Imagens das páginas

emigration. This class constitutes 16 cept so much as is absolutely necessary per cent. of the aggregate population of to sustain life. The population of Rusthe Union, and although Jess oppressed sia is sixty millions of souls. Of these, than classes occupying similar positions 21 millions are the predial slaves bein Europe and in British India, are still longing to the crown, and 23 millions for the most part in a state of predial are the absolute slaves of the nobles. slavery, a drawback upon the onward The person and property of the slave progress of the country, and a fearful are at the absolute and uncontrolled blot upon the face of its society. It is disposal of the master. Some of the an awful thing to reflect, that these pobles own more than 100,000 slaves beings were transported from their each, and for these they pay a tax to native Africa, to continue to blast, by the government of four rubles, or $2 50 their presence, the prosperity of that each. The noble generally, as the superior race of men, to whom from easiest mode of profiting by the services the remotest ages they have ever been of his slave, imposes an obrock or caphewers of wood and drawers of water, itition tax upon him, of an average of to form, in this advancing age, amidst 40 rubles or $25 each male living in the most thriving community, a vast the country. Those to whom he grants body of people incapable of the im- licenses to live in towns, or who have provement which pervades all around professions, pay as high as 1000 rubles them.

The first settlement of the or $625 to the owner, who may inflict Americas, seems to have been conduct- corporal punishment at pleasure, but is ed on the principle of extracting from himself punishable if a slave dies withthe soil its resources, through the in 24 hours from the severity of the aid of slave labor; that is, to require chastisement. Formerly an estate was from the laborer the whole product of valued according to the number of slaves his toil, after the expenses of his main- upon it. Owing to the increase of the tenance had been deducted; or to en- numbers of the latter, however, they force in the new countries the same have become less profitable, from in. conditions of serf labor that always ability to pay the tax. The greatest existed, and in some cases still exists, misery results from this state of things, in the countries of Europe and Asia. and all kinds of punishments are resort

The condition of slavery has existed ed to, to force from the slave the nefrom the remotest ages, and assumed cessary sum. The servility of the different shapes under different cir- serf is as great as his sufferings, and, in cumstances, in all countries. In all of addressing a person of consequence, Lie them, however, the object appears to prostrates himself upon the ground, have been the same, viz. the procurement kissing the fringe of his garment. This by the superior class, of the products is the existing state of slavery, and it is of the soil, or the natural wealth of the daily becoming worse, through the country, through the compulsory labor want of employment for the growing of another class, inferior either in pow. numbers of the slaves, and the contier or intellect: a deficiency of the latter dual subdivisions of the estates. In the has frequently resulted from a long Baltic provinces of Russia, and io Pocontinued want of the former.

land, the manner of employing the This description of slavery still ex slave varies. In Poland, down to 1768, ists wherever European governments the mass of the people were the absohave control; but in the most marked lute slaves of the vobles, and a lord was degree in Russia, Poland, Egypt, and subject only to a small five for killing British India, under the British govern one. By the constitution of 1791, the ment. The slavery in the latter is, servitude of the slaves was somewhat perhaps, the worst on the face of the modified. At present, when a peasant globe, if estimated by the ceaseless marries, bis lord finds him a cottage amount of human suffering that it oc- and farın stock, and for which, he must casions; and its consequences, the pe- render service. He is not permitted to riodical famines which sweep millions move from one section to another, or to to destruction. This slavery consists leave the lands of his lord, until he in the ownership of the land by the has first discharged his debts to him, to government, and the forcing of the oc- do which, would require him to be in a cupant to yield up all its produce, ex state of prosperity that few ever real

ize. In Egypt, under the celebrated land revenue code of the Madras Presidency Mehemet Ali, a much more systematic before him wlien he framed his code. if state of slavery exists. That vigorous there be any substantial difference bechief has constituted bimself the sole tween the two, that of the pacha, arbitrary

and land-owner, manufacturer, and trader oppressive though it be, is entitled to

the preference." in his domains. The population is about 2,500.000, of whom 1,750,000 are

