Part 10 out of 16
I commenced my duties in August, 1834, and from the paucity of special
magistrates at that eventful era, I had the superintendence of a most
extensive district, comprising nearly one half of the populous parish of
St. Thomas in the East, and the whole of the parish of St. David,
embracing an apprentice population of nearly eighteen thousand,--in
charge of which I continued until December, when I was relieved of St.
David, and in March, 1835, my surveillance was confined to that portion
of St. Thomas in the East, consisting of the coffee plantations in the
Blue Mountains, and the sugar estates of Blue Mountain Valley, over
which I continued to preside until last March, a district containing a
population of four thousand two hundred and twenty-seven apprentices, of
which two thousand eighty-seven were males, and two thousand one hundred
and forty, females. The apprentices of the Blue Mountain Valley were, at
the period of my assumption of the duties of a special magistrate, the
most disorderly in the island. They were greatly excited, and almost
desperate from disappointment, in finding their trammels under the new
law, nearly as burdensome as under the old, and their condition, in many
respects, much more intolerable. They were also extremely irritated at
what they deemed an attempt upon the part of their masters to rob them
of one of the greatest advantages they had been led to believe the new
law secured to them--this was the half of Friday. Special Justice
Everard, who went through the district during the first two weeks of
August, 1834, and who was the first special justice to read and explain
the new law to them, had told them that the law gave to them the extra
four and a half hours on the Friday, and some of the proprietors and
managers, who were desirous of preparing their people for the coming
change, had likewise explained it so; but, most unfortunately, the
governor issued a proclamation, justifying the masters in withholding
the four and a half hours on that day, and substituting any other half
day, or by working them eight hours per day, they might deprive them
altogether of the advantage to be derived from the extra time, which, by
the abolition of Sunday marketing, was almost indispensable to people
whose grounds, in some instances, were many miles from their
habitations, and who were above thirty miles from Kingston market, where
prices were fifty per cent. more than the country markets in their favor
for the articles they had to dispose of, and correspondingly lower for
those they had to purchase. To be in time for which market, it was
necessary to walk all Friday night, so that without the use of the
previous half day, they could not procure their provisions, or prepare
themselves for it. The deprivation of the half of Friday was therefore a
serious hardship to them, and this, coupled to the previous assurance of
their masters, and Special Justice Everard, that they were entitled to
it, made them to suspect a fraud was about being practised on them,
which, if they did not resist, would lead to the destruction of the
remaining few privileges they possessed. The resistance was very
general, but without violence; whole gangs leaving the fields on the
afternoon of Friday; refusing to take any other afternoon, and sometimes
leaving the estates for two or three days together. They fortunately had
confidence in me--and I succeeded in restoring order, and all would have
been well,--but the managers, no longer alarmed by the fear of rebellion
or violence, began a system of retaliation and revenge, by withdrawing
cooks, water-carriers, and nurses, from the field, by refusing medicine
and admittance to the hospital to the apprentice children, and by
compelling old and infirm people, who had been allowed to withdraw from
labor, and mothers of six children, who were exempt by the slave law
from hard labor, to come out and work in the field. All this had a
natural tendency to create irritation, and did do so; though, to the
great credit of the people, in many instances, they submitted with the
most extraordinary patience, to evils which were the more onerous,
because inflicted under the affected sanction of a law, whose advent, as
the herald of liberty, they had expected would have been attended with a
train of blessings. I effected a change in this miserable state of
things; and mutual contract for labor, in crop and out of it, were made
on twenty-five estates in my district, before, I believe, any
arrangement had been made in other parts of the island, between the
managers and the apprentices; so that from being in a more unsettled
state than others, we were soon happily in a more prosperous one, and so
No peasantry in the most favored country on the globe, can have been
more irreproachable in morals and conduct than the majority of
apprentices in that district, since the beginning of 1835. I have, month
after month, in my despatches to the governor, had to record instances
of excess of labor, compared with the quantity performed during slavery
in some kinds of work; and while I have with pleasure reported the
improving condition, habits, manners, and the industry which
characterized the labors of the peasantry, I have not been an
indifferent or uninterested witness of the improvement in the condition
of many estates, the result of the judicious application of labor, and
of the confidence in the future and sanguine expectations of the
proprietors, evinced in the enlargements of the works, and expensive and
permanent repair of the buildings on various estates, and in the high
prices given for properties and land since the apprenticeship system,
which would scarcely have commanded a purchaser, at any price, during
the existence of slavery.
I have invariably found the apprentice willing to work for an equitable
hire, and on all the sugar estates, and several of the plantations, in
the district I speak of, they worked a considerable portion of their own
time during crop, about the works, for money, or an equivalent in
herrings, sugar, etc., to so great a degree, that less than the time
allotted to them during slavery, was left for appropriation to the
cultivation of their grounds, and for marketing, as the majority, very
much to their credit, scrupulously avoided working on the Sabbath day.
In no community in the world is crime less prevalent. At the quarter
sessions, in January last, for the precinct of St. Thomas in the East,
and St. David, which contains an apprentice population of about thirty
thousand, there was only one apprentice tried. And the offences that
have, in general, for the last eighteen months, been brought before me
on estates, have been of the most trivial description, such as an
individual occasionally turning out late, or some one of an irritable
temper answering impatiently, or for some trifling act of disobedience;
in fact, the majority of apprentices on estates have been untainted with
offence, and have steadily and quietly performed their duty, and
respected the law. The apprentices of St. Thomas in the East, I do not
hesitate to say, are much superior in manners and morals to those who
inhabit the towns.
During the first six or eight months, while the planters were in doubt
how far the endurance of their laborers might be taxed, the utmost
deference and respect was paid by them to the special magistrates; their
suggestions or recommendations were adopted without cavil, and opinions
taken without reference to the letter of the law; but when the obedience
of the apprentice, and his strict deference to the law and its
administrators, had inspired them with a consciousness of perfect
security, I observed with much regret, a great alteration in the
deportment of many of the managers towards myself and the people;
trivial and insignificant complaints were astonishingly increased, and
assaults on apprentices became more frequent, so that in the degree that
the conduct of one party was more in accordance with the obligations
imposed on him by the apprenticeship, was that of the other in
opposition to it; again with the hold and infirm harassed; again were
mothers of six living children attempted to be forced to perform field
labor; and again were mothers with sucking children complained of, and
some attempts made to deprive them of the usual nurses.
Such treatment was not calculated to promote cordiality between master
and apprentice, and the effect will, I fear, have a very unfavorable
influence upon the working of many estates, at the termination of the
system; in fact, when that period arrives, if the feeling of
estrangement be no worse, I am convinced it will be no better than it is
at the present moment, as I have witnessed no pains taking on the part
of the attorneys generally to attach the apprentices to the properties,
or to prepare them in a beneficial manner for the coming change. It was
a very common practice in the district, when an apprentice was about to
purchase his discharge, to attempt to intimidate him by threats of
immediate ejectment from the property, and if in the face of this
threatened separation from family and connections, he persevered and
procured his release, then the sincerity of the previous intimations was
evinced by a peremptory order, to instantly quit the property, under the
penalty of having the trespass act enforced against him; and if my
interference prevented any outrageous violation of law, so many
obstructions and annoyances were placed in the way of his communication
with his family, or enjoyment of his domestic rights, that he would be
compelled for their peace, and his own personal convenience, to submit
to privations, which, as a slave, he would not have been subject to. The
consequence is, that those released from the obligations of the
apprenticeship by purchase, instead of being located, and laboring for
hire upon the estate to which they were attached, and forming a nucleus
around which others would have gathered and settled themselves, they
have been principally driven to find other homes, and in the majority of
instances have purchased land, and become settlers on their own account.
If complete emancipation had taken place in 1834, there would have been
no more excitement, and no more trouble to allay it, than that which was
the consequence of the introduction of the present system of coerced and
uncompensated labor. The relations of society would have been fixed upon
a permanent basis, and the two orders would not have been placed in that
situation of jealousy and suspicion which their present anomalous
condition has been the baneful means of creating.
I am convinced there never was any serious alarm about the consequences
of immediate emancipation among those who were acquainted with the
peasantry of Jamaica. The fears of the morbidly humane were purposely
excited to increase the amount of compensation, or to lengthen the
duration of the apprenticeship; and the daily ridiculous and untruthful
statements that are made by the vitiated portion of the Jamaica press,
of the indolence of the apprentices, their disinclination to work in
their own time, and the great increase of crime, are purposely and
insidiously put forward to prevent the fact of the industry, and
decorum, and deference to the law, of the people, and the prosperous
condition of the estates, appearing in too prominent a light, lest the
friends of humanity, and the advocates for the equal rights of men,
should be encouraged to agitate for the destruction of a system which,
in its general operation, has retained many of the worst features of
slavery, perpetuated many gross infringements of the social and domestic
rights of the working classes; and which, instead of working out the
benevolent intention of the imperial legislature, by aiding and
encouraging the expansion of intellect, and supplying motives for the
permanent good conduct of the apprentices, in its termination, has, I
fear, retarded the rapidity with which civilization would have advanced,
and sown the seeds of a feeling more bitter than that which slavery,
with all its abominations, had engendered.
I am, dear sirs, your very faithful servant,
EDMUND B. LYON, _Special Justice._
Extract from a communication which we received from Wm. Henry Anderson,
Esq., of Kingston, the Solicitor-General for Jamaica.
The staples of the island must be cultivated after 1840 as now, because
if not, the negroes could not obtain the comforts or luxuries, of which
they are undoubtedly very desirous, from cultivation of their grounds.
The fruits and roots necessary for the public markets are already
supplied in profusion at tolerably moderate prices: if the supply were
greatly increased, the prices could not be remunerative. There is no way
in which they can so readily as by labor for wages, _obtain money_, and
therefore I hold that there must ever be an adequate supply of labor in
The negroes are in my opinion very acute in their perceptions of right
and wrong, justice and injustice, and appreciate fully the benefits of
equitable legislation, and would unreservedly submit to it where they
felt confidence in the purity of its administration.
