William D. (William Darrah) Kelley.

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the land of the country of the mad theories propounded by
the gentleman from Indiana. Professor Henry gave it as
his opinion, some years ago, (and I believe it to be true
to-day,) that there was more wealth invested in our soil in
fertilizing matter at the moment this country was dis-
covered by Columbus than there is at present above the
surface in improvements and all other investments. Ohio,


justly proud of her comparatively superior American
agriculture, was admonished by John H. Klippart, Esq.,
corresponding secretary of her State Board of Agriculture
in 1860, that her staple crop, wheat, was annually decreas-
ing in its yield per acre ; that in less than fifty years the
average product was reduced from thirty to less than
fifteen bushels per acre, and that unless her farmers turned
their attention, and that very soon, to the renovation of
their wheat lands, even Ohio would soon be one of the
non-wheat-producing States. During the first five years
of the last decade her corn crop averaged SGfV^j bushels to
the acre, while during the last five years of the decade its
average had fallen to 32/ v V It matters little, practically,
whether a man sell his acres or sell only their vital prin-
ciples. It would have been better, could we have done it,
that we had exported our acres in all their breadth and
depth than to have extracted from them as we have, and
exported or burned as fuel their productive power. We
should then have seen that that market in which goods
can be bought for the least money is not always the
cheapest, and realized how fearful a price we were paying
for the tails of the skins we had sold so recklessly.

I have referred to Ohio as an example, not because her
case is exceptional, but because if it be exceptional it is ill
favor of her better than average American husbandry.

The South has been less desolated by war than by long
continued unreciprocal free trade with England. The
ravages of war can soon be repaired. Houses, canals, and
railroads can soon be rebuilt. Villages, as unimportant
as those of the South, (and in this I embrace her cities all
other than New Orleans,) are things of very rapid growth
in countries where men are free to exercise their skill or
enterprise, and industry is well rewarded. But who shall
restore her waste lands ? War was not the demon that
blasted them ; it was the free trade that England imposes
on semi-civilized nations; it was the desire to create a
monopoly of the cotton and sugar trade ; it was the belief
that a poor and ambitious people whose expenditures
anticipated their annual crop could be victorious in a
commercial contest with a wealthy people whose diver-
sified industries gave them the control of all markets, and
whose accumulations of capital enabled them to choose their
own time and place for purchasing. I will not describe what
I have seen in the South, or take the reports brought by


northern men. Let southern men describe the condition
of their plantations.

A southern journal, which is quoted by Carey in his
Social Science, but of which the name is not given, says :

" An Alabama planter says that cotton has destroyed more than
earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Witness the red hills of Georgia
and South Carolina, which have produced cotton till the last dying
gasp of the soil forbade any further attempt at cultivation ; and the
land, turned out to nature, reminds the traveler, as he views the
dilapidated condition of the country, of the ruins of ancient Greece."

Dr. Daniel Lee, in his Progress of Agriculture, in the
United States Patent Office Beport for 1852, says :

" Cotton culture presents one feature which we respectfully com-
mend to the earnest consideration of southern statesmen and plan-
ters, and that is the constantly increasing deterioration of the soil
devoted mainly to the production of this important crop. Already
this evil has attained a fearful magnitude ; and under the present
common practice it grows a little faster than the increase of cotton
bales at the South. Who can say when or where this ever-augment-
ing exhaustion of the natural resources of the cotton-growing States
is to end, short of their ruin ? "

De Bow, in his Eesources of the South, published in
1852, says :

" The native soil of middle Georgia is a rich argillaceous loam,
resting on a firm clay foundation. In some of the richer counties
nearly all the lands have been cut down and appropriated to tillage ;
a large maximum of which have been worn out, leaving a desolate
picture for the traveler to behold decaying tenements, red old hills,
stripped of their native growth and virgin soil, and washed into deep
gullies, with here and there patches of Bermuda grass and stunted
pine shrubs, struggling for a scanty subsistence on what was once
one of the richest soils of America."

