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not actually cost him more than the price at which it had passed the custom-house, and on which the duty was paid This fact does not need further explanation.” “Messrs. , merchants, in Pearl-street, called on a commission merchant here to buy bombasins. He of fered to sell them at cost and charges, which he supposed would be sixty-five per cent advance on the sterling cost. The goods were shown, and the sterling invoice exhibited by the salesman. The merchants, seeing that the article was charged low, offered to buy three cases, at sixty per cent advance. This offer was accepted, and the goods were to be delivered. The buyers asked and obtained the privilege of taking the balance of the invoice, (about nine cases,) if on examination of the article at their own store, their impressions of the goods being low charged should be confirmed. About an hour after the purchase was made, the salesman waited on the buyers, to say that the goods could not be delivered, as he had made a mistake in selling them by the wrong invoice. The buyers replied that they would take the goods by the prices at which they had been entered at the eustom-house; but the commission merchant refused this, saying that his instruetions were to sell them at an advance upon the prices put down on what had the form of an invoice, but was ... a ‘statement of twelve cases of bombasins, consigned to , &c. &c. in which the prices were charged one hundred per cent. above the invoice entered at the custom-house; that is, goods charged in the custom-house invoice at sixty shillings per piece, were put down in the invoice called a “statement, at one hundred and twenty shillings. “When the purchasers remonstrated, upon his refusal to deliver the three cases already bought, he replied that it was ungenerous and unjust to desire a confirmation of a sale made by mistake; and, to convince them that the pur. chase would be a good one at the highest prices, stated that a retailer, who does the largest business in this city, and is presumed to be a good judge, had offered to buy one case at sixty per cent advance on the ‘statement' prices, but he wanted six months' credit, which was too long to be given on a single case. I will state another case, for which I have the most unquestionable authority. An Englishman, who has resided in New York for a number of years, and was a very large receiver of woollen goods, principally cloths, all of which were sold at auction, had, some time last spring, a serious misunderstanding between himself and his chief clerk, which resulted in some disclosures being made by the clerk to the custom-house, and he fled to Canada. In the second, third, and fourth quarters of the year 1829, there were imported in New York about five thousand dollars worth of woollens above the four dollars minimum. I have reason to believe that one person alone bought and sold a greater amount during the same time. Again. sir, I here exhibit samples of broadcloths, which (and I have the best authority for stating it), passed the custom-house in New York under the dollar minimum, and sold in the Boston market at five dollars the running yard, or three dollars and thirty-four cents the square yard. I leave every person to judge if such goods were fairly va: lued in the invoice, and paid the legal duty. Again: I shall now refer to more evidence. I offer it to show what is the impression that prevails amongst the most intelligent citizens of New York on this subject. I will read an extract from a paper placed in our hands, to which is attached a responsible name—Jeromus Johnson, formerly a member of this House. He, as the chairman of a most respectable and intelligent body of the citizens of New York, and by them sanctioned, made the following public declaration: “The revenue is largely and systematically defrauded by means of the concealment afforded by auctions. The roofs of this alarming truth are so abundant, that it has I. been a settled point among the intelligent merchants.
