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effect would fall on the weaker manufacturing establishments. Lowell, and some other manufacturing towns, equally strong in their position, might, and probably would stand, and be able to breast the storm, positively weaker, but relatively stronger, in consequence of the overthrow of innumerable infant establishments, which a protective system had started, and which nothing but a protective system can sustain. The general prosperity and wealth of the country depend more on these small and weak establishments, than on the great and strong ones, because as a whole, they have more capital in them, employ more labor, and give a greater amount of activity to the industry of the whole people. The weak are naturally allied to the weak, and they stand or fall together; while the strong are comparatively independent, and can stand of themselves. That public policy which protects the weak, protects all, and is the best possible policy. Is it to be supposed, that the almost innumerable small and weak manufacturing crafts of this country, in the infancy of their existence, and with all the imperfections of their arts, can maintain their position, against the superior and more perfect arts of Great Britain, on a basis of Free Trade, when, besides this disadvantage, itself enough to crush them, American manufacturers have to pay twice as much for money and labor? It is preposterous to suppose it can be done.
While, therefore, the strong manufactures of the United States might possibly be able to stand, even on a basis of Free Trade, it could not fail to happen that the weaker would fall before the crushing influence of foreign skill and power of capital, the general effect on all the great and minor interests of the country, would be most disastrous, as is abundantly shown in other chapters. The strong would become relatively stronger, and the weak weaker; the rich richer, and the poor poorer; while the nation, as a whole, would be impoverished. Every separate manufacturing enterprise occupies, commercially, an isolated position, and can lean only on itself, when the policy of protection is withdrawn. It, therefore, becomes the victim of the whole power of this foreign influence, as much as if there were no other manufacturing establishment in the country. If, therefore, it is weak, can it stand? Its fall is inevitable.
But, in order to have a just view of the Free Trade alleged to have been granted by Great Britain, under the administration of Sir Robert Peel, it is equally important as pertinent here, to observe, first, that the Free Trade granted, is no sacrifice to the party granting it; next, that the grant is limited and small; thirdly, that it is
a discriminating Free Trade, granted only where it would operate as protection; and therefore, fourthly, that it is no Free Trade at all, but a mere matter of public policy, to operate in favor of the interests of Great Britain, and against the interests of other nations.
The condensed view of facts, in the note below, collated by the careful hand of Mr. Edwin Williams, in Fisher's National Magazine, September, 1846, fully sustains and verifies the four propositions above asserted.*
• The appointment of a select committee of the house of commons in 1840, on import duties, was the commencement of a new era in commercial legislation. The severe scrutiny to which the principles of the tariff were exposed by this committee was followed in two or three successive years, including 1845, by some very useful amendments, to which may be added the additional amendments adopted by the bill introduced the present year by Sir Robert Peel, and now passed into a law. An abstract of the report of the Import Duties committee, in 1840, showed that while 944 per cent. (or £21,700,630) of the total revenue from customs (£22,962,610) was obtained from seventeen articles, there were above eleven hundred articles subject to different rates of duty, which, in the language of Mr. M'Gregor, of the board of trade, were "burdens, restrictions, and delays, upon the industry and prosperity of the country."
“The following is a list of the seventeen articles referred to, each producing more than £100,000 to the revenue:
£4.827.018 10. Silk manufactures..
3 495,686 12. Currants.............
779,114 | 17. Cheese....
Seventeen articles producing duties........
"In 1842, Sir Robert Peel reduced the duty on about seven hundred and fifty different articles, which had yielded only £270,000 to the revenue. At the same time he totally abolished the duty on other articles, and he removed the prohibition on the importation of foreign horned cattle, sheep, goats, swine, salinen, soles, and some other fish, and beef and pork. The general principle of the tariff of 1842 was to reduce the duty on raw materials to about 5 per cent., to limit the highest duty on partially manufactured materials to 12 per cent., and on complete manufactures to about 20 per cent. In 1842, also, the sliding-scale of duty on the importation of foreign corn or grain was altered. In 1844, the duty on foreign wool was repealed. In 1845, further alterations were made in the tariff: the duty on cotton wool, which produced a revenue of about £680,000, was repealed (for the benefit of the cotton manufacture), and the duties on four hundred and thirty other articles, which yielded about £320,000 to the revenue, were totally abolished. By this important improvement, the expenses of warehousing are saved, and a great number of troublesome accounts and vexatious impediments to business are done away with; but for statistical purposes, the customs department retains the power of examining articles which do not pay duties.
1. Sugar and molasses..
4. Rum, brandy, &c..
7. Corn (grain, flour, &c.).
9. Cotton wool..
"The following statements show the net annual produce of the duties of customs on all articles imported into the United Kingdom in the two years which
Thus it is seen, that, although here is a showing of a large number of articles on which protective duties are abolished, both parties were ready for it, the manufacturers, because it did them no harm, but was rather beneficial; and the government, because they lost nothing, but gained in revenue. It was simply a question of pub
preceded the alterations in the tariff made in 1842, and in the two years after these changes were effected :
Raw materials for manufacture..
