I want to inquire if the gentleman is accepting this Bill as a substitute for a general tariff revision?
Mr. CLARK, of Missouri. Good heavens, no. (Laughter and applause on the Democrat
side.) I am accepting this for what it is worth, and no more, as a step in the right direction.
Then further on at page 2626:
Reciprocity is a good Democratic doctrine in spots, and until we can get a general Democratic tariff Bill perfected and put upon the statute-books I am going to stand by this treaty.
Further on in the same page:
In levying a tariff I am in favour of putting the highest tariff on the luxuries of life, except in those cases where the luxury is of such a character that it would incite smuggling. I am in favour of putting the lowest tariff, or none at all, on the necessaries of life. (Applause on the Democrat side.) And just exactly in proportion as things become necessary I would take the tariff off them and put them on the free list, or lower the tariff on them to the vanishing point. I do not think anybody can misunderstand that or misconstrue it.
It is perfectly plain, therefore, that the Democratic party in the United States is committed to a lower tariff, and it was most inopportune for this government to have entered into this treaty on the very eve of that change in the American tariff. As things now stand, the Democratic party has a majority in the House of Representatives, and they propose to bring in a tariff Bill, a general tariff Bill, on a lower basis. In those circumstances it seems to me that as this Bill has failed to pass Congress at the session which has just come to a close it would be absolutely inopportune for us to put on our statutes a second standing offer.
I desire now to make a general objection to this system of making tariffs. I am opposed to any system of secret tariffs. I am opposed to any system of making tariffs by convention with another country, which cannot be altered in this parliament. What is the difference in principle? In the one case the government brings down its tariff; it can be amended in parliament, with the consent of the government, when difficulties and injustices are shown to result from it which were not in the minds of those who framed it. But in the other case we must accept or reject the tariff as a whole. It is an ironclad scheme, not susceptible of any alteration. Such a tariff is not consistent with democratic government, and my right hon. friend has always claimed' that he stood for democratic government. Let me give the opinion on the subject of a man of great eminence who was speaking from his experience in South Africa, when he was high commissioner in that country. He was dealing with the conditions which had obtained in South Africa and which led up to the South African union; and he pointed out the difficulties which always surrounded the making of secret tariffs.