CHAPTER XXI. RISE OF THE WEST

TRADE, COMMERCE, AND THE FISHERIES. - The treaty of 1814 did not end our troubles with Great Britain. Our ships were still shut out of her West Indian ports. The fort at Astoria, near the mouth of the Columbia River, had been seized during the war and for a time was not returned as the treaty required. The authorities in Nova Scotia claimed that we no longer had a right to fish in British waters, and seized our fishing vessels or drove them from the fishing grounds. We had no trade treaty with Great Britain. In 1815, therefore, a convention was made regulating trade with Great Britain and her East Indian colonies, but not with her West Indies; [1] in 1817, a very important agreement limited the navies on the Great Lakes; [2] and in 1818 a convention was made defending our fishing rights in British waters. [3]

BANKS AND THE CURRENCY. - But there were also domestic affairs which required attention. When the charter of the Bank of the United States (p. 224) expired in 1811, it was not renewed, for the party in power denied that Congress had authority to charter a bank. A host of banks chartered by the states thereupon sprang up, in hope of getting some of the business formerly done by the national bank and its branches.

In three years' time one hundred and twenty new state banks were created. Each issued bank notes with a promise to exchange them for specie (gold or silver coin) on demand. In 1814, however, nearly all the banks outside of New England "suspended specie payment"; that is, refused to redeem their notes in specie. Persons having gold and silver money then kept it, and the only money left in circulation was the bank notes - which, a few miles away from the place of issue, would not pass at their face value. [4]

Business and travel were seriously interfered with, and in order to provide the people with some kind of money which would pass at the same value everywhere, Congress in 1816 chartered a second Bank of the United States, [5] very much like the first one, for a period of twenty years.

MANUFACTURES AND THE TARIFF. - Before the embargo days, trade and commerce were so profitable, because of the war in Europe, that manufactures were neglected. Almost all manufactored articles - cotton and woolen goods, china, glass, edge tools, and what not - were imported, from Great Britain chiefly.

But the moment our foreign trade was cat off by the embargo, manufactures sprang up, and money hitherto put into ships and commerce was invested in mills and factories. Societies for the encouragement of domestic manufactures were started everywhere. To wear American-made clothes, walk in American-made shoes, write on American-made paper, and use American- made furniture were acts of patriotism which the people publicly pledged themselves to perform. Thus encouraged, manufactories so throve and flourished that by 1810 the value of goods made in our country each year was $173,000,000.

When trade was resumed with Great Britain after the war, her goods were sent over in immense quantities. This hurt our manufacturers, and therefore Congress in 1816 laid a tariff or tax on imported manufactures, for the purpose of keeping the price of foreign goods high and thus protecting home manufactures.

PROSPERITY OF THE COUNTRY. - Despite the injury done by British orders, French decrees, the embargo, non-intercourse, and the war, the country grew more prosperous year by year. Cities were growing, new towns were being planted, rivers were being bridged, colleges, [6] academies, schools, were springing up, several thousand miles of turnpike had been built, and over these good roads better stagecoaches drawn by better horses carried the mail and travelers in quicker time than ever before.

ROUTES TO THE WEST. - Goods for Pittsburg and the West could now leave Philadelphia every day in huge canvas-covered wagons drawn by four or six horses, and were only twenty days on the road. The carrying trade in this way was very great. More than twelve thousand wagons came to Pittsburg each year, bringing goods worth several millions of dollars. From New York wares and merchandise for the West went in sloops up the Hudson to Albany, were wagoned to the falls of the Mohawk, where they were put into "Schenectady boats," which were pushed by poles up the Mohawk to Utica. Thence they went by canal and river to Oswego on Lake Ontario, in sloops to Lewiston on the Niagara River, by wagon to Buffalo, by sloop to Westfield on Lake Erie, by wagon to Chautauqua Lake, and thence by boat down the lake and the Allegheny River to Pittsburg.

THE STEAMBOAT. - The growth of the country and the increase in travel now made the steamboat possible. Before 1807 all attempts to use such boats had failed. [7] But when Fulton in that year ran theClermont from New York to Albany and back, practical steam navigation began. In 1808 a line of steamboats ran up and down the Hudson. In 1809 there was one on the Delaware, another on the Raritan, and a third on Lake Champlain. In 1811 a steamboat went from Pittsburg to New Orleans, and in 1812 there were steam ferryboats between what is now Jersey City and New York, and between Philadelphia and Camden. [8]

By the use of the steamboat and better roads it was possible in 1820 to go from New York to Philadelphia between sunrise and sunset in summer, and from New York to Boston in forty-eight hours, and from Boston to Washington in less than five days.