David Christy.

A lecture on the present relations of free labor to slave labor, in tropical and semi-tropical countries: presenting an outline of the commercial failure of West India emancipation, and its effects upon slavery and the slave trade, together with its final effect upon colonization to Africa online

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Online LibraryDavid ChristyA lecture on the present relations of free labor to slave labor, in tropical and semi-tropical countries: presenting an outline of the commercial failure of West India emancipation, and its effects upon slavery and the slave trade, together with its final effect upon colonization to Africa → online text (page 1 of 10)
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Gentlemen :

It had been in contemplation, during your Summer
Session at Columbus, to ask the privilege of addressing you on the sub-
ject of the Constitutional provision which should be made to secure
Legislative aid for such of the colored people of Ohio as may wish to
emigrate to Liberia. But your early adjournment prevented the execu-
tion of that design. After consultation with some of your number, it
has been determined, that the Lecture, prepared for that purpose, be
printed and circulated among the members of the Convention, in advance
of their meeting in December.

An apology would be due, on account of the extent of the investiga-
tions embraced in the Lecture, were it not that we live in a matter-of-
fact age, when the reasons offered in support of every measure, proposed
for public acceptance, must amount to demonstration. The present
Lecture is designed as a sequel to the two heretofore delivered before
the Legislature, on the subject of Colonization, and which were laid
upon your desks at Columbus. It is believed that every unprejudiced
mind must be convinced, after examining the subject of Colonization to
Liberia, in all its bearings, that it offers to the colored people an inher-
itance almost infinitely more valuable than any other scheme that has
been proposed for ameliorating their condition. It is also believed that
the time has arrived when the question of the. emigration of the colored
people from this country, or their permanent residence among us, must he
settled. If the first measure be not adopted, then the public peace and
safety demand that ample provision for their elevation, to equal social
and political equality, under the last, be speedily made. But if it be the
public will, that the African population of our country be secured in the
peaceable possession of a free government of their own, then immediate
action should be taken to promote that object. To delay the adoption of
measures for encouraging emigration to Liberia, affords time for their
increase, and makes the work more difficult to accomplish. The success
of our proposed Colony from this State to Ohio in Africa, will prompt
other States to similar efforts, and the cause of Colonization be greatly
advanced. But as the extent of our success, in planting our Ohio Col-
ony, must depend upon the amount of pecuniary aid that xvill be given by
the Stale itself, it is respectfully urged that you will give the proposition,
brought forward in the close of the Lecture, all the consideration that
its importance demands.

Your obedient servant,


Agent American Colonization Society for Ohio.
Oxford, Ohio, Oct. 1, 1850.







In our two preceding lectures, we have presented the leading inci-
dents connected with the enslavement of the African race, and pointed
out thegreatadvantages secured to them in tlie United States, over
those afforded in any other country. The facts presented therein
also show, that the work of Africa's redemption from barbarism has
been encouragingly commenced by our Colonization scheme. It is
natural, therefore, that we shouUl cast about to see whether the im-
pelhng forces, tending to promote and perfect this great work, possess
sufficient power to insure its success. For it must be confessed, that,
in view of the vustness of the work to be accompUshed — including
the secular and religious education of perhaps more than one hundred
and sixty milHons of savage men — if no more numerous agencies can
be brought to tlie execution of the task, than the noble litde band of
Liberians, hope would almost sicken and die, in contemplating the
length of time that must elapse before civilization and the gospel can
be made to reacli the whole population of Africa.

