Pictures and Illustrations.
To the Toiling Hand.
Or in the field or mine;
Or by the harnessed fire or steam,
Or on the heaving brine.
Whatever loom, or bark, or plow,
Hath wrought to bless our land,
Or given around, above, below,
We owe the toiling hand.
It breaks the stubborn sward;
It rings the forge, the shuttle throws,
And shapes the social board.
It conquers clime, it stems the wave,
And bears from every strand,
The sweetest, best of all we have, —
Gifts of the toiling hand.
Striking for Freedom's cause;
Emancipation from the power
Of Wealth and unjust laws;
God give it strength, against the few
Who rule but to be bribed,
And speed the cause to which this page
Is earnestly inscribed.
Chapter I. Auntie Monopoly to Her Poor Relations, Greeting.
Having followed the standard of AUNTIE MONOPOLY from the time of her first great victory over the Corn Laws, I am happy in being assured of my revered relation's continued respect and confidence. As a tried and trusted Poor Relation, I am honored with a commission as envoy to other Poor Relations, and her adherents everywhere, bearing glad tidings of the progress of the cause, and her best wishes for its continued success. Doubt and uncertainty disappear day by day, and agriculturists approach a clearer and more intelligent understanding of the Economic Problem. A movement having for its object the
16emancipation of a people from the slave power of the Monopoly system, has already captivated public opinion and bids fair to become the most popular movement of the day. In your intelligent efforts to escape the evil consequences of the monopoly system, day by day, you are acquiring a more definite conception of the remedy to be applied. This steady advancement of thought is not limited to the State of Illinois, where my relative was first offered shelter from the sneers and gibes of bloated and protected Capital. The organization of "Granges" is proceeding with gratifying rapidity in all sections, and in all states. As they multiply, thought and inquiry are stimulated, and sophistry gives way to established truth. To help this on, my Aunt has directed me to compile and prepare from the best sources, all that has the slightest bearing upon the subject, and to send the result to you in a form convenient alike for study and preservation. Her fervent prayers go with "Grains for the Grangers" with the hope that they may yield an abundant harvest, when Elections call the producing classes to the field.
Auntie Monopoly would impress upon your mind that knowledge is power. Ignorance and poverty are the props of tyranny and oppression. Ignorant men are generally credulous, and readily influenced by positive assertions when uttered by men of property and position in the world. It often happens that the intellects of poor ignorant men are confused and blunted through the mere presence of those whom they regard to be great and good. Hence they are often the victims of well-tutored knaves, who have
17won enough of popular approbation to hold some office. They become the playthings and support of demagogues, who, while pretending to devote their time and labor for the common advantage of those who constituted them, are only attentive to their own selfish interests. The difference of mental efficiency between a child and a man, depends more upon the inexperience and want of knowledge of the child than upon the greater age of the man. Those who are inferior in experience and information are children, no matter about their age; in conflict with the highly cultivated minds of educated men, they must always be beaten, especially where they are also opposed by selfish, dishonest pretensions.
It is a duty and a privilege of every American citizen to express his views on all points affecting the common good or interests of all classes. While he is bound to bow in obedience to all laws in existence, he may attempt to point out their errors, that they may be corrected. Even when his opinions are wrong, they may be expressed advantageously to himself, because discussion will elucidate and bring out the truth and render it manifest to all, or at any rate, to the majority.
In presenting her compliments to Uncle Sam in these pages, Auntie Monopoly would not be so rude as to withhold a word in defence of Congress. It is its custom to rely on the reports of committees and the heads of bureaus in the executive departments, especially upon technical points. If the heads of bureaus be feeble, prejudiced, antiquated men, with personal interests in personal schemes, destitute of the
18spirit of progress which is characteristic of our age and country; or men who are only capable of imitation and of following the precedents of other nations; or men so conservative that they naturally oppose all change and improvement, it is to be anticipated that Congress and the Executive himself will be often led astray, in spite of the best intentions. It is time that the capabilities and qualifications of heads of bureaus should be scrutinized, and where they are found corrupt or incompetent, even in a moderate degree, more efficient men should be substituted. The dominant party has promised this scrutiny and fed your impatience with subterfuge. Rings of men seek to control and do control the party in many districts for plunder and only plunder. There are many great, good and brave men in the Republican party, who seem appalled at the corruption of the times — perfectly helpless in their protestations. The corruptionists long ago seized the forts and batteries, — the papers and party organs with a few exceptions — and the most of the offices. It is useless and dangerous to fight against such things inside of a corrupt party. Just as dangerous and hopeless as it was for Southern patriots to remain and resist treason in the bosom of the South during the rebellion. To speak out, is political degradation and inquisitorial proscription; to keep silent lest the party may suffer, is voluntary slavery. Hence true reformers assume an independent attitude in politics, applauding the right and condemning the wrong in men and in parties.
My Aunt trusts that you will be warned in time against the deluge of advice that will sweep upon you
19from all quarters. You will be tendered more of this porridge than was the negro before and since the war, or the monopolist Joseph, when he went into Egypt to secure a corner on grain. A monopolist governor thinks you should mind your own business and let politics alone. All present and prospective candidates for office within party lines, agree with the monopolist governor. Every big and little postmaster will urge you to let politics alone. Every court-house ring, and cliques composed of little big men in villages, are sure that you should steer clear of politics. The organs too, the little penny whistles through which refuse party wind escapes, being but echos themselves, repeat the cry. My Auntie asks in her modest way, how you are to reform an abuse, if you let politics alone? How punish the Credit-Mobilier thieves, and back-pay grabbers? How reform the currency, revive commerce, open markets and force cheap transportation? How reach the Tariff and other monopolies? How accomplish any tangible or valuable result? It is not your aim, Auntie Monopoly adds, to parade griefs and outrages without doing something to remedy them.
A strong, able and well-directed opposition is almost as important to the success of a free government, as a worthy and competent administration. Government by one party, unrestrained by any apprehension of defeat, or nerved to new measures by a profound conviction that the very existence of the government depends upon the success of the dominant party, is always attended with danger. The people operating upon and Controlling and directing their
20government through the working of the representative principle, organization among them becomes unavoidable and as indispensable in politics as it is found to be in war. This necessity is not confined to a free government, for it is evidently only through an organization of their followers and retainers, that the Privileged Few ruling the many, and striving to perpetuate their own power, can succeed in securing the passive obedience of the inert masses, or in overcoming the open, but unconcerted and ill-devised opposition of numbers in any state. Again, it is as clearly only through an organization of themselves, that a free populace, by their delegates and representatives, are enabled to meet together and deliberate upon their affairs, and to devise and concert such action as their welfare demands. A free people who only delegate defined and limited powers to their government, usually require discussion and deliberation on their affairs prior to decision and action. For in order to enable any portion of a people to have a single representative, it is necessary to agree upon some one as a common choice. Now this certainly can only be effected by an organization. This organization necessarily becomes in such a case the basis of a party.
The "Granges" are made up of men of both parties and the most significant feature of the movement is the clearness with which it demonstrates the fact, that party lines are weakening and fading out. You have adhered to existing political organizations until they have fallen behind the requirements of the times. You demand active results from the party in power.
21You would compel Legislatures to acknowledge an allegiance higher than that of mere party, that you may be in a position to treat on something like terms of equality with that overshadowing monopoly which is everywhere putting the masses on their mettle. So long as the old party organizations are maintained, old party leaders and traditions must be supported. They are kept up solely for that purpose. This you do not want. The spirit of Reform will never find a practical embodiment until the professional politicians on both sides, with their Salary-grab, and Credit-Mobilier attachments, are dropped out of sight. You must take the matter in your own hands, regardless alike of Democratic and Republican parties as they stand. The process of new formation is recognizable in the Farmer's organizations, Auntie Monopoly conventions, and independent municipal and local combinations all over the land.
Your appeal is based upon justice and right. The great producing classes — Farmers and Mechanics — find themselves at the absolute mercy of the moneychangers. You are met by the money power at every turn. To the greedy it offers fortunes, to the ambitious, it tenders high office. Congressmen and even our chief magistrate grasp backward and forward to secure it, violating every trust that you have reposed in them. Unscrupulous "leaders" have long since sunk their love of country in their loyalty to party and the selfish gratification of their avarice or their ambition. The irrepressible conflict between capital and labor lies at the bottom of your movement — a
22conflict between the money interest and the producing interest.
Your Movement holds forth the only fair chance of saving the public morals and the public liberty. The obstacles in the way of success are fallacious legislation, and concentrated power of capital in the hands of the few. All depends upon intelligent and united effort among yourselves, and the prompt application of the remedy at the polls.
Galesburg, Illinois, July, 1873.
Chapter II. Origin of the Rural Order.
As readers both on the farms and in the cities, are growing curious concerning the great Rural Order, my Aunt is able to gratify, in some measure, this very reasonable and laudable curiosity.
In the year 1856, a wealthy citizen of Portland, Maine, departed this life, leaving a vast accumulation of real and personal property to an only son. When it is added that the family name was Smith, it need
24not be explained that the son was both learned and eccentric. Instead of a spendthrift, he became a chemist, and while experimenting with telegraph batteries, became possessed with the idea that he had a mission. While a renowned namesake — whom my Aunt is pleased to state was three generations removed from the main Smith — was busy perfecting a process by which figures on bank papers could be seduced from their original shape, the eccentric son came upon a secret which he conceived was to benefit the whole civilized world. Ceres appeared to him in a dream and commanded him to go among the western farmers and expound to them the saving truths of agricultural chemistry. Full of this benevolent project, he called upon Mr. Horace Greeley and obtained from that oracle, a few advance sheets of "What I Know about Farming," and a bottle of distilled rain water from Chappaqua. With these and a small carpet valise, he hastened to Mr. William Saunders, of Washington City. This gentleman was at that time the editor of an horticultural paper, but is now connected with the agricultural bureau, having charge of that department which prepares seeds in available packages for distribution by uncertain Congressmen, to the doubtful agriculturists of their respective constituencies. Young Smith consulted Saunders as to the mapping out of his lecturing tour and the best means of gathering his audiences. Unwilling that so young a plant should start in a new field that had already been copiously watered, he told him that the thing could not be done; the farmers were too isolated; he would save himself disappointment
25and mortification by staying at home and experimenting in his back yard. Pained at the young man's discomfiture, the cultivated seed vouchsafed a word of consolation. If he would become a pardoned criminal, a government defaulter, the hero of a filthy divorce suit, or a brother-in-law of the President, he would find his audiences everywhere, ready made.
History, never having tackled the Smith Family, does not mention that the advice was taken. It is however, known that the bulbous Saunders possessed himself of the young man's secret, and lost no time in turning it to his own advantage. He was at headquarters and knew how other interests were organized for both good and ill. They had the strength born of union. "In union there is strength," saluted the Saunders from the walls that hedged him about, and looked down upon him from shelf after shelf of agricultural reports. Why should not the agricultural interests secure strength through union? The Saunders revolved these things in the agricultural portion of its brain — consulted other seeds — and worked them out on paper. Thus, in the winter of 1867, was founded, in the city of Washington, the great rural order which is now making such a stir throughout the length and breadth of this land. Who shall say that its representatives shall not one day be summoned to Washington, there to treat with the enemy under a flag of truce?
The organization of this order, as described to my Aunt, is rather complex. At the base is the subordinate, local or neighborhood Grange. Above this,
26the State Grange; at the apex, the National Grange. The chief duties of the National Grange are, to collect and disseminate information for the benefit of the whole Order, and to place State Granges in cooperative communication, and to advise subordinate Granges with reference to matters of special interest. There are four degrees in the subordinate Grange — "Laborer or Maid," (according to sex,) "Cultivator or Shepherdess," "Harvester or Gleaner," and "Husbandman or Matron." On entering the State Grange, which is composed of the Masters of subordinate Granges, and such Master's wives as are Matrons, the fifth degree is obtained, which is known as "Pomona — hope." "Flora — charity," the sixth degree, is obtained on entering the National Grange, which is composed of the Masters of State Granges, and such of their wives as have taken the previous degree. "Ceres — faith" is the seventh degree, for which all members of the National Grange are eligible, after a year's honorable service. This degree has charge of the secret work of the Order, and is the tribunal for trying impeachments. As many well-informed and prominent Masons are members, the work of the Order is conducted with the utmost harmony and regularity.
The gentle reader will already have noticed that the "Patrons" are as free from the prejudice of sex as Miss Anthony herself could desire. One of the head centres is quoted as saying: "Suffrage for women is coming; we have the certain means of knowing that which even the press cannot find out. We have taken a broad stride in the world's progress;
27we have given woman her true place. We not only make her eligible to our highest office, but we have three places which only a woman can fill. You may call it the poetry of our order, but it is a part of the foundation as well as a principle, for no person can become a member until they have been consecrated and blessed by her hands." The ceremony of consecrating and blessing is so original, that it would be treating my Aunt very shabbily to abridge a syllable:
"On a remote platform," she says, "in the hall where the meeting is held, may be seen the three women whose charming hands must consecrate the new aspirant. The first is Flora, named from mythology. Her brow is bound with flowers, and if the proper season is at hand, they trail in garlands from her garments, which are as fleecy as the clouds. From the profusion before her she selects a specimen and presents it to the new accession. To the innocent young girl she presents a lily. To the juiceless old bachelor a sprig of rue. The woman who represents Ceres is usually a matron. Her ripe forehead is surmounted with a crown of straw, which is dotted with golden grain. She bestows upon the candidate a handful of her treasures, or, perhaps, an ear of corn, after her part of the ceremony is over. Last, but not least, comes Pomona, symbolic of the riches of harvest and autumn. A glorious woman she should be. When the candidate has passed her hands, nothing more can be done for him. He is a full-fledged Patron of Husbandry." We should add that, after these imposing ceremonies are over, and the business is transacted, the Grange resolves itself into
28a committee of the whole on having a good time — in warm weather, usually adjourning to out-doors.
If you ask my Aunt if this does not seem like child's play, or the manner in which Good Templars run the gilt-edged temperance business, she refers you to the railroad people, and to the politicians, who have opinions of their own upon the subject, suitable for the retail trade. The Order is rapidly extending over the Union. It has formed a home and habitation in twenty-six states and territories, and in twenty-one states there are state organizations. The number of Granges is roughly estimated at 5,147, with an average membership of 50, making a total membership which my Aunt thinks you may figure up for yourself. In Iowa there are 1,765 Granges alone, making an increase of over one thousand since January last. The Order is now receiving members at the rate of from three hundred to five hundred a day. It can afford to indulge, if it chooses, in very singular and even puerile ceremonies, without forfeiting its claim to respectful considation.
Socially, the Order has accomplished much good. Heretofore farmers, especially in the sparsely settled districts, knew little or nothing of each other; seldom came together, and were without the mental stimulant generated by the friction of mind against mind. The Grange brought them together. It was established for their benefit; they gravitated towards it, and soon the cohesive power of mutual kindness, good will, and interest bound them together to promote the common welfare. The isolation and comparative
29solitude which prevailed so largely, and tended to dry up the better feelings of nature, were succeeded by a regular convening of the farmers and their families, at stated periods, resulting in a better understanding of each other, and in enlarged views of men and things. There is, in consequence, more reading, more discussion, and more independent thinking. Improvements are being gradually introduced into the social department of the Order, rendering the meetings attractive and entertaining as well as instructive. The Grange room is a kind of moral club-room for the enjoyment of both sexes. There is much music in the ritual to enliven the ceremonies, and many of the Granges possess libraries for the amusement and instruction of its members. This, it is claimed, naturally has a tendency to prevent young men from leaving rural life, where they possess a comfortable competence, for precarious competition in the large cities. Every Grange pays into the national treasury $15 for a dispensation, receiving in return material which, at the lowest figure costs not less than six dollars, and consisting of sample regalias, manuals, song books, blank books, and in a word, everything essential to starting the Order. All the funds are deposited in the Farmers' Loan and Trust Company, in New York, where there is to-day a fund of over $20,000. When fifteen subordinate Granges are organized in a state, authority is granted to organize a State Grange, composed of masters of the subordinate Granges, who, in turn, elect their Master, and he becomes a member of the National Grange.
The National Grange was organized on the evening of Dec. 4, 1867, at the office of Mr. Saunders, on Four-and-a-half street, Washington City, between Missouri avenue and the old canal, by the election of the following officers : Master, William Saunders, of District of Columbia; Lecturer, J. R. Thompson, of Vermont; Overseer, Anson Bartlett, of Ohio; Steward, William Muri, of Missouri; Assistant Steward, A. S. Moss, of New York; Chaplain, Rev. A. B. Grosh, Pennsylvania; Treasurer, Wm. M. Ireland, Pennsylvania; Secretary, O. H. Kelly, Minnesota; Gate Keeper, Edward P. Farris, Illinois. Several of the persons from the states elected officers were not present, but were elected because of the interest they had manifested in the matter, and with the hope that they would serve. It was thought proper to elect the officers for a term of five years, since the majority of them had actively aided in establishing the organization, and having matured their plan of operations, desired a sufficient time to carry it out in accordance with their own preconceived ideas. Soon after a subordinate Grange was established in Washington, as a school of instruction and to test the efficiency of the ritual. This Grange numbered about sixty members. The first dispensation was issued to a subordinate lodge at Harrisburg, Pa., the second to a lodge in Fredonia, N. Y., and the third at Columbus, O. To-day the weekly bulletin of the Secretary shows the number of Granges to be as follows:
Chapter III. Ancient and Modern Monopolies.
Governments in the olden time, were instituted not for men, but for man. The patriarchs, as the head of families or tribes, had a monopoly of the government of their people, both civilly and ecclesiastically. The children of Israel demanded a king, thus admitting that they were not capable of self-government. The right of governing the many by the few, was a part of the Mosaic law, and has been the history of every people. Man has sought and now seeks to govern men either by the monopoly of blood or wealth, in every nation, whether kingdom, empire, or republic. Because they were not the few that governed the many, the pilgrims sought the wilds of America, and not for the sole reason that they could not worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences. Had they ruled, others would have been forced into the pilgrimage business. Undoubtedly honest in their religious belief, nevertheless they exercised more tyranny than their oppressors had done by acts of parliament. Not only did they desire a monopoly of the water and land of Massachusetts
33bay, but they claimed a divine right to get up a "corner" in religion.
It was not tax that caused the revolt by the colonies, but the establishment of custom-houses, an attempt by men born rulers — the blood monopoly of England, to derive a revenue from imposts. Long before men complained of taxation without representation, the revolution was a fixed fact. When George III. established a schedule of duties on imports, the assembly of North Carolina, Nov. 4, 1769, declared against the right of Great Britain to tax the colonies. In 1770 the "regulators" of that colony, whose headquarters were at Hillsborough, were organized. On the 16th of May, 1771, Gov. Tryon attempted with a force of state militia to suppress them. An engagement took place near Alamance Creek, resulting in the death of twenty-seven militia and nine regulators. This was the first blood shed in defense of the principle that men, and not man should govern. This republic is a child of accident. The colonies were loyal to the British crown. They were taught to believe in the divine right of kings to rule, and the birth-right of the house of lords to tax. Gage was received in Boston, May, 15, 1774, with an address of welcome, although the embassador of a king. In October, 1774, Washington said, "Not one thinking mind in America desired independence." In 1775, Jay expressed great abhorrence for the "claim of the few" for independence. "Our wish," said he," is that Britain and the colonies, like the oak and ivy, may grow and increase together." Samuel Adams wrote, "We will suffer indignities, rather than precipitate a crisis."
34Warren expressed himself as in favor of petition, and not a resort to arms. They had no "precedents" for violation. The call for the congress of 1776 was to "resolve." When the "declaration" was adopted some members hesitated to sign. Peace they desired although at the cost of freedom. To the wavering ones Rev. John Witherspoon, of New Jersey, said, "that noble instrument on your table which insures immortality to its owner should be subscribed — this very morning by every pen in the house. He who will not respond to its accents and strain every nerve to carry into effect its provisions, is unworthy the name of freeman. Although these gray hairs must descend into the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather they should descend thither by the hand of the public executor, than desert at its crisis the sacred cause of my country." Forthwith the declaration was signed by every member. With varying success, without knowing that the end would be a republic or a monarchy, the war went on. With the treaty of peace came the want of a government, not a confederacy, The revolution had been a success; would a republic succeed? what model should be adopted? like Rome? great through conquest and blood; Florence? where the people ruled; Venice? where the people had no voice; Switzerland? with a president for an ornament; or the republic of Poland, governed by a king; a federal government was established. The monopoly of birth and blood received its first lesson from the people. Men and not man was to govern.
The war of 1812 was fought and won against the monopoly exercised by England on the high seas.
The second declaration of independence was the war of the rebellion. Capital monopolized the labor of the slaves. The emancipation proclamation established the principle that labor and compensation must go together. An amendment to the constitution of the republic made that principle more binding and gave it the sanction of law. The first declaration was for white men; the second was for all men. Freedom under both was secured by the sword. You have announced the necessity of a third declaration — commercial freedom, emancipation from the slavery of monopolies, and personal independence. It is this declaration, that is briefly, and it is hoped, attractively discussed in these pages.
Labor is entitled to a fair share of the profits made by the use and combination of labor and capital. Capital is no more entitled to all the profit of labor and capital, less the wages paid to labor, than labor is entitled to all the profits, less the interest paid to capital. As wages are paid to labor, so should interest be paid to capital, and whatever is earned by joint and combined labor and capital above wages and interest, should be fairly divided between labor and capital. It is this monopoly upon which we would bring to bear the influence of an intelligent opposition. Our order is founded upon the axioms that the products of the soil comprise the basis of all wealth; that individual happiness depends upon general prosperity; and that the wealth of a country depends upon the general intelligence and mental
36culture of the producing classes. When we shall have successfully demonstrated our faith in all this by prompt and united action, monopolies will cease to exist. But that action must not falter or bend until the whole breed shall have been laid low. That blow will perhaps be the most effective for immediate good which is aimed at the monopoly of party and corrupt politics. It may reach our best friend or most respected relative; but it is a cause worthy of the sacrifice, and everything save principle must be put aside.
Chapter IV. The Pandowdies.
The PANDOWDY CLUB is an auxiliary to the Grange, flourishing more especially in towns, cities and business centres. It is designed for landholders, who entrust their farms, in the vicinity, to tenants, or representatives of the professions, who favor reform and sympathize with the producing classes in their great movement. It took its name from a New England dish — of the nature of a pot-pie — which flourished, like all good dishes, at an earlier day. It is the Young Men's Christian Association of the movement, and more ethical, perhaps, than agricultural in its character. It has received a new impetus
40since the Anti-monopolists charged all along the line, and whole evenings are now frequently given up to the discussion of matters pertaining to the best interests of the cause. The object is to harmonize new elements, husband strength, and enlighten members upon doubtful points. It indulges in essays, chess, cold tongue, conversation, raisins, poetry, debate, newspapers, agricultural publications, chicken salad, croquet, and the bringing about of social reforms.
A very interesting meeting took place at the Pandowdy Club Rooms last evening, and it is believed a condensed report of the proceedings will prove of interest to Pandowdies everywhere.
PROFESSOR JONES, of the Academy, presided. The minutes of the preceding meeting were read, approved, and ordered to their proper place in the Blue Book. The president then declared discussion in order, each member to choose his or her own topic.
The WIDOW MARTIN thought it strange that so many farmers' daughters had enrolled themselves as Patrons of Husbandry.
BACHELOR BLAND, of the "Dunn Farm," thought it was the first business they could get into, and the last they could get out of.
FARMER CRANE didn't like the words "Patron," "Patronage," and all that.
ELDER BROWN agreed with his friend. They are words that a free and independent people might well expunge from their vocabulary. The origin of the term "Patron" is disreputable. When a Roman patrician freed his slaves, he did not free them
41unconditionally. He retained certain feudal rights over them, in virtue of which they styled him Patronus, that is, Superior and Protector. Hence, in aristocratic England, after the feudal system had been abolished, the great men, who were then no longer the absolute lords and masters of the little ones, assumed the title of their patrons. The English masses, in the progress of time, became too formidable and too sturdy to be snubbed and buffeted with impunity, but they still continue to call the higher classes by a name that implies service on the one hand, and condescending favor on the other. We have imported the word into this country as a fitting one to be applied by the workingmen of America to the aristocracy of the purse. Away with it! To solicit "patronage" is to cringe, to "eat dirt," as they say in China, to crook the supple hinges of the knee, that thrift may follow fawning. Why, your upstart, mercenary politicians are telling you now that they are going to "patronize" the farmers! American workingmen sometimes so far forget their sovereign position as to boast of having "patrons" among people of standing. As if any man in this republic had any right to look down upon its intelligent workers, or it was seemly in any honest American toiler to call his fellow citizen and political equal by a name which the half-breed Latin helot — transformed from a slave to a client — used with bated breath and downcast eyes in addressing his former master. We have something too much of "patronage" in the United States, as we agriculturists can testify. Railways and Protective Tariffs are our "patrons," the
42scurvy politician says. From the government departments in Washington, down to the avenues of this inland town, toadyism kisses the feet of assumption, and profits by the contact of lip and sole. The social, like the political scale, has its regular gradations, — degradations were perhaps the better term — and class distinctions are more sharply drawn and more rigorously insisted on every year. We seem to be rapidly adopting the artificial, undemocratic, irrational, social classifications every year.
JUDGE BURTON wanted to warn the Pandowdies against conservatism in Politics, the enemy in a thin disguise. The establishment of monopoly and privilege is the birth of conservatism; and the sentiments which generate it would intuitively discover, and therefore favor and support the policy which is to furnish it with food. By conservatism in politics, no one pretends to mean the maintenance of the rights of the people, the preservation of the purity of the laws, or a scrupulous adherence to the restrictions and limits on power, but really nothing more than a policy which favors particular interests, and sustains peculiar rights or exclusive privileges in certain classes. Conservatism and consolidation naturally go together in our government. It is only through the exercise of implied, and therefore questionable and doubtful powers, which a strict construction of the Constitution places among the ungranted and reserved powers, that the Federal Government can invest any class or set of persons with any exclusive privileges or monopolies. The first step, therefore, in creating monopolies, is to expand the functions of
43the Federal Government into those of a more enlarged and unrestricted central authority, by assuming for, and consolidating in it, more than the granted powers. Thus is shown the natural harmony and alliance which exists in our government between the political principles of conservatism and those of consolidation. In Hamilton's philosophy of government, consolidation was a means and not an end. It is not, however, a necessary consequence that the same means would, in all countries and under every circumstance, lead to the same end, which is to strengthen and perpetuate the government, by allying with it, and keeping dependent upon it, great and powerful interests, founded on exclusive privileges — any special industry peculiarly fostered and protected.
ELDER BROWN. — Let us declare for Radicalism at once! [Applause.]
JUDGE BURTON. — Conservatives are often men of well-stored minds and extensive influence. But their habits of thought, their tastes, their imaginations, all unite to fasten their conviction to the must and fragments of by-gone years. The crumbling ruin, supported by the faithful ivy, instead of teaching them a useful lesson, becomes an object of pious adoration. Pondering over books, written time out of date, they catch glances of all the inspired wisdom that is not erased. From the alcoves of ancient cathedrals, they hear the loud-swelling tones of the organ, and imagine it is breathing in the music of the past. They love to linger amid the tombs of departed empires, and copying their inscriptions, blazon them forth as suitable constitutions for young and vigorous republics.
44They love the past with a fondness so devoted that they will embrace even the corrupting forms that lie enclosed within its sepulchres. To them the death knells of antiquity sound sweeter than the alarum bells of revolution. Disgusted with the present, actual condition of things, they hover around the past with feelings of melancholy, and gaze into the future with the gloominess of despair. They will maintain that every radical movement must necessarily be a destroying one, and must lead to the desolation of all that is fair and venerable in the works of past ages.
LAWYER MILLER. — Directly opposed to this conservative element which would keep the affairs of state in a condition of perpetual fixedness, is the radical element, which is constantly modifying, changing, reforming and improving the institutions of society. The principle, that because a thing exists, it should continue, is not a doctrine known in the creed of the radicalist. Wherever abuses need removing, he is ready to apply the remedy. From the pages of the past he draws the profitable lessons of experience. Instead of pining over the follies of modern innovations, as contrasted with the hoary glories of "the olden time," he erects, on the ruins of departed empires, the beacon light which is to point out to future nations the shoals and breakers that caused the ruin of those that preceded them. It is his pleasure to remodel whatever is capable of renovation. It is his mission to utterly destroy what time and decay have combined to render worthless for present purposes. He advances boldly and fearlessly
45to the work of reform — while the hand of innovation clears the rubbish from his pathway. Progress his aim, and "onward" his motto, he heeds not the alarming cries of his conservative brethren. They have warmed their hearts at the smouldering ruins of the past, while his own is gleaming with bright hopes for the future.
PEDAGOGUE PARKER thought it was time for a little story, and, obtaining consent, went on: The people of Rome, said the pedagogue, contended against the tariff laid upon corn and salt, and by their repeated "agitations" caused the repeal of the law laying that tax. Let us look, for a moment, at one of their mass meetings. On the Campus Martius all the masses of Rome are assembled, and the excitement among the millions is intense. That sea of human heads is swayed to and fro; low murmurings and bitter invectives come upon the ear like the voice of many waters. What meaneth these things? The appellant to reason mounts the rostrum, and addresses the multitude: "Men of Rome, there are five hundred nobility among you, who dash through your streets with the utmost splendor, who own the principal parts of your city, who have slaves by the hundreds and country seats equal to a conquered province. These men are asking you for protection. They have laid a tariff upon the importation of corn and salt, the products of their plantations and their mines, that they may swell their already inflated wealth from your labors, and compel you all to serve them. You sir, the father of ten children, pay as much towards the support of government as the
46pampered, who, when he walks the streets, sends his slaves to clear the way before him. You sir, who build the roads of the republic, pay as much toward the support of the government, as your tyrants, who are treading upon your necks. You sir, who cultivate the earth that your oppressors may live; you sir, the mechanic, who build their splendid villas — you, all of you, pay as much toward the support of government as those for whom your lives are spent in labor, who spend their own lives rioting in luxuries and superfluities wrung by their laws, from your necessities. Shall these things be?" concluded the orator. The appellant to reason, in the ninteenth century may well ask — shall these things be? Are the millionaires and manufacturers among us in favor of Protection? Those who have the wealth and take the offices, have they not compelled every one of us to pay tribute to them to swell the millions in their coffers? Have they not laid a tax upon every article of wearing apparel that we use? Have they not laid a tax upon everything that they produce and we consume? And don't they want "Protection" to sustain their manufacturing interests, because they will not sustain themselves? Don't they talk loudly about justice and equality?
It is, indeed, sorrowful to realize that the people are contending for the same things now that they were three thousand years ago; that in the mighty warfare, in which we have engaged, we have made so little progress. But a glorious dawn is breaking upon us. The nations across the water, even heathen China and Japan, are moving onward in support of free
47trade. Let all who are not bowed down with sectional prejudice and party tyranny rejoice that commerce, throughout the world, shall be unshackled — shall be as free as the billows that bear it, and the breezes that waft it on.
FARMER ROBERTS. — I bid you be of good cheer, my brethren, for even England sends you greeting. In 1842, under the operation of corn laws and protective tariffs, Great Britain had been brought to the last stages of decay and penury, so that; Sir Robert Peel was forced to his measures of repeal and revenue reform by that menace of revolution which is the natural fruit of ruin, starvation, and despair. The interests of commerce, of agriculture, and of manufactures were equally desperate, and even the most sanguine economists feared that the overthrow of Protection finally consummated in 1846, had come too late to save a moribund commonwealth. But here is Mr. Gladstone, in a speech delivered at Wakefield, in 1871, telling us the wonderful story of how a state may be rejuvenated:
"In the course of thirty years the population of England has increased somewhere about twenty-five or thirty per cent., while the trade of the country has increased four hundred per cent. This extraordinary result is due also wholly to the effects of free trade"
Since 1860, say a dozen rapid and momentous years, the United States, the richest and most rapid in growth of all countries, has made no progress whatsoever, in proportion to the growth of population, and the consequent opening up of the country.
48Our shipping is completely ruined, and our exports are restricted to raw material entirely. Our agricultural interests, scarcely kept alive by the constant opening" of new soils, with their unparalleled richness and cheapness, have languished under a burden of taxation that has no equal, except that which destroyed the Roman Empire and has made a desert of the fertile plains of Turkey. Our manufactures, unnaturally stimulated by subsidies and tariffs of all sorts, are unable to stand alone, and stagger under the unreasoning patronage of those who claim to be their best friends. These things, say the Protectionists, are the unavoidable results of a long war and a heavy debt. But the elasticity of Great Britain has been in spite of a much heavier debt, and of many long wars. She has supported a debt nearly double ours; she has waged long and bloody and costly wars in India, in Europe, in China, at the Cape, and in Australasia; and she has constantly maintained, at home and abroad, a standing army of from 300,000 to 400,000 men. Give the people of the United States a free field for development, with peace, revenue reform, and economy and honesty in government, and a tax of Jive per cent, upon the annual increase on our material wealth — upon the mere surplusage of our annual profits — will suffice to pay the whole national debt in twenty years.
MATRON GARDNER. — I want to read part of a letter from my eldest daughter, Jane, who, you all know, was the best scholar at Miss Howard's seminary. She was back to the old home-place, near Belfast, in old Maine, some time ago, and went down to
49the ship-yards, of course. She pictures the contrast between Belfast as it was, in the old time, and when she visited it last. She said they told her there that the change was brought about by the operation of our ruinous tariff laws. Here's what she writes:
"Naturally our footsteps turned to the river bank, memory recalling at every step some incident connected with childhood: the huge white heaps of freshly curled shavings; the clean, new chips; the prettily turned trenails with which we used to play; the high, wide, lumber piles, where summer hours were dreamed away listening to the strange commingling of sounds that came borne from the hum of busy voices, the ringing blows of the workmen, the singing of the adjacent brook, and the idle lap-lap of the sea. All these, and the workshops where peeps were had into the mysterious depths of the brightly-colored tool-chests standing in long rows and filled to the brim with polished, shining, keen-edged chisels, saws, axes, files, planes and gimlets. What a change had come over the past! Shut up and removed all the pretty, polished tools; gone the active workmen, the busy voices suppressed; closed and unoccupied the various shops; rusted, blackened and decayed, all that was once bright, fresh and new. Only the sea remained, with its eternal whisperings and the long, black poles and ladders standing:
Reading their destiny.’ "
BACHELOR BUNCE. — If it isn't out of place, I would like to ask Matron Gardner, as to her daughter's age at this time.
MATRON GARDNER. — It is not for such as you to enquire into family secrets. [Laughter.]
S. M. SMITH, a master farmer, said: We need only point to the facts that in this beneficent country of unlimited resources, with the land annually groaning beneath the products of human efforts, the mass of the people have no supply beyond their daily wants, and too often are compelled from unjust conditions, in sickness and misfortunes, to become paupers and vagrants. Slavery has been abolished, but the rights and relations of labor stand just where they did before in respect to the division of its products. Capital is master and dictates the terms, and thus we are all practically slaves, our masters giving us just enough to enable us to live and produce another crop, from which they rob us as before. This ought to teach us that the interest of all labor is common, and they must fight the battle in unity if they succeed. The reason of this state of affairs is to be found in the fact that the legislation of the whole country is in the hands and under the supreme control of bankers, stock jobbers, land grabbers, and professional politicians, to the almost entire exclusion of those who produce the wealth and pay the taxes. To correct these and other abuses of the government, must be the purpose of our organizations. To do this we must not ask for artificial rights, or exclusive privileges, but demand protection in our natural rights.
MAJOR HARRIS. — That's it, sir, precisely. The trouble is in the legislation that favors capital at the cost of labor. In other words the protective system is the parent evil. The government functions have been used for the last dozen years to array one interest
51against another; to favor and "protect" capital at the cost of labor. We have allowed ourselves to be misled by cheap demagogues.
