Women’s Patriotic Association FOK DIMINISHING THE USE OF IMPORTED LUXURIES, NEW YORK. ORGANIZED MAY 16th, 1864. NEW YORK: SANFORD, HARROUN & CO., PRINTERS, 644 BROADWAY. 1864.
BOARD OF MANAGERS OF THE WOMEN’S PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION FOR DIMINISHING THE USE OF IMPORTED LUXURIES. PRESIDENT.. TREASURER SECRETARY Mrs. .Mrs Charges P. Daly. Miss Anne S. Edwards. COMMITTEE FOR THE CITY. Mrs. Ogden Hoffman, “ Marshall 0. Roberts, “ de Trobriand, “ F. Lieber, Miss K. Hone, Mrs. J. A. Mrs. Laura W. Gibbs, “ Augustus F. Smith, “ Benjamin Nathan, “ W. P. Griffin, “ Wm. Greenough, Dickinson. COMMITTEE ON COUNTRY CORRESPONDENCE. Mrs. W. P. Griffin, Mrs. Geo. J. Cornell, Miss Anna K. Nevins, Miss M. Gardener. COMMITTEE ON MANUFACTURES. Mrs. Geo. J. Cornell, Miss K. Hone, Miss Mary Morris Hamilton.
WOMEN’S PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION FOR DIMINISHING THE USE OE IMPORTED LUXURIES. Orffttnieoti U<ii/ 10, 18(14. A DURESS. Women of the State or New York: There in something more wo can defer our country ! Wb winh to make, wo can make, no stronger appeal 1 hnn this to those who have been working for our sick and wounded soldiers for Iho pant throe yearn, who are working for th Gin now, who moan to work for them until the war is over. Wo ask yon to consider seriously the subject now presented; lot it. commend itself to your reason; for, if once convinced of the importance of tlm measure, wo cannot doubt but. (hat you will show yourself an ready Io help our country by not you have hitherto helped it by dohuj. In general, wo Women have taken but little interest in Iho (inancial a Hairs of Iho country. Duly lately I ho eyes of some of f he more thought fill amongst. ns have boon opened Io the startling mid alarming fact, that I hone were not in Iho most rat in factory condition. Eager questionings arose, springing from the hope that wo, non combatants, might possibly lend a helping hand here as elsewhere; might, perhaps, Ibid some new way of helping our country. Wo know that war, aside from the Ions of life, wan Iho most expensive undertaking in which a nation could engage. Why is it then, as our newspapers tell us, that wo are sending gold out of the coimlry al. Iho rale of nearly #2,000,000 a week, when wo need it so much al home t Why is it that the price of gold is going
6 higher and higher ? And is it true that this is only another way of saying that our own currency is as steadily depreciating ? If all this is so, and if it ought not to be so, is there anything we women can do about it? Wiser heads were consulted, men who had made the subject a study, men to whom the nation looked to guide it safely through financial difficulties. There was but one answer. It is true; you are right; and you can help us and the country most materially. The most effectual way of doing this, we are told, is to diminish our use of foreign luxuries, although a general economy in all superfluities will do much towards it. At present our imports—or the articles purchased by us from foreign countries—are very much greater in value than our exports—or the articles we produce at home and sell abroad. It is estimated that when the accounts for the year are made up, on the 30th day of this coming J une, we shall find that the country has been sending abroad seventy or seventy-five millions of dollars in gold to pay the balance of trade against it. And what have we bought with this money, so much needed at home just now, and which might be dispensed with ? Silks, satins, velvets, laces, jewelry, ribbons, trimmings, carpets, mirrors, and other imported luxuries—every woman knows what they are without running through the whole list—things that are not necessary, which would benefit our country should we do without them altogether, but which, if wanted, can, with but few exceptions, be obtained of oui’ own manufacture. We do not wish to cut off all importations, for many of these are necessary to our welfare and comfort, but we do aim at reducing our imports until they are at least even with our exports, thus raising the standard of our own depreciated currency, and, by keeping the gold in the country, enabling us to meet the expenses of the present war with greater ease. When the war broke out we all thought we should be ruined, and we instinctively economized — the statistics, as given by Prof. Hitchcock in his eloquent address at the large meeting at the Cooper Union, show with what good result—but the following- year we began to indulge ourselves again, men as well as
