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sation. Doubtless, to this pleasing scene calculated to improve the comforts of there were some exceptions; doubtless the slave, and ensure to him the blessthe lash was a dangerous implement ings of marriage, home, and the to trust in the hand of hard-hearted acquisition of property. Provision Christians; doubtless the character might have been made for
slave of the master in a great degree affected being entitled to purchase his freethe prosperity of his subjects, and the dom from his master, as soon as he cruel and the unfeeling had ample had amassed his own value, which, at means of wreaking their vengeance on
the current price of from sixty to a helpless race. But these instances eighty pounds, might have been genewere the exception, not the rule. In rally done by industrious men in three the great majority of cases, the negroes years, and that all should have two on the estates were in such easy and days in the week to work for them, affluent circumstances, as to be hardly selves. In this way, those only would credible but on the most uniform and have been liberated from the restraints concurring testimony. They had of servitude who had afforded a congenerally two days a-week, besides vincing proof that they had acquired Sunday, during which they were at those of civilisation ; full justice liberty to work in their gardens, or at would have been done to the planters, wages on their own account; and so by the receipt, in every instance, of prolific were the powers of nature in the full market value of the slave; ihat benignant climate, and such the the negro population would have been reward of industry and good conduct, gradually mingled with a free black that after being provided, themselves race, capable of teaching them by and their families, better than any their example, and influencing them peasantry in Europe, they could lay by by their habits; and the vast transi. with ease thirty pounds a-year. Their tion from savage to civilized life, from cottages were generally comfortable, compulsory to voluntary labour, would often elegant; artificial wants, civilized have been accomplished, as it was in vanities, were making rapid progress Europe, and some parts of southern amongst them; and the cheering America, so gradually as to be at spectacle of forty thousand negroes once imperceptible and unattended in Jamaica alone, who had worked out with danger. or obtained their own freedom, and Instead of this, what have the Bri. were prosecuting with respectability tish government, acting from first to and success the paths of honest in- last under the dictation of the masses, dustry, proved that the sable race was actually done? Their conduct may capable, in the end, of bearing emanci- be reduced to three heads, which compation; and that, by permitting time prise the principal points of colonial to work out the great social change misgovernment, and, more than the from bondage to freedom, with its rashness of Lord Normanby or the preusual slow pace and unerring wisdom, judice of Sir Lionel Smith, have been it might be effected, as in modern the cause of the present disastrous state Europe, in so gradual a manner as to of those once magnificent settlements. render it impossible to say when the The first thing which they did, one ceased and the other began. above forty years ago, was, to lay a
In these circumstances, the course duty of thirty shillings a-hundredwhich a wise and paternal govern- weight on sugar imported into this ment, in justice alike to the negroes, country, which was subsequently rethe planters, and the empire, should duced to twenty-seven, and within have done, was clearly this: They these few years to twenty-four. A should have lowered to a very mode. grosser instance of fiscal oppression, rate amount the duties on colonial it may safely be said, never occurred, produce, considering the sugar of than in the imposition of so enormous Jamaica as just as much a part of the a burden on an article of rude prodomestic produce of the empire as the duce. In such a case, as it is well wheat of Middlesex ; they should known, the producer cannot compenhave cautiously abstained from every sate the burden by superior skill or thing calculated to excite the negro machinery in the production - little population, or precipitate or endanger can be gained by that expedient in the vast change from servitude to any department of field labour, as is independence, and limited themselves clearly proved by the inability of the to such moderate measures as were
British farmer, with all the advanta ge!
of English skill, capital, and machinery, more is requisite to explain thể almost to rival the Polish, who is totally des- total ruin which has fallen on these titute of any of these advantages. The splendid colonies, even before the last tax, therefore, required to be paid measure of emancipating the slaves either by the producer or the consu- was carried into effect. mer, and it is now clearly proved that In all fiscal measures on this subalmost the whole of it fell on the pro- ject, there is one principle to be conducers. The burden formerly of 30s., stantly kept in view, to the neglect or then 27s., and now of 24s. the hundred- oversight of which, more than any weight on West India sugar, was little thing else, the ruin of the West Indies felt during the war, when that article is to be ascribed. This is, that while sold for forty or forty-five pounds the many branches of manufacturing inhogshead (from L.6 to 1.6, 10s. the dustry possess the means, by improvecwt.); but when, on the return of ments in machinery or the division peace, prices fell to L.12 or L.15 the of labour, of compensating very hogshead (from 50s. to 60s. the cwt. heavy fiscal burdens, the raisers of including duty), it became intolerably rude produce can hardly ever do the severe. It then became nearly a hun same; so that, unless they can succeed dred per cent on the rude material; in laying the tax upon the consumer, the same as if a duty of fifty shillings which is very often altogether bea quarter had been laid on wheat yond their power, they are forced to raised in England for the home con. pay it entirely themselves, and it be sumption. Nor had either the planter comes a ruinous direct burden on inor the refiner the means of eluding dustry. No doubt can exist on this this tax to any considerable degree, head, when it is recollected not merely by either raising the price of the ar- how slight is the improvement which ticle to the consumer, or diminishing agriculture has ever received from the by economy or machinery the cost of aid of machinery; but that, while in its production : the cost of raising rude the most highly civilized states, such agricultural produce can hardly ever as England, the cost of raising manube diminished to any considerable ex- factures is always, notwithstanding tent by the application of machinery; heavy taxes and a plentiful currency, and the stoppage of the slave trade, less than in ruder states, it is always necessarily, in the first instance at much greater of producing agricultu. least, increased the cost of production, ral produce. Great Britain can unwhile the only way in which it seemed dersell the world in manufactures, but possible to render the burden tolerable, her farmers would be ruined without was by augmenting the quantity raised, a corn law. If any one doubt that which necessarily depressed to an un- this enormous tax has, for the last due extent the price which it bore in twenty years past, fallen almost exthe market. Being unable to diminish clusively on the producers, the cost of production from these would recommend that he should causes, all the efforts of the planters propose that a tax of fifty shillings a to make head against their difficulties, quarter should be forthwith laid on and defray the interest of their mort- British wheat, and thirty on British gages by raising more extensive crops oats. If such a burden were imposed, of sugar, only tended to lower prices we apprehend it would give little comand throw the taxes as an exclusive fort to the British farmer to tell him, burden on themselves. The proof of that he could not be injured by the this is decisive: the price of sugar in tax, for that it all fell on the consumer ! America is generally higher than in Now, this is exactly what we have England, if the duty be deducted, done for the last forty years with the sometimes by fully a third. In 1831, West India proprietors; and no one the price per cwt. was, in Great Bri- can wonder, after such a crushing tain, 233. 8d., excluding duty; while direct tax on production, that they in America it was 36s. per cwt. in the have, after a severe struggle, almost same year. Taking into view the all become deeply embarrassed, and greater expense of freight to Britain that creditors and mortgagees consume than America from these islands, there in every case a half, in many the whole, can be no doubt that almost the whole produce of the soil. tax has been paid in many years by The next step of British legislation the producers, amounting though it was to pass the Emancipation Act in now does to 100 per cent. Nothing 1834, by which, in colisideration of
L.20,000,000 paid down to the plant little more than a third, of their worth, ers, the whole slaves were uncondi. A good slave, in 1834, cost from seven. tionally emancipated in five years. ty to ninety pounds ; and, even inclu. Much has been said of the extraordi, ding women and children, it was Dary liberality of this grant, and the esteemed a good bargain to get a munificence of Parliament and the hundred slaves for L.6000. It is gopation which made such a sacrifice in ing to the very outside to say, that the the cause of humanity. Admitting Government compensation was a half that the concession of so large a sum
of the value of the slaves : in most in name of compensation, was a mag- instances it was not a third. Danimous act ou the part of the Im- But what was the effect of this hasty perial Parliament, which goes far to measure of emancipation on the ave. redeem the violent and disastrous na. rage working of the negroes, and the ture of the step which they took, still produce of the estates after the apprennothing can be more certain than that tice system was introduced ? Here it was very far indeed from affording we have authentic grounds to go upon. indemnity to the proprietors, whose It appears, from the Lords' Report, property was thereby taken away or 1838, No. 70, that the working of the rendered useless. The number of first three years of the apprentice sys. slaves emancipated was about 800,000; tem has reduced the whole staple proand the sum paid being L.20,000,000, duce of the island of Jamaica fully a the value paid overhead for the slaves third, although the seasons were un. was just twenty-five pounds a-head, commonly fine. The numbers stood This was certainly not half, in truth thus :
The Returns for 1837 and 1838 emancipation of its negroes, produced have not yet been laid before Parlia- 700,000,000 pounds of sugar, being ment; but there can be no doubt that more than all the rest of the world put they will exhibit a decrease still more together : now it imports that article rapid—indeed, we understand the crop of produce !-- Hear Napoleon on this of Jamaica for 1838 was barely 40,000 subject: “ Had any of your philoso, bogsheads, and that in 1839 it will phic Liberals come out to Egypt to Dot be 10,000. In short, the agricul: proclaim liberty to the blacks or the tural produce of the island is totally Arabs, I would have hung him up to the disappearing; the negroes, in the great mast-head. In the West Indies simi. majority of instances, either will not lar enthusiasts have delivered over the work at all for any wages, or are so whites to the ferocity of the blacks, extravagantin their demand for wages, and yet they complain of the victims and so irregular and inconstant in their of such madness being discontented. habits, as to render it altogether im- How is it possible to give liberty to possible to continue the cultivation of Africans, when they are destitute of sugar or coffee with any prospect of a any species of civilisation, and ignoprofit. Unless some other race can rant even of what a colony or a mother be introduced, who will supply their country is? Do you suppose, that place by free labour, and they peace had they been aware of what they ably retire to the mountains in the in- were doing, they would have given terior, there to squat and lead a life of liberty to the blacks ? Certainly not: savage indolence and penury, nothing but few persons at that time were suf. is more certain than that in five years ficiently far-sighted to foresee the re. the cultivation of sugar in the West sults ; and feelings of humanity are Indies will have entirely ceased, and ever powerful with excited imagina, nine-tenths of the estates will have tions. But now, after the experience irrevocably reverted to a state of na- we have had, to maintain the same ture. Could any thing else have been principles cannot be done in good expected ? St Domingo, before the faith ; it can be the result only a
overweening self-confidence or hypo. Five centuries. Why was it never crisy." Yet the British parliament, found possible to extirpate it even urged on by the British masses, did amidst all the refinements and civilisaprecisely, with the example of St Do- tion of Greece and Rome? Why does mingo before their eyes, what the it still exist, in undiminished and undiConstituent Assembly had done, and minishing vigour, over two-thirds of a similar ruin must inevitably attend the globe ? Evidently because it is a both colonies.
necessary step in the progress of civi. Are the friends of humanity, then, lisation : because without it savage consoled by the rapid diminution of man never has worked, and never will the slave trade, and the general ame- work; because without its coercion lioration of the African race, for the the human race would be chained for fatal blow thus struck at the West ever to the hunter or shepherd state ; India colonies, and the evident ap. because, but for the slavery of our proaching extinction of a trade, which, Saxon progenitors, we would now before it was destroyed, employed have been wandering in the woods ; 240,000 tons of British shipping, and because, whatever evils may be attendtook off L.3,800,000 worth of British ant on servitude, and they are many manufactures ? Alas! here the pro- and grievous, they are trivial in comspect is still darker; and the evident parison of the universal and widedegradation and loss of their indus- spread penury, the total stoppage of trious habits, under the premature and the advance and prospects of the hublasting gift of freedom, and their ra- man race, which instantly follows the pid relapse into the indolence and cursing of uncivilized man with the insouciance of savage life, speak in a nominal blessings, but the real destituvoice of thunder the irreparable ruin tion, of freedom. To men in the stage we have inflicted on the once-flourish- of advance which the African negroes ing negro race in our West India co. exhibit, liberty is the same thing as it lonies. Every arrival from those fatal would be to a herd of cattle or a troop settlements brings the same woful ac- of camels—the signal for the immedicounts of fields neglected, canes rot- ate abandonment of the restraints and ting, indolent negroes spending whole the enjoyments of domestic life, and weeks in idleness, or casually working resumption of the want, the penury, a few hours a-day, as caprice or some and independence of the prairie or the passing wish prompts them, and then desert. relapsing into their pristine lazy and Does the cessation of the slave savage habits. It would fill a volume trade over the globe, the evident to quote any considerable number of amelioration of the African race, and these reports: they are all of the same the stoppage of the unutterable hor. character, and their results will be rors of the middle passage, console soon proclaimed in statistical returns, the friends of humanity for this disshowing the rapid decline of the agri- appointment of all their hopes, and cultural produce of the whole islands, blasting of their expectations on the which will at once silence misrepre- other side of the Atlantic? Alas! sentation and defy reply.
