Art. III. — Trade and Growth of Chicago in 1852.
In the number of this Magazine
TRIBUNE OFFICE, CHICAGO, March 19, 1853.
It is a matter of serious regret, that the published statistics of the Commerce of Chicago previous to 1851, have been, to a considerable extent, a matter of conjecture. It has been customary to refer to the books of the Collector of the port for statements of the receipts and shipments by Lake, but owing to the neglect of captains of vessels to report, on arriving and before clearing, a detailed statement of their cargoes, and, in many cases, not reporting at all, these books cannot be relied on. In order to show this, we subjoin a statement of the receipts and shipments of some of the principal articles, as they appear on the Collector's books, and also as they are collated and aggregated from the books of our shipping merchants: —
|Lumber||feet||Col's. Books.||Act. Rec'pts.|
|Butter||kegs and pkgs.||2,868||9,062|
The unsatisfactory character of the information so obtained is thus made apparent. There is no uniformity in the discrepancy, and consequently no possibility of judging of the deficiency of one article by other, or several others. To illustrate this matter still more plainly, it is only necessary to state that the Collector's books show an excess of arrivals, at this port, over clearances, of thirty-one propellers, two barks, eighty-two brigs, and five hundred and ninety-two schooners; according to which there should be seven hundred and seven more vessels here at this time than there were last year. There being no excess, however, it shows that over seven hundred cargoes of vessels are not recorded in the Collector's office. To attempt, therefore, to collect the statistics of our commerce from such a source would be to mislead the public judgment much more than it could be done by the off-hand estimates of our intelligent shippers. To obviate this difficulty, and to arrive at all the facts, so as to make up a just statement, the only recourse is to the books of the shippers, where each article received and shipped is noticed in detail. This course was adopted last year, for the first time, in getting up the Annual Review for the Chicago Tribune, and brought out a reliable statement.
The business of the city, during the past year, was one of uncommon activity, and productive of more real prosperity to the commercial interests than that of the three previous years combined. In noticing our exports, the only staple article that shows a material decrease, compared with the previous year, is corn, which is mainly attributable to the almost total suspension of navigation on the Illinois river, by reason of low water through the months of July, August, and September — a period during the year when shipments to this city from that source were large. This deficiency was more than made up, however, by the increased receipts of oats, wheat, rye, and barley, from railroad and teams. Altogether, the exports have increased fully twenty-five per cent on the previous year.
In regard to our imports, the increase has been on a scale even greater than that of our exports. Salt is the only article of importance which shows a falling off, while the amount of lumber, shingles, lath, merchandise, and railroad iron has been largely augmented. Ordinarily, such a state of things would lead
559to pecuniary embarrassment, but owing to the withdrawal of labor from other branches of business, to be employed on the various lines of railroad West and South of this, the extraordinary demand of the home market for our produce, and the large amount of capital expended among us in developing the resources of the country, such an event at this time is not apprehended.
Before entering upon detailed statements of the business of the past year, it may not be deemed out of place, or uninteresting, to briefly glance at the history of Chicago, in the increase of its population during the last twelve years, and the growth of its trade, from 1836 down to 1852.
Until the census of 1840 was taken by the United States, we believe no enumeration of the inhabitants of the city had been made. In the years 1841, 1842, 1844, and 1851, also, the census was not taken. The result in the other years was as follows: —
Since the census was taken last year the increase of population has been greater than at any like period. This is evident from the fact, that notwithstanding hundreds of houses have since been built in various parts of the city, every dwelling is full, hotels and boarding-houses are crowded, and there is ail immediate demand for full five hundred more dwellings. It is not unsafe to suppose the increase has already been over five thousand, and. that by the first day of next October the population of the city will reach 50,000.
