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sation, an effect due to the accelerated resumption of foreign manufacture for the replenishment of long depleted supplies, and thus luring the unwary planter once more to a delirium of over-production and to the sacrifice of his unromantic life-boats of food-crops on the Lorelei rock of this "money crop.'
Early in the course of the Great War (1914) the United States Government adopted wise and energetic methods for relief of the nation-wide stringency caused by the sudden check to this money crop, which was precisely ready for movement, and more especially for relief of Southern farmers whose whole year's living was at stake. Prices had dropped, immediately after the outbreak of hostilities, to the lowest ebb ever touched since railway and telegraph lines have provided broad markets for the most generally used single commodity in all the world. The Government promptly utilized its banking system to afford measurable relief, by accepting notes on warehoused cotton at 75 per cent of their face value, on the basis of eight cents a pound; a procedure which could hardly have been justified except for the fact, pointed out at a conference called by the Secretary of the Treasury, that cotton does not deteriorate when properly warehoused, being as good twenty years after it is picked as when it is first gathered, so that "it can therefore be carried over until the restoration of normal business conditions enables the world's consumption to absorb it."
Aided by these measures, and also, to a less degree, by the "Buy a bale" popular movement, planters exercised such wise deliberation in marketing the crop that prices soon rallied and steadied a little, while by the month of February, 1915, the
American factory consumption of cotton had returned to normal proportions. A year later, the Hon. John Sharp Williams of Mississippi said in the Senate:
"Cotton is worth 12.38 cents a pound spot in the Memphis market. If peace came to-morrow, cotton would not be worth over ten cents a pound. Whatever else this war has done, it has not lowered the price of cotton. For the first four or six months of the war, the war did lower the price because it dislocated the entire financial and trade exchange systems. But at present what is becoming of the cotton crop?
"Why, Great Britain, France, and Italy and their dependencies in normal times take 73 per cent of our entire cotton exports, and 73 per cent is going to them now. More than that is going to them, for the neutral countries are not only getting their share, but a little bit more, so that it is about 83 per cent that is not interfered with." 11
The Great War has probably brought permanent good to the South. The warehouses erected to meet the emergency have a storage capacity sufficient to house the largest crop, allowing for the natural export movement of cotton during the period of harvesting.12 These will be retained and improved, so that planters may have permanent weatherproof means for holding back their product from the market when prices are temporarily deflated by speculators. Not only so, but the farmers seem for the first time to have grasped firmly, as a result of the lessons taught by the War, the importance of diversification. "Never again," says a hopeful writer,
11 New York Times, Jan. 21, 1916; p. 2.
12 Bulletin No. 131, Dept. of Commerce: Washington, 1915; p. 72.
"will the South put all its eggs into one basket." A visit by the present writer at the close of 1915, after an absence of seven years, produced on his mind an irresistible impression of greatly improved conditions. As a matter of fact, the people of the South had produced during that year more wealth than in any other year of their history, and from diversified crops: "less cotton, but more money for it than ever before; hay, corn, oats, hogs, piled high on the credit side of the ledger." 13
If indeed the South has truly learned its lesson, the ill wind will have blown it great good.
13 F. M. Davenport on "The Southern Renaissance," in the Outlook: New York, Feb. 23, 1916; p. 428.
BRITISH PROSPECTS IN EGYPT
GREAT BRITAIN, with rueful recollection of the Cotton Famine that resulted from the American Civil War and endangered her paramount industry, has made many efforts to develop cotton areas in her huge colonial possessions throughout the world. Perhaps the most impressive tribute ever paid to the American Cotton Belt is that contained in the report of a British commission which once investigated the cotton-growing possibilities of East Africa. "All efforts to raise cotton successfully elsewhere than in the Southern part of the United States have failed," the report confesses. "This is the home of the cotton plant, and if it will grow and fruit elsewhere to the extent that the staple have a substantial commercial value, the fact is yet to be demonstrated. It was experimented with under different suns during and after the American Civil War, and all the experiments failed. Providence has given the Southern farmer a monopoly of the indispensable cotton crop, and he need not take fright when the price soars and there are heard threats of turning Africa, Egypt or other countries into cotton fields and making them furnish the world's supply." 1
In 1902, however, the British Cotton Growing Association was formed, with the strong-hearted pur1 Cited by Burkett and Poe, p. 34.
pose of "establishing and extending the growth of cotton in the British Empire," so as to relieve Lancashire from its dangerous dependence on the United States for raw material.2 Undismayed by the negative reports of obsolete government commissions, this Association set about the actual cultivation of cotton in India, Uganda and Nyassaland, West Africa, the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, and in the West Indies,—with the result that it now has a capital of $2,500,000, and $1,500,000 invested in the practical cultivation of new fields, some of which are very promising.
Production in Uganda, for example, has increased from 500 bales in 1906 to 29,000 bales in 1912, with the prospect of 40,000 bales for the crop next due. "The quality is rather better than Texas and fetches from 12 d. to 12 d. per pound over Middling American." It is claimed that Lagos cotton is to-day the most regular and even in quality of any cotton produced in any part of the world. Nyassaland, entered by the Association so recently as 1910, gave two years later a crop of 6,800 bales, worth from 1 d. to 22 d. over Middling American. Altogether, the Association has developed new fields so as to produce 360,640 bales, with a value of almost $26,000,000, during the twelve years of its labors.
Naturally, the Association is deeply interested in Egypt, not only because the rich Valley of the Nile has recently become a British possession, but because chiefly of the extraordinary value of the far-famed
2 The King said in his speech at the opening of Parliament in 1904: "The insufficiency of the raw material upon which the cotton industry of this country depends has inspired me with great concern. I trust that the efforts which are being made in the various parts of my Empire to increase the area under cultivation may be attended with a large measure of success."-Todd, p. 161.