"Let Them Go!"

Manchester Union Democrat, February 19, 1861

Some of our Republican friends affect to be very indifferent to the secession of the Southern states. "Let them go—we can get along very well without them."

No you can't. Consider a moment. The line of separation will be the line of the free and the slave states. We shall divide in anger. The Southern Confederacy will not employ our ships or buy our goods. What is our shipping without it? Literally nothing. The transportation of cotton and its fabrics employs more ships than all other trade. The first result will be, that Northern ships and ship owners will go to the South. They are doing it even now. It is very clear that the South gains by this process, and we lose.

In the manufacturing department, we now have the almost exclusive supply of 10,000,000 of people. Can this market be cut off, and we not feel it? Our mills run now—why? Because they have the cotton, and may nearly as well have the manufactured goods as the stock, on hand. But they will not run long. We hear from good authority that some of them will stop in sixty days. We don't need any authority—everybody knows they must stop if our national troubles are not adjusted. An inflexible law cannot be violated. The shoe business is completely prostrate. Why? Because, while we have sent $10,000,000 worth of shoes to the South per year, we now send greatly less, and very soon we shall send less still. One branch of business suffers with another—one man suffers with another.

Our city owes its origin and growth to the Southern trade—to the Union. We cannot afford to "let the South go," if she may be retained by any fair compromise, as we believe she may be. If the time shall come when the people realize the fact that the Union is permanently dissolved, real estate will depreciate one half in a single year.—Our population will decrease with the decline of business, and matters will go on in geometrical progression from bad to worse—until all of us will be swamped in utter ruin. Let men consider—apply the laws of business, and see if they can reach any different conclusion.

No—we must not "let the South go." It is easy and honorable to keep her. Simply recognize in the neighborhood of states those principles of equity and courtesy which we would scorn to violate in our social relations at home—that is all. Let New Hampshire treat Virginia as we should treat our neighbors. Do we vilify them, watch for chances to annoy them, clear up to the line of the law, and sometimes beyond it, and encourage hostile raids against them? Is that good neighborhood? Then, let not one state practice it against another.