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John Taylor.

Construction construed, and constitutions vindicated online

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it, that it may be employed in a mode more productive, than if
it had remained with its owners ; but if these new occupants
are left at liberty to use it as they please, its productiveness
must continue to depend, not upon the law, but upon the free-
dom of individual will. If the principle of free will in the use
of capital be a good one, applied to the acquirers of capital by
law, it cannot be a bad one, applied to the acquirers of capitid
by labour ; nor can it cause capital to be productive in one casoj
and unproductive in the other.

Let us consider some other established facts, and apply
them to the point of national wealth. No fact is better esta-
blished, than that commerce is a source of wealth* Such is ita
effect from its powerful capacity to excite industry. The
(^xam^es of Venice and Holland are modem ; that of Carthage



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if less explicit from its antiquitj. In the former cases* sad
probably in the latter also, the national wealth obtained ^ con*
merce did not arise from probibitorj daties imposed npon tke
imp(H*tations of finttign mana&ctnres, bat from the freedom of
importations and. exchanges, combined with the skill and i]i'»
dostrj. produced by this freedom* Holland long iourii^ed tnr
the midst of Europe, under Terj unfavouraUa circumstances*
tottering on the brink of some political precipice, by importing
the manu&ctures of all countries within her reach.

The case of Britain differs from these in the protecting^^j
item ; but her commercial system, considered in its essential
characters, is substaiitiaUy the same. She imports tchotei^er
tike wanU or can adoaftiageoudjf exchange, and does not in^iofft
wbat she does not want nor can exchange with otber natioDS 9
taking care that her ships shall returo with valuable cargoes.
How far these cargoes are composed of articles ready for con<«
sunqption, or requiring labour to be prepared for it, is a pointy
difficult and not material to decide. Her importations frite
tiie east are chiefly ^ the former description ; those from th«
west remain doubtful, as to their comparative value. Among
the articles ready for consumption are bread-stuff, fish, rice*
indigo, and others ; even tobacco may be considered as belong'*
ing to this description of her importations, as she re-«xport8
the most of it, in the state received, and as it employs aa
inconsiderable portion of manufacturing labour. These are
manufactured articles of the United States, imported by Bri«
tain and her dependencies to a great amount, to be consume
ed or exchanged ; and probably equal in value to the raw
materiids. she also imports to manufacture; but taking her
whole commerce into contemplation, there can be no doubt
that her importations of manufactures to be consumed or ex-
changed, greatly exceed in value her importations of raw ma«
terials to be manufactured. Such is the general character of
her commerce; she has prohilnted the importatmn of thoMl
particular kinds of manufactures only, which she does not whv^
and cannot advantageously exchange, because she is over*
stocked witli them ; but this is a particular exception suggested
by a particular circumstance,' and not extending to the gene-
ral charactw of her commercial system. And yet, bj adverting
to the rec^t suspidmis in Britian itself, as to its wisdom> and



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f4i

combining with its policy her debt and taxes, far exceeding the
a^t and taxes of any other European nation, a doubt of its
effect, and a fear of its ado|(tion, ought to be inspired.

Instead of teasing ourselves in a perplexing endeavour to dis^
«itan^e the convolutions of a tissue, made of shavings from
these facts, let us apply the plain facts themselves to the Uni«
ted States* Venice and Holland became rich, by importing
manufiEtctures ; and had tiiey prohibited this importation, their
commerce must have dwindled and perished. Will not the
eommerce of the United States be more flourishing, by follow-
ing, than by rejecting these brilliant examf^s P En^nd im^
ports a great variety of manufactures, which she either consumes
or exchanges ; may not the commerce of the United States be
nourished by the same means P England only prohibits the im*
portation of those manuiiEu^tures in which she abounds, and be-
gins to doubt whether even this prohibition b a wise one ; does
this exan^le recommend here a prohibition of the manufactures
%Mch we want, whilst England encourages the importation of
•ueh as she wants P The prohibition of those manu&ctures in
which England overflows, causes no monopoly, and inflicts no.
tax upon consumers for the benefit of capitalists ; but the pro-
hilntion <^ the importation of those wanted here, causes a tax
and bestows a bounty, locally and individually partial.

