Thomas R. (Thomas Robinson) Hazard.

Facts for the laboring man: by a laboring man .. online

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^ NEWPORT, R. 1.




The following series of FACTS originally appeared in the columns of
the Herald of the Tiities, Newport, R. I., and are recommended to the
serious consideration of every man in the Nation into whose hands they
may fall. Annexed will be found a ^ew of the many testimonials which
have been given in favor of the articles.

[From the Providence Journal, of M.ij- 2d.]

"The concluding number of this admirable series of political articles, was published in
tlie Newport Herald of the Times, of Thursday. The whole imbodies perhaps the best
exposition of the end and aim of the real design and inevitable effect of the doctrines of
the Administration that has ever appeared. We very much desire to see this series pub-
lished in a form cheap enough for general circulation. A hundred thousand copies might
be distributed with immense effect. The people will read them because they are FACTS,
and tJie facts provep, the conclusions follow immediately of course. WHIG COM-
MITTEES and TIPPECANOE CLUBS would not expend the necessary sum to better
political advantage."

[From the New York Courier and Enquirer, of April 25th.]

"The admirable numbers of Narragansett should be put in a cheap pamphlet form
for universal circulation. We do not wonder that in the light of such FACTS, the
electors of Rhode Island gave such a large majority against the Administration."

[From the Same, of Rlay 9th.]
"Facts for thk Peoplk. — We have already alluded to a series of able papers
issued under this title in the Newport Herald of the Times. The concluding number of
the scries appeared in that paper of Thursday last. We fully agree witli the Providence
Journal, in the opinion that these papers imbody THE BEST EXPOSITION of the
financial policy of tlic present Federal Administration that has yet appeared."

Newport, R. I., May 23, 1840.

We, the underwritten, have read the articles signed Narragansett, which ajipeared in
the Herald of the Times previous to our late (Rhode Island) election, and earnestly recom-
mend their republication to the patronage of AlA. THE WHIGS OF OUR COUNTRY.
The information which these articles give — the exposures which they make, as to the
causes which have hrouglit the country to its present disastrous slate, and to its still more
disastrous prospects, by the maladministration of the General Government, under General
Jackson and Mr. Van Buren — have liad a. powerful effect upon the popular mind here ; and
have contributed much to the great success of our late election, and we have no doubt
they will have the same effect upon the People, luherevcr they may be read. For no candid,
reflecting mind, we think, can fail to see, after reading tiiis exposure, that the fabric of
our National prosperity, such as it existed when Jackson came into power, lias been entirely
destroyed by him and Van Buren ; and Uiat tliere can be no hope of returning prosperity
till that fabric is restored.

John II. Ci.arkf,, ^

Thomas J. Stead, I Representatives to the General Assembly

John Whipple, j from Providence.

Charles Jackson, J

James F. Simmons, Representative from Johyiston.

( liite Sointor "
ASHER ROBBINS, < '" Consrosa

I from R. I. , ^

B. Hazard, Represcntaiives to the General

He.nry Y. Cranston, )■ ./hscmbly of Rhode Island,

Richard K. Randolph, from JVcwport.

George G. King,

George Bowen,

Nath'l S. Ruggles, Member of the Senate of Rhode Island.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in tlic year 1840, l>y James Atkinson, in the Clerk's Office
of the District Court of the District of Rliode Island.



[From tha Newport, R. I., Herald of the Tinieg, February 13, 1840.]

No. 1.

" Ncbcr 1x1 ?ooil time in dis country, Massa, till corn be pi^sarcen a bushel, and pork pissateen a pound;" as Cudjo
gaid, who bought his corn and sold his pig.''

Extract from a dialogue between Sambo and his master.
" Nig5er don't build cliimbly in Guinf.a, Massa, as white man do."
«' How do they build thoic, Sambn.' "
" 'Gin him at top, Massa, and m:ikc him striiiglit down to de ground."*

Extract from the same.

" Wish, Mnssa, every body dead cep Massa and Sanilio."

