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Record of Hon. Stephen A. Douglas on the tariff : compiled from the official records of Congress, for the People's State Committee of Pennsylvania online

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KE C O RD



OF



HON. STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS



OiN



THE TARIFF



Compiled from the Official Records of Congress, for the People's
State Committee of Pen?is7/lva7iia.



Mr. Douglas is now a candidate for the
Presidency, and his friends will attempt to
make the people believe that he is the friend
of Northern interests. But the following ex-
tracts from the otHcial records of Congress will
show that the "peculiar institutions" of Penn-
sylvania — the iron mines and manufactories —
have had no more steady, implacable, and per-
severing enemy, from South Carolina to Texas,
than STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS. Whatever
movement the Jree traders of South Carolina,
Georgia, and Mississippi, have made during the
last sixteen years, for reducing the duties on
iron, Mr, Douglas has promptly sustained and
voted for. He first entered the United States
House of Representatives in December, 18-i.3,
and irom that day to this he has been the co-
laborev of the Rhetts and Boyces in the work
of breaking dov/n the iron miners and manu-
facturers of the Keystone State.

Mr. Douglas was hardly warm in his seat
before l^e seized an occasion to testify his de-
votion t6 the South, by striking at the manu-
facturing interests of the free States.

In the United States House of Representa-
tives, December 18th, 1843, Mr. Rhett, of South
Carolina, moved a suspension of the rules, that
he might get in his resolution, which is as fol-
lows:

" Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and
' Means do inquire, as soon as practicable, into

* the expediency of reporting a bill repealing

* the tariff &ci of 1842, and in lieu thereof im-

* posing a maximum rate of duty of 20 per
' cent, ad valorem on imports, discriminating

* below this maximum in the duties imposed,

* on the principle of producing revenue only."

Mr. Rhett called for the yeas and nays on
his motion to suspend the rules, and they were
ordered^ and hams, taken, resulted — yeas 77, I
nays 108— STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS voting
in the atKrmative, with the free traders of the



South. — See Congressional Glohe, first session
T went [/-eighth Congress, page 44; and see
Journal of the Hoiis; of Representatives, first
session Twenty-eightn. Conyress, page 67.

Mr. Rhett offered the same resolution again
on .January 3d, 1844 on which he moved the
previous question. The previous question was
sustained by \]ii House; and on the question to
pass Ike resolution, the yeas were 57, nays 112 —
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS voting in the af-
tirmative, with the fr-se traders of the South. —
See Congressional Glohe, first session Twenty-
eighth Congress, page 98; and Journal of the
House of Representatives, first session Twenty-
eighth Congress, page 151.

January' 3d, 1844, Mr. E. J. Black, of Geor-
gia, submitted the lollowing resolution, and
called for the previovs question on it :

" Resolved, That the Committee of "Ways
' and Means be instructed to report a bill, as
' soon as practicable, revising the present tariff,
' and imposing duties on imports on the pria-
' ciple of revenue only.''^

The question beitig taken on the passage of
the resolution, it resulted — yeas 83, nays 84 — ■
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS voting in the af-
firmative, with the free traders of the South. —
Congressional Globe, first session Twenty -eighth
Congress, page 99 ; Journal of the House of
Representatives, first session Twenty -eighth
Congress, page 153.

The following passage in the Congressional
career of Mr. Douglas is especially worthy of
attention. It will be seen that he voted for a
resolution declaring in favor of discriminating
for revenue, and aganst protection to American
interests. A tariff based on the principle of
this resolution would lay the highest duties on
those articles of dail} consumption that are not
produced in this coiritry — such as tea and cof-
fee ; and the various articles of raw material
imported from abroad for purposes of manu-



facturing, articles which cannot be ^rown here,
but must be had, will bear the highest duties ;
■while hiffh duties upon articles similar to those
produced or manufacturf^d here soon raise
American competition with the foreign manu-
facture so high as to diminish importation.
Here, then, Mr. Douglas voted to protect the
foreign manufacturer, by taxing the articles
■which enter into American manufactures. In-
stead of levying duties mainly upon foreign
articles which come in competition with Amer-
ican productions, he would levy the highest
duties upon foreign articles which we cannot
produce, because they yield the must revenue.
This doctrine is ten-fold worse than absolute
free trade. Better abolish the custom-houses
at once, than use them for the proteciiou ot
foreign manufactures.

