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These are official figures. In 1843, nine months only are included, the fiscal year being then altered to end June 30, instead of Sept. 30. The result is an aggregate apparent excess of export of $27,815,704 since 1841. This excess is, however, apparent only, inasmuch as that the exports, being given at the invoice value of the goods here when they go out of the country, do not show the actual value realized abroad, or at least of that portion shipped on American account, which is the case for the most part with cotton, the principal item of export. Of the domestic exports of 1843, cotton amounted to, in round numbers, $50,000,000, or 60 per cent. of the amount; and although but nine months are given, yet the cotton nearly all went forward in that period.
In 1844, the value of domestic exports increased, in round numbers, $22,000,000, nearly the whole of which was a fictitious value given to cotton here by speculators, and not realized there. This speculation was caused, to a very great extent, by the action of the government. The year 1841 was one of good business. In that year, however, a tariff was enacted, the influence of which is very apparent in the diminished trade for the year 1842, as seen in the table. In the succeeding year further commercial legislation again reduced trade. The effect of these reductions was very soon apparent in the accumulating deposits of unemployed capital in the various banks. Those of New York present returns as follows:
Circulation, 13,949,504 Deposits, 17,063,774
Nov. 1843. 61,534,129
Feb. 1844. 65,418,762
side increased in bulk, until prices were forced up 50 per cent. beyond what the cotton realized at its sale. The progress of events is seen in the following table, showing the price of cotton in the New York market, the rate of exchange on London, and the comparative stock on hand in the United States at the close of each month:
Sterling Bills. 9a 91
Stock in the U. States-Bales
Fair N. Orleans.
8 a 9
The excessive rise which took place from September to March was followed by a continuous and ruinous fall, which has not yet been stayed. The cotton bought, and the large stocks held here previous to June, did not realize 50 per cent. of their valuations. Hence, although the exports of domestic produce are valued in the returns at $100,000,000, probably the amount actually available to be drawn for was not $80,000,000, making an actual excess of imports of some $22,000,000, instead of an apparent excess of exports of $2,700,000. An operation somewhat similar took place in relation to imports. It is impossible to estimate with accuracy the proportion of goods which come into the country to be sold here on foreign account, and the proceeds to be remitted according to the net sales, and that proportion which is ordered on American account, and which is paid for at the invoice price. The whole amount of dutiable imports was $83,688,620, which was the foreign cost. On these imports a serious loss has been sustained, from causes similar to those which promoted the speculation in cotton. These were, the belief that
Dutiable Imports, foreign cost
Total cost of Goods......
This would amount to $16,737,724, and if one-half was made on foreign account, there would be $8,378,862 less to be remitted, which would reduce the balance of imports to $13,621,138. The stiff rate of exchange, which has kept firmly at or about par since last June, although at this season a fall generally takes place, is an indication that this has been nearly the true amount of adverse balance resulting from a most disastrous year's business, which, had
the prosperity of the country would, after so long a stagnation, rapidly revive. It was known that the small trade of 1842-3 had left stocks of goods small, and the country stores nearly exhausted of supplies. In the winter and spring, country dealers freely replenished their stocks, calculating upon an improved trade consequent upon the anticipated "home market," to be brought about by legislative enactments. These purchases of the shopkeepers encouraged the jobbers in larger transactions, which influenced additional imports. Towards the close of the year the whole movement became checked. Produce continued very low. The sales of the shopkeepers, being by no means so large as they anticipated, they diminished their purchases in the fall, jobbers bought less, and to effect sales of the large imports, a fall in prices was necessary, and an increase in credits. The losses sustained on the imports have been estimated as high as the duties, or 35 per cent. Probably 20 per cent. would more than cover them; as for instance, the cost of the goods has been as follows:
$83,688,620 8,368,862 28,500,000
it not been for the interference of government, would have proved one of unusual profit. All the elements existed, at home and abroad, of most successful business, but have all been neutralized by injudicious legislation.
The internal trade of the country may be indicated, by the tolls of the public works of three States, and the movement of some of the leading articles of produce at the leading points, as follows:
through the year, until they reached a level which embraced the tariff duties, or 35 per cent.; this would make the cost of the imports for 1844, $4,737,306, or $1,000,000 more money for a less quantity of goods, thus furnishing an
additional indication of the paralyzing nature of government restrictions.
The finances of the United States have considerably improved, according to the official statements, which are as follows:
REVENUE AND EXPENDITURES OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR FIVE PERIODS.
9 months, to June 30, 1843-37.84 per cent. of dutiable imports.
Sept. 30, 1843-35.05
June 30, 1844-33.85 "Sept. 30, 1844-31.26
This continually decreasing average evinces a disposition to avoid the import of those articles on which the duty is the highest, and which are most easily smuggled, showing the prohibitive nature of such duties. There are, however, sufficient funds in the Treasury to redeem the remainder of the debt of $5,600,000, which will mature January, 1845, affording a gratifying result when we consider the difficulties encountered in the contraction of the debt. It evinces to foreign nations the fact that however delinquent from unfortunate circumstances, some of the members of the Union may be, the great body of the people have both the ability and the will to discharge their obligations. It is, however, true that the same results would have been more easily obtained, had the spirit of the compromise act been adhered to, and $26,000,000 of revenue raised from
$130,000,000 of imports, instead of from $84,000,000. The trade of the country would have been far more active, the exports greater, and the 'individual taxes less.
The payment of the government debt is not the only source of gratification as far as public credits are concerned. The State of New York is about paying off $2,500,000, South Carolina has paid $500,000 as the first instalment on an equal sum, and other payments are taking place calculated to reduce the amount of outstanding obligations, while the ascendency of the Democratic policy is likely to restrict further issues. The revenues of the State of Ohio have improved in a manner which shows that at least within her precincts there is no indisposition to pay taxes. The debt of Ohio, January, 1845, is as follows: