Page:Report on Manufactures (Hamilton).djvu/33

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

to be inadequate to their circulation; and their debt to Great Britain was progressive. Since the Revolution, the States in which manufactures have most increased, have recovered fastest from the injuries of the late war, and abound most in pecuniary resources.

It ought to be admitted, however, in this, as in the preceding case, that causes irrelative to the state of manufactures, account, in a degree, for the phenomena remarked. The continual progress of new settlements has a natural tendency to occasion an unfavorable balance of trade; though it indemnifies for the inconvenience by that increase of the national capital which flows from the conversion of waste into improved lands; and the different degrees of external commerce which are carried on by the different States, may make material differences in the comparative state of their wealth. The first circumstance has reference to the deficiency of coin and the increase of debt previous to the Revolution; the last, to the advantages which the most manufacturing States appear to have enjoyed over the others since the termination of the late war.

But the uniform appearance of an abundance of specie, as the concomitant of a flourishing state of manufactures, and of the reverse, where they do not prevail, afford a strong presumption of their favorable operation upon the wealth of a country.

Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation, with a view to those great objects, ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defense.

The possession of these is necessary to the perfection of the body politic; to the safety as well as to the welfare of the society. The want of either is the want of an important organ of political life and motion, and in the various crises which await a state it must severely feel the effects of any such deficiency. The extreme embarrassments of the United States during the late war from an incapacity of supplying themselves are still matter of keen recollection; a future war might be expected again to exemplify the mischiefs and dangers of a situation to which that incapacity is still in too great a degree applicable unless changed by timely and vigorous exertion. To effect this change as fast as shall be prudent merits all the attention and all the zeal of our public councils; 'tis the next great work to be accomplished.

The want of a navy to protect our external commerce as long as it shall continue must render it a peculiarly precarious reliance for the supply of essential articles and must serve to strengthen prodigiously the arguments in favor of manufactures.

To these general considerations are added some of a more particular nature.

Our distance from Europe, the great fountain of manufactured supply, subjects us in the existing state of things to inconvenience and loss in two ways.

The bulkiness of those commodities which are the chief productions of the soil necessarily imposes very heavy charges on their transportation to distant markets. These charges, in the cases inS. Doc. 172, 63-1———3