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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 34.djvu/15

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5
THE EFFECTS OF PROTECTION.

Labor does not produce the pine, nor does it gain any great proportion of its market value.[1]

The American people are clothed very expensively. They import about half their woolen goods, and pay thereon an enormous tax to the Government, amounting in 1885-1886 to $35,600,000. The other half of their clothing they buy of domestic manufacturers, and may be assumed to pay an unnaturally high price to about the same extent. We may say, then, that in twenty years the people have paid a bounty of about $700,000,000 to domestic manufacturers and about the same amount in taxes to the Government,

The average wage of Americans is, as is well known, considerably higher than that of the English; yet Mr. Mulhall estimates that the American works forty-nine days in the year to supply himself with clothing, while the Englishman accomplishes the same thing in thirty-four. This result has been brought about by the wool tariff of 1867, which imposed a heavy duty on an article not made or greatly added to in value by labor, wool, and also on woolen clothing. The history of the effect of this duty is interesting and even ludicrous. Foreign wools are needed to mix with American wools to make good cloth. Accordingly, when the tariff was put on wool the manufacturers found that the people would not buy the high-priced product, but bought foreign goods. Then they began to adulterate their woolen goods with shoddy and cotton. But, in spite of everything, the woolen industry was depressed, and the price of wool refused to go up.[2] Some of them saw the moral; but only the other day I was talking with one who expressed his opposition to the Mills bill by saying, "We do not think it will hurt our business; we know it." On being asked if he did not think free wool and a duty of thirty-eight per cent a fair equivalent for the present duty, he started and clearly showed he had no accurate idea of what the

  1. Soon after the duty was put on pine-lumber the pine was advanced $1 per thousand feet. Seeing this, the men at the camps in Michigan thought it was a good time to ask for a slight increase in pay, inasmuch as the tariff was, they were assured, for their benefit. They asked an increase from $1.50 to $1.75 per day, an increase equivalent to perhaps 5 per cent of the increased profit. Thereupon they were all dismissed. Canadians were imported at $1.25 per day, and were only worked three fourths time at that. Great is "the American system."—"Indianapolis Signal" (Labor paper).
  2. After the enactment of the high duty on wool in 1867, both wool-manufacturing and wool-growing were very much depressed, owing to the fact that the public would not buy woolens at the enhanced prices. During this period it was very common for the commission-merchant to find that he had over-advanced to the manufacturer. The almost invariable result was a mortgage on the mill-property and a foreclosure. In this way A. T. Stewart acquired mill after mill, but even he failed to make his factories pay, and he is believed to have lost heavily by his woolen-mills. At his death his estate was burdened by a large number of these properties.—From the paper of Rowland Hazard, woolen manufacturer, before the Chicago Free-Trade Conference, November 12, 1885.