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32D CONG.....2D SESS.
offices, and in the quantity of mail matter transported.. Probable cost of postage stamps and envelopes
Report of the Postmaster General.
It appears from the report of the Auditor for this Department, hereto annexed, that the whole amount of postages, inland, sea, and foreign, on letters and other mailable matter received and sent by the several lines of United States steamers, during the last fiscal year, was as follows, viz: By Collins line, New York and Liverpool.....$228,867 61 By New York and Bremen line, touching at 77,219 87
By New York and Havre line, touching at
By Charleston and Havana line...
3,243,541 22 25,000 00 $8,745,777 20
To meet these expenditures of the Department for the present fiscal year, it has, under existing laws, resources which it is estimated will produce the following sums, to wit:
1st. The available balance at the credit of the revenues of the Department on the 1st day of July last, stated by the Auditor to be..... $566,632 57
2d. Receipts from postage, (foreign and inland,) deducting estimated balances due to foreign Governments...
3d. Annual appropriation made by the 12th section of the act of 3d March, 1847, in compensation for mail service performed for the various departments of the Government... 200,000 00 4th. Annual appropriations made by the 8th section of the act of 3d March, 1851, "in further payment and compensation for mail service performed for the two Houses of Congress and other departments and offices of Government in the transportation of free matter"........ 5th. Contingent appropriation inade by the 9th section of the act of the 3d of March, 1851.
500,000 00 $7,417,790 83
The above aggregate deducted from the estimated amount of expenses for the current year, leaves a deficit of $1,327,986 37 to be provided for by direct appropriation from the Treasury.
A further and larger appropriation will probably be necessary to meet the deficiency in the revenue of the fiscal year commencing on the first of July next. An estimate of this deficiency, and of that of the current fiscal year, as here set forth, will be
submitted to Congress.
The negotiations for increased expedition on the great mail line between New York and New Orleans, which were in progress at the date of the last annual report from this Department, were brought to a favorable conclusion in time to commence the improved service on the first of March last. By this arrangement the time required for the regular transportation of the mail from New York to New Orleans was reduced twenty-four hours, and from New Orleans to New York thirty eight hours. Additional trains were so arranged on different parts of the route as to render failures of connection less frequent, and shorten the delay from twenty-four to twelve hours, in cases where the connection was unavoidably broken. Certainty and celerity on this line cannot be relied on while the service on an important link in the chain of routes composing it is performed in steamers, on the stormy and unsheltered coast between Wilmington and Charleston.
The completion of the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad during the next year will, it is believed, enable the Department to avoid this uncertain portion of the present line.
The service between New York and Washington, though much improved by the arrangements referred to, is still defective and unsatisfactory. The endeavors of this Department to improve this service have been rendered abortive by a want of unity among the railroad companies interested in the line, and a spirit of accommodation on the part of the companies running between Philadelphia |
and New York.
There being no competing lines or modes of conveyance by which this Department can secure connections and otherwise facilitate the transportation of the mails between Washington and New York, it is compelled to accept such independent service as each company on the line will consent to render, and is thus made powerless to enforce the demands of the public. I would respectfully suggest that if Congress, in the exercise of its power over the establishment of post roads, can remedy this evil, the subject is worthy of the early attention of that body.
On letters received-
$25,377 08 22,144 60
80,804 08 11,958 99
$47,521 68 The amount of postage on letters sent from the United States to New Brunswick wasUnpaid.... $2,356 38 Paid..... 2,778 71
$1,784 07 1,893 40
$3,677 47 Congress having, by the 2d section of an act approved 21st August, 1852, authorized the Postmaster General, upon certain conditions, to enter into contract for the transportation of the mail by steamers plying between Boston and Halifax, a postal arrangement is now in process of completion with the Province of Nova Scotia, by which the postage on this route will be the same as is now paid by the way of New Brunswick.
In pursuance of the requirements of an act approved August 30, 1852, advertisements have been published for proposals for mail service by ocean steamers between New Orleans and Vera Cruz via Tampico, embracing also (for the purpose of obtaining information) an extension of the service to Acapulco, and thence to San Francisco. These proposals are to be opened, and a decision made on such portions of them as are authorized by said act, (that is, for service from New Orleans to Vera Cruz,) on the 3d of January next. The Department will of course await the directions of Congress after the information is obtained as to the remainder of the route.
By the 11th section of an act approved August 31, 1852, provision is made for daily mail service, by suitable and safe steamers, between Louisville and Cairo, St. Louis and Cairo, Cairo and Memphis, and Memphis and New Orleans.
It is deemed important not only to the cities enumerated, and to the intermediate places on the rivers to be covered by this service, but due also to the great and increasing West that these lines should be so established as fully to secure the object contemplated, to wit, a certain, regular, safe, and reliable daily service on these several routes.
The relative position of the western section of our Union, its present importance, and prospective greatness, alike demand that its people should be provided with the best postal facilities that the Department can supply. To accomplish this, it has sought information from various sources as to the requirements of the service, and will soon advertise for such as will, it is believed, fully carry into effect the intention of the act, and meet the just demands of that interesting section of our country. With the last annual report from this Department were published interesting tabular statements of the extent and increase of its business at the several periods of five years from 1790 to 1835, inclusive, and for each year from 1840 to 1851, inclusive. The extent and cost of steamboat and railroad service were not separately given in those statements, nor have they been so contained in any published report from the Department prior to 1848. Since that time, however, in the annual exhibit from the Contract Office of the mail service in operation at the close of each fiscal year, the two kinds of service have been separated. As
A new compilation of laws relating to this Department, and of amended regulations adopted for enforcing them, for the guidance of its officers and the conduct of its business, was in course of preparation at the date of the last annual report from this Department. It has since been perfected, and published by my predecessor, and distributed to the several postmasters, and 'copies sent to the members of both Houses of Congress.
the annual increase of both kinds in extent and cost strikingly illustrates the steady and rapid growth of our country, I submit the following
SENATE & HO. OF REPS.
statement of the extent and cost of each at the close of each fiscal year from 1848 to 1852, inclusive:
Annual cost of steamboat service Annual cost railroad service
Miles of steamboat ser
4,385,800 4,083,976 4,109,981 Miles of railroad service.. 4,327,400 4,861,177 6,524,593
$262,019 $278, 650 $313,943
635,740 818,227 $914,390 $1,132,170
Miles of steamboat service... Miles of railroad service..
