Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

It is worthy of observation, that although it would appear that these distinctive states or conditions had been resolved into one by the influence of civilization ; yet in its progress from east to west, ar we might say in the settlement of all new countries, the elements of these three states of society have a natural tendency to separate. The pioneer is a hunter, feeding upon the flesh of wild animals and clothing himself with their skins; and were he not followed by the other classes it is probable that he would totally abandon the arts of civil life.

Next follows the herdsman, relying upon the spontaneous productions of the land for the subsistence of his cattle. And then comes the tiller of the ground, and in obedience to the divine injunction, extracts the means of subsistence from the hidden treasures of the earth, and thus prepares the way for the artist and manufacturer. But in process of time the game and the range disappear; and for want of the se sources of subsistence, the hunter and the herdsman cease to exist as distinct classes. In these migrations from east to west, the manufacturer and the artist remain far in the rear-for the reason that in newly settled and thinly inhabited countries they cannot find that constant and certain employment which is necessary to their prosperity. And from this cause the producers of food, and the producers of clothing, and other comforts of civilized life, become separated at a great distance from each other; and to remedy this inconvenience commerce is constituted the agent of both parties in the exchange of their respective products. This is a natural condition, induced by the progress of civilization from east to west, and until the entire continent shall have been settled by civilized man, the current of commerce must continue to flow in the same direction, carrying with it the manufactures of the east and returning with the agricultural staples of the west. Hence, therefore, commerce may be ranked among the most important elements of civilization, and as such, the principles upon which it is based, and the limit to which it may be encouraged without violence to the prosperity of the producing classes are subjects highly interesting to every class of the community.

Commerce seems to require a local basis of operation, from which, as from a common centre, the distant enterprises flow, and to which the profits return. These great stations attract the capital from every part of the earth within the range of their operations; and the manufacturer and the artist also establish themselves here for the convenience of distributing their wares.

Every extension of the circle of which this basis is the centre, serves to enlarge the volume of commerce and to increase the demand for the products of the manufacturer and artist at this point. Those engaged in commerce do not generally consider that it is of any disadvantage to their interest that the producer and consumer are located at a great distance from each other; nor is it believed that the artist and manufacturer suffer any considerable degree of detriment or incon. venience from this cause, so long as they remain without competition in their respective vocations, at the distant points. But as we proceed from this centre or basis of operation, the inconvenience and disadvantages to the producers of pro

visions and raw materials continually increase, until finally many articles of great value in the arts, as also many agricultural and horticultural products, by reason of their bulky or perishable nature will not bear transportation to market, and, therefore, cease to be of value to the producer. This is now the case in respect to many valuable products of the Western States, and it is highly important that the true nature of these disadvantages should be understood, to the end, that the best means for removing them should be adopted. The thing most nécessary to the prosperity of the west, is a convenient and constant market for the products of the soil; and although this is a fact generally understood and appreciated, yet it does not seem to have occurred to the general mind that it was practicable to create or build up a market at home; therefore, the schemes of amelioration generally have reference either to the extension of trade with foreign countries, or to cheapening the freights and charges between the east and west, by improving the facilities of transportation.

Both these plans are meritorious and worthy of encouragement, but they do not strike at the root of the evil, and will prove to be little better in the end than mere expedients, unless followed up by the introduction and establishment of the arts and manufactures. For were all restrictions removed from foreign commerce, and free trade established throughout the world, still the demand for our great staples would nevertheless soon find a limit in foreign markets; and cheapening transportation to the east would serve to stimulate production in the west, and bring the money-price of western products to their old standard. The cheapening of freight, however, would greatly benefit the country, by diminishing the relative difference between the value of western products and eastern manufactures.

But lower the rate of freights to the eastern markets as we may, still those who reside nearer than ourselves will retain their present relative advantage over the western producer, and, consequently, be better remunerated for their labor.

But the vital objection to an acquiescence in the present state of things arises from the constant drain of the natural wealth of the country. For a continuance in this system of transporting the leading staples in a raw condition to distant markets, must finally exhaust the soil of the west, while it tends to enrich the soil near the great stations of commerce. And thus the agricultural wealth, as well as the mercantile and manufacturing, will, in time be concentrated near the great markets. It is in the power of the people of the west to prevent such a result; and if wise and patriotic, will not wait until driven to act by necessity, but with a prudent forecast anticipate the coming evils and guard against them in time.

Manufactures are of slow growth, and many branches require much capital to establish them upon a scale that will make them profitable; while all require the countenance and encouragement of the people of the country in which they are established. This is more especially the case in regard to the handy-crafts. These are the pioneers of this branch of industry, and although less imposing, are in some respects quite as important as the larger branches which require more capital. For, owing to the large number engaged in the handy-crafts, they comstitute a greater body of consumers; and being more generally distributed throughout the country their sympathies are more in unison with the agricultural and other classes.

Any district of country which produces more provisions and breadstuffs than it consumes, possesses the means of encouraging and supporting most of the useful and necessary handy-crafts; for some of the most important of these require little or no capital to commence with such, for instance, is the case in regard to shoemakers; and yet a very large portion of the shoes and boots worn in Mis. souri are made in the Eastern States, by operatives who are fed upon bread and meat at about double the price that the same provisions cost in the interior of Missouri--while these articles are, perhaps, made of leather manufactured from hides grown in Missouri and tanned in Massachusetts. Shoes and other articles made of leather may not appear to many as being of much importance, either as an article of manufacture or of commerce; but if we enter into a calculation we shall find that the difference would be very importaut between manufacturing all the articles made of leather in this state, and purchasing them abroad. If we sup: pos? the population of Missouri to be 600,000, and that the average cost of shoeing each individual is $2,50 per annum, the aggregate amount will be $1,500,000, a súm equal, as we believe, to all the specie in the State, except that in the banks. Encouragement to the handy-crafts is the first step towards the introduction of manufactures. If the people of each county would resolve to encourage all such branches of mechanism as their wants required, they would find but little difficulty in procuring the operatives. They should not, however, encourge the set. tlement here of more operatives in any one trade, than the neighboring country could reasonably support; and each citizen should consider it a matter of duty to employ the mechanic at home, rather than to purchase an article of the same kind, made elsewhere. By adopting this policy, a demand would be created for many articles which never find their way to more distant markets, and most of the money received for the leading staples might be kept in the country.