The increase in the value of real estate and personal property, as shown by the Assessor's books, has been in a ratio equal to that of the population. We subjoin a statement for the last fourteen years: —
The assessment for 1853 will probably foot up over $16,000,000. But the Commerce of the city has increased even more wonderfully than the population or value of property, which shows that the present prosperity we enjoy is not fictitious, but based on a reality: —
|1836||$235,203 90||$1,000 64||1843||$971,849 75||$682,210 85|
|1837||373,677 12||11,665 00||1844||1,686,416 00||785,504 23|
|1838||579,174 61||16,044 75||1845||2,043,445 73||1,543,519 83|
|1839||630,970 26||33,843 00||1846||2,027,150 00||1,813,468 00|
|1840||562,106 20||228,635 74||1847||2,641,852 52||2,296,299 00|
|1841||564,347 00||348,862 24||1848||8,338,639 86||10,709,333 40|
|1842||664,347 88||659,305 20|
For the year 1848, the estimate was made by a committee of the Chicago Board of Trade, but it is evidently larger than the facts would warrant. On the other hand, the business of 1847 was under-estimated by at least $2,000,000 on each column. Estimates for 1849, '50, '51, and '52, have not been made, but both exports and imports have largely increased on previous years.
It is not our disposition, however, to dwell much on the past of Chicago, but to examine the present, and look to the future, and we now proceed to give our statistical information.
FLOUR.—The amount of flour handled at this port, in 1852, was 124,316 barrels, and the amount in 1851 was 111,983. The sources from which our figures are made up are as follows: —
|Chicago and Galena Railroad||44,316||Eastern Railroads||4,300|
|Lake||2,875||Manufactured in City||70,979|
The shipments by lake for the last nine years have been as follows: —
The lessened exportation during the last year was mainly attributable to the great demand for home consumption, occasioned by a large increase of the population of our city, and the additional amount required to supply the laborers on several lines of railroad in process of construction. As a consequence, the market was stiff during the year, and prices have maintained a figure considerably above that of the previous year. The market rates, wholesale, for the several months have been as follows: —
|January||$2 25 a 4 00||July||$2 25 a 4 00|
|February||2 25 a 4 00||August||2 25 a 4 00|
|March||2 50 a 4 25||September||2 50 a 4 00|
|April||2 25 a 4 00||October||2 75 a 4 75|
|May||2 25 a 4 00||November||2 75 a 4 75|
|June||3 00 a 4 25||December||3 25 a 4 75|
WHEAT. — Five years ago the amount of this article shipped from here exceeded in value all of the other grains combined, but the better adaptation of our prairies to the growth of Indian corn and oats, and to grazing, has run this staple down, until it has become third in importance. The export appeared to reach its maximum in 1848, when it was 2,160,000 bushels, and its minimum in 1851, when it was only 427,820. This decline has not been owing to any change in the channels of commerce unfavorable to our city, but to a rapid lessening of the production of wheat in the State of Illinois. This is evidenced by the fact that there has also been a steady decline of receipts at St. Louis — the amount falling off since 1847 840,491 bushels. The past year, however, shows an increase at this point, and it is not probable that it will fall off again for many years, if ever. The sources of supply during the past year were, from —
|Galena and Chicago R. R. bu.||504,996||Eastern Railroads bu.||13,903|
This amount was disposed of as follows: —
|Shipped by Lake bush.||635,196||Bought by mills bu.||283,493|
|Consumed by distillers||13,000||Total bushels||937,496|
During the latter part of the year the market was very buoyant, and prices went up gradually to a higher point than was reached during the previous year. The following will show the range for each month: —
|January||31 a 42||50 a 64||July||37 a 39||58 a 76|
|February||37 a 45||50 a 70||August||40 a 43||65 a 70|
|March||35 a 45||60 a 75||September||44 a 50||69 a 75|
|April||34 a 40||60 a 70||October||48 a 56||60 a 72|
|May||34 a 40||62 a 70||November||55 a 60||66 a 75|
|June||34 a 40||68 a 76||December||56 a 60||70 a 80|
The following is a statement of the shipments during each of the last eleven years: —
CORN. — The trade in this staple has grown with a rapidity that has outstripped all calculations. Within six years the shipments have increased over 4,000 per cent — running up from 67,315 bushels, in 1847, to 3,221,317 bushels in 1851. For this we are mainly indebted to the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which makes our city the outlet and market for one of the richest corn regions in the world. The receipts of the past year were from the following sources: —
|From Canal bush.||1,810,830||From teams||508,220|
|Total amount received||2,991,011|
This was disposed of as follows: —
|Shipped East bush.||2,737,011||Consumed by distillers||215,000|
|Shipped to lumber country||29,000|
|Consumed in city||10,000||Total||2,991,011|
But for the suspension of navigation on the Illinois River during three months of the year, this amount would have been swelled up to 3,500,000 bushels.
