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The Great Republic by the Master Historians
Our Achievements and Prospects
by Bancroft, Hubert H.


[At the merging of the old and new eras, marked by events as plainly as by the calendar, it is the historian's duty to gather together the records of accomplished progress, and by their light forecast the probable direction of the great forces which are transforming the world we know into the marvellous cosmos our posterity will inherit. The retrospective reviews which follow contain the materials of which the history proper of our country will be made when it comes to be written in the fulness of time. The first article is Senator Depew's contribution to the work entitled "American Supremacy: Industrial; Commercial; Financial; by One Hundred American Writers."]

Our own country is peculiarly the pride of the nineteenth century. It has been the most complete example ever presented of the working out under favorable conditions of the principles and opportunities of civil and religious liberty. The marvellous development of the United States cannot be attributed solely or mainly to climate, to soil, to the virgin forests, or to unlimited and unoccupied territory. South America, Central America, and Mexico were as well, if not better, equipped in these respects. The garden of Eden, that fertile and fruitful portion of Asia, which for ages was the seat of empire, civilization, art, and letters, and for centuries the hive from which swarmed the conquerors of Europe, has returned to aboriginal conditions of desert and wilderness. Every industry whose growth is a feature of our progress is the expression and witness of the beneficent principles of our freedom and liberty of individual action.

The stories of battles and conquest, of the founding of dynasties and the dissolving of empires, of the sieges of cities and the subduing of peoples, which constitute the body of written history from the beginning of recorded time, are in ghastly contrast to the glorious, beneficent, and humanitarian picture of the achievements of the nineteenth century.

A philosopher has said that he is a benefactor of mankind who makes two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before. We celebrate harvests in inventions and discoveries where existed only Saharas. We find that the nineteenth century has not only added enormously to the productive power of the earth, but, in the happiness which has attended its creative genius, it has made the sunlight penetrate where the sunbeam was before unknown.

A little more than a hundred years ago the first cotton-mill was running with 250 spindles. Whitney invented the cotton-gin, which created the wealth of the Gulf States and made the cotton industry over all the world tributary to them. Other inventors improved the machinery, and the single mill of that period has expanded into 1,000, and the 250 spindles have increased to 21,000,000. In 1794 the first wool-carding machine was put in operation, mainly under the impulse of American invention. There were in 1895 2,500 wool manufactories. The production of textile fabrics in this country supports about 600,000 employes. At the beginning of the century a few thousand tons of iron were manufactured. In 1899 the United States produced over 13,000,000 tons of pig iron, being more than any other country; while in the manufactured products of iron and steel we are also in the advance of nations.

These astonishing figures give only the basic results of production, for from them collaterally flow car-building, the miracles of the sewing-machine, of the vast employment and earnings of machinery manufacturing, of building and building materials, of the manipulation and composition of other metals, as silver and gold and copper and brass, of the singularly rapid rise of American glass interests, of the incalculable demands made upon furnace and mill and shop for railway appliances, of the immense production of utensils useful in domestic life and in agriculture, of the great supplies of material comprehended under the name of dry-goods, and of the machinery required for the telegraph, the telephone, and the creation of electrical energy.

The twentieth century will be a truth-seeking century. The nineteenth has been one of experiment. Invention and discovery have made the last fifty years of the nineteenth century the most remarkable of recorded time. Nature has been forced to reveal her secrets, and they have been utilized for the service of man. Lightning drawn from the clouds, through the experiments of Franklin, has become the medium of instantaneous globe-circling communication through the genius of Morse, of telephonic conversation by the discoveries of Bell, and the element of illumination and motive power by the marvellous gifts of Edison. Steam, which Fulton utilized upon the water and Stephenson upon the land, has created the vast system of transportation which has given the stimulus to agriculture and manufacturing products by which millions of people have been enabled to live in comfort where thousands formerly dwelt in misery and poverty. The forces of destruction, or rather the powers of destruction, have been so developed that, while the nations of the earth are prepared for war as never before, the knowledge of its possibilities for the annihilation of life and property is so great that peace has been maintained among the great powers of Europe, and our war with Spain was shortened by the scientific perfection of weapons and the skill of those who used them. Physical progress and material prosperity have led to better living, broader education, higher thinking, more humane principles, larger liberty, and a better appreciation in preaching and in practice of the brotherhood of man over all the globe.

