing the system, it will be to the interest of all manufacturers to combine, and resist any change; while, as long as we preserve something like the principle of which I have been speaking, it will be to the interest of the manufacturer, as well as of the consumer, to make reductions and changes when the revenue system begins to weigh too heavily upon the country. If this should prove to be heavy upon the one, it will scarcely be light upon the other. The manufacturer will gain as much by reducing the duty upon the raw material as he may suppose he loses by a reduction of that upon the manufactured article. Thus we may hope for something like harmony of effort.

Jacob Collamer (Vt.] spoke in favor of a protective duty on wool.

I advance, as an initial principle, that you cannot successfully, by any forms of financial protection in the way of tariffs, force into ultimate success and permanent prosperity any manufacture which depends for the supply of its materials upon foreign countries. That is hot-bed, forced protection. If it has to depend on the foreign supply for the raw material, the manufacture never can succeed if it be a necessary of life.

The bill of the House of Representatives provides that all wool costing fifty cents a pound or over shall be on the free list. It seems to me that will amount practically to letting in all wool free. The Secretary of the Treasury says so in his report. He says the very fine and the very coarse ought to be let in free; but that the probability is, such a law would be very difficult of execution, and might amount to nothing at all. I strongly suspect that will be made practically to bring the maximum and minimum together, and the result will be to admit all wool free of duty. If we ever mean to go on with any probability of success in manufacturing our woolens, and especially those of good quality, the protection to the material furnished in the country, and the protection to the manufacturer on the woolens, should keep pace pari passu. The Senator from Virginia says the reductions ought to keep pace; but how prettily has he verified that in his proposition! He has actually produced here to you a bill which he proposes to substitute for the House bill, reducing the duty on all wool to eight per cent., and reducing the duty on woolen goods from thirty to twentythree per cent. That he calls pari passu!

Sir, if we ever expect to succeed and render ourselves an independent people as to our manufactures, so as not to be dependent on a foreign supply which may be cut off in war, or at any time their caprice may dictate, we should keep our duty pari passu on the raw material and on the manufactured article.

For these reasons, in my opinion, the House bill admitting free of duty fine wools above fifty cents a pound ought to be struck out, and that provision for letting in coarse wools free of duty ought to be perfected by striking out that part which excludes them if they have thirty-three per cent. of dirt, because that will shut them out. If you reduce the duty on woolens we cannot expect that you will keep it at its present rate on wools; but do not reduce the woolens from thirty to twenty-three, and wool from thirty to eight per cent.

I look on this whole process of changing the tariff at the present moment as temporary-I will not say temporizing. The exigencies of the moment, which press on the people in regard to the surplus in the treasury, are such that they wish to reduce the revenue.

Now, the problem of reducing duties so as to reduce the revenue is altogether too uncertain to speak of. There are so many considerations, so many elements entering into it that you cannot calculate with certainty. By reducing the duty you increase importations under certain circumstances, and again you may reduce the duties and yet reduce your importations and still increase your revenue, because of the rise of the price of the article.

Again, you may reduce revenue by increasing the duties. This, however, is altogether an experiment. It is entirely uncertain whether you will do it or not. It may be that you will increase your revenue or decrease it. You may even let the duty stand as it is, and import precisely as much as you did last year, and yet have a revenue greatly increased or greatly diminished, but especially increased, because the tendency of prices is to rise. The surplus which you now have in the treasury is not the natural and ordinary result of commerce, or of the increase of our people; it is the result of the increase of gold. I do not say there is no other element; but that is the largest element in the composition that has increased the price on everything you import. Your duties are laid ad valorem; and, as prices of articles rise, your revenues increase without your increasing your importations. The House bill increases the free list, and therefore it diminishes the revenue. The effects of any other changes are exceedingly problematical. The probability is that the scale of the Senator from Virginia, or the scale fixed by our Finance Committee, would increase the revenue.

George E. Pugh [O.] also spoke in favor of protecting the wool growers:

Mr. President, I do not like the principles on which this revision of the tariff has been undertaken. I am not in favor of an extensive free list. I desire to approximate equality in taxation. I believe that the Government has no rightful authority to take one dollar from the pocket of any citizen, except for its legitimate and necessary expenses, and that those expenses ought to be reduced within very narrow bounds. I wish to see this a Government of small income-one which shall be compelled to husband its resources throughout each fiscal year, lest the public expenditure should exceed the public revenue. Then, sir, we will have economy in the Government, and with it a prosperous people and honest public servants. In levying the amount thus required, I wish to see no preference of classes, interests, or individuals, one above another. For this reason, when it is proposed to reduce the amount of the Federal revenue, I object to laying a feather upon the manufacturer, and a weight upon the agriculturist.

