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Italy subsidizes her lines, paying yearly $3,228,811.20.
Holland supplies lines to the East Indies and the Mediteranean Sea. The Netherlands India Steamship Company has a contract for fifteen years, receiving an advance fee for the building of new ships.
Russia pays 1.55 per mile, and to one line a round subsidy.
Australia and New Zealand, with a population of 2,300,000 for 1875, bad a total trade of $458,399,000, or more than the eighth of the aggregate foreign trade of the United States, with a population of 44,000,000. No nation on the Globe has ever made such rapid progress as these British colonies in the South Pacific. During the year 1875 these colonies imported and consumed foreign products amounting to $236,000,000. Our share of this enormous trade was so small that our Bureau of Statistics does not enumerate it, but says: Exports to all the British East Indies, Australia, and New Zealand, $3,978,000.
Australia proper has a protective tariff.
New Zealand and Tasmania are free ports. The chief export from Australia is wool of unrivaled fineness and length of fiber. If the duty was removed and Australia wool admitted into this country free, it would contribute largely towards securing to as the trade of that country, and as there is no similarity to the wool grown in the United States, its introduction would not injure the wool-growers of this country; and in order to do this, we should remove the duty on wool and copper, which would greatly stimulate our trade with Peru, Chili, and the Argentine Republic, as well as with Australia.
There should be a revision of the treaties existing between the United States and many of the countries I have named. The duties now levied by some of them are not reciprocal.
Cuba, to whom we paid in five years up to 1876, $365,000,000, while she bought of us only $77,000,000, leaving a balance of trade against ils of $279,000,000, imposes a duty on American products as follows, viz: Flour, $4.40 per bbl.; corn, 641 ots.per 100 lbs.; lard, 4.48 per cwt.; hams, 3.84 per cwt., and on other articles in same proportion-25 per cent. additional for war tax. Our government should, if possible, secure a more favorable tariff on our products to Spanish ports.
Every man connected with the Government of England, from Lord Beaconsfield to the smallest officer of the country, is a pathfinder for British commerce. They have spent hundreds of millions in aiding their commerce, and through that policy now have steamship lines to more than two hundred foreign ports. With some of the South American countries and Mexico we have steamship lines established and sustained by subsidies granted by the respective countries, but not one dollar from our own country, except the ordinary letter postage. The result of the experiment with these lines shows that wherever we have steamship lines the trade of this country is in proportion to the steamship tonnage we furnish. This fact can be illustrated by a comparison with Venezuela.
In 1870 we imported from Venezuela $2,037,322, and sold them $1,307,833, a total trade of $3,345,145. Through the influence of a subsidy granted by that government, we now have a steamship line from New York to Venezuela, and in 1876 we imported from them $5,875,715, and exported $3,424,278, a total trade of $9,299,993, an increase of 260 per cent. over the trade of 1870. In 1870 the American shipping engaged in trade with Venezuela was 15 vessels of 2,571 tons capacity, employing 109 hands. In 1876 the American ships was 134, with 43,459 tons, employing 1,255 hands. Of our imports, $4,581,475 in 1876 was coffee, and our exports, $788,696 were breadstuffs, $463,280 provisions, and $110,825 cotton goods. The Mexican Government pays for having a mail line of American steamships supported between Vera Cruz and New York, and another line between Vera Cruz and New Orleans; also between Acapulco and other Pacific Mexican ports and New York, via the Isthmus of Panama, and from those ports to San Francisco. We are therefore on a par with England as respects postal facilities, and the result is we divided the trade of Mexico last year almost equal with England, and will probably exceed her this year.
Central America has connection with England by two lines of mail steamers, and with the United States by one line. Out of $15,000,000 last year, we supplied $5,000,000, and England $10,000,000. Is it not perfectly apparent that if we had had two lines and England only one, we would have sold $10,000,000, and England only $5,000,000 ?
To the United States of Colombia we have two lines of steamers running, and England has two. Of $8,000,000 of goods imported last year, we furnished $4,000,000, and England $4,000,000.
