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John Taylor.

Construction construed, and constitutions vindicated online

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bestowed upon the community, but this enormous item is left
out, because the community possess the means of throwing it
off; until it does so, however, it ought to be ccmsidered as
nearly or quite equal to the other.

The thirdele emosynary appropriation of national capital was
efiected by the protectJnjg-duty laws. There is mwe difficulty
in computing its amounti ihkn in the stmilar instancea of tt^



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same system we have passed over, because we cannot ascertain
the portion of the tax thej inflict, which gets into the pockets of
owners of manufactories. But, as these laws create a species of
aristocratical legislature over manu^ctures, exactly of the same
character with that created to regulate currency, there will un-
doubtedly be a great similitude in their proceedings. Behold
ihen a great community, industrious, at peace, and in distres$«
What an enigma ? But behold its currency consigned to the
regulation of bank directors, and its consumptions to the regtt*>
lation of manufacturing capitalists, and you will confess that
there is no enigma in the case.

The com laws of England are equivalent to our protecting*
duty laws, with respect to that portion of the tax, which goes
into the pockets of capitalists. The prohibition of the impor-
tation of grain, until wheat gets to the price of eighty shillings
sterling a quarter, is a tax upon the nation for augmenting the
rents of landed capitalists. Whatever is carried by our pro- , '
tecting-duty laws into the pockets of manufacturing capitalistSyV .
is a tax upon the community for augmenting their wealth. Bread
and manufactures being both necessaries, both these taxes are
direct and unavoidable. By the com laws of England, the
manufacturers are compelled to pay about one-third more for
home made bread, than ihej would have paid, if importation had
been free. At this time, the price of wheat in England is about
nine shillings sterling, and about eighty cents here. By our
protecting-duty laws, agriculturists and all other occupations
are compelled to pay for home made manufactures, about one
third more, than if importations were free* The com law tat
falls most heavily on the poor, whence arises much of the dis-
tress of the working manufacturers. Our protecting-duty tax
must also fall most heavily on the poor, because every tax upon
necessary consumptions operates as a poll tax. A protecting-
duty system exists in England in favour df manufacturing, but
it inflicts no tax upon the nation, because the surplus of manu^
factures, beyond the wants of home consumption^ renders their
monopoly impossible, and makes the law internally, nominal ;
but the land capitalists have used this inoperative law as a pre»
text, to inflict an impoverishing tax upon manufocturers by the
com laws. Protecting-duty laws have been passed here in &>
vourof several agricultural manufactures, buttiiey are wholly



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unbeneficial to agriculturists, and inflict no tax upon any otter
occupation, because of the abundance of agricultural manufac*
tures beyond the home demand. Yet the manufacturing capi*
talists here, in imitation of the land capitalists in England, hare
seized upon these inert laws as a pretext, for inflicting an impo-
verishing tax upon all other occupations for their own beneflt*
The appropriation of English national capital to the use of land
capitalists is a heavy item of an eleemosynary system in fayoor
of the rich, whidh requires a great standing army to maintain*
The appropriation of a large portion of the capital of the United
States to the use of the same system, has only caused hitherto
such distresses, as suggested a necessity for the English army*
An important distinction, however, exists between their emu
laws, and our protecting-duty laws. Corn possesses few or
none of the qualities of a general or universal currency. Being
too perishable to bear repeated voyages, and of universal
growth, it is unsuitable for a re-exportation and exchange |
^d would not act as circulating currency upon English manu-
foctures, or increase their value in any considerable degree*
But manufactures possess most of the qualities of an universal
currency. They are susceptible of long preservatidn, and can en-
dure repeated voyages, and are every where in demand. They
are in short a better currency than any local paper. A surplus
imported, beyond the wants of internal consumption, is there-
fore an accession of mercantile currency as valuable as coin,
and will have a similar effect in raising the value of products in
tiie country so fortunate as to obtain it We hear continually
of the balance of trade; but we err, if we compute this balance
only by money, and reject those things which money represents.
A nation would have the balance of trade ?n its favour if it never
Ixtraght home money, and only more valuable things than it eaD>
ried out ; nor would it be difficult to prove, that it would be bet-
ter to receive a balance of trade in commodities, than in cmn.
Many cities have derived great prosperity from being depots of
commodities, because they are the most valuable species of uni-
versal currency ; and if all the manufactures of England could
be circulated by way of the United States, it would undoufat- .
edly add to our wealth. Whatever portion can be so circulat-
ed, will have a comparative effect. Nor is it a sufficient answer
to this observation to say, that protecting-duties do not prohaiJI



