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The question was then taken, character of the bill; but they and decided as follows:were negatived, ayes 7, nays 32. The bill was then ordered to a third reading, ayes 32, nays 8.
The debate was further continued in opposition to the bill the next day, by Mr. Poindexter, and on the 20th Mr. Grundy and Mr. Ewing replied to him. The question was then taken on its passage, and its opponents having generally withdrawn, it passed by the following vote: ayes 32, nay, Mr. Tyler, and was sent to the house for concurrence.
Yeas, 5; nays, 41.
A motion was then made by Mr. Bibb, to limit the expenditure under the bill to $3,000,000, which was negatived; ayes 4; nays 38.
Mr. Bibb then moved an amendment, to authorize a defendant in any action under the second section, to take issue upon the question, whether the tariff of 1832 was enacted as a revenue act, or as a protecting act and certain other amendments, altering materially the
Proceedings in Senate.-Proceedings in House on Enforcing Bill.-Passage of do.-Passage of Tariff in Senate.-Convention re-assembled in South Carolina.-Ordinance repealed.Ordinance passed, declaring Enforcing Bill void.
THE next day after the passage of the enforcing act, (February 21,) Mr. Clay moved to take up the bill proposed by him for modifying the tariff, and the amendments reported by the select commitee to whom it had been referred.
The amendments reported by the select committee were to the following effect: to add to the present free articles, table linen, linen napkins and linen cambrics, and to except sewing silk from the silks proposed to be made free; to add to articles to be admitted free after 1842, sulphur, crude saltpetre, steel, grind-stones, refined borax, emery, alum, and copperas, and to take out of the same list unmanufactured cotton, and all other dyeing drugs, &c., not particularized in the bill. The other amendments did not change the principle of the bill.
Mr. Clay then moved an amendment, the effect of which is to make the home valuation of goods the standard for assessment of duties under this bill, after the 30th September, 1842, instead of the foreign valuation.
A considerable discussion took place on this proposition to amend, but it was adopted, ayes 26, nays 16.
The 23d of February, Mr. Smith moved an amendment which went to permit plains, kerseys, and kendal cottons to be imported at five per cent., as under the act of 1832.
Mr. Foot and Mr. Bell opposed the amendment, and said this increase of duty on those articles was intended as a compensation to the manufacturers, for the general reduction, and that they should not vote for the bill, if the amendment prevailed, Mr. Chambers, Mr. Forsyth, and
Mr. Benton, urged that the increase of duty which the amendment obviated, rendered the originating the bill in the senate unconstitutional.
Mr. Webster said that he was opposed altogether to the bill, but the objection was one which it belonged to the house to make. It was a question of privilege, and the decision belonged solely to the house. After some further discussion, the amendment was rejected, ayes 14, nays 29. Mr. Kane then moved to exempt the duties on lead, and substances manufactured from lead, from the operation of the act, and Mr. Smith moved to add a clause exempting military munitions; but Mr. Smith's motion was negatived, ayes 14, nays 25, and Mr. Kane's shared the same fate, ayes 12, nays 27.
Mr. Forsyth then moved to amend the bill, so as expressly to permit the further discussion of the tariff before 1842, but it was rejected, ayes 13, nays 28.
Mr. Benton moved an amendment, reducing the drawbacks in proportion to the reduction of the duties, but it was negatived, ayes 18, nays 24.
Mr. Wright then moved an amendment, increasing the duty on raw wool, which was rejected, ayes 7, nays 32.
The bill was then reported, and the amendments concurred in, excepting that which provides that after 1842, such duties shall be levied "as an economical expenditure may require." It was contended by Mr. Webster, Mr. Dallas, Mr. Dickerson, and Mr.
Buckner, that these words, though not so intended, might be construed by the southern representatives in 1842, as an abandonment of the protective system, and a design on the part of those who introduced the bill, to make revenue alone the standard of future duties on imports.
Mr. Clayton, and Mr. Clay, regarded the language as authorizing no such constitution, and denied that any one would be justified in inferring that there was to be an abandonment of the system of protection. Mr. Clayton insisted that the government could not be maintained, if the principle should be abandoned, and declared that he would pause before he surrendered it, even to save the Union.
Mr. Forsyth regarded the clause as an absurdity, on which an argument might be erected, either for or against protection; but as it was the only absurdity which was agreeable to him, among the many absurdities contained in the bill, he would vote for it.
The question being taken, on striking out the words, it was negatived, ayes 14, nays 22, and the amendment was agreed to.
The bill was then ordered to a third reading, without a division being called.
