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The consumption of grain by distilleries — necessity of Legislation.

Why cannot the members of the Legislature come up to the mark at once, and promptly pass laws suppressing the immense destruction of grain which is now going on in the manufacture of common whiskey? Do they wish to see the horrors of famine added to the catalogue of troubles which menace the South? Or will they blindly sleep on until the yawning precipice opens beneath their very feet? The Confederate Government tooks a good step in resolving to seize the grain in the hands of distillers, and it is to be regretted that they countermanded the order, and restored the grain seized, because fo doubt as to its legality. We have heard that the present energetic Secretary of War urged in Cabinet Council that the design should be carried out, but a majority thought it was better to let Virginia act in the premises. Let her take the initiative, and her action will be at once followed by the other States.

The consumption of grain in the manufacture of this poisonous and destructive compound is beyond the conception of the masses. The distilleries have sprung up like magic all over the country, and for what? To benefit the people at large? By no means. The distiller manufactures his whiskey at about the same cost which he paid out last year, when he made a profit by selling at 22 cents a gallon. Now he charges $1.50 per gallon, thus preying upon the wants of the community and enriching himself with immense sums at the expense of many good lives, which are sacrificed, as one of the consequences. Do our members fear the whiskey influence? Are they governed in questions of great political necessity by personal aspirations for the future, and fears of offending certain classes of men? If so let them be marked by the patriotic, unselfish citizens of the Commonwealth, and properly rewarded hereafter. It is no time for politicians. We must have patriots, who will sternly and uniflinchingly fulfill their duty. How much demoralization has been produced in the army by the use of this inflammable stuff? How much distress will be produced in many-of our counties by the enhanced price of grain consequent upon its immense manufacture into whiskey? The poorer classes will be unable to purchase, and, where plenty should have reigned, starvation may appear even in our midst.

The bill proposed by Mr. Thomas is eminently wise and proper. Yet the morbid sensibility of some gentlemen is touched because it will interfere with the business of certain monopolists, and cut down their profits.--Forsooth, they are fit subjects for sympathy. Take a large concern here, which was very rich before the commencement of this war. From common report, they consume more than 1,000 bushels of grain daily, and their profits have gradually swelled, until during the past three months they have averaged between $4,000 and $5,000 daily, and their total profits are estimated at over half a million during the past years. It this firm should have to curtail its immense business, and lose its prospective profits, will not the whole community sympathize with them for the hardskip? Deal with this matter practically and with

common tense, How much surplus grain was raised last year in Virginia? How much raised in North Carolina? In the tide-water portion of the State there are to-day 200,000 months to feed more than the resident population, besides the immense number of horses. In some counties the enemy have large armies, with their trains, which consume everything within their reach. That portion of North Carolina composing about twelve counties, and producing most of the grain used by the Eastern counties of Virginia, is now cut off from us by the fall of Boanoke Island, and the possession of Pamlico Sound, by Burnside's fleet. The consumption of grain in North Carolina for whiskey was so great, also, that the press predicts corn will be Worth $5 Per Bushel in the Summer, unless the distilleries are suppressed.

Wake up, gentlemen of the Legislature. To you has been confided the interests of this great Commonwealth, and let your duty be fearlessly and impartially done, looking alone to the welfare and honor of our citizens and that of the whole Confederacy. Let not the fearful cry of ‘"bread"’ ring in your ears from famishing mouths. The army of the Potomac uses about 3,500 bushels of corn daily. One firm clons in this city consumes one- third of that amount. The Government now finds extreme difficulty in procuring grain for its troops and horses, though willing to pay the most liberal prices. Prompt action upon the part of our Legislature can save much trouble to the Government and future suffering to our people. It is no time for the discussion of abstract rights. Vigorous, energetic action is wanted, and the responsibility of non-action will, indeed, be a fearful one. The press should take this matter up, and, in the interests of the people, demand that their representatives should act promptly. If there should be a scarcity of grain commencing in the spring, and the next crop should fall, or not be a good one, what would be the dreadful consequences? That possibility must be taken into view in considering this question.

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