Imatges de pàgina
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Ist Session.

PENNSYLVANIA.

MEMORIAL

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Ship Carpenters, Smiths, Rope Makers, and others, employed or con

nected in Ship Building, in the city of Philadelphia.

APRIL 19, 1830. Referred to the Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union to which is com

mitted the bill H. R. No. 164 to amend An act in alteration of the several acts imposing du ties on imports.

PAILADELPHIA, April 15th, 1830. To the Hon. the SPEAKER of the House of Representatives:

With this I send you a petition from the different mechanics employed in the ship building and navigation interest, which you will have the goodness to present to the House at such time as you think most proper; you will perceive that, so far from the duties imposed on raw materials having had a tendency to improve the demand for them, it has been found more profitable to import and get a supply of sails, cordage, anchors, and chains, in foreign ports, rather than here. The memorialists are of opinion, that raw materials ought to be free of duty, as the manufacturing would be beneficial to the country, besides putting our ships on as respectable a footing as foreign vessels. We trouble you with our petition, asking your goodness in presenting it for us, as we believe, notwithstanding the change taking place in the minds of people with regard to high duties, that our Representatives think a majority of their constituents are yet in favor of high duties, which we doubt.

Very respectfully,
Your humble servant,

J. JOHNSON

To the Honorable the Senate and House of Representatives of the United

States of America in Congress assembled :

Your memorialists respectfully represent, that they are ship carpenters, smiths, ropemakers, coppersmiths, riggers, sailmakers, plumbers, mastmakers, blockmakers, stevidores, lumber merchants, ship joiners, painters,

dray and cartmen, and others, employed or connected in ship building, navigation interest, and the coasting trade of the port of Philadelphia, and are citizens of Pennsylvania; and, in their respective employments, are now suffering under the pressure of the present high rate of duties on the raw materials used in building and equipping ships or vessels; which high rate of duties they firmly believe to be also burdensome and injurious to the interests of the whole nation, and for the following reasons, which they most respectsully submit to the consideration of Congress.

ist. Because it requires a greater amount of capital in the construction of a ship in this country than it does in foreign countries, and thereby enables foreign shipping to undercarry our own country ships, and thereby causing less demand for American shipping, to the great detriment and injury of your memorialists. This more particularly applies to British shipping, as the British Government, since the peace, has paid particular attention in modifying the duties on all the materials used in ship building, imported from abroad, or their Colonies, as will be seen by the following statement. About 35 tons of iron is necessary for a ship of 500 tons, if not copper fastened, (and, if copper fastened, the duty on bolts and spikes of that material will amount to as much, if not more, than that on the iron,) as follows: two chains, 90 fathoms each, 1 inch diameter, 120 lbs. to the fathom, 21,600 Ibs.; one chain, * inch, to make fast at the wharf, 75 fathoms, 30 lbs. to the fathom, 2250 lbs.; two anchors, 2200 and 2000 lbs.; a stream do. 1400 lbs.; kedge do. 500 lbs.; and 20 tons for hull and rigging-making 35 tons, (al. lowing for waste in working,) at $37 per ton duty, - $1,295 If we suppose a ship of this class to cost $25,000, the iron

work alone will form nearly one-fourth of the cost; the
duty on the raw material of the ship smith, and chain
and anchor manufacturer, alone, is as above stated,
$1,295. If we suppose 12 tons of hemp to be requi-
site, the duty, $60 per ton, is $720-on sail cloth,

$300—-making • - - - - - - 1,020-$2,315 To say nothing of that on lead, used in paints and otherwise.

2dly. If we take into consideration the tear and wear of the running rigging, that will not last more than about one year; "he standing rigging, say sis years; and the sails, on an average not longer than two years; then it willr. quire a new set of sails and rigging every three years, the duty on which is $1,020, which in nine years will amount to $3,060; with the duty on iron and the first set of sails and rigging, $2,315—making a total of 85,375.

