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We are mighty, we are strong;
Rich men know their interests well.
Rich men scoff, and jeer, and slight,
Where flowrets wild ne'er met the view,
The poisonous reek hath from his cheek
For ever labouring in the clay
And flinty dust, in which lurks death
He rarely sees the light of day,
Or breathes the summer's balmy breath.
More hollow grows his hectic check;
The guide o'er life's disheartening stage.
Yet who, the erring youth shall blame,
With shame he through the world must go.
A faint and glimmering spark of grace,
The Potter-boy-clay unto clay!
* Sir, I am a potter, and we blame the flint which is in the clay for shortening our days.
The Awakening of Italy-Poets of the People-What will People say? by W. PICKERSGILL-Scenes and Characters from the French Revolution, translated from Lamartine's Histoire des Girondins for Howitt's Journal. The Flight to rennes-A Battle of Life and Death, a Tale, from the German by BERTHOLD AUERBACH, translated by MARY HOWITT. (Concluded)-A Valentine. By W. C. BENNETT-The Poor and the Poor Laws The Sin of Suffering. By WILLIAM KENNEDY—A Welcome to Emerson-Literary Notices: Ecclesia Dei; A Vïsion of the Church-Sketches of Protestantism in Italy, Past and Present-Poetical Record.
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CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE SUGAR-POT.
THE greedy, extravagant, aristocratic, lazy, improvident, and ill-managing West Indians are at us again! They have got Twenty Millions out of the English public, to pay the debts on their estates; they have laid a perpetual burden on the laborious people of this country of Eight Hundred Thousand per annum-and now what do these modest fellows want? First, to tax us to the amount of Two millions per annum more! They have laid a heavy and intolerable weight on the daily labour of the wretched and starving population of these islands, to pay for their own reckless extravagance, and now they just want to tax the poor man's Sugar-Pot! Fie on them! and on all that assist them in so audacious a demand! And in truth we are no little astonished at seeing a number of those who ought to know better, radical editors and advocates of the people, already imposed on by this old. trite, and despicable cry. Is this a time to lay fresh taxes on the necessaries of the working classes? Have we not starvation and misery enough at home without attempting to aggravate it by additional impositions on the toiling, for the idle. There never was a period when distress was greater or more universal. There have been times when the distress has shown itself in a more impatient and outrageous form. Half a century ago, and the same amount of suffering would have burst forth in riots, and in attacks on butchers' and bakers' shops; in smashing of machinery, and all the horrors of conflict with the soldiery. But the people are now gradually quietened down to the endurance of almost any amount of privation. They are more educated, and taught to look to moral means. They are somewhat too, like the eels, so accustomed to skinning, that they do not care for it. They are in fact, too patient by half. A general and united demonstration of discontent would compel their rulers to adopt some means of alleviation-to try some endeavours for the extension of trade. But the people bear, and the government is quite contented that they should. So long as bearing and forbearing continue, so long all the old places, pensions, and extravagant salaries will continue, and parliament and ministers will gull the nation with their machinery of talk, that is always rolling round, and never arriving at any end or good result.
how to manage their estates, but in the name of all that is sacred, even then refrain from laying the burden of their troubles on a class which has far heavier troubles of its own; which has nothing else but trouble, and has not the slightest reason to care whether the West Indians sink or swim. The people of England have done enough and too much for the West Indies. They have paid a monstrous sum for what, in our opinion, they ought never to have paid a farthing. They have done an act of the most unreasonable munificence towards the lazy and proud aristocracy of those islands-and if they are no better, for it-why, then let the islands take their own course, and take care of themselves.
But if nothing is taken off, it is rather too much to talk of putting more on. Is it not enough that we have fought everybody's battles all the world over, and taken the debt for every country's defence and rescue upon our own backs, so that all these nations are now at liberty to manufacture without encumbrance, and take all our trade by way of thanks? Is it not enough that with the mountain of other nations' debts on our shoulders, the very attempts at free trade are ruinous to us, because we trade with that debt and charge upon our labour, and they without it; placing us exactly in the position of a man who undertakes to run a race against all the world with half a hundred weight of lead on his head, and to fight everybody with one hand tied up? Is it not enough, therefore, that we are now feeling the effect of this preposterous state of things, of this our absurd Quixotism, but that we must listen to the West Indians' desire to tax the poor man's cup of tea, and his bit of pudding? Is not his sugar-pot little enough, and badly stored enough, but we must knock it clean off his table, and kick the fragments out of the house.
And for what? If there were anything new or reasonable in the demand of the West Indian Sugar-planters, we would listen to it, and give them some good advice
What is the real fact regarding the West Indies? Is it the abolition of slavery that has injured them? Not in the least. If that were the case they would deserve some sympathy. But no fact is more notorious, than that the real cause of the ruin of these islands is and always has been, the indolent, proud, wasteful, and imprudent habits of the proprietors. The principal estates belong to the English aristocracy. They are absentees, living in splendour and profuse extravagance in London. It is Ireland over again. Their agents imitate in the islands their extravagance and laziness out of it. The property is nine-tenths of it mortgaged to its full value, and the outery arises from the fact that the demand of the effeminate absentee aristocrat, and the equally urgent demand of his leeches, the mortgagees, cannot be met on such a system.
This is no new system. It is as old as the English possession of the islands. The islands as lucrative property, were utterly ruined long before the abolition of slavery in them. We happened to be in the House of Commons on the night of a debate after the West Indian party had demanded £30,000,000 of compensation for giving up slavery, and the Government had offered them £15,000,000. Mr. Godson of Kidderminster was arguing for more money, and secure already of £15,000,000, he let the house know that the planters would and must have more. He threw overboard with the coolest impudence all the raw-head and bloody-bone stories with which John Bull had for years been terrified into acquiescence with the slavery system-that the blacks, if freed, would rise and cut all the white people's throats, and the like, as if any people were likely to rise when free who had not done it when slaves? These tales he himself laughed at. There was no further use for them, and he, therefore, candidly confessed that they were all hum. The single fact, he told them was, that money was wanted, and money must be had. That all the estates were over head and ears in debt- that their mortgagees would come down upon them, if they saw no chance of being paid by a sufficient parliamentary grant, and that the whole body of proprietors were then waiting in breathless anxiety for the decision. They were already ruined-nothing but a sufficient grant could save them.
Now is it not rather presuming on the gullibility of the British public, to come forward again with the cry, that abolition, and the withdrawal of the bounty on West Indian sugar, throwing the islands open to competition with slave-grown sugar in Brazil, are the causes of the present distress of the West Indian proprietors. The simple cause is that which has always been the cause there-the system of living at a monstrous rate, and expecting the people of England to pay the mortgagees. Had the West Indian proprietors been a flourishing body till the abolition, then there would have been a plausible case, but it is not Mr. Godson only who tells us that they were a ruined and beggared set before-ruined and beggared in the palmy days of slavery and monopoly, but also ruined and beggared at the cost of thousands of lives every year.-In, eleven years, ending with 1831,
the black population of the British West Indies deHear then the allegations of the legislature of the creased 52,000 out of a population of 850,000, and island, made in a report of the assembly printed forty this ratio of decrease continued up to the period of the years later, and embracing a term of twenty years, from abolition, 1828. At this rate were the West Indian 1772 (twenty-two years from the date of Long's eviogres devouring human life, and ruining themselves, and dence) to 1792, fifteen years before the appeals of chrisyet they clamoured as loudly for the continuance of this tianity had arrested the tide of misery, hourly flowing state of things, as if it had been the most humane and from the shores of Africa. In that memorable docublessed imaginable. Ruined, however, by their old ment the representatives of the various parishes throughhabits, they got a prop of twenty millions for giving up out the island, possessing the best means of ascertaining their slaves-and since then the increase of the black the truth of what they state, solemnly assure us that population has gone on as steadily, and rapidly as any In the course of twenty years, ONE HUNDRED and other population. If, therefore, it had been true that SEVENTY SEVEN estates in Jamaica, have been sold for a few proprietors were thrown into difficulties, by the the payment of debts; FIFTY-FIVE have been thrown abolition, we are sure that the British people would still up, and NINETY-TWO are in the hands of creditors;" have rejoiced at the change; they would think the in-making an aggregate of no less than THREE HUNDRED crease of thousands of lives, and the comfort of the and TWENTY-FOUR estates in a condition of hopeless main population, a grand recompense for the loss of embarrassment, notwithstanding the unmolested sway some property by a few planters. of SLAVERY-the unchecked supply of LABOUR-the absence of PECUNTARY WAGES-and the wholesale blessings of monopoly!!! But the report goes on farther to state-" It appears from a return made by the Provost Marshal, that EIGHTY THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED and TWENTY ONE EXECUTIONS, amounting to TWENTYTwo MILLIONS, FIVE HUNDRED and THIRTY-SIX THOUSAND, SEVEN HUNDRED and EIGHTY-SIX POUNDS STERLING, have been lodged in this office in the course of TWENTY YEARS!!"
JAMAICA SINCE THE YEAR 1807.
But the fact is, that no loss of property has accrued to the planters by the abolition-they were ruined before by their extravagance-and they are ruined still by it. Their debts have again accumulated in the hands of their mortgagees against them, and they want the English public again to pay them. But as they dare not ask for another direct bonus of twenty millions, they ask to tax the poor man's sugar-pot, and to be allowed to renew the slave-trade into the bargain, under the name of importing free-blacks from Africa! In a word, slavery and the slave-trade are to be fully restored, and the tax of two millions a year on sugar to be added to the twenty millions already sunk in these wretched islands. In 1807, about half a century after Long wrote, and The West Indies in fact are but another Ireland. We fifteen years after the official publication of these startling have a proud, unfeeling, and reckless aristocracy, fleecing and almost incredible facts, a Liberal Administration symour honest, and industrious population, for their riot and pathizing with the Christian feelings of an almost unanirevelry at home, and calling on us to keep up the odious mous nation, put a final end to the hideous traffic in hu system by continued impositions on our own laborious man misery which tarnished the British banner, without and struggling people. Let it then be clearly understood, conferring, as the evidence of the Jamaica Legislature that no such concessions can avail the West Indian pro-abundantly attests, any real or durable benefit upon our prietors anything, but would inflict a desperate wound on colonies. humanity abroad, and a gross oppression on our working population at home. It would be a retrograde and ruinous step. Nothing but a change of the proprietory system can serve either Ireland or the West Indies. It is not Mr. Godson alone, in his candid confession, but all history is united on the subject of the West Indian properties. A writer in the Plymouth Journal who professes to be well acquainted with the subject, places these facts in a striking light.
JAMAICA BEFORE THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY.
Long, the historian of Jamaica, an authority which few connected with that island will feel disposed to question, writing at a period as remote as 1750, and speaking of a period still more remote, informs his readers that the planters were at that date, and had been for a long time, labouring under the most severe distress. Such was the state of that Island in the palmiest days of slavery, when no legislative measures of the British Parliament had interposed to restrict the despotism of the cow skin, or check the supply of labourwhen wages were unknown, and the liberty, the life, and the industry of the sable cultivator were at the absolute disposal of his white employer-and Africa poured her unhappy children in one unebbing tide upon
But it may be said, that the testimony of a single individual, however respectable, is open to various and grave objections; and that, in no case, is the evidence of a single individual uncorroborated by that of other witnesses, of equal, if not superior credibility, admis
Five years after, we find the Planters of Jamaica harping upon the old string, and complaining in a memorial addressed to his Majesty George III., that-
"The SUGAR PLANTERS call especially for PROTECTION and INTERPOSITION."
"Protection!!!" from what? MONOPOLY swayed in all its heartless and unmitigated rigour. A prohibitory differential duty excluded effectually the sugars not only of foreign countries, but even of our own Oriental possessions, from the British market-the Negro still writhed in hopeless agony beneath the lash of his remorseless master-and the Planter held undisputed rule over all he called his own, animate and inanimate. From whom, from what then did they seek PROTECTION in 1812, and again in 1848? from what but the effects of their own cupidity-their own improvidence-their own forgetfulness of the Christian command TO DO AS THEY WOULD BE DONE EY, in their dealings with those they called their slaves, but spurned as inferiors and degraded below even the level of their dumb brutes.
"The ruin of the original possess rs," continues the same document, "has been GRADUALLY COMPLETED." Such was the declaration solemnly made in 1812-and now, in 1848, after a farther lapse of SIX and THIRTY but with a somewhat varied cause, namely, the ABOLIYEARS the same cry is raised almost in the same words, TION OF SLAVERY, and the DOCTRINES OF FREE TRADE. We reject the petition of the beggar because of the sameness of its complaints with those of former and detected impostors. If the ruin of the West Indies was consummated as the memorial of 1812 would lead us to believe, what farther ruin can be effected in 1848
what farther evils can be apprehended from equal competition with all the world? Are we upon such untrustworthy evidence to retrace our steps-become apostates from our Christianity, and make Britain a by-word among nations--that corn monopolizers may flourish and the planters in the West Indies pursue their reckless game at the expense alike of the toiling producer in Jamaica and the starving consumer at home?"
hordes of fresh Africans, and all the horrors of the old state of things shall be restored.