In tracing the causes now in operation, which must rapidly propel
the work of Africa's civilization, we find that the facts may be brought
most forcibly to view, by contrasting the present relations of Free
Labor to Slave Labor, in the cultivation of those tropical and senii-
iropical products, upon which slave labor has been and is now chiefly

We may be told — indeed we have already been warned by a
friend, to whom the statistics have been shown — that by arraying such
facts, before the public, as we have collated, we shall greatly strengthen
slavery. But we must beg leave to say, that we apprehend no such
results. The facts are such as the friends of Jifrican freedom, every
where, should know, to enable them to adopt some practical and
efficient remedy for the evils of the slave trade and slavery. It is
not necessary to publish the fact to the slaveholder of Cuba and
Brazil, that free labor, in die English and French West Indies, has

4 IntroducUon.

failed to supply to commerce an amount of tropical commodities
equal to what had been furnished by slave labor before emancipation.
They already know this fact. Slaveholders, whether engaged in
the production of cotton, sugar, or coffee, have known it, and profited
by it. The slave trader, abso, has known the result of West India
emancipalion, and has quadrupled his business and his profits by
possessing that knowledge. And shall the Philanthropist, alone, be
debarred from knowing truths of such moment ?

The facts which we shall present may be unwelcome to some, yet
they cannot be controverted. They may detract somewhat from the
honors claimed by many who boast of their success in checking the
progress of slavery, and may prove that they were more benevolent
than wise, but it cannot be avoided. The day has come for decisive
action upon the subject of the suppression of the slave trade, and the
civilization of Africa. All schemes hitherto adopted have signally
failed. The wisest statesmen have been baffled and defeated in their
attempts. It is time, therefore, that a review of the actions of the
past should be taken, and the results spread out before the public. In
the execution of this task, if faithfully performed, it is believed that
there may be found some common ground upon which all the friends
of Africa and of humanity may cordially cooperate.

The evidence which we have been enabled to collect upon this
subject, is all from undoubted authorities, and we believe will clearly
establish the following propositions :

I. That Free Labor, in tropical and semi-tropical countries, is tailing
to furnish to the markets of the world, in any thing like adequate
quantities, those commodities upon which slave labor is chiefly

II. That the governments of England, France, and the United States,
at the present moment, are compelled, from necessity, to consume
slave labor products, to a large extent, and thus still continue to be
the principal agents which aid in extending and perpetuating slavery
and the slave trade.

III. That the legislative measures adopted for the destruction of the
slave trade and slavery, especially by England, have tended to
increase and extend the systems they were designed to destroy.

IV. That the governments named, cannot hope to escape from the
necessity of consuming the products of slave labor, except by call-
ing into active service, on an extensive scale, the free labor of
countries not at present producing ihe commodities upon which
slave labor is employed.

V. That Africa is the principal field where free labor can be made
to compete, successfully, with slave labor, in the production of
exportable tropical commodities.

Present Relations of Free Labor to Slave Labor. 5

VI. That there are moral forces and commercial considerations now
in operation, which will, necessarily, impel Christian governments
to exert their influence for the civilization of Africa, and the pro-
motion of the prosperity of the Republic of Liberia, as the prin-
cipal agency in this great work. ; and that in these facts lies our
encouragement to persevere in our Colonization eflxtrts.

VII. That all these agencies and influences being brought to bear
upon the civilization of Africa, from the nature of its soil, climate,
products, and population, we are forced to believe that a mighty
people will ultimately rise upon that continent, taking rank with
the most powerful nations of the earth, and vindicate the character
of the African race before the world.

Not the least interesting result, growing out of the investigations
upon which we are entering, when taken in connection with those of
our two preceding lectures, is the conviction that has been produced
in our own mind, and which we believe will be made upon all, that
England and the United States, the two governments at present most
capable of exerting the greatest moral influence over Africa, and of
calling into activity her latent but giant energies, are at this moment
involved in positions of so much embarrassment, in consequence of
their having been connected with the slave trade and slavery, that
they cannot extricate themselves, but by the civilization of Africa.

France, also, in the case of her former colony of Hayti, has had
poured out to her a portion of the cup of bitterness, which, it seems,
must be pressed to the lips of all the nations who have participated
in oppressing Africa. By her late act of emancipation, in her re-
maining tropical colonies, France has still farther embarrassed herself,
and, like England and the United States, must soon be compelled
either to supply herself almost exclusively with slave-grown cotton,
and other tropical products, or lend her aid in promoting free labor
cultivation in tropical Africa.

In this remarkable condition of things, we are reminded of the
great truth, that God presides among the nations, and overrules their
actions to promote his own purposes of judgment and of mercy to
mankind, and that governments, like individuals, are hindered in
their designs here and have free progress there, only so far as corres-
ponds with his great scheme of displaying his hatred of sin, vindica-
ting his justice, and of manifesting his love to a fallen world, and his
determination to redeem it to himself.

A brief review of some of the leading events, relatino- to the
action of the nations of Europe, in their connection with the slave
trade and slavery, will bring us to the statement of the facts upon
which we base our propositions.

The records of history put it beyond all question, that the rapid
rise of Great Britain, during the 18th century, which secured to her
the superiority over other nations in naval power, in commerce, and
ultimately in manufactures, was due, principally, to her haviii<r

6 Present Relations of Free Labor to Slave Labor.

acquired by the treaty of Utrecht, 1713, the monopoly of the slave
trade. The traffic in slaves being, by this treaty, placed under the
control of England, her rivals were deprived of the means of supply-
ing slaves to their tropical possessions, excepting through her mer-
chants, while she could add to her colonies any number required by
the planters. And when we call to mind the fact, that the average
period of life of the imported African slave, as a profitable laborer in
the West India colonies, is not over seven years, it will be seen thai
this treaty most effectually crippled the rivals of England, and of ne-
cessity gave to her, as is the boast of McQueen, the principal monop-
oly of the markets of the world for her West India tropical products.
And, indeed, so seriously were the other powers affected by this
measure, that in 1739, Spain paid to Great Britain a half million of
dollars to secure a release of her monopoly for the remaining four
years to which it extended ; and thus the nations of Europe once
more became equal participants in this unholy commerce.

A true idea of the immense value of England's commercial inter-
ests, which were based upon the slave trade and slavery, may be
learned from the fact, that in 1807, the export products of her West
India possessions employed 250,000 tons of English shipping, and
that these islands sustained a population which consumed annually
$17,500,000 worth of British manufactures.* It was the possession
of such resources as these, coupled with her East India acquisitions,
that enabled England, whose navy at the opening of tlie 18th century
was one thousand guns less than that of France, to increase it in one
hundred years to near its present extent, and shordy after the begin-
ning of the present century, to bid defiance to the combined oppo-
sition of the powers of Europe. But it must not be forgotten, thai
much of this wealth, securing to England such prosperity and such
glory as she attained, was wrung from African sinews in her West
India colonies.

But now begins the era when the power of Great Britain is to
become arrayed on the side of African freedom. The year 1808
terminated the connection of both Great Britain and the United
States with the slave trade. Whatever may be said of the motives
prompting these governments to this act, it must be admitted, that a
great work of philanthropy was accomplished. But its prohibition
by these powers, unfortunately, left the monopoly of the traffic in
slaves in the hands of Spain and Portugal, who prosecuted it with
the greatest activity, and soon made the soil of Cuba and of Brazil to
croan beneath the cultivation of those exportable tropical products
which England had so successfully commenced, and so advantage-
ously prosecuted. Being then in its infancy, the government of the
United States covdd exert but litde influence upon other nations, and,
consequently, the control of this great question rested with England.
It was a capital error in her policy, to neglect securing an abandon-
ment of the slave trade by the other Eui'opean governments. Their

* Blackwood's Mag., 1848, p. 5.

Present Relations of Free Labor to Slave Labor. 7

success in rivaling her in tropical cultivation, together with the sub-
sequent legislative errors of Great Britain, and the consequent de-
struction of the prosperity of her West India colonies, has been fully
discussed in our first lecture. Since its publication, however, many
additional facts have been ascertained, and many new developments
have been made, in connection with English and French West India
emancipation, which enable us to understand more clearly its work-
ings, and to foresee more certainly the linal effects of that great work
of philanthropy upon the African race.

