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takings, or that any other class of our fellow-citizens do not make money as fast as they desire, surely cannot be considered as a grievance from which they are to be relieved by the government. Is the iron master to be made an exception to this rule? Oh, no, answers Senator James, the cotton manufacturer must compose a part of this prerogative class. Just so, in Great Britain, does Blackwood contend for the corn growers. They, too, must have the monopoly of prices.
“The policy of purchasing in the cheapest market (we are told by the memorialists,) sends all the world to Great Britain for iron.” This they are anxious to prevent on the part of the citizens of the United States, and perhaps for reason of the fact they state, that “there the cost of making iron is one half less than here, and is in still great er disproportion with all other nations.” One would suppose, prima fucie, that such a reason could scarcely satisfy *the wisdom of all interests and all parties," which they invoke to the consideration and preparation “ of such a system as will be permitted to stand."
The grievance which the memorialists wish removed, appears to us nothing more nor less than the British market, “to which the people of the United States, and in fact all the world,” must ever be running for cheap iron. “ The difficulty (say these disinterested memorialists) is that the manufacturers and merchants of that country are not governed (as all the rest of the world are] by the cost of production in selling their commodities, but by the extent and urgency of the demand. When there is a demand, the prices are at the highest ; when there is not, the world is invited to a cheap market.” And this stuff is placed before “ the wisdom of all interests and parties to be applied to the preparation of such a system as will be permitted to stand !” Now, really, we have been foolish enough to suppose that if there was any demand for a commodity, whoever could make that commodity at one half the cost of any one else, might afford to sell for one half the price of any body else; and, that if there is any grievance in a man's making that which nobody wants, at least at his price, it is a grievance of which he has no right to complain, or to have removed at the expense of others.
But the memorialists intimate that as Great Britain is
the only country that can make iron cheaper than themselves, and as they might, if not protected, withdraw from the market, and we thus be compelled to send to Great Britain for all we needed, then “our orders alone could not be filled without so raising the price, as to preclude all possibility of our obtaining a full supply.” This is being very watchful of our interest, and in return for their kindness we give them the same advice, if necessary, which they give the planters—“to diversify their industrial pursuits.” It will be better for the interest of the country. The present rate of duties under the Act of 1846 gives the American iron maker a protection of thirty per cent., and as his iron, according to the statement of the engineer of the Reading rail road, is $13.50 per ton better than the foreign, we think he should be satisfied.
“The British market, we are told, is cheaper when you refrain from it, not when you press upon it," and afterwards we are told that the cheapness of that market causes the people of the United States, and all the world besides, to run to Great Britain for her iron; and yet it still continues cheap, though thus pressed on by the whole world! Now either we are pressing upon that market, and therefore prices are high, and likely to be higher, or else we have refrained from going there, and therefore prices are low. In either case no legislation can be necessary to protect the memorialists from such competition. We are told also by the memorialists, that “
we stand in the very first rank of nations as to the consumption of iron," and that “the cost of manufacturing iron is far from being the only, or even the chief controlling element of price.” If this be true, why cannot our iron-makers supply the whole home market! We are told that they already supply eight-tenths of it. If they cannot supply the whole, why object to our running to Great Britain, and pressing on that market? According to their own argument, this must effect just what the memorialists want-it will raise the price of foreign iron, and enable them to get, at home, the more for their eight-tenths. How can any reasonable person expect that “the rapid progress of this country, to which a large supply of iron is so important, as we are told by the memorialists that it is, should be arrested or delayed for years by such flimsy reasons and selfish devices?
A million of tons, the memorialists tell us, “is the amount of our annual consumption, when the country is suffering from no depressing causes;" and in 1846, under the higher tariff of 1842, that amount would have cost £9,000,000, about $45,000,000. “ These high prices, they say, gave an immense impulse to the productions of this country, and showed how promptly capital and enterprise combine to overcome an emergency by which the country was threatened, with a deficiency of the indispensable article, iron.” Does self-interest so blind the memorialists that they cannot see that this is an argument that, like a two-edged sword, cuts both ways? If the iron business has been overdone, was it not these high prices that gave the impulse to over-production ? They reaped the fruits of these high prices, due in a measure to their absurd and selfish legislation, which even then retarded the progress of the country, although the great majority of that country did not call upon the government for contribution to relieve them from grievances : and the example, thus given, "shows how promptly capital and enterprise ” can step in to relieve our country from threatened emergencies. Neither capital nor enterprise ever “ steps in " for merely patriotic motives; they both seek their own gain, and it is absurd and unjust to ask the public either to ensure them against loss, or to compensate them if the high profits of the early undertaking should not forever continue. “ Agriculture,” says Mr. Fillmore, “may be justly regarded as the great interest of our people. Four-fifths of our active population are employed in the cultivation of the soil; and the rapid expansion of our settlements over new territory is daily adding to the number of those engaged in that vocation. Justice and sound policy, therefore, alike require that the government should use all the means authorized by the Constitution to promote the interests and welfare of that important class of our fellow-citizens. And yet it is a singular fact that, whilst the manufacturing and commercial interests have engaged the attention of Congress during a large portion of every session, and our statutes abound in provisions for their protection and encouragement, little has yet been done directly for the advancement of agriculture. It is time that this reproach to our legislation should be removed ; and I sincerely hope that the present Congress will not
close their labours without adopting efficient means to supply the omissions of those who have preceded them.”
