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pared with the previous season; and it now appears that of the entire products of sugar in the United States, one-fifth is received and sold at this port, and while New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore received during the year thirty-three million pounds of New Orleans and Texas Sugar, nearly forty-four million pounds were received at this port. In our last annual report we had occasion to refer to the internal improvements of our State as having given the first and great impetus to this trade, and we may now remark that continued extensions of these inland channels of communications in our own and the neighboring States are constantly opening new markets to our merchants, and very soon the cities and towns on the Northern Lakes, as well as all the leading places in Indiana, which hitherto have been cut off from market during the winter months, will be in communication by railroad with this city. This will obviate the necessity which the merchants of these places have been under of taking their winter and spring supplies before the closing of lake and canal navigation. With the railroads referred to, our city may be reached in a few hours, and sugar and molasses from the plantations of Louisiana may be delivered in any of the Lake cities in less than two weeks.
The fluctuations in prices during the year have been very slight in both sugar and molasses; and coffee has also been comparatively steady. There has been little or no speculative movement, and the uniformity in prices is attributable in some degree to this fact. Last September, the average price for sugar was 6 1-16 cents, and for molasses 337 cents. The highest average was in November, when sugar was 67 and molasses 373; but with the first receipts of the new crop, prices began to give way; and in December sugar was 5%, molasses 35, and prices continued to go down until the 1st of March, when sugar was 5 cents, and molasses 271. Since that time, sugar has ranged from 51 to 56, closing at the latter, and molasses at 30 to 34, closing at 331. For coffee, 9 cents was the lowest, and 10% the highest average point reached during the year-the former in October and the latter in April. For the last two months, 94 a 99 have been the average rates, closing at a range of 97 a 9f for common and prime Rio. The amount of sugar and molasses imported and exported indicates heavier stocks than at the close of the last year; but there is everything to favor a heavy fall demand. In the first place, the stock being ample, prices will be kept in check. In the next place, there is in the West an abundant crop of apples, and a fair supply of other fruits suitable for preserving, while last year there was comparatively none. Then, in the next place, prices of sugar are three-eighths of a cent per pound lower than on the first of last September, and in view of the ample stock, we may safely set down the difference for the whole fall at three-quarters of a cent in favor of this season in sugar, and two to three cents per gallon in molasses.
Candles. The production of candles during the year diminished, in consequence of the disproportion of the price of the raw material to that of the manufactured article, and the apparentimpossibility, while stocks were kept up, of obtaining remunerative prices for the latter. This has caused a great reduction in the stocks here, and as a similar course was adopted in other parts of the country, prices have everywhere simultaneously advanced. As the season is now at hand when consumption will rapidly increase, and as materials are both dear and scarce, stocks must continue light for some time to come ; and operations of the ensuing season will be commenced upon a comparatively bare market. Star candles now command 22 cents, which is 2 a 3 cents above the average for the season. This is a branch of the manufactures of Cincinnati which has increased very rapidly within a few years. The exports during the season of 1846–47 comprised 16,622 boxes. Within the year just closed there were exported 121,727 boxes, showing an increase in five years of over one hundred thousand boxes. Our export tables do not show perhaps much over one-half the products of the city, but they are the only correct indication we have of the growth of the trade. We may add that within the last two years the aggregate capacity of the manufactories of the city has been considerably increased; since which time, owing to the causes mentioned above, none of the establishments have produced an average quantity.
