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H. OF R.]

Duty on Sugar.

[FEB. 26, 1831.

dinary profits supposed to be realized by those who are Why, the gentleman must have discovered for our bene. engaged in it. This I regard as a topic of most perfect fit that grand arcanum, supposed to exist in nature, but futility, yet it is one which it has pleased gentlemen to start for which the dreaming alchymist has sought in vain since for the want of a better. The second applies to the influ- the birth of time. A very Midas! he but touches us, and ence it has had on the supply and the price of the article lo! we stand confessed, in form and pressure, as solid to the whole people of the United States. The third, and masses of the shining dross. He shows, by calculation, most important, involves the inquiry as to the extensive very satisfactory to himself, I have no doubt, that a sacmarket it has created for the productions of every State in charine concern in that country yields a nett profit to its the Union. I will endeavor, if I have time, to say some-owner of more than thirty-two per cent. He takes up a thing on each of these separate heads.

plantation, which he estimates, with all its paraphernalia, its apparatus, its laborers, its horses, its implements, its stock of every kind, at fifty thousand dollars; he then proceeds to state its account current of profit and loss for the year, in the most mercantile style of debit and per contra; and he brings out, at the end of the year, a nett profit of more than twenty thousand dollars to the proprietor!

In approaching the subject of our supposed inordinate profits, it seems to me not inopportune to notice, at once, some of the statistics for which we are indebted to the lucubrations of the gentleman from Georgia. I would not think of following him through all the minutiae of the lore with which he has thought fit to store his memory or his tablets for the occasion, but would merely advert, hastily, to such things as appear to me useful to the end of the in- Now this is certainly a handsome little interest on money quiry. In undertaking this task, my vocation must be a in such hard times as these; and I wonder why some of the mixture of pleasure and of pain; pleasure, in having it in loose cash that is hawking about these other States at four my power to agree with the gentleman in some respects; and five per cent. per annum does not flow in that direc pain, in being compelled to differ from any of the dogmas tion, and seek to invest itself in sugar plantations. I wonof his belief on this or any other subject, as indeed the der that two-thirds of the people of Louisiana should conpoints on which our opinions are irreconcilably discre-tinue to slave for nothing in the culture of cotton, when pant are chiefly such as he chooses to derive fro:n gratui- they see their next door neighbors plenishing their barns tous inference, or, what is far worse, from the tongue or with doubloons. I wonder that the people of the adjatrump of that abominable terrifier of nations, that lying cent States, who are looking on with every thing requisite plague-common rumor. What are the precise data we in hand, do not step over the border and make their forgather from him? Why, he informs us that, in 1803, the tunes. I marvel that the gentleman himself does not condiment sold in Philadelphia for twelve and a half cents mount his Argo, affront the perils of the Florida Strait, a pound. That I do not deny. I know that about that time, and sail up the Mississippi, to pluck the golden fleece. I both before and after, it frequently sold for that much, can tell him why he does not. It is because he knows and oftentimes for much more. He says that, in after very well there is no such prize there. Sir, if the story years, the price declined in Europe, and here in the Unit- were entitled to a moment's credence, you would find in ed States. I know that, too; and there, I contend, our Georgia alone ten thousand valorous men to start at the influence began to be felt. He has ascertained that the word, and attempt the enterprise. If but one-half the price of it at New Orleans now ranges from five to five described wealth were to be collected on our shores, we and a half cents-take the average, or price current, five should be overrun in less than twelve months by swarms and a quarter cents and that the quantity produced more numerous and more greedy of gold than were the there is estimated for the past year at one hundred thou-blue-eyed myriads that rushed from their Germanic fastsand hogsheads, equal to one hundred millions of pounds. nesses on the devoted provinces of the Eastern empire. My information in this respect does not differ materially Fifty thousand dollars yielding a nett profit of twenty from that of the gentleman; and I say it is a splendid re- thousand dollars in a year! I have no objection-no, not sult, and is, of itself, quite sufficient to enlist in its behalf the slightest-to the gentleman's arithmetic. I only wish the intelligent sympathies of the people of this country, it could lay claim to some portion of that accuracy comand even to propitiate the most sordid, selfish feeling-monly ascribed to the exact sciences. I sincerely wish, if such alone must govern Americans--of every one. for the sake of the gentleman himself, and all his friends The gentleman also says that sugar has been bought in in Georgia, that it were but half true-ay, that it were the West Indies, during the last year, at four cents a but true in one-fourth part; and that it has a fourth of pound; and I am willing, for the present, to put the argu- truth, is what I unhesitatingly deny. Ha! here is a mooted ment on that ground, reserving the point for some future point. The gentleman says twenty thousand dollars-I


