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DEVOTED TO THE PRESERVATION or EveRY KIND of Us EFUL INFor MATIon RESPECTING THE stat E.
EDITED BY SAMUEL HAZARD.
VOL. VIII.-NO. 22. PHILADELPHIA, NOVEMBER 26, 1831. NO. 204.
Apparss or The FRIENDS OF DOMESTIC INDUSTRY, -Assembled in Convention at New York, Oct. 26, 1831, To The PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATE S.
FELLow Citizens: — A numerous delegation from several states in the Union have convened in the city of New York, representing great national interests, which they are anxious, by the most efficient but peaceable means, to defend and support. In addressing themselves to the people of the United States, they invoke their candid attention to several topics of great national importance, without assuming any authority ultimately to decide them; conscious that their reasonings and opinions can have, and ought to have, no other influence or force than belongs to their truth and soundness. A system of laws imposing duties for the encouragement and protection of domestic industry, upon the faith of which a large portion of the people of this country have invested their property, and given a new direction to their labor,and with a continuance of which are completely identified all their hopes of maintenance for themselves and their families,has been recently denounced as “distinguished by every characteristic which may define a tyranny, the most odious.” The entire abolition of this system, vitally involving the interests of Farmers, Mechanics, Manufacturers, Merchants, and all the laboring classes, has been demanded in a tone that offers no hope of condition or compromise. A submission to such a demand, with or without the consent of those who must be the victims, would be marked by such scenes of ruin and despair, as no one, not blinded by the strongest passions of our nature, could witness without compunction. We address ourselves, then, to the enlightened patriotism of our fellow citizens in every part of the Union; and we earnestly entreat them to accompany us in the examination which we propose to make of arguments and statements recently put forth; appealing to their clear discernment of truth, their high sense of duty, and their calm moral courage, to avert the evils that now seem to threaten the prosperity and peace of the coun
°of these topics, the first in order and the gravest in character, respects the constitutional power of Congress to pass the laws which are the subject of comlaint. P As a constitutional question, the inquiry is not whether the laws are wise or unwise, whether in their operations they are always equal, or sometimes unequal, or whether individuals may not think them so wide a departure from a just administration of the powers of the vernment, as to be, in an indefinite and loose sense, inconsistent with the spirit of the constitution. The true and real question is, do they exceed the power of the law giver, and do they, for that reason, fail to be obligatory? We dissent from the notion that laws plainly unconstitutional may yet be so framed as to escape the animadversion of the courts of law. If unconstitutional, their Vol. VIII, 43
true character will either appear on their face, or may be made to appear by stating the facts which fasten that character upon them. And if the motives which are supposed to have influenced Congress in their enactment, are not facts which may be properly inquired into to give them this character, the reason is, not that Congress has executed an unlawful power, or veiled an unlawful purpose under a general law, but that the general power being given to Congress to pass such laws,the purpose of the law, like its occasion, its duration, or any other part of its character, is constitution. ally referred to the discretion of Congress. The present constitution has been in operation (with a success not more gratifying to ourselves than surprising to the rest of the world) for forty-two years. Twenty-one different Congresses, regularly elected and appointed by the people, and their agents, and the state legislatures, have successively assembled to enact laws under its authority. Seven distinguished individuals have been called by the voice of the country to the chair of the Chief Magistracy, all holding, and some of them on various occasions, having exercised the power of giving a negative to such acts of Congress as, in their opinion, transcended the just limits of legislative authority. During the same period a Supreme Judicial Tribunal has existed, not less distinguished for purity and talent than for dignity and importance, whose high function it properly is to pronounce its solemn judgment on the constitutional extent of the power of Congress whenever any exercise of their power is complained of, and the case brought duly before it. Most of these successive Congresses have passed laws similar " in character, in design, and in effect, to the acts now complained of;and all of them have unequivocally sanctioned their principle. , Ail these Chief Magistrates, in like manner, have, without doubt or hesitation, recognised the existence of the power, and no question of its validity has been revised in the Judicial Tribunals. It is under this weight of authority, and this length of practice in its favor, and after the investment, upon the faith of it, of a capital probably amounting to two hundred and fifty millions of dollars, that a disposition has now sprung up to deny the power altogether, and to propose, if its exercise be persisted in, a resort to such means of redress as threaten the Union. We cannot but persuade ourselves that before the American People abandon a system of laws, now of long continuance, passed at different times, by the constitu. ted authorities, with the full approbation of the whole country; and especially, before they break up their Government and return to a state of anarchy, on the ground that such laws are unconstitutional, they will give to that question a very careful and serious consideration. Before proceeding to express the general views entertained on this important subject, by the members of this convention, it is not altogether uninteresting to inquire how far admissions or concessions have been made by those who deny the existence of the power, notwithstanding the general and positive terms in which that denial is expressed. It seems to us, indeed, that the plain object of the constitution, and the strong reason of the case have driven those who deny the power, even upon their own