The superior advantage of this market over that of St. Louis, for corn, is well established; and within the next five years that city will receive very little from any point north of the mouth of the Illinois River. As it is, our exports more than quadruple those of that place, which were only 677,000 bushels last year, and it is not probably that the proportions will over be more unfavorable to Chicago. Four years ago, to have predicted such a change in the direction of this great staple of the West, would have endangered the reputation of the person who might have had the temerity to do so; and no parties apprehended it less than out St. Louis neighbors. Now, however, they admit they have lost this trade. The Republican, of that city, in its annual review of the Commerce of St. Louis in 1852 says: — "It is stated that from a point on the Illinois River, grain can be shipped to Chicago as cheaply and expeditiously as at this point, and that from Chicago to New York the transportation does not exceed the charges from New Orleans to New York. If this be true, Chicago has the advantage of the amount of freights between St. Louis and New Orleans — no inconsiderable item of expense in the transportation of an article of this kind."
The capacity of the State of Illinois to produce corn is almost illimitable, and it is evident this city must become the market for nearly all the surplus that may be grown hereafter. The widening and deepening of the New York Canal will lessen the cost of transportation between this city and New York, fully four cents per bushel. If our canal trustees were to take a more comprehensive view of the interests of the canal, they would also adopt measures to facilitate and cheapen the cost of transportation on the river, and thus draw to this point, through the canal, all the produce that seeks the Illinois River as its outlet. Six good tug boats to take the canal boats down, and bring them up the river again when loaded, at a rate sufficient to cover expenses, would accomplish this object beyond doubt. By this means, corn and wheat could be brought from the St. Louis levee to Chicago at a cost of not over six cents per bushel, and from Quincy, on the Mississippi, at not over seven. If this were done, the receipts of grain, by canal, would be doubled within the next two years, as we should not only take it from a point as far south as St. Louis, but immensely stimulate production, by the enhancement that would take place in the value of the article by means of cheap transportation. In order to show the advantage of our market over that of St. Louis, we subjoin the rates paid for corn at the two places during the past year: —
|Chicago.||St. Louis.||Chicago.||St. Louis.|
|January||26 a 28||38 a 41||July||32 a 33||35 a 48|
|February||31 a 34||30 a 42||August||42 a 43||40 a 45|
|March||33 a 34||32 a 37||September||50 a 52||40 a 45|
|April||33 a 34||33 a 36||October||50 a 53||40 a 45|
|May||33 a 34||30 a 43||November||48 a 50||43 a 50|
|June||36 a 37||35 a 44||December||56 a 58||41 a 43|
The following statement shows the number of bushels of corn shipped from here during the last six years: —
The small shipments of 1850 are accounted for from the fact that there was a failure of the crop throughout many of the Southern States, and prices were so high on that account that a large amount was drawn South, even from points on our canal.
OATS. The receipts of this staple in 1852 were nearly four times as large as those of 1851, and thirteen times as large as those of any previous year. They were obtained from canal 838,703 bushels; railroads 674,941; teams 581,297; total receipts 2,089,941 bushels.
Of this amount, the shipments by lake were 2,030,317 bushels. The following will show the exports of this staple during the last seven years: —
During the year the price of oats ruled higher than it had or several years pervious, and brought the crop out of the farmers hands pretty generally. We collate the statistics of prices during the year as follows: —
|January||16 a 17||July||24 a 25|
|February||19 a 20||August||27 a 28|
|March||19 a 20||September||27 a 28|
|April||18 a 19||October||30 a 32|
|May||19 a 20||November||28 a 30|
|June||23 a 24||December||28 a 30|
BARLEY. Previous to 1850, barley was not shipped East from Chicago. In 1849 there was shipped south by canal 31,435 bushels; in 1850 21,912; and in 1851 11,460 bushels. Last year the current turned the other way, and the shipments were made to the East.
For the year 1852, the receipts of barley at Chicago were as follows: — from canal 8,785 bushels; from lake 1,687; from railroad 90,243; from teams 21,313; total receipts 127,028.
The following shows the shipments during the last four years: —
RYE. We have no account of the shipment of rye from this port previous to last year, and it is not probable there was any — the mills and distilleries consuming all that was marketed here. Last year, however, the shipments were 17,015 bushels, and the experience of the farmers in cultivating it leads to the expectation of a considerable increase in the shipments of the present year.
We have not inquired fully into the destination of the shipments of grain from Chicago during 1852. it is sufficient to know, however, that other markets beside Buffalo, and other routes beside the Erie Canal, are seeking out produce and freight. The Erie Railroad has drawn some of our flour and provisions, but the greatest competitor is the Ogdensburg and Vermont central roads to Boston. Last season a line of propellers was placed upon the route between Chicago and Ogdensburg, and was successful in drawing away from the old channel a considerable amount of produce and provisions, which found a market in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Boston. The effect of the competition produced between this line and those lines engaged between Chicago and Buffalo, has already been advantageously felt here, and in the future it cannot fail to confer material and constantly increasing benefits. A small part of our corn went to Canada, but the amount was too small to excite observation. Nevertheless, when full reciprocity in trade shall be established — as it soon must be — it is not
563doubted that a large and lucrative trade will spring up between Chicago and the British Provinces.
Having given a detailed account of the grain trade of Chicago during the last six years, the following statement of the aggregate shipment of bushels of grain for each year, may be interesting, as serving to illustrate the growth of the Commerce of Chicago. We include flour reduced to grain.
In the year 1850, it will be remembered, the grain crops of the West were very short, and in many districts almost a total failure.
GRASS SEED. Previous to last year, we have no record of the shipment of timothy seed from Chicago. But the farmers of the East, having had an opportunity of testing the superior qualities of the seed grown on our western prairies, estimate it at nearly double the value of that frown on their own farms, and, during the last year, there was a great demand for the article in this market. The first offers were $1 75 per bushel, but it soon advanced to $2 25, at which it ruled nearly all of the shipping season. We have no means of ascertaining the sources from which we purchased, but is was derived principally from railroad and canal. The shipments by lake, for the year, amounted to 19,214 bushels.
BEEF. The reputation of Chicago beef is so good, and so generally known, that we need say but little about it. The fact that it is made the standard in the British Navy, and that it ranks about all others in the New York market, is sufficient as to its character. The grass of our prairies is particularly adapted to the production of good beef, and, what is remarkable, is more highly esteemed than grain for its fattening properties. Last season, owing to the failure of the grass crops in most of the Eastern States, also in parts of New York and Pennsylvania, there was an active demand for live cattle for the New York market. A large number of eastern dealers traversed every county in the State, and bought and shipped off to the East many thousands of cattle that would, under ordinary circumstances, have been slaughtered here. The following is a correct statement of the business of the season, as furnished by the packers named: —
|No. cattle.||Average weight.||Total weight.|
|R. M. Hough & Co.||5,600||580||3,248,000|
|G. S. Hubbard||4,896||534 Ë||2,616,912|
|Thomas Dyer||3,714||602 Ë||2,237,685|
|Reynolds & Hayward||2,974||500||1,487,000|
|F. L. Kent||2,413||550||1,327,150|
|Marsh & Carpenter||2,372||550 Ë||1,305,786|
|O. H. Tobey||1,794||521||934,674|
|J. Ellis & Co.||600||500||300,000|
The number slaughtered and packed at Chicago the previous year was 21,806, which shows a gain of 2,557 in favor of 1852.
The shipments of beef from Chicago during the last five years will show a fair increase. In making our statement tierces are reduced to barrels.
The falling off in shipments during the last year, was owing to the lessened receipts of barrel beef from canal, and the much larger amount than usual kept here, to supply the greatly augmented home demand. The total value of the beef, tallow, hides and offal, from the cattle slaughtered here last year was $650,621. the tallow was partly sold to chandlers in the city, and the remainder divided between the Canadian and eastern markets. The hides were mainly taken by parties in this city. The extraordinary demand for beef cattle in the
564eastern market, during the months of September, October, November, and December, created high prices everywhere throughout the West.