women, and to spend freely, and so we went on and on, more and more extravagant every year, until, without knowing it, we have been weakening our Government to the extent of twenty, and fifty, and seventy millions of dollars, during the past three years. But, the objection is made, cut off the importations and you cut off the Government revenue derived from duties upon them. True; but on the other hand, the greater the national wealth the stronger the Goverment, because there is more property in the country as a basis of taxation and loans, while the custom-house duties on articles which cannot be dispensed with, are quite sufficient to meet the requirements of the Government for interest-money payable in gold. Let us examine the import and export tables of a single year. Those for 1860-61 are at hand. Up to June 30, ’61, “ the value of the exports of the growth, produce and manufacture of the United States,” amounted to $228,699,486, including specie. The value of the imports for the same period, including specie, amounted to $286,598,135, leaving a balance against us of $57,898,649. The following are some of the items of the imports; most of these are pure articles of luxury, the others are manufactured and are for sale in this ^country: Buttons................................................................ $ 433,074 00 Cotton goods, viz: cords, galloons, gimps, thread, twist, yarn and piece goods.......... 17,057,158 00 Dolls and toys of all kinds................................ 424,614 00 Feathers and flowers, artificial and ornamental. 606,285 00 Glass................................................................... 2,017,930 00 Gems, set and not set........................................ 797,808 00 Jewelry.............................................................. 372,587 00 Hats and bonnets............................................... 1,181,391 00 Lacesand embroideries..................................... 2,377,470 00 Boots and shoes.................................................. 69,447 00 Paper—as fancy boxes, cards, paper hangings, writing paper, etc...................................... 577,163 00
8 Silks, manufactured...................................'. .. 22,456,899 00 Soap, perfumed and otherwise........................ 102,152 00 Umbrellas, parasols and sunshades................. 40,107 00 Wood, manufactured, as furniture, etc........... 390,170 00 Wool and worsted, manufactured................... 25,244,481 00 Total...............................$74,148,736 00 We cannot surely dignify the wiping out of these figures with the name of sacrifice. It has been said that all this is but an evidence of the heartlessness of our countrywomen—a proof of their indifference to our sacred cause. This is unjust to them, and absolutely false. A few there are, frivolous women, who live but to be looked at, whose ears, like their hearts, are deaf to the cry of ow noble patriots now bleeding for their country, who would have fiddled with Nero while Rome was burning. Let us leave them to the contempt they deserve. Beyond these, the hearts of our loyal countrywomen beat as true to the great and sacred cause of Union and Liberty as do those of our soldiers now fighting and dying for it upon the battle field. We never shall know the extent of the sacrifices these women have made towards it, but we do know that they have cheerfully given up husbands, and sons, and brothers — their most precious offerings. Let these monster Fairs, lately held throughout the loyal States for the sick and wounded soldiers, tell their story; let the records of the Sanitary and Christian Commissions give their testimony; go to the Soldiers’ Aid Society of every village; go into the hospital, aye, even to the battle-field, and you will find thousands of true, earnest women working cpiietly and faithfully at their self-appointed duty, year after year, supported by a love of country which knows no sacrifice too great to make for it. Friends, we have been thoughtless, heedless, extravagant in our expenditures—because ignorant. We are so no longer. Thank God ! we have found something more we can do for our country. New York, May 30, 1864.
9 We publish the following extracts, from the prominent newspapers of the day, to show the origin and progress of the movement in this city. [From the N. Y. Tribune, May 14.] A PUBLIC MEETING WILL.BE HELD AT THE COOPER UNION, ON MONDAY, MAY 16, AT ONE O’CLOCK. The object of the meeting is to call the attention of women to the injury inflicted upon the country, in this crisis, by the extravagant purchase of imported luxuries, such as silks, satins, velvets, jewelry, feathers, mirrors, and objects of vertu, and to suggest to their consideration the propriety of abstaining from such articles of foreign manufacture until the present unhappy crisis shall have passed. It is not proposed to recommend the abandonment of any articles necessary for comfort, but simply, that the above named luxuries, whose import creates the necessity of sending enormous amounts of gold out of the country, should, for the present, cease to be matters of daily use and purchase; and thus, the gold should be retained at home, to strengthen our own Government. Elsewhere this movement has been already suggested; women, who have devoted themselves to the service of their country’s defenders, have paused, in the midst of labor and suffering, to ask, Is there nothing more to be done 1 and they have been taught that a mightier help than any they have yet given may be rendered by simple self-denial in outward adorning. Can a right-thinking, patriotic woman hesitate to make so paltry a sacrifice ? The Executive Committee of the Metropolitan Fair have been urged to take the initiative in this movement, and being fully persuaded of its utility, and anxious to forward it by any
10 means in their power, they call upon the women of New York to show their patriotism, by going to this meeting, listening to the statistics which will there be given, and learning what they are doing by yielding to the extravagance of the times, and their duty in regard to it. Several addresses will be made, and at the close of the meeting an opportunity will be given to all who are willing to join in this movement to enrol their names. Mrs. David Lane, Mrs. A. V. Stout, “ John Jay, “ Gurdon Buck, “ Morris Ketchum, “ A. Schermerhorn, “ Ogden Hoffman, “ Marshall 0. Roberts, “ Alex. Hamilton, Jr., il F. Billings, “ Daniel LeRoy, “ S. B. Schieffelin, “ James B. Colgate, “ J. G. Courtney, Benj. Nathan, “ Francis Lieber, “ II. A. Coit, Miss Hone, “ R. M. Hunt, Miss Nash. “ T. F. Meagher, [From the N. Y. Tribune and Herald of May 17.] WOMEN’S PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION FOR DIMINISHING THE USE OF IMPORTED LUXURIES. A large and enthusiastic aitdience of ladies assembled yes- terday in the Cooper Institute to listen to addresses in connection with the objects of the above association. There could not have been less than two thousand five hundred ladies present, and the railing in front of the platform was hung with samples of the various articles of home manufacture, which it is proposed to substitute for those of foreign importation. Some time after the hour named in the bills for the meeting to commence, Mr. Win. E. Dodge appeared on the platform, to request that the ladies of the Executive Committee
11 then present would step into the anteroom, for conference, for a few moments, with tlie speakers. Mr. Peter Cooper proposed that the chair be taken by President King, of Columbia College, which was carried unanimously, and tlie Kev. S. II. Tyng'was appointed Secretary of the meeting. President King said he had had some experience in presiding Over masculine meetings, but never at such a meeting as” this, and in such a cause. The object of the meeting was, that the women of the land should aid in a great national cause, and by some acts of personal self-denial on a point that was supposed to be very dear to the female heart—the point of dress. They of the other gender always assumed that women dressed for them, and, therefore, when it was asked that during the continuance of this war they should abstain as far as possible from all indulgence in articles of luxury in dress, and adorn themselves with the fabrics that we ourselves produce, and present themselves to us as American women, he could assure them, in the name of the masculine gender, that they would be still more lovely and still more honored. [Applause.] They would not forget in inaugurating this movement, to implore the Divine blessing, and therefore he would call upon the Kev. Dr. Vinton to commence the proceedings with prayer. Prayer was then offered up by the reverend gentleman, after which the President called upon Mr. Peter Cooper to address the meeting. Mr. Cooper remarked that this meeting had for its object the formation of a Union that must commend itself to the heart of every patriotic lady. At this time, when our hopes of freedom for ourselves and our posterity were threatened by the vilest despotism that ever disgraced a civilized nation, all ought to contribute to strengthen tlie arm of the Government. Nothing could be more terrible than that such a cause and such institutions as the Kebel Confederacy should be allowed to flourish. . It would be a sign that the sun of American Freedom was fast setting in clouds and darkness. He was
12 sadly afraid that the present attitude of the North exhibited that pride which goes before destruction, and that haughty step which precedes a fall, for the world had seldom seen such a degree of prodigality and extravagance as that which was now spreading its influence over our land. The question for con- sideration was what could they, what should they do to save their country from the dangers which threatened its life. The love of pride and fashion can only be overcome by a solid union, and there is no union that can be firmer and more powerful than a union of ladies; and if they were determined, they might easily in a short time save the country from what was now wasted—an amount equal to the whole expense of the war. The President then called upon Professor Hitchcock. SPEECH OF PROFESSOR HITCHCOCK. Professor Hitchcock having taken the stand, proceeded to address the meeting. He said the address they had just listened to with so much respect and pleasure, one or two years ago, might have furnished a theme for debate. But this good cause of our country, like every other good cause in its history and unfolding, has passed beyond—triumphantly passed beyond —the period of apology. First principles are no longer in controversy; certain great matters are settled. The providence of God has inflamed the mind and heart of this nation with the conviction and purpose that this Republic, founded by the wisdom, defended by the valor, and baptized by the blood of our fathers shall, God helping us, be transmitted to our children as they transmitted it to theirs. We are here to-day, not to entertain for an instant the question whether anything we can do, or anything we can suffer, shall be contributed to that holy cause. Here before us, as in every public place, is the altar of our God. We are on it—every American man, every American woman, body and soul—a living offering to the shades of our fathers; to our children in the coming generation, to the army of the blessed above us, and to the
13 good God who ruleth over all. The question is one of ways and means—not whether we shall do this or that, but how wisely and effectively it shall be undertaken and accomplished. The question before us is simply this, of helping the cause by a self-denial so paltry that I will not insult any American woman by apprising her of it here, even in advance. (Applause.) This matter has two aspects—a material aspect and a spiritual aspect—just as war has a body and soul. The soul of the war is faith of the American people in its object—in its settled and final triumph. And this soul of the war is unperishable, and cannot be annihilated and cannot die. But war has also a body. A recent issue of one of the Boston papers, so conveniently for rustic scholars, informs us that the phrase, “ the sinews of war,” is substantially as old as the eloquence of Demosthenes. Greek philosophers, Greek orators, and Greek warriors understood that war has muscles, and that these muscles must be fed. Now, what this organization of ladies proposes is, not to put an end to importations, as some have falsely alleged, as though this was a grand quixotic crusade against importation. The thing struck at is just this— only a moiety of what we import—that excess of importation over exportation, which has to be paid for in gold—that yellow blood of the war that flows as the blood of the man flowing on the field is red. What that excess was he would show them by some statistics. In the year ending June 30, 1860, we exported specie to the amount of nearly $58,000,000. In 1861, at the beginning of this cruel war, the balance of trade was the other way, and we imported specie to the amount of about $16,500,000. The people instinctively economized, but by and by the war brought its own alleviation, and they began to indulge themselves again in luxuries, and what was the result ? In the year 1862, the amount of specie exported was about $20,500,000; and in 1863, with a whole year of extravagancies between that date and to-day, they exported nearly $55,000,000 of specie, and he should not be surprised if this year the balance against us amounted to 70 or 75 millions of dollars. Now, the practical question is, women of America, will you
