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ing, were worth nothing; the whole value lying in the human stock. By the marvellous and infatuated grant of twenty millions sterling, this country bought the stock, without taking those lands and buildings which the proprietors were so ready to throw in as a makeweight to any other purchaser. At that time these were worth nothing. What have they been worth since? The estates without the slaves have been universally worth as much as the slaves and estates together! That is to say, the act of emancipation has doubled the real property of West India proprietors. It has first of all put the value of their estates as they were into their pockets in hard cash, by purchasing the only element of them which had any value, the slaves; and it has then, by a sort of magic, created a new value, of at least equal amount, in the lands and buildings, which before had no value at all. When to this we add, that, generally speaking, land in the West Indies has had a rising value ever since emancipation, and is rising still, we cannot but think it fully manifest that this act of justice is working as well for the planter as the laborer. On this point let us again hear Mr. Gurney.
• There can be no better testimony in Jamaica on this subject than that of A. B. He assured me that landed property in that island now, without the slaves, is worth its full former value including the slaves, during the times of depression which preceded the act of emancipation. It has found its bottom, has risen, and is still gradually rising. believe in my conscience,' says Dr. Stewart, that property in Jamaica, without the slaves, is as valuable as it formerly was with them. I believe its value would be doubled by sincerely turning away from all relics of slavery, to the honest free working of a free system.”
-Ib. pp. 156, 157.
The value of land, however, is but another name for the value of labor. Land which is to be cultivated is worth nothing where there are no hands to cultivate it; and it reaches a higher value according to the facility of obtaining suitable labor. To say that estates fetch a good and rising price, is to say that there is no want of labor for the cultivation of them. Here is proof, therefore, that there has been no scarcity of labor in the West Indies. The market for estates could not have been so good, if the market for labor had been really bad. The one exactly reflects the other. And the rising value of estates, like a mirror, exhibits, with unquestionable fidelity, the general and willing industry of the emancipated peasantry. How well sagacious West Indians knew this, and for what reason merry England was made to ring with the clamor of planters' ruin, may be gathered from the following statement of Mr. Grant, the stipendiary magistrate before referred to, on the 10th of June, 1839.
I have remarked that the persons who are loudest in proclaiming the deplorable state of the country, are the very persons who grasp most firmly the property they have in it, and, if they have the means, are most willing to purchase more. This may be honest. They may be doing this without any sinister motive. I know of one of them who purchased a property about three years ago. He was lately offered nearly treble the amount he gave for it. Did he take it? No; but in the same breath he would assert that the country was ruined.'—Extracts, p. 176.
be asked how the view we have given can be reconciled with the falling off of the supply of sugar, by which the country, for the last eighteen months, has suffered so much. Nothing is more easy; inasmuch as it is demonstrable that the deficiency has not arisen from emancipation. It has followed emancipation, it is true; but this is through the simultaneous operation of those other causes to which it is really to be referred. To prove, however, what we have asserted. We suppose it will be allowed, that whatever has resulted from emancipation should be found in all the emancipated colonies; like causes producing, in similar circumstances, like effects. defective cultivation of sugar had arisen from the release of the slaves, it should have appeared wherever slaves had been released; that is to say, the sugar crop should have fallen off in all the colonies. Our readers perhaps will ask, Did it not do so? We answer, decidedly not. In only two, out of the whole number, was there a short crop; these were British Guiana and Jamaica. Why there was a short crop there is of no consequence to the argument; we affirm that nothing more absurd or more fraudulent was ever attempted, than to construe a deficiency of sugar from two colonies into proof of deficient labor in a score. In all the rest there was as much
made as usual, in some of them more; and the inference is irrefragable, that the causes of the deficiency, where it has existed, are not general (as the influence of emancipation must have been) but local.
Although it is not necessary to the validity of this argument that we should specify the sources of the local deficiency, we will say a word on this subject in passing. The manufacture of sugar is extensively affected by variations of the seasons, and rapid changes of productiveness occur, between a widely separated maximum and minimum quantity. In 1838 and 1839, British Guiana suffered from excessive drought; and no possible increase of labor, or industry of laborers, could have made a large crop of sugar.
of sugar. Hence (we take the statement from Mr. Morson's pamphlet, p. 34), while the produce of 1835 was 107,586,405 lbs.; that of 1838 was 77,052,737 lbs.; and that of 1839, 47,522,000. lbs. On the authority of private letters given in the Colonial Gazette (an unexceptionable authority) of the 6th of January last, we learn that the present season is highly favorable, and that the crop is expected to exceed 40,000 hhds. Now, we may reckon this at about 900,000 cwt., or 100,800,000 lbs.; an extraordinary increase on the last two years of drought, and a near approximation to the large produce of 1835. More recent accounts, some of them from official sources, confirm the highly productive character of the present season in Guiana, and the remarkable general prosperity of the colony.
In Jamaica, the cause of the deficiency was not so much in the temper of the heavens, as in that of the planters. The untameable perverseness which set the House of Assembly in such ludicrous opposition to the home government, diffused itself through almost the entire resident plantocracy, under the form of a determination not to accommodate themselves to the new system. Modes of oppression and vexation without end were resorted to, in order either to coerce labor, or to get it without paying the market price for it; and the consequence was, that the laborers did just what any Englishman would have done with his produce of any kind, they took the article to market no longer, but consumed it themselves. Such was the opinion which Mr. Gurney formed on the spot.
