The Protective Policy
Brownson's Quarterly Review, October, 1844
ART. IV. — " A Tariff for Revenue, with Discrimination in Favor of Protection."
WHILE we are in the midst of an important presidential election, it may be thought to be an ill moment for the discussion of great questions of government or legislation; but ill as the moment may be, we cannot refrain from offering a few remarks on the Protective Policy. We were led, by information on which we supposed we might rely, to assert in our last Number, in the article on The Presidential Nominations, that Mr. Polk, the Democratic candidate, was " sound in his political views," which of course meant that his political views accorded with our own ; but we now find, from a letter of his, written and published since his nomination, that, though opposed to the present tariff, he is in favor of a tariff which discriminates in favor of home industry.
We shall probably give Mr. Polk our vote, for we believe he possesses high executive talents, and his views on the Bank and Texas questions are sound, and nothing would be gained to the country or to, Republicanism by opposing him ; but we owe it to ourselves, and to that portion of the Republican party whose views we may be supposed to represent, to protest against his doctrine of discrimination For protection. We see no sense or justice in opposing the Whigs for their protective policy, if we are to adopt, in principle, the same policy. The father of the so-called " American system " contends simply for " a revenue tariff, with discrimination in favor of home industry "; and Mr. Polk, if we understand him, also contends for " a revenue tariff, with discrimination in favor of home industry." Where is the difference? A revenue tariff, with discrimination for protection, is also a favorite cry with not a few of our leading Democratic journals ; and some of them go so far as to claim the merit to their own party of having passed the present iniquitous tariff, because a few traitors to the party and the country voted for it. Now, we wish to know, if the Republican party is in favor of the protective policy ?
" O, no! the Republican party is opposed to the Whjg policy of a protective tariff, and in favor only of a revenue tariff, which shall discriminate in favor of protection." But this is precisely the Whig policy, and what Mr. Clay himself says. " 0, but the Whigs are in
favor of protecting only one or two interests, and we are in favor of protecting all interests alike." But, my dear friends, with your leave, this is nonsense, and you cannot ask us to believe that you really hold it to be possible to lay a discriminating tariff which shall afford a positive protection to all the leading interests of the country. Protection is afforded to one interest only by means of a direct or indirect bounty which the government grants it; and this bounty must be obtained by the imposition of a tax on some other interest or interests than the one protected. It is absurd to talk of protecting all interests alike. This our Democratic friends know as well as we. Why, then, do they use this language ?
We have been abused for our want of confidence in the people ; but we will assure our traducers that we have never yet so wanted confidence in the people as to be afraid to trust them with our honest convictions ; nor have we ever yet felt that it was necessary to amuse them with sophisms, or to undertake to cheat them into the support of truth and justice. It is not we who want confidence in the people, but they who dare not avow their honest convictions to the people, and, to call things by their right names, those anti-tariff men, who are afraid, if they avow the policy they believe the true one, the people will go against them. We are not a little impatient with this unfair dealing with the people. We, as one of the people, demand on the part of all men, no matter how high or how low, frankness and honesty; and especially do we demand of the politician who solicits our suffrages a plain, honest, frank statement of the policy he really and truly approves, and wishes to see adopted. We despise the meanness, we detest the wickedness, of attempting to get into power by false pretences, by double dealing, by concealing our views, or using language which permits the inference, that we are in favor of one thing, while we are really in favor of another. Success by such means is more dishonorable, more fatal, than defeat. Better to be defeated fighting for your principles, than to succeed by abandoning them. Politicians, as well as other folks, have great need to learn that honesty is the best policy, ay, and that there is a Moral Governor who will not suffer the wicked to prosper, who will confound the wisdom of the crafty, and bring to naught the counsels of the ungodly.
The so-called " American system " is the most iniquitous and ruinous policy it is possible to devise. It is evil in its inception, in its progress, and in its termination. No good does or can result from it to any section of the country, or to any individual at home or abroad. We are much mistaken, if this is not the real belief of the great body of the Republican party ; and yet not a man, or hardly a man of them, north of Mason and Dixon's line, will venture to say so. Presses, conducted by high-toned free-trade men, will talk about "discrimination in favor of our own industry," "a judicious tariff," " a tariff which protects all interests alike." Now this is really too bad. Has it really come to this, that men are so greedy of office, so eager to share in government plunder, that they are willing to accept office at the sacrifice of their principles? Has it come to this, that we have no principle but to get into office if we can ? We fear that it has ; we fear that honesty has no resting-place in the hearts of political aspirants, and that love of plunder has completely expelled the love of country. If so, what hope is left us ? what good is there for us ? what do we lose by defeat ? what do we gain by success ?
We have been deeply grieved at Mr. Polk's letter. We had hoped, that, with Mr. Van Buren, the " betwixt and betvveenity " policy he had represented for so many years would retire to the shades of Linden wold, and that henceforth we should be at liberty to adopt an open, manly, straight-forward policy, alike creditable to the leaders of the party, and beneficial to the country ; but we fear that we have gained little by the exchange. We have, we fear, only another disciple of the same school, and that the same old demagogical dynasty is to be renewed and perpetuated; the same dread of open, honest avowals, the same want of confidence in the people, the same crooked, serpentine policy, which caused us to be hurled from power with such overwhelming indignation in 1840, are to be again our characteristics. We are afraid that we are likely to prove, as a party, that we cannot profit by experience, and can learn no wisdom from defeat. We have not read, we have not heard, during the canvass, thus far, a single noble sentiment, or a single manly appeal. The whole canvass has been conducted in a tortuous manner, by low and demoralizing appeals, disgraceful to the actors, and deadening to the public conscience. We justly merit the wrath of Heaven ; and should we fail, it would be only a righteous judgment upon us for our want of firm principle, nobility of soul, confidence in the people, and fidelity to the sacred cause intrusted to our keeping.
We hope we shall be pardoned the freedom with which we speak. It is no pleasant task to find fault with one's political friends, but there are times when it is necessary to do it. The Republican party has nothing to fear from without, if it will but keep itself pure within. It never loses ground but by its own fault. The majority of the country is with it, and will sustain it, if its leaders will be honest and faithful, liberal and high-minded, bold, manly, and patriotic. But, if they resort to petty shifts, to miserable expedients, to contemptible sophisms, and talk one kind of language for one set of people, and another for another, now blowing hot, and now blowing cold, now saying yes, now no, and now yes and no, they will fail, and the glorious experiment of popular government will fail with them.
We trust that our views are too well known for us to be suspected of favoring the wild notions of free trade, advocated by the late William Leggett and others. We are no friends to what has been aptly termed the Let-tis-alone policy. We believe in government, in the permanent necessity of government, in a strong government, able to speak with authority, to command, and to enforce its commands. Of all evils that can befall a country, a weak government is one of the greatest. Nor do we believe that it is never proper or necessary for government to interfere in the business affairs of individuals, or to attempt to give a new direction or a new stimulus to industry, or to a particular branch of industry. We do not base our opposition to a protective tariff on the ground, that individuals are the best judges of their own interest, and that free competition among individuals is the best and surest means of national and individual prosperity. We are no believers in the sovereign virtue of free competition. In our judgment, the common reasoning on this subject is fallacious, and competition is productive of immense evils, if, indeed, of some good. There are times and cases when government is needed to control it, to set bounds to it; when the government itself should take the initiative, and assume the direction. There may be a branch of industry of great national importance, which would be wholly neglected, if the government should not adopt measures to induce the citizens to cultivate it; but which, when once fairly engaged in, will yield ample returns, and open new sources of wealth and independence to large masses of the people. But, if it is a branch of industry that needs more than a temporary protection from the government, it is not one of those which should be protected ; because, if it cannot flourish without a. permanent protection, it is evidently un-suited to the country, and can be prosecuted only at a national outlay, for which no adequate return can be made.