Take the west coast of South America, independent of the United States of Colombia, and out of $23,000,000 we sold $3,000,000, and England $20,000,000. Our $3,000,000 was largely made up of lumber, petroleum, and provisions. We are dependent for our communication with the west coast south of Panama upon a heavily subsidized English line, whose interest it is to take every thing to and bring it from England. To the east coast of South America we furnished $15,000,000, and England $65,000,000; with the east coast we have no steam communication.
With China and Japan our communication by steam is about one-third that of England, and we sold to those countries last year about $10,000,000, while England sold $30,000,000.
We have a steam line to Sydney, and are gradually obtaining control of the Australian trade. We exported to them last year $6,000,000, and imported $1,500,000.
Thus it will be seen that wherever we have mail communication by steamers with any port of South America, China, or Japan, we are building up a trade which shows that we can compete in the markets of the world with our manufactured goods be cause of their superiority. Our cotton fabrics are better, while our agricultural implements and hardware is superior to that of any other country. The demand for our products in those countries will increase. Railroads are being constructed through them, and civilization will rapidly increase the demand for our goods. Nearly all the trade we enjoy with those countries is through the support granted by the foreigo countries with which we have steam communication. Our government is doing nothing, while England, France, and other foreign countries support magnificent steamship lines, which furnish mail facilities through which the business is built up. We can never hope to secure any considerable part of that trade until we furnish steamers as good and as fast as those running to England and France. Our government should grant liberal mail contracts to at least two lines from New York and New Orleans to Brazil, and other contracts to other important countries with which it is desirable to trade. These mail lines are necessary to enable the merchant of that country to visit our market and to facilitate the exchanges and settlements, and when we establish the fast mail-line it will be followed by a freight-line, and a business will be built up which will require the departure of a ship every day from some port of the United States.
We have spent $5,000,000,000 in constructing railroads to get our products to the seaboard, and there we have stopped, and but for the enterprise of John Roach and the generosity of foreign governments we should be without mail facilities, because the government of the United States does not spend a dollar to secure foreign markets and thus justify the construction of our railroads. I believe that the very best investment that our government could make to-day would be to spend $1,000,000 annually in mail compensation to steamships to run to foreign countries south of us. If you look at the map you will see that China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, all those countries, lie nearer to us than to Europe; the nearest route to China and Japan to-day from Great Britain is through New York and San Francisco, yet we are willing to let Great Britain send her products around Cape Horn 9,000 miles to conutries that lie within 3,000 or 4,000 miles of our own coast. We produce raw cotton, and we can beat the world on hardware, and the time is coming when we shall beat it on everything else, unless it be boots and shoes. I believe that we shall be able to compete with any part of the world in anything, unless our laboring people insist on living in fine houses with velvet carpets and pianos. I know that we can get as much out of the muscle of this country as can be got out of that of any other country. We did it on the battle-field, and I believe we can do it in the commercial field.
The CHAIRMAN. Don't you think that workingmen who enjoy music should have pianos?
Mr. BUSSEY. Yes; and I think they will all have them in time. I believe that this country will justify it. I have the greatest confidence in our future. This is a wonderful country. The Almighty in His wisdom has made it to order.
The idea used to be that there was a vast extent of country west of a certain line which was worthless, and which was spoken of as the Great American Desert, but it is found when the plow is put into that soil that there is really no end to the agricultural resources even of that part of the country. The fact is that every laboring man here can, if he wishes, go to some part of the country and get land enough to cultivate and make himself independent.
Not a solitary individual have I ever encountered who was engaged in business or trade who did not believe that a judicious expenditure of money in maintaining postal service between this and foreign countries would help all our business interests. One year ago there assembled at Old Point Comfort delegates from all the South, three hundred as intelligent men as I have ever seen, and they unanimously passed a resolution on this subject, and Senator Hill in the Senate of the United States said that he took the declaration of that body of men, knowing their character and intelligence, as an instruction to him.
The CHAIRMAN. You say you do not know of any business man who is not in favor of such a measure. Mr. Marshall, who testified here the other day, one of the largest business men in New York, said he was opposed to subsidies and that the result of them would be to create a monopoly in the hands of the persons getting them, and that is the argument generally adduced on that side of the question.
