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IT APPEARS to be a settled fact that the great issue in the approaching campaign will be that of the tariff. A full and reliable knowledge of the actual workings of the different tariff systems that have prevailed in this country since 1783, should and will enable us to decide this issue intelligently. To aid in so desirable a result, this history has been written. This it has not been difficult to do, so far as materials are concerned, for they have been rich and abundant; but it has required much careful scrutiny and labor to select and arrange these materials.
Many books, countless documents, and numerous official reports, all of the highest character, both of our own and of foreign nations, have been examined, and some of their richest treasures appropriated. The facts set forth in the following pages are accessible to all who will take the time and pains to search through the great mass of books and documents in which they are recorded.
Only a few of these facts are introduced here : for to present fully all the facts pertinent to a complete American Tariff History would require several large volumes; but the facts I have stated can be relied upon as authentic.
The author earnestly begs one favor of every reader, viz : Please read the statements and facts given in this little book carefully and without prejudice. Disprove them, answer them, if you can do so honestly and logically ; not by theorizing, but by other solid facts ; but if you cannot thus refute and overthrow them, then believe them and work and vote as an honest man should.
D. G. HARRIMAN,
New York City. NEW YORK, February 15, 1892.
A Patriotic Work.
All students of Economic questions, all persons interested in the discussion of the Tariff which so vitally affects the commercial interests of our country should read what the foremost writers of the world say upon these subjects, in the documents published by the American Protective Tariff League. These documents are short, terse and to the point. They are interesting and instructive, and embrace discussions of all phases of the Tariff question. The League publishes over fifty different documents, comprising nearly 700 pages of plainly printed, carefully edited and reliable information. Among the authors of these documents are:
Hon. James G. Blaine.
partment at Washington. Commodore W. H. T. Hughes.
Hon. E. A. Hartshorn, of New York
This complete set of documents will be sent to any address, post paid, for Fifty (50) Cents. Address, Wilbur F. Wakeman, General Secretary, No. 135 West 23d Street, New York.
In order that there may be no misunderstanding between the reader and the writer of the following pages, relative to the meaning of certain terms and phrases, it may be well to define them here.
A TARIFF is a system of duties imposed by the government of a. country upon goods imported or exported.*
There are but two kinds of tariff in the United States :
A FREE TRADE TARIFF + is simply a tariff for revenue only ; and revenue derived therefrom is intended for governmental expenses exclusively. It is the system which is in operation in England. Since it is designed for revenue only, its duties are nearly all levied upon articles (except luxuries) that are in great and certain demand. It so happens, that the articles thus levied upon (except luxuries) are constantly required by the common people in their household economy, and that they can not be raised or produced profitably at home, such as tea, coffee, etc., etc.; and therefore, cannot come into competition with home productions.
A PROTECTIVE TARIFF not only provides revenue for the expenses of the Government; but, also, so discriminates its duties that they are levied principally upon imported articles that come in direct competition with home industries, and so adjusts the rates that such competing foreign productions cannot be placed upon the home markets at prices less than the fair and reasonable home-market price.
By this means the high wages of our home laborers are maintained, and need not be reduced to the low level of cheap foreign labor ; and under this tariff, articles of necessity for the common people in their household economy, and which cannot be raised or produced profitably at home, are admitted free of duty, such as tea, coffee, sugar, etc., etc.
* In the United States there is no duty on exports. + Nowhere on earth does actual and literal free trade exist between
civilized nations, by virtue of which all custom houses, revenues and revenue officials, have been wholly abolished ; nor has it ever existed in that form between two such nations.
An able writer on Protection says : “All the prosperity enjoyed by the American people—absolutely all the prosperity, without any reservation whatever—from the foundation of the United States Government, down to the present time, has been under the reign of protective principles ; and all the hard times suffered by the American people, in the same period, have been preceded, either by a heavy reduction of duties on imports, or by insufficient protectior ; thus refuting all free trade theories on the subject.”—D. H. MASON.
I will not here state whether or not I agree with this statement; but it is my purpose in this treatise to give inquiring readers an opportunity for judging for themselves whether or not the foregoing statement is true ; and I shall do this by no labored argument of mine, but by an
HISTORICAL STATEMENT OF FACTS in our Colonial and National experience, which, in themselves, may constitute an argument at once convincing and irresistible.
The proposition which I have quoted above is an exceedingly important one; for, if it be true, then we have discovered the correct principle of economic action, for our nation at least; and the one which should be made plain and clear to all our people to the end that protective principles may become the settled and permanent rule in our economic policy. And if it be false, the sooner its falsity is proven, the better ; for then we can take our reckonings anew, and start afresh in search of the truth.
Let us carefully examine the facts, and let them determine which is true.