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"Resolved, That from the first establishment of the federal government, two principles have been embodied in our revenue laws; the first, that, as far as practicable, all duties should be specific, as most simple in collection, and most secure against fraud; the other, a discrimination in the rates of duty, with a view to foster and protect the industry of the country, and to invite capital into the establishment of manufactures.
"Resolved, That under this system the whole country has prospered in a degree which has no parallel in the history of nations. While the Western wilderness has been giving place to cultivation and civilization, the older States have been transplanting and establishing the arts and manufactures of Europe, thus converting the whole country into a scene of active industry, in which diversified labor, mutually exchanging its products on terms of equality, realizes a remuneration and reward wholly unknown in the overpeopled countries of the Old World.
"Resolved, That we deprecate the changes introduced by the tariff of 1846, for the following reasons:
"We deprecate the change from specific to ad valorem duties, as affording increased facilities for fraud, as setting aside the light of all experience, and the opinions of all commercial men. We deprecate it as a revenue measure, inasmuch as it reduces the revenue upwards of five millions of dollars on the average importation of the last three years, while our war expenditures require a great increase of revenue, and are actually met by an increase of debt in the issue of treasury-notes. We deprecate the principles of attempting to provide for this deficiency by an increased importation of products, to come in competition with our own, displacing and paralyzing to an equal extent our own industry, and eventually producing a great reduction in the wages of labor.
"We further deprecate the principle of increasing the importation of foreign manufactures, always tending to excess, and causing the exportation of specie in return, the fruitful source of derangement in our currency, and of embarrassment in all branches of trade and industry. We deprecate the sudden change, as wantonly sporting with the interests of capital invested under the implied pledge of government for its continued protection. But we deprecate it far more as wantonly sacrificing the interests of labor, by opening upon it the foreign competition of the under-fed and overworked labor of Europe, the avowed purpose of the new policy. We deprecate it as the result of executive dictation and stringent party discipline, adopted under the coercion of a minority, without examination and without discussion, against the sober judgment of a majority of both houses of Congress.
"Rcsolved, That the allegation that the protective system favors capital more than labor, is equally contradictory to every sound principle of political economy, to al experience, and to common sense. Whilst capital is considered necessary to set labor in motion, it is an admitted principle that there is a uniform tendency, in capital employed in different pursuits, to an equalization of profits through a free competition. Whilst other propositions are disputed, this is never contested. It is confirmed by all our experience. Every branch of manufacture which has been successful has been subjected to occasional checks and embarrassments through over-action. The prosperity which followed the establishment of the tariff of 1842 has led to new construction and new expenditure in all branches of industry beyond any former precedent . In fact, we are told by the friends of the administration, as if in double mockery of their own reasoning and our apprehensions, that the manufacturer has more to fear from home competition and over-production than from any foreign competition which can reach him under the present tariff. It is, in fact, obvious to the most simple understanding, that the investment of capital in works which can only be made productive by the employment of many hands, is putting capital in the power of labor, rather than in a position to control it.
"Resolved, That the assertion, so often repeated, that the tariff of 1842 has operated as an unequal tax upon the laboring classes, in the manufactures consumed by them, is wholly destitute of truth. Our application of manufacturing industry has always been made, in the first instance, to those productions requiring little labor in proportion to the raw material. In these the success has been greatest, and it is notorious that, in the manufacture of cotton, wool, leather, hats, die., the common articles used by the laboring classes are produced at prices which may defy all foreign competition. Even the cotton minimum, the object of so much undeserved obloquy, is well known to be all but nominal in respect to the lower branches of the manufacture, and that its only actual effect is to levy a high duty on its higher branches, on what may well be termed luxuries.
"Resolved, That while the loss of capital by this change of system is sudden and determinate, the effect upon labor will be a continuous wasting disease, with no remedy but the retracing our steps.
"Resolved, That the high reward of labor, in all its branches, is the peculiar advantage of our country, is intimately connected with the general diffusion of education and intelligence, and is the best security for the permanence of our free institutions. The protective system acts as the proper guardian of this boon.
"Resolved, That while we welcome and approve the repeal of the British corn laws as a concession and benefit to the depressed labor of England, by increasing its means of subsistence, the government is acting a very different part towards our own labor in opening its products to a free competition with those of the underpaid laborers of Europe.
"Resolved, That the principles of free trade advocated by the modern economists of Europe are founded on a state of society essentially different from our own. It contemplates labor in excess, content with a bare subsistence, and with no hope of improving its condition. It regards only the profits of capital. With us, labor is active in accumulation for itself, going hand in hand with capital, and requiring especially the shield of the protective system against foreign interference.
"Therefore resolved, That it is the duty of the Whig party, and of all friends of their country, to urge upon Congress the duty of revising and modifying the existing tariff of 1846, so that it may furnish revenue sufficient for the wants of the government, and of reestablishing the principle of specific duties in all practicable cases, and of discrimination in the rates of duty with a view to foster and protect the industry of the country in all its branches.
"Resolved, That, whilst Massachusetts is deeply interested in the protection of her capital, and her labor devoted to manufacturing and the mechanic arts, it is a great mistake, propagated for party purposes, and received by a too easy credulity, that protection is a local or party policy. We esteem it a policy equally favorable to every part of the country, and to all the States of the Union."