Sunday, January 1, 2012

1 Jan., 1862

The Daily Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia CS
A bright idea.--Nothing seems to give our good friends, the Yankees, so much trouble as the "contraband"--or, in other words, the negroes they have stolen from Southern plantations. They are utterly at a loss what to do with them. They cannot send them to Liberia, for Liberia has set up for herself and will soon have an Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of her vim at the Court of the White House, and her consent must be obtained before so many lazy, ignorant vagabonds can be packed, upon her. They cannot turn them loose in Central or South America, for they own no land there, and John Bull, backed by France and Spain, is determined that the "area of freedom," shall not be enlarged in that direction. They will not let them settle in Yankeedom, for of all things in nature, a negro is most detestable to a Yankee. In this dilemma, "certain prominent members of Congress," as we are assured by that mirror of truth, the Washington Star, are coming forward to solve the difficulty. "They are considering," says the Star, "a new proposition for the solution of the 'contraband' question in order to avoid the expense of supporting crowds of slaves in idleness, and to furnish the American mills with cotton. "
The latter part of the sentence in the key to all Yankee movements. They have found out that cotton is king after all. They are mad for cotton. Put a bale in their sight and they fall into convulsions, as a rabid dog when he sees a vessel of water. They can't get cotton, and they are prepared to go all lengths for it. Their present scheme is a very wise one. "They take the ground," says the Star, "that the Indian territory west of Louisiana and Arkansas was ceded to the United States by treaty, and on certain conditions." The Indians having violated the treaties and spurned the obligations, it is proposed by these long-headed Congressmen to occupy their territory and put the contrabands in possession of it. The plantations of the Choctaws and Chickasaws alone, the Star tells us, could fully supply the American mills the first year, and, as Cuff is famous for making cotton only when he is compelled, a system of apprenticeship is to be established, to take the labor that is in him out of him. "The country is approached," it seems, "from St. Louis through Springfield, a distance of three hundred miles.""The remainder of the railroad from Rolla to Fort Smith can be completed in twelve months.""The county thus reverting to the Government embrace the vallies of the Red, Arkansas, and other rivers, and contains 20,000,000 acres of unsurpassed fertility, capable of producing 15,000,000 bales of cotton per annum."
This is certainly a grand scheme, and does credit to the "prominent-members of Congress" who concocted it. As there will be some difficulties in carrying it out, we venture to point them out to the "prominent members of Congress," that being forewarned they may be forearmed; 1st, There is a man named Sterling Price living out in Missouri on the line of this railroad, who will be sure to object to it, and, if not summarily deal with, will be very apt to thwart it. He is a man whom it will not do to despise. Some time ago a body of Federal troops were attempting to get to Arkansas through this very Springfield, when this fellow Price fell in with them there, and cut them into ribands. We are not sure that what were left of them are done running yet.--Nay, he followed them up, and took a whole army of them prisoners within a week afterwards. It is not altogether so certain that he will not have St. Louis in possession before the "prominent members" can start the first cargo to the promised land of cotton and glory. Now it is certain that Price will raise his sack against this scheme, wise as it is; and as he has something like fifty thousand men at his back and call, and is a desperate fighter, there is a chance that he may cause trouble. In the second place, after disposing of Price, it is but too probable that the Choctaws and Chickasaws may not be willing to give up their lands at the bidding of "prominent members." They number some eight or ten thousand warriors, and would have at their back all Arkansas, all Western Louisiana, and all Eastern Texas.
This scheme will not do. We can put the "prominent members" on a better. Let them drive out the whites from Louisiana and Mississippi, and plant the "contrabands" there. They will only have to walk-over the bodies of some hundred and fifty thousand men; and, to a bloodthirsty Bull Trotter this would hardly furnish food for a breakfast. If they object to this as an enterprise too easy of accomplishment, let them take in Georgia and Alabama, or Arkansas and Texas, or all of them together.
If Yankees were not so notoriously bloodthirsty, we have yet a scheme in reserve, which we would submit to the "prominent members." In doing so, we betray confidence, but we feel justified by the occasion.--A great English astronomer has made discoveries through the great telescope of the Earl of Ross, which throw all others — even there revealed by Lock twenty-five years ago — into the shade. He has found that there are magnificent cotton lands in the moon, and not a Choctaw or a Chickasaw anywhere near. Let the "preeminent members" forthwith seize them for the benefit of the "contrabands."--It will be much easier than it is to take the lands of the Chickasaws and Choctaws-Professor Lowe can furnish them with transportation. Let them apply at once. They will give him an opportunity of doing something really useful.

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