Issuu on Google+

BRITISH

PHILANTHROPY AND

JAMAICA DISTRESS.

REPRINTED FROM THE "WESTMINSTER R E V I E W " OF APRIL- 1st,

1853.

MANIOC.org Réseau des bibliothèques

Ville de Pointe-à-Pitre


MANIOC.org Réseau des bibliothèques

Ville de Pointe-à-Pitre


BRITISH

PHILANTHROPY AND

JAMAICA DISTRESS. REPRINTED FROM THE " W E S T M I N S T E R R E V I E W ' ' OF A P R I L 1ST, 1 8 5 3 .

1. The State and Prospects of Jamaica. B y the R e v . D a v i d K i n g , L L D. Glasgow, 1850. 2 . Jamaica in 1 8 5 0 . B y J o h n B i g e l o w . N e w Y o r k a n d L o n d o n . 3. The British West Indies in 1 8 5 0 . B y J o h n C a n d l e r a n d G . W . Alexander. (Anti-Slavery Reporter, February, March, and April 1851.) 4. Sugar Return to Two Orders of the House of Commons, 1 1 t h a n d 1 7 t h F e b r u a r y 1 8 5 2 , respectively. 5 . Parliamentary Return. Sugar-growing m a i c a ) . 1 4 t h D e c e m b e r 1852.

Colonies

dated

(Part I I . Ja-

I T is n o w m o r e t h a n fourteen years since E n g l a n d b e g a n h e r g r e a t philanthropic e x p e r i m e n t , a n d , b y a b o l i s h i n g in h e r slave colonies that c l u m s y modification of slavery k n o w n as the A p p r e n t i c e s h i p S y s t e m , substituted in t h e m free for slave labour. I t m a y be w e l l , t h e n , n o w t h a t it is so c o m m o n to a s k o u r A m e r i c a n cousins to follow o u r e x a m p l e , to consider to w h a t extent a n d in w h a t m a n n e r this substitution h a s really been effected, a n d to c o m p a r e t h e p r o d u c t i v e result of the one k i n d of l a b o u r with t h a t of the o t h e r . T h e chief p r o d u c t of these colonies is s u g a r , w h i c h is, we s u p p o s e , as m u c h their principal p r o d u c t as cotton is t h a t of the Slave S t a t e s . W e find, t h e n , t h a t t h e i m p o r t of s u g a r from the B r i t i s h W e s t I n d i e s , G u i a n a , and M a u r i t i u s into this c o u n t r y (almost their sole m a r k e t ) , a v e r a g e d , for t h e three years e n d i n g with 1 8 3 8 , t h e y e a r of e m a n c i p a -

MANIOC.org Réseau des bibliothèques

Ville de Pointe-à-Pitre


4 tion, 4 , 0 2 3 , 3 4 1 c w t s . , w h i l e , for t h e three y e a r s e n d i n g with 1 8 5 1 , it •was 3 , 8 0 4 , 0 5 8 . * These

figures

d o , w e believe, p r o v e the commercial result to be

m u c h m o r e favourable than is generally supposed ; still it is useless to d e n y t h a t it is a d i s a p p o i n t i n g result, especially w h e n c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e prophecies of those w h o p r o v o k e d the e x p e r i m e n t .

The

p h i l a n t h r o p i s t s were accustomed to declare t h a t self-interest

would

get m u c h m o r e w o r k o u t of t h e n e g r o than did c o e r c i o n — t h a t

wages

w o u l d beat t h e w h i p ; b u t if the l i k e prophecies are to m e e t w i t h n o better fulfilment

in t h e States, o u r cotton m e r c h a n t s a n d m a n u f a c -

t u r e r s , m e n as well as m a s t e r s , w h o all c r y o u t for m o r e cotton e v e r y y e a r instead of less, m a y well, if they w o u l d n o t be r u i n e d b y t h e sure progress of h u m a n i t y , d o their u t m o s t to help I n d i a or Africa, o r a n y place w h e r e there is cotton, a n d w h e r e t h e r e is n o t t h e w h i p , to feed t h e h u n g e r of t h e i r m i l l s . Before, h o w e v e r , w e p r o n o u n c e on t h e economical success or failure of t h e e x p e r i m e n t , w e m u s t ascertain h o w far its requisite conditions h a v e been fulfilled. S u p p o s e , t h e n , we select for this i n q u i r y t h a t colony in w h i c h , of all others, t h e economical failure w o u l d seem to be m o s t obvious. J a m a i c a is by far t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t of o u r s u g a r colonies : it contained a b o u t half o u r slaves a t t h e time of e m a n c i p a t i o n , a n d if it n o w p r o d u c e d its s h a r e of s u g a r , o r w a s proportionately as p r o d u c t i v e as t h e o t h e r colonies, t h e a p p a r e n t failure w o u l d he replaced by an evident success. T h e i m p o r t of s u g a r from J a m a i c a in t h e three years e n d i n g 1838 1851

with

1,003,840 c w t s . , m a k i n g a diminution of 612,109 a b o u t 4 0 p e r cent. ; w h e r e a s in t h e o t h e r colonics t h e r e w a s , d u r i n g averaged

t h e same period, a n increase of a l m o s t 6 p e r cent., o r , from an a v e r a g e of 3 , 0 1 9 , 5 0 1 c w t s . to o n e of 3 , 1 9 1 , 9 4 9 c w t s . N o o n e , therefore, can c h a r g e u s w i t h partiality to t h e p h i l a n t h r o pists, if a m o n g these i s l a n d s — v a r y i n g , as t h e y d o , in population, soil, a n d indeed in almost all their c i r c u m s t a n c e s , save t h a t they all grow s u g a r b y h e l p of white capitalists a n d black l a b o u r e r s — w e p i c k o u t

Parliamentary Returns, 1852. The export of 1851 is much larger than either of the two preceding years. The returns for 1853, similar to these here quoted, are not yet published ; " but from the Trade and Navigation Accounts," just out, we learn that the exports of 1852 exceeded that of 1851 by more than 400,000 ewts., making the average of the last three years greater than that of the, three years with 1838.

ending

MANIOC.org Réseau des bibliothèques

Ville de Pointe-à-Pitre


5 J a m a i c a as the experimentum crucis of philanthropic principles, a n d as the test of t h e superiority of freedom to slavery. Since emancipation, not only h a s t h e export of s u g a r fallen off 4 0 per cent., b u t t h a t of r u m has diminished 2 0 per cent., and t h a t of coffee little less than 7 0 per cent.; t h e export of ginger also has g r e a t l y diminished : cotton certainly shows an increase, but the whole g r o w t h is trifling : a n d M r . B i g e l o w tells us t h a t pimento has also increased, b u t then he a d d s , t h a t this is a crop for which little labour is needed, the birds being its planters. N o r are these ancient p r o d u c t s replaced b y new ones ; there is t a l k of w o r k i n g copper-mines, b u t as yet, we fear, it is little else t h a n talk ; all m a n n e r of d r u g s a n d dye-stuffs, a n d precious spices and rare woods, m i g h t , t h e y say, come from J a m a i c a , b u t they do n o t : the whole exportable p r o d u c e of the island is diminished, w e d a r e say, one-third, if not one-half ; a n d with it w h a t D r . J o h n s o n would call its potentiality of riches to the exporters. T h e Louisiana slave-owner lands a t H a v a n a , a n d h e finds fresh stores being built, ships c r o w d i n g into the docks, e v e r y w h e r e activity a n d wealth : — he sails on from H a v a n a to K i n g s t o n , a n d there h e sees no signs of riches, few ships, v a c a n t w a r e h o u s e s , streets silent a n d u n p a v e d , houses c r u m b l i n g to pieces, the ruins of the last fire or e a r t h q u a k e u n r e p a i r e d ; — w h a t w o n d e r if he r e t u r n s to his plantation l o v i n g slavery more devotedly t h a n ever, l o n g i n g , p e r h a p s , s o m e w h a t for the slave-trade, but certainly m o r e r e a d y t h a n ever to denounce an Abolitionist as a firebrand and an infidel. T o c o m p r e h e n d the causes of this contrast, we m u s t t a k e our readers further back in the history of J a m a i c a t h a n t h e abolition of either apprenticeship o r slavery, or even of the slave-trade, to t h a t golden a g e w h e n K i n g s t o n was an H a v a n a , with even m o r e w e a l t h a n d less h u m a n i t y . If, as M r . C a r l y l e would seem to suppose, t h e destiny of J a m a i c a be m e r e l y " t o give forth s u g a r s , a n d c i n n a m o n s , a n d all such nobler p r o d u c t s , " a n d if t h e d u t y of t h e white men consisted, first, in k i l l i n g off the native I n d i a n s w h o did n o t aid in " b r i n g i n g o u t these p r o d u c t s , " a n d t h e n in d r a g g i n g to the island some 3 0 0 , 0 0 0 Africans, a n d flogging o u t of t h e m t h e aid w h i c h t h e y w e r e too idle a n d too w e a k to give themselves,* then did t h e A n g l o - S a x o n s in J a m a i c a indeed do their d u t y manfully in the last century. N i g h t a n d day t h e y k e p t " Q u a s h c e " u p to his w o r k , and t h e boiling-house g o i n g , a n d with

MANIOC.org

* " Occasional Discourses on the Negro Question," Fraser's Magazine, Dec. 1849.

Réseau des bibliothèques

Ville de Pointe-à-Pitre


6 " beneficent w h i p " forced their black soldiers to battle w i t h N a t u r e for h e r tropical spoils. T h e soldiers fell—what m a t t e r ? the w o r k went on ; fresh ones from Africa took their place ; as m a n y as 7 0 , 0 0 0 of t h e m b e i n g , a c c o r d i n g to B r y d g e s , b r o u g h t in d u r i n g t h e ten years e n d i n g 1760.* S u c h faithful fulfilment of d u t y w a s not forgotten b y a grateful c o u n t r y ; a n d in r e w a r d for t h e prowess of h e r sons, w h o w o r k e d t h u s valiantly t h r o u g h t h e sinews of their slaves, E n g l a n d g a v e to t h e m a m o n o p o l y of t h e B r i t i s h m a r k e t . These w e r e t h e h a l c y o n d a y s of W e s t - I n d i a prosperity. I n full possession of t h e h o m e d e m a n d , with n o restrictions on his m o d e of supply ; e m p o w e r e d to p a y his w o r k m e n w i t h t h e m i n i m u m of sustenance, a n d to get from t h e m the m a x i m u m of forced toil, with a cheap s u p p l y of fresh toilers, if h e preferred b u y i n g h u m a n tools to rearing t h e m , or k e e p i n g t h e m in w o r k i n g order ; allowed t h u s to rob t h e p r o d u c e r in his p a y , and t h e consumer in his price, n o w o n d e r t h a t the slave-owner g r e w rich. F o r t u n e s were quickly m a d e in those days — too q u i c k l y m a d e , indeed, to be safely k e p t ; a n d t h e t r u t h of the old p r o v e r b , " L i g h t c o m e , light g o e s , " w a s soon p r o v e d by J a m a i c a experience. T h e rich p l a n t e r s , the monied m a g n a t e s of the last c e n t u r y , escapi n g from yellow fever and mosquitoes, c a m e h o m e to invest the spoils of the w h i p in t h e W e s t - e n d palaces a n d territorial d o m a i n s . T h e y b o u g h t seats in the C o m m o n s , s o m e of t h e m earned t h e m in t h e L o r d s , a n d not a few heiresses bartered their slaves for a title. T h u s g r e w u p t h e g r e a t W e s t - I n d i a interest, so powerful in P a r l i a m e n t a n d the P r e s s , a n d in public opinion, to protect its p r o p e r t y from freel a b o u r a n d free-trade ; a n d t h u s , at the s a m e time, arose that system of absenteeism, w h i c h entailed ruin on this p r o p e r t y , b y e n s u r i n g its mismanagement. W e d o u b t w h e t h e r , since t h e t i m e w h e n t h e patricians of R o m e w o r k e d , in like m a n n e r , b y slave-labour, their e n o r m o u s estates in h e r distant provinces, there h a s ever been such an utter disregard of the duties or of t h e toils of p r o p e r t y , as was t h e case w i t h t h e W e s t I n d i a absentees. N o t only did t h e y t a k e n o heed of the welfare of their w o r k m e n , b o d y , m i n d , or soul, b u t t h e y did not even t a k e care t h a t t h e y w o r k e d efficiently ; all t h a t they did was to send out orders t o their agents to d o their business for t h e m , a n d send t h e m t h e profits. P r o f i t s cannot be t h u s m a d e by p r o x y , or, if they a r e m a d e , h e w h o m a k e s t h e m k e e p s t h e lion's s h a r e . The absentee, thus disappointed of his income by his a g e n t , a n d y e t u n w i l l i n g to reduce

* Brydges "History of Jamaica," vol. i. p. 499.


7 his expenses, m o r t g a g e d his plantation t o t h e money-lender a n d pledged his c r o p to t h e m e r c h a n t ; a n d t h e final result of all this complication of interests w a s , t h a t in this business of s u p p l y i n g E n g l a n d w i t h s u g a r , from the first p l a n t i n g of t h e canes to the sale of the manufacture to t h e grocer, every m a n engaged in it did his w o r k b a d l y , because it w a s n o t to his interest to do it well. T h e slave, of course, s h i r k e d his share of w o r k as m u c h as he c o u l d — n o one expected h i m to d o otherwise ; the agent, or m a n a g e r of t h e colonies, a l w a y s expensive, w a s either lazy or roguish, according as h e preferred to imitate the owner in d o i n g n o t h i n g , o r tried, b y m a k i n g t h e plantation seem worthless, to get a c h e a p bargain of it for himself ; t h e m e r c h a n t or m a n a g e r in E n g l a n d supplied the estate with g o o d s which were not w a n t e d , for t h e sake of the commission on the exports, a n d cared little a b o u t a loss on the i m p o r t s , w h i c h o n l y forced t h e o w n e r to p l e d g e h i m the c o m i n g crop, a n d pay him m o r e commission on loans a n d sales. S t u r d y b e g g i n g from an obedient P a r l i a m e n t could g e t m u c h p o w e r to r o b E n g l i s h , and oppress African operatives, b u t it could n o t g i v e t h a t w h i c h alone could m a k e this r o b b e r y a n d oppression profitable, n a m e l y , t h e m a s t e r ' s eye over u n w i l l i n g l a b o u r e r s , a n d expensive or inefficient a g e n t s . H e n c e the severity a n d frequency of t h e i n t e r r u p t i o n s to J a m a i c a prosperity ; t h e s u g a r - g r o w e r lived from h a n d to m o u t h , a n d if t h e fluctuations of trade caused an u n u s u a l d r a i n on his resources, he forthw i t h w e n t to G o v e r n m e n t for h e l p , a n d uttered loud complaints so similar to w h a t we h e a r n o w - a - d a y s , t h a t it is h a r d to believe t h e E m a n c i p a t i o n a n d S u g a r A c t s h a d not been a l r e a d y passed. I n 1 7 9 2 , before t h e abolition of t h e slave-trade, a n d w h e n t h e colonists h a d not o n l y a m o n o p o l y of t h e h o m e m a r k e t , b u t l a r g e bounties on their s u r p l u s p r o d u c e , we find the J a m a i c a H o u s e of A s s e m b l y r e p o r t i n g , t h a t " i n the course of t w e n t y y e a r s , 1 7 7 estates in J a m a i c a h a d been sold for t h e p a y m e n t of debts, a n d 8 0 , 1 2 1 executions, a m o u n t i n g to £ 2 2 , 5 0 3 , 7 8 6 sterling, h a d been lodged in t h e office of t h e P r o v o s t M a r s h a l . " A g a i n , in 1 8 0 5 , a n o t h e r r e p o r t of t h e A s s e m b l y ends a vivid picture of distress w i t h t h e s t a t e m e n t t h a t " a faithful detail w o u l d h a v e t h e a p p e a r a n c e of a frightful c a r i c a t u r e ; " a n d t h o u g h for t h e five or six years preceding 1 8 0 7 , ( t h e y e a r in w h i c h t h e slavetrade was abolished,) t h e island exported m o r e s u g a r t h a n it ever d i d before or since, yet w e find from t h e same a u t h o r i t y , t h a t even within t h a t period " s i x t y - f i v e estates h a d been a b a n d o n e d , t h i r t y - t w o sold u n d e r decrees of C h a n c e r y , a n d t h a t there were a h u n d r e d a n d fifteen m o r e respectin, w h i c h suits in C h a n c e r y were p e n d i n g , with m a n y m o r e bills p r e p a r i n g . "


8 T h e s e facts a r e some a m o n g s t m a n y w h i c h s h o w us t h a t the prosperity of t h e exporters w a s n o t a l w a y s in proportion to t h e a m o u n t of t h e exports ; and t h a t there w a s distress a m o n g t h e m even before the H o m e G o v e r n m e n t inflicted u p o n t h e m a n y one of their " w r o n g s " — the t e r m b y w h i c h t h e m e m o r i a l of the A s s e m b l y to t h e Q u e e n , in 1 8 4 6 , designated t h e abolition of t h e slave-trade. M r . C a n n i n g ' s resolutions, a n d t h e other p h i l a n t h r o p i c m e a s u r e s w h i c h resulted in t h a t one great c r o w n i n g " w r o n g " — the freedom of their slaves ; " to w h i c h , " says t h e m e m o r i a l , " w e believe the history of t h e world w o u l d be in vain searched for a n y parallel case of oppression, perpetrated b y a civilized g o v e r n m e n t upon a n y section of its own subjects." T h e s e w o r d s , written eight years after e m a n c i p a t i o n , m a y serve to g i v e s o m e idea of the feelings w i t h w h i c h t h e g r e a t b o d y of e m ployers m e t the revolution w h i c h it effected in their relation to their labourers ; a n d , indeed, if w e look b a c k to their circumstances a t t h a t time, w e shall see h o w little likely it was t h a t they w o u l d fulfil their share of the conditions necessary for the good w o r k i n g of t h e n e w s y s t e m . T h e p r o d u c e of t h e plantations h a d for m a n y years been b e c o m i n g less ; either because they h a d been m i s m a n a g e d by a g e n t s , or e x h a u s t e d b y creditors, or forced b y t h e artificial prices of m o n o p o l y to g r o w crops for w h i c h they were n o t fitted. M a n y of these estates were m o r t g a g e d beyond even t h e power of the compensation m o n e y to redeem ; the large majority of their owners were absentees, i m p o v e r i s h e d , inexperienced, ill-furnished with cash or credit ; the resident planters and m a n a g i n g agents were most of them m e n of l u x u r y , if not licence, g r u d g i n g to give the u n w o n t e d w a g e , and c l i n g i n g convulsively to t h e p o w e r w h i c h w a s to t h e m both a pleasure in itself, a n d t h e m e a n s of pleasure. S u c h were the circ u m s t a n c e s of the m a s t e r ; n o r did t h e condition of the m a n seem at first sight m u c h more hopeful. W a i v i n g for the present the question w h e t h e r the t r e a t m e n t of t h e negroes was good o r bad, this m u c h is certain, t h a t , if good, t h e y did n o t appreciate it. T h e history of J a m a i c a d u r i n g slavery is one series of servile disturbances. T h e S p a n i a r d s left the M a r o o n war a legacy to their c o n q u e r o r s , and for m a n y years did a few desperate savages defy B r i t i s h a r m s a n d discipline ; a n d even w h e n they h a d been s u b d u e d , or r a t h e r bribed to peace by their e m p l o y m e n t as h u n t e r s of r u n a w a y s , t h e praedial slaves were themselves constantly revolting, flying to t h e m o u n t a i n s , a n d c o m m i t t i n g fearful atrocities, still m o r e fearfully revenged. T h r e e rebel chiefs were executed in B r y a n


9 E d w a r d s ' time ; one of t h e m was slowly b u r n t to d e a t h , a n d the two others were killed piecemeal b y tortures w h i c h were p r o l o n g e d in one case to t h e e i g h t h , in the other to t h e ninth d a y ; a n d t h e historian w h o witnessed this almost incredible cruelty, t h o u g h himself naturally a h u m a n e m a n , m e r e l y declares t h a t " it w a s t h o u g h t necessary to m a k e a few terrible e x a m p l e s , " * a n d evidently t h e o n l y t h i n g w h i c h surprised h i m w a s the c o u r a g e of t h e sufferers. T h e declaration of freedom itself was, in fact, almost i m m e d i a t e l y preceded b y t h e notorious insurrection of 1 8 3 2 , w h e n , in t h e w o r d s of the J a m a i c a m e m o r i a l , " T h e slaves, t a u g h t to believe t h a t t h e P a r l i a m e n t and t h e people of E n g l a n d h a d decreed their freedom, b u t t h a t their masters w i t h h e l d it, b r o k e o u t in open rebellion, w h i c h was not p u t d o w n till after m a n y lives h a d been lost, m a n y horrible atrocities c o m m i t t e d , a n d t h e western portion of the island laid desolate b y fire." O f the atrocities there can at least b e n o d o u b t ; for, on reference to t h e evidence before the Select C o m m i t t e e of the H o u s e of C o m m o n s in 1 8 3 2 , w e find t h a t in M o n t e g o B a y alone, n o t o n l y from ninety to a h u n d r e d slaves were punished capitally, either h u n g or shot, b u t t h a t some were flogged to d e a t h ; one B a p t i s t , for exa m p l e , a m e m b e r of M r . B u r e h e l l ' s c h u r c h , " d y i n g u n d e r his sentence of five h u n d r e d lashes ; " a n d we c a n n o t w o n d e r at the suspicion of the slaves, t h a t their masters stood between t h e m a n d liberty, w h e n we find t h a t in 1 8 3 1 open parochial meetings were constantly held, in w h i c h , in t h e v e r y h e a r i n g of t h e negroes, the planters declared, in m o s t violent l a n g u a g e , t h a t t h e y would renounce their allegiance to the H o m e G o v e r n m e n t r a t h e r t h a n allow t h e m to be m a d e free.+ N o r did the masters m a k e a n y effort to i m p l a n t m o r e k i n d l y feelings in the slaves, as t h e d a y a p p r o a c h e d on which their goodwill m u s t become so i m p o r t a n t to t h e m . O n the c o n t r a r y , t h e y seemed b e n t on still further alienating t h e m , as t h o u g h t h e y h o p e d to k e e p t h e m slaves b y m a k i n g every other relation impossible. T h e y increased r a t h e r t h a n lessened their sufferings ; t h e y reviled t h e i r friends in E n g l a n d , a n d persecuted t h e m in t h e island ; and this t h e negroes k n e w ; for they b e a r d their speeches, a n d some of t h e m read their n e w s p a p e r s , a n d even saw magistrates + h e l p i n g to pull d o w n the chapels of the missionaries. T h e y k n e w also t h a t t h e H o u s e of A s s e m b l y was striving its utmost to t h w a r t t h e efforts of t h e C r o w n in their behalf ; for some of t h e m were present on t h e 3 r d of M a r c h * Edwarls, "History of the West Indies," ii. p. 78. + See Mr. Duncan's Evidence before Commons' Committee. + Sec Memorial of Missionaries to Governor, April 18, 1S32.


10 1 8 3 2 , w h e n one m e m b e r m o v e d that the O r d e r in Council of the 2 n d of N o v e m b e r 1 8 3 1 should be b u r n t b y t h e h a n g m a n , a n d a n o t h e r said, t h a t if t h e B r i t i s h G o v e r n m e n t tried to enforce it, they h a d 1 8 , 0 0 0 b a y o n e t s with which to meet it. T h i s O r d e r in C o u n c i l was for t h e enforcement of ameliorating m e a s u r e s , w h i c h , t h o u g h defied a n d d i s r e g a r d e d , t h e blacks well k n e w had been passed b y t h e B r i t i s h P a r l i a m e n t in 1 8 2 3 , a n d one of w h i c h , for t h e prevention of t h e indecent flogging of their wives a n d sisters, t h e y h a d only a y e a r or t w o before seen disallowed by a large majority of this v e r y Assembly. E v e r since t h e E m a n c i p a t i o n , it has been t h e cry of t h e planters and their friends t h a t the c h a n g e w a s p r e m a t u r e ; t h a t t h e blacks o u g h t to h a v e been p r e p a r e d for their freedom : o u r readers m u s t j u d g e from the w a y in w h i c h the whites did p r e p a r e t h e m for it, h o w far any further such p r e p a r a t i o n would h a v e been an i m p r o v e m e n t . B u t there w a s a p r e p a r a t i o n — t h e apprenticeship ; a system which w a s doubtless devised a n d defended b y its projectors in hope t h a t the e m p l o y e r s w o u l d seize this last o p p o r t u n i t y , and gain so m u c h of the respect a n d r e g a r d of the labourers, as would incline t h e m to t r e a t fairly for their l a b o u r w h e n t h e y h a d it to dispose of. T o w h a t p u r pose this p r o b a t i o n a r y period was t u r n e d , it is most i m p o r t a n t to observe, a n d we r e g r e t that our space does n o t p e r m i t us to give o u r r e a d e r s a resume of its history. A s it is, w e m u s t content ourselves w i t h referring t h e m to t h e r e p o r t of t h e Commissioners a p p o i n t e d b y t h e H o m e G o v e r n m e n t , a n d to Messrs. S t u r g e and H a r v e y ' s detailed j o u r n a l of their t o u r of inspection in 1 8 3 7 ;* a n d omitting all cases of tread-mill tortures, p u n i s h m e n t s of women, s o m e t i m e s of p r e g n a n t w o m e n , excessive n i g h t - w o r k , s h u t t i n g u p of men a n d w o m e n in d u n g e o n s for deficiency of w o r k , a n d prevention of t h e cultivation of provision g r o u n d s , — we will confine ourselves t o t h e fact, that one g o v e r n o r , L o r d Sligo, himself a planter, shewed his appreciation of the a d v a n t a g e s of the p r o b a t i o n , b y freeing from t h e m his o w n apprentices, a n d b y w r i t i n g a p a m p h l e t , advising his fellowplanters to follow his e x a m p l e ; a n d that a n o t h e r governor, Sir Lionel S m i t h , declared, in his message to t h e J a m a i c a A s s e m b l y , Oct. 2 9 , 1 8 3 7 , " t h e island is subject to the reproach that the negroes, in s o m e respects, are in a worse condition t h a n w h e n they were in slavery." I n a w o r d , t h e friends of t h e n e g r o , finding t h a t t h e transition from the w h i p to w a g e s was t h r o u g h modes of extracting w o r k as t o r t u r i n g as the former, a n d from their novelty even m o r e i r r i t a t i n g , r e n e w e d

* "The West Indies in lf)37," by Joseph Sturge and Thomas Harvey.


11 their a g i t a t i o n ; and t h e H o m e G o v e r n m e n t b e i n g c o n v i n c e d , in spite of itself, t h a t t h e c o n t i n u a n c e of s u c h t r a n s i t i o n was n o t d e s i r a b l e , the long s t r u g g l e between t h e r i g h t s of p r o p e r t y a n d of m a n ceased a t last, a n d on t h e 1st of A u g u s t 1 8 3 8 , t w o y e a r s before t h e a p p o i n t e d p e r i o d , the b l a c k l a b o u r e r s found t h e m s e l v e s m a s t e r s of t h e i r o w n m u s c l e s — l o r d s of their o w n labour. M a n y of us will r e m e m b e r t h e t r i u m p h and j o y of t h a t d a y , rejoicings, h o w e v e r , n o t un m i n g l e d w i t h fear lest t h e prophecies of the p r o - s l a v e r y a d v o c a t e s should p r o v e true, a n d t h e first freaks of freedom be riot a n d r e v e n g e : n o w o n d e r t h a t revenge w a s prophesied, for the prophets k n e w too well h o w m u c h it h a d been p r o v o k e d ; b u t never were ill-bodings so belied. O n t h e 13th of A u g u s t , t h e G o v e r n o r , Sir L i o n e l S m i t h , t h u s w r o t e h o m e to L o r d G l e n e l g : "The vast population of negroes of this island came into the full enjoyment of freedom ou the 1st of August. The day was observed by proclamation, as one of thanksgiving and prayer ; and it is quite impossible for me to do justice to the good order, decorum, and gratitude, which the whole of the labouring population manifested on the happy occasion. Not even the irregularity of a drunken individual occurred." A few d a y s ' h o l i d a y was t a k e n — i t w a s needed, to p r o v e t h a t it could be t a k e n ; b u t on t h e 1 0 t h of S e p t e m b e r the G o v e r n o r w a s a b l e to w r i t e : "The reports (of the stipendiary magistrates) will shew your lordship that, although there has been considerable cessation from labour since the 1st of August, it has nowhere

been wanting

when encouraged by fair

offers of wages ;

while their (the free labourers') orderly conduct and obedience to the laws has been most extraordinary, considering their treatment under the recent operation of the apprentice-law in this island, and the many provocations they have had to resentment." A n d n o w a t last t h e b a r g a i n - m a k i n g h a d begun : t h e g r e a t question, so l o n g d e b a t e d in t h e o r y , h a d to be solved in practice, viz. on w h a t t e r m s w o u l d t h e freedman sell his l a b o u r , a n d w h a t k i n d of l a b o u r w o u l d it be 1 O f course, he w o u l d g e t as h i g h a price as he could, a n d a p p o r t i o n t h e q u a l i t y a n d q u a n t i t y of t h e article to t h e p r i c e ; b u t t h e n , a g a i n , w h a t price w a s t h e b u y e r disposed to offer ? T h i s b a r g a i n , so novel to all parties, w a s a v e r y difficult one : u n d e r a n y c i r c u m s t a n c e s , it m u s t h a v e t a k e n time to m a k e ; a n d w h a t it w o u l d h a v e been if left to be settled b y t h e n a t u r a l laws of s u p p l y a n d d e m a n d , it is h a r d to say ; for t h e r e is n o fact m o r e w o r t h y of note, a n d y e t m o r e i n d u b i t a b l y p r o v e d , t h a n t h e fact, t h a t to a settlement b y those laws this b a r g a i n was n o t left.


