The Slave Trade
Henry Charles Carey
Of the Duty of the People of England.
The English politico-economical system denounced by Adam Smith had not failed before the close of the last century to be productive of results in the highest degree unfavourable to man; and to account for them it became necessary to discover that they were the inevitable result of certain great natural laws; and to this necessity it was that the world was indebted for the Ricardo-Malthusian system, which may be briefly stated in the following propositions:
First: That in the commencement of cultivation, when population is small and land consequently abundant, the best soils those capable of yielding the largest return, say one hundred quarters to a given quantity of labouralone are cultivated.
Second: That with the progress of population, the fertile lands are all occupied, and there arises a necessity for cultivating those yielding a smaller return; and that resort is then had to a second, and afterward to a third and a fourth class of soils, yielding respectively ninety, eighty, and seventy quarters to the same quantity of labour.
Third: That with the necessity for applying labour less productively, which thus accompanies the growth of population, rent arises: the owner of land No. 1 being enabled to demand and to obtain, in return for its use, ten quarters when resort is had to that of second quality; twenty when No. 3 is brought into use, and thirty when it becomes necessary to cultivate No. 4.
Fourth: That the proportion of the landlord tends thus steadily to increase as the productiveness of labour decreases, the division being as follows, to wit:
Total Product Labour Rent At the first period, when No. 1 alone is cultivated. 100 100 00 " second period " No. 1 and 2 are cultivated.190 180 10 " third period " No. 1, 2, and 3 " 270 240 30 " fourth period " No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 " 340 280 60 " fifth period " No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 " 400 300 100 " sixth period " No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 450 300 150 " seventh period " No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 " 490 280 210
and that there is thus a tendency to the ultimate absorption of the whole produce by the owner of the land, and to a steadily increasing inequality of condition; the power of the labourer to consume the commodities which he produces steadily diminishing, while that of the land-owner to claim them, as rent, is steadily increasing.
Fifth: That this tendency toward a diminution in the return of labour, and toward an increase of the landlords proportion, always exists where population increases, and most exists where population increases most rapidly; but is in a certain degree counteracted by increase of wealth, producing improvement of cultivation.
Sixth: That every such improvement tends to retard the growth of rents, while every obstacle to improvement tends to increase that growth: and that, therefore, the interests of the land-owner and labourer are always opposed to each other, rents rising as labour falls, and vice-versa.
A brief examination of these propositions will satisfy the reader that they tend inevitably to the centralization of all power in the hands of the few at the cost of the many, who are thus reduced to the condition of slaves, mere hewers of wood and drawers of water for their masters, as will now be shown.
I. In the commencement of cultivation labour is largely productive, and the labourer takes for himself the whole of his product, paying no rent.
II. With the increase of population, and the increased power to associate, labour becomes less productive, and the labourer is required to give a part of the diminished product to the land-owner, who thus grows rich at his expense.
III. With further growth of population land acquires further value, and that value increases with every increase of the necessity for applying labour less productively; and the less the product, the larger becomes the proportion of the proprietor, whose wealth and power increase precisely as the labourer becomes poorer and less able to defend his rights, or, in other words, as he becomes enslaved.
This state of things leads of course to the expulsion of poor men, to seek at a distance those rich soils which, according to the theory, are the first cultivated. The more they are expelled, the greater must of course be the consolidation of the land, the larger the income of the few great farmers and land-owners, and the poorer the labourers. Hence universal discord, such as is seen in England, and has recently been so well described by the Times.
The poorer the people, the greater must be the necessity for emigration; and the greater the anxiety of the landed or other capitalist for their expulsion, because they are thus relieved from the necessity for supporting them; and the greater the rejoicing of the trader, because he supposes they go from the cultivation of poor to that of rich soils. Here we have dispersion, the opposite of that association to which man has everywhere been indebted for his wealth; for the development of his moral and intellectual faculties, and for his freedom.
