Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/469

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COMMON SENSE AND THE TARIFF QUESTION.

chanic arts, we have been unable even to retain our home market for domestic manufactures, and have been cut off from any considerable share in the supply of other countries.

In a rough and ready way, it may be said that the cost of materials, in all the staple products of machinery or in manufactured goods, ranges from one half to three quarters the entire cost of the finished product. If the price of these materials is kept even ten per cent higher in this country than it is in others, then of course all profit may be cut off by that disparity, and, in spite of vain attempts to put on compensating duties, that art languishes, and we protect the foreigner rather than the American.

It will be remembered that no heavy stocks of food, fiber, or fabrics are now carried anywhere in the world, beyond the probable consumption of a single year or less. Hence it follows that, in respect to the import of materials which enter into the processes of our own work, whatever the price may be in any given year, whether high or low, if through our high tariff' the consumers are subjected to a higher price than our competitors abroad, our industry languishes and foreign industry is protected.

I have said that there are two parties, each earnestly claiming to promote domestic industry. On the one side we find the Republican party advocating privation of foreign imports, without regard to the uses for which such articles are required, in order to protect the few specific branches of industry in which we do not yet excel other nations. On the other side we find the Democratic party advocating the protection of the domestic industry of all alike, by exempting from taxation every article which is necessary in the processes of domestic industry that we can procure in any other country in exchange for the excess of our cotton, corn, wheat, and other commodities, which, even at the highest wages obtained anywhere in the world, are yet produced at the lowest cost.

Such is the position of the question on which every voter will be called to decide in exerting his influence and in choosing whom he will support.

Such were the exact conditions in Great Britain in 1840, only worse, because the natural resources of Great Britain, both in respect to agriculture and mining, are so much less than our own.

The first measures of relief from taxation in Great Britain were practically instituted by Huskisson in 1824, when wool and some other crude materials were in part or wholly relieved from duties. The effect of this change, especially upon the product of domestic wool in Great Britain, was very beneficial; relief from duty gave the manufacturers of Great Britain the opportunity to buy all the wool which they would require for any kind of work, and the consequence was, that the demand for British wool in-