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are disposed to have recourse to the experiment of importing free labourers from Germany; an absurd project, if it is expected that the emigrants will be retained in the capacity of agricultural labourers. At present, arrangements have been entered into with the apprentices, (the stipendiary magistrate being a party to the agreement,) which appear to be satisfactory. The appren tices are to work the same as they did before the 1st of August, in consideration of having continued to them all the allowances beyond the law that had been customary, and a provision being made for the children under six years of age. For extra labour some planters pay money;-we presume for task-work. The negroes generally speak French, and are Roman Catholics. There are many Sunday, and some day schools. Their priests, probably, contribute by their influence to keep them in order. There are three Wesleyan Missionaries stationed in the island, but their success seems to be but limited, as only 262 free persons and 173 slaves are reported to belong to their society.
In St. Lucia, the apprentices appear to be working steadily eight hours per day for five days in the week, which allows five hours for cultivating provision grounds, of which they are allowed as much as they can cultivate; and they employ the Saturday diligently in labouring for themselves. There is a large free population: they do not, of course, work on sugar-estates, but are not idle. All the labouring classes here are particularly ' fond of finery, and will work to obtain it.' The colony is not in a prosperous state, owing to the embarrassments of the planters, the injurious operation of the old French law, and the deficiency in the revenue of the colony; but, as Mr. Innes mentions no ground of complaint against the negroes, we may rank this with the colonies where the apprenticeship system is working satisfactorily. In Trinidad, the vexatious and uncertain state of the colonial laws, half Spanish, half English, operates in like manner very prejudicially, and, added to a want of confidence, a deficiency of population, and an utter dearth of religious instruction, must oppose formidable obstacles to the working of any system. The mass of the labouring population, as in the ci-devant French islands of Grenada, St. Lucia, and Dominica, are Roman Catholic, and there is but a single Protestant place of worship in the island. Scarcely any thing is doing in the way of instruction, and the neglected state of the population is a reproach upon this country. The sugar-planters are nearly unanimous that no reliance can be placed on procuring labour after the apprenticeship; but this opinion is in the teeth of facts which shew that free labour might be commanded by proper arrangements. Four cargoes of Africans liberated under the mixed commission at the Havannah,' had arrived and been located there. The last cargo,' consisting of 150 males and 152 females, who arrived
recently, had been bound as apprentices for three years, on the condition of having, in addition to the usual allowances, 4d. currency per day of actual labour, for the first year, 8d. for the second year, and 1s. for the third year. Mr. Innes had the gratification of ascertaining that these labourers are universally giving satisfaction.
In Dominica, under the apprenticeship system, the field work is carried on with little spirit on the sugar-estates, but it has not 'been necessary to inflict many punishments.' The apprentices toil diligently enough, it would appear, for wages, at the sulphurworks, which promise to be more productive to the proprietor than his plantations.
We may add St. Vincent to the colonies in which the system is working doubtfully. A few days before Mr. Innes's arrival, the apprenticed labourers on three estates had refused to work, in consequence of a misunderstanding respecting the allowances for extra labour to which they were entitled. It had been neces
sary to resort to a strong demonstration of force'; and before he left the island, they had resumed their labour. Tranquillity prevailed throughout the colony, but many complaints were made of the slovenly manner in which work was performed; and apprehensions were expressed, that, after the apprenticeship, the present population would not work continuously. Yet, no measure had been taken to supply the expected deficiency; only one planter had adopted task-work; scarcely any thing had been done for the abridgement of labour, the planters wishing to avoid outlay'; the plough is not much used: in short, the planters are improvidently, ignorantly, and stupidly adhering to the old system as far as they can,-with the noble exception already referred to, of the Yorkshire proprietor, who is affording them a practical demonstration of the possibility of at once increasing their crops and reducing the expense of cultivation.
We now come to the two colonies in which the apprenticeship is giving the least satisfaction; and first, we shall lay before our readers the unfavourable view which Mr. Innes gives of the state of things in British Guiana.
Here, it is important to premise, that Mr. Innes found himself compelled to assent, on investigation of the facts, to the startling position, that, with all the advantages of British Guiana, sugarcultivation, on the aggregate, has been a decidedly losing business.
There are some splendid exceptions, as in mining, where almost princely fortunes have been realized, and others have been moderately successful; but, taking the whole colony, the capital sunk has not yielded an adequate return. My (previous) impressions were different; but, after taking each estate, and obtaining extensive information from parties conversant with details, the balance against adequate return
was so great, as to leave the question free from doubt. If, then, the aggregate of sugar-cultivation has not been profitable whilst planters had the command of labourers, it is manifest that, when deprived of that command, British Guiana must cease to be a great sugar colony. It will be said that the outlay in settling estates having taken place, the cultivation will be continued while the income exceeds the annual expenses, not including interest in outlay. True: but, if the revenue leaves nothing for interest, planters in debt must be ruined, and an end be put to the extension of sugar-cultivation, or to its preservation as now existing.'