12 I n t h e despatch of 1 0 t h S e p t e m b e r , a b o v e q u o t e d , Sir L i o n e l S m i t h p r o c e e d s to say : "The planters are, of course, resorting to all the means in their power to procure cheap labour. The third clause of the apprentice abolition law gave the free-labourers the use of their houses and grounds for three months ; that is, they could only be ejected after a three months' notice to quit prescribed by the act. Notices have accordingly been very generally served upon them to quit, and heavy rents demanded in the meantime, as means of inducing the labourers to accept low wages. These unfortunate attempts have a good deal retarded general cultivation by free-labour ; but their willingness to work on fair terms throughout all the parishes is most satisfactorily established; and where the apprentices may have made unreasonable demands, it has been a good deal owing to the exorbitant value of labour, judicially fixed on parties purchasing their discharge from apprenticeship The planters are disappointed that I do not send troops about the country, and issue proclamations to coerce labour." T h i s letter, t h o u g h written so soon after t h e initiation of t h e exper i m e n t , c o n t a i n s so m u c h of an epitome of its after history, t h a t the subjects it alludes to need s o m e further elucidation. B y a clause of t h e A b o l i t i o n A c t , any a p p r e n t i c e w i s h i n g to b u y h i s i m m e d i a t e a n d complete emancipation could compel a v a l u a t i o n of the r e m a i n d e r of his a p p r e n t i c e s h i p b y t h r e e m a g i s t r a t e s , one of t h e m a s t i p e n d i a r y , b u t t h e t w o others local justices — p r o b a b l y p l a n t e r s . M a n y t h u s p u r c h a s e d possession of themselves ; a n d a g o o d price they h a d to p a y . K n i b b s a y s , in 1 8 3 6 , " a t h o u s a n d h a v e a l r e a d y paid down in cash £ 3 2 . 0 0 0 * for their freedom, a n d as m a n y m o r e a r e in a b e y a n c e . " T h e n e g r o b o u g h t freedom, w h i c h to h i m w a s w o r t h a n y s u m ; b u t t h e p l a n t e r forgot t h a t w h a t h e was selling w a s l a b o u r , a n d t h a t , b y m a k i n g the n e g r o p a y h i g h , he was fixing a h i g h v a l u a t i o n on t h e article which h e w o u l d soon h a v e to buy. A c c o r d i n g l y we find t h a t t h o u g h 2s. 6d. per diem was an u n r e a s o n a b l e w a g e , y e t t h e w o r k m a n t h o u g h t be o u g h t to h a v e it, because it bad been t h e apprenticeship valuation,+ a n d therefore was t h e o n l y existing estimate of t h e w o r t h of h i s w o r k . T h u s we see h o w the m a s t e r p u t it into the b e a d a n d heart of the m a n to ask too m u c h ; next, we learn h o w he tried to m a k e t h e m t a k e too little. D u r i n g the old regime, t h e negroes were expected a l m o s t entirely to s u p p o r t t h e m s e l v e s o u t of their provision g r o u n d s ; a n d they still c l u n g to these small a l l o t m e n t s , a n d to their cottages, p a r t l y from t h a t cat-like a t t a c h m e n t which is a characteristic of their race, a n d * Knibb's Memoir, p. 243. + Parliamentary Papers, West Indies, 1839, p. 25.


13 also because t h e y w e r e i g n o r a n t h o w else t o get food. I t w a s of these local h a b i t s a n d feelings t h a t t h e e m p l o y e r s availed themselves ; a n d b o t h t h e d e s p a t c h e s of t h e G o v e r n o r a n d t h e r e p o r t s of t h e stipend i a r y m a g i s t r a t e s are full of a t t e m p t s to g e t b a c k w a g e s b y exorbitant rents, or to screw t h e m d o w n by t h r e a t s of ejectment. O n S e p t e m b e r 2 4 t h , 1 8 3 8 , t h e G o v e r n o r writes : " S o far from t h e l a b o u r e r s resorti n g to t h e w o o d s t o s q u a t in idleness, t h e y a r e s u b m i t t i n g to t h e m o s t g a l l i n g oppression r a t h e r t h a n be d r i v e n to q u i t t h e i r h o m e . " And a g a i n , M a y 1 3 t h , 1 8 3 9 , h e s a y s , " t h a t they ( t h e l a b o u r e r s ) h a d n o t h a d fair p l a y , was fully exemplified in m a n y of the m a g i s t r a t e s ' r e p o r t s sent to y o u r l o r d s h i p ' s office, w h e r e m o r e r e n t w a s c h a r g e d t h a n w a g e s p a i d ; t h u s e n d e a v o u r i n g to e x t o r t w o r k for worse t h a n n o t h i n g , since t h e excess of r e n t b r o u g h t t h e l a b o u r e r in debt ; " a n d h e a d d s , " t h e c h a r g i n g r e n t for house a n d g r o u n d s for every i n d i v i d u a l of a family is still c o n t i n u e d . " T h i s last-mentioned e x t r a o r d i n a r y m o d e of l e v y i n g r e n t caused g r e a t c o m p l a i n t , as m i g h t be expected. " R e n t , " writes M r . F i s h b o u r n e , one of the s t i p e n d i a r y m a g i s t r a t e s , A u g u s t 7 t h , 1 8 3 9 , " c o n t i n u e s t o be t h e cause of most of the irritation a n d h e a r t - b u r n i n g s w h i c h p r e v a i l t h r o u g h o u t this parish. T h e objection is n o t to t h e principle of p a y i n g a fair a n d reasonable s u m as r e n t , b u t to t h e a m o u n t d e m a n d e d , a n d t h e m o d e s in w h i c h it is levied. C o u p l i n g t h e p a y m e n t of rent w i t h t h e application of t h e t e n a n t ' s l a b o u r , is one cause of q u a r r e l ; c h a r g i n g it for e v e r y m e m b e r of a family, h u s b a n d s , wives, a n d children a b o v e ten y e a r s of a g e , a n d d e d u c t i n g it from t h e l a b o u r e r ' s w e e k l y p a y w i t h o u t h i s o r h e r consent, p r e v a i l s to a g r e a t extent, w h i c h p r o v o k e s t h e discontent a n d opposition of t h e n e g r o e s . They feel, a n d j u s t l y , I t h i n k , t h a t such exactions a r e u n f a i r . " * A g a i n , a n o t h e r m a g i s t r a t e writes : " A h u e a n d c r y is raised t h a t t h e l a b o u r e r s will not c o m e into t e r m s , a n d w o r k for fair w a g e s . I u n h e s i t a t i n g l y d e n y any such assertion : no c h a r g e of t h a t n a t u r e can b e fairly established a g a i n s t t h e m : t h e b l a m e rests w i t h t h e p l a n t e r s , in a l m o s t nine cases o u t of t e n . W h a t w i t h d e m a n d i n g double r e n t , m u l c t i n g t h e m of their p a y , n o n - p a y m e n t of w a g e s d u e , t h e daily t h r e a t of t u r n i n g t h e m off, a n d rooting u p their g r o u n d s , a n d t a u n t i n g t h e m t h a t p u n i s h m e n t alone is t h e i m p e t u s b y w h i c h they a r e t o be m a d e to l a b o u r . " t W e m i g h t fill o u r paper with similar e x t r a c t s , b u t we t h i n k w e h a v e * Extracts from Parliamentary Papers, West Indies, 1839, p. 128. See also Mr. Daly's Report, p. 133 ; Mr. Kent's, p. 133 ; Mr. Marlton's, p. 135, &c, &c. + Ibid., Mr. Hamilton's Report, p. 133.


14 given e n o u g h . I n fact, every effort which the m a s t e r s m a d e to evade t h e operation of the laws of s u p p l y a n d d e m a n d resulted in their o w n loss. T h e y issued, for e x a m p l e , t h r e a t s of ejectment : t h e y were t a k e n at their word. K n i b b , the n e g r o e s ' pastor a n d protector, b o u g h t estates a n d parcelled t h e m out in free villages, a n d the n e g r o e s l e a r n t t h a t t h e y c o u l d choose w h e t h e r to w o r k for t h e m s e l v e s or for " b u s h a , " a n d t h e y not s e l d o m declared for t h e former.* A g a i n , the m a s t e r s i n d u c e t h e labourers to sign c o n t r a c t s , b y w h i c h t h e y w e r e b o u n d u n d e r a fine to g i v e w o r k w h e n e v e r r e q u i r e d , t h i n k i n g that they could t h e r e b y e n s u r e t h a t " c o n t i n u o u s l a b o u r " + of w h i c h we h e a r so m u c h , b u t w h i c h , u p o n e x a m i n a t i o n , we n o t seldom find to m e a n c o n t i n u o u s w a i t i n g o n t h e master for w o r k a t w h a t t i m e a n d w a g e s he will : b u t as it t u r n e d o u t that the times w h e n their w o r k w a s w a n t e d , w e r e those w h e n it w a s w o r t h m o s t , the l a b o u r e r s took w o r k a b o v e t h e c o n t r a c t price, p a i d the fine, and left t h e m a s t e r s with their c o n t r a c t , b u t w i t h o u t t h e c o n t i n u o u s l a b o u r . A g a i n , t h e proprietors advertised for sale t h e m o u n t a i n lands heretofore cultivated as provision g r o u n d s , t h i n k i n g t h a t their cultivation " r e n d e r e d t h e people i n d e p e n d e n t of estates' l a b o u r for s u s t e n a n c e : " s o m e of these lands the best labourers b o u g h t , t h e r e b y " m a k i n g themselves m o r e i n d e p e n d e n t of daily hire t h a n before :" a n d t h e r e m a i n d e r being t h r o w n out of cultivation, t h e price of provisions r o s e — t h a t of y a m s full one h u n d r e d per cent., a n d t h e result w a s , t h a t all t h e labourers looked for sustenance to p r o v i sion g r o u n d s r a t h e r t h a n to plantation w o r k , because provisions w e r e w o r t h m o r e , a n d w a g e s w o r t h less + L a s t l y , t h e planters tried, b y h e l p of their legal power as j u r y m e n and j u s t i c e s , to m a k e t h e l a w a m e a n s of l o w e r i n g w a g e s ; t h e consequence of w h i c h w a s , t h a t t h e w o r k m e n either refused to w o r k for them a t all, or else, g e t t i n g j u s t i c e from t h e stipendiaries, t h e y l e a r n t to despise as well as to h a t e t h e m , — t o t h i n k t h e m as powerless as unjust. I n s h o r t , t h e result of these unfair a n d unscientific a t t e m p t s to get l a b o u r at too l o w a price, b y m e a n s c o n t r a r y a l i k e to the laws of justice a n d political e c o n o m y , w a s s i m p l y t h a t n o t sufficient l a b o u r was g i v e n at any price a t all : a n d it is in o r d e r to impress u p o n o u r readers this most i m p o r t a n t f a c t — t h a t the diminution of l a b o u r , a n d consequently of p r o d u c e , w a s t h e direct a n d i m m e d i a t e consequence * See Report of Mr. Hill, Secretary of the Stipendiary Justice Department, for account of the origin of the independent villages. Parliamentary Papers p. 15. + Ibid., p.

15.

+

Mr. Lyon's Report, Parliamentary Papers, p. 169.


15 of this m i s m a n a g e m e n t of labour, t h a t wo h a v e dwelt so l o n g u p o n this portion of our h i s t o r y . I t w o u l d seem to be t h e opinion of t h e pro-slavery writers, from M r . C a r l y l e to M r s . e x - P r e s i d e n t T y l e r , t h a t t h e J a m a i c a n e g r o is every y e a r developing his unfitness for self-government ; t h a t t h e m o r e be feels his freedom a n d forgets his s l a v e r y , t h e less i n d u s t r i o u s h e becomes, t h e faster he is relapsing into b a r b a r i s m , a n d the m o r e surely is t h e island again b e c o m i n g a waste. I f t h e t h e o r y of his unfitness for self-government w e r e t r u e , this w o u l d be t h e case ; b u t , unfortunately for the t h e o r y , t h e fact is precisely opposite. T h e e x p o r t o f s u g a r from J a m a i c a fell from m o r e t h a n 1,000,000 cwts. in 1 8 3 8 , t o 7 9 5 , 0 0 0 cwts. in 1 8 3 9 , a n d to little m o r e t h a n 5 0 0 , 0 0 0 cwts. in 1 8 4 0 ; a n d , spite of d r o u g h t s , S u g a r B i l l , a n d cholera, t h e a v e r a g e e x p o r t of t h e twelve years since 1 8 4 0 h a s been m o r e t h a n 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 cwts. In those two years the h a r m w a s done ; a n d less of the " n o b l e r p r o d u c t s " of the island was b r o u g h t forth b y free t h a n b y slave-labour, not b e cause " Q u a s h e e " w o u l d " s i t u p to his ears in p u m p k i n " regardless of w o r k , b u t because his " b o r n l o r d s " — t h o s e w h o w e r e " b o r n wiser t h a n h i m " * — w e r e , in their m a s t e r s h i p of h i m , regardless alike of wisdom a n d of justice. W e repeat, t h a t the history of these first t w o years clearly establishes these t h r e e facts : 1st, T h a t t h e b l a c k s , as a rule, were willing to give a fair d a y ' s w o r k for a fair d a y ' s w a g e s — that they actually did give the one w h e n t h e y got t h e other ; 2 n d l y , T h a t , as a rule, t h e whites did n o t offer t h e m this fair d a y ' s w a g e s ; a n d lastly, T h a t therefore t h e y did n o t get t h e fair d a y ' s w o r k . A n d for proof of these facts we refer, not to E x e t e r H a l l speeches or m i s sionary r e p o r t s — n o t to prejudiced p h i l a n t h r o p i s t s or partial friends of the n e g r o , b u t to the testimony of m e n whose position compelled t h e m to k n o w t h e t r u t h , a n d whose business, d u t y , a n d interest it w a s to tell i t — t o t h e official statements of the G o v e r n o r , a n d to t h e r e p o r t s for his information of his officers. W o u l d t h a t M r . C a r l y l e , while p e n n i n g t h a t " d i s c o u r s e " to w h i c h w e c a n n o t h e l p constantly referring, because w e believe t h a t t h r o u g h the p o w e r of his n a m e it h a s d o n e , a n d still does t h e n e g r o m o r e h a r m t h a n all t h e other writings against h i m — h a d cast his eyes over t h e record of this evidence, and c h e c k e d w i t h it t h e statements of p l a n t e r s pleading for protection, a n d striving to m a k e o u t a case for m o r e c o m p e n s a t i o n , before he helped t h e s t r o n g to t r a m p l e on t h e w e a k , a n d g a v e t h e A m e r i c a n slave-driver t h e only aid which genius h a s given or ever will give h i m . F o r t h e first time in t h e sad story * "Occasional Discourse on the Negro Question," Fraser's Magazine.


16 of his race, t h e good n a m e of the n e g r o , his c h a r a c t e r as a m a n , h a d become of value to h i m , — f o r t h e " c h a t t e l " h a s neither n a m e nor c h a r a c t e r : W a s it generous then of t h e greatest m a s t e r of sarcasm of his a g e — o f t h e first portrait-painter of a n y a g e — t o welcome into civilization this its long-excluded guest with n i c k n a m e s a n d caricatures ? to b r a n d h i m with the o p p r o b r i u m of idleness, to give h i m a bad c h a r a c t e r as a servant because h s m a s t e r was w a n t i n g in the faculty of m a s t e r s h i p — w a s w a n t i n g in wisdom and j u s t i c e — w a s h i m self w a n t i n g in i n d u s t r y , in the e n e r g y needed to work out t h e difficulties a n d s u p p l y t h e d e m a n d s of his c h a n g e d position ? T h e c h a n g e in t h e position of the e m p l o y e r was s i m p l y this. In freedom h e could n o longer, as he did in s l a v e r y , deprive t h e labourer of his due s h a r e of the p r o d u c e , by k e e p i n g b a c k from h i m t h e fair r e w a r d of his l a b o u r : h e tried to do so, a n d the result w a s a lessening of the w h o l e p r o d u c e , a n d therefore a still, g r e a t e r lessening of his o w n s h a r e . A g a i n , h e h a d forced t h e slave to w o r k for h i m on his o w n t e r m s : he tried to d o so with the free m a n , a n d m e r e l y drove h i m to w o r k for himself. I n consequence, he found himself not only w i t h a diminished gross p r o d u c e , out of w h i c h to p a y his w o r k m e n , b u t also with a d i m i n i s h e d s u p p l y of w o r k m e n , a n d therefore w i t h h i g h e r w a g e s to p a y . H e n c e , t h r o u g h his o w n folly, t h e e m p l o y e r increased his own loss, to t h e gain—for a t i m e — o f the l a b o u r e r . We s a y , for a time, because in the i n t i m a t e relations which t h e e m p l o y e r h a s to the l a b o u r e r , it is almost impossible for t h e one to c o m m i t a folly w i t h o u t in t h e long r u n i n j u r i n g t h e other as well as himself. T h e loss of t h e one class m a y at first a p p e a r to be t h e gain of t h e other, b u t ultimately t h e loss becomes m u t u a l , t h o u g h p e r h a p s never equal. I n t h e case in p o i n t , w e find this result h a p p e n i n g in two ways_ F i r s t , it is true t h a t the e m a n c i p a t e d slave w a s h a r d l y fit to be a t once freed from all g u i d a n c e a n d direction. Efficient production requires wise m a s t e r s h i p fully as m u c h as industrious service, a n d n o one will d e n y that t h e m a s t e r s h i p needs the g r e a t e r faculty of t h e two : n o w o n d e r , t h e n , t h a t slavery h a d left t h e u n e d u c a t e d b l a c k almost as deficient in this faculty as the educated w h i t e , a n d t h a t w h e n t h e slave suddenly found t h a t h e w a s w o r k i n g for h i m s e l f on his o w n provision g r o u n d , h e set himself to w o r k in a s o m e w h a t slavish a n d slovenly m a n n e r . T h e r e is, h o w e v e r , n o incentive to exertion equal to t h e full possession of its r e w a r d s , a n d peasant-proprietorship is proverbial for t h e lessons w h i c h it teaches of i n d u s t r y a n d e c o n o m y : hence w e find the b l a c k peasant-proprietor r a t h e r c h a r g e d with accu-


17 m u t a t i n g too m u c h , a n d b u y i n g out t h e w h i t e with his savings,* than with letting his small estate become waste t h r o u g h his sloth. This evil then was every d a y r e m e d y i n g itself, a n d w o u l d soon h a v e ceased altogether, h a d it not been a g g r a v a t e d b y t h e o t h e r a n d m o r e direct result of the loss of t h e e m p l o y e r , — w e m e a n , t h e l o w e r i n g of t h e s t a n d a r d of living of his l a b o u r e r s , t h r o u g h his inability from w a n t of capital to g u i d e t h e m with e n e r g y a n d effect, or, in m a n y cases, to e m p l o y them at all. Still this evil, t h o u g h m u c h m o r e deeply seated t h a n the other, contained also in itself its o w n r e m e d y , for even t h e J a m a i c a employer was at l e n g t h compelled to learn t h e lesson of adversity. T h e absentee found himself forced either to m a n a g e his estate for himself, or else to sell or lease it to those whose interest it was to m a n a g e it well. T h e resident planters found t h a t their only h o p e of profit w a s b y increasing their p r o d u c e b y mechanical i m p r o v e m e n t s , by lessening their expenses b y skilful a r r a n g e m e n t a n d careful e c o n o m y , and b y conciliating their w o r k m e n , rather t h a n b y m a k i n g vain a t t e m p t s to overreach a n d coerce them. A m o r e k i n d l y relation s p r a n g u p between t h e two classes, to the increased prosperity of b o t h , a n d we find the result in the increased p r o d u c e of t h e island ; the a v e r a g e e x p o r t of s u g a r for t h e three y e a r s p r e c e d i n g 1 8 4 8 ( t h e year in which t h e effects on production of t h e S u g a r B i l l in 1 8 4 6 begin to be visible) exceeding b y fourteen per cent, t h e average export of t h e three years after the a p p r e n t i c e s h i p . B e f o r e , h o w e v e r , we proceed to e x a m i n e t h e effects of t h e S u g a r B i l l , w e m u s t r e m a r k briefly on t w o measures adopted b y the r u l i n g class in order to accelerate, b u t in reality t e n d i n g to retard, b o t h produce a n d profit. I n t h e old t i m e s t h e p l a n t e r of course p a i d t h e taxes, b u t w h e n the n e g r o , b y b e c o m i n g free, b e c a m e taxable, t h e J a m a i c a legislature m a d e h i m a t a x - p a y e r b y levying h e a v y i m p o r t duties on provisions a n d other articles of w h i c h his class consumed b y far the l a r g e s t proportion. T o m a k i n g t h e l a b o u r e r pay his s h a r e , there could be n o objection ; b u t in t h e first place these duties m a d e h i m pay m o r e t h a n his s h a r e , as m u c h as — 4 6 p e r cent. on foreign B e e f and P o r k , 40 „ „ Herrings, 25

,,

F l o u r , &c., & c . ; t

• See, for example, Mr. Day's declaration that the negro ought not to be allowed to buy land, because " he cultivates it very carefully," "lives on less than half the produce," and "thus by degrees hems in the large plantations."-—" Five Years in the West Indies," vol. i. p. 32. + Mr. W. Smith's third Letter to Economist, May 23, 1846 ; see, also, Knibb's Memoir, p. 437, &c. В


18 so t h a t in 1 8 5 1 , the last year for w h i c h we h a v e been able to find the p a r t i c u l a r s of t h e balance-sheet, t h e i m p o r t duties a m o u n t e d to m o r e t h a n three-fifths of the whole revenue.* Secondly, t h e m o d e b y w h i c h he w a s m a d e to p a y w a s u n w i s e ; for instead of " p r o m o t i n g l a b o u r by increasing t h e d e m a n d s o n t h e l a b o u r e r ' s m e a n s , " — t o use t h e words e m p l o y e d last y e a r b y the J a m a i c a delegates when a r g u i n g w i t h "Sir J o h n P a k i n g t o n for the imposition of a poll or h o u s e - t a x , — these duties, b y raising the price of food, a n d m a k i n g it both b a d to b u y a n d good to sell, were, as L o r d G r e y states in one of his late despatches, " d i r e c t l y calculated to discourage the labourer from w o r k i n g for h i r e , and to lead h i m to prefer w o r k i n g on his o w n p r o vision g r o u n d . " B u t if t h e m o d e of r a i s i n g t h e taxes w a s unwise, t h e w a y in w h i c h m u c h of t h e m w a s spent was still m o r e so. W h i l e t h e J a m a i c a planter was finding himself forced to obey t h e laws of labour, a n d w a s r e l u c t a n t l y g i v i n g t h e w a g e s compelled b y competition, he w a s tantalized with t h e tidings that his fellow-planter in M a u r i t i u s was i m p o r t i n g labourers for I n d i a , w h o m h e w o r k e d at little m o r e than slave cost, a n d — m o r e t e m p t i n g still—over w h o m h e held little less t h a n s l a v e - o w n i n g p o w e r . T r u e , t h e r e also c a m e tidings t h a t these i m p o r t e d i m m i g r a n t s needed slave-laws a n d slaved r i v i n g severities to m a k e t h e m fulfil their contracts ; t h a t , spite of these l a w s , vast n u m b e r s succeeded in b r e a k i n g their contracts a n d b e c o m i n g v a g r a n t s , thieves, a n d b e g g a r s ; t h a t for w a n t of the wives w h o m they left in I n d i a to s t a r v e , t h e y were c o m m i t t i n g the m o s t frightful immoralities ; t h a t the effect of their competition a n d e x a m ple o n the negroes w a s not to a t t r a c t t h e m to plantation labour, b u t to drive t h e m from it ; lastly, t h a t , after all, t h e gain w a s n o t so m u c h real as a p p a r e n t , for t h a t not only did m a n y r u n a w a y , b u t m a n y also died from their o w n m i s c o n d u c t , or from ill-treatment, or while acclimating, before they h a d w o r k e d o u t t h e first cost of their import.+ Still, t h e temptation of g e t t i n g l a b o u r u n d e r t h e m a r k e t price, a n d of t h e r e b y lowering t h a t price, w a s too s t r o n g , especially w h e n , b y skilful shuffling of the taxes, t h e n e g r o could be m a d e to pay the cost of b r i n g i n g competitors from t h e other side of the world to u n d e r b i d him. * Parliamentary Returns (Jamaica), p. 179. + See, among other evidence, Mr. Raymond's evidence before Sugar and Coffee Planting Committee ; Despatch of the Governor of Mauritius in 1841, &c. The Report with Blue Books, 1852, gives the number of immigrants into Mauritius, from 1813 to May 1, 1852, as 89,813 males, and only 15,557 females.


19 A n d t h u s b e g a n t h e J a m a i c a coolie i m m i g r a t i o n , in w h i c h t h e only redeeming feature w a s , t h a t its failure was so g l a r i n g as q u i c k l y to stay it. A b o u t 4 5 0 0 coolies were i m p o r t e d , chiefly in t h e years 1846 and 7,* a n d h a v i n g carefully traced down t h e history of this i m p o r tation t h r o u g h B l u e B o o k s a n d extracts from colonial n e w s p a p e r s , w e have n o hesitation in s a y i n g t h a t n o t h i n g could be so a b s u r d , w e r e it not for its injustice a n d iniquity. T h e s e m e n , t h e offscourings o f I n d i a n t o w n s , utterly unfitted for field l a b o u r , m a n y of t h e m r u n n i n g a w a y from t h e estates to w h i c h t h e y w e r e assigned, or d i s c h a r g e d because, from disease or inefficiency, t h e y w e r e n o t w o r t h k e e p i n g , w a n d e r e d about, half-naked a n d half-starved, living in wayside ditches or dens in t h e t o w n s , infecting t h e negroes w i t h their idleness, profligacy, a n d p a g a n i s m , u n t i l , in 1 8 5 1 , w e find t h a t , o u t of t h e w h o l e n u m b e r i m p o r t e d , there was scarcely o n e - h a l f alive ;+ a n d almost the last that we can learn of this s u r v i v i n g r e m n a n t is from Sir C. G r e y ' s D e s p a t c h of A u g u s t 2 3 , 1 8 5 2 , in w h i c h he states t h a t t h e A s s e m b l y refused to p a y for their r e t u r n to I n d i a , t h o u g h it w a s solely on the solemn p l e d g e t h a t , at t h e expiration of their contract, t h e y s h o u l d be t h u s returned, t h a t they h a d ever consented to i m m i g r a t e . Still, the idea of i m m i g r a t i o n h a d t a k e n h o l d of the J a m a i c a m i n d , there was no h o p e in I n d i a , still less in E u r o p e , for t h e y h a d tried I r i s h a n d P o r t u g u e s e from M a d e i r a , a n d they died faster t h a n coolies. W h y , t h e n , n o t go back to Africa ? After all, there is n o t h i n g l i k e y o u r African for an a p p r e n t i c e or a slave, or a n y t h i n g as n e a r a slave as philanthropists will allow. S o the cry w a s for Africans, " G i v e us ships to b r i n g t h e m , lend us m o n e y to hire t h e m , give us laws to coerce t h e m . " A t first, t h e s u p p l y w a s p r e t t y m u c h confined to t h e " liberated A f r i c a n s , " to t h e slaves c a u g h t by o u r cruisers, e m a n c i pated b y t h e M i x e d C o m m i s s i o n C o u r t s , a n d t h e n assigned, u n d e r contracts, to p l a n t e r s . T h e s e contracts w e r e , a n d still are, a r r a n g e d so as to g i v e far too m u c h power to t h e p l a n t e r , a n d too little p r o t e c tion to t h e African ; yet a s — t h a n k s to the agitation of p h i l a n t h r o pists, a n d t h e regulations of D o w n i n g - s t r e e t — t h i s transition from t h e hold of t h e slave-ship to freedom in J a m a i c a , t h o u g h unjust a n d oppressive w h i l e it lasts, m u s t end in little m o r e t h a n three y e a r s , t h e c a p t u r e d slave does certainly gain b y t h e e x c h a n g e , a n d in this i m m i * We find, from the ninth report of the Emigration Commissioners (p. 22), that the cost of importing immigrants into Jamaica, from India and elsewhere, for the eleven years ending 1848, was £180, 252. + See Report of Committee of Jamaica Assembly, Falmouth Post, December 30, 1851. В 2


20 gration the a d v a n t a g e s m u s t be allowed to m o r e t h a n counterbalance t h e defects. B u t t h e n u m b e r of these i m m i g r a n t s was b u t few,— o n l y j u s t e n o u g h to give t h e planter a taste for more African a p p r e n tices, a n d to r e m i n d h i m of the good old times w h e n all his w o r k m e n w e r e u n d e r a life contract. W h y not, t h e n , import free i m m i g r a n t s from Africa ? P o o r miserable h e a t h e n s , w h a t a good t h i n g it w o u l d be to convert t h e m to C h r i s t i a n i t y , a l w a y s s u p p o s i n g t h a t t h e y d i d n o t first convert b a c k t h e creoles to Fetichism : a n d then y o u m i g h t g e t a n y n u m b e r of t h e m , a n d fill the l a b o u r m a r k e t as full as y o u pleased. T h e r e was o n l y one objection t o this plan, a n d t h a t was, that t h o u g h Africans m i g h t be bought to a n y a m o u n t , yet, w h e n free, t h e y would n o t c o m e . T h e m e n settled at Sierra L e o n e a n d the o t h e r B r i t i s h possessions were too well off to leave, a n d k n e w too well w h a t a contract m e a n t ; t h e s a v a g e chiefs a l o n g t h e coast were willing to sell their prisoners, or to go to w a r to catch t h e m ; b u t to b u y them w a s , b y B r i t i s h l a w , p i r a c y , a n d t h e interfering philanthropists t o o k care that the l a w s h o u l d be k e p t . T h e only h o p e w a s in the K r o o tribes, a h a r d y set of fishermen, a m o n g w h o m , it was said, slavery d i d not exist; a n d great hope there was of t h e m for a w h i l e , till it was discovered t h a t t h e r e were not m o r e t h a n 3 0 , 0 0 0 of t h e m , and t h a t , " u n d e r the m o s t favourable circumstances n o t m o r e than 1 0 0 0 K r o o e m i g r a n t s could be obtained a n n u a l l y for t h e w h o l e W e s t I n d i e s . " * I t w a s not, t h e n , o w i n g to t h e competition of i m m i g r a n t s , b u t in spite of abortive and expensive efforts to obtain t h e m , t h a t t h e island h a d , as w e observed, become m o r e p r o d u c t i v e ; a n d all classes w e r e e x p e c t i n g , if not e x p e r i e n c i n g , better t i m e s , w h e n t h e y s u d d e n l y found themselves sacrificed at t h e shrine of F r e e T r a d e , or r a t h e r to w h a t the D u k e of W e l l i n g t o n called, t h e necessity of c a r r y i n g on the Queen's Government. T h e W h i g s declared for free trade in slave p r o d u c e , because free trade was then t h e one idea with w h i c h t h e nation w a s possessed, a n d this was almost t h e only free t r a d e m e a s u r e w h i c h P e e l had left them ; and P e e l , c o n t r a r y to his a c k n o w ledged convictions, enabled t h e m to pass it, professedly because, it t h e W h i g s w e n t out, there was no p a r t y fit to c o m e in. W e are not g o i n g to discuss t h e merits of this m e a s u r e : it is both useless and hopeless to do so now t h a t the thousands of slaves w h o m it caused to be i m p o r t e d into C u b a a n d B r a z i l are already most of t h e m w o r k e d to d e a t h , (for it is said t h a t seven years is t h e i r a v e r a g e w o r k i n g life,) and n o w that promises to the W e s t I n d i e s , a n d p r o * Mr. Fisher's Report of Voyage to Kroo Coast, as immigration agent, in 1847.


