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operates upon the community. To strip the subject still further of the disguise and confusion in which it is enveloped, I will advance another step in the process of simplification. I maintain, then, that an import duty imposed upon those articles of foreign merchandise which are received in exchange for the domestic productions of the planting States, is precisely , equivalent, in the existing state of our commercial relations, to an export duty levied upon the productions of those States. A very brief examination of the actual state of our commerce with Europe will satisfy the House that those articles of merchan. dise, which are now imported principally from Great Britain, France, and Holland, in exchange for our cotton, tobacco, and rice, are the only articles which can be obtained in those countries for the productions we send them. Whatever impost duty you impose, we must still continue to import the merchandise on which it is levied, until the duty reaches the point of prohibition. I am aware that a notion prevails, and I have recently seen it gravely main tained in a number of the North American Review, that if we were to prohibit absolutely and entirely the importation of all those articles which we now import from Europe in exchange for our cotton, that Great Britain and France would still continue to purchase the same quantity of that staple as they did before the prohibition; and that, instead of paying for it with merchandise, they would pay for it with money. This is an argument of some plausibility, and may impose upon persons unacquainted with the laws of commerce, and the functions of money. But to persons at all familiar with these important subjects, it can appear in no other, light than as a gross and palpable absurdity. What, sir, is commerce between nations but a mutual exchange of those articles of intrinsic value which are mutually produced and consumed by the nations who carry it on Great Britain, for example, cannot purchase our cotton without giving for it, directly or indirectly, the productions of her own industry. Having no mines of gold and silver, she cannot pay us in those . metals, until she obtains them from some other country in exchange for the productions of her own industry. But unless your duties increase the demand of the countries having gold and silver mines, for British merchandise, and also the demand of the commercial world for specie, Great Britain can neither sell any more goods to the mining countries, nor purchase any more specie from them, than she did before your prohibition. Your refusal to take any thing but specie for British merchandise, therefore, is refusing to take any thing but that which she cannot give. But the inquiry does not stop here. Suppose Great Britain had inexhaustible mines of the precious metals. There would still be wanting one of the indispensable conditions of a beneficial commercial exchange, to render it advantageous for us to receive specie in return for our produce. We have no use for any more to. than we already possess. It would be extreme folly to think of importing specie, as an article of consumption, in the United States. We can neither eat it nor wear it. It is not an article that we want for consumption. Its rincipal use is as the basis of our circulating medium, and #. that purpose the supply is already ample, which we derive from our direct trade with the mining countries. Suppose the staple States were to import annually, if such eonsummate folly may be io. to them, thirty, or even twenty millions of specie. What would they do with it? Of what value would it be to them We should have no demand or use for a fiftieth part of it in the United States. To what country, then, should we export it? To Mexico or South America? They are the countries from which it originally came. To Great Britain, or France, or Hol. land f These are the countries from which, upon the supposition, we should receive it. But even if we could find a foreign demand for this specie, what article could we receive in exchange for it, that is not excluded by the
principle of your prohibitory system Sir, it is by con. founding specie as as article of commerce, with specie as the mere representative of value, that public writers have fallen into ū. strange delusion which I have thus attempt. ed to expose. Specie, as an article of trade, is subject to the same laws that apply to any other article of commerce. It is only between the nations that produce it, and those which require it for actual use, that it can be an article of profitable trade. Between all others, it can answer no other purpose than that of a common circulating medium, by which the accidental balances of their aunual exchanges may be adjusted and paid. I think, then, I have shown that the only articles we can receive advantageous. ly from the countries which consume our agri staples, are those which are produced, by the industry of those countries; and these are precisely the manufactures which it is the design of the prohibitory system to exclude altogether. But, whatever may be said as to the matter of theory, no doubt can be entertained as to the matter of fact. Highly as you have taxed the manufactures of Great Brk tain, France, and Holland, we do actually import those manufactures, almost to the precise amount of the agricul tural staples exported to the countries in question. We find it more advantageous to import the productions of those countries under a tax of forty-five per cent, than to import specie free of duty. Such being the actual state of the trade in question, does it not follow that a duty upon the exports of cotton, tobacco, or rice, would not be more burdensome to the planter, nor to any other interest