MERCHANT BOYD. — Our brother states a fact known to all the world, when he says that the legislation of the whole country is under the control of persons who seek to aggrandize capital at the expense of labor, and who shape all legislation to that end.
MATRON BOLUS. — And these are the men whom you call "leaders of the people!" Suppose you work them awhile in the rear rank?
FARMER CHURCHILL. — The inevitable effect of all "protective laws" is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The so-called "protection system" is but a system of legislative discrimination in favor of capital and against labor. Look at the "interests" that a paternal government "protects" in this free country, by its tariff laws, its special charters, shin-plaster banking acts, and its other modes of discriminative class-legislation! Tell me, farmer Jones, if there is a single one that is not in one way or another, in the interest of concentrated capital. Answer me, ye patient Pandowdies, if each and all of them are not "interests" in which capital seeks by arbitrary interference with natural rights, to establish by fallacious legislation, an inequality of privileges between men that have wealth and men who have not?
NOTARY BROWN. — Good again! Our brother Smith has given us the whole platform of free trade. "We must not ask for artificial rights, or exclusive privileges, but demand protection in natural rights."
52This is the sure ground upon which the right will eventually triumph, and I move that the words be embodied in our Declaration of Principles, and given a place in the Book of Ceres. [It was so ordered, by a unanimous vote.]
THE PRESIDENT. — I desire to add a word or two to those so ably spoken by Pandowdy Churchill. Whether the laws he mentioned be called tariff laws, subsidy laws, national banking acts, or special charters, they are all laws to establish inequality of privileges, to discriminate in favor of capital at the cost of labor. Here is a statement demonstrable by actual facts. The protective tariff law, which is but one of these discriminative laws, for every $200,000,000 of revenue derived by the federal treasury, takes from the earnings of labor, $300,000,000 and transfers it without any equivalent, to the earnings of capital. The little administration paper of our county, which champions this iniquitous robber-system, asks — "If this be so, why do not all men forsake the non-protected and embark in the protected occupations?" This is twaddle. Why does not the journeyman mechanic, earning by a week's hard labor, only enough to pay for what he and his family must consume in a week — why don't he, I ask, throw down his tools and set up a factory of his own, whereby, thanks to "Protection" he could get more in a day, than as a journeyman, he could get in a week? You farmers give three bushels of corn to get one bushel to market. Why plant and plow, when by going into the railroad business, you can get three bushels, with much less labor? The trouble is, you workers belong to the
53class that have not; the class from whom the robbery system says, shall be taken away that which you have, to enrich them that already have abundance.
This being the character and effect of the monopoly system, what Pandowdy can deny that the relations of labor to capital, are the same that they were under the slavery system? Under the "protection" or slavery system, capital is master, and labor is slave. What wonder that labor should demand free trade, which signifies emancipation from an artificially enforced slavery to capital?
MATRON MARKS. — We matrons and maids, are in favor of a revenue tariff of twenty-five per cent. A spool of thread now pays a duty of eighty-five per cent, and can consequently not be sold at wholesale for less than six cents; under a duty of twenty-five per cent it could be furnished at four cents. Brussels carpeting now pays a duty of sixty-seven and three-fourths per cent, and costs $2.10 a yard. Under a tax of twenty-five per cent, it could be sold for $1.58 — and so on, through the chapter.
A MECHANIC. — That reminds me! The enemy says the taxes on articles the poor man consumes, have been made as light as possible, and the highest taxes have been put on luxuries. Now, if the taxes were fairly adjusted, the poor man could have luxuries as well as the rich. I am under the impression that the poor man needs for his comfort, woolen cloth, cottons, shoes, hats, blankets, iron, etc., and if he gets sick, which he is as liable to as the rich, he wants medicines, Now let us see how the tax favors the poor man and "puts on the rich." On woolens, the tax is
54so high that the kinds used by the working class, cannot be imported, but on the finer quality, the duty is comparatively small. On cottons the tax is from thirty-five per cent, to fifty-two per cent, while on silks it is only sixty per cent.; on a wool hat it is seventy per cent.; on a walking cane it is thirty-five per cent.; on blankets, ninety per cent.; on shawls costing $100 and upwards, it is thirty-five per cent,; on salt, it is — or was — one hundred and seven per cent., on diamonds, ten per cent; on spool cotton, eighty-five per cent., on sewing silk, only forty per cent.. The enemy does not think medicine a luxury, but when a poor man is so unfortunate as to need it, let us see how "the tax favors him." If he wants quinine for the ague, he has to pay a tax of fifty per cent, while the manufacturer of it gets the bark from which it is made, free of tax, and pockets the difference. For a dose of castor oil, he has to pay more than double what he would, if it were not for the high tax.
THE PRESIDENT. — As it is getting late, I must ask the Pandowdy to finish the list at some future meeting.
THE MECHANIC. — Yes sir, it would take a month to enumerate all the instances where the taxes "are put on luxuries, and made as light as possible on articles used by the poor man"(?) [Laughter.] The hands employed in the manufactories of England, are better off to-day than our own, for their wages will procure them more of the necessaries of life, than the wages of our mechanics will buy here. Notwithstanding the wages here are nominally higher, hundreds
55who came here to better their condition, have returned to England.
MERCHANT MAPLE. — Before we adjourn, I would like to follow the mechanic with a few words about the cost of a hat: Mr. David A. Wells, in his exposure of the abuse of taxation, which it is the aim of the friends of revenue to correct, explains why the hat business does not flourish in the United States, and why the people pay more for hats than the people of any other country. He states that previous to 1850, the United States made cheaper and better hats than could be made anywhere else, and we exported one-seventh of our product. We had invented and patented a machine which formed and shaped the hat almost automatically. The present condition of the hat business is reversed. Novia Scotia, the West Indies, Australia, and other places which formerly bought our hats, now buy elsewhere. The price of hats has so increased that the American people wear fewer than ever before, the business has ceased to be prosperous, and of late years many manufacturers have failed. The cause is plain. The body of the hat is composed of fur or wool, separate or mixed. We import coney from Germany; and this pays a tax, if on the skin, 10 per cent, if cut from the skin, 20 per cent. The difference in the tax is for the benefit of one very prominent firm that cuts hatters' fur. They have a machine that does the work with little manual labor. That machine, though not patented, is secret, and for the exclusive benefit of its owners, a special tax of 10 per cent, is levied on all fur used in hat making in the United States.
If wool be used instead of hair, the most desirable kind is that grown at the Cape of Good Hope, because of its peculiar felting quality, and on this wool the manufacturer pays a duty of 100 per cent.; the silk lining, 60 per cent.; the silk ribbon on the outside is taxed 65 per cent.; the inside leather, "sweat-band," 45 per cent.; while the hat itself, if made in Europe, where the manufacturer pays none of those taxes, is admitted at 35 per cent., if made of fur, and if made of wool, at from 20 to 50 cents per pound, and 35 per cent. of its value.
The hat business is taxed to death. That once large and flourishing branch of manufacture is taxed out of existence in order to "protect" the owners of a knife, the grower of a distinct, and, for the hat business, a useless variety of wool, the manufacturer of an imitation ribbon, and some supposed American labor engaged in the manufacture of leather. To make American hats that will compete with the European in price, the wages of the hatter have to be reduced, in order to offset the taxes which the American manufacturer has to pay on the raw material.
Mr. Field, of the Frost Manufacturing Company, said: It is a historical fact that manufacturers have always — even from colonial existence, and without regard to protective laws — kept pace with the general development of the country. We manufacture less of some articles than we use, while we manufacture an excess of others. The surplus of one sort is exported, and the proceeds invested in those things of which there is a scarcity. It is precisely the same as regards the productions of the soil: we have a large
57surplus of some products, as grain, cotton, rice, etc., etc., while we are obliged to import sugar, tea, coffee, and many other articles. What we should do, as a nation, would be to engage only in those pursuits which will pay, and have nothing to do with those that require a bounty from other interests to make them profitable. If we can raise corn and cotton cheaper than we can manfacture iron and broadcloth, let's do so, and, like sensible people, exchange our surplus for what we most need. We now manufacture more than four-fifths of all the fabrics we use, but the protectionists would have all this and every other industry taxed for the sake of forcing the manufacture of the other less than one-fifth. In an economical sense this is the foolishest sort of folly.
Western manufactures extend and prosper, not only without government aid, but in spite of enormous burdens imposed by the government. Therefore those who would hasten the extension of such legitimate manufactures as properly belong to us, should demand the entire removal of all legislative restrictions.
Judge Dieterich. — We should not lose sight of the fact, that a civil polity, like the steam engine or telegraph, is but a convenient mechanism. The notion of its paternal authority and divine ordainment, is fast passing, with the jus divinam of kings, into merited oblivion. Government is, in its very purpose, a restraint. It is the organized power of the many brought in opposition to the depredations of the few. It is force called forth to counteract force, and like all other "self-defence," it is, at best, but a choice of
58evils. It is a contrivance not in the phrase of Blackstone, for the "commanding what is right," but for the "prohibiting what is wrong." Does it have its origin in an unfortunate necessity? To necessity, then, let its restricrions be limited. Is it designed to check the violent? To the violent alone let its penalties be applied. Every exercise of power beyond this is a wanton violation of right — as much so in a popular assembly as in a peerless autocrat. Mankind is slow to learn that the world is too much governed. Even in our own wise and happy system, we have not distinguished, with sufficient watchfulness, the legitimate boundaries of government action. A pure democracy does not consist in the unquestioned might of a majority, but in the protected right of all. The majority must rule, of course, but not with a rod of iron. The true object of a popular government should be "the greatest good to the greatest number," and this greatest, widest welfare is secured only by carefully restricting the sway of the many to that particular range of exercise which is neccessary for the safety of the whole.
The President. — As the Pandowdies are beginning to scatter some, perhaps the club had better adjourn. Ah! Matron Pease!
Matron Pease. — I aint as learned as the Judge, but I know some things as well as other people. The postmaster's daughter says that weak women have no business in a farmer's club.
"Weak women" indeed!
By what laws of comparison do we infer that a woman who can stand at the ironing table ten hours
59a day, with the thermometer at ninety-eight degrees in the shade, her stove on full draught, and the windows closed, lest the irons cool, cannot practice the stonemason's trade for lack of physical strength?
Ought not any woman who is able to be her own nursery-maid to be able to harness a horse?
If field work is more exhaustive to the system than house and dairy work, why is it said that two-thirds of the women in our insane asylums are farmers' wives?
How does it happen that a woman has not the "physical strength" to follow the carpenter's trade, who is able to take in washing for a living?
How much more muscle is needed for lifting ladders and adjusting joists, and striking nails, than for wringing blankets and scrubbing overalls?
Did it ever occur to you that the woman who can sweep a room, can drive an omnibus? That the dust she takes into her lungs, on Saturday, may possibly be as injurious to them as the oversight and lifting of trunks which would fall to her in the character of a baggage-master?
What is to prevent the woman who can faultlessly superintend the "house-cleaning" of a large establisment from qualifying herself to be an "able and lady-like" railroad conductor, or a clerk in the post-office? The postmaster don't like farmer's clubs, which annoys our organization very much indeed.
Postmasters seem to have it very bad all over the country. [Applause.]
Chapter V. Economic Progress.
It is worthy of remark, that nearly all the books published in the United States upon Political Economy, or its several branches and collateral issues, are on the monarchical side of the question, inculcating individual dependence upon government aid in all the active pursuits of life. A large majority are by mere theorists, who have apparently imbibed a superficial notion of the subject they attempt to handle, from English authors, and this dependence upon English ideas is a lingering remnant of our colonial condition. Happily, however, the nature of our institutions, the circumstances attending the first settlements of the country, the character of the people and of their relations through a long colonial servitude to the mother country, all conspired to foster a determined self-reliant independence. This was entirely at variance with the theory of government supervision of individual concerns, The great evil which besets the people of Europe at this moment exists in the fact
61that the centralization of the government has been carried to such perfection that the chief executive interferes with the most minute transactions of village economy. In Europe, all the enterprise of the people receives its impulse from the central head. Those few and unimportant branches of industry which the government can "protect" by conferring monopolies maintain a sickly existence, without energy and without progress. Those occupations, which embrace four-fifths of the people, and for which government can do nothing, but which are the victims of the "protection" granted to others, languish in hopeless misery. The large majority of the agriculturists of France, and many of those of the British Islands, used, until recently, implements that were common to the Romans. There has been little or no progress, and chiefly because the theory and practice of the governments have been guided by the "protective" principle. From the earliest settlement of the United States, the principle of "association" has been the means of progress. It has overcome the greatest difficulties and attained the most surprising physical and moral results. While in America few think of requiring the government to undertake individual business, in Europe none think of any other means of attaining a desired object. De Tocqueville gives an instance of this difference:
"The first time I heard in the United States that a hundred thousand men had bound themselves publicly to abstain from spirituous liquors, it appeared to me more like a joke than a serious engagement; and I did not at once perceive why these temperate citizens
62could not content themselves with drinking water by their own firesides. I at last understood that these hundred thousand Americans, alarmed by the progress of drunkenness around them, had made up their minds to patronize temperance. They acted just in the same way as a man of high rank who should dress very plainly, in order to inspire the humbler orders with a contempt of luxury. It is probable, that if these hundred thousand men had lived in France, each of them would singly have memorialized the government to watch the public houses all over the kingdom."
This idea of looking to Papa government, is the ground work of the protective system, and that system carried out to its extent would inevitably throw into the hands of government, all the business of the country. The existence of this strong individuality among our people, has preserved them against the influence of that manufacturing aristocracy which was called into existence by the war of 1812, and was one of the lasting evils of that war. The oppression which the colonies suffered from the mother-country for long ages, produced too strong a feeling among the colonists adverse to the protective system, of which they were too evidently the victims, for them to be cajoled into the idea, that it was doing them good. Hence, on the first emancipation of the states, free trade was the rule, and the commerce of the country increased, while its capital multiplied in proportion. Manufactures were also coming into existence, under the operations of increasing demand resulting from agricultural prosperity, based upon a
63large export trade. Before, however, these manufactures reached a point which would supply the demand, the war supervened, and by cutting off foreign supplies, produced "war prices" for most manufactured articles. It followed that the capital of commerce, turned from its usual channel, was embarked in manufactures called into existence in an unusual manner. On the return of peace, the influx of foreign goods competed severely with those home-made articles, and the class interested in them, clamored for protection. It required the enactment of five tariffs and the lapse of more than thirty years, to do away with the evil influence of the protection then accorded. The manufacturing interest became active and persevering in its endeavors to perpetuate its privileges, and skillfully made use of the national feelings aroused by the war, to urge the protection of "home manufacture" against the British, and has succeeded by its means in building up a great and powerful monied aristocracy. All the writers upon this subject have, as we have said, espoused the cause of this aristocracy. It is always easier to fall in with, and flatter popular prejudices once excited, than patiently to investigate and develope a great principle from the clouds of ill-considered theories by which it may be enveloped. Whenever sound and practical men have treated the subject, a flood of light has been poured upon the operation of free trade.
The great mass of the people finally resisted the claims of the manufacturers. For a long time, the protective principle triumphed, but was finally brought to a direct issue and worsted in 1844.
During thirty years protective duties were imposed, and the manufacturers having the advantage of possession, declared that national ruin would follow a change of policy and a reduction of rates. The advocates of free trade were confident that one trial of low duties would set the matter at rest. In December, 1846, their tariff came into operation, and in two years, amid the adverse circumstances of a foreign war and political revolutions in Europe, it so vindicated itself as to be impregnable. Even manufacturers had reached a point where change would have been their ruin, and the weight of their influence went against a change.
There is no branch of the protective theory more insisted upon by its advocates than the "home markets" which manufacturers build up for farm products. In relation to this Barhydt remarks:
It is assumed by the friends of protection — who would build up factories because they believe the degree of intelligence among a manufacturing population would be higher than that of an agricultural! — that with the increase of the manufactures, nuclei of factories and manufacturing towns would be formed throughout the country, whereat neighboring farmers would find markets for their products, and receive commodities in exchange, with a saving to both parties of transportation. In order that the advantages assumed as contingent upon this state of things, supposing it to be attained, should be reaped, it would be necessary that the farms should remain as before, of small size, and disposed among a great number of proprietors. Such would not be the case. With the growth of the manufacturing town, the numerous
65small farms about them would consolidate into a few large ones. The small tracts of land would be gradually thrown up by their occupants, who would seek in the promising business of the towns those pursuits that would at first offer better apparent opportunities for improving their fortunes. As they were thrown up, they would be gathered into the hands of a fewer number of proprietors. No moral improvement would be experienced by those who changed country for town; and certainly no physical, in exchanging free play of muscle, with sunlight and pure air playing about them, for toiling within brick walls, imprisoned in cramped positions, to grow old in their early years. The change from small to large proprietorships in turning several small farms into a large one, would diminish the effective production in proportion to labor, which in agriculture is greatest when the proprietor says to his workmen, "come to the field," and smallest when he says, "go to the fields." Personal superintendence and the sense of ownership cannot be sacrificed without loss. In England, the proportion of small farms is much less than it was two and a half and three centuries ago, while her large manufacturing towns have absorbed the population. The example of that country is before us to avoid, not to imitate in any of its forms of protection and monopoly.
It is inevitably the case, that a community under the influence of protected manufactures, becomes aristocratic in the structure of its society. It is not worth while to point to the diminishing population of the agricultural counties of England, whence numbers migrate to swell the misery, crime and turbulence of the manufacturing towns. We can see in the operation of active causes in New England that the same
66state of things is being apparently produced in those regions. Before the construction of the Erie canal, and the railroads; before the protective system took root, and when Boston capitalists were free-traders under the able expositions of Daniel Webster, the prosperity of the New England farmers was great. In common with farmers of the valleys of the Connecticut and the Hudson, they supplied the old world with produce at fair prices. On the establishment of the protective system, the former lost their markets and became gradually impoverished. Their children from the position of substantial farmers, supplied the labor market. In the towns, as the avenues for western competition opened, the prices of produce fell, and farmers who could emigrate, removed to more favored regions? While the misery and poverty of those who remained, who continued to overcharge the labor market, and rates of wages fell. Mill owners hitherto endeavored to ascribe the evil to the tariff; but the fact was evident, that the supply of labor increased from the decay of New England's agricultural interest, while improved machinery enabled owners to make more cloth with a less number of hands.
The improvement of the condition of the poorer classes; that is, the more general distribution among them of the products of industry is the great problem in the solution of which the ablest heads and warmest hearts of Christendom are now en raged. The humblest reader must see that freedom of exchange is adapted to the promotion of this great result, and that restriction operates against its attainment. Nothing could be more ridiculous than the
67oft-repeated objection to free-trade, that low tariffs encourage importations to excess until we become largely indebted to other countries, and have to pay in specie, followed by a thousand and one bug-bears, that furnish excuses for loud calls for restriction, that trade may be confined within the limits of good behavior. As if trade was a madman that must be put into a straight jacket to force submission to certain conventional rules and regulations. Let us suppose that for a long term of years no such thing as a tariff existed; no person can possibly believe that trade would not regulate itself by the law of supply and demand. Because, indeed! that a tax to enhance the values of certain commodities did not exist, therefore, heedless of the limits of demand, individuals would be found so insane, as to periodically ruin themselves, by furnishing to the community, uncalled for supplies. It must be evident on the contrary, that the values and prices being less, more would be consumed; that, as when prices were higher, the supply would be furnished to meet the consumption, and no further.
No man labors without an object. All desire some comforts and means for which they give their labor and skill. To attain those objects, or the largest portion of them, for the smallest amount of labor, it is necessary that all should enjoy the most perfect freedom in exchange. We hear much of "the right to labor," which is little more than an unmeaning catchword of demagogueism. No man ever endeavored to hinder any labor; the whole effort has been through class-legislation, to make the many work for the few.
68But the opposition has always been to giving labor its just rewards. Those corporate factories, owned by millionaires, lolling on cushions of down, are said to "employ" labor. So they do, so long as they monopolize the larger portion of its results. When it is proposed that agricultural labor should exchange its products in any market that will yield the greatest returns, a voice from cushions of down and silken curtains goes up to Papa Congress, urging that labor should buy only at the corporate factories, which will yield only half the return. Congress complies, and new Wilton carpets deck the saloons, while fewer carpets manifest themselves in the cottage. The only way to ensure to labor its just reward, is to remove from it all the charges that are laid on its own productions, whether imposed upon what it receives in exchange for the support of government, or for sustaining any description of state policy, no matter by what plausible theory that policy may be vindicated. The expense of transporting produce to market, and of its proceeds in return, will always be regulated by the unerring law of trade, when left to unrestrained individual enterprise. Those arbitrary impositions that are governed by no law save the cupidity of the recipients, are they which must be abolished.
Chapter VI. The Liberal Grange.
"LIBERAL GRANGE, No. 1200," met in "Farmer's Hall," on Monday morning last, in response to an official call privately circulated by a committee composed of brethren of the "Seventh Degree." Delegates were present from nearly all the states, the Northwest being largely in the majority. The Grange met in executive session on the State of the Order, which the author deems a sufficient explanation for limiting his report to a brief mention of the various topics that came up for discussion:
MR. JAMES, of Bureau Co., Illinois, said, that evidence rapidly accumulating, went to show that the abolition of the free pass system, was not likely to prove a success.
MR. ROBINS, of Indiana. Because the benefits of issuing free passes are all on the side of the roads. The road that issues them has an advantage over the road that does not.
MR. MARTIN. — Yes, sir, I notice that the various lines are watching each other with the utmost vigilance, for fear that some of them may weaken at the knees.
MR. ARTHUR, of St. Louis, thought we ought to congratulate the leading press, for in refusing passes, it is sustaining its own dignity and increasing its revenues. The railway lines are the only parties at all injured by this abolition. Heretofore, these arrogant corporations purchased the influence of the press with a bit of pasteboard. Their time-tables were advertised, their annual statements published, and their faults glossed over, all for the petty privilege of a free ride. The emancipation of the press from this humiliating tyranny, cannot fail to prove a damage to the railways.
MR. JAMES. — Exactly. It is to the disadvantage of the railways to abolish passes. Every time they get a respectable newspaper to accept a pass, they receive dollars in a trade where they invest only cents. The more passes they can issue to newspapers, cheap judges and small legislators, the better for themselves. If a free pass will bring freight, they should issue it, just as they should use a greenback for the same purpose. I second brother Arthur's suggestion, we ought to thank the leading press. The roads have made a mistake in thinking that they granted favors in issuing passes. Some of them are discovering, that the issuing of passes was an excellent business investment, and not, as they supposed, a mere contribution to corporative courtesy. Some have now stopped the free pass business, others are sorry they agreed to tie themselves up. However they may settle it, the refusal
73of the press to receive them, will injure the roads, and benefit it in the matter of income, dignity and independence. Long live the anti-free-pass press!
[Voices: Amen! Amen!]
MR. CRATTY, of Peoria Co., Illinois. The republican party professes to be an anti-monopoly party, opposed to class-legislation of all kinds. Especially does it oppose the deadhead swindles, which the brethren have been discussing. I noticed a sample of the consistency of this party last week, while on the train from Tuscola to Champaign. Gov. Beveridge got on at Tolono; when the conductor came round, Beveridge very promptly presented a free pass, and was passed through to Champaign. I fail to see how Gov. Beveridge or any other public officer can have the cheek to deadhead it through the country on a free pass under the existing state of affairs. Such impudence is enough to shock the devil. Is the great state of Illinois such a pauper that she cannot pay her governor a large enough salary to enable him to pay his railroad fare, when he goes on business in the interest of the people; or does the governor belong to that class of salary thieves and Credit Mobilier bribe-takers, and therefore devoid of honor, honesty, or anything else that should be the distinguishing mark of a true statesman. The truth of the matter is, that the republican party is just now made up of thieves, bribe-takers, and monopolists, and we need not expect anything from their pretensions. Gov. Beveridge is one of the leaders in the party, and we are not at all surprised to see that he is a bribe-taker and accepts a bribe from a railway company in the form of a free railroad pass.
FARMER PARKS. — I am told the roads are playing a little game so as to make the attempted legislation against their "vested rights" odious to the public. In undertaking this thing they may only succeed in making themselves odious to a hard-working, tax-ridden, sorely oppressed class of people.
FARMER CHAMBERS. — I live in Morgan county, in Illinois. This is the greatest stock-raising county in the state, and the farmers have heretofore enjoyed the benefit of competition to Chicago. The old rate for stock was $25 per car to Chicago, but under the new law it is $37.74. The result is a falling off in business over the lines leading to Chicago. Some of them have "retired" locomotives by the dozen. Our people, that is the stock men, are doing better by shipping direct to New York over the T. W. & W. Railroad. They see no justice in a law which deprives them of competition, while it does no good to those who must ship from non-competing points at the old rates.
MR. NORCROSS, of Nebraska, was satisfied that the new Illinois freight tariff law was framed purposely to injure the general interests of Western commerce. As my brother Parks says, this was done by the railway interest to make it odious! By an arbitrary and very unwise provision it necessitates a gradual increase of rates in proportion to distance. It becomes therefore, a "protective" tariff law in the full meaning of that term. It "protects" the grain-grower or shipper ten miles from a certain market, against the competition of the shipper twenty miles away. It "protects" the latter against his competitor at the station
75beyond, and so on, until the "protection" rises to the point which excludes all traffic beyond. It creates an ascending scale of obstacles, in other words, and these increase in magnitude, until at length the obstacle is too great for trade to overcome, and at that point all trade ceases. It is, as it were, a Chinese wall built across the country garrisoned by an army to put an end to all traffic between the people on either side. For instance: the legislative wisdom of your State having erected the wall, the people beyond it must trade with St. Louis, Toledo, Milwaukee, and villages of that class, or some other market from which this assembled wisdom has not walled them out, and Chicago, your metropolis, is left out in the cold. Is it any wonder that railways laugh at your credulity?
FARMER NETTLETON. — Well, the State's executive servants have nothing to do with consequences, and have no right to consider them at all. If you, the sovereigns who have made the law, don't like it, repeal or change it. So long as it is the law, let it be executed with the certainty of inexorable fate. Let me see, we are disciplining our forces for action, are we not?
GLEANER GLENN. — The fact that this new railway tariff act has not cured the monopoly disease, or enabled us to get more money for our corn, may be ascribed to railroad companies that have tried to evade the law and not obey it. It is probable that in framing their tariff schedules, some companies have not acted entirely in good faith. As to the value of farm products, the old rates were extortionary in
76the extreme. On an average the new rates are more so. Legislative "regulation" and "control," as we termed the veneer, have only augmented extortion. Now that the veneering is wearing off, these schedules go into the commissioner's shop for repairs. Besides the increased cost of transportation, farmers must also pay the increased cost of legislative tinkering and quackery.
FARMER SIMMONS. — I tell you, gentlemen, that the philosophy which proposes to put down monopoly, without removing the cause of monopoly, is an idiotic philosophy! [Cheers.]
GLEANER GOWDRY. — No movement will succeed in this country that is not based on justice and equity. Equity means simply equalness. Movements have succeeded, for a time, in this country, that were not based on equity. That which established African slavery is a notable instance; and the "protective," system, another form of the slavery system, was not based upon equity, yet it succeeded for a time, but will be abolished as African slavery was abolished, by the rising force of the equity principle. Upon this principle is based our emancipation movement. Ours is a declaration of war against railroad steals, salary grab steals, tariff steals, bank steals, and every other form of thieving by which one portion of the people are robbed for the enrichment of a more favored portion. The end desired to be attained is simply equity; equal justice.
THE HONORABLE BROWN. — Well, you can't accomplish it by trusting to political parties, whose controlling men are the very monopolists who have
77practiced and inflicted the country with these and other "steals," [applause] or by leaning upon any rival organization, whose "leaders" have helped or indorsed the monopolists in their iniquitous work. If we would be emancipated from this dominion of plunder, we cannot hope to attain our desire by trusting to either of these iniquitous organizations, as they stand. We must repudiate both, and set up a new organization for ourselves, which, unlike existing parties, shall proceed upon the basis of equity. [Cheers.]
MATRON CLAY. — As my man would say, if he were not too stiff with rheumatiz to be here, that's the key-note to the whole thing. Plant it deep, and the plow of public opinion will cultivate it for the glorious harvest. [Laughter and applause.]
FARMER MARSTON. — Now let us see what the work before us comprehends. The election of a Farmer's candidate to the Supreme Bench of Illinois, in April last, was our first victory. [Applause.] Shall this appease our appetites? [Cries of "No! No!"] It was this fear that made the monopolists so industrious during that brief but memorable campaign. It is what worries them now. Our nomination and election of a candidate for the Bench was but an incident. It was not a personal contest; the Farmer's Convention that nominated our candidate was called in the interest of a great and righteous cause — that which denies the right of monopoly and affirms equal justice. This was the real issue, and our victory was a triumph for that cause. Success in that initial contest was necessary to the life of our movement. It was not a question of men, but one of life or death for a great
78cause. I repeat, it was but an incident. The organization has further and more distinctive work before it. In November next, there is to be elected in every county in this state a corps of county officers, including treasurers, county clerks, surveyors, etc., which have heretofore been regarded as the exclusive spoils of party managers. The farmers' organizations will probably nominate their own men, and elect them to all these places, except in the larger cities. A year later, in 1874, they will have their organizations so complete in every township that they will take the election of the 26 state senators and the 153 representatives in the legislature into their own hands. They will also take into their own hands the election of members of congress, and will select men, not because of their advocacy of the Fifteenth Amendment, nor of their loyalty during the war, but because of their supposed fidelity to farmers' interests.
GRANGER GRAY. — Just so! We must begin the reform at home, and when the general elections occur, we will be ready for the contest with our forces disciplined.
FARMER FERRIS. — It will be only a partial remedy of the evils of monopoly, if we stop at the simple cure of railroad extortion, and leave in full force the more burdensome tariff laws, and other class legislation. The time has come for general reform, and the man who would consider the claims of party in such a crisis is wittingly or unwittingly acting the part of an obstructionist. If the movement continues to extend and progress as our organization has developed, into almost incredible proportions
79since its inception, there is little doubt that it will clear our government of all those hot-beds of political pollution, that have been breeding contamination and discord in all its departments since distorted radicalism came into power.
COLONEL HARRIS. — It will have a similar effect on the hot-beds of political pollution that exist in the Democratic party as well. The work which the friends of equal freedom have before them is the work of a political revolution, whose consummation is not attainable by the election of a few judges, nor a few county and state officers, nor even by the choice of a few state and federal legislators. We shall win by controlling the law-making power; by abolishing laws that carry out the slavery principle, by shaping the public polity, so that the opposite principle of freedom shall be encouraged. We confront no feeble or inexperienced enemy, nor one who is likely to scruple at means, or fail to improve opportunities. His overthrow will require, for its achievement, all the coherency of organization, integrity of purpose, faithful adherence to principle, and steadiness and power of execution, that the supporters of our cause can command.
DELEGATE DAVIS. — I am from near St. Paul, Minn., but do not bring you the most cheering news from our state. The Farmers' movement towards organizing for independent political action is a matter of serious concern to the politicians, and the Patrons of Husbandry are served with much advice from the "organs" and flattery from the candidates. They warn the farmers against the demagogues and Democrats
80lying in wait to pounce upon and swallow them, and caution them to beware of the dangers to which their untried organization will be exposed, on the troubled sea of politics. The candidates, of course, profess admiration for the noble pursuits of agriculture, and reverence for the hard-fisted yeomanry, but add to such professions declarations that all the farmers have to do is to let it be known what reforms they ask, when the great and good Republican party, — which submits to exposures of official rascality when it has grown too great to be hidden, and purifies itself from the contamination by resolutions which are never to be resolved into acts (though that is not the way in which our candidates describe the greatness and goodness of their party), will at once proceed to enact and enforce the laws which the farmers require. But the first good effect of the Patrons' organization has been to teach the farmers that they must think, as well as work, if they would hold their equal place in the management of public affairs. If they do think, they cannot but arrive at the conclusion that the party now in power, or rather its leaders (for let us always distinguish between the right-meaning masses and those who mislead them) is, and must remain, false to every popular interest; that, under its rule, if the producing classes of this country are yet comparatively prosperous, it is because of the great resources and unexhausted opportunities for labor afforded by our grand Union, which gives free trade between all parts of a territory whose variety of soil, climate, and natural products furnish the foundations of commerce and exchange, upon
81which a much greater prosperity might be built; and that, if they would regain and secure their right to receive the real value of their products, and to buy the products of others at their true value (which is free trade — though it won't do to call it by that name before some of the Grangers), they must choose for their makers and executors of law those who will not frame laws of fair promise, but which are found to be cheats and delusions when they come before the courts. If their thinking includes a review of the past acts of political leaders, the Farmers' organization will create a demand for new men.
Though the Patrons appear to be united in their purpose to wage war for internal free trade by combating the combinations of capitalists, by which they are shut out, either as sellers or buyers, from the markets of the country, and are thereby compelled to take and give such prices as the combinations may fix, yet they are not prepared to advocate universal free trade. Although they heartily unite in denouncing official corruption, yet they do not seem to appreciate the fact that the systematic corruption, which may be said to prevail over the country, may be traced back to, and is to-day upheld by, those combinations of capitalists and speculators who find it more profitable to invest in the theory of protection to industry than in industry itself.
I find among the Patrons with us, a minority composed of an influential class of men, whose first political impressions were derived from the party of which Henry Clay, with his "American System," was the acknowledged leader and guide. Mr. Donnelly,
82who is the favorite speaker at the Patron's assemblies, talks free trade in vain to these men. They may die some time, but they will never be converted from the errors of their youth. Their influence will be found, I fear, strong enough to prevent the Patrons of Husbandry of Minnesota from becoming the centre of a real party of Reform. But they may, and doubtless will, help along the growth of a popular feeling which is undermining and weakening the foundations of party ascendency, which is the forerunner of a popular freedom in which the people may recover both the right and the ability to govern themselves.
Until lately, the Order of Patrons of Husbandry had a slow growth in Minnesota. Since February, it has increased very fast, and now numbers over 300 subordinate Granges, including over 10,000 voters, and is likely to double its numbers before November.
JOHN OWENS. — I am from Des Moines, Iowa. We have called a State Convention. Since this call has been made, not less than one-third of the counties in the State have responded by the selection of delegates. These counties have generally passed resolutions of the same character and of very similar import. The disposition generally manifested seems to be to secure a harmony of the opposition elements; to secure an organization independent of present parties, whose object will be to secure a complete political reformation in the State. Every one of these counties, where these conventions have been held complain of the mismanagement of local affairs. County officers have been stealing or neglecting their duty to such an extent that reformation is demanded
83Salaries are kept up to a war basis, and jobs are constantly being made to enrich the office-holders, and taxes are levied without regard to the impoverished condition of the country and the tax-payers. Officials elected under and by a triumphant party refuse to return to a peace footing basis, and everything is run in a reckless manner. The State has been kept in the hands of politicians, and rings and combinations have secured large appropriations which should have been postponed, at least for the present. State officials have put their hands in the Treasury, and others have neglected to take the steps to prevent it.
These are some of the causes which led to and encouraged the independent organization, and this explains the reason for its strength to-day. What the progress of the movement shall be hereafter, the prudence and energy of the men who have started it must determine. Thus far they have managed quite well to steer clear of demagogue leadership. A few remain to plead for favor. These must be cast overboard, and the entire organization freed of their pernicious influence.
JOHN M. CARL. — At a Farmer's meeting held at Clifton, Illinois, July 12, 1873, of which I had the honor of being chosen president, resolutions were adopted, which I think express the sentiments of this and every Grange. I ask that they be spread upon the records of this meeting.
