Nathaniel Hillyer. Egleston.

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have left the artisans we employ in Europe, and fed them only
so far as the competition with Hindoo ryots and Hungarian or
Russian peasants permitted; by protection we have brought
them to our own shores and made them the farmer's best cus
tomers. If the tariff were deprived of its protective character,
many of these would be obliged to become farmers, or leave the
country. Is the farmer to be benefited by converting his cus
tomers into his competitors, or banishing them ? Is it not to his
advantage to have about him a great body of persons who are
not living by farming ? That he is benefited by the policy that
brings the artisan into neighborhood with him, is shown to
demonstration by the statistics recently published by the Agri
cultural Bureau. The annual value of a man's labor in farming,
and the value of land per acre, are inversely proportional to the
concentration of labor upon agriculture exclusively. Where
three-fourths of the people are farmers, two do not produce as
much as one does in our manufacturing commonwealths. Mis
sissippi has no county that produces a million dollars 7 worth of
farm products ; Massachusetts has but two that produce less
than ten millions' worth. My own conversion from free trade
was completed in 1867, at a meeting called in a Western town
I was visiting, at which the farmers were clubbing their savings
to set up a cotton-factory. I found their reasonings unan

The effect of the protective policy on the condition of the
American workman is a matter of growing interest, since that
policy is increasing the number and influence of this class, and
is forcing attention to its wants and wishes. Before 1848, little
heed was given to the wage-earners, and no statistics were col
lected as to their condition. It is said that they are well off for
reasons with which the tariff has nothing to do, because of the
natural advantages of the country, and the consequent high
productivity of labor ; and that they always have had an easy
time in a country where there is plenty of land and abundance
of natural resources of all kinds. But the closer students of our
social development hold a contrary opinion. The picture of the
artisan's condition a hundred years ago, given us by Mr. Mac-


Master in his "History of the American People," and that of fifty
years ago by Mathew Carey in his " Letters on the Charities of
Philadelphia in 1829," are amply confirmed by what is told by
those who remember the rise of the manufactures of New England.
The American workman of that day was hardly, if at all, better
off than his English competitor. He was ill paid, fed, clothed,
and housed ; and the facilities for the education of his children
were of the poorest. In some cases the children of the poor
ran naked all summer, to save their scanty clothes for winter.
People died of absolute want in our cities every winter, and
the wages of women were twenty-five cents a day. The con
dition of our working classes at present is not all that it should
be, but it is so much above the European level as to be a matter
of just national pride. The evidence of the difference is fur
nished by our consular reports, by Mr. Porter's valuable letters,
and by the volume on wages in the census of 1880.

That this high average of comfort could be maintained in the
absence of protection is not maintained by free-traders gener
ally ; it is not a defensible proposition. Our difference in this
respect corresponds to the political difference between demo
cratic America and monarchical Europe ; and the abolition of
discriminations in favor of American labor must result in bring
ing our work-people down to a level at which their brethren are
held in countries where equality has never superseded privilege.
The good estate of our laborers is not a matter of economic
advantage merely. It tends to check the spread of discontent
and of subversive social theories j it enables them to live a more
human life in family, church, and state, and to feel that they are
not the forgotten and insignificant fragments of mankind, but a
respected and valued part of our citizenry.

The great objection to protection is, that " it raises the prices
of manufactured products, thus taking away with one hand all it
seems to give with the other. It enables the producers of manu
factured goods to levy upon the consumer a tax nearly equal in
amount to the duties assessed by the Government upon the im
ported article, while ' taxation should be for public purposes ex
clusively.' It is anti-social; for the interest of the producer, which
it seeks to promote, is the interest of a class, while that of the
consumer, which it ignores, is the interest of society. And the
interest of the consumer is cheapness simply." That the interest


of society is in cheapness simply, is open to doubt. An essen
tial character of those periods of depression that we call " hard
times " is the cheapness of all commodities. While a small
percentage who live on fixed incomes, and are independent of
the prosperity of producers, may find such times enjoyable and
wish for their continuance, this is not true of the community at
large. It watches for an " improvement in prices, 77 by which it
means a rise. Even our free-traders are inconsistent enough to
dislike hard times, to abuse the tariff as the cause of a condition
of things that they should have regarded with the liveliest satis
faction, as though protectionist countries had any monopoly
of hard times, or the tariff were a device to make men wise as
well as rich.

