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accumulated was concerned, it could these institutions for life, almost disapbe disposed of only in the usual course peared from circulation. All the other of consumption, and production in the distresses of the time resolved themmeantime necessarily ceased far enough selves into this one-the dearth of to allow the markets to be cleared. cash. Yet it was a part of this wonThus, the distress of the agriculturalists drous system to withdraw from circuwas greatly deepened. Their efforts lation enough of the litile already cirto extricate themselves from embar- culating, to build up an entire manurassments, though they brought no facturing interest in the country. Thus, complete exirication, had yet occa- since there will always be a just relasioned a glut; but now, under ihe pecu- tion between prices and the amount of liar Americanism of this system, their circulating medium, and, since the efforts were to cease, or be greatly di- former inevitably fall exactly as the minished, and the embarrassments to latter is diminished, the producers were go on increasing. Such was the inevi- subjected to a yet further ruinous table result, and such the nation depression. found it.
Yet even all this had been more enBut this was not all. Another view durable, if the manufactures produced of the system was, to transfer enough at enormous a cost, had been of the population from the production brought into market either as cheaply of the raw material to the business of or of as good quality as those with manufacturing, to prevent thereafter a which foreign countries would have like excess of the former commodities. supplied us. Bui they were neither. The population thus transferred were The whole system was unnatural and composed, in part, of the producers of a hot-bed growth. For, had it been themselves, and partly of their laborers. natural, it had sprung up of itself withThe former could change their voca out any of this extraordinary effort to tion, only after having transformed their give it what, after all, was only a sickly old capital into money. This, how- life. Since this was the beginning of ever, could be effected solely by throw- the system, those who had embarked ing it all into the market, and thus a in the business were chiefly experiglut of another kind was occasioned. menters, and, like all others of the Farms, and whatever else had been class, wrought at a sacrifice. They employed in production, were sold at had neither the perfect theory nor the such prices as they would fetch; and skilful practice; and the enormity of the purchasers were enabled to enter the wastage could only be supplied by into competition with those who had an equal enormity of price. The workbought earlier and at a heavier cost, men, too, were raw, learning their art with every advantage in their favor. either wholly without teachers, or with This, therefore, brought upon the old teachers ignorant as themselves. Beproprietors a new aggravation of their sides this, they began to acquire the calamities. Distressed already nearly mysterious sleights of the loom and to ruin, they now found themselves shuttle, for the most part, at a period amid a new class of neighbors, by whom of life when the acquisition of new they were in everything underbid. tricks is proverbially difficult. And
But, so far as ihe new manufactur- the rest of the nation were justly coning community was composed of the soled for all the distress and privation laborers formerly employed by the pro- they had undergone to establish the ducers, a diiferent evil was occasioned system, by the reflection that they were 10 the latter. Just as the number of supplied with an article of domestic laborers diminished, the price of labor manufacture, four times as bad as the rose. Thus production, besides the foreign one which they had been accusoverwhelming burdens already imposed tomed, at one quarter of the present upon it, was subjected to the addi- cost, to buy. tional one of an increased expense. Such was the transition state to
Nor did the accumulating evils of wards the American system. In a the system stop here. The great suf- time of the highest prosperity, a fering of the times arose from the change like this could not have hap want of money. The banks were pened, without giving a fearful shock breaking or already broken. Specie to every interest in the country. But had, in the convulsive struggles of here the wisdom of the time equalled
the wisdom of the plan. When every thought of becoming manufacturers, interest was already staggered almost were satisfied. But in 1820, more proto its fall, an additional and more vio- tection was needed. The bill giving lent blow was given, in order to place it, passed the House, but failed in the it, of course, once more erect, just as Senate, by a single vote. The manudrunken men are sometimes made to facturers paused for a time, disheart. stand up, simply by knocking them ened, took breath, looked about, saw down. Nevertheless, these evils of the country just on the verge of ruiih, the transition might have been better made a fresh effort, and the tariff of endured, if the system itself, the transi- 1824 became a law. Again they prostion once passed, could in its nature pered, again ceased to prosper, again be of general benefit. But it cannot, began to decline, again saw the country The domestic article cannot be fur- in greater peril than ever, again aspished at the same price as the foreign, saulted Congress, and in 1928 the Bill else no tariff would be necessary. And of Abominations was the result. In ibe difference is the tribute which the England and America, the average consumer pays 10 the system, This exacerbations of the fever for protection tribute is a positive evil, and unless have been once in four years. Thus, to there be a full compensation for it, fur- the manufacturer himself, protection nished either to the consumer, or to gives no compensation for the ills it insome other part, or to the whole of ficts upon the rest of society. the nation, the system is of course bad, If then, neither the consumer, nor and should be swept away. But it yet the manufacturer, is profited by does not compensate the consumer, for these restrictive measures, the queshe obtains either a worse article at the tion may well be asked, who is? Yet same, or an equal article at a greater like all oppressions, when the elements
Either way, therefore, he is a of society remain in order,-where loser. And even if it benefited the courts mete out to all, impartially, manufacturer, to the same extent as such justice as the laws afford, and it harmed the consumer, still it would physical violence and rapine are belong to that kind of national acts, by promptly repressed,--there, imposts, which one class is extorted from, for iaxation, and all permanent commercial the unearned advantage of another; restrictions, do undoubtedly give a kind and would, therefore, be unequal as of stimulus to labor, and tend 10 inpartiality, and unjust as robbery. But crease the amount of production, it does not thus benefit even him. For though they impair the profits and enthe consumers, by the instinct of self- joyments of the producers.
