« AnteriorContinuar »
the general rule. Necessarily, then, those who are once poor always remain so; and as a far greater number of those who inherit estates waste their patrimony than there are of the poor who acquire wealth, property is constantly concentrating into the hands of a few; the rich are growing more exclusive, and the poor becoming more numerous and wretched. It is altogether unnecessary to cite, from undeniable authority, evidence of this fact. Notwithstanding the efforts of the advocates of slavery to conceal it, it is too evident to admit of a denial. Those who are curious in the matter can consult numerous articles in De Bow's Review on manufactures, as also many other documents emanating from the Southern press.
It necessarily follows, then, that all the labor of the South must be performed by slaves, directed by unskilled white men, and as a consequence none but the simplest branches of industry receive any attention, and even these are in a comparatively crude, not to say declining state. The slave, with no incentive, studies only to consume time, and is altogether careless whether his labor is productive or non-productive; this is the effect of slavery npon any race. The mechanic arts, in which great skill is requisite, are either neglected, or prosecuted by a few imported artisans who, allured by the enormous remuneration their labor will command, emigrate from the free states. But these are not numerous, and are generally without capital, and chiefly employ their time in producing such articles as it is inconvenient to import; and for all the rest the slave states are absolutely dependent upon foreign supplies.
There is, likewise, in the South no such thing as scientific agriculture, by which, through skillful management, the soil is made to grow more productive each returning year; but the lands are constantly exhausted without any well-directed effort at recuperation. No crop is planted save such as is cultivated by the plow and the hoe, and the result is that after a few seasons the cotton and tobacco fields are worn out and left to broom-sedge and sassafras, which take undisputed possession.
All wealth is comprised in the raw material or the manufactured article; the former is exhaustive, the latter inexhaustive. Were it possible for a nation to produce exactly the amount of every species of raw material it requires and then possess the requisite skill to manufacture it, that nation
FOURTH SERIES, Vol. XIII.—30
would be, indeed, independent. But these advantages are found in no single country, and commerce necessarily follows. A people who produce only the raw material must, sooner or later, according to their natural resources, become impoverished, as they exchange the soil for the product of skill, while wealth always accumulates in the hands of a manufacturing people. A single pound of steel converted into watchsprings will sell for thousands of dollars, and purchase the cotton or tobacco that has exhausted, perhaps, acres of ground.
Slaveholding communities retain nothing; all that they pro-, duce is in a crude state, and must be made ready for use by free labor. Free states introduce science into their agriculture, and raise a variety of crops, such as will supply nearly every necessity, and there is always a sufficient amount of home skill to make it available; hence they produce whatever they consume, and all that they send away is surplus, while slave states sell their entire crop. Hence the cotton states export more than the free states ; but they likewise import more. The difference consists in the fact that free states dispose of their profits only, and the slave states of all their products. The wealth of the two sections must be judged by what they possess, not by what they buy and sell.
The commerce of the cotton states is carried on almost exclusively by foreign vessels, manned by foreign seamen; the number of home vessels and native sailors being too small to be taken seriously into consideration; and the influences already mentioned as crushing industry on land will prevent their increase. Politicians often triumphantly point to the fact that each annual report on commerce and navigation shows an almost fabulous excess of southern exports over their imports, and a great excess of northern imports over its exports; but such men presume too much upon the intelligence of the people, if they expect them to believe this to be a correct exhibit of the industry of the two sections. Were it so, the one must in an incredibly short period (aside from the exhaustion of the soil) become immensely rich, while the other would grow proportionally impoverished and helpless; but statistics abundantly prove the case exactly the reverse, and show conclusively that the North is outstepping, in an accelerating ratio, its cotemporary. The reason of this is obvious. Nearly all the vessels belonging to
ing ratinely then the cases
this country are owned in the North and manned in the North, and the larger portion of our commerce is carried on by northern merchants. The raw material is cumbrous, and is taken from the nearest port; the manufactured article is light, and carried to the best harbor, and forwarded by railroad, by river, or by canal inland. It is well known that a great portion of the articles imported into New York is sent directly to the southern market, while millions of dollars' worth of the produce of northern skill are sent in the same direction. Hence the cotton states are constantly in debt, and it is an undeniable fact that almost every planter in the Gulf states anticipates his crops at least two years for his living, and this indebtedness is gradually becoming greater. The southern gentleman rises in the morning, dresses himself in an imported suit, washes his hands in an imported vessel, smoothes his hair with an imported comb, sits down to an imported table, covered with an imported cloth, and takes his imported meals from imported dishes, mounts upon an imported saddle, guides his horse with an imported bridle, and gives directions to his field hands, who are laboring with imported utensils; and in order that there be no insubordination, he flourishes an imported whip and an imported revolver; he returns to his parlor, lounges upon an imported sofa, and admires his imported carpet; at night he lights his imported lamp, filled with imported oil, and finally retires to an imported bed, covers himself with imported counterpane and sleeps. In exchange for all this he barters his cotton. He exchanges the product of the soil for the product of mind; and as the former is exhaustible, and the latter inexhaustible, the disadvantage must be patent to the most casual observer. Not only is cotton an exhaustive plant, but it is the most sterilizing of all plants except, perhaps, that other southern staple, tobacco. In the more northern agricultural states by a judicious management and a rotation of crops the soil becomes more and more productive; but this system requires skill, industry, and a nearly equal distribution of land; it can only be successfully prosecuted when the agriculturist feels that he is enriching himself as he enriches the soil, and where farms are small and a great amount of time is bestowed upon a little ground; but when we take into consideration the disadvantage rising from the cultivation of a single crop, year after year, by The Future of a Cotton State Confederacy. [July, compulsory labor, and that too of a kind that returns nothing to the soil, we cannot fail to see that disastrous consequences must follow, of the nature of which we can form some conception by traveling through the deserted plantations of Virginia and North Carolina.