And, surely, sound policy would lead us to say, the sooner the better. If sugar-cultivation cannot be made profitable under what have been deemed the most advantageous circumstances to the planter, it cannot be for the interest of this country, to keep up, by bounties and duties, and at an immense cost in military and naval force, so unprofitable and ruinous a systém. Now, long before the abolition of the slave-trade, Bryan Edwards (a writer with whom Mr. Innes ought to be familiar) asserted that, owing to the great expense of cultivation, nothing could have saved "the planters from ruin, but the advanced price of sugar in the 'markets of Europe:' and it is no wonder, he remarks, after entering into a lengthened exposition of the case of the West India planter, thata sugar-estate, with all its boasted advantages, should sometimes prove a mill-stone about the neck of its unfortunate proprietor, which is dragging him to destruction.' Between the years 1772 and 1792, according to a Report from a Committee of the Jamaica House of Assembly, there had been 177 estates sold for debt, and 55 thrown up, while 92 more remained in the hands of creditors. It is no new discovery, then, that sugar-cultivation by slave-labour is, on the aggregate, a losing concern; and that the sugar produced by free labour would, but for protecting duties, drive the slave-labour sugar out of every
We are not aware that this country would have any reason to regret British Guiana's ceasing to be a great sugar colony. The value of these colonies does not depend upon their being sugar colonies. The exclusive attention paid to sugar-cultivation has hitherto operated most prejudicially in retarding the development of the natural resources of the West India Islands, as well as in all other respects. But, should the present gigantic experiment fail, Mr. Innes says, 'it is frightful to contemplate the vast extension there will be of foreign slavery.' We contemplate no such consequences under the worst that can happen; being well assured that free labour and free trade together would soon lead to the extirpation of predial slavery, by the sure method of underselling the products of slave labour.
We have already seen, however, that even in the West Indies,
sugar may be profitably cultivated by free labour. And it seems to be now all but universally admitted, that free labour is the cheapest, where it can be steadily commanded. The apprenticeship scheme is an expedient, not for commanding labour, but for coercing it where it cannot, by the ordinary motives to human industry, be commanded. It rests its defence, as a measure of policy, upon the impossibility of commanding it under the circumstances which slavery itself has produced. There is free labour to be had in Guiana; and there are many instances of free ne6 groes remaining on coffee-estates.' But, in the whole of British Guiana, Mr. Innes was disappointed at being able to hear of only one free woman and one free man, who continued, after liberation, to labour in the field on a sugar-estate, and they had peculiar ties to the estate. There are many instances of their continuing to work on sugar-estates at other than field labour, but the hoe is the badge of slavery; and it has been usual, when any of the negro tradesmen or domestics have misbehaved, to 'threaten to send them to the field, thereby marking the field 'labour as degrading.' Not only so, but free men, in most, if not all of the colonies, have been prohibited from working at field labour. And yet now, the planters complain of the unwillingness of the apprentices to work in the field on sugar-cultivation, which they naturally regard with much the same feeling that an English labourer would relish being engaged to work at a treadmill. Still, the apprentices submit to the necessity with as good a grace as could be expected.
'There are, of course,' Mr. Innes says, 'exceptions in so extensive a colony; but I should say, speaking generally, that where a good understanding exists between the manager and apprentices, (and the want of such good understanding is probably as often attributable to one side as the other,) there is no great difficulty in obtaining the labour that the law exacts, although some of it is done with less care than formerly; but when the apprentices take a dislike to any of those placed over them, it is quite impossible to obtain the legal quantity of work.'
We rejoice to hear it. We are glad that coercion fails, where ill treatment has alienated the negroes from their employers. That the Demerara planters should be unanimously of opinion that it is perfectly chimerical to expect the continuous labour of the negroes on sugar-plantations after the apprenticeship, proves what has been their conduct towards their slaves. It is admitted to be the prevailing opinion, even in Guiana, that free negroes will work on coffee and cotton plantations. Then, there is nothing in the character of the negro that prevents the success of the experiment of free labour. But the curse of slavery peculiarly hangs about sugar-cultivation; and those who have hitherto ex
cluded and rejected free labour on sugar-estates, are now murmuring that they cannot at once command it! In Guiana, there would seem, indeed, to be a worse chance of commanding it, than in most of the colonies, from the slighter hold which the planters, through their own criminality and imprudence, have upon the negroes. In the first place, the negro labourers have no provision-grounds to link them to the soil, but are supplied with fish and plantains. In the second place, they are for the most part without any education. Their common language is a barbarous jargon called Creole Dutch, of which the stipendiary magistrates sent out from this country can scarcely understand a word. In the country, it is only domestics and head people ' that are clothed'; and the negro, when free, will have to acquire a taste for the luxury or finery of dress, before he will feel the inducement to work for the supply of that new want. riage has been very partially introduced, and is discountenanced and nullified by the contempt shewn by the whites for the domestic ties or moral interests of the negroes. Polygamy is allowed in many districts. For the education and religious instruction of the children, nothing has been done.' The colonists have gone to a very heavy expense, we are told, in building churches, and providing for the clergymen; but in some districts the deficiency is remarkable. On the Corrantyne or east coast of Berbice, comprehending a district of fifty miles, there is not a single church; and in other parts of Berbice, the planters give up part of their buildings for occasional service. Of Demerara, nothing is said in this respect. Its colonists enjoy, with a few exceptions, an unenviable notoriety, which would make any claims to religious feeling on their part very suspicious. In no other colony has there taken place a more frightful destruction of human life. The decrease of the slave population in this colony, during twelve years, (1817-1829,) was 12,037, in a population of 835,000; including in the latter sum 5,508 imported! And this decrease receives melancholy illustration from another return. Among a population of 62,000 plantation slaves, the number of offences recorded as punished, in a single year, was 20,157, of whom 8,461 were women!! In Berbice, in a population of 21,000, there were 9000 punishments! Is it to be wondered at, that these are among the colonies in which the apprenticeship scheme is not working quite so well as could be wished, and in which the planters despair of commanding free labour? It is
* The marriages of slaves in Demerara, reported from Nov. 13th, 1827, to June 29th, 1828, were 93; viz.-22 by ministers of the Church of England, 40 by a Roman Catholic priest, and 31 by Wesleyan missionaries.