Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

importance, and will be able to guard against the English doctrines of free trade. Germany is not in a position similar to that of the United States. " Her soil and her productions are limited. She is, therefore, obliged to create a manufacturing power, as a new means of national wealth and revenue. Free trade between England and Germany would ruin these manufactures, and it will therefore be necessary to increase the duty on English twists and iron, in proportion as the British Corn Laws are modified, and perhaps to prohibit them entirely, in case England should abolish these laws altogether. These notions, it may be well to add, are systematically defended in the “ Journal of the German Tariff-League," a weekly periodical published at Stuttgart, and edited by Professor List, American Consul to Wurtemberg, whose late work on “ The National System of Political Economy, International Commerce, and Commercial Polity,” apart from the theory it strives to establish, is remarkable as an exponent of popular feeling, and as a proof of the increased attention paid in Germany to a department of knowledge, which, heretofore, had been confined exclusively to the Universities. It furnishes conclusive evidence, that the public mind is strongly excited by these topics, and corroborates what we stated above ; that the League is fast becoming the representative of the tiers état of Germany

In the opinion of the writer in the German Quarterly, the United States present to all commercial nations, but especially to Germany, four incalculable advantages ; namely, first, an extensive territory, with but few or no restrictions on the commerce of foreigners ; secondly, a steadily growing population, with a regularly increasing consumption ; thirdly, a vast amount of produce for exportation ; and, fourthly, the absence of colonies, a circumstance which tends to facilitate all direct intercourse with foreign nations. He then speaks of the laudable efforts already made by the late American tobacco-agent in Germany, toward opening a more direct intercourse between the States of the League and the United States; which efforts, in his opinion, must fail, so long as America is willing to treat with one or more detached towns; and at last, he_indirectly answers the letter of Baron Roenne, the late Prussian Minister, to Mr. Jenifer, which appeared in the National Intelligencer of February 4th, 1842, in which the renewal of the treaty with the Hanse Towns was strongly urged on the consideration of our federal government.

The writer concludes his paper in these terms, the extreme moderation of which was probably dictated by the high official standing of the party, as the Minister Plenipotentiary of the first power of the League, or, perhaps, enforced by the censor.

" We refrain from all criticism on the style and reasoning, or on the motives which may have induced the Royal Prussian Minister in Washington to address such a letter to one who was then a member of Congress, as if for publication. We might have summed up its whole contents in a few words; but we considered such a document as by far too important not to be placed in extenso before our readers. The most important consequence to us is the proof, which it furnishes, of the consideration bestowed in a high place on the growing importance of the German trade to the United States, and its influence on the material interests of the Tariff-League. That the same subject may admit of many different views and theories is natural. The duty of the press consists in submitting both theories and motives to the appellate jurisdiction of the public, before they are ultimately disposed of by the highest tribunal of the land. We do not object to data furnished by the Prussian minister. They are mainly our own, or agree with the facts alleged by ourselves; but they appear to us to justify an entirely different conclusion from the one which the minister has drawn from them. Baron Roenne acknowledges, too, the advantages of a direct trade between Germa. ny and the United States ; the only question, therefore, is this : Does the direct trade consist in two or three cities enjoying the exclusive privilege of exchanging the products of two of the largest countries on the globe ; or rather, in permitting all the German States, without distinction, to participate in this exchange, in the same manner as all the States of the Union participate equally in the commerce of America ? We put this question as Southern Germans, without undervaluing the generosity of the greatest Northern power (Prussia), manifested in the above document. Baron Roenne praises the merchants of the Hanse Towns justly, while, at the same time, he reminds them of the fact, that, separated from Germany, they are powerless. He tells even the Americans, that the root of the Hanse Towns is in Germany, and that the concessions made to them ought to be made in consideration of the extent and power of Germany, to which they belong. This generosity is, perhaps, intended to

put the obstinate opponents of the League in the Hanse Towns to the blush."

To understand fully the position which Prussia occupies in reference to the Tariff-League and to this country, and the corresponding diversity of feeling between the North and South of Germany, we must yet allude to the material changes which the League has produced in the condition of the German States. The most important of them is the increased demand for labor, and the consequently higher price of it,-in other words, the amelioration of the condition of the laboring classes. No sooner was the League in operation, than the free exchange of commodities between the States increased the commerce, and with it the manufactures, of Germany. Cotton manufactories and iron founderies sprang up in various parts of the country, and the nobles and mediatized princes themselves took part in the national enterprise. But in one respect, Prussia and all the Northern States of Germany were disappointed.