OILS. In our annual report on last September, we remarked, relative to linseed, that, with a pretty full crop of seed, there would be sufficient Western oil to keep prices at a point that would prevent importations from the Eastern ports, or from Europe, whence a portion of our supplies for the previous year had been derived. The result has proved our observations on this point to have been correct. The market for the year just closed opened at 69 a 70, and between the latter rate and 58; prices have since fluctuated, being the most of the time, however, below 65 and above 60. The consumptive demand since the opening of spring has been heavy, but although the stock in this market has been pretty well reduced, the supply was at all times equal to the demand, and that buoyancy which would indicate a healthy trade was seldom observable. Very recently prices advanced in New York, and this caused a demand for the North which enabled dealers here to establish an advance from 58 a 60 to 65 a 68, the market closing at the latter. The probability is that during the ensuing year prices will fall below the average of the past season. The crop of seed in the West is larger than for several years past, and with a corresponding production of oil prices will be very likely to give way. We do not, however, look for very low rates, as a large quantity of the seed that will be required by millers has been laid in at a cost of $1 a $1 05, although the present market value is only 90 cents, and oil pressed from seed purchased at these rates will make a loss, if sold, much below 60 cents. In lard oil an advance of 10 a 15 cents per gallon has been establishd on last year's currency, and for five or six months past 70 a 85 has been the range for good No. 2 to pure No. 1, and at these rates the market closes. Two occurrences contributed to this result. The first was the advance in lard to a point above a manufacturing price. This at once checked the production of oil. The other was a deficiency in whale oil, with a large advance in the price of that commodity. This created an increased demand for lard oil, while, as stated, the production was reduced, and thus stocks have been diminished, until they are now unusually light. The operations of the ensuing season will, therefore, be commenced upon a comparatively bare market.
Wool. In our last annual report we noticed that the market opened under considerable excitement, and at high prices, but subsequently to the close of the commercial year, the trade reacted, and early purchasers made heavy losses. The past season opened differently from that of the preceding year, and it promises to close at prices that will fully remunerate purchasers. Before the incoming of the new clip a seemingly united effort was made to depress prices. Eastern deal. ers, who had their agents throughout the West, withdrew, and resolved to await the receipt of the wool in the respective markets. This had, for a time, a decided influence upon prices; but the demand soon became active, and from a point 10 cents below the opening rates of 1851, prices have advanced from two to three cents above the highest price of that season. The following were the current rates on the 31st of August, for three years :
1852. Full blood....
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30 32 A new feature in the trade this year is the importation of foreign wool. One of our dealers, A. D. Bullock, Esq., has received lately 122,000 lbs. This description, we are informed, is required by Western manufacturers.
Whisky. The imports of this article show an increase of 28,774 barrels, as compared with last year, and the exports are 276,124 barrels, against 231,324. The exports exceed the imports about 4,000 barrels. This is accounted for by the fact that the whisky manufactured in the city and brought in by wagons is not included in our imports, while it of course gets into our export tables, as it is sent forward. The average prices have fallen below those of last year--being $6 75 per barrel against $8 in 1850–51, and $9 in 1849–50. The imports and value were as follows:-
33 30 28
35 33 30
272,788 $1,773,122 1850-51.
186,687 1,680,102 On the first of September, 1851, the price was 174 cents; now the market closes at 184 cents. The apprehended failure of the corn crop a few weeks since caused an advance of fully two cents per gallon, which is still
maintained, though the prospect now is that we shall have a fair crop of corn. But the excitement caused a falling off in the production, distillers having been unable to procure grain, and just at this time there is a scarcity in some of the markets.
Tobacco. The market for manufactured was steady, with a good demand, at the close of our last annual review; but as was then stated, the crops in the Western States promised well, and resulted in an abundant yield, which produced a downward tendency in prices of lower grades. The market, during the winter, continued dull, and prices gradually declined, until about the middle of June, when the indications of the growing crop became very unfavorable, in the Western States, and this, along with a very active foreign demand, caused a material advance in prices of leaf; and, in Virginia the finer qualities commanded higher rates than ever before realized ; several parcels having sold in the leading markets in that State at prices ranging from $90 to $150 per hundred pounds. These extravagant rates were obtained in consequence of an unusual scarcity of the finer qualities, and indeed of all the good to prime working descriptions, there being a failure of the crop of 1851 throughout all the Eastern States.
The crop in the West was very abundant, and the amount cultivated was larger than any previous season, as will be seen by the imports of leaf tobacco at New Orleans, which were in 1850–51, 63,318 hhds., and in 1851-52, 87,338; showing an increase of over twenty-four thousand hhds., so that the trade has proved very profitable to the West, and paid a large profit to the agriculturists. The crops in Virginia promise well this season, but in the West the late, cold spring, and the dry weather in July, has left but little hope of realizing anything near an average yield; but, notwithstanding, should the fall weather continue warm and favorable, and no early frost come, a fair crop may be realized. This is, however, hardly to be expected. The prices for leaf and manufuetured closed very firm in all our domestic markets. The stock of manufactured in our market is very light, the sales the past month having been immensely large, and the high rates ruling in Virginia prevent manufacturers sending on the usual supplies to this market. The trade at this point continues rapidly to increase.
The exports this season have been 24,064 boxes, against 17,751 last season, and the imports 22,142, against 19,273 last season. In connection with this, our manufacturing facilities have been greatly extended, and there are now twenty-six establishments in this city and the neighboring counties of Kentucky, who sell all their manufactured articles here, as well as one or two establishments in Louisville who make great consignments to our tobacco factors during the season.
MONEY AND EXCHANGE. The money-market for the past year has presented more variety than we have hitherto had occasion to chronicle. We have had money scarcer, and rates said to be higher than ever before; and we have also had money more plentiful and rates lower than for a good many years. In consequence of the extreme scarcity of water in the river last fall, and the unheard of event of its being twice closed by ice in the winter, the demand for money for several months was so much greater than the supply, that those whose neces. sities were urgent had to submit to such rates as the lenders chose to ask; but since then, in consequence of the high prices of provisions, and the facilities with which they were disposed of, combined with the great abundance of money at the East and in Europe, which enabled our railroad projectors to dispose of their securities at full prices, and thus carry on their works with unexampled rapidity, the tables have been completely turned; and although money can hardly be said to have become a drug, it has yet been easier of attaininent, and the rates have ruled lower than at any time since the suspension of specie payments in 1837. And the system of paying high rates of interest on current deposites, by
the bankers and brokers, which has so extensively prevailed in this city during the last few years, has received a check from which it may never recover. The actual capital of our city has largely increased, business generally has been remunerative, many have made large fortunes, and from borrowers have become Jenders of money; and upon the whole, we cannot but congratulate our readers, both at home and abroad, upon the unusually healthy state of things which now prevails in our midst. It is true, our banking capital is now smaller than it has been since 1832, but the capital of our business men has largely increased, and the absence, therefore, of banking facilities is not felt to so great an extent as it would otherwise be.
The system of taxation which was adopted by the Legislature at its session of 1850 and 1851, severe though it was, was yielded to by the banks with but few exceptions—a few however did resist and brought the matter before the courts and the decisions so far have been in their favor. At the session of 1851 and 1852, however, still more stringent laws were passed, which operate so severely that some of the banks have actually closed up, and others are in progress, while those who continue to do business have determined to resist, and there is but little doubt of their success, as the amount of tax required to be paid by the last law ranges from about double to at least four times the amount guarantied to them by their charters, and is generally considered as unconstitutional and void. What the wisdom of this is we are at a loss to determine. Every business man knows that the growth of our city, large as it is, has been materially retarded by the want of banking capital, and during the last few years many large orders for machinery, &c., have been driven away from this city to Louisville and other rival points, because the small capital of our banks did not enable them to take bills having over three months to run, while the more liberal and wise policy of the neighboring States, where banking accommodations are larger, has enabled those institutions to discount bills as long as four and six months. This is not mere theory, but plain, honest, unvarnished truth, based upon facts which have actually occurred, and will again while we have such short-sighted legislation. Other interests have also suffered in a similar way, and large quantities of our great staple, (as it used to be called,) pork, were packed and cured in other cities, because there four and six months' bills could be negotiated with full as much readiness as those of half that length could be here. We might extend this' subject ad infinitum, but sufficient has been said to draw attention to it and show how such legislation operates, and how it always will do. As a State we are old enough to know better, but while we make questions of such importance party tests, there is but little hope of improvement.
