Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Letters of William Gilmore Simms. Vol. 6, Supplement >> 171a John Caldwell Calhoun >> Page 68

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Page 68

Correspondence | U of South Carolina P | 2012
Transcription 68 THE SIMMS LETTERS
[August, 1843]2
Hon. J. C. Calhoun dear Sir
The writer of the above letter, Mr. J. Kenrick Fisher is an amiable gentleman and an excellent artist, who is now engaged enthusi-
'See introductory sketch. We want to thank W. Edwin Hemphill, editor of The Papers of John C. Calhoun, for bringing this letter to our attention. Since the letter is in the Albert Kenrick Fisher Papers, Library of Congress, it apparently was not sent to Calhoun.
This letter is written on the bottom of the third sheet of the following letter:
New-York, August 1843. Hon. John C. Calhoun.
Sir: I am desirous to render such aid as I can to the cause of Commercial Freedom; and, as one means, to procure, for publication and wide circulation, a statement of what should be the ultimate policy of this nation and all nations, in reference to tariff imposts, and other checks upon trade. Such a statement would he most sure of a general and attentive reading, if it should come from a man already well known to the public; and if that man were so situated that his views might be regarded as a probable indication of the future policy of this country, its publication would produce considerable influence on the public feeling and the legislation in other countries. I believe you to be the man from whom such an outline, given as a personal opinion, would come with the best effect—if your views accord with the laws which nature has predetermined: and my object in addressing you now, is to beg you to inform me whether you would approve a total abolition of the tariff;—for, to speak with the candor due to yourself and all others concerned, I should be painfully disapponted to learn that you are not ready, at any time, to abolish this mode of taxation, even without waiting for any other mode, save that indicated by the Constitution: but if you would sketch out a general policy, based on unqualified freedom of trade; and state what you deem the just claims of existing interests as to the time to be allowed for the transition; and also what means should be taken to induce other nations to adopt a reciprocal course; I should believe that I might render good service, by asking some of the friends of free trade to join in requesting your views, and in making arrangements to publish them in the way most likely to secure to them the attention of American citizens, and of the friends of free trade in other countries.
I would ask for your views on this course to be pursued, if, contrary to the belief of free traders, it should prove disadvantageous to us to admit goods free, while other nations do not reciprocate; because there are many, in both parties, who believe that reciprocal free trade would he best for all; and who would join in the free trade movement if they thought that all fair means would he used to make other nations follow, with respect to us, any such liberal movement which we might make. Of course, it should not he proposed as a condition; but only as an opinion as to what is the true policy—which we are not to contrive, but to discover.