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Country, our Posterity, or Ourselves, if we are inactive at this decisive crisis.
The restrictions by the British government on all American vessels, and the shipping of goods from England to America in British bottoms, must eventually operate to the destruction of ship-building among ourselves, and render our vessels of little value in prosecuting voyages to any part of the British dominions, and entirely destroy our carrying trade, an object so essentially important to America.
We have reason to apprehend, from what has hitherto taken place, that not only our ship-building will be ruined, but that every article of rigging, sails, blocks, and also cordage ready fitted for the rigger, together with all the variety of ship-chandlery, will soon be imported by British merchants or factors, or brought in vessels freighted as English bottoms. The consequence must be the entire ruin of our ship-builders, blacksmiths, rope-makers, riggers, block-makers, sail-makers, with every other branch of business connected with the equipment of vessels.
We need not mention other branches of trade and manufacture more immediately affected by foreign importation, — they are too keenly felt to need repetition, — being sensible that every implement throughout the whole system of mechanism will ere long (without speedy assistance) be wrested from the hands of the industrious American.
These things are not surmises, they are truths which cannot be controverted; they therefore require our joining in a petition to the next General Court, praying that such duties may be laid on foreign importations of all articles usually manufactured here, as will prevent their being brought among us to the injury of such individuals as are now employed in those branches.
As the time is now approaching for the choice of persons to represent us the ensuing year, on whom we greatly rely for the success of our petition, it is hoped the tradesmen and manufacturers will exert their whole influence to make choice of those men who are avowedly friends to the manufactures of this country. Your own judgment will dictate to you such persons, whose connections, whose steadiness, and whose patriotism will bear the test of scrutiny.
We are, Gentlemen, with every sentiment of esteem, your friends and brethren in a common cause.
The following letter was addressed to Governor Bowdoin :—
May it please your Excellency, — We, the Committee of Tradesmen and Manufacturers of the town of Boston, do in their names congratulate your Excellency on your appointment to the chief seat of government.
It alfords us the greatest satisfaction, that a gentleman is placed at the head of this Commonwealth who is so particularly acquainted with the interests of the country, and on whose integrity, wisdom, and decision we can confidently rely.
Your Excellency's disposition to encourage the manufactures of this country (the embarrassed state of which has not escaped your notice) gives us the most pleasing expectation of your patronage and support, and we anticipate the fond idea that measures will soon be adopted by this State fully adequate to the removal of the difficulties under which we at present labor.
The unanimity which so generally prevails throughout the several branches of the legislature, we conceive a happy presage of those national blessings so earnestly desired by every sincere friend to the independence of America.
May your administration be happy. May union and stability prevail in all our public counsels. And may your Excellency, by a faithful discharge of the important duties of your station, ever receive the warmest acknowledgments of the people over whom you preside.
To which his Excellency made the following reply : —
Gentlemen, — I am greatly indebted to the worthy body of tradesmen and manufacturers in the town of Boston for their congratulations, and in particular to you, Gentlemen, for the obliging manner in which you have communicated them.
You certainly are not mistaken in your idea of my disposition to encourage the manufactures of this country, and for that purpose I hope to see measures adopted fully adequate to the removal of the difficulties under which the several classes of my fellow-citizens do at present unhappily labor. To the forwarding and completing of such adequate measures, I shall be happy to contribute.
I thank you for your good wishes, and especially for the wish that my administration may be happy. Be assured, Gentlemen, it shall be my endeavor to make it so to every class of citizens throughout the Commonwealth, and particularly to the tradesmen and manufacturers of Boston, whose prosperity it will give me great pleasure to see, but much greater to promote.
No. III. — P. 178.
Cotton. — Three cotton manufactories, which have 14,200 spindles, 263 looms, and employ 610 hands or operatives. They consume 8 153,000 of raw material, and turn out 8 378,000 in value of cotton fabrics per annum, with a capital of 8 477,500.
Iron. — There are two rolling-mills, one nail factory, three extensive iron founderies, two saw and axe manufactories, and three extensive establishments for the manufacture of agricultural implements, in which is a greater or less amount of castings. The capital invested in these is about $ 500,000; they employ about 325 men, many of them with families, and consume about 8 200,000 worth of iron and 8 50,000 worth of coal, and turn out fabrics now to the value of about 8 700,000.
Besides the above, which embraces cotton and iron alone, there is an extensive paper-mill, a woollen manufactory, flouring-mills that manufacture about 100,000 barrels of flour per annum, upward of 8 1,000,000 of tobacco manufactured into chewing tobacco per annum, and in addition coach factories, manufactories of boots and shoes, guns and locks, one of pianos, brass founderies, &c, &c.
