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The value of such imports since that time is presented in the following table :
1873. 1874. 1875. 1876.
$9,354, 352 6, 635, 667 7,945, 913 8, 833, 892
The value of merchandise imported at interior ports during the years 1875 and 1876, withont appraisement at the first port of entry, is pre sented in the following table :
87, 176 $1,943 254, 024 353, 156 106, 217
112, 393 2,721, 903 3,065, 492 566, 989
571, 013 144, 558 121, 255 158, 750 162, 013 136 1, 103
8, 669 94, 493 82, 363 16, 299 33, 841
6, 010 11, 240 107, 015 107, 077 48, 847
5, 106 561, 966 606, 223 64, 811 87, 420
791 186, 087 305, 724 2,018, 720 2,370, 516 881, 912
The privilege of importing direct at interior points without appraisement at the seaports has been very beneficial to the commercial interests of the western cities, and it is believed that upon the general revital of business throughout the country this branch of commerce will rapidly increase. The facilities afforded by through-freight lines, steamer-lines, and combinations between railroads and steamer-lines for the direct consignment of goods on through bills and the general extension of telegraphic facilities are constantly tending towards direct trade.
At the present time the direct importation of merchandise at interior points is hampered by certain objectionable features of the existing law. First. The exception of wines and liquors from the privileges of direct importation at interior points appears to be based upon no good reason touching either the interests of commerce or of the customs-revenues of the country. The inviolability of liquor packages in transit is believed to be as fully secured by locks and seals as are packages of silk of greater value. Second. The bonds required to be filed at the seaports are excessive, and operate as a burden upon the merchants at interior points.
The direct esportation of products of the West to foreigu countries and the direct importation of merchandise from foreign countries at
interior points in the Western States are enterprises as yet in their infancy; but the success which has attended the efforts put forth during the last five years seems to point to undeveloped possibilities of railway transportation in connection with the facilities afforded by ocean-steamer lines and telegraphic communication.
1.--THE RELATIVE COMMERCIAL CHARACTERISTICS AND THE MOVE
MENTS OF THE COTTON-CROP OF THE UNITED STATES.
In view of the important bearing of the cotton-crop upon both the interval and the foreign commerce of the United States, more attention has been paid to the statistical development of its magnitude and of its movements than of any other crop.
For the purpose of forming a correct estimate of the relative importance of the cotton-crop, a few facts may be presented in regard to-The commercial characteristics of some of the more important crops of
the country. The following table has been collated from the report of the Department of Agriculture and the report on the commerce and navigation of the United States, the several crops being presented in the order of their home ralue. Statement showing the total weight and value of the principal crops of the United States, and
the ralue of the erporis thereof.
The cereals being chiefly commodities of domestic consumption, a large proportion of the several grain-crops never reach any of the great transportation-lines. To a great extent, producer, manufacturer, and consumer reside within the limits of a single State, and oftentimes within the same neighborhood. In many cases the producer and the consumer are represented in the same person.
Potatoes and hay are almost exclusively articles of domestic consumption, and therefore they furnish relatively but little employment to the
transportation-lines of the country and to shipping upon the ocean. Although the value of the bay-crop exceeds the value of the cotton-crop by $69,267,045, the value of the cotton exported during the last fiscal year amounted to $192,659,262, whereas the value of the hay exported amounted only to the inconsiderable sum of $134,017. Of the total cotton-crop 70 per cent, was exported, and of the hay.crop less than a'zth of 1 per cent. was exported. Practically, therefore, bay is not an article which enters directly into foreign commerce.
The value of the cotton-crop of 1875 appears to have been only onefourth of the value of the entire grain-crop of that year, and yet the value of the exports of cotton exceeded the value of the exports of grain by $63,954,282.
The value both of the wheat-crop and of the corn-crop exceeded the value of the cotton-crop, yet the value of the exports of cotton exceeded the total value of the exports of wheat and corn.
This is shown as follows :
Of the products of agriculture exported from the United States, cotton is the first in order, as appears by the following table, compiled from the Annual Report on Commerce and Navigation for the year ending June 30, 1876:
Value exported. Cotton...
$192, 659, 262 Wheat.
92,816, 369 Corn
34,570, 307 Tobacco
519, 137 Potatoes.
431, 443 Barley..
