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TARIFFS OF THE UNITED STATES. - John Joseph Lalor, Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, vol. 3 Oath - Zollverein 
Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States by the best American and European Authors, ed. John J. Lalor (New York: Maynard, Merrill, & Co., 1899). Vol 3 Oath - Zollverein
Part of: Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States, 3 vols.
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TARIFFS OF THE UNITED STATES.
TARIFFS OF THE UNITED STATES. The theory of tariff taxation has been discussed in this work in the article CUSTOMS DUTIES. The subject of the present article is merely what has been done in the way of tariff legislation in the United States; and mention can be made only of the more important acts, without any attempt to explain all the motives which led to their enactments, or the manifold results that have followed their adoption and administration. And, first, as to the power of congress to impose tariffs. Under the confederation the states retained the taxing power, and left the central body, the congress of the confederation, without any direct means of defraying whatever expenses the necessities of war compelled it to contract. Some attempts were made to secure for it an independent revenue, but they came to naught. On the return of peace, while still maintaining the form of a confederacy, the states, no longer united by a common danger, became, to a great extent, independent, and each managed its concerns with little regard to the interests of the others. Massachusetts had a navigation act, and levied import duties, and other states followed her example. The restrictions and prohibitions imposed on American commerce were vexatious and destructive, and while the congress had power to enter into treaties of reciprocity, it could not retaliate in any way were its offers of trade refused. The power to do this rested in the states individually, but in spite of many propositions to this effect, no uniform or decisive action on their part could be brought about. From 1783 until the adoption of the federal constitution it was generally recognized that congress should have the power to regulate commercial relations between the states and foreign powers, but the supposed interests of the different states presented an effectual bar against action. "The agitators for the regulation of trade in Virginia belonged to that class of the community which in the eastern and middle states was most bitterly set against the measure. In Massachusetts and New York the merchants were the supporters, and the farmers the opponents. In Virginia the planters were to a man united in the opinion that some steps must be taken to mend commercial affairs, and the merchants quite disposed to let trade alone. The reason is obvious. The condition of things to the south of the Potomac was precisely the reverse of the condition of things to the north of the Potomac. Beyond the north bank of the river the farmers throve, and the merchants did a losing business. Beyond the south bank the merchants were daily growing more prosperous, and the planters more impoverished." (1 McMaster, 272.) The agitation over this question first assumed a definite form in Virginia, and led up to the national trade convention held at Annapolis in 1786, out of which movement arose the federal convention of 1787, which resulted in the framing of the constitution, and the foundation of a central government possessing definite and important functions, and clothed with the power necessary to perform them.
—It would, however, be an error to attribute this action wholly to the commercial needs of the country. The states had just passed through an era of paper money madness, in which each state had vied with the others in excessive issues, with the intention of allowing their inhabitants deeply immersed in debt to free themselves from such burdens. This alone was sufficient to create general poverty, and armed rebellions did occur in many quarters. Manufactures were beginning to arise in New England, and served to turn attention to the development of the internal resources of the country. The jealousies existing among the states had only aggravated the evils arising from mismanaged finances, and in the general scramble for vantage the many restrictions and limitations imposed hindered that industrial growth which, it was confidently believed, would restore prosperity. The folly of thus contending among themselves was seen by the clear headed, and the remedy they believed adequate was an extension of the power of the confederation. The debts contracted by the congress were about to fall due, but the confederation was without resources, and without credit. New York had expressed a willingness to grant to it power to levy duties on imports. Rufus King made a very able report to congress, in which he concluded that the impost was an absolute necessity to the maintenance of the faith of the federal government. While thus agitating for an independent revenue, the government did not cease to urge upon the states the disordered condition of trade and finances, and the advisableness of granting to congress the power to regulate trade. But while commercial reasons were thus at the bottom of the movement, political reasons, quite as cogent, existed in favor of a new distribution of powers, and the action of these two forces, combined, produced the constitution.
—By this important instrument the new government was empowered to levy taxes of every description, and to regulate commerce with foreign nations. In connection with our subject it will be important to bear these two powers in mind, as the one has been made an instrument of the other. The right to levy duties upon imported commodities was conceded, and the only limitation imposed upon its exercise was that the duties should be uniform throughout the land. The question then arises whether the government ought to lay taxes for any other purpose than to raise revenue, which involves the question whether congress may lay taxes to protect and encourage manufactures. The arguments for and against this use of the taxing power will be found in Story's "Commentaries on the Constitution," §§ 959-973, and are summed up as follows: "So that, whichever construction of the power to lay taxes is adopted, the same conclusion is sustained, that the power to lay taxes is not by the constitution confined to purposes of revenue. In point of fact, it has never been limited to such purposes by congress; and all the great functionaries of the government have constantly maintained the doctrine that it was not constitutionally so limited." It was customary to regulate trade by taxing imports, and this practice was acted upon by all nations at that time. Retaliatory duties were recognized as a proper exercise of power, even when they produced no revenue, and duties primarily intended for revenue purposes might incidentally afford protection to manufactures. The colonies always recognized the right of England to regulate their commerce; but when parliament undertook to levy taxes for another end, they revolted. It might further be said that every civilized nation at that time considered that the power to regulate commerce included the encouragement of manufactures, and acted upon this belief. Some of the states had already adopted regulations which were intended to give such encouragement to their industries, although this encouragement was secured at the expense of the other states; and in ceding this power to make such laws to the general government, it was claimed that the states had expected a continuance of this recognized policy. So that the weight of opinion was in favor of the right to regulate commerce by import duties or other taxes, and chiefly on the ground that the power was generally exercised among nations. From the very first, then, a tariff has been recognized as a measure for raising revenue, for protecting and encouraging domestic manufactures, and as an instrument for regulating commerce. (Story, Comm., §§ 1077-1095.)
