an equality with our slaves.
They crowd upon us in countless numbers; but no Southern heart worthy of the name feels downcast.
(Applause.) A man is fit for no position in life until he has met reverses.
After the great successes of Manassas
, we began to believe the hand of Providence
was visibly on our side, and that we had nothing to do; but our late reverses have taught us we must brace our nerves to the contest, and no manly bosom quails.
We come to the cotton question.
The last crop is now actually rotting unbaled.
We have been taught to believe that England
were dependent on this staple, and that they would come and get it. Why do they not come?
I have begun to doubt whether there are such countries as France
The enemy found cotton at Ship Island
; some, it is true, they found in flames, but not enough of it. At Florence
, they went up and took an inconsiderable quantity.
No one seemed to think of setting fire to it. At Nashville
they will perhaps get fifty thousand bales, and the owners, to save their property, will have to swear allegiance to that miserable tyrant, Abe Lincoln
And presently they will descend the Mississippi
, with, perhaps, fifty gunboats, and compel the negroes to load them with cotton, and send it to Europe
, and say, We have opened a cotton port — there is the evidence.
I want us to do something manly — something grand.
I want the confederate government to buy all the cotton, and, if need be, destroy it. If one of those pillars which support this temple were cotton, and the other tobacco, and England
and the United States of America
, and ourselves, depended on them for existence, and it were necessary, I would, Samson-like, drag them down, and let one universal ruin overwhelm civilisation.
Suppose, as these resolutions propose, the government buys the cotton and tobacco crops, it is not to be expected that it will soon be able to pay for them.
Hardships will be the consequence.
Great numbers must suffer.
A tax will have to be imposed. (Mrs. Gen. Gaines
entered the house.) No one is more welcome to such an assembly as this than Mrs. Gen. Gaines
(Great applause.) I will suppose that half of the cotton and tobacco crop has been burned.
My cotton has been burned, and I have received seven cents a pound from the government, while my neighbor's, whose crop has not been burned, has been enhanced double in value.
His small crop of cotton would be a fortune, yet who among us would hesitate to apply the torch to it, sooner than it should fall into the hands of the enemy?
But suppose the government were to buy the whole crop, and determine to burn it — as I want them to do — that the world may see that this little republic, as they may choose to consider us, can strike a blow that will send consternation through the world, while they are talking about conquering the republic, and hanging the President
I want the government to come forward and say, Here is the money for four million bales of cotton, and give it to her commissioners, and say, burn it. I want the government to go in search of the cotton, instead of leaving it to be captured by her iron-clad steamers.
The government have two million bales as a financial measure.
There are some gentlemen present, who raise as much as four thousand bales of cotton, and who say they will themselves burn it, indemnity or not, rather than the Yankees
shall get possession of it. A lady of my acquaintance has said, she will not only burn her crop, but her house itself, and take to the forest, rather than see the enemy possess it. (Applause.) We shall ruin our own interest by letting this crop lie here, and put another crop upon it. Cotton, instead of being ten cents, will not command more than three cents. Suppose the blockade were opened now, we could not get it to market by August.
The boats which used to transport our cotton are engaged in making war upon us, and some of them have got well peppered at Fort Donelson
They are to-day planting cotton in Texas
, and next week they will begin to plant further North.
I needn't enlarge on this to planters.
It is evident to them, there will be two crops on the market before next January.
Some will say, we will force England
to go to India
I will say to her, Go!
has spent three hundred and fifty million pounds, and gotten Louisiana
planters to go to those distant countries, and has been obliged to give it up as. a forlorn hope.
But suppose England
finds other cotton-fields, I'd like to know if we can't find other spinners for our crops, and be forever independent of her. To the west of us are two little countries, China
they desire to put all their lands in tea, but they fear to discontinue the raising of cotton.
If they could get cotton elsewhere, they would put all the land in tea. Well, then, the best spinners and weavers in China
can be hired for nine cents a day, and we can get them to spin and weave our cotton long before England
can find other cotton-fields.
are not so distant from us, as we were from England
put the first cotton-gin in operation in Savannah
I hope Congress will take up and pass these resolutions.
I have great hope from this meeting.
So much have these resolutions to recommend them to the people of the Southern Confederacy, that were I addressing them to-night, I believe I could get an over-whelming vote for government buying the entire crops of cotton and tobacco, and consigning them to the flames.
, of Kentucky
, being called on, then addressed the meeting in a speech advocating the resolutions, which elicited much applause, and which we regret our space will not permit us to publish.
On motion of Edmund Ruffin
, the resolutions were then put to the meeting, and unanimously adopted.
After the adoption of the resolutions, the Hon. H. S. Foote
was called to the stand, and in a strong address approved the resolutions.
At a late hour the meeting adjourned.