Resolved, That we believe the farmers' movement to be based upon the eternal principles of right and justice, — the greatest good to the greatest number, — and we do not propose to allow ourselves to be gobbled
84up by either the democratic or republican party, experience having taught us that politicians forget promises as soon as the election is fairly over.
Resolved, That we believe a thief should be called a thief without regard to social or political standing, and we characterize the recent salary-grab by our congress and president as no better than a steal, whereby each congressman and senator is voted $5,000 extra pay from an already overburdened and bleeding treasury, and we hereby denounce as infamous, and unworthy the support of honest men, all senators and congressmen who have pocketed this "swag" money. Especially do we repudiate and denounce our own senators, Lyman Trumbull and John A. Logan, and our congressman from this district, Jesse Moore, for their complicity in this swindle.
Resolved, That the time has come when it is necessary for our own protection that the farmers and laboring classes of the country unite and act as a unit in the defense of our inalienable rights, and that hereafter we will ignore past party affiliations and vote to secure our own interests rather than those of party wire-pullers and tricksters; and, furthermore, that we recommend the formation of a new party on a free-trade, anti-monopoly basis, and we hereby cordially invite the citizens of our county to unite with us to carry out this object.
DELEGATE BURTON, of Carroll Co., Illinois. We had a big time down our way on the "glorious Fourth." Among the sentiments inscribed on the many banners that were borne in the arriving processions, were the following. I was requested by the Grange at Lanark, to ask a place for them in the Blue Book.
"The Farmers' Movement — Already inaugurated
85in Twenty-four States. It will sweep Everything before it!"
"No More Republicans! No more Democrats! We want and must have Honest Men to fill Public Positions!"
"Who would be Free, himself must strike the Blow!"
"Corn must go up! Monopolies must comedown!"
"Salary-Grabbers, hunt your holes!"
"Equal and Exact Justice to all! Special Privileges to no one!"
"Salary of our Congressman, One Hundred Bushels of Corn per day! Poor Fellow!"
"Farmers, to the front! Politicians, take back seats!"
Behind some bushes on a distant knoll, we came upon a spy from the "American Protection League." Among his effects was found a handsomely painted banner, with this inscription:
"Don't carry your movement into Politics!"
He had been trying to hire some of our fellows to carry it in the procession, but did not succeed.
DR. MORSE. — I have been thinking that this stuff the enemy throws at us about "legislative control and regulation" is the nostrum of the quacks, and nothing more. The question is not at all in relation to the power of legislative interference and control; it is whether it is practicable by such interference to attain the desired end! The professional politicians who are chiefly concerned in maintaining the monopoly system, don't approach the practical side of the question at all, but try to bamboozle the patient, by harping upon the indisputable fact, that the legislature has power to complicate the mischief by
86prescribing remedies worse than the disease, in the shape of meddlesome legislative statutes. All the little and big monopoly newspaper organs have been harping on this string — and all the professional politicians who have been bought up, bribed or subsidized by the railway interest or "pig-iron pirates," with money extorted from the labor of the country, take up and prolong the chorus. The office-holding tax-eaters, salary-grabbers, and legislative quacks, bawl with one voice: "The panacea for monopoly is legislative regulation and control; the Republican party is the only infallible physician; we are the Republican party, and this is the nostrum we prescribe! Come, oh dearly-beloved farmers, and swallow our patent never-failing bolus."
The patient grows worse, and if you farmers swallow the treacherous bolus, or put it aside, it is my duty as neighborhood physician, to help you to a clear understanding of the nature of its ingredients.
DELEGATE DELEVAN. — I am from Augusta, Georgia, and at your committee's request, will give you an idea of the feeling at the South. I have here a copy of the Constitutionalist, a leading paper with us, which strikes the key-note of the grand march of the future. It is coming to be as plain as daylight, that in that march the South and West will move on side by side. I read from the journal named:
"The South and the great West are coming together on the protective tariff question. They find in its oppressive operation upon the farming industry a bond of sympathy which will bring the masses everywhere to their aid. They will strike together for
87justice and equal rights — for the annihilation of special bounties to capital against labor. It will be a labor strike in its most effective form, and will carry the elections triumphantly against the Republican party.
"In the Patrons of Husbandry is the germ of a great reform party. * * * * Their organization has, for its basis, the great principles of free trade and equal rights."
The leading organs are raising the banner of commercial freedom and personal independence, all over the South. I may add, that the rapid increase of radical free-trade journals, in the last few months, in the United States, is one of the most surprising and significant signs of the times, since the civil war.
M. C. POWERS, of Indiana. — Yes, sir. It is within bounds to say that the number of free-trade newspapers — which means, of course, the number of people who read free-trade literature, and realize a new interest in free-trade ideas and principles — is greater at this time than at any previous time in our history. We congratulate you, sir, and your people, that your conspicuous journals manifest a disposition to cease threshing over the old straw of "conservatism." We class "conservatives" with us, with "antediluvians" or "old fogies." Leaders in the Democratic party belonged to that class, as was made plain enough by their advocacy of the slavery principle, even up to the year 1862. Most men who have a lover's regard for "ancient ways," are believers in the slavery principle, which is the same thing as the monopoly principle, for the "ancient ways," in all countries, were the
88slavery ways. It seems to be in their nature to stand up for the "ancient ways" and depreciate every proposition to advance nearer to the law of equity as "inexpedient." "Expediency" seems to be the Democratic war-cry now, which, like the faded yelp of "Policy," is but another word for cowardice. These words comprehend the whole political and religious faith of this class. They worship only at the shrine of "authority," and hold that authority best which can boast the most ancient and musty pedigree. We farmers offer both parties the fresher word, Progress, which will live, and thrive, and grow.
HON. GROVER. — What is the Democratic party? A brother thought I ought to answer his question from my seat here to-day. Well, those of you who have known the fossil for the last dozen years must be familiar with the character of its "leaders." Now, for all ordinary purposes of usefulness, a party organization is just what the character of its representative men or "leaders" make it. The words conservatism and expediency give a complete generalization of the character of the men who have been, and still are, the recognized "leaders" in the so-called Democratic party. The first of the words I have quoted from their creed, generalizes the purposes of these "leaders," which is, to bask in the shade of ancient tombs, or progress slowly backward. The second word generalizes the methods adopted for reaching proposed ends, and exhibits a determination to hold principles subservient to all else.
FARMER DOTY. — Yes, but treachery on the part of "leaders" cannot justly be imputed to the masses of the party.
GROVER. — No, sir; provided the masses of the party refuse to follow the "leaders." If this takes place, the "leaders" cease to be leaders and the masses cease to be members of the party.
FARMER DOTY. — The Illinois Democratic State Convention, held in October, 1871, adopted a straight-out free-trade resolution. That Convention fairly represented the masses of the party.
GROVER. — Very true; that was done in opposition to the wishes, efforts and speeches of the more "conservative" leaders and disciples of the Expediency or Policy doctrine. Among these leaders were two members of congress, two or three ex-candidates, who expected to try it again, and even your candidate for the state at large, whom that very Convention put in nomination. These gentlemen thought the declaration of a Democratic principle, by a Democratic Convention, "inexpedient." Did the masses throw them overboard? No! just six months after, most of you permitted these same conservatives, expediency fellows, to sell you out, body and soul, to the most conspicuous and vehement apostle of the slavery principle that ever lived upon this continent. Now the party, whose leaders have been selling you out to "Pennsylvania pig-iron pirates," as your home paper calls them, for the last dozen or fifteen years, ask you to trust and try them again. I don't think we have them asses among us whose habits of obedience will so overbalance their regard for principle, that they will follow these untrustworthy leaders straight into the camp of the enemy.
GRANGER GRAY. — We feel that under no circumstances
90can we trust the old political parties. [Cheers.] We must strike out for ourselves and act for ourselves, if we would have reform. [Renewed cheering.]
DELEGATE DORE. — I would say to my Brother Grover, that if the so-called Democratic party is seeking our smiles, the Republican party is everywhere on its knees, and this is the burden of their prayer:
"Sovereigns! farmers! freemen! We glory in your movement. It is both right and timely, but you must look out for the Democratic party, for it will try and gobble you. We are your friends; tell us what you want and you shall have it. True, we have sinned grievously, but we are willing to be forgiven. True, we have abused the trust reposed in us by a too-confiding people, but we didn't mean to. We have disregarded the general good, and violated the supreme law of the land, but that was only a party mistake. We have turned a deaf ear to the demands of liberty, and have adopted measures of the worst tyranny the world has ever seen, but our leaders said it was ‘policy.’ Lest this should fail, we enacted a despotic bayonet election law, to perpetuate our misrule, but, you see, you can't always trust the people. We have inflicted upon the country the most infernal system of protected robbery in the tariff laws, but we had to make some sort of a financial show, you know. We have overtaxed the people, these rascally Democrats say, and stolen and wasted the public revenues; but this is a Democratic lie. They go further, and charge that we have encouraged and augmented the long-prevailing corruption in every branch of the public service, and to silence the reasonable demand for reform in the civil service, we
91have invented schemes to show how not to do it, — but this is another Democratic lie, and there's no end to 'em — I mean the Democratic lies. Knowing these things to be Democratic lies, of course you will vote for us. We pledge ourselves to correct our mistakes and to draw a tighter rein on our leaders. Come, dear farmers, and vote for us. It is better to trust an established party, that has the right belt on every wheel, than to experiment with a new one. Whatever you do, look out for the Democrats!"
DELEGATE CLINTON. — That party was organized to combat negro slavery, and accomplished its overthrow. It then enslaved the white man and demanded bread for tribute. I don't want any of that in mine, at all!
CHANCELLOR MURPHY. — Good! We believe the times demand our united action, regardless of party affiliations. We have a greater work to accomplish than mere party success. We shall be offered frequent bids from the party in power, upon the plea that it will accede to our demands and correct its errors within its own organization. All this has been promised before, and is the mere effervescence of demagogism. We must steer clear of both parties. [Applause.]
DELEGATE WILSON. — That is what I have been telling our people, over in Iowa. No cause, however worthy or just, can hope for success if its advocates are not willing to subordinate all merely personal considerations and all old party prejudices to the new undertaking. We must carry the war into politics upon an independent party ground. The problem which we are seeking to solve, is a political problem,
92and the most important one, which concerns the inhabitants of this country, for it lies at the very foundation of political, civil and individual liberty. This is a Movement to secure emancipation from the slave power of monopoly. Any organization with such a work in hand, that pretends to exclude "politics" from its deliberations and modes of action, is of no more use than a fifth wheel to the farmers' wagon. Again: we must look out for traitors and spies in the camp, who are serving in that capacity — the cause of the monopolists by working to divide the house against itself, and bring it to ruin at the hands of its own builders. We have them in Iowa, they are among you here in Illinois, and like all other species of vermin, they will breed rapidly everywhere, as the tropical nature of our movement becomes more and more apparent.
FARMER BENNETT, Ohio. — Let me add, gentlemen, that a reformatory movement, whose promoters lack the essential virtue of fidelity to their own cause, is in no respect any more serviceable to that cause than either of the old parties would be, and is no more deserving of respect than the "platforms" these old parties adopt. If we would win the public confidence for our movement, and bring to our organization the support of all genuine anti-monopolists — a support we must have in order to succeed — our only course is to put aside all personal considerations and prejudices, and kick out all traitors engaged in the interest of the enemy, and strike as one man for the cause.
WM. FOSTER, Wisconsin. — I have no harsh words for the political parties. They have done their work,
93and, however indifferently, both have served their time. Both are appalled by the evidences of our increasing strength, and both are billing and cooing to win our smiles. The Republican party avers that it is ready to assume the issues which we demand, as a part of its future policy. It promises to carry out our wishes and argues that having its "organization perfected" it is in a better condition to carry through our wishes than a new party. By having its "organization perfected" is meant, that its office-holders still live to sneeze when the emperor takes snuff, and that the army of "cousins" and "brothers-in-law," of which we have heard so much, is still in training Our Movement was organized to deal with wrong and abuse. Now, how can we trust our cause in the hands of a party of which the promoters of these wrongs and abuses are honored members, and in which they have as many rights as anybody else? To listen to its overtures is to confess that we are ignorant of the purpose expressed under the term "Anti-Monopoly." Some of us are ready to confess that we went into this movement because the Republican party with which we have been acting is in part responsible for our present grievances. No reform is possible while the two old political parties cumber the ground. Theirs is a contest between the "Ins" and the "Outs." The Republican party exists merely as a menace to the Democratic party — to keep it out of power; and the latter exists only to keep the Republican party in power. The death of one would take from the other all object and desire to live.
DELEGATE ATWOOD, Wisconsin, — We Wisconsin
94Patrons are watching the critters very closely. It is amusing to witness the solicitous concern with which the press of both parties is warning us to beware of demagogues, who would beguile us unawares, with their sweetest accents. It is equally entertaining to observe with what assiduity and obsequiousness the demagogues are wooing our Patrons of Husbandry. We Patrons too, have our little laugh all to ourselves, at the aptitude with which guileless "city gentlemen" are fain to put hay-seed on their shoulders, and blue overalls on their thin legs, in token of their devotion to husbandry and their enmity to railroads. But that cheap sort of forgery, don't go down. We farmers are quite too shrewd to be seduced with the soft palaver of these battered old political roues. They are very anxious to discover what plans our Granges have in view, calculated to derange their own political schemes for the coming fall. They are likely to find out along about that time.
Senator Carpenter's dextrous juggling in defence of the "back-pay" steal, has deluded few out our way. We Patrons are of the opinion, that if the Constitution obliges unwilling congressmen to accept whatever salary they may see fit to vote themselves, on pain of being held for treason, there is at least nothing in that revered instrument that restrains them from returning stolen goods. [Applause.]
On motion, the Grange here adjourned, subject to the call of the executive committee.
Chapter VII. The Anti-Monopoly League. Its Origin, Progress, and Final Triumph.
Careful observers of the signs of the times in this country, see that the conflict between the antagonistic doctrines of Protection and Free Trade, is gradually verging toward a final trial of strength. Years may elapse before either will achieve a complete victory; in the meantime the discussion of these rival theories will go on in Congress, through the public press, and before the forum of the masses. The causes and effects of the repeal of the British Corn Laws will, for obvious reasons, mingle in these discussions as they have done heretofore, and it is believed an outline sketch of the movement, which resulted in the abolition of that system, will be peculiarly acceptable at this time. In the present article, we only incidentally allude to the origin, objects, and consequences of the
96system, confining our efforts mainly to a notice of the measures which led to its final overthrow.
Government protection to the products of the soil, by means of imposts on importations from other countries, was a favorite policy with England, from an early period. In a speech on the Corn Laws, Lord Stanley stated that the principle of landlord protection had been recognized in that country five centuries. Adam Smith was among the ablest, if not among the earliest British writers, who propounded the doctrine, that free trade was the highway to commercial prosperity. Since Dr. Smith's day, some of the most distinguished writers and statesmen of Great Britain have enrolled themselves among his disciples. In the front rank of these, we may place the brilliant men who, during the first thirty years of the present century, made the Edinburg Review their literary organ of communication.
In 1773, the plastic hand of Edward Burke gave the British Corn Laws the general character which, with occasional modifications, they retained till their abolition in 1846. They were altered or revised in 1791, 1804, 1815 and 1828. The enactments of 1815 and 1828 embodied the system usually referred to in our day, when we speak in general terms of "the Corn Laws." The object of all these enactments was to afford the agriculturists of the kingdom as perfect a monopoly as possible in the raising and sale of breadstuffs, and still allow foreign grain and flour to be imported whenever a deficiency in the home production, arising from bad harvests or other causes, created a scarcity of that species of food.
97The system was adjusted on the basis of a sort of compromise between the profits of the producers and the wants of the consumers; the repletion of the pockets of the former only ceasing when it would necessarily exhaust the stomachs of the latter.
The tendency of public sentiment, in respect to the principles of protection and free trade, during the forty or fifty years following the enactment of Mr. Burke's law, is shown by the fact, that at each revision of the Corn Laws, from 1773 down to, and including that of 1815, the duties were made more and more protective. The act of 1828 had its "sliding scale" of duties, by operation of which the duties on breadstuffs fell as the prices rose, and rose as the prices fell. It had some 25 degrees in its scale. We specify three or four as examples of the whole. For instance, when wheat commanded an average price throughout the kingdom of fifty-two shillings per quarter, (eight bushels) the duty on the foreign article was thirty-four shillings and eight pence — practically a prohibition. When the price rose to sixty shillings, the duty fell to twenty-six shillings and eight pence — almost a prohibition. When the price mounted up to seventy shillings, the duty went down to ten shillings and eight pence — a point at which the importer could introduce the article and realize a small profit. This complicated and ever-shifting scheme was regarded, by its authors, as an exquisitely perfect specimen of "protective" legislation. It was intended to afford a complete monopoly in breadstuffs to fifty thousand landlords, except at periods when high prices would doom the poorer
98class of consumers to starvation, unless supplies came in from other countries. As they approached the starvation point, the ports were to be kindly opened a little ways, when temporary relief might be obtained, provided there were any grain in bond to be admitted, and provided further, that the unnatural system had not already so impoverished the squalid, starving wretches, that they were unable to purchase bread at any price.
The law of 1828 remained in force, subject to some modifications, made in 1842, until its abolition in 1846. The repealing act of 1846 did not, however, go into full operation until 1849. Let us hastily sketch the origin, progress and triumph of the movement which finally resulted in the final prostration of the system. It commenced in 1838. About the beginning of the previous year, severe commercial depression pervaded the United Kingdom. It originated partly in the influence upon British trade produced by the monetary collapse occurring in this country in 1836-7. The foreign exchanges turned against England and heavy exportations of bullion were demanded. This compelled a great contraction of the usual accommodation extended to commercial men, and caused the failure or temporary suspension of many of the large English houses. These evils were aggravated by a deficiency in the harvest of that year. Merchants, manufacturers, and shippers declaimed much about the disarrangement of the currency and the illiberality of the bank of England, but scarcely dreamed of attributing any of their disasters to the disorganizing effects of an unnatural system
99of political economy, imposed upon the country under the delusive name of "protection." A few thinking men, however, charged the prime cause of these evils to the restrictive policy of the British tariff, and the prohibitory features and slippery, sliding scale of the Corn Laws. Among the most sagacious and energetic of these were Dr. Bowring, a distinguished disciple of Jeremy Bentham, and Col. P. Thompson, also a Benthamite, and author of a pamphlet called "The Catechism of the Corn Laws," and Richard Cobden, a calico manufacturer of Manchester. At a small meeting held at Manchester, in September, 1838, an "Anti-Corn Law Association" was formed. This was the germ whence sprung the mighty enterprise, which, after a severe and exciting contest of seven years, revolutionized the politico-economical theories and practices of the most intelligent and opinionated people in Europe. It broke the power of the richest and most haughty landed aristocracy of modern times; converted to its doctrines and taught to do its bidding, the most prejudiced and omnipotent legislature in the world. Finally, it overthrew a system which, by the growth and culture of centuries, had entwined its roots around the interests of the monetary, trading, and agricultural classes of the first commercial and manufacturing nation of the age.
The merchants and manufacturers of Manchester voted a subscription to sustain the Association. In December following, its Chamber of Commerce sent a petition to parliament, praying for the total and immediate repeal of the odious Corn and Provision
100Laws. In all these proceedings Mr. Cobden bore a prominent part. Thus aided and encouraged, the Association caused a meeting of deputies or delegates to assemble in Manchester, in January, 1839, to consider the question of Corn Law repeal, and adopt measures for the prosecution of the work. This meeting authorized the Association to convene a similar assemblage in London, at the opening of the approaching session of parliament, for the purpose of watching and operating upon its proceedings. The meeting assembled, and was numerously attended by influential persons from various parts of the kingdom. They prepared a petition for the House of Commons, asking that they might offer evidence at its bar in proof of the injurious effects of the Corn Laws. This was presented, and the requisite motion made by Villiers, with a speech in its defence. The speech was treated with silent contempt and the motion negatived. The deputies returned home, but re-assembled in large numbers, in the next month, parliament being still in session. They convened at Brown's Hotel, Palace-yard, a spot which became somewhat celebrated for the Anti-Corn Law measures which there originated. The Protectionists nicknamed the meeting, "The Free-Trade Parliament." They chose a committee to collect evidence, and deputed Villiers to open the battle in the House. His speech was received with coughings, scrapings and other demostrations of contempt. Hardly waiting for its close, a division was called for amid the wildest hootings, when 344 members, against 197, rushed into the ante-rooms of the house, to stifle, by
101their clamor, a great national demand, made in behalf of sound principles and suffering humanity.
But the Commons mistook the metal of the men with whom they were dealing. The Manchester Calico Printer and his coadjutors were not to be silenced by noise, nor diverted from their object by contempt. They determined to teach their rulers better manners and better doctrines. On motion of Mr. Cobden the deputies organized an association to be called "The National Anti-Corn-Law League." The League immediately prepared to enter upon a system of popular agitation throughout the country through the medium of small pamphlets and public addresses. The gage of battle was now fairly thrown in the face of the protectionists. The issue was made up — Cheap Bread versus the Monopoly of Wealth. On the one hand were a small but resolute band of men who had based their cause on solid principles of political economy. They had facts, logic, eloquence and humanity on their side. They were sustained by a constancy which no discouragement could abate, and a courage which no opposition could daunt. On the other hand, were government power, hereditary station, boundless patronage, ancient precedent and arrogant assumption of superior wisdom and inherent rights. The monopolists boasted that they would crush the League in the bud. Nor was the threat the mere effervescence of vanity. When Burke introduced the Corn Law in 1773, the owners of the cultivated soil of England were computed at 240,000. The agricultural monopoly which prevailed from that time had tended to produce a steady diminution of the number. When
102the "League" was organized by the closest ties of interest; acted together on all matters affecting their cherished monopoly almost as one man. At the commencement of the movement, the discussions had sole reference to a repeal of the Corn Laws. The leading doctrines enforced by the repealers were, that, though the acts regulating the importation of foreign breadstuffs might be, and probably were, beneficial to the large land-holders, they were injurious in the long run to the great body of agriculturists; that the "sliding scale of duties" was the main source of the frequent and ruinous fluctuations in the market value of breadstuffs; that by preventing the natural influx of corn from other countries, to meet the varying home demand, the system enhanced the price of that article at all times, and was therefore, a burden upon all classes of consumers, and especially the laboring poor; that by protecting the few at the expense of the many, it rested on an unsound basis of political economy, and was therefore hostile to the best interests of all branches of industry. The principles upon which the controversy was conducted on both sides, necessarily provoked a discussion and comparison of the relative merits of free commerce and restrictive duties, irrespective of the commodities to which these hostile systems were applied. The real issue, therefore, between the contending parties, and especially during the last three or four years of the struggle, was Free Trade versus Protection.
At the opening session of parliament, in 1841 Lord John Russell gave notice of a motion for a bill that
103should abolish the complex and unpopular "sliding scale" and establish a fixed duty of eight shillings per quarter on imported wheat. This great concession to the principles of free trade, though falling far short of the test doctrine of the League, indicated a favorable change of sentiment in an influential direction. Before passing to the stirring events of 1842, we must not omit to state, that during the severe and calamitous winter of 1841-2, the ladies of Manchester forwarded a memorial to the Queen, bearing upwards of 100,000 signatures, to instruct her ministers to bring in a bill for the relief of the suffering classes of the country. They gave still more substantial proofs of their zeal in the cause, by holding a Free Trade bazaar in the Manchester theatre, from which was netted for the use of the League, the coming year, the splendid sum of Å10,000. Previous to the meeting of parliament, the dissenting ministers held a four day's convention to consider the effects of the Corn Laws upon the well-being of society, and deputed a committee of their body to lay their views before the new Premier. These events showed that the free-trade spirit was permeating all classes of the community.
Heretofore, with the exception of an occasional skirmish in the Commons, the battle had been mainly waged out of doors. At the opening session of 1842, it was transferred to parliament. Sir Robert Peel found himself at the helm of affairs at a period of unexampled distress. The manufacturing districts were in a frightful condition. The poorer classes had scarcely been able to subsist through the winter of
1041841-2. Stockport was abandoned by many of its operatives, because of their inability to procure either work or bread. Hundreds in Paisley lived from week to week on charity. Bolton was fed by public bounty. Thousands in Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, and other large manufacturing towns, were thrown out of employment, and wandered, idle and hungry, from the scanty fare of the provinces, till they crowded into the metropolis, hoping to find labor and food in the wealthy capital of the kingdom. The effect was to swell the poor rates of London beyond all former precedent. Contributions were gathered in the churches, private subscriptions were opened, and though thousands were collected, and speedily dispensed, they scarcely alleviated the pressing necessities of the hour.
In March, the Premier introduced his tariff bill. Compared with the existing tariff, the new act was a moderate concession to the principles of free trade. Indeed, Sir Robert more than once declared during the debates, that he would not pledge himself to a perpetual maintenance of the sliding scale of duties, nor advocate the abstract doctrine of protection, nor urge it in any case for the mere purpose of shielding home productions against foreign competition. The discussions were protracted and exciting on all sides, the free traders proposing numerous and important amendments. Mr. Villiers made and supported his annual motion for total and immediate repeal, ably seconded by Mr. Cobden. This gentleman was recognized throughout the country as the ablest of the opponents of the waning doctrine of protection.
The entire policy of the act of 1842 pointed to the prime maxim of the League, of "buying in the cheapest, and selling in the dearest market." This, with the occasional admissions of Peel and Gladstone, in favor of free-trade theories, foreshadowed the events of 1846 alarmed the protectionists, and nearly led to a disruption of the Tory party.
Though by a combination of peculiar circumstances, the tariff of 1842 did not essentially advance the cause of free trade, and though the advocates of protection took advantage of the continued commercial embarrassments to proclaim that free trade was a failure, yet those very circumstances produced a very decided impression on reflecting minds, that the "sliding scale" was a prolific source of fluctuations in the prices of bread-stuffs and ought to be abandoned. The year 1843 was productive of important events relating to free trade. The League adjourned its regular meetings from Manchester to London, and laid siege to the metropolis. Freemason's Hall proving too small, Mr. Macready thew open the doors of Drury Lane Theatre. The parliamentary season brought forth good fruits. During the debates, Sir James Graham, a member of the cabinet, stated, that the soundness of the general principles of the Corn Law repealers, was recognized by every man of common understanding. His colleague, Mr. Colbourn, said, that the abstract truth of their doctrines had never been disputed. Mr. Gladstone, also of the ministry, declared that the practical application of their principles was only a question of time. There was action, too, as well as words. Mr. Gladstone's act repealed the restrictions
106on the exportation of machinery, and Lord Stanley introduced a bill to regulate the trade in corn with the Canadas. Each of these measures looked furtively towards free trade. The League was greatly strengthened in parliament this year, by the return of the enthusiastic and eloquent quaker, John Bright, to the House of Commons. He came heralded by the admission of a Tory lord in the House of Peers, that Bright "had recently delivered at Durham, the very best speech that ever was heard in favor of the repeal of the Corn Laws." In all subsequent parliamentary conflicts, Bright stood next to Cobden as the advocate of free-trade doctrines.
At the opening of the session of 1845, Peel delighted the Repealers, surprised the Whigs, and alarmed the Protectionists, by proposing a sweeping-revision of the tariff. Although he permitted the Corn Laws to remain inviolate through the session, it was evident, from the tone of his speeches, and the tendency of his measures, that their hour was fast approaching. If any doubt had remained of the ultimate intentions of the Premier, it was dissipated by his admissions during the debate on Villiers' usual motion for the total and immediate repeal of the Corn Laws. The events of 1846, so far as they relate to the subject, are too familiar to need recapitulation here. In June of that year, after long and stormy debates, Sir Robert Peel, in conjunction with the Duke of Wellington, — the most unbending and determined of men, and without whose aid the measure must have failed in the House of Peers, — carried through parliament a total repeal of the Corn Laws!
107On an evening near the close of that month, surrounded by a dense mass of the intellectual and moral elite of the United Kingdom, — crowding not the House of Commons only, but every lobby and all its passages, — Sir Robert, before resigning the premiership, delivered an elaborate speech in vindication of the policy pursued while he had administered the affairs of the government. We quote the closing passage of the report of this speech:
"I shall surrender power, severely censured by many honorable gentlemen who from no interested motives have adhered to the principle of protection, as important to the welfare and prosperity of the country. I shall leave a name, execrated by every monopolist, [Cheers.] who from less honorable motives maintains protection, for his own individual benefit. [Continued cheering.] But it may be that I shall leave a name sometimes remembered with expressions of good will in those places which are the abodes of men whose lot it is to labor, and to earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow; a name to be remembered with expressions of good will when they shall recreate their exhausted strength with abundant and untaxed food, the sweeter because it is no longer leavened by a sense of injustice. [Long and continued cheering.]"
The struggle ended, the League resolved upon its own dissolution. The Repealing Act received the royal assent on the 2d day of July, 1846. On that day the League held its final meeting at Manchester. George Wilson, who had presided over its councils from the beginning, and who, during the seven years of its existence, attended its meetings thirteen hundred
108and sixty times, without receiving a farthing for his services, was, very appropriately, called to the chair on this last occasion. On motion of Mr. Cobden, the executive council was requested to wind up the affairs of the League as soon as possible.
Having thus given an outline-sketch of this great anti-monopoly movement, the author hopes that the lessons taught by the manner in which it was carried forward may be understood and applied by every impartial reader.
Chapter VIII. The Many and the Few.
The question of taxation is becoming one of exceeding interest, as public attention, through the Farmers' movement, becomes more directed to the subject. The system of indirect taxes is invidious in its operation and pernicious in its ultimate tendency. There is no shape in which taxation can be made agreeable to the payers. It is a necessary evil, an expense incidental to the organization of civilized life, like house-rent, or the wages of domestics, and as such, should be met in the common-sense way. The actual necessary outlay, for the protection of persons and property, should be ascertained, and the amount levied upon the community seeking that protection, in a manner to lay the burden proportionably upon each individual. All the persons in a community look, in about an equal degree, to the government for security in person; for protection in life and limb against all aggressors whatsoever. It is, therefore, apparently reasonable, that every member
110should contribute something to that purpose. In addition to this object, a portion of the public require security for property, and protection against those who would deprive them of it. In this latter object, a large portion of the community is not directly interested, or only in a very limited degree. True, all are interested in making the reward of industry secure, but it is not until a man has acquired property, that he becomes dependent upon the government protection for security in its enjoyment. Hence, the holders of property having a double demand upon the government — for security in property as well as person — are bound to pay doubly for its support.
The problem is to apportion and collect the required sum from each person in the cheapest and most prompt manner, so that the money may be applied as directly as possible to the purposes for which it is collected, and that the mode of its collection should not interfere, in the least degree, with the ordinary business of the country, and the interchange of its products.
The system of indirect taxation is comparatively of modern date, and it became a favorite with governments, from the facility with which money could be raised thereby, without exciting discontent. In former ages, when taxes were demanded directly from each citizen, the government was restricted in its expenditure, through the difficulty of collecting large sums from the people, and exposed to dangerous revolts, through the insolence and extortion of its agents. Had the wants of government been moderate,
111and the direct collections conducted in a judicious manner, there is but little doubt but that much of that great inequality in condition, which now exists, would have been avoided; because wealth would have been obliged to pay its full share of the burdens of state, and industry, having the full enjoyment of its reward, would never have been so depressed as, of late years, it has become under indirect taxes. The substitution of these, threw upon labor the whole burden of the government expenses, and by making property comparatively exempt, enabled it to accumulate with greater rapidity, in fewer hands, and checked its acquirement by those whose only capital was their labor, and whose only income, its wages.
The operation of indirect taxes falls almost altogether on the laboring class, because taxes form part of the cost of every necessary purchased with the proceeds of their industry. The condition of Great Britain is a remarkable evidence of the evil of indirect taxes. The working many have, for centuries, discharged the national expenditure, and the wealthy few have not only been comparatively exempt from taxes, but, to a considerable extent, they have been the recipients of those paid by others. Had a just system of taxation been in operation at the close of the eighteenth century, Great Britain would never have spent years and much blood and treasure in European wars, in which the people had no real interest. As long as the wealthy classes were, however, to derive all the honor and profit, and the laboring portion to pay all the expense, there was no thought
112of peace. The expenses of those wars vastly increased taxation, which only served to drain more rapidly the wealth of the country, created by the many, into the hands of the few. The moment peace was declared, direct taxes on property were abandoned, and indirect taxes on labor continued, for the discharge, not only of the current expenditure, but the enormous debts contracted for the wars.
The result has been, "vast mountains of wealth and deep valleys of poverty." Thirty years of this operation reached the "limits of indirect taxation," and produced a necessity for a return to direct taxes upon property and a remission of those upon labor. The government, in 1842, declared that the limits of indirect taxation had been reached, and that henceforth revenue must be raised from property, and the income tax was levied. The minister presented his plan in five schedules. The first comprised the rent of land, houses, tithes, railways, canals, mines, and iron-works; the next, the amount assessed on occupiers of land; the third, public funds and stocks; the fourth, profits of trades and professions; the fifth, income of public officers. The result was highly satisfactory, for it was found absolutely necessary to release labor from its burden and impose it upon wealth. McCulloch, and other distinguished writers, object to an income tax because "it lessens the means of employing labor." This idea rests on a fallacy. No man employs labor because he has an income. On the other hand, the largest incomes have been derived from the most extensive employment of labor, or, in other words, the most successful employment
113of the wealth created by others. Many Eastern manufacturers, of inordinate wealth, acquired it by employing numbers of hands, and paying them far less than the value of their labor. If one such person, who derives $50,000 per annum from the labor of others, should be taxed $1,500, would he therefore discharge the hands that earn him that sum? It has resulted from the manufacturing indirect tax system that a very large class of the English people are dependent employers, while in the United States, as yet, the majority are independent producers, who pay not only the expense of government in indirect taxes, but are also made by that system tributary to manufactures, to an extent vastly greater than the amount paid to government. This process is rapidly producing great wealth on the one side and extreme poverty on the other.
The example of England has shown, that the ultimate tendency of indirect taxes is ruin to the many, and that direct taxes must be resorted to in the end. Wisdom would therefore dictate that the true principle should be adopted before universal distress compels it.
A well regulated legacy duty would, in time, become the most fruitful source of revenue to the government, and one which, while partaking of the nature of an indirect tax, would in no way interfere with business, or the operations of trade. There can be no more legitimate object of taxation than property which, under the protection of government, has gone on to accumulate from year to year in the hands of an individual, and passes, at his decease, into the
114possession of another, who has done nothing to earn it, and into whose hands it falls by the death of the testator and the operation of law. Without good government, stable laws, and just administration, property would be very precarious in its descent, and it is, therefore, just that that property should pay its proportion of the cost of the government. We select one, among many eminent examples. Mr. Astor, of New York, by great enterprise, perseverance, and skill, through a long life, amassed a vast fortune, estimated, let us say, at $30,000,000. That fortune has been attained by a foreigner by birth, under the protection of the United States laws, and the action of congress has more than once been solicited to shield him from injuries to which his vast and praisworthy commercial operations have, from time to time, been exposed. Yet under a system of indirect taxes, Mr. Astor contributed no more to the support of the federal government than the laboring man, whose utmost exertions have not enabled him to accumulate a dollar. When the laboring man dies, he leaves nothing, and has no occasion for the protection of the law. When, in the course of nature, the vast Astor property descends to heirs, the operation of law and the protective influences of government are required to insure the passage of the property to its proper destination, and to secure to the heirs its full enjoyment. Hence, the property in its passage should be charged with a reasonable duty or tax, for the benefit of the government, in order to relieve the shoulders of those, without property, from taxes, and to remove obstacles in the way of trade. It is also
115reasonable that fortunes accumulated in commerce, for the protection of which a navy is supported at vast expense, should pay their proportion. A tax of this nature can be no burden upon the recipient of a legacy. The amount received is, in any event, a gratuity. When a prize is drawn in a lottery, it is customary to deduct a percentage, usually a large one, yet the winner of a prize was never known to complain on that account. Nor does that circumstance retard the purchase of a ticket. When property passes to a widow, or descends to children, it is less in the nature of a prize, and the duty would admit of gradation. A tax of this nature, applicable alike to real and personal property, would probably produce $20,000,000 per annum, and be subject to annual augmentation. But we cannot go into the details of the operation of the several taxes, the space to which the author is limited not warranting discussion upon a subject so prolific.
