Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 34.djvu/347

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Advance from Appomattox. 339

In the season of 1879 when the last of the alien State govern- ments had been overthrown and order had been conquered from social and political chaos, the South produced a cotton crop of 5,074,155 bales, valued at $250,000,000. For 1906 the value of the cotton crop is placed at $650,000,000, an increase of $400,000, ooo in the same territory, an increase of 1 60 per cent., while the population increased but 60 per cent in the cotton States, showing an increase in the value of cotton produced to the individual of 66 2-3 per cent. The cotton mills in the United States last year con- sumed approximately 5,000,000 bales of cotton, or as much as the entire cotton crop produced in 1879, and the value of our exports of raw cotton for the past season is placed at more than $400,000, ooo. The crop of 1879, with which this comparison is made, was, at that time, the largest the South had ever raised, the production having more than doubled in the preceding ten years, or since 1869, when the total crop was 2,366,467 bales. The mere recitation of these results, however, does not impress the average mind. People of this age are too accustomed to thinking in millions to be easily awed by figures.

I ask you to dwell, however, for a moment upon the remarkable fact that the cotton growing States of the South have, during the past six years, received for their cotton approximately thirty-three hundred million dollars, or more than the aggregate of the preced- ing ten years. This means that the cotton crops -raised in the Southern States during these last six years have exceeded in value the total product of all the gold mines of the world from the dis- covery of America up to the year 1850.

Each cotton crop since 1900 has exceeded in value the greatest cotton crop raised prior to that year. The South is now an empire to which we may say that practically all the rest of the world is tributary and more or less dependent, not for a luxury, or a thing that can be easily dispensed with, but for one of the chief neces- sities of life.

Let us pause for a moment to consider the consequences which would ensue if the people of the South should decide for only one year to grow no more cotton than enough to supply their own im- mediate requirements, and not export a bale. As the South now produces three-fourths of all the cotton raised in the world, it fol- lows that about three-fourths of the cotton mills of the world would have to cease running and begin to rest. Ten million people in the