This recommendation of the President we consider as all stuff and buncombe. How can the agriculturalists be relieved ? Prohibit or restrict the importation of cot on, rice, corn, wheat, flour, provisions, mules or horses? Would that be any protection? From whence could they be imported ? Such enactments would be mere mockery and insult. The agriculturists ask for no such protection, and feel more contempt than gratitude for such favours. We hope the present Congress will do no such thing. Agriculturists only ask to be let alone ; " that is good enough for them.” They only ask that others, like themselves, should be left to the management of their own affairs. They claim no bounties nor monopolies over their fellow-citizens. They ask nothing more of the government than to keep its hands off, and a fair field to all. But, say the memorialists, if we could always be furnished with iron from Great Britian at twenty dollars a ton, how could we pay for it? “We already import more than we can pay for in exports." We reply that we already consume, as they state, 1,000,000 tons, and at a much higher price than twenty dollars, and we can see no difficulty, if we can pay a large sum why we cannot pay a lesser. The same argument has been used by protectionists in Great Britain against free trade ; for, say they, though we take so large a supply of their cotton, since we have abolished our restrictive system, they have taken less cotton goods from us than before; but in answer, it has been said that this fact, if true, still has proved no injury to them, for more cotton goods have been taken elsewhere ; and if their goods continue to find a more extended market, it makes little odds whether it be in America or on the neighbouring continent. The statement, however, is not true. The value of cotton goods exported from Great Britain to the United States, in the year 1848, was £1,713,024, in 1849, £2,055,286, and in 1850, £2,504,280. (See Hunt's Magazine, Jan’ry, 1852, p. 84.) When, we would ask, has this country failed to pay for its imports? Surely not since the tariff of 1846 ; and when it did thus fail, we think the memorialists will find that in such cases there was a general failure to pay home debts as well as those upon imports. But if we were to receive
imports forever, and never pay, it would not be a grievance to us, though it might be to our foreign creditors. We are sure the memorialists would have no right to complain. “How absurd (they continue) to suppose we could pay $20,000,000 additional for iron. They had just said that if the million necessary to our consumption costs $20,000,000, and was brought from abroad, we could never pay for it, and now they speak of $20,000,000 additional. They forget that that would make two millions for our consumption instead of one. This would be increasing the consumption very rapidly, and would give 200 lbs. to each person, instead of 100 lbs.
The memorialists still proceed in the same style to illuminate “the wisdom of all interests. As manufacturers of iron we freely admit that we enjoy in Pennsylvania, and, we may add, in all of the United States, manifold natural advantages. If we could now boast that exemption from injurious rivalry, enjoyed by the British manufacturers, during the rapid growth of their industry, we could safely promise even greater results than have been witnessed elsewhere.” Modest request indeed! We presume every interest in the country would desire the same exemption, but we know of no class of men, except Louis Blanc and his crazy Socialists, who believe in the grievous tyranny of competition. By the most sensible part of the world it is considered as the great promoter of all improvements and excellence. “But, as if this high price, (say they,) €25, was not ample protection to British manufacturers, the government (then) advanced the duties fifteen times between 1780 and 1820, without one reduction, increasing them from £2.10s. to £7 per ton, affording them the double protection of high prices and constantly increasing duties.” With similar advantages, that is, with a regular raising of the duties for forty years, increasing them more than three hundred per cent, and double protection thus secured, the memorialists think they could “safely promise greater results than have been witnessed elsewhere.' But suppose, after forty years of high duties and high prices, the American iron masters were to find their home market exactly in the same condition in which the memorialists describe the present state of the market in Great Britain :--that is, the cheapest in the whole world ? “Cheap when you refrain from it, and