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The pro-slavery argument. Source 2 transcript
will be admitted that, under any change of system, the continuance of active
Cultivation in the Colonies by Europeans is not only of vital importance
to the interests of the Mother Country, but indispensably necessary to the
desired object of raising the Negro in the scale of society, while, therefore
it remains unascertained by actual experiment that the Negro will give continuous
labour, and for reasonable wages, as a free man – and while the weight
of evidence and experience discourages the expectation of his willingly
consenting to do so, - there must be the greatest danger that any hasty
change of system, unaccompanied by regulations calculated to ensure the
Slaves becoming an industrious peasantry, and to teach them the duties and
obligations of civil society would lead to the immediate destruction of
the Colonies, and throw the Black Population back into a state of barbarism.
That your Lordship may be enabled to judge of the effect which such a calamity would produce on the interests of Great Britain, as well as of the irresistible impulse it would give to the Slave Trade, in which Foreigners still persist, the Committee beg leave to remind you, that the present annual gross Revenue derived from West Indian Produce is Seven Millions, the value of British Manufactures annually consumed in those Colonies is Four Millions and a half; and the number of Ships employed in the direct trade Nine hundred and fifty – or Two hundred & forty thousand Tons – exclusive of an extensive cross trade constantly maintained between the Colonies and British America. Also that the British Colonies at present supply nearly one half of the total quantity of Sugar imported into Europe.
So that your Lordship can judge the effect of such a calamity on the interests of Great Britain, as well as lead to an expansion in the foreign slave trade, the Committee asks to remind you that the current revenue derived each year from the West Indies is £7million, the value of British goods used each year in the colonies is £4 1/2 million, and that 950 ships, carrying 240,000 tons are employed directly as a result (this figure does not include the trade between the Colonies and British America). The British Colonies also supply nearly half of all the sugar imported into Europe.
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