February 7 and 8, 1862

Macomb Journal
February 7, 1862

Negro Labor in Illinois.

            Two or three weeks since we published a little paragraph stating that the Chicago Times, which has seemingly become the highest Democratic authority in this State, had recommended the introduction of negro labor in this State to raise cotton.  The Eagle of the next week boldly and flatly contradicted our statement, saying that the Times had done no such thing, and asked if we would be magnanimous enough to correct our statement.  We have taken a little pains to hunt up the Times’ article on this matter, and we here present it to our readers.  Note its sentiments.  “Negro labor is required” in this State, and that too “by some compulsory process.”  Will the Eagle dare to publish this article, and tell its readers that it comes from that eminently Democratic sheet, the Chicago Times:

Now we supposed every body knows, that there are vast tracts of excellent cotton-lands in Southern Illinois.  The fact has been notorious for years.  And we suppose all intelligent people know why these lands have been devoted to the culture of cotton only to about the extent that New England farmers cultivate flax – a little for their own consumption.  The reason is white labor cannot be obtained in sufficient supply to produce the crop, and, if it could be obtained, it is too dear to admit of a profitable crop, Negro labor is required.  The harvest of the crop requires the work of a vast number of hands, and these must be forthcoming at the nick of time or the crop is lost.  These can be forthcoming only as they are at the constant command of the cultivator, and they can be at his command only by some compulsory process.  The presumption is that negro slavery will not be introduced in Illinois.  It is not needed, and the sentiment of the State is averse to it.  But negro apprenticeship may be introduced into the State, and this is needed in the cultivation of cotton.  It is indispensible to its successful cultivation.  Its introduction and the cultivation of cotton would speedily add millions to the annual production of Illinois.  It would bring the eight or ten million acres of our cotton lands under speedy cultivation, and these immense prairie wastes would be made to blossom as the white rose.  And their is no serious difficulty in the way of introducing this labor.  Passing events are furnishing a plentiful supply.  The question will soon be forced upon the Northern States, whether they will take it and use it, or leave the instrument of it to idleness, and pauperism and crime.  In truth, the negro question will soon be what it has not been before with the North – a practical question.  We shall have the race in hundreds of thousands before the lapse of another twelve-month.  This will be – it is inevitable, though there be no general emancipation as there must not be.  What shall we do with these hundreds of thousands of black barbarians?  Shall we make laborers of them in fields where their labor will be valuable, or shall we allow a sickly abolition sentiment to make vagabonds of them?  Here is a question the decision of which will determine the value of the cotton land of Illinois.  Let nobody take the wrong side of it in haste.  Let everybody canvass it in all its aspects before making up his mind upon it.  A question of African apprenticeship cannot be offensive to anybody of a right mind.


Answers to Correspondents.

            It has become a very common practice for a certain class of newspapers to set apart a column for “Answers to Correspondents.”  The “correspondents” most generally exist in the imagination of the writer of the answers, but then the practice affords an excellent opportunity for the presiding genius of that column to display an extraordinary amount of learning and knowledge; besides, a large class of inquiring correspondents shows that the great talent of the editor is appreciated.  We perceive that our neighbor of the Eagle has adopted the custom, and last week he led off with quite an array of “answers to correspondents,” in which he discoursed on the “extract of coffee,” gave some historical facts respecting Alexander the Great, administered some advice to a love sick swain, and said any young man who would attempt an insult to a young lady because she had given him the mitten, was a “scurvy pup.”  Now the Eagle no greater number of correspondents than this paper has, and we don’t mean to be excelled in enterprise.  So we this week try our hand at “answers to correspondents:”

Ripsaw. – You are mistaken.  It was not Gen. Lafayette but George Washington who was the first President of the United States.

Brickbat. – Quite right.  You have won the bet.  Four times four is sixteen.  See Ray’s Arithmetic sold by Clarke.

Bloodeye. – Soap is used for washing purposes.  Rub a little on your hands, and then rub them together in the water and it will surprise you to see the dirt come off.

Snick. – Such instances have been known among Democrats.  It was Dick Johnson, of Kentucky, who had a colored wife.

Snipes. – The insinuation that you were the offspring of a female dog was undoubtedly intended as an insult.

Inquirer. – Toothache is very painful and troublesome.  It is caused by the tooth becoming decayed and holler.  The disease was introduced into this country from Spain in the latter part of the fifteenth century.

Soldier. – If he said the United States Government had no use for Forts Sumter and Pickens, we should say he was a secessionist.

Further answers are postponed until we can secure another batch of correspondents.


Eye Knocked Out. – We noticed last week the great annoyance our country friends are subject to when in town by the depredations of the cattle which are permitted to run at large.  On Tuesday last, a fine horse belonging to a farmer had an eye knocked out by a cow’s horn.  The horse was eating from the sleigh body, but the cow disputed the right, and with malice aforethought did the deed.  We shouldn’t be surprised if somebody’s cow got desperately hurt some day.


Macomb Eagle
February 8, 1862

Letter from Kansas.

            To the Editor of the Macomb Eagle:

For the benefit of those of your readers who feel interested  in, or contemplate moving to Kansas, I will here give you a few brief remarks upon the [?] of country this portion of Kansas is – with the intention at some future time of giving a fuller description, etc.

I am aware that emigration to the West has almost ceased at the present time.  But mankind are never satisfied, and are always looking forward and making calculations for the future.  In this instance all are hoping for a termination of the war, when peace and prosperity will again blossom and the tide of emigration to settle up these fertile and almost boundless prairies of the Great West.

Seneca, the county seat of Nemaha county, is situated on the Great Nemaha river, and is very little south of the latitude of Macomb.  To the nearest point on the Missouri river is forty-five miles; to St. Joseph seventy miles.

Located on the government road from the Missouri river to Denver City, it has derived an enterprise and go-aheadativeness that few villages in the older States ever attain – and this location, added to the advantages of a rich soil and a thickly settled country surrounding, it bids fair to become one of the most important towns between St. Joseph and Denver.

In point of health it cannot be surpassed in the West.  Being at a greater altitude than the level of Illinois, the air is more pure and dry, and consequently more exempt from malarious influences, that great drawback to the settling of all new countries.

Land can be had at war prices.  Improved land can be bought at from three to five dollars an acre.

Produce and provisions are reasonably low.  Pork is selling at three dollars – wheat from sixty to seventy cents – and corn at fifteen cents.

One advantage the farmer here has over those of other newly settled countries is this, — there is a constant demand for anything he may raise in the shape of provisions, with a ready market at his door, which are taken to supply the immense wants of the gold regions and the West generally.

In regard to politics, I will say that when I left Illinois (like a snake that slips his skin), I divested myself of that useless commodity for the space of three years or during the war, hoping at the expiration of that time that a new skin will have grown on.  But that does not prevent me from hearing the opinions of others.  I find a few, and I am happy to say a very few, who are in favor of prosecuting the war [racial euphemism], regardless of the Constitution or common sense.  But the great mass are more conservative and rational in their views, and wish to conduct the war on a constitutional basis, strictly adhering to the principle that it is a war for the maintenance of our Government.

Yours, &c.,                                          G. W. Lovely


Pork $2 per hundred pounds; corn 8 cents per bushel; wheat 70 cents per bushel; coffee 25 cents per pound; sugar 15 cents per pound; muslin 20 cents per yard.  These are the promised good times which were to be brought about with the election of Lincoln.  If a lie and a fraud was not practiced upon the people in the elevation to power of the present administration, then we do not understand the meaning of the words.


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