This honest adipission certainly does fellahs, and are the personal property not flatter the mildness of the English of the pacha, who enforces his right to rule in India ; and when we examine the labor of every man, on bis own into its detuils, we find a system of opterms. He owns all the mills and ma: pressive slavery endured by the people nufactories, and more than half of all of lodia, more intense than any ever the cattle, and other stock in the coun- inflicted upon a people in any other try. He has the land distributed every country. The plan is nearly the same year, among the population, and speci- as that which existed in India long prefies to every man the employment in vious to English domination. For a which he is to engage for the year. long period of time, an idea of the The head cultivator of every district makes a division of the lands to be cul- grent wealth of the East was firmly

implanted in the public mind. The tivated, and directs the kind of culture which each portion is to undergo : so fertile, and yields abundantly to the

country of India is indeed naturally much to support the cultivator, so much labor of man; but like all other counin cotton, rice, and indigo, and so much tries, its real wealth is dependant only in wheat, &c. The first portion is

on that labor. When, however, the given to the cultivator ; of the wheat English agents first extended their conand grain, the pacha takes two thirds, trol in Hindoostan, the most extravaand of the cotton, rice, ir digo, sugar, gant notions were entertained of the &c., the whole goes to the government.

future advantage to be obtained from The fellah is also required to buy every the trade. These high colored anticithing he wears of the government, at pations have, however, been utterly its own terms; that is, there is no edict to prevent him buying elsewhere. ized in that country, has been wrung

disappointed. The only wealth realbut there are " protective laws" to pre- by the most merciless extortion from vent there being any other manufac. the population. The monopoly of the tures to sell. The village tax-gathei er China trade was alledged by the East opens an account with each fellah, cre

India Company to be necessary, to endits him with the produce he deposits, able them to maintain the Inilian govand charges him with the taxes levied, ernment. Under the Mogul Emperors, and articles furnished by the govern- the systein was, for the government to ment. The accounts are balanced every take half the gross produce of the soil. four years. If the fellah is in delit, judg. The officer appointed to collect these ment issues against hiin. If there is

taxes, was called Zermindar, and his an amount due to him, it is carried to

office was hereditary. They took half the credit of some delinquent fellah :

the produce from the Ryot or cultivathe result being, of course, that all goes tor, and reserving one tenth for themto the government, which punishes selves, paid over the balnnce to the those who, through misfortune, cannot deposit enough to meet its demands. while it impoverished the people, serv


This ruinous taxation, It would be supposed, that such a sys- ed to feed that profuse expenditure of tem was as near the extreme of op- the officers of government, which enpression as could well be: but it is gendered the idea of the vast wealth of only a modified form of the rule of the country. When the English sucEngland in India. M'Culloch states ceeded to power, and held a Mogul as follows:

Emperor in prison, they found their

dreams of wealth were to be realized " The assessment of the land revenue iu Madras is, in every respect, quite as ob. only by a more vigorous execution of jectionable as the assessment established the old systems of oppression ; and the by Mebemet Ali in Egypt; and it would faithfulness with which they enforced seen, indeed, that the pacha had had the this power, has furnished the annals of


English rule in India with the horrors the peasant is assigned him by lot, to perpetrated by a Clive, a Hannay, hold during the will of the goveroment; and a Hastings, to say nothing of and under the penalty of yielding as Arthur Wellesley. When, however, much as that government requires, Lord Cornwallis succeeded to the gov- and of being responsible for the delinernment in 1793, he assumed that the quency of others. The vast fortunes Zermindar, who really was but the made in India, and spent in England, hereditary taxgatherer, was in fact the are acquired in the exercise of these owner of the soil, with the view to extortions. 150,000,000 souls are lacreate a class of large landed proprie- boring under the lash, with famine tors in the interests of the government. staring them in the face, to enrich the By this assumption, he reduced the harpies sent thither from England by ryots from the condition of proprietors its government, “ to make fortunes." to that of tenants at will. The condi- This horrible slavery en masse is distinct tion on which the Zermiodars were from the personal slavery. This has installed proprietors, was the payment but recently been fully exposed, in a of a fixed rent to the government, equal series of letters published in London, to the average of what they had paid from Mr. Adam. This slavery arises for the five years previous to 1793; from many sources, viz., conquered and this annual charge was made per- races, sale of children by parents to petual. This was considered a great escape famine ; kidnapping children boon to the people, inasmuch as that it for the same purpose, importation of fixed the amount the Zermindar was slaves from Africa, sale of freemen by to pay, and it was assumed that there. themselves, to discharge debts, &c. fore it fixed the amount that the Zer- From all these sources, there are 800,mindar exacts from the ryot, which is 000 slaves, described by Mr. Adam as very far from being the case. The follows : tax demanded of the Zermindar was equal to 50 per cent. of the average pro

