Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field eBook

Thomas W. Knox
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 458 pages of information about Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field.

Among the prettiest of the parks of New Orleans is Jackson Square, containing a fine equestrian statue of General Jackson.  The pedestal of the statue is emblazoned with the words: 


The French element in New Orleans is apparent on every side.  The auctioneers cry their wares in mingled French and English, and the negroes and white laborers on the levee converse in a hybrid language.  In the French quarter, every thing is French.  The signs on the shops and the street corners, the conversation of the inhabitants and the shouts of the boys who play on the sidewalks, are in the vernacular of La Belle France.  In Jackson Square, notices to warn visitors not to disturb the shrubbery, are posted in two languages, the French being first.  On one poster I saw the sentence:  “Ne touche pas a les fleurs,” followed by the literal translation into English:  “Don’t touch to the flowers.”  I was happy to observe that the caution was very generally heeded.

Before the war, New Orleans was a city of wonderful wealth.  Situated at the outlet of the great valley, its trade in cotton, sugar, and other products of the West and South, was immense.  Boats, which had descended from all points along the navigable portion of the Mississippi, discharged their cargoes upon its levee.  Ships of all nations were at the wharves, receiving the rich freight that the steamers had brought down.  The piles of merchandise that lay along the levee were unequaled in any other city of the globe.  Money was abundant, and was lavishly scattered in all directions.

With the secession of the Gulf States, the opening of hostilities, and the blockade of the Mississippi at its mouth and at Cairo, the prosperity of New Orleans disappeared.  The steamers ceased to bring cotton and sugar to its wharves, and its levee presented a picture of inactivity.  Many of the wealthy found themselves in straitened circumstances, and many of the poor suffered and died for want of food.  For a whole year, while the Rebel flag floated over the city, the business of New Orleans was utterly suspended.

With the passage of the forts and the capture of New Orleans by Admiral Farragut, the Rebel rule was ended.  Very slowly the business of the city revived, but in its revival it fell into the hands of Northern men, who had accompanied our armies in their advance.  The old merchants found themselves crowded aside by the ubiquitous Yankees.  With the end of the war, the glory of the city will soon return, but it will not return to its old channels.  More than any other city of the South, New Orleans will be controlled by men of Northern birth and sentiments.  The day of slave-auctions in the rotunda of the St. Charles has passed away forever.

New Orleans has a class of men peculiar to the South, whose business it is to sell cotton for the planters.  These gentlemen are known as “factors,” and, in former times, were numerous and successful.  Whatever a planter needed, from a quire of paper to a steam-engine, he ordered his factor to purchase and forward.  The factor obeyed the order and charged the amount to the planter, adding two and a half per cent, for commission.

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Camp-Fire and Cotton-Field from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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