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Colfax And Protection

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The Chicago Trilime, llopublican, thus critxises the dtfcute of thu nroteotivu ftystem mudo by Colfax iti his recsnt S.m'li Úoud, speech, as follows : "He aisuined two things wiiich wc aro not preparad to adoiit - fust, that n protectivo tariff causes tho rale of wages to be higher thau it would (.therwiso bo ; and, secuud, thal manufacturera fíeiierally prosper more, aud iucrease faster, under a protective thao a reverme turiff. Ah regards both these piopositions, we refer tho Yiee-President to the era begiouiog with tho ycar 1816 and euding with the year 1SG1. Duriogthis period of üisteeii years wo had what was eailed by the Whig party, to which Mr. Col?x belouged, a "fieo tiado taritf." Now tho rate of wages is high or low, accoidiDg to the auiount ol money which the laborer can save over and above his expeusca. If he.gets one dollar per day, and gaves fifty conts, tho actual rato ot wagos is higher thao if he gets fivo dollars per day and gavea culy twenty five cents. What are tho facts ? Mr. Colfax (juotes with approval sonio extracta fiom tho report of Coniniissioner "VVells. We will, tbcrcfore, cite liim to page 14, in tho report of the Conimissioner for 1S69, wbere ho provea that tbc average increass in the cost of living siuoo 18G1 Las been 78 per cent., while tbc average increisa iu the rate of woges has been CO per cent., and for unskilled laborera 50 per cent. That ia to say, the rate of wages is not bo high now as it was uuder tha "freo tracle tariff" which prevailed in 18G0-CI. The reason why the cost of living liai increatsed faster than the mto of wnges. leaving the laborer relatively worse off thau he was before, is obvious euough. Taxea are higher. Taxes consist of duties, imposts, and excises, internal and external. Thcy embrace, first, what the government colleets by its interna! revenue officers ; Reeoud, what it oollects at its custom houses; third, what it diablos private individuáis aud corporations to collect for what is muoalled "protaclion." Taken togothcr, they aro assesBineuts upon, and Bubtraaüoni froin the aggregate earnings of the people. Government itsclf has nothing but what it ctllects from the BDDual produotion of the country. Nor confer auything upon one class or interest without ürst taking it from nll tho rest. Cali it encourngement, protectiun, or what you picase, it maans property, capital, accumulations - hat which gomehody lias carnee!. It differs in no respect fnm other taxes, except in the muthod ot its colleotior., and the destiuation wliich it takes. If the government should collect $500,000,000 per annum from the people, and hui, il over a portiou of it to Mr. A, os a premium for his laudable efforts at makiüg iron ; to Mr. B, as a reward for his suuoess in making clotli; to Mr. O, as a bounty for bis patriotism in boiling salt, and to Mr. 1), Mr. E, aud Mr. F, for their exertions iu other branches of business, the effect wo'jüd be the same as that of a protective taiff. Then, when it should be found, after a trial of ten years, that the net earnings of laboring reen had been decreased, it would uot be difficult to eee that onc of tho causee, at least, had been excessivo taxation. That is what in the matter now. That is the reason why the rute of wages, compared with tho eost of living, i lowEr to-day than it was in 18G0. Mr. Colfax eclccts the ar! iele of pig iron to provo thnt inauufuotnrers have prospercd greatly since 1861. It is true that the productiou of pig iron han increased very larguly. Mr. Colfux is Ufcdoubtmlly aware that, for toveral year3 past, tlio govornmeut h:is been Btimulatiug the productioa of pig iren, not only by a probibitory tariff, hut bv donatiug its public lauda by nilons of aores to railroad compatiies, upon the express condilion that they (hall me ouly Aacrican irou. In other words, w have been tracsmuting1 the public dómain iüto pig iron. It vvoild be surprieing if the production of tliat trtiole undor such exciting itimulants, Lad not largely Dcreased. But the Americau people have paid for all tbis iron niue dollars per ton in gold more than it w:is vrorth ; and every branch of manufac tures to whioh pig iron is araw material has been coireRpondingly depresaed and dieoouraged, as Conmiissioner Wells has repeatedly shown. Nor is it true tbat manufactururg goncrally havo prosperad more than they did during the Bixteeu yeari prior to tho ennctinent of the Morrill tariff. Thofo brnuches which have obtained an advantage over the others in the framiug of the tariff luw?, Buch as the blanket and caipet manufaclurerg, may have got ahead faiter, hut they have done so only at tho expense of others Advantage msans mooey, property, earnings. It does not deseend t the ftivored individua's on moonbeams. Somebody has to produce it, and the disadvantsge to him who pays it is in no case Ices (but it muy bft moro,) than tho advantago to him to whom it is paid Mr. Colfax tclls us, that if all tbis pig iron had been importcd, we should have been obliged to pay it i:i gold ! JJid we pay for our four hundred millions of imports last ynar in gold ? No, we paid for theiu with our own products. 1 inving two or three States aud severa] Territories eugnged in the production of gold and silver, we exported just as much (and nr more) of thoso metáis, as it it was more profil abla for u to export than to rotain. The "mercantile systuuj,:; which Mr. Colfax eecms anüious to revive, was based upon the idea that all nations ehould stiivo lo get gold and silvor nway from each other - a fystoni which was put to sloep, by commoD oonueiit, half a centuiy ugo, and which, we hope, our cxoellcnt Vice President will not awaken from its long repose. The biography of a Western Senator doses in the followiug st vlo : " Ho cannot propel himself through tho muddy pool of politics at a higher rato of speed thon that of a rudderletis pollywog tbrough a kcttlu of cold niush."


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