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Of the 143,222 immigrants who arrived in the first seven months of the present year, 101,220 were born in Great Britain and Ireland, or nearly 71 per cent., being an increase in the proportion over the previous year of 4 per cent.; and of the remaining 42,002 there were 34,142 who were born in Germany, or nearly 24 per cent., being a decrease in the proportion since last year of 41 per cent. In brief, the comparison shows thus:
Seven months of 1848, from Great Britain
67 per cent.
There are not the same means of making a comparison as to the place of birth of immigrants arriving in previous years, as the particularity with which the Commissioners of immigration cause a register to be kept of the birth-place of each immigrant was not then practised, but a good approximation may be made by taking the ports whence the vessels arrived with passengers at New York. In the first seven months of 1846 there were 60,220 immigrants who arrived at this port, as follows:
From British ports
From Sweden and Norway
Italy and Sicily
It is quite impracticable to separate the nationalities of the passengers who arrived from these ports; but it may be assumed (with hopes of tolerable accuracy) that the number of passengers from British ports represents the number of immigrants from that country, and this gives a proportion of sixty-three per cent. arriving thence in the first seven months of 1846, and the progress since then is as follows:
Seven months 1846. Proportion of immigrants arriving at New York, born in Great Britain
63 per cent. 67 do.
There is one fact of considerable interest presented to view in regard to the progress of the business of transporting passengers to this country; and that is the great increase in the numbers who make the passage in the winter. In the months of January, February, and March, 1844, there were but 2,101 passengers arriving at New York by sea; though in the same months in this year there were no less than 26,706, an increase of thirteen fold, while the total increase of immigration in the seven months is only fourfold. In 1844 only about one-seventeenth of the number of immigrants arriving in the first seven months arrived in January, February, and March; while in the present year nearly one-fifth of the whole arrived in the first three months.
The inference to be drawn from this state of facts may be that the condition of the people in Great Britain during the winter is deteriorating, and that they are compelled to emigrate in the depth of the cold season, and incur its severities and dangers on the ocean, from the fear that if they wait until a more genial time they will be left without the means of emigrating at all. And this view is strengthened apparently by observing the large numbers who arrive here in a state of complete destitution. The proportions arriving in the first three months out of the seven are as follows:
It is true, however, that an inference just to the contrary may be drawn; that the increased numbers of those who embark in the winter may result from the more general possession of means to encounter the greater length and privations of a winter voyage; as also from the expediency of remaining in their own country so long as the time of year affords employment and the means of subsistence. It may be supposed that those who come in the summer are under a pressing necessity to come, which leaves no choice of time; others, better off in the world, can afford to stay until the harvesting is done, &c., and make their voyage in the comparatively idle season.
In answer to an inquiry as to the proportion between the Foreign and Native population, in New York, the Journal of Commerce thus replies:
In 1845, the number of foreigners in the city of New York was 128,495, or a fraction more than one-third of the whole population, which was 374,223, including 12,913 coloured. The whole number of voters was 63,927. Of the 128,495 foreigners, 60,946 were aliens; i. e., as we understand it, foreigners not naturalized.
The increase of our population from 1840 to 1845, was 58,591. A proportionate increase since taking the population of 1845 (371,223) as a new basis would give us at present about 425,000; of whom 150,000 or 160,000 may be foreigners, and the rest natives. As nearly half the foreign population in 1845 were aliens, it may be presumed (taking into view the immense influx of foreigners since, and the fact that no foreigner can he naturalized until he has been in the country at least five years) that half of the present foreign inhabitants are aliens. On the other hand, it should be noted that a larger proportion of foreigners than of natives are adults, and consequently that other things being equal, a larger proportion of them would be voters. If the proportion of voters among foreigners, aliens included, were as great as among the natives, the number of foreign voters in the city in 1845 would have been over 20,000, and would now be about 25,000. But in point of fact, we are inclined to think it is now about 18,000 out of a total of 73,000. That is to say, about one-quarter of the whole.
It may be that we have not made a sufficient allowance (not in the increase of voters but of population) on account of the extraordinary influx of immigrants within a few years past; but our view of the matter is, that comparatively few of them take up their residence here, while the vast majority pour into the West, or seek a home in other cities and villages, or among the farmers of this and the neighbouring states.
As to the proportion of Irish, Germans, &c., composing the foreign population of this city, an approximation to the truth may be obtained by referring to the results of the last census, (1845,) when, of the 128,495 foreigners, 96,584 were natives of Great Britain and Ireland, 24,416 of Germany, 3,710 of France, 508 of Mexico and South American States, and the remaining 3,277 of other European countries than those above mentioned. Of the immigration since 1845 a much larger proportion than before consists of Germans; but still the Irish predominate. Next year a new census will be taken, which will give us the information sought for exactly.
THE COMMERCE OF THE LAKES.
