« PreviousContinue »
HAYTI, OR ST. DOMINGO.
The French part of St. Domingo proclaimed its independence in 1800, and in 1803 the French were expelled, and it is now a republic of free negroes.
The Spanish part of the island is also a republic, with president, legislature, assembly and
The island of Cuba is the only place on earth where the commercial slave-trade exists. Tolerated by the authorities of the island, winked at by the government of Spain, the trade flourishes, half clandestinely, though not to so great an extent as in former years.
The number of Africans landed in Cuba yearly cannot be stated with accuracy, but it is said to be between six and ten thousand. The Spanish government has recently made known its intention to station a fleet on the African coast, and use its best endeavors to suppress the trade. Whether Spain is sincere in these expressed intentions, remains to be seen.
The importation of coolies from China, to labor as apprentices, has been resorted to recently in Cuba, and it is said with satisfactory results. The apprenticeship system is denounced in certain quarters, as no better than slavery. We do not consider the discussion of this point pertinent to our subject.
The sudden failure of industry in the British West India colonies, by reason of abolition, created at once an enlarged. demand for slave labor in Cuba, principally to cultivate the sugar-cane. The effect in Louisiana was the same; hence, the strong hold slavery now has in one or more localities, can be traced directly, in part, to the hasty and injudicious manner in which England abolished slavery in her colonies.
Except in the importation of coolies, the increase of free blacks and the expressed intention of the Spanish government to suppress the slave-trade, there are no indications of a weakening of the system of slave labor in the island of Cuba. But we may have evidence of a change in this respect at an early day.
The island of Porto Rico is owned by Spain, and governed by a Captain-General. It is 100 miles long by 35 to 40 wide. The staple product of the island is sugar. Tobacco is raised in small quantities; also cotton of the best quality. The exports are $8,000,000 per annum.
The facts relating to slavery on this island are interesting.
The slave-trade was abolished by Spain in 1822, and the contraband trade with this island has ceased. No slaves have been landed on the island for some years. In 1859 an attempt was made to land a cargo of negroes, but, through the watchfulness and activity of the authorities, the parties were detected and arrested; and they are now suffering the penalty.
According to the law, a slave in Porto Rico can go before a judge, appointed for the purpose, obtain his appraisement and purchase his freedom at the rate thus fixed.
Four years ago, PEZUELA, the Captain-General, started the project of freeing one slave per annum from a certain fund of the church. This was done with the idea that it would form the basis of a plan of general emancipation. This shows the animus.
The comfort and safety of the slaves are guarded by law. They can complain of maltreatment, on the part of their
masters, to a special judge, and, on conviction, the master is fined or imprisoned.
The entire population of the island is estimated at 500,000. Of this number ten per cent., or 50,000 are slaves, and 125,000 are free blacks.
The free blacks are, as a class, orderly, and to a certain extent, industrious. Some of the sugar haciendas are worked entirely with free blacks; others by slaves and free blacks together, and the balance by slaves entirely.
The number of slaves is gradually diminishing. The planters generally have come to the conclusion that slave labor is dearer than free labor, and, under this belief, the laws and public opinion are favoring the emancipation of the blacks.
DECLINE OF COMMERCIAL SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES OF NORTH AMERICA.
In speaking of the decline of commercial slavery in what have been known as the United States, we use the comparative term. In the more rapid increase of free territory, the greater increase of free population and the products of free labor, we recognize the inevitable law of progress before which the institution of slavery is surely and rapidly declining, and will soon disappear.
When the Federal Constitution was framed and adopted in 1787, the following relative proportion of free and slave territory existed in the original States :
FREE: Massachusetts, including the territory of Maine,
The gain of slave territory upon this basis has been as follows:
Total gain slave territory, .
The gain of free territory, upon the same basis, has been as follows:
Admitted into the Union.
Total gain free territory,
Deduct loss from original slave territory, six States, 123,081
Total slave territory, 1860,
Thus we find the gain of free over slave territory, since the formation of the Federal compact, is 1,260,348 square miles.
During this period, the free States have increased from one to nineteen, while the slave States have lost six and gained nine, making a net gain of only three, which, added to the original twelve, makes fifteen slave States against nineteen free States; leaving nearly a million of square miles of free territory out of which to make free States.
The census of 1860 gives 27,649,535 free population, and 3,999,353 slaves, which is one slave to seven free, a gain of free population over slave population, since 1790, of more than sixty per cent. The increase of slave population during the last decade has been but little over twenty per cent., the lowest rate of increase since the formation of the government.
The following is a statement showing the absolute free and slave populations in the slave States at the last three enumerations: