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The young houses partake in an eminent degree of the extravagance of the age. Large houses up town, and a style of living at which the wealthiest merchants of a former age would stand aghast, are now supposed necessary to every man in business. Young men also, deluded with the absurd vanity “of doing a large business," and this motive, added to the wants of a fashionable style of living, continually urge them to extend their business, by being less cautious in credits, and this disposition was wantonly fed by the banking institutions. Let us turn to the statements of the banks of New York throughout the spring busi
NEW-YORK BANK LOANS AND SPECIE.
Specie. December 21, 1830....59,369,343.... 3,377,961.. 2,610,710....65,338,017....11,002,200
29, 1831....60,772,739. ..3,385,070. 2,912,243....68,076,062.... 7,975,640 June 21, 1851.... 65,623,720.. ..3,570,377......2,759,417....71,953,514.... 7,985,934
Thus, through the spring business, when young and old firms were making sales, the banks discounted everything with great freedom; and that facility of discount, as we have remarked, governed in very many cases the credits given to customers. The calculations of sellers were based upon it. In the three months the institutions, although their specie had fallen over $3,000,000, increased their loans $4,000,000. On the spring sales, thus encouraged upon credit by the banks, were based the orders for the full season ; and it was not until these began to arrive, that the institutions : uddenly refused discounts. The expansive policy they pursued in the spring caused the goods to come here, and they then vigorously curtailed, destroying the sales for them. The export of specie is the pretext for curtailment; but the banks in March, when the course of expansion was increased, according to the figures, held less than they have at any time since, and export was then more active than now!
Not a few merchants who had entered the race of competition for business, by selling on less rigorous credits, because they had found a lessened hesitation on the part of the banks to convert those credits into money, are now quite disposed to curse the banks with their “whole heart" for utterly refusing that paper. They look at the city banks' returns, and they see loans, March 21 $61,778,759, and June 21, $65,623,720. Increase, 90 days, $3,844,961, or an increase of $42,700 per day paid out more than received. What right, say they, and not without reason, had the banks to go through the spring business with such a progressive expansion, and then suddenly cut it off when the fall-season goods had been ordered? The operation of the exchanges always causes a flow of specie outward from July to October. If the banks wished to check that, why did they operate upon the spring business? Instead of doing so, they, notwithstanding large exports of specie, continued to expand ; thus promoting sales, and encouraging fall orders. After those orders had gone forward, they close down the gates, and spoil the sale of goods after they arrive. It is at once obvious to every soul that the great want at this moment, is correct returns of the present lines of discount. How much bave they been reduced by six weeks' suffering ? and how far bave we yet to struggle through a restricted market?
The efforts of the houses to sell the paper, together with all the collateral
elements of a reacţion, which always accompany a tightened market, are operating favorably.
The payments from the country are good, and every effort is made by indebted merchants in the city to get in funds, and diminish their outstanding obligations; consequently each day's payments into bank is a step towards ease, and the stoppage of one or two desperate borrowers has checked the demand for money at high rates. The current is now running towards the city. In a time of confidence and of liberal bank loans, the merchants borrow in the city, and lend to the country. When the banks begin to curtail, the current stops, turps, and runs in the contrary direction. This is now the case, and money is being now called in from the country and paid into bank, and will continue to do so until money becomes very cheap. In relation to the ability of the country to pay, we will take the cotton crop, as the value is given in the reports of the Secretary of the Treasury for each year of the last four :
Value per bale.
The values are the average export values at all the ports ; and it will be observed, that this year the planters have, for the same number of bales, received fifty-six millions more dollars than in 1848. Hence their ability to pay up. Wool, tobacco, sugar, all show similar results; and although flour is cheap, the quantity is immense, and transportation cheap. This, added to the great production of California gold, which is owned to a considerable extent throughout the interior, where persons left digging potatoes to dig gold, afford ample means for paying to the city; and from all these sources are now being drawn the means of returning plenty in the money market, to say nothing of the money drawn from Europe to invest here.
The larger proportion of credits which have been granted the country are sound; and although produce is cheap, the quantities that coine forward are large.
The receipts of produce at New Orleans for several years have been as follows:
VALUE OF PRODUCE RECEIVED AT NEW-ORLEANS FOR SEVERAL YEARS.
1851. Bagging..... 917,710...... 1,909,866.... 1,167,056...... 816,498... 903,800 rope. 255,051.. 743,250. 1,119,864...... 688,832.
804,180 Cotton.. .37,716,256. .38,200,345. .30,844,314.. ..41,886,150. 48,756,764 Molasses........
1,710,000...... 1,920,000.. 2,388,000. 2,400,000.. 2,625,000 Sugar... .10,265,750. 9,600,000...... 8,800.000... .12,396,150. .12,628,180 Tobacco,
4,144,562. 3,420,544.. 3,938,290...... 6,206,820. 7,860,050 All others....... - 26,184,135. ..27,885,141 .33,832,168. .32,503,403......
