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tinued to be felt for many years after the return of ried on in British ships only, and restricted to an peace.
exchange of lumber, naval stores, hemp, and flax, It was impossible that the country could, under and grain, on the one hand, for rum, sugar, molasssuch circumstances, furnish a great amount of com es, coffee, cocoa nuts, ginger, and pimento, on the modities for exportation: but a brisk trade of im- other. This allowed the Americans to purchase port from England immediately commenced. We from the British West Indies, all the staple profind Lord Sheffield, who wrote in an early part of ducts of those islands, but did not allow them to 1783, before the articles of peace were signed, sta sell to them any salt fish, salt beef, salt pork, and ting that the American market was absolutely glut- various other articles. ted with European products: and Mr. Pitkin esti The general restrictions on commerce, by which mates the value of the goods imported into the every maritime power sought to promote its own United States from England, at eighteen millions navigation, and ibat part of the European system, in 1784, and at twelve millions in 1785.
in particular, by which each aimed at a monopoly The following is an account of the imports into of the trade of its colonies, was, says Judge Marshall
, England from the United States, and exports to the felt with peculiar keenness when practised by EngUnited States from that country, in sterling inoney, land. To the British regulations, on this subject, from 1784 to 1790, taken from the English custom- the people of America were, perhaps, the more house books, viz.
sensible, because, having composed a part of that Years. Imports.
empire, they had grown up in the habit of a free
admission into all its ports. In 1784, several of the £749,345 £3, 679,467
states endeavoured to countervail the British regu1785, 893,594 2,308,023
lations, by imposing duties on British West India 1786, 843, 119 1,603,465
products, and on British ships trading there; and 893,637 2,009,111
in the following year, the legislature of Massachu1788, 1,023,789
setts prohibited the exportation of American pro1789, 1,050,198 2,525,298
ducts in British - bottoms, under the penalty of a 1790, 1,191,171
forfeiture of ship and cargo. The British official value, it must be kept in mind, In some of the states, a discriminating duty of is, for most articles, much below the market value. one shilling sterling a ton was levied on foreign
These importations were paid for, in part, out of shipping, in others a duty of three shillings. While a fund of gold and silver, which the expenditures Pennsylvania imposed a daty on imported goods, of the British and French armies in the country they were admitted free of duty in New Jersey. had enabled certain individuals to accumulate dur. Congress made several efforts to obtain from the ing the war.
states power to levy a duty of five per cent on foOf the extent of our commerce with other coun- reign commodities, and make it general throughout tries, in the period that elapsed between the close the country; but from devotion to state rights, jealof the war and the adoption of the federal con- ousy of trade, and a fear that unequal burdens would stitution, it is difficult to form an estimate. It be imposed on the different members of the confemust have been small, as we had little to sell, and deracy, every proposition of this kind was rejected. the other European merchants were not willing to In 1785, an attempt was made to enter into a give as long credits as the British.
commercial treaty with Great Britain; but that goDuring this period, our foreign commerce was vernment declined even to enter into negotiation on subject to various and uncertain regulations. The the subject, giving as a reason, that congress had privileges of a trade to their West India colonies, not power, under the articles of confederation, to which France and Spain had conceded during the cause such a treaty to be observed. Attempts which war, were, soon after the return of peace, diminish were made to negotiate commercial treaties with ed, and, after that, in a manner abolished. The po- France, Spain, and Portugal were equally unsuclicy of Great Britain, though founded on equally cessful. From the navigation of the lower part of selfish principles, was more enlightened. She ad- the Mississippi, the Americans were excluded by mitted "any unmanufactured goods and merchan. the Spaniards; and from the Mediterranean, they dise, the importation of which was not prohibited were shut out by the Barbary powers, whose hosby law (oil excepted), and any pitch, tar, turpen- tility they had no force to subdue, and whose friend. tine, indigo, masts, and bowsprits, being the growth ship they had no money to buy. Under these ciror production of the United States, to be imported cumstances, to use the language of Dr. Seybert, “it in British or American ships, upon paying the same was manifest that general regulations were essenduties as if imported from the British plantations," tial to the safety and welfare of the union: it was and allowed the same drawback on goods exported absolutely necessary that the power to regulate and to the United States as on goods exported to her control our intercourse with foreign nations, should own colonies. By this act, pot and pearl ashes, bar be confided to congress alone; and it was that coniron, woods of every kind, and tar and pitch, being viction which principally induced the people of the the produce of the United States, were more fa United States to call the convention to revise the voured than the same articles of the growth of other articles of confederation." foreign countries: but, by the same act, it was Though affairs, both at home and abroad, were provided that the intercourse between the United very discouraging, the spirit of American enterStates and the British West Indies, should be car- prise was not damped. Immediately after the
peace, a trade was opened with the British East' went into operation, the French revolution com. İndies: and on the 22d of February 1784, the first menced. The events that grew out of it, while they ship sailed from New York for China. In 1789, raised the price of our staples in foreign markets, there were fifteen American vessels
at Canton, which compelled the different European powers to relax was a greater number than any. European nation their colonial policy. had there, except the English. It was stated in con The combined effect of these different causes be. gress, on the 4th of May 1789, that there were forty- came very apparent by the year 1794, in which and seven American vessels on voyages beyond the Cape the succeeding year our exports amounted to eighty of Good Hope.
millions of dollars, being twice as much as we had In 1788, the trade to the Northwest Coast of exported in 1791 and 1792. Part of this increase America commenced. The first ship that was em was owing to a rise in the value of our staples, ployed in it sailed from Boston. This opened a prices being, according to a statement by Mr. Galtrade for furs with the Indians, on a coast several latin, forty per cent beyond their usual rates. Part hundred miles in extent: and afterwards every of it was owing to the re-exportation of foreign comisland in the South Seas, and the whole coast of modities, the value of which, in these two years, South America, were explored, in search of seal 1794 and 1795, was, we learn from the same authorskins for the Chinese market. These sealing voy- ity, twenty-five millions of dollars. ages were at first very profitable: but the business It was believed by many, that the external causes was soon overdone, and the seals, in a few years, which had proved so powerful a stimulus to our became so scarce as not to be worth the pursuit. commerce, would be temporary in their nature: but
The old branches of industry revived gradually. they continued in operation for more than twenty The cod fishery was one of the first completely re years; and the causes of internal prosperity becoming established. In 1789, we exported 371,319 quintals at the same time more efficacious, our commerce ad. of fish, which was more than had been exported year- vanced with a rapidity, of which the history of no ly, on an average of ten years preceding tle revolu- nation affords a parallel. Mr. Gallatin, writing in tionary war. This was, however, overdoing the busi 1796, seemed to suppose that our commerce had, in ness, for the British had in the interim greatly ex 1795, nearly reached its maximum; but in 1796 the tended their fisheries, and our market for fish was exports amounted to 67 millions, giving an increase, limited. The citizens engaged in this business in a single year, of 43 per cent. In the year 1801, met with heavy losses, which, in 1789, induced the they amounted to 94 millions. people of Marblehead alone to take thirty-lhree of We were the carriers of much of the produce of their vessels from the fisheries.
the East and West Indies. The treasures of South The first congress that met under the new consti- America passed through our country, on their way tution passed an act imposing duties of five per cent to Europe. Our merchants carried on a lucrative on most manufactures of wool and flax, seven and a business in supplying the West Indians and South half per cent on manufactures of silk, cotton, and Americans with European commodities. iron, ten per cent on articles composed wholly or Our tonnage increased at a rapid rate. In 1793, chiefly of gold, silver, pearls, and precious stones, the total was 491,780. In 1801, it was 1,053,218. and equally moderate duties on most other import. In 1793, it exceeded that of any other nation, exed commodities. They also imposed a discriminat. cept the British. In 1801, it appears to have been ing duty in favour of American tonnage, and made nearly equal to that which the Dutch possessed in certain allowances on the exportation of salt fish, as the period of their greatest commercial prosperity. a compensation for the duty paid by the fishermen The profits on the American tonnage employed on foreign salt. This tariff, taking the place of the in the foreign trade, from 1795 to 1805, if calcudiversified regulations of the states, imparted uni- lated at the rate of $50 a ton, must, according to formity to the commerce of the Union with foreign the estimate of Dr. Seybert, have produced, for the nations. The principal advantages, however, which freight alone, $32,459,350 per annum. trade and industry derived from the adoption of the Our prosperity was much increased by the addinew constitution, were from those provisions in that tion of a new article to our staples. In 1789, a instrument which prohibited any state “from emit member of congress, from South Carolina, stated, ting bills of credit, making any thing but gold and that the people of the southern states intended to silver a legal tender in the payment of debts, or cultivate cotton, and added, “if good seed could be passing any law violating the obligations of con. procured, he hoped they might succeed.” In 1790,
These provisions re-established commer the first parcel of cotton, of American growth, was cial confidence.
exported from the United States, and amounted to By this time, a new class of labourers had risen only 19,200 lbs. Prior to 1802, the cotton wool of up: those who were boys at the close of the revo- foreign and domestic growth was blended in the lutionary war, had become men. The devastations custom-house returns. On the average of the five of the contending armies had been in a degree re years from 1802 to 1806, the cotton of American paired: and though neither our agricultural nor growth, annually exported, amounted to 42,147,653 commercial capital was equal to what it was in lbs. In 1809-10, the export amounted to 93, 361, 462 1770, the country afforded a considerable amount lbs.: and 16,000,000 lbs. were consumed in our own of surplus products for exportation, which surplus manufactories. increased yearly.
After the peace of Amiens, which took place in The same year in which our new constitution the fall of 1801, our commerce declined; but that
peace continued for only eighteen months, and com- exportation. In a foreign market, says Pitkin, their merce revived again. Our carrying trade increased, value could not be less than fifteen millions. In so that in the years 1805, 6 and 7, our exports of 1814, in consequence of the blockade of our coast, foreign produce exceeded those of domestic. The the whole export of the United States amounted former were annually, on an average of the three only to $6,927,441, of which $6,782,272 was of years, 857,701,937: the latter 844,863,507.
domestic produce, which found its way through The prosperity of our trade excited the envy of certain ports, which, for a time, were not subject the different powers of Europe. To reduce its to the blockade. amount, to make it tributary to their own wants, The ratifications of peace were exchanged in and to promote their belligerent purposes, they is- February 1815. The stock of foreign commodities sued various orders, edicts, and decrees, the bare having been nearly exhausted, great importations enumeration of which would exceed our limits. immediately ensued. The exportation of domestic This system began at an early date, for it was commodities, though considerable, was much less stated, in the British house of peers, that 600 Ame- in value. But in the following year there was a short rican vessels were seized or detained in British harvest in England, and our exports of domestic ports, between November 6, 1793 and March 28, produce in 1816, 1817 and 1818, exceeded those of 1794. The captures of American vessels, made by any three previous years. the British, from 1803 till November 1807, amount. It was the opinion of many, that on the pacificaed to 528. Those made by the French, from 1802 tion of Europe, our commerce must become incontill the time of passing the Berlin and Milan de- siderable. Dr. Seybert, whose work was published crees, were 206;--during the continuance of said in 1818, said, “we should refer to our experience, decrees, 307. To these were added seizures by the from 1783 to 1791, for the rules that seem best Neapolitans, the Danes, and the Spaniards. adapted to our future situation.” These gloomy
Many of these violations of neutral rights would, forebodings have not been verified. The following according to the laws of nations, have justified se account of the exports of domestic produce, for pevere retaliatory measures on our part, but the go riods of five years, from 1795 to 1829, shows a convernment of the United States, averse to war, re siderable increase since the close of the war. sorted to a measure which, perhaps, inflicted more evil on its own citizens than on the offending belli
From 1795 to 1799, botb inclusive, $32,822,965 1800 to 1804,
42,048,366 gerents. On the 22d of December 1807, an embar
1805 to 1809,
34,631,848 go was laid on all the vessels in the United States.
1810 to 1814, That act continued in force till the 1st of March,
30,618,194 1815 to 1819,
60,780,214 1809. At the moment when our foreign commerce
1820 to 1824, had arrived at the maximum, it was completely
48,606,904 1825 to 1829,
67,058,401 suspended. This transition was the more severe, because of its having been so suddenly adopted. The period in which the exports were, apparent
On the removal of the embargo, the irade in ly, of the most value, was from 1815 to 1819: but foreign commodities was recommenced; but the during part of this time specie payments were susamount re-exported in 1809, 10 and il, was only pended in the United States, and during the whole little more than one-third of what was re-exported of the time in England. in 1805, 6 and 7. The value of the domestic com If due allowance be made for the fall of prices modities exported in 1810 and 11, was nearly as which has taken place since the resumption of spegreat as the value of the like commodities exported cie paymeris in Europe and America, it will be in the two years previous to the embargo. In 1810 found that there has been a considerable increase of and 11, we found a very profitable market for our our exports in the aggregate, though not an increase flour in Spain and Portugal. The wheat and flour in proportion to the increase of population. In 1790, we exported to these countries, in 1811, were va the value of our exports was in the proportion of lued at not less than eight millions of dollars, at $4.84 for each inhabitant. In 1801, the domestic the place of exportation, and at twelve millions, at produce exported was in the proportion of $8.92 for the places of sale.
each inhabitant; in 1810, the proportion was $6.25; The belligerents persisted in their system of spo- in 1829, it was $4.65. liation. After the revocation of the Berlin and Mi. Table 56 gives the value of the exports from lan decrees, the French captured 45 of our vessels. 1790 to 1829, and of the imports from 1821 to 1829. From 1807 till 1812, the British took 389 of our The exports are valued according to the average vessels, making a total of 917 captured by them in price at the places of exportation. The imports are ten years.
valued at the prices they bear at the places of purIn the opinion of the majority of the nation, war chase abroad, with the addition of twenty per cent was necessary to redress these wrongs. War was, to those imported from beyond the Cape of Good accordingly, declared against Great Britain, on the Hope, and of ten per cent to those imported from 18th of June 1812. One of its necessary effects was other places. to subject our foreign commerce to great risks: yet Table 57 shows the tonnage of the United States we exported to Spain and Portugal 938,944 barrels from 1789 to 1829, and also the proportion of foof flour in 1812, and 973,500 barrels in 1813. The reign tonnage employed in the trade of the country value of the wheat and flour exported to those coun in different years. From 1789 to 1792, the only actries, in 1813, was $11,213,447, at the places of count of tonṇage kept at the treasury, was that on
which the duties were collected, and which included $31,334,000; 1819, $21,082,000; 1820, $22,309,000;
From 1803 to 1812, the tonnage of newly built $1,715,000; and in 1821, it fell to $1,494,307. From
In 1810, our registered tonnage was about in the amounted to 1,225,881 barrels; and in 1831, to proportion of one ton to every 9 inhabitants of the 1,805,205. In the last mentioned year, 879,430 United States. In 1829, it was in the proportion of barrels were exported to Great Britain and Ireland; one ton to every 19.2 inhabitants. When we con 150,645 to the British North American provinces; sider the change that has taken place in the affairs 371,876 to the West Indies; 319,616 to South of the world, and the many restrictions that have America; and about 70,000 to various parts of Eubeen imposed on American commerce, both at home rope, Asia and Africa. and abroad, we cannot be surprised at the difference The imports of the United States have, during of these proportions.
