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dollars. And if we grant, also, that the planting States only consumed taxed articles, foreign and domestic, to the amount of half their exports—an extravagant concession— they will still pay, as consumers, four million one hundred and sixty-two thousand five hundred dollars. All these sums added together, make an aggregate of fourteen million eight hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars, being twenty-five thousand more than forty percent. upon the exports of cotton, tobacco, and rice. But, sir, in conceding for the sake of argument, that the planting States consume only half the amount of their exports in taxed articles, foreign and domestic, I have coneeded what the facts of the case will not justify. On the contrary, they consume very nearly the whole amount of what is left, after paying the contribution to the customhouse. The gentleman from Massachusetts [Mr. Davis] has stated that the manufacturing States consume as large an amount of foreign manufactures, in proportion to their numbers, as is consumed by the planting States. If anything in the shape of a tariff argument could astonish me, it would be this assertion. , Can the gentleman possi. bly be serious Can he gravely assert in this assembly, that the tariff States purchase, for their own consumption, from the planting States, as large a proportion of foreign manufactures as are consumed by the planting States themselves, when every man in this House must know that the tariff States manufacture the very same description of articles, not only for their own consumption, but for the purpose of selling them in other States, and in foreign countries? We were told, yesterday, by a gentleman from New York, [Mr. MARTINDALE] that the manufactures which have grown up under the protecting system, consisting of the very descriptions which the southern States import in exchange for their staples, amount annually to the sum of one hundred and twenty millious of dol. lars. Now, sir, if the manufacturing States consume do mestic manufactures to the amount of one hundred and twenty millions of dollars, and, in addition to all this, consume their full proportion of the thirty-seven millions of dollars imported by the southern States, they must certainly be the most extravagant and voracious consumers on the face of the earth Gentlemen seem to think it incredible that the southern States should consume foreign manufactures to the amount of thirty seven millions of dollars? But is this more surprising than that the other States should consume domes. tic manufactures of the same kind to the amount of one hundred and twenty millions of dollars? And it is to be remarked, that of the thirty-seven millions of dollars of manufactures imported in exchange for southern produce, fourteen million eight hundred thousand dollars is taken by the Government. This, of course, is not consumed by the planting States, but by the public officers, contractors, and other persons, who receive in various forms the public disbursements. The remaining twenty-two miljions of dollars is all that the Government permits the planters to receive for their exports of cotton, tobacco, and rice. It is only necessary that I should prove that they consume this amount of imports, to prove that they are taxed, as consumers, in proportion to their exports. Assuming the population of the planting. States at four millions, black and white, twenty-two million two hundred thousand dollars would about yield a dividend of five dollars and a half to each person, for every description of elothing and other articles manufactured of wool, cotton, flax, hemp, and silks; for iron and all its manufactures; for salt, sugar, coffee, tea, and an infinite variety of small. er articles. The southern people must be poor indeed, if their consumption of the articles of foreign merchandise, and of northern manufactures protected by the import duties, does not amount to five dollars and a half for each individual. The annual clothing of a field slave amounts to
Nothing in this debate has surprised me more than the loose and random assertions in which gentlemen have indulged on this subject of consumption of foreign manufactures. A gentleman from Rhode Island [Mr. BURGEs] who deals extensively in figures of different kinds, has communicated a very important piece of statistical information in regard to South Carolina. He informs us that this State, which exports to the amount of eight millions of dollars, consumes, of foreign popductions of every kind, only to the amount of one million three hundred thousand I This very important and singular fact he infers from the circumstance that the imports of Charleston amount only to that sum. Can it be necessary to inform the member from Rhode Island of a fact so notorious, as that the principal part of the foreign merchandise consumed not only in South Carolina, but in all the planting States, is imported through New York, and other cities north of Charleston I confidently assert, sir, that, for clothing alone, South Carolina consumes in foreign manufactures, and in northern manufactures, equally enhanced by protecting duties, three times the amount set down by the member from Rhode Island, as her entire consumption of foreign merchandise. This statement of the gentleman, however, is not quite so extravagant as another which he made in illustration of the miraculous influence of the protecting system. After ascribing all the improvements made in machinery in Europe and America, for the last half century, to the protecting system of the United States, which commenced in 1816, setting all chronology at defiance, he made a statement as to the effect of this improved machinery in cheapening production, which bid equal defiance to all the known powers and principles of mathematics. He gravely told us that the American tariff system has reduced the price of woollen manufactures one hundred per cent, and that of cotton manufactures