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 You are aware that this laborious branch of industry has, by all maritime States, been ever regarded with special favor as the nursery of naval power. The fisheries of the American colonies before the American Revolution drew from Burke one of the most gorgeous bursts of eloquence in our language,--in any language. They were all but annihilated by the Revolution, but they furnished the men who followed Manly, and Tucker, and Biddle, and Paul Jones to the jaws of death. Reviving after the war, they attracted the notice of the First Congress, and were recommended to their favor by Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of State. This favor was at first extended to them in the shape of a draw-back of the duty on the various imported articles employed in the building and outfit of the vessels and on the foreign salt used in preserving the fish. The complexity of this arrangement led to the substitution at first of a certain bounty on the quantity of the fish exported; afterwards on the tonnage of the vessels employed in the fisheries. All administrations have concurred in the measure; Presidents of all parties,--though there has not been much variety of party in that office,--have approved the appropriations. If the North had a local interest in these bounties, the South got the principal food of her laboring population so much the cheaper; and she had her common share in the protection which the navy afforded her coasts, and in the glory which it shed on the flag of the country. But since, unfortunately, the deep-sea fisheries do not exist in the Gulf of Mexico, nor, as in the “age of Pyrrha,” on the top of the Blue Ridge, it has been discovered of late years that these bounties are a violation of the Constitution; a largess bestowed by the common treasury on one section of the country, and not shared by the other; one of the hundred ways, in a word, in which the rapacious North is fattening upon the oppressed and pillaged South. You will naturally wish to know the amount of this tyrannical and oppressive bounty. It is stated by a senator from Alabama (Mr. Clay) who has warred against it with perseverance and zeal, and succeeded in the last Congress in carrying a bill through the Senate for its repeal, to have amounted, on the average, to an annual sum of 200,005 dollars! Such is the portentous grievance which in Georgia stands at the head of the acts of oppression, for which, although repealed in one branch of Congress, the Union is to be broken up, and the country desolated by war. Switzerland revolted because an Austrian tyrant invaded the sanctity of her firesides, crushed out the eyes of aged patriots, and compelled her fathers to shoot apples from the heads of her sons; the Low Countries revolted against the fires of the Inquisition, and the infernal cruelties of Alva; our fathers revolted because they were taxed by a parliament in which they were not represented; the Cotton States revolt because a paltry subvention is paid to the hardy fishermen who form the nerve and muscle of the American Navy. But it is not, we shall be told, the amount of the bounty, but the principle, as our fathers revolted against a three-penny tax on tea. But that was because it was laid by a parliament in which the Colonies were not represented, and which yet claimed the right to bind them in all cases. The Fishing Bounty is bestowed by a Government which has been from the first controlled by the South. Then how unreasonable to expect or to wish, that, in a country so vast as ours, no public expenditure should be made for the immediate benefit of one part or one interest that cannot be identically repeated in every other. A liberal policy, or rather the necessity of the case, demands, that what the public good, upon the whole, requires,
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