Slike strani

not hesitate to say they are unpa- almost without being noticed in the ralleled in the annals, extensive as European kingdoms; it was thus it they are, of human folly and perver- almost disappeared, insensibly and sity. Only think what they were ! without a convulsion, in Spanish

We first, in 1807, abolished the South America. slave trade in our dominions. So far Instead of this wise, judicious, and there can be no doubt that the step really humane course, what have we taken was both just and expedient- done? Why, we first, by the act of just, because the iniquitous traffic in 1834, abolished slavery altogether in human flesh should, at all hazards, be the British dominions, upon giving a stopped in a Christian state; expe- compensation to the proprietors, dient, because we already possessed, which, large as it was, was not, on an in the colonies themselves, a large average, the fourth part of the value negro population, perfectly capable, of the slave population set free, at the if well treated, of keeping up and expiration of a prospective apprenincreasing their own numbers, and ticeship of seven years; and at the perforining all the field operations end of four years, deeming that first requisite for the cultivation of pro- time too long, we set them free altodice, which at that period employed gether! We thought, in our wisdom, two hundred and fifty thousand tons that a nation required no longer time of British shipping for its transport, to serve the apprenticeship to freedom and maintained a population that than a freeman did to become expert consumed £3,500,000 worth of British in a trade. We proposed to do in manufactures. But as the British a few years what nature could only colonies were thus deprived of the aid accomplish in centuries. The conseof imported forced labour, which the quences, so often and so fatally prerival sugar colonies of Cuba and the dicted, immediately ensued. The Brazils enjoyed, of course it was in- emancipated black population either dispensable that the labour of the refused to work, or did so at such black cultivators in the British islands high wages, and in so desultory a should be perpetuated, and the pro- manner, that the supply of sugar prietors maintained in the means of rapidly declined in the British islands. getting that work from them which It, in consequence, rose considerably in they were prohibited from acquiring price in the mother country; and upon froin foreign labourers. The way to that, partly under the influence of the do this, and withalto give the greatest free trade mania, partly from a desire possible security and means of im

to appease the clamorous multitude provement to the black population of in the British towns, who had begun which they were susceptible, was evi- to feel, in the enhanced price of that dent, andwas clearly and forcibly point- article, the inevitable consequences of ed out at the time. It was to main- their own actions, we did a thing so tain slavery in the meantime, doing unjust, so monstrous, so cruel, so every thing possible to mitigate its inconsistent with all our former proseverity, till the negro population had fessions, that we believe the annals of come so much under the influence of the world may be searched in vain for artificial wants as to be rcady, for their its parallel. It was this :-enjoyment, to submit to regular and We first reduced to a half of its continuous toil ; to regulate their days former amount the protective duty of forced labour, and give them some on foreign slave grown sugar, and days in the week to work for them- then, by the act of 1846, in pursuance selves, of which they might reap the of Sir R. Peel's principles, and with fruits; and to allow every negro, who his approbation, passed an act for could thus amass a sum equal to his the progressive reduction, during price, to purchase his freedom from three years, of the duties on foreign his master. By this simple system, sugar, until, in 1849, those on foreign no one could become free without and colonial were to become equal having proved himself fit to be a free- to each other ! That is, having man, and therefore the whole evils of first deprived our own colonies of premature emancipation were avoided. their slave labour for less than a It was thus that slavery wore out fourth of its value, we proceeded to