The soils left behind being supposed to be the poor ones, and those first appropriated abroad being supposed to be the rich ones, it is next held that all the people who go abroad, should do nothing but cultivate the land, sending their corn and their wool to a distance of thousands of miles in search of the little spindle and the loom; and thus does the Ricardo system lead to the adoption of a policy directly the reverse of that taught by Adam Smith.
The necessary effect of this is the discouragement of English agriculture, and the closing of the market for English capital; and the smaller the market for it at home the less must be the demand for labour, and the greater must be the tendency of the labourer to become the mere slave of those who do employ capital. This of course produces further expulsion of both labour and capital; and the more they go abroad, the less, as a matter of course, is the power of the community that is left behind: and thus the Ricardo-Malthusian system tends necessarily to the diminution of the importance of the nation in the eyes of the world.
That system teaches that God in his infinite wisdom has given to matter in the form of man a reproductive power greater than he has given to the source from which that matter is derived, the earth itself; and that, with a view to the correction of that error, man must close his ear and his heart to the tale of suffering must forget that great law of Christ, Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you, must persuade himself that it is to his advantage that the negro slave shall wear his chains in peace, and must always recollect that if men will marry; and have children, and he stands between the error and its consequence, granting relief to the poor or the sick in their distress, except so far as to prevent positive death, he perpetuates the sin. This is the science of repulsion, despair, and death; and it has been well denominated the dismal science. It is taught in many of the schools of Europe, but England alone has made it the basis of a system of policy; and the result is seen in the fact that throughout all that portion of the world subject to her influence, we see nothing but repulsion, slavery, despair, and death, with steadily increasing weakness of the communities in the general system of the world, as witness Ireland and India, from, which men are flying as from pestilence the West Indies, Portugal, and Turkey, in all of which population declines, and the communities themselves seem likely soon to perish of inanition.
From every country that is strong enough to protect itself, she is being gradually shut out; and in every one that is strong enough to carry into effect the exclusion, we see a steady increase of the power and the habit of association, and of the strength of the nation. The little German Union of 1827 led to the great one of 1835; and at this moment we have advices of the completion of the still greater one that is to give freedom of internal trade to sixty millions of people, and that is to do for all Germany what the Zoll-Verein has done for its northern portion. The habit of peace and of combined action thus grows in all the countries of the world which protect themselves, while repulsion and discord increase in every one that is unprotected. In one we see a daily tendency toward freedom, while in the other slavery grows from day to day.
It is the complaint of England that, much as she has done for other countries, she receives no kindness in return. She stands at this day without a friend; and this is not so much the fault of any error of intention as of error of doctrine. Many of those who have directed her affairs have been men of generous impulses men who would scorn to do what they thought to be wrong but they have, been led away by a system that teaches the rankest selfishness. The Creator of man provided for his use great natural agents, the command of which was to be obtained as the reward of the cultivation of his intellectual powers; and that he might obtain leisure for their improvement, great stores of fuel were accumulated, and iron ore was furnished in unlimited quantity, to enable him, by combining the two, to obtain machinery to aid him in the cultivation of the soil and the conversion of its products. England, however, desires to restrict the use of those great natural agents; and whenever or wherever other nations undertake to call them to their aid, she is seen using every effort in her power to annihilate competition, and thus maintain her monopoly. Of this, the recent proceedings in relation to steam intercourse between this country and Europe present a striking instance; but the maintenance of numerous colonies, avowedly for the purpose of stifling in its infancy every effort on the part of other nations to obtain power to convert their coal and their ore into iron, or to convert their iron into machinery that would enable them to command the aid of steam, and thus lighten the labours of their people, while increasing the efficiency of their exertions, is a thing not only not disavowed, but gloried in by her most eminent and enlightened men. The exceeding selfishness of this effort to retain a monopoly of those great natural agents should, of itself, afford proof conclusive to every Englishman that the system that is to be so maintained could not be right; and it would do so, were it not that their system of political economy teaches that every man must live by snatching the bread from his neighbours mouth that the land-owner grows rich at the expense of the labourer; that profits rise only at the cost of wages, and wages only at the cost of profits; and, therefore, that the only way to ensure a fair rate for the use of capital is to keep the price of labour down.