I will here take occasion to offer my acknowledgments to the gentleman for all the facts, properly so called, which he has adduced. It would have been my duty to search them out, if he had not done it; and I have no doubt he has taken them from the State papers of the day, or consulted chronicles on which he relies.

say not five. How shall we decide the issue? To what umpirage shall we resort? To a wager? No, that is no test of truth. Yet, perhaps, (who knows?) the gentleman from Georgia, or some of his informants, might be willing to underwrite the result. May be they would undertake to make the achievement sure by the appliance of their own skill and craft in the science of tillage; if so, then I But here it grieves me to say, the harmony and good say to them, Come one, come all, and I will pledge my. understanding between his opinions and mine must end. self, and will furnish a hundred responsible co-obligors on I have none, no, not the slightest objection to his facts; the bond, if required, that they may select any establish but the moment he begins to assume premises, and seeks ment in the State they please, not worth more than fifty to enlighten our intellect by what he has been told, I thousand dollars; and, in fixing its value, we will estimate must be allowed, for the moment, to turn lawyer, and en- the mere land below what their best lands in Georgia sell ter my objection to the admissibility of the hearsay. for; and they may then assume the entire management With that ingeniousness which marks his life and conver-and control for any length of time they please-two, three, sation, he admits that he has no practical acquaintance five, or ten years, they guarantying to us the said nett with the subject: but he says that a friend, or, perhaps, a profit of twenty thousand dollars per annum; and if they plural number of friends, have told him how it is--and do, that we, on our part, will then guaranty unto them an so, with one dash of his pen, and the addition of a given annual salary of fifteen thousand dollars a year for their number of zeros, he showers, nay, he heaps, on our de- services; yes, and they shall have bed, board, and washvoted heads more gold than was ever dug from the ca-ing besides, and a horse to ride, and a seat in the paroverns of Potosi. chial church to boot. Was there ever a fairer offer? The

FEB. 26, 1831.]

Duty on Sugar.

[H. OF R.

gentleman says they make nothing in Georgia. Here is they are men who habitually sit down by a deal board a chance of fortune with us. Do you come and oversee, table to a homely repast of bread and salted fish or meat and ensure to us the nett profit of twenty thousand dol-bought from you, to which some, not all, are enabled to lars, which you so confidently describe, and we will then ensure to you an annual stipend of fifteen thousand for your pains, and allow you besides the sundry little franchises I have mentioned, in order to keep the whole of it in your pocket.

Fifty thousand dollars yielding a clear profit of twenty thousand dollars! What immensely rich characters must we be! Mr. Speaker, one of the most harmless pastimes of the money-hoarder is said to consist in the joys of telling his pelf; one of the most innocent pleasures of the rich, in reckoning the aggregate of their gains. Now, only allow us a moment's fruition of this kind, and let us