5,454,982 6,353,409 8,568,707 11,082,768
Annual cost of steamboat service...
By the third section of the act approved August 31, 1852, making appropriations for the service of this Department, it is provided that the salaries of all route-agents be increased to one thousand dollars per annum.
$454,892 $505,815 985,019 1,275,520
The effect of this provision is to give the same compensation to each one of these agents, without reference to the amount of service rendered by them respectively, and it takes from the Postmaster General the power of adjusting their pay according to the labor and responsibility of the service performed by them. It operates unequally, and, with the present amount of railroad service, has increased the cost of transporting the mails more than $50,000. I respectfully recommend the repeal of this provision, and that the Postmaster General be authorized to graduate these salaries according to the service performed.
The contractor on the route from Salt Lake City to Sacramento, in California, never having performed efficient service on that route, this Department has entered into an arrangement with another contractor, who binds himself not only to perform the service as originally required, but also to establish and maintain a fortified post or station at Carson's Valley, which will, it is expected, increase the security of the mails, and afford protection to the numerous emigrant trains on their journey to California.
Since the last annual report from this Department the Collins line of steamers has continued its service between New York and Liverpool, accord
ing to an arrangement then existing, by which weekly trips in American steamers were secured between these two countries. The ships of this line have preserved their early reputation for unrivaled speed and sea-worthiness. Their departures have been punctual, and they have performed their voyages with great regularity. The company has kept a spare ship in port ready to replace any one which might be temporarily disabled or withdrawn for repairs, and has in other respects manifested a disposition to perform the service in a creditable manner.
By the act of August 31, 1852, this Department was authorized to make an arrangement with the Ocean Steam Navigation Company for one additional trip on the Havre line, and one additional trip on the Bremen line, until the expiration of their existing contract, and also in its discretion to negotiate for the change of the Havre line from Havre to Antwerp. Owing, as is stated by the proprietors of those lines, to the inadequacy of the remuneration received for their present service, they are unwilling to extend it, either by increasing the number of their trips, or adding to the length of their voyages. They complain that while the Collins line receives $33,000 a trip, the Havre line receives only $12,500, and the Bremen line only $16,666, for service, in the latter case, more arduous in its nature, and over a longer route. They ask that such remuneration may be given them as will justify their increasing the number of their ships, and thus enable them not only to meet the requirements of the service by changing the terminus of their route from Havre to Antwerp, but also perform such additional trips as may be desired.
32D CONG.....2D SESS.
Report of the Postmaster General.
States, to operate independently of our treaty with Great Britain. How far the negotiations on this subject have progressed I am not at present prepared to state. It is hoped, however, that they may be conducted to a favorable issue at an early day. Connected with this project, France proposes, in conjunction with the United States, to establish a union line of mail steamships direct between New York and Havre.
As an inducement for this increase of pay, they show that in addition to their having performed their mail service as efficiently as could be expected with the limited means allowed them, the exports from Germany to this country have increased since they commenced running from $3,000,000 to $10,000,000; that the number of emigrants is increasing, and the gross sum which they at present bring to this country amounts to $15,000,000 annually. It was for this object-for the purpose of extending our intercourse and increasing our mercantile relations with Germany-that this line was established. The results have equaled the expectations of its friends, and it now remains for Congress to decide whether the necessary aid shall be extended, or whether we shall abandon to the English the profits of our increasing trade with the advantages that flow from it.
Semi-monthly ocean service, as last reported from this Department, was continued between New York and California and Oregon until July last, when, under authority of a provision contained in the naval appropriation act of March 3d, 1851, the running of the mail steamers on the New York, Havana, New Orleans, and Chagres lines was rearranged, so as to afford a more direct dispatch of the mails to and from the Pacific. This service is now divided into three distinct lines, viz: from New York and New Orleans to Aspinwall, both direct; and from New York by Havana to New Orleans. This change is made with the assent of the Secretary of the Navy, on the application of the contractors, and with the understanding that the Government is not responsible for any additional expense involved in it. The former arrangement may be restored at the desire of either party on one month's notice.
By this convention a uniform postage rate of thirty cents-prepayment of which is optional in either country-is established for all letters not exceeding half an ounce in weight between the two countries. Six cents is the rate established for each newspaper, to be prepaid. This convention also provides for the transmission of mails, not only through Germany, but also through the United States to countries beyond, and has induced this Department to discontinue the closed mail to Bremen. It is estimated that the countries (including the German Austrian Postal Union) which are thus brought into postal communication with the United States, embrace a population of seventy millions.
The convention between this Department and the Post Office Department of Prussia, which at the date of the last annual report from the Post-ify master General remained unexecuted, has since been concluded, and went into operation in October last. This convention provides for a closed mail to be dispatched in each direction between the United States and Prussia regularly twice a week, via London and Ostend. New York and Boston are the offices of exchange on the part of the United States, and Aix-la-Chapelle is the corresponding office of exchange on the part of Prus
As a necessary consequence of our convention with Prussia, the larger part of the continental correspondence which formerly went by the way of Bremen is now sent via London, Ostend, and Aix-la-Chapelle, the latter being the more expeditious route. The mails for Bremen, however, and such as may be addressed via Bremen to other German States, and countries beyond, will continue to be dispatched monthly by the New York and Bremen line.
