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COMMERCE, INVENTIONS, MANUFACTURES,
THE vast extent of sea coast which spreads before the United States; the number of excellent harbours and seaport towns; the various creeks and bays which indent the coast; and the rivers, lakes, and canals, which peninsulate the whole country; added to its agricultural advantages and improvements, give this part of the world superior advantages for trade. “Our commerce,” says Dr. Morse, “ including our exports, imports, shipping, factories, manufactures and fisheries, may properly be considered as forming one interest. This has been considered as the great object and the most important interest of the New England states, but erroneously; for, according to the best calculations, the proportion of property and the number of men employed in manufactures, fisheries, trade, and navigation, do not, even in this commercial part of the union, amount to one eighth of the property and people Occupied in agriculture. In this estimate, suitable deductions are made from the value and population of the large towns, for the idle and dissi. pated, for those who live upon their incomes, and for supernumerary domestic servants. But taking the union at large, the disproportion is much greater. The timber, iron, cordage, and many other articles necessary for building ships to fish or trade, nine parts in ten of their cargoes, the subsistence of the manufacturers, and a great part of their raw materials are the produce of our lands.
" Since commerce has ever been considered as the handmaid of agriculture, particularly in this country, where the agricultural interest so greatly predominates ; and since neither can flourish with out the other, policy and interest point out the necessity of such a system of commercial and agricultural regulations as will form and properly preserve a due connection and balance between them.",
The consumption of fish, whale-bone, oil and other articles, obtained through the fisheries, in the towns and counties bordering on the coast, has augmented rapidly within a few years; insomuch that in Philadelphia alone, there are annually vended five thousand barrels of salmon, macka rel, and pickled cod-fish; besides dried fish, oil, spermaceti candles, &c. so that a little fleet of sloops and schooners are almost constantly employed in this business. The demand for these articles is proportionably great in other parts of the United States, especially in Boston, and the large commercial towns that lie along the coast north-eastward, which enter largely into the fishing-trade.
The quantities of fur exported from the northern parts of America to Great Britain, have amounted annually to upwards of forty thousand pounds sterling, estimated from the freight during the years 1768, 1769 and 1770. The sales of fur which took place in London in 1782, produced four thousand seven hundred pounds; the next year it was somewhat increased; and, in 1784, it exceeded two hundred and forty-five thousand pounds. All this fur is paid for by British manufactures, and about a fourth part of it is wrought in England, where its value is doubled.
"The principal trade of New Hampshire, was formerly with the West India sugar islands,to which they exported all the various kinds of lumber horses, cattle, sheep, poultry, salted provisions, pot and pearl ashes, dried fish, &c. and received in return rum, sugar, molasses, and cocoa, Their ships were commonly sent to the West India islands for freight to Europe, or to the Bay of Honduras for logwood, and from thence to Europe, where they were sold. They also exported masts, yards, and spars, for the royal navy of Great Britain. 1,4
In the year, 1787, the exports from Massachu. setts exeeeded the imports; and it seems highly probable, from the rapid increase of agricultural improvments, and the prevailing spirit of industry and economy, that the balance in favour of this state will be annually increased. New Eng. land rum, pot-ash, lumber, fish, and the produce of the fishery, constitute the principal articles of export. No less than four thousand seven hunn dred and eighty hogsheads of New England rum were distilled and exported from this state in the year 1788, besides a considerable home con. sumption.
New markets for the products of this state are continually increasing. The Cape of Good Hope, the Isle of France, Surat, Batavia, and Canton, have recently opened their ports, to receive beef, pork, bacon, cheese, butter, ginseng, timber, and several other articles, To Great Britain are sent bees-wax, staves, flax-seed, pot and pearl ashes, &c. To the West Inçlies, lumber, beef, pork, fish and flour. The whale, cod; and mackarel fisheries employ a great number of hands, and yield very considerable profits; and it is inuch
to the honour of this state, that the inhuman traffic called the slave trade is here totally aboa lished.
The merchants of Rhode Island, previously to the revolution, imported from Great Britain, dry goods; from Holland, money, from Africa, slaves; from the West Indies, coffee, sugar, and molasses; and from the neighbouring colonies, lumber and provisions. With the money which they procured from Holland they paid their Enge lish correspondents, their slaves they carried to the West Indies, together with the lumber, and provisions obtained from their neighbours; the rum distilled from molasses was carried to Afa rica and exchanged for negroes; their sugars found a good market in Holland; and their dry goods from England enabled them to carry on an advantageous traffic with the neighbouring colonies. By this kind of circuitous commerce they subsisted and grew opulent; but the effects of the late war, together with the prohibition of the slave trade, and the destructive influence of paper money, have occasioned a great stagnation of trade in this state. The present exports' are flax-seed, lumber, barley, horses, cattle, fish and poultry: the imports consist of European and West India goods, and logwood from the Bay of Honduras.
The trade of Connecticut is principally with the West India islands, and is carried on in vessels from sixty to a hundred and forty tons burden. The exports are horses, mules, oxen, India corn, fish, pork, timber, oak staves, hoops, &c. Horses, live cattle, and lumber, are permitted in the Dutch, French, and Danish ports; but beef and fish are liable to such heavy duties
in the French islands, that little profit arises to the merchant who sends them thither, It must also be observed, that the price of molasses and other articles has been so much enhanced by the English purchases for Canada and Nova-Scotia, that the trade of Connecticut with the West India islands is not very profitable. Cotton, cocoa, indigo, and sugar, are not permitted to be carried away by Americans; and the probibitory laws are administered with such severity, that these articles cannot possiby be smuggled.
Conneeticut has a great number of coasting vessels enployed in trafficking with the neighbouring states To New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode island, they carry pork, wheat, and eye; and to the Carolinas, beef, but, ter, cheese, potatoes, hay, cyder, &c. and receive in return rice, indigo, and money. But as New York is nearer, and the state of the markets always well known, much of the produce of Connecticut is carried there, Considerable quantities are also disposed of at Boston and Provi. dence.
The value of the whole exported produce and commodities from this state, before the revolution, was reckoned at two hundred thousand pounds per annum. But as no accurate estimate has been made under the republican form of vernment, it is impossible to ascertain whether this amount has increased or diminished.
New York has many local advantages greatly superior to any of the other states. It has at all seasons of the year, a short and easy access to the ocean, and commands the trade of a great propora tion of the best settled and best cultivated parts of the United States. Indeed it has been supposed,