It is not only improvements in transportation that are antagonistic to protection; but all labor-saving invention and discovery. The utilization of natural gas bids fair to lessen the demand for native coal far more than could the free importation of foreign coal. Borings in Central New York have recently revealed vast beds of pure salt, the working of which will destroy the industry of salt-making, to encourage which we impose a duty on foreign salt. We maintain a tariff for the avowed purpose of keeping out the products of cheap foreign labor; yet machines are daily invented that produce goods cheaper than the cheapest foreign labor. Clearly the only consistent protectionism is that of China, which would not only prohibit foreign commerce, but forbid the introduction of labor-saving machinery.
The aim of protection, in short, is to prevent the bringing into a country of things in themselves useful and valuable, in order to compel the making of such things. But what all mankind, in the individual affairs of every-day life, regard as to be desired is not the making of things, but the possession of things.