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Consideration of the contradictory Averments on this Point-The Facts of the CaseStatistics bearing on the Question.-The Effect of Low Wages on the Character of the People.

A PROTECTIVE SYSTEM raises the prices of American labor. As this has been drawn in question, and even denied, not alone by men upon the common level of society, but by high and influential functionaries of the government of the United States, in their official documents, it becomes necessary to subject the question to the proof of facts. The president of the United States, in his annual message of 1845, said: "It," the tariff of 1842, "does not benefit the laborers, whose wages are not increased by it." His secretary of the treasury, in his annual report, accompanying that message, said: "The wages of labor have not augmented since the tariff of 1842, and in some cases they have diminished.”—“The wages of labor did not increase in any corresponding ratio or in any ratio whatever." In their annual documents of the same kind, for 1846, they reiterate the same things in substance—the secretary more emphatically than before. He labors away with assertion, by a frequent and long-continued' repetition of identical ideas.

These, it will be observed, are assertions of fact. If it were proper to introduce such a topic in such documents, one might say with at least equal propriety, that it was imperatively incumbent on the authors to substantiate their assertions of fact with facts. This, however, was not attempted, and the documents were sent forth upon the community, with all the weight and influence of their high official character, as if there were no question of the facts asserted; and it is the more to be regretted, as the facts asserted were not true, and could not be substantiated, as the evidence about to be exhibited will show.

"The ratio" above referred to by the secretary, was the average increase of duties on protected articles, from 20 per cent. as they existed before the tariff of 1842, to upward of 40 per cent. by that

act, as he says, though in fact it did not exceed 37 per cent. But that is no matter in this place. The secretary asserts, that, although "the average of duties was more than doubled," the wages of labor were not more than doubled, or "did not increase in a corresponding ratio." Resting the matter here, it would be hard to say what is proved. For who ever pretended, that the wages of labor rise, "in a ratio corresponding" with the average increase of duties? If they rise at all, it is a manifest benefit. But the secretary adds, "or in any ratio whatever." This latter is an important point. But it is singular, that, in the first member of the sentence, he should admit that they did rise, though "not in a corresponding ratio," and in the last member, deny it. He may be safely left in his own dilemma. But in another place he asserts positively, "that the wages of labor have not augmented since the tariff of 1842, and that in some cases they have diminished." This manifestly brings us to the question. The president, as will be observed, stops a little short of the secretary, and only says, that "the wages of labor were not increased by the tariff of 1842," which also brings us to the questiona question of fact.

It might be asked with great force, did neither of these gentlemen ever think, that it is a blessing to labor, to have work? Suppose its wages are not increased, if they are sufficient and satisfactory; will these gentlemen find fault with this, if the laborer himself does not? If they had dared to say, that there was no employment for labor, under the tariff of 1842, they would have made a decided case. But one says, wages did not increase; and the other ventures to say, that in some cases they diminished. Did not increase from what standard? That before the period of the tariff of 1842; or that which this period established? This is a point of at least some, not inconsiderable, importance. If it could be known where these gentlemen mean to take up their position, one could not refuse a fair challenge on this question. Everybody knows that, in 1840, labor went begging for bread, and could not always get it. The Hon. Simon Cameron, in the words cited from him below, tells us, and calls the president of the senate, Mr. Dallas, to witness, that, in 1840, "there were over five hundred applicantshealthy, vigorous men-for the place of tip-stave," in a court of Philadelphia, "to get bread for their families". It is also a fact, that an ex-governor of Pennsylvania wept, when General Harrison was obliged to refuse him an office in that commonwealth, because, he said, "he was poor and needed it".

If the president and his secretary mean to say, that the wages of labor, under the tariff of 1842, did not rise above the level of wages in 1840, one would be very much surprised; and if they mean to say, that they did not rise above the standard of the period of the tariff of 1842, it is a simple truism; it is saying that a thing is equal to itself.

Since, however, they have raised the question about wages of labor, they must meet the FACTS. First, then, they do not pretend, that labor could not find employment under the tariff of 1842. This point, settled, is a very important one.

The following is an extract, in point, from a speech of the Hon. Simon Cameron, United States senator from Pennsylvania, delivered July 22, 1846, on the reduction of the tariff of 1842, while that of 1846 was under debate; and it is not the less valuable as coming from one of the same political party with the president and secretary, who have expressed themselves as above cited :

"The individual cases of distress, which pervaded the country for a period preceding the law of 1842, were absolutely heartrending. Rich men not only lost their fortunes, but poor men lost their means of living. Our furnaces, and our forges, and our workshops, were emptied; our merchants were ruined; and our farmers, our substantial yeomanry, many of them with abundance of products, for want of a market, found themselves in the hands of the sheriff. Not a section of the whole country but afforded abundant evidence of the truth of this picture. . . I remember, and you, Mr. President [Dallas], doubtless know, that, in the organization of a new court in Philadelphia, there were over 500 applicants for the place of a tip-stave! Healthy, vigorous men sought this station, to get bread for their families! . . Do gentlemen desire these scenes renewed? Will men never learn wisdom by experience? How is it now [under the tariff of 1842]? How changed the scene! If a magician's wand had been waved over our country, the result would hardly have appeared more like enchantment, than the reality now before us. No man is idle who is willing to work. Contented, smiling faces are everywhere to be seen. The busy hum of industry gladdens the ear in all directions. Everybody is prosperous, and everybody happy."

It was not necessary, then, under the tariff of 1842, for "five hundred healthy and vigorous men," to go begging for the office of "tip-stave" in a court of Philadelphia, "to get bread for their families," and for 499 of them to return to their families disap

pointed; nor is it likely that an ex-governor of any state will shed unavailing tears, because he was impoverished by the hard times of that era. The president and his secretary, apparently, did not think of this; they do not seem to have well considered, how much it is worth to labor, to be secure of employment; nor were they well advised about the wages of labor, under the tariff of 1842, as the following facts will show :

For some two or three years before the tariff of 1842, most of the manufacturers of the country were obliged to compound with labor, at low wages, in hope of better times, or suspend operations.

The Hon. Abbott Lawrence, in his second letter to the Hon. William C. Rives, of Virginia, dated Boston, January 16, 1846, says: "I will give you an example of the rate of wages under low duties, and under the tariff of 1842. In 1841-'2, the depression in all kinds of business became so oppressive, that many of the manufacturing establishments in New England were closed, and the operatives dismissed, the mechanical trades were still, and every resource for the laboring man seemed dried up. In the city of Lowell, where there are more than thirty large cotton-mills, with from six to sixteen thousand spindles each, it was gravely considered by the proprietors, whether the mills should be stopped. It was concluded to reduce the wages. This was done several times, until the reduction brought down the wages from about $2 to $1.50 per week, exclusive of board. This operation took place upon between 7,000 and 8,000 females; the mills ran on; no sales were made of the goods; the south and west had neither money, nor credit; and finally, it was determined to hold out, till Congress should act upon the tariff. The bill [tariff of 1842] passed, and of course the mills were kept running, which would not have been the case if the act had been rejected; and now the average wages paid at Lowell-taking the same number of females for the same service is $2 per week, exclusive of board. Yet, Mr. Walker says, labor has fallen. Where are wages of labor, I ask, lower than they were in 1842? Who is to be benefited by the adoption of a system that gives up everything, and gives no reasonable promise of anything?"

The same is true of the large manufacturing towns of Manchester and Nashua, New Hampshire. The Hon. Mr. Ramsey, of Pennsylvania, in his speech on the tariff, house of representatives (see National Intelligencer, September 1, 1846), represents, that, from 1837 to 1842, a large portion of the miners and laborers in the

mining regions of that state, were out of employment; that the laborers who got work, received only from $3.50 to $4 a weekand miners only from $5 to $6—generally paid in goods, equal to 15 or 20 per cent. discount; and that in 1845-'6, laborers got from $5 to $6, and miners from $8 to $10, cash-average increase, 30 per cent.

This, in amount, was generally, if not universally, true of the manufacturing establishments of the country, of every description; and it was equally true in every department of life, that employs labor. Employment was never wanting under the tariff of 1842, and wages did increase -an average of full 25 per cent. higher than they were before. For further statistics on this subject, see note below.*

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The wages of labor in the mechanical trades, on railroads and canals, in agriculture, in common job-work of cities and towns, and

* Everybody knows what savings-banks are instituted for, viz., to afford to labor a secure deposite for its savings. They now exist in many parts of the country, and are a great blessing to the laboring poor. There are two items in the history of these institutions which are probably better evidence of the employment and prosperity of labor, than any or all other that could be given, viz., the comparative number of depositors and the comparative amount of deposites in a course of years. In the state of Massachusetts, the banks of savings are obliged by law to make annual returns to the legislature, of which the following are quotations for three years: In 1841, the number of depositors was 39,832; the amount of deposites, $6,485,424. In 1842, depositors 41,102; deposites $6,675,878. In 1845, depositors 54,256; deposites $9,214,954. The first two years were under the disastrous period that preceded the tariff of '42; the last was the third year of the operation of that tariff. The comparison is instructive, and to the point. The increase from 1841 to 1842, was about 3 per cent. on depositors, and about 34 per cent. on amount deposited. The difference between 1842 and 1845, was about 32 per cent. on depositors, or nearly 11 per cent. per annum; and about 38 per cent. on amount deposited, or nearly 13 per cent. per annum. The amount of deposites in the savings-bank at Lowell, was, in 1841, $148,190; in 1842, $478,365; in 1843, $162,650; in 1844, $591,910; in 1845, $730,890. At Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1842, $220,636; in 1846, $336,960. At Saco, Maine, in 1842, $29,667; in 1846, $48,157. It is believed that these facts require no comment, as it is well known for whom these institutions were established, and what classes of persons use them. The details of these statistics for about thirty banks of savings, will be found in Fisher's National Magazine, for March and June, 1846, proving the same thing, viz., that labor was never so prosperous, and never laid up so much, in a given time, as under the tariff of '42.

The following is from the same magazine, for March, 1846 :—

"Within the past year 200 houses have been built in Pawtucket, and the adjoining village of Central Falls, all by the hands employed in the manufactories of the two places, some of which have cost upward of $2,000.

"The deposites in the Pawtucket savings-bank, amount, on an average, to $70,000. "The following are the prices paid for wages, in the years 1842 and 1845. They all relate to the same hands who were employed in both years :

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