Press enter after choosing selection

Letter From Dr. Denton To The Farmers' Meeting

Letter From Dr. Denton To The Farmers' Meeting image
Parent Issue
Public Domain
OCR Text

As AnBOR, Dec. 1843.Mesirs. John Howlaud, John Cavender, Lewia Kemp and oibera: Observing your namea to a calí for a meeting of the Farmers of Lenawee, to further the farining nterests of the country, &c, 1, with a slighi hopo of being of eome service to you, and the community in general, have feit impelled toaddress you a letter, staring tome faets and observations.. at which I ïwyo arrived after much reflection; believing them somewhnt opplicable to the object you sem to have in view. Thai aeatth ís bvl the atcitmulaUd crcat.ions qf labor, ia a cardinairand obvious trtith, which none wiü pretend to deny. But how it is, thai that thosa who creati it all, are enabled to retain o litrle for their sharo Í8 a phenomenon which rcquirM expianaiion. "What stitn in dollars will represent the vol ueofthe annual producís of the Uniled Btates in all branches of productionT" Different answers have been given to this in.teresting question, by various statisticians, some estimating them as high as 1300 and others as high as 15 orlCOO millions of dollars. But in these cstimates, I have found that soveral large items have been twice and others t.iricereckoued. For instance our wool is first estimated, and Uien t sagain reckoned in our manttfactured woolenaandjust bo of our cottou ontl cotton goods. Our grain is first eatimaled, and then reckoned ovor again in the products of our flouring milla. The annual value of our lumber, bricks, and lime, is first put down and then it ie all re-estimated in th value of the buildings annually erectd. The lumber, mctals,cordage; &c, are first estimated, and then reckoned over again, in theannual valué of ships built, and the cordage, ai la, &c, all of whicb had been estimated önce previously in the value of the flax and hemp crops; and thus we mighr ge on through a very Jorge catalogue. It will rendüy be perceived that this mods of anafysis, wlll reduce the estiuiutcs of somoecononusta yery much. We have deducfed one item more from our estimates, viz: the nec'essary s'absis'enca of the laborera. Food, clothiög" and lodging are indiepcnsiblc, even forelaves;and all ihat isnhsolutely necessary for ttiat object, we have excluded in our calculations. The nggregate annu:il producta of induatfy, of all the laboring classes of the United Staica, over and above so much food and clothing, a8 a inaster in pursuit of his ovn interest, wouldallow hiBsIaves; amount to 1,046. 186,000. Now it is obvioue, that all the weakh which any man, or nny class of men, in the United States obtain in any way, Í3 derived directlyor indirectly, from ihis original suni. Now il we can arrive ai the eum which each class of non-producers annually receives, theremainder will be the amount left for distribuüon, ■mong those who créate it all. For this purpose we have gone into a very thorough and minute examination, to ascertain the mount annually distributed to each of the nonproducing classes, in the United States, viz: the nmount diatributed to the lavrjers, and all othere engaged in the adminiatration of the law - the amount distributed to the bankers, &c. - the amount distributed for township, county. state, village, city and national governraent purpo6es - the amount distributed to our merchante- the amount added to the public burthens, consequent upon the present mode of collecting the United States revenue, &c. &c.These aggregate sunis amoui t to $ 839.037.409, leaving for disfribution among the laborera. $157.097,591. This Í3 the laborers portion over nnd above such necessanes as a prudent master would provide for a elave, when actirig in conformiiy to his own interests. This you will. perceive, distributes about 9-llths of theaggregateproducts of ihe industry of the country, to the non-producing clssses leaving but 2-llths for those whose labor produces it all. Of course you cannot feel any great confidence in these bare statements, unaccompanied by the ftatmiics and other data by which I have arrived at these reaults; but the Iimits which must be preecribed for tbis episile, will notadmit of my giving them in this place; yet I would here observe, that I füund much greater facility in próceeding with these intricate esamates and calculations, than I had antieipated, ae in most instances, I have been able toarrive at the same general reBult, by two or more different modes of calcuiation, each based upon a different set of facts, thus pro ving on e anoiher, you will not therefore think. strange if I place great confidence in them.The laborera then, of this country, already yield up to the non-producing classes, nine elevenths of alJ the wealth wnich their toil creates; and the tendency is still onward; the non-producing classes are constantly increasing in numbers, and growing more exorbitant in their demanda, till eoon another eleventh will be taken from you, and ere long another, when a bare subsistence will be all that is left to the laboring man. England