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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41

The following letter, written by Mr Thomas H. Dudley, late American consul at Liverpool, to Mr Charles Edward Rawlins, of Liverpool, has found its way into print, and merits careful perusal:— Camden, N. J., 20th January, 1880. To Charles Edward Rawlings, Esq., Liverpool

The following letter, written by Mr Thomas H. Dudley, late American consul at Liverpool, to Mr Charles Edward Rawlins, of Liverpool, has found its way into print, and merits careful perusal:— Camden, N. J.,

To Charles Edward Rawlings, Esq.,


Dear Sir,—Your letter of the 8th ultimo was duly received. I noted its contents, and read with attention all you said about the tariff system and your ideas with regard to Free Trade. I do not see these questions as you do; indeed, I entertain views directly opposed to yours, and I have no doubt that, if you should ever visit this country, you would at least modify your views upon these questions, if you did not entirely agree with me before you left us. You would see what Protection is doing and has done for us; that under its fostering and benign influence we, in almost every branch of manufactures and human industry, are supplying ourselves with products quite equal in finish and quality to those made anywhere, and in very many branches are now in the market with our goods and products competing with the world. Our cotton goods are largely exported, and we are your competitors in cotton fabrics everywhere. We are sending clocks, watches, dental instruments, edge-tools, and other manufactured commodities to England, locomotives to Russia and Brazil, and carpets to Norway and Sweden. With every variety of climate and soil, and almost unbounded mineral resources, in a few years, if our tariff system should remain as it is, we will become independent of Europe in almost everything, and in very many, if not most, branches of industry, be actual competitors with you in all markets of the world. In this small State of New Jersey more than 10,400 persons are now engaged in the manufacture of silk. The fabrics we are making equal those made in France, while our sewing silk is said to be the best made anywhere. We expect next year to export the last-named product to England, and before two years have passed to supply Europe with sewing silk. I single out and refer to the silk business among many other and vastly larger and more important branches of industry because it is new—the growth of the last seven or eight years—and clearly and entirely the child of Protection; and I have confined it to my own small State because I have not the statistics of this industry in any of the other States. Our census, which is to be taken this year, will show a condition of things with regard to our products, manufactures, and industries which will astonish Europe. We are making rapid—most rapid—progress in every branch of human industry. With regard to commerce, I do not see how Free Trade will ever help us to build ships, though I am ready to concede that Free Trade will create a demand for ships. Protection moans that the people are to be transported to where the food and the products for manufactures are produced, and that there the commodities shall be manufactured. Free Trade means the reverse of this: the people are to remain where they are, and the food to feed them and the material to be manufactured are to be taken to them. To transport the raw material (cotton) across the ocean, and the food to feed the operatives, requires ship3 and costs money, and the consumer of the manufactured product, whoever and wherever he may be, has to pay this cost. Fortunately for us, our people in the West have already seen this, and are now largely engaged in maunfacturing, while the people at the South are beginning to see it, and consequently are building manufactories: and the coming census will show an advance in the South and West that will astonish you. Chicago will appear as one of the largest manufacturing towns in the country, and the State of Ohio and these States to the west of it will soon equal the Fast—if not in kind, at least in quantity and value of the commodities they manufacture. You build ships; we build and equip railroads, and steamers for our rivers and lakes. Your commerce is mainly on the sea, and ours more on the land. I presume we put more money into railroads, locomotives, cars, and steamers for our rivers and lakes than you put into your 3hips. When we find it more profitable to build steamships for the ocean than to build railroads and steamers for our inland navigation we shall do it; and the day I may come, and is not probably very far! distant, when even without the subsidies: which you give your line of steamers (and which to this extent is only Protection in another form), you may again find us your competitors upon the ocean as well as on the land.