A New Tariff
January 1, 1867
The bill for a new tariff is being sent to congress that will heavily impact the entire country north and south, although they are unsure of what it is.
A new tariff bill is in preparation for Congress, to be presented after the recess. We of the South having no votes in the matter, no representation in that Congress, but subject to such taxes as may be imposed without our consent, are notwithstanding deeply interested to watch and understand the proceedings of those who are our legislators against our will. There are two interests especially, and very potential ones at the North, which demand higher protection for their products. These are the iron-masters and the wool-growers. Some other manufacturing interests are also expecting a large measure of protection; and there are the usual intrigues and negotiations on foot to induce members of Congress to impose heavier taxes on the people for the profit of a few individuals. For it comes to this exactly: the additional profit which those manufacturers expect to gain by discriminating duties which will keep out the competing products of other countries form the precise measure of the amount to which consumers are to be mulcted; and especially those consumers inhabiting regions which do not possess those particular kinds of industry. There is no need here to pronounce upon the general question of protective tariffs, nor to consider whether there is compensation to the country at large in this artificial sustainment of homo manufactures. Perhaps there is so within limited communities like those of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, or even Pennsylvania; but there can at any rate be no question that Virginians will derive no benefit from paying Rhode Islanders a higher price for hosiery or flannel than would be charged for those articles by English or French makers. We are told, indeed, by the protectionist organs, the Tribune at the head of them, that the manufacturing industry of the country is grievously oppressed, and sinking under foreign competition, even with the high duties now existing. The remedy which seems just and natural under the circumstances to these protectionists is that all the rest of the people be compelled to pay higher taxes on what they consume, and therefore higher prices. Thus the Tribune is going to hold Secretary MrCulloch responsible for the utter ruin of the country if he will not make the men who do not work in iron contribute out of their own pockets to support the men who do. The detain of the row tariff are not yet made public, and the rumors as to their nature and scope are, of course, not to be relied upon. When we see them we confess that we shall not consider their provisions with an extended view to how they will affect " the whole Country," but only ask, How will they work here in Virginia? Cut off from all grand political debate, and bound us we are to do the best we can here at home, with such resources and industry as we have, we can only hope that those lawmakers whom 'we never elected may not thrust their hands too deeply into our pockets for the profit of their own constituents. We must even make such efforts as we are graciously
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“A New Tariff,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed March 22, 2018, https://reconstructingvirginia.richmond.edu/items/show/471.