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With this accumulated and varied intelligence, the American steamship would reach New York with as little delay as if it had sailed from Liverpool, the point of departure for the Cunard line of steamers—a city of vast commercial importance, but remote from the great points of interest in continental Europe, and separated from London by more than twice the distance which divides Cowes from that emporium.
Art. 1.-MACGREGOR'S COMMERCIAL STATISTICS OF THE UNITED STATES.
The large volume which has recently been published, embracing a com. plete statistical account of the United States, is, in our judgment, one of the most valuable works of that peculiar character that has ever been issued from the press. It has been compiled by John Macgregor, Esq., now one of the joint secretaries of that permanent body, the British Board of Trade. Occupying a space of fourteen hundred and twenty-seven large and closely printed pages, it was prepared under the sanction of the Crown, and is dedi. cated “to the Lords of the Committee of Privy Council for Trade and Plantations.” Constituting but a part of a series of statistical volumes, which is to be compiled under the auspices of that board, respecting the commercial tariffs and regulations, resources and trade of the several States of Europe and America, together with the commercial treaties be. tween England and foreign countries,that is to be presented to both houses of Parliament, the present compilation is devoted to the exhibition of the commercial state of the North American Union.
It is somewhat extraordinary, considering that we have advanced to the state of the second commercial power upon the globe, and now number a population of about twenty millions, that no volume of this precise char. acter has been prepared under the authority of the national legislature. It is true that we have been favored with statistical works, which have appeared under the authority of that body, but they have been generally far from comprehensive in their plan, or minute in their details. The compiler of the present work, indeed, acknowledges the examination of a digest of the existing commercial regulations of foreign countries with which the United States have intercourse, that was prepared at the ex. pense of the treasury, by a distinguished citizen of Maryland, Mr. John Spear Smith ; and other works of like character have also been since compiled, but none have been either sufficiently full or minute, to be adapt. ed to the absolute requirements of the nation. The industry of Mr. Macgregor has been successful in presenting to us a complete statistical de. scription of the United States, which leaves but little to be desired upon this subject.
It can hardly be doubted, that the importance of statistics, or a knowledge of existing facts, has been overlooked in this nation, for they furnish the only solid ground-work of intelligent legislation. So far as this legis. lation refers to material interests, the precise nature of those interests is required to be known. Abstract declamation and diffuse arguments, how. ever much they may be calculated to promote the popularity of an orator, or to amuse his constituency, produce no solid advantages, unless they are based upon a knowledge of the existing circumstances of the subjects which they discuss. How can an equitable tariff system be established, or a commercial treaty be properly negotiated, without a thorough understand. ing of our commercial relations with foreign countries, and the amount of the several kinds of products here produced, as well as those which are exported and imported? Those facts must be known, in order to ascer. tain what we are to produce, as well as what we are to protect, if the policy of protection is to be sustained at all. The work of Mr. Macgre. gor exhibits these facts, regarding this country, and we are gratified that he has deemed proper to embody in his work the result of a considerable portion of our own laborious research, which has been communicated to the public through the pages of the Merchants' Magazine.*
We propose to enter into an analytical examination of the precise na. ture of the work, in order to exhibit its scope and spirit. The first part describes the political organization of our own government, and gives us the Constitution of the United States, as well as that of the several States, an account of the public departments, Congress, the courts of law, sala. ries, and, indeed, all those facts which tend to exhibit the nature of our political institutions. In this part is also embodied a description of the configuration and area of North America, the theory of its climate, the area of the territory of the United States, and progress of the population, the increase of the several Atlantic, Western, and slaveholding States, re. ligious denominations, universities and colleges, the distribution of indus. trious classes, and a particular statistical description of each State of the Union.
Mr. Macgregor then considers the general subject under three grand divisions. He treats first of the Northern Atlantic States, their manu. factures, commerce, navigation and trade, their religious denominations, banks, public works and public debt, their principal seaports and towns,
• The “ National Press,” in a well-written article on this subject, after some sensible reflections on the influence of commerce, in diffusing the rich and varied products of our generous mother earth among all nations, and suggesting that Boards of Trade, and Chambers of Commerce, are to take the place of Camps and Councils of War, thus refers to the work of Mr. Macgregor, in connection with our own labors in commercial statistics and literature.-ED. MERCHANTS' MAG.