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inpertatioiis for exportatioD, because bj diminisliiiig the fartMne^
market, and changing an alluring invitation into a scowling pro-
hibitton» the adventures of commerce will be dispirited, and 1
ike sources of a surplus for re-exportation dried up. However
tlus may be, it is evident that the English com laws, bad as thej
are, maj be defended by one argument, of which our protecting-
duty laws cannot avail themselves ; namely, that an importa-
tion of corn is not an acquisition of an universal currency, and
an accession of wealth. t

But there is another material distinction between com, an<jr
the whole compass of manufactures. The consumption of manu#
factures excites the effort and industry, which are better sour-
ces of national wealth, than exclusive privileges and commer-
cial prohibitions. It converts numberless feelings of human.
Bature into productive labourers, and constructs comfort, taste,
pride, luxury and self-love into a machinery, worked by the
Uteam of our passions, which compared with the sluggishness
caused by suppressing gratifications, or with the animation in-
spired by consuming corn, will manifest the true character ot
the intervening gradations. Freedom in the enjoyment of the
comforts and elegancies of life is the parent of that activity
whi^h reimburses a nation, both with intelligence and re-pro-
ductions for its consumptions, by enlarging the capacities of the
mind and body. By copying the English corn laws, we are
therefore cultivating two supernumerary evils, with which those
laws are not chargeable, in expelling from our shores a general
and valuable currency, and in suppressing some of the strong-
est motives for bodily industry and mental improvement

In computing the evil inflicted by our protecting-duty laws,
that inflicted by the English corn laws will reflect much proba-
Wity upon our cQi\)ectures. The corn laws, says the Edinburg
Beview, inflict ala annual tax amounting to £ £4,580,000.
This, at three per centum profit, is a dislocation of above
jg 800*500,060 of national capital for the benefit of land capi-
talists. The enhanced price obtained by manufactory capital-
ists upon their annual sale^ constitutes the tax here, and when
we consider that a man cofisumes a far greater value in manu-
factures than he does in corn, it is obvious that a tax upon so
many commodities either is, pr will soon become more oppres-
sive and distres^g than a tax upon one. Its present amount



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iamtr and existiiig Unportatioiit, ftnA delntiiig the capitilMi
Mth the GOMaropttoni rttoltiiig firom their dntinutifMi, mm weU
as thoM arifing from aa inorease of papnlatioB. I eoigeetnre
that borne mamifactures wmj be aanoallj loM to the amount of
flfteen or t went j miilioiii, and that thek* price may be enhaneed
bj the protecting-dutj laws about six millioDS^ Bat I think
that thoM laws oa|^talsotobechaFged with a dead loss of three
millions more, sustained bj the mercaiitiie» agrtenltand and
■laritinie emplojments» by the eipulsion from our ports of a
great number of commodities^ which would have inareased pr(>-
fit, price and employment to that amoai^ at least These sums
dislocate three hundred millions of national eapitaL

The fourth great trespass upon this capital is compounded
of pensions and legislative waste of time and nmney by dot^
judicial business. It is probable, that these items have absorbed
about three hundred millions of national caintal, but as they
are included in the item of taxation, it is unnecessary to esti*
mate their amount for the condensed view to which I am adrano*
ing, however important it may be in considering the remedks
fcr the publick distress.

Taxation is the last hcAvy item of the system for transferring
BStional capital from its owners, to eleemosynary uses. Bimet
Touchers to ascertain its total amount in the United States see
not attainaUe, but I suppose the exipenses of the federal govern^
ment to be about twenty-rix millions, and ihme of all the state
governments to be about thirteen millions. Didlars are meant
in reference to the United States, and sterling money in refer-
ence to England. I have understood that the revenue of Tir-
ginia, exclusive of county taxes and poor ratss, exceeded a mtf»
Hon, and these taxes generally amount to nearly as mudi mora.
All the taxes of every kind in Virginia being about two miUions
annufdly, as that state only contains about one tenth of Urn whole
population of the union, it would follow from this rufe, that the
tuesof all the states amount to twenty millions; butas Ihave
BO vouchers, seven are deducted as a sufficient preeantimi
against error. We shall not, therefore, be very much mmtaken,
by supposing that the peofde of the United States are pigring ^
all their governments at this time about thirty ^mim anions.
Estimating the profit of capital at three per centan> ttiis iHfm



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imfl»f^ fhm ^ «M of owmrs t» etoeflimyBiiy ne^
hmidred miUknt of iiatieDal cftpitiQ.