The nineteenth century has closed with civilization more advanced in the arts and in letters than in the best days of Greece or Rome or the Renaissance; with the development in mechanical arts, in chemistry and in its appliances, in agriculture and in manufactures, beyond the experience of all preceding centuries put together. The political, social, and productive revolutions and evolutions of the period mark it as unique, beneficent, and glorious in the story of the ages. It has been the era of emancipation from bigotry and prejudice, from class distinctions and from inequalities in law, from shackles upon the limbs and padlocks upon the lips of mankind. It has been conspicuously the century of civilization, humanity, and liberty. As its presiding and inspiring genius looks proudly over the results, he may well say to the angel of the twentieth century, "You can admire, you can follow, but whither can you lead?"

The imaginary line drawn on the thirty-first day of December, 1900, between the past and the future cannot stop the wheels of progress nor curb the steeds, instinct with the life of steam and electricity, which are to leap over this boundary in their resistless course. The twentieth century will be pre-eminently the period for the equitable adjustment of the mighty forces called into existence by the spirit of the nineteenth century, and which have so deranged the relations of capital and labor, of trades and occupations, of markets and commercial highways. There will come about a oneness of races and nationalities by which the moral sense of civilization will overcome the timidity of diplomacy to prevent or to punish the repetition of such atrocities as have been perpetrated in Armenia. The Turk will either adopt the laws and recognize the rights of life, liberty, and property commonly recognized among Christian nations, or his empire will be dismembered and distributed among the great powers of Europe. Militarism, which is crushing the life out of the great nations of the Continent, will break down because of the burdens it imposes and the conditions it exacts. The peoples of those countries, groaning under this ever-increasing and eventually intolerable load, will revolt. They will teach their rulers that that peace is not worth the price which can only be maintained by armaments which are increased on the one side as rapidly as on the other, so that peace depends upon an equilibrium of trained soldiers and modern implements of war. They will discover closer ties of international friendship, which will strengthen year by year, and in the camaraderie of international commerce they will come to maintain amicable relations with one another before tribunals of arbitration and under the principles of justice. The world will discover, as we found in our own country in our Civil War, and again in 1898, that a free people quickly respond to the call of patriotism to meet every requirement of war in defence of their nation, and that armies of citizen soldiers, when the danger is past, resume at once their places in the industries of the land. The twentieth century will realize the prophecy, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks."

The pessimist has proved with startling accuracy that with the exhaustion of fuel supplies in the forests and in the coal mines, the earth can no longer support its teeming populations, and that we are rushing headlong into anarchy and chaos. The twentieth century will find in the methods of the production of electrical power an economy of fuel and an increase of force which will accelerate progress and conserve our storage of supplies. Transportation both by land and by sea will be done solely by electricity. The same power will run the mills, the furnaces, and the factories. It will revolutionize and economize the processes of domestic life. It will shift and alter centres of production to places where electrical power can be more cheaply evolved, and that power will be utilized at long distances from its sources.

The hospitals of the world reached their highest and best conditions in the nineteenth century for the care and cure of the sick and the injured. The hospitals of the twentieth century will perform this work as well, if not better, but they will also be schools of investigation and experiment. It is the peculiarity of each generation that it accepts as a matter of course that which was the astonishment and wonder of its predecessor. The antiseptic principle, which has made possible modern surgery - the discovery of a surgeon still living,- is the commonplace of our day. So are the wonderful revelations which came through the trained brains and skilled hands of Pasteur and of Koch. Systematic and scientific research under liberal and favorable conditions will make the hospitals of the twentieth century the very sources of life. As the Gatling gun and the mitrailleuse enable the explorer in central Africa to disperse hordes of savages and open up unlimited territories for settlement and civilization, so will the leaders of the hospital laboratory produce the germicides which will destroy the living principles of consumption, of tuberculosis, of cancer, of heart, nerve, brain, and muscular troubles, and of all the now unknown and incalculable enemies which give misery and destroy life.

Continuing concentration and centralization of capital in great enterprises and in every field of production will be compelled by small margins of profit and the competition of instantaneous and world-wide communication. At the same time labor, more skilled, better educated, more thoroughly organized, finding a larger purchasing power in wages, and intelligently commanding its recognition by international compacts, will improve its condition, will find the means of quick and peaceable settlement with capital, and the relations of these two great forces will be much more beneficent and friendly.

Artists, whether with brush or chisel, or upon the lyric or dramatic stage, will require for success profounder study, broader experience, and more universal masters; but they will secure these essentials in schools at convenient centres, not only of countries, but of territorial divisions of countries. The great artist who can produce a picture which will rank with the works of Raphael or Titian and of the best exponents of modern schools will receive as adequate reward as ever for his masterpieces, and at the same time the processes of copying by the assistance of nature and chemistry will be so accurate that, with a copyright, his revenues will be increased, and his picture, perfect in every detail and expression, as well as in its general effect, and cheaply reduplicated, can be the delight, the inspiration, and the instruction of millions of homes.

Then there will be an increase in socialistic ideas and tendencies. The aim will be for a full and complete experiment of the principles of State paternalism and municipal communism. As we face the future we have no doubts as to the result, nor do we doubt that the inherent vigor of nations is greater as their institutions rest upon the liberty of the individual; yet, like the French Revolution and the theories and experiments which carried away the best thought and the highest aspirations of our own country in the earlier years of the century, the popular tendency is for the trial of these methods of escape from ever-present poverty and misery and old-age disability. Human nature, however, has in all ages manifested itself in the social organization according to its lights and its education. Light and intelligence both accompany opportunity and experiment, and control them; and the twentieth century will close with the world better housed and better clothed, its brain and moral nature better developed, and on better lines of health and longevity. It will also exhibit increased and more general happiness, and the relations of all classes and conditions with one another will be on more humane and brotherly lines than we find them as we look back.

Let us reckon American manufacturers from the infancy of the cotton and wool production in 1794 at practically zero on the one side, and on the other Europe, with the accumulated capital of over a thousand years and the accretion of the skill of all the centuries. The race-course of progress was open to the Old World and the New. Father Time kept the score, and Liberty said, "Go." To-day, after one hundred years, the American farm has become the granary of the world; the American loom and spindle and furnace and factory and mill supply the wants of 76,000,000 people in our land, and we exported in the fiscal year ending in June, 1900, domestic merchandise to the enormous value of $1,370,000,000. Europe, pushing forward on a parallel course, finds herself outstripped at the close of the century by this infant of its beginning in agricultural production, in manufactured products, in miles of telegraph and of railway, and in every element of industrial and material production and wealth. She finds one after another of her industries leaving her to be transplanted to this country, even with the conditions of labor, which makes up ninety per cent. of the cost of all manufactures, nearly fifty per cent. in her favor. American inventive genius has cheapened the cost of production on this side of the Atlantic to the advantage of American wages, and the principles of the Declaration of Independence have done the rest. Our population has grown from 3,000,000 to 76,000,000; our accumulated wealth, from less than $100,000,000 to about $70,000,000,000; the number of our farms, from probably about 100,000 to 5,000,000; our agricultural products, from just sufficient for the support of 3,000,000 people to an annual commercial value of $4,000,000,000. The workers upon our farms have increased from about 400,000 to 9,000,000; the operatives in our factories, from a handful to 5,000,000; and their earnings, from a few thousand dollars to $2,300,000,000. The increase in wages has been correspondingly great. Ever since 1870, it has been sixty per cent., and the purchasing power of money has enhanced about the same. Our public school system was very crude at the beginning of the century, and the contribution of the States for its support very small. Now we spend for education annually $156,000,000, as against $124,000,000 for Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, and Italy combined.

It is easy to see that Europe, with its overcrowded populations, its more difficult and almost insoluble problems, and with the limitations imposed upon development and opportunity by its closely peopled territories, must advance in wealth and material prosperity and the bettering of the condition of the masses by destructive revolutions or by processes which are painfully slow. The United States, with a country capable of supporting a population ten times in excess of that with which the new century opens, with its transportation so perfected that it can be quickly extended as necessity may require, with its institutions so elastic that expansion strengthens instead of weakening the powers of the government and the cohesion of its States, will advance by leaps and bounds to the first place among the nations of the world, and to the leadership of that humanitarian civilization which is to be perfected by people speaking the English tongue.

[The great dominating fact that forces itself upon the attention of the outer world when America is mentioned is our commercial progress. It stares every commercial nation in the face like a haunting spectre. The foreign trader, economist, or statesman cannot read his local newspaper without being startled by new proofs of the irresistible invasion of his markets by American merchants. The great powers that have lived in the comfortable delusion of everlasting security against the inroads of harmful trade competition, have these few years been rudely awakened from their repose. Wars for territorial conquest have not ceased, but the weapons and aims have taken on a new and pacific-looking aspect. Where kings used to fight for kingdoms and keep shifting the frontier lines on maps, the captains of industry and princes of trade now cross the seas on grand crusades of commerce, with national markets and new fields in the remotest quarters of the most primitive old world for their battle-fields, and the practical civilization of neglected races for their aim and reward. What may be the chief stimulating causes of this striking expansion of American commercial mission-work it is not our province to ascertain. The chronicles of progress are our present concern. Enough for the immediate purpose that the broad field be fairly surveyed, not microscopically, for that would be as unprofitable as it is impracticable, but surveyed from the standpoint of an observant patriot, proud to see how the throbbing inventive and productive activity of his country - the youngest in the family of great nations - is astounding the elder branches by the boldness of its triumphal march along the highways of the old world.

