previous next
[279] all, are supplied by the North, and there are eleven millions of annual produce from the sales of cotton goods alone. All this will be cut off, and other things will be equally cut off.

The great difference between the North and the South to carry on the war — and this I say to you in prospect of a long war, for I wish our people to see the full magnitude, and to feel the full responsibility that rests upon us in it, and to see our responsibility to meet it — is this:--The North sold us some two hundred and fifty millions annually. This was their riches; hence came their wealth; hence grew their cities. Their wealth was but the accumulation deposited from our commerce, just as the delta of the Nile was enriched above the lands of any other portion of Egypt by the deposit of the rich alluvial soil brought down from the mountains and deposited in it. The riches, money, and power of the North came in the same way. Our cotton was the source of it, and how Mr. Lincoln is to get his four hundred millions of dollars, I do not know. That is a matter for him to determine, though I may say more about it before I get through; but at present it is sufficient to say that Lincoln has dammed up the water that turns the mill of Northern prosperity. How long the mill will run time alone will determine.

But it is not so with us. We grow breadstuffs enough to supply all our wants. We live in a heaven-favored land, for all the cereals grow here equally as well as in any other portion of the world — wheat, rye, oats, and corn in a great abundance. We could compete with the world in the production of these. We grow also the tobacco plant and rice. We live in the land of the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the vine. Hardly any thing used as food but is grown in the Southern Confederacy, and we could if need be, grow an abundance of every thing except coffee. We, therefore, have the means, under the blessings of Heaven, to support ourselves, and keep upon the field every variety of cattle suitable for food or draft. We, therefore, can grow bread enough to support our people and keep from one to two hundred thousand men in the field. Let the blockade last, let the Western people be cut off from trade with us, and within the eleven Southern States we could for years carry on the war, support ourselves and our armies, and, rather than be subjugated and become vassals of Lincoln's power, fight it out beleagured by blockade all around.

But this is not our only capacity. We grow supplies that the nations of the earth must have — that is, the cotton. How the North is to do without it, as I have said, I cannot say. Hundreds of thousands are dependent upon it for their daily bread, and these people are now turned out of employment. Perhaps they are the men who, for want of bread, have joined in this unnatural and suicidal war, which will be to them as disastrous as to us. In England, perhaps not less than five millions of people depend upon cotton for their daily bread; in France, several hundred thousands, if not millions, (I am not particular in my statistics.) And, when you come to take into consideration the amount of capital, the number of sailors, and the amount of tonnage employed in this trade, you will be still more surprised. Why, in the United States there are forty thousand seamen engaged in the transportation of cotton alone.

And if you take into account the numbers in England, France, Germany, Holland, and Bremen, engaged in it, you will find that it will amount to not less than ten millions of money capital engaged in it. This, therefore, is an element of great power, the great motor of the commerce of the world. We grow it. There is no part of the world that grows it as we do. We supply the markets of the world — they must have it.

I meet many asking about the blockade. I cannot, to-day, tell you how the blockade is to be raised. But there is one thing certain — in some way or other it will be obliged to be raised, or there will be revolution in Europe — there will be starvation there. Our cotton is the element that will do it. Steam is powerful, but steam is far short in its power to the tremendous power of cotton.

If you look out upon the ocean to-day, and inquire into the secret agency of commerce, you will find that it is cotton that drives it, and the spindles and looms, from those in your own State to the remotest quarter of the world — it is this element of cotton that drives them; and it is this great staple which is the tremendous lever by which we can work our destiny, under Providence, I trust, against four hundred thousand, or against four times four hundred thousand. (Applause.)

Upon a reasonable and ordinary estimate we grow four million bales of cotton. I am here to-day to discuss before you the fifty million loan, but I am frank to tell you it may be one hundred millions, and I think it probably will be. The proposition that the Government makes is not to tax the people. The object of a wise and good Government is to make the burdens fall as light upon the people as possible to meet every exigency. The proposition the Government makes, therefore, is to take a loan in produce. In the grain-growing sections, the members of Congress solicit the loan in grain, army subsistence, meat, corn, wheat and flour. We are not a grain-growing country. Our supply is cotton. I address you, therefore, solely on the subject of cotton.

The object is to get along with as little tax as possible; but, my countrymen, do not suppose the Government will not tax you if necessary; for I tell you the Government does not intend to be subjugated; and if we do not raise the money by loans, if the people do not contribute, I tell you we intend to have the money, and taxation will be resorted to, if nothing else will raise it. Every life and dollar in the country will be demanded, rather than you and

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Abraham Lincoln (3)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: