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THE ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE PRINCIPAL MECHANIC ARTS AND
MANUFACTURES, FROM THE EARLIEST COLONIAL PERIOD
TO THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION;
ANNALS OF THE INDUSTRY OF THE UNITED STATES IN MACHINERY.
WITH A NOTICE OP
%\t Imprtimt Intoirfta, toiffis, aito i\t limits nl m\ ^tmmml €wm.
By J. LEATHER BISHOP, A.M., M.D.
WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING
STATISTICS OF THE PRINCIPAL MANUFACTURING CENTRES, AND DESCRIPTIONS
IN THREE VOLUMES:
NO. 441 CHESTNUT STREET.
SAMPSON LOW, SON & CO., 47 LUDGATE HILL.
18 6 6.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by
EDWARD YOUNG & CO.,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, in and for the Eastern District
S. A. GEORGE,
STEREOTTPER, ELECTROTYPER, AND PRINTER,
MANUFACTURES II THE UNITED STATES.
A REVIEW OF THE STATE AND CONDITION OP MANUFACTURES IN THE PIRST TEN YEARS SUCCEEDING THE ADOPTION OF THE CONSTITUTION.
During the twenty-five years that elapsed between the peace of Paris, which established the supremacy of Great Britain upon this continent, and the commencement of the present government of the United States, American industry received its first considerable.impulse in the direction of Manufactures. The various non-intercourse measures and the war with the parent state promoted a steady growth of the domestic manufactures, which it had been the policy of Great Britain to discourage, particularly those of the household kind. Although by no means emancipated from dependence upon the workshops of Europe, a broad and permanent foundation for their future growth had been laid in the indus* trious, prudent and enterprising character of the early population of the country. Gathered from the productive ranks of the most active and ingenious nations of Europe, with a preponderance of the Anglo-Saxon element, their colonial training was well fitted to develope habits of patient toil, self-reliance, ready invention, and fertility in the use of resources. These qualities, so necessary to success in all the practical arts, were conspicuous in the American character. A varied and dexterous mechanical industry was all but universal. Upon this basis had been long growing up a comprehensive scene of domestic household manufacture from native materials of great aggregate value, which had materially lessened the annual balance against the Colonies, and had promoted the comfort of all classes. Notwithstanding parliamentary restraints, a long 14 THE CONSTITUTION THE PALLADIUM OF INDUSTRY, [1T89.
and impoverishing war-—exhaustive as well of men as of means,—the high price of labor, onerous public debts, and a worthless paper currency, several important branches of Manufactures had already obtained a permanent foothold and respectable magnitude. Some of these had long furnished a surplus fpr exportation, others only required the security arising from an efficient central authority, a restoration of public and private confidence and a reasonable protection against foreign competition, to become well established industries. Many new establishments and some entire branches of manufacture had been entirely ruined by the enormous importations which followed the peace and by the financial distress which overtook all classes, in consequence of the heavy drains of specie thereby occasioned, at a.^ime when money and credit were at the lowest ebb. Against this state of things, the old Confederation, which had no power of commercial legislation or to enforce treaties, could provide no remedy, while the inharmonious and often conflicting laws of the several States could give but partial relief within their own jurisdictions.
Hence the general enthusiasm with which the adoption of the new Constitution was hailed in the principal centres of mechanical industry and trade as the palladium of the future industrial interests of the nation» The new form of government organized under it, was regarded by the agricultural, manufacturing and commercial classes with no vain confidence as securing to their investments and labors those immunities and rewards which they had sought in vain under the old Confederation. A more efficient administration of affairs now took the place of the wretched system of distrust, jealousy and weakness which had paralysed all enterprise, and new energy was infused into all departments of business. Agriculture improved rapidly; Commerce expanded; and Manufactures, which were still subordinate in importance to the former, put forth bolder efforts. American labor began steadily to change its form from a general system of isolated and fireside manual operations, though these continued for some time longer its chief characteristic,—to the more organized efforts of regular establishments with associated capital and corporate privileges, employing more or less of the new machinery which was then coming into use in Europe. To trace consecutively the leading facts in the progress, during our constitutional history, of one branch of the national industry, is our province, and derives additional importance from the fact that at this time an assault upon the political life of the Republic has, for a time at least, utterly paralyzed every peaceful pursuit, and threatens to roll back the tide of general prosperity at the period of its unexampled fullness.
The first formidable or protracted resistance to lawful authority in this country, since it became self-governing, occurred soon after the war of
1189] PETITIONS IN FAVOR OF GOVERNMENTAL PROTECTION. 15
Independence, in consequence of those very evils for which in the ensuing year a remedy was so happily found in that Constitution, whose guaranties ambition or misguided judgment would now set aside. That the productive classes regarded the Constitution of 1181 as conferring the power and right of protection to the infant manufactures of the country and thus of seconding the general zeal for their increase, is manifest from the jubilant feeling excited in numerous quarters upon the public ratification of that instrument Their confidence in the ability and disposition of the new government formed under it to aid them, as well as the ex« treme peril in which their interests were then placed, are also apparent from the fact that the first petition presented to Congress after its first assembling in March, 1189, emanated from upward of seven hundred of the mechanics, tradesmen and others of the town of Baltimore, lamenting the decline of manufactures and trade since the Revolution, and praying that the efficient government with which they were then blessed for the first time, would render the country "independent in fact as well as in name," by an early attention to the encouragement and protection of American Manufactures, bj imposing on "all foreign articles which could be made in America, such duties as would give a decided preference to their labors."
This was followed by memorials from the manufacturers and mechanics of the City of New York, who recognized in the government then established, the power for which they had long looked " to extend a protecting hand to the interests of commerce and the arts," and discovered in the principles of the Constitution, "the remedy which they had so long and so earnestly desired." A petition of the tradesmen and manufacturers of the town of Boston, presented soon after, asking the attention of Congress to the encouragement of manufactures and the increase of American shipping, declares that " on the revival of our mechanical arts and manufactures, depend the wealth and prosperity of the Northern States," and that " the object of their independence was but half obtained till these national purposes are established on a permanent and extensive basis by the legislative acts of the Federal government." Similar memorials from the shipbuilders of Philadelphia and Charleston, from citizens of New Jersey and others, were also received, asking protection and encouragement to their respective branches. Congress, as the guardian of the interests of all classes, appears to have entertained no doubt of its duty and privilege to extend at least an incidental support to the feeble manufactures of the States, as was manifested in the fiscal measures so promptly adopted to discharge the public debts and meet the future wants of the government. In virtue of its constitutional authority "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises;" and in response to