A projet of a postal convention between the United States and Belgium has been prepared and submitted by this Department for approval to the Belgian Government, and it is confidently expected that in the course of a few months at furthest an arrangement which shall be mutually advantageous will be duly sanctioned and put in operation.
Our postal convention with Great Britain has not yet been so modified as to admit of the exchange of a closed mail with France via England; the British Government, with reference to such mail, still insisting on a transit postage of twentyfour cents an ounce.
Under our postal treaty with Great Britain additional articles have been agreed upon, and are ready for signature, providing for a regular mail arrangement between the United States and the West Indies generally, and points on the coast of Mexico and northern coast of South America, at which the British mail packets touch. To the British West Indies the United States single rate of letter postage, which must be prepaid on letters sent from and collected on letters received in the United States, will be ten cents, where the distance from the mailing office is under 2,500 miles, and twenty cents where the distance exceeds 2,500 miles. To the West Indies, (not British,) Mexico and South America, by this channel, the British postage of twenty-four cents the single rate, also required to be prepaid, must be added to the ten or twenty cents United States rate, according to distance as above. This arrangement it is expected will go into effect without delay.
France has manifested a disposition for improved mail facilities with this country, and has made proposals for a postal treaty with the United
In accordance with the wishes of the Hawaiian Government, arrangements have been made by which letters for the Sandwich Islands are dispatched in sealed packets by each mail steamer from New York, and conveyed through to Honolulu without being opened. On all letters and newspapers for these Islands, however, as well as to China, by this route, it is required that the United States postage to San Francisco be prepaid. The act of March 3, 1851, "to reduce and modthe rates of postage in the United States and for other purposes," authorized the Postmaster General to allow increased commissions to postmasters whose labors had been increased and their commissions reduced by the operation of that act. The maximum allowance thus authorized was twenty per cent. added to the amount of commissions received for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1851. In the exercise of the authority thus granted, the late Postmaster General issued an order on the 29th of October, 1851, allowing increased commissions to all postmasters entitled thereto, varying from ten to twenty per cent., according to the gross receipts of their offices. This order applied to the settlement of the accounts for the fiscal year 1852, and reserved the rate of allowance to be made thereafter "for future consideration, after accounts for the first three quarters of that year should have been adjusted by the Auditor." When the result of this adjustment was reported to him, the late Postmaster General issued the following order, which is now in force:
POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, August 7, 1852. The Postmaster General being satisfied that the labors of postmasters have been so increased with the increasing business of the country, and by the operations of the act "to reduce and modify the rates of postage in the United States, and for other purposes," approved March 3, 1851, that the highest additional allowance of commissions authorized by the sixth section of that act will not afford them more than a reasonable compensation for such increased labors, it is
Ordered, That (with the restrictions and limitations hereinafter mentioned) the Auditor of the Treasury for the Post Office Department, in settling the accounts of postmasters for the fiscal year ending 30th of June, 1853, and for each succeeding year until otherwise ordered, shall, upon satisfactory proof being furnished him by affidavit, or otherwise, that the labors of any postmaster have been increased, and and credit such postmaster the same amount of commishis commissions reduced, as provided for by said act, allow
sions allowed at his office for the fiscal year ended the 30th of June, 1851, with twenty per cent. thereon added thereto. Provided, however, That the commissions to be allowed at any post office (other than a distributing office) shall not exceed the postages collected at such office during the period for which such allowance is made: And provided further, That there shall not be allowed at any office where
the compensation of the postmaster is by law limited to a fixed annual salary, or compensation, any greater sum than shall be equired to pay such salary or compensation, and the actual and necessary expenses of his office.
N. K. HALL, Postmaster General. It will be perceived that this order makes it necessary, in the settlement of each postmaster's quarterly account, to compare the current business of his office with that of the corresponding quarter of the year 1851, and that his commission account for each quarter must remain unsettled until the
SENATE & HO. OF REPS.
end of the year, that the aggregate commissions accruing may be compared with the commissions allowed for that year. The effect of this in delaying and embarrassing the settlement of accounts in the Auditor's office, and increasing the labor of such settlement, is fully shown in the following letter from the Auditor, who recommends a repeal of the provision requiring this mode of settlement, and a return to the old system of uniform rates of commission on the amount of postages collected. I concur in his recommendation, both as to the repeal of the existing law, and the rates of commission to be allowed:
AUDITOR'S OFFICE, P. O. D., November 19, 1852.
SIR: It is found in practice that the acts of Congress respecting the allowance of additional commissions to postmasters are extremely inconvenient and burdensome to this
office. The sixth section of the act entitled "An act to
reduce and modify the rates of stage," &c., approved March 3, 1851, provides, "That to any postmaster whose commissions may be reduced below the amount allowed at his office for the year ending the 30th of June, 1851, and whose labors may be increased, the Postmaster General shall be authorized in his discretion to allow such additional commissions as he may deem just and proper; provided that the whole amount of commissions allowed such postmaster during any fiscal year shall not exceed by more than twenty per centum the amount of commissions at such office for the year ending the 30th day of June, 1851."
And the ninth section of the act entitled "An act to establish certain post roads, and for other purposes," approved August 31st, 1852, provides, "that the Auditor of the Treas ury for the Post Office Department may, under such regulations and restrictions as the Postmaster General may prescribe, allow to every postmaster whose office was not established until after the 1st day of July, 1850, or whose commissions, in consequence of the increase of labor and business of his office, shall have equaled or exceeded the commissions allowed at such office for the year ending on the 30th day of June, 1851, such compensation in addition to his legal commissions as will, in the judgment of such Auditor, make the compensation of such postmaster equal, as near as may be, to the compensation of other postmasters in the same section of the country whose labors are the same as his, and who are entitled to additional allowance under the sixth section of the act entitled 'An act to reduce and modify the rates of postage in the United States, and for of the Postmaster General, made in pursuance of the proother purposes,' approved March 3, 1851, and under orders visions of the said sixth section of the act aforesaid."
To entitle a postmaster to additional commissions under these laws, it must satisfactorily appear, first, that by their enactment and operation the labors of his office have been increased, and that his commissions have been reduced beJow the amount allowed for the fiscal year that ended on the 30th of June, 1851; or, secondly, that his "office was not established until after the 1st day of July, 1850." &c. If these facts are sufficiently shown, additional commission at different rates is, according to the present practice, allowed as follows:
1. Where the commissions of the postmaster for the year ending June 30, 1851, did not exceed $50, the same amount of commissions which was allowed for that year, with twenty per cent. added thereto, is allowed him.
2. Where they exceeded $50, but did not exceed $100,fthe same amount with fifteen per cent. added thereto is allowed. 3. Where they exceeded $100, but not $500, the same amount with twelve and a half per cent. added thereto, is
4. Where they exceeded $500, the same amount, with ten per cent. added thereto, is allowed; but the commissions allowed to any postmaster (other than at a distributing office) are not permitted to exceed the postages collected at his office during the period for which the allowance is made.
5. Where the office was not established until after the 1st day of July, 1850, &c., such compensation, in addition to his legal commissions, is allowed the postmaster as will make his compensation equal, as near as may be, to the compensation of other postmasters in the same section of the country, &c.
These various contingencies and conditions cannot be determined until the accounts for an entire fiscal year are adjusted. Commissions are therefore computed by postmasters, in their quarterly accounts, mainly according to the old rates of allowance. And the adjustment of additional commissions has become, as it were, a separate business, superadded to the adjustment of quarterly accounts, and is devolved exclusively upon this office. First, it audits and adjusts the quarterly accounts of some twenty thousand postmasters, and then, as the additional commissions are dependent for their allowance upon no uniform rule, operating equally and applicable alike to all postmasters, but upon the facts of each particular case; it has, at the end of a fiscal year, to reexamine those twenty thousand accounts to see which of them are entitled, and in what proportions, to said additional compensation. Postmasters, meanwhile, not knowing what additional allowances may be made them, are unable to determine how much they owe the De
partment at the end of each quarter and at the close of the year. Their accounts and the post office accounts necessarily disagree; and by consequence some pay too much, others not enough, and others, again, excuse themselves from any payment.
Furthermore, these disagreements produce confusion and perplexity in settlements, retard collections, and require, in explanation and removal of the difficulties they create, a correspondence beyond the ability of this officer to conduct with requisite promptness; and although the most strenuous exertions are made, with an insufficient force, to meet and respond to the additional demands thus made upon the office, postmasters complain, and with apparent reason, that their letters are not duly answered.
32D CONG....2D SESS.
Another evil is, that the additional labor thus thrown upon the office has interrupted and retarded its current and general business to a degree that calls for immediate relief, and I have no hesitation in saying that it is impracticable to continue to adjust commissions in the manner at present required to comply with the law. The only effectual remedy for these evils is the adoption of the old system of uniform rates of percentage upon the proceeds of offices, depending on no condition or discretion; and I would respectfully suggest the following as a scale of rates that should be adopted and tried, víz:
Say, for an office collecting postage to the amount
Allow on $100, 50 per cent. commnission...$50 00
The Tariff-Mr. Stanton, of Ohio.
been enabled to furnish, in his annexed report,
Number of newspapers and other packages of
printed matter chargeable with postage........87,710,490 Number of exchange newspapers..
Newspapers circulated free within the counties
Number of letters conveyed by Cunard line of
I also think that a postmaster should be entitled to a small compensation, say to the amount of 2 mills (or about 24 cents per quarter for a weekly paper) for delivering from his office to a subscriber each newspaper not now chargeable with postage.
I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient
The attention of Congress should, I think, be called to the fact, that although the 6th and 7th sections of the act of 3d March, 1851, before referred to, provide that neither the compensation of postmasters nor the ordinary extension of mail service should be diminished in consequence of any diminution of the revenues resulting from that act, no provision was made for the protection of the rights and interests of a large class of persons employed as contractors on special routes, and as mail messengers, whose compensation depends upon the amount received from postages at the offices supplied by them.
There are not less than twenty-five hundred persons employed in carrying the mail for the net proceeds of the offices supplied-limited, however, in every case to a certain sum equal to that paid for similar service on public routes in the same section.
Desirous, however, to comply as far as possible with the request of the Senate, the late Postmaster General referred the resolution to the Auditor for this Department, immediately on its receipt, and desired him to adopt such means as remained in his power for collecting the information called for. By corresponding with postmasters at the principal offices, and from the accounts returned to his office for settlement, the Auditor has made (in cases where perfect accuracy could not be attained) estimates which are deemed reliable, and has thus
.13,541 52 38,505 .$1,815 65 3,801 2,587
In his last annual report my predecessor in office suggested that it should be earnestly and urgently recommended to Congress to take immediate and effectual measures for the extension of the west wing of the building occupied by this Department, or for the erection of its north front according to the original plan.
It would seem unnecessary for me to say that the reasons then urged for an enlargement of the building have become more imperative. Important papers are accumulating in the unsafe rooms over the city post office, to which it became necessary to remove a part of the force of the Auditor's office in consequence of the crowded state of the rooms in the main building. More room, too, is required for the accommodation of the city post office, and it can only be provided by the proposed enlargement.