Exchange has ruled low during the whole year, ranging on the East between a 4 per cent premium, and on the South at from 1 per cent down to par.
Specie has also been low-gold bringing from * to 4, with a supply fully equal to the demand; while silver, except for purposes of change, has been much more inactive than during the previous year.
As we have already occupied more space than we usually allot to this subject, we will only congratulate ourselves and our readers upon the healthy condition of our monetary affairs. As a State, and nation, we are becoming more wealthy and prosperous, and if our present prosperity do not lead to further extravagance, we have but little to fear. "The clouds that obscured our Eastern horizon when we made our last annual report, have, as we then hoped, all long since disappeared; the golden sun of California has been, if not eclipsed, at least rivaled by his powerful competitor in Australia, and ships laden with gold plow the bosoms of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, scarcely creating more commotion than the passage of one of our steamers upon the surface of our own river.
STEAMBOAT BUILDING. In our last annual report we had occasion to notice a very marked improvement in this branch of business, and we have now the gratification to be able to report continued activity. Although there is but a slight increase in the number or tonnage of boats constructed and completed up to the close of the year, the business exhibits a very active appearance, ten large boats being still on the stocks, and four afloat, nearly finished. The latter, and a portion of the former, will be ready for the early fall business; but our statement
includes only those boats which have been constructed and registered within the commercial year. Comparing the number of boats finished during the year ending with August, 1851, and the number being constructed at that time, with the number built the past season, and those now constructing, a very considerable increase in favor of this season is shown. By glancing at the annexed list of boats, and registered tonnage, it will be seen that but few small class boats have been built, while several are of the largest size, carrying as high as eleven hundred tons. In this connection it may be proper to remark that the Custom-house measurement, or registered tonnage which we give, does not indicate the actual capacity of the boats. The latter exceeds the former fully 100 per cent. The capacity of the tonnage constructed the past season is, therefore, about nineteen thousand tons. Registered
Registered Names of boats. tonnage. Names of boats.
tonnage. Steamer Sydonia....
235 Steamer Fanny Sparkawk... 200 Post Boy
125 General Pike.
100 R. H. Winslow....
230 Lewis Whiteman.
100 J. P. Tweed..
8,206 Moses Greenwood. 267 1849-50, No. 16.
4,560 Major A. Harris.. 103 | 1848-49, No. 23.
7,281 D. J. Day. 212 1847-48, No. 29.
10,233 James Robb.... 593 1846–47, No. 32.
8,268 L. M. Kennett. 598 1845–46, No. 25.
7,657 349 It is seen that the business of the past season exceeds that of any previous year, except 1847-48, when the construction of boats was greatly stimulated by the extraordinary demand for steamboat tonnage, consequent upon the active foreign demand for breadstuffs, which existed at that time.
The construction of large boats at this port continued to be greatly retarded in consequence of the insufficiency of the Portland Canal. With the removal of this obstruction boats of the largest size will be constructed for the lower trade, which change would greatly facilitate the shipping interest—both as it regards boat owners and business men--and it would also greatly increase the business of builders, as the cost of constructing vessels below is necessarily greater than here. With regard to the efforts which have been made to secure a new canal at the falls of the Ohio, and the prospects of success in the undertaking we have spoken fully elsewhere.
Art. 1.-COMMERCE : AND COMMERCIAL BIOGRAPHY.
“ Still let thy mind be bent, still plotting where,
And when, and how, the business may be done."-HERBERT.
COMMERCE is not one of the Muses. A bargain is not so beautiful a thing as a poem, an oratorio, a picture, or a flight of eloquence. Yet the bargain holds no mean place in the frame-work of this present world. It is the first material bond of human society. By it, the individual acquires what he could not produce, and is relieved of what he could not employ.