The prininterest, and sometimes by a nobler ciple is this. In Turkey, where there motive, are impelled to resistance. is little law, and where rapine is freThis is accomplished in various ways. quent, and labor has no certainty of its Some who would otherwise be con- reward, there is little motive for exersumers, are unable to buy at the en- tion, because no one can tell whether hanced price. Others buy less ; others the strong arm of some marauder may smuggle, and all charge up the not in a moment wrest away all which price of what they have to sell, whether that exertion may have produced. But of labor or other commodities. And in England, where the machinery for in the end, by the diminished market the distribution of law operates equally and the increased cost, the manufac- on all classes, where general plunder lurer finds himself driven to implore is arrested, and where her oppressive the legislature for further protection, imposis for revenue, or protection, or an increased tariff, and heavier penal- whatever other object, act with regu, ties on the evasions of the customs. larity, can be foreseen, and calculated He succeeds in all, suppose. For a upon and provided for, there every man time, he drives once more a profitable may rely, with all human certainty, business; but soon the class from whom upon the probability, that, after pay. his plunder is to come, have by the ing the taxes, in whatever shape they same process adjusted matters again, may come, he may enjoy the surplus in and brought him to his knees for yet peace. It is true, that to the extent of further protection. In 1816, the first ihese taxes, whether they go directly protective tariff was enacted. Those to the Government, or to the landlord, who were already, and those who or to the protected classes, the toil and
labor are, as
to the payer, all for In this sense, and in this alone, and naught. Yet the surplus, if any can that only to a limited extent, increase be acquired, is sure; but acquired it of burden bestows increase of strength. must be, or starvation will ensue, at In this way, and in this alone, tariffs, least 10 the manual laborer. If, there- and national debts, and extravagant fore, eight hours a day of hard toil expenditures, and a spendthrift ariswill not furnish him oatmeal, with tocracy, stimulate national exertion. salt and water, enough to keep soul and Great Britain, by the hundreds and body in the same immediate neighbor- hundreds of millions on all these obhood, he will toil yet harder eighteen jects annually squandered, wrings from hours. And, if even this will not suf- the brows of her subjects round the fice, then his wife, and infant girls and globe sweat otherwise unshed, enough boys, must toil and delve along with to float half her navies. Yet, if these him. Live he must; and the enor- hundreds and hundreds of millions mous increase which' labor, thus pro- were left where they were earned, and tracted and goaded on, can give to pro- enjoyed by those from whose labors duction, is easily seen. And paradoxi- they sprung; were the laborers allowed cal as the assertion may appear, yel time io straighten up occasionally there can be little question but that amid their toil; and needsul rest sufGreat Britain is thus indebted for a fered to go round among them; and great, perhaps the greatest part of her comfort to meet them on terms of good manufacturing, agricultural, and com- acquaintanceship, and life to become mercial productiveness, to her tariff, an enjoyment, when it has served no her enormous debt, her wasteful aris- end but wretchedness,—then, undoubttocracy, and the heavy imposts rendered edly, production would fall away; not necessary for the support, not only of indeed to the extent of the burdens reher naval and military establishment, moved, but to an extent sufficient to but of her throne. For, the same spur give the producers such rest, and comof necessity which goads on the la- fort, and pleasures, as well consist with borer, urges also those who are am- health, economy, and thrift. Still, albitious not merely to live, but to accu- though increase of burden may in mulate. Industry that never tires, this way bring increase of production, economy that allows not the waste of yet, until it bring also increase of hapa groat, enterprise that leaves no oppor- piness, nations will, if they know their tunity of gain unimproved, no possible interests, be shy of that kind of blesslurking-place of wealth unexplored, ing. For, although production may infuse themselves into every depart. increase, still it becomes less profitable, ment of production. The heath and at Jength altogether unprofitable grows fertile, the fen becomes dry, 10 the producers. Because, it a thoufactories multiply, mines open, and the sand millions be the annual production hidden recesses beneath are ransacked, of a state, and if for any causes an while ships are careering to and fro, annual tax of fifiy millions be imposed, everywhere, on the ocean and round