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William D. (William Darrah) Kelley.

Reasons for abandoning the theory of free trade and adopting the principle of protection to American industry online

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demand for his Droduce diminish also the value of his plant; his capital and in
terest are imperilled at the same time and by the same cause. It is not to be
expected, it is not in the nature of Englishmen, that he should at once throw up
the sponge, and declare himself beat ; he will continue to tread the mill though



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he gets nothing for it ; he will struggle on for years, losing steadily, perhapa,
but yet hopeful of a change. Millions of manufacturing capital are in that con
dition in England at present. Capitalists continue to employ their capital in
manufacturing industries because it is already invested in them ; but in many
cases it is earning no profit, and in others diminishing year by year.

It takes some time to scatter the wealth of England. The growth of half a
century of industrial success is not kicked over in a day. Moreover, it is only
now, only within the last three years, that the foreign producers have acquired
the skill and capital and machinery that enable them really to press us out of
our own markets. The shadow has been coming over us for many years, but it
is only just now we are beginning to feel the substance ; their progress corres
ponds with our decline. A great manufacturing nation like England does not
suddenly collapse and give place to another; her industries are slowly, bit by
bit, replaced by those of other countries ; the process is gradual, and we are
undergoing it at present. The difference between England and her young manu
facturing rivals is simple, but alarming. France, Austria, Prussia, Belgium,
Switzerland, have increased their export trade and their home consumption :
England has increased her export trade, but her home consumption has fallen
away, in the matter of cotton alone, 35 per cent, in three years !

In the present condition of manufacturing industries it is foolish to tell the
operative class to attribute the prosperity to Free Trade; they are not prosper
ous; it is a mockery to tell them to thank God for a full stomach, when they are
empty ! they are not well off; never has starvation, pauperism, crime, discon
tent, been so plentiful in the manufacturing districts never since England has
been a manufacturing country has every industry great or small been so com
pletely depressed, nerer has work been so impossible to find, never have the
means and savings of the working classes been at so low an ebb.

We have had periods when some two or three of the great industries were de
pressed, but health still remained in a number of small ones : now the depres
sion is universal; the only industry in tne country that is really flourishing is
that of the machine makers, turning out spinning and weaving machinery for
foreign countries ! Many of these works are going night and day.

Now many persons doubt this distress, deny it altogether, and appeal to the
Board of Trade returns and to the dicta of certain retired manufacturers, who,
having invested the wealth acquired in former years, and being released from
the anxieties and dangers of declining trade, can now, without danger, afford to
indulge their commercial theories without injuring their pockets.

The manufacturing districts are depressed as they never have been before, and
any one who will visit them may see by evidence that cannot lie, by smokeless
chimneys, by closed shops, by crowded poorhouses and glutted jails, by crowds
of squalid idlers, that the distress is real. Take the one simple fact that the con
.sumption of cotton goods in England has fallen off 35 per cent, in three years
Can any fact afford stronger proof of the poverty and depression of our opera
tive classes ? Cotton constitutes the greater proportion of the clothing of the
lower orders ; when, therefore, the consumption of cotton falls away, it is proof
positive that the working classes are taking less clothing. Sullivan s Protection
to Native Industry. London, 1870. Am. Ed., p. 17.

How effectively the diversification of our industries and the better wages pro
tective duties enable us to pay for labor is doing this, is thus shown by Professor
Kirk of Edinburgh. His figures also prove that British emigrants are no longer
chiefly agricultural laborers, but skilled atisans. He says :

" So long as there is inhabitable surface on the earth not yet occupied, it is
probable we shall have emigration. This abstract thought, however, has very
li tie to do with the actual facts of emigration as it now goes on. It is, as we
liave seen, a great delusion for men to think that our emigrants are going away
from us because there is no room for them in their native land. It is a still
greater delusion to imagine that it is a relief to those who remain behind to be
quit of those who go. If our readers will give us a little careful attention, we
may be able to make the truth clear as to our situation in this important
matter.

" In 1815, the total emigration from the United Kingdom was 2081 in 1866, it
had risen to 204,882. That is such an increase as may well arrest the attention of



31

all who feel interested in their country. There were higher years than 1866;
but these had to do with the gold fever, and need not be taken into account in
our present paper. In 1852, for example, the number of emigrants rose to
368,764 ; but 87,881 of these went to Australia and New Zealand. It is to the
steady flow of nearly 200,000 persons a year, as reached from the small begin
ning 2081 in 1815 that it is interesting to turn attention.

" And yet it is far more interesting to consider the destination of these emi
grants. The number from 1815 gives a grand total of 6,106,392 persons, and of
these no less than 5,044,809 went to North America. Large as the Australian and
New Zealand exodus has been, it had reached only 929,181 in 1866 ; that is, it
had not reached one million when the American had gone beyond five. It is
important, too, to notice that by far the largest number of our emigrants to
America go to the United States. In 1866, those to the colonies were 13,255,
while to the States they reached the high number of 161,000. It is therefore
very clear that it is with America we have specially to do in considering the
bearings of this vast and growing emigration. The States of America are not
now a new country. They begin to have all the characteristics of an old estab
lished nation, especially in their northern and eastern portions. New England
is a well-peopled region of the world ; and, to as great an extent as Old Eng
land, it may be regarded as a manufacturing country, and certainly not a land
remaining to be occupied. An emigration from Britain to these States is not a
going forth to subdue the wilds of the earth s surface, but to increase the popu
lation of large manufacturing centres.

"This leads us, however, to notice further, the nationality of the emigrants
going from us. Up to 1847, the emigration was from Ireland in a very much
larger proportion than from the rest of the Empire. During the following eight
years the flow from Ireland became comparatively low, though it still keeps up
to a high rate. The emigration from Scotland was next in importance to that
of Ireland, when the extent of our population is taken into account. England,
with six times as many people as Scotland, sent but few emigrants till of late
years. The Irish emigration was so great, that in 1851 the census revealed a
deficiency in the population amounting to 2,555,720. That is, had Ireland had
no emigration in the ten years previous to 1851, she would have had 2.555,720
more than were actually in the island. In 1861, there had been a positive de
crease of 751,251, instead of an increase of a much larger figure, and it is anti
cipated that there will be a still more important decrease in 1871. In 1851, but
more so in 1861, Scotland was found to be affected in a somewhat similar way,
though not to the extent of producing an actual decrease in the number of peo
ple. Instead of an increase of twelve or thirteen per cent., as was in former
decades, there was only one of six per cent, from 1851 to 1861. The rate of in
crease in England and Wales had not been sensibly affected. Now the chief
stream of emigration is flowing from England. In the first or winter quarter
of the year 1869, the emigration was 2702 Scotch, 9800 Irish, and 11,000 Eng
lish. It need not be told any one who thinks and reads at all on the subject
that it is now in England almost exclusively we have excitement in connection
with emigration. And we may assuredly calculate that the census of 1871, and
far more fully that of 1881, if matters go on as now, will reveal a decrease in
the population south of the Tweed.

"What is the great relation in which these three kingdoms stand to each other and
mankind? Ireland is agricultural and pastoral; so is Scotland to a great ex
tent; England is the workshop for these and for the world. There is a small
manufacturing power in Ireland, a much greater in Scotland, but by far the
greatest of all in England. This explains how emigration did not set in on
England or on Scotland, as it has done on Ireland. It also explains why it did
not until now affect England as it has affected Scotland. A pastoral people are
the first to emigrate in the course of nature. An agricultural people are the
next in order. From a land like this a manufacturing people would never emi
grate if matters were right. The climate and mineral store of this country are
such that no other country can at present compete with it in manufacturing
power, if the natural course of things were followed. Even our shepherds have
an immense advantage at home, and our farmers have a still greater advantage,
but our manufacturers have so great facilities as can scarcely at present be
equalled. It is, consequently, matter of extreme interest when we find that



32

England is emigrating. It introduces us to the mining, mechanical, and manu
facturing character of our emigrants now. There are above 70,000 souls in the
east end of London who must emigrate speedily or die. They are being shipped
off as fast as charity and Government can transport them to North America.
Above 25,000 of these are workmen more or less skilled in engineer and ship
building occupations. These are not shepherds, nor are they ploughmen, nor
will they ever be to any great extent one or the other. They are mechanics, and
will be so go where they may. In the vast hives of industry in Lancashire there
are a greater number who must emigrate or die. These are getting off as fast as
they possibly can to Massachusetts to find full occupation in cotton. Not one
is either pastoral or agricultural, and few are likely ever to be either. Irish
men and Scotchmen can be anything, but not so Englishmen, and they will not
need to be anything in the world but what they have been. Their skill is too
valuable to be sent to the backwoods when abundance of rough hands are there
already, and skilled men are needed to make a great country fit to manufacture
for itself. Till within the last four years our emigrants were chiefly pastoral
and agricultural, now they are chiefly mining, mechanical, and manufacturing.
It is to this that we feel it of such importance to call attention. Our position as
a nation depends to a great extent, upon our usefulness to the world in a
mechanical and manufacturing line. Commerce has its being in the fact that
one nation is so situated that it excels in one thing while another excels in
another. It is in the exchange of produce that all trade lies, and such exchange
clearly depends on the excelling we have mentioned. If this nation loses its
excellence in manufacturing power, it loses its only possible share in the ex
change of the world, and its commerce dies.

" We must also look at the effect of emigration on the character of the popu
lation left behind. How do the Emigration Commissioners account for the vast
deficiencies in the population of Ireland ? More than two millions and a half
of deficiency was double the emigration, but it was accounted for by the fact
that th-9 young men and women had gone off to such a degree that marriages and
births had fallen off sufficiently to account for all. The proportion of persons
between the ages of twenty and thirty-five, in the ordinary settled course of
society, is about twenty-five per cent. that proportion among emigrants is above
fifty-two per cent. This is not the only matter of consideration at this point.
Miss Rye, in a letter to the Times, some months since, said : I will not, I
dare not, spend my time in passing bad people from one port to another. And
bad people cannot, as a rule, pass themselves; they have generally no incli
nation to do so. No doubt bad enough people go, but that is not the rule. We
dare not now send our criminals abroad, nor dare we send our paupers, nor
should we be allowed to send any class unfit to support themselves. It is the best
of our mechanical and manufacturing hands that are now going, and they are
leaving the proportion of those who burden society largely increased. " Kirk:
Social Politics in Great Britain and Ireland, page 112. London and Glasgow,
1870.



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Online LibraryWilliam D. (William Darrah) KelleyReasons for abandoning the theory of free trade and adopting the principle of protection to American industry → online text (page 4 of 4)