Statistics may be uninviting to the general reader, though they can be so presented as to unfold the real fascination existing in the simple facts of our progressive life. It is only by comparing past and present data that we can rightly see and comprehend our progress, or retrogression. To attempt to convey an adequate realization of our commercial advance during the decade between any two censuses without citing figures, would fail in the main object of the effort, which is to enable the reader to get a firmer grasp of the situation by working out for himself the salient facts.

The first broad view of recent trade growth is best gained by a deliberate study of the following statistical statement, showing the increase of our export sales of manufactured goods in foreign markets. Two points are to be kept in mind; first, the increase of population from sixty-two millions in 1890, to seventy- six millions in 1900; and, second, note that foodstuffs are not included in the statement, unless the single item of malt liquors may come under that head.

This table shows the exportations of principal manufactures, arranged in the order of magnitude, in the fiscal year 1900, including all whose value in that year exceeded $1,000,000, and compares the exports of 1890 with those of 1895 and 1900:

Articles Exported from the United States.	1890.	1895.	1900.
Iron and steel and manufactures of	$25,542,208	$32,000,989	$121,858,344
Oils, mineral, refined	44,658,854	41,498,372	68,246,949
Copper manufactures	2,349,392	14,468,703	57,851,707
Leather and manufactures of	12,438,847	15,614,407	27,288,808
Cotton manufactures	9,999,277	13,789,810	23,890,001
Agricultural implements	3,859,184	5,413,075	16,094,886
Chemicals, drugs, etc	5,424,279	8,189,142	13,196,638
Wood manufactures	6,509,645	6,249,807	11,230,978
Paraffine and paraffine wax	2,408,709	3,569,614	8,602,723
Fertilizers	1,618,681	5,741,262	7,218,224
Scientific instruments	1,429,785	2,185,257	6,431,301
Paper and manufactures of	1,226,686	3,953,165	6,215,559
Tobacco manufactures	3,876,045	Not stated	6,009,646
Fibres, vegetable, manufactures of	2,094,807	2,316,217	4,438,285
Bicycles	Not stated	1,912,717	3,551,025
Books, maps, and engravings	1,886,094	1,722,559	2,941,915
Carriages and horse-cars	2,056,980	1,514,336	2,809,784
Starch	378,115	366,800	2,604,362
Cars for steam railways	2,689,689	868,378	2,554,907
India rubber and gutta percha manufactures	1,090,307	1,505,142
	2,364,157
Spirits, distilled	1,633,110	2,991,686	2,278,111
Vegetable oils (except cotton and linseed)	326,227	491,436
	2,162,759
Malt liquors	654,408	558,770	2,137,527
Clocks and watches	1,695,136	1,204,005	1,974,202
Musical instruments	1,105,134	1,115,727	1,955,707
Glass and glassware	882,677	846,381	1,933,201
Paints and colors	578,103	729,706	1,902,058
Gunpowder and other explosives	868,728	1,277,281	1,888,741
Brass manufactures	467,313	784,640	1,866,727
Soaps	1,109,017	1,092,126	1,773,921
Marble and stone manufactures	729,111	885,179	1,677,169
Zinc manufactures	156,150	237,815	1,668,202
Wool manufactures	437,479	670,226	1,253,602


Here are the total imports for the same years, important to consider alongside the above statement. In 1890 we imported, value in round numbers, $789,000,000, our exports being $68,000,000 in excess of our imports. In 1895 we imported $732,000,000, our exports being $75,000,000 in excess. In 1900 we imported $850,000,000, and our exports were $1,394,000,000, being $544,000,000 in excess of our imports.

The immense export trade in foodstuffs matches that in manufactures. Fewer manufactured goods come from Europe in payment of its annual debt to us for the means of life. How deep an inroad the United States has been making into European markets may be estimated by the increasing rumors of retaliatory measures, and the time will undoubtedly come when our traders will have to encounter new obstacles to progress. Meanwhile American makers of steel rails and bridges have triumphed over English and all other competitors in every part of the world. American contractors have constructed electric street railways in England, and various American manufactures of iron and steel are underselling British products, not only in neutral markets, but also in the United Kingdom. Recent reports of the rapid exhaustion of England's coal supply have added to the prevailing alarm. The advantage which American manufacturers have gained is due not merely to the superiority of our natural resources as respects the deposits of iron ore and coal, but also to the vast scale upon which our industries are organized, and the superiority of their appliances.