two hundred per cent. Now, sir, I can conceive of the possibility of reducing the price of an article to nothing, but it would puzzle Sir Isaac Newton himself, with all the combined powers of algebra, fluxions, and the infinitesimal calculus, to follow the gentleman in his descent of one hundred per cent less than nothing ! I must, therefore, leave him in the profound depth to which he has descended, with a single admonitiou. I recommend it to the gentleman never, in future, to deal in the use of Arabian figures, but to confine himself strictly and exclusively to figures of speech. Let him carefully abstain from all the combinations of the nine digits, and revel without restraint amongst crocodiles, toads, tadpoles, and the whole reptile tribe, which abound in his imagination with the same teeming profusion that he seems to suppose they abound in the bayous and stagnant pools of Louisiana. But to return from this digression to the question of the relative consumption of imported articles by the manufacturing and the planting States. How is it possible that the manufacturing States, who allege, and allege truly, that they have nothing wherewith to purchase foreign manufactures, even if they were freely admitted, can consume as large a share of them. in proportion to their numbers, as the planting States, who have nearly forty mil. lions of productions to give in exchange for them If those who have no means of purchasing the manufactures of Europe, consume as large a proportion of them as those who actually pay for them, it is worth while to inquire how this strange phenomenon is brought about. It must be effected either by plunder, or by the exchanges of internal commerce. Let us examine for a moment the nature and extent of these exchanges. What means have the northern States to purchase the foreign manufactures which are imported in exchange for southern exports They have positively nothing but their own manufactures by which they can purchase so
a larger sum.
reign manufactures from the southern planters. The
southern States consume a large amount of the woollen and cotton manufactures of the North; but, even if they pay for them by giving in exchange foreign manufactures, this does not relieve the people of the South from any part of the burden imposed upon their foreign exchanges. If the southern States give fine British woollen and cotton manufactures in exchange for coarse northern manufactures of the same articles, is it not obvious that they pay, as consumers, as large an amount of taxation upon these coarse fabrics, as they would have been compelled to pay if they had consumed the fine fabrics of Great Britain }. The form of the burden is changed, but its extent is not at all diminished: for it will hardly be denied that the price of northern manufactures of cotton and wool is as mneh enhanced by the tariff as that of British manufactures of the same materials. But I grant that the southern States purchase various other articles from the northern States, such as pleasure carriages and cabinet furniture, which are not, strictly speaking, enhanced in price by the protecting duties; and if these were paid for with foreign manufactures, it might be fairly contended, that, to this extent, the northerh peole sustained a portion of the burdeu of the southern imposts. But gentlemen seem entirely to overlook, in this aspect of the subject, what they not only urge, but exaggerate in others—the five millions worth of raw cot. ton annually sold by the cotton planting to the manufacturing States. In all conscience, this is an ample fund wherewith to purchase all the articles of northern manufacture, such as I have just mentioned, which the planting States can require for their consumption. When to all this we add, that the southern States consume a considerable amount of tea, coffee, sugar, molasses, rum, and other East and West India productions, which are imported by the manufacturing States in exchange for their productions, it may be very confidently stated that the planting States consume as large an amount of foreign productions imported in exchange for those of the manufacturing States, and of northern manufactures, equally enhanced in price by the tariff, as the manufacturing States consume of the foreign manufactures imported in exchange for southern roduce. From this analysis of the internal trade of the United States, it is apparent that the live stock purchased from the western States, amounting to about three millions of dollars, is the only branch of that trade which tends to relieve the planting States from any portion of the impost duties levied upon their foreign exchanges. Even, therefore, if it were true that the whole burden of these duties falls upon the consumers, the planting States would be taxed in proportion to their exports, with this inconsiderable exception. But, sir, in estimating the burden imposed by the tariff upon the different parts of the Union, gentlemen entirely overlook its prohibitory effect. The very lowest estimate which can be made of the curtailment it has produced in the demand for American cotton in the markets of the world, taking into view the increased demand in that of the United States, is two hundred thousand bales, amounting to six millions of dollars. This will be three times as much as is required to eounterbalance any diminution in the burdens of the southern States, which can be supposed to result from the circumstance of their not consuming taxed articles to the full amount of their exports. I have thus made out the burdens of the South to be as great as I represented them, without taking into the estimate the inequality of the Government disbursements. I will now endeavor to bring the doctrines of the tariff gentlemen to a test, to which, as christian men, they cannot take exception. I require only that they shall prove the sincerity of their belief in those doctrines, by adopt: ing the golden rule of “doing unto others as they would that others should do unto them.”
