The value of the cotton crop exported may be $190,000,000, but the value of the articles consumed by the producers to supply their wants would be greater. It is notorious that, while the few planters lived in ease and luxury, the "poor whites" and negroes, or over one-hllf the entire population, existed in extreme poverty. The price realized by their productions did not pay for the labor of producing; while their lands were constantly growing less productive.
In the mean time—say 1860—the people of New England bought cotton of the South to the amount of $37,680,782, which they sold for $79,359,900. To accomplish this, only 29,886 boys and men and 51,617 women and girls were employed, whose total wages amounted to $16,725,720, leaving a profit of $25,953,358, at the same time giving a valuable home market to their farmers, and enabling them to increase the productive ness and value of the soil by full compensation.
In the South, while less than 1,000,000 of slaves were raising cotton, not less than 2,000,000 were comparatively idle, or employed in no useful or productive pursuit, the planters doing nothing, and the poor whites either—worse—drinking whiskey, or earning a miserable existence from worn-out soil, or drudging in competition with the slave, whose pay was only coarse food and scanty raiment.
These 2,000,000 unproductive people, if directed by intelligence or the example of New England, could have manufactured the entire cotton crop of the South, and raised food enough to sustain both themselves and the cotton-producers. The profits would be thus not only equal to the value of the whole crop, but the enhanced value of the article in its manufactured state not less than $380,000,000,—independent of the amount sold to New England,—or double the value of the raw material.
The value of manufactured products in the Southern States in 1860 was $150,312,682, to produce which only 98,741 men and boys and 11,309 women and girls were employed; or 110,050 male and female operatives, as manufacturers, produced more than half the value of that produced by the 1,000,000 slaves employed in the culture of cotton.
A man may earn one dollar and fifty cents per day at his daily labor, and save half of it, if his wife and children will cultivate his garden and spin and weave their clothes. But another may earn two dollars per day, and be always in want and debt, if his family are idle and extravagant. The same with the farmer and the planter: if they buy more than they sell, or consume even as much as they raise, they must event ually end in bankruptcy, if not ruin ; because, while they live within their means apparently, their lands become less and less productive, while their families become more and more expensive.
The farmer has coal and iron on his land. His sons can make, during leisure times, all his articles in the hardware line, and thus save him from fifty to one hundred dollars per annum. He can grow flax and raise wool, and his daughters can spin and weave most of his clothes, and thus save from $50 to $500 more.
This domestic economy or industry applies equally to nations ; for the interests of communities are identical with those of families. When the imports exceed the exports, when gold flows out of the country, we are growing poor; but when the exports exceed the imports, and gold flows into the country, we are growing wealthy. During times of war or prohibitory tariffs, we may also grow rich by raising and manufacturing all we require, by the increase of our home markets, the growth of our domestic products, the addition of labor-saving machinery, the development of our mines, and the general appreciation of all values in consequence, without a dollar of exports.
The total value of our agricultural products, other than cotton, sugar, and rice, is now $3,000,000,000 annually. Our foreign markets consume of this amount only the trifling sum of $80,000,000, and often much less. Yet there are those who openly ad vocate free trade, in order to give the farmer a market! who would break down a manu facturing industry, which consumes over $2,000,000,000 annually, for the insignificant market of Great Britain. They would crush the coal and iron industry of this country, whose total product, in its various forms, amounts to $400,000,000 annually, 90 per cent. of which affords a home market to our farmers, for the miserable $20,000,000 consumed by England! The total value of the manufactures of the United States for the year ending June 1, 1860, was not less than $1,900,000,000. The increase from 1850 to 1860 was 86 per cent., and we may safely estimate the increase since at 50 per cent., which would yield $2,850,000,000, or almost as much as the agricultural products. But this vast amount is exclusive of mechanical productions below the annual value of five hundred dollars, of which no official notice is taken in the census. Yet these small amounts are sufficient to swell the amount of our manufactures to over $3,000,000,000.