Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ing of a Republican state, now, more than ever before, he
boasted of the conquest of an empire. [Applause.]

And to-day the once proud Republican party thinks it
worth while to announce to this body, through the gentle-
man (Mr. Raines), that the Republican party has made a
gain in supervisors in New York. [Laughter and applause.]

As space can not be given to many paragraphs of a two hours' speech, it is difficult to do justice to the argument and the speaker.


MR. BRYAN: The reason why I believe in putting raw material upon the free list is because any tax imposed upon raw material must at last be taken from the consumer of the manufactured article. You can impose no tax for the benefit of the producer of raw material which does not find its way through the various forms of manufactured product, and at last press with accumulated weight upon the person who uses the finished product.

Another reason for believing that raw material should be upon the free list is because that is the only method by which one business can be favored without injury to another. We are not, in that case, imposing a tax for the benefit of the manufacturer, but we are simply saying to the manufacturer: "We will not impose any burden upon you." When we give to the manufacturer free raw material and free machinery, we give to him, I think, all the encouragement which a people acting under a free Government like ours can legitimately give to an industry.

[ocr errors]


Our friends have said that this is class legislation. That is, that when we say we will deprive the wool-grower of any advantage he has under the present law we are guilty of class legislation. It is sufficient evidence, Mr. Chairman, that this bill does not advance class legislation that the Republican party is solidly opposing it. If it were class legislation we could reasonably expect their united support. [Applause on the Democratic side.]

But, sir, I desire to call the attention of the committee to this distinction. We have referred to it in the report of the committee on binding-twine. There is a difference between a man coming to this Congress and demanding that other people shall be subjected to a tax for his benefit and a demand on the part of those taxed to be relieved of the burden. Is there not a difference between these two

principles? It seems to me that the difference is as marked
as between day and night. It is simply this difference, sir:
The man who says, "Impose upon somebody else a tax for
my benefit," says what the pickpocket says, "Let me get
my hand into his pocket"; but the man who says, "Take
away the burdens imposed on me for other people's benefit,"
says simply what every honest man says, "Let me alone to
enjoy the results of my toil," I repeat, is there not a
difference between these two principles?


Having quoted Alexander Hamilton, in 1791, against the policy of "continued bounties," Mr. Bryan continued:

That was the original idea. Mr. Clay said in 1833:

"The theory of protection supposes too that after a certain time the protected arts will have acquired such strength and perfection as will enable them subsequently, unaided, to stand against foreign competition."

And again in 1840:

"No one, Mr. President, in the commencement of the protective policy, ever supposed that it was to be perpetual.”

This was the argument used in the beginning; but arguments have to be framed to meet conditions, and we find now that infants that could get along on 10 per cent when they were born, and 20 per cent when they were children, and 30 per cent when they were young men, have required 40, 50, 60, or 70 per cent when old and entering upon their second childhood.


As a justification for attacking the tariff law by special amendment, he referred to the fact that the Senate and Presi dent would resist a general modification, but he hoped might favor a few changes on articles of prime necessity. His language was:

It is not as great a reduction as might be made. I believe that we have left far more tariff than can be shown to be necessary to provide for any difference, if there be any difference, between the cost of manufactures here and abroad. But I am led to agree to this moderate reduction of the tariff upon manufactured articles for two reasons; first, because, in going from a vicious system--and I believe that our present system is a vicious system, created by the necessities of war and continued by favoritism-because, I

say, in going from a vicious to a correct system the most
rapid progress can be made by degrees.

Another reason why I am willing to stop at this point at
this time is because all measures of legislation must be
practical rather than ideal.


Desiring to give prominence to the theory which he regarded as fallacious, "an attempt to raise at a high price that which we can purchase abroad at a low price" in exchange for the products of our toil, we have:

It was said by a gentleman who appeared before the committee I think at the last Congress-that wool could be raised in Australia for 6 cents a pound, and that it could not be raised in this country for less than 15 cents; and we are told that it is a wise policy to so tax imported wool as to enable our people to raise wool at 15 cents a pound instead of buying it at 6 cents a pound; that we save money and give employment to labor. If that principle is true, then it is wise to raise wool at 15 cents a pound instead of buying at 3 cents, because we save more in labor. If it is wise to raise it at 15 cents a pound instead of buying it at 3, it is still wiser to raise it at 15 cents rather than have somebody give it to us. [Laughter.]