The prohibition of the slave trade, and the emancipation of her
West India slaves,* greatly embarrassed the commercial interests of
England, and forced her to grapple with the giant evils of the slave
trade and slavery, and to attempt their destruction. But each step
taken, after tlie prohibition of the slave trade, while it certainly pro-
moted, locallij, the cause of human liberty, dealt a death-blow to some
of the vital interests of the government. And, as if the Almighty
had designed to record, in letters of living light, his disapproval of the
motives prompting England to enslave the African race, diese blows
have fallen upon the identical interests which had been created and
built up by the slave trade and slavery, viz: her West India sugar,
cotton, and coffee cultivation, and the markets for her manufactures
which these islands afforded.

Previous to 1808, England's West India colonies were supplied
with laborers from Africa, by means of the slave trade. The slaves
in these islands numbered 800,000, in that year; but in 1834, when
their emancipation had been effected, there were only 700,000. t
This diminution of the slaves, while it very seriously affected the
exports from the colonies, served to reveal the true character of West
India slavery, and the means by which colonial prosperity had been
sustained, and can only be accounted for from overworking, and the
great disparity of the sexes always consequent upon the supply of
laborers by the slave trade. ±

After the supply of slave labor had been cut off, by the prohibition
of the slave trade, it was discovered that a vast decrease of exports
was taking place in the colonies. The remedy proposed for this evil
was emancipation ; by means of which it was conceived that the lib-
erated slaves would, as freemen, perform twice the labor that had been
wrung out of Uiem while under the lash, and also that double the
quantity that had been supplied, of British manufactures, while in
slavery, would be required to clothe them if free.§ Such a conceit
as this could never have originated but in a mind entertaining unsound
views of human nature, and unacquainted with the impossibility of
controlling, by moral suasion, a half-civilized or savage people, and of
inducing them to give up lung-established habits. But the scheme
was adopted, and England committed her second legislative error in

* 8ee Lecture 1, for a full discussion of tliis subject.

+ See Life of Buxton, and our First Lecture, p. 4L

J See Lecture 1, p. 41. § See Lect. 1, p. 39.

8 Present Relations of Free Labor to Slave Labor.

anti-slavery effort. The emancipation of the West India slaves
was decreed in 1833, and fully executed in 1838.

The movements of France in relation to African freedom, must
also be noticed, to obtain a clear view of the present relations of free
labor to slave labor. The history of the island of St. Domingo sup-
plies materials of great interest upon this subject. The French por-
tion of that island, in 1789, consisting of 30,826 whites, and 27,548
free colored persons,* had 480,000 slaves t employed in agriculture,
and furnished three-fifths of the produce of all the French West India
colonies, amounting in value to more than $50,000,000, and consumed,
of French manufactures, $49,430,000. J The Spanish part of the
island employed in agriculture only 15,000 slaves. §

The political troubles of St. Domingo began in 1790, between the
mulattoes and the whites, the slaves remaining industrious, quiet, and
orderly. But in August, 1792, the slaves joined in the rebellion, and
the massacre of the whites was commenced. The most dreadful
scenes of cruelty and bloodshed continued to be enacted until 1801,
when a constitution was adopted, and the island, under the name of
Hayti, formally proclaimed an independent neutral power. At the
close of this year, Bonaparte made an effort to reconquer the island,
and, in order to succeed, the French general, Le Clerc, first attempted
to restore the planters to their former authority over the negroes,
many of whom, in the preceding struggles, had been granted their
freedom ; but, failing in this, he was forced, as a last resort, on the
25th of April, 1802, to "proclaim liberty and equality to all the in-
habitants, without regard to color." The Haytien chieftains, Touis-
sant, Dessalines, Christophe, &c., being immediately deserted by the
blacks, were forced to submit, and the French sovereignty was again
recognized throughout Hayti. As a first step to deprive the people
of their efficient leaders, Le Clerc seized Touissant and his family, m
the night, about the middle of May, and hurried them on board a ves-
sel, which sailed immediately for France. ^ This act of perfidy at
once aroused the population to resistance, and the French, after a loss
of 40,000 men, by disease and war, were compelled to capitulate,
Nov., 1803, and, with a remnant of the army, of only 8,000 men,
beg leave to depart from the island. Dessalines now assumed the
authority, and a general massacre of the remaining French inhabitants
took place.**

