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Abridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives online

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Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 167 of 187)
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must go to foreign countries, or become agricul-
tm-ists ; and, instead of effecting the great object
for which we started, to draw off numbers from
agricultural pursuits, and increase the demand
for agricultural products, our legislation wiR
have exactly the contrary effect. Such are the
connection and dependencies of commerce
and agriculture on each other, that any check
or embarrassment thrown upon the one, is in-
evitably felt by the other. Our commerce first
felt the tariff of 1828 ; it bore hard on this im-
portant branch of our wealth, industry, and
strength, from the very day of its operation ;
and, now when commerce is sinking under this
load, agriculture begins to feel the blow. Some
of the shackles on our commerce must be taken
off, and this drawback, trifling as it may seem,
will save to the nation thousands of tons of ship-
ping, if not millions of capital. Freight, we all
admit, is the soul and life of commerce ; and it
is our duty, while we regard its prosperity, to
give every facility to multiply freights at home,
and to obtain them abroad.

Grant this drawback, and you give to your
vessels additional freights, by making a valua-
ble article of export of your imports. And as
it will enable you to increase your imports in
this trade of exchange, so it will greatly increase
your original export, and in all its operations
infuse new life into this depressed trade.

Mr. Polk moved to amend the resolution, by
adding, " and to allow also a drawback of four
and one-half cents per square yard on foreign
cotton bagging, exported either in the original
packages, or around the cotton bale, to any
foreign country."

Mr. P. said, in offering this amendment, he
did not intend to indulge in any general discus-
sion of the principles of the tariff. A very few
remarks in explanation of the reasons which
had induced him to offer it, was all that he then
deemed necessary. The resolution of the gen-
tleman from Maine proposes to instruct the
Committee of "Ways and Means to bring in a
bUl to allow a drawback of nine cents per gallon
upon the exportation of rum distilled in the
United States from foreign molasses. The rea-
son given why this would be proper, is, that the
navigating interest of the East, as well as the
manufacturer of spirits from this foreign mate-
rial intended for exportation, were oppressively
burdened by the imposition of a duty of ten
cents per gallon, imposed by the tariff of 1828,



H. OF R]

The Tariff.

[Mabch, 1830.

on the exportation of foreign molasses. If this
be a satisfactory reason why a drawback should
be allowed upon this article, then he thought it
could he clearly shown that, upon the same
principle, a drawback should be allowed on
the exportation of foreign cotton bagging
wrapped around the cotton bale. The two
articles stand upon the same principle, and he
could see no reason for allowing drawback in
one case and refusing it in the other. Foreign
molasses, upon their importation into the United
States, were subject to pay a duty under the
present tariff of ten cents per gallon. The
molasses were distilled in this country into
spirits, and in that state exported to foreign
countries for market. The gentleman from
Maine proposed, upon the exportation of the
spirits thus made from molasses, to allow a
drawback of nine cents per gallon, leaving in
the Treasury one cent per gallon of the duty
levied upon the importation of the molasses, to
defray, he supposed, the incidental expenses
and charges at the custom-house. Now, did
not the article of cotton bagging stand precisely
upon the same principle? That article, upon
its importation into the United States, was
charged with a duty, under the tariff of 1828,
of five cents per square yard. When it was
received in this country, it was used almost ex-
clusively by the cotton planter in baling and
preparing his cotton for market. It was again
exported wrapped around the cotton. It was
not consumed in the country any more than
the molasses distilled into spirits and exported
were. His proposition was to allow to the cot-
ton planter, upon the exportation of his cotton
bales, a drawback of four and a half cents per
square yard on the bagging with which his cot-
ton was wrapped for market, leaving in the
Treasury half a cent per square yard of the duty
originally paid upon its importation. The East,
or at least a portion of the East, complained
that the duty on molasses was onerous, so much
so, that it prevented its distillation into New
England rum for exportation, and thereby af-
fected the shipping interest ; and that, therefore,
a drawback of the duty should be allowed upon
exportation. The South might, with equal
reason, at least, complain that the duty of five
cents per square yard on cotton bagging was
an onerous and unnecessary tax upon the cotton
planter; that, in consequence, of it, he was com-
pelled to pay five cents per square yard more
for his cotton bagging, than he would have to
pay if the duty was not levied ; and that, there-
fore, upon the same principle, a drawback
should be allowed to him upon the exportation
of that article. If a drawback upon rum was
allowed, New England would be relieved upon
one item of the tariff, and could again, the gen-
tleman from Maine has said, engage in the
molasses and lumber trade. If the drawback
which he proposed on cotton bagging was al-
lowed, the effect would be, that the cotton
planter could buy his cotton bagging for four
and a half cents less per yard than he had now