Henry Wilson (Mass.] spoke for the manufacturing interests.

At this time, when the great interests of the nation depend upon the proper adjustment of the duties upon imports, the woolen manufacturers present their condition to the attention of Congress--to the consideration of American statesmen. They tell you, Mr. President, and they tell you truly, that the tariff of 1846 has borne heavily upon their interests. They tell you, and they tell you truly, that, under the operations of the tariff of 1846, the manufacture of the finer and better classes of woolens has almost entirely ceased—that one by one the mills for the manufacture of these finer and better classes of woolens have been compelled to succumb—that hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in these mills have been lost-that, even in the manufacture of the coarser qualities of woolens, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been sunk. They point you, sir, to many of their mills in which at least fifty per cent. of the original investments has been sacrificed, under that policy which has increased your importations of woolen goods from nine millions in 1846 to more than thirty-four millions in 1856-a policy which discriminates against the manufactures of our own country by taxing the raw material higher than the manufactured article-a policy which practically offers a bounty to the manufacturers of all nations which have the raw materials free to command our markets, and increase their wealth and power at the expense of our wool growers and manufacturers. They ask you now, in the adjustment of the tariff, to adopt the policy of admitting duty free the raw materials, the wools, the dye stuffs, and all those articles which enter into manufactures. They ask you to abandon that suicidal policy which places a higher duty upon wool than you place upon the manufactured article, and to adopt that policy which is giving to the manufacturers of England, France, Belgium, and Germany the command of the markets of the world. They ask you to abandon that policy which is closing their mills, driving American laborers from their looms and spindles, and crowding the markets of America with the products of European capital, skill, and labor.

I listened, Mr. President, as we all did, with close attention to the very elaborate speech of the Senator from Vermont (Mr. Collamer). Without indulging in the language of reproach or denunciation, he warned the manufacturers against that policy which should diminish the production of wool in the United States. I know that I utter the sentiments of the manufacturers of my own State when I say to the Senator, to the Senate, to the wool growers of the whole country, that an increase in the production of American wool is among their first desires. The prosperity of the wool-growing interest cannot but be conducive to the prosperity of the wool-manufacturing interest. Mutuality of interests exists between the growers of wool and the manufacturers of wool.

What are the effects of the present policy upon the woolgrowing interest? Is that interest keeping pace with the growth of our population-with the demands of our people for the manufacture of woolens? It may be safely assumed that the production of wool in the United States during the past five years has not perceptibly increased.

The manufacturers, Mr. President, make no war upon the wool growers. They assume that the reduction of the duty on wool, or the repeal of the duty altogether, will infuse vigor into that drooping interest, stimulate home production, diminish the importation of foreign woolen manufactures, and afford a steady and increasing demand for American wool. The experience of England, France, and Belgium demonstrates the wisdom of that policy which makes the raw materials duty free. Let us profit by their example.

In warning the manufacturers to avoid a policy which would check or repress the development of any of the agricultural interests of the country, the Senator from Vermont made the declaration that a country could not successfully manufacture articles, unless it produced the raw materials which enter into their manufacture. This declaration is too broad, sweeping, and general. It is hardly supported by the present or past experiences of nations. England, the great cotton manufacturing nation of the globe, depends not upon her own production for her supply of raw cotton-she depends upon the United States, her great commercial rival. The great manufacturing nations of Western Europe-nations which stand at the head of the manufacturing countries-draw from the United States, Mexico, South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the isles of the Indian seas immense supplies of the raw materials which enter into their varied manufactures. The high development of manufactures and the mechanic arts demands accumulated capital, educated labor, varied skill. Many of the raw materials which enter largely into these productions of the manufactures and mechanic arts are the rude products of less cultivated nations or the peculiar products of particular soils and climates. By this bill of the House raw silk is to come in free of duty, and we of New England expect, in a few years, to manufacture silk goods to a large extent. I concur with the Senator from Vermont in the opinion that our manufactures rest upon a safer and surer basis when our own country furnishes the raw materials; but I do not limit our capital, labor, and skill to the manufactures of those articles which our own country produces. The capital, labor, and skill of Massachusetts-of New England—will lay under contribution the raw materials


« PreviousContinue »