William D. (William Darrah) Kelley.

Mr. Hurd's free trade resolution online

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degree marvelous, and transcending all anticipation. Had the manufacturing
prosperity of England been matter of ancient history, looking at its diminutive size


on the map of the world, it would have been deemed incredible an! fabulous. Our
means of purchase are immense and inexhaustible. All we now want is markets
but markets for the support and existence of these means of purchase, as well as
for their increase. A sure market created them ; insecure and precarious mar-
kets will destroy them, and kave in their place a wretched and discontented pop-
ulation. Thus with protection has arisen the first indispensable prerequisite for
foreign trade things to give in exchange for foreign commodities ; in other word*,
the means of purchase exports.

The weight of authority against the gentleman's proposition is
overwhelming. The Cobden Club recently invited one of its most
distinguished members, Sir Louis Mallett, C. B., to dispose of the al-
leged heresy of reciprocity in trade, which is growing rapidly among
the English people ; and in the course of the letter addressed to Mr.
Thomas Bay ley Potter, secretary of the club, on that question, Sir Louis
illustrated not only the extent of our exports to the British Islands,
but did it by showing what the gentleman will be surprised to learn,
that free-trade England collects annually about five million dollars
more in duties upon the goods she imports from protective America
than protective America does on the goods she imports from free-
trade England. On this subject he says :

The 20,000,000 which we annually raise in duties on foreign goods may be
roughly divided among our different neighbors in the following proportions :

The United States of America 6,000,000

India and China 3,500,000

France 1,500,000

Spain 1,000,000

Germany 880,000

Portugal 450,000

Greece 320,000

Holland 150,000

Italy 80,000

British possessions 400,000

Other foreign countries , 200,000

And of all these countries there is hardly one which draws as large a revenue
from the taxation of British produce. To take only two examples, the United States
and France. The total value of British produce exerted to the former country in
1877 was 16,300,000 ; making allowance for the entry of a certain amount of goods
duty free, the average rate levied can hardly be put higher than 30 percent., which
would give a total revenue of about five million pounds, while in the case of France
the duties actually levied on British goods in the same year amounted to a little
over eight hundred thousand pounds.


The ninth proposition of the gentleman is as ( follows :
Ninth. To the end that the present tariff shall become one for revenue only, the
following changes should be made : First, on all dutiable articles producing little
or no revenue to the Government, the duty should be returned to a revenue basis,
or they should be placed upon the free list ; second, the duty upon tea and coffee
should be restored, and to the extent that this duty produces revenue to the Gov-
ernment the duty should be removed from salt and clothing, and other articles
indispensably necessary in domestic life.


The gentleman is evidently not aware that it is in times of com-
mercial and industrial depression that the protecting influence of a
tariff is needed and felt. If he will examine the range of prices
through which Bessemer rails have fluctuated as exhibited in the
preceding table, and compare them with the seasons in which that
article has yielded little or no revenue and those in which it has
yielded the highest annual amount, he will find that though the duty
was specific, so much per ton, not an ad valorem diminishing as
prices fell, we received least duty when we could have imported rails
at the lowest prices, and most when we had to pay the highest prices
for them. Thus during the prevalence of the commercial depression
of 1873 and following years there was no demand for rails. Our
own works were but feebly employed. Under these circumstances
we imported few if any rails, and of course received little or no rev-
enue. Would it have been wise, therefore, to have acted on the gen-
tleman's suggestion and repealed the duty on rails because it " pro-
duced little or no revenue to the Government ? " With the restoration
of confidence came a demand for rails ; prices rose ; our mills could
not supply the demand, and enormous importations were made, with
consequent increase of revenue to the Government. Meanwhile com-
petition between home and foreign producers regulated prices and
kept them below what England demanded when she had a monopoly
of our market. The primary office of a protective tariff is to secure
the home market to its producers in seasons of depression and to en-
able the Government to collect from foreigners a consideration for
the privilege of entering our markets in seasons of prosperity, during
which their commodities command high prices. The gentleman's
rule will not work. It would deprive American capital and labor of
its defense in the seasons when they most needed it.

But no reduction of duty on rails, and I take them as an illustration
of the law that prevails with reference to all commodities, would have
brought revenue during that seasoo of terrible depression. The na-
tion's revenues fell off because the consumptive power of the people
was suspended ; and had we acted on the gentleman's proposition, we
might, in the hope of inviting an importation of rails, have placed
them on the free list, and yet failed to induce those who did not
need any to import them.