to pay for it. The only difference between
the proposition contained in the resolution of
'the gentleman from Maine, and the amendment
which he had offered, was, that the one was
intended to relieve a portion of the East, and
the other a portion of the South and South-
west, from a very small portion of the oppres-
sive and unequal operation of the present tariff
system. He thought, therefore, that molasses
and cotton bagging, however strange the asso-
ciation might seem to be, should not be sepa-
rated so far as the proposition of drawbacks
was concerned. As the object was to reduce
duties on one for the benefit of one section, a
correspondent reduction should be made on the
other, for the benefit of another section. This
was but even-handed justice, and he was willing
to refer both propositions to the Committee of
Ways and Means together.

He was (he said) upon principle opposed to
the whole system of the protecting policy called
the tariff; but, as he had said in the outset of
his remarks, he would not now go into the gen-
eral discussion of the question. He had sub-
mitted this single proposition at this time, be-
cause it rested, as he had endeavored to show,
upon the same principle with that offered by
the gentleman from Maine ; and because, if the
friends of the system would not now modify it
generally upon the principle of mutual conces-
sion and compromise, between conflicting in-
terests of different sections, they would, he
trusted, agree to alleviate the oppressive opera-
tions of some of its details. He implored the
friends of this system in this Congress, to con-
sider deliberately the present excited and agi-
tated state of the country upon this subject ; to
give a listening ear to the long-neglected com-
plaints of the suffering South, and alleviate their
burdens. He appealed to them to know if it
was not for the permanent interest of all sec-
tions to modify the system and quiet the pub-
lic mind. By adopting the single proposition
he had offered, they would, he knew, go but
one step towards effecting so desirable an object,
but it would be some manifestation of a dispo-
sition, on the part of the majority in this Con-
gress, to afford at least some alleviation.

Mr. Mallaet said he was fuUy aware that,
whenever the tariff, in any shape, came before
the House, much excitement prevailed. What-
ever might be the tendency of the subject itself
to produce this effect, he was determined that
no excitement should be justly chargeable to
any observations or remarks he might be re-
quired to make. As to the resolution introduced
by the honorable gentleman from Maine, (Mr.
Andkbson,) Mr. M. said he would make a brief
remark. It requires the Committee of Ways and
Means to bring in a bill to allow a drawback on
spirits distilled from molasses, when exported.
It is well known that this subject was discussed,
considered, and decided in 1828. Congress de-
termined that no drawback should be allowed.
It is also well known that he was opposed to that
decision at the time. He believed that the



March, 1830.]

The Tariff.

