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regard to the subject, we shall only make such deductions as may seem to flow naturally from the facts before us, and leave our readers to draw their own conclusions in regard to prices.
WHEAT AND FLOUR.-The recent distresses of Europe, added to a rapidly increasing home demand, have given an importance to these articles which places them first on the list of western staples. But few years have elapsed since so little attention was paid to the culture of wheat in this and the adjacent States, that nearly every barrel of flour consumed in this market came from the Ohio river. The industry of a rapidly increasing population. however, has wrought an entire change in the trade of this article, and now, much of the wheat and flour consumed on the seaboard, beside the vast amount annually shipped from New Orleans for foreign markets, are the product of Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The following statement will show the rapid increase in the production of wheat within the last few years. The receipts of this staple at St. Louis for the year 1843 were 558,953 bushels; 1844, 720,663 do.; 1845, 971,025 do.; 1846, 1,838,936 do.; while, judging from present indications, the amount received during the present year, 1847, will be at least 3,000,000 bushels, or nearly six times the quantity brought to market in 1843, only five years ago.
In like manner the manufacture and sale of flour have been rapidly progressive. Receipts at this port in 1843, were 81,479 bbls.; 1844, 96,203 do.; 1845, 139,282 do.; 1846, 220,457 do.; while, for 1847, they will probably reach 350,000 barrels. The manufacture of flour in this city in 1840 slightly exceeded receipts. It is the general opinion that, owing to the high price of wheat during the year 1847, the quantity of flour manufactured by the St. Louis millers will not exceed, if it equals, that which they turned out in 1846.
However flattering to our progress the foregoing statistics may be, the fact should not be concealed, that serious apprehensions exist in relation to the wheat crop of last harvest. It is generally conceded that the result
must show a very material falling off, and an advance in the wheat and flour markets, may be looked up to as a probable consequence.
CORN. It is conceded on all hands that the crop of corn for 1847, will be larger than ever before known in the West. In addition to the more than usual quantity of soil at first intended to be planted, thousands of acres on which wheat had been sown and failed, were subsequently ploughed up and planted in corn. From this cause, the crop has been increased greatly beyond what it otherwise would have been.
Receipts of corn for the last five years inclusive, have been as follows: 1843, 81,767 bushels; 1844, (short crop,) 56,720 do.; 1845, 107,927 do.; 1846, 588,644 do.; 1847, (probably,) 1,200,000 do. The latter, of course, is not the crop of 1847, but of the year preceding.
The above, it should be remarked, although representing the amount brought to market, scarcely gives an accurate idea of the rate of increase in the quantity cultivated, and for the following reason: The high prices of corn which sprung up as the consequence of a scarcity of breadstuffs in Europe, induced our agriculturists to bring to market almost every bushel of their crops, not needed for home-consumption, thus diverting from other uses much that otherwise would not have found its way to market. Low prices during 1848, should they prevail, as they probably will, must produce the contrary result, and prevent much of the crop from going to market, and hence the gross receipts at this port may not exceed those of 1817,
BARLEY, OATS AND RYE.-As these are articles mainly of home consumption, they do not require very particular notice. Receipts of Barley for 1843 were 7,785 bushels. The receipts for the present year will be about 70,000 do. Of Oats, the receipts in 1843 were 55,530 do.; for the present year they will probably reach 250,000 do. Previous to 1845, receipts of Rye were too trifling to deserve notice. In that year they reached some 3,000 bushels. This year they may be estimated at 10,000 do. HEMP. The culture of this article has greatly increased within the last few years. In 1843, the number of
bales received at this port was 37,523. Receipts this year will be in the neighborhood of 90,000 bales. The price, both of dew and water rotted, has ranged unusually high, being for the former, during the greater part of the year, from $80 to $90 per ton, and for the latter, from $150 to $175. Choice dew rotted, for a considerable portion of the time, has ranged from $100 to $115, and for a season as high as $130 per ton. These high prices will probably stimulate agriculturists to increase the production of the article.
