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Some of the rice plantations cover thousands of acres even now; and the employment of from five to eight hundred men, women and children by a single person, is not at all uncommon. I visited the celebrated plantation at Green Pond, in Colleton county, the property of Mr. Bissell, who has 3,5c0 acres under his control. He, in common with others, was broken by the war; and is struggling with the hundred ills which beset the planter in the changed condition of affairs. His broad fields lie seven miles from the Charleston and Savannah Railroad, at the rear of extensive pine forests, in which, now that the white man is so poorly represented in the legislature, the poacher wanders unreproved. The plantation extends across the Combahee river into Beaufort county, and at various points rice-pounding mills

and little villages, in which the workers. live, are established. A morning ride in the soft and Italian-like autumn across this or similar plantations, is a delicious experience. Mounted on a stout mule or on a Kentucky horse, you gallop through the perfumed avenues of the forests until you reach the wide expanse of fields, cut into squares by long trenches, through which water from the river in the background is admitted to every part of the land. The breeze rustles musically in the tall cane along the banks, in whose sedgy recesses the alligator and the serpent hide. In the distance an antlered deer may break from his cover, and after one defiant glance, stamp his foot, and be gone! A white sail glides on the horizon's rim, as the little schooner from Charleston works her way around to the mill, where long processions of black boys and girls, with baskets on their heads, and their mouths filled with horrible jargon, are waiting to load the rice.


The injury done to all the plantations in these lowland counties, by the neglect consequent on the war, is incalculable. Most of these plantations have been reclaimed from the waters; have been diked, ditched, furnished with "trunks," by means of which the planter can inundate or drain. his land at will.* A rice plantation is, in fact, a huge hydraulic machine, maintained by constant warring against the tides. The utmost attention and vigilance is necessary, and the labor must be ready at a moment's notice for the most exhaustive efforts. Alternate flooding and draining must take place several times during the season, and one part of the crop must be flooded, while the other adjacent to it is dry. Fields are divided into sections, and trunks or canals convey water from the river to each separately. "The whole apparatus of levels, flood-gates, trunks, canals, banks, ditches," says a prominent planter, "is of the most extensive kind, requiring skill and unity of purpose. The slightest leak in the banks or dikes may end in the ruin of the whole plantation. Freshets, too, commit frightful havoc from time to time. At one fell swoop the produce of a thousand acres on Mr. Bissell's plantation was swept away last year. The cost of reclaiming rice lands, and fitting them for culture, was about

*Speech of Hon. F. A. Sawyer, of South Carolina, in the U. S. Senate, in 1872.


$100 per acre before the war, and so greatly had they been damaged by long neglect that more than half that sum has been expended in their rehabilitation. Once well prepared, the annual cost of cultivation is now about $30 as compared with $10 in former days, but it is steadily decreasing. We wandered over perhaps seven hundred acres, in Colleton and Beaufort counties. The men and women at work in the different sections were under the control of field-masters. The spectacle was lively. The women were dressed in gay colors, with handkerchiefs, uniting all the hues of the rainbow, around their temples. Their feet were bare, and their stout limbs encased in uncouth flannel wrappings. Most of them, while staggering out through the marshes with forty or fifty pounds of rice-stalks on their heads, kept up an incessant jargon with one another, and indulged in a running fire of invective against the field-master. The "trunkminders," the watchmen on whose vigilance the plantation's safety depends, promenaded briskly; the flat-boats, on which the field hands deposited their huge bundles of rice-stalks, were poled up to the mill where the grain was threshed and separated from the straw, winnowed, and carried in baskets to the schooners which transported it to Charleston, and the "pounding mills." During harvest time eight hundred hands are employed on this plantation. Harvest is hardly completed by March, when the sowing begins again. The trunks are opened in each section the day it is planted, and the fields are flooded.


The mules, that annually drag the plow through the marshes, are booted with leather contrivances, that they may not sink in up to their ears. To the negroes is given the rice that grows along the margins, and considerable profit is obtained from its sale. The fields in autumn are yellowish in hue, tinged here and there lightly with green, where young rice is upspringing from the shoots recently cut down. The rice lies in ricks, but is ill protected from the swarms of birds, who carry away great quantities. While we were strolling afield, one stout negro came up and called "Mas'r Ben" to buy him a mule with $100 which he had saved. "Mas'r Ben" agreed to do it, and informed me that such a purchase was a sign of a negro's assured prosperity. The wages paid the rice field-hands ranged from 25 cents to $1.75 daily, but the manager on this, as on many other plantations, found great difficulty in keeping the labor organized and available. The men found that by two or three days' work they could procure money enough to support them in idleness the next week, and sometimes the overseers were at a loss what to do for help.

Beautiful were the broad and carefully cultivated acres, stretching miles away on either side of the placid, deep, and noble Combahee; picturesque were the granaries, almost bursting with the accumulated stores of the precious grain; and novel and inspiring the vistas of the long sedgebordered canals, through which the morning breezes lightly whistled. The seamyrtle was neighbor to the cane, and the tall grasses twined lovingly around them both. At the "store," around whose entrance were grouped packs of hounds, leaping and fawning about their masters, who were mounting their horses, we saw crowds of negresses, bare-footed and bare-limbed, bringing poultry or eggs to exchange for corn, or chattering frantically, or bursting into boisterous laughter which echoed over many a broad acre.


One could not help thinking that in due time a vast amount of labor-saving machinery must come to take the place of this rude and careless negro element upon the rice plantation. At present, the planters admit, there is an enormous waste, and the climate's character renders it impossible to introduce white labor and intelligence into the section. The negro men and women whom I saw, were certainly of a low and degraded type, distinctively, as a

Frenchman, with his quick instincts, said on seeing a group of these same lowland people, "a broken down race!" At the threshing-mill, at the winnowing-machine, among the great rice stacks where they were packing and sorting and unloading from barges,the women were coarse, brutish, and densely ignorant; the men, in the main, the same. There were types of face in which the savage still stood out in dusky splendor and abandon. Many women of sixty or seventy years of age were at work in various places about the field. They had evidently been untouched by the spirit of the war. I doubt if they realized the change in their condition. Their conversation with me was confined to inquiries as to how much tobacco I would give them, and an appeal to me to tell Mas'r Ben that they "bin want" a new handkerchief, and hoped he would not forget them. The men as a rule were civil, but a little suspicious in demeanor, as if they did not intend to allow any advantage to be taken of them. If looked at sharply, they would wince, and finally, wreathing their lips with broad grins, would bow and shuffle away.

The planters throughout this section, where the Middletons and the Heywards once tilled so many acres, and whence they drew great incomes, admit that the labor question is the most serious one with them. The profits of rice planting are enormous, but the system of large plantations will have to be adhered to, and African or Chinese labor can alone sustain the trials of the summer climate. The production of the State, and the adjacent lowlands in other States, will doubtless again reach the figure attained before the war, although the present condition of South Carolina would not seem to justify prophecies of any prosperity within her limits, save in Charleston.

And why in Charleston? Mainly because the venerable city has united with the importance she has always maintained as a cotton port, a large number of manufacturing enterprises, for which her location is particularly advantageous; and because her business men have an elastic spirit and a remarkable courage, which reflects the highest credit upon them. A veritable Phoenix, always springing triumphantly from the ashes of terrible conflagrations, as well as from the ruins caused by hurricanes and bombardments, the South Carolinian metropolis is, in itself, a standing reproof to the too often repeated

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assertion that the ancient commonwealth lacks enterprise. When the war closed there was not a completed railroad ending in Charleston. Those now known as the North-Eastern, giving connection with the route to Wilmington, the South Carolina, running north-westward to Columbia, Aiken and Augusta, and the Savannah and Charleston, penetrating the lowlands, and reaching to the Georgian seaport, were worn down and almost completely wrecked. Costly bridges and trestles had been destroyed, depots burned, tracks torn up, and the amount of rolling stock was absurdly inadequate to immediate wants. The rebuilding and equipment were begun in 1866. All the old rail connections are now resuscitated, and Charleston is reaching out for a wider range of commerce than before the war she would have deemed possible. The South Carolina railroad, with its feeders, the Greenville and Columbia, and the Macon and Augusta, in Georgia, sends vast quantities of freight to the Carolinian metropolis, which heretofore went northward. The North-Eastern, and the Savannah and Charleston are important links in the shortest route from New York to Florida, and with the sea-board line, from New York to New Orleans. Many steamship companies were compelled to suspend communication with the city du

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ring the war; now there are two steamer lines between New York and Charleston, comprising eight fine steamers, capable of carrying away thirty thousand bales of cotton monthly. On the Baltimore line there are three steamers, on the Philadelphia two, and on the Boston two, with a carrying capacity altogether of about 14,000 bales monthly. The splendid line to Florida has been re-opened, and the connections with Savannah, Beaufort, Georgetown, Edisto, and the Peedee River are also resumed, and are very prosperous. The increase in steamship freights from Charleston since 1860 has been three hundred per cent., but the sail tonnage is not larger than it was in 1862, as much of its trade has been transferred to steamers. The following receipts of cotton at Charleston for eight years since the war also indicate a marked prosperity:

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in which to prepare the pine and other useful trees for shipping. The city sadly needs an important addition of several millions to its banking capital to enable it to carry out its schemes. The three National, and four State banks now have hardly three millions of paid up capital. There are four savings banks, with a little more than $1,000,000, much of which represents the savings of the freedmen, on deposit. Private bankers are also.doing a good deal for the city's interest.