Indirect taxes are a wasteful and injurious mode of levying an income tax, because they tax every article consumed by persons and families, and by so doing diminish incomes; that is to say, they make every article bought, dearer than it otherwise would be. By this operation, they compel each person to pay about four times as much as the government gets. The great disadvantage of indirect taxation, is not so much the amount actually paid by the consumers of taxed goods, great though it be, as the diminution it occasions to their revenue, by depressing prices. In this country the leading productions are agricultural, and they far exceed the wants of the people of the
116United States. Whatever tends, therefore, to circumscribe the foreign market, contributes to glut those at home, and thus prices are depressed. The tendencies of the whole world are to freedom of intercourse, through the growing convictions of the public mind; that by such means alone can the prosperity of a whole people be promoted.
In conclusion, it must be clear to every Granger, that the property of a country must contribute to the support of its government. You have declared, as a fundamental article of your political creed, that contributions for that object should be levied upon all property of every kind, equally, and uniformly. Consider to what result an exception to this rule would lead. Suppose government enact a law exempting all property in land and houses from taxation, and it comes to pass that one-fourth of the inhabitants own all the land and houses that the country contains. Here we have a select society of nabobs, the absolute lords of the land, and the appurtenances thereof, supported in their feudal grandeur by a government which subsists upon the labor and earnings of a population which its policy condemns to perpetual slavery. Perhaps the professional politicians, with their "perfected organization," may tell the Granger how to cypher out the exact quantity of Democratic equality there would be in such an exemplification of the favorite policy of the professional politicians and their pet "perfected organization." Then carry the illustration to the property that consists in government bonds. If all the property owned by three-fourths of the inhabitants be represented by
117$2,000, and all the property owned by the other one-fourth consisting in government bonds be represented by the same amount, the policy of the professional politicians of exempting the property of the latter from sharing equally with that of the former in the burden of government shall seize the whole estates of the three-fourths, and turn them over to the one-fourth, to pay a debt which justice and equity can only regard as a burden upon all alike, to be shared equally by all. This is the unavoidable result of the declaration made by the "perfected organization" of the professional politicians, that property consisting in government bonds should be made an exception to the rule; that the burdens of goverment should be borne by property of every kind equally and uniformly; that there should be no discriminations against, the many and in favor of the few.
Equally pernicious to the country at large is that system of subsidies and grants, whether of lands money, or privileges, by which are created and fostered into overgrown proportions those gigantic monopolies, which in their turn become powerful enough to corrupt and rule the government Let us have no more of it, but let the people's land be for the people's use — the people's money for the people's service. More dangerous than all, are the centralizing tendencies of the times. We can endure, if we must, unequal tariffs and oppressive taxation; we can bear a considerable amount of corruption; but these strides toward imperialism, if not arrested, may end in our ruin. Are the Grangers aware how the overshadowing power and presence of a great central
118government is absorbing into itself the rights of states, the freedom of municipalities, and the individualities of citizens? Once the states chartered their own banking institutions; now the government indirectly taxes them out of existence, and puts in their places agencies of its own. It seizes the sword and the purse of the nation. We hear of the design of making the government general educator, taking this office from the state and school districts; and again, of taking the telegraphs and, perhaps, the expresses under its charge, giving its officers a perfect system of espionage over the business and social life of the people. The party in power will never arrest these tendencies.
Add to these, and other abuses, the artificial and oppressive system of raising the revenue, under which the burdens are unequally and unjustly distributed, the rich favored at the expense of the poor, some pursuits ruined that others may reap golden harvests. If we must have a tariff, let it be for revenue and not for protection, and as little of it as possible at that — keeping always in view the greatest good to the greatest number.
Chapter IX. Grains from the Granaries. Extracts from Essays and Addresses, Accepted by the Patrons of Husbandry.
The Primary Cause.
* * * * The primary reason for high freights is found in an high tariff upon railroad iron. This commodity, over which every pound of grain in the Northwest rolls to market, is bought at thirty-seven per cent. greater price than it could be purchased were it not for the parental protection which our paternal government affords by means of a high tariff to the ironmongers of Pennsylvania and other states of this glorious union. If any one industry is protected by a tariff, it is so protected at the expense of all other industries. But who would send his grain to market over British rails and let our own magnificent mountains of iron rest and rust in their primeval uselessness? Who can tolerate the thought of permitting cheap labor in England to make railroad iron and sell it in America at such degraded figures as to
122crush out, ruin, and disgrace such poor pig-iron patriots as Simon Cameron, of Pennsylvania, and Eber Ward, of Michigan?
It never occurs to the noodles who ask these questions that if England makes all the railroad iron the whole world uses, England will raise much less bread-stuffs at home, and buy much more bread and beef and pork abroad. The high tariff which shuts out English iron shuts out at the same time a nation of customers for American grain and meat. It reduces the number of our consumers in England, and adds to the number of our producers, by means of farmer emigration from England. This is the blessing of protection to the Pennsylvania pig-iron patriots, and the primary cause of the low prices of farm products and the high prices of carrying them to market by rail.
Cameron, Ward, and their associates in iron-making, said
"Iron is too plenty. That makes it too cheap. We must make a scarcity of iron: the prices will then go up, and we will prosper."
So, we got the high tariff, and they have prospered, while the farmers, and nearly everybody else, save ironmongers, fail to prosper. In the meantime, the ironmongers and their hired attorneys forget Credit Mobilier stock long enough to cry —
"Stop thief! Stop thief!"
* * * * In 1872, Hon. Sam. Shellabarger, of
123Ohio, introduced a bill in Congress to prohibit any railway carrying passengers, freight, etc., en route from one State to another, making any discrimination in rates because of distance; the rates to be uniform as to mileage. Mr. Shellabarger announced the conception of his bill in a long letter to a Boston paper, in which he made many learned references to legal decisions, but failed to touch the question, whether Congress has the authority to prescribe to railways or other common carriers the rate of compensation they may charge for transportation. The gentleman made the following points:
1. That the rate charged by railroads for the transportation of freight amounts, in many cases, to extortion, and that, while food is rotting at one end of a railroad, there are persons very hungry at the other end.
2. That under the power to regulate commerce, Congress has enacted various regulations as to the construction of vessels; the number of passengers each may carry; where the freight and baggage must be stowed; the quantity and kinds of food to be given passengers and crew, and how it shall be cooked; rules as to cleanliness, and to protect passengers from outrage and wrong; and that Congress has, in like manner, provided similar regulations for commerce on steam and other vessels engaged in the inland trade.
3. That the power of Congress to regulate commerce among the several states is precisely the same as it is to regulate foreign commerce.
4. That railroads, though unknown at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, stand in the respect of commerce as do vessels upon the rivers, lakes, and ocean.
5. That all state laws and charters of railroad and other corporations, which operate as regulations of commerce among the several states, are subject to the paramount power of Congress to alter them whenever Congress shall decide to do so in aid and regulation of commerce.
6. That the only cases where a state has power to regulate commerce not subordinate to the power of Congress is in that commerce which is conducted wholly within the limits of such state, and is, therefore, neither foreign commerce nor commerce among the states.
7. That in the absence of any exercise of its constitutional authority by Congress, the regulations of the several states would be valid, but all such regulations by states would lapse when Congress should act in the matter.
We can understand, that railways though chartered by states, hold their charters subject to all the powers given to Congress by the Constitution; and while it is clear that Congress can regulate commerce among the states, just as it can upon the ocean, that does not settle the question whether Congress can fix the rates of transportation in either case.
This question has provoked action on the part of several state legislatures. They have attempted to enact a tariff of rates for the transportation of passengers and freights, and to prohibit any discrimination in the rates upon "through" and "way" freights. These attempts have been made under the general police power of the state, or under some assumed authority to regulate commerce within the state. It is inoperative, as far as it applies to "through" freights,
125because of the easy means of evading it, so that state "regulation" is at best very feeble. So generally was this admitted, that the country turned to Congress for the exercise of this authority, if it exist at all. The failure of the gentleman from Ohio to give any information on this vital point was, and will continue to be, a disappointment to those who have faith that an act of Congress can cure any trouble, from high and low treason to dyspepsia.
The calamity of high rates of transportation is a result of that vicious system of taxation, under which the whole country suffers. Congress has placed a tariff on railroad iron of $14 per ton. A mile of track contains 95 tons of rails, 5 kegs of spikes and 55 chairs. The tariff on a mile of road is nearly $1,400. The duty on steel rail is $24. The additional cost of every mile of road laid by steel is nearly $24. Add to this, duty on screws, 42 per cent.; steel, 48; iron, 40; screws, 55; glass, 55 — all entering into the construction of railways — and we have a little light upon "high rates." There is not a rail, a spike, a casting of any kind, a tool or piece of machinery, a locomotive, or a wheel or a tire, or any other article composed wholly or in part of iron and steel, which has not been taxed, during the last ten years, from 50 to 90 per cent. During that time every mile of railroad in the United States has been laid or relaid. The cost of construction and of maintenance has been substantially doubled, and the same tax has followed its rolling stock, from the lumber of its platform cars to the paint, varnish, and glass of its passenger coaches. The growers of corn and of wheat have
126been and are now paying that tax. They are paying it, as Mr. Shellabarger states, by sending five bushels of corn to pay the freight of one from Iowa to New York. To whom is it paid? The monopolists of the East, of course. The railways have not been taxed one dollar that they have not and do not collect with compound interest from you who raise corn to send to market. Prominent among the glaring offences of which railway companies have been guilty, is the practice of issuing "watered stock," and piling up fictitious indebtedness. They are all alike grasping and soulless. The element of charity does not enter into their construction or composition. It was not granted to them in their charters, and since the abolition of the free-pass system, they have no way of obtaining it from the Board of Missions.
If it be true that the power to regulate the rates of freights is vested in Congress, will the owners of the 65,000 miles of railway in the United States submit to its exercise without a struggle? And in that struggle would not the superior intelligence, sagacity, and ready means of the railway managers, secure a controlling majority of both Houses, as subservient as any other equally numerous body of employed men in their service? The answer comes up in clear tones from Farmers' organizations in all parts of the country.
Providing increased facilities for transportation is the better plan for Congress to pursue, if it would give relief. The St. Lawrence river is offered as an easy and cheap exit to market. But if we must have railways, then, as an extreme measure of doubtful
127propriety, but far better than an attempt to fix railway charges by law, let Congress construct a double-track trunk railway for the transportation of freight from the Atlantic to the Mississippi or Missouri. Let this line be free to any person or corporation to run trains thereon under suitable regulations, — the, charges for freight not to exceed a certain rate. Congress can do what it pleases with its own; but when it undertakes to regulate the price of moving a bushel of corn, it asserts an authority to fix the price at which corn shall be sold, the price at which a man shall labor per day, and, under the guise of parental care, it becomes at once an intolerable despotism and nuisance. We have not enough railways to the seaboard. Let us encourage their increase by a repeal of every tax that swells the cost of their construction. Let us even build new railways; but let Congress be careful that, in attempting to cure the patient, it does not administer poison.
The Real Extortion.
"There is between Boston and Chicago "watered stock" enough to build and equip a double-track railroad with steel rails the whole distance. The origin of this "watered stock" is that the managers of these roads have charged the public more than they were legally authorized to do, have invested the money thus illegally taken, and tax the people on the amount forever."
This is the language of Mr. Josiah Quincy in a recent communication to a Boston paper. If there be any freight philanthropists within hearing of this
128Granger, let them tell us how many double-track steel railways would the "watered stock" of Illinois railway companies build? Let them tell us why it would not be better for railway philanthropists, before claiming the right to tax us forever on this sham capital, to make it real capital by investing it in such double-track steel railways?
This assumption of a pretended right to tax us forever on capital which has never been invested in railways goes to the very core of the monopoly question, and is about all there is of it, as far as railway corporations are concerned; but equity and justice have claims as well. Equity says that no railway company has the shadow of a right to include in the basis of its financial reckoning one single dollar of "watered stock." Justice between man and man demands that "every drop of water should be squeezed out of the stock of every railway company." There would then be no difficulty with economical management, in making every railway pay handsome dividends upon greatly reduced rates of tariff. * * *
This, then, is the real extortion which railway companies practice in taxing the public to pay dividends on capital that does not exist, and which was never invested in them. The movement demanding emancipation from the slave-power of monopoly proposes to stop this extortion of tribute from commerce to pay profits on certified lies. * * *
In Our Own House.
The object of the "Farmers' Movement" is the
129practical solution of the great economic problem. If political parties make themselves our enemies by upholding traditions rather than principles, and give us battle, we shall meet them with the weapons of reason and right, and send prejudice and party rancor far to the rear. We shall always welcome recruits and converts to the Grange, never turning a deaf ear to the claims of friend or foe, however much we may have differed in times past. Just now, overtures are being made to us by the party in power, an organization that many of us have followed to victory through many a hard-fought campaign. I trust, sir it will not be out of place to briefly consider the argument recently addressed to the State Grange, and which is thus nakedly stated:
"We have paid your debt; we have lightened your taxes, and reduced the expenses of the government. All this we can prove to you from the official records."
It is not true that they have performed these financial prodigies. Every candid man will admit that the administration and its advisers are entitled to no especial credit for the reduction of the debt, the reduction of taxation, or any thing else of which they may boast in connection with the finances, unless they can show that they have recommended wise measures of finance; or that they have exhibited peculiar efficiency, economy, and honesty, or at least one of these, in collecting the revenues. They originated the funding scheme, which was a sad failure. They originated what is known as the "Re-distribution Act," the only effect of which has been to extend the national
130bank monopoly, and to increase the burdens of the tax-payers for the benefit of that monopoly. They have heartily sustained the policy, which they cannot be said to have originated, of removing those taxes which were least burdensome, and retaining those which were most oppressive. These are the only financial measures originated or advocated by "our friends" which are now in force. Is any one of them a measure of which to be proud, or on account of which they can justly claim credit for the reduction of the debt? They have tried to spend five millions, more or less, for part of a tropical island. Mr. Boutwell tried hard to induce Congress to adopt a ship-bounty policy, to cost the country fifty millions, if carried out. Mr. Cresswell tried to buy the telegraph lines of the country for not more than seventy-five millions, — that is, not more than twice their value, with a proviso that he should manage them, with every prospect of an annual loss of from three to five millions. With the apparent view to consummating all these things, the president, and nearly all of his advisers, opposed from the first any reduction of taxation, and continued their opposition until forced to yield to the popular demand for relief. There is nothing in all this to entitle the administration to credit for reducing the debt and lightening the burden of taxation.
In regard to collecting the revenue, the civil-service commission reported that one-fourth of the revenue is lost in the collection. The president, who appointed the commission, endorsed the report. * * *
It is the course of practical wisdom for anti-monopolists,
131and friends of reform everywhere, to present candidates of their own, inscribing "Liberty and equality" on their banner, and resolving to fight it out alone, against the principles and powers of monopoly on that line. Determined to pursue this course, we will not want for recruits. They will come to us by the hundreds and the thousands. And we will carry the day. If there be no splicing of tickets here in Iowa, and we decline to loan the enemy our strength, our victory will be the first effective triumph in the coming revolution. Founded upon the basis of free principles, that revolution is destined to bring to an end, the monstrous system of spoliation, extortion, and robbery that is now crushing out the life of the people.
Let us beware of treason in disguise, and cheap frauds. As campaigns approach, the enemy will endeavor to beg, borrow, or steal our strength. Already, office-holders, ex-office-holders, and office-seekers seek to affilliate with us, for the express purpose of steering our movement into the picket lines of the Republican party. We have the evidence here at home. The monopolist party, upon the monopoly principle, have fixed the wires for the re-election of a monopolist governor. In order to cajole voters into supporting an avowed monopolist for the highest office, they propose to nominate a "Granger" for the second place. Thus they hope to humbug farmers into voting with the monopoly party, and crush any plan we may have in view of presenting a ticket of our own. If any Granger consents to serve the enemy in this way, he is a traitor both to the order and the cause.
As I understand the Granger's creed, we are opposed to the salary steal, and steals of all kinds, railroad extortion, corporation monopolies of all kinds. We favor free trade and equal rights to all, and special privileges to none. This compels us to withdraw all favor from the class of pestilent demagogues, known as professional politicians, and from all party organizations, which professional politicians manipulate, control and "lead." By "professional politician" is meant the man who regards party success as the end to be worked for, instead of the stepping-stone to an end beyond, consisting in the conformity of the laws and their administration to certain definite principles of right; otherwise, the man who believes in party government, instead of a government of law. The first is synonymous with the maxim so rigidly adhered to by the late Democratic party, and faithfully practiced at Washington, and which claims that "to the victors belong the spoils." The latter asserts that there should be no "spoils" subject to anybody's claims, and that the man who desires party success for the spoils, or in order to use the functions of government for any purpose of individual or party aggrandizement, is a miscreant, a scoundrel, a thief, and a professional politician.
The only way to put down professional politicians is to put down political organizations that feed and nourish the vermin. There is no other practical way, and this is part of the work before us. * * * *
Granges, in some localities, have arranged to buy their agricultural machinery, through their own agents, directly from the manufacturers. The farmers of Iowa claim to have saved thousands of dollars in this way. They have an indisputable right to pursue this course. The movement is a righteous and thoroughly effective protest against any unjust arrangement which may exist, by which agents, or "Middle Men," enjoy a monopoly of the sale of such machinery.
Other Granges have made arrangements to buy their supplies of various kinds — dry goods, groceries, etc., either of wholesale dealers direct, or retailers who offer the best terms. They have the same right to do this, too, as to buy machinery at first hands. This movement may have its temporary advantage, but it is not in the nature of a protest against a monopoly wrong, as is the other. The manufacture and sale of an agricultural machine, say a reaper or mower, may be established and maintained as a monopoly for some time, under the protection of a patent, or because a large amount of capital is necessary to economical production. There is no patent, however, thank the Lord, on the business of buying and selling goods, and there are hundreds of thousands who have sufficient capital to enable them to engage in the business. This business cannot be monopolized, therefore, any more than agriculture. We take it that the co-operative store movement among our farmers, is hardly likely to prove very profitable, and it will scarcely become a substitute for the present mercantile machinery.
This movement originated in a realization of the fact, that a great difference exists between the wholesale and retail prices of many articles. But it does not follow that retail merchants enjoy a monopoly, and grow rich upon its advantages. The difference between the wholesale and retail prices of a given article is not all profit. After deducting expense and loss, only the residue is profit. So also, the difference in manufacturers' and wholesale dealers' prices is part profit and part loss. Finally, the difference between the actual cost of production and the manufacturers' prices is part profit and part loss. There is a series of expenses between the first cost of a product and its consumption, as well as losses of various kinds which must be borne by consumers in the long run, or production will cease. * * * *
The "Little Bull Law!"
We are told by one of the fathers, that the good people of Illinois became suddenly excited some thirty years ago, in regard to the improvement of a certain breed of stock. While the object met with general favor, there was no one to suggest a definite line of policy for its accomplishment. As usual however, the old fogy nose pointed straight for papa government. Mr. Fogy finally convinced himself that some kind of legislative "protection" was necessary. When the legislature convened, the owners of the few Bashan bulls then in the state, taking advantage of public sentiment, applied for the passage of a law prohibiting native, or little bulls, from running at large. Friends
135of the big bulls thronged the lobbies, and importuned members at every corner. When one was found ignorant of big bulls, or who doubted the popularity of the measure, he was persuaded that any opposition that might be raised at first by "the little bull party" would soon blow over and be forgotten, and that in the end it would prove quite popular with the whole people. These Solons finally yielded, and taking the subject by the horns, enacted what was known as "The Little Bull Law." History goes on to say, that they made a bull of it, for history likes its joke, as well as the rest of us.
The news of its passage traveled on the wings of the wind, and all the little bulls on the prairie set up a bully roar. The law was everywhere denounced as unjust, anti-democratic, and dangerous to the rights and liberties of a free people — to say nothing of the little bulls! Such was the storm of indignation that came up from every part of the state, that the terrified representatives made haste to appease the wrath of their outraged constituents, by repealing the obnoxious law. But this was not sufficient to restore the friends and advocates of the measure to public favor. Instead of the opposition blowing over and being forgotten, it continued to deepen and to widen, until it proved to be the unpardonable sin, never to be forgotten or forgiven. This law killed more would-be great men in this state than any and all others ever enacted by the legislature; with a single exception, no man who advocated or voted for it, or dodged the question, was ever elected to the legislature or any office of honor, profit or trust. Only those who
136opposed the measure, by argument or vote, ever met with favor at the hands of the public.
We have heard something about "retrenchment and reform in the public service," a deal about "Christian statesmen and patriotic capitalists," yet the people are coming to believe that the spirit of aristocracy is as rampant now as it was thirty years ago. We see it cropping out in our railway system; in our banking system, in our "protective" policy, and by the robbery of the public treasury, without reason or excuse, by those whose sworn duty it is to guard and protect the rights of the people. We are determined that it shall be rooted out now, as it was thirty years ago.
What "The Little Bull Law" did for "would-be" great men in this state, the Great Grab will do for the "would-be" great men in Congress. The people are determined to rid our national councils of "Bashan stock" by relegating to private life, every man who advocated or voted for the steal, or who dodged the question, as well as those who contented themselves with giving a negative vote, and subsequently pocketed their share of the spoil; and the conscientious gentlemen, who took thirty or sixty days to decide whether or not they should return their portion of the "swag" to the public treasury, will fare no better. Only those who opposed the swindle by argument and vote, and who instantly refused to accept any portion of the plunder, are entitled to public confidence.
The time actually devoted by members to the public service, during both sessions of a single term of Congress, does not average over ten months, or 300
137days, so that under the old law their pay was $33 per day for the time spent in Washington. The people regard this as not only a sufficient but extravagant consideration for the services rendered. They regarded the advance from $3,000 to $5,000 per annum, as a war measure, that would be continued only while the cause existed. From what has since been said by professional politicians about "retrenchment and reform" they were led to expect a reduction, rather than an advance in the pay of the members. Men of ability, culture, capacity, and a high order of talent, managed to live in Washington on one-fourth the amount allowed under the old law. If the Grab law of the last session is allowed to stand, members will receive $15,000 for ten month's services, being at the rate of $50 per day for the time actually devoted to the public service. This is "retrenchment," with a vengeance; and yet the party has the effrontery to assume the farmer's issues, and point us to the advantage of its "perfected organization."
The members of the Congress that meets in December next sought and accepted the office with the distinct understanding that they were to receive for their services $5,000 per annum, with traveling expenses; and the demanding or taking of any more will be a repudiation of the contract. They are no more entitled to the extra compensation authorized by the law of the last session than those who passed it, and their neglect or refusal to repeal that villainous law will be accepted by the people as proof that they, like its authors, belong to the Bashan stock, and like them, ought and will share the same fate.
****** In reply to enquiries from our Club in Christian county, Judge Vanderveer sends a most forcible commentary upon that branch of the monopoly question which makes an issue between the people and railway companies. He says:
"The doctrine that the legislature has or can dispose of the sovereignty of the people by contract with incorporated companies is about exploded. The sovereignty of the people is inalienable. Their right to require every individual, company, or corporation to obey the law cannot be sold by the legislature. To say the people of the state cannot, by law, prevent unjust discrimination by public carriers, is to say that the people are incapable of self-government."
The judge holds the "legislative omnipotence" doctrine in contempt, and regards the entire mass of meddlesome, regulative or "preventive" statutory enactments, as the empirical prescriptions of legislative quackery. He adds:
"Wanton and unjust taxation, extravagant legislation and prodigal expenditure of public money, are crying evils, worthy the consideration of your club. The levying of taxes and heaping of burdens upon the products of labor seem (to our law-makers) to be the only remedy for all evils.
"Accordingly the general assembly, in 1871, devised a commission of three, with a yearly salary of $3,500 each, to be paid out of the tax fund.
|Amounting in the whole year to||$10,500.00|
|They were allowed a clerk at||1,500.00|
|And for office rent and stationery||800.00|
|And making for two years only||25,600.00|
"Loud calls have been made by the governor and others upon the legislature for additional allowances. Their calls have been as persistent and earnest as the calls of Hannibal upon Carthage for supplies for his small but victorious army, while marching upon the gates of Rome. Now behold and admire the daring struggles and long-continued and never-ceasing labors. Don't you think that these poorly-paid commissioners, with untiring energy and unabated zeal for the public welfare, did actually and certainly in the short space of two years, and with no more of the taxes for pay than $25,600, bring one whole suit against the railroads, and did actually and certainly get beat right out of their boots, and what was worse, out of the case, and then retreated in good order?"
The judge would provide a very different and less extravagant mode. Not to "regulate" or "prevent" anything, but to execute justice upon the corporate doers of injustice, putting the artificial person and the natural person on an equality before the law. As far as it relates to wrong acts by railway companies, his Honor thinks this is the solution of the whole question:
"In my judgment, the problem is easily solved. First, give a plain, clear, simple and universal law, declaring what shall be unjust discrimination; and, second, allow each individual injured to sue before a justice of the peace, or other court having jurisdiction of the amount claimed, in his own name and on his own motion, just as he now sues for killing his cattle, and my view for it, unjust discriminations would be few at the end of a year; instead of one suit in two years, there would be 10,000 in one year. The great elephant may beat down and overcome the
140lion, but unless you protect the elephant from repeated assaults of the millions of mosquitoes, they can worry the life out of him.
"The power of railroad companies may paralyze, corrupt, and beat down a few commissioners, as the elephant destroys the lion; but if the legislature will provide the people with a plain, simple law, defining their rights and remedies, the people will enforce it without the aid of a guardian, in the shape of railroad commissioners, and worry the railroads into a due respect for the law."
He returns to the subject of costly "preventive" officialism in the following vigorous style:
"I repeat, give the people a plain, simple law defining their rights and remedies, and they need no guardians and ask no salary. They can sue the railroad just as easy as they can sue each other, and, in my experience, much easier. Why, then, give $12,800 a year to somebody to sue for them, and then fail? It is, in my judgment, a delusion. But the $25,600 is a reality.
"It will be a proud day for the country when the people shall be aroused to a true sense of their actual condition and threatened liberties."
An article was read before this Grange, the other evening, taken from a monopolist organ, published near the home-nest of the pig-iron pirates, in Pennsylvania. This wheezing paper warns the farmers of the West that if special bounties, now granted by law to certain manufacturers, be abolished, the change will drive a million of men, who are now "consumers"
141of bread, to become farmers, or "producers" of bread. It adds, that to abolish protective taxes will reduce the cost of manufactured goods, and that labor employed in factories, receiving reduced wages, must purchase less corn, and go to farming for a living.
Farmers who have been paying taxes for a dozen years, to foster other industries, have certainly, by this time, a pretty clear idea of the fraudulent character of "Protection." The Chicago Tribune presents the following list of manufacturing trades and industries, which are not protected. The persons employed in the occupations named are not so protected by law but that all the duties might be repealed with benefit, rather than injury to them.
Houses and fences.
Wagons and carriages.
Hubs, spokes, shafts and wheels.
Printing presses and quartz mills.
Cars and locomotives.
Railways and street railways.
Steamers, sailing vessels, and canal-boats.
Staves, barrels, and pumps.
Fire engines and hose.
Stoves, grates, ranges, and furnaces.
Roofing and plastering.
Engines, boilers and machinery.
Quarrying, stone-cutting, and brick-making.
Water-works, paving, sewers, and gas.
Bridges, iron and wood.
Painting and glazing.
Scales and safes.
Brooms and brushes.
Boots and shoes.
Jewelry, optical, mathematical, and telegraphic instruments.
Butchering and packing.
Flour, crackers, and biscuit.
Canned fruit and vegetables.
Starch, oil, vinegar, lard, tallow, glue, and grease.
Printing, stereotyping, engraving and gilding.
Gas-fitting and plumbing.
Sash, doors, blinds, and ladders.
Printing and writing ink.
Blank-books, binding, etc.
Butter, cheese, candles, ashes, saleratus, and soap.
Lamps, lanterns, and candlesticks.
Cloth and paper bags.
Paper collars, cuffs, boxes, and paper hangings.
Wooden-ware, willow-ware, and matches.
Sails, awnings, and tents.
142Cement and stoneware.
Hats and hatters' goods and furs.
Vault lights, elevators, heating apparatus, and lightning-rods.
Looking-glass and picture-frames.
Pianos and organs.
Photographs and photographic goods.
Trunks, boxes, and show cases.
Wheelwrighting, wheel-barrows, and handcarts.
Saddlery, harness, and belting.
Leather and leather goods.
Churns, washing machines, and clothes-wringers.
Clothing made by tailors, milliners, and dressmakers.
Guns, gunsmithing, and tinware.
Locksmithing, bellhanging, and speaking-tubes.
Blacksmithing of all kinds.
Household and school furniture and upholstering.
According to the census, the whole number of persons in the United States, male and female, engaged in some occupation, and over ten years of age, is 12,505,923; and in giving the number engaged in each class of occupations, the protected and non-protected producers may be stated as follows:
|Trade and transportation||1,191,238|
|Miners, not protected||75,000|
|Operatives in wool, iron, cotton, and other goods||705,314|
|Total protected classes||782,421|
The number of persons engaged in protected industries is six and one-quarter per cent. of the whole, and the non-protected classes are ninety-three and three-quarters per cent. of the whole producing population.
It is hardly probable then, that the protectionists are in earnest when they claim that if the average bounty of forty-nine per cent. extorted from the people nominally, to protect the labor of the protected classes, is abolished, there will be a million of adults driven to the farms. Persons raised in cities, and who have been engaged in mechanical and factory work, cannot be induced by any stress of circumstances, to become farmers. The farmers of the West could give homes and employment to an immense army of both men and women, and liberal wages, too, if they could be procured. It is one of the evils of the day, that such a large proportion of the laboring population prefer to live in the cities struggling with poverty and exposed to all the temptations and vices of a metropolis, rather than seek the country, where a comfortable and respectable living awaits them on the farms. Nor can farmers attach their own sons and daughters to the plow. They hasten to abandon the healthfulness and integrity of agricultural life, to become petty clerks, salesmen, servants, and wage-laborers in cities. When Protectionists talk about emptying their factories and sending their laborers out on the farms, if the special bounties to a few manufacturing interests be repealed, they do not scare anybody, much less the Patrons of Husbandry. So difficult is it to get sufficient labor for the farms, that
144if it were not for the addition to such labor obtained from the annual immigration, it would be impossible to increase the products of farms in proportion to the increase of the population of the country. The idea that the Protectionists furnish from their mills the "consumers" of farm products, is a specious falsehood. The same people would consume just as much in a non-protected occupation.
They are as far from the truth when they claim that the object of Protection is to give higher wages to labor. The proportion of labor performed by machinery is annually growing greater, and that by human labor decreasing. The proportion of cash expended for wages of the leading manufactures, does not exceed eighteen per cent. of the product. Ten men, by the aid of machinery, now do the work which required forty men twenty years ago. The capitalist enjoys the same bounty on the product of his machinery that he does on the labor of his workmen. At the most, the workman can only receive, as his share of the average, forty-nine per cent, bounty — the proportion which his wages bear to the value of the thing produced, which is eighteen per cent. The rest of the bounty is awarded to the capital which hires the laborer and owns the machinery.
The Infant Pig.
The true Granger never loses his interest in whatever concerns the health of the government's little pig — or as it is known outside the Grange, the infant pig-iron industry. So eager is he to possess himself
145of information concerning piggy's welfare, that he is always ready to accept it from friend or foe. Once obtained, he loses no time in spreading the glad tidings before his brethren, that neither "matron" or "maid" may doubt that Protection's favorite child, shall be eventually successfully weaned.
The latest bulletin comes from the Messrs. A. B. Meeker and Co., the meek iron-masters of Chicago. A monopolist journal of that sun-burnt village smiles upon its readers with the information that the above firm "shipped a considerable quantity of iron out of the United States last year, and was engaged in working up an extensive trade in that metal with Her Majesty's subjects." If this be true, our Infant would be in little danger if the duty on pig-iron were wholly removed. An additional inference is warranted that the present duty enables American iron-masters to practice extortion, for which there is not the shadow of an excuse.
But as monopolist organs often err, even in telling the tale of their own pigs, corroboration comes through a voice from the great iron kingdom of Pennsylvania. This voice is the Harrisburg Patriot, whatever that is, and it says:
"A great change for the advantage of the leading interest in the manufactures of Pennsylvania, the production of iron in its various forms, has taken place within the past two years. The market value of pig-iron has almost doubled during that period, with no increase in the cost of production."
This change has taken place, in spite of a considerable
146reduction of duties. When the duty on pig-iron was $9 per ton, before the year 1870, the price of American pig, in New York, was from $26 to $33 per ton, according to quality. The present price, under a duty of $6.30 per ton, is from $40 to $50 per ton. The advance in price has been from $14 to $17 per ton, without taking the duty into account. Now, if the boss pigs were able to live, with a protection of $9 per ton, when the price, including duty, averaged $29.50, can't they subsist now without begging, when the price — also including duties — averages $45 per ton, without any protection at all? Supposing, as we Grangers have a right to suppose, the repeal of the present duty should reduce the price of American iron $6.30 per ton, as it would, the manufacturers would still realize an average of $38.70 per ton, against an average of only $29.50, when the duty was $9. They would still realize $9.20 per ton more than they did when they had the benefit of the highest rate of duty. They admit that it costs no more to produce pigs, that is to say pig-iron, in this country now, than it did then. It follows that the manufacturers would be better off by $9.20 per ton, without protection, than they were then, with $9 per ton protection. It follows of necessity again, that the present duty is a sheer gratuity from those generous fellows, the professional politicians, to men who would make enormous profits without any duty at all.
If you ask the enemy why, even on the protective theory, the duty should longer exist, he will answer, because the present high prices of iron cannot be sustained , because, if the present duty be abolished,
147prices will fall at once, and the rapacious British ironmasters will instantly flood our market with cheap iron, the product of their "pauper labor," and "crush out" our "infant industry," just as it is being able to walk alone. If this argument is good now, when will it cease to be good? We are forever being assured by the advocates of the "American System," that "protection" is merely a temporary expedient; and we have heard farmers say that it was a good thing when the country was new. The protectionist adds, that it is only necessary while our industries are in their infancy; that as soon as we have machinery and skilled labor, we shall be able to defy foreign competition by reason of our natural resources, and protection then will no longer be necessary. Then, why not apply the doctrine at once? The infant is well supplied with capital, skilled labor, and machinery, and is backed by natural resources unsurpassed. It is able, we see, to cope with Great Britain on her own ground. Could any infant wish for more? Is it not able now to run alone, without the assistance of nurse?
There are two causes for the advance in the price of iron, during the past two years. First, the increased demand, and second, the increased cost of production in Great Britain. Doubtless, the increased demand will be met in time by the increased production; but the increased cost of production in Great Britain is not likely ever to be overcome. The probability is that the cost of producing there, relatively to the cost of producing it here, will constantly increase. It is reasonable to suppose, therefore, that
148the increased supply of iron must come from this country, if the iron-masters are wise enough to surrender the privilege of exacting tribute from their countrymen, and to demand exemption from the payment of tribute to other protected producers. If they are wise enough to improve their golden opportunity by helping to rid themselves, and the country, of the whole tribute system, they will soon control the iron markets of the whole western continent. The Grange may safely conclude that the government's pig is doing very well.
