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business of Philadelphia, has computed that in that county alone, there are at least 15,000 persons who are either entirely idle or are engaged in unproductive labour. He stated that he has had more than twenty applications for employment, when he could give work only to one, and that several other manufacturers say, that they cannot employ a tenth part of the applicants they meet with. The same gentleman estimates that there are about 150,000 unemployed persons along the Atlantic coast, and that there are 350,000 persons of the same description in other parts of the country*. It is not pretended that these enumerations are derived from accurate data, or that they are even very close approximations to the real numbers; but, taken in connection with other well known facts, they may be received as satisfactory evidence that the evil exists to a very considerable extent †.
Letter to the President of the United States, by John Melish, Esq. Phil. 1818.
+ From the paucity of the circumstances attended to in statistical inquiries, the most superficial observer might infer that national pride is sufficiently gratified by the number of human beings, without regard to that of useful or efficient citizens, and that governments are satisfied with knowing little more of their people than that they die, and that they were born. It were
to be wished that enumerations were made annually, instead of at the usual long intervals of time; and in addition to the particulars ordinarily ascertained, such were embraced as, the number of those who can show that they procure their subsistence by lawful means; those who have fixed residences; those who have received a moral education; the nature of employments; the duration and immediate causes of their avocations; bankruptcies; convictions for specified crimes; the known or proximate causes of deaths; cases of lunacy; felo de se; epidemy and meteorological registers made in every department of the country. The collection of information of this kind might be conducted in a manner that would operate as a bene
Want of employment is here viewed as a want of organization. With you it is represented to be an indication of an overpeopled country. The government of the United States does not attempt to get rid of its people, but, on the contrary, it welcomes the stranger who arrives on their shores. Your government pay for transporting their subjects, or encourage their removal by giving them lands gratis. Canada is wide enough to receive them, but its connection with England does not admit of a free trade. Multitudes of emigrants find their comforts as narrow as before, and remove into the United States. If facts of this sort indicate any thing, it is that no extent of country can compensate for mismanagement, or, in other words, a nation is more easily overstocked from impolicy than from want of soil.
The habits and institutions of the American people are peculiarly favourable to the adoption of manufacturing pursuits. They have no corporations with exclusive privileges, and no laws which enact any specific period of apprenticeship. Their well known spirit of enterprise, and the circum
ficial supervision of society. It would furnish the police department with a new insight into the sources of delinquency. Taken in connection with coexistent laws which affect trade and revenue, and criminal laws, and the state of markets, political economy would be furnished with new instruments for investigation. The approach of misery might frequently be anticipated and arrested without being exhibited on the poor's list, in the workhouse, or in the shape of inability to pay taxes. Crimes might be prevented, and better criteria obtained for discriminating between offences committed against law, and those perpetrated by law. A new light would be thrown on several branches of physical science, and particularly on agriculture, climate, and the healing art. It is but too easy to discover that the desideratum is not in unison with the affairs of the age, but it is probable that another Alfred, or a Lycurgus must arise before it can be remedied.
stance of almost every man's being acquainted with handling the axe, the hammer, the saw, and the joiner's plane, must give a facility to the acquisition of mechanical labour. Besides, it is understood that a few weeks, or at farthest a few months, are enough to communicate the knowledge of most of those employments, and that the work can soon be reduced to practice by subsequent application. The progress already made in several branches of manufacture tend to inspire a strong hope as to future attainments. The fabrication of coarse cotton cloths, called domestics, which now undersell British goods of similar quality; the making of iron articles, of leather-hats, paper, types, engravings, the construction of steam-boats, and the building of ships, are mentioned as flattering examples.
As the disposition to promote American manufactures is progressive, and as popular opinion dictates the measures of the government, it may be safe to infer that commerce with England is now in a deep decline, and that the erection of workshops (though it should be on a moderate scale) may be hailed as the liberation of the United States from foreign monopoly.
Circuit Court of Indiana-Lawyers-Presiding JudgeTrial and Whipping of a Thief-Lands-Crops-Fourteen-Mile-Creek-Salt Springs-Town of CorydonDrought-Barrens-Caves-Effects of a Tornado— Formation of the Higher Alluvial Bottom Lands of the Ohio-More Barrens-Salt River-Large Trees-Wild Vines-Steam-Boats-The Falls of the Ohio-Prevalence of Bilious and Intermittent Fevers-Taciturnity— Americanisms.
Jeffersonville, (Indiana,) Sept. 8, 1820.
SINCE writing my last letter to you, I have made several short excursions into the country.-I was at Charlestown, the seat of justice in Clark county, while the circuit court sat there, and had opportunities of hearing the oratory of several barristers, which was delivered in language at once strong, elegant, and polite. A spirit of emulation prevails at the bar, and a gentleman of good taste informed me, that some young practitioners have made vast progress within two or three years past. The United States certainly open an extensive school for eloquence. The number of cases of litigation before the various courts of justice is very great; and there are numerous opportunities for exerting popular talent, as at elections, where the harangues are called stump-speeches, from the practice of candidates mounting the stumps of trees, and there addressing themselves to the people, and in State Assemblies.
The circuit court consists of a presiding judge, who makes a progress over the whole State, and who meets with two associate judges at the several seats of justice. Associate judges are local, and only act in their respective counties. One of these gentlemen opened the court at Charlestown last year in the absence of the presiding judge.— A large jug, for holding cold water, that stood on the bench, had a caricature portrait of a judge painted on it, and several lawyers, on coming forward to open their cases, bowed to the figure, and directed their eyes to it during their speeches, occasioning much laughter in the house. It was not till the arrival of the presiding judge that the contempt was checked. Freedoms on the part of lawyers seem to be promoted in the back-country, in consequence of the bench being occasionally filled with men who are much inferior to those at the bar. The salary of the presiding judge (I have been told) is only seven hundred dollars a-year. As he is engaged in public business and in travelling nearly the whole of his time, that sum can only defray his expenses, even under the most economical management, so that there can be no great error in supposing that he acts gratuitously. The present presiding judge is a man who has distinguished himself in Indian warfare. Whatever opinion you may form of the bench here, you may be assured that it is occupied as a post of honour.
Amongst the business of the court, the trial of a man who had stolen two horses excited much interest. On his being sentenced to suffer thirty stripes, he was immediately led from the bar to the whipping-post. Every twitch of the cow-hide, (a weapon formerly described,) drew a red line across his back. This was the second infliction of the kind that had been sanctioned by