" VVIiy so, Sambo .' "

" Cos, don Mossa and I set up shop, and sell gooib like de berry debil."*

Extract from Mr. Va7i Baren's Message, 1839.
" Our people will not Ion? be insensible to tlie extent of the burdens entailed upon thorn l>y the fal<ie siMtem that
Ims bi'on oparating on their sanguine, enersrelic, and indnatrious charncter, nor tn tlic nienns necessnry to extricate
VifiiUifti'en from tkc^-e embai-rassments. Tlie wei;^ht which presses upon a large portion of the people and the slates,
is an enormous debt, foreign and domestic. The fop'ign debt of onr states, corporations, iind men of business, can
Bcarcely bo less tlian two hundred millions of dollars, requhinj; more tli;in ten millions of dollars a year to pay the in-
terest. This sum has to be paid out of the exports of the country, and must, of necessity, cut off imports to that
extent, or plunge the country more deeply in delJt from year to yenr. It is easy to see that the increase of this for-
Rign debt mvist augment the annual demand on the exports to pay the inti rest, and to the same extent diminish the im-
ports ; and in proportion to the enlargement of llio foreign debt, and the consequent ineroasu of interest, must be tho
decrease of the import trade. In lieu of the cowfurls which it now brings us, we might have our gigantic banking
institutions, and .-•plnidid, but, in many inslar.r,-.;, jirnjitle.j:', raHrnails and cnnul.-; absorbing to a great extent, in inter-
est upon tho capital borrowed to construct them, the surplus fruits of national industry for years to come, and so-
curing to posterity no adequate return for the cmnfurts which the labors of their hands might otherwise havo

One half of tlie sum stated by Mr. Van Buren to be due to foreign nations, will probably be
nearer the truth ; but admit the whole to be true, and it appears the people of the United States
owe to foreign countries the sum of Two Hundred Millions of Dollars, and tliat they are, as
stated, thereby debarred from foreign "comforts" to the amount of Ten Millions of Dollars

* The w.-iior is well awnro that the subjects now treated upon are too serious, in tho present state of the country, to
be mado lisht of ; and he would not, theriifore, introiluce any matter calculated to produce such a tendency. The
mottoes affixed were the actual sayings of aged negroes, who formerly lived in the south part of the State of Rhode
Island, and were originally brought from the coast of Guinea, where they, no doubt, imbibed their idcits of political
economy. Sambo was well known to the writer. He was rather above the ordinary height, and his habit rather full.
He was a negro of nnconmiou capacity, and remarkable for original conceptions, and was considered an oracle by
his (Vllow-servants in his master's Ketchev. Oudjo wa^ not personally known to the writer, but he has been rep-
resented us being rather below the ordinary stature, ami of proportionable size; a good deal bald, and his hair in-
clining to sray ; was of a demure countenance, and quiet maimers; seldom spoke, and always with caution; for
a negro, was remarkably fond of money. His mister allowed him the privilege yearly of fatting a pig ; tho corn was
bouglit with his own money, earned at odd times.

The sayinjs of these aged negroes were affixed as molloes to this co-mnunication, for tho reason, that the wriler'e
limited readings of Shakspnare, and other pithy authors, did not enable him to apply any thing so expressive or
apropos to tlie policy and moa-iir'S of the pre-sent administration and its friends. If the same ideas were clothed in
good English, the writer thinks fi>w readers will f ,il to perceive a great similarity between tho principles they incul-
cat",an(l the leading doctrines of :^'r. Van Buren and his supporters.

Tlio hiSoring man is told that bis labor will conlinne high, while the articles ho consumes will be bought low.
Does not the price Cn Ijo fixed as the fiir value of the corn, as compared with pork, vvliicb he was obliged to pur-
chase in order to fit bis pig, and which he again sol I in llio shape <d' pork, apply to this principle .•' In other worda,
corn is to bo a pislareen a bu-hel, and the price of lalior to raise it a pUtareen an hour. Vi\cla and experience


annually, to meet the interest. This sum, dividing it equally among the whole population of the
United States, is about sixty cents yearly to each individual, which they have been in the habit
of receiving in silks, ribbons, toys, and other Foreign "comforts."