21 fessions of h u m a n i t y , h a v e a l i k e been t h r o w n o v e r b o a r d b y the P r o tectionists, in their v a i n effort to save a s i n k i n g m i n i s t r y . A l l t h a t we can do is briefly to state the effects of this m e a s u r e , and to protest against t h e a t t e m p t s , not seldom m a d e , to c h a r g e t h e m upon emancipation, a n d to m a k e the n e g r o a n d t h e philanthropist responsible for the consequences of t h e destruction or desertion of P r o t e c t i o n . These effects were not immediately evident either u p o n t h e p r o d u c e or the prosperity of the island. T h e s u g a r c r o p takes a long t i m e in g r o w i n g — a t least fifteen m o n t h s , according to M r . B o r t h w i c k — w h i c h fact, h e tells us,* explains w h y the export of 1 8 4 7 , g r o w n from caries planted before t h e passing of the S u g a r B i l l w a s , 7 5 0 , 0 0 0 c w t . — decidedly above the a v e r a g e . N o r w a s t h e whole fall in price experienced at once : ships h a d to be sent from C u b a to Africa, a n d slaves to be b r o u g h t b a c k in t h e m , before t h e C u b a n s u g a r - g r o w e r could prove to the British consumer t h e a d v a n t a g e of the slave-trade. T h e a v e r a g e price per cwt. of British W e s t I n d i a M u s c o v a d o s u g a r , exclusive of d u t y in 1 8 4 6 , was 34s. 5d. ; in 1 8 4 7 , it fell to 28s. 3d. ; b u t in 1848, t h e slave s u g a r competition w a s sufficient to b r i n g it d o w n to 23s. 8d.+—a price w h i c h , t a k i n g one year w i t h a n o t h e r , h a s been about the a v e r a g e ever since. T h e consequences w h i c h m u s t ensue from this diminution of 3 0 per cent, in the gross proceeds of m e n already s t r u g g l i n g with difficulties, a r e too self-evident to need description. O u r readers will find t h e m v e r y clearly depicted in L o r d S t a n l e y ' s letters to M r . G l a d s t o n e , o u t of which w e will content ourselves w i t h q u o t i n g one extract exemplifying t h e e n o r m o u s depreciation of p r o perty, a n d its result in the a b a n d o n m e n t of estates a n d discharge of labourers. I n his second letter, p a g e 5 2 , w e find the following statement : — " A correspondent, the greater part of whose life has been passed in Jamaica, thus addresses me: ' I may state that, within the last few months, I have seen in my own neighbourhood, Little Spring Garden, a sea-side estate, with a canefield of about 200 acres, which was sold for £6000 in 1827, resold for £500. According to a Report of a Committee of the House of Assembly, 140 sugar, and 165 coffee estates, named in that report, were abandoned since the passing of the Act of Emancipation ; but, in point of fact, these properties have nearly all been broken up since the alteration of the Coffee duties in 1844, and the Sugar duties in 1846.'" H e r e we find t h e real m e a n i n g of t h a t a b a n d o n m e n t of estates so often quoted by A m e r i c a n s as an excuse for t h e continuance of their slavery, a n d n o t seldom alleged by W e s t I n d i a n s as a reason w h y free• See Evidence before Sugar and Coffee Plantation Committee. + Parliamentary Returns, February, 1852.


22 d o m should be restricted. I t w a s t h e result not of freedom, b u t of free trade ;—of a fall in price, w h i c h n o v a g r a n t laws or power of coercing c o n t r a c t i n g e m i g r a n t s , could p r e v e n t ; and L o r d S t a n l e y , after g i v i n g m a n y similar instances, t r u l y tells M r . G l a d s t o n e t h a t , b y t h e m , " h e will see strikingly illustrated t h e c h a n g e w h i c h has t a k e n place in the v a l u e of p r o p e r t y , not, as is sometimes contended, since t h e passing of t h e E m a n c i p a t i o n A c t , b u t since t h e anticipated admission of slave-grown s u g a r , to compete on e q u a l t e r m s . " — P a g e 55. B u t it m a y be said t h a t this c h a n g e , t h o u g h not caused b y emancip a t i o n , does n o t the less p r o v e that, in s u g a r - g r o w i n g a t least, freed o m c a n n o t contend w i t h slavery. I f free l a b o u r needs protection at t h e cost of t h e c o n s u m e r , in o r d e r to compete w i t h slave labour, w h a t becomes of t h e b o a s t i n g p r o p h e c y , t h a t , of the t w o , the free l a b o u r w o u l d cost the l e a s t ? O u r first reply to this is, t h a t , between B r a z i l or C u b a , a n d J a m a i c a , t h e c o m p a r i s o n is not fair : as m u c h d e p e n d s on the e m p l o y e r as on t h e l a b o u r e r , and in both B r a z i l and C u b a t h e e m p l o y e r s a r e r e s i d e n t — i n t h e former, extraordinarily careful a n d e c o n o m i c a l , * a n d in t h e latter, m a n y of t h e m s h r e w d , calculating A m e r i c a n s , with a b u n d a n t capital a t c o m m a n d ; w h i l e in J a m a i c a , b y far t h e largest proportion are i m p o v e r i s h e d absentees, at t h e m e r c y of m o r t g a g e e s , m e r c h a n t s , a n d m a n a g e r s . B u t m o r e o v e r , we will also frankly confess t h a t if the friends of freedom expected t h a t freed l a b o u r could, w i t h o u t l o n g p r o b a t i o n , become a m a t c h for slave l a b o u r , backed by the slave trade, their expectations were unreasonable, a n d h a v e n o t been fulfilled. T h e i r h y p o t h e s i s w a s , t h a t the h o p e of gain is a m o r e powerful i n c i t e m e n t to l a b o u r t h a n t h e fear of the lash ; b u t there is no m o t i v e so powerful as the fear of death ; a n d their m i s t a k e w a s t h a t t h e y did n o t calculate on that fear. T h e y k n e w t h a t forced l a b o u r takes m o r e out of t h e life of a m a n t h a n w i l l i n g i n d u s t r y , a n d t h e y said t h a t no slave-owner could keep his h u m a n tools in w o r k i n g condition w i t h o u t w h i p p i n g less w o r k out of t h e m t h a n t h e y w o u l d willingly give for w a g e s ; b u t t h e y forgot t h a t , with t h e slave t r a d e , it w o u l d pay h i m to care less for condition than for w o r k , a n d to g i v e t h e m tasks w h i c h w o u l d shorten their lives. W h a t A n g l o - S a x o n , n o t to say w h a t n e g r o , would w o r k eighteen h o u r s in t h e twenty-four, for weeks together, u n d e r a tropical sun, if he were n o t forced to do so?+ I t will, w e fear, need m a n y a mechanical invention, a n d m u c h m o r e skill in its application a n d m a n a g e m e n t t h a n * See Mr. Farrer's Evidence before Sugar and Coffee Planting Committee. + Mr. Higgins' Evidence before Sugar and Coffee Planting Committee.


23 J a m a i c a , as yet, can furnish, before such h a n d labour as this can be contended w i t h . N o r , it must be r e m e m b e r e d , was t h e competition only w i t h this slave-trade s u g a r ; there was the large a n d increasing g r o w t h of beetroot s u g a r in F r a n c e heavily protected, a n d d r i v i n g all foreign s u g a r s , whether free or slave, from the F r e n c h into the E n g l i s h m a r k e t ; a n d there were t h e sugars of J a v a a n d t h e E a s t I n d i e s , raised indeed b y free m e n , b u t b y free m e n forced by the density of population to t a k e t h e lowest possible rate of wages, so low, says M r . C r o o k e , an E n g l i s h sugar-factor from B e n g a l , as a p e n n y farthing a-day. T r u e , M r . C r o o k e * also tells u s , t h a t planters in his n e i g h b o u r h o o d , w h o h a d lived in t h e W e s t I n d i e s , said, that a n y free n e g r o g a v e as m u c h w o r k as six of these poorly-paid coolies : a n d w e d o u b t not t h a t J a m a i c a , in the l o n g r u n , will prove n o exception to t h e industrial rule, t h a t the worst-paid l a b o u r is n o t t h e most profitable ; b u t at present she m u s t find competition such as this b y n o means easy to meet. I f w e add to the effects of t h e S u g a r B i l l t h e fearful o u t b r e a k of cholera in 1 8 5 1 , sweeping a w a y , a c c o r d i n g to t h e G o v e r n o r , " t e n t h o u s a n d able-bodied labourers,"+ a n d t h e ravages of the s m a l l p o x , which followed in 1 8 5 2 , a l m o s t as destructive, a n d h a r d l y y e t stayed, — w e shall h a v e noticed all t h e m a i n features of the history of J a m a i c a , from t h e declaration of freedom to the present t i m e . A brief recapitulation of t h e m will enable o u r readers to j u d g e h o w far t h e p o v e r t y of the proprietors, or the d i m i n u t i o n of p r o d u c e , can be fairly c h a r g e d u p o n t h e innate idleness of the n e g r o , or u p o n the follies of h i s friends. T h e E m a n c i p a t i o n A c t , it is often said, t h o u g h intrinsically j u s t , w a s ill-timed, because p r e m a t u r e l y passed w i t h o u t t h e i n t r o d u c t o r y c h a n g e s which o u g h t to h a v e preceded such a social revolution ; b u t if so, whose fault was t h a t ? C a n n i n g ' s resolutions of 1 8 2 3 were passed a t t h e instigation of t h e anti-slavery p a r t y , a n d against t h e m o s t d e t e r m i n e d opposition of the W e s t I n d i a interest, for t h e sole p u r p o s e of p r e p a r i n g the slaves for freedom ; b u t this p u r p o s e w a s altogether frustrated b y t h e resident planters a n d m a n a g e r s , w h o threatened rebellion rather than obedience to t h e m . T h e first of t h e t w e n t y m e a s u r e s w h i c h the ministers of t h e C r o w n declared t h e y w o u l d i n t r o d u c e into t h e different slave colonies in order to c a r r y o u t these resolutions, was one " to provide t h e m e a n s of instruction a n d * Minutes of Evidence before Sugar and Coffee Planting Committee, 1848. Report, p. 15. + Sir C. Grey's Despatch, December 31, 1851.

First


24 religious education to t h e slaves : " in not one of t h e colonies w a s it found possible to give this m e a s u r e effect, for each schoolmaster would h a v e needed a soldier to protect h i m , so resolute w e r e t h e whites t h a t t h e blacks should n o t be taught, to be free ; b u t h a d t h e cont r a r y been t h e case, y e t a n o t h e r m e a s u r e w o u l d h a v e been still m o r e necessary, v i z . , one to p r o v i d e the m e a n s of instruction to the w h i t e s , — to teach t h e m h o w to m a n a g e free m e n , a n d to s h o w t h e m t h a t it was n o t well to p r e p a r e t h e negroes for liberty by inciting t h e m to insurrection, b y increasing their p u n i s h m e n t s , a n d b y persecuting their pastors. N o r can t h e philanthropists plead g u i l t y to t h e apprenticeship blund e r ; for it was a concession to t h e planters, w h i c h t h e y to a m a n opposed ; still less was it their fault t h a t the n e g r o e s , as soon as t h e y h a d their l a b o u r to dispose of, a s k e d for it the same h i g h valuation as t h a t w h i c h their m a s t e r s h a d forced t h e m to p a y ; n o r t h a t t h e y left t h e service of their e m p l o y e r s , w h o t u r n e d t h e m out of their cottages if t h e y w o u l d n o t take j u s t w h a t w a g e s they chose to offer. I t w a s no cant of E x c t e r H a l l w h i c h caused t h e defeat of t h e capitalist in his a t t e m p t to i g n o r e or to b r e a k t h e laws of capital and labour, or which obliged h i m to suffer t h e consequences of his i g n o r a n c e of t h e conditions of his new relation or of his u n w i l l i n g n e s s to fulfil them. The production and preparation of s u g a r is a difficult a n d intricate business, n e e d i n g in both its agricultural a n d m a n u f a c t u r i n g operations m u c h skill a n d attentive e c o n o m y , a n d in t h e latter a b u n d a n t capital, — b u t it was n o t t h e friends of t h e black labourer w h o forced the w h i t e e m p l o y e r to c o n d u c t his business at a distance of t h o u s a n d s of miles, and without the capital, which, h a d he n o t been e x t r a v a g a n t , he m i g h t h a v e saved. A n d as to t h e loss of protection, t h e antislavery p a r t y b r o u g h t t h a t u p o n the colonies as little as t h e y did t h e pestilence, for their s t r u g g l e s , as a p a r t y , to preserve it, w e r e a t least as vigorous a n d as p e r s e v e r i n g as were those of the p l a n t i n g interest. S o m u c h for p h i l a n t h r o p i c folly : b u t now for negro idleness ; a n d g r a n t i n g t h a t it exists, again w e ask, whose fault is that ? W e are n o t such a d m i r e r s of t h e n e g r o race as to suppose, t h a t because a m a n ' s father w a s an African s a v a g e a n d h e himself a half-civilized, u n t a u g h t , d e g r a d e d slave, he m u s t therefore h a v e e n e r g y to conquer circumstances which m i g h t well appal a civilized A n g l o - S a x o n , or i n n a t e i n d u s t r y sufficient to resist the influences a n d disregard t h e e x a m p l e of those above h i m . T h e p r o u d idleness of a slave-owner is proverbial ; a n d t h o u g h stern necessity is daily t e a c h i n g t h e whites of J a m a i c a h o w to w o r k , y e t , to j u d g e b y t h e reports of almost every traveller, t h e y


25 have, w e fear, not yet entirely forgotten their slaveholding habits ;* what w o n d e r , t h e n , if the black sometimes imitates t h e m in t h i n k i n g work disgraceful, a n d if he does not forget h o w hateful it w a s w h e n it was w h i p p e d out of h i m . A g a i n , t h e n e g r o does not, a n y more t h a n the I r i s h or D o r s e t s h i r e labourer, g i v e good w o r k for bad p a y ; a n d there is no virtue in a tropical sun which should induce m e n to give continuous a n d efficient l a b o u r with w a g e s at a shilling a d a y , t a n d with provisions m o r e h i g h l y taxed t h a n ours under t h e corn laws. W h i l e , therefore, w e do n o t d e n y , b u t rather m o s t deeply deplore, the deficient i n d u s t r y of m a n y of the emancipated negroes, we yet do assert t h a t this deficient industry is n o t so m u c h the cause as t h e effect of colonial distress ; and t h a t even w h e r e it is its cause, it is itself in g r e a t measure caused n o t by emancipation b u t b y slavery, or b y t h e mistakes a n d m i s c o n d u c t of those w h o could not forget t h a t they h a d been slave-owners. I n t r u t h , if w e c o m e to a n a l y z e this oft repeated c o m p l a i n t of idleness, we shall find t h a t it p r e t t y generally reduces itself to t h e n o t u n n a t u r a l reluctance of the w o r k m a n to w o r k on plantations for a master, w h e n m u c h better p a y could be g o t b y toiling on provision g r o u n d s for himself. A fair analysis of t h e evidence given b y t h e planters themselves before L o r d G e o r g e B e n t i n c k ' s C o m m i t t e e , w o u l d , we are convinced, confirm the following n o t e w o r t h y r e m a r k in Sir C . G r e y ' s D e s p a t c h of D e c e m b e r 31st, 1 8 5 1 . After a l l u d i n g to the " d e m o r a l i z i n g effect " w h i c h great pestilences h a v e in J a m a i c a , as well as e v e r y w h e r e else, a n d s a y i n g t h a t " w h e n n e a r l y t h e w h o l e inhabitants of h a m l e t s are d e s t r o y e d , " (as w a s t h e case in t h e cholera of t h a t y e a r , ) " i t m u s t necessarily h a v e a g r e a t effect for some t i m e in m a k i n g t h e s u r v i v i n g labourers of t h e district, less settled and s t e a d y , " he a d d s , " i t is unjust to m a k e a general i m p u t a t i o n against t h e m of laziness ; for a l t h o u g h , in c o m m o n w i t h the i n h a b i t a n t s of all w a r m climates, t h e y feel m o r e t h a n those of cold ones a l i k i n g for repose, and a sense of enjoyment in it, there are few races of m e n w h o w i l l Work h a r d e r or m o r e perseveringly w h e n they a r e sure of g e t t i n g for themselves the whole produce of their labour. I t is quite t r u e , h o w ever, t h a t t h e y r e g a r d it as fair, and almost meritorious, to get as m u c h as possible from their e m p l o y e r s , and to d o as little as possible for them in return ; n o t h i n g will k e e p t h e m to t h e j o u r n e y - w o r k of t h e master, if the cultivation of their o w n g r o u n d , or indeed their p r i v a t e interest of a n y sort, d r a w s t h e m a w a y . " * See Mr. Bigelow, cap. viii. ; and also Lord Elgin's Despatch, May 6, 1846. + Sir J. Pakington's speech in Parliament, December 9, 1852 ; Mr. Bigelow, cap. xiii.