concerned, than an equal duty upon the manufactures re. ceived in exchange for those exports i No ingenuity can draw any substantial discrimination between the actual operation of the two kinds of duty. terial to the planter, whether he pays the duty upon the cargo he sends out, or upon that which he brings back! To give a familiar illustration, which every man of com: mon sense will readily understand—would it be any more burdensome to the planter to pay a toll of forty per cent. upon the cotton he sent to market, than it would be to pay the same toll on the goods he received in exchango for it? The question is too plain to be argued. It would simply be the difference between paying as he went to market, and paying as he returned home. If then, the duties were o upon the export of our productions what would become of the argument that the consumer pays the whole of the duty It would be too absurd for grave consideration. As our cotton, tobacco, and rice are consumed in foreign countries, it would follow, according to this argument, tho' we levied our taxes from foreign countries. It would only be necessary, therefore, to transfer our impost duties from imports to exports, to exempt our citizens entirely from the burden of our own taxes, and throw it upon the sub jects of other nations. . But, sir, we cannot make foreigners pay the taxes.” impose upon our own citizens. The market of Great Brk tain, for example, regulates the price, as well of the cotton we export to that country, as of the merchandise wo import from it. Does not every man acquainted with the commerce of the country know that the price of cotton a Liverpool controls and determines the price at Charleston; and that the price of that article in Liverpool depends no upon your duties, but upon the supply compared with * demand—a supply derived not only from the United State; but from all the cotton-growing regions of the world! And, on the other hand, does any man suppose that the prio.”
Can it be at all ma .
British merchandise, in New York, controls and regulato
the price at Manchester The price of this merchandised". pends upon the general demand for it in all the makes" the world. For the same reason, therefore, that a duty "P" on the exports of cotton cannot raise the price of that ooloo in the British markets, a duty upon the 'imports of Briti"
merchandise cannot depress the price of that merchandise in those markets. The American cotton planter, then, pays a duty of forty per cent. upon the export of his cottons, or, which is the same thing, upon what he obtains for it, and cannot indemnify himself for any part of this duty, by raising the price of his cotton, or by diminishing the cost of the merchandise he receives in exchange for it. Who, then, ultimately bears the burden of the tax? It is evidently levied upon the producer, in the first instance; for the merchant, who really pays it, is nothing more than the agent of the planter. Upon what principle of political economy, then, can it be maintained that the whole burden of the tax is ultimately thrown upon the consumer, on whom it is not laid by the Government, and that no part of it rests upon the producer, where the Government originally placed it? The producer has no power to throw the whole burden from his own shoulders, and place it upon those of the consumer. It would be most extraordinary if he had. The truth is, that every duty levied upon produc. tion, whether direct or indirect, whether of impost or excise, whether upon exports or imports, naturally divides itself between the producers and consumers, according to the relative circumstances in which they are placed. At first it must operate, in all cases, principally as a tax upon the producer. Suppose, for example, that an excise duty of forty per cent were all at once levied upon hats. The tax would be collected from the hatters. They would actually pay the money to the Government. Could they immediately raise the price of hats in proportion to the tax levied upon them They certainly could not. The only possible means, by which they could raise the price of i. at all, would be by diminishing the production of them. If the supply was not diminished, nor the demand increased, no addition whatever could be made to the price. Now, a tax upon any article certainly does not in: crease the demand for it. ntil the supply is diminished, therefore, by the withdrawal of some of those engaged in making the article, the price cannot be enhanced ; and this withdrawal can only be made slowly and gradually. Let it be remarked, that it is only by the faculty of abandoning the branch of industry subjected to a tax, and engaging in some other that is more profitable, that the producer can throw any material part of the burden of tuxa: tion upon the consumer. If, therefore, a tax were laid upon all the other productions of the community equal to that supposed to be laid upon hats, the batters could not find any relief by resorting to other pursuits. They surely would not leave an employment to which they were trained and accustomed, and in which their capital was already invested, to embark in a new and unaccustomed pursuit, subject to the same taxation. . Such a change would not relieve them from the tax, and it would deprive them of all the advantage of their existing investments and acquired skill. The result would, therefore, evidently be, that the tax would fall almost entirely upon production. There would be a general fall in the profits of o and the wages of labor. The tax would be paid by the produ: cer, and yet he could not, in consequence of it, raise the rice of his productions any thing like in proportion to it. Now, whatever circumstances in the condition of any class of producers prevent them from promptly and easily transferring their capital and labor from the pursuits in which they are engaged to other pursuits, will prevent those producers from raising the price of their productions, in con: sequence of any tax that may be imposed upon them; and, of course, from throwing the burden of that tax upon the consumers. Let us now apply these obvious and well established principles of political economy to the actual condition of the southern planters. The Government has laid a tax (I will assume it to be forty per cent.) upon the productions of their industry. What is the power they possess to throw the burden upon the consumer Can they diminish their
production, in consequence of the tax imposed upon their staples: Can they resort to any other employment more profitable than the one in which they are engaged, even with the burdens imposed on it? Sir, I answer from my own knowledge and experience, that they cannot. Nothing could be more impotent than any attempt to raise the price of their cotton in foreign markets, by diminishing their roduction of it. Their great and principal markets are in foreign countries, where they meet competitors from all the cotton-growing regions of the world. If we were to diminish the quantity of our own production, therefore, with a view to enhance the price of our staple, we should only create a vacuum in the foreign markets, to be immediately filled, up by the cotton of South America, Egypt, Greece, and the East and West Indies. We cannot, there. fore, diminish our production with impunity. It would be a fatal policy; for we should diminish the demand for our cotton, and open a market for the cotton of other countries, in exactly the same proportion. There is neither philosophy nor common sense in the idea that a tax impos. ed upon a branch of productive industry which depends almost exclusively on foreign countries for a market, can be thrown upon the consumers. . Foreigners, sir, are the principal consumers of the productions of southern industry... But, even if we could enhance the price of our productions, by diminishing the quantity produced, how is this to be effected Our entire capital is invested in lands and negroes, and the only staples we can cultivate to any advantage, or for which we can find a market, are those we now produce. Shall we, then, abandon our lands, manumit our slaves, and then go forth to seek new fortunes in distant regions? No, sir; our citizens would sooner perish than to be thus driven from their rightful inheritance and the homes of their forefathers, by this unrighteous system of oppression. There are insuperable objections to the transfer of the capital and labor of the southern planter from the production of their present staples to any other employment. It has been suggested that we might enter upon the manufacturing business. All our habits disqualify us for this sort of employment. . It would require ten or fifteen years of ruinous experiment before we could acquire even a tolerable degree of skill, and even then, we could not rival the manufactures either of Europe or of the northern States of this Union. But, even if we could succeed so far as to equal our domestic competitors, where should we find a market for our productions? It would be absurd to go to Europe, and equally so to go to the manufacturing States of our own country. From Mexico we are exclud. ed by absurd restrictions, in imitation of our own; and, wherever a foreign market might be open, we should find ourselves forestalled, and excluded by the manufactures of Great Britain and New England. Is it not an insulting mockery, then, to tell us that we ought tamely to submit to a system which drives us from our natural pursuits, because we have the wretched privilege,of embarking in the production of manufactures which we have no skilfin making, and for which we could find no market after they were made Great Britain alone could supply the whole world with manufactures, at little more i. half the price for which we could afford to make them. It must be perfectly obvious, that, even with more o pressive burdens than they have yet borne, the southern planters cannot, to any extent worth consideration, divert their capital and labor to other employments, and thereby diminish the production of their staples, with a view to an enhancement of their price. Experience proves this most conclusively. ' And here I beg leave to notice, as connected with what I am now saying, a statement made by the Secretary of the Trensury in his annual report of 1828. To prove that the commerce of the country had been increased by the tariff
of 1824, he stated, and correctly stated, that the imports of the four years succeeding that tariff exceeded those of the four years preceding it, to a very considerable amount. Now, nothing evinces the unsatisfactory and inconclusive nature of lumping statistical statements more clearly than this example: for, on analyzing the statement of our exports during the two periods alluded to, I find that almost the entire increase of those of the latter period over the former, consisted of the single article of cotton. And yet, sir, we were gravely told from high authority, that this fact conclusively proved that the tariff of 1824 had increased our foreign commerce. But, sir, though it did not prove what it was designed to prove, it established one thing quite conclusively, that the cotton planter, so far from having it in his power to relieve himself from the burden of taxation, by limiting his production, and thereb increasing the price of what he produces, is j as the alternative least ruinous, to increase his production, in the hope of making up in that way for the diminished price. Yes, sir, the heavier and more oppressive your taxes have been, the harder has