had ever, or has ever yet, attempted to grow; while the nearly simultaneous inventions of Hargreaves, Arkwright
, and others,1
whereby steam was applied to the propulsion of machinery admirably adapted to the fabrication of Cotton, secured the cultivators against all reasonable apprehension of a permanently glutted market.
As the production was doubled, and even quadrupled, every few years, it would sometimes seem that the demand had been exceeded; and two or three great commercial convulsions gave warning that even the capacity of the world's steadily expanding markets could be over-estimated and surpassed by the producers of Cotton and its various fabrics.
But two years at most sufficed to clear off the surplus and enlarge this steadily growing demand up to the full measure of the momentarily checked production.
The five millions of bales, produced by the United States
in 1859-60, were sold as readily and quickly as the one million bales produced in 1830-31, and at considerably higher prices per pound.
But the relatively frigid climate and superficially exhausted soil of Maryland
, and North Carolina
--wherein the greater number of slaves were originally held — were poorly, or not at all, adapted to the production of cotton, whereof slave-labor early claimed, and succeeded in substantially maintaining, a monopoly.
No other out-door work afforded such constant and nearly uniform employment for this description of labor.
Throughout the greater part of the South-West
, plowing for the cotton-crop may be commenced in January; to be followed directly by planting; this by weeding; and hardly has the cultivation of the crop been completed when the picking of the more advanced bolls may be commenced; and this, with ginning, often employs the whole force of the plantation nearly or quite up to the commencement of the Christmas holidays.
These being over, the preparation of the fields for plowing is again commenced; so that there is no season when the hands need stand idle; and, though long spring
rains, impeding tillage while impelling the growth of weeds and of grass, sometimes induce weeks of necessary hurry and unusual effort, there is absolutely no day of the year wherein the experienced planter or competent overseer cannot find fill employment for his hands in some detail of the cultivation of Cotton.
The forest-covered and unhealthy, but facile and marvelously fertile, South-West hungered for slaves, as we have seen evinced in the case of Indiana Territory
Impoverished, but salubrious and corn-growing Maryland
, etc., were ready to supply them.
Enterprising, adventurous whites, avaricious men from the North
and from Europe
, but still more from the older Slave States, hied to the South-West
, in hot pursuit