See Agrarian Crisis in India by Rajani Palme Dutt 1934 here.

The Slave Trade, Domestic and Foreign: Why it exists, and how it may be extinguished

By Henry C. Carey, 1853




The subject discussed in the following pages is one of great

importance, and especially so to the people of this country. The views

presented for consideration differ widely from those generally

entertained, both as regards the cause of evil and the mode of cure;

but it does not follow necessarily that they are not correct,--as the

reader may readily satisfy himself by reflecting upon the fact, that

there is scarcely an opinion he now holds, that has not, and at no

very distant period, been deemed quite as heretical as any here

advanced. In reflecting upon them, and upon the facts by which they

are supported, he is requested to bear in mind that the latter are,

with very few exceptions, drawn from writers holding views directly

opposed to those of the author of this volume; and not therefore to be

suspected of any exaggeration of the injurious effects of the system

here treated as leading to slavery, or the beneficial ones resulting

from that here described as tending to establish perfect and universal

freedom of thought, speech, action, and trade.


Philadelphia, March, 1853.




Chapter 1. The wide extent of slavery

Chapter 2. Of slavery in the British colonies

Chapter 3. Of slavery in the United States

Chapter 4. Of emancipation in the British colonies

Chapter 5. How man passes from poverty and slavery toward wealth and freedom

Chapter 6. How wealth tends to increase

Chapter 7. How labour acquires value and man becomes free

Chapter 8. How man passes from wealth and freedom toward poverty and slavery

Chapter 9. How slavery grew, and how it is now maintained, in the West Indies

Chapter 10. How slavery grew and is maintained in the United States

Chapter 11. How slavery grows in Portugal and Turkey

Chapter 12. How slavery grows in India

Chapter 13. How slavery grows in Ireland and Scotland

Chapter 14. How slavery grows in England

Chapter 15. How can slavery be extinguished?

Chapter 16. How freedom grows in northern Germany

Chapter 17. How freedom grows in Russia

Chapter 18. How freedom grows in Denmark

Chapter 19. How freedom grows in Spain and Belgium

Chapter 20. Of the duty of the people of the United States

Chapter 21. Of the duty of the people of England


Chapter 1. The wide extent of slavery


Slavery still exists throughout a large portion of what we are

accustomed to regard as the civilized world. In some countries, men

are forced to take the chance of a lottery for the determination of

the question whether they shall or shall not be transported to distant

and unhealthy countries, there most probably to perish, leaving behind

them impoverished mothers and sisters to lament their fate. In others,

they are seized on the highway and sent to sea for long terms of

years, while parents, wives, and sisters, who had been dependent on

their exertions, are left to perish of starvation, or driven to vice

or crime to procure the means of support. In a third class, men, their

wives, and children, are driven from their homes to perish in the

road, or to endure the slavery of dependence on public charity until

pestilence shall Send them to their graves, and thus clear the way for

a fresh supply of others like themselves. In a fourth, we see men

driven to selling themselves for long periods at hard labour in

distant countries, deprived of the society of parents, relatives, or

friends. In a fifth, men, women, and children are exposed to sale, and

wives are separated from husbands, while children are separated from

parents. In some, white men, and, in others, black men, are subjected

to the lash, and to other of the severest and most degrading

punishments. In some places men are deemed valuable, and they are well

fed and clothed. In others, man is regarded as “a drug” and population

as “a nuisance;” and Christian men are warned that their duty to God

and to society requires that they should permit their fellow-creatures

to suffer every privation and distress, short of “absolute death,”

with a view to prevent the increase of numbers.


Among these various classes of slaves, none have recently attracted so

much attention as those of the negro race; and it is in reference to

that race in this country that the following paper has recently been

circulated throughout England:--


 _”The affectionate and Christian Address of many thousands of the

 Women of England to their Sisters, the Women of the United States of



 “A common origin, a common faith, and, we sincerely believe, a common

 cause, urge us at the present moment to address you on the subject of

 that system of negro slavery which still prevails so extensively,

 and, even under kindly-disposed masters, with such frightful results,

 in many of the vast regions of the Western World.


 “We will not dwell on the ordinary topics--on the progress of

 civilization; on the advance of freedom everywhere; on the rights and

 requirements of the nineteenth century;--but we appeal to you very

 seriously to reflect, and to ask counsel of God, how far such a state

 of things is in accordance with His holy word, the inalienable rights

 of immortal souls, and the pure and merciful spirit of the Christian



 “We do not shut our eyes to the difficulties, nay, the dangers, that

 might beset the immediate abolition of that long-established system:

 we see and admit the necessity of preparation for so great an event.

 But, in speaking of indispensable preliminaries, we cannot be silent

 on those laws of your country which (in direct contravention of God’s

 own law, instituted in the time of man’s innocency) deny, in effect,

 to the slave, the sanctity of marriage, with all its joys, rights,

 and obligations; which separates, at the will of the master, the wife

 from the husband and the children from the parents. Nor can we be

 silent on that awful system which, either by statute or by custom,

 interdicts to any race of man, or any portion of the human family,

 education in the truths of the gospel and the ordinances of



 “A remedy applied to these two evils alone would commence the

 amelioration of their sad condition. We appeal, then, to you as

 sisters, as wives, and as mothers, to raise your voices to your

 fellow-citizens and your prayers to God, for the removal of this

 affliction from the Christian world. We do not say these things in a

 spirit of self-complacency, as though our nation were free from the

 guilt it perceives in others. We acknowledge with grief and shame our

 heavy share in this great sin. We acknowledge that our forefathers

 introduced, nay, compelled the adoption of slavery in those mighty

 colonies. We humbly confess it before Almighty God. And it is because

 we so deeply feel, and so unfeignedly avow our own complicity, that

 we now venture to implore your aid to wipe away our common crime and

 our common dishonour.”


We have here a movement that cannot fail to be productive of much

good. It was time that the various nations of the world should have

their attention called to the existence of slavery within their

borders, and to the manifold evils of which it was the parent; and it

was in the highest degree proper that woman should take the lead in

doing it, as it is her sex that always suffers most in that condition

of things wherein might triumphs over right, and which we are

accustomed to define as a state of slavery.


How shall slavery be abolished? This is the great question of our day.

But a few years since it was answered in England by an order for the

immediate emancipation of the black people held to slavery in her

colonies; and it is often urged that we should follow her example.

Before doing this, however, it would appear to be proper to examine

into the past history and present situation of the negro race in the

two countries, with a view to determine how far experience would

warrant the belief that the course thus urged upon us would be likely

to produce improvement in the condition of the objects of our

sympathy. Should the result of such an examination be to prove that

the cause of freedom has been advanced by the measures there pursued,

our duty to our fellow-men would require that we should follow in the

same direction, at whatever loss or inconvenience to ourselves. Should

it, however, prove that the condition of the poor negro has been

impaired and not improved, it will then become proper to enquire what

have been in past times the circumstances under which men have become

more free, with a view to ascertain wherein lies the deficiency, and

why it is that freedom now so obviously declines in various and

important portions of the earth. These things ascertained, it may be

that there will be little difficulty in determining what are the

measures now needed for enabling all men, black, white, and brown, to

obtain for themselves, and profitably to all, the exercise of the

rights of freemen. To adopt this course will be to follow in that of

the skilful physician, who always determines within himself the cause

of fever before he prescribes the remedy.


Chapter 2. Of slavery in the British colonies


At the date of the surrender of Jamaica to the British arms, in 1655,

the slaves, who were few in number, generally escaped to the

mountains, whence they kept up a war of depredation, until at length

an accommodation was effected in 1734, the terms of which were not,

however, complied with by the whites--the consequences of which will

be shown hereafter. Throughout the whole period their numbers were

kept up by the desertion of other slaves, and to this cause must, no

doubt, be attributed much of the bitterness with which the subsequent

war was waged.


In 1658, the slave population of the island was 1400. By 1670 it had

reached 8000, and in 1673, 9504.[1] From that date we have no account

until 1734, when it was 86,546, giving an increase in sixty-one years

of 77,000. It was in 1673 that the sugar-culture was commenced; and as

profitable employment was thus found for labour, there can be little

doubt that the number had increased regularly and steadily, and that

the following estimate must approach tolerably near the truth:--



    Say 1702, 36,000; increase in 29 years, 26,500

        1734, 77,000;          “ 32       41,000


  In 1775, the total number of slaves and other

  coloured persons on the island, was................. 194,614

  And if we now deduct from this the number

  in 1702, say........................................  36,000


    We obtain, as the increase of 73 years............ 158,614



  In that period the importations amounted to......... 497,736

  And the exportations to............................. 137,114


    Leaving, as retained in the island................ 360,622  [2]


  or about two and two-fifths persons for one that then

  remained alive.


  From 1783 to 1787, the number imported was 47,485, and

  the number exported 14,541;[3] showing an increase

  in five years of nearly 33,000, or 6,600 per annum;

  and by a report of the Inspector-General, it was

  shown that the number retained from 1778 to 1787,

  averaged 5345 per annum. Taking the thirteen years,

  1775-1787, at that rate, we obtain nearly ........... 70,000


  From 1789 to 1791, the excess of import was 32,289,

  or 10,763 per annum; and if we take the four years,

  1788-1791, at the same rate, we obtain, as the

  total number retained in that period................. 43,000





In 1791, a committee of the House of Assembly made a report on the

number of the slaves, by which it was made to be 250,000; and if to

this be added the free negroes, amounting to 10,000, we obtain, as the

total number, 260,000,--showing an increase, in fifteen years, of

65,386--or nearly 48,000 less than the number that had been imported.


We have now ascertained an import, in 89 years, of 473,000, with an

increase of numbers amounting to only 224,000; thus establishing the

fact that more than half of the whole import had perished under the

treatment to which they had been subjected. Why it had been so may be

gathered from the following extract, by which it is shown that the

system there and then pursued corresponds nearly with that of Cuba at

the present time.


 “The advocates of the slave trade insisted that it was impossible to

 keep up the stock of negroes, without continual importations from

 Africa. It is, indeed, very evident, that as long as importation is

 continued, and two-thirds of the slaves imported are men, the

 succeeding generation, in the most favourable circumstances, cannot

 be more numerous than if there had been only half as many men; or, in

 other words, at least half the men may be said, with respect to

 population, to die without posterity.”--_Macpherson_, vol. iv. 148.


In 1792, a committee of the Jamaica House of Assembly reported that

“the abolition of the slave trade” must be followed by the “total ruin

and depopulation of the island.” “Suppose,” said they,


 “A planter settling with a gang of 100 African slaves, all bought in

 the prime of life. Out of this gang he will be able at first to put

 to work, on an average, from 80 to 90 labourers. The committee will

 further suppose that they increase in number; yet, in the course of

 twenty years, this gang will be so far reduced, in point of strength,

 that he will not be able to work more than 30 to 40. It will

 therefore require a supply of 50 new negroes to keep up his estate,

 and that not owing to cruelty, or want of good management on his

 part; on the contrary, the more humane he is, the greater the number

 of old people and young he will have on his estate.”--_Macpherson_,

 iv. 256.


In reference to this extraordinary reasoning, Macpherson says, very



 “With submission, it may be asked if people become superannuated in

 twenty years after being in _the prime of life_; and if the children

 of all these superannuated people are in a state of infancy? If

 one-half of these slaves are women, (as they ought to be, if the

 planter looks to futurity,) will not those fifty women, in twenty

 years, have, besides younger children, at least one hundred grown up

 to young men and women, capable of partaking the labour of their

 parents, and replacing the loss by superannuation or death,-- as has

 been the case with the working people in all other parts of the

 world, from the creation to this day?”


To this question there can be but one reply: Man has always increased

in numbers where he has been well fed, well clothed, and reasonably

worked; and wherever his numbers have decreased, it has been because

of a deficiency of food and clothing and an excess of work.


It was at this period that the Maroon war was again in full activity,

and so continued until 1796, when it was terminated by the employment

of bloodhounds to track the fugitives, who finally surrendered, and

were transported to Lower Canada, whence they were soon after sent to

Sierra Leone.


From 1792 to 1799, the _net_ import was 74,741; and if it continued at

the same rate to 1808, the date of the abolition of the trade, the

number imported in eighteen years would be nearly 150,000; and yet the

number of slaves increased, in that period, from 250,000 to only

323,827--being an annual average increase of about 4500, and

exhibiting a loss of fifty per cent.


In the thirty-four years, 1775-1808, the number of negroes added to

the population of the island, by importation, would seem to have been

more than 260,000, and within about 50,000 of the number that, a

quarter of a century later, was emancipated.


In 1817, nine years after importation had been declared illegal, the

number is stated [4] at 346,150; from which it would appear that the

trade must have been in some measure continued up to that date, as

there is no instance on record of any natural increase in any of the

islands, under any circumstances. It is, indeed, quite clear that no

such increase has taken place; for had it once commenced, it would

have continued, which was not the case, as will be seen by the

following figures:--


In 1817, the number was, as we see 346,150. In 1820, it was only

342,382; and if to this we add the manumissions for the same period,

(1016,) we have a net loss of 2752.


In 1826, they had declined in numbers to 331,119, to which must be

added 1848 manumissions--showing a loss, in six years, of 9415, or

nearly three per cent.


The number shown by the last registration, 1833, was only 311,692; and

if to this we add 2000 that had been manumitted, we shall have a loss,

in seven years, of 19,275, or more than five per cent. In sixteen

years, there had been a diminution of ten per cent., one-fifth of

which may be attributed to manumission; and thus is it clearly

established that in 1830, as in 1792, a large annual importation would

have been required, merely to maintain the number of the population.


That the condition of the negroes was in a course of deterioration in

this period, is clearly shown by the fact that the proportion of

births to deaths was in a steady course of diminution, as is here





    1817 to 1820............. 25,104 deaths, 24,348 births.

    1823 to 1826............. 25,171      , 23,026  

    1826 to 1829............. 25,137      , 21,728  


The destruction of life was thus proceeding with constantly

accelerating rapidity; and a continuance of the system, as it then

existed, must have witnessed the total annihilation of the negro race

within half a century.


Viewing these facts, not a doubt can, I think, be entertained that the

number of negroes imported into the island and retained for its

_consumption_ was more than double the number that existed there in

1817, and could scarcely have been less than 750,000, and certainly,

at the most moderate estimate, not less than 700,000. If to these we

were to add the children that must have been born on the island in the

long period of 178 years, and then to reflect that all who remained

for emancipation amounted to only 311,000, we should find ourselves

forced to the conclusion that slavery was here attended with a

destruction of life almost without a parallel in the history of any

civilized nation.


With a view to show that Jamaica cannot be regarded as an unfavourable

specimen of the system, the movement of population in other colonies

will now be given.


In 1764, the slave population of ST. VINCENT’S was 7414. In 1787,

twenty-three years after, it was 11,853, having increased 4439;

whereas, _in four only_ of those years, 1784-87, the _net_ import of

negroes had been no less than 6100.[5] In 1805, the number was 16,500,

the increase having been 4647; whereas the _net_ import in _three

only_, out of _eighteen_ years, had been 1937. What was the cause of

this, may be seen by the comparative view of deaths, and their

compensation by births, at a later period:--


    Year 1822.................... 4205 deaths, 2656 births.

        1825.................... 2106        1852  

        1828.................... 2020        1829  

        1831.................... 2266        1781  


The births, it will be observed, steadily diminished in number.


At the peace of 1763, DOMINICA contained 6000 slaves. The net amount

of importation, _in four years_, 1784 to 1787, was 23,221;[6] and yet

the total population in 1788 was but 14,967! Here we have a waste of

life so far exceeding that of Jamaica that we might almost feel

ourselves called upon to allow five imported for every one remaining

on the island. Forty-four years afterwards, in 1832, the slave

emancipation returns gave 14,834 as remaining out of the vast number

that had been imported. The losses by death and the gains by births,

for a part of the period preceding emancipation, are thus given:--


    1817 to 1820................. 1748 deaths, 1433 births.

    1820 to 1823................. 1527        1491  

    1823 to 1826................. 1493        1309  


If we look to BRITISH GUIANA, we find the same results.[7]


  In 1820, Demerara and Essequebo had a

  slave population of............................... 77,376

  By 1826, it had fallen to......................... 71,382

  And by 1832, it had still further fallen to....... 65,517


The deaths and births of this colony exhibit a waste of life that

would be deemed almost incredible, had not the facts been carefully

registered at the moment:--


    1817 to 1820................. 7140 deaths, 4868 births.

    1820 to 1823................. 7188        4512   

    1823 to 1826................. 7634        4494   

    1826 to 1829................. 5731        4684   

    1829 to 1832................. 7016        4086   


We have here a decrease, in fifteen years, of fifteen per cent., or

12,000 out of 77,000. Each successive period, with a single exception,

presents a diminished number of births, while the average of deaths in

the last three periods is almost the same as in the first one.


BARBADOES had, in 1753, a slave population of 69,870. In 1817,

sixty-four years after, although importation appears to have been

regularly continued on a small scale, it amounted to only 77,493. In

this case, the slaves appear to have been better treated than

elsewhere, as here we find, in the later years, the births to have

exceeded the deaths--the former having been, from 1826 to 1829, 9250,

while the latter were 6814. There were here, also, in the same period,

670 manumissions.


In TRINIDAD, out of a total slave population of 23,537, the deaths, in

twelve years, were no less than 8774, while the births were only 6001.


GRENADA surrendered to the British forces in 1762. Seven years after,

in 1769, there were 35,000 negroes on the island. In 1778,

notwithstanding the importation, they appear to have been reduced to



In the four years from 1784 to 1787, and the three from 1789 to 1791,

(the only ones for which I can find an account,) the number imported

and retained for consumption on the island amounted to no less than

16,228;[8] and yet the total number finally emancipated was but

23,471. The destruction of life appears here to have been enormous;

and that it continued long after the abolition of the slave trade, is

shown by the following comparison of births and deaths:--


    1817.......................... 451 births,  902 deaths.

    1818.......................... 657        1070  


The total births from 1817 to 1831, were 10,144 in number, while the

deaths were 12,764--showing a loss of about ten per cent.


The number of slaves emancipated in 1834, in all the British

possessions, was 780,993; and the net loss in the previous five years

had been 38,811, or _almost one per cent. per annum_.


The number emancipated in the West Indies was 660,000; and viewing the

facts that have been placed before the reader, we can scarcely err

much in assuming that the number imported and retained for consumption

in those colonies had amounted to 1,700,000. This would give about two

and a half imported for one that was emancipated; and there is some

reason to think that it might be placed as high as three for one,

which would give a total import of almost two millions.


While thus exhibiting the terrific waste of life in the British

colonies, it is not intended either, to assert or to deny any

voluntary severity on the part of the landholders. They were,

themselves, as will hereafter be shown, to a great extent, the slaves

of circumstances over which they had no control; and it cannot be

doubted that much, very much, of the responsibility, must rest on

other shoulders.


Chapter 3. Of slavery in the United States


In the North American provinces, now the United States, negro slavery

existed from a very early period, but on a very limited scale, as the

demand for slaves was mainly supplied from England. The exports of the

colonies were bulky, and the whites could be imported as return cargo;

whereas the blacks would have required a voyage to the coast of

Africa, with which little trade was maintained. The export from

England ceased after the revolution of 1688, and thenceforward negro

slaves were somewhat more freely imported; yet the trade appears to

have been so small as scarcely to have attracted notice. The only

information on the subject furnished by Macpherson in his Annals of

Commerce is that, in the eight months ending July 12, 1753, the

negroes imported into Charleston, S. C., were 511 in number; and that

in the year 1765-66, the value of negroes imported from Africa into

Georgia was £14,820--and this, if they be valued at only £10 each,

would give only 1482. From 1783 to 1787, the number exported from all

the West India Islands to this country was 1392 [9] --being an average

of less than 300 per annum; and there is little reason for believing

that this number was increased by any import direct from Africa. The

British West Indies were then the entrepôt of the trade,[10] and

thence they were supplied to the other islands and the settlements on

the Main; and had the demand for this country been considerable, it

cannot be doubted that a larger portion of the thousands then annually

exported would have been sent in this direction.


Under these circumstances, the only mode of arriving at the history of

slavery prior to the first census, in 1790, appears to be to commence

at that date and go forward, and afterwards employ the information so

obtained in endeavouring to elucidate the operations of the previous



  The number of negroes, free and enslaved, at

  that date, was....................................   757,263

  And at the second census, in 1801, it was......... 1,001,436


  showing an increase of almost thirty-three per cent.

  How much of this, however, was due to importation,

  we have now to inquire. The only two States that

  then tolerated the import of slaves were South

  Carolina and Georgia, the joint black population

  of which, in 1790, was.............................  136,358

  whereas, in 1800, it had risen to..................  205,555


                                   Increase..........   69,197



  In the same period the white population increased

  104,762, requiring an immigration from the Northern

  slave States to the extent of not less than 45,000,

  even allowing more than thirty per cent. for the

  natural increase by births. Admitting, now, that for

  every family of five free persons there came one

  slave, this, would account for.......................  9,000

  And if we take the natural increase of the slave

  population at only twenty-five per cent., we have

  further.............................................. 34,000


    Making a total from domestic sources of............ 43,000

    And leaving, for the import from abroad............ 26,197


Deducting these from the total number added, we obtain, for the

natural increase, about 29-1/2 per cent.


Macpherson, treating of this period, says--


 “That importation is not necessary for keeping up the stock is proved

 by the example of North America--a country less congenial to the

 constitution of the negro than the West Indies--where,

 notwithstanding the destruction and desertion of the slaves

 occasioned by the war, the number of negroes, though perhaps not of

 slaves, has greatly increased--because, _since the war they have

 imported very few_, and of late years none at all, except in the

 Southern States.”--_Annals_, vol. iv. 150.


The number of vessels employed in the slave trade, in 1795, is stated

to have been twenty, all of them small; and the number of slaves to be

carried was limited to one for each ton of their capacity.


From 1800 to 1810, the increase was 378,374, of which nearly 30,000

were found in Louisiana at her incorporation into the Union, leaving

about 350,000 to come from other sources; being an increase of 35 per

cent. In this period the increase of Georgia and South Carolina, the

two importing States, was only 96,000, while that, of the white

population was 129,073, carrying with them perhaps 25,000. If to this

be added the natural increase at the rate of 25 per cent., we obtain

about 75,000, leaving only 21,000 for importation. It is probable,

however, that it was somewhat larger, and that it might be safe to

estimate it at the same amount as in the previous period, making a

total of about 52,000 in the twenty years. Deducting 26,000 from the

350,000, we obtain 324,000 as the addition from domestic sources,

which would be about 32 per cent. on the population of 1800. This may

be too high; and yet the growth of the following decennial period--one

of war and great commercial and agricultural distress--was almost

thirty per cent. In 1810, the number had been 1,379,800.


    In 1820 it was 1,779,885; increase 30   per cent.

     “ 1830       2,328,642;         30.8     

     “ 1840       2,873,703;         24       

     “ 1850       3,591,000;         25        “ [11]


Having thus ascertained, as far as possible, the ratio of increase

subsequent to the first census, we may now proceed to an examination

of the course of affairs in the period which had preceded it.


In 1714, the number of blacks was 58,850, and they were dispersed

throughout the provinces from New Hampshire to Carolina, engaged, to a

large extent, in labours similar to those in which were engaged the

whites by whom they were owned. One-half of them may have been

imported. Starting from this point, and taking the natural increase of

each decennial period at 25 per cent., as shown to have since been the

case, we should obtain, for 1750, about 130,000. The actual quantity

was 220,000; and the difference, 90,000, may be set down to

importation. Adding, now, 25 percent, to 220,000, we obtain, for 1760,

275,000; whereas the actual number was 310,000, which Would give

35,000 for importation. Pursuing the same course with the following

periods, we obtain the following results:--


               Actual      Natural      Actual

    Years      Number.    Increase.    Increase.  Importation.

    -----      -------    ---------    ---------  ------------

    1760..... 310,000.....  77,500..... 152,000.....    74,500

    1770..... 462,000..... 115,500..... 120,000..... }

    1780..... 582,000..... 140,500..... 170,000..... }  34,000

    1790..... 752,000, number given by first census.


For a large portion of the period from 1770 to 1790, there must have

been a very small importation; for during nearly half the time the

trade with foreign countries was almost altogether suspended by the

war of the revolution.


If we add together the quantities thus obtained, we shall obtain a

tolerable approximation to the number of slaves imported into the

territory now constituting the Union, as follows:--


    Prior to 1714.....................................  30,000

    1715 to 1750......................................  90,000

    1751 to 1760......................................  35,000

    1761 to 1770......................................  74,500

    1771 to 1790......................................  34,000

    And if we now estimate the import

    subsequent to 1790 at even........................  70,000


      We obtain as the total number................... 333,500



The number now in the Union exceeds 3,800,000; and even if we estimate

the import as high as 380,000, we then have more than ten for one;

whereas in the British Islands we can find not more than two for five,

and perhaps even not more than one for three. Had the slaves of the

latter been as well fed, clothed, lodged, and otherwise cared for, as

were those of these provinces and States, their numbers would have

reached seventeen or twenty millions. Had the blacks among the people

of these States experienced the same treatment as did their fellows of

the islands, we should now have among us less than one hundred and

fifty thousand slaves.


  The prices paid by the British Government averaged

  £25 per head. Had the number in the colonies been

  allowed to increase as they increased here, it

  would have required, even at that price, the

  enormous sum of................................ £500,000,000


  Had the numbers in this country been reduced

  by the same process there practised, emancipation

  could now be carried out at cost of less than..   £4,000,000


  To emancipate them now, paying for them at the

  same rate, would require nearly................ £100,000,000


or almost five hundred millions of dollars. The same course, however,

that has increased their numbers, has largely increased their value to

the owners and to themselves. Men, when well fed, well clothed, well

lodged, and otherwise well cared for, always increase rapidly in

numbers, and in such cases labour always increases rapidly in value;

and hence it is that the average price of the negro slave of this

country is probably four times greater than that which the planters of

the West Indies were compelled to receive. Such being the case, it

would follow that to pay for their full value would require probably

four hundred millions of pounds sterling, or nearly two thousand

millions of dollars.


It will now be seen that the course of things in the two countries has

been entirely different. In the islands the slave trade had been

cherished as a source of profit. Here, it had been made the subject of

repeated protests on the part of several of the provinces, and had

been by all but two prohibited at the earliest moment at which they

possessed the power so to do. In the islands it was held to be cheaper

to buy slaves than to raise them, and the sexes were out of all

proportion to each other. Here, importation was small, and almost the

whole increase, large as it has been, has resulted from the excess of

births over deaths. In the islands, the slave was generally a

barbarian, speaking an unknown tongue, and working with men like

himself, in gangs, with scarcely a chance for improvement. Here, he

was generally a being born on the soil, speaking the same language

with his owner; and often working in the field with him, with many

advantages for the development of his faculties. In the islands, the

land-owners clung to slavery as the sheet-anchor of their hopes. Here,

on the contrary, slavery had gradually been abolished in all the

States north of Mason & Dixon’s line, and Delaware, Maryland,

Virginia, and Kentucky were all, at the date of emancipation in the

islands, preparing for the early adoption of measures looking to its

entire abolition. In the islands, the connection with Africa had been

cherished as a means of obtaining cheap labour, to be obtained by

fomenting discord among the natives. Here, on the contrary, had

originated a grand scheme for carrying civilization into the heart of

Africa by means of the gradual transplantation of some of the already

civilized blacks. In the islands, it has been deemed desirable to

carry out “the European policy,” of preventing the Africans “from

arriving at perfection” in the art of preparing their cotton, sugar,

indigo, or other articles, “from a fear of interfering with

established branches of commerce elsewhere.”[12] Here, on the

contrary, efforts had been made for disseminating among them the

knowledge required for perfecting themselves in the modes of

preparation and manufacture. In the islands, every thing looked toward

the permanency of slavery. Here, every thing looked toward the gradual

and gentle civilization and emancipation of the negro throughout the

world. In the islands, however, by a prompt measure forced on the

people by a distant government, slavery was abolished, and the

planters, or their representatives in England, received twenty

millions of pounds sterling as compensation in full for the services

of the few who remained in existence out of the large number that had

been imported. Here, the planters are now urged to adopt for

themselves measures of a similar kind. The whole course of proceeding

in the two countries in reference to the negro having been so widely

different, there are, however, difficulties in the way that seem to be

almost insuperable. The power to purchase the slaves of the British

colonies was a consequence of the fact that their numbers had not been

permitted to increase. The difficulty of purchasing them here is

great, because of their having been well fed, well clothed, and

otherwise well provided for, and having therefore increased so

rapidly. If, nevertheless, it can be shown that by abandoning the

system under which the negro race has steadily increased in numbers

and advanced towards civilization, and adopting that of a nation under

whose rule there has been a steady decline of numbers, and but little,

if any, tendency toward civilization, we shall benefit the race, it

will become our duty to make the effort, however great may be the

cost. With a view to ascertain how far duty may be regarded as calling

upon us now to follow in the footsteps of that nation, it is proposed

to examine into the working of the act by which the whole negro

population of the British colonies was, almost at once and without

preparation, invested with the right to determine for whom they would

work and what should be their wages--or were, in other words, declared

to be free.


Chapter 4. Of emancipation in the British colonies


The harmony of the universe is the result of a contest between equal

and opposing powers. The earth is attracted to the sun and from the

sun; and were either of these forces to be diminished or destroyed,

chaos would be the inevitable result. So is it everywhere on the

earth. The apple falls toward the centre of the earth, but in its

passage it encounters resistance; and the harmony of every thing we

see around us is dependent on the equal balance of these opposing

forces. So is it among men. The man who has food to sell wishes to

have a high price for it, whereas, he who needs to buy desires to have

it cheaply; and the selling price depends on the relation between the

necessity to buy on one hand, or to sell on the other. Diminish

suddenly and largely the competition for the purchase of food, and the

farmer becomes the prey of the mechanic. Increase it suddenly and

largely, and the mechanic becomes the prey of the farmer; whereas a

gradual and gentle increase in the demand for food is accompanied by a

similar increase in the demand for the products of the loom and the

anvil, and both farmer and mechanic prosper together, because the

competition for purchase and the competition for sale grow together

and balance each other. So, too, with labour. Wages are dependent upon

the relation between the number of those who desire to buy and to sell

labour. Diminish suddenly the number of those who desire to sell it,

and the farmer may be ruined. Diminish suddenly the number of those

who desire to buy it, and the labourer may become the slave of the



For almost two centuries, men possessed of capital and desirous to

purchase labour had been induced to transfer it to the colonies, and

the government secured to them the right to obtain labourers on

certain specified terms--such terms as made the labourer a mere

instrument in the hands of the capitalist, and prevented him from

obtaining any of those habits or feelings calculated to inspire him

with a love for labour. At once, all control over him was withdrawn,

and the seller of labour was converted into the master of him who was

thus, by the action of the government, placed in such a situation that

he _must_ buy it or be ruined. Here was a disturbance of the order of

things that had existed, almost as great as that which occurs when the

powerful steam, bursting the boiler in which it is enclosed, ceases to

be the servant and becomes the master of man; and it would have

required but little foresight to enable those who had the government

of this machine to see that it must prove almost as ruinous.


How it operated in Southern Africa, where the slave was most at home,

is shown by the following extracts from the work of a recent traveller

and settler in that colony:--[13]


 “The chain was broken, and the people of England hurraed to their

 heart’s content. And the slave! What, in the meanwhile, became of

 him? If he was young and vicious, away he went--he was his own

 master. He was at liberty to walk to and fro upon the earth, ‘seeking

 whom he might devour.’ He was free: he had the world before him where

 to choose, though, squatted beside the Kaffir’s fire, probably

 thinking his meal of parched corn but poor stuff after the palatable

 dishes he had been permitted to cook for himself in the Boer’s or

 tradesman’s kitchen. But he was fain to like it--he could get nothing

 else--and this was earned at the expense of his own soul; for it was

 given him as an inducement to teach the Kaffir the easiest mode of

 plundering his ancient master. If inclined to work, he had no certain

 prospect of employment; and the Dutch, losing so much by the sudden

 Emancipation Act, resolved on working for themselves. So the

 virtuous, redeemed slave, had too many temptations to remain

 virtuous: he was hungry--so was his wife--so were his children; and

 he must feed them. How? No matter.”


These people will work at times, but they must have wages that will

enable them to play much of their time.


 “When we read of the distress of our own country, and of the wretched

 earnings of our mechanics, we are disgusted at the idea of these same

 Fingoes striking work (as Coolies) at Waterloo Bay, being

 dissatisfied with the pay of 2s. a day. As their services are

 necessary in landing cargo, their demand of 3s. a day has been

 acceded to, and they have consented to work when it suits them!--for

 they take occasional holidays, for dancing and eating. At Algoa Bay,

 the Fingoes are often paid 6s. a day for working as Coolies.”


These men have all the habits of the savage. They leave to the women

the tilling of the ground, the hoeing of the corn, the carrying of

water, and all the heavy work; and to the boys and old men the tending

of the cattle, while they themselves spend the year in hunting,

dancing, eating, and robbing their neighbours--except when

occasionally they deem it expedient to do a few days’ work at such

wages as they may think proper to dictate.


How it has operated in the West Indies we may next inquire, and with

that view will take Jamaica, one of the oldest, and, until lately, one

of the most prosperous of the colonies. That island embraces about

four millions of acres of land, “of which,” says Mr. Bigelow,--


 “There are not, probably, any ten lying adjacent to each other which

 are not susceptible of the highest cultivation, while not more than

 500,000 acres have ever been reclaimed, or even appropriated.”[14]


 “It is traversed by over two hundred streams, forty of which are from

 twenty-five to one hundred feet in breadth; and, it deserves to be

 mentioned, furnish water-power sufficient to manufacture every thing

 produced by the soil, or consumed by the inhabitants. Far less

 expense than is usually incurred on the same surface in the United

 States for manure, would irrigate all the dry lands of the island,

 and enable them to defy the most protracted droughts by which it is

 ever visited.”[15]


The productiveness of the soil is immense. Fruits of every variety

abound; vegetables of every kind for the table, and Indian corn, grow

abundantly. The island is rich in dyestuffs, drugs, and spices of the

greatest value; and the forests furnish the most celebrated woods in

the greatest variety. In addition to this, it possesses copper-mines

inferior to none in the world, and coal will probably be mined

extensively before many years. “Such,” says Mr. Bigelow,--


 “Are some of the natural resources of this dilapidated and

 poverty-stricken country. Capable as it is of producing almost every

 thing, and actually producing nothing which might not become a staple

 with a proper application of capital and skill, its inhabitants are

 miserably poor, and daily sinking deeper and deeper into the utter

 helplessness of abject want.


          “‘Magnas inter opes inops.’


 “Shipping has deserted her ports; her magnificent plantations of

 sugar and coffee are running to weeds; her private dwellings are

 falling to decay; the comforts and luxuries which belong to

 industrial prosperity have been cut off, one by one, from her

 inhabitants; and the day, I think, is at hand when there will be none

 left to represent the wealth, intelligence, and hospitality for which

 the Jamaica planter was once so distinguished.”


The cause of all this, say the planters, is that wages are too high

for the price of sugar. This Mr. Bigelow denies--not conceding that a

shilling a day is high wages; but all the facts he adduces tend to

show that the labourer gives very little labour for the money he

receives; and that, as compared with the work done, wages are really

far higher than in any part of the Union. Like the Fingo of Southern

Africa, he can obtain from a little patch of land all that is

indispensably necessary for his subsistence, and he will do little

more work than is needed for accomplishing that object. The

consequence of this is that potatoes sell for six cents a pound, eggs

from three to five cents each, milk at eighteen cents a quart, and

corn-meal at twelve or fourteen dollars a barrel; and yet there are

now more than a hundred thousand of these small proprietors, being

almost one for every three people on the island. All cultivators, they

yet produce little to sell, and the consequence of this is seen in the

fact that the mass of the flour, rice, corn, peas, butter, lard,

herrings, &c. needed for consumption requires to be imported, as well

as all the lumber, although millions of acres of timber are to be

found among the unappropriated lands of the island.


It is impossible to read Mr. Bigelow’s volume, without arriving at the

conclusion that the freedom granted to the negro has had little effect

except that of enabling him to live at the expense of the planter so

long as any thing remained. Sixteen years of freedom did not appear to

its author to have “advanced the dignity of labour or of the labouring

classes one particle,” while it had ruined the proprietors of the

land; and thus great damage had been done to the one class without

benefit of any kind to the other. From a statistical table published

in August last, it appears, says the _New York Herald_, that since



 “The number of sugar-estates on the island that have been totally

 abandoned amounts to one hundred and sixty-eight, and the number

 partially abandoned to sixty-three; the value of which two hundred

 and thirty-one estates was assessed, in 1841, at £1,655,140, or

 nearly eight millions and a half of dollars. Within the same period,

 two hundred and twenty-three coffee-plantations have been totally,

 and twenty partially abandoned, the assessed value of which was, in

 1841, £500,000, or two millions and a half of dollars; and of

 cattle-pens, (grazing-farms,) one hundred and twenty-two have been

 totally, and ten partially abandoned, the value of which was a

 million and a half of dollars. The aggregate value of these six

 hundred and six estates, which have been thus ruined and abandoned in

 the island of Jamaica, within the last seven or eight years, amounted

 by the regular assessments, ten years since, to the sum of nearly two

 and a half millions of pounds sterling, or twelve and a half million

 of dollars.”


As a necessary consequence of this, “there is little heard of,” says

Dr. King, “but ruin.”[16] “In many districts,” he adds--


 “The marks of decay abound. Neglected fields, crumbling houses,

 fragmentary fences, noiseless machinery--these are common sights, and

 soon become familiar to observation. I sometimes rode for miles in

 succession over fertile ground which used to be cultivated, and which

 is now lying waste. So rapidly has cultivation retrograded, and the

 wild luxuriance of nature replaced the conveniences of art, that

 parties still inhabiting these desolated districts, have sometimes,

 in the strong language of a speaker at Kingston, ‘to seek about the

 bush to find the entrance into their houses.’


 “The towns present a spectacle not less gloomy. A great part of

 Kingston was destroyed, some years ago, by an extensive

 conflagration: yet multitudes of the houses which escaped that

 visitation are standing empty, though the population is little, if at

 all diminished. The explanation is obvious. Persons who have nothing,

 and can no longer keep up their domestic establishments, take refuge

 in the abodes of others, where some means of subsistence are still

 left: and in the absence of any discernible trade or occupation, the

 lives of crowded thousands appear to be preserved from day to day by

 a species of miracle. The most busy thoroughfares of former times

 have now almost the quietude of a Sabbath.”


“The finest land in the world,” says Mr. Bigelow, “may be had at any

price, and almost for the asking.” Labour, he adds, “receives no

compensation, and the product of labour does not seem to know how to

find the way to market.” Properties which were formerly valued at

£40,000 would not now command £4000, and others, after having been

sold at six, eight, or ten per cent. of their former value, have been

finally abandoned.


The following is from a report made in 1849 and signed by various



 “Missionary efforts in Jamaica are beset at the present time with

 many and great discouragements. Societies at home have withdrawn or

 diminished the amount of assistance afforded by them to chapels and

 schools throughout this island. The prostrate condition of its

 agriculture and commerce disables its own population from doing as

 much as formerly for maintaining the worship of God and the tuition

 of the young, and induces numbers of negro labourers to retire from

 estates which have been thrown up, to seek the means of subsistence

 in the mountains, where they are removed in general from moral

 training and superintendence. The consequences of this state of

 matters are very disastrous. Not a few missionaries and teachers,

 often struggling with difficulties which they could not overcome,

 have returned to Europe, and others are preparing to follow them.

 Chapels and schools are abandoned, or they have passed into the

 charge of very incompetent instructors.”--_Quoted in King’s Jamaica_,

 p. 111.


Population gradually diminishes, furnishing another evidence that the

tendency of every thing is adverse to the progress of civilization. In

1841, the island contained a little short of 400,000 persons. In 1844,

the census returns gave about 380,000; and a recent journal states

that of those no less than forty thousand have in the last two years

been carried off by cholera, and that small-pox, which has succeeded

that disease, is now sweeping away thousands whom that disease had

spared. Increase of crime, it adds, keeps pace with the spread of

misery throughout the island.


The following extracts from a Report of a Commission appointed in 1850

to inquire into the state and prosperity of Guiana, are furnished by

Lord Stanley in his second letter to Mr. Gladstone, [London, 1851.]


Of Guiana generally they say--


 “‘It would be but a melancholy task to dwell upon the misery and ruin

 which so alarming a change must have occasioned to the proprietary

 body; but your Commissioners feel themselves called upon to notice

 the effects which this wholesale abandonment of property has produced

 upon the colony at large. Where whole districts are fast relapsing

 into bush, and occasional patches of provisions around the huts of

 village settlers are all that remain to tell of once flourishing

 estates, it is not to be wondered at that the most ordinary marks of

 civilization are rapidly disappearing, and that in many districts of

 the colony all travelling communication by land will soon become

 utterly impracticable.’


 “Of the Abary district--


 “‘Your Commissioners find that the line of road is nearly impassable,

 and that a long succession of formerly cultivated estates presents

 now a series of pestilent swamps, overrun with bush, and productive

 of malignant fevers.’


 “Nor are matters,” says Lord Stanley, “much better farther south--


 “‘Proceeding still lower down, your Commissioners find that the

 public roads and bridges are in such a condition, that the few

 estates still remaining on the upper west bank of Mahaica Creek are

 completely cut off, save in the very dry season; and that with regard

 to the whole district, unless something be done very shortly,

 travelling by land will entirely cease. In such a state of things it

 cannot be wondered at that the herdsman has a formidable enemy to

 encounter in the jaguar and other beasts of prey, and that the

 keeping of cattle is attended with considerable loss, from the

 depredations committed by these animals.


 “It may be worth noticing,” continues Lord Stanley, “that this

 district, now overrun with wild beasts of the forest; was formerly

 the very garden of the colony. The estates touched one another along

 the whole line of the road, leaving no interval of uncleared land.


 “The east coast, which is next mentioned by the Commissioners, is

 better off. Properties once of immense value had there been bought at

 nominal prices, and the one railroad of Guiana passing through that

 tract, a comparatively industrious population, composed of former

 labourers on the line, enabled the planters still to work these to

 some profit. Even of this favoured spot, however, they report that it

 ‘feels most severely the want of continuous labour.’ The

 Commissioners next visit the east bank of the Demerara river, thus



 “‘Proceeding up the east bank of the river Demerary, the generally

 prevailing features of ruin and distress are everywhere perceptible.

 Roads and bridges almost impassable are fearfully significant

 exponents of the condition of the plantations which they traverse;

 and Canal No. 3, once covered with plantains and coffee, presents now

 a scene of almost total desolation.’


 “Crossing to the west side, they find prospects somewhat brighter: ‘a

 few estates’ are still ‘keeping up a cultivation worthy of better

 times.’ But this prosperous neighbourhood is not extensive, and the

 next picture presented to our notice is less agreeable:--


 “‘Ascending the river still higher, your Commissioners learn that the

 district between Hobaboe Creek and ‘Stricken Heuvel’ contained, in

 1829, eight sugar and five coffee and plantain estates, and now there

 remain but three in sugar and four partially cultivated with

 plantains by petty settlers: while the roads, with one or two

 exceptions, are in a state of utter abandonment. Here, as on the

 opposite bank of the river, hordes of squatters have located

 themselves, who avoid all communication with Europeans, and have

 seemingly given themselves up altogether to the rude pleasures of a

 completely savage life.’


 “The west coast of Demerara--the only part of that country which

 still remains unvisited--is described as showing _only_ a diminution

 of fifty per cent. upon its produce of sugar: and with this fact the

 evidence concludes as to one of the three sections into which the

 colony is divided. Does Demerara stand alone in its misfortune? Again

 hear the report:--


 “‘If the present state of the county of Demerara affords cause for

 deep apprehension, your Commissioners find that Essequebo has

 retrograded to a still more alarming extent. In fact, unless a large

 and speedy supply of labour be obtained to cultivate the deserted

 fields of this once-flourishing district, there is great reason to

 fear that it will relapse into total abandonment.’”


Describing another portion of the colony--


 “They say of one district, ‘unless a fresh supply of labour be very

 soon obtained, there is every reason to fear that it will become

 completely abandoned.’ Of a second, ‘speedy immigration alone can

 save this island from total ruin.’ ‘The prostrate condition of this

 once beautiful part of the coast,’ are the words which begin another

 paragraph, describing another tract of country. Of a fourth, ‘the

 proprietors on this coast seem to be keeping up a hopeless struggle

 against approaching ruin. Again, ‘the once famous Arabian coast, so

 long the boast of the colony, presents now but a mournful picture of

 departed prosperity. Here were formerly situated some of the finest

 estates in the country, and a large resident body of proprietors

 lived in the district, and freely expended their incomes on the spot

 whence they derived them.’ Once more, the lower part of the coast,

 after passing Devonshire Castle to the river Pomeroon, presents a

 scene of almost total desolation.’ Such is Essequebo!”


 “Berbice,” says Lord Stanley, “has fared no better: its rural

 population amounts to 18,000. Of these, 12,000 have withdrawn from

 the estates, and mostly from the neighbourhood of the white man, to

 enjoy a savage freedom of ignorance and idleness, beyond the reach of

 example and sometimes of control. But, on the condition of the negro

 I shall dwell more at length hereafter; at present it is the state of

 property with which I have to do. What are the districts which

 together form the county of Berbice? The Corentyne coast--the Canje

 Creek--East and West banks of the Berbice River--and the West coast,

 where, however, cotton was formerly the chief article produced. To

 each of these respectively the following passages, quoted in order,



 “‘The abandoned plantations on this coast,[17] which if capital and

 labour could be procured, might easily be made very productive, are

 either wholly deserted or else appropriated by hordes of squatters,

 who of course are unable to keep up at their own expense the public

 roads and bridges, and consequently all communication by land between

 the Corentyne and New Amsterdam is nearly at an end. The roads are

 impassable for horses or carriages, while for foot-passengers they

 are extremely dangerous. The number of villagers in this deserted

 region must be upward of 2500, and as the country abounds with fish

 and game, they have no difficulty in making a subsistence; in fact,

 the Corentyne coast is fast relapsing into a state of nature.’


 “‘Canje Creek was formerly considered a flourishing district of the

 county, and numbered on its east bank seven sugar and three coffee

 estates, and on its west bank eight estates, of which two were in

 sugar and six in coffee, making a total of eighteen plantations. The

 coffee cultivation has long since been entirely abandoned, and of the

 sugar estates but eight still now remain. They are suffering severely

 for want of labour, and being supported principally by African and

 Coolie immigrants, it is much to be feared that if the latter leave

 and claim their return passages to India, a great part of the

 district will become abandoned.’


 “‘Under present circumstances, so gloomy is the condition of affairs

 here,[18] that the two gentlemen whom your Commissioners have

 examined with respect to this district, both concur in predicting

 “its slow but sure approximation to the condition in which civilized

 man first found it.’”


 “‘A district [19] that in 1829, gave employment to 3635 registered

 slaves, but at the present moment there are not more than 600

 labourers at work on the few estates still in cultivation, although

 it is estimated there are upwards of 2000 people idling in villages

 of their own. The roads are in many parts several feet under water,

 and perfect swamps; while in some places the bridges are wanting

 altogether. In fact, the whole district is fast becoming a total

 wilderness, with the exception of the one or two estates which yet

 continue to struggle on, and which are hardly accessible now but by



 “‘Except in some of the best villages,[20] they care not for back or

 front dams to keep off the water; their side-lines are disregarded,

 and consequently the drainage is gone; while in many instances the

 public road is so completely flooded that canoes have to be used as a

 means of transit. The Africans are unhappily following the example of

 the Creoles in this district, and buying land, on which they settle

 in contented idleness; and your Commissioners cannot view instances

 like these without the deepest alarm, for if this pernicious habit of

 squatting is allowed to extend to the immigrants also, there is no

 hope for the colony.’”


Under these circumstances it is that the London _Times_ furnishes its

readers with the following paragraph,--and as that journal cannot be

regarded as the opponent of the classes which have lately controlled

the legislation of England, we may feel assured that its information

is to be relied upon:--


 “Our legislation has been dictated by the presumed necessities of the

 African slave. After the Emancipation Act, a large charge was

 assessed upon the colony in aid of civil and religious institutions

 for the benefit of the enfranchised negro, and it was hoped that

 those coloured subjects of the British Crown would soon be

 assimilated to their fellow-citizens. From all the information which

 has reached us, no less than from the visible probabilities of the

 case, _we are constrained to believe that these hopes have been

 falsified. The negro has not obtained with his freedom any habits of

 industry or morality. His independence is little better than that of

 an uncaptured brute_. Having accepted none of the restraints of

 civilization, he is amenable to few of its necessities, and the wants

 of his nature are so easily satisfied, that at the present rate of

 wages he is called upon for nothing but fitful or desultory exertion.

 _The blacks_, therefore, _instead of becoming intelligent husbandmen,

 have become vagrants and squatters, and it is now apprehended that

 with the failure of cultivation in the island will come the failure

 of its resources for instructing or controlling its population_. So

 imminent does this consummation appear, that memorials have been

 signed by classes of colonial society, hitherto standing aloof from

 politics, _and not only the bench and the bar, but the bishop,

 clergy, and the ministers of all denominations in the island, without

 exception, have recorded their conviction that in the absence of

 timely relief, the religious and educational institutions of the

 island must be abandoned, and the masses of the population retrograde

 to barbarism_.”


The _Prospective Review_, (Nov. 1852,) seeing what has happened in the

British colonies, and speaking of the possibility of a similar course

of action on this side of the Atlantic, says--


 “We have had experience enough in our own colonies, not to wish to

 see the experiment tried elsewhere on a larger scale. It is true that

 from some of the smaller islands, where there is a superabundance of

 negro population and no room for squatters, the export of sugar has

 not been diminished: it is true that in Jamaica and Demerara, the

 commercial distress is largely attributable to the folly of the

 planters--who doggedly refuse to accommodate themselves to the new

 state of things, and to entice the negroes from the back settlements

 by a promise of fair wages. But we have no reason to suppose that the

 whole tragi-comedy would not be re-enacted in the Slave States of

 America, if slavery were summarily abolished by act of Congress

 to-morrow. Property among the plantations consists only of land and

 negroes: emancipate the negroes--and the planters have no longer any

 capital for the cultivation of the land. Put the case of

 compensation: though it be difficult to see whence it could come:

 there is every probability that the planters of Alabama, accustomed

 all their lives to get black labour for nothing, would be as

 unwilling to pay for it as their compeers in Jamaica: and there is

 plenty of unowned land on which the disbanded gangs might settle and

 no one question their right. It is allowed on all hands that the

 negroes as a race will not work longer than is necessary to supply

 the simplest comforts of life. It would be wonderful were it

 otherwise. A people have been degraded and ground down for a century

 and a half: systematically kept in ignorance for five generations of

 any needs and enjoyments beyond those of the savage: and then it is

 made matter of complaint that they will not apply themselves to

 labour for their higher comforts and more refined luxuries, of which

 they cannot know the value!”


The systematic degradation here referred to is probably quite true as

regards the British Islands, where 660,000 were all that remained of

almost two millions that had been imported; but it is quite a mistake

to suppose it so in regard to this country, in which there are now

found ten persons for every one ever imported, and all advancing by

gradual steps toward civilization and freedom; and yet were the

reviewer discoursing of the conduct of the Spanish settlers of

Hispaniola, he could scarcely speak more disparagingly of them than he

does in regard to a people that alone has so treated the negro race as

to enable it to increase in numbers, and improve in its physical,

moral, and intellectual condition. Had he been more fully informed in

relation to the proceedings in the British colonies, and in these

colonies and states, he could scarcely have ventured to assert that

“the responsibility of having degraded the African race rests upon the

American people,”--the only people among whom they have been improved.

Nevertheless, it is right and proper to give due weight to all

opinions in regard to the existence of an evil, and to all

recommendations in regard to the mode of removal, let them come from

what source they may; and the writer of the article from which this

passage is taken is certainly animated by a somewhat more liberal and

catholic spirit than is found animating many of his countrymen.


That the English system in regard to the emancipation of the negro has

proved a failure is now admitted even by those who most warmly

advocated the measures that have been pursued. “There are many,” says

the London _Times_, “who think that, with proper regulations, and

particularly with a system for the self-enfranchisement of slaves, we

might have brought about the entire emancipation of the British West

Indies, with much less injury to the property of the planter and to

the character of the negro than have resulted from the Abolition Act.

Perhaps,” it continues, “the warning will not be lost on the

Americans, who may see the necessity of putting things in train for

the ultimate abolition of slavery, and thereby save the sudden shock

which the abolitionists may one day bring on all the institutions of

the Union and the whole fabric of American society.”


The Falmouth [Jamaica] _Post_, of December 12, 1852, informs us that,

even now, “in every parish of the island preparations are being made

for the abandonment of properties that were once valuable, but on

which cultivation can no longer be continued.” “In Trelawny,” it

continues, “many estates have been thrown up during the last two

years, and the exportation to the United States of America, within a

few months, of upward of 80,000 tons of copper, which was used for the

manufacture of sugar and rum, is one of the ‘signs of the times,’ to

which the attention of the legislature should be seriously directed,

in providing for the future maintenance of our various institutions,

both public and parochial. Unless the salaries of all official

characters are reduced, it will be utterly impossible to carry on the

government of the colony.”


Eighty thousand tons of machinery heretofore used in aid of labour, or

nearly one ton for every four persons on the island, exported within a

few months! The _Bande Noire_ of France pulled down dwelling-houses

and sold the materials, but as they left the machinery used by the

labourers, their operations were less injurious than have been those

of the negroes of Jamaica, the demand for whose labour must diminish

with every step in the progress of the abandonment of land and the

destruction of machinery. Under such circumstances we can feel little

surprise at learning that every thing tends towards barbarism; nor is

it extraordinary that a writer already quoted, and who is not to be

suspected of any pro-slavery tendencies, puts the question, “Is it

enough that they [the Americans] simply loose their chain and turn

them adrift lower,” as he is pleased to say, “than they found

them?”[21] It is not enough. They need to be prepared for freedom.

“Immediate emancipation,” as he says, “solves only the simplest forms

of the problem.”


The land-owner has been ruined and the labourer is fast relapsing into

barbarism, and yet in face of this fact the land-owners of the

Southern States are branded throughout the world as “tyrants” and

“slave-breeders,” because they will not follow in the same direction.

It is in face of this great fact that the people of the North are

invited to join in a crusade against their brethren of the South

because they still continue to hold slaves, and that the men of the

South are themselves so frequently urged to assent to immediate and

unconditional emancipation.


In all this there may be much philanthropy, but there is certainly

much error,--and with a view to determine where it lies, as well as to

show what is the true road to emancipation, it is proposed to inquire

what has been, in the various countries of the world, the course by

which men have passed from poverty to wealth, from ignorance and

barbarism to civilization, and from slavery to freedom. That done, we

may next inquire for the causes now operating to prevent the

emancipation of the negro of America and the occupant of “the

sweater’s den” in London; and if they can once be ascertained, it will

be then easy to determine what are the measures needful to be adopted

with a view to the establishment of freedom throughout the world.


Chapter 5. How man passes from poverty and slavery toward wealth and freedom


The first poor cultivator is surrounded by land unoccupied. _The more

of it at his command the poorer he is._ Compelled to work alone, he is

a slave to his necessities, and he can neither roll nor raise a log

with which to build himself a house. He makes himself a hole in the

ground, which serves in place of one. He cultivates the poor soil of

the hills to obtain a little corn, with which to eke out the supply of

food derived from snaring the game in his neighbourhood. His winter’s

supply is deposited in another hole, liable to injury from the water

which filters through the light soil into which alone he can

penetrate. He is in hourly danger of starvation. At length, however,

his sons grow up. They combine their exertions with his, and now

obtain something like an axe and a spade. They can sink deeper into

the soil; and can cut logs, and build something like a house. They

obtain more corn and more game, and they can preserve it better. The

danger of starvation is diminished. Being no longer forced to depend

for fuel upon the decayed wood which was all their father could

command, they are in less danger of perishing from cold in the

elevated ground which, from necessity, they occupy. With the growth of

the family new soils are cultivated, each in succession yielding a

larger return to labour, and they obtain a constantly increasing

supply of the necessaries of life from a surface diminishing in its

ratio to the number to be fed; and thus with every increase in the

return to labour the power of combining their exertions is increased.


If we look now to the solitary settler of the West, even where

provided with both axe and spade, we shall see him obtaining, with

extreme difficulty, the commonest log hut. A neighbour arrives, and

their combined efforts produce a new house with less than half the

labour required for the first. That neighbour brings a horse, and he

makes something like a cart. The product of their labour is now ten

times greater than was that of the first man working by himself. More

neighbours come, and new houses are needed. A “bee” is made, and by

the combined effort of the neighbourhood the third house is completed

in a day; whereas the first cost months, and the second weeks, of far

more severe exertion. These new neighbours have brought ploughs and

horses, and now better soils are cultivated, and the product of labour

is again increased, as is the power to preserve the surplus for

winter’s use. The path becomes a road. Exchanges increase. The store

makes its appearance. Labour is rewarded by larger returns, because

aided by better machinery applied to better soils. The town grows up.

Each successive addition to the population brings a consumer and a

producer. The shoemaker desires leather and corn in exchange for his

shoes. The blacksmith requires fuel and food, and the farmer wants

shoes for his horses; and with the increasing facility of exchange

more labour is applied to production, and the reward of labour rises,

producing new desires, and requiring more and larger exchanges. The

road becomes a turnpike, and the wagon and horses are seen upon it.

The town becomes a city, and better soils are cultivated for the

supply of its markets, while the railroad facilitates exchanges with

towns and cities yet more distant. The tendency to union and to

combination of exertion thus grows with the growth of wealth. In a

state of extreme poverty it cannot be developed. The insignificant

tribe of savages that starves on the product of the superficial soil

of hundreds of thousands of acres of land, looks with jealous eye on

every intruder, knowing that each new mouth requiring to be fed tends

to increase the difficulty of obtaining subsistence; whereas the

farmer rejoices in the arrival of the blacksmith and the shoemaker,

because they come to eat on the spot the corn which heretofore he has

carried ten, twenty, or thirty miles to market, to exchange for shoes

for himself and his horses. With each new consumer of his products

that arrives he is enabled more and more to concentrate his action and

his thoughts upon his home, while each new arrival tends to increase

his _power_ of consuming commodities brought from a distance, because

it tends to diminish his _necessity_ for seeking at a distance a

market for the produce of his farm. Give to the poor tribe spades, and

the knowledge how to use them, and the power of association will

begin. The supply of food becoming more abundant, they hail the

arrival of the stranger who brings them knives and clothing to be

exchanged for skins and corn; wealth grows, and the habit of

association--the first step toward civilization--arises.


The little tribe is, however, compelled to occupy the higher lands.

The lower ones are a mass of dense forests and dreary swamps, while at

the foot of the hill runs a river, fordable but for a certain period

of the year. On the hillside, distant a few miles, is another tribe;

but communication between them is difficult, because, the river bottom

being yet uncleared, roads cannot be made, and bridges are as yet

unthought of. Population and wealth, however, continue to increase,

and the lower lands come gradually into cultivation, yielding larger

returns to labour, and enabling the tribe to obtain larger supplies of

food with less exertion, and to spare labour to be employed for other

purposes. Roads are made in the direction of the river bank.

Population increases more rapidly because of the increased supplies of

food and the increased power of preserving it, and wealth grows still

more rapidly. The river bank at length is reached, and some of the

best lands are now cleared. Population grows again, and a new element

of wealth is seen in the form of a bridge; and now the two little

communities are enabled to communicate more freely with each other.

One rejoices in the possession of a wheelwright, while the other has a

windmill. One wants carts, and the other has corn to grind. One has

cloth to spare, while the other has more leather than is needed for

its purpose. Exchanges increase, and the little town grows because of

the increased amount of trade. Wealth grows still more rapidly,

because of new modes of combining labour, by which that of all is

rendered more productive. Roads are now made in the direction of other

communities, and the work is performed rapidly, because the exertions

of the two are now combined, and because the machinery used is more

efficient. One after another disappear forests and swamps that have

occupied the fertile lands, separating ten, twenty, fifty, or five

hundred communities, which now are brought into connection with each

other; and with each step labour becomes more and more productive, and

is rewarded with better food, clothing, and shelter. Famine and

disease disappear, life is prolonged, population is increased, and

therewith the tendency to that combination of exertion among the

individuals composing these communities, which is the distinguishing

characteristic of civilization in all nations and in all periods of

the world. With further increase of population and wealth, the desires

of man, and his ability to gratify them, both increase. The nation,

thus formed, has more corn than it needs; but it has no cotton, and

its supply of wool is insufficient. The neighbouring nation has cotton

and wool, and needs corn. They are still divided, however, by broad

forests, deep swamps, and rapid rivers. Population increases, and the

great forests and swamps disappear, giving place to rich farms,

through which broad roads are made, with immense bridges, enabling the

merchant to transport his wool and his cotton to exchange with his

now-rich neighbours for their surplus corn or sugar. Nations now

combine their exertions, and wealth grows with still increased

rapidity, facilitating the drainage of marshes, and thus bringing into

activity the richest soils; while coal-mines cheaply furnish the fuel

for converting limestone into lime, and iron ore into axes and spades,

and into rails for the new roads needed for transporting to market the

vast products of the fertile soils now in use, and to bring back the

large supplies of sugar, tea, coffee, and the thousand other products

of distant lands with which intercourse now exists. At each step

population and wealth and happiness and prosperity take a new bound;

and men realize with difficulty the fact that the country, which now

affords to tens of millions all the necessaries, comforts,

conveniences, and luxuries of life, is the same that, when the

superabundant land was occupied by tens of thousands only, gave to

that limited number scanty supplies of the worst food; so scanty that

famines were frequent and sometimes so severe that starvation was

followed in its wake by pestilence, which, at brief intervals, swept

from the earth the population of the little and scattered settlements,

among which the people were forced to divide themselves when they

cultivated only the poor soils of the hills.


The course of events here described is in strict accordance with the

facts observed in every country as it has grown in wealth and

population. The early settlers of all the countries of the world are

seen to have been slaves to their necessities--and often slaves to

their neighbours; whereas, with the increase of numbers and the

increased power of cultivation, they are seen passing from the poorer

soils of the hills to the fertile soils of the river bottoms and the

marshes, with constant increase in the return to labour, and

constantly increasing power to determine for themselves for whom they

will work, and what shall be their reward. This view is, however, in

direct opposition to the theory of the occupation of land taught in

the politico-economical school of which Malthus and Ricardo were the

founders. By them we are assured that the settler commences always on

the low and rich lands, and that, as population increases, men are

required to pass toward the higher and poorer lands--and of course up

the hill--with constantly diminishing return to labour, and thus that,

as population grows, man becomes more and more a slave to his

necessities, and to those who have power to administer to his wants,

involving a necessity for dispersion throughout the world in quest of

the rich lands upon which the early settler is supposed to commence

his operations. It is in reference to this theory that Mr. J. S. Mill



 “This general law of agricultural industry is the most important

 proposition in political economy. If the law were different, almost

 all the phenomena of the production and distribution of wealth would

 be other than they are.”


In the view thus presented by Mr. Mill there is no exaggeration. The

law of the occupation of the land by man lies at the foundation of all

political economy; and if we desire to know what it is that tends to

the emancipation of the people of the earth from slavery, we must

first satisfy ourselves that the theory of Messrs. Malthus and Ricardo

has not only no foundation in fact, but that the law is directly the

reverse, and tends, therefore, toward the adoption of measures

directly opposed to those that would he needed were that theory true.

The great importance of the question will excuse the occupation of a

few minutes of the reader’s attention in placing before him some facts

tending to enable him to satisfy himself in regard to the universality

of the law now offered for his consideration. Let him inquire where he

may, he will find that the early occupant _did not_ commence in the

flats, or on the heavily timbered-land, but that he _did_ commence on

the higher land, where the timber was lighter, and the place for his

house was dry. With increasing ability, he is found draining the

swamps, clearing the heavy timber, turning up the marl, or burning the

lime, and thus acquiring control over more fertile soils, yielding a

constant increase in the return to labour. Let him then trace the

course of early settlement, and he will find that while it has often

followed the course of the streams, it has always avoided the swamps

and river bottoms. The earliest settlements of this country were on

the poorest lands of the Union--those of New England. So was it in New

York, where we find the railroads running through the lower and

richer, and yet uncultivated, lands, while the higher lands right and

left have long been cultivated. So is it now in Pennsylvania,

Virginia, and Ohio. In South Carolina it has been made the subject of

remark, in a recent discourse, that their predecessors did not select

the rich lands, and that millions of acres of the finest meadow-land

in that State still remain untouched. The settler in the prairies

commences on the higher and drier land, leaving the wet prairie and

the _slough_--the richest soil--for his successors. The lands below

the mouth of the Ohio are among the richest in the world; yet they are

unoccupied, and will continue so to be until wealth and population

shall have greatly increased. So is it now with the low and rich lands

of Mexico. So was it in South America, the early cultivation of which

was upon the poor lands of the western slope, Peru and Chili, while

the rich lands of the Amazon and the La Plata remained, as most of

them still remain, a wilderness. In the West Indies, the small dry

islands were early occupied, while Porto Rico and Trinidad, abounding

in rich soils, remained untouched. The early occupants of England were

found on the poorer lands of the centre and south of the kingdom, as

were those of Scotland in the Highlands, or on the little rocky

islands of the Channel. Mona’s Isle was celebrated while the rich soil

of the Lothians remained an almost unbroken mass of forest, and the

morasses of Lancashire were the terror of travellers long after

Hampshire had been cleared and cultivated. If the reader desire to

find the birthplace of King Arthur and the earliest seat of English

power, he must look to the vicinity of the royal castle of Tintagel,

in the high and dry Cornwall. Should he desire other evidence of the

character of the soil cultivated at the period when land abounded and

men were few in number, he may find it in the fact that in some parts

of England there is scarcely a hill top that does not bear evidence of

early occupation,[22] and in the further fact that the mounds, or

barrows, are almost uniformly composed of stone, because those

memorials “are found most frequently where stone was more readily

obtained than earth.”[23] Caesar found the Gauls occupying the high

lands surrounding the Alps, while the rich Venetia remained a marsh.

The occupation of the Campagna followed long after that of the Samnite

hills, and the earliest settlers of the Peloponnesus cultivated the

high and dry Arcadia, while the cities of the Argive kings of the days

of Homer, Mycenae and Tiryns, are found in eastern Argolis, a country

so poor as to have been abandoned prior to the days of the earliest

authentic history. The occupation of the country around Meroë, and of

the Thebaid, long preceded that of the lower lands surrounding

Memphis, or the still lower and richer ones near Alexandria. The negro

is found in the higher portions of Africa, while the rich lands along

the river courses are uninhabited. The little islands of Australia,

poor and dry, are occupied by a race far surpassing in civilization

those of the neighbouring continent, who have rich soils at command.

The poor Persia is cultivated, while the rich soils of the ancient

Babylonia are only ridden over by straggling hordes of robbers.[24]

Layard had to seek the hills when he desired to find a people at home.

Affghanistan and Cashmere were early occupied, and thence were

supplied the people who moved toward the deltas of the Ganges and the

Indus, much of both of which still remains, after so many thousands of

years, in a state of wilderness. Look where we may, it is the same.

The land obeys the same great and universal law that governs light,

power, and heat. The man who works alone and has poor machinery must

cultivate poor land, and content himself with little light, little

power, and little heat, and those, like his food, obtained in exchange

for much labour; while he who works in combination with his fellow-men

may have good machinery, enabling him to clear and cultivate rich

land, giving him much food, and enabling him to obtain much light,

much heat, and much power, in exchange for little labour. The first is

_a creature of necessity_--a slave--and as such is man universally

regarded by Mr. Ricardo and his followers. The second is _a being of

power_--a freeman--and as such was man regarded by Adam Smith, who

taught that the more men worked in combination with each other, the

greater would be the facility of obtaining food and all other of the

necessaries and comforts of life--and the more widely they were

separated, the less would be the return to labour and capital, and the

smaller the power of production, as common sense teaches every man

must necessarily be the case.


It will now readily be seen how perfectly accurate was Mr. Mill in his

assertion that, “if the law were different, almost all the phenomena

of the production and distribution of wealth would be other than they

are.” The doctrine of Malthus and Ricardo tends to make the labourer a

slave to the owner of landed or other capital; but happily it has no

foundation in fact, and therefore the natural laws of the production

and distribution of wealth tend not to slavery, but to freedom.


Chapter 6. How wealth tends to increase


The first poor cultivator commences, as we have seen, his operations

on the hillside. Below him are lands upon which have been carried by

force of water the richer portions of those above, as well as the

leaves of trees, and the fallen trees themselves, all of which have

from time immemorial rotted and become incorporated with the earth,

and thus have been produced soils fitted to yield the largest returns

to labour; yet for this reason are they inaccessible. Their character

exhibits itself in the enormous trees with which they are covered, and

in their power of retaining the water necessary to aid the process of

decomposition, but the poor settler wants the power either to clear

them of their timber, or to drain them of the superfluous moisture. He

begins on the hillside, but by degrees he obtains better machinery of

cultivation, and with each step in this direction we find him

descending the hill and obtaining larger return to labour. He has more

food for himself, and he has now the means of feeding a horse or an

ox. Aided by the manure that is thus yielded to him by the better

lands, we see him next retracing his steps, improving the hillside,

and compelling it to yield a return double that which he at first

obtained. With each step down the hill, he obtains still larger reward

for his labour, and at each he returns, with increased power, to the

cultivation of the original poor soil. He has now horses and oxen, and

while by their aid he extracts from the new soils the manure that had

accumulated for ages, he has also carts and wagons to carry it up the

hill; and at each step his reward is increased, while his labours are

lessened. He goes back to the sand and raises the marl, with which he

covers the surface; or he returns to the clay and sinks into the

limestone, by aid of which he doubles its product. He is all the time

making a machine which feeds him while he makes it, and which

increases in its powers the more he takes from it. At first it was

worthless. Having now fed and clothed him for years, it has acquired a

large value, and those who might desire to use it would pay him a

large rent for permission so to do.


The earth is a great machine given to man to be fashioned to his

purpose. The more he works it, the better it feeds him, because each

step is but preparatory to a new one more productive than the

last--requiring less labour and yielding larger return. The labour of

clearing is great, yet the return is small. The earth is covered with

stumps, and filled with roots. With each year the roots decay, and the

ground becomes enriched, while the labour of ploughing is diminished.

At length, the stumps disappear, and the return is doubled, while the

labour is less by one-half than at first. To forward this process the

owner has done nothing but crop the ground, nature having done the

rest. The aid he thus obtains from her yields him as much food as in

the outset was obtained by the labour of felling the trees. This,

however, is not all. The surplus thus yielded has given him means of

improving the poorer lands, by furnishing manure with which to enrich

them, and thus has he trebled his original return without further

labour; for that which he saves in working the new soils suffices to

carry the manure to the older ones. He is obtaining a daily increased

power over the various treasures of the earth.


With every operation connected with the fashioning of the earth, the

result is the same. The first step is, invariably, the most costly

one, and the least productive. The first drain commences near the

stream, where the labour is heaviest. It frees from water but a few

acres. A little higher, the same quantity of labour, profiting by what

has been already done, frees twice the number. Again the number is

doubled; and now the most perfect system of thorough drainage may be

established with less labour than was at first required for one of the

most imperfect kind. To bring the lime into connection with the clay,

upon fifty acres, is lighter labour than was the clearing of a single

one, yet the process doubles the return for each acre of fifty. The

man who needs a little fuel for his own use, expends much labour in

opening the neighbouring vein of coal; but to enlarge this, so as to

double the product, is a work of comparatively small labour. To sink a

shaft to the first vein below the surface, and erect a steam-engine,

are expensive operations; but these once accomplished, every future

step becomes more productive, while less costly. To sink to the next

vein below, and to tunnel to another, are trifles in comparison with

the first, yet each furnishes a return equally large. The first line

of railroad runs by houses and towns occupied by two or three hundred

thousand persons. Half a dozen little branches, costing together far

less labour than the first, bring into connection with it half a

million, or perhaps a million. The trade increases, and a second

track, a third, or a fourth, may be required. The original one

facilitates the passage of the materials and the removal of the

obstructions, and three new ones may now be made with less labour than

was at first required for a single one.


All labour thus expended in fashioning the great machine is but the

prelude to the application of further labour, with still increased

returns. With each such application, wages rise, and hence it is that

portions of the machine, as it exists, invariably exchange, when

brought to market, for far less labour than they have cost. There is

thus a steady decline of the value of capital in labour, and a daily

increase in the power of labour over capital, and with each step in

this direction man becomes more free. The man who cultivated the thin

soils was happy to obtain a hundred bushels for his year’s work. With

the progress of himself and his neighbour down the hill into the more

fertile soils, wages have risen, and two hundred bushels are now

required. His farm will yield a thousand bushels; but it requires the

labour of four men, who must have two hundred bushels each, and the

surplus is but two hundred bushels. At twenty years’ purchase this

gives a capital of four thousand bushels, or the equivalent of twenty

years’ wages; whereas it has cost, in the labour of himself, his sons,

and his assistants, the equivalent of a hundred years of labour, or

perhaps far more. During all this time, however, it has fed and

clothed them all, and the farm has been produced by the insensible

contributions made from year to year, unthought of and unfelt.


