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cannot be assailed with any evil consequence to their credit. The way in which the expense of a slave may be ascertained most fairly seems to be this,-to find out the annual sum which, in the average term of the productive service of a slave, will liquidate the cost of his purchase, rearing, and support in old age, if he survive the capacity for labour, together with interest, and the sum yearly expended in his maintenance. This being laid down as the principle of the inquiry, Mr. Conder proceeds to appeal to the experience of those who have had the best opportunities of observing the condition of the slaves.
A Russian political economist, named Storch, who had attentively examined the system of slavery established in the Muscovite empire, has published a valuable account of the results of his inquiries, The slave, according to the views of this writer, in consequence of having none of the stimuli which arise from the consciousness of working for one's self, and the hope of improving one's condition, becomes a mere machine, and will be found dogged and exceed-. ingly intractable. The necessary result is, that the slave works as little as he can; he has no motive to urge him to sacrifice his natural indolence; he cannot better himself by superior industry, and cannot be injured by indulging in idleness. Make him a free labourer, says Storch, and pay him by the piece, and he will often continue cheerfully working even until his health is a loser. It is well observed by the same writer, that when the people of the Roman States cultivated the lands themselves, Italy was the seat of abundance; but that one of the most remarkable coincidences which occurs in the moral history of that people was, that after slaves had been almost exclusively entrusted with the care of the soil, then its agriculture seriously degenerated. So completely changed was the former character of that fine country, that in process of time no land was devoted almost to tillage at all; it was laid down in meadows, as a condition most congenial to an indolent race; and the inhabitants of a great portion of Italy were under the necessity of seeking, for a considerable period, their provisions from beyond the sea. Shortly before this national catastrophe occurred, the small proprietors and working farmers altogether disappeared from the Roman territory, which ultimately became converted from a land of plenty, and of smiling facés, into a vast desart, with miserable cabins and caves in which the slaves resided, whilst here and there a magnificent palace was built, as if, by contrast, to mark with greater force the degradation of the agricultural interests. The words of Pliny are sufficiently striking on this point. Speaking of the early days of the republic, the historian declares that the harvests were plentiful only because in those times men of consular dignity did not disdain that plough which, in his own time, was foolishly abandoned to slaves chained, and bearing on their foreheads the ignominious brand. Pliny goes on to say, that the superiority of free labourers over slaves even was acknowledged by the
Roman masters of the latter; and the historian Columella has supplied to Pliny a very important passage, in which the former describes the perverseness and negligence of the slaves.
Coxe, in his Travels in Poland, has shown the advantages which have resulted from their freedom being granted to the serfs of the north of Europe, and relates an account of an enfranchisement of six villages, in the palatinate of Mesovia, in 1761, generously effected by Zamoiski, formerly a chancellor. In the ten years preceding the year of liberty, the births in these villages amounted to 434; in the first ten years after the era of enfranchisement they were 628; and the increase was gradual. The revenues of these villages have since increased to such a pitch as to treble what they forinerly produced; and the inhabitants now provide themselves with all the implements which the chancellor was first obliged to bestow upon them; and they now (1777) pay, with cheerfulness, an annual rent, in lieu of the manual labour to which they were condemned under their old regime. This example was followed by the vice-chancellor of Lithuania, by the Abbe Bryzolowski, by Prince Stanislaus; and, in each instance, with the most marked success. The following additional testimonials are extracted from the works of authors, whose names will at once announce the nature of their pretensions :
“It requires little argument to prove," remarks Mr. Brougham,* " that the quantity of work which may be obtained from a labourer or drudge, is liable to be affected as much by the injurious treatment he receives, as by the idleness in which he may be permitted to indulge. When this drudge is a slave, no motive but fear can operate on his diligence and attention. A constant inspection is, therefore, absolutely necessary, and a perpetual terror of the lash, the only prevention of indolence. But there are certain bounds prescribed, even to the power of the lash. It may force the unhappy victim to move, because the line of distinction between motion and rest, action and repose, is definite; but no punishment can compel the labourer to strenuous exertions, because there is no measure or standard of activity. A state of despair, and not of industry, is the never failing consequence of severe chastisement; and the constant repetition of the torture only serves to blunt the sensibility of the nerves, and to disarm the punishment of its terrors. The body is injured, and the mind becomes as little willing as the limbs are able to exert.”
