Front Page Titles (by Subject) INTRODUCTION - State Papers and Speeches on the Tariff
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INTRODUCTION - Frank William Taussig, State Papers and Speeches on the Tariff 
State Papers and Speeches on the Tariff, with an Introduction by F.W. Taussig (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1892).
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The papers and speeches contained in this volume have been used for some years with advantage in a course on the Tariff History of the United States, conducted by the present writer in Harvard University. They serve to illustrate the mode in which the tariff problem has been approached from time to time by great statesmen, and afford a stimulating introduction to a discussion of the principles of international trade and of customs policy. No one of them can he said to be very scarce, or difficult of access to those having large libraries at command; but some are to be found only in the Congressional Documents, and others only in expensive editions of the writings of the respective authors. They are now reprinted in the hope that more easy access to them will be of service to teachers and students of economics, and will bring to the attention of thoughtful citizens serious and sober arguments removed from the heat of contemporary discussion.
The first paper on the list, Hamilton's “Beport on Manufactures,” is the most famous; though doubtless it has been referred to with praise or blame by many who never succeeded in reading it. Hamilton was requested to prepare the report by resolutions passed in the House of Representatives in January, 1790; but he did not present it until nearly two years later, in December, 1791. During this period he was busy with the numberless questions of legislation and administration which confronted the newly organized federal government. Considering the conditions under which he thus wrote, and the stage which economic theory had reached in his time, the report is a great intellectual feat. The marshaling of the opposing arguments, the tireless examination of every aspect of the question, the careful investigation of the facts of industry and trade, the specific recommendations and conclusions at the close, all bear the stamp of Hamilton's peculiar and powerful intellect. There are repetitions, and some obvious inconsistencies in arrangement; some parts are obsolete, referring to arguments or industrial conditions which now belong to the past; but the report remains the strongest presentation of the case for protection which has been made by any American statesman.
Hamilton's report is printed in the various editions of his works, and in the “State Papers on Finance,” as well as in the Congressional Documents; but nevertheless it can hardly be said to be easy of access to the ordinary reader.
The second paper, Gallatin's “Memorial of the Free Trade Convention,” was prepared under very different circumstances. In 1831, when the early protective controversy was at its height, a convention of the friends of free trade was held in Philadelphia. The proceedings were not of any unusual character; but on adjourning, the convention appointed a committee, of which Gallatin was chairman, to draft a memorial to Congress. That memorial, written by Gallatin, is the document here reprinted. Its authorship, though not publicly stated, was well known, and led to Clay's bitter and discreditable attack on the aged statesman.1 The memorial was printed at the time in the Congressional Documents, and is now most easily found in that form. A pamphlet edition was published in New York, and it was also printed in Niles's “Register” and in Raguetfs “Banner of the Constitution.” It is not in Mr. Adams's edition of Gallatin's writings, and on the whole is less accessible than Hamilton's report.
Although thus prepared as a private memorial, Gallatin's paper is written as if presented to Congress by its author while still Secretary of the Treasury. It has the dignity and the measured tone of his State papers. Beginning with a consideration of the revenue situation at the time, it proceeds to a discussion of the principles which underlie the protective controversy, and ends with a detailed examination of the tariff act then in force, the act of 1828. Gallatin's sober and sagacious mind marks both the reasoning on the questions of principle, and the presentation of the facts of the case as they then stood. In manner and matter, the memorial is a model of what a discussion of the tariff question should be.
The third document, Walker's “Treasury Report” of 1845, is again a formal state paper, being the report on the finances submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury to Congress, at its first meeting aftef the election of President Polk. It begins with the usual statements and estimates of the revenues and expenditures, and then passes abruptly to a discussion of the tariff question. It has secured a place in our tariff history as a presentation of the case against protection, comparable in some ways to the place of Hamilton's presentation of the case against free trade. No doubt, it is not equal in intellectual quality to Hamilton's Report; and it clearly falls below Gallatin's memorial in tone and in substance. But it marks a new stage in the discussion of the tariff question, and deserves study as one of the famous public papers brought out by that question. It should be read in the light of the tariff act of 1846, passed in the course of the session of Congress at which it was presented. That act was framed largely at Walker's suggestion, and its provisions give an indication of his meaning in some passages in the report which have an uncertain sound. The report is at present accessible only in the Congressional Documents.
Last come the speeches of Clay and Webster on the tariff act of 1824. These stand somewhat apart from the other papers, and it is not without hesitation that they have been selected from the mass of oratory on the tariff question. But the fame of the men, the soberness of their discussion, taking place as it did at a time when the tariff was not yet an issue between parties, and the intrinsic importance as well as the historical interest of the speeches, seem to warrant their being added to this collection. In them, as in the other parts of the volume, the reader will find passages which refer to conditions very different from those of the present, and arguments which are no longer heard in the protective controversy. But these passages are none the less instructive for the historical study of the tariff question; and in any case it seemed best to present the texts in all cases in full, without attempt at abridgment or condensation. The speeches of Clay and Webster have been reprinted from their collected writings.
See Adams's Life of Gallatin, p. 641.