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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/127

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SKETCH OF EDWARD ATKINSON.

had been raised upon American soil by the hands of native-born men and women, since every one of them has been or must be paid for by an exchange of some domestic product for it, whether it be cotton, oil, gold, cheese, or wooden clocks; and the only reason why this exchange is ever made is that we have too much of the things made upon our own soil, and too little or none at all of those things of foreign origin for which we make the exchange. Production is but a leading forth; it is but movement. We move the cotton-seed to the soil, the cotton to the Northern mill, the cloth to the seaboard; then, by the steamship, we move it to where it is more needed than by ourselves; we move back the tea, and the tea is but the final product of the labor of the freedman, the operative, and the sailor, each of whom is or may be our countryman, and each of whom is counted as a representative of home industry. ...

"We once established the manufacture of furniture, so that our mechanics, working at from $2.50 to $3 per day, yet supplied many foreign customers; but we have taxed the wood, the varnish, the oil, the paint, the tools, the food, and the fuel of these men forty per cent on all those portions which are of foreign origin, and thus they have lost their customers. Privation of imports is prohibition of exports. Protection to the mechanic is to be found only in the repeal of bad taxes."

The far-reaching nature of the evil of wrongful taxation is illustrated in the case of the taxation of tin plates, for which revenue the Government has no use whatever, but by the operation of which "we leave England and France to supply the world with canned meats and fruits, while we only put up enough for our own use." This result is brought about by the tax adding to the cost of the domestic product into which the tin enters as a constituent element; "and if this increase amounts to only two or three per cent of the value of the finished product, it amounts, as we have proved, to a tax on the income of capital of from two or three up to ten or twenty per cent. Hence, foreign capital takes the business, and home labor ceases to be employed; diversity of employment is prevented; wages are lowered, and the cost of subsistence increased; and all this is done in the name of protection to labor!"

The visible in protection—what one sees, "is that we prosper in spite of all the privations inflicted under due process of law; such are the boundless resources with which the Almighty has endowed this land." The invisible, what one does not see, "is the far greater prosperity which we might have, except for the ignorance of those who make these unjust laws, and in the name of protection inflict privation. What one does not see is the progress in the arts of peace and good-will with all nations which