Hume remarks ;, “ I shall add from the experience of our planters, that slavery is as little advantageous to the master as to the man. The fear of punishment will never draw so much labour from a slave, as the dread of being turned off, and not getting another service, will give a free man.”
Burke observes, in his treatise on European settlements : "I am the more convinced of the necessity of these indulgences, as slaves certainly cannot go through so much work as free men. The mind goes a great way in every thing; and when a man knows that his labour is for himself, and that the more he labours, the more he is to acquire, this consciousness carries him through, and supports him beneath fatigues, under which he would otherwise have sunk."!
* In his work on Colonial Policy.
“ That the proprietors of the West India estates,” observes Dr. Beattie, “would be in any respect materially injured by employing free servants (if these could be had) in their several manufactures, is highly improbable, and has indeed been absolutely denied by those who are well informed on this subject. A clergyman of Virginia assured me, that a white man does double the work of a slave; which will not seem wonderful, if we consider that the former works for himself, and the latter for another : that by law, one is protected, the other oppressed ; and that in the articles of food and clothing, relaxation and rest, the free man has innumerable advantages. It may, therefore, be presumed, that if all who serve in the colonies were free, the same work would be performed by half the number, which is now performed by the whole. The very soil becomes more fertile under the hands of free men. So says an intelligent French author, (Le Poivre,) who, after observing that the products of Cochin China are the same in kind with those of the West Indies, but of better quality, and in greater abundance, gives for a reason, that the former are cultivated by free men, and the latter by slaves ;' and therefore argues, that the negroes beyond the Atlantic ought to be made free. “The earth,' he says 'which multiplies her productions with profusion under the hands of a free-born labourer, seems to shrink into barrenness under the sweat of the slave'."
“It is an ill grounded opinion,” says Franklin, in his Essay on the Peo-pling of Countries, “that by the labour of slaves, America may possible vie in cheapness of manufactures with Great Britain. The labour of slaves can never be so cheap here, as the labour of working men in Great Britain. Any one may compute it. Reckon, then, the interest of the first purchase of a slave, the insurance or risk on his life, his clothing and diet, expenses in his sickness and loss of time, loss by his neglect of business, (neglect which is natural to the man who is not to be benefited by his own care or diligence) expense of a driver to keep him at work, and his pilfering from time to time, (almost every slave being, from the nature of slavery, a thief) and compare the whole amount with the wages of a manufacturer of iron or wool, in England: you will see that labour is much cheaper there, than it ever can be by negroes here."
Koster, in his travels in the Brazils, observes : “ the slave-trade is impolitic, on the broad principle, that a man in a state of bondage will not be so serviceable to the community as one who acts for himself, and whose whole exertions are directed to the advancement of his own fortune ; the creation of which, by regular means, adds to the general prosperity of the society to which he belongs. This undoubted and indisputable fact must be still more strongly impressed on the mind of every one who has been in the habit of seeing the manner in which slaves perform their daily labour. The indifference and extreme slowness of every movement, plainly point out the trifling interest which they have in the advancement of the work. I have watched two parties labouring in the same field, one of free persons, the other of slaves; which occasionally, though very seldom, occurs.
The former are singing, joking, and laughing, and are always actively turning hand and foot; whilst the latter are silent, and if they are viewed from a little distance, their movements are scarcely to be perceived."
The same evidence is given by a great many other authorities deserving of credit ; we may mention, in particular, Dr. Dickson,
resident-secretary in Barbadoes of the Hon. Edward Hay, the governor of that island. This gentleman mixes up, in his argument on this subject, a calculation made under the guidance of Coulomb, a French mathematician, who for many years conducted military works. The experience of the Frenchman has satisfied him that field slaves do only between a third and a half of the work despatched by reluctant French soldiers, and probably not more than a third of what those very slaves would do, if urged by their own interest, instead of brute force. The evidence of Mr. Cooper, president of South Carolina—that state in the general Union where slavery is most firmly established-seems to us quite decisive as to the fact of slave labour being the dearest. This gentleman thinks that a negro, all hazards included, and all earnings deducted, will cost, at the age of twenty-one, to the person who raises him, at the very least, five hundred dollars.
To these citations many more are added by the author, to the same purpose ; and the whole appears to us to constitute a body of evidence such as it would require great fortitude to resist. The inferences to which this united testimony inevitably leads are, that what with the idleness of the slaves, and the possees of overseers, not only is slave labour greatly dearer than free labour, but that no profit can be derived from it, unless the increase of the slave population be kept down.
The first question being determined in the manner we have just seen, the second question next comes to be resolved-namely, can free labour be applied to the countries of the cane ? An obvious answer, our author says, occurs at once to this interrogatory, which is, that it is notorious that the sugar grown by slave labour cannot compete, in cheapness, with that grown by free labour, which is precisely the case with the East Indian sugar. In Java, Cochin China, China itself, in Mexico, and in some parts of South America, as we learn from Baron Humboldt, sugar is raised by free labourers : and, on many occasions, the cultivation of the cane is transferred deliberately from slaves to free labourers. There would appear, then, to be, in the present policy of England—which shuts out, by duties, the East Indian sugar, and encourages that of the West Indies—an attempt to contradict nature ; to oppose a natural process, and that, too, in a manner which is itself bad and destructive. The maintenance of the unhealthy colonies of the West Indies, as an attractive residence for persons of this country, has been one grand source of mortality to our people. The loss in the regiments, every season, is still quite terrific; and, independently of that loss, the expense of keeping so large a force as is usually stationed there, forms a very prominent item in the burdens of the country. The mortality which has prevailed amongst the slaves in the West Indian islands may be judged of from the fact, that, in 160 years, ending in 1786, two millions one hundred and thirty thousand Africans were imported into those of Great
Britain : but yet, when the slave population was counted in 1788, the total number in the islands was found to be no more than a fifth of the above number. Mr. Stephen, we remember, stated that the mortality of slaves in Martinique, since the peace, amounted to five times as many as were killed in the Duke of Wellington's wars, from the era of his landing in Spain until the battle of Waterloo.
Mr. Conder seems to us to have settled the second question with as complete success as he has disposed of the first, and to have shown, that not only is free labour applicable to the cultivation of the sugar cane, but that, in case of a competition being instituted between the free labourers and the slaves, the former would beat the latter very speedily out of the field.
The third and last point to be determined is this :-is it possible to secure a regular supply of free labour in the sugar colonies, in the event of abolishing slavery in these colonies ? The answer to this question is properly to be sought for in the history of such slaves as have received their freedom; and thus our attention is at once turned to the inquiry, what has been the conduct of these slaves after their freedom has been granted to them? We therefore present a case of this nature to the reader, in order to enable him to form a judgment upon the negro character, so far as it relates to his disposition to industry :
The first remarkable case we shall adduce, is that of Sir Charles Price, who is stated to have been in the practice of setting free the best negro he had, every bith-day, on the condition that he should continue to live with him, and continue in the same employment, and receive a certain salary all the year round. This case is mentioned in the evidence of Sir M. Clare, M.D., (a pro-slavery witness,) who resided, with occasional absences, thirty years in Jamaica, between 1798 and 1831, and who thinks that emancipation would lead only to vice! His reluctant admissions in the following examination are therefore the more striking. He is asked whether he thinks Sir Charles Price's practice was attended with a good effect? He replies :
“ It was attended with an excellent effect; none of them became licentious or idle negroes, but were imitated by every negro that could contrive to come in for the prize the next birth-day; and probably it would have gone on but for his death.
Was he a resident proprietor? - Yes.
How do you account for his example not being followed ?-He was very rich, and was able to bear the expense; at the same time I should state that he found the whole of his negroes improved ultimately. After his death, his property got into debt, and they could not afford to keep it up.
According to that account, he gave up nothing ?--No; he actually increased his interest.
His property was advantaged ?-Yes; but he lived in a very profuse way, and when he died, his affairs were found to be dilapidated, as far as that went; but as far as this operated, they were improved.
Did his debts arise from this emancipation ?-I conceive not.