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any internal commerce whatsoever? Is it not a consequence of diversity in their modes of employment, resulting from the fact, that, while one portion of the country is fitted for raising cotton or sugar, others are better suited to raising wheat, rice, corn, barley, or grass; that while the soil of one is underlaid with coal, that of others is underlaid with lead or copper, marl or lime? That such is the case, is beyond all doubt. That without difference there can be no commerce, is shown by the facts, that the cotton planter of Carolina makes no exchanges with his fellowplanter of Georgia, and that the farmer of Illinois has little intercourse with his fellow-farmer of Indiana. What, however, is the actual amount of commerce among the States ? How much does Kentucky exchange with Missouri ? What is the annual value of the commerce of Ohio with Indiana— of Virginia with Kentucky? Scarcely more, probably, than that of a single day's labor of their respective populations; and, perhaps, not even half so much.-Why is this the case ? Is it not a necessary consequence of the absence of that diversity of employments within the States, which we see, every where, to be so indispensable to the maintenance of commerce 7 Assuredly it is. Ohio and Indiana are both employed in scratching out the soil, and exporting it in the form of food. Virginia and Kentucky have the same pursuits—selling their soil in the forms of tobacco and of corn. So, too, is it throughout by far the larger portion of the Union—millions of people being employed in one part of it, in robbing the earth of the constituents of cotton, while in others, other millions are employed in plundering the great treasury of nature, of the constituents of wheat and rice, corn and tobacco, and thus destroying, for themselves and their successors, the power to maintain any commerce whatsoever—foreign or domestic. The commerce of State with State is, thus, but small — the reason being, that the commerce of man with his fellow-men, within the States, as a general rule, is so exceedingly diminutive. Were the people of Illinois enabled to develop their almost boundless deposits of coal and iron ore, and thus to call to their aid the wonderful power of steam, the internal commerce of the State would grow rapidly—making a market at home for the food produced, and enabling its producer to become a large consumer of cotton. Cotton-mills then growing up, bales of cotton wool would travel up the Mississippi, to be given in exchange for the iron required for the roads of Arkansas and Alabama, and for the machinery demanded for the construction of cotton and sugar mills, in Texas and Louisiana.
The effect of this exhibits itself in the slow growth of American intercourse with foreign nations, as compared with that of other countries—the former having done little more than keep pace with that of population, while France, Belgium, and Sweden have increased at a rate thrice more rapid than the growth of numbers.” Examine, therefore, where we may, we meet with evidence of the great truth, that the power to maintain commerce with the world, whether by individuals or societies, grows in the ratio of the growth of their own individuality, and consequent independence of the exterior world.
§ 5. That the facts are as above they have been stated, cannot be questioned. Why should this be so 7 Let us inquire. — The obstacle to the maintenance of commerce, abroad or at home, is found in the tax of transportation—nearly all of which is paid by the community which exports the commodities of greatest bulk.f France sends abroad hundreds of millions of dollars worth of food, so condensed into silks and ribbons, laces and cottons, that the ships by which they could be carried are but few in number. India sends rude products only—requiring dozens of outward ships to pay for a single cargo inwards. – Central and Northern Europe follow in the lead of France—gradually emancipating themselves from payment of this exhausting tax, and thus qualifying themselves for becoming large consumers of the products of other countries. –Ireland, Jamaica, Turkey, and these United States—following in the lead of England — find, on the contrary, the tax of transportation to be a constantly increasing one, the results of which are seen in diminished production, and
* The domestic exports of the United States, for 1836, were $107,000,000
# Those of 1856, exclusive of the precious metals, were ... 265,000,000 —the population, in the meantime, having fully doubled.
Close neighbors to Spanish and Portuguese America, the exports to that vast country amount to only $13,000,000—the cause for this being found in the fact, that the people of the United States refuse to regard domestic commerce as being the true foundation of an extended international intercourse.
# See ante, p. 433.
consequent diminution in the power to become customers to other nations. * In all the countries which follow in the lead of Colbert and of Adam Smith, agriculture becomes a science, the land yields larger crops in each successive year, with corresponding increase of wealth and power. f. In those which follow in the lead of England and her economists, the reverse of this is seen—agriculture ceasing to be a science, and their people becoming poorer and more enslaved. The first, import the precious metals. The last, export them. The first, find daily increase of power to maintain a specie circulation, as the basis of the higher and better currency supplied by banks. The last—gradually losing the power to command a circulation of any kind—are tending towards that barbaric system of commerce which consists in exchanging labor against food, or wool and corn against cloth. The more valuable the labor of the individual, the greater is his power to be a customer to his neighbors. So, too, is it with nations — their power to benefit others being in the direct ratio of their ability to protect themselves. Here we have harmony—all communities profiting by the adoption, in each and every other, of those measures of co-ordination which tend to the promotion of internal commerce. The reverse of this, however, is taught in the British school—cheap labor and cheap raw materials, bringing with them universal discord, being there regarded as the essential objects of desire.
* The weight of the tax thus imposed, increases as the prices of rude products decline. That those of American commodities do decline, has been shown in a former chapter. (See Chap. XXVI.) How this operates upon American farmers and planters is shown by the following facts. In 1834–5, when the raw produce exported amounted to $92,000,000, the shipping, domestic and foreign, that cleared for foreign ports, amounted to 2,030,000 tons. Six years later, in 1840–1, the amount was $98,000,000—the quantity of shipping clearing for foreign ports having, in the same period, risen to 2,353,000 tons. In 1856, the total value of these exports was $230,000,000, while the quantity of shipping leaving for foreign ports amounted to little less than 7,000,000 tons—the increase in the former, in twenty years, having been but 150 per cent., while that of the latter had been little short of 350 per cent.
+ Dr. Smith's preference for domestic over foreign commerce, is well known to all the readers of his great work. Each act of commerce making two demands for human service, he saw clearly, that the nearer the parties to each other, the more numerous must be the demands for service, and the larger the production. Therefore, did he assure his readers, that capital employed in the home trade gave four and twenty times “more encouragement and support to the industry of the country,” than could be given by an equal amount in the foreign one.—See Wealth of Nations, Book II., chap. v.
Real freedom of trade consists in the power to maintain direct commerce with the whole of the outside world. To have it, there must be diversity of employments—enabling the exporting country to send its commodities abroad in a finished shape. Centralization, such as is established by the British system, is opposed to this, and therefore is it, that it is resisted by all the advancing communities of the world. Protection being the form assumed by that resistance, its object may be defined as being, that of establishing perfect freedom of commerce among the nations of the world.
§ 6. The more that a community finishes its raw products — combining its food, its wool, its fuel, and its ores, into cloth and iron—the greater, as we see, is its power to exchange them with all the world. Is that, however, the highest point to which commerce may be carried ? It is not—the ultimate object of all human effort being the production of the being known as MAN, capable of the highest aspirations. The more perfect his development, the greater is his desire for knowledge; the greater is his love for literature and art; the greater is his desire to see for himself the movements of the world, and to learn from those who are capable of affording him instruction. Each and every stage of advance towards diversification of employments, tends towards development of the human faculties; towards fitting man for the higher enjoyments of life; towards elevating the character of his demands upon other communities— the products of mind, taste, and skill, gradually taking the place of those which have required for their production little more than mere brute force. Looking now to Central and Northern Europe—to those countries which follow in the lead of Colbert — we see them all to be engaged in increasing the attractions of their respective local centres—Prussia and Bavaria, France and Belgium, Sweden and Denmark, now vieing with each other in the effort to render their various capitals, large and small, attractive of the taste, the intellect, and the wealth, of the world at large. Turning thence to those which follow in the lead of England, we find the reverse of this — Edinburgh and Dublin, Lima and Delhi, Lisbon and Constantinople, diminishing in their attractions from year to year. — So, too, is it in the United States—the attractions of local centres steadily declining, with corresponding growth of absenteeism, and belief in the divine origin of human slavery, and in the necessity for its continued existence. Examine where we may, we shall find evidence of the perfect harmony of all real and permanent international interests—peace and commerce holding steady pace with that exercise of the power of co-ordination which looks to the removal of obstacles to combination, and to the creation of local centres of action, in which trade, manufactures, and agriculture, are combined in just proportions. Moving in that direction, the societary organization of the world at large becomes more and more in harmony with the arrangements of the physical world, and with the organization of man himself—the subordination of all the parts becoming more complete as the organization becomes more perfect.—War and discord, with their attendant insubordination, and with the decline of commerce, follow in the train of centralization—that being the direction in which we must seek for facts to be adduced in proof of the disease of over-population.*
* That advantage is to be derived from the pursuit of an honest international policy, and that disadvantage results from the pursuits of a dishonest one, are fully proved by the Chinese trade of the last thirty years. The opium war was closed by a treaty providing for the opening of certain Chinese ports, since which time, the course of trade, compared with that which previously had existed, has been as follows:
British Exports previous to the War. ----- .............. £842,852 | 1836 ................. 81,326,388 ... 1,074,708 || 1838 ....... ... 1,204,356 For the period following the opening of the market in 1842, and the acquisition of Hong Kong, they have been as follows:
... 421 749,597 1,200,000 | 1854 ..... 1,000,716 ... 1,445,950 | 1855 ....... ---------- 1,122,241 1852 ................. 2,508,599 English journalists seek to account for the stationary character of the trade, by proving the difficulty of maintaining competition with America in cottons, and with Germany and Russia in woollens. A stronger argument in favor of protection could scarcely be adduced—the manufactures of these latter countries having owed their existence to protective measures of the most stringent character, and the power to compete for the sale of cloth in other lands, furnishing conclusive evidence of the cheapness with which the men who produce the cotton and the wool are supplied at home.