The writer will now solicit attention to the subject of Domestic "comforts," in furnishing
which this debt has greatly contributed, and ask whether they will form an adequate counter^
balance to the '• burdens entailed upon the people by a false system," which seems now about to
expire, and entail a debt of sixty cents on each person yearly. Well, indeed, may Mr. Van
Buren call them an " energetic " people, who, under all the evils of this "false system," (al-
though in its infancy only twenty years since,) have accomplished more in that time, than has
been done by an)? other people on earth in centuries. Withm that period, this " energetic "
people have reclaimed from the wilderness, eight or ten States and Territories, each of "which
would constitute an empire in the old world, and peopled them with a hardy, intelligent race of
men, the surplus products of whose industry and skill, to the amount of millions, are already
crowding every canal, river, or railroad, that conducts to a market. They have built cities,
towns, and villages, without number; in that short time, have built more steamboats, made more
railroads, more canals, than all the world beside ; have become the second maritime people, the
third manufacturing, and export far more agricultural products than any other nation. In that
time, their exports have increased some Fifty Millions of Dollars, and more than doubled ; their
manufactures, from a trifling amount, have swelled to nearly Three Hundred Millions of Dollars.
All tliis, and far more, has been accomplished by this "energetic people," while laborimr under
"burdens imposed by a false system," which, until now, they were too busy to think about,
or to "extricate themselves from," although their best friends, Martin Van Buren, and Thomas
H. Benton, have, for years, been calling on them to rise in their strength and annihilate it,
together with its eight hundred rag banks, thiit have been preying on their vitals the whole time.

If so much has been done by this "energetic " people, under the " burdens imposed by a false
system," v'liat will they not accomplish, when they find the means " necessary to extricate them-
selves from its embarrassments," when all the evils shall be done away, and nothing left to press
upon them .' We shall then enjoy all the good, without the alloy of bad. and our prosperity must
go on, increasing, in the language of Messrs. Van Buren and Benton on a former occasion,
"not in the arithmetical ratio, but in geometrical progression, and increase almost beyond the
power of the mind to calculate or comprehend." The next twenty years will probably perfect
every thing in North America Utat the skill and industry of man can accomplish. The world
will be exhausted of its specie in purchasing the rich products of our labor, and a majority of
the people will become idle from sheer necessity, there being nothing left to do.

But befi're the glowing blessings of the specie system, about to be introduced, have begun to
produce this rich harvest of prosperity, and thereby blinded your eyes to the few redeeming
traits of our hitherto "false system" of tariff, credit, railroads, canals, "banks and rags," let me
call your attention to a few facts, expressed not in idle words, but in figures, — Yanl.te figures^
— that when the time arrives that you have performed all, and have nothing more to do, you
may then occasionally refer to thein for amusement; and, as you idly gaze on the "gold glit-
tering through the meshes of your long, silken purses," draw such comparisons between the
present and the past, as your playful fancies may suggest. Perhaps you may then discover that
Henrv Ci.av, and the host of bustling, active, business-working men, who acted in concert to
plan and perfect this " false system " of credit and home labor protection, had " occusionul glim -
merings of common sense," worthy of some consideration, although not to be comi)ared with
the dazzling brightness of such intellects, as those possessed by the distinguished and virtu-
ous men who now sway tlie destinies of the nation, and who are about to fill your purses with
gold, and the iron chests of your treasuries with silver; over which they will probably place one
of the ever-watchful genii of olden time, charmed by the spell of the Mogicimi's wand, — from
the deep dungeon of some enchanted castle, — and who will menace with "galley," "imprison-
ment," and "death," any "bank monster," or "rag baron," who shall seek to molest his mas-
ter's treasure, or defile his temple of mammon with their filthy paper, whether issued by banks,
sub-treasurers, republics, potentates, or kings.

The calculations the writer submits to your perusal, are mostly based on recollection, and,
in some instanei-s, may vary slightly from the truth ; not from any intention, however, but from
the imperfection of memory ; and all the indulgence asked is, that the reader should bring his
own knowledge to bear on the same subjects, and let reason decide as to their g.->neral cor-
rectness, and the writer begs at the same time, that where they are not familiar with the facts
as regards the local examples presented, they will apply the same rules to those cases of the same
nature with which they are better acquainted, and not l>e discouraged from seeking the truth, by
the astonishing, and seemingly impossible results they disclose. If they apparently encroach on
the re<ri()n of romance, so, also, does the rise and unexampled prosperity of our country, which
experience, that surest of guides, will inform us has ever gone hand in hand with the " false

provp, that in all civilb.pd ountrinu, whore fool is cho.-inP8f, there is the most sufToriiig for the want of it. [This
Beeiiiin'; paniilox iidmils of it naily sohilion, which m ly he hi'Vi-iifti-r soup into.)

Again, hiivn not our present ml ts !)'gm at the lop of the chimni^y, as "in Guinea, ami are they not building
Dow>W(BDs, in Ihi'ir meadures lo proirole III" prosperity o( the coiinlry.'

And Is not the constant hnrpi'i-; ii'xmt one class of citizens hcinj; taxed for the Piipport of nnothor, aptly illustrated
by the negro i^ainl)0, who wi^'hcd every body dead bnl his niistor iw\ himself, Hint thev might engross all business to
thoniselvi's.' not p-roeivin;, thai if ;ill others wi-re, (in olhrr \iords uniiblc 10 do hiisinesR,) there would bo
notliin; I It to do; it ri'ipiiring hu-liii-ss lo in ke husincss — the business of one class nocvesurily inuking business
for another — and so round and round thi; circle.


system" (of Mr. Van Buren,) and has advanced and retrograded, precisely as it has been the
policy of the people to protect or destroy it.

As tliese lacts may not be familiar to all, before I proceed to illustrate their truth by exam-
ples in figures, I will first call llie attention (more particularly of liie laboring man) to a hasty
sketch of°the prominent eras in the financial history of our country, commencmg with the close
of the revolutionary war; at which period, the resources of the country were completely ex-
hausted by the unparalleled efforts of our devoted forefatliers, in the war of liberty, to defray a
part of the expenses of wliicli tliey were obliged to issue bills of credit to the amount of more
than I()0,()00,l)UO of df.llars. and which, owing to the poverty of the country, the national gov-
ernment were unable to redeem. These bills, known by the name of Continental money, were
used as a circulating medium, and became almost the only currency; b(^ing made a legal tender
in payment of debts by act of Congress. They gradually depreciated in the hands of the
public, and eventually lost their entire value. By constantly passing from hand to hand, and, at
each transfer, depreciating slightly in value, it probably bore as lightly on the people as any
other species of tax would iiave done, althougii its precedent should be avoided, and can only
be defended on the principle of extreme necessity, and the extraordinary occasion that produced it.
It was a part, and a small part, of the [)rice of our independence.

Un tile Hd()|)tion of the constitution by the thirteen original states, the country was left with-
out a leii-al currency except silver and gold, and that not sufficient in quantity to supply a tithe of
what was necessary to make the necessary exchanges of the products of industry. From sheer
necessity, a system of barter was adopted — diflerent articles assumed the character of a currency
— and the most prominent staple products of some sections of the country, even acquired the
name of money ; and property was sold with a stipulation that the payment should be made in
"cash," (the term applied to corn or some other staple,) with as nmch gravity as if it really
meant gold or silver, the only constitutional currenc3^ Such was the scarcity of money, that
even respectable tiioi)keepers were in tlie constant habit of paying for their daily family wants
in goods, and went to market duly prepared with change, in the shape of small parcels of tobac-
co, snuff", sugar, rice, itc., answering in value to the denominations of coin, even down to the
smallest fractions. Although the general or Federal government never acknowledged this
species of currency, such was the urgent need, that the State Governments (prohibited by the
constitution from issuing bills of credit) were obliged in many instances to submit to public ne-
cessity, and receive their taxes in " kind," as it was called — in other words, the products of
Industry — and instead of s|)ecie, (which some of our MODERN RULERS seem to think
scarcely an equivalent for their services,) the scrrrints of tlie people at that time were content
to receive their compensation in the shape of a bag of meal, a few deer skins, with muskrat or
mink skins by way of change, or some other " domestic comf(:)rts " of the same nature.

