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TRADE WITH THE BRITISH PROVINCES.*
WERE free trade extended indiscriminately all over the world, its effects would be to generalize and classify the products. of labor, and to confine such products to such climates and countries as soil and circumstances alone would direct; whilst the products of arts and manufactures would likewise be confined to that spot where, from arbitrary causes, the price of labor was the lowest. The commercial policy of England, for more than two hundred years, sets an example for protection to home industry, whose unbounded results and most extraordinary success establishes a precedent. for national policy in all time to come, to all nations desiring to become a producing people. Nor is her present policy with reference to free trade less an example of able statesmanship than her former course of protection.
Self-preservation suggests now that the bane should be made the antidote. England, by a long course of protection to home labor, has so advanced the arts and organized manufactures, within her own kingdom, that having raised herself to the position of the workshop and banking house of Christendom, and from home competition sent her workmen and manufacturers abroad over the civilized globe to scatter her arts among other nations, cultivating similar plants in other soils, the tendency of which is to stifle the growth of her own; now demands that the sluices of commerce shall be opened to her, that she may trade with all the world free of charge, and that all the world may trade with her on the same terms. Happy course of international policy for herself, if she could effect it now; better calculated to advance her personal aggrandizement than any political act of former times, but sure to ruin those who cannot work so
cheap, and have not the same skill in manufactures as herself.
Whilst as many days' manual labor are required in the United States to convert a given quanity of iron ore into bars or pigs as it takes in England, and the English operative is satisfied with his shilling and a half sterling, whilst the same man can demand and receive his one and a quarter dollars in the United States, protection must be extended to American manufactures or we must abandon them. When the time arrives that we too can produce as cheap and cheaper than any other people, then will it be the policy of the United States to follow in the footsteps of England, and open our trade to the world. Rapid as has been the growth of States in this Union, none now living may reasonably expect to see that day. Speedy as the population has increased, our domain is too extensive for competition to reduce wages to the standard of Europe for ages to
But the extension of reciprocal trade to the British provinces, on our eastern frontier, is not a free trade measure in that light that is hostile to the vital principle of protection, but a mere extension of the boundaries of commerce to include a tenth more of the Anglo-Saxon race, born on the same soil, of a common ancestry, possessing a common language, customs and laws, and worshipping God in the same way as ourselves!
Ever since our own manufactures in the United States have reached a position that enables them to compete with England, the British provinces have been our customers. There are many articles now made in the United States that suit colonial consumption better than English, and were the duties removed, nearly the entire trade would fall into the hands of our manufacturers.
Our Mercantile Connection considered in reference to its effect on Home Industry, together with arguments against Annexation. By GEORGE W. POTTER, author of the Blue Nose Letters, Institutions of New York, &c.
These articles are, all descriptions of ironmongery, suited for building, such as nails, screws, locks, bolts, hinges, &c.; to these may be added the coarser varieties of edge tools, such as axes, saws, &c., connected with the cutting and manufacture of lumber. Mechanical tools of all kinds of American make are preferred to English in the British provinces; their consumption in a young country is immense, and would increase in a fourfold degree when once again a revival of business gave new life to industrial pursuits.
The variety of articles required also in the immense fisheries of Newfoundland, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Bay of Fundy, such as fish-tackle, lines, fishermens' clothes, &c., would furnish a new outlet to consumption for various manufactures in the United States. The quantity of ship-bread used by the fishermen in these waters is immense; the Newfoundland trade is supposed to require bread alone for upwards of six thousand sail of fishing vessels, with an average number of six persons. It is probable that the fishermen in the other waters are fully equal to four thousand, so that sixty thousand fishermen could be supplied with shipbread from the United States, the most of which is now supplied from Europe.
The population of British America is estimated at about two millions, or within five hundred thousand of these United States in 1775 when they declared their independence.
It may be well to notice here the prices at which many leading articles are sold in the United States, of American manufacture, that are required in the British provinces :
Screw augers 3c. 4c. 6c. 8c. 10c. per qr. inch. Pod augers 7c. to 10c. per qr. inch.
Almost every article named in the above list are superior in quality to English manufactures for durability and workmanship.
The form and finish of American made shovels, spades, and hoes is preferred in this country, and were the protective duty on foreign made entirely removed, they would still continue to find a market at home alongside of their English rival on account of their intrinsic merits. Scythes and sickles of American make have for years superseded in this country the sale of the article made in England, and known as Griffin's New England pattern. The American door-lock is an improvement in every respect on the English lock, especially the article commonly called the Scotch knob lock. It is simplified in its internal arrangement, and therefore less liable to get out of order. The article called "mineral knobs," for locks, is an American invention; its material is common clay, the same that potter's ware is made of. It is glazed and hardened by heat, and for convenience makes a better door knob than metal of any kind, particularly brass; as a finish it is preferred to brass knobs. The American padlock is an article different in form, and more convenient for use than English. Similar remarks will apply with equal force to the chest-lock. The American auger and chisel is better in temper than the Scotch, and warranted.
The steel used for the most part in the United States for all kinds of edge tools, is English cast steel. The consumption of this article reaches annually in the United States to between five and six hundred tons, the bulk of which is used in edge tools. The consumption of English cast steel is more general in the United States than it is in England, and accounts at once for the superiority of American manufactures over English. One peculiarity besides, which renders American tools more advantageous for use than English is, that they are warranted, and can be returned and replaced when they are defective.
The largest portion of Canada and New Brunswick is still in a wilderness state. Soon as a better order of things is begun
there, and proper facilities are afforded to emigration, a portion of the yearly subsidies of European population that now find their way exclusively to the United States would settle in the British provinces; whilst the natural growth itself in so fine and vigorous a climate causes increase in population to be large. The geographical extent of all the British provinces is larger than the thirteen original States, whilst their population in 1849 is four-fifths of what this country was when independence was declared in 1776.
These statements are calculated to show to the people of the United States what the advantages of a commercial union are with the British provinces at present, and what they are in prospect. The question of annexation is improbable and undesirable, for reasons that it will not take long to explain. First, then it is improbable, because that the feelings of a large portion of the people in the provinces is not prepared for and do not desire the change; no political change would be desirable in the eyes of the Administration of the United States in which the wishes of both parties did not co-operate to the full. Second, the interest of British America demands every way, that when she throws off her connection with the mother country she should govern herself. A cheap, practical form of government administered by native statesmen, who, being bred and born "at home," are identified with, and both understand and feel the best interests of their country, is so preferable to a set of exotics as to be duly appreciated by none except those who, like myself, have had the opportunity of studying both.
History has made the subject of national growth familiar to the minds of every American citizen of intelligence. Yet, a few remarks in connection with this highly important question cannot fail to be of interest on both sides of the lines. By the last general census of the United States, the population of that portion of the Union that constituted the thirteen old States, and the expense of governing them, stands thus:
The population of these States in 1776 was estimated at two and a half millionsthus the increase in sixty-four years makes the aggregate over four times what it was at the beginning, a scale of increase in population unparalleled in the history of any other age or country. These remarks, it will be observed, apply exclusively to the old States; the new States which, in 1840, were eleven in number, being such as were up to that time admitted into the Union between the Revolution and the time of taking the census, contained a further population of 6,292,169. Since 1840, four other new States have been added, whose population will be told with accuracy at the close of the coming year; at present it is a matter of doubt.
The population of the four British provinces, whose early settlement dates about the same time as that of New England and New York, was, in 1776, less than one million of people, and has only doubled itself in the same time that the population of the United States increased fourfold Although the British provinces have had the advantage of a protective trade for their natural productions with the mother country all the time, to the exclusion of the natural productions of the United States, and both have been extensive consumers of British goods, the provinces for most of the time under no duties at all, and latterly only two and a half per cent., the U. States have for twenty-five years been under a high tariff for the protection of home industry, ranging from 15 to 50 per cent. This strange disparity between the two countries, the great majority of whose people is of a common ancestry, leads to an inquiry into the political economy of the two countries; but as that matter is too lengthy to be discussed now, and some
thing more remains to be said in connection with what has been already advanced, I shall leave it to a future opportunity.
£27 0 11 5 7 6
Currency £32 8
believe is two and a half per cent., the amount "Under your present scale of duties, which I
of tax on these articles would be 16s. 2d. currency, but under the United States tariff, which it is safe to reckon at thirty per cent., the amount of tax would be £9 14s. 6d. A city family of the same size would consume more in value, and their taxes would consequently
I have said that it is the interest of British America to govern herself in pre- Nine per cent. premium and exchange ference to entering the American Union: that fact is easily proved. Under a cheap form of republican government the whole expense of which, for the four provinces, would be ample if it cost as much as it now costs to govern the smallest province of the four, namely, New Brunswick, there would be no occasion to raise the scale of duties; the revenue derived therefrom, with the sale of the public lands, would be more than ample. In Nova Scotia a new source of provincial revenue would follow as a consequence of independence. The mines and minerals of that country are held under tenure of a grant to the late Duke of York, by his father, George III., and are at present worked by a London company to pay certain debts of that prince. The withdrawal of English government in Nova Scotia would of course destroy this grant, and the revenue derived from the mines would revert to the country. One of the blessings of free institutions is, that it eradicates all public burthens that are heaped upon the country from ulterior sources; this blessing would be amply realized by Nova Scotia in the possession of her rich mines of coal and iron in her own right.
The following extract from the "Blue Nose Letters" puts this question of duties in a proper light, as regards the true interests of British America, inasmuch as annexation would entail on them the rate of prices which has to be sustained in the United States to maintain the manufactures of the country:
"The consumption of iron, copper, cordage, and sail cloth, in the building of vessels, is about in proportion of one to three and a half; thus a ship whose cost when fitted for sea would be £10,500, would have expended on her in these materials about £3,000. Under the American tariff the duty on them would be 900, thus increasing the cost of the vessel a her whole cost. In the present state of your fraction more than eight and a half per cent. on import duties all these materials are free.
"On vessels navigated by steam, where metal forms a much larger proportion of the cost, the tax would be greater still. The same remark will apply to steam-mills, and all other manufactories where metallic machinery forms the motive power, be the agent either water or steam. This thirty per cent. tax would also apply to edge tools, chains, and all other metallic implements used in lumbering and fishing.
"In the construction of buildings where the material used is wood, the relative cost of nails, locks, hinges, and all other hardware, including paint and oil, is in proportion of one to eight. Thus an ordinary well-built house that cost, when ready for occupation, about £500, would have £62 10s. expended on it in the above materials. On this sum your present scale of duties would levy a tax of £3 1s. 3d.; under the United States tariff it would amount to £18 15s."
With regard to the difference of expense in governments between colonies and republics, the salaries to public officers in New Brunswick are about one hundred and 0 2 11 sixty thousand dollars. The population does not exceed one hundred and eighty thousand people; this is equal to eightyeight cents ad capitam. By the census of 1840 the expense of governing certain of the United States were as follows:
1 0 0