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partly supplied by domestic industry; and to this falling off of the demand, is ascribed the continued depression of our comIn America, various manufactures were begun prior to the interruption of the intercourse with this country; and this circumstance, by putting an end to all competition, would give them every necessary encouragement. Since the conclusion of peace, they have been encouraged by the imposition of duties on British goods imported. Attempts have also been made, in differents parts of Europe, to supplant the British manufacturer; and they have been favoured by the usual encouragements of restrictions and heavy duties in the importation of his produce. The markets of Britain have, however, been so completely overstocked, that all these restrictions on the introduction of British goods, have been found unavailing. Those goods have been poured into the markets of America and Europe, in spite of restrictions and heavy duties; and the consequence has been, that many late establishments in Europe have been ruined, and that a serious check has been given to the rising manufactures of America. Such was the state of British commerceso thoroughly was it adapted to the supply of its extensive markets-and such a vast capital was irrecoverably sunk in this peculiar channel of industry, that even after the demand abated, the production necessarily continued for some time, and it could scarcely ever be brought down to the level of the consumption. If a partial increase of demand occasioned the least void in the stock on hand, it was instantly replenished by a new supply; and this dull and discouraging industry the manufacturers were partly enabled to continue, from the extreme lowness of wages, which in most cases were scarcely equal to the purchase of bare necessaries. Even at this low rate of wages, the manufactures for the foreign market are still continued; and although we should suppose the quantity produced to be inferior to the quantity consumed, it may be a considerable time before this excess of consumption reduce the supply to the level of the demand. Until this period, however, our commerce and industry must be in a languishing condition. We have no proof that the consumption of our manufactures, either in Europe or in America, has fallen off. Immense quantities from our own overstocked markets have been exported to those countries, far greater than the demand can possibly absorb, even at the very low prices to which they have been reduced. In one year it is calculated that goods to the value of eighteen millions were exported to America, and prices were, in consequence, ruinously low. But there is little doubt that the goods will be consumed; and those sudden and rash exportations only indicate the over-abundant supply of the
home-market. The recent demands of our former markets have not been sufficient to relieve our commerce from the accumulated produce of those fatal years of proscription to which it was exposed; and it is this surplus produce which appears to be still hanging a dead weight upon the industry of the country. If this were once removed-if we were once freed by the reviving demands of the foreign markets, and by the decrease of production at home, from the burden of unsaleable produce, commerce would unquestionably revive. It would not probably, for some time at least, grow to the same extent as before. We will not, it is likely, maintain the same undisputed sway as formerly in the markets of the world, opposed, as we shall no doubt be, by domestic competition, and heavy duties. It is well known indeed, that the enemies of Britain have succeeded in exciting against her the jealousies of the Continental States, who, from be ing her allies in war, have become her rivals in trade. This feeling has been considerably increased, by the immense quantities of British goods lately poured into the Continent at such low prices, that the home manufacturer was ruined, and his workmen thrown out of bread. With all the disadvantages of our own heavy duties, and with all the internal duties against us abroad, we were enabled, by the low price of commodities at home, to undersell the foreign manufacturer in his own market, and to ruin his trade. If we have not relieved ourselves, we have at least succeeded in communicating to others the contagion of our commercial distress; and the Continental States, dreading apparently the continuance of such an intercourse, have resolved to place between us and them the barrier of vexatious restrictions and imposts, which, though they will not entirely prevent our trade, will certainly tend to obstruct it.
The same spirit prevails in the United States, from a different cause. The commerce of America was exposed to such dangers during the late wars in Europe, that her legislators now generally concur in the policy of promoting, by special encour agements, their own domestic manufactures; and it is observed, in a report presented to Congress in 1810, that the violations of neutral commerce by the powers of Europe, by forcing industry and capital into other channels, have broken inveterate habits, and given a general impulse, to which must be ascribed the great increase of manufactures' during the two preceding years. Of these, the cotton manufacture is the most important, and the most general throughout the United States. According to accounts laid before Congress, the first cotton mill was erected in the year 1791; and, previous to the year 1808, the number only amounted to 15. But at the close of
that year, when the intercourse with this country was interrupted, they were increased to 87. The cotton manufacture has been since considerably increased and extended. It has been introduced into most of the American States; and the American manufacturer has this obvious advantage over those of Glasgow, Manchester, or Rouen, that he has the raw material at home, of which they must derive a supply from the most distant countries. It has been calculated, that cotton, before it can be transported to Europe, and brought back to the United States in the form of finished work, must be loaded with an expense of 50 per cent. for the finer manufactures, and 70 per cent. for those of a coarser fabric. Upon this basis, aided by protecting duties, the cotton manufactures of America will no doubt in time be raised to perfection; but the superior skill, capital, and improved machinery of Europe counterbalancing those advantages, may undoubtedly give its manufactures for a time the preeminence in the American market.