• Now, so far as this decrease of produce is connected with the change of system, it is obviously to be traced to a corresponding diminution in the quantity of labor. But here comes the critical question -the real turning point. To what is this diminution in the quantity of labor owing? I answer deliberately, but without reserve, Mainly to causes which class under slavery, and not under freedom.' It is, for the most part, the result of those impolitic attempts to force the labor of freemen, which have disgusted the peasantry, and have led to the desertion of many of the estates.'— Winter in the West Indies, p. 172.
For the peasantry themselves nothing could have been happier. The insane system of oppression weaned them from their fond attachment to the old dens of cruelty, and originated a system of independent location, under which free villages are already adorning, like gems, the bosom of the Isle of Springs. Late accounts inform us that the peasantry in Jamaica are
working better. The meaning of this is that the planters are behaving better. We shall very gladly forget the errors, which we hope they are rapidly abandoning.
We cannot close this branch of our subject without saying that the ground we have taken respecting the results of emancipation, is both extraordinarily and unnecessarily high. Emancipation would have been triumphantly successful, even if it had not been so good a money speculation. The principle that, if the staple produce of the West Indies should be diminished, emancipation would be a failure, we have no sympathy with. No virtuous mind can be content to weigh the happiness of mankind against hogsheads of sugar and puncheons of rum. On this point we quote with great pleasure a passage from the pamphlet of Dr. Channing.
What is the great end of civilized society? Not coffee and sugar ; not the greatest possible amount of mineral, vegetable, and animal productions ; but the protection of the rights of all its members. The sacrifice of rights, especially of the dearest and most sacred, to increase of property is one of the most flagrant crimes of the social state. That every man should have his due, not that a few proprietors should riot on the toil, sweat, and blood of the many: this is the great design of the union of men into communities. Emancipation was not meant to increase the crops, but to restore to human beings their birthright, to give to every man the free use of his powers for his own and others good.
• What matters it that the staples of the West Indies are diminished ? Do the people there starve ? Are they driven by want to robbery? Has the negro passed from the hands of the overseer into those of the hangman? We learn from Mr. Gurney that the prophecies of ruin to the West Indies are fulfilled chiefly in regard to the prisons. These are in some places falling to decay, and everywhere have fewer inmates. And what makes this result more striking is, that, since emancipation, many offences formerly punished summarily by the master on the plantation, now fall under the cognizance of the magistrate, and are, of course, punishable by imprisonment. Do the freed slaves want clothing? Do rags form the standard of emancipation ? We hear not only of decent apparel, but are told that negro vanity, hardly surpassed by that of the white dandy, suffers nothing from want of decoration or fashionable attire. There is not a sign that the people fare the worse for freedom. Enough is produced to give subsistence to an improved and cheerful population; and what more can we desire? In our sympathy with the rich proprietor shall we complain of a change which has secured to every man his rights, and to thousands, once trodden under foot, the comforts of life and the means of intellectual and moral progress ? Is it nothing that the old unfurnished hut of the slave is in many spots giving place to the comfortable cottage? Is it nothing that in these cottages marriage is an indissoluble tie?-that the mother presses her child to her heart as indeed her own? Is it nothing that churches are springing up, not from the donations of the opulent, but from the hard earnings of the religious poor? What if a few owners of sugar estates export less VOL. IX.
than formerly? Are the many always to be sacrificed to the few ? Suppose the luxuries of the splendid mansion to be retrenched. Is it no compensation that the comforts of the laborer’s hut are increased ? Emancipation was resisted on the ground that the slave, if restored to his rights, would fall into idleness and vagrancy, and even relapse into barbarism. But the emancipated negro discovers no indifference to the comforts of civilized life.' He has wants various enough to keep him in action. His standard of living has risen. He desires a better lodging, dress, and food. He has begun too to thirst for accumulation. As Mr. Gurney says, ' he understands his interests as well as a Yankee.' He is more likely to fall into the civilized man's cupidity than into the sloth and filth of a savage. Is it an offset for all these benefits that the custom-house reports a diminution of the staples of slavery ?'-- Emancipation, pp. 18, 21.
Language like this would have been a sufficient vindication of a great measure of justice and humanity, under far different circumstances than those which have actually arisen. The issue, as it really appears, furnishes a new proof of the axiom, that what is morally wrong can never be politically right, Gratitude and joy may be abundantly cherished, while we read the following sketch by Mr. Gurney of the state of Jamaica, applicable as it no doubt is to the British West Indies at large.
In the mean time, the imports of the island are rapidly increasing; trade improving ; the towns thriving ; new villages rising in every direction; property much enhanced in value ; well-managed estates, productive and profitable ; expenses of management diminished; short methods of labor adopted; provisions cultivated on a larger scale than ever; and the people, wherever they are properly treated, industrious, contented, and gradually accumulating wealth. Above all
, education is rapidly spreading; the morals of the community improving ; crime in many districts disappearing; and Christianity asserting her sway, with vastly augmented force, over the mass of the population. Cease from all attempts to oppose the current of justice and mercy-remove every obstruction to the fair and full working of freedom—and the bud of Jamaica's prosperity, already fragrant and vigorous, will soon burst into a glorious flower.'— Winter in the West Indies, pp. 173, 174.
In such a state of things as it has been our happiness to describe, one might have expected a chorus of universal gratulation and joy. The croakers, however, have still been busy in their vocation, and with them the covetous, who, by a modification of a well known maxim, are determined to think nothing gained while another shilling may be added to their wealth. We are told that a crying evil now exists in the West Indies, namely, a want of labor; and that there is no cure for it but a copious and continual immigration. Strong appeals have been