Mr. BUSSEY. There is nothing in that argument. What we want, as Mr. Roach said here a while ago, is increased foreign postal service. We were met by a delegation of gentlemen from Baltimore, engaged in the coffee trade, with this declaration, that there is no necessity for increased postal facilities with Brazil because we have a telegraph line, by which you can send a message at $5 a word. I would like to know if that is not a monopoly. Mr. Marshall, I suppose, is interested in a few wooden vessels, and every man who has got a wooden ship is afraid of the iron steamers; but must the interests of 40,000,000 of people be subsidiary to the interest of a few men who own a few old wooden ships
The CHAIRMAN. You do Mr. Marshall injustice. He stated here in the most frank way that he did not think that anything could be done to save the wooden vessels; that they were doomed; that their day had gone by; that there was no longer any profit in them, and that the sooner they were out of the way the better.
Mr. BussEY. Well, if that be true, why not do something practical to get back the business that we once had? In 1820, eighty-eight per cent. of the commerce between this and all foreign countries was carried in American vessels, and in 1826, ninety-two per cent., but the percentage ran down, and when our foreign commerce amounted to $1,100,000,000 we carried but twenty-six per cent. of it.
The CHAIRMAN. The reason is that some one else has been willing to do the work for the producers and consumers of this country cheaper than we were able to do it.
Mr. BussEY. The reason is that when in a great national emergency the vessels of this country were taken for another purpose, Great Britain came in and got this commerce from us.
The CHAIRMAN. I suppose there is no fact better known than that the same causes were at work prior to 1860 substituting iron for wooden vessels. Great Britain was able to produce and run iron steamers at less cost than we could do it, and the revolution which was already begun simply completed itself a little more quickly by reason of the war.
Mr. BUSSEY. And we have now reached the time (and it is the only time that has presented itself unless it be for a year past) when we are able to enter upon competition with Great Britain. The first great duty of this country was to return to specie payment. Having done that, we can enter into competition in transportation facilities, for the reason that the great mass of the tonnage now on the water is not so well adapted as the new tonnage is to the carrying trade. That is why our first Brazilian line did not succeed, because the vessels were not large enough.
The CHAIRMAN. If we can compete in the cost of producing commodities which we want to sell abroad why can't we coinpete in the production of the vessels which shall carry those commodities?
Mr. Bussey. For the reason that labor in this country demands better pay than the English workmen receive. I cannot imagine that any man would put $1,000,000 into a line of vessels and undertake to develop a trade between New York and South America, or between New York and China and Australia, or between the month of the Mississippi River and South America, in the face of the fact that there are subsidized lines running from Great Britain to those countries, and in view of the fact that those vessels from those countries, being bound to come this way anyhow, can therefore carry freight at very low prices; but, if the government would say to the citizen who proposed to establish an American line, "Put on your ships and we will do with you just what we do at home for every railroad corporation; we will give you a reasonable compensation for carrying the mails,” then we could compete with foreigners.
Mr. THOMPSON. Your idea is that you want the waters open to everybody, giving all an equal chance, but you hold that when England subsidizes her steamship lines this government ought to subsidize ours, in order to give them an equal chance! Mr. BUSSEY. I do think so.
Mr. THOMPSON. Then it is because England has interfered with the natural order of trade that it is necessary for us to do the same?
Mr. BUSSEY. Yes, sir; and I say that the natural superiority of our products is such that we will then have a monopoly of a great many lines of traile. Before I left New Orleans a gentleman came from the United States of Colombia; he desired to trade in this country, and he had been waiting for months to get to it, but there was no regalar line of steamers, and so he had worked his way on schooners to Panama and came from there to New Orleans.
The CHAIRMAN. The United States of Colombia is somewhat of an unknown region, but we have recently appointed a minister there, and he had no trouble in getting to his post. He took a steamer to Panama, and then another steamer to Cartbagena
Mr. BUSSEY [interrupting). That would have been all right for this gentleman if he had wanted to come to New York, but he didn't; he wanted to come to New Orleans.
The CHAIRMAN. I might want to go to Liverpool from the port of Barnegat, and might insist that I would not come to New York, but would that be a reason for establishing a steamship line between Barnegat and Liverpool ?