It was thought, that the Southern States, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, Baden, and others, whose soil is fertile and whose population is principally agricultural, would become consumers of Northern manufactures in exchange for their own staples, wine, cattle, and grain. In this, however, they were mistaken. The impulse communicated to the domestic industry of Germany was so great, as to induce the Southern provinces themselves to establish manufactories, — some of them with a capital of half a million, and even a million, of dollars, which not only answered the purpose of immediate consumption, but furnished the basis of an active commerce with the other States. Taxes being generally less, provisions cheaper, and water-power in greater abundance in the Southern provinces, the people of the South required but little stimulus to develope their manufacturing industry; and besides, they had no difficulty in procuring workmen, as the neighbouring French province of Alsace, which teems with cotton manufactories, furnished any required number on the most reasonable terms. In this manner, it was soon ascertained, the advantages of the League turned greatly in favor of the Southern States, which, for this very reason, contributed least to the common revenue raised by customs, and divided annually, in proportion to their respective population, among the different States.

One of the chief sources of revenue in all countries is the duty on sugar and coffee. In the North of Germany, the consumption of these colonial articles, as also that of tea, is very great ; while, in the Southern provinces, tea and coffee are luxuries, only known to the higher classes. In Bavaria, beer, in Wurtemberg, Baden, and the Rhenish provinces, wine, takes the place of these beverages, so that the duty on those articles is in a far greater ratio borne by the North, while it proves equally a source of revenue to the Southern

proyinces, where it partly supersedes the necessity of direct taxation. It is computed, that Prussia contributes, in this manner, annually, between one and one and a half millions of Prussian dollars towards the expenses of the Southern governments, which also maintain comparatively small armies ; while Prussia, as a European power, based on its military development, maintains a proportionably larger army than either England, France, or Russia. The Tariff-League, therefore, so far as mere pecuniary advantages are concerned, is a loss to Prussia, and a signal advantage to the Southern States.

This position of the League accounts for the fact, that the Southern States of Germany have, of late, been most clamorous for its extension, and most reproachful in their language towards the States of the North, especially the Hanse Towns, which are still keeping up their separate organization. The Southern manufacturers soon discovered, that they were not only protected by the tariff, but also by the greater cheapness of all the necessaries of life ; and, in addition to this, by the great distance from the seaports ; because, as far as the home market is concerned, the cost of freight is in their favor. Nothing, therefore, was more natural, than that the manufacturing interests of the Southern States should be strongly represented in the Chambers, and that the Southern princes themselves should thereby be forced specially to protect them. The princes who had refused so many supplications for the liberty of the press, the trial by jury, and other liberal measures, could acquire popularity by the promotion of the physical welfare of the people, and thereby more effectually keep all other questions in abeyance.

The Southern States of Germany, therefore, who at first were the greatest antagonists of the League, became now its most ardent supporters, and urged the States of Hanover, VOL. LVIII. - No. 122.

10

[ocr errors]

customs.

Oldenburg, and the Hanse Towns to join it, so as to enable Germany to adopt some general commercial policy, and to extend her commerce and manufactures beyond the sea. But Prussia, who had given the first impulse to the League, was not willing to extend its blessings, without a consideration, to any other than the States bordering on the North Sea. Her own seaports, Schwineminde and Königsberg, were on the Baltic, and must become worthless for Germany, if Hamburg, Bremen, Stade, and Embden should join the union of

The Northeastern provinces of Prussia, moreover, never depended much on the trade with Germany. Their commerce was with the Northern States, Sweden, Denmark, and principally Russia. Prussia, therefore, was apprehensive lest the States of the League should demand concessions in that quarter, which it would not be for the interest of those provinces to grant, or which would cause reprisals on the part of Russia. The latter country has made the most strenuous efforts to introduce and encourage domestic manufactures, in which the first nobles of the Empire are now most actively engaged. The Russian tariff is almost prohibitory, many articles, particularly those of German manufacture, being entirely excluded. The heaviest penalties are inflicted on the smugglers, who are without ceremony banished to Siberia ; and the carrying-trade, formerly entirely in the hands of the Northern Germans, is, by the late Russian ukases, almost annihilated. Great efforts were made by Prussia to obtain a change in this part of the policy of her northern neighbour ; but in vain. Even the visit of the King of Prussia to England did not terrify the Emperor of Russia, who pursued his policy with a steady hand, unmindful of the League, the christening of the Prince of Wales, and the Cabinet of Berlin. Shortly after the return of the King of Prussia from England, he went to St. Petersburg ; but his visit to the Imperial family, owing to unforeseen circumstances, which threatened to become serious, and which do not here admit of an éclaircissement, was entirely unsuccessful, and he was obliged precipitately to return, without having made the least progress in the contemplated negotiations for a treaty. All subsequent attempts to effect the same object failed ; and yet Prussia has to this moment abstained from proposing retaliatory measures to the League.

« ZurückWeiter »