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Scotia coal trade should increase, its direct effect will extend to and have a beneficial influence upon all the trade and commerce between the United States and New Brunswick, Prince Edwards Island, and Newfoundland, and soon reach and improve that between the United States and Canada. It will tend to stimulate and invigorate all our commerce with all of the colonies and give it activity, value, and
permanence. The benefits thus resulting to various interests of the United States will more than counterbalance all the apprehended detriment that this country can receive by the cheapening of Nova Scotia coals and our domestic coals in our own markets and to our own consumers, if such should be the result.
That the foreign coal trade of the United States, or so far as it respects the importation of coals, and especially of coals from Nova Scotia, is now chiefly carried in foreign vessels is shown by Statement F, ante, page 6. As before stated, these importations are principally into Massachusetts, with small quantities to Rhode Island and New York. Some few vessels belonging to the United States, since the amelioration of the British navigation laws, obtain freights in New York or in New England ports for Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edwards Island, or the New Brunswick ports on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, or the French fishing islands of St. Pierre or Miquelon, and make up their return cargo in part with Pictou or Sidney coals; but the trade is not very profitable to them. The same statement shows that in 1853 three-fourths of the entire trade between the United States and the coast and island colonies was in British colonial vessels. The carrying trade between the United States and Canada is quite equally divided between United States and Canadian vessels.
It is not doubted that the opening of the Nova Scotia coal trade, and the augmented commerce produced by the proposed system of reciprocal exemption of certain leading articles from import duties, will give a larger proportion of the carrying trade between us and the coast and island colonies, and between us and Canada, to our vessels. Our shipping merchants can then carry produce and manufactures from all of our ports in their own vessels to the colonies and dispose of them profitably; and a cargo of coals and other exempted articles which, if sold in the United States for cost and expenses and reasonable freight, without profit, would be advantageous, as employment is thereby afforded their vessels. 1
The fact that our Canada and other colonial trade and navigation now employ about thirty-eight one hundredths of the seamen, men and boys, of our entire mercantile marine in foreign trade (as is shown by Statement F, ante, p. 6), is worthy of consideration. The entire personnel of our mercantile marine in our foreign trade is now about 145,000 men and 1,500 boys, in all about 146,500, and it appears that the navigation of our vessels in the trade with Canada and the other four British North American colonies in the year ending June 30, 1853, employed 54,420 men and 1,200 boys, in all 55,620. Next to the whale and cod and mackerel fisheries, our trade and navigation with these colonies is the best nursery of, and school for, hardy, intelligent, and patriotic native American seamen possessed by the country. This
1"1848.—The expectation suggested in the last paragraph has not been exactly realized. That there has been no larger demand for the provincial coal we ascribe only to the simple fact that no bituminous coal will hereafter be able to supplant the use of anthracite for general purposes, and especially for domestic use."-(See page 200, Statistics of Coal.)
is a national interest of high importance and ought to be fostered and cherished by every national statesman. Additional employment to this branch of our navigation will stimulate and encourage the augmentation of a class of seamen, that whilst in peace they will aid in the extension of our commerce over every sea, may, in all emergencies, be implicitly relied upon to defend the rights of their country, and to sustain the honor of its flag upon the ocean in time of war.
The main object of those who understood the subject, in imposing by the tariff of 1842 the exorbitant duty of $1.75 per ton (about 69.28 per cent ad valorem) on the importation of all foreign coals, was to repress the introduction of British coals into the United States, and thereby protect and encourage chiefly the domestic coal interests of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia; for if the measure affected the ultramontane coal interests at all, it was very slightly. And when the tariff of 1846 was passed, that this high exaction was only reduced to 30 per cent ad valorem may be ascribed also to the desire to maintain the same domestic coal interests. The coals of the provinces were not really regarded by the intelligent statesmen who favored the domestic coal interests as of sufficient consequence to require such measure to prevent competition by them with our coals, nor worth special exemption from the duty. The proposed reciprocal arrangement does not, if adopted, affect the duty on British coals, or any foreign coals, except those of the five British North American provinces. If the present tariff is not modified, the duty on British coals will remain as heretofore, since 1846. If Mr. Secretary Guthrie's recommendation is adopted, the duty will be reduced to 25 per cent ad valorem; or if the new tariff bill reported in the House of Representatives is passed as presented, the duty will be reduced to 20 per cent ad valorem. Many complain of the duties on coals because they are articles of general necessity and should be cheapened as much as possible to the consumer; and they insist that the present, and both the rates proposed as substitutes, are too high.
