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All this is strictly true, and it would, as I think, be equally so if said of any other city of the Union - the whole presenting a picture of enforced idleness such as is not, at this moment, to be paralleled in any country claiming to rank as civilized. Pass next, if you please, outward from our cities, and look to the towns and villages of your own and other States —- marking the fact, that the power of local combination is steadily diminishing, and that a majority of them have either become stationary, or have retrograded. Go almost where you may, you will find that the internal commerce of the country is gradually declining — that the services of mechanics are meeting less and less demand that the dependence on great cities is increasing in the same proportion that those cities are themselves becoming more dependent upon Liverpool and Manchester-and that, as a necessary consequence, pauperism and crime are everywhere assuming proportions so gigantic as well to warrant you in the assertion that their growth is now so vigorous as to bid defiance to "all half measures of eradication."
How may they be eradicated ? This is a great question ; but to find the answer to it, we must first inquire to what it is that such a growth is due. Doing this, we find that the facts of the present day are in strict accordance with those observed in the years which followed the terrible free-trade crises of 1818–20 and 1837-40, as well as with those observed in Ireland, India, and all other countries subject to the British free-trade system. . Looking next to the periods which followed the passage of the protective acts of 1828 and 1842, we find directly the reverse of this -- pauperism then steadily declining, and the morals of the community improving as the societary movement became more regular. Turning thence toward Northern and Central Europe -- toward that portion of the Eastern world which steadily resists the exhaustive British system -- we find phenomena" corresponding precisely with those observed in our own protective periods—the demand for human service becoming more and more regular in France and Germany, and the reward of labor growing with a steadiness that has rarely, if ever, been exceeded. --Such being the facts, is it not clear, my dear sir, that it is to the readoption of the protective policy we must look for effectual" measures of eradication." Believe me, nothing short of this will do.
The readers of the Journal of Commerce have lately been assured “that our institutions nurture the evils in question.” Were that really the
case, the evil would be so radical in character, that nothing short of revolution could produce the change desired. That, happily, it is not so, you will, I think, be well assured, when you shall have reflected that all our institutions find their foundation in local development, tending to the creation of thriving towns and villages in the neighborhood of our vast deposits of coal and lead, copper, zinc, and iron-there making a market for the products of agriculture, and giving occasion to the Improvement of our great water powers, to be used in the of food and wool into cloth, and food, coal, and ore, into knives and axes, steam-engines and railroad bars. – What now is the object for whose attainment our people seek protection ? Is it not this very
localization in which alone our institutions find their base? That such is the case is beyond all question, and therefore is it, that confidence in those
institutions grows in every period of protection - pauperism and crime then declining in their proportions with each successive hour.
What, on the contrary, are the tendencies of the British free-trade system? Do not, under it, towns and villages decline, while great cities grow in size? Under it, does not internal commerce die away? Do not crises become more frequent and more severe ? Does not paralysis take the place of that healthy action which is indicative of strong and vigorous life? Do not pauperism and immorality grow with the growth you have so well described ? Does not confidence in the utility and permanence of our institutions diminish with each successive year? To all these questions, the answers must be in the affirmative-such phenomena having presented themselves at the close of every free-trade period, and the only difference between the present and the past being, that the current one has been so much longer, and that the disease has, therefore, become by far more virulent.
Looking at all these facts, is it not clear, my dear sir
That the cause of disease is not to be found in the character of our institutions ?
That, on the contrary, it is to be found in the pursuit of a policy that is at war with those institutions, and threatens their destruction ?
That the remedy of which you are in search, is to be found in the readoption of the policy of protection, under which the country so much prospered in the periods closing with 1834 and 1847?
That in default of the adoption of this remedy, our institutions must decay and disappear?
That every real friend of freedom should aid in the effort to rescue his countrymen from the grasp of foreign traders in which they are now held ?
That every movement in that direction must tend toward diminution in the quantity of wretchedness and crime? And, therefore,
That all who oppose such action — teaching British free-trade doctrines --are thereby making themselves responsible, before God and man, for the demoralization above described ?
Repeating, once again, my offer to place your replies to these questions within the reach of a million and a half of protectionist readers, I remain, my dear sir, Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
HENRY C. CAREY. W. C. BRYANT, Esq.
PHILADELPHIA, January 31, 1860.
DEAR SIR. - Pauperism, slavery, and crime, as you have seen, follow everywhere in the train of the British free-trade system, of which you have been so long the earnest advocate. On the contrary, they diminish everywhere, and at all periods, when, in accordance with the advice of the most eminent European economists, that system is effectually resisted. We, ourselves, are now in the fourteenth year of a freetrade period — the result exhibiting itself, as you yourself so recently have shown, in a growth of all that has at length most seriously alarmed the very men to whose unceasing efforts that growth is due. That they should be so is not extraordinary, but their alarm would be much increased were they now to study carefully the condition of affairs at the end of the peaceful and quiet period of protection which closed with 1847, and then contrast with it the state at which we have arrived
following up the examination by asking themselves the question Whither are we tending? --and seeking to find an answer to it. The picture that would then present itself to view, would so much shock them, that they would shrink back horrified at the idea of the fearful amount of responsibility they, thus far, had incurred.
That the facts are such as you have described them, cannot be denied. Do they, however, flow necessarily from submission to the British system, miscalled by its advocates the free-trade one that one which seeks to limit all the nations of the world, outside of England, to the use of the plough and the harrow, and to a single market, that of England, for an outlet for their products ? That they do so, you will, I am sure, be ready to admit, after having reflected that men become rich, free, strong, and moral, in the ratio of their power to associate and combine together, and that the object of the British system, for more than a century past, has been that of preventing combination, by frustrating every attempt at the production of that diversification of pursuits, without which the power of association can have little or no existence.
What was the system before the Revolution, and what were the measures recommended as being those most likely to promote the retention of the colonists in their then existing state of dependence, are fully shown in an English work on the then American Colonies, of much ability, published in London at the time when Franklin was urging upon his countrymen the diversification of their pursuits, as the only road towards real independence, and from which the following is an extract:
“ The population, from being spread round a great extent of frontier, would increase without giving the least cause of jealousy to Britain; land would not only be plentiful, but plentiful where our people wanted it, whereas, at present, the population of our colonies, especially the central ones, is confined; they have spread over all the space between the sea and the mountains, the consequence of which is, that land is becoming scarce, that which is good having all been planted. The people, therefore, find themselves too numerous for the agriculture, which is the first step to becoming manufacturers, that step which Britain has so much reason to dread."
Why, my dear sir, should Britain have so much dreaded combination among her colonial subjects? Why should she so sedulously have sought to disperse them over the extensive tracts of land beyond the mountains ? Because, the more they scattered the more dependent they could be kept, and the more readily they could be compelled to carry all their rude products to a distant market, there to sell them so cheaply, as we are told by another distinguished British writer, “that not one-fourth of the product redounded to their own profit,” as a consequence of whick plantation mortgages were most abundant, and the rate of interest charged upon them so very high, as generally to eat the mortgagor out of house and home. In a word, the system of that day, as described by those writers, was almost precisely that of the present hour. For its maintenance, dispersion of the population was regarded as indispensable, and that it might be attained, the course of action here described was recommended :
“Nothing can therefore be more politic than to provide a superabundance of colonies to take off all those people that find a want of land in our old settlements; and it may not be one or two tracts of country that will answer this purpose; provision should be made for the convenience of some, the inclination of others, and every measure taken to inform the people of the colonies that were growing too populous, that land was plentiful in other places, and granted on the easiest terms; and if such inducements were not found sufficient for thinning the country considerably, government should by all means be at the expense of transporting them. Notice should be given that sloops would be always ready at Fort Pitt, or as much higher on the Ohio as is navigable, for carrying all furniture without expense, to whatever settlement they chose, on the Ohio or Mississippi. Such measures, or similar ones, would carry off the surplus of population in the central and southern colonies, which have been and will every day be more and more the foundation of manufactures."
Having studied these recommendations in regard to the maintenance of colonial dependence, I will ask you next to look with me into the working of the British free-trade system, and satisfy yourself that its advocates have been mere instruments of our foreign masters---closing our mills, furnaces, and factories, retarding the development of our great mineral treasures, preventing the utilization of our vast water powers, and in this manner driving our people to the West, in strict accordance with the orders of those British traders against whom our predecessors made the Revolution.
In 1815, the receipts from sales of public lands amounted to $1,287,000 This gives a measure of the then existing tendency toward dispersion. Five years later, when the free-trade system had paralyzed the industry of the country, they had risen to $3,274,000- the customs revenue of the same year yielding more than $20,000,000. The government had seemed to be rich, and for the reason that it was “burning the candle at both ends” – paralyzing domestic commerce, and driving into the wilderness the people to whose efforts it had been used to look for its support. Free-trade excitement having been followed by paralysis, we find the customs revenue to have fallen, in 1821, to $13,000,000--the land revenue at the same time gradually declining until, in 1823, it stood at less than a single million. As a consequence, we see the treasury to have been so much embarrassed as to be under the necessity of contracting loans, in the period from 1819 to 1824, to the extent of no less than $16,000,000. As usual, here and everywhere, poverty, distress, and debt, to both the people and the government, had followed in the train of the teachings of the men who had desired a readoption of that dispersive policy recommended by British writers, as a means of prolonging colonial dependence.
Turn now, if you please, my dear sir, to the picture presented by the protective tariff of 1828, and mark the steadiness of customs receipts, and the gentle and quiet growth of the receipts from lands, as follows:
1829 1830 1831 1832 1833
32,999,000 In this period, every man could sell his labor, and could therefore purchase the products yielded to the labor of others. Every one being thus enabled to contribute his share to the support of the government, the revenue had become so large and steady that the national debt was then extinguished.
Pass on now, if you please, to the time when the approaching annihilation of protection had stopped the building of mills and the opening of mines, and had recommenced to compel our people to scatter themselves over the great West, and find the following figures :
49,286,000 Once again, the government was “burning the candle at both ends” --annihilating the power of combination, and thus diminishing the productive forces of the country. As before, it fancied itself rich, and acted accordingly—the expenditure of this period almost trebling that of Mr. Adams's administration, then but a few years past. As a consequence, bankruptcy of the people and of the banks was followed by disappearance of the power to contribute to the support of government, the customs duties of 1841 having but little exceeded $14,000,000, and the land sales having fallen to $1,300,000 --- giving a total of less than $16,000,000, not even one-third of that of 1836. Such having been the case, need we wonder that the poverty of the government should have exhibited itself in the form of irredeemable notes, and in vain efforts to effect a loan in any part of Europe. Having destroyed our domestic commerce, and thus greatly diminished the productive power of the country, our foreign free-trade friends now turned their backs
denouncing our whole people as rogues and swindlers. Once again, in 1842, we find the readoption of the policy of resistance to British domination, and once again we meet the tranquillity and peace of the period which found its close in 1834, as is shown in the following figures : Customs.
Total. $26,183,000 $2,059,000
$28,242,000 27,508,000 2,077,000
29,585,000 26,712,000 2,694,000
29,406,000 23,747,000 2,498,000