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general assembly being in a great degree destroyed by the magnitude of the subordinate details thrown upon it from a particular part of the empire. But although, for these reasons, the establishment of separate local parliaments, or houses of assembly, in different colonies, is probably the only way of combining their multifarious interests and wishes with one central ruling government; yet it must ever be recollected, that the utmost delicacy is requisite in dealing with these separate and in some degree independent assemblies; and that, if the central legislature, trusting to the force of the national strength, relying on the omnipotence of the general government, requires absolute and implicit obedience in the provincial assemblies, a discontent fatal to the integrity of the empire will speedily be generated in all its colonial dependencies. The more democratic that the central parliament is the more popular the system of election in the mother state-the more indispensable it is that a corresponding spirit should be tolerated in the colonial assemblies for it is from the heart of the commonwealth that its wishes and public opinion comes, and the subjects of a democratic legislature will reasonably expect that the home parliament will concede that liberty to others which they take to themselves. It may be true that it is difficult to do this; it may be true that no rulers are so despotic in their administration-so peremptory in their demands -so tyrannical in their measures to any but their own constituents-as those who are elected under the most popular institutions; and that Aristotle's maxim still holds good, that the rule of a mob is the worst of tyran nies. All this may be perfectly true; but it will not alter the nature of things it will not remedy the internal weaknesses of a popularly governed colonial empire-it will eradicate none of the seeds of dissolution which are sown in all establishments where the interests and passions of one body of men are brought to bear directly upon the welfare of another.

The West Indies, with respect to that vital point of colonial prosperity -a constant supply of agricultural

labourers-stand in a very peculiar situation; and the magnitude of the injustice which they have experienced from the legislation of the parent state cannot be appreciated, unless the singular circumstances of their situation in that respect is taken into consideration. Devoted chiefly to the cultivation of an article of rude produce, which can be reared only in a tropical climate, and yet has become an article of necessity to most European nations, they cannot carry on its cultivation but by means of negro labourers, or others equally habituated with them to bear a tropical sun. Experience long ago proved, what recent attempts have still more clearly substantiated, that the European race is, generally speaking,* incapable of labouring in the fields in the West Indies, and that field hoeing of the canes, without which no crop of sugar could be reared, speedily proves fatal to the descendants of Japhet. Among all the varied expedients which the necessities of their situation have compelled the West India proprietors of late years to adopt, in order to supply the vacuum occasioned by the measure of negro emancipation, the obvious expedient of supplying their place by the redundant population of Ireland has never been thought of; because every body practically acquainted with the subject knew, that their transportation would be merely lost money; and that the yellow fever and marsh miasmata would speedily consign even the most robust of them to an untimely grave.

It is historically known, and matter of common notoriety, how the desideratum of finding labourers capable of cultivating sugar in the West Indies, and producing the immense addition which it was capable of affording to the national wealth, was supplied. Negro slaves were, under the authority of various royal proclamations and acts of parliament, imported from Africa into the West India islands and to such a length was this traffic carried, that not only did it for a long time occupy a considerable part of the British commercial navy, but it at length transferred above seven hundred thousand Africans to the oppo

Possibly the Maltese labourers may be able to bear the sun of the West Indies, and in some instances tried on a small scale they have succeeded; but this is the exception, not the rule.

site side of the Atlantic. There is hardly to be found another example in the whole history of the species of so considerable a removal, without the aid of increase in the new settlements, of the human race from one part of the world to another.

has ever been in other parts of the world-the necessary state between savage manners and civilized industry;

