A great gathering of the people of Richmond county, Ga.
, took place at Augusta
on Thursday last, to hear a speech from Vice President
, Stephen on the subject of a cotton or produce loan to the Government
From a report of his remarks in the Augusta Constitution
dist, we extract the following:
I do not know, said the speaker, whether Mr. Lincoln
can raise his required amount of men and money; but if he does, we must be ready to meet him, with men and money, and drive back his myrmidons from our soil.
We have, at least, upon a reasonable estimate, 700,000 fighting men, and, if necessary, every man must go to the battle field.
should remember, and we, too, should reverentially remember, that the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that it is God who gives the victory to the right.
Six hundred thousand Persians, led by Darius against the Confederate States
, furnish an example of freemen fighting against greater odds than in our case.
When this vast host invaded Greece
, those small States could raise but 11,000 men; these met a large portion of the enemy upon the field of battle and put them to fight--60,000 Persians being left dead upon the field.
Men of the South
let this war assume its most gigantic proportions, let us remember that we are fighting for everything that is dear — let us, like our fathers, appeal to the God of Battles for the justice of our cause, and nerve ourselves for the conflict — remembering that "thrice armed is he who hath his quarrel just."
This is really and in truth the second war of independence.
The fundamental principle of American Constitutional Liberty is that announced in the Declaration of Independence
, proclaimed on the 4th of July, 1776, by the deputies of all the thirteen Colonies, which, from that day, constituted the original thirteen States--that all Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.
, Rhode Island
, New York, and all the other Northern States, united with Georgia
and all the other Southern States in proclaiming this great principle to the world, on that ever memorable day; and for its maintenance they pledged "their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor;" and yet, strange to say, Massachusetts
and all the other Northern States are to-day putting forth their utmost energies to coerce, subjugate, and govern eleven States against their consent and will.
We stand where our fathers stood, battling for the same principles, and prepared to risk, as they did, everything for their maintenance.
Whatever number of men shall be required they must be raised, equipped, and sent forth to battle; and whatever amount of money will be necessary to support them in the field must be raised; whether it be fifty millions, or a hundred millions, or two hundred millions per annum.
The resources of the country are ample.
The taxable property of the eleven Confederate States
, upon a reasonable estimate, cannot be less than four thousand millions of dollars.
The taxable property of Georgia
alone last year was six hundred and seventy millions of dollars.
The requisite amount might not be easily or readily raised by taxation.
The wealth and resources of our country do not consist in money; they consist chiefly in productive capital.
The ability of a people to maintain wars, depends greatly upon the annual yield of its productive capital.
In this particular, perhaps, no people, of the same number in population in the world, are superior to us.
Our wealth consists mostly in agriculture.
Our products command money.
We grow staples of immense value, both intrinsic and extrinsic.
This is especially true of cotton — it is the great motor of commerce.
Its money value, upon an average estimate, is about two hundred millions of dollars per annum.
But it exerts a power far above its money value.
It puts into operation thousands of millions of capital in Europe
, to say nothing of the large amounts lately (and until this war was waged upon us,) in operation by it in the Northern States
This staple must be had by other nations, by England
, especially, or the greatest distress will be felt by the millions of their people who are dependent upon it for their daily bread.
The plan of the Government
for raising the means to carry on the war, which is submitted to you to-day, is to take a loan from the planters of the nett proceeds of such portion of their crops as they can spare.
In other sections, loans on the proceeds of grain and breadstuffs will be taken.
Here, we produce cotton — our surplus is cotton.
Should the crop amount in value to the estimate of two hundred millions of dollars, and one-half be loaned in this way, the sum of one hundred millions of dollars may be put within the control of the Government
, which, upon the basis of present estimates, would support an army of two hundred thousand in the field.
This process could be kept up for years, if our enemies are so disposed, without serious injuries to our resources; and should Heaven favor us, as heretofore, with seasons — with the early and the latter rain — we should have to resort to taxation only to pay the interests on the bonds, and maintain the public credit.
The interest will have to be paid by taxes; and if the plan proposed by the Government
is not sustained by the planters, the money will have to be raised by taxation.
Even before this loan can be made available, a tax of fifteen millions, to meet necessary wants, may have to be levied.
It is believed that the planters could do this without any serious inconvenience.
