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Tuesday, January 3, 1905.
PROGRESSIVE FARMER AND COTTON PLANT. 9 THE COTTON OUTLOOK TO-DAY. We had intended writing at some length on the cotton situation to-day, but the morning pa per prints a special New York dispatch to the Manufacturers Record which sets forth the law and the evidence so accurately and completely that we adopt it in lieu of any utterance of our own. Says this dispatch: "To judge by the wild reports of the South's burning cotton and the equally wild reports that would create the impression that the break in cotton is going to cause a wreck of matter and a crash of worlds in the South, one would be led to imagine that the whole South is staggered by the cotton slump. The decline is deplorable, and of course means a heavy loss to many, but it should not be forgotten that about '6,000,000 bales were sold at an average of probably 9V& cents, and if 7,000,000 bales more should average only 7 cents, the total value of the crop, including seed, would be over $500,000,000, which has never been exceeded but a few times in the South's history. "There is no reason for the South to become panicky over the cotton situation. It has many a time faced far worse conditions and out of ap parent defeat wen victory. Even 13,000,000 bales, should the crop prove that large, and many good authorities still doubt such a yield, are not as unduly heavy, all things considered, as were 11,250,000 bales in 1898. Then the world was carrying a great surplus stock accumulated through several successive years of large produc tion, and the South was poorer, with compara tively little surplus money in its banks and with many of its farmers burdened with debts. Now the world has but little stock of cotton outside of this crop, the increase in demand has gone on for six years, and the South is rich, with ample capital to finance a large part of its cotton, while the farmers are less in debt than since the war. "Cotton is intrinsically worth more than it is selling for. and that there 'will be a reaction in price is just as inevitable as it was that 17 cent cotton would decline. A staple that does not deteriorate in quality, that like pig iron is as good twenty years hence as now, when below the cost of production, as it is to-day, needs only to be held long enough to make certain of higher figures. Just how soon the tide will turn no man can say, nor can any one say that it will not go lower temporarily. But the South's policy to-day should unquestionably be, not to burn cotton, not to crowd it to market, but to store it and hold for the inevitable swing of the pendulum, and in the meantime to plant less acreage in cotton and more in diversified crops. The situation is in this way absolutely In the control of the South itself, and it will have ho one but the South to blame if it does not hold back permanently a million or more bales and then reduce its acreage." In the foregoing dispatch, we have the situa tion in a nutshell. There is no reason for pes simism. As we have quoted in our "Current Events" department, "nothing false, nothing ar tificial, can endure." Seventeen cent cotton was artificial, abnormal, and could not last. So seven cent cotton is artificial, abnormal, and cannot last. The plan to burn a part of the surplus crop is one an ordinary lunatic would be ashamed of. Better put it aside to sell next year or even five years hence if that were necessary and rest and let the land rest until the demand should catch up with the supply. We are sure no Pro gressive Farmer readers have ever thought se riously of this Fort Gaines folly. Nor is there any reason for urging ginners to discontinue making reports to the Government. It was the ginners' report which sent cotton up to seventeen cents; let us not now complain too bitterly if it seems against us this year. Next fall it may turn the tide in our favor when bear ish overestimates would otherwise depress the price. Sometimes the truth may hurt us, some times it may help; but in the long run truth helps every honest industry and the ginners' reports, year in and year out, will be nearer truth than the speculators' reports. With the present heavy crop and the unorgan ized condition of the growers, it will probably not be practicable to force prices back quite to the ten cent mark. But farmers have only to stand firm for ninety days longer, and then con vince the world that there is to be a reduction in acreage, in order to command a living price for all the surplus cotton now in their handss. APROPOS OF THE NEW YEAR. It was Montaigne was it not? who said: "I have gathered a posy of other men's flowers, and only the thread that binds them is mine own." So it must be said of our New Year editorial : we have gathered a few selections from writers who have expressed our own thought with more force and beauty than we can command, and these se lections we commend to our readers. First of all, as to our New Year resolutions. They are worth while. Even if we fail in some measure, it is something to have aspired to better things. Yet if we fail too miserably, we may de spair and resign ourselves to the Slough and Despond. The wisest word that has been said on this subject as on many other subjects comes from my Lord Bacon, and this is his language: "He that seeketh victory over his nature, let him not set himself too great nor too small tasks ; for the first will make him dejected by often fail ing, and the second will make him a small pro- ceeder, though by often prevailings Where nature is mighty, and therefore the victory hard, the degrees had need be, first to stay and arrest