add the zest of a measure of cheap claret wine, which the sultriness of their climate makes an almost indispensable requisite to existence; while other persons, luxuriating beneath the bland influence of milder skies, are banqueting on the culled dainties of the earth, and rousing their sated appetites by the costly potations of France and Spain, or sit sipping the rich juices of the Fortunate islands, in order to discriminate whether the vintage have been chilled by the too rude visitation of the breeze on the northern slopes, or be dashed by the fine aroma imparted by the southern exposure. Yes, sir, those men who, you say, tax and oppress you, are men who delve and feed coarse, to tax and oppress you in reality, but According to the best estimates we are enabled to ob- they tax you with ease and with affluence, and they optain, our investments in that culture amount to fifty mil-press you with Champagne, with Sherry, with Madeira. lions of capital-ay, sir, to fifty millions of hard-earned And what do you do the while? Why, you sit gravely dollars—not earned, however, by the cultivation of sugar. talking of their inordinate wealth and luxuriousness, and Now for the proportion. If, as the gentleman asserts, solemnly discussing the propriety of legislative intervenfifty thousand dollars yield a nett profit of twenty thou- tion, to bring them down from their high estate, or, in sand in one year, how much do the fifty millions yield? tailor phrase, to take them a button hole lower. Work the sum. Why, sir, it is twenty millions of dollars-- Now, Mr. Speaker, I will appeal to you: is it not amazalmost equal to the whole revenue of the United States! ing that any portion of our country, and especially that litThe budget of your Department of Finance puts down the nook of it, should even at this day be so illy comprethe gross revenue of the United States at twenty-two mil- hended, so liable to be misunderstood, even by intelligent, lions-I drop fractions. The budget of the gentleman well informed American statesmen? With nothing at all of from Georgia assigns to one class of planters in a single romance in its position; without mountain and without State-a State having but three Representatives on this mist, though with plenty of rain and hot weather; a plain, floor-a nett revenue almost equal to the whole gross col-simple, matter of fact country, of hard work; the most aclections of your Government, with all its imputed blood-cessible in the world, to our friends and yours, from the sea sucking and vampyrism; notwithstanding its alleged sys-as well as from the land, and which is annually visited by tem of taxation and oppression, which, they say, is such thousands and tens of thousands, pilgrims to the shrine of that the people can no longer bear it. pleasure or of gain, from every State in this Union! Is Sir, deduct your expense of collection, the salaries to it not passing strange that such a place should continue to your officers of the customs, and the cost of your revenue be the theme of such wild, improbable, incoherent imaservice, which may be about assimilated to our brokers' ginings? Why, no, I suppose it is not strange-it would fees, and then, according to the gentleman's hypothesis, seem to be preordained that it should be so. The same the difference will be but a fraction between the whole hallucination has existed for a hundred years or more, and gross income of the United States and the nett income of will, I dare say, exist for a hundred years to come. A a few planters in Louisiana. And who are they that are similar delusion prevailed in France at a very early period accumulating such a mountain of the precious metals, as, of our colonial history. The whole city of Paris was shaken if true, must in a short time crush through the feeble sub-by the frenzy. Public declaimers, then, as now, with stratum of their alluvion, and whelm both it and themselves Law, a visionary enthusiast, or mad schemer, at their head, to the depths of the bottomless abyss? Who, I say, are proclaimed that the banks of the Mississippi were the famous they? Why, they are a small portion, numerically con- El Dorado of which the poet had raved. Its inhabitants sidered, of the agriculturists of a small State! What they depicted as Thomson describes the immates of the wealthy Nabobs! what bloated Viceroys! what gorgeous Indian Rajahs must they be! Pretty attributes these to ascribe to a class of men notoriously the most plain, unostentatious, uncostly, practically republican men, in all their habits and modes of life, of any in these United States! In this Eden of the new world, they asserted no labor I do not pretend to deny that there are some men of was required—men sowed not, neither did they reap; wealth there; there are some every where. I know seve- wishes were no sooner formed than gratified; every thing ral myself that have gone from these other States, princi-that could minister to the appetite was scattered in spon pally from Georgia, and Carolina, and Virginia, and have taneous profusion through the land; every clod sparkled taken their wealth with them, though very few of them with a gem-every pathway was strewn with glittering have much enhanced their substance by the products of ingots of silver and of gold. And, sir, the tale had its the cane. Neither do I deny that there are sundry per-proselytes then, as it seems to have now, and as things insons there who dwell in decent houses, and live as persons credible always will. Hundreds and thousands believed similarly circumstanced do in other countries; and even the story--and, sir, what came of it! It eventuated in the they, I contend, do not live, nor are they enabled to live, celebrated Mississippi scheme, in which hundreds of dein the same style of elegance and comfort with people of luded victims of both sexes embarked. They came to equal condition in other States. Sir, I speak of the great the El Dorado, and what did they find? They found majority of those who are engaged in the culture of sugar, dreary coasts and inhospitable shores; primeval forests, when I say that they are men who toil and drudge in a dank with noxious vapor; and spreading morasses, rife way that the gentleman has no conception of; for, during with lethiferous malaria; and, worse than all the rest, the period of their harvest, which runs through a portion squalid misery and ghastly famine staring them in the face. of the inclement season of winter, they have to labor the So burst that bubble--but the eloquence of the gentleman livelong night as well as by day; that they are men who, from Georgia not unforcibly reminds one of the ideas to for eleven months in the calendar, go clad in blanket to which the inflation owed its birth.

