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The Englishman looks upon our increased exports of manufactures more philosophically, thanks God that he still has a good share of the transportation, and winds up by demonstrating to his own satisfaction that John Bull is all right anyhow. Mr. Bull was staggered just a bit last July when our export figures for the fiscal year, 1899, were published. I happened to be in London then and noted the comments of the press. The total sum of our exports, namely, $1,227,000,000, just about equalled the exports last year from Great Britain. Practically, then, the United States export trade has now about an equal aggregate value with that of the United Kingdom; while our home market is worth, roughly speaking, twice as much as that of Great Britain. The worst feature in the problem for England is that her export trade has, excepting a recent spurt, been marked by retrogression rather than by steady progress. On the other hand, the export trade of the United States represents, as I have shown, prodigious growth, a growth showing no signs of diminution. Some of the daily newspapers seemed to see in the fact that the United States has overtaken and passed the United Kingdom as an export country, danger for British manufacture. Sir Robert Giffen, the retired statistician of the Board of Trade, is in no way disturbed. Sir Robert says there are obvious reasons why the United States should have an excess of exports. "In the first place," he contends, “the United States has to pay in exports for the share of the carriage of goods in our foreign trade which is performed by foreign ships. This is a very large figure. In recent years the proportion of the imports and exports of the United States carried in foreign ships has ranged between 75 and 80 per cent., so that the United States is a country which has to pay other nations for the carriage of its goods in the foreign trade. It may be mentioned, by the way, that the foreign country which does the carrying trade for the United States is mainly the United Kingdom." Sir Robert does not inform us how long this will continue. Not long, if the shipping bill now before Congress passes this session. “Next,” so says Sir Robert, “the United States is a country which owes money in various ways to foreign nations. There is an annual stream of American visitors to Europe, and there is an American colony permanently residing in Europe, whose expenses have to be paid for. More important still, a great deal of capital has been invested in the United States
by Europeans-by English people, by Dutch people and Belgians, as well as by French and Germans, not to speak of minor nationalities of Europe. The interest on this debt has, of course, to be paid in exports, unless to the extent that, in any given period, reinvestments are made in the United States."
In this way Great Britain's cheery Scotch economist accounts for everything, and shows that, in the end, whichever way it comes out, England is on the top. If Great Britain, which is really our great competing rival, is happy and satisfied over what we are pleased to call our prosperity, why should we complain ? Meantime we may safely assume that no obstacle will be placed in the way of pushing American commodities into England. Unlike the German economists, Sir Robert Giffen does not approve of our “vigorous protective policy,” hence no suggestion of legislation to keep out American commodities will come from that quarter. It should be remembered that over half-55 per cent., I think, are the latest exact figures—our export trade is with England and her possessions.
Not so very long ago, when I used to discuss tariff questions with the late Judge Kelley, of Pennsylvania, and with that Democratic protectionist from the same State, the Hon. Samuel J. Randall, the idea was 'to secure protection for our metal schedule, so that we could manufacture at home the hundred million dollars' worth of manufactures of iron and steel which we once purchased abroad. We must make our own steel rails, our own tin plate, our own nails, our own pipes, our own steel wire, they argued in those days, and in doing so give employment to American labor. I recall preparing for Mr. Randall-before the debate on the proposed Morrison Bill, reducing duties horizontally—a little table, showing how much of these and kindred commodities we at that time were buying abroad. I demonstrated to Mr. Randall that we could just as well make all these things at home, and thereby employ two hundred thousand additional laborers. Mr. Randall was not a man you could load down with a bushel basket of statistics. He was concise and to the point, and the little table in question only made one sheet of note-paper. I gave it to him in his committee room at the House of Representatives. He was busy, but he read it over two or three times and put it into his pocket. That night he sent for me to come to his house. I went there, and he said: "Porter, if these figures are
reliable and they seem to be within the mark-I will never vote for the Morrison Bill, nor for any other bill that will cut duties on iron and steel, cotton goods, woollens, leather, chemicals, etc., until we have our home market secure." I satisfied Mr. Randall of the reliability of my estimates, and history tells what he did with the Morrison Bill. That both Judge Kelley and Mr. Randall, and later, Major, now President, McKinley, builded better than they knew, we all must now admit. The voice of the oldtime free-trader seems hushed in the presence of the marvellous changes that have taken place since Kelley and Randall and McKinley fought for the home market for American labor. If we could have injected some of the following facts into those debates as prophecies, how the free-trade leaders would have sizzled ! For example, the exports of iron and steel and their manufactures increased from $21,156,077 in 1889 to $93,715,951 in 1899, or nearly $72,560,000. I tabulate some of the items of these and other exports, and it will be seen they cover a wide range of manufactures :
1899. Steel rails......
$5,298,125 Sewing machines..