It has become worth twenty years’ wages, because its owner has for

years taken from it a thousand bushels annually; but when it had lain

for centuries accumulating wealth it was worth nothing. Such is the

case with the earth everywhere. The more that is taken from it the

more there is to be returned, and the greater our power to draw upon

it. When the coal-mines of England were untouched, they were

valueless. Now their value is almost countless; yet the land contains

abundant supplies for thousands of years. Iron ore, a century since,

was a drug, and leases were granted at almost nominal rents. Now, such

leases are deemed equivalent to the possession of large fortunes,

notwithstanding the great quantities that have been removed, although

the amount of ore now known to exist is probably fifty times greater

than it was then.


_The earth is the sole producer._ From her man receives the corn and

the cotton-wool, and all that he can do is to change them in their

form, or in their place. The first he may convert into bread, and the

last into cloth, and both maybe transported to distant places, but

there his power ends. He can make no addition to their quantity. A

part of his labour is applied to the preparation and improvement of

the great machine of production, and this produces changes that are

permanent. The drain, once cut, remains a drain; and the limestone,

once reduced to lime, never again becomes limestone. It passes into

the food of man and animals, and ever after takes its part in the same

round with the clay with which it has been incorporated. The iron

rusts and gradually passes into soil, to take its part with the clay

and the lime. That portion of his labour gives him wages while

preparing the machine for greater future production. That other

portion which he expends on fashioning and exchanging _the products_

of the machine, produces temporary results and gives him wages alone.

Whatever tends to diminish the quantity of labour required for the

production of food tends to enable him to give more to the preparation

of machinery required for the fashioning and exchanging of the

products; and that machinery in its turn tends to augment the quantity

that may be given to increasing the amount of products, and to

preparing the great machine; and thus, while increasing the present

return to labour, preparing for a future further increase.


The first poor cultivator obtains a hundred bushels for his year’s

wages. To pound this between two stones requires many days of labour,

and the work is not half done. Had he a mill in the neighbourhood he

would have better flour, and he would have almost the whole of those

days to bestow upon his land. He pulls up his grain. Had he a scythe,

he would have more time for the preparation of the machine of

production. He loses his axe, and it requires days of himself and his

horse on the road, to obtain another. His machine loses the time and

the manure, both of which would have been saved had the axe-maker been

at hand. The real advantage derived from the mill and the scythe, and

from the proximity of the axe-maker, consists simply in the power

which they afford him to devote his labour more and more to the

preparation of the great machine of production, and such is the case

with all the machinery of conversion and exchange. The plough enables

him to do as much in one day as with a spade he could do in five. He

saves four days for drainage. The steam-engine drains as much as,

without it, could be drained by thousands of days of labour. He has

more leisure to marl or lime his land. The more he can extract from

his property the greater is its value, because every thing he takes

is, by the very act of taking it, fashioned to aid further production.

The machine, therefore, improves by use, whereas spades, and ploughs,

and steam-engines, and all other of the instruments used by man, are

but the various forms into which he fashions parts of the great

original machine, to disappear in the act of being used; as much so as

food, though not so rapidly. The earth is the great labour-savings’

bank, and the value to man of all other machines is in the direct

ratio of their tendency to aid him in increasing his deposites in that

only bank whose dividends are perpetually increasing, while its

capital is perpetually doubling. That it may continue for ever so to

do, all that it asks is that it shall receive back the refuse of its

produce, the manure; and that it may do so, the consumer and the

producer must take their places by each other. That done, every change

that is effected becomes permanent, and tends to facilitate other and

greater changes. The whole business of the farmer consists in making

and improving soils, and the earth rewards him for his kindness by

giving him more and more food the more attention he bestows upon her.

All that he receives from her must be regarded as a loan, and when he

fails to pay his debts, she starves him out.


The absolute necessity for returning to the land the manure yielded by

its products is so generally admitted that it would appear scarcely

necessary to do more than state the fact; for every land-owner knows

that when he grants the lease of a farm, one of the conditions he

desires to insert is, that all the hay that is made shall be fed upon

the land, and that manure shall be purchased to supply the waste

resulting from the sale of corn or flax from off the land. In order,

however, that it may be so supplied, it is indispensable that the

place of consumption shall not be far distant from the place of

production, as otherwise the cost of transportation will be greater

than the value of the manure. In a recent work on the agriculture of

Mecklenburgh, it is stated that a quantity of grain that would be

worth close to market fifteen hundred dollars would be worth nothing

at a distance of fifty German, or about two hundred English miles,

from it, as the whole value would be absorbed in the cost of

transporting the grain to market and the manure from market--and that

the manure which close to the town would be worth five dollars to the

farmer, would be worth nothing at a distance of 4-3/4 German, or 19

English miles from it--and that thus the whole question of the value

of land and the wealth of its owner was dependent upon its distance

from the place at which its products could be exchanged. At a greater

distance than 28 German, or 112 English miles, in Mecklenburgh, the

land ceases to yield rent, because it cannot be cultivated without

loss. As we approach the place of exchange the value of land

increases, from the simultaneous action of two causes: First, a

greater variety of commodities can be cultivated, and the advantage

resulting from a rotation of crops is well known. At a distance, the

farmer can raise only those of which the earth yields but little, and

which are valuable in proportion to their little bulk--as, for

instance, wheat or cotton; but near the place of exchange he may raise

potatoes, turnips, cabbages, and hay, of which the bulk is great in

proportion to the value. Second, the cost of returning the manure to

the land increases as the value of the products of land diminishes

with the increase of distance; and from the combination of these two

causes, land in Mecklenburgh that would be worth, if close to the town

or city, an annual rent of 29,808 dollars, would be worth at a

distance of but 4 German, or 16 English, miles, only 7,467 dollars.


We see thus, how great is the tendency to the growth of wealth as men

are enabled more and more to combine their exertions with those of

their fellow-men, consuming on or near the land the products of the

land, and enabling the farmer, not only to repair readily the

exhaustion caused by each successive crop, but also to call to his aid

the services of the chemist in the preparation of artificial manures,

as well as to call into activity the mineral ones by which he is

almost everywhere surrounded. We see, too, how much it must be opposed

to the interests of every community to have its products exported in

their rude state, and thus to have its land exhausted. The same author

from whom the above quotations have been made informs us that when the

manure is not returned to the land the yield must diminish from year

to year, until at length it will not be more than one-fourth of what

it had originally been: and this is in accordance with all



The natural tendency of the loom and the anvil to seek to take their

place by the side of the plough and harrow, is thus exhibited by ADAM



 “An inland country, naturally fertile and easily cultivated, produces

 a great surplus of provisions beyond what is necessary for

 maintaining the cultivators; and on account of the expense of land

 carriage, and inconveniency of river navigation, it may frequently be

 difficult to send this surplus abroad. Abundance, therefore, renders

 provisions cheap, and encourages a great number of workmen to settle

 in the neighbourhood, who find that their industry can there procure

 them more of the necessaries and conveniences of life than in other

 places. They work up the materials of manufacture which the land

 produces, and exchange their finished work, or, what is the same

 thing, the price of it, for more materials and provisions. _They give

 a new value to the surplus part of the rude produce, by saving the

 expense of carrying it to the waterside, or to some distant market_;

 and they furnish the cultivators with something in exchange for it,

 that is either useful or agreeable to them, upon easier terms than

 they could have obtained it before. _The cultivators get a better

 price for their surplus produce, and can purchase cheaper other

 conveniences which they have occasion for._ They are thus both

 encouraged and enabled to increase this surplus produce by a further

 improvement and better cultivation of the land; and _as the fertility

 of the land has given birth to the manufacture, so the progress of

 the manufacture reacts upon the land, and increases still further its

 fertility_. The manufacturers first supply the neighbourhood, and

 afterward, as their work improves and refines, more distant markets.

 _For though neither the rude produce, nor even the coarse

 manufacture, could, without the greatest difficulty, support the

 expense of a considerable land carriage, the refined and improved

 manufacture easily may._ In a small bulk it frequently contains the

 price of a great quantity of the raw produce. A piece of fine cloth,

 for example, which weighs, only eighty pounds, contains in it the

 price, not only of eighty pounds of wool, but sometimes of several

 thousand weight of corn, the maintenance of the different working

 people, and of their immediate employers. _The corn which could with

 difficulty have been carried abroad in its own shape, is in this

 manner virtually exported in that of the complete manufacture, and

 may easily be sent to the remotest corners of the world._”




 “The greater the number and revenue of the inhabitants of the town,

 the more extensive is the market which it affords to those of the

 country; and the more extensive that market, it is always the more

 advantageous to a great number. The corn which grows within a mile of

 the town, sells there for the same price with that which comes from

 twenty miles distance. But the price of the latter must, generally,

 not only pay the expense of raising it and bringing it to market, but

 afford, too, the ordinary profits, of agriculture to the farmer. The

 proprietors and cultivators of the country, therefore, which lies in

 the neighbourhood of the town, over and above the ordinary profits of

 agriculture, gain, in the price of what they sell, the whole value of

 the carriage of the like produce that is brought from more distant

 parts; and they save, besides, the whole value of this carriage in

 the price of what they buy. Compare the cultivation of the lands in

 the neighbourhood of any considerable town, with that of those which

 lie at some distance from it, and you will easily satisfy yourself

 how much the country is benefited by the commerce of the town.”


These views are in perfect accordance with the facts. The labourer

rejoices when the market for his labour is brought to his door by the

erection of a mill or a furnace, or the construction of a road. The

farmer rejoices in the opening of a market for labour at his door

giving him a market for his food. His land rejoices in the home

consumption of the products it has yielded, for its owner is thereby

enabled to return to it the refuse of its product in the form of

manure. The planter rejoices in the erection of a mill in his

neighbourhood, giving him a market for his cotton and his food. The

parent rejoices when a market for their labour enables his sons and

his daughters to supply themselves with food and clothing. Every one

rejoices in the growth of a home market for labour and its products,

for trade is then increasing daily and rapidly; and every one mourns

the diminution of the home market, for it is one the deficiency of

which cannot be supplied.


With each step in this direction man becomes more and more free as

land becomes more valuable and labour becomes more productive, and as

the land becomes more divided. The effect of this upon both the man

and the land is thus exhibited by Dr. Smith:--


 “A small proprietor, who knows every part of his little territory,

 views it with all the affection which property, especially small

 property, naturally inspires, and who upon that account takes

 pleasure not only in cultivating, but in adorning it, is generally of

 all improvers the most industrious, the most intelligent, and the

 most successful.”


The tendency of the land to become divided as wealth and population

increase will be obvious to the reader on an examination of the facts

of daily occurrence in and near a growing town or city; and the

contrary tendency to the consolidation of land in few hands may be

seen in the neighbourhood of all declining towns or cities, and

throughout all declining states.[25]


Chapter 7. How labour acquires value and man becomes free


The proximity of the market enables the farmer not only to enrich his

land and to obtain from it far more than he could otherwise do, but it

also produces a demand for many things that would otherwise be wasted.

In the West, men set no value upon straw, and in almost every part of

this country the waste arising out of the absence of a market for any

commodities but those which can be carried to a distance, must strike

every traveller. Close to the town or city, almost every thing has

some value. So too with labour, the value of which, like that of land,

tends to increase with every increase in the facility of exchanging

its products.


The solitary settler has to occupy the spots that, with his rude

machinery, he _can_ cultivate. Having neither horse nor cart, he

carries home his crop upon his shoulders, as is now done in many parts

of India. He carries a hide to the place of exchange, distant,

perhaps, fifty miles, to obtain for it leather, or shoes. Population

increases, and roads are made. The fertile soils are cultivated. The

store and the mill come nearer to him, and he obtains shoes and flour

with the use of less machinery of exchange. He has more leisure for

the improvement of his land, and the returns to labour increase. More

people now obtain food from the same surface, and new places of

exchange appear. The wool is, on the spot, converted into cloth, and

he exchanges directly with the clothier. The saw-mill is at hand, and

he exchanges with the sawyer. The tanner gives him leather for his

hides, and the papermaker gives him paper for his rags. With each of

these changes he has more and more of both time and manure to devote

to the preparation of the great food-making machine, and with each

year the returns are larger. His _power to command_ the use of the

machinery of exchange increases, but his _necessity_ therefor

diminishes, for with each there is an increasing tendency toward

having the consumer placed side by side with the producer, and with

each he can devote more and more of his time and mind to the business

of fashioning the great machine to which he is indebted for food and

clothing; and thus the increase of a consuming population is essential

to the progress of production.


Diversification of employments, resulting from combination of action,

thus enables men to economize labour and to increase production.

Increased production, on the other hand, makes a demand for labour.

The more wheat raised and the more cloth made, the more there will be

to give in exchange for labour, the greater will be the number of

persons seeking for labourers, and the greater will be the power of

men to determine for themselves the mode in which they will employ

their time or their talents. If, therefore, we desire to see men

advance in freedom, we must endeavour to increase the productive

power; and that, as we see, grows with the growth of the power to

improve the land, while it diminishes with every diminution in the

power to return to the land the manure yielded by its products. In

purely agricultural countries there is little demand for labour, and

it always tends to diminish, as may be proved by any reader of this

volume who may chance to occupy a purely agricultural neighbourhood.

Let him look around him, and he will, without difficulty, find

hundreds of men, and hundreds of women and children, wasting more time

than would, if properly employed, purchase twice the clothing and

twice the machinery of production they are now enabled to obtain. Why,

however, he will probably ask, is it that they do so waste it? Because

there is no demand for it, except in agriculture; and when that is the

case, there must necessarily be great waste of time. At one season of

the year the farm requires much labour, while at another it needs but

little; and if its neighbours are all farmers, they are all in the

same situation. If the weather is fit for ploughing, they and their

horses and men are all employed. If it is not, they are all idle. In

winter they have all of them little to do; in harvest-time they are

all overrun with work; and crops frequently perish on the ground for

want of the aid required for making them. Now, it would seem to be

quite clear that if there existed some other mode of employment that

would find a demand for the surplus labour of the neighbourhood, all

would be benefited. The man who had a day’s labour to sell could sell

it, and, with the proceeds of the labour of a very few days, now

wasted, could purchase clothing for his children, if, indeed, the

labour of those children, now also wasted, did not more than pay for

all the clothing, not only of themselves, but of his wife and himself.


In order that the reader may see clearly how this state of things

affects all labourers, even those who are employed, we must now ask

him to examine with us the manner in which the prices of all

commodities are affected by excess of supply over demand, or of demand

over supply. It is well known to every farmer, that when the crop of

peaches, or of potatoes, is, _in even a very small degree_, in excess

of the regular demand, the existence of that small surplus so far

diminishes the price that the larger crop will not yield as much as a

much smaller one would have done. It is also known to them that when

the crop is a little less than is required to supply the demand, the

advance in price is large, and the farmer then grows rich. In this

latter case the purchasers are looking for the sellers, whereas in the

former one the sellers have to seek the buyers. Now, labour is a

commodity that some desire to sell, and that others desire to buy,

precisely as is the case with potatoes; but it has this disadvantage

when compared with any other commodity, that it is less easily

transferred from the place where it exists to that at which it is

needed, and that the loss resulting from _the absence of demand on the

spot_ is greater than in reference to _any other commodity

whatsoever_. The man who raises a hundred bushels of peaches, of which

only seventy are needed at home, can send the remainder to a distance

of a hundred or a thousand miles, and the loss he sustains is only

that which results from the fact that the price of the whole is

determined by what he can obtain for the surplus bushels, burdened as

they are with heavy cost of transportation, that he must lose; for the

man that _must_ go to a distant market must always pay the expense of

getting there. This is a heavy loss certainly, but it is trivial when

compared with that sustained by him who has labour to sell, because

_that_, like other very perishable commodities, cannot be carried to

another market, and _must be wasted_. If he has two spare hours a day

to sell, he finds that they waste themselves in the very act of

seeking a distant market, and his children may go in rags, or even

suffer from hunger, because of his inability to find a purchaser for

the only commodity he has to sell. So, too, with the man who has days,

weeks, or months of labour for which he desires to find a purchaser.

Unwilling to leave his wife and his children, to go to a distance, he

remains to be a constant weight upon the labour market, and must

continue so to remain until there shall arise increased competition

for the purchase of labour. It is within the knowledge of every one

who reads this, whether he be shoemaker, hatter, tailor, printer,

brickmaker, stonemason, or labourer, that a very few unemployed men in

his own pursuit keep down the wages of all shoemakers, all hatters,

all tailors, or printers; whereas, wages rise when there is a demand

for a few more than are at hand. The reason for this is to be found in

the difficulty of transferring labour from the place at which it

exists to that at which it is needed; and it is to that we have to

attribute the fact that the tendency to depression in the wages of all

labour is so very great when there is even a very small excess of

supply, and the tendency to elevation so great when there is even a

very small excess of demand. Men starve in Ireland for want of

employment, and yet the distance between them and the people who here

earn a dollar a day, is one that could be overcome at the expense of

fifteen or twenty dollars. Wages may be high in one part of the Union

and low in another, and yet thousands must remain to work at low ones,

because of the difficulty of transporting themselves, their wives, and

their families, to the places at which their services are needed.

Every such man tends to keep down the wages, of _all other men who

have labour to sell_, and therefore every man is interested in having

all other men fully employed, and to have the demand grow faster than

the supply. This is the best state of things for all, capitalists and

labourers; whereas, to have the supply in excess of the demand is

injurious to all, employers and employed. All profit by increase in

the competition for the purchase of labour, and all suffer from

increased competition for the sale of it.


We had occasion, but a little while since, to visit a factory in which

were employed two hundred females of various ages, from fourteen to

twenty, who were earning, on an average, three dollars per week,

making a total of six hundred dollars per week, or thirty thousand

dollars a year; or as much as would, buy five hundred thousand yards

of cotton cloth. Now supposing these two hundred females to represent

one hundred families, it would follow that their labour produced five

thousand yards of cloth per family, being probably three times as much

in value as the total consumption of clothing by all its members,

from, the parent down to the infant child.


Let us now suppose this factory closed; what then would be the value

of the labour of these girls, few of whom have strength for field-work

even if our habits of thought permitted that it should be so employed?

It would be almost nothing, for they could do little except

house-work, and the only effect of sending them home would be that,

whereas one person, fully employed, performs now the labour of the

house, it would henceforth be divided between two or three, all of

whom would gradually lose the habit of industry they have been

acquiring. The direct effect of this would be a diminution in the

demand for female labour, and a diminution of its reward. While the

factory continues in operation there is competition for the purchase

of such labour. The parent desires to retain at least one child. A

neighbour desires to hire another, and the factory also desires one.

To supply these demands requires all the females of the neighbourhood

capable of working and not provided with families of their own, and

thus those who are willing to work have the choice of employers and

employment; while the competition for the purchase of their services

tends to raise the rate of wages. If, now, in the existing state of

things, another factory were established in, the same neighbourhood,

requiring a hundred or a hundred and fifty more females, the effect

would be to establish increased competition for the purchase of

labour, attended by increased power of choice on the part of the

labourer, and increased reward of labour--and it is in this increased

power of choice that freedom consists. If, on the contrary, the

factories were closed, the reverse effect would be produced, the

competition for the purchase of labour being diminished, with

corresponding diminution of the power of choice on the part of the

labourer, diminution in his compensation, and diminution of freedom.


What is true with regard to the females of this neighbourhood is

equally true with regard to the men, women, and children of the world.

Wherever there exists competition for the purchase of labour, there

the labourer has his choice among employers, and the latter are not

only required to pay higher wages, but they are also required to treat

their workmen and workwomen with the consideration that is due to

fellow-beings equal in rights with themselves: but wherever there is

not competition for the purchase of labour, the labourer is compelled

to work for any who are willing to employ him, and to receive at the

hands of his employer low wages and the treatment of a slave, for

slave he is. Here is a plain and simple proposition, the proof of

which every reader can test for himself. If he lives in a

neighbourhood in which there exists competition for the purchase of

labour, he knows that he can act as becomes a freeman in determining

for whom he will work, and the price he is willing to receive for his

services; but if he lives in one in which there is competition for the

sale of labour, he knows well that it does not rest with him to

determine either where he will work or what shall be his wages.


Where all are farmers, there can be no competition for the purchase of

labour, except for a few days in harvest; but there must be

competition for the sale of labour during all the rest of the year. Of

course, where all are farmers or planters, the man who has labour to

sell is at the mercy of the few who desire to buy it, as is seen in

our Southern States, where the labourer is a slave; and in Ireland,

where his condition is far worse than that of the slaves of the South;

and in India, where men sell themselves for long terms of years to

labour in the West Indies; and in Portugal, where competition for the

purchase of labour has no existence. Where, on the contrary, there is

a diversification of employments, there is a steady improvement in the

condition of men, as they more and more acquire the power to determine

for themselves for whom they will work and what shall be their reward,

as is seen in the rapid improvement in the condition of the people of

France, Belgium, and Germany, and especially of those of Russia, where

competition for the purchase of labour is increasing with wonderful

rapidity. Diversification of employment is absolutely necessary to

produce competition for the purchase of labour. The shoemaker does not

need to purchase shoes, nor does the miner need to buy coal, any more

than the farmer needs to buy wheat or potatoes. Bring them together,

and combine with them the hatter, the tanner, the cotton-spinner, the

maker of woollen cloth, and the smelter and roller of iron, and each

of them becomes a competitor for the purchase of the labour, or the

products of the labour, of all the others, and the wages of all rise

with the increase of competition.


In order that labour may be productive, it must be aided by machinery.

The farmer could do little with his hands, but when aided by the

plough and the harrow he may raise much wheat and corn. He could carry

little on his shoulders, but he may transport much when aided by a

horse and wagon, and still more when aided by a locomotive engine or a

ship. He could convert little grain into flour when provided only with

a pestle and mortar, but he may do much when provided with a mill. His

wife could convert little cotton into cloth when provided only with a

spinning-wheel and hand-loom, but her labour becomes highly productive

when aided by the spinning-jenny and the power-loom. The more her

labours and those of her husband are thus aided the larger will be the

quantity of grain produced, the more speedily will it be converted

into flour, the more readily will it be carried to market, the larger

will be the quantity of cloth for which it will exchange, the greater

will be the quantity of food and clothing to be divided among the

labourers, and the greater will be the facility on the part of the

labourer to acquire machinery of his own, and to become his own

employer, and thus to increase that diversification in the employment

of labour which tends to increase the competition for its purchase.


It will next, we think, be quite clear to the reader that _the nearer_

the grist-mill is to the farm, the less will be the labour required

for converting the wheat into flour, the more will be the labour that

may be given to the improvement of the farm, and the greater will be

the power of the farmer to purchase shoes, hats, coats, ploughs, or

harrows, and thus to create a demand for labour. Equally clear will it

be that _the nearer_ he can bring the hatter, the shoemaker, and the

tailor, the maker of ploughs and harrows, the less will be the loss of

labour in exchanging his wheat for their commodities, and the greater

will be his power to purchase books and newspapers, to educate his

children, and thus to introduce new varieties in the demand for

labour; and each such new variety in the demand for that commodity

tends to raise the wages of those engaged in all other pursuits. If

there be none but farmers, all are seeking employment on a farm. Open

a carpenter’s or a blacksmith’s shop, and the men employed therein

will cease to be competitors for farm labour, and wages will tend to

rise. Open a mine, or quarry stone and build a mill, and here will be

a new competition for labour that will tend to produce a rise in the

wages of all labourers. Build a dozen mills, and men will be required

to get out timber and stone, and to make spindles, looms, and steam-

engines; and when the mills are completed, the demand for labour will

withdraw hundreds of men that would be otherwise competitors for

employment in the ploughing of fields, the making of shoes or coats,

and hundreds of women that would otherwise be seeking to employ

themselves in binding shoes or making shirts. Competition for the

purchase of labour grows, therefore, with every increase in the

diversification of employment, with constant tendency to increase in

the reward of labour. It declines with every diminution in the modes

of employing labour, with steady tendency to decline in wages.


If the reader will now trace the course of man toward freedom, in the

various nations of the world, he will see that his progress has been

in the ratio of the growth of towns at which he and his neighbours

could exchange the products of their labour, and that it has declined

as the near towns have given way to the distant cities. The people of

Attica did not need to go abroad to effect their exchanges, and

therefore they became rich and free; whereas the Spartans, who

tolerated nothing but agriculture, remained poor and surrounded by

hosts of slaves. The towns and cities of Italy gave value to the land

by which they were surrounded, and freedom to the people by whom that

land was cultivated. So was it in Holland, and in Belgium, and so

again in England. In each and all of these land increased in value

with every increase in the facility of exchanging its products for

clothing and machinery, and with each step in this direction men were

enabled more readily to maintain and to increase the power of the

land, and to permit larger numbers to obtain increased supplies from

the same surfaces. Association thus increased the power of

accumulating wealth, and wealth thus diminished in its power over

labour, while with augmented numbers the people everywhere found an

increase in their power to assert and to defend their rights. Having

reflected on the facts presented to him in the pages of history, and

having satisfied himself that they are in perfect accordance with the

views here presented, the reader will perhaps find himself disposed to

admit, the correctness of the following propositions:--


I. That the nearer the market the less must be the cost to the farmer

for transporting his products to market and for bringing back the

manure to maintain and improve his land.


II. That the nearer the market the less must be the loss of labour in

going to market, and the greater the quantity that can be given to the

improvement of the land.


III. That the more the labour and manure that can be given to land,

the larger will be the product and the greater its value.


IV. That the larger the quantity of commodities produced the greater

will be the demand for labour to be employed in converting them into

forms that fit them for consumption, and the larger the quantity to be

divided among the labourers.


V. That the greater the competition for the purchase of labour the

greater must be the tendency toward the freedom of the labourer.


VI. That the freedom of man in thought, speech, action, and trade,

tends thus to keep pace with increase in the habit of association

among men, and increase in the value of land;--and


VII. That the interests of the labourer and land-owner are thus in

perfect harmony with each other, the one becoming free as the other

becomes rich.


Equally correct will be found the following propositions:--


I. That the more distant the market the greater must be the cost to

the farmer for transporting his products to market, the greater must

be the difficulty of obtaining manure, and the more must his land be



II. That the more distant the market the greater must be the loss of

labour on the road, and the less the quantity that can be given to the

improvement of the land.


III. That the less the labour and manure applied to the land the less

must be the product, and the less its value.


IV. That the longer this process is continued the poorer must become

the land, until at length it ceases to have value, and must be



V. That the smaller the quantity of commodities produced the less must

be the demand for labour to be employed in their conversion, and the

less the quantity to be divided among the labourers.


VI. That the less the competition for the purchase of labour the less

must be the power of the labourer to determine for whom he will work,

or what must be his reward, and the greater the tendency toward his

becoming enslaved.


VII. That the tendency toward slavery tends thus to keep pace with the

decline in the habit of association among men, and the loss of value

in land;--and


VIII. That thus the labourer and land-owner suffer together, the one

becoming enslaved as the other becomes impoverished.


If evidence be desired of the correctness of these propositions, it

may found in the history of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Mexico, and of every

other country that has declined in wealth and population.


Chapter 8. How man passes from wealth and freedom toward poverty and slavery


The views that have thus been presented are entirely in harmony those

of the illustrious author of “The Wealth of Nations.” “In seeking for

employment to a capital,” says Dr. Smith,


 “Manufactures are, upon equal or nearly equal profits, naturally

 preferred to foreign commerce, for the same reason that agriculture

 is naturally preferred to manufactures. As the capital of the

 landlord or farmer is more secure than that of the manufacturer, so

 the capital of the manufacturer, being at all times more within his

 view and command, is more secure than that of the foreign merchant.

 In every period, indeed, of every society, the surplus part both of

 the rude and manufactured produce, or that for which there is no

 demand at home, must be sent abroad, in order to be exchanged for

 something for which there is some demand at home. But whether the

 capital which carries this surplus produce abroad be a foreign or

 domestic one, is of little importance.”


It is thus, in his estimation, of small importance whether the capital

engaged in the work of transportation be foreign or domestic--the

operations most essential to the comfort and improvement of man being,

first, the production, and next, the conversion of the products of the

land, by men occupying towns and cities placed among the producers.

The nearer the market the less must be, as he clearly saw, the loss of

transportation, and the greater the value of the land. If the number

or the capital of those markets were insufficient for the conversion

of all the rude produce of the earth, there would then be

“considerable advantage” to be derived from the export of the surplus

by the aid of foreign capital, thus leaving “the whole stock of the

society” to be employed at home “to more useful purpose.” These views

are certainly widely different from those of modern economists, who

see in tables of imports and exports the only criterion of the

condition of society. Commerce, by which is meant exchanges with

distant people, is regarded as the sole measure of the prosperity of a

nation; and yet every man is rejoiced when the market for his products

is brought home to him, and he is thereby enabled to economize

transportation and enrich his land by returning to it the elements of

which-those products had been composed.


 “According to the natural course of things,” says Dr. Smith, “the

 greater part of the capital of every growing society is, first,

 directed to agriculture, afterward to manufactures, and, last of all,

 to foreign commerce.”


This, says he, is in accordance with natural laws. As subsistence

precedes luxuries, so must the production, of commodities precede

their conversion or their exchange.


 “Necessity imposes,” he continues, “that order of things” which “is

 in every country promoted by the natural inclinations of man. If

 human institutions had never thwarted those natural inclinations, the

 towns could nowhere have increased beyond what the improvement and

 cultivation of the territory in which they were situated could

 support; till such time, at least, as the whole of that territory was

 completely cultivated and improved. Upon equal, or nearly equal

 profits, most men will choose to employ their capitals rather in the

 improvement and cultivation of land, than either in manufactures or

 in foreign trade. The man who employs his capital in land, has it

 more under his view and command; and his fortune is much less liable

 to accidents than that of the trader, who is obliged frequently to

 commit it, not only to the winds and the waves, but to the more

 uncertain elements of human folly and injustice, by giving great

 credits, in distant countries, to men with whose character and

 situation he can seldom be thoroughly acquainted. The capital of the

 landlord, on the contrary, which is fixed in the improvement of his

 land, seems to be as well secured as the nature of human affairs can

 admit of. The beauty of the country, besides the pleasures of a

 country life, the tranquillity of mind which it promises, and,

 wherever the injustice of human laws does not disturb it, the

 independency which it really affords, have charms that, more or less,

 attract everybody; and as to cultivate the ground was the original

 destination of man, so, in every stage of his existence, he seems to

 retain a predilection for this primitive employment.


 “Without the assistance of some artificers, indeed, the cultivation

 of land cannot be carried on, but with great inconveniency and

 continual interruption. Smiths, carpenters, wheelwrights and

 ploughwrights, masons and bricklayers, tanners, shoemakers, and

 tailors, are people whose service the farmer has frequent occasion

 for. Such artificers, too, stand occasionally in need of the

 assistance of one another; and as their residence is not, like that

 of the farmer, necessarily tied down to a precise spot, they

 naturally settle in the neighbourhood of one another, and thus form a

 small town or village. The butcher, the brewer, and the baker soon

 join them, together with many other artificers and retailers,

 necessary or useful for supplying their occasional wants, and who

 contribute still further to augment the town. The inhabitants of the

 town and those of the country are mutually the servants of one

 another. The town is a continual fair or market, to which the

 inhabitants of the country resort, in order to exchange their rude

 for manufactured produce. It is this commerce which supplies the

 inhabitants of the town, both with the materials of their work and

 the means of their subsistence. The quantity of the finished work

 which they sell to the inhabitants of the country, necessarily

 regulates the quantity of the materials and provisions which they

 buy. Neither their employment nor subsistence, therefore, can

 augment, but in proportion to the augmentation of the demand from the

 country for finished work; and this demand can augment only in

 proportion to the extension of improvement and cultivation. Had human

 institutions, therefore, never disturbed the natural course of

 things, the progressive wealth and increase of the towns would, in

 every political society, be consequential, and in proportion to the

 improvement and cultivation of the territory or country.”


The demand on the artisan “can augment only in proportion to the

extension of improvement and cultivation.” Nothing can be more true.

The interests of the farmer and the mechanic are in perfect harmony

with each other. The one needs a market for his products, and the

nearer the market the greater must be the produce of his land, because

of his increased power to carry back to it the manure. The other needs

a market for his labour, and the richer the land around him the

greater will be the quantity of products to be offered in exchange for

labour, and the greater his freedom to determine for himself for whom

he will work and what shall be his wages. The combination of effort

between the labourer in the workshop and the labourer on the farm thus

gives value to land, and the more rapid the growth of the value of

land the greater has everywhere been the tendency to the freedom of



These views were opposed to those then universally prevalent.

“England’s treasure in foreign trade” had become


 “A fundamental maxim in the political economy, not of England only,

 but of all other commercial countries. The inland or home trade, the

 most important of all, the trade in which an equal capital affords

 the greatest revenue, and creates the greatest employment to the

 people of the country, was considered as subsidiary only to foreign

 trade. It neither brought money into the country, it was said, nor

 carried any out of it. The country, therefore, could never become

 richer or poorer by means of it, except as far as its prosperity or

 decay might indirectly influence the state of foreign trade.”


It was against this error chiefly that Dr. Smith cautioned his

countrymen. He showed that it had led, and was leading, to measures

tending to disturb the natural course of things in all the countries

connected with England, and to produce among them a necessity, for

trade while diminishing the power to maintain trade. “Whatever tends,”

says he, “to diminish in any country the number of artificers and

manufacturers, tends to diminish the home market, the most important

of all markets, for the rude produce of the land, and thereby still

further to discourage agriculture,” and consequently to diminish the

power of producing things with which to trade. He nowhere refers to

the fact that any system which looks to compelling a nation to export

raw produce, tends necessarily to the impoverishment of the land and

its owner, and to the diminution, of the freedom of the labourer, and

yet that such was the case could scarcely have escaped his

observation. The tendency of the then existing English policy was, as

he showed, to produce in various countries a necessity for exporting

every thing in its rudest form, thus increasing the cost of

transportation, while impoverishing the land and exhausting the

people. The legislature had been, he said, “prevailed upon” to prevent

the establishment of manufactures in the colonies, “sometimes by high

duties, and sometimes by absolute prohibitions.” In Grenada, while a

colony of France, every plantation had its own refinery of sugar, but

on its cession to England they were all abandoned, and thus was the

number of artisans diminished, to “the discouragement of agriculture.”

The course of proceeding relative to these colonies is thus



 “While Great Britain encourages in America the manufacturing of pig

 and bar iron, by exempting them from duties to which the like

 commodities are subject when imported from any other country, she

 imposes an absolute prohibition upon the erection of steel furnaces

 and slit-mills in any of her American plantations: She will not

 suffer her colonies to work in those more refined manufactures, even

 for their own consumption; but insists upon their purchasing of her

 merchants and manufactures all goods of this kind which they have

 occasion for.


 “She prohibits the exportation from one province to another by water,

 and even the carriage by land upon horseback, or in a cart, of hats,

 of wools, and woollen goods, of the produce of America; a regulation

 which effectually prevents the establishment of any manufacture of

 such commodities for distant sale, and confines the industry of her

 colonists in this way to such coarse and household manufactures as a

 private family commonly makes for its own use, or for that of some of

 its neighbours in the same province.”


His views, in regard to such measures, are thus given:--


 “To prohibit a great people from making all they can of every part of

 their own produce, or from employing their stock and industry in a

 way that they judge most advantageous to themselves, is a manifest

 violation of the most sacred rights of mankind.”


Further to carry out this view of compelling the people of the

colonies to abstain from manufacturing for themselves, and to carry

their products to distant markets, to the exhaustion of the land and

to the diminution of the value of labour, bounties were paid on the

importation into England of various articles of raw produce, while the

export of various raw materials, of artisans, and of machinery, was

prohibited. The whole object of the system was, he said, to “raise up

colonies of customers, a project,” he added, “fit only for a nation of

shopkeepers.” Indeed, he thought it “unfit even for a nation of

shopkeepers,” although “extremely fit for a nation whose government

was influenced by shopkeepers.” He was therefore entirely opposed to

all such arrangements as the Methuen treaty, by which, in

consideration of obtaining the control of the market of Portugal for

the sale of her manufactures, Great Britain agreed to give to the

wines of that country great advantage over those of France.


Against all the errors of the system, Dr. Smith, however, raised in

vain his warning voice. “England’s treasure” was, it was thought, to

be found “in foreign trade,” and every measure adopted by the

government had in view the extension of that trade. With each new

improvement of machinery there was a new law prohibiting its export.

The laws against the export of artisans were enforced, and a further

one prohibited the emigration of colliers. The reader will readily see

that a law prohibiting the export of cotton or woollen machinery was

precisely equivalent to a law to compel all the producers of wool or

cotton to seek the distant market of England if they desired to

convert their products into cloth. The inventors of machinery, and the

artisans who desired to work it, were thus deprived of freedom of

action, in order that foreigners might be made the slaves of those who

controlled the spinning-jenny, the loom, and the steam-engine, in

whose hands it was desired to centralize the control of the farmers

and planters of the world. England was to be made “the workshop of the

world,” although her people had been warned that the system was not

only unnatural, but in the highest degree unjust, and even more

impolitic than unjust, because while tending to expel capital and

labour from the great and profitable home market, it tended greatly to

the “discouragement of agriculture” in the colonies and nations

subjected to the system, and to prevent the natural increase of the

smaller and less profitable distant market upon which she was becoming

more and more dependent.


By degrees the tendency of the system became obvious. Bounties on the

import of wood, and wool, and flax, and other raw materials, tended to

“the discouragement of agriculture” at home, and bounties on the

export of manufactures tended to drive into the work of converting,

and exchanging the products of other lands the labour and capital that

would otherwise have been applied to the work of production at home.

The necessary consequence of this was, that the difficulty of

obtaining these raw materials, instead of diminishing with the

progress of population, tended to increase, and then it was, at the

distance of a quarter of a century from the date of the publication of

“_The Wealth of Nations_,” that the foundation of the new school was

laid by Mr. Malthus, who taught that all the distress existing in the

world was the inevitable consequence of a great law of nature, which

provided that food should increase only in arithmetical progression,

while population might increase in geometrical progression. Next came

Mr. Ricardo, who furnished a law of the occupation of the earth,

showing, and conclusively, as he supposed, that the work of

cultivation was always commenced on the rich soils, yielding a large

return to labour, and that as population increased, men were compelled

to resort to others, each in succession less fertile than its

predecessor--the consequence of which was that labour became daily

less productive, the power to obtain food diminished, and the power to

demand rent increased, the poor becoming daily poorer, weaker, and

more enslaved, as the rich became richer and more powerful. Next came

the elder Mill, who showed that, in obedience to the law thus

propounded by Mr. Ricardo, the return to capital and labour applied to

the work of cultivation must be “continually decreasing,” and the

annual fund from which sayings are made, continually diminishing. “The

difficulty of making savings is thus,” he adds, “continually

augmented, and at last they must totally cease.” He regarded it

therefore as certain that “wages would be reduced so low that a

portion of the population would regularly die from the consequences of

want.” In such a state of things, men sell themselves, their wives, or

their children, for mere food. We see, thus, that the modern British

theory looks directly to the enslavement of man.


In this manner, step by step, did the British political economists

pass from the school of Adam Smith, in which it was taught that

agriculture preceded manufactures and commerce, the latter of which

were useful to the extent that they aided the former,--to that new one

in which was, and is, taught, that manufactures and commerce were the

great and profitable pursuits of man, and that agriculture, because of

the “constantly increasing sterility of the soil,” was the least

profitable of all. Hence it is that we see England to have been

steadily passing on in the same direction, and devoting all her

energies to the prevention of the establishment, in any country of the

world, of markets in which the raw produce of the land could be

exchanged directly with the artisan for the products of his labour.


For a time this prospered, but at length the eyes of the world were

opened to the fact that they and their land were being impoverished as

she was being enriched; and that the effect of the system was that of

constituting herself _sole buyer_ of the raw products of their labour

and their land, and _sole seller_ of the manufactured commodities to

be given in exchange for them, with power to fix the prices of both;

and thus that she was really acting in the capacity of mistress of the

world, with power to impose taxes at discretion. By degrees, machinery

and artisans were smuggled abroad, and new machinery was made, and

other nations turned their attention more and more to manufacturing;

and now it became necessary to make new exertions for the purpose of

securing to England the monopoly she had so long enjoyed. To enable

her to do this we find her at length throwing open her ports for the

free admission of corn and numerous other of the raw products of the

earth, free from the payment of any duty whatever, and thus offering

to the various nations of the world a bounty on the further exhaustion

of their land. The adoption of this measure would, it was supposed,

induce Prussia, Austria, Russia, and Denmark, and all America, to

devote themselves exclusively to the cultivation of the earth,

abandoning all attempts at the creation of nearer places of exchange;

and thus that all the world outside of England would become producers

of raw materials to be carried to that single and distant market,

there to be consumed or converted, and the refuse thereof to be

deposited on the land of England. That such was the object of this

measure was admitted by all. It was announced as a boon to the

agriculturists of the world. How far it was calculated to be so, the

reader may judge, after satisfying himself of the truth of the

following propositions:--


I. That if there is to be but one place of exchange or manufacture for

the world, all the rest of the people of the world must limit

themselves to agriculture.


II. That this necessarily implies the absence of towns, or local

places of exchange, and a necessity for resorting to a place of

exchange far distant.


III. That the distance of the place of consumption from the place of

production forbids the possibility of returning to the land any of the

manure yielded by its products.


IV. That this in turn implies the exhaustion of the land and the

impoverishment of its owner.


V. That the impoverishment of the land renders necessary a removal to

new and more distant lands.


VI. That this renders necessary a larger amount of transportation,

while the impoverishment of the farmer increases the difficulty of

making roads.


VII. That the increased distance of the market produces a steadily

increased necessity for limiting the work of cultivation to the

production of those commodities which can be obtained from high and

dry lands, and that the quantity of products tends therefore to

diminish with the increased distance from market.


VIII. That with each step in the progress of exhausting the land, men

are compelled to separate more widely from each other, and that there

is therefore a steady diminution in the power of association for the

making of roads, or the establishment of schools, and that the small

towns, or near places of exchange, tend gradually toward depopulation

and ruin.


IX. That the more men separate from each other the less is the power

to procure machinery, and the greater the necessity for cultivating

the poorest soils, even though surrounded by lead, iron, and copper

ore, coal, lime, and all other of the elements of which machinery is



X. That with the diminished power of association, children grow up

uneducated, and men and women become rude and barbarous.


XI. That the power to apply labour productively tends steadily to

diminish, and that women, in default of other employment, are forced

to resort to the field, and to become slaves to their fathers,

husbands, and brothers.


XII. That the power to accumulate capital tends likewise to

diminish--that land becomes from day to day more consolidated--and

that man sinks gradually into the condition of a slave to the landed

or other capitalist.


XIII. That with this steady passage of man from the state of a freeman

to that of a slave, he has steadily less to sell, and can therefore

purchase less; and that thus the only effect of a policy which compels

the impoverishment of the land and its owner is to destroy the

customer, who, under a different system of policy, might have become a

larger purchaser from year to year.


That the object of the present English policy is that of converting

all the nations of the world into purely agricultural communities will

not be denied; but as it may be doubted if the effects would be such

as are here described, it is proposed now to inquire into the movement

of some of the non-manufacturing communities of the world, with a view

to determine if the facts observed are in correspondence with those

that, reasoning _a priori_, we should be led to expect. Before

entering upon this examination, the reader is, however, requested to

peruse the following extracts from “Gee on Trade,” in which is

described the former colonial system, and afterward the extract from a

recent despatch of Lord Grey, late Colonial Secretary, with a view to

satisfy himself how perfectly identical are the objects now sought to

be attained with those desired by the statesmen of the last century,

and denounced by Adam Smith.


 JOSHUA GEE--1750.


 First--”Manufactures in American colonies should be discouraged,



 “Great Britain with its dependencies is doubtless as well able to

 subsist within itself as any nation in Europe. We have an

 enterprising people, fit for all the arts of peace or war. We have

 provisions in abundance, and those of the best sort, and we are able

 to raise sufficient for double the number of inhabitants. We have the

 very best materials for clothing, and want nothing either for use or

 for luxury, but what we have at home, or might have from our

 colonies; so that we might make such an intercourse of trade among

 ourselves, or between us and them, as would maintain a vast

 navigation. But, we ought always to keep a watchful eye over our

 colonies, _to restrain them from setting up any of the manufactures

 which are carried on in Great Britain_; and any such attempts should

 be crushed in the beginning, for if they are suffered to grow up to

 maturity it will be difficult to suppress them.”


 “Our colonies are much in the same state as Ireland was in when they

 began the woollen manufactory, _and as their numbers increase, will

 fall upon manufactures for clothing themselves, if due care be not

 taken to find employment_ for them in raising such productions as may

 enable them to furnish themselves with all the necessaries from us.”


 “I should, therefore, think it worthy the care of the government to

 endeavour by all possible means to encourage them in the raising of

 silk, hemp, flax, iron, (_only pig, to be hammered in England_,)

 potash, &c., by giving them competent bounties in the beginning, and

 sending over skilful and judicious persons, at the public charge, to

 assist and instruct them in the most proper methods of management,

 which in my apprehension would lay a foundation for establishing the

 most profitable trade of any we have. And considering the commanding

 situation of our colonies along the seacoast, the great convenience

 of navigable rivers in all of them, the cheapness of land, and the

 easiness of raising provisions, great numbers of people would

 transport themselves thither to settle upon such improvements. Now,

 as people have been filled with fears that the colonies, if

 encouraged to raise rough materials, would set up for themselves, a

 little regulation would be necessary; and as they will have the

 providing rough materials for themselves, a _little regulation_ would

 remove all those jealousies out of the way. They have never thrown or

 wove any silk, as yet, that we have heard of,--therefore, if a law

 was made prohibiting the use of any throwing mill, of doubling or

 throstling silk, with any machine whatever, they would then send it

 _to us raw_. And as they will have the providing rough materials to

 themselves, so shall we have the manufacturing of them. If

 encouragement be given for raising hemp, flax, &c., doubtless they

 will soon begin to manufacture, if not prevented. Therefore, to stop

 the progress of any such manufacture, it is proposed that no _weaver_

 have _liberty_ to set up any looms, without first registering at an

 office kept for that purpose, and the name and place of abode of any

 journeyman that shall work for him. But if any _particular

 inhabitant_ shall be inclined to have any linen or woollen made of

 their own spinning, they should not be abridged of the same liberty

 that they now make use of, namely to have a weaver who shall be

 _licensed_ by the Governor, and have it wrought up for the use of the

 family, but not to be sold to any person in a private manner, nor

 exposed to any market or fair, upon pain of forfeiture.” “That all

 slitting mills and engines for drawing wire, or weaving stockings,

 _be put down_.” “That all negroes shall be prohibited from weaving

 either linen or woollen, or spinning or combing of wool, or working

 at any manufacture of iron, further than making it into pig or bar-

 iron. That they also be prohibited from manufacturing _hats,

 stockings, or leather of any kind_. This limitation will not abridge

 the planters of any liberty they now enjoy--on the contrary, it will

 then turn their industry to promoting and raising those rough



 Second--”The advantages to Great Britain from keeping the colonies

 dependent on her for their essential supplies.”


 “If we examine into the circumstances of the inhabitants of our

 plantations, and our own, it will appear that _not one-fourth part of

 their product redounds to their own profit, for out of all that comes

 here, they only carry back clothing and other accommodations for

 their families_, all of which is of the merchandise and manufacture

 of this kingdom.” “All these advantages we receive by the

 plantations, _besides the mortgages on the planters’ estates and the

 high interest they pay us, which is very considerable_, and,

 therefore, very great care ought to be taken, in regulating all the

 affairs of the colonists, that the planters are not put under too

 many difficulties, but encouraged to go on cheerfully.” “New England

 and the northern colonies have not commodities and products enough to

 send us in return for purchasing their necessary clothing, but are

 under very great difficulties; and, therefore, any ordinary sort sell

 with them,--and when they have _grown out of fashion with us, they

 are new-fashioned enough for them_.”


 LORD GREY--1850.


 “If, as has been alleged by the complainants, and as in some

 instances would appear to be the case, any of the duties comprised in

 the tariff have been imposed, not for the purpose of revenue, but

 with a view of protecting the interest of the Canadian manufacturer,

 her Majesty’s government are clearly of opinion that such a course is

 injurious alike to the interests of the mother country and to those

 of the colony. Canada possesses natural advantages for the production

 of articles which will always exchange in the markets of this country

 for those manufactured goods of which she stands in need. By such

 exchange she will obtain these goods much more cheaply than she could

 manufacture, them for herself, and she will secure an advantageous

 market for the _raw produce_ which she is best able to raise. On the

 other hand, by closing her markets against British manufactures, or

 _rendering their introduction more costly_, she enhances their price

 to the consumer, and by the imposition of protective duties, for the

 purpose of fostering an unnatural trade, she gives a wrong direction

 to capital, by withdrawing it from more profitable employment, and

 causing it to be invested in the manufacture of articles which might

 be imported at a cost below that of production in the colony, while

 at the same time she inflicts a blow on her export trade by rendering

 her markets less eligible to the British customer.” “If the merchant

 finds that by exporting his goods to Canada, they produce him in

 return a _large quantity of corn_, and thus yield a greater profit

 than they would if exported to any other country, he will of course

 give the preference to Canada. But if by reason of increased import

 duties, those goods produce a diminished return the result will be

 either that the Canadian farmer must submit to a proportionate

 reduction in the price of his produce, or the British manufacturer

 must resort to another market. It is, therefore, obvious, that it is

 not less the interest of Canada herself than of Great Britain, that

 this tariff of import duties should undergo a careful revision.”


The phraseology of the two is different, but the object is the

same--that of rendering it necessary to send all the raw products of

the land to a market far distant, and thus depriving the farmer or

planter of the power to return any portion of the loan made to him by

the earth, and which she is always willing to renew, on the simple

condition that when the borrower has used it, he shall return to the

lender the elements of which it had been composed.


Chapter 9. How slavery grew, and how it is now maintained, in the West Indies


The system described in the last chapter was fully carried out in the

West India colonies. Manufactures were so entirely interdicted from

the date of their coming under the crown of Great Britain, that the

colonists were not permitted even to refine their own sugar, and still

less to convert their cotton into cloth. The necessary consequence was

that women and children could have no employment but that of the

field. This, of course, tended to sink both mother and child far lower

in the scale of civilization than would have been the case had the

lighter labour of conversion been associated with the more severe one

of production. The next effect was, that as all were bound to remain

producers of raw commodities, there could be no markets at hand, and

no exchanges could be made except at a distance of thousands of miles.

Difficulties, too, arose in regard to the diversification of labour,

even in agriculture itself. Indigo was tried, but of the price for

which it sold in England so large a portion was absorbed by

ship-owners, commission merchants, and the government, that its

culture was abandoned. Coffee, was extensively introduced, and as it

grows on higher and more salubrious lands its cultivation would have

been of great advantage to the community; but here, as in the case of

indigo, so small a portion of the price for which it sold was received

by the producer that its production was about being abandoned, and was

saved only by the government agreeing to reduce its claim to a

shilling, or twenty-four cents, a pound. This amounted to about a

hundred and eighty dollars per acre, the estimated produce being about

750 pounds of merchantable coffee;[26] and very much of it came out of

the producer--the poor negro. How enormously burdensome such a tax

must have been may be judged by the farmers who feel now so heavily

the pressure of the malt duties; and it must always be borne in mind

that the West India labourers were aided by the most indifferent

machinery of production. By degrees these various taxes rendered

necessary the abandonment of all cultivation but that of the

sugar-cane, being of all others the most destructive of health, and as

the whole population, men, women, and children, were limited to that

single pursuit, we shall scarcely err in attributing to this fact the

great waste of life recorded in a former chapter.


Commerce, too, was interdicted, except with Great Britain and her

colonies; and this led to efforts at a smuggling trade with the

Spanish possessions on the continent; but this was brought to a close

by the watchfulness of the ships of war.[27] Slaves, however, might be

imported and exported, and this traffic was carried on a most

extensive scale, most of the demand for the Spanish colonies being

supplied from the British Islands. In 1775, however, the colonial

legislature, desirous to prevent the excessive importation of negroes,

imposed a duty of £2 per head, but this was petitioned against by the

merchants of England, and the home government directed the

discontinuance of the tax.[28] At this period the annual export of

sugar is stated,[29] to have been 980,346 cwt., the gross sales of

which, duty free, averaged £1 14s. 8d. per cwt., making a total of

£1,699,421,--so large a portion of which, however, was absorbed by

freight, commissions, insurance, &e., that the net proceeds, of 775

sugar estates are stated to have been only £726,992, or less than

£1000 each. If to the £973,000 thus deducted be added the share of the

government, (12s. 3d. per cwt.,) and the further charges before the

sugar reached the consumer, it will be seen that its grower could not

have received more than one-fourth of the price at which it sold. The

planter thus appears to have been little more than a superintendent of

slaves, who were worked for the benefit of the merchants and the

government of Great Britain, by whom was absorbed the lion’s share of

the produce of their labour. He was placed between the slave, whom he

was obliged to support, on the one hand, and the mortgagee, the

merchants, and the government, whom he was also obliged to support, on

the other, and he could take for himself only what was left--and if

the crop proved large, and prices fell, he was ruined. The

consequences of this are seen in the fact that in twenty years

following this period, there were sold for debt no less than 177

estates, while 92 remained unsold in the hands of creditors, and 55

were wholly abandoned. Seeing these things, it will not be difficult

to understand the cause of the extraordinary waste of life exhibited

in the British Islands. The planter could exist, himself, only by

overworking his people; and notwithstanding all his efforts, no less

than 324 out of 775 estates changed hands by reason of failure in the

short space of twenty years. Whatever might be his disposition to

improve the condition of the labourer, to do so was quite impossible

while receiving for himself and them so small a portion of the price

of his commodity.


In the early years of the present century, land had become more

valuable. The price of sugar had risen about 80 per cent., and the

planters were gradually extricating themselves from their

difficulties; and a consequence of this was seen in a considerable

amelioration of the condition of the slave, who was now much better

fed, clothed, and otherwise provided for.[30] Slaves that had been as

low as £34, average price, had risen to £50, at which the 250,000 in

the island amounted to £12,500,000, and the real and personal

property, exclusive of the slaves, was estimated at £25,000,000.[31]

How great, however, were the difficulties under which the planters

still laboured, may be seen from the following extract, which, long as

it is, is given because it illustrates so forcibly the destructive

effects of the policy that looks to the prevention of that association

which results from bringing the loom and the anvil to the side of

plough and the harrow.


 “I have now to enter upon a painful part of my task, a part in which

 I am under the necessity of stating such circumstances as cannot but

 reflect disgrace on those who give rise to them, and from which the

 weakness, I will not use a harsher term, of the legislature, is but

 too apparent. These circumstances arise from the various modes of

 agency, such as that of the attorney of estates, mortgagee in

 possession, receiver in chancery, &c. The first of these characters

 requires a definition. By the word attorney, in this sense, is meant

 agent; and the duties annexed to his office are so similar to those

 of a steward in England, that were it not for the dissimilarity of

 executing them, and the dignity attendant upon the former, I should

 pronounce them one and the same, But _as this colonial stewardship is

 the surest road to imperial fortune_, men of property and

 distinguished situation push eagerly for it. Attorneys are of two

 sorts; six per cent. attorneys, and salaried attorneys; the profits

 of the former arise from commissions of six per cent. on all the

 produce of an estate, and various interior resources; the latter are

 paid a certain stipend by some unincumbered proprietors, who have

 lately discovered that a steward in Jamaica may be hired like a

 steward in England, by which several thousand pounds a year are

 saved, and instead of enriching their agents, are poured into their

 own coffers. The office of both is to attend to the estates of their

 employers, and to all their interests in the island, deputed to them

 that the proprietors themselves may live at home, that is to say, in



 “Of all the evils in the island of Jamaica, which call for a remedy,

 and by means of which the most unjustifiable practices are continued,

 the first and most crying is that of the business of a certain

 description of attorneys of orphans, mortgagees in possession,

 trustees, executors, guardians, and receivers under the court of

 chancery; and these evils arise in a great measure from the unjust

 and impolitic law which allows six per cent. commission on the gross

 produce of the estates under their charge and direction. The

 iniquitous practices, screened, if not authorized by that law have

 long been too glaring to be unnoticed; and attempts have been made to

 reduce the commission, and to fix it on some more equitable

 principle; but unfortunately there have always been in the House of

 Assembly too many of its members interested in benefits resulting

 from the present law to admit the adoption of the measure. That the

 interest of attorneys is not always the interest of those whose

 estates they hold is an undeniable fact, of which I think you will be

 convinced by the time you arrive at the conclusion of this letter. In

 many instances, too, this superior collateral interest militates

 against the happiness and amelioration of the state and condition of

 the slaves, which is now professed by the colonists to be an object

 of their most serious attention; and it proves not unfrequently the

 total ruin of the unfortunate planter, whose involved situation

 compels him to submit to the condition of consigning his estate to

 the management of an attorney appointed by his creditor, who is

 generally his merchant, and who throws the full legal advantages of

 his debtor’s estate into the hands of his own agent in the island, to

 compensate for the economical bargain he makes for the management of

 his own concerns; a practice common also to trustees, guardians, &c.

 The law allowing such enormous commissions for services so

 inadequate, is also very defective in an important point; for it

 establishes no data for fixing the charge of this commission, which

 is never made according to the sales of sugar, for that is not soon,

 if ever known to the attorney. Hence, in the different accounts, the

 charges are estimated on sugar at several prices, from 20s. per cwt.

 to 45s., and even 50s.; and in the same books of one and the same

 attorney, these charges are found to differ according to his

 connection with his employer, generally increasing in proportion to

 the distress of the property and of the proprietor. To form some

 notion of the advantages attending these appointments, and of their

 injurious tendency to involved proprietors, and even to their

 creditors, let us see what a receiver under the court of chancery can

 do. In the first place, it has not always been the practice to select

 him from among the inhabitants in the vicinity of the unfortunate

 estates, or from among the friends of the proprietor; he is

 frequently a resident in one of the towns, _with perhaps as little

 knowledge of the management of an estate as is possessed by the

 sweeper of the chancery office_; and indeed it would not be

 inapplicable to distinguish such receivers by the appellation of

 chancery-sweepers. These gentlemen seldom if ever see the estates

 which they are to direct, and have no other directions to give than,

 in a lumping way, to make as much sugar as possible, and to ship it,

 most likely to their own correspondents. _Whatever the estates clear

 is so much in their hands, and of course the more money the better

 for them_; money takes root in every soil, and propagates itself a

 thousand ways; not a dollar of it therefore finds its way into the

 chancery chest, for the receiver having given security, the treasure

 is, by a common fiction in use, held to be fully as safe in his

 hands. While the different creditors of the estate are fighting the

 battle of priority, the receiver continues to direct the management

 of it, to ship the crop, and to take care of the money. At length a

 prior debt is established, and the creditor having gained the point,

 remains for a time satisfied; but finding, though his principal

 accumulates, that he receives nothing, he becomes clamorous for a

 sale. This may take place in five or six years time, when all

 pretexts for delay are worn out, and in the mean time the receiver

 takes care to have money, adequate to the simple sums received,

 turned over by his consignee or merchant to another hand, his

 banker’s, to be ready to answer bills to be drawn _on his own

 account_, for which he must have a premium of from twelve to

 seventeen and a half per cent. The estate at last is advertised for

 sale by a master in chancery, in consequence of an order from the

 chancellor. The sale, however, is spun out, a year or two longer,

 till the creditor or his attorney begins to remonstrate with the

 master: stipulations for an amicable settlement ensue, that is, for

 an admission of the receiver’s accounts such as they may be, and for

 time allowed him for payment of the mesne profits or balance in his

 hands; which agreed to, the sale is positively to take place _when

 the next crop is over_. The sale then is actually concluded, the

 accumulations of these annual funds go unperceived to the further

 propagation of wealth for the receiver; and the purchaser, who is no

 other than the prior creditor, is put in possession of _an estate in

 ruin, with a gang of negroes dispirited and miserable, who had been

 long sensible of their situation, conceiving themselves belonging to

 nobody_, and almost despairing of ever falling into the hands of a

 kind master, interested in their welfare and happiness. Let us now

 turn to the attorney of a mortgagee in possession, and see what

 better he offers. The debt of the involved estate is due to a man of

 large property, or to a merchant; if to the former, he has a merchant

 to whom the consignment is of considerable value. It is immaterial

 what the debt is, an estate in possession of a mortgagee is generally

 made to pay full commissions to the attorney employed for it. In

 justice to all parties the most is to be made of the property, and it

 is soon found that the negroes upon it are not equal to the returns

 it is capable of making, consequently hired negroes are added to the

 plantation-gangs, to plant, weed, and take off the crop; the works

 are extended, to be adequate to the proposed increase; more stock,

 more carts are bought, more white people employed. To keep pace with

 these grand designs, _the poor plantation negroes are of course

 overworked_. What is the result? A great deal of sugar and rum is

 made, to the credit as well as profit of the attorney, and by which

 the merchant is benefited, as the consignments are augmented; but six

 per cent. interest on the principal, six per cent. on that interest

 by compound arithmetic become principal, six per cent. commissions,

 with the contingent charges for labour, improvements, stores, etc.,

 absorb the whole produce, and the planter daily sinks under an

 accumulating debt, till he is completely ruined. _The greater the

 distress, the more the attorney fattens_; in a war, for instance, a

 considerable additional benefit occurs; he becomes lumber-merchant,

 and having the rum of the estate at his command, and perhaps a little

 sugar, though in the latter article he is usually restricted, as the

 disposal of it in the island would interfere with the loading of

 ships and consignments, he purchases wholesale cargoes, and retails

 them out to the estate at a large profit. Staves bought by the

 attorney at £18 per thousand, have been known to be sold to the

 estate for £45 per thousand; and the cart belonging to the property

 has carried the rum to pay for them. _It is well known that the rum

 made upon an estate will seldom pay its contingent expenses, and that

 frequently bills are drawn on Great Britain to the amount of one

 thousand pounds, and sometimes two thousand pounds, for the excess of

 the contingencies over and above the amount of the sale of the rum_:

 here the attorney finds another avenue of amassing for himself.

 Settling the excess from his own means, he appropriates the bills

 which it enabled him to draw to the purchase of the remainder of a

 cargo of negroes, after the best have been culled at the rate of from

 ninety to ninety-five pounds per head: these inferior negroes he

 disposes of to his dependent overseers, jobbers, doctors, tradesmen,

 distillers, and book-keepers, at forty or fifty pounds a head profit;

 nor is it without example, that the very estates on the credit of

 which some of the bills are drawn, have been supplied with negroes in

 the same manner, and at the same rate. This manoeuvre indeed is

 ventured only on estates of minors, whose trustees are merchants in

 Great Britain, ignorant of such practices; or may be, when they have

 committed the estates to the attorney, liable to the full advantages

 to be made of them, to compensate for the moderate allowance they

 give for the management of their own concerns. An island merchant, or

 according to the West India appellation, storekeeper, in great

 business, told a friend of mine, that he had sold a cargo of mules at

 eighteen pounds per head to an attorney, which were dispersed in

 separate spells of eight each to several estates, but that at the

 special instance of the purchaser, he had made out the bills of

 parcels at thirty pounds per head. This does not speak much in favour

 of the virtue of the storekeeper, but it must be observed that he

 would have lost his customer had he demurred, and would probably have

 been considered as righteous overmuch. There is a variety of smaller

 advantages enjoyed by the attorney, such as forming connections with

 butchers who may purchase the fatted cattle, with jobbers of negroes

 for the purpose of intermingling negroes at a proportionable profit,

 fattening horses, and a long _et cetera_. To the attorney the

 commanders of the ships in the trade look up with due respect, and as

 they are proper persons to speak of him to the merchant, their

 good-will is not neglected. To the involved planter their language

 often is, ‘Sir, I must have your sugars down at the wharf directly;’

 that is, your sugars are to make the lowest tier, to stand the chance

 of being washed out should the ship leak or make much water in a bad

 passage. When they address an attorney, they do not ask for sugars,

 but his favours, as to quantity and time; and his hogsheads form the

 upper tier.”[32]


An examination made about this period proved that these persons, 193

in number, held in charge 606 sugar-works, producing about 80,000

hhds. of sugar, and 36,000 puncheons of rum, which at the selling

prices of that day in England yielded about £4,000,000, upon which

they were entitled to six per cent., or £240,000. We have here a most

extensive system of absenteeism, and absentees _must_ be represented

by middlemen, having no interest in the slave or in the plantation,

except to take from both all that can be taken, giving as little as

possible back to either.


Why, however, did this absenteeism exist? Why did not the owners of

property reside on their estates? Because the policy which looked to

limiting the whole population, male and female, old and young, to the

culture of sugar, and forbade even that the sugar itself should be

refined on the island, effectually prevented the growth of any middle

class that should form the population of towns at which the planter

might find society that could induce him to regard the island as his

home. Such was not the case in the French Islands, because the French

government had not desired to prevent the weaker class of the

population from engaging in the work of manufacture, as has been seen

in the case of Grenada, in which sugar was refined until the period of

its surrender to the British arms.[33] Towns therefore grew up, and

men of all descriptions came from France to make the islands _their

home_; whereas the English colonists looked only to realizing a

fortune and returning home to spend it. All this is fully shown in the

following extract, in which is given a comparative view of the British

and French Islands immediately before the emancipation act of 1832.


 “The houses have more of a European air than in our English colonies,

 and I must notice with praise the existence of four booksellers’

 shops, as large and well furnished as any second-rate ones in Paris.

 The sight of books to sell in the West Indies is like water in the

 desert, for books are not yet included in plantation stores for our

 islands. The cause is this. The French colonists, whether Creoles or

 Europeans, consider the West Indies as their country; they cast no

 wistful looks toward France; they have not even a packet of their

 own; they marry, educate, and build in and for the West Indies and

 the West Indies alone. In our colonies it is quite different; except

 a few regular Creoles to whom gratis rum and gratis coloured mothers

 for their children have become quite indispensable, every one regards

 the colony as a temporary lodging-place, where they must sojourn in

 sugar and molasses till their mortgage’s will let them live

 elsewhere. They call England their home, though many of them have

 never been there; they talk of writing home and going home, and pique

 themselves more on knowing the probable result of a contested

 election in England than on mending their roads, establishing a

 police, or purifying a prison. The French colonist deliberately

 expatriates himself; the Englishman never. If our colonies were to

 throw themselves into the hands of the North Americans, as their

 enemies say that some of them wish to do, the planters would make

 their little triennial trips to New York as they now do to London.

 The consequence of this feeling is that every one, who can do so,

 maintains some correspondence with England, and when any article is

 wanted, he sends to England for it. Hence, except in the case of

 chemical drugs, there is an inconsiderable market for an imported

 store of miscellaneous goods, much less for an assortment of articles

 of the same kind. A different feeling in Martinique produces an

 opposite effect; in that island very little individual correspondence

 exists with France, and consequently there is that effectual demand

 for books, wines, jewelry, haberdashery, &c., in the colony itself,

 which enables labour to be divided almost as far as in the mother

 country. In St. Pierre there are many shops which contain nothing but

 bonnets, ribbons, and silks, others nothing but trinkets and toys,

 others hats only, and so on, and there are rich tradesmen in St.

 Pierre on this account. Bridge Town would rapidly become a wealthy

 place, if another system were adopted; for not only would the public

 convenience be much promoted by a steady, safe, and abundant

 importation, and separate preservation of each article in common

 request, but the demand for those articles would be one hundred-fold

 greater in Bridge Town itself than it now is on the same account in

 London, Liverpool, or Bristol, when impeded or divided and frittered

 away by a system of parcel-sending across the Atlantic. Supply will,

 under particular circumstances, create demand. If a post were

 established at Barbadoes, or a steamboat started between the islands,

 a thousand letters would be written where there are one hundred now,

 and a hundred persons would interchange visits where ten hardly do at

 present. I want a book and cannot borrow it; I would purchase it

 instantly from my bookseller in my neighbourhood, but I may not think

 it worth my while to send for it over the ocean, when, with every

 risk, I must wait at the least three months for it. The moral

 consequences of this system are even more to be lamented than the

 economical, but I will say more about that at some other time.”[34]


In another part of the same work, the writer says--


 “Schools for the children of the slaves are the first and chief step

 toward amelioration of condition and morals in every class of people

 in the West Indies.”


Here, however, the same difficulty had existed. For the same reason

that no towns could arise there could be no schools, and the planter

found himself forced to send his children to England to be educated;

the consequence of which was that at his death his property passed

into the hands of agents, and his successors having contracted a

fondness for European and a dislike for colonial life, remained

abroad, leaving their estates to go to ruin, while their people

perished under the lash of men who had no other interest than to ship

the largest quantity of sugar, molasses, and rum. All this was a

natural result of the system that denied to the women and children the

privilege of converting cotton into cloth, or of giving themselves to

other in-door pursuits. The mechanic was not needed where machinery

could not be used, and without him there could grow up neither towns

nor schools.


The reader will have remarked, in the first extract above given, that

the export of rum generally brought the planter in debt, and yet the

price paid for it by the consumers appears to have been nearly a

million of pounds sterling--that is, the people of England gave of

labour and its products that large sum in exchange for a certain

product of the labouring people of Jamaica, not a shilling of which

ever reached the planter to be applied to the amelioration of the

condition of his estate, or of the people upon it. The crop sold on

its arrival at 3s. or 3s. 6d. a gallon, but the consumer paid for it

probably 17s., which were thus divided:--


  Government, representing the British people at large... 11.3

  Ship-owners, wholesale and retail dealers, &c..........  5.9

  Land-owner and labourer................................  0.0




If we look to sugar, we find a result somewhat better, but of similar

character. The English consumer gave for it 80s. worth of labour, and

those shillings were nearly thus divided:--


  Government............................................. 27

  Ship-owner, merchant, mortgagee, &c.................... 33

  Land-owner and labourer................................ 20




The reader will now see that Mr. _Joshua Gee_ was not exaggerating

when he gave it as one of the recommendations of the colonial system

that the colonists left in England three-fourths of all their

products,[35] the difference being swallowed up by those who made or

superintended the exchanges. Such was the result desired by those who

compelled the planter to depend on a distant market in which to sell

all he raised, and to buy all he and his people needed to consume. The

more he took out of his land the more he exhausted it and the less he

obtained for its products, for large crops made large freights, large

charges for storage, and enormous collections by the government, while

prices fell because of the size of the crop, and thus was he ruined

while all others were being enriched. Under such circumstances he

could not purchase machinery for the improvement of his cultivation,

and thus was he deprived of the power to render available the services

of the people whom he was bound to support. Master of slaves, he was

himself a slave to those by whom the labours of himself and his

workmen were directed, and it would be unfair to attribute to him the

extraordinary waste of life resulting necessarily from the fact that

the whole people were limited to the labours of the field.


With inexhaustible supplies of timber, the island contained, even in

1850, not a single sawmill, although it afforded an extensive market

for lumber from abroad. Yielding in the greatest abundance the finest

fruits, there were yet no town’s-people with their little vessels to

carry them to the larger markets of this country, and for want of

market they rotted under the trees. “The manufacturing resources of

this island,” says Mr. Bigelow, “are inexhaustible;” and so have they

always been, but the people have been deprived of all power to profit

by them, and for want of that power there was lost annually a greater

amount of labour than would have paid, five times over, for the

commodities for which they were compelled to look to the distant

market. Of those who did not perish, because of the necessity for an

universal dependence on field employments, a large portion of the

labour was then, as it now must be, utterly wasted. “For six or eight

months of the year, nothing,” says Mr. Bigelow, (Notes, p. 54,) “is

done on the sugar or coffee plantations.” “Agriculture,” he continues,

“as at present conducted, does not occupy more than half their time.”

So was it fifty years ago, and it was because of the compulsory waste

of labour and consequent small amount of productive power that there

existed little opportunity for accumulating capital. Population

diminished because there could be no improvement of the condition of

the labourer who, while thus limited in the employment of his time,

was compelled to support not only himself and his master, but the

agent, the commission-merchant, the ship-owner, the mortgagee, the

retail trader, and the government, and this under a system that looked

to taking every thing from the land and returning nothing to it. Of

the amount paid in 1831 by the British people for the products of the

320,000 black labourers of this island, the home government took no

less than £3,736,113 10s. 6d.,[36] or about eighteen millions of

dollars, being almost sixty dollars per head, and this for merely

superintending the exchanges. Had no such claim been made on the

product of the labour of those poor people, the consumer would have

had his sugar cheaper, and this would have made a large consumption,

and these eighteen millions would have been divided between the black

labourer on the one hand and the white one on the other. It would be

quite safe to assert that in that year each negro, old and young, male

and female, contributed five pounds--$24--to the maintenance of the

British government, and this was a heavy amount of taxation to be

borne by a people limited entirely to agriculture and destitute of the

machinery necessary for making even that productive. If now to this

heavy burden be added the commissions, freights, insurance, interest,

and other charges, it will readily be seen that a system of taxation

so grinding could end no otherwise than in ruin; and that such was the

tendency of things, was seen in the steady diminution of production.


                        Sugar,        Rum,        Coffee,

                        hhds.       puncheons.     lbs.

