[for the Richmond Dispatch.]
the disposition of the cotton crop.
--From a letter addressed by yourself to the Hon. O. M. Dantzler
in July last, it appears that you have had under consideration a plan which you propose submitting to Congress, providing relief for the cotton planters and subscribers to the Confederate
loan in the contingency of a continuance of the blockade.
The intimation thrown out in your letter was received with pleasure by the planters in this section of the Confederacy
, and had the happy effect of relieving, to a great extent, the oppressive anxiety which had begun to be felt among them in regard to the disposition of the cotton crop in the event of a continuance of the blockade, and had also the effect of increasing largely the subscriptions to the Confederate
But Congress having adjourned without making any provisions against these contingencies, and the bulk of the cotton crop being now ready for market, and the time for the payment of taxes rapidly approaching, a painful anxiety is beginning again to be felt among the cotton planters in anticipation of the utter impossibility of paying their taxes, purchasing their ordinary supplies, and of rendering any pecuniary aid to the Government
, without either the natural or an artificial market for cotton.
To us, cotton is both food and raiment.
Heretofore we have been so unwise as to depend upon it for everything.
It is our only pecuniary resource.
We must convert it into money before we can live at all, for to us it is both bread and meat.
And unless the Government
provides some measures of relief, either by buying or advancing upon the cotton, the wealthiest planter will feel the oppression as heavily as the poorest, and indeed more so, for he who has several hundred negroes to feed and clothe, and the taxes to pay upon them, will have no more means of doing so than he who has but five or ten.
Unless we can convert our cotton into money, or some representative currency, every wheel of business will be locked, the energies of the people paralyzed, and they rendered powerless to afford the least pecuniary aid and support to the Government
The cotton States are in a far worse condition at present than the grain-growing and meat-raising districts of the Confederacy
; for the latter find in the Government
a willing and generous purchaser of all the productions of their labor, but the planter is dependent upon foreign markets for the sale of his cotton, and without the interposition of the Government
in his behalf he will be, of all its citizens, the heaviest sufferer in these times of calamity; and while he is willing to yield a cheerful and loyal obedience to the law forbidding the exportation of cotton during the continuance of the blockade, and is ready to show his faith in the Government
by taking its bonds and notes in payment for the production of his labor, it is not only right, but it is the duty
of the Government
to render him every relief consistent with its constitutional powers.
No Government ever enjoyed the confidence of its citizens so perfectly and universally as the Confederate States of America
, and never was there a people so willing to lay their property and their lives as a sacrificial offering upon the altars of their country.
They are fully conscious of the fact that everything they hold sacred and dear — property, liberty, life, honor — is involved in the desperate issue of this terrible war. If we succeed,
we shall be the happiest, most independent, and prosperous people in the world.
But if we fail,
‘"we are of all men most miserable."’ And with such a spirit pervading the hearts of its citizens, the Government
cannot be unconscious of the fact that whatever relief it may provide for the cotton planter, by purchasing his crop, or advancing upon it, will return to it in the form of taxes and contributions and donations for the support of the army.
Besides, a purchase upon the part of the Government
would give to it the absolute control of the cotton crop, thus affording it a fair opportunity of testing the power of cotton to dissipate blockades, open ports, clear the channels of commerce, secure honorable treaties, and assert its dominion as King
of the Seas
The writer does not feel competent to indicate any specific
plan of action in providing measures of legislative relief, nor is it necessary that he should do so, as the interest of the Treasury Department is confided to one in whose sound judgment and financial statesmanship the people have a steadfast and unlimited confidence; but he would press upon your consideration the absolute necessity of maturing some plan providing for the inexorable wants of the cotton planter at an early day in the approaching session of Congress,
and of urging upon that body the important duty of the Government
, both to itself and its citizens, of meeting the contingency of a continuance of the blockade, and of providing measures of relief for the people in the cotton districts of the Confederacy
The writer's connection with the Confederate
loan in this State has rendered him familiar with the wants and sentiments of the people touching this subject, and he desires to assure you that the people of Alabama
are prepared to endorse and sustain any practicable plan which you may submit for the adoption of Congress looking to their relief and to the support of the Government
, whether it may provide for the purchase of the cotton crop, or an advance upon it by the Government
in bonds and Treasury notes, both of which plans have been thoroughly discussed among the people; and, while either would receive their hearty endorsement, the writer is of opinion that the former — the absolute purchase of the cotton by the Government
— is the favorite mode among the planters of Alabama
And, urging upon your consideration the adoption of some measures for the relief of the pressing wants and painful anxieties of the people in the cotton districts of the Confederacy
, the writer is,