« ForrigeFortsæt »
stimulus was given to the manufacturing spirit which has caused it to take such gigantic strides, and become so important an interest in the country. It is calculated that not less than 350,000,000 dollars are invested as capital in this branch of industry, of which New Jersey and Pennsylvania have embarked 55,000,000; the New England States, 100,000,000; Massachusetts and New York, 120,000,000. Cotton cloths and woollen goods, small arms and tools, flour and sugar, paper and leather, are the chief objects of manufacture; but nearly every kind of miscellaneous article is also produced for home-consumption and exportation. Lowell, Rochester, Lockport, and Paterson may be mentioned among the principal manufacturing towns; all of which have sprung into astonishing importance within a few years. Lowell, the American Manchester, on the Merrimac, in 1820 had a population of only 200, with property to the amount of 100,000 dollars, and for ten years later little notice was taken of it as a manufacturing position. It has now upwards of 30,000 inhabitants, and a capital of 12,000,000 dollars. Water is principally the motive-power in the mills of the United States — the abundant supplies of which render it cheaper than steam, and equally available. In some of the factories of the north, however, where heat as well as power is required, the latter is in use ; but even there to no great extent.
The agricultural interest is at present the most important. While the manufacturers have invested in their establishment a sum of 350,000,000 dollars, we find the value of the crops in 1848 to have exceeded 560,000,000 dollars. The high importance of the agricultural produce to the wealth and prosperity of the country will be found in the fact that in 1840 the exports of cotton, sugar, &c. exceeded the exports of manufactured articles by 21,000,000 dollars; both together being about 113,000,000 dollars, which has since increased to 154,000,000 dollars.
The mineral wealth of the republic is not less valuable than its agricultural productions and manufactures; the difference being that the former has only been lately discovered, while the latter have had, though a short, still a longer existence. Silver, mercury, and copper are readily obtained in many parts, and the recent acquisition of California has added a gold region of incalculable value to the States. In Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York, iron is found in great quantities, and lead in the north-west part of Illinois. But as the former metals would be valueless without that by which they all are subjected to the use and benefit of man; so coal, the chief material in reducing them, is likewise found in abund
It is estimated that there are no less than 70,000 square miles of coal-region in the United States, which embraces an area nearly equal to that of Great Britain, and upwards of thirty-five times the extent of its coal-fields. Pennsylvania is the centre of the mining district. Here the operations of mining have been carried on extensively; and here, for more than half a century, the iron wrought in America has been produced. The attention of several companies has been lately directed towards this important branch of wealth, a capital of 25,000,000 dollars being invested in mining, casting, forging, &c. We have not yet any correct data as to the quantities the mines have yielded; but as this interest is still in its infancy, we may confidently look forward to its fuller development. Of the coal-trade nothing certain is ascertained; but it is authoritatively stated
that so recently as 1820 not more than 360 tons were annually brought down to the tide - water from the mines of Pennsylvania; but since then the quantity has risen to 1,283,229 tons, and the money invested in the working them to 34,970,000 dollars. As the iron - manufactories become more developed, so the coal-trade must increase; and as railroads become multiplied, so every facility will be afforded for conveying the metals and coal to less-favoured parts. In whatever direction we look we cannot but see a great future for the American people; a wide field lies open for them in every branch of industry, and we doubt not they will display their labour and skill yet more triumphantly than hitherto.
What has been remarked of her agricultural, manufacturing, and mining energies may be applied to the commercial enterprise of America. Although some may look back upwards of two centuries for the commencement of trade and exchange in this country, yet, properly speaking, its commerce must not be dated farther back than 1790, as previous to that time the restrictions put upon it stunted its growth and nullified its benefits. that year the total value of its imports did not exceed £5,000,000, and its exports may be estimated at about the same amount. In 1821 the latter had annually increased to above £14,000,000; and in 1845 they had risen to £26,000,000—shewing for the last quarter of a century an increase of nearly 100 per cent. For 1848 the official accounts report the exports and imports at £32,000,000, which exhibits an increase for the last three years of 23 per cent. It is also worthy to be observed, that of the exports in 1821 one-third was foreign merchandise re-exported; while in 1845 such
exportation scarcely amounted to one-seventh part of the aggregate exports of the year. This shews the ratio in which the domestic industry of the Americans has increased, and how rapidly it has advanced within that period.
America is admirably adapted both for foreign and internal commerce. On the Atlantic and the Pacific she has ports and harbours to receive her vessels, and to despatch them to any quarter of the globe. Europe faces her on the east, Asia on the west; she is situated midway between them, and has but to put forth her hand to gather the fruits of her natural advantages. The intercourse of one state with another, which is unrestricted by law or any municipal regulation, is greatly facilitated by those gigantic streams we have before noticed. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the benefits of this free intercommunication. Mr Mackay in his ' Western World' has summed it up in a few words. “We frequently judge,' he says, of a system from its monuments. American commerce need not shrink from being already tried by the same test. Of the cities it has reared upon the sea - board there is no occasion to speak; its rapid development is perhaps still more visible in the effect which it produces in the interior. Under its fostering influence communities start up, as it were, by magic in the wilderness; the spot which is to-day a desert may, thirty years hence, be the site of a flourishing town, containing as many thousand souls. These inland towns are being constantly brought to the surface by the commercial fermentation which never ceases.
They arise under no other influence than that of commerce, they come forth at the bidding of no other voice.' Universal toleration, it is well known, was proclaimed simultaneously
with the declaration of independence, and the consequence of the liberty of faith thus guaranteed is, that many sects exist—too many, in fact, to be named; although we may mention, on account of their predominance, the Baptists and Methodists, and the Congregationalists, who use the service of the Church of England, but purged of what they consider vain repetitions and obnoxious passages. The Roman Catholics, with their wonted foresight, have numerous settlements in the Valley of the Mississippi, now comparatively unpeopled, but evidently with the intention of prepossessiog the future comers in their favour, and having an undivided field to labour in.
A great experiment we must not overlook or lightly esteem is being made in conjunction with religion in the United States. The framers of the constitution were eager to afford every facility for the education of the people, and made large though local grants for the public instruction, whilst they left religion upon the voluntary basis. The result, we feel convinced, has been hitherto favourable. The word "toleration' would be an insult to the American, for as no creed is disallowed, no toleration can exist where all are upon an equal footing. Instead of supporting a state-church, he supports education; and were we to follow the example of the United States, where we now expend on that essential the paltry sum of £100,000, we should bestow upwards of £2,000,000. There are altogether 173 universities, 8 colleges, 3248 grammar schools, and 47,207 primary schools. So general is education, and so well supported by the local government, that in another generation or so there will probably not be a wholly illiterate person in America. At present, the influx of unlettered emigrants, and difficulties at home, leave a balance of 549,000 persons on their census who have received no instruction; but how comparatively small is this number when taken in conjunction with the whole population !—how small when contrasted with our own educational lists !
The economy which exists in every branch of the American executive is a subject of ridicule to some, but a lesson of wisdom to others. It shews, however, that good government and moderate stipends may be allied, and that it is not in the amount of salary the strength of political prudence dwells. The whole amount paid to all the officers of the government, from the president down to the secretary of the navy, is only £16,885—a sum considerably less than that it costs England to govern Ireland. But if we proceed further we shall see a vast difference again in the regulation of the finance department of America and Great Britain. Mr Mackay says: 'Englishmen pay £4,000,000 sterling for the government of from thirty to forty colonies; Americans pay about £1,250,000 for the local government of thirty states. The colonies contain an aggregate population of 5,000,000, the States one of 20,000,000. But the £4,000,000 paid by the imperial government is only half what it takes to support the government of the colonies, the other half being defrayed by the colonists themselves. It thus takes £8,000,000 sterling to govern 5,000,000 of colonists; and as England pays one half of this sum, she may be said to pay £4,000,000 sterling for governing 2,500,000 of colonists.' It is only by this contrast that the economy of the American can be properly shewn; and the efficiency of the government cannot be called in question.