Very lovely is the old city, lying confidingly on the waters, at the confluence of the broad Ashley and Cooper rivers, and fronting on the spacious harbor, over whose entrance the scarred and ever memorable Sumter keeps watch and ward. Nature has lavished a wealth of delicious foliage upon all the surroundings of the city, and the palmetto, the live and water oaks, the royal magnolias, the tall pines, the flourishing hedges, and the gardens filled with rich, tropical blooms profoundly impress the stranger with a sense of bewilderment. The winter climate is superb and the sunshine seems omnipresent, creeping into even the narrowest lanes and by-ways.

In 1680, the people who had been encouraged to remove from the badly chosen site of a settlement which they had selected on the banks of the Ashley River in 1671, laid the foundations at Charleston, and the town at once sprang into activity. It began its commerce in dangerous times, for pirates hovered about the mouth of the Ashley, and many a good ship, laden with the produce of the plantations, and bound for Great Britain, was plundered, and its crew was set on shore, or murdered, if resistance was offered. A hurricane also swept over the infant town, half ruining it; and then began a series of destructive fires, which, from 1680 to 1862, have, at fearfully short intervals, carried havoc and destruction into the homes of the wealthiest. In later years, too, the fleets of hostile Spaniards or Frenchmen sometimes carried panic over to Charleston bar; and the beacon fires on Sullivan's Island, in the harbor, warned the citizens to be on their guard. In 1728, a hurricane brought an inundation, which overflowed the town and lowlands, forced the inhabitants to take refuge on the roofs of their dwellings, drove twenty-three fine ships ashore, and In the leveled many thousands of trees. same year came the yellow fever, sweeping off multitudes of whites and blacks. After

the surrender, by the proprietary government, of its control of the province, into the hands of the sovereign of Great Britain, on the payment of a round sum of purchase money, Charleston became more prosperous than ever before. In 1765 it was described as one of the first cities in British America, yearly advancing in size, riches and population."


The approaches to Charleston from the sea are unique, and the stranger's eye rapidly yields to the illusion that the city springs directly from the bosom of the waves. The bar at the harbor's mouth will allow ships drawing seventeen feet of water to pass over it. The entrance from the sea is commanded on either side by Morris and Sullivan's Islands, the former the

chored at these wharves, and the town seems the seaport of some thriving commercial state, so little does it represent the actual condition of South Carolina. The graceful Corinthian portico and columns of the new Custom-house, built of pure, white marble, rise up near the waterside. There is a jolly refrain of the clinking of hammers, the rattling of drays, and the clanging of chains, which indicates much activity. Here some foreign vessel, which has come for phosphates, is unloading her ballast; here a rice-schooner is unloading near a pounding mill. On one hand are lumber-yards; on another, cotton-sheds, filled with bales. Hundreds of negroes, screaming and pounding their mules, clatter along the piers and road

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scene of terrific slaughter during the dreadful days of 1863, and subsequently one of the points from which the Union forces bombarded Charleston; and the latter at present a fashionable summer resort, crowded with fine mansions. On the harbor side of Sullivan's Island Fort Moultrie, a solid and well-constructed fortification, frowns over the hurrying waters. Passing Sumter, which lies isolated and in semi-ruin, looking, at a distance, like some coral island pushed up from the depths, one sails by pleasant shores lined with palmettoes and grand, moss-hung oaks, and by Castle Pinckney, and anchors at the substantial wharves of the proud little city. Many ships from many climes are an

ways; a great Florida steamer is swinging round, and starting on her ocean trip to the Peninsula, with her decks crowded with Northern visitors. Along "East Bay" the houses are, in many places, solid and antique. The whole aspect of the harbor quarter is unlike that of any of our new and smartly painted Northern towns. In Charleston the houses and streets have an air of dignified repose and solidity. At the foot of Broad street, a spacious avenue lined with banks and offices of professional men, stands the old "Post-office," a building of the colonial type, much injured. during the late war, but since renovated at considerable expense. Most of the original material for the construction of the edifice

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