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by raising prices, and, at the same time, is told by those who ask for such measures, that if the home producer " is adequately sustained by a free market, he can supply all the channels of consumption.” Is not this the language of men who are demented ? And is there any more sense in what follows? “Legislation marking closely the line of vigorous production at home will encourage importations," &c. The next paragraph, however, lets us into the mazy meaning of these gentlemen, albeit they somewhat dubiously express it. “Sustain (say they) the domestic manufacturer, at the point of full production, and then admit the foreign article freely." We knew a militia captain who during the war of 1812 was requested by his soldiers to resign, or yield the command to another, and who, thereupon, submitted this grave question to his learned counsel. “If you give a man all the appellations in the world, and take away his consignments, what will he be arter next?”. The memorialists are quite as happy in the clearness of their ideas and expressions as Captain Dukes. Here they ask for the protection of a free market, excluding the foreign article, and being sustained to the point of full production, “to let in the foreign article freely!” Would not Captain Dukes have been delighted with this incomprehensible revolution of reason? It would require more than a " Philadelphia lawyer" to tell us when they would acknowledge that they had reached that “point of full production," or what the memorialists would be “arter next.” At this point-at this incomprehensible point of their “consignments,"—the memorialists tell Congress, what we are stupid enough to predicate of every period of prices, viz: that where the foreign article is freely admitted, the manufacturer, constantly struggling to keep up his prices, will be as constantly met by foreign iron selling at such rates as to keep him to the line of public advantage? For, say they, “it is the operation of a well managed competition between the domestic and foreign producer, which results in the greatest benefit to the consumer.” What admirable free trade doctrine !
Oh! but, say the memorialists, it is only true after arriving at that famous and long looked for "point of full production.” In other words, when the foreign article is no longer wanted, it should be freely admitted, for the public good, and the advantage of the consumer! The memorial must
have been written by some one who has been a free trader, but becoming interested in Pennsylvania iron mines, has changed his principles, and in the memorial makes a jumble of his old and new creeds. The memorialists, actuated entirely by anxiety for the advantage of the consumer, tell us, that “if the consumer is driven to a foreign market for his supplies, prices will be inordinately against him," and that “there are certain average rates, at which manufacturers of iron, in this country, can live and flourish, and these rates are very little, if any, above those to which the often recurring fluctuations of prices in Great Britain are carried.” At these prices, which we are told are sometimes very high, (one hundred and twenty-five dollars a ton, if government will only lend them its aid to fix their prices permanently above competition, and free of fluctuations, they assure us that it would be greatly for the public good and advantage of consumers; for that then, a ton of rails, as in 1849, could never again be “laid down in our market at forty-five dollars," although the purchaser might chance to think such a rate would be for his benefit !!
The memorialists think that however great the advantages of ad valorem duties may be in other things, they
more than neutralized by the fluctuations of British iron.” As in the late British corn laws, they wish a sliding scale of duties, to run up and down, so as always to protect them against foreign competition. Some time since we sent to a young friend residing in Philadelphia an exceedingly clever defence of free trade, with which he confessed himself much pleased and convinced, but thought that Pennsylvania iron really constituted an exception to the general rule, and ought to be protected a little longer. Another worthy friend of Rhode Island, to whom we sent another copy, was equally pleased and convinced, but thought that Rhode Island cotton manufactures absolutely required some longer protection. The motives of neither of these gentlemen could not in any way be questioned. They were not interested, but both laboured under local prejudices, which it is always difficult to eradicate. On the other hand, it is but justice to say, that we have friends in Rhode Island who are free trade men, although they are manufacturers.
Finally, our memorialists, who are interested, come to
the modest conclusion to request, that in providing our revenue laws, Congress will so regulate commerce with foreign nations, " in iron," as to exclude from our markets " those destructive fluctuations and irregularities, which originate in foreign causes, and should [therefore] expend their force on foreign shores.” In that case, we trust the government will do as much for cotton, iron, rice, tobacco, wheat, hemp, coal, provisions of all kind, and for every other product of home industry, in the broadest sense, not even excluding gold. This being fairly and impartially done, we will then believe the memorialists when they say in their conclusion, that "this being done we only ask further, that such duties be imposed upon foreign iron as will bring the largest revenue to the public treasury.” But until that is done, they wish prices kept up until the “ point of full production” is reached, and all foreign iron excluded to the day of judgment.
What has lately been said by Blackwood of rail road speculators, may just as well be said of speculators in iron or factories of any sort. Speculators, whenever they wish to delude the public into special favours, profess their great aim to be the public interest. “Public advantage may be taken for granted as a result, but upon pure consideration of public advantage no rail way was ever undertaken. It is the commercial speculation of a private company. No man ever took a share in any rail way from motives of disinterested philanthropy. He took them because he expected to make a profit by them, to hold them as a safe investment, or finally to sell them for a larger sum than he paid.” When the owners of land are found unwilling to yield them their rights without adequate consideration, thereupon “ the promoters of the rail way instantly raise such a howl, that you would think somebody was trying to rob them or to take their property by force--the case being notoriously the reverse." Just such are the grievances of which our memorialists complain.
D. J. M.
ART. II.-FALSE VIEWS OF HISTORY. 1. Palestine-Description Geographique, Historique et
Archéologique. Par S. MUNK. Paris : 1845. 2. General History of the Christian Religion and Church.
From the German of Dr. Augustus NEANDER. By Jo-
losophy in the University of Vermont. Boston: 1849. 3. Protestantism and Catholicity compared in their effects
on the civilization of Europe. Written in Spanish, by the Rev. J. BALNUS. Translated from the French. Baltimore: 1851.
In the history of every people who have been distinguished in the annals of the earth, is found the manifestation of some predominant thought. This gives vitality to a people, stimulates their energies, and makes them great. Under whatsoever form it may develope itself, whether political, religious, or purely intellectual, it is for the time the governing principle, and those who march under its banners are destined to achieve greatness. The great thought of the unity and spirituality of the godhead, was the animating principle through whose influence the family of Israel became great among the nations of the Eastern world; and the same thought, inseparably connected with the idea of the divine inspiration of the prophet of Islamism, carried the Saracens almost to universal empire. The principle of Absolutism poured the hosts of the Medes upon Europe, then to be successfully combated by the counter principle of personal and political liberty. The principle of the love of glory has more than once threatened to subject all Europe to French dominion; and that of commerce is now leading England to the acquisition of an empire, compared to which the boldest visions of the Macedonian hero dwindle to insignificance.
Every national thought is grand. It may be ridiculed by the caricaturists ; pseudo-philosophers may attempt to expose its vanity; but without success. The sentiment which calls into action the energes of a people, is a noble and sublime thought. The principle which vibrates through a nation's pulse, is sustained by a power which places it far beyond the shafts of criticism.
So long as the national thought has activity, so long is
the nation in a state of progress; the commencement of decline is the era also of stagnation. The age of Louis XIV. was the era of intellectual activity in France, and as he truly represented the thought of his country, he made her the terror and admiration of Europe.
That of his degenerate successor was an era of disgrace and decline, because he had forgotten to keep alive the national sentiment.
Among the various causes of the uncertainty of history, none is more active than ignorance of the national thought of a people. The annalist unconsciously pourtrays it, but having no distinct perception, perhaps no suspicion of its existence, he reflects without expressing it. Even the national historian, so far from being its exponent, may be its adversary. We are to find it illustrated only in the pages of the historian who, from the height of a remote period, laying aside all personal and political prejudices, calmly investigates the annals of the past, discovers the ruling passion of a people, the inevitable tendencies of their actions, the motives by which they were made to act, and from all these deduce the great sentiment which it was the mission of that people to express and illustrate.
The historian, therefore, should be cautious in the judgment he forms, or the events which he undertakes to relate. There may be an absolute right and an absolute wrong. But it is questionable whether either is predicable of mankind. It is unfair to lay down a standard which is applicable only to a superior order of beings; it is worse to adopt one which may exist only in our own imaginations. The standard of right in the nineteenth century is very different from that which was acknowledged in the twelfth ; and both are far removed from any that may have existed in preceding ages.
The thought of a people, or of an age, must furnish the standard by which that people or age is to be judged. The neglect of this rule lies at the bottom of most of the errors, and of much of the dullness of historians. One supposes that the first duty of the historian is impartiality, and with conscientious fidelity he relates everything he knows. Such a writer can hardly escape the reproach of dullness. Another treats it empirically; he brings every state, in every age, under the category of the political phases which states may assume in his day. An ancient