then, though the products of the ensua the globe, hurrying away with the sur. ing year would undoubtedly exceed the plus created at home, or hurrying back first amount, they would greatly fall with the stores which other surplus short of both. And the tax would may have bought. And every addi- be paid, by making up the deficiency tional million of impost, to a limit, in- out of what would have been enjoyed fuses yet newer vigor into all this over or accumulated from the average prowrought activity. And the poor duction. And the quantity thus sublaborer at the bottom, by whom the tracted would grow larger, just as the whole system is kept in motion, as impost should be increased; and the those above him guide, adds fresh enjoyment, and happiness, and the force to his failing nerves, and fresh average accumulation by the people speed to his faltering motions, drops grow less. Make the impost heavier the salt from his oatmeal and water, and still heavier, and exertion will conchanges his eighteen hours of toil to tinue to increase, and enjoyment to twenty, and his wife, and girls, and diminish. And though that people boys, along with
him, compelled to may practise all arts, and bring to perthis, either die off, or 'fly to the poor- fection all manufactures, and range rates, more galling than death, round the world and carry on all com.
merce, in order to pay off its taxes and suggested, had its origin in a desire to bear its burdens, yet it cannot be happy. escape from the inconveniences, temIts mighty trade, and teeming factories, porary, of course, in their nature, which and busy population, and enormous followed the restoration of peace to the revenues, form the proof, not of pros- world in 1815. Any experiment was perity, but oppression. Meanwhile, willingly tried which would only make every fresh imposition gives it a fresh promises of success. The resirictive acceleration to the fearful verge of system had at an early day, almost at human endurance, where discontent, the revival of business in the dark and jealousy, and impatience of mis- ages, been adopted in Europe. And rule, and, at length, open revolt, and either in consequence or in spite of finally, revolution itself, will perform those restrictions, whatever trade, their appropriate functions. It is on agriculture and manufactures, that conthat verge, and from these causes, tinent or any of its uations enjoyed, had that Great Britain stands now. Those been produced. Ai all events, the pros. who rule her see the peril. Others perity was in point of time subsequent foresaw it twenty-five years ago, and to the imposition of shackles on trade; prescribed a remedy. That remedy and with many the argument, postea was to cast off her burdens, to dimin- ergo propter, is invincible. ish her naval, military, and regal estab Accordingly, no sooner had the overlishments, 10 contract the enormous action, the lavish expenditures and extravagance of her expenditures, to high prices of the war, been followed throw open her harbors, to let in the by a corresponding languor, than many bread of the world to her starving forgot their jealousy of foreigners, and population, and thus to leave her la- began to desire that the European reboring people some share of the mighty strictive system should be naturalized wealth" they were creating. With
among us. The interest of these was an unsteady and reluctant hand, this early espoused by Mr. Clay; and, as he remedy has been in some small degree happened to be ibeir ablese champion, applied. But the appalling danger has so they have gratefully termed him the not yet vanished, nor vanish will it Father of the system. But when it is ever, until she lifts up the down- recollected that this system was introtrodden, gives opportunity of rest to duced into England as early as the the overtasked frames of her laboring year 1261,* no one will longer doubt millions, and leaves it to themselves, the fact heretofore deemed incredible, whether the fruit of their own toil, or that a parent may be some centuries some share of it, shall not minister to younger than his child. And when it their own comforts, and accumulate is remembered that the sole, or at least for the wants of their age, and give the chief argument for the adoption of chance of education to their children, the measure here, was, that Europe now as little cared for,-and no thanks had adopted it before; and when we 10 Government if not as soulless,-as call to mind that Mr. Clay in his two the machines they tend. And those speeches on the subject, more than who copy her example, may as well twenty times appealed to the example take warning from her danger, and be of England alone, 10 say nothing of on the look-out for her doom; unless, France, Spain, Russia or any other indeed, that doom be averted by retrac- country, it may be difficult to trace the ing her steps, and undoing for herself process of thought by which the conall which that example may prescribe clusion was arrived at, that this imto others.