26 These sentences seem to u s v e r y fairly to describe the industrial relations of the colony ; a n d h o w far this preference b y t h e n e g r o of his o w n interest to t h a t of his e m p l o y e r has been b u t following the e x a m p l e of t h a t e m p l o y e r , w e will leave to our readers to determine. W e can o n l y express o u r conviction that n o fact as yet presented b y J a m a i c a h i s t o r y , n o t even " t h e injudicious m e t h o d s a d o p t e d b y m a n a g e r s to secure continuous l a b o u r on estates,"* lead us to d o u b t t h e previous opinion conveyed b y Sir C . G r e y , in his R e p o r t for 1 8 4 8 , v i z . , " t h a t u n d e r a system of perfectly fair dealing a n d of real j u s t i c e , t h e y (the n e g r o e s ) will c o m e to be an a d m i r a b l e p e a s a n t r y a n d y e o m a n r y , able-bodied, industrious a n d h a r d - w o r k i n g , frank, a n d welldisposed." B u t p e r h a p s t h e best explanation b o t h of t h e causes w h i c h h a v e sometimes m a d e t h e n e g r o a poor w o r k m a n , a n d of t h e m a n n e r in w h i c h he m i g h t be m a d e a good one, is to be found in a letter to the Economist n e w s p a p e r from M r . W . S m i t h , himself a planter, a n d well k n o w n as one of the t h r e e delegates sent last y e a r from J a m a i c a to r e p r e s e n t its distress to t h e B r i t i s h G o v e r n m e n t a n d c o u n t r y . On h i s first r e t u r n from the island, in 1 8 4 6 , he writes as follows : — "During our recent sojourn in Jamaica, Mr. Dickson and I, either together or separately, visited eighteen out of the twenty-two parishes into which the island is divided. Our avowed object was to make inquiries respecting the system of cultivation and manufacture of the staples, and the all-important question of the supply of labour. Confining myself, for the moment, to the latter topic, we found that although everybody was ready to bear witness to the generally acknowledged want of labour in his district, the cases were exceedingly rare, (so rare, indeed, that I could actually enumerate them,) where our informants spoke from their own personal experience; and in these cases a little inquiry sufficed to show that the unwillingness of the labourers to work upon the estates might be traced to either inability to pay the wages, or some difference of opinion as to the rate. The best evidence which I can adduce of there being no general disinclination on the part of the negroes to work, is the fact, that we met with more than one instance where they had continued to labour on the estate without having received their wages for many months, but were depending on the honour of their employer to pay them out of the first money which came into his hands. We also found that, from some parishes where the circumstances of the planters were the most reduced, the negroes had migrated to others some thirty and forty miles distant, in search of employment,— not so much for increased wages, as for the sake of securing regularity in their payment. "We are again told that no amount of wages will secure continuous labour. This assertion was not borne out by what we saw upon several estates, and certainly it is completely refuted by our experience in the construction of the railway between Kingston and Spanish Town. We employed for upwards of a year an average of 500 men, without experiencing at any time any difficulty * Lord Elgin's Despatch, May 6, 184G.


127 from interrupted labour. I shall be told that we paid exorbitant wages, and that the work was such as suited the taste of the negroes, from its nature and novelty. True, we paid 2s. per diem, but we took care to accompany it with strict and constant supervision, and we found our account in substituting the pickaxe, shovel, and the wheelbarrow, for the worn-out hoe and little wooden bowl, whereby we secured the removal of ten cubic yards of earth as the daily task, and for which we would have to pay something like 3s. 6d. in England. I cannot well imagine what there was in either the nature or novelty of the work to make it more inviting than the labour on an estate, or on their own provision grounds. The only coercion we used, was the certainty of dismissal for absence, and we found it work well." T r u e , this letter w a s written in 1 8 4 6 , b u t w e k n o w of n o t h i n g w h i c h h a s since h a p p e n e d to alter the capabilities of the n e g r o , or to m a k e it less likely t h a t he w o u l d give good w o r k for fair w a g e s ; t h o u g h w e do k n o w , t h a t t h e " i n a b i l i t y " to p a y t h e latter h a s been v a s t l y increased b y t h e calamitous results of t h e S u g a r A c t . M r . S m i t h p r o v e d his faith in his o w n observations b y himself investing capital in 1 8 4 6 in J a m a i c a estates ; a n d t h o u g h , in 1 8 5 2 , h e declares t h a t this investment h a s been a loss, h e distinctly ascribes this loss to t h e fall of price consequent on t h e S u g a r B i l l . I n the s t a t e m e n t of facts, signed by himself a n d his t w o co-delegates, w e find it stated, it is t r u e , t h a t the " f r e e p o p u l a t i o n " of J a m a i c a " i s impelled b y none of t h e o r d i n a r y motives to i n d u s t r y ; " b u t , w h y ? because it h a s to c o m p e t e with t h e C u b a n planter, w h o s e slave-labour costs w h a t in w a g e s w o u l d be e q u a l to 4 d . or 6 d . a-day ; t e r m s on which no free l a b o u r e r in " J a m a i c a can b e expected to m a i n t a i n himself a n d his family decently a n d honestly, a n d at the same time l a b o u r fairly a n d r i g h t e ously for his e m p l o y e r . " * H i t h e r t o , o u r readers will observe, w e h a v e v i e w e d E m a n c i p a t i o n almost solely in its c o m m e r c i a l aspects, and in t r y i n g the p h i l a n t h r o p i c e x p e r i m e n t h a v e confined ourselves to M r . C a r l y l e ' s test of s u c c e s s , — its capability to " a i d in b r i n g i n g forth t h e nobler p r o d u c t s " of t h e soil. Y e t t h e destiny of m a n , t h o u g h h e be a n e g r o , m a y i n c l u d e o t h e r objects besides the s u p p l y of a g r o c e r ' s s h o p ; a n d as even t h e field-hand h a s h e a r t , h e a d , a n d soul, it m a y be worth w h i l e briefly to consider h o w far their p r o d u c t s h a v e been m a d e m o r e or less noble b y the change. A v e r y few words will suffice for t h e social position of t h e slave. T h e t i m e is now p a s t w h e n E n g l i s h m e n required to be convinced t h a t t h e condition of that m a n could not be c h a n g e d for t h e worse, w h o b y law h a d neither p r o p e r t y , n o r citizenship, n o r family, n o r religion, * Parliamentary Return : Sugar Growing Colonies (Jamaica), p. 307.


28 w h o could be p u n i s h e d as for a c r i m e for the fulfilment of his religious d u t i e s , or t h e satisfaction of his domestic affections, from w h o m a n o t h e r m a n could by l a w t a k e his wife, or his children, or t h e fruits of h i s toil. B u t if a n y one n o w - a - d a y s does d o u b t t h a t w h a t m i g h t h a p p e n b y l a w w a s c o m m o n in fact, we can o n l y refer h i m to t h e evidence before the C o m m i t t e e s on S l a v e r y of both H o u s e s of P a r l i a m e n t in 1 8 3 3 . W e will h e r e m e r e l y give one testimony and one fact. T h e M a r q u i s of Sligo, himself a J a m a i c a proprietor, and for a time g o v e r n o r of t h e island, t h u s writes to Sir Fowell B u x t o n : — "In reply to your inquiries, •whether my opinions on slavery had undergone any change while I was in Jamaica, I beg to say that when I went out there, I thought that the stories of the cruelties of the slave-owners, disseminated by your society, were merely the emanations of enthusiastic and humane persons — rather a caricature, than a faithful representation of what actually did take place. Before, however, I had been very long in Jamaica, I had reason to think that the real state of the case had been far understated, and that I am quite con­ vinced was the fact."* O u r readers will m o s t of t h e m r e m e m b e r what m a n n e r of stories of cruelties t h e A n t i - S l a v e r y Society did disseminate, a n d will, w e t h i n k , h a r d l y need further testimony as to the details of the system. T h e n , as r e g a r d s its general result, w e h a v e this one d a m n i n g fact : t h e slave population of eleven of t h e W e s t - I n d i a n Colonies was in twelve y e a r s d i m i n i s h e d full 1 0 per cent. — in J a m a i c a , the diminution b y d e a t h , i n d e p e n d e n t of m a n u m i s s i o n , was a b o u t 1 3 per cent., or from 3 4 6 , 1 5 0 in 1 8 1 7 , to 3 0 7 , 3 5 7 in 1 8 3 2 . t T h i s fact, w h i c h is p r o v e d by the official registry of slaves in both y e a r s , is confirmed b y t h e statistics of special estates ;+ a n d t h a t it w a s n o t o w i n g , as is sometimes said, to excess of males in consequence of t h e previous slavet r a d e , is clear ; for the s a m e statistics p r o v e t h a t while this m o r t a l i t y w a s g o i n g on, t h e females were generally, as t h e y are n o w , in excess of the males. § A n d bad as was the condition of t h e slaves p h y s i c a l l y , m o r a l l y it was w o r s e ; t h e most d e g r a d i n g licentiousness w a s t h e r u l e , a n d chastity a n d m a r r i a g e t h e exception. A l m o s t every w h i t e m a n in a u t h o r i t y k e p t a b l a c k o r a coloured mistress ; a n d it is a fact clearly p r o v e d , t h a t m a r r i a g e w h e n desired b y the negroes, w a s n o t seldom disallowed by the m a n a g e r s , | | a n d w a s a l m o s t i n v a r i a b l y dis* "Memoirs of Sir T. F. Buxton," p. 386. + See Parliamentary Return in Appendix to Buxton's Memoirs, + See, for example, Statistics of the Seaford Estates, as laid before the Lords' Committee in 1832. § Statistics above quoted. See also Sir T. F. Buxton's Speech, "Memoirs," p. 269. || Dr. King's "Jamaica," p. 47.


29 couraged b y their e x a m p l e . A m a s s of m e n a n d w o m e n , h e r d i n g together like cattle, h a l f s a v a g e , m o r e t h a n h a l f h e a t h e n , w h o l l y u n t a u g h t , s p e a k i n g an almost unintelligible gibberish, w a s t i n g a w a y with toil a n d h a r d s h i p , h a t i n g their masters a n d w a t c h i n g for a b l o o d y r e v e n g e , y e t d r e a d i n g them as a realization of their old Fetich fears, and s t r i v i n g o n l y to imitate their vices,—such w a s t h e condition of a large portion of the J a m a i c a slaves, a n d w o u l d h a v e been t h a t of all, had it not been for t h e efforts a n d influence of t h a t s m a l l band of devoted missionaries, w h o m t h e planters did their u t m o s t , b y violence a n d c a l u m n y , to drive from the island. T h i s missionary influence was the only real preparation for freedom w h i c h the negroes h a d , but this was e n o u g h . T h a n k s to t h e p o w e r of religion over t h e consciences of t h e few, t h a n k s still m o r e to t h e p o w e r of t h e preachers over the h e a r t s of t h e m a n y , freedom h a d a fair chance with t h e n e g r o , and a fair chance w a s all it needed. In 1 8 4 2 , four years after the abolition of the a p p r e n t i c e s h i p , L o r d D e r b y , then as L o r d Stanley, Colonial S e c r e t a r y , replied to a challenge from Spain to prove t h e a d v a n t a g e s of freedom, v e r y similar to t h a t so often m a d e b y A m e r i c a n o w , by e n u m e r a t i n g t h e following as a m o n g t h e " u n q u e s t i o n a b l e facts, on w h i c h all m e n are a g r e e d , " viz., " t h a t , since t h e e m a n c i p a t i o n , the negroes h a v e been t h r i v i n g a n d contented ; t h a t t h e y h a v e raised their m a n n e r of living, a n d multiplied their comforts and enjoyments ; t h a t their offences a g a i n s t t h e laws h a v e become m o r e a n d m o r e light a n d infrequent ; t h a t their m o r a l s h a v e i m p r o v e d ; t h a t m a r r i a g e h a s been m o r e a n d m o r e substituted for c o n c u b i n a g e ; a n d t h a t they are eager for education, r a p i d l y a d v a n c ing in k n o w l e d g e , a n d powerfully influenced b y t h e m i n i s t e r s of religion." M r . P h i l i p p o , w h o was a missionary b o t h before a n d after s l a v e r y , after telling us t h a t , " p r e v i o u s t o 1 8 2 3 , t h e r e were n o t m o r e t h a n one or t w o schools in t h e whole island expressly for the instruction of t h e b l a c k p o p u l a t i o n , " * says, w h e n g i v i n g statistics of n e g r o education in 1 8 4 1 , t h a t " b y t h e published r e p o r t s there w e r e t h e n b e l o n g i n g to different denominations of Christians t h r o u g h o u t t h e island, as nearly as it could be ascertained from t h e imperfect d a t a supplied, about 1 8 6 day-schools, 1 0 0 s a b b a t h - s c h o o l s , a n d 2 0 or 3 0 evening schools, t h e latter chiefly for t h e instruction of adults.+ A g a i n M r . P h i l i p p o , w r i t i n g in 1 8 4 3 , s a y s , " D u r i n g slavery the sanctities of m a r r i a g e were almost u n k n o w n ; " b u t a d d s , " o u t of a * "Jamaica : its Past and Present State," p. 189. + Ibid. p. 193.