Enormous as are the evils-heartrending the sufferings-of slavery, when consequent upon the removal of mankind from their native seats, and the subjection of the blacks, for the purposes of profit, to the temporary rule of white task-masters, there was one circumstance in the condition of the negro race, when the hideous transposition was accomplished, of inestimable importance, which promised in the end to deprive slavery of its bitterest pangs, and rear up in the British West India Islands a happy, industrious, and contented people. This was-they had become STATIONARY. The pangs of separation from kindred and home were over; the horrors of the middle passage were past; they had become permanently located on fixed estates; they had acquired homes, and all the endearments and enjoyments of domestic existence. Experience has abundantly proved, that the negro race is capable, not only of maintaining its own numbers, but of rapidly augmenting, on the opposite side of the Atlantic: for the American slaves, it is well known, increase faster than the European inhabitants in the southern provinces of the Union; and one of the great dangers which threatens the transatlantic republic, is the fearful disproportion, which is every day augmenting, between the sable labouring, and the fair-haired dominant, race. When the British Government therefore, in 1807, adopted the humane, and at the same time judicious, step of putting a peremptory stop to the slave trade, they necessarily rendered the safety and welfare of the negro race an object of solicitude to the white proprietors; because the cultivation of their estates could not be maintained but by their propagation; and their numbers could not increase but under the influence of marriage, home, and domestic comfort. The promiscuous concubinage and disorderly manners consequent on their first settlement, necessarily gave way before the wants and necessities of the masters, not less than the native feelings of the slaves; and slavery became, what it

the transition state necessarily endu. ring several centuries, during which the working classes, the property of their superiors, are indebted to them for the protection and subsistence which they could never otherwise obtain ; and the habits are slowly acquired, through successive generations, necessary to enable man at length to bear generally the destitution, the excitement, and the power of freedom. So irksome is constant labour to uncivilized man-so repugnant is severe toil to the savage, in all ages, climates, and countries that it never has been overcome in any part of the world, but by the introduction and long continuance of slavery; and when the easy supply of animal wants by the chase, or the spontaneous fruit of the earth, is exhausted, the human race would every where perish or become stationary, if, before the moral chains of artificial wants were thrown around civilized, the physical restrictions of servitude were removed from savage, man.

Under the influence of these causes, the stoppage of that hideous blot on Christian civilisation, the slave trade, did all that was necessary to secure the ultimate prosperity of the negro race in the West Indies, by identifying their preservation and increase with their masters' interests, by giving them the same ever-powerful motives to protect them which they have to preserve their cattle or houses, and converting the very desire of gain, the mainspring of the original frightful traffic, into the certain bulwark of their ultimate welfare. Under the influence of these causes, the African race not only maintained their own numbers in the West India islands, but were advancing, before the disastrous era of their emancipation, with rapid strides in the career of industry, comfort, and usefulness. It is well known, that in opulence and well-being they were, in general, superior to any peasantry in Europe. Dwelling in cottages which, by a prescriptive usage, had become in a manner their own; surrounded by their gardens, their fruits, their children, they exhibited, generally speaking, a spectacle rarely witnessed in this world of care, and to which the eye of the philanthropist might turn with pleasure even from the brightest scenes of European civili

sation. Doubtless, to this pleasing scene there were some exceptions; doubtless the lash was a dangerous implement to trust in the hand of hard-hearted Christians; doubtless the character of the master in a great degree affected the prosperity of his subjects, and the cruel and the unfeeling had ample means of wreaking their vengeance on a helpless race. But these instances were the exception, not the rule. In the great majority of cases, the negroes on the estates were in such easy and affluent circumstances, as to be hardly credible but on the most uniform and concurring testimony. They had generally two days a-week, besides Sunday, during which they were at liberty to work in their gardens, or at wages on their own account; and so prolific were the powers of nature in that benignant climate, and such the reward of industry and good conduct, that after being provided, themselves and their families, better than any peasantry in Europe, they could lay by with ease thirty pounds a-year. Their cottages were generally comfortable, often elegant; artificial wants, civilized vanities, were making rapid progress amongst them; and the cheering spectacle of forty thousand negroes in Jamaica alone, who had worked out or obtained their own freedom, and were prosecuting with respectability and success the paths of honest industry, proved that the sable race was capable, in the end, of bearing emancipation; and that, by permitting time to work out the great social change from bondage to freedom, with its usual slow pace and unerring wisdom, it might be effected, as in modern Europe, in so gradual a manner as to render it impossible to say when the one ceased and the other began.