January 4th, 1844, Mr. Saunders, of North
Carolina, moved the previous question on the
resolution of Mr. McDowell, of Ohio. The
resolution was in the following words :

" Resolved, That the Committee of Ways and

* Means be instructed to report a bill so mod-

* ifying the present tariff as to provide a reve-

* Due sufficient for the wants of the Govern-

* ment, economically administered, and with

* such discrimination as looks to this object, and

* no other"

The yeas and nays being ordered on the
question to pass this resolution, resulted — yeas
84, nays 10:i— STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS vo-
ting in the affirmative, with the free traders ot
the South. — Congressional Globe, first session
Twenty-eighth Congress, page 1-02 ; Journal oj
the House of Representatives, first session
Twenty-eighth Congress, page 160.

On the' 8th day of March, 1844, Mr. McKay,
of North Carolina, from the Committee of
Ways and Means, in the H«use of Representa-
tives, reported a bill to modify and amend the
tariff act entitled " An act to provide revenue
' from imports, and to change and modify ex-

* isting laws imposing duties on imports, and
' for other purposes," approved 30th August,
1842.

Article 1st of section four of said bill reads
as follows :

" On iron, in bars or bolts, not manufactured,
' in whole or in part, by rolling, there shall be
' levied a duty oi fifteen dollars per ton, instead

* of seventeen dollars per ton imposed by the

* said act ; on bar or bolt iron, made wholly or
' in p^rt by rolling, there shall be levied a duty

* of twenty dollars per ton, instead of the duty
^ oi twenty-five HoWnTs per ton imposed by the
' said act; on all iron imported in bars, fur
' railroads or inclined planes, made to patterns,

and fitted to he laid dovm as 7-ails upon such
' roads or planes, without further manufacture,
' there shall be levied a duty o/'ten dollars per
' ton, instead of TWENTY-FIVE dollars per

* ton imposed by said act." ■* * ■*

"Art. 2. On iron in pigs, there shall be

* levied a duty of seven dollars per ton, instead



* of the duty of nine dollars per ton imposed
' by the said act.

"Art. y. On coal, there shall be levied a duty
' of one dollar per ton, instead of the duty of one
' dollar and seventy five cents per ton imposed
' by the said act." * ■* ■^'

For the bill itself, see Congressional Globe,
first session Twenty-eighth Congress, page H61.

This bill was discus.sed daily from March 8th,
1844, to May 10th, when a motion was made
to lay the bill on the table, and resulted — yeas
105, nays 99. This vote was considered by
all parties and publicly announced on the floor
of the House to be a test rote, STEPH^:N A.
DOUGLAS voting in the negative, with the
free traders of the South. — Congressional Globe,
first session Tivenfy-eighth Congress, page 591 ;
Journal of the House of Representatives, first
session Ticenty-eigJith Congress, page 895.

April 14, I84(i, Mr. McKay, of Nurth Caro-
lina, reported a bill irom the Committee of
Ways and Means for a modification of the tariff.—
Congressional Globe, fir^t session Twenty-
ninth Congress, page 670. In this bill, among
the goods which are to pay a duty of thirty per
cent, ad valorem, we tind "iron, in blooms,
' bolts, bars, loops, pigs, rods, slabs, or other
' iron ; castings of iron, scrap iron, vessels of
' cast iron," &c., &c., &c.

This bill was under consideration until July
'29th, when a motion was made to lay it upon
the table, but not carried — yeas, 96, nays,
113— STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS voting in the
negative, with the free traders of the South. —
Congressional Globe, first session Twenty-ninth
Congress, page 1165; Journal of the House of
Representatives, first session Twenty-ninth Con-
gress, page 1172.

A vote being finally taken on the passage of
the bill, resulted— yeas 109, nays 103— STE-
PliEN A. DOUGLAS voting in rhea2/'''»''«a^"'c,
with the free traders of the South. — Congres-
aional Globe, first session, Twenty ni:i!h Con-
gi CSS, page 1165; Journal of the House of Rep-
resentatives, first session Twenty ninth Con-
gress, page 1173.

Thus was repealed the protective tariff of
1842, in which the interests of Pennsylvania
were so deeply involved that even James Bu-
chanan was compelled to vote for it, and in its
place the free-trade tariff of 1846 was substi-
tuted, by the aid and vote of STEPHEN A.
DOUGLAS.

But the ruin of the iron interests was not
yet complete ; and Mr. Dougl.vs promptly
responded to the war cry of the South Carolina
fvee traders, who demanded further sacrifices.

There are those who may be so uncharitable
as to indulge the su-spicidn that, in voting to
repeal the duties on railroad iron, Mr. Doug-
las may have had other motives in addition
to those of devotion to the South.

