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frequently ravaged by Indian enemies, more especially that of South Carolina, which in the late war was laid waste with fire and sword ; and great number of the English inhabitants miserably massacred, and our loving subjects, who now inhabit there, by reason of the smallness of their numbers, will, in case of any new war, be exposed to the like calamity, inasmuch as their whole southern frontier continueth unsettled, and lieth open to the said savages.
“And whereas we think it highly becoming our crown and royal dignity to protect all our loving subjects, be they. never so distant from us: To extend our fatherly compassion even to the meanest and most unfortunate of our people, and to relieve the wants of our above-mentioned poor subjects; and that it will be highly conducive for accomplishing these ends, that a regular colony of the said poor people be settled and established in the southern frontier of Carolina.
“ Know ye,” &c.
By this Preamble it appears, that the chief purposes, for which the charter was granted, were a subsistence for those, who were indigent at home, and consequently a burden on the public; and making a barrier for South Carolina, which had suffered, and lay still exposed to danger by the smallness of the number of her English inhabitants.
If a great number of negroes could have made South Carolina secure, she would not have wanted such a barrier, for she is computed to have at least forty thousand blacks, whilst the white people are not above five thousand; and these (by the large portions of land being in the possession of but few persons) at too great a distance from one another for the public safety.
The greater number of blacks, which a frontier has, and the greater the disproportion is between them and her white people, the more danger she is liable to; for those are all secret enemies, and ready to join with her open ones upon the first occasion. So far from putting any confidence in them, her first step must be to secure herself against them.
Georgia therefore was designed to be a new frontier, and that she might be well stocked with white inhabitants, who by their property could only add a strength to it, his Majesty in the charter restrained the Trustees from granting more
than five hundred acres of land either entirely, or in parcels to, or for the use of, or in trust for any one person.
To each of the poor, who were sent from hence, and who were provided with every thing at the expense of the Trust, no more than fifty acres have hitherto been granted. This quantity, if well cultivated, would yield not only a comfortable, but handsome subsistence, but would not enable him to maintain a number of negroes.
In other colonies the planter being well stocked with them, can afford to purchase wives for his negroes, and their "increase adds to his property. He can stay for the growth of their children before they are fit to labor; he can dispense with the mother's neglecting to work, while she attends her infants; but the white man in Georgia cannot be able to feed the negro, his wife, and the child or children, when perhaps the first is the only one from whom he receives any profit.
If it is thought that one male negro will be sufficient for each white man, the value of an unseasoned negro's life cannot be computed at more than seven years purchase. The price of a negro when delivered in America, is from twenty-five to thirty pounds sterling; at whose expense then must the first and continued cost of them be? If, at the expense of the Trust, there would be no end of it; for the white man would be more careless of his negro, and if he should want at any time an immediate supply for any necessities, he would sell his slave, at perhaps half the value to a purchaser in South Carolina, then pretend he had run away from him, and would demand a new one. This would require such a supply from the public, as might justly occasion great murmuring, even though the parliament should condescend to grant it
. If the negro is to be purchased at the expense of the planter, when and how will he be enabled to pay for him ?
for him ? He sets out poor, and unprovided of every thing, but land and tools; with a family which will require some time to gain a subsistence for; if then he cannot lay down the purchase money, he must take him upon credit from the negro merchant, to satisfy whom, he must make over the profits of his labor, by which he will become dispirited; or he must mortgage his land, by which the country will soon lose many of her inhabitants. In our other colonies the plantations are made by persons who set out with a sufficient stock of wealth to purchase a number of
slaves, and who can afford to keep white servants to inspect their labor, and force them to it. But let it be supposed, that the poor man in Georgia can be able, after some time, to purchase two negroes; he cannot maintain however a white servant merely to inspect them ; his whole time must be employed in watching them, in order to oblige them to work, to prevent their running away, or to secure himself and his family from danger against them; consequently the province will reap no benefit from his own labor; and if he finds them idle, he will be afraid to correct them, when he knows how easily they may overpower him. If he has but one negro, he will have little profit from his service ; for he must be under the same obligation, and be always at hand to watch him for his own security, and force him to work. Perhaps it is imagined, that by gentle usage the negro may be made a trusty servant; this cannot be depended on. Every man is naturally fond of 'liberty, and he will struggle for it when he knows his own strength, when he sees this is equal, at least very inferior to his master's. But let it be granted, that the white man is not under a necessity of watching his slaves; he will think it hard however to be obliged to work as much himself
, and will contract an unwillingness to do it ; so that as he at most can maintain but one or two, the labor of the black may be gained, but that of the white will on the other hand be lost.
