previous next

Secession brings protection to the Virginia manufacturer.

The most impotent of all the arguments against secession, is that which pretends that the manufacturing interests of Virginia will suffer under the liberal, free trade principles of the Southern Confederacy. It is not pretended that these principles will be enforced to the absolute release of all impost duties upon foreign merchandize. A Federal revenue will be as necessary to the Government at Montgomery, as it has been to that at Washington. A tariff for revenue will be an essential institution of the new Government; and its tariff policy will only differ from that of the old Union in being devised exclusively for revenue, and not at all for protection.

A tariff for revenue will scarcely be lower than an average of fifteen per cent. Doubtless ten per cent, would produce all the revenue demanded for the ordinary requirements of the Government; but there are contingencies for war, armament, fortifications, and public debt that will probably bring up the rate of impost to an average of fifteen per cent. Not that the revenue principle will require a horizontal duty upon all imports, of fifteen per cent.; for a tariff, levied for revenue, must needs differ in its rates with the various goods on which it is levied; and probably this discrimination would produce a rate of impost on articles in which Virginia is interested, of twenty or twenty-five, or even thirty per cent.

Under the revenue policy of the Southern Confederacy, Virginia would certainly find an advantage over the foreign manufacturer of from 15 to 30 per cent. But who in that case would be embraced under the designation of foreigner, and have to bear the burden of this impost duty? Why, it would not merely be the Englishman, the Frenchman, and the German, but it would be the Yankee also, the man who has heretofore sold his goods in Virginia, and to her Southern customers, duty free. The quantity of merchandize, of foreign manufacture, consumed per annum by the South, has been about $110,000,000; while the quantity of Northern merchandize which she has consumed has been $300,000,000--three times as much. Under the old Union the Virginia manufacturer was protected to the extent of about thirty-five per cent, on one dollar against the foreigner; and subjected to free competition with the Yankee on three dollars in every four of importations. Under the Southern Confederacy he would be protected not only against the foreigner, but, what is vastly more important to him, against the Northerner also, to the extent of from 15 to 50 per cent. Is there anybody so stolid as not to see that, on the question of protection, and of prosperity to her manufacturers, the interest of Virginia are largely in favor of secession? It is the misfortune of men engaged in upholding a wrong cause, always to bring forward arguments for their course, which, if rightly applied, beat out their own brains. --This argument of submitting to the North, for the sake of securing protection to Virginia manufacturers, is precisely a case of this sort — it is a club furnished by the submissionists for their own braining. We must remain, forsooth, in free trade with the North, who sell us and our Southern customers $300,000,000 of their wares duty free, in order that our Virginia manufacturer may get the benefit of a tariff which only applies to one-third that quantity of merchandize imported from abroad! The stupidity of the argument is sublime.

A fifteen or twenty per cent, duty on the enormous quantity of Northern merchandize which is sent to the South, would be equivalent to a bonds of that amount paid to the Virginia manufacturer, where he now gets. nothing. Suppose Virginia to furnish the South only fifty millions of this three hundred, a duty of fifteen per cent. would give her a profit of seven millions and a half of dollars; a duty of twenty per cent, a profit of ten millions of dollars, where she now gets nothings. The Yankee is the chief competitor of the manufacturer of the South every where in her borders. It is he that undersells him; it is he that destroys his market, and ruins his investments in manufacturing enterprise.--Under the old Union he came down, free of all duty and all taxes, to peddle his goods up and down, high and low, throughout the land. Lean, hungry, and penurious, ravenous as a wolf, and cunning as a fox, he entered the market, everywhere underselling and driving out his more honest and less impertinent and importunate competitor. Secession will build a wall against him on Mason's and Dixon's line — a wall of imposts' more effectual for the protection of the Virginia manufacturer than the wall of stone which the ancient Romans built to hold back the barbarous Picts and Scotts, from those depredations, plunderings and thievings with which that ravenous people were wont to afflict the Lowlanders of Great Britain.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
England (United Kingdom) (1)
Dixon, Ill. (Illinois, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Scotts (1)
Mason (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: