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[55] causes, and to explain that most remarkable phenomenon — the sharply-defined transfer of population, enterprise, and commercial empire from the South to the North-we shall pass rapidly in review a number of years in the history of the American States.

About the revolutionary period Virginia held the front rank of the States. Patrick Henry designated her as “the most mighty State in the Union.” “Does not Virginia,” exclaimed this orator, “surpass every State, in the Union in the number of inhabitants, extent of territory, felicity of position, in affluence and wealth?” Her arms had been singularly illustrious in the seven years war; and no State had contributed to this great contest a larger measure of brilliant and patriotic service. James Monroe, himself a soldier of the Revolution, declared: “Virginia braved all dangers. From Quebec to Boston, from Boston to Savannah she shed the blood of her sons.”

The close of the Revolution was followed by a distress of trade that involved all of the American States. Indeed, they found that their independence, commercially, had been very dearly purchased: that the British Government was disposed to revenge itself for the ill-success of its arms by the most severe restrictions on the trade of the States, and to affect all Europe against any commercial negotiations with them. Tho tobacco of Virginia and Maryland was loaded down with duties and prohibitions; the rice and indigo of the Carolinas suffered similarly; but in New England the distress was out of all proportion to what was experienced in the more fortunate regions of the South, where the fertility of the soil was always a ready and considerable compensation for the oppression of taxes and commercial imposts. Before the Revolution, Great Britain had furnished markets for more than three-fourths of the exports of the eight Northern States. These were now almost actually closed to them. Massachusetts complained of the boon of independence, when she could no longer find a market for her fish and oil of fish, which at this time constituted almost wholly the exports of that region, which has since reached to such insolence of prosperity, and now abounds with the seats of opulence. The most important branch of New England industry — the whale fisheries-had almost perished; and driven out of employment, and distressed by an unkind soil, there were large masses of the descendants of the Puritans ready to move wherever better fortune invited them, and the charity of equal laws would tolerate them.

In these circumstances it is not surprising that, in the early stages of the Federal Republic, the South should have been reckoned the seat of future empire. There was a steady flow of population from the sterile regions of the North to the rich but uncultivated plains of the South. In the Convention that formed the Constitution Mr. Butler, a delegate from New England, had declared, with pain, that “the people and ”

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