Nine parts in ten of the inhabitants of the province are freeholders of only fifty acre lots. As therefore, by the inability of the planter, and the smallness of his plantation, the number of negroes cannot be much greater than the number of white men; the want of them is much better supplied by servants from Germany, and other places in Europe. These serve for a term of years, and then are entitled to lots themselves, upon a certificate from their master of their good behavior. The planter pays nothing when he first receives one of these servants, but for the passage of him. His whole expense consists in his food, (whích likewise the negro must have,) and in some few clothes, which need not be costly. The master can have a greater confidence in them, than he can possibly have in his slaves. The servants will have no temptation to run away; from the hopes of a property they will be more industrious, and when they attain this, each man of them adds a strength to the colony.
Besides, the produces, which are to be raised in Georgia, do not require the labor of negroes. In other plantations these are necessary. Sugar, rice, and tobacco are works of hardship and fatigue; and perhaps it would be impossible to get white people from any parts of Europe, who would sustain the labor of them. But silk, cotton, cochineal, and the other designed produces of the colony, stand only in need of a careful and tender management. They are works rather of nicety than labor, especially where the culture of the land is so easy. The making of wine will perhaps be the work of the greatest fatigue, and yet we see by France, Portugal, and other parts of Europe, that it requires no negroes to carry it on.
It may probably be said, as Carolina admits negroes, if Georgia does not, the former by having so much greater a number of people, will soon be able to raise much more silk than her younger sister. To this it is answered, if she should undertake it upon the prospect of its success in Georgia, Georgia would lose nothing by it, and Great Britain would reap the advantages of the emulation, who could take off a greater quantity of raw silk than both those colonies could produce, and without interfering with the importation of it, either from China, or Turkey, this last especially being of a different sort, and for different uses. Therefore though Carolina might exceed Georgia in the quantity raised, this last however would be sure of a market for hers also; and although the province might not in general be so rich, every private man in it would reap a sufficient profit.
It is lastly to be considered, how much negroes would affect the safety of the province in general, and the individual inhabitants of it, as being so much nearer to the Spaniards. South Carolina, though at a greater distance, has often and lately found by experience that the Spaniards at Augustine will, even in time of peace, invite her negroes to them, with promises of liberty, and encouragement by giving them tracts of land to cultivate for their own use. The introduction of negroes into Georgia would therefore furnish a constant subject of contention, and would perpetually endanger the peace (when subsisting) between the two crowns of Great Britain and Spain : for our court could not but resent their enticing away and protecting our slaves; and the court of Spain would pretend it to be extremely difficult, if not
impossible, to prevent their people at Augustine doing it. Then in a time of war, as at present, or upon the least appearance of one, the Spaniards would, as they have lately done in South Carolina, use all their arts, and neglect no promises to draw them off. And the negroes would undoubtedly fly from a certain slavery, to liberty, and a better treatment. What therefore does the planter in Georgia do by purchasing a negro ? He lays himself under difficulties to raise the means of doing it; and when he has got him, he cannot be sure of his continuance with him for a day, and at his own expense he strengthens the enemy.
If a wealthy planter in other colonies loses a slave, he loses only the cost of him, as he can easily purchase another; but the poor man in Georgia, would lose, with his slave, his whole strength, and the work of his plantation would be at a stand, as it likewise would upon the death, or even sickness of the negro; and when the planter dies himself, if he leaves a widow with perhaps two or three small children, their danger must be very great from the negro; they not only have no power to prevent his flying `away, but have no security for their own lives against him, being in a manner absolutely at his mercy.
It has been lately seen in Jamaica, and Antigua, how apt the slaves are to rise against their masters, upon every opportunity ; yet they had no foreign power to receive and protect them. All they could have in view was, either to conquer or die, or betake themselves to the woods, where they must live in continual warfare with the white people. Before they could effect this, their design must be general, and must be communicated to so many, as would make it improbable to be kept secret. But in Georgia, where there is only a river to pass, the negro may run away with safety, without discovering his mind to any others, if his master leaves his plantation but half a day, nay if he does not watch or secure him even in the night.
It may perhaps be said, that the insurrection of negroes in Jamaica and Antigua have been owing to the disproportion of their numbers, which is more than will be necessary in Georgia : to which is replied, if there is not a much greater number of negroes than of white men in Georgia, the end in having them will not be answered, and if there is, there can be no safety for this province, where even an equality of them would make them dangerous.