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Those Distressing Times

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The good old democratie times dur is: the reign of Buchanan, when cows fiuid for $2 earU and a calf was ashamwf to look ht-r mother in the face, have been beaten in Iowa, where horses have been recently sold for 50 cents each, halters thrown in. - Detroit Journal. A statement lilee the abore betrays either a lamentable ignorance of the industrial history of this country or an intentional eiïort to mislead. In either case it is unworthy of a reputable journal. Assertions of this character, concerning times too remote for the personal recollection of the present generation are, however, a favorite resource of moulders of protective sentiment. That they are not historical facts, but the creations of fertile imaginations, does not matter so long as they pass current. This particular paragraph is supposed to relate to the low tariff period of 1846 to 1860 - the nearest approach to free trade this country has made since 1816 - and implies a connection between the alleged hardship and distress of those times and the present depression. The defenders of the protective system proceed upon the assumption that our greatest achievements in nalional wealth and prosperity, our advances in civilization and our iacreases in population have been due to the policy of protec ion, and thot periods not characterized by this policy have been marked by national paralysis, by stagnation and distress, by declining prices and increasing pauperism. Upon this assomption rests the burden of their case; and with this analysis in view we may with profit compare the fourteen years, 1846-60, with any period of equal duratión under the highest tariff the high priests of protection have had the audacity to fashion. Measured by any standard of success that comparison is favorable to the low tariff era. During that time we made a greater percentage of increase in population, in wealth, in the value of our exports, and enjoyed higher prices, more general prosperity and a more equitable distribution of the products of labor than at any other period in our history. Our increase of population from 1846 to 1860 was 50.9 per cent. From 1866 to 1880, the first 14 years of superlative protection, that increase was only 39.8 per cent. Froin 1SS0 to 1S90 the iucrease was ónly 24 84 per cent. The exports of 1846 were valued at $101 ,7 18,042 ; those oi i8ío solíi for $316,242,425, an inervase of over 300 per cent. The exports of 1866 brought $337,5x8,102, a gain of only sixteen ruillions in six years. Those of 1880 were valued at $823,946,353, an increase of only 244 per cent, during 14 years of the unalloyed blessings of protection. liad the rate of increase during the soj called free trade period been main: tuined, the exports of 1880 would j have brought this country $ 1,047, 812.000. ín 1893 the protectivc policy culniinated in a dlsastrotis crisis, with the year's exports valued at only $831,030,785, an increase of a fraction over one per cent, in 13 years. Again, if the ratio of 184660 had been maintained, the exports of 1893 should have sold for $3,143,436,000. In 1846 we had 4,930 miles of railway; 111 1860, 30,626 miles - a gain of 622 per cent. during this period of alleged prostration. The mileage in 1874 after 14 years of republican rule was 72,385, a gain of only 238 percent. In 1888 after another 14 years of protection the mileage was 156,168, an increase of 215 per cent, Those distressing times of democratie free trade lose nothing by the comparison in this line of progress. The farmer has alwaysj'been an object of solicitude to the party of prottrction. It was solelj in the interest of a home tuarket and good prices for farra producís that tariff taxes were levied. As they paid the soldier in 50 cent greenbacks they are now paying the farmer -antli 50 cent wheat and ten cent wool. We have taken the trouble to comprle a tableof theannual average gold price of staple agricultural producís in the New York market for each year rom 1S46 to 1860. A careful study of this data and a comparison with any 14 years since the war may prove instructive to those farmers who still cling to the idea that a protective tariff is designed to benefit the farmer. The attention of such is especial ly directed to the conrse of wheat, wool and cotton. I he fifty-third congress accomplished a great deal for which it gets no credit. Ia ordinary times any of the three great raeasures passed by that body - the repeal of the Sherman law, the repeal of the federal election law, and the passage of the tariff bilí - would have been considered a fair measure for one congress. Many congresses have done less without exciting comment. But these are not ordinary times. The fifty-third congress was first called together in the midst of a panic, when the public pulse was at a fever heat, to devise remedies for a condition of things for which they were in no wise responsible. The public was not disposed to wait for cool deliberation. But evils which have been growing for a quarter of a century cannot be remedied in a hurry, and this should be considered in summing up the work of the body just adjourned. The government estímate of the quantity of wheat in farraer's hands ip this country is 75,000,000 bushels, or a trifle over 16 per cent. of the last erop, and 39,000,000 bushels less than estimated last month. The explanation for this small amount in farmers' hands is found in the fact that large quantities have been fed to hogs and other stock. Returns from North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas indícate unprecedented exhaustion of last year's erop, correspondents in many counties reporting not enough on hand for spring seed and necessary food supply. The new anti-Iottery law passed , i 11 the closiög hours of the last congress, maker, it still harder for the j lottery companies to do business in : the United States. Not only are they absolutely shut out from the United States mails, either for the delivery or receipt of postal matter, but cxpress companies are prohibited trom carrying lottery matter between states or from a foreign country into this country. The appropriation by the last congress of $20,000 for the expenses of a baard of civil engineers to inI vestigate the feasibility of the Nicaragua canal scheme will give the next congres some reliable data when it comes to consider that matter. The legislature is providing the suprerne court with plenty of work. Jusiicc McGrath cannot be spared trom that body. It is the tiuty of every citizen who believes in maintaining the high character of our suprerae court to go to the polls and cast a ballot for Justice McGrath.


Ann Arbor Argus
Old News