This oppressive state of things remained until after the commencement of the French revolu-
tion in ITLIO, which soon involved all Europe in one general war. Hitherto the ports cf the Uni-
ted States had been open to the products botii of Agriculture and Manufactures of all the na-
tions of Europe, — who received scarce any of our own in return, and those loaded with heavy
imposts. The whole revenue of the United States from all sources was less than four millions
of dollars annually. Our neutralit}' soon gave us the carrying trade of the civilized world, — and
the drain from the productive classes necessary to keep on foot the immense armies of the despots
of Europe, opened an endless market fijr the products of our soil. A sufficient paper currency,
based on a proper foundation, to sup]>ly tho. place of actual capital, was all tli(> country now
needed to unite and call into action tlie industry and enterprise of the people, and enable
them to reap the advantages before them. Tiie following year, 1701, Conoress chartered the
Bank of the United States, with a capital of Ten Millions of Dollar.s, to continue twenty years.
A circulating medium, sufficient for the wants of the then limited population and territory, was
8up])lied — (jnickly followed by the busy hum of industry throughout the land. The products
of every branch of agriculture found a ready market abroad, and superseded the necessity of a
Tariff for the protection of industry at home. Not only were the exports of the country suffi-
cient to pay fi)r the imports of manufactures and other " foreign comforts," necessary to supply
the wants of the people — but such was the balance of trade in our favor, that during the con-
tinuance of the non-intercourse act, which preceded the last war with Great Britain, exchange
had fallen to 15 or 20 per cent, below par. As the business, the population, and extent of the
country increased, state Banks had been from time to time established to meet the wants of the

At the expiration of the charter of the United States Bank, in 1811, Congress declined re-
newing it, and it proceeded to wind up its concerns. Exchange on England being so far
below par, consequently inducing the importation of specie, was extremely favorable for the
operation. The destruction of all commerce by the action of war, which was declared against
Great Britain by the United States in 1HI2, and the want of manufactories to supply our mili-
tary and naval establishments with clothing and other necessaries, caused the coin to be smug-
gled to Canada and other depots of British manufactures, and our people were literally clothed
by their enemies, and at a profit that went far towards reinii)ursing them the expenses of the
war. Our Banks were quickly drained of their specie, and obliged to suspcmd — in which they
were countenanced by both the people and the general government. The country in a state of
active hostilities, and left destitute of coin, called for excessive issues of Hank paper, which was
Still further stimulated by the demands of government; nearly their whole dependence for the


immediate payment of the expenses of the war, now resting on Bank issues, in the absence of
which an equivalent to the old Continental currency, would have been unavoidable.

Peace at length came, and found the country loaded with a debt of 123,000,000 of dollars.
The wars of Europe had ceased, and eacli nation had resumed its peaceful occupations, and
instead of requiring our produce to consume, or our shipping to transport their own, they had
both to spare. Our resources from commerce were thus cut off, and the most pressing wants of
the country could only be supplied by a circuitous trade, for the purpose of exchanging a few
of our staples for the products of distant climes, which when brought home must be again
reshipped to Europe, to exchange for articles of necessity — thus paying the expense of two
exchanges to accomplish one. TJiere being no protective duties to shield our manufactories
in their infancy, the British capitalists were enabled to keep a constant supply of manufactured
goods in our markets, to the full extent that would sell, which, after absorbing in remittances what
lew articles were wanted from the United States, operated as a constant drain on our specie, not
a dollar of wliich was ever returned. Exchange rose from 20 to 25 per cent, above par. The
old system of barter was again being resorted to, and it became an established custom in many
parts of the countrj', to demand cash at the shops for all European articles, at the same time that
exchanges were made for country produce, payable in "American goods." P'oreign "comforts "
became unknown to the laboring man except l)y hearsay, and were knov/n to him in some
neighborhoods only by the significant term of " boughten goods," meaning they must be paid
for in money, a commodity beyond his reach, and only in the hands of his wealthier neighbors.
Labor v.'as paid almost entirely in '• kind " — in other words, with its own products.

Again, for the second time, such were the sufferings of the country, that Congress, urged by
necessity, adopted almost simultaneously those two great measures of relief, a Tariff for the pro-
tection of our domestic industry, and a National Bank for the protection of our domestic cur-

Online LibraryThomas R. (Thomas Robinson) HazardFacts for the laboring man: by a laboring man .. → online text (page 1 of 28)