Illinois Staats-Zeitung -- April 29, 1862Spring Business (Editorial)
Business prospects for Chicago are better than ever before, and this year nearly-all branches of commerce are enjoying prosperity. The future outlook is very bright indeed. This is proved by the significant fact that our merchants not only have debts but are even blessed With substantial bank balances, despite the fact that retail businessmen recently filled all their available storage space through large purchases of goods from wholesalers and jobbers; in fact, their stores are packed from basement to attic With merchandise. This favorable condition of our trade is all the more remarkable in view of the fact that our merchants have not experienced long years of prosperity, but have just passed through a period of unfavorable crises and violent shocks, which undoubtedly would have destroyed a less stable and a less healthy enterprise. In no other city of our country was business obliged to weather so many and such severe economic storms as did Chicago business during the comparatively short 2period from 1857 to 1862....
Hardly twelve months ago, the people of Illinois lost the enormous sum of more than six million dollars through the depreciation of their currency--a loss which affected chiefly small businessmen, laborers, tradesmen, and farmers; and yet today Chicago and the State of Illinois in general enjoy a better and more independent financial status than ever before. The present stable condition of our money is an essential factor. Why amount of currency may be had, and there are prospects that interest rates will be lowered to about six per cent. However, our financial rise has its shady side, too. It appears that financial interests of other states--for example, those of New York and New England--have become aware that our municipal and state bonds have risen in value and that the monthly and weekly balances of our businessmen have increased. There financiers have therefore cast their eager eyes on the Northwest, especially on Chicago and Illinois, and intend to take advantage of our prosperity.
Of course, we have no objection to make if reliable banks with ample capital, 3like the Bank of the State of Indiana, the State Bank of Iowa, and the larger banks of Cincinnati and Philadelphia, establish branches in our city, as long as these institutions are compelled to meet our requirement-sine-qua-non--to pay cash for their notes. But it seems that we shall be pestered by a great number of dubious eastern bank notes. At present, great efforts are being made in this direction, and it will depend on the wise determination of our businessmen whether or not we are again to exchange our gold for the rags and tatters which eastern money hawks will offer us.
If Chicago, the granary of America and Europe, wants to be the financial and commercial lord of its own castle, if it desires to remain independent of the selfish, unscrupulous Yankee speculators, it will have to throw out their paper money, the bank notes of all of New Hampshire, New York, and Maine and establish its exchange exclusively on the basis of the new national currency, the treasury notes of the United States of America.
The unusual activity which we noted in the real-estate market is also an 4unmistakable indication of solid prosperity and normal business conditions. The demand for real estate has been unusually large since April 1. And, mind you, we are speaking not of speculation in real estate, but of acquisition of real estate for residential or commercial purposes. Nearly all sales are for cash, and in most cases, the property sold consists of small parcels, which indicates that they have been bought for the purpose of building. There can be only one inference, namely, that the middle class, the small businessman and the laborer, too, are prosperous.
In the outlying parts of the city, one or two miles along the streetcar lines, especially on the North Side where the Germans are strongly represented, one can see hundreds of small homes in process of construction; and upon inquiry, one learns that the lot has not been leased but has been purchased.
All in all, we have reason to expect great commercial expansion and development during the current year. But there is one worry which tends to cast a shadow on the bright outlook, and that has to do with the coming harvest. We 5need a good deal of dry, warm weather if we are to have a good harvest of wheat; [Translator's note: The remainder of this article has been clipped out.]
I D 1 a, I D 1 b
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