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consumed in Great Britain since the free system has commenced. We quote from Mr. Walker's speech at Liverpool, delivered a few months since.
“Well, gentlemen, the excess of our exports of breadstuffs and provisions from 1846 to 1850, under the tariff of 1846, over the four years preceding under the tariff of 1842, was $99,586,624; and for three years under both tariffs, striking out the year of famine, and a corresponding year under the old tariff, the difference in favour of the new system was $59,000,000. And, gentlemen, when I see it stated in your own official returns, that without any decided augmentation of the population of the United Kingdom, you consume now some nine or ten millions of quarters more of grain per annum, than you did before the repeal of
your corn-laws, [hear,) I believe, gentlemen, that your population do not eat too inuch now, and, therefore, I conclude that under the foriner system they did not eat enough."
Now if all these provisions and breadstuffs had been forced upon the American market, would it not have had the same effect in depressing prices at home, and thereby discouraging home industry, as the importation of British iron is said to have on the “home market” of iron ? When were provisions ever higher than they are now? While the protectionists here would persuade the farmer that Great Britain takes so little of his productions, the protectionist brethren of Great Britain are protesting that they are driven to absolute ruin by the vast quantity of American provisions which overwhelm their market. Even the memorialists admit that at the time they wrote prices
a little higher in Liverpool than in Philadelphia.” For the produce of an average acre of wheat, they say, they can give in exchange the same quantity of iron, but of better quality, than can be got from Liverpool. If this assertion be true, they need, by their own showing, no protection. But would they, however, even under these circumstances, consume as much wheat or flour as the whole British market now takes, in additior. to our own? We doubt. If the demands of their “ operatives” be as important as they would have us believe, they must be such terrible consumers of bread, mutton, veal, pork, beef, poultry, potatoes, turnips, beets, and other products of the garden, field, and orchard, as would confound even Rabelais' hero, Gargantua, who, after eating scores of oxen,
heifers, calves, kids, pigs, swine, capons, hares, rabbits, wild boars, fallow deer and pheasants, “did eat up six pilgrims in salad,” and was accustomed to keep some six thousand cows to supply himself with milk. No doubt, at this rate, they would consume much more than would the foreign market. The home market, we are told, never fluctuates, as the foreign does, “according to supply and demand." It always respects the cost of production! It lets the producer ask whatever he pleases, and it is given ! They (the manufacturers) only pay. “The farmer sells at home at his own price.” Yet the farmers at the North, in all their returns to Mr. Secretary Walker, a few years since, represent themselves as making much less than the usual rate of interest on money. They too who were so near this “home market !" Their profits were infinitely below those of the manufacturers, who generally refused to expose the enormous profits they were making, which they would have concealed from the public, but for some few honest men, who, like Mr. Schley, of Georgia, came out and told the truth, that the cotton manufacturers were making more than twenty per cent., even at the very time they were crying out ruin, and more protection. Such horse-leeches they have ever been.
Our memorialists insist“ that our whole supply cannot be imported as cheaply as we can manufacture it.” (p. 9.) If so, why ask protection ? By their own doctrine of protection, they have taught the people, that if a part of the supply is removed prices will rise, which though exactly what they want, is not what the people so exactly desire. But“ iron costs twice as much," they say, “10 manufacture here as in Great Britain.” (p. 9.) If so, how can any duties short of one hundred per cent give protection ? Are we to allow that? Although we have been repeatedly told by the memorialists that "the cost of manufacturing iron is far from being the only or even the chief controlling element of price,” yet
they say at page 10, that“ the manufacturer will demand for his product a price proportioned to the cost of labour, the farmer must do the same, and so on through the whole circle of industry.”
The memorialists admit that "the ability of a country to consume iron (and every thing else] depends on the vigour and activity of all departments of industry.” Then why oppress all for the supposed benefit of one? It is
admitted that“ if agriculture languishes the consumption of iron is diminished ; if the machines of the North are idle, or partially so, the demand for iron falls off, and so if cotton or sugar is selling at inadequate rates.” Then why attempt to place all the burthens on agriculture, (four-fifths of the people,) besides other interests, for the sole benefit of iron masters and iron manufacturers ?