They allege, with great apparent sincerity, that a duty imposed upon any particular branch of productive industry is no tax at all upon the producers, except so far as they consume the productions of their own industry, and that, consequently, the planting States have no cause to complain of unequal taxation, because two-thirds of the federal revenue is levied upon the productions of their own industry. Now, sir, if there be any truth in this doctrine, gentlemen cannot consistently oppose its application to themselves. I propose, then, to return the “poison chalice to their lips,” by imposing an excise duty of only twenty per cent. on the various manufactures of the tariff States, which the gentleman from New York estimates to amount to one hundred and twenty-millions of dollars, and to repeal entirely the duties upon imports. This will yield a revenue of twenty-four millions of dollars, and will not be half so oppressive, or half so unequal, as our present system of taxation. For the last fourteen years, the whole federal revenue has been raised by an indirect tax of at least forty per cent. levied upon less than seventy millions of dollars of the productions of the country. It certainly cannot be unreasonable to ask that for the next fourteen years, the burden, which gentlemen say is no burden at all, should be shifted from that part of the Union which feels it to be oppressive and ruinous, to that which regards it as utterly harmless. And I am curious to know;what objection gentlemen will urge against an indirect tax of twenty per cent. upon the productions of northern industry, which will not apply with double force to the existing tax of forty per cent. upou the productions of southern industry. To all their complaints, I will reply, in their own words, “make yourselves easy, gentlemen; this is no tax upon the manufacturers, it is a tax which falls exclusively upon the consumers of their productions.” But, sir, is there any man in this House, that can believe for a moment that the manufacturers would be deluded by the miserable fallacy, the insulting mockery, by which they attempt to reconcile the South to their unjust and oppressive burdens? Would they believe that a tax laid upon their productions, is no tax at all upon them, as producers, because the burden must ultimately fall on the consumers? No, sir; rest assured that, before they had felt its operation twelve months, they would be most feelingly impressed with the truth, that a tax is still a tax, lay it where you please, and disguise it as you may.
And yet, sir, the excise which I propose would be, in every respect, more equitable, and would be much more equally distributed over the Union, than the impost du: ties now are. In the first place, it would be applied to : larger amount of the productive industry of the Union, than that upon which our present taxes are levied, and, of course, a lower rate of duty only would be necessary. Twenty per cent. upon the productions of the tariff States would yield as much revenue as forty per cent on the productions of the exporting States. In the second place, regarding it as a tax, not on the manufacturers, but on the consumers of their fabrics, it would be much more equally diffused over the Union than the impost duties on foreign manufactures. For it cannot be doubted that the planting States consume a larger amount of northern manufactures, by at least five millions of dollars, than the manufacturing States consume of foreign manufactures obtained in exchange for southern produce. This conclusively follows, from the fact that the northern States have nothing but their manufactures with which to pay the southern States, not only, for the foreign manufactures they obtain from them indirectly, but, also, for the raw cotton they pureliase from them directly.