In these circumstances, the course which a wise and paternal government, in justice alike to the negroes, the planters, and the empire, should have done, was clearly this: They should have lowered to a very moderate amount the duties on colonial produce, considering the sugar of Jamaica as just as much a part of the domestic produce of the empire as the wheat of Middlesex; they should have cautiously abstained from every thing calculated to excite the negro population, or precipitate or endanger the vast change from servitude to independence, and limited themselves to such moderate measures as were

calculated to improve the comforts of the slave, and ensure to him the blessings of marriage, home, and the acquisition of property. Provision might have been made for every slave being entitled to purchase his freedom from his master, as soon as he had amassed his own value, which, at the current price of from sixty to eighty pounds, might have been generally done by industrious men in three years, and that all should have two days in the week to work for themselves. In this way, those only would have been liberated from the restraints of servitude who had afforded a convincing proof that they had acquired those of civilisation; full justice would have been done to the planters, by the receipt, in every instance, of the full market value of the slave; the negro population would have been gradually mingled with a free black race, capable of teaching them by their example, and influencing them by their habits; and the vast transition from savage to civilized life, from compulsory to voluntary labour, would have been accomplished, as it was in Europe, and some parts of southern America, so gradually as to be at once imperceptible and unattended with danger.

Instead of this, what have the British government, acting from first to last under the dictation of the masses, actually done? Their conduct may be reduced to three heads, which comprise the principal points of colonial misgovernment, and, more than the rashness of Lord Normanby or the prejudice of Sir Lionel Smith, have been the cause of the present disastrous state of those once magnificent settlements.

The first thing which they did, above forty years ago, was to lay a duty of thirty shillings a-hundredweight on sugar imported into this country, which was subsequently reduced to twenty-seven, and within these few years to twenty-four. A grosser instance of fiscal oppression, it may safely be said, never occurred, than in the imposition of so enormous a burden on an article of rude produce. In such a case, as it is well known, the producer cannot compensate the burden by superior skill or machinery in the production - little can be gained by that expedient in any department of field labour, as is clearly proved by the inability of he British farmer, with all the advantages


of English skill, capital, and machinery, to rival the Polish, who is totally destitute of any of these advantages. The tax, therefore, required to be paid either by the producer or the consumer, and it is now clearly proved that almost the whole of it fell on the producers. The burden formerly of 30s., then 27s., and now of 24s. the hundred weight on West India sugar, was little felt during the war, when that article sold for forty or forty-five pounds the hogshead (from L.6 to L.6, 10s. the ewt.); but when, on the return of peace, prices fell to L.12 or L.15 the hogshead (from 50s. to 60s. the cwt. including duty), it became intolerably severe. It then became nearly a hun dred per cent on the rude material; the same as if a duty of fifty shillings a quarter had been laid on wheat raised in England for the home con sumption. Nor had either the planter or the refiner the means of eluding this tax to any considerable degree, by either raising the price of the article to the consumer, or diminishing by economy or machinery the cost of its production: the cost of raising rude agricultural produce can hardly ever be diminished to any considerable extent by the application of machinery; and the stoppage of the slave trade, necessarily, in the first instance at least, increased the cost of production, while the only way in which it seemed possible to render the burden tolerable, was by augmenting the quantity raised, which necessarily depressed to an undue extent the price which it bore in the market. Being unable to diminish the cost of production from these causes, all the efforts of the planters to make head against their difficulties, and defray the interest of their mortgages by raising more extensive crops of sugar, only tended to lower prices and throw the taxes as an exclusive burden on themselves. The proof of this is decisive: the price of sugar in America is generally higher than in England, if the duty be deducted, sometimes by fully a third. In 1831, the price per cwt. was, in Great Britain, 23s. 8d., excluding duty; while in America it was 36s. per cwt. in the same year. Taking into view the greater expense of freight to Britain than America from these islands, there can be no doubt that almost the whole tax has been paid in many years by the producers, amounting though it now does to 100 per cent. Nothing

more is requisite to explain the almost total ruin which has fallen on these splendid colonies, even before the last measure of emancipating the slaves was carried into effect.

In all fiscal measures on this subject, there is one principle to be constantly kept in view, to the neglect or oversight of which, more than any thing else, the ruin of the West Indies is to be ascribed. This is, that while many branches of manufacturing industry possess the means, by improvements in machinery or the division of labour, of compensating very heavy fiscal burdens, the raisers of rude produce can hardly ever do the same; so that, unless they can succeed in laying the tax upon the consumer, which is very often altogether beyond their power, they are forced to pay it entirely themselves, and it becomes a ruinous direct burden on industry. No doubt can exist on this head, when it is recollected not merely how slight is the improvement which agriculture has ever received from the aid of machinery; but that, while in the most highly civilized states, such as England, the cost of raising manufactures is always, notwithstanding heavy taxes and a plentiful currency, less than in ruder states, it is always much greater of producing agricultu ral produce. Great Britain can undersell the world in manufactures, but her farmers would be ruined without a corn law. If any one doubt that this enormous tax has, for the last twenty years past, fallen almost exclusively on the producers, would recommend that he should propose that a tax of fifty shillings a quarter should be forthwith laid on British wheat, and thirty on British



If such a burden were imposed, we apprehend it would give little comfort to the British farmer to tell him, that he could not be injured by the tax, for that it all fell on the consumer ! Now, this is exactly what we have done for the last forty years with the West India proprietors; and no one can wonder, after such a crushing direct tax on production, that they have, after a severe struggle, almost all become deeply embarrassed, and that creditors and mortgagees consume in every case a half, in many the whole, produce of the soil.

The next step of British legislation was to pass the Emancipation Act in 1834, by which, in consideration of

L.20,000,000 paid down to the plant ers, the whole slaves were uncondi tionally emancipated in five years, Much has been said of the extraordi nary liberality of this grant, and the munificence of Parliament and the nation which made such a sacrifice in the cause of humanity. Admitting that the concession of so large a sum in name of compensation, was a magnanimous act on the part of the Im perial Parliament, which goes far to redeem the violent and disastrous nature of the step which they took, still nothing can be more certain than that it was very far indeed from affording indemnity to the proprietors, whose property was thereby taken away or rendered useless. The number of slaves emancipated was about 800,000; and the sum paid being L.20,000,000, the value paid overhead for the slaves was just twenty-five pounds a-head, This was certainly not half, in truth

Average produce of 7 years, ending 1832,



little more than a third, of their worth. A good slave, in 1834, cost from seven. ty to ninety pounds; and, even inclu ding women and children, it was esteemed a good bargain to get a hundred slaves for L.6000. It is going to the very outside to say, that the Government compensation was a half of the value of the slaves: in most instances it was not a third.

But what was the effect of this hasty measure of emancipation on the ave rage working of the negroes, and the produce of the estates after the apprentice system was introduced? Here we have authentic grounds to go upon. It appears, from the Lords' Report, 1838, No. 70, that the working of the first three years of the apprentice sys tem has reduced the whole staple produce of the island of Jamaica fully a third, although the seasons were un. commonly fine. The numbers stood thus:

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1835, 1836,


The Returns for 1837 and 1838 have not yet been laid before Parliament; but there can be no doubt that they will exhibit a decrease still more rapid indeed, we understand the crop of Jamaica for 1838 was barely 40,000 hogsheads, and that in 1839 it will not be 10,000. In short, the agricultural produce of the island is totally disappearing; the negroes, in the great majority of instances, either will not work at all for any wages, or are so extravagant in their demand for wages, and so irregular and inconstant in their habits, as to render it altogether impossible to continue the cultivation of sugar or coffee with any prospect of a profit. Unless some other race can be introduced, who will supply their place by free labour, and they peace ably retire to the mountains in the interior, there to squat and lead a life of savage indolence and penury, nothing is more certain than that in five years the cultivation of sugar in the West Indies will have entirely ceased, and nine-tenths of the estates will have irrevocably reverted to a state of na


Could any thing else have been expected? St Domingo, before the


10,593,018 13,446,033

emancipation of its negroes, produced 700,000,000 pounds of sugar, being more than all the rest of the world put together: now it imports that article of produce!-Hear Napoleon on this subject: "Had any of your_philoso phic Liberals come out to Egypt to proclaim liberty to the blacks or the Arabs, I would have hung him up to the mast-head. In the West Indies similar enthusiasts have delivered over the whites to the ferocity of the blacks, and yet they complain of the victims of such madness being discontented. How is it possible to give liberty to Africans, when they are destitute of any species of civilisation, and ignorant even of what a colony or a mother country is? Do you suppose, that had they been aware of what they were doing, they would have given liberty to the blacks? Certainly not: but few persons at that time were sufficiently far-sighted to foresee the results; and feelings of humanity are ever powerful with excited imagina tions. But now, after the experience we have had, to maintain the same principles cannot be done in good faith; it can be the result only o

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