Not long after this time of the year the merchants of the South
were went, in former days, to visit the Northern
cities and make their spring purchases.
A good deal used to be said about direct trade with Europe
; but the merchants were not to blame for going North any more than a plank on the Gulf
stream for following the direction of that current.
The channels of internal commerce had become fixed, and the trade winds blew steadily in one direction.--The universal taste of the people was for Northern productions, and there was not a little cross- roads store in the interior which could have kept its country custom if it had failed to furnish its semiannual supply of Northern wares and merchandise.
It was useless to represent to the people of the Confederate States
the value of direct trade with Europe
, and the importance of developing their own manufacturing industry.
Every article that they obtained from the North
could have been furnished by Europe
, far superior in quality, and abundant in quantity.
Or they could have made it themselves, and retained within their own limits the enormous annual tribute levied upon their industry by the North
.-- Nothing could wean them from their cherished dependence.
They hugged their chains, and called them jewels.--Even their books and newspapers must come from the North
Their minds, as well as their bodies, must be arrayed is Northern fabrics.
Their politicians went North for patronage, and even their sober religionists introduced Northern fashions of propagating virtue.
Such a thing as self-dependence seemed to have become completely abnegated by the Southern
Every spring, what piles of boxes, crammed with Northern goods, obstructed every pavement.
We now see the result of all this.
As soon as we ceased to go to the North
, the North
came to the South
The spring visitations of that interesting people find us unprepared to do the hospitalities of the occasion with becoming ceremonies.
The vessels that used to bring goods up our rivers now bring guns and soldiers.
The spring that used to open with such fine assortments is now the signal for fire and blood.
All this would not have been our independence would not have been difficult of achievement, if we had not parted with it before the war by refusing to supply our own wants by our own industry.
It is to be hoped that when we emerge from this contest we shall not forget the lesson we have learned at such bitter and bloody cost.
If this war is to end in a resumption of old commercial relations with the Northern States
, it might as well, it might better, have been never fought.
, if wise, would acknowledge our national independence to-morrow, upon the stipulation that there was to be no dissolution of the commercial union.
For such independence would be merely nominal, and would in a few years cease to exist even in name.
The United States
seem determined to force upon us a real, substantial and permanent deliverance from a colonial condition.