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Doc. 208. the manufacture of salt. Its necessity at the South.

The Norfolk (Va.) Day Book of November 30, holds the following language on this subject:

An opportunity is now presented to individuals or companies, whereby they may not only make money, but give an expression of patriotism which will be too plain to be misapprehended. We refer to the manufacture of salt, as it is well known this article may be manufactured all along our coast, in great plenty and at but little expense; the only process necessary, being the boiling of the water and bleaching the salt, and the only outlay, that attending the purchase of pans and the price paid for labor. Hitherto, the great difficulty in the way of the manufacture of salt, has been the [446] lack of the pans necessary to the boiling of the water. This difficulty, we are glad to state, has been removed by the proprietors of the Atlantic Iron Works of this city, who, if we are rightly informed, are prepared to fill orders for these pans. When we say that money may be made by any enterprising individual, or individuals, who may engage in this business, we mean precisely what we say, and we mean further that it may be made without any exorbitant charge upon the article. Salt is a necessary, not a luxury of life. Sugar, coffee, and very many other articles, may be dispensed with, and man will be none the worse off for the deprivation; but with salt it is different. Man's health — aye, his very life — depends upon the presence of this article in the food which he consumes; hence, it is not a question with him whether he will use salt or not, but a sheer necessity — an imperative nature that compels him to its use. Its use, then, is universal — the rich, the poor, the high, the low, the great and the small, all require salt, and must have it. Consequently it is an article for which there is always a sale, and which must be had at all hazards. He, then, who undertakes to supply this demand, does it with the perfect knowledge beforehand, that he will sell all of the article that he can possibly make. There is not the least reason for him to apprehend that he can make so much salt that he will never find a market for it; on the contrary, he should and will have reason to congratulate himself if, after his best efforts, he shall be able to meet the demands upon him. For this reason he can manufacture the article and sell it at a reasonable price and make money. His outlay has been small — so small, indeed, as to be liquidated by the sums realized from the sale of the sacks with which he introduces himself in the market. His expenses are exceedingly light, his stock is always salable, and therefore he can afford to sell at a price at which all can purchase, and accumulate in the end a handsome sum as the result of his labor. But not only will he make money, but he will display a patriotism which none can misinterpret. He is not the only patriot, who goes to the tented field and meets the enemy in sanguinary strife. Every individual who lends his aid to the establishment and maintenance of his government, whether it be by military achievements in the field, or in the thousand and one ways which present themselves in the path of the civilian, is a patriot. He who places the means of sustenance within the reach of his people, and he who at the point of the bayonet protects the means thus afforded, are alike patriots, though they labor in different fields. Now let us see if we cannot with this view of the subject, prove the man who undertakes the manufacture of salt at this important crisis a patriot, exhibiting his patriotism in the very act of the undertaking. We are a people battling for our rights — for the protection of our homes and fire-sides from a ruthless foe who seeks to desecrate them; and for the maintenance by force of arms of the independence we have proclaimed, we have sent our armies to the field. We have supplied them with arms and munitions of war, and in every sense they are a formidable body. But, as strong and formidable as they are, it is possible to reduce them to the helplessness of children, and that by the simple process of withholding salt from them. Its absence from their food will occasion disease and eventually death, and the very object for which they were organized will be defeated, not by the process of opposing hosts, but by the process we have just given. That there is a scarcity of salt we need not endeavor to hide; and equally apparent is the fact, that if it is not manufactured among us, our people — our army — must suffer for it. Now, does not the individual who supplies this great necessity to the armies of this country, serve her as acceptably and as successfully as the glittering hosts who stand upon her borders for her defence? What could these hosts accomplish, should he withhold that which is essential to their health and life? Their proud banners would soon trail in the dust, and that which is now difficult to our foes, would then become easy. If it should be replied, to what we have written, that no such danger as we apprehend will ever come to pass, and that we are giving too much importance to a small consideration, we have only to say that he who thus thinks cannot be acquainted with the facts which have suggested this article.

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