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The Financial Power Of Slavery: The Substance Of An Address ...

The Financial Power Of Slavery: The Substance Of An Address ... image The Financial Power Of Slavery: The Substance Of An Address ... image
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I come now to consider slavery as ihe cliiefsource of ihe commercial and cial evils under which ihe country s ( noaning. ï'wijl not now dweil on tlic naHCÍalevilsof a fluctuating policy, sucli as slavery is cor.tinually domanding. It , must be evident to the slightost , lion, that all ihe great chunges of policy , which have successfully involved iti clisaster each and every n irthein interest,have , becn ntroduced by the dictation of the , Slave Power. And it is equally obvious ] that so long as slavery rcign?, by , ting thestrifeof party at the Norlh we , ever shall have a setiled policy. The alaveholders are, at this moment, actually , creating a new ferment atihe North with regard "to ihe tarilf, they tnay hold the batanee of power, and, keep the IWthinj sübjecüon, and above all, preveniour unitin" by constitütiönq) mcans to put down ihegrand evil that eats out our vitáis. . Slavenj absotbs the avaïlable capital of the North, and thus créales periodical rcvulsions, each one more severe than the last. We are all aware llmt it ia "hard times" at presenf. Nol au individual in ihe c mmunity vho. bas not personal kno'wJöAge onÜÚ3 point.- VVhat is "hard times?"-- Why,money is scarce. All agree in that . When money is scarce,and produce brings a low price, and a man cahnof borrow of his neighbor to meet a pressing emergency and every one feels embarrassed, and crippled, and poor, then it is "hard times." Well, it is "hard times" now, and money is scarce. What has become of ilie money? It is well known that we have lmd a long carecr of industy, and enterprise and pace. Our pcople have earned a vast amount of nioucy in the last 15 years. And by the iuiluence of advancing religión and moral?, and ihe glorious temperanee reforrnaiiun, we vveresaving n great deal. The {emperanrCe society teuded powerfully to the aceumulation of wealth, by lessening the cnormous waste of property which r.sed to bc occaeioned by sirong drink. We were really growiiig rich. The upparent pro?periiy of ihe years 1829-31), was very much of it real, ltwas a reliance on the vast savinga oi temperanee more than any tliin else,that deceived my mind wiih icardto the real fitate of the" country. 1 overlooked the drain, which was silently and rapidly carrying these accumulation3 of industry iind ccononiy where they could oever be recovered. ILid ihe fVce btates been subjectcd to no losscá but their own extravagance, (gieat, and fuolUh , and criminal as ihat was,) none, nor all of the al)cdged causes of our present depression could have produced this deep and protrat ted embarrassment. Our Acailable Capital has been lost. There is a nice quesüon in political eeonomy which I vyití not undertake to set tle,forldo not profess tobe learned in these malters. What becomes of los capital, has püzzeled wiser brains than mine. Some say il is sunk and annihilated, oihers, that it has only passed intr olher handa,-where il may accumulale,ot lic ia a state of congestión lor a while, bu a chango of times will set it uil agoing again without ihe annihiiation of any portion. Let those decide who understand the caue and operationof Asialic cholera. - Whether annihilated or not, il is lostto us and, as I shall show, will never come back to those who have honeslly earned it, bu have now been deprived of it through tht effect of slavery. The Boston Daily Advertiser, the lead= ing commercial paper of that city, had an article on the Gth of July last, from an able writer, who furnished a senes of essays on the finances and currency of the country. The writer states that there has been a hundred millions of dollars of bank ing capital sunk in this country since the year 183G, estimating what remains a current price; but ho considers the actua loss much ïirGfitor. because the stocks arein fact vori (i rnuch less than they are now quoied. Then thcrc is a loss to the ' iry of fifteen or twenty mili ons in i deernable bank notes. Then there are a j hundred ind fifly millions loaned to i hoUlers and directors, and spcnt in i aganccand speculntion. Is il any wonder i that we hnve hard times? i This vast amovnt of Capital is lost at the I South. I uu not undertaking to give full and i detailcd infunnution on this subject. Much Df'it is difficullto come at, and much of it lies out of my ordinary track of inquiry. - I But ask any man of business in our cities I wherehis capital is gone, and vvhere his liopeltss irrecoverablu dcbts are, and he vvill point to the South. Go áiñpug the tnerclianis or the manufaclurers, and you ivill find one complaining of his ten thousand, und anoiher of his hundred thousand md another of his two or five hundred ihousand dollars of southern debts. lie would gel alung very well now, if it we re i Dot lor ihat suuthern delt. And behind 3vcry one of these stands another class, i tvho have sold goods, or Icnt inoney, or i iven ihcir endorsernent to oihers that :iave misled their all lo the Soulb,and now :annot pay. And behind these anolhcr il aas -and another class, and another, and :molher,until there is hardly a remóte ham let in the free Sta les that has not been direclly or indirectly drained of ils available :apital by the souihern debt. The writer ïbove referrcd to, says that the Banks of Philadelphia have tweniy-live millions of dollars of 'failed notes.' Probably that is within the lru:h. Butnearly every dollar of this is, directly or indireclly southern debt. Look at Newark, I was told, three years ago, that the people of Newark had three millions of dollars at one time, of prolested southern paper. I do not know that it is so, but 1 know that the place has been most dreadfully impoverished, and all in consequence of southern tra(le - thai trade which ihey weresoeager to preserve thal ihey would trample on law and order to put down the discus - .ion of sla very. Look at Philadelphia,her banks suspended, and her business, for a long linie ihrown into desolation, and all through the "soulhern debt." Whatkeeps dowu the price of the United States Bank Stock? lts southern debt. What mukes it unceriain wheiher that Bank will rceutne payinum in Januury or brt;ul?t - " lts immense soulhern debt - debt,ofwhose arnount and condilion the public have little means ofjudging. What causcd the Capital to be lost at the South? It is a great help lowards believing a novel truth, when we are able to sec cleary thal there are causes in existence sufficient to account for the exislence of the alledged fuct. Let us enquire whether there are causes enough to allbrd a rationa! and satisfactory explanation of ihis doctrine. 1 do not intend to show all the ways by which he available capital of the free States has been sunk in the slave States. Bat if I can show that two r three of the prominent circumstances in the business of the country nalurally led to such a result, and that there were no adequate coun teracting causes, Ishall sufikiently establisli my )osition. 1 . The capital of the North as nafural ly fluws to the South as water runs down luil - i. e. to rill up a vacuüm below it.- Eighiy years ago, a great statesman, in the Bnüsh Parliament, laid it down as an axiom, ihat planters are always in debt. The system of society in a slaveholdtng community is such as to lead to thecontraction of debt, which the system itself does nol furnish the means of paying, and which must, therefore, be wiped olí by periodical bankruptcies. The ill econ omv of slave labor is seen n a thousand particulars, the wastefulness of the slaves is exceedcd only by the exiravagance of the musters, whilethe social rank(!)which is generally conceded to him who exercises power 'over his fellow man, is a passport to credit. So long aa credit lasta and times are prosperous, the slaveholder is a very good paymaster, but the general indebledness is all the while increasing until a commercial crisis comcs,to disclose the state of things. Theie is, then, this diiierence between a slaveholding and a free community. When a presure comes upon a fice people ihey inunediately begin to curtail their expenses and increase Their producís, they .vork harder and save more, wear the old coat, sell all ihey can and buv noihing they can do without,- becauio they intend to pay their debts.- The slavehulders on the conlrary, always drive iheir producers, (ihe slaves,) to the utmost, and the tune of high prices is especially the time of high pressures, anc ihis makes the poor slave pray ihat cotton may be cheap. Consequently, wher hard times come, ihe slav-eholder has nt way to increase his producís, and there w no way he can curtail the weekly peck oi The immense depreciation of Stocks einct July, 1840, must have added mony milliorii to the aggregate loss. June, 1841. fThe bank has since resumed, and brokeE down under ita Southern debt. June, 1841corn, and the yearly shirt and overalls 1 which he expends upon hts slaves. And f ss to his own expenses, it is of more i ' sorlance to him to tnaintain his standing 1 is a gentleman planter, than it is to pay :he rascaliy shopkeepers, and, therefore, h when a pressure comes, we do not see in ,i ;he slaveveholding States any such ii ations and efforts to pay the old debt, as 1 ire found in the free States. The sense A' obligation to pay debls is esseniially 1 Jifferentbetween people who always live H ju the earnings of the poor, and those who i iiave nothing but what they hnve earned N ty their own industry. The effect is, that j1 in our commercial revulsions, there is a general calculaiion that the bulk of j ednesa from the free States will bê ;aid, and that the bulk of the slave debt will be lost. The free expect to pay iheir debts, if it takes years ot toil and self denial ; the ! slaveholders likes lo pay debts if il isconveiiierit, but to work und save to pay an Dld debt enters not into his thoughts. And since slavcry does not, in fact, support it3elf as it goes along, it is ofcourse impos_ siblethatil shuuld furnish the nieans of pay ing the old debt. Ilere is a history of iiny and every one of our commorcial revulsions, so far as slavery is concerned. 2. Now, look at the néxt commercial periud. Tlie industry and economv produced by hard times among a free and moral people, nalurally leads to the accumulation of capital, and, then, toan extensión of credit. The productive power of free industry, aided by orderly habils and light taxes, has never yet been properly appreciated. And credit is as natural a concomitant of such a stale of society as vegetation is of summerheat. Were such a community left to iis own resources, its prosperily would be constant, and without any.assignnble limits. But, here we again riud ourselves subject to the exhausling operations of slavery. "Our gloriouá unión" makes the slaveholder a fellow country man with us, and slavery one of the "institutions of the country."' As soon therefore, as capital begins to abound again, and credit groweseasy, the slaveholding states naturally avail lliemselvcs of it to contract new debts, and again absorb the capita!, and crush the credit of ihe free, and then produce another revulsión, leaving another baich of iirccoverable debts, and another set of bankrupt creditors, and anolher general coant. rff-tjfc? free Siates ibroügh the exhaustion of their capital. Who does not see thnt the repetion of this periodical process is ,a,s natural as the lides, and as well expíáined as the alterations of summer and winter? The Union of the free and slave Siates under one government - having "one con stitution, one country, and destiny" as nat urally gives to slavery the control of our iinancial interests, as water sceks its lev 1. The impoverishin tendency ofi-lavery makes it a dniin upon the capital of the Norih, Iet the financial policy of the general government be what t may. But, 3. This tendency of Norlhern capita to the South is inercased by the existence o a "credit system." Observe the dislinction bctween credit and a "credit system.1' - Credit is the natural growth of confidence and when left to itself, is given to a man chiefly on the ground of his capital, talents for business, integrity. and facilities for doing business to advantage. Diminiish or increase either of thee, and you lessen or extend his credit in the same proportion. A "credit system," on the other hand, is anartificialpolicy ofihe gover nment;either through bank or some oiher device, wliich shall either pledge tho public rever.ues or 'give a special sanction of the government. "soasto increase the general arnount pi credit beyond its natural and unassistec growth. I am now called to consider the question in the abstract, whether the " 'credit system" is ever a wise policy tobt adopted by a free governmen - it may b( that therc are inherent evils in that sys tem, which will always makc it cost more than it comes to, in the long run. Or i may be, that a system which, as Mr Webster says, would give "a savor of na; tionality" to credit, might be permancntlj : beneiicial, in a country whose párts were ; governed by homogeneous instilutions,nnc enriched throughout by the same kind o labor. Be that as it may, il is easy l ■ show, that in a mixed country, part de ■ pending on free labor, and part on slave ! labor, a credit system answer the mere i pui pose of sluice-way, to hasten the trans. fer of Norihern capital to fill up ihe emp■ tiness of the South. The greater the gen ! eral amount of credit in the community ! the more easily and the more extensive ■ ly will the slave sections obtain credit.- I And it is a setlled axiom that planten ■ will always go in debt as lar as they can i we easily see that the facilities of a "cred i il system" will be used to the utmost 03 1 them. And as they are not restrioted, lik r the iree, debt-paying States, by an olc debt, nor governed at all by those stnc ' idéis of mercaniile honor that prevai ' among business men, the deductions o , reason coincide with the results of experiencc, in regard lo the disastrous effect!:hat must always follow from a "credit i jystem," so long as slavery remains. And tvhcn we add to this consideration, the ïckleness of the slave power, and see how i rften it has changed the national pohcy,. I we can compare the attempt to buiid up i "credit system" in this country to mg so much as a co-partnership between i Lwo beer shops, one of which makes is í jvn liquor and drinks none, and tfie other i juys on credit of the first, and drinks i side. At lenglh they grow tired of ing the beer in buckets, and it is agreed to i llave a conducting pipe from one vat to the other, that shall keep them always ón] a level. This answers for a time, until,j ust about the time the industrious iníHPdq stock is about to fail, the olher gets drunk and knocks the bot torn out. Sevcn times, it least, since the Federal Constitution was established, slavery bas knocked the bottom out. The conclusión is, that a credit system must ever prove injurious to the ountry as long as slavery continúes. - Jnile with us and put an end to slavery nd we shall be prepared to talk about a reclit system, and then, if the wisdom of uniled people shall approve of it, we can lave it permanent. iSut lili then, it can ïeither be good nor lasting. 