But these operatives need social encouagement as well as employment. In places where many are congregated together it is natural for them to associate with each other; but in the interior where there are but few mechanics they feel the wint of social intercourse, and if they do not receive that consideration which is due to their merit, as citizens, they become discontented, and either fall into vicious habits, or change their place of residence; for few individuals can be cons tented to remain in a community without its sympathy. - By thus distributing the bandy-crasts throughout the entire country, the transportation of a very large portion of the raw material to distant markets would be saved, and while this policy would counteract the constant tendency of capital to concentrate at the great stations of commerce, it would give stability to the pursuite, and prosperity to every part of the country; and in a great measure prevent those

revulsions which so frequently disturb the business and happiness of the community.

But these advantages, although of easy attainment, can not be secured without concert. Without concert and social combinations, no great object ever has been, nor, perhaps, will be affected; the minds of men must be brought to act upon, and with each other; sympathy must prevail, and a desire to consummate one conmmon end must become general; otherwise, individual efforts are impotent and fruitless. No people, perhaps, on earth, have ever occupied a more important position, or been charged with a higher trust than the present inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley. The present population of this region is but the germ of a mighty empire; and it may be said that no part of the globe presents so large and so fertile a district-extending through so many degrees of latitude--and watered by one system of streams—uninterrupted by any of those natural obstacles which have ever been considered as the boundaries of nations; and making enemies of those whom they divide.

Nor has the history of man presented a parallel increase of population to that which has obtained here for the last half century- an increase which is annually augmented, and which, according to every reasonable calculation, will continue unabated until limited or modified by the resources of the country. If this unparalleled increase should be permitted to continue by Him who rules the des. tiny of nations, the population of the Valley of the Mississippi will number 100,000,000 within seventy-five years from the present date. It is the privilege of the present inhabitants of this vast region to give direction to the policy and morals of a people who, at no very distant day, will equal in numbers the entire population of all Europe. Never before has a comparatively small number of individuals had it in their power to exert so extensive an influence upon the moral destiny of the human family, as have the present inhabitants of this region. But it must be borne in mind that the duties arising from this favorable position are commensurate with this privilege, and demand that the active energies of every individual should be properly applied in giving the best direction to the policy and moral institutions of the country. Then let all men come up to this great work let us examine with the most rigorous scrutiny every principle which enters into the policy of our institutions, whether civil, political or moral; and while we shall promote our own immediate prosperity by wisely adopting those principles only, which are pute and sound, 'we shall lay a strong and durable foundation for the happiness and glory of the millions of the future.

In this great work the philanthropist may labor with something more than the mere hope of benefitting his race ; for the good which he shall do in the present generation will be multiplied many times in the next, and from the seed which he may sow, shall his children reap an abundant harvest. Here ambition may find a sure road to fame; for the names of the early benefactors of this great Valley, will expand with the mighty increase of its population--and as its boundless resources shall be unfolded--and its moral influence extended throughout the earth the record of their virtues shall be borne to its remotest bounds, and translated into the language of every land.

ART. V.—MANUFACTURE OF COTTON IN THE SOUTH AND WEST. We have long entertained the opinion that the manufacture of American grown cotton, would, in time, be transferred from Great Britain and the continent of Europe, to the United States: and that it would ultimately be located principally in the cotton growing region, or in the nearest provision growing districts, where the facilities of transportation and propelling power could be obtained. In making up this opinion, we take no notice of labor, for the reason that it will ever abound where capital and enterprize lead the way, and offer a fair reward, and permanent employment. Within the colton region, however, labor is already abundant, and by reason of the peculiar institutions of that portion of the Union, it must continue to increase, and become more abundant every year. From our present view of the subject, however, we deem it of little importance to the general interest of the inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley, whether the cotton produced within its limits, shall be manufactured in the cotton or provision region; for the facilities of exchanging the products of the southern and northern portions of this vast region, are so great, that the manufacturing operatives, will, in time, be principally fed by the provisions of the north, whether the mills are located above or below the line of cotton growing, although, in a local point of view, it would doubtless be of advantage to the north if the factories were located in that quarter. Still the Valley of the Mississippi, from south to north, constitutes one community of interest; and extending through nearly twenty degrees of latitude, an active exchange must from the nature of things, always be carried on between the products of the two extremes : and the prosperity of one part must ever contribute to that of every other.

We have been drawn into these hasty remarks by a paragraph from the “ Pen. sacola Live Oak.”

“COTTON MILL WITH NEGRO OPERATIVES -We had the pleasure, a short time since, of visiting what to us was a novelty, viz. : a cotton manufactory, the machinery of which is tended by negroes. It is a very neat little mill of about 1,000 spindles, located at Arcadia, a delightful spot in the neighborhood of Milton, and some seventeen miles from Pensacola. The machinery is moved by an ample fall of water, and with thirty-three or thirty-four young colored girls, six or seven colored boys, and two or three white overseers, from the north, turns out some 5,000 yards of excellent domestic, weekly. The mill is in as fine order as any

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »