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Baltimore has invested sixty millions of dollars in the railways which centre in that flourishing city. Whether these are profitably managed or not, is not so much the question with those who contribute the money, as whether the effect shall be to build up Baltimore as a great mart, and make Maryland the thoroughfare of an active trade. Baltimore is the commercial gate of the South ; her ambition is to become that of the West also. No measure could be better calculated to conspire with this ambition, and further this intent, than the pro rata. freight bill now before our legislature. We earnestly hope that those members who have been induced to favor it will give the subject a more careful considera
tion, and spare us from an enactment the error of which will be but too deplorably evident before another legislature can assemble.” .
In all this, I find no single word in favor of the farmers and landholders of your State — those people upon whom you so long have urged consideration of the advantage that must result to them from destroying internal commerce and readopting the colonial system against which our predecessors made the Revolution. Had you now occasion to talk to them, you would probably say — “Gentlemen farmers, you are entirely in error in supposing that you have any interests that require to be considered. The more you can be forced to become dependent upon Britain, the more rapid will be the growth of cities like our own. That the dependence may be increased it is needed that we close the mills, mines, and furnaces of the Union; that we render the laborer more and more dependent upon the capitalist; that financial crises continue to increase in number and intensity; that the rate of interest be maintained so high as to ruin farmers, manufacturers, and railroad companies, while increasing the number of millionaires; that pauperism and crime continue to increase, with constant diminution in the power to purchase the products of the farm; that the productiveness of your land continue to diminish as it now is doing; that our people be dispersed; and that railroads continue to co-operate with the government in the effort to destroy that power of association to which, alone, should we look, did we desire to witness your growth in strength, wealth, and power. The heavier your taxation, the higher will be the prices of our city lots.”
That the British free trade system is one of universal discord is proved by the commerce of India, Ireland, Turkey, and all other countries subject to it, and by our own, in every period of its existence. That opposition to it is productive of harmony, force, and strength, is shown in the movements of Germany, France, and every other country that looks to the development of internal commerce as furnishing the real base of an extended intercourse with other nations. Turn, if you please,
to the recent letter of the French Emperor, and find him telling his finance minister that —
“One of the greatest services to be rendered to the country is to facilitate the transport of articles of first necessity to agriculture and industry. With this object, the Minister of Public Works will cause to be executed as promptly as possible the means of communication, canals, roads, and railways, whose main object will be to convey coal and manure to the districts where the wants of production require them, and will endeavor to reduce the tariffs by establishing an equitable competition between the canals and railways.”
Compare with this the teachings of the Post, and you will find the latter saying directly the reverse—exhibiting the advantage of sending to England all our products in their rudest forms, thus losing the manure, and driving our people to the West, there to find a constant increase in the necessity for roads, accompanied by as constant decrease in the power to make them.—That dome, allow me to ask your attention to the steady growth of harmony in the interests of railroad owners, farmers, and manufacturers, exhibited in the following figures representing the receipts of French railroads in recent years:
Total Receipts. Receipts per Kilometer.
The year following the great financial crisis exhibits, thus, a larger receipt than that by which it had been preceeded. — Look now to the
receipts of the first half of the two past years, as follows, and mark the great increase that has since been made —
Total Receipts. Receipts per Kilometer.
Compare, I pray you, my dear sir, the movement thus indicated with that exhibited among ourselves in the past three years, and you will have little difficulty in comprehending why it is, that our railroad companies, like our farmers and manufacturers, our miners and our shipowners, are now being ruined—the $1200,000,000 expended in their construction having at this moment a market value that can scarcely exceed, even if it equal, $400,000,000. : X
Looking at all these facts, is it not certain, my dear sir, –
That the free trade system of which you are the advocate is one of universal discord 7
That it tends to the involvement of men of all pursuits in life, and of the Union itself, in one great and universal ruin 7 And, therefore,
That it is to the interest of the railroad proprietor to unite with the farmer in promoting the adoption of measures having for their object the development of our mineral wealth, the creation of a real agriculture, and the extension of domestic commerce 7 -
Hoping for replies to these questions, and ready to give them circulation among millions of protectionist readers, I remain, with much respect, Yours, very truly,
HENRY C. CAREY. W. C. BRYANT, Esq.
PHILADELPHIA, February 20, 1860. I, E. T. T E R N IN T H.
From the Evening Post, Tuesday, February 21st.
“AN ATTEMPT. To REVIVE AN OLD ABUSE. — It is intimated, we know not on what authority, that the Committee of Ways and Means are about to report a bill to the House of Representatives, with the view of carrying into effect Mr. Buchaman’s recommendation to return to the old system of specific duties. “If this be so, our aged President, who has been worrying about specific duties ever since he took the Executive chair, will undoubtedly enjoy a slight sense of relief. For our part, we should be perfectly willing to see him gratified in this respect, if the measure suggested did not imply an impeachment of the good sense of the committee by whom the bill is said to be preparing, and if the return to specific duties were not simply a device to increase the burdens of the people. The mill-owners are not satisfied with their profits; they do not make money enough by selling their merchandize, and they call for specific duties to enable them to extract a more liberal revenue from those with whom they deal. “This is the plain English of the clamor for specific duties. The consumers do not want them, do not ask for them, are satisfied with the present method of collecting the duties by a percentage on the value of the goods imported; the only change they wish for is that the duties should be made lighter. Only the fraternity of mill-owners, shareholders in manufacturing corporations, capitalists who are anxious, as all capitalists naturally are, to make what they possess more productive than it now is, ask for the imposition of specific duties. They have not the face to ask for a direct increase of the duties as they now stand; they are afraid to demand that a tax of fifteen per cent on imported merchandize shall be raised to twenty per cent, or a duty of twenty to one of twenty-five or thirty. The country would cry shame on any such change. They, therefore, get at the same thing indirectly; they wrap up the increase of taxation in the disguise of specific duties; the consumer is made to pay more, but being made to pay it under the name of specific duties, the increase is of such a nature that it will be apparent only to an expert mercantile calculator. The consumer finds that the commodity he needs bears a higher price, but he is mystified by the system of specific duties, and does not know that the increase of price is a tribute which he is forced to pay to the mill-owners. “That class of men who own our manufacturing establishments have had possession of the legislative power of the country long enough. It is quite time that the committees of Congress, and those who vote on the schemes laid before them by those committees, should begin to consult the wishes of the people. It is high time that they should begin to ask, not what will satisfy the owners of forges, and foundries, and coal-mines, and cotton-mills, and woollen-mills, but what is just and fair to those who use the iron, and warm their habitations with the coal, and wear the woollens and the cottons. This is not done; the lords of the mills speak through the mouth of the President of the Republic and call for specific duties, and now we are told that they are dictating a bill to the Committee of Ways and Means. • “Great apprehensions have been entertained by many persons, both here and abroad, lest minorities should be oppressed in our country by unjust laws passed in obedience to the demand of the mass of the people. We received, not long since, a letter from England, in which great anxiety was expressed lest this should lead to the downfall of our government. Hitherto, however, the people in this country have been oppressed by powerful and compact minorities. Laying aside the fact that small classes of men, united by a very perfect mutual understanding, and wielding large capitals, too often domineer in our State legislatures, it is certain that the revenue laws of this country have, for many years past, been framed by a minority. The mill-owners have dictated the whole system of indirect taxation, ever since the last war with Great Britain, and the utmost we have been able to obtain in the struggle against their supremacy has been some mitigation, some relaxation of the protective system — never a complete release from it. The oligarchy of slaveholders, scarcely more numerous than that of the millowners, and equally bound together by a common interest and concerted plans of action, have held the principal public offices, interpreted the laws, and swayed the domestic policy of the country with a more and more rigorous control for many years past. We are engaged in a struggle with that oligarchy now; but we have no idea of allowing the other oligarchy of mill-owners, while we are thus engaged, to step in and raise the tribute-money we pay them to the old rates. What we have wrested from their tenacious grasp we shall keep, if possible. “Other governments are breaking the fetters which have restrained their peaceful intercourse with each other, and adopting a more enlightened system — a system which is the best and surest pledge of enduring amity and peace between nations. England and France are engaged in putting an end to the illiberal and mutually mischievous prohibitive system in their commerce with each other. It will dishonor us in the eyes of the civilized world if we, who boast of the freedom of our institutions and the wisdom of our legislation, should in the meantime be seen picking up the broken fetters of that system, and putting them into the hands of artisans at Washington to forge them again into handcuffs for our wrists. If any such bill as is threatened should be introduced into Congress by the Committee of Ways and Means, we trust that the Republicans of the Western States will be ready to assist in giving it its death-blow. If it do not meet its quietus from them, it will probably be rejected, as it will richly deserve, in the Senate, and Mr. Buchanan will never have the satisfaction of giving it his signature.”
DEAR SIR:—You have been invited to lay before your readers the arguments in favor of such a change in our commercial policy as should tend to produce diversification in the demand for human service, thereby increasing the power of association and the productiveness of labor, while relieving our farmers from a tax of transportation ten times more oppressive than all the taxes required for the support of European fleets and armies—that invitation having been given in the hope that by its acceptance you would make manifest your willingness to permit your readers to see both sides—your entire confidence in the accuracy of the economical doctrines of which you have been so long the earnest advocate — and your disposition to espouse the cause of truth, on whatsoever side she might be found. That you should have failed to do this has been to me a cause of much regret, having hoped better things of a lower of freedom like yourself. Resolved, however, that my readers shall have full opportunity to judge for themselves, I now, as you see, place within the reach of the great mass of the protectionists of the Union, the reply that you have just now published, sincerely hoping that they may give to it the most careful study, and thus enable themselves to form a correct estimate of the sort of arguments usually adduced in support of that British free trade policy which has for its object the limitation of our farmers to a single and distant market for their products —the maintenance of the existing terrific tax of transportation — and the ultimate reduction of our whole people to that state of colonial dependence from which we were rescued by the men who made the revolution. - As presented by me, the question we are discussing is not of the prices of cotton goods, but of human freedom, and in that light it is that I have begged you should consider it. In support of that view, I have urged upon your consideration the facts, that every British free trade period has closed with one of those fearful crises whose sad effects you have so well depicted; that crises have been followed by paralyses of the domestic commerce, destroying the demand for labor; and that, as a necessary consequence, each such period has been marked, on one side, by a great increase in the number of millionaires, and on the other, by such a growth of pauperism that that terrible disease appears now, to use your own words, “like the Canadian thistle, to have settled on our soil, and to have germinated with such vigor, as to defy all half measures to eradicate it.” Further, you have been asked to look to the facts, that the reverse of all this has been experienced in every period of the protective system—domestic commerce having then grown rapidly, with constant increase in the demand for labor, and as constant augmentation in the regularity of the societary action, in the freedom and happiness of our people, in the strength of the government, and in the confidence of the world, both at home and abroad, in the stability of our institutions. Such is the view that has been presented. to you, in the hope and belief that to a lover of freedom like yourself it would be one of the highest interest, and that it would be met and considered in a manner worthy of a statesman and a Christian. Has it been so considered 7 To an examination of that question I shall now ask your attention, reserving for a future letter the consideration of the effects of the advalorem system in producing those financial crises whose terrible effects you have so well depicted, and that pauperism and crime whose growth you have so much deplored. The experience of the outer world is in full accordance with our own, the whole proving that the tendency toward harmony, peace, and freedom, exists in the direct ratio of the diversity in the demand for human force, and consequent power of combination among the men of whom society is composed. Therefore is it, that the most distinguished economists are found uniting in the idea expressed by M. Chevalier, the free trader whom you so much admire, that it is only “the accomplishment of a positive duty” on the part of governments, so to direct their measures as to facilitate the taking possession of all the various branches of industry for which the country has been by nature suited. Such must be the view of every real statesman — recognizing, as such men must, the existence of a perfect harmony in the great and permanent interests of all the various portions of society, laborers and capitalists, producers and consumers, farmers and manufacturers. Of such harmony, however, you give your readers none—consumers of cloth and iron here being told that capitalists “not satisfied with their profits” are anxious to “increase the burdens of the people;” that “the fraternity of mill-owners,” and they alone, are anxious for a change of system, with increase of taxes; that “the lords of the mills” are dictating to the Committee of Ways and Means; that “mill-owners have dictated the whole system of indirect taxation;” and that it is high time for them now to protest against the further maintenance or extension of the system. Here, as everywhere, you are found in alliance with that British free trade system which