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comfort of the producer. Without such an agent as money, if the producer of
himself the comforts of physical repose, neglected to improve his opportunities of mental and moral improvement, and sacrificed all the pleasures which these were designed to afford for that, which to him, is worse than useless.
Although the amount of money in circulation in a given country may be regarded as the representative of all the labor and property within its limits, yet it is not, nor can be, made a permanent standard of value; for every individual being left free to exchange his labor or property for money, or not, as he may choose, the measure of its value is subject to the agreement of the parties concerned in every transaction of exchange; and hence, it frequently occurs, that at the same time and place, money cannot be exchanged, with different individuals, for the same quantity of a given commodity. One is willing to exchange coin for money at the rate of twenty five cents per bushel, while another demands thirty cents for the same quantity; and thus, in every case of exchange, the parties agree upon the value of money according to the opinion which they respectively form in regard to their own interest or convenience; or, it may be that one or the other is compelled by necessity, to yield to an exorbitant demand; and thus, it will be perceived that "the intrinsic value of money," a phrase which is often used by the politician, is the most vague of all unmeaning terms, especially in the sense in which it is generally used-for, if it possesses an intrinsic value besides its use as a mere metalic substance, this consists in its functions as a general agent of exchange; while its specific value is the subject of agreement between the parties to each transaction.
As an agent in effecting the exchange of other commodities, it is in strict accordance with the nature of money to accumulate and abound most where the greatest amount of commodities are exchanged; and therefore, it as naturally tends to the great commercial marts, as matter to the centre of gravity. As we proceed from these great marts towards the extremes of the commercial circle of which they constitute the centre, the representative value of money gradually increases, or, in other words, it becomes dearer, while lands and provisions become cheaper. This difference in the value, and quantity of money between distant points, however, would not be important was there no commercial intercourse between them; but it is clear that in the exchange of commodities between the centre and the distant points within the circle, the advantages are greatly in favor of the former-for, if the money value of lands and provisions materially differ in different countries, the commerce between them cannot be placed on grounds of equality.
The high price of lands and provisions necessarily enter into and influence the price of every other commodity, and if the people of a country where the price of lands and provisions rules high, as in Great Britain, should exchange their manufactures for the raw material of a country where the price of lands and provisions was low, as in Missouri, the former would enjoy the singular advantage of selling their agricultural products at prices which would pay them a fair profit on
lands valued perhaps at two hundred dollars an acre; while the latter would pay for them in raw material, at a price which only pays a moderate profit on land valued at from five to ten dollars per acre; and thus by purchasing the manufactures of England, we are sustaining the high prices of lands and provisions in that country, and depressing them in our own.
The immense commerce of England draws to that country a larger amount of money than is found in any other; and hence money is cheaper and lands and provisions dearer there than in any other part of the world; and labor is also dearer than in any other country, except the United States. Now, it is evident that these high prices could not be sustained, unless she could sell her manufactures to the people of other countries, at prices corresponding with the prices of her lands and provisions, and purchase their raw material at prices corresponding with the price of lands and provisions where it is produced. This is the course that England has hitherto pursued; and hence she has enriched herself from all the nations of the earth. But no people have ever become rich by British commerce-nor can such an event happen so long as the products of her soil continue at former and present high prices, and she to find a market for her manufactures.
After long experience the people of this country have begun to perceive that we have gained but little by British commerce; but they appear greatly puzzled to find out the cause. Among the many causes assigned, the low price of labor in Great Britain is considered by many as the most prominent. But the average difference between the price of labor there and here, constitutes but a small item in the list of disadvantages against which we have to contend in our commerce with that country. Labor there is dependent upon capital, and wages are reduced to the lowest point that will sustain the operative in a working condition; this is necessary to enable the manufacturer to meet competition from other countries, and also for the purpose of sustaining the high prices of land and provisions; but "pauper labor," as it is sometimes called, is but as the dust in the balance, when compared to the immense amount of machinery, the large profits of real estate, and the fixed capital of the Bank of England. These constitute the elements of the great power against which we have to contend in our commercial intercourse with that country. With such advantages against us, it is our true policy to limit our commerce with her to the exchange of such commodities only as are essentially necessary to our comfort and convenience. For as long as money remains cheaper in Great Britain than in the United States, the advantages growing out of an exchange of commodities, must remain in her favor.
It may be asked, if money is dearer in the United States than in Great Britain, why it does not come here for investment? This would be in conformity with one of the laws of its circulation were not this law modified and controlled by the causes just mentioned. Owing to these causes, the people of Great Britain avail themselves of all the benefits of the high price of money here, while they still keep their own precious metals at home.