The 25th of February, when the question was on its passage, Mr. Webster gave his sentiments in opposition to the bill. He paid, in the commencement, a tribute to the purity, zeal, and ability of the senator from Kentucky, for whom he had so long
entertained a high respect, and to elevate whom to a situation where his talents might be still more beneficial to his country, he had zealously laboured. He also complimented the talents and services of the senator from S. Carolina, with whom he had so often acted, and for whom he had always felt a sincere regard. He briefly reviewed his own course, when the former bills on the subject of the tariff were under consideration, and adverted to the conviction which was forced on the east, and other portions of the country, that the protective system was to be the settled policy of the government. NewEngland had resisted, in the first instance, the establishment of a high protective policy; but when that was determined on, the eastern states turned all their natural advantages, and their capital of wealth and industry, into the new channel thus marked out for them. The bill of 1826 was to carry out the promises made by the bill of 1824. He disliked the bill of 1828, yet he had voted for it on account of that feature in it which gave the woollens the protection which the government had pledged itself to give by the law of 1824. That bill decided the policy of the country, unless it was to be kept in a state of perpetual fluctuation and uncertainty.
After passing the law of last session, a law containing some features of concession and compromise, when the country was not prepared for any change, the present bill, professing to be a bill of peace, of arrangement, and
of compromise, is brought forward by the distinguished senator from Kentucky, who professes to have renounced none of his former opinions, as to the constitutionality and expediency of protection. The bill is also supported by a gentleman whose opinions are directly the reverse of those entertained by the senator from Kentucky. When it was supported by such opposite feelings, it was important to look into the provisions of the bill. He stated the various considerations which ought to weigh with those who, as friends of the protective system, voted for this bill.
He did not object to the prospective and biennial reductions made by the bill up to 1841, but he objected to the clauses which did, in effect, prohibit the repealing action of any subsequent congress upon this bill, until 1842. He also objected to the proviso in the fifth section, which was a restriction on the power of congress. He put it to the senator from Tennessee, (Mr. Grundy,) who had introduced the clause, to say if he did not intend that it should show that congress was to be considered as bound by the bill, as far as this congress could bind the future legislation of the country.
The protected articles may, by this bill, be reduced below 20 per cent. ad valorem, but cannot be raised above 20 per cent.
He opposed the bill, because it imposed a restriction on the future legislation of congress. He also opposed it, because it seemed to yield the constitutional
power of protection. Various arguments were advanced by him to show that the southern politicians would, if this bill were passed, tell every one of their constituents, that they had gained some concession to the opinions of the South. He said that he approved the sagacious silence of the southern gentlemen. They would not suffer themselves to be provoked by friend or enemy, to speak before the time should come when they ought to speak. They were masters of the game, and they knew it. He commended their policy, but he wished them to see that he understood it. In giving up specific duties, and substituting ad valorem, the bill had abandoned the policy of all wise governments, and the policy of our own government, and the policy always advocated by the senator from Kentucky. He viewed the bill as a surrender of all the interests of the smaller capitalists, and a concession in favour of overgrown monopolies. He pointed out the effects of this surrender on our own condition, and the handle which it would give to satirists, and foreign writers, and the poets laureate of all the monarchies of Europe, to turn our institutions and our pretensions into ridicule. If this principle were carried into our navigation, he stated that it would be immediately countervailed by Great Britain. By limiting our countervailing power, and leaving the countervailing power of Europe free, we put in her hands weapons to destroy us, and cast our wea
pons of defence at her feet. Under a colonial system, our manufacturers would not be more completely shackled, than they will be by this bill.
He referred to the four powers by which the senator from Kentucky had said that our protective system could be preserved. 1st, prohibition; 2dly, the free list; 3dly, incidental pro-. tection-all of which would be found inadequate,—and the 4th, discrimination, or specific duties, was the only one which would avail. Discriminating and specific duties were the last resource, and if those were to be given up, there could be no longer any hope for the protective system, in war or in peace. He insisted, that not being owners of the property, but merely agents or administrators, we had no right to fetter a future congress. He regarded this bill as the last will and testament of this congress, which would be set aside by the people, but not on the ground of want of sanity in those principally engaged in making it, for he never saw gentlemen more fully in possession of that sagacity; nor on account of any undue influence, although he could not help thinking that panic had something to do with it, and that if the South Carolina ordinance and replevin law had not appeared, this bill would. never have never have appeared in the senate.
In reference to the practical effect of the bill, he stated that he saw obstacles to the carrying this bill into effect, which appeared to him to be insurmountable.