Governor Hammond, in an address before the South
Carolina Institute in 1849, after presenting the same class
of facts, said :

" These are not mere paper calculations, or the gloomy specula-
tions of a brooding fancy. They are illustrated and sustained by
facts, current facts of our own day, within the knowledge of every
one of us. The process of impoverishment has been visibly and
palpably going on step by step with the decline in the price of

Clement C. Clay, of Alabama, speaking in the United
States Senate, said:

" I can show you, with sorrow, in the older portions of Alabama,
in my native county of Madison, the sad memorials of the artless


and exhausting culture of cotton. Our small planters, after taking
the cream off their lands, unable to restore them by rest, manures,
or otherwise, are going further West and South in search of other
virgin lands, which they may and will despoil and impoverish in

like manner In traversing that county, one will

discover numerous farm-houses, once the abode of industrious and
intelligent freemen, now occupied by slaves, or tenantless, deserted,
and dilapidated ; he will observe fields, once fertile, now unfenced.
abandoned, and covered with those evil harbingers, foxtail and
broomsedge ; he will see the moss growing on the rnoldering walls
of once thrifty villages, and will find ' one only master grasp the
whole domain ' that once furnished happy homes for a dozen white
families. Indeed a country in its infancy, where fifty years ago
scarce a forest tree had been felled by the axe of the pioneer, is
already exhibiting the painful signs of senility and decay apparent
in Virginia and the Carolinas."

Dr. Lee, in the paper to which I have already referred,

" Of the land cultivated in this country, one hundred million
acres are damaged to the extent of three dollars per acre per an-
num, or, in other words, a complete restitution of the elements
of crops removed each year cannot be made short of an expense of


Sir, this is a melancholy picture to contemplate a
country wasted in its youth, and its people impoverished
in the midst of abounding natural riches. And, sir, what
adds to its sombre character is the fact that it is not acci-
dental that it is not the result of Providence, save as
Providence permits some men to trifle with their rights
and interests, and others to take advantage of their wicked-
ness, weakness, or folly. It is the work of man ; it is the
result of design ; it has been brought about as the end
sought to be obtained by the sagacious and far-seeing
legislators who have guided the counsels of Great Britain
and their allies, the free trade leaders of the Democratic
party of our country. The laws by which these melan-
choly results were produced are demonstrable, and have
long been well understood. They are the golden rule as
administered by selfish and perfidious England to young
or feeble nations and her own colonies. They were under-
stood by Locke when he prepared his essay on Civil
Government. Dean Swift, as I have shown, expounded
them when he endeavored to inspire the people of Ireland
with wisdom and save to that unhappy country a future.


They were understood by Andrew Gee when he published
his work on Trade in 1750, and among other illustrations
of his clear apprehension of them said :

" Manufactures in our American colonies should be discouraged,

prohibited We ought always to keep a watchful eye

over our colonies, to restrain them from setting up any of the manu-
factures which are carried on in Great Britain ; and any such
attempts should be crushed at the beginning Our colo-
nies are much in the same state as Ireland was in when they began
the woolen manufactory, and as their numbers increase, will fall
upon manufactures for clothing themselves, if due care be not taken
to find employment for them in raising such productions as may
enable them to furnish themselves with all the necessaries from us.
. . . . As they will have the providing rough materials to
themselves, so shall we have the manufacturing of them. If encour-
agement be given for raising hemp, flax, etc., doubtless they will
soon begin to manufacture, if not prevented. Therefore, to stop the
progress of any such manufacture, it is proposed that no weaver have
liberty to set up any looms, without first registering at an office, kept

for that purpose That all slitting-mills, and engines for

drawing wire or weaving stockings, be put down That

all negroes be prohibited from weaving either linen or woolen, or
spinning or combing wool, or working at any manufacture of iron,
further than making it into pig or bar iron. That they also be pro-
hibited from manufacturing hats, stockings, or leather of any kind.
This limitation will not abridge the planters of any liberty they now
enjoy ; on the contrary, it will then turn their industry to promot-
ing and raising those rough materials If we examine

into the circumstances of the inhabitants of our plantations, and
our own, it will appear that not one-fourth of their product redounds
to their own profit, for, out of all that comes here, they only carry
back clothing and other accommodations for their families, all of
which is of the merchandise and manufacture of this kingdom.
. . . . All these advantages we receive by the plantations, be-
sides the mortgages on the planters' estates and the high interest they
pay us, which is very considerable." *