The Committee of Ways and Means, from the same conviction, have reported the present bill, which does not tax public sales, but only restores those responsibilities and usages which formed the common practice of importers in those prosperous times when smuggling was unknown —before auctions had destroyed regular trade. If these usages had never been interrupted, many millions would have been saved to the Treasury of the United States. Formerly, smuggling, like other great crimes, was of rare occurrence, and perpetrated under accidental temptations. Now, by means of auctions, it has become a system, matured in all its parts, with a mechanism as carefully adapted to its purposes, as in the most regular and lawful occupation. “The officers of the customs in this city, whose experience has been on the largest seale, and who have devoted much attention to this subject, concur in the opinions and facts which we have now stated.” I shall remark on auctions hereafter. I now appeal to every gentleman in the least acquainted with public opinion in New York. Is it not generally understood that our laws are evaded? Is it not the prevailing impression of the community that the revenue is defrauded—that the laws of the country are violated, and this in the most flagrant manner } Again, sir: The President in his message clearly intimates that our revenue laws are evaded. I know that he is anxious that provision should be made to carry them into execution. From the Secretary of the Treasury we are informed that the laws are evaded, and that the attention of the Government is required. The collector of the port of New York, I know, is perfectly satisfied that continued violations of our laws take place. As a faithful, vigilant, indefatigable officer, he has no superior under the Government. He fearlessly executes the laws to the extent of his power. Give me such men, whatever political power controls the affairs of the nation. But his authority is deficient. He has not the means. We have now seen how affairs are conducted at the custom-house, how invoices are made; let us notice what takes place in the appraisers' office. The office of appraiser was created by the act of 1818, for the purpose of aiding the collectors of the revenue in the prevention of frauds. The office was provided for by the act of 1823, and has continued to the present time. I have already stated the proportion of ad valorem goods sent by the collector to their charge, that is—one package out of every invoice at least, and, if more are contained in the invoice, at least one package in twenty. The appraisers, as has been stated, require the invoice to be produced before they decide on the value. I am informed by one of the o: that the invoice is used as evidence of the value of the goods which it contains. It is well known that, in common practice, it is the only standard of valuation. Not more than seven or nine thousand dollars of woollen goods have been found by the appraisers undervalued in the invoice for the year past, although millions have passed through the custom-house. A part, if not all, of the undervaluations were discovered by an open examination of the goods imported in the ship Silas Richards, to which I have before referred. It may therefore be considered as the general practice of the appraisers to take the invoice value as the real value on which duties are to be assessed. I have already shown how invoices for the custom-house are o and every one can judge how much credit should be given them. There is too much intelligence in this committee to o: any further explanation. Under the existing state of things, what is the security for the revenue ! What for the protection intended to be given to the domestic industry of the country There is no check, no barrier, to the unprincipled adventurer. The door is thrown wide open. A mammoth might pass
without touching his sides. It has already been decided by a large majority in the House, that Senators and members of Congress cannot be trusted to compute their own mileage—that we cannot trust the presiding officer of the House of Representatives with the appointment of a draughtsman. If so, what are we to think of a Liverpool invoice I will now call the attention of the committee to another important point. It is as to the nāmber of the regular American importing merchants engaged in the woollen trade as their principal business. The story is a short one. It is the result of an anxious inquiry. Previous to the war, the woollen trade was almost exclusively in the hands of our own merchants. The number was about one hundred and sixty in Boston, New-York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Of the same class of importers, at this time, about twenty. As I am informed by a most intelligent merchant, there was in New-York, at the period to which I have alluded, forty-three, whom he recollects; now only five. One of the appraisers recently informed me that there were, at least, six Such is the mysterious change of trade in the great emporium. These remarks are in a great degree applicable to all American merchants engaged in other branches of European trade. If they have not yet suffered as much, they clearly see before them the secret, silent, fatal approach of annihilation. The strong arm of Government must be extended to their rescue. Again, sir: What is the condition of the American merchant No better illustration can be given, than what is contained in their repeated memorials to Congress. To one at least I will refer. It is signed by thousands of our sellow-citizens of New York. It now remains on the files of this House. It was presented in 1820, when the evils of which they complain were far less withering to com mercial enterprise than at the present day. I will read the conclusion. “Your memorialists will no longer detain your honorable bodies with a detail of the evils flowing from public sales—from which we can never be relieved, until our merchants, share equally in our importations, until every trader is held accountable for the quality as well as the quantity of his goods, and integrity in dealing is properly rewarded by being considered a sufficient guaranty; that, under a sound, equal, and permanent system, your memorialists most sincerely believe that fabrics, from whatever source they may come, will be improved, corruption in trade will be diminished, the consumers throughout the land will, on an average, buy cheaper, the farmer will be better paid for his produce, bankruptcies will be less frequent, and our commercial character consequently restored.” This is language common to all the memorials on the great and interesting subject of auctions. They all speak of corruption in trade, and suggest means to produce a restoration of commercial character. All know, when American trade was conducted by American merchants, their characters stood before the world untarnished by the suspicion of corruption. At home, and abroad, it commanded the most perfect confidence and respect. Prices were steady, profits uniform, deception unknown. In the resent confusion of business, in the untiring efforts of #: to supplant our own merchants, and to drive them out of employment in our own country, it is not surprising that commercial character should have suffered in public estimation. The present state of trade must produce this effect, however Fo may be individual integrity and honor. I am well aware that the alarming evils which exist, are supposed, by the mercantile community ... to be produced by the auction system. I have no doubt but it has been one of the principal causes of ruin and desolation to a high and elevated class of our merchants. It keeps trade in perpetual change. It invites to the most ruinous speculation. It affords the most ready facilities for violating our revenue laws; and, above