—But the conditions which favored these views at the time the constitution was adopted no longer exist, and a very different set of circumstances has arisen to alter in a great measure the opinions on the tax power of the government. At the end of the eighteenth century it was not strange to find the power to regulate trade and commerce with foreign nations granted to congress. Nothing was more natural; for at that time the fiscal and commercial policies of nations were governed by the maxim that no trading or commercial people could ever prosper without regulation of trade, and the more their transactions were regulated by law the higher would be the resulting economic well-being of the country. Regulation however, meant interference and restrictions. Innumerable laws are found on the statute books of nearly every nation that had any trade whatever, which were intended to foster and develop domestic manufactures and domestic commerce. Loans and important immunities were granted by the state to encourage the investment of capital in industrial enterprises; premiums, bounties and drawbacks were offered to producers and exporters; the importation of the raw materials of industry, and the export of manufactured products were unnaturally encouraged; while the importation of such commodities as would come into competition with domestic articles was discouraged by high customs duties, or was even expressly prohibited; the exportation of machinery and the emigration of skilled labor were forbidden under severe penalties; and through discriminating and retaliatory duties a species of commercial war was waged among nations. In fact, the whole system of trade was founded upon regulation, and was to that extent artificial and strained. And in no instance was this result more evident than in the commercial relations which subsisted between a parent country and her colonies, in which all the advantage lay on one side. The American colonies had known no other trading system, and, therefore, believed that the adoption of the same illiberal laws was essential to their existence as an independent power. Their weakness invited insult and harsh laws from other nations; and while one of their first acts after the return of peace was to seek for commercial treaties with European powers, they also sought to protect their commerce with the instruments that were then everywhere employed.
—All of this has changed. As the laws of trade were examined it was seen that they were natural laws, and that any interference with their free play was mischievous, and, instead of creating, destroyed commerce. The suicidal policy of taxing one's self in order to ward off an imaginary danger, became clearer to practical statesmen; and the old theory, that what one nation gains must be at the expense of another, has given way to a more just and accurate view that believes in leaving trade alone, to be governed by an enlightened self-interest. In spite, however, of this change of feeling, the United States has persisted in continuing along the old ruts, and has only two or three times shown any disposition to accept the truths that modern political economy has enunciated and is enforcing in spite of human laws to the contrary. But the inevitable is being enforced at a fearful cost to the people who have not recognized the true principles of trade and adapted their transactions to them. And the high industrial position which the United States holds at this time (1883) is in spite of restrictions, and not in consequence of them.
—No sooner had the first congress met than a measure for taxing imports was introduced by Mr. Madison (April 8, 1789) for the purpose of giving some resources to the almost empty treasury. The measure proposed was extremely simple in its character, being intended as a temporary expedient, and enumerated rum and other spirituous liquors, wines, teas, coffee, sugar, molasses and pepper, as subjects for specific duties, while ad valorem duties were to be levied upon all other articles. The first debate at once disclosed a difference of opinion as to whether or not the tariff should be made protective in its character, but it was not for some years after this that the constitutional power of the government to lay duties for protection was called in question. The difference of opinion we have just noted has continued until to-day, and must always continue so long as a tariff is imposed. Those who favored a protective tariff could however point to existing industries, and claim that they were "infant" industries, requiring a protection against foreign competition. But at once the conflict of interests appeared. Massachusetts wished a duty on rum in order to protect her producers, but objected to one on molasses. Pennsylvania asked for protection to her iron and steel industries, but the southern states, which were chiefly agricultural, were opposed to granting it. The duty on hemp was favored by the south but urged by the north, and so on through the list, hardly one item of which was not opposed on sectional grounds, that the benefits would accrue to certain states and at the cost of the other states. The bill was finally completed, and adopted as a protective measure, but it was so only in name. The preamble read: "Whereas it is necessary for the support of the government, for the discharge of the debts of the United States, and the encouragement and protection of manufactures, that duties be laid," etc.; and in the whole history of tariff legislation in this country it is the only law which was thus openly passed for protection to American industry. For prudential reasons this form of preamble was changed, and tariff enactments have on their face since been for the purposes of revenue only. This tariff became a law on July 4, 1789, and was to remain in force until June, 1796. The average duty levied under it was equivalent to an ad valorem rate of 8½ per cent.; and it was thought that this was too high a general scale of taxation, and would result in encouraging smuggling. As this act formed the foundation of our tariff system, we will give the duties imposed: distilled spirits, of Jamaica proof, 10 cents per gallon; other distilled spirits, 8 cents; molasses, 2½ cents; Madeira wine, 18 cents; other wines, 10 cents; beer, ale, and porter, in casks, 5 cents per gallon; in bottles, 20 cents per dozen; bottled cider, the same; malt, 10 cents per bushel; brown sugar, 1 cent per lb.; loaf sugar, 3 cents; other sugars, 2½ cents; coffee, 2½ cents, cocoa, 1 cent; teas from China and India, in American vessels, ranged from 6 to 20 cents per lb, and in foreign vessels some what higher; candles, from 2 to 6 cents per lb; cheese, 4 cents; soap, 2 cents; boots, per pair, 50 cents; shoes, from 7 to 10 cents, according to material; cables and tarred cordage, 75 cents per cwt.; untarred cordage, 90 cents; twine and pack thread, $2; unwrought steel, 50 cents per cwt.; nails and spikes, 1 cent per lb.; salt, 6 cents per bushel; manufactured tobacco, 6 cents per lb.; indigo, 16 cents per lb; wool and cotton cards, 50 cents per dozen; coal 2 cents per bushel; pickled fish, 75 cents per barrel; dried fish, 50 cents per quintal; playing cards, 10 cents per pack; hemp, 60 cents per cwt.; cotton, 3 cents per lb. In addition to these specific duties, an ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. was imposed on glass of all kinds (black quart bottles excepted), china, stone, and earthenware, gunpowder, paints, shoe and knee buckles, and gold and silver lace and leaf; 7½ per cent. ad valorem was charged upon blank books, paper, cabinet wares, leather, ready-made clothing, hats, gloves, millinery, canes, brushes, gold and silver and plated ware and jewelry, buttons, saddles, slit and rolled iron, and castings of iron, anchors, tin and pewter ware. Upon all other articles, including manufactures of wool, cotton and linen, 5 per cent. ad valorem was to be charged, except on saltpetre, tin, lead, old pewter, brass, iron and brass wire, copper in plates, wool, dyestuffs, hides and furs, to be free of duty. Such was the first tariff, and such was the entering wedge of the protective system.
—Between the tariff of 1789 and that of 1816, which marks the second important step in the tariff legislation of the country, there were passed upward of seventeen acts affecting the rate of duties, and the tendency was ever toward higher rates. The most important event of this period was the preparation of Hamilton's famous report upon manufactures, which contained the earliest formulation of protective principles that is to be met with in our legislative history, and still remains the source of protectionist argument. It would be impossible even to briefly summarize in this place this important contribution to tariff history, but the conditions under which it was written were, as I have already stated, peculiar, and many of his doctrines, if not indeed the whole basis of his reasoning, have been swept away by subsequent events. For the protection he advocated was justified chiefly by the fiscal restrictions of other nations. "The restrictive regulations," he says, "which, in foreign markets, abridge the vent of the increasing surplus of our agricultural produce, serve to beget an earnest desire that a more extensive demand for the surplus may be created at home. * * If the system of perfect liberty to industry and commerce were the prevailing system of nations, the arguments which dissuade a country in the predicament of the United States from the zealous pursuit of manufactures, would doubtless have great force. * * But the system which has been mentioned is far from characterizing the general policy of nations. The prevalent one has been regulated by an opposite spirit. The consequence of it is, that the United States are, to a certain extent, in the situation of a country precluded from foreign commerce. They can indeed, without difficulty, obtain from abroad the manufactured supplies of which they are in want; but they experience numerous and very injurious impediments to emission and vent of their own commodities. Nor is this the case in reference to a single foreign nation only. The regulations of several countries with which we have the most extensive intercourse, throw serious obstacles in the way of the principal staples of the United States. In such a position of things the United States can not exchange with Europe on equal terms; and the want of reciprocity would render them the victim of a system which should induce them to confine their views to agriculture, and refrain from manufactures. A constant and increasing necessity, on their part, for the commodities of Europe, and only a partial and occasional demand for their own, in return, could not but expose them to a state of impoverishment, compared with the opulence to which their political and natural advantages authorize them to aspire." A tariff was thus, in Hamilton's view, an instrument of compensation and retaliation rather than a purely protective measure in the sense in which protection is viewed at the present day; and it is needless to add, that Hamilton's view has little force now when the greater number of restrictions upon commerce that existed when he wrote have been removed. A like stand was taken by Jefferson in 1793, when he advocated countervailing foreign restrictions in case they could not be removed by negotiation.
—The wars in Europe tended at first toward a more liberal system of commerce, and the merchants of this country benefited largely by it. Some moderate increase in the rates of duties were from time to some granted, but no real demand for protection until the return of peace in 1801, when the old restrictive system was re-enacted by Europe. This peace was, however, of short duration, and on the resumption of hostilities the commerce of this country was so seriously involved as to create a demand for retaliation. In 1805 the importation of British manufactures was prohibited; a few years later the Berlin decrees of Napoleon and the orders in council of England practically closed the ports of Europe to neutral vessels, and American ship owners suffered greatly. As a measure of retaliation an embargo law was passed in 1807, which was followed by non-intercourse laws. The heroic remedy involved in these measures was equivalent to cutting off a leg to cure a corn, and, together with the commercial war which ensued, worked a revolution in American economy. Prevented from obtaining their usual supplies from Europe, our people began to manufacture on their own account, rendered sure of a market by the war, and also by a doubling in all tariff duties, which was done in 1812 as a war measure. But a return of peace threatened to do away with this artificial situation, in which many factors were combining to stimulate the beginnings of industry, and this the manufacturers clearly recognized. In February, 1816, Mr. Dallas, the secretary of the treasury, made a report to congress on the tariff, and the committee on commerce and manufactures laid before the house a report in which a protective policy was strongly urged. One month later Mr. Lowndes reported a bill from the committee of ways and means. Mr. Calhoun said in the course of debate that the capital formerly employed in commerce had by the war been turned into manufactures. "This, if things continue as they are, will be its direction. It will introduce a new era in our affairs, in many respects highly advantageous, and ought to be countenanced by the government. * * He then said, that war alone furnished sufficient stimulus, and perhaps too much, as it would make their growth unnaturally rapid; but that, on the return of peace, it would then be time for us to show our affection for them. But it will no doubt be said, if they are so far established, and if the situation of the country is so favorable to their growth, Where is the necessity of affording them protection? It is to put them beyond the reach of contingency. Besides, capital is not yet, and can not for some time be, adjusted to the new state of things. There is, in fact, from the operation of temporary causes, a great pressure on these establishments. They had extended so rapidly during the late war, that many, he feared, were without the requisite surplus of capital or skill to meet the present crisis. Should such prove to be the fact, it would give a backset, and might, to a great extent, endanger their ultimate success. Should the present owners be ruined, and the workmen dispersed and turned to other pursuits, the country would sustain a great loss. Such would, no doubt, be the fact to a considerable extent, if not protected." (Works, vol. ii., p. 169.) This utterance is very significant as coming from a southern man. In fact, in this instance it was the south that favored, and the north that opposed, protection; and Webster always referred to the tariff of 1816 as a South Carolina measure. (Works, vol. iii., pp. 297, 502.) Very little of the long debate that followed on the bill has been preserved; the measure passed the house by a vote of 88 to 54, and the senate by one of 25 to 7. It became a law April 27, 1816.
—This tariff not only marked the introduction of an entirely new principle, being intended as a protective tariff in fact as well as in name, but there was also a tendency to adopt, as far as possible, specific duties. There was also introduced what was called the minimum principle, which was in effect a specific duty. Thus, the duty upon cotton goods was 25 per cent., but all goods that cost less than twenty-five cents per yard were to be deemed to have cost twenty-five cents, on which the duty at 25 per cent. would amount to six and one-fourth cents, so that the minimum duty which could be paid on cottons was six and one-fourth cents per yard. Still, little was accomplished by the measure. It was intended to break the fall of the manufacturers, taking them gradually down stairs instead of throwing them out of the window. But the enormous importations even under the new rates of duties, while it filled the public treasury, produced a revulsion in the markets of a country already disturbed and impoverished by the effects of the war. A period of speculation was entered upon, and it was greatly aided and its results aggravated by the excessive issues of paper money. "The new tariff did not have the anticipated effect in aiding manufactures; on the other hand, by tempting larger investments in the hope of anticipated profits, it increased the competition, while it dilated the circle of manufacturing interests. The capital of New England went more decidedly into that branch of industry, so much so that the voice of New England began now to be decidedly on the side of protection. There is no doubt but that competition had much to do with the continued alleged distress of the manufacturers," a distress that was augmented by depressed markets and the debilitating effects of the war. The cry arose that more protection was needed, that British manufacturers were in league against American industry, and naturally ended in an organized movement for higher duties, in spite of the mass of evidence offered that they would, if granted, only produce more competition and a more complex but artificial condition of industry. The crisis of 1819 materially aided the protectionists, who may now be recognized as a party, and having an organ in Niles' "Weekly Register." "National interests and domestic manufactures" were taken up as a war cry, and societies for the promotion of domestic industry were formed in many states. These from time to time held conventions, and formulated long addresses to the people, in which the hard times, the fiendishness of the British government and of British manufacturers, and the necessity of higher duties and more protection, were set forth in terms calculated to make the blood of every American boil.