“ When British iron is exported to us for want of a market at home (which is all the time being done we take it at our own price.” (p. 11.) This is new to us. We have never yet been able to purchase iron at our own price; and if we could, would scarcely object to such a state of affairs, but, on the contrary, congratulate ourselves upon it; for though British iron may not be so good by thirteen dollars fifty cents per ton, as our own, we should, at our own price, build our rail roads dog cheap, though we might need to relay them oftener than if American iron was used. We at the South are told that our cotton is
disgorged upon the British market, and the price made in Liverpool.” Of course, as the iron masters and manufacturers will not give the cotton grower here, at home, more than he can get from Great Britain, and as they never take one-sixteenth of what he makes, he must take what he can get elsewhere. Under such circumstances, why should not the government make up his losses, too, as well as the losses of the iron master, or manufacturer of any article ? We should, at least, be glad to hear the reasons for the difference. The cotton grower, and we presume all other agriculturists, would rather have "permanent and remunerating prices," if they could get them. They, too, would like to be saved from “ruinous prices,” competition and fluctuating markets, and would prefer “a steady home market;" but they would blush to ask from their government a thing so partial and unjust. At least we can speak for the cotton grower. If the cotton grower is obliged to " disgorge" (we admire the elegance of the phrase) his produce upon the British market, it is because it is the best he can honestly do, and feels that he ought to take the responsibility of his own measures, and not meanly attempt to shuffle them off upon his neighbours. Cotton growers are told that " when British manufacturers shall be compelled to come hither for their cotton, the price will be made by the planters.” It is reNEW SERIES, VOL. VI.-N0. 11.
markable that planters have not before been aware of this fact, as the British manufacturer has, ever since the introduction of the staple into the market, been compelled to come to us for it. The planters, however, have never found out that they could make their own prices.” They have, on the contrary, all along seen that prices depended upon the manufacturers of Great Britain, our greatest customers, and that in no instance have our home manufacturers been willing to give more than the foreign market compelled them to, notwithstanding the high protection our manufacturers have enjoyed since the war of 1812. Let the British demand for cotton, or any other raw material, be withdrawn; will the home market step in and keep up prices ? That market could do no more for our relief, than could a garden syringe towards extinguishing the conflagration of a city. If what is sold in this country at the same price, is, as we are assured, “ clear gain to the planter,” is not that sold in Great Britain also clear gain? No, say the memorialists, for “if half the crop was consumed at home, the other half would sell for as much in Great Britain as is realized for the quantity now exported.” What is ineant by this? If the world only consumes a given quantity of cotton goods, is it likely to buy them of those who can manufacture them only at double cost, or of those who, manufacturing them at half cost, could sell them at half price? It is nonsense to talk of half the cotton made in the country being taken by the home manufacturers. They do not take one-sixth. And if they took one-half, would they pay more than the foreign purchaser paid for his half? The only effect, then, of excluding the foreign purchaser would be to lower the price of cotton, whilst it would enable the manufacturer here to raise his prices, while he would buy the raw material cheaper.
The interest of the planters, say the memorialists, is to diversify their industrial pursuits. It would make them so much more independent. It is difficult to know what they mean by “independent.” One would suppose that the planters were much more independent than that class which is ever begging for protection. The planters will be ready to abandon the idea that excellence is obtained by the division of labour so soon as they are convinced by socialists or protectionists that competition is a national
evil and a private tyranny, or that property is theft; or that manufacturers, in their own works, abandon the idea themselves. It is now a well known rule among manufacturers, that he succeeds best who undertakes but one thing at a time. The planters and farmers would act wisely, indeed, to take the advice of those who are interested to plunder them! Some, however, have read the fable of the wolf and the kid whose mamma was from home. These gentlemen "fully confide in the division of labour at home," but can see nothing in it, abroad, but evil. A great work they would give to “ four fifths ” of our vast population-"to manufacture as much cotton and iron at home, as they can, and to feed the operatives thus employed." Very paternal advice indeed! “Merchants, they say, can take care of themselves, and thrive, not the less ! Let alone is good enough for them,” but " the manufacturer has, in all countries, asked for special legislation, and under its good effects have grown to their present magnitude.” Mind, reader, this is a quotation from the memorial. Was there ever anything more coolly impudent? Labour employed in commerce is not considered as industry by these gentlemen. Nothing is industry but iron works and manufactures. And this industry is privileged above all! The memorialists say that we now rely upon the home market for eight tenths of the iron consumed. In other words, that all that is made here is consumed, and the rest brought from abroad. They, then, have a home market for all that they produce. Can as much be said of the producers of corn, cotton, wheat, tobacco, rice? If not, then surely these articles stand more than iron in need of protection. But a market is not all that the petitioners want. They wish government to secure them a permanent market, with high prices, freed from all fluctuations and rivals. Yet in the next sentence the memorialists say, "if the home production is adequately sustained by a free market, it can supply all the channels of consumption. Legislation marking closely the time of vigorous production at home, will encourage importations, with the double purpose of obtaining revenue and keeping the manufacturer at home, to fair prices.” What are we to understand by this sentence ? Congress is called upon to protect, by restricting the market, by discouraging foreigners to buy or sell in it, there