There is not the slightest likelihood of rebellion on the part of the
negroes after 1840, unless some unrighteous attempts be made to keep up
the helotism of the class by enactments of partial laws. _They_ could
have no interest in rebellion, they could gain nothing by it; and might
lose every thing; nor do I think they dream of such a thing. They are
ardently attached to the British government, and would be so to the
colonial government, were it to indicate by its enactments any purposes
of kindness or protection towards them. Hitherto the scope of its
legislation has been, in reference to them, almost exclusively coercive;
certainly there have been no enactments of a tendency to conciliate
their good will or attachment.
The negroes are much desirous of education and religious instruction: no
one who has attended to the matter can gainsay that. Formerly marriage
was unknown amongst them; they were in fact only regarded by their
masters, and I fear by themselves too, as so many brutes for labor, and
for increase. Now they seek the benefits of the social institution of
marriage and its train of hallowed relationships: concubinage is
becoming quite disreputable; many are seeking to repair their conduct by
marriage to their former partners, and no one in any rank of life would
be hardy enough to express disapprobation of those who have done or
may do so.
WM. HENRY ANDERSON.
_Kingston, Jamaica, 24th April, 1837_.
* * * * *
The following communication is the monthly report for March, 1837, of
Major J.B. Colthurst, special justice for District A., Rural Division,
The general conduct of the apprentices since my last report has been
excellent, considering that greater demands have been made upon their
labor at this moment to save perhaps the finest crop of canes ever grown
in the island.
Upon the large estates generally the best feeling exists, because they
are in three cases out of four conducted by either the proprietors
themselves, or attorneys and managers of sense and consideration. Here
all things go on well; the people are well provided and comfortable, and
therefore the best possible understanding prevails.
The apprentices in my district _perform their work most willingly_,
whenever the immediate manager is a man of sense and humanity. If this
is not the case, the effect is soon seen, and complaints begin to be
made. Misunderstandings are usually confined to the smaller estates,
particularly in the neighborhood of Bridgetown, where the lots are very
small, and the apprentice population of a less rural description, and
more or less also corrupted by daily intercourse with the town.
The working hours most generally in use in my district are as follows:
On most estates, the apprentices work from six to nine, breakfast; from
ten to one, dinner--rest; from three to six, work.
It is almost the constant practice of the apprentices, particularly the
praedials or rural portion, to work in their own time for money wages,
at the rate of a quarter dollar a day. They sometimes work also during
those periods in their little gardens round their negro houses, and
which they most generally enjoy without charge, or in the land they
obtain in lieu of allowance, they seem ALWAYS well pleased to be fully
employed at _free_ labor, and work, when so employed, exceedingly well.
I know a small estate, worked exclusively on this system. It is in
excellent order, and the proprietor tells me his profits are greater
than they would be under the apprenticeship. He is a sensible and
correct man, and I therefore rely upon his information. During the hurry
always attendant on the saving of the crop, the apprentices are
generally hired in their own time upon their respective estates at the
above rate, and which they seldom refuse. No hesitation generally occurs
in this or any other matter, whenever the employer discharges his duty
by them in a steady and considerate manner.
The attendance at church throughout my district is most respectable; but
the accommodation, either in this respect or as regards schools, is by
no means adequate to the wants of the people. The apprentices conduct
themselves during divine service in the most correct manner, and it is
most gratifying to perceive, that only very little exertion, indeed,
would be required to render them excellent members of society. This fact
is fully proved by the orderly situation of a few estates in my
district, that have had the opportunity of receiving some moral and
religious instruction. There are sixty-four estates in my district over
twenty-five acres. Upon four of those plantations where the apprentices
have been thus taught, there are a greater number of _married_ couples
(which may be considered a fair test) than upon the remaining sixty. I
scarcely ever have a complaint from these four estates, and they are
generally reported to be in a most orderly state.
In the memory of the oldest inhabitant, the island has never produced a
finer crop of canes than that now in the course of manufacture. All
other crops are luxuriant, and the plantations in a high state of
agricultural cleanliness. The season has been very favorable.
Under the head of general inquiry, I beg leave to offer a few remarks. I
have now great pleasure in having it in my power to state, that a
manifest change for the better has taken place _gradually_ in my
district within the last few months. Asperities seem to be giving way to
calm discussion, and the laws are better understood and obeyed.
It is said in other colonies as well as here, that there has been, and
still continues to be, a great want of natural affection among the negro
parents for their children, and that great mortality among the free
children has occurred in consequence. This opinion, I understand, has
been lately expressed in confident terms by the legislature of St.
Vincent's, which has been fully and satisfactorily contradicted by the
reports of the special justices to the lieutenant-governor. The same
assertion has been made by individuals to myself. As regards Barbadoes,
I have spared no pains to discover whether such statements were facts,
and I now am happy to say, that not a _single instance_ of unnatural
conduct on the part of the negro parents to their children has come to
my knowledge--far, perhaps too far, the contrary is the case; _over
indulgence_ and _petting_ them seems in my judgment to be the only
matter the parents can be, with any justice, accused of. They exhibit
their fondness in a thousand ways. Contrasting the actual conduct of the
negro parents with the assertions of the planters, it is impossible not
to infer that _some bitterness is felt by the latter on the score of
their lost authority_. When this is the case, reaction is the natural
consequence, and thus misunderstandings and complaints ensue. The like
assertions are made with respect to the disinclination of the parents to
send their children to school. This certainly does exist to a certain
extent, particularly to schools where the under classes of whites are
taught, who often treat the negro children in a most imperious and
hostile manner. As some proof that no decided objection exists in the
negro to educate his children, a vast number of the apprentices of my
district send them to school, and take pride in paying a bit a week each
for them--a quarter dollar entrance and a quarter dollar for each
vacation. Those schools are almost always conducted by a black man and
his _married_ wife. However, they are well attended, but are very few
To show that the apprentices fully estimate the blessings of education,
many females _hire their apprentice_ children at a quarter dollar a week
from their masters, for the express purpose of sending them to school.
This proves the possibility of a _voluntary_ system of education
succeeding, provided it was preceded by full and satisfactory
explanation to the parties concerned. I have also little doubt that
labor to the extent I speak of, may be successfully introduced when the
apprentices become assured that nothing but the ultimate welfare of
themselves and children is intended; but so suspicious are they from
habit, and, as I said before, so profoundly ignorant of what may in
truth and sincerity be meant only for their benefit, that it will
require great caution and delicacy on the occasion. Those suspicions
have not been matured in the negroes mind without cause--the whole
history of slavery proves it. Such suspicions are even _now_ only
relinquished under doubts and apprehensions; therefore, all new and
material points, to be carried successfully with them, should be
proposed to them upon the most liberal and open grounds.
J.B. COLTHURST, _Special Justice Peace, District A, Rural Division_.
* * * * *
_General return of the imports and exports of the island of Barbadoes,
during a series of years--furnished by the Custom-house officer at
L. s, d.
1832 481,610 6 3
1833 462,132 14 4
1834 449,169 12 4
1835 595,961 13 2
1836 622,128 19 11
IMPORTS OF LUMBER.
1833 5,290,086 5,598,958
1834 5,708,494 5,506,646
1835 5,794,596 4,289,025
1836 7,196,189 7,037,462
IMPORTS OF PROVISIONS.
| Flour. | Corn Meal. |
Y'rs.| bbls. |1/2 bbls.| bush.| bbls.|
1833 | 21,535 | 397 | 629 | 265 |
1834 | 34,191 | 865 | 1675 | 1580 |
1835 | 32,393 | 828 | 160 | 809 |
1836 | 41,975 | 433 | 823 | 1123 |
| Bread and Biscuits. |Oats & Corn.|
Y'rs.| hds.| bbls.|1/2 bbls.|kegs.|bags.| bags.| qrs.|
1833 | 49| 2146| 30 | " | " | 430| 50|
1834 | 401| 8561| 99 | 57 | " | 100| 1025|
1835 | 2024| 10762| " | " | " | 2913| 3134|
1836 | 4| 4048| " | " | 1058| 8168| 3119|
IMPORTS OF CATTLE, ETC.
Cattle. Horses. Mules.
1833 649 462 65
1834 549 728 24
1835 569 1047 43
1836 1013 1345 104
RETURN OF EXPORTS--SUGAR.
hhds. trcs. bbls.
1832 18,804 1278 838
1833 27,015 1505 651
1834 27,593 1464 1083
1835 24,309 1417 938
1836 25,060 1796 804
* * * * *
VALUATIONS OF APPRENTICES IN JAMAICA.
"From the 1st of August, 1834, to 31st of May, 1836, 998 apprentices
purchased their freedom by valuation, and paid L33,998. From 31st May,
1836, to 1st November, in the same year, 582 apprentices purchased
themselves, and paid L18,217--making, in all, L52,216--a prodigious sum
to be furnished by the negroes in two years. From the above statement it
appears that the desire to be free is daily becoming more general and
more intense, and that the price of liberty remains the same, although
the term of apprenticeship is decreasing. The amount paid by the
apprentices is a proof of the extent of the exertions and sacrifices
they are willing to make for freedom, which can scarcely be appreciated
by those who are unacquainted with the disadvantages of their previous
condition. The negroes frequently raise the money by loans to purchase
their freedom, and they are scrupulous in repaying money lent them for
The above is extracted from the "West Indies in 1837," an English work
by Messrs. Sturge and Harvey, page 86, Appendix.
* * * * *
We insert the following tabular view of the crops in Jamaica for a
series of years preceding 1837.--As the table and "Remarks" appended
were first published in the St. Jago Gazette, a decided "pro-slavery"
paper, we insert, in connection with them, the remarks of the Jamaica
Watchman, published at Kingston, and an article on the present condition
of slavery, from the Telegraph, published at Spanishtown, the seat of
the colonial government.