From this period, 1803, dates the independence of Hayti. Its
population was, at this time, 348,000.tt Christophe was declared
kino- in 1811. Pelion succeeded him and died in 1818, when Boyer
came into power and annexed the Spanish part of the Island. From
this period until 1843, when Boyer abdicated, the Island enjoyed a
fair degree of tranquility. The legislation was rigidly directed to

* Westminster Rev., 1850, p. 261. + Macgregor, p. 1152.
X Blackwood's Mag., I8l8, p. 6. § Macgregor, p. 1152.

yf Confined to a loathsome dungeon, he died the next year.
** Sec Life of Benjamin Lundy, and also Macgregor.
tt Macgregor, p. 1152.

Present Relations of Free Labor to Slave Labor. 9

secure the industry of the inhabitants, but witli little success as we
shall see.

In 1848, the whole of the slaves in the remaining French colonies
were emancipated by a decree of the Republic. Their population,
including free persons and slaves, we' find stated as follows :*








Martinique, ..(1846),
Gaudaloupe,. . .(do),

Bourban, (do),

Nossi Be and

Nossi Cumba, .(do).


Nossi Falli and
Nossi Mitsou, (1846),
St. Mary Mag-
dalene, (do),

Senegal, (1845),

Algiers, (estimate).









We are now enabled to state the amount of the colored popula-
tion, in the English and French colonies, to whom freedom has
been secured, and upon whom, since their emancipation, free labor
tropical cultivation has devolved. It was as follows :

British West Indies, . . . 1834, 700,000

Hayti, 1804, 348,000

Other French Colonies, 1848, 25 7,000

Total 1,30 5,000

Here we shall terminate our preliminary historical retrospect and
proceed to demonstrate our first proposition, which is this :

I. That free labor, in tropical and semi-tropical countries, is failing
to furnish to the markets of the world, in anything like adequate
quantities, those commodities upon which slave labor is chiefly

We shall commence with the British West Indies. The following
table embraces the exports from Jamaica alone. We cannot ascer-
tain the amount exported from the whole English West India col-
onies, including the period of the slave trade. But as Jamaica is
much the largest and most important Island, and as nearly the same
results have followed in all the islands, it may justly be taken as the
type of the whole, and as fully exhibiting the influence which the
legislation of the mother country, on the subject of the slave trade
and slavery, in its several stages of progress, has exerted upon her
own commerce and manufactures, and upon the pro^:^perity of the
colonies. The quantities slated are tlie average annual exports for
periods oi five years each, embracing the last five years of the slave
trade, the last five of slavery, and the first five of freedom. \ We

*Anti-Slavery Reporter.

fWhere the sugar is given in hogsheads, we have reduced it to pounds, esti-
mating the hhd. at 1600' lbs. nelt.

10 Present Relations of Free Labor to Slave Labor.

are also enabled to bring down the results to the close of 1848,
including the three last years separately.

Years of Exports.

lbs Sugar.

P. Rum.


lbs Coffee.

Ann. Value.

Ann. average, 1803 to 1807*

«' " 1829 to 1833*

1839 to 1843*

« exports I846t


«« « 1848t






*Blackwood's Mag., 1848, p. 225.

tLittel's Living Age, 1850, No. 309, p. \^^.— Letters of Mr. Bigelow.

We add also the exports from British Guiana, because it includes
the article of cotton, and exhibits the decline in its production.*


lbs. Sugar.

Pun. Rum.

Ck's. Molas.

lbs. Colton.

Coffee, lbs. Dutch,





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Online LibraryDavid ChristyA lecture on the present relations of free labor to slave labor, in tropical and semi-tropical countries: presenting an outline of the commercial failure of West India emancipation, and its effects upon slavery and the slave trade, together with its final effect upon colonization to Africa → online text (page 1 of 10)