On a few of these special routes the amount collected is more than sufficient to pay the contractor, and considerable balances remain to be applied to the ordinary expenses of the Department, but on a large portion of them the amount received even under the old rates of postage was insufficient to pay the compensation allowable for his service. Upon this class of contractors the reduction of postages operated with great hardship, and every additional allowance to the Postmaster has still further diminished the fund which alone can be applied to the payment of the contractor.
On the 25th of March last, the Senate adopted a resolution, by which the Postmaster General was requested to embody in his next annual report answers to numerous questions embraced in the resolution, relating to the business of this Department, and its receipts and expenditures, under various enumerated heads, for the fiscal year ending 30th June, 1852.
quent saving in fuel.
Much of the information sought by these questions could not be furnished in the form desired from the accounts ordinarily rendered by postmas-ducing it would be soon reimbursed by the conseters, nor from the books of the Auditor's office, in which the accounts of this Department are kept. Neither could it be furnished with perfect accuracy for the whole year in any other mode than by prescribing to postmasters, before the commencement of the year, a new form of accounts to be kept for this object, in addition to those now required from them; and, as nearly three months of the year had elapsed before the passage of the resolution, it was obviously impossible to overcome this difficulty.
When it is considered that much time must be consumed before the additional structure can be completed, and that in the mean time the existing evil will continue to increase, I cannot doubt that Congress will take immediate action in the matter when the attention of that body shall be directed to it.
The grand jury of Philadelphia have presented the rooms occupied as a post office in that city, and ascribe the numerous charges which are made against it to the deficiencies of the building, rather than to any want of diligence and attention to their duties on the part of its officers. This Department does not feel itself justified, even if it possessed the power, to erect a new office, but, while it recommends, respectfully, leaves it to Congress to supply the remedy.
At the last session of Congress a resolution was introduced, but not acted on, authorizing the Postmaster General to allow at his discretion a sum not exceeding $20,000 to the contractors for carrying the mail between this city and Richmond, and thus enable them to keep in operation the ice-boats necessary to secure certainty and prevent delay in the transportation of the mails on that route. I respectfully ask that the attention of Congress be called to this resolution, and that its passage be recommended.
To the PRESIDENT.
This Department has received, through the medium of the Hon. Abbott Lawrence, late Minister to England, the proceeding of an association formed in London for the purpose of promoting a cheap and uniform system of international postage. The object aimed at by this association is very desirable, and well worthy of the attention of this Government; but in the imperfect state of our foreign postal arrangements 1 deem it inexpedient to enter at present on any new experiment.
In conclusion, I desire to express my obligations to my predecessor, the Hon. N. K. Hall, for the aid he has afforded me in compiling this report. The statistics he had in preparation, and the method he had established in the Department, have materially assisted me in the discharge of my duties.
I would respectfully recommend that a statistical and historical sketch of this Department, which he submitted to the Post Office Committees of Congress, be continued, as a valuable work of reference.
The industry and attention to their laborious duties exhibited by the Assistant Postmaster General, the Chief Clerk, and the other Clerks of this Department, demand my thanks, which are gratefully rendered.
I have the honor to be, your obedient servant,
Ho. OF REPS.
Mr. STANTON, of Ohio, said:
Mr. CHAIRMAN: So long as this discussion was confined to the revenue aspect of the tariff, I was not disposed to participate in it. But since it has been so extended as to include its effects upon the industrial interests of the country, I feel disposed, as a representative of a grain-growing, agricultural district, to give my views upon it. I feel the more inclined to do this, for the reason that some gentlemen on this side of the House have advanced doctrines against which I wish to enter my protest.
The gentleman from New York, [Mr. BROOKS,] on the first presentation of this subject, incorporated in his published remarks a project of a bill,
I think it proper to state in connection with this subject that, owing to injudicious construction of the chimneys in the Post Office Building, the De-indicating the modifications he desired to make in partment has been subjected to great expense in the tariff of 1846. One of these was the admission fruitless attempts to warm the several rooms with- of wool, costing not more than ten cents per pound, out the diffusion of gas and smoke. I respectfully at the place of production, duty free. suggest that it would not only conduce greatly to the relief and comfort of the officers employed in the building to have it warmed by means of hot water or steam pipes, but that this method would also prove, it is believed, much less expensive than the present one, and that the cost of
The gentleman from Massachusetts, [Mr. DUNCAN,] in his remarks the other day, proposed to abolish the duty on coarse wool and flax. I do not know that flax is extensively produced in this country. But I do not see why it is not as well intro-adapted to the soil and climate of this country as any other; and I suppose it will be produced whenever the demand will justify.
As to coarse wool, I know it is said that the description of wool sought to be exempted from duty is not produced in this country, and that the wool-growers of this country will not be affected by abolishing the duty. It is impossible to determine with any certainty what quality of wool may be produced at ten cents per pound in the temperate climate, and upon the wild lands of South America, where it costs nothing but the labor of shearing. I can see no reason why fine sheep may not be introduced there, that would produce a fair quality of wool at a low price, for many years, before the climate would deteriorate it to the lowest grade of wool that is in use.
But my information is, that the coarse wool that is now imported is so mixed with dirt when imported that it loses from twenty-five to fifty per cent. in weight in the process of cleansing before it fit for use. So that while it may in fact not be worth more than ten cents per pound at the place of production, in the condition in which it is
MODIFICATION OF THE TARIFF.
SPEECH OF HON. BENJ. STANTON,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
On the Tariff question; delivered in the Committee
32D CONG.....1ST SESS.
APPENDIX TO THE CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE.
The Tariff-Mr. Stanton, of Ohio.
for turning them out of office, but not for increas
imported, yet it may be worth from fifteen to twenty cents when it is cleansed and prepared for the manufacturer.