nature in time (like to him who would say over the alphabet when angry) : then to go , less in quantity (as if one should, in forbearing wine, come from drinking healths to a draught at a meal); and, lastly, to discontinue altogether. But if a man have the fortitude and resolution to en franchise himself at once, that is the best." In our "Thought for the Week" in this issue, Emerson pays a high tribute to cheerfulness. "The joy of the spirit indicates its strength," he says and very correctly. Cheerfulness is a form of heroism, of bravery in spite of disasters; while to surrender to one's morbid and melancholy tendencies is a form of cowardice. Then, too, cheerfulness is a form of Christianity, a recogni tion of the fact that "God's in His heaven and all's right with the world" who that believes in a good God who overrules all things can ever be a pessimist ? We make these observations because our next selection is a New Year's plea in behalf of cheerfulness as found in one of our ex changes a year ago: "Just what particular step is most needed each one must determine for him or herself. Probably ninety-nine out of every one hundred of us 'boys and girls grown .tall' need most to brace up and strengthen the round of cheerfulness, and I ques tion if there are many of you who can make a resolve that will do more to develop and strength en your higher nature than an earnest one to be cheerful even when things go wrong for from its roots is sure to spring thoughtfulness of others, and hope, and courage." And just as cheerfulness is a virtue, so is thrift. The ability to save, to lay aside for future wants, always implies foresight, self control and regard for others : it makes for honesty and contentment. Listen then to- this advice of Col. J. B. Kjllibrew in the January Southern Farm Magazine: "At the beginning of the present year let every farmer resolve to save at least a small percentage of his income for investment or for pressing necessities. It so oftens happens that when the farmer receives a large sum of money from the sale of his crops, as cotton, tobacco or wheat, that he and his family at once enter upon a career of extravagance and unwise expenditure. Soon they find their little horde wasted, and, what is still worse, habits are formed that make it much hard er to practice economy in the future. If the rule were once established in the home of the Ameri can farmer, as it is in almost every German home, that a part of the income should be saved for the exigencies of a 'rainy day,' it would soon be a source of the greatest pleasure to the family and lead them into the ways of contentment, thrift, peace and affluence." And the very last o four "posy of flowers," our group of selections, is this from the Saturday Evening Post: perhaps it is the one of widest application and the one that we may most fit tingly let ring in our ears as the conclusion of this New Year sermon: "There are other debts, too, that it would be wise to pay on this first day of the year. The folk who have helped us on the way, who are not to be reached with money, do we owe them noth ing? You think every day that your wife is the kindest of women, the nearest right of any hu man soul. Do you tell her so ? There is a piti ful story of an old ' woman in New England dying in the arms of her son, himself a gray haired man. 'You've been a good mother to me!' he cried. She turned and looked at him. 'Oh, John, why did you never say it before?' she said. Our Puritan and Scotch blood has made us stingy of praise and kindness, of the little words that help our neighbor on his way. This is a good time to count up such debts." THE TOBACCO TRUST UNDER FIRE. President Roosevelt has ordered a special in vestigation of the policies and methods of the American Tobacco Company, commonly known as the tobacco trust, and for this purpose be has appointed Mr. A. E. Garner, of Springfield, Tenn., a special assistant attorney-general. This, it seems to us, is the supreme opportun ity of our tobacco growers associations. Let these clubs and their officials to demand that the investigation be thorough and searching. Let them meet as early as possible and lay out a definite program for this purpose. If the move ment has the hearty support of the growers, the investigation may mean much. Without their co-operation, it will certainly fail utterly. We note with some surprise that the investiga tion as now planned would only embrace the burley and dark . tobacco districts of Kentucky and Tennessee. It should certainly include the Bright Belt of North Carolina and adjoining States, and The Progressive Farmer will be glad to join our tobacco farmers in urging this ex tension of scope upon the Administration. Attorney-General Moody has decided that tfil? guessing contests by which so many trashy news papers have built up large circulations not on merit, but by appealing to the gambling instincts of the credulous are virtually lotteries and there fore unlawful. This decision will be gratifying to the great body of reputable newspapers which have not cared to get patronage by gambling de vices. We are glad to know that the Attorney General's ruling will be rigidly enforced by the Postoffice Department. A THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK. And the best part of health is fine disposition. It is more essential than talent even in the works of talent. Nothing will supply the want of sunshine to peaches, and to make knowledge val uable, you must have cheerfulness of wisdom. The joy of the spirit indicates its strength. All healthy things are sweet-tempered. From Emer- son's "Considerations by the Way."