The vital importance of increasing the product of food is awakening universal attention.
The agricultural energies of the whole country must be devoted to the single work of producing food for man and beast.
Notwithstanding the wide scenes of desolation, destined to remain unproductive during the war, which vast contending armies have left on our soil, and the serious curtailment from other causes of our producing territory, we have still land and labor enough, with the ordinary blessing of Providence
, to supply our wants, provided our authorities do not paralyze agricultural energies by a maximum of prices and arbitrary impressments.
Intelligent correspondents from the Southwestern
and Valley portions of Virginia
concur in this view.
One of these, in the columns of a contemporary, says: ‘"Last fall thousands of farmers unhitched their teams from the plough when they heard that commissaries were impressing flour below the market price; and that cause, together with the drought, will give us the smallest crop of wheat that has been raised in the Valley
for fifteen years. There is now not a bushel of corn for sale in the Valley
, and I fear that the mistaken policy will prevent the planting of a large crop the ensuing spring.
Impressments of grain below the market price lead farmers to raising broom corn, sorghum, tobacco, cotton, clover need, anything and everything but what is needed for the army."’ This is human nature.
We cannot expect to "denounce and shackle men as if they were slaves and robbers, and then command them to work for patriotism." We must encourage and stimulate, not crush out the productive energies of the people.