There is no doubt that the present blockade has its inconveniences, and, in some respects, serious disadvantages.
We are by means disposed to close our eyes to them, nor to underrate them.
It is no consolation that foreign nations, by permitting this obstruction to a commerce in which so many millions of the Old World are interested, are inflicting an injury and loss upon their own subjects greater than that which we ourselves suffer.
We all know and feel that if the blockade were opened, the war might last fifty years without exhausting the resources or endangering any vital part of the Southern Confederacy.
But, conceding the value of open ports in some most important respects to the Southern
cause, there are advantages flowing from the present state of things which are equally undeniable, and which must prove of more value in the end than any one could gain by immediate and unobstructed commerce with Europe
The South has been reduced to a state of dependence and varsalage as much by what it has not done, as by what has been done by its enemies.
It has been endowed by nature with a soil, eliminate, and productions unrivalled in any other part of the world.
Agriculture has been its only vocation, and agriculture, by means of its domestic institutions, guided by its own superior intelligence and experience, has yielded with ease returns such as have rarely flowed from the cultivation of the soil in any other portion of the globe.
It is true that the great bulk of the wealth flowing from its products has gone to enrich Northern capitalists and commerce; built upon not only American but English towns, and covered every seas with sailing vessels and steamers.
But enough has been left to enable the proprietors of the soil to live in ease with little exertion, and have abundant leisure for intellectual cultivation.
There has been no pressing and palpable motive to that diversified industry which is, after all, the life-blood of national growth and power.
That the South
has the essential genius and energy for the development in every form of activity of her vesture, sources, and for encase in every department of enterprise, is shown by the brilliant triumphs she has achieved upon a national theatre.
When the Yankees
reproach the people of the South
with indolence and self-indulgence, they showed their own shallowness of observation and inability to comprehend the true philosophy of the Southern
character.--If a little of the energy which the South
has devoted to the politics and arms of the United States
has been employed in commercial and
as she always has in statesmanship and arms.
It was the South
which gave to the Union
and to mankind a Washington, which gave to oratory a Patrick Henry
, and to law a Marshall; which gave the American Republic
its most illustrious Presidents
; not only Washington
, but Jefferson
; which was represented in the Senate of the U. S. by such master statesmen as Calhoun
, and which furnished the country in both wars with England
, and the last war with Mexico
, its most distinguished generals.
It was through the guidance of Southern statesmanship, and the championship of Southern arms, that the United States
attained a pitch of prosperity and prestige in the life-time of a man such as, in other parts of the world, has been the slow growth of a thousand years. But while Southern genius and energy have accomplished those magnificent results for the Republic
at large, they have neglected those humbler departments of exertion in their own section, which are after all indispensable to the wealth and independence of a people.
They have permitted the North
to monopolize the manufactures of the country, until at last there was not a single article of use in the house or the field, nor of wearing apparel
down to the very shoes of our laborers, which were not made at the North
, thus despoiling us not only of a vast amount of treasure which the North
is now fighting to get back, but of that which is more valuable, the tastes and habits of manufacturing industry, so that we knew not how to do without the manufacturing North
, no matter how well inclined we were to throw off our dependence.
Nothing but compulsion, nothing but the sheer impossibility of obtaining articles of actual necessity, would ever have induced the South
to dream of manufacturing for herself.
It was in vain that her worst enemies were found in the very districts to which she resorted for manufactured articles; that Lynn
, and other manufacturing towns, were the vilest dens of abolitionism; she still patronized them with as liberal a head as ever, rather than establish and encourage manufactures of her own. It was in vain that the John Brown
raid threw athwart the whole sky the first lurid glare of the riding comet of war; she never bought a dollar's worth the less of Northern men on that account.
It was in vain that Southern journalists invoked the Southern
people to break loose from their dependence on Northern artisans, and manufacture for themselves, if they would secure to themselves that might which, among nations, is the only defence of right.
These journalists were hooted at as incendiaries, and false prophets.
Was, actual war alone, and the blockade, have accomplished for the South
what she would never have accomplished for herself, and forced her to make for herself in every department of industry whatever her needs require.
She is now beginning to learn this useful and indispensable lesson, and she is an apt scholar.
New branches of manufacture are springing up on every hand.
But we fear that with a speedy peace, or an early breaking of the blockade, she would relapse into her old habits of reliance upon outside mechanical industry.
War, long war, and years of practice in manufacturing arts, are necessary to build up Southern manufacturing industry, without which, Southern independence must be a mere name.
We want not only Southern manufactures, but a Southern manufacturing population, for any other will only corrupt and demoralize our people.
To both these objects a long war is indispensable.