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THE

CONTINENTAL MONTHLY:

DEVOTED TO

LITERATURE AND NATIONAL POLICY

VOL. V. - MARCH, 1864. - No. III.




AMERICAN FINANCES AND RESOURCES.

LETTER NO. III. OF HON. ROBERT J. WALKER.


LONDON, 10 Half Moon Street, Piccadilly,
_December 3d_, 1863.

It is generally believed, even when the American rebellion should be
suppressed, that there would be a great loss of wealth and resources on
the part of the United States. As an economical question the great truth
is not disputed by me, that, as a general rule, wars by a waste of
property, by large expenditures, and by the withdrawal of so much labor
from the pursuits of industry, impair the material interests of the
nation. The influence of such considerations in the United States is not
denied; but there are in the cause of this contest, as well as in its
effects and consequences, results which will more than compensate for
such losses. Slavery was the sole cause of this rebellion, and the
result will be the reconstruction of the Union, with slavery everywhere
extinguished. On this assumption, the question is, whether the
substitution of free for slave labor throughout every State and
Territory of the Union will not, as a question of augmented wealth and
invigorated industry, far more than compensate for the losses incurred
in the contest. Reasoning inductively, it might well be supposed that
the willing labor of educated and energetic freemen would be far more
productive than the forced labor of ignorant, unwilling, and uneducated
slaves. In the realm of science, as well as in the direction of labor,
knowledge is power, education is wealth and progress; and that this is
applicable to the masses who compose a community, and especially to the
working classes, is demonstrated by our American official Census. In
proof of this position, I will proceed by a reference to the official
tables of our Census of 1860, to show not only in particular Slave
States, as compared with other Free States, whether old or new, Eastern
or Western, or making the comparison of the aggregate of all the Slave
with the Free States, the annual product of the latter _per capita_ is
more than double that of the Slave States. I begin with Maryland as
compared with Massachusetts, because Maryland, in proportion to her
area, has greater natural advantages than any one of the Slave or Free
States; and if the comparison with the Free States is most unfavorable
to her, it will be more so as to any other Southern State; as the Census
shows that, from 1790 to 1860, as well as from 1850 to 1860, Maryland
increased in population per square mile more rapidly than any other
slaveholding State.

We must consider the area, soil, climate, mines, hydraulic power,
location, shore line, bays, sounds, and rivers, and such other causes as
affect the advance of wealth and population.

The relative progress of Maryland has been slow indeed. The population
of the Union, by the Census of 1790, was 3,929,827, of which Maryland,
containing then 319,728, constituted a twelfth part (12.29). In 1860,
the Union numbered 31,445,080, and Maryland 687,034, constituting a
forty-fifth part (45.76). In 1790, the Free States numbered 1,968,455,
Maryland's population then being equal to one sixth (6.12); but, in
1860, the population of the Free States was 18,920,078, Maryland's
number then being equal to one twenty-seventh part (27.52). But, if
Maryland had increased as rapidly from 1790 to 1860 as the whole Union,
her proportion, one twelfth part, would have made her numbers in 1860,
2,620,315; and if her proportional increase had equalled that of the
Free States, her ratio, one sixth, would have made her population in
1860, 3,153,392.

I take the areas from the report (November 29, 1860) of the Commissioner
of the General Land Office, where they are for the first time accurately
given, 'excluding the water surface.' The population is taken from the
Census Tables. I compare first Massachusetts and Maryland, because they
are maritime and old States, and both in 1790 had nearly the same
population, but, as will be shown hereafter, with vastly superior
natural advantages in favor of Maryland.

Area of Maryland, 11,124 square miles; shore lines, by tables of United
States Coast Survey, viz.: main shore, including bays, sounds, etc., 503
miles, islands 298, rivers to head of tide water 535; total, 1,336
miles.

Area of Massachusetts, 7,800 square miles; shore lines, by tables of
United States Coast Survey, viz.: main shore, including bays, sounds,
etc., 435 miles, islands 259, rivers to head of tide water 70; total,
764 miles. When we mark the Potomac and its tributaries, the lower
Susquehanna, the deep and numerous streams of the Chesapeake, the
commercial advantages of Maryland over Massachusetts are vast indeed.
Looking at the ocean shore of Maryland, and also at the Chesapeake Bay,
the largest and finest estuary in the world, indented with numerous
sounds and navigable inlets, three fourths of its length for both shores
being within Maryland, and comparing this deep and tranquil and
protected basin, almost one continuous harbor, with the rockbound coast
of Massachusetts, lashed by the stormy Atlantic, the superiority of
Maryland is striking.

