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IMPORTANCE OF CANALS.
In addition to recalling to the market of New York the productions of its own soil, now alienated to Canada, the construction of these canals would draw to this State the trade of the western parts of Vermont, of a great portion of Upper Canada, and of the Northern half of all that vast region of the United States which lies west of the Alleghany mountains. The country south of the great lakes alone includes as many square miles as constitute the whole home territory of some of the first-rate European powers ; and is, perhaps, the most fertile part of the globe. That country already contains more than a million of souls, and is increasing in its population with a rapidity utterly inconceivable by the inhabitants of the old and fully peopled districts of Europe. The increase of New-England population, during the last twenty years, has averaged six per cent. annually: and the surplus thousands of this increase are continually migrating to the west. There they are joined by a numerous emigration from the Middle and Southern States, who, together with them, multiply and thrive, in proportion to the means of subsistence produced by their common industry. The projected canals will open to this immense and rapidly augmenting population a cheaper, safer, and more expeditious road to a profitable market, than they can possibly find in any other country; and, eventually, render the city of NewYork the greatest commercial emporium in the world.
The United States then exhibit a mighty empire, covering a greater extent of territory than all Europe, and held together by twenty separate State sovereignties, watching over and regulating, in their executive, legislative, and judicial departments, all its municipal and local interests; with a Federal head, a general government, preserving and directing all its national concerns and foreign relations; with a soil, rich in all the productions of prime necessity, of convenience, and luxury, and capable of sustaining five hundred millions of people; a line of seacoast more than two thousand miles in extent, and a natural internal navigation, in itself excellent, and capable of still further improvement, by the construction of canals, at a comparatively trifling expense; affording within its capacious bosom an asylum sufficient to receive all the distressed of Europe, and holding out the sure means of ample subsistence and perfect independence to every one who unites in his own character and conduct the qualities of industry, sobriety, perseverance, and integrity. For the best mode of location in the boundless regions of the Western States and Territories, and for the disposition of the public lands, held by the government in trust for the people of the United States, the reader may, profitably, consult Mr. Mellish's “ Geographical Description of the United States ;" Mr. Brown's “Western Gazetteer, or Emigrant's Directory," and Mr. Darby's “ Geographical Description of the State of Louisiana, the Southern part of the State of Mississippi, and Territory of Alabania:" and for the inland navigation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, see “ Resources of the British Empire," pp. 216–223, both inclusive.
Commerce, &c. of the United States.
Some few years since, a theory prevailed in this country that the United States would become a more prosperous and happy nation, if they would forego, altogether and for ever, all foreign commerce; and, as a practical commentary upon this text, the general government, at that time wielded by Mr. Jefferson, and at his special recommendation, laid an embargo on all the American trade with other countries, in the month of December, 1807; and continued it with various regulations and enforcements, affecting internal commerce also, until the spring of 1809, a period of eighteen months. These “ restrictive energies” (as they were
( vauntingly called by Mr. Jefferson) not only annihilated the foreign commerce, but also very materially crippled the coasting trade of the United States. The distress, misery, and ruin, produced by this great agricultural scheme, not merely to the merchants, but to the farmers also (whose interests it professed to subserve, but whose property it destroyed by taking away the markets for their produce), was so general, so deep, so intolerable, as to prove the entire fallacy of the theory; and the American people now appear universally to concur in the sentiment publicly pronounced by one of the ablest and most efficient practical statesmen, who now serve as ornaments and bulwarks to the commonwealth; namely, that “commerce protected by a navy, and > navy nourished by commerce,” is the policy best calcu lated to render the United States a prosperous
The aggregate commerce of the world, doubtless, is increased in consequence of the universal peace established in the year 1815; but, as certainly, the respective trade of the United States and Britain has been diminished by that event. Britain has lost her war monopoly, and America has ceased to be carrier for the world. They are each reduced to the level of competition ; and must now contend in foreign markets with the skill and ingenuity of France and Italy, the patient industry and perseverance of the United Netherlands, the rival labours of Denmark, Sweden, Russia, and the commercial parts of Germany, to which add the efforts of Spain and Portugal. Hence have arisen, during the last three years, both in the United States and in the British Isles, very general and very grievous distress, bankruptcy, and ruin, among their merchants, manufacturers, and farmers. In Britain the pressure has been more severe, on account of the enormous public expenditure, the confined territory, and crowded population of her home dominions, which allow no out. set for her people; who must, therefore, if not directed by their government, and aided to settle in the North American
colonies or the Cape of Good Hope, or New Holland, swarm out hither, to swell the rapid tide of our western emigration.
Nevertheless, so immense is her capital, so excellent her manufactures, so persevering the industry of her people, so vigorous and all pervading her government, that her foreign trade is rapidly improving, more particularly with the Brazils, the Baltic, Italy, and the EastIndies. In the most prosperous days her foreign com. merce did not make an eleventh part of her home and colonial trade. For the gradual progress and amount of the British trade, alike in the Isles, the colonies, and all the quarters of the world, for the last hundred years, see the “Resources of the British Empire,” pp. 122 -140, both inclusive; and pp. 399-450,
In the United States the pressure has been less severe than in Britain, although the bankruptcies among our merchants and manufacturers have been sufficiently
ADVANTAGES OF THE UNITED STATES.
numerous and distressing; and the farmers also have suffered greatly for want of a market for their produce; nevertheless, the moderate public expenditure, the comparatively scanty population, and the immense outlet for enterprising industry, in the new lands and virgin soil of the Western Country, prevent the necessity of any one, who possesses health and industry, suffering from absolute want of food, elothing, and lodging. The foreign trade of this country is, indeed, at present much less than it was previous to the embargo system; but such is the activity, skill, and enterprise of the American people, so well built, well navigated, and speedy are their ships, and so abundant the soil in valuable staples, that she must always average her full share of external commerce; and her home trade is continually increasing, by the improvement of her internal navigation, the variety of her products, and the rapid growth of her population, wealth, and intercourse. The wages of labour here average more than double their rate in England, and quadruple that in France; and land is plentiful, cheap, and fertile ; so that those who are straitened and embarrassed in the large cities, have only to fall back into the country, and become industriou3 yeomen, and they readily provide ample sustenance for themselves, and lay a broad and permanent foundation of independence for their families.
The reader is referred to the second edition of Mr. Pitkin's Statistics for an account of the exports and imports, the home and foreign trade of the United States, and the proportions of their external commerce with different nations, during a period of nearly one hundred and twenty years, including their colonial as well as their national existence and commerce. The following tables show the amount of American foreign trade, in exports and imports, at different periods, in order to exhibit the rise and progress, and alternations of the commercial career, which this country has run, from the year 1700 down to the present time.