Castle of Indolence: they all dwelt in sumptuous palaces; by night they slept on cushions of softest eider down; by day reclining on damask ottomans, listening to the lascivious windings of the lute."

coats, and wear domestic trowsers from your looms; that | Now, Mr. Speaker, how are such errors and miscon

VOL. VII.-51

H. OF R.]

Duty on Sugar.

ceptions to be obviated? I know of but one way, and that is, by free and frequent intercommunication. That is one reason, perhaps, why I have generally, whenever I had a chance, given my vote for the construction of roads. I consider it a national benefit--a great national object. Whenever any one man is induced to travel beyond the narrow limits of his own immediate vicinage, to go to see, and visit, and hold communion with his fellow-citizens in other portions of the country, he then sees things as they are not as he has been told they are: he is thereby enabled to rectify false pre-impressions, and to heal himself of the besetting sin of misguided prejudice. He is sure to return home a better philosopher, a better citizen, and a better man.

[FEB. 26, 1831.

gone there, and embarked their all in the business, and whom it is now so perfectly natural for the gentleman to seek to destroy-for I have the pleasure to count several Georgians among the number of my most esteemed and valued acquaintances. If he will do this, I will pledge myself for a total, radical revolution in his ideas on this subject. He will at once perceive that it is not for our selves we distil the sweets-that we are, in fact, but the laboring swarms who hive the honey for the ravenous vermin in our neighborhood to plunder; and I feel assured, that when he bids us adieu--which to us will be a moment of sadness-he will exclaim in candor, if not in sorrowSic vos non vobis mellificatis apes.

I would here gladly turn my back on this part of the Instead of giving my vote to abridge the mileage of a subject, I fear I have already said too much on it. Yet member of Congress, I would vote to extend it-instead I must be allowed, before I dismiss it, to relate to the of passing bills to make him go in a straight line through gentleman an incident or two, of no great zest or importthe air, like some migrating goose that sees a thousand ance in themselves, but which may, I trust, have a tenmiles off the lake in which she soon intends to lave, and, dency to convince him of the danger there is in his searches springing into ether, wings her way with unerring pinion after truth-though it be a question with some whether --I would, if possible, make him visit every State in the truth be always the object of gentlemen's pursuit to rely Union, and would pay him for it. He might go zigzag, too much on what he is told, especially on this subject of or he might go round; but go he should, if practicable, sugar making. into every one--from a conviction that when he next ap- The first incident I would mention to him relates to a proached these halls, he would come with feelings chas-man from his own State, a Georgian. This Georgian, tened and subdued, and in a mood of mind better fitting about two years ago, associated himself with several other to perform those high functions in which he represents persons connected with him by ties contracted in that the Deity on earth, of making laws for the government and happiness of his fellow-men.

country, to establish one of those plantations. They were none of them practical farmers; if they had been, they Mr. Speaker, there is a little trait of personal history, probably would never have touched it. The Georgian, which most of us have been made to read in the day- whom it suits my purpose to designate as the principal of spring of our time. It relates to a most excellent man the firm, owning a predilection for the land of his former and wise lawgiver, who was afterwards promoted to a very abode, went back to Georgia, in all likelihood to the gentle. high station in the judiciary. I do not, just now, recol- man's own county, and laid out fifteen thousand dollars in lect his name, nor is it material to determine, but he held laborers. He next repaired to the Western country, and sway in Crete. expended five or six thousand dollars in iron castings and

cent of which was the previous product of the cane. And mark me, at the very outset, at least one-half this capital is diffused over these United States, and of that half, more than a moiety goes to the pockets of the people of Georgia.