—This led up to an attempt in 1820 to pass a high tariff measure, and to do away with the credit system, which then applied to imports, and was the forerunner of the modern warehouse system. Auctions, by which it was claimed that the country was flooded with foreign goods to the detriment of domestic manufactures, were to be taxed, in order that the number and transactions might be diminished. Had the national finances permitted such a reduction in revenue from customs, the tariff measure would have prohibited the importation of iron, cottons and woolens, to such an extent had the protective sentiment grown among a very small but influential party. The main support, however, for any further modification in rates lay in the maintenance by foreign nations of their restrictions upon trade. The most important increase applied to cottons and woolens. That on woolens was in retaliation of the higher duties which England imposed upon wools, and which threatened to entirely exclude American wools from the English markets. France heavily taxed our cotton. A further grievance lay in the high duties imposed by European nations upon wheat, which was an important article of export. Discriminating duties on cotton brought from beyond the Cape of Good Hope were favored, because it was claimed those countries consumed none of our raw materials, afforded no market for our produce, employed none of our labor, and exhausted our specie. No act, however, was passed, and no change was made until 1824, when a general tariff measure became a law.
—The commercial and industrial condition had remained much depressed since the crisis of 1819, which had resulted from overtrading and reckless banking. According to Mr. Clay (speech, March, 1824), the general distress of the country was indicated "by the diminished exports of native produce; by the depressed and reduced state of our foreign navigation; by our diminished commerce; by successive unthreshed crops of grain, perishing in our barns and barn yards for the want of a market; by the alarming diminution of the circulating medium; by the numerous bankruptcies, not limited to the trading classes, but extending to all orders of society, by a universal complaint of the want of employment, and a consequent reduction of the wages of labor; by the ravenous pursuit after public situations, not for the sake of their honors and the performance of their public duties, but as a means of private subsistence; by the reluctant resort to the perilous use of paper money; by the intervention of legislation in the delicate relation between debtor and creditor; and, above all, by the low and depressed state of the value of almost every description of the whole mass of the property of the nation." He therefore thought it a fitting time to introduce a "genuine American policy," the object of which was to create a home market for the produce of American labor, and, it may be added, a policy that would directly afford relief to manufactures only. Mr. Webster made a most masterly speech in reply, in the course of which he questioned the universal distress of the country as depicted by Mr. Clay, while admitting the depression, and said, "when we talk, therefore, of protecting industry, let us remember that the first measure for that end is to secure it in its earnings; to assure it that it shall receive its own. Before we invent new modes of raising prices, let us take care that existing prices are not rendered wholly unavailable by making them capable of being paid in depreciated paper." As the presidential election was then depending, political matters were dragged into the debates, and now for the first time it was seriously questioned whether congress had the constitutional power to pass a measure purely for protection, and not as a revenue act. The debates in the house lasted more than ten weeks, and then the bill passed by only a majority of five votes, several of the members being brought into the hall on their sick couches in order that their votes might not be lost. In the senate it commanded a majority of four votes. It could not be regarded as a political measure, nor yet as a party question. Adams, Clay and Jackson, all voted for it; the southern states were dissatisfied with the result, as was also New England. But as iron, wool, hemp and sugar received protection, a combination of the western and middle states received sufficient support to pass the bill. The average rate of duties under the law of May 22, 1824, was 37 per cent.
—Those who supposed that the protectionists would be contented with their victory were much mistaken. No sooner was the tariff of 1824 gained, when an agitation for higher duties was begun, the general depression and the illiberal commercial policies of other nations being the main pretexts. A change, however, was taking place in England, which in a measure compelled the protectionists to seek new reasons for their movement. The trade between the United States and the West Indies had been the cause of much retaliatory legislation on the part of Great Britain and this country since 1815; but in spite of restrictions and prohibitions a profitable though illegal commerce was maintained by American merchants. The measures adopted by the English parliament had not only aroused our congress, but had given rise to threats of retaliation on the part of other European nations. Mr. Huskisson, then president of the English board of trade, was wise enough to recognize the necessity of a change in commercial policy, and inaugurated his system of reciprocity in 1823, which was carried into effect in the following year. This marks the first breach made in England's protective system, and logically led up to the repeal of the corn laws and the abolition of all protective duties, so that at the very time that England was throwing open her ports and removing the restrictions that were imposed on her commerce, the United States was preparing to increase the tariff and raise higher the barriers which were intended to limit her foreign trade.
—In 1825 a financial crisis occurred, which was caused by a great expansion in the paper circulation, and was precipitated by extensive failures in London. This gave the protectionists an opportunity to attribute the distress to the operation of the tariff of 1824. The importations were large; and, owing to changes in the English customs by which important advantages were gained by the English manufacturers, it was argued that the woolen industry, which had grown enormously since the peace, encouraged by the federal legislation, would be ruined unless further protection was afforded. This indicated a marked change in policy, as Prof. Sumner points out. Formerly the "American system" meant retaliation to force a foreign nation to break down its protective system; it was now an instrument to countervail and offset any foreign legislation, even in the direction of freedom and reform or advance in civilization, if that legislation favored the American consumer. (Life of Jackson, pp. 196, 198.)
—Another marked change of opinion was now seen. New England had heretofore opposed protection as hostile to her commercial interests. Manufactures were now springing up in those states, and had made such progress as to create a revulsion in public sentiment; and in 1826 a petition went up from Boston, praying for higher duties on woolens in order to protect this important industry in New England. In 1827 a bill to increase the duties on woolens passed the house, but failed to become a law. Even Buchanan, of Pennsylvania, a good protectionist, was opposed to it, "as prohibitive in its nature, and in no shape one for revenue. He had voted for the protection upon woolens in 1824, but that was no reason why he should favor the prohibition now proposed." "Politics ran very high on this bill. In fact, they quite superseded all the economic interests. * * Passion began now to enter into tariff discussion, not only on the part of the southerners, but also between the wool men and the woolen men, each of whom thought the other grasping, and that each was to be defeated in his purpose by the other." (Sumner.) The rejection of the measure, however, only served to increase the efforts of its friends. A convention of wool growers and manufacturers was held in July, 1827, at Harrisburg, and the iron, glass, wool, woolen, hemp and flax interests were represented, and asked to be recognized in any scheme of protection. The presidential election was to occur in the next year, and the tariff was made a leading issue. The sectional feeling was being strongly developed. The planting states of the south became more determined to resist a policy which they regarded as benefiting the north at their expense, and the north and east became more urgent in demanding a continuance of a system which, they alleged, had tempted their capital into investments that must inevitably be ruined, unless the protective policy was not only maintained, but extended. The secretary of the treasury, Mr. Rush, took up the question in his report, and claimed, that, as the land laws of the country protected agriculture, at least a like amount of protection should be given to industry. (See article on PUBLIC LANDS in this volume, p. 472.)