According to the principles laid down as applicable to the planting States by all the tariff gentlemen who have participated in this debate, the excise duty which I have suggested would be no more oppressive to the manufacturing States than it would be to the planting States Yet
*very man, I will not say of enlarged political intelligence, but of the very humblest pretension to common sense, must perceive that an excise, accompanied by a repeal of the impost duties, would spread desolation over the whole region of the manufacturing States, while it would increase, the wealth and prosperity of the planting States, beyond all former example. Such, sir, are the monstrous discrepancies between the theories of gentlemen, intend. ed sor others, and their practical results, when brought home to themselves. And here, sir, I beg leave to notice a very extraordinary position, which has been assumed by one of the gentlemen from Massachusetts, [Mr. Goshaw) and seriously defended by another, [Mr. Eveherr.] The former gentleman asserted that the cotton, tobacco, and rice, exported from the southern States, grown upon the southern soil, and produced by southern capital and southern labor, are not the exclusive property of the southern States, but that they equally belong to the other parts of the Union; and the latter gentleman seized upon the grand discovery of his colleague, as furnishing the only practicable solution of the otherwise inexplicable anomaly, that one-third of the people of the United States own two-thirds of the exports, and pay two-thirds of the taxes of the country. Sir, there is, perhaps, more truth in this iden of the gentleman from Massachusetts, than they would be willing to avow, though in a very different sense from that in which they intended it to be understood. Every southern planter may truly say, “my own is not my own," upon the same principle that our forefathers said, when they staked “their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor" upon the issue of the revolutionary struggle, “no man has a right , to that which another man has a right to take from him.” But, sir, in any other sense, what can be more wildly extravagant, more supremely absurd, than this worse than agrarian idea of a communion of property The reason upon which it is founded, is worth considering. It is alleged, that in as much as a part of the agricultural produetions of the South, as well as of the foreign manufac. tures received in exchange for them, is purchased and consumed by the manufacturing States, they must be considered to that extent the productions of the manufacturing States. Now, sir, it is strange that the gentleman did not perceive that this doctrine, fairly carried out, would prove that no part of the cotton, tobacco, and rice, made in the southern States, is the production of southern industry. For if that portion which is purchased and consumed by the northern States, is for that reason to be regarded as the production of those States, the remaining and larger portion, which is purchased and consumed by foreign countries, must be regarded as the production of foreign industry. Thus it is, sir, that, by a sweeping theory, we are ousted of our title to the productions of our own labor; much more completely than we are, even by the tariff it. self . Another consequence follows from this doctrine, which the gentleman would be very unwilling to admit. 'It results, as a correlative proposition, that the manufactures of the northern States, which are purchased and consumed by the southern States, are not the productions of northern, but of southern industry. . In a word, sir, as all commercial exchanges must be reciprocal, this novel doctrine would as clearly prove that your property is mine, as that my property is yours; and *it would thus introduce utter confusion into all our notions on this subject. '. I come now, sir, to a view of this very grave and in'teresting subject, which I never approach without regret. ting the necessity of doing it, and which I certainly should * not have brought before the committee, but for the course 'Pursued by a member from New York, [Mr. Maurisdale.] * That gentleman, after stating that the protecting system ! had been * b I the tariff States from a clear and disOL. VI.-121.
inct perception of their own interest, and that they never would abandon it under any circumstances—both of which assertions I fully believe—went on to say, that if the southern States were unwilling to submit to what they believed to be oppression and tyranny, he was perfectly willing that they should withdraw from the Union, and hoped they would depart in peace. As the gentleman has thought proper, in a very cool, calculating, and unimpassioned manner, to throw out a defiance which implies that the southern States are insignificant and unimportant to the Union, I shall avail myself of the occasion to demonstrate how much those States contribute not only to support the Government, but to sustain the prosperity of the rest of the confederacy, by showing what they would be without the Union, and what the Union would be without them. This view of the subject has the advantage of exhibiting plain, palpable, and intelligible results, and, if I am not egregiously deceived, will furnish incontrovertible proof of the doctrines I have attempted to sustain, by general reasoning. It will certainly demonstrate that the Union needs the southern States, more than the southern States need the Union. What, then, would be the effect of dissolving the Union ? And, in the first place, what would be its effect upon the southern States? It will not be denied that they would still possess at least as large an amount of exportable productions as they now do. They would consequently export to foreign countries, productions amounting to forty millions of dollars; and as there would be no system of legislative plunder or piracy to intercept the lawful returns of their industry and enterprise, they would import through their own custom-houses foreign merchandise to at least an equal amount. The whole amount of the revenue derived from the impost duties, on this merchandise, would belong to them, instead of being unnaturally diverted by a Government which in this respect operates as a foreign Government on them—to enrich other parts of the con-" federacy. If we assume twenty per cent as the average of the duties which the southern States would impose upon their imports, it would yield them an annual revenue of eight millions of dollars, being a larger revenue in proportion to their numbers, than the Government of the Union now derives from the present excessive duties. While, therefore, the planters of the South would be relieved from more than one-half of their present burdens of taxation, the southern States would have a most abundant revenue, and, what would be of more importance thanean be readily realized, the whole of it would be disbursed within those States, creating, to that extent, a new demand for the productions of their industry, and diffusing prosperity through ten thousand channels, amongst all classes of society. As I have reasons for believing that this subject of Government disbursements has not been sufficiently developed, I will attempt some further illustrations of a more practi. cal nature. The annual disbursement of eight millious of dollars, where less than one million is now disbursed, would be equivalent to an addition of one hundred millions of dollars to the permanent capital of the country, that being the sum which would be required to yield an annual interest of seven millions of dollars. Can this position be denied, or even doubted, by any rational mind at all familiar with such inquiries Whatever amount is added to the permanent revenue of any country or section of country, without any inerease of its burdens, must obviously increase its wealth and prosperity, as much as the would be increased by an addition to its permanent capital, sufficient to yield that additional revenue. But the case we are considering is even stronger than this. The addition of seven millions of dollars would be made to the annual revenue of the southern States, not only without any increase of its burdens, but with a reduction of thern more than one-half, thus adding as much to their wealth and, prosperity, by exemption from taxation, as by the
increase of their public revenue. It is a moderate and safe estimate, therefore, to say that the withdrawal of the southern States from the action of the Federal Government, and the consequent establishment of a system of free and unshackled commerce, would add two hundred millions of dollars to their wealth at once, and that the property and income of every man in the community o be proportionably enhanced in value. And what, sir, would be the effect of this new order of things upon the condition, the wealth, and the financial resources of the other States of the Union? What would become of their manufacturing establishments, now sustained by unjust and unconstitutional taxes and restrictions upon the productions of southern industry? They would exhibit one wide and almost unbroken scene of desolation and ruin. What, then, would become of your protecting system Do you believe, sir, that the western and northwestern States would consent to purchase manufactures from the northern States at an enhanced price, where they could find no good market for their live stock; when they could purchase manufactures from the southern States twenty-five per cent cheaper, and, at the same time, obtain a is: for their live stock, incomparably better, and four times more extensive, than that which they could find in the northern States? This would be to suppose them utterly blind or utterly indifferent to their interest. The northern manufactures would be driven from every part of the United States where the imports of the southern States should be freely admitted. Consequently, the consumption of those imports would be increased, in proportion to the diminished consumption of northern manufactures. And what would be the financial resources of all the other States, if the southern States were separated from them? Unless they should resort to internal taxes, adding new burdens to their manufactures at the moment of their utmost distress, they would have only a miserable foreign commerce of twenty millions of dollars, from which to supply their public exchequer. Even if they imposed duties . as high as those of the southern States, they would only derive from them a revenue of eight millions of dollars. So that the northern States, with a population of eight millions would have a revenue of only eight millions, paying forty per cent, upon their imports, whereas the southern States, with a population of less than four millions, would have the same amount of revenue, paying only twenty per cent upon their imports 1 A more striking contrast can scarcely be conceived than this; and yet, sir, it is no picture of the imagination, but a plain matter of fact reality, involving no doubtful speculations in political economy, but challenging the assent of every man who is capable of reading the custom-house statements, and of making the simplest arithmetical calculations. The separation of the southern States from the Union, therefore, which the gentleman from New York seems to regard of such small consequence to the other States, would produce a revolution in the respective conditions of the two dissevered parts of the confederacy, to which history can furnish no parallel, , So far as relates to their wealth and prosperity, it would be the heaviest curse that could be inflicted upon the manufacturing States, and the most signal blessing that human wisdom could confer upon the southern States. ... In less than ten years Charleston would be the second city in the Union, and all the southern cities and towns would have a corresponding increase. The wealth and capital which is now concentrated in Boston, Providence, Lowell, and the other great seats of manufacture in the North, would be transferred to Charleston, Savannah, Augusta, Columbia, and the other great seats of commerce in the South. The growth of the city in which we are now deliberating, is a striking proof of the wonderful effect of public disbursements. From what we have here witnessed, it may be safely inferred that a per
