The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918 Page: 3
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The Tariff History of the B~epublic of Texas
It could not be hoped, however, that the tariff question would
be left alone. The financial policies of Houston's second admin-
istration caused a rise in the value of the currency, and hence the
nominally high rates of the tariff became burdensome,98 and
brought about an effort to revise the tariff downward. However,
there was not the same interest in the tariff question as there
had been earlier, and as there came to be later. On November
10, 1841, the correspondent of the Houston Morning Star wrote
that it was his opinion that the tariff would be modified so that
articles paying 45 per cent ad valorem in promissory notes would
be required to pay only 10 per cent par funds, and those paying
15 per cent would pay only 5 per cent.99 This would have been
333 per cent lower than the rates under the tariff of February
5, 1841, since the real value of the promissory notes at the time
of the passage of the act was a third of their par value.
In his annual message, December 20, 1841, President Houston
dampened the hopes of those who were in favor of a very low
tariff, or a total repeal of the tariff laws and the substitution
of direct taxes as the foundation of finances. He expressed him-
self as firmly in favor of indirect taxes as represented by import
duties and against direct taxes. Giving his reasons, he said:
The principal reason why I incline to diminish direct taxa-
tion and rely upon import duties as a source of revenue, is, that
I deem them the most just and equitable, and the least burden-
some to the actual laborer and productive classes of the country.
Direct taxation bears immediately upon the farmer, whilst a
large portion of the community can only be reached by import
duties. It is not the agriculturalist that is generally the con-
sumer of articles of foreign importation; but those who produce
nothing from the soil, and rely upon other pursuits for subsist-
ence, and who are not directly engaged in developing the re-
sources of the country will be most sensibly affected by tariff reg-
ulations, and thereby contribute a fair proportion to the support
of the government. If the farmer is necessarily compelled to
purchase articles for consumption of foreign importation, he will
contribute, through the merchant, to that branch of revenue-
the merchant having added the duty to the price of the article
sold. The merchant will receive the produce of the farmer in
98Miller, op. cit., 30.
"Telegraph and Texas Register, November 24, 1841.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 21, July 1917 - April, 1918, periodical, 1918; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101073/m1/9/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.