A well-employed and prosperous community can buy and consume. An ill-employed community cannot buy and consume. This is the solution of the whole matter; and the whole science of political economy has not one truth of half so much importance as this.
No, sir, you dare not make war on cotton. No power on earth dares make war upon it. Cotton is king. Until lately the Bank of England was king; but she tried to put her screws as usual, the fall before last, upon the cotton crop, and was utterly vanquished. The last power has been conquered.
The protection of American labor against the injurious competition of foreign labor, so far, at least, as respects general handicraft productions, is known historically to have been one end designed to be obtained by establishing the Constitution; and this object, and the constitutional power to accomplish it, ought never in any degree to be surrendered or compromised.
To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection; it is plunder, and I disclaim it; but I ask you to protect the rights and interests of labor generally; in the first place by allowing no free imports from countries which meet you with countervailing duties; and, in the second place, with respect to agricultural produce, to compensate the soil for the burdens from which other classes are free by an equivalent duty. This is my view of what is called protection.