A GENERAL RETURN OF EXPORTS _From the island of Jamaica, for 53 years,
ending 31st December, 1836--copied from the Journals of the House._
. | | | | |
d | | |MO-| |
e | SUGAR | RUM |LAS| GINGER |
t | | |SES| |
o | s | | | s | s | | | | | |
p | d | | | n | d | | | | | |
x | a | s | s | o | a | | s | | | |
E | e | e | l | e | e | | l | | | |
| h | c | e | h | h | s | e | s | s | |
r | s | r | r | c | s | k | r | k | k | s |
a | g | e | r | n | g | s | r | s | s | g |
e | o | i | a | u | o | a | a | a | a | a |
Y | H | T | B | P | H | C | B | C | C | B |
1772| 69,451| 9,936| 270| | | | | | | |
1773| 72,996|11,453| 849| | | | | | | |
1774| 69,579| 9,250| 278| | | | | | | |
1775| 75,291| 9,090| 425| | | | | | | |
1776| | | | | | | | | | |
1788| 83,036| 9,256|1,063| | | | | | | |
1789| 84,167|10,078|1,077| | | | | | | |
1790| 84,741| 9,284|1,599| | | | | | | |
1791| 85,447| 8,037|1,718| | | | | | | |
1792| | | | | | | | | | |
1793| 77,575| 6,722| 642|34,755| 879| | | | 62| 8,605|
1794| 89,532|11,158|1,224|39,843|1,570| | | | 121|10,305|
1795| 88,851| 9,537|1,225|37,684|1,475| | | | 426|14,861|
1796| 89,219|10,700| 858|40,810|1,364| | | | 690|20,275|
1797| 78,373| 9,963| 753|28,014|1,463| | | | 259|29,098|
1798| 87,896|11,725|1,163|40,823|2,234| | | | 119|18,454|
1799|101,457|13,538|1,321|37,022|1,981| | | | 221|10,358|
1800| 96,347|13,549|1,631|37,166|1,350| | | | 444| 3,586|
1801|123,251|18,704|2,692|48,879|1,514| | | | 12| 239|
1802|129,544|15,403|2,403|45,632|2,073| 473| 205|366| 23| 2,079|
1803|107,387|11,825|1,797|43,298|1,416| | |461| 51| 3,287|
1804|103,352|12,802|2,207|42,207| 913| | |429|1,094| 1,854|
1805|137,906|17,977|3,689|53,211|1,328| 133| 167|471| 315| 2,128|
1806|133,996|18,237|3,579|58,191|1,178| | |499| 485| 1,818|
1807|123,175|17,344|3,716|51,812|1,998| | |699| 512| 1,411|
1808|121,444|15,836|2,625|52,409|2,196| | |379| 436| 1,470|
1809|104,457|14,596|3,534|43,492|2,717| | |230|2,321| 572|
1810|108,703| 4,560|3,719|42,353|1,964| | |293| 520| 1,881|
1811|127,751|15,235|3,046|54,093|2,011| | |446|1,110| 2,072|
1812|105,283|11,357|2,558|43,346|1,531| | |151| 804| 1,235|
1813| 97,548|10,029|2,304|44,618|1,345| 382| 874|208| 816| 1,428|
1814|101,846|10,485|2,575|43,486|1,551| 202|1,146|145| 884| 1,668|
1815|118,767|12,224|2,817|52,996|1,465| 574|1,398|242|1,493| 1,667|
1816| 93,881| 9,332|2,236|35,736| 769| 281| 903|166|2,354| 1,118|
1817|116,012|11,094|2,868|47,949|1,094| 203| 916|254|3,361| 1,195|
1818|113,818|11,388|2,786|50,195|1,108| 121| 191|407|2,526| 1,067|
1819|108,305|11,450|3,244|43,946|1,695| 602|1,558|253|1,714| 718|
1820|115,065|11,322|2,474|45,361|1,783| 106| 460|252|1,159| 316|
1821|111,512|11,703|1,972|46,802|1,793| 153| 534|167| 984| 274|
1822| 88,551| 8,705|1,292|28,728|1,124| 9| 442|144| 891| 72|
1823| 94,905| 9,179|1,947|35,242|1,935| 20| 118|614|1,041| 60|
1824| 99,225| 9,651|2,791|37,121|3,261| 5| 64|910|2,230| 52|
1825| 73,813| 7,380|2,858|27,630|2,077| 101| 215|894|3,947| 348|
1826| 99,978| 9,514|3,126|35,610|3,098|1,852| |549|5,724| 517|
1827| 82,096| 7,435|2,770|31,840|2,672|1,573| |204|4,871| 240|
1828| 94,912| 9,428|3,024|36,585|2,793|1,013| |189|5,382| 279|
1829| 91,364| 9,193|3,204|36,285|2,009| 563| | 66|4,101| 168|
1830| 93,882| 8,739|3,645|33,355|2,657|1,367| |154|3,494| 15|
1831| 88,409| 9,053|3,492|34,743|2,846| 982| |230|3,224| 22|
1832| 91,453| 9,987|4,600|32,060|2,570|1,362| |799|4,702| 38|
1833| 78,375| 9,325|4,074|33,215|3,034| 977| |755|4,818| 23|
1834| 77,801| 9,860|3,055|30,495|2,588|1,288| |486|5,925| 116|
1835| 71,017| 8,840|8,455|26,433|1,820| 747| |300|3,985| 486|
1836| 61,644| 7,707|2,497|19,938| 874| 646| |182|5,224| 69|
. | | |
d | | |
e | PIMENTO | COFFEE |
t | | |
o | | | |
p | | | |
x | | | | REMARKS
E | | | s |
| s | | d |
r | k | s | n |
a | s | g | u |
e | a | a | o |
Y | C | B | P |
1772| | | 841,558|
1773| | | 779,303|
1774| | | 739,039|
1775| | | 493,981|
1776| | | |
1788| | | 1,035,368|
1789| | | 1,493,282|
1790| | | 1,783,740|
1791| | | 2,299,874| August--Destruction of
1792| | | | Santo Domingo.
1793| 420| 9,108| 3,983,576|
1794| 554|22,153| 4,911,549|
1795| 957|20,451| 6,318,812|
1796| 136| 9,820| 7,203,539|
1797| 328| 2,935| 7,869,133|
1798| 1,181| 8,961| 7,894,306|
1799| 1,766|28,273|11,745,425| Bourbon cane introduced.
1802| 591| 7,793|17,961,923|
1805| 288| 7,157|21,137,393| Largest sugar crop.
1807| 525|19,224|26,761,188| March 25th, abolition of
1808| 225| 6,529|29,528,273| African slave trade.
1812| 598| 7,778|18,481,986|
1813| 1,124|14,361|24,623,572| Storm in October, 1812
1814| 394|10,711|34,045,585| Largest coffee crop.
1816| 851|28,047|17,289,393| Storm in October, 1815
1822| 699|18,672|19,773,912| Extreme drought.
1823| 1,894|21,481|20,326,445| Mr. Canning's resolutions
1824| 599|33,306|27,667,239| relative to slavery.
1826| 522|16,433|20,352,886| Severe drought in 1824, the previous year.
1833| 7,741|58,581| 9,866,060| Emancipation act passed.
1834| 496|29,301|17,725,731| Seasons favorable.
1835| 1,115|59,033|10,593,018| do.
1836| 227|46,779|13,446,053| do.
The following are the remarks of the editor of the Jamaica Watchman, on
the foregoing, in his paper of April 8, 1837:--
A general return of exports from the island for fifty-three years,
ending the 31st December last, and purporting to be extracted from the
journals of the assembly, has been published, and as usual, the decrease
in the crops of the respective years has been attributed to the
resolutions passed by the British House of Commons in 1823, and the
abolition of slavery in 1833. It is remarkable that in preparing this
table, a manifest disposition is evinced to account for the falling off
of the crops in certain years anterior, and subsequent to the passing of
Mr. Canning's memorable resolution, whilst opposite to the years 1834
and 1835, is written "seasons favorable." In 1813, the sugar crop fell
off 8,000 hhds. compared with the previous year, and we are told in
reference to this circumstance, that there was a storm in October, 1812.
This remark is evidently made to account for the decrease, and perhaps
the storm at the close of the previous year was the cause of it. But it
is astonishing, and the circumstance is worthy of notice, that whilst
the sugar crop fell off nearly 8,000 hhds. the coffee crop increased
nearly six millions of pounds. We should have supposed that the coffee
trees would have suffered more from the effects of a storm, than the
canes. However, the effect was as we have stated it, whatever might have
been the cause. In 1814, the largest coffee crop was made. Again, in
1816, there was a decrease in the sugar crop compared with the year
immediately preceding it of nearly 25,000 hhds. And here we have the
storm of October, 1815, assigned as a reason. The coffee crop in this
instance also fell off nearly ten millions of pounds. In 1822, the sugar
crop was reduced 23,000 hhds., and the coffee crop increased three
millions of pounds. The reason now assigned is an "extreme drought." The
celebrated resolutions relative to slavery now appear to begin to
exercise their baneful influence on the _seasons_ and the _soil_ of our
island. In the year in which they were passed, 1823, 94,900 hogsheads of
sugar were made, and twenty millions of pounds of coffee gathered. 1824
came, and the crop, instead of being reduced, was increased from nearly
95,000 hogsheads to upwards of 99,000 hogsheads. The coffee crop was
also greater by seven millions of pounds. In 1825, they fall off to
73,860 hogsheads and twenty-one millions. In 1826, the sugar crop rather
exceeded that of 1824, but the coffee crop was seven millions less. In
1827, from causes not known to us, for none were assigned, there was a
difference of 16,000 hhds. of sugar, and an increase of five millions of
pounds of coffee. 1828, 29, and 30, were pretty nearly alike in sugar
and coffee crops, and about equal to 1823. The crops of 1831 fell off
from 93 to 88,000 hogsheads of sugar, and from 22 to 14 millions of
pounds of coffee. No reason is assigned for this reduction. It was
during the continuance of the driving system, and therefore no blame can
attach to the managers. In 1832, the crop rose to 91,000 hogsheads of
sugar, and nearly twenty millions of pounds of coffee. But 1833 comes,
and, with it, fresh troubles for the planters. In that ill-fated year,
there was a decrease of 13,000 hogsheads sugar, and of ten millions of
pounds of coffee. Its sugar crop was the smallest made, with the
exception of that of 1825, since 1793, and its coffee crop since that of
1798. But if this determination be alarming, what must be that of the
succeeding years. Can we be blamed, if, in a strain truly lachrymal, we
allude to the deductions which have annually been made from the
miserable return which 1833 gave to the unfortunate proprietors of
estates? What boots it to tell us that we have fingered thousands of
pounds sterling, in the shape of compensation: and what consolation is
it to know, that a hogshead of sugar will now bring thirty pounds,
which, a short time ago, was only worth twelve. Let any _unprejudiced_
individual look at the return now before us, and say whether our
prospects are not deplorably dull and obscure. If we take the four years
immediately preceding the passing of Mr. Canning's resolutions, say
1819, 20, 21, and 22; we will find the average to be 105,858 hogsheads,
and if from this we even deduct one fourth for the time now lost, there
will be an average crop of 79,394 hhds., being 7,185 hogsheads mere than
the average of 1833, 34, 35, and 36; and no one will deny that this
falling off of one tenth, (supposing that the hogsheads made during the
last four years are _not larger_ than those of 1819 to 1822) is
_nearly_, if not _quite equal_ to the increase of price, from twelve to
thirty pounds, or one hundred and fifty per cent.
It is true some persons may be disposed to take the four years
subsequent to the passing of Mr. Canning's resolutions, say 1823, 4, 5,
and 6, and compare them with the four years ending 31st December last.
Should this be done, it will be found that the average crop of the
previous four years is 91,980 hhds., and if from it is deducted one
fourth, there will remain 68,985 hhds., whilst the average of the other
four years is 72,200 hhds. Such a mode of comparison must, however, be
obviously incorrect; because, in the first place, Mr. Canning's
resolutions had reduced the crops of those years considerably below the
average of the years immediately preceding them, and next, because it
would show the advantage to be on the side of freedom in the ratio of
seventy-two to sixty-nine, which cannot be correct. Besides, in 1824,
there was a severe drought, whereas in 1834 and 35 the seasons are
reported as being favorable. Again, it is necessary, in instituting such
an inquiry, to go back more than fourteen years; nor is it a valid
objection to this to say, that even during that period a number of
estates have been thrown out of cultivation, in consequence of being
worn out and unprofitable. "Deplorable," however, as is the "falling off
in the yearly amounts of our staple productions, which have decreased,"
gentle reader, according to the despatch, "in an accelerated ratio
within the last few years, till in the year 1836, when they do not
average one half the returns of former years preceding that of 1823, the
year that Mr. Canning's resolutions for the ultimate abolition of
slavery in the British colonies passed the House of Commons," still it
is a matter of sincere gratification to know, that the sugar planters
are better off now than they have been for the last fourteen or fifteen
years. With the compensation money a great many of them have been
enabled to pay off their English debts, and the remainder very
considerably to reduce them, whilst the reduction in the quantity of
sugar produced, has occasioned such a rise in the price of that article
as will place the former in easy circumstances, and enable the latter
entirely to free themselves from the trammels of English mortgagees, and
the tender mercies of English mortgagees before the 1st August, 1840,
arrives. And ought these parties not to be thankful? Unquestionably they
ought. Ingratitude, we are told, is as the sin of witchcraft, and
although the table of exports exhibits our fair island as hastening to a
state of ruin, and the despatch tells us that "by the united influence
of mock philanthropy, religious cant, and humbug," a reformed parliament
was _forced_ "to precipitate the _slavery spoliation_ act under the
specious pretext of promoting the industry and improving the condition
of the manumitted slaves," still we maintain, and the reasonable will
agree with us, that we are much better off now than we have been for a
long time, and that Jamaica's brightest and happiest days have not yet
dawned. Let the croakers remember the remarkable words of the Tory Lord,
Belmore, the planter's friend, and be silent--"The resources of this
fine island will never be fully developed until slavery ceases." The
happiness and prosperity of the inhabitants of Jamaica are not
contingent, nor need they be, upon the number of hogsheads of sugar
annually exported from her shores.
* * * * *
To the foregoing we add the remarks of the editor of the "Spanishtown
Telegraph," on the present state of the colony, made in his paper of May
"When it was understood that the island of Jamaica and the other
British West Indian colonies were to undergo the blessed transition
from slavery to freedom, it was the hourly cry of the pro-slavery
party and press, that the ruin of Jamaica would, as a natural
consequence, follow liberty! Commerce, said they, will cease; hordes
of barbarians will come upon us and drive us from our own
properties; agriculture will be completely paralyzed; and Jamaica,
in the space of a few short months, will be seen buried in
ashes--irretrievably ruined. Such were the awful predictions of an
unjust, illiberal faction!! Such the first fruits that were to
follow the incomparable blessings of liberty! The staple productions
of the island, it was vainly surmised, could never be cultivated
without the name of slavery; rebellions, massacres, starvation,
rapine and bloodshed, danced through the columns of the
liberty-hating papers, in mazes of metaphorical confusion. In short,
the name of freedom was, according to their assertions, directly
calculated to overthrow our beautiful island, and involve it in one
mass of ruin, unequalled in the annals of history!! But what has
been the result? All their fearful forebodings and horrible
predictions have been entirely disproved, and instead of liberty
proving a curse, she has, on the contrary, unfolded her banners,
and, ere long, is likely to reign triumphant in our land. _Banks,
steam companies, railroads, charity schools, etc._, seem all to have
remained dormant until the time arrived when Jamaica was to be
_enveloped in smoke_! No man thought of hazarding his capital in an
extensive _banking establishment_ until _Jamaica's ruin_, by the
introduction of _freedom, had been accomplished_!! No person was
found possessed of sufficient energy to speak of navigation
companies in Jamaica's brightest days of slavery; but now that ruin
stares every one in the face--now that we have no longer the power
to treat out peasantry as we please, they have taken it into their
heads to establish so excellent an undertaking. Railroads were not
dreamt of until _darling_ slavery had (_in a great measure_)
departed, and now, when we thought of throwing up our estates, and
flying from the _dangers of emancipation_, the best projects are
being set on foot, and what is _worst_, are likely to _succeed_!
This is the way that our Jamaica folks, no doubt, reason with
themselves. But the reasons for the delay which have taken place in
the establishment of all these valuable undertakings, are too
evident to require elucidation. We behold the _Despatch_ and
_Chronicle_, asserting the ruin of our island; the overthrow of all
order and society; and with the knowledge of all this, they speak of
the profits likely to result from steam navigation, banking
establishments, and railroads! What in the name of conscience, can
be the use of steam-vessels when Jamaica's ruin is so fast
approaching? What are the planters and merchants to ship in steamers
when the apprentices will not work, and there is nothing doing? How
is the bank expected to advance money to the planters, when their
total destruction has been accomplished by the abolition of slavery?
What, in the name of reason, can be the use of railroads, when
commerce and agriculture have been nipped in the bud, by that
_baneful weed, Freedom_? Let the unjust panderers of discord, the
haters of liberty, answer. Let them consider what has all this time
retarded the development of Jamaica's resources, and they will find
that it was _slavery_; yes, it was its very name which prevented the
idea of undertakings such as are being brought about. Had it not
been for the introduction of freedom in our land; had the cruel
monster, Slavery, not partially disappeared, when would we have seen
banks, steamers, or railroads? No man thought of hazarding his
capital in the days of slavery, but now that a new era has burst
upon us, a complete change has taken possession of the hearts of all
just men, and they think of improving the blessing of freedom by the
introduction of other things which must ever prove beneficial to
The vast improvements that are every day being effected in this
island, and throughout the other colonies, stamp the assertions of
the pro-slavery party as the vilest falsehoods. They glory in the
introduction of banks, steam-vessels, and railroads; with the
knowledge (as they would have us believe) that the island is fast
verging into destruction. They speak of the utility and success of
railroads, when, according to their showing, there is no produce to
be sent to market, when agriculture has been paralyzed, and Jamaica
swept to destruction."
* * * * *
The following copious extracts from a speech of Lord Brougham, on the
workings of the apprenticeship, and on the immediate emancipation
substituted therefor in Antigua and the Bermudas, are specially
commended to the notice of the reader. The speech was delivered in the
House of Lords, Feb. 20, 1838. We take it from the published report of
the speech in the London Times, of Feb. 25:--
I now must approach that subject which has some time excited almost
universal anxiety. Allow me, however, first to remind your
lordships--because that goes to the root of the evil--allow me first
to remind you of the anxiety that existed previous to the
Emancipation Act which was passed in January, 1833, coming into
operation in August, 1834. My lords, there was much to apprehend
from the character of the masters of the slaves. I know the nature
of man. * * * * I know that he who has abused power clings to it
with a yet more convulsive grasp. I know his revenge against those
who have been rescued from his tyrannous fangs; I know that he never
forgives those whom he has injured, whether white or black. I have
never yet met with an unforgiving enemy, except in the person of one
of whose injustice I had a right to complain. On the part of the
slaves, my lords, I was not without anxiety; for I know the corrupt
nature of the degrading system under which they groaned. * * * * It
was, therefore, I confess, my lords, with some anxiety that I looked
forward to the 1st of August, 1834; and I yielded, though
reluctantly, to the plan of an intermediate state before what was
called the full enjoyment of freedom--the transition condition of
The first of August arrived--that day so confidently and joyously
anticipated by the poor slaves, and so sorely dreaded by their hard
taskmasters--and if ever there was a picture interesting to look
upon--if ever there was a passage in the history of a people
redounding to their eternal honor--if ever there was a complete
refutation of all the scandalous calumnies which had been heaped
upon them for ages, as if in justification of the wrongs which we
had done them--(Hear, hear)--that picture and that passage are to be
found in the uniform and unvarying history of that people throughout
the whole of the West India islands. Instead of the fires of
rebellion, lit by a feeling of lawless revenge and resistance to
oppression, the whole of those islands were, like an Arabian scene,
illuminated by the light of contentment, joy, peace, and good-will
towards all men. No civilized people, after gaining an unexpected
victory, could have shown more delicacy and forbearance than was
exhibited by the slaves at the great moral consummation which they
had attained. There was not a look or a gesture which could gall the
eyes of their masters. Not a sound escaped from negro lips which
could wound the ears of the most feverish planter in the islands.
