But, is that that sterile fact alone a true indicator of what would have happened if South Carolina had been successful in their secession, and Charleston had become the port of entry for goods shipped to the southern states from Europe, instead of New York and Boston?
1. The fact that the Customs house was begun in 1850 indicates that the United States customs officials in 1850, foresaw a need.
Why was there a need to build a custom house in Charleston? Obviously the decision to build such a customs house was political anyway. Couldn't New York and Boston not continue handle the need? I am sure they could and would have been happy to do so. But the southern people wanted direct trade with Europe didn't they? Do you think that New York and Boston officials welcomed a new customs port of entry compeating against their business?
2. Between 1850 and 1860, the fact that the Customs house was not finish, does that indicate a lack of need, a lack of money, or political opposition to finish it? If the Custom house was not finished and in full operation, then how much would you expect it to be used?
3. Obviously a Customs house would not have been used very much between 1860 and 1865 by the U.S. Treasury Department with the U.S. navy blockading Charleston Harbor? How much Revenue would have been collected from Blockade runners into Charleston Harbor by a U.S. Custom house there?
4. Between 1865 and 1870 would you believe that other things were more important to rebuild in South Carolina during reconstrustion than a customs house? Would you think that Northern business interest would be interested in re-establishing this Custom house in Charleston during reconstrustion?
5. Lastly the United States Treasury Dept. did a "land office" business out of Temporary Customs House that they set up in the South during the war to ship and sell contriband cotton to Europe to paid for the war. Some of these customs houses were not on ports of entry like Charleston and Boston or New York, they were in places like Helena, Arkansas and Memphis, Tennessee.
Matamoro, Mexico was quite busy during the war, for some reason. All of this was "business" that did not go through the "normal" ports of entry. Had the south seceeded and been an independent country, that revenue would certainly have been lost to the U.S. Treasury, would it not?
Let alone the northern business interest that would have been shipping those goods entering the U.S, from Europe, to the south. That was a pretty good racket that the Northern businessmen had that the only ports of entry were in the North. AND THAT was one of the problems for the Southern businessmen is that everything that they bought, one way or the other, HAD to come from the North.