Bounty on Sugar.
HON. WM. C. P. BRECKINRIDGE,
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
On Saturday, July 7, t888.
WASHINGTON, D. C.:
GRAY & CLARKSON, PRINTERS.
This page in the original text is blank.
Bounty on Sugar.
HON. WM. C. P. BRECKINRIDGE,
On Saturday, Jily 7, 1888.
The House being in Committee of the Whole on E. R. 9051, "An act to reduce taxation and
simplity the laws In relation to the collection of the revenue," and having under consideration the
schedule as to sugars-
Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Kentucky, said:
Mr. CHAIRMAN: I do not desire to submit any remarks at this time on the
political aspect of this question, nor as to what is the proper construction of the
Republican platform. I leave that for the present to my venerable friend from
Pennsylvania, Judge KELLEY, and to the experienced and distinguished gentle-
man from Ilinois [Mr. CANNON], and to the various gentlemen on the other
side who have ranged themselves under the hostile banners of those two eminent
and redoubtable leaders. When they settle their family difficulty among them-
selves and agree upon the proper interpretation of their platform, then possibly we
may desire to discuss it.
The sugar tariff as a business proposition Is an Important matter. There are
several observations I desire to submit before this debate is ended-. The sugar
industries stand in a peculiar relation. We raise in America, in the State of
Louisiana, a certain amount of sugar. I presume fairly to be estimated at about 9
per cent. of what is used by our people. We import under our reciprocity treaty
with the Hawaiian Islands about 8 per cent. of the amount used in America. And
we import, subject to duty, 83 per cent.
I do not mean to say that these figures are absolutely accurate, but they are
approximately so The amount of duty paid by the American people last year
was over fifty-six millions of dollars (56,515,601.57).
Now that is only one-half of this question, large as that is. On the other hand,
every pound of sugar imported into America upon which duty is paid is raw
sugar. The present schedule was so framed that no sugar is imported in its re-
fined state. The importation of refined sugar is so small as to be comparatively
Mr. DINGLEY. Will not that be the resultof the bill framed by the Commit-
tee on Ways and Means
Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Kentucky. The schedule in the present law remains
untouched in its nature by the Mills bill. The sugars upon which duty is paid are
imported in their raw state and are refined In America.
The sugar-refining business, therefore, is a very large industry, in which many
millons of dollars have been invested.
Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Arkansas. Will not the margin between raw and
refined sugar which exists under the present law be materially diminished by the
Mills bill, so that there may be imports of refined sugar
Mr. DINGLEY. I do not believe there would be such imports under the sehed-
ule framed here. Is not the margin left so that there would be no imports
Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Arkansas. That is conjectural. We materially re-
duce the margin, but whether we reduce It enough to permit imports remains to
be seen. There can be if we reduce the margin. We have reduced the margin 1
Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Kentucky. I was going on to say that on the sugar
question the first half is different from the second half; the interest of Louisiana
and the southern portions of America in the production of cane sugar is entirely
different from the interest of sugar refineries, which under our tariff is very large.
Many millions of dollars are invested in these refineries. They employ a large
number of workmen. To each of these two halves of this question are attached
incidental questions of great complexity.
Mr. GE AR. Will the gentleman permit me to interrupt him
Mr. BRECKINRIDGE, of Kentucky. Not now. The agricultural side of this
question is that contingent possibility of great increase in the production of sugar
in Louisiana, Texas, and Florida, by the growth of cane, the great increase under
scientific researches and industrial improvements by the culture of sorghum,
which can be raised in all parts of America, and the still more promising possi-
bi ity growing out of beet culture in California and elsewhere. Each of these
aff ects a large part of the American agricultural population.
To the other half of this question is attached the fact that there is indubitably
a compact trust of great power, by means of which a tax can be laid on the
American consumers of sugar, which results in a large profit to the trust and a
considerable addition to the burden of the American people. Therefore, when
the Committee of the Whole comes to consider this question, it has to consider
it in the light of these various aspects. It is one, therefore, i hope outside, as it
struck the Committee on Ways and Means and strikes me this afternoon, of the
temporary struggles of contending parties and beyond the sectional aspect
of particular agricultural interests alone, although this is most Important. It is
to be considered in a broader view, and our action taken with a purpose to do
what is the best under all the circumstances surrounding Congress now.
We cannot shut our eyes to the fact, however much we may dispute about it
here in the committee, that there are annoyances, inequalities, and burdens to the
manufacturers of America growing out of this tariff; and that there are burdens
which we ought to remove from other industries. We cannot shut our eyes to
the fact that the various organizations of labor In this country have grown up out
of the spirit of discontent and restlessness because of the present condition of
Now, to take the entire 56,000,000, which Is the net revenue from sugar, and
the 31,000,000 of revenue, which is about that derived from tobacco, mxking
87,000,000 in all, absolutely renders this Congress unable to take any burden
elsewhere off the manufacturers of America, or give relief to the tax-payers and
consumers in any