Mr. Page's address before the Finance Club last evening was one of great interest. The speaker's style was familiar and entertaining, and the manner in which he handled his subject showed that he had made a thorough study of it. The Southern States east of the Mississippi were compared to the Northern States east of the Alleghanys, especially with New England, in regard to area, population and industrial progress. Virginia, thanks to slavery, is fifty years behind Massachusetts.
The industrial problem was first discussed. Agriculture is too much in the hands of large land-holders. Mr. Page described the character and manner of living of the farming population of North Carolina, and kept the audience in continual good humor with his apt word pictures. "No other people in the world," he said, "have developed so far the art of resting." Manufactures are rapidly increasing in importance, especially those of cotton, iron, steel and lumber. In North Carolina alone there are 40,000 square miles of forest as yet untouched. This amount is exceeded in Florida and Georgia, and equalled in Alabama and Mississippi.
The negro problem is the other great problem. There are three classes of negroes: 1 - The educated and ambitious; 2 - The inhabitants of the upland States, who are intelligent and industrious; 3 - Those in the lowland States, like Mississippi, who are but three generations removed from a savage ancestry, and are half savage themselves. The upland negroes are as far superior to the negroes of the lowlands or "black belt" as we are to our barbarous Anglo-Saxon ancestors. Among the former the negro problem is solving itself. Amalgamation is not, as yet, an important factor in the problem.
The speaker referred in closing to the great openings for Northern enterprise and capital in the Southern States.