manent annual disbursement of a million of dollars is sufficient of itself to build up and sustain a city with a popo lation of twenty thousand inhabitants. What, then, would be the effect of adding seven millions of dollars to the an: nual disbursements of the southern States, while their taxes should be reduced to one-half their present rate, and their commerce extended in all directions under the influence of that freedom which would equally increase the demand for their staples abroad, and for imported manufactures in the United States? Sir, it is utterly impossible that any southern city can ever rise into consequence, while the constant draught of Government exactions, and the steady current of Government disbursements, operate as discriminating duties in favor of the northern cities. It is under the influence of these causes, and not for the want of enterprise or indus. try, that Charleston, the natural emporium of an extensive foreign commerce, has sunk into comparative insignifieance, as a mere place of deposit for our staples of exportation, while the foreign merchandise obtained in exchange for these staples is actually imported by northern cities. It is owing to these causes, that, although two-thirds of the for reign commerce of the country belong to the southern States, their cities are insignificant, compared with those of the northern States, and, while the former are going to decay, almost universally, the latter are rapidly increasing in population and prosperity. And, sir, it is owing to these causes, also, that the northern States, comparatively desti. tute of natural advantages, having no staples of exports. tion to support their commerce, exhibit all the indications of a young, growing, and flourishing country; while the southern States, with natural advantages, such as never fall to the lot of any other country, and with an industry which never relaxes its efforts, are in a steady progress of deterioration, exhibiting all the indications of prema: ture decrepitude and decay. A traveller, in passing through the southern States, will be struck with the wretched appearance of towns and villages almost in ruins—the melancholy memorials of departed prosperity; whereas, in the northern States, he will be equally struck with the animating appearance of towns and villages grow. ing up in the oldest States almost as rapidly as in a new. ly settled country. Such, sir, is the power of misgovern. ment to destroy the bounties of Providence. No natural advantages, no industry, no human exertion, however great, can stand the unequal action of a Government which le. vies a contribution of forty per cent upon the income of one part of the Union, to be appropriated, in various modes, to the enriching of another. It is like the action of a burning and malignant sun, which perpetually evaporates the moisture and fertility of the soil, in a region devoted to the curse of heaven, to pour them out in fructifying and refreshing showers on more favored regions. Under the existing order of things, it is in vain that we attempt to disguise the fact that the Union itself is nothing more nor less than a compact, re. ducing the southern States to the very worst ition of colonial bondage—that of mere tributary provinces. But, sir, the gentleman from Massachusetts has inform ed us that the establishment of a system of free trade would make us tributary provinces to Great Britain ; and most of the gentlemen who have addressed the committee on the same side of the question, have expressed a similar opt nion. Now, sir, with all my respect for those gentlemen, I
must say, in sheer justice to the subject, that this is “stale,
flat, and unprofitable nonsense,” destitute even of the shallowest plausibility. The lowest political demagogue on a county court hustings would not utter more miserable slang, with a view to arouse the prejudices of the most ignorant rabble, o of the dependents of some great manufactory. What, sir! are we to be gravely told that we pay a tribute to a nation with whom we carry on commerce on terms of perfect equality, and from whom
is this all.
we can obtain our supplies cheaper than we could obtain them from any other market in the world The complaint of the manufacturers here is, that Great Britain sells us her manufactures too cheap, and this, it seems, makes us tributaries; whereas, if we would pay for. ty per cent, more to the northern manufacturers, wo should cease to pay tribute, and become independent. Heaven deliver me and my constituents from such independence! Sir, I am opposed to every sort of tribute, whether foreign or domestic. I hold with the memorable sentiment of an illustrious patriot of South Carolina, “millions for defence, but not a cent for tribute.” The com. munity that will patiently submit to pay tribute to any earthly power, is a community of slaves, o external forms of liberty may be preserved to reconcile them to the degrading bondage. But, sir, this absurd notion, that by purchasing the manufactures of Great Britain we pay her tribute, involves the most contradictory and paradoxical consequences. It necessarily follows that all our foreign commerce makes us tributary to the nations with whom we carry it on. Nor If there should be found in the British Parliament a statesman of as much sagacity as the gentleman
; from Massachusetts and his coadjutors, he would make it
as clear to that body that Great Britain pays tribute to
, the United States, by purchasing our agricultural staples, as those gentlemen have made it to this body that we pay tribute to Great Britain, by purchasing her manufactures.
And thus, sir, it would result that a commerce, perfectly free and mutually beneficial to both countries, would subject them to a mutual tribute utterly incompatible with their independence as nations? This spirit of hostility to
foreign commerce originated in the Gothic ages, when
to a constant state of warfare.
