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maculate country is unsullied? I have Slave-trade, and shall we smile with not so forgotten the nature of our complacency on slavery itself? Shall own colonial bondage, nor the me- we, the younger sons of our highly lancholy fact that Britons first in- favoured island, glorious in arts
and troduced slavery on these western arms, resplendent with literature and shores.
science, but yet more resplendent Is it, then, to place her capital in with the flame of philanthropy, and humiliating contrast with the metro- most of all with the bright light of polis of my native land? I can Christianity,—shall we deem it suffisee. no distinction in principle be- cient to glow with admiration of tween selling a gang of Negroes the labours of our illustrious comin the city of Washington, and ex. patriots, instead of stretching forecuting in the city of London a bill ward to catch their mantle, imbibe of sale
of a similar gang in our own their spirit, and humbly, but resoWest India islands.
lutely, follow up their work? Is it then to stigmatise slave-holders If to reduce the African to slavery in general, as lax in their moral prin- was a violation of his natural rights, ciples, savage in their dispositions, to hold him in bondage one moment and dead to every feeling of justice longer than is necessary to prepare and humanity? Nothing is farther him for freedom, is to perpetuate and from my intention than to insinuate participate in the injustice. And what an imputation so belied by facts. though the sacrifice should be a costly Among those who have the misfor- one, and the task of emancipation tune to be slave-holders, I can num- perplexing and difficult ? no sacrifice ber some of the most enlightened is so costly as the sacrifice of justice and benevolent individuals it has and humanity; no expectation more ever been my lot to know. And unfounded and puerile than that of were it otherwise, can I forget that returning without pain and effort General Washington was a Virginian from the dark and devious labyrinths slave-holder?
of error. Why, then, do I enter into these
“ Facilis descensus Averni ; sad details? why but to disclose to Sed revocare gradum superasque evadere you the innate deformity of slavery
ad auras, itself, the evils inherent in its very
Hoc opus; hic labor est nature; to exhibit to your view the But even if principle did not redark aspect which it assumes, and quire the sacrifice, an enlightened the horrid atrocities which it gives view of self-interest would suggest birth to, even under a government it. If the Gordian knot be not pre-eminently free; in the bosom untied, it will be cut. “ I tremble of a young and enlightened people, for my country,” said the late Preand in the broad daylight and sun- sident, Mr. Jefferson ; “ I tremble shine of benign and liberal institu- for my country, when I reflect that tions. And is this a system which God is just.” England and America, pre-eminent And who that views with a disamong the nations, can justify and passionate eye the state of our West uphold ? Is this a system which they İndia colonies, and of the slaveare willing to perpetuate? Is this holding states of America, can imaa system which in our day and ge- gine that the present system of things neration, a day and generation of there can be of very long duration. Bible Societies and Missionary So- That emancipation is a most difficieties, we can be content to hand cult and perplexing problem I readown to posterity without one note dily admit; but that it is visionary of reprobation, one evidence of con- and impracticable no one can maintrition, one step towards its ultimate, tain who believes slavery to be at even though remote, extinction? Do variance with the laws of our Creawe glory in having abolished our tor, and obedience to his laws the
duty of his creatures. And are there to compel one class of individuals no instances on record to prove its to atone for the injustice of a nation. practicability? none in the cotem- But the planters may, and ought, poraneous history of the South Ame- to be required to adopt such plans rican provinces? none in the an- for improving the social, moral, and nals of the United States? none in intellectual condition of their Slaves, the gradual revolutions of society as may, and will, facilitate their in Europe ? none in the progress of ultimate emancipation. That much liberty in Great Britain herself? remains to be done in this respect in
In the New England States, once America, is evident from the facts polluted with slavery, not a trace I have detailed, from a cursory now remains of that odious system ; glance at the Code Noir, and from and even so long since as the year the general neglect and discourage1770, in a suit on the part of several ment (not, however, without many Slaves in Massachussetts against exceptions) of education and relitheir masters for their freedom, and for gious instruction among the Negroes. wages for past services, the Negroes That still more remains to be done obtained a verdict, which gave a in our own West-India islands, is death-blow to slavery there. In evident from the non-increase, or New York and Pennsylvania, eman- scarcely perceptible increase, of the cipation has been proceeding sys- numbers of the Negroes, while in tematically for years, and in three the country from which I am writor four years the fixed period will ing, in a climate much less favourarrive when it will be complete. In able, and in occupations at least as other parts of America, slavery ex- deleterious, they multiply at the rate hibits itself in those intermediate of three to five per cent. per annum. and transitive states, which are at The annual returns now making once a gradual approach to freedom, will shew the precise ratio. and an excellent preparation for it. Last Sunday at the church (till
In England, slavery, which once lately there was no church here), two blackened her fair fields, “ was not Methodist ministers from Ohio ploughed up by revolution, or mown preached, having stopped here on down by the scythe of legislative their way down the river to New abolition, but was plucked up, stalk Orleans with produce. At the close by stalk, by the progressive hand of the service one of them rose, and of private and voluntary enfran- said, that they did not come there chisement. Slavery ceased in Eng- to interfere with the institutions of land only because the last Slave at society, or to excite commotion or length obtained his manumission, confusion, but that it was their wish or died without a child. Why, then, to address the Black population in should not the future extinction of the evening, if the planters should slavery in the colonies be accom- make no objection; that they knew plished by the same happy means it would not be generally agreeable which formerly put an end to it in to the planters, but they called upon England—namely, by a benign, them solemnly to consider the though insensible, revolution in opi- dreadful responsibility they would nions and manners; by the encou- incur if they prevented their Negroes ragement of particular manumis- from hearing the message sent by sions, and the progressive meliora- our gracious Creator to the whole tion of the condition of the Slaves, family of the human race. A deep till it should slide insensibly into silence followed, no planter opposed, freedom? ” Not that the planters and, to the surprise of many preshould be required to manumit their sent, the ministers were allowed to Negroes, especially on a sudden, preach to the Slaves. without compensation. It would be I lately saw in the newspapers a robbery, under the garb of mercy, notice from the mayor of one of the
principal cities in the South, present- and fifteen cents per lb., when the ing an extract from the law which value is reduced one half, may afprohibits the instruction of Slaves, ford him the average prices of stock expressing his regret to observe that in the country in which he resides, this law had been infringed upon in as certainly as thirty cents before several instances lately, by teaching the reduction. The expense of the Slaves to read and write ; and clothing the Negroes is almost the declaring his intention to inflict the only element in the cost of producpenalty if the offence should be re- tion of cotton, which does not follow peated. And yet in the Northern its fluctuations in value, and this is States among the most astonishing too insignificant to require notice. objects which I saw were the schools Could land and Negroes, therefore, in which some hundreds of free Black in any particular country be apAfricans were receiving the elements plied to no other purpose than of a somewhat liberal education, the production of the subsistence and where they exhibited both in- of the labourer and of cotton, the dustry and intelligence.
planter might afford to sell his cotI am sure I shall not have wearied, ton, or, in other words, have an inhowever muchImayhave afflicted you, ducement to cultivate it, at any price with the foregoing communications; (three or four cents, for instance) at but it is time I should now turn which his crop would leave a surto other subjects. You ask me to plus after paying the expense of inform you at what price a planter clothing his Negroes; a sale of his can afford to sell his cotton. To land and Negroes being on this supthis question it is difficult to reply position impracticable, and his only without entering into many parti- choice lying between a small profit culars; since, paradoxical as it may and none. This, however, is no appear, the expenses of production where absolutely the case; and in depend in a great measure on the order, therefore, to judge of the current value of cotton, and follow probability of an increase or dimithe more material fluctuations in nution in the culture of cotton, it is its market price. Thus, when cotton of less consequence to inquire into rises, the value of Negroes advances in the cost of production at any parabout the same proportion. Indian ticular time (which may be easily corn, their principal article of sub- ascertained, the items which comsistence, follows, but at a little dis- pose the cost of production being tance, because it can be imported taken at their current rates) than from other states; and land at a to ascertain the lowest price at still greater, because almost every which cotton would yield as large planter possesses more than he a return as other articles which actually cultivates. Corresponding might be substituted in its place. effects are produced by a fall of The price of other articles, therecotton in foreign markets. It is fore, enters essentially into the quesevident, therefore, that a planter tion, and any permanent rise or fall may realize at very different prices in the price of these would have the of cotton the same interest in his same effect in increasing or dimicapital, understanding by his capital nishing the growth of cotton, as a the sum which his land and Negroes rise or fall in the price of cotton would command at the respective pe- itself. For instance, if indigo at riods, or which it would be necessary one dollar per lb. and cotton at fifto invest in land and Negroes, in teen cents per lb. afforded an equal order to produce the same quantity remuneration to the planter, it might of cotton. Alterations in the value be a matter of indifference to him of cotton, therefore, affect the value which he should cultivate ; but if of his capital, but not the rate of indigo permanently advanced to two interest, which he derives from it; dollars, or cotton permanently fell
to ten cents per lb., the culture of of cotton, and more than equal to indigo would be materially increased, the annual demand for the culture and that of cotton proportionably of sugar. Some of the spare lands diminished. Now to apply this to on the plantations is generally apthe actual situation of the United plied to the growth of Indian corn, States - In South Carolina and for the subsistence of the Slaves. Georgia, the principal articles of Their subsistence on a cotton planculture at present are rice, a little tation may be regarded as .costing tobacco, Indian corn, and cotton. the planter little or nothing, since The tobacco and rice lands are not his Negroes could plant one third generally suitable for the culture of more cotton than they can pick. cotton, and it is not likely that any The Indian corn, therefore, is obprobable variation in their relative tained from land which would value would lead to any material otherwise be unoccupied, and labour alteration in the relative extent of which would otherwise be unemtheir cultivation. The soil, however, ployed. A very high price of cotmost suitable for the culture of cot- ton, indeed, will tempt the planter ton, is very congenial to the growth to buy his Indian corn, and