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.

The history of every emigration scheme abounds in narratives of a brilliant, though piscatorial, character.  The interior portions of all the Western States are of wonderful fertility, and no inhabitant of that region has any hesitation in announcing the above fact.  But not one in a hundred will state frankly his distance from market, and the value of wheat and corn at the points of their production.  In too many cases the bright side of the story is sufficient for the listener.

I once traveled in a railway car where there were a dozen emigrants from the New England States, seeking a home in the West.  An agent of a county in Iowa was endeavoring to call their attention to the great advantages which his region afforded.  He told them of the fertility of the soil, the amount of corn and wheat that could be produced to the acre, the extent of labor needed for the production of a specified quantity of cereals, the abundance of timber, and the propinquity of fine streams, with many other brilliant and seductive stories.  The emigrants listened in admiration of the Promised Land, and were on the point of consenting to follow the orator.

I ventured to ask the distance from those lands to a market where the products could be sold, and the probable cost of transportation.

The answer was an evasive one, but was sufficient to awaken the suspicions of the emigrants.  My question destroyed the beautiful picture which the voluble agent had drawn.

Those who desire to seek their homes in the South will do well to remember that baked pigs are not likely to exist in abundance in the regions traversed by the National armies.



Conciliating the People of the South.—­Railway Travel and its Improvement.—­Rebuilding Steamboats.—­Replacing Working Stock.—­The Condition of the Plantations.—­Suggestions about Hasty Departures.—­Obtaining Information.—­The Attractions of Missouri.

The hinderances I have mentioned in the way of Southern emigration are of a temporary character.  The opposition of the hostile portion of the Southern people can be overcome in time.  When they see there is no possible hope for them to control the National policy, when they fully realize that slavery is ended, and ended forever, when they discover that the negro will work as a free man with advantage to his employer, they will become more amiable in disposition.  Much of their present feeling arises from a hope of compelling a return to the old relation of master and slave.  When this hope is completely destroyed, we shall have accomplished a great step toward reconstruction.  A practical knowledge of Northern industry and enterprise will convince the people of the South, unless their hearts are thoroughly hardened, that some good can come out of Nazareth.  They may never establish relations of great intimacy with their new neighbors, but their hostility will be diminished to insignificance.

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