In all these cases the soul of commerce shews itself at its
eyes, to be compounded of full frei^ts, rich cargoes, and free
exchanges. The facility and freedom of exchanges is as essen-
tial to commercial prosperity, as to civilization and happi-
ness. Abolish it entirely, commerce is destroyed, and savage-
ness and misery restored* Dom^stiek, as well as foreign com^
merce all over Europe is restrained of its freedom, and avarice
has erected toll gates for cities, just as it purposes to do it
here for whole states, by the protectimg-duty project ; not
for the sake of increasing the comforts of those within, but
merely to get money for itself. The English protecting-du^
^stem does not impair ihe facility and freedom of exchanges,
as to internal or domestick commerce* in any degree ; ours
destroys it ; nor does the English system impair this freedma
and facility in relation to foreign commerce, beyond what we
^uld do by duties to prohibit the importation of cflftton, flour
and tobacco, as articles are chiefly prohibited^ ^ich could not
2 F



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242

be imported to any advantage if ^ey were not prohSnted.
The domestick commerce of England is left quite free ; the
foreign nearly so. And to procure tke commercial prosperity
she is supposed to hare obtain^ by this policy, vre are rapidly
subjecting both domestick and foreign commercei to strangling
restrictions.

We are blinded to the rights of domestick commerce, by
clouds of dost brushed frotn foreign practices, of which we can<>
not form a judgment by the help of those honest intelligencers,
the senses ; but surely we may be permitted to take a glance at
it, through this dusky medium.

Suppose the nations, composing what is very incorrectly cal-
led the non-manufacturing district of the United States, (for
they are probably as great manufacturers as their sisters,) should
believe the arguments and adopt the policy recommended bjr
the protecting^uty system. If the policy be wise and good
between the United States and England, it must also be wise
and good between the nations composing our union. If it be
injurious to the United States, to admit the importation aid
use of foreign manufactures, subject to competition, it must te
more injurious to the southern states, to suffer the use of
northern manufactured, enhanced by a monopoly* It cannot be
proved, that a policy, chastened by competition and a freedom
of exchanges, is bad, but that it may be made good by poison-
ing it with monopoly. It cannot be proved, that foreign nations
draw wealth from the United States, unjustly, by sealing them
manufactures cheap ; and that one state may draw wealth from
another, justly, by selling to it manufactures, dear. Nor is it
possible, that so enlightened a body of men as congress should
be able to discern any species of injustice or loss in one case*
which is not aggravated in the other. Therefore, if the capi-
talists can prove that a prohibiting policy is wise and just for
the United States in reference to other nations, they have also
proved that it would be wise and just for particular states in
relation to themselves. Its wisdom and justice in relatitm te
the southern states, called non-manufacturing, being proved by
the capitalists, it only remains to consider whether they have a
Tight to do. that which is necessary for the preservation of their
internal wealth and prosperity. Have congress a right to in-
flict upon some nations composing the union, local and inters*



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£43

mH evils of impoverishisg severity? This question has been
jdis<^ssed in a former sectton. But it may be added, that if
congress can effect this, by a circuitous mode of internal taxa-
tion, the complete concurrency of that power between the
t^tes and congress, in every ease, invests, or rather leaves to
the fiitates, a constitutional right of resistance. The states may
tax every species of internal property; and by internal prohiU-
twy excbes, prevent the use of. any manufactures of pernicious
internal consequences. This idea will again be adverted to;
now I shall only observe, that every state in the union has
exercised the right in a multitude of instances. If then congress
Assumes a power of dealing out the same partialities, in an
aggravated form, between states and manufacturing capitalists ;
said tQ be ruinous between the United States^ and the English
manufacturing capitalists, though of a milder type ; the old
contest arises (so common among mankind) between a power to
oppress and a right to resist ; and it would not be very important
to decide, whether ^e right was both natural and constitutional,
or natural only. But ibis contest between power and power,
or power and right, or injury and resistance, will never occur,
provided tiie principle of the freedom and fairness of exchanges
between the individuals com^MMing the several states, is ad-
liered to, as a principle of the union, uncontaminated by a capi*
talist monopoly.

