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Southern labor more productive than Northern.

We desire, to-day, to place before the public, once for all, conclusive and overwhelming proof, that the industrial system of the South is more productive than that of the North, which will be equivalent to proving that it is more productive than any system of free labor on the globe. The immediate application intended to be made of the facts we shall give, will be to the proposition now before the State of Virginia, to wit: by remaining with the abolition North, to crush out and expel her magnificent institution of slave labor.

In the case of Virginia, the driving out of her negroes will not be the inviting in of free laborers; for these latter could only be brought in by slow degrees; and the heavy weight of taxation that would immediately fall upon the inhabitants of the State, on the stampede of the slaves, would utterly forestall, and shut the door to, the ingress of free laborers; so that the expulsion of her half million of laboring population would be a dead loss to Virginia, which would not be replaced in any form for generations to come.--But even upon the supposition that an equivalent amount of slave labor would immediately come in to occupy the place of her stampeded slaves, we are about to show that in that case Virginia would still be a heavy loser by the exchange.

We have already shown that in the swampy and feverish region of Tide-water, white labor cannot be profitably employed in its agriculture. We have already demonstrated, from the large areas and numbers of hands required for the cultivation of tobacco with profit, that that plant cannot be grown to advantage by the free labor system of petty farmers and small capitals. But even conceding, for the sake of argument, that Tidewater Virginia and the tobacco crop of our State could be cultivated by free white laborers, still it will be shown that the exchange of her slave laborers for these, by Virginia, would be attended by heavy pecuniary losses.

Even without the proof of facts and figures reason would teach us that the productions of the individual freeman, working at his leisure, are not greater than those of the athletic African slave working under compulsion; while the fact is obvious that white citizens' wants and necessities are much greater. It follows of necessity, that the surplus production of the white freeman is much smaller than of the black slave. He consumes much more, while his labor lacks that concentration and systematized co-operation that marks slave labor. If this reasoning be true, it would follow that the products of the South are greater in proportion to population than those of the North. Is this in fact the case ? We shall answer from the tables of the Census of 1850, as compiled by Mr. Kettell who classifies the States into the North, embracing New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania; the West, embracing Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, California and Minnesota; and the South, embracing the fifteen slaveholding States and the District of Columbia. The 1850, as follows:


their productions of different classes were, respectively, as follows:

Live stock.

Mules and Asses.517,22434,4547,653
Milch Cows2,963,2371,363,2532,058,604
other Cattle5,632,7172,236,0561,834,297
Total, Head40,823,74819,967,17616,441,958
value of stock$253,795,330$112,563,851$173,812,690

the result of these figures is, that counting the slaves of the South with the whites, the value of live stock raised for each inhabitant was, at the South $27, at the West $22, and at the North $20; the South exceeding the North 85 per cent.

Agricultural productions — grain, &c.

Beans and Peas7,637,227313,2781,229,017
Clover Seed, &c.123,517142,764619,501
Flax Seed203,484240,219118,704
garden Seed664,303
Orchard Seed1,640,028
Rice, lbs215,313,497
values of same,$307,328,112$173,744,236$132,024,727

the table shows that of these products, chiefly raised for human food, the South raised the value of $32 to the inhabitant, white and black, the West $35, and the North but $15--the two first sections more than enough for their own consumption, leaving a surplus for exportation; the last not enough for home consumption, leaving a deficiency to be supplied from the West and South.

Agricultural productions, other than grain.

Tobacco, lbs185,023,90612,358,8792,383,208
Butter & Cheese65,634,22498,266,884251,593,899
hay, tons1,137,7843,227,2539,473,605
Homp, tons34,673150443,370
Hops, lbs33,780194,9613,268,715
Flax, lbs4,768,1981,830,8591,717,419
Maple Sugar2,088,68710,889,72221,272,077
Honey & Wax.7,964,7603,401,0783,487,290
Slaughtered animals54,398,01522,473,78634,516,451
Naval Stores2,107,100

this last table shows that, of the articles enumerated, the South produced to each inhabitant, white and black, the value of $23 the West $15, and the North $19. these three several tables show that, in regard to each classification of products, the South, in two instances, produced a greater value per inhabitant than the North or West; and, in the other instance, a value more than double that of the North, and very nearly that of the West. If we aggregate the values of these three several tables, we shall find that the values respectively produced were, by the

  • South...$782,866,432
  • West...357,560,879
  • North...469,301,389
which gives for the South, per inhabitant; black and white, $82; for the West, $72; and for the North, $55.

The second table, however, includes an article which should not have entered it, and the value of which should should be deducted from the results we have ascertained; we allude to Mr. Helper's distinguished article of hay. That article is raised exclusively for the consumption of animals; and, inasmuch as the value of the animals to which it is fed has been counted in the foregoing tables, that of the hay should be deducted, otherwise it is counted twice. It should no more enter into the computation of the value of Northern products, than the fodder, "roughness" and growing herbage of the South, upon which their animals feed as largely as do those of the North upon its famous hay crop. The deduction of this vaunted item would at once strike off a hundred millions from the 469 millions of Northern values exhibited in the foregoing tables; and reduce the value per inhabitant of Northern production to less than $50.

If it be argued that the value of Northern manufactures, if computed along with the agricultural products included in the foregoing tables, would raise the average product of each inhabitant of that section to an amount equal to that shown for the South; we have to say that, supposing the allegation to be true, still this would not be the case in regard to the West, where free labor is employed in agriculture, the same employment that slave labor is engaged in at the South; and that, therefore, our proposition still holds good, that slave labor is more productive than free labor when employed under like conditions.--It is to be recollected, however, that Northern free labor engaged in manufactures is employed in connection with machinery, and that it is the machinery which turns out the great bulk of values, not the manual labor associated with it. Probing the matter still farther, it is the money capital engaged in manufactures, which is the great agent of production, and this capital can be easily shown to be furnished by the South. Other facts could be adduced in this connection, but these two simple considerations are sufficient to show that the manufacturing element cannot be legitimately brought in to impair the conclusions which we had adduced against free labor as inferior in productive capacity to slave.

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