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tended a great many slave-sales, and I have seen no negro sell for more than £30; and I believe the very last slave that had been levied on for an owner's debt, and sold in Jamaica by public auction, I saw put up, on the day previous to the 1st of August, on the steps of Harty's Tavern, in this town, the last exhibition of this kind that was to disgust the beholder; and, in this instance, the property put up was a young woman, strong and healthy, and she was knocked down to the highest bidder, which happened to be the only one, for £5. 6s. 8d. But it may be said, these sales are no criterion of the value of negroes on plantations; that the negroes sold by public auction, with their iron collars about their necks, were brought to the market from the jail, and, consequently, were worthless characters. In the first place, though they might come from the workhouse, it by no means followed that they were there for crime, a vast number being there for their owners' debts. In the next place, the crimes for which the negroes used to be sent to the workhouse, excepting that of running away, were not generally of a character to deter people from purchasing them. The great qualification looked to in a negro is ability to work; and I have seen a great number of able-bodied men sold for less than £30. Now, there is another criterion, the price that negroes have fetched on plantations that have been sold for six months
previous to August. Various coffee-plantations, especially, have been sold with the negroes; and the purchase, in no instance that has come to my knowledge, has exceeded £30 a head; and this sum, in three or four instances, even including the purchase of the land.
In the high and palmy state of the prosperity of Jamaica, Bryan Edwards estimates the annual clear value of every negro on a plantation to his master at £10 a head. It were well for the planters if a negro's labour was worth that now, bearing in mind that the master has to feed, clothe, and lodge the negro, to pay doctors' bills and workhouse-fees for him, and taxes likewise, and that the risk of life is also to be taken into consideration. I think all the first items, however economically the supplies be managed, cannot be estimated at an amount under £15 per annum, which, for six years, is £90, and that the clear profit to the owner from each negro's labour, for the term of six years, cannot be fairly estimated beyond £45 currency; and this sum, in my opinion, is as much at the highest calculation as any adult fieldnegro can be said to be worth, for the term of six years, taking into consideration the reduced labour that can be now legally obtained from him.
In Kingston, where the negroes are non-predials, and their time of servitude shorter by two years than the field-negroes, and the difficulty of
obtaining regular wages or employment for them greater than in the country, the value of their services is consequently so much proportionally abridged, and therefore my average valuations have been about £25. It is needless to say any thing of difficulties in such matters: they could not be inconsiderable where one arbitrator sometimes valued the worth of the services in question at £100, and his brother arbitrator at £25. But I would be doing a great injustice to the magistrates of Kingston, if I did not acknowledge there are some gentlemen among them in whom I found a spirit of impartial justice practically displayed on every occasion in which I fortunately happened to be associated with them;-I allude to Mr. Dallas, the Custos of Port Royal, to Dr. Chamberlaine, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Jerdan, and, I might add, Mr. Evans ; but, except the latter, these gentlemen were very seldom suffered by the proprietors to be associated with me. Now, what I have contended for in these valuations is, that the valuers have nothing to do with the injury inflicted on slave property, by the Abolition Act; the simple question that should come before them is, what are the services of this negro worth to his or her employer for the term of six or four years, taking into consideration the health, age, sex, and employment of the person to be valued. For the injury done to slavery in general, the
compensation, however inadequate it may be, is the fund that is devoted to the colonists for their indemnity. It may, perhaps, amount to £25 sterling; now, this amount in currency, together with that which was the average of my valuations, would amount to about £60 currency; and this sum, I maintain, is more than negroes have been worth for a great many years: at different epochs the price of slaves has varied with the increase or diminution of importation: about seventy years ago, the average number of negroes carried off the coast of Africa for the New World, according to Raynal, was 80,000 per annum, for some years. Edwards, at a period twenty years later, and perhaps with more truth, fixes the number at 20,000 annually; while Anderson raises it to 100,000. I believe in these, as in all other extreme statements, truth may be found to lie between. Edwards admits that 610,000 negroes were imported into Jamaica between 1700 to 1786, and this amount he reckons one-third of the whole number imported during the same interval into other parts of the British Colonies, the whole amount being 2,130,000 for that period. About the same period, namely, from 1702 and 1775, Brydges says half a million were imported into Jamaica, and that the average annual importation was from five to ten thousand; but in all, he informs us, "50,000 negroes were
annually transported beyond the reach of their own tyrants;" he forgot to add, "and were placed within the reach of ours." He admits, however, that the drain upon Africa, to the period of the abolition of the slave-trade, "might have certainly peopled continents and supplied armies which would have over-run the world." Montgomery Martin estimates the total number of negroes stolen from their country at thirty millions; of that number I should not think thirty thousand natives of Africa are now in existence in our colonies: of their descendants, both in America and the West Indies, there may be about three millions and a half, of which number there are in all our colonies about eight hundred thousand, but in our West Indies, not much above six hundred and fifty thousand. So much for the millions who "might have over-run continents," but who pined and perished in slavery, in order that we Christians might not have to drink tea without sugar, or those who disliked tea have to breakfast without coffee. Now, for the value of those animal machines, who, "when they stand up, exhibit a human face, these creatures, in fact, that are men.” In 1510, King Ferdinand sent out a cargo of negroes, as a private adventure, to his own possessions in Hispaniola; by which speculation his Majesty must have been a considerable gainer, for nearly thirty years later the first Genoese com