Countries that have large classes living on fixed incomes
will have many free-traders. In America we may say of this
class, De minimis non curat lex. American interest lies in the
relation of price to price. A man complained that what cost but
a shilling in Ireland, cost a dollar in America j but he came to
America because he could get the dollar more easily than the
shilling. He had labor to sell, as we all have something to find
a market for. We all are the better for a policy which, if it makes
things a little dearer, gives us a chance when we come to sell.
Our friend Thomas Hughes treated us to this shilling-and-dollar
argument when he was last in Philadelphia. A dollar is some
thing over four shillings ; our duties on imports do not average
more than sixty-six per cent., if so much 5 this leaves two shill
ings and fourpence to be accounted for, if Mr. Hughes found
the American dealers asking him a dollar for what he paid a
shilling for at home. I have not the least doubt of his cor
rectness. My own family remarked the same thing, when
we tried to indulge the preference we brought from home for
certain articles of English make and fashion ; a shilling corre
sponded to a dollar. But that was in the summer of 1857,
under the nearest approach to free trade that this country has
ever had.

The notion that protection enables a manufacturer to make
excessive profits by adding the amount of the duty to the price
of his goods, and thus to levy taxation for other than " public
purposes exclusively," is contrary at once to the facts and to the
teaching of all the great free-trade authorities, although it has


become a commonplace of free-trade argument in America.
Adam Smith and his school even argue against protection from
the fact that the home competition, with which the tariff cannot
interfere, must pull down profits to the average level, by attract
ing capital into any channel in which they are excessive. A
prohibitory tariff could do no more than put our country mto
the position it would occupy if there were no other manufact
uring countries. But even then there could be no monopoly of
production ; much less can there be such under a tariff that only
restricts importation.

I have written as if I conceded that a protective duty always
enhanced prices, with the view of showing that, even if it did,
the balance of benefit would be in its favor. The statistics of
prices in 1860 and 1880, however, show that the great staples
are cheaper now than before the tariff was adopted. A pro
tective duty often does its work without adding anything to the
price that the consumer has to pay for the article. If it suffice to
reduce the profits of the trader to the point at which he finds it
more profitable to deal in home than in foreign products, it is
enough. Many New York houses that once dealt in English
goods only, now sell little or nothing but what is of American
make. They once were zealous for free trade, but now are at
least indifferent, for they know that they are selling as cheaply
as before the tariff turned the current of business. And they
know that the preeminence of New York is not more due to her
favorable situation for commerce, than to her position between
Pennsylvania and New England, and to her own rapid rise in
rank as a manufacturing center. The same is true of Chicago.
On the other hand, the removal of a duty may change the course
of business to our disadvantage, without cheapening the product
to the consumer. Inquiries made by Mr. Chace, of Rhode Island,
go to show that the removal of the duty on quinine has not made
it cheaper at retail ; it simply has enabled the less honest class
of druggists to fill prescriptions with the cheaper German and
French preparation, and to make a larger profit at the expense
of the sick.

The influence of protection on the balance of trade, on
mechanical invention, and in the matter of national defense, is
of equal importance ; but space forbids its treatment here.

VOL. cxxxix. NO. 335. 29


THE reduction of the national revenue effected by the act of
March 3, 1883, was $50,488,848 during the fiscal year recently
closed. Notwithstanding this large reduction, the surplus
applicable to the sinking fund and reduction of the public debt was
$102,300,156, and without any change of existing laws will not
f all below $80,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1885.
To distribute the payment of the national debt more equally
over the twenty-three years before which the last series of
bonds are payable, there is a general concurrence of judgment
that it is desirable to further reduce the revenue.

Whatever reduction may be made in internal revenue taxation,
it will be necessary to also make some modifications of the tariff,
not only with the view of diminishing the receipts from duties on
imports, but also for the purpose of correcting such incongruities
in the last revision as have been disclosed by its practical work
ings. There is a radical difference of opinion, however, as to
whether these modifications shall carefully preserve the principle
of protection to home industries, or shall be conformed to the
theory that " protection is robbery" and revenue the only object
to be kept in view in the imposition of duties on imports.

So far as duties are imposed on articles not produced or made
here, like coffee, tea, spices, and jute, no question of protection
can arise. Such duties must be solely for revenue. Even in the
case of articles like sugar, produced here in limited quantities
because of the disadvantage of climate, the duty imposed is
practically for revenue only. It is on such articles as these,
that enter into general consumption or form the materials of
manufacturing industries, that duties can be wisely reduced so
as to diminish revenue and work a positive advantage to the

The protective principle applies only to such merchandise as
can be produced or made here to the extent of our wants, with
out serious disadvantage of climate, soil, or other natural con
ditions. Its object is to encourage the establishment and growth
of home industries congenial to our climate, by levying duties on
foreign goods sufficient to offset the advantages foreign manu
facturers possess by reason of their cheaper labor, more abundant
capital, and longer experience. Such protective duties encour
age the consumption of home-made goods and discourage impor-


tations of foreign manufactures. This, necessarily, brings less
revenue to the treasury from these articles than would have been
secured if the duty on such goods had been fixed at a rate low
enough to enable foreign manufacturers to more generally supply
our markets. The maximum revenue point is necessarily that rate
of duty which affords no adequate protection to home industries*