This system is to be carried out by producing unlimited competition and in what is it to exist? In the sale of labour; and the greater that competition, the greater will be the profits of the capitalist, and the lower will be the wages of the labourer. The more the competition for the sale of cotton, the cheaper will be the labourer who produces it; and the more perfect the monopoly of machinery, the cheaper must be the labourer who performs the work of spinning the wool and weaving the cloth, but the larger will be the share of the man who owns the spindles and the looms. The fewer the spindles and looms of the world, the cheaper will be cotton and the dearer will be cloth, and the greater the profits of what is called capital; but the less will be the value of the stock in that great bank from which all capital is derived the earth; and the poorer and more enslaved must be all those who have shares in it, and all who desire to obtain loans from it the land-owners and the labourers. Such being the tendencies of the system, need we wonder, that it produces repulsion abroad, or that England is now so entirely without friends that in this age of the world one that should be so enlightened she talks of increased armaments with a view to defending herself from invasion, and calls on other nations for help? Certainly not. Were it otherwise, it would be wonderful. She is expelling her whole people from the land, and the more they go, the more she is rejoiced. Extensive as has been the emigration from Ireland which has already taken place, there is, we are told
A remarkable proof that it has not been carried too far. There is still no regular demand for labour in the West of Ireland, and wages are still at the low starvation rate which prevailed before the famine. Economist, (London,) Feb. 12, 1853.
Again, we are told that
The departure of the redundant population of the Highlands of Scotland is an indispensable preliminary to every kind of improvement. Ibid.
Further, we are informed that the emigration from England, Wales, and the Lowlands of Scotland has almost entirely consisted of able-bodied agricultural labourers, and that few or none of the manufacturing population have emigrated, except a few Spitalfields and Paisley hand-loom weavers. The loss of all these agriculturists, and the rapid conversion of the whole people of the kingdom into mere buyers and sellers of the products of other nations, is regarded as not only not to be regretted, but as a thing to be rejoiced at; and another influential journal assures its readers that the mere anticipation of any deficiency in the export of man from the kingdom would lead to the most disastrous suspension of industry and enterprise, and that the emigration must not only continue, but it must be maintained with all possible steadiness and activity.
Little effort would seem to be required to bring about the abandonment of England, as well as of Ireland. Of the latter the latest journals furnish accounts of which the following is a fair specimen:
The people are fast passing away from the land in the West of Ireland. The landlords of Connaught are tacitly combined to weed out all the smaller occupiers, against whom a regular systematic war of extermination is being waged. *** The most heart-rending cruelties are daily practised in this province, of which the public are not at all aware. Galway Mercury.
In the former, we are told that
The wheel of improvement is now seizing another class, the most stationary class in England. A startling emigration movement has sprung up among the smaller English farmers, especially those holding heavy clay soils, who, with bad prospects for the coming harvest, and in want of sufficient capital to make the great improvements on their farms which would enable them to pay their old rents, have no other alternative but to cross the sea in search of a new country and of new lands. I am not speaking now of the emigration caused by the gold mania, but only of the compulsory emigration produced by landlordism, concentration of farms, application of machinery to the soil, and introduction of the modern system of agriculture on a great scale. Correspondence of the New York Tribune.
Nevertheless, wages do not rise. Hundreds of thousands, and even millions, of the poor people of the kingdom have now been expelled, and yet there is no regular demand for labour, and wages continue as low as ever. That such should be the case is not extraordinary, but it will be so if this diminution of the power of association do not result in lowering the reward of labour, and accelerating the dispersion of the labourers. Every man that goes was a producer of something, to be given in exchange for another thing that he required, that was produced by others; and from the moment of his departure he ceases to be a producer, with correspondent diminution in the demand for the cloth, the iron, or the salt produced by his neighbours. The less the competition for purchase the more becomes the competition for sale, and the lower must be the compensation of the labourer. A recent journal informs us that the condition of one class of operatives, the salt-boilers, has gradually become most deplorable.
Their wages at present do not average 15s. a week, because they are not employed full time; 2s. 6d. a day is the highest price given, and one of these days consists of fourteen or sixteen hours. In addition to this, some of the employers have latterly introduced a new mode of diminishing the actual payment in wages. As has already been stated, the salt-pans in the course of a few days require cleansing from the impurities and dross thrown down with the process of boiling. The accumulation may vary from one-eighth of an inch to one foot, according to the quality of the brine. Therefore, every fortnight the fires are let out and the pans picked and cleaned, a process which occupies a full day; and this unavoidable and necessary work it is becoming the fashion to require the men to perform without any remuneration whatever; or, in other words, to demand one months work out of the twelve from them without giving any wages in return! Dawsons Merchants Magazine, February, 1853, 98.
The more steady and active the emigration of the agricultural labourers, and the larger the remainder of factory operatives, the greater must be the necessity for depending on other countries for supplies, and the less must be the power of the nation in the community of nations, the richer must grow the great manufacturer, and the poorer must become the labourer; and, as this system is now being so vigorously carried out, the cause of weakness may readily be understood. It is a natural consequence of the purely selfish policy to which the Ricardo-Malthusian doctrines inevitably lead.
Can such a system be a natural one? Is it possible that an all-wise, all-powerful, and all-merciful Being, having constructed this world for the occupation of man, should have inflicted upon it such a curse as is found in a system of laws the study of which leads to the conclusion that men can live only by snatching the bread out of the mouths of their fellow-men? Assuredly not. What, then, are the laws under which man lives and moves and has his being? To obtain an answer to this question, we must go back to the proposition which lies at the base of the British system that which teaches that men begin the work of cultivation with the rich soils of the earth, and are afterward compelled to resort to inferior ones the most important one in political economy; so important, says Mr. J.S. Mill, that were it otherwise, almost all the phenomena of the production and distribution of wealth would be other than they are.
Admitting, now, that the law were different, and that instead of commencing on the rich soils and then passing toward the poor ones, they commenced on the poor soils of the hills and gradually made their way down to the rich ones of the swamps and river-bottoms, would not one of the differences referred to by Mr. Mill consist in this, that whereas the old theory tended to establish a constant increase in the necessities of man, with constant deterioration, of his condition and growing inequality among men, the new one would tend to establish a constant increase of his powers, with constant improvement of condition and growing equality among men, wherever the laws of God were permitted to control their operations?
Again, might not another of those differences consist in the establishment of the facts that instead of there having been a mistake on the part of the Creator, there had been a serious one on that of the economists, in attributing to those little scraps of the earth that man forms into wagons, ships, and steam-engines, and which he calls capital, an importance greater than is assigned to the earth of which they are so trivial a portion; and that the latter was the real bank, the source of all capital, from which he can have loans to an extent almost unlimited, provided he recollects that they are loans, and not gifts, and that his credit with this banker, as well as with all others, cannot be maintained without a punctual repayment of the matter borrowed when he has ceased to need it?
Further, as the old theory furnishes propositions to, which the exceptions are seen to be so numerous that every new writer finds himself compelled to modify it in some manner with a view to cover those exceptions, might not another, of the differences consist in its furnishing laws as universally true as are those of Copernicus, Kepler, or Newton laws that gave proof of their truth by being everywhere in harmony with each other, and productive everywhere of harmony; and would not the following form a part of them?