[H. OF E

effects would be injurious to some interests, and
beneficial to none. But the House, after the
fullest consideration, in its wisdom determined
otherwise. A majority decided that sound
policy, the prevention of frauds on the revenue,
the promotion of tbo agricultural interest, re-
quired the drawback should not be allowed. It
was thus fixed: it was thus settled. No reason
is now offered for a repeal," that was not fuUy
urged against the passage. It was as well un-
derstood then as now. No changes have taken
place which were not fuUy anticipated. Unless
a general understanding prevailed to make the
change without involving any other provision
of the tariff, he was in favor of no alteration.
If a general disposition did exist to make the pro-
posed change, the proposition of the gentleman
from Maine would probably have his support.
But (said Mr. M.) what is the consequence ?
What immediately follows? The proposition
of the gentleman from Tennessee, (Mr. Polk.)
Mr. M. said he had been in. favor of the duty on
cotton bagging. He had supported that duty
for the purpose of affording aid to an important
domestic manufacture. The reasons for im-
posing that duty certainly sustain it at the pres-
ent time. There is no change in the necessity
or policy. In establishing a general tariff, it
could not have been reasonably expected that
every branch of industry would derive all the
aid that was anticipated. The manufacturers
of the coarsest kind of wool complain. No
doubt some had been injured. He had been
urged to attempt to obtain some change in the
duty on that raw material. At the time of the
passage of that tariff, he was opposed to that
duty on such wool as was not produced in the
United States. A majority of Congress con-
sidered that the duty ought to be imposed. It
was done. He would let it remain. Many
were opposed to the dollar minimum. The
effects were pointed out. It was fuUy examined
and adopted. He was unwilling to disturb it.
Many were opposed to the additional duty on
molasses. A majority decided otherwise. He
was opposed to a change. The whole tariff
system is, and must be, founded on a liberal
compromise among the numberless interests of
this extended country. In passing the tariff of
1828, they were all consulted. It was passed
on that ground. Without a just and liberal com-
promise, no law, involving a variety of the great
interests of the country, could ever be adopted.
He had no doubt the tariff of 1828 had oper-
ated in general most beneficially. But its bene-
fits wiU be greatly diminished, if not wholly
destroyed, by perpetual agitation. Continual
attempts to change its details, before its effects
are fully developed, will do a thousand times
more injury than all the benefits anticipated
from any proposed alteration. It was due to all
whose interests were dependent on the policy
of their Government, to be allowed some little
repose — not to be continually alarmed for their
safety. He could not consent to the proposed

Mr. Maetijt, of South Carolina, said, this
proposition to allow a drawback on cotton
bagging, had come on very unexpectedly. It
was one he would not have made, and he did
not believe it would have been proposed by any
of his colleagues. It is a smaU, a very small
business, (said he,) compared with the great
drama in which they wished to take a part. But,
as it had been made, he should offer no apology
for intruding himself on the House. It would
be expected, he presumed, that he should say
something ; but, independently of that expecta-
tion, he obeyed the suggestions of feelings and
duty, in the course he was about to pursue. It
must be admitted (he said) that the gentleman
who had offered this amendment, occupies neu-
tral ground ; he stands between the manufac-
turers and those they would make the consum-
ers of their bagging. He cannot be looked
on in any other light than as one whoUy disin-
terested ; and so far as his object be to relieve
the South of the least of its oppressions, it was,
and should be, properly appreciated.

Of all the duties imposed by your tariff, sir,
(said Mr. M.,) that on bagging is the most ini-
quitous and untenable. The facts bear me out
in this assertion ; they are incontrovertible. I
repeat now what I said in 1828, when the tariff
was under discussion. I told gentlemen they
might impose the additional duty on bagging,
but they could not justify it on their own prin-
ciples or pretences. They did not attempt. to
answer the arguments urged against the increase
of duty, yet they passed it, for the same reason
they would have passed any other amendment,
the operation of which would have been the
advancement of certain portions of this Union,
at the expense of other parts of it. Yes, sir,
there was something due to the West for its
loyalty to this idol, nicknamed the " American
system ; " and those who were disposed to re-
ward idolatry, bestowed their blessing, in the
form of an increased duty on bagging. Or it
may be that some were disposed to punish those
who consume the bagging, on account of certain
very obnoxious votes given on other parts of
the tariff bill. Of such, we ask nothing ; and
to such, we have no concessions to make. The
course we pursued on that subject, has been
admitted to be legitimate in legislation ; I will
not say since its commencement, but certainly
since our acquaintance with it. How far their
supposed course (he would not charge it on
them, he might do them injustice) can be sus-
tained by principle, he would not now stop to

It is charged against the South (continued
Mr. M.) that we are too easily excited. Have
they not sufficient cause to be excited? Do
not their first and last dollar find their way to
Northern pockets, without even touch;ng at
your Treasury ? And what produces this state
of things but the great scheme of depredation,
of which this subject forms but a small part?
It would be out of order, sir, to go into a dis-
cussion of the whole tariff; if it were not, he



H. OF E.]

The Tariff.

[March, 1830.

could tell gentlemen why they were excited by
reciting the misdeeds of this House. He hoped,
however, an opportunity would occur, when
he could not be restrained in the discharge of a
duty he held sacred.

What claims has the manufacturer of bagging
to the protection of Government? What are
their numbers, the amount of capital invested,
or the product of their factories, no one will pre-
tend to assert. It is carried on to a very mod-
erate extent in Kentucky ; it is still more limited
in New Jersey ; he knew of no other establish-
ments, though possibly there may be some on
a small scale in Ohio or Tennessee. So little
claim has the manufacturer of this article on
the protection of the Government, that it can-
not be justified even on the doctrines of the
most absurd, preposterous, and extravagant ad-
vocates of the tariff. A new scheme must be
organized, and new theories must be manufac-
tured, to give protection to this article the color
or semblance of plausibility.

It is important to the interest and prosperity
of the na,tion, say gentlemen, that her supplies
should be drawn from her own resources. And
pray, sir, (asked Mr. M.,) what has the nation,
as a nation or a Government, to do with the
growth of cotton, or the manufacture of bag-
ging? A small portion of your Southern At-
lantic States only grow cotton, and no others
can grow it. They have not asked your protec-
tion or your aid in any shape : they deprecate
your interference with their concerns as an offi-
cious intermeddling, and an unconstitutional
exercise of authority ^ven you for other pur-
poses. If they are content to receive foreign
bagging as they have done, and pay for it with
their own money, not with funds subtracted
from the Middle or Northern States, by what
authority do others interpose, or for what pur-
poses ? Not for national purposes, for it is not
a national affair — not for our benefit, for you
do us positive injustice and injury. I was
wrong, sir, when I said the cotton business was
not a national affair. It has been made so of late
by the pernicious legislation of this House. It is
the first and greatest resource of the Govern-
ment in paying its debts, and supporting its
civil list, and sustaining all its institutions. Yet
the great and leading object of gentlemen in this
House is so to embarrass its culture, and ob-
struct its transportation to a foreign market, as
to compel us to suffer it to be manufactured at
home; and this is what they caU a "home
market." Yes, sir, by paralyzing the industry
of the South, and obliterating its capital, the
market of the United States, any part of which
is glutted by a single ship's cargo, and which
consumes at most not more than one' hundred
and fifty thousand bags per annum, is to be
converted into a market for the whole product
of the United States, which now averages seven
hundred thousand bags! And do gentlemen
really expect us to submit to such a state of
things, without being " excited? " If they do,
they know less of us than we had supposed.

To sustain the proposition I have just stated,
as one on which the advocates of the restrictive
(I might say the non-intercourse) system rely,
they teU you it foUows as a consequence, that
the interest of a few, or of one particular sec-
tion, must yield to that policy which promotes
the general good. He denied the application
of any such doctrine in a Government like ours,
except it be on those subjects upon which the
power to legislate has been conferred on Con-
gress. But, without discussing that question
now, it was easy to show the absurdity of pre-
tending to apply such a rule to the impost laid
on bagging. No, sir, it is the converse of the
proposition which was enforced when this duty
was laid. Kentucky alone manufactures — for
the rest are not sufficiently extensive to be
mentioned — while there are no less than eight
States who consume, not her manufactures, but
the European fabric, if they can be allowed to
do so : and to four of those States, it is a fact
known to all, that the article from Kentucky
cannot find its way. It can neither bear trans-
portation over the mountains, or down the Mis-
sissippi, and thence, through the Gulf of Mexico
and around the coast of Florida, to the Southern
Atlantic States, at a price which will enable the
holder to bring it into competition with foreign
bagging. No one, however extravagant in sup-
port of the tariff, or any branch of it, will deny
these facts. One who has not devoted some
attention to the subject, could scarcely believe
that such a state of .things existed in any part
of this country. But the worst has not yet
been told. The gentleman from Kentucky, (Mr,
Olaek,) on whose proposition this duty was
increased in 1828, was himself examined before
the Committee on Manufactures; and from
his evidence it wOl be seen that the factories in
Kentucky already made better bagging than is
imported, and that unless the crop-of hemp be
short, which compels the manufacturer to give
a high price for the raw material, they can drivfl
the foreign fabric out of the New Orleans
market, or at least they can procure a better
price than is paid for foreign bagging. Here,
then, facts are at war with theory, and princi-
ple abandoned in practice. Who, sir, that has
ever heard or read three distinct sentences,
written or spoken by a manufacturer, or an ad-
vocate of the tariff, wUl not recollect that one of
those sentences consisted of a declaration that,
if you would protect their factories until they
passed from infancy to maturity, and obtain
possession of the market, they would ask it no
longer ? Then it was a millennium was to be
produced in the commercial, manufacturing, and
agricultural world. Yet, with the capital, and
all other facilities to make a better fabric, and
in the possession of the market, to the exclusion
of foreign bagging, the factories of Kentucky
were to be protected — ^I will not say it was no
protection, but they were to have a bounty ; it
is nothing less than a bounty, let others call it
by what name they may. With the possession
of the New Orleans market, and wholly unable