Yet, in our own country, the initiative and direction of the government in industrial operations can rarely, if ever, be necessary ; because, here, such is the activity and enterprise of our citizens, that they stand in no need of a stimulus from government, but will, of themselves, seek out and carry on every industrial enterprise by which either national or individual prosperity may be promoted. And if not, the only stimulus or protection to be demanded from the government must be demanded of the Statu governments, not of the Federal government. The State governments have the constitutional right to protect and foster industry, and this is one of their chief duties. But the Federal government has no right to meddle with the subject. It is a compact between the States, formed for certain express purposes, and necessarily, by the very condition of its existence, limited in its action to those purposes. We cannot first determine what citizens have the right to demand of government as such, and then go and demand it of the Federal government; for it is a special government, having only certain special powers, and by no means the general powers of government. We have the right to demand of it only what it has the right to do; and it has the right to do only what it was expressly created for the purpose of doing. The Federal government differs from government properly so called, in the fact, that it is founded in compact, and is therefore restricted in its powers to the express terms of the compact. It is not, strictly speaking, a government at all, but an agency, which certain independent governments have created for their common convenience and common weal. It is therefore subject to the authorities which created it; whereas, government, properly so called, is itself supreme, and gives the law, instead of receiving it. This makes a wide difference between the Federal government and the State governments, — a difference not merely specific, but generic. The powers of the latter are all the powers that belong to government, while the powers of the former are only the few which are expressly delegated to it; and these it possesses not inherently in its own right, for they still vest in the State governments, which have merely, by their ratification of the Federal Constitution, enacted that they shall be exercised by a common delegation from all the States. We mean not, by saying that the Federal government is restricted to express powers, to say that it has no incidental powers. It has incidental powers; but the incidental powers can be exercised only for the purposes expressed in the substantive powers. The end for
which the incidental power is exercised must always be the end specified in the substantive power; for any power claimed to be incidental, not necessary to carry into effect the substantive power, cannot be said to be an incidental power. For, the moment it is a power to effect any other end, it ceases to be incidental, and becomes substantive ; and then, if not expressed in the Constitution, it is unconstitutional, and not lawful to bo exercised.
Now, the power to lay a tariff for the protection of any branch of industry is not a substantive power in the Constitution, as is agreed on all hands. Consequently, a tariff laid for the express purpose of protection would be unconstitutional. The substantive power touching a tariff is the right to impose a tariff for revenue, and for revenue alone. The incidental power is the right to discriminate, but to discriminate only for the general purpose of the substantive power,—namely, revenue. To discriminate in favor of protection would be to contemplate an end not contemplated in the substantive power, and, therefore, to convert the incidental power into a substantive power. The right to discriminate in favor of protection, as incidental to the right to impose a tariff for revenue, can be claimed only on condition, that to discriminate for protection and to discriminate for revenue are one and the same thing. But to discriminate for protection is to discriminate against revenue. Therefore, the right to discriminate for protection cannot be an incident of the right to impose a tariff' for revenue.
Here is the error of our Democratic as well as of our Whig politicians. The Whigs care nothing for the Constitution, and are not to be affected by a constitutional argument. Their principle is, to praise the Constitution in words, and to disregard it in their deeds. But our Democratic politicians do retain some reverence for the Constitution. They see clearly, that a tariff expressly for protection would be unconstitutional ; but they do not seem to see with equal clearness, that a tariff incidentally for protection is equally unconstitutional; for they do not seem to be aware, that a tariff defeats its substantive purpose of revenue just so far as it incidentally discriminates effectually for protection. A protective tariff, we all know, is repugnant to a revenue tarifF, and defeats revenue just so far as it is really protective. Then, a tariff discriminating for protection is repugnant to a tariff for revenue, just so far as its discrimination is really protective. Discrimination for revenue proceeds on principles directly opposed to the principles on which proceeds discrimination for protection. This is a fact which should never be lost sight of.
A protective tariff, if true to the purpose for which it is imposed, must needs be restricted to such foreign articles as come into competition with similar articles, the growth or manufacture of our own country ; but a revenue tariff, if true to its purpose, must not be so restricted, but must be lighter on these articles, and heavier on those articles which enter largely into the consumption of the people, and which are obtained only from abroad. The protective tariff must, as far as possible, shut out foreign importations, and secure the home market to the home producer ; the revenue tariff must by no means shut out foreign productions, nor check importations, beyond the point luhere the increased rate of duty will not compensate for the diminished imports. In discriminating, that is, in laying a heavier duty on some articles, and a lighter duty on others, the same principle must be observed. A protective tariff lets in tea, coffee, and such articles as are not the growth or manufacture of this country, free of duty, or at a merely nominal duty ; while it imposes a heavy tax on cottons, woollens, iron, &c. A revenue tarifF reverses this, and taxes the first class of articles more heavily than the last, because, by so doing, it obtains the greater amount of revenue at the same average rate of duty. It is obvious, then, that a revenue tariff, discriminating in favor of our own industry, is unconstitutional and suicidal. Unconstitutional, because there is no substantive power in the Constitution to impose a tariff for protection ; and suicidal, because so far as protective it defeats revenue. This is conclusive.
We regret, therefore, to hear so many of our own political friends exclaiming, " A revenue tariff with a wise discrimination for protection." Such a tariff is an absurdity, and the cry tends to deceive, to produce a false impression, to pervert the good sense of the public, and to render it impossible for the friends of sound views on the subject to obtain a fair and candid hearing. We tie up our own hands, and seal our own lips, and can henceforth neither speak nor labor for the truth. Instead of enlightening the public, and correcting the false notions the protectionists industriously circulate, we contribute to confirm those notions, and suffer the people to be misled. We do immense harm by this false doctrine ; by seeming to countenance this false doctrine, we deprive ourselves of nearly all opportunity to labor for the true doctrine.
Nor less fallacious is this other watchword which some of our political friends have adopted, — " The equal protection of all the great interests of the country." If this were merely an electioneering device, got up to counteract an opposing battle-cry, we would let it pass; for we have no great disposition to interfere with the manner in which politicians manage elections. Still, we may say, in passing, that we regard all such devices as discreditable to those who get them up, and insulting to the people. " Soldiers of fortune" and fourth-rate politicians have a natural fondness for them, but rarely, after all, profit by them. If your cause will not stand on its own merits, bear to be stated openly, honestly, and to be advocated for what it really is in itself, your only wise course is to abandon it. Be ashamed to advocate measures you cannot avow, especially if you are one of those who make great professions of confidence in the virtue and intelligence of the people. But this is not merely an electioneering device. Hundreds and thousands are deceived by it. We do not suppose that the authors of it are deceived. In their understanding of it, it is tantamount to the cry of "No special protection at all." But the great mass of the people, when they find men, judged to be worthy of being the candidates of a great and leading party for the presidency, apparently contending with all seriousness that all the great interests of the country should be protected alike, will not understand that it means, that the special protection now aflbrded to the manufacturing industry should be withdrawn, but that a similar protection should be extended to all other branches of industry ; which would be very much, if it were possible, like a realization of the Whig promises in 1840, — that, if the Whigs came into power, all buyers should be able to buy cheap, and all sellers to sell dear!
The proposition to afford a positive protection to all the great industrial interests of the country is, as we have said, an absurdity; for protection is, directly or indirectly, a bounty to the protected interest, and government has nothing to give in the shape of a bounty to one interest except what it takes from some other interest or interests. The government would encourage the manufacture of woollens, and therefore lays a duty on them when imported. But it must protect all interests alike; so it lays another duty on foreign wool, which, by increasing the cost of the raw material, neutralizes, as far as it goes, the benefit the manufacturer derives from the duty on woollens. The government imposes a duty on foreign silks, to encourage the domestic manufacture; and then destroys it, wholly or in part, by imposing another duty on the raw material, for the encouragement of the silk-grower. And this miserable quackery is wise legislation, and supported by the most eminent statesmen both of the Whig and the Democratic party, your Clays, Websters, Polks, Wrights, and Buchanans !