This principle, internally just, has universally been also con-
sidered as wise, by all comment nations. This princif^e,
and not prohibition, was the basis of Cardi^inian, Venetian and
Dutch commercial prosperity ; and is in &ct the basis also of
the British. It brings home merchandise and not ballast, either
for consumption or re-exportation. Both descriptions of mer-
chandise constitute the sustenance of commerce; and of course
commerce will languish^ if its sustenance be diminished. I am
no merchant, but it seems to me, that by diminishing the busi*
ness of commerce in any way, we must unavoidably diminish
. its weidth, and also the naval power of the United States. I
have endeavoured to prove, that the distinction between raw
materials and manufactures is verbal and unsubstantial, as
labour is the source of both* Whenever ships bring home the
products of labour, they bring home solid wealth, and by bring-
ing home wealth, they add to the wealth both (tf the mercantile



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£44

class and of the comnmnitj. This truth is universallj assefkted
to, except when it is contested by the design of enriching some
home monopolj or exclusive privtiege* Thus we import ther
manufacture called tea» both to supply our own wants and to-
re-export, because b manufacture brought from a foreign coun-^
try is an acquisition of so much wealth ; and we prohibit the
importation of other manufactures, only because tiie nourish*-
nent of a monopoly is preferred to the nourishment of com-
merce,, and the acquisition of national wealth. Had no sucIl
combination as manufacturing cafntalists existed, the policy c^
encouraging commerce by leaving its importations free would
never have been doubted; and the cause of the ^bi^t afiRirds
no argument in favour of it? confirmation.

What are importations? Money. They are something better;
they are a universal currency. They are the substance, o£
which money is only a representative ; and are of more univer^
sal value, than money itself. And they inspire more skill and
industry than money, because they give employment to more
labour. Commerce is supposed to flourish, and a nation to be
rich, when they abound in money or currency ; but this is only-
k sign of probability, and not a positive truth, as Spain has
proved by a metallick, and the United States by a paper cur-
rency. On the other hand it is a positive truth, tiiat nations
abounding in things represented by currency or money^ whe«
ther imported for use or exchanges, or fabricated by itself, is
wedlthy; and that commerce abounding in the same things, is
prosperous and flourishing. This abundance can never be^
effected except by importations, and no nation nor commerce
can therefore be rich and prosperous, if these are excluded*
A total exclusion is death to commerce; a partial, sickening;
I do not believe that either nations or commerce are benefitted
by confining their importations to things in their least valuable
form, or what are commonly called raw materials ; on the con*
trary, it seems to me, that the richer the cargoes, the greater
will be the prosperity both of the nation and its commerce. .
Would it be better for us to import from Mexico the ore^ than
the manufactured dollar? This might possibly be answered in
the affirmative, if our country was so overflowed with peo|^»
that the loss in freight and labour occarioned by importing only
as much wealth in fifty or an hundred ships^ as could be brought



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in onet would be compensated by the empl^ment of mtnofiic-
taring the ore into money ; but under our circumstances, it
"would enrich us more to receiTe one cargo of dollars, as valua-
ble as an hundred of ore, because it would be a great savingof
capital and labour, capable of being beneficially employed other-
wise. For the same reason, it is better for us to import English
cloth than English wool*

The Dutch were extremely wealfliy, whilst their warehouses
groaned with the most valuable manufactures of all nations*
They prefeired rich cargoes to those of little value, because fine
manufactures were a currency of gold, and raw materials, like
flie iron money of Sparta. An abundance of universal curren-
cy brouj^t wealth to the Dutch through the instrumentality of
exchanges ; but it mil bring wealth to us through an additional
and important channel. The Dutch had few or no domestick
articles for sale and exportation ; the United States abound in
them. An abundance of currency enhances prices. Manufac-
tores are a substantial and universal currency, and of course
the more of this currency is brought to us by commerce, the
better will be the price of erery article we have for sale. By
a diminution of tiiis currency, the prices ot all articles we havo
for sale must be corresp<mdently diminished. Such is the effect
of embargoes and restrictions upon cmnmerce, because they
expel from the market a portion of the currency, foreign manu-
fieu^tures, by which the prices of our own are upheld* If bar-
ter was practised without the intervention of money, the more
manufactures were broi^t to us by foreign nations, to ex-
change for oursy the more we should get for ours ; and the fewer
they brought, the less we should receive. Thus it is better, that
a foreign merchant should come to us full than empty-handed,
because we shall get more for our commodities in the first than
in the latter case ; and though we receive payment in a cur-
rency called manu&etures, yet as it is universal, and we live
in the commercial world, it is real wealth to us. Indeed it
lAen happens, that the enhanced price for our commodities,
arising from an abundance of manufacturing currency, will
enable us to rival or undersell in other countries the fabricators
themselves. Accordingly, those i/riio have observed the fluc-
tuations of prices since our revolution, must have seen, that
tiiey have been distinctly influraced by the plenty or scarcity



