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pany, for the sale of slaves, got from fifty to two hundred ducats a-head for Africans.

In 1689, a pamphlet called “ The Groans of the Plantations” has some very valuable information on the subject of the price of negroes at that period.

Formerly (says the writer) we might send to Guinea for negroes when we wanted them, and they stood us in about £7 a-head. The account is short and plain, for they cost about the value of 40s. a-head in Guinea, and the freight was £5 for every one that was brought alive and could walk over the ship’s side. But now we are shut out from this trade, and a company is forced on us from whom we must have our negroes, and no other way. A company of London merchants have got a patent, excluding all others from furnishing the plantations with negroes, some great men being joined with them, with whom we are not able to contend; but those great men might have had some better exercise for their generosity than the pressing too hard upon industrious people. And now we buy our negroes at the rate of an engrossed commodity, the common rate of a good negro on ship-board being twenty pound, and we are forced to scramble for them in so shameful a manner that one of the great burdens of our lives is going to buy negroes. But we must have them; we cannot do without them.

In a manuscript journal of Hampdon Needham, in possession of his grandson Major-General Needham, quoted by Montgomery Martin, the price of negroes is thus stated in 1750: “ Bought ten negroes at £50 each ; and in 1747, the following calculation appears in the Board of Trade papers-500 negroes at £30 each.”

In 1777, slaves averaged in the West Indies from £25 to £30. In 1791,

In 1791, Edwards says the common price was £50 ; boys and girls from £ 40 to £45; an infant £5. In the intermediate period between 1777 and 1790, the average price was from £35 to £45 currency, on an average of upwards of twenty cargoes, (see Report, Jamaica House of Assembly, 1792.) At this period, the price had advanced from £60 to £70 currency: and Edwards, in his estimate of the expenses of a sugar-plantation, values the negroes at £70, at the period when he wrote on the West Indies. But a very singular difference in the estimated value of convicted and executed negroes appears to have taken place within the last fifty years. I have now before me the original record of the slave trials of the parish of St. Andrews, from 1746 to 1782, a period of thirty-six years. In this record, I find wherever a negro is sentenced to execution, the court invariably fixes his value at £40. Now this was in the prosperous times of Jamaica. But in the late rebellion of 1831, I find, to my great astonishment, the value considerably increased of the negro who is ordered to be executed. In 1823, in the Duke of Manchester's time, during Mr. Bullock's administration, - eight negroes were executed for “compassing and imagining the death of the white people” (no actual rebellion having taken place against the majesty of that community); it was one of the many conspiracies of former times: the indemnity in these cases granted by the court was £50 for one; £100 each for three others; and £65, £70, £80, and £90 each, for the other four. So that the proprietor, however little he might have desired to have profited by such means, received £605 for his executed slaves, while, for as many living negroes, when the compensation money is paid, he will receive from the British Government probably about £240.

This indemnity ought to be abolished; for it is inipossible to look on it in any other light than as having the appearance, at least, of a bounty on rebellions--a bonus on negro executions.

The price of slaves in the West Indies, at any time since the commencement of this traffic, never averaged, for a period of ten years, £55 sterling ahead. So much has been paid for Creole slaves in Jamaica, it is said, as £300 currency; but this was for artizans, such as carpenters and coppersmiths, taught these profitable trades in the colony. Altogether, I would say the average price of all the

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slaves that have been imported into the West Indies may be estimated at about £40 sterling.

In Rome, a learned slave has been sold for a sum equivalent to £833 ; a stage-player, according to Dickson, for still more; many of the most famous doctors of ancient Rome were slaves; what the physicians fetched in the market I do not know, but I should suppose they were more valuable than they are at present in any country. The modern doctors, however, have turned the tables on the community; for now, instead of being sold, they sell the public, at least that part of it that is confided to their care, when they choose to retire from their practice ;—ay, literally sell their patients, for a price which may vary from £500 sterling to £2000; and, what is worse, the unfortunate patients, who are thus regularly bought and sold, have no voice in the transfer, but are “ led by the nose” to the establishments of their new possessors, as tenderly as asses are.”

I am, my dear Sir,
Yours very truly,

R. R. M.





Kingston, Nov. 1, 1834. My dear Sir, The system of management formerly pursued on estates; the mode of disposing of their produce, and of procuring the supplies; and lastly, the loans contracted on the calculation of a continuance of extraordinary returns, may be looked upon as the immediate causes of the general depression of West India interests—I may say, of their ruin. I have taken a good deal of pains to inform myself thoroughly on this subject; and the information I have received is from gentlemen commercially and agriculturally connected with West India interests, on whose opinions and statements I have a perfect reliance.

The system formerly pursued, of transacting colonial business, was this :- The merchant, in consideration of the advantages of the sale of the

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