For the proceeds of that portion of their crops so contributed, they will receive Government bonds bearing eight per cent. interest, payable semi-annually.
This they will receive instead of bank bills.
The subscription is in the following words; [Here Mr. Stephens
read the form of subscription to the loan.]
In answer to numerous inquiries, it might be proper to state that these bonds were not intended to answer the purposes of currency.
They are not intended to pass as money.
Upon their face they are transferable as notes made payable to bearer, but they are unsuited, in inform and size, for a currency or a circulating medium.
That is not their object.
They are only intended to be given for the surplus of the crop — that portion which the planter can spare over and above his immediate wants — that which he is able to lay up instead of vesting in other property.
Whether they will pay debts or not, will depend very much upon the nature of the debts.
All who hold notes upon money lent — looking to annual interest, will doubtless take Confederate bonds in payment of such debts, and be glad to get them.
For the bonds will bear eight per cent interest, instead of seven--and the interest will be paid every six months.--Those, however, who are in debt, had better first see their creditors, and know whether they will take the bonds in payment.
On this point it is important that no one should be mistaken; the bonds are not suited or intended as a currency, to meet the ordinary current expenses and debts of the family and plantation.
And yet, there can be but little doubt that if any one should sell his whole crop for bonds, and should want the money for them, he could easily and readily dispose of them to some person, who will have the money to lend.
The entire amount of the money on private loan in the country will soon seek these bonds as an investment.
The Legislature will, doubtless, at an early day, authorize all trust funds to be vested in these stocks, which will cause a great demand for them.
Should the war be a short one, the bonds at no distant day will very certainly command a premium --that is, if we succeed in the war and establish our independence.
In that alternative, they will be the very best security, and the very best investment.
The other alternative he did not take into the account — that is, the contingency of our being beaten in the contest.
Should such a calamity befall us, candor required him to say that the bonds would be worth nothing.
But even then they would be worth as much as anything else we have.
In that event lands would be worth nothing, plantations would be worth nothing, cotton would be worth nothing.
So that if we succeed, the bonds will be a good investment; and if we fail, they will be just as good as anything else.
As to the duration of the war, we could not give them even a probable conjecture.
In every view of the subject, it was a most irrational and unnatural war. Those who were waging it would, upon all reasonable principles, be the greater sufferers from it. They lived by their trade, their commerce, their navigation, their manufactories, all of which they enjoyed chiefly with us. The Northern States sold to the Southern
not less, perhaps, than two hundred and fifty millions of their products annually.
The market is cut off; with that, the resources of their wealth and prosperity are cut off. How long they can stand this, is beyond human ken to divine.--When fanaticism bears sway it is useless for reason to attempt even speculation.
One thing, however, he thought he could affirm with confidence, and that was, that the war would last until the enemy was whipped and driven from our soil — and the best way to whip them soon, and drive them from the country and end the struggle, was to send men enough to do it at once, and subscribe money enough to sustain those men in the field.
He concluded with a compliment to the ladies — though the topics he had discussed related rather to the action of men, yet women could exert great influence in carrying out the objects of the Government
in its policy — the influence of woman was great in any department of life, though wars were not the proper sphere or theatre for them; but even in war their influence held sway over the hearts and spirits of those engaged in battle.
Many a soldier upon the battle field would feel encouraged in the hour of conflict, when he thought that a mother's prayers and the thoughts and hopes of some fair one were following him to the scenes of his trials and his dangers.
He was proud to say that the men of his native State (Georgia
) had done their duty and were still willing to do more; and the women, too, have done their part, arduous as it is. In several of the counties the ladies had done nobly in the way of providing garments and comforts for the volunteers.
And Old Richmond, too, had acted nobly; ten companies in the field-- nearly one-half her voting population — and others still ready to go — while the women had done their duty as nobly as the men. This, he felt, was no small compliment to them.
But there was still one way more in which they might aid the cause.
Perhaps some of them had been promised a new carriage, a new set of furniture, or some other luxury.
Let them say to their husbands, ‘"I can do without this now give its maine — give all you can — to the cause of your country."’ He felt sure they would not hesitate to do this.
To the men he would say, that he did not want them to subscribe now — go home, think over the matter, think of their country, their homes, and their firesides — think of subjugation --and then do your duty.
I now leave the subject, said the speaker, with you, with your country, and God.
then sat down amidst the most enthusiastic applause.