King Caucus. By an Ohio Patron.
The Old Men's Party met in convention, recently, in Ohio, and danced a hornpipe to the tune of "Old Hundred." It was a fair-sized collection of political pall-bearers, and one in which the ages of the participants compare appropriately with the age of the deceased, which was known in life as "The Ohio Democracy." It was composed mainly of ancient sticks, old dead timber that lost its sap and its bark before the war. There was an occasional limb still green at the top, but the trunk of the thing is worm-eaten, rotten at the heart and shaky at the butt. It was remarked that "old men of the senilities," who have not cast their votes for more than adecade, had come out in spectacles and on crutches, for a last victory, a closing triumph of speeches over youth and clear eyesight. A platform of principles was adopted, as a matter of course, the first resolution of which embodied a truth which is not only taking hold of the
149popular mind everywhere, but which was a part of the Patron's creed, from the very commencement of the People's movement. It is the first of the string of resolutions composing the platform, and is as follows:
Resolved, That we declare against a caucus or convention which fails to present fit candidates for office. It is the high privilege, as well as the bounden duty, of all good citizens to withhold their votes from such candidates, and, regardless of party affiliations, to support the best men presented for official position.
Our movement is as much against King Caucus as against any other tyrant; as much against the fetters imposed by party management and political conventions, upon the freedom of action of voters, as against any other species of monopoly. People begin to revolt at the spectacle, not only of nominating bodies, but even of state legislatures packed in the interest of particular aspirants to office, and converted into so much machinery to be "run" for their individual benefit. An ambitious, unscrupulous politician may in reality have the support of but a small minority of the party to which he belongs. The great body of that party, including its most enlightened and respectable members, may be altogether opposed to his elevation, and see, not only with reluctance, but disgust, the control of the party surrendered into his hands. But, unfortunately, the active minority who support him are of the class of "working" politicians — the class who attend primary meetings, serve as delegates to conventions, who live by politics, and between whom and the candidate a natural alliance
150of interest springs up. Disgusted "respectability," meanwhile, stays at home, takes no active part in the nominations, and, when the day of election arrives, finds that it has no choice but to support the candidate whom it condemns, or, by withholding that support, let the election go by default in favor of a political opponent. At least, that is what too commonly happens in all parts of the country. Until the organization of the farmers' movement, few men had the courage to disobey the party mandate, or to "bolt" the action of a regular convention in order to save even a state from being disgraced.
We have seen good men supporting unfit nominations because they were "regular," and as Patrons we confess, in entire accord with the Ohio resolutions, that the most dangerous feature in our politics is the disposition to follow blindly the dictates of party caucuses, which are controlled, in nine cases out of ten, by scheming, intriguing political demagogues. Partisanship is the present peril, and wholesome "bolting" the escape. Wherever the selfishness and ambition of self-constituted leaders and would-be party managers seek to lord it over the people and to forestall the popular choice, a healthy, spirited "bolt" will do a world of good, and teach such fellows, that even though they get the ear of power, and the control of patronage and machinery of party, the people back of the party are honest, clean and decent, and will stand no nonsense. I trust, that before it is too late, those who claim to have the political destinies of the states in their special keeping will take note of the spirit that is abroad in the land, and by presenting
151only the "best men" as candidates, forestall the danger of a disastrous if not fatal "bolt." The Patrons of Husbandry will support only the best men, and there is that in the spirit of the people, just now, which will stand no nonsense.
Blades of Grass. By a Kansas Patron.
We want it clearly understood, that this movement of the farmers began without the aid of any politician or newspaper "organ." As the grass springs up all over the land in the spring of the year, so was our movement the spontaneous outgrowth of existing conditions, springing into existence in all parts of the West, as naturally and necessarily as the growth of vegetation in springtime. Wherever the same causes exist, there, from the necessities of the people, has arisen this farmers' movement, and there with intelligent leadership and permanent organization, it is struggling against the power of aggregated capital, combined with the evil influences of party rings and political demagogues. The reform movement goes bravely on, and the disinclination of the farmers, and those who sympathize with us in the war against monopolies, to be drawn into or to indorse any party, or to be ridden by any set of politicians, argues well for the future. It has not grown like a hot-house plant, but rather is it the result of deep convictions that the time has come when something must be done to break up old party ties. It is neither a Democratic nor a Republican move, but welcomes all who
152will take part. No one is excluded on account of former political belief; neither does it matter what calling he follows, provided it is an honest one. Men who have hitherto been operating with the different political organizations, engaging with all the earnestness and bitterness engendered by party differences, have buried the hatchet, and are ready and willing to denounce wrong-doing and wrong-doers, wherever found. I am aware that the stream cannot be purer nor rise higher than its fountain. We Patrons are charged with the momentous work of purifying the fountain — even the people themselves — until they shall see that the man who legislates the peoples' money into his own pocket, or betrays public trust in any way whatsoever, is a worse criminal than he who steals a horse or robs a bank.
Everyday experience demonstrates the fact that misfortunes befall the country when incompetent men are elected to office. The proof in this country is as clear as it is disgraceful. People are suffering all over the nation from either the dishonesty or the incapacity of public officers, and in many cases from both. We must have reform. The country cannot stand this ceaseless drain upon its resources. There must be some kind of correspondence between the income and the expenditures of the country, or bankruptcy will ensue. Many of us were at first disposed to turn to the old Republican party, but it has become so corrupt, from long continuance in power, that reform within its fold is among the impossibilities. At every convention it has held, in the last two or three years, it has resolved and resolved again in
153favor of reform, of official purity, etc., etc., and as often goes back to its filth, systematically violating every pledge and promise. Just now the Democratic corpse is thrusting similar resolves at us through its shroud. The people are casting about now for other means to preserve what is left of their rights and liberties, and to get back, if possible, those rights which the government has arbitrarily seized and conferred upon monopolies. It is not a new departure, but merely the taking of new means to preserve between the people and the government their constitutional relations, and to get better security than the constitution gives the people, that the relations of freemen to their government shall not be arbitrarily broken by the exercise of power not vested in the government, and that rights, which belong to the people at large, shall not be taken away and conferred upon corporations. This is taking place all over this country. It needs but system and order in its management and guidance to be entirely successful. This system and order we have already secured, through our organization.
Old Parties or New. By a Master.
* * * The better sort of government is that which leaves the largest freedom of action to the citizen. To secure this, it must not seek to interfere with the laws of trade, religion, or the customs of society. The Republican party is the successor of the old Whig party that came in turn from the
154Federal party of the Revolution. It regards the government as the guardian, or rather the parent, of the people. Hence the class legislation of which we complain. We are not only made to pay heavily for the support of an extravagant government, but we are forced to sustain the pets of the government — privileged monopolies based on money, that are wrong and oppressive. These constitute the opposing forces that are inimical to good government. These forces may be classed under one head, as the accumulated capital of the country in the hands of the few — the men who grew rich out of contracts, during the war. They may be enumerated as follows: The Protectionists, the great railroad interests, the national banks, — all based upon, or outcropping from, the gold-bearing bonds. All of these have taken stock in the present administration. They own and control it. They have made of our government one vast job.
The first of the iniquities is the protective tariff, which I do not stop to discuss now, as it was the request of the Grange that I should merely outline our grievances, in reply to demagogues who are asking us to permit existing political organizations to assume our cause. When the war broke out, the Republican party came into power. Its representatives in Congress passed a tariff law that amounted to prohibition. Thus protected, the manufacturing interests realized large profits. Now, when the consumer needs cheap articles, we are forced to pay the highest prices, while the producer or laborer of the country is forced to take prices for his produce far below its
155value. This is an artificial condition of things, created by law, which establishes an inequality highly detrimental to the freedom of the citizen. Prohibited by a protective tariff from going abroad to purchase in the world's market, he is forced to pay an artificial price upon home-manufactured goods that is ruinous; for while compelled to pay the excessive price demanded for the manufactured article, he finds the home market glutted with the products of the land, which are almost made valueless by the combined action of capital in various forms. The most onerous and tyrannical of these are the railroads — the most powerful of corporate grants in the land. Covering the country with a net-work of iron, they have the exclusive control of the carrying trade in the transportation of merchandise and the products of the land, and upon which they fix their own rates of charges. This so enhances the high price upon the manufactured article, created by the tariff, that, by the time any article of merchandise leaves their hands, the cost of the simplest fabric is so great as to make it a luxury to possess it, after it has been carried from the East to the West. This is a load in itself that the labor of the country can barely sustain; but when to this is added the reduction in the value of produce by the cost of railroad charges for carrying, and the glut of the market, it leaves the producer without the means to purchase the bare necessities of life. As an illustration: here in the West it takes three bushels of corn to get one to market, and corn ceases to be an article of shipment, and we frequently use it as fuel. Thus, while
156the manufactured article is enhanced in price, to place it beyond the reach of purchase by the Western producer, the corn is burned, while the wheat barely pays for transportation to the consumer of the East. Under this administration of affairs, the capitalist very kindly allows the laborer of the country to have left him only enough clothes to cover his nakedness and sufficient food to keep his body and soul together.
But they are not satisfied with wielding this crushing power. They have secured through Congress a vast extent of the public domain, the property of the people, the inheritance of their children, held in trust by the government for their sole benefit; to be possessed and used by them when called for upon payment of the nominal sum of one dollar and a quarter per acre, the trust charge for the safe keeping of the public lands for the use of the individual. The trust has been violated, and now railway corporations have assumed ownership.
Saddled upon all these evils is your banking system, which furnishes the circulating medium used to make up balances, and thus to carry on the trade of the country. The operators form one class of bondholders, from which they gather their gold interest, and on which they issue another indebtedness, and draw interest on that. With eight per cent. interest on the bonds, and one per cent. a month on the currency, they realize the net sum of twenty per cent, on their capital, and in five years double their investment. Now, if it is true in regard to private affairs, that there is no legitimate business in the country,
157that can be carried on with capital that costs ten per cent. how can the business of the country be carried on with a circulating medium, costing twenty? It cannot be done. To all these evils under which the business men of the country are oppressed, is to be added taxation — an extortion from the producing classes, to run the machinery of the government, which as I have hinted, is run in many instances as a charitable institution, to keep up the feeble branches of trade, that cannot sustain themselves.
Summing it all up, it would seem that there was no legitimate business in the country but that of farming and day-laborers. These seem to be the only self-sustaining branches of industry, and they are taxed to death to support the illegitimate business. Here we have illustrated, in its broadest sense, a paternal government.
I beseech you, farmers, laborers, and business men of the country, who are sustaining these enormous charities, to look into these matters! Why are your hard earnings to be taken by law from healthy branches of trade, to sustain unhealthy branches? — branches, which, under this unholy legislation, are making millionaires of those supposed paupers, and pauperizing you in return. Let us examine these matters, as citizens, as Patrons of Husbandry, as men who would be free, and correct the evils which threaten a total upheaval and subversion of our government.
We would be patriots rather than partisans. Both of the old parties seem incapable of correcting these evils. One has brought them upon us, and the other
158is unable to resist them. Who is to do it? The answer comes from the Granges all over the land. The people in consultation looking to their own interest — they are the only power that can resist the current of destruction that threatens to overwhelm us. We would cast aside old party trammels. Let no prejudice bias your judgment, my brethren, and then with firmness pour oil upon the troubled waters, and the storm of abuses will subside. The tide has set in from this Great West.
The farmers, in solid phalanx, are marching to the front. The work is begun. The people are in earnest, and the People's party is simply an outcropping of their determination to resist these wrongs — wrongs that have at last aroused the most peaceful element. As the tyranny of Great Britain aroused such men as Putnam from their dream at the plow, so the present condition is bringing the farmer to the front.
We have no great job to put up! In our action we are simply seeking remedies to correct existing wrongs. We ask no favors. All we wish is to be let alone in our business relations — to have these free and unhampered, and not to be burdened by unnecessary taxation that has been put upon them to encourage monopolies and business that cannot sustain itself. We favor railways, but they must be kept within proper bounds, by laws regulating their charges; and we are in favor of currency that is on a par with the world's currency. The bill of exchange, the certificate of deposit, the check and the bank-note, are all proper as a medium of exchange, but the farming
159and laboring interest, demand with the business men, that each and all of these forms shall bring gold upon demand. We cast our fortunes then with the "People's Party" whose name and object shall be "Reform!"
Wanted! A Name. By Taylor's Boy.
The officeholders, the Bourbons, professional politicians and political dead-beats generally, exercise their feeble wits in the way of satire and ridicule, over the fact that the new party of the people is without any distinctive name. The worst thing they can say against us is, that our party is "nameless." I want to say in reply to this absurd sneer, that while it differs from the Bourbon faction, and the officeholder's party, in being a party without a name, it also differs from both in not being a party without principles.
The only inconvenience realized from the absence of a distinctive name is the needless tendency of news reporters to classify the candidates we present by their former party designations. The chairman of our convention was reported as a "Republican," while the two secretaries were styled "Democrats." Now, both these old names should be dropped, with respect to all who enlist in the new party of liberty and emancipation. Both are names that belong to a past era in our history; both are suggestive of fraud, corruption and oppression. The men who have stepped into the new era, have left the "dead past"
160and its controversies behind, and are coming up to the study of the new situation and the performance of its new duties, are neither "Republicans" nor "Democrats," in the party sense of those words.
We are independents, in that we have voluntarily absolved ourselves from all connection with old parties, and have declared against the old Bourbon or papal dogma of party infallibility; and also, that we antagonize the practice of paternal government, and assert the independence of individual man. We are "economists," in that we seek to promote the economic system, instead of the monopoly system, by applying the established principles of political economy in the practice of government. By one or the other of these names, "Independents" or "Economists," this humble Granger thinks our new party should be designated. It matters not what men have been. Our concern is merely to know what men are now.
History of the Grab. By Patron James.
The Salary Grab Bill was first introduced by Gen. Butler on behalf of the Judiciary Committee. Two especially prominent features suggest themselves, in following the consecutive stages of its progress. First, those who advanced the most convincing arguments why it should not become a law were among the first to avail themselves of the grab, after it passed. The second feature is, that the law was only passed by means of what is generally known as "parliamentary tactics," in the most unfair and sneaking manner.
In the original form of the bill, the salary of a congressman was fixed at $8,000 a year, making the increase applicable to the Congress just then going out of existence. It is therefore clear that the retroactive feature was contemplated from the very first. In this shape the bill was received, twice read, and recommitted. February 10th, Mr. Butler moved that the report on the increase of salaries be made a part of the Miscellaneous Appropriation bill, for the consideration of the Committee of the Whole, asking a suspension of the rules for that purpose. As the yeas and nays are not taken in the Committee of the Whole, this was a bit of strategy to avoid the recording of the votes. Butler's motion was defeated, and the measute started out with disaster. On the 24th of February, the House sitting as Committee of the Whole, Butler introduced a new Grab bill, making the salaries $7,500 instead of $8,000, according to the original bill, adding a few new grabs to strengthen it, and making an appropriation of $1,250,000, for this purpose. Like all the other modifications, this bill provided for an increase of back-pay, as it was plain at all times, that upon no other condition would the retiring members support it. Mr. Upson, of Ohio, sought to have the retroactive clause stricken out, but failed, of course. The original Butler grab was then agreed to by a vote of 81 to 66. When, on February 28th, the Committee of the Whole rose, Butler again moved a suspension of the rules, and the adoption of the bill with the amendments. Several gentlemen interposed, calling for information, when one of Butler's tools exclaimed, "We do not want information." Gen. Hawley
162inquired if the effect of Butler's motion was to cut off opportunity to have separate votes. Butler said of course it was, and if Hawley had been a member longer, he would have known as much without asking. Congress laughed at this sally, as it did at several others during the discussion. But the grabbers now seem to be laughing on the other side of their mouths.
The amendment to the general bill for raising the salaries was now defeated by a vote of sixty-nine in favor and one hundred and twenty-one against. Butler voted against it, in order to move a reconsideration. He then said: "I move a reconsideration of the vote just taken, and pending that motion, I move that the House adjourn." The motion to adjourn prevailed; the grabbers gained time, and kept the motion to reconsider from being tabled. Their next step was to carry the motion to reconsider, no matter what increase was fixed, so as to attach the provision in some form to the appropriation bill; then to have the Senate reject it if the sum was not large enough ; then to secure a favorable conference committee, and to have this committee report at a favorable moment, toward the close of the session, when there was little time for its consideration.
It is not necessary to follow out, in detail, how all this was accomplished. It is enough to know that it was accomplished, and by the same unworthy means which were relied upon to bring it about from the beginning. But let the names of the persons composing that Conference Committee be recorded upon the books of every Grange. They were: Butler,
163Randall, and Garfield, from the House; and Morrill, Carpenter, and Bayard, from the Senate. Four of them were declared salary grabbers. One (Bayard) was doubtful, and he finally favored it; and one only (Garfield) was opposed to it, and he took the grab, after it was passed. It is no wonder that a favorable report came from such a Conference Committee, which was finally agreed to, and thus became a law.
It is a sort of consolation, that so vile a measure was passed only by resorting to the vilest kind of tactics. But is not so consoling to realize that so large a number of those who voted against the bill, and made a pretense of opposing it vigorously, availed themselves of its benefits, as soon as it became a law. Mr. Garfield is one of these. He explained the injustice of raising congressional salaries forty per cent., because they had the power to do it, and allowing a mass of salaries to remain as they are. He proved that $26,000,000, or one-tenth of all the expense of carrying on the government, is paid for salaries. Mr. Dawes made a plea for an equalization, by increasing the salaries of revenue officials, and opposed the bill from this standpoint. Yet both Garfield and Dawes have drawn their back pay.
This "Patron" would say that those who demonstrated that the salary grab was wrong, and subsequently took it, are a little more to blame, if possible, than those who openly sustained the measure from the start. At all events, all who are implicated in the grab, by touching it — the vast majority of the last Congress — have become obnoxious to the people.
Their Profits. By a Boston Patron.
A public meeting was held at the Boston Commercial Exchange, September 1, under the auspices of our Boston Grange. Mr. J. C. Abbott, General Deputy of the National Grange, spoke of the great revolution that was going on in the country, and urged the importance of putting down the monopoly of railroads. He gave the statistics of the earnings of different railways, necessarily reducing the profit of the farmers to almost nothing. He contended that the cost of freight and travel could be reduced to a quarter of the present rates, and considered it downright robbery as it is now managed. He claimed that there should be a superior power to combine and consolidate, and the Grange is the only organization that has met this monopoly with any degree of success.
He was followed by Amasa Walker, who said it should be the duty of Congress to interfere and protect the business interests of the country. He spoke of three ways in which the great object could be attained: first, by a general law fixing the rate of travel and freight on all roads in the country; second, to create new lines between the principal depots of transportation; and third, by purchasing all roads and placing them under government management to be leased, which would open all roads to the public at the cheapest rates. He reviewed all the different plans, and thought the last the most feasible. He considered the question of railroad reform a national one, which would become a political question, and can only be achieved by political action.
Railway corporations claim that the companies are entitled to a dividend equal to the ordinary interest on borrowed money, on the amount of their capital invested. That they have the right to exact such rates of toll as will produce the revenue that will yield such dividends. In other words, that charges for transportation will be reasonable, according to the amount of profit which is received therefrom. Why is this argument more applicable to railway companies than to any other branch of business?
Railways are common carriers, and are subject to the common law stipulation that they can only demand reasonable compensation for the service performed. No charter can give them the right to demand unjust, unreasonable, or extortionate compensation. To ascertain what is a reasonable demand for such services, is the assumed cost of the road as represented by the capital stock and debts, a fair basis upon which to make the estimate? A company, through the corruption of its officers, may have been forced to pay $100,000 per mile for construction, when the same work might have been done for $40,000. The earnings of the road may be squandered in the most reckless and fraudulent manner, and a balance-sheet may exhibit a very meagre percentage of profit. Is the general public to be taxed for all this; taxed to make good the deficiencies in the receipts, caused by fraud and bad management?
Railways are old affairs, and there ought to be no difficulty at this day in finding out what ought to be an honest average in the cost of construction and equipment of a road, as well as the cost of maintenance,
166and what ought to be a fair equivalent for the transportation of passengers and freights. The amount of capital stock and debts ought to have but little weight in ascertaining these results. In a majority of cases, they are fictitious or tainted with fraud. A fair and reasonable compensation is to be ascertained by an estimate of the value of the services rendered, and not by finding out rates that will yield ten per cent. on the capital invested in a particular road. It no more follows that the company must have ten or six per cent. on the capital invested than it does that the farmer shall have an equal rate of profit on the capital invested in his farm.
Railways are subject, like all other persons, real and fictitious, to the great law of trade, wherein profit or loss is not a matter of personal control. The law of common right prohibits them from demanding anything more than a reasonable compensation for the service rendered; and whether the balance-sheet of the company shows a profit or loss does not in the least affect the amount of this compensation.
Chapter X. The Tariff — Its History and Influence.
It was quite a discovery of philosphers in the eighteenth century that wealth consisted in the produce of labor; but it was still supposed that labor would not produce available wealth, unless governed, guided and restricted by laws enacted by those who never labored themselves. Adam Smith was the first who clearly demonstrated that there is wealth in all labor, and that governmental enactments do not and cannot enhance the national wealth in the smallest degree; that their only effect is, by restraining industry, to diminish the aggregate amount, while they transfer the most of it from the hands of the producers, to whom it belongs, to those of law makers and gentry. These latter, in a state of limited suffrage, constituted the nation; and those laws which accumulated wealth in their hands were to them
168visibly beneficial, notwithstanding that the vast mass of unrepresented producers of that wealth were impoverished. As long as free trade was not tried, it was easy to denounce it as a wild and ruinous chimera. When, however, in the lapse of years and the progress of popular rights, increased general prosperity and an improved condition of the laboring class attended the abolition of every time-honored restriction, the scales fell from the eyes of the people, and they awoke to the wrongs they had suffered under the name of "Protection." It is a little over an hundred years since the enactment of a law of parliament, prohibiting the wearing of all printed calicoes whatsoever, either of foreign or domestic origin. When we read the Spectator, enjoying the didactic humor and trim morality of Addison, who did so much to advance the art of prose, we scarcely reflect that so low was the science of political economy, in his day, that the above barbarous sumptuary law was enacted, some years subsequently, by sapient legislators, at the bidding of a London mob, for reasons, too, that have been repeated in our own Congress, in favor of "protection." The law, after ten years, was modified, when British calicoes were tolerated, provided the warp was linen, on the payment of 6d sterling per yard. The same prejudice existed in France against printed cottons, the use of which was supposed to injure the consumption of French flax. When the government intimated a project for permitting the free manufacture of cotton, the Rouen deputies declared to the government that the "intended measure would throw its inhabitants into
169despair, and make a desert of the surrounding country." Those of Lyons said "the news had spread terror through all its work shops." Amiens said, that "the law would be the grave of the manufacturing industry of France. Paris declared that "her merchants came forward to bathe the throne with their tears, upon that inauspicious occurrence." These phrases are now in the mouths of politicians in free America. The protectionists appear to have borrowed, not only the cast-off theories, but even the phrases of European monarchists.
The French government passed the law, and Rouen, Lyons, and Amiens soon reaped unexampled manufacturing prosperity; not that the new law did them any good, but the old law ceased to do evil. The style of French calicoes, so great has been the progress of the art, can not now be excelled, nor their designs equalled.
In England, in 1773, the silk-weavers of Spitalfields were protected by a legalized list of prices and high duties. They enjoyed a close monopoly of the home market for half a century, yet the public ear was constantly assailed with the story of their miseries. These protective laws were altogether repealed in 1822, and the silk trade thrown open; universal ruin and starvation were the least of the evils predicted as the consequence. The result, has been an increase of 200 per cent. in the manufacture, and a fair degree of prosperity among the operatives. The same prosperity has uniformly attended every business from which "protection" has been withdrawn, and practical experience has demolished forever the
170absurd theory of helping those who cannot help themselves. In the United States, where all other liberal principles have gained such vigorous growth, protective oppression has been clung to with greater tenacity than even in Great Britain.
It has ever been experienced that tariff laws passed for the encouragement and protection of manufacturers have been followed by great distress among those manufacturers, and that this distress has caused renewed clamors for more efficient protection, to the want of which the difficulties, whether arising from ignorance, improvidence, or incapacity, are always attributed. Enhanced protection as uniformly increases the embarassments. The reason is a very natural one. The enactment of a law avowedly to give persons who will manufacture a particular article the monopoly of the home market, as a special reward or bounty for so doing, tempts many persons deficient in capital or the necessary information to undertake the business. They hope to get, through the operation of law, more than the fair profits of regular business; that, without being obliged to exercise their whole faculties, ingenuity and skill, they will be able to make more money than the most skillful and ingenious artisans already in business. The experiment is not attended with success, and they then clamor for more protection. They allege, and with some show of reason, that the government tempted them to leave a business comparatively successful, to withdraw their capital from pursuits in which it yielded a profit, and embark in new enterprises from patriotic motives; that they are suffering losses in consequence, and ought to
171be remunerated; that more restrictive laws ought to be framed for their benefit. The waste of time and capital thus brought about is a great national calamity. Probably more labor and money has been wasted in this manner since the formation of the government than all now engaged in manufactures.
Up to the time when the colonies separated from the mother country, the colonial and protective policy was almost undisputed. But a few years before that, even, as we have seen, parliament enacted laws prohibiting the use of certain materials for clothing, not of native growth. Such barbarous tyranny was just beginning to be seen in its true light. The clear demonstrations of Smith were disturbing the theories, but not affecting the practice, of commercial legislation. The colonial system was in most vigorous operation. The spirit of that system was, after having formed distant settlements, to profit by them by monopolizing their trade. The colony was permitted to trade only with England. It was compelled to buy all its manufactures of the mother country, at a price dictated by it, and to sell all its raw produce to it only. The prohibition of manufactures here, and the restrictions upon trade that now could not be tolerated for a moment, were then, in the low state of political economy, less complained of than really a lesser evil, the direct tax, which was the immediate cause of separation.
The independence of the colonies being established, it was but natural that the idea of encouraging manufactures here should immediately present itself as a counter-policy to the prohibitive system of the mother-country.
172There were, however, thirteen sovereign and independent colonies, each of which possessed and exercised the power of imposing taxes on imports, and of protecting its own internal industry against the rivalry, not only of Great Britain, but of other states. The surrender of this right into the hands of the Federal Government was one of the greatest obstacles the framers of the Union had to encounter. The Customs' Union was finally perfected, yielding to Congress the power, precisely as of later years the German States have formed the Zollverein. It was at first acquiesced in as the only possible means of providing for the public debt. Subsequently the power was embodied in the Constitution of the United States, and the first regular tariff under it was passed July 4, 1789.
The preamble of this law set forth that it was "necessary for the support of the government, for the discharge of the debts of the United States, and the encouragement and protection of manufactures, that duties be laid," etc. The moderation of this view is sufficiently striking, when we take into consideration the state of the public mind in Europe, on the subject of political economy. There were no prohibitory views entertained in the act, but the idea of the incidental protection that the necessary duties would afford to the manufactures started into life during the war, was held out to counteract, in some degree, the popular prejudices against all taxation. The political prejudice against British goods which existed before the war was appealed to under the Union to make taxation palatable. The number of the population
173was then 3,500,000, and the debt sixty-five million dollars. The tax levied by the new law to provide for these wants amounted to five per cent, only on manufactured goods, twelve and one-half per cent. on teas and China goods, with specific duties on British and West India goods.
There was no discrimination of duties with the view to protection. The taxes appear to have been laid solely with the view to the revenue they would yield, and protection was entirely incidental to those taxes, and advanced to make them palatable. Although the law embraced this idea of protection, the principle was very far from being agreed in by all the great men of the time. The sound and clear mind of Benjamin Franklin was in advance of the age upon this subject, and his pen ably exposed the fallacies of the protective notion. The public mind, however, was not sufficiently ripe to discard the sophisms, which were not only generally believed in, but acted upon by the governments of Europe; and the report of Mr. Hamilton, on manufactures, in 1791, reiterating the popular fallacies, retarded the spread of sound views.
This tariff went into operation August 1, 1789, and was supplanted by a new tariff, December 1, 1790. The amount of imports under it was, $23,000,000, and the revenues were $2,239,746, being rather less than an average of ten per cent. The tariff of August 10, 1790, went into operation December 1st of that year, and continued until June 30, 1792. This act was of the same general character as that which preceded it, with the exception of advanced rates.
174That is to say, woolens, cottons, silks, and most manufactures were advanced from 5 to 7Ë per cent. ad valorem, which was considered so important an advance as to require a special apologetic report from Mr. Hamilton, who was a Protectionist. In May, 1792, a new tariff law, entitled "an act to raise a further sum of money for the protection of the frontiers," etc., was passed. This took effect June 30, 1792, and continued two years. Under it the importations were $65,700,000, and the duties $15,186,823, being 22 1/2; per cent. In June, 1794, a new tariff took effect, which, with an explanatory act of the following year, continued until June 30, 1797. Under it the imports were $226,571,838, and the duties $37,611,521, or more than 16 per cent. The act of March 3, 1797, continued to June 30, 1800, and under it the imports were $238,873,516, and the duties $42,657,876, or 18 per cent. The tariffs of March 26 and 27, 1804, were in force until July, 1812. The imports during the eight years were $720,730,000, and the duties $141,379,824, an annual average of 20 per cent. The law of July 1, 1812, continued in force until July, 1816. It simply provided that the duties imposed by the act of 1804 should be doubled. The effect of such a requirement, if the operations of trade were not changed by it, would be to double the revenues on the same amount of imports. This was, however, far from being the case. The imports during the four years of its action were $295,114,274, and the duties $82,315,140, or 28 per cent.
Had the law produced the anticipated amount of
175revenue, the duties would have been $113,000,000 or 40 per cent. The higher taxes, as is usually the case, when they were too onerous, were evaded or avoided. The commercial influence of a war is the same as that of an ultra-protective policy. The vigilance of an active enemy more effectually "protects" the home-manufacturer than can any parchment-edicts in time of peace. It therefore comes to be true that the enormous prices obtained for those goods, usually imported, forces into life the manufacture of substitutes of all descriptions. These are usually poor in quality and extravagant in price. The hardships thus inflicted upon the consumer form one of the greatest evils of a state of hostility. When, however, peace returned, it found a large population who had been driven or tempted into these pursuits by the state of affairs incident to the war, and their wares were now to be exposed to the competition of the large stocks of similar goods that had accumulated abroad. The latter offered to consumers a much better and cheaper supply. Those who, during the war, were deprived of accustomed comforts or luxuries, by the high price demanded for the domestic article, had them once more within their reach. Unskillful products of domestic manufacture, could not withstand the competition, and they demanded of the government to interpose and prolong, by protective laws, the evils which had attended the war. They required that consumers should continue to pay exorbitant prices to shield them from a wholesome competition. In the same manner the interests, that were created in England by the war, were ruined
176by the peace; a suspension of the Bank of England for twenty years had filled the country with a depreciated paper currency, according to which all property was valued, and outstanding obligations measured. The persons so interested exerted themselves to prevent a return to specie payments, and succeeded until 1821, when the bill, known as the "Peel Act," compelled a return to specie payments, commencing that series of commercial and financial reform which that able minister brought to a successful issue in 1846. In the United States the demand of the war interests for protection was aided by a false patriotism, which supposed that, having suffered wrongs from the English government, we could obtain redress by refusing to exchange benefits with the English people. The tariff of 1816, was the first framed to recognize protection as a principle, and not incidental to the taxing power.
This tariff continued in operation ten years. The protective system having once started, continued rapidly to grow, because it is its nature to "make the meat it feeds on." In 1818, a new tariff was enacted, which continued six years in force, but the operation of these onerous taxes was soon found to be injurious in the extreme to all other interests. The commercial classes were particularly aggrieved by it. The influential New England interests were then commercial, and were suffering under the oppression they endured for the benefit of the manufacturers. They took measures to oppose the progress of the protective principle. In the year 1820, the leading men of Boston called meetings at Faneuil Hall, the
177old "cradle of liberty," and at an adjourned meeting, held Oct. 3, 1820, the whole principle of Protection was denounced as hostile to the interests of the country, oppressive to all manufacturers of small capital, and inconsistent with the principles of the Constitution and sound policy. On this occasion, Daniel Webster made a most unanswerable speech upon the unconstitutionality and inexpediency of the protective policy. A paragraph or two from this address, are given here:
"It would hardly be contended, that Congress possessed that sort of general power by which it might declare that particular occupations should be pursued in society, and that others should not. If such power belonged to any government in this country, it certainly did not belong to the general government. The question was, therefore, and he thought it a very serious question, whether, in laying duties under the authority to lay imposts, obviously given for the purpose of revenue, Congress can, reasonably and fairly, lose sight of those purposes entirely, and levy duties for other objects. Congress may tax the land! but it would be a strange proposition if Congress should be asked to lay a land tax for the direct purpose of withdrawing capital from agriculture, and sending those engaged in it to other pursuits. The power, however, exists in one case as much as in the other.
"For his own part, he had supposed that restrictions on trade and commerce, in order to benefit particular classes of manufactures, were now very generally understood to be mischievous, and inconsistent with just notions of political economy.
"And, after all, how few of all the members of society are to be benefited by this system, so artificially and elaborately constructed. Certainly not all
178manufacturers, nor all mechanics — but a particular class only.
"Manufacturing capital comes, in the end, to be owned but by few. It does not, therefore, encourage industry, like capital employed in some other pursuits. The case of the establishment mentioned in the Report was in point to this argument. Half a million of dollars gives employment to two hundred and sixty-five persons, and those principally women and children. Now, what employment of that sum, in almost any other pursuit, could fail to demand and require more human labor? If vested in agriculture, the sum would command good and productive land sufficient to employ, he might almost say, all the cotton spinners in the United States."
Our limits compel us to anticipate. Indirect taxes finally reached a point at which they diminished the revenue. The new government of 1842 reversed the whole system by imposing direct taxes upon the property of the country and removing the indirect taxes, which fell mostly on labor. In this country experience has already developed the fact, that protection is a source of most baneful instability in legislation; that it continually arrays those who seek special privileges against the government; and that the great desideratum of uniform and permanent laws cannot be attained, as long as indirect taxes open the door to the award of bounties.
Chapter XI. Labor Reform.
It is undeniably true that all the wealth of the world is the product of industry, and that what is called "capital" is the mere accumulation through economy of a portion of that which has been produced by labor. The possessors of this accumulation have, in all ages, derived a profit by loaning it to producers, and the general tendency of legislation, as governments advanced, was to increase the proportion of the produced wealth which fell to capitalists, and to diminish, of course, the share which those who produced it might retain to their own use. When military conquerors, like the Norman bastard, divided among their followers and adherents the territory overrun by their arms, the occupants of the lands became the serfs of the landlords, and the whole wealth of the country, less the maintenance of the workers, belonged to its lords. As the feudal system fell into decay, and the corporations of towns freed the manufacturers and trades-people from servitude to barons, the number of independent cultivators increased, until gradually the whole
180people became personally free. A new system then developed itself. The personal service of tenants was no longer demanded by the lord, nor that of the latter required by the king as lord paramount ; but monopolies succeeded to fiefs, and special trading and manufacturing privileges, rather than land tenures, became the means by which the government rallied to its support the magnates of the land. Instead of giving a military follower a tract of land, with the right to the produce raised upon it by its occupiers, it gave to its parliamentary supporters the exclusive right of selling to those people the supplies they must purchase with their labor. As the monopolists charged more than the free-traders, the producers were thus compelled to give up indirectly a portion of their labor for the support of a crown favorite. The only difference here was that the military chief took directly from the producer a portion of that which he produced, while the crown favorite attained the same end in the shape of a price for articles sold to the cultivators become free. This system was gradually refined upon, and as it became distasteful to those people who, having obtained their personal independence, wished for commercial freedom, it was called "protection to industry." But, like all advantages granted by government to a class, it was at the expense of another class.
Thus, in 1534, the city of Worcester, and the towns of Eversham, Droitwich, Kidderminster, and Bromsgrove, petitioned parliament to the effect, that the inhabitants of said cities were mostly employed in the
181manufacture of woolen cloths, and that within a few years, "divers persons dwelling in hamlets, thorps and villages, make all manner of cloth, and exercise weaving, fulling and shearing, within their houses, to the great depopulation of said towns." For these cogent reasons, the wise parliament enacted, 25 Henry VIII, that "no person within Worcestershire shall make any cloth, but the proper inhabitants of said towns and citv, excepting the persons who make cloths solely for their own and family's wearing."
The town of Brentford obtained a similar grant relative to rope-making, with the addition of compelling all hemp-growers in the country to sell said material only in that town. It was in this manner that the growing corporations obtained from a partial prince advantages at the expense of the growers of the raw material. As these latter became more powerful, so as to make their voices heard in the national councils, such barefaced infringements of their rights could not be continued, and to prolong the same system, further disguise was necessary. The funding system, towards the close of the 17th century, developed its powers to the same general end; and for more than 150 years, fundholders, landlords, manufacturers, and government officials have conspired under the plea of "protection to home industry," to appropriate more effectually than could have been done by feudal tenures, all the proceeds of national labor. Down to the year 1842, this protective system remained in full force, producing, as the inevitable result, a nobility and gentry of enormous wealth, dazzling the world, like the phosphoric light emitted by
182corrupt substances, with the gorgeousness of their display from amidst millions of paupers, entirely destitute of any portion of that immense wealth which their industry had created. The system of indirect taxes, or taxes upon articles consumed by the industrious, to the exemption of the property amassed by the few, was the instrument by which all the wealth of the country had become accumulated in a few hands. Capital had, however, obtained the largest share of the general wealth, and so little was left to those who had produced it, that the government revenues began to fail. The operation of the corn laws was eminently calculated for this end.
It is easily understood that the annual product of a nation's industry is that which constitutes its means of expenditure; that is to say, the support of the wealthy, of the professional classes, of the "paupers" and of the government. Under the system of indirect taxes, capitalists draw a larger share of the annual products than when there are no restrictions; and the larger the share these obtain, the greater is the sum required for impoverished laborers, called "paupers," the smaller is the surplus left to producers for the purchase of supplies; and consequently the more difficult is it for the government to procure sufficient revenue. Thus, suppose the annual revenue is one hundred — of which producers consume fifty, capital twenty, professions ten, "paupers" ten, and the government ten. If, now, by protective laws, the share of capital is increased to thirty, then labor will get but thirty-seven and one-half, because "paupers" will increase by that diminution to fifteen, and the
183share of the professions will fall to seven and one-half, while, the revenues of the government falling upon thirty-seven and one-half instead of fifty, the share of labor will be raised with great difficulty. They will be so diminished, ultimately, that government must turn upon capital as its only resource, and this is precisely what was done in Great Britain in 1842. The capital of the nation was not sufficiently distributed to keep its industry employed, and enlightened statesmen saw that reaction had become inevitable; that industry must henceforth be relieved of taxation, while the expenses of government must be drawn from accumulated wealth, by direct impost.
It is the interchange of surpluses that constitutes foreign trade, and it is evident on a very little reflection, that it is to the last degree necessary to the national industry that a disposition should be made of this surplus. In the United States, land is the chief capital. In the densely populated countries of the old world, labor is the chief capital of the people. It follows very clearly, that the products of land will constitute the surplus which the United States have to sell, and the products of labor that which the countries of Europe can best spare. If the occupiers and cultivators of American land are prohibited from taking in payment for their surplus the products of the cheap labor of Europe, one of two things must happen: they must take far less of the product of factory labor for the produce of their land labor, or domestic factory labor must compete with foreign in supplying goods to land labor. The theory of the protectionists is, that after a short period of protection,
184home labor will furnish products as cheaply as foreign labor; that is, the reward of American labor will be so diminished that it will not exceed that of the European laborer, and therefore the land cultivators can trade with them to as good advantage as with the "pauper laborers" of Europe. This will no doubt be the case, because, as the world has seen in the example of England, the tendency of the protective system is to impoverish labor and enrich capital; but, in the meantime, the market of the cultivator has been destroyed. A law which shall prohibit the taking in payment the surplus production of those who would buy our surplus produce operates as a prohibition upon the sale of the latter. The direct effect of retaining the surplus in the country is to sink the exchangeable value of the whole production, a circumstance which confines the sales to the farms most contiguous to market, and utterly deprives the distant cultivator of his market, and as effectually deprives him of the means of living as if he were deprived of his land. This is the same object sought now by manufacturers as that obtained directly through the enactments of Henry VIII., before quoted, viz: to compel producers to sell only to certain manufacturers, who give what they please.
The demand for commodities, in any country, is equivalent to supply; no man produces any article but because he wants that article, or something which he can procure for it. The articles which he produces, beyond what he consumes, constitute a stock which he may give in exchange for other commodities. If he desires one thing and produces another, it is only
185because the thing which he desires can be obtained by means of the thing which he produces, and better so obtained than if he had endeavored to produce it himself. Every man wishes for the comforts and necessaries of life, house, food, clothing, etc., all, indeed, of the multifarious productions of industry, familiar to civilized life. This wish for commodities, accompanied by equivalents to give for them, constitutes demand. If a man is possessed of equivalents, but has no wish for other commodities, there is no demand; if he has the wish, but no equivalents, the demand fails. The wish for commodities prompts the desire to produce equivalents. For this purpose, capital of some sort is indispensable. In this country, the place of refuge for the poor of all nations, comparatively speaking, no capital but land exists. The labor of the individual, applied to this land, soon places him in possession of equivalents, and the demand is complete. But necessarily, "supply," which is demand for his equivalent, must come from others than land cultivators. His commodities are the same as their own. The supply, then, must come from capital and labor, and in order that the struggling cultivator may profit most by his means, he should exchange with that capital and labor which is most abundant, or which will give most of the commodities he seeks, in exchange for what he has produced. They demand his produce and he demands their goods, and each supplies the other, demand and supply being exchangeable terms. The cheaper the labor with which he exchanges, the more rapidly will he profit by the trade, and his wants will increase
186with his success. To interpose laws among a community of cultivators, which shall compel one portion to give such enormous prices for the commodities they desire as to induce some of their number to abandon cultivation and undertake to manufacture the desired articles, is to render the abandoned land valueless, and to deprive the cultivators of the balance of a portion of that which they might have obtained for their labor. Land here is very abundant and very cheap; the mode of making it available is to exchange its products with those countries where land is dear and labor cheap. The effect of such exchange is to enrich the land occupiers, and to accumulate capital in the country, which must and will find employment. The wish for other things, to which this capital will give effect, constitutes the demand on which manufacturing prosperity will be built up surely and permanently. The large majority of the people of the United States are cultivators, and it is from their demand for goods, that manufacturers are to look for a market for their wares. As we have seen, the demand for wares is a combination of wish and equivalents. These latter are food and raw materials, and where a large majority of the people are producers of them, considerable quantities, above the wants of all the people in the country, will exist and, as far as that surplus goes, the demand for goods will cease, unless it can be disposed of out of the country. To prevent such a disposition of it, by prohibiting a return of equivalents, is not only to destroy the foreign trade, but to crush the demand for manufactures, because the land had better have
187remained untouched, than to have yielded a stock of produce, perishable in its nature, and useless because in excess of the wants of the inhabitants. It is but a few years since, that in parts of the western country stock were turned into fields of standing grain, because the latter would not pay the trouble of harvesting, while skilled laborers in England and France were starving to death. These countries forbade the interchange of industrial products for food, in order to "protect home industry."
It is not the mere tax, which is derived from duties upon the goods consumed, that constitutes the greatest burden, but the obstruction to trade, the lessening of the sale of the surplus agricultural products of the country, which is the great grievance. The interposition of a parchment wall between buyer and seller, when enterprise has just opened means of communication, is a singular anomaly. England having continually legislated for capital, until labor was exhausted, has been compelled to retrace her steps, and remove barriers to trade. In the United States, it is coming to be understood that the multiplication of means of transport, at the expense of capital, is an indirect benefit to capital, through the enhanced industry growing out of the extended sale of produce thus promoted, and the removal of legal restraints upon external intercourse is equivalent to new means of transportation. If capital taxes itself for the creation of new means of transportation, the same policy should prompt it to assume taxes for government support, and relieve labor and trade from duties altogether.
The substitution of direct taxes for the pernicious duties upon exchangeable products, is one of the most efficient modes of promoting labor reform, and of preserving a just distribution of the actual wealth of the country among those who produce it. The whole wealth of the country being the product of labor, it is to the interest of all parties that labor should be encouraged by removing every obstacle to the realization of the object of its wishes. The more continuous and efficient are its operations, the greater will be the aggregate wealth, and this created wealth is that which should bear the public burdens. When, therefore, the government proceeds upon the plan of encouraging the employment of created wealth, by taxing its creators for its benefit, it paralizes the arm of labor, diminishes its reward, and breaks down the springs of industry. It is not wealth that requires encouragement, but the production of it, as well as the enjoyment of it, by those who produce it. The great majority of the people of this country being occupiers of land, their interests require an adequate market for what that land produces. The more extensive the market, the greater becomes their profits, and the more rapid the accumulation of surplus moneyed capital, applicable to manufacturing employments. The capital so earned, by being applied locally to the construction of means of transportation, and ultimately to manufacturing purposes, under free competition, not only promotes the general prosperity, but insures a continued distribution of wealth.
England was an exporter of food, down to the
189close of the last century, and it was by this means that she obtained capital to prosecute manufactures. New England earned her capital in free-trade commerce with the world, and then applied it to manufacturing. The great West and South now require a more extensive market for food, and this is to be found only in throwing down the barriers between European demand and American supply; in removing altogether the taxes upon imported goods, and levying upon the property of the country taxes for the support of its government. The millions derived, this year, by the federal government from customs, have been, to that extent, a burden upon the sale of farm produce. Had it been assessed upon the several states as a direct tax upon property, the sales of raw produce would have been promoted to an extent that, probably, would have added three times the amount to the reward of labor. The great reform which labor demands is release from taxes and from restrictions upon its market.
Chapter XII. A Chinese Fable. By an Iowa "Maid."
At a recent meeting of our brethren over in Illinois, a majority of the speakers assailed the system of spoliation, which the professional politicians call, or miscall, "protection." One gentleman said:
"If we are to have a free country, let us have free trade. If material can be sent to foreign countries, manufactured, returned, and sold cheaper than articles manufactured at home, then let us have the advantage of so doing. We had slaves in this country not long since; they were set free: but we have slaves still, in the persons of farmers, and they are white ones, too."
One brother mildly dissented. He avowed that he was not quite so radical on the tariff question as some of the Patrons. He would not do away with all tariff. He thought a little was necessary in certain cases. If the previous speaker had lived as long as some, he would have seen the time when we needed a little tariff. "Our manufacturers," said he,
191"needed it for a time at least, to enable them to compete with foreign manufacturers." A third brother replied:
"The brother does not say how much tariff was needed, or for how long a time. As he seems to think that our ‘infant industries’ still need a little fostering, though some of them are two hundred years old, and flourished in colonial times, in spite of all the efforts of the British government to crush them out, it may be inferred that he supposes they will require fostering for two hundred years more. He neglected to tell us what he considered ‘a little tariff,’ but as he seems satisfied with things as they are, perhaps he thinks the present tariff — averaging upward of forty per cent, on dutiable goods — ‘a little tariff.’ Now every Patron knows that ‘a little tariff’ is a little obstruction of commerce. It is a ‘little’ restriction of the natural right of men to exchange freely the products of their industry for the products of other men's industry. It is a ‘little’ slavery, only a little strangulation. A majority of the brethren think it is wrong to choke a man that the process doesn't add to health and happiness; but my elderly brother, who has lived longer than some of the rest of us, has seen the time when a little choking did a fellow good. He had seen the time, indeed, when it made a man stronger and healthier to interrupt respiration, just a ‘little,’ you know, and his friend was satisfied that time had not yet gone by. He asked the prayers of the Grangers for his elderly brethren."
Now, an Iowa "Maid," who has been reading Baron Richofen's book of travels, asks permission to present a Chinese fable from that learned work, for the benefit of her Illinois brother: Once upon a time, the farmers living in the neighborhood of Whang-tu-chu,
192capital of the province of Szr-chwam, were perishing of hunger. The food crops had failed. They had an abundance of silk, opium, sugar, kerosene, iron, hemp, coal, salt, and vegetable wax, and the people in the lower valley of the Yang-tse-kiang, had plenty of food, for the season there had been good, and no potato bugs had appeared. They would gladly have sent their surplus food up the river to Whang, etc., in exchange for the articles of which the people in that part of the country had a superabundance. But the river, which was the only means of communication, could only be navigated at great loss to life and property. It was impossible, indeed, to send enough food up the river to relieve the starving people of Whang, etc. Under these circumstances a meeting of the Grange was called to consider what could be done to improve the navigation of the river. Many of the Patrons thought it was possible to overcome the difficulties of the stream by ingenuity and skill. For a time, no one seemed to doubt that it would be entirely proper, and in every way advantageous, to remove all obstructions, and take such measures as would render the passage of the rapids entirely safe. The speakers accordingly confined themselves to a consideration of ways and means, until, at length, one patriarchal Granger, much older and cooler than the rest, Yong-sen by name, arose and said:
"You are all young men, except those who are ‘Matrons’ and ‘Maids.’ If you were as old as I am, you would see the necessity of having some of the obstructions in the river. A thousand years ago,
193when I was young, they were all necessary to compel us to develop our own industries, and create for ourselves a home market, and exclude a deluge of cheap food — the products of pauper labor down the river. I grant that this necessity is less now than formerly. Some of our industries have been so far developed, and placed on so solid a foundation (thanks to the rocks, gorges, and whirlpools of the river) that we are reduced to a starving condition every few years. It is safe, therefore, to remove some of the sunken rocks and to place engines at some of the dangerous points, in order to draw the boats in safety up the stream. But some of the obstructions must be left. A little obstruction will be found very useful. It was necessary, formerly, that three boats out of every ten should be lost in order to compel us to develop our own industries. It was necessary that thirty per cent. of our products, sent down the river, should be lost, in order to make the return cargoes thirty per cent. less, and it was necessary that thirty per cent. of the return cargoes should be lost, in order that our home farmers might enjoy protection equal to forty-eight per cent. against the rapacious pauper laborers down about the Hachow. It will do at this time, perhaps, if only two boats are lost, out of ten. This will insure us a loss of twenty per cent. of our shipment, and twenty per cent. of the return cargoes, a total loss equal to thirty-six per cent. on our total shipments. But be careful and don't remove all the obstructions. You must have a little protection, or you will be deluged with cheap products, and your industries will be ruined.
Nor must the "Wreckers" be forgotten. It will never do, my sun-burnt friends, to take bread out of the wreckers' mouths. Remove one-third of the difficulties of navigation, but leave the other two-thirds for their benefit. Otherwise, they will come up here and go to farming, and take the bread out of our mouths by competition. Or, if you choose, remove all the obstructions, and give two cargoes out of every ten to the wreckers, to encourage their industry, and prevent them from ruining us by competition. No one will object to that. The number of cargoes will, no doubt, be much greater, when only two out of ten are sacrificed, so that the wreckers will be as well off as before. Let us, then, clear out the river, and pass a law giving the wreckers two cargoes in ten, and we will name the law a "Protective Tariff Act."
The Yellow Grangers were much impressed with Yong-sen's profound wisdom, but it occurred to them that if protection was such a good thing, they could not possibly have too much of it, so they decided unanimously not to improve the river at all. A committee was appointed, however, with instructions to establish new whirlpools and other obstructions of a later patent. When the yeas and nays were called on this question, the venerable Yong-sen retired contented. The Yangt-tse river is as dangerous to-day as ever, and as highly protective a stream as it was in the days of Confucius.
Chapter XIII. Concerning "Rights."
The author makes bold to assure the farmer that there is nothing new in his movement at all! In looking at the past, amid the dissonances of life, and the jarring conflicts without aim and without effect, which have been and are gone, we can trace a principle which, like a bright line in an endless confusion of colors, seems to indicate a purpose among the successive generations of mankind. Action was not always a conflict for honor, lust, power and things that have passed away. The Persians crushed the life out of myriads in order to eat the figs of Attica without purchase, and failed; the Roman trod over a subjected world, to die by the hand of his nearest friend; the Corsican set up thrones and made kings, to be tortured to death by a jailor; yet mankind, amid their death-charges and retreats, have had a purpose which rests. Exertion has not always been a laughing-stock — is not always to meet with scorn and utter derision
196from those who look to its cause and effect. Mankind does advance ; some of the van-guard of the grand advancing army think that they see the beginning of the end.
The conflict which was commenced three thousand years ago, and is still going on, evidences permanence and abiding intent among the momentary purposes about which mankind clash. A contest in which mankind have met with varied success; now driven from the field; now advancing, it may be, with the stealthy tread of muffled feet; and now, with feet shod with iron, with the clash of steel, the neighing of steeds and the cry of victory — have rushed over all obstacles. Again, with serried ranks, with the calmness of power, have they slowly moved on over the bodies of their fellows, towards the accomplishment of their purpose — the purpose of to-day — "Equality in the eye of the law, to all who live under the law." When once attained, mankind will have arrived as near perfection as it is possible, while earth and its laws remain as they are. Yet they are successful in the main, as every successive epoch shows them further advanced towards their great end.
This conflict is the warfare of mankind advancing towards perfection, against men striving to degrade them. It is the general mass — the democracy, striving to be enlightened — against the few who compose the aristocracy, somewhat enlightened, striving to keep them in ignorance, to use them. It is the inhabitants of the earth claiming their high estate, against the few who would cheat them out of their birth-right. It is the cry of the nations of the earth,
197affirming, "We are men, created in the image of our Maker" — against princes, potentates and powers, saying "Ye are brutes without minds; dig ye for us, while we think for you. Ask us not to avow our principles to you who understand them not — work and submit: we think and direct." It is the outward movement of the human race, in accordance with their destiny, against the resisting spirit of Self, which would put down all else, in order to remain superior. This warfare is greater than life's warfare — it is time's warfare.
Reason has been and is now carrying on an offensive warfare against the prejudices of men, which contract their judgments to look only upon objects in their influence upon self, and striving to substitute, for those prejudices principles whose influence would be as boundless as eternity. It is striking directly at self, and the prejudices of self; the prejudice of wealth pluming itself upon its high feeding and fantastic posturing. This warfare is going on in all parts of the world, at this moment. In many countries, it is true, there are only scouts thrown out from the grand advancing army: in others, they are advancing with the mighty rush of ocean power.
We trace the Democratic principle, developed in the first government of the Jews, when the command to the children of Israel was, "take you wise men, and of understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you." The choice of these rulers was left to the people, and so it remained until, in their folly, they asked for a king. They would not believe the prophet when he said,
198"He will take your sons, and he will take your daughters, and he will take your fields and vineyards, and he will take a tenth of your seed, and your manservants, and the goodliest of your young men, and ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king." They would have a splendid government, splendid in pomp and power, in sin and misery, in guilt and crime.
The government of the Cretans, which was the first Democracy of which we read in profane history, existed over nine hundred years, longer than any dynasty. The laws established by Minos, all of which favored equality, and encouraged simplicity, appealed to reason and not to prejudice. Well might the imaginative poetry of that age represent the just lawgiver as the judge of the souls of the departed. We can trace many marked instances of the conflict of self-government with self-abandonment, on classic soil, where cultivation was in its highest state, almost before civilization had commenced. In the time when they made orators instead of rhetoricians, sculptors instead of connoisseurs, creators instead of critics, we see the first evidences of the successful onslaught of reason against prejudice, assumption, and oppression. Here we see the party lines drawn; we see distinctly the two great parties which now stand opposed to each other, in all parts of the world, — the appellants to reason and the appellants to prejudice. Those who seek the benefit of mankind appealing to their diviner part — their reason — and those who seek to benefit self appealing, as ever, to their prejudices and passions. One party seeking to open the eyes of their fellows; the other trying to
199get on their blind side, that they may lead them astray.
In Athens, where they pretended to choose the wise and understanding among them, and not the well-born and the rich, we see reason and prejudice appealing to the fierce democracy, and alternately bearing sway. Reason spoke, as it must always speak to man, in the language of rebuke: prejudice persuaded to pleasure and ease. The people of Rome contended against the tariff laid upon corn and salt, three thousand years ago, and by their repeated "agitations" caused the repeal of the law laying that tax. As we come down in the history of the world, we find the priests of superstition arrayed against the prophets of truth. The imagination of the poet becomes the religion of the enthusiast. Usurpation founds itself upon Divinity, the divine right of kings is promulgated, and the robber described by Samuel claims the right to rob by divine authority. Again the appellants to prejudice conquer. The exertion of reason is an effort, prejudice is a downward impulse; submission is easy, and resistance difficult; the fruits of our labor are taken from us, but the eye is pleased, and the ear charmed. We suffer, but the splendor of our court surpasses all others.
In 1520, Erasmus absolutely advocated an election of rulers upon the maxim, frons occipitio prior, meaning that every man should do his own business. Read what he says, and you will think that Erasmus had lived in the present day, and had been writing an article during a recent presidential campaign. He says:
"We trust the rudder of a vessel, where a few sailors and some goods alone are in jeopardy, to none but skillful pilots, but the state, wherein the safety of so many thousands is concerned, we put into any hands. A charioteer must learn, reflect upon, and practice his art: an official need only be born. Yet government, as it is the most honorable, so it is the most difficult of all sciences; and shall we choose the master of a ship, and not choose him who is to have the care of many cities? It is the aim of the guardian of a prince, that he may never become a man. The nobility, who fatten upon calamity, endeavor to plunge him into pleasures, that they may be profited thereby. Cities are burned, the people are plundered, innocent citizens are slaughtered, and the handful of untamed savages hold our whole army at bay, while his royal highness is playing at dice, sending toy boats to sea, or amusing himself with puppets, (translated puppies) hunting or drinking. Oh, race of the Bruti, long since extinct! We know, indeed, that these corrupt rulers shall render an account to heaven, but not to us."
Commerce and liberty have ever been twins. Without the one, the other is not. Free trade and free religion constitute the very essence of freedom. Wherever commerce has prospered, liberty has grown with her. It is a mistake to suppose, as many in this country seem to think, that agriculture is a better handmaid to liberty than commerce. Athens furnished the despot of the East with luxuries which he sought to have without purchase. Commerce caused Carthage to become a Republic — caused the home of the African to become the abode of wealth, and the mother of colonies. Geneva, Venice, and the free
201cities of Italy furnished the world with whatever their advance in civilization demanded. Switzerland, by her commerce and machinery, made her rough mountains the seat of wealth, and caused the ignorance and passion of other countries to minister to her advancement. From the promulgation of Magna Charta, commerce marked England as her own, and became a joyful co-worker in the cause of liberty. Ship-money, the monopolies of wine, wool, etc., cost one king of England his throne, and another his life. In a rough, summary way, her citizens freed themselves from the bloated selfishness of the few. Fettering commerce, stamp acts, taxes on tea, and other means of "protection," which sovereigns show their subjects, caused a republic to spring from the forests of the New World, as the warrior goddess of old sprang armed from the earth, whose duty was to contend with crowns and dynasties, and whose shadow looms large over the earth, throwing gloom over crumbling thrones, and in the evening of their day pointing to the sun-rising of a glorious to-morrow. This republic, in her infancy, contended with two of the proudest nations on earth, because they obstructed her commerce and impressed her seamen. In her infancy she taught men who also claimed a divine right to rob, that she did not understand Christian or Mahommedan religion that way.
We see additional instances of princely skill and priestly craft in the olden republics. Whenever the people were aroused to a consideration of their rights, and appeared determined to enforce them against the few, for whose benefit alone laws were
202passed, the blinding process was resorted to, even as it is practiced in these modern times. The orators of prejudice no longer resorted to sophistry to sustain the selfish measures they were advocating, but waiving the consideration of measures, they brought forward a man to dazzle the eyes of the people. The tyranny of the few was unseen, when an old hero, covered with wounds, was placed before it. In the contests for power in those republics, as in a later republic, the few elevated, as the ensign around which to gather their forces, a splendid sarcophagus, embellished with beautiful colors, and decorated with superb carvings, emblematical, as they said, of the past; the buried glories of a war which they would resurrect, and use as a menace to the conquered, for all time. Upon that sarcophagus they had painted, with Tyrian dyes and Egyptian cunning, every detail in the life of the old hero, whom they had selected from his available laurels as sufficiently powerful to gain a victory over principle — as sufficiently distinguished to cause the people, in their admiration of him, to forget themselves. Around the top of this emblem they had inscribed the mottoes: — "The past, the glorious past;" "Honor to the brave;" "Reward to the chieftain," etc., and over it they waved banners rent in battle. This emblem was all-powerful with a generous people. Power and supremacy were given to the nominee of the few. But when he was once placed in the seat of power, a change came over the spirit of their dream. This splendid sarcophagus was opened, and there stood, exposed to the view of the people, the dry bones and mummy of exclusive
203laws; nepotism, corruption, monopoly and the tyranny of the few. They breathed the breath of life into those dry bones, and sent it stalking through the land, withering everything with which it came in contact. Have we ever witnessed such an emblem in this country?
The time shall come when political equality shall prevail among all, whatever the private characteristics of each individual may be; when they shall build houses and inhabit them; when they shall not build and another inhabit; when they shall not plant and another eat. Before this time shall come, there must be the battle of the warrior. In this country, we trust there are no more bloody scenes to pass through, but there is much to be accomplished by the silent power of the ballot-box. Progress is a cardinal principle with the democracy of the people, and will be until the time shall come when the great body of the people shall no longer be taxed to benefit the few; when the substance of the many, that should go to the support of their families, and the education of their children, shall no longer be wrenched from them, to swell the countless millions in the coffers of manufacturers and the protected lords of capital; until unjust laws shall be stricken from our statute books; until this system of legislating for classes, of legislating for the few at the expense of the many, is entirely abolished; until the principle that the earth is made for all is recognized as a rule of action.
High tariff will be superceded by low tariff; low tariff will be swept away before the cry of "no tariff," and the heart of the million will rejoice, that commerce
204shall be as free as thought. Banks and other engines of bloated and fictitious wealth — banks, the very embodiment of unnatural inequality legalized, shall be trodden under foot by the democracy of the people: the very word "monopoly" shall be forgotten. What God hath made free, man shall not bind. Free! free! free! all entitled to the same privileges — all subject to the same restraint. Colleges and universities, the standing pools of learning, mere store-houses of old armor, out of use and out of date, will be superseded by universities of the people, wherein the youth shall be taught that which the man is to practice. The self-judging, the self-willing, the self-ruling process will take the place of blind obedience and honored custom, which receives, as law and gospel, the reveries of blinded, hallucinated pedants, who never acted, but were always acted upon. The reputation and fame that these institutions give their honors and degrees, will wither and shrivel in the fervid heat of truths mightier than any they hand down, like their own parchments before a consuming fire. Value should be placed on knowledge that is received, not invented, existing in the mind, not reasoned in it. The truth shall be recognized that he who is akin to the Almighty is equal with every created thing. No robbery shall be allowed; no forgery of God Almighty's laws; no false pretences that he who laid in the manger gave you any divine rights; any right to the labor of the poor; any right to tax others for your benefit; any right, by fiction and law, to increase your wealth four-fold in the twinkling of an eye. Laws shall be passed for
205the greatest good to the greatest number. Enough air to breathe, enough water to drink, enough land to cultivate, are the natural rights of every man. His homestead, and enough land with it to support his family, shall not be subject to execution. By superior education, intelligence, industry, by cunning, by taking advantage of your careless adversary, you may seize upon the products of his labors, but an edict shall be promulgated, Thus far shall ye go, and no farther. Aye, extortioner, "thus far shall ye go" is what the many says to the few, through the anti-monopoly movement of to-day. The power of the people is making itself felt. That mighty power, which, like a giant ignorant of its own strength, has suffered itself for ages to be fettered with withes of straw, and, bound and working in those withes, has seen, with an air of stupid wonder, its sweat caught as it dropped and hardened into diamonds, to shine upon the person of ignorance, conceit, and pride. Bearing all, it muttered at the hard hand of Providence, as though Providence had not left them to right themselves — as though Providence had not given them a right to her last boon, the sweat of the brow and the products thereof.
This mighty power, which, like the waters of the great deep, has only to be put in motion to swallow up all that rides upon it, has throughout Christendom been troubled from its depths. Ominous sounds have been heard and feared. Barriers have been raised against the tide, only to cause its waters to rise higher; when barriers are broken — when the power of the people is felt in the first ecstacy of
206their acquired strength, and with the mighty momentum of long years of wrong, they sweep away thrones, principalities, and powers; greatness that was, becomes utter littleness before its might. Invisible powers, which rule despotically the hearts of men — the laws of etiquette, the laws of honor, the laws of property, the laws of justice, so-called, the behests of religion — are snapped asunder by the secret laws of our being, by the law of equality hidden in all hearts, and manifest from the creation through the works that are made. The air, the sea, the rain, the sun, the wants, the enjoyments, the birth, the death, the last narrow house, — ay, by the deeds that are done, and the thoughts that are inspired, — is the law of political equality manifest.
Progress, which the possessors of the good things of earth call innovation; progress, the cardinal principle of this democracy of the people, will go on as all history shows. It must be through continual strife, for progress is but a contest, still going on in spite of the death chants, the impenetrable armor, and the resisting spirit of Self. A contest which has been going on through earth's long day, and will still go on until evening — until the mighty purposes of creation are accomplished, and the many are entitled to preeminence over the few, in the view of the earth, as they are now entitled in the eye of heaven. This is what the great democracy of the people demands; this is what the Anti-Monopoly Movement means.
Chapter XIV. Seeds for Early Planting.
Gen. Morgan, of Ohio, said in 1870:
"The president of a railroad in the West told me, three years ago, that he found charged to members of Congress whole sections of land, given for services in Congress. Sections have grown into townships since that time, and fully account for the immense fortunes made by members of Congress on small salaries."
Has the charge ever been denied that Thaddeus Stevens owned, at the time of his death, $100,000 in Pacific Railroad bonds, which fact, out of regard for his reputation, was not made public by his executors?
If it cost $100,000 to get the vote of Stevens for the appropriations to the Pacific Railroad, how much did it cost to get the votes of a majority of the members of Congress for this scheme of plundering?
If the franchises alone of the Northern Pacific Railroad were worth $15,000,000, how much could the company on whom they were conferred afford to pay for them?
And yet the professional politicians in Congress are patriots and philanthropists, and many of them add piety to their other shining qualities. Surely, no one but a "Granger" would ask such questions.
The Balance of Trade.
In his sophisms of protection, the apostle Bastiat runs a tilt against prevalent ideas in regard to the balance of trade. He says:
"The profits accruing to a nation from any foreign commerce should be calculated by the overplus of the importation above the exportation."
His theory that a nation is enriched rather than impoverished by having the balance of trade against it is hardly one that will commend itself to Protectionists, though they are now engaged in supplying farmers with copious extracts from Bastiat's work. They have been busy heretofore in trying to prove that manufacturing in this country has so prospered under the protective system that we can now compete with European manufacturers in many articles which were not made in this country a few years ago. In a speech made in Congress by member Kelly, in the winter of 1869, the gentleman presented a long list of articles which are manufactured in England, France, Belgium, and Prussia, and also in the United States, claiming that our products in the articles named are driving the others from the market, even in the districts in Europe where the manufacture of those articles had been carried to the
211greatest extent. Whether the Bastiat theory be right or wrong, it does not affect the arguments of Prohibitionists concerning the effect of protection upon production and imports.
"Protection stimulates industry," they say, — furnishes goods and wares which otherwise would be imported for home consumption, and, in many cases, furnishes articles for export to European markets, thus helping to prevent "the balance of trade" from turning heavily against us. There is a plausibility about this reasoning which is well calculated to deceive; but, unfortunately for the gentlemen who rely upon it, a comparison of the exports of 1860 with those of 1869 show a great decline in the shipments of many important articles of commerce. The following carefully prepared table will explain:
|Boots and shoes||$ 782,525||$ 356,200|
|Pot and pearl ashes||882,820||187,094|
|Hats and caps||211,602||72,740|
|Trunks and valises||37,748||24,800|
|Paints and varnishes||224,809||91,452|
|Manufactures of marble and stone||176,239||65,515|
|Manufactures of India-rubber||240,841||128,216|
|Beer, ale, and porter||53,573||9,755|
|Garden and other seeds||596,910||44,186|
|Hides and skins||1,036,000||219,918|
|Manufactures of cottons||10,934,000||4,416,708|
|Manufactures of iron||5,514,238||1,579,676|
|Manufactures of copper and brass||1,664,122||445,637|
It will be observed that with the exception of hides, skins and living animals, the articles named are all manufactured articles, and that our exports of them, have decreased, as custom duties have been more heavily piled on. After the enactment of the Morrill tariff in 1861, the exportation of wheat and corn largely increased for several years, a fact tending to show that our home markets for agricultural products had not been enlarged and strengthened by that tariff. The falling off of exports in the articles named in the above list, did not cause such an increase of their consumption, as to create a demand among our farmers, in exchange for their products, which prevented the swelling of our exports of breadstuffs.
It is absurd to claim that protection swells the aggregate of our exports. The system increases the cost of production and prevents the exchange of our products for those of other nations. Commissioner Wells has shown that the decline in American shipping was due mainly, not to the depredations of rebel cruisers, or the heavy duties laid on ship-building materials, but to laws, which in effect prohibit trade between the United States and other countries with which we had large and profitable commercial transactions a few years ago. We cannot expect to sell to other people while keeping our markets closed to them. They have only their own products to offer in exchange for ours.
This "balance of trade" alarm is in truth mere fallacy. It adjusts itself between nations. Each can take no more than it can pay for, and each will send no more than it receives payment for. Then there is
213no such thing as "balance" between the amount of a nation's exports and imports, save the literal balance that makes both equal. Does the "balance" lie, then, between the amount of our productions and the amount of our consumption? No: the amount of these productions, whatever they may be, are consumed immediately at home, or mediately through what we received in exchange from other nations, and this is likewise made the literal equal balance. Then there is no such thing as a "balance of trade."
The Farmers' Movement condemns the party policy of subsidizing private corporations of speculators with the public money and the people's lands. The enemy, in a familiar mask, asks the Illinois State Grange if Stephen A. Douglas did not initiate in Congress the policy of subsidizing railway corporations with public lands.
The answer is, he did not. It was through the influence of the great Illinois statesman that the policy was initiated in Congress of making grants of public lands to the new states to aid their inhabitants in the development of their commercial resources. It was a democratic Congress which granted 2,500,000 acres of public land, not to the Illinois Central Railway Company, but to the state of Illinois, to aid that state and its inhabitants generally in the development of the central prairie region by building a railway which would give it access to the great natural commercial channels. It was a democratic Congress which granted
214public lands to the State of Michigan, to the State of Missouri and several other states for similar purposes. Mr. Douglas' party never voted an acre of the public domain to a private corporation of land speculators. But no sooner did the professional politicians come into power with an "organization perfected," than they initiated the villain's policy of giving away the people's estate in "whole empires" to rings of speculators and party favorites. Their first Congress under Mr. Lincoln, in 1862, gave no less than 35,000,200 acres to a single combination known as the Union Pacific Railway Company. The whole state of Illinois contains only 35,450,200 acres. The professional politicians signalized the entrance of their "perfected organization" into power, by taking away from the people generally, and giving to an organized ring of less than two dozen persons the absolute proprietorship of a territory equal to the great State of Illinois. Such was the initiation of the policy of subsidizing private rings with public lands, which the professional politicians have followed up with vigor, until the number and magnitude of these gifts of the people's lands to private corporations, cover a domain greater than four and a half states of the size of Illinois.
