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The steady advance in the price of lead, which has prevailed for five years past, is indicative of a gradual but decided extension of its uses in the arts. There is no ground for apprehension that the supply will outrun the demand, or be able to work a reduction of the wages of labor and profits of capital in this industrial occupation, for some years to come.
The copper mines of Lake Superior are of established celebrity throughout the world, and open an inviting field for enterprise. The mining interest in that region is fast losing its character of adventure, and is attracting the attention of the prudent capitalist and the practical miner, as a remunerative branch of business.
The iron mines of Wisconsin have not yet been opened to any extent, but are worthy the attention of the immigrant. There are rich localities of ore near the head waters of the Rock, and on the Upper Mississippi and its branches.
The following statement exhibits the shipment of lead from Galena from the year 1841 to 1852 inclusive, and the value of the same at four dollars per hundred weight:
$1,189,996 1842. .29,424,329...
1,176,973 1843.... .36,878 797....
1,475,151 1844....... 41,036,293.
1,641,451 1845 -51,144,822
2,045,792 1846.. ...48,007,938.
1,920,317 1847....... .50,999,303.
2,039,972 1848........ .49,783,737
1,991,349 1849. ....... ...45,985,839.....
1,839,433 1850.. -41,485,900..
1,659,436 1851. ..34,500,384......
1,380,015 1852........... 40,000,000...
1,600,000 Total valuation of exports at the ports of Kenosha, Racine, Milwaukee, Port Washington, Sheboygan, Manitowoc and Green Bay, for 1851...... 2,079,060 Total valuation of lead exported in 1851..........
There are also large quantities of lead shipped at different points along the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers, the precise amount of which no data has been furnished upon which an intelligent estimate can be made.
In reviewing the foregoing statement, it should be recollected that Wisconsin is rapidly increasing, not only in population and wealth, but in the amount and quality of its resources, manufactures and products.
MANUFACTURES.—The richness of the soil of Wisconsin, and its ability to produce in abundance all kinds of grain, as well as the facility by which the lands are brought under subjection, create a permanent demand for all kinds of agricultural implements and mechanical labor. Architectural elegance in public and private buildings, and elaborate perfection in complicated machinery, is not to be expected in new settlements; but many of them in Wisconsin compare favorably with those of the older States. The rapid growth of towns, and the great influx of farmers with their families, create a necessity for temporary buildings, soon to be superseded by comfortable dwellings and outhouses; and give constant employ for the mason, the carpenter, and all other mechanics. The immense flouring mills of the State already in operation, as well as those in progress of erection, provide labor for the millwright and machinist, and furnish not only their respective vicinities with all kinds of mill stuff, but more than 100,000 barrels of flour annually for exportation.
To the lumberman, the pineries of Wisconsin present inducements for investment and settlement, which can be hardly overrated. That of the Upper Wisconsin and its tributaries is the most extensive; and distinguished still more for the fine quality, than the inexhaustible quantities of its timber. The other localities of the white pine and other evergreens, are mainly on the Wolf, the great northern affluent of the Fox, the tributaries of Green Bay, and on the La Crosse, the Black, Chippewa, and the St. Oroix, branches of the Upper Mississippi.
The rapids of these streams furnish abundant water power for the manufacture of lumber, and on the annual spring rise, and occasional freshets at other seasons of the year, the yield of the mills is floated from the Wolf into Lake Winnebago and the lower Fox; and from most of the other streams into the Mississippi.
Scarcely ten years have elapsed since the Alleghany pine of Western New York and Pennsylvania, had undisputed possession of the market, not only of the Ohio Valley, but of the Mississippi and its tributaries, above New Orleans, at which point it competed with the lumber of Maine and New Brunswick.
The course of the lumber trade may now be considered as permanently changed. The pineries of Wisconsin now control, and will hold exclusive possession of the market of the valleys of the Mississippi and its great western affluents.
The amount of pine lumber estimated to be sawed in Wisconsin annually, is as follows:
Black River................15,000,000 St. Croix. ...............20,000,000 Chippewa . .........28,500,000 Wisconsin ...............58.500,000 Green Bay.