Articles on which no altera
Articles on which the duties
3,851,259 2,478,396 18,114,525 19,994,890 "It will be observed that the annual reduction of duties on raw materials for manufacture amounted to £830,356, and on articles partially manufactured to £400,238; making the annual boon to the manufacturers £1,230,594— equal to $5,906,851; while the reduction of duties on manufactured articles imported was only £18,114, and on all other articles the reduction was only £124,155. At the same time the amount of revenue on articles in which no alteration was made in the tariff in 1842-23-24, was actually increased £1,880,365, while the total amount of reductions on articles on which the tariff was altered, was £1,372,863. This shows that the increase of the revenue on the unchanged articles exceeds the reductions on other articles by the sum of £507,502, or a backward advance from Free Trade' of $2,436,000.
"By the new British tariff adopted at the present sessions of parliament (1846), further reductions and repeal of duties on articles imported have been made; the government still pursuing the policy which has guided them in all the changes in the tariff referred to, namely, promoting the interests of the manufacturing classes. Thus, raw hides, mahogany, and other woods for manufacture, vegetables, and a few other articles, are now added to the free list, while animals, beef, pork, and some other articles of food, being also admitted free of duty, the expenses of living are of course reduced to the manufacturer; add to this the reduction of duties on bread-stuffs, by the change in the corn-laws, and we can estimate in some degree the amount of benefits which are expected to be derived by the British manufacturer by the recent legislation of parliament, and the increased advantages those manufacturers will have in contending with foreign rivals for the markets of the world.
"It is true that the new British tariff has reduced the rates of duties levied on the manufactures of other nations when imported into the United Kingdom. British statesmen know that they may safely rely on the capital and skill acquired during long periods of protection, against any attempts that may be made by their manufacturing rivals of other countries, to introduce the products of their industry into Great Britain. In 1839, the duties received on manufactured articles imported into the United Kingdom amounted to only £443,355, of which silk goods imported contributed more than one half. Two years after the alteration of the tariff in 1842-23-24, the annual amount of duties on manufactures imported was £475,525; which shows but a small increase of imports in consequence of the reduction of duties. The duties on silk manufactures, in 1839, amounted to £247,361, and, in 1844, to £286,535," being about two thirds of all the duties collected from manufactured articles from foreign parts.
lic policy. That Free Trade had nothing to do with it, although vaunted as such, is evident from the facts, that this abolition of duties was discriminating, being confined to a limit which would operate for the benefit of all parties concerned, in Great Britain, public and private. The differential duties for the colonies and remote dependencies of the empire, giving a monopoly of the trade of those parts to British manufacturers, were still retained. Not a word is said about them. What was granted to other nations, by this measure, was worth nothing to them, and operated for the benefit of the grantors; while a Free Trade with the colonies and dependencies of Great Britain, would have been a substantial boon, especially to the United States. These differential duties, indeed, were, as we believe, enacted expressly to shut out the trade of the United States, and to monopolize it for British commerce.
The privileges secured to British bottoms, by commercial treaties and domestic legislation, on condition of touching at a colonial port, in returning with cargoes from foreign ports, are another species of differential law, of immense consequence to the parties concerned, all in favor of British and against foreign bottoms. We began, in 1817, to try, by countervailing legislation, to recover a commerce then worth six millions annually, lost by this species of legerdemain, and which has been growing more valuable ever since, and we have gained nothing of our rights, but rather lost, by the commercial treaty of 1830. The effect of this treaty has been, that, in fifteen years, from 1830 to 1844, the British commerce with, the United States gained 300 per cent., while our commerce with Great Britain, for the same time, gained only 50 per cent. Great Britain raises a revenue, by duties on American tobacco, of some eighteen to twenty millions of dollars a year. Look at her exactions for revenue in other items, given in the note on pages 111 and 112, in which we and other nations are profoundly interested, and see what a mockery is that which she has given up, calling it Free Trade-all for her benefit-as compared with that which she retains, also for her benefit alone. Why talk of Free Trade, with such facts, and such unsettled accounts as these, staring the world in the face? It is a perversion of language, and a shame to decency.
Two remarks will comprehend and show all the Free Trade which Great Britain has conceded: First, she has never granted Free Trade on any article of her own production, which was a sacrifice to herself; secondly, nor on any article, in the production of which she was not prepared to beat all the world.
DEFINITION OF FREEDOM.
absurd all over.
This ch. maxserve as a cimen of the degree
into which me
CONSISTS IN THE ENJOYMENT OF
RIGHTS, AND IN THE INDEPENDENT CONTROL OF COMMER-
The Novelty and Importance of this Proposition, a Reason for giving it an early Place in
eind yes, As the proposition at the head of this chapter is a new one, and a very as it defines a fundamental, most important, and most vital element Jilly of a system of public economy adapted to the United States, per
vading the whole, we have thought proper to give it an early place
By commercial rights, we mean those claims to property which men, by general consent, are allowed to assert-of property, which, by the same consent, they may rightfully call their own, having in it what the economists usually call exchangeable value; but which we prefer to call commercial value, as we think the substitute being less technical, is quicker and better apprehended.
ver By commercial values, we mean the things themselves, to which in rights appertain.
Air and water are neither bought nor sold, and are, therefore,