It is of iko consequence wlwtiier the term ^ eleemesTnarj^
be correctly or iacorreetlj a^q^lied to taxes* or wiiether govem-
nents be classed as productive or unproductire, if tke focts be.
admittedy that gOTemmeuts maj become oppressire by taxation^
and diat taxation, light or heavy, transfers capital by absorbing
{NTofit Nor is it very in^rtant, that the estimate of three
p^r centum as the aven^ nett profit of all the taxable capital
of tbe country, should be exactly correct When an evil is
fett with sufficient severity to suggest a remedy, it is losing time
to be computing its amount in drachms and scruples. It is the
amount of national ciq^ital, whatever that amount may be, trans-
ferred by laws from the conventional and natural owners to
eleemosynary uses, which is the true cause of the publick di^
tresses ; but consMeriug the dead surplus of land in the United
States, for want of labour to t^uttfvate it, the general poorness
of the soil, and the hi^ price of labour, my conviction is, that
the whole capital of the country, siribject to taxation, does not
average a nett prcAt even of three per centum.
Thirty-nine millions of taxes absorb of national

cajntal, - - - - 8 l,S00,000,00O

Twelve miHions received by banks do. 400,000,000

Nine millions received by captb^ists, or lost by

a depreciatien of native commodities do. 300,000,000



8 2,000,000,000



In Great Britain, tiiree tiiousand millions of '^unds of national
capital are mm-^;i^d to eleemosynary uses, and in the United
States, two thousand millions of dollars are mortgaged to the
same uses. Hie diflferenee is about six-fold. By computing
the wealth and population of the whole Britisb empire, and its
great supplies from tiie four quarters of the glebe, we should
discover Aat it is able to raise six times more than we are, and
thence we at once account for the existing similitude between
the distresses of the two countries. It must be ascribed to
causes common to both, and no other common cause can be
found, except the system of appropriating national capital to
dee mesynary uses.



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hk eorrespmidtnee with this makuitjr betvcen ca«te Aod
tKtctt memory Ainiishei evidence which seems to be irresisti-
ble. The federal taxes in die time of Washington were three
millions, and computing those of the states at half as much» one^
hundred and fifty millions of national capital sufficed to pajr
them. At that time, no national capital was mortgaged to
manufacturing capitalists, and but little to bankers. Two great
changes have taken place ; a great hypothecation of national
ca|rital to eleemosynary uses, and a great increase of publick
distresses in a time of profound peace. Can any body believe
that these fellow travellers have no connexion with each other?

There is another consideration of vast weight, to be esti-
mated by the reader, and by all republican legislators, befose
we advert to the remedies for the publick distress. It is, that
taxes, pensions, bounties, dividends and protecting duties, have
been at least doubled by a rise in the value of money, and ,a
&11 in the value of produce and property, since they were im-
posed, without any legislative act by the re(N*esentatives of tiie
people. Madmen or tyrants only impose taxes without regard-
ing the ability to pay. The legislatures, therefore, which im*
posed all. our burdens, must have estimated the pubiick ability
to sustain them, and hajre been governed .by that estimate.
When half this alnlity is gcme, the taxes are obviously doubled*
and the same e^mate, by which they were i^^K)sed, requires
that half of the tax^ should be taken offl It is apparent that
the old tariff, thmi^ unaltered in figures, is in fact doubled ;
together with all bounties, pensions, dividends and legislative
wages, in their pressure upon the people. The notion of ttie
inannfacturiiig caintidiats, that their bounties should be furt^r
increased, after their value to themselves^ and their pressure
upon the people, has been doubled by the appreciation of money,
and &e fall in^ the prices of produce and property, is fouu4^d
in the same reasoning, which would justify legislature's in m^^
ing tiieir wages, and pensioners in asking for an augmentation
of pensions. Look at this reasoning. The taxes were imposed,
the bounties and penrions bestowed, and th^ l^slative wi^ges
increased, when the depreciation of money and the priqe of
produce ambled the people to pay twice as much, as,easilj as
they can now pay half as much ; therefore taxes, bounties^ pyan
fBLom afid wages, all absoiiiers of natiional c^tal» ei^t tii.i>e



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lynarians^ and it uttoriy (Hre9lude» ft re4r^ of t)^e evUs 9Bi4^
wM^h the Unitad Btajes ar^ lAbouriiy.

