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State Colored Men's Convention

1873LA-State_New-Orleans_Report__1873-11-18_excerpt-7.pdf

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Industrial

The material prosperity of the country as much concerns us as it does any white citizen, and we are under equally as strong obligations to build up the industry of the country.

I propose, gentlemen, to call the attention of this convention to certain great industrial and commerical enterprises which vitally affect not only the interests of you and I, and our children but the State of Louisiana and the States of the Mississippi valley—enterprises which we can further, and which we can not afford to ignore, I shall have something to say on this questions levees, of an outlet from the Mississippi to the Gulf, and of a revision of the treaties now existing with the West Indies and other Spanish American countries.

Why speak of these? Because they are all necessary in handling and distributing the material products or values of this and our sister States of the Mississippi valley.

We are hardly prepared at present to appreciate the magnitude of these material interests. A few statistics will aid you in forming a correct judgment of the same.

The surface drained by the Mississippi exceeds 750,000 square miles, being territory enough to make several States as large as Louisiana, besides many States not drained by this river are dependent upon it, to furnish an inlet for their tropical supplies. The population of this area is more than 16,000,000, almost half the population of the United States. In the year 1869 its food production was:

Indian corn................................650,000,000

Wheat....................................180,000,000

Rye........................................ 4,000,000

Oats......................................... 170,000,000

Barley..................................... 14,000,000

Buckwheat................................ 5,000,000

Potatoes.................................. 40,000,000

Total............................... 1,063,000,000

The animal food received in Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and New York from the West amounted in the aggregate to 1,136,502 head of cattle. There were also of hogs

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