All was joy, mutual congratulation, and hope.
This peaceful joy, this delicacy towards the feelings of others, was
all that was to be seen, heard, or felt, on that occasion,
throughout the West India islands.
It was held that the day of emancipation would be one of riot and
debauchery, and that even the lives of the planters would be
endangered. So far from this proving the case, the whole of the
negro population kept it as a most sacred festival, and in this
light I am convinced it will ever be viewed.
In one island, where the bounty of nature seems to provoke the
appetite to indulgence, and to scatter with a profuse hand all the
means of excitement, I state the fact when I say not one drunken
negro was found during the whole of the day. No less than 800,000
slaves were liberated in that one day, and their peaceful festivity
was disturbed only on one estate, in one parish, by an irregularity
which three or four persons sufficed to put down.
Well, my lords, baffled in their expectations that the first of
August would prove a day of disturbance--baffled also in the
expectation that no voluntary labor would be done--we were then told
by the "practical men," to look forward to a later period. We have
done so, and what have we seen? Why, that from the time voluntary
labor began, there was no want of men to work for hire, and that
there was no difficulty in getting those who as apprentices had to
give the planters certain hours of work, to extend, upon emergency,
their period of labor, by hiring out their services for wages to
strangers. I have the authority of my noble friend behind me, (the
Marquis of Sligo,) who very particularly, inquired into the matter,
when I state that on nine estates out of ten there was no difficulty
in obtaining as much work as the owners had occasion for, on the
payment of wages. How does all this contrast with the predictions of
the "practical men?" "Oh," said they, in 1833, "it is idle talking;
the cart-whip must be used--without that stimulant no negro will
work--the nature of the negro is idle and indolent, and without the
thought of the cartwhip is before his eyes he falls asleep--put the
cartwhip aside and no labor will be done." Has this proved the case?
No, my lords, it has not; and while every abundance of voluntary
labor has been found, in no one instance has the stimulus of the
cartwhip been found wanting. The apprentices work well without the
whip, and wages have been found quite as good a stimulus as the
scourge even to negro industry. "Oh, but" it is said, "this may do
in cotton planting and cotton picking, and indigo making; but the
cane will cease to grow, the operation of hoeing will be known no
more, boiling will cease to be practised, and sugar-making will
terminate entirely." Many, I know, were appalled by these
reasonings, and the hopes of many were dissipated by these confident
predictions of these so-deemed experienced men. But how stands the
case now? My lords, let these experienced men, come forth with their
experience. I will plant mine against it, and you will find he will
talk no more of his experience when I tell him--tell him, too,
without fear of contradiction--that during the year which followed
the first of August, 1834, twice as much sugar per hour, and of a
better quality as compared with the preceding years, was stored
throughout the sugar districts; and that one man, a large planter,
has expressly avowed, that with twenty freemen he could do more work
than with a hundred slaves or fifty indentured apprentices. (Hear,
hear.) But Antigua!--what has happened there? There has not been
even the system of indentured apprentices. In Antigua and the
Bermudas, as would have been the case at Montserrat if the upper
house had not thrown out the bill which was prepared by the planters
themselves, there had been no preparatory step. In Antigua and the
Bermudas, since the first of August, 1834, not a slave or indentured
apprentice was to be found. Well, had idleness reigned there--had
indolence supplanted work--had there been any deficiency of crop?
No. On the contrary, there had been an increase, and not a
diminution of crop. (Hear.) But, then, it was said that quiet could
not be expected after slavery in its most complete and abject form
had so long reigned paramount, and that any sudden emancipation must
endanger the peace of the islands. The experience of the first of
August at once scattered to the winds that most fallacious prophecy.
Then it was said, only wait till Christmas, for that is a period
when, by all who have any practical knowledge of the negro
character, a rebellion on their part is most to be apprehended. We
did wait for this dreaded Christmas; and what was the result? I will
go for it to Antigua, for it is the strongest case, there being
there no indentured apprentices--no preparatory state--no
transition--the chains being at once knocked off, and the negroes
made at once free. For the first time within the last thirty years,
at the Christmas of the year 1834, martial law was not proclaimed in
the island of Antigua. You talk of facts--here is one. You talk of
experience--here it is. And with these facts and this experience
before us, I call on those _soi-disant_ men of experience--those men
who scoffed at us--who laughed to scorn at what they called our
visionary, theoretical schemes--schemes that never could be carried
into effect without rebellion and the loss of the colonies--I say,
my lords, I call on these experienced men to come forward, and, if
they can, deny one single iota of the statement I am now making. Let
those who thought that with the use of those phrases, "a planter of
Jamaica" "the West India interest," "residence in Jamaica and its
experience," they could make our balance kick the beam--let them, I
say, hear what I tell, for it is but the fact--that when the chains
were knocked off there was not a single breach of the peace
committed either on the day itself, or on the Christmas festival
Well, my lords, beaten from these two positions, where did the
experienced men retreat to under what flimsy pretext did they next
undertake to disparage the poor negro race? Had I not seen it in
print, and been otherwise informed of the fact, I could not have
believed it possible that from any reasonable man any such absurdity
could issue. They actually held out this last fear, which, like the
others, was fated to be dissipated by the fact. "Wait only," said
they, "till the anniversary of the first of August, and then you
will see what the negro character is, and how little these
indentured apprentices are fit to be entrusted with freedom." Was
there ever such an absurdity uttered, as if my lords, the man who
could meet with firm tranquillity and peaceful thankfulness the
event itself, was likely to be raised to rebellion and rioting by
the recollection of it a year afterwards. My lords, in considering
this matter, I ask you, then, to be guided by your own experience,
and nothing else; profit by it, my lords, and turn it to your own
account; for it, according to that book which all of us must revere,
teaches even the most foolish of a foolish race. I do not ask you to
adopt as your own the experience of others; you have as much as you
can desire of your own, and by no other test do I wish or desire to
be judged. But I think my task may be said to be done. I think I
have proved my case, for I have shown that the negro can work
without the stimulant of the whip; I have shown that he can labor
for hire without any other motive than that of industry to inspire
him. I have demonstrated that all over the West Indies, even when
fatigued with working the allotted hours for the profit of his
master, he can work again for wages for him who chooses to hire him
and has wherewithal to pay him; I have also most distinctly shown
that the experience of Antigua and the Bermudas is demonstrative to
show that without any state of preparation, without any indenture of
apprenticeship at all, he is fit to be intrusted with his freedom,
and will work voluntarily as a free laborer for hire. But I have
also demonstrated from the same experience, and by reference to the
same state of facts, that a more quiet, inoffensive, peaceable,
innocent people, is not to be found on the face of this earth than
the negro--not in their own unhappy country, but after they have
been removed from it and enslaved in your Christian land, made the
victim of the barbarizing demon of civilized powers, and has all
this character, if it were possible to corrupt it, and his feelings,
if it were possible to pervert them, attempted to be corrupted and
perverted by Christian and civilized men, and that in this state,
with all incentives to misdemeanor poured around him, and all the
temptation to misconduct which the arts and artifices and examples
of civilized man can give hovering over him--that after this
transition is made from slavery to apprenticeship, and from slavery
to absolute freedom, a negro's spirit has been found to rival the
unbroken tranquillity of the Caribbean Seas. (Cheers.) This was not
the state of things we expected, my lords; and in proof that it was
not so, I have but to refer you to the statute book itself. On what
ground did you enact the intermediate state of indenture
apprenticeship, and on what arguments did you justify it? You felt
and acknowledged that the negro had a right to be free, and that you
had no right to detain him in bondage. Every one admitted this, but
in the prevailing ignorance of their character it was apprehended
that they could not be made free at once, and that time was
requisite to train the negro to receive the boon it was intended
bestowing upon him.
This was the delusion which prevailed, and which was stated in the
preamble of the statute--the same delusion which had made the men on
one side state and the other to believe that it was necessary to pay
the slave-owners for the loss it was supposed they would sustain.
But it was found to be a baseless fear, and the only result of the
phantom so conjured up was a payment of twenty millions to the
conjurors. (Hear, and a laugh.) Now, I maintain that had we known
what we now know of the character of the negroes, neither would this
compensation have been given to the slave-owners, nor we have been
guilty of proposing to keep the negro in slavery five years, after we
were decided that he had a right to his freedom. The noble and
learned lord here proceeded to contend that up to the present time
the slave-owners, so far from being sufferers, had been gainers by
the abolition of slavery and the enactment of the system of
apprenticeship, and that consequently up to the present moment
nothing had occurred to entitle them to a claim upon the
compensation allotted by parliament. The slave-owners might be said
to have pocketed the seven millions without having the least claim
to them, and therefore, in considering the proposition he was about
to make, parliament should bear in mind that the slave proprietors
were, if anything, the debtors to the nation. The money had, in
fact, been paid to them by mistake, and, were the transaction one
between man and man, an action for its recovery might lie. But the
slave-owners alleged that if the apprenticeship were now done away
there would be a loss, and that to meet that loss they had a right
to the money. For argument's sake he would suppose this to be true,
and that there would be loss; but would it not be fair that the
money should be lodged in the hands of a third party, with authority
to pay back at the expiration of the two years whatever rateable sum
the master could prove himself to have lost? His firm belief was,
that no loss could arise; but, desirous to meet the planter at every
point, he should have no objection to make terms with him. Let him,
then, pay the money into court, as it were, and at the end of two
years he should be fully indemnified for any loss he might prove. He
called upon their lordships to look to Antigua and the Bermudas for
proof that the free negro worked well, and that no loss was
occasioned to the planters or their property by the granting of
emancipation. But it was said that there was a difference between
the cases of Antigua and other colonies, such as Jamaica, and it was
urged that while the negroes of the former, from the smallness and
barrenness of the place, would be forced into work, that in the
latter they would run away, and take refuge in the woods. Now, he
asked, why should the negro run away from his work, on being made
free, more than during the continuance of his apprenticeship? Why,
again, should it be supposed that on the 1st of August, 1840, the
emancipated negroes should have less inclination to betake
themselves to the woods than in 1838? If there was a risk of the
slaves running to the woods in 1838, that risk would be increased
and not diminished during the intermediate period up to 1840, by the
treatment they were receiving from their masters, and the deferring
of their hopes.
