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German diablerie, he throws up his ball of thread into the air, and climbs up to the sky by it—and there is an end of the matter.
We have but a single page more at disposal in the present nuinber; and therefore, passing over a crowd of other points in the articles before us on which we had designed to remark, we must confine ourselves to a brief notice of one fundamental fallacy, which seems to have been the original ignis fatuus that misled our friend through such far and toilsome wandering, into the unfortunate result where we have found him arrived.
It has been well said that "words are things" often very mischievous ones. Mr. Brownson has singularly exemplified this truth, we think, in his dealing with the word "government in this entire discussion. Adopting it from the outset as his point de départ, he makes it for a very considerable part of his argument his main point d'appui. It seems to us a positive curiosity in dialectics, to witness the manner in which he subjects his thought to this word, investing it with an absolute sway over the whole direction of his reasoning-much as if a lion should place a mouse on his back, and with a bridle of spider's web allow himself to be guided or driven by it, as though by a fate, to his own sore perplexity, if not utter destruction. Government, he tells us, necessarily implies two distinct parties, a higher and a lower; and since nations must be governed, it must needs always be by a governor or governing power out of and above the nation itself. Ever after, considering this point as settled, and settled in a sense absolute and unqualified, he treats every hypothetical conclusion which he can bring up into an apparent conflict with it, as thereby satisfactorily and for ever disposed of, on the "quod absurdum est" principle. We should be at a loss from memory to enumerate how often this occurs in the course of these Articles. A people, for example, can have no right to alter its constitution in any other mode than through its own prescribed forms-(and of course, if its constitution happen to have no such prescribed forms, as was the case with the Rhode Is'and charter, it cannot have the right in any way)-because the governed and the governor would then be one instead of twain. Selfgovernment, politically or morally, is a
patent absurdity, because there must always be this distinct and superior governor over the governed, and since such republics as ours have no other powers that be " than their constitution, they are governed by those constitutions as a something out of and above themselves, and the world has heretofore been under a total mistakein imagining them to be in any sense self-governed. And it is because he thus shuts himself off from recourse to the People as the rightful hunan source and foundation of governmental authority-having burned his ships behind him as he landed on the margin of the shore of his subject--that he is forced on through a long tissue of arbitrary fictions, which we have no space to comment upon, full of a sadly wasted metaphysical subtlety, into his eventual refuge, as we have above seen, in the bosom of The Church:"though unfortunately we have seen that "Church" itself, the moment we approached and deemed ourselves at the threshold of its sacred asylum, to vanish like the mirage of the desert, or the Fata Morgana of the wave--dissolving itself away into a public conscience"--into a "moral authority of which I will not now speak as organized"-into "the pulpit, the press, the lyceum"-into everything-into nothing.
We have taken no direct notice of Mr. Brownson's hostile criticisms of our own, the Democratic doctrine; of his earnest assaults upon the principle of the rule of the Majority; of his representations of its bad and degrading moral influence, alike on national and individual character. In the present Number we have not been able to command more room than the subject has already exhausted—and even for the insertion of the present remarks we find ourselves again compelled to postpone all notice of a whole little library of books which have accumulated on our table within the past two months. To this branch of the subject we will devote a future article, and venture to trust that it will be no very difficult task to establish at least an intelligible and coherent theory of government on that basis, and to show that most of our correspondent's charges against it have their origin either in mere verbal criticism, or the long exploded fallacies of conservative panic.
MONTHLY FINANCIAL AND COMMERCIAL ARTICLE.