SO p o p u l a t i o n of 4 2 0 , 0 0 0 , not fewer t h a n 1 4 , 8 4 0 m a r r i a g e s h a v e t a k e n place a n n u a l l y since 1 8 4 0 , being a proportion of 1 in 2 9 ; indeed, e v e r y w h e r e m a r r i a g e is n o w t h e r u l e , a n d c o n c u b i n a g e t h e exception."* B u t there a r e persons w i t h w h o m t h e w o r d of a m i s s i o n a r y is of n o avail ; a n d p e r h a p s L o r d D e r b y m a y be t h o u g h t prejudiced in b e h a l f of t h e m e a s u r e w h i c h h e h a d himself passed. L e t us then t a k e t h e testimony of a J a m a i c a proprietor. L o r d H o w a r d de W a l d e n w a s e x a m i n e d before the S u g a r a n d Coffee P l a n t i n g C o m mittee, in F e b . 1 8 4 8 . H e h a d himself gone to J a m a i c a to see after his estates, a n d good reason h e h a d to g o ; for t h o u g h notoriously t h r e e of t h e finest i n the island, their a v e r a g e n e t income for eight y e a r s , h e informed t h e C o m m i t t e e , h a d been only ÂŁ 9 0 0 , w h e r e a s , in former y e a r s , t h e y used to n e t above ÂŁ 2 0 , 0 0 0 p e r a n n u m ; here, a t least, w e h a v e a witness not likely to be prejudiced in favour of emancipation. B u t w h e n a s k e d , " C a n y o u speak t o t h e m o r a l i m p r o v e m e n t of t h e negroes in J a m a i c a , as r e g a r d s their education, religion, h a b i t s , dress, a n d m a r r i a g e ? " his lordship replied, " I believe they h a v e a m a z i n g l y i m p r o v e d , in every respect, since emancip a t i o n ; e v e r y b o d y agrees t h a t the c h a n g e since emancipation h a s been very r e m a r k a b l e . " T h e s e , h o w e v e r , are descriptions of the state of the negroes before 1 8 4 8 ; a n d since t h e n , it m a y be said it has been r e t r o g r a d i n g . To some extent, this is true : freedom has not p u t t h e n e g r o o u t of t h e reach of the moral effects of p o v e r t y or pestilence ; a n d t h e energies of t h e labourer h a v e been stunned by t h e same fiscal blow w h i c h has prostrated t h e fortunes of the m e r c h a n t a n d proprietor. Still, w h e n A m e r i c a n slaveowners seize with greedy j o y t h e g l o o m y reports from J a m a i c a of a w a n t of progress in civilization, t h e y m u s t r e m e m b e r t h a t no one is c o m p a r i n g t h e free negroes either with their slaves, or w i t h w h a t these negroes w e r e as slaves, b u t with w h a t they w e r e as free m e n , at t h e time w h e n the island w a s m o r e p r o s p e r o u s . A n o t h e r reason m a y p e r h a p s , in a m e a s u r e , explain this a p p a r e n t retrogression. M u c h of the influence of t h e missionaries, t h o u g h seemingly religious, was really social and political. T h e negroes w e n t to. chapel, and sent their children to school, a n d did generally as their pastors bade t h e m , because t h e y looked upon t h e m with respect a n d love as their political protectors, b u t w h e n they found t h a t t h e y no l o n g e r needed protectors, a n d w h e n t h e pastoral relation b e c a m e reduced to a s i m p l y

* "Jamaica: its fast and Present State," p. 232.


31 religious one, there followed a not u n n a t u r a l reaction, a n d t h e h a b i t s of heathenism and slavery in some m e a s u r e r e g a i n e d their h o l d . Again, the different missionary societies, h e a r i n g of t h e prosperity of the negroes, a n d e n c o u r a g e d by t h e e x t r a o r d i n a r y s u m s raised b y them for religious purposes i m m e d i a t e l y after e m a n c i p a t i o n , w i t h d r e w p e c u n i a r y aid j u s t a t t h e very t i m e w h e n , o w i n g to this reaction, a n d to t h e effects of the S u g a r B i l l , the blacks w e r e both less willing a n d less able to replace it : a n d thus the s u p p l y of preachers a n d teachers w a s diminished with the d e m a n d , w h e n , on t h e c o n t r a r y , t h e s u p p l y o u g h t to h a v e been increased, in order to m a i n t a i n t h e d e m a n d . We are glad, h o w e v e r , to learn t h a t b o t h c h u r c h a n d school a t t e n d a n c e is now again on t h e increase ; a n d the recent intelligence w e h a v e been able to gain from missionaries, gives us g r o u n d to believe t h a t t h e progress in civilization, t h o u g h less s h o w y t h a n it h a s been, is m o r e s o u n d , a n d , in reality, n o t less hopeful. A v e r y fair idea of t h e position a n d prospects of t h e negroes m a y be gathered from the three w o r k s a t the head of o u r paper, all of t h e m t h e records of observations m a d e d u r i n g t h e late years of fiscal depression ; one b e i n g the careful a n d detailed j o u r n a l * of two m e m b e r s of the A n t i - S l a v e r y S o c i e t y — Q u a k e r philanthropists, it is t r u e , b u t gentlemen whose position and character m a k e it impossible to d o u b t their statements of fact ; a n o t h e r , an impartial résumé chiefly of the m o r a l and religious condition of the island in 1 8 4 9 , b y a Scotch clergym a n ;+ a n d the t h i r d , a series of vivid and instructive sketches, b y a s h r e w d n e w s p a p e r editor from t h e States.++ W a n t of space compels us to refrain from g i v i n g o u r readers t h e analysis of these observations w h i c h w e h a d intended : we can only state t h e general i m p r e s s i o n left o n o u r m i n d s n o t o n l y b y t h e m , b u t b y a m u l t i t u d e of other evidence, m u c h of it official. H e a t h e n customs a n d superstitions a r e n o t y e t rooted o u t of J a m a i c a ; the sensuality of slavery l u r k s a m o n g its black population : in t h a t respect their m o r a l s t a n d a r d is still low, m u c h lower t h a n t h a t of t h e I r i s h p e a s a n t , — w e wish w e could be sure t h a t it w a s m u c h l o w e r t h a n t h a t of t h e E n g l i s h labourer. C r i m e is said to be frequent, and yet, if we c o m p a r e t h e criminal statistics of E n g l a n d w i t h those of J a m a i c a , this c h a r g e , even if t r u e , is one w h i c h it ill becomes E n g * "The British West Indies in 1850," by John Candler and G. W. Alexander, (Anti-Slavery Reporter, February, March, and April, 1851.) + "Jamaica : its State and Prospects." By the Rev. David King. Glasgow. 1850. + "Jamaica in 1850." By John Bigelow.


32 lishmen to m a k e . * T r u e , w h e n fortune t u r n s suddenly in favour of these n e g r o e s , we h e a r stories of a b s u r d and wasteful e x p e n d i t u r e ; b y n o m e a n s , h o w e v e r , so absurd as those freaks of A n g l o - S a x o n s of w h i c h every mail from the Australian d i g g i n g s brings us tidings. W e also hear that, with the depression of the s u g a r m a n u f a c t u r e , poverty a n d idleness increase in m u c h t h e same proportion as they do in L a n c a s h i r e w h e n the mills are r u n n i n g short t i m e ; b u t D r . K i n g tells us, t h a t , in spite of this increase, be m e t with n o beggars.+ Ministers of religion c o m p l a i n , as t h e y d o w i t h u s , t h a t churches a n d chapels are not filled, a n d t h a t the fervour of religious revivals is n o t lasting ; a n d the official statements of the carelessness of p a r e n t s a b o u t the education of their children, a n d of their unwillingness to pay for it, r e m i n d us v e r y m u c h of t h e reports of o u r o w n school inspectors. T h e same c h a r g e of penurious selfishness is m a d e against some of the 6 0 , 0 0 0 + + peasant proprietors of J a m a i c a , w h i c h w e often h e a r applied to t h e small l a n d o w n e r s of F r a n c e ; b u t D r . K i n g , in describing t h e free m o u n t a i n villages, contrasts t h e m favourably w i t h those of his o w n fellow-countrymen in the Scotch H i g h l a n d s , both as r e g a r d s the superiority of t h e cottages, a n d the g r e a t e r i n d u s t r y of the inhabitants.§ I n a w o r d , we do n o t say t h a t t h e history of free J a m a i c a h a s p r o v e d h o w far the n e g r o race is capable of the h i g h e s t exploits of civilization, or h o w h i g h is to be its r a n k a m o n g t h e races of t h e world, for these yet remain open questions, so far as J a m a i c a is concerned ; b u t t h i s m u c h it has p r o v e d , t h a t there has been found n o people m o r e q u i c k to learn t h e lessons of freedom, a n d to forget those of slavery. C r i m e s a n d follies t h e y c o m m i t , w i t h o u t d o u b t ; b u t t h e question is, n o t h o w far they a r e absolutely vicious, n o r even w h e t h e r , c o m p a r a tively w i t h others, t h e y are more or less foolish or criminal, but * See Statistical Tables of the General Penitentiary of Jamaica, (Reports with Blue Books for 1848, p. 138), as compared with the Parliamentary Returns of Criminals in England and Wales for 1848. + King's "Jamaica," p. 36. ++ We take the estimate by Mr. Clark, the Baptist missionary. Mr. Bigelow estimates the number at 100,000, p. 116. § King's "Jamaica," p. 211. The report, however, of Dr. C. Milroy, the medical inspector during the cholera, proves that there is as much need of sanitary reform in Jamaica as in Skye or Connaught. Many of the "ordinary negro houses" appear to be grievously dirty, over-crowded, and ill ventilated ; and" still more wretched than them are the huts provided for the watchmen" on the estates, which Dr. Milroy describes as "kennels, which it is an outrage upon our common nature to require human beings to occupy."—Returns (Jamaica), p. 32.


33 w h e t h e r they a r e m o r e or less so as freemen t h a n they were as slaves. A n d we defy t h e A m e r i c a n slaveowners to find a n y m a n w h o , h a v i n g k n o w n t h e m in both conditions, does not t h i n k , or even w o u l d n o t say, that t h e y a r e n o w i n c o m p a r a b l y better h u s b a n d s , a n d p a r e n t s , a n d n e i g h b o u r s , a n d citizens, t h a n t h e y w e r e , — m o r e comfortable, m o r e educated, m o r e m o r a l , a n d m o r e religious,—that the sins which still beset t h e m a r e sins w h i c h , h a v i n g been originated or a g g r a v a t e d b y slavery, are now b e c o m i n g diminished b y freedom. A n d yet t h e m e a s u r e w h i c h h a s t h u s increased t h e happiness a n d exalted t h e character of nine-tenths of the inhabitants of t h e island, is d e n o u n c e d as a failure, a n d sneered at as " u n s c i e n t i f i c , " because there are fewer bales of s u g a r exported from its shores, or because t h e r e is a d i m i n u tion in the incomes of some few h u n d r e d s u g a r g r o w e r s , w h o either did not u n d e r s t a n d the business of e m p l o y i n g labour, or w o u l d not attend to it. L e a v i n g n o w t h e present, one w o r d m o r e on t h e past, before we touch on the future. I n detailing, as we h a v e felt ourselves forced to do, t h e mistakes a n d misconduct of the planters, o u r purpose has not been a defence of either the p h i l a n t h r o p i s t s or t h e negroes. T h e reputation of t h e m e n w h o m a d e freedom t h e law of E n g l a n d , m a y be safely left to t h e k e e p i n g of E n g l i s h m e n of future ages, w h o will take care t h a t it lives long after t h e cant of imitators a n d the cavils of objectors are alike forgotten. A n d the J a m a i c a negroes, w i t h t h e title-deeds of their h a r d - e a r n e d freeholds in one pocket, a n d t h e w a g e s of their l a b o u r in the other, a n d w i t h representatives of their o w n colour daily filling more a n d more t h e offices of the colony a n d the seats of its legislature, m a y well afford to l a u g h at even M r . C a r l y l e ' s sarcasm, a n d to ask h i m to wait till they show h i m w h a t the island will p r o d u c e , w h e n blacks a n d b r o w n s g u i d e a n d direct its w o r k as universally as they now perform it. Still less does the abstract cause of freedom d e m a n d for its justification t h a t we should r a k e u p deeds of folly or injustice, the s u r v i v i n g actors of which are almost all of them repentant, and all of w h o m are p u n i s h e d . M o r e k i n d l y relations are n o w s p r i n g i n g up between both employers a n d labourers, for which, due h o n o u r to both ; a n d therefore, even to tell the t r u t h a b o u t w h a t has been, would be unfitting, were it n o t for two reasons. F i r s t , t h e A m e r i c a n slaveowner m a k e s J a m a i c a distress almost the principal excuse for his slaveowning. J u s t i c e , t h e n , to his slaves d e m a n d s that it should be shown that, in so far as this distress has not been caused by circumstances which neither employers n o r labourers could control, it has arisen, not because the labourers arc


34 n o l o n g e r as hit a r e — " c h a t t e l s ; " b u t because t h e employers h a v e either imitated h i m too m u c h as a slaveowner, or too little as a m a n of business. A n d secondly, the past needs to be k e p t in v i e w , because there are even n o w m e n connected with t h e p l a n t i n g interest, or professing to be its advocates, w h o , regardless of t h e consequences of former m i s t a k e s , are s e e k i n g to r e m e d y these consequences b y their repetition. O f these mistakes t h e r e h a s n o n e been so fatal as t h a t w h i c h s u p poses that w o r k can be g o t from t h e free m a n b y t h e same m e a n s as those b y w h i c h it was g o t from t h e slave, t h a t w h e n t h e w h i p is once abolished, a n y other coercion can s u p p l y t h e place of w a g e s . R e m e m b e r i n g , therefore, h o w t h e existing labour-laws h a d been used b y t h e planters a n d the p l a n t i n g j u s t i c e s , a n d w h a t were the fresh l a w s which the J a m a i c a legislature h a d proposed, t h e friends of t h e n e g r o m i g h t well be a l a r m e d , w h e n t h e y h e a r d t h e late Colonial Secretary palliate from his place in p a r l i a m e n t his desertion of P r o tection by d e c l a r i n g t h a t h e w o u l d " d i r e c t his attention to two i m p o r t a n t subjects—the s u p p l y of l a b o u r , a n d t h e present state of the l a b o u r l a w s in t h e W e s t I n d i a colonies ; " * a n d w h e n t h e y k n e w , b y his written a n s w e r to the J a m a i c a d e p u t a t i o n , t h a t h e h a d left to t h e planters themselves t h e initiation of these laws.+ T h e present G o v e r n m e n t , h o w e v e r , h a v e n o desertion of P r o t e c t i o n t o atone for, a n d therefore w e trust t h a t w e need fear from t h e m no connivance at coercion ; b u t w e suppose w e m u s t a d d , t h a t neither can we h o p e from t h e m a n y continuance or restoration o r P r o t e c t i o n . A small differential duty in favour of free-grown s u g a r w o u l d p r o b a b l y c h e c k the revival of the slave-trade in C u b a , a n d p r e v e n t it in B r a z i l ; w o u l d certainly diminish the sufferings of t h e slaves in b o t h p l a c e s , — sufferings b e y o n d t h e p o w e r of m a n to describe or i m a g i n e , — a n d w o u l d give to t h e W e s t I n d i a s u g a r p r o d u c e r s t h e b r e a t h i n g time needed to enable t h e m to start fair w i t h all competitors. W e believe also t h a t the small s u m needed for such protection w o u l d be g l a d l y p a i d b y n i n e o u t of every ten E n g l i s h m e n , w h e t h e r as c o n s u m e r s or t a x - p a y e r s , provided it w a s clearly s h o w n to t h e m t h a t it w a s r a i s e d — n o t in order to protect the planter at t h e cost of the p u b l i c , w h i c h w o u l d be r o b b e r y , — b u t in o r d e r to protect t h e freed m a n a n d the slave against the slave-stealer a n d slave-buyer, w h i c h would be refusal to participate in robbery ; a n d y e t w e suppose t h a t no G o v e r n m e n t will dare to ask the B r i t i s h public to p a y this small s u m ; a n d w h y ? * Sir J. Packington's Speech, June 8, 1852. + Parliamentary Returns (Jamaica), p. 314.


