Why were so many Africans enslaved? Source 1 Transcript
next came to the sanction of Parliament, which had always countenanced the
Trade, and could not, without a breach of faith, be withdrawn: and here
he recollected what had fallen from a Right Hon. Gentleman on a former occasion,
and which he thought applicable to those concerned in the African Trade:
it was, that upon no occasion, short of absolute necessity, ought private
property to be seized by public acts, without granting a compensation. The
Colonel contended, that the Africans themselves had no objections to the
Trade; and many people who were prejudiced against it, had been led away
by mistaken humanity, and often by misrepresentation. With regard to the
number of deaths, which happened on the passage, he had access to examine,
and could distinctly state, to the Committee, that they had never exceeded
in the Liverpool ships, on an average, five out of an hundred, whereas,
in regiments sent out to the West Indies or America, the average was about
ten and a half in the hundred.
Many attempts had been made to cultivate the lands in the different Islands, by white labourers; but it was found, that from the difference of climate, and other causes, population had decreased, and that those who took the greatest pains to accomplish this, found that, in ten years time, they could not have any proportion of Whites capable of cultivation at all. He therefore agreed in the necessity of the Slave Trade, if we mean to carry on the West India Commerce and Cultivation.
Colonel Tarleton then came to the approval of Parliament. Parliament had always allowed the trade and could not withdraw its approval. He recollected what another MP had said on an earlier occasion (which he thought also applied to the African trade) that, unless absolutely necessary, private property should not be seized without compensation being given. The Colonel argued that the Africans themselves had no objections to the trade and that many people who disagreed with it did so out of mistaken humanity or because they had a false impression of it. With regard to the number of deaths that happened on the middle passage he could state that on ships coming from Liverpool they had never exceeded 5%. In comparison, on ships carrying soldiers to the West Indies or America, the average was 10.5%.
There have been many attempts to farm the lands in the West Indies by white labourers but because of the difference in climate and other reasons, the white population has decreased. Within ten years there would be no whites capable of farming at all. It is necessary for the Slave Trade to continue if we want to carry on with commerce and cultivation in the West Indies.
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