14: destroy, will you extinguish this balance a'gainst us? Will you stop this drain on the muscles of the nation ? It can be done with perfect ease. Every one must see that at least seventy- five millions must be taken off our expenses, and not a particle of comfort less would be enjoyed by any woman on the continent. The thing can be done if it be only made fashionable to do it. We ask for no linsey-woolsey dress, but we ask every woman in her loyalty, in her simpleness, in her shrewdness, in her common sense, to reduce her own personal expenses in dress and jewels, to do everything she fairly and easily can to reduce our gold account. And this without making it tell upon her substantial comforts, upon the health or happiness of herself or family. The thing is perfectly feasible and within our reach. Now, will it be done? Of course this work must have its beginning. Certain ladies here who can afford to spend money, pledge themselves that they will not encourage the importation of foreign luxuries. They will, as far as convenient, abstain from the purchase of those imported luxuries,, and if their example be copied, this fashion set in the streets of New York will be imitated all over the country, and those sixty millions now against us will be annihilated within six months. (Applause.) It is perfectly easy to do it; and what will be the effect of this ? Go into Wall Street—into the gold ring—after this matter is fairly inaugurated ; or, if you think that too perilous a venture, open one of the' morning papers next day, and you will see the result—gold tumbling down with a crash, and the credit of the country going up. Now, we want good Uncle Sam to be able to hold uphis head in Wall Street, and Lombard Street, and everywhere else, in the strength of his credit, so that his greenbacks will be as good as gold, dollar for dollar. (Applause.) What woman that deserves the name is willing to sweep the streets with Lyons silk and costly velvet, and go flashing up and down Broadway with expensive jewels, when these streets echo so often to the funeral tread, and when so many faces we meet are saddened with the grief of the hour. It is indecent, it is unbefitting, it is unsympathetic—it is a shame. (Applause.) I do not ask
15 for crape in any form, when the hand of God himself has not smitten with ills. I do not ask for sackcloth and ashes or these outward signs and circumstances of sorrow. But I ask a decent, a sober, and a blameless demeanor, which becomes people who feel that they are walking amid the shadows of great events. I honestly believe that there never has been in history a more faithful, a more heroic, a more godly army than the Army of the Potomac, not to say all the armies of the Union. (Applause.) And I know that there is no keener grief, no more acute sorrow, no deeper sense of shame visiting those men, than the knowledge of the extravagant and frightful vanity which is flourishing behind them. They look from their tents, back from the -weary march, at all our flaunting pride, and they weep in shame for us. They do not curse us, but they weep for us in shame, and exclaim, “ Cannot you be sober, in God’s name, looking on to see us die?” This is the question. I will add no more. It lies with the American women most materially to assist the credit of the country in the exigency now upon it, and which is to be a protracted exigency. And, above all, it is in their power to cheer the army by the spirit they shall exhibit, so that they, as the bugles sound from the Rapidan to Spottsyl- vania, from Spottsylvania to Gordonsville, from Gordonsville to Richmond—(applause)—from Richmond to annihilation— (continued applause)—so that when the bugles sound from march to march, from battle to battle, our brave boys may say, the nation—the nation—is behind us. (Applause.) Mb. W. E. Dodge followed, addressing the meeting at considerable length, taking the ground of Prof. Hitchcock in urging a harmonious and general adhesion to the pledge of economy. Dr. Vinton next followed, and his remarks were frequently applauded by the fair audience. It was announced that a book, with the pledge, would be ready for signature at No. 2 Great Jones Street, at three o’clock, Tuesday. The meeting was then declared at an end, but it was some time before the last of the assemblage left.
16 [From the New York Times, May 20.*] WOMEN’S PATRIOTIC ASSOCIATION FOR DIMINISHING THE USE OF IMPORTED LUXURIES. The above Association, so successfully inaugurated last Monday, May 16, by a mass meeting at the Cooper Union of over 2,500 women, held an adjourned meeting on the following day at No. 2. Great Jones Street. Various committees were appointed, upon manufactures, correspondence throughout the State, &c. The pledge, as finally adopted, reads as follows: “We, the undersigned, during the continuance of this war of rebellion, pledge ourselves to refrain from the purchase of imported articles of luxury for which those of home manufacture or production can be substituted.” To this the following names, taken at random from among? several hundred, have been attached, and we publish them to show the interest with which the movement is regarded in this city: Mrs. Mary Vanden Heuvel, Mrs. David Lane, Mrs. John Jay, Mrs. Morris Ketchum, Mrs. R. M. Hunt, Mrs. T. F. Meagher, Mrs. A. V. Stout, Mrs. Gurdon Buck, Mrs. A. Schermerhorn, Mrs. Marshall 0. Roberts^ Mrs. F. Billings, Mrs. Laura W. Gibbs, Mrs. Geo. J. Cornell, Miss Mary Morris Hamilton, Miss A. K. Nevins, Miss Gardener, Mrs. Gen. de Trobriand, Mrs. Moses H. Grinnell, Mrs. George S. Bowdoin, Mrs. R. M. Blatchford, Mrs. Frederick G. Foster, Mrs. Drake Mills, Mrs. S. B. Scheffelin, Mrs. S. G. Courtney, Mrs. Francis Lieber, Mrs. Alex. Hamilton, Jr. Mrs. Daniel Le Roy, Mrs. James B. Colgate, Mrs. Benj. Nathan, Mrs. Henry A. Coit, Mrs. William E. Dodge, Miss K. Hone, Miss Nash, Miss A. P. Cary, Mrs. W. P. Griffin, Mrs. T. d’Oremieulx, Miss Ellen Collins, Miss Louisa Lee Schuyler, Mrs. S. Wier Roosevelt, Miss Henrietta D. Haines, Miss Harriet R. Woolsey, Mrs. J. A. Dickinson, . Mrs. James A. Ruthven, Mrs. Nathaniel Robinson, Mrs. Joseph Inslee, Mrs. Com. Eagle, U. S. N. Mrs, Wm. A. Bloodgood, Mrs. Wm. B. Allen, Mrs. John W. Chauncey, Mrs. Wm. B. Moffat.
17 We would gladly publish, all the names attached to this pledge, if our means would allow. For this, for distributing information, and for other purposes, all persons interested are requested to send money to -Mrs. Ogden Hoffman, Treasurer of the Association, No. 2 Great Jones Street, where the register of names is open for signatures from 10 A. m. to 4 p. m. Signatures will be received by letter. Retail dealers in American fabrics are also requested to send to the office their names and addresses, with a description of the goods sold by them. By order, ANNE S. EDWARDS, Secretary.
18 LETTERS. Letter from Mr. SAM’L HOOPER, Chairman Com. of Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, and Mr. ALEX. H. RICE, M. C. [From the Boston Advertiser.] Some of the ladies in this city who have undertaken the movement in favor of a general league against extravagant and mischievous expenditure, lately made application to the Representatives in Congress from Boston, for their views as to the advantages and proper objects, of such a movement. The reply made by Messrs. Hooper and Rice is as follows: House of Representatives, > Washington City, Monday, May 2, 1864. j Ladies :—We have received the note with which you have honored us respectively under date of the 18th inst., informing us that a meeting of ladies had been held to consider the expediency of giving up, for the present, the use of some of the most expensive articles of luxury, such as silks, satins, velvets, laces, French millinery, etc. ; and asking our opinion respecting the advisability of the measure, stating also that you had been informed that the diminution of the foreign debt, or of the United States Revenue, from this movement, would be too inconsiderable to be of much moment. You are pleased also to ask us to give you our opinion of the expediency of your uniting to carry the proposed measure into effect, and we cheerfully comply with your request. As every dollar added to the revenue by the duty on importations involves an expenditure of more than two dollars for the cost of the article abroad, the national wealth will be increased by any reduction of revenue from that source. Whether the effect on the foreign debt would be inconsiderable or not, would, of course, depend on the extent to which the movement would be carried. Almost every country has special advantages in regard to the production of some articles, arising from peculiar causes, such as climate, soil, or the skill derived from the long pursuit of an employment. As a general principle, it may be said that our foreign commerce is beneficial to the nation only so far as it exchanges products, which we can furnish, cheaper and better, for the products other countries can furnish cheaper and better to us. So far, therefore, as the imported articles are necessary and useful to us, the foreign commerce which supplies them in exchange for articles of our own production is useful to the country.
19 On examining statements of the imports of previous years, we find the annual value in manufactures of silks to be about.. $27,500,000 Of laces................................................................................................ 1,500,000 Of embroideries.................................................................................. 4,500,000 $33,500,000 Of wines, over................................................................... $4,000,000 Of spirits, over.............................. 4,000,000 Of cigars, over................................................................... 4,000,000 -------------- 12,000,000 Making........................... $45,500,000 This large amount consisted of articles of luxury which were neither necessary nor useful, and added nothing to the wealth of the country. As gold was sent abroad to pay for them, the country was poorer for the importation of those articles. The annual export of specie has been about $60,008,000. The export in a single recent week of $2,000,000 in gold from New York, and the import of more than $7,000,000 of merchandise, is a striking illustration of the extravagance of our people. Far better would it be for the industry of the country, if that gold were thrown into the sea, than to send it abroad, as we are now doing, to pay for useless luxuries; the ladies would then dress in the beautiful fabrics of our own manufactories, and the gentlemen dispense with the use of imported wines, brandies and cigars. Entertaining these views, we have no hesitation in saying that just so far as the ladies abstain from the use of imported silks, satins, velvets, laces and French millinery,-and gentlemen abstain from the use of imported wines, brandies and cigars, they are discouraging habits of extravagance in dress and living, stimulating American industry and skill, in many departments, diminishing the foreign debt, and increasing the ability of the country to meet the expenditures of the war. We are, ladies, with great respect, Very truly yours, S. HOOPER, ALEX. II. RICE. Mrs. Cornelia Loring, Mrs. Anna P. M. Rogers, Mrs. i Mary J. Quincy, Miss Abby W. May, Boston. J
20 Letter from Mr. JOHN E. WILLIAMS, President of the Metropolitan Bank, N. Y. New York, May 28, 1864. Dear Miss Schuyler:—I have received your favor of the 27th instant, in which you request me to state my views in relation to certain points connected with the recent movement “ for diminishing the use of imported luxuries.” You ask:— I. “If generally adopted, would it be of any help to our Government during the present crisis—and in what way?” In answer to this inquiry, I would remark, that if generally adopted, importations would be greatly reduced. As a consequence, then, gold, or its equivalent, would thereby be kept in this country which is now sent out of it. Another result would follow from a large reduction in the importation of foreign luxuries, viz.: those articles we should substitute, would be produced here; consequently, we should then pay the home laborer, and the domestic manufacturer, instead of the European operative. In this way new classes would be supported and enriched, and rendered capable of paying large taxes to the Government. This would be especially true of the flourishing manufacturing interests of our country. Thus the people would become self-sustaining, the General Government made stronger, and the whole population happier and richer. Again, you inquire:— II. “As it would necessarily somewhat diminish the Government revenue derived from duties upon imported articles, where would be the corresponding or greater gain?” Of course, if importations are reduced, the imposts or duties would be lessened. But look at the practical operation. See how it will affect the public at large. Suppose, by way of illustration, importations are reduced one-half—that is, for instance, one hundred millions instead of two hundred are imported—this would make one hundred millions less to pay to Europe, yearly, in gold; to say nothing of fifty per cent, of duties, also payable in gold, commissions, etc., etc. Now, in one sense, this importation is a foreign tax, self-imposed, on the American public. If, by your proposed reform, you can prevent the payment of this tax in gold, it is very clear the people would gain either more or less than the sum assumed for the sake of illustrating this point. But you ask, most patriotically, what would be the condition of the Government ? I answer, the United States Government now owes an annual interest on its bonds, payable in gold, not exceeding forty-five millions of dollars. This is provided for by duties on imported goods, payable in gold. Now, inasmuch as various articles, raw and manufactured, which cannot be produced here, will still have to be imported, it is nowise probable that the duties henceforward will be, can be, less than fifty millions annually- If, then, the