338 ADDRESS OF THE TARIFF CONVENTION.
mistaken view of its source, into the necessity of making admissions, which when made, leave no ground for their argument. They deny that Congress can rightfully lay duties for the sole, or main purpose, of encouraging manufactures; but they admit, at the same time, that Congress may lay duties for revenue, and that, in laying such duties, it may so arrange them as incidentally to give protection to , manufactures. . They admit, too, that Congress may lay duties not designed for revenue, but designed to countervail the injurious regulations of foreign powers. Are not these concessions inconsistent with the main proposition? How can it be longer denied that Congress may lay duties for protection, afted it is conceded that it may arrange duties with that view? It cannot be true that the power was given for revenue only, and that it ought to be strictly confined to that object, and true, also, that in selecting subjects of duties, regard may be had to a different obect. J An individual in society is the consumer of a particular foreign article; he finds it heavily taxed by duties, while other articles, equally capable of producing revenue, are untaxed. Does it make any difference to him, whether the article necessary to him was seized on, as the main purpose of the law, with the sole object of protection, or whether it was only incidentally selected in order to favour the manufacturer, while the eommodities consumed by his neighbors, though equally fit subjects for a tax for revenue, are passed over in this incidental arrangement? Will not every ingenious mind at once agree that if the power to lay duties was conferred on Congress for the sole purpose of revenue,it is a violation of its trust to mingle any other purpose with that, as much as it would be to substitute an entire new purpose for it? Congress cannot look with one glance to revenue, and the other to protection, if the constitution limits its power to revenue alone. When it is thus said that protection is a fit object to be regarded incidentally, in laying duties, but that the general purpose must still be revenue, who shall inform us how much, in the motives of Congress, must be the main purpose of revenue, and how much may be the incidental purpose of protection? How high may the incidental object rise, and the law be yet constitutional; or at what point will it have approached so near the main, or the only object of the duty, as to render the law void? It may be answer. ed, possibly, that the admission goes no farther than this: that when Congress has already resolved to lay duties, then it may, as a subsequent resolution, resolve to lay them on such a selection of articles as shall best fa. vour manufactures. But would not such a subsequent resolution be wholly aside from the exercise of a mere revenue power? Would it not be a clear imposition of duties for protection? And might it not lead, practical. ly, to the same consequences, since, under this admitted power of selection and arrangement, the whole burden of the government might be laid with a direct view to protection merely. The other admission, that is, that Congress may lay duties to countervail the commercial relations of other states, seems to us still more decisive. This concedes, at once, that the power to lay duties is not a mere revenue power; for here is one admitted case, in which it may properly be exercised, which has no relation to revenue. Yet, this is no particular or specified power. The constitution no more points out this as being a proper object, than it points out protection. If it be provided for at all, it is because it is embraced in the general words of the grant. It is there, or it is no where. Laws laying duties to countervail the regulations of other states, are regulations of trade. They are not only like laws of protection, but they are, emphatically, themselves laws of protection. They have usually no other end or design, than to protect the manufacturers or other interests of our own citizens, from the effect of unequal competition or monopoly on the part of other nations. Congress, then, upon this admission, may lay
duties with the single object of encouraging certain descriptions of domestic employment or industry; and it remains for those who concede this, and yet deny the general power,to show how it is, thatcongress has power, in its discretion, to protect some classes of industry, and no power, in the same discretion, and by the same means, to protect others. But the admission goes still further. It not only furnishes an analogy for the case in argument, but meets and covers that identical case. The laws so much opposed, and whose constitutional validity is so loudly denied, are themselves no other than so many acts passed to countervail the injurious commercial regulations of foreign states. The United States have not been the first to reject the theory of free trade. They have not introduced into the world new modes of legislation. They have not originated a system of protection; far otherwise. At the very moment they had succeeded to throw off their colonial bondage,and had established their own independence, they found that their condition, so far as respected Commerce, Agriculture and Manufactures, was but partially bettered by the change, because they found the ports of the leading states of Europe, shut up against their ships, and against their products. They