—A tariff bill was drawn up by Silas Wright, of New York, and he defended its protective features on the ground that "it was intended to turn the manufacturing capital of the country to the working up of domestic raw material, and not foreign raw materials." What followed can best be described in the words of Prof. Sumner: "Mallary tried to introduce those propositions [of the Harrisburg convention] as amendments on the floor of the house. All the interests, industrial and political, pounced upon the bill to try to amend it to their notions. New England and the Adams men wanted high duties on woolens and cottons, and low duties on wool, iron, hemp, salt and molasses (the raw material of rum). Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky wanted high taxes on iron, wool, hemp, molasses (protection to whisky), and low taxes on woolens and cottons. The southerners wanted low taxes on everything, but especially on finished goods, and if there were to be heavy taxes on these latter they did not care how heavy the taxes on the raw materials were made. * * The act which resulted from the scramble of selfish special interests was an economic monstrosity." The legislature of South Carolina protested against the bill, but it passed by a vote of 105 to 74. Mr. Wilde moved to amend the title by adding the words "and for the encouragement of domestic manufactures," a motion that was opposed by Mr. Randolph, because he said domestic manufactures were those carried on in the families of farmers, and "this bill was to rob and plunder one-half of the Union for the benefit of the residue." Mr. Drayton also moved to change the title so that it might read "in order to increase the profits of certain manufactures." The tariff of 1828 become known as the "tariff of abominations." It was the immediate cause of the nullification movement. (See NULLIFICATION.)
—In her protest against the tariff law of 1828 South Carolina spoke of it as "in violation of state rights, and a usurpation by congress of powers not granted to it by the constitution; that the power to encourage domestic industry is inconsistent with the idea of any other than a consolidated government; that the power to protect manufactures is nowhere granted to congress, but, on the other hand, is reserved to the states; that, if it had the power, yet a tariff grossly unequal and oppressive is such an abuse of that power as is incompatible with a free government; that the interests of South Carolina are agricultural, and to cut off her foreign market, and confine her products to an inadequate home market, is to reduce her to poverty. For these and other reasons the state protests against the tariff as unconstitutional, oppressive and unjust." North Carolina also protested against the law, and Alabama and Georgia denied the power of congress to lay duties for protection. In 1829 the feeling in the southern states was very strong against the tariff, and threats of nullification and secession were freely made. In 1830 the tariff was more strictly enforced in spite of a movement looking to reductions in the rates of duties, and in the following year a free trade convention was convened at Philadelphia, and the protectionists met in New York. Addresses to congress were issued by each faction, and the next session of congress was full of the tariff. The president had recommended a revision in his message, and the discontent of the south became more and more apparent. Two bills were prepared by the committee of ways and means, and a third was presented by the committee on manufactures; the secretary of the treasury had his bill, and the senate compiled the fifth measure. The result was the passage of a bill which maintained all of the protective features of the tariff of 1828 while reducing or abolishing many of the revenue taxes. The tax on iron was reduced, that on cottons was unchanged, and that on woolens was increased, while some of the raw wools were made free of duty. This measure was passed on July 14, 1832, in November a convention in South Carolina declared the acts of 1828 and 1832 null and void in that state. The president issued his proclamation against nullification, and in his annual message advocated as early a reduction of duties to the revenue standard as a just regard to the faith of the government, and to the preservation of the large capital invested in establishments of domestic industry, might permit. In January, 1833, a bill to enforce the revenue laws was reported to congress. The state legislatures took a part in the controversy. Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina condemned the tariff as unconstitutional, while New Hampshire passed resolutions in favor of reducing the tariff to the revenue standard. Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania thought that the tariff ought not to be reduced. In February Mr. Clay introduced a measure that was intended as a substitute for all tariff bills then pending, and looked toward a gradual reduction in duties: of all duties which were over 20 per cent. by the act of 1832, one-tenth of the excess over 20 per cent. was to be struck off after September, 1835, and one-tenth each alternate year thereafter until 1841. As first drawn the preamble stated that, after March, 1840, all duties should be equal, "and solely for the purpose and with the intent of providing such revenue as may be necessary to an economical expenditure by the government, without regard to the protection or encouragement of any branch of domestic industry whatever." The enforcing and tariff acts were carried through together. This was the famous "compromise" tariff, and was followed by a repeal on the part of South Carolina of the nullification law. "This tariff," says Sumner, in his "History of American Currency," "was deceptive and complicated. It had no principle of economic science at its root—neither protection, nor free trade. It was patched up as a concession, although it really made very little, and its provisions were so intricate and contradictory that it produced little revenue. Specific duties were unaffected by it, and these included books, paper, glass and sugar. It did not run its course without important modifications in favor of protection, for it could not bind future congresses, and the doctrine of the horizontal rate of 20 per cent.—a doctrine which had no scientific basis—produced an increase on many articles." Elsewhere the same writer speaks of it as a "pure political makeshift," in which the public and private interests had no consideration." (Mr. Benton, in his "Thirty Years in the United States Senate," has several chapters on this measure, which should be consulted.)
—The four years after 1833 were marked by great speculation, which was chiefly directed toward schemes of internal improvement, and culminated in the crisis of 1837. The depression that naturally followed was made use of by protectionists, and hard times, produced by low duties and insufficient protection, was again a prominent cry. In spite of the fact that in 1836 the government was in a position to distribute a large surplus revenue among the states, in 1838 it stood in need of a larger income. The compromise bill had guaranteed that after 1842 the highest duty levied should not exceed 20 per cent. except in case of war, and in order to maintain this guarantee a 20 per cent. duty was levied upon many new commodities, but without producing the requisite increase of revenue. In 1841 a home league was formed, the purpose of which was to agitate for high duties, and the president's message gave an opportunity for a general discussion of the subject in congress. A provisional tariff bill, by which the operations of the existing tariff were to be continued until August, 1842, passed the house, but in the senate was amended by a proviso postponing the distribution of the proceeds of the public lands until the same date. The president vetoed it, on the ground that it abrogated the provisions of the "compromise act," and for other reasons. Congress did not pass the measure over the president's veto, but incorporated the same proviso respecting distribution into a general tariff law, which suffered the same fate. The president objected to it, first, on the ground that the bill united two subjects which, so far from having any affinity to one another, were wholly incongruous in their character, as it was both a revenue and an appropriation bill; secondly the treasury being in a state of extreme embarrassment, the bill proposed to give away a fruitful source of revenue, a proceeding which he regarded as being highly impolitic, if not unconstitutional; and thirdly, because it was also in violation of what was intended to be inviolable as a compromise in relation to the tariff system. A general tariff act was passed without the obnoxious clause, and was a return to protection. The average rate of duty levied upon dutiable imports was about 33 per cent., and the principle of "home valuations," which had been adopted in the compromise tariff, was dropped. In 1844 Mr. Polk became president, and, as a southern man, it was expected that he would advocate a policy other than protective as a basis for tariff revision.
