Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

It will be observed that the whole three turers, merchants or farmers. We have years of actual results do not equal Mr. done this that we may have at least one Walker's estimate for one year by nearly point, the emergency of which will be diseighty-eight millions of dollars !

puted by no protectionist, whether he be How utterly absurd in the plain light of Whig or “ Democrat.” Now, whilst the the facts does all this appear! With what ponderous evil we have been illustrating, confusion should it cover the advocates of a and others that we may touch in the prosystem demonstrated to be so palpably fal- gress of this article, traceable directly to lacious ! But no; the party that applauded political causes, are so pressing, there is an this report to the echo, and acted upon its unaccountable apathy of political action, suggestions, abate not one jot of their per- organization and discussion, among those nicious theory; but, in spite of the demon- upon whom the nation depends for the rectifstration, and in spite of the disasters and cation of those evils—the Whig party, its the embarrassment they have brought upon press and its statesmen. The enemy is lookthe country, mcan again to fight for the su- ing with satisfaction upon this state of premacy, in order to maintain the tyranny things, for in this apathy is his certain of so fatal a system.

triumph. He depends more upon inaction But let us suppress our indignation, and than action. The nation aroused is always pursue the results of this policy up to the and ever his certain discomfiture. present time. What are they? În brief Politics in this country is not in its nature this: that instead of an excess of exports, we an amateur science for the gratification of have imports; instead of selling, we have the tastes or ambitions of the few, that may been buying

be taken up or laid down as those tastes The exports of our own productions for wax or wane, or those ambitions die or the present fiscal year will amount to about receive other directions ; but is the practical one hundred and sixty-four millions of dol- duty of every man in this free community. lars, whilst the imports reach about two He that is indifferent and does not take hundred and twenty millions ; leaving a pains to form definite opinions upon quesbalance against us of fifty-six millions of tions of public policy, and perform those dollars. Something more than one half of acts necessary to give practical efficiency to this appears to have been paid for in specie, his sentiments, is willing to be the slave of and the rest has yet to be paid in the same other men's opinions, and submit himself way, or by anticipating our future export and his affairs to theories that he may de resources, and so merely postponing the spise, and instruments whom he detests; evening of the evil day. And now, as the and is consequently no good citizen, do natural result, our manufacturers and mer- worthy member of a State, the theory of chants are failing in all directions, our banks which is, the government of all over all. No are embarrassed, and our producers find one can say that he is not responsible for melting, or in danger of melting out of what is done because he takes no part in their hands, the profils so hardly won during politics. His negative action has positiv these years of competition with foreign effects. If evil measures are perpetrated rivals. We are, in short, having enacted and evil men put into power, he has been over again the frightful results of former at least half as efficient an agent in the experiments of the same kind. Thus nature work as any one who by his political action and facts are too strong for us, and we has carried those measures and elected those must ever be retracing our steps if we at- men. These are truths that no one distempt to follow the theories that other na- putes, that there are in fact no arguments tions concoct for us from other circum- against; and yet how many act contrary to stances and other principles than our own. until some great emergency compels them

We have thus endeavored to bring before to regard them. the minds of our readers, in the most suc- When the treasures of the nation—the cinct, matter-of-fact, and palpable manner, means by which it carries on its beneficent one of the subjects dividing the political objects of blessing and elevating humanity, parties that appeal to the“ business," if not that should be regarded as sacred as the to the bosoms," of all men, politicians or offering in the temple-are found to be not politicians, rich and poor, manufac- in the hands of thieves and robbers; when they are practically being regarded as the 1846 has diminished, and it will continue to dispoils of the political victors, then are these minish, the number of artificers and manufacturprinciples for which we are appealing acted ers; for the very reason, that, as Mr. Walker upon; the vampires, though unsatiated, states, at lower duties it produces an increased

revenue, by supplanting articles made at home are flung from their prey. But the evil with similar importations from abroad. cannot be undone, and we must go back "An appeal to some statistics of past years may and heal the mischief that our owa false- not be out of place here, and we shall refer to ness to duty has permitted. Again, when them with a view

to show the results of extraorthe nation is deliberately precipitated into dinary importations beyond the power of the

country to pay for. an unjust and unnecessary war, and the “We commence with 1815, when, according to a armies sacred to freedom and the rights table prepared by Mr. Walker accompanying his of all men, are used to violate our own Report of December 3d, 1845, we consumed of first principles by subjugating foreign ter- foreign merchandise $106,457,924. In 1816, acritories and their people to a sway not of goods $129,964,444.

cording to the same table, we consumed of imported their own choosing, thus sanctioning the “Those who are old enough must remember the principles upon which all tyrannies rest, disastrous effects of these excessive importations, then do the men to whom we would appeal among other evidences of the distressed condition

which were not fully realized till 1819, when, arise in their might, and, conscience-stricken of the country, a committee appointed by the Leg. by their former supineness, emphasize their islature of Pennsylvania reported as follows: that indignation and their power by placing in there were ' ruinous sacrifices of landed property the seat of their recreant Executive the hero at sheriffs' sales, whereby in many cases lands and

houses have been sold at less than a half, a third, who, although laboring under the weight

or a fourth part of their former value; thereby of a disdain for the purpose of his actions, depriving of their homes and the fruits of laboridid that only which man could do in the ous years a vast number of industrious farmers, melancholy case, threw the shining mantle some of whom have been driven to seek in the of military glory over the national crime. uncultivated forests of the West that shelter of And now again, when the economic theories An almost entire cessation of the usual circulation

which they had been deprived in their native State. of a nation whose political yoke we once and of commodities, and a consequent stagnation of for ever threw off, have been permitted to business, which is limited to the mere purchase bind us to a commercial supremacy which and sale of the necessaries of life, and of such we have not yet the means of resisting, by the season.

articles of consumption as are absolutely required

The overflowing of our prisons draining from us the life-blood of our com- with insolvent debtors

, most of whom are confined merce, and the means of developing the for small sums, whereby the community loses a immense latent riches of our lands, our portion of its active labor, and is compelled to mines, and our water-powers,—may we not support families by charity who have thus been with confidence again anticipate a rising

deprived of their protectors.'

By the same table of Mr. Walker, we find the which shall break those fetters that have consumption of foreign merchandise, in 1835, was more than once before been fastened upon $129,391,247. In 1836, the consumption of the us, until, galled to the quick, we could no same goods amounted to the enormous sum of longer bear it, but bounding from them in $168,233,675. These immense importations were

in consequence of the inflation of the currency, each case entered upon a career that, from consequent upon the removal of the deposits its uniform prosperity, should have settled from the Bank of the United States, which promptupon an impregnable basis the policy of the ed the loans made by the pet banks, as they were nation on this point for ever? Unquestiona- pension of specie payments which resulted, must

called. The memorable break-down, and the susble as this truth is, people will in their eager- be fresh in the recollection of all who were in ness for the future, and their absorption in any wise conversant with the business affairs of the present, forget the past.

that period. That we may not appear to any to be

“ In 1839, the same table tells us, we consumed without ample warrant for what we say, we

$144,597,607, and the results were little less ruin

ous. In 1841, at the close of what was called will quote from our own records and pre- the Compromise Act, we consumed $112,447,dictions. In the number of this Review for 096. At that time the duties were so much reMarch, 1847, will be found an article by duced that the net revenue for the year was but Redwood Fisher, Esq., on a report of Mr. 815,5 16,589, and the whole country groaned under Secretary Walker, in which the following

the depression of home industry of every kind.

" For the fifteen years previous to 1835, the con passages occur :

sumption of foreign imports had scarcely exceeded * Now, it is a fact well known that the tariff of | $80,000,000. During the periods of the large im.

of 1846."

portations, which caused the heavy consumption | a policy detrimental to the best material stated above - while the foreign gools were com- interests of the nation, those whose means ing in-the

country wore the fallacious appear; and enterprise and sagacity would be a blessance of prosperity, until the catastrophe arrived and the bubble burst.

ing to the whole, operating in the direction " At each of these periods, as the importations of the true, may, and will, adapt themselves arrived—when the amount of the duties were to this false system. Their conformity to it pouring into the treasury, as they did in all except may be less detrimental to them individually gratulated themselves as Mr. Walker now con- than the time they must waste in the unceasgratulates himself in this Report--with this dif- ing contest they are obliged to wage against ference, that the evil day may be somewhat longer it. And so in regard to the principle of propo-tponed in consequence of our increased ex tection or “ free-trade,” (which we continue to ports, should they continue. But as certainly as such over-consumption of foreign manufactures use in illustration of the necessity of increasproduced the revulsions then experienced, so cer- ing political vigilance on the part of all,) we tainly, under like circumstances, will the eame may have the nation divided into tillers of thing occur again, sooner or later, under the tariff the soil and merchant princes; the seaboard

dotted with cities crowded with external Now would it not appear, under the light commerce; the former of these classes triof such facts as these ; and predictions, the butary to the other, there being no compefnlfillment of which we are at this present tition with them by miners and manufacturmoment suffering, that the laws of this ers; the wealth under the surface of the question ought to be considered as settled, ground remaining buried, and the giant from the most positive experience and in- powers of our water-courses wasting themduction? Would it not appear to be as selves unused. We have already bad praerational to go back to ancient alchemy, tical intimations of this result, a tremendous when the ignes fatui of theories presided counteracting influence to the pliancy of in the hum:in mind over the laws of mat-circumstances, under our system of governter, now when induction has established ment, which so many seem to rely upon principles, as base our policy upon a theory against the permanency of any existing evils. that has not yet one success in its repeated Leaving now our illustration, which we trials to point to in its support ? How are have chosen from the pressing necessity of we, then, to account for the constant repeti- immediate action upon the subject of it, and tion of this absurd experiment? How but the space that at the present time it fills in by the pernicious recreancy of those who all men's thoughts, we will turn more defiknow better to their political duties? They nitely to our purpose of arousing, if possible, act as if mere political theorists must be to action those upon whom the nation de permitted to try their experiments ; not pends in all emergenci s to turn the political realizing, until they are compelled by their scales, or to hold firmly in their posts the de individual suffering, that their common sense fenders of the right. We firmly believe that and experience are at all times as essential in favor of this principle of the Whig party, a political element in the affairs of this coun and every other important one, there is and try as any writers of reports or actors on the bas been always a majority of the people of political boards. Notwithstanding our pro- these United States. Now it happens that fessions, it is lamentable to think how long the orderly, quiet and thrifty those who it must take to eradicate the traditional feel- eschew excitement, but allow themselves to ing that measures of Government are some- be too exclusively and selfishly occupied with thing to which we must submit, rather than their own affairs, and who thoughtlessly consomething which belongs to each one of us, tract a disgust to politics from the trickery and which we should direct. Let us here and dishonesty practised by those who make put in a warning to those who think it un- it a trade—are almost universally theoretical necessary to take the trouble of deciding adherents to the Whig party. It would not these political questions in their own minds, be, we are sure, too much to say that of those and acting upon them. The power of adapting who neglect to vote at the average of electhemselves to the circumstances which sur- tions, nine in ten will be found to be Whigs round them which the people of this country | -enough, probably, to turn the scale in any possess is unexampled in the history of any question that has been fairly discussed between nation. If the political theorists insist upon the two parties for the last twenty years,

Will man in his actions never reach the fountains, will our public policy flow, and to level of his intelligence, and continue heroic such dictators, having accomplished their and firm only from necessity or through pas-ends-place and power-will we all have sion ? Shall there, in our public affairs, to submit; and from this degeneracy will never be a settled principle of action, that follow the swift destruction of the fairest shall ever press upon the consciences of men theory of government that ever blessed the as a duty which there is no honesty in neg- hopes of man. As the result of long struglecting ?

gle, earnest patriotism, and the heroic stake What now is to be done in such a case as of “lives and fortunes and sacred honor, this? We can only continue to utter our was established this theoretically perfect sysappeals and our warnings, and call upon all tem for the maintenance of freedom and the those who have any means of arousing and security of universal right and justice. But influencing public opinion to direct their ex- in the establishing of a theory, however heertions towards this point, as one through roically done, and in the organization of a which, at this and every crisis, they can government by it, with whatsoever wisdom most directly and practically benefit their accomplished, hero nor sage had no such country. There seems to be a feeling per- conception as seems to be acted upon by vading many well-meaning minds, that those their posterity, namely, that they were fixare the most favorable periods for the Re- ing for ever the fate of their successors by public when political excitement is allayed, simply giving them this theory and these when there is no definite contest of opinion institutions. No! they knew that liberty, going on, and indifference exists as to the like virtue, is a constant warfare-that its dominance of this or that set of principles price is eternal vigilance. They effectually in the administration of the government. conquered its enemies from without, but they Nothing can be more fallacious than such an knew that it would for ever be in danger idea. It may not always be necessary that from those within. They relied as much an army should be engaged in warfare to upon us, their posterity, as they did upon insure its efficiency, but it is always neces- the justice of their cause, and their own wissary that it should be constantly drilled and dom, self-sacrifice, and devotion to right. exercised. How much more is this the Had they not expected to perpetuate themcase in that state of political existence to selves in their sons, they would not have exwhich we have been called a state of con- pected their work to be perpetuated; they stant warfare for the truth or vigilant watch- would have felt that their lives were sacrifulness against the encroachments of error ficed in vain, that their fortunes were thrown and the corruptions of vice. We have away, and that their honors were tarnished adopted and glory in the possession of a po- by wresting from a crown and an aristocracy itical system in which opinion is to rule their rightful possession, government, and the opinion of all without reservation. The conferring it upon the people, who are incameans of its action is through universal suf- pable or too selfish to use it. That which frage. It is unrecognized, utterly inopera- makes universal suffrage secure is its practical tive, except through the vote at the ballot- universality: we want the vote of the phibox. It is necessary to our theory of govern- losopher from among his books as well as the ment that this voting should be founded, so laborer from the field ; the clergyman from to speak, on well-considered and definitely- his desk as well as the merchant from his formed opinion. In order that such opinion counting-house; the rich man with his conshould be in constant readiness for the ever- servative tendencies as well as the poor man recurring voting that our system demands, with his desire of change. The radical must it is necessary that constant discussion should not rule with his destructive theories, but by all legitimate modes be kept up. If dis- be only an element of motion. The consercussion and a wholesome excitement is so vative must not be king with his unyielding kept up, voting will follow as a natural and a adhesion to what is, but only a regulator to legitimate consequence. If it is not so kept the wheel of progress, like the principle of up, the most of the voting will not be an ex- gravity to the motion of the earth. Let each pression of opinion, but of passion, feeling, one act out his nature, be the creature of his or blind prejudice, or simply the dictation circumstances, for these are God's elements of demagogues. From such sources, as in the subject; but let him honestly strive for honesty of purpose and opinion, and let him | What shall we say then ? Are these men throw these off into the political atmosphere mean, selfish, dastardly? Is their intelof his country, for this is the work bequeathed gence and virtue only an easy habit, and not to him by those he reverences, and in it lies an active principle? Will they suffer their his only political safety and well-being. It government to be corrupted willingly, so is the universal principle we would inculcate, that they enjoy their ease? Not altogether alike applicable to all parties, times, and so. They are only thoughtless, and suffer conditions ; feeling as we do such an un- themselves to become disgusted with the wavering confidence in the truth of the great corruptions that others have introduced into principles of the Whig party, that we are politics; an evil, the result of their owa sure nothing more is required to their gene- neglect, that they are thus lending themral and permanent success but a conscien- selves to perpetuate. There is guilt and tious fulfilment by all of those political obli-folly here. Let it be so understood, and let gations to which they are bound by the most us have a public sentiment that will dissacred considerations of patriotism and self- tinctly so regard it. Let us have organizarespect. Thus may it be seen how easy it tions among our active young men who do is to become in effect traitors to a govern- not regard themselves as politicians, to cre ment that, conferring, or rather contirming ate, act upon, and give an efficient vitality and making operative to the individual all to this public sentiment. Such organizations his rights and privileges, demands his warm- in all the wards of our cities, in all the disest affection and most constant and deter-tricts of the county, would infuse a new and mined support. He should consider every, healthful life into the body politic, would even the most trifling act that it demands paralyze demagoguism, and we are sure as of the most imperative character and sa- would establish the principles of the great cred obligation.

national and constitutional Whig party, with Intelligent opinion and virtuous senti- its "American system” of political economy, ment are the very life-blood which this form as the permanent policy of the government. of government demands for its existence; The obstacle that stands most directly in and yet, strange anamoly! amazing para- the way of the purpose of this article, is the dox! the possessors of these refuse to exer- feeling pervading the community, that any cise them in their noblest field for their own attention to politics must necessarily interfere safety. They—for strange to say, it is to this with a man's business affairs. This is not class that such observations as these have to altogether an unnatural, but it is a most inbe addressed—they know that every prepon- consistent though formidable element in the derance obtained by error or vice on any oc- circumstances of our case. Let us see what casion of political action, however trifling, en consistency there is in it. We have already dangers the government and inflicts a wound shown the vital, immediate, practical conupon public virtue or public prosperity; and nection that exists between each man in this yet they neglect to vote. Would these men country and the government under which he betray their country into the hands of an lives. We have purposely taken our illus external enemy by refusing to do any act tration of this from a subject that has an for her safety? We think that none would immediate connection with his every day be so base. On such an emergency, where affairs. The adjustment of the tariff on imthe act would be called heroism, they would ports is a matter as directly affecting him as be heroes. This patriotism then of theirs we any general business arrangement that he must regard as a dormant feeling, requiring can make in his private affairs. His whole stimulants to arouse it to action. This in- business connections may be affected by it telligent opinion of theirs is only competent favorably or unfavorably. His individual to their own petty and private interests ; it profit from the work of his hand, or the is inspired by no generous ambition, and will business on which his credit depends and jeopardize its own rather than stand by the his capital is invested, may rest entirely public good. This virtuous sentiment is all upon it. When it is arranged upon the required for home consumption, and cannot senseless ad valorem principle, as the present be spread abroad, although it may be neces- one is, he may be at the mercy of any swin sary to prevent a current of corruption that dler who will perjure hineself for profit. And will set in even upon your own households. yet the active producer, manufacturer, or

« AnteriorContinuar »