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able commodities having dwindled down from 151,000 tons, worth eight millions sterling in 1791, to little more than 17,000 tons, worth about £900,000 in 1822; and that even of this petty sum the greater part is seized upon by a despotic government. Often and often has this been told before by eye-witnesses, and as often denied by the advocates of emancipation ; but these official returns' clearly establish that at least one half of the value of the whole exportable produce of the island goes to the exchequer! If this is not slavery, what is it?
Perhaps it will be said that the diminished amount of exports from St. Domingo at least proves that there is little labour performed by the negroes there.
It certainly does : but the diminished amount of imports is equally conclusive proof that if they are not labouring, so neither are they receiving the reward of labour. Their poverty will best appear by comparing the amount of their imports with those of Jamaica. Into this comparatively little island, in extent not equal to one-fourth of St. Domingo, the annual imports from England, Ireland, the United States of America, Newfoundland, and the British provinces in North America, amount by Colquhoun's tables to £4,577,933 sterling. What proportion of the articles is for the personal use of the free classes, the white and coloured people, it is difficult to ascertain; but regarding the slaves we know that (exclusive of what they may purchase with the
means derived from the sale of their surplus provisions in an island abounding with wealth and industry) they receive, one with another, from their masters, foreign commodities, viz. dry and pickled fish, clothing, cooking utensils, flour, rice, medicines, &c. to the amount of at least £3 each, or £960,000, among 320,000 people; and we should not perhaps be very wide of the truth, in supposing that one-half of the imports, or about two millions sterling, is for the use of the inhabitants; the other half for agricultural or manufacturing purposes--stills, boilers, machinery, staves, shingles, boards, iron and wood hoops, coals, nails, oil, &c. Now what says Secretary General Inginac, or the official reports of St. Domingo ? That the population is 935,335, and that the imports are 'nearly three millions of dollars,' or £675,000. Allowing this to be the case, and supposing that these imports or foreign commodities were equally divided among all classes, the poor getting as much as the rich, what then would be the state of these emancipated negroes after thirty years of freedom? Why, that of the various articles imported, salted beef, pork, fish, lard, flour, boards and shingles from the United States—and clothing, crockery and iron ware, coffee bagging, &c. from England, the share to each citizen would be of the value of just fourteen shillings and five pence! No statement so conclusive as to the indolence, the poverty, and wretchedness of the blacks in St. Domingo, was ever
before given to the world. They may exist-plantains and yams they may have with little trouble, and some of the wealthier inhabitants of the towns may live comfortably; but if Secretary General Inginac, or the official returns' are to be believed, it is utterly impossible that one-half of this 'civilized and refined' people (as they are called in the Edinburgh Review) can have rags to cover their nakedness. *
The letter of the Secretary General is further of importance, as throwing some light on the internal economy of the island. Speaking of the state of agriculture, Inginac says, 'since 1814 the *number of proprietors has increased by the ap' propriation of uncultivated land, by donations of ' the government, and by the division of the land of • the old colonists, to the amount of 30,000. By the land of the old colonists is meant the coffee estates in the mountains; for the sugar plantations, long since deserted, are now grown over by the na
* The interior of their huts presents scarcely a single article of use; no bed, nor table, nor even so much as a chair to sit down upon. In one of these • miserable habitations which I entered, was seated on a mat, a young female
negro, about twenty years of age, with three infants; and in another corner . a more elderly female, with a family more advanced. Both were the wives • and families of the proprietor of the house, a negro, apparently about sixty. • The women wore nothing on their bodies except a chemise, made of coarse • Osnaburgh. The younger of the two was suckling an infant, and two round • apertares were made in the garment, through which the full breasts projected, • and were entirely exposed. The husband had no clothing, with the exception • of a pair of Osnaburgh trowsers, the upper part of his body being altogether • naked. All the younger branches of the family were in a state of entire naked• ness. The abode presented upon the whole, such a spectacle of wretchedness,
as to make me naturally conclude, that, notwithstanding they enjoyed their " own will, yet, in point of comfort, their situation would not bear a comparison ' with that of any slave in our plantations.' Extract from the Journal of a Gentleman who lately visited St. Domingo,
published in the Edinburgh Maguzine, for December, 1823.
tive woods; and in the fertile plains, once smiling with cultivation, and afterwards the scene of brutal massacre and inhuman cruelty, the wild hog now roams in undisturbed security.
commerce continues Inginac, ‘has considerably • increased, of which you will have an idea by 'consulting the paper I send you containing the “importations and exportations of the year 1822, • collected at the different custom houses; I am ' nearly certain that the quantity of coffee pro* duced in 1823, surpasses more than a third the
quantity produced in 1822, and there is great ' probability, that the crop of the present year will • be still more considerable, because more people *are employed cultivating the fields, and they are
more assiduous in their tasks, and more con"tented.' What these 'tasks' are, or who the taskmasters are, we are not informed, but as the government revenue depends upon their labour, perhaps it takes a friendly interest in the matter; at all events, if the Secretary General is to be believed, the free citizens have got both tasks, and taskmasters. What the amount of contentment is among the negroes under a mulatto depotism, is sufficiently evident; but the military power with which the ,
government is armed, it would appear, is tremendous ; and, happy people! they are now, as the Secretary General expresses it, assiduous in their tasks, and MORE contented.'
• The eastern part of the island,' continues the Secretary, 'appears at present very well pleased to have returned under the laws of the re
‘public; and all those in that part of the island ' who had opinions contrary to our institutions ' (and are not well pleased), have wisely resolved to * retire to some other islands, so that at present, • there are only good citizens devoted to the cause
of their country.' It is not very clear from this, whether those who entertained opinions contrary ' to the institutions of the republic,' had left it or not; but it cannot be doubted that those who had property, and could get away, had, as the Secretary says, “wisely resolved' to do it.
It is really surprizing to see such a document brought forward to support the cause; for, although the Secretary General evinces the greatest possible anxiety to give a favourable representation of the state of Hayti, the impression it makes is decidedly the reverse. His letter, or at least the part of it given, concludes in an heroic style, which, coming from any other Charibbean island, would have reminded the Reviewers of · Captain Lemuel Gulliver,' or of · Lord Grizzle in Tom Thumb;' but, coming from the “ New Empire, , as they call it, with its armed force of 158,848 men, is not to be treated with such scorn. • If we are attacked,' says he, we will give the whole universe a proof of what can be accomplished by men, who will not give up the independence of their country.' Who would have imagined that after this gasconade, they would have bought the acknowledgement of their independence, and promised a price for it, which it is evident they are unable to pay ?