Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

and may soon be definitely settled by the new expeditions of Captain Speke and Consul Petherick. It is highly probable that the Victoria Nyanza of the former, a lake which the natives described as reaching to the end of the world," and the Bahr-el Gazal of the latter, a shallow lake one hundred and eighty miles long, are both feeders of the mysterious river of Egypt, draining for its yearly inundations the mountainous districts of the equator. Father to the south is the great Lake Tanganyika, first navigated by Major Burton, which is computed to be two hundred and fifty miles in length, by about thirty-five in width. Burton is of opinion that this is the reservoir of a wide river-system of Central Africa.

The Gallas, a nation of eight millions, occupying this equatorial region from three degrees south to eight degrees north, are one of the most intelligent and industrious of the African races, and would entertain with favor the advances of Europeans in commerce and the arts.

4. Southern Africa, as explored by Livingstone from Capetown to the Congo, and from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantie; a region generally well-watered and fertile, the soil yielding two crops a year, so that “hunger is unknown.” Along the Shire, a branch of the Zambesi, Livingstone found provisions abundant and cheap; cotton plentiful, and quite equal to American uplands—the plant indigenous and perennial. Of the climate, he says, “Europeans who keep at work are healthy; those who settle down and smoke all day and drink brandy, are sure to find the climate bad.”

These four main sections of exploration have four great river systems, besides a general net-work of streams ;-the Niger and its tributaries in the central western; the Congo or Zaire to the south of the equator; the Nile and its branches in eastern Africa; the Zambesi and its branches in the southeast. These all are navigable for a great distance by steamers of light draft; and the ingenuity of commercial enterprise would soon invent a mode of overcoming rapids or other obstructions to interior navigation. If foreigners avoid night exposure in the mangrove swamps of the deltas, and study the laws of health, a safe and profitable commerce, upon a large

scale, may be opened with almost every part of Africa. Such a commerce, as remarked above, would put an end to the slave-trade, the prime cause of African degradation and barbarism. The one salient fact in the reports of African explorers, is the wide diffusion of the cotton plant upon that continent. Barth, May, and others, find it in the west ; Livingstone, in the south; Burton, in the east; and it is already a staple of commerce in the valley of the Nile.

We note, then, as one indication of Providence toward the civilizing of Africa, the opening of that continent to the knowledge of the civilized world by thorough and widelyextended exploration.

2. A second indication, in the same direction, is given in the manifest determination of the cotton manufacturers of Europe to rid themselves of dependence upon the slave-fields of the United States for their supply of the raw material. This determination is by no means to be ascribed to the superior philanthropy and virtue of British manufacturers. So long as the price, the quality, and the supply of cotton suited them, it mattered not that it was the product of slave-labor under the lash. Cowper might sing

“I would not have a slave to till my ground,

carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble while I wake, for all the wealth

That sinews bought and sold have ever earned !”— but the crowded docks of Liverpool, and the myriad spindles of Manchester, importing and consuming American cotton at the rate of two million bales per annum, show that England has no ruling conscience against wealth earned from “sinews bought and sold.” George Thompson and Thomas Guthrie can indiscriminately defame the churches and the ministry of the northern states as responsible for the existence of slavery, while Great Britain is paying over one hundred million dollars a year to support slavery in the South ! A few sincere and enlightened philanthropists of England have for years been laboring to detach Great Britain from this support of American slavery, by encouraging other sources of cotton supply; but their labors have been feebly seconded by

a

To

the capital enlisted in the cotton trade and manufacture; and though the heart of the English people is always found in sympathy with universal freedom, the tone of the representative press and many of the representative men of England largely indicates that had not the people and government of the United States taken in hand the rebellion of the slaveholders just when and as they did, the English government would have given the right hand of fellowship to a confederacy which, though avowedly founded upon negro slavery, promised free trade and cheap cotton. For bad as slavery is, the Morrill tariff, and the embargo upon southern ports, are so much worse!