There ie fti|other pode of rf^ponipfr efimUy forcible, whi^
fMn^cte it A4mittii^ that the publipk distressef iui9e fropi
teg^sl^ive transfers of o^tipofl i^fal to eleefnoejiii^ uf ea» i^
would he cruel to restore thi^ capi^ tp th^ rjightfji^ ow^f^
Would a robber, who ha4» in ^ fit of geueri^it;, divi^^ 1^
purse he had tftken. between a rich and poor ^aau, b^ wrop^ ii|
reelnMns mi restarilig it to the owner? After rep#nt^|i»pa
^ oyeued our eye^ cjsu (ioi^ciem^e be ft^peaspd witbw^t r^o^-
tuition ? Buti this is the great argument whi$h |deft4^ Kl^n^
|i»stice to the nMiou, ^nd therefore reqiiires sofne e^|:fM]^fuatio||,

The legislative poww over curr^cy with vvbiqh b^k dir^r
tim are invested* has bee^ e^^rcising, and is stUl e^rcisii^ipg
as to produise sumj pd&tical evijs, find ((countless in^Jviditi)
wfo^rtttBes* These have pro)red» that the prescnptioiis ^ f^
interested aristoerftcy in fielation to curre^jr euptribute neir
ther to the health of society, nor the happiness of individiwiill^
They even render it uupossiUe, tb^t rfq;^Hpan li^lli^res
ahould mppse taxes by any (perfect esti»i9^ beic;$tuse they c|g
diminisb the ability to p^y, by di^inishijtig the P^rre^eyi gf
ibssen the efieacy of the sum poUeated, by increauug it ThM^
ere consid^i^iiHis sufficient to open our ear^ to the felipwjing
reasons ^^^posedtpiiieargHnieiit of cruelty. If legifla^inseiirip
eorereigns, they had a right to invest beak diiieatprs with it
legislative power of regulating curjrency^ if not moise fi^nut^
i» comprise in the breach of constitutions, by wh^h 4be UtMrty
of a gn^t people is endansared^ end their hap|4nosi iaipaiiiiiit
Ihan in thcdr vindication. The retention of unconstitutioaal
Md misery-infiicting acquisitions* will he a liberal icompepea-
^ion for the re8l;eration of republkan legialetion aver currencgr ;
iMpeeially as bankers will receive the shaiae of the hMu^ts
ff^hidi n^y flow from it Patriotick bankers will fipd rwnplete
.^QQH^soUtion, by balancing puUick good agponst aiastocrwtieal
jl^;islatian^ Suppose we bed biundei^ upon a king- oner jOmt-
WB^iji 4>ttght we to edbere to the ecnnv a&er we had d^isfiesered,
^u^ monarchy was as hsd a pnnci^e i^'govemiuent in respeet
io the repvesentative of property, as to property itself ? ^faorge
<tiie itfaml wasjr^cegnised as their king% Utijbf att.tha safe-
^ R



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met, aod flie rectgBititn was rivetled by the wiurd «Uegi«wse»
the force of which these colonies admitted. Bank directors
hare been recognized by ail the states as aristocracies to coq<>
tiane for years, and the recognition b attempted to be rivetted
1^ the word charter, to deprive legislatures of the power of
repeal bj a misnomer, the force of which neither the j, nor our
ceostitations allow. Shall the illegitimate word charter impose
vpoa us an aristocracy for years, when the true word allegiance
cottld not presenre a king for Itfe? Brutus exclaimed, ** virtue^
** thou art bat a name :" and it is now contended that liberty is
only a word, subjected to another word of higher authority;
but I do not see any possible mode of getting rid of monarchy
or aristocracy, formal or substantial, except by their removal
Oeorge the third had only a negative upon our laws, and could
Bot legislate over a dollar. Bank directors legislate over nul*
UuuB, and our governments have no negative upon their laws*
Could the colonies have gotten rid of the royal negative, they
would have acquired the independence enjoyed by our currency
leipslatures.

' The cruelty of abolishing the protecting-duty system admite
of the same answers, because that system <is of the same cha*
laeter with banking* It investe a cominnation of capitaliste
wMi a legislative power over manufactures and exchanges*
The nature of this power is illu^rated by the article of cottoop
Its price is universally diminished by an increased product ii|
Jlhe Bast and West Indies, Brazil, Spanish America and the
Cfiiled Slates. The capitalists, by a partial monopoly iji ne*
eessary commodities, have sutigected our cotton planters and
the rest of the community, to a conskierable tax for their bene-
fit. If this tax could raise the price of our cotton, it could no
longer enter mto competition with foreign cotton. If not, the
tax paid by our cotton planters upon home made cotton goods,
would be an addition to the expense of cultivation, to^which
their foreign competitors not being exposed, they uwuld stiB
enter into the competition under great disadvantages. If our pro*
kibition'Of cotton goods cimld raise the price of cotton abroad*
pur cotton planters would derive no advantege, or a less advaa^
tags from it, than foreign cotton planters by the amount
of the protecting*duty tex they paid to capitalists. If the
tlUK could raise the price here and not abroad, it could oidj be