arrived at this stage several years ogo, to which we are now looking forward; and one would suppose when a nation had arrived at this crisis, it could go no farther; but not so with England. for the ponderous machinery still moved on, until labor would barely procuro two meals of victuals per day, and raiment and lodging in proportion, and at this very moment, a etruggle is going on if the period has not already orrived when the detnands of the non-producing classes punge up all but one meal per day for the laborer, and a few rags for raiment; and the same causes are in operation hero, working out the eame appalling results. Increase but slightly the expenses of our compücated forms of government, and our cumbersome system of jurisprudence - afford a few more iacillitiea for the increase of bankers and brokers - and let a few moreenter mto mercantile pursuits, &c, and these non-producer3 will be so numcrous. as to consume the products of your industry, leaving but a beggarly s ïbsistence lor the laboring classAnd who cannot perceive a eteady growth in the numbers and demands, of non-producers in this country. They are gradually becoming more copulent, and more numerous, and thus steadily trenchingupon the earnings of the laborers. The great interests of the laboring classes thcn, is to dispense, vrith as many non producers aa possible, and reduce the emoluments of such as are indispensuhlc, as low as the case admhs, for the more tnc-se gt j any way, the Iftss wealtli thcre is left for ihose who créate it all. The labor of the country produces but a given amount, and the queation is, who shall have it? The more there is bestowed upon the non-producers, the less there on be left for the laborers. For the purpos of illustrating the modo in wltich yoai substanco paseos inp. the hand ofnon-producers, and making someesiimatesof the enormity of its amount, let us eekct ior the sake of illustration, one clase, via: ] MERCANTÏLE NON-PRODUCERS. Iu 1840, the number of inhabitnnts in Michigan, was 212,267, and tho numbor of retail establishments was 6 12; being one ior everyöS faini lies of six persons each. Tho proportion is less in the Western States, and more for the Easteru, heing one to about every 33 families in New York and Maseachusetta, end one to eveiy 49 families of six persons each for the United Simes. Michigan then supported 12 retoil establishraents with all their families, and servants, and expensive rents of dweiling houses, and etorehoiises, clerka wages, the expenses of G12 mercanüle agents going to New York city and back twice a year. These country merebants buy of jobbers, who have olready realized a profit on these goods, and tho jobbers buy of wholesalers, orcommission houses, who hadpreviously realized a considerable profit. Any one must perceive, that tho extreme complication of this mercantiie 6ystcm, will render it enormously expensive, especially wben we take int ) the account, that all these different varieties of rnercaniile agenta are supported in a style superior to that oí the producing classes.By diligent enquiry among men who have been engaged in business as importing and commiseion merchants, and others who are experienced in jobbing; aüd then again amonget those who are experienccd as retailers, J am led to estimate ihese mercantile profits thus - 7he commission or importing merchant, sells ,$100 worth of goods to tha jobber and adds 15 per cent, making$íi5; (this sale is always quo ted as the wholesale pnce.) The jobber adds 20 per cent, and sells to the retailer or country merchant, who must pay of course $3S. The retailer now adds 33 1-3 per cent, and sella to the consumer, the latter haring to pay a: this rate, $184 for whatoriginally cost the importing or commission merchant but .$100. The coet of freight on an average for merchandize from JN'ew York to Ann Arbor, ís estimated at 5 per cent. which being deducted, leaves 70 per cent. lor mercantile profiis. Tlieseestimates of course are iniended as an average, mauy articles paying more arid others, less profits. But again, every country must sell as much as it buys; and hcre is another merean tile profit, realized by some one, on what is aold. For instance, in JVIay last', a barrel of Bout m Ann Arbor, was worth $3 12, and in New York city it was worth at the same time, $4 88 and it cost $1 10 to transport it; so the New York city merchant would purchaso the flour when it arrived, páy the transportation charges, and give to the Michigan merebant, or flour dealer, 21 per cent. profit on his investments. In transporting a barrel of flour, ws in effect transport 5 bushels of wheat, .which, at $1 10 per bbl. would be equivalent to 22 ets. per bushei: but when western wheat is worth 1 00 per bushei in New York city, the market price here does noi exceed 56 cents. This will pay the transportation, and net the Michigan wheat dealer 39 per cent on his parchase money; or if we allow 25 cents per bushei for transportaiion, the New York price pays 34 per cent profits on the purchase money. We suppose other articles of export pay the dealers as high a profit, if