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ment, among its members, of diversity in the modes of employment. From the moment that it approaches maturity, it should seek to prepare itself therefor, and when it fails to do so, it makes a great mistake.” This “combination of varied effort,” as he continues, “is not only promotive of general prosperity, but it is the condition of national progress.” Elsewhere, he says, that “governments are, in effect, the personification of nations, and it is required that they should exercise their influence in the direction indicated by the general interest, properly studied and carefully appreciated.” Therefore does he “regard as excellent, the desire of some of the most eminent men of the principal nations of Europe to establish around them the various branches of manufactures.” Such being the latest views of the present leading free-trade writer of France, we may, I think, feel quite assured that what he may now have done, is only what he has regarded as warranted by the advanced position occupied by French manufactures—that position having been attained by means of a steady pursuit of the protective policy. It is the point at which we have ourselves arrived in reference to every branch of manufacture that has found itself efficiently protected in the domestic market, whether by the particular circumstances of the case, or by aid of revenue laws. More steadily than to any other, was protection given to the production of coarse cottons, and hence it is, that we now export them. The newspaper is protected by locality, and that protection is absolute and complete; and hence it is, that we have now the cheapest journals in the world. The piano manufacture is protected by climate; and therefore it is, that it has attained a development exceeding that of any other country. Had iron been as well protected, our annual product would count by millions of tons, and we should be now exporting, in the forms of iron, and manufactures of iron, a quantity of food twice greater than that we send to Europe. All our experience shows, that the more perfect the security of the manufacturer in the domestic market, the greater is the tendency to that increase of competition needed for enabling us soon to commence the work of supplying the exterior world. In your notice of the changes now proposed in the French commercial system, you speak in terms of high approval of Mons. Chevalier, as a “zealous adversary of commercial restrictions,” but have you ever, my dear sir, taught the doctrines of the teacher of whom you now so much approve? Have you ever told your readers, L That “every community is well-inspired when seeing to the establishment among its members, of diversity in the modes of employment”? That “combination of varied effort is the condition of national proress”? That “every nation, therefore, owes it to itself to seek the establishment of diversification in the pursuits of its people, as Germany and England have already done in regard to cottons and woollems, and as France has done in reference to so many, and so widely-different kinds of manufacturing industry”? s That “governments are in effect the personification of nations, and should exercise their influence in the direction of the general interest, properly studied and fully appreciated”? And, therefore That “it is only the accomplishment of a positive duty so to act, at 3
each epoch in the progress of a nation, as to favor the taking possession of all the branches of industry whose acquisition is authorized by the nature of things”? Unhappily, such have not been the teachings of the Post. Had they been such—had your journal sustained the policy advocated by Mons. Chevalier, as here established at the date of the fearful financial crisis of 1842, should we not, even at this time, have been far advanced toward that position in which we could feel that protection would cease to be required? Unfortunately, it has taught the reverse of this—the results exhibiting themselves in a constant succession of financial crises, and paralyses of the most fearful kind—in repeated bankruptcies of the treasury, of banks, railroad companies, and merchants—in an almost entire destruction of confidence — in the subjugation of the poor borrower to the rich money-lender, to an extent unparalleled in any civilized country of the world—and in a growth of pauperism, slavery, and crime, that must be arrested if we would not see a perfection of anarchy established as being the condition of our national existence. Had you and others taught the doctrines of M. Chevalier, would such be now the state of things in a country so richly endowed by nature as our own 7 Not having taught them, and such having been the results of your past teachings, is it not now your duty, as a man, as a lover of liberty, and as a Christian, to study anew the doctrines of the economist you have so much commended, and satisfy yourself that you have been steadily advocating the extension of slavery while desiring to be the advocate of freedom 7 Hoping that you may conclude to furnish answers to these questions, and reiterating the assurance that they shall have the largest circulation among the advocates of protection, I remain, my dear sir, Yours, very truly, PIENRY C. CAREY. W. C. BRYANT, Esq.