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ttwae n t ar y^ as it eirald myt be exported, and worid be amlig-
Ijlad into tki» country ; nor cooM our cotton mairafactiirerg e¥er
export their work» wkilst their riyals couM buy cotton cheaper.
If the protectingHliitj systoro could raiae ike price of labour,
jtstly and equally, it wirald do nothings beeaaae its rdatWie
fyrtces would remain the same ; but if it should cKsorder this re-
lattre valuoi it will cause such injuries to imlividuals as hvf%
been caused by banking; The cotton planters throughout the
mor]A are a ccunmunity, or a species of United States, no se»"
tkm of which can tax other sections, or get bounties from them
by taxing itself. The common law of this comRnMRty is tiie
natural right of free exchanges. It cannot choose a congress,
with a power of granting exclusiTe privileges to favoured sec-
tions, nor can any section grant exdusire privileges to itseH
Any section may, indeed, diminish or lose the benefits of tUt
common law by taxing itscif ; but then it will be in a worm
situation, than the sections whicK fully retain tiie right of free
exchanges. Cotton manufiicturers throughout the commercial
world compose another community. It is said, that a tax upea
our cotton planters will give them some advantage over foreign
cotton Ranters. Would a tax upon bur ooten manufaotttreva
also give them an advantage over their competitors ? This is a
mode of suppressii^[; rivalry, which I never knew any mtereit
to try willingly. It is said, that by taxing cotton planters for the
benefit of cotton manufoctorers, the capitalists may be bcibeA
to sell cheap in some period, long or short ; but the first stop to-
wards obtaining cheap manufactores, is to get raw materials
eheap ; and, therefore, the bounty ought ei4dently to have been
given to the cotton planters, as the surest mode of efiecftii^ the
promised good. But the wrong end is selected to begin at, be*>
cause the right one would not bestow an accession of wealth
upon capitalists. These gentlemen admit, and indeed warmly
contend, that the country is cruelly distressed ; and cdl loudly
for a remedy. They propose one, as they declare, out of mere
patriotism ; and that of a nature so complete and effectoaK
that they all agree in ojunion. It is simply an increase of the
very eleemosynary system, which has brought us where we are^
in their own favour. If this remedy will cure the puUick dia»
teesses, it ooj^t undoubtedly to be a|^ied ; if not, the same rev
nedy under which they have increased, ong|ht-to be renounced^



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IM sMiCulty between the dtttreNes expeiietic«d by Htm \
tti ititM» tiiMy qtmtM a ctase e^mnoti to tlL KMtvdiyiMl
Ohk) nmfiifkctote iMM thtB Virgiiih and Maryfand, tml hcve
lAae snflbred more. Manvfactaring is» tberelbfe, nettbci* Mie
catiae nor tiie i«medy of the generd difttresa. Bat Kentaeky^
tnd Ohtb {mailed the banking member of the ^letmMjmrf
a)r8tem, farther than Tirginia and Mainland* if oar dtetato ai o
really pHKreed from this system, as I have contended, the argit-
ftMnt of cruelty can only be settled, by com|Witfg the dmm «f
^ttatt-eMes anstained by the commanity, under ila iniaehce, m¥k
the distresses eleemosynarhins wW sustain by its abelitiM.
• Annaities to bankeri and capitalists differ hi no respect ftmk
Ute Bngliah poor lates, except in being penaions to the rich.
•What coatd be said of a natiM, which had no men^eantiMl^
poor elasa at all, bat was so enamoored with the Bngfiah po6r
laws, as to create one oat of rich people? That it inritated ^m
policy Of the United States. The aereral states constitate tin
oamaMNdty erfled the Unted States* Its individrndi Mag
alctes, no mendicant claas can axiat in this tWerai nation, teir**
eept <taie compounded of atatea i and we ind no power de!^;*^
tad to congraas to profidefMr poor states. Bntii has gone ^sAttof
Hie fiwtenJ c o nnh an Hy hits bftar nattsna la tnd a class caHM
^oorssl^Hfsrs, thoagh these indtridnate are membens of atat»
wtomonitieak and though there is nothing ki the «onatitation» its-
Vosting eoiqp^sa widi any power OTer indlvfdarie became the^
1M poor, or iimWhig it to give poniona to poor soldSera, iOtf
«iore than to poor militia meik By a hlwef congress, poverty la
aaade the criterion of a chum to a pension, and of ooano»ef tite
right of congresats grant it What bounds are there to such a
power of kgitlation over peraons ? No such boandMs psw<er



Online LibraryJohn TaylorConstruction construed, and constitutions vindicated → online text (page 32 of 34)