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THE year 1846 is remarkable as the commencement of a new era in the commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain, as well as between the latter nation and the countries of Europe generally. The liberal policy adopted in Great Britain, by the government which came into power in 1842, could not but produce its results sooner or later; and in the active state of the export trade of the United States we recognize not only the legitimate consequences of that policy, but the confirmation of the soundness of free trade principles. Up to 1842, the revenues of Great Britain were derived from taxes on articles of consumption, both imported and of domestic growth. Protective theories having preponderated in the imperial councils, taxes were laid as high as possible. In many cases they were even prohibitory, and in all oppressive. The result was, that for nearly ten years, ending with 1842, the expenditures could not be kept within the revenue. Year after year a deficit presented itself which baffled the skill of the most sagacious Chancellors. Sir Francis Baring, in 1840, proposed and obtained an increase of 5 per cent. on all customs duties-an increase, the proceeds of which it was estimated would meet the deficit. The tax was levied and collected, but the incurable "deficit" seemed rather increased than otherwise-involving a change of ministry. The lesson was not lost on the new minister. He saw clearly enough, that to make taxes yield a sufficiency, the taxed goods must be consumed; and that, if the impositions on trade were so great, and restrictions upon industry so onerous, as to incapacitate the people from consuming, the revenue must of necessity decline. The experiment of the extra 5 per ct. customs proved this conclusively. The increased burden diminished consumption; hence, to recover the deficit, he must undo what had been done theretofore. The income tax being first laid, he began to ameliorate duties; prohibitions upon food were removed; and taxes the most onerous upon trade were relinquished, without respect to protection. With every removal industry received a new impulse; the ability of the masses of the people to consume was evidently increased, and enhanced importations at advanced prices gave indication of the soundness of the minister's views. Year after year the demand for all raw materials of manufactures, tropical fruits, live animals and provisions, increased, as indicated in the quantities taken for consumption, and the revenues of the government recovered the former deficit independently of the direct tax. The process of improvement under diminished protection was so

* Annual Report on the Commerce and Navigation of the United States.

clearly indicated as the result of free trade, that the minister himself became a thorough convert, and openly and explicitly renounced protection upon food as a principle of government.

Under the financial head of this number, will be found some tables, compiled from official sources, showing the interesting fact of this enhanced consumption of all articles. The increase, for nine months of 1846 over former years, amounts to 25 per cent., and embraces as well tropical productions as imported animal food; also, raw materials and excisable articles of British production-as bricks, paper, malt, &c.; the whole showing a universal increase of industry, and in the enjoyment of comforts and necessaries by the laboring many. On eight articles, viz.: provisions, butter, cheese, sugar, cocoa, coffee, tea, and tobacco-the increase was gradual, from 446,215,561 lbs. in, 1842, to 608,553,257 lbs. in 1846. The consumption of food must naturally be expected to have increased as well as that of other articles; and the foreign demand for food, which has been so visible in the United States' markets, is the evidence of that increased consumption, and not merely of a short crop, as has been supposed. There are no statistical tables which will show the exact quantity of bread-stuffs consumed in England; but the corn laws require to be reported at the 150 principal towns in the United Kingdom, the quantity of each kind of grain sold, weekly, and the price. The average prices reported at these sales, regulate the duty under the sliding-scale. If, now, we compare the quantities of British grains sold at those markets, for a period of this year, with the quantity sold for a like period of a previous year, a good indication of the crop is arrived at. For this purpose we take the year 1844, because that was a year of considerable import, and also of low prices; and we take the eight weeks, ending with Nov. 21st, in each year. The results are as follows:



Sold. Entered. Total. Price.


Sold. Eatered. Total. Price.

B. d.

.1.046.818.. 63.477..1.110.295..45 10....1.120.812..120.913..1.371.939..59 8 2.... 581.013..125.326.. 834.120..42 11 3.... 228.570..126.099.. 482,473..25 10

s. d.

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263.047.. 17.196..


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Total 8 weeks...1.985.205..491,664.-2.476.879..


There has been a quantity equal to 349,767 qrs. more British grain sold in 150 British towns than in the same period of 1844; there has also been an increased quantity entered for consumption, and yet the prices are 33 per cent higher; that is, the average of the six grains, Nov. 21, 1844, was 34s. 9d.; and Nov. 21, 1846, 47s. 8d. If a larger quantity brought this increased money price, the conclusion is inevitable that it is increased demand and not deficient supply, that produces it. Under the approximate free trade movement of the British government, her people obtain a greater share of necessaries and comforts than ever, although they have come to depend on foreign nations for a portion of their food.

