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ers, in a little more than half a century, not only without the slightest equivalent, but with a positive detriment to their interests, not less than the other quarter-probably much more. By an examination of the commercial history of the country, as displayed by the official records, all its parts harmonize with the doctrine which guides us to these results. Whenever the protective policy has prevailed, by the necessities of war, or by legislation in peace, the balances of imports against the country are reduced, and occasionally turn the other way. Under the effects of the tariff of 1842, as long as it lasted, the balances were all in favor of the country. But whenever duties have been reduced, and Protection diminished, the excess and the increase of the excess of imports over exports, has followed as regularly and as certainly as night follows day; and the temperature of the weather is not measured more accurately by the thermometer, than the losses and gains of the country, in its foreign trade, by the depression and rise of import duties, as they relate to the principle and objects of Protection. Mathematical verities were never established with greater certainty than this proposition; for it is itself determined by figures, which can not err, when legitimately and fairly applied.
The following facts, as will be seen, are but another way of coming to the same result, in the use of a part of the same premises employed above: It appears from a report of the Hon. J. P. Kennedy, of the 27th Congress, from the committee on commerce, that, from 1820 to 1830, the aggregate imports of the United States amounted to $798,500,000, and the amount retained for domestic consumption to $568,900,000; and that, from 1830 to 1840, the imports were $1,302,500,000, and the amount retained for domestic consumption was $1,103,100,000. It is worthy of remark here, that, as the effect of the protective policy established in 1824, and continued for a number of years, the nation paid off a debt of one hundred millions; and that, chiefly in the last half of the period from 1830 to 1840, when the low rates of duties under the Compromise act of 1833 were in operation, a foreign debt of two hundred millions was contracted. It is accounted for in the above-cited imports and consumptions of that period. About one hundred millions of the state debts were contracted in 1835 and 1836, and nearly all of them got into the foreign market about this time to settle balances for excessive importations.
One can hardly fail to see, by these facts, that when we are accommodated by exchange of products with articles not convenient
for us to produce, and so long as it is inconvenient, or more profitable to obtain them by such exchanges, we are compelled to pay higher for them than we ought to pay, because the producers of such articles have a monopoly of our market, and will have their I own prices; which is the cause of their reduction under an American protective system. Consequently, even in that case, though it is on the whole a desirable exchange, we are burdened, in no inconsiderable degree, with foreign taxes. Secondly, that it is desirable, that it is sound policy, and a duty which we owe to the labor, capital, enterprise, and weal of the country, to rescue ourselves even from this taxation, as soon as we are prepared ; and we are prepared whenever capital is ready to employ labor for this purpose, and when it asks protection to begin the work. We can almost universally in the outset, in the end always, produce the same articles cheaper, when we can produce them at all, as proved in the preceding chapter. The country is of course benefited, and consumers may also be benefited, as elsewhere shown, even when such protected articles are a little higher for a season. They can not be long higher, and in the end will be cheapened by domestic competition. But, thirdly, whenever by the reduction or abolition of protective duties, or by refusing to establish them when capital solicits it, American producers are so weakened in a competition with foreign producers, that the latter have the advantage, and are able to force into our market such large quantities of their products, as to turn the balance of trade against the country, as above proved to have been often done in the progress of our commercial history, then the tax on the country, imposed by foreign powers and foreign factors, is positive, and not less in amount than three fourths of the value of the excess of imports over exports; and not only so, but the tax is imposed on the industry, labor, and capital of the country in its crippled condition, so that being obliged to pay it under such circumstances, doubles, or trebles, or quadruples the burden. If they could have the business and profit of which they are deprived by this want of protection, they could pay this foreign tax, great and heavy as it is, in the shape of a direct and naked bounty, with infinitely more ease than they can sustain it when thus imposed. And what would be thought of such a bounty, imposed upon this country, in the full tide of its prosperity, under an adequate protective system? It could then be endured, if it were not understood how it came; whereas, the taxes paid by the people of the United States to the foreign world, in the prevalence
of Free-Trade principles, by the breaking down of Protection, can not be endured. The country always breaks down under it; and we see by the argument of this chapter why it could not be otherwise.
We are aware that Free Trade will, perhaps, reply to the argument of this chapter, that this immense system of foreign taxation, entering into the prices of all foreign products, is itself a protective system. Our commercial history, however, demonstrates that it is inadequate; and we have elsewhere shown that inadequate protection is no protection. If the usurpation of the rights of labor in those foreign quarters be assumed to be equal to the fair reward of labor in the United States-reward being viewed in the light of compensation, over and above subsistence—then the productive power of the foreign world is a balance of our own, with this exception, that we can not afford to sacrifice our rights in a commercial strife, under Free Trade, with a power two thirds or three fourths of which is usurped, and which consequently gives it an immense margin of strength to spare on the points of strife between us as parties. All that is our own, is necessary to us; whereas, any part of this foreign usurpation may be relinquished for a season, to deprive us of our rights. It is for this reason that we require protection. All the costs of imports which are composed of foreign taxation, constitute the rewards of our various branches of industry, when, under a system of protection, we produce the same things ourselves; and it is only by protection that we are able to produce them.
GAINS OF PROTECTION AND LOSSES BY FREE TRADE.
The everlasting Objection.-The Charm of Hypothesis, as compared with the Inductive Mode of Reasoning-How things look at a Distance.-Supplication of Emope to America-St George's Spear in the Throat of the Dragon-The aggregate Loss to the United States, since 1791, for Want of a Protective System.-The Loss comprehends the Use of the Capital in all Time-The Effects of new Arts and new Pursuits under a Protective System -A variety of Facts on this Point.
Ir is well known that the only objection to protective duties ever urged, has been the assumption-proved in the foregoing pages to be false and groundless-that they are taxes, and taxes to the full amount of the duties which are imposed on the protected articles. There never was an argument made against Protection which did not assume this, or which alleged any other objection that did not resolve itself into this. The FreeTrade argument is universally constructed on the principle of an hypothesis. It is singular that a matter-of-fact age, which has long since loaned its almost unqualified sanction to the inductive mode of reasoning, that is, reasoning and forming conclusions from facts, should have yielded so much to this strange delusion, and that whole states and nations should have almost gone mad with it. It demonstrates the sluggishness of the human mind in reducing to practice its own professed faith, and its propensity to romance in the affairs of life, rather than dig among facts, and search them out for doctrine and use. Of all modes of reasoning, theorizing, without a basis, is most captivating to the intellectual sluggard. He is neither obliged to find, nor disposed to consider, facts. If they come in his way, he always has a theory to oppose to them, and if they do not accord with his preconceived opinions, they are inadmissible. He worships theory built on hypothesis. Did it not, he asks, teach us how the universe is kept in order, by the principle of gravitation? But he forgets that the FACT of the falling of an apple led to this discovery; nor does he seem to be aware that there is no conclusion in the theory of the heavenly bodies, which is not deduced from ascertained facts. Of all sciences, if this deserves the name of one, public economy, to be safe and useful, claims, more, if possible, than any other, to be based on facts; all
its deductions should be founded on facts, and facts alone; and any theory, passing under this name, which has not such a basis, is worthy of no respect. Free Trade is this baseless theory, with the facts of all history and the experience of all mankind against it.
A single sentence from the London Times of January 1, 1847, uttered after it had copiously poured the unction of its flattery on the heads of the American president and his secretary of the treasury, for their able vindication of the principles of Free Trade, will illustrate the relative position of this country to foreign parts, in a commercial point of view, better, perhaps, than anything else: "Almost every nation in the world," says that journal," is directly interested in the degree of liberality and friendliness with which the United States may open their resources to the wants of other more-crowded and less-favored realms." This is supplication, entreaty for what? To allow Europe to live at our expense. An appeal is made to our "liberality," "friendliness." We are implored to be charitable. This only to show the importance that is attached to the controversy. It bodes a great strife when the United States undertake to protect their own interests—to defend their own rights. Europe is convulsed. "Almost every nation in the world," says the London Times, "is directly interested." A plainer truth was never uttered. The European world observes that labor has gained an independent position in the United States; and it sees, that, if that position be maintained, by protecting itself, all other nations must be revolutionized. Either American labor or foreign despotisms must fall. The instincts of unjust power cause it to quake on its precarious throne, and what sacrifices will it not make to defend its unrighteous supremacy, and absurd pretensions? If, in apprehension of evil to itself, it will stoop to supplication, to entreaty, by all the ties of a pretended brotherhood, it is not because it will not put on different airs, when once it may have recovered its position, and is exempt from such fears. Such symptoms demonstrate a conscious weakness, not of misfortune, but of crime-the crime of doing wrong to humanity, by depriving it of its rights.
All we intended by drawing aside the curtain to exhibit this spectacle, or rather by employing the hand of the culprit behind, to lift the screen that hides his own shame, was to show what potent principles of self-preservation are invoked, on the side of European powers, when once they see that American labor is rising to protect itself; how they will crouch to supplication, and how they