George Hooker Colton.

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see how far they sustain his conclusions. We give that which has reference to tliese two periods : —

" The fticts derivable from an examination of the above accounts, are as follows : First, that the
amount received from foreign nations, in exchange for oiu- products, largely increased durmg the
existence of the tariff of 1828."

This large increase, to mean any thing, must be in comparison with the increase during the preceding
period. And, at the first look, the result would seem to justify the assertion in that sense. It only
seeins, however. The fact is exactly the reverse. Let us see how this is so. Fiist, the comparison ia
unfair, inasmuch as the first period extends back into a remote time, when the resources of the
country were almost in their infancy. The comparison, to be just, should be with the five last years
of the first period. Secondly, the average of the two periods should be given, or the particulars of
each. Thirdly, even taking the average of the first period, and Mr. Carey's own figures, he actually
miscalculates in his own favor. The total is ¥5tl8,000,000. This divided by 9, according to our cal-
culation, gives a product of $56,444,444 and a fraction, instead of $56,400,000, making a difierence ol
over $44,000.

We have no statistical tables before us, and we are too much pressed for time, to consult them at
the present moment. Consequently, we cannot convert his average into its particular items ; but we
can take the average of his yearly "table m the second period. We find it to be $80,600,000, yielding
a consumption per head of $5.30. Here we have the " great increase." According to our mind, it is
a beggarly increase; and, contrasting the two periods in other respects, no increase at all. But there
is no disputing tastes. Mr. Carey may regard it, in the language of Lord Brougham and Vaux, as
prodigious, " an he will." Let us, meantime, proceed to the next period, the examination of which
may, possibly, enli_,hten us on this question.

Mr. Carey gives us only the average. He states it thus : Total, $684,000,000 ; annual average,
$9*7 ,"700,000 ; amount per head, $6.02; population, 16,226,000.

In this case, as in the former, Mr. Carey presents to view two figures : one, $7.08, representing a
single year of his prosperous period, and the other, $6.02, representing the average of the declining
period. But the average of the prosperous period is actually only $5.30 ; and, keeping the two aver-
ages in view, let us read Mr. Carey's conclusion, and wonder. Here it is : —

" Secondly, that the amount so received diminished greatly in this period."

Certainly, if between $5.30 and $6.02 he discovers a great diminution, he must regard the increase
from $5 to $5.30 as too big for any plain English word to express. But why take the average?
'Tis for Mr. Carey to say. He is now precluded from asserting that lie can show a continual increase
in the periods of prosperity or high tariff. Who knows that the same continual increase does not
occur in the other periods? If the particulars be useful and requisite in one case, are they not
equally so in the other, and vice versa? But. be it remembered further, that the periods do not
actually corre.spond with the tariffs which they illustrate. He avows this, and justifies it:^

" It will be observed, that I have placed 1829 in the first period, and 1834 in the second. It is not
the passage of an act that produces change, but its practical operation ; and the first year of the
existence of a new system, is but the sequel of that which is passing out."

No doubt : but, in some instances, this piece of abstruse wisdom would amount to the following
proposition: Me.s buv in largely, in anticipation of low price.s. Such is its import, exactly
applied to his facts. But it serves the argument to place 1834 in the second period. It supplies
him with his largest figure, and he uses it for the purpose of a double fallacy. Now, suppose we
change the order, placing 1829 in the second period, and 1834 in the third. The result would then
stand thus, assuming 1829 to give the same amount as 1830 : —

Second period, total, $355,500,000 ; annual average, $71,100,000 ; rate per head, $5.12, of which
$6.02, Mr. Carey's average for the succeeding period, is, according to him, a great diminution.

But to refer once more to the averaging one period, and giving the details of the other, let us see
if we can discover any other possible motive. It ha*! been shown that 1834 yielded the highest
figure ; and the highest figure was necessary for that period. But notwithstanding, it would not have
the highest figure, if the separate years of the next period were given. 1836 was the year of
largest consumption since the discovery of America. For that fact, Mr. Secretary Corwin is "the au-
thority. In his report of this year, he says : —

"The past year has been exceeded in amount only by the year 1836 ; and, if the official figures
could be made to represent the true cost of the imports of the former year, even 1836 would, it is
believed, not be an exception. The imports of the first quarter of the present year show an increase
of more than $18,000,000 over the corresponding quarter of last year, indicating an importation, for
the current year, greater, by many millions, tlian the imports of any previous one."

Before passing further on, it may be as well to contrast this citation with a prophecy announced
by Mr. Carey on the faith of one of his inevitable results. It is contained in the following : —

" Seventh. That the amount of debt, incurred in the last two years, must tend to produce a further
diminution in future ones."

Reader, dear, contrast this fact and prophecy, and decide for thyself According to the prophecy,
the past year, 1850, was to be that of most diminished consumption; according to the fact, it is tliat
of most increased consumption. It is well ni^h time to give up this table : yet, dry as it may seem,



1851. The Democratic Review on Freedom of Trade. 331

it is exceedingly seductive. What bluc-devil could -withstand the beautiful solution of the fourtli
period? It begins in September, 1841, and concludes in June, 1843, and is applied to test the work-
ing of the tariff which was to come into operation in 1842, but actually never did come into operation
at all. Mr. Carey writes as if some special tariff law was passed in 1841. To explain what really
took place, a brief historical resume is necessary.

There were, in place of five periods, as given by Mr. Carey for the operation of the tariff of 1 828,
in fact, eight periods, in each of which a distinct tariff' operated. Thus, the tariff of 1828 came into
operation September Ist, 1828, and continued in operation to March 3d. 1833, when considerable re-
ductions took place in duties on most goods, and on a long list the duties were removed altogether.
At the same time this important change took place, viz., that instead of paying cash for duties, mer-
chants were allowed to give bonds for the amount, payable in three and six months — thus enabling
the importer to sell the goods and realize the proceeds, before he paid the money for duties to the
government. This was in March, 1833. In December of the same year, the "compromise tariff"
took effect, under which linens, silks, worsteds, rail-road iron, and a large number of other articles,
were made/ree; and the same law provided for biennial reductions of duties, until, m July, 1842, no
duty should exceed 20 per cent. Thus this law provided for six reductions, each of which operated
as a distinct tariff. The law was not, however, carried out in good faith, as far as the free articles
were affected. In September, 1841, 20 per cent, duty was iimposed fvrtJneiih upon most of the articles
made free in 1833. And this opeiated one year, until August, 1842, when the fraudulent tariff of
that year was imposed. That tariff continued to operate until December, 1846, when the present
tariff came into operation. We h.ave now, to test Mr. Carey's principle, constructed a table of the
average imports per annum for each of these periods; also the average duties, and showing the aver-
age per cent, of those duties upon the dutiable imports, and their average upon the whole importa-
tion. It will be observed tliat all the property which comes into the country, whether taxed or not,
is in payment for some property sent out of the country, and returns generally come in the shape
which will pay best. The table will show the very large proportion which arrived as free goods.
All the figures are from official reports, as follows : —

Imports specie. Free goods. Dutkble. Duties. DutiesperTotalaverage Duties total Per











cent, of
dutiable.


imports, i


iv'ge imports,


, cent.


1829-33, 5 years,


$35,843,393


48,862,381


373,002,394


146,193,078 39^


91,541,029


29,238,615


32


J 834-3.5, '2 "


31,043,079


11.5,294,594


133.798,401


44,851,432 33^


138,208,537


22,4215,710


16?:^


1830-37, 3 "


23,917,298


137,389,213


109,602,740


48,952,459 28>^


105,484,026


24,470,229


14X


1838-30, 2 "


23,342,292


113,919,505


138,547.739


4i,257,359 32>^


137,904,718


22,628,079


16^


184(1-41, 2 "


13,871,446


109 344,489


111,871,901


35,042,283 31^


117,543,848


17,512,141


15


1812, 1 "


4,087,016


20,540,470


09,534,001


10,022,246 24


100,162,087


16,622,740


16>^


18I2-4C, rM months,


37,362,509


79,134,045


30I,87-',155


101,5.«.1,053 331^


101,130,084


23,895,204


23%


1847-50, 43


4(1,397,094


59,939,417


482,238,103


115,078,052 24


162,57(J,756


32,282,244


IS)X



The first period was five years, embracing the entire operation of the tariff of 1828, except for the
last half of 1833, when, under the law of that year, from March 3d to September 30th, many goods
came in free. Under that tariff of 1828, nearly all the goods were charged with duty, and the aver-
age cliarge was 39.J per cent. The duty averaged, on the whole importation, 32 per cent. On the
l.st of January, 1834, the first reduction under the compromise took place, and also at the same time
the remission of duties upon silks, <fec., &c. The import of free goods, for the two years, was very
large, nearly equalling, in amount, those which paid duty, while the average duties declined 6 per
cent.; and the average tax upon the whole importation was one AaZ/what it was under the tariff of
1828. In the next two years, viz., 1836-37, the speculative spirit culminated and retrograded. The
second biennial reduction, which took place January 1, 1836, reduced the average duty from 33.^ to
28^, and the duties averaged, upon the whole importation, but 14|- per cent. This arose partly from
the fact, that in the depression of 1837, those goods which bore the highest tax could not be sold,
and only the free and low taxed goods could be imported profitably. In 1838-39, the reaction took
])lace, credit sales were renewed, and the high taxed goods, under the third biennial reduction, found
buyers. In 1840-41, the fourth reduction in duties took place, and the general average tax was 15
per cent. In 1842, the 20 per cent, tax on good^ before free was ; imposed, with ruinous effect. The
importation of free goods declined §28,000,000, from the average of the two preceding years, and the
taxed goods only increased $13,000,000. Merchants who had ordered goods under a law making
them free of duty, found them taxed 20 per cent, on arrival ; and in January of that year, the last
and largest reduction, under the compromise act, took effect. In September, 1842, the tariff of 1842
began to operate, after one month's mterregnum. That is, in July, 1842, no duties were higlier than
20 per cent. Thirty days after, the tariff of 1842 raised the average to 334 per cent., the same as in
1834, on dutiable goods, and the average tax on the whole importation to 23|. That tariff lasted 50
months, to December, 1846, when the present tariff took effect, and operated 43 months, to July, 1850,
and has yielded an average of 24 per cent, on dutiable goods, or 19| on the whole importation, or 3
per cent. lesK than that of 1842.

The reader of this tariff sketch will now be able the better to understand Mr. Carey's honesty, in
embracing the year 1834 in his second period, which was designed to support his assumption that
people buy more goods when they are taxed the highest. As we have stated, the law of 1832 came
into operation in March, 1833 ; and as the fiscal year ended September 30, one half the year 1833,
and the whole of 1834, was under the operation of that law. In order to show the precise operation



332 The Democratic Revieio on Freedom of Trade. April,

of the law, we have made a table of the duties under the tariff of 1828, and as modified by that of
1832, on leading articles, and given the quantities of those articles imported in 1830, and in 1834, as
follows : —

Imports in 1830. Duties of 1828. Imports of 1834. Duties of 1832. Reduc'n of Duties

Blankets, §594,0-14 35 per cout. §1,068,065 5 per cent 30 per cent. ,

Worsted Goods 1,397.545 35 '' 5,055,121 25 " Id "

Silks, 5,932.242 25 " 10,998.901 114 " 17)^ "

Tea 2,425,018 12(i50 cts. per lb. 6.217,949 free. ....12a50 ets.

Coffee, 4,227,021 5" " 8,762,657 " 5"

Sugar, 4,630.922 3" " 5,538,102 2;^ cts X"

Fruits, 520,275 3" " 1,218,000 free. 3"

Iron, (bar) 2,273,612 1-12 per cent. 3,787.837 90 cts 22"

Iron, (pig) 25,644 62>^ " 270'.325 50" 12>^ cts.

Hemp, 279,743 3-00 " 514,743... 2 00 " 100 "

Cocoa, 137,453 2 cts per lb. 299,147 free. 2cts.perlb.

Molasses, 995,776 10 cts per gal. 2,989.020 5 cts 5 cts.

Spices, 457.723 6al00 cts per lb. 493,932 free. .. . .6al01 cts.

Oilcloth, 2,596 25 cts per yd. 27,328 12^ cts 12 "

Total, §23,899,614 $47,241,187

In addition to these articles, very many others were made free, and on still others, the tax was re-
duced. The whole dutiable importation of 1830 was $58,130,675. The list we have given comprises
40 per cent. The effect of the reductions is apparent. It will be borne in mind, also, that the Gold
Bill of 1834 promoted the importation of that metal. The general effect is seen in the following
table, showing tlie consumption of foreign goods in these years : —

Specie. Free goods. Taxed goods. Total. Taxed goods,

per head.

1S32 §1,727.829 7,247.896 68,330,956 77,306,681 5.00

1833 4-458,667 20,578.517 6.3,258,392 88,275,-516 4.61

1S34 15,834,874 40,125,025 47,248,632 103,208,531 3.40



Now, it is observed, that the increased consumption of imported goods, in the last eighteen months
of Mr. Carey's second period, arose altogether from an important modification in most duties, and a
removal of others. Tet he had the temerity to parade that increased consumption of free goods,
under the tariff of 1832, as a consumption of taxed goods, under the tariff of 1828. It is apparent,
that no little labor is requisite to expose the gross fabrications with which the whole book abounds ;
and they are of such a nature, that few have the means of exposing them.

Mr. Carey was aware of the facts, or he was not. If the latter, he wrote in ignorance of his sub-
ject, and a not over-harsh criticism would pronounce him a quack. If the former, the sangfroid of the
following deserves a still more disagreeable name: —

" That the amount so received was still further and largely diminished under the strictly revenue
clauses of that bill," (the compromise.)

What we have said of the act of '32 applies equally to that of '46. It became well known in 1845,
that it was in preparation. Merchants informed anticipated it. It became the law in 1846, and the
large transactions which Mr. Carey credits to the tariff of '42 were undertaken in contemplation of it.
Thus his highest figure, his strongest argument, as far as tliis table is concerned, is a palpable fraud.
In the previous year the increase is less than 15 per cent. In '46, '47, it was over 25 per cent. Natu-
rally enough there was a decrease in the next year, owing to the market being so glutted.

The deductions for debts con'racted abroad have little to do with the point. Except Mr. Carey,
there is not a man in the Union who could not trace these debts to fiir other causes. And, even if it
were not so, the object of the table being to show the power of the country to consume it, is enough,
if the goods were purchased in the market here. That there would naturally be a larger consumption
where there is a less price to pay, would seem self-evident. But Mr. Carey's logic contradicts it, on no
better ground than that extremes meet, and that paradoxes alone are reliable truth. If his periods
were chosen and adapted to the question, in good faith, it could be easily shown that there were count-
less circumstances wliich affected our imports besides the amount of the tariff. But the periods are
so determined ; years are so taken from one and added to the other, with sole reference to the result ;
every fact needful for that purpose is so supposed, and every deduction so assumed, that it is difBcult
to treat his reasoning with any thing but contempt :

" Hickory, pickery, my black ben,
She lays eggs for gentlemen,
Sometimes nine and sometimes ten,
Hickory, pickery, my black hen."

Mr. Carey may feel indignant at being referred to the nursery for an illustration. Nor have we the
least disposition to speak of him with levity. But remembering the unerring accuracy with which a
clever little girl would apply our quotation, so that begin with what playmate she may, let the number
be what it would, she would be sure to escape having the last word fall on herself. We could not
resist its appositeness to Mr. Carey'siperiods. With him, too, the last word— the evil consequence — is
sure never to fall on a protective tariff. Our original purpose was to follow him through the entire of
his calculations, bring them within the narrowest compass possible, with the view of showing that even



1830 -


- 27,153


- 1834


- 65.336


1831


- 23,074


1835 to '41


- 67.520


18 12 -


- 45,287 -


1842-i -


- 88,133


1S33 -


- 56,547


1844


- 74,007



1851. The Democratic Review on Freedom of Trade. 333

though the calculations were correct, the conclusions were in a great measure fallacious. Nor, tliouo-h
the errors were not a few, and always made in his own favoi-, if they could possibly be traced to acci-
dent or an incorrect view, should we deem them damnatory of his book. But with every disposition
not to be harsh, we cannot follow him from chapter to chapter, every where meeting the same fatal
taint. One table more we shall here refer to— the emigration table — it is as follows : —

1845 - - 102,417

1846 - - 147,251

1847 - - 224,742

1848 - - 229,492

This table is given according to Mr. Carey, with the view of showing how for the wages of labor
tended to invite the people of foreign nations to come and reside among us, and thus does he announce
the result : —

" We see here » large inoreaja from 1833 to 1834, followed by a gradual diminution, until we reach 1843, after which
the rise is very rapid.''

" On a forciier occasion, I stated that immigration was not affected hy changes of policy, until after the lapse of more
time than was required for other of the subjects we have had under consideration. A change tends to raise or depress
the value of labor — to raise or depress the price of men — and after a rise has been effected, men come to offer their
labor for sale. It will be seen that the number in 1831 was leas than in 18:10, and that it was not until 183i that it
ro.iu. With the exception of 183), it continued to rise until 1S30-7, when it reached 78,i S3, after which it fell.
lu 184.3-4, it felt the effect of the disastrous year, 1842, and the number was only 74,0i:n, and it was not until 1844-5
that it began to grow rapidly. At the present time it is large, because of the great demand lor labor in the years
that have nassed."