PORK. In summing up the pork packing business, we take the statistics of the season, which embraces the last two months of 1852, and the first two of the present year. In no important branch of business has there been a more gratifying increase than pork packing. This is attributed to various causes. Until within the last three years, the raising of hogs was not deemed by the farmers as profitable as wheat-growing. But the adaptation of the climate and soil of Northern Illinois to the culture of Indian corn having been satisfactorily tested, a stimulant was given to corn-growing and hog-raising, most remarkable, as is evinced by the shipments of pork from Chicago during a series of years. Another reason is, the extension of the Chicago and Galena Railroad to Rock River, from the valley of which a large portion of the pork packed here during the past season was received. The extraordinary high prices which ruled during the season, likewise contributed to call out all the hogs that could be prepared for the market, and this accounts for the less average weight of the hogs packed this season, compared with those packed the previous one. The following shows the number of hogs packed here, and by whom packed: —
|No. hogs.||Average weight.||Total weight.|
|G. S. Hubbard||13,997||212 Ë||2,974,362|
|Felt & Beers||7,016||214||1,501,424|
|Marsh & Carpenter||3,813||240||915,120|
|Reynolds & Hayward||3,615||210 Ë||760,957|
|R. M. Hough & Co.||3,600||190||684,000|
|P. Curtiss & Co.||2,640||245||646,800|
|S. B. Pomeroy & Co.||2,300||220||506,000|
|F. L. Kent||1,800||180||324,000|
|Nickerson & Wier||250||220||55,000|
|C. Walker & Son||183||180||32,940|
|48,156||211 â ||10,192,971|
In addition to what was cut up here, there were about 11,900 head shipped without cutting, directly east by railroad, before navigation was closed on Lake Erie. Of these, C. Walker & Son shipped 3,100; Marsh & Carpenter 2,000; Felt & Beers 1,500; G. S. Hubbard 398, and other parties enough to make up the amount stated. The total number of hogs packed here during the season of 1851-2 was 22,036, the average weight of which was 238 Ë pounds.
The business of the two years is more clearly illustrated by the following statement: —
|Hogs cut.||Av. weight.||tal weight.|
|1852-3||48,156||211 â ||10,192,971|
We are confident the ensuing season's business will show as great an increase over that of 1852-53, as the latter did over the previous one. By next November we shall be connected with the Mississippi at three different points, and draw a large number of hogs from the western counties of Illinois and the State of Iowa, — regions where pork is the principal staple and to which St. Louis has heretofore been the natural market. The Chicago and Galena Railroad was the principal source from which the hogs packed here during the past season were obtained. The number from canal and teams was not large. Besides these sources, 900 were brought from Racine, Kenosha, and Waukegan. The following is a statement of the number of dressed hogs marketed here during the season, and the source from which they came: —
During the year 1852 the demand for mess pork, hams, and shoulders, for home consumption, was unusually large, and prices ranged very high. Before the close of September the stock of hams and shoulders was entirely consumed, and very few barrels of mess pork left in the hands of packers and dealers. This great home demand prevented the shipment of a large amount of provisions that had been intended for an Eastern market. It was created by the large influx of population to our city, and to supply several thousand laborers on various lines of railroad under process of construction. For a statement of the amount of receipts and shipments we refer to our table below, under the head of hams and shoulders, provisions and pork. The price of mess pork during the year 1852, on the first of each month, was as follows: —
|Jan.||$13 00 a 14 00||July||$16 00 a 17 00|
|Feb.||12 00 a 13 00||Aug.||18 00 a 19 00|
|March||13 00 a 13 50||Sept.||18 00 a 18 75|
|April||14 00 a 14 50||Oct.||20 00 a —|
|May||14 00 a 14 50||Nov.||19 00 a —|
|June||14 00 a 14 50||Dec.||16 00 a 16 50|
LARD. — This article, like pork, was materially affected by a great home demand, and the receipts and shipments were not large. The market, during a large part of the year, was so little below that of New York that shipments were prevented to the extent that had been expected. The ruling rates for the year were 9 to 11 cents, — opening at the first, and gradually advancing to the last named figure.
