Monday, May 7, 2012

A Dear Cup of Coffee

Here is yet another article from the May 3, 1862 Covington Journal. I'm sorry to post so many from the same edition, but the paper's focus on issues concerning abolition during this week really caught my attention.

This story tries to offer an example of the consequences of the abolition of slavery, using the Civil War's effects on markets to illustrate the writer's expectations for what the end of slavery would mean for farmers in what was then considered the northwestern part of the nation.

Of course, this story is reprinted from a paper called the Caucasian, which gives a major hint about its owners or editors feelings. This may refer to a newspaper form North Carolina, owned by Marion Butler, but I am not totally sure. Also, the writer seems to assume that if African Americans do not do any of the farm work, that nobody else will, and that no other markets can open without slave labor. A popular saying still says "change can be scary" so perhaps that is part of writer's motivation.
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A gentleman, recently from the West, informed us that a Missouri farmer gave him an example of what "hard times" in the West mean. he said he took thirty bushels of corn to market, a distance of twelve miles. It took himself and his team of two horses one entire day to go and come,: "and what do you suppose," said  he, "I got for it? Just seven  pounds of coffee and no more!" The account current stood as follows:
      
       30 bushels of corn at 7c. per bush......$2.10
       7 lbs. of coffee at 30c. per lb.............$2.10
                  Balance...............................$0.00

Here is a delightful prospect for farmers! Seven cents a bushel for corn is the result of no market down the Mississippi. There is a lesson to be learned from this, however, in more ways than one. The Western farmer an see from this just what his Southern market would be worth to him, if Mr. Lincoln's idea of free negroism is carried out. 

Emancipation would be just equivalent to the present blockade, for the negroes turned loose, would cease the cultivation of cotton and sugar, as they have in Jamaica, and get their living off little patches of ground, which they would cultivate just enough to keep body and soul together. They would not be consumers of Western pork and grain. The Mississippi, therefore, might just as well be blockaded as it is now to the crack of doom, so far as benefiting the West is concerned, if Mr. Lincoln's idea of free negroism is adopted. The Western farmer never got good prices for his product until the Gulf States were opened up to negro labor, and now it is proposed to destroy them in order to gratify a few crazy theorists, who practically don't know a "hawk from a handsaw."  - [Caucasian]

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