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Are The American Farmers Bankrupt?

Are The American Farmers Bankrupt? image
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It seeius to be a nevv teature of freetrade argument that its promoters are Ktsertlnu by speech anil in print that luider onr proteetive policy oor farmers are prowinjt poor. SeveralEnglish writers oí note have publishcd statements to this effect, wliicii have been elrenlated freely in this country. It might seem-if theae wrlters had not been known ns frce-trade propagandutii and thelr works luid not been po Industriously circula ted here - that their aini was only to keep up the courase of tlio English farmers hy shovFing that howcver deplorable their condition nnder freetrade, their American competitors were no better offunder protection. But the wide circulation of these statements In the United States clenrly pol n ti to a different purpose, and that it is only a ncw and more subtle. form of freo trilde inis-ion wolk. The open assuults of Mongredien and otbert hnvtng proved tailures, and the CoMen Club haring formally acknowledjred thst the Americ ui Farmer could not be d.'luücd in that way, this way has been adopted, with what partial IQCCesa may be leen in the tlForts of Colonel Beverle, late president of the Farmers' Congress, to persuade his fellow farmers that tliey were prevlouily oppressel with t.ixes. This claim of Colonel Heverly met with the dffeat it always will in the presence of intelligent farmers. But the itory of exoetslre luxes contitiues to cir¦iilute. Harper Brotben, the eminent mblUhers, have lately repriiited. In cheap form for wide circulation, a book ntlUed " Enrland's Supremaey," by f. S. Jeanp, an English economist, in vhicb this statement about the suñ'erings )f our farmers is the basis of an argu?i mi, agajuit I'rotection. Farmers do not, however, need to be nstructed by Kiiülisli economists as to heir iuterests. 'J'hey have ahvays been ompetent to take care of their own flaiis - from the days of the protectionst farmn-, Washington, down 10 the time t Uk; Farmen' Congress, lately beid in Chicago. But for the benetit of those vLo are not farmers and, therefore. ni;iy ie misled bv plausible statements of tiee rade economUU, we give here the result of a careful inquiry as to the condition of American farmers by Edward Atkiuson, ne of the best known of our nvestigatrs and writers on economie lUbjecU. We quote from a letter written by Mr. Atkinson and published in Bradstruel's f November 12th, and it will be seeu ow completely the facts which he gives verthrow this free trade argument that rotection bas impoverished our farmers. Mr. Atkinson aays: Among the various objections or critiisms which were made in the columus f the Londou Times were several very wsitive assertions that the western fann;rs of tliis country were generally banknpt, or were losing money, especially on wheat, and were being eateu up by mortgages and taxes. It occurred to me, lowever, tliat these statements could oubtles be disproved by giving the exerience of some of the corporations or irms which have beeu in the business of euding eastern capital upon mortgages ecured by western farms during the lal ew j'eurs. In reply to my questions, 1 have teeived len Communications, covering a erm of years rangtngfrom four totbirtyght. A summary of the replies, disreardins fractions, is as follows: Number of moitgage?, 200,000. Total amount loaned, $180,000,000. Average per mortgajte, f900. AliCNidy paid, 119.000 mortgagc-. Amount outstanding, $75,U00,O(H) Number of mortgages outstanding, 1,000. The total number of foreclosures is not given in all cases; in some the amount is glven, in others the number. By coinputatlon on the average, the total n amber cannot exoeed 1,000. The reduction u the rate of interest bas been from 10 per cent. annual intere-t and 10 per cent. commissiou on a five reara' mortgage to an average of 6)4 to T' per cent, ut the present time, without commissioii. The business " lias, to a great extent, ceased in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and we niighl also include Iowa; but It is still conducted further west."


Ann Arbor Courier
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