Just previous to the adoption of the present tariff, the manufacturing operations of Richmond, Petersburg, and other places throughout the State, were curtailed one half. They gradually recovered during the first six months after the passage of the tariff, and most rapidly during the last eight months; so that they are all doing a fair business now, while some of them, the cotton factories, are pushed to their utmost to supply the demand, which they are scarcely able to do.
Richmond memorialized Congress for the passage of that tariff, and so did Petersburg, I believe. The memorial sent from Richmond, which had the largest number of signatures ever put to a paper in the city, asserted these propositions : —
"That duties should be adequate to the purposes of revenue. That they should be discriminating also, not only with a view to favor domestic productions, but to benefit the consumer by enlarging the supply, and by adding domestic competition, which is always active, to foreign competition, which is sometimes inefficient, and never regular and constant."
It was also further asserted, that, "under the tariff policies of different civilized nations, the only mode of relieving or aiding agriculture was by diverting to other occupations a portion of the labor applied to it, and by increasing, at the same time, the domestic market for its products; and that therefore no branch of industry in the country has a clearer interest in the due encouragement and support of home manufactures than the agricultural.""
The total capital invested in the more important manufactures of Richmond is about 8 5,000,000.
The town of Petersburg has eight cotton manufacturing establishments now in full operation. She has leased three flouring-mills, a paper-mill, a woollen factory, &c, with a fixed capital of near 81,000,000 in cotton manufactories, $125,000 in flouring-mills, and $ 1,000,000 in tobacco manufactories.
Wheeling, with a population of over 10,000 inhabitants, has 136 establishments for the manufacture of domestic goods, raising annually 1,243,000 bushels of coal, and giving employment to more than 1,700 persons, yielding an annual product worth $2,000,000. Her chief manufactures are iron castings, bar iron, and glass. Near Wheeling, and in the vicinity of Richmond, 7,000,000 bushels of coal are raised annually. Near Richmond alone, the quantity raised exceeds 5,000,000 bushels.
The small town of Fredericksburg has several iron and woollen manufactories, which, with flouring and other mills, employ a capital of about $250,000.
Lynchburg. — This large and flourishing town, with near 7,000 inhabitants, is a place of large operations in the manufacture of tobacco, iron, flour, cotton, &,c., amounting to several millions of dollars annually.
From other places where manufactories are in operation, I have no particular information.
In Wheeling, Petersburg, Richmond, Lynchburg, Fredericksburg, and Kanawha County, there are more than $11,000,000 employed in the leading manufactures of these places. There are, besides, cotton manufactories, blast furnaces, and founderies, in many of the counties. Virginia has every element and every advantage for manufacturing. Cotton, iron, lead, hemp, and wool are diffused in each of her four grand divisions, and salt in the Southwest. Her water power is not excelled, and I doubt whether it is equalled, in any other State in the Union. The importance of her manufactures is far better appreciated among her citizens than formerly. I doubt whether so rapid, so general, and so great a change in favor of this object has taken place anywhere else in the United States as has occurred in this old Commonwealth during the last two years. She was the tobacco State a few years ago; now, the West, but for the peculiar excellence of her tobacco, would crowd her out of foreign markets, or put the price down so low that the cost of its productions, and the advantage of more profitable pursuits she enjoys by reason of her position, would induce her perhaps to abandon entirely, certainly in a great degree, its culture in a few years.
Last year there were received at the port of New Orleans, from the tobacco regions of the West, more than twice as many hogsheads of tobacco as the entire crop of Virginia, while a large portion of the Western crop was via Pennsylvania to Baltimore and elsewhere. This is an important fact regarding the destinies of Virginia. She must become a manufacturing State.
The people generally are fast giving up their old notions on the tariff, or those notions which were once regarded as peculiarly Virginian. A majority may now be found in favor of the tariff views, as advocated by the people of Richmond in their memorial adverted to in the early part of this review.
Hurried as I am, I deem it of importance to give you this additional sketch, showing the probable amount of raw cotton manufactured or used by our factories in Virginia.
Tn Petersburg, by the Elluch Co., 1,500
Mechanics' Co., 1,200
Merchants' Co., 1,200
Canal Co., 1,000
900 600 600
In Isle of Wight County,
In Fredericksburg, .
In Lynchburg, 600
In the other smaller factories in the State, 1,000
No. IV. —Page 178.
New York, 6th November, 1843.
My Dear Sir, — In conformity with my promise on Saturday last, I now send you the annexed statement of prices of articles of American manufacture in this city, in the months of July, August, and September of 1842, and the corresponding months of 1843.
Prices of Nails in 1842.
Prices of best Penn. Pig Iron, 1842.
Petm, rolled Bar Iron, 1842. July, August, and to Sept. 10th, $70. From Sept. 10th to October 1st, $75.
Prices of Nails in 1843.
Prices of best Penn. Pig Iron, 1843.
Penn. rolled Bar Iron, 1843. July, August, and September, $65.