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wishes to buy. And, what is more remarkable, Sir, not a few of them may be bought below par. I have here a price current of a few weeks ago, which gives the rates of the actual sales of the day, and from which it appears that almost any of these stocks may be had at a small advance, many of them at par, and not a few below it. Here they are: The Appleton mills, the Lawrence mills, the Thorndike mills, the Lowell mills; you may take shares to suit yourselves, and come in for scot and lot in all their exorbitant earnings.
Before you determine to do so, however, you will, perhaps, be disposed to propound to yourselves some such questions as these:
Can it be true, that stocks which can be purchased at such rates, can yield, uniformly and certainly, dividends so enormous? The Yankees are sharp enough, Heaven knows, at a bargain ; would they be likely to sell, for a thousand dollars, that which would give them a regular and reliable interest on two or three thousand ? Must it not be, on the other hand, that the great profits which are so much harped upon, are only the exceptions to the general rule; and that the average earnings are, after all, only a fair interest on the investment? And is there, too, any real monopoly about a business which any one can take a share in, who pleases ? · Can we, while it is in our power to build cotton-mills for ourselves, or to buy into those which are already established, complain of the system which protects them from a ruinous foreign competition, as so very grievous and grinding an oppression?
If the honorable member from Louisiana would ponder a little upon these interrogatories, I am sure he would be less violent in his denunciation of these enormous dividends.
But I have not come here, this morning, to reply to the honorable member from Louisiana, or any one else, but rather to say something on my own account. It is well understood that the bill under consideration was ordered to be reported to the House by a vote of five to four in the Committee of Ways and Means. As the majority of the Committee did not think fit to accompany the bill with any written explanations of the views with which it was prepared, it would, of course, have been inappropriate for the minority to make any report. But as one of that minority, I desire to take this occasion to give my reasons for opposing the bill in committee, and for continuing that opposition in the House.
Undoubtedly, Mr. Chairman, the first great object of all our tariffs should be to provide revenue for the support of the government. There are no terms in which this principle can be asserted, too absolute and too unqualified to meet my ready and cordial assent. I agree to the proposition in the form in which it has been stated by the Secretary of the Treasury in his annual report, “ that no more money should be collected from duties on imports than is necessary for the wants of the government, economically administered.” And I agree, also, to the converse of the proposition, as more emphatically pressed upon our consideration by the existing circumstances of the country, that as much money as may be necessary for those wants ought, if possible, to be thus collected.
In a time of war, like the present, more especially, an ample revenue should be the primary aim and end of all our customhouse duties. To replenish the national treasury, to sustain the public credit, and to make seasonable and sufficient provision for meeting the manifold expenses which are incident to a state of war, is as essential to the vigorous and successful prosecution of that war, as the mustering of fleets and armies. And that Administration will have done but half its duty to the country, in the present condition of its foreign affairs, which, looking only to men and munitions, shall fail to advise,
“How War may, best upheld,
I need not say, that I deeply deplore the occurrence of the war in which the country is involved, I have had neither part nor lot in the policy which has occasioned it, but have opposed that policy, from beginning to end, to the best of my ability. I voted for the bill recognizing the existence of the war, and authorizing the employment of men and money for its prosecution, with unfeigned reluctance and pain. The day can never be when I can vote, without reluctance and without pain, for any bill,
under any circumstances, which looks to an issue of battle and of blood. I feel deeply that such conflicts are unbecoming civilized and Christian men. Not even the brilliant exploits of our troops at Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, though they may fill me with admiration for the bravery of those who achieved them, can dazzle me, for an instant, into the delusion, that such scenes are worthy of the age in which we live.
There was phraseology, too, in the bill which I would gladly have stricken out. Indeed, the question was one on which it was impossible to give an altogether satisfactory vote, and I have nothing but respect for the motives, and sympathy in the general views, of those who differed from me on the occasion.
But I believed when that bill was before us, and I believe still, that the policy of the Administration had already involved us in a state of things which could not be made better, which could not be either remedied or relieved, by withholding supplies or disguising its real character. And I will say further, that while I condemned that policy as heartily as any of my friends, while I condemned both the policy of annexation as a whole, and the movement of our army from Corpus Christi as a most unnecessary and unwarrantable part, I was not one of those who considered Mexico as entirely without fault.
