cast into the Atlantic, a while less than 12,500,000 were landed in colonial ports and distributed to planters from the auction block.
Never, in any three centuries of man's written history, was the violation of a great principle, alike in political economy, in national morals, and in the religion of Christ, followed by a succession of outrages against God's creatures-in numbers a vast nation-so openly sanctioned by public opinion, yet so market at every stage of its progress by those flagrant enormities which usually arouse loudspoken indignation, even when they do not stir to practical reform, among mankind.
But we have raised the curtain on but the first two acts of the great tragedy, the scene being laid of the first in Africa, of the second in the prison-slaver. The third and last, opening on colonial plantations, remains to be glanced at. We must say a few words as to the treatment of those who survived death to become, in a foreign land, slaves and the progenitors of slaves.
The graphic recital of individual barbarities, authentic examples of which can be found without number, are best calculated to stir indignation; but a doubt may obtrude itself, in reading these, as to how far they constitute the rule, and how far they are to be taken as the exception only. Statistical details on a large scale, grave and dispassionate though their language be, addressed not to the heart but to the reason, carry with them a force of evidence far beyond that of individual example; a force of evidence against which sophistry strives in vain; which compels conviction, except when the mind is closed against all proof by the hermetic influence of prejudice.
We select an example of such evidence, based on official tables running through nearly three-quarters of a century, and bearing upon the character of slavery in the principal English colony in the West Indies. The character of England for humanity, as compared with that of other owners of slave colonies-Spain, France, Holland-is not below the average; and on that score the example may be assumed as fair.
To the Jamaica House of Assembly, convened by the Governor of the colony, August 6, 1702, a return was made of the negroes and stock then on the island. The number of slaves was 41,596. b
In the report of the Lords in council, from which we have already so copiously extracted, is a table c giving the number of negroes annually imported into and exported from the island of Jamaica, from the year 1702 to the year 1775, both inclusive; that is, during seventy-four years.
Leaving an addition, by importation, to the negro
population of the island, in seventy-four years,
a The dead were thrown overboard even in port. Captain Cook, commanding a trading vessel on the east coast of Africa, in 1836-1838, informed Mr. Fowell Buxton that slaves who die on board in ports are never interred on shore, but are invariably thrown overboard, when they sometimes float backward and forward with the tide for a week, should the sharks and alligators not devour them. (The African Slave-Trade, by Thomas Fowell Buxton, London, 1839, p.93.)
b Annals of Jamaica, by the Rev. G. W. Bridges, A. M., London, 1827, Vol.1, p.331.
c Lords of Council Report, Part III, Jamaica, Sheet P.