“ The creatures in human form who duct of the five previous years. It fol- constitute the agrestic slave population of lows, if the ryot experiences a harvest that province (Malabar) are distinguishaworse than that average, he is irretriev. their degraded, diminutive, squalid appear

ble from the rest of the human race by ably ruined. The government allows

ance, their dropsical pot-bellies, contrastthe ryot to occupy land, always less ing horribly with their skeleton arms and than 24 acres, but he finds his own legs, half-starved, hardly clo:hed, and in a seed and implements; and whatever condition scarcely superior to the cattle the result of his labor may be, he must they follow at the plough. Domestic yield up a quantity equal to half of the slavery is generally of a milder character average crops previous to 1793. The than the former, though scarcely so for feresult is, the extremest misory and male slaves, from among whom are taken

the concubines of the Mussulmans and poverty ; and in years of bad harvests, Hindoos; they are consequently subject to the most awful famines sweep myriads much degradation and suffering, treated to the grave. This system appertains with caprice, and frequently panished with to the Bengal Presidency; that which much cruelty." obtains in the other provinces, is much more oppressive. It proceeds on the These as weil as the ryots are Briground, that the government is the sole tish subjects, subject to no laws except proprietor of the soil, and the ryot such as are approved of in London. must pay the tax direct to the govern In thus recurring to those systems ment officer appointed to collect rents. of slavery which exist on the largest This person has power to impose fines scale under the leading powers of the and flog the delinquents. The tax varies earth, instances are adduced of the according to the soil

, from 12cts. to $18 abject slavery in which occupiers of per acre ; the cultivator being liable to the soil are plunged when upable to be turned out at will. And when, resist the exactions of arbitrary rulers. owing to bad crops, or other calamity, Under the British Government in Inthe poor wretch cannot pay his tax, dia, and in Russia, Poland, and Egypt, he is hunted up and logged, wbile the there are some 210,000,000 of absoluto village he belongs to is charged with, slaves, who have no right of property and must pay his deficit. The land of beyond a bare sustenance, and that

only when the means of sustaining life domestic use, requires a degree of inconstitute a surplus beyond the demands genuity above the African, although of rapacious owners and rulers. In common to most Asiatic nations. The the United States, the slavery which labors are all performed by the females; exists is not that of conquered owners industry among males being entirely unof the soil, ground under the exactions known. Not one of these black nations of invading rulers, but of the descend- ever possessed any literature, or even ants of imported laborers, enjoying the an alphabet, huwever rude; and the same personal liberties as the free spoken languages are miserably poor. laborers in the British Islands, and This is, and probably always will be, always receiving the full measure of the case in Africa, notwithstanding their wants in respect to food and rai- that Egypt, at a very remote period, ment; not as the scanty surplus remain- was the seat of science and art; and all ing, after yielding up the products the people of the Mediterranean, havof their toil to taskmasters, but as the ing intercourse with them, profited by object first to be cared for, and until the association, to raise themselves to they are satisfied, there remains no the highest state of refinement. The surplus for the profit of the master. nations of Africa, having equal inter

When the Americas were discover course during 3000 to 4000 years, failed, ed, a great and fertile country, rich in without a solitary exception, to raise Datural wealth, lay before the new themselves above the most brutal barcomers; but there existed no laboring barism. Africa has failed to produce people from whom to require an exor a single man, to which, as in all other bitant proportion of the products of the countries, the people can point as a soil. To supply this deficit, they re- hero. Their religion is of a most sorted to the expedient of bringing thi. ferocious and barbarous character. ther the people who were to labor. Idolatry in its most disgusting and deThe necessity of this mode of procuring grading forms, is universal ; some worlaborers, led to a different form of sla- ship their shadows, with a lizard for very from that in other countries. In the principal divinity, others hyenas, stead of, as in India, forcibly taking alligators, &c., before whom are impossession of lands, and compelling the molated and devoured human victims. occupants to yield up the produce, Cannibalism, which formerly existed to through the more vigorous execution of a most frightful extent, was checked by ancient and barbarous laws, the inva- the cupidity of the captors, when adder necessarily became the absolute vantageous markets were offered in master of the laborer he brought with America and the West Indies for the him to subdue the new soil. The victims. It is still practised as far as American possessions of Great Britain respects the blood and heart of an enecould not be made available, without a ny; and the teeth and small bones of a supply of latorers subservient to the vanquished foe are among the most esinterests of the colonists; and as early teemed personal ornaments. Fronıthis as the reign of Elizabeth, Sir John mass of beings emanate the material of Hawkins commenced the business of the modern slave trade; and the fact is transporting negroes from Africa, for self-evident, that their condition cannot sale to the West Indian proprietors as but be improved by the change, quite slaves.

