Copyright
John Taylor.

Construction construed, and constitutions vindicated online

. (page 23 of 34)
Online LibraryJohn TaylorConstruction construed, and constitutions vindicated → online text (page 23 of 34)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


recompense for the tax these pom* people pay tbrou^ their
consumptions to the manufacturing capitalists, would be equiv-
ident to laws laying duties upon the importation of bread tstuff,
tobacco and cotton, to reimburse the pocMr agriculturists for the
same tax. ^

The wealth of the owners of manufactories, having conferred
upon tiiem withgreat propriety, the title of capitalists, I cannot
see the policy, wisdom or justice, of taxing the whole class even
of the rich in all other occupations, to make them wealthier ;
but when the tax producing this effect, is extended to the po<Hr



Digitized by



Google



MO

<rf iB otiior ooc«]pfttioni» it is flome^hiiig worse thiui "^a fhtirt^
and becomes a grinding oppressian. Mcntility may caln^y dis*
approTe of the rich |dundering the rich, Mt humanitj sb'hdES
With no littte impression of abhorrence, from the idea of the
rich plundering the poor. If avarice shonld endeayour to con-
ceal this appalling spectre from herself, by the flimsy pretence,
^t the manafactnring poor and not the manufactoring rich,
will get the protecting-duty tax, it only proyes that a rery
small matter of reasoning, attended by a great sum of money,
will satisfy her. Where is the justice or policy of taxing the
great body of the poor class, included in all other occupations,
for the benefit of the small number of poor, included by the
manufkcturing occupation? Supple two capitalists, haying
each a million ei dollars, and a law should pass for taking
firom the one and giving to the other only half i^a millicm. How
would he feel, though he would have more than enou^ left ^
Bodily labour is all a poor man's capital. In taking away a
moiety of this, though for the purpose of giving it to another
poor man, a more cruel injury is committed, because he has
not enough left. It is not an excision irom a superfluity, but
from the necessary natural capacity to labour, and strongly re-
sembles the Abyssinian morality of feeding upon an animal
which is still living. To tax one poor man for the ben<^t of
another, each having no other capital, but his nigral ability to la<»
bour, in its degree of oppression, is the same to the sufferer, as if
the tax had been appropriated to the rich ; but the distinction ia
of no consequence, because the fact upon which it is surmised
does not exist The whole community, poor and rich, is taxed l^.
the protecting-duty system. Had the small body of poor compri**
sed in the manufacturing occupation received this tax, they
would have ceased to be poor. If such be the case, there is no
fartiier occasion for the tax ; but if their poverty omtteues, we.
can no longer reason upon a supposition, that the pt?otecting«'
duty tax is received by the poor manufacturers; and we wi
forced to conclude, that it is a tax upon the poor and rich of
the whole community, all being ccmsumers, for the exc)u»ye
benefit of the rich of one occupation* This is aristocracy in ita
worst character.

To corrupt our political system by the princi^s of tanri^
cracy is, of itself, sufficiently immoral and unwise* The i|rag«



Digitized by



Google



pestramed hj pun! Amenta; biit a strug^e for wealth by ceo^«
binatioBd is festered bj laws» atid encomraged by rewardi.
The first is incapable of begetting civil wars or political r^T^
lotions ; the second acts with a conceH;^ an infliience and n
force> aUe to corrupt pinciples, subvert goyeramentSt and
dispense ^neral oppressicm. As combinations multiply^ they
tecome chafferers unoi^ themselves for a divisbn of nationAl
spmly and measure out their own privileges and emolumento
by their own wilL In i^slative bodies, they exactly resemble ^
religious sects, invested with a power to rebate the rights of
eons^ienGe; and by the same corrupt devotion to their own ex-
•clusive interest, regulate tiie rights of pr<^erty« All thek
'Compromises are dictated by this design. Civil combinatioi^
indeed invariaUy promise to invest nations with the riches -of
^arth, ais religious (»tHnise to endow them with the kingdom of
Heairen; but all history informs us, that one promise terminaites
in adding to the mass 4^ wickedness, and the other in adding
io the mass of poverty-
Let us enquire whe^er the pc^culiar sitaation of the United
^:ates holds out to them this historical experience as an admo-
nition, or a policy worthy of imitation. We know that comtH-
nations, by the force of cimcert acting against disunion, have
been able in all ages to delude or purchase allies enough, to
<enidile them to pillage and oppress majorities. If they can Ui
this country enlist whole states under their ba^nner, they will
•beconie infinitely strtmger here, than in countries where no
WLch allies are to be obtained ; ImU as other or^ganb&ed states,
intended to be the victims of their a:varice, will act in conceitt
in Imposition to the design, the remstance will also be stronger
^lan in countries where no such organized interest exists.^
fience would arise coUi^ons between the general interest aniel
tiie exclusive interest, infimtely more violent, than the colli-
sions between these combatants in countries, where the general
interest is unaided by organization and concert; and yet such
^tiskms with weaker weapons have been sufficientiy balefui
to htttxjom happiness*