One serious objection to the Morrison tariff bill was, that the
twenty per cent, horizontal reduction which it proposed on
cotton, woolen, and metal manufactures, would have encouraged
the importation of a larger volume of foreign-made goods to
take the place of home manufactures, and would have resulted
in an increase of the revenue from these sources. That so large
a reduction would have brought about this result, is evident from
the fact that, even with the existing duties, foreign manufac
turers were enabled to sell in our market cottons, woolens, and
metals to the value of nearly one hundred and forty million
dollars, or one-eighth of our whole consumption of those articles.
In addition to this, the fact that the advocates of this measure
presented it as only the first * step of a programme which con
templated other similar steps in the near future, until our tariff
should be placed on the free trade or revenue only principle,
made it necessary to meet this assault on the principle of pro
tection at the beginning. The fact that the opponents of pro
tection have adopted the policy of indirect rather than direct
attack, of gradual approaches under cover of " revenue reform "
rather than of one grand assault, increases the necessity of watch
fulness, and renders it doubly important that any modification
of the tariff with a view of reducing the revenue and adjusting
the details in the light of experience, should be made by a Con
gress friendly to the protective principle.

The necessity for protective duties on manufactured goods
rests mainly on the fact that the wages of workingmen are on
the average at least fifty per cent, higher in this country than
in European countries. Even estimated by purchasing power,
wages are nearly fifty per cent, higher here than abroad, as the

* It is but an advance toward and a promise of complete revenue reform.
Speech of the Hon. W. R. Morrison in the House of Representatives, in opening
the debate on his bill.

This process of reformation must go on until the power of taxation is used
. . . . only for the purpose of raising revenue. Speech of Speaker Carlisle
before the New York Free-trade Club.


cost of living on a similar scale is less than ten per cent,
more in this country than in England. The most careful statis
tics gathered from official sources have so clearly established
this, that it is conceded by candid anti-protectionists who have
had an opportunity of personally investigating the facts.*
Ordinarily it is impossible to maintain manufacturing indus
tries in this country without a protective duty on imported
goods large enough to cover the increased cost of manufacture,
mainly because the labor required to build and carry on manu
facturing establishments costs fifty per cent, more here than it
does in Europe.

Too much stress cannot be laid upon the fact that in most
well-established industries in this country, it is the higher wages
of our labor which stands in the way of free competition with
manufacturers abroad. Raw materials, i. e., materials as they are
found in nature before human labor has been applied to them,
are as abundant and cheap in this country as in any other.
Materials to which labor has been applied to prepare them for
more advanced manufactures cost more here than abroad only
for the reason that this labor receives more here than in Europe.
Manufacturers who want to import their materials free of duty,
while they insist on retaining a duty on imported goods of a
like character of their own production, overlook the fact that
they seek to apply the protective principle to their own industry
and deny it to others. This is impossible. The labor employed

* To any one studying the condition of this country, three things are evi
dent : First, that we are the most prosperous people in the world, and,
second, that we are paying the highest wages of any people of the world.

I shall not have time to go into details as to the difference in the

rate of wages, but I will append to these remarks the tables It

will be sufficient for me to say that as between Great Britain and the United
States the rate of wages is on the average about fifty per cent, higher here
than there. Speech of Hon. Aoram S. Hewitt in the House of Representatives,
March 30, 1882.

Carroll D. Wright, Chief of the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor and Sta
tistics, in his last annual report publishes statistics showing that the average
wages of labor in twenty-four employments is 65 per cent, higher in Massa
chusetts than in England. As to the comparative cost of living, Colonel
Wright states that provisions, which comprise 64 per cent, of the cost of
support of a workingman's family, are 23 per cent, cheaper in Massachusetts
than in England ; and that if a workingman were content to live here as he
lives in England, it would cost him less than 6 per cent, more to live in
Massachusetts than in England.


by one manufacturer in preparing materials for a more ad
vanced manufacture is entitled to a protection fairly propor
tioned to its amount and skill, so long as both work for the
protected home market.

When the manufacturer proposes to make goods for sale in
a foreign market in free competition with foreign manufactures,
then he should have the privilege of importing his materials,
advanced to any stage, free of duty. For eighty-five years the
American manufacturer has well-nigh had this privilege, a duty
of only ten per cent, having been exacted on imports intended
for this purpose, where the materials were wholly of foreign
production. The fact that under this privilege so few materials
have been imported for the manufacture of goods for export
shows that it is our higher paid labor, and not the slightly in
creased cost of materials, that stands in the way of our success
ful competition in foreign markets with European manufacturers.-
But whatever aid can be extended by free materials should
promptly be given through such a modification of the law of
1799 as will allow a manufacturer to import free of duty any
portion of the materials used in the manufacture of goods for
export. Not even free trade could do more to aid our manu
facturers in reaching foreign markets, unless it be assumed that
free trade would reduce the wages of labor. On the other hand,
free trade, of which a tariff for revenue only is simply a fore
runner, would surrender our own markets, which are the best
in the world, to foreign manufacturers, without giving our own
manufacturers any better opportunity to compete in the already
overstocked foreign markets than they would obtain by such an
amendment of the laws of 1799 as has been suggested.