Some slight notice is perhaps necessary of the slave population of the United States, as it remains a deep reproach upon the character of ihose
states which still maintain the abuse, and casts a partial shade upon the whole republic. Although there are 3,000,000 slaves in the country, their numbers may be said to be decreasing. In 1830 it appears that out of twenty-five states only one was wholly exempt from the stain. Massachusetts had one, and Maine two registered slaves; others varied in their numbers; while Columbia possessed 6119; Virginia, 469,757; and the two Carolinas, 561,002. In 1840 only thirteen out of the twenty-six states employed slaves, the number of whom amounted to 2,487,213. Every new state the Union acquires will add strength to the party of the abolitionists; whilst the increase of manufacturing industry amongst the agricultural slave-holding districts will erect even in the very centre of slavery a population averse to this inhuman property, and eventually have a preponderating influence over the planters now in favour of it. Thus if legislation does not interfere to emancipate the degraded blacks of the United States, the probability is that circumstances will before long compel the holders to abandon their wretched prey.
Having now given an account of the United States, their government, establishments, trade, and commerce, it is but fair to give some account of the inhabitants. Of course, in so extensive a latitude as their possessions embrace, some disparity of character will occur; but generally the Anglo-Americans are represented as being intelligent, industrious, and frugal. Their love of freedom in every sense of the word is absolute; and the pride with which they regard the giant progress of their country has infected them with a sort of national hyperbole which creates a levity of manner, especially towards strangers, which makes them on first acquaintance disagreeable; but it will afterwards be found that they are warm-hearted, affectionate, and hospitable, though they despise in a great measure those conventionalities which restrain the feelings and mould the conduct of Europeans. They are distinguished for a spirit of daring and enterprise, which never suffers them to slumber or rest while there is an opportunity open of advancing their interests at home or abroad. Hence they are rapidly outstripping the kingdoms of the Old World, not excepting England, in commercial connections; and whilst
are pausing on the threshold of prescriptive opinion, they will probably step in and seize the prize out of our hands. Countries such as Siam and Japan—which, from a false delicacy on the part of European cabinets, are permitted to keep their gates closed against the admission of foreigners, and maintain a restrictive policy, prejudicial alike to themselves and the common interests of mankind will probably before long be compelled to open their ports to the demand of American enterprise.
To sum up the progress of the United States, we may observe that in everything which tends to civilise and refine there exists a noble and generous emulation between that country and this. America is indebted much to our institutions for the liberty she now possesses; but whilst she has learned much from us, we on the other hand have received many useful lessons from her. In whatever is practical she hoids out many judicious examples for our imitation. In the simplicity of her jurisprudence, in the economy of her legislature; in the universality of education, in the cheap diffusion of knowledge; in her railways, telegraphs, ship-building—in fact, in every branch of her establishments and industry
there are many things to excite an honest envy; and in all these the two countries have a mutual interest, which we trust will never be severed. But what are our anticipations for the future of this great congeries? Some there are who would look forward to the dissolution of the Union, and the substitution of independent governments over the whole of this vast continent. They hear of divisions and rumours of wars between the northern and southern states, and predict that the hour is come; or, failing this, they view the immense agricultural interest about to spring up in the Valley of the Mississippi, and believe it to be incompatible with the manufacturing interest now so rapidly increasing in the
2- board states, especially since the two appear to be separated by that vast natural barrier, the chain of the Alleghanies, and farther westward, the Rocky Mountains. For ourselves, however, we entertain very different expectations. The Union, as it exists, is a union of several states for mutual advantage and strength, having the most ample and absolute power in themselves to regulate every particular relative to their individual local necessities. Thus whilst all enjoy the benefit, no partiality exists; whilst each pays, as it were, a mite towards the general good, together they reap abundantly. The interest of each will be so interwoven with the commonwealth that none will dare to attempt the separation of the smallest part. We feel that the empire of the United States will extend still farther, not by the force of armies, but by the moral influence of attraction. Mexico, for instance, longs to enjoy the peace and stability which she sees so near her, and this is to be obtained without forfeiting her independence by joining the Union. But we feel the destiny of this federation to lie farther. Having annexed Mexico, it will not be too great an effort to traverse the Isthmus, and by the same influence unite other nations. Thus empire upon empire, and federation upon federation, may be drawn together until the New World from north to south has received the institutions of this country, and the whole western hemisphere enjoys the liberty and speaks in the language of Great Britain.