                        ------      ----------    -------

  In the three years

  ending with 1802,

  the average exports

  were, of             113,000       44,000      14,000,000


  Whereas those of the

  three years ending

  with 1829 were only   92,000       34,000      17,000,000


The system which looked to depriving the cultivator of the advantage

of a market near at hand, to which he could carry his products, and

from which he could carry home the manure and thus maintain the powers

of his land, was thus producing its natural results. It was causing

the slave to became from day to day more enslaved; and that such was

the case is shown by the excess of deaths over births, as given in a

former chapter. Evidence of exhaustion was seen in every thing

connected with the island. Labour and land were declining in value,

and the security for the payment of the large debt due to mortgagees

in England was becoming less from year to year, as more and more the

people of other countries were being driven to the work of cultivation

because of the impossibility of competing with England in

manufactures. Sugar had declined to little more than a guinea a

hundred-weight, and rum had fallen to little more than two shillings a

gallon;[37] and nearly the whole of this must have been swallowed up

in commissions and interest. Under such circumstances a great waste of

life was inevitable; and therefore it is that we have seen

importations of hundreds of thousands of black men, who have perished,

leaving behind them no trace of their having ever existed. But on whom

must rest the responsibility for a state of things so hideous as that

here exhibited? Not, surely, upon the planter, for he exercised no

volition whatsoever. He was not permitted to employ his surplus power

in refining his own sugar. He could not legally introduce a spindle or

a loom into the island. He could neither mine coal nor smelt iron ore.

He could not in any manner repay his borrowings from the land, and, as

a matter of course, the loans he could obtain diminished in quantity;

and then, small as they were, the chief part of what his commodities

exchanged for was swallowed up by the exchangers and those who

superintend the exchanges, exercising the duties of government. He was

a mere instrument in their hands for the destruction of negro morals,

intellect, and life; and upon them, and not upon him, must rest the

responsibility for the fact that, of all the slaves imported into the

island, not more than two-fifths were represented on the day of



Nevertheless, he it was that was branded as the tyrant and the

destroyer of morals and of life; and public opinion--the public

opinion of the same people who had absorbed so large a portion of the

product of negro labour--drove the government to the measure of

releasing the slave from compulsory service, and appropriating a

certain amount to the payment, first, of the mortgage debts due in

England, and, second, of the owner, who, even if he found his land

delivered to him free of incumbrance, was in most cases left without a

shilling to enable him to carry on the work of his plantation. The

slaves were set free, but there existed no capital to find them

employment, and from the moment of emancipation it became almost

impossible to borrow money on mortgage security. The consequences are

seen in the extensive abandonment of land and the decline of its

value. Any quantity of it may be purchased, prepared for cultivation,

and as fine as any in the island, for five dollars an acre, while

other land, far more productive than any in New England, may be had at

from fifty cents to one dollar. With the decline in the value of land

the labourer tends toward barbarism, and the reason of this may be

found on a perusal of the following paragraph:--


 “They have no new manufactories to resort to when they are in want of

 work; no unaccustomed departments of mechanical or agricultural

 labour are open to receive them, to stimulate their ingenuity and

 reward their industry. When they know how to ply the hoe, pick the

 coffee-berry, and tend the sugar-mills, they have learned almost all

 the industry of the island can teach them. If, in the sixteen years

 during which the negroes have enjoyed their freedom, they have made

 less progress in civilization than their philanthropic champions have

 promised or anticipated, let the want I have suggested receive some

 consideration. It may be that even a white peasantry would degenerate

 under such influences. Reverse this, and when the negro has cropped

 his sugar or his coffee, create a demand for his labour in the mills

 and manufactories of which nature has invited the establishment on

 this island, and before another sixteen years would elapse the world

 would probably have some new facts to assist them in estimating the

 natural capabilities of the negro race, of more efficiency in the

 hands of the philanthropist than all the appeals which he has ever

 been able to address to the hearts or the consciences of men.”

 _Bigelow’s Jamaica_, p. 156.


The artisan has always been the ally of the agriculturist in his

contest with the trader and the government, as is shown in the whole

history of the world. The first desires to tax him by buying cheaply

and selling dearly. The second desires to tax him for permitting him

to make his exchanges, and the more distant the place of exchange, the

greater the power of taxation. The artisan comes near to him, and

enables him to have the raw materials combined on the spot, the

producer of them exchanging directly with the consumer, paying no tax

for the maintenance of ship-owners, commission merchants, or



In a piece of cloth, says Adam Smith, weighing eighty pounds, there

are not only more than eighty pounds of wool, but also “several

thousand weight of corn, the maintenance of the working people,” and

it is the wool and the corn that travel cheaply in the form of cloth.

What, however, finally becomes of the corn? Although eaten, it is not

destroyed. It goes back again on the land, which becomes enriched; and

the more that is taken from it; the more there is to be returned, the

more it is enriched, the larger are the crops, and the greater is the

ability of the farmer to make demands on the artisan. The reward of

the latter increases with the growth in the value of the land and with

the increase in the wealth of the land-owners by whom he is

surrounded; and thus it is that all grow rich and free together, and

that the community acquires from year to year power to resist attempts

at taxation beyond that really needed for the maintenance of the

rights of person and property. The greater the power to make exchanges

at home, the greater will always be found the freedom of man in

relation to thought, speech, action, and trade, and the greater the

value of land.


The object of the policy pursued toward the colonies was directly the

reverse of all this, tending to prevent any diversification whatsoever

of employments, and thus not only to prevent increase in the value of

land, but to diminish its value, because it forbade the return to the

earth of any portion of its products. It forbade association, because

it limited the whole people to a single pursuit. It forbade the

immigration of artisans, the growth of towns, the establishment of

schools, and consequently forbade the growth of intellect among the

labourers or their owners. It forbade the growth of population,

because it drove the women and the children to the culture of sugar

among the richest and most unhealthy soils of the islands. It thus

impoverished the land and its owners, exterminated the slave, and

weakened the community, thus making it a mere instrument in the hands

of the people who effected and superintended the exchanges--the

merchants and the government--the class of persons that, in all ages,

has thriven at the cost of the cultivator of the earth. By separating

the consumer from the producer, they were enabled, as has been shown,

to take to themselves three-fourths of the whole sales of the

commodities consumed, leaving but one-fourth to be divided between the

land and labour that had produced it. They, of course, grew strong,

while the sugar-producing land and labour grew weak, and the weaker

they became, the less was the need for regarding the rights of either.

In this state of things it was that the landholder was required to

accept a fixed sum of money as compensation for relinquishing his

claim to demand of the labourer the performance of the work to which

he had been accustomed. Unfortunately, however, the system pursued has

effectually prevented that improvement of feeling and taste needed to

produce in the latter desires for any thing beyond a sufficiency of

food and a shirt. Towns and shops not having grown, he had not been

accustomed even to see the commodities that tempted his

fellow-labourers in the French Islands. Schools not having existed,

even for the whites, he had acquired no desire for books for himself,

or for instruction for his children. His wife had acquired no taste

for dress, because she had been limited to field labour. Suddenly

emancipated from control, they gratified the only desire that had been

permitted to grow up in them--the love of perfect idleness, to be

indulged to such extent as was consistent with obtaining the little

food and clothing needed for the maintenance of existence.


Widely different would have been the state of affairs had they been

permitted to make their exchanges at home, giving the cotton and the

sugar for the cloth and the iron produced by the labour and from the

soil of the island. The producer of the sugar would then have had all

the cloth given for it by the consumer, instead of obtaining

one-fourth of it, and then the land would have increased in value, the

planter would have grown rich, and the labourer would have become

free, by virtue of a great natural law which provides that the more

rapid the augmentation of wealth, the greater must be the demand for

labour, the greater must be the _quantity_ of commodities produced by

the labourer, the larger must be his _proportion_ of the product, and

the greater must be the tendency toward his becoming a free man and

himself a capitalist.[38]


As a consideration for abstaining from converting their own sugar and

cotton into cloth, it had been provided that their products should

enjoy certain advantages in the ports of the mother country; and the

understanding at the date of emancipation was that the free negro

should continue in the enjoyment of the same privileges that had been

allowed to the slave and his master. It was soon, however, discovered

that the negro, having scarcely any desire beyond the food that could

be obtained from a little patch of land, would not work, and that,

consequently, the supply of sugar was reduced, with a large increase

of price, and that thus the ship-owner suffered because of diminished

freights, the merchant because of reduced consumption, and the

government because of reduced revenue. Instead of obtaining, as

before, one-fourth of the product, the cultivator had now perhaps

one-half, because the taxes did not rise with the rise of price.

Nevertheless, the land-owners and labourers of the island were weaker

than before, for all power of association had disappeared; and now it

was that the trader and the government discovered that if they would

continue to draw from the sugar producers of the world their usual

supplies of public and private revenue, they must resort again to

slave labour, putting the poor free negro of Jamaica, with his

exhausted soil, on the same footing with the slave of Brazil and Cuba,

on a virgin soil; and this, too, at a moment when the science of

Europe had triumphed over the difficulty of making sugar cheaply from

the beet-root, and Germany, France, and Belgium were threatening to

furnish supplies so abundant as almost to exclude the produce of the

cane. They, too, had the sugar-refinery close at hand, whereas the

poor free negro was not permitted to refine his product, _nor is he so

even now_, although it is claimed that sugar might still be grown with

advantage, were he permitted to exercise even that small amount of

control over his labour and its products.


What was the character of the machinery with which they were to enter

on this competition will be seen by the following extract:--


 “I could not learn that there were any estates on the island decently

 stocked with implements of husbandry. Even the modern axe is not in

 general use; for felling the larger class of trees the negroes

 commonly use what they call an axe, which is shaped much like a

 wedge, except that it is a little wider at the edge than at the

 opposite end, at the very extremity of which a perfectly straight

 handle is inserted. A more awkward thing for chopping could not be

 well conceived--at least, so I thought until I saw the instrument in

 yet more general use about the houses in the country, for cutting

 firewood. It was, in shape, size, and appearance, more like the outer

 half of the blade of a scythe, stuck into a small wooden handle, than

 any thing else I can compare it to: with this long knife, for it is

 nothing else, I have seen negroes hacking at branches of palm for

 several minutes, to accomplish what a good wood-chopper, with an

 American axe, would finish at a single stroke. I am not now speaking

 of the poorer class of negro proprietors, whose poverty or ignorance

 might excuse this, but of the proprietors of large estates, which

 have cost their thousands of pounds.”[39]


Cuba, too, had its cities and its shops, and these it had because the

Spanish government had not desired to compel the people of the island

to limit themselves to cultivation alone. Manufactures were small in

extent, but they existed; and the power to make exchanges on the spot

had tended to prevent the growth of absenteeism. The land-owners were

present to look after their estates, and every thing therefore tended

toward improvement and civilization, with constantly increasing

attraction of both capital and labour. Jamaica, on the contrary, had

but a seaport so poor as not to have a single foot of sidewalk paved,

and of which three-fourths of the inhabitants were of the black race;

and among them all, blacks and whites, there were no mechanics. In the

capital of the island, Spanishtown, with a population of 5000, there

was not to be found, in 1850, a single shop, nor a respectable hotel,

nor even a dray-cart;[40] and in the whole island there was not a

stage, nor any other mode of regular conveyance, by land or water,

except on the little railroad of fifteen miles from Kingston to the



Such was the machinery of production, transportation, and exchange, by

aid of which the free people of Jamaica were to maintain “unlimited

competition” with Cuba, and its cities, railroads, and virgin soil,

and with Europe and its science. What is to be the ultimate result may

be inferred from the following comparative view of the first four

years of the century, and the last four for which we have returns:--


                       Sugar,        Rum,        Coffee,

                        hhds.       puncheons.     lbs.

                       ------       ----------   -------

  1800 to 1803,

  average export,     124,000        44,000      14,600,000

  1845 to 1848,

  average export       44,000        17,000       6,000,000


The consequence of this is seen in the fact that it requires the wages

of two men, for a day, to pay for a pound of butter, and of two women

to pay for a pound of ham, while it would need the labour of eighty or

a hundred men, for a day, to pay for a barrel of flour.[42] The London

_Times_ has recently stated that the free labourer now obtains less

food than he did in the days of slavery, and there appears no reason

to doubt the accuracy of its information. This view would, indeed,

seem to be fully confirmed by the admission, in the House of Commons,

that the cost of sugar “in labour and food” is less now than it was

six years since.[43]


How indeed can it be otherwise? The object sought for is cheap sugar,

and with a view to its attainment the production of sugar is

stimulated in every quarter; and we all know that the more that is

produced the larger will be the quantity poured into the market of

England, and the greater will be the power of the people of that

country to dictate the terms upon which they will consent to consume

it. Extensive cultivation and good crops produce low prices, high

freights, large commissions, and large revenue; and when such crops

are made the people of England enjoy “cheap sugar” and are

“prosperous,” but the slave is rendered thereby more a slave,

obtaining less and less food in return for his labour. Nevertheless,

it is in that direction that the whole of the present policy of

England points. The “prosperity” of her people is to be secured by aid

of cheap sugar and high-priced cloth and iron; and the more

exclusively the people of India and of Brazil can be forced to devote

themselves to the labours of the field, the cheaper will be sugar and

the greater will be the tendency of cloth and iron to be dear. What,

however, becomes of the poor free negro? The more sugar he sends the

more the stocks accumulate, and the lower are the prices, and the

smaller is his power to purchase clothing or machinery, as will now be



The London _Economist_, of November 13, furnishes the following

statement of stocks and prices of sugar in the principal markets of



                     1849.      1850.      1851.      1852.

                     -----      -----      -----      -----

  Stocks.... cwt.. 3,563,000  2,895,000  3,810,000  3,216,000


  Prices--duty free.

  Havana Brown...  17 to 24s. 20 to 27s. 16 to 22s. 19 to 26s.

  Brazil Brown...  16 to 20s. 18 to 22s. 12 to 17s. 16 to 20s.


The stocks of 1849 and 1852 were, as we see, nearly alike, and the

prices did not greatly differ. Taking them, therefore, as the

standard, we see that a _diminution_ of supply so small as to cause a

diminution of stock to the extent of about 400,000 cwts., or only

_about three per cent. of the import_, added about _fifteen per cent._

to the prices of the whole crop in 1850; whereas a similar _excess_ of

supply in 1851 caused a reduction of prices almost as great. The

actual quantity received in Europe in the first ten months of the last

year had been 509,000 cwts. less than in the corresponding months of

the previous one. The average monthly receipts are about a million of

cwts. per month, and if we take the prices of those two years as a

standard, the following will be the result:--


  1851...... 12,000,000 cwts.  Average 16s. 9d.... £10,050,000

  1852...... 11,500,000              20s. 3d....  11,643,750


  Gain on short crop .............................   1,593,750

  If now we compare 1850 with 1851,

  the following is the result:--

  1851 as above ..................................  10,050,000

  1850...... 11,000,000 cwts.  Average 21s. 9d....  11,971,250



  Now if this reduction of export had been

  a consequence of increased domestic

  consumption, we should have to add the

  value of that million to the product,

  and this would give.............................   1,187,500





We have here a difference of thirty per cent., resulting from a

diminution of export to the amount of one-twelfth of the export to

Europe, and not more than a twenty-fourth of the whole crop. Admitting

the crop to have been 24,000,000 of cwts., and it must have been more,

the total difference produced by this abstraction of four per cent.

from the markets of Europe would be more than six millions of pounds,

or thirty millions of dollars. Such being the result of a difference

of four per cent., if the people of Cuba, Brazil, India, and other

countries were to turn some of their labour to the production of

cloth, iron, and other commodities for which they are now wholly

dependent on Europe, and thus diminish their necessity for export to

the further extent of two per cent., is it not quite certain that the

effect would be almost to double the value of the sugar crop of the

world, to the great advantage of the free cultivator of Jamaica, who

would realize more for his sugar, while obtaining his cloth and his

iron cheaper? If he could do this would he not become a freer man? Is

not this, however, directly the reverse of what is sought by those who

believe the prosperity of England to be connected with cheap sugar,

and who therefore desire that competition for the sale of sugar should

be _unlimited_, while competition, for the sale of cloth is to be



“Unlimited competition” looks to competition for the sale of raw

produce in the markets of England, and to the destruction of any

competition with England for the sale of manufactured goods; and it is

under this system that the poor labourer of Jamaica is being

destroyed. He is now more a slave than ever, because his labour yields

him less of the necessaries and comforts of life than when a master

was bound to provide for him.


Such is a brief history of West India slavery, from its commencement

to the present day, and from it the reader will be enabled to form an

estimate of the judgment which dictated immediate and unconditional

emancipation, and of the humanity that subsequently dictated unlimited

freedom of competition for the sale of sugar. That of those who

advocated emancipation vast numbers were actuated by the most praise

worthy motives, there can be no doubt; but unenlightened enthusiasm

has often before led almost to crime, and it remains to be seen if the

impartial historian, will not, at a future day, say that such has been

here the case. As regards the course which has been since pursued

toward these impoverished, ignorant, and, defenceless people, he will

perhaps have less difficulty; and it is possible that in recording it,

the motives which led to it, and the results, he may find himself

forced to place it among crimes of the deepest dye.


Chapter 10. How slavery grew and is maintained in the United States


The first attempt at manufacturing any species of cloth in the North

American provinces produced a resolution on the part of the House of

Commons, [1710,] that “the erecting of manufactories in the colonies

had a tendency to lessen their dependence on Great Britain.” Soon

afterward complaints were made to Parliament that the colonists were

establishing manufactories for themselves, and the House of Commons

ordered the Board of Trade to report on the subject, which was done at

great length. In 1732, the exportation of hats from province to

province was prohibited, and the number of apprentices to be taken by

hatters was limited. In 1750 the erection of any mill or other engine

for splitting or rolling iron was prohibited; but pig iron was allowed

to be imported into England duty free, that it might there be

manufactured and sent back again. At a later period, Lord Chatham

declared that he would not permit the colonists to make even a hobnail

for themselves--and his views were then and subsequently carried into

effect by the absolute prohibition in 1765 of the export of artisans,

in 1781 of woollen machinery, in 1782 of cotton machinery and

artificers in cotton, in 1785 of iron and steel-making machinery and

workmen in those departments of trade, and in 1799 by the prohibition

of the export of colliers, lest other countries should acquire the art

of mining coal.


The tendency of the system has thus uniformly been--


I. To prevent the application of labour elsewhere than in England to

any pursuit but that of agriculture, and thus to deprive the weaker

portion of society--the women and children--of any employment but in

the field.


II. To compel whole populations to produce the same commodities, and

thus to deprive them of the power to make exchanges among themselves.


III. To compel them, therefore, to export to England all their produce

in its rudest forms, at great cost of transportation.


IV. To deprive them of all power of returning to the land the manure

yielded by its products, and thus to compel them to exhaust their



V. To deprive them of the power of associating together for the

building of towns, the establishment of schools, the making of roads,

or the defence of their rights.


VI. To compel them, with every step in the process of exhausting the

land, to increase their distances from each other and from market.


VII. To compel the waste of all labour that could not be employed in

the field.


VIII. To compel the waste of all the vast variety of things almost

valueless in themselves, but which acquire value as men are enabled to

work in combination with each other.[44]


IX. To prevent increase in the value of land and in the demand for the

labour of man; and,


X. To prevent advance toward civilization and freedom.


That such were the tendencies of the system was seen by the people of

the colonies. “It is well known and understood,” said Franklin, in

1771, “that whenever a manufacture is established which employs a

number of hands, it raises the value of lands in the neighbouring

country all around it, partly by the greater demand near at hand for

the produce of the land, and partly from the plenty of money drawn by

the manufactures to that part of the country. It seems, therefore,” he

continued, “the interest of all our farmers and owners of lands, to

encourage our young manufactures in preference to foreign ones

imported among us from distant countries.” Such was the almost

universal feeling of the country, and to the restriction on the power

to apply labour was due, in a great degree, the Revolution.


The power to compel the colonists to make all their exchanges abroad

gave to the merchants of England, and to the government, the same

power of taxation that we see to have been so freely exercised in

regard to sugar. In a paper published in 1750, in the London General

Advertiser, it was stated that Virginia then exported 50,000 hhds. of

tobacco, producing £550,000, of which the ship-owner, the underwriter,

the commission merchant, and the government took £450,000, leaving to

be divided between the land-owner and labourer only £100,000, or

about eighteen per cent., which is less even than the proportion

stated by _Gee_, in his work of that date. Under such circumstances

the planter could accumulate little capital to aid him in the

improvement of his cultivation.


The Revolution came, and thenceforward there existed no legal

impediments to the establishment of home markets by aid of which the

farmer might be enabled to lessen the cost of transporting his produce

to market, and his manure from market, thus giving to his land some of

those advantages of situation which elsewhere add so largely to its

value. The prohibitory laws had, however, had the effect of preventing

the gradual growth of the mechanic arts, and Virginia had no towns of

any note, while to the same circumstances was due the fact that

England was prepared to put down all attempts at competition with her

in the manufacture of cloth, or of iron. The territory of the former

embraced forty millions of acres, and her widely scattered population

amounted to little more than 600,000. At the North, some descriptions

of manufacture had grown slowly up, and the mechanics were much more

numerous, and towns had gradually grown to be very small cities; the

consequence of which was that the farmer there, backed by the artisan,

always his ally, was more able to protect himself against the trader,

who represented the foreign manufacturer. Everywhere, however, the

growth of manufactures was slow, and everywhere, consequently, the

farmer was seen exhausting his land in growing wheat, tobacco, and

other commodities, to be sent to distant markets, from which no manure

could be returned. With the exhaustion of the land its owners became,

of course, impoverished, and there arose a necessity for the removal

of the people who cultivated it, to new lands, to be in turn

exhausted. In the North, the labourer thus circumstanced, _removed

himself_. In the South, he had _to be removed_. Sometimes the planter

abandoned his land and travelled forth with all his people, but more

frequently he found himself compelled to part with some of his slaves

to others; and thus has the domestic slave trade grown by aid of the

exhaustive process to which the land and its owner have been



The reader may obtain some idea of the extent of the exhaustion that

has taken place, by a perusal of the following extracts from an

address to the Agricultural Society of Albemarle County, Virginia, by

one of the best authorities of the State, the Hon. Andrew Stevenson,

late Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Minister to England.


Looking to what is the “real situation” of things, the speaker asks--


 “Is there an intelligent and impartial man who can cast his eyes over

 the State and not be impressed with the truth, deplorable as it is

 afflicting, that the produce of most of our lands is not only small

 in proportion to the extent in cultivation, but that the lands

 themselves have been gradually sinking and becoming worse, under a

 most defective and ruinous system of cultivation?” “The truth is,” he

 continues, “we must all feel and know that the spirit of agricultural

 improvement has been suffered to languish too long in Virginia, and

 that it is now reaching a point, in the descending scale, from which,

 if it is not revived, and that very speedily, our State must continue

 not only third or fourth in population, as she now is, but consent to

 take her station among her smaller sisters of the Union.”


The cause of this unhappy state of things he regards as being to be

found in “a disregard of scientific knowledge” and “a deep-rooted

attachment to old habits of cultivation,” together with the “practice

of hard cropping and injudicious rotation of crops, leading them to

cultivate more land than they can manure, or than they have means of

improving;” and the consequences are found in the fact that in all the

country east of the Blue Ridge, the average product of wheat “does not

come up to seven bushels to the acre,” four of which are required to

restore the seed and defray the cost of cultivation, leaving to the

land-owner for his own services and those of a hundred acres of land,

three hundred bushels, worth, at present prices, probably two hundred

and seventy dollars! Even this, however, is not as bad an exhibit as

is produced in reference to another populous district of more than a

hundred miles in length--that between Lynchburg and Richmond--in which

the product is estimated at _not exceeding six bushels to the acre_!

Under such circumstances, we can scarcely be surprised to learn from

the speaker that the people of his great State, where meadows abound

and marl exists in unlimited quantity, import potatoes from the poor

States of the North, and are compelled to be dependent upon them for

hay and butter, the importers of which realize fortunes, while the

farmers around them are everywhere exhausting their land and obtaining

smaller crops in each successive year.


Why is this so? Why should Virginia import potatoes and hay, cheese

and butter? An acre of potatoes may be made to yield four hundred

bushels, and meadows yield hay by tons, and yet her people raise

wheat, of which they obtain six or seven bushels to the acre, and

corn, of which they obtain fifteen or twenty, and with the produce of

these they buy butter and cheese, pork and potatoes, which yield to

the producer five dollars where they get one--and import many of these

things too, from States in which manufacturing populations abound, and

in which all these commodities should, in the natural course of

things, be higher in price than in Virginia, where all, even when

employed, are engaged in the cultivation of the soil. The answer to

these questions is to be found in the fact that the farmers and

planters of the State can make no manure. They raise wheat and corn,

which they send elsewhere to be consumed; and the people among whom it

is consumed put the refuse on their own lands, and thus are enabled to

raise crops that count by tons, which they then exchange with the

producers of the wheat produced on land that yields six bushels to the



 “How many of our people,” continues the speaker, “do we see disposing

 of their lands at ruinous prices, and relinquishing their birthplaces

 and friends, to settle themselves in the West; and many not so much

 from choice as from actual inability to support their families and

 rear and educate their children out of the produce of their exhausted

 lands--once fertile, but rendered barren and unproductive by a

 ruinous system of cultivation.


 “And how greatly is this distress heightened, in witnessing, as we

 often do, the successions and reverses of this struggle between going

 and staying, on the part of many emigrants. And how many are there,

 who after removing, remain only a few years and then return to seize

 again upon a portion of their native land, and die where they were

 born. How strangely does it remind us of the poor shipwrecked

 mariner, who, touching in the midst of the storm the shore, lays hold

 of it, but is borne seaward by the receding wave; but struggling

 back, torn and lacerate, he grasps again the rock, with bleeding

 hands, and still clings to it, as a last and forlorn hope. Nor is

 this to be wondered at. Perhaps it was the home of his childhood--the

 habitation of his fathers for past generations--the soil upon which

 had been expended the savings and nourishment, the energies and

 virtues of a long life--’the sweat of the living, and the ashes of

 the dead.’


 “Oh! how hard to break such ties as these.


 “This is no gloomy picture of the imagination; but a faithful

 representation of what most of us know and feel to be true. Who is it

 that has not had some acquaintance or neighbour--some friend,

 perhaps some relative, forced into this current of emigration, and

 obliged from necessity, in the evening, probably, of a long life, to

 abandon his State and friends, and the home of his fathers and

 childhood, to seek a precarious subsistence in the supposed El

 Dorados of the West?”


This is a terrible picture, and yet it is but the index to one still

worse that must follow in its train. Well does the hon. speaker say



 “There is another evil attending this continual drain of our

 population to the West, next in importance to the actual loss of the

 population itself, and that is, its tendency to continue and enlarge

 our wretched system of cultivation.


 “The moment some persons feel assured that for present gain they can

 exhaust the fertility of their lands in the old States, and then

 abandon them for those in the West, which, being rich, require

 neither the aid of science nor art, the natural tendency is at once

 to give over all efforts at improvement themselves, and kill their

 land as quickly as possible--then sell it for what it will bring or

 abandon it as a waste. And such will be found to be the case with too

 many of the emigrants from the lowlands of Virginia.”


Another distinguished Virginian, Mr. Ruffin, in urging an effort to

restore the lands that have been exhausted, and to bring into activity

the rich ones that have never been drained, estimates the advantages

to be derived by Lower Virginia alone at $500,000,000. “The strength,

physical, intellectual, and moral, as well as the revenue of the

commonwealth, will,” he says,


 “Soon derive new and great increase from the growing improvements of

 that one and the smallest of the great divisions of her territory,

 which was the poorest by natural constitution--still more, the

 poorest by long exhausting tillage--its best population gone or going

 away, and the remaining portion sinking into apathy and degradation,

 and having no hope left except that which was almost universally

 entertained of fleeing from the ruined country and renewing the like

 work of destruction on the fertile lands of the far West.”


If we look farther South, we find the same state of affairs. North

Carolina abounds in rich lands, undrained and uncultivated, and coal

and iron ore abound. Her area is greater than that of Ireland, and yet

her population is but 868,000; and it has increased only 130,000 in

twenty years, and, from 1830 to 1840; the increase was only 16,000. In

South Carolina, men have been everywhere doing precisely what has been

described in reference to Virginia; and yet the State has, says

Governor Seabrook, in his address to the State Agricultural Society,

“millions of uncleared acres of unsurpassed fertility, which seem to

solicit a trial of their powers from the people of the plantation

States.” * * “In her borders,” he continues, “there is scarcely a

vegetable product essential to the human race that cannot be

furnished.” Marl and lime abound, millions of acres of rich

meadow-land remain in a state of nature, and “the seashore parishes,”

he adds, “possess unfailing supplies of salt mud, salt grass, and

shell-lime.” So great, nevertheless, was the tendency to the

abandonment of the land, that in the ten years from 1830 to 1840 the

white population increased but 1000 and the black but 12,000, whereas

the natural increase would have given 150,000!


Allowing Virginia, at the close of the Revolution, 600,000 people, she

should now have, at the usual rate of increase, and excluding all

allowance for immigration, 4,000,000, or one to every ten acres; and

no one at all familiar with the vast advantages of the state can doubt

her capability of supporting more than thrice that number.[45]

Nevertheless, the total number in 1850 was but 1,424,000, and the

increase in twenty years had been but 200,000, when it should have

been 1,200,000. If the reader desire to know what has become of all

these people, he may find most of them among the millions now

inhabiting Alabama and Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas;

and if he would know why they are now there to be found, the answer to

the question may be given in the words--”They borrowed from the earth,

and they did not repay, and therefore she expelled them.” It has been

said, and truly said, that “the nation which commences by exporting

food will end by exporting men.”


When men come together and combine their efforts, they are enabled to

bring into activity all the vast and various powers of the earth; and

the more they come together, the greater is the value of land, the

greater the demand, for labour, the higher its price, and the greater

the freedom of man. When, on the contrary, they separate from each

other, the greater is the tendency to a decline in the value of land,

the less is the value of labour, and the less the freedom of man. Such

being the case, if we desire to ascertain the ultimate cause of the

existence of the domestic slave trade, it would seem to be necessary

only to ascertain the cause of the exhaustion of the land. The reason

usually assigned for this will be found in the following passage,

extracted from one of the English journals of the day;--


 “The mode of agriculture usually coincident with the employment of

 slave labour is essentially exhaustive, and adapted therefore only to

 the virgin-richness of a newly-colonized soil. The slave can plant,

 and dig, and hoe: he works rudely and lazily with rude tools: and his

 unwilling feet tread the same path of enforced labour day after day.

 But slave labour is not adapted to the operations of scientific

 agriculture, which restores its richness to a wornout soil; and it is

 found to be a fact that the planters of the Northern slave States,

 as, _e.g._, Virginia, gradually desert the old seats of civilization,

 and advance further and further into the yet untilled country.

 Tobacco was the great staple of Virginian produce for many years

 after that beautiful province was colonized by Englishmen. It has

 exhausted the soil; grain crops have succeeded, and been found hardly

 less exhaustive; and emigration of both white and coloured population

 to the West and South has taken place to a very large extent, The

 result may be told in the words of an American witness:--’That part

 of Virginia which lies upon tide waters presents an aspect of

 universal decay. Its population diminishes, and it sinks day by day

 into a lower depth of exhaustion and poverty. The country between

 tide waters and the Blue Ridge is fast passing into the same

 condition. Mount Vernon is a desert waste; Monticello is little

 better, and the same circumstances which have desolated the lands of

 Washington and Jefferson have impoverished every planter in the

 State. Hardly any have escaped, save the owners of the rich bottom

 lands along James River, the fertility of which it seems difficult

 utterly to destroy.’[46] Now a Virginia planter stands in much the

 same relation to his plantation as an absentee Irish landlord to his

 estate; the care of the land is in each case handed over to a

 middleman, who is anxious to screw out of it as large a return of

 produce or rent as possible; and pecuniary embarrassment is in both

 cases the result. But as long as every pound of cotton grown on the

 Mississippi and the Red River finds eager customers in Liverpool, the

 price of slaves in those districts cannot fail to keep up. In many

 cases the planter of the Northern slave States emigrates to a region

 where he can employ his capital of thews and sinews more profitably

 than at home. In many others, he turns his plantation into an

 establishment for slave breeding, and sells his rising stock for

 labour in the cottonfield.”--_Prospective Review_ Nov. 1852.


Unhappily, however, for this reasoning precisely the same exhaustion

is visible in the Northern States, as the reader may see by a perusal

of the statements on this subject given by Professor Johnson, in his

“Notes on North America,” of which the following is a specimen:--


 “Exhaustion has diminished the produce of the land, formerly the

 great staple of the country. When the wheat fell off, barley, which

 at first yielded fifty or sixty bushels, was raised year after year,

 till the land fell away from this, and became full of weeds.”--Vol.

 i. 259.


Rotation of crops cannot take place at a distance from market The

exhaustive character of the system is well shown in the following



 “In the State of New York there are some twelve million acres of

 improved land, which includes all meadows and enclosed pastures. This

 area employs about five hundred thousand labourers, being an average

 of twenty-four acres to the hand. At this ratio, the number of acres

 of improved land in the United States is one hundred, and twenty

 millions. But New York is an old and more densely populated State

 than an average in the Union; and probably twenty-five acres per head

 is a juster estimate for the whole country. At this rate, the

 aggregate is one hundred and twenty-five millions. Of these improved

 lands, it is confidently believed that at least four-fifths are now

 suffering deterioration in a greater or less degree.


 “The fertility of some, particularly in the planting States, is

 passing rapidly away; in others, the progress of exhaustion is so

 slow as hardly to be observed by the cultivators themselves. To keep

 within the truth, the annual income from the soil may be said to be

 diminished ten cents an acre on one hundred million acres, or

 four-fifths of the whole.


 “This loss of income is ten millions of dollars, and equal to sinking

 a capital of one hundred and sixty-six million six hundred and

 sixty-six thousand dollars a year, paying six per cent. annual

 interest. That improved farming lands may justly be regarded as

 capital, and a fair investment when paying six per cent. interest,

 and perfectly safe, no one will deny. This deterioration is not

 unavoidable, for thousands of skilful farmers have taken fields, poor

 in point of natural productiveness, and, instead of diminishing their

 fertility, have added ten cents an acre to their annual income, over

 and above all expenses. If this wise and improving system of rotation

 tillage and husbandry were universally adopted, or applied to the one

 hundred million acres now being exhausted, it would be equivalent to

 creating each year an additional capital of one hundred and sixty-six

 millions six hundred and sixty-six thousand dollars, and placing it

 in permanent real estate, where it would pay six per cent. annual

 interest. For all practical purposes, the difference between the two

 systems is three hundred, and thirty-three millions three hundred and

 thirty-three thousand dollars a year to the country.


 “Eight million acres [in the State of New York] are in the hands of

 three hundred thousand persons, who still adhere to the colonial

 practice of extracting from the virgin soil all it will yield, so

 long as it will pay expenses to crop it, and then leave it in a thin,

 poor pasture for a term of years. Some of these impoverished farms,

 which seventy-five years ago produced from twenty to thirty bushels

 of wheat, on an average, per acre, now yield only from five to eight

 bushels. In an exceedingly interesting work entitled ‘American

 Husbandry,’ published in London in 1775, and written by an American,

 the following remarks may be found on page 98, vol. i.:--’Wheat, in

 many parts of the province, (New York,) yields a larger produce than

 is common in England. Upon good lands about Albany, where the climate

 is the coldest in the country, they sow two bushels and better upon

 an acre, and reap from _twenty_ to _forty_; the latter quantity,

 however, is not often had, but from twenty to _thirty_ are common;

 and with such bad husbandry as would not yield the like in England,

 and much less in Scotland. This is owing to the _richness_ and

 _freshness_ of the land.’


 “According to the State census of 1845, Albany county now produces

 only seven and a half bushels of wheat per acre, although its farmers

 are on tide water and near the capital of the State, with a good home

 market, and possess every facility for procuring the most valuable

 fertilizers. Dutchess county, also on the Hudson River, produces an

 average of only five bushels per acre; Columbia, six bushels;

 Rensselaer, eight; Westchester, seven; which is higher than the

 average of soils that once gave a return larger than the wheat lands

 of England even with ‘bad husbandry.’


 “Fully to renovate the eight million acres of partially exhausted

 lands in the State of New York, will cost at least an average of

 twelve dollars and a half per acre, or an aggregate of one hundred

 millions of dollars. It is not an easy task to replace all the

 bone-earth, potash, sulphur, magnesia, and organized nitrogen in

 mould consumed in a field which has been unwisely cultivated fifty or

 seventy-five years. Phosphorus is not an abundant mineral anywhere,

 and his _sub-soil_ is about the only resource of the husbandman after

 his surface-soil has lost most of its phosphates. The three hundred

 thousand persons that cultivate these eight million acres of

 impoverished soils annually produce less by twenty-five dollars each

 than they would if the land had not been injured.