But aside from these considerations, there is the risk of false invoices and custom-house oaths, under which my friends from New York [Mr. BROOKS] and Massachusetts [Mr. DUNCAN] tell me immense frauds are constantly perpetrated. And this is a difficulty that I see no way of avoiding, as the quality to be imported free of duty must be determined by a foreign valuation, as 1 do not understand that anybody proposes to substitute a custom-house valuation in this country for the foreign valuation now in use. The wool growing interest is now one of the largest and most important in the country, and cannot be sacrificed or placed in jeopardy for any real or imaginary benefit that is to result to the manufac turer. We will unite with you in imposing any duty on importations of woolen goods that may 'be necessary to enable you to sustain your manufacturers; but we cannot consent to sustain them by reducing the price of our products. The friends of protection have no more steadfast ally upon this floor than I am; but they cannot expect me to support a measure which strikes at one of the most important interests of the district which I represent.
The proposition before the committee is for an inquiry into the proper mode of reducing the revenue arising from the duties on imports to such an amount as will be only sufficient, with the revenue arising from other sources, to defray the expenses of the Government under an economical administration.
If the existing surplus with that which may hereafter accrue, could be applied to the improvement of the rivers and harbors of the country, and to other works of internal improvement, of a national character, I should be opposed to any reduction; or if the national debt was now redeemable, or the stocks of the Government could be purchased at a reasonable rate, or if a sinking fund could be created in such a manner as to be secure, and yield any reasonable profits, I should regard it as preferable to any diminution of the revenue. But assuming that no such disposition can or will be made of it, the question arises, How shall its accumulation be prevented?
Besides the effect which locking up so large a sum in the coffers of the Government may have upon the trade and business of the country, there are other objections to the accumulation of a large surplus, which have a controlling influence on my mind. The natural, necessary, and inevitable tendency of a continued surplus in the Treasury, is to bezet profligate and extravagant expenditures. Public functionaries will be pressing for increased compensation; claimants upon the Government will be prompted to enlarge their demands; and new claims, hitherto unheard of, will be gotten up, and pressed upon Congress and the Executive Departments, by all the corrupt and corrupting appliances which avarice and cupidity can devise. Already a proposition is made to build mansionhouses for the Vice President and heads of Departments, and to furnish them, and provide them with lights and fuel, at the public expense.
Propositions are also pending, for additional compensation to some three or four additional lines of ocean mail steamers, based upon the precedent set at the last session, in the appropriationing, for the Collins line. And from all parts of the country there will come up a deafening horseleech cry of "Give!" "Give!" If the evil consequences of this state of things did not extend beyond the loss of some twenty or thirty millions, of which the public Treasury will be plundered, it would not be a matter of so much importance.
But the tendency of such a state of things, to beget extravagance and profligacy in public and private expenditures, and to pervert the moral sense of public functionaries, must go far to impair and undermine republican institutions, and bring them into disgrace and contempt.
I have no sympathy with the clamor which I hear, about the sufferings of the office holders, on account of their inability to live upon the compensation now allowed by law. If any of the heads of Departments cannot live on $6,000 a year, it would, to my mind, furnish a very good reason
The great mass of the people of the country, who pay the revenues from which the compensation of public functionaries is derived, live on a smaller annual income than is paid to the worst paid clerk in the public service. And I can see no reason why the hired servants of the people should be paid better than their masters.
A public functionary acquires no additional dignity or consequence in the estimation of any sensible man, at home or abroad, by clothing himself in "purple and fine linen, 'or attempting, in any manner, to ape the nobility or aristocracy of the old broken down despotisms of Europe. On the contrary, he brings upon himself and his country the ridicule and contempt of the very men whose footsteps he is so obsequiously following. The consideration and standing of the United States does not depend upon any matter of court etiquette or silly display, but upon the power and resources of the country, and the character of the people for honesty, intelligence, enterprise, and courage; upon their capacity to understand their rights, and upon the spirit and courage with which they are always ready to maintain them. Economy in public expenditures, and plainness and simplicity in public functionaries, is indispensable to the preservation of republican institu
For these reasons I am opposed to the accumulation of any considerable surplus in the public Treasury, and am prepared to go into the inquiry as to the best mode of preventing it. Two prominent modes of accomplishing this object are presented.
1st. By making a pro rata reduction of duties upon all imports that now pay duty.
2d. By abolishing entirely the duties upon sun-
The first I understand to be the one generally
I cannot perceive the wisdom of importing immense cargoes of railroad iron from Wales and England, and laying it down upon the banks of the Juniata, and the tributaries of the Alleghany, over the richest deposits of iron and coal that can be found in the universe, and sending the wheat raised upon the adjoining farms in New York and Pennsylvania, to Wales and England to pay for it. I think it would be better to bring the opera
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tives from Wales and England to New York and
In short, I believe that reason and common sense teaches, and that all experience proves, that national and individual prosperity is best promoted and secured, by each nation producing by the labor of its own citizens, every commodity adapted to its soil and climate, which can be produced with as little labor at home as abroad. Alkhistory proves that where there is the greatest diversity of pursuits, and the most extensive exchange of commodities amongst the people of any country, there is always the largest accumulation of wealth, and the greatest national and individual prosperity.
On the other hand, where a nation devotes the labor of its entire population to a single pursuit, (and especially to agriculture,) the people are uniformly poor, and the nation feeble and defenseless. The reason is obvious. Raw agricultural products are extremely bulky and heavy in proportion to their value. Many of them will not bear transportation at all.
The timber of Minnesota and Wisconsin would be worth millions in the neighborhood of New York or Cincinnati, but is an incumbrance to the owner of the land, who has to destroy it at great labor and expense to bring his land into cultivation.