THE business of the fall season is rapidly approaching its close, and money continues exceedingly abundant, with every symptom of being even still more plenteous. Both here and in Boston, the centre of the manufacturing interests, money is freely offered, on good security, at 3 and 4 per cent., with but little disposition to take it at that. These are exceedingly low rates for money when compared with the high rates paid in some former years; but, if we consider the small scope for its employment, where it will yield a larger return than that rate, the price does not appear so low. It is an undoubted fact that, in usual years and in regular business, the interest upon money is too high. That is, money cannot be hired at 6 and 7 per cent. per annum, and employed so as to yield a much greater income. For short periods of time, when money is rapidly increasing in quantity, and its relative value to commodities gradually sinking, or, in other words, prices of goods rising, it will do to pay large rates for money, because the depreciation in the value of money would alone repay a profit to the borrower, independent of the regular profits of business. In the rapid stages of the rise and fall of the French assignats, this process
marked in the course of a few weeks, and large fortunes were made by borrowing the money. For instance, if an individual was possessed of 1,000 francs in gold, and the government notes were at 10 per cent. discount, he could borrow 1,100 francs of paper on pledge of his gold; the rapid in crease in the quantity of paper money quickly depreciated its value, and in the succeeding week if he returned the 1,100 francs and received the gold the latter would be worth 1,500 paper francs. Hence he had the use of the money and made 400 francs by the change in the value of paper. In this - country, from 1830 to 1837, the same
process went on in a much slower manner, and as the paper money was constantly convertible into coin, the depreciation evinced itself only in a general rise in prices. If a person owned a piece of property he could mortgage it for a certain suin of money and pay a liberal interest. In a short time the rise in the value of the property would suffice to discharge the mortgage, although the money borrowed on it might not have yielded the interest in the employment to which it was applied. In this manner, money would command a high rate of interest, and the borrower, deceived by the gradual operation of the system, supposed that money borrowed was actually worth the high rate of interest paid. The instant, however, that the upward tending ceased and prices began to fall, ruin overtook the borrowers. Farmers who had mortgaged their farms did not feel the weight of the obligation while wheat was rising from 1 to $2 per bushel. They could afford to pay 6 per cent. for the money under such circumstances; but when affairs turned and prices fell, which result was inevitable, foreclosure stared them in the face. In the southern States, near $50,000,000 were borrowed in Europe at 6 per cent. and reloaned to planters at 7 to 9 per cent. to employ in the culture of cotton. This application of the money took place in a short time, and raised the price of slaves and land as well as of supplies. The cost of producing cotton was thus immeasurably enhanced, but, backed by the inflation in England, the price of the cotton was continually advancing, so that the operation was, notwithstanding, apparently profitable. This effect of prices may be seen in the following statement of the imports of American cotton into Liverpool and the price of Upland there in August of three years:
Here we perceive that, up to 1835, the money value of the cotton nearly doubled, notwithstanding that the quantity of cotton increased 30 per cent., and as the plantations in operation in 1831 were established at low prices, the profit was large; an immense quantity of money was borrowed and applied to cotton from 1835 to 1839, and prices of negroes, lands, and supplies rose immensely, while the revolution in England again reduced prices in 1840 to a rate lower than in 1835. If the cotton sent to England in 1840 had sold at the prices of 1835, which it should have done to repay the immense cost and high rate of interest paid for the money invested in it, it would have bro ught $101,629,687, making a difference of near $60,000,000 in the money value, to which may be added $20,000,000 for five years' interest on the borrowed capital. The result was bankruptcy of the individuals and of all the banks engaged in the operation. In 1843, 63,000,000 lbs. more cotton were given to England and $3,500 000 less money received than in 1840. At the east and in the north and west
nearly the same state of affairs exists. In New England above two-thirds of all the farms are mortgaged and nearly every farm in that section is for sale. The best farms in the country will not yield 5 per cent. interest on the capital employed and keep the capital good. This arises mainly from the low prices. of the farm produce affording small profits. In all other employments the same low range of profits exists, and, of course, capital cannot be exempt from the general rule. The present. tariff has, however, interposed to confer on the class of corporate manufactures exclusive privileges and large. profits, and many of those establishments are now declaring 10 per cent. dividends, being large profits derived from the low rates at which they obtain supplies and the small wages paid to the operators, while they are protected by the arbitrary operation of law from the competition of foreign cotton. The following table indicates the extent to which the present tariff checks the import of English cottons into this. country:
YARDS EXPORTED OF PLAIN AND PRINTED COTTONS FROM GREAT BRITAIN, SIX MONTHS, 1842 AND 1843.
All classes and all interests in the United States are laboring under the same evils produced by the same cause, viz., an overaction and revulsion in the application of capital, yet of all these interests the manufacturing alone has received privileges at the hands of government, and those are conferred at the expense of the others. The operation has been to make profits small and money less valuable in all occupations except in its application to corporate manufactories, and it would gradually be withdrawn from other pursuits and invested in manufactures, if there was any security that the monstrous injustice could be perpetuated, or if by
any means money could be extracted from equivalent pursuits, but the great distress which has overtaken the latter, particularly in New-England, defeats the wish to realise. No one embarks in a losing business, or invests in unproductive property. For the past 15 years agriculture in New-England has declined pari passu with the advancement of manufactures; the increase of the latter has in no degree stayed the ruin which was brought upon the comparatively sterile soil of New-England, by the opening of the supplies from the great West, through the rapid settlement of those sections and the extension of works of public improvement..
'These events have gradually wrought out the ruin of the New England farms; but that result has been hastened by two concurring causes, one was the rapid rise of provisions through the paper inflation, which induced the farmers to mortgage their lands, in order to obtain the means of extending their operations with the view to take advantage of those prices. Those prices were, however, not permanent, and the subsiding tide of paper left them with heavy mortgages and low prices to contend against the overwhelming tide of Western produce, arrested on its way to market by the interdict on foreign commerce. The consequence is, that all descriptions of supplies and labor are lower in the neighborhood of the manufacturers than ever before, while they by legislative enactment have had conferred upon them the exclusive markets for their goods. With the increasing poverty of the farmers both the necessity and the desire to procure labor in the manufactories increases. Hence the reduction in the price of labor diminishes as the supply is enhanced. The wealthy corporate manufacturers by those means are gradually accumulating in their hands the power of exercising that grinding oppression, which is so well known in Lancashire, England. The independence of manufacturing oppression, which was the result of the agricultural prosperity of the friends and families of the operatives, is fast fading away with their increasing poverty. The dependence upon manufacturers is each day increasing, and with it the whole section of country rapidly approaches the condition of England. The only remedy for this state of affairs is a large foreign outlet for western produce, by which the money prices may be relatively raised so as again to afford the New-England farmer a profit on his labor. This result is to be arrived at only through the utmost encouragement to foreign commerce by removing all obstacles in the way of the enterprise of individuals.
The quantity of money now in the country is sufficient for its wants, if properly distributed. But it remains in cumbrous masses on the sea-board, vainly seeking investment. In the concerns of a country like this, when the retail channels of trade are filled with a specie currency, to facilitate the daily transactions among the masses
of the people, no more is wanted. The great operations of trade are never conducted with money. They are simply an interchange of commodities effected between sections of the country by means of bills of exchange. The commodities on which these bills are based, are the products of in lustry, and their interchange does not require the intervention of money. It is only when those products are sold on long credit that the money of banks is required by dealers to stand in the place of the buyer, and in making those advances the banks make their profit. But when as now, such sales take place but seldom, and with the transfer of property the account is close, there is no such demand, and whenever money has accumulated in anticipation of the revival of that demand, it must continue cheap and plenty until absorbed in permanent employments. This process has been gradually going on for the last three months, and a large amount of sound stock has been taken out of the market at rates which yield scarcely 5 per cent. interest. There is, however, a growing confidence that all the States will, sooner or later, resume the payment of their dividends. This was decidedly apparent in London at the date of our last advices, and evinced itself, partially, in the success of the Illinois commissioners, who went out to procure the means of completing the canal of that State. In our number for June last, we described the nature of the proposition, which was, that the bond holders should subscribe $1,600,000, or 32 per cent. of the amount thus held, on condition that the canal and its lands should be placed in the hands of three trustees, two appointed by the stockholders, and one by the governor of the State, to be applied to the discharge of the new loan, principal and interest, and then of the old canal debt. This proposition was not strictly complied with, but 12 per cent. was subscribed to commence operations on the favorable report of an agent to be selected by three gentlemen nominated by the landholders. Three gentlemen of Boston, Mass., Messrs. Abbott Lawrence, William Sturgis and T. W. Ward were delegated to appoint the agent. Ex-Governor Davis, of Massachusetts, was selected, and is now on his way to Illinois, in order to investigate the af
fairs of the canal in connection with its debt, and report upon the expediency of the enterprise. In case of a favorable report, the amount of 12 per cent. or $400,000 is to be disbursed, and if at the next meeting of the Legislature a small tax is imposed towards the discharge of the improvement debt of the State, the remaining sum necessary to the full completion of the canal will be forthcoming. In many points of view this arrangement is highly advantageous. The delinquent States of the Union were, for the most part, cut short in the midst of enterprises, many of them rashly commenced, but undertaken in full confidence that the money necessary for the completion could be obtained. In nearly every instance where large debts had been contracted, new loans were necessary to meet the interest, because the wise principle of contracting no debt without simultaneously providing by taxation for its discharge, had been evaded during the speculating mania, in order that there might be no obstacle in the way of borrowing. When, therefore, through general distress, new loans could not be obtained without difficulty, delinquency became inevitable. This delinquency in Mississippi and Illinois soon degenerated into repudiation and defiance of the creditors. Hence, when money again became plenty, the apparent want of will to pay, destroyed all disposition to lend, notwithstanding that plenty. This apparent indisposition of the people here to pay, was, from the effect of its influence upon the debt oppressed people of Europe, of a far more serious nature than the mere loss of the few millions of dollars due. All those monied men of London and the Continent, interested in American stocks, represent an aristocracy and a class of capitalists whose existence is bound up in the maintenance of the faith of governments at all hazards. The proximity of the republican institutions of the United States through the medium of steam navigation, is already exercising a powerful influence upon public opinion in Europe, and the example of a great people throwing off with impunity the burden of a public debt on any plausible pretence, is, in the present state of England, fraught with the greatest consequences, and it is of importance to all those interested in the preservation of the present state
of things, to apply a remedy to existing evils here. When, therefore, the commissioners of Illinois offered their terms of compromise, the door was opened by which all the States following her example could restore their honor and return to the condition of a tax and debt paying people. A part of the money wanted, was, therefore, advanced, in order to put the canal under contract, and the payment of the remainder made conditional upon the imposition of a tax, which with a completed canal the people will be amply able to pay That this tax will be imposed, there is scarcely room doubt, because the people of Illinois are an intelligent and high spirited people, and well able to estimate the vast importance of the canal to Illinois, and the pecuniary advantages its completion will afford to every individual in the State. When, therefore, they see that canal in process of construction, and its final completion dependant only upon an insignificant tax, no one can doubt but that that tax will cheerfully be submitted to. In that case Illinois, one of the first to fail, will be the first to recover her position and prove to all others that their resources are within themselves, and not in the paper schemes of prating politicians.
There is over the face of the whole Union an apparent upward tendency in both prices and business. The advance in agricultural products last spring and summer gave some stimulus to business by furnishing means of purchasing some portion of those supplies of which the people had long been in want. The result has been an improvement in all the smaller branches of trades and business. We believe, as a general thing, that all the mechanical employments have experienced an improvement of about 30 per cent. in their business over that of last year. The vigor of the trade which sprung up is apparent in the fact, that notwithstanding the present tariff, a fair amount of imports was made during the third quarter of the present year; that trade, however, soon withered under the oppression of Government; and with the decline of imports, a diminution was experienced in exports. Prices again declined, and the whole foundation of the growing business was sapped. The Government is feeling with great intensity in its finances