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THE UNION OPPRESSIVE TO THE SOUTH.
To understand how the Union became a benefit to the North and resulted in the oppression of the South, it is only necessary to compare the two sections in the elements of prosperity, and to explore the sources of those elements as far as they can be traced within the domain of the Union.
MATERIAL DECLINE OF THE SOUTH IN THE UNION.-SHIFTING OF THE NUMBERS AND ENTERPRISE OF THE COUNTRY FROM THE SOUTHERN TO THE NORTHERN STATES.—VIRGINIA'S RANK AMONG THE STATES AT THE TIME OF THE REVOLUTION.-COMMERCIAL DISTRESS OF THE STATES AFTER THE REVOLUTION.-HOW NEW ENGLAND SUFFERED.-THE SOUTH THEN RECKONED THE SEAT OF FUTURE EMPIRE.-THE PEOPLE AND STRENGTH OF AMERICA BEARING SOUTHWARDLY.-EMIGRATION TO THE SOUTH.-KENTUCKY AND THE VALES OF FRANKLAND.—VIRGINIA'S PROSPERITY.-HER EARLY LAND SYSTEM. THE CHESAPEAKE.—ALEXANDRIA.-GEORGE WASHINGTON'S GREAT COMMERCIAL PROJECT.-TWO PICTURES OF VIRGINIA: 1789 AND 1829.-AN EXAMPLE OF THE DECLINE OF THE SOUTH IN MATERIAL PROSPERITY.-THIS DECLINE NOT TO BE ATTRIBUTED TO SLAVERY.—ITS TRUE CAUSES.—EFFECT OF THE LOUISIANA PURCHASE ON THE TIDES OF EMIGRATION.UNEQUAL FEDERAL. LEGISLATION AS A CAUSE OF THE SECTIONAL LAPSE OF THE SOUTH IN THE UNION. THE KEY TO THE POLITICAL HISTORY OF AMERICA.-A GREAT DEFECT OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION.-POPULATION AS AN ELEMENT OF PROSPERITY AND POWER. HOW THIS WAS THROWN INTO THE NORTHERN SCALE.-TWO SECTIONAL MEASURES.-COMPARISONS OF SOUTHERN REPRESENTATION IN CONGRESS AT THE DATE OF THE CONSTITUTION AND IN THE YEAR 1860.-SECTIONAL DOMINATION OF THE NORTH.—A PROTECTIVE TARIFF. THE BILL OF ABOMINATIONS. -SENATOR BENTON ON THE TARIFF OF 1828.-HIS RETROSPECT OF THE PROSPERITY OF THE SOUTH.-HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN TARIFFS.-TARIFF OF 1833, A DECEITFUL COMPROMISE.-OTHER MEASURES OF NORTHERN AGGRANDIZEMENT. INGENUITY OF NORTHERN AVARICE.-WHY THE SOUTH COULD NOT USE HER DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE IN THE NORTH TO PROTECT HER INTERESTS.—THIS ALLIANCE ONE ONLY FOR PARTY PURPOSES.-ITS VALUE.-ANALYSIS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE NORTH.-THE SOUTH UNDER THE RULE OF A NU MERICAL MAJORITY.—ARRAY OF THAT MAJORITY ON A SECTIONAL LINE NECESSARILY FATAL TO THE UNION. WHEN AND WHY THE SOUTH SHOULD ATTEMPT DISUNION.
Ir is not unusual in countries of large extent for the tides of pópulation and enterprise to change their directions and establish new seats of power and prosperity. But the change which in little more than a generation after the American Revolution shifted the numbers and enterprise of the country from the Southern to the Northern States was so distinctly from one side of a line to the other, that we must account such the result of certain special and well-defined causes. To discover these
EARLY PROSPERITY OF THE SOUTH.
causes, and to explain that most remarkable phenomenon-the sharplydefined transfer of population, enterprise, and commercial empire from the South to the North-we shall pass rapidly in review a number of years in the history of the American States.
About the revolutionary period Virginia held the front rank of the States. Patrick Henry designated her as "the most mighty State in the Union." "Does not Virginia," exclaimed this orator, "surpass every State in the Union in the number of inhabitants, extent of territory, felicity of position, in affluence and wealth?" Her arms had been singularly illustrious in the seven years war; and no State had contributed to this great contest a larger measure of brilliant and patriotic service. James Monroe, himself a soldier of the Revolution, declared: "Virginia braved all dangers. From Quebec to Boston, from Boston to Savannah she shed the blood of her sons."
The close of the Revolution was followed by a distress of trade that involved all of the American States. Indeed, they found that their independence, commercially, had been very dearly purchased: that the British Government was disposed to revenge itself for the ill-success of its arms by the most severe restrictions on the trade of the States, and to affect all Europe against any commercial negotiations with them. The tobacco of Virginia and Maryland was loaded down with duties and prohibitions; the rice and indigo of the Carolinas suffered similarly; but in New England the distress was out of all proportion to what was experienced in the more fortunate regions of the South, where the fertility of the soil was always a ready and considerable compensation for the oppression of taxes and commercial imposts. Before the Revolution, Great Britain had furnished markets for more than three-fourths of the exports of the eight Northern States. These were now almost actually closed to them. Massachusetts complained of the boon of independence, when she could no longer find a market for her fish and oil of fish, which at this time constituted almost wholly the exports of that region, which has since reached to such insolence of prosperity, and now abounds with the seats of opulence. The most important branch of New England industry-the whale fisheries-had almost perished; and driven out of employment, and distressed by an unkind soil, there were large masses of the descendants of the Puritans ready to move wherever better fortune invited them, and the charity of equal laws would tolerate them.
In these circumstances it is not surprising that, in the early stages of the Federal Republic, the South should have been reckoned the seat of future empire. There was a steady. flow of population from the sterile regions of the North to the rich but uncultivated plains of the South. In the Convention that formed the Constitution Mr. Butler, a delegate from New England, had declared, with pain, that "the people and
strength of America were evidently bearing southwardly and southwest wardly." As the sectional line was then supposed to run, there were only five States on the southern side of it: eight on the northern. In the House of Representatives the North had thirty-six votes; the South only twenty-nine. But the most persistent statement made in favour of the Constitution in Virginia and other Southern States, was, that though the North, at the date of this instrument, might have a majority in the representation, the increase of population in the South would, in the course of a few years, change it in their favour. So general and imposing was the belief that the Southern States were destined to hold the larger share of the numbers and wealth of America. And not without reason was such a prospect indulged at this time. The people of New England were then emigrating to Kentucky, and even farther to the South and Southwest. In vain the public men of the North strove to drive back the flow of population upon the unoccupied lands of Maine, then a province of Massachusetts. Land was offered there for a dollar an acre. But the inducement of even such a price was insufficient to draw the emigrant to the inhospitable regions of the Penobscot. There was the prosperous agriculture to tempt him that had made Virginia the foremost of the British colonies. There were the fertile and undulating prairie lands of Kentucky to invite and reward his labours. There were the fruitful vales of Frankland-a name then given to the western district of North Carolina-to delight his vision with the romances of picturesque prosperity. To these regions the Northern emigration flowed with steady progress, if not with the rapidity and spirit of a new adventure.
Virginia did not need the contributions of numbers or of capital moving from the North after the Revolution, to make her the foremost State of the Union. She was already so. In 1788, her population was estimated at more than half a million, and her military force at fifty thousand militiamen. Her early land system, in which the soil was cultivated by tenants, and thus most effectively divided for labour, had put her agricultural interest far above that of the other States, and during the colonial period had drawn to her borders the best class of population in America-that of the yeomanry of England. The Chesapeake was the chosen resort of the trader. Alexandria, then the principal commercial city of Virginia, was thought to hold the keys to the trade of a continent. The election of George Washington to the Presidency of the United States interrupted him in a project, by which he hoped to unite the Bay of Chesapeake, by her two great arms, the James and Potomac rivers, with the Ohio, and eventually to drain the commerce of the Lakes into the same great basin, and, extending yet further the vision of this enterprise, to make Alexandria the eastern depot of the fur trade. Everywhere was blazoned the prosperity of Virginia; and, indeed, in coming into the
*HER DECLINE NOT CAUSED BY SLAVERY.
Union, many of her public men had said that she sacrificed an empire in itself for a common concern.
Of the decline of the South, after the early periods of the government, in population and industry, Virginia affords the most striking example. To show the general fact and to illustrate especially the decline of that State, we may take two pictures of Virginia, placing an interval between them of scarcely more than one generation of men.
At the time of the adoption of the Constitution, Virginia was in the heyday of prosperity. Her system of tenant farms spread before the eye a picture of thrifty and affluent agriculture. In 1800 she had a great West Indian and a flourishing European trade. She imported for herself and for a good part of North Carolina and, perhaps, of Tennessee. She presented a picture in which every element of prosperity combined with lively effect.
In 1829 it was estimated in her State Convention that her lands were worth only half what they were in 1817. Her slave property had proportionally declined, and negro men could be bought for one hundred and fifty dollars each. Her landed system had become extinct. Regions adapted to the growth of the grasses were converted into pasture lands. The busy farms disappeared; they were consolidated to make cattle-ranges and sheep-walks. Where once the eye was entertained with the lively and cheerful scenes of an abundant prosperity it looked over wasted fields, stunted forests of secondary growth of pine and cedar, and mansions standing partly in ruins or gloomily closed in tenantless silence.
The contrast between such. prosperity and such decay, witnessed in every part of the South, though not perhaps to the extent displayed in Virginia, and taking place within a short and well-defined period of time, demands explanations and strongly invites the curiosity of the historical inquirer. And yet the explanation is easy when we regard obvious facts, instead of betaking ourselves to remote and refined speculations after the usual fashion of the curious, with respect to striking and remarkable phe
It has been a persistent theory with Northern writers that the singular decline of the South in population and industry, while their own section was constantly ascending the scale of prosperity, is to be ascribed to the peculiar institution of negro slavery. But this is the most manifest nonsense that was ever spread on the pages of history. Negro slavery had no point of coincidence with the decline referred to; it had existed in the South from the beginning; it had been compatible with her early prosperity extending over the period of the Constitution; it had existed in Virginia when Virginia was most flourishing. But the fallacy of the anti-slavery argument is not only apparent in the light of the early history of America: examples in other parts of the world emphasize it, and