35 N o t because t h e principle of free t r a d e is involved, for t h e h i g h e s t free t r a d e authorities allow that it does n o t a p p l y t o slave-produce, w h i c h is stolen g o o d s , b u t because t h e spirit of t h a t principle h a s a l r e a d y b e c o m e frozen into a formula, from t h e letter of which h a r d l y a n y politician dares t o dissent. B u t if the present G o v e r n m e n t neither m a i n t a i n P r o t e c t i o n n o r substitute for it coercion, what will t h e y d o with r e g a r d to t h a t other a n d y e t m o r e attractive compensation for its loss, offered b y their predecessors, viz., t h e s u p p l y of cheap i m m i g r a n t l a b o u r 1 P e r h a p s t h e y m a y suggest to J a m a i c a d e p u t a t i o n s , t h a t i n a s m u c h as t h e r e a r e m a n y parts of t h e island where t h e labourers c a n n o t g e t work even at t h e present J a m a i c a wages of a shilling a-day, it m i g h t b e as well to establish c o m m u n i c a t i o n between t h e places where there a r e too m a n y labourers a n d those w h e r e there a r e too few, before t h e y a s k for help t o p a y t h e cost of b r i n g i n g t h e m from t h e other side of t h e world.* A t a n y rate, there a r e o n e o r t w o i m m i g r a t i o n facts, which w e trust t h e y will bear in m i n d . F i r s t , t h a t w h e n e v e r coercive p o w e r h a s been possessed b y planters over apprenticed i m m i g r a n t s , it h a s , to s a y t h e least, been liable to a b u s e — w i t n e s s , a m o n g a m u l t i t u d e of other evidence, L o r d G r e y ' s s t a t e m e n t i n his D e s p a t c h to L o r d H a r r i s , A p r i l 2 8 , 1 8 4 8 , t h a t in J a m a i c a , " cases h a v e been discovered i n which their l a b o u r h a d been h a b i t u a l l y stimulated b y w h i p , in t h e h a n d b o t h of e m p l o y e r a n d o v e r s e e r : " + secondly, t h a t n o n u m b e r of African i m m i g r a n t s , either m e n o r women, c a n b e obtained w i t h o u t b u y i n g t h e m of t h e chiefs,+ i.e., w i t h o u t t h e e n c o u r a g e m e n t of t h e slave-trade a n d its a c c o m p a n y i n g m u r d e r s : a n d , lastly, t h a t h i t h e r t o it h a s been, a n d a p p a r e n t l y it ever will b e , impossible to i m p o r t either Coolies o r Chinese, § w i t h o u t a n excess of males so disproportionate a s to c o r r u p t t h e m o r a l s , n o t o n l y of t h e i m m i g r a n t s b u t t h e Creoles. T h e s e t w o last facts a r e t h e a c k n o w l e d g e d difficulties of African a n d eastern i m m i g r a t i o n ; a n d before e n t r u s t i n g to t h e planter, or their friends, t h e task of o v e r c o m i n g these difficulties, t h e r e a r e t w o o t h e r recorded facts, w h i c h it m a y b e well for t h e present Colonial S e c r e t a r y to consider. F i r s t , t h a t in 1 8 4 7 , t h e J a m a i c a C h a m b e r of * See King's "Jamaica," p. 26. + See also Report of Mr. Ewart, the Agent-General for Immigration, Parliamen­ tary Returns (Jamaica), p. 37. + See Captain Denman's Evidence before Sugar Planting Committee, p. 149. § See Report of Mr. White, Immigration Agent, to Governor of British Guiana. June 21, 1851.


36 C o m m e r c e proposed to meet these difficulties by " p r o v i d i n g m e a n s of t r a n s p o r t , from t h e African coast, for t h e t h o u s a n d s of slaves b r o u g h t d o w n for sale a n d s h i p m e n t to t h e foreign t r a d e r , " a n d b y " r a n s o m i n g t h e prisoners of w a r of t h e native chiefs," w h o w o u l d doubtless, in r e t u r n for such r a n s o m , t a k e care to keep u p a constant s u p p l y of w h a t the C h a m b e r is pleased to call "free emigration :" a n d , secondly, t h a t in 1 8 4 8 , L o r d G . B e n t i n c k , a t t h a t t i m e t h e c h a m p i o n of the W e s t I n d i a n interest, suggested t h a t the great defect in t h e eastern i m m i g r a t i o n , viz., t h e want of w h a t he calls a " b r e e d i n g p o p u l a t i o n , " s h o u l d be supplied b y t h e p u r c h a s e of negresses from t h e southwestern coast of Africa.* Y e t t h a t there is a w a n t of l a b o u r in this magnificent island, to force its rich soil to yield its treasures, there can be n o d o u b t ; a w a n t n o t of cheap l a b o u r , (is n o t labour cheap e n o u g h at a shilling a-day ?) b u t of e d u c a t e d , skilled l a b o u r , — n o t of m e r e m a n u a l operatives, b u t of a r t i s a n s , a n d t r a d e s m e n , and y e o m e n — o f i m m i g r a n t s w h o a l r e a d y h a v e some little capital, a n d k n o w h o w to use it, a n d h a v e wants w h i c h will force t h e m to a c c u m u l a t e y e t m o r e . I n a w o r d , t h e g r e a t d e s i d e r a t u m of J a m a i c a is a h a r d - w o r k i n g middle-class, a class such as could n o t exist u n d e r its old regime, a n d w h i c h , t h o u g h n o w s p r i n g i n g u p with r e m a r k a b l e quickness, is still far too small. C a p t u r e d slaves, or prisoners of w a r , or Coolies, or K r o o m e n , cannot furnish recruits to this class, b u t far nearer t h a n either Africa or I n d i a there a r e m e n w h o c a n . T h e free coloured people of t h e U n i t e d States m i g h t s u p p l y this d e s i d e r a t u m b y s e n d i n g m e n w h o w o u l d carry with t h e m their wives a n d children, m a n y of them possessing n o inconsiderable a m o u n t of capital, all of t h e m trained u n d e r t h e industrial influence of t h a t energetic e x a m p l e , which their white oppressors, h o w e v e r m u c h t h e y h a t e or despise t h e m , c a n n o t w i t h h o l d from them. W e can h a r d l y h o p e t h a t these p a g e s will be r e a d b y a n y of the leaders a m o n g this people, or w e w o u l d earnestly a s k t h e m w h e t h e r self-interest a n d d u t y — d u t y to their r a c e , bond a n d free—does not suggest to t h e m an exodus from t h e l a n d of b o n d a g e to tropical J a m a i c a , at least m o r e strongly t h a n to cold C a n a d a . I n the States, their v e r y faculties are a t o r m e n t to t h e m , for the prejudice against colour allows their faculties n o exercise. I n J a m a i c a , if in the m i n d s of a n y men t h a t prejudice still l i n g e r s , it is only to be l a u g h e d at ; h o w can it be * Lord George Bentinck's Draft Report of Sugar and Coffee Planting Committee, Eighth Report, p. 12.


37 otherwise in a c o u n t r y w h e r e coloured m e n not only m a y b e , b u t a r e legislators, l a w y e r s , p h y s i c i a n s , ministers, p l a n t e r s , editors, a n d merc h a n t s , as well as labourers ?* W e are a w a r e t h a t we are t r e a d i n g on tender g r o u n d , and t h a t some of t h e best of t h e coloured men, a n d m a n y of their sincerest friends, t h i n k t h a t , in h o p e of a i d i n g their enslaved b r e t h r e n , t h e y o u g h t , u n d e r w h a t e v e r obloquy or persecution, to r e m a i n citizens of t h e R e p u b l i c . I t is not for us to m a r k out for t h e m their course, a n d yet w e cannot b u t t h i n k t h a t b y no possible m e a n s could t h e y so effectually aid t h e A m e r i c a n slave, as b y teaching e n e r g y a n d i n d u s t r y to t h e free B r i t i s h n e g r o , and b y h a s t e n i n g forw a r d , b y their precept a n d e x a m p l e , that t i m e w h e n from J a m a i c a a n d h e r k i n d r e d isles, t h e voice of a n e g r o c o m m u n i t y , p r o s p e r o u s , e d u c a t e d , civilized, C h r i s t i a n , shall s p e a k to republican despots a n d their victims w o r d s w h i c h both will h e a r , a n d which the former will n o t be able to disregard. A n d t h a t this t i m e will come, w e hold to be n o vain p r o p h e c y , foolish as to m a n y it m a y seem. W e h a v e faith in it, because we see it written in t h e p a g e of history, in t h e experience of t h e A n g l o S a x o n , t h a t h e cannot toil in these islands or m a k e a h o m e of t h e m , a n d of t h e African t h a t he can ; because we see a l r e a d y foreshadowi n g s of its fulfilment, in t h e progress w h i c h , since his feet h a v e been u n s h a c k l e d , this African H A S m a d e — a progress w h i c h , spite of its occasional t a r r y i n g s or b a c k w a r d steps, is greater t h a n has ever in like period been m a d e b y A n g l o - S a x o n . N o t b u t t h a t , before this p r o p h e c y be fulfilled, t h e r e needs m u c h w o r k to be d o n e . F i r s t , a n d m o s t especially, there needs an entire abolition n o t only of s l a v e r y , b u t of t h e s l a v e o w n i n g s p i r i t ; — t h e r e m u s t be a complete e m a n c i p a t i o n of the whites from s l a v e o w n i n g habits, feelings, a n d prejudices ; all traces of t h e old regime m u s t be s w e p t from t h e s t a t u t e b o o k , a n d the m a g i s t r a t e s m u s t forget t h a t it ever existed. T h e r e needs also a fairer a r r a n g e m e n t of t h e taxes, a n d b o t h a m o r e economical a n d a m o r e a p p r o p r i a t e e x p e n d i t u r e of t h e m . W e learn from Sir C h a r l e s G r e y , that the " p u b l i c debt of J a m a i c a a m o u n t s to a b o u t £ 7 5 0 , 0 0 0 , " + a n d M r . Smith a n d his co* We are glad to find that both the Home and Colonial Governments are at last determined to remove the greatest obstacle which has existed to the immigration of free coloured men from the States, viz., their inability as aliens to own freeholds, by enabling them to become naturalized in a year. See Immigration Act passed by Jamaica Assembly, and Sir J. Pakington's Despatch thereon, Parliamentary Returns (Jamaica), pp. 354 and 316. + Parliamentary Returns (Jamaica), p. 189.


38 delegates inform u s , t h a t " i t s public a n d parochial institutions a r e m a i n t a i n e d at an a n n u a l e x p e n s e exceeding £ 3 5 0 , 0 0 0 . " I f the largeness of this s u m be inconsistent w i t h t h e oft-repeated assertions of t h e p o v e r t y of the island, still m o r e a b s u r d are the e x t r a v a g a n t official salaries,* c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e complaints so j u s t l y m a d e of t h e w a n t of m e a s u r e s for sanitary i m p r o v e m e n t , a n d of deficiency of r o a d s , of irrigation, and of education. T h e necessity of a n E n c u m b e r e d Estates A c t requires no enforcement, for t h e a r g u m e n t s w h i c h induced its introduction into I r e l a n d a p p l y w i t h far greater force to J a m a i c a , w h e r e so m a n y m o r e of t h e owners of p r o p e r t y are too p o o r , too i g n o r a n t , or too far off to fulfil its d u t i e s ; and, indeed, until such o w n e r s cease to c u m b e r the estates, w e h a r d l y see how t h a t division of l a b o u r in t h e production of the m a i n staple of the island can be effected, which gives the best hope of its future economical p r o s p e r i t y , v i z . , the substitution of peasant s u g a r g r o w e r s s u p p l y i n g w i t h canes t h e " c e n t r a l m i l l s " of m a n u f a c t u r e r s + for absentee p r o p r i e t o r s m a n a g i n g b y bailiffs b o t h an e n o r m o u s farm a n d a difficult m a n u facture. A n d lastly, their needs a s u p p l y of foreign l a b o u r , n o t indeed from Africa or I n d i a , n o r yet only from A m e r i c a , b u t from E n g l a n d , — t h e r e needs n o w , and will need for m a n y y e a r s , a c o n t i n u o u s i m m i g r a t i o n of E n g l i s h ministers a n d schoolmasters. T h e m i s s i o n a r y societies h a v e , w e believe, felt it r i g h t to w i t h d r a w s o m e of their labourers from the W e s t I n d i e s , a n d to send t h e m to b r e a k u p fresh soil, or to till fields y e t m o r e waste ; if such h a s been their decision, n o suggestion of o u r s w o u l d c h a n g e it, but w e believe t h a t every post gives t h e m m o r e a n d m o r e reason to reconsider it, proves to t h e m m o r e a n d m o r e plainly t h a t their aid to t h e n e g r o has been effectual a n d is w a n t e d , a n d r e m i n d s t h e m t h a t t h e debt o w i n g to h i m b y B r i t i s h C h r i s t i a n s , for ills inflicted or connived at, is even y e t far from paid. T h e E n g l i s h C h u r c h especially m a y r e m e m b e r , t h a t if she h a d d o n e her d u t y to t h e slave, if s h e h a d even given w o r k in p r o p o r t i o n to h e r hire, the freed m e n would not n e e d so m u c h of h e r assistance now. W o u l d t h a t in future she m a y contend earnestly w i t h the " s e c t a r i e s , " not as to w h o shall m o s t possess the n e g r o b r a i n with special d o g m a s — f o r w h a t e v e r h e b e , t h e n e g r o is n o controversialist—but as to w h o shall m o s t q u i c k l y exorcise those fiends of sensuality, sloth, a n d falsehood, w h i c h slavery h a s left to h a u n t him. * See Bigelow's "Jamaica," cap. v. + See Bigelow, cap. xiv. See also Sir C. Grey's recommendation of an Encumbered Estates Act, Despatch to Sir J. Pakington, 10th June, 1852.


39 A t the beginning of this paper, wo stated that we should confine o u r r e m a r k s to J a m a i c a , because it w a s t h e colony in w h i c h the success of emancipation was the least evident. W e can only a d d , t h a t if w e h a v e been able to prove that in J a m a i c a freedom does w o r k better t h a n did slavery, a n d p h i l a n t h r o p y has n o t been a folly, o u r t a s k w o u l d h a v e been even y e t easier in a n y other of our W e s t I n d i a possessions, from B a r b a d o e s , w h e r e t h e population is more dense t h a n in C h i n a , to B r i t i s h G u i a n a , w h e r e it is almost as s c a n t y as in A u s t r a l i a . A s , o w i n g to this w a n t of p o p u l a t i o n , G u i a n a h a s h a d , n e x t to J a m a i c a , t h e greatest difficulties to m e e t , a n d h a s therefore been almost as often quoted against t h e advocates of negro freedom, w e will conclude o u r r e m a r k s b y referring A m e r i c a n slaveowners a n d their E n g l i s h allies to t h e closing p a r a g r a p h of the last published d e s p a t c h of its g o v e r n o r , M r . B a r k l y , w h o s a y s , * t h a t he " f o r w a r d s a u t h e n t i c r e c o r d s , " p r o v i n g t h a t in this colony, w h e r e he himself is, a n d l o n g h a s been, a l a r g e p r o p r i e t o r , — " t h e r e v e n u e h a s been flourishing, population a u g m e n t i n g , education s p r e a d i n g , c r i m e dim i n i s h i n g , and t r a d e increasing, d u r i n g t h e y e a r j u s t p a s s e d , " a n d t h a t there " a p p e a r s no reason to anticipate a less favourable result in any one of these respects in t h e year n o w entered u p o n . " * Despatch to Sir J. Pakington, April 21, 1852. The last intelligence from Guiana fully justifies these favourable anticipations. See Times, March 9th, 1853.



British philanthropy and Jamaica distress. Reprinted from the «  Westminter Review »