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[372] system of national support, must be substituted by the Confederate States, what then will be the condition of their commerce? It will then be found that the revolution has been a vain work The bubble will have burst, and the experimenters, after having turned the whole nation back a quarter of a century in its career — having ruined a generation, subverted more capital than would suffice to purchase every slave in the nation, accumulated a debt impossible to be paid, and spread repudiation and bankruptcy over a whole circle of States--happy, if to these evils it has not added the clothing of every household in mourning — the experimenters will then find themselves vainly endeavoring to restore trade to the same relations and arrangement in which it was at the fatal moment when they initiated their new career. All that will then have been achieved will be the creation of a double set of political dignitaries, and the distribution of a double supply of loaves and fishes to the patriots of the ferment.

A tariff of duties for revenue once adopted, it then becomes the plain policy of the United States of the old Confederacy to enact the same rates, and commerce will immediately oscillate back to the track and custom of its old career.

Even if it should not be drawn again into that current, what has Baltimore to hope for? Will she import for the South, from the head of the Chesapeake, whilst Norfolk lies on the margin of the sea at its mouth, with an admirable harbor, and with all the means of Western and Southern distribution by railroads that penetrate to the Mississippi and Ohio? Do old and sagacious merchants of Baltimore allow this delusion to seize their minds? Boys may prate about such things, but surely men of sense will repeat no such absurdity. But, we have heard it said, if Maryland be not a member of the Southern Confederacy, Virginia, in time of war, may close all access to the Chesapeake against us. That is true. But if Maryland should be a member of that Confederacy, then the North, in time of war, may also shut up the Chesapeake against us; and not only that, but may also shut up our Western and Northern railroads. It may deny us the Ohio River; it may deny us access to Philadelphia, to New York — utterly obliterate not only our trade, but cut off our provisions. In the other case, Virginia could not do that, nor even impede our transit on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, as long as Western Virginia shall stand our friend, as assuredly it will if we are true to ourselves.

The last argument popularly used in favor of the secession of Maryland, is that which asserts a necessity that compels us “to go as Virginia goes.”

It is supposed that the recent attempted secession of Virginia leaves us no choice. It is declared that our sympathies as well as our interests are with Virginia; in fact, that our fate is in her hands. If this were true, it would have been but a becoming decorum in Virginia to have invited us into her counsels, or, at least, to have warned us of the complications she was preparing for us. As it is, she has led us blindfold to the edge of the precipice, and those of our own fellow-citizens who renounce for us all freedom of opinion on our own destiny, tell us we have no choice but to take the leap.

We deny that Maryland is so bound up in the fortunes of Virginia. We regard the interest of that State to be quite as dependent upon the favor of Maryland as Maryland is upon her. In all that denotes vigor, growth of power, and capacity for great enterprise, Maryland is ahead of Virginia. Whilst our population in the last decade has increased twenty-five per cent., that of Virginia has not advanced over twelve. What we have accomplished in public works and in the extension of commercial activity, bears a still more favorable comparison in the estimate of the resources of the two States. Let us not so derogate from the influence and capability of our own State as to surrender our independence to the control of politicians who have as yet shown so little capacity in governing their own. In truth, we might, with good reason, reverse the affirmation of the argument we are considering, and say that Virginia should look to Maryland, and should adapt her policy, on this question of separation, to ours. She should at least consult the other Border States, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri, as well as Maryland, and shape her course in conformity with their common views.

When we speak of Virginia, there is another most significant question to be considered. To what portion of Virginia are we to attach our fortunes? Is it to that waning Eastern section which at present holds the political power over the State--that section whose population, scattered over the region visited by the tide, is gradually declining in numbers and losing its ascendency in the public affairs, and whose power at this day is founded rather upon the traditions of the past than upon any inherent capacity to govern? or is it to that vigorous and healthful Western Virginia, upon whom nature has lavished her bounty in the provision of all the elements of a prosperous and powerful community?

Virginia is divided into two distinct sections, altogether different in physical quality and in moral character. The one teems with a redundant slave population, of which the excess is kept down by a continual drain of emigration to the South. Its habits are Southern, its affinities are for the South. These are not less nourished by the character of its labor than by the temper of its leading men — talented and impulsive and educated in strong sympathy with the Secession States.

The other division includes the land of the mountaineer — a land of mineral wealth, of rapid streams, of fertile pastures, of bracing atmosphere, where the people have little dependence on slave labor, and who see in the

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