offered free trade to all nations; but the nations, with one accord, rejected their offer. The subjects of other states were protected, as against them, by the laws of other states; but they were protected agaist nobody. It is undeniably true, that this condition of things was one of the very causes which led to the adoption of the present government. It is unquestionable, as matter of historic record, that one strong motive for forming and establishing the present constitution, was to organize a government that should possess the power of countervailing these foreign regulations by adequate measures, and thereby protecting the labour and industry of the people of the country. Countervailing laws were accordingly passed at the very first session of the first Congress; others have been passed at various times since; one and all, they partake of the same character, they are all countervailing laws, rendered expedient and necessary, by the policy pursued by other nations. The Republic is now composed of thirteen millions of people; all the principal products of eight or nine millions of these thirteen millions are, at this moment, shut out from the great market of consumption abroad, either by absolute prohibition or by high duties; and it is to meet this state of things, it is to countervail these foreign regulations, so injurious to us, it is to place ourselves on some footing of equality, it is to rescue the labour of the American people from an inferiority, a subjection, at once dishonorable and burdensome, at once degrading to its character, while it increases its toils, that those very laws were originally passed, have all along continued, and now exist. They are, therefore, countervailing laws and no other, in every just sense of these terms. Having made these remarks on what is conceded by those who deny the power of Congress to protect manufactures, and on the effect of that concession, we proceed to present the view which this meeting entertains on the general constitutional question. By the constitution, Congress has power, “to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises.” It has power also “to regulate commerce with foreign nations.” The power to lay duties is accompanied by one express qualification or limitation, which is, “that all duties shall be uniform throughout the United States.” The power to regulate commerce has its limitation also, which is, that no regulation of commerce shall give preference to the ports of one state over those of another; and there is another limitation, which may apply to both clauses, namely, that no export duty shall ever be laid. Here, then, is a grant of power in broad and general terms, but with certain specific limitations, carefully expressed. But neither of these limitations applies, in
any manner, to that exercise of the power which is now under consideration. Neither of them, nor any other clause or word in the whole constitution, manifests the slighest intention to restrain the words so far as to prohibit Congress from laying duties for protection. The attempt is nothing less than to add a restriction which the constitution has omitted. Who has authority to add this? If other restrictions had been intended, they would have been expressed. When the business of limitation was before the convention, what was omitted was as much an exercise of intention as what was expressed. It stated all the restraints on Congress which it intended, and to impose others now, would be, not to interpret the constitution, but to change it; not to construe the existing instrument, but to make another. The words of the grant being general, to lay duties and to regulate commerce, their meaning is to be ascertained by reference to the common use and import of language. No unusual signification is to be given to the terms, either to restrain or enlarge their import. Congress,in its discretion,is to lay duties and to regulate trade for all the objects and purposes, for which duties are ordinarily laid, and trade ordinarily regulated. If such a thing, was never before heard of as saying duties and regulating trade with a view to encourage manufactures, then it might be said that the Convention did not contemplate such an exercise of the power by Congress. But it was perfectly known to the convention, and to the people of this country, that one leading object with all governments, in laying duties and regulating trade, was, and for a long time had been, the encouragement of manufacturers. This was emphatically true of England, whose language the convention spoke, and whose legal and legislative phraseology was theirs also. Every leading state of Europe was, at that moment, regulating its commerce for a purpose of this nature. Such a purpose, indeed, had been long sought to be accomplished by some of the states themselves, by their own regulations of trade. Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York had attempted it, and we believe other states had done the same. How ineffectual all their attempts were, for want of union and a general system, was soon seen, and felt, by the whole country; but they shew to what ends, and to what uses the power to regulate trade was understood to extend. But not only in other nations, and in the states, before the adoption of the present constitution, as we shall have occasion to show hereafter, but in the United States since, and in the administration of this very constitution, regulations of trade have been made, in almost innumerable instances, with no view to revenue, but with a sole and exclusive regard to protection. If our understanding of the Constitution, be not according to its true meaning, that instrument has been grossly violated from the beginning. What are all the registry acts; what the bounties on the fisheries, but so many avowed efforts to protect American Industry, under the power of regulating trade? On what foundation does the whole system of the coasting trade stand? The American ship-builder, and ship-owner has enjoyed, from the first, and we think properly, not only protection in that trade, but the monopoly of it. He shuts out all foreign competition,and he does so on the ground that the public good is promoted by giving him this advantage. We think he is right in asking this, and the government right in granting it. Yet this is not free trade: it is preference; it is protection;and protection of a manufacture under the power to regulate trade. The laws giving this protection to the manufacture, and the use of ships, may be wise, and laws protecting other manufactures may be unwise. But the first cannot be constitutional, and the latter not constitutional. If there be power for one, there is power for both. Both are drawn from the same grant, both operate by the same general means, and both regard the same object, the protection, namely, of American labor and capital, against foreign competition. If it be said that the navigation act is
founded in national policy, and that it is essential to national defence and national independence, we admit it, but we answer in the first place, that Congress could not exercise a power not granted, merely because it might be useful or necessary; and, in the second place, we say that the same remark is true of the policy of protecting manufactures. That policy, also, is essential to national independence. Iron, hemp, and clothing for sailors and soldiers are not less indispensable to na. tional defence than ships and seamen. Not only in the general use of language, then, does the power of laying duties and regulating trade extend to the protection, by the use of such means, of domestic manufactures, but such has been the constant interpretation of the constitution itself. We think, indeed, that when a general power is given to Congress by the Constitution of the United States, in plain and unambiguous words, their acts are constitutional and valid, if they are within the scope of the granted power; and that, in considering the validity of the law, the motives of the legislature can never be investigated. Having granted the power, with such limits expressed as were thought proper, its exercise, within those limits, is left to, the discretion of Congress. What is the true character of the opposite doctrine? It is, that the constitutionality of the law depends, not on its provisions and enactments, but on the motives of those who passed it. Is not such a notion new? How are we to ascertain the motives of a legislature? By private inquiry; by public examination; by conjecture? The law may be passed on mixed motives: some members voting for revenue; some for protection; or one house may act with one view, and the other house with another. What will be the character of such a law According to this new theory, if the motives be constitutional then the act is: if the motives be unconstitutional, than the act is unconstitutional also. It follows, therefore, that a law passed by one Congress may be constitutional, which, if passed by another, though in the same words, would be unconstitutional. Besides, on this theory, a law may be unconstitutional for its omissions as well as its enactments; because in laying duties, articles may be omitted as well as articles inserted, from a design to favour manufactures. We may pursue this inquiry a step further. In order to ascertain whether an act were passed primarily for revenue, the construing power must be authorized to inquire whether the revenue be necessary. For if it be conceded that Congress has a constitutional power to raise an indefinite amount of revenue, such a concession will cover any system of impost that may ever be adopted. The right to raise more revenue than the expenses of government requires implies, the exercise of a power to tax under circumstances in which the raising of revenue cannot be a primary purpose, but in which a purpose to protect industry, or, in other words, what has been called the incidental object, may be rendered, in effect, the principal object of the tax, although veiled under the revenue power. For these reasons we say it follows as an inevitable consequence, under this view of the source of the protective power, that the constitutionality of any system of imposts, professing to be directed to revenue, must depend upon the fact, whether that revenue be necessary to the goVernment or not. The statement of such a consequence is sufficient to show what endless difficulties must embarrass, the operations of the government in defining the limits of this incidental protection, which has been alledged to be the only protection that the constitution allows, and of itself affords, what we conceive to be, an unanswerable argument against referring the right to protect industry exclusively to that clause of the constitution which au. thorizes Congress to lay imposts, for the purposes of revenue.
