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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin

Chapter III: Tobacco,   pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)

Page 170

1882 petitions were sent to congress asking that the tariff on Su-
matra leaf be raised from thirty-five cents to a dollar a pound. In
I884 it was predicted that, in case the proposed reduction of
twenty per cent. on import duty should pass congress, tobacco
growing in Wisconsin would become a memory.75   In i890 the
Sumatra wrappers were taxed two dollars a pound and the Wis-
consin growers complained that it had not been set at two-fifty or
two-seventy-five in order to protect them against the product of
slave labor of the Orient. A small cut in tariff rates under the
Wilson Act, in conjunction with the powerful stimulus to over-
production just preceding. worked havoc with prices, and a new
application of the beneficent remedy was demanded. The Mil-
waukee Scntincl in 1894. commenting on the depression in the
tobacco trade, took occasion to remark that dealers and growers
were principally Scandinavians and Americans, with a small
sprinkling of Germans and Irish, but they were alike in one re-
spect-all Republicans-and adds that it would be strange were
they anything else. for the tobacco industry would soon become a
thing unknown without protective tariff. A little before this a to-
bacco grower in addressing a Farmers' Institute remarks that
"if the present policy is continued it will be only a short time
till the bottom is completely knocked out, and with the present
free trade tendencies of the times  .  .  . the prospects of the
tobacco growvers are not overloaded with rainbow tints." But
during the Spanish WVar the growers had conscientious scruples
against letting "the constitution follow the flag," and in a me-
morial to congress protesting against annexation of any islands,
solemnlv resolved that: "a government can only derive its just
powers from the consent of the governed." The last note in this
politico-economic refrain was sounded at a convention at Janes-
ville. October 31. i90i, where it was resolved: "That it is ex-
pedient for the tobacco growers of the state of Wisconsin to form
a State Association, whose head-quarters shall be at Madison or
Edgerton. and whose primary object shall be to unite with other
similar organizations in protecting the leaf industry of the
state." 76
7'Wisconlsin Tobaeco Reporter, October 17. 1884.
"Wiconlin Tobaeco Reporter, November 1, 1901.

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