admit foreign sugar RAISED BY SLAVES the rapid decline in the produce of the to the supply of the British markets, West Indian islands, even before this on terms which in two years will be last coup-de-grace was given them by those of perfect equality. We have the application of free trade prinseen what came of the attempt in the ciples to their produce, it is painfully Mauritius, to compete with slave-la- evident that a result precisely similar bour by means of the labour of freemen. is about to take place in the British Even though the attempt was made colonies.† And it is little consolation under the most favourable auspices, to find that this injustice has recoiled with the colossal capital of Reid, upon the heads of the nation which Irving, and Company, and an ample perpetrated it, and that the decline in supply of hill coolies to carry it the consumption of British manufacon, the immense wealth of that tures by the West India islands is house was swallowed up in the becoming proportioned to the ruin we hopeless attempt, and it became have inflicted on them. I bankrupt in consequence. Experience But most of all has this concahad long ago proved in St Domingo tenation of fanaticism, infatuation, that the black population, when not and injustice proved pernicious to the compelled, will not raise sugar; for negro race, for whose benefit the that noble island, which, anterior to changes were all undertaken. Happy the emancipation of its slaves by the would it have been for them if the Constituent Assembly of France, British slave trade had never been raised and exported 672,000,000 abolished ; that they had crossed the pounds of sugar, now does not export Atlantic chiefly in Liverpool or Glasa single pound; and instead of con- gow slave-ships, and been brought to suming as then £9,890,000 worth of the British West India islands! For French manufactures, does not import then the slave trade was subject to a single article.* To provide against our direction, and regulations might this evidently approaching crisis in have been adopted to place it on the the supply of sugar for the British best possible footing for its unhappy market, we have thrown open our victims. But now we have thrown it harbours to slave-grown sugar from entirely into the hands of the Spaevery quarter of the globe; and from niards and Portuguese, over whom we

* Dumas, viii. 112; Mackenzie's St Domingo, i. 312.

+“ Of the progressive decline in the powers of production of the West India possessions generally, some idea may be formed from what has been observed in Jamaica ; for though that island labours under some peculiar disadvantages, that fact merely increases the force of the argument which is derived from its past experience :A verage of the five years ending 1807—last of the slave trade,

£3,852,624 Average of the five years ending 1815—date of the Registry Act, 3,588,903 Average of the five years ending 1823-date of Canning's Resolution, 3,192,637 Average of the five years ending 1833—last five of slavery,

2,791,478 Average of the five years ending 1813–first five of freedom,

1,213,284 “ The House of Assembly, from whose memorial to the government (June 1847) we borrow these facts, makes the following remarks on this instructive table :

“Up to 1807 the exports of Jamaica progressively rose as cultivation was extended. From that date they have been gradually sinking ; but we more especially entreat attention to the evidence here adduced of the effects of emancipation, which, in ten years, reduced the annual value of the three principal staples from £2,791,478 to £1,213,284, being in the proportion of seven to sixteen, or equal, at five per cent., to an investment of about thirty-two millions of property annihilated. We believe the history of the world would be in vain searched for any parallel case of oppression perpetrated by a civilised government upon any section of its own subjects.'" # EXPORTS TO BRITISH WEST INDIA COLONIES :£3,583,222


£3,574,970 3,289,704

2,504,004 3,612,085 1842,

2,591,425 -PORTER's Parl, Tables

, xii. 114.

1827, 1828, 1829,



have no sort of control, and who exer- arisen from the reckless and simulcise it in so frightful a manner that taneous adoption of these powerthe heart absolutely sickens at the ful engines on human affairs, it thought of the amount of human suf- may safely be affirmed that the fering, at the cost of which we have re- present distress will go on, with duced the price of sugar to sixpence a slight variations, from bad to worse, pound. Compared with it, the English till the empire is destroyed, and threeslave-ships and English slavery were fourths of its inhabitants are reduced to an earthly paradise. Mr Buxton, the ruin. These are strong expressions, great anti-slavery advocate, admitted, we know ; but if they are so, it is some years ago, that the number of from the testimony of the government, blacks who now annually cross the and the ablest advocates for the free Atlantic, is double what it was when trade and bullion system, and the Wilberforce and Clarkson first began facts which we see around us, that we their benevolent labours."* Now, are reluctantly compelled, not only under the fostering influence of free to use them, but to believe they are trade in sugar, it may reasonably be true. Hear what the Times says, on expected that in a few years the whole, the aspect of national monetary and or nearly the whole sugar consumed commercial affairs :by Europe, will be raised by the slave

