Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

these lands furnished, in 1804, an exportation of corn amounting to forty-two millions of dollars, or above two hundred millions of French livres.

Supposing that the home-consumption does not exceed the amount of the corn exported, thirty-nine millions of acres must have produced four hundred millions of livres, and may therefore be valued at, at least

8,000,000,000 Dwelling-houses, 1,225,000 in num

ber, cannot be estimated at less than

2,000,000,000 Household furniture, machines, and

implements of labour may be rat

ed without exageration at, at least, 1,000,000,000 Horses, 1,200,000 in number, must be worth at least

120,000,000 Heads of horned cattle, 2,950,000 in number

212,400,000 Metallic currency in circulation sta

ted at 17 millions of dollars making, in French livres, about

80,000,000 The produce of the French West

Indies, amounted, in 1787, to 218

millions, the capital of which is.. 4,000,000,000 Their houses, buildings, cattle, and

7 machines, household-furniture, and coin in circulation, amounted at least to

1,000,000,000 The produce of the English posses

sions in America have been rated at

16,412,400,000

[ocr errors]

Brought forward 16,412,400,000 ; above 500 millions :* but the par

ticular circumstances of the times have alone been able to give them

that immense increase. A well informed French author, with

whose accuracy and veracity, I am particularly acquainted, estimated it, in 1788, at only 159,040,573 livres ;t and I shall not rate it higher. The capital of this produce is

3,150,000,000 The houses, buildings, cattle imple-.

ments and machines, and the circulating coin of the English possessions in America, cannot be taken at less than

1,000,000,000 The mines of South America have,

since their discovery, yielded more than one hundred millions annually; and estimating their produce only at that sum, they form a capital of

2,000,000,000 The other productions of South

America cannot be rated at less than fifty millions, and give of course a capital of

1,000,000,000

[ocr errors]

23,562,400,000

* -The Aurora newspaper of New-York, August the 8th, 1807.

+ Traité d'Economie Politique et du Commerce des Colonies, par Mr. Page.

[ocr errors]

Brought forward 23,562,400,000 Finally, the houses, buildings, cattle,

implements, machines, householdfurniture, and circulating coin of South America must certainly exceed 2,000,000,000

Total livres 25,562,400,000 This immense result, compared to that which the employment of the same capitals would have yielded in Europe, not only proves to demonstration the utility of the colonization of America, but also furnishes an additional proof of the error into which Adam Smith has been betrayed, when he set it down as a principle, Ist, that agricultural labour is the most productive in any country ; 2dly, that capitals are so much more conducive to national wealth, when they are first employed in the cultivating of the national soil, and af, terwards in the support of that industry the produce of which is consumed at home, and, lastly, in the home-trade; 3dly, that the home-trade is the most advantageous to any country. Had Europe followed this doctrine; had she employed in the cultivation of her soil, in her particular industry and home-trade, the three hundred millions which she sent to America, they would have increased her capital only by three thousand millions of French livres, whilst employing them in cultivating the soil of and trading with America has raised that capital to above five-and-twenty thousand millions of livres, or one thousand millions sterling. Europe therefore is infinitely richer through this mode of employing her capital than she would have been through that recommended by Adam Smith.

[ocr errors]

Facts in this instance support the principles, and tend to demonstrate alike that private and public wealth does not result from the direction of labour, capitals, and commerce, to a particular spot, but from their direction to the soil, industry, and commerce, which yield the most abundant produce, the consuniption of which is most certain, and whose exchangeable value is most considerable.

As wealth consists in the surplus of produce above consumption, it is the interest of every individual, of every nation, of the whole world, to cultivate the most fertile soils which yield the most considerable uct produce, to favour the industry of the country whose productions cost least and possess the greatest value, and to encourage the least expensive and most economical commerce. The more the surplus of the productions of the soil, industry, and commerce, are considerable, the more they increase general wealth, afford resources to private capitals, and contribute to develope individual faculties.

The advantages which nature or social institutions have conferred on some countries are not prejudicial to the countries that are deprived of those advantages; they may, on the contrary, furnish them with useful means of prosperity and wealth. The abundance of the produce of America has fertilized the greatest part of the soil of Europe, created or at least accelerated the progress of her industry, and laid the foundation of her immense commerce. The sugar, coffee, cotton, and tobacco of America have encouraged in Europe the growing of corn and rearing of cattle, the working of mines and improving of fisheries, the growth of the

The asser

manufactures of linen, silks, hardware, woollen cloth, jewellery, household-furniture, and arms, and the perfection of navigation and commerce. tion therefore is correct, that Europe is grown rich with the wealth of America; and the result will constantly and every-where be the same. The characteristic of wealth is to spread, to multiply in its progress, and to swell in proportion to the extent of the ground it has gone over. All doctrines that preach local labour, local industry, and local commerce, stop the circulation of wealth, stint its growth, and limit its extent. In short, the progress of general wealth is so much the more rapid, when it is the result of the concurrence of general labour, of all capitals, and of universal commerce; and it is so much slower when wealth is the result of private labour, and of the capitals and commerce of an individual nation.

But if it must be acknowledged, and if Adam Smith himself has confessed, that Europe has derived great advantages from the colonization of America, it does not appear equally certain that nations with colonies have shared more largely in those advantages than those nations that have no colonies.

“The particular advantages,” says Adam Smith, “which each colonizing country derives from the colonies which particularly belong to it, are of two different kinds ; first, those common advantages which every empire derives from the provinces subject to its dominion; and secondly, those peculiar advantages which are supposed to result from provinces of so very peculiar a nature as the European colonies of America.

« ForrigeFortsett »