March, 1830.]

The Tariff.

[H. OP E.

to react tlie Atlantic markets, who can be so
rash as to attempt a justifloation of this duty?
But the manufacturers of Kentucky are scarce-
ly hlamable. It was a day appropriated to the
distribution of Southern capital and Southern
labor, by a species of legislative lottery, and
they had, perhaps, some claim to a share in the
scheme, as an equivalent for the service they
had rendered. How far the people of Kentucky
have been benefited by the drawing of this lot-
tery, is a question upon which they have not
been very communicative.

Trifling, sir, as this duty may appear, it is one
of the highest among your imposts. The duty
is five cents on the square yard, but the width
of bagging makes it about six cents the running
yard. This, as an ad valorem duty, will vary
from thirty to fifty per cent. The revenue col-
lected by the Government in South Carolina,
on this duty alone, is more than all the taxes
paid for the State Government, if you exclude
that collected on a particular species of proper-
ty : and it is nearly one-fourth of aU collected
from every source of taxation for State pur-
poses. And for what purpose is this extortion
practised ? For the protection of the manufac-
turer of Kentucky? No, sir; I have shown
he is not benefited by it. Is it to pay your pub-
lic debt ? No, sir ; the design most prevalent
is to divert the funds of the Government from
that purpose. Is it levied for the support of
your Government and its institutions ? No one
■wall pretend that such is the object. With
what view, then, in the name of justice, was it
originally imposed, or is it now continued ? It
was first used, sir, as a punishment for the per-
tinacious resistance of the South, and is now
continued as a fit source from which to con-
struct roads and canals. I have said this much
in relation to the imposition of this duty and its
operation. I wUl now speak of the amend-
ment, proposing to allow the drawback on bag-
ging re-exported, whether in bolts or around
the cotton. What do we understand by a draw-
back ? It is paying to the shipper, by the Gov-
ernment, whenever he exports a foreign article,
the same or a lesser duty than that received
when the article was imported into the country.
It has for its justification satisfactory reasons ;
it is not the policy of the Government to re-
tain the duty on an article which is neither
used nor consumed ; and the repayment of the
duty is often an inducement to re-ship the arti-
cle, thus giving employment and activity to
capital, and aiding in the navigation and com-
mercial operations of the country. Another
and important feature in this policy is, that
when an article is imported, and manufactured
or converted into a different fabric, and re-ex-
ported, by paying back the duty, encouragement
has been afforded to the carrier, the capitalist,
and the domestic industry of the country. These,
I take it, are the grounds of the policy. Where
the material is exported in its original state,
there are few or no facilities for committing
frauds : nor are these to be apprehended, with

the guards adopted, even where the article has
changed its character. Salt pays a duty of
twenty cents on every fifty-six pounds ; yet, on
the exportation of fish packed in foreign salt,
the duty on salt is repaid to the exporter of the
fish. Bagging is imported, and pays a specific
duty. It is used for packing cotton, and imme-
diately re-exported. Is not the analogy so
striking as to be irresistible ? If there be any
distinction, is it not in favor of allowing the

Online LibraryUnited States. CongressAbridgment of the Debates of Congress, from 1789 to 1856. From Gales and Seatons' Annals of Congress; from their Register of debates; and from the official reported debates, by John C. Rives → online text (page 167 of 187)