“ In our wide sea of difficulties, therecolonies, and wrung by the lash from

fore, we are without rudder or compass. the most wretched species of slaves— We cannot base our proceedings on a those of Cuba and Brazil. Moreover, calculation that the Bank Charter Act the slave trade, to supply them, will will be carried out ; nor can we, on the be triple what it was in 1789, when other hand, assume that an inconvertible the movement in favour of the negro currency will be authorised, and thus population began ! Thus, by the com

frame onr future contracts accordingly. bined effects of fanaticism, ignorance, All that we can discern before us is presumption, and free trade, we shall declining trade and grinding poverty, have succeeded, by the middle of this tion ; but whether the lesson will be

bankrupt railways, and increased taxacentury, in totally destroying our own

prolonged in its bitterness, and its salusugar colonies; adding, to no purpose, tary effect retarded by measures of natwenty millions to our national debt; tional dishonour, is a point upon which it annihilating property to the amount would be vain to prophesy. Three years of £130,000,000 in our own domi- back an indignant negatire might hare nions ; doubling the produce of foreign been giren to such a conjecture, but since slave possessions ; cutting off a mar- then demoralisation has been rapid, and ket of £3,500,000 a-year for our

time alone can determine if, by the delimanufactures : and tripling the slave berate proceedings of the legislature, the trade in extent, and quadrupling it in

record of it is destined to become indehorror, throughout the globe.

lible.”Times, 26th November 1847. Grave and serious matter for This is tolerably strong evidence consideration as these results afford, from the leading and ablest free trade all of which, be it observed, are and bullionist journal. Strong indeed Now ascertained by experience must have been the testimony of they yet sink into comparative insig- facts around them, when the wellnificance compared with the gigantic informed and powerful writers in the measures of " free trade and a fettered Times put forth such admissions as currency," which have now spread to the state of the country. Observe ruin and desolation through the heart the emphatic words wrung by woful of the empire. It is here that the experience from this journal. * Three evil now pressing is to be found ; it is years back anindignant negative would from hence that the cry of agony, have been given to such conjectures ; which now resounds through the but SINCE THEN the progress of empire, has sprung. And unless a demoralisation has been rapid.” Sir remedy is applied, and speedily applied, R.Peel's Bank Act was passed in 1814,

, to the enormous evils which have and his free trade measures in 1846.


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And be it observed that that state money has, by the recommendation, arose entirely under their own system; and indeed express injunction of goat a time when the Bank charter vernment, been raised to eight per cent. stood unchanged, and free trade, the This grievous and most calamitous grand panacea for all evils, was, and effect, which was never heard of had been in a great degree, for years, during the darkest period of the Rein full and unrestrained operation. We volutionary war, which did not ensue shall see

anon whether the Irish even at the time of the Mutiny of the famine and English railways had any Nore, or the suspension of cash paything material to do with the matter. ments in 1797,* has been publicly Strong as it is, however, this testi- announced to the nation, in the mony is increased by the real evidence Premier's and Chancellor of the Exof facts in everydirection, and of the acts chequer's Letter to the Directors. It and admissions of government. These is well known that, high as this rate are of such a kind as a few years of interest was, it was less than had ago would have passed for fabulous. been previously taken by private They have outstripped the most bankers, which had risen to nine, ten, gloomy predictions of the most gloomy and even fourteen or fifteen per cent. of the Protectionists; they have out- for short periods. These are the rates Heroded Herod in the demonstration of interest which, anterior to their of the perilous tendency of the path conquest by the British government, we have so long been pursuing. were common amidst Asiatic oppresThey could not have been credited, sion in the distracted realm of Hinif not supported by the evidence of dostan. They had not been so high our own senses, and the statements in England before for a century and of ministers of high character, from a quarter. It was reserved for Great undoubted and authentic sources of Britain, in the middle of the nineinformation. We subjoin a few of teenth century, to render universal, them, of universal and painful noto- by the effects of domestic legislation, ricty to every inhabitant of the empire at the end of thirty years' peace, at this time; not in the belief that we, and when in a state of entire amity in so doing, can add any facts not with all the world, a rate of interest previously familiar to the nation, but unknown for a century before in the in order that these facts, now so well British empire; which could preknown, should get into a more durable viously be hardly credited as having record than the daily journals, and existed, even in the days of feudal not pass for fabulous in future, and it barbarity; and which had latterly is to be hoped, happier times. been known only amidst the pre