 “The aggregate of this loss to the State and the world is seven

 million five hundred thousand dollars per annum, or more than seven

 per cent. interest on what it would cost to renovate the deteriorated

 soils. There is no possible escape from this oppressive tax on labour

 of seven million five hundred thousand dollars, but to improve the

 land, or run off and leave it.”--_Patent Office Report_, 1849


It is not slavery that produces exhaustion of the soil, but exhaustion

of the soil that causes slavery to continue. The people of England

rose from slavery to freedom as the land was improved and rendered

productive, and as larger numbers of men were enabled to obtain

subsistence from the same surface; and it was precisely as the land

thus acquired value that they became free. Such, too, has been the

case with every people that has been enabled to return to the land the

manure yielded by its products, because of their having a market at

home. On the contrary, there is no country in the world, in which men

have been deprived, of the power to improve their land, in which

slavery has not been maintained, to be aggravated in intensity as the

land became more and more exhausted, as we see to have been the case

in the West Indies. It is to this perpetual separation from each other

that is due the poverty and weakness of the South. At the close of the

Revolution, the now slave States contained probably 1,600,000 people,

and those States contained about 120,000,000 of acres, giving an

average of about eighty acres to each. In 1850, the population had

grown to 8,500,000, scattered over more than 300,000,000 of acres,

giving about forty acres to each. The consequence of this dispersion

is that the productive power is very small, as is here seen in an

estimate for 1850, taken from a Southern journal of high



  Cotton............................. 105,600,000

  Tobacco............................  15,000,000

  Rice...............................   3,000,000

  Naval stores.......................   2,000,000

  Sugar..............................  12,396,150

  Hemp...............................     695,840  138,691,990



  If we now add for food an equal amount, and this

   is certainly much in excess of the truth......  138,691,990

  And for all other products.....................   22,616,020


     We obtain................................... $300,000,000


as the total production of eight millions and a half of people, or

about $35 per head. The total production of the Union in 1850 cannot

have been short of 2500 millions; and if we deduct from that sum the

above quantity, we shall have remaining 2150 millions as the product

of fourteen millions and a half of Northern people, or more than four

times as much per head. The difference is caused by the fact that at

the North artisans have placed themselves near to the farmer, and

towns and cities have grown up, and exchanges are made more readily,

and the farmer is not to the same extent obliged to exhaust his land,

and dispersion therefore goes on more slowly; and there is, in many of

the States, an extensive demand for those commodities of which the

earth yields largely, such as potatoes, cabbages, turnips, &c. &c.

With each step in the process of coming together at the North, men

tend to become more free; whereas the dispersion of the South produces

everywhere the trade in slaves of which the world complains, and which

would soon cease to exist if the artisan could be brought to take his

place by the side of the producer of food and cotton. Why he cannot do

so may he found in the words of a recent speech of Mr. Cardwell,

member of Parliament from Liverpool, congratulating the people of

England on the fact that free trade had so greatly damaged the cotton

manufacture of this country, that the domestic consumption was

declining from year to year. In this is to be found the secret of the

domestic slave trade of the South, and its weakness, now so manifest.

The artisan has been everywhere the ally of the farmer, and the South

has been unable to form that alliance, the consequences of which are

seen in the fact that it is always exporting men and raw materials,

and exhausting its soil and itself: and the greater the tendency to

exhaustion, the greater is the pro-slavery feeling. That such should

be the case is most natural. The man who exhausts his land attaches to

it but little value, and he abandons it, but he attaches much value to

the slave whom he can carry away with him. The pro-slavery feeling

made its appearance first in the period between 1830 and 1840. Up to

1832, there had existed a great tendency in Maryland, Virginia, and

Kentucky toward freedom, but that disappeared; and the reason why it

did so may be seen in the greatly increased tendency to the

abandonment of the older tobacco and cotton growing States, as here



                       1820.      1830.      1840.      1850.

                       -----      -----      -----      -----

  Total population:

  Virginia......... 1,065,379  1,211,405  1,239,797  1,424,863

  South Carolina..... 502,741    581,185    594,398    668,247


  Ratio of increase:

  Virginia.....................   13.6        2.3       15.2

  South Carolina...............   15.6        2.3       12.4


With the increase in the export of slaves to the South, the negro

population declined in its ratio of increase, whereas it has grown

with the growth of the power of the slave to remain at home, as is

here shown:--


                       1820.      1830.      1840.      1850.

                       -----      -----      -----      -----

  Total black

  population:      1,779,885   2,328,642  2,873,703  3,591,000

  Ratio of

  increase........... 30          30.8       24         25


We see thus that the more the black population can remain at home, the

more rapidly they increase; and the reason why such is the case is,

that at home they are among their own people, by whom they have been

known from infancy, and are of course better fed and clothed, more

tenderly treated, and more lightly worked, with far greater tendency

toward freedom. It would thence appear that if we desire to bring

about the freedom of the negro, we must endeavour to arrest the

domestic slave trade, and enable the slave and his master to remain at

home; and to do this we must look to the causes of the difference in

the extent of the trade in the periods above referred to. Doing this,

we shall find that from 1820 to 1830 there was a decided tendency

toward bringing the artisan to the side of the ploughman; whereas from

1833 to 1840 the tendency was very strong in the opposite direction,

and so continued until 1842, at which time a change took place, and

continued until near the close of the decennial period, when our

present revenue system came fully into operation. The artisan has now

ceased to come to the side of the planter. Throughout the country

cotton and woollen mills and furnaces and foundries have been closed,

and women and children who were engaged in performing the lighter

labour of converting cotton into cloth are now being sold for the

heavier labour of the cotton-field, as is shown by the following

advertisement, now but a few weeks old:--


 SALE OF NEGROES.--The negroes belonging to the Saluda Manufacturing

 Company were sold yesterday for one-fourth cash, the balance in one

 and two years, with interest, and averaged $599. Boys from 16 to 25

 brought $900 to $1000.--_Columbia, (S. C.) Banner_, Dec. 31, 1852.


As a necessary consequence of this, the domestic slave trade is now

largely increasing, as is shown by the following extract from a recent



 “The emigration to the southern portion of Arkansas, Louisiana, and

 Texas, during the past fall, has been unusually large, and the tide

 which flows daily through our streets indicates that the volume

 abates but little, if any. On the opposite bank of the river are

 encamped nearly fifty wagons, with probably not less than two hundred

 and fifty souls. Each night, for a fortnight, there have been, on an

 average, not less than twenty-five wagons encamped there; and

 notwithstanding two hand ferry-boats have been constantly plying

 between the shores, the hourly accession to the number makes the

 diminution scarcely perceptible.”--_Little Rock. (Ark.) Gazette_,

 Dec. 3, 1852.


Had the member for Liverpool been aware that a decline in the tendency

toward bringing the cotton-mill to the cotton-field was accompanied by

increased exhaustion of the land, increased impoverishment, and

increased inability to bring into action the rich soils of the older

States, and that with each such step there arose an increased

_necessity_ for the expulsion of the people of those States,

accompanied by an increased sacrifice of life resulting from the

domestic slave trade, he would certainly have hesitated before

congratulating Parliament on an occurrence so hostile to the progress

of freedom.


That the export of negroes, with its accompanying violation of the

rights of parents and children, and with its natural tendency toward a

total forgetfulness of the sanctity of the marriage tie, has its

origin in the exhaustion of the land, there can be no doubt--and that

that, in its turn, has its origin in the necessity for a dependence on

distant markets, is quite as free from doubt. The man who must go to a

distance with his products cannot raise potatoes, turnips, or hay. He

must raise the less bulky articles, wheat or cotton and he must take

from his land all the elements of which wheat or cotton is composed,

and then abandon it. In addition to this, he must stake all his

chances of success in his year’s cultivation on a single crop; and

what are the effects of this is seen in the following paragraph in

relation to the wheat cultivation of Virginia in the last season:--


 “Never did I know in this State such a destruction of the wheat crop;

 I have just returned from Albemarle, one of the best counties. The

 joint-worm, a new enemy of three year’s known existence there, has

 injured every crop, and destroyed many in that and other counties

 both sides and along the Blue Ridge. I saw many fields that would not

 yield more than seed, and not a few from which not one peck per acre

 could be calculated upon. I saw more than one field without a head.

 The most fortunate calculate upon a half crop only. Corn is backward

 on the lower James River, embracing my own farm. I have heard to-day

 from my manager that the caterpillar has made its appearance, and

 must in the late wheat do serious damage.”


That State is not permitted to do any thing but grow wheat and

tobacco, both of which she must export, and the larger the export the

smaller are the returns, under the system of “unlimited competition”

for the sale of raw products, and limited competition for the purchase

of manufactured ones, which it is the object of British policy to

establish. Not only is Virginia limited in the application of her

labour, but she is also greatly limited in the extent of her market,

because of the unequal distribution of the proceeds of the sales of

her products. The pound of tobacco for which the consumer pays 6s.

($1.44,) yields him less than six cents, the whole difference being

absorbed by the people who stand between him and the consumer, and who

contribute nothing toward the production of his commodity.[48]


Now, it is quite clear that if the consumer and he stood face to face

with each other, he would receive all that was paid, and that while

the one bought at lower prices, the other would sell at higher ones,

and both would grow rich. The difficulty with him is that not only is

his land exhausted, but he receives but a very small portion of the

price paid for its products, and thus is he, like the labourer of

Jamaica, exhausted by reason of the heavy taxation to which he is

subjected for the support of foreign merchants and foreign

governments. As a consequence of all this his land has little value,

and he finds himself becoming poorer from year to year, and each year

he has to sell a negro for the payment of the tax on his tobacco and

his wheat to which he is thus subjected, until he has at length to go

himself. If the reader desire to study the working of this system of

taxation, he cannot do better than read the first chapter of “Uncle

Tom’s Cabin,” containing the negotiation between Haley and Mr. Shelby

for the transfer of Uncle Tom, resulting in the loss of his life in

the wilds of Arkansas.


The more the necessity for exhausting land and for selling negroes,

the cheaper, however, will be wheat and cotton. Uncle Tom might have

remained at home had the powers of the land been maintained and had

Virginia been enabled to avail herself of her vast resources in coal,

iron ore, water-power, &c.; but as she could not do this, he had to go

to Arkansas to raise cotton: and the larger the domestic slave trade,

the greater must be the decline in the price of that great staple of

the South. At no period was that trade so large as in that from 1830

to 1840, and the effects are seen in the following comparative prices

of cotton:--


    Crops, 1831 and 1832, average 10-1/2.

           1841 and 1842, average 7.


The export of negroes declined between 1842 and 1850, and the

consequence is that cotton has since maintained its price. With the

closing of Southern mills the slave trade, is now again growing

rapidly, and the consequences will be seen in a large decline in the

price of that important product of Southern labour and land.


The reader will now observe that it was in the period from 1830 to

1840 that the tendency to emancipation disappeared--that it was in

that period were passed various laws adverse to the education of

negroes--that it was in that period there was the greatest enlargement

of the domestic slave trade--and the greatest decline in the price of

cotton. Having remarked these things, and having satisfied himself

that they, each and all, have their origin in the fact that the

planter is compelled to depend on foreign markets and therefore to

exhaust his land, he will be enabled to judge of the accuracy of the

view contained in the following sentence :--


 “The price of a negro on Red River varies with the price of cotton in

 Liverpool, and whatever tends to lower the value of the staple here,

 not only confers an inestimable advantage on our own manufacturing

 population, but renders slave labour less profitable, and therefore

 less permanent in Alabama.”--_Prospective Review_, No. xxxii. 512.


It would be fortunate if philanthropy and pecuniary profit could thus

be made to work together, but such unhappily is not the case. When men

are enabled to come nearer to each other and combine their efforts,

and towns arise, land acquires great value and gradually becomes

divided, and with each step in this direction the negro loses his

importance in the eye of his owner. When, however, men are forced to

abandon the land they have exhausted, it becomes consolidated, and the

moveable chattel acquires importance in the eyes of his emigrant

owner. At death, the land cannot, under these circumstances, be

divided, and therefore the negroes must; and hence it is that such

advertisements as the following are a necessary consequence of the

system that looks to cheap wheat, cheap sugar, and cheap cotton.


 HIGH PRICE OF NEGROES.--We extract the following from the Lancaster

 (S. C.) _Ledger_ of the 5th January last:--


 We attended the sale of negroes belonging to the estate of the late

 S. Beekman, on the 22d of last month, and were somewhat astonished at

 the high price paid for negroes.


 Negro men brought from $800 to $1000, the greater number at or near

 the latter price. One (a blacksmith) brought $1425.


 We learn from the Winsboro _Register_, that on Monday, the 3d inst.,

 a large sale of negroes was made by the Commissioner in Equity for

 Fairfleld district, principally the property of James Gibson,

 deceased. The negroes were only tolerably likely, and averaged about

 $620 each. The sales were made on a credit of twelve

 months.--_Charleston (S. C.) Courier_.


The more the planter is forced to depend upon tobacco the lower will

be its price abroad, and the more he must exhaust his land. The more

rapid the exhaustion the more must be the tendency to emigrate. The

more the necessity for depending exclusively on wheat, the greater the

necessity for making a market for it by raising slaves for sale: and

in several of the older Southern States the planter now makes nothing

but what results from the increase of “stock.”


Of all the exporters of food England is the largest, said a

distinguished English merchant, in a speech delivered some years

since. In some parts of that country it is manufactured into iron, and

in others into cloth, in order that it may travel cheaply, and this is

quite in accordance with the advice of Adam Smith. With a view,

however, to prevent other nations from following in the course so

strongly urged upon them by that great man, labour has been cheapened,

and men and women, boys and girls, have been accustomed to work

together in the same mine, and often in a state of _entire nudity_;

while other, women and children have been compelled to work for

fourteen or sixteen hours a day for six days in the week, and for

small wages, in the mill or workshop--and this has been done in

accordance with the advice of Mr. Huskisson, who, from his place in

Parliament, told his countrymen that in order “to give capital a fair

remuneration, _labour must be kept down_”--that is, the labourer must

be deprived of the power to determine for himself for whom he would

work, or what should be his reward. It was needed, as was then

declared by another of the most eminent statesmen of Britain, “that

the manufactures of all other nations should be strangled in their

infancy,” and such has from that day to the present been the object of

British policy. Hence it is that England is now so great an exporter

of food manufactured into cloth and iron. The people of Massachusetts

manufacture their grain into fish, cloth, and various other

commodities, with a view to enable it cheaply to travel to market.

Those of Illinois, unable to convert their corn into coal or iron,

find themselves obliged to manufacture it into pork. The Virginian

would manufacture his corn and his wheat into cloth, or into coal and

iron, if he could; but this he cannot do, although close to the

producer of cotton, and occupying a land abounding in all the raw

materials of which machinery is composed; and having, too, abundant

labour power that runs to waste. Why he cannot do it is that England

follows the advice of Mr. Huskisson, and cheapens labour with a view

to prevent other nations from following the advice of Adam Smith. The

whole energies of the State are therefore given to the raising of

tobacco and corn, both of which must go abroad, and as the latter

cannot travel profitably in its rude state, it requires to be

manufactured, and the only branch of manufacture permitted to the

Virginian is that of negroes, and hence it is that their export is so

large, and that cotton is so cheap.


Widely different would be the course of things could he be permitted

to employ a reasonable portion of his people in the development of the

vast resources of the State--opening mines, erecting furnaces,

smelting iron, making machinery, and building mills. Fewer persons

would then raise corn and more would be employed in consuming it, and

the price at home would then rise to a level with that in the distant

market, and thus would the land acquire value, while the cost of

raising negroes would be increased. Towns would then grow up, and

exchanges would be made on the spot, and thus would the planter be

enabled to manure his land. Labour would become more productive, and

there would be more commodities to be given in exchange for labour;

and the more rapid the increase in the amount of production the

greater would be the tendency toward enabling the labourer to

determine for whom he would work and what should be his reward.

Population would then rapidly increase, and land would become divided,

and the little black cultivator of cabbages and potatoes would be seen

taking the place of the poor white owner of large bodies of exhausted

land, and thus would the negro tend toward freedom as his master

became enriched. Nothing of this kind is, however, likely to take

place so long as the Virginian shall continue of the opinion that the

way to wealth lies in the direction of taking every thing from the

land and returning nothing to it--nor, perhaps, so long as the people

of England shall continue in the determination that there shall be but

one workshop in the world, and carry that determination into effect by

“keeping labour down,” in accordance with the advice of Mr. Huskisson.


The tendency to the abandonment of the older States is now probably

greater than it has ever been, because their people have ceased to

build mills or furnaces, and every thing looks to a yet more perfect

exhaustion of the soil. The more they abandon the land the greater is

the anxiety to make loans in England for the purpose of building

roads; and the more numerous the loans the more rapid is the flight,

and the greater the number of negroes brought to market.


A North Carolina paper informs its readers that--


 “The trading spirit is fully up. A few days since Mr. D. W. Bullock

 sold to Messrs. Wm. Norfleet, Robert Norfleet, and John S. Dancy,

 plantation and 18 negroes for $30,000. Mr. R. R. Bridges to Wm. F.

 Dancy, 6 acres near town for $600. At a sale in Wilson, we also

 understand, negro men with no extra qualifications sold as high as

 $1225.”--_Tarborough Southerner_.


A South Carolina editor informs his readers that


 “At public auction on Thursday, Thomas Ryan & Son sold fifteen likely

 negroes for $10,365, or an average of $691. Three boys, aged about

 seventeen, brought the following sums, viz. $1065, $1035, $1010, and

 two at $1000--making an average of $1022. Capers Heyward sold a gang

 of 109 negroes in families. Two or three families averaged from $1000

 to $1100 for each individual; and the entire sale averaged $550. C.

 G. Whitney sold two likely female house servants--one at $1000, the

 other at $1190.”--_Charleston Courier_.


Limited, as the people of the old States are more and more becoming,

to the raising of “stock” as the sole source of profit, need we be

surprised to see the pro-slavery feeling gaining ground from day to

day, as is here shown to be the case?



 reported in the Virginia House of Delegates which provides for the

 appointment of overseers, who are to be required to hire out, at

 public auction, all free persons of colour, to the highest bidder,

 and to pay into the State Treasury the sums accruing from such hire.

 The sums are to be devoted in future to sending free persons of

 colour beyond the limits of the State. At the expiration of five

 years, all free persons of colour remaining in the State are to be

 sold into slavery to the highest bidder, at public auction, the

 proceeds of such sales to be paid into the public treasury, provided

 that said free persons of colour shall be allowed the privilege of

 becoming the slaves of any free white person whom they may select, on

 the payment by such person of a fair price.


Twenty years since, Virginia was preparing for the emancipation of the

slave. Now, she is preparing for the enslavement of the free. If the

reader would know the cause of this great change, he may find it in

the fact that man has everywhere become less free as land has become

less valuable.


Upon whom, now, must rest the responsibility for such a state of

things as is here exhibited? Upon the planter? He exercises no

volition. He is surrounded by coal and iron ore, but the attempt to

convert them into iron has almost invariably been followed by ruin. He

has vast powers of nature ready to obey his will, yet dare he not

purchase a spindle or a loom to enable him to bring into use his now

waste labour power, for such attempts at bringing the consumer to the

side of the producer have almost invariably ended in the

impoverishment of the projector, and the sale and dispersion of his

labourers. He is compelled to conform his operations to the policy

which looks to having but one workshop for the world; and instead of

civilizing his negroes by bringing them to work in combination, he

must barbarize them by dispersion. A creature of necessity, he cannot

be held responsible; but the responsibility must, and will, rest on

those who produce that necessity.


The less the power of association in the Northern slave States, the

more rapid must be the growth of the domestic slave trade, the greater

must be the decline in the price of wheat, cotton, and sugar, the

greater must be the tendency to the passage of men like Uncle Tom, and

of women and children too, from the light labour of the North to the

severe labour of the South and South-west--but, the greater, as we

are told, must be the prosperity of the people of England. It is

unfortunate for the world that a country exercising so much influence

should have adopted a policy so adverse to the civilization and the

freedom not only of the negro race, but of mankind at large. There

seems, however, little probability of a change. Seeking to make of

herself a great workshop, she necessarily desires that all the rest of

the world should be one great farm, to be cultivated by men, women,

and children, denied all other means of employment. This, of course,

forbids association, which diminishes as land becomes exhausted. The

absence of association forbids the existence of schools or workshops,

books or instruction, and men become barbarized, when, under a

different system, they might and would become civilized. The tendency

to freedom passes away, as we see to have been the case in the last

twenty years--but in place of freedom, and as a compensation for the

horrors of Jamaica and of the domestic slave trade, the great workshop

of the world is supplied with cheap grain, cheap tobacco, cheap sugar,

and cheap cotton.


Were Adam Smith alive, he might, and probably would, take some trouble

to inform his countrymen that a system which looked to the exhaustion

of the land of other countries, and the enslavement of their

population, was “a manifest violation of the most sacred rights of

mankind;” but since his day the doctrines of the “Wealth of Nations”

have been discarded, and its author would find himself now addressing

hearers more unwilling than were even the men for whom he wrote eighty

years since. At that time the imaginary discovery had not been made

that men always commenced on the rich soils, and passed, as population

and wealth increased, to poorer ones; and the Malthusian law of

population was yet unthought of. Now, however, whatever tends to limit

the growth of population is, we are told, to be regarded as a great

good; and as the domestic slave trade accomplishes that object at the

same time that it furnishes cheap cotton, it can scarcely be expected

that there will be any change; and yet, unless a change be somewhere

made, abroad or at home, we must perforce submit to the continuance of

the existing system, which precludes education, almost eschews

matrimony, separates husbands and wives, parents and children, and

sends the women to the labours of the field.


Chapter 11. How slavery grows in Portugal and Turkey


In point of natural advantages, PORTUGAL is equal with any country in

Western Europe. Her soil is capable of yielding largely of every

description of grain, and her climate enables her to cultivate the

vine and the olive. Mineral riches abound, and her rivers give to a

large portion, of the country every facility for cheap intercourse;

and yet her people are among the most enslaved, while her government

is the weakest and most contemptible of Europe.


It is now a century and a half since England granted her what were

deemed highly important advantages in regard to wine, on condition

that she should discard the artisans who had been brought to the side

of her farmers, and permit the people of England to supply her people

with certain descriptions of manufactures. What were the duties then

agreed on are not given in any of the books now at hand, but by the

provisions of a treaty made in 1810, cloths of all descriptions were

to be admitted at a merely revenue duty, varying from ten to fifteen

per cent. A natural consequence of this system has been that the

manufactures which up to the date of the Methuen treaty had risen in

that country, perished under foreign competition, and the people found

themselves by degrees limited exclusively to agricultural employments.

Mechanics found there no place for the exercise of their talents,

towns could not grow, schools could not arise, and the result is seen

in the following paragraph:--


 “It is surprising how ignorant, or at least superficially acquainted,

 the Portuguese are with every kind of handicraft; a carpenter is

 awkward and clumsy, spoiling every work he attempts, and the way in

 which the doors and woodwork even of good houses are finished would

 have suited the rudest ages. Their carriages of all kinds, from the

 fidalgo’s family coach to the peasant’s market cart, their

 agricultural implements, locks and keys, &c. are ludicrously bad.

 They seem to disdain improvement, and are so infinitely below par, so

 strikingly inferior to the rest of Europe, as to form a sort of

 disgraceful wonder in the middle of the nineteenth



The population, which, half a century since was 3,683,000, is now

reduced to little more than 3,000,000; and we need no better evidence

of the enslaving and exhausting tendency of a policy that limits a

whole people, men, women, and children, to the labours of the field.

At the close almost of a century and a half of this system, the

following is given in a work of high reputation, as a correct picture

of the state of the country and the strength of the government:--


 “The finances of Portugal are in the most deplorable condition, the

 treasury is dry, and all branches of the public service suffer. A

 carelessness and a mutual apathy reign not only throughout the

 government, but also throughout the nation. While improvement is

 sought everywhere else throughout Europe, Portugal remains

 stationary. The postal service of the country offers a curious

 example of this, nineteen to twenty-one days being still required for

 a letter to go and come between Lisbon and Braganza, a distance of

 423-1/2 kilometres, (or little over 300 miles.) All the resources of

 the state are exhausted, and it is probable that the receipts will

 not give one-third of the amount for which they figure in the

 budget.”--_Annuaire de l’Economie Politique_, 1849, 322.


Some years since an effort was made to bring the artisan to the side

of the farmer and vine-grower, but a century and a half of exclusive

devotion to agriculture had placed the people so far in the rear of

those of other nations, that the attempt was hopeless, the country

having long since become a mere colony of Great Britain.


If we turn to Madeira, we find there further evidence of the

exhausting consequences of the separation of the farmer and the

artisan. From 1886 to 1842, the only period for which returns are

before me, there was a steady decline in the amount of agricultural

production, until the diminution had reached about thirty per cent.,

as follows:--


                       Wine.           Wheat.        Barley.

                       -----           ------        -------

    1836............. 27,270 pipes     8472 qrs.      3510

    1842............. 16,131          6863          2777


At this moment the public papers furnish an “Appeal to America,”

commencing as follows:--


 “A calamity has fallen on Madeira unparalleled in its history. The

 vintage, the revenue of which furnished the chief means for providing

 subsistence for its inhabitants, has been a total failure, and the

 potato crop, formerly another important article of their food, is

 still extensively diseased. All classes, therefore, are suffering,

 and as there are few sources in the island to which they can look for

 food, clothing, and other necessaries of life, their distress must

 increase during the winter, and the future is contemplated with

 painful anxiety and apprehension. Under such appalling prospects, the

 zealous and excellent civil Governor, Snr. José Silvestre Ribeiro,

 addressed a circular letter to the merchants of Madeira on the 24th

 of August last, for the purpose of bringing the unfortunate and

 critical position of the population under his government to the

 notice of the benevolent and charitable classes in foreign countries,

 and in the hope of exciting their sympathy with, and assistance to,

 so many of their fellow creatures threatened with famine.”


Such are the necessary consequences of a system which looks to

compelling the whole population of a country to employ themselves in a

single pursuit--all cultivating the land and all producing the same

commodity; and which thus effectually prevents the growth of that

natural association so much admired by Adam Smith. It is one that can

end only in the exhaustion of the land and its owner. When population

increases and men come together, even the poor land is made rich, and

thus it is, says M. de Jonnes, that “the powers of manure causes the

poor lands of the department of the Seine to yield thrice as much as

those of the Loire.”[49] When population diminishes, and men are thus

forced to live at greater distances from each other, even the rich

lands become impoverished; and of this no better evidence need be

sought than that furnished by Portugal. In the one case, each day

brings men nearer to perfect freedom of thought, speech, action, and

trade. In the other they become from day to day more barbarized and

enslaved, and the women are more and more driven to the field, there

to become the slaves of fathers, husbands, brothers, and even of sons.


Of all the countries of Europe there is none possessed of natural

advantages to enable it to compare with those constituting the TURKISH

EMPIRE in Europe and Asia. Wool and silk, corn, oil, and tobacco,

might, with proper cultivation, be produced in almost unlimited

quantity, while Thessaly and Macedonia, long celebrated for the

production of cotton, abound in lands uncultivated, from which it

might be obtained in sufficient extent to clothe a large portion of

Europe. Iron ore abounds, and in quality equal to any in the world,

while in another part of the empire “the hills seem a mass of

carbonate of copper.”[50] Nature has done every thing for the people

of that country, and yet of all those of Europe, the Turkish rayah

approaches in condition nearest to a slave; and of all the governments

of Europe, that of Portugal even not excepted, that of Turkey is the

most a slave to the dictation, not only of nations, but even of

bankers and traders. Why it is so, we may now inquire.


By the terms of the treaty with England in 1675, the Turkish

government bound itself to charge no more than three per cent. duty on

imports,[51] and as this could contribute little to the revenue, that

required to be sought elsewhere. A poll-tax, house-tax, land-tax, and

many other direct taxes, furnished a part of it, and the balance was

obtained by an indirect tax in the form of export duties; and as the

corn, tobacco, and cotton of its people were obliged to compete in the

general markets of the world with the produce of other lands, it is

clear that these duties constituted a further contribution from the

cultivators of the empire in aid of the various direct taxes that have

been mentioned. So far as foreigners were interested, the system was

one of perfect free trade and direct taxation.


For many years, Turkey manufactured much of her cotton, and she

exported cotton-yarn. Such was the case so recently as 1798, as will

be seen by the following very interesting account of one of the seats

of the manufacture:--


 “‘Ambelakia, by its activity, appears rather a borough of Holland

 than a village of Turkey. This village spreads, by its industry,

 movement, and life, over the surrounding country, and gives birth to

 an immense commerce which unites Germany to Greece by a thousand

 threads. Its population has trebled in fifteen years, and amounts at

 present (1798) to four thousand, who live in their manufactories like

 swarms of bees in their hives. In this village are unknown both the

 vices and cares engendered by idleness; the hearts of the Ambelakiots

 are pure and their faces serene; the slavery which blasts the plains

 watered by the Peneus, and stretching at their feet, has never

 ascended the sides of Pelion (Ossa;) and they govern themselves, like

 their ancestors, by their protoyeros, (primates, elders,) and their

 own magistrates. Twice the Mussulmen of Larissa attempted to scale

 their rocks, and twice were they repulsed by hands which dropped the

 shuttle to seize the musket.


 “‘Every arm, even those of the children, is employed in the

 factories; while the men dye the cotton, the women prepare and spin

 it. There are twenty-four factories, in which yearly two thousand

 five hundred bales of cotton yarn, of one hundred cotton okes each,

 were dyed (6138 cwts.) This yarn found its way into Germany, and was

 disposed of at Buda, Vienna, Leipsic, Dresden, Anspach, and Bareuth.

 The Ambelakiot merchants had houses of their own in all these places.

 These houses belonged to distinct associations at Ambelakia. The

 competition thus established reduced very considerably the common

 profits; they proposed therefore to unite themselves under one

 central commercial administration. Twenty years ago this plan was

 suggested, and in a year afterward it was carried into execution. The

 lowest shares in this joint-stock company were five thousand

 piastres, (between £600 and £700,) and the highest were restricted to

 twenty thousand, that the capitalists might not swallow up all the

 profits. The workmen subscribed their little profits, and uniting in

 societies, purchased single shares; and besides their capital, their

 labour was reckoned in the general amount; they received their share

 of the profits accordingly, and abundance was soon spread through the

 whole community. The dividends were at first restricted to ten per

 cent., and the surplus profit was applied to the augmenting of the

 capital; which in two years was raised from 600,000 to 1,000,000

 piastres, (£120,000.)’


 “It supplied industrious Germany, not by the perfection of its

 jennies, but by the industry of its spindle and distaff. It taught

 Montpellier the art of dyeing, not from experimental chairs, but

 because dyeing was with it a domestic and culinary operation, subject

 to daily observation in every kitchen; and by the simplicity and

 honesty, not the science of its system, it reads a lesson to

 commercial associations, and holds up an example unparalleled in the

 commercial history of Europe, of a joint-stock and labour company;

 ably and economically and successfully administered, in which the

 interests of industry and capital were, long equally represented. Yet

 the system of administration with which all this is connected, is

 common to the thousand hamlets of Thessaly that have not emerged from

 their insignificance; but Ambelakia for twenty years was left



At that time, however, England had invented new machinery for spinning

cotton, and, by prohibiting its export, had provided that all the

cotton of the world should be brought to Manchester before it could be

cheaply converted into cloth.


The cotton manufacturers at Ambelakia had their difficulties to

encounter, but all those might have been overcome had they not, says

Mr. Urquhart, “been outstripped by Manchester.” They _were_

outstripped, and twenty years afterward, not only had that place been

deserted, but others in its neighbourhood were reduced to complete

desolation. Native manufactories for the production of cotton goods

had, indeed, almost ceased to work. Of 600 looms at Sentari in 1812,

but 40 remained in 1821; and of the 2000 weaving establishments at

Tournovo in 1812, but 200 remained in 1830.[53] For a time, cotton

went abroad to be returned in the form of twist, thus making a voyage

of thousands of miles in search of a spindle; but even this trade has

in a great degree passed away. As a consequence of these things there

had been a ruinous fall of wages, affecting all classes of labourers.

“The profits,” says Mr. Urquhart--


 “Have been reduced to one-half, and sometimes to one-third, by the

 introduction of English cottons, which, though they have reduced the

 home price, and arrested the export of cotton-yarn from Turkey, have

 not yet supplanted the home manufacture in any visible degree; for,

 until tranquillity has allowed agriculture to revive, the people must

 go on working merely for bread, and reducing their price, in a

 struggle of hopeless competition. The industry, however, of the women

 and children is most remarkable; in every interval of labour, tending

 the cattle, carrying water, the spindle and distaff, as in the days

 of Xerxes, is never out of their hands. The children are as

 assiduously at work, from the moment their little fingers, can turn

 the spindle. About Ambelakia, the former focus of the cotton-yarn

 trade, the peasantry has suffered dreadfully from this, though

 formerly the women could earn as much in-doors, as their husbands in

 the field; at present, their daily profit (1881) does not exceed

 twenty paras, if realized, for often they cannot dispose of the yarn

 when spun.


                                             Piastres.  Paras.

                                             ---------  ------

  Five okes of uncleaned cotton,

    at seventeen paras..........................   2       5

  Labour of a woman for two days,

    (seven farthings per day)...................   0      35

  Carding, by vibrations of a cat-gut...........   0      10

  Spinning, a woman’s unremitting labour

    for a week..................................   5      30

  Loss of cotton, exceeding an oke

    of uncleaned cotton.........................   0      20

                                              --------  ------

    Value of one oke of uncleaned cotton....  Prs. 9      00


   “Here a woman’s labour makes but 2d. per day, while field-

   labour, according to the season of the year, ranges from 4d.

   to 6d. and at this rate, the pound of coarse cotton-yarn cost

   in spinning 5d.”--P. 147.


The labour of a woman is estimated at less than four cents per day,

and “the unremitting labour of a week” will command but twenty-five

cents. The wages of men employed in gathering leaves and attending

silkworms are stated at one piastre (five cents) per day. At Salonica,

the shipping port of Thessaly, they were ten cents. (Urquhart, 268.)


As a necessary consequence of this, population diminishes, and

everywhere are seen the ruins of once prosperous villages. Agriculture

declines from day to day. The once productive cotton-fields of

Thessaly lie untilled, and even around Constantinople itself--


 “There are no cultivated lands to speak of within twenty miles, in

 some directions within fifty miles. The commonest necessaries of life

 come from distant parts: the corn for daily bread from Odessa; the

 cattle and sheep from beyond Adrianople, or from Asia Minor; the

 rice, of which such a vast consumption is made, from the

 neighbourhood of Phillippopolis; the poultry chiefly from Bulgaria;

 the fruit and vegetables from Nicomedia and Mondania. Thus a constant

 drain of money is occasioned, without any visible return except to

 the treasury or from the property of the Ulema.”--_Slade’s Travels in

 Turkey_, vol. ii. 143.


The silk that is made is badly prepared, because the distance of the

artisan prevents the poor people from obtaining good machinery; and as

a consequence of this, the former direct trade with Persia has been

superseded by an indirect one through England, to which the raw silk

has now to be sent. In every department of industry we see the same

result. Birmingham has superseded Damascus, whose blades are now no

longer made.


Not only is the foreigner free to introduce his wares, but he may, on

payment of a trifling duty of two per cent., carry them throughout the

empire until finally disposed of. He travels by caravans, and is

lodged without expense. He brings his goods to be exchanged for money,

or what else he needs, and the exchange effected, he disappears as

suddenly as he came.


 “It is impossible,” says Mr. Urquhart, “to witness the arrival of the

 many-tongued caravan at its resting-place for the night, and see,

 unladen and piled up together, the bales from such distant places--to

 glance over their very wrappers, and the strange marks and characters

 which they bear--without being amazed at so eloquent a contradiction

 of our preconceived notions of indiscriminate despotism and universal

 insecurity of the East. But while we observe the avidity with which

 our goods are sought, the preference now transferred from Indian to

 Birmingham muslins, from Golconda to Glasgow chintzes, from Damascus

 to Sheffield steel, from Cashmere shawls to English broadcloth; and

 while, at the same time, the energies of their commercial spirit are

 brought thus substantially before us; it is indeed impossible not to

 regret that a gulf of separation should have so long divided the East

 and the West, and equally impossible not to indulge in the hope and

 anticipation of a vastly extended traffic with the East, and of all

 the blessings which follow fast and welling in the wake of

 commerce.”--P. 133.


Among the “blessings” of the system is the fact that local places of

exchange no longer exist. The storekeeper who pays rent and taxes has

found himself unable to compete with the pedler who pays neither; and

the consequence is that the poor cultivator finds it impossible to

exchange his products, small as they are, for the commodities he

needs, except, on the occasional arrival of a caravan, and that has

generally proved far more likely to absorb the little money in

circulation, than any of the more bulky and less valuable products of

the earth.