My lords, (continued the noble lord,) I have now to say a few words
upon the treatment which the slaves have received during the past
three years of their apprenticeship, and which, it is alleged,
during the next two years is to make them fitted for absolute
emancipation. My lords, I am prepared to show that in most respects
the treatment the slaves have received since 1834 is no better, and
in many others more unjust and worse, than it ever was in the time
of absolute slavery. It is true that the use of the cartwhip as a
stimulus to labor has been abolished. This, I admit, is a great and
most satisfactory improvement; but, in every other particular, the
state of the slave, I am prepared to show, is not improved, and, in
many respects, it is materially worse. First, with regard to the
article of food, I will compare the Jamaica prison allowance with
that allotted to the apprenticed negroes in other colonies. In the
Jamaica prison the allowance of rice is 14 pints a week to each
person. I have no return of the allowance to the indentured
apprentice in Jamaica, but I believe it is little over this; but in
Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands, it is much under. In Barbadoes,
instead of receiving the Jamaica prison allowance of 14 pints a
week, the apprenticed negro received but 10 pints: while in the
Leeward Islands he had but 8 pints. In the crown colonies, before
1834, the slave received 21 pints of rice, now the apprentice gets
but 10; so that in the material article, food, no improvement in the
condition of the negro was observable. Then, with regard to time, it
is obviously of the utmost importance that the apprentice should
have at least two holidays and a half a week--the Sabbath for
religious worship and instruction, the Saturday to attend the
markets, and half of Friday to work in his own garden. The act of
emancipation specified 45 hours a week as the period the apprentice
was to work for his master, but the master so contrived matters as
in most instances to make the 45 hours the law allotted him run into
the apprentice's half of Friday, and even in some cases into the
Saturday. The planter invariably counted the time from the moment
that the slave commenced his work; and as it often occurs that his
residence was on the border of the estate, he may have to walk five
or six miles to get to the place he has to work. This was a point
which he was sure their lordships would agree with him in thinking
The next topic to which I shall advert relates to the administration
of justice; and this large and important subject I cannot pass over
without a word to remind your lordships how little safe it is, how
little deserving the name of just, or any thing like just, that
where you have two classes you should separate them into conflicting
parties, until they became so exasperated in their resentment as
scarcely to regard each other as brethren of the same species; and
that you should place all the administration of justice in the hands
of one dominant class, whose principles, whose passions whose
interests, are all likely to be preferred by the judges when they
presume to sit where you have placed them on the judgment seat. The
chief and puisne judges are raised to their situations from amongst
the class which includes the white men and planters. But, worse than
that, the jurors are taken from the same privileged body: jurors,
who are to assess civil damages in actions for injuries done to the
negroes--jurors, who are to try bills of indictment against the
whites for the maltreatment of the blacks--jurors who are to convict
or acquit on those bills--jurors who are to try the slaves
themselves--nay, magistrates, jailors, turnkeys, the whole apparatus
of justice, both administrative and executive, exclusively in the
hands of one race! What is the consequence? Why, it is proverbial
that no bills are found for the blacks. (Hear, hear.) Six bills of
indictment were preferred, some for murder and some for bad
manslaughter, and at one assizes every one of these six indictments
was thrown out. Assizes after assizes the same thing happened, until
at length wagers were held that no such bill would be found, and no
one was found to accept them. Well was it for them that they
declined, for every one of the bills preferred was ignored. Now,
observe that in proceedings, as your lordships know; before grand
jurors, not a tittle of evidence is heard for the prisoners; every
witness is in favor of the indictment, or finding of the bill; but
in all these instances the bills were flung out on the examination
of evidence solely against the prisoner. Even in the worst cases of
murder, as certainly and plainly committed as the sun shines at noon
day, monstrous to all, the bills were thrown out when half the
witnesses for the prosecution remained to be examined. (Hear, hear.)
Some individuals swore against the prisoners, and though others
tendered their evidence, the jury refused to hear them. (Hear,
hear.) Besides, the punishments inflicted are monstrous; thirty-nine
lashes are inflicted for the vague, indefinite--because incapable to
be defined--offence of insolence. Thirty-nine lashes for the grave
and the more definite, I admit, offence of an attempt to carry a
small knife. Three months imprisonment, or fifty lashes for the
equally grave offence of cutting off the shoot of a cane plant!
There seems to have prevailed at all times amongst the governors of
our colonies a feeling, of which, I grieve to say, the governors at
home have ever and anon largely partaken, that there is something in
the nature of a slave--something in the habits of the African
negro--something in the disposition of the unfortunate hapless
victims of our own crimes and cruelties, which makes what is mercy
and justice to other men cruelty to society and injustice to the law
in the case of the negro, and which condemns offences slightly
visited, if visited at all, with punishment, when committed by other
men, to the sentence that for his obdurate nature none can be too
severe. (Hear, hear.) As if we had any one to blame but
ourselves--as if we had any right to visit on him that character if
it were obdurate, those habits if they were insubordinate, that
dishonest disposition if it did corrupt his character, all of which
I deny, and which experience proves to be contrary to the fact and
truth; but even if these statements were all truth instead of being
foully slanderous and absolutely false, we, of all men, have
ourselves to blame, ourselves to tax, and ourselves to punish, at
least for the self abasement, for we have been the very causes of
corrupting the negro character. (Cheers.)
If some capricious despot, in his career of ordinary tyranny, were
to tax his imagination to produce something more monstrous and
unnatural than himself, and were to place a dove amongst vultures,
or engraft a thorn on the olive tree, much as we should marvel at
the caprice, we should be still more astounded at the expectation,
which exceeds even a tyrant's proverbial unreasonableness, that he
should gather grapes from the thorn, or that the dove should be
habituated to a thirst for blood. Yet that is the caprice, that is
the unreasonable, the foul, the gross, the monstrous, the
outrageous, incredible injustice of which we are hourly guilty
towards the whole unhappy race of negroes. (Cheers.) My lords, we
fill up the incasare of injustice by severely executing laws badly
conceived in a still more atrocious and cruel spirit. The whole
punishments smell of blood. (Hear, Hear.) If the treadmill stop in
consequence of the languid limbs and exhausted frames of the
victims, within a minute the lash resounds through the building--if
the stones which they are set to break be not broken by limbs
scarred, and marred, and whaled, they are summoned by the crack of
the whip to their toilsome task! I myself have heard within the last
three hours, from a person, who was an eye-witness of the appalling
and disgusting fact, that a leper was introduced amongst the
negroes; and in passing let me remark, that in private houses or
hospitals no more care has been taken to separate those who are
stricken with infectious diseases from the sound portion, any more
than to furnish food to those in prison who are compelled, from the
unheard-of, the paltry, the miserable disposition to treat with
cruelty the victims of a prison, to go out and gather their own
food,--a thing which I believe even the tyrant of Siberia does not
commit. Yet in that prison, where blood flows profusely, and the
limbs of those human beings are subjected to perpetual torture, the
frightful, the nauseous, the disgusting--except that all other
feelings are lost in pity towards the victim and indignation against
the oppressor--sight was presented of a leper, scarred from the
eruptions of disease on his legs and previous mistreatment, whaled
again and again, and his blood again made to flow from the jailer's
lash. I have told your lordships how bills have been thrown out for
murdering the negroes. But a man had a bill presented for this
offence: a petition was preferred, and by a white man. Yes, a white
man who had dared, under feelings of excited indignation, to
complain to the regularly constituted authorities, instead of
receiving for his gallant conduct the thanks of the community, had a
bill found which was presented against him as a nuisance. I have,
within the last two hours, amid the new mass of papers laid before
your lordships within the last forty-eight hours, culled a sample
which, I believe, represents the whole odious mass.
Eleven females have been flogged, starved, lashed, attached to the
treadmill, and compelled to work until nature could no longer endure
their sufferings. At the moment when the wretched victims were about
to fall off--when they could no longer bring down the mechanism and
continue the movement, they were suspended by their arms, and at
each revolution of the wheel received new wounds on their members,
until, in the language of that law so grossly outraged in their
persons, they "languished and died." Ask you if a cringe of this
murderous nature went unvisited, and if no inquiry was made
respecting its circumstances? The forms of justice were observed;
the handmaid was present, but the sacred mistress was far away. A
coroner's inquest was called; for the laws decreed that no such
injuries should take place without having an inquiry instituted.