A bushel of wheat cannot be transported from the interior of Indiana or Illinois, to Liverpool, for less than sixty cents, and will sell for one dollar and twenty cents when it gets there, leaving the farmer sixty cents.
Thus for the leading staple of the Northwest, the cost of transportation is equal to the cost of production, and equal to fifty per cent. upon the selling price at the place of consumption.
On the other hand, a manufacturer in Manchester sends to Indiana or Illinois an equal weight of silks or other fine fabrics for about the same price, say sixty or seventy-five cents, and sells them for $1,200 or $1,500. The cost of transportation is nothing. And while the British manufacturer can send his fabrics to any part of the commercial world and sell them at five or ten per cent. advance upon the cost of production in Manchester or Leeds, the American farmer is confined to such commodities, and such markets as will pay transportation. No wonder John Bull is willing to pay liberally for teaching Brother Jonathan the mysteries of free trade.
If we were the sole producer of these agricultural products, and could command our own prices in foreign markets, we might, by demanding high prices for them, to some extent indemnify ourselves against the enormous expense of transpor
But our farmers have to come into competition with the wheat-growers from Russia, Poland, the northern part of Germany, and other countries bordering upon the Baltic and Black seas. They can produce wheat as cheap or cheaper than we can, and are much closer to the market. We are therefore compelled to sell as cheap as they do, or not sell at all.
It must be obvious that such a trade as this is entirely one-sided, and that an agricultural country can stand no chance with a manufacturing country under unrestricted free trade. Hence, you find that the great centers of commerce are always in the manufacturing countries. Why is it that exchange is in favor of London against the whole commercial world? Because England is the great work-shop of the world, and exchanges her light and costly fabrics for the raw and bulky productions of other countries. It is not my intention, however, to discuss in detail, or at any considerable length, this doctrine of protec
I desire, however, to notice one point made in the very able speech of the gentleman from South Carolina, [Mr. WOODWARD,] the other day.
His proposition is, that a permanent revenue tariff is impossible. That it is the difference between the cost of foreign and domestic production, that enables imports to pay duties. That this difference is constantly diminishing. That American skill is advancing. American profits are low
The Tariff-Mr. Stanton, of Ohio.
pone the introduction of manufactures until we are driven to it, to find employment for our population at starving wages; or whether we shall encourage their introduction, by protecting them in their infancy, and by diversifying the pursuits of our people now, and by increasing the rewards of labor, postpone to some remote and distant day, if not forever, the time when labor shall be driven by want to seek employment at inadequate wages.
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ering. American economy is improving. Machinery-which makes everything now the hands of man do but little-is as skillful in the United States as in England.
If there could be any doubt about the soundness of the gentleman's logic, his illustrations prove its correctness beyond controversy.
It is undoubtedly true, that the competition between foreign and domestic manufacturers, is constantly stimulating the enterprise and invention of our people, to introduce cheaper modes of production to such an extent, that even ad valorem duties, that are constantly diminishing with the diminished cost of imports, ultimately become prohibitory, and yield no revenue. But does it never occur to the gentleman, that while the revenues of the Government are diminishing, the people are gaining in the diminished cost of the commodities which they consume, and in the diversity of pursuits amongst our people, which makes them purchasers of each other's products, instead of rivals in the sale of the same commodity?
And while I admit that the gentleman's argument is sound, so far as it applies to the effect of the tariff upon the revenue, I think he must also admit that when the friends of protection use the same argument to show that commodities are ultimately reduced in price to the consumer by steady and uniform protection, that they are also cor
In fact the gentleman's argument is a full and unequivocal admission of the proposition which the advocates of protection have been urging upon the country for thirty or forty years; that the ultimate effect of protection would be, to reduce the price of the protected article. This argument has heretofore been scoffed and jeered at, by the opponents of protection, as ridiculous and absurd. I am much gratified to find that it has secured the powerful support of so distinguished an advocate of free trade as the gentleman from South Carolina. The gentleman is not only right in his facts and conclusions, but he assigned the true reason for the onstant depreciation in the price of protected imports. It is American skill, industry, and interprise, stimulated by both foreign and domestic competi
When there is no domestic product to come in competition with the dutiable import, this constant reduction does not take place; and if it did, it could not affect the revenue; because the lower the - price, the larger will be the amount of the import, when there is no domestic product to come in competition with it, or supply any part of the demand.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. JONES] also anticipates the "good time coming," when ill-paid labor will secure low-priced products, and thereby destroy the revenue arising from duties on imports, and usher in the political millennium of free trade and direct taxation. There is no necessity for that close, intimate, and unrestrained commercial intercourse which carries with it equality in the wages of labor; and every one knows that a free and unrestrained exchange of the products of labor must of necessity ultimately result in an equality in the wages of labor. The reason why the wages of labor in this country have not yet been affected by our commercial relations with Europe is, first, because our immense wild lands furnish a better subsistence to the laborer than starving wages in a manufacturing establishment; and, second, because the American manufacturer has always been protected to some extent by duties on imports, which has enabled him to give better wages than is paid by European manufacturers; and whenever the duties have been so reduced that the manufacturer cannot give remunerating wages, the laborer has sought employment in other pursuits, such as clearing and cultivating the wild lands of the West, or in digging canals and making railroads.
The gentleman from South Carolina is looking forward to the time when the increase of population will be so great, and these sources of employment so far exhausted, that the supply of labor will exceed the demand, and that low wages will enable us to manufacture the great mass of the commodities which we now import.
Now, sir, I regard such a state of things as the greatest calamity that could befal this nation. And I believe it may be prevented for a period beyond which we cannot undertake to provide, if not indefinitely. To do this, we should multiply by proper and judicious laws the sources for the profitable employment of labor. Instead of con-, fining the labor of the country to agriculture and public works, we should direct a portion of it to manufactures, and thereby increase the demand and enhance the price, so that the laborer may always find a liberal reward for his toil, and become a profitable customer both to the farmer and the manufacturer.
