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The indigo plant grows as weed in the very streets of Freetown, and through the colony, but is not turned to any account. Some years ago, there was an indigo factory up one of the rivers, but was not persevered in. The sugar-cane is a regular market article, and abounds everywhere, yet no attempt has been made to manufacture sugar. The Africans merely suck the saccharine matter out of it. There is every reason to believe that both indigo and sugar, with proper management, would be a profitable speculation. Coffee also is worthy of much #. attention than it receives, and cotton could be grown to any extent.
rench mercantile agents were at one time (1845) permitted, through Governor Fergusson's neglect of the colonial interest, to enter the river Mallicouri, and make treaties with the kings and chiefs for commercial intercourse; and it was not until the British merchants remonstrated with the Executive, that commissioners were sent to counteract this remissness by treaties on the part of the colony.
Art, WII.—PRODUCTION AND EXPORT OF BREAD-STUFFS,
A VIEw of THE QUANTITY OF BREAD-Corn which THE UNITED STATES MAY ExpoRT This YEAR, WITHOUT IMPAIRING THE SUPPLY NECESSARY FOR HOME CONSUMPTION.
THE astounding cry of destitution and of famine, wasted by every breeze from Europe to our shores, stirs the sympathies of every Christian heart, and turns our thoughts from the waste of war to the more benign consideration of alleviating the distress of starving multitudes. The bare idea that not only health, but life itself, is perilled, and that we may possibly see the skeletons of famine waiting, like the carcases of Jews at Jaffa, for interment, is enough to check the pride of prosperity, and restrain the cold calculations of avarice. The alarm, disclosed by the most recent accounts from Europe, seems far more general than previous advices had taught us to anticipate; and, coming so early in October, renders an investigation of the measure of our ability to supply our own, and the wants of other nations, as interesting to ourselves as to those who seek relief from our abundance;—not that we have the slightest apprehension that the unusual draft upon the products of this country will exhaust our stock, and endanger a full domestic supply for the necessary wants of the country; because we believe it will appear, upon examination, that the diversity of our products, the fer. tility of our soil, and the industry of our population, will furnish ample supplies beyond the claims for domestic consumption, to meet the demands which temporary insufficient agricultural products may occasion in Europe. The Commissioners of the Patent-Office, in their official reports for 1844 and '45, although they do not, and cannot pretend to perfect accuracy in calculations upon a subject of so wide a scope, and of so many minute particulars, have, nevertheless, by the most indefatigable industry, in availing themselves of greater facilities than any individual or any Department of State can possess, furnished us with results of the agricultural productions of the country that approximate to accuracy, and lay the best and only satisfactory foundation for the development of our resources. The evidence of substantial accuracy is fortified and confirmed by the fact that the two reports do not vary, in essential degree, in the amount of production, more than the change of seasons and the course of husbandry would occasion. Assuming, therefore, the average result of the two reports as the basis of inquiry, we may proceed to consider, in the first place, the aggregate amount of production as applicable in its various forms to the supply of bread; the quantity that may suffice for domestic use, in the second; and the surplus stock that remains to meet the demand of foreign nations, in the third.
To avoid repetition, the quantities noted in the following table will al. ways be in bushels:—
Av. prod. per
Prod, for 1844. Prod. for 1845. ann., for 2 ys.
Wheat, .............................. 95,607,000 106,548,000 101,077,500 Rye,........... - -- 26,450,000 27,175,000 26,819,500 Indian corn,.... 421,953,000 4.17,899,000 419,920,000 Buckwheat, .... 9,071,000 10,258,000 9,664,500 Barley,...... 3,627,000 5,160,600 4,393,800 Oats, ... 172,247,000 163,208,000 167,227,500 Rice,........ - - - 1,862,650 1,496, 150 1,679,400 Potatoes.... ...................... - 99,493,000 88,392,000 93.942,500 Total,..................... ......................................... 824,717,700
Hence it appears that the gross produce of the United States, convert. ible into sustenance for the human family, is, per annum, 824,717,700 bushels. The most remarkable thing observable in this tabular sketch, is the fact that nearly one-half of the whole bread-stuff product of the United States is Indian corn. Assuming the population of the United States to be twenty millions, we come now to consider the quantity of grain, or its equivalent, necessary for stock, seed, and domestic consumption. In England, the quantity of wheat necessary for home consumption is generally estimated at the rate of eight bushels for each individual. In France, where animal food is less used, and bread more than in England, the consumption is far greater ; and ten bushels of wheat, for the supply of each individual, is necessary. If, therefore, the consumption of wheat in the United States were equal to what it is in England, we should, instead of having any surplus for exportation, be actually 60,000,000 short for the supply of our own wants. But we shall soon see that the food of this country is spread over such a diversity of articles, and that the adapta. tion of soil and climate to such a result prevents, and always will prevent, the concentration of consumption upon any one product of the soil. The export of wheat, and its equivalent in flour, in 1845, was 5,170,636 bushels—a fraction more than 5 per cent of the crop. It would appear, therefore, that, supposing the balance of the crop to have entered into do. mestic use, each individual consumes about four bushels and three pecks of wheat annually. If the consumption be reduced to four bushels, equal to a gross consumption of 80,000,000, we shall then have 21,077,500 sur. plus. Reserving 7,000,000 of this quantity for seed, we have 14,077,500 bushels of wheat, or its equivalent in flour, for exportation. This, it may be presumed, is the largest quantity that can be spared from this country, without placing the population upon short allowance. Rye.—Rye is of small consumption in England. During a residence of thirty-eight years in that country, I have no recollection of ever seeing a loaf of rye-bread. But it is more extensively cultivated and used upon the continent. The export of rye-meal in 1845 was equal to 141,484 bushels, only. In consequence of the scarcity of grain upon the conti. ment, an unusual demand for rye, for shipment to that quarter, has sprung up in our markets. Our average crop being 26,812,500 bushels, we may reserve 7 per cent for seed, 187,875 bushels.
For distilleries, seed, &c.,............................................................ 3,187,875 JFor domestic use, (equal to one bushel for each person,)........................ 20,000,000
Total,............................................................ 23,187,875 Leaving a surplus for exportation of 3,624,625, this year, against 141,484 last year. INDIAN Corn.—Indian corn will not be extensively used in Great Britain unless the population are compelled by the pressure of stern necessity, and then no longer than that pressure continues. The present generation will adhere to the consumption of good wheat-bread. All the north of England, and the whole of Scotland, will prefer oat to Indian meal, if wheat is denied them. The people are not accustomed to it, dislike the taste, and have no disposition to change their habits. I know the fact by my own experience. I used occasionally to import a barrel of the finest meal for my own use, and to set the cook at work to manufacture it, under my own direction; but I always found that neither my family nor domestics would condescend to partake of the festival. I had it all to myself, and exclusive enjoyment was no enjoyment at all. The English have a high opinion of its properties for pigs and poultry; and it seems a little singular, when they see its excellence for feed, that they do not extend their ideas, and, by the ordinary course of reasoning, perceive that it must be equally beneficial to man. Everybody knows there is no disputing taste; and here we have it practically exemplified. The present crisis will undoubtedly give to children a relish for the taste of Indian corn, and gradually lead on to a more extensive demand for European markets than has hitherto existed; but I much question whether the market, for some years to come, can be depended upon for the disposal of any considerable quantity beyond the necessity of the case. New tastes and new habits must be grafted upon young seedlings. They wither and perish upon old stocks. Indian corn is pre-eminently the wheat of the Western States, and, in no small degree, of the Middle. It enters largely into the consumption of every State in the Union. The average product of 420,000,000, in round numbers, is said to be greatly enhanced by the incoming crop. Adhering, however, to our basis, I apprehend we shall not be much in error by assigning 7 per cent for seed,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29,400,000 Domestic consumption equal to five bushels for each individual, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100,000,000 For feed of pigs, general stock, &c.,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 200,000,000 For exportation,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90,520,000
Total,. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 419,920,000
Buckwheat.—Only 14,576 bushels of buckwheat were imported into Great Britain in 1845. It is cultivated in England, occasionally, in small patches, for the food of pheasants and fancy birds, but never to any considerable extent. It is grown in all the New England States, but most extensively in the States of New York and Pennsylvania. None is grown in Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Alabama and Louisiana. Nevertheless, we always find buckwheat flowing with the tide of emigration; and wherever a Yankee is planted, and the material can be
WOL. XV.-No. VI. 37
found, there the slapjack springs up by his side. It is just as hot, and light, and beautiful, in Washington, as it is in Boston. The soul of a northern member of the national legislature would be desolate without it. If the administration desire to look within the purse, and to keep the New Eng. land delegation in good humor, they must give them plenty of hot slapjacks and molasses. The natural association of ideas carries them back to the family fireside, to wife and children, to hospitable neighbors, the village pastor, the half-protected smithery, and the old whipping-post. If that does not please them, nothing can. All literary gentlemen and ladies, if they wish for clear heads and bril. liant ideas, instead of gorging beef-steaks and mutton-chops in alarming quantities for breakfast, would do well to content themselves with a cup of coffee, and the light, wholesome, easily digested slapjack. Seeing that John Bull and the frog-eating Frenchman are utter strangers to the supe. rior luxury and beauty of a well manufactured slapjack, and cannot pos. sibly appreciate its value, we propose to allow them to remain involved in the folds of gastronomic ignorance on this point, and to reserve the whole crop of 9,664,000 bushels for our own exclusive cheek. This will give about half a bushel to every citizen, young and old. Rice.—The average crop of the last two years, is 1,679,389 bushels, Exported in 1845, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 948,468 “
Leaving for home consumption, . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 730,415 “
More than half the crop was exported, and the remainder will scarcely allow three pints for each person, so that no quantity beyond the usual exportation can well be spared.