4. The equalizing of the exchanges has 'urnished an illustration of the neccssary eftects of an artificial syetem of financial relations hetween the frce slave States. - 1'he laie United Siates Bank had a cupial of 35 millions of dollars, a very small )roportion being the property of slaveholders. It also enjoved the use of the naional revenues as deposites, and received and disbursed all moneys of the United States. It had, moreover, branches in most of the principal commercial towns. With all these faciluies, and a credit grcatly enhanced by the financial reputation of its president, Mr. Biddle undertook to equalize the exchanges belween the dilferent sections of the country. Exchange is the price paid for the transfer of moncy from one place to another. It is a service rendered, and has a proper measure of price, as much as carry ing wheat to market has. The principie elements which enter into the calculation of the proper price of exchanges, are the distance and difficulty of transportaron, the relation oí supply and demand, and the risk arising arnong '.bc parties drawing and drawn upuu. ü.vv-i:aiít, if lc.fl to iloolf; rroiïld or diaaiily make some special allowance fot this last consideration in the case of a slaveholding community, because all expericnce ehows that there is a much great' er risk in doing business with slaveholders. But the Bank, in equalizing exchanges, enlirely disregarded this cunsideration, which is a part of the real expenses of the business, as much as the canal tolU are a part of the expenses of forwardinj wheat. It follows, that the Bank mus cither make up this item out of the community, by ils extra profils on some othei branch of business, or it must make u[ the deficit out oí its capital. In whicï vvay the Bank bas, in fact, made it, whelh er out of its capital or its other profits, th ttock-holders will probably know - wjue: THEY GET THEIK CAl'ITAL BACK ! The effect of the credit system in producijig the level between the two pool: more speedily iban could be done througl (he natural channels, is one of the mos instructive subjects of sludy for our finan ciers and political economists. One poo is fed by the perennial spring ot free labor; the other is trying to by the slov and reluctant percolaliun, Ihrough its sand i of slave labor enforced by the lash, bu 1 the waste by evaporalion and the dail; , consumption is greater than the ñow a f the founlain. Our L'niun and onr countrv 1 leads to a transfer of waters to produce : leveljthrough the natural channeis of trade i but the credit system culs a wider an ; deeper sluice, and haslens the result; an ; ihen slavery knocks the bottom out, an - the wholc is lost. i 5, One effect of this fulse advantag t which the credit system and equaliziri; . exchanges give to the sluveholder, is tha ■ ihcNonh is not only drained of its owi { circulating capital- such as is naturall, ; pul at the hazard of trade, bul is deprive 1 of a iarge portion of its fixed capital, an f even iuvolved in a most burdensome for i eign debt, for resources which have beei borrowed abroad to meet the deficienciei ï occasioned by the irrecoverable southen ï debt. So that a considerable time mus " clapse,belbre we begin toaccumulate fres! capital from our own earnings, while w work hard and live close to pay the foreigi , debt in which slavery has iuvolved us.- Had the free siates' been caught by tili - late revulsión, subject. to no difticulties bu 3 those resulting from their own speculatioi , and extravagance, fuolish and criminal a ■ these were, we should ere this have hai f all our affairs settled, and business agair , ■ - - - - ' ] ïhe preeent and prospective value of thi s tock of the Bank and the developmer.t 1 which have been made since September 1 1840 when the above was delivered. show f the ground there was for the hint respect - ing the capital of the United States Bank.3 Juhe 1841 .n prosperous molion.