Nor are his other suggestions more judicious than this one. He
would restore the duties on tea and coffee. In this he dissents from
the historic policy of his party. Free-trader and protectionist have
agreed that the duties on tea and coffee protected no American indus-
try, as we produce neither article, and were, therefore, a pure tax upon
the consumer. As the farmers and laborers of the country are the
great consumers of tea and coffee, the democratic party, made up as
it has been so largely of representatives of the South and West, favored


the abolition of these duties. They were imposed during the war with
general regret, and it was upon the motion of the present democratic
Speaker of the House that they were repealed. To restore them now
would be simply to increase the price of tea and coffee, and abstract
from the farmers and laborers of the country the amount of duty they
would yield. While thus increasing the cost of these essentials of
American life, the gentleman would, to the extent that these duties
shoultl produce revenue, remove the protective duties " from salt,
clothing, and other articles indispensably necessary in domestic life."
These our laborers do produce. The duties upon them protect their
wages. Thus, while making an assault on the wages of those engaged
in producing the necessaries of life, the gentleman would enhance the
cost of their imported food. The proposition is not a patriotic one or
one that will find favor among tanners and workingmen.


Mr. Chairman, thus have I attempted to refute the sophisms which
the gentleman proclaims as principles, and to disprove the assumed
facts upon which they are based. Let the argument go to the coun-
try. Nay, more ; having portrayed the results of ten years of the
revenue tariff of 184fi, which brought us from prosperity to bank-
ruptcy, notwithstanding our production of more than a thousand
millions of gold during a decade, I now in conclusion point to the
results of nineteen consecutive years of high protection. I will not
attempt to portray them. It has been admirably done by another;
and I submit to my friend, the gentleman from Ohio, the summary
of a stranger, of one whose fidelity to the principles of free trade he
will not doubt, who has never a kind word to say for the protective
system, as he is a profound believer in free trade the editor of the
London Times. Between the gentleman and me this free-trader shall
decide by presenting the results of the last ten years of protection.
If he finds the growth of our country to be sluggish, and our people to
be wanting in enterprise or needing the comforts of life, his judg-
ment will sustain the argument of the gentleman. If, on the other
hand, he shows a measure of material development and social prog-
ress hitherto unknown to history, and that it has been marked by
the development, side by side over the vast expanse of our country,
of new agricultural regions, and of centers of industry in their inidst,
that town and country goes together, I shall claim that his judgment
vindicates the protective policy under which these grand results have
been attained. Here is what the London Times says of our progress
during the last decade :


The details we publish this morning of the principal facts elicited by last year's
census of the United States confirm the impression the original summary of results
produced. A nation has never exhibited a more magnificent picture of material


progress for ten years. Since 1870 more than eleven and a half millions have been
added to the population, at a rate of 30 per cent, increase. Except China and Great
Britain and Russia, no Government can count more subjects. In the number of
citizens moved by similar impulses, and recognizing common ends, the British
Empire itself yields to the great Republic. Fifty millions of human beings in a
land like America more than match the 86,000,000 of European and Asiatic Russia.
The 425,000,000 of China are not to be compared with them as a force among man-
kind. The growth of a population may generally be understood to imply the growth
of wealth and resources. As each census in a European state indicates a numeri-
cal advance, it may for the most part be inferred that fresh means of support have
been made available. "When, however, every successive census in the United States
reveals an expansion by bounds and leaps, faith in the instinct of human nature
not to multiply beyond the power of existence is scarcely needed to reassure anxiety.
The granary which is to feed the new millions which have come, the millions which
are to follow, piles its stores for the whole world to certify them. Each added
American citizen has not to search for the livelihood nature hides somewhere or
other for all its children. He is born or imported with his inheritance labeled and
allotted. He has but to go west, or north, or south ; there it is awaiting his advent.

European populations, even the home population of Great Britain, it must be
acknowledged, have rather in their decennial polls a look of boys growing out of
their clothes. An elbow or an ankle is sure to be seen betraying a want of propor-
tion between past resources and present demands. On the other side of the At-
lantic there is a magazine of clothes warranted to fit all ages and sizes. Good soil
is crying out everywhere for its owners to come and possess it. They have not to
conquer and annex. Though the domain be lying desolate, or be a hunting-ground
for Indians, it confesses itself their own, for them to enter it and enjoy it as soon
as they please, the sooner the better. How fresh thousands and hundreds of thou-
sands of acres are continually being brought under tillage, Europe requires no
census ordered from Washington to tell. The "West and the Northwest are a home
farm for the older hemisphere ; the laborers on this side of the Atlantic hear the
echo of each mile of territory broken up by the plow on that. The census shows
that the growth is universal and not partial. The census itself hardly does justice
to the energy with which the South is keeping pace with the rest. The rate in
one class of industry approximates to that in another. As the farmers of Minne-
sota have multiplied from 439,706 in 1870 to 780,707 in 1880, the commercial and
mining population of Pennsylvania has risen from 3,521,951 to 4,282,738.

"While the vegetable and mineral riches of the West are being reduced into pos-
session for the benefit of the universe at large, American cities assert their right
to take toll of the fruits before they are distributed over the earth. If the State
of Colorado can boast 174,649 inhabitants as against 39,864 ten years ago, Chicago
points, after a proportion hardly unequal, to 503,304 citizens against 298,977 in 1870,
and San Francisco to 233,956 as against 149,473. When cities have enlarged to the
dimensions of New York and Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Boston, and Baltimore, they
extend more slowly, yet they too may discover ample foundation in the census of
last June for their own belief that they are taking higher rank among the com-
mercial cities of the world. What is more remarkable still is the equivalent ex-
pansion of smaller local centers. That Saint Louis and Cincinnati and New York
and Baltimore and the like should fringe the vast grain and cotton and beef bear-
ing regions of the Union with populous and luxurious towns is only what might
have been anticipated. It was certain that they would grow with the growth of
agricultural industry. To the late Mr. Cobbett they would have seemed as much
of idle wasting wens as London itself with his Mayfair, its exchange, its parlia-
ment, and its law courts. They are, in truth, as necessary to American prosperity
as the minerals of Nevada and California ard the corn-fields of Illinois and Iowa.