Eleven inquisitions were held, eleven inquiries were made, eleven
verdicts were returned. For murder? Manslaughter? Misconduct? No;
but that "they died by the visitation of God." A lie--a perjury--a
blasphemy! The visitation of God! Yes, for of the visitations of the
Divine being by which the inscrutable purposes of his will are
mysteriously worked out, one of the most mysterious is the power
which, from time to time, is allowed by him to be exercised by the
wicked for the torment of the innocent. (Cheers.) But of those
visitations prescribed by Divine Providence there is one yet more
inscrutable, for which it is still more difficult to affix a reason,
and that is, when heaven rolls down on this earth the judgment, not
of scorpions, or the plague of pestilence, or famine, or war--but
incomparably the worse plague, the worser judgment, of the injustice
of judges who become betrayers of the law--perjured, wicked men who
abuse the law which they are sworn to administer, in order to
gratify their own foul passions, to take the part of the wrong-doer
against his victim, and to forswear themselves on God's gospel, in
order that justice may not be done. * * * * My lords, I entirely
concur in what was formerly said by Mr. Burke, and afterwards
repeated by Mr. Canning, that while the making of laws was confined
to the owners of slaves, nothing they did was ever found real or
effectual. And when, perchance, any thing was accomplished, it had
not, as Mr. Burke said, "an executive principle." But, when they
find you determined to do your duty, it is proved, by the example
which they have given in passing the Apprenticeship Amendment Act,
that they will even outstrip you to prevent your interference with
them. * * * * Place the negroes on the same footing with other men,
and give them the uncontrolled power over their time and labor, and
it will become the interest of the planter, as well as the rest of
the community, to treat the negro well, for their comfort and
happiness depend on his industry and good behavior. It is a
consequence perfectly clear, notwithstanding former distinctions,
notwithstanding the difference of color and the variety of race in
that population, the negro and the West Indian will in a very few
generations--when the clank of his chain is no longer heard, when
the oppression of the master can vex no more, when equal rights are
enjoyed by all, and all have a common interest in the general
prosperity--be impressed with a sense of their having an equal share
in the promotion of the public welfare; nay, that social
improvement, the progress of knowledge, civility, and even
refinement itself, will proceed as rapidly and diffuse itself as
universally in the islands of the Western Ocean as in any part of
her Majesty's dominions. * * * *
I see no danger in the immediate emancipation of the negro; I see no
possible injury in terminating the apprenticeship, (which we now
have found should never have been adopted,) and in causing it to
cease for slaves previous to August, 1838, at that date, as those
subsequent to that date must in that case be exempt. * * * * I
regard the freedom of the negro as accomplished and sure. Why?
Because it is his right--because he has shown himself fit for
it--because a pretext or a shadow of a pretext can no longer be
devised for withholding that right from its possessor. I know that
all men now take a part in the question, and that they will no
longer bear to be imposed upon now they are well informed. My
reliance is firm and unflinching upon the great change which I have
witnessed--the education of the people unfettered by party or by
sect--from the beginning of its progress, I may say from the hour of
its birth. Yes; it was not for a humble man like me to assist at
royal births with the illustrious prince who condescended to grace
the pageant of this opening session, or the great captain and
statesman in whose presence I now am proud to speak. But with that
illustrious prince, and with the father of the Queen I assisted at
that other birth, more conspicuous still. With them and with the
lord of the house of Russel I watched over its cradle--I marked its
growth--I rejoiced in its strength--I witnessed its maturity--I have
been spared to see it ascend the very height of supreme
power--directing the councils of the state--accelerating every great
improvement--uniting itself with every good work--propping honorable
and useful institutions--extirpating abuses in all our
institutions--passing the bounds of our dominion, and in the new
world, as in the old, proclaiming that freedom is the birthright of
man--that distinction of color gives no title to oppression--that
the chains now loosened must be struck off, and even the marks they
have left effaced by the same eternal law of our nature which makes
nations the masters of their own destiny, and which in Europe has
caused every tyrant's throne to quake. But they need to feel no
alarm at the progress of right who defend a limited monarchy and
support their popular institutions--who place their chiefest pride
not in ruling over slaves, be they white or be they black--not in
protecting the oppressor, but in wearing a constitutional crown, in
holding the sword of justice with the hand of mercy, in being the
first citizen of a country whose air is too pure for slavery to
breathe, and on whose shores, if the captive's foot but touch, his
fetters of themselves fall off. (Cheers.) To the resistless progress
of this great principle I look with a confidence which nothing can
shake; it makes all improvement certain--it makes all change safe
which it produces; for none can be brought about, unless all has
been accomplished in a cautious and salutary spirit. So now the
fulness of time is come; for our duty being at length discharged to
the African captive, I have demonstrated to you that every thing is
ordered--every previous step taken--all safe, by experience shown to
be safe, for the long-desired consummation. The time has come--the
trial has been made--the hour is striking: you have no longer a
pretext for hesitation, or faltering, or delay. The slave has shown,
by four years' blameless behavior and devotion, unsurpassed by any
English peasant, to the pursuit of peaceful industry, that he is as
fit for his freedom as any lord whom I now address. I demand his
rights--I demand his liberty without stint, in the names of justice
and of law--in the name of reason--in the name of God, who has given
you no right to work injustice. I demand that your brother be no
longer trampled upon as your slave. (Hear, hear.) I make my appeal
to the Commons, who represent the free people of England; and I
require at their hands the performance of that condition for which
they paid so enormous a price--that condition which all their
constituents are in breathless anxiety to see fulfilled! I appeal to
his house--the hereditary judges of the first tribunal in the
world--to you I appeal for justice. Patrons of all the arts that
humanize mankind, under your protection I place humanity herself! To
the merciful Sovereign of a free people I call aloud for mercy to
the hundreds of thousands in whose behalf half a million of her
Christian sisters have cried aloud, that their cry may not have
risen in vain. But first I turn my eye to the throne of all justice,
and devoutly humbling myself before Him who is of purer eyes than to
behold any longer such vast iniquities--I implore that the curse
over our heads of unjust oppression be averted from us--that your
hearts may be turned to mercy--and that over all the earth His will
may at length be done!
* * * * *
ABSCONDING from labor,
Accident in a boiling house,
Allowance to Apprentices,
American Consul, (_See Consul_.)
Amity Hall Estate,
Anderson, Wm. II. Esq.,
Annual Meeting of Missionaries,
Antigua, Dimensions of,
" Sugar Crop of,
Appraisement of Apprentices,
Apprentice, provisions respecting the,
Apprenticeship compared with slavery,
" Design of,
" Good effect of,
" No preparation for freedom,
Apprenticeship, Operation of,
Apprenticeship, Opinion of, in Antigua;--in Barbadoes;--in Jamaica,
Apprentices' work compared with slaves
Archdeacon of Antigua,
" of Barbadoes,
Aristocracy of Antigua,
Armstrong, Mr. H.,
Attachment to home,
Attorney General of Jamaica,
Attendance on Church
August, First of
Baijer, Hon. Samuel O.,
Banks, Rev. Mr.,
Baptists in Jamaica,
Barber in Bridgetown,
Barclay, Alexander, Esq.,
Barnard, Samuel, Esq.,
Bell not tolled for colored person,
"_Belly, 'blige_ 'em to work,"
Benevolent institutions of Antigua,
Bishop of Barbadoes,
Blessings of Abolition, (See _Morals_, &c.)
Bookkeepers, Slaver of,
Bourne, Mr. London,
Bourne, Mr. S., (of Antigua,)
Bourne, Stephen, Esq., (of Jamaica,)
Breakfast at Mr. Bourne's,
" at Mr. Prescod's,
" at Mr. Thorne's,
Brown, Thomas C.,
C., Mr., of Barbadoes,
Cane cultivated by apprentices on their own ground,
Chamberlain, R., Esq.,
Change of opinion in regard to slavery,
Chapel erected by apprentices,
Character of colored people,
Cheesborough, Rev. Mr.,
Children, care of, (See _Free_.)
Civility of negroes,
Clarke, Hon. R.B.,
Classification of apprentices,
Coddrington, Sir Christopher.
Complaints to Special Magistrates.
Condition of the negroes, changed.
Conduct of the Emancipated on the first of August.
Consul, American at Antigua.
" " at Jamaica.
Constabulary force, colored.
Contributions for religious purposes.
Conversation with a negro boatman.
Conversation with negroes on Harvey's estate.
Conversation with apprentices.
Corbett, Mr. Trial of.
Corner stone laid.
Courts in Barbadoes.
Courts in Jamaica.
Cox, Rev. James.
Crimes, Diminution of.
Crimes in Jamaica.
Crookes, Rev. Mr.
Crops in Barbadoes.
Crops in Jamaica.
Cruelty of slavery.
" to apprentices.
Cultivation in Barbadoes, (See _Crops_.)
Cultivation in Jamaica.
Cummins, Rev. Mr.
Custom House returns, Barbadoes.
Daily meal Society.
Dangers of slavery.
Death-bed of a planter.
Defect of law.
Demerara, Apprenticeship in.
Desire for instruction.
Dinner at Mr. Harris's.
" at the Governor's.
Disabilities of colored people.
Discussion, Effect of.
Distinction between _serving_ and being _property_.
Distressed Females' Friend Society.
Disturbances, Reason of.
Docility of the negroes.
Dress in Antigua.
"Driver and overseer."
Drought in Antigua.
Dublin Castle Estate.
Dungeons in Antigua.
" in Barbadoes.
Economy of the negroes.
Edmonson, Rev. Jonathan.
Education of Apprentices.
" in Antigua.
" in Barbadoes. (See _Schools_.)
Education, Queries on, replied to.
" Results, in regard to.
Eldridge, R. B. Esq..
Elliot, Rev. Edward.
Emancipation, Immediate. (See _Preparation, &c._)
Emancipation, Motives of, in Antigua.
Emigrants from Europe.
Employments of the colored.
Enrolment of colored militia.
Escape of slaves from French islands.
Expectations in regard to 1838 and 1840.
Expense of free compared with slave labor.
Expense of Apprenticeship compared with slavery.
Explanation of terms.
Exports of Jamaica for 53 years.
Fair of St. John's.
Feeding in Barbadoes.
Feeling, intense, of the negroes.
Females in the field.
Fences wanting in Antigua.
Fines upon the planters.
Fire in the canes.
Fitch's Creek Estate.
Four and a half per cent tax.
Fraser, Rev. Edward.
" Mrs., ----
Freedom in Antigua.
Free labor less expensive.
Fright of American vessels.
Gangs, Division of.
Gardiner, Rev. Mr.
Gilbert, Rev. N.
Girl sold by her mother.
Gitters, Rev. Mr.
Golden Grove Estate.
Governor of Antigua.
" of Barbadoes.
Gratitude of the Negroes.
Green Castle Estate.
Green Wall Estate.
H., Mr., an American.
Hamilton, Cheny, Esq.
Hamilton, Rev. Mr.
Harris, Thomas, Esq.
Harvey, Rev. B.
