One of the most frequent reasons urged for a concession, on the part of the North, in the matter of slavery, is, that the prosperity of the North is largely dependent upon the continuance of the Union. Now, there are undoubtedly persons who care so little about slavery, that such a fact would have a controlling weight if it existed. There are persons who would concede the right of Southerners to carry slaves anywhere, and hold them anywhere, if they thought the denial of the right would affect the material prosperity of themselves, personally, or the portion of the country to which they belong. We do not believe there are many such persons; but there are some. But those persons take a very limited view of the elements of personal or National prosperity, who entertain the notion that it is the Northern people who will be the greater sufferers, or indeed the sufferers to any considerable extent, if the Federal Union should be destroyed. If they do suffer,—beyond what might be expected from the temporary derangement of business matters,—it will not be in consequence of any act on the part of the South. In other words, in case of Disunion,—and after its immediate effects shall have passed away,—the conduct of the South will have little effect upon the prosperity of the North. The North may suffer, indirectly, in consequence of the fact that the States will be weaker when divided than when united; that the neighborhood of a slave-holding Confederacy, or a Military Despotism may lead to border wars, or compel increased expenditures; or from some other similar reason, growing out of the establishment of two Nations, with differing institutions, instead of the Confederacy which now exists.

And this is apparent when we look at the position which the South must assume the moment it shall become an independent Nation. Not one of all the leading men of the South has dared to take the position that the North, in any event, after separation, would be treated less favorably than any other Foreign Nation. And if, now and then, some brainless Southern politicians have sworn vengeance, yet every man of sense knows that the necessities and advantages of trade would compel both North and South to stand on the most amicable footing, with regard to each other, after the irritation attendant upon separation had passed away. And, so far as we can now see, in such a state of things, Northern commerce would find nearly, or quite as much employment as it does now in the transportation of Southern products to other countries; for it is well known that American ships now successfully compete with others, for the carrying trade in all parts of the globe. As for any discrimination against Northern ships,—it is idle to suppose it would exist three months after separation. Northern manufacturers, too, would suffer but little, if any more, than Northern ship owners.—Pretty much everything has been done under Southern dictation, from time to time, that could be done, to break down the great commercial and manufacturing interests of the North; but entirely without success. Commerce and capital have adapted themselves to the exigencies of all occasions; and they will continue to do so to the end of time.

And the agricultural regions of the West would not fare worse, at any rate, than the other portions of the North. Indeed it is hard to see how they can be at all unfavorably affected.

From time to time, as in 1857 and 1860, they have been affected by the “panics” got up in the Atlantic cities; and more in 1857 than in 1860. Such “panics” have no regard to national boundaries, and are always incident to the credit system of trade. But the price of the staple articles of the West, depend[s] upon consumption—not merely in the eastern part of the Union, but in Europe also. And if the South does not raise enough breadstuff for itself, it must come to us also, whether the States be united or disunited. Hunger knows no National or State lines.

The idea is sometimes started that the South produces certain articles with which it can control the markets of the world.—This is a very vague assertion, and can bear no critical examination. The sugar trade is the result of a protective tariff, and will probably decline as soon as that tariff is materially reduced. Indeed, a total reduction of duty will probably destroy every sugar plantation in the Southern States. Under the best circumstances, and by the aid of the highest tariff, the sugar crop has never been very large; and if the whole crop in the Southern States were lost, at once, it would not very materially affect the price of sugar anywhere. The production is almost wholly confined, in the South, to Louisiana and Texas.

About three-quarters of the rice crop of the South is produced in South Carolina, and the value of the crop is about one-half the value of the sugar crop. The tobacco crop is almost exclusively confined to the “Border States,” and more than half is raised west of the Alleghanies. The former is produced everywhere in tropical countries, and the world need not be, and is not, dependent upon any one country for the latter.

The cotton crop is the only one of the South, whose diminution or destruction can very seriously affect the business of the North, or of other countries, or over which the South ever could have sufficient control to produce derangement in financial or commercial circles. But every movement at the South shows, as clearly as the sun shines at noonday, that England is determined not to be dependent upon the South for her cotton. The South can never be said, properly, to control even the trade in cotton, for the seller is as dependent as the buyer and consumer; but England is determined not to allow the South to be even the greatest seller of cotton; and in two years the South will find competitors which will control her. And the manufacturers of New England will receive a part of the advantages of England’s exertion in that direction. In the mean time, it will be quite as important for the South to sell, as for the North to buy, as she is learning to her sorrow, every passing day.

The argument, therefore, that the Northerners are to be immense losers, by Disunion, is founded on an imperfect view of facts, and a limited apprehension of the laws of trade. The argument is poor enough at the best. It only amounts to this: That we must give aid to slavery because, if we don’t, our trade will be injured, and our farms be worth less money.—But we deny that even that is true, or that we need have any apprehensions of such a result.

But while we think little of such an argument and such reasons, there are reasons why we wish the Union to be maintained, and why it must be maintained. But we cannot speak of those reasons now.