But the slaveholders have overshot the mark. They have given a shock to the confidence of British manufacturers in the certainty and sufficiency of their cotton supply; and now, not sympathy for the American slave, but care and apprehension for British factory-hands-not philanthropy, but political economy--will strike the death-blow of slavery. Says the Westminster Review, “There is no doubt that a loss of the greater part of our cotton-market will be the ruin of the slave system of the United States; and the very efforts which have been made by the South to save that hateful institution from destruction, by forcing our manufacturers to seek other sources of supply, will operate more powerfully in extinguishing it, than any measures which could have been taken for its suppression by the Federal government, under the inspiration of a hostile President. It was mainly by our cotton trade that the slave-trade was supported; and when this support is weakened, as it inevitably must be, the slave-trade will become proportionately insecure."*

When Governor Hammond, of South Carolina, in the United States Senate, just three years ago, boasting the power of the South to rule the world by cotton, said, “What would happen if no cotton were furnished for three years? I will not stop to depict what every one can imagine ; but this is certain, Old England would topple headlong, and carry the whole civilized world with her;"—that vaporing threat struck the British nation in their most sensitive point. The financial interest of England has taken the alarm, and within five years England will have emancipated her cotton manufacture from the domination of the American slaveholder. Already from twenty to twenty-five per cent. of the cotton used in British manufacture is derived from countries other than our Southern states; and this, without any special stimulus of wealth or enterprise for its production.

* April, 1861.

In 1855 the total quantity of raw cotton imported into Great Britain, from all sources, was 891,751,952 lbs.; from the United States, 681,629,424 lbs.; from other countries, 210,122,523 lbs. In 1856, the amount from all sources, was 1,023,886,304 lbs.; of which, the United States furnished 780,040,016 lbs.; leaving 243,846,288 lbs. derived from other countries. In 1857 the proportion stood : total, 969,318,896 lbs.; United States, 654,758,048 lbs.; other countries, 314,560,848 lbs. In 1858, total, 1,034,342,176 lbs.; United States, 833,237,776 lbs.; other countries, 201,104,490 lbs. In 1859, total, 1,225,989,072 lbs.; of which, United States, 961,707,264 lbs.; and other countries, 264,281,808 lbs. With the exception of the year 1858, the quantity imported from other countries, in these years, is greater than that imported into Great Britain from the United States in any year prior to 1833, when the total quantity imported was but 303,656,837lbs.; of which, the United States supplied 237,506,758 lbs. For the five years from 1851 to 1855, inclusive, the average quantity of cotton imported into Great Britain, from all sources, was 872,305,200 lbs.; of which, the United States furnished an average supply of 685,100,417 lbs.; and other countries, 187,204,783 lbs. With the exception of the year

, 1827, this average supply from other countries is greater than the supply furnished by the United States in any year prior to 1830.

The same comparison may be made somewhat more conveniently by bales of a standard weight of 400 lbs. The results are as follows:

[blocks in formation]

In the quinquennial period from 1855–9, the supply of raw cotton to the British market, was in the following proportion: United States, -76; Brazil, .02; Mediterranean, .03; East Indies, 18; other countries, .01 But great as is still the excess of the United States, the percentage of supply from this country haz declined, in the past ten years, as follows: 1830-4, 79; 1835–9, 79; 1840-4, 81; 1845-9, -84; 1850-4, -78; 1855-9, 76.

The data, for the comparison in pounds, are derived from the tables in Mann's Essay on the Cotton Trade of Great Britain; the comparison by bales is derived from the tables in Simmond's Appendix to Dr. Ure's Cotton Manufacture of Great Britain. Their results are substantially the same, though a different mode of computing the year leads to a slight discrepancy. These tables, having the highest official and commercial authority, show that while facility of transportation by river and railroad, relative nearness to market, improved machinery, abundant capital, commercial enterprise, and the established relation of the cotton crop to the mercantile exchanges of the two countries, have all tended to give to the Southern states a monopoly of the cotton supply to Great Britain, other countries, having none of these advantages, do, nevertheless, now furnish nearly one-fourth of that sup

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »