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belong, finds its way into the public coffers. The colonial proprietors, therefore, expending between 4,000,0001. and 5,000,0001. a-year in this country, contribute upwards of 1,000,0001. a-year to the national revenue, exclusively of the duties levied on the import of their commodity.
So much for the expenditure of the West Indians in the mothercountry. One word upon their expenditure in the colonies. The commodities consumed by the inhabitants of the West Indies are almost wholly British. The value of these exports is between 4,000,0001. and 5,000,000l. sterling per annum. If the means of purchase which they now derive from their staple business, the production of sugar, were transferred to a population of Hindoos, the export of British commodities would be reduced almost to nothing. The customs of that very peculiar race, and the laws of their faith, are insuperable obstacles to any great increase in the diffusion of English fashions or fabrics. Now, as Mr. Macdonnell observes, it is upon habits, customs, and fashions that commerce depends; and while a colony is always disposed to imitate those of the parent state, even in very minute particulars, an aboriginal population feels some pride in rejecting them for its own. By the West Indians• every article that can be made in England is imported from Eng. land. The steam-engines, the mills, coppers, stills and worms, pots, coals, bricks and lime, hoes, shovels, and tools of every description, hoops and nails, and clothing, as a distinguished statesman once observed, from the crown of the head to the soles of the feet, all these are brought from England, and diffuse activity throughout every town of the empire.'-pp. 177, 178.
If the sugar-growth of the West Indies were transferred to the East, even the export of machinery and its component parts would cease ; for the very basis of the East Indian project is, that what the Jamaican does by machinery, the Hindoo will effect by manual labour.
It is in vain, under such circumstances, to urge the greater numerical amount of the Eastern population ; for one million of persons who take our manufactures to the value of almost 5,000,000l. sterling a-year, are better customers than one hundred millions who will absorb but 2,000,0001, sterling. Justly, therefore, is it said by the acute writer before quoted,
Suppose a British artisan at present purchases 10d. worth of sugar, he may safely affirm that, of the elements of this cost, a large portion is the fruits of his labour; it has supplied earnings, at some former period, to him and his family. Might it not be prudent for him to reflect well upon this circumstance, before he yields to the delusion attempted to be practised on him in regard to cheapness,
and clamours for sugar produced in another quarter, and in a manner quite different ?'—Macdonnell, p. 117, 8.
The last, and perhaps the most important of all the considerations that affect the comparison between the resources of the East and the West, is this that if, after fair experiment in the West, free labour, to the requisite extent, shall have been found unattain. able there, and the colonial establishments of England shall thus eventually fail her, the means of production in the East will even then be just as available as if put in requisition at the present moment. But the converse is far from being true; for if, abandoning the capital embarked in the West, you apply your resources to the encouragement of sugar-cultivation in the East, and the harvest there disappoint you, in average quantity, in average price, or in certainty of time, then a return to West Indian production is impossible. The West Indian manufacture, unlike that of the East Indies, is carried on with a vast amount of plaut, machinery, and other fixed capital, which, on the departure of the trade, will have been broken up; and when, after your failure in the East, you revert to your West Indian colonist for a renewal of his commerce, you will find his estates dismantled, and the sources of his production choked. His negroes, freed by the recent law, and held together by no inducement of adequate wages or reward, will then have been scattered idly and wildly over the land ; and the entire colonial mass will have become as a decomposed body, which you will strive in vain to reanimate with the spirit of industry. Thus your views are frustrated-your supplies are dried up—and the vacuum which your deficiency has left in the sugar-market, is filled, if at all, by the produce of your slave-trading neighbours. .
England, therefore, is admonished by every consideration, that, instead of hazarding her resources to start a new trade, she should direct her efforts to maintain the old one, which is just ebbing below the profit mark, and, if not bavked up, will leave its channel dry, and the capital embarked on it aground. If she suffer that to happen, she will have lost incalculably more than all which could ever be gained from the fullest realization of her oriental visions.
But whatever may be thought of the comparative capabilities of the Eastern and of the Western Indies, it seems to us to be somewhat extraordinary that any favour should attach at this day to a proposal for equalizing the duties on their sugars. If we are right in the conclusion which we have drawn, and for which we have vouched Mr. Huskisson's authority, that the cost of producing sugar in the East must exceed (by several shillings per cwt. beyond the difference of duty) the cost of producing sugar in the
West, then the equalization of the duty can have no effect in lowering the general price to the English consumer-since the East Indian produce must still be sold the dearer of the two. If, on the other hand, it should be thought that we have taken an erroneous view, and that the East Indian could really, if relieved from the extra duty of 8s., sell his sugar in England cheaper than the West Indian sugar could be sold here, then the peculiarities of the condition in which the black population of the West Indian. Colonies are placed would seem to be a sufficient reason against calling a new labour into competition with theirs-especially at a crisis like the present. Nor does this part of the argument confine itself to the sole consideration of the negro's welfare. In aid of his claim we bring also to bear,—and it is not a little satisfactory to find them at length coinciding,—the claim of the West Indian proprietor,—the specialty and strength of whose case, as between him and his East Indian rival, will be found in this, that, under the Navigation Acts, the West Indians, as we have already intimated, are subjected to a series of commercial restrictions, from which the East Indians are exempt.
