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compact political structure will arise, under the influence of a mild, civilized, and enlightened system. The vast continent of Africa will keep pace with the quick improvement of the world which she has peopled; and in those regions where, as yet, only the war-whoop, the lash, and the cries of misery, have divided with the beasts the silence of the desert, our children, and the children of our slaves, may enjoy the delightful prospect of that benign and splendid reign, which is exercised by the arts, the sciences, and the virtues, of modern Europe."
Such, sir, is the animating picture of the future fortunes of the negro race. It is drawn, not by a philanthropist in the shades of retirement, but by a politician who had meditated deeply on colonial policy, who brought to the consideration of this difficult topic, a mind second to few in capacity and vigour, and enriched with the most valuable information, commercial, political, and moral, on all topics connected with the interests of the colonies. It is a sketch from the hand of a master, but of a master more eminent for the distinctness of his conceptions, and the bold lineaments of his prominent figures, than for the embellishments of a luxuriant fancy, or the warm colouring of romantic or impassioned feeling.
Nor was the expectation that the abolition of slavery, with all its beneficial results, would follow the abolition of the slave-trade, confined to Mr. Brougham. "Not I only," says Mr. Wilberforce, but all the chief advocates of the abolition of the slave-trade,-Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox. Lord Grenville, Lord Grey, and every other, scrupled not to declare, from the very first, that their object was, by ameliorating regulations, and more especially by stopping that influx of uninstructed savages, which furnished an excuse for continuing a harsh system of management, and prevented masters from looking to their actual stock of slaves for keeping up their number, to be surely though slowly advancing towards the period when these unhappy beings might exchange their degraded state of slavery for that of a free and industrious peasantry."
Mr. William Smith observes, "That he scrupled not to avow and to maintain, nor had he ever, at any period of the slave-trade controversy, scrupled to avow and to maintain, that the ultimate object of every friend of justice and humanity in this country, must and ought to be, eventually to extend freedom to every individual within the dominions of Great Britain; that this freedom belonged to them of
right; and that to withhold it beyond the necessity of the case, and especially to withhold it systematically, and in intention, for ever, was the very grossest injustice. He admitted, indeed, that immediate emancipation might be an injury, and not a benefit, to the slaves themselves: a period of preparation seemed to be necessary. The ground of this delay, however, was not the intermediate advantage to be derived from their labour, but a conviction of its ex
pediency as it respected themselves. We had to compensate to these wretched beings for ages of injustice; we were bound by the strongest obligations to train up these subjects of our past injustice and tyranny, for an equal participation with ourselves in the blessings of liberty, and the protection of law and by these considerations ought our measures to be strictly and conscientiously regulated. It was only while proceeding in such a course of action, adopted on principle and steadily pursued, that we could be justified in the retention of the negroes in slavery for a single hour; and he trusted that the eyes of all men, both here and in the colonies, would be open to this view of the subject, as their clear and indispensable duty."
And why have so many years elapsed without any systematic approach to that happy change in the structure of colonial society, which was so generally expected to follow the abolition of the slave trade? Is it not because the circumstances of the planters have never yet been such as to compel them to introduce those "subordinate arrangements," those "ameliorating regulations," adopted by the ancient states, and feudal kingdoms of Europe? But the time is probably at hand, when necessity will force them to adopt the most economical mode of culture, however averse to change and innovation. The nation will not long consent to support a wasteful system of cultivation, at the expense of great national interests, and of an opening commerce with 60 to 100 millions of our fellow-subjects; and the slave labour of the West must fall, when brought into competition with the free labour of the East.
Deeply impressed with this conviction, I dwell with peculiar pleasure on every view of this important subject, which illustrates the connexion between the interest of the master and the slave. And having had a near view of slavery in the United States of America, having seen the dark aspect which it assumes, and the apprehensions which it diffuses under a government pre-eminently free, in the bosom of an enlightened people, and in the sunshine of
benign and liberal institutions, I am persuaded that such a system cannot exist long, in daily contrast with the enlightened policy of new republics of the West, and under the brighter light which the diffusion of the gospel is shedding over the globe. I rejoice, therefore, in the conclusion, that the same measures, the mitigation and gradual abolition of slavery,-which are best calculated to avert a crisis which it is impossible to contemplate without dismay, are precisely those which, it would appear from the preceding pages, are most adapted to promote the immediate interest of the planters, by diminishing the expenses, and increasing the produce of their estates.
That the removal of the monopoly which they at present enjoy, will enhance the distress of the West-India planters, it is impossible to doubt; and the distress of so numerous a body, comprising some of the most enlightened and estimable members of the community, deserves a serious and dispassionate consideration. That sympathy is unnatural, which is excited only for sufferers at a distance, and that sensibility defective, which can feel only for the slave. But it is the part of an enlightened legislator, when endeavouring to relieve one class of the community, to guard against the injustice of transferring the burden to another; and to require from those who solicit his interference, not only that they make out a strong case of distress, but that they prove that they are vigorously pursuing every means within their own power, to extricate themselves from the difficulties of their situation.
It is on these grounds, and not on any vague idea, that Parliament is pledged to support them, that the West Indians should rest their claims. Even with respect to the absolute prohibition of a trade which Parliament had encouraged, Mr. Pitt repelled the idea of the Legislature's being restrained by a reference to the past, from exercising its free discretion with regard to the future. With how much greater warmth would he have rejected such an assumption, in the case of a protecting duty, which encourages a system of cultivation unnecessarily expensive, which acts like an oppressive tax on the export of our manufactures, and which operates with a most malignant and widely extended influence on the industry, energy, and resources of our Indian Empire. He observes, "It is chiefly on the presumed ground of our being bound by a parliamentary sanction, heretofore given to the African slave-trade, that this argument against the abolition is rest
ed. Is there any one regulation of any part of our commerce, which, if this argument be valid, may not equally be objected to, on the ground of its affecting some man's patrimony, some man's property, or some man's expectations. Let it never be forgotten, that the argument I am canvassing, would be just as strong, if the possession affected were small, and the possessors humble; for on every principle of justice, the property of every single individual, or number of individuals, is as sacred as that of the great body of West Indians. It is scarcely possible to lay a duty on any one article which may not, when first imposed, be said in some way to affect the property of individuals, and even of some entire classes of the community. If the laws respecting the slave-trade imply a contract for its perpetual continuance, I will venture to say, there does not pass a year without some act equally pledging the faith of Parliament, and the perpetuating of some other branch of
It is not then on the plea of a parliamentary pledge, but simply on the grounds of the extent of their distress, and their inability to relieve themselves, that the West-India planters should found their claims for support.
But this inability, however real, will perpetually be called in question, until they have introduced every practicable improvement into their system of cultivation. When they have relieved that system from its superfluous machinery, and have made arrangements for the gradual elevation of their slaves to the condition of free labourers, they will have prepared themselves to come before Parliament with a better case; and will have laid the foundation for such a change in the structure of colonial society, as will ultimately contribute greatly to their prosperity, and will exhibit in our West-India Islands, another happy illustration of the truth of the position, that the labour of freemen is cheaper than the labour of slaves.
APPENDIX TO M. SAY'S LETTER.
MANY of the following proofs and illustrations of the truth which I have endeavoured to establish, might probably have been introduced with propriety into the preceding letter. I was, however, unwilling to interrupt the train of reasoning, by any additions to an accumulation of testimony, already, perhaps, sufficiently extensive, and some of the succeeding remarks did not fall under my observation until the Letter was printed. I had no opportunity of seeing Mr. Ramsay's "Essay on the treatment and Conversion of African Slaves in the British Sugar Colonies," or Dr. Dickson's tract "On the Mitigation of Slavery," until the preceding pages were in the press; and I have, consequently, been enabled to introduce only a few brief remarks from these very valuable works. The latter contains so much that bears directly on the question at issue, that I am unwilling not to avail myself of it more freely; and I shall, therefore, extract from it rather copiously in this Appendix, after adducing the testimony of Burke, Franklin, and Beattie, in favour of the position I have advocated.
"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."-Burke on European Settlements.
"It is an ill-grounded opinion, that by the labour of slaves, America may possibly vie in cheapness of manufactures with Great Britain. The labour of slaves can never be so cheap here, as the labour of working men is 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