Of What Use Is the South to Us?

Cleveland Daily National Democrat, November 20, 1860

There are in our midst, as we fear there are in every community, a set of men so blinded by their own passions—so wholly set upon wrong, that they grasp at any argument, any assertion, any falsehood, however ridiculous, to sustain their patricidal course. With such as these the constant argument is, the South is of no use to us—the South is a drawback—we can do without them—d—n em, let them go!

To reason with men such as these, is but casting pearls before swine. As well might they argue, what use is a leg, or an arm, or an eye to man, he can get along without it. Man could hobble along with one leg gone—he could grope his way through life with his one eye—he could feed himself with his one arm, but still he would be much better with the full compliment [sic]. When the leg, the arm or the eye is gone, then will the loss be felt, and when the cotton and the sugar States, now so sneered at as useless to the Republic, secede because, as they aver, the compact has been broken by the Abolition States, then most keenly will the people of the North, and more particularly of the Northwest feel their loss.

The entire amount, in dollars and cents, of produce and of manufactured articles exported to foreign countries from the United States for the year ending June, 1858, was $293,758,279, of which amount the raw cotton exported alone amounted to 5131,386,661.—Besides this large amount exported, in 1852, the only year we have the estimate, there was 610,571 bales of 400 lbs. each, consumed North of Virginia, worth, at the present price of 11 cents per pound, 526,873,044—thus making the cotton, taking the estimate of the cotton used North, as found in the census returns, and adding to it the worth of the cotton sent abroad, and we have over one hundred and fifty-eight million dollars[] worth of cotton, as the amount furnished by the South.

Deduct from the exports the silver and gold and the foreign goods exported, and the cotton crop of the South alone exported exceeds the other entire export of the United States, and when to this we add the hemp and Naval stores, sugar, rice and tobacco, produced alone in the Southern States, we have near two-thirds of the value entire of exports from the South.

Let the States of the South separate, and the cotton, the rice, hemp, sugar and tobacco, now consumed in the Northern States must be purchased South, subject to a Tariff duty, greatly enhancing their cost.

The cotton factories of New England now, by getting their raw cotton duty free, are enabled to contend with the English in the markets of their own Provinces, and in other parts of the world. A separation would take from us this advantage, and it would take from the vessels owned by the North the carrying trade of the South, now mostly monopolised by them.

Anticipating a secession, it is said, the English Cabinet have already empowered their Consuls at Charleston and other Southern ports to enter into a Treaty which will allow the South to send their cotton free of duty to England, while English woolen and English cotton manufactured goods would be received free of duty into the cotton States of the South. England would thus achieve the great object of her ambition, to have a monopoly of the raw cotton, and thus to strike a deadly blow at her great rival, the United States, and the result would be, that the cotton factories of the North—their best market cut off—the price of the raw cotton advanced, would be crippled if not entirely used up, and England have the monopoly of that great trade.

But the Northern Confederacy could do as England could, admit the raw cotton duty free? [sic] Such a thing could be done, but, if a separation takes place, it must be with ill blood, and the Southern Confederacy, smarting with injury, would not be likely to form a treaty giving the same advantages to the Northern States that they would be willing to give to England, from which every article of necessity, in the shape of manufactures, could be procured at a less cost than from the North. Beside this, to support the Government, a duty must be levied either on imports or exports, and it is not unlikely, with the ill blood which would cause a separation, that the South would do as the Cuban authorities do on their sugars exported, lay an export duty on the cotton going North.

English philanthropy has ever been of the hypocritical kind. Her detestation of slavery is only skin deep, ready, at any moment, to be given up when interest demands it. A demand from the Southern Confederacy, that a treaty stipulation be entered into to deliver up fugitive

slaves on the demand of their owners, would at once be acquiesced in, if connected with a proposition which would give the English manufacturers the control of the raw cotton of the South. This would drive the swarm of fugitive slaves from the Canadas to the Northern States, where their residence would prove, as is the case now in Canada, an unmixed curse.

We of the Northwest would feel even more deeply than the other States of the North, the effects of a secession. Every natural outlet to the ocean would be barred. We could not reach the ocean except by passing through the Welland Canal, owned by England, or down the Mississippi, the outlet of which would be owned by the South. Pent up, and forced to seek the ocean by railroad, it would destroy much of the Lake and River commerce now fast growing into importance. The produce of Southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and that of Iowa and Minnesota, to find a market in Europe or South America, must pass through the South, cramped with Custom House dues and the insolence of Custom House officers.

The South is of use to the North, and the North is of use to the South. The Union as it is—enlarged, as it must be, if it remains as now, under one government, by the addition of new States—each State as much a necessity to the others as a leg or an arm is to the body, should be preserved at almost any and every sacrifice. It was cemented by the blood of our fathers—it was bequeathed to us, their degenerate sons, as an unmixed blessing, and to every part of the Confederacy its dissolution would prove an unmixed curse, even if the States separate without drenching the land in fraternal blood.