Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/89

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ern States of America is most severely felt. Whatever be agricultural distress in Scotland, whatever it be, where undoubtedly it is more felt, in England, it is greater by much in the Eastern States of America. In the States of New England the soil has been to some extent exhausted by careless methods of agriculture, and these, gentlemen, are the greatest of all enemies with which the farmer has to contend.

But the foundation of the statement I make, that the Eastern States of America are those that most feel the competition of the West, is to be found in facts—in this fact above all, that not only they are not in America, as we are here, talking about the shortness of the annual returns, and in some places having much said on the subject of rents, and of temporary remission or of permanent reduction. That is not the state of things; they have actually got to this point, that the capital values of land, as tested by sales in the market, have undergone an enormous diminution.

There has been developed in the astonishing progressive power of the United States—there has been developed a faculty of producing corn[1] for the subsistence of man, with a rapidity and to an extent unknown in the experience of mankind. There is nothing like it in history. Do not let us conceal, gentlemen, from ourselves the fact; I shall not stand the worst with any of

you who are farmers if I at once avow that

  1. Used here in the English sense as meaning wheat.