DEBATE OF MARCH 13, 1890.Question: "Resolved, That it is for the interest of the United States to subsidize steamship lines to Central and South America."
Brief for the Affirmative.G. B. Henshaw '90, and W. K. Post '90.
Best general references-W. E. Curtis's Trade and Transportation between the United States and Spanish America, North American Review, 148, p. 687; Congressional Reports, Nos. 18, 48 and 149, 39th, 40th, 41st Congresses, 1st, 2nd and 3rd sessions.
I. Our present trade with Spanish America ought to be increased Curtis, pp. 117 and 237.
II. Subsidies are advantageous to the development of our carrying trade. (a) They will enlarge our marine and increase our naval power-Curtis p. 234; North American Review 148, pp. 95, 695; (b) lead to control of commercial routes; (c) improve our foreign mail service-Curtis p. 290; (d) add to our banking facilities and the extension of credit-Curtis p. 108; House report No. 18, 41st Congress, 3rd session; Public Opinion IV. p. 62.
III. Foreign nations have greatly encouraged the carrying trade by granting subsidies to steamship lines-H. R. Reports, February 12, 1884; David A. Wells' Decay of our Mercantile Marine, p. 29, Curtis, pp. 144-170.
IV. The United States government is inconsistent in granting large subsidies toward internal development and with holding aid from our fast decaying foreign trade, especially when the amounts needed are not large, nor need they be permanent to accomplish the desired increase of trade-Curtis, pp. 115 116; North American 148, pp. 694 696.
V. Subsidies are necessary (a) to successful competition with foreigners. (b) to give impetus to a revival of our merchant marine-Curtis, pp. 203-220.
Brief for the Negative.A. C. Burnham '60, F. L. DeLong, '90.
Best general references-Our Mercantile Marine, by David A. Wells; Captain John Codman, Free ships and bounty to ship builders and stock jobbers, not Protection to commerce; The Nation vols. 10, 48 and 49.
I. The only presumable object of such a subsidy would be (a) to restore by temporary encouragement the prosperity of American shipping. (b) to build up a prosperous trade with South and Central America; (c) to create a class of vessels available for war purposes-Majority report of Joint Select Committee of Congress on American shipping, House reports. 2n session, 47th Congress, vol. 1; Proceedings of the Pan-American Congress; Lalor's Encyclopaedia, vol. III., pp. 821-822.
II. Such a subsidy cannot be justified on the ground of restoring by temporary encouragement the prosperity of American shipping; (a) With our tariff on raw materials, our high rate of wages' and our present shipping laws a subsidy for such a purpose would be useless. (b) With the repeal of our shipping laws it would be unnecessary-David A. Wells' in Our Merchant Marine, pp. 136-142; Captain John Codman's Free Ships; Lieut. J. D. J. Kelley, The Question of Ships; the Nation, vol. 10, p. 362, vol. 48, p. 519, vol. 49, p. 284.
IV. The argument of "building up a prosperous trade between the United States and Central and South America" does not justify such a subsidy; (a) Under the present high duties of the countries in question such a trade is impossible-House reports, 1882-83, I. 17-18; D. A. Wells, Our Merchant Marine pp. 202 208; Nation XLIX. 265 (b) Under low duties no artificial stimulus will be necessary for trade.
V. Thus if a subsidy were to be granted it would have to be solely to create a class of vesels available for war; a subsidy solely for this purpose would be indefensible. (a) It would be extravagant-Our Merchant Marine, 140; Garfield's view Congress. Globe 1869 70 part 5, pp. 3785-6. (b) It would fail to supply our naval needs-Wells, Our Merchant Marine, 138, et seq.