the planter labored; incessantly struggling against a declining market, and yet, by his extraordinary exertions, regularly adding to the aggregate value of the national exports. Between the years 1820 and 1828, the production of cotton exported was increased from one hundred and twenty-seven millions to three hundred millions of pounds, while the aggregate value of it was only increased from twenty-two to twentyeight millions, indicating a fall in the price of cotton from eighteen to nine cents a pound; on the other hand, the exports of most of the other productions of domestic industry, and particularly grain, during the same period decreased more in quantity than in value, indicating a gradual rise in their price. No contrast could exhibit, in a more striking point of view, the unequal and oppressive operation of federal taxation on the ‘... portions of the Union; and none certainly could more conclusively show that it is utterly impossible for the planters to throw the taxes imposed on their productions upon any other class of the community. It is so important, to a just comprehension of the operation of our tariff regulations, that we should clearly ascertain where the burden of our impost taxes really falls, that I must be excused for presenting to the committee another illustration, to show that it principally falls upon the producers of our exports. To avoid the confusion of ideas which results from estimating the value of mer. chandise, and the duties imposed upon it, in money, I will dispense with the use of this, as I have done with the agency of the merchant. I will suppose, then, that the Government levies the duties in kind, and that, for every hundred bales of cotton the planter exports, the Government takes forty, and then places agents on board the vessel of the planter, to go o him to Great Britain, and sell the cotton thus taken from him, in common with his own. Is it not apparent that the very same quantity of cotton would go into the foreign market, as would have gone if no duty had been levied, with this difference only, that forty bales would belong to the Government, and sixty to the planter, instead of the whole belonging to the planter? No change, therefore, would be made in the British market by this division of the property between the individual and the Goverment. If we suppose each bale of cotton to be worth a piece of cloth, the planter would bring back sixty pieces, and the Government forty. The very same quantity would be brought into the domestic market as if the Government had levied no duty, with this difference only, that, instead of the whole belonging to the planter, it would be divided between him and the Government. Although the planter would receive only sixty pieces of cloth instead of one hundred, yet he could not get any higher price for it than if he had been permitted to import the whole hundred pieces: for it is oil. immaterial as
to its effect upon the market price of the cloth, whether it is all imported by the planter, or a part by him, and the remainder by the Government. While the demand and the supply remain unchanged, no imposition of the Government can increase the price. Let us suppose, then, that the Government takes no part of the cotton when exported, but permits the planter to export it without diminution. With his hundred bales of cotton, he purchases a hundred pieces of cloth. This would be the product of his industry—cotton converted into cloth. When he reaches the custom-house, the agent of the Government takes forty pieces of his cloth, as a contribution to the treasury. It is equally obvious, as in the former case, that the same quantity of cloth would come into the market, as if none of it had been taken by the Government. The price would be the very same, and, consequently, the planter would be deprived of forty of his hundred pieces of cloth, by the exaction of the Government, without any means of indemnifying himself by obtaining a higher price for the remainder. This, sir, is the actual operation of your import duties, stripped of the disguise with which they are invested. They are taxes upon those productions of domestic industry which go into foreign commerce; and although the consumers, as a class distinct from the purchasers, will, in the long-run, be incidentally injured by whatever oppresses the producers, yet the burden primarily and principally falls u the latter class. According to this view of the subject, the southern planter would bear the principal part of the burden of the imports levied upon the productions of his industry, even if he did not consume any of them himself. but imported them exclusively for the purpose of making exchanges for western and northern produce. But, sir, even if we grant that the tax falls exclusively upon the consumer, I ask you, who consumes the productions of southern industry, if they are not consumed by the southern people? They are certainly the natural consumers of what they receive in exchange for their own productions. If they do not consume the very same articles they import, entirely and exclusively, they must consume some other articles: obtained in exchange for them. Let us examine a little in detail what becomes of the imports of the South. In the first place, the Government takes forty dollars out of every hundred. That portion, of ceurse, the planter cannot consume. But surely this circumstance does not diminish the burden imposed upon him. The fact that he does not consume it, is the very thing that makes the law, which deprives him of it, a burdensome tax upon his industry. As to the remaining sixty dollars, there can be no doubt that the people of the southern States are the direct consumers of the princi part of it. A portiou of it, to be sure, is exchanged with the people of the northern States, either for other foreign merchandise imported by them, such as East and West India produce, or for their own manufactures. But this is precisely the same thing as if the southern people consumed the very articles obtained abroad for their own produce. What does it matter to the planter, whether he consumes the very cloth for which his cotton is exchanged, or the tea, and coffee, and sugar imported by the people of the North, in exchange for their productions and industry, or the manufactures of the North These foreign productions and domestic manufactures are enhanced in price, quite as much as the cloth imported by the planter, in consequence of the duties. Thus far, then, the southern people pay the whole amount of the imposts laid upon their productions, regarding them as consumers merely. But it has been said that we exchange some three millions of our imports for the live stock of the western States, which is not enhanced in price by any duty. But even here the planter is not entirely relieved from his burden. Can he purchase as much #. stock with sixty pieces of cloth, as he could with a hundred It
would be absurd to maintain such a proposition; and yet this is the only way in which he could relieve himself from the whole burden of the impost. The fact is, that he would be able to purchase but little more than half the quantity of live stock from the western people, that he could have purchased if no duty had been laid upon his imports. In this way, undoubtedly, the burden would be seriously felt by the western people. But this would not mitigate the suffering of the planter. You deprive him of the means of purchasing live stock to a very great amount, and to that extent cut off the market for the productions of western industry. By this process, as in all cases of prohibition, you destroy two ..o. of the planter to the extent of the imposts, and that of the grower of stock to the extent that he is injured by losing a market for the production of his industry. Upon a general survey of the condition of the United States, it will be perceived that, owing to the causes intimately connected with the restrictive system, production is every where overrunning consumption. When to this circumstance we add the fact that the consumers of those articles of which you propose to enhance the price by your high duties, have so many other resources, and can resort to so many substitutes, to avoid paying the duties, every gentleman must be satisfied of the utter impossibility of throwing any thing like the whole burden of the impost duties from the producers, upon whom they are actually laid, to the eonsumers, upon whom they are not laid. The consumers of manufactured articles in the United States are very differently situated, thank heaven, from the consumers of grain in Great Britain. The enormous burden of the corn laws falls almost exclusively on the consumers. Corn is an article of absolute necessity, for which no domestic substitute can be obtained. The miserable British laborer, therefore, is obliged to consume the grain of the lordly land owner, at double the price it could be imported, or perish. But it is not so with the American consumers of cotton and woollen manufactures. Before they will conseñt to pay an enhanced price, proportioned to the duties imposed, they will clothe themselves in homesoull. *ion the whole, then, the only means which the producer has to throw the burden of a tax from his shoulders, is to diminish his production of the article taxed; and the means which the consumer has to avoid having it thrown upon him, is to diminish his consumption of that article. In this contest, the consumer has a decided and obvious advantage. It may be very confidently assumed, therefore, that at least one-half of the burden of the impost duties laid upon the return productions of the planter would be sustained by him as a producer, even if he consumed no rt of those productions. But it cannot be doubted that the people of the southern States consume, of the articles imported in exchange for their staples, of other foreign articles subject to *. duties, and of domestic manufactures, equally enhanced by the tariff, to the amount of threefourths of the entire return which they receive for their exports. It follows that the direct operation of the impost duties throws upon the people of the staple-growing States a weight of taxation véry nearly proportioned to their exrts. po, sir, there remains to be presented a view of this subject, very little considered heretofore, either in this country or in Europe, which will exhibit the unequal and oppressive operation of this Government in a most striking light. When this is taken into the estimate, the committee will perceive that I have been quite within the mark, in assuming that the staple-growing States are burdened in proportion to the amount of duties levied upon their commerce. Next to the unequal exactions of Government, nothing can be more distressing to a country of such vast extent, than the unequal disbursement of its revenues. Great as I have shown the inequality to be, in the