The following statements are condensed from the evidence laid before the Board of Trade in 1830:Of codfish, a main article in the negro's food, the total
quantity annually consumed in the West Indian colonies, appears to be 348,449 quintals; and the loss sustained by the obligation which the law imposes of importing this fish from Newfoundland, rather than from a cheaper market, such as that of New York, amounts, in prices, to . . . . . .
£53,312 And in freight, to .
£22,232 Of herrings and other fish, the consumption appears to
be 137,337 barrels; and the loss in price sustained by the obligation to import them from England, rather
than from a cheaper market, is 10s. per barrel, or . £65,665 On staves, lumber, shingles, hoops, flour, and rice, the loss
sustained by the obligation to import from the British North American provinces, rather than from the cheaper market of the United States, amounts, in prices, to . £86,677
in freights, to . . £94,801 and in other miscellaneous charges, specified by the
evidence, to . . . . . . . . £187,576 On imported manufactures, and exported produce, the loss
sustained by the exclusion of the Colonist, for the sake of the Mother Country, from the cheaper markets specified in the evidence, particularly the United States, amounts, in prices, to
£372,575 and in freights, to
£513,824 Total . £1,399,665
Brought forward . Total £1,399,665 From this amount is to be deducted a sum received by
certain colonies for purposes of local government, in consequence of the modern alterations in the colonial policy of the mother country. . . . . £7,312
And the balance of loss to the Colonies is . . .£1,392,353
Of this loss, 291,3531., are borne by run, coffee, cotton, and other miscellaneous articles; and sugar bears the whole of the remainder, being 1,101,000l. sterling. In the year to which these accounts relate, the number of tons of West Indian sugar imported was 198,619, being six or seven thousand less than the now computed total of 205,000; and thus, in that year, the loss per cwt. was calculated at 58. 64d. On the larger amount of supplies required to produce the additional six or seven thousand tons, the loss, of course, would be nearly, though not quite, in the same proportion. Some slight alterations in the regulation of colonial intercourse have been made since that evidence was taken ; but they can have caused no material difference in the amount of the charge. We take, therefore, 5s. 6d. per cwt. to be the loss on these restrictions, 'none of which are applicable to East Indian sugar.'. The only compensation to the West Indians, for this positive loss, is a difference of 8s. per cwt. less in the duty. The difference has been fixed at 88., partly in respect of the 5s. 6d. for the restriction, which the West Indians bear while the East Indians do not; and partly in respect of the superior quality of the East Indian sugar, derived from the double boiling which it has undergone before its embarkation. From that part of the charge which respects the superiority of quality, amounting to 2s. 6d. of the 8s., there seems no ground for relieving the East Indian while the superiority continues ; and if the remainder of the 88. is to be taken off, it can justly be done only on condition of a removal of the equivalent restrictions on the West Indian trade. The West Indian colonists are entitled to say, “If the exactions are to be equal, let the immunities be equal too. If we are to fare no better than our rivals as to the rate of impost, let us fare no worse as to the cost of manufacture. If the Eastern produce is to be free from all countervailing taxation, let not the general national bounty, on the North American and other commerce, be thrown wholly upon the industry of the West. Those who come to market at equal duties should come also on equal terms. As often, therefore, as you take a shilling in duty from East Indian sugar, you are bound in common justice to take off a shilling in restrictions upon West Indian intercourse.”
This protection, then, is one which, even on a ground of justice
to the planter, independently of any sympathy with the negro, no government can deny, if it assume that East Indian sugar would be able, were the duties equalized, to compete in price with the sugar of the West. But we mean to put the proposition much more broadly. Avowing, as we fairly do, the belief that it is not the cheapness of East Indian produce which, even at equal duties, the West Indian sugar has to fear, we state it as our conviction that, at all events,—and without entering into any relative questions as to East Indian or other competing produce,-the removal of these restrictions on the West Indian manufacture is absolutely indispensable, to afford any chance of escape for the planters or of amelioration for the negroes. It is by this relief alone that the rise of prices, inevitably consequent on the emancipation of the labourers, can be prevented from reaching a point, at which the English consumers would become impatient, and demand the admission of slave-grown sugars. Such a relief may, indeed, retard a little the growth of our North American colonies, by diminishing their present trade of supply to the West Indies; but without such a relief the West Indies will speedily be reduced to a state in which they will take no supplies at all, either from Canada and Nova Scotia or from any other quarter; and, at any rate, we are aware of no principle which would require Great Britain to continue a bounty to one rising set of colonies, at the risk of wholly sinking another, and of rendering utterly fruitless all the efforts of humanity for the African races, and all the vast expenditures which those efforts have involved.
Nor can the West Indian now be told as heretofore, that a reduction of 5s. 6d. in his expenses will afford him no substantial benefit. So long as a part of his produce constituted a surplus, and was obliged to seek its market on the continent, it was undoubtedly true that no such relief could materially have assisted him, because the sales on the continent and in England had necessarily one common level, and the low prices to which the slavetrade was always depressing the produce sold abroad kept low prices likewise here. But now, when the contracted production of the colonies will leave no surplus at all for exportation to the continent, the continental and the British prices, having no longer any intercommunication, will cease to level themselves together. And, in consequence, the British planter will now derive in the British market-and be able to impart to the British consumerthe real benefit of any remission.
While colonies were cultivated only by slaves, there was a strong conscientious objection to any policy, which, by relieving the planter, would indirectly tend to the continuation of the negro's toil : but every generous feeling which, antecedently to the Act of