3dly. The British shipping interest has the advantage in every point of view. The iron they use is common English, now selling at £6 per ton, or $26 66, for bolts, spikes, and other work for the hull and rigging; and their refined iron, now selling at £10 per ton, or $44 44—this latter kind is unequalled for chain cables, and bolts and chains for the standing rigging, as combining great strength, toughness, and less liable to rust, than any other, and being cheaper than that of any other nation, of course it is free. If copper fastened, that also is free. The duty on hemp, $20 74 per ton, on 12 ions, $248 88. The duty on sail cloth is merely nominal,* and all that

• Sails, in use of any British sip, and being fit and necessary for such ship, free. British Tariff for 1830, p. 64. The boun'y on sail cloth is calculated to be equal to the duty on hemp, ld. per ell. Ibid p. 133. Present price of Scotch and London sail cloth, is of 22 cents for 24 inch broad, or 27} cents for 30 inch. Best Russian sold last Fall at 60 rou

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made of fax can be considered free, it being imported into this and other countries in competition with Russian, and from the fact that the duty on flax is but 36 cents per ton; but on account of part that may be made of hemp, we shall say a ton of hemp is used, the duty on which is $20 74. For the first outfit the duty stands at $269 62. The sails and rigging require to be renewed every three years, for nine years, amounting to $808 86. Total amount $1,078 48. From the foregoing it appears, that, in twelve years an American ship of 500 ton, pays a duty of $5,375. A British ship, during the same period, pays $1,078 48. Making a difference, in twelve years, of $4,297 52, against the American ship. If we take into consideration the difference of duration of a ship built out of English oak, and one built out of our common oak, the difference will still be greater. Then take into consideration the difference of capital employed, and the rate of interest, which is nearly double here to what it is there, and it is not difficult to see where this will end, viz: in driving the American ships entirely out of the contest, to the great injury of your memorialists, who have spent their youth in learning trades that are daily becoming useless to them, as the increase in British shipping is very visible, more particularly in the carrying of bulky articles, such as salt and crates, iron, &c. and taking a return cargo of cotton, tobacco, &c. , The number of British vessels is yearly gaining ground on ours, at this, as well as other parts: they are generally fuller built than ours, by which cause they pay less tonnage in proportion to their cargo--this, with the above duties, operates as a bounty in their favor. These combinations of effects causé not only an individual loss, but a very sensible national loss, in transferring the ship building business to foreign nations, whereby we are all made the sufferers, in a national as well as individual point of view.

4thly. The British shipping have another advantage over ours, viz: they are on equal footing as to an inward cargo; and if they go South for cotton, rice, or tobacco, they are on an equal footing for outward freight home to England or the Hanseatic towns. (If it was here objected that our vessels have the advantage of taking a cargo coastwise, it may be remarked that this is only nominal, for our ships going from here South very seldom wait for a freight; this is the business of regular coasting packets.) Besides, if it is not in season, they have the advantage of going either to the West Indies, or Northern Colonies for timber, an advantage which our ships do not possess.

5thly. Notwithstanding the discouraging state of our ship building interest, yet it is not the worst feature of our present policy. Many of your memorialists are suffering from the present rate of high duties on their raw materials, as the following statement will show, of that part of business retained by the country. The rope makers, chain and anchor makers, and sail cloth manufacturers, are in a great measure deprived of participating in the business. The duty on hemp, so far from having created a demand for American hemp, has actually had a contrary effect, as may be seen by the following extract from the Report of the Secretary of the Treasury. In 1819, there was imported 251,356 lbs. of cordage. In 1828, the importation of cordage was 2,164,096 lbs. And the exports from St. Petersburgh for the supply of the shipping trading to that port alone, was 1,348,224 lbs.

bles per piece of 38 yards, or 33} cents per yard, at the rate of exchange, or nearly six cents per yard higher than the best British, which is said to be as durable, if well kept. This proves what we have said, that the duty on sail cloth is nominal in Great Britain.

