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    II.   Table of Contents     VI.

Rollin, Frank [Frances] A.
Life and Public Services of Martin R. Delany

- V.


As shown in my last article, these people are lineal descendants of an industrious, hardy race of men-- those whom the most powerful and accomplished statesmen and political economists of the great states of Europe, after years of trial and rigid experience, decided upon and selected as the element best adapted to develop in a strange and foreign clime-- a new world of unbroken soil and dense, impenetrable forests-- the industry and labor necessary to the new life. This cannot and will not be attempted to be denied without ignoring all historical authority, though presented in a different light -- and may I not say motive-- from that in which history has ever given it

These people are of those to retain whom in her power the great British nation was agitated to the point, at as late a periods as 1837-8, of shattering the basis of its political foundation; and within the last four years, the genius of the American government was spurned, assaulted, and trampled upon, and had come well nigh its final dissolution by full one half of the states, people, and statesmen inaugurating a civil war, the most stupendous on record, for no other purpose than retaining them as laborers. Does any intelligent person doubt the utility of such a

people? Can such a people now be worthless in the country? Does any enlightened, reflecting person believe it? I think not

But this is an experiment. Have we no precedent, no example? What of the British colonies of the West Indies and South America? Let impartial history and dispassionate, intelligent investigation answer. The land in the colonies was owned by wealthy capitalists and gentlemen who resided in Europe. The "proprietors," or planters, were occupants of the land, who owned the slaves that worked it, having borrowed the capital with which to purchase them at the Cuba markets or barracoons and supply the plantations. In securities for this, mortgages were held by those in Europe on "all estate, real and personal,"belonging to the planters, who paid a liberal interest on the loans.

When the opposition institute British Parliament, led by Tories, Who were the representatives of the capitalists, yielded to the Emancipation Bill, it was only on condition of an appropriation of twenty million of pounds sterling, or one hundred millions of dollars, as remuneration to the planters for their slaves set free. This proposition was so moderate as to surprise and astonish the intelligent in state affairs on both sides of the ocean, as sum proposed only amounted to the penurious price of about one hundred and twenty dollars apiece, when men and women, were then bringing at the barracoons in Cuba from five to six hundred dollars a piece in cash; and the average of men, women, and children, according to their estimate of black mankind, were "worth" four hundred and fifty dollars. Of course the tutored colonial laborer would be worth still more.

After the passage of the Act of Emancipation by the Imperial Parliament, the complaint was wafted back by the breeze of every passing wind, that the planters in the colonies were impoverished by emancipation, and dishonest politicians and defeated, morose statesmen sized the opportunity to display their duplicity. "What will became of the fair colonial possessions? The lands will go back into wilderness waste. The negroes are idle, lazy, and will not work. They are unfit for freedom, and ought to have masters. Where they do work, not half the crop is produced on the same quantity of land. What will the whites do if they don't get servants to work for them? They and

their posterity must starve. The lands are lying waste for the want of occupants, and the negroes are idling their time away, and will not have them when offers to them. The social system in the West Indies has been ruined by the emancipation of the negroes. "These, and a thousand such complaints, tingled upon the sensitive ear in every word that came from British Colonies, as the key-note of the pro-slavery British party, till caught up and reechoed from the swift current of the southern extremity of Brazil to the banks of the Potomac, the northern extremity of the slave territory of the United States. But alive to passing events, and true to their great trust, the philanthropists and people soon discovered, through their eminent representatives and statesmen in Parliament, that the whites in the colonies had never owned the lands nor the blacks which they lost by the Act of Emancipation. And when the appropriation was made by Parliament, the money remained in the vaults of the banks in Europe, being, precisely the amount required to liquidate the claims of the capitalists, and to satisfy the mortgages held by those gentlemen against "all estates" of the borrowers in the colonies, both "real and personal."

The cause of the cry and clamor must be seen at a glance. The money supposed to be intended for the colonists, small as it was, instead of being appropriated to them, simply went to satisfy the claims of the capitalists, who resided in Great Britain, not one out of a hundred of whom had ever seen the colonies. And the lands being owned in Europe, as well as America; but a determination to perpetuate the bondage of a people as laborers-- a people so valuable as to cause them, rather than loose their grasp upon them, to boldly hazard their, rather than loose their grasp upon them, to boldly hazard national integrity, and set at defiance the morality of the civilized world in holding them-- caused this reprehensible imposition and moral outrage in misleading to distraction their common constituency

    II.   Table of Contents     VI.