coins which the settlers had taken with them in their journey of emigration had been exhausted, there was nothing left wherewith to pay for these costly luxuries; and debt, embarrassment, bankruptcy, were the inevitable results.
A people clothed in skins, living on the products of the chase and the spontaneous abundance of nature, might maintain existence and a rude social organization amid the forests and on the prairies of the Great Valley
; any other must have experienced striking alternations of factitious prosperity and universal distress; seeing its villages and commercial depots rise, flourish, and decay, after the manner of Jonah's gourd, and its rural population constantly hunted by debt and disaster to new and still newer locations.
The Great West of to-day owes its unequaled growth and progress, its population, productiveness, and wealth, primarily, to the framers of the Federal Constitution
, by which its development was rendered possible; but more immediately and palpably to the sagacity and statesmanship of Jefferson
, the purchaser of Louisiana
; to the genius of Fitch
, the projector and achiever, respectively, of steam-navigation; to De Witt Clinton
, the early, unswerving, and successful champion of artificial inland navigation; and to Henry Clay
, the eminent, eloquent, and effective champion of the diversification of our National Industry through the Protection of Home Manufactures.
The difficulties which surrounded the infancy and impeded the growth of the thirteen original or Atlantic States, were less formidable, but kindred, and not less real.
Our fathers emerged from their arduous, protracted, desolating Revolutionary struggle, rich, indeed, in hope, but poor in worldly goods.
Their country had, for seven years, been traversed and wasted by contending armies, almost from end to end. Cities and villages had been laid in ashes.
Habitations had been deserted and left to decay.
Farms, stripped of their fences, and deserted by their owners, had for years produced only weeds.
Camp fevers, with the hardships and privations of war, had destroyed many more than the sword; and all alike had been subtracted from tie most effective and valuable part of a population, always, as yet, quite inadequate.
Cripples and invalids, melancholy mementoes of the yet recent struggle, abounded in every village and township.
Habits of industry had been unsettled and destroyed by the anxieties and uncertainties of war. The gold
of anterevolutionary days had crossed the ocean in exchange for arms and munitions.
The Continental paper, which for a time more than supplied (in volume) its place, had become utterly worthless.
In the absence of a tariff, which the Confederate Congress lacked power to impose, our ports, immediately after peace, were glutted with foreign luxuries — gewgaws which our people were eager enough to buy, but for which they soon found themselves utterly unable to pay. They were almost exclusively an agricultural people, and their products, save only Tobacco and Indigo, were not wanted by the Old World, and found but a very restricted and inconsiderable market even in the West Indies
, whose trade was closely monopolized by the nations to which they respectively belonged.