not higher; but for the purpose of being on the safe side, we will ca!l the average nierchantile profiis on ourexports 21 per cent. which being added totne y per cent prohts on the merchandize, mnke 100 per cent in mercaniileprofiis, besidesrpoyins costs of transportación both ways, for the purpose of changing the products oí their initysiry into merchandize. They give one barrel of flour. to get another exchangad for merchandize, besides paying for bringmg the goods here, and carrying the flour to New York city. To test the correctness of íhe ubove estimates, Iet me advise yuu to examine very frequently, and compare the prices current of New York city with those of your own county. For this purpoao I took up the New York Express, of the 15th Sept., by which' I learned that Illinois and Michigan wheat was sclling for $1 00 per bushel in New York city. In Ann Arbor, it was selling for 56 cenia. -A_n Article of broten shteiing was quoted in New York at 5 cents. (It must be recollected that the wholesale prices as quoted, are the prices at which ihe jobbers purchase of th.e importcrs or commission houses, after the first profit or 15 per cent isadded.) In Ann Arbor, a similar article of brown sheeting to that named in the Express, was selling for 9 cents,so in New York city,_a bushel of Michigan wheat, wouldpay for 20 yards of this brown sheeting, and at the same time in Ann Arbor, one bushel of wheat would pay for but 6 32-1 OOth yards. Bleaciied sheeting, one yard wide, wasjquoted at 7 cents. In Ann Arbor a similar article was selling for 11 cents. So in New York ciiy, one bushel of wheat woald buy 14 3-10 yards of this sheeting, and in Ann Arbor, would pay for bu. 5 and 1-11 yards. In the same paper, was quoted "plaids, stripes fas colors, checks, yard vride at 7 conts." On enquiring of one ofour merchants, he said goods of the same deseripüon, were selling here for 13 cents per yard. So in New York city a bushel of Michigan wheat would pay for 14 3-10 yards, when in Ann Arbor, a bushel would pay for buc 4 3-10 yards. Or in other words, it would require 3 3-10 bushels of wheat to purchase as much of these anieles in Ann Arbor, as one bushel would buy in New York city. Through the summer and now, rice is quoted in New York at írom 2 to 3 cents, and butseldom so high as 3. We will cali it 2 cents per pound, on an average. In Washtenaw county, the majority of retailéís have sold ricesteadily, as high as eeven cents, during the last summer. So in New York, one bushel of wheat would pay for 40 lbs. of rice, and in Washtenaw, but 8 lbs. - Or 40 lbs. of rice in New York city, would purchase bul one bushel of wheat, and here 40pounds of üce would pay for 5 bushels of wheat. And thu8 we might go on through the whole catalogue of merchandize; but enough has been shown to demónstralo lo any ono that the estimated mercantile profits as above stated, are not too high. Theproblem to be solved is, how much of this 100 per cent of mercantile profits cin be got rid of, if any; and in what way is the reform to be brought about? We should not be in liaste to aci on any of these important subjeets, until we have elicited all the,facts; forany actionbaeed on meagre or defective informaüon, must result disastrously to the undertaking. Our principal object, then, at present, should be f acts, and their general promulgation; and if the above esiimates approximate to the truth, and the public become well informed on the subject, we must all confess our mistake in the American character, if some practical scheme of relief is not discovered and put in execution. Positive knowledge being the great dtsidtra turn, we ought n$t at present to distraot ourtcntioii by any very anxious inquiry aboju the remedy, leaving that to dcvelopc itself, asit most assuredly will after a thorough understanding oí the evils and their extent. But as no one can contémplate these evils long, without reflecting more or less upon different plans of relief, po several bave been suggested to my own mind, one of which I will herc mention - doeming it of no other importanco however, than a mere 8uggostion. Let the State appoint tro or mors mercantife agents, to reside in New York city, and New England, for the purpose of making purchases, &c. for tho State, and selling all the produce frorn the State consigned to tliem. Each county on tbe start, will furnish them wi th a complete list the of spring and fnll purchases of merchandize for the previous year. - These, wiih the constant correspondence which would be kept up, would enable them to purehase for the whole State with as much ease and accuracy,as a merchant now can for a single firm ; and by purchnsing in such largo quantities, theywould be enabled to procure all kinds of American goods, of the faetones at firstcost, and foreigo goods at cargo prices, thus avoidingthe profits of the jobbing and commission merchatus too, in a great measure; hy wlrch means all our purchases would be madcat "first cost, excepta few of the foreign árdeles, and these at a great abatenicnt of the usual profits of loper cent. Tlius tliey would be