As usual in purely agricultural countries, the whole body of

cultivators is hopelessly in debt, and the money-lender fleeces all.

If he aids the peasant before harvest, he must have an enormous

interest, and be paid in produce at a large discount from the market

price; The village communities are almost universally in debt, but to

them, as the security is good, the banker charges _only_ twenty per

cent. per annum. Turkey is the very paradise of middlemen--a

consequence of the absence of any mode of employment except in

cultivation or in trade; and the moral effect of this may be seen in

the following passage:--


 “If you see,” says Urquhart, “a Turk meditating in a corner, it is on

 some speculation--the purchase of a revenue farm, or the propriety of

 a loan at sixty per cent.; if you see pen or paper in his hand, it is

 making or checking an account; if there is a disturbance in the

 street, it is a disputed barter; whether in the streets or in-doors,

 whether in a coffeehouse, a serai, or a bazaar, whatever the rank,

 nation, language of the persons around you, traffic, barter, gain are

 the prevailing impulses; grusch, para, florin, lira, asper, amid the

 Babel of tongues, are the universally intelligible sounds.”--P. 138.


We have thus a whole people divided into two classes--the plunderers

and the plundered; and the cause of this may be found in the fact that

the owners and occupants of land have never been permitted to

strengthen themselves by the formation of that natural alliance

between the plough and the loom, the hammer and the harrow, so much

admired by Adam Smith. The government is as weak as the people, for it

is so entirely dependent on the bankers, that they may be regarded as

the real owners of the land and the people, taxing them at discretion;

and to them certainly enure all the profits of cultivation. As a

consequence of this, the land is almost valueless. A recent traveller

states that good land maybe purchased in the immediate vicinity of

Smyrna at six cents an acre, and at a little distance vast quantities

may be had for nothing. Throughout the world, the freedom of man has

grown in the ratio of the increase in the value of land, and that has

always grown in the ratio of the tendency to have the artisan take his

place by the side of the cultivator of the earth. Whatever tends to

prevent this natural association tends, therefore, to the debasement

and enslavement of man.


The weakness of Turkey, as regards foreign nations, is great, and it

increases every day.[54] Not only ambassadors, but consuls, beard it

in its own cities; and it is now even denied that she has _any right_

to adopt a system of trade different from that under which she has

become thus weakened. Perfect freedom of commerce is declared to be

“one of those immunities which we can resign on no account or pretext

whatever; it is a golden privilege, which we can never abandon.”[55]


Internal trade scarcely exists; and, as a natural consequence, the

foreign one is insignificant, the whole value of the exports being but

about thirty-three millions of dollars, or less than two dollars per

head. The total exports from Great Britain in the last year amounted

to but £2,221,000, ($11,500,000,) much of which was simply _en route_

for Persia; and this constitutes the great trade that has been built

up at so much cost to the people of Turkey, and that is to be

maintained as “a golden privilege” not to be abandoned! Not

discouraged by the result of past efforts, the same author looks

forward anxiously for the time when there shall be in Turkey no

employment in manufactures of any kind, and when the people shall be

exclusively employed in agriculture; and that time cannot, he thinks,

be far distant, as “a few pence more or less in the price of a

commodity will make the difference of purchasing or manufacturing at



Throughout his book he shows that the rudeness of the machinery of

cultivation is in the direct ratio of the distance of the cultivator

from market; and yet he would desire that all the produce of the

country should go to a distant market to be exchanged, although the

whole import of iron at the present moment for the supply of a

population of almost twenty millions of people, possessing iron ore,

fuel, and unemployed labour in unlimited quantity, is but £2500 per

annum, or about a penny’s worth for every thirty persons! Need we

wonder at the character of the machinery, the poverty and slavery of

the people, the trivial amount of commerce, or at the weakness of a

government whose whole system looks to the exhaustion of the land, and

to the exclusion of that great middle class of working-men, to whom

the agriculturist has everywhere been indebted for his freedom?


The facts thus far given have been taken, as the reader will have

observed, from Mr. Urquhart’s work; and as that gentleman is a warm

admirer of the system denounced by Adam Smith, he cannot be suspected

of any exaggeration when presenting any of its unfavourable results.

Later travellers exhibit the nation as passing steadily onward toward

ruin, and the people toward a state of slavery the most, complete--the

necessary consequence of a policy that excludes the mechanic and

prevents the formation of a town population. Among the latest of those

travellers is Mr. Mac Farlane,[57] at the date of whose visit the silk

manufacture had entirely disappeared, and even the filatures for

preparing the raw silk were closed, weavers having become ploughmen,

and women and children having been totally deprived of employment. The

cultivators of silk had become entirely dependent on foreign markets

in which there existed no demand for the products of their land and

labour. England was then passing through one of her periodical crises,

and it had been deemed necessary to put down the prices of all

agricultural products, with a view to stop importation. On one

occasion, during Mr. Mac Farlane’s travels, there came a report that

silk had risen in England, and it produced a momentary stir and

animation, that, as he says, “flattered his national vanity to think

that an electric touch parting from London, the mighty heart of

commerce, should thus be felt in a few days at a place like Biljek.”

Such is commercial centralization! It renders the agriculturists of

the world mere slaves, dependent for food and clothing upon the will

of a few people, proprietors of a small amount of machinery, at “the

mighty heart of commerce.” At one moment speculation is rife, and silk

goes up in price, and then every effort is made to induce large

shipments of the raw produce of the world. At the next, money is said

to be scarce, and the shippers are ruined, as was, to so great an

extent, experienced by those who exported corn from this country in



At the date of the traveller’s first visit to Broussa, the villages

were numerous, and the silk manufacture was prosperous. At the second,

the silk works were stopped and their owners bankrupt, the villages

were gradually disappearing, and in the town itself scarcely a chimney

was left, while the country around presented to view nothing but

poverty and wretchedness. Everywhere, throughout the empire, the roads

are bad, and becoming worse, and the condition of the cultivator

deteriorates; for if he has a surplus to sell, most of its value at

market is absorbed by the cost of transportation, and if his crop is

short, prices rise so high that he cannot purchase. Famines are

therefore frequent, and child-murder prevails throughout all classes

of society. Population therefore diminishes, and the best lands are

abandoned, “nine-tenths” of them remaining untilled;[58] the natural

consequence of which is, that malaria prevails in many of those parts

of the country that once were most productive, and pestilence comes in

aid of famine for the extermination of this unfortunate people. Native

mechanics are nowhere to be found, there being no demand for them, and

the plough, the wine-press, and the oil-mill are equally rude and

barbarous. The product of labour is, consequently, most diminutive,

and its wages twopence a day, with a little food. The interest of

money varies from 25 to 50 per cent. per annum, and this rate is

frequently paid for the loan of bad seed that yields but little to

either land or labour.


With the decline of population and the disappearance of all the local

places of exchange, the pressure of the conscription becomes from year

to year more severe, and droves of men may be seen “chained like wild

beasts--free Osmanlees driven along the road like slaves to a

market”--free men, separated from wives and children, who are left to

perish of starvation amid the richest lands, that remain untilled

because of the separation of the artisan from the producer of food,

silk, and cotton. Internal commerce is trifling in amount, and the

power to pay for foreign merchandise has almost passed away. Land is

nearly valueless; and in this we find the most convincing proof of the

daily increasing tendency toward slavery, man having always become

enslaved as land has lost its value. In the great valley of

Buyuk-derè, once known as _the fair land_, a property of twenty miles

in circumference had shortly before his visit been purchased for less

than £1000, or $4800.[59] In another part of the country, one of

twelve miles in circumference had been purchased for a considerably

smaller sum.[60] The slave trade, black and white, had never been more

active;[61] and this was a necessary consequence of the decline in the

value of labour and land.


In this country, negro men are well fed, clothed, and lodged, and are

gradually advancing toward freedom. Population therefore increases,

although more slowly than would be the case were they enabled more to

combine their efforts for the improvement of their condition. In the

West Indies, Portugal, and Turkey, being neither well fed, clothed,

nor lodged, their condition declines; and as they can neither be

bought nor sold, they are allowed to die off, and population

diminishes as the tendency toward the subjugation of the labourer

becomes more and more complete. Which of these conditions tends most

to favour advance in civilization the reader may decide.


Chapter 12. How slavery grows in India


In no part of the world has there existed the same tendency to

voluntary association, the distinguishing mark of freedom, as in

India. In none have the smaller communities been to the same extent

permitted the exercise of self-government. Each Hindoo village had its

distinct organization, and under its simple and “almost patriarchal

arrangements,” says Mr. Greig,[62]--


 “The natives of Hindoostan seem to have lived from the earliest,

 down, comparatively speaking, to late times--if not free from the

 troubles and annoyances to which men in all conditions of society are

 more or less subject, still in the full enjoyment, each individual,

 of his property, and of a very considerable share of personal

 liberty. * * * Leave him in possession of the farm which his

 forefathers owned, and preserve entire the institutions to which he

 had from infancy been accustomed, and the simple Hindoo would give

 himself no concern whatever as to the intrigues and cabals which took

 place at the capital. Dynasties might displace one another;

 revolutions might recur; and the persons of his sovereigns might

 change every day; but so long as his own little society remained

 undisturbed, all other contingencies were to him subjects scarcely of

 speculation. To this, indeed, more than to any other cause, is to be

 ascribed the facility with which one conqueror after another has

 overrun different parts of India; which submitted, not so much

 because its inhabitants were wanting in courage, as because to the

 great majority among them it signified nothing by whom the reins of

 the supreme government were held. A third consequence of the village

 system has been one which men will naturally regard as advantageous

 or the reverse, according to the opinions which they hold, touching

 certain abstract points into which it is not necessary to enter here.

 Perhaps there are not to be found on the face of the earth, a race of

 human beings whose attachment to their native place will bear a

 comparison with that of the Hindoos. There are no privations which

 the Hindoo will hesitate to bear, rather than voluntarily abandon the

 spot where he was born; and if continued oppression drive him forth,

 he will return to it again after long years of exile with fresh



The Mohammedan conquest left these simple and beautiful institutions

untouched. “Each Hindoo village,” says Col. Briggs, in his work on the

land tax--


 “Had its distinct municipality, and over a certain number of

 villages, or district, was an hereditary chief and accountant, both

 possessing great local influence and authority, and certain

 territorial domains or estates. The Mohammedans early saw the policy

 of not disturbing an institution so complete, and they availed

 themselves of the local influence of these officers to reconcile

 their subjects to their rule. * * * From the existence of these local

 Hindoo chiefs at the end of six centuries in all countries conquered

 by the Mohammedans, it is fair to conclude that they were cherished

 and maintained with great attention as the key-stone of their civil

 government. While the administration of the police, and the

 collection of the revenues, were left in the hands of these local

 chiefs, every part of the new territory was retained under military

 occupation by an officer of rank; and a considerable body of

 Mohammedan soldiers.* * * In examining the details of Mohammedan

 history, which has been minute in recording the rise and progress of

 all these kingdoms, we nowhere discover any attempt to alter the

 system originally adopted. The ministers, the nobles, and the

 military chiefs, all bear Mohammedan names and titles, but no account

 is given of the Hindoo institutions, being subverted, or Mohammedan

 officers, being employed in the minor, details, of the civil



 “It would appear from this that the Moslems, so far from imposing

 their own laws upon their subjects, treated the customs of the latter

 with the utmost respect; and that they did so because experience

 taught them that their own interests were advanced by a line of

 policy so prudent.”


Local action and local combination are everywhere conspicuous in the

history of this country. With numerous rulers, some of whom to a

greater or less extent acknowledged the superiority of the Sovereign

of Delhi, the taxes required for their support were heavy, but they

were locally expended, and if the cultivator contributed too large a

portion of his grain, it was at least consumed in a neighbouring

market, and nothing went from off the land. Manufactures, too, were

widely spread, and thus was made a demand for the labour not required

in agriculture. “On the coast of Coromandel,” says Orme,[63] “and in

the province of Bengal, when at some distance from a high road or

principal town, it is difficult to find a village in which every man,

woman, and child is not employed in making a piece of cloth. At

present,” he continues, “much the greatest part of whole provinces are

employed in this single manufacture.” Its progress, as he says,

“includes no less than a description of the lives of half the

inhabitants of Indostan.” While employment was thus locally

subdivided, tending to enable neighbour to exchange with neighbour,

the exchanges between the producers of food, or of salt, in one part

of the country and the producers of cotton and manufacturers of cloth

in another, tended to the production of commerce with more distant

men, and this tendency was much increased by the subdivision of the

cotton manufacture itself. Bengal was celebrated for the finest

muslins, the consumption of which at Delhi, and in Northern India

generally, was large, while the Coromandel coast was equally

celebrated for the best chintzes and calicoes, leaving to Western

India the manufacture of strong and inferior goods of every kind.

Under these circumstances it is no matter of surprise that the country

was rich, and that its people, although often overtaxed, and sometimes

plundered by invading armies, were prosperous in a high degree.


Nearly a century has now elapsed since, by the battle of Plassey,

British power was established in India, and from that day local action

has tended to disappear, and centralization to take its place. From

its date to the close of the century there was a rapidly increasing

tendency toward having all the affairs of the princes and the people

settled by the representatives of the Company established in Calcutta,

and as usual in such cases, the country was filled with adventurers,

very many of whom were wholly without principle, men whose sole object

was that of the accumulation of fortune by any means, however foul, as

is well known by all who are familiar with the indignant denunciations

of Burke.[64]


England was thus enriched as India was impoverished, and as

centralization was more and more established.


Step by step the power of the Company was extended, and everywhere was

adopted the Hindoo principle that the sovereign was proprietor of the

soil, and sole landlord, and as such the government claimed to be

entitled to one-half of the gross produce of the land. “Wherever,”

says Mr. Rickards, long an eminent servant of the Company,


 “The British power supplanted that of the Mohammedans in Bengal, we

 did not, it is true, adopt the sanguinary part of their creed; but

 from the impure fountain of their financial system, did we, to our

 shame, claim the inheritance to a right to seize upon half the gross

 produce of the land as a tax; and wherever our arms have triumphed,

 we have invariably proclaimed this savage right: coupling it at the

 same time with the senseless doctrine of the proprietary right to

 these lands being also vested in the sovereign, in virtue of the

 right of conquest.”--_Rickards’s India_, vol. i, 275.


 Under the earlier Mohammedan sovereigns, this land-tax, now

 designated as rent, had been limited to a thirteenth, and from that

 to a sixth of the produce of the land; but in the reign of Akber

 (16th century) it was fixed at one-third, numerous other taxes being

 at the same time abolished. With the decline and gradual dissolution

 of the empire, the local sovereigns not only increased it, but

 revived the taxes that had been discontinued, and instituted others

 of a most oppressive kind; all of which were continued by the

 Company, while the land-tax was maintained at its largest amount.

 While thus imposing taxes at discretion, the Company had also a

 monopoly of trade, and it could dictate the prices of all it had to

 sell, as well as of all that it needed to buy; and here was a further

 and most oppressive tax, all of which was for the benefit of absentee



 With the further extension of power, the demands on the Company’s

 treasury increased without an increase of the power to meet them; for

 exhaustion is a natural consequence of absenteeism, or

 centralization, as has so well been proved in Ireland. The people

 became less able to pay the taxes, and as the government could not be

 carried on without revenue, a permanent settlement was made by Lord

 Cornwallis, by means of which all the rights of village proprietors,

 over a large portion of Bengal, were sacrificed in favour of the

 Zemindars, who were thus at once constituted great landed proprietors

 and absolute masters of a host of poor tenants, with power to punish

 at discretion those who were so unfortunate as not to be able to pay

 a rent the amount of which had no limit but that of the power to

 extort it. It was the middleman system of Ireland transplanted to

 India; but the results were at first unfavourable to the Zemindars,

 as the rents, for which they themselves were responsible to the

 government, were so enormous that all the rack-renting and all the

 flogging inflicted upon the poor cultivators could not enable them to

 pay; and but few years elapsed before the Zemindars themselves were

 sold out to make way for another set as keen and as hard-hearted as

 themselves. That system having failed to answer the purpose, it was

 next determined to arrest the extension of the permanent settlement,

 and to settle with each little ryot, or cultivator, to the entire

 exclusion of the village authorities, by whom, under the native

 governments, the taxes had uniformly been so equitably and

 satisfactorily distributed. The Ryotwar system was thus established,

 and how it has operated may be judged from the following sketch,

 presented by Mr. Fullerton, a member of the Council at Madras:--


 “Imagine the revenue leviable through the agency of one hundred

 thousand revenue officers, collected or remitted at their discretion,

 according to the occupant’s means of paying, whether from the produce

 of his land or his separate property; and in order to encourage every

 man to act as a spy on his neighbour, and report his means of paying,

 that he may eventually save himself from extra demand, imagine all

 the cultivators of a village liable at all times to a separate demand

 in order to make up for the failure of one or more individuals of the

 parish. Imagine collectors to every county, acting under the orders

 of a board, on the avowed principle of destroying all competition for

 labour by a general equalization of assessment, seizing and sending

 back runaways to each other. And, lastly, imagine the collector the

 sole magistrate or justice of the peace of the county, through the

 medium and instrumentality of whom alone any criminal complaint of

 personal grievance suffered by the subject can reach the superior

 courts. Imagine, at the same time, every subordinate officer employed

 in the collection of the land revenue to be a police officer, vested

 with the power to fine, confine, put in the stocks, and flog any

 inhabitant within his range, on any charge, without oath of the

 accuser, or sworn recorded evidence of the case.”[65]


Any improvement in cultivation produced an immediate increase of

taxation, so that any exertion on the part of the cultivator would

benefit the Company, and not himself. One-half of the gross produce

[66] may be assumed to have been the average annual rent, although, in

many cases it greatly exceeded that proportion. The Madras Revenue

Board, May 17th, 1817, stated that the “conversion of the government

share of the produce (of lands) is in some districts, as high as 60 or

70 per cent. of the whole.”[67]


It might be supposed that, having taken so large a share of the gross

produce, the cultivator would be permitted to exist on the remainder,

but such is not the case. Mr. Rickards gives [68] a list of sixty

other taxes, invented by the sovereigns, or their agents, many of

which he states to exist at the present day. Those who have any other

mode of employing either capital or labour, in addition to the

cultivation of their patches of land, as is very frequently the case,

are subject to the following taxes, the principle of which is

described as _excellent_ by one of the collectors, December 1st,



 “The Veesabuddy, or tax on merchants, traders, and shopkeepers;

 Mohturfa, or tax on weavers, cotton cleaners, shepherds, goldsmiths,

 braziers, ironsmiths, carpenters, stone-cutters, &c.; and Bazeebab,

 consisting of smaller taxes annually rented out to the

 highest-bidder. The renter was thus constituted a petty chieftain,

 with power to exact fees at marriages, religious ceremonies; to

 inquire into and fine the misconduct of females in families, and

 other misdemeanours; and in the exercise of their privileges would

 often urge the plea of engagements to the Cirkar (government) to

 justify extortion. The details of these taxes are too long to be

 given in this place. The reader, however, may judge of the operation

 and character of all by the following selection of one, as described

 in the collector’s report:--’The mode of settling the Mohturfa on

 looms hitherto has been very minute; every circumstance of the

 weaver’s family is considered, the number of days which he devotes to

 his loom, the number of his children, the assistance which he

 receives from them, and the number and quality of the pieces which he

 can turn out in a month or year; so that, let him exert himself as he

 will, his industry will always be taxed to the highest degree.’ This

 mode always leads to such details that the government servants cannot

 enter into it, and the assessment of the tax is, in consequence, left

 a great deal too much to the Curnums of the villages. No weaver can

 possibly know what he is to pay to the Cirkar, till the demand come

 to be made for his having exerted himself through the year; and

 having turned out one or two pieces of cloth more than he did the

 year before, though his family and looms have been the same, is made

 the ground for his being charged a higher Mohturfa, and at last,

 instead of a professional, it becomes a real income tax.”[69]


The following will show that no mode of employing capital is allowed

to escape the notice of the tax-gatherer:--


 “The reader will, perhaps, better judge of the inquisitorial nature

 of one of these surveys, or pymashees, as they are termed in Malabar,

 by knowing that upward of seventy different kinds of buildings--the

 houses, shops, or warehouses of different castes and

 professions--were ordered to be entered in the survey accounts;

 besides the following ‘implements of professions’ which were usually

 assessed to the public revenue, viz.:


 “Oil-mills, iron manufactory, toddy-drawer’s stills, potter’s kiln,

 washerman’s stone, goldsmith’s tools, sawyer’s saw, toddy-drawer’s

 knives, fishing-nets, barber’s hones, blacksmith’s anvils, pack

 bullocks, cocoa-nut safe, small fishing-boats, cotton-beater’s bow,

 carpenter’s tools, large fishing-boats, looms, salt storehouse.”[70]


 “If the landlord objected to the assessment on trees as old and past

 bearing, they were, one and all, ordered to be cut down, nothing

 being allowed to stand that did not pay revenue to the state. To

 judge of this order, it should be mentioned that the trees are

 valuable, and commonly used for building, in Malabar. To fell all the

 timber on a man’s estate when no demand existed for it in the market,

 and merely because its stream of revenue had been drained, is an odd

 way of conferring benefits and protecting property.”[71]


 “Having myself,” says Mr. Rickards, “been principal collector of

 Malabar, and made, during my residence in the province, minute

 inquiries into the produce and assessments of lands, I was enabled to

 ascertain beyond all doubt, and to satisfy the revenue board at

 Madras, that in the former survey of the province, which led to the

 rebellion, lands and produce were inserted in the pretended survey

 account which absolutely did not exist, while other lands were

 assessed to the revenue at more than their actual produce.”[72]


 “Fifty per cent. on the assessment is allowed,” says Mr.

 Campbell,[73] “as a reward to any informer of concealed cultivation,

 &c.; and it is stated that there are, ‘in almost every village,

 dismissed accountants desirous of being re-employed, and unemployed

 servants who wish to bring themselves to notice,’ whose services as

 informers can be relied on.”


A system like this, involving the most prying supervision of the

affairs of each individual, and in which, in settling the tax to be

paid, “the collector takes into consideration the number of children

[74] to be supported, makes the poor ryot a mere slave to the

collector, and with the disadvantage that the latter has no pecuniary

interest in the preservation of his life, whereas the death of a

slave, who constitutes a part of the capital of his owner, is a severe



The tendency thus far has been, as we see, to sweep away the rights

not only of kings and princes, but of all the native authorities, and

to centralize in the hands of foreigners in Calcutta the power to

determine for the cultivator, the artisan, or the labourer, what work

he should do, and how much of its products he might retain, thus

placing the latter in precisely the position of a mere slave to people

who could feel no interest in him but simply as a tax-payer, and, who

were represented by strangers in the country, whose authority was

everywhere used by the native officers in their employ, to enable them

to accumulate fortunes for themselves.


The poor manufacturer, as heavily taxed as the cultivator of the

earth, found himself compelled to obtain advances from his employers,

who, in their turn, claimed, as interest, a large proportion of the

little profit that was made. The Company’s agents, like the native

merchants, advanced the funds necessary to produce the goods required

for Europe, and the poor workmen are described as having been “in a

state of dependence almost amounting to servitude, enabling the

resident to obtain his labour at his own price.”[75]


In addition to the taxes already described, a further one was

collected at local custom-houses, on all exchanges between the several

parts of the country; and to these were again added others imposed by

means of monopolies of tobacco and opium, and of salt, one of the most

important necessaries of life. The manufacture of coarse salt from the

earth was strictly prohibited.[76] The salt lakes of the upper country

furnish a supply so great that it is of little value on the spot;[77]

but these lakes being even yet in the possession of native princes,

the monopoly could then, and can now, be maintained only by aid of

strong bands of revenue officers, whose presence renders that which is

almost worthless on one side of an imaginary line so valuable on the

other side of it that it requires the produce of the sixth part of the

labour of the year to enable the poor Hindoo to purchase salt for his

family. Along the seashore salt is abundantly furnished by nature, the

solar heat causing a constant deposition of it; but the mere fact of

collecting it was constituted an offence punishable by fine and

imprisonment, and the quantity collected by the Company’s officers was

limited to that required for meeting the demand at a monopoly price,

all the remainder being regularly destroyed, lest the poor ryot should

succeed in obtaining for himself, at cost, such a supply as was needed

to render palatable the rice which constituted almost his only food.

The system has since been rendered less oppressive, but even now the

duty is ten times greater than it was under enlightened Mohammedan



Such being the mode of collecting the revenue, we may now look to its

distribution. Under the native princes it was, to a great extent,

locally-expended, whereas, under the new system, all the collections

by government or by individuals tended to Calcutta, to be there

disposed of. Thence no inconsiderable portion of it passed to England,

and thus was established a perpetual drain that certainly could not be

estimated at less than four millions of pounds sterling per annum, and

cannot be placed, in the last century, at less than four hundred

millions of pounds, or two thousand millions of dollars.


The difference between an absentee landlord expending at a distance

all his rents, and a resident one distributing it again among his

tenants in exchange for services, and the difference in the value of

the products of the land resulting from proximity to market, are so

well exhibited in the following passage from a recent work on India,

that the reader cannot fail to profit by its perusal:--


 “The great part of the wheat, grain, and other exportable land

 produce which the people consume, as far as we have yet come, is

 drawn from our Nerbudda districts, and those of Malwa which border

 upon them; and _par consequent_, the price has been rapidly

 increasing as we recede from them in our advance northward. Were the

 soil of those Nerbudda districts, situated as they are at such a

 distance from any great market for their agricultural products, as

 bad as it is in the parts of Bundelcund that I came over, no net

 surplus revenue could possibly be drawn from them in the present

 state of arts and industry. The high prices paid here for land

 produce, arising from the necessity of drawing a great part of what

 is consumed from such distant lands, enables the Rajahs of these

 Bundelcund states to draw the large revenue they do. These chiefs

 expend the whole of their revenue in the maintenance of public

 establishments of one kind or other; and as the essential articles of

 subsistence, _wheat_ and _grain, &c._, which are produced in their

 own districts, or those immediately around them, are not sufficient

 for the supply of these establishments, they must draw them from

 distant territories. All this produce is brought on the backs of

 bullocks, because there is no road from the districts whence they

 obtain it, over which a wheeled carriage can be drawn with safety;

 and as this mode of transit is very expensive, the price of the

 produce, when it reaches the capitals, around which these local

 establishments are concentrated, becomes very high. They must pay a

 price equal to the collective cost of purchasing and bringing this

 substance from the most distant districts, to which they are at any

 time obliged to have recourse for a supply, or they will not be

 supplied; and as there cannot be two prices for the same thing in the

 same market, the wheat and grain produced in the neighbourhood of one

 of these Bundelcund capitals, fetch as high a price there as that

 brought from the most remote districts on the banks of the Nerbudda

 river; while it costs comparatively nothing to bring it from the

 former lands to the markets. Such lands, in consequence, yield a rate

 of rent much greater compared with their natural powers of fertility

 than those of the remotest districts whence produce is drawn for

 these markets or capitals; and as all the lands are the property of

 the Rajahs, they draw all these rents as revenue.


 “Were we to take this revenue, which the Rajahs now enjoy, in tribute

 for the maintenance of public establishments concentrated at distant

 seats, all these local establishments would of course be at once

 disbanded; and all the effectual demand which they afford for the raw

 agricultural produce of distant districts would cease. The price of

 the produce would diminish in proportion; and with it the value of

 the lands of the districts around such capitals. Hence the folly of

 conquerors and paramount powers, from the days of the Greeks and

 Romans down to those of Lord Hastings and Sir John Malcolm, who were

 all bad political economists, supposing that conquered and ceded

 territories could always be made to yield to a foreign state the same

 amount of gross revenue they had paid to their domestic government,

 whatever their situation with reference to the markets for their

 produce--whatever the state of their arts and their industry--and

 whatever the character and extent of the local establishments

 maintained out of it. The settlements of the land revenue in all the

 territories acquired in central India during the Mahratta war, which

 ended, in 1817, were made upon the supposition, that the lands would

 continue to pay the same rate of rent under the new, as they had paid

 under the old government, uninfluenced by the diminution of all local

 establishments, civil and military, to one-tenth of what they had

 been; that, under the new order of things, all the waste lands must

 be brought into tillage; and be able to pay as high a rate of rent as

 before tillage; and, consequently, that the aggregate available net

 revenue must greatly and rapidly increase! Those who had the making

 of the settlements, and the governing of these new territories, did

 not consider that the diminution of every _establishment_ was the

 removal of a _market_--of an effectual demand for land produce; and

 that when all the waste lands should be brought into tillage, the

 whole would deteriorate in fertility, from the want of fallows, under

 the prevailing system of agriculture, which afforded the lands no

 other means of renovation from over cropping. The settlements of the

 land revenue which were made throughout our new acquisitions upon

 these fallacious assumptions, of course failed. During a series of

 quinquennial settlements, the assessment has been everywhere

 gradually reduced to about two-thirds of what it was when our rule

 began; and to less than one-half of what Sir John Malcolm, and all

 the other local authorities, and even the worthy Marquis of Hastings

 himself, under the influence of their opinions, expected it would be.

 The land revenues of the native princes of central India, who reduced

 their public establishments, which the new order of things seemed to

 render useless, and thereby diminished their only markets for the raw

 produce of their lands, have been everywhere falling off in the same

 proportion; and scarcely one of them now draws two-thirds of the

 income he drew from the same lands in 1817.


 “There are in the valley of the Nerbudda, districts that yield a

 great deal more produce every year than either Orcha, Jansee, or

 Duteea; and yet, from the want of the same domestic markets, they do

 not yield one-fourth of the amount of land revenue. The lands are,

 however, rated equally high to the assessment, in proportion to their

 value to the farmers and cultivators. To enable them to yield a

 larger revenue to government, they require to have larger

 establishments as markets for land produce. These establishments may

 be either public, and paid by government, or they may be private, as

 manufactories, by which the land produce of these districts would be

 consumed by people employed in investing the value of their labour in

 commodities suited to the demand of distant markets, and more

 valuable than land produce in proportion to their weight and bulk.

 These are the establishments which government should exert itself to

 introduce and foster, since the valley of the Nerbudda, in addition

 to a soil exceedingly fertile, has in its whole line, from its source

 to its embouchure, rich beds of coal reposing for the use of future

 generations, under the sandstone of the Sathpore and Vindhya ranges;

 and beds no less rich of very fine iron. These advantages have not

 yet been justly appreciated; but they will be so by and by.”[79]


From the concluding lines of this extract the reader will see that

India is abundantly supplied with fuel and iron ore, and that if she

has not good machinery, the deficiency is not chargeable to nature. At

the close of the last century cotton abounded, and to so great an

extent was the labour of men, women, and children applied to its

conversion into cloth, that, even with their imperfect machinery, they

not only supplied the home demand for the beautiful tissues of Dacca

and the coarse products of Western India, but they exported to other

parts of the world no less than 200,000,000 of pieces per annum.[80]

Exchanges with every part of the world were so greatly in their favour

that a rupee which would now sell for but 1s. 10d. or 44 cents, was

then worth 2s. 8d. or 64 cents. The Company had a monopoly of

collecting taxes in India, but in return it preserved to the people

the control of their domestic market, by aid of which they were

enabled to convert their rice, their salt, and their cotton, into

cloth that could be cheaply carried to the most remote parts of the

world. Such protection was needed, because while England prohibited

the export of even a single collier who might instruct the people of

India in the mode of mining coal--of a steam engine to pump water or

raise coal, or a mechanic who could make one--of a worker in iron who

might smelt the ore--of a spinning-jenny or power-loom, or of an

artisan who could give instruction in the use of such machines--and

thus systematically prevented them from keeping pace with improvement

in the rest of the world,--she at the same time imposed very heavy

duties on the produce of Indian looms received in England. The day was

at hand, however, when that protection was to disappear. The Company

did not, it was said, export sufficiently largely of the produce of

British industry, and in 1813 the trade to India was thrown open--_but

the restriction on the export of machinery and artisans was maintained

in full force_; and thus were the poor and ignorant people of that

country exposed to “unlimited competition,” with a people possessed of

machinery ten times more effective than their own, while not only by

law deprived of the power to purchase machinery, but also of the power

of competing in the British market with the produce of British looms.

Further than this, every loom in India, and every machine calculated

to aid the labourer, was subject to a tax that increased with every

increase in the industry of its owner, and in many cases absorbed the

whole profit derived from its use.[81] Such were the circumstances

under which the poor Hindoo was called upon to encounter, unprotected,

the “unlimited competition” of foreigners in his own market. It was

freedom of trade all on one side. Four years after, the export of

cottons from Bengal still amounted to £1,659,994,[82] but ten years

later it had declined to £285,121; and at the end of twenty years we

find a whole year pass by without the export of a single piece of

cotton cloth from Calcutta, the whole of the immense trade that

existed but half a century since having disappeared. What were the

measures used for the accomplishment of the work of destroying a

manufacture that gave employment and food to so many millions of the

poor people of the country, will be seen on a perusal of the following

memorial, which shows that while India was denied machinery, and also

denied access to the British market, she was forced to receive British

cottons free of all duty:--


 _”Petition of Natives of Bengal, relative to Duties on Cotton and



 “Calcutta, 1st Sept. 1831.


 “To the Right Honourable the Lords of His Majesty’s Privy Council for

 Trade, &c.


 “The humble Petition of the undersigned Manufacturers and Dealers in

 Cotton and Silk Piece Goods, the fabrics of Bengal;


 “SHOWETH--That of late years your Petitioners have found their

 business nearly superseded by the introduction of the fabrics of

 Great Britain into Bengal, the importation of which augments every

 year, to the great prejudice of the native manufacturers.


 “That the fabrics of Great Britain are consumed in Bengal, without

 any duties being levied thereon to protect the native fabrics.


 “That the fabrics of Bengal are charged with the following duties

 when they are used in Great Britain--


    “On manufactured cottons, 10 per cent. On manufactured silks,

     24 per cent.


 “Your Petitioners most humbly implore your Lordships’ consideration

 of these circumstances, and they feel confident that no disposition

 exists in England to shut the door against the industry of any part

 of the inhabitants of this great empire.


 “They therefore pray to be admitted to the privilege of British

 subjects, and humbly entreat your Lordships to allow the cotton and

 silk fabrics of Bengal to be used in Great Britain ‘free of duty,’ or

 at the same rate which may be charged on British fabrics consumed in



 “Your Lordships must be aware of the immense advantages the British

 manufacturers derive from their skill in constructing and using

 machinery, which enables them to undersell the unscientific

 manufacturers of Bengal in their own country: and, although your

 Petitioners are not sanguine in expecting to derive any great

 advantage from having their prayer granted, their minds would feel

 gratified by such a manifestation of your Lordships’ good-will toward

 them; and such an instance of justice to the natives of India would

 not fail to endear the British government to them.


 “They therefore confidently trust that your Lordships’ righteous

 consideration will be extended to them as British subjects, without

 exception of sect, country, or colour.


    “And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.”

    [Signed by 117 natives of high respectability.]


The object sought to be accomplished would not have, however, been

attained by granting the prayer of this most reasonable and humble

petition. When the export of cotton, woollen, and steam machinery was

prohibited, it was done with a view of compelling all the wool of the

world to come to England to be spun and woven, thence to be returned

to be worn by those who raised it--thus depriving the people of the

world of all power to apply their labour otherwise than in taking from

the earth cotton, sugar, indigo, and other commodities for the supply

of the great “workshop of the world.” How effectually that object has

been accomplished in India, will be seen from the following facts.

From the date of the opening of the trade in 1813, the domestic

manufacture and the export of cloth have gradually declined until the

latter has finally ceased, and the export of raw cotton to England has

gradually risen until it has attained a height of about sixty millions

of pounds,[83] while the import of twist from England has risen to

twenty-five millions of pounds, and of cloth, to two hundred and sixty

millions of yards; weighing probably fifty millions of pounds, which,

added to the twist, make seventy-five millions, requiring for their

production somewhat more than eighty millions of raw cotton. We see

thus that every pound of the raw material sent to England is returned.

The cultivator receives for it one penny, and when it returns to him

in the form of cloth, he pays for it from one to two shillings, the

whole difference being absorbed in the payment of the numerous

brokers, transporters, manufacturers, and operatives, men, women, and

children, that have thus been interposed between the producer and the

consumer. The necessary consequence of this has been that everywhere

manufactures have disappeared. Dacca, one of the principal seats of

the cotton manufacture, contained 90,000 houses, but its trade had

already greatly fallen off even at the date of the memorial above

given, and its splendid buildings, factories, and churches are now a

mass of ruins and overgrown with jungle. The cotton of the district

found itself compelled to go to England that it might there be twisted

and sent back again, thus performing a voyage of 20,000 miles in

search of the little spindle, because it was a part of the British

policy not to permit the spindle anywhere to take its place by the

side of the cultivator of cotton.


