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tion, and any permanent rise or fall in the price of these would have the same effect in increasing or diminishing the growth of cotton, as a rise or fall in the price of cotton itself. For instance, if indigo at one dollar per lb. and cotton at fifteen cents

per lb. afforded an equal remuneration to the planter, it might be a matter of indifference to him which he should cultivate; but if indigo permanently advanced to two dollars, or cotton permanently fell to ten cents per lb., the culture of indigo would be materially increased, and that of cotton proportionably diminished. Now to apply this to the actual situation of the United States-In South Carolina and Georgia, the principal articles of culture at present are rice, a little tobacco, Indian corn, and cotton. The tobacco and rice lands are not generally suitable for the culture of cotton, and it is not likely that any probable variation in their relative value would lead to any material alteration in the relative extent of their cultivation. The soil, however, most suitable for the culture of cotton, is very congenial to the growth of Indian corn. If, therefore, we could conceive of a foreign demand for Indian corn so extensive as to sustain it permanently at a price which would leave a greater profit than the culture of cotton, the cultivation of the latter would no doubt decline. This, however, cannot be anticipated, as the enormous quantity which would be raised would soon depress the price, and the foreign markets would ultimately be supplied by those states which possess as great, or greater advantages, for the cultivation of Indian corn, and are less

adapted for the production of other staples. It does not, therefore, appear probable (the cultivation of indigo having been abandoned, and that of hemp easily overdone,) that there are articles of produce which in Georgia or Carolina could be substituted for cotton, even though that article should decline considerably. It is possible, however, to transport the Negroes to other states; and it is necessary, therefore, to inquire whether any culture in the neighbouring states would af ford an inducement to migration in case of a material decline in the price of cotton. Sugar, and perhaps sugar only, does afford such an inducement; but its growth is limited by a certain latitude, and there is a regular supply of Slaves from Virginia and North Carolina not previously employed in the cultivation of cotton, and more than equal to the annual demand for the culture of sugar. Some of the spare lands on the plantations is generally applied to the growth of Indian corn, for the subsistence of the Slaves. Their subsis-. tence on a cotton plantation may be regarded as costing the planter little or nothing, since his Negroes could plant one third more cotton than they can pick. The Indian corn, therefore, is obtained from land which would otherwise be unoccupied, and labour which would otherwise be unemployed. A very high price of cotton, indeed, will tempt the planter to buy his Indian corn, and plant more cotton; but this requires a degree of cruelty, in overworking the Slaves in the picking season, which many are unwilling to exercise, and most are ashamed to avow. Many of the

small planters told me that they were always uncomfortable when cotton was high; as they put their families, as it were, on short allowance, and adopted a system of saving and scrambling, for the inconveniences of which their profits did not compensate. A very low price of cotton might, on the other hand, lessen the stimulus to exertion and privation; but the planters are very generally in debt, and are therefore compelled to activity in order to preserve their estates in their own hands. Those who wish an idle agricultural life, remove to the cultivated parts of the western country.

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It is one of the inconveniences to which slaveholders are exposed (especially where the range of the articles to which the climate is favourable is limited) that they are constantly liable to a great extinction of capital by a reduction in the foreign market of the value of the articles they produce. The cost of production in that country, which can supply the articles at the cheapest rate and in sufficient quantity, fixes the price to which all the others must conform. Now if that price be insufficient to remunerate the cultivator by free labour, he discontinues the cultivation, and dismisses his labourers. The cultivator by slave labour, on the contrary, being compelled still to maintain his Slaves, continues also to employ them; but the value of the articles being reduced, the value of man, the machine which produces them, is depreciated nearly in the same proportion, and this depreciation may proceed so far, that the labour of a Slave is worth so little more

than his maintenance as to afford no recompence to his owner for care and superintendence. In the progress towards this state of things, manumissions would multiply rapidly, for they would cost little; experiments would be made favourable to the freedom of the Negro; many Slaves would become free labourers, and slavery would verge towards its termination.

Does not this view of the subject throw a gleam of hope on the dark picture of slavery? If the free labour of the East can produce cotton, rice, and sugar as cheaply as has been stated, may it not undermine, and gradually exterminate, the slave labour of the West? The indigo of Carolina, long the staple of that state, has for many years been entirely superseded by the cheaper indigo of India. Upland cotton in Carolina and Georgia has fallen, in less than four years, from thirty to fifteen cents per lb. and principally by competition, actual and prospective, with the cotton of Surat and Bengal. Sugar is now resorted to wherever the planter has sufficient capital, and his estate is within the latitude favourable to its production; but for this article legislative support has already been secured by protecting duties.

Nor is it from free labour only that the WestIndia and American planters have much to fear. They have already most formidable competitors in those colonies into which the importation of Slaves is still admitted. But I will not pursue the subject. I will only add, that the great revolu

tions which the natural course of events is silently effecting in the West, are calculated to rivet the attention both of the planter and of the philanthropist, and to inspire each of them with feelings of the most intense interest, though not a little differing in their complexion.

I must not forget to tell you, long as my letter is, that this place derives its name from the Natchez, a celebrated tribe of Indians extinguished some time since with circumstances of peculiar cruelty. Dr. Robertson describes them as distinguished from all the other southern tribes by hereditary rank, and the worship of the sun. The Choctaws, of whom there are nearly 20,000 in this state, often pay us a visit. I have not mentioned, either, that in consequence of the fever last year, more than half of the families seem to be in mourning; and instances have been mentioned to me of great generosity on the part of the planters towards those whom the ravages of death have deprived of their natural protectors, and left orphans and destitute.

We hope to set out in a few days on horseback, through the Indian country, to Richmond, in Virginia.


Richmond, Virginia, 20th June, 1820. My letter of the 25th of May, brought us to the north-west corner of the state of Mississippi, or rather to the boundary between that state and Alabama. I propose now to give you a sketch of

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