Sir, I will do the Administration the justice to say, that, in my judgment, it adopted a highly honorable and conciliatory course, in proposing to send, and in actually sending, a minister to Mexico. I said this privately, when the fact was first announced in the President's annual message, and I will not hesi. tate to say so publicly now. And I do not think that Mexico stands justified upon the record, for the rejection of that minister. There is much in the published correspondence to warrant the idea, that her distinction between a minister and a commissioner was a mere after-thought, intended only to cover a virtual retreat from her agreement to enter upon negotiations; and while I am ready to make large allowances for her conduct, in consideration both of the provocation which she had received, and of the distracted state of her domestic affairs, and while I would by no means be understood to vindicate the justice of the declaration, that “war exists by the act of Mexico," I cannot yet hold
her discharged from some share of the responsibility for the rupture which has ensued. Still less can she be acquitted of all responsibility for the continuance of the war, in case she shall persist in declining the overtures which have again been distinctly held out to her.
Mr. Chairman, I plead guilty to something of an extreme jealousy in regard to the faith, and even the forms, of diplomatic intercourse. Missions, mediations, arbitrations, negotiations of every sort, are the select and sacred instruments of peace. They are the only instruments upon which we can rely for the amicable adjustment of international disputes. And, as a friend of peace, I am for holding to a strict accountability every nation which shall trifle or sport with those instruments; much more, which shall discard them altogether. I will hold my own country to that accountability as soon as another. I do not forget the bad example she has recently exhibited to the world, in rejecting the proposition of Great Britain for an arbi. tration upon the Oregon question. Even the sincere joy which I feel at the honorable and peaceable settlement of that question, is alloyed by the remembrance, that this unreasonable rejection of arbitration must remain, an indelible fact, on the pages of our history. It was somewhere said, not long ago, that Oregon was the last spot on the face of the globe, of which the original discovery and proprietorship was in dispute. The map of the world is now filled up. And would it not have been a cheering circumstance to the friends of humanity and peace, if, on the deed of partition of that one last spot of disputed territory, there could have been inscribed, in characters which the world might read forever, the concurrent and cordial testimony of two of the most powerful and civilized nations of the earth, in favor of a mode of settling international disputes, so reasonable and so righteous as arbitration? There is not the slightest reason to imagine, that the result of such a course would have been less favorable to our pretensions than that which has now been accomplished. But even if it had been so, the difference of a few acres of land would, in my judgment, have been unworthy of consideration, in comparison with the honor of such a proceeding to ourselves, and the priceless influence of such an example upon the world.
But enough of Oregon, and enough of the causes of the Mexican war. The war exists. It is to be prosecuted, as the President has assured us, for no purpose of aggression or conquest. He stands solemnly pledged to the country and to the world, by reiterated declarations, that he will be prepared to renew negotiations whenever Mexico shall be ready to receive propositions, or to make propositions of her own;" and that he will be at all times ready to conclude an honorable peace, whenever the Mexican Government shall manifest a like disposition.” The honor of the Executive, and the honor of the nation, are committed to the fulfilment of these pledges; and as long as I shall perceive nothing in the conduct of the Administration inconsistent with their fulfilment, I shall not withhold my vote from any reasonable supplies which may be called for. I shall vote for them, not for any purpose of plunder or aggression not to enable our fleets to conquer California, or our armies " to revel in the halls of the Montezumas," but to enable the President to achieve that honorable peace, which he has solemnly promised to bring about at the earliest possible moment. My motto will thus be that of my own honored Commonwealth, “Ense- quietem."
But until this result shall be accomplished, Mr. Chairman, as God grant it speedily may be, it is the bounden duty of the Administration and its friends, to arrange a system of taxation commensurate with the exigencies which they have created. And if this bill were really adapted to such an end; if it held out a reasonable assurance of increasing the revenues and sustaining the credit of the country; if, more especially, it presented the only, or even the easiest and most obvious, mode of supply. ing the wants of the Government, I should hesitate much and long before interposing any objection to its passage.
. The bill before us, however, was prepared for no such purpose, and will produce no such result. It was prepared, as everybody knows, long before any war with Mexico was heard of, and while the President was still congratulating the country that the annexation of Texas had been "a bloodless achievement." It was prepared originally, I fear, with no higher purpose than to conform to those party pledges, to which my honorable friend from