I. That the poor and solitary man commences everywhere with poor machinery, and that everywhere, as population and wealth increase, he obtains better machinery, and production is increased. The first poor settler has no cup, and he takes up water in his hand. He has no hogs or cattle to yield him oil, and he is compelled to depend on pine-knots for artificial light. He has no axe, and he cannot fell a tree, either to supply himself with fuel or to clear his land. He has no saw, and he is compelled to seek shelter under a rock, because he is unable to build himself a house. He has no spade, and he is compelled to cultivate land that is too poor to need clearing, and too dry to require drainage. He has no horse, and is obliged to carry his little crop of grain on his shoulders. He has no mill, and is compelled to pound his grain between stones, or to eat it unground, as did the Romans for so many centuries. With the growth of wealth and population he obtains machinery that enables him to command the services of the various natural agents by which he is surrounded; and he now obtains more water, more light, more heat, and more power at less cost of labour; and he cultivates rich lands that yield food more largely, while he transports its products, by means of a wagon or a railroad car, converts it into flour by aid of steam, and exchanges it readily with, the man who converts his food and his wool into cloth, or food and ore into iron, and thus passes from poor to better machinery of production, transportation, and exchange, with increasing reward of labour, and diminishing value of all the products of labour.
II. That the poor settler gives a large proportion of the produce of his labour for the use of poor machinery of production, transportation, and exchange; but the produce being small, the quantity of rent then paid is very small. He is a slave to the owner of landed or other capital.
III. That with the increased productiveness of labour there is increased facility for the reproduction of machinery required for the production of water, light, fuel, and food; and that this diminution in the cost of reproduction is attended with a constant diminution in the value of all such machinery previously accumulated, and diminution in the proportion of the product of labour that can be demanded as rent for their use; and thus, while labour steadily increases in its power to yield commodities of every kind required by man, capital as steadily diminishes in its power over the labourer. Present labour obtains a constantly increasing proportion of a constantly increasing quantity, while the claims of the accumulations of past labour (capital) are rewarded with an increasing quantity, but rapidly diminishing proportion; and that there is thus, with the growth of population and wealth, a daily tendency toward improvement and equality of condition.
IV. That increase in the quantity of the landlord or other capitalist is evidence of increase in the labourers proportion, and of large increase of his quantity, with constantly increasing tendency toward freedom of thought, speech, action, and trade, and that it is precisely as land acquires value that man becomes free.
Here is a system, all the parts of which are in perfect harmony with each other, and all tending to the production of harmony among the various portions of society, and the different nations of the earth. Under them, we see men beginning on the higher and poorer lands and gradually coming together in the valleys, with steady tendency to increase in the power of association, and in the power to assert the right of perfect self-government. It is thus the system of freedom. Population enables men to cultivate the richer soils, and food tends to increase more rapidly than population, giving men leisure for the cultivation of their minds and those of their children. Increased intelligence enables man from year to year to obtain larger loans from the great bank the earth while with the increased diversification of labour he is enabled more and more to repay them by the restoration of the manure to the place from which the food had been derived.
Here are laws tending to the promotion of kindly feelings, and to the enabling of man to carry fully into effect the great law which lies at the base of Christianity doing to his neighbours as he would that they should do unto him. They are laws whose constant and uniform truth may be seen in reference to every description of capital and of labour, and in all the communities of the world, large and small, in present and in past times. Being laws, they admit of no exceptions any more than do the great astronomical ones. They recognise the whole product of labour as being the property of the labourer of the past and the present; the former represented by the proprietor of the machine, and the latter by the man who uses it, and who finds himself every day more and more able to accumulate the means of becoming himself a proprietor.
