The cotton trade and the prospect of peace.
, the Confederate
journal in London
, has in its last number some remarks on the difficulties which would embarrass the export of cotton even in the event of immediate intervention and the restoration of peace.
We make some extracts:
It must be kept in mind that, under the most favorable circumstances — the immediate repudiation of the blockade, supported by a competent naval force to sweep every blockading vessel from the Confederate
coast — the supplies of cotton must still continue for many months to be scant and dear.
Nature has arranged for the Southern States
a business season which man cannot invert.
As the staple matures, the rivers, without which cotton lands are of little value, begin to rise; and during the long harvesting of the crops — the so-called picking season — bale after bale, in small lots, so soon as ready for the market, are placed on board the fleet of steamers which swarm on every navigable water course.
At the same time the seaport cities become healthy, and admit of the immigration of a large white laboring class from the North
, who are indispensable to the proper and prompt disposal of the crop.
Thus the picking, ginning, baling, transportation, and sale of the cotton are so nearly simultaneous that when the last bale is picked on the plantation, the business season in the seaport is already drawing to its close.
Contrast with this the conditions under which the crop of 1861 is to be moved, should the ports be opened during the summer.
The rivers are low, and navigable only for boats of the lightest draught.
Of such boats no new ones have been built for the trade, as is usual even in ordinary seasons; but a great many have been converted to warlike purposes.
The cotton lies unpinned on the plantations, and though a bountiful supply of gunny bags and iron ties from this country may, in a measure, remove this difficulty, these supplies must first reach the planter are the cotton can be made ready for shipment.
Suppose all these obstacles removed, whence shall come the necessary labor at the seaport?
The class which always supplied it — even if it could endure the fatal summer heats, and the yellow fever, was banished from the Gulf
coasts — now composes the bulk of the Federal
Will these be instantly disbanded, and if so, will the Confederates
permit, without question, the same invasion which, in another form, they have poured out their life-blood to resist?