Having treated at considerable length of the great natural causes which must necessarily exhaust all the resources, and consequently destroy all the power of the projected slaveholding republic, secondary influences which will tend greatly to hasten such an event, will come up for consideration, and they will be scrutinized in their proper order.
The total population of the thirty-four states, according to the last census, was, in round numbers, 31,250,000, of which 4,000,000 are slaves. The cost of the General Government, including only deficiencies in the Post-office Department, during the year ending June 30, 1859,* was $66,346,226 13, or nearly $2 50 for each free inhabitant, or about $14 for every voter. Of this population there were, in the cotton states, 2,618,857 free persons, 2,350,607 slaves, the former of whom can only be taken into consideration, as the latter are merely articles of merchandise—a portion of the taxable property.
It will hardly be denied that the expenses of carrying on a government with a small population will be greater, per capita, than those of a first class power, as there are many departments absolutely required whenever a people aspire to a rank
among influential nations. The number of foreign ministers must be as large, and in order to keep up the same state, their salaries must not be diminished, but rather increased; for those who represent a powerful government have an importance attached to them which the representatives of smaller governments can only hope to obtain by splendor. A weak nation must keep a larger army in proportion to its population than a stronger one, as the moral power of the latter is sufficient to repel aggression, while the former can only do it by keeping on a constant war footing. But further illustration is needless.
It will now be necessary to inquire how much less than $66,000,000 will be required to carry on the government of the new confederacy, containing a free population of 2,618,000 persons; and in order to do this, it will be necessary to analyze the expenditures of the present government in detail. The following is the classification :
* 1859 is taken because it was a better standard than 1860, as the treasury was bankrupt during the latter year.
Civil list .....
$5,963,795 66 ..... 1,166,990 81
16,636,165 26 ......... 4,753,972 60
.. 23,243,822 38 .. 14,712,610 21
The new Confederacy will certainly have half as many executive, legislative, and judicial officers as the present one, and consequently the civil list must be half as expensive; indeed, there are many reasons to suppose this estimate is too low; but in order that it may certainly be within bounds it will be set down at that figure.
With reference to foreign intercourse, there can be little change. The diplomatic establishments of every nation that aspires to a position as a "power" must be respectable; and the demands of commerce require that every port of importance shall have its consuls and commercial agents; indeed, so far as the ministers are concerned, they will be compelled to hide, as far as possible, the weakness of their government by an extraordinary display. The representatives of imbecile nationalities are necessarily punctilious; and when we take into consideration the extravagance of Southerners, we cannot doubt but the diplomacy of the Confederacy will be as expensive as that of the entire nation at present.
Of the miscellaneous appropriations, $3,500,000 is for deficiencies in the Post-office Department, $1,943,425 04 of which occurs in the boundaries of the new Confederacy; $760,020 17 is appropriated for the payment of the foreign mail service, which will be as essential to the citizens of the new government as to those of the present; and as they will have to depend upon foreign vessels, the expense incurred will perhaps be greater; $3,427,810 86 is paid for collecting the revenue, $700,000 of which is expended at southern ports; $1,314,542 05 was appropriated toward the erection of custom-houses; $350,786 44 for the establishment of marine hospitals, about one half at ports in the Southern States. The Charleston Custom-house, an unfinished edifice, cost up to Sept. 30, 1859, $1,956,185 58,