66.-the rebel plan to burn cotton.
A large meeting was held at the African church, Richmond
, Thursday evening, February twenty-sixth, to take into consideration and discuss the question of burning the present crops of tobacco and cotton, should the enemy reach the interior.
of Friday gives the following account:
At seven o'clock the doors of that building were thrown open, and the crowd, among whom were many ladies, began immediately to pour in. By half-past 7 o'clock the house was filled by one of the largest, wealthiest, and most intellectual meetings ever assembled in this city.
At five minutes past seven o'clock Dr. Marshall
, of Mississippi
, entered the house, and was greeted by a round of applause, in compliment, we presume, to his spirited speech delivered at the City Hall on Wednesday night. It was a subject of remark with gentlemen who had been frequenters of the African church in old political times gone by, that few of the faces of the vast assemblage were familiar.
Gen. T. J. Green
, of North-Carolina
, called the meeting to order, and Hon. C. K. Marshall
arose and said: This is one of the most important meetings I ever attended.
We have it in our power to do what will have a serious influence not only within the city of Richmond
, but may ameliorate the condition of the race of mankind at large.
The resolutions I am about to read have received the sober and serious consideration of the committee appointed to draft and introduce them.
I respectfully submit them:
Whereas, the Government
of the United States
have made an unprovoked, flagrant, and wicked war on the government and people of the confederate States
, and have conducted that war on principles hitherto unknown among civilized nations; and, whereas, we feel that our only safety against so ruthless and unrelenting a foe is to be found in the courage, patriotism, and self-sacrificing spirit of our people; and, whereas, no sacrifice, however enormous, is too great if it only brings us freedom from our oppressors; and, whereas, the tyrants and despots of the North
have openly proclaimed their purpose to desolate our homes and appropriate our property to their own use, and have, in various instances, carried the infamous threat into practical execution by plundering our people of cotton, tobacco, rice, and other property; and, whereas, fire, when applied by heroic hands, is more formidable than the sword; therefore, it is, by this meeting,
, That as a means of national safety, dictated alike by military necessity and true patriotism, we deem it the imperative duty of this government to adopt measures for the purchase of the entire crops of cotton and tobacco now on hand, with the purpose of at once preventing the appropriation of them by the invaders of our soil and country, and making a fair and equitable compensation for the same to their owners, by such arrangements as shall enable the government to meet the debt incurred thereby without involving the public treasury in any serious liability on account of the said purchase.
Certificate of government liability to be given for the entire property.
, That, as the owners of these great staples, the government would hold in its hands the power of removing so great temptation from the path of the Federal
army, now making its raids into our country and robbing our citizens under the avowed pledges of supplying, by force, the markets of the world with these valuable articles of demand, which must necessarily be done, if those pledges are redeemed, by the total bankruptcy of our planting interests on the one hand and the utter subjugation and enslavement of the people of the South
on the other.
, That possessed of these products, it would become the solemn duty of the government to take immediate action through commissioners appointed for that purpose, or otherwise to take an account of such portions of said crops as are at exposed places, first furnishing the owners thereof with certificates of the amount and value of their crops as evidences of debt by the government therefor, and consign the property to the devouring flames.
, That in case the owners of said staples decline to accept the terms offered by the government, a tax of----cents per pound should be assessed and collected from such crops, and if finally lost or sacrificed, as a measure of public safety thereafter, such owners should not be allowed any compensation for the same.
, That where other articles of produce or stock are exposed to the raids of the enemy, they should be removed, if practicable, and if not practicable, an inventory of them should be taken, with an estimate of their value, by military authority, or a government agent, or in the absence of either, by competent citizens, and certified to by them, and said property forthwith destroyed, and the parties thus deprived of their property should be indemnified by the government.
The resolutions were called for jointly, and the Chairman
announced that any one could now address the meeting who should be called for.
Hon. Mr. Marshall
was called, and arose and said: The resolutions we have presented to you, are the resolutions of the Committee
appointed last night.
We live in a world where it is really for the question: “To be or not to be?”
We are in the midst of a bloody war. We have to contend against great odds.
We have been driven by the blockade to many strange expedients.
Men have seized pikes and lances, for want of proper arms, to defend their wives and daughters and mothers.
(Applause.) Hitherto the authorities who have had our destiny in charge, seem not to have been awake to the exigency of the times.
We have razeed the Merrimac
, and clad her in a jacket of iron.
Why have we not many such vessels?
If the confederate government had at first bought the whole cotton crop, we might now have thirty such vessels.
The Northern invaders crowd around us to desolate our homes, and put us on