Heroism of colored women.
Higginbothom, Ralph, Esq.
Hill, Richard, Esq.
Hinkston, Samuel, Esq.
Holberton, Rev. Robert.
Holidays in Antigua.
Horne, Rev. Mr.
Horsford, Hon. Paul.
Hostility to Emancipation. (See also, _Change, &c._)
House of Correction.
Howell, Mr., (of Jamaica).
Howell, James Esq.
Imports and Exports of Barbadoes.
Improvement since Emancipation. (See _Morals_.)
Indolence of Apprentices.
" of Whites.
Industry of Emancipated Slaves.
Industry of Apprentices.
Insubordination. (See _Subordination_.)
Insurrection in Barbadoes in 1816.
Insurrection not feared in Antigua;
nor in Barbadoes;
nor in Jamaica.
Intelligence of blacks, as compared with whites.
Intemperance in Antigua. (See _Temperance_.)
Intermixture. (See also _Amalgamation_.)
Jones, Rev. Mr.
Jones, T. Watkins, S. M.
Jordon, Edward, Esq.
Jury on the body of a negro woman.
Kingdon, Rev. Mr.
Law, respect for.
Legislature of Antigua.
Letter to a Special Magistrate.
License to marry.
Lock-up house at St. John's.
Lyon, E.B., Esq.
Managers, Testimony of.
Market in St. John's.
Master's power over the apprentice.
McCornock, Thomas, Esq.
McGregor, Sir Evan, J. M.
Merchants, Testimony of.
Messages of Sir Lionel Smith.
Mico Charity Infant School.
" Society, Wesleyan.
Mob, Pro-Slavery, in Barbadoes.
Moehne, Mr. and Mrs.
Morals, improvement of.
Morrish, Rev. Mr.
Murder of a planter.
Newfield, visit to.
Noble trait in the apprentices.
Nugent, Hon. Nicholas.
Obstacles to free labor in Antigua.
Old school tyrant.
Opinions in Antigua in regard to Emancipation.
Opinions of the United States.
Opposition to slavery in Jamaica.
O'Reily, Hon. Dowel.
Packer, Rev. Mr.
Partiality of the Special Magistrates.
Peaceableness of negro villages.
Peaceableness of the change from slavery to freedom.
Peaceableness of the negro character.
Persecution of a Special Justice.
Phillips, Rev. Mr.
Physician, Testimony of.
Plantain Garden River Valley.
Planter, a severe one.
Planters, cruelty of.
" in Barbadoes.
" of Antigua.
" Officers, Testimony of.
Policy of colored people in regard to prejudice.
Prejudice against color.
Preparation for freedom.
Promiscuous seating in church (See _"Amalgamation," &c._)
Proprietor, testimony of.
Providence of the emancipated, the.
Provost Marshal, Testimony of.
Punishment in Antigua.
Rebellion, so called.
Rector of St. John's.
Reid, Mr. E.
Religion in Antigua;
Religious condition of slaves in Antigua.
Religious instruction desired.
Report of a Special Magistrate.
Resolution in regard to Messrs. Thome and Kimball.
Resolutions of Wesleyan Missionaries.
Respect for the aged.
Results in Antigua.
Right of suffrage.
Ross, A., Esq.
Rowe, Rev. Mr.
Rum, use of in Antigua.
Sabbath in Antigua;
Sabbath school in Bridgetown.
Safety of immediate emancipation. (See _Insurrections_.)
Schools in Antigua;
Scotland in Barbadoes.
Scotland, James, Esq.
Scotland, J., Jr. Esq.
Shands, Mr. S.
Shrewsbury, Rev. Mr.
Smith, Sir Lionel.
Society among colored people.
" for promotion of Christian knowledge.
Solicitor General of Barbadoes.
" of Jamaica.
Song sung in the schools.
"Speaking," a Moravian custom.
Special Magistrates. (See also _Partiality_.)
Special Magistrates, Testimony of.
Station House, A.
St. Thomas in the East.
Sturge & Harvey, Messrs.
" cultivation hard for the slave.
Superintendent of Police.
Suspension of faithful magistrates.
"Telegraph," Remarks of the.
Temperance in Antigua.
" of negroes.
Testimony of Managers.
Testimony of clergymen and missionaries.
Testimony of Governors.
" of magistrates.
" of physicians.
Theft, decrease of.
Thibou Jarvis's estate.
Thompson, George, Bust of.
Thompson, Thomas, Esq.
Thwaites, Mr. Charles.
Tinson, Rev. Mr.
Toast to Immediate Emancipation.
Traffic in Slaves.
Transition from slavery to freedom.
Treatment of slaves ameliorated by discussion.
Value of an apprentice. (See _Appraisement_.)
Walton, Rev. Mr.
" Remarks of the.
Ward, Sir Henry.
Wesleyan Chapel, Antigua.
" " New, ".
" Missionary Society.
Wesleyans in Antigua.
" in Barbadoes.
" in Jamaica.
Wilberforce, opinion of.
Wickham, Richard S.
Willis, George, Esq.
Willoughby Bay Examination.
Wolmer Free School.
Women abandon the field.
" condition of.
Woolridge, Rev. Mr.
Wright, Andrew, Esq.
* * * * *
THE ANTI-SLAVERY EXAMINER--EXTRA.
* * * * *
WEST INDIES, IN 1838.
* * * * *
IMPORTANT TO THE UNITED STATES.
False prophets were never stiller about their time-detected impostures
than are the pro-slavery presses of the United States about the results
of West India Emancipation. Now and then, for the sake of appearances,
they obscurely copy into their immense sheets an inch or two of
complaints, from some snarling West India paper, that the emancipated
are lazy and won't work. But they make no parade. They are more taciturn
In the following closely printed columns, those who wish to know will
find out precisely how the "_great experiment_" has worked. They
1. The _safety_ of abolition demonstrated--its safety in the worst
2. That the colonies are prospering in their _agriculture_.
3. That the planters conferred freedom because they were _obliged to_ by
public opinion abroad.
4. That freedom, even thus unwillingly conferred, was accepted as a
precious boon by the slaves--they were grateful to God, and ready to
work for their masters for fair pay.
5. That the mass of the planters have endeavoured, from the first, to
get work out of the free laborers for as small wages as possible.
6. That many of the attorneys and managers have refused fair wages and
practiced extortion, _to depreciate the price of property_, that they
might profit thereby.
7. That all the indisposition to labor which has yet been exhibited is
fully accounted for by these causes.
8. That in spite of all, the abolition is working well for the _honest_
of all parties.
* * * * *
WEST INDIA EMANCIPATION, IN 1838.
The immediate abolitionists hold that the change from slavery to freedom
cannot be too sudden. They say that the first step in raising the slave
from his degradation should be that of making him a proper subject of
law, by putting him in possession of himself. This position they rest on
the ground both of justice and expediency, which indeed they believe to
be inseparable. With exceptions too trifling to affect the question,
they believe the laborer who feels no stimulus but that of wages and no
restraint but that of law, is the most _profitable_, not only to himself
and society at large, but to any employer other than a brutal tyrant.
The benefit of this role they claim for every man and woman living
within this republic, till on fair trial the proper tribunal shall have
judged them unworthy of it. They deny both the justice and expediency of
permitting any degree of ignorance or debasement to work the forfeiture
of self-ownership, and pronounce slavery continued for such a cause the
worst of all, inasmuch as it is the _robbery of the poor because he
What light was thrown upon this doctrine by the process of abolition in
the British West Indies from the 1st of August 1834 to the 1st of June
1837, may be seen in the work of Messrs. Thome and Kimball entitled,
"Emancipation in the West Indies." That light continues to shine.
Bermuda and Antigua, in which the slaves passed instantaneously out of
absolute slavery into full freedom, are living witnesses of the blessing
of heaven upon immediate emancipation. In Antigua, one of the old sugar
colonies, where slavery had had its full sway there has been especially
a fair test of immediatism, and the increasing prosperity of the island
does the utmost honor to the principle. After the fullest inquiry on the
point, Messrs. Thome and Kimball say of this island:--
"There is not a class, or party, or sect, who do not esteem the
abolition of slavery as a _special blessing to them_. The rich, because
it relieved them of "property" which was fast becoming a disgrace, as it
had always been a vexation and a tax, and because it has emancipated
them from the terrors of insurrection, which kept them all their
life-time subject to bondage. The poor whites--because it lifted from
off them the yoke of civil oppression. The free colored
population--because it gave the death blow to the prejudice that crushed
them, and opened the prospect of social, civil, and political equality
with the whites. The _slaves_--because it broke open their dungeons, led
them out to liberty, and gave them, in one munificent donation, their
wives, their children, their bodies, their souls--everything."
In the emphatic language of the Governor, "It was _universally admitted_
that emancipation had been a great blessing to the island."
In November 1837, Lord Brougham thus summed up the results of the
Antigua experiment in a speech in the House of Lords:--
"It might be known to their lordships that in one most important colony
the experiment of instant and entire emancipation had been tried.
Infinitely to the honor of the island of Antigua was it, that it did not
wait for the period fixed by the Legislature, but had at once converted
the state of slavery into one of perfect liberty. On the 1st of August,
1834, the day fixed by act of Parliament for the commencement of a ten
years' apprenticeship, the Legislature of that colony, to the immortal
honor of their wisdom, their justice, and their humanity, had abolished
the system of apprenticeship, and had absolutely and entirely struck the
fetters off from 30,000 slaves. Their lordships would naturally ask
whether the experiment had succeeded; and whether this sudden
emancipation had been wisely and politically done. He should move for
some returns which he would venture to say would prove that the
experiment had entirely succeeded. He would give their lordships some
proofs: First, property in that island had risen in value; secondly,
with a very few exceptions, and those of not greater importance than
occurred in England during harvest, there was no deficiency in the
number of laborers to be obtained when laborers were wanted; thirdly,
offences of all sorts, from capital offences downwards, had decreased;
and this appeared from returns sent by the inspector of slaves to the
governor of that colony, and by him transmitted to the proper authority