SHOE AND LEATHER DEALERS' CONVENTION.-
A Convention of dealers in shoes and leather was held at Boston, on Wednesday
last, March 2d. About 800 delegates were present and they were assembled without
distinction of political party. Amasa Walker of Boston was chosen President.
A petition to Congress was prepared, and a Committee chosen to address the
people of Massachusetts upon the subject which called the convention together.
A committee was also appointed to obtain statistical information respecting
the leather business, to be forwarded to the Committee on Manufactures in Congress.
The Convention was addressed by Robert Rantoul, jr., Abbot Lawrence, Emory
Washburn and others.
Mr. Lawrence said that the great cause of our trouble, is we buy too much and
manufacture too little. We have contracted a debt for foreign goods of two hundred
millions of dollars. In regard to borrowing money abroad on State and other
stocks, Mr. Lawrence said, at the risk of being called a political heretic,
he would say that he should rejoice if we could not borrow another dollar.
Nothing, he observed, but a specific duty on boots and shoes, equal to that
of 1832, will do any good. Under the ad valorem duty, the country will be flooded
with goods from Russia, Germany, and France. Fine boots can be imported from
France for $3 50, equal to those which now sell for $6 and $7: and he had lately
seen fine boots imported from Russia, for only $2, which a year ago would have
been worth $8 here. Good mechanics can be hired in Europe for $1,75 and $2 a
week. They cannot live for that, but what they lack, to keep them from starving,
is made up by the parish.
The convention was also addressed by a Mr. Burton, who has recently emigrated
to this county from England. He gave a sad account of the sufferings of the
laboring classes in England from low wages and the corn laws, and made a powerful
appeal to the mechanics of his adopted country to stand firm against the delusion
of free trade.