21 importations could be lessened one hundred millions a year, this amount would be saved to the people of this country in gold! And yet, a sufficient revenue would be received by the Government, in gold, to pay all its gold interest from custom duties. Now, could not the manufacturers, and the people generally, under these circumstances, well afford to pay an increased tax, if the necessities of the Government demanded it ? For the people of the country, as a whole, would add one hundred millions to their wealth, in gold, which is now sent to Europe, every year. In the third place, you ask, “ What bearing upon the subject has the fact that this is a gold-producing country ?” It has this bearing—The gold and silver mines of this country are largely productive—if you succeed in your reform, to one-half the extent I have supposed, it will be shown that we produce more of the precious metals than will be needed for export, to pay foreign indebtedness. On the contrary, unless the annual interest of the Government, payable in coin, should be largely increased, your movement will produce a large surplus of gold, which will remain here to enrich the people of our own country. You say nothing about the present or prospective condition of the currency of our country. Yet I cannot but regard this as a very important element in this connection. The tendency of the contemplated reform, is to keep and accumulate gold in this country. If that is accomplished—the reform carried out—even partially, and the paper currency of the United States Government is properly curtailed and restrained, the effect will inevitably be to raise the value of paper much nearer the standard of gold, reduce prices of all commodities, and gradually, but certainly, restore the Government and the banks to a specie basis. With all my heart I say, therefore, God speed you in the good work. Yours, very truly, J. E. WILLIAMS, To Miss Louisa Lee Schuylek, No. 2 Great Jones St., N. Y. Letter from Messes. J. C. HOWE & CO., Manchester Print Warks, Manchester, N. II. New York, May 11, 18G4. To Miss Louisa Lee Schuyler:—We duly received yours of the 7th inst., requesting us to furnish samples of fabrics manufactured in this country suitable for ladies’ dresses. We are aware that very little is known by ladies who have been accustomed to buy foreign fabrics, and who have been prejudiced against American pro
22 ductions to such an extent, that the retail dealer has .often required American goods put up in a disguised manner with foreign tickets and labels to insure a more ready sale, to what extent such goods are manufactured in this country. We appreciate the interest the ladies are beginning to take in this subject, and for the purpose of affording them information, we send with this several pattern cards, containing the various goods manufactured by the “Manchester Print Works,” at Manchester, New Hampshire, of which we are the selling agents. This company take the cotton and wool in the raw state, spin the yarn, weave the cloth, and print the goods in their present state, as shown on the ccompanying cards, at the rate of 75,000 yards per day. They use about 3,000,000 pounds American wool, and about 2,000,000 pounds cotton per annum. About 2,000 hands are employed in the whole establishment. They help to sustain the Government by paying an internal revenue tax of over $500 per day. Please bear in mind this is only what one Company are doing. There are others engaged in the same business, and will, no doubt, respond to your request for samples, and statistics, respecting what they can do. Ladies wishing to purchase the muslin d’laines, can find them at most of the retail dealers. Wishing you success in awakening an interest in “ home productions,” we remain, yours respectfully, J. C. HOWE & CO.
23 FORM OF PLEDGE. We, the undersigned, during the continuance of this war of rebellion, ( pledge ourselves to refrain from the purchase of Imported Articles of Luxury, for which those of Home Manufacture or Production can be substituted. NAME. RESIDENCE. Please obtain signatures, and return to the Women’s Patriotic Association, No. 694 Broadway, New York. Blanks for signatures, similar to the above, will be furnished upon application at the office. Funds—to meet the expenses of office rent, printing, postage, adver- / tising, etc.-—are very much needed. They should be sent to ^jtaBWWw^Treasurer of the Association, No. 694 Broadway.digitalcommons.cedarville.edu