But the Union might have had iis splendid towns and its breadths of fertile plains
and valleys without any very intimate connection between the two.

It is a peculiarity of North American development, and evidence of its solidity,
that town and country grow together. As the branches and roots of a healthy tree
should stretch forth in unison, prosperous country life in a newly-planted American
territory is certain to have its reflex in a thriving neighboring market town. Not
many Englishmen are familiar with the name of Minneapolis. Yet Minneapolis, in
Minnesota, -which in 1870 had 13,066 citizens, and now has 46,887, is as much a center
of corporate vitality as York, and a great deal more than Marylebone or Pa'ldington.
The Hobokens, the Omahas, the Toledos, the "Wheelings, the Grani Rapids are
more real wonders of United States progress than the magnificent emporiums of
trade, like New York and Saint Louis and Chicago and Pittsburgh. Europe can
do more than equal the one class in the apparatus of civilization, if not in rapidity
of growth ; for the other it has no parallel. As soon as the pioneers go forth into
the woods and prairies to reclaim their latent treasures, most of the luxuries and
many of the comforts of civilization attend their steps. "Within no more time than
it takes to open the mine or the forest, a town rises contiguous to their homesteads.
The figures our Philadelphia correspondent appends to his condensation of the last
census bring into relief this most striking of all the features of American vigor.
Americans differ extraordinarily among themselves in" the vocations they pursue.
North and South differ in moral and mental organization ; East and West differ
hardly less. Every State has its idiosyncrasies by which its population may be
distinguished. Yet all Americans agree in a common determination nowhere to
sever themselves from the incidents of nineteenth century existence. They are
ready to bury themselves in mines and to plunge into the untrodden wilderness.
They insist, however, that a camp shall track their footsteps equipped with the^
ordinary accompaniments of municipal life. They must have within not imprac
ticable distance the lecture hall, the church, the newspaper office. They will not,
at whatever cost, cease to feel themselves not merely Americans but American,

The result does not conduce to the picturesqueness of American nationality. As
the European tourist traverses the Union he is amazed at the high standard of social
convenience throughout the enormous dominion. All that can be accomplished by
human co-operation he perceives has been accomplished in a greater or less degree
for the benefit of the American farmer. England and France and Germany could
not conceive a form of material or intellectual enjoyment of which the universal
American population would not demand a share or a duplicate. On the other hand (
the effect is occasionally like that of a dinner at a cheap Paris restaurant. The
order and the number and the titles of the banquets of the extravagant vicinity are
faithfully reproduced, with alien substances and a counterfeit flavor. A foreign
observer of American institutions in the newer States and Territories regrets the
local and racy charm disguised to him by what he may think a false mimicry of a
more advanced cultivation. In truth, there is no 'conscious mimicry, and no ab-
sence of reality in intention or enjoyment. The farmer of the "West and the trades-
man of the ten or twenty year old town of his district are natural enough in the
resemblance they maintain to the habits and tastes of Boston and New York.
Wherever the American goes he carries himself with him unchanged, however
changed 1 may be his calling and his circumstances. To lament the dead if high
level, and the loss of the charm of variety, is to lament that in which the essence
of American national progress consists. If there is little fear for the integrity
of American nationality, vast as the area over which it extends, and impossible as
may seem its future bulk, the reason is to be sought in the unity of the mold
in which each new development is cast. At every step the Union takes toward ap-
propriating its estate, the last annexed township assumesa social as well as a polit-


ical aspect indistinguishable from all the rest. The model is not in New York, or
Boston, or "Washington. "Were there a dominant center or centers, jealousy or a
suspicion of oppression might alienate distant territories. Every American con-
veys his ideal with him to the extremities of his land. "When he plants a new set-
tlement it and its members spontaneously assume the same guise which prevails
elsewhere. Instead of any diminution in the tendency to uniformity, it increases.
The South itself cannot resist the impulse. It is certainly not to be desired that
it should. An immense wave of uniform civilization spreading over the huge do-
main which the Congress of the United States sways is a strange and, on the whole,
an admirable phenomenon.

Sir, in conclusion let me say, that if systems may be judged by their
results, this presentation by the London Times of those of the last of
two consecutive decades of high protection furnishes to the world
abundant evidence that our tariff legislation has not, as the gentle-
man asserts, been mistaken or obstructive.


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Online LibraryWilliam D. (William Darrah) KelleyMr. Hurd's free trade resolution → online text (page 6 of 6)