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[403] to its importance, was the ploughing by the farmers of their rich soil, whose chief staple was cotton, which they exchanged annually for the satisfaction of all their wants. Clearly, such a being, socially and politically, was not self-sufficient, self-sustaining, not durably knit together, not prepared to assume, at once and by spontaneous growth, the strong-limbed independence of a powerful autonomy. It could exist per alterum, but not per se.

A modern Homer, in the first page of his epopee, on the Fall and Rise of our Confederacy, might say in the mythological style of his great predecessor, that if Minerva, with wisdom, courage, justice and right, was on the side of the Southern champion, yet it was Minerva, not only without any armor, but even without necessary garments to protect her against the inclemencies of the weather; whilst on the other side, there stood Mars in full panoply, Ceres with her inexhaustible cornucopia, Jupiter with his thunderbolts, Neptune with his trident, Mercury with his winged feet and his emblematic rod, Plutus with his hounds, Vulcan with his forge and hammer. Such a disproportionate conflct could not be supposed to continue long even among the immortals, and much less among the sons of the earth. It could end but in one way, unless it should please omnipotent fate, as it does on very rare occasions, to protect the weak against the strong.

It is not, therefore, astonishing that the Northern giant, measuring his strength with that of his antagonist, should have come at once to the conclusion that the conflict would be ephemeral—its duration ninety days at the furthest. One single blow from his powerful and irresistible arm was all that was necessary. His confidence seemed to be well founded, for there was but one chance in favor of little David, which was, that standing at a safe distance, he should send from his sling, by skill or luck, a crushing stone to Goliath's forehead.

It is remarkable that the South also entertained the opinion that the conflict could not be of long duration. At least, a great majority of her people was under that illusion, which originated in the conviction, that, although the North possessed so many elements of force and prosperity, yet those elements had been extracted from the cotton-producing fields of the South. That cotton had only to be withheld, and there would be an immediate collapse north of Mason and Dixon's line. Then, the Northern Colossus would become so weak and so alarmed, that he would seek for the restoration of what was his life-blood, on any condition which might be proposed to his acceptance.

The respective governments of the two sections of a former unit

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