.77,193, 464......79,779,151......81,989,692......96,897,873..... 106,924,083
The fact of these large receipts added to the large expenditure for rail-roads, and the absorption of specie in the country, are marked evidences of prosperity. This latter item is very remarkable, and is shown in the coinage of gold at the United States mints, as compared with the exports from New-York for twenty months :
Here is an addition of over $45,000,000 to the gold currency of the country. In addition to the gold exported, there has been sent abroad $7,363,059 of United States silver coins, which have no doubt been in a great degree displaced by gold dollars and paper; and there has also been exported about 13,000,000 of foreign coins, which have been supplied by immigration, a source which affords 25 per cent. as much as California. If we deduct the United States silver exported from the $15,000,000 of gold sent into circulation, there will remain $37,000,000 as the actual investment of the interior in a circulating medium, in addition to the vast sums invested in public works. That gold is a fund to draw upon, and must come to the city in the course of trade if it is wanted. It comes dow to some extent from the South; but cotton bills and other produce bills will soon come more freely upon the market, not only in discharge of debts due the city, but as a means of remittance abroad.
The large exports of specie which have taken place to Europe grows out, first, of hoarding what has taken place throughout Europe to a great extent, as is always the case when political affairs are unsettled. Second, the decayed state of the East India trade, which usually supplies a large balance of coin to England, but this year has drawn thence considerable amounts. Both these causes have now ceased to operate to some extent, and specie is accumulating in the Bank of England. It has thus fluctuated considerably during the year, while it has continued to rise in the Bank of France. The highest and lowest points have been as follows:
SPECIE IN THE BANKS OF FRANCE AND ENGLAND.
Bank of England.
14,317,965. ..13,809,170. ..14,362,424 ...14,290,391.
France. 22,173,828. .22,230,170.. .23,187,180.. .23,651,855 .24,526,000. ..24,803,968.
Total. 36,080,484 .35,483,727 .37,505,145 .37,461,025 .38,888,424 .39,094,339
The lowest amount in both institutions was in March, since when it has risen $3,400,000, say $16,450,000, and continues to rise with a lessened price for bullíon, and a rate for money not higher than 3 per cent. regular discounts. The exchanges in New-York on England remain at about par, with the new bills against the new crops coming forward, under prospects of large sales, and imports of goods moderate.
The United States cotton crop and its disposition for several years has been as follows:
The New-York Shipping List has generally been the source whence the figures in relation to the crop have been derived. They are usually compiled from all the reports of cotton movements that are made in all the southern states, carefully registered throughout the year, and the results shown in a tabular form at its close. For more than a quarter of a century this service has been performed by the New York Shipping List, and with a degree of accuracy which is praiseworthy. In all that period, however, all the cotton of the South came to the seaboard, and its arrival was chronicled by the local journals, whence the figures were derived by the Shipping List. That state of affairs has now changed, though the multiplication of factories, South and West, which derive their cotton directly from the plantations, and the amount they so consume, is not only a part of the annual crop, but the cloth made from it drives in
some degree the northern article from the market. Now there are no data by · which the quantity of cotton thus consumed can be estimated with any degree
of accuracy.equal to that which may be attained in relation to that which reaches the seaboard. The Shipping List attempts this estimate, but it must be taken as a mere guess. Now, to test the accuracy of this estimate, we may, pending the returns of the United States census of this year, give the number of factories and spindles according to the census of 1840, as compared with the estimates of the “ List."
Shipping List, 1810. 1932.
Spindles. Spindles. Spindles. North Carolina....
47,931.... South Carolina.
1,502. 16,960. 12,580 Tennessee.
16,813. 36,000. 36,000 Ohio, Pittsburg, Wheeling, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, &c. 32,121, ,102,220 .100,000 Total.....
It will be observed, that during the past year in which so great a number of spindles have been started South and West, a decline is estimated. In Alabama 4,400 spindles less are given, and the consumption of cotton for three years has been estimated as follows:
The estimate for 100,000 spindles on the Ohio is only 12,000 bales, which give a less production in 1850 than in 1840, and few persons believe that the cotton manufacture at the West has declined in the last ten years. On the other hand, the fact that the Eastern and Northern goods have not risen in proportion to the cost of the raw material, is conclusive proof that they have encountered increasing opposition from the cheaper made Southern and Western articles. The Shipping List states, as a reason for the low estimates, that the high price of the raw material has rendered the manufacture unprofitable. This would be a very good reason why the manufacture should dininish at the North as compared with the South ; but it can scarcely be urged as a reason why the North, which is distant from both raw material and market for goods, should supplant the South. Under these circumstances it is evident that a stage in our affairs is reached where the annual cotton tables, as heretofore constructed, can no longer be depended on as a safe guide of the supply and consumption of cotton. The United States census may afford the basis on which correct data may be raised, but from the scandalous manner in which that work has been completed, no depondence can be placed upon it.