Mortality in Maryland, by the late Census, viz., deaths from 1st June,
1859, to 31st May, 1860, 7,370 persons. Same time in Massachusetts,
21,303; making the ratio of deaths to the number living in Maryland, one
to every 92, and in Massachusetts one to every 57; and the percentage of
deaths in Maryland 1.09, and in Massachusetts 1.76. This rate of
mortality for Massachusetts is confirmed by the late official report of
their Secretary of State to the Legislature.

As to area, then, Maryland exceeds Massachusetts 43 per cent.; as to the
shore line, that of Maryland is nearly double that of Massachusetts. As
to climate, that of Maryland, we have seen, is far the most salubrious.
This is a vast advantage, not only in augmented wealth and numbers, from
fewer deaths, but also as attracting capital and immigration. This
milder and more salubrious climate gives to Maryland longer periods for
sowing, working, and harvesting crops, a more genial sun, larger
products, and better and longer crop seasons, great advantages for
stock, especially in winter, decreased consumption of fuel, a greater
period for the use of hydraulic power, and of canals and navigable
streams. The area of Maryland fit for profitable culture is more than
double that of Massachusetts, the soil much more fertile, its mines of
coal and iron, with the fluxes all adjacent, rich and inexhaustible;
whereas Massachusetts has no coal, and no valuable mines of iron or
fluxes. When we reflect that coal and iron are the great elements of
modern progress, and build up mighty empires, this advantage of Maryland
over Massachusetts is almost incalculable. The hydraulic power of
Maryland also greatly exceeds that of Massachusetts. Such are the vast
natural advantages of Maryland over Massachusetts. Now let us observe
the results. Population of Maryland in 1790, 319,728; in 1860, 687,034;
increase, 367,300. Population of Massachusetts in 1790, 378,717; in
1860, 1,231,065; increase, 852,348; difference of increase in favor of
Massachusetts, 485,048; excess of Massachusetts over Maryland in 1790,
58,989, and in 1860, 544,031. This result is amazing, when we regard the
far greater area of Maryland and her other vast natural advantages. The
population of Maryland in 1790 was 28 to the square mile (28.74), and in
1860, 61 to the square mile (61.76); whereas Massachusetts had 48 to the
square mile in 1790 (48.55), and 157 to the square mile in 1860
(157.82). Thus Massachusetts had only 20 more to the square mile in
1790, and 96 more to the square mile in 1860. But if the area of
Maryland and Massachusetts had been reversed, Massachusetts with the
area of Maryland, and the population of Massachusetts of 1860 to the
square mile, would have numbered then 1,755,661, and Maryland with the
area of Massachusetts, and the population of Maryland of 1860 to the
square mile, would have had then a population of only 481,728 upon that
basis, leaving Massachusetts in 1860, 1,273,393 more people than
Maryland.

By the census of 1790, Massachusetts was the fourth in population of all
the States, and Maryland the sixth; but in 1860, Massachusetts was the
seventh, and Maryland the nineteenth; and if each of the thirty-four
States increases in the same ratio from 1860 to 1870 as from 1850 to
1860, Maryland will be only the twenty-fifth State.

These facts all conclusively attest the terrible effects of slavery on
Maryland, and this is only one of the dreadful sacrifices she has made
in retaining the institution. As to wealth, power, and intellectual
development, the loss cannot be overstated.

Nor can manufactures account for the difference, as shown by the still
greater increase of the agricultural Northwest. Besides, Maryland
(omitting slavery) had far greater natural advantages for manufactures
than Massachusetts. She had a more fertile soil, thus furnishing cheaper
food to the working classes, a larger and more accessible coast, and
nearly eight times the length of navigable rivers, greater hydraulic
power, vast superiority in mines of coal and iron, a far more salubrious
climate, cotton, the great staple of modern industry, much nearer to
Maryland, her location far more central for trade with the whole Union,
and Baltimore, her chief city, nearer than Boston to the great West,
viz.: to the Ohio at Pittsburg and Cincinnati, the Mississippi at St.
Louis, and the lakes at Cleveland, Toledo, and Chicago, by several
hundred miles. Indeed, but for slavery, Maryland must have been
a far greater manufacturing as well as commercial State than
Massachusetts - and as to agriculture; there could be no comparison.

But Massachusetts did not become a manufacturing State until after the
tariff of 1824. That measure, as well as the whole protective policy,
Massachusetts earnestly opposed in 1820 and 1824, and Daniel Webster, as
her representative, denounced it as unconstitutional. From 1790 to 1820,
Massachusetts was commercial, not manufacturing, and yet, from 1790 to
1820, Massachusetts increased in numbers 144,442, and Maryland in the
same time only 87,622. Yet, from 1790 to 1820, Massachusetts, the most
commercial State, was far more injured by the embargo and the late war
with England than any other State.

It is clear, then, that the accusation of the secession leaders that the
North was built up at the expense of the South, by the tariff, can have
no application to the progress of Massachusetts and Maryland, because
the advance of the former over the latter preceded by more than thirty
years the adoption of the protective policy, and a comparison of the
relative advance of the Free and Slave States, during the same period,
exhibits the same results.

There is one _invariable law_, whether we compare all the Slave States
with all the Free States, small States with small, large with large, old
with old, new with new, retarding the progress of the slaveholding
States, ever operating, and differing in degree only.

The area of the nine Free States enumerated in 1790, is 169,668 square
miles, and of the eight slaveholding States, 300,580 square miles, while
the population of the former in 1790 was 1,968,455, and of the latter,
1,961,372; but, in 1860, these nine Free States had a population of
10,594,168, and those eight Slave States only 7,414,684, making the
difference in favor of these Free States in 1860 over those Slave
States, 3,179,844, instead of 7,083 in 1790, or a positive gain to those
Free States over those Slave States of 3,172,761. These Free States
enumerated in 1790 and 1860, were the six New England States, New York,
New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and the Slave States were Delaware,
Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and
Kentucky: yet we have seen that the area of those Slave States was
nearly double that of those Free States, the soil much more fertile, the
climate more salubrious, as shown by the Census, that the shore line,
including main shore, bays and sounds, islands and rivers, to head of
tide water, was, for those Free States, 4,480 miles, and for those Slave
States, 6,560 miles. Thus it is clear that the increase of population of
these Slave States should have far exceeded that of those Free States.
The population of these Slave States per square mile in 1790 was 6
(6.52), and in 1860, 24 (24.66), and of those Free States in 1790, was
11 per square mile (11.60), and in 1860, 62 per square mile (62.44).
Thus, while the increase of those Slave States from 1790 to 1860 was
only 18 per square mile, that of those Free States was nearly 51 per
square mile (50.84), or in very nearly a triple ratio, while in wealth
and education the proportionate progress was much greater.

No cause except slavery can be assigned to this wonderful difference,
for the colonists of Maryland were distinguished for education,
intelligence, and gentle culture. Lord Baltimore was a statesman and
philanthropist, and his colony was a free representative government,
which was the first to repudiate the doctrine of taxation without
representation, and the first to introduce religious toleration. While
Maryland has produced many of the most eminent soldiers, statesmen, and
jurists, her relative decline in power, wealth, and population has been
deplorable, and is attributable exclusively to the paralyzing effect of
slavery.

While the advance of Massachusetts, with her limited area and sterile
soil, especially in view of the thousands of her native sons who have
emigrated to other States, is one of the wonders of the world, yet the
relative increase of the population of New Jersey from 1790 to 1860,
compared with that of Maryland, is still greater than that of
Massachusetts. The law is inflexible wherever slavery disappears.
Population of New Jersey in 1790, 184,139, in 1860, 672,035, being an
increase of 264 per cent. (264.96) for New Jersey, of 225 per cent.
(225.06) for Massachusetts, and for Maryland 114 percent. (114.88). The
ratio of increase per square mile from 1790 to 1860 was: Massachusetts,
48.55 in 1790, and 157.82 in 1860; Maryland, 28.74 in 1790, and 61.76 in
1860; and New Jersey, 22.01 in 1790, and 80.70 in 1860. Thus, while
Maryland from 1790 to 1860, little more than doubled her ratio of
increase per square mile (28.74 to 61.76), and Massachusetts little more
than tripled her ratio (48.55 to 157.82), New Jersey very nearly
_quadrupled_ hers (22.01 to 80.70). It must be conceded, however, that
the natural advantages of New Jersey are far greater than those of
Massachusetts, whose material and intellectual progress, in defiance of
such serious obstacles, now is, and most probably forever will be,
_without a parallel_. Now the area of New Jersey is but 8,320 square
miles; the soil of Maryland is far more fertile, the hydraulic power
much greater, the shoreline much more than double, viz.: 531 for New
Jersey, to 1,336 for Maryland; while New Jersey, with rich iron mines,
has no coal, and one third of her area is south of the celebrated Mason
and Dixon's line, the northern boundary of Maryland. While the Free
States have accomplished these miracles of progress, they have peopled
eleven vast Territories (soon by subdivision to become many more
States), immigration to which has been almost exclusively from the North
as compared with the South.

The Slave State which has increased _most_ rapidly to the square mile of
all of them from 1790 to 1860, has had a smaller augmentation per square
mile than that Free State which has increased most _slowly_ per square
mile during the same time of all the Free States, and the result is the
same as to wealth and education also. Under the _best_ circumstances for
the Slave States, and the _worst_ for the Free States, this result
proves the uniformity of the rule (like the great law of gravitation),
knowing no exception to the effect of slavery in depressing the progress
of States in population, wealth, and education.

The isothermals of the great Humboldt (differing so widely from
parallels), which trace the lines of temperature on the earth's surface,
prove, as to heat, the climate of the South (running a line from
Charleston to Vicksburg) to be substantially the same as that of Greece
and Italy-each, in its turn, the mistress of the world.

The Census of 1860 exhibits our increase of population from 1790 to 1860
at 35.59 per cent., and of our wealth 126.45. Now, if we would increase
the wealth of the country only one tenth in the next ten years, by the
gradual disappearance of slavery (far below the results of the Census),
then our wealth being now $16,159,616,068, the effect of such increase
would be to make our wealth in 1870, instead of $36,593,450,585, more
than sixteen hundred millions greater, and in 1880, instead of
$82,865,868,849, over three billions six hundred millions, or more than
three times our present debt.

Before the close of this letter, it will be shown that the difference,
_per capita_, of the annual products of Massachusetts and Maryland
exceeds $150. As to the other Southern States, the excess is much
greater. Now, if the annual products of the South were increased $150
each _per capita_ (still far below Massachusetts) by the exclusion of
slavery, then multiplying the total population of the South, 12,229,727,
by 150, the result would be an addition to the annual value of the
products of the South of $1,834,456,050, and in the decade,
$18,344,580,500. This change would not be immediate, but there can be no
doubt that with the vastly greater natural advantages of the South, the
superiority of free to slave labor, the immense immigration, especially
from Europe to the South, aided by the Homestead Bill, and the
conversion of large plantations into small farms, an addition of at
least one billion of dollars would be made in a decade, by the
exclusion of slavery, to the value of the products of the South.

Having considered the relative progress in population of Massachusetts
and Maryland, I will now examine their advance in wealth.

By Tables 33 and 36, Census of 1860, the value of the products of
Massachusetts that year was $287,000,000; and of Maryland, $66,000,000.
Table 33 included domestic manufactories, mines, and fisheries (p. 59);
and Table 36, agricultural products. Dividing these several aggregates
by the total population of each State, the value of that year's product
of Massachusetts was $235 _per capita_, and of Maryland, $96, making the
average annual value of the labor of each person in the former greatly
more than double that of the latter, and the gross product more than
quadruple. This is an amazing result, but it is far below the reality.
The earnings of commerce and navigation are omitted in the Census, which
includes only the products of agriculture, manufactures, the mines, and
fisheries. This was a most unfortunate omission, attributable to the
secession leaders, who wished to confine the Census to a mere
enumeration of population, and thus obliterate all the other great
decennial monuments which mark the nation's progress in the pathway of
empire.