“The idea suggested by this train of remark, grows upon us ; but we can only glance at a single illustration brought to our notice, by a recent publication of John Macgregor, Esquire, one of the joint secretaries of the British Board of Trade. We refer to the three large volumes presented to Parliament, in parts, by * command of Her Majesty," embracing the commercial statistics, productive resources, commercial legislation, customs, tariffs, navigation, port and quarantine laws and charges, shipping, imports and exports, and the moneyx, weights, and measures, of ALL NATIONS. Here is a wide scope, and Mr. Macgregor has performed a labor, under the patronizing auspices of the British government, which will do much to advance the general prosperity, not only of his own country, but of the civilized world. And although, on the face of it, it bears the mark of pounds, shillings, and pence, it is destined to promote the interests of the nations, by leading ten to a knowledge of their resources ; and thus deterring them from retarding their development by force and fraud--by engaging in hostile conflicts, for what, under a free, fair, and unrestricted commerce, all mar enjoy. The volumes to which w have referred, cover nearly 4,000 pages. The first two, embracing 9,478, are devoted to Austria, Belgium, Denmark. France, Germany, Holland, the Italian States, the li nan Empire, Greece, Africa, the Russira Empire, Sweden and Norway, Spain and Portugal, and the third, a volume of !,427 j ages, entirely in the United States of North America. So that the British
government has done rire to collect and embril a digest of our rapidly progressing commerce and vast resourres, than our own. This labor bas not braver, been entirely neglected with us. Individual energy and industry, and onyte enterprize, have accomplished in a great measure what the Congress of the “ model" Republic has lek. indone. It will naturally, we think, occur to our readers, that we allude to the rescar hand the labors of Mr. Hunt, the projector and editor of the "Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review," a work of standard value, that embodies in its wide range of subjects, more information, in regard to the Commerce, Manufactures, and varied resources of our own and other countries, than can be found in any or all other works, either at home or abrond. Mr. Macgregor, in his official work on the United States, seems to have fully understood and appreciated the comprehensive labors of his cotemporary here, as an examination of his book, and the fourteen volumes of Mr. Hunt': Commercial Periodical, will show. Noting,' says a cotemporary who has examined the voluminous document of the British Board of Trade,
as we ran over the volume, the frequent occurrence in the body of the work the name of that popular periodical, Hunt's Merchants' Magazine,' we had the curiosity to count its repetition, and we found it was referred to some sixty times; besides, many of the articles which were originally published in the Magazine, are quoted from largely, without reference to the work, or only mentioning the name of the author.' Morris' National Press.
the trade of the several ports, the fisheries, quarries, and minerals, the public works, revenues, and expenditures, insurance companies, principal commercial and manufacturing cities and towns, live stock, and agricultu. ral products. The Southern Atlantic States, in all these minute details, are then described, and the same facts relative to the Western States, and the Western territory, with tables of the number and condition of the In. dian tribes, and, indeed, everything of consequence relating to the actual condition of that part of the country, are presented.
The mineral wealth of the United States, in its essential features, as well as the agriculture and agricultural products of the Union, and the fish. eries of North America, and those of the United States, and also the Brit. ish whale fishery, are then considered; and we have, moreover, a com. plete account of the manufactures of the nation, and the exports and im. ports. The subject of the internal navigation of the United States opens a wide field of statistical description, and we have a full account of this, and also of that vast system of railroads and canals which intersect the various parts of the territory. The trade and navigation of the country, which are prosecuted through the agency of steam, likewise receive their full proportion of space; and to those subjects are added a full account of the commerce of the American lakes, and various miscellaneous statements respecting the commerce of the American towns upon the lakes, as well as a description of the trade between the countries of the United States bordering the lakes and the Canadas.
The extensive commerce which is prosecuted upon that longest of our American rivers, the Mississippi, and its tributaries, is then minutely de. scribed, together with an account of the American fur trade, and that of the American trade with the prairies, and with Santa Fe. That large amount of enterprise which is employed in the coasting and foreign navi. gation and trade of the United States, is, moreover, exhibited to us in all its features; and Mr. Macgregor then arrives at the consideration of the foreign trade of the United States, a subject which opens a wide and in. teresting field of description. From the advance of the commerce of the nation, it is pretty generally known that our shipping is extended to the principal ports of the world, although our foreign trade is prosecuted more extensively with Great Britain than with any other country. The navi. gation and trade between the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as our own commerce with the British possessions in North America and the West Indies, the British East Indies, China, the foreign West In. dies, Mexico, Central America, and the States of South America, with France, and the continental ports of Europe, and with the principal com. mercial cities of Western Europe, are then set forth in a clear, and, we doubt not, accurate form.
Those various topics are followed by numerous tables, regarding imports and exports, and various miscellaneous statements respecting minerals, canals, railroads, trade, port, and other charges. The peculiar department of the navigation of modern times, connected with the regular pas. sage of steam vessels across the ocean-a species of navigation which, it would seem, is likely to be increased under the auspices of the govern. ment—is briefly described ; and we have some very interesting facts rela. ting to transatlantic navigation, as also the various passages which have been made by the British steamships to our own ports. We have also the names and tonnage of the principal British and American vessels
which arrived at the port of London from the United States, during the first six months of 1845, together with the tariff and custom laws of the United Stales, and other statistical or historical statements, concerning life, fire, and marine insurances, light-house establishments, currency, and banking institutions, the finances of the United States, and the debts and finances of the respective States. Finally, we have the statistics of Texas, the treaties of commerce between the United States and foreign States, and a certain space is devoted to a consideration of the commercial legis. lation of England and America. We have given this condensed account of the volume of Mr. Macgregor, which is very satisfactorily executed, exhibiting all the facts connected with our domestic products, trade, and commerce, the whole being fortified by historical statements and conden. sed statistical tables. In thus so ably accomplishing his task, he has reflected honor upon himself, and at the same time has made a most valua. ble present to the British government.
Our own country peculiarly required such a work, at the present time. Its productive resources are rapidly expanding, and its internal trade and navigation are burdening the rivers and lakes and roads of the various parts of the territory. The foreign commerce is ploughing the waves of almost every sea and ocean, and its material interests are advancing with rapid progress. The recent census which has been taken under the sanction of the government-supposing it to be accurate-embraces only a part of that which bears upon the various departments of commercial enterprise. It may be truly said that the present volume has embodied very much that is required to be known, respecting the commerce and actual condition of the country; and we fully concur in the remark which has been made, in a notice of the work in a recent number of the Edin. burgh Review, that “the Lords of Trade have displayed a judicious libe. rality, in promoting this very useful and instructive undertaking.”
Art. VI.—THE SOUTHWESTERN CONVENTION, AT MEMPHIS :
PROVEMENTS, AND RESOURCES OF THE SOUTH AND SOUTHWEST.
raiment for its own subsistence, and for that of other parts of the United States, and tobacco, lead, tar and turpentine, far beyond its own wants, to which will be soon added the articles of hemp, wool, and sugar, it spreads out a broad field of enterprise.
The mode of developing the resources of the west and southwest most effectually, according to Mr. Calhoun, is to secure an adequate price for what might be produced ; and, in order thus to extend the market, it is deemed proper to facilitate the transportation of persons and merchandise between its various parts, with other portions of the Union, as well as abroad. The facilities for transportation could be most effectually accom. plished, by the improvement of its internal navigation, and by opening a communication through the coasting trade between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean. In order to guard against the event of the interruption, in case of war, of this great thoroughfare, it was proposed, by the same gentleman, to establish, at Pensacola, or some other place on the Gulf, a naval station of the first class, with all the means of building and repairing vessels of war, and that a portion of our navy be here perma. nently attached; and also to fortify the Tortugases, which lie midway be. tween the Florida point and Cuba, and command the passes between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic coast. It was also proposed by him to add a naval force of steamers, or other vessels, to guard the coast, and effectually to keep open the bar at the Balize at all times.
Another mode of promoting a safe, cheap, and speedy intercourse be. tween the valley of the Mississippi and the Atlantic coast, in the judgment of the South Carolina senator, was a good system of railroads; and be. sides the improvement of the navigation of the Mississippi and its tributaries, and the construction of the railroad between the Mississippi and the Atlantic, it was alleged by Mr. Calhoun, that the construction of a canal uniting the northwestern lakes with the Mississippi, should be promoted. The prosperity of the southwest could also be advanced by leveeing the lands which comprehended a large and valuable portion of the whole re. gion. The question how far the aid of the general government could be properly invoked for the accomplishment of these works was then discussed, Mr. Calhoun contending that such aid should be confined to those objects which were strictly national, and which could not be effected through the agency of individuals or States. He maintained, however, that the system of railroads might be aided by the government, by the grant of the public lands through which they passed, and by repealing the duty upon T railroad iron. These were some of the principal objects proposed by the convention, as stated by the president of that body.
There were likewise numerous resolutions passed, or reports made, respecting the establishment of light-houses and beacons, a national ar. mory and foundry upon the western waters, marine hospitals upon the western and southern waters, the establishment of the warehousing system, the improvement of the mail service of the west and south, the propriety of granting the right of way and alternate sections of land by government in aid of public works, the construction of dry docks, roads, military posts upon the frontier, and the prompt extension by the government of the magnetic telegraph through the valley of the Mississippi.
The valley of the Mississippi occupies an area of about one million five hundred thousand square miles, and produces not only the ordinary pro. ducts of the Northern States, but those staple articles of export, consist.