That is what it leads to; and the gentlemen who maintain that position are fit companions for the people who are supposed by Bastiat to have petitioned the French legislature to find some way of preventing the sun from shining, because it interfered with the business of the candlemakers. If their theory is true, then the most unkind act of the Creator was to send that great orb of day every morning to chase away the shadows of the night, flood all the earth with his brightness, and throw out of employment those who otherwise might be making taliow candles to light the world. [Laughter.]


If it were

I am not objecting to a tariff for revenue,
possible to arrange a system just as I believe it ought to
be arranged, I should collect one part of our revenues for
the support of the Federal Government from internal taxes
on whisky and tobacco. These are luxuries and may well
be taxed. I should collect another part from a tariff levied
upon imported articles, with raw material on the free list
--the lowest duties upon the necessaries of life and the

highest duties upon the luxuries of life. And then I should
collect another part of the revenues from a graduated in-
come tax upon the wealth of this country. [Loud applause
on the Democratic side.] It is conceded by all writers that
a tariff upon imports operates most oppressively upon the
poor. A graduated income tax would fall most heavily
upon the rich, and thus the two would partially compen-
sate each other and lessen the injustice that might come
from either one alone. That, I say, would be my idea, if
it were possible.


Mr. Bryan showed great ability in the "Reductio ad absurdum” mode of argumentation:

Now, what is a protective tariff, and what does it mean? It is a simple device, by which one man is authorized to collect money from his fellow-men. There are two ways


in which you can protect industry. You can give it a
bounty out of the Federal Treasury, or you can authorize
it to take up the collection itself. This is the only differ-
Suppose that the Chairman desired to help some
particular industry-for instance, one in the home of my
friend from New York (Mr. Raines), who has asked the
question. He might do it in either of two ways. He might
pass around the hat here and collect the money and turn
it over to the favored industry, or he might simply say to
the man, "I will put a tariff upon the imported article and
make the price so high that you can collect the additional
price for your home-made article."

Now, what is the difference except that in the one case
the Chairman passes around the hat and turns the money
over to his friend, and in the other case he authorizes the
friend to pass the hat himself.


I desire to say that no man on that side of the House in this session of Congress will stand up before you and justify a law that takes from one man one cent and gives it to another man if he will admit that that is the operation. Take an illustration: Here are ten men owning farms side by side. Suppose that nine of them should pass a resolution, "Resolved, That we will take the land of the tenth man and divide it among us." Who would justify such a transaction? Suppose the nine men tell the tenth man that he will get it back in some way; that it is a great advantage to live amongst nine men who will thus

be better off, and that indirectly he gets an advantage from the transaction? [Laughter and applause on the Democratic side.]

How long do you suppose it would be before they would convince that man that they were right in taking his land? Would you, gentlemen, dare to justify that? You would not justify the taking of one square foot of his land. If you do not dare do that, how will you justify the taking of that which a man raises on his land, all that makes the land valuable? Where is the difference between the soil and the product of the soil? How can you justify the one if not the other?


Now, there are two arguments which I have never heard advanced in favor of protection; but they are the best arguments. They admit a fact and justify it, and I think that is the best way to argue, if you have a fact to meet. Why not say to the farmer, "Yes, of course you lose; but does not the Bible say, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'-[laughter]-and if you suffer some inconvenience, just look back over your life and you will find that your happiest moments were enjoyed when you were giving something to somebody, and the most unpleasant moments were when you were receiving." These manufacturers are self-sacrificing. They are willing to take the lesser part, and the more unpleasant business of receiving, and leave to you the greater joy of giving. [Loud laughter and applause on the Democratic side.}

Why do they not take the other theory, which is borne out by history-that all nations which have grown strong, powerful, and influential, just as individuals have done it, through hardship, toil, and sacrifice, and that after they have become wealthy they have been enervated, they have gone to decay through the enjoyment of luxury, and that the great advantage of the protective system is that it goes around among the people and gathers up their surplus earnings so that they will not be enervated or weakened, so that no legacy of evil will be left to their children. Their surplus earnings are collected up, and the great mass of our people are left strong, robust, and hearty. These earnings are garnered and put into the hands of just as few people as possible, so that the injury will be limited in extent. [Great laughter and applause on the Democratic side.]

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »