Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 01.djvu/64
Southern Historical Society Papers.
the unequal distribution of the public expenditures; of unfairness in protecting, buoying, lighting and surveying the coasts, and laid her complaints on grounds like these: for every mile of sea-front in the North there are four in the South, yet there were four well-equipped dockyards in the North to one in the South; large sums of money had been expended for Northern, small for Southern defences; navigation of the Southern coast was far more difficult and dangerous than that of the Northern, yet the latter was better lighted; and the Southern coast was not surveyed by the Government until it had first furnished Northern ship-owners with good charts for navigating their waters and entering their harbors.
Thus dealt by, there was cumulative dissatisfaction in the Southern mind towards the Federal Government, and Southern men began to ask each other, "Should we not be better off out of the Union than we are in it?"—nay, the public discontent rose to such a pitch in consequence of the tariff, that nullification was threatened, and the existence of the Union was again seriously imperilled, and dissolution might have ensued had not Virginia stepped in with her wise counsels. She poured oil upon the festering sores in the Southern mind, and did what she could in the interests of peace; but the wound could not be entirely healed; Northern archers had hit too deep.The Washington Government was fast drifting towards centralization, and the result of all this Federal partiality, of this unequal protection and encouragement, was that New England and the North flourished and prospered as no people have ever done in modern times. Scenes enacted in the Old World, twenty-eight hundred years ago, seemed now on the eve of repetition in the new. About the year 915 B. C., the twelve tribes conceived the idea of making themselves a great nation by centralization. They established a government which, in three generations, by reason of similar burdens upon the people, ended in permanent separation. Solomon taxed heavily to build the temple and dazzle the nation with the splendor of his capital; his expenditures were profuse, and he made his name and kingdom fill the world with their renown. He died one hundred years after Saul was anointed, and then Jerusalem and the temple being finished, the ten tribes—supposing the necessity of further taxation had ceased—petitioned Rehoboam for a reduction of taxes, a repeal of the tariff. Their petition was scorned, and the world knows the result. The ten seceded in a body, and there was war; so thus there remained