The government imposes a heavy duty on foreign goods for the benefit of domestic manufactures. But what is the compensating duty it can impose for the benefit of the agricultural community? The duty on imports, if it operate as a protective duty, must diminish their amount. It lessens the ability of the foreigner to sell to us, and, consequently, his ability to buy of us. Its effect on our own agricultural community is, to lessen their ability to sell their products, by diminishing the foreign demand; which reduces the price they can command for their products, at the same time that the duty enhances the price they must pay for every one of the protected articles they consume. We should like, therefore, to be shown, how it is possible, in the nature of things, for the government to contrive any way by which it can relieve the agricultural community from the burden of the tax imposed for the benefit of the manufacturer.
The manufacturing population do not and cannot, in a country of such vast agricultural resources as our own, afford an adequate home market for all our surplus produce. A manufacturing population, large enough to consume all the surplus agricultural products we could easily produce, would, with the present improvements in labor-saving machinery, be large enough to manufacture the principal articles of consumption for the whole world, and then the manufacturers would labor under the difficulty of having no adequate market for their goods. But this is certain, our manufacturing towns do not and cannot furnish an adequate market for our surplus agricultural produce. This surplus must either lie on the producer's hands, or else find a foreign market. But how is it to find a foreign market ? Foreigners can buy of us only on condition of selling to us in return. We can refuse to buy of them only on condition of rendering ourselves unable to sell to them ; for all trade is necessarily, directly or indirectly, an exchange of products. Purchases depend on sales, and sales on purchases. If we shut the foreigner out of our markets, we shut ourselves out of his ; if foreigners shut us out of their markets, they equally shut themselves out of ours. But our protective duties, if they are really protective, restrict importations, that is, the sales of foreigners to us, and therefore, to precisely the same extent, our sales to them. Consequently, we restrict the foreign market to our agricultural produce to exactly the same extent that we restrict the home market to foreign manufactures. Here is a positive disadvantage to the agriculturist, for which you can give him no compensation.
Nor is this the only disadvantage. The price of manufactures is determined by the demand for home consumption, and is not affected by the foreign demand; as is proved by the fact, that a duty on foreign importations can be protective. When any article, no matter what, depends on the foreign demand for its price, it is beyond the reach of protection; for protection secures only the home market, but this article has already secured that, and demands a foreign market. But the price of our agricultural produce is determined, not by the demand for home consumption, but by the foreign demand, and is determined by the price we can command for the surplus which seeks a foreign market. But the protective tariff lessens this foreign demand, and, consequently, the price the agriculturist can command for his produce, whether at home or abroad ; for a lessened demand always lowers the price. Thus, under the protective tariff, the farmer sells less, and at a lower price. But the tariff raises the price of manufactures ; for, if it do not, it is not protective. Consequently, under the operation of a protective tariff, the farmer sells less, and at a diminished profit, while at the same time he is compelled to pay a higher price for what he buys. You diminish his means, and increase his expenses. Here is the necessary operation of a tariff for the protection of manufactures. Will the advocates of protection tell us how they propose to compensate the agricultural interest ? The simple truth is, if you will impose a duty for the benefit of the manufacturing community, you must do it at the expense of the agricultural community, for this is the only way in which it can be done. As honest men, you should, then, boldly avow, that you mean to tax the farmer and planter for the benefit of the manufacturer ; or else repeal your protective tariff, and refuse to grant a special protection to any industrial interest.
There are other interests, such as the commercial and navigation interests, which are also affected unfavorably by the protective policy, and for which there is no compensating advantage ; but we do not deem it worth our while to go into details. We have said enough to show the absurdity of attempting to afford an equal special protection to all interests. Such absurdities are well enough when put forth by " the Farmer of Ashland" and his partisans, because in perfect keeping with their general character and professions. We expect from that quarter nothing more sound or more honest. But we do grieve to find our Republican friends, men who profess a better creed, and who do know something of political economy, suffering themselves to be led away by Whig fallacies and absurdities. The only possible way of protecting all interests alike is for the government to afford special protection to none. The only wise course for an American statesman to recommend to his countrymen is that of free commercial intercourse with all nations. We wish we were, as a people, wise enough and honest enough to refuse to raise our revenue by duties on imports, and to raise it only by a direct tax on property. Politicians may say what they please, may express all the horror they can contrive to affect at the proposition ; but a direct tax on property is the only honorable, the only just, the only wise tax. When the revenue is raised directly, the government is sure to be kept pure by being kept poor. Each man knows how much he pays, and is sure to look closely after its expenditure. But it is, at present, idle to contend for the system of direct taxation. That would be equal and just, and therefore must needs be offensive. The present system, which raises the revenue without any man's knowing precisely how much he pays, enables the government to plunder the people much more effectually, and to a much greater extent, than it could under a system of direct taxation, and, what is equally to the purpose, compels the poor man to pay relatively altogether a larger proportion of the tax than the rich. Your Abbott Lawrences pay no portion of the tax to the government, but receive a bounty from it; while the poor girl in their mills pays a tax of at least some thirty per cent, average on every manufactured article she consumes. So, of course, direct taxation is out of the question. It would be horrible to make the rich bear their due proportion of the expenses of the government. Are not the poor the lowest stratum of society? On whom else, then, should rest its weight ? But, in case we cannot go to direct taxation, but will continue to raise the revenue by imposts, we insist the duties should be laid on revenue principles, and for revenue alone. This is what, and all, that the opponents of the tariff contend for; we are all of us willing to support a revenue tariff with discrimination, — but discrimination for revenue, not for protection. For such a tariff we contend, on such a tariff we will insist, and decidedly, firmly, persever-ingly oppose the imposition of any other. No party can count on our support, — and we speak not merely for ourselves individually, for on this question we represent a party, — any further than it labors in good faith, earnestly, and perseveringly, to adjust the tariff on revenue principles, and on revenue principles alone.
We have a high respect for the present candidate of the Democratic party. We hailed his nomination with pleasure ; for we thought, from such of his speeches as we had read, that he was opposed to a protective tariff, and because we trusted his nomination would prove the dawn of a better era. But he has seen proper to come out in favor of a tariff which discriminates for protection ; and no allegiance to party, no fear of endangering the success of the party in the election, shall deter us a moment from expressing our utter detestation of such a tariff. Nobody will suspect us of any undue partiality to the Whig party, or to its candidates, and nobody can with justice doubt our strong attachment to the Republican party, with which our political fortune is bound up ; but we say boldly, that we would rather see our party eternally in the minority, than to see it acquiring power by the abandonment of one honest principle, or by the adoption of a single measure of policy repugnant to justice, and to the real prosperity of the country. If we knew that our individual opposition to a protective tariff would defeat Mr. Pollc's election, — on which, however, it will have no effect, we would not hesitate a moment to oppose such a
tariff. We should regret his defeat; but we should re
gret the defeat of the party less than we should its ac
cession to power, pledged to a protective tariff, or, what
is the same thing, to " a revenue tariff with discrimina
tion for the protection of home industry." The fear
of endangering the success of one's party is a padlock
to many a man's lips. It never has been, and never
shall be, one to ours. We do not chance to believe in
the infallibility of parties, nor that attachment to party
absolves a man from his individual responsibility. The
great question, which will bo asked us in that day
when we must all give an account of whatever we
have done, will not be, Have you been true to your
party ? but, Have you been true to the best light you
had, or could obtain, as to what was for the true inter
est of your country ?
