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Statement of imports into the United States of sugar, melada, and molasses during the years
1869 to 1878 inclusive.
For the year 1878 the value of these imports was about $77,000,000, and for the nine years named we paid for sugar and molasses the enormus sum of about $600,000,000.
Nearly if not all of this vast sum paid to foreign countries might have been saved had the overflowed and swamp lands on the Mississippi and other rivers (a large portion of which is especially adapted to the growth of sugar-cane) been reclaimed and the overflow provided against and prevented.
If the half of $77,000,000 we pay in a single year for sugar and molasses should be expended in reclaiming the swamp lands and preventing the usual overflows of the Mississippi and other rivers, it would not only save to the country annually what we pay out for these articles, but restore from ten to fifteen millions of acres of rich, arable, and most productive farming lands to this and other agricultural uses, now abandoned and utterly useless. How long would France, England, Germany, Russia, or Holland suffer such a vast body of fertile soil to lie idle and go to waste while paying for what might be produced upon it annually nearly a hundred millions of dollars ? The power of the general government to levee the Mississippi River I believe is admitted. This being the case, is not the duty of Congress, from an economical stand-point, clear in the premises ?
The following table shows many other agricultural products imported by our people, many, if not all, of which might be produced at home, and save to the United States and its people more than a hundred mil. lion dollars per annum :
Statement showing the quantities and values of certain imported commodities entered for con
sumption in the United States, with rate of duty and amount of duties collected, during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1876.
and duty combined.
Barley, bushels .
In casks, gallons...
$156, 151,723 70 $210,918,125 46
* From Hawaiian islands.
From the above official table it will be seen that the home value of articles imported in 1878 was..
$156,151,723 70 Value of duty added in 1878 was
210,918,125 46 This is a large amount of money paid for agricultural products that ought to be produced in our own country. We find by this table we pay foreign countries forSugar and molasses, annually, nearly
$90,000,000 Tobacco and cigars, annually, nearly
6,000,000 Wine, annnally, nearly
4,000,000 Wool, annually, nearly.
7,000,000 Barley, annually, nearly.
4,000,000 Eggs, annually, nearly ...
Eggs come in free of duty, and the amount paid is so large for so small an article that the following official table is given, which shows quan. tity, amount paid, and where from : Quantity and value of eggs imported into the United States during fiscal year ended June 30, 1878.
6,053,649 $726,037 Excluding silk and toa, the successful production of which is yet doubtful, we pay annually more than one hundred millions for products that might be grown in our own country.
In the face of these figures and facts argument is not needed to show that agriculture is of the first and highest importance to our people, and should be properly aided and encouraged.
A nation, like a corporation or individual that lives beyond his income, must in time become poor and in debt. After the war, between 1865 and the panic in September, 1873, we had what is usually called good times, when, in fact, as a nation we were paying to foreign countries much more than we received from them; that is, our imports were more than our exports, as the following official table will show : Statement showing total net imports* of merchandise, coin, and bullion into United States, and the
domestic expor 8 of merchandise, coin, and bullion from U. S., from 1800 to 1878, inclusive.
315,004,726 228,699,456 $86,305,240 1862 188,902,263 210,688,675
21,786,412 1863 226,796,336 241,997,474
15, 201, 138 1864
309,305,935 243,977,589 65,328,366 1865
216,441,495 201,558,372 14, 83,123 1866
430,770,041 420,161,476 10,608,565
397,220,063 334,763,005 62,457,050 28681. 349,023, 6-2 353,135,875
4,112,193 412,140,841 318,082,663 94,058,178 [ 370
431,950,428 420,500,275 11,450,153
617,569,017 501,285,371 116,283,646 73
635,467,636 578,938,985 56,528,651
57,052,197 1-75 531,472,529 583,141 229
51,668,700 876 455,407,836 575,620,938
120,13,102 466,265,045 132,804,962
166,539,917 446,039,908 707,738,783
261,698, 075 * Net im ports inean total imports less imported merchandise, coin, and bullion afterwird exported to foreign countries (specie values).
The above statement clearly shows we paid, between 1860 and 1873, $439,087,737 more for imports than we received for exports.
In 1873 trade reversed, and has been largely in our favor up to this time. During the five fiscal years between 1873 and 1878 we exported or sold $659,072,791 more than we imported or bought. This is a good sign, and shows we are winding on and not off; and if we continue to export largely more than we import, it is only a question of time, which I believe is not distant, when we will be a prosperous and happy people.
Europe, in addition to paying us the large balance of trade now in our favor, according to a recent statement of David A. Wells, expends an average annually of $1,500,000,000 for war and the support of standing armies, while, since the formation of our government, our average penses annually for these purposes have been about $45,000,000.
In most of the governments of Europe all young men between the ages of twenty and twenty-seven are obliged to serve in the standing armies, thereby taking seven years of each man's life from useful industries.
If we had no other advantages than these named, we would in time grow rich and Europe poor.
AID TO AGRICULTURE.
The General Government has from time to time found warrant in the Constitution to aid directly and indirectly other industries of minor importance. Then why not seriously take in hand the great underlying and fundamental interest upon which all others depend, and do what may be properly done to promote and encourage it? All other interests and industries, in comparison, are subordinate and insignificant.
The extremities should not be nursed and nourished, and the body and neart remain abandoned and neglected.
There is a feeling in the minds of the people that there is too much political agitation and contention in Congress and out of it; that too much effort is made to gain and maintain party supremacy, while weightier matters, and the things that make for peace and tend to promote prosperity, are neglected.
The country and the business interests want quiet and repose. Progress, success and prosperity such as never blessed another nation or people are within our grasp; our manufacturing, commercial, and agricultural supremacy in the world is no longer doubtful, but certain and assured, if only proper effort is made.
Just to what extent, and in what manner, and by what methods, the great agricultural interests of our entire country may be best promoted,
it will be the duty, upon the adoption of this resolution, of the Senate and House Committees on Agriculture to determine, and I have no doubt they will bring to the subject that careful and thoughtful consideration which it so justly merits.
France has very recently appointed, through her Department of Agriculture, a commission of able and distinguished persons to examine into the subject of agriculture, and to report what should be done to advance and encourage it.
In urging the attention of Congress to agriculture, I do not wish to detract from the importance of mining, manufacturing, and commerce. The latter especially ought to be considered by Congress. Between 1850 and 1860 American bottoms or vessels carried fully 75 per cent. of our commerce; now only about 25 per cent. This ought not to be, and a remedy is needed.
Heretofore much attention and encouragement has been given by Congress and the departments of the government to banks, railroads, tariff, etc., and but little to agriculture, which is the great interest upon which all depends. It is to be hoped there will be a change for the better, and that the farming interests will receive more attention and encouragement.
President Hayes said, in his last message to Congress :
“The great extent of our country, with its diversity of soil and climate, enables us to produce within our own borders, and by our own labor, not only the necessaries, but most of the luxuries, that are consumed in civilized countries. Yet, notwithstanding our advantages of soil, climate, and intercommunication, it appears from the statistical statements in the report of the Commissioner of Agriculture that we import annually from foroign lands many millions of dollars' worth of agricultural products which could be raised in our own country."
Mr. President, the world has had many great and able men in state and in war-among them, Alexander, Cæsar, Napoleon, La Fayette, Wellington, Cicero, Burke, Pitt, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Lincoln. Not one of these was, nor has the world yet produced, the equal of our great and pure Washington, who was “first in war, first ic. peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen." In his eighth message to Congress he said:
“It is not to be doubted that with reference either to individual or national welfare, agriculture is of primary im ortance. In proportion as nations advance in population and other circumstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent, and renders the cultivation of the soil more and more an object of public patronage. Institutions for promoting it grow up, supported by the public purse; and to what object can it be dedicated with greater propriety ?”