The various manufacturers who use mineral coals, and especially the iron and cotton and woolen manufacturers, contend that coals should be regarded the same as “raw material” for such manufactures, the taxation of which injures and discourages, instead of protecting and encouraging the manufacturer. They contend that, in proportion as the raw material is cheapened, they are enabled to furnish the manufactures cheaper. It is significant that in many and various memorials to Congress, and pamphlet publications found here, made by those who ask for Federal legislation in aid of our "home industry” engaged in the making of iron, the protection, in the same mode, of the domestic coal interests is not referred to favorably. In truth, the iron interests and the coal interests are in this respect antagonistic to each other. The iron interests of the Atlantic States desire foreign competition with our domestic coals, in order that the prices of both may be reduced and that they may have a greater variety. And the interests of the other manufacturers using mineral coals, and of owners of steam mills and of those concerned in steam
' In the memorial of the iron manufacturers of New England to Congress, asking for a modification of the tariff of 1846, presented in 1850, prepared by John L. Hayes, esq., of Maine, which is perhaps the ablest and most ingenious pamphlet published on that side of the question, at page 17 coals are referred to as not needing protection because under the tariff of 1846 “ the price of combustible has increased."
ships and steamboats (which two last-named interests have increased vastly within the last ten years), and others concerned in steam are all on the side of “free trade in coals.” Insomuch as the southern portion of the Confederacy below the parallel of 35° north latitude as yet uses but few mineral coals, the enhancement of the prices of foreign and doinestic coals some 20 or 30 per cent in our Atlantic cities by a duty on imported coals to such amount, it is argued, is no detriment to that section; and also that, as below the same parallel there are but few domestic coals raised, except for consumption in the neighborhood of the mines, the benefits directly accruing to that section from the protection and encouragement of the domestic coal interests are quite limited. There are, however, statesmen who regard the high duties on coals as detrimental to the Southern cotton, rice, and tobacco interests, and to the Western grain and provision interests, and, in fact, to all our export interests. One of the injurious effects is to destroy the British markets for our products exported to the extent of the value of the British coals that would be exchanged for such products and imported into the United States but for the high duty; though at this time or hereafter it is not supposed that, if the present duty was wholly released, the shipments of British coals to the United States would be very greatly increased. Our imports in 1853 from Great Britain and Ireland were but 109,751 tons, of the value of $275,335, but other circumstances than the high duties now operate to prevent any large importations of coals from Great Britain to the United States. If such increase was to take place, it would not affect any coal interests but those of the three Atlantic States above specified. It could not injuriously interfere with the coal interests of the interior States.
The State of Illinois, having the most extensive and valuable coal fields of any State of the confederacy, can never apprehend any injury to its coal interests from foreign competition in any quarter; nor can Iowa, that is supposed to rank next to her; nor Kentucky, that ranks next after Pennsylvania; nor Ohio, that ranks next after Kentucky; nor Indiana, Missouri, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, that rank next in the order named. On the contrary, it may be confidently predicted that within a few years, so soon as the internal improvements already in progress, affording facilities for the transportation of their coals to the Atlantic markets, are completed, the competition of the ultramontane States with the Atlantic States in mineral coals will so reduce the price of our coals that there will be no rivalry from Great Britain or the British North American colonies, or from any other quarter of the Old or New World, in that commodity. It is believed that in less than twenty years there will be none but adventitious and incidental importations of foreign coals into the United States; and that we shall annually export hundreds of thousands of tons to other countries, and be enabled to undersell most foreign coals.
During the times when the doctrine of "protection of domestic industry” by a high tariff was in vogue, the most popular argument urged in favor of that policy was, that the result would be that our country would avoid all danger of ever being “dependent" on any foreign country. But now no intelligent citizen of the United States indulges any apprehensions that the free people of this confederacy can ever be made, by governmental action or nonaction, at home or abroad, “dependent” to an unwise extent, or unprofitably, and for a long time, upon the people of any country on the face of the globe, for any article
of necessity, or for but very few other commodities of high importance. Bounded by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, with Europe and Africa on the one side and the isles of the Pacific and Asiatic seas and China and the East Indies on the other, with the West Indies and Cuba contiguous to and Mexico bordering us on the south, and on either ocean having ready access to the States still farther south of both American continents; extending over upward of 57 degrees of longitude; and from the forty-seventh to the twenty-fourth parallel of north latitude on the eastern, and from the forty-ninth to the thirty-first on the western side, with mighty rivers emptying into the Gulf of Mexico or one or the other ocean, reaching into the interior in every direction, and vast inland seas lying on our northeastern margin; with hundreds of millions of agricultural lands of unrivaled fertility, producing every agricultural product known to the same latitudes in other parts of the globe, and many not produced in other countries within the same parallels; with unnumbered herds and flocks; with prolific lake, river, and coast fisheries; with boundless forests of valuable timber; with exhaustless stores in our mountains, plains, and valleys throughout the Union, either of iron, copper, lead, zinc, coals, or gold, etc., comprising every variety of metals and minerals; rich in manufacturing, commercial, and maritime resources; and, above all, with a people free to exert their industry as they may choose, and of unsurpassed intelligence, enterprise, and energy; the idea of any “dependence" by the United States upon any other country for anything is out of the question.