BUTTER. — Until the past season the shipment of butter from this port for the Eastern market has not been large. The extraordinary demand — real and speculative — which sprung up in the East during the past year, gave a stimulant to the dairy business of an extraordinary character. The following shows the increase of shipments for one year: —
The receipts during the same time were as follows: —
WOOL. — Notwithstanding the high price of wool in this market, during the last season, there appears to have been a slight falling off in shipments, compared with the previous year. Nevertheless, it is a well-ascertained fact that the amount shipped from the whole lake border was somewhat increased. The clip did not commence coming in till June, and the market opened in a depressed condition, owing to a supposed combination among Eastern manufacturers and dealers. Competition soon manifested itself, however, the market became buoyant, and prices advanced rapidly. The following shows its condition during the months of June, July, and August, for 1851 and 1852: —
|June||lb.||25 a 40||18 a 29|
|July||28 a 40||24 a 36|
|August||28 a 35||25 a 37 Ë|
The shipments of wool, from this port, during the last eleven years, were as follows: —
HIDES. — The growth of the trade in hides was also very large. The following shows the receipts from the various sources during the years 1851 and 1852:
In addition to the above, over 36,000 hides are to be added for those taken from cattle slaughtered in this city, and coming in by teams.
The following shows the shipments by lake for two years: —
|1851||No. of hides||31,657|
LUMBER. — We believe there are but two cities in the United States that excel Chicago in the lumber trade. These are Albany and Bangor. We doubt, however, the propriety of giving Albany any precedence, for it is merely a point where an account is taken of all the lumber that passes to tide-water over the Erie Canal from Lake Erie, and the Northern Canal from Canada and Northern New York. But a comparatively small portion of the lumber reported is stopped at Albany, or passes through the hands of dealers in that city, Chicago, however, is a great lumber mart, with more than fifty different dealers, into whose yards nearly all of the lumber has to go that is received here. During the four years preceding 1852 the supply of lumber exceeded the demand. Prices were consequently very low, and manufacturers, in many cases, realized no return from the capital they had invested in pine lands and mills. This state of affairs was mainly produced by the conscious knowledge that the demand for lumber to supply Illinois would become immense in a very few years, and mills were built and put in operation to be ready to take advantage of the greatly increasing consumptive demand. As a consequence, the number of mills augmented rapidly, and at the commencement of 1852 there were saws enough in the pine regions of Michigan and Wisconsin to produce more than 150,000,000 feet beyond the probable demands of the market. This led to a pretty general combination among the owners of the mills, with reference to running their saws but twelve, instead of twenty-four hours, as had been the custom before. Nevertheless, the quantity of lumber made was greater than that of 1851, but it was short of the actual increase in the consumptive demand. There has been a very general impression among our lumber merchants that the imports of 1852 were below those of 1851, but this is proved to be erroneous by our statement below, which may be relied on as strictly accurate. The reasons for that opinion were, doubtless, the knowledge that many of the mills were only running half time, and the somewhat unfavorable character of the winter of 1851-52 for getting out logs. The following is a correct statement of the receipts of lumber, shingles, lath, cedar posts, staves, timber, spokes, and railroad ties, from all sources during the last year: —
We have no account of the extent of the lumber trade of this city before 1847. Previous to and during that year, the only way of getting lumber from the city was my teams. In 1847 the imports were 32,118,225 feet. But in 1848 the Illinois and Michigan Canal was opened, and the demand for the line of the Canal and the Illinois River gave a powerful stimulant to the business, and the importations nearly doubled those of 1847. The following shows the receipts of lumber, shingles, and lath, by lake for the last six years: —
|Lumber, ft.||Shingles, No.||Lath, pcs.|
The decrease in the receipts of lath can only be accounted for by the fact, that for a much larger proportion than usual of the lumber used during 1852 was for fencing, and the erection of barns. At present the only outlets for our lumber, shingles, and lath, are the canal and railroad. We have not, at this time, any statement of the amount shipped by railroad previous to 1851; but of the canal we have an accurate statement of each year's business since 1849. The following shows the shipments by canal for four years: —
The falling off in shipments by canal last year was, as stated in the commencement of this Review, attributable to the suspension of navigation on the Illinois River during the months of July, August, and September, for want of water. The effect of such suspension of navigation will be better understood when we state, that in 1851 five-sixths of the lumber, fifteen-sixteenths of the shingles, and nine-tenths of the lath shipped from this city by canal was destined for the Illinois River, — no small part going to St. Louis.
The shipments by railroad during the past two years sum up as follows: —
It is not doubted that the shipment of lumber, shingles, and lath, by canal and railroad, will be increased during the present year fully fifty per cent over that of the last.
