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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/164

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

any branch of agriculture, which would be devoted to wheat on an assured price of one dollar a bushel in Mark Lane, yielding 960,000,000 bushels. Or, to limit the question yet more: Sir William Crookes states the needs of the people of the United Kingdom at the present time to be 240,000,000 bushels, increasing at a rate of less than two per cent per annum, of which twenty-five per cent is derived from her own soil. If John Bull, in place of building granaries, could offer thirty-three shillings a quarter, or one dollar a bushel, in London as a permanent price for the next thirty years, would not Uncle Sam accept the offer? and if Uncle Sam should then ask for bids among the States, are there not several single States or Territories that would take the contract each for itself?

Having put that question, I now propose to submit an inquiry in due form in order to sustain my own belief that we can supply the whole present and the increasing demand of Great Britain for the next thirty years with six bushels of wheat per head at a dollar a bushel from land situated wholly in the Indian Territory, not yet open to private entry, but which may soon be open when the Indian titles have all been purchased. Or, again, I undertake to say that the State of Texas can meet this whole demand without impairing in the slightest degree its present products of grain, cotton, wool, and meats, and without appropriating the use of more than a small fraction of the area of that single State which has not yet been fenced in or subjected to the plow to the production of wheat.

Perhaps it would be better to put a more simple proposition in order to bring out what would be perfectly feasible. Let it be assumed that the British public should really become so alarmed as to be willing to put up the granaries which have been suggested for storing fourteen weeks' consumption, or 64,000,000 bushels. That would require a very large capital which would yield no income on which there would be a heavy loss of interest and a considerable risk of damage to the wheat during the period of storage. In place of this a feasible plan would be to put up the capital which would be required for building these granaries, invest it in consols, and pledge it as collateral security for the fulfillment of a contract running for thirty years for the annual purchase of 10,000,000 bushels of wheat per month, or say 128,000,000 bushels a year, or twice the quantity proposed to be stored.

There are several large dealers in grain and provisions in the United States who would be ready to take this contract and to put up a sufficient sum of capital invested in United States bonds to serve as security for prompt delivery.

An assured supply of 128,000,000 bushels in addition to the