—It will now be convenient to note some of the changes in circumstances that had occurred since 1825. Up to that time, as I have already said, the main object of the tariff was to countervail the restrictive commercial policy of other nations. It was an instrument for retaliation, by which it was hoped that concessions could be wrung from those countries with which we might have commercial relations. "To all the powers that wish 'free trade,' we say, Let free trade be; to all that will restrict us, we say, Let restriction be." So wrote that ardent protectionist, Niles, in 1826. Now, however, when England was preparing to mitigate the many limitations and restrictions that she had imposed upon her foreign commerce, it was claimed that her action would prove of injury to American interests, industrial and commercial, and that we must increase our restrictions in order that these interests might not suffer, but be amply protected. When Great Britain reduced the tariff on wools, a commodity that congress had more highly taxed in 1824, Mr. Everett said, "Unless the American people think it just and fair that the laws passed by the American congress for the protection of American industry should be repealed by the British parliament, and that for the purpose of securing the supply of our market to the British manufacturer to the end of time, it was the duty of congress to counteract this movement," and again, "Believing, of course, that there is no wish to single it out (the manufacture of woolens) for unfriendly legislation at home, I can not sit still, and see the gigantic arm of the British government stretched out across the Atlantic, avowedly to crush it." In 1832 the doctrine that a high tariff meant low prices was prominently advanced, and somewhat later the balance of trade theory, the excess of imports over exports, causing a drain of specie to the manifest impoverishment of the country, was harped upon. But all through this period the expediency and necessity of protecting "infant industries" were constantly depended upon by the defenders of the "American policy," and as a corollary to this a home market for the agricultural productions of the country, now excluded from foreign markets, was to be created and maintained. In 1839 the agitation against the corn laws was begun in England, and resulted in their repeal in 1846. In 1849 another important step was taken, in the repeal of the navigation laws. Meanwhile a change was occurring in the complexion of the tariff debates in this country. "In the presidential campaign of 1840, protection was advocated, I believe for the first time, on the ground that American labor should be protected from the competition of less highly paid foreign labor. The pauper-labor argument appeared full-fledged in the tariff debates of 1842; and since that time it has remained the chief consideration impressed on the popular mind in connection with the tariff." (Taussig.)
—Mr. Polk, in his inaugural address, was conservative. "I have heretofore declared to my fellow-citizens, that in my judgment it is the duty of the government to extend, as far as may be practicable to do so, by its revenue laws, and all other means within its power, fair and just protection to all the great interests of the whole Union, embracing agriculture, manufactures, the mechanic arts, commerce and navigation. I have also declared my opinion to be in favor of a tariff for revenue; and that, in adjusting the details of such a tariff, I have sanctioned such moderate discriminating duties as would produce the amount of revenue needed, and, at the same time, afford reasonable incidental protection to our home industry; and that I was opposed to a tariff for protection merely, and not for revenue." While Mr. Polk thus confined himself to general phrases, his secretary of the treasury, Mr. Robert J. Walker, prepared a report in which his treatment of the tariff question deserves to be ranked with Hamilton's famous report on manufactures. It stamped Mr. Walker as an economist and practical financier of the highest order, and his utterances mark an important stage of tariff legislation in this country. He laid down the following general principles as a basis for revising the revenue laws: 1, that no more money should be collected than is necessary for the wants of the government, economically administered; 2, that no duty be imposed on any article above the lowest rate which will yield the largest amount of revenue; 3, that below such rate discrimination may be made, descending in the scale of duties, or, for imperative reasons, the article may be placed in the list of those free from all duty; 4, that the maximum revenue duty should be imposed on luxuries; 5, that all minimums and all specific duties should be abolished, and ad valorem duties substituted in their place, care being taken to guard against fraudulent invoices and undervaluation, and to assess the duty upon the actual market value; 6, that the duty should be so imposed as to operate as equally as possible throughout the Union, discriminating neither for nor against any class or section.
—In accordance with Mr. Walker's views, the tariff of 1846 was framed. He divided his classification into nine schedules, each of which had its own rate of duty (comprising many articles), running from 100 per cent. (distilled spirits and brandy), down to 5 per cent. (the raw materials of manufacture). This number of schedules was in the bill altered to eight, and the highest duty levied was 75 per cent. ad valorem. The bill also allowed the warehousing privilege for the first time. (See WAREHOUSE SYSTEM.) After a general debate the measure passed the house by a vote of 114 to 95, but was nearly killed in the senate, being passed only by the casting vote of the president of the senate. The average rate of duty under this act was 25 per cent. ad valorem, and it produced an average annual revenue of $46,000,000, as against one of $26,000,000 under the tariff of 1842.
—Of the consequences of this "revenue tariff of 1846," Prof. Sumner says: "The period from 1846 to 1860 was our period of comparative free trade. The sub-treasury act of 1848 removed subjects of currency and banking from national legislation. Thus these two topics were for a time laid aside. For an industrial history of the United States, no period presents greater interest than this. It was a period of very great and very solid prosperity. The tariff was bad and vexatious in many ways, if we regard it from the standpoint either of free trade or revenue tariff, but its rates were low and its effects limited. It was called 'a revenue tariff with incidental protection.' The manufactures which, it had been said, would perish, did not perish, and did not gain sudden and exorbitant profits. They made steady and genuine progress. The repeal of the English corn laws in 1846 opened a large market for American agricultural products, and took away the old argument which Niles and Carey had used with such force, that England wanted other countries to have free trade, but would not take their products. The effect on both countries was most happy. It seemed as if the old system was gone forever, and that these two great nations, with free industry and free trade, were to pour increased wealth upon each other. The fierce dogmatism of protection and its deeply rooted prejudices seemed to have undergone a fatal blow. Our shipping rapidly increased. Our cotton crop grew larger and larger. The discovery of gold in California added mightily to the expansion of prosperity. The states, indeed, repeated our old currency follies, and the panic of 1857 resulted, but it was only a stumble in a career of headlong prosperity. We recovered from it in a twelve-month. Slavery agitation marked this period politically, and if people look back to it now they think most of that; but industrially and economically, and I will add also, in the administration of the government, the period from the Mexican to the civil war is our golden age, if we have any. As far as the balance of trade is concerned, it never was more regular and equal than in this period." (Lectures on Protection, p. 54.)