PHILADELPHIA, February 14, 1860.
LETTER EIGHT H.
DEAR SIR. — For the maintenance of colonial dependence, and for the perpetuation of power to compel the colonists to make their exchanges in a foreign market from which they were allowed to carry away but onefourth of the real value of their products, it was, as you have already seen, held that they should be led to disperse themselves throughout the West—thereby almost annihilating that power of association which, as then was feared, might lead to such increase of wealth and strength as would forward the cause of independence. For the accomplishment of that great object, the aid of government was then invoked—its help being needed for providing lands and means of transportation. Since then, the British free trade system has been employed to do the work, its mode of action being that one so well described in a Parliamentary
document now but a few years old, the following extract from which is here submitted for your perusal:
“The laboring classes generally, in the manufacturing districts of this country, and especially in the iron and coal districts, are very little aware of the extent to which they are often indebted for their being employed at all to the immense losses which their employers voluntarily incur in bad times, in order to destroy foreign competition, and to gain and keep possession of foreign markets. Authentic instances are well known of employers having in such times carried on their works at a loss amounting in the aggregate to three or four hundred thousand pounds in the course of three or four years. If the efforts of those who encourage the combinations to restrict the amount of labor and to produce strikes were to be successful for any length of time, the great accumulations of capital could no longer be made which enable a few of the most wealthy capitalists to overwhelm all foreign competition in times of great depression, and thus to clear the way for the whole trade to step in when prices revive, and to carry on a great business before foreign capital can again accumulate to such an extent as to be able to establish a competition in prices with any chance of success. The large capitals of this country are the great instruments of warfare against the competing capital of foreign countries, and are the most essential instruments now remaining by which our manufacturing supremacy can be maintained; the other elements — cheap labor, abundance of
raw materials, means of communication, and skilled labor—being rapidly in process of being equalized.”
The system here so admirably described, is very properly characterized as being a “warfare;” and it may now be proper to inquire for what purposes, and against whom, it is waged. It is a war, as you see, my dear sir, for cheapening all the commodities we have to sell, labor and raw materials—being precisely the object sought to be accomplished by that “Mercantile System,” whose error was so well exposed in the Wealth of Nations. It is a war for compelling the people of all other lands to confine themselves to agriculture — for preventing the diversification of employments in other countries—for retarding the development of intellect—for palsying every movement, elsewhere, looking to the utilization of the metallic treasures of the earth—for increasing the difficulty of obtaining iron—for diminishing the demand for labor—for doing all these things at home and abroad — and for, in this manner, subjecting all the farmers and planters of the world to the domination of the manufacturers of Britain. How our government co-operates in this warfare upon its people, and in the promotion of the great work of recolonization, will readily, my dear sir, be understood by all who shall study the British prescription given in a former letter, and shall then compare it with the course of action here, under your advice, so steadily pursued — expending, as we have done, and now are seeking to do, enormous sums, and even carrying on distant wars, for the acquisition of further territory — making large grants of land for facilitating the construction of roads and the dispersion of our people—forcing millions of acres upon the market, and then rejoicing over the receipts, as if they furnished evidence of increasing strength, and not of growing weakness—wasting the proceeds in political jobs of the most disgraceful kind, and in this manner producing financial crises that close our mines, furnaces, and mills, and drive our people to seek a refuge in the wilderness, there to pay the speculator treble price for land—and thus enabling him to demand three, four, or five per cent per month, for the use of some small amount of capital to aid in clearing the land thus purchased, and in erecting the little dwelling.