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This Day in Georgia Civil War History

February 04, 1864

Athens Meeting on Prices and Essentials

The Southern Banner of Athens printed an article on a meeting designed to try and find a way to alleviate the high prices and shortages of essentials that was plaguing many places in the South due to the Northern blockade and Southern speculators.

The High Price of Provisions–the Meeting Next Saturday. The prices of provisions have reached such exorbitant rates, and at the same time are so scarce, that it is almost an impossibility of men of moderate means to procure enough to live on. This scarcity, however, is more seeming than real. Several reasons might be given for the small amount in market. There are some men in the country utterly devoid of humanity and patriotism, holding their surplus back, in order that they may filch the last dime out of their suffering and needy fellows, and boastingly assert that their corn is not for sale until a fabulous price is attained. Appeals to this class are useless, and do no good. They are joined to their idols–let them alone. But another class give as a reason the difficulty of getting their produce to market. Ask them about corn, and they tell you they have not time, or else have nothing with which to haul it to town. Still another class, more independent, are deterred from doing an act of humanity as well as duty, from the fear of having the opprobrious epithet of extortioner applied to them. While this may appear a silly excuse, nevertheless, it does operate on the minds of some men. From all these causes there is a distressing scarcity. Besides, articles, when brought to market frequently pass through the hands of a half dozen hucksterers, before they reach the consumer. All these things combined, make it exceedingly hard upon consumers, a large number of whom are laborrs [sic] and mechanics. A public meeting has been called next Saturday, for the purpose of taking into consideration the propriety of forming a joint stock company, and establishing a store, where provisions may be kept on hand, to be sold at cost and expenses.–This we think is a good idea. Provisions are yet plentiful in the land, and through the agency proposed, we think can be bought up. Let all our citizens interested attend. Nine-tenths of our population are [torn page] subscribe [torn page] man, honest [torn page] accumulate enough [torn] A general provision [torn page] the effect of arresting to [torn page] further advance of provi-[torn page] and at the same time relieve the people from the grasp of the extortioner, and from the power of the unpatriotic farmer who holds his corn back until the price is beyond the reach of the consumer. We repeat, let all interested attend the meeting on Saturday, and subscribe liberally, and desirable results will accrue.