This sage lawmaker, harboring in his bosom the wish machinery; he then returned home, and stocked his farm and the design to better the lot of his people, who had with the usual number of horses, probably about fifteen grown restive, they scarcely knew why, resolved to jour-hundred dollars' worth, brought from the West, and filled ney into foreign parts, in order to study the polity, and his granaries from the great redundancy of their Westexamine with his own eyes the condition and resources of ern stores. Take it all in all, it was an establishment which some other States that were then in high renown. Fame, must have cost him about fifty thousand dollars, not one with her many tongues, told him of the wealth and splendor of Egypt-the exuberance of her soil-the grandeur and magnificence of her monuments-and her catacombs. Thither, said he, will I go. Accordingly, having provided the muniments of his voyage, on the appointed day he Here you have a common instance of one of those endeparted for the land of the Nile. He visited Memphis, gines of oppression described by the gentleman. It Cairo, and Thebes with her hundred gates; and what did springs into life, equipped and ready for action, not frownhe see? Why, with some semblance of external splendor, ing in martial helmet, and brandishing in dexter the quihe saw mummies, and he met the seven plagues of vering hasta of battle, but holding in its open and distendEgypt. Casting his eyes abroad through the land, he ed palms the emblem and the medium of commerce; the beheld a people, with a soil indeed of unbounded fertility, incentive at once, and the reward of peaceful industry. yet poor, toil-worn, and depressed themselves, while from And before it has made the first step, yea, before its the horn of plenty they poured abundance into the lap of young limbs have essayed the first attempt at motion, it all the surrounding States. He was satisfied--he hastened scatters fifteen thousand dollars into the bosoms of the back to his own country, which he now liked better, and people of Georgia. And, sir, it is but a fair specimen of found it to be better off than all those of which he had heard so much. He applied himself to soothe and compose the agitated minds of his people; and, by his precept and his example, he led them on to commerce, to agriculture, to arts, and to happiness.

our doings in that way. Of the seven hundred plantations in that country, six hundred, at least, within the last ten or fifteen years, would furnish the elements of a similar history. Ex uno discite omnes.

But, sir, this is not the moral with which I wished to Now, if the gentleman from Georgia would but do the point the tale. I will proceed with it. The Georgian same! If he, or any of his friends who think as he does, now set himself about to organize his plantation and erect would only vouchsafe to come for a season, and reside his buildings. For the first year he made nothing; he exwith us on the Delta of our great father of waters! We pected to make nothing. During all that period, nothing have some hospitality, and would hail his coming with de- was heard within his borders but the note of preparation. light; and would take the pains to investigate the process, It was the constant clink of the outlayings of his cash; the and scrutinize the account: not the account of his own co-regular fall of the carpenter's axe, with the chime of the pious imagination, but the actual account-book of any of blacksmith's hammer beating time on the anvil. our farmers of his choice. If he should prefer it, I would But the terraqueous thing moved on in its orbit, until introduce him to some of his own immediate countrymen, now another autumnal sun shone out upon the land. The possibly his own former associates and friends, who have period to which I now allude was about the last of Octo

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FEB. 26, 1831.]

Duty on Sugar.

[H. OF R.