We cannot refrain from dwelling a moment, just at this point, upon the probable extent of the lumber trade of Chicago four years hence, when the vast prairies west and southwest of Chicago will be opened to this city by the Illinois Central, the Chicago and Mississippi, Chicago and Rock Island, Aurora and Central Military Tract, Chicago and St. Charles Air Line, and Chicago and Galena Railroads. The largest and most fertile part of Illinois is yet comparatively, uninhabited, on account of the scarcity of building materials and fuel. These will be obtained, at a moderate cost, as soon as the various lines of railroad mentioned shall be completed, and in return, corn, pork, and beef, will be poured into our city in quantities that will entitle the country to the name of Egypt, by reason of its productive capacity. There is no district of equal size in the United States possessing so rich a soil, or one which can be made to produce abundant crops with so little labor. Millions of acres, as fertile as the riches farms in the State, lie ready for the plow, without any previous preparation. Within two years they will all be opened to market by railroads, and it needs no prescience to see that they will be made to produce a hundred fold more of the staples of trade and commerce than they now do; and, it follows, consume a hundred fold more than they now do of those articles of prime necessity which they do not produce. In looking at the lumber trade of Chicago we are apt to under-estimate its importance, by viewing it merely as a contributor to the wealth of those who own vessels, and such as are engaged in the lumber business. But these are a small part of the benefits that are derived from it by every class of tradesmen. It assists in settling our rich prairies, by affording the means of improving them; brings to us, in return, their productions, makes our
568city the great factory and warehouse, not only for those who manufacture the lumber, but also those who buy it, and gives employment to a large amount of laborers, who, instead of producing the staples of the farm, factory, and workshop, become important consumers of them. Our trade with the lumber regions in pork, beef, flour, corn, oats, butter, dry goods, groceries, machinery, and productions of our mechanics, already amounts to many hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this must necessarily increase in a ratio corresponding with that of the lumber trade. To illustrate this matter in a comprehensive manner, we take the estimate of a person engaged very extensively in the lumber business, as to the amount of breadstuffs and provisions, dry goods, groceries, boots, and shoes, iron, & c. , consumed in the manufacture of every 1,000,000 feet of lumber. It is as follows: —
|Merchandise, including hardware, iron, boots, shoes, & c.||700|
|Groceries, including butter, lard, eggs, tallow, fish, cheese, & c.||500|
|Making a total value of||$2,499|
It is also estimated, for the sake of illustration, that every 1,000,000 of shingles and lath is made at half the cost of lumber. This being the case, by counting the 97,000,000 of these as 48,000,000 feet of lumber, we are enabled to arrive at a concise statement of the amount and value of the articles consumed in the manufacture of 248,000,000 feet of lumber and 96,000,000 shingles and laths, the amount manufactured and sold in the market during the last year: —
|Mdze. , including hardware, & c.||137,200|
|Groceries, including butter, lard, & c.||98,000|
|Total expend. for mdze. and provisions||$402,450|
Besides this outlay there is the cost of labor and transportation, leaving out of view the amount invested in pine, lands, building, and machinery.
RECEIPTS AND SHIPMENTS. — The receipts and shipments by lake, canal, and railroad, during the last year, are annexed. There are several articles of lake commerce of which we give no statistics, because they could not be procured. The most important of these is sugar.
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
|Bran and shorts||7,827||1,078,605||1,086,432|
|Engines and boilers||4||4|
|Furs and pelts||30,804||30,804|
|Iron||bdls. & bars||40,560||5,100||45,660|
|Iron, R. R.||tons||11,227||11,227|
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
|Spts. , not whisky||bbls.||184||184|
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
|Hams & shoulders||casks||5,560||5,560|
|Iron, R. R.||9,647||9,647|
|Lard||bbls. & kegs||4,638||4,638|
|Nails and spikes||kegs||218||7,480||7,698|
|Lake.||Canal.||G. & C. R. R.||Total.|
Table showing the number of arrivals of vessels at this port during each month of the year:
This statement is taken from the Collector's books, and is fully thirty per cent less than the actual arrivals. During October and November not one-third of the steamboat arrivals were reported, and lumber vessels running to and from ports in this collection district are not compelled to file or take out manifests on arriving or before clearing. The enforcement of the law would give us more correct information in this respect.