To determine whether any proposed amount of re
ADDRESS OF THE TARIFF CONVENTION.
venue be necessary would, in a great number of cases, | eign industry, under any possible necessity to exercise prove a fruitful source of vexatious and unprofitable con- it than upon a similar power to encourage and protect troversy. One party—conceiving it wise to improve our own.
the face of their territory, with expensive roads and canals, to provide fortifications and munitions of war, and accumulate treasure in the expectation of national dif.
We think we have said enough to indicate the pernicious tendencies of the doctrine, sustained by many eminent citizens of our land, which inscribes the right
ficulties—would find good reason to maintain that a to protect domestic manufactures, solely to the revenue
large revenue was indispensable to the nation. With this party a high and burdensome rate of imposts, fully adequate to the most extensive protection of manufactures that has ever been asked for, would be a constitutional application of the revenue power. Another party, more thrifty in their policy, holding that the expenditures of the government should be graduated to the lowest practicable scale of economy, would contend that nothing should be raised by duties above the ordinary supplies necessary for the pay of the public agents. With this class all the excess, above the sum that they might hold to be necessary, would be the fruit of an unconstitutional tax. Who should judge between these conflicting opinions? If such were the limits upon the power of Congress, it would be true, as has been said, that there might be acts in violation of the constitution, which would elude the notice of the judicial tribunals; but the evident absurdity of subjecting the right to exercise fundamental powers to so vague and intangible a standard of interpretation, furnishes one of the most satisfactory proofs, that no such intention existed in the minds of those who framed our constitution. Pursuing the investigation, it will be found that the difficulty attending this notion of the source of the protecting power does not end with the impracticability of determining upon the necessity of revenue. . It goes still deeper. . It is affirmed, and no doubt with truth, that a reduction of duties upon the necessaries or customary luxuries of a nation frequently increases the revenue. In such an event the defenders of the position that the power of Congress is limited to the supply of a necessary revenue, will find themselves unexpectedly put in possession of a surplus income which, according to the assumed principle, they had no right to raise; and it will be apparent that the people will be even more taxed than they were before; for the duty having been rendered productive of a larger amount of reve. nue to the government, a greater aggregate sum will have been taken from the pockets of the people; and it will then be found that Congress, instead of lessening the public burthens by their reduction of duties, wii have only been encouraging the consumption of a greater quantity of the taxed article. A large consumption with a small tax being, in this case, more than equivalent to a small consumption with a large tax. And thus, in spite of all the the precautions which the most scru. pulous guardians of the constitution may exercise, the public functionaries, against their will, and with the most conscientious desire to avoid infractions of the law, will oftentimes be fated to discover that they have produced unconstitutional results. The only remedy for which would seem to be to abandon this intractable mode of taxation by imposts and resort to direct taxes upon the people. As long, however, as such results may follow the reduction of duties, it will be seen that a system which merely increases the consumption of imported commodities without diminishing the revenue, will be, in effect, the adoption of a policy for the encouragement of foreign industry. And we might here pause and ask, whether it can be supposed that the founders of our government intended to give a power to Congress to adopt a scheme of policy directed to the encouragement of foreign labor by a scale of low duties, without also allowing to that body a right, when they found it convenient to encourage domestic industry by a higher scale of duties’ Let those who answer this question in the affirmative, show some reason for the opinion that the convention which framed the constitution should set more value upon a power to encourage for
ower conferred by the constitution upon Congress;
and have demonstrated that this error, if adopted, must lead the public functionaries into practical embarrassments entirely irreconcilable with a wholesome administration of the laws.
With a view to show that the protection of manufacturing industry is mainly referable to the power to regulate commerce, and was intended to be embraced by the clause of the constitution that invests the supreme legislature with the power, in addition to the suggestions that we have already made, we deem it not unprofitable, briefly to recur to the history of the country, from which we shall derive lights, that may guide us to the most unerring conclusions, in confirmation of our doctrine. The narrative of events from 1783 to 1787, the circumstances attending the adoption of the constitution and the range of its early operations, whilst yet in the hands of its authors, afford a mass of testimony that Congress has but responded to the expectations of the country in so regulating trade as to furnish the requisite protection to the expansion and growth of our own labour.
The regulation of commerce was not a new term invented by the framers of the constitution. It was at the time of the adoption of that instrument by the people a term familiar to their apprehension and impressed upon their understanding, by the strongest comments that the history of oppression could furnish. The war of the revolution, that had just closed, sprang out of the conflicts in which the subject had been presented in the countless forms which an engrossing topic of complaint may be supposed to assume in the discussions of an excited and rebelling people. The same subject had been canvassed in the British Parliament, until argument and declamation were exhausted. The mother country had regulated the commerce of the colonies, through a series of odious and unfeeling restrictions, for more than a century, until the phrase had acquired the notoriety of a hateful grievance. She had fettered their trade by cruel prohibitions, and controlled their labor by systems of denial that reduced them to the lowest state of suffering; yet it is remarkable, that, deeming this oppressive policy a lawful exercise of the prerogative of regulating commerce, the colonists submitted to these evils with a resignation that indicated their sense of the duty of obedience to an acknowledged though misused power. All manufactures calculated to bring wealth into the country, were strictly forbidden; the erection of forges, for example, was denounced as a nuisance, and these establishments were liable to be abated by that name; it was declared unlawful to export the simplest fabrics, even of shoes or hats, from one province to another. Still the people did not deny the legality of these attempts to regulate commerce. But when the right was assumed to collect revenue in the colonies for the benefit of the mother country, the first assertion of such a principle was met by open rebellion. The distinction was palpable enough, to every man, between these two pretensions of authority. . It is worthy of remark, that Lord Chatham, in 1765 in the British House of Commons, distinctly defined the two branches of power, in terms that literally apply to the subject we have been discussing, and which show how clearly they were brought to the notice of the country; “there is a plain distinction,” in his language, ‘between taxes levied for the purpose of raising a revenue and duties imposed for the regulation of trade, for the accommodation of the subject; although in the consequences, some revenue might incidentally arise from the latter.” Indeed, the whole tenor of the 1831.]
public discussion on those subjects, so rife at that period throughout England and America, furnishes the most conclusive evidence that a specified idea was attached to the phrase incorporated into our constitution, and that its scope was to include the idea of levyingduties in such a form as to encourage and protect, or, at least, to control and direct the growth of domestic industry. The complaints against the articles of confederation, for which the constitution was substituted, embraced, among other things, an objection to the forms by which the legislation in reference to the regulation of commerce was impeded; and it was a prominent design of the new constitution to remedy this defect. The right to lay even prohibitory duties was freely admitted in the discussion upon the constitution; and we may safely affirm that the whole nation, at that day, regarded such a power as one of the necessary conclusions from the grant that had been made. The subsequent action of the government corroborates this idea. The first approaches of the people to their new rulers were made in behalf of the exercise of a protecting power in favor of their industry. They spoke of the injury they had sustained under the former order of things; of the ruinous competition to which the policy of the mother country had exposed them; and demanded therestablishment of a system of measures that should accomplish their favorite purpose of creating a vigorous domestic manufacture. The unrestrained admission of British goods had reduced our manufactures and artizans to absolute want: thefree entry of British shipping had expelled our vessels from the ocean. From Charleston to Boston this condition of things was the subject of one loud and continued remonstrance; and the remedy for it was a prominent object in the establishment of a new general government. The ship-builders and the ship-owners com. plained that foreign bottoms brought to the country all that was imported, to their ruin; and they besought their fellow citizens to join them in measures of protection. The manufacturers and mechanics declared that it was of little importance to them in what bottoms articles were imported, since this unrestricted importation, in whatever bottoms, threatened to reduce them to starvation. Both had applied to their own state governments for redress, but these governments, from want of concert, could give no effectual relief. Attempts had been made to amend the articles of confederation for the very purpose of conferring this power upon congress; but these attempts had failed. Hence it was that the establishment of the present government was hailed with the utmost enthusiasm and celebrated in the principal cities, by all classes, with manifestations of hope and joy. The earliest legislation of the new government avows and adopts the principles for which we have been contending. The first important act on the statute book contains the following preamble;—‘Whereas it is necessary for the support of government and the encouragement and protection of manufactures that duties be laid on goods and merchandize.” This preamble was writ. ten, supported and passed by those who had come recently from the convention where the Constitution had been formed. They were carrying into effect their own instrument. They seem, indeed,—for preambles are quite unusual,—to have introduced this for the purpose of shewing the country that its expectations would be fulfilled, and that the manufactures of the nation would be protected. If, therefore, the existing laws violate the constitution, the original act violated it. If this character of right be marred now, it was marred then, and marred by those who made it. If protection be unconstitutional, this law carries unconstitutionality in its front; and yet not one member of the first Congress appears to have thought in unconstitutional. In the whole course of the debates, protracted through several weeks, no one expressed a doubt of the power of Congress to lay duties for protection; we may therefore affirm that the power was admit
ADDRESS OF THE TARIFF CONVENTION.
ted by all. Some articles were taxed for revenue only; some for protection only; and some for both. The published debates show all this, and, we have already said, every Congress, from that day to this, has recognized the same power. Every President, beginning with him who is justly esteemed the Father of his Country, has sanctioned it, and most of them have recommended its exercise, in earnest terms. Indeed, it has been constantly exercised; protection has been given by the registry acts; it has been given by the tonnage duty acts; it has been given by the acts regulating the coasting trade; it has been given to the fisheries; it has been given to the cotton of Carolina; to the coal of Virginia; to the hemp of Kentucky; to the lead of Missouri and Illinois; to the sugar of Louisiana, to the iron of the middle, western and southern States; and it has been given to the various artizans, mechanics and manufacturers. It is now forty-two years since this system of protection began, and it has never been intermitted or suspended, with regard to many commodities, for a single hour. Is all this legislation now to be deemed unconstitutional? Are all these interests to be brought into jeopardy, and perhaps to ruin, upon this modern construction of the constitution? Not only has Congress thus constantly exercised this power, but it has thought itself, from the first, under peculiar obligations to exercise it. It has considered that it would be guilty of a plain breach of duty if it should not exercise it; and so it was declared in its first session. This policy was more earnestly enforced upon Congress because the States had surrendered their whole power on this question, and were themselves, prohibited from exercising it by the constitution itself; since as they could not, as separate states, exercise it well, it was taken away from them and vested in the national legislature. It was said, therefore, and said truly, that it would be a fraud upon the States, if Congress, now the sole possessor of the power, should refuse to exercise it. The constitution had declared, that no State should lay any duty except for the mere purpose of enforcing its inspection laws. Is it conceivable, that the people would agree to deprive their own state governments of the power of protecting manufactures, by suitable regulations of trade, without consent of Congress, for any other reasons than because this power was intentionally transferred to the general Government? The doctrine now advanced, imputes the strongest absurdity, both to the framers of the constitution and to the people. It supposes them, instead of creating a new remedy for acknowledged evils, to have for ever abolished the poor but only remedy which already existed. It supposes, that instead of giving to Congress, as was their avowed design, effectual power, to protect manufactures, they did no more than prohibit the States from exercising that power, and existinguish it as a thing to be deprecated everywhere and altogether. It supposes them to have imposed new shackles on their own limbs, and to have surrendered themselves, thus voluntarily bound, to the mercy of their foreign competitors and rivals. We cannot yield our assent to opinions which ascribe purposes like these, or a policy like this, either to the Convention, or to the pcople. It only remains for us to add, that the public judgment has, at all times, affirmed the existence of this power, and approved its exercise. Even at this moment, there is no reason to doubt that nine-tenths of all the people hold the power to be constitutional. It is therefore, not only against the words of the constitution, against the manifest design of the nation in establishing it, against the uniform sense of Congress in passing laws under it, against the practice of forty years, never stayed or suspended, against the opinion of every tribunal in the country, as far as we are informed; but it is also against the entire conviction of a vast majority of the people themselves, that these new, and what we think dangerous opinions, are now brought forward as the true doctrines of the constitution.