The grant to Illinois of 2,500,000 acres was hardly equal to 4,000 acres per mile of the Illinois Central Railway. The gift to the Pacific Railway Company amounts to nearly 18,000 acres per mile, and the first gift to that unmitigated organization of New England land-thieves, the Northern Pacific Railway Company, amounts to more than 25,000 acres per
215mile, while the second gift to the same band of land speculators amounts perhaps to as much more. What consideration do the people of the United States receive, or what consideration will the inhabitants of any new state at the West ever receive, for the imperial grants of the public domain that have been made by professional politicians and their "perfected organizations" to rings of speculators? Not one dollar of public revenue; not one penny of benefit in any shape but that which is incidental to every other railway, as well as those owned by the rings of speculators, bands of land-stealers, and which have been brought into existence, nursed and loaded down with stolen wealth by professional politicians and their "perfected organizations."
The author need not pause to give the names by which these "perfected organizations" — if forsooth there should be more than one — have been designated from time to time. It is enough for the farmer to know that he has been robbed, and that he has the thief within the reach of legal process. He does not have to search the rogue's calendar to ascertain the various aliases of the accused.
A Small Voice from Ohio.
The enemy continues to manifest a decided interest in the Farmer's Movement. His agents, the professional politicians, are still industrious in the distribution of printed matter among the working classes. This is composed in nearly every instance of distorted facts and bad logic deduced from false premises. Their best hold seems to be an attempted defense of
216the protective policy by an Ohio Congressman. This gentleman presumes to state facts, but his ignorance is proven by his erroneous statement that Great Britain still maintains protective duties upon manufactures to the extent of ten per cent, an allegation which has not a particle of foundation in fact. These are the gentleman's words:
"England retains such protective duties as, when retained, were deemed by her adequate for the purposes of her industries, they being ten per cent, upon all wrought manufactures of all the metals, articles of cotton, wool, etc."
The customs revenue of Great Britain is collected from tea, coffee, sugar, liquors, tobacco and fruits; and the same rate per capita which is paid there, on those articles, if imposed upon the population of this country, would yield all the customs revenue we require.
It only need be said in reply to such an inductive philosopher as the Ohio Congressman, that the agitation for free trade substantially began in Great Britain, in 1824; that the first tangible step was made in 1840, when the protective system culminated, when the fearful condition of the country forced action. At this time, the chancellor of the exchequer was depicted as being "Seated on an empty chest over the pool of a bottomless deficiency, fishing for a budget." He should know that free trade was substantially accomplished by several acts passed between 1840 and 1860, and that the very last vestige of Protection disappeared not long since, with the abatement of a registry duty of a shilling a quarter on corn.
When the Hon. What's-his-Name, of Ohio, informs himself upon facts, he will be entitled to present conclusions.
He must first read the history of the Dutch Republic, and learn how Free Trade built up a nation of whom it was said that, "producing not a grain of wheat, they lived on the whitest bread in Europe." He must learn how the Navigation Acts of Great Britain, passed in the time of Cromwell to spite the Dutch Republic, almost ruined the shipping interest of England, and threw the carrying trade of the world into the hands of the Dutch.
He must know the history of Venice and of the states of Italy, prosperous and rich so long as trade was free, but whose decadence dates from the adoption of Protection.
He must study the fiscal system of prosperous Belgium, now nearer the point of abolishing customhouses than any other nation. He must know of Switzerland, that except for Free Trade her people might starve.
He must study the vast strides which Germany has made in wealth and power since the custom-house lines between the states were removed by the Zollverein treaty.
And, last of all, he must consider the continental system of free trade under which these United States have prospered, although there are as great diversities among the States in soil, climate and productive capacity as exists among any nations of the world, and also greater diversity in regard to the burden of local debts and the mode of raising revenue for local purposes.
The Pig-Iron Patriots.
When the object of a tariff policy is not obtained through it, that policy must be wrong. One of the avowed objects of the present high duty on pig-iron, and of similarly high duties on other kinds of iron, is to avert the competition of foreign iron. To show how adequate are the rates of duty, the following table is given of ad valorem taxes now levied on the different kinds of iron, under the tariff, and actually collected in 1870-1:
|Bar-iron, common size||51 1/8||"|
|Extra sizes||65 1/2||"|
|Sheet-iron — No. 20||53 3/8||"|
|Sheet-iron — No. 25||61 1-5||"|
|Band and hoop iron||62 1/2||"|
|Thinner than No. 20 ditto||78 3/8||"|
|Slit rods||64 5/8||"|
|Mill irons||128 1/4||"|
|Cables and chains||75 3/4||"|
Additional "protection" is granted the Pennsylvania monopolist, in the fact that none of this iron can be laid down in New York for less than twenty per cent on its cost, on account of freight and charges. Under this enormous "protection," the Granger will scarcely believe that, year after year, the importation of iron increases, as is shown by the following table:
|Pig-iron, imports, value||$1,778,977||$2,138,030||$2,509,280||$3,106,490|
|Railroad iron, do||4,373,662||7,305,845||9,669,571||17,560,297|
|Bar, rod, sheet and hoop iron||4,893,787||4,945,910||4,977,336||5,206,720|
Now every fair-minded man, at all conversant with
219the principles of trade, will admit the fact, that if we import $17,000,000 worth of rails, at a duty of 46 per cent., it must necessarily follow that the $30,000,000 worth of home-made rails are, by the duty, rendered as dear as the foreign rails; and so with all other articles of iron.
Now, let us ask the pig-iron patriots whether the above table does not show them to be powerless to protect the American laborer from the competition of the "pauper labor of Europe," to borrow their own clap-trap phrase? We ask, too, if the consumers do not pay from fifty to sixty millions of dollars annually, over and above its real value, for all the iron they use?
Protection never put an additional dollar into the pocket of the working man, whom it claims to benefit; but it has put millions into the purses of monopolists, which millions have been filched from the working man and from every consumer.
Protection on Wheels.
So long as protection rides through the land in its coach and four, the working man who pays the expense must be content to walk, or jolt along in a springless wagon. But a Granger who has expectations, and a relative in the carriage business at New York, has been indulging in visions of a carriage of his own, when all protective tariffs shall have been made to walk. This over-sanguine Granger went so far as to write his relative — the carriage manufacturer at New York — as to the prices of those comforts. The relative replied, complaining of the depressed
220state of the carriage trade, and gave the following, among other reasons, therefor:
"War raised the prices of carriages, like every thing else; and when it ceased, people clamored for a large reduction of prices. This was found to be utterly impossible, owing to the fixed price of many materials that enter largely into carriage manufacture, and still more to the very great difficulty of getting sufficient skilled labor to meet increased demands."
Here are two causes for the distress of the manufacturer — high-priced materials, and lack of skilled labor. The carriage manufacturer owes these two disadvantages mainly to the tariff. All the iron, all the wood and varnish, all the oil, all the leather, all the cloth and plush, and all the labor the carriage-maker uses, are enhanced in price by a system which favors the few at the expense of the many. The iron monopoly alone is a grave detriment. Iron, in a country where it may be shoveled from the surface of the ground into the mouth of the furnace, should be cheaper than in those in which it must be raised from the bottom of mines, hundreds of feet deep; yet iron in Glasgow costs fifteen dollars a ton, in New York, thirty dollars a ton. This difference in price is caused by the duty on iron, which is needed neither for revenue nor protection, but is maintained for monopoly.
The present tariff does not encourage the immigration of skilled laborers from abroad. The working men of England, through one of their trades
221associations, recently sent Mr. Robert Connolly to this country, to compare the condition of American working men with that of the English. He returned and reported that American wages were higher than English wages, but that the latter afforded the better support. The American laborer is taxed on his food, fuel, clothing, and shelter, doubly; taxed for government and taxed for monopoly. The British laborer is taxed once, for government. Knowing all this, the Granger concludes his letter to his relative, the carriage manufacturer at New York, as follows:
"Do you not see that your interests are opposed to this so-called ‘Protection?’ Were your materials free, and your labor untaxed by monopoly, you could produce more, better, and cheaper work than you ever will under the present system. You would be benefited by an increased demand and multiplied profits; your working men would be benefited by more work, higher wages and cheaper living. Your customers would be benefited by getting good carriages cheap. The government would lose nothing, for it has more revenue than it needs. Even the monopolists would be benefited, for they would be compelled to turn to honest pursuits, and abandon their corrupt practices in the lobbies at Washington."
A paper here in Ohio, called the Toledo Blade, offers the following as a conclusive argument in favor of the system of tariff spoliation:
"Let us see what the products of a good farm will
222yield to the farmer to-day, compared with the same articles in 1860. In our market, on the 24th day of May, 1860, white wheat was quoted at $1.40; to-day it is worth $1.90 — just 50 cents per bushel more than in 1860. Potatoes were then worth 20 cents; now they sell readily at 60 cents. Barley was worth, in 1860, 68 cents per bushel; now it brings $1.05. Flaxseed sold then at $1.20; to-day its minimum; quotation is $1.70. Clover seed was quoted then at $3.75; to-day it is worth $4.65. Now let us take a good farm and see how much more its products are worth to-day than they were in 1860. We will give but the advance:
|Wheat, 300 bushels, advance||$150|
|Potatoes, 200 bushels, advance||80|
|Barley, 100 bushels, advance||37|
|Flaxseed, 100 bushels, advance||50|
|Clover seed, 100 bushels, advance||90|
"Here we have, then, on the five articles mentioned, an advance, in one year, in the value of what will be produced upon a single farm, of $407."
The writer would have a "soft thing" for his pet, if it were not for just one thing. He fails to inquire whether the farmer can buy any more with the proceeds of these five articles to-day than he could in 1860. This is an important point. The farmer may receive fifty or one hundred or five hundred per cent. more dollars to-day, than he did thirteen years ago, and still be worse off. He is certainly worse off, if the dollars he receives now will not buy so much as the less number of dollars which he received then. If his figures are correct, the income from the five articles enumerated was $1,023 in 1860, and is $1,430
223in 1873. As to the purchasing power, "No Monopoly," a writer in the New York World, shows that $1,023 would buy more in 1860, than $1,430 will buy now; thus:
"Bar Iron — Price in 1873, 5 cents per pound; quantity that $1,430 will buy in 1873, 28,600 pounds; price in 1860, 2 1/2; cents per pound; quantity that $1,023 did buy in 1860, 40,920 pounds. Excess of purchasing power in 1860 over 1873, 12,320 pounds.
"Coffee (Rio roasted) — Price in 1873, 35 cents per pound; quantity that $1,430 will buy in 1873, 4,085 25-36 pounds; price in 1860, 20 cents per pound; quantity that $1,023 did buy in 1860, 5,115 pounds. Excess of purchasing power in 1860 over 1873, 1,030 pounds.
Blankets (10-4) — Price in 1873, $6 per pair; quantity that $1,430 will buy in 1873, 238 1/3; price in 1860, $4 per pair; quantity that $1,023 did buy in 1860, 255 3/4;. Excess of purchasing power in 1860 over 1873, 17 pairs.
"Black Alpaca — Price in 1873, 50 cents per yard; quantity that $1,430 will buy in 1873, 2,860 yards; price in 1860, 30 cents per yard; quantity that $1,023 did buy in 1860, 3,410 yards. Excess of purchasing power in 1860 over 1873, 550 yards.
"Spool Thread (200 yards) — Price in 1873, 85 cents per doz.; quantity that $1,430 will buy in 1873, 1,564 60-85 dozen; price in 1860, 45 cents per dozen; quantity that $1,023 did buy in 1860, 2,273 15-45 dozen. Excess of purchasing power in 1860 over 1873, 709 dozen.
"Woolen Suit of Clothes — Price in 1873, $30; quantity that $1,430 will buy in 1873, 47 2/3 suits; price in 1860, $18 per suit; quantity that $1,023 did buy in 1860, 56 15-18 suits. Excess of purchasing power in 1860 over 1873, 9 suits."
We may push the enquiry further in the same direction, and discover that $1,023 went further, with respect to nearly everything, in 1860, than $1,430 go now. If a given amount of farm produce will not buy so much clothing within eighteen per cent, now as it would in 1860, it may be reasonably inferred that the farmer is not so well off as he was in 1860. And it may also be reasonably inferred that the reason he is not so well off is that he is taxed for the benefit of pet industries. It turns out, too, that the "Home Market," which the farmer was to have secured (according to the protectionists) by paying tribute to manufacturers, is a humbug and a delusion. These inferences do not rest solely upon comparisons of the prices of particular articles. The farmers know that they are not prosperous, and that is why they are being heard from, and why they are rapidly coming to an understanding and an agreement as to the cause of all the trouble.
"No Monopoly" goes on to show the Ohio monopolist newspaper, that the proceeds of farm products procured more day labor in 1860 than they do at present:
"In 1873 the average price of experienced day labor in Ohio, during the summer months, is $1.93 per day, without boar; $1,430 would, therefore, procure as near as possible 741 days' labor.
"In 1860 the average price for experienced day labor for the summer months in Ohio was $1.16 per day, without board; and $1,023, the proceeds of the farm product in 1860, would therefore have produced as near as possible 882 days' labor, or 141 days more than in 1873."
He leaves us to infer from this that, while farmers are much the worse off for the tariff, day laborers are little if any the worse, though it is clear that laborers are not as well off as they would be under free trade. Day laborers must earn enough to support life; and besides, it is easier for them to act in concert to secure an advance of wages, than it is for farmers to unite to secure an advance of prices. Hence, the latter must suffer more from tariff spoliation than the former. The farmers are indeed the oppressed class. They are compelled to pay the high prices of protected articles, and to advance the wages of their hands nearly in proportion to the general increase of prices. They are rigorously subjected to the law of competition also, and there is no escape for them. Producing a surplus of grain, they are obliged to compete with the farmers in other countries when they come to sell this surplus. If it is kept at home, the supply exceeds the demand, and the price falls; if it is sent abroad, the foreign price controls the price of the whole crop, both that sold for domestic consumption, and that which is exported. For the farmer, therefore, there is no such thing as protection. The iron-master is protected against the competition of the foreign iron-master, but the farmer cannot be protected against the competition of the foreign farmer. The extent of their necessities, and the power of combination, enables the working men to protect themselves to some extent, by controling the labor market. The farmers cannot very well get up a "strike," or combine to control the price of wheat in Liverpool. They are,
226therefore, the helpless victims of the monopoly system more than any other class. True, all working men are subjected to tribute to some extent, but farmers much more than others. They have consequently the deepest pecuniary interest in the overthrow of the spoliation system, and the complete emancipation of commerce from all legislative restrictions.
Chapter XV. Bands for the Binders.
At Princeton. Bureau's Demand.
My Aunt's adherents met at Princeton, Illinois, September 1, in one of the largest, most enthusiastic and harmonious conventions ever held in Bureau county. The following resolution was passed by an unanimous vote:
Resolved, That we demand the immediate repeal of the tariff, not only on iron, salt and lumber, but on all articles except those taxed for revenue only.
This granted, the tariff extortion would be removed from about two thousand articles and classes of commodities, which are now taxed for the "protection" of a few American monopolists. At present, tariff duties are levied upon and collected from nearly two thousand different articles of consumption, although three-fourths of the whole amount of revenue derived from duties on imports, is collected upon less than an hundred articles or classes of commodities. A monopolist newspaper organ, quite near and dear
230to the administration, states that "there are five hundred distinct swindles in the present tariff, which benefit only the parties who manipulated it.
In truth, there are nearer two thousand distinct swindles in the present tariff, for every one of the two thousand distinctively "protective" duties, and the one hundred "incidentally protective," in addition, is a "distinct swindle" upon the people, for the benefit of "the parties who manipulated it."
The Bureau brethren also administered a timely rebuke to its local partisan press, for its lukewarm-ness, by coming up bravely to the support of the independent newspaper that dared uphold the right.
It warned itself, too, against the political vagrants and hucksters who are just now hanging about the farmer's camps everywhere, begging for crumbs.
The crop of newly-fledged patriots is immense this year; every village has its quota, but they inspire neither pity nor alarm. The disguise is not new, and the true Granger detects the vermin as much by the smell as its gyrations.
About Ann Eliza Jones.
Matron Dean knew the Grange had not forgotten how a little babe had been left on a certain door-step in the village one dark night, and how Ann Eliza Jones was missing the next morning. Then she came home to "reform herself," she said, and who should step forward and tender his services in that direction, but that horrid scapegrace, Tom. Turner, the cause of all the trouble?
My man has just been telling me of a political party that is pretty much in the same fix with Ann Eliza, only its Tom Turners don't all acknowledge the corn. At any rate, this party is traveling about just now, "reforming itself," disowning its offspring and declaring that salary thieves shall be kicked out of its house, leaving the other bad boys to play by themselves. This is its promise; this is how it proposes to reform itself. Now, when Ann Eliza came home and made promises, we only smiled. When she swore that infant should never come into her father's house again, we thought better of her, until we caught her and Tom Turner's friends running around there every hour, carrying the nasty thing porridge and bits of clothing, to keep it alive.
So with my old man's political party. It purposes to reform itself by purging itself of thieves and rogues, and has employed half the political strumpets in the country to help. The first Tom Turner is Oliver P. Morton, salary thief of Indiana. This person has not disapproved of the grab, either publicly or privately, nor has he returned his share of the swag to the people's treasury. He may transfer the amount to his own pocket at any moment; the books of the treasury hold it to his credit. His task is to apologize for the steal in Ohio in speeches that, Grangers say, sound like a defense of it.
Here in Iowa, amongst those who are helping this political party to "reform itself," I recognize three detected and confessed adulterers, three members of the last Congress who have pocketed their back pay, eight members of the present Congress who have
232drawn $3,126 of increased pay, and have not been sworn into office yet; seven state officers, five federal officers, two railway presidents and two railway attorneys. And it is said Mr. John A. Logan, the salary thief of Illinois, is coming over to help this crowd in its efforts to have a political party reform itself by kicking out its rogues and thieves.
These are among the most recent and conspicuous performances of the political party now engaged in the business of "reforming itself," for the purpose of "capturing" the Farmer's Movement. This is why a Matron is reminded of Ann Eliza Jones.
The Wisconsin Farmers. Their Resolves.
The greatest harmony prevailed at the People's Convention held at Monroe, Wisconsin, August 30. The following were among the resolutions adopted on the occasion:
Resolved, That while we approve and commend the good accomplished by the old political parties, we believe their mission to be fulfilled; and, judging of the future by the past, with respect to pledges made and being made for greatly needed reforms, we declare our entire want of confidence in "the power of said parties under the leadership of bad and designing men, to meet the demands of the present exigencies, and to restore an honest and efficient management of public affairs.
Second — That we are in favor of a tariff for revenue only, and that we are opposed to all class legislation, either State or National; that we are opposed to monopolies of every kind; that a law compelling
233one man to pay tax to support the business of another is nothing less than legalized, robbery.
Third — That we denounce in unqualified terms the act of Congress increasing their pay, commonly known as the salary-grab, and pledge ourselves not to vote for nor support any man for office who voted for the bill or accepted the unjust pay.
Fourth — That the President of the United States in signing the bill by which the tax-payers are robbed of millions, putting $100,000 in his own pocket, has evinced a morbid avarice unparalleled in the history of our country.
Fifth — That agriculture is the principal basis of wealth and prosperity in this country; therefore, we believe that the farmer should be represented in every branch of our government, and that we pledge ourselves to support for office men who are interested in advancing the great agricultural interests of the nation, and of the laboring classes generally.
The Minnesota Farmers.
The farmers of Minnesota met in convention at Owatonna, September 2. The attendance was large and the proceedings harmonious. The following is the substance of the platform adopted on the occasion:
Whereas, The Republican and Democratic parties were not created to meet the grave and important questions now pressing upon the attention of the people, but originated from other issues, now completely adjusted and settled; and
Whereas, Both of these parties, so formed for other purposes, are divided in sentiment upon the principal issues of the day; and
234Whereas, The new questions and new circumstances require a new party, made up exclusively of those who agree together upon the principles involved; therefore,
Resolved, That we hereby separate ourselves from the Republican and Democratic parties, renounce all allegiance to them, and organize a new and independent political party, to be known as the People's Anti-Monopoly party.
Resolved, That we earnestly invite all men, native and foreign-born, without regard to creed, race, party, or occupation, to unite with us at the ballot-box, if they agree with us in the following declaration of principles:
The following is the substance of the declaration:
1. Accepts the results of the late war, and equality of citizenship.
2. Denounces all laws that rob one citizen or class to enrich another.
3. Demands the reduction of the tariff, and that necessaries of light, fuel, clothing, salt, iron, steel, and lumber be admitted free, or at a minimum duty.
4. While recognizing the great work of the Republican party, power and control have made it corrupt, and that the Credit Mobilier fraud, increase of salaries, and purchases of senatorial seats, have brought it to disgrace.
5. Declares coin the only safe basis of business.
6. That parties are never reformed by retaining them in power.
7. Declares the right of the people to control the railroads.
8. That railroads and stage companies, being common carriers, are bound to carry on equitable and reasonable terms.
That we will recognize no political party, nor individual
235aspirant for office, as worthy of our support, unless it or he will unite with us in declaring that a government cannot alienate its sovereignty, either in whole or in part, to any person, association, or corporation, for any purpose whatsoever, and that therefore no person, association, or corporation can legally and properly hold and exercise any right of sovereignty whatever, but is always, and must forever remain, subject to the sovereign authority and control of the government.
That taxes can only be rightfully levied for the purpose of raising resources to defray the expenses of the government in the discharge of its legitimate duties, supporting public institutions, and promoting the public welfare, and that the levying of such imposts as inure to the benefit of a class or classes in the community, while being detrimental to other classes, are unjust and oppressive, and that tariffs levied on imported articles may be, and are, so treated as to become thus discriminative and injurious, and that it is therefore essential that the utmost care should be taken in framing such tariff laws in order that these objectionable features may be avoided, and that they may operate for the well-being of the entire community.
That the salary grab and other steals deserve the severest censure, and that we demand the repeal of the law at the earliest possible moment, and declare every man who supported and approved it, or aided and abetted in procuring its passage and approved, or received benefits through its enactment, whether in the shape of back or mature pay, as unworthy of the countenance of his fellow citizens, and unfit for the further occupancy of any position of honor or trust.
That all participants in the Credit Mobilier and other
236corrupt transactions exposed by the investigations of the late Congress, and by the treasury investigations of this state, deserve to have been punished as criminals, and that those who aided in screening them from more complete exposure, and consequent punishment, should likewise become objects of public scorn and contumely.
That our experience proves that persons elected by parties are subservient to leaders and wire-pullers of the parties electing them, in the performance of their public duties, to the neglect, partially or wholly, of the opinion and wishes of the masses of the people, and that, therefore, we, as farmers and laborers, despair of ever having our wishes complied with, or our interests subserved in the administration of public affairs, until we generally shall take upon ourselves the discharge of the duties we owe to ourselves and to each other of choosing and electing our own candidates, independently of the action of all other political organizations, and we therefore earnestly recommend to the farmers and laborers of the state that we shall all unite and do all in our power to procure the nomination and election of full and complete county, district, and state tickets, embracing candidates, selected in the interests of the people, for all the positions in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government to be elected this fall, and that to the end that this policy may generally obtain, we recommend the holding of similar county and state conventions every year, and solicit the cooperation of the industrial classes of other states, in order that the influence of the movement may be extended to the administration of our national affairs.
The Indiana Grangers.
The first public demonstration of the Indiana
237Grangers came off at Independence, August 30, and was participated in by between four and five thousand persons.
At an early hour the roads centering at Independence were thronged with wagons ladened with living freight, and the air was filled with music and with dust. From the North, South, East, and West the Grangers came, on horseback and in every conceivable style of vehicle. Several miles from the grove chosen for the celebration, at the intersection of the various roads, the organizations from different parts of the county met and formed in line. The delegation from the West consisted of two hundred and thirty wagons filled with merry-hearted youths and gray-haired veterans, of Tipton county, and seventy-five wagons brought the delegations from the North. All preliminaries being perfected, the line of march was taken up, headed by the Cicero band, seated in a wagon gaily decorated with flags, banners, and various devices. Then came the Grange Lodges, according to number. The Cicero Grange banner bore on one side the following motto: "If any party stands between us, let it die," and on the other side, "Build up and foster home industry." Bennett's Grange motto: "In union there is strength," and "Farmers' rights." Dixon Grange motto: "The voice of the people shall be heard," and "Conquer we must — our cause is just." Union Grange had but one motto: "Farmers, you are the strength of the nation." Plum Grange motto: "Justice, peace, and union," and "God and our country." Clay Grange motto: "The
238hand that holds the bread — the farmer," and also, "Who would be free must himself strike the blow." The banner of the Union Grange from Hamilton county bore the following motto: "We'll support no Congressman who supported the salary grab." The banner of the Centre Grange, from the same county, had the following inscription: "Corn must go up — monopolies must come down." The other Lodges, having but recently organized, had not yet adopted their banners, but unfurled the flag of our country as an excellent substitute. Arriving at the grounds, the various banners were so arranged as to decorate artistically the speaker's stand, and the vast crowd occupied the rough board benches that had been fitted up for the occasion.
Hon. J. W. Billingsley, orator of the day, then gave an elaborate address, reviewing the aims and object of the order, and congratulating the farmers npon its remarkable progress.
At the South.
Reports from the South are of the most cheering character. The Rural Carolinian, an agricultural monthly published at Charleston, published a list of 127 subordinate Granges of the Patrons of Husbandry, in South Carolina, giving the name, post-office, county, and master of each. The number continues to increase.
The Nashville Commercial Register has this to say of the Granges: "If any portion of our people deserve a controlling voice in national affairs, it is the
239farmers, upon whom the prosperity and advancement of our country depends. When they are crippled or retarded it shakes the very foundation of our government, and causes a stagnation which reaches all. If they will only be united and stand firm, it is in their power to revolutionize the present political system of monopolies and corrupt rings, created for selfish and pecuniary gain, without any regard to the true interests of our common country. At the same time we are opposed to secret political organizations, and warn our friends against such proceedings. Why not throw your doors wide open, and invite all who earnestly desire justice to join you in your noble undertakings of purification?"
Representatives of the Patrons of Husbandry of the Georgia State Grange met in Athens on the 14th inst., the number of delegates present being sixty-four. A correspondent of the Savannah Advertiser and Republican briefly sums up the result thus: "The number of Granges organized to-day is ninety-six. Great enthusiasm in the order is manifested and much important business has been transacted. Among the items are the appointment of a committee of three to report at the October meeting on the practicability of establishing a bank in the state of Georgia in the interest of the order; a uniform and reliable system of crop reports; the issuing of a circular setting forth our position to merchants, manufacturers and dealers; and the construing of the phrase in the law of membership, "any persons interested in agricultural pursuits in article 5 of the constitution," be construed so as to include only those who make agriculture their leading pursuit."
A religious journal lunching upon monopoly pabulum, is trying to make out that the farmers are fearfully inconsistent. This pious editor thinks he has discovered a conflict between the theory concerning railroads, held by farmers and others six years ago, and what the editor supposes them to hold at the present day. About that time, a movement similar in some respects to the present revolution, spread with great rapidity through several states. Its chief feature at that time consisted in its hostility to the subsidy system, by which farmers were robbed for the benefit of railroad speculators. Railroads are for public use, said the speculators, therefore government may make people contribute to the building of railroads. The property in railways is private property, replied the farmer, and the tax you assess upon our farms to aid in building railroads goes to swell the amount of this private property in the hands of its owners, the railroad men. The public gets no lower rates of transportation on subsidized roads than on those that are built with the money of their owners. The tax you make us pay goes to the private use of railroad owners, and not to the public use of roads at all. We deny that government can compel us to contribute to the capital of railway companies. This was the farmers' theory at the time named, and one which most of the state courts sustained by their decisions.
The religious newspaper feeding upon party pap, is trying to make itself believe that the farmers have abandoned this theory, and hold with the pious paper
241that railroads are public concerns which government may compel people to build for the gratification of the Scotts, Vanderbilts, or other gentlemen of limited means. Or, to be more precise, that the subsidy mode of robbing the farmers to enrich railroad companies is commendable, as well as the buying or bribing of legislators, the packing of courts, or other fashionable methods of carrying out this softening system of piracy.
The pious party of the first part gets its notions from Prof. Walker's theory that government shall assume the administration of the roads. The religious paper assumes that this is the essential proposition of the farmers' movement of the present time. This is because it is fed by professional politicians upon government pap, and because it gets its information from party "organs" that are trying to "capture" the farmers and tighten the cords that bind them to the monopoly car, — organs of a party that having brought all the evils of which we complain upon us, now proclaims itself as the great "anti-monopoly" party that in all its conventions has "espoused the cause of the farmers;" the party that has the effrontery to "promise" us relief, — relief by allowing papa government to take the administration of the roads; to reverse the governing functions as heretofore, and to be a kind of agency for the regulation of business and the management of private property, and call it public beneficence, to continue as heretofore to rob the farmers by the subsidy process, and swell the capital of the Scotts and Vanderbilts, who find a greater margin in building railroads with other people's money than with their own.
The farmers emphatically reject this theory. An emphatic condemnation of the subsidy system has been among the resolutions put forth by every farmers' convention held in the western states. They have in every instance declared their hostility to the subsidy system, with the greatest unanimity and persistence; declaring against its principle as well as practice. The farmers demand that railroads shall be under the control of law, which simply means that corporate persons shall be subject to the same laws of right and wrong to which natural persons are subject.
Not that the farmers propose to "run the railroads," as the pious paper charges, but that the farmers propose that railroad rings and money rings of all kinds shall stop running the government for their own business purposes, at the cost of the farmers, whether by the subsidy system, the tariff system, or any other system of organized piracy. This is what the Farmer's Movement means.
A Last Word.
It must be plain to every Granger that we have but one work to do, and that is to stand firmly by the principles of independence, commercial freedom, and individual liberty which constitute the basis of our new revolution. We have not to listen to overtures to "trade" with any man or any body of men. We must recognize the inefficiency of existing parties for the purposes of reform. Both have been for some time in the condition of two planks, neither one of
243which could stand up by itself at all. Leaning towards each other, and each mutually resting upon the other, they manage easily to bear up the load of corruption and misgovernment of which we complain. It must be apparent to every Granger that the object of the republican leaders and the republican press is to keep the democratic party in the field, that they may fight over again the battles of our civil war.
Take away the plank which both Bourbon and "republican" party managers are trying to hold up in the false name of "democracy," and the other would not stand upright for a single moment. If we would bring the monopoly party plank to the ground, we must first take away its so-called "democratic" supporter.
What Mr. Kittredge recently said to our friends in Ohio, might be repeated with profit everywhere.
"I know of no other method by which our motives in this attempt to build up a new party can be vindicated, except by the declaration and advocacy of sound political principles, and by the nomination and support of honest and upright men for public office. By pursuing this course, regardless of the question whether we shall succeed in this election, whether we shall secure this or that political office, or whether we shall injure or enhance the prospects of either of the old political parties, we shall, at least, persuade men that we are in earnest in what we have undertaken; that we do not make a profession of seeking the public welfare, while we are, in fact, intent upon individual advantage. And, my fellow citizens, to be honestly in earnest is, in itself, a power in the politics of to-day."
Chapter XVI. Freedom in Trade.
We assume at the start that the system of revenue based upon import duties, as a mode of indirect taxation, ought to be the great financial resource of the federal government. The constant association in the mind of revenue and tariff, however, leads to a degree of confusion which we must dispel at once by remembering that they have no natural connection. A tariff is but one way out of many of collecting a revenue, and our investigation will be greatly assisted for the time being if we put the question of revenue quite out of sight. We are thus left free to consider the operation of duties apart from their object, and to ascertain whether they are useful in themselves, and, if not, why, and how far they are prejudicial.
Let us suppose that there is not a single restriction
245upon traffic in the whole world; but a universal Free Trade, entirely untrammeled, and left to everybody's wants and caprices. It is plain that there would soon take place a mutually beneficial exchange of commodities on every side; that labor would everywhere be applied in the most productive manner; that the aggregate of wealth would increase with greater rapidity than upon any other conditions. The advantages of Free Trade on a large scale are completely illustrated by those on a small one. If the traffic of a country or state is most profitable when free, so is that of a continent, or the world. They are both made up of individual transactions, differing only in number and magnitude. Trade is only exchange; mutual benefit is its theory; its inducement, mutual wants; and mutual cupidity guards it upon both sides. This is true of great trades as well as small ones, and of exchanges made across an ocean as well as across a counter. While these general views will not be contradicted, they are regarded as mere abstractions, and not at all applicable to the condition of affairs on this planet. We must bring our hypothesis, therefore, into more practical limits.
We separate England and America from the list of nations, the two leading commercial countries, and consider only their relations to each other. We assume that hitherto a system of Free Trade has prevailed between them, until England, instigated by a noisy, delusive desire to be independent, concludes to abandon to some extent the principles of freedom, and to impose duties on imports coming from this country. A diminution of traffic and its proceeds is,
246of course, the result. Harmed and stung by the movement, we begin to inquire what we shall do. The ingenious empiric answers, "Why, lay a tariff and retaliate; we will protect ourselves, and keep her out of our ports, as she drives us from her own. We will thus neutralize the harm, bring her to terms, protect home industry, and be independent of foreign labor." It is this theory of reciprocal tariffs and protective duties that we wish first to consider.
To lay an import duty on something that cannot be produced at home is to raise its price and diminish its consumption. If laid upon something which can be produced at home, but only at a greater cost than the imported article, the duty will not begin to operate as a "protection" until it exceeds, or at least equals, the difference between the cost of the imported and home production. When it goes beyond this difference, all the excess is so much protection. When it becomes so great that there is no longer any inducement to import, and the demand has fallen with the capacity of the home supply, or that supply has been stimulated so as to equal the entire demand, importation ceases, and the duty becomes a prohibition. We have, then, three grades in the operation of duties; the first, not sufficiently high to furnish any protection at all; the second, protective, but not prohibitory: and the third, both protective and prohibitory. It will be satisfactory, perhaps, to consider such duties as are more or less protective, — a class comprehending all except such as are merely nominal, or those imposed upon articles which can neither be produced nor substitutes found for them at home.
What interests are capable of protection? It is clear that England cannot protect by duties the manufacture of iron, nor the United States the cultivation of cotton, nor China that of tea. These are exporting interests. Every nation produces a surplus of some things, in the natural application of its industry, and suffers a deficiency of others. To equalize these wants and excesses is the office of commerce. The branch of industry which produces a surplus is generally the leading branch, and the interests of the majority are involved in its prosperity. Agriculture is the leading interest of America, and manufactures of England. One or the other is the leading interest of every great commercial nation. Unless it has a great surplus of something to export, it may be a great, but not a commercial nation. England is a commercial nation, because it produces a surplus of manufactures: America, because it raises an excess of agricultural productions. Nearly all productive industry is either agricultural or manufacturing, using those terms in their largest sense; the first applying to all the labor employed in getting raw material from the earth, and the second to all the labor spent in modifying and preparing such material for consumption. Commerce is auxiliary, and thrives upon the briskness of exchanges and the subdivision of labor. The leading interest of England corresponds with the secondary interest of this country, and its secondary with our leading interest. We have a surplus of one kind, and she of another. If, then, according to our hypothesis, England lays import-duties, upon what must they be laid? Upon the products
248of the soil and the raw materials produced from the earth. The effect of such duties is to protect her agriculture, or secondary interest, and to depress her manufactures, or leading interest: first, by subjecting the consumption of foreign productions to a tax equal to the duty laid upon them — a protection as efficient as so much bounty upon the articles produced at home; second, by reducing the capacity to buy of the foreign purchasers, upon whose custom depends the prosperity of the exporting interest. It would have a two-fold effect upon America, also: first, to injure our agricultural, or leading interest; second, to stimulate our second, or manufacturing interest. The injury to the one would be the result of its partial exclusion from the markets of England by the duty laid to protect the corresponding interest there; and the benefit to the other would arise from the former being thus compelled to sell a larger proportion of its produce and to buy a larger proportion of its wares and fabrics at home. The consequence, therefore, of a tariff in one country alone, so far as it is protective, is to injure certain interests, and to stimulate others in each country; and the interest protected in one is prejudiced in the other, and vice versa.
We now examine the reciprocal or retaliatory tariff, which we are supposed to adopt by way of remedy. As before remarked, we cannot, by taxing imports, protect our exporting or agricultural interest, which, depending for prosperity upon the foreign demand, seeks only free egress and shuns obstructions. The operation of protection with us is in
249favor of our secondary interest, — an interest, as we have seen, already stimulated by the policy of England, against which we are seeking a remedy. It also injures our exporting interest, by still further weakening the means of the English consumers to buy of us. This, of course, produces a further declension of commerce between the two countries, and the double result in England of diminishing the rivalry of our agriculture, and our demand for her manufactures; prejudicing even more than before her leading, and aiding her secondary interest. A reciprocal tariff, therefore, only aggravates the mischief already done by a single tariff; each helping the other to sustain or depress the same branch of industry. This simple, theoretical view of the subject, expressed necessarily in general terms, is possibly open to many exceptions and qualifications in the given case, but its abstract truth seems to be exceedingly clear.
If, in reply to these views, it be said that the results thus briefly traced are desirable; that it is better for each nation to be more independent of the other; that the weaker interest in each ought to be encouraged, that all the elements of greatness and power may be developed in both countries, — we can only reply that these considerations are in contradistinction to the supposed benefits of mutual free trade; that they are as applicable to states and counties as they are to nations; that they are opposed to the general maxims of self-government; deny the reciprocal benefits of commerce; are founded upon the principles of exclusiveness, local selfishness, and national jealousy;
250and, if true, they ought to be carried out boldly, and the benefits they advocate enforced by the absolute prohibitions of the old Chinese policy. But the fact is, the independence of nations, like that of individuals, is neither possible nor desirable. It is the mutual wants and mutual utility of men that promote the virtue and harmony of mankind, whether in their intercourse as individuals or nations.
The favorite argument against free trade between this country and Europe is, that a ruinous competition with the cheap labor of that continent would be the result; a depreciation of wages here to the standard of wages there. It is argued that with this depreciation would come the stupidity and crimes of a pauper community; that the privileges of freedom would be thrown away upon the gross sottishness of the poor. If true, this argument is of vast importance. Our laboring classes now enjoy a far better remuneration for their toil than their rivals beyond the Atlantic; and, to maintain this advantage, any legislation would be proper, however selfish or exclusive. But it is not true. Wages would approach nearer to an equality than at present, but it would be more of a benefit to foreign labor than a burden to our own. To ascertain if these views be correct, we have only to consider the theory of wages, and upon what depends the measure of their proportion.
The amount of pecuniary payment given for labor is not, in the first place, the true measure of wages, but the proportion of useful commodities for which, at any given period or place, that labor may be exchanged. If, then, it be admitted that free trade
251would diminish to some extent the nominal rate of wages, it would reduce the cost of most of the articles which labor seeks in exchange. Labor would be equally well paid so long as the proportion of wages and commodities remained the same. In the second place, the rate of wages for mere physical labor will be about equal in all branches of industry, in any free country; for, if one department is much better paid than others, enough labor will be attracted from those that are worse paid to equalize, to a great extent, the compensation of all. There is a cause for the inadequacy of proportion that wages bear to labor in most countries. In some parts of Europe, diligent toil is rewarded with only the most scanty and precarious pittance that can possibly support life. For this monstrous disparity of remuneration there must be some general cause. The wealth of community is produced by the application of labor to capital, and its proceeds are divided in certain proportions between those who furnish the capital and the labor. If the capital were owned by the laborers in equal degree, the proceeds of labor would be divided with great equality and harmony. But, where capital is owned by those who do not do the labor, and the labor is performed by those who do not own the capital, a struggle arises for the proceeds, in which it is plain who will prevail. Capital, having something to live on, can await the result with patience; while labor, compelled to live from hand to mouth, is forced by starvation to surrender at discretion. With capital on one side, and labor on the other, the latter is a slave to the former, and is indulged
252with its husks, for its master cannot afford to let it perish.
Land forms the great bulk of capital everywhere. From its cultivation come most of the absolute necessaries of life; and it has an intrinsic value, independent of its relative cost. The possession of a little land confers almost all the means of self-support, giving to its possessor a degree of independence, and placing him, to some extent, above the tyranny of wealth. If every laborer could have land enough to supply him with necessary food, fuel, and the raw material for clothing, it is clear that labor could only be attracted from the plow by the prospect of wages above the minimum of subsistence; and that, in the division of its proceeds, the disparity would cease to be so grossly in favor of capital. The independence of labor would be in proportion to the cheapness of land, and the higher the wages by which wealth would be able to purchase its services. But, if lands and rents are high, as in England, there can be no share of capital accessible to the laborer, — no resort of independence within his reach. Here, as there; his wages would be at the minimum, and his prospects without a hope of relief.
The rate of wages, then, varies inversely with the value of land; and, if land is very cheap, wages will rise to a point where they furnish a just and adequate remuneration to toil. Such is the situation of this country, and such would it continue to be, however free its intercourse with others. The comparatively small cost of land everywhere among us, its merely nominal price in most parts of our vast territory, is
253the security of labor against destitution, — a security of which no foreign competition can deprive us. It might divert some of our labor from the factory to the field; yet the field is broad enough for all, and extends to all its plenty and independence.
A home market is another favorite idea with the advocates of Protection. They dwell with great confidence upon its benefits to the agricultural producers; it will supply, they say, and more than supply, all the loss in foreign demand under a restrictive system. They argue that the prosperity of manufactures increases the number of consumers here; and they can afford to pay the farmer a larger price for his products than if they were loaded with the additional expense of transportation to a distant market. By way of illustration, they point to numerous thriving villages and cities, and the populous country about them. It is true that the immediate vicinity of a manufacturing village grows with its growth, and the prosperity of the neighborhood embraces the branch of agriculture with all the rest, and this equally whether the growth of that village be natural or forced, yet its prosperity is sustained by burdens falling somewhere, if not there. If the people of this country can, as a general thing, invest their labor in tillage to better advantage than in manufactures, and if artificial legislation diverts a considerable portion of labor to the latter, the result will indeed be an appearance of local thrift; while really the prosperity of the whole country is diminished. The partial benefit, being concentrated and local, would probably be more apparent than the general mischief, which is spread over
254a vast area, and depresses a universal interest in detail. Sections may thus be enriched at the expense of the whole, and local interests be at war with those of the country at large. Keeping this in view, and remembering to be on our guard against both the speciousness of appearances and the zeal of selfishness, we come to the consideration of the general theory of a home market.
If we are better adapted, as a people, under all circumstances, to engage in manufactures rather than agriculture, it is safe to presume that the private sagacity of freemen will discover it, without the hints and helps of government. If not, then the artificial diversion of labor from a more to a less profitable pursuit will diminish the aggregate income of labor, and, of course, the average to be distributed to its every department. Again, this artificial distinction of labor, does not increase the number of mouths to be fed, nor stimulate consumption, so that a greater quantity of products will be required.
This country is capable, from its great extent, fertile soil, and comparatively thin population, of raising agricultural products enough to supply half of Europe. It is absurd, therefore, to talk of a home market, to be furnished merely by a change in its industry, and not in its population, as offering an adequate demand for the unlimited supplies which it is capable of producing. This theory of a home market is based upon the idea that commerce cannot regulate itself; that industry, left free, will not seek the most profitable employment, nor be rewarded by the most profitable exchanges; and that foreign trade is wasteful
255and pernicious. If carried out, this theory leads to the ridiculous conclusion, that all sorts of business should be carried on close together, for the sake of convenience in the transactions between them. It would be difficult to explain how large a home market should be, or say why, if it is to be limited at all, it, should go beyond the limits of a single state, county, or township. Or, indeed, how many home markets there are to be in this little world, when the home-market system comes to full perfection. True economy, liberality, and humanity have the whole earth as one home market, where every commodity should be made where it can be made the cheapest, and sold where it can be sold to the best advantage. Every other doctrine is local, timid, and selfish; and as freemen, we utterly reject and deny it.
We have thus endeavored to show that Free Trade is better than restriction, apart from any consideration of revenue; that the doctrine of Protection is an injustice and a fallacy; that retaliatory tariffs are delusive; that the quantum of wages does not fall with the prevalence of free exchange; and that the theory of a home market is utter sophistry and nonsense. If these views are correct, it must be admitted that the necessity of raising a revenue by duties is purely a burden, both in its direct effect as taxation, and its indirect effect as protection; and that it ought to be collected without reference to the encouragement of any particular branch of industry whatever. With such theoretical views as a chart to guide the statesman, he can approach the complicated subject of revenue with something like clearness of
256ideas; and, giving up all false collateral objects, arrange the load of taxation on the principles of impartial economy.
Chapter XVII. Concerning the Remedy. The Elective Franchise.
As all governments must be administered by persons selected from the mass to perform certain duties, supposed to be for the common good of the community in which they live, so must those persons be rewarded for the services they render, according to the time and talents necessary for the proper discharge of those duties. These persons always form a corps of common interest, which" is constantly striving to increase the term of office, make it more secure, and enhance its emoluments at the expense of the people. They are, in fact, the servants of the people, from the highest to the lowest, and as such occupy positions necessarily beneath the rank of independent freemen; in accepting office, they ought to be considered as having derogated from the rank of an independent republican. They may, it is true, earn distinction by the faithful discharge of their duties
260— just as an head-waiter is respectable when he fulfills his duties, but they cannot under any circumstances arrogate to themselves, superiority over their employers. In monarchical countries, where the sovereign is the source of all power, and the fountain of honor, he appoints persons to rule the people, and delegates to them various gradations of power. The lowest of them — in institutions where the sovereign is the state, and the people nobody, is, of course, of rank superior to the people, and is looked up to by them; but the highest is nevertheless lower than the sovereign whom he serves and from whose hand he receives both office and perquisites.
In a republic like our own, the reverse of this state of things is supposed to exist. The people are the sovereign, the source of power, and the fountain of honor. When a person steps out of their ranks where he has been engaged in promoting the general welfare, by accumulating individual wealth, through his industry and skill, relinquishes his position and condescends to serve his fellow citizens, he does not become greater than those whom he serves, but should rank below them in the social scale. One great reason why the offices of government here have been looked upon as both honorable and profitable, has been that the principles of our institutions have been imperfectly carried out. Our officers are theoretically elected by the people, but for the most part the people have contented themselves with electing a chief magistrate, and delegating to him regal authority, in the right to appoint and pay numberless officers, always providing first for his own and
261his wife's kin, all of whom look to him as the source of honor and profit, and all of whom seek to strengthen his position and supposed rights in contravention of the free exercise of the popular will. The consequence is, that he centers in himself a patronage which creates in the bosom of the community a political interest antagonistic to that of the people. In proportion as the number and emoluments of these officers holding from the chief magistrate are more or less considerable, will the government be more or less "centralized" and the means of thwarting or perverting a true expression of the popular will be more efficient. To allow of a great executive patronage, is to establish a kind of feudal system. In the earlier stages of that system, a successful warrior divided among his armed followers the lands of the conquered, which were held at his pleasure, the occupant being liable to military service when called upon. Of precisely the same tenure is the holding of office at the present day. The successful candidate divides the offices among his political followers, who are liable to political service when called upon. Hence, "To the victors belong the spoils," has long been the battle cry of all political parties in this country. That incipient stage of feudality was, by the growing power of the incumbents, ultimately perfected into hereditary tenures; and there is no reason why emoluments acquired by the ballot-box should not strengthen the possessors and enhance their pretensions equally with those acquired by the sword. When we hear inflated imbecility asking for "second" and "third" terms, encouraged by men who make politics a trade, the people should
262know in what direction the political compass points. The advancement of civilization has not changed the desires of mankind, although it may have modified the means by which they are to be gratified.
In the countries of Europe under monarchical sway, the patronage of the government became the most, if not the only efficient means of sustaining the royal authority against the encroachments of the people; and this dependence upon patronage increases as the sway of the sovereign weakens. Thus in Russia, where the power of the crown is absolute and undisputed, the "centralization" of the executive offices is loose.
The under officers are less impressed with the vigilance of the appointing power, which has no occasion to make crown dependents feel the necessity of promoting the royalist cause. Hence corruption prevails to a most remarkable degree. The officers are appointed above the people, and not being held strictly accountable, are corrupt to the last degree; justice is notoriously sold to the highest bidder, and the bribes of revenue officers are supposed to exceed the amount collected. In Prussia, a country as destitute of representation, perhaps, as is Russia, the power of the crown is absolute, but it exists among a thinking, intelligent, and industrious people, who hold absolutism on its good behavior. The administration of the law, as well as most functions of the government, are honestly and faithfully performed — perhaps more so than in any other country of Europe. It is to be remarked, however, that the power of the crown has gradually been surrounded, through ministerial influence,
263with such checks that promotion, from nepotism and back-door influence, are nearly impossible. Those checks consist in the regulations by which appointments and promotions in all the offices are invariably made. The examinations of candidates for promotion are divided into fifteen general heads
264France presented a different state of things. There the sole support of the dynasty and. the throne was official patronage. In 1830, revolution placed upon the throne a new king, with a liberal constitution, in accordance with which the country was to be governed. That constitution contained two fatal errors. It did not limit executive patronage, and it did limit the right of suffrage. These errors entirely neutralized all its wise provisions, and enabled an unscrupulous king, the offspring of the revolution, to centralize his power. This centralization, through government patronage, destroyed the liberties of the French citizen. M. Guizot, on one occasion, as minister of the crown, made a brilliant speech upon the question of government corruption. He denied that corruption, properly speaking, existed at all, maintaining that in the natural order of things, where the interests of certain classes and those of the government were the same, corruption could not be charged upon them for pursuing those interests. He admitted that, in some degree, the power of expenditure, which the government possessed, attracted to its support, all those who, under the limitation of the laws, possessed the faculty of political activity.
In the United States, universal suffrage has alone protected our institutions from the injurious influences of executive patronage, the interests of which has nevertheless been felt at times to be utterly incompatible with the free exercise of the elective franchise. The constitution of the United States committed the error of throwing into the hands of the federal government by far too great an amount
265of patronage; and had the various attempts which have been made to limit the right of suffrage been successful, there is but little doubt but, at this time, our institutions would have been so centralized that the line of state's sovereignty would have become so indistinct as scarcely to have been distinguishable. The amount of patronage in the hands of the federal government is far too great not to jeopardize the purity of the elective franchise, and the patronage seems now to be in process of rapid extension, and the intelligent farmer knows to what an extent its corrupting influence may be carried at the polls. The number and emoluments of the federal employes, it is true, bear no proportion to those of the European countries the author has cited, but is, nevertheless, too large for the public good. While, however, the patronage of the federal government is the reward of a successful party, that success carries with it not only the federal offices, but also those of the several states; because, to be successful in federal elections, it is necessary that the same party should triumph in the several States. The number of offices in the gift of state executives is somewhere about 60,000, making any number of offices dependent upon elections, and for each office experience has shown that there will be ten applicants. Hence, the number of applicants is nearly equal to that of the whole of the voters. To them, the hope of office is the stimulant to partisan activity, and their political exertions in towns, cities, counties, and states constitute the merits on which they base their claims; while these claims have heretofore been adjudged in "Central
266Committees" and regencies with absolute and tyrannic sway. The Farmers' Movement recognizes King Caucus among the tyrants of oppression, with which it proposes to wrestle.
The public have become accustomed to see all professional politicians alike dispose of place with a view to party objects or private interests; and the honest press has yet to discharge the duty of showing that whenever and by whomsoever such objects are made of primary consideration, and individual merit or aptitude for especial duties entirely disregarded, the public interest is betrayed. It is not from the mere combined interest of this horde of office-seekers that the greatest evils result. They are but the machinery by which the federal patronage, on a broader and more magnificent scale, is sought to promote the pecuniary interests of parties.
The great fertility of the soil of the United States, the enterprise and energy of the people, as well as their universal industry, assisted by the greatest improvements in science and the arts, are elements of vast national wealth, far in advance of those of any nation of the present, or of any former age of the world. As all these are elements of great national prosperity, so are they the elements of one of the most powerful nations that ever existed, if a central government should have the means of drawing any considerable portion of this wealth from the people by taxes, direct or indirect, and expending it upon particular classes or interests, which would thereby become the creatures and supports of the government, ready to sustain any ambitious executive in his
267personal or party schemes. The author need not explain what those schemes have been in the past, or what they are likely to be in the future. Enough has been given to convince the intelligent freeman that the remedy for all his troubles is in his own hands, — the free and proper exercise of the elective franchise.
Chapter XVIII. Vox Populi Vox Dei.
According to Archbishop Trench, the proverb, Vox Populi Vox Dei — "The voice of the people is the voice of God" — may be made to contain a most mischievous falsehood. "We must only remember," he adds, "that this ‘people’ is not the populace in high place, or in low; that this ‘voice of the people’ is not any momentary outcry, but the consenting testimony of the good and wise, of those neither brutalized by ignorance nor corrupted by a false cultivation, in all places and at all times."
To all who blindly accept and meekly submit to its sway, the voice of the people is a mockery and the maxim we have quoted a Napoleonic subterfuge, and nothing more. But according to the American system, as solemnly enunciated by the founders of the republic, governments are instituted among men to secure the "inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and in all cases they must derive "just powers from the consent of the governed." By this theory the sovereignty is lodged absolutely
269with the people at large. If the forms of government which they have established in the free, un-trammeled exercise of this sovereign power partake in any degree of divine authorization, it is because the voice of the people is the voice of God, and this must hold true, even if the popular will, as thus expressed, has not received "the consenting testimony of the good and wise in all places and in all times." We can appeal from the people to history alone — there is no other alternative. We can only accept the will of the majority as the definite settlement of every mooted point, whether it be sanctioned or condemned by those who rightly arrogate to themselves the virtue and wisdom of the ages.
Momentary outcries, springing from deep-seated prejudices, or from sudden and unreasonable whims of the populace, must of necessity prevail at times; while the testimony of the good and wise is frequently ignored, and the policy of the government shaped by ignorance and false culture. But these defects of the system are the inevitable accompaniments of all true liberty. We must be content to counteract their influences, as best we may, or reject as a whole the cherished theory of man's capacity for self-government. The great problem presented for our solution, therefore, is the ascertainment of the popular will, as representing "the voice of God."
It was our purpose to glance at the workings of the system, and see how full and faithful an expression is given to the popular will by an appeal to the arbitration of the ballot-box.
In the first place, what is commonly styled "a
270full vote," is seldom polled, except on such rare occasions as presidential elections; and, even then, the number availing themselves of the privilege falls far short of those who are entitled to it. The great fluctuations in the popular votes of every state in the Union, which demonstrates this fact at a glance, are, too familiar to the general reader to render it necessary to encumber these pages with anything in the way of a comparison for that purpose, alone. During the period from 1790 to 1872 the vote of a certain state was comparatively stationary at sixteen and six-tenths per cent. of the white population.
In the agricultural sections of the country, where the legitimate impediments in the way of "a full vote" are greater than in large and densely-populated cities, and where fraudulent voting is comparatively unknown, the proportion of those who habitually neglect the exercise of their political privileges, certainly does not fall below the standard of the two greatest cities of the continent, even if it does not exceed it. The vote for president from 1790 to 1870 was comparatively stationary at sixteen and six-tenths per cent, of the white population. From 1840 to 1860, we have an average per centage of sixteen and seven-tenths. The figures of the last decade show an average of seventy-two per cent. Such is the light estimation in which the elective franchise is held by the American people; and when we come to inquire into its causes and effects, we find all impartial observers, of whatever faith, are in agreement upon one point — that our present system of delegate elections and nominating conventions, while its more peculiar
271and corrupt features are to be traced directly and solely to the apathy of the people, is in itself the cause of the continuance of that apathy, if it is not to be regarded as its original source.
The abuses of the nominating system, under the present reign of King Caucus, of the two political organizations into which the voting population of the country is at present divided, are so numerous, and so manifest, that they do not require repetition in these pages. It is confessed as an undeniable fact, that the machinery of both parties or factions, is, for the most part, in the hands of the worst elements which enter into their composition. Men without character and without principle have obtained control of these party organizations. By their thorough knowledge of all the turns and crooks, and their long experience in the manipulation of delegate elections and nominating conventions, they are enabled to maintain their power, and to place under tribute almost every man, whether honest or dishonest, who would aspire to official position. They wield this power in the most arbitrary manner, making every consideration of public interest subservient to their own private and selfish aims. To be brief, they have reduced petty political trickery to an elegant and elaborate science, and having mastered it completely, the people would appear to be powerless in their grasp. Is it any wonder that these fellows advise the farmers to keep out of "politics?" Why, the only manner in which this glaring abuse can be remedied is for the better class of our citizens — those upon whom fall the heavy burdens levied by the
272unscrupulous "rings" of political tricksters — to enter into a fair and determined contest for the mastery. The remedy is certainly distasteful and its practical application repulsive to every sentiment of respectability, but fortunately it is not an hopeless one, in the great West, at least.
In the light afforded by figures within easy reach, we are certainly within bounds in placing the average number of qualified voters who participate in delegate elections of their respective parties at not more than two-thirds of those who subsequently find their way to the polls at the regular elections. The latter class embraces, ordinarily, not more than three-fourths of those who are entitled to the franchise.
Thus it is, that the popular will is perverted by less than one-seventh of the voting population, and the maxim, Vox Populi Vox Dei, which lies at the base of our political fabric, is rendered as much of a mockery as it has been in France. A reform is certainly needed, and it is as certainly possible, when it is seen that the yeomanry of the country have taken the work in hand. The elective franchise is regarded by the American people too much in the light of a privilege. Let it assume the proportions of a duty, the performance of which is incumbent upon all, and a marvelous change will result. A popular election will then become a true expression of "the voice of the people," which we can implicitly and safely accept as "the voice of God."
The outside reader may rest assured that the farmer is looking up every detail of the work he has in hand.
Chapter XIX. The True Remedy.
A republic is a state in which the sovereignty is vested in a people, enjoying as individuals equal powers in respect to the government, and deriving equal privileges from it. This is the way the school books put it, and is rather a definition of what republics ought to be, than of what they have been or are. The republics of the Old World were not republics in the sense in which the term is now used, and our own government is only an approximation to what is considered to be the true idea of a republic. Rome, Athens, Venice, Genoa, and the Provinces of the Netherlands, were all governed by privileged classes of citizens. This is true, to a less extent, of Switzerland. Even in the United States, the whole people have never been the exact basis of sovereignty, nor have political powers and privileges ever been equal among all classes of persons.
The political machinery required in countries where the people rule is necessarily complicated. Montesquieu says truly that, of all forms of government, a despotism is the simplest, a monarchy the next in point of simplicity, and a republic the most complex. In this country a township is the political unit. It is a little republic in itself, and all who will may learn lessons on the science of government and the art of statesmanship, at their very doors. The organization of the township has a history, too, that reaches far back to Saxon times in England, if it does not embrace customs prevailing among the Germanic tribes of Central Europe, long antecedent to the expeditions of Hengist and Horsa — customs which Caesar found common when he marched his legions against the northern barbarians and met them in many a fierce and bloody battle. Counties are comprised of townships, and their political organization is quite similar, but made more general in its scope. The rude beginnings of these county organizations, like those of townships, maybe found described by Tacitus and Caesar, and carry us back at least two thousand years. This merely to hint that there is nothing new under the sun. A state is an aggregate of counties. Its chief function is to make laws, and, according to American theories of government, states have all the political growth and maturity necessary to constitute them law-making powers. The United States is a nation made up of states. The great government of the whole country, in its judicial and executive functions, still adheres substantially to the model of a township, but its legitimate functions are
275similar to those of states. The federal government has authority to pass acts of particular kinds which bind all the states, and which no state can abrogate. The states have rights, but they are such rights as can be enjoyed without conflicting with the broader and higher rights of the several states, organically connected, as they are, into one whole — one nation.
Now, it requires no small amount of knowledge to comprehend all this intricate machinery, the special functions of its several parts, their relations and adaptations, to manage it, to keep it in motion, and to adjust it when out of order — all things which belong to the duty of every good citizen. In a monarchy, a citizen may simply sit on board of the vessel: in a republic, he must know how to manage the ship. Without at least a good degree of knowledge of the nature and working of their own political institutions, the citizens of a republic are simply blind leaders of the blind, and they not only cannot escape the fate of such leaders, but their country must naturally perish with them. An independent, self-governed nation must be composed of independent, self-governed men.
A pure republic must make suffrage impartial. Under such a government, none could be denied the elective franchise, save those wanting the necessary qualifications for its proper exercise. To deprive any one, well qualified, of the right of voting, on account of some adventitious circumstance, would be tyranny. To allow the ignorant to vote would be to invite self-destruction. In this country, circumstances of political inexpediency have been allowed to prevent
276the right of suffrage from being strictly impartial, but it is none the less necessary here that an educational test of fitness for its exercise should be everywhere applied. It would be bad policy, perhaps, to take away the right to vote from any one who now enjoys it, but it might be fixed that, after the lapse of a certain time, no one should vote who could not at least read the preamble to the Constitution of the United States and write his name. No prophetic gift is claimed, in predicting that future patriots, in legislating to preserve free institutions, will find this standard of voting qualifications much too low, for the great doctrine is, that the right to vote implies its intelligent exercise, and ignorance should be its natural forfeiture.
The necessity of the universal education of the masses of the people of this country has been recognized by our wisest statesmen. Washington says, in his farewell address, "In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened." DeWitt Clinton asserts, "That the first duty of a state is the encouragement of education; a general diffusion of knowledge is the precursor and protector of republican institutions." Montesquieu writes, "It is in a republican government that the whole power of education is required." De Tocqueville saw into the very heart of the matter, when he penned the words: "In examining the Constitution of the United States, which is the most perfect federal constitution that ever existed, one is startled at the variety of information and amount of discernment
277which it presupposes in the people whom it is meant to govern."
These opinions seem to be founded upon the general nature of republican government. In a despotism one man rules according to his own will. To govern well, he alone needs an education. In a monarchy the emperor or king rules, in conjunction with certain privileged classes, and, so far as good government is concerned, education may be confined to those who rule. In an oligarchy, or an aristocracy, the government is managed by a few; if these few are taught how to govern, education need extend no further. But in a republic, all men rule — all men are sovereigns — all men are monarchs and sit on thrones, and no such country can be well governed, unless education is made universal. The right to govern implies a knowledge of how to govern.
To make the question a practical one, what is our experience? Are all the voters at our polls men of intelligence? Do all understand the issues which they decide? Do all vote independently, uninfluenced by passion, by prejudice, by importuning politicians, by "considerations?" Ask in their moments of reflection the leaders of parties in our great cities, and they may unfold a tale that will mantle the cheek of the patriot with a blush of shame, if it does not make him tremble for his country. Tens of thousands of men vote every year who know little more of what they vote for, or why they vote at all, than would animals brought up from the stall or the sty. Demagogues shamelessly traffic in the votes of so-called freemen, and, through their means,
278hold high office, and vampire-like, are sucking away the very life-blood of the nation. One single ignorant vote is a sore upon the body politic; thousands constitute a festering ulcer; tens of thousands must bring corruption and death. The Farmers' Movement sounds the alarm in time. Let the danger be made known, and, with the same voice, proclaim the remedy — the universal education of the people. With universal education, the republic lives — without it, it dies.
Theoretically, no man is fully qualified to vote for another to fill an office, that he could not fill himself; but if such a thing is questionable, it is still true that those who actually hold office should be competent to discharge its duties. Are there any ignorant office-holders in the United States? In townships? In counties? In cities? In states? At Washington? If so, does the nation suffer by it? The Farmers' Movement, in asking these questions, answers by asking others. Can ignorant pilots skillfully navigate vessels? Can ignorant engineers safely run railway trains? Do ignorant, uneducated men, at the head of the government, fairly represent the education, culture and refinement of this people? Can ignorant men wisely conduct the affairs of great nations?
The science of government is one of the most abstruse of the sciences. Principles appertaining to the deepest mental and moral philosophy are involved in it. Underlying it are, also, the deductions of political economy, jurisprudence and constitutional law. It is darkness without the light of history.
279The art of statesmanship is the noblest of arts. The true statesman must be a philosopher, and much more. He must have his ideals of the purposes of government and of life, and of the means necessary to secure them, though his province is to enact into laws measures suited to the condition of society. Never forgetting the high claims of the good, his aim is to be practical. His art consists in what is expressed in the much-abused word, "policy." A statesman is never required to sacrifice a principle. He may have his head up among the clouds, but he must keep his feet upon the earth; he may worship with the angels, but it is with men that he must work.
In such a manner, and so high, should the science of government and the art of statesmanship be estimated. Ignorant men can neither master the one nor practice the other. In monarchies, the offices are held by privileged classes, who prepare themselves for their duties. In republics, the people choose their officers from among themselves, and they must be educated to choose them wisely. There is no alternative in countries like our own, but either to educate the people or be ruled by the ignorant.
This nation has suffered from ignorant rulers — is suffering from them now. To those who but half know the sad story of the incompetency of officials of every grade, it is a wonder that our country continues so prosperous and so strong. It will not always be so. God has protected us so far, as he protected the children of Israel in the wilderness; but we are reaching manhood and must take care of ourselves.
280Let an effort be made to lift the nation out of its darkness — its danger — by giving to all classes, all races, all colors of people among us, the opportunity of obtaining an education that will fit them for their duties as citizens of the republic, and as men. No other nation has done so much for the education of the masses: in no other nation is the duty so imperative to do more.
Chapter XX. From the National Grange. Letter from J. Wilkinson.
[The author has been requested to give place in these pages to the following letter from brother Wilkinson, General Deputy of the National Grange. It will explain itself.]
READING, Pa., Aug. 15.
To the Editor of the New York Times:
SIR : Your paper of yesterday contained an article headed "Chaff for Farmers," in which you take some singular ground and make some remarkable statements, and as a Patron and a Republican I wish a little explanation.
The Times claims to be one of the leading organs of the party and of the Administration, hence, according to the recently accepted doctrine, you are a "Simon-pure" Republican, and, as such, all your political utterances are entitled to consideration.
The points on which I wish explanation are embraced in that part of your article which follows, to wit:
When they get control of the federal government do they propose to move the crops at public expense, or to pass a law requiring the railroads to do it for a specified sum? Or do they propose to enter upon a gigantic series of internal improvements by the federal government, and furnish the farmer with new and cheap lines of transportation to the markets of the world?
And then you declare that "such a policy would be subversive of the fundamental principles of the American government."
Now, if in this article you are speaking for the Republican party and for the administration, the Patrons who like myself are Republicans (and we constitute to-day two-thirds of the Order) wish to know what the Republican party intends to do, and what it can do to help the oppressed and struggling producers of the country. If it is true that the Republican party would regard either of the remedies you mention as a subversion of the principles of the American government, then the toiling millions of the country must look to some other quarter for relief.
A Republican President last December recommended to Congress, in his annual message, the most "gigantic series of internal improvements" which has ever been proposed by any man or by any party since the foundation of the government, and it was recommended for the express purpose of helping the producers. Was he recommending something which, if carried out, would be subversive of the principles of the government? Or was it not done in good faith? Was it merely a tub thrown to the whale? Was it "chaff for the farmers?" On this we, as Patrons, want light. Again you ask, "If they get possession of the government, do they propose to pass a law requiring the railroads to move the crops for a specified sum?" And declare this remedy also to be subversive of the principles of the government.
You will find in the Constitution of the United States, Art. 1, Sec. 8, this language: "Congress shall
283have power to regulate commerce among the several states." Does that clause mean anything? It is true, that, so far as railroad commerce is concerned, it is a dead letter, but we do not intend it shall remain so much longer. The people are all demanding action, and in a year or two their voice will be heard in thunder tones at the doors of the National Capitol, and if the republican party can afford them no relief the people will find a party that can.
You quote the resolutions passed by the democratic conventions of Maine, Maryland, and Ohio, and find fault with the democracy for adopting them, but you can not deny their truth. It is our boast as republicans that ours is the party of progress. If these resolutions are of a progressive character, why do you not recommend them to us as republicans, and insist that they be not only adopted, but acted upon by the party? Instead, you forget the present, and close your eyes on the future, and go to the past and drag in before us the slavery question, long since settled, to arouse a prejudice or to conceal a purpose. As republicans, we are proud of the past history of our party, but, looking at its present condition and the position it occupies, we are filled with anxiety and alarm, and we begin to fear that its "glory has departed."
The journalists, the statesmen, the heroes of its earlier and better days — Greeley, Raymond, Lincoln, Chase, Seward, Baker, and many others — are in their graves. Sumner, the hero of a hundred battles in the war for freedom, is sinking under the injuries inflicted by the assassin in the halls of the highest council
284of the nation. In place of these immortal names we find the party now largely made up of small politicians and adventurers, who seem to think that to seize and retain the emoluments of office is all there is of statesmanship. "How are the mighty fallen."
It is fast becoming a settled conviction among the masses that railroad and money monopolies have taken possession of the republican party, and that it is being used to establish and perpetuate wrongs upon the many for the benefit of the few. The statesmen smile, and its journalists sneer, at the rude attempt made by the yeomanry of the country to arrest its downward course, but they neither suggest a plan nor furnish a remedy for the redress of these wrongs, and, unless its leaders can solve this new problem successfully, its future history will be short.
The advice we receive from both the journalist and politician is, "Stick to your party: remember its past history, its glorious record. Be patient." Patience is one of the cardinal virtues, but there is a point where it ceases to be a virtue, and that point, in our case, is nearly reached.
You say, "In all of their objects except the cheapening of transportation, the Granges have already answered their purpose." Permit me to inform you that you are not informed, or else you are willfully misrepresenting facts. This is a much more comprehensive movement than you seem to suppose, and our work is scarcely begun.
In conclusion, you call attention to the committee appointed by the senate, and add, "to gather all available knowledge on the subject of transportation,
285and that they will give to the farmers a mass of information on the transportation question which will be invaluable in helping them out of their troubles." The farmers have all the information now that is necessary to arrive at an intelligent conclusion. They are ready to act, but you insist that they shall not, but that they shall act with the republican party; and at the same time you intimate that all the committee intend to do is to furnish information, and that the farmers must help themselves out of their troubles. Will you tell us how? Why act any longer with a party whose leaders and statesmen can find no remedy or afford us no relief?
We have but little hope from the action of that committee. None of the names you mention have in their public acts arisen above the politician and the partisan, and thus far they are innocent of anything that looks like statesmanship. It is whispered, too, that they are dabblers in railroad stocks, and are also in the employ of railroads as counsel. If so, we anticipate what the report will be, but we will wait patiently and see.
Let me say in conclusion: The issues involved in this movement must be settled, and there is no neutral ground.
The republican party and its organs will have to meet the issues fairly. They can choose their ground and abide the consequences.
This blowing hot and cold with the same breath will not answer the purpose. Respectfully yours,