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M9

tt imported wi^eml curtencji «Bd that the wealth and pros-
perity of the United States has been visibly increased by itff
abundance^ and diminished by its expulsion. In fact, it is ex-
actly the case of a plenty or scarqity of money.

The protecting-duty system advocates a scarcify of currency,
and gravely informs a^culture, commerce, the fisheries apd all
other occupations, except one, that by expelling the abundance
of imported currency, and substituting one about twenty fold
less in amount, these occupations will get as good or better
prices than ever. But do we pot know» that as cuirency be-
comes scarce, its value increases ; and must it not of course
follow, if ninety-five per centum of it is driven away, that the
holder of the remaining five would be made very rich P The
policy of this project therefore is, to deprive commerce of that
branch of her business, consisting of importations, re-exporta-
tions, and free exchanges by which the Dutch grew rich, an4
English commerce is now flourishing ; and moreover to deprive
agriculture and all, other occupations except <me, of good ffy
ces for their labours, by expelling a great portion of the cur-
rency by which these prices are enhanced, and granting toil
few individuals an exclusive privilege to coin the veiy same
kind of currency proposed to be expelled. They do not pre-
tend that t^ey can coin as much as they propose to expel, but
tiiey propose by way of some compensation fm* the deficiency,
to make each half d(dlar, pass for a whole cme.

iN^eal, in his history of tilie puritans, vol. £« p» ££3, speaking of
the government of Charles the first, remarks, that *' he levied
" the duties of tonnage and poundage, and li^d what othv
*' duties he thought proper upon mercbatidiae^ which he let out
<< to farm to private persons; the nwmber qf mowipoli^ WMS
'< wcredible^ there wm no part of the suijeets^ pr^eriy that
<' miniOry eouid dispose cf, Imi was bougM md sold. Th^
** ridsed idiove a million a ye^ by ti^es on soap, salt, candks,
** wine, cards, pins» leather, coals, &c. ewn to^the sole ga$hef'
" ing of rags. Grants were given out for weighii^ hay and
" straw, for gauging red herring bairels and butter casks ^ for
*^ marking iron and sealing lace ; and a great many.othen^;
^ which being purchased of the crown, mvst he paid for 6^ Ite
<* suljeet. His nuyesty claimed a right, in cases of neees^tfy,
•• (of which necessity himself was the sole judge) to raise «io-



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"^ nej by 8liip*wri1» for the maiateiuawe of the royal naty.
^ The tike was demftoded for the royal army, by the name of
"coat and condact money; the men were billeted upon pri«
" Tate houses* Large sums of money were raised by the &ie«
*' of the star-chamber and high commission coart» and the em*
** traordinary projects of loans, benevolences and free gifts**'

We have imposed duties, not for the exclusive purpose of
defraying the expenses of government, but also to enrich pri-
mte persons. The number of monopolies tiius created is in^
erediMe. They extend to clothes of all kinds, iron, furniture.
Carriages, and a multitude of manufactures, and even to the
conversion of rags into money. The profit reaped from all
tiiese monopolies must he paid by the eitixen. Every citizen's
property is reached by them to a great extent, and as far as it
is reached, transferred to other citizens. Thus it is bought and
sold by a traffick between laws and Courtiers and speculators*
Charters to collect money of the people are openly sold, under
the pretexts of necessity or convenience, and in virtue of the
fower of sovereignty, according to the maxims and policy of
Charles. Much lai^er sums of money are annually taken from
free citizens by charter-bounties and monopolies, than were
taken from Charles's subjects by the star-chamber and hi^
commission courts. Charles extorted money from the peoploi
and then squandered it among his favourites; we squander it,
and then extort it from the people; as iu tiie cases of the
grants to certificate-hcdders and revolutionary soldiers. Charlea
sometimes, by granting monopolies, enabled his favourites in
collect great sums of money from the peoj^e themselves ; we
follow his example by banking and protecting^uty monopolies*