I think, sir, that I have shown by the extracts I have
made from that remarkable book, " Cotton is King," that
the men of the South understood the laws of trade (certain
as that of gravitation) well enough to comprehend the fact
that free trade must ultimately destroy the varied inter-
ests of the North. They may not, mad with ambition as
they were, have seen that the operation of the laws whose
penalties they were inflicting upon others would involve
them in common destruction; but that they understood
the fatal operation of free trade upon the great interests
of the country is apparent in every chapter of the essay
from which I have quoted.

* See quotations from Thomas Jefferson in Speech on Centennial Celebration,
Jan. 10, 1871, tupra.


I know not, sir, whether the gentleman from Indiana
has studied the laws of social science, but they have been
thoroughly comprehended by the statesmen of England,
and furnish the key alike to her diplomacy and legisla-
tion. Illustrative of this is the case of Portugal. In the
latter part of the seventeenth century she had established
manufactures of woolen goods, which were thriving, add-
ing to the comfort and prosperity of her people, and to
her own respectability and power. They, however, needed
protection against the hostile capital and more fully devel-
oped industry of England, and in 1684 the Government,
discovering the advantages it derived from these manu-
factures, resolved to protect them by prohibiting the im-
portation of foreign fabrics of the kind. Thenceforward
their increase was so rapid as to attract the attention of
British capitalists, who determined upon their destruction.
This was not to be accomplished at once; but, evading
the technical language of the law, they manufactured arti-
cles under the names and of descriptions not precisely
covered by the act of prohibition, which would supply
their places, and threw them in great abundance into the
Portuguese markets.* The effect upon the industry of
the country was soon felt, and the Government gave its

* This device hag been practiced upon during the two past years to the great
detriment of the public revenue and of the American wool grower and manufacturer,
by invoicing woolen and worsted goods as manufactures of cow and calf hair.
Mr. .In iiK-s Dobson, in a letter which appears in the New York Daily Bulletin of
January 26th, 1871, says: "In the first place, I would say that these so-called
'calf hair cloakings' are not made from the materials the importers say they are.
but in place of being made from cow or calf hair are only go in part the balance
being wool; and some goods that have been so classified contain nothing but wool.
Out of two hundred and eighty-five invoices that had passed, between July 1st
to Nov. 7th, 1870, under the assumption of being calf hair, there were seventy
invoices of curled Astrachans which, if properly and honestly invoiced, would
have paid duty as manufactures of worsted goods. Samples of these goods can
be seen in the Appraiser's Office in New York, if they have not been destroyed
since Nov. 7th, 1870. If they have, then I can produce certified samples by the
Deputy-Appraiser who passed them. About twenty specimens of the poorer
quality of these so-called calf hair goods were submitted by the Treasury Depart-
ment for microscopic examination, for the purpose of detecting whether any wool
was contained in them, and in every instance wool was discovered, some speci-
mens contained seventy per cent, wool, while others had variable proportions.
You can find this report in the Treasury Department at Washington. You can
also find it embodied in the Department letters, of Dec. 7th and 8th, 1870, to the
Collector of the Port of New York. Again, your correspondent says that the
assumption that one house in Huddersfield had sent nine-tenths of these goods
to the United States, is groundless, like the rest of my statements. All I have
to say to this is that I here quoted a portion of the American Consul's letter
written to the Collector of New York, calling his attention to the frauds
that were being daily perpetrated on the revenue of the country. The letter
bears date September 17th, 1870, a copy of which is on file both in New York


attention to the matter, and prohibited the introduction of
these "serges and druggets." But British capitalists were
as determined that their fabrics should clothe the people
of Portugal as they have since been that we should con-
sume their cotton, woolen, steel, iron, and other goods ;
and what they had been unable to accomplish by the mere
force of capital or by skilful evasions of Portuguese
laws, they at last achieved by diplomacy. Portugal fail-
ing to perceive that England could not produce Portu-
guese wines, as she cannot produce American cotton, hemp,
rice, tobacco, and grain, listened to the words of such
diplomacy as induced us to enter into the Canadian reci-
procity treaty, and subjected the energy, ingenuity, and
industry of her people to the control of the Government
and capitalists of England ; the inducement to this step,
artfully put forward by Great Britain, was that the wines
of Portugal should be admitted into Great Britain at a
duty one-third less than that imposed on wines imported
from other countries. The effect of this treaty on the indus-
try of Portugal is narrated by an English writer, who says :

" Before the treaty our woolen cloths, cloth serges, and cloth
druggets were prohibited in Portugal. They had set up fabrics
there for making cloth, and proceeded with very good success, and
we might justly apprehend they would have gone on to erect other
fabrics until at last they had served themselves with every species
of woolen manufactures. The treaty takes off all prohibitions and
obliges Portugal to admit forever all our woolen manufactures.
Their own fabrics by this were perfectly ruined, and we exported
100,000 value in the single article of cloths the very year after the

"'I he court [of Portugal] was pestered with remonstrances from
their manufacturers when the prohibition was taken off pursuant to
Mr. Methuen's treaty. But the thing was passed, the treaty was
ratified, and their looms were all ruined." British Merchantmen,
vol. 3, p. 253.

In the spirit of the diplomacy of Methuen was the par-

und Philadelphia, also at the Treasury Department at Washington, and is a
public document. He gays :

"' My attention having been drawn to the fact that certain manufacturers of
this district huve refused to give calf-hair certificates to the goods sold this firm
in question, because they knew them to be false and did not wish to perjure them-
selves for the sake of gain, however the impression gained ground that the
sworn certificate was only a matter of form. I was led to infer that this house
in question must be the house who had so misled the manufacturer, and the
developments have reached such a form that I feel it incumbent on ine to call
the attention of the revenue officers at New York to all the invoices of this firm,
which have passed through this agency.' "


liamentary eloquence of Henry, now Lord Brougham, in
1815. Having described the effect of the peace of 1814,
which bound continental Europe to the use of British
manufactures, and produced an excessive exportation of
British goods in that direction, he said :

'The peace of America has produced somewhat of the same
effect, though I am very far from placing the vast exports which it
occasioned upon the same footing with those to the European market
the year before, both because ultimately the Americans will pay,
which the exhausted state of the Continent renders very unlikely,
and because it was well worth while to incur a loss upon the first ex-
portation in order by the glut to stifle in the cradle those rising manu-
factures in the United States which the war has forced into exis-
tence contrary to the natural course of things."

Though I should not pause here, I cannot abstain from
asking the gentleman from Indiana whether he is ready to
permit " British capitalists " to glut our markets and stifle
in the cradle the rising manufactures which the late war
has called into existence ? In further proof that they
will do so, and if we do not protect them, throw the work-
men engaged in our furnaces, forges, factories and work-
shops out of employment, let me add that the commis-
sion appointed under the provisions of the act of 5th and
6th Victoria, chapter ninety-nine, showed how well it un-
derstood that the supremacy of Great Britain depends on
the maintenance, at whatever cost, of her manufacturing
supremacy. In its report to Parliament in 1854 it said :

" I believe that the laboring classes generally, in the manufactur-
ing districts of this country, and especially in the iron and coal dis-
tricts, are very little aware of the extent to which they are often
indebted for their being employed at all to the immense losses which
their employers voluntarily incur in bad times, in order to destroy
foreign competition, and to gain and keep possession of foreign mar-
kets. Authentic instances are well known of employers having in
such times carried on their work at a loss amounting in the aggre-
gate to three or four hundred thousand pounds in the course of three
or four years. If the efforts of those who encourage the combi-
nations to restrict the amount of labor, and to produce strikes, were
to be successful for any length of time, the great accumulations of
capital could no longer be made which enable a few of the most
wealthy capitalists to overwhelm all foreign competition in times of
great depression, and thus to clear the way for the whole trade to
step in when prices revive, and to carry on a great business before
foreign capital can again accumulate to such an extent as to be able
to establish a competition in prices with any chance of success.
The large capitals of this country are the great instruments of war-
fare against the competing capitalists of foreign countries, and are


the most essential instruments now remaining by which our manu-
facturing supremacy can be maintained ; the other elements cheap
labor, abundance of raw materials, means of communication, and
skilled labor being rapidly in process of being realized."

Nor, sir, Lave other nations failed to discover that social
life is not subject to chance, or to enforce what are now
termed the laws of social science. Indeed, the more saga-
cious and powerful nations have been compelled in self-
defence to do what we grand as are the dimensions and
resources of our country must do or be forever dependent
and subject to ever more frequently-recurring periods of
bankruptcy, private, corporate, State and national.

Carlyle's brilliant word-painting depicts the horrors that
flowed from contempt for the value of labor in France,
and the historian of the rebellion just crushed will portray
those which flowed from our disregard of the rights of the
laboring people of our country. Had Louis XIV. appre-
ciated the value and national power of the skilled indus-
try of France, he would not have revoked the edict of
Nantes ; commenting upon which, Hume says :

"Above half a million of the most useful and industrious subjects
deserted France, and exported, together with immense sums of
money, those arts and manufactures which had chiefly tended to en-
rich that country. . . . Near fifty thousand refugees passed
over into England."

Since the days of Colbert, however, with the exception
of a brief term during which she adherred to the stipula-
tions of a " reciprocity treaty," into which England in-
veigled her, France has protected her industry by pro-
hibitory acts, by bounties or concessions, and by high pro-
tective duties. Her present astute ruler and the British
Government have recently attempted to dazzle and mis-
lead other nations with theories of free trade which neither
was willing to carry into operation ; but the tariff act pre-
pared by M. Chevalier, after conference with Mr. Cobden,
who, in his desire to improve the condition of the labor-
ing classes of England by securing them cheap food, was
led to adopt all the fallacies of the school of free traders,
is perhaps the most scientifically protective revenue law
ever devised.

France permits none of her raw material, which is not
absolutely in excess of her demand for food or fabrics, to


be exported ; nor will she admit into her ports any article
that may come in competition with her industry without
requiring it to pay her and her people adequate compen-
sation for the injury such admission may inflict. A recent
illustration of tfais is before us. The free-trade papers are
announcing that France has determined to admit raw
whalebone free of duty. They cannot, however, tell us,
that she has consented to admit foreign hops on the same
terms ; for while inviting cargoes of whalebone to her
ports, she has rejected an application for the free admis-
sion of hops. She welcomes the product of the American
whaler, for whalebone enters into an infinite number of
her manufactures. She has no domestic source from
which she can derive the article ; and the duty upon it as
upon any raw material, was a tax upon her manufacturers,
or a bounty to their rivals. She therefore remits the
duty for the same reason that she taxes hops. She pro-
duces much wine, and but little beer ; and her own soil
and labor furnish her with an adequate supply of hops
for all uses within her limits. To admit them would be
to injure her agriculturists, and perchance, to stimulate an
appetite for a beverage that might injure the market for
French wines. We ship in the same vessel our wheat,
and the bones, rags, and other refuse matter which would,
were our own industry broadly diversified, after applica-
tion to many purposes of use and pleasure, restore to the
earth the elements extracted from it by the tons of

Online LibraryWilliam D. (William Darrah) KelleySpeeches → online text (page 7 of 58)