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would be wholly incorrect. At least we must not lose sight of some few essentially important points. These are :
1. That a principal object is, to obtain the greatest returns with the least labor; for the laborers are so scarce and wages so high, that it is necessary to employ quite other means and follow other modes than in countries where wages are low and laborers plentiful.
2. The land is mostly very cheap; it consequently yields of itself no rent, and is tilled almost exclusively by the proprietors. The class of farmers, intermediate between that of proprietor and laborer, has developed itself but rarely; it is also of no advantage, especially in the free states, to acquire and cultivate great tracts of land, except for the purpose of soon selling them again.
3. The North Americans too are certainly, next to the English, the greatest trading people in the world; but this has often been erroneously so understood and explained, as to mean that the inhabitants of the United States consist almost exclusively of traders and shopkeepers smitten with the love of gain; whereas by far the greater part cultivate the ground, and six sevenths or perhaps nine tenths of all exported articles are the produce of the soil.
By the cultivation of all known sorts of grain, not only are the daily increasing inhabitants provided with a sufficiency of food, but there remains also a considerable surplus for exportation. Nay in Boston, between 1795 and 1834, and in contradiction to the theory of Malthus, almost all the articles of food, as wheat, rye, barley, rice, fish, meat, coffee, tea, and sugar, became cheaper.
Horticulture is injuriously affected by the rapid changes of the climate, heat, drought, and cold; yet the great advances which have been made are quite evident. Thus from the rich produce of the orchards of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, &c., a great deal of cider is made; and perhaps nowhere in the world are there so many peaches as in New York and New Jersey. In New Hampshire, he who injures or destroys trees is fined ten times their value.* And also in regions which are richer in trees and forests, experience has shown that the practice of burning down the trees and leaving the stumps, is neither the cheapest nor the most convenient mode of preparing land for tillage.f
The culture of the vine has been attempted at Vevay in Indi. ana and in Kentucky (from grapes of the Cape of Good Hope) ; a pleasant wine is also made by the Jesuits, at Georgetown, near Washington.
* Laws of New Hampshire, 1834, p. 167.
M'Gregor's America, ii. 57.
Maple sugar* is obtained in great quantities in Vermont, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maine, Ohio, and Kentucky. Sugar has also been procured from corn-stalks; but it has hitherto been found difficult to crystallize.
The sugar-cane may be planted to advantage as far as the 31st degree of north latitude, in Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana. The last-mentioned state produced in 1810 about 10 millions, and in 1838 over 100 millions of pounds.
Orange-trees and date-palms north of the 30th degree of latitude are liable to suffer from the frost.
The rice culture is extended throughout the Atlantic slave states. In the year 1840, South Carolina produced 26,964,000 kilogrammes; Georgia, 6,099,000; Louisiana, 1,802,000, &c.I
The silk culture is making considerable progress, and in many states is encouraged by bounties; but there is a want of persons sufficiently acquainted with its management, and the wages for the necessary hand-labor are very high. Experiments made with different sorts of mulberry-trees and silk-worms have led to useful discoveries.s—The cultivation of the tea-plant and olivetree has been commenced in many places; with respect to the latter at least, the prospects are good.
The principal seat of the tobacco culture, performed by slaves and exhausting to the soil, is Virginia. There were exported on an average,||
from 1772 to 1775 annually 99,000,000 pounds.
99,000,000 Thus the exportation of raw tobacco has not risen on the whole; but that of manufactured tobacco and snuff has. The domestic consumption in America has increased still more; so that there is reckoned three times as much per head as in England, and eight times as much as in France. Nay, it is asserted that the value of the tobacco consumed in New York exceeds that of all the bread used there.
No branch of agriculture has made such great progress as that of cotton-planting. In the year 1784, a very trifling quantity was sent out by way of experiment to Liverpool ; in 1793, the export amounted to 487,000 pounds; in 1803, to 41 million pounds; in 1823, to 174 millions; in 1833, to 325 millions; in 1841, to 530 millions. TT From a single pound of cotton a thread can be
* A large tree furnishes in the spring from 10 to 15 pounds of sugar. Warden, i. 449. Buckingham's Eastern States, i. 157.
† Ferry, p. 74. Encycl. Amer., art. Louisiana. Buckingham's Slave States, i. 307.
| Poussin, Richesses Américanes, ii. 290. ģ Hinton, ii. 210. Hamilton's Eastern States, ii. 89. Southern States, i. 205. || Amer. Almanac for 1838, p. 123. [ Gerstner, p. 304. Seabroock's Memoir on the Cultivation of Cotton.
spun 180 miles in length; and the threads spun in England during a year would reach 51 times from the earth to the sun.*
By means of a machine invented by Whitney of Massachusetts for cleaning cotton, so much tedious manual labor is saved, as to lower the price without too much diminishing the profits. Yet fears are entertained respecting the competition of cotton from the East Indies, where free labor is cheaper than slave labor in the United States. The prospects for Carolina and the eastern coast in particular are by no means flattering; since the soil of the southern part of the Mississippi valley is much more fertile, and the returns are greater with less outlay.
