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The Tariff; Revenue for the Government, and Protection for All

The Tariff; Revenue for the Government, and Protection for All

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Excerpt from The Tariff; Revenue for the Government, and Protection for All: Speech of Hon. William A. Russell, of Massachusetts, in the House of Representatives, April 16, 1884

The House being in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union., and having under consideration the bill (H. R. 5893) to reduce import duties and war-tariff taxes -

Mr. Russell said:

Mr. Chairman: By the action of the Ways and Means Committee in reporting to the House the Morrison bill, so called, and now by the action of the House itself, we are again brought face to face with the tariff issue, and the business interests of the country are again plunged into uncertainty and distress. The appointment of a commission and the consideration and revision of the tariff laws in the last Congress held the business of the country in suspense for a full year. The work of the commission and the action of the Forty-seventh Congress in the passage of the tariff act of March 3,1883, restored confidence in the business community, and the ax in the forests, the pick and shovel in the mines, and the various industries everywhere resumed their usual activity.

It was not expected that this work so well though not perfectly done, and these laws so important and so sensitive to the material interests of the country, were to be again, within a twelvemonth, reopened and reagitated. But it has come, and why? Is there a call coming up from the people for this? Has any interest or any section of the country asked for the reintroduction of this disturbing element? Is there any appeal, by petition or otherwise, for the reopening and revision of our tariff laws? There is but one response to this question, No!

I might except the Free Trade Club of New York, who did appear in favor of the Morrison bill and argued for free trade generally.

We turn bur ear to the South and what do we hear? They say "we want no change in the tariff as it relates to our great products, sugar, rice, tobacco, iron ore, and the manufacture of cotton goods." We turn our ears to the West and they say, "Since we have found that we can profitably manufacture sugar from sorghum and glucose from com, we wish you to make haste slowly in any change in the sugar duties, and we want the same protection for our great staple, wool, and our iron ore, copper, lead, and lumber, and the various manufactures into which our people are now rapidly engaging." We turn our ears to the North and East and to the Middle States, the great manufacturing centers of the country, and they, with but one voice, say, "Though the reductions made in 1883 tend to cripple and discourage some of our industries, we hope Congress will give the new law a full and fair trial."

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