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constitute the strength of a nation. These depend upon its general relations, and upon the particular turn which has been given to its industry and ingenuity. Those, who first engaged in the study of the principles of this art in Europe, proceeded, for the most part, on general reasonings, founded on very limited and often imaginary grounds; little better than guessing from a few scanty particulars at the general conclusions, after which they sought. Of late, however, in the principal states in Europe, and since the adoption of the federal constitution, in the United States, the publicity, which has been given to the laws and operations of government, and its acts being often expressly framed so as to enlarge information on such topicks, a facility has been given to these researches, which leaves little to wish, at least, so far as relates to a knowledge of the extent of population, and to the results of the external commerce, and the relations of the publick revenue and debt. In this country, until within a very few years, manufactures have scarcely had an importance, sufficient to attract the attention of the politician. And agriculture, notwithstanding it is the predominating interest in the nation, has escaped, almost wholly both the patronage and the consideration of government.

There are two general points of view, by which it is natural that all statistical researches relative to this country should be regulated. The state of these relations, antecedent and subsequent to the declaration of independence. Antecedent to our revolution, nothing satisfactory is known of the state of our agriculture. And whatever has come down to us of the state of our manufactures, is loose, general, and uncertain. Some formal reports of the board of trade and plantations indeed exist, relative to the interference,with the right of supplying the colonies with manufactures, which the mother country claimed, and which it was apprehended, the spirit and direction of colonial industry jeopardised. But these reports were all necessarily imperfect. All classes of the people in the colonies were interested to conceal, as far as possible, from the scrutinising eye of British jealousy, both the number and extent of that rising interest. And the sleeping activity and "perpetual sitting vacation of the board of trade," were ill qualified to discover, at three thousand miles distance, the fallacies by

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which interest anxiously concealed its greatness and prosperity. On many points, and relative to whole colonies, they confess their want of information. As to the rest, their reports contain nothing more than general statements and results, calculated to lull the apprehensions of their own capitalists, rather than to disclose the actual state of American industry.

Of the commercial state of the colonies, it would be natural to expect more precise and numerous documents. Yet even here, there is nothing to satisfy any great scrupulousness of research, and little to gratify even mere curiosity. Hutchinson, Franklin, Wynne, Sheffieild, and some others, in general works, have made a few statements and inferences on the subject. The real condition of the commerce of the colonies, however, is not to be gathered from their accounts, or from any that exist, with satisfactory precision. The extent and the scattered nature of settlements on our sea-coasts, gave great facilities to evasions of the laws of revenue and trade. The general opinion also, which prevailed on this side of the Atlantick, concerning the innocency of those attempts to counteract the exercise by the parent state, of so doubtful a right, and so odious a power as those laws were considered, combined with the connivance, to say the least of custom-house officers, for the most part under the influence of similar sentiments and interests, rendered all the documents derived from that source in America, little more than the shadows of the reality. And as to the custom-house regulations in Great Britain, and the dependence which may be placed upon their statements on this subject, some idea may be formed, from what one of their most laborious historians has said of Barbadoes, Virginia, and Maryland, which he stiles, "the best affected of the colonies." "Considering them" (the acts of navigation) "either as inconsistent with their privileges, or destructive of their infant commerce, they hesitated to obey, or eluded their provisions. And they trafficked without restraint, wherever hope of gain directed their navigators." From such, and other causes, the commerce of the colonies at all times, exceeded greatly what those documents indicated;

* Chalmers' Annals of the United Colonies, v. 1. p. 313.

and to a degree, at this time probably, as little imagined as it is difficult to be ascertained.

The labours of Mr. Pitkin have greatly facilitated inquiries on this head. The best information derived from the books of the British custom-house, and from our early writers, relative to the state of commerce and population, during the colonial period, he has collected and arranged. Little more can be expected on this topick than he has attained.