While the old world is growing alarmed at the prospect of diminished natural resources, we possess literally inexhaustible riches in mines, quarries, and the yield of the earth's surface. Of iron alone our store passes comprehension. Its importance is eloquently stated by a recent writer, who shows that "in the dependence of civilized man upon iron, he is but following nature, in whose realm nothing lives, moves or exists without it. It is in the water which bubbles from the earth; it is in every drop of blood which flows through the veins of life; it is in the rocks and soil under our feet, in the vegetation about us, and in the heavens above us. The meteors which fall from the skies are composed almost entirely of iron. It is known to exist in large amounts in the heavenly bodies, and the gases of which iron is composed are found to make up largely the masses of vapor which float in the firmament, and which, by the forces of nature, are solidified into worlds.

"The use of iron in the United States is in its infancy. Its consumption is progressing each decade with a cumulative force. Fifty years ago, one hundred pounds were consumed in the United States annually, for each one of its inhabitants; ten years ago, there were three hundred pounds for each person, and to-day we are consuming iron at the rate of four hundred pounds yearly for each one of our seventy-six millions of inhabitants."

Great Britain has been a great producer of iron ore, supplying many of the world's markets with the raw material and manufactures of iron. It now furnishes about seventeen per cent. of the world's output, and the United States produced nearly thirty per cent. Germany comes next with twenty-one per cent.

The well-worked coal-field of Great Britain cover 9,000 square miles; those of Germany, 3,600; Russia, 27,000; India, 35,000; France and Belgium, 3,200; those of the United States, 194,000. They are exceeded only by the coal-fields of China and Japan, which are estimated at 200,000 square miles.

The State of Pennsylvania produces more coal than any state or country in the world, with the exception of Great Britain. There were 73,066,943 tons of bituminous coal mined in 1899, and 54,034,224 tons of anthracite. A great deal of the bituminous coal was made into coke, so that 12,196,570 tons of coke were produced, and 52,895,383 tons of coal shipped to market.

Cotton is another staple product with a gratifying record. From 1870 to 1880 the crop ayeraged about four million bales per annum, which has been more than doubled since 1890.

"The cotton belt covers 24 degrees of longitude and 10 degrees of latitude. Excluding from the count the greater part of Virginia, more than 100,000 square miles of western Texas and the whole of Kentucky, Kansas, Missouri, Utah, California, Arizona, and New Mexico, the cotton-growing region measures nearly 600,000 square miles, almost one-third of the total area of settlement in 1890 of the United States. The 20,000,000 acres planted in cotton occupies barely five acres in every 100 of this extensive region. Scarcely fifty per cent. of this territory is in farms, and not more than one-fifth has at any time been tilled. This section contained in 1890 a population of over 8,000,000 whites, and something over 5,000,000 negroes, in all 13,651,006, every 100 of them producing 53 bales of cotton,"

The value of the cotton crop in 1897 was nearly $320,000,000, and each year we are manufacturing more of it for our domestic trade, while our exports continue enormous. The cotton-seed industry has grown rapidly, a hundred new mills having been erected during nine months of 1900.

The total corn crop of the world in 1898 was 2,634,000,000 bushels, of which the United States produced 1,924,000,000. We grew in the same year 675,000,000 bushel of wheat towards the whole world's total of 2,725,000,000. Our area for growing cereal crops is unlimited. The vast Northwest has been experiencing a period of low prices, yet it shows a yearly average market value of about $900 for each farm in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, in cereal crops, exclusive of cattle and dairy products.

"Half of Minnesota's nearly 40,000,000 acres are still unfarmed. Of the two Dakotas, only 19,000,000 acres are occupied, with four times that extent still waiting the further advance of civilization. Not a tithe of the mineral wealth of the Mountain States has been developed. Alaska, reached by numerous steamship lines from Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland, with its boundless wealth of auriferous rivers and mountains, is an outpost of this Northwest belt. Large areas of fertile but arid land in Montana, Washington, and northwestern Dakota, now useful only as pastures for cattle and sheep, may easily be converted into fruitful fields by a scientific system of irrigation, for which nature affords abundant facilities in the mountain streams and in the artesian basins which underlie the Dakota plains."

Our exports of flour promise to exceed the exports of wheat.

The American farmer is cheered by the assurances of competent authorities that he has now a new money-making crop at hand if he cares to seize the opportunity. He is urged to cultivate sugar. As the subject is interesting from various points of view, we quote from a striking article in the Forum written by Secretary Wilson, of the Department of Agriculture.]

"The importance of this subject to the people of the United States may be seen from the fact that during the past five years the average amount paid out by them for imported sugar has been $101,575,293. The refined product from imported sugar during the year 1897 was 1,760,607 tons, while the production of sugar from all sources in the United States during 1897 amounted to 335,656 long tons, as follows: 41,347 tons from sugar-beets; 289,009 tons from ribbon cane; 5,000 tons from maple trees, and 300 tons from sorghum cane. Thus the total consumption in the United States for the year was 2,096,263 tons. .

"The farmers of our country produce from the soil grains, cotton, tobacco, vegetables, fruits, horses, cattle, hogs, sheep, various animal products, and the like; and if we can add to our farm systems any crop that yields an article of common use, is not exhaustive of plant-food, and whose by-product is valuable in making meat and dairy products, it will find favor with producers. There are very few crops or manufactures of them of which this can be said so emphatically as it can be said of sugar-beets. The grains are well-known soil-robbers. They carry from the soil nitrogen, potash, phosphoric acid, lime, magnesia, and the other elements of plant-food. Tobacco is peculiarly severe in this regard because none of its by-products are fit for animal food; and what is sold from the farm carries away so much mineral plant-food that most soils are soon exhausted if not replenished by commercial fertilizers, the purchase of which is out of the question in many parts of the United States. Meats take away comparatively little plant-food from the soil compared with their money value. The cotton-plant is not exhaustive if the stalks are plowed under and the seed is returned to the soil, either directly or through the instrumentality of domestic animals. The oil of the cotton-seed may be sold without taking any plant-food from the farm, as it comes from the atmosphere through the leaves of the plant. Butter is also harmless in this respect, and does not impoverish the land on which the cow grazes. Sugar is as harmless as oil and butter; it comes from the carbonic dioxide of the atmosphere. If the sugar-beet is hauled to the factory and the pulp taken back to the farm, no plant-food is lost to the soil."

[As certain sugar-producing countries threaten a tariff war, the writer advocates a change of farm policy.]

"Instead of sending our mill-feeds abroad in the shape of oil-cake, bran, cotton-seed meal, gluten meal, and similar by-products, we should ourselves convert them into live stock, meats, and other animal products, in which form they can be sold in foreign markets to greater advantage. When we make our own sugar and divide $100,000,000 among our farmers, laborers, and capitalists, we can afford to that extent to keep our raw materials at home."

[The deeper meaning of the statistics of our recent exports is perceived when we ask where all these swelling totals of merchandise find their destination. The old-established markets are not consuming all the excess of our later annual output. We are finding new markets, and when we do not readily find them we are making them. Old countries are being explored, and tight markets opened up. The financiers of Europe have been eagerly seeking more profitable fields for the investment of capital than their own countries have afforded of late. The great colonies of England have employed much of this. Her efforts to establish new territory in Africa have the same end in view. Russia is pushing her powerful interests in almost every direction, quietly dominating where she does not openly annex. France and Germany are trying their hands at colonization, and so the game goes on, with greater or less success to the adventurers. The extent to which the leading countries of Europe have been absorbing territory in Africa and Asia is indicated by a recent report of the United States commercial agent at Weimar regarding the colonial possessions of European states. He shows that, outside the mother country, Great Britain holds 16,662,073 square miles of territory, with a population of 322,000,000; France, 2,505,000 miles, with a population of nearly 50,000,000; Germany, 1,615,577 miles, with a population of 7,450,000; Holland, 783,000 miles, with a population of 34,210,000; and Portugal, 809,914 miles, with a population of 10,215,000.

One writer of weight, in the Forum, Prof. T. H. Gore, of Columbia University, gives a warning to those who may rest too confidently in the continuance of our present rising scale of exports. Germany, he says, is already a great industrial and manufacturing country. She has to buy our cereals and meats to the value of about forty millions a year, which alone must be a powerful stimulus to her agricultural production.

"It is true we are a great people, but we are not independent of the rest of the world. It is true we have a country with unparalleled natural facilities for manufactures and agricultural pursuits, with an ingenious people utilizing machinery in every possible direction, with a territory so vast as to include soil and climate adapted to all the forms of food demanded by man and beast, and with mines to yield many sorts of ores as well as the coal for their reduction. But with these blessings - blessings in abundance - there may be a limit to our industrial advance. Under normal conditions two causes can arrest our progress; viz., scarcity of labor and a loss of our agricultural exports. With the immigration we have had in such abundant measure, together with our increase in native population, it would seem impossible that labor should ever be scarce. In quantity, perhaps, this may be true; but for the manufactories some skill is required, and intelligence above the ordinary is needed. Then, for each additional five or six families whose heads are engaged in the shops or factories, one farmer must start his plough for their support, or else our exports must be diminished by a corresponding amount. This farmer must take up new lands, less productive than those now formed, or else a subdivision of lands now under cultivation must take place. Both these steps have been taken. The size of farms has decreased from 199 acres in 1860 to 137 in 1890, and the number of farms has increased a great many fold in this period."]