PotAroes.—The potato crop is about 94,000,000 bushels, the whole of which is required for home consumption. Allowing 14,000,000 for seed, manufacturers, and stock, we shall have a residue of 80,000,000, equal to four bushels for individual uses.
BARLEY AND OATs.-Neither barley nor oats have hitherto been exported from the United States to any extent. The whole crop, therefore, of both, 4,393,800 bushels of the former, and 167,727,500 of the latter, may be converted to domestic use. Belgium being the greatest consumer of flour in proportion to the number of inhabitants, of any kingdom in Europe, it is possible that some demand for barley may arise in the mar: kets, for shipment to that country. But we have no data by which to gov: ern us in any calculation with respect to the quantity that may be required, and therefore leave the subject open for future estimates.
RECAPITULATION. 1. Aggregate amount of the agricultural products of the United States convertible into bread or its substitutes, upon an average of two years, 1844 and '45, 824,717,700 bushels. 2. Total amount of bread-stuffs required for home domestic consumption in the various articles enumerated:—
Wheat.................................................... 80,000,000 bushels,
Total,.......................................... 290,394,915 “
Nearly fifteen bushels for each individual, exclusive of beans, peas, roots, fruits, and other horticultural products. This quantity, I apprehend, will suffice for the consumption of the country, especially when we take into consideration the cheapness, the universal use and vast destruction of animal food, rendered, by the habit and custom of the country, as necessary for the daily sustenance of the people as bread itself.
3. Quantity of grain used for seed, animal food, manufacturing, brewing, distilling, &c.:—
Wheat, ..........------------------------------------------ 7,000,000 bushels.
4. Stock remaining on hand to supply the demand of foreign nations, for the year 1846:—
Wheat,..................................................... 14,077,500 bushels,
Indian corn,........ --- --- -- 90,920,000 “
It appears, therefore, from the result of these calculations, notwithstanding the jejune remark of that most sapient of all European journals, the London Times, that the “United States is a land of fabulous abundance, answering to the requirements of ordinary commerce,” that, nev. ertheless, she actually has it in her power to extend some relief to the des. titute population of England herself; nay, for aught I know, to the very editors of the Times, in the form and substance of a smoking hot johnnycake. Indeed, we may boldly affirm, small as our surplus stock is, that all the ships in the United States, not otherwise employed, are inad equate to transport one-half of it. If besieged, therefore, by hunger and famine, rather than capitulate, perhaps the British merchants will send out some of their own ships to facilitate and hasten supplies.
Total production of the United States, .................................... bushels 824,717,700
Upon the supposition that the whole surplus produce of bread material is shipped to Europe, 109,571,110 bushels, and that a ship of 500 tons average burthen, will carry 25,000 bushels of grain, or its equivalent in flour and meal, then we shall require for the transportation 4,382 ships of that burthen, equal to 2,191,000 tons of shipping; a demand far beyond the scope of our mercantile marine, great and flourishing as it is. The fact shows that the agricultural interest of the United States outstrips its commercial. In this extraordinary demand for shipping, co-operating with an equally extraordinary demand for agricultural produce, we recognize the unity of interest between agriculture and commerce, which can