—The revenue collected under this tariff was so large, that, in 1857, it became necessary to reduce it, as the circulating medium of the country was being looked up in the treasury. An attempt was made to pass a protective tariff, but it was defeated. The secretary of the treasury had recommended that raw materials should be made free of duty, and also salt, as a necessity for the western packer. The eastern manufacturers favored this measure, and wool was the most difficult commodity to rate, as the west wished it made dutiable and protected. The tariff of 1857 was denounced as the result of a "fraudulent combination of those who favored the protection of hemp, sugar, iron and the woolen manufactures of Massachusetts. It was a blow at the wool grower." By this act the average duty was lowered to about 20 per cent. ad valorem.
—The crisis of 1857 was followed by deficits in the government finances, and it became necessary to revise the tariff. In 1861 a measure known as the "Morrill tariff" was passed, which was a decided step toward a protective measure, but it remained in force only a few months. The war created necessities which compelled the government to seek every possible source of revenue, and while the dilatory and tentative tax methods applied in the first years of the war only complicated matters, and forced the government to have recourse to that most dangerous of financial expedients, an irredeemable paper currency, the tax privilege was exercised as far as it could be before the end of the war. In these years the tariff was carried from a low and revenue rate of duty to one of extreme protection—not for the sake of protection, but in order to obtain revenue. An internal revenue system that was all-pervading was imposed, and it was to counteract the high taxes levied under this system that many of the tariff duties were carried to such an excessive point. Measure after measure raising duties was adopted between the years 1861 and 1866, and it was inevitable that protective duties should creep in. Settled policy there was none, and while revenue was always the plea for action, the duties imposed often defeated that plea, by becoming prohibitive. Everything was taxed, and, under customs and excise laws, commodities might be taxed many times. On the return of peace the important changes made applied chiefly to the internal revenue system, and the perpetual tinkering of the tariff had served to bring out in bold relief the many protective features it contained. "With the termination of the war," writes Mr. David A. Wells when special commissioner of the revenues, "and with accruing receipts from the tariff in excess of the actual requirements of the treasury, the popular tendency, as expressed by legislation, accomplished or projected, has been to reverse the order of importance of these two principles, and to make the idea of revenue subordinate to protection rather than protection subordinate to revenue. And in carrying out, furthermore, the idea of protection, but one rule for guidance would appear to have been adopted for legislation, viz., the assumption that whatever rate of duty could be shown to be for the advantage of any private interest, the same would prove equally advantageous to the interests of the whole country. The result has been a tariff based upon small issues rather than upon any great national principle; a tariff which is unjust and unequal; which needlessly enhances prices; which takes far more indirectly from the people than is received into the treasury; which renders an exchange of domestic for foreign commodities nearly impossible; which necessitates the continual exportation of obligations of national indebtedness and of the precious metals; and which, while professing to protect American industry, really, in many cases, discriminates against it. * * One of the first things that an analysis [of the existing tariff] will show is, that every interest that has been strong enough or sufficiently persistent to secure efficient representation at Washington, has received a full measure of attention, while every other interest that has not had sufficient strength behind it to prompt to action has been imperfectly treated, or entirely neglected."
—The effect of the commissioner's recommendations was to lead up to a general debate on taxation in 1870. A bill which originally proposed to touch only internal duties, was gradually enlarged until it covered not only excise, but also customs duties. Protection had now become a cardinal principle of the republican party, the party in power, and most of the protective features of the tariff were retained under the new measure, which became a law July 14, 1870, and whatever reductions were made applied to commodities in common use, like tea, coffee, sugar, etc., or luxuries, like wines, spirits, brandy, etc. The reduction in revenue by these changes was estimated to be about $29,000,000, and at the same time internal taxes to the amount of $55,000,000 were removed. The real burden of the tariff was hardly lightened, as the high duties on the necessaries of life remained. In 1871 an attempt was made to repeal the duty on coal, but it failed. The question of protection, however, came up, and to prevent further discussion the duties were removed from tea and coffee (1872), and in the same year a general tariff was passed, which still left the protective duties almost unchanged; admitting large classes of manufactures to a reduction of 10 per cent. without designating specifically the articles to which the reduction should apply. Between March 1, 1861, and March 4, 1873, fourteen principal statutes relating to classification and rates, besides twenty other acts or resolutions modifying tariff acts, had been passed, and parts of each were in force. To this must be added the laws passed prior to 1861, and under which customs were still collected. This created great doubt as to what was the law, and the uncertainty gave much trouble to the government, and involved the importers in costly litigation and imposed upon them vexatious delays. "Under these various enactments, questions relating to the proper assessment of duties constantly arise. There is often a direct conflict between different statutes, and occasionally between two or more provisions of the same statute, while single provisions are frequently held to embrace different meanings. These differences can be settled only by arbitrary interpretations or by adjudications in court. * * The number of statutory appeals to the secretary of the treasury on tariff questions during the last fiscal year (1873) was 4,731, exclusive of miscellaneous cases or applications for relief, numbering 5,065."
—The financial crisis of 1873 naturally had some influence upon the revenues of the government, and in 1874 the cry was raised that the government finances were embarrassed through too large reduction in taxes. This allowed the protectionists an opportunity to carry a measure through congress restoring the 10 per cent. duties upon commodities which had been taken off in 1872, and also to increase by one-fourth the duties on sugar. While these movements precluded all idea of revising the tariff so as to return to a revenue standard of duties, yet great dissatisfaction was expressed with the operation of the law. I have just noted one of the difficulties connected with its administration, that of being needlessly complex. Other objections to it consisted in the great stimulus it gave to smuggling and undervaluation of imports, practices which even the honest importer was forced, in self-defense, to adopt. Moreover, the law became each year more and more complicated. It consisted, first, of the act of congress; second, of the decisions of the treasury officials interpreting the law, and these decisions had the force of law and were unchangeable; and, finally, of the decisions of the courts. The expediency, and even the necessity, of a revision, now became more and more urgent. "The revised tariff," writes the secretary in 1875, "contains thirteen schedules, embracing upward of 1,500 dutiable articles which are either distinctly specified or included in general or special classifications. To these must be added nearly 1,000 articles not enumerated, but which under the general provisions of two sections of the law, would be assigned a place as dutiable either by virtue of similitude to some enumerated article, or as articles, manufactured or unmanufactured, not otherwise provided for, making over 2,500 in all. The free list contains an enumeration of over 600 articles, thus constituting a total aggregate of more than 3,000 articles embraced by the tariff either as dutiable or free. Of the articles subject to duty, and either named in, or subject to, specific classification by schedule, 823 pay ad valorem rates varying from 10 to 75 per cent.; 541 pay specific duties, according to quantity or weight; and 160 pay compound, or both specific and ad valorem, rates."