The formation of the American Hemp Company of Jacksonville, Illinois, will constitute an era in the history of hemp-growing in the West. This company have furnished to the farmer new inducements to enter into the cultivation of hemp, by their illustration of the fact, that, by a process simple and easy, American hemp can be rotted, perfectly, in a few days; and that this article, when dressed in the usual manner, is equal to the best Russian; nay, better than any specimens of the latter article as yet imported into this country. The American steam rotted hemp is fairer in point of color, more flexible and soft to the touch, and is capable of bearing a greater degree of weight than any specimens hitherto imported from abroad. We may reasonably look forward to the period when our navy, as well as commercial marine, shall be entirely supplied with cordage made from hemp of American growth, and when Missouri, whose natural advantages in the production of hemp are not surpassed by those of any other State, may claim to supply by far the greater portion of such material.
TOBACCO.--It is difficult to judge of the annual production of this article from the receipts, as, owing to low water, low prices, &c., a large portion of the crops have sometimes been held back, and the amount brought to market in such instances has fallen below that of a preceding year. Thus, in 1843, the amount sent to market (20,000 hhds.) more than doubled that of the preceding, as well as the following year. Indeed we think it likely, that were strict enquiry made, it would turn out that the crops of several preceding years have differed very little in quantity. Receipts at this port for 1844, were about
9,700 hhds.; for 1845, 11,564 do.; 1846, 8,588 do.; while for the present year they will probably be about 11,000 do. This shows very plainly that the culture of Tobacco does not in this State keep pace with other leading products. The crop is less certain than many others that pay equally well, and we shall probably find that as other agricultural products go on annually increasingsome doubling themselves-this one will remain stationary, or retrograde.
The crop of 1847, we learn, will prove smaller but far better, than that of the preceding year. Prices during the last year have been good, and if our information should be correct, the rates must advance during the present year.
LEAD. The high prices of this staple which have ruled during 1847, have been a mystery to many dealers. Very little of the article, comparatively speaking, has been exported; the quantity produced from the mines is somewhat greater than for the year previous; yet the price has gone on improving, until it has reached a point seldom before known in this market. The only manner in which we can account for this, is the greatly increased consumption in the way of manufacture. Meanwhile, labor seems to be diverting itself from mining, and though our mineral resources seem almost inexhaustible, still it is a matter of serious question whether if greater enterprise be not manifested in rendering available our mineral wealth, our products may not in time fall below the demand for home consumption.
Receipts of Lead for the last five years, have been at this port as follows: In 1843, 584,431 pigs; 1844, 595,000 do.; 1845, 750,880 do.; 1846, 730,820 do.; and the present year, about EC0,000 do. We are informed that the consumption by the manufactories of this city, within the present year, has nearly doubled that of last, and a much larger quantity than formerly has gone to the Ohio River.
Relative Cost of Water and Steam Power, Advantages for Manufacturing in the Mississippi Valley, Coal Fields of the United States.
The following articles which we have taken from the Louisville Journal will be found interesting to all who feel an interest in the prosperity of the west:
The writer has instituted an inquiry into the relative cost of water and steam as a propelling power for machinery; and shows that even in New England, where the average cost of coal is 23 cents per bushel, that steam is cheaper than water.
If these calculations be correct, they establish a fact that adds greatly to the other advantages which the west possesses over the eastern states for manufacturing purposes.
Óperatives can be fed in the west at from 25 to 50 per cent cheaper than in New England, the raw material of cotton, iron and wool, can be obtained at a less cost of freight, and if in addition to these advantages, the propelling power can be supplied at favorable locations for less than half its cost in the Eastern States, it would seem wonderful if all these advantages should long remain overlooked and neglected by a population so enterprising as that of the Mississippi Valley.
The Illinois bed, as it is termed, crosses the river at St. Louis, also, and is worked on both sides of the Mississippi:
The geographical map of the United States, compiled from surveys of D. Dale Owen and others, under direction of Congrss, and from other sources, by Lyell, and published in his travels, gives the boundaries of the following coal-fields:
The first near Richmond, Virginia, of very limited extent.
The second in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, which is not rich enough to compete with the foreign supply.
The third in the centre of Michigan, underlying perhaps one third of that State, and touching Saginaw Bay. Of this I cannot find any further description.
The fourth, or Appalachian, extends from the southern and interior