.....21,000,000 Wolf ........ ....... 23,500,000 Manitowoc..
.24,500,000 Total number of feet...
Aside from the manufacture of pine lumber, reaching as it does nearly 400,000,000 feet per year, saw mills driven by both steam and hydraulic power, are now in operation in every section of the State where timber is found, and large quantities of oak scantling and plank, and basswood siding and lath, are yearly manufactured.
Considerable attention has of late been paid to the raising and culture of flax, and this has caused the necessity of oil mills, and machinery for breaking and manufacturing the straw into dressed flax.
Scattered over the State in different localities, are manufactures of various kinds, which are rapidly increasing both in number and respectability. Woollen, flax and cotton mills will soon become fixed facts in Wisconsin. The raw material for the two
former will be among the more profitable home productions of her agriculture, while the supply of cotton will, through the channel of the Mississippi, be more direct, safe, and easy, than by sea to towns on the Atlantic border. Several paper mills are now in operation, and more than 300,000 pounds of paper was made in the State during the year 1852. For all of these operations there are abundant water powers in suitable localities.
The great number of railroads, in progress of construction in Wisconsin, have directed the attention of capitalists to the building of locomotives and other railroad fixtures.
During the past year more than 100,000 pounds of shot have been made in this State. For the year ending June 1850, over 130,000 bushels of grain was manufactured into spirituous and malt liquors; of the former there was made 127,000 gallons, and of the latter 31,300 bbls. During the same period, 14,900 skins and 59,600 sides of leather were tanned The value of agricultural implements was estimated at $1,641,568; fourteen hundred tons of iron cast and 1000 tons of pig iron made; 134,200 pounds of wool was manufactured into cloth.
TRADE.—Bordered on three sides by navigable waters, every portion of the State has easy access to the ocean, and a complete command of the eastern and southern markets, which command will be greatly increased by the completion of the several railroads in progress of construction in this State. The small sums for which these can be built, owing to the uniformity of the surface and easy grade, which will also permit their construction to any desired point, together with the rapidity of transit upon them and their superiority in every respect over water conveyance for passengers and light freight, must bring them in successful competition with the lake and river business, and ultimately supersede it. Trade, then, instead of following arbitrary lines will run where business requires. The location of important depots of trade and market towns will also conform to the same necessity, and will consequently be built at the great central points of production.
EDUCATION.—The bounty of congress has set apart the 16th section of every township in the State for the support and maintenance of common schools. From this source, nearly 1,000,000 acres will accrue to the State, the proceeds of the sales of which are to constitute a permanent fund, the income of which is to be annually devoted to the great purpose of the grant.
This magnificent foundation has been widely enlarged by constitutional provisions, giving the same direction to the donation of five hundred thousand acres, under the act of 1841, and the five per cent. reserved on all sales of Government lands within the State. The donations for educational purposes to the State have now reached 1,004,728 acres. A still larger addition will accrue from the grant of the swamp and overflowed lands, which the settlement of the country, the lapse of time, and easy processes of reclamation, will convert into the best meadow land in the world, and a large portion, ultimately, into arable. It is estimated that this grant will amount to 5,000,000 acres, of which the selection of 1,259,269 acres has already been approved.
For the support of a State University, seventy-two sections of choice land, comprising 46,080 acres, have been already granted, and it is not improbable that this provision may be also enlarged by subsequent grants. If these trusts are administered with ordinary wisdom, the educational funds of Wisconsin, cannot be less, ultimately, than $3,000,000, and may reach $5,000,000.
The University is already chartered and in successful operation. The school system has been wisely designed, and the progress of organization, under the law, keeps pace with the progress of settlement. There are already not far from 3,000 school districts in the State.
The system contemplates, by the introduction of union schools, to extend academic instruction to each town in the State.
In addition to this munificent public provision for common and liberal education, there are, in different parts of the State, educational incorporations, both academic and collegiate, founded on private subscriptions. The most promising of these are the