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insistence that the North should yield to a demand absolutely empty unless they looked to new extensions of territory to the south in which slavery could actually be applied. The suspicion of a project of expansion southward was confirmed by President Buchanan's attempt to purchase Cuba and to occupy a part of Mexico, termed by the message "a wreck upon the ocean, drifting about as she is impelled by different factions." The South had also good reason to hope that the filibuster William Walker would succeed in Nicaragua, and that Central America would be added as a field for slavery extension. Without such hopes as to Mexico and the regions farther south, it is impossible to understand the bitterness of southern contention as to territorial rights after 1857, except as the barest and emptiest sentiment.

2

More logical and equally destructive of good feeling between the sections was the wide-spread movement for the reopening of the African slave-trade, based on the claim that the South had too few slaves, and that the supply must be reinforced by importation; a claim which reversed the logic of diffusion of slavery applied to the territories. The price of a good field-hand had risen in the cotton states to as much as $2000, and was still rising. The consumption of cotton was increasing at the

1 Richardson, Messages and Papers, V., 568.

'See Walker, "Central American Affairs," in De Bow's Review, XXVIII., 154 (February, 1860).

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rate of over six per cent. per annum. If that rate was to be kept up and met, besides the natural increase, an additional 70,000 field-hands, or, with their families, 215,000 slaves, would be needed in the cotton-growing states in the five years from 1855 to 1860, which would mean an additional yearly investment in such labor of $44,000,000.1 With reason it was asked, "Where are they to come from?” No wonder that, with their now passionate belief in slavery, many in the South favored the reopening of the African slave-trade. But why, in the face of such needs, and of such values as those to which the slave had risen, should there be a wish to still further deplete the labor of the cotton states and raise prices to a prohibitive point by transporting to the territories such labor already employed in its most profitable field-cotton? That territorial slavery should have been to the interest of the border states, whose only real interest was in the sale of the negroes, can be understood; but it was essentially otherwise where the slave was the only laborer and was not an exotic, as he was in Virginia and Kentucky.

De Bow was able to say in the beginning of this year, "Certainly no Certainly no cause has ever grown with greater rapidity than has that of the advocates of the slave trade, if we may judge from the attitude it is assuming in most of our southern legislatures."?

1 De Bow's Review, XXI., 599 (December, 1856).
2 Ibid., XXVI., 51 (January, 1859).

The Southern Convention, a body formed for advancing the commercial interests of the South, in its meeting, May, 1858, at Montgomery, Alabama, gave its time almost entirely to the question. Yancey, prominent in all its proceedings, clearly stated their position. "If it is not wrong to hold slaves and buy and sell them, it is right in morals and under the Constitution which guarantees the institution, that we should buy them in whatever place we may choose to select. He did not wish to be compelled to go to Virginia and buy slaves for $1500 each, when he could get them in Cuba for $600, and upon the coast of Guinea for one sixth of that sum."

The report of the committee favoring reopening of the African slave-trade was laid upon the table, but taken up at the next meeting of the convention, at Vicksburg, Mississippi, May, 1859, and adopted by over two to one. It was not entirely cheapness which determined the views of those favoring the trade, "for," said the committee, with extraordinary blindness to the physical and other conditions of the problem, "we believe that an importation of one or two hundred thousand slaves will enable us to take every territory offered to the West." 2

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The advocacy of the reopening of the slave-trade by so many South-Carolinians in the last decade of

1 De Bow's Review, XXVII., 96-99 (January, 1860).
2 Ibid., XXIV., 490 (June, 1858).

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slavery would seem anomalous in face of the fact that South Carolina was herself a slave-selling, or, at least, a slave - deporting, state. The fact that slaves were not profitable in the economy of South Carolina is shown by the dark picture of the condition of the state in 1859, drawn by Spratt, of Charleston, the chairman of the committee of the Southern Convention of 1859, reporting in favor of reopening the slave-trade. The depressed condition of the state was, in his opinion, wholly due to the want of African labor. He said: "Upon the suppression of . . . [the slave] trade the splendors [of the town and parishes of the Charleston district] waned; their glories departed; progress left them for the North; cultivation ceased; the swamps returned; mansions became tenantless and roofless; values fell, lands that sold for fifty dollars per acre, now sell for less than five dollars; trade was no longer prosecuted; . . . and Charleston, which was once upon the line of travel from Europe to the North, now stands aside, and while once the metropolis of America is now the unconsidered sea port of a tributary province." i

His statement of conditions was true; his reasoning erroneous. The state was already black in the proportion of four negroes to three whites, and further flooding with Africans would not have made it a cotton state in the sense that Alabama and Mississippi were such. The conditions were intrinsic. 1 De Bow's Review, XXVII., 211.

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