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ending on the 30th of June last, I submit the following, premising that, in consequence of the short time allowed me, it is necessarily incomplete in many respects. A report embracing detailed information in regard to the commerce of the western rivers, canals, and railroads, would be a work of great time and labor, and would give one person constant employment in collecting the requisite material. In the course of my inquiries, in addition to the information obtained at this point, I visited Cincinnati and St. Louis for the purpose of gathering such statistics as could be had in furtherance of the object in view. The commerce of these three cities, though a comparatively small item in the whole, and detailed in a very imperfect manner in this paper, will convey some idea of the extent of western trade.
From the published proceedings of the fifth annual meeting of the board of “supervising inspectors” of steam vessels, I extract the following information in regard to the number of steamboats inspected, and their tonnage, for the year ending October 1, 1856 :
The subjoined table, showing the amount of receipts of a few of the principal articles of trade at Louisville, is compiled from an annual commercial report in the Louisville Courier. The amounts would have been much larger if any accurate accounts of the receipts by wagon had been kept.
Bbls. flour. Sacks wh't. Sacks corn. Bbls. whiskey. Pieces bag- Bags coffee.
I am indebted to Mr. W. N. Haldeman, collector of the port, for the following table of the monthly duties collected at the custom-house, and for the number of steamboats registered and their tonnage.
Duties received during the year ending June 30, 1857.
The total number of steam-vessels registered at the port of Louis ville for the same year is 85; number of tons burden 26,594.65; showing an average capacity to each boat of 301.11 tons. A moderate average for the cost of these boats would be $25,000 each, giving the sum of $2,125,000 of capital invested in steamboats. There are also numerous barges and keel-boats used in carrying freights up and down the river; and besides these many flat-boats descend the Ohio to Louisville annually, laden with coal, lumber, and other products of the number of these and the value of their cargoes I am unable to give a very correct estimate, but they are probably not less than two hundred, with an everage value of $500.
For the subjoined statement of duties collected at the Cincinnati custom-house for the fiscal year I am indebted to Mr. R. T. Reilly, deputy collector of the port.
The annexed statements in regard to the commerce, &c., of the Ohio river at Cincinnati, and the imports and exports by railroads, canals, and river, were kindly furnished by Mr. Wm. Smith, superintendent of the Merchants' Exchange.
Number, tonnage, and cost of steam and other vessels at Cincinnati.
3, 222, 172
The number of arrivals of steamers at Cincinnati for the year was 2,509.
Tonnage and value of commerce of Cincinnati for fiscal year.
713, 346 $67, 310, 102 449, 630 $50, 322, 1601, 162,976 $117, 632, 262 82, 284
7,886, 134 24, 360 2,870, 149 106,644 10,756, 283 91, 360 9,785, 321
54, 120 5,102, 640 145, 480 14,887,961
886,990 84,981, 557 528, 110 58,294, 9491, 415, 100 143, 276,506
Comparing this with a similar table for the preceding fiscal year, there will be found an increase of a little over 2 per cent. in the tonnage by river, and of about 17 per cent. by railroad, while there is a decrease of about 15 per cent. by canals.
In addition to the above, there arrived at Cincinnati in flat-boats : Bushels of coal...... 16,000,000 Value........ $1,600,000 Feet of boards 110,000,000 do.
1,650,000 Tons of produce..
Add value of imports before given.....
For the subjoined statement of the dutiable value of imports and duties collected thereon at St. Louis I am indebted to Captain W. A. Linn, collector of that port, whose kindness I wish particularly to acknowledge, not only in furnishing all the information in his own. power, but in putting himself to much personal inconvenience assisting me in collecting it elsewhere: Dutiable value of imports....
$1,123,478 36 Duties collected .....
Amount of tonnage of steam vessels enrolled at the port of St. Louis June 30, 1857.......
44,846 tons. Amount of tonnage of vessels, other than steam, en
rolled as above, canal boats, barges, &c.....
The number of steamboat arrivals for the year, as kindly furnished by Mr. John Durack, harbor master, is......
3,107 This does not include the packets to Keokuk, Chester,
and Alton, whose average the year round would be fully 75 per month, or.......
According to Mr. Durack, there arrived during the year in St. Louis, from ports above, 300 barges, of an average of 100 tons burden, and 120 canal boats of 85 tons each, laden principally with grain and lumber.
The table below, which is corapiled from a pamphlet entitled “An Annual Review of the Commerce of St. Louis,” published at the office of the “Missouri Republican,” shows the amount of receipts of some of the principle articles of commerce for the year 1856.
Bbls. flour. Sacks wheat. Sacks corn. Bbls. whisk. Sacks oats. Pigs lead.
The following is believed to be a reliable statement of the navigable lengths of the principal western rivers. As before stated, to give an accurate yearly estimate in detail of the amount and value of the tonnage and commerce of these rivers would, probably, occupy the undivided attention of a single individual.
Navigable lengths of western rivers.
2,000 Red river.....
1,100 Ohio river.......
980 Arkansas river.
600 Tennessee river..
480 Illinois river.......
304 Wabash river...
300 Alleghany river
Making an aggregate length of 8,719 miles. Besides which there are many other streams of greater or less navigable length, constituting in all a distance upon the western waters susceptible of steam navigation of not less than 12,000 miles.
The subjoined tables exhibit sundry lines of conveyance by rivers and canals, in navigable stages, and by railroads, when passable; and show the distances between commercial points, the duration of transit from point to point, and the average charge for conveyance of freights per ton net, and of passengers per individual through these distances—the charge for the latter covering personal transportation only.