The English system does not recognise the existence of universal laws. According to it, land, labour, and capital, are the three instruments of production, and they are governed by different laws. Labour, when it seeks aid from land, is supposed to begin with good machinery and to pass toward the worst, with constantly increasing power in the owner of the land; whereas, when it seeks aid from the steam-engine, it passes from poor to good, with diminishing power in the owner of capital. There is thus one set of laws for the government of the great machine itself the earth and another for that of all its parts. Under the first, value is supposed to increase because of the diminished productiveness of labour, whereas under the last it is supposed to diminish because of the increased productiveness of labour. The two point to opposite poles of the compass, and the only mode of reconciling them is found in the supposition that as the power of production diminishes with the increasing necessity for resorting to inferior soils, the power of accumulating capital tends to increase, and thus counterbalances the disadvantages resulting from the necessity for applying labour less and less advantageously. Who is it, however, that is to furnish this capital? Is it the labourer? He cannot do it, for he cultivates the inferior soils, and retains for himself a constantly diminishing proportion of a constantly diminishing product. Is it the landlord? His proportion increases, it is true, but his quantity diminishes in its proportion to population, as his tenants are forced to resort to less productive soils. The power to accumulate is dependent on the quantity of time and labour required for obtaining present subsistence; and as that increases with the necessity for resorting to poorer machinery, the power to obtain machines to be used in aid of labour dies away. Such being the case, it is clear that if men are obliged, in obedience to a great natural law, to pass steadily from rich soils to poor ones yielding less returns to labour, no compensation can anywhere be found, and that the elder Mill was right when he said that the power of accumulation must cease, and wages must fall so low that men would perish of want; in preference to doing which they would, of course, sell themselves, their wives, and children, into, slavery. Of all the English writers on this subject, he is the only one that has had the courage to follow out the Ricardo-Malthusian system to its necessary conclusions, and proclaim to the world the existence of a great law of nature leading inevitably to the division of society into two great portions, the very rich and the very poor the master and the slave.
There are thus two systems one of which proclaims that men can thrive only at the expense of their neighbours, and the other that they prosper with the prosperity of those neighbours one that teaches utter selfishness, and another teaching that enlightened selfishness which prompts men to rejoice in the advances of their fellow-men toward wealth and civilization one that leads to internal discord and foreign war, and another teaching peace, union, and brotherly kindness throughout the world one that teaches the doctrine of despair and death, and another teaching joy and hope one that is anti-christian in all its tendencies, teaching that we must not do to our neighbour in distress as we would that he should do to us, but that, on the contrary our duty requires that we should see him suffer, unrelieved, every calamity short of positive death, and another teaching in its every page that if individuals or nations would thrive, they can do so only on the condition of carrying into full effect the great law of Christ That which ye would that others should do unto you, do ye unto them.
Both of these systems cannot be true. Which of them is so is to be settled by the determination of the great fact whether the Creator made a mistake in providing that the poor settler should commence on the low and rich lands, leaving the poor soils of the hills to his successors, who obtain from them a constantly diminishing supply of food or whether, in his infinite wisdom, he provided that the poor man, destitute, of axe and spade, should go to the poor and dry land of the hills, requiring neither clearing nor drainage, leaving the heavily timbered and swamp lands for his wealthy successors. If the first, then the laws of God tend to the perpetuation of slavery, and the English political economy is right in all its parts, and should be maintained. If the last, then is it wrong in all its parts, and duty to themselves, to their fellow-men throughout the world, and to the great Giver of all good things, requires that it be at once and for ever abandoned.
It is time that enlightened Englishmen should examine into this question. When they shall do so, it will require little time to satisfy themselves that every portion of their own island furnishes proof that cultivation commenced on the poor soils, and that from the day when King Arthur held his court in a remote part of Cornwall to that on which Chatfield Moss was drained, men have been steadily obtaining more productive soils at less cost of labour, and that not only are they now doing so, but that it is difficult to estimate how far it may be carried. Every discovery in science tends to facilitate the making of those combinations of matter requisite for the production of food, giving better soils at diminished cost. Every new one tends to give to man increased power to command the use of those great natural agents provided for his service, and to enable him to obtain more and better food, more and better clothing, more and better house-room, in exchange for less labour, leaving him more time for the improvement of his mind, for the education of his children, and for the enjoyment of those recreations which tend to render life pleasurable. The reverse of all this is seen under the English system. The more numerous the discoveries in science, and the greater the command of man over the powerful natural agents given for diminishing labour, the more severe and unintermitting becomes his toil, the less becomes his supply of food, the poorer becomes his clothing, the more wretched becomes his lodging, the less time can be given to the improvement of his mind, the more barbarous grow up his children, the more is his wife compelled to work in the field, and the less is his time for enjoyment; as witness all those countries over which England now exercises dominion, and as witness to so great an extent the present condition of her own people, as exhibited by those of her own writers quoted in a former chapter.
Selfishness and Christianity cannot go together, nor can selfishness and national prosperity. It is purely selfish in the people of England to desire to prevent the people of the various nations of the world from profiting by their natural advantages, whether of coal, iron ore, copper, tin, or lead. It is injurious to themselves, because it keeps their neighbours poor, while they are subjected to vast expense in the effort to keep them from rebelling against taxation. They maintain great fleets and armies, at enormous expense, for the purpose of keeping up a system that destroys their customers and themselves; and this they must continue to do so long as they shall hold to the doctrine which teaches that the only way to secure a fair remuneration to capital is to keep the price of labour down, because it is one that produces discord and slavery, abroad and at home; whereas, under that of peace, hope, and freedom, they would need neither fleets nor armies.
It is to the country of Hampden and Sidney that the world should be enabled to look for advice in all matters affecting the cause of freedom; and it is to her that all would look, could her statesmen bring themselves to understand how destructive to herself and them is the system of centralization she now seeks to establish. As it is, slavery grows in all the countries under her control, and freedom grows in no single country of the world but those which protect themselves against her system. It is time that the enlightened and liberal men of England should study the cause of this fact; and whenever they shall do so they will find a ready explanation of the growing pauperism, immorality, gloom, and slavery of their own country; and they will then have little difficulty in understanding that the protective tariffs of all the advancing nations of Europe are but measures of resistance to a system of enormous oppression, and that it is in that direction that the people of this country are to look for the true and only road to freedom of trade and the freedom of man.
It is time that such men should ask themselves whether or not their commercial policy can, by any possibility, aid the cause of freedom, abroad or at home. The nations of the world are told of the free and happy people of England; but when they look to that country to ascertain the benefits of freedom, they meet with frightful pauperism, gross immorality, infanticide to an extent unknown in any other part of the civilized world, and a steadily increasing division of the people into two great classes the very rich and the very poor with an universal tendency to fly from ills they know, in the hope of obtaining abroad the comfort and happiness denied them at home. Can this benefit the cause of freedom? The nations are told of the enlightened character of the British government, and yet, when they look to Ireland, they can see nothing but poverty, famine, and pestilence, to end in the utter annihilation of a nation that has given to England herself many of her most distinguished men. If they look to India, they see nothing but poverty, pestilence, famine, and slavery; and if they cast their eyes toward China, they see the whole power of the nation put forth to compel a great people to submit to the fraudulent introduction of a commodity, the domestic production of which is forbidden because of its destructive effects upon the morals, the happiness, and the lives of the community. The nations are told that England
Is the asylum of nations, and that it will defend the asylum to the last ounce of its treasure and the last drop of its blood. There is, continues The Times, no point whatever on which we are prouder or more resolute.
Nevertheless, when they look to the countries of Europe that furnish the refugees who claim a place in this asylum, they see that England is everywhere at work to prevent the people from obtaining the means of raising themselves in the social scale. So long as they shall continue purely agricultural, they must remain poor, weak, and enslaved, and their only hope for improvement is from that association of the loom and the plough which gave to England her freedom; and yet England is everywhere their opponent, seeking to annihilate the power of association. The nations are told of the vast improvement of machinery, by aid of which man is enabled to call to his service the great powers of nature, and thus improve not only his material but his intellectual condition; but, when they look to the colonies and to the allies of England, they see everywhere a decay of intellect; and when they look to the independent countries, they see her whole power put forth to prevent them from doing any thing but cultivate the earth and exhaust the soil. It is time that enlightened Englishmen should look carefully at these things, and answer to themselves whether or not they are thus promoting the cause of freedom. That they are not, must be the answer of each and every such man. That question answered, it will be for them to look to see in which direction lies the path of duty; and fortunate will it be if they can see that interest and duty can be made to travel in company with each other.
