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In recent times many whigs have gone beyond these propositions, and vehemently advocated an unconditional distribution of the proceeds of the public lands among the single states; while the democrats have combated this demand with equal zeal. The former have often assumed without proof, that if the proceeds were not distributed in the above manner, the amount would be senselessly squandered away. But since the decision relative to the disposal of these moneys rests with Congress, such an abuse is nearly impossible, or at least it is not easy to perceive what security there is for a more judicious course of proceeding on the part of the single states. The fear lest the states within which the lands lie should forcibly take possession of thern and let the other states have nothing, is also exaggerated; for the majority in Congress would always guard against such open usurpation.
If the income from the public domain is large, this fortunate circumstance should be employed for the reduction of taxes; but it seems almost as though there were a desire to cut off this resource, for the sake of raising the duties (for this and totally different objects) constantly higher. At any rate a deficiency in the income from the land must be covered in one way or another ; and the joy at its distribution would be turned into sorrow on reflecting that, besides the amount of such deficiency, the expenses of managing the customs must also be raised; which would be giving each individual a five-franc piece, and taking from his pocket a silver dollar.
Both the letter and the spirit of the federal Constitution point to the revenue arising from land, as the first financial resource of the Union; and in fact it would be no misfortune, if there were no need of any other tax. Those certainly who wish to annihilate it cannot call themselves conservative in this respect. contrary they must own that what they propose is an innovation, and are under the necessity of proving that it would be beneficial. If, however, at some future period all the public lands should be sold, and this source of revenue be exhausted, the wealth and population of the country will have been so much increased in the meanwhile, that even a far greater amount can be easily raised. For the present, I agree with an earlier declaration of Henry Clay, where he says (Speeches, ii. 112 : “Every consideration of duty to ourselves and to posterity enjoins that we should abstain from the adoption of any wild project that would cast away this vast national property, holden by the general government in sacred trust for the whole people of the United States."
Besides many millions of acres of uncultivated land which are the undisputed property of the single states, the land belonging to the Union is estimated at from 1000 to 1100 millions of acres. For the management of these the greatest domains in the world, there is in Washington a general land-office which directs the surveys, preparation of maps, auctions, collection of the receipts, &c. The land is divided into townships, six English mịles square; and each township into 36 sections, of 640 acres each. Section No. 16 of each township is set apart for common schools, and other land for colleges and universities. Two per cent of the purchase money is reserved by the government for the encouragement of learning, and three per cent. for the construction of roads; together with all salt-springs and lead-mines.* At first the land was sold in great tracts; and this enticed speculators, who either made a fortune by their operations, or turned bankrupt. Now smaller portions, down to 80 acres, are offered.
* A second very eloquent passage in favor of retaining the proceeds of the public lands is found in Člay's Speeches, ii. 490.
Moreover, a great deal was formerly sold on credit, in which case it was often impossible to collect the debt; hence it is now sold only for ready money at $1.25 per acre, with a guaranty of five years' exemption from taxation.† These favors have neces. sarily had the effect of depressing the price of land in those states of the Union which were already settled; for which reason, if for no other, the idea of giving away the public lands gratuitously can meet with no general acceptance. J On the other hand, the price cannot be raised, without putting a stop to the sale. To the proposal, of setting up lands of different qualities at different prices, it was replied: The valuation would be attended with great difficulties, occasion a vast expense, and furnish opportunities for frauds of every kind. At first in these transactions all is a subject of hope and imagination, every thing is indeterminate and relative. If the plan were adopted after the best lands of a district have been called out, of reducing the price for the remainder at stated periods, many would put off buying, and the advantages of a dense population would be lost. High prices and great costs of settling repel small proprietors, and lead (which is less desirable) to the formation of large estates. Care must be taken also not to set the price too low ; lest rich adventurers should selfishly press forward, and afterwards retail their purchases to poor people, and so enslave them after the manner of the Irish. The receipts from the sales of land have greatly risen in comparison with former times; yet even in the last ten years their amount has fluctuated in an extraordinary manner; for which very different reasons have been assigned, as for instance the bank system or want of system, payments in paper or specie, the number of immigrants, &c.|| * Hinton, ii. 273.
† Grund, Handbuch, p. 43. Calhoun's Speeches, p. 182. ♡ Amer. Quarterly Review, vi. 263. || The proceeds of the public lands amounted in the year 1796 to $4,836 ; in 1835, to 16 millions; and in 1836, when payments were made in depreciated paper money, to 25 millions. Afterwards, when specie payments were restored, they
CHAPTER X VIII.
MANUFACTURES AND COMMERCE.
Progress of Manufactures—Commerce-Imports, Exports, Tonnage-Regulations
of Trade-Rate of Interest— Value of Imports and Exports.
THERE is no doubt but that the natural circumstances of North America point especially to the profitable cultivation of the extremely cheap land, and that it will continue to be an agricultural country in the main for a long while to come.* From this, however, there results in the first place, the development of many branches of domestic manufacture in linen and woollen; as also the preparation of soap, candles, and other articles of daily use. Another principal means of promoting American manufactures was the last war with England (from 1813 to 1815). The Americans, thus thrown violently back upon their own resources, were obliged to set up establishments for the production of many indispensable articles; and when the war was brought to a close, many manufactures remained in a sound progressive state. For it lies in the nature of things, that a country which augments so rapidly in population and wealth should extend its manufactures more and more, until they gradually include articles of every kind. The opinion that it was an unprofitable and perhaps immoral squandering of their powers, to establish manufactures to a greater extent, gradually died away; and another and still more erroneous one sprang up in its stead, to wit, that the increase of manufactures should be promoted by artificial means and even by force. The legislation consequent hereupon, this aping of European theories and systems of over-government (otherwise so detested in America), has led from time to time to the most violent complaints, and even threatened the permanence of the Union itself. But of this we shall hereafter speak more particularly.
In consequence of these laws, or, as others maintain, in spite of them, the proceeds from manufactures have increased enor
sank as low as 11 to 2 millions; and amounted in 1842, to $1,335,078. In Michigan the receipts amounted in the year 1836 to 5 millions; and in 1838, to only $154,000. In Mississippi they reached in 1836 over 3 millions; and in 1838, only $96,000, &c.
* Official Report on the statistics of Agriculture for 1838, p. 8; for 1842, p. 9.
mously; they were reckoned in the year 1840 at 239 millions of
34.3 per cent.
100 In the year 1820 there were occupied in the United States in manufactures of every kind, 349,000 persons; and in the year 1840, 791,000. About the year 1915, all the weaving in America was done by hand; in 1943, in the factory town of Lowell alone there were 201,076 spindles, and there were made weekly 1,425,000 yards of cotton goods.f A like progress is found in the iron and other factories. In the belief that the high protective tariff secured to every adventurer great and certain gains, competition has increased immensely and even gone beyond all bounds, where the capital would doubtless have been applied to other purposes in the natural course of things.
Humane laws have been passed respecting the treatment of children in the factories, though they are not always strictly obeyed. Thus, for instance, they are not to be taken before 12 (in some places 15) years of age, are not to be employed over ten hours, and are to be sent to school. I The evils of a too numerous and impoverished factory population have not yet arisen; or where they do appear, the fruiisul tracts of land still unoccupied present an adequate means of release from them.
A glance at the geographical position and extent of the United States, shows that they are called by nature to carry on an extensive commerce; but that mere position is not the only requisite, will appear on a comparison of North with South America. The spirit, the activity, the boldness that animate the inhabitants of the United States, have led them further and caused them to make greater attainments in this pursuit, than friends at first hoped for or opponents feared.
What a difference! During their dependence on England, the trade of the colonies was thwarted and restricted in countless ways; nay, many branches of manufacture (e. g. iron-working, hat-making, &c.) were wholly prohibited. Now, on the contrary, there are throughout the Union no internal lines of demarcation, no export duties, equal import duties, and a commerce that * Tucker's Progress of the United States, p. 195,
| Further particulars will be found in the letters at the close of the work, and in Appendix II.
# In February, 1844, a petition was signed by over 400 female operatives in Lowell, praying that the time of labor should not exceed ten hours a day.
spreads without hindrance over every quarter of the globe. We subjoin a few figures, which, without any further elucidation, will speak for themselves.
That in consequence of the enormous increase in the population the consumption of many articles has augmented to an extraordinary degree, is a matter of course; thus e. g. the quantity of coffee consumed was, in the year 1821, 11,886,000 pounds.
1841, over 114,000,000 Although the trade of the United States has on the whole and for a long time been rapidly increasing, yet no country in the world exhibits such sudden and such great fluctuations. Fornot to speak of the difference between years of peace and of war—the pecuniary embarrassments, the raising of money on credit, excessive speculations, bankruptcies, high duties, &c. have exercised a very great and injurious influence ;t and similar
* It is worthy of remark, that since forty years, great improvements have been effected in the harbors and coasts, and about 200 new lighthouses erected.-Stevenson's Sketch of Engineering, p. 187. † In the year 1701, the value of all exports to England was ·
• 309,000 pounds. the whole imports
..343,000 1773 the exports were ·
·1,369,000 the imports...
1,979,000 1842 the exports were
· 104,000,000 the imports.
· 100,000,000 The tonnage on the domestic trade amounted in the year 1794 to
• 189,000 1838 to
·1,086,000 The tonnage on all American vessels amounted in the year 1842 to:
•3,046,000 (Tyler's last Message, Financial statement for 1838, p. 24.) The whale fishery gives employment in the United States to over 500 ships, making 200,000 tons burthen, and furnishes returns of more than six millions of dollars in value. The exports of New York amounted in the year 1791, to:
• 2,500,000 dollars. 1838, to
•33,000,000 The exports from New Orleans amounted in the year 1811, to.
2,000,000 1838, to
33,000,000 Mobile, a city hardly known by name thirty years ago, now exports more than the whole industrious state of Massachusetts. "Three fifths of all the imports fall to New York. Of the number of tons of shipping there came in the year 1838 to
Charleston, 54,000 Philadelphia, 99,000 Boston, 291,000 Mobile,
60,000 New Orleans, 264,000 New York, 547,000 Baltimore, 89,000 Thus the total value of imports amounted in round numbers
in the year 1836, to 189 millions of dollars.
100 The imports from England, which in 1836 amounted to 86 millions, sank in 1837 to