as much so, as the people among whom The country whence the blacks are they are introduced are degraded and abstracted, embraces the vast region injured by their presence. The interfrom 10° north latitude, to 20° south pal wars of the African tribes are latitude, across the continent of Africa. ceaseless, and conducted, for the most This tract has been estimated to con- part, in a ferocious and cowardly man. tain a population of from 60,000,000 to ner; the object being to capture, for80,000,000 of negroes, divided into nu- merly to devour, and latterly to sell merous classes or tribes. Many of into slavery. A village is usually surthem that have been associated with rounded in the dead of night and set Arabs or Europeans, are advanced in on fire, and when the roused inmates the useful arts, as the cultivation of seek to escape, they are overpowered grain and fruits, and taming domestic and taken; or if they escape to the animals, with the exception of the ele- caverns of the mountains, they are phant, to appropriate whose service to smoked out when discovered, or the

wells are watched, and when driven Colonies, where the soil was less fruitdown by thirst, they are taken. Then ful, the profit attending the employment comes the selection. The hale and of this description of laborers was less; healthy of either sex, with children and objections to its continuauce were about six or seven years of age, are put earlier made. But even in the Southaside by the merchant to go with the ern States, the importation of slaves caravan to the coast ; the aged and in was early resisted by the Colonies. firm, the infant at the mother's breast, The imperial government, however, the child under six or seven years of pertinaciously refused the royal assent age,—to send them to the coast would to coloniul bills for probibiting the be impossible ; and if it were possible trade. These attempts to force the it would be without profit; to maintain slave trade upon the colonies, were them would be costly; to leave them to among the leading causes of dissatisfacperish would be too cruel, even for the tion even aniong the Southern Coloslave-hunter; they are despatched.- nies. The celebrated Edmund Burke, The caravan then sets out-men, wo- in his great speech on conciliation with men and children, half-naked, bare- America, states “ her refusal to deal footed and weak, are driven on by the any more in the inhuman traffic of the lash and the goad—the strong restrain- negro slaves, as one of the causes of ed from flight by yokes and chains :- her quarrel with Great Britain." The they are marched 100 miles across the first assembly of the State of Virginia, burning sands of the plain, and over the after its emancipation from the crown, stony passes of the mountains. With prohibited the traffic ; and in the first disease of body, some drop dowo dead clause of the independent constitution on the way ; others, unable to keep up of that state, “ the inhuman use of the with the rest, are left behind to perish royal negative in this matter," is enuby a lingering death of hunger or thirst, merated among the reasons for separaor to become a prey to the wild beasts tion from the mother country. It has of the desert ; and others are knocked been demonstrated that slavery would on the head and put out of their misery, very early have been abolished in the Multitudes perish in this way; and Colonies, but for its enforcement upon travellers who have visited the interior them by the mother country. Almost tell us that they can trace the march the first step of the American Congress, of a slave-caravan through the pathless after the declaration of Independence, wilderness, and that at the wells and in 1776, was to pass a resolution watering-places thousands of human against the purchase of African slaves. skeletons are bleaching and moulder- The powers of that body were not ing in the dust. On the way, the blacks then equal to prohibiting the import of are londed with wax, ivory, &c.. which slaves, but most of the states framed they carry on their heads.

Jaws laying the severest penalties on In this way they reach the coast, the importation of slaves, and on the where the slave trade, known to Eu- foreign slave trade, that is, on the ropeans, cominences.

transportation of blacks from Africa to The stimulant to this operation was the West India Islands. At the formafirst, cannibalism; but when it was dis- tion of the federal constitution, the abocovered that European nations would lition of the African slave trade was give desirable articles for the blacks, made a part of the federal compact, or they were eagerly exchanged. Those fundamental law of the Union. It was articles were for the most part British immediately prohibited, as also the imgoods, and all nations eagerly engaged portation of blacks into the Union, after in the traffic. French, Dutch, Danish, Jan. 1808. From that moment down Spanish, Portuguese, and British, all to the present, the African slave trade, competed for the trade, which was, up as regards the United States, has to the separation of the North American ceased to exist. No blacks have been Colonies from Britain, not only lawful, entered into the United States from but considered praiseworthy.

foreign ports, and slavery in the United The settlers in the Southern States States exists in a modified and contiwere naturally tempted by the example nually anneliorating form, like that in of the West Indian planters, to make Russia, British India, and Poland; use of these imported blacks in the viz. as the original condition of a class service of field labor. In the Northern of inhabitants brought to that condition

« AnteriorContinuar »