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Speech of Hon. William D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania

Speech of Hon. William D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania

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Excerpt from Speech of Hon. William D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania: Delivered in the House of Representatives, March 25, 1870

The House being in the Committee of the Whole, and having under consideration the bill (H. R. No. 1068) to amend existing laws relating to the duties on imports, and for other purposes -

Mr. Kelley said:

Mr. Chairman: I presume that gentlemen who have listened to the course of this debate expect me to apologize for having been born in Pennsylvania and adhering to my native State. From what has been said it seems that her people are regarded by free traders as a discreditable community, and she, in her corporate capacity, as an object of odium.

Sir, I am proud of dear old Pennsylvania, my native State. She was the first to adopt the Federal Constitution, and was in fact the key-stone of the Federal arch, holding together the young Union when it consisted of but thirteen States, and she is to-day preeminently the representative State of the Union. You cannot strike her so that her industries shall bleed without those of other States feeling it, and feeling it vitally. She has no cotton, or sugar, or rice fields; but apart from these she is identified with every interest represented upon this floor.

Gentlemen from the rocky coast of New England and the gentlemen who are here from the more fertile and hospitable shores of the Pacific, especially the gentlemen from the beautifully wooded shores of Puget sound, complain that their ship-yards are idle. Hers, alas! are also idle, although they are the yards in which were built the largest wooden ship the Government ever put afloat, and the largest sailing iron-clad it ever owned. She has her commerce and sympathizes with young San Francisco and our great commercial metropolis, New York. She was for long years the leading port of entry in the country. She still maintains a respectable direct commerce and imports, very largely through New York, for the same reasons that London does through Liverpool and Paris through Havre.

Are you interested in the production of fabrics, whether of silk, wool, flax, or cotton? If so her interests are identical with yours, for she employs as many spindles and looms as any New England State, and their productions are as various and valuable. Are your interests in the commerce upon the lakes? Then go with me to her beautiful city of Erie and behold how Pennsylvania sympathizes with all your interests there. Are your interests identified with the navigation of the Mississippi and seeking markets for your products at the mouth of that river and on the Gulf? I pray you to remember that two of the navigable sources of the American "Father of Waters" take their rise in the bosom of her mountains, and that for long decades her enterprising and industrious people have been plucking from her hills bituminous coal and floating it down that stream past the coal-fields of Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and other coal-bearing States, to meet that of England in the market of New Orleans and try to drive it thence. Gentlemen from the gold regions, where were the miners trained who first brought to light, with any measure of science and experience, the vast resources in gold and silver-bearing quartz of the Pacific slope? They went to you from the coal, iron, and zinc mines of Pennsylvania. There they had learned to sink the shaft, run the drift, handle the ore, and crush or smelt it. It was experience acquired in her mines that brought out the wealth of California almost as magically as we were taught in childhood to believe that Alladin's lamp could convert base articles into that precious metal.

Nor, sir, are the interests of Pennsylvania at variance with those of the great agricultural States?

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