페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

similar tumults have almost uniformly occurred, at political junctures, which pressed with severity upon any particular class of her manufactures.

To proceed: In the first place we know, as has been already observed, that the proportion of British manufactures, which we have been in the habit of consuming, does not, at most, exceed one sixth part of the amount annually Exported from Great Britain, nor one eighteenth part of the total amount, annually manufactured there.

In the second place it happens that, instead of being largely indebted to Great Britain, as used to be the case formerly when we were poor, our merchants have property to the extent of many millions of dollars in the hands of hers. It has been estimated by some, at no less than thirty millions of dollars at this time. The impossibility of bringing it home in specie, and the consequent lowness of foreign exchanges, causes large investments of American funds in British goods, either with a view of bringing them, clandestinely and circuitously, into the country; or, under the idea of keeping them in England, in hopes of realizing large profits on a renewal of intercourse. But, as far as the immediate manufacturing interests of Great Britain are concerned, it is immaterial whether goods have been bought and shipped, or bought and warehoused, provided they are paid for. Great Britain, in this way, has gained upon us at least one year's supply, and .this state of things will probably continue, as long as there is American property afloat in that country, for, of a war of long duration at least, no man can well conceive even the possibility.

In the third place, when the commodities, with which we were in the habit of supplying Great Britain, are no longer furnished by us, and she is obliged to seek them in other quarters, this new demand will with her increase industry, wealth, consumption, population even; and, while other circumstances remain unchanged, her trade, in consequence of our embargoes and restrictions, .may indeed be compelled to seek different channels, but the extent of her business, after a slight diminution, will soon acquire again its former compass, and probably continue to spread wider and wider.

As far, therefore, as our embargo, our non-intercourse,nonimportation, and embargo revived—were, or, are intended, to overawe our political adversaries, they place us very much in the light of certain conceited individuals, such as we frequently meet with in society, who fancy themselves of such vast importance, that they firmly believe the whole social order would fall into confusion, should they attempt to with

.

i draw from the situations they occupy. It, however, mostly happens, that when the dreadful resolve i9 carried into execution, another, and frequently a better man, is found ready to fill the place of him who retired. The hero of lofty sentiments finds then, to his sorrow, that he can be spared. He is left to fret out his disappointment as he can, and often tries in vain to regain his former influence and standing.

Nations, like private citizens, are constantly anxious to ameliorate their situation, to increase their enjoymentsi Every favourable opportunity is therefore snatched with avidity; every opening is quickly taken advantage of, and if one of them, who had acted a conspicuous part, prompted by wisdom or folly, chooses to withdraw from the busy scene, she will soon sink into oblivion, whilst the chasm is filled up by another. No dismay, nor mourning will ensue. The concerns of mankind will experience no disturbance.

The mutual dependence of nations is, perhaps, founded more on habit,or accidental interest, than on necessity. Whichever, therefore, has found the means of creating, and supplying, certain wants of another, if she find it beneficial to supply them, should be careful to avoid interruptions of intercourse. The nation, as well as the man, of business, should always be found at her usual places of resort; and a careful attention to this prudential maxim becomes the more indispensable, the less she can boast of peculiarity of productions, either in kind—arising from soil and climate—or in cheapness and quality—the consequence of capital and skill. The United States cannot strictly boast of either. The distinction and consequence, which we had acquired in the commercial world, were owing, not so much to the nature and character of our commodities, as to the spirit of enterprise, and to the extraordinary vigilance, with which our merchants sought to introduce them, wherever they might be acceptable. This spirit once destroyed, or rendered useless by embargoes, and restrictions, the national importance will cease with it. The American flag may disappear from the ocean, but Europe will not suffer fol*want of our productions.

We shall now proceed to examine the effects of the embargo system on ourselves.

Our first embargo lasted more than fifteen months. The present has been laid for three, and there are reasons for believing, that it is intended to be renewed at the expiration of that term. It may, therefore, not be uninteresting to make in the first place an estimate of the loss, which the nation would sustain by an embargo for one year.

In trying to make this estimate, we shall take it for granted that the embargo is rigorously observed, agreeably to the intentions of government.

We shall consider as loss the diminution of wealth; that is, the diminution of desirable objects; of means of enjoyment.

In the year, ending the first of October 1810, the total exports of the United States amounted to 61,316,833 dollars, of which 45,294,043 dollars, or more than two thirds, were native productions.

