this to various causes; as, to the prevalence of polygamy in Africa; to the fact that there were fewer female criminals than male criminals; also, that as to the chief offense for which criminals were sold to slavery, namely, adultery, "it was sometimes pardoned in the women, but never in the men." a
Other witnesses, however, affirm that there was no difficulty in procuring as many female slaves as males. Mr. Eldred, captain of a slaver from Rhode Island, testifies:
Female slaves can be procured on the coast with more facility than male slaves. b
The true motive is probably given by a slave surgeon, Mr. Falconbridge, who deposes:
On the coast of Africa the captains of slave ships never wish to purchase more than one-third females. The planters in the West Indies, in many cases, prefer males, because they lose the labor of a female in the latter end of pregnancy, and for a little time afterward. c
Most of the witnesses state the usual proportion between the two to be three males for one female. The Rev. Mr. Newton says:
The number of male slaves purchased usually exceeded that of the females in the proportion of four to three, and sometimes of two to three. d
The exact average proportion appears to have been between these two rates. In the report of the Jamaica House of Assembly, already quoted from, e in which this disparity in the number of the sexes is adduced as a chief cause of the decrease in their slave population, tables are given showing the exact proportion in the case of 49, 135 negroes imported by the chief negro factors into Kingston from 1764 to 1788. Of these, 30,636 were males and 18,539 were females, the relative proportion being, as nearly as may be, five males to three females. Of each 1,000 negroes imported then, there were, on the average, 625 men and 375 women. Each 1,000, therefore, was only equal, so far as power of reproduction was concerned, to a population of 375 men and 375 women; in other words, to a normally constituted population of 750.
It follows that, as to any given West Indian or other slave population, kept up by constant supplies through the slave-trade, we must deduct 25 per cent., or, in other words, take three- fourths only of its nominal amount on which to estimate its power of natural increase. f
To this extent, then, it is to be confessed that the decrease of population in the West Indies and South America is not to be wholly ascribed to the more cruel treatment of more oppressive labor to which the slaves were subjected by the planters, but to the policy pursued by the African slave-traders in selecting their human cargoes.
That such a disturbance of a great natural law must have produced immoral results in an aggregated form cannot be doubted. As little
a Testimony of Mr. Miles, Lords" Report, Part I, Sheet O. Mr. Weaver, same page, says: "Few women are sold for any other crime than adultery, and that is very often forgiven them."
b Lords" Report, Part I, Sheet N 6.
c Ibid. Mr. Falconbridge made five voyages as surgeon.
e P.68 , ante.
f The committee of the Jamaica House of Assembly, from whose report the above is extracted, fall into a remarkable error. They deduct from the whole number imported two-fifths, "to bring the sexes to an equality;" that would be 40 per cent., reducing each 1,000 to 600. But as each 1,000 contained 375 women, it was evidently equal, in power of reproduction, to a population of 375 men and 375 women; in other words, to an ordinary population of 750.