—The house built, and the farm commenced, next comes the sheriff, and by his aid the poor colonist is now driven to seek a new refuge in some yet more distant territory — in full accordance with the desires of those of our free trade friends abroad, who see in every attempt at combination a step toward manufactures — “that step which Britain has so much cause to dread.” That such are the facts presented by our records cannot be denied. Having studied them with the attention they demand, you will, my dear sir, be in a position to answer to yourself, even if not to me, the question — Does the history of the world, in any of its pages, exhibit evidence of the existence elsewhere of so powerful a combination for the promotion of that pauperism and crime, whose extraordinary growth you have so well described 7 So far as my knowledge of history extends, it warrants me in saying, that no such evidence can be presented. The poor colonist, thus driven out, suffers under a tax for transportation that, if continued, must for ever keep him poor. His need for better roads is great, but of power to assist himself he has none whatever. His distant masters may, perhaps, be induced to grant him help — knowing, as they do, that each new road will act as a feeder of their coffers, while aiding in the destruction of the powers of the soil, in the further scattering of their subjects, and in more firmly establishing their own security against the adoption of any measures tending to the promotion of industrial independence. Tands are now mortgaged, and at enormous rates of interest, as the only mode of obtaining the means with which to commence the road. The work half made, it becomes next needful to raise the means with which to finish it, and bonds are now created, bearing six, eight, or ten per cent interest, to be given at enormous discounts, in exchange for iron so poor in quality that it would find a market nowhere else—its wear and tear being such as must prove destructive to its unhappy purchaser. Under such circumstances the road fails to pay, and it passes into the hands of mortgagees, leaving those by whom the work was started, poorer than before—their lands being heavily mortgaged, and they themselves being at last driven out of house and home. Such is the history of most of the persons who have contributed toward the commencements of the road and canal improvements of which we so much boast, and such the history of the roads themselves — each and every financial crisis causing further absorption of American railroad property by English bondholders, as has been already done in reference to the Reading, Erie, and so many other roads. - . Must this continue to be so? It must, and for the reason, that our whole policy tends toward the annihilation of local action and domestic commerce—that commerce in the absence of which railroads can never be made to pay interest on the debts to the contraction of which their owners have been driven. The greater their dependence upon distant trade, the more imperative becomes, from day to day, the necessity for fighting for it—for adopting measures tending to the further destruction of local traffic — and for thus rendering more and more certain the ultimate ruin of nearly every railroad company of the Union. How is it with yourselves — with the people of your State 7 But a short time since, we were assured that a barrel of flour could be transported to your city from Rochester at less cost than from Utica—from Buffalo more cheaply than from Rochester — from Cleveland for less than from Buffalo – and from Chicago more cheaply than from Cleveland—your railroad companies thus offering large bounties on the abandonment of the soil of the State, and thereby aiding our foreign masters in the accomplishment of the dispersion of our people. So is it in this State of Pennsylvania—through freight being carried at less than cost, while domestic commerce is taxed for the payment of losses, interest, salaries, and dividends.—In all this there is a tyranny of trade that has at length become so entirely insupportable, that the farmers of the older States are now clamorous for measures of relief— urging upon their respective legislatures the adoption of laws in virtue of which they shall be relieved from a tax of transportation that is destroying the value of their land and labor, and that must result in the crippling of all the Atlantic States, as well as of some of the older of their Western neighbors. To such demand on the part of your farmers, you, however, reply,
that it would be “legislation against trade” — that “nothing could be more impolitic than this process” — that
“The citizens of Baltimore and Philadelphia, if they should think it decorous and politic to do such a thing, might well pass a public vote of thanks to the legislature which would enact such a law. The moment it is passed, all the through trade, all the vast accumulations of the produce of the West which now find their way to New York by the New York Central Railroad, will desert it. When the Governor of New York signs the bill preventing free competition between our Central Railroad and its more southern rivals, he signs a bill for the relief of Philadelphia and the aggrandizement of Baltimore, and there will be great rejoicing in those cities, whether it be publicly expressed or not. . . . . . . The people of Maryland and Pennsylvania make no laws to prevent the competition of their railways with ours. They are satisfied to let those who manage them draw off as great a proportion of the freight from our channels of transportation as they are able, and they will be very glad of our co-operation in this work.