There are scarcely any linen manufactures established in the United States; and though the cultivation of hemp has been greatly promoted by the suspended intercourse with Europe, several attempts to introduce the manufacture of this material have failed. All the coarser implements of iron are manufac tured in great abundance; but cutlery, and all the finer species of hardware and steel-work, is almost entirely imported from this country. Of earthen-ware, the coarser species of pottery is every where made; but there are only four manufactories of the finer kind, which were established about the year 1810. The glass manufactories supply about one half of the domestic consumption. They make principally an inferior sort of glass; with the exception of one manufactory, which is said to make glass equal to any imported. Most of the other American manufactures are in the same condition. All the inferior productions of industry are manufactured in sufficient abundance; while those of a finer sort are imported from this country. At present, therefore, it does not appear that heavy duties would exclude the manufactures of Britain from the American market. They would merely operate as a tax on the domestic consumer; for as no manufactures of this sort are already established, it is vain to suppose that the necessary requisites of skill, capital, and improved industry, which are the slow growth of time and experience, can be prematurely forced into existence by the vulgar expedient of prohibitory duties. The foundation for the improvement of American industry, is, no doubt, laid in the establishment of those coarse and household manufactures which are common in the country, and which skill and experience will
gradually improve, until they in a great measure supersede the introduction of British goods. But all the operations of society are slow and gradual. They lead to no violent convulsions, such as are occasioned by war, nor ever seriously derange the established plans of national industry; and in this manner, therefore, the commerce of the world may be gradually turned into a new channel, without any great injury to the manufac tures of this country.
But though, for the preceding reasons, the suspension of intercourse between commercial states, seems to have been the main cause of the distress which prevails, it has been powerfully assisted by other causes. Of these, perhaps the most important are, the decline of agriculture, and the increase of taxation. In a preceding Number, we endeavoured to explain at length the causes by which cultivation was depressed; and at present, we shall only observe, that any change in the ordinary standard of value, while it leads to general disorder and injustice, must especially affect agriculture, because the established standard of value, being the basis of pecuniary contracts, all the subsisting engagements between the landlord and the tenant, which are discharged by a money payment, are substantially violated when the value of money is changed. And agriculture, accordingly, by the fluctuating value of money, has been deranged in all its principal relations. The great variations in the price of its produce, arising from the same cause, have been also a most fertile source of ruin and embarrassment. The depression of agriculture has lessened the demand for the products of commerce. The great trade of all civilized communities consists in that carried on between the country and the town, the country supplying the town with the means of subsistence, and the materials of its industry; and receiving, in return, a supply of manufactures from the town. The demands of the country for manufactures must decline with its wealth and industry. Its inhabitants, when they are reduced in circumstances, cannot afford to consume the same supply of manufactures as before; and, in accounting therefore for the present depression of commerce, the falling off of this branch of domestic consumption must be superadded to the loss of the foreign market.
To all these various evils, must be added the enormous taxes imposed on this country, which now seem to be exhausting the sources of productive industry. The public revenue which has been levied for some years past, has been paid by a contribution, not merely of revenue, but of capital; and in this manner taxation has impaired the subject from which all re
venue is derived. Nor is there any branch of the public management, in which the depression of commerce and agriculture, and the varying value of the currency, has operated more fatally than in that of the revenue. When the currency was falling in value, Government, as a debtor, profited on all its past transactions; but the nominal amount of all its future loans was increased, in proportion to the depreciation of the currency. If we suppose the currency depreciated one-fifth, Go vernment, in place of 20 millions, must have required a loan of 24 millions; and as large sums were borrowed at this period, the low value of money added greatly to the nominal amount of the public debt. The currency has been since restored to its former value, but the public debt has not been decreased; so that the depreciated money which Government borrowed, is now repaid in money of a higher standard; and by this transaction, it is evident that a great addition has been made to the public burdens.
The same false policy, which was thus increasing the public debt, was at work in another shape, to diminish the public revenue. The war, for the ruin of our enemy's commerce, has, as we have already stated, nearly produced the ruin of our own; the depression of commerce and of agriculture has been followed, as was naturally to be expected, by a general defalcation of the revenue. According to accounts issued by the Treasury, the public revenue for 1815 amounted to 66,443,8021. In 1816, it amounted only to 57,360,6947., including the produce of the property-tax for that year, amounting to 11,559,590. Deducting on this account, and on account of the war malt-tax, part of the receipt of which is included in the revenue of 1816, but which is now abolished, 12,500,000l., the revenue for the year 1817 cannot amount to more than 44 millions, even supposing no further defalcation to take place. But we are not warranted in this supposition; since the revenue for the past year, far from being the cheerful contribution of a willing people, was extorted from their necessities by the harshest means. In many cases, the claims of the Treasury have been made good from the spoils of bankrupt estates ;-at other times the poor man's effects-the most necessary articles of his furniturehave been exposed to public sale for arrears of taxes. Thus, the very sources of revenue are dried up-rigour defeats its object and to supply immediate wants, destroys the means of future production. In these circumstances, it can scarcely be expected, that the revenue for 1817 will be equal to that of 1816. It will probably fall short of 444 millions, and will thus leave a still larger disproportion between the income