The charge is persistently made that protective duties bene
fit only manufacturers, and enormously tax other classes. To
the first charge the conclusive reply is, that the capital invested
in manufactures pays no greater profit than that invested in
other business. To the second charge the equally satisfactory
answer is, that the establishment of manufacturing industries in
this country has increased the wages of labor and service in
every department, has reduced the prices of all manufactured
goods, and has added to the prosperity of the country. There
is not a State or a community into which manufacturing indus
tries have been largely introduced that has not at once felt the
beneficial influence of the new order of things. A policy that


produces these results is not a tax which brings burdens ; it is
an investment which brings large returns ; it is the seed sown
in good ground which returns a hundred-fold.

Protective duties work out these results, by securing the
introduction of new industries which could not be successfully
established in this country if foreign goods were allowed to
come in free of duty, or on the payment of a less duty than the
increased cost of manufacture here. These new industries make
a new demand for labor, and in drawing workingmen from
other employments, inevitably increase wages, not simply in the
new industries, but also in every other employment. Wages
have very largely increased in this country since the introduc
tion of manufacturing industries. According to statistics pre
sented by Mr. Carroll D. Wright, in the Census Report, the
wages of labor advanced twenty-eight per cent, during the twenty
years between 1860 and 1880.

The beneficial influence of the introduction of manufacturing
industries on the wages of laborers outside of these industries,
is strikingly shown by statistics recently collected and pub
lished by Mr. J. R. Dodge, the statistician of the United States
Department of Agriculture. Mr. Dodge divides the States
into four groups, according to the extent of the distribution of
manufacturing industries. In the first group, in which manu
facturing pursuits are well distributed, the wages of farm labor
ers average $25 per month ; in the third group, in which sixty
per cent, of the workers are on farms and manfacturing indus
tries are poorly distributed, the wages of farm laborers average
$19.50 per month j and in the fourth group, in which seventy-
eight per cent, of the workers are on farms and manufacturing
industries are almost unknown, the wages of farm laborers aver
age only $13.20 per month.

The beneficial influence on the farmer of that protective
policy which has built up manufacturing industries is also
equally clearly shown by Mr. Dodge's statistics of the compara
tive value of farms and farm products in the four groups of
States referred to. In the first group, in which manufacturing
industries have furnished a home market for the farmer, the
average value of farm lands is $47 per acre, and the average
value of farm products per man, $467 per annum ; in the second
group, farm land, $34 per acre, and farm products, $394 per
man; in the third group, farm land, $20 per acre, and farm


products, $261 per man j and in the fourth group, the average
value of farm land, $9 per acre, and the average value of farm
products only $161 per man.

While our protective policy has increased the wages of laborers
and the rewards of service in every employment, and largely
added to the value of farm products by diversifying the indus
tries of our people, preventing too great a crowding of men to farms
and furnishing a home market to the farmer, it has at the same
time reduced the prices of all kinds of manufactured goods every
where, by adding our own production to the production of other
countries. Since 1860, under protection, the prices of prints in
this country have declined thirty-four per cent., of woolen cloths
twenty-five per cent., of crockery thirty-eight per cent., of glass
thirty-five per cent., of boots and shoes twenty per cent., and of
bar iron twenty-five per cent.






WITH a purely didactic purpose, an important logical truth,
has recently been compactly stated : " The ballot is a trust."
But a trust is clearly not a natural right ; men are not born
trustees. To say that all men have a natural right to vote is
absurd by definition, for voting is helping to govern others. To
say that a man has as good a right to govern others as they have
to govern him, advances nothing, for natural rights are not the
product of mutual concessions^ So far from suffrage being a
natural right, it is an artificial arrangement devised by society
for its best government. These are very simple axiomatic prop
ositions, but they cut across much of the popular talk, and
politicians would call them un-American. Nevertheless, I sup
pose all careful thinkers would acknowledge them, and they are
not without practical moment. Natural rights are not to be con
ditioned ; but trusts are to be regulated, and the conditions of
suffrage form 'one of the gravest of our political problems.

I deal here with only a single question, that of female suf

Online LibraryNathaniel Hillyer. EglestonThe North American review (Volume 139) → online text (page 39 of 60)