The change thus effected has been stated in a recent official report

to have been attended with ruin and distress, to which “no parallel

can be found in the annals of commerce.” What were the means by which

it was effected is shown in the fact that at this period Sir Robert

Peel stated that in Lancashire, _children_ were employed fifteen and

seventeen hours per day during the week, and on Sunday morning, from

six until twelve, cleaning the machinery. In Coventry, ninety-six

hours in the week was the time usually required; and of those

employed, many obtained but 2s. 9d.--66 cents--for a week’s wages. The

object to be accomplished was that of underworking the poor Hindoo,

and driving him from the market of the world, after which he was to be

driven from his own. The mode of accomplishment was that of cheapening

labour and enslaving the labourer at home and abroad.


With the decline of manufactures there has ceased to be a demand for

the services of women or children in the work of conversion, and they

are forced either to remain idle, or to seek employment in the field;

and here we have one of the distinguishing marks of a state of

slavery. The men, too, who were accustomed to fill up the intervals of

other employments in pursuits connected with the cotton manufacture,

were also driven to the field--and all demand for labour, physical or

intellectual, was at an end, except so far as was needed for raising

rice, indigo, sugar, or cotton. The rice itself they were not

permitted to clean, being debarred therefrom by a duty double that

which was paid on paddy, or rough rice, on its import into England.

The poor grower of cotton, after paying to the government

seventy-eight per cent.[84] of the product of his labour, found

himself deprived of the power to trade directly with the man of the

loom, and forced into “unlimited competition” with the better

machinery and almost untaxed labour of our Southern States; and

thereby subjected to “the mysterious variations of foreign markets” in

which the fever of speculation was followed by the chill of revulsion

with a rapidity and frequency that set at naught all calculation. If

our crops were small, his English customers would take his cotton; but

when he sent over more next year, there had, perhaps, been a good

season here, and the Indian article became an absolute drug in the

market. It was stated some time since, in the House of Commons, that

one gentleman, Mr. Turner, had thrown £7000 worth of Indian cotton

upon a dunghill, because he could find no market for it.


It will now readily be seen that the direct effect of thus

_compelling_ the export of cotton from India was to increase the

quantity pressing on the market of England, and thus to lower the

price of all the cotton of the world, including that required for

domestic consumption. The price of the whole Indian crop being thus

rendered dependent on that which could be realized for a small surplus

that would have no existence but for the fact that the domestic

manufacture had been destroyed, it will readily be seen how enormous

has been the extent of injury inflicted upon the poor cultivator by

the forcible separation of the plough and the loom, and the

destruction of the power of association. Again, while the price of

cotton is fixed in England, there, too, is fixed the price of cloth,

and such is the case with the sugar and the indigo to the production

of which these poor people are forced to devote themselves; and thus

are they rendered the mere slaves of distant men, who determine what

they shall receive for all they have to sell, and what they shall pay

for all they require to purchase. Centralization and slavery go thus

always hand in hand with each other.


The ryots are, as we see, obliged to pay sixteen or eighteen pence for

the pound of cotton that has yielded them but one penny; and all this

difference is paid for the labour of other people while idle



 “A great part of the time of the labouring population in India is,”

 says Mr. Chapman,[85] “spent in idleness. I don’t say this to blame

 them in the smallest degree. Without the means of exporting heavy and

 crude surplus agricultural produce, and with scanty means, whether of

 capital, science, or manual skill, for elaborating on the spot

 articles fitted to induce a higher state of enjoyment and of industry

 in the mass of the people, they have really no inducement to exertion

 beyond that which is necessary to gratify their present and very

 limited wishes; those wishes are unnaturally low, inasmuch as they do

 not afford the needful stimulus to the exercise requisite to

 intellectual and moral improvement; and it is obvious that there is

 no remedy for this but extended intercourse. Meanwhile, probably the

 half of the human time and energy of India runs to mere waste. Surely

 we need not wonder at the poverty of the country.”


Assuredly we need not. They are idle perforce. With indifferent means

of communication, their cotton and their food _could readily travel in

the form of cloth_, and they could consume liberally of food and

clothing; but they find themselves now forced to export every thing in

its rudest form, and this they are to do in a country that is almost

without roads. The manner in which these raw products now travel may

be seen on a perusal of the following passage from the London



 “The cotton is brought on oxen, carrying 160 pounds each, at the

 extreme rate, in fair weather, of seven miles a day for a

 continuance, and at a price of about 5s. for each hundred miles. If

 we take the average distance to Mirzapore at 500 miles, each pound of

 cotton costs in transit alone above 2-1/2 d. It has thence to be

 borne by water-carriage nearly 800 miles farther on to Calcutta. * * *

 The great cotton-growing districts are in the northern portion of

 the Peninsula, embracing Guzerat, and a vast tract called the Deccan,

 lying between the Satpoora range of hills and the course of the

 Kishna River. General Briggs says--’The cotton from the interior of

 the country to the coast at Bombay occupies a continuous journey of

 from one to two months, according to the season of the year; while in

 the rains the route is wholly impassable, and the traffic of the

 country is at a stand.’


 “In the absence of a defined road, even the carriers, with their

 pack-cattle, are compelled to travel by daylight, to prevent the loss

 of their bullocks in the jungles they have to pass through, and this

 under a burning sun of from 100 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The droves

 of oxen are never so few as one hundred, and sometimes exceed a

 thousand. Every morning after daylight each animal has to be saddled,

 and the load lifted on him by two men, one on each side; and before

 they are all ready to move the sun has attained a height which

 renders the heat to an European oppressive. The whole now proceeds at

 the rate of about two miles an hour, and seldom performs a journey of

 more than eight miles; but, as the horde rests every fourth day, the

 average distance is but six miles a day. If the horde is overtaken by

 rain, the cotton, saturated by moisture, becomes heavy, and the black

 clayey soil, through which the whole line of road lies, sinks under

 the feet of a man above the ankle, and under that of a laden ox to

 the knees.


 “In this predicament the cargo of cotton lies sometimes for weeks on

 the ground, and the merchant is ruined.”


 “So miserably bad,” says another writer, “are the existing means of

 communication with the interior, that many of the most valuable

 articles of produce are, _for want of carriage and a market, often

 allowed to perish on the farm_, while the cost of that which found

 its way to the port was enormously enhanced; but the quantity did not

 amount to above 20 per cent. of the whole of the produce, the

 remainder of the articles always being greatly deteriorated.”


It will scarcely be difficult now to understand why it is that cotton

yields the cultivator but a penny per pound. Neither will it be

difficult, seeing that the local manufacturers have every where been

ruined, to understand why the producer of the more bulky food is in a

condition that is even worse, now that the consumer has disappeared

from his side. If the crop is large, grain is a drug for which

scarcely any price can be obtained;[86] and if it is small, the people

perish, by thousands and ten of thousands, of famine, because, in the

existing state of the roads, there can be little or no exchange of raw

products. In the first case the cultivator is ruined, because it

requires almost the whole crop to pay the taxes. In the other he is

starved; and all this is a necessary consequence of a system that

excludes the great middle class of mechanics and other working-men,

and resolves a great nation into a mass of wretched cultivators,

slaves to a few grasping money lenders. Under such circumstances, the

accumulation of any thing like capital is impossible. “None,” says

Colonel Sleeman,[87] “have stock equal to half their rent.” They are

dependent everywhere, on the produce of the year, and however small

may be its amount, the taxes must be paid, and of all that thus goes

abroad nothing is returned. The soil gets nothing.[88] It is not

manured, nor can it be under a system of absenteeism like this, and

its fertility everywhere declines, as is shown by the following



 “Formerly, the governments kept no faith with their land-holders and

 cultivators, exacting ten rupees where they had bargained for five,

 whenever they found the crops good; but, in spite of all this _zolm_,

 (oppression,) there was then more _burkut_ (blessings from above)

 than now. The lands yielded more returns to the cultivator, and he

 could maintain his little family better upon five acres than he can

 now upon ten.[89]


 “The land requires rest from labour, as well as men and bullocks; and

 if you go on sowing wheat and other exhausting crops, it will go on

 yielding less and less returns, and at last will not be worth the



 “There has been a manifest falling off in the returns.”[91]


The soil is being exhausted, and every thing necessarily goes

backward. Trees are cut down, but none are planted; and the former

sites of vast groves are becoming arid wastes, a consequence of which

is, that droughts become from year to year more frequent.


 “The clouds,” says Colonel Sleeman,[92] “brought up from the southern

 ocean by the south-east trade-wind are attracted, as they pass over

 the island, by the forests in the interior, and made to drop their

 stores in daily refreshing showers. In many other parts of the world,

 governments have now become aware of this mysterious provision of

 nature, and have adopted measures to take advantage of it for the

 benefit of the people; and the dreadful sufferings to which the

 people of those of our districts, which have been the most denuded of

 their trees, have been of late years exposed from the want of rain in

 due season, may, perhaps, induce our Indian government, to turn its

 thoughts to the subject.”


In former times extensive works were constructed for irrigating the

land, but they are everywhere going to ruin--thus proving that

agriculture cannot flourish in the absence of the mechanic arts:


 “In Candeish, very many bunds [river-banks formed for purposes of

 irrigation] which were kept in repair under former governments, have,

 under ours, fallen to decay; nevertheless, not only has the

 population increased considerably under our rule, but in 1846 or

 1847, the collector was obliged to grant remission of land tax,

 ‘because the abundance of former years lay stagnating in the

 province, and the low prices of grain from that cause prevented the

 ryots from being able to pay their fixed land assessment.’”[93]


We have here land abandoned and the cultivator ruined for want of a

market for food, and wages falling for want of a market for labour;

and yet these poor people are paying for English food and English

labour employed in converting into cloth the cotton produced alongside

of the food--and they are ruined because they have so many middlemen

to pay that the producer of cotton can obtain little food, and the

producer of food can scarcely pay his taxes, and has nothing to give

for cloth. Every thing tends, therefore, toward barbarism, and, as in

the olden time of England and of Europe generally, famines become

steadily more numerous and more severe, as is here shown:--


 “Some of the finest tracts of land have been forsaken, and given up

 to the untamed beasts of the jungle. The motives to industry have

 been destroyed. The soil seems to lie under a curse. Instead of

 yielding abundance for the wants of its own population, and the

 inhabitants of other regions, it does not keep in existence its own

 children. It becomes the burying-place of millions, who die upon its

 bosom crying for bread. In proof of this, turn your eyes backward

 upon the scenes of the past year. Go with me into the north-western

 provinces of the Bengal presidency, and I will show you the bleaching

 skeletons of five hundred thousand human beings, who perished of

 hunger in the space of a few short months. Yes, died of hunger in

 what has been justly called the granary of the world. Bear with me,

 if I speak of the scenes which were exhibited during the prevalence

 of this famine. The air for miles was poisoned by the effluvia

 emitted from the putrefying bodies of the dead. The rivers were

 choked with the corpses thrown into their channels. Mothers cast

 their little ones beneath the rolling waves, because they would not

 see them draw their last gasp and feel them stiffen in their arms.

 The English in the city were prevented from taking their customary

 evening drives. Jackalls and vultures approached, and fastened upon

 the bodies of men, women, and children, before life was extinct.

 Madness, disease, despair stalked abroad, and no human power present

 to arrest their progress. _It was the carnival of death!_ And this

 occurred in British India--in the reign of Victoria the First! Nor

 was the event extraordinary and unforeseen. Far from it: 1835-36

 witnessed a famine in the northern provinces: 1833 beheld one to the

 eastward: 1822-23 saw one in the Deccan. They have continued to

 increase in frequency and extent under our sway for more than half a



The famine of 1838 is thus described by Mr. George Thompson, late M.

P., on the testimony of a gentleman of high respectability:


 “The poorer houses were entirely unroofed, the thatches having been

 given to feed the cattle, which had nevertheless died; so that cattle

 had disappeared altogether from the land. He says that a few

 attenuated beings, more like skeletons than human creatures, were

 seen hovering about among the graves of those who had been snatched

 away by the famine; that desertion was everywhere visible, and that

 the silence of death reigned. In one of the villages, he says, an old

 man from whom they had bought a goat during their former visit, in

 1833, was the only survivor of the whole community except his

 brother’s son, whom he was cherishing and endeavouring to keep alive,

 and these two had subsisted altogether upon the eleemosynary bounty

 of travellers. The courier of Lord Auckland had informed this

 gentleman that when the governor-general passed through that part of

 the country the roads were lined on either side with heaps of dead

 bodies, and that they had not unfrequently to remove those masses of

 unburied human beings, ere the governor-general could proceed onward

 with his suite; and that every day from 2000 to 3000 famishing

 wretches surrounded and followed the carriages, to whom he dealt out

 a scanty meal; and on one occasion the horse of the courier took

 fright, and on the cause being ascertained--what was it? It was found

 to be the lifeless body of a man who had died with his hand in his

 mouth, from which he had already devoured the fingers.”[95]


The more severe the pressure on the poor ryot, the greater is the

power of the few who are always ready to profit by the losses of their

neighbours. These poor people are obliged to borrow money on their

growing crops, the prices of which are regulated by the will of the

lender rather than by the standard of the market, and the rate of

interest which the cultivators pay for these loans is often not less

than 40 or 50 per cent.


A recent traveller says of the unfortunate cultivator--


 “Always oppressed, ever in poverty, the ryot is compelled to seek the

 aid of the mahajun, or native money-lender. This will frequently be

 the talukdhar, or sub-renter, who exacts from the needy borrower

 whatever interest he thinks the unfortunate may he able to pay him,

 often at the rate of one per cent. per week. The accounts of these

 loans are kept by the mahajuns, who, aware of the deep ignorance of

 their clients, falsify their books, without fear of detection. In

 this way, no matter how favourable the season, how large the crop,

 the grasping mahajun is sure to make it appear that the _whole_ is

 due to him; for he takes it at his own value. So far from Mr. Burke

 having overstated the case of the oppression of the ryots, on the

 trial of Warren Hastings, when he said that the tax-gatherer took

 from them eighteen shillings in every pound, he was really within the

 mark. At the conclusion of each crop-time, the grower of rice or

 cotton is made to appear a debtor to his superior, who thereupon

 provided the ryot appears able to toil on for another

 season--advances more seed for sowing, and a little more rice to keep

 the labourer and his family from absolute starvation. But should

 there be any doubt as to the health and strength of the

 tenant-labourer, he is mercilessly turned from his land and his mud

 hut, and left to die on the highway.”


This is slavery, and under such a system how could the wretched people

be other than slaves? The men have no market for their labour, and the

women and children must remain idle or work in the field, as did, and

do, the women of Jamaica; and all because they are compelled

everywhere to exhaust the soil in raising crops to be sent to a

distance to be consumed, and finally to abandon the land, even where

they do not perish of famine. Mr. Chapman informs us that--


 “Even in the valley of the Ganges, where the population is in some

 districts from 600 to 800 to the square mile, one-third of the

 cultivable lands are not cultivated; and in the Deecan, from which we

 must chiefly look for increased supplies of cotton, the population,

 amounting to about 100 to the square mile, is maintained by light

 crops, grown on little more than half the cultivable land.”[96]


Elsewhere he tells us that of _the cultivable surface of all India

one-half is waste_.[97] Bishop Heber informs us of the “impenetrable

jungle” that now surrounds the once great manufacturing city of Dacca;

and the Bombay Times reminds its English readers of the hundreds of

thousands of acres of rich land that are lying waste, and that might

be made to produce cotton.


When population and wealth diminish it is always the rich soils that

are first abandoned, as is shown in the Campagna of Rome, in the

valley of Mexico, and in the deltas of the Ganges and the Nile.

Without association they could never have been brought into

cultivation, and with the disappearance of the power to associate they

are of necessity allowed to relapse into their original condition.

Driven back to the poor soils and forced to send abroad the product,

their wretched cultivator becomes poorer from day to day, and the less

he obtains the more he becomes a slave to the caprices of his

landlord, and the more is he thrown upon the mercy of the

money-lender, who lends _on good security_ at three per cent. per

month, but _from him_ must have fifty or a hundred per cent. for a

loan until harvest. That under such circumstances the wages of labour

should be very low, even where the wretched people are employed, must

be a matter of course. In some places the labourer has two and in

others three rupees, or less than a dollar and a half, per month. The

officers employed on the great zemindary estates have from three to

four rupees, and that this is a high salary, is proved by the fact

that the police receive but 48 rupees ($23) per annum, out of which

they feed and clothe themselves! Such are the rewards of labour in a

country possessing every conceivable means of amassing wealth, and

they become less from year to year. “It could not be too universally

known,” said Mr. Bright in the House of Commons, two years since,


 “That the cultivators of the soil were in a very unsatisfactory

 condition; that they were, in truth, in a condition of extreme and

 almost universal poverty. All testimony concurred upon that point. He

 would call the attention of the house to the statement of a

 celebrated native of India, the Rajah Rammohun Roy, who about twenty

 years ago published a pamphlet in London, in which he pointed out the

 ruinous effects of the zemindary system, and the oppression

 experienced by the ryots in the presidencies both of Bombay and

 Madras. After describing the state of matters generally, he added,

 ‘Such was the melancholy condition of the agricultural labourers,

 that it always gave him the greatest pain to allude to it.’ Three

 years afterward, Mr. Shore, who was a judge in India, published a

 work which was considered as a standard work till now, and he stated

 that ‘the British Government was not regarded in a favourable light

 by the native population of India,’--that a system of taxation and

 extortion was carried on ‘unparalleled in the annals of any country.

 Then they had the authority of an American planter, Mr. Finnie, who

 was in India in 1840, and who spoke of the deplorable condition of

 the cultivators of the soil, and stated that if the Americans were

 similarly treated, they would become as little progressive as the

 native Indians. He might next quote the accounts given by Mr.

 Marriott in 1838, a gentleman who was for thirty years engaged in the

 collection of the revenue in India, and who stated that ‘the

 condition of the cultivators was greatly depressed, and that he

 believed it was still declining.’ There was the evidence of a native

 of India to which he might refer on this subject. It was that of a

 gentleman, a native of Delhi, who was in England in the year 1849,

 and he could appeal to the right hon. baronet the member for Tamworth

 in favour of the credibility of that gentleman. He never met with a

 man of a more dignified character, or one apparently of greater

 intelligence, and there were few who spoke the English language with

 greater purity and perfection. That gentleman had written a pamphlet,

 in which he stated that throughout his whole line of march from

 Bombay he found the Nizam’s territories better cultivated, and the

 ryots in a better state of circumstances, than were the Company’s

 territories, of the people residing within them, who were plunged in

 a state of the greatest poverty; and he concluded his short, but

 comparatively full, notice of the present deplorable state of India,

 by observing that he feared this was but the prelude of many more

 such descriptions of the different portions of the Company’s

 dominions which would be put forth before the subject would attract

 the notice of those whose duty it was to remove the evils that



We have here confirmation of the correctness of the views of Colonel

Sleeman, that the condition of the people under the local governments

is better than under the great central government. Heavily as they are

taxed, a small part only of the proceeds of taxes goes, in these

cases, to Calcutta on its way to England, whereas, of the enormous

salaries paid to English governors and judges, nearly the whole must

go abroad, as no one consents to serve for a few years in India,

except on such terms as will enable him to accumulate a fortune and

return home to spend it. In further confirmation of this we have the

facts so fully given in Mr. Campbell’s recent work, (Modern India,

chap, xi.,) and proving that security of person and property increases

as we pass _from_ the old possessions of the Company, and toward the

newly acquired ones. Crime of every kind, gang robbery, perjury, and

forgery, abound in Bengal and Madras, and the poverty of the

cultivator is so great that the revenue is there the least, and is

collected with the greatest difficulty--and there, too, it is that the

power of association has been most effectually destroyed. Passing

thence to the Northwestern provinces more recently acquired, person

and property become more secure and the revenue increases; but when we

reach the Punjab, which until now has been subject to the rule of

Runjeet Singh and his successors, we find that, tyrants as he and they

have been represented, the people have there been left in the exercise

of self-government. The village communities and the beautiful system

of association, destroyed in Bengal, there remain untouched. Officers

of all kinds are there more responsible for the performance of their

duties than are their fellows in the older provinces, and property and

person are more secure than elsewhere in India. Gang robbery is rare,

perjury is unfrequent, and Mr. Campbell informs us that a solemn oath

is “astonishingly binding.” “The longer we possess a province,” he

continues, “the more common and general does perjury become;” and we

need no better evidence than is thus furnished of the slavish tendency

of the system. The hill tribes, on the contrary, are remarkable for

their “strict veracity,” and Colonel Sleeman expresses the belief that

“there is as little falsehood spoken in the village communities,” as

in any part of the world with an equal area and population.[98] In the

new provinces the people read and write with facility, and they are

men of physical and moral energy, good cultivators, and understand

well both their rights and their duties; whereas from the older ones

education has disappeared, and with it all power to associate together

for any good purpose. In the new provinces, commerce is large, as is

shown by the following facts representing the population and

post-office revenue of Bengal, the N. W. Provinces, and the Punjab,

placed in the order of their acquisition by the Company:--


                           Population.    Post-office Revenue.

                           -----------    --------------------

    Bengal................ 41,000,000          480,500 rupees.

    N. W. Provinces....... 24,000,000          978,000  

    Punjab................  8,000,000          178,000  


We have here exhibited the remarkable fact that in the country of the

Sikhs, so long represented as a scene of grasping tyranny, eight

millions of people pay as much postage as is paid by fifteen millions

in Bengal, although in the latter is Calcutta, the seat of all the

operations of a great centralized government. That such should be the

case is not extraordinary, for the power advantageously to employ

labour diminishes with the approach to the centre of British power,

and increases as we recede from it. Idleness and drunkenness go hand

in hand with each other, and therefore it is that Mr. Campbell finds

himself obliged to state that “intemperance increases where our rule

and system have been long established.”[99] We see thus that the

observations of both Mr. Campbell and Colonel Sleeman, authors of the

most recent works on India, confirm to the letter the earlier

statements of Captain Westmacott, an extract from which is here



 “It is greatly to be deplored, that in places the longest under our

 rule, there is the largest amount of depravity and crime. My travels

 in India have fallen little short of 8000 miles, and extended to

 nearly all the cities of importance in Northern, Western, and Central

 India. I have no hesitation in affirming, that in the Hindoo and

 Mussulman cities, removed from European intercourse, there is much

 less depravity than either in Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, where

 Europeans chiefly congregate.”


Calcutta grows, the city of palaces, but poverty and wretchedness grow

as the people of India find themselves more and more compelled to

resort to that city to make their exchanges. Under the native rule,

the people of each little district could exchange with each other food

for cotton or cotton cloth, paying nobody for the privilege. Now,

every man must send his cotton to Calcutta, thence to go to England

with the rice and the indigo of his neighbours, before he and they can

exchange food for cloth or cotton--and the larger the quantity they

send the greater is the tendency to decline in price. With every

extension of the system there is increasing inability to pay the

taxes, and increasing necessity for seeking new markets in which to

sell cloth and collect what are called rents--and the more wide the

extension of the system the greater is the difficulty of collecting

revenue sufficient for keeping the machine of government in motion.

This difficulty it was that drove the representatives of British power

and civilization into becoming traders in that pernicious drug, opium.


 “The very best parts of India,” as we are told,[100] were selected

 for the cultivation of the poppy. The people were told that they must

 either cultivate this plant, mate opium, or give up their land. If

 they refused, they were peremptorily told they must yield or quit.

 The same Company that forced them to grow opium said, You must sell

 the opium to us; and to them it was sold, and they gave the price

 they pleased to put upon the opium thus manufactured; and they then

 sold it to trading speculators at Calcutta, who caused it to be

 smuggled up the Canton River to an island called Lintin, and tea was

 received in exchange. At last, however, the emperor of China, after

 repeated threats, proceeded to execute summary justice; he seized

 every particle of opium; put under bond every European engaged in the

 merchandise of it; and the papers of to-day (1839) inform us that he

 has cut off the China trade, “root and branch.”


Unhappily, however, the British nation deemed it expedient to make war

upon the poor Chinese, and compel them to pay for the opium that had

been destroyed; and now the profits of the Indian government from

poisoning a whole people have risen from £1,500,000, at the date of

the above extract, to the enormous sum of £3,500,000, or $16,800,000,

and the market is, as we are informed, still extending itself.[101]


That the reader may see, and understand how directly the government is

concerned in this effort at demoralizing and enslaving the Chinese,

the following extract is given:--


 “For the supply and manufacture of government opium there is a

 separate establishment. There are two great opium agencies at

 Ghazeepore and Patna, for the Benares and Bahar provinces. Each opium

 agent has several deputies in different districts, and a native

 establishment. They enter into contracts with the cultivators for the

 supply of opium at a rate fixed to meet the market. The land revenue

 authorities do not interfere, except to prevent cultivation without

 permission. Government merely bargains with the cultivators as

 cultivators, in the same way as a private merchant would, _and makes

 advances to them for the cultivation_. The only difficulty found is

 to prevent, their cultivating too much, as the rates are favourable,

 government a sure purchaser, and the cultivation liked. The land

 cultivated is measured, and precaution is taken that the produce is

 all sold to government. The raw opium thus received is sent to the

 head agency, where it is manufactured, packed in chests, and sealed

 with the Company’s seal.”[102]


It would seem to the author of this paragraph almost a matter of

rejoicing that the Chinese are bound to continue large consumers of

the drug. “The failure of one attempt to exclude it has shown,” as he



 “That they are not likely to effect that object; and if we do not

 supply them, some one else will; but the worst of it is, according to

 some people, that if the Chinese only legalized the cultivation in

 their own country, they could produce it much cheaper, and our market

 would be ruined. Both for their sakes and ours we must hope that it

 is not so, or that they will not find it out.”[103]


Need we wonder, when gentlemen find pleasure in the idea of an

increasing revenue from _forcing this trade in despite of all the

efforts of the more civilized Chinese government_, that “intemperance

increases” where the British “rule and system has been long

established?” Assuredly not. Poor governments are, as we everywhere

see, driven to encourage gambling, drunkenness, and other

immoralities, as a means of extracting revenue from their unfortunate

taxpayers; and the greater the revenue thus obtained, the poorer

become the people and the weaker the government. Need we be surprised

that that of India should be reduced to become manufacturer and

smuggler of opium, when the people are forced to exhaust the land by

sending away its raw products, and when the restraints upon the _mere

collection_ of domestic salt are so great that English salt now finds

a market in India? The following passage on this subject is worthy of

the perusal of those who desire fully to understand how it is that the

people of that country are restrained in the application of their

labour, and why it is that labour is so badly paid:--


 “But those who cry out in England against the monopoly, and their

 unjust exclusion from the salt trade, are egregiously mistaken. As

 concerns them there is positively no monopoly, but the most absolute

 free trade. And, more than this, the only effect of the present mode

 of manufacture in Bengal is to give them a market which they would

 never otherwise have. A government manufacture of salt is doubtless

 more expensive than a private manufacture; but the result of this,

 and of the equality of duty on bad and good salt, is, that fine

 English salt now more or less finds a market in India; whereas, were

 the salt duty and all government interference discontinued to-

 morrow, the cheap Bengal salt would be sold at such a rate that not a

 pound of English or any other foreign salt could be brought into the



Nevertheless, the system is regarded as one of perfect free trade!


Notwithstanding all these efforts at maintaining the revenue, the debt

has increased the last twelve years no less than £15,000,000, or

seventy-two millions of dollars; and yet the government is absolute

proprietor of all the land of India, and enjoys so large a portion of

the beneficial interest in it, that private property therein is

reduced to a sum absolutely insignificant, as will now be shown.


The gross land revenue obtained from a country with an area of 491,448

square miles, or above three hundred millions of acres, is 151,786,743

rupees, equal to fifteen millions of pounds sterling, or seventy-two

millions of dollars.[105] What is the value of private rights of

property, subject to the payment of this tax, or rent, may be judged

from the following facts:--In 1848-9 there were sold for taxes, in

that portion of the country subject to the permanent settlement, 1169

estates, at something less than four years’ purchase of the tax.

Further south, in the Madras government, where the ryotwar settlement

is in full operation, the land “would be sold” for balances of rent,

but “generally it is not,” as we are told, “and for a very good

reason, viz. that nobody will buy it.” Private rights in land being

there of no value whatsoever, “the collector of Salem,” as Mr.

Campbell informs us--


 “Naïvely mentions ‘various unauthorized modes of stimulating the

 tardy,’ rarely resorted to by heads of villages; such as ‘placing him

 in the sun, obliging him to stand on one leg, or to sit with his head

 confined between his knees.’”[106]


In the north-west provinces, “the settlement,” as our author states,

“has certainly been successful in giving a good market value to landed

property;” that is, it sells at about “four years’ purchase on the

revenue.”[107] Still further north, in the newly acquired provinces,

we find great industry, “every thing turned to account,” the

assessment, to which the Company succeeded on the deposition of the

successors of Runjeet Singh, more easy, and land more valuable.[108]

The value of land, like that of labour, therefore increases as we pass

_from_ the old to the new settlements, being precisely the reverse of

what would be the case if the system tended to the enfranchisement and

elevation of the people, and precisely what should be looked for in a

country whose inhabitants were passing from freedom toward slavery.


With the data thus obtained we may now ascertain, with perhaps some

approach to accuracy, the value of all the private rights in the land

of India. In no case does that subject to tax appear to be worth more

than four years’ purchase, while in a very large portion of the

country it would seem to be worth absolutely nothing. There are,

however, some tax-free lands that may he set off against those held

under the ryotwar settlement; and it is therefore possible that the

whole are worth four years’ purchase, which would give 288 millions of

dollars, or 60 millions of pounds sterling, as the value of all the

rights in land acquired by the people of India by all the labour of

their predecessors and themselves in the many thousands of years it

has been cultivated. The few people that have occupied the little and

sandy State of New Jersey, with its area of 6900 square miles, have

acquired rights in and on the land that are valued, subject to the

claims of government, at 150 millions of dollars; and the few that

have occupied the little island on which stands the city of New York

have acquired rights that would sell in the market for at least

one-half more than could be obtained for all the proprietary rights to

land in India, with 300 millions of acres and 96 millions of



“Under the native princes,” says Mr. Campbell, “India was a paying

country.” Under British rule, it has ceased to be so, because under

that rule all power of combined action has been annihilated, or is in

train to be, and will be so, by aid of the system that looks to

compelling the whole people, men, women, and children, to work in the

field, producing commodities to be exported in their raw state. Every

act of association is an act of trade, and whatever tends to destroy

association must destroy trade. The internal commerce of India

declines steadily, and the external amounts to but about half a dollar

per head, and no effort can make it grow to any extent. The returns of

last year, of English trade, show a diminution as compared with those

of the previous one, whereas with almost all other countries there is

a large increase. Cuba exports to the large amount of twenty-five

dollars per head, or almost fifty times as much as India; and she

takes of cotton goods from England four times as much per head; and

this she does because it is a part of the policy of Spain to bring

about combination of action, and to enable the planter and the artisan

to work together, whereas the policy of England is to destroy

everywhere the power of association, and thus to destroy the domestic

trade, upon which the foreign one must be built. Centralization is

adverse to trade, and to the freedom of man. Spain does not seek to

establish centralization. Provided she receives a given amount of

revenue, she is content to permit her subjects to employ themselves at

raising sugar or making cloth, as they please, and thus to advance in

civilization; and by this very course it is that she is enabled to

obtain revenue. How centralization operates on the people and the

revenue, and how far it tends to promote the civilization or the

freedom of man, may be seen, on a perusal of the following extract

from a recent speech of Mr. Anstey, in the British House of Commons:--


 “Such was the financial condition of India, which the right

 honourable gentleman believed to be so excellent. The intelligent

 natives of India, however, who visited this country, were not of that

 opinion. They told us that the complaints sent from India to this

 country were disregarded here, and that they always would be

 disregarded as long as inquiry into them was imperial, not local.

 They stated that their condition was one of hopeless misery, and that

 it had been so ever since they came under our rule. The result was,

 that cholera had become the normal order of things in that country,

 and in India it never died out. It appeared from the reports of

 medical officers in the army that it did not attack the rich and

 well-fed so frequently as it attacked the poor, and that among them

 it had made the most fearful ravages. The first authentic account

 they had of the appearance of the cholera in India was coincident

 with the imposition of the salt monopoly by Warren Hastings; and by a

 just retribution it had visited their own shores, showing them with

 what a scourge they had so long afflicted the natives of India. It

 might be said of the other taxes that, in one form or another, they

 affected every branch of industry and every necessary of life. They

 affected even the tools of trade, and were sometimes equal in amount

 to the sum for which the tool itself could be purchased in the



 “When on a former occasion he had mentioned those facts before a

 member of the court of directors, he was told that if he had seen the

 papers in the archives, he would perceive that an alteration had

 taken place; but he found, on an inspection of the papers, that the

 result to the purchaser of salt is almost equal to what it had been.

 It was a well known fact that the natives dare not complain. When

 they asked for protection from the laws, they were treated as Juttee

 Persaud had been treated last year--cases were fabricated against

 them, and they were prosecuted for their lives. With the examples

 before them of Nuncomar and Juttee Persaud, it was not surprising

 that the natives were so backward in bringing to justice the persons

 whose oppressions had been so great.”


It was in the face of facts like those here presented, and other

similar ones presented to us in the history of Jamaica, that in a

recent despatch Lord Palmerston thus instructed his minister at



 “I have to instruct your lordship to observe to M. de Miraflores that

 the slaves of Cuba form a large portion, and by no means an

 unimportant one, of the population of Cuba; and that any steps taken

 to provide for their emancipation would, therefore, as far as the

 black population is concerned, be quite in unison with the

 recommendation made by her Majesty’s government, that measures should

 be adopted for contenting the people of Cuba, with a view to secure

 the connection between that island and the Spanish crown; and it must

 be evident that if the negro population of Cuba were rendered free,

 that fact would create a most powerful element of resistance to any

 scheme for annexing Cuba to the United States, where slavery still



 “With regard to the bearing which negro emancipation would have on

 the interests of the white proprietors, it may safely be affirmed

 that free labour costs less than slave labour, and it is indisputable

 that a free and contented peasantry are safer neighbours for the

 wealthy classes above them than ill-treated and resentful slaves; and

 that slaves must, from the nature of things, be more or less

 ill-treated, is a truth which belongs to the inherent principles of

 human nature, and is quite as inevitable as the resentment, however

 suppressed it may be, which is the consequence of ill-treatment.”


The negroes of Jamaica have never been permitted to apply their spare

labour even to the refining of their own sugar, _nor are they so at

this day_. They must export it raw, and the more they send the lower

is the price and the larger the proportion taken by the

government--but the poor negro is ruined. Spain, on the contrary,

permits the Cubans to engage in any pursuits they may deem most likely

to afford them a return to labour and capital; and, as a necessary

consequence of this, towns and cities grow up, capital is attracted to

the land, which becomes from day to day more valuable, labour is in

demand, and there is a gradual, though slow, improvement of condition.

The power to resort to other modes of employment diminishes the

necessity for exporting sugar, and when exported to Spain, the

producer is enabled to take for himself nearly the whole price paid by

the consumer, the government claiming only a duty of fifteen per cent.


The Hindoo, like the negro, is shut out from the workshop. If he

attempts to convert his cotton into yarn, his spindle is taxed in

nearly all of the profit it can yield him. If he attempts to make

cloth, his loom is subjected to a heavy tax, from which that of his

wealthy English competitor is exempt. His iron ore and his coal must

remain in the ground, and if he dares to apply his labour even to the

collection of the salt which crystallizes before his door, he is

punished by fine and imprisonment. He must raise sugar to be

transported to England, there to be exchanged, perhaps, for English

salt. For the sugar, arrived in that country, the workman pays at the

rate perhaps of forty shillings a hundred, of which the government

claims one-third, the ship owner, the merchant, and others, another

third, and the remaining third is to be fought for by the agents of

the Company, anxious for revenue, and the poor ryot, anxious to obtain

a little salt to eat with his rice, and as much of his neighbour’s

cotton, in the form of English cloth, as will suffice to cover his



Under the Spanish system capital increases, and labour is so valuable

that slaves still continue to be imported. Under the English one,

labour is valueless, and men sell themselves for long years of slavery

at the sugar culture in the Mauritius, in Jamaica, and in Guiana. In

all countries _to which_ men are attracted, civilization tends upward;

but in all those _from which_ men fly, it tends downward.


At the moment this despatch was being written by Lord Palmerston, Mr.

Campbell was writing his book, in which it is everywhere shown that

the tendency of India toward centralization and absenteeism, and

therefore toward exhaustion and slavery, is rapidly on the increase.

“The communication with India,” as he says--


 “Is every day so much increased and facilitated that we become more

 and more entirely free from native influence, and the disposition to

 Hindooize, which at first certainly showed itself, has altogether

 disappeared. The English in India have now become as English as in



 “While this state of things has great advantages, it has also some