It happens that this abortive attempt to re-
peal the duties on railroad iron coincides, in
point of time, with the incipient efforts to pro-



CTire immense granis of public lands for the
Illinois Centi-ar railroad. That Mr. Douglas
had more than a patriotic interest in that road,
is a fact which will not be denied. But whether
any thounfhts of personal advantap-e entered
into his mind, when voting to take the duty off
the iron which was to be put upon the tracks
of his own railroad, is a question which the
iron miners and Manufacturers are at liberty
to solve for themselves. One thing is certain.
The duties on railroad iron brought for that
year into the Treasury $4,000,000, as stated by
Mr. HuNTKR, of Va., and their repeal would have
taken from the Treasury, during the last seven
years, at that rate, no less than $32,200,000,
while it would have depressed the iron interests
to an equal extent, if it had not entirely annihi-
lated them !

Mr. Douglas was not content with two
million five hundred and ninety five thousand
acres of public lands to grade his road, but
voted to take $4,000,000 per annum of iron
duties out of the Treasury, in order to put for-
eign iron on the track ; and this was done vrith
the knowledge that it would bring ruin upon
the Pennsylvania iron interests.

In proof of which, read the following record :
In the United States Senate, February 28th,
1853, Senator Mason, of Virginia, otiered the
following amendment to a report from the
Committee on Finance, in relation to railroad
iron :

" Sec. — . And be it farther enacted, That

* all existing duties on iron imported, for rails,
' to be laid upon railroads in the United States,
' or the Territories thereof, shall be, and the

* same are hereby, repealed.''''

Mr. Douglas. " I would suggest, that, instead
' of repealing the duty in toto, we simply suspend
' it for a limited time — say two or three years.

* A commercial revulsion may come, which

* would render it necessai-y for us to have these

* duties for the purpose of revenue. I have
' prepared an amendment for that purpose, and

* I offer it as an amendment to the amendment ;

* but if it is not ad^ypted, I shall go with the

* Senator from Virginia for the TOTAL RE-
< PEAL OF THE DUTY T— Congressional
Globe, second session Thirty-second Congress,

page 900.

Mr. Douglas subsequently vnthdrew his
amendment, and a direct vote being taken on the
amendment offered by Senator Mason for the
repeal of the duty on railroad iron, resulted —
yeas 19, nays 30 — Senator STEPHEN A.
DOUGLAS voting in favor of Senator Mason's
amendment, with the free traders of the South. —
Congressional Globe, second session Thirty-
second Congress, page 937 ; JJ. S. Senate Jour-
nal, second sessio7i Thirty-second Congress,
page 250.

April 1 1th, 1854, the Senate, as in Commit-
tee of the Whole, proceeded to consider the
bill allowing a credit, fur a limited period, for
duties on railroad iron imported into the Uni-



ted States, reported from the Committee on
Finance, with an amendment.

The original bill provided that a credit of
five years shall be allowed on all unpaid bonds
heretofore given for duties on railroad iron
imported into the United States, or the Terri-
tories thereof, and on all bonds hereafter given
for duties on railroad iron which shall be im-
ported into the United States or the Territorieg,
within the period of two years from the passing
of this act, if it shall be made to appear, to
the satisfaction of the Secretary of the Treas-
ury, that the railroad iron has been imported
for the purpose of being laid down on roads
within the United States or the Territories
thereof.

Senator STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, in ofi'er-
ing a substitute for the bill reported by the
Committee on Finance, remarked as follows:
" The substitute that I offer is to this effect:
instead of giving a credit on railroad iron for
a limited time, we suspend the duty on rail-
road iron until the \st of July, 1857 ; he-
cause, if you give a credit, I am not certain
that you render any substantial assistance to
the railroad interest under this bill. You will
have an uncertain debt suspended over the
company, in, perhaps, the expectation that
Congress may remit the penalties and duties
when they become due, without any certainty
of such remission. You tell the railroad com-
panies, therefore, to be ready to meet a debt
when they hope not to be required to meet it;
and I am afraid you neither benefit the Treas-
ury nor the railroad interests of the country by
a proposition of that kind. We have now a
surplus of money in the Treasury. We have
a larger revenue than we desire. It is our
duty, if we intend properly to reduce the rev-
enue within the necessary demands of the
Government, to aHopt some such measure as
this. Between this and 1857, I do riot think
toe shall need the revenue arising from in^pprt-
ation on railroad iron. I KNOW OF NO
ITEM UPON WHICH V/E CAN TAKE
OFF THE REVENUE WITH GREATER
FACILITIES AND ADVANTAGES TO
THE GREAT MATERIAL INTERESTS
OF THE COUNTRY TH\N UPON THIS
ITEM. For that reason, I propose that, in-
stead of giving a credit for f oe yequrs, that we
suspend the duties until the first day of July,
1857." — Congressional Globe, first session
Thirty-third Congress, page 887.
Mr. Seward said : " I wish to ask the hon-
orable Senator from Virginia, [Mr. Hun-
ter,] as chairman of the Committee on Fi-
nance, whether he can give me a general
idea of how much the revenue derived from
the duties on railroad iron amounts to."
Mr. HuNTioR said: "The duty on railroad
iron, manufactured, rolled, or otherwise, is
about $4,000,000."
Mr. Reward. " I suppose that is correct ; I
have not now access to the tables to verify it.