Recent calculations show that the capital invested in farming is not less than $16,000,000. The farm animals of the United States are valued at $2,300,000. The unreclaimed and unwatered lands of Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma comprise about five hundred million acres. Our average annual exports of agricultural products are worth about $664,000,000.

The commercial consequences of the Spanish-American war cannot yet be grasped, even in imagination. With the West Indies virtually knocking at our door, and the East Indies now within touch, it is not possible for American trade to suppress the instinct of expansion, subject to the controlling conditions which the higher patriotism shall ultimately establish. Our export business is not confined to manufactured goods, or food-stuffs, or raw materials. We export men also. American missionaries have prepared the way for many a coming army of civilizing agents, teachers of industries and arts, ingenious devisers of railways, canals, and other necessities of development among primitive peoples. American capitalists have been scouring the wide world for places and interests in which to embark their money. American diplomatists and consuls have been educating foreigners to understand us and accept our co-operation in lifting their lands to a higher social and commercial plane. All these agencies are now conspiring to open the great door of the Eastern Hemisphere to our trade and to keep it open for ever. Our unlooked-for hold on the Philippines formed the first stepping-stone to the Chinese wall which we, with other powers, are going to surmount. With the origin and lamentable features of the complicated quarrel between the allied powers and the rulers of China, we have no concern in this place. Its bearings on our commercial future are pertinent to the topic in hand.

The official statistics of the Chinese Government show the value of the total imports from the United States in 1898, the latest year for which reports have been received, equal to $12,016,318. This, however, does not include all of the United States merchandise entering China, since our exports to Hong-Kong are equal to about one-half of those exported direct to China, and, presumably, a very large proportion of the exports to HongKong is destined ultimately for Chinese markets. During the early years of the decade ending with 1899, exports to Hong-Kong were larger than those to China direct; but the Chinese ports have been steadily gaining upon Hong-Kong, and in the fiscal year 1899, the shipments from the United States to ports of China were double the amount of shipments to Hong-Kong, being, for China, $14,493,440, and to Hong-Kong, $7,732,525. It appears, therefore, that the total value of goods entering China from the United States is now about $20,000,000 annually, while our imports in 1899 from China and Hong-Kong combined amounted to $21,098,542.

The port of New Chwang is in the extreme northeast, and while the volume of American goods has not been great, the consular report for 1899 throws light on the probable extensive growth of our trade throughout the whole empire. It states that "the value of this trade during the year was 176 per cent. more than ten years ago. American kerosene oil has increased from 89,000 gallons to 1,730,000 gallons. Russian oil was not known ten years ago, so that the 92,000 gallons of this oil which were imported this year cannot be set against any figure of 1888. The American oil is naturally in most favor. Cotton cloth has increased in ten years from 40,000 haikwan taels in value to 677,000; and raw cotton, from 239,000 haikwan taels to 1,045,000. Both American drills and American sheetings have come into great favor here, the demand for them having became quite phenomenal. Ten years ago American drills were valued at 219,000 haikwan taels; in 1898 their value had reached 1,270,000, and American sheetings had grown in the same period from 426,000 to 2,154,000. On the other hand, English drills, which were valued in 1888 at 70,000 haikwan taels, had dwindled to 5,000, and English sheetings had declined in value from 70,000 haikwan taels to 52,000."

There is sharp competition among several nationalities to get concessions for the laying of railways through China. Americans stand well with the authorities, and are pushing these and other interests which are to open the way for ever- expanding business between our merchants and the Chinese people. On the other hand, it is probable that China will realize before long her own vast latent power as a producer and competitor in markets. In view of this Americans are getting their hand in by establishing improved means of developing the resources of the country. A friendly co-operation offers a happier outlook than rivalry from the outside. A population of four hundred million in an area of four million square miles offers a market for other besides material wares. About 386,000,000 of these people are crowded into about one and a quarter million square miles. When we have gridironed their country with railways and taught them our high farming, the Chinese may easily prove to be our dangerous rivals in food production for the nations. The outcome of the wholesale thrusting of modern Western ideas and methods upon this ancient and unprogressive people is yet to be tested, and American industry must regard the commercial invasion of China as one of the great problems of the new century, fraught with momentous issues to our domestic welfare.

