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FOR OCTOBER, 1851.
THE INFLUENCE OF MANUFACTURES, AND THE PROTECTIVE
SYSTEM, The most important branch of public | It was then made a party measure, being policy advocated by the Whig party, is supported by the Whigs generally in both doubtless that of the Protective System, or Houses of Congress, and opposed by the the encouragement of American Industry by Democrats as a party, with few exceptions, the enactment of well-arranged revenue laws. principally from Pennsylvania. The wants Without protection, we hold that it is im- of the Treasury, and perhaps other reasons, possible for a full development of the resources obtained for the bill the signature of of the country to be made. The real wealth John Tyler, then President of the United of a nation consists in its industry; in its States, who had previously returned with availing itself of its capital, skill, and labor, his veto, to the same Congress, two tariff to the full development of all its natural en- bills which recognized the principle of prodowments, and its general moral and physi- tection. Under the tariff of 1842, all the cal advantages, resulting as well from the varied interests of agriculture, manufactures genius of its people, as from its peculiar po and commerce were wisely protected; and sition and institutions.
it is believed that no period in the annals of The tariff of 1828, notwithstanding its this country exhibits greater evidences and defects, introduced for political effect, was proofs of prosperity than the four years eminently protective in its character, and while that great Whig measure was in full under its auspices the country enjoyed seve- force and effect. ral years of prosperity; which were however During the term of the first Congress uninterrupted, and many industrial interests der Mr. Polk's administration, the evil genius finally prostrated, by the operation of the of the country prevailed, and after a severe compromise tariff of 1833. But it was re- party struggle the tariff of 1846, at present served for the Wbig majority in the Con- in operation, and the emanation of the mind gress of 1842 to devise and enact what may of Robert J. Walker, then Secretary of the be considered, beyond all question, the best Treasury, was enacted. Party triumphed tariff law we have ever had. That tariff was over the real interests of the country, and comprised in a bill brought into the House the effects which were predicted by the of Representatives by the present President friends of protection have been already exof the United States, who was then Chair-perienced. The war with Mexico, the disman of the Committee of Ways and Means. (covery and product of gold in California,
and the famine in Ireland which created an portion of the industrial interests of the extraordinary demand for our breadstuffs, country. have checked the progress of the evil effects It would be easy for us to show, as inevitably resulting from the partial with indeed has been frequently done by others, drawal of protection by the tariff of 1846; that the agricultural interests of the country but it cannot be denied that a paralysis has are more benefited by the operations of the taken place in many branches of industry. protective system than those of any other But slow progress has been made in cotton class. An inquiry into the average profits manufactures and other branches of indus- of the large cotton manufacturing establishtry, which were flourishing under the tariff ments, for instance, for the last twenty years, of 1842; indeed, many of them have been satisfies us that not inore than six or seven per since conducted, as is well known, with loss cent. per annum, or equal to simple interest, to the proprietors, and those infantile manu- has been derived from the investments therefactures which, under the Whig tariff laws, in, even including those most skilfully manwere springing into existence, have been sup- aged. The same remark, we believe, will pressed. The withdrawal of adequate pro- apply to manufactories of wool and iron; and tection from railroad iron has caused the it is well known that the business of these general suspension of the domestic manu- three staple manufactures is now very genefacture of that important article, and millions rally attended with loss to the proprietors. of dollars have been and are still being paid And many establishments are now carried to Great Britain, for the iron for the exten- on with the hope that an improvement may sive lines of railroads in this country, many soon take place in prices, in consequence of of which pass in the immediate vicinity of a future diminution of importations of foreign iron mines, awaiting the hand of labor to be merchandise. worked, for the benefit of various branches The question of anti-protection or free trade of industry.
appears to us to involve that of the reducThe immense importations of foreign mer- tion of wages of the laboring classes in our chandise into this country, in consequence of manufactories to the standard of Europe, the encouragement held out by the present which is fifty per cent. lower than the prestariff, are now beginning to be severely felt ent prices paid in this country; or the deby the commercial and trading interests, struction of a large portion of the manufacwhich cannot fail to result in the most ruin-turing establishments in the United States. ous consequences to the country at large; The amount of capital employed in those and the low prices to which the staple arti- manufactures in this country, with which cles of agriculture have fallen, must convince come directly in competition the importaour farmers and planters that increased im- tions from Europe, considerably exceeds one portations are not counterbalanced by expor- hundred and fifty millions of dollars, and tations of produce, notwithstanding the pre- the annual product of the same as much dictions of the late Secretary of the Treasury, more; and it is a matter of serious considMr. Walker. What, then, is to be the rem-eration whether a market can be found for
a edy for this downward state of things ? produce sufficient to pay for an augmented We confess that we see none, except in a importation of one hundred and fifty milreturn to the protective system under which lions of dollars, besides the present heavy the nation has always prospered, while every amount of our imports. approach towards free trade has invariably The opponents of manufactures, and the been disastrous to the best interests of the friends of free trade, when compelled to country. Notwithstanding the forbidding admit the pecuniary benefits sometimes reaspect of the next Congress, in which there sulting to agriculture and other interests, will be a decided Democratic majority, it from the introduction of manufactures, conmay be hoped that the great agricultural tinue to revive the oft-refuted objection to interest of the West will join with the the establishment of a class among us for friends of protection in the Atlantic and the purpose of working up our own staples, Middle States, and adopt at least such revi- that a manufacturing population is necessions of the tariff as may have a tendency sarily a vicious and degraded one, and to restore the waning prosperity of a great I therefore that the true interests of this country, moral as well as physical, are to be are gradually and insensibly made by each to found in the pursuits of agriculture, and in each; that each class respects its own doctrines those mechanical and commercial occupa- those of others; and that all religious doctrines
less, and becomes more and more indifferent to tions which naturally grow up from the cir- lose their influence, until the community becomes cumstances of the people. If we are to dispossessed of that beneficent efficacy which is believe the advocates of free trade, the mor- ever to be expected from the gospel, wherever it als and general condition of the people ofis cordially believed by an undivided body of men.
“ The inhabitants of this State, in opposition to this country were in a better state before the the rest of their New-England brethren, have uniintroduction of extensive manufactures in formly refused to support the public worship of the Northern and Eastern States, than those God by law, or, in other words, to make a legal which now exist in the manufacturing dis- provision for the support of ministers and churches
. tricts. Although this subject has frequently for his maintenance they have placed on the same
A contract between a minister and bis congregation attracted the attention of writers and speak- footing as contracts made at the gaming table. ers in favor of protection, and the advanta- Hence, except in their large towns, a minister liberges of manufactures with regard to their in- ally educated cannot often be found. Hence, the fluence on the morals and circumstances of places of such ministers are filled by plain, ignorant the people in their vicinity shown; we do not Scriptures, and murder arguments and language.
individuals. They pervert the meaning of the think it has been sufficiently considered and They are destitute of dignity, propriety, and candisplayed to the people. We propose to de- dor; coarse and clownish in their anners; uncouth vote a short space to a comparison of the in their elocution; and in their discourses clumsy present, with the former condition of the and ridiculous. Next to a wicked ministry, the
greatest evil which can befall the Church is a weak people in one of the most important man- iinistry. The churches in Providence and Newufacturing localities.
port I have described. Those which I have seen The State of Rhode Island exhibits, in the in the country towns appear like badly-built and most striking form, the vast advantages to
decayed bams. be derived from a multiplicity of industrial is merely a day of visiting and sport
. Many of the
• The Sabbath, with a great part of this people, pursuits, and is entitled to the credit of hav- inhabitants have customarily devoted it to labor. ing been the first to introduce into the United A considerable number of persons in the trading States the immense advantages derived from towns, Providence excepted, have been deeply enlabor-saving machinery. Before noticing the gaged in the slave-trade. Some of the missionary
societies have in their proceedings considered Rhodepresent prosperous condition of the State, it Island as missionary ground. will be interesting to inquire what were its “Schools usually go parallel with ministers and circumstances and character in the early part churches. Here, certainly, they move in the same of the present century, and before the exten- course. Exclusive of a few attempts which bave sive introduction of labor-saving machinery. I believe, one, two, or three have succeeded,) and
lately been made to establish academies, (of which, The population of the State, according to some efforts which are made in the principal the three first enumerations taken by the towns, schools in this state can hardly be said to United States, was as follows: In 1790, exist. The gentlemen with whom I conversed on 68,825; in 1800,69,122; in 1810, 76,931. reprobation of the conduct of the State, in strong
this subject expressed their mortification, and their The late Dr. Timothy Dwight, President of terms, but they seemed to be bopeless concerning Yale College, in his “Travels in New-Eng- a reformation. Without churches, men will be land,” in the year 1800, has the following vicious of course ; without schools, they will be igobservations:
norant; and ignorance and vice are sufficiently
melancholy characteristics of the people in whom “From the circumstances of its early settlement, they are united. Rhode Island became naturally the resort, not only " It is not impossible, perhaps not improbable, of such adventurers as harmonized with them that the energy awakened in this State by the dif(the original colonists) in religious opinions, but of fusion of manufactures, may be productive of some most of those who were discontented and restless. beneficial consequences both to learning and reliA general aggregation, originated by a great gion. The wealth of the inhabitants is visibly invariety of incidental causes, spread over the State, creasing with rapidity, and will probably continue and occupied the whole of its territory. No single to increase through an indefinite period. Wealth, or regular scheme of colonization was pursued. wherever it is spread, generates, of course, the No common object united the immigrants; and no desire of character; and this passion regularly common character could be traced through the stimulates mankind to the use of those means by
In such casual collections of mankind, it is which it may be gratified. The first step towards an almost necessary consequence of their junction giving character to children is to give them at least in society, that their peculiar religious opinions are a decent education; and this step is always taken held with less and less tenacity; that concessions whenever wealth begins to be diffused. The next
is not uncommonly the building of churches; and had a great, and in most respects an injurious the next the settlement and support of ministers, - effect upon the trade of this State
. The slave such, I mean, as are qualified to discharge the trade, which was a source of wealth to many of duties of the sacred office. Should this be the the people, has happily been abolished. The course of events in Rhode Island, it is hardly pos- Legislature have passed a law prohibiting ships sible that the character of the inhabitants at large from going to Africa for slaves, and selling them should not be essentially meliorated.”