We are indebted to the Hon. E. G. Spaulding, of Buffalo, for the report of the Committee of the Board of Trade of that city, to the United States Agent, appointed by the government to procure statistical information in relation to the Commerce of the Lakes.
The extent and importance of our internal commerce must be our apology for making copious extracts from this able and interesting document.
The vast and increasing commerce of the West having attracted the attention of the General Government, an agent has been appointed whose duty it is to procure all necessary information in regard to its growth and progress. All information in regard to the tonnage employed on the western lakes, and the value of property annually conveyed to and fro, has heretofore been furnished the government by Col. J. J. Abert, the head of the Topographical Bureau. This gentleman has been indefatigable in his exertions to place before Congress the extent of the trade of the West, the facilities for doing business at the several shipping points, and the necessity for increasing those facilities by furnishing adequate harbour room and erecting suitable works for the protection of life and property. The very loose manner in which the official returns from many of the collection districts have been made, has rendered the obtaining of accurate information a work of immense labour. To obviate this an agent has been appointed, whose duty it is to visit the several ports of entry and obtain the information desired. At the request of Mr. Milford, the agent referred to, the Board of Trade of Buffalo, took measures to furnish information in regard to this point, by the appointment for that purpose of a proper committee. It is due to Mr. James L. Barton, one of the committee, to say that the great bulk of the labour has devolved upon him, and the very creditable manner in which the report has been prepared, is an evidence that much time and attention have been bestowed on the subject.
BUFFALO, N. Y., August, 1849. William Milford, Esq., U. States Agent for procuring statistical information in relation to the Commerce of the Lakes.
SIR-Your communication addressed to the Board of Trade of this city, requesting their assistance in procuring, for the use of the Home Department at Washington, information on the following subjects having reference to the commercial transactions at the port of Buffalo, during the year 1848, viz.:
1. Imports, coastwise, quantity and value;
2. Do. foreign,
3. Exports, coastwise,
4. Do. foreign,
5. Number of steamers, steam propellers and vessels, registered and licensed in the district, their tonnage and value;
6. Number of steamers and vessels, and their aggregate amount of tonnage; 7. Population of the city, January 1, 1849;
8. Works of internal improvement constructed or being constructed for the benefit of commerce, has been referred to a committee consisting of the undersigned, who, having devoted much time and careful attention to the subject, present the following report as the result of their labours:
1st. Imports, coastwise, quantity and value.
From the well known fact of the shortness of the trips, particularly across Lake Erie, and the rapidity with which the business is transacted during the season of navigation and the very little real necessity there is for doing it, the manifests of cargoes do not contain a full and precise statement of the kind and quantity on board, consequently a full and perfect account of the entire imports cannot be obtained. In addition to this, vessels running from port to port within the same district are not required by law to report their cargoes. The business done in this way is very large, but the details of it, it is impossible to arrive at. It embraces large quantities of lumber in all its varieties, corn, oats, barley, pork, beef, cheese, butter, ashes, potatoes, and numerous other agricultural products.
From a careful abstract made from manifests of vessels in the Custom House and records kept by the Board of Trade, the committee were enabled to obtain the following imports. This list is longer and more in detail than is usually made in reporting imports, the great and leading articles more commonly only being given. It has not been elaborated for the purpose of show merely, but principally with a view to exhibit the varied kind of articles which enter into and form the lake commerce.
SUNDRIES.-Household furniture, merchandise, plaster, ginseng, mint oil,
Forming an estimated value of $22,743,404.
This property is the growth and product of the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee, Louisiana, Missouri, Canada, and that portion of New York bordering on the Lakes. In arriving at a valuation, the utmost care has been taken to obtain the actual worth of the different articles in the market. Flour is valued at $4 72 per bbl., wheat at 92 cents, corn 433 cents, and oats at 30 cents per bushel; pork and bacon, including smoked hams, at $10 65 per bbl., which was the average price of mess pork; butter at 12 cents per pound, lard $6 633; cheese $5 88; and for the va rious other articles, the books of dealers and others conversant with the market have been consulted. The committee are satisfied the gross valuation might easily, without doing injustice to the trade, have been much increased. 2d. Imports, foreign, quantity and value.
In abstracting the various manifests, it was not discovered, until the work was nearly finished, that the distinction between coastwise and foreign imports, had not been made. The great labour of going over the work for that purpose was not deemed of sufficient consequence to undertake it, and the preceding table of imports coastwise, includes the foreign. The kind and description of the foreign imports are, pine lumber and shingles, saw logs, railroad ties, sheep pelts, grass seed, plaster, horses, furs, some wheat and flour, Liverpool salt, wool and numerous small articles which enter into our retail trade. The value of the imports, as made up at the Custom House, was $129,004, viz.: Foreign goods imported in American vessels
3d. Exports, Coastwise, quantity and value.
It is utterly impossible to specify the articles under this head: they include almost every thing that can be enumerated. The property landed at Buffalo from