the last ten years, amounted to about eighty millions The exports of the United States are classed, at of dollars a year; but of this amount about twentythe treasury department, as products of the sea, of four millions have been annually re-exported, leavthe forest, of agriculture, and of manufactures. The ing about fifty-six millions for domestic consumption. value of the products of the sea, annually exported, The principal imports of the United States are teas has, of late years, amounted to little more than a and silks, from China; woollen and cotton manumillion and a half of dollars: those of the forest to factures from England and the continent of Euupwards of four millions: those of agriculture, be- rope; manufactures of iron and other metals from tween forty and fifty millions : of manufactures, to England; of flax, from England, Germany and two or three millions, and, within a few years, to France; of wine and brandy from the north of Eufour or five millions. Table 58 contains a specifi- rope; of coffee, sugar and molasses from the West cation of the different articles included in each of Indies, and hides from South America. In 1830, these classes, and of their value at the place of ex the importation of woollen manufactures amounted port, for the year ending September 30, 1830. to about six millions of dollars; of cotton about
Of agricultural products, the principal article of eight millions; of silk, six millions; of fax, three export is cotton. The value of this commodity ex millions; of hemp, one million; of iron, five milported in 1825, was $36,846,649; but this was ow. lions five hundred thousand; of earthenware, one ing to a rise of price abroad, produced by specula- million; of wine and brandy, two millions; of teas, tion. In 1818, the value of cotton exported was two millions five hundred thousand; molasses, one
million; sugar, five millions and a half; of coffee, were removed from the trade of these islands with four millions; of spices, five hundred thousand; of the western continent. fruits, five hundred thousand; of salt, six hundred Our exports to the new American states, formerly thousand. A portion of all these was destined for colonies of Spain, in 1830, amounted to nearly eight re-exportation. In the two years 1829 and 1830, millions. Our imports from the same countries the value of foreign cottons re-exported exceeded exceeded nine millions. To these countries the four millions. An account, in detail, of all the ar exports were in 1819, only $206,777; in 1820, ticles imported into the United States would ex 241,193; in 1821 they rose to one million; in 1822 ceed our limits. As such as are not admitted free they amounted to nearly two millions and a half; of duty are entitled to benefit of drawback, if re and they have gradually risen to the present amount. exported within a limited time, nearly every product We have confined our attention, hitherto, to the of every clime occasionally finds its way to the foreign trade of the United States; not because it United States; but the principal trade is in the arti- is the most important, but because we have no stacles already enumerated.
tistical details to show the extent of the coasting Table 59 exhibits a view of the amount of the and inland trade. Of the extent of the coasting commerce of the United States with each foreign trade, we may have some notion by considering country. This commerce, with each country, is that the amount of tonnage it employs is but little in every year liable to be affected by political less than that employed in the foreign trade; and changes; but under all circumstances, except those that a vessel in the coasting trade makes many of open war between the two countries, the trade of voyages while a vessel in the foreign trade makes the United States with Great Britain seems to be but one. Of the extent of the inland trade we may the most important. Next to that is the trade with form some conception, by considering the amount France. The trade with the Netherlands is the of wealth that is annually produced and consumed third in importance of our European branches of in the country. It has been ascertained by inquiry, commerce. That with the Hanse towns is the that the expense of supporting paupers in the almsfourth. The trade with Spain, once so important, houses, is from forty to sixty dollars a year. The has become inconsiderable: and that with Portugal annual consumption of those who are not paupers, has dwindled to almost nothing. The trade with may then be safely set down at one hundred dollars, Russia, Prussia, Sweden and Denmark, has never a year, on an average. This would require an been, in ordinary times, of great amount.
annual production of wealth to the amount of The trade to the West Indies is, in the aggre. $1,300,000,000, to satisfy the wants of the commugate, of more importance than the trade to any one nity. Only a part of this, however, enters into country of Europe, England excepted. The trade trade, for many American families consume most of to the single island of Cuba is of more importance what their own labour and their own farms produce. than the trade to any of the countries of Europe, If only one-half of what is annually produced be. except England and France. The imports from comes the subject of exchanges, our internal trade the different West India isles amounted in the year must amount yearly to more than to six hundred mil1830 to nearly eleven millions and a half. The lions: if three-fourths, to nearly a thousand millions. exports directly to those islands exceeded nine mil. This is an estimate which can hardly be considered lions and a half. To these should be added up- enormous, if, in addition to the amount of enrolled wards of three millions and a half exported to the and licensed tonnage, we take into view the extent British Northern colonies, but destined ultimately of our roads and canals; the facilities for trade af. to the West Indies. The West Indies are the na- forded by our lakes and rivers; the variety of our lural commercial dependencies of the United States. soil and products; the science, skill, industry and A political connexion with them is not desirable. enterprise of our countrymen; the manner in which But it would be very conducive to our interests and foreign trade vivifies domestic, and the perfect freetheirs, and to that of the European countries which dom of intercourse which subsists among the difclaim sovereignty over them, if all restrictions ferent states composing our confederacy.