Touching the colonial policy of Great Britain, it is not, perhaps, quite correct to say, as Mr. Pitkin does, that "the policy of Great Britain has always been to secure to herself the carriage of the produce of her colonies, to monopolise their raw materials, and to furnish the colonists with all the manufactures, or other imported articles they consume." During the first half century, after the earliest settlement, and until the time of Cromwell, "all the colonies* had been indulged in a free and open trade to and from all parts of the world, unless the privileges granted to the East India Company made an exception." The date of that policy is also somewhat anteriour to the year 1660; the period Mr. Pitkin assigns to it. The act of navigation of that year was not the root of that policy. It was Cromwell and his republican coadjutors, who seem first to have had a true sense of the importance of the colonies; and framed, in 1652, the famous act of navigation, prohibiting the plantations from receiving or exporting any European commodities, except in English ships, navigated by Englishmen. It is true that Chalmers, in his political annals of the United Colonies, (b.1.c h. v.) attempts to wrest from Cromwell and the republican parliament, the praise of being the authors of that policy; maintaining that it originated with Charles the first, and citing the instructions given by that monarch to Berkley, on his being appointed, in 1639, governour of Virginia. But the principles inserted in a solitary commission, are scarcely to be dignified with the character given to them by Chalmers, as being "a prodigious change in colonial policy." Whatever were their motives, and

* See Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, 1. v. p. 178.

+ See Humes' History of England, 7. vol. p. 212; and Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts, 1. v. p. 178.

probably these were no higher, than to disgust and to pave the way for hostilities with the Dutch, it was to the long parliament, that Great Britain is indebted for the first regular plan and execution, of her late so much boasted colonial system. Their outline was filled up, and attempted to be perfected at the Restoration. Great inconveniences resulted to colonial commerce, from the attempt to carry it into effect, and its success was at no time complete.

With respect to the state of our commerce, subsequent to the American Revolution, and of that of agriculture and manufactures, so far as they are connected with it, the work before us contains every thing the statist has a right to expect, in the present situation of our country. The work also is the more valuable, and its author deserves the higher credit, inasmuch as it is almost wholly documentary. His study seems to have been to furnish facts and evidence, to serve as foundations of reasoning for others. He indulges in no theories. He no where dilates, for the sake of drawing out his work into a longer thread, than the texture of his subject requires. All is correct, precise, and to the degree which is attainable, satisfactory. It is difficult to find in any country, a work on such a topick, so purely and strictly elementary. And although on this account, it can hardly expect to have an extensive, popular, circulation,; yet we are mistaken indeed, if the author do not acquire for himself a higher and more desirable praise, that which follows laborious exertion, usefully and successfully applied to the elucidation of the most important concerns of a nation.

It may be expected that we should say something of the particular topicks on which the work touches, in order that our general readers may know what they may expect to find, should they have occasion to seek any of the information which it contains.

It treats then of our Exports, considered under the relations of the produce of the sea, of the forest, of agriculture, and of manufactures. Each branch of export is arranged and considered under distinct heads; the value and quantity of each article is separately stated, so far as was practicable, at every annual period since the adoption of the federal constitution, accompanied by comparative views of the value and quantity of each product at different periods Vol. III. No. 9.


The export of foreign produce, its quantity, value, and the effect, which at different periods was occasioned by our neutrality, and by the system of commercial restriction and war, is distinctly discussed.

Under the head of our Imports, the amount of that branch of our trade, its quantity and value, with the different parts of the world, particularly with Great Britain, France, China, and the East Indies, are stated; the exports and imports in different years are compared, and the amount of articles imported and consumed, estimated from official data.

The history of our publick debt is also given, from its commencement to the beginning of the year 1815. The state of the United States' sinking funds, the amount and terms of recent loans united with a sketch, also from official documents, of the publick debt and sinking fund of Great Britain.

Our revenues also are traced in all their relations, whether of customs or internal taxes. All the valuations which have been made of lands and houses, under the provisions of the different direct taxes, are stated and compared. The amount, after proceeds of the publick lands, of the post-office, and generally the whole account of the receipts and expen ditures of the Treasury of the United States, are abstracted, and presented in a form the most luminous and condensed.

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To these are added statements of our tonnage, both that employed in foreign and domestick trade; its gradual and relative increase, at the present and at former periods; and compared with that of other nations. The whole illustrated by numerous and minute tables: all of authentick character, and most of them having the stamp of official authority.

On all these points, the work contains a completeness of information, highly important and satisfactory, and not less honourable to the laborious fidelity, and discriminating intelligence of the author, than it will be useful and creditable to the country.

Mr. Pitkin has well performed the task he undertook. It now remains for the publick to decide, whether this laborious exertion, in its service, shall meet with the patronage and encouragement, it so justly merits.

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