One single product of our Southern States controls the labor of more than three millions of the population of Great Britain and Europe, and its being withheld from them for one year would involve them in distress. With the variety of climate of this confederacy, and its diversity of products for human subsistence, it is quite improbable that famine will ever extend over it all at the same time; and the same remark may be made as to the prevalence of pestilence in the United States. Countries that do not possess such variety of climate, and rely mainly upon the production of one or two articles of subsistence, liable to be affected by the same causes, are more exposed to such calamities, as was the case of Ireland in the famine of 1847 on the failure of its potato crop by the rot. But in this country a failure of crops in one part, or a failure of one product, can generally be supplied by the production of the other sections, or of other products not likely to be affected by the same causes, and such domestic products may be conveyed with facility and cheaply by our rivers, canals, and railroads pervading every portion of the Union (excepting as yet the newly acquired western and southwestern countries and the Pacific region), and thereby all necessity for a resort to foreign aid is avoided. The British North American colonies have not of themselves such resources. Their productions, whether of the forest or of the field, of the earth or of the sea, are more limited in variety, and particularly as to articles of necessity for human subsistence. They produce few of such articles in great abundance. They produce still fewer articles that are indispensable that we do not produce, or for which we have not available substitutes. We produce everything they can need in any exigency. Consequently the colonies must necessarily be dependent chiefly upon us, their nearest neighbors, in times of scarcity to supply a deficiency in the articles they produce, and at all times for the numerous articles that they do not produce and that we do. To this inexorable decree of the God of nations, regulations as to trade and commerce made by either government must in the end yield. And, therefore, while we do not in any degree jeopard our independence by throwing open our ports, and our trade and commerce, wide and free, to these colonies, every such measure increases and strengthens their dependence upon us.
A statement annexed exhibits the coal statistics of the United States for 1840 and 1850, as compiled from the published and unpublished census returns of those years. It is to be regretted that they could not have been furnished less imperfectly. The detailed returns of some of the assistant United States marshals, who took the census of 1850, are represented to be confused and irregular. Those returns do not profess to give an account of any establishment, or manufactory, or work, or mine of which the annual product is less than $500, and it is believed they understate the statistics as to those of which such product is over the sum specified, and many establishments are altogether omitted, and most of the compilations understate the marshal's returns. The officer having charge of the unpublished schedules, in communicating the paper from which the annexed statement has in part been prepared, says: I believe the returns will be found to be in many cases greatly short of the fact.
Though after laborious examination of the different census accounts of 1850, to discover desired statistical information, the only thing certainly ascertained and established has been, that those who are in search of authentic and full information, if not satisfied of their disappointment in that quarter, are sure to be misled. Insomuch as the unreliable character of these census reports is pretty generally understood, they have been appended hereto to pass for what they are worth. They can do no harm. The following is a synopsis of them: Published census accounts of 1840 (p. 355): Anthracite coal raised in the United States in 1840
.tops.. 863, 849 Semi bituminous, bituminous, and cannel coals raised in the United
States in 1840, 27,603,191 bushels, at 28 bushels per ton.. .tons.. 985, 824
3,013 Number of men employed in raising other coals
3, 768 Capital invested in raising anthracite coals.
$4, 355, 602 Capital invested in raising other coals.
$1,868, 862 Coals consumed in 1,699 iron manufactories in 1810 (p. 354). $1,528, 110 Unpublished census accounts of 1850: Number of coal-raising establishments
383 Product (bushels of coal at 28 bushels per ton)
tons.. 4, 408, 750 Value at pits of coal raised.
$6, 299, 376 Number of men employed.
13,875 Monthly wages
$304, 975 Capital invested
$7.992, 731 Whenever any State is omitted in the official return, or evidently stated incorrectly, the proper quantity has been estimated, and in every such instance it is so stated,
The foregoing items from the unpublished accounts of 1850, beingas before observed, exceedingly deficient and imperfect, some remarks and notes are subjoined to the statement, to which attention should be given.
The published accounts of the census of 1850 furnish some data as to the coals consumed in the United States in that year, ending June 30, 1850.
The items below given are taken from the Abstract of the Census, (pp. 154 to 160), which book seems to have been prepared