Letter From Mississippi.
The following letter from an old friend, formerly a resident of Rock Island, will be read with interest:
HAZELHURST, Miss., March 17, 1861.
Friend Danforth: — Shortly after my arrival here I wrote you a few lines, and promised so to do again, and have attempted it several times, particularly after reading some articles in your paper, but would give it up, thinking you, in the exciting times just passed, would not care about being bothered with any epistle from me. But, a few days since I received the Argus of March 6th, containing the news of the last city election, and it so elated me to find that the democracy of the city of Rock Island "still live," that I determined to write you.
We are having beautiful weather, and our woods are full wild of flowers. I would give you a description of my garden, but do not wish to tempt you with lettuce, green peas and radishes, when I cannot have the pleasure of sending you a basket full.
I have, since living here, had the pleasure of meeting often with the prominent men of the south, and have come to the conclusion that in relation to the affairs of the people of the south, many people at the north have an entirely erroneous notion. From what I have seen and learned, I am convinced that the people of the slave-holding states are as honest and sincere in the course they are pursuing to protect their rights and maintain their equality and self-respect as the republicans are, who believe in the higher law doctrine. The great body of the southern people believe that slavery is a Divine institution, and that it is their christian duty to protect and maintain it. It is a mistaken notion among the people of the free states that the non-slaveholders of the south are opposed to the institution. They know there is an inferior race here now to do the drudgery and menial work of the country, and were the institution abolished, the white race here would have to perform that menial service, which is now performed by the whites at the north.
Providence has so ordered it, that in all countries, whether right or wrong, the whitemen have been slaves to the rich where money is capital; but where labor is capital, the white race are equal, and all are respected alike. It is this principle of equality that actuates and governs the non-slaveholders of the south, and they are prepared with their muskets to defend the right.
If Mr. Lincoln's policy is for war. and war ensues, it will be the most bloody and exterminating recorded in the annals of history. It is known that there are fifty thousand men well armed and drilled for the coming contest. In Mississippi we have ten thousand now prepared to march at a moment's warning, and eight thousand rifles more on their way from Belgium. More enthusiasm, more determination never animated the breasts of any people. They will be fighting for their homes, their firesides, and their loved ones, and to die in defense of those sacred rights, is but a holy offering to the God of Justice. In my opinion they can never be conquered.
I have never realized until recently, the consequences resulting to the north from a dissolution of the Union. The great interests of the free states consists in their manufactures and commerce, and that interest is based on the product of slave labor. Take away from their shipping interest the amount with is carried from southern ports, in northern bottoms, and give it to the ships of England, France, or other nations, and then, pray tell me, what would become of northern ships? I know, and you know, that southern products furnish the material for that heretofore prosperous branch of northern industry. The work has already commenced, for at this very time northern ships find no employment at the levee in New Orleans, until the English and French ships are first loaded.
Our government has already imposed an export duty on cotton, and will virtually admit European manufactures at a mere nominal duty. The result must be the entire ruin of the manufactures of New England. Old England can manufacture cheaper than New England, yet New England, in a commercial point of view, is her worst enemy. If the manufactories of New England can be destroyed, old England will again manufacture for the world.
I have just had a call from a "squad" of the "Pettus Rifles," and I can write no more to-day.
Yours truly, B.