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Since August, 1842, there have been but very few, if any, nails manufactured in this country of imported iron. Prior to January, 1842, the bulk of nails sold in this market were from Swedes' iron, when the wholesale price of that description of iron seldom reached so low a point as $ 80 per ton. Since August, 1842, the price has ranged from 8 70 to $ 75 per ton. Competition among American manufacturers (aided, probably, by low prices in Europe) has reduced the prices of bar iron and nails in this country. Prices of iron in Europe have been depressed in consequence of our tariff, and consequently it is the operation of the tariff alone which now enables the consumer to purchase these articles at their present reduced rates. I have long been satisfied that English iron, particularly, could be afforded to us even under the present tariff; the prices in England being regulated rather by what the articles would command here, than the cost of production there. If this be true, the reduction of duties designed by the compromise tariff was defeated, and the benefit accrued to the foreign producers.
Since writing the above, a friend has furnished me with the following facts relative to the prices of Scotch pig-iron in this city, and also in Scotland, in August, 1842, and August, 1843 : —
Say — In August, 1842, the price in this city was, . . $25.00 per ton.
In August, 1843," "" . $23.50 per ton.
Say — In August, 1842, the price of same iron in Scotland was jG2 15». per ton.
In August, 1843, it would be £ 2 per ton.
No. V. — Page 179.
Extract from an Address to the States, adopted ly Congress on the 24th of April, 1783, on the Report of a Committee consisting of Messrs. Madison, Hamilton, and Ellsworth.
If other motives than those of justice be requisite on this occasion, no nation could ever feel stronger; for to whom are the debts to be paid?
To an ally, in the first place, who, to the exertion of his arms in support of our cause, has added the succor of his treasure; who, to his important loans, has added liberal donations; and whose loans themselves carry the impression of his magnanimity and friendship.
To individuals in a foreign country, in the next place, who were the first to give so precious a token of their confidence in our justice, and of their friendship for our cause, and who are members of a republic which was second in espousing our rank among nations.
Another class of creditors is that illustrious and patriotic band of our fellow-citizens, whose blood and whose bravery have defended the liberties of their country; who have patiently borne, among other dis
er geniuses of those more eloquent gentlemen, learned and reverend, who have addressed this Society. I may perform, however, the humbler, but sometimes useful, duty of contrast, by adding the dark ground of the picture, which shall serve to bring out the more brilliant colors.
I must receive, Gentlemen, the sentiment proposed by the worthy and distinguished citizen of New York before me, as intended to convey the idea that, as a citizen of New England, as a son, a child, a creation of New England, I may be yet supposed to entertain, in some degree, that enlarged view of my duty as a citizen of the United States and as a public man, which may, in some small measure, commend me to the regard of the whole country. While I am free to confess, Gentlemen, that there is no compliment of which I am more desirous to be thought worthy, I will add, that a compliment of that kind could have proceeded from no source more agreeable to my own feelings than from the gentleman who has proposed it, — an eminent merchant, the member of a body of eminent merchants, known throughout the world for their intelligence and enterprise. I the more especially feel this, Gentlemen, because, whether I view the present state of things or recur to the history of the past, I can in neither case be ignorant how much that profession, and its distinguished members, from an early day of our history, have contributed to make the country what it is, and the government what it is.
Gentlemen, the free nature of our institutions, and the popular form of those governments which have come down to us from the Rock of Plymouth, give scope to intelligence, to talent, enterprise, and public spirit, from all classes making up the great body of the community. And the country has received benefit in all its history and in all its exigencies, of the most eminent and striking character, from persons of the class to which my friend before me belongs. Who will ever forget that the first name signed to our ever-memorable and ever-glorious Declaration of Independence is the name of John Hancock, a merchant of Boston? Who will ever forget that, in the most disastrous days of the Revolution, when the treasury of the country was bankrupt, with unpaid navies and starving armies, it was a merchant, — Robert Morris of Philadelphia, — who, by a noble sacrifice of his own fortune, as well as by the exercise of his great financial abilities, sustained and supported the wise men of the country in council, and the brave men of the country in the field of battle? Nor are there wanting more recent instances. I have the pleasure to see near me, and near my friend who proposed this sentiment, the son of an eminent merchant of New England (Mr. Goodhue), an early member of the Senate of the United States, always consulted, always respected, in whatever belonged to the duty and the means of putting in operation the financial and commercial system of the country; and this mention of the father of my friend brings to my mind the memory of his great colleague, the early associate of Hamilton and of Ames, trusted and beloved by Washington, consulted on all occasions connected with the administration of the finances, the establishment of the treasury department, the imposition of the first rates of duty, and with every thing that belonged to the commercial system of the United States,— George Cabot, of Massachusetts.
I will take this occasion to say, Gentlemen, that there is no truth better developed and established in the history of the United States, from the formation of the Constitution to the present time, than this, — that the mercantile classes, the great commercial masses of the country, whose affairs connect them strongly with every State in the Union and with all the nations of the earth, whose business and profession give a sort of nationality to their character, — that no class of men among us, from the beginning, have shown a stronger and firmer devotion to whatsoever has been designed, or to whatever has tended, to preserve the union of these States and the stability of the free government under which we live. The Constitution of the United States, in regard to the various municipal regulations and local interests, has left the States individual, disconnected, isolated. It has left them their own codes of criminal law; it has left them their own system of municipal regulations. But there was one great interest, one great concern, which, from the very nature of the case, was no longer to be left under the regulations of the then thirteen, afterwards twenty, and now twenty-six States, but was committed, necessarily committed, to the care, the protection, and the regulation of one government; and this was that great unit, as it has been called, the commerce of the United States. There is no commerce of New York, no commerce of
VOL. II. 18
Massachusetts, none of Georgia, none of Alabama or Louisiana. All and singular, in the aggregate and in all its parts, is the commerce of the United States, regulated at home by a uniform system of laws under the authority of the general government, and protected abroad under the flag of our government, the glorious E Pluribus Unum, and guarded, if need be, by the power of the general government all over the world. There is, therefore, Gentlemen, nothing more cementing, nothing that makes us more cohesive, nothing that more repels all tendencies to separation and dismemberment, than this great, this common, I may say this overwhelming interest of one commerce, one general system of trade and navigation, one everywhere and with every nation of the globe. There is no flag of any particular American State seen in the Pacific seas, or in the Baltic, or in the Indian Ocean. "Who knows, or who hears, there of your proud State, or of my proud State? Who knows, or who hears, of any thing, at the extremest north or south, or at the antipodes, — in the remotest regions of the Eastern or Western Sea,—who ever hears, or knows, of any thing but an American ship, or of any American enterprise of a commercial character that does not bear the impression of the American Union with it?
It would be a presumption of which I cannot be guilty, Gentlemen, for me to imagine for a moment, that, among the gifts which New England has made to our common country, I am any thing more than one of the most inconsiderable. I readily bring to mind the great men, not only with whom I have met, but those of the generation before me, who now sleep with their fathers, distinguished in the Revolution, distinguished in the formation of the Constitution and in the early administration of the government, always and everywhere distinguished; and I shrink in just and conscious humiliation before their established character and established renown; and all that I venture to say, and all that I venture to hope may be thought true, in the sentiment proposed, is, that, so far as mind and purpose, so far as intention and will, are concerned, I may be found among those who are capable of embracing the whole country of which they are members in a proper, comprehensive, and patriotic regard. We all know that the objects which are nearest are the objects which are dearest; family affections, neighborhood affections, social relations, these in truth are nearest and dearest to us all: but whosoever shall be able rightly to adjust the graduation of his affections, and to love his friends and his neighbors, and his country, as he ought to love them, merits the commendation pronounced by the philosophic poet upon him
"Qui didicit patriae quid debeat, et quid amicis."
Gentlemen, it has been my fortune, in the little part which I have acted in public life, for good or for evil to the community, to be connected entirely with that government which, within the limits of constitutional power, exercises jurisdiction over all the States and all the people. My friend at the end of the table on my left has spoken pleasantly to us to-night of the reputed miracles of tutelar saints. In a sober sense, in a sense of deep conviction, I say that the emergence of this country from British domination, and its union under its present form of government beneath the general Constitution of the country, if not a miracle, is, I do not say the most, but one of the most fortunate, the most admirable, the most auspicious occurrences, which have ever fallen to the lot of man. Circumstances have wrought out for us a state of things which, in other times and other regions, philosophy has dreamed of, and theory has proposed, and speculation has suggested, but which man has never been able to accomplish. I mean the government of a great nation over a vastly extended portion of the surface of the earth, by means of local institutions for local purposes, and general institutions for general purposes. I know of nothing in the history of the world, notwithstanding the great league of Grecian states, notwithstanding the success of the Roman system, (and certainly there is no exception to the remark in modern history,) — I know of nothing so suitable on the whole for the great interests of a great people spread over a large portion of the globe, as the provision of local legislation for local and municipal purposes, with, not a confederacy, nor a loose binding together of separate parts, but a limited, positive general government for positive general purposes, over the whole. We may derive eminent proofs of this truth from the past and the present. What see we to-day in the agitations on the other side of the Atlantic? I speak of them, of course without expressing any opinion on questions of politics in a foreign country; but I speak of them as an occurrence which shows the great expediency, the utility, I may say