Now what free importation means we have a fine example of in Mauritius. There 70,000 Coolies who were inveigled over on the plea of wanting free labourers, have been thrown into the most complete slavery, partly under direction of Lord Grey's "Heads of Ordinance,' sent out about a year ago, and partly under that of And what is the real condition of these islands? laws famed in the colony in accordance with these Is it that of ruin and destitution? Nothing of the kind."heads." These ordinances may be adopted in all our The ruin remains just where it always was, with the ab- West Indian colonies, are already so in Guiana and sentee, the extravagant, and unmanaging. If we are to Trinidad, and will no doubt soon be so in all the others. believe the reports and despatches of the Governors to By these regulations, any such immigrant coming into the the Ministers at home, the change from slavery to free-colony is compelled to bind himself to a sugar planter. dom has been most auspicious and encouraging to the He is not allowed to move anywhere without a ticket general property and population of the islands. By the from his master, who may give or withhold it at his Parliamentary Report of 1846, it appears that the popu- pleasure. He can be arrested and imprisoned, and sublation has steadily increased: that the free blacks are jected to penalties and punishments; and the moment ready to work for reasonable wages; and a shilling a any one does manage to get free from a master, he is subday, the ordinary rate, cannot be called unreasonable: ject to a poll-tax of 4s. per month for all above 44 years that they are an industrious, peaceable, loyal, rapidly im- of age, and 2s. for all under, to be paid in advance, proving, and on the whole, thriving and prosperous pea so long as he remains in the colony unengaged to a santry. Lord Elgin writing from Jamaica to Mr. Glad-planter. stone, declared that the results of the change had been most satisfactory; that the black population was most meritorious, and everything was "full of gratification as regarded the past, and of hope for the future." Governor Sir C. G. Grey, writing to Lord Stanley from Barbadoes, declared the island "more genially prosperous than it ever was before." Governor Light, of British Guiana, wrote "I have gone over the greatest part of this province; there is nothing that bespeaks retrogression; new sources of riches are presenting themselves unthought of in former days. The internal prosperity of this colony, as regards the mass, is undoubted." Lieutenant-Governor Campbell, gives the same testimony of St. Vincent's. He says that villages and hamlets of free labourers are springing up everywhere: that the fears regarding the diminution of field labour had proved groundless; that considerable prices are realized for land unfit for the cultivation of sugar; and that the certain benefit to the adjoining estates is obvious from this industrious population.
Slavery is, in fact, fully re-stablish under these abominable regulations; and with nothing short of this will the West Indian be satisfied, if you will only concede to his audacious demands.
Let the people of England, therefore, be awake. Let them resist these daring attempts to undo all that we have paid our twenty millions for, all that we pay eight hundred thousand pounds per annum for. Let every poor man look at his sugar-pot and vow that, out of that shall never rise an infernal spirit in the shape of a tax of 10s. per cwt. on slave-grown sugar, and the permission to import free negroes to blast the rising prospects of their coloured fellow labourers and fellow subjects in the West Indies. Let the people of England remember that the West Indian planters who are asking this power and privilege are no other then the aristocracy in both our houses of parliament. They are the chief proprietors as they are likewise the chief proprietors of Ireland. In both countries they have sown misery, crime, and death, to support their bloated state at home, and will sow them Lieutenant-Colonel Torrens gives the same testimony again, and as long as we, or a retributive Providence regarding St. Lucia-"The enfranchised population is will let them. It is for the people of England now to in a high degree grateful to the British Government, and show that they will no longer be duped by these schemes by their contentment and their orderly conduct, they of combined villainy and despotism. The West Indian vindicate both the policy and the justice of emancipa-property is flourishing when it is in the hands of resition." He declares that their disposition to labour im- dent and industrious people. But the system of abproves, and adds a very important fact. "The rise of a class senteeism and a factitious condition of unnatural splenof small proprietors or farmers is apparent amongst the dour based on the oppression of the labouring million emancipated population. This class of negroes, the must everywhere come to an end. The insidious foe most industrious, has established settlements in many however, so long as in existence will never remain idle. parts of the country hitherto covered with forests, and We spend years and millions to effect a reform, and then yet near enough to permit the negroes at crop time to we are speedily met by some specious manœuvre to resresort to the corn fields. The cultivation improves from tore the abuse. We have won the Ten Hours Bill, and year to year. In good hands, and with sufficient capi- there is an attempt to neutralize it. We have established tal, it appears to realize to the planter an ample return." freedom in the West Indies, and there is an attempt to We could quote many such despatches from other neutralize that. To be defeated after the victory, is islands. Now, therefore, what is really asked for? Why what we have achieved-freedom for the negro, and worse than never to have fought for it. Let us keep simply this. That all this scene of growing prosperity on the part of the labouring population shall be blotted cheap sugar for the white man. We cannot afford to That the lazy and luxurious absentee shall still fight our battles twice over-we have so many others live at the expense of the industrious both here and yet to win for the first time. Let us shew, and that sternly, there. That, on the one hand, a tax shall be levied on that what is once done is done for ever. Down, therethe sugar-pot of the English mechanic, which shall raise fore, with the conspiracy against the Sugar-pot! the profit of the mortgaged estates to this useless and W. H. worthless tribe, and on the other, that permission shall be granted to renew the slave-market under the feigned name of free importation. That this rising class of free blacks shall be crushed. That their wages, now a shilling a day, shall be utterly swamped by importations of