Africa is four times as large as the United States, with a population supposed to be more than double our own. Its long-unexplored interior has quickly been divided up by the great powers of Europe. Great Britain, whose sons first made its wonderful possibilities known to the world, controls an area larger than that of the United States; France, and area almost equal in extent but comparatively unprofitable, and other nations hold smaller tracts. The Transvaal and Orange Free State, nominally annexed before actually conquered by Great Britain, comprise an area of about 170,000 square miles. Our export trade with Africa is as yet small, some $18,000,000 a year; but it has increased over three-fold in ten years, and would have reached its highest point but for the Boer war. America is interested in the diamond and gold enterprises over which the quarrels arose, by capital invested, by the export of mining machinery, and the local establishment of commercial agencies and employment of American civil engineers.

American capital has gone out to many nations during the later years of the century. Independent of the $80,000,000 loaned by this country to Russia, England, Germany, and Mexico within the last year, there have been about $30,000,000 of American capital invested abroad since 1890.

Among the other securities of foreign governments now held by Americans are those of Sweden, Switzerland, Wurtemberg, Servia, Bulgaria, Hungary, South Australia, and Tasmania. One of the New York insurance companies held $100,000 of Transvaal bonds when the recent war began, and another company held $50,000 of the same loan. Both these companies also held $100,000 of Cape of Good Hope government bonds.

Canadian bonds have always found favor in this market. A recent compilation by one of the Montreal banks developed the fact that $4,250,000 in bonds of the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia governments, and of the cities of Toronto, Quebec, and Winnipeg, were the property of New York City investors.

The great business combinations popularly called trusts are a sign of the times. Whatever may be their economic significance, there is no mistaking the enormous progressive transformation going on in the realms of trade and finance when it is possible within five or six years to form about four hundred large combinations, with an aggregate capital of something like $6,000,000,000.

The haulage and water transport of the immense volume of merchandise is a distinct problem, affecting very closely the welfare of the industrial and trading classes. There is a cry from all quarters for wise legislation to regulate railway rates, and put an end to what is claimed to be unjust discrimination in favor of the larger shippers against the smaller. When an equitable adjustment is effected, whatever it may be, it is sure to give a fresh impetus to national commerce. The demand for a system of ship subsidies has influential and indefatigable advocates. It is based, putting the case broadly, on the claim that without a sliding scale of government payments to owners, it will be impossible to secure a sufficient supply of American vessels to carry our merchandise to markets in foreign lands. We do not here enter into any details of fact or argument. The proposal that the United States should pay $9,000,000 a year for twenty years, in certain proportions among selected ships, was met by the objection that the great American steamers that now ply between Europe and America would receive more than the poorer ships which ought to be making regular trips to markets in South and Central Americas. Great Britain pays about seven million dollars a year in ship subsidies, thereby securing the regular carriage of the mails, the construction of passenger ships quickly transformable into men-of-war at need, and the frequent fixed sailing periods induce a large passenger patronage. In whatever direction the wise decrees of our law-makers may operate, it is not open to doubt that the new century will see the rise of a mercantile marine adequate to the carrying of our commerce to the new markets we are opening all over the globe, without our having to employ the vessels of any commercial competitor.

The whole question of commercial expansion is involved in the long-pending discussion upon the policy of constructing a canal at Nicaragua or Panama. Such a water-way would facilitate the transport of merchandise between the United States and the South American republics. It is stated that the proposed Nicaragua canal would have a traffic from the proposed Nicaragua canal would have a traffic from the start of three million tons a year. The commercial wants of South America are at present supplied by Europe. The only manufactures bought from us are those which Europe cannot make. The new route will save nearly ten thousand miles of sea journey between New York and San Francisco, and will save, it is said, $35,000,000 a year to the United States in trade. Great Britain's commercial interests are so seriously imperilled by the bare contemplation of the canal that diplomatic objections have been raised to the proposal to fortify the approaches, in our own interest, in case of future war. The matter will be disposed of as every grave question has been, that has closely touched the pride and the strength of a nation which has hitherto succeeded in managing its affairs from the standpoint of patriotism.

This rapid survey of the trend of American commerce bears out the claim, that, if we do not actually lead the world in the century's opening years, only a few years will elapse before we shall occupy that proud position. London, Paris, and Berlin are borrowing gold from New York; Europe, Asia, and Africa seek in American markets for food they cannot or do not themselves produce, and for the products of more highly skilled brains and muscles than those which find employment in their workshops. These simple facts contain the promise and potency of early and lasting supremacy.

Chauncey M. Depew

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