contributions exacted from the different sections of the Union, the inequality of the disbursements of the Federal Goverument is still much greater. South of Norfolk— through the entire region extending thence south and southwest along the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico— a region which contributes two-thirds of the revenue of the whole Union—there is not annually expended an average sum of five hundred thousand dollars l Now, sir, I do not mention this unequal disbursement for the purpose of complaining of it, so much as with a view to explain the actual injury and suffering which result from it. I do verily believe, then, that a tax of ten millions of dollars, expended among those by whom it is contributed, would not be more burdensome and oppressive than a tax offive millions of dollars expended in a foreign country, or a distant É. of the Union. In other words, I believe any State, *ennsylvania for example, would find it an advantageous }. speculation, to pay a million of dollars to the ederal treasury, annually, upon the condition that the Federal Government should annually disburse two millions of dollars among the people of that State, in the purchase of grain, iron, manufactures, and such other productions as are there made for market. It is obvious that a new demand would be annually created for a million of dollars worth of the productions of Pennsylvania, and a new value thereby given to those productions. It would of course give the highest possible stimulus to productive industry; and at the end .P. year the aggregate wealth of the State would be increased more than it would be diminished, by this fiscal operation of paying one million in taxes, and receiving two millions in disbursements. The most striking example of the influence of Government disbursements, of which history has kept any record, and that which first drew my attention to the subject, is that exhibited by Great Britain in the war against the French republic and the French empire. The extraordinary financial resources of Great Britain, in that eventful struggle, have excited the wonder and admiration of the world, scarcely less than the unparalleled military achievements and extensive conquests of the Emperor Napoleon. The spectacle of a nation annually expending some two hundred millions of dollars, and yet flourishing almost beyond any former example, seemed almost to baffle the profoundest speculations of political philosophy. But the mystery is completely unravelled when we advert to the fact that she annually borrowed, during fifteen years, one hundred millions of dollars. By this operation alone, the annual disbursements of the Government were made to exceed the annual amount of the taxes, very nearly one hundred millions. We have, therefore, almost the very state of things I supposed, in regard to Pennsylvania. The Government levied an annual tax of one hundred millions of dollars, and made an annual disbursement of two hundred millions of dollars. Great Britain was never so flourishing; and, if the same operation could have lasted forever, she would have continued to flourish on to the end. But it was not in the nature of things that it could last much longer than it did. Great Britain was acting the part of the prodigal, who converted his inheritance into an annuity for fifteen years, and then expended his whole annual income. She was living upon the resources of posterity, and, if she had gone much further, she would have exhausted them. But when peace was restored to Europe, the picture of British prosperity was reversed. When superficial observers were expect. ing an increased prosperity from the cessation of war and its expenditures, a scene of distress and ruin ensued, not more astonishing and apparently unaccountable than the former prosperity. But the one was just as natural as the other. The sudden withdrawal of the disbursements of the Government, to the amount of more than one hundred millions of dollars, without any corresponding reduction of the taxes, was like withdrawing his accustomed stimu
lus from a man who habitually took his bottle of wine a day. A paralysis was thrown over the industry and prosperity of the nation, from which no one can predict when she will recover. Now, sir, when you have looked at this picture, and then looked at that; when you have compared the distress and suffering of Great Britain since the peace of Europe, with the prosperity which preceded it, you have, on the one hand, an exemplification, and only a faint one, of the blasting and withering, influence of enormously unequal taxes levied in one portion of the Union, with scarcely any return in the form of Government disbursements; and on the other, of the animating and invigorating influence of large disbursements in portions of the Union that make scarcely any contributions, comparatively speaking, to the public revenue. I will now ask the attention of the committee to a comparison which I propose to institute between the actual distribution of the burdens of the federal taxes among the different classes of productive industry and the different geographical subdivisions of the Union, and the distribution that would take place under a just and equitable system of taxation. , What, then, is the true principle of dis. tributive justice, in the apportionment of taxes among the different portions of the community ? It is laid down in a work of the highest authority—and, indeed, no authority is necessary to give sanction to a rule of such apparent justice—“That the subjects of every State ought to contribute towards the support of the Government, as nearly as pos. sible, in proportion to the revenue which they enjoy under the protection of the State. The expense of Govern. ment to the individuals of a great nation, is like the expense of management to the joint tenants of a great estate, who are all obliged to contribute in proportion to their interest in the estate. In the observance or neglect of this maxim, consists what is called equality or inequality of taxation” . According to this fundamental rule, the justice and equity of which no man, I am sure, in this committee, will venture to controvert, an income tax would be the nearest approach that could be made to that equality which ought to be the aim of every Government, and which our own constitution most carefully, but vainly, attempted to secure. With a view to ascertain what would be the result of such a plan of taxation, so far as regards its distribution among the various portions of the Union, I have made an estimate of all the aggregate amount of all the incomes of the United States, giving, as the result, fifty millions of dollars. I have subjected this estimate to the test of several modes of calculation, and I think it rather under than over the truth. A British economist estimated the income of Great Britain, in 1820, at three hundred and fifty millions of pounds sterling; and I cannot suppose it will be deemed extravagant to estimate the income of the United States, in 1830, at as many dollars. What, then, would be the distribution of the burdens of the federal taxation among the different sections of the Union, if the people were taxed in proportion to their incomes It is to be remarked that the exports of the staple-growing States constitute the E. part of their annual income. But that I may e certain of not making too low an estimate, I will assume that the income of all the persons engaged in producing cotton, tobacco, and rice, is seventy millions of dollars, nearly double the amount of their exports; and that the income of those engaged in producing cotton and rice is fifty millions of dollars. . To produce a revenue of twenty-four million five hundred thousand dollars, a tax of only seven per cent upon the aggregate income of the nation would be necessary. In the apportionment of this sum, upon the principles of an income tax, there would fall to the shares of the growers of cotton, tobacco, and rice, only four million nine hundred thousand dollars, and to that of the growers of cotton and rice only three million five hundred thousand dollars; whereas all the other branch
es of productive industry in the United States would have to contribute nineteen million six hundred thousand dol. lars. Let us now compare this equitable distribution of the taxes, with that which actually exists under our present system. The growers of cotton, tobacco, and rice, as I have heretofore shown, now actually contribute to the sup: rt of this Government fourteen million eight hundred thousand dollars, being nine million nine hundred thousand dollars more than their just proportion; and the grow. ers of cotton, and rice contribute twelve millions, being eight million five hundred thousand dollars more than their just proportion. I am aware that the inequality of our present system of impost duties, as a scheme of taxation, is so enormous, that it is calculated to astound those who have not thoroughly examined the matter. With a view, therefore, of presenting the question in a more practical and a familiar point of view I will suppose that a general excise were imposed upon all those productions which constitute the basis of the internal commerce of the Union, and that the impost dmties upon foreign commerce were reduced to the same rate. As a mere question of distributive justice, it eannot be doubted, for a moment, that the exchanges of internal commerce should be subjected to the very same impositions with the exchanges of foreign commerce. It is es: sential, indeed, to the perfect equality of taxation, that all indirect taxes should fall precisely alike upon all the productions of domestic industry, made or manufactured for sale whether at home or abroad. If the planter is called upon to pay a certain per centage upon the annual value of the cotton he exchanges for foreign manufactures, upon what human 1. can it be contended that the farmer is not equally liable to pay the same per centage upon the annual value of the grain and other productions which he exchanges with the neighboring manufacturer; and that the manufacturers, of every description, are not equally liable to pay the same per centage upon the annual value of the manufactures they exchange for agricultural and other productions in the domestic market? An impost and an excise duty are precisely the same in principle, differ. ing only in the solitary particular, that they fall upon dif. ferent productions of domestic industry. And, whether the tax ultimately falls upon the producer or consumer, a just regard to the principle of equality would require that all the producers and all the consumers of the country should equally participate in sustaining the financial burdens of the State. If the value of the cotton exported by the planter is to be regarded as the measure of his income, upon the very same principle the value of the grain sold by the farmer or of the cloth sold by the manufacturer, should be regarded as the measure of his income, and the duty imposed aecordingly. Now, sir, it will be found, upon examination, that a general system of impost and excise duties, equally applicable to all commercial exchanges, whether foreign or internal, would bring us almost to the very same result as an income tax. The advocates of the prohibitory system have habitually dwelt upon the insignificance of our foreign when compared with our internal commerce. In the well known address of the Harrisburgh convention, it was assumed that the internal commerce of the Union amounted to five hundred millions of dollars, being nearly ten times the amount of our foreign commerce. I think this estimate extravagant, and will not, therefore, use it, even against the manufacturers themselves. It may be safelyassumed, however, that the internal commerce of the Union amounts to two hundred and eighty millions, exclusive of the coasting trade in foreign merchandise. It follows, therefore, that while the whole of the taxes of the Federal Government are thrown upon less than one-fifth of all the productions of national industry—the average amount of imports being less than seventy millions of dollars—there are productions