doubtful is it that this immorality was carried to an excess, which still further diminished the rate of natural increase.
As, however, it must be supposed that the slave-traders brought to the market precisely the assortment of cargo which they found the most salable, the above abuse is chargeable indirectly to the planters themselves. Had they desired on their plantations an equal number of each sex, the slave-dealer would doubtless have found means to supply it. a
The slave-trade had another still more sinister influence. It is beyond a doubt that wherever that trade prevailed it tended directly to aggravate the condition and to shorten the lives of the plantation slaves. This happened because it increased the temptation to cruelty and overwork. An author who resided twenty years in Brazil, and who has dealt tenderly with slavery, confesses:
Until 1850, when the slave-trade was effectually put down, it was considered cheaper, on the country plantations, to use up a slave in five or seven years, and purchase another, than to take care of him. This I had, in the interior, from native Brazilians, and my own observation has confirmed it. But since the inhuman traffic with Africa has ceased the price of slaves has been enhanced, and the selfish motive for taking greater care of them has been increased. b
Of the two influences to check population above indicated as flowing directly from the slave-trade, the first, connected with the disparity in the numbers of the sexes, is totally insufficient to account for the unexampled decrease in the 15,000,000 of slaves sent to the Gulf and to South America. Suppose that entire population when it left the shores of Africa to have been in the proportion of five men to three women, its power of natural increase would have equaled only that of a normally constituted population of 11,250,000. But had the slaves in question actually numbered but 11,250,000, and had they increased in the same proportion as the 500,000 shipped for the United States have done, the census return of their descendants to-day would have been 98,000,000-more than three times the population, white and black, of the United States.
The immoral influence of the disparity in the relative numbers of the sexes already alluded to and its tendency to check population is here to be taken into account. But that disparity prevailed among imported negroes only, and did not, of course, extend beyond the first generation. Unquestionable as the tendency of the influence in question was to diminish the rate of natural increase, we can receive it only as a partial element not seriously affecting the general result. Thus the marvelous variance in the fate of the two divisions of negro immigrants is not explained, though the exact figures are varied by the disproportion of the sexes in these immigrants.
As to the second influence growing out of the temptation gradually to work to death laborers who can be replaced any day by fresh purchases, it is hard to believe that it should have exerted over human
a Many of the largest and best sugar estates on the island of Cuba belong to the different ecclesiastical orders. Under the mask of discouraging a vicious intercourse of the sexes, some of them religiously resolved to purchase only male negroes-a devout austerity which would appear to have originated in the idea that men can do more work than women. Deprived of connections resulting from one of the chief laws of nature, and driven to desperation, the unhappy negroes, not unlike the first Romans, have been known to fly to the neighboring estates, seize on the women, and carry them off to the mountains. (History of the Maroons, by R. C. Dallas, London, 1803, Vol.2, p.60.)
b Brazil and the Brazilians, by the Rev. D. P. Kidder, D. D., and the Rev. J. C. Fletcher, 1857. It is Mr. Fletcher who writes the above.