—Not only was a sentiment against the tariff being created on account of its many unreasonable and exorbitant features, but a like feeling was engendered by a desire to reduce war taxation to the limits that an economical administration of the government required. The largest sum collected from customs in any one year was in 1872, when it had attained the amount of $216,370,286. During the years of depression that followed the crisis of 1873 the receipts from this source steadily dwindled, reaching their lowest point in 1878, when they were only $130,170,680. An improvement then became manifest, and in the following years the increase was enormous, giving, in connection with other sources of revenue, a revenue largely in excess of the wants of the government. In 1880 this surplus revenue was nearly $66,000,000; in 1881, more than $100,000,000; and in 1882, $146,000,000. An examination of the annual appropriation bills for these years will show that expenditure kept pace with revenue. While these bills do not take into account the permanent appropriations—providing for the debt, for the collection of customs, etc.—yet, as they are prepared by the executive departments of the government, they give a better idea of the general tendencies of governmental expenditure than would the amounts actually expended. The total amounts appropriated by these bills vary from year to year, but they vary in a general way with the revenue of the government—increasing when the revenue increases, and decreasing when it becomes less. The ten years that followed 1873 gave a proof of this. The public income had hardly begun to be affected by the crash of 1873 when the appropriations for 1874 were framed; but from that year until 1878 there was a steady decrease. Beginning with the bill for 1881, when the effects of the revival of trade and industry in 1879 were beginning to be felt, the appropriations greatly increased, and culminated in the notorious bill for 1883, which included two of the most notorious legislative swindles that could be perpetrated—the river and harbor bill, and the arrears of pensions act. As the surplus revenue in the treasury increased, the demands upon it became greater, and the greater the surplus the more questionable became the schemes for spending it. The accumulation of such a balance was a source of danger, and a constant temptation to jobbers and swindlers who originate and live upon superfluous public expenditure.
—It was now seen that some changes in the tariff would become necessary, not only for the purpose of simplifying its provisions, but also as a means of removing tax burdens from the people. The old question of revenue or protective taxation was revived, and it became manifest that the battle was to be fought on that line. While all right-minded persons saw that taxes should be reduced, when it came to a discussion of methods, a hopeless disagreement arose. Those who favored protection were desirous of abolishing all internal taxes in order that the tariff might remain untouched. The other side wished to reduce the tariff, and take from it the many extravagant protective features. Several measures of tariff reform were defeated in these years, and no final or decisive action was taken until 1882, when congress turned the subject over to a commission of nine members taken from civil life, for consideration. It was evident that here was an excellent opportunity offered for a satisfactory solution of the question. There was a general demand for reduced duties; even protectionists were willing to submit to such a reduction. The presidential campaign of 1880 had been fought on the issue of the tariff, but in that blind and unreasonable way that settled nothing, though awakening a spirit of inquiry. This had given strength to many movements in favor of revenue reform, especially in the western states, and it was in answer to this feeling, which was developing into a political force, that the commission measure was adopted, because it was believed that such a plan would produce the best and speediest results. The president, who had the appointment of the members of the commission, nullified whatever of benefit might be expected of it, for he took men who were directly interested in the maintenance of high protection. Of the nine men chosen there was not one who could pretend to be a student of economic principles, not one who could have explained the incidence of a tax. The influence of the lobby in framing tariff legislation had become notorious, but in this commission the lobby influence was maintained, and allowed even better opportunities for carrying its point than it enjoyed before. The commission traveled over a part of the country taking testimony, and made its report to congress. It was afterward developed that the schedules of duties presented with the report had been prepared by men who were themselves manufacturers and therefore interested in keeping intact protection. The report, while promising a reduction in duties, contained some of the most barefaced attempts to double and triple duties; while making a pretense to revise and reform the tariff, it was but a juggle and a sham. The members of the commission (with one honorable exception, Mr. McMahon, whose technical knowledge of the operation of the then existing tariff was of great service) were wholly unfitted for the work intrusted to them, and as a consequence the results of their labors were of little value. One year had thus been wasted.
—Nor were the events that followed the presentation of this report calculated to increase the expectation that the subject of revenue reform would be adequately handled by congress. The senate, rejecting the commission schedules, prepared a bill of its own; and the house also framed a new bill for its own consideration. The whole session of 1882-3 was given over to a discussion of these various measures, schedule by schedule, and line by line. Every possible difference of opinion was developed in these debates; but, as the high tariff party was in the majority, little toward a reduction of duties could be accomplished. A large number of ad valorem duties were made specific, though no change in the actual amount of tax was thus brought about. Owing to its being a short session, the house was unable to complete the consideration of its own bill, and took up that of the senate. Some differences being developed, they were referred to a conference committee, in which the high protectionists had a large majority. Here many changes were made, some of which had been voted down in both houses, and the resulting hybrid measure became a law one day before the session closed, no time being given for an examination of the recommendations of the conference committee. The law, however, satisfied no one, and there is every likelihood that the whole tariff will be again revised at no late day.
—Meagre as this outline is, it is enough to show that the United States has never had a tariff that was at all suited to its industrial and commercial interests since the first revenue tariff imposed before 1826. And as the average rate of the tariff has increased it has become more and more injurious to the interests involved, as no high tariff can be applied to such various conditions as are to be found in this country without doing as much mischief to one part as good to another.
—AUTHORITIES. Prof. Wm. G. Sumner's Lectures on the History of Protection, Life of Andrew Jackson and History of American Currency. The writings of Henry C. Carey and H. C. Baird. There is no good history of the finances of the country in the English language. The pretentious work of A. S. Bolles is unsatisfactory, and the facts are much distorted. Niles' Weekly Register contains much valuable material, and the writings of Condy Raquet, now quite scarce, should be carefully read. The public documents contain many exceedingly valuable reports on the tariff, and the proceedings of some early conventions (1819, 1831, etc.) throw much light upon the effects of tariff legislation. Mr. David A. Wells has contributed much to a proper understanding of the last war tariff, and stands well to the front in the great number of writers who have given attention to this subject. A special Report on Customs-Tariff Legislation was prepared by the Bureau of Statistics in 1873, and the provisions of the laws are fully given, as also in Heyl's and Williams' two Manuals.
WORTHINGTON C. FORD.