The first is, that the interest of datory warfare, fierce devastations,

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* For a few days during the panic consequent on the Mutiny at the Nore, the 3 per cents were at 45, but they soon rose and ranged from 55 to 58. The interest of money never exceeded 5 per cent., and indeed it could not, as the usury laws were then in operation. The issue of one pound notes in sufficient numbers by the Bank of England, after February 1797, soon relieved the distress, extinguished the panic, and brought us triumphantly through the war. The following are the rates of interest and amount of bullion in the Bank of England for thirty years past, avhich shows how little low interest has to do with the plentiful stores of the precious metals :


Rate of Discount. 1815.-28th February


Five per cent. 1816.-29th February


Fire per cent. 1820.—29th February


Five per cent. 1826.—28th February


Five per cent. 1832.—29th February


Four per cent. 1837.-28th February


Five per cent. 1839.- October


Six per cent. 1840.-25th February


Five per cent. 1847.–13th Norember


Eight per cent. min. The rate of eight per cent. has not been charged by the Bank of England before for upwards of a century and a quarter.



Thirty Years of Liberal Legislation. and universal hoarding of specie, un- cause suddenly thrown out of work, der the native powers of Hindostan. and deprived of bread. Already the

In the next place, the public revenue effects of this grievous and sudden for the quarter ending 1st October, stoppage are apparent in the metro1847, is €1,500,000 less than it was in polis, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, the corresponding quarter of the pre- and other great cities, in the groups, ceding year, which itself was below at once pitiable and alarming, of the corresponding quarter in 1845. rude and uncouth, but sturdy and Here then is an ascertained falling formidable labourers, who are scen off of £1,500,000 a quarter, or Six congregating at the corners of the MILLIONS A-YEAR, in a revenue not principal streets. But if this is the exceeding £52,000,000 of net income, effect of the sudden stoppage on and of which upwards of a half is the mere navigators, the hod and absorbed in paying the dividends on barrow-men, what must it be on the public debt. There is no reason the vast multitude of mechanics and to hope for an amendment in the next iron workmen, thrown idle from the or the succeeding quarter ; happy if inability of the railway companies, at there is not a still greater falling off. present, at least, to go on with their This is, be it observed, in the thirty- contracts ? So dreadful has been the second year of peace, when in amity effects of this stoppage in Lanarkshire with all the world, and when the war and Ayrshire, the two principal iron income-tax, producing £5,200,000 a- districts of Scotland, that before these year, is added to the national income! pages issue from the press, forty But for that grinding war-addition, laid thousand persons in the former county, on to meet the disasters of the Aff- and thirty thousand in the latter, inghanistan expedition, and kept on cluding the families of the workmen, to conceal the deficiency of income will be out of employment in the iron produced by Sir R. Peel's free trade and coal trades alone! The greater measures, the deficiency would be part of this immense and destitute above £11,000,000 a-year. And this mass will fall on Glasgow, where occurs just after a proper and suitable already half the mills are stopped or thanksgiving for an uncommonly fine on short tiine, and in which city, since harvest; when all the world is at the beginning of the year, no less than peace; five years after Sir R. Peel's 49,993 Irish * have landed, ninetariff in 1812, which was to add so tenths of whom were in the last stage much to our foreign trade; threc years of destitution, and no inconsiderable after the act of 1844, which was to part bringing with them the contagion impose the requisite checks on impru- of typhus fever. dent speculation; and eighteen months In the fourth place, the great marts after the adoption of general free of manufacturing industry, both for trade, and the abolition of the corn the home and the export trade, are laws by the act of July 1846, by in nearly as deplorable a condition as which the commerce and revenue of the iron trade; and the multitude who the country were to be so much im- will be out of bread in them is not proved!

less appalling than in the railway In the third place, nearly the whole and iron departments. As a specimen railways in progress in the United of the condition to which they have Kingdom have been stopped, or are been brought by the combined operato be in a few days, in consequence

tion of free trade and a fettered curpartly of this exorbitant rate of in- rency, we subjoin the weekly return terest, partly of the impossibility of of the state of trade in Manchester for getting money even on these mon- the week ending November 23. It is strous and hitherto unheard-of terms. well known that this return is made It is calculated that three hundred up under the direction of the admirable thousand labourers, embracing with police of that city, with the utmost their families little short of a mil- accuracy. lion of persons, have been from this

* Report of the Glasgow Poor Inspector, 28th November, 1847.

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