in the West India islands. The town of Bristol
carries on a considerable trade to Africa, the West To these remarks of Dr. Dwight, the Indies, and to different parts of the United States. editor of his work, published in 1822, adds But by far the greater part of the commerce of the following:
the State is at present carried on by the inhabi
tants of the flourishing town of Providence. In “These observations were made in the year sail of vessels, measuring 11,942 tons. The tonnage
June, 1791, there were belonging to this port 129 1800. Since that time, the prediction of the of the whole State amounts to between 26,000 writer has, to a considerable extent, been fulfilled. and 27,000 tons. The exports from the State are The manufacturing establishments of this State have been enlarged and multiplied, and the wealth flax-seed, lumber, horses, cattle, beef, pork, fish, of the inhabitants increased in a more rapid man
poultry, onions, butter, cheese, barley and other ner than in any other part of New-England. With grain, spirits, and cotton and linen manufactures. the acquisition of property, the people, particularly branch of business. A cotton manufactory has
The inhabitants are advancing in the manufacturing in the large towns, appear to have acquired more been erected at Providence, which from present liberal views concerning the importance of learning prospects will answer the expectations of the proto the community.”
prietors. Jeans, fustians, denims, thick-sets, velvets, The following extract from Morse's Ge- &c., are here manufactured and sent to the South
ern States. Linen and tow cloths are made in ography, published in 1805, confirms Dr. different parts of this State for exportation. Other Dwight's account of the state of society in manufactures are those of iron, spirits, paper, wool Rhode Island, in the early part of this cen- and cotton cards, &c. Newport, famed for the tury :
beauty of its situation and the salubrity of its
climate, now wears the gloomy aspect of decay. “The literature of this State is confined princi- Circumstance strongly mark out this place as a pally to the towns of Newport and Providence. convenient and proper situation for extensive There are men of learning and abilities scattered manufactures. Should the gentlemen of fortune throughout the State, but they are rare. The bulk turn 'heir capital into this channel, they would be of the inhabitants in other parts of the State are instrumental in giving employment and bread to involved in greater ignorance perhaps than in most thousands of now unbappy people, and of reviving other parts of New-England. A law a few years the former importance of their beautiful town." since was made, establishing town schools through the State, but was found un popular and repealed.
These extracts are sufficient to show the There are few clergymen in the State, excepting condition of Rhode Island under the comin Providence and Newport. * In the mercial system which formerly prevailed in whole region west of Providence river, 2. school. the colony and State, and before the attenhouse or meeting-house is rarely found; not a quarter part have a Bible in their houses, and a tion of the people was particularly turned great portion of the people are unable to read or to manufactures, as the main source of write.
occupation and prosperity which they have With regard to the trade and commerce
since found it, and which is now the main of the State, Morse remarks :
dependence of the people for support. The
former moral and religious character of the “ Before the war of the Revolution, the mer people, as described by Doctors Dwight and chants in Rhode Island imported from Great Morse, is probably somewhat exaggerated Britain, dry goods; from Africa, slaves; from the West Indies, sugars
, coffee and molasses; and by the prejudices of those writers, but there from the neighboring colonies, lumber and pro
can be no doubt of the low state of educavisions. With the bills which they obtained in tion, religion and morals in the State, comSurinam and the Dutch West Indies they paid pared with other parts of New-England; their merchants in England. Their sugars they and it is curious to notice that Dr. Dwight carried to Holland; the slaves from Africa they looked to the establishment of manufactures carried to the West Indies, together with the lumber and provisions procured from their neigh- as a means by which the moral condition of bors; the rum distilled from the molasses was the people might be improved. The gradual carried to Africa to purchase negroes; with their improvement of the condition and the present dry goods from England they trafficked with the elevated character of the population of Rhodeneighboring colonies. By this kind of circuitous commerce they subsisted and grew rich. But the Island, in every point of view, are remarkRevolutionary War and some other events bave able proofs of the sagacity of Dr. Dwight,