If we have made our views intelligible to our readers, they will perceive the importance of lessening, as far as practicable, their reliance upon foreign countries for the sale of their raw material, and also for the purchase of foreign fabrics; for we are fully persuaded that it is only by encouraging the manufacture of our own raw material, and consequently enlarging our internal commerce, that we can avoid the disastrous effects of foreign revulsions. Nor can we by any other means secure to the agriculturists of the United States the just reward of their labor. We have furthermore endeavored to show the tendency of money to accumulate in the great commercial marts, and that this accumulation operates to the disadvantage of those who reside at a distance from the place where their exchanges are effected. From this we discover the importance of encouraging and building up markets as near home as practicable. This is a subject in which the people of the west are vitally interested, for until the farmer of this Valley can find a market for his produce, nearer than the coast of the Atlantic, he must be content to receive a far less reward for his labors than do those in that region.
[TO BE CONTINUED.]
ART. II. THE MORALS OF COMMERCE.
KOTES OF A LECTURE DELIVERED BEFORE THE YOUNG MEN'S MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION OF CINCINNATI, NOVEMBER 30TH, 1847, BY T. WALKER.
My subject is "the Morals of Commerce." I have given it this name for want of any one more definite, under which I could bring together a variety of random thoughts, all more or less connected with the mercantile profession, but not susceptible of a convenient arrangement under a less comprehensive title. What I shall say will have reference principally, to two things; first, the preparation for a mercantile life, and, secondly, the line of conduct to be pursued therein.
First, then, as to the preparation. And here the result to which I would conduct your minds is, that to the merchant knowledge is capital. If it be a general truth in human affairs, that knowledge is power, I hold it to be pre-eminently so in regard to mercantile pursuits. Without it, all the capital of a Girard or an Astor, would not make a merchant; and with it, as the principal thing, capital soon follows as an incident. Accordingly, the first duty of every person destined for a merchant, is to prepare himself, by a suitable education, for an intelligent discharge of his diversified functions-just as much so, as of a lawyer, a physician, or a clergyman; and to this end, there is just as much need of commercial schools and colleges, as of any other-and these, I rejoice to say, we are beginning to have in all our commercial cities. We have, too, commercial dictionaries and magazines a distinct commercial department for newspapers-chambers of commerce-boards of trade-reading rooms-and, best of all, library associations.
All these things bear gratifying testimony to the increased interest taken in mercantile education. And why should it not be so? Why should not the mercantile profession stand side by side with the other so called liberal professions ? There is, in truth, no good reason, whether we look to its dignity, difficulty, or utility. For what is commerce? and who is the merchant?
In the sense in which 1 am considering it, commerce comprehends whatsoever relates to the exchange of commodities between individuals and nations. Regarded then as a mere department of business, what a stupendous concern it is! Even if the products of the earth were every where the same-instead of being so wondrously, yet admirably diversified-even then that ever active principle, the division of labor, which restricts every worker, as far as possible, to a single operation, in order that practice may make him perfect, would still require the co-operation of a countless number of individuals in supplying the wants of each; and this alone would create an immense commerce. There is probably not a person in this presence, whose mere covering is not the product of more than ten thousand hands. But the commerce, growing out of these exchanges is almost nothing, when compared with that which results from that endless variety of soil, climate, taste, and character, by which it has pleased the all-wise Creator to distinguish the different portions of the globe. I presume there is not one of you who passes a single day, to the comforts of which each quarter of the earth, if not every parallel of latitude, has not contributed something peculiar to itself. And it is only when we contemplate commerce on this world-wide scale; when we think of all the productions of every clime, every machine, and every working animal up to man, as constantly passing over the land, and over the sea, in one mighty circle of exchange and distribution-it is only then that we can rise to any thing like an adequate idea of what commerce really is. It is only then that we recognize in commerce the grand instrument of human civilization, as well as the medium of supplying mere physical wants; and cease to wonder at the deep reverence paid to the merchant princes of those early days, when commerce first opened the highway of the world, and caused the light of knowledge to shine upon the darkness of the middle ages.
But from the general idea of commerce, let us descend to a brief analysis of its principal functions, for the purpose of deducing therefrom the particular branches of knowledge essential to every merchant, who aspires to be anything more than a mere trader. Of course I say nothing of the elementary branches of school education, for these belong to every body. But presupposing these, I observe that, commerce, being pre-eminently a national concern, the regulation of it has been committed exclusively to the National Government. Hence, every merchant should acquaint himself with our commercial treaties and navigation laws, together with the general subjects of finance, currency, tariffs and revenues, upon which those treaties and laws are predicated. In short with the science of political economy. Nor should he be ignorant of so much of the law of nations as determines