ported system was purely American, This protective system of ours, there. and its friends, the friends of the Amerifore, was not only fraught with ruin, in can system, and its opponents the advoconsequence of the time as well as the cates of a foreign policy. Certain it is, nature of the transition, but the transi that this singular distribution of terms tion itself once passed, is, in its very sadly puzzled Mr. Webster; and it was nature, productive of nothing but evil, in such words as these, that he showed and thai continually.
how severely it tasked his understand. This measure, as we have already ing. Indeed, it is a little astonish
• Hallain's Middle Ages.
ing, if it seemed convenient to Mr. and therefore required more effort to Speaker,* for the purposes of distinc- call it up to the memory with sufficient tion, to make use of the terms ‘Ameri- vividness. But to this effort Mr. Clay can Policy' and Foreign Policy, was equal. Indeed, the paragraphs that he should not, in fact, have applied devoted to distress, in this speech fare them in a manner precisely the reverse more likely than any others he ever of that in which he has in fact used uttered, to give those who shall deeply them. If names are thought necessary, ponder them a generation or two hence, it would be well, one would think, that any adequate conception of the Orator's the name should be in some degree power. In fact, it is well remembered descriptive of the thing; and since he still, how hundreds, not of members denominates the policy he recommends merely, but of those who on that occa
a new policy in this country,' since sion crowded the lobby, were agonized he speaks of the present measure as a at their own and the country's distress, new era in our legislation, since he in- themselves having for a good iwo or vites us to depart from our accustomed three years forgotten it till then. For course, to instruct ourselves by the wis- ourselves, we can well imagine the dom of others, and to adopt the policy surpassing tenderness of that scene, of the most distinguished foreign states, the plaintive tone, and subdued manner, one is a little curious to know with and pallid brow, and suffused eye, and what propriety of speech this imitation gentle lear, and overwhelming paibos of other nations is denominated an with which that tear was wiped away. ‘American policy,' while on the con- It was this which drew from Mr. trary, a preference of our established Webster the merited tribute already system, as it now actually exists, and quoted, to Mr. Clay's unrivalled powers always has existed, is called a “foreign of tragedy. policy.' This favorite ‘American poli Such was the national suffering, real cy, is what America has never tried, and imaginary, which the measure and this odious “foreign policy' is was to cure, then existing, and to prewhat, we are told, foreign states have vent in future. Yet it had, at least, never pursued.”+
been natural to inquire whether the Yei, undoubtedly, there are at this medicine which was to do such wonday thousands of gentlemen, quite in- derful cures, and which, we have seen, telligent in their own estimation, who did, in fact, physic us so awfully, had really believe that a system like this been of power to cure or prevent the could have lived nowhere but in the like maladies in the countries whence free air of America; nay, who are we were about to import it. For, ready to swear it, that this same sys- though the system of commercial retem, a very Minerva, came forth, full strictions had there been for centuries sized, and full armed, from the teem- in force, if, nevertheless, Europe, on ing brain of the Western Jupiter; and every transition from war to peace, all this without giving the slightest suffered the same revulsions which we head-ache.
were suffering, it would seem to follow, But this imitation of Europe was that these restrictions, whatever else purely remedial. Indeed, it was upon they might do, did not in fact prevent this very ground that Mr. Clay him- those revulsions. If so, then the remeself advocated it. Both speeches mag, dy we were to apply had neither prenify the distress. The first, delivered vented nor cured the same disease in in 1820, dwells less, however, upon it, anybody else; and the only reason we because, though it had even then in had for trying it, had been that others some degree subsided, yet whai remain- had tried it in vain. ed was real, was seen and felt by all, To this test, then, we appeal. And and needed little painting or rhetoric to how much of European history has he make it fully applicable. But when learned, who does not know, that withthe second was spoken, four years later, out one single exception, the like reit had nearly or altogether disappeared, sults, varying only in degree, as the
• Mr. Clay was then, 1824, Speaker of the House of Representatives. † Speech upon the Tariff, 1824.
See pages 221, 222, and 223.