Circular printed and sent to Congress by the Hatters of Philadelphia in support of passing the Protectionist Tariff of 1832. John Lnad Natieniel Fowle, et. al.
Circular printed and sent to Congress by the Hatters of Philadelphia in support of passing the Protectionist Tariff of 1832
Circular printed and sent to Congress by the Hatters of Philadelphia in support of passing the Protectionist Tariff of 1832

Circular printed and sent to Congress by the Hatters of Philadelphia in support of passing the Protectionist Tariff of 1832

Philadelphia: 1832. Envelope or Cover. This one-page printed circular ,dated “Philadelphia, May 30th, 1832 was folded and sent by mail to the “Hon. P. Ellis” (Senator Powhattan Ellis of Mississippi) at “Washington City, D.C.” I bears a small, circular “PHIL 6 JUN” postmark in read and black “FREE” handstamp, which was appropriate at the time as the circular was being sent to a member of Congress.

This lengthy circular, created and distributed by the hatters of Philadelphia, lays out a detailed case for the passing of the Protectionist Tariff of 1832 from the perspective of northern hat manufacturees.

It begins with a short discussion of the beginning of the hat industry in colonial America which “the material of which hats were then made was in abundance, almost at our doors, and purchased at very low prices.” That changed, the hatters point out when English hat manufacturers that partnered with “Fur Companies on this continent were enabled to procure the beaver and muskrat (two of the most valuable furs of this country) cheaper than the American Hatters.” This they noted led to a decrease in their ability to continue to produce first-rate hats, as they were forced to use lesser quality coney (rabbit) fur, unless they purchase American beaver or muskrat fur from English merchants. Additionally, English hat makers began to drop the prices of completed hats that they exported to the United States forcing American manufactures to sell at the “lowest possible price” and driving worker salaries down “to a level with the paupers of Europe, with all the train of moral degradation consequent to such a state.” Not only, they claimed, did this this affect the 37,500 male hatters and apprentices, it also hurt the 7,000 female hat trimmers. Very good. Item #009413

The Tariff of 1832 was passed to reduce the clamor an even more draconian tariff created in 1828—known in the South as the Tariff of Abominations—on a sectional vote in Congress when Northern politicians protected their growing industries without concern for drastically driving up the cost for manufactured goods imported from England. Worse, the tariff crippled demand for Southern agricultural products by imposing a 45% tax on raw goods like cotton and tobacco. This tariff—which was not supported by Senator Ellis—passed but did far to little to lessen the extraordinary financial burden placed on the South and led directly to the Nullification Crisis and the chain of events that set the stage for secession and the Civil War.

No doubt these circulars were sent to each of the 46 Senators and 240 Representatives of the Twenty-Third Congress, however it is very scarce. No others are for sale in the trade. The Rare Book Hub shows none have appeared at auction, and OCLC shows only one institutional holding (at the American Antiquarian Society).

Price: $200.00

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