Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/617

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COMMON SENSE AND THE TARIFF QUESTION.

agriculture as compared with other occupations; but after the normal conditions have become established by long settlement, as in Ohio, for instance—a State midway between the great prairies of the West and the factories of the East—we find that, although there is almost nothing produced in Ohio which could be imported from any foreign country, except a little wool and a little pig-iron—the two together constituting a small proportion of the product of the State and giving employment in 1880 to only thirty-two thousand out of one million persons then occupied for gain, rating persons in ratio to the relative value of products—the balance of occupations is about the same as that which has established itself on the average throughout the country. That average is forty to forty-five per cent in agriculture; ten to eleven per cent in trade and transportation; twenty to twenty-four per cent in professional and personal service; twenty to twenty-four per cent in manufacturing and mechanic arts and in mining.

The error which Mr. Gladstone has made in his article in the North American Review, to which Mr. Blaine replied, is of this nature. If I read his article correctly from his standpoint, I think he holds to the mistaken idea that the conditions of this country are more especially adapted to agriculture than to the manufacturing arts. A greater mistake could not be made. We possess greater advantages in our natural conditions and resources for the establishment of the mining industry, the mechanic arts and manufacturing, than we do in agriculture; and it is only due to our own blunders that we do not take the paramount position in the world in all these arts.

On the other hand, the reply of Mr. Blaine is full of yet more gross errors; not errors of opinion, but errors in the statement of facts. A more mistaken or erroneous statement of the course of economic history not only in Great Britain but also in this country, could hardly have been compiled than is found in Mr. Blaine's reply to Mr. Gladstone. A complete review of these two articles remains to be written.

So much for the analysis by persons. Now, if we adopt the theory so well laid down by Sir Robert Peel, after he had become convinced of the necessity of tariff reform, that if our condition had not been changed by our long persistence in a high tariff policy, we might choose the subjects from which to derive our revenue so as to interfere in the least degree either with commerce, agriculture, or manufactures—then the collection of our. necessary revenue either from customs or from excise, or both, would become a very simple matter.

Let us for a moment take up this subject as a matter of theory and not of condition. Let us investigate our resources, and lay out an ideal method for collecting the national revenue wholly