To the women of England much credit is due for having brought this question before the world. It is one that should have for them the deepest interest. Wherever man is unable to obtain machinery, he is forced to depend on mere brute labour; and he is then so poor that his wife must aid him in the labours of the field, to her own degradation, and to the neglect of her home, her husband, her children, and herself. She is then the most oppressed of slaves. As men obtain machinery, they obtain command of great natural agents, and mind gradually takes the place of physical force; and then labour in the field becomes more productive, and the woman passes from out-of-door to in-door employments, and with each step in this direction she is enabled to give more care to her children, her husband, and herself. From being a slave, and the mother of slaves, she passes to becoming a free woman, the mother of daughters that are free, and the instructor of those to whom the next generation is to look for instruction.
The English system looks to confining the women of the world to the labours of the field, and such is its effect everywhere. It looks, therefore, to debasing and enslaving them and their children. The other looks to their emancipation from slavery, and their elevation in the social scale; and it can scarcely fail to be regarded by the women as well as by the men of England as a matter of duty to inquire into the grounds upon which their policy is based, and to satisfy themselves if it can be possible that there is any truth in a system which tends everywhere to the production of slavery, and therefore to the maintenance of the slave trade throughout the world.
1 See page 280, ante.
The following statement of the operations of the past year completes the picture presented in Chapter IV.:
A tabular return, prepared by order of the House of Assembly of Jamaica, exhibiting the properties in that island 'upon which cultivation has been wholly or partially abandoned since the 1st day of January, 1852, presents in a striking light one of the many injurious consequences that have followed the measure of negro emancipation in the British West Indies. The return, which is dated January 27, 1853, shows that 128 sugar estates have been totally abandoned during the year, and 71 partially abandoned; of coffee plantations, 96 have been totally, and 56 partially, abandoned; of country seats residences of planters or their agents 30 have been totally, and 22 partially, abandoned. The properties thus nearly or wholly ruined by the ill-considered legislation of the British Parliament cover an area of 391,187 acres.
3 Economist, (London,) Feb. 12, 1863.
4 Spectator, Feb. 12, 1853.
5 The net revenue from the opium trade, for the current year, is stated to be no less than four millions of pounds sterling, or nearly twenty millions of dollars; and it is to that revenue, says The Friend of India, Nov. 25, 1852, that the Indian government has been indebted for its power to carry on the wars since 1838, those of Affghanistan, Seinde, Gwalior, the Punjab, and that now existing with Burmah. Well is it asked by Dr. Allen, in his pamphlet on The Opium Trade, (Lowell, 1853,) Can such an unrighteous course in a nation always prosper? How, says the same author, can the Chinese regard the English in any other light than wholesale smugglers and wholesale dealers in poison? The latter can expend annually over two millions of dollars on the coast of Great Britain to protect its own revenue laws, but at the same time set at bold defiance similar laws of protection enacted by the former. The English are constantly supplying the Chinese a deadly poison, with which thousands yearly put an end to their existence. In England, even the druggists are expressly forbidden to sell arsenic, laudanum, or other poison, if they have the least suspicion that their customer intends to commit suicide. But in China every facility is afforded and material supplied under the British flag, and sanctioned by Parliament itself, for wholesale slaughter. How long will an enlightened and Christian nation continue to farm and grow a means of vice, with the proceeds of which, even when in her possession, a benighted and pagan nation disdains to replenish her treasury, being drawn from the ruin and misery of her people? Where is the consistency or humanity of a nation supporting armed vessels on the coast of Africa to intercept and rescue a few hundreds of her sons from a foreign bondage, when, at the same time, she is forging chains to hold millions on the coast of China in a far more hopeless bondage? And what must the world think of the religion of a nation that consecrates churches, ordains ministers of the gospel, and sends abroad missionaries of the cross, while, in the mean time, it encourages and upholds a vice which is daily inflicting misery and death upon more than four millions of heathen? And what must be the verdict of future generations, as they peruse the history of these wrongs and outrages? Will not the page of history, which now records £20,000,000 as consecrated on the altar of humanity to emancipate 800,000 slaves, lose all its splendour and become positively odious, when it shall be known that this very money was obtained from the proceeds of a contraband traffic on the shores of a weak and defenceless heathen empire, at the sacrifice, too, of millions upon millions of lives?