ber, 1830, a few days before I left home to come to my country by the culture of sugar; and that when he came duties here. By this time some yellow cane waved in the out last year to pay them a visit, they "particularly adgentleman's field; his houses were up, and he was busily mired" the entire simplicity of his deportment and the engaged in preparation to commence the manufacture of total absence in his person of that "pride, pomp, and cirsugar on a new and expensive principle, which attracted cumstance" which usually attend as ministering handmaids some attention through the neighborhood. to men of such extensive wealth and revenues. I replied At that juncture the narrator happened to be some dis- that I had the honor of knowing Doctor Betty, but that I tance in the interior, from whence I set out to proceed to never observed any semblance of regality, nor even noticmy point of embarkation, intending to take the gentleman's ed any symptoms of opulence beneath his plain but hospihouse in my way; When I got within twenty miles of his table roof-that at any rate it was not the fashion of folks residence, I was informed by several persons whom I met, there to be so very rich. But I said I had it in my power intelligent persons, that he had commenced his operations; to ascertain precisely what had been the Doctor's achievethat he had been rolling, as we term it there, for several ments in that branch of agriculture, and that I would let days, and that his new experiment succeeded wonderfully; him know it. Is this substantially true, sir? [The gentlethat it was turning him out two hogsheads and a half to man to whom the interrogation was addressed assented, the acre! My heart gladdened at the tidings, and throw-and said it was, with some explanations which he would ing the reins to the companion of my way, we proceeded on give.] Sir, continued Mr. W., I do not pretend to quote --until coming in sight of his dwelling, I strained my op- the exact phraseology: in speechifying we sometimes amtics in the direction, and looked long and intensely, but I plify the words of ordinary discourse, but I think I have saw no smoke or vapor curling in bold relief against the given the substance of the conversation, though I shall be sky. Drawing still nigher, I could perceive no throng happy to hear any explanation, and, if I have mistaken any of men, and horses and carts, as is wont on occasions such thing, to stand corrected. as that I thought I was approaching. In point of fact, he had not commenced the manufacture of sugar at all. He was not ready to begin; he did not expect to begin for fif teen days to come.

Well, sir, I have not yet been as good as my word, and I am happy to have this occasion to fulfil the promise, by conveying to the gentleman the information alluded to. I hold in my hand an accurate and authentic statement Now, I wonder if that story, which was told me in shape -a paper printed annually at New Orleans-of the quanso plausible, within twenty miles of his residence, had tity of sugar made on each and every plantation of the been caught up by "that thing which every moment flies, State during the years 1828 and 1829, the precise years in and gains new strength and vigor as she goes," and had which Doctor Betty had operated before his last visit to been repeated from tongue to tongue, of credible men Carolina; and, on referring to the table, I find that in 1828, all, until it had been wafted to the ears of his friends in which was a favorable year, Dr. Betty and his partner Georgia, what it would have been like by that time. Why, made fifty-six hogsheads of sugar; that on the following the romaunt with which the gentleman has entertained us year, 1829, which was an unfortunate one generally, they here, of eight and ten hogsheads to the acre, or to the made thirty-seven hogsheads, giving an aggregate crop of hand, would have been stale, vapid, and wholly unpiquant sugar, for two years, of ninety-three hogsheads-sold at in the comparison. Nay, the balderdash we constantly five and a half cents a pound, (and it is not at all probable see going the rounds of the newspapers, derived from an it averaged that much,) equal in money to five thousand equally authentic source, relieved by a little wilful misre- one hundred and fifteen dollars. The estimate of molaspresentation; those mendacious absurdities, generated by ses (and it is a liberal estimate) is forty gallons to the hogsscribblers who never saw sugar cane grow, and forming a compound fit only to be gulped by boobies—would have had to hide their diminished heads, as devoid of relative interest and poignancy.