Some of these tables are given as follows:

_First, as to Railroads._ - The number of miles in Massachusetts in 1860
(including city roads) was 1,340, and the cost of construction
$61,857,203. (Table 38, pp. 230, 231.) The value of the freight of these
roads in 1860 was $500,524,201. (P. 105.) The number of miles of
railroad in Maryland at the same time was 380, the cost of construction
$21,387,157, and the value of the freight (at the same average rate)
$141,111,348, and the difference in favor of Massachusetts $359,412,883.
The difference must have been much greater, because a much larger
portion of the freight in Massachusetts consisted of domestic
manufactures, worth $250 per ton, which is $100 a ton above the average
value.

The passengers' account, not given, would vastly swell the difference in
favor of Massachusetts.

The tonnage of vessels built in Massachusetts in 1860 was 34,460 tons,
and in Maryland, 7,798 tons. (P. 107).

The number of banks in Massachusetts in 1860 was 174; capital,
$64,619,200; loans, $107,417,323. In Maryland the number was 31;
capital, $12,568,962; loans, $20,898,762. (Table 34, p. 193.)

The number of insurance companies in Massachusetts, 117; risks,
$450,886,263. No statement given for Maryland, but comparatively very
small, as the risks in Massachusetts were nearly one sixth of all in the
Union.

Our exports abroad, from Massachusetts, for the fiscal year ending 30th
June, 1860, were of the value of $17,003,277, and the foreign imports
$41,187,539; total of imports and exports, $58,190,816; the clearances,
746,909 tons, the entries, 849,449; total entered and cleared, 1,596,458
tons. In Maryland, exports, $9,001,600, foreign imports, $9,784,773;
total imports and exports, $18,786,323; clearances, 174,000 tons;
entries, 186,417; total of entries and clearances, 360,417. (Table 14,
Register of Treasury.) Thus, the foreign imports and exports abroad, of
Massachusetts, were much more than triple those of Maryland, and the
entries and clearances very largely more than quadruple. The coastwise
and internal trade are not given, as recommended by me when Secretary of
the Treasury, but the tables of the railroad traffic indicate in part
the immense superiority of Massachusetts.

These statistics, however, prove that, if the earnings of commerce and
navigation were added, the annual value of the products of Massachusetts
_per capita_ would be at least $300, and three times that of Maryland.
In estimating values _per capita_, we must find the earnings of
commerce very large, as a single merchant, in his counting house,
engaged in an immense trade, and employing only a few clerks, may earn
as much as a great manufacturing corporation, employing hundreds of
hands. Including commerce, the value, _per capita_, of the products and
earnings of Massachusetts exceeds not only those of _any State in our
Union_, BUT OF THE WORLD; and would, at the same rate, make the
value of its annual products three hundred billions of dollars; and of
our own country, upward of nine billions of dollars per annum. Such,
under great natural disadvantages, is the grand result achieved in
Massachusetts, by education, science, industry, free schools, free soil,
free speech, _free labor_, free press, and free government. The facts
prove that freedom is progress, that 'knowledge is power,' and that the
best way to appreciate the value of property and augment wealth most
rapidly, is to invest a large portion of it in schools, high schools,
academies, colleges, universities, books, libraries, and the press, so
as to make labor more productive, because more skilled, educated, and
better directed. Massachusetts has achieved much in this respect; but
when she shall have made high schools as free and universal as common
schools, and the attendance on both compulsory, so as to qualify every
voter for governing a State or nation, she will have made a still
grander step in material and intellectual progress, and the results
would be still more astounding.

By Table 35 of the Census, p. 195, the whole value of all the property,
real and personal, of Massachusetts, in 1860, was $815,237,433, and that
of Maryland, $376,919,944. We have seen that the value of the products
that year in Massachusetts was $287,000,000 (exclusive of commerce), and
of Maryland, $66,000,000. As a question, then, of profit on capital,
that of Massachusetts was 35 per cent., and of Maryland 17 per cent.
Such is the progressive advance (more than two to one) of free as
compared with slave labor. The same law obtains in comparing all the
Free with all the Slave States. But the proof is still more complete.
Thus, Delaware and Missouri (alone of all the Slave States) were ahead
of Maryland in this rate of profit, because both had comparatively fewer
slaves; and all the other Slave States, whose servile population was
relatively larger than that of Maryland, were below her in the rate of
profit. The law extends to _counties_, those having comparatively fewest
slaves increasing far more rapidly in wealth and population. This, then,


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Online LibraryVariousThe Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 3, March, 1864 → online text (page 1 of 18)