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THE TARIFF-ITS CHARACTER.
appeared to have forgotten Hamilton's report and their position respecting it, and the Democrats seemed equally oblivious of past predilections; as they now republished that famous report in their newspapers, and employed Federal thunder to destroy present Federal power. A few years afterward we shall find this position of parties entirely reversed, and each party in its new relations advocating with undiminished zeal free trade or protection.
The new tariff measure—which was slightly modified prior to its final passage-arranged imported articles into three classes : 1st. Those of which a full domestic supply could be produced; 2d. Those of which only a partial domestic supply could be afforded; and, 3d. Those produced at home very slightly, or not at all. On the first class it was proposed to levy a duty heavy enough to secure the market to the domestic manufacturer, leaving it to domestic competition to keep down the price. On the articles of the second class a duty of twenty per cent. was proposed, thus leaving the field open for foreign competition, and so protecting home labor that it might successfully rival and ultimately supply the whole market. The duties on the third class were adjusted more with reference to revenue than tariff, being articles of quite general consumption, and were, for the most part, of foreign production.
The selection of a successor to Mr. Madison attracted general attention both in and out of Congress. Mr. Mor was indorsed by Mr. Madison; but his nomination was strenuously resisted from personal considerations and an unwillingness to continue the “ Virginia Dynasty,” which had furnished the Union with Presidents twenty-four years out of twenty-eight. The opposition to Mr. Monroe was not concentrated, and at a caucus of the Democratic members of Congress, held March 16th, after two ineffectual attempts to pass a resolution declaring it inexpedient to make caucus nominations by members of Congress, Mr. Monroe was nominated, receiving sixty-five votes, to fifty-eight for William H. Crawford. Daniel D. Tompkins received eighty-five votes for Vice-President, and Simon Snyder of Pennsylvania received thirty votes. These nominations were declared unanimous.
The Federalists, still adhering to their party organization, put in nomination Rufus King for President. The Democratic candidates were elected by an overwhelming majority, receiving one hundred and eighty-three votes to thirty-four for the Federal candidates.
ADMINISTRATION OF JAMES MONROE, 1817-1825.
MR. MONROE was inducted into office on the 4th of March, 1817. His administration commenced under auspicious circumstances. The war with England had been brought to a peaceful and happy issue; party spirit was subdued, and the energies of the people were directed anew to the development of our national resources. The liberal tone of the President's inaugural address inspired confidence, and the future was hailed as an era of good feeling.
The President selected as his cabinet officers, John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State; William H. Crawford, Secretary of the Treasury; John C. Calhoun, Secretary of War; and William Wirt, Attorney-General. These were all of the Republican or Democratic school of politics.
The Administration was sustained by an overwhelming majority in both Houses of the fifteenth Congress. This body convened Dec. 1st, 1817. Henry Clay was chosen Speaker by a vote almost unanimous. From this time the old party lines, which had been drawn with so much rigor, became extinct in the national Congress.
Interests of great national magnitude demanding the consideration of Congress, evolved, as all momentous in
terests must to a greater or less extent, a contrariety of opinion, which after many years resulted in the reorganization of parties. The most prominent of these were protection to American manufactures; internal improvements by the General Government; the acknowledgment of the independence of South American republics, and the extension of slavery into new States beyond the Mississippi.
Mississippi was admitted as a State on the 10th of December, 1817; Indiana had been a member of the Confederacy since the 11th of December previous; and Illinois became a State on the 3d of December, 1818.
Internal duties having been abolished, it became necessary to provide some means for raising the revenue required for the support of Government. There was a strong and increasing sympathy in favor of supporting home industry and offering protection to the infant manufactures of the country:
The tariff of 1816 was amended, increasing the duties on articles already subject to charge, and adding others to the list. Such was the unanimity on this subject in Congress, that on an act continuing the duties on woollen and cotton goods for a period of seven years, there were but three dissenting voices in the Senate, and only sixteen in the House.
Congress gave early attention to the subject of internal improvements, to which the President had referred at great length in his Message.
No subject has received more earnest attention, or awakened a more lively interest in the public mind than that pertaining to the development of the internal resources of the country. In presenting a review of the
legislation on the system of internal improvements, we are restricted to a succinct exposition of facts, leaving the in telligent reader to draw his own inferences.
The phrase “internal improvements” must be taken in its popular signification, without confining it to the restricted view or extending it to the latitudinarian scope which is sometimes done: as defined by Gen. Jackson, “ in building piers, improving and preserving forts, bays, and harbors, and removing obstructions to the navigation of rivers."
The public record shows that the practice of making appropriations in some form, to promote internal improvements, had its origin with the Government, and has continued from that time to the present. The wisdom of such a policy is revealed in the growing and abounding prosperity of the entire country. The continuity of this system has, from time to time, been interrupted by the executive veto of bills containing features considered objectionable; and the frequency of such obstacles in the way of continued improvements during these latter years, demonstrates “ that there is no public principle further from being settled than that upon which this very legislation has been founded—none upon which parties seem disposed to wage a more vehement or interminable warfare.”
The constitutional provisions upon which the advocates of internal improvements rest the authority of such legislation, or the guarantees under which they act, are the following:
“ Congress shall have power to establish post-offices and post-roads.
“ To declare war.
“ To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among
the several States, and with the Indian tribes.