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Extemporizing production.

our statistical friend, Mr. De Bow, whose arithmetical exploits in the manufacture of Census Reports did not give the world a very lofty idea of his veracity. whatever may have been the opinion of his ingenuity, announces with some flourish that a blacking and lucifer-match-factory has been established at Lynchburg, and that North Carolina has engaged in the manufacture of pea-nut oil. Moreover, Mr. De Bow lifts up his voice jubilantly in respect of eight tan-yards in Louisa County, (State not named.) Also, many females are “spinning upon old fashioned hand-loomns in South Carolina.” Mr. De Bow spreads his statistics, which are dreadfully meagre, over the broadest possible surface, and brings up on bowieknives. They are turning out these valuable weapons, it appears, with consummate alacrity, in Portsmouth, Va. And this suggests a more careful examination prove to be principally bayonets, camp-stools, gunpowder, tent-poles, bowie-knives, revolving pistols, drums — and, we presume, fifes, and even flags. But Mr. De Bow, while making up the rose-colored record, and telling us that they are producing leather in Albemarle and shoes in Madison County, does not tell us how much leather nor how many shoes. There are eight tan-yards in Louisa County; but are they large or little tan-yards? and, above all, are they new or old tan-yards? and, finally, are they tan-yards in which leather was or is manufactured? We [231] should like to have a veracious answer to the questions, because, in war, shoes are of more importance than swords, particularly in the. course of a retreat. One good side of sole-leather will be worth more to the rebels than a small cargo of pea-nut oil, We are the more particular on the subject of leather, because we happen to know that there is a considerable demand even in the Rebel States for Northern shoes, about this time. Mind! we do not say that there is any supply — we only say that there is a demand.

But let us go back to De Bow! In his whole elaborate list we find only one manufactory of powder, (in Charlotte County, Va.,) which is turning out 1,000 lbs. per diem. Besides, here the fallacy of the De Bow computations is lamentably exposed in general. One hundred thousand pounds of powder, myriads of bowie-knives, mile-long and mile-wide parks of artillery, innumerable camp-stools, and millions of bushels of tent-pins, add nothing, either in times of war or of peace, to the actual wealth of the country. Nothing so adds which is manufactured simply that it may be almost simultaneously destroyed. Once more we must call attention to the fact that, physically and materially considered, war is waste. The pound of powder which is blown from a gun is gone forever, and can never by any possibility be a pound of powder again. The shell which bursts may kill a dozen of the enemy, but that is an end of it — it will never kill any more. Human industry, in many of its departments, works over and over again the same materials — such as rags, [232] iron, etc., etc. But this is not true of the materials of war, or is so only in a limited sense. Hence any prolonged military struggle requires both capital and a continual reproduction of original material. War works with a double mischief. It produces less and consumes more than peace. Mr. De Bow, who is not the most profound of economists, mistakes a petty, spasmodic production, liable at any time to be interrupted, for a steady supply sustained by capital increased, or at least undiminished. He is of the eat-your-cake-and-have — it school, which is not the most accurate in the world. The Southern slaveholding economists are always making this blunder. Gov. Wise used to say despairingly to his lazy Virginians, “Do n't you see, that if you raise 5,000,000 bushels of corn you will be better off, you and your niggers; and that if you raise 500,000,000 bushels you will be still better off.” Southern enterprise has been forever complacently contented with the discovery that it wanted something — it has rarely gone to the laborious length of supplying itself. It has felt the want which has palsied the production of many a people much more deserving — the want of intelligent and well remunerated labor. Human beings, considered simply as capital, with no reference to their human rights, with no regard for the law of God's own express enactment, that the laborer is worthy of his hire-human beings, held as horses or heifers are held, can never be or produce permanent wealth. Behind all apparent prosperity, there is always the damnable fiction, which makes the most splendid [233] results only a show and a sham. The collapse may at any time come. There is nothing provident in Human Slavery — no saving for a rainy season — it is all carpe diem in its philosophy and practice. You cannot make black men or white men real estate merely by a little loose legislation. Toward a general recognition of this truth the whole world has been struggling for eight centuries, and not without success. Feudalism went first, although it made better masters and more productive vassals than slavery, and did not imbrute the noble by ministering to his personal luxury. Slavery in the Roman Empire disappeared like a mist before the sun of the new Revelation. Men were not ashamed, even in the time of Louis X., to manumit their vassals pro amore Dei; while Dr. Fuller and his disciples desire to keep men in eternal bondage for the same pious reason. The one great question in Russia for half a century has been, “How shall we be rid of serfdom?” In the United States, during their whole political existence, with a certain class, the one great question has been, “How shall we conserve Slavery?” Hence we have been, too many of us, at one endless, horrid grind of logic to prove-what all the rest of the world was practically denying — that Human Slavery is profitable; and it has all ended in Mr. De Bow's assertion, that there are “eight tan-yards in Louisa County.” In sheer disgust we quit the subject. We do not believe that eighty tan-yards will save Slavery in this country, or, at last, anywhere else.

May 1, 1862.

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