3,264,344 Typewriting machines.
2,449,205 Shoe machinery...
853,936 Locomotive engines..
4,728,748 Electrical and unspecified machinery
1,507,610 Builders' hardware..
7,842,372 Nails and spikes..
1,864,596 Pipes and fittings.
5,874,228 Steel wire....
3,891,180 Agricultural implements.
12,432,197 Carriages, etc......
9,860,161 Chemicals, drugs and dyes.
10,995,289 Cotton manufactures..
23,567,914 Leather and manufactures.
23,466,985 Wool and manufactures..
Above are included only a few of the items which, as I recall it, composed the memorandum I prepared for Mr. Randall. We are not only supplying the bulk of the home market, but we are exporting, in large and increasing quantities, the very class of goods which fifteen years ago we were purchasing abroad. Surely on this point The Sun, of New York, was justified in saying last August:
"The enormous incrcase in the exports of American manufactures during the last ter years, and more particularly during the last two years, affords a suggestion which must be heeded by all sensible and practical men-that our economic policy is working satisfactorily. So strong has this evidence appeared to Mr. William R. Grace, an old.
time 'revenue reformer of the Cleveland school, for instance, that he now frankly announces that he is convinced of the practical error of his past theory. Under our policy of protection we have built up manufacturing industries which are now successfully competing in the markets of the world with those of foreign nations, besides supplying a constantly increasing proportion of our domestic demand.”
Verily, such figures must stagger even old-time revenue reformers.
Now that our foreign commerce has reached nearly $2,000,000,000, we can well afford to give it serious attention. It will not drift along as heretofore. Russia, while exceedingly partial to the United States in purchasing railway equipment and supplies, and machinery of all sorts which she is not prepared to make in sufficient quantities herself, is, at the same time, energetically looking after the European markets for the products of her strongest industries. Her treaty with Germany, her friendly relations with France and her recent overtures to England are all in the line of a policy which has for its basic principle the broadening of the European markets for Russian foodstuffs, petroleum oil, mineral products, wool, timber, fibres, hides and skins. The activities of Russia, which we admire so much and on which so much has lately been written, mean a necessity for greater activities on our part to retain the markets for our exports of agricultural products and of raw material, which, as I have pointed out, have not declined with the stupendous increase in our exports of manufactures. As our home market becomes less attractive to the European manufacturer he will naturally become less friendly to the United States and more willing to encourage his own Government to make commercial alliance with the great European Power which is doing so much to bring the Far East, with all its possibilities, nearer Continental Europe. Those American concerns which compete with commodities supplied also by Russia will testify to the great activity of Russian commercial interests at the present time, not only in every country of Continental Europe, but in England. Russia, for example, was able to secure a treaty with Germany, in spite of the violent opposition of the Agrarian party, which makes it impossible for Germany to increase the duty on Russian corn while the treaty lasts. This treaty also gave Russia other decided advantages in the importation of products, some of which compete with American products. While the German Government itself has been in. clined to deal fairly with the United States, there is a very considerable element in the body politic of that country that would not hesitate to discriminate against American products, by refusing, on one pretence or another, to recognize the "most favored nation" clause-a clause which some say exists in our various treaties with the several German States, though others claim that it is absent from these treaties. For the moment, as we have seen, our trade relations with Great Britain seem to be in a satisfactory condition, while the signing of the Commercial Treaty with France places our trade with the great European Republic in a more favorable state than it has been in for many years. The most favored nation clause given us in that treaty on some special articles, together with the minimum rates on others, will keep our French trade, so long as the treaty is in force, on a satisfactory basis. The treaty will be of decided advantage, and will prevent the anxieties which have constantly arisen in the minds of American merchants, who did not know what changes might be made from time to time in the rates. These changes that is, from minimum to maximum-it was within the power of the Ministry to make without asking for legislation, and much of our trade depended upon “ministerial courtesy,” brought about by the activity and popularity of the American Ambassador at Paris. Those not within the inner circle of diplomacy can have no conception of the constant calls upon our Ambassador to plead with his French ministerial colleagues not to disturb these rates, which were liable to fluctuate with the political barometer. For example, a sudden outburst of friendship for Russia might end in granting her the minimum rates, while articles of similar character from the United States remained at the maximum until “ministerial courtesy" brought them down. However, this is, I hope, ended now.
Our trade and commercial relations with Germany are of even greater importance than those with France; for, next to the United Kingdom, our business with the Fatherland is of greater magnitude than with any other nation. In the early part of last year, when I spent six weeks in Berlin studying our trade relations with Germany, considerable anxiety was experienced by German officials as to the future of that trade, some going so far as to claim that it was getting altogether one-sided. I did not at that time think the claim reasonable, though the