The influence of thirty years of peace has broken down the theory of "protection," which may be called the spirit of international warfare. It was the legitimate progeny of that obsolete "balance of power" theory, which taught that it was the duty of one nation, not only to increase its own strength, but to weaken and injure another, by all means in its power. When Lord Bacon announced that "Nobody can be healthful without exercise-neither natural body nor politic; and certainly to a kingdom or estate a just and honorable war is the true exercise," he laid

down the fundamental principle of the protective theory; and, in support of it, he gave a rule for carrying it out, as follows:

"First, for their neighbors there can no general rule be given save one, which ever holdeth; which is, that princes do keep due sentinel, that none of the neighbors do overgrow so, (by increase of territory, by embracing trade, or the like,) as they become more able to annoy," &c,

Moloch himself, in grand council, could not have devised a more infallible mode of debasing the human race, stifling civilization, and paralyzing industry, than is here set forth. It is obvious that commercial restrictions are but preliminary acts of hostility, always looking to the more advantageous enjoyment of the "healthy exercise" recommended by this benevolent old gentleman, and in so far they perpetuate in time of peace the commercial evils incident upon war. To prevent the growth of the trade of other countries, and to promote that of their own, have ever been the objects of statesmen looking to strength in time of war; and whenever the restrictions, imposed for these objects, have borne too heavily upon any class of their own citizens, they have been sugared over with the idea of "protection to home industry," and sought to be made palatable by appeals to national prejudices. These arts have been successful in modern times, in prolonging the existence of the absurd theory. General intelligence is now, however, so far advanced, that the public cannot be made to believe that the destruction of, or injury to the trade of another nation can be beneficial to its rival. Any considerable revulsion in trade or diminution in the production of necessaries, which manifests itself in one country, is now looked upon as a calamity to all; a shock given to commercial credit in one quarter vibrates through all channels of intercourse, until regions the most remote manifest its influence. Above all, war has, through the ascendency of the commercial interests, come to be regarded as the greatest of calamities, instead of a "healthful exercise," which was so necessary, according to the noble reasoner alluded to, if "just and honorable." As, however, there can be no war without two parties, the unjust and dishonorable cause of one party must be as " necessary" to the existence of a health-promoting war, as the just and honorable cause of the other. With this progress of public opinion in relation to the policy of wars, resulting from the increasing influence of commerce and the decline of that of politicians, the protective theory came to rest for its support upon its supposed magical powers of making men more industrious and enterprising, and their industry more productive, than they would be without it.

In 1830, the quantity of coal mined in the United States was 180,000 tons. In 1845 it was 2,500,000 tons, and the import 87,000 tons, paying a duty of $175 per ton, and $2 75 freight from Nova Scotia. An acre of Pennsylvania coal yields 45,000 tons; consequently, it requires 60 acres per ann. to supply the demand. Party leaders tell us, however, that without a duty, or with a low duty, that 60 acres per annum will be imported from abroad, at a rate less than it can be mined for; and that the miners will "abandon the business," the coal fields of Pennsylvania become valueless, and great numbers of persons be thrown out of employ. Where the coal is to come from, or how such quantities can be transported at any price, no one vouchsafes to explain. Where would the tonnage come from? Who would build it? Who would navigate it? and at what rate of freight? Nevertheless, numbers say that it is so; that is, they say so "politically-speaking," which may be taken in a Pickwickian sense-inasmuch as that, commercially speaking, and in a practical sense, the converse appears to be true. The miners are now demanding and receiving, under the new tariff, which charges 30 per cent. duty, one dollar per ton more than they got for it last year under the old tariff, which charged $1 75

per ton, and foreign coal is $1 00 cheaper. This great difference between common sense commercially, and misty theories politically, manifests itself daily more distinctly in all that relates to international affairs. In Great Britain the whole system of protection has been cast off and abandoned. During more than 150 years Great Britain pursued corn-law protection, to enhance the rents and profits of the landed-proprietors, who make the laws, at the expense of those who consume food. To popularize these enactments it has been asserted that they would make England independent of foreign nations for food; as if any man can be independent of his fellows, or any nation of its neighbors.

This catch-word of "independence," is ever successful with the unthinking many, because it flatters national prejudice, and keeps alive those antipathies engendered by former hostilities, which are ready to burst forth in renewed vigor on any new occasion that may offer. For this reason England, until 1828, pursued a strictly prohibitory policy in relation to the introduction of foreign food, as well as manufactures. The operation of the law was supposed to be that, with a strict monopoly of the "home-market," prices would range at a level fixed by home-competition, and therefore it would always be so high as to yield a profit to the farmer; that the encouragement thus given to agriculturists would induce a free outlay of capital, and that every possible acre would be pressed into cultivation, yielding its produce for the supply of the markets; that although the food thus produced might be dear, that dearness would stimulate production so as to make England "independent of foreign nations for food." The opponents of this theory contended that the high prices, ensured to agriculturists, tended rather to relax that successful enterprise which is ever attendant upon necessity; that the enormous tax imposed upon consumers of food for the benefit of its producers, diminished the comforts of laborers, paralyzed trade, and retarded the national prosperity; that the great commercial and industrial rivalry which exists between nations in modern times, eminently demands the exercise of that invention, which is proverbially the daughter of necessity; that the constant activity of all the faculties is indispensable to secure success; and whenever the government, throwing its shield around any occupation, protects it against competition, it removes the necessity for exertion, deadens the faculties, and destroys invention. Notwithstanding a long persistance in the former course, the wants of England have exceeded her means, and she has cast aside protection, frankly acknowledging its inutility, nay hurtfulness, and her future dependance upon foreign nations for food, The result is matter of history, and the causes that led to it are self-evident; so much so, that those who in this country still cling politically to that theory, as applied to this country, which England has tested and abandoned, as the policy of the British Empire, acknowledge the fallacy of supposing that protection can enhance production. As a remarkable instance of this, we quote from the New-York Courier, one of the most practical and able of the federal press, the opening paragraph of its leading article of Dec. 1st:

"The final overthrow of the corn law policy in England is turning attention in that country to such improvements in agriculture, as will enable the cultivator to indemnify himself by larger crops at lower prices for the higher prices which it was the design, and partially the result, of the corn laws to secure to him.

"What is thus effected in England by this change of policy, should be in some degree brought about by the same cause in our own country, in order that we may be in a position to avail ourselves of the market which is thus newly opened.

"The difference of motive to such improvements for the two countries is indeed great-nothing less than, in one case, the difference between raising what is necessary to the maintenance of life, and in the other, raising for sale a larger or smaller surplus over consumption; but in both cases there is motive enough."


We have italicised a few lines which embrace the principle of protection in its length and breadth, and regard the sentence as an involuntary homage to the immutability of sound principles. The few lines we have quoted are singularly comprehensive in their meaning. They admit that up to this time the influence of protection has been to induce the production of small crops only to sell at high prices; that is, to demand from consumers a great deal of money for small quantities of food. This is for the interest of the ducer of food; and the intervention of government was called for, to prevent consumers from getting more for less money from abroad. The moment the government intervention is abandoned, the producer is obliged to arouse himself and seek to retain the trade, by giving more for less money than even foreigners can afford. A natural consequence is, that the people of England obtain more enjoyments. It follows necessarily that where small quantities are produced, although the proprietor may, by charging high prices, get as much money as for a larger quantity at low prices, yet the laborers, and all engaged in handling and transportation, get much less; and this is one of the greatest evils of the protective system, viz., that it enhances the profits of capital, and diminishes both the employment of the poor and the amount of their earnings. This is a result precisely the reverse of what has been alleged to be the effect of protection; but a little reflection will convince every one, nevertheless, that such is the case. The above extract states truly, that the cultivator will seek to "indemnify himself by larger crops." This is true in every species of production. The unprotected cultivator and manufacturer must produce larger quantities. If the English farmers raise two thousand bushels where they now produce fifteen hundred, and sell it for the same money, they must, out of the amount they receive, pay to laborers all the expense of harvesting, handling, sacking, transporting, &c., &c., the extra. five hundred bushels. There will be one-third more work in such case for laborers than now. The greater demand for laborers will produce its usual result in advancing their wages, and their general condition will be vastly improved at the expense of the overgrown profits of a landed aristocracy. The same reasoning applies to all manufactures in this country, where the tendency of the protective system has been to produce small quantities at high prices. To manufacture large quantities, at low prices, involves a greater demand for raw material, at enhanced rates, more employment to operatives, and, as a consequence, higher wages, and an improved condition, all which only tends to modify the dividends of capital. As an illustration of the operation of the tariff, we will take from the printed reports of eight leading Lowell factories the number of yards of cotton cloth made per week, the number of pounds cotton consumed, and the number of hands employed, January 1, 1842, and January 1, 1846, as follows:

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From this return it appears that the weight of cloth has been reduced from 3.25 yards per lb. of cotton, to 3.14 yards per lb., and the number of hands required to produce 1,499,000 yards in 1846, is 567 less than was required to make 1,340,000 in 1842. The saving effected by the diminution of the amount paid for labor, is $3,695 per week, or $192,140 per annum. They make 159,000 yards more cloth per week, which, at 8 cents, is worth $624,000 per annum less the increased quantity of cotton, which is worth $312,000. They receive, therefore, $312,000 net more for cloth, and pay

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