Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

control of the general government, it should accomplish ;” and that without any qualification, either as to time or cost. Individuals and States are doing their share of these great works, according to their ability. Massachusetts has already no less than seven hundred miles of railroad in successful operation within her own limits; and her capitalists are, at this moment, largely engaged in extending similar facilities of transportation and travel into far distant regions of the Republic. She asks nothing of the national government for any internal improvement of her own. But in the newer States of the West there is more to be done, and far less ability for doing it; and it is their interest, above that of all others, to hold the nation to the discharge of its full responsibility on the subject. It is a disgrace to our country, that their magnificent rivers and lakes have been so long neglected, and that they should have been suffered to be the scenes of such vast sacrifices of property and of life, from year to year, for want of a little seasonable and efficient legislation. Let me not call them their lakes and rivers; they are ours, as much as theirs. We claim an equal right, and an equal interest, in them all; and we unite in demanding for them the prompt attention and persevering action of the only government, whose powers, and whose resources, are adequate to their improvement.

But we are told that the measure under consideration can only be carried through by a corrupt system of log-rolling. Gen tlemen saw no corruption in the log-rolling which was avowedly resorted to, last year, between the friends of the “reannexation of Texas,” and of the “reoccupation of Oregon." They descry nothing but patriotism and purity in the log.rolling which seems about to be employed now, between our own administration and that of Great Britain, for breaking down our American tariff. But when a large majority of the members of this House are found abandoning all mere party considerations, and uniting together in the support of measures which are not more calcu. lated to advance the special interests of separate localities, than they are to promote the general advantage of the whole coun: try, why, then, forsooth, they can see nothing but corruption.

Mr. Chairman, nothing of real value to this Republic ever has been, or ever will be, effected, without some degree of that sort of combination which is thus stigmatized as log-rolling. Mutual concessions, reciprocal benefits, compensation and compromise, have been the very laws of our existence and progress. Wherever common dangers have been averted, common wrongs redressed, common interests promoted, or common principles vindicated, it has been by a system of log-rolling. It was logrolling which achieved our independence. It was log-rolling which established our Constitution. And the Union itself is nothing but systematic log-rolling under a more stately name.

Doubtless such combinations may sometimes proceed from corrupt or unworthy considerations; but when the objects at which they aim are of such clear and unquestionable importance, and of such public and general utility, as those which are now before us, these unmannerly imputations upon motives may, I think, well be spared. For myself, certainly, I have heard of but one overture which would seem to countenance any such imputations in the present instance; and that was contained in a suggestion, thrown out from the other side of the House, some days ago, that the passage of this bill was an indispensable condition for securing the votes of the Western States, for the overthrow of a protective tariff. Such a suggestion would seem to imply, that votes are relied upon for this bill upon other grounds besides its own merits, and to be given with a view of promoting the success of a policy wholly disconnected with it, both in form and in substance. This is a species of log-rolling, Sir, which I shall leave others to justify.

The overture to which I have alluded is, however, Mr. Chairman, obviously susceptible of more than one application. It plainly suggests a course of proceeding for saving, as well as for overthrowing, the existing tariff. It says to our side of the House, “ defeat this bill and the tariff shall be preserved,” as distinctly as it declares to the other side of the House, “pass this bill and the tariff shall be destroyed.” For one, I will act upon no such idea. Believing this measure to be eminently expedient and just, it shall have my vote, without regard to the probable action of others upon other and independent measures.

The Whig members of this House occupy a proud position in reference to the best interests of the country at the present moment; and I trust we shall maintain it without wavering. The friends of the Administration are in a state of manifest distraction and division. One portion of them are looking to us to unite with them in preserving the peace of the country. Another portion of them are looking to us to aid them in accomplishing their cherished plans of public improvement. Let us be true to ourselves and to our principles, in both cases. Let us join hands with the South, in maintaining an honorable peace with foreign nations; and with the West, in carrying out these great measures of domestic policy. If the tariff, in the end, be overthrown; if the revenues of the country, under existing circumstances of public debt and public danger, be cut off; if the Labor · of the country be deprived of its wages and its work; let an unmixed responsibility rest upon those, by whom a step so fatal shall have been taken.

THE WANTS OF THE GOVERNMENT

AND

THE WAGES OF LABOR.

A SPEECH DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNI

TED STATES, IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE ON THE STATE OF THE UNION, JUNE 25, 1846.

MR. CHAIRMAN, —

If I had succeeded in getting the floor at an earlier hour yesterday, I should have been tempted to reply at some length to the honorable member from Louisiana, (Mr. Harmanson,) who addressed the committee in the course of the morning. I confess that I was a good deal astonished to hear so wholesale an attack upon the existing Tariff from that particular quarter. I had thought that if there were any product of our country which required and received the highest measure of protection, it was the staple product of the honorable member's own State. I had thought that if there were any port in the Union, which had profited more than another, of the vast internal trade which the existing Tariff has aided in building up, it was the port of his own proud metropolis.

But the honorable member founded his objections to the existing Tariff, very prudently, on certain alleged injurious influences in other parts of the country, and not on any which had come within the sphere of his own observation and experience. And one of the topics of his severest animadversion was the enormous dividends of the Eastern manufacturers.

Now, I will not weary the committee with details, which have often been recited, to prove that the average profits of the East

ern manufacturers have been as low as those of persons employed in any other line of business, and probably a good deal lower than those of the Louisiana sugar planter. But I do desire to present to those who are continually harping on this string, not excepting the Secretary of the Treasury, who has touched it somewhat rudely in his annual report, - a plain practical test of the truth and justice of this charge.

The manufacture of cotton is not, like the culture of cotton, necessarily a local business. There is excellent water-power, and an abundance of human labor, all over the country. Numerous cotton-mills have already been established in the Southern States. In Virginia, in North Carolina, in Georgia, the hum of the spindle is beginning to be a familiar sound. Even in South Carolina, I believe, it is not altogether unheard. My honorable friend from South Carolina, (Mr. Holmes,) smiles. Sir, I remember seeing in a newspaper, for which I was indebted to his own politeness, a call for a meeting, to be holden on the 17th of June, in one of the districts of South Carolina, last year, for the double purpose of celebrating the battle of Bunker Hill and taking measures for building a cotton-mill! The persons who called that meeting, it seems, understood the patriotism, as well as the policy, of establishing domestic manufactures. They had not forgotten the resolution which passed the British Parliament a few years before the battle of Bunker Hill was fought, “ That the erection of manufactories in the colonies doth tend to diminish their dependence on the mother country." I heartily hope that this spirit will spread. I believe it is spreading, and that, half a century hence, our country will be as remarkable as a cotton-spinning country, as it is now as a cottongrowing country.

But what I wished particularly to say was this ; – that if it be not quite convenient, just yet, for our Southern friends to try the experiment of these enormous dividends on their own ground, they can easily have an opportunity elsewhere. The stocks of these New England factories, which are so much complained of for doing so good a business, can be had on the Boston Exchange every day in the week. They may be purchased, either at public auction or at private sale, by any one who

« AnteriorContinuar »