here the prospect is even more No other result could possibly have gloomy than on the sunny slopes been anticipated from a measure which, of Jamaica, now choked with weeds, however well intended, was founded or the rich marshes of Guiana, fast on such absurd and delusive principles relapsing into jungle. The slave as the Slave Emancipation Act. The trade has been DOUBLED IN EXTENT principle on which it proceeded was, AND QUADRUPLED IN HORRORS throughthat five years were sufficient to clothe out the globe, by the monstrous act; the slave with the habits and desires and the sufferings of the African race, of a freeman, and render the transi- under European cupidity, is now intion from servitude to liberty safe and comparably greater than when the salutary: it may safely be affirmed philanthropy of Wilberforce and that five hundred years would have Clarkson first interfered for their rebeen little enough for the momentous lief. The rapid decline in the agrichange. . How long did it take to cultural produce of the British West wear out slavery in the British islands? India islands, has given an impulse to
* THIBAUDEAU, Conscil d'Eta: 117, 121.
the foreign slave colonies which is to the anguish inseparable from a state almost incredible; and augmented to of captivity, they are made to endure, an extent which it is piteous to think for weeks together, the horrors of the of, both the number of blacks who are black-hole of Calcutta. Nearly two annually torn from their homes and hundred thousand captives, chained their children in Africa, and the bar- together in this frightful manner, now barity with which they are treated in annually cross the Atlantic; and they their passage to the American shores.
are brought, not to the comparatively Twelve years ago, the only exports easy life of the British West India of Puerto-Rico were cattle and coffee, Islands, but to the desperate servitude and the only sugar she received was of Cuba or Brazil ; in the latter of from importation. In 1833 she ex- which several hundred negroes are ported 33,750 tons—more than a sixth worked, like animals, in droves togeof the whole British consumption. ther, without a single female among The export of sugar from Cuba was, them, and without any attempt to peron an average of 1814, 1815, and petuate their race; they are worn down 1816, 51,000 tons ; in 1833 it had by their cruel taskmasters to the grave risen to 120,000 tons. In 1814, 1815, by a lingering process, which on an and 1816, the average exports of sugar average terminates their existence in from Brazil was 26,250 tons; iņ 1833, seven years !”+ though a bad year, the exports were What does Mr Buxton, a most un70,970 tons. The increase, since the exceptionable authority on this point, Emancipation Act passed, has been still say to the amount of this fortuitous greater-but no official accounts of increase of the foreign slave trade these years have yet been made pub- of late years ? “ Twenty years ago, lic. *
the African Institution reported to the As might well have been expected, Duke of Wellington, that the number this prodigious increase in the produce of slaves who annually crossed the of the foreign slave colonies, conse- Atlantic was 70,000. There is evi. quent on the progressive decline, and dence before the Parliamentary Com. at length the almost total stoppage, of mittees to show, that about one-third industry in the British settlements, was for the British islands, one-third under the influence of fiscal oppres. for St Domingo; so that, if the slave sion and emancipation madness, has trade of other countries had been been obtained only by a vast increase stationary, they ought only to import in the importation of the African 25,000; whereas, the number landed race, and a terrific addition to the in Cuba and Brazil alone is 150,000 sum of human suffering.. The rais- annually ; being more than double the ing of sugar, by the stationary, do- whole draft on Africa, including the mestic, half civilized English serf, who countries where it had ceased, when had ascended a few steps on the ladder the slave trade controversy began. of freedom, having ceased, or evident
Twice as many human beings are now ly approaching cessation, the void its victims as when Wilberforce and has been supplied by an extraordinary Clarkson entered on their noble task ; multiplication of African savages, and each individual of this increased who are now treated and worked with number, in addition to the horrors a severity, compared to which, the which were endured in former times, condition of our domesticated slaves has to suffer from being cribbed up in was Paradise.- -" Great and deplor- a narrower space, and on board a vesable as were the sufferings of the cap- sel where accommodation is sacrificed tives in crossing the Atlantic, in the to speed. Painful as this is, it belarge and capacious Liverpool slave- comes still more distressing if it shall ships, they are as nothing compared appear that our present system has not to those which have since been, and are failed by mischance, or want of enerstill, endured by the negroes in the gy, or want of expenditure ; but that hands of the Spanish and Portuguese the system itself is erroneous, and traders, where several hundred wretch- must necessarily end in disappointes are stowed between decks in a space ment." † not three feet high; and in addition The remedy which Mr Buxton and
See Parl. Report on the Commercial State of the West Indies, p. 286.