As all these exports took place in our own vessels, and as all the native commodities, as well as some of the re-exported foreign productions are bulky, we cannot estimate the outward freight at less than ten per cent. on the whole value exported. The small shipping charges, such as are earned by coopers, labourers, draymen, &c, amount at least to two per cent.—It will not be thought unreasonable to suppose that, on an average, our exports yield to the exporting merchant a profit of ten per cent.; that our vessels, one with another, make one third of their outward freight, home; and that ten per cent. are gained on the imports, between the importing merchant, and the final consumer, or re-exporter. If we add to these the profits on insurances, we shall be able to form some idea of the direct mercantile loss, occasioned by an embargo of twelve months duration. We say of the direct mercantile loss, because to calculate the losses, caused by loss, would be endless. The account will stand as follows:

Freight on exports to the amount of S 61,316,833 at 10 per cent. 8 6,131,683

Small shipping charges on the same at 2 per ct. 1,226,336

Outward profits on the same, estimated at 10

percent. - - - - 6,131,683

Profit on returns imported, estimated at 10 per cent. on the investments abroad, viz.

10 per ct. on investment abroad 74,806,535 is 7,480,650 One third, of the outward freight, home, - 2,043,894

[graphic][graphic][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Brought over, S23,O14,240

The whole property, conveyed out and home, exclusive of the value of the vessels employed, amounts to 136,123,368 dolls. But some of this being insured in Europe, we will suppose that only 100 millions, inclusive of the value of the vessels employed, are insured in this country; we will allow only 8 per cent. as the average premium of insurance out and home, and we will suppose that the underwriters clear by their business only 10 per cent. on the amount of the premiums. Then this item will be,

10 per cent. on g 8,000,000 is - - 800,000

Making the total direct mercantile loss - 55 23,814,249

But, in order to appreciate the national loss, we have still further to add to this sum the loss sustained in the revenue, which we have the advantage of being able to estimate from the actual returns of the treasury. The net amount of revenue, arising from duties, tonnage, light money, &c. was,

in 1806, g 16,015,317
in 1807, 16,492,889
in 1808, 7,176,985
in 1809, 7,138,676
in 1810, 12,756,831*

The fall from sixteen millions to seven in the years 180S and 1809, can only be attributed to the derangements of commerce, caused by the embargo, particularly as %ve see that in 1810itrose again to nearly thirteen millions, notwithstanding the continuance of restrictions, and embarrassments in the way of importations. We are therefore warranted by the fact, in estimating the loss of revenue, caused by an embargo of twelve months duration, at least at 9,000,000 dollars.

Nor can it be doubted that this deficiency in the revenue is a real, national loss; because, though the duties are ultimately paid by the consumers, yet, as generally speaking no one spends more than his revenue, it is the proceeds of the flour, cotton, potash, &c. which enable our farmers, planters and woodsmen to pay for the imported goods, loaded as they are with freight and small charges, the merchant's profit, insurance

* See Report of the Secretary of the Treasury of the 28th February 181"

and customs. Our foreign transactions finally wind np between the producers of our exports, and the consumers of our imports. If the same man who raises the wheat, manufactured it into flour, exported it, received European commodities in return, and consumed them; it is obvious that the business would be dropped, if, notwithstanding the expenses with which the European goods may be charged, he did not think himself well paid for his labour by their possession. But the inference remains the same, whether all this be the transaction of one man, or the divided pursuits of many. We must, therefore, regard customs and tonnage, Sec. as well as the merchant's profits and small charges, as part of the proceeds of our exports.

We have further to consider as national loss, attending the embargo, the diminished value of the property, the exportation of which it prevents. If we should have exported, without the embargo, native produce to the amount of 45,000,000 dollars, it is a proof that we have so much to spare, over and above what is wanted for our own consumption. It will hardly be imagined that we shall eat more fish, than common on account of the embargo. Therefore the usually exported produce of the sea, amounting in value nearly to one million and a half, and being of a perishable nature, will be lost. Our flour, if forced into the market, as there is more than we can make use of, will fall from - fifty to seventy per cent, and more. Or, if no greater quantity is offered for sale than the habitual consumption requires, because our farmers are rich enough to keep their grain, rather than to sell it below a certain price; then it will waste in their barns. The rats will eat a part, the weevil will destroy another, the hogs, the cattle, the horses, will receive more than their due share. Above all, less will be raised the ensuing season. Similar observations will apply to every other description of produce. The obstruction of the vent for our surplus will, without exception, deteriorate the value of our native commodities, and operate as a check on agricultural industry. We should, therefore, be justifiable, if we were to consider the total value of our usually exported surplus produce, as so much loss sustained by the nation in consequence of the embargo. We will admit, however, in order, throughout this estimate, rather to remain below the truth than to exaggerate, that one third of it turns to account, in the way of extra consumption, and that the actual loss is only two thirds, or 30,196,028 dollars.

« 이전계속 »