plant of Indian corn. If therefore,we could more cotton; but this requires a deconceive of a foreign demand for gree of cruelty, in overworking the Indian corn so extensive as to sus- Slaves in the picking season, which tain it permanently at a price which many are unwilling to exercise, and would leave a greater profit than the most are ashamed to avow. Many culture of cotton, the cultivation of the of the small planters told me that latter would no doubt decline. This, they were always uncomfortable however, cannot be anticipated, as when cotton was high ; as they put the enormous quantity which would their families, as it were, on short be raised would soon depress the allowance, and adopted a system of price, and the foreign markets would saving and scrambling, for the inultimately be supplied by those conveniences of which their profits states which possess as great, or did not compensate. A very low greater advantages, for the cultiva. price of cotton might, on the other tion of Indian corn, and are less hand, lessen the stimulus to exertion adapted for the production of other and privation ; but the planters are staples. It does not, therefore, ap- very generally in debt, and are therepear probable (the cultivation of fore compelled to activity in order to indigo having been abandoned, and preserve their estates in their own that of hemp easily overdone), that hands. Those who wish an idle agrithere are articles of produce which cultural life, remove to the cultivated in Georgia or Carolina could be parts of the western country. substituted for cotton, even though It is one of the inconveniences that article should decline consider- to which slave-holders are exposed ably. It is possible, however, to (especially where the range of the transport the Negroes to other states; articles to which the climate is faand it is necessary, therefore, to in- vourable is limited) that they are quire whether any culture in the constantly liable to a great extincneighbouring states would afford an tion of capital by a reduction in the inducement to migration in case of foreign market of the value of the a material decline in the price of articles they produce. The cost of cotton. Sugar, and perhaps sugar production in that country, which only, does afford such an induce. can supply the articles at the cheapment; but its growth is limited by est rate and in sufficient quantity, a certain latitude, and there is a fixes the price to which all the others regular supply of Slaves from Vir- must conform. Now if that price ginia and North Carolina not pre- be insufficient to remunerate the viously employed in the cultivation cultivator by free labour, he discontinues the cultivation, and dismisses events is silently effecting in the his labourers. The cultivator by West are calculated to rivet the atslave labour, on the contrary, being tention both of the planter and of the compelled still to maintain his philanthropist, and to inspire each Slaves, continues also to employ of them with feelings of the most them; but the value of the articles intense interest, though not a little being reduced, the value of man, the differing in their complexion. machine which produces them, is I must not forget to tell you, long depreciated nearly in the same pro- as my letter is, that this place derives portion, and this depreciation may its name from the Natchez, a celeproceed so far, that the labour of a brated tribe of Indians extinguished Slave is worth so little more than some time since with circumstances his maintenance as to afford no re- of peculiar cruelty. Dr. Robertson compence to his owner for care and describes them as distinguished superintendence. In the progress from all the other southern tribes towards this state of things, manu- by hereditary rank, and the worship missions would multiply rapidly, for of the sun. The Choctaws, of whom they would cost little ; experiments there are nearly 20,000 in this state, would be made favourable to the often pay us a visit. I have not freedom of the Negro; many Slaves mentioned, either, that in consewould become free labourers, and sequence of the fever last year, more slavery would verge towards its ter- than half of the ramilies seem to be mination.
in mourning; and instances have Does not this view of the subject been mentioned to me of great throw a gleam of hope on the dark generosity on the part of the plantpicture of slavery? If the free la- ters towards those whom the ravages bour of the East can produce cot- of death have deprived of their naton, rice, and sugar as cheaply as tural protectors, and left orphans has been stated, may it not under- and destitute. mine, and gradually exterminate, the We hope to set out in a few days slave labour of the West ? The in- on horseback, through the Indian digo of Carolina, long the staple of country, to Richmond, in Virginia. that state, has for many years been
(To be continued.) entirely superseded by the cheaper indige of India. Upland cotton in Carolina and Georgia has fallen, in less than four years, from thirty to Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. fifteen cents per lb.; and principally Your pages have often been emby competition, actual and prospec- ployed in tracing the varieties in tive, with the cotton of Surat and the quality of our national sermons, Bengal. Sugar is now resorted to from the highest Supralapsarianism wherever the planter has sufficient through all the stages of Calvinism, capital, and his estate is within the Baxterianism, and Arminianism, to latitude favourable to its production; the very limits of Pelagianism and but for this article legislative support semi-Popery. Would you be pleased has already been secured by protect- to indulge a constant reader with an ing duties:
answer to a query which I venture Nor is it from free labour only that to propose, respecting the quantity the West-India and American plant- of these pulpit exercitations ? By ers have much to fear. They have what process, at what periods, and already most formidable competitors for what purpose were our national in those colonies into which the im- sermons cut down from a length of, portation of Slaves is still admitted. perhaps, an hour and a half, to oneBut I will not pursue the subject. sixth of that portion of time and I will only add, that the great revo- space ? Did the innovation begin lutions which the natural course of with the abolition of the hour-glasses