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it is that the people of the North and of the South are now marked by widely differing traits. We remember when leaving home for the first time, thirty years ago, how, even at that early period of our own life, as well as that of our country, these differences forced themselves upon us. Leaving New York in a steamboat, (a sort of vessel then hardly known in Charleston,) we landed at Bridgeport in Connecticut, a small town, which seemed as full of life and activity as the Queen City of the South which we had just left. Twenty miles further on, we found ourselves in the city of New Haven; twenty-five miles further still, we saw the city of Middletown, a port on the Connecticut River; and but fifteen miles further north, we entered the bustling and populous city of Hartford. Thus, in the space of sixty miles, we saw four towns, which, though small, were all teeming with life and activity. The road over which we travelled passed through a populous country, and several villages appeared along the way, in each of which were traces of business. Everybody appeared to be busy. A press was at work, which twice or thrice a week dispensed the news to the public. We felt that we were in a new country, and, young as we then were, we gazed in wonder at this display of activity, and could not but ask the question, which we still ask, what supports these towns ? On what do they subsist? Here are ships, what do they carry? What does this country produce to constitute the basis of their commerce ?
At home we had seen our wharves crowded with cotton and rice, and we knew that the ships came for them; but what does Connecticut produce to tempt the mariner across the ocean?
Returning homeward four or five years later, we travelled by land, and, after leaving Baltimore, felt that we were again near home. From Baltimore to Washington, nothing was seen but the occasional stage house. It was the same between Washington and Richmond, and the same from that city to Charleston, through the towns of Petersburg, Raleigh, Fayetteville, Cheraw, Camden and Columbia. In all of these towns, except the first, appeared the quiet of perfect leisure. There was no bustle, no eager panting after the dollar. The piazzas of the hotels had their groups of idlers engaged in conversation; and though the shops were
open, you really felt unwilling to disturb the repose of the shopkeeper by applying to him to satisfy your wants.
Between the few towns which thus appear in a journey of upwards of four hundred miles, lies a perfect wilderness. Few traces of life are visible. No houses, except the post houses; hardly a human face to remind you that you and your stage-coach companions are not alone in the world; and if you have travelled from Boston, you will easily believe, by the time you reach Chethat you
have passed into a totally foreign country. Sixteen years ago, we visited the Virginia Springs, making the journey in our own carriage. The whole line of road from Charleston to the White Sulphur Springs was sketched out for us by a friend, and every house on the road indicated at which it was possible to procure entertainment for man and horse, with their distances from each other; and many an anxious hour did we spend pondering over the way bill, contemplating the distances between the various resting places, and inquiring whether it were better to make a short day's journey, or risk the straining of the faithful horses by our efforts to reach favorite lodging houses.
The Northern people are essentially an urban population. They crowd towards the cities, and their houses line the highways of the country. The Southern people, on the contrary, are a rural people. They not only affect the country, but they carefully build their houses far from the highways. A stranger may travel over the highways through our bes' and most populous lowland districts, and believe himself to be traversing a wilderness. The former are, therefore, necessarily more enterprising, energetic and intelligent. With them originates the idea of progress, and they carry the idea into practice. The latter, with occasional exceptions, are less intelligent and informed-more conservative and stationary. may
be that this difference between the North and the South is radical, and traceable to the Puritanic and the Cavalier spirits which respectively presided over the planting of the several States. But be this as it may, circumstances have conspired to fix their characters, and render them permanent. Of these circumstances, the most effective is negro slavery.
Whenever the North and the South are compared, or rather contrasted with each other, it is usual to attribute the slow progress of the latter to the presence of slavery. Though this is done in a taunting and an offensive spirit, it is nevertheless true, but not true as they who make the taunt would have it.
A country with a continually increasing population must be a country of progress. Such a country is our North. And this increase of population is occasioned not only by the natural fertility of the people, but by an annual influx of some hundred thousand laborers from other countries. This influx of population is denied to the South by their concession to the General Government of the power to close their ports to that population which nature declares shall alone constitute her laboring class. The presence of four millions of slaves is sufficient to deter free laborers from offering their services to Southern cultivators; and if they come, it would probably be only to starve. Hence the South can increase only by the necessary operations of nature; and in this respect we believe we may compare favorably with the North. The progress which we have made, therefore, is native and independent of foreign resources. It is positive, and has the elements of stability.
This is not the occasion to criticise the policy which has wantonly laid open the American soil to adventurers from every land on earth. It has unquestionably hastened the growth and development of the country, and placed her at once among the firstrate powers of the earth. But it may be seriously questioned hereafter whether we have done wisely in thus squandering our patrimony to the growth of national vanity; and we may give posterity cause to regret that our haste to be great should have entailed upon them the misery to which a redundant population has condemned so many unhappy Europeans. The political philosopher, too, must regret to see a republic, born and fostered under Anglo-Saxon institutions, converted into a democracy, and uttering all the crudities of every race of Europeans. The country is indeed in a state of progress; but the old conservative elements of Anglo-Saxon freedom have given way to the wild notions of democracy which are entertained by every people of Europe
who have never enjoyed and are unable to conceive the blessings of true liberty. We have closed our ports to those who never could affect our political state, and have thrown them open to others who threaten to destroy us. Had we continued the importation of slaves, our progress would, perhaps, have equalled that of the North. With all her advantages, it is not long since she outstripped us in our career. Had we the foresight to know, and the resolution to protect our rights and our interests, and not committed the glaring inconsistency of retaining slavery as a good, whilst we denounced its origin as a sin, the area of slavery would assuredly never have been limited by the southern boundary of Missouri.
But what is written is written. We have made our decision, and now find ourselves, with a population of seven millions, engaged in the race of progress with a competitor who counts double our numbers. Let us, therefore, calmly examine our position, look the truth boldly in the face, and ascertain, if possible, our true policy and our probable destiny.
The character of our country depends, in a great measure, upon the fact that half of our population is in a state of slavery. Of the territory comprising the Southern States it may be asserted, that at least one-third, and that too, the most valuable portion, would be deserted if not cultivated by laborers of the African race. Whatever, therefore, of civilization, of industry, of enlightened refinement, may be found in that territory, is due entirely to the owners of the slaves who till the soil.
The foreign commerce of the United States, so far as it depends upon the cotton, the rice, and the tobacco of the South, is based upon negro slavery. Abolish slavery, and the rice disappears instantly, and with it the long-staple cotton. Half of the tobacco and at least two-thirds of the upland cotton would be lost to the world. The sugar crop would be lost, and with all these staples would perish the trade and the arts which are set in motion by the labors of four millions of slaves. But we dwell not on this topic, as it is foreign to the question before us. It is sufficient to notice that as Southern staples constitute so large an element in the foreign commerce of the United States, they furnish ex
clusively the basis of Southern trade. Our planters make cotton, rice, tobacco and sugar, and in exchange for these they receive from every part of the world those articles which minister to the necessities, the comforts, the conveniences and the luxuries of life.
With the political rivalry between the North and the South naturally arose commercial—not rivalry, for between parties so unequally matched rivalry is hardly practicable but-jealousy. A time there had been when the very name of Southron called up the idea of wealth. The Southron visited the springs in all the pomp of wealth, and was everywhere joyfully received by obsequious inn-keepers. The best of the house was at his disposal. He was courted, caressed, feted, and he returned home with the sense of his superiority flattered, and eagerly longed for the return of the happy season which should enable him to enjoy again the delicious homage. His word was an oracle, his opinion a decree, and he trod the grounds devoted to the worship of Hygeia with the proud consciousness of an arbiter of taste, a moral dictator. By degrees a change came over his career. He found others at these resorts of fashionable elegance, and those, too, from the North, who not only rivalled him in wealth, but actually pretended to as much refinement and elegance. These claims began to be recognised, and before long the Southern despot found himself bowing at the throne of those very Northrons who had but lately prostrated themselves with awful adoration before his wealth.
In the contemplation of their wealth he began to feel that he had lost his own. By the side of their incomes, his appeared meagre, and he naturally inquired what had led to this turning of the scale. Every supposable cause was assigned. A favorite one was, the unequal operation of the laws. The tariffs were made to act a conspicuous part in this operation, and so implicit was the faith which ascribed Southern degeneracy to this source, that South Carolina placed herself on the verge of civil war by her decided measures of resistance to the federal laws. In time the tariff was modified, but the evil went on. Northern wealth appeared daily to increase, and Southern wealth to diminish.