But all this diminution in price, resulting from competition between domestic and foreign manufacturers, presupposes the existence of manufac-a turing establishments in this country. Yet it is very clear, and the history of manufactures in this country proves, that manufactures cannot be established at all, without some protection to counteract the effect of the difference between the wages of labor in this country and in Europe. The improvements in labor-saving machinery, skill, and (which, as the will ultimately enable us to overcome entirely the dir ference in cost of labor, and manufacture as cheap as any other country,) is the result of long, painful, and dear-bought experience. This experience cannot be had until manufactures are established. And when established, they must be sustained long enough to give an opportunity for testing the various experiments and processes which may be necessary to ascertain what are the best and cheapest modes of production. And this is all that the friends of protection have ever asked. If they can have the aid of their Government as long as the inventor is guarantied the exclusive use of his invention, they will then be willing either to set competition at defiance, or abandon their business. The gentleman from South Carolina says that when the fertile lands of the West are filled up, and the laborer cannot have them to fly to, to escape low wages, that we shall then manufacture the great mass of the productions that are now imported. In this, I have no doubt, he is correct also. And the great question for Congress and the country to decide is, whether we shall post
If I understood the gentleman from Illinois, [Mr. MOLONY,] he ridiculed the idea of creating home market for the agricultural products of the country. He supposes that there cannot be a consuming population in this country that is capable of consuming all of its agricultural products. I am not aware that any advocate of protection has ever proposed to prevent the exportation of agricultural products. And I suppose the foreign demand will not be diminished by building up a home market. Europe buys our productions be cause she needs them, and not as a mere matter of accommodation. So long as her necessities continue, so long she will continue to buy from us, unless we have a better market at home and refuse to sell to her.
If we do not continue to sell to her it will be our own fault, and because we can do better at home, which I suppose will be no great calamity for us. It is no answer to this argument, to say that if we do not buy her manufactured products, that she cannot pay us for our commodities. Her population must be fed, and therefore must have employment. If we do not buy their iron, and woolen and cotton fabrics, they must sell them elsewhere for silks, tea and coffee, and such commodities as we do buy, or abandon to some extent their present pursuits, and engage in the production of such things as we do want, and exchange these with us for our products. Nor is it any answer to this to say, that if we do not buy their fabrics, that they will buy from other nations who will. They will always buy where they can buy cheapest. And if they can buy a bushel of German wheat now
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for $1 25, they will not give us $1 26. And so it will continue, whether we buy their fabrics or not. The creation of a home market, therefore, does not deprive us of the foreign, but creates an additional market, that of necessity enhances the price of our products. But I cannot see that there is any impossibility in creating a home market for all our agricultural products.
The farmers of the United States annually exchange their entire products for the productions of the industry of other persons, who are engaged in other pursuits.
I do not mean that they consume or destroy all they earn, but their profits and accumulations are not hoarded away in coin, but are reinvested in some product of the industry of others. Now, if the products for which a farmer exchanges his crops, are all the products of the labor of qur own citizens, then it follows of necessity that the home market is sufficient. It is no matter whether the commodities which he buys are manufactured here, or in Europe; they will pay for the same amount of his products in the one case as in the
And it has always seemed to me that the farmer and manufacturer are both gainers by living close together, as they thereby save the expense of distant transportation. I presume no one is prepared. now to say any thing definite as to the amount, that the duty should be either increased or diminished on any particular commodity.
But with others, I am prepared to state the principles by which I would be governed in adjusting the duties. In the first place, I would put up the duties on such articles as are produced in this country, to the highest revenue point. If that produced revenue enough, I would abolish the duties on everything else
If it raised more than was necessary, I would raise the duties a little higher on protected articles, so as to check imports and diminish the revenue. If it did not produce enough, I would levy the balance upon foreign luxuries, such as imported silks, liquors, and other articles consumed mainly by the rich, and not produced in this country. Further, I agree with the President's message, in substituting specific for ad valorem duties. I am opposed to ad valorem duties, not only on account of the facilities for fraud which they furnish, but because they create a sort of sliding scale against protection.
Thus, when railroad iron was selling at $70 per ton, and no protection was necessary, then your thirty per cent. ad valorem amounted to $21 per ton. But when it went down to $25 per ton, and your manufactures were broken down by foreign competition, your thirty per cent. amounted to only $7 50 per ton. Now, a specific duty of $15 per ton would probably yield more revenue, and afford ample protection, while the average cost of imported railroad iron would probably not exceed what it does under the thirty per cent. ad valorem duty.
But an ad valorem duty lacks uniformity and stability, which is the essential thing for a tariff for protection.
I understand the gentleman from Pennsylvania
[Mr. JONES] to say, that he, as a representative of the iron manufacturers of that State, prefers ad valorem to specific duties. Well, sir, there is no accounting for tastes; and as I take it for granted that the gentleman from Pennsylvania understands the interest of his immediate constituents better than I do, I shall vote with him for retaining the ad valorem duty upon iron; unless indeed I should find that some of his colleagues who represent the same interests, should differ with him; and then I shall be compelled to exercise my own judgment.
Mr. JONES, of Pennsylvania. The gentleman did not understand me. I did not speak as the representative of the iron interest. I hope I was not so understood. I do not wish to be understood as representing the iron interest or any particular interest, as I am not authorized to speak in that capacity.
Mr. STANTON. Of course I take the disclaimer and explanation. I understood the gentleman to say that he was the representative of a district producing iron, and so far as his knowledge extended, that there were many intelligent