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preferred as the staff of life, and we count it no small blessing of our own country, that it is so widely and happily fitted for its growth. Of late years its cultivation has extended greatly in the South, by the conversion of tobacco lands; while in the Eastern states, on the contrary, it is gradually wearing out from failure of crops--one cause, doubtless, among others, that has led or rather driven New England into manufactures. In 1770, the export from colonies, now the United States, amounted to $ 2,862,190. The maximum of shipment was in 1811, in anticipation of the war, and in 1817, two years after it. In the latter year it amounted to the enormous sum of $ 17,968,272, an estimate arising partly from quantity, but principally from price—in 1833, it was but $5,642,602. The small amount of this staple of our country exported, affords, as we all know, a never ending theme of vituperation against England because she will not buy it, and of persuasion to domestic manufactures, in order that we may ourselves consume it. Now, we are advocates neither for corn laws nor high tariffs; but we would merely hint to such American reasoners, that the two branches of their argument do not well hold together. To ask protection for domestic manufactures because England excludes our corn, is to make the existence of one bounty the reason for a second. British corn laws are in themselves a direct bounty upon American manufactures. 1. By raising there the cost price of the manufactures they send us—and, 2. By diminishing here the profits of agricultural capital, and thus throwing both it and the labour it supports, upon manufactures for employment. In fact, the strongest case for aid to our own manufacturers, would arise upon the removal of these very laws, the existence of which they now most absurdly urge as their argument.
Many, too, complain of these corn laws of England as if they were acts of hostility directed against us; this, too, is ignorance or worse, for not only were they in existence before we ourselves were, but as a matter of right, we have no business to look into the question. If England chooses to raise her own grain instead of buying ours, it is her own look out. We have no more right to quarrel with her for that, than that she prefers barley bread to Indian corn. If we once claim a right to look into these matters, where shall we stop? and how endless will be our subjects of complaint? The drawbacks paid by that government to her manufacturers, amounted in 1828 to near $ 14,000,000–$ 7,000,000 on cotton goods alone, than which there cannot be a more evident and direct blow at all foreign manufacturers of the same goods. Yet who thinks of making this a subject of complaint? surely none. Let, then, educated men hold sound language on these points, in the hope that the uneducated may in time learn wisdom, nor think that one nation has any right to look into the municipal regulations of another, in the way of complaint. Equal privileges with other
foreigners we have a right to demand, if we are willing to reciprocate; but all within is a mere matter of expediency, in which every nation is “sui juris.” England has a full right to say, “ we will eat dear bread;" and we have an equally full right to reply, “we will therefore wear dear cloth.” Neither has any right to quarrel with the other, but in the meantime the economist may be permitted to wonder at both. On this point we will pause a moment longer. As to the facts of the case. Many argue as if England were a great manufactory, and all its grain a forced cultivation, which would sink at once, if her ports were opened to our cheaper corn. Now this is not so. England, with her fertile soil, and skill in husbandry, is one of the greatest natural wheat growing countries in the world; and on the memory of those who have travelled leisurely through her borders, the image that rests is rather of golden harvests than of smoky workshops--of a farm than of a factory. In good seasons she feeds herself, sometimes even exports grain, and seldom falls below ten days or a fortnight's deficiency. It was war, and the waste and famine that war brings, and not the open ports of England, that once and again have swelled our exports of bread stuffs to two and three times its present amount; but then war and famine in Europe are sources of prosperity to us, which we ought not to desire, and certainly have no right to demand.
The ten years, from 1803 to 1813, give, as the value of wheat and flour exported, $ 99,021,000; those from 1820 to 1830, scarcely above the half, $ 50,351,343.
Rice. The introduction of rice in our country, as given from Ramsay, is interesting, as showing how “great things oft spring of small seed." "Langrave Thomas Smith, who was governor of the Province (South Carolina) in 1693, had been at Madagascar before he settled in Carolina. There he observed that rice was planted, and grew in moist and low ground. Having such ground at the western extremity of his garden, attached to his dwelling house in East Bay street, he was persuaded that rice would grow there, if seed could be obtained. `About this time a vessel from Madagascar being in distress, came to anchor near Sullivan's Island: the master of the vessel inquired for Mr. Smith, as an old acquaintance—an interview took place. In the course of conversation, Mr. S. expressed a wish to obtain some seed rice to plant in his garden, by way of experiment. The cook being called, said he had a small bag of rice suitable for that purpose. This was presented to Mr. S., who sowed it in a low spot in his garden, which now forms a part of Longitude Lane. It grew luxuriantly. The little crop was distributed by Mr. S. among his planting friends. From this small beginning the first staple of South Carolina took its rise."
Of its rapid extension we may judge. In 1724, 18,000 barrels
of it were exported; in 1760, 100,000; in 1770, 160,000, valued at $ 1,530,000; in 1833, 144,163 tierces, valued at $2,774,418. Of our native grain, viz. Indian corn, or maize, the exportation has diminished from almost the formation of our government. Its value in 1803, the first yea that returns were taken, amounted to $ 2,025,000~1833, to $871,814, being but two-fifths of what it was thirty years before. The aggregate value of all exports, the produce of agriculture, shows a similar though not equal diminution. In 1802 it amounted to $ 12,790,000; in 1817, its maximum, to $ 22,954,000; in 1833, to $ 9,839,468. The causes of this decline are obvious and natural: in Europe, universal peace instead of universal war; and at home, our own consumption multiplied to a ten-fold degree. A corn growing country, we should remember, is not necessarily a corn exporting country; new settlers are always consumers before they are producers; thus at the present moment we see wheat higher in Illinois than in New York, and many of the richest agricultural counties in all the States are importers instead of exporters of it.
Tobacco is another export that has not held its own; equal perhaps in quantity but not in price, and in ratio of importance greatly inferior to what it once was. It augurs well, (at least for the world at large,) when physical stimulants begin to find a narrower market. To the savage they are the only temptations that can rouse him out of his natural apathy—to the half civilized man they are the indulgences of habit—the educated man learns at length to despise them. How greatly, for instance, has the spice trade of India lost its relative importance. Tobacco sunk from being a staple—and last and hardest of all, ardent spirits begins at length to give way! Thus does man rise, step by step, while tea and coffee take the place of rum and tobacco. Of this intoxicating weed imported into England along with the potato, we remember to have seen the assertion that it had made the circuit of the globe before the potato had crossed the channel; but if so, the race we now see is not always to the swift, and the potato is yearly extending its dominion in the face of the receding fumes of its rival. Before the Revolution, it constituted about one-third of all the exports of the British North American Colonies; while the average of ten years, from 1820 to 1830, makes it but about one-ninth of the domestic exports of the United States alone, being in value about $5,500,000.
Cotton. We now come to the most valuable by far of the exports of the United States, or in fact of any other country, and one that has grown up with a rapidity altogether unprecedented. No country in any age ever possessed so valuable an export; and no material for manufacture ever spread so rapidly and so widely, as this has done within the last forty years. In this there is something very remarkable, for neither the material nor the manufacVOL. XVII.NO. 34.
ture is of recent date. The plant itself (Gossypium) is common to the tropical regions of both the old and new world, and so “ native to the loom," that it was among the earliest of raw materials employed in manufacture. It is enumerated among those of India by Herodotus, the earliest of profane historians; it was one of the few found by the Spaniards among the Mexicans and Peruvians; and one of the first taken up by European settlers in their Southern colonies. Yet for all this, the miracles it has wrought are all within the memory of the living generation. Soon after the peace of 1783, a little was shipped from Georgia; but until 1793, this export was confined to the Sea Island," " black seed," or "long staple" cotton, the cultivation of which was necessarily very limited; the "green seed," "short staple," or "upland," as it is now called, which would grow any where, being comparatively worthless, from the difficulty of separating the staple from the seed. The celebrated machine of Whitney at once overcame the difficulty, and cotton sprang up to take place with steam and printing, in revolutionizing the world. Of such a benefactor of his age and country, it is painful to add, that neglect if not penury was his portion: $ 50,000, given him by the state of South Carolina for his machine, was expended in maintaining his patent rights in Georgia, where it was chiefly needed. Against these encroachments a tardy decision at length secured him, but not before thirteen out of his fourteen years of patent right were expired; and after a few ineffectual struggles to obtain a prolongation of the term, he died a broken-hearted man, poor in the midst of that wealth which he had himself created. Such is too often the fate of scientific genius. With all the patronage of the law, it is hard to guard what nature has not guarded--an invention once known is equally the property of all, and is gone from its possessor for
The results of this machine in extending the cultivation of cotton, are among the marvels of the nineteenth century. In one year it quadrupled the export. Within thirteen years, 55 millions of pounds of upland cotton alone were exported, valued at $11,500,000. On an average of four years from 1827, 270 millions of pounds, valued at $ 24,000,000. In 1833, 314 millions of pounds, valued at $ 32,000,000, to which is to be added above 100 millions of pounds manufactured during the same year within the United States. From the year 1794, the first of the use of this machine, the export has grown up two hundred fold; and from 1792, two years before its invention, 2300 fold; that is, at the almost incredible average annual growth of fifty-five times its original amount. For this immense export England and France are our great markets, in the ratio however of three and one-England taking, in 1833, to the value $26,253,205, and France to the value of $8,845,359. The advance of France is, however, in a greater
ratio than that of her rival. Since 1800, her consumption has increased ninety fold, while that of England has not quite reached twenty fold. Taking a later date, however, the ratio stands otherwise. From the year 1821, England's consumption has grown to a treble quantity and a two-fold value; while that of France has advanced also to twice the value, but only to two and one-third in quantity. The reason of this last disparity is to be found in the different proportion consumed in the two countries of the finer staples. It is worth comparing also the influence of price on the custom-house returns. The amount shipped in 1825 is just about one-half of that in 1833, and yet the value of that half crop was greater than that of the whole. It may be a question, however, in that disastrous year who paid the difference.
Manufactured articles begin now to constitute a large and important item in the exports of the United States, standing second in value only to agriculture. Of these, previous to 1826, the general value alone was ascertained, distinguishing only whether of foreign or domestic materials. Since that period, the value of the several articles has also been ascertained and entered. Looking to the general result, the exports of 1833 stand as follows: of the sea, $2,402,469; forest, $4,906,339; agriculture, $55,343,421; manufactures, $6,923,922: making-domestic origin, $70,317,698 -foreign, $19,822,735: total value, $90,140,433.
That our foreign readers may see that we are still going on,
Increase, $4,122,731 $3,051,560 $7,178,291
Of imports and exports of Specie, our custom-house took no account until 1821. Since that time, they are regularly reported, and by the information they give have tended to dissipate many idle fears and false prejudices. The average up to 1831 stood thus: import about $6,500,000, export about $6,750,000, the surplus being in the light of a profitable manufacture from our own mines. Since 1831, our import has increased and our export decreased. In 1833 it stands—import, $6,624,261; export, $2,218,080. To this statement of our author we may now add the Secretary's report for 1834, ending 30th September, as reported to Congress.