-It is the Southern iebt which hnngs like a mill-stone upou jur banks and our individual merclmnts ind manufacturen, and no mancan as vet ibresee the end. 6. The equalizing of exchanges is ioubtless one of the principie causes oí' ;he delusion under vvhich our men of bu?ine?8 have labored in regard vo'thestabilty and real valué of Southern trade. Men if business found that they could get their ïaper cashed, or collect, rcceiveand trans ruit funds,at the South, in Alabama or Mis ?issippi,at as low a rate is Muine or Ohio; md as such men are linie accustomed to foukdeeply into the causes of things, it is not slrauge that they should concludê that a soutbern trade should be relied on, for the long run, as being asslableand secure as trad& with northern cus'omers. Thé great "regulator" assumcd it lo beso, and why should they not follow? Bul a Boutbern trade, so long as it remains good, is alwaysa great deal more profitablc than the northern trade, because slnveholdcrs are so liberal, they never stand about prices; they never hiiggle fur the halt'cent ; they have n great many other things lo attend to when they come to the North, besides chafferitig fcr prices like the Yankeo; they must go to the thea tres, and visitlhe Falls and the Springs, attend the races &c., and so they teil the jobber to malie up a good bill to such au amount, at bis discretion, for which the southerner usedlogive his note for ninc or twclve months, and the United States Bank wou ld cash it for a small per centage. This was such a delightful way todo business, that at one time it was almost impossible for a country trader from the North, to get any body to look athim. But the day ol'rcckoning carne, the northern notes at four and six monlhs,are generally paid to the ut tennost farlhing, ailhough w'nh some delay, while the southern debt hangs between the bank and the merchants,a dcadweight that will probably sink them both. 7. Should it be objected that the policy of the present f late] administraron, which has been aimed ai the subversión of the "credit system," bas been taken up by men peculiarly subservient to the dictation of the slaveholders, 1 uc'mit the fact. There cannot be a doubt that the anli-credit policy bas Leen adopted at the southern dictation, for ihe benefit of slaverv. Senator Walker, of Mississippi,has laboriously demonstrated the ativfeutuge which the ptanters would realizo by redu; cing the price of northern labor, so that ; they could buy cheap, while they thought the price of cotton would keep up,becauso the mart was on the other side of the At' lantic. But, fortunately, sin is always unlucky, and just as this notablo scheme . was on the point of consumation, the price of cotton went down too, and feil lower [ in proportion, than the price of labor, so that instead of controlling the trade of tho world, as they boasled they ehould, they j are broken down, helpless, aud obligedlo j begamarketat any rate. And, now we see the whole South turning around with " one consent, with Harrisonand the "cred' it system." The slaveholders find that they cannot get along but as they can obtain credit, and so they are in favor of " "getling in debt made easj ." But if, contrary lo all present appearances, the VVhigs should fail of obtaining power, there can be no doubt that the I slaveholders will conlrive some other way togainan advantagc. They will make the independent trensury serve their turn ; k and why should they not? Let it be rej membered, that if the national treasures are placed in banks, slavery governs the banks; and if they are placed in governmentchests, slavery kceps the kei! As a most enlightened and honest statesman once said, "Why should we dispute about j the best way to prevent the union of purse , and sv.ord in lbo hands of the President j while slavery grasps bothpurse and word and the president too?" 8. The great diain of nortliern capital to e the South, to supply the ordinary defalcáis tions of tslavery, has been enhanced by tho I detnands of the Domustic ölave Trade. I) The extent of this trade in human souls y cannot be fully üscertained until Congress d shall prepare to exercise lts constitutional J powers by nstiluting a legal inquiry and requiring a return, Sotne idea ot the wiiole maybeformed hovvever, from a statement II raade by a man of business, for business pur: poses; in the United States Gozitle, a lead1 ins commercial paper of Philadelphia, Feb. 1 1 1840. The writer declares ihat upwards of il foriy thousand slsves were imported from D the Norlh into the single State of Missisa sippi, during the year 1836 lone; that in three years the slaves in that State incroased 160,000, and that the debt incurred by , the planters in tliose three yearB for slaves alone was ninety milhons of dollars, tho 1 greater part secured by "mort gage on tho $ plantations and negroes. This trade was J carried on by ihe aid of northern capital. - i Northern bank6 and brokers #,ere involved, - the United States Rank was involved, nu3 rnerous banks were etarted in the South8 west on northern capital, the States thein 8elvescontrictd loans to a vast amount to 8 aid these banks; (ofcoursc börrowiög the " money of the Norili,) the dividendo weie as. " tonishingly large, every body wantud stock f [CON l IV OUD ON i-üUUXH I'Aüb]