Combinations have Mthefto succeeded by deludii^ particular
•fitatoi^ into an opinion, that they would be benefitted by serving
iiDder ^ banners of mercenary setf-int^rest The certificate



Digitized by



Google



2S2

peculators succeeded in establishing a system for liqniifaiiii^
the expenses of the reTolutionary war« exuberantly partial to
themselves, and atrociously unjust to a vast majority of the
community ; by urging the locality of their exclusiye interestj^
as combined with the general interest of the states in which
they resided. Banking combinations have by the same artifice
cajoled towns* districts and states, to become partizans in
favour x>f their selfish speculations, pernicious to the common
interest The acquisitions of all these projects have been paid
by the labour, and the mischiefis they have caused, have been
suffered by the people of the deluded states, together with the
people of the other states ; and the question simply b, whether
it would be beneficial to the people of any one state, to create
an order of bishops, or of useless officers, because these bishops
or officers happened chiefly to reside in it. If I have proved
that this pretence is a snare in the case of manufacturing work-'
men, it must be a deception still more notorious, when ad**
dressed to the people of a whole state. These w(H*kmen are
placed much nearer to the benedictions supposed to emanate
from a sect of privileged cajHtalists, than the great body of the
people in any state ; and if to them the dew of monopoly will
be as littie refreshing as the benedictions of the pope himself*
I cannot conceive how the people of any state can imagine*
that they will be reimbursed by this visionary manna, for the
solid contributions they must annually pay to enrich a monopo-
lizing sect

But suppose, that the locality of the monopoly may be a pe-
cuniary benefit, fully equal, in the case of a particular state, to
tiie pecuniary contributions it will exact; it will then behoove
the state, which may be so wonderfully fortunate as to balance
its account of profit and loss with the monopoly, to consider^
whether a pecuniary reimbursement will also comprise a com-
pensation, for the political calamities the pidicy is calculated
to produce.

The policy of fostering combinations by federal laws, has
undoubtedly transferred, and continues to transfer, a conside-
rable portion of the prints of labour, from one portion of the
union to another; not to enrich -the people generally of the
receiving states^ but to amass great capitals for a few indivi-
duals residing in them; towards which. all the states contri*



Digitized by



Google



StSi

Imte, and by which is artificially reared a monied interest at
tiie expense of the whole community, which is gradually ob-
taining an influence over the federal government, (rf the same
kind with that possessed by a similar sect over the British par*
liament. The operations of this sect, being already sorely
felt, have already produced awful calculations in reference to
a dissolution of the union. These arise from its new efforts to
gratify an insatiable avarice, and its fears of the resentment it
excites. It therefore craftily works npon the passions of the
states it has been able to delude, by computations of their phy-
sical strength and their naval superiority ; and by boasting of
an ability to use the weakening circumstance of negro slavery,
to coerce the defrauded and discontented states into submis-
sion. The indignation, excited by these threats, has suggested
on the other hand estimates of resources and means of defence.
The value of their exports ; an ability to procure foreign co-
operation for the protection of commerce ; and an exclusion of
the rapacious monied sect from a farther participation of their
wealth ; are suggestions natural to the occasion. Whence has
arisen this ugly account, replete with other exasperating items;
from the interest of the people of any one state in the unions
or from the interest of a monied sect, embracing only an incon-
siderable portion of these people P For what are the states talk*
ing about disunion, and for what are they going to war among
tiiemselves ? To create or establish a monied sect, composed of
privileged combinations, as an aristocratical oppressor of them
all. I appeal to every disinterested man of common sense to
say, whether the least cause for discontent or dislike between
the states exists or has appeared, founded in any interest of
which the people in any one state of the union generally par-
ticipate ? It is notorious, that all discontents between the states
have been produced and fostered by pecuniary projects of a
monied interest, the success of which, however beneficial to
the individuals composing that interest, must be highly inju-
rious to the majority of every state in the union. An inter-
course upon fair and equal terms, between the sections of the
union, founded in an exchange of agricultural labour, for naval>
commercial and manufactural, is the basis of mutual prospe*'
rity, and utterly distinct from the speculations of a monied
interest^ whose prosperity is founded irt principles, always hos-
2 E



Digitized by



Google



2S4

tile to the interest of labour. Shall honest labour and fiur
industrj go to war with themselves to bestow a soyereignty
orer both, upon their greatest enemy ? Charles the first lost hb
life and his kingdom bj his infatuation for episcopacy, and suf-
fering himself to become the tool of his bishops. If the United
States should be plunged into a civil war, and lose the union:
by a devotion to capitalists, and bj suffering themselves to be-
come the tools of a monied interest, I will venture to predict,
that future historians will degrade Charles from the summit of
folly, which he has so long occupied witiiout a rival.

I freely admit, that capitalists, whether agricultural, commer-
cial or manufactural, constitute useful and productive classes
in society ; and by no means design, in the use of the term, to
insinuate that it contains an odious allusion. It may even be
applied to the man, whose bodi}y labour is his sole capital. But
I also contend, that capital is odly useful and re-productiv^
when it is obtained by fair and honest industry ; and that when-
ever it is created by legal coercions, the productiveness of liie
common stock of capital is'diminished, just as it is diminished
by the excessive expenses of a civil government. Every species
of capital thus accumulated, by whatever name it is called, he-
longs to the same genus, diminishes the efficacy of the common
stock of capital, enriches individuals, impoverishes a nation,
and all operating in the same mode deserve to be equally
odious.

I will endeavour to exhibit an old idea in a new form, for the
purpose of explaining how it has happened, that the policy of
creating a monied interest has become so lamentably inter-
woven with the continuance of the union.

The federal is not a national government; it is a league be-
tween nations. By tiiis league, a limited power only over per-
sons and property was given to the representatives of the
united nations. This power cannot be fkrther extended, und^
tiie pretext of national good, because tiie league does not create
a national government Either this word "national" can or
cannot enlarge the limited powers bestowed by the constituticm
over persons and -property, upon the federal government if
it can, it expunges all its limitations and restrictions, and
leaves to the constitution only the simple office of organizing
a govemmentt invested with an absolute power of providing f<»:



Digitized by



Google



235

Oift national good, equiralent to the power of the British go-
▼emment, oi^anized bj events, without being subjected to con-
stitutional laws. If it cannot, the term can never be fairlj
used in any discussion whatsoever, for defining the powers of
congress. If the federal league creates a government for exer-
cising specified powers, as to those cases onlj, wherein the
united nations have a common interest; and contuns no clause
for investing it with the great power of acting upon persons and
j^opertj, or of transferring property from man to man, or from
state to state, or from the states to individuals, by donations,
or bj exclusive privileges ; it can never be imagined, that a
power so enormous and tyrannical could have been given with-
out using a single word expressive of such an intention. The
exercise of these powers, even by a government really national,
and absolutely sovereign, has uniformly resulted in oppcessioii,
although the persona thus legislated out of natural rights, are
actually represented; but under the federal government, in
which local and personal interests are not, and cannot be repre-
sented, an exercise of these powers, utterly unnecessary to a
fiiir and free government, must produce mischiefs of ten-fold
magnitude. These local and personal interests were there-
fi»re left as politically and geographically arranged, into dis-
tinct compartments ; and a federal was preferred to a national
government, because that commixture of local interests, and
inextricable sympathetick cohesion, which infuse into election
and representation their substantial value, was stopt by nature
at the state governments, and could not be extended to a na-
tional Kpvernment, by melting up the states into one vast em^
{nre. A federal government was therefore adopted to provide
for the interests of states as separate nations, as to those cases,
and those cases only, in which a similar commixture would pro*
duce a mutual sympathy, and federal cohesion would infuse
into election and representation their substantial value. It
was intended by this federal policy to prevent a geographical
majority from dbpensihg injustice, oppression or ruin, to geo-
graphical interests; but if a geographical majority in congress,
under cover of misconstrued or interpolated words, such' as
sovereign, supreme, national, paramount, necessary and conve-
nient, may still exercise a power so enormous, the precaution is
defeated, and the essence of a federal government is already



Digitized by



Google



2se

kmt Even the iKiembers of congress and the president of iit^
United States do not take an oath to protect local or personal
interests ; and that friYolous security does not exist in thdr
favour, however little its absence is to be deplored, after tiie
loss of a genuine representation. If these ideas, though badly
expressed, are sound, they iumish a very plain rule, by whick
to determine the extent of federal legislative power. It wat
never intended to become an instrument of geographical par^
tialities, or personal privileges, or an illegitimate (Spring of the
principle of representation.

We felt with great resentment the u$urpation8 of internal
powers over this country by Great Britain* We hear with in-
dignation of the interferences of one European state with the
internal affiiirs of another. We viewed with disapprobation*
the interferences of other states with the internal affidrs of
France, under the pretence that a European nation existed |
and that therefore some of these states had a right to meddle
with the internal affairs of others, for the general good of
Europe. Even an emperor has protested against this doctrinot
and we applaud his opinion. And at this very time, judging
disinterestedly, and guided by the principles of justice, we de^
]precate any interference by other states, vAiAk the internal
affidrs of Spain. Is there any diflRsrence between these casen^
and an interference by congress with the internal affairs of the
states I A majority of states in ccmgress are as much a foreiga
power, as to the internal afihirs of each fatate, as was a miyoritjr
of European states to France. If such a majority can transfer
to themselves by their own laws the property of any <me &ta:^
they are not less inimical to the injured state, becimse they da
not effect their purpose by armies ; and may as justly be re*
sisted, as Poland resisted the impositions of momurchs l^;idat^
ing for their own benefit.

Let these observations be a telescope, throu^ which to view
the continuance of the tinion. Something has suggested to
the members of congress the policy of acquiring geographical
majorities. This is a very direct step towards disunion, and
must foster th6se gec^aphical enmities by which alone it can
be effected. This something must undoubtedly be, a conten^*-
plation of particular advantages to be derived from such nu^o*
rities. If we can discover what these are, and can dsp remove



Digitized by



Google



ftor

Hk^ tMnptaticNri, ve slmU destroy* the most dangerous enemy to
the best system of government* which ever existed. And is it
Bot notorious* that they can consist of tiothing else but usurpa-
tions of internal powers over persons and property, by which
they can regulate the internal wealth and prosperity of states
and individuals ? This was the sole cause* which has rendered
the possession^ of a geographical preponderance in congress of
S9 much importance* as to have suggested sundry pernicious
artifices to obtain It* and to have produced sundry battles with
pens* the precursors of battles with swords. To this motive
l^e Missouri controversy itself is ascribable.. It was really at
the bottom of all the ingenuity and zeal lavished upon that
subject. The true case may be shortly stated thus. Congress
has no power to bestow exclusive privileges, or to arrange pro-
perty between states or individuals ; therefore* no motive exists
for obtaining a geogri^hical majority in congress. Congress
has a power to bestow exclusive privileges and to arrange pro-
perty between states and individuals ; therefore, a powerful
notive exists for obtaining a geographical majority in congress.
Qad the motive for the pernicious Missouri discussion never
existed* the discussion itself would never have existed ; but if
:the same cause continues* more fatal controversies may be ex-
pected. It is therefore evident that if the people in any state
should be deluded into an qunion« that they will be enriched
by an exclusive privilege for enriching a few capitalists* they
Wight very seriously to c<msider the risque to which the union
will be exposed, by a power in congress to regulate wealth and
poverty intemdly* so well calculated to generate the most ex-
asperated geographical parties. If the neighbours to a courtier
should wish him to receive extravagant douceurs* from a hope
of admiring the palace he might build* or of tasting occasionally
the luxuries of his table* yet* should these partialities be likely
.to^ excite a civil war* they would hardly be so infatuated by
these frivolous considerations* as to bring upon themselves the
.worst of evils* by becoming advocates for the partiality b^
which It may be caused.

The wei^ty authority of congress has affirmed the truth of
tills reasoning, by changing the sales of publick lands from
credit to cash, because the creation of a considerable pecuniary
mterest by credit sales might produce a combination of a per-



Digitized by



Google



sss

rndims political tendency. If a pecvniaiy combinatiaOt whidi
leeds upon -a wilderness, would endanger our form of goyem«
ment» what maj be expected from such combinations, whichr
feed upon the profits of labour? If a combination of a small
band of land-speculators, united in one interest by a small cajH-
tal, might shake the union ; what may be done by the mighty
combination of banking and manufacturing capitalists, stronger
in number, in influence, and united by an enormous annual
income? And if a policy which must have vanished, when the
uncultivated lands were exhausted, was yet an object of appre-
hension, ought not the same policy, which may last as long as
land is cultivated and labour is exerted, to suggest some de-
gree of foresight ? ^-

But suppose, that all these objections to the protecting-<luty
system are unfounded ; and that, surrendering the freedom of
labour, the federalism of the constitution, and the safety of the
union, its policy should be settied by a maxim, canonized by
capitalists ; " Get money; fiurly if you can, but get money*"
The only difficulty is to ascertain these to whom this maxim la
addressed by the protecting-duty system; to the capitalists or
to the community. If to the capitalists, they may avail them*
selves of its whole doctrine ; if to the community, it can only
avail itself of the two first words. The «cope and deagn o^
this treatise, is to maintain the right of every body to get mo-
ney, and I only differ with the capitalists, by proceeding to^
assert, that every one has a further right to use it for his own
benefit, because he has earned it This every body con^ioses
the community, and if it shall consider the two first words of
the protecting-duty maxim, as applicable to itself^ the question
(mly is, whether it will be made richer by each (^ its members
employing his own eaintal for his own benefit, or by yielding
up annually a portion of it to rich capitalistSv There is nothing
which excites an ardour for gettii^ money, more than a righ^
to use it ; and nothing which damps that ardour more, than its
being annually taken from us. To effect the object of getting
money, the policy of transferripg the ardour to a few capitalists,
and applying the refrigerator to the community, is as if a na-
tion having ten millions of hands should diminish the industry
of nine millions nine hundred and ninety-iline thousand, to ex- .
<ate a money-getting temper in onj& tiiousand* The pecuniary



Digitized by



Google



239

loss to the community wUl therefore not be limited bj what
^e one thousand may gain»bu^ will be incomputably aggravated
by a general discouragement of industry.

A dislocation of capital by laws has no other object but to
efiect its accumulation in a few hands^ by diminishing it in
those of all others ; an effect, comprising the essence of oppres-
sion, in every form hitherto experienced. The real que^ioQ»
therefore, is, whether nations are richer, unexposed to the essen*
tial instrument of tyranny, than when suffering under it If free
nations are more prosperous than enslaved, free capital will be
more productive, than capital deprived of its liberty. It would
be a strange anomaly, if the freedom of other human r^ts ad«
vance the wealth and happiness of nations, that the freedom of
labour or capital should produce poverty and misery. And it
would be an evident contradtfition in economists to assert, that
cultivation by personal slavery is unthrifty, but that the subjeC'
tion of caj^tal to legislative dislocation, will make it more pro-
duetive. I perceive no consistency in patronizing the rights of
slaves, and anathematizing the rights of capitaL The freedom of
ktbour must supply. the arguments in both cases, since there is no
difference between constraints imposed upon the body, and con**
.straints imposed upon the acquisitions of the body.

After capital is dislocated by law, is the law still to pursue
it in iU accumulated state, and to prescribe its future desti«
nation ; or are the receivers to hold and use it, according to
their own free will and judgment P The law it is said transfers



Online LibraryJohn TaylorConstruction construed, and constitutions vindicated → online text (page 23 of 34)