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ments, in all its forms, the regular and appropriate duty of banks, prevail universally.
In the North, the banks have enabled the manufacturers of all classes to realize the proceeds of their industry at an early moment. The course has been, that the producers of commodities for Southern consumption, having despatched their products, draw their bills. These bills are discounted at the banks, and with the proceeds other raw material is bought, and other labor paid; and thus the general business is continued in progress. All this is well known to those who have had opportunity to be acquainted with such concerns.
But bank credit has not been more necessary to the North than to the South. Indeed. nowhere has interest been higher, or the demand for capital greater, or the full benefit of credit more indispensable, than in the new cotton and sugar-growing States. I ask gentlemen from those States if this be not so? Have not the plantations been bought, and the necessary labor procured, to a great extent, on credit? Has not this credit been obtained at the banks ? Even now do they not find credits, or advances on their crops, important in enabling them to get those crops to market? And if there had been no creditif a hard-money system had prevailed, let me ask them what would have been, at this moment, the condition of things in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas? These States, sir, with Tennessee and the South Atlantic States, constitute the great plantation interest. That there has been a vast demand for capital to be invested in this interest, is sufficiently proved, by the high price paid for the use of money.
In my opinion, sir, credit is as essential to the great export of the South, as to any other interest. The agriculture of the cotton and sugar-producing States partakes, in no inconsiderable degree, of the nature of commerce. The product and sale of one great staple only, is an operation essentially different from ordinary farming pursuits. The exports of the South, indeed, may be considered as the aggregate result of various forms and modes of industry, carried on by various hands, and in various places, rather than as the mere product of the plantation. That product itself is local ; but its indispensable aids and means are drawn from every part of the Union. What is it, sir, that enables Southern labor to apply itself so exclusively to the cultivation of these great articles for export ? Certainly, it is so applied, because its own necessities for provision and clothing are supplied, meanwhile, from other quarters. The South raises to sell, and not to consume ; and with the proceeds of the sales it supplies itself with whatever its own consumption demands. There are exceptions; but this is the general truth. The hat-makers, shoe-makers, furniture-makers, and carriage-makers of the North, the spinners at Lowell, and the weavers at Philadelphia, are all contributors to the general product both of cotton and sugar, for export abroad; as are the live-stock raisers of Kentucky, the grain-growing farmers, and all who produce and vend provisions, in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. The Northern ship-owner and the mariner, who carry these products to
market, are agents acting to the same end; and so are they too who, little thinking of cotton-fields, or sugar estates, are pursuing their adventurous employment in the whale fisheries, over the whole surface, and among all the islands, of the Pacific and the Indian oceans. If we take the annual cotton crop at sixty millions of dollars, we may, perhaps, find that the amount of forty-five millions is expended, either for interest on capital advanced, or for the expense of clothing and supporting labor, or in the charges which belong to the household, the education of families, and to the domestic expenditure of the proprietor.
Thus, sir, all the laborious classes, are, in truth, cotton-growers and sugar-makers. Each, in its own way, and to the extent of its own productiveness, contributes to swell the magnitude of that enormous export, which was nothing at the commencement of this Government, and which now has run up to so many millions. Through all these operations the stream of credit has constantly flowed, and there is not one of them that will not be checked and interrupted, embarrassed and thwarted, if this stream be now dried up. This connexion of the various interests of the country with one another forms an important and interesting topic. It is one of the natural ties of the Union. The variety of production, and mutual wants mutually supplied, constitute a strong bond between different States; and long may that bond last, growing with their growth, and strengthening with their strength!
But, Mr. President, that portion of our productions which takes the form of export, becomes distinct and visible; it is prominent and striking, and is seen and wondered at, by everybody. The annual returns all show it, and every day's commercial intelligence speaks of it. We gaze at it with admiration, and the world is no less admiring than ourselves.