enabled to purchase nine-tenths of our goods at fitst cost,and the remainderatso low a rato that one per centón the whole purchases, would cover the addilion to the first cost. The appropriate number of unbroken packa ges, would be marked and forwarded to cach eounty in the State. Forinstance, those consigned to Washtenaw, wóuld be received at a;suitable depot, in a build. ing possessing conveniences, for distnbutinii them, vhere nothing wo uld be received in e.change for goods, but a cerlificate of produce or or money deposited, wiih some proper. oflicer. - Frequent or daily 'ad vices fromour state agent? would enabie our eounty disiributors to know wbat prices it would answer to aüow for produce from day to day.This would enable us to avoid all ihe mercantile profitson our produce, and aíl but about one per cent on our merchandize. But our State agents and clerks,and the expenses of oacb county for distributíng the goods, ís unprovided for; ill oí which added to the one per cent above, would make it all amount to but 10 per cent insicad of 1 00, as it now docs. The present costa of transporation are too liigh, aijdjoo many persons aro makíng livings and gooá fortunes out of them. The number of carriers is smalL compared to tbose who do business with thein, conscquentiy the former can corabiragainst thelatter, andextort almost any rates thoy pJease; but if one man were acting for the whole state, he would have it in his power to make almost any terms he should choose. by oflering the business of the whole State, to ihe transportaron company that vvould do it chenpest. You indcharged in the present bilis of freigiit, icharfagc, tru-ekagc, storage, cooperagc, at Defroit, and again at N. Y. city, with tlie additioual items of inspection and commission: and perhaps nine tenths of these charges are purely fictitious, and could be avoided by a comprehensivesystera. And besides all these, such an agent could treat with the state of New York for a reduction of tolls. inspection, &c, which would in all likelihood be batèd, to prevent us passing through the Weiland Canal. A barrel of flourcan -be carried from Albany to Boston, over the railroad, all the way by land, 160 miles, at a cost to the company of but 16 cents. The present pricc of freight ontural produce, frora Michigan to New York city, all the way by water, amounls to 30 or 33 per cent on its cost. These, with mány other consideraüons, teach us that at present, freight both woys is quite too high and unciera cpmprehensive systera,might be greatly roduced. so much, perhaps, as to get our mcrchandize carried for 2 per cent instead of 5. aiid our exports for 20. instead of 30 or 33 per cent. We should not deern it inipossible to reduce the price of freight ultimately, so that a barrel of flour could be transportcd all the way for 5J cents, which would make wheat worth 93 cents in Michigan, when it is worth $1 in New Yorii city. More moderate reductionsin freight, than those which we have intimated. would save enough to pay our mercnntite agents for the State, and defray the expenses of distributing the goods. Some mighl be apprehensive of defalcations in our agents, but the revenues of our counties, staua, and nation; and the revenues of all nations are trusicd to the hands of men, and the ratio of defalcations is next to nothing. Our state and county organizations. now of bo little use, except to mere politicians, would then be converted to purposes of real utility to the masses, if we would invoke them to furnish our laboring men with as many of the necessaries of life for one day's work, one bushei of wheat or one barrel of flour, as they now obtain for two. I hope you will not suppose, thatlattach any mportance to this suggestionof a remedy. More information is what is most desirableat present, not only in reference to our mercan tile, but all other classes of non-producers. The grand nquiry should be, how to restore to the producers, ten-elevenths of their earnings, instead of extorting nine-elevenths and making constant encroachmcnts on theremainder. Cannot the farmers and the other laboring classes of Michigan, eslablish a weekly or semimontlily paper which shall be devoted to an investigation of their inieres:s,in all their bearinge, and through the columns of which ihe producing clas8 can hold intercourse for the interchange of opinio ns.Tours, &c, SAMUEL DENTÓN. Robert Dale Owen, the atheist, told John Randolph that the day would come vvhen mankind should discover the principie of vitality, and of course learn to live forever. "Are you not aware," said he, "that in Egypt, by artificial heat, the people créate thousands of chickens." "Yes," replied Randolph, "but you forget to teil us who furnishes the eggs. Show me the man who can lay an egg, and Pil agree to your parallel case." - The proposition was a poser. The public debt of Mexico is estimated at $82,000,000, and bears annual interest of $4,900,000. The actual income from all sources of revenue is about $13,000,000, and the annual expenditures of the Government are a little over this sum.


Signal of Liberty
Old News