H. of R.] Collection of the Imposts, &c. [APRIL 15, 1830.
all, it tends to destroy all confidence in commercial reputation. But suppose that sales at auction are abolished, that honest and honorable merchants take their former station. Under the existing law, and the practice of the custom-house, what could they do? Could they measure consciences with the maker of a Liverpool invoice? Must they not yield to circumstances, or again be ruined? Something else must be done, or the foreign adventurer will command our trade. The subject of auctions is in able hands. It is a great cause—it is a good cause. I have no doubt but it will be well sustained by the honorable gentlemen who have it in charge. Now, sir, we will consider how the woollen trade is carried on. With this subject all are familiar. In New York, as well as in most of our cities, woollen goods are generally sold on foreign account. As near as I can ascertain, four-fifths; many suppose nine-tenths. Part is consigned to American merchants, a great proportion is in the care of foreign agents. They come here to superintend the sale—have no interest in the country—take the place of the American merchant—many, it is said, live in garrets, make out invoices for the custom-house—publish essays on free trade—gather up the spoils and profits of business —abuse the Government, and—go home. After all, they are not so much to blame, if we continue to nod assent. But, under this state of things, we all see that our own merchants are compelled to perform a miserable part. They have to wait the motion of their masters at the auction room. They are active, intelligent, enterprising; why are they driven from trade? They cannot, will not, dare not, resort to means which those who reside abroad are ready and willing to do. Now, sir, shall we suffer such a state of things as has and will continue, unless checked, to produce such consequences? Is it sound policy to allow transient, wandering foreigners to usurp that employment which belongs to the American merchant? Is it patriotic? Is it consistent with just national feelings to permit the great commercial interests of this country to be controlled by foreigners? When I allude to foreigners, I mean those whose home is abroad; whose allegiance still chains them to another country. In short, sir, I wish to see American merchants transacting American business. I hope to see the da when this will be accomplished; when our merchants will occupy their former standing in the estimation of this country and the world. We have of late heard much of the transcendent importance of navigation—of shipbuilding. I respect its value as much as any one should. But I had rather see all we receive from abroad introduced by for reign navigation than see the internal trade of the country conducted by foreign agents. I had rather have for the country a good, substantial, upright, Pearl street merchant, than the best Liverpool packet that ever sailed. We can have both. It is constantly alleged by many, that the evasions of our revenue, laws are caused by the high protecting duties imposed by the tariffs of 1824 and 1828. To this subject I would call the attention of the committee. The charge is erroneous. Evasion of our revenue laws existed to a greater extent previous to the passage of those acts. Under the mild and moderate tariff of 1816—a tarriff lower than has been proposed by the warmest opposer of the protecting system during the present session, the most flagrant evasions were known to exist. They cannot be better explained, than by a reference to the report of Mr. 3. in 1818, while Secretary of the Treasury. He says, after alluding to the course of trade, “there is abundant reason to believe that it is customary, in importations of this nature, to send with the merchandise an invoice considerably below the actual cost, by which the entry is made and the duties secured. Another invoice at or above the actual cost, is forwarded to a different person, with instructions to take and sell the goods by such
invoice.” . The practice, as I have fully shown, still continues; and if it has increased, it arises only from improved skill and experience. Constant practice makes the trade more perfect. If the tariff of 1816 had remained un• changed, foreigners would have gained the advantages they now possess. We also see in all the memorials against auctions from commercial cities, as early as 1820, the most frightful frauds on the revenue are described. It makes little or no difference whether the duties are twenty or fifty per cent.; the same relative advantages exist in favor of the foreigner. That is, he dare verify an invoice in Liverpool, that an honest American merchant dare not do in New York. If the invoice is made out in this country by an agent, he can swear as to his belief of the cost abroad—the American merchant, who purchases, does know the actual cost, and honesty will require him to declare truly—if he does not possess honesty, danger will compel him. He is within the reach of our own laws, where perjury is sometimes noticed. But you cannot reach the person who swears falsely to an invoice in a foreign country. There he is perfectly safe. The truth is, sir, that the foreign valuation is the rotten part of our system. But so it is, and we must make the best of it. Now, sir, I will allude to the effects which fraud and avasion must have had on the revenue. The amount of ad valorem goods imported into the port of New York, for each of the last ten years, at the invoice price, will not vary much from twenty-five millions of dollars; the whole amount, two hundred and fifty millions of dollars. The average rate of duty may be estimated at twenty-five per cent. The amount of duty for ten years would be sixty-two million five hundred thousand dollars. We have already seen how goods are valued in the invoice— the low price at which they pass the custom-house. The average cannot be more than two-thirds of the real cost or value in the foreign market. Goods which cost abroad three hundred and seventy-five millions of dollars, have been invoiced at one third less than the cost. This would amount to the two hundred and fifty millions as I have stated, on which duties have been paid. Duties should have been paid on the three hundred and seventy-five millions of dollars, which would have produced ninety-three million seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, instead of sixtytwo million five hundred thousand dollars, a difference of thirty-one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. This in the port of New York alone. I am ready to admit, that if the laws had been fully enforced, the importation of many articles would have diminished, yet the treasury would have gained millions, and the domestic industry of the nation would have been secured. "I will pass to another topic—smugling. When any charge is made that our laws are evaded through the custom-house, the cry of smuggling is raised from a certain quarter. If a foreign agent presents his well made invoice—good looking invoice—to the collector, and the collector has some doubts whether all is right, you might well suppose he would say, sir, can you think I would do any thing wrong? Will I cheat, sir? Smug. gling, you may depend, sir, is carried on, only on the northern frontier. There is the place to look for rogues; I am honest. Mischief is on the northern frontiers; that is the place. If he presents an invoice that would make the spirit of mischief blush, he declares that he is honest; smuggling is only found on the northern frontier. So his invoice passes. Newspapers opposed, all opposed to the protecting policy, testify that no evasions take place, except on the northern frontier; every where else, all perfectly honest I This is a capital way to escape. Now, [said Mr. M.] I have taken much pains to learn the truth of this matter. I have resorted to every source of information; to the officers of the customs, to our merchants, to all who are best acquainted with the course of the Canada trade. The charge is wholly incorrect, that Vol. VI.-101.
illicit trade in that quarter makes any impression on the revenue or market. There may be along the lines a little petty dealing, that would always exist whether duties were high or low, Efforts have been made on a large scale. They have been, and will be, unsuccessful. The reason is obvious. The great marts for the northern merchants are New York and Boston. When they go into market, they obtain a full assortment for the season. A few pieces of woollen goods is all that each merchant may want. There can be no motive for smuggling. It certainly can be no great object to the foreigner to smuggle cloths to a small extent. If to a large amount, of course he must send his goods to the seaboard market. His goods are exposed to the weather, to damage, to expense and seizure. Besides, in the country any movement out of the usual way is observed. Curiosity is excited. If mischief is on foot, it will be discovered. Again, sir, the people in that part of the Union are friendly to our domestic policy. The farmer and manufacturer are awake. Here is a great security. You might as well smuggle straw as broadcloths. In great ports, like New York, where all is bustle and confusion, illicit trade is comparatively safe. You might smuggle a ship load there more easily than you could send a wagon load from Canada to the same place. After the passage of the tariff in 1828, in England smuggling was practised on a large scale across the lines. The attention of Government was called to that subject. Among other precautions, a confidential and most intelligent agent was appointed to observe the operations of trade on the northern frontier. From him, sir, I have a statement, which fully and amply sustains what I have mentioned before. He has ascertained that our exports to the Canada market, for the year 1829, amount to two million forty four thousand dollars. That near two millions of this has been paid for in specie, or drafts, in favor of our exporters, on our seaboard cities, mostly on New York. If required, a full detail could be given. I well recollect, on a former occasion, the same charge was made. It was said on this floor that we exported annually about two millions to Canada, we paid duties on a small amount of importations, and smuggled the balance in returns. . It so happened, that, when the charge was made, I had in . possession evidence that one house alone in New Yor had, annually, for three years, accepted and paid drafts to the amount of one million two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, the proceeds of the Canada trade. Then, I hope the fears of smugglers on the frontiers may be quieted, for the present at least.
I will now advert to another point. The people in the interior of the country have never been aware of the mis, chiefs that have been practised at the custom-house. The Government has not been fully apprised of them until lately. Darkness had enveloped §. Strong reasons exist. Let us look at them plainly. Twenty-five millions a year of ad valorem goodsimported into New York; in the market, worth thirty-five to forty millions; threefourths, perhaps nine-tenths, owned by foreigners, hostile, I repeat, to our policy, intent on gain, and using every exertion to save the last farthing. Here is a cordon around the custom-house. If any power on earth can overawe a department of the Government, here it is, You can see it, if you have the least knowledge of human nature. If its officers perform their duty, they are assailed; they are represented as bursh and tyrannical. I will give an in: stance. The present collector of New York—I wish all officers of the Government were as faithful—knowing that goods were dispersed in all directions before the apprais; ers had made their report on the sample package, required of the importer the jo. simple obligation:
“I, , do promise that all or any part of the merchandise mentioned in the annexed entry shall, at the re quest of the collector, be immediately delivered up for ex
amination by the public appraisers” ... * * * * * * * *
The object of this was, to have imported goods, in some degree, under his control, in case fraud should be discovered in the sample package. This made such uproar that he was ...f. abandon it. This was too much for free trade to endure. Foreigners declared that the collector was unfit for the office, he gave such unnecessary trouble. Under existing laws and established practice, Liverpool has repealed our revenue laws in New York. Vigilant and honest officers cannot prevent it. They have not the force, the aid that is required. Government alone can afford a remedy. The bill under con: sideration is intended to accomplish a part at least. I hope something may be done. The interior of the country have a deep interest in this matter. The custom-house belongs to the nation. It belongs to Ohio, to Kentucky, as much as the city of New York. We have the power to correct abuses. Let it be used. I will now proceed to consider the provisions'of the bill before the committee. It is confined to woollens. The committee did not wish to propose any measures, except when required by clear and palpable necessity. One of the great objects of the tariff of 1828 was to protect the woollen manufacture. At the time, it was feared and believed by many that the dollar minimum would destroy all intended benefit. As it passed this House, the duty was specific. In the Senate, the duty was changed to advalorem. Yet, by a most erroneous decision of Mr. Secretary Rush, the ad valorem principle was not allowed to apply. The ten per cent in addition to invoice cost was disallowed, which most materially diminished the intended protection. This affected the fabrics composed of the raw material which is produced by our farmers in the greatest abundance. They have been made to suffer, even more than the manufacturer. All that is now asked, all that is humbly required, is to give really, honestly, in good faith, what the Government has promised, pledged itself to give. That is all The first section provides for having a copy of the invoice delivered to the collector. This is indispensable for the correctestimate of duties, as well as a guard against frauds. The value of this is admitted by the customhouse and Treasury Department. The second section requires that woollen goods should be placed in the public store. The object is apparent. It is for the purpose of giving power to the officers of the Government to keep them safe until the legal duties are ascertained. - Our revenue laws now require it, in my opinion. The practice is otherwise, as I have shown. There will be no difficulty; the delay trifling. It will operate equally; no advantage will be given in the market by any. The rights of the Government will be safe. The third section provides for the examination of the goods by the appraisers. It requires that they should be marked with the evidence of the minimum class to which they belong, and on which duties should be paid. In this there will be no difficulty. Every cask of wine and spirits is examined and marked." Every chest and box of tea is examined, whether it contains five pounds, or two hun. dred. Every bar of iron is weighed; every bushel of salt measured. Every piece of cloth can as well be examined, valued, and marked. It can be done with the reatest expedition. . It will be a great security to the É. merchant, and to purchasers. Each will be able to compare qualities and prices. Fraud will be exposed to public observation—the surest check...I will pass on as rapidly as possible; will give more explicit explanation when desired. As to measuring goods, no more is required, perhaps not as much as is required by the law of 1828. e next provision of importance is that which declares that the appraisement shall be made without the invoice. Their value, their correctness, I have described. If appraisers understand their duty, a fair valuation can be mode without the invoice; if they do not, they should
be discharged. If the duty cannot be performed, the of fice should be abolished. With skill, attention, integrity, the Government would be safe; without these qualifications, their employment would be useless, ** -: The greatest objections I have beard urged against the bill have arisen from the penalties to be incurred in cases of appraisement above the invoice price. I do not think they are indispensable, and shall, at a proper time, submit a motion to strike them out. My desire is to remove all the objections that may exist, provided the main object is accomplished. * * The fourth section contains but one alteration of the existing law, that I consider material. By the revenue laws now in force, when the importer, his agent, or consignee is dissatisfied with an appraisement, he may require a re-appraisement. In such cases he may “employ two respectable resident merchants,” who, with the appraisers, shall re-examine and re-appraise the goods in question. The eonsequence is obvious. The importer will employ the person most favorable to his interests. Now, sir, the change proposed by the bill is, that the collector shall appoint the merchants to be associated with the appraisers in eases of re-appraisement. The collector is bound to do justice to all—to the Government as well as to individuals. He acts impartial. It is known, it is expected, that, when the importer employs persons to join the appraisers, be will select those the most partial to his interests. At any rate, he has the power to do so; human nature prompts it; it is not forbidden by the law or the doctrines of free trade. The fifth section is but a consequence of the one preceding. ** The sixth section provides penalties for counterfeiti and changing marks. i. goods are marked, as is provid in the third seetion, this provision is necessary. The seventh section is importunt. It provides that the Secretary of the Treasury shall assign one of the apprais: ers, now appointed, to take charge of the goods deposited in the public store, according to the third section of this bill; and that the Secretary shall appoint assistants to the appraisers, for the purpose of securing a full and faithful execution of the laws. It is considered by all, it is well known, that more aid is required at the custom-house in New York. Considering the immense business done in that port, the appraising department is totally unable to perform the duties by law required to be performed. Further force must be allowed, or the laws, even as they at present exist, cannot be executed. The Seeretary of the Treasury has earnestly recommended this in his report. The collector of New York considers it indispensably ne: cessary. The Committee on Manufactures were fully convinced that further assistance should be given. Since the bill was reported, as an individual member, I have become satisfied a more efficient arrangement may be made, than that contained in the bill. . It is, that the President of the United States, by the consent of the Senate, shall appoint an additional appraiser for the port of New York." That the Secretary of the Treasury shall distribute among the appraisers the classes of business to be by each performed. One can be assigned to the examination and appraisement of woollen goods; one to hardware and other articles: one to silks, linens; indeed, the distribution may be made in such way as that there may be a full superintendence over all ad valorem goods. This can be arranged as the occasion may require. Also, that the Secretary of the Treasury shall appoint such number of assistant appraisers as the public service may demand. It is my intention to submit, on a proper occasion, an amendment for this purpose. I am confident it is the better plan, and will better ineet the views of the Treasury Department as contained in the report on this subject, and more effectually accomplish the object which all must desire.
I will now explain the ninth section of the bill. By the eleventh section of the act of 1823, a part owner res *** *
g --------. §
siding in the United States may verify the invoice. Let his interest be ever so small, he ses this right. It may be created for this purpose. o, great object of the foreign resident is to pass his goods through the customhouse as low as possible. He sends his goods to a part owner, with such representations as to cost as he pleases, with a blank invoice. The part owner in this country very honestly swears to his belief of the value in the foreign market. That value may be as low as the standard of his conscience, very low, as low as will pass the custom house. Very low. Now, if invoices are worth any thing—and it seems to be admitted that when made by foreigners, they are not worth much—the buying partner should do the swearing, and not the selling partner. The buyer may be supposed to know the price better than the seller. The remainder of the bill relates to the disposition of the penalties, and the authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to provide regulations for the full execution of the act. They are the usual provisions in our revenue laws. Now, sir, I hasten to a conclusion. I have stated that our revenue and protecting laws are evaded. I have given the evidence. The measure proposed contains no new principle. The object is to enforce what
the Government has decreed. I am not tenacious of form. I
What the Government has promised, let it be fulfilled. If a better mode can be devised, it shall have my hearty concurrence. The question I propose is, shall the laws of the country be executed Every gentleman of this committee will consult his own heart. Let it come home to his own bosom. Let his honest conscience give an answer.
o TEA AND COFFEE.
When Mr. M. had concluded his speech, Mr. McDUFFIE moved that the eoumittee lay by the above bill for the present, and proceed to the bill “to reduce the duties on tea and eoffee; ” which motion was agreed to, and the bill was taken up. : On motion of Mr. *DUP FIE, the bill was amended, by substituting a specific duty of two and a half cents a pound on coffee, instead of the ad valorem duty, and the period for the commencement of the reduction changed from June 30, to December 31, 1831. On motion of Mr. McDUFFIE, the bill was further amended, by substituting a specific duty on the various A teas, (amounting generally to about half of the present duty,) instead of an ad valorem duty, and the period for its operation made the same as that on coffee. Mr. CONNER, of North Carolina, then moved to insert a clause to reduce the duty on salt to ten cents a bushel. Mr. McDUFFIE besought his friend from North Carolina to withdraw this amendment. The merchants had been suffering for years from this bill; vessels were now coming in, and insolvencies must be the consequence of further delay. The amendment would bring up a tariff discussion, and, although as much opposed to that whole system as any one, he deprecated bringing up the question on this bill. He, therefore, begged the gentleman to withdraw it. Mr. CONNER, not apprehending that his amendment would embarrass the i. and deeming it a proper opportunity for trying the question, declined withdrawing his
to teas imported from “any place east of the Cape of Good Hope,” instead of “from China" alone.
Mr. CAMBRELENG moved to amend the bill so as to put coffee on the same footing, as to the privilege of being deposited in the public stores, as tea.
This motion to it on some discussion between the mover and Messrs. McDUFFIE and C. P. WHITE, in the course of which, the last named gentleman, in illustration of the subject, read the following statement: Coffee imported in 1827 50,051,986 lbs.
Exported * * 21,697,789 lbs.
28,354,197 lbs. 55,194,697 lbs. 16,037,964 lbs.
Coffee imported in 1828 Exported
The amendment was ultimately agreed to.
Mr. PEARCE made an unsuccessful motion to insert a clause, to allow, after a certain period, a drawback of nine cents a gallon on rum; when
The bill having been gone through, the committee rose, and reported the bills to the House.
RECONSIDERATION OF THE ROAD BILL.
Mr. SPENCER, of New York, rose and moved that the vote of yesterday, by which the Buffalo and New Orleans road bill was rejected, be reconsidered. Mr. S. stated that he did not make this motion because his opinion in regard to the bill had undergone any change, but he made it in compliance with the request of a gentleman who desired to revive the bill, not again to discuss or examine it, but merely to lay it on the j. with the declared intention of not calling it up again during the session. In courtesy to that gentleman, Mr. S. made the motion for reconsideration.
Mr. CAMBRELENG—Have not several bills just been reported to the House from the Committee of the Whole House ?
The SPEAKER—There have.
Mr. CAMBRELENG—Is not their consideration now in order ?
"Mr. CAMBRELENG—Then, sir, is the motion to recon
sider the vote of yesterday in order:
The SPEAKER—Perfectly in order.
Mr. BUCHANAN, understanding that the object was merely to get the bill laid on the table, and not to revive the discussion of it, would vote for the motion, not that he was friendly to the bill, and especially to authorizing such a road as was proposed by the bill. The decision of the House on this bill, he understood, was claimed as a victory by the opponents of internal improvements. It was not so. He himself was a friend of internal improvements, although he had voted against this bill; but he was in favor of encouraging them by *† among the several States the surplus revenue. The bill had been rejected, because many members friendly to the principle of internal improvement thought the scheme wild and inexpedient. He repeated that he was willing, for the reason already stated, to vote for the reconsideration, although he was opposed to the passage of the bill. .
Mr. POLK was opposed to the reconsideration. ..After the long discussion P. bill, and the decision of it by a full House, he had thought the matter would be allowed to rest. . It was said by gentlemen that the decision of this bill involved only the question of expediency, and not the constitutional principle. He presumed that the decision resulted from the combined motives of inexpediency and unconstitutionality, and not from the simple objection of
inexpediency. However that might be, as the subject had