Although statistical tables of the extent and productions of trades and agriculture are necessarily subject to great imperfections, especially as the produce of the several years is so very different, I still submit a few figures from the last census, that of 1840, in the note below.t From these it appears that almost every branch of agriculture thrives; Indian corn plays a far more important part than wheat; rye, barley, and hops are comparatively little cultivated; flax and hemp bear no proportion to the cotton; the culture of the vine, of silk, &c. is just beginning. Of course the northern states cultivate neither sugar-cane nor cotton, the Carolinas neither flax nor hemp, and Louisiana no wheat. The distillation of ardent spirits has very much decreased
* For some particulars respecting cotton, see my Briefe aus Columbia. † There were in the United States,
1842. Horses and mules
4,335,000 Neat cattle
26,301,000 Poultry, value in dollars, 9,334,000 Wheat, bushels
84,823,000 102,317,000 Barley,
4,161,000 3,871,000 Oats
123,071,000 150,883,000 Rye
18,645,000 22,762,000 Buckwheat
7,291,000 9,483,000 Indian Corn «
377,531,000 441,829,000 Wool, pounds
158,000 Tobacco, pounds 219,163,000 194,694,000 Rice
80,841,000 94,007,000 Silk
155,100,000 142,445,000 Wine, gallons
124,000 130,000 For 1842, see 27th Congress, third session, Senate, p. 129. Agricultural Statistics.
Great complaints have been made of late years respecting a dangerous disease among the potatoes, and for which the most various and even opposite causes have been assigned. At first there often appears a black speck, which quickly spreads and produces rottenness, or the whole turns into a slimy substance. It is communicated by contact. Hogs have died after eating of these black potatoes.
in consequence of the temperance societies. The breeding of swine confers new advantages, since a mode has been discovered of making a very useful oil out of the lard and fat.
In the theory and practice of agriculture, as for instance the rotation of crops, manuring, machines of all kinds, physical and chemical appliances, &c., great progress has been made in later times.* Many societies and periodicals have been established for these purposes, tending to the promotion of agriculture and horticulture; and their operations have been uncommonly beneficial in increasing and disseminating useful knowledge. Thus there emanated from the New York Society of Agriculture the plan of imparting the principles of husbandry, physics, and chemistry to children in public schools, and to cause proper books on these sciences to be written for the district libraries.
This last part of the plan will doubtless be attended with good effects; but with respect to the first part, there are still some scruples to be tested and removed, as for instance with respect to the ability of the teachers, the extension of the hours of study, the various destinations of the scholars, particularly in cities, the danger of a too directly practical tendency, &c. This society, like many others, holds fairs, and offers premiums, e. g. for the best managed farm or dairy, the best yield of grain, specimens of silk culture, foddering, irrigation, &c.
The assertion which has sometimes been made, that the coun: try people who began with log-cabins and wooden houses would retain them without caring for any thing better, is wholly erroneous. The gradual but rapid improvements which are effected cannot fail to strike every observer.
THE PUBLIC LANDS.
Claims of the single States-- Mode of Sale.
The strongest evidence of a happy youth, the best means of preserving it, and the surest guaranty for a prosperous future, are furnished by the yet unoccupied public lands. The general government obtained possession of them in the fairest manner : by purchase from foreign powers and from the Indians, and by a praiseworthy cession on the part of the several older states.* It is true those tracts might in a certain sense be called ownerless; but it was in conformity with and conducive to good order, not to let every one seize upon and appropriate the lands at his own discretion, but to allow the government to proceed with system and method, and promulge judicious laws respecting them. Those individuals who had settled here and there at pleasure were treated with proper fairness and allowed the right of preemption.
* Natural History of New York, i. 128. Excellent reports have also appeared respecting agriculture in Massachusetts.
When greater assumptions on the part of individuals had properly been repulsed, some states preferred the claim that all the land lying within their boundaries belonged to them, and that the general government had nothing to do with it. To this it was replied: Although a territory, when its inhabitants amount to the requisite number, is raised to the rank of a state of the great confederacy, it does not follow that the Union has bestowed or must bestow on it all the public land lying within its borders. The new settlers possess not the slightest right in this respect; whereas the right of the Union rests on purchase and cession, has never been disputed, but has been confirmed times without number. Such a partial and inconsiderate bestowal of the public lands would rob the government of one of its principal sources of revenue, cast all the burthens of the state upon the customs, and deprive the older states of what they obtained for their money or by their exertions. They have purchased, defended, surveyed, valued, and brought it into market, and have employed the proceeds for the public good; the government shows itself reasonable enough, in claiming no rights of sovereignty within the bounds of an individual state, but only the rights of a private proprietor, while it also assumes the obligations that rest on one.
The moderate defenders of the claims of those states responded : Our
purpose is not to make an immense donation to them, but to simplify the inappropriate and complicated duties of the central administration, to do away with injurious influences, and to put an end to perpetual disputes between Congress and the single states ; in order however to supply the wants of the general government, we will take from the proceeds of the sales conducted by the states so much per centum as remains after deducting the expenses of managing the lands. Should the management and sale of the lands lying in the several states be transferred to them, the sums to be paid to the general government would be augmented rather than diminished; and consequently the Union would not be a loser, but a gainer, by the more active exertions of the states. * Namely, Virginia, Massachusetts, New Jersey, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Ten
Statutes of South Carolina, i. 169. Murray, ii. 432, † Arend's Mississippi, p. 227.
Calhoun's Speeches, pp. 405, 452.