With other branches of industry the case is quite different. The products of these branches, being put in the train of domestic exchanges, and consumed in the country, do not get into statistical tables, are not collected in masses, and are seldom presented, in the aggregate, to the public view. They are not of the character of a few large and mighty rivers, but of a thousand little streams, meandering through all the fields of business and of life, and refreshing and fertilizing the whole.
Few of us, Mr. President, are aware of what would be the amount of the general production of the country, if it could be accurately ascertained. The Legislature of Massachusetts, under the recommendation of the intelligent Chief Magistrate of that State, has caused to be prepared and published a report on the condition and products of certain branches of its industry, for the year ending in April, 1837. The returns of the authorities of each city and town were made, apparently, with much care; and the whole has been collated by the Secretary of State, and the result distinctly presented in well-arranged statistical tables. From a summary of the statements in these tables, I will take the liberty of selecting a few arti
cles, and of adverting to them here, as instances, or specimens, of the annual product of labor and industry in that State.
And to begin with a very necessary and important article: I find, that of boots and shoes, the value of the whole amount manufactured within the year exceeds fourteen millions and a half of dollars. If the amount of other articles of the same class, or material, be added, viz: leather, saddles, trunks, harness, &c., the total will be not far from eighteen millions and a half of dollars.
I will read the names of some other articles, and state the amount of annual product belonging to each : Cotton fabrics
- $17,409,000 Woollen fabrics
7,592,000 Books and stationary, and paper
2,592,000 Soap and candles
1,620,000 Nails, brads, and tacks
2,500,000 Machinery of various kinds
1,235,000 Agricultural implements
700,000 Clothing, neckcloths, &c.
539,000 These, sir, are samples. The grand total is ninety-one million seven hundred thousand dollars. From this, however, deductions are to be made for the cost of the raw material when imported, and for certain articles enumerated under different heads. But, then, the whole statement is confined to some branches of industry only; and to present an entire and comprehensive view, there should be added the gains of commerce within the year, the earnings of navigation, and almost the whole agricultural product of the State.
The result of all, if it could be collated and exhibited together, would show that the annual product of Massachusetts capital and Massachusetts industry exceeds one hundred millions of dollars. Now, sir, Massachusetts is a small State, in extent of territory. You may mark out her dimensions seven or eight times on the map
of Virginia. Yet her population is seven hundred thousand souls; and the annual result of their laborious industry, economy, and labor, is as I have stated.
Mr. President, in looking over this result, it is most gratifying to find, that its great mass consists in articles equally essential and useful to all classes. They are not luxuries, but necessaries and comforts. They belong to food and clothing, to household conveniences, and education. As they are more and more multiplied, the great majority of society becomes more elevated, better instructed, and happier in all respects. I have looked through this whole list, sir, to find what there is in it that might be fairly classed among the higher luxuries of life, and what do I find ? In the whole hundred millions, I find but one such item; and that is an item of two or three hundred thousand
dollars for “jewelry, silver, and silver-plate.” This is all that belongs to luxury, in her annual product, of a hundred millions ; and of this, no doubt, the far greater portion was sent abroad. And yet we hear daily, sir, of the amassing of aristocratic wealth, by the progress of manufactures, and the operations of the credit system! Aristocracy, it is said, is stealing upon us, and, in the form of aggregate wealth, is watching to seize political power from the hands of the people! We have been more than once gravely admonished that, in order to improve the times, and restore a metallic currency for the benefit of the poor, the rich ought to melt down their plate! Whatever such a melting process might find to act upon elsewhere, Mr. President, I assure you that in Massachusetts it would discover little. A few spoons, candlesticks, and other similar articles, some old family pitchers and tankards, and the silver porringers of our nurseries, would be about the whole.
Sir, if there be any aristocrats in Massachusetts, the people are all aristocrats; because I do not believe there is on earth, in a highly civilized society, a greater equality in the condition of men, than exists there. If there be a man in the State who maintains what is called an equipage, or drives four horses in his coach, I am not acquainted with him. On the other hand, there are few who are not able to carry their wives and daughters to church in some decent conveyance. It is no matter of regret or sorrow to us that few are very rich; but it is our pride and glory that few are very poor. It is our still higher pride, and our just boast, as I think, that all her citizens possess means of intelligence and education; and that, of all her productions, she reckons, among the very chiefest, those which spring from the culture of the mind and the heart.
Mr. President, one of the most striking characteristics of this age, is the extraordinary progress which it has witnessed in popular knowledge. A new and powerful impulse has been acting in the social system of late, producing this effect in a striking degree.
In morals, in politics, in art, in literature, there is a vast accession to the number of readers, and to the number of proficients. The present state of popular knowledge is not the result of a slow and uniform progress, proceeding throngh a lapse of years, with the same regular degree of motion. It is evidently the result of some new causes, brought into powerful action, and producing their consequences rapidly and strikingly. What, sir, are these causes ?
This is not an occasion, sir, for discussing such a question at length: allow me to say, however, that the improved state of popular knowledge is but the necessary result of the improved condition of the great mass of the people. Knowledge is not one of our merely physical wants. Life may be sustained without it. But, in order to live, men must be fed, and clothed, and sheltered ; and in a state of things in which one's whole labor can do no more than procure clothes, food, and shelter, he can have no time nor means for mental improvement. Knowledge, therefore, is not attained, and cannot be attained, till there is some degree of respite from daily manual toil, and never
ending drudgery. But whenever a less degree of labor will produce the absolute necessaries of life, then there come leisure and means, both to teach and to learn.
But if this great and wonderful extension of popular knowledge be the result of an improved condition, it may, in the next place, well be asked, what are the causes which have thus suddenly produced that great improvement? How is it that the means of food, clothing, and shelter, are now so much more cheaply and abundantly procured than formerly? Sir, the main cause I take to be the progress of scientific art, or a new extent of the application of science to art. This it is, which has so inuch distinguished the last half century in Europe and in America ; and its effects are everywhere visible, and especially among us.
Man has found new allies and auxiliaries, in the powers of nature, and in the inventions of mechanism.
The general doctrine of political economy is, that wealth consists in whatever is useful or convenient to man, and that labor is the producing cause of all this wealth. This is very true. But, then, what is labor? In the sense of political writers, and in common language, it means human industry ; but, in a philosophical view, it may receive a much more comprehensive meaning. It is not, in that view, human toil only—the mere action of thews and muscles; but it is any active agency which, working upon the materials with which the world is supplied, brings forth products useful or convenient to man. The materials of wealth are in the earth, in the seas; and in their natural and unaided productions. Labor obtains them, works upon them, and fashions them to human use. Now, it has been the object of scientific art, or of the application of science to art, to increase this active agency, to augment its power, by creating millions of laborers in the form of automatic machines, all to be diligently employed, and kept at work by the force of natural powers. To this end these natural powers, principally those of steam and falling water, are subsidized and taken into human employment. Spinning machines, power-looms, and all the mechanical devices, acting, among other operatives, in the factories and work-shops, are but so many laborers. They are usually denominated labor-saving machines, but it would be more just to call them labor-doing machines. They are made to be active agents ; to have motion, and to produce effect; and though without intelligence, they are guided by those laws of science, which are exact and perfect, and they produce results, therefore, in general, more accurate than the huinan hand is capable of producing. When we look upon one of these, we behold a mute fellow-laborer, of immense power, of mathematical exactness, and of ever-during and unwearied effort. And while he is thus a most skilful and productive laborer, he is a non-consumer--at least, beyond the wants of his mechanical being. He is not clamorous for food, raiment, or shelter, and makes no demands for the expenses of education. The eating and drinking, the reading and writing and clothes-wearing world, are benefited by the labors of these co-operatives, in the same way as if Providence had provided for their service millions of beings, like