The difficulty here is, where exposure is to commence. Let us take the fallacies in the order in
which they occur. First, we have this assertion, " the number diminished gradually from 1834 to
1843." But the figures —Mr. Careys own figures— say it increased. Here they are: 1834, 65,333.
Average from 1835 to 1841, 67,520, "gradual diminution," quotha; average 38-42, 76,000, "gradual
diminution,"— critical, figurative, statistical Mr. Carey : 1842-3, 88,133. The average fails to serve its
proper purpose in this instance. But Mr. Carey is not satisfied with committing a palpable error. He
undertakes its exposure himself, and commits another and a worse one. It was necessary to have
recourse to an axiom, and one is invented, though it be a positive refutation of the foregoing facts
and figures. Here it is in brief : " A change of policy does not affect immigration until after the lapse
of some time." Thus, he says, " the number was higher in '31 than in '30." Marry, it was ; but what
that proves, unless the very opposite to his philosophy, we cannot divine. Here is the syllogism :
The higher the tariff, the higlier the figure of imniigiation. The tariff was highest in 1828, therefore
the immigration figure must be higher in 1830 than in 1831. This looks rather awkward, but then
the axiom remedies the defect. Time is required for the operation of the spell. Aye, in truth, but
here it works like the crab's motion, backward. But though missing '31, it takes effect again in '32,
and becomes more and more potent up to '37, increasing in the same ratio as the square of the dis-
tances. But it was not in fact till forty-four, the disastrous act of 1834 could check it. Then it
yielded to the influence, and the very next year the tariff of '42, by a sort of leap-frog process, began
to act, when tlie increase once more became rapid, and since then, and in consequence of the impetus
it at that signal era received, it goes on with the most alarming rapidity, although the cause ceased in
'46. But Mr. Carey anticipates a diminution soon. No doubt, and m(.re especially if we have a new
tariff in this year of grace and protection, 1851. We remember once being in a court of justice,
where three sages meditated in ermine and horse-hair — Scraggs, Snaggs and Sambo will represent
them as well as any other names. Scraggs had keen wit and deep learning. Snaggs was sagacious
and accurate. Sambo was light and windy. A gnarled piece of law was under dissection. Sambo
spoke first. He was long, luminous, and he thought unanswerable. Snaggs diftered from him in
every tiling, and was curt and cutting. When it came to Scraggs to decide, he gravely said, " I agree
with brother Snaggs for the reasons given by brother Sambo." Possibly Mr. Caiey could discover
whether the case applies.

Although, reasoning a pari, we might credit the prosperity of the country as far as that is evi-
denced by a largely increased immigration, to the approach made towards the principle of Free Trade
in '46, we are by no means disposed to avail ourselves of so questionable an argument. The wages
of labor have been, we know, an inducement to some, yet the number comparatively has been very
trifling. Many causes have tended to swell the tide of immigration. Revolutions proscribed some in
all the countries in Europe, but want of bread whole races. Men came here for shelter, and men came
here to die. The halt, the maimed, the blind, were among them. Of all the thousands, amounting to
nearly one million, who left Ireland since the potato blight, what one man, or woman, or child, calcu-
lated on the wages he or she was to receive in these States ? The attempt to fly was through every
step a struggle with death, from whose very gripe they were escaping.

We pass from the tables. It is a great relief. In the remainder of the work there is more room
for fancy. If an error be encountered, it is pleasant to be able to trace it to a fallacy instead of a
fraud. The argumentative part of Mr. Carey's book consists of sixteen chapters devoted to the proof
of the service which is rendered by protection, to production and consumption, to commerce, to the
quality of production and machinery, to the increase of population, to the machinery of transportation,
to the farmer, to the planter, to the land owner, to the manufacturer, to the capitalist, to the laborer,



334 The Democratic Review on Freedom of Trade. April,

to the slave, to the currency, to the cause of peace, to the exchanger, to the social condition of woman,
to morality, to the development of intellect, to public credit, and to liberty. How each of these



Online LibraryGeorge Hooker ColtonThe American review : a Whig journal of politics, literature, art, and science (Volume 13) → online text (page 65 of 108)