* I Sjhall not now detain the Senate by discuss-
' ing this subject as fully as I intended to do.
' The proposition offered by'' the Senator from

* Illinois is similai- to the one which he oQ'ered

* at the last session, a^'d which was v^ith-

* drawn."

Mr. Douglas. " It was withdrawn, not
' because of objections to it, but because it
' was deemed improper to attach it to a gen-

* eral appropriation bill."

Mr. Seward. * * * " The proposition
' of the Senator from Illinois [Mr. Douglas] is
' to remit the duties on railroad iron for three
' years. I think that worse, in one respect,

* than to remit them in-lefiuitely ; because it

* will for the future render everything in regard

* to the manufacture of railroad iron in this
' country uncertain and uureliable. It will,
' 80 far as it goes, discourage the establish-
' ment of manufactories fur the making of

* railroad iron ; and will probably have the

* same effect now as if the measure were the
' abolition of the duties on railroad iron alto-

* gether. Then, soon after we shall have got
' into the period of three years, those who are

* interested in the construction of railroads,
' and those who are interested in the manufac-
' ture of railroad iron in this country, will be

* brought to the consideration of the question

* of what will probably lie the action of Con-

* gress — whether they will, at the expiration of

* the time, remove ihe duties altogether, or

* whether they will suffer them to be restored ?
' Here will be the field of perplexing and dan-
' gerous speculation, amointing almost to gam-
' bling on the policy of thi country." — Conyres-
sional Globe, pnye 887.

A motion was made, and carried by yeas 33,
nays 9, to postpone the farther consideration
of the bill until Monday week— STEPHEN A.
DOUGLAS voting in the negative, with the
free traders of the South. — Congres.nonal Globe,
■first session Thirty-third Conyress, paye H',>2 ;
and U, S. Senate Journal, first session Thirty -
third Congress, paye ?>H}.

Monday, April 24, 1854, in the Senate, Mr.
Brodhead, of Pennsylvania, said :

" This is the day whica was assigned for the
consideration of the bill giving a credit for
a limited time on the duties on railroad iron.
There are many considerations which, I think,
appeal tons to dispose of that subject. There
are many gentlemen about to engage in the
manufacture of railroad iron, and it is proper
that bill should be considered and disposed
of at an early day, in order that those who
are to be affected by i*^ may know their fate.
They want to know whether they are to go
on with their business or not. I think, there-
fore, we had better take up this bill, which
was assigned for consideration to day, and, at
any rate, know whether wo are to consider it
seriously or not."
The further consideration of the bill was
postponed, without a division.



The bill was talcen up again for considera-
tiaii, February 8, 1855.

In course of debate upon it, Mr. Bkodhead
remarked :

" This bill, in my judgment, is a violation
' of the plighted faith of the Government. By
' the pledges given when the tariff of 1846 was
' adopted, the manul'acturers of railroad iron
'were encouraged to go into the business;
' they are now engaged in it, after the e.xpendi-
' ture of a very large sum of money ; and this
' bill will he destimctive to them.'' — Congres-
sional Globe, second session T hirty-ihird Con-
yress,j)aye 626.

In United States Senate, February 22, 1855,
Mr, Skward moved to amend the bill by add-
ing thereto the following :

" Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, That in
' order to extend to railroad companies who may
' use American iron in the construction of their
' railroads the same inducements as are grant-
' ed by this act to companies to use foreiyn

* iron, that whenever any railroad company
' shall make it appear, to the satisfaction of

* the Secretary of the Treasury, that they have
' purchased, for their own use, any iron rails,
' spikes, bolts, fastenings, or other iron neces-
' sary for the construction of railroads, of
' American manvfacture, it shall be the duty
' of the Secretary, and he is hereby authorized
' and directed, to loan to said company an

* amount equal to the duties for which credit

* would be given by this act upon similar iron
' if imported, paving over the same out of any
' moneys in the Treasury not otherwise appro-
' priated : Provided, That said company shall
' secure the repayment of said loan by their

* bonds, conditioned for the amount, payable
' at three years from date, without interest,
' and by such other security, personal or other-
' wise, as in the judgment of the Secretary will
' indemnify the United States against loss."