head, which, on the ninety-three hogsheads, gives them three thousand seven hundred and twenty gallons-sold at fifteen cents the gallon, equal in money to five hundred and fifty-eight dollars: now, add this to the product of the I will beg leave to narrate another fact, which relates sugar, and you find that they have, for the two years, an to a gentleman formerly of South Carolina, now one of aggregate crop of sugar and molasses, amounting to five those of whom I am the unworthy representative. His thousand six hundred and seventy-three dollars. Divide name-it is Doctor Betty. I feel that I need an apology the sum between the two years, and it leaves to each year for thus pressing his name into the debate; but when I see the average partnership crop of two thousand eight hunit published in a printed paper to which it is necessary Idred and thirty-six dollars and fifty-cents; which, subdishould refer, and as I know him to be a man of note in vided between the two partners, Dr. Betty's quotient is that country, and well known to some gentlemen here fourteen hundred and eighteen dollars and twenty-five from that State, I hope he will pardon the freedom in favor cents. Now, partly from a munificent disposition, and of the motive, which is none other than an earnest desire partly for the convenience of a round sum, let us allow to correct error, and a wish to divest the truth of that him a bonus of eighty-one dollars and seventy-five cents opaque integument of fiction and misrepresentation which more-and then he has a gross crop of fifteen hundred is so apt to cling around her honest form. dollars per annum! And what comes of the plantation Well, sir, about three years ago the Doctor came into expenses during the time? Why, sir, the crops did not that country, and bought a farm; not for his own sole ac- pay them. Nay, I assert it fearlessly that the crops of count, for he was, and still is, the copartner of another in both years did not pay the expenses of one. Therefore, it. Take it altogether, it is an important establishment, at the time Doctor Betty last visited his friends in Carolina, with thirty or forty servants, and which, in all, must have he had not made one cent by the cultivation of sugar; on cost them at least fifty thousand dollars, valuing the land the contrary, he must have been several thousand dollars very low; fully such a one as, in the gentleman's esti- out of pocket, independently of his original plantation inmate, always yields its owner a nett profit of twenty thou- vestment: and yet this is the man that was expected to sand dollars a year-and there he has been ever since, come like some oriental Satrap, with a glittering cavalcade making sugar, and getting very rich, as a matter of course. of caparisoned steeds and laced menials; instead of which, Some weeks ago-it was since this session of Congress, he presents himself in simple guise, like any other man a gentleman from South Carolina, whom I have now the travelling to see his friends, and revisit the graves of his gratification to see nigh me on this floor, inquired of me fathers; and, as he passes, they exclaim, "see the rich about Doctor Betty-adding, in the course of the conver- sugar planter, all the way from the banks of the Mississippi¡ sation, that the Doctor's friends in Carolina were perfect- the man who holds in hands the wealth of provinces spoilly aware of the great fortune he had accumulated in that ed to feed his luxuries!"" "But," they say, "he does not

H. OF R.

Duty on Sugar.

[FEB. 26, 1831.

let on; he wishes to be incog. in this respect; he is modest" ranges from five to six, or seven per cent. per annum, ac-and they admire!! Were ever men so insulted in their poverty? This is indeed to feel "the proud man's contumely!"

cording to the varying opinions of persons in different parts of the country, between whom there was no concert or understanding, whose estimates were predicated on different bases, and where, of course, property has a different valuation, as it has in different parts of every country beneath the sun.

Now, sir, to what does the argument tend? Is it that, like Doctor Betty, none of us have as yet made any thing on our capital? That it is a hopeless, bootless, sysiphean task we are all engaged in? No, sir, that is not at all what But I would particularly point him to the tabular stateI mean, Doctor Betty's is a new establishment, not yet ment annexed to the report of the committee of Plaquebrought to the point of productiveness; he hopes that in mine--it is the first on the file-which is the district in the process of time it may yield him a support. Di cæptis ad-State where the culture has been longest known, and spirate suis.

most successfully prosecuted, and where the subject is best understood. They made out the profit, in that district, to be five per cent. and 9-100-that is, a very small fraction more than five per cent. And, sir, it is no fancy piece of theirs; it is a picture from the real life; a sketch of what has been actually realized in that district for the last five years, when the price of sugar was more than 3 cent in the pound above what it now is.

