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Hon. ROGER Q. Mills. Born in Salem, Kentucky, in 1832 ; when seventeen years of age he emigrated to Texas; he became a lawyer, and when twenty seven years of age was elected to the Texas Legislature; at the breaking out of the civil war he joined the Southern army as Colonel of a regiment of infantry; he was wounded a number of times, though not seriously, and, returning to his home at Corsicana, resumed the practice of his profession; in 1872 he was elected to Congress on the Democratic ticket, and has been returned at every subsequent election. His majority at the last election was over 16,000; Mr. Mills was always a tariff reformer, and he was entrusted by Speaker Carlisle in the Fiftieth Congress with the task of framing a tariff bill, which was the issue of the campaign of 1888, in which the Democrats were defeated ; Mr. Mills was a candi. date for Speaker for the present House, but Mr. Crisp secured the prize: elected to U. S, Senate, March 22, 1892, and re-elected for the full term in 1893.
Wm. L. Wilson, Chairman of House Committee of Ways and Aleans and Author of
the Wilson Tariff Bill. Born in Jefferson co, Va., May 3, 1843; graduated from University of Virginia in 1860; served in the Confederate army; for several years Professor in Columbian College; resigned and entered practice of law at Charlestown, W. Va.; elected President of West Virginia University in 1882; elected to 49th, 50th, 51st, 52d and 53d Congresses; in latter Con. gress served as Chairman of Committee on Ways and Means ; father of the Wilson Tariff Bill; nominated by President Cleveland as Postmaster-General, February 28, 1895, and took oath of office, April 4, 1895.
which had been burdened in the colonies was crushed in the free States. At the close of the revolution the mechanics and manufacturers of the country found themselves, in the bitterness of their hearts, independent-and ruined."
Says Bancroft, of the year 1785, “It is certain that the English have the trade of these States almost wliolly in their hands, whereby their influence must increase; and a constantly increasing scarcity of money begins to be felt, since no ship sails to England without large sums of money aboard, especially the English packet boats, which monthly take with them between forty and fifty thousand pounds sterling. The scarcity of money makes the produce of the country cheap, to the disappointment of farmers and the discouragement of husbandry. Thus the two classes, the farmer and the merchant, that divide nearly all America, are discontented and distressed."
Said Webster of this period, in a speech delivered in 1833, "From the close of the war of the Revolution there came a period of depression and distress on the Atlantic Coast, such as the people had hardly felt during the crisis of the war itself. Ship-owners, ship-builders, mechanics, artisans, all were destitute of employment and some of them destitute of bread. British ships came freely, and British ships came plentifully; while to American ships and American products there was neither protection on the one side nor the equivalent of reciprocal free-trade on the other. The cheaper labor of England supplied the inhabitants of the Atlantic shores with everything. Ready-made clothes, among the rest, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, were for sale in every city. All these things cane free from any general system of imposts. Some of the States attempted to establish their own pariial systems, but they failed.”
There is no history of America covering this time but what repeats the above views, over and over again, and if anything, in still more lugubrious terms.
The situation simply affirmed what Lord Goderich said in Parliament:—“ Other nations know that what we English mean by free-trade is nothing more nor less than, by means of the great advantages we enjoy, to get the monopoly of all the markets of other nations for our manufactures, and to prevent them, one and all, from ever becoming manufacturing nations."
With equal sincerity and emphasis David Syme, another member of Parliament, declared :—“In any quarter of the globe where competition shows itself as likely to interfere with English monopoly, immediately the capital of her manufacturers is massed in that particular quarter, and goods are exported there in large quantities, and sold at such prices that outside competition is immediately counted out. English manufacturers have been known to export goods to a distant market and sell them under cost for years with a view of getting the market into their own hands again, and keep that foreign market, and step in for the whole when prices revive.”
• END OF THE FREE-TRADE ERA. It became manifest to even the dullest mind that America was about to lose her political independence in the mire of industrial and commercial subserviency. Says Mason :
“Depreciation seized upon every species of property. Legal pressure to enforce payment of debts caused alarming sacrifices of both personal and real-estate; spread distress far and wide among the masses of the people; aroused in the hearts of the sufferers the bitterest feelings against lawyers, the courts and the whole creditor class; led to a popular clamor for stay-laws and various other radical measures of supposed relief, and finally filled the whole land with excitement, apprehension and sense of weakness and a tendency to despair of the Republic. Inability to pay even necessary taxes became general, and often these could be collected only by levy and sale of the homestead.”
Figures began to pile up and to tell their awful tale. In 1784-85, imports from Great Britain alone swelled to $30,000,000, while our exports reached barely $9,000,000. In Hildretli's history we read: “The large importation of foreign goods, subject to little or no duty, and sold at peace prices, was proving ruinous to all those domestic manufactures and mechanical employments which the non-consumption agreements and the war had created and fostered. Immediately after the peace, the country had been flooded with imported goods, and debts had been unwarily contracted, for which there was no means to pay.”
In Maine a Convention was held for the purpose of revolting from Massachusetts on account of the prevailing distress. In New Hampshire the people surrounded the Legislative hall and declared the body should not adjourn till it passed a measure to absolve the people from debt. Shay's rebellion in Massachusetts was but a protest against suffering on the part of the people. In speaking of its causes Hildreth says: —“The want of a certain and remunerative market for the produce of the farmer, and the depression of domestic manufactures by competition from abroad.”
In Connecticut alone five hundred farms were offered for sale to pay taxes. The condition was the same in Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. Real estate found no market. Debtors were compelled to close out at one-fourth the value of their lands. Men distrusted one another. The best securities were offered at half their face value.