What shall be Done?
By this time every intelligent man fully and clearly comprehends that the Union of the States is already broken up, and that it is as idle to appeal to the South to stop and retrace their last steps as it would be to speak to the winds in order to stay the march of the hurricane. We are not particular, just now, about the question of responsibility. We have all had our say about the causes of the disaffection in the slaveholding States, and while we might truthfully continue to hold the republican party and the abolition press to the mark, as the authors of the troubles, yet we prefer to discuss how those questions that have grown out of the formal separation of the States. It is a part of wisdom, as well as the prompting of necessity to look at the facts as they now exist. – The condition of things a year, or a month, or even a week since, belongs now to the past. A day in revolutionary times stands for years, perhaps for ages, in periods of profound peace. Let us then take up the question of to-day. How do we find it? What is the condition of the country at this moment? Just this – the Union broken up, several States already formally withdrawn, others on the point of withdrawing, and the probability reduced to a moral certainty that a majority, if not all of the slaveholding States will, within a few short weeks, declare themselves out of the Union, and refuse to acknowledge any or all obligations or allegiance to the federal government. – This is the sober reality – what ought to be the state of the case is quite immaterial. The practical question then is how are we to deal with these facts – not how the facts ought to be? Will any one furnish an answer to this question? Is any man, any statesman, in or out of Congress, prepared to lay down a rule of actions which he can assure us will be the wisest and best that can be adopted – unless that action contemplates peaceful remedies only? It is answered by a portion of the republican press, that the seceding States must be compelled to submit – that the “treason” of the South, as they are pleased to term it, must be met by force. – While this is the language of the abolition press and the abolition portion of the republican party, we are not aware that any statesman worthy of the name has yet seriously proposed to make war upon the South, to force her to remain in the Union. There has been a great amount of bluster of that sort, but no public man has thus far ventured upon such a stern reality, in the form of a distinct proposition in Congress to raise men and arm them for the bloody work of butchering their friends in the southern States. There are enough already to abuse and denounce the President for not doing this, but they prefer to avoid the responsibility themselves. But suppose this policy was adopted, will it be successful? Are the ten or twelve millions of people, the seven or eight millions of freemen in the southern States to be thus subdued? It was found impossible for Great Britain, in the war of the Revolution, to subjugate three millions, with resources vastly inferior. Assuming, however, that in a war between the North and South, the latter are subjugated – what then? Are they thus to be made brothers and friends, – to return to a willing and fraternal Union upon the voluntary plan of our political system? No, never, while the spirit of brave men animates them, and the blood of freemen courses in their veins. What then is to be done? Shall we make war upon the South, and reduce them – if we can, which is more than doubtful – to slavery? We denounce African slavery; shall we then make slaves of white men, our equals and our brothers? Shall we, by such a policy, change our government from a voluntary one, in which the people are sovereigns, to a despotism where one part of our people are slaves? Such is the logical deduction from the policy of the advocates of force. The most difficult question to be determined by the statesmen of today, is, what shall be done now? The President has declared that until some new action of Congress, he has “no alternative, as the chief executive officer under the Constitution of the United States, but to collect the public revenue and protect the public property, so far as this may be practicable under existing laws.” A few weeks ago, only South Carolina had passed the ordinance severing her connection with the Union, and only the public property at Charleston was threatened. Now, several States are out of the Union, and nearly all the fortifications from North Carolina to Texas, are in the hands of secessionists. To recover, and to hold them, will be to deluge the country with blood; and for what? Simply to be able to say we have subdued an unwilling people. When subdued they will not and cannot be compelled to discharge the functions of government under our system, and we cannot inaugurate a new system – a system of force – without departing from the great principle of self-government upon which our institutions are based. Is it not better to let them go – go in peace and with our benediction – relying upon their good sense and our justice to reconstruct a Government which has failed to perform all the functions expected of it, and which therefore must be reviewed and revised to adapt it to the times and the altered condition of our population? We make these suggestions for the consideration of the people – not our party friends merely, but for the whole people. We wish the facts were different. We grieve over the distress of the hour. – But practical questions must be met in a practical way. A separation cannot now be prevented. In the name of Heaven and humanity, let it be a peaceful one. Let there be no imbruing of hands in kindred blood.
SORGHUM. – The cultivation of the sorghum, or chinese sugar cane, was a decided success in this county last year. The yield in some instances has been at the rate of four hundred gallons of molasses per acre. This was where great care had been taken in its cultivation, but we think that quantity is much greater than should be generally expected. In almost every neighborhood in the county mills were busy during the season of grinding and boiling. Some of these mills comprised the patented machinery made at Chicago or Cincinnati, with the “evaporators” so warmly recommended in certain quarters; other mills consisted simply of wooden rollers and the large iron kettles indispensible to every well regulated farming establishment. So far as we have been able to learn, the latter implements have answered as good a service, and given satisfaction, as the former. The best syrup that has come to our notice was made by Mr. J. M. Jennings of New Salem township. He used the wooden rollers and iron kettles. The syrup has a fine flavor, and pleases us fully as well as the best refined “golden” syrups that can be obtained. We should estimate the yield in this county at about 1,000 barrels, or 30,000 gallons. These molasses retail readily, in Macomb, at 50₵ a gallon, for the best quality. In Lamoine township we have heard some complaint that the yield of juice was less than the previous year; while in Mound and New Salem the amount of juice was greater, and also sweeter, than formerly. – With care and cleanliness in grinding and boiling, the sorghum will yet become one of the most profitable pursuits that our farmers can engage in.
Macomb Eagle Office
Feb. 1, 1861.
Corn has come in pretty freely during the past week, and has met with a ready sale at 14@15₵ [per] bushel; there is yet a large amount in the hands of the farmers, and while the roads continue good it may be expected to move steadily, if not rapidly. We understand that 18@20₵ per bushel is paid at Bushnell and Prairie City. There is a little wheat brought to town – not enough to keep our mills employed more than half the time, and we think the quantity to sell in the county is small. The sales may be quoted at 75₵. The best brands of Tinsley’s flour retail at $2.75 [per] 100 lbs. We have seen but few hogs during the week, and we should think that the number now held by the farmers is not large. Prices about the same as last week — $5 [per] 100. In the retail trade, we may quote butter dull at 12 ½ ₵ [per] lb, eggs 10 ₵ [per] dozen, chickens $1.50 [per] dozen, turkeys 5₵ [per] lb, prairie chickens $1 [per] dozen, wood $2.50 [per] cord for hickory and $2 for oak, broom corn $20@25 [per] ton; potatoes, none in market; green apples 75 @ $1 a bushel, dried 10 @ 12₵ [per] lb, lard 10₵. In retail groceries, the quotations may be about as follows: sugar 8 @ 10₵ [per] lb, coffee 16 ⅔₵ @ 20 ₵, salt $2 [per] sack, molasses 50 @ 70₵ for southern, and sorghum 50₵ [per] gallon.