But in concluding these brief remarks, which we arc well aware do by no means constitute an adequate discussion of the great subject they concern, we will venture to predict, that the time is not far distant, when the Northern manufacturers themselves will be as strongly opposed to the present protective tariff" as we are. These manufacturers are, no doubt, very respectable business-men, and know something of bookkeeping, very respectable citizens unquestionably, liberal, hos
pitable, in private life, and able and willing to entertain
one very agreeably with good dinners, and not bad
wines; but they are by no means so far-sighted, even
where their own interests are concerned, as they think
themselves, or as many others think them. They must
remember, that their principal market must always be
the home market ; for ours is, and can be, but one
manufacturing nation among many. Their principal
home market is at the South and West. Have they calculated how long they are likely to keep this market ? The Southern States are a great market for our manufactures, because they are great staple States; and they are great staple States, because there is a foreign demand for their staples. Suppose this foreign demand to be cut off. Suppose that India, Egypt, South America, and Texas, in case it is not annexed to the Union, should finally be able to supply, or to supply to a very considerable extent, the European cotton market. What would be the effect on the Northern manufacturing interest ? On what depends the ability of the North to sell its manufactured goods to the West and South ? On the ability of the West and South to sell their produce. But to whom ? Not to us ; for we can consume but a small portion of it. Not to themselves ; for they are sellers, not purchasers. To whom, then ? Of course to foreigners. But suppose we exclude foreign manufactures, how shall foreigners be able to buy the surplus produce of the South and West ? If foreigners cannot exchange their produce for the surplus produce of the South and West, the South and West cannot buy of us. What, then, is the necessary result? Why, the South and West must withdraw a portion of their capital now invested in agriculture, and go to manufacturing for themselves. Now, do not our manufacturers perceive, that the restrictive policy they advocate, by diminishing relatively the foreign demand, must necessarily ere long drive the South and West into manufacturing in self-defence ; and that they are raising up a rival at home for the home market, with whom they will find it difficult to compete ? And when they have raised up this rival, what then will be their condition ? They will have lost their best market, and will find themselves with an immense investment of capital in manufacturing establishments, an overgrown manufacturing population, and little or no demand for their goods. This is the prospect before them, and to this result they are hastening as fast as possible. Mr. Webster seems to have seen this, and in his famous Baltimore speech, a year and a half ago, suggested, as their true friend, the only policy which could avert or delay it. They rejected that policy, and he seems to have abandoned it. The time will soon come, but not till it is too late, when our Northern manufacturers will open their eyes, and begin to clamor for free trade, while the mighty West, having also embarked in manufacturing, and holding the balance of power, will insist on protection. Then your Lawrences and their compeers, who by their wealth have been enabled to float to the surface of society, and who are looked upon as directing its current because they are borne on by it, will be estimated at their true value ; and hundreds and thousands, who have floated after them in the same direction, will curse the day when they suffered themselves to aid in fastening the iniquitous restrictive system on the country. It is rare that avarice fails to overreach itself, and to bring down upon its own head the punishment it merits. Our manufacturers remind us of a stanza by Southey, in his and Coleridge's Devil's Thoughts: —
" Down a river there plied with wind and tide
A pig with vast celerity ;
And the Devil looked wise, as he saw how, the while, It cut its own thront. There ! quoth he, with a smile,
Goes England's ' commercial prosperity.' "
And so our manufacturers, swimming with wind and tide down the river, are cutting their own throats ; but before they have fairly done it, they will have become so involved in the whole industrial system of the country, and all the other industrial interests of the country will become so mixed up with the manufacturing interest, that their ruin will only make matters worse. It is not yet, perhaps, if we were wise, too late to remedy the evil; but we confess, that we " hope against hope " ; that we see little prospect of the remedy's being applied in season, and that we turn pretty much in despair from the government. The fatal error has been committed, and we do not believe that there remains virtue enough in the community to retrieve it. We are a nation of mammpn-worshippers, and there is no good for us till we forsake our idolatry, and return to the worship of God, which we show no signs of being likely to do. In the mean time, hoping always that Providence may interpose to arrest the evil before it is past remedy, nothing remains for those of us who sec the evil, and would make our country great, glorious, virtuous, and happy, but to keep on our way, sowing, it may be, in discouragement and grief, but trusting still to Him who permitteth not a sparrow to fall without his notice, that in due time we shall reap if we faint not.