I shall not attempt to try either the conduct of a Stuart, or
our own by tiie principles of civil liberty, in order to discern
^e preference. The most niaterial differences between them
are, that our banking and ^otecting-dnty monopolies cover
every thing; whereas by selecting particular articles, acute as
he was in the science of monopoly, Charles might have over-
looked a few. His monopolies were always sold ; ours are
sometimes given away* PubHck revenue was the pretext of
his; private emolument the design of ours. He pleaded neces-
Mty; we plead speculation* He used force; we delusion.



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** Tax humries,^ is sometimes tte aj. ** Tax necessaries,"
at others. Bat "tax both" is at all times the creed of (nuid
and avarice. What are these laxnries and necessaries P Are
the products of agriculture ass^nakde to the former class, imd
those of manu&cturing to the latter? Is food a luxury, and
dothing a necessary? Is iron a luxury? Are wine, rum, whis-
key, sugar, ccdfee, tea, sj^ces, salt and physick, all luxuries?
God saw that all his works were goodi and avarice impious^
prohibits the divine benevolence. It taxes comforts, by calli^
them luxuries, and it taxes necessaries, by pretendiog that th^
are politically pernicious, with the dengn of introducing those
▼eiy abuses, to which the term luxury is most correctly applied.
A legislative distribution of wealth b^ts the luxury which Is
pernicious, and the poverty which is miserable; but the free*
dom oi industry diffuses the pleasures which the creator has
provided for man, and softens the evils by which they are at-
tended*

But avarice pursues industry in all her recesses, and eom^
putes her earnings with the eye oi a master. Self-interest is
capaUe of any estimates, however falser for its own ^tifi-
cation. Thus we have seen the wages of labour in the agri-*
cultural occupation, enhanced beyond those in the mechanical,
merely because it was necessary to make the only accessible
victim of a pecuniary combination, rich, and the soldi^^ by
whom they were to conquer, poor; although it is notc^ous that
mechanicks, white or black, freemen or slaves, earn much higher
daily wages than agricultural labourers can gain; and that
slaves, having a good trade, sell for double the price they w6ukl
do if they had none. The capitalbts, whilst they deny or
obscure this fact, confide in it for the succe^s of the protecting>-
duty prcject in convejring to their own pockets whatever it
shall extort from those of the community ; for it demonstrates,
tiiat the present disproportion between mechamcal and agricol*
tural wages is sufficiently great to secure to them a supply of
workmen, without the least necessity for alimenting the temp-
tation by suffering their labourers to participate of the bounty.
Truth is every where truth, but imposture, stimulated by
avarice, every where attends her ; thus benevolence to woric-
loen is the exterior of the protectingHiuty system, as beaut^d



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' SMi9

419 the skin of the tigtr, which never^less covers a rapacious
animaL

The art of cutting up nations into sects, or creating combi-
nations, is the work-shop of avarice and ait^lntion, the wares of
which are never offisred to nations without being varnished.
The framers of our governments, impressed with the danger of
this art, which had been unexceptionablj pernicious to human
happiness,, endeavoured to destroy it bj estaUishing religious
freedom, by forbiddii^ noble orders, by denouncing exclusive
privUegeS', and by limiting the powers of governments to prevent
* its introduction, and equalize the rights of property, knowing it
to be a Trojan horse, either to be disembowellkl, or to become
the vehicle of destruction. We have rejected tithes as hi^ly
oppressive, though pud for the blessings of religion, and estab-
lished a five-fold tithe, paid for the curse of a capitalist sect.

The advocates of the protecting-duty system assume the title
of " friends to national industry," formed their reasonings upon
the maxim, that <'the productiveness of labour is increased in
*«proportiMi aS it is directed by inteUigenee^^* and endeavour to
sweep away all the arguments which are adverse to the system,
by asserting that the ^miseries of labourers in Britain and
<< China result, not from manufactures, but from the nature of
« the$e govemmentsJ^

A maxim, theoretically sound, may be erroneously applied;
and its obvious truth is often plausibly used to recommend prac-



Online LibraryJohn TaylorConstruction construed, and constitutions vindicated → online text (page 24 of 34)