The question, being taken by yeas and nays,
resulted— yeas 8, nays 2'j — STEPHEN A.
DOUGLAS voting in the negative, with the
free traders of the South. — Conyressional
Globe, second sessio7i Thirty-third Congress,
paye 885 ; U. S. Senate Jovrnal, second session
T hirty-tliird Congress, paye 304.

Mr. Stuart, of Michigan, moved to strike
out the words " for two years," and insert " un-
til the 1st of July next."

Mr. S. remarked, "that he was willing that
' the bill should apply to iron already imported,
' and iron already ordered. He proposed to
' fix the 1st of July next, for two reasons. In

* the first place, it was the end of the fiscal
' year ; and in the next place, it precludes all
' undue investments in railroad enterprises on
' account of this credit."

The yeas and nays being ordered on thi.s
amendment, resulted — yeas 16, nays 26 —
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS voting in the neg-
ative, with the free traders of the South. — Con-
gressional Globe, second session 2'hirtythird



Congress, page 885 ; and IT. S. Senate Journal,
si'cond sensiou Thiriyihird _ Congress, page
;U)4.

That amendment being rpjectod, jMr. Stuart
moved to amend by inserting " one year from
tiie Lst of July next." This amendment was
also rejected— yeas 19, nays 22— STEPHEN
A. DOUGLAS voting in the negative, with
tlie free traders of the South. — Congressional
Globe, second session Thirin-thiid Congress,
•page 885 ; U. S. Senate JournnJ. second session
1 kirlij itiird Congress, page H04.

The yeas and nays being ordered on the final
passage of the bill —

Mr. Shields, a Democratic Senator from the
State of Illinois, remarked :

" I confess I do not exactly like the principle
' of this bill, and I consider it jjartial and

* unequal, and not very wise legislation ; but I

* shall vote for it, in obedience to the instructions

* of the Legislature of my State."

The vote being taken on the final passage
of the bill, resulted — yeas 25, nays 18 —
STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS voting in the af-
fimative, with the free traders of the South. —
Congressional Globe, second session Thirtg-
third Congress, iKtge 886; U. S. Senate Jour-
naJ, second session T hirty third Congress, page
305,

The political influence of Mr. Douglas at
this time was supreme in the State of Illinois.
It was certainly sufficient to obtain the passage,
by the Legislature of that State, of such resolu-
tions as he might desire.

March 1st, 1855, the civil and diplomatic bill
being under consideration, in which was a pro-
vision to incorporate a new tarifl" system, Mr.
DouGKAS said :

" I am for a reduction of the tariff tn a strict
' rexeane standard. I am a FREE-TRADE
' MAN TO THE FULLEST EXTENT that
' we can carry it, and at the same time collect
' revrtnue enough to defray the expenses of the

* Government. In other words, 1 am for no

* other kind of a tariu than a revenue tariif." —
Ci))igressional Globe, second session Thirty-
third Congress, page lOGO.

February 26, 1857, the question being on
the amendment reported from the Committee
on Finance, to insert after the first section of
the tariff bill of the House of Representatives
the following :

"Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That all
' articles enumerated in schedules A and B, in

* the act of the olst July, 1816, reducing the

* duty on imports, shall, on and after the 1st of
' July, 1857, pay ad valorem duties of thirty

* per cent.; and that all articles enumerated in

* schedules C, D, E, F, G, and H, of the said
' act, each, respectively, shall pay a duly of one-
' fifth less than the rates now imposed by said

* act, with the exceptions otherwise provided in

* this act " —

Mr. V/iLsoN moved to strike out all articles



"enumerated in schedules C, D, E, F, G, and
H," &c.

The question being taken on Mr. Wilson's
amendment, res\tlted — veas 14, nays '.Vet. "Sen-
ator STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS did not vote.—
Appendix to Congressional Globe, Thirty-
fovrth Congress, third session, page 351.

Mr. Clay, of Alabama, moved to amend the
bill, by striking out all after the enacting clause,
and iii?erting :

" That, on and after the first day of July, 1857,
' there shall be a reduction of twenty-five per
' centum on the rates of duty imposed by the
' act entitled ' An act reducing the duty on ira-
' ports, and for other purposes,' approved thir-
' tieth July, 184^, on the goods, wares, and
' merchandise, imported from foreign countries.

" Sec. 2. And be itfnrther enacted, That all


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Online LibraryStephen Arnold DouglasRecord of Hon. Stephen A. Douglas on the tariff : compiled from the official records of Congress, for the People's State Committee of Pennsylvania → online text (page 1 of 2)