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Sugar and the sugar question.The outside world, particularly of Europe, has long been sneering at America as the land of brag, of boast, of bounce, and braggadocio par excellence. An American, or Yankee representation rather, is with them the synonym of the stupendous of colloquial romance, and this, too, quite as much in matters adverse to our interests as in those which conduce to our advantage. Is there not strong grounds for believing that this opinion is more just than many others that strangers have formed and expressed of us and our institutions? Does not the very caption to this article suggest to the mind of every reader the proof that a cavalling or censorious commentator upon our habits and manners would seek to corroborate the charge he in spitefulness, or envy, or moroseness might advance? For three months past here at home in Louisiana, every sugar planter was discontented unless we sent over the world the most exaggerated accounts of the promise inspired by the growing crop, the wildest anticipations of the huge surplus that would remain after man, woman, and child, with all the niggers of the Confederate States, had been surfeited with the crystallized juice of the cane. In vain we urged the uncertainties of our capricious climate, the droughts, the unseasonable rains, the possible early frosts, and the numerous other drawbacks and dark shades of the picture, drawn by the too vivid imaginations of our saccharine friends and admirers. They, like the rotten politiciaes, replied in deprecation of our ifs, our buts, and our fears that we were never encouraging, but always casting out doubts, and sermonizing as if daybreak would never come. Well, the period of gathering the harvest of sweets has come, and now, after preparing the world to expect sugar for the taking away, it is discovered that the yield is deficient, that the tall rank, green cane, twelve feet from root to top, is deficient in crystallizable matter, and that the most mature and promising to the eye falls short of furnishing, in good product, six hundred pounds to the acre! The whole crop, if a nipping frost keeps off to Christmas, may be above the average of the last three years--we hope it may even exceed that — but beyond that no excess can with confidence be looked for, nor can any safe guide of public opinion prudently promise more. The evil, however, has been done, and done, too, by the planters themselves. They will force the world to believe that their crop is worth only one-half what it should bring them; and human folly certainly cannot be so blind as to expect in such cases not to be believed. It only remains for the planters now to rush their sugar to the levee here, cover it with hogsheads and molasses barrels, glut the market, make everybody sick with its abundance, and thus reduce the price to that unremunerative point where it becomes a question whether they might not have saved money by turning their cattle into their case-fields, instead of grinding it at heavy expense of time, labor, and money.--The insanity which possesses planters of both sugar and cotton in these States, in this annual exultant pre-jubilation over the growing crops, when no accurate approximate estimate of probable yield can ever safely be made, is altogether inexplicable to us, unless chargeable to the national infirmity of which we have spoken, which leads us to boast whether for or against our interests, just for the fun of the thing. We believe the sugar crop now being gathered will, as we have said, be a good average one; but we are by no means satisfied that it certainly will be so, or that the chances are in favor of a very sanguine calculation of that kind. Equally skeptical, too, are we that any surplus will remain unsold at the end of the season, or be in warehouses as uncalled for and unrequired surplus. Those who indulge such expectations have never condescended to furnish the data on which they found their opinion; nor have we met with a reasonably specious argument as yet proving the ability of Louisiana to produce sugar in excess of the actual requirements of the Confederate States alone. It is true, as we have often heretofore shown, that the taste for Louisiana sugars is mainly in the free Western States, where the great market for them was, before the Revolution, found; but now the people in the planting States, having no choice, will very soon acquire a liking for them, and their price in these hard times will commend them to favor over the refined or partially refined, with the great body of consumers. If this war continues through the Presidential term of Lincoln, as we very unwillingly are constrained to believe, so far as the permanent interests of the sugar grower are involved, he will be the gainer; for the taste for his product existing already in the West, and rendered more craving from deprivation, and a similar taste being created by the war in those Confederate States where refined sugars were mainly used previously, it follows conclusively that he will have an enlarged field to supply, and a choice of markets for customers. It will be, however, we fear, useless to tell him that he is himself the greatest enemy of his product, first by his ridiculous exaggerations of growing crops, next by rushing mush samples, for newspaper notoriety, to market, and lastly by overdoing the trade by crowding our levees at the most unfavorable time for sale, as regards demand, season, and pecuniary facilities. His prospects of crop and price at this moment are not discouraging; at the same time he need not make a fool of himself by the indulgence of a puerile and reprehensible habit of boasting, nor by the uncommercial vice of glutting a reluctant market.
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