All I wish to convey, and on which I insist, is, that the sugar growers of Louisiana are doing precisely as all other persons are, in these times of universal peace and general over production, and not one whit better. On the contrary, it is my religious belief that the condition of most of them is already worse, and is rapidly becoming far more deplorable, than that of either the cotton or the tobacco growers of Georgia or Virginia. And why? Because I will here take this opportunity to say, in addition, their occupation is not one-half so expensive as ours. that I had occasion to witness the extraordinary pains-I When the cotton or the tobacco planter makes a dollar, am well aware that a captious temper may object to those it is his, or nearly so; but the poor sugar planter, whose documents-I have actually heard something of the kind employment, together with agriculture, combines manu- intimated, that they proceed from persons engaged in the facture of the most costly kind, whenever he makes a dol- business, and are consequently but the testimony of intelar, is, of necessity, and by a kind of condition precedent, rested witnesses. The objection is a convenient one; but tributary to the rest of you for more than one-half of it. I maintain that those documents furnish the best evidence Yes, and in a great, great many instances, he has to remit the nature of the case admits of. If you were preresolved two to you for every one that he makes. And yet he has to believe nothing but your own fantasies, why call for no alternative; your productions he cannot do without; he the vouchers? You applied for the information; and I must send you his regular quota of contribution. His crop say that I had occasion to witness the extraordinary pains, may fail, or may fall short; expense, horrid expense, still the incumbent study, with which the well informed, pracstalks at his heels, and he must raise the wind to satisfy tical men who prepared the Plaquemine report labored the demands of the fiend, or "give up the ship" at once. to gain the information, and to make it scrupulously accu In fact, it is the most idle amusement which can beguile rate in all its details; and, as far is my testimony is worth, the leisure hours of a man, to sit down to count what sugar I prove here, and to the world, that their names, as well planters make. What do steamboats make? What do as the names by which the other returns from the State ship owners make? What do merchants make. What are avouched, afford a pledge of the highest kind of the do manufacturers of every kind make? And what do entire faith which is due to any statement to which they sugar planters make? I will tell you what they make: Like may be appended. all other persons engaged in branches of industry, hazardous in their nature, and requiring capital for their exercise, some of them, under favorable circumstances, with luck on their side, and with rigid economy and unflagging industry skilfully directed, do make out to get along, and better their condition. There are even some who may be said to have made a fortune at the business, which means that they happened to make a good bargain, to light upon a period of abundant crops, to have lived in the days of high prices, or to have profited by some casual rise in the value of the product-just what is seen in every other part of the globe.

Sir, on this ridiculous theory of our supposed exorbitant profits, I feel as if I had been tempted to dwell too long; yet it was the burden of the gentleman's song, and it is the eternal theme with which my eyes and my ears are assailed, and my perfect knowledge to the contrary offended, whether I cast a glance upon the columns of a certain set of newspapers, or hear it mentioned as matter of discourse; and I could not well do otherwise than I have done.

[Here the SPEAKER reminded Mr. W. that the hour for which the rule had been suspended had expired; when a motion was made further to suspend the rule for half an hour, which prevailed by two-thirds; and Mr. W., after thanking the House for such unusual indulgence, proceeded.]

There is another portion of those said sugar planters, and that not a small one, who accomplish nothing in the way of success, but merely drag on, from year to year, a lengthening and galling chain, making not enough to buy I will now, said he, most cheerfully turn from the diswhat they must buy from you, and to meet the interest quisition as to what have been, or may hereafter be, our accruing on their debt, whatever may be its amount. gains from the culture of sugar, to consider its national While others, and they are not so very few, make short importance, and inquire what are, if any, the benefits work of it--they burst, blow up, and lose all in a short which have flowed from it to the whole people of the venture. And there they stand, like wrecks along the United States. shore over which the hurricane has swept, to admonish In casting about in quest of its advantages to the nation those who, like the gentleman from Georgia, come boom- at large, I find them to consist chiefly in two respects, ing along in fancy's barge, with all the canvas of their which respects are the primary objects for which men imagination out-of the hazards which lie in the path of have forsaken their woods and their caves, to betake themthe thoughtless navigator who adventures on that perilous selves to communities, and form the social compact, viz. to obtain the things necessary to a comfortable livelihood,


If there be any gentleman here who really does desire and which they have to buy at a cheap price, and, at the to obtain an approximation to, and an equation of, what same time, to find a good market for whatever they have may be made by sugar planting in Louisiana, in its most to sell; both which ends, I contend, have been eminently successful practice, I must refer him, for the information, subserved and promoted by the creation of that interest to the documents transmitted from the Treasury Depart-in Louisiana. That the effect of it has been to give to ment, where he will see that the possible profit there the people of the United States the article of sugar at a

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