the governments erected by the feudal barons on the ruins of the Roman empire were organized upon military principles, and their whole polity arranged with a view If war were the great end for which governments are formed, if it were a thing to be encouraged for its own sake, foreign commerce would certainly be a nuisance, for nothing has contributed more to prevent wars in modern Europe, not excepting the benign influence of christianity itself. What is it that now binds, the human family of nations together What is it that has caused the sceptre of universal peace to wave over Europe for the last fifteen years : Commerce, commerce, nothing but commerce. It has gradually extinguished that Vandal spirit which regards foreign nations as enemies in peace, and foreign commerce as a sort of treasonable intercourse with a public enemy. This unchristian spirit is almost exclusively confined to the autocrat
of Russia and the American Congress, since the downfall
of that great Vandal of modern times, the emperor Napoleon. The example of this military despot, this conQueror and plunderer of nations, who regarded his subjects as born to fight for his glory, and not to labor for their own happiness, has been often quoted on this floor
as authority for this warfare which you are waging against foreign commerce. In him were concentrated the spirit
and the power of all the feudal barons. Regarding all nations as his enemies, and war as his permanent occupation, he rigorously excluded all the productions of foreign industry. His celebrated “continental system" was the exact prototype of the “American system.” It aimed to exclude the commerce of England and her allies from all the countries subjected by his military power. But this very attempt overthrew him. The nations of the continent would not submit to the privations im. Posed upon them, merely to gratify his ambition. And, sir, if France and Great Britain had been united by the ten thousand ties of a free and unrestricted commerce, I have not a doubt that the desolating wars which, with very short intervals, drenched Europe in blood for nearly * quarter of a century, could not have been maintained
for two years, before the British ministry would have been displaced, or Bonaparte dethroned. A war between nations which are bound together by the strong bonds of commercial interest, involves such distressing privations, that the most ambitious rulers will not venture to cut those bonds asunder, but from the most obvious necessity. And, sir, I will not disguise the opinion, which I sincerely entertertain, that the innumerable ties of interest, which, under a system of free trade, would bind Great Britain to the United States, would furnish a much more effectual guaranty against any aggressions upon our rights by that power, than all the armies and navies, generals and admirals, which our national resources .# provide. As long as we continue to be the best customers of that nation, it will be impossible for her ministry to maintain an unjust war against us. Her suffering and starving manufacturers would make an appeal, to which no ministry could be indifferent. And it is not to be doubted that the late war with that country was brought to a conclusion much more by such an appeal, than by the achievements of our arms or the skill of our diplomatists. I now feel it to be my duty to notice some remarks which gentlemen have thought proper to introduce into this debate, on a very delicate topic, in no way connected with the measure on which we are deliberating. The member from Massachusetts [Mr. Davis] has reminded the committee that he is contending against “the lordly owners of a thousand slaves, who are leagued with those over the water who wish to put their feet upon our necks, and take the bread out of our mouths.” These were his words. The member from Rhode Island [Mr. BURGEs] was pleased to add, with his accustomed courtesy and suavity of manner, that this was a contest between the honest manufacturers and the “unfeeling lashers of slaves,” whom he represented as confederating with England in favor of free trade. I am not unaware, sir, that a feeble argument, or a bad cause, may derive essential aid from an appeal to the prejudices of an audience; but I can assure the gentlemen that they are perfectly welcome to all the advantage they can gain by running comparisons between the North and the South on the subject of slavery. I will not ransack the musty annals of New England, and particularly of Rhode Island, for a history of the origin and progress of the North American slave trade. But I will say, that I thank God that I have no constituent who ever kidnapped a wretched African; tore him away, with the relentless spirit of avarice and plunder, from the land of his nativity, and sold him into foreign bondage; and, saying this, I will ask the gentlemen from Rhode Island if they can put their hands upon their hearts, and make the same declaration. Whatever may be the enormity of the slave trade—and from my soul I believe there is not in the annals of human cupidity and cruelty a more disgraceful and indelible blot—that sin does not abide with me or mine. If I have not been grossly misinformed, men, notorious for a very discreditable participation in that nefarious traffic, have figured in the halls of Congress as the representatives of sovereign States, But such a representative never came from South Carolina, and I thank God for that. In fact, sir, every part of the civilized world, and especially New England, had a greater agency in the original enslavement of the African race than the southern States. Our ancestors bought them from the ancestors of our New England brethren, and it has been well said that it is “an absurdity without a parallel in the whole history of human extravagance and folly, to hear the Old England or New England, or any other portion of christendom, coolly lecturing us upon the sin of keeping our fellow-men in bondage. They talk about the imprescriptible rights of mankind, and question the very titles which they became bound to warrant, by selling us the property." What, then, is the situation in which,the
people of the southern States are placed in regard to their