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NO TAX ON EDUCATION.
REMARKS IN THE SENATE, ON A PROPOSED DUTY ON PHILOSOPHICAL INSTRUMENTS FOR COLLEGES, JUNE 17, 1864.
JUNE 17th, on the Tariff, the question arose of repealing the clause exempting from tax "philosophical apparatus and instruments imported for the use of any society incorporated for philosophical, literary, or religious purposes, or for the encouragement of the fine arts, or for the use or by the order of any college, academy, school, or seminary of learning," and imposing a duty of twenty per cent ad valorem. Mr. Sumner said :
ITTLE money, much mischief: these are two objects that present themselves. That we shall obtain little money is obvious, when it is considered that the philosophical apparatus and instruments imported by colleges and literary institutions, particularly when exposed to this tax, will be of little value. Twenty per cent on their value will not be much for the country. The detriment will appear in the discouragement to their importation. Now, Sir, I would encourage such importations. I would encourage everything by which these associations may be benefited. Not only the associations will 'gain by such encouragement, but the whole land will reap the advantage. If I could have my way, I would rather lavish upon them bounties. To my mind it is clear that the education of our country would be advanced by stimulating such importa
tions rather than by discouraging them. But there is no question now of stimulating; the proposition is to discourage. I hope it will not be imposed.
The tax was voted in committee,
Yeas 18, Nays 16.
At the next stage of the bill Mr. Sumner renewed his opposition.
I MERELY wish to make one remark. I would not protract the discussion at this late hour; but I must say that to my mind the proposition is not creditable to our country, and, I think, if adopted, will be mischievous. That is the way it impresses me. I cannot see it otherwise. It is to me a tax on education, and as such odious to an extent which I am hardly willing to characterize. Because we are engaged in war, I find no reason for a tax on education. Tax luxuries, tax necessaries, tax everything else; but do not tax education. As I said this morning, if need be, rather give it a bounty.
The vote in committee was concurred in, and the tax imposed.
ABOLITION OF THE COASTWISE SLAVE-TRADE.
SPEECHES IN THE SENATE, ON AN AMENDMENT TO THE CIVIL APPROPRIATION BILL, JUNE 24 AND 25, 1864.
MAY 2, 1862, Mr. Sumner gave notice that he should, at an early day, ask leave to introduce a bill to abolish the coastwise traffic in slaves under the flag of the United States; and he added, "In giving this notice, I desire to say that there is a disgraceful statute which exists unrepealed, and my object is to remove it from the statute-book."
March 22, 1864, he reported from the Committee on Slavery and Freedmen a bill to prohibit commerce in slaves among the several States, and the holding or transporting of human beings as property in any vessel within the jurisdiction of the National Government, which was read and passed to a second reading. At the same time he said that he did this as a report in part on "a large number of petitions calling upon Congress to provide by legislation for the extinction of Slavery."
The bill reported was as follows.
"A BILL to prohibit commerce in slaves among the several States, and the holding or transportation of human beings as property in any vessel within the jurisdiction of the National Government.
"Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That there shall be no commerce in slaves among the several States, by land or by water; and any person attempting or aiding to transport slaves, as an article of commerce, from one State to another State, or any person who shall take part in such commerce, either as seller, buyer, or agent, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, being convicted thereof before any court having competent jurisdiction, shall suffer imprisonment for not more than five years, and be fined not exceeding five thousand dollars, one half of such fine to go to the informer; and every slave so treated as an article of commerce among States shall be free.
"SEC 2. And be it further enacted, That no human being shall be held or transported as property in any vessel on the high seas, or sailing coastwise,
or on any navigable waters within the jurisdiction of the United States; and every vessel violating the provisions of this act shall be forfeited to the United States; and every master of such vessel consenting to such violation shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction thereof subject to the penalties hereinbefore provided, one half of the fine to go to the informer; and every human being so held or transported as property shall be free.
"SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That all acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith, including especially so much of an act approved March second, one thousand eight hundred and seven, as regulates the coastwise slave-trade, are hereby repealed."
Failing to obtain an opportunity for this bill in the Senate, Mr. Sumner determined to move it on an appropriation bill.
June 24th, the Senate having under consideration the bill making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the Government, Mr. Sumner moved the following amendment :—
"And be it further enacted, That sections eight and nine of the Act entitled 'An Act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States from and after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord 1808,' which sections undertake to regulate the coastwise slave-trade, are hereby repealed."
Mr. Sherman, who had succeeded Mr. Fessenden as Chairman of the Finance Committee, "would not oppose the amendment on an ordinary bill," but he trusted "the Senate would keep this bill free from these disputed, extraneous, political questions."
Mr. Sumner replied:
R. PRESIDENT,-I am sorry that the Senator objects to this amendment. It is true, his objection is of form; but I venture to say that no such objection should be made to such a proposition, especially at this stage of the session.
In moving it now on an appropriation bill, I follow approved precedents. There is no rule of order against it; nor is there any rule of usage. On the contrary, it is in conformity with both order and usage.
The Senator wishes to keep the Appropriation Bill free from extraneous matter. But this is not sufficient
reason for excluding my amendment, unless the Senator is ready, for the sake of form, to sacrifice substance. If it be important that my amendment should prevail, and if at this late stage of the session it may be difficult to carry it otherwise, then am I clearly right in moving it, as I now do, and the Senator is wrong in opposing it. An appropriation bill is like a "through train," and while its special office is to appropriate money, yet it may carry anything required by the public good.
Why, Sir, there is hardly ever an appropriation bill that is not compelled to take passengers in this way. It has been so during the present session repeatedly; and if the Senator will read the "Statutes at Large," he will find that the usage has prevailed for years. It is no new thing. I do not begin it.
If it were necessary to furnish examples, I might point to my friend, the Senator from New Hampshire [Mr. HALE], who gained one of his proudest triumphs in this Chamber, securing to him the sympathy and gratitude especially of sailors, by moving on an appropriation bill the abolition of the lash in the naval and commercial marine of the United States. Had he been driven to wait a special act for this purpose, I fear he would have been waiting to this day. And the example of the Senator has been followed by the Senator from Iowa [Mr. GRIMES], who, on an appropriation bill, moved and carried the abolition of grog in the navy.
But I am not without personal experience under this head. I trust that I shall not take too great a liberty, if I adduce it even in detail. I was chosen to the Senate for the first time immediately after the passage of the infamous Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. If I re