Mr. BUSSEY. Just look on the map at the location of the United States of Colombia
with reference to New Orleans and you will see why he wanted to come there. What is the use of a man traveling 7,000 miles when he can get to his destination by tra veling 2,000
The CHAIRMAN. But the channels of commerce are regulated and fixed by commercial considerations, and they cannot be changed in the way you suggest.
Mr. BUSSEY. That ought not to be. New Orleans is the second exporting city in this country.
The CHAIRMAN. Then all that the people of New Orleans have to do is to establish steamship lines for themselves. Lines are running now from this city
Mr. BUSSEY. By the grace of some foreign country.
The CHAIRMAN. That makes no difference. If some foreign country will do it cheaper for us than we can do it ourselves, let them do it.
Mr. BUSSEY. But the question is, is there anything that we can do that will break up the canses that have brought the people of this country to such a condition that they cannot compete with foreigners? I say there is, and that it is in the power of the Congress of the United States to remove at least one of those causes. The gentleman that I have mentioned came from the United States of Colombia to New Orleans with $40,000 in United States bonds, with the intention of paying out the money for merchandise, and almost the first thing he had to do was to go and buy a schooner to transport his coods; and then he went into the market and paid out his money for almost every kind of goods that are manufactured in this country. That man's visit was a benefit to every class of the people, and he says that if we had regular communication between the two countries we could command millions of trade, not only from his country, but from Martinique, Trinidad, and all that region-trade that we do not get now because the people are forced to go where they have facilities for going. Now, I do not believe that the people of this country are opposed to the judicious expenditure of their money for such a purpose as I have indicated. I find men standing up in Congress and asking an appropriation of three or four hundred thousand dollars to put a roof on a custom-house. What difference does it make if we do not have a fine custom-house! It does not affect the trade of the country at all. But when we ask something for the benefit of commerce, we are denounced as being in favor of subsidies, wanting to take money out of the pockets of the people and give it to a class who ought not to have it, and so on. We cannot have prosperity in this country until we find markets that will absorb our surplus products, because we are going to continue to produce enormously, and the hardships of our people are not yet at an end. Thousands of people in this country are still living off the money that they made during the war and in the flush times, and are not doing any business because they have not yet seen the proper channels in which to invest. I speak to-day not so much for the present; I advocate the cause of the future, and to avert the increasing accumulations of evils which will befall the country unless we do something to enlarge our markets, carry off our surplus products, and relieve the distress. If we are ever to have any foreign trade with South America, now is the time to cut loose from the old wooden ships and undertake to build it up. Mr. Roach has put forty per cent. more money into his ships than is necessary to carry flour, and all the flour to load those ships comes from Saint Louis and pays 60 cents a barrel transportation, when the regular rate down the Mississippi is 20 cente; and this additional freight comes out of the producer. These are roundabout channels of trade that ought to be and can be broken up. Let us begin by establishing regular postal and passenger communication, and after a time you will probably see lines of steamships carrying freight alone, perhaps leaving every day, and the ports of Charleston, Baltimore, and every other city on the coast will be benefited. At present we take everything from those South American countries and sell them nothing; and we are sending out of the country $200,000,000 or $300,000,000 in money to pay for their products, when we onght to pay them not in coin, but in every kind of manufactured goods. We sell England much more than we buy from her, while from these other countries we buy five times as much as we sell them. Now, if we are able to sell so much of our products to England, why not to these other countries also
The CHAIRMAN. We sell England the cotton, and the food upon which the workmen who work upon the cotton live. The product of their industry is sent to Brazil. The money that we get from England for our cotton and food we turn over to Brazil in payment for her coffee. If we trade directly with Brazil, England will not take the food because she will have lost the business, and she will not take the cotton because she will have no demand for it. Therefore, while you will have changed the channels you will not have changed the volume of trade.
Mr. BUSSEY, I am perfectly willing to accept that proposition. We will have saved whatever amount of money is required for transportation to Liverpool, and for its manufacture, which is a large sum. Every cent of money that goes into the freight from here to Liverpool is so much taken out of the pocket of the producer.
The CHAIRMAN. That may coine out of one side or the other. It is only an incident. As a matter of fact, it is in evidence that when we repealed the duty upon coffee the
amonnt was merely put upon the cost in the foreign market; but the fact is that you cannot sell the cotton and the food to England and also to Brazil.
Mr. BUSSEY. Not long since I met a member of Congress and introduced this subject in conversation. I told him of the immense volume of trade that we might have with South America, and that it was not good policy for us to be running off our raw material when we ought to manufacture these goods and sell manufactured articles instead of the material in its raw state. He pondered over the subject for a while and then said: "If this is the great country that you say it is, we would build up such a demand that it would raise the prices on our own people!" I am sorry to say that that man represents a cotton State, and is one of the men who make our laws. I know that every dollar's worth we can manufacture out of our raw material is a positive advantage to the people of this country.
The CHAIRMAN. If your doctrine is true, that we onght to manufacture the raw - materials at any hazard, and if you wonld give a bonus to a steamship line in order to enable it to carry our products to foreign markets, why not also give a bonus to the manufacturer in order to enable him to produce his goods at a profit?
Mr. BUSSEY. We have done it through the tariff in a great many instances.
The CHAIRMAN. But why not tax the people at large to encourage our manufactures, so that every particle of the demand of those countries shall be supplied from the United States ?
Mr. Bussey. That does not follow at all. That is a different case. We protect the iron interests of Pennsylvania. In 1874 there was a duty (you may call it a tax if you please) of $30 a ton upon foreign steel rails.
The CHAIRMAN. There is the same duty now. It has not been reduced.
Mr. BUSSEY. No; but yon might reduce it now and it would make no difference. Why? Because you have protected that interest until you have built up an organization that will compete with the foreign manufacturer. Our manufacturers make 500,000 tons per year, while Great Britain manufactures only about 700,000 tons, and yon can buy the finest steel rails here for less than $50 a ton.
The CHAIRMAN. But how much can they be bought for in Great Britain !
The CHAIRMAN. Less than $40 a ton.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. "If there was no duty they could be laid down here at $10 a ton less than you could buy them from our manufacturers.
Mr. BussEY. Well, I have not been building railroads and I don't know the details of the business. I only know that we have protected that great interest, and in doing so have taken care of our own people by giving employment to labor.
The CHAIRMAN. That is denied by the other side.
Mr. BUSSEY. Well, I do not belong to the other side. I am advocating this side. If you will give us a few subsidized lines, we have got industry and energy enough so that in twenty years we will have the greatest commerce on the face of the earth.
The CHAIRMAN. When you say commerce you mean Mr. BUSSEY. I mean the imports and exports of the country. The United Kingdom of Great Britain imported in 1876 $2,400,000,000, and she exported $1,900,000,000; showing a balance of trade against her of $500,000,000. How does she stand that By the fact that she makes up the difference by the earnings of her commercial marine. She has to-day lines of ships running to two hundred foreign ports, and in that list they credit two lines to New Orleans; but there are really twenty-seven steamers in those two lines. We pay $100,000,000 of that for freight and passenger transportation, which goes into the pockets of Great Britain. Compare our commerce with this, only $420,000,000 of imports and about $620,000,000 of exporte.
The CHAIRMAN. Those figures seem to be rather wild. If you have $300,000,000 or $400,000,000 of exports and pay $100,000,000 for freight-charges, the freight is onequarter of the whole. That is impossible. If our exports and imports together amount to $1,200,000,000, and if we pay $100,000,000 for freight, that is one-twelfth of the whole.
Mr. BUSSEY. Eight and one-third per cent.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. Now everybody knows that the freight-charges between this and Great Britain are nothing like that. Mr. BUSSEY. Our exports are principally heavy products.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes; but we know the freight charge on a bushel of grain. Mr. BUSkey. Well, the price is 10 pence, that is 20 cents a bushel, and what percentage is that on a dollar a bushel for grain ?
The CHAIRMAN. On a dollar a bushel it would be 20 per cent, undoubtedly, if you paid that rate.
Mr. BESSEY. I am taking the great articles of export. We estimate that the freight on cotton is 20 per cent. against the English manufacturer by the time he pays freight, taxes, charges, &c.
Thé CHAIRMAN. But his freight is not that.