The production and trade of a country necessitate an elaborate system of debts and credits which increase proportionately to the magnitude of its commercial operations. According to the Official Bulletin, the minimum private and public debt of the United States for the year 1890 was $20,227,170,546. Of this sum, $6,200,000,-000 represents the debt of quasi public corporations, under which head are included railroad companies, street railways, telegraph, public water, electric and gas companies, etc., 91-44 percent of this, or $5,669,-431,114, being the debt of the railroad companies alone. The debts of individuals and private corporations reach a total of $12,000,000,000, divided as follows : Real estate mortgages............................. $6,019,679,985 Crop liens in tbe South ............................ 300,000,000 Crop liens outside of the South..................... 350,000,000 National banks, loans, etc......................... 1,904,167,351 Other banks, loans and overdrafts.................. 1,172.918,415 National, State and local taxes ................... 1,040,473,013 Other net private debt (estimated)................... 112,761,236 Total private debt...............................$13,000,000,000 Total for public corporations (as above)......... 6,200,000,000 Total..................................$18,200,000,000 The public debt, less sinking fund, in which debt is included that of the United States, States, counties, municipalities and school districts, is $2,027,170,546, which, added to the private debt, makes a total of all kinds for the country of over twenty billions. It is significant that over 58 per cent of the combined debt on farms and homes occupied by owners was incurred for the purpose of the purchase of real estate. The large profits which were realized by the earlier purchasers or original owners of inside and outside property in and around the rapidly growing cities of the States encouraged an abnormal amount of speculation in this direction during the few years preceding the late crisis. In the middle, and particularly in the Western States, this form of speculation, if it was not directly contributory to the crisis, certainly served to render it very acute when it came. The crop liens of the South are a legacy of the civil war. At its close the farmers possessed their land and a few mules and tools, but no money. The merchants furnished supplies in consideration of crop liens and mortgages on farm stock. The system thus begun has continued to the present day. The loans from banks are obtained on the understanding that they are for capital. The tax debt and the public debt are incurred "for the maintenance of justice, the promotion of public works and for education." From the above categorical view of the various kinds of debt that go to make up the total for the country, it is seen that fully nine-tenths were incurred in the acquisition of capital and property. Less than one-tenth represents " debt necessitated by misfortune." Next in importance to the question of the amount of debt of the country is the question of the rate of interest upon which the various loans were granted. The average rate of interest on railroad debts is 4-50 per cent; on street railways, telegraphs, etc., 5-89 per cent; on real estate mortgages, 6-60 percent; bank loans and over-drafts, 6'60 per cent; crop liens outside the South, 10 per cent; crop liens in the South, 40 per cent; making an average rate on private debts of 6'67 per cent. The rate on the United States public debt is 48 per cent; and on States, counties, and municipalities, 5-29 per cent. The average rate of interest on the total indebtedness of the country is 6-44 per cent. Referring to the ruinous rate of interest paid on crop liens in the South, the report states that " extensive inquiries, answered by merchants and cotton buyers, who hold cr p liens, point to the conclusion that the average rate on these liens must be as high as 40 per cent, rarely going as low as 25 per cent, and often going as high as 75 per cent and more"! The relatively low rate of 408 on the debt of the United States is partly explained by the fact of its exemption from taxation. Referring to the average rate of interest of 6'60 per cent on real estate mortgages, it should be noted that, in the case of farms occupied by owners, this rises as high as 7 07 per cent and 7-36 per cent on acre tracts. The percentage of debt to wealth is for : Railway companies............................. 67-48 per cent. Street railways and telephone companies.......... 66-60 " Incumbered farms occupied by owners............ 85'55 Incumbered homes occupied by owners........... 39*77 Taxed real estate and untaxed mines.............. 16-71 The whole united States........................ S110 " The total wealth of the United States corresponding to the total debt of over $30,000,000,000 is about $65,000,000,000. The total per capita debt, including both public and private debt, is $323, or $1,594 per family of 493 persons, as per the census of 1890. In connection with the above classification of the various forms of indebtedness, public and private, it is satisfactory to learn that there was a total increase of wealth, during tbe ten years from 1880 to 1890, of $21,395,091,197; the increase for the year 1889 to 1890 being nearly three billions of dollars.