Cotton being the leading article of exportation, it is of especial importance with respect to the financial interests of the country in so far as relates to the balance of trade, or the flow of the precious metals to and from the United States. But, in the highest sense of the term commerce, the importance of each crop must be estimated according to its total home value, as each crop is either directly or indirectly the subject of commercial exchange. In this sense the corn-crop of the country stands first, the bay.crop second, the wheat-crop third, and the cotton-crop fourth.
In its ordinary signification the term "commerce" is confined to transportation on the great commercial highways and to exchanges in the chief marts of trade. This meaning has perhaps attached to the word from the fact that these exchanges are the only features of commerce which are susceptible of statistical development. There are, however, millions of exchanges concerning which no statistics can be presented, either with respect to quantity or value, but which conduce quite as much to the prosperity of the country as do those more striking exchanges just mentioned.
Commercial excbange is a fundamental condition of both individual and national prosperity, and it is evident that those exchanges which take place within the narrow limits of a couutry village may subserve this end quite as effectually as do those more striking exchanges which are made across continents and oceans. This is proved by the fact that those States are most prosperous which produce the largest quantities of bay, potatoes, the cereals, and other products of the farm which do not bear transportation to distant markets, or of which a much smaller proportion is exported than of cotton. The statistics presented in our decennial censuses showing the increase of the wealth and population of the several States, in connection with the general distribution of the crops, afford a demonstration of this fact.
The fact that those crops which do not bear transportation to foreign countries are still in the highest degree productive of individual and national wealth, serves alşo to illustrate the statement made at the beginning of this report, that the internal commerce of the country greatly exceeds in importance its foreign commerce. In this connection, it is a matter of interest to observe the fact that
The commercial characteristics of the various products of the country differ
widely with respect to the interests of transportation and of trade.
Probably coal furnishes a larger amount of employment for transportation-lines than any other single commodity, yet there are other commodities which are of greater importance with respect to the exchanges at the chief centers of trade, and which to a greater extent subserve the interests of commercial cities.
The most important products of agriculture in the United States being cotton and breadstuffs, it is well to note the relative commercial importance of these products with respect to the interests of transportation and of trade.
Of the total grain-crop of the surplus grain-producing States of the West, (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska,) amounting in 1872 to 1,023,987,300 bushels, there was shipped out of those States only 213,021,426 bushels, or 21 per cent of the entire crop ;* whereas of the total cotton-crop of 1875,
Report of Senate Committee on Transportation, page 13.
amounting to 4,632,313 bales, there was shipped out of the cotton-growing States 4,498,676 bales, or 97 per cent. of the entire crop.
The weight of grain shipped out of the surplus-grain-producing States, and of cotton shipped out of the cotton States was as follows:
Tons. *Weight of grain shipped...
5, 538, 557 Weight of cotton shipped...
1,057, 189 The grain-crop therefore afforded about five times as much employment to the rehicles of commerce in the act of transportation out of the producing States as did the cotton-crop.
The relative value of the grain and of the cotton shipped out of the surplus-producing States was however, as follows: +Value of grain shipped..
$106, 513, 713 Value of cotton shipped
266, 906, 417 This approximately represents the relative importance of the two commodities with respect to the interests of trade, although it is probable that, with respect to profits resulting from commercial exchanges at the chief centers of trade, cotton was of greater relative importance than this comparison of values indicates.
The difference in the commercial characteristics of the different crops with respect to the interests of transportation and of trade is also strikingly exemplified in our exports to foreign countries. During the crop year 1875–76 about 70 per cent. of the cotton-crop was exported to foreign countries, whereas during the year ending June 30, 1876, only about 6 per cent. of the total grain-crop was exported.
In the order of value of domestic exports during the year ending June 30, 1876, cotton was first and grain second, the value of the exports of these two commodities having been as follows: Value of cotton exported
$192, 659, 262 Value of grain exported...
128, 704, 980 This approximately represents the relative importance of the two commodities with respect to the interests of trade.
In weight or employment of tonnage upon the ocean, however, grain was first and cotton second, as appears by the following statement :
Tons. Weight of grain exported
3, 332, 882 Weight of cotton exported..
In attempting to arrive at the relative commercial importance of the products of the country, it is necessary to observe carefully these two distinctions, viz: First, the dictinction with respect to the interests of
In this computation the average weight of all grains is assumed to be 52 pounds per bushel, and the average weight of cotton is assumed to be 470 pounds per bale.
+ In this computation the average home value of all kinds of grain is estimated at 50 cents per bushel, and the average hoine-value of cotton is estimated at $59.33 per bale.