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With poised harpoon the bass or drum assails,
And strikes the barb through silv'ry tinted scales.
Not toil alone, the fortune of the slave!
He shares the sport and spoils of wood and wave."
7 Library of Southern Literature, v, 2022-2023; slightly transposed.
NOTE.-Readers interested in technical information should know that the baling process mentioned on pages 305-306 produces at the gins a bale 28 x 56 x 42 inches in size, weighing approximately 500 lbs., including 20 lbs. bagging and steel straps, thus having a density of about 14 lbs. per cubic foot. "In this condition the cotton is bought by cotton buyers for export or for delivery to American mills, the seller delivering the same to a railroad or compress point, where the cotton is sorted according to grade (see note on p. 374), compressed and marked, the size being reduced to 28 x 56 x 18 inches, giving a density of from 28 to 30 lbs. per cubic foot." Two excellent articles on the marketing and financing of cotton may be found in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science for Sept., 1911, by A. R. Marsh and J. J. Arnold, experts in these branches of the business.
THE NEW SOUTH: COTTON AND POLITICS
BEN HILL of Georgia quite aptly and accurately expressed the political attitude of the average intelligent man of the new South when he exclaimed:
"There was a South of slavery and secessionthat South is dead. There is a South of union and freedom-that South, thank God, is living, breathing, growing every hour."
From the roots of the cotton plant grew the Upas tree of slavery. It took the pruning hook of war to cut it down, and this war paralyzed the roots of the cotton industry itself, so that at the end of the struggle only one bale of cotton was being raised where fifteen were grown at its beginning, while other cotton growing countries had meanwhile energetically endeavored to destroy the American monopoly of European markets; yet so great was the prolific power of this plant in its occidental setting that it took the Southern planter, without slave labor, only thirteen years to win back his supremacy. In spite of the defiant valedictory of Senator
1 Bulletin No. 33, as cited, p. 14.—“What had been the weakness of the South-its dependence on a single crop-now proved its chief strength in the moment of need. Stricken to a point of desperate poverty by the war, its salvation lay in the fact that at once an eager market was clamoring for its cotton. In the twelve months following the close of the war the exports of cotton, though less than half the quantity of the years immediately preceding the war, reached the unprecedented money value of over $200,000,000. High prices continued for seven or eight years, and counterbalanced the lower production, which did not reach the ante-bellum level till
Hammond, the North had dared to make war on cotton, and cotton for a while was conquered. But only for a while. That little persistent white rose of the South smiled up in the face of the soldier gardener throughout the dark days of Reconstruction, darker than those of the war, and even lured back the liberated slave to do it homage. The soldier farmer, his wits sharpened on the whetstone of war, fed new nourishment to his white rose garden, his former slave assisting in the labor, and the garden spread in gracious acreage, with the result that whereas in 1830 the American crop for the first time reached a production of a million bales, and never once during slavery attained a higher production than five and a half million bales, yet within twenty years after the beginning of the war that highest point had been exceeded by two million, and the crop for 1914 nearly trebled it.
As President Alderman of the University of Virginia has said, "Slave labor is now gone and the legitimate sovereignty of cotton is an assured fact. Three-fourths of this great crop, which must be relied on to clothe civilization, and in the exploitation of which, two billions of capital are used, is raised in the South. It is a stupendous God-made monopoly."
This speech was delivered in 1908. If the present writer may be permitted to change the figures to correspond with the facts of 1916, President Alderman would continue as follows:
1871. The South had money to buy the goods it so sorely needed, and the North had a ready market for its surplus."-H. C. Emery on "Economic Development of the U. S.," in Cambridge Modern History, as cited, vii, p. 697.
2 "The Growing South," in Library of Southern Literature, xiv,
To-day, the South has invested, in 777 mills, with their 9,200,000 spindles, $225,000,000, as against $21,000,000 twenty-five years ago. The fields of the South furnish the raw material for three-fourths of the mills of all the world with their 110,000,000 spindles. The South now consumes 2,300,000 bales, which is about the amount consumed by the rest of the country and is a four-fold increase over its consumption in 1890. If the time should ever come when we can spin and weave all of our present crop, we would need 7,770 mills to do it, and the world at large would need an annual crop of thirty million bales. This three-fold increase of the crop can be brought about by increasing, by means of improved agriculture, the productivity of the land, and by reclamation of land along the Mississippi Valley. If this increase could be accomplished; if the labor could be found to handle it; if the markets for it could be secured in such volume that the price could remain near to its present standard; and, if our capacity to spin and weave our share of the increase could be maintained, the Southern States of America would become the richest portion of the earth. The present value of the cotton crop, raw material and manufactured product, is about $1,250,000,000. Trebled in value, it would amount to three or four billions annually. It is easy to lose one's judgment in this mounting mass of values, but one thing seems very clear: The opportunity to develop the potentialities of cotton, in field and in mill, to train and handle the labor involved in the development, which would cover the whole field of the poor white, the immigrant and the negro, to evolve the financial genius to move and market this world staple, makes of the Southern States a field for industrial talent
and industrial leadership unsurpassed in the world.
President Alderman points out the enormous development in Southern cotton manufacture, to which attention will be called in the closing section, on "Cotton and World Trade." For the present it is pertinent to indicate briefly the effect produced by this development on political and social conditions.
Just as in the early days of Southern manufacture, when Calhoun was proponent of protection, so now, those sections of the South where manufacture is regaining its importance are veering toward protection. Among the many epigrams of American politics, it would be difficult to surpass in terse homely truthfulness the saying of General Hancock, "The tariff is a local issue." Just as Daniel Webster swung away from free trade when the interests of New England demanded a tariff, so now, Louisiana with its sugar industry, Alabama with its steel mills, and the cotton factory towns throughout the entire South testify to those "emergent and exigent interests" which Webster attributed to the South and fully justified (see page 215).
The same principle appears in the attitude of the Southern States to the Shipping Bill so strongly advocated by President Wilson, himself a Southerner and a former exponent of States-rights. Such a measure involves, of course, concentration of additional power in the hands of the central government; but the South, its cotton trade badly crippled by the Great War, felt driven by the force of contemporary circumstances to support in 1914 a policy in behalf of that same cotton industry which had led it in previous epochs to attack the "insidious en