making in all, 3,512,320 lbs. The same rule is applicable to the shipping in the British trade, as a drawback equal to the duty on the raw material is allowed on comparatively small quantities. The result has been not only a decrease in the demand for the raw material, but actually transferring the manufacturing of Russian hemp, heretofore manufactured in the United States, to Russia, as the importation of cordage above stated clearly proves, as well as the fact that the manufacturing of it here has actually decreased from one-half to two-thirds in the last four years, which evidently shows that the importation of cordage was not for re-exportation, but for home consumption. It is very certain, that not only the hemp grower has suffered a falling off, but the farmer has suffered also: for, had the cordage been manufactured in this country, provisions would have been consumed by the rope makers, the raising of which has been actually transferred to Russia, along with the manufacturing of the cordage. The same is applicable to the smith, and chain and anchor manufacturer, but still in a greater degree, viz: Chain cables are introduced into this country made out of both refined and common English iron; when made out of refined, the duty is $37 per ton, or 80 per cent. the price of the iron being £10 per ton; the duty on the chains, three cents per lb, or 43 per cent, on an average; if out of common iron, the duty is $37 per ton, the cost of the iron $26 66 per ton, making the duty on the raw material 140 per cent. The same is applicable to anchors. The importation of chains in 1828, was 830,630 lbs. we suppose double the quantity made in the United States. Of anchors, 72,556 lbs. With such an odds against such of your memorialists as are engaged in this business, it is impossible for them to compete, be their economy ever so great, and their knowledge ever so complete So that the present duty on iron, enormous as it is, only deprives the smiths of their share of employment. This fact is further illustrated by the discontinuance of the Stirling works in the city of New York, which have been sold, as they could not stand against such advantage given to foreign manufacturers over the domestic. This establishment employed 500 men. The same has befallen the sail cloth manufacturers, although they had an additional duty, at their request, in 1828; which was not the case with the smiths. Feeling, as they then did, the operation of the $30 per ton duty, they well knew that nothing could save them but a reduction of the duties on their raw materials, and actually memorialized Congress to that effect; but a duty of $7 per ton, equal to nearly 20 per cent was added; and a falling off of about 20 per cent in the price of iron in England, has given a most complete monopoly of the American market to the English manufacturers. The Phoenix works in Paterson, New Jersey, for the manufacturing of sail cloth, are about stopping their operations, if they have not already done so: in this establishment there were 265 hands employed, of which 109 were men, at the low rate of 62} cents a day, on which they found their own board. The above is a very striking proof that high duties on raw materials do not create, but actually destroy a market for them, and transfer the manufacturing thereof to a foreign country. It plainly appears that the hemp and flax growers have suffered a loss, the iron drawer has lost also, as the consumption of those materials has declined with the ship building business, and is enabling the foreign manufacturers to undersell our own, and the rope makers and smiths have been sacrificed by the high rate of duties imposed on their raw materials, at the request of the producers thereof. The farmer has suffered a loss also, as the growing of grain and other provisions have been transferred to Russia and England with the manufacturing of the above stated articles. So intimately are all the interests of a country. connected together, that, when one is suffering, all the others partake of the suffering also.

Your memorialists therefore refer the foregoing facts to the favorable consideration of your honorable bodies, giving their opinions, as practical men, that the only remedy that can be applied to save them from ruin, is, to allow a drawback equal to the duties on the raw materials that enter into ship building—on cordage, iron work, chains, and anchors, copper bolts and spikes, sail cloth, and such other articles used in ship building as, in your wisdom, you may think proper. Also, on cordage, chains, and anchors, and sail cloth, when exported. This would be a great relief, not only to your memorialists, but would create a greater demand for hemp, flax, and iron, by the improved state of business, and afford a greater security against the monopoly of our own share of the carrying trade of our own produce, and that we take in exchange from others. Other nations are daily giving greater facilities to their manufactures and commerce, by making the cost of the raw materials cheaper and cheaper. If we do not adopt the same system in regard to our ship building interest, in its different ramifications, we shall be driven from the ocean. To prevent such a catastrophe, your memorialists hope that Congress will see the necessity of granting their request, and, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

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