Page images
PDF
EPUB

Appendix. within 10 or 15 leagues of another of the same population. The finest rivers will

not have towns upon them, where perhaps there are 100 perfons within a long tide's distance of eacb other.

635. As they draw very little subsistence from hunting, and have every where good fishing places, and grounds for plantations, every little community chuses

where to pitch its tents, without any regard but to the vicinity of good water; the Their charac- land itself becomes of no value. From these accounts of this people, it may be ter mirepre- conceived, that they want fpirit and abilities, and that they have such a propensity

to indolence, that no mode of legislature or education will inspire them with in. genuity and industry. But this is not a juft opinion. This unhappy race have continually suffered by misrepresentation. While our moral and philosophical writers * have facrificed them to system, and our travellers 10 prejudice, our mer. chants and planters, regarding them as mere beasts of burden, have devoted them to

their avarice and cruelty t. and might be 636. Whatever may be said of the effects of local situation and the extremes of improved.

heat and cold, it will probably be found hereafter, that all men, in their dispositions. and conduct in life, are formed more by artificial than natural causes, by the laws which impel, and the education which trains them; in short, by custom and habit. A very singular jurisprudence, and customs, which in fome respects are wise, but in this pernicious, enchains the inhabitants of this part of the globe, and, till the charm is broken, must keep them in indigence, indolence and contempt. These are a ju. risprudence, which renders improvement unacceptable to the public, and ingenuity dangerous to the poslessor; which make reformers criminal, and takes away all merit from hospitality and generosity. Under this dispensation, customs, which are impolitic and degrading, have as strong a sanction, as those which are wise and im.

proving. This cannot be better illustrated than by two simple facts : Customs a. 637. The cultivation of rice must always, according to their customs, be practised gain't industry

in a certain manner, and it is reaped by cutting the stalks 6 or 8 inches below the ears, one or two at a time, if they grow so near as to come within the grasp of the knife and right thumb. Thus 1, 2, or 3. ears are cut off and leisurely transferred to the left hand, till it is almost full, when they tie it up like a nosegay, and put it in a basket. When I fallied out to reap my first crop of rice, I was quite disappointed to see my labourers reaping it in this idle way, and expected to please them by shewing them how. we reaped corn in England. Though I cut more in a few minutes, than 7 or 8 had done in half an hour, and though I begged them to save the straw for thatch, they disregarded my information and desire; and I was obliged

• See Montesquieu's Spirit of Laws, and Wilson's Effect of hot Climates on animal and vegetable Bodies.

+ See Long's History of Jamaica pafim,

to

to compel them to use my method. The chief, who had been brought up in Eng: APPENDIÍ. land, told me, that such an innovation would have cost a native his life. He would have been accused of intending to overthrow the customs (or laws) and would have been obliged to drink the red water, which seldom fails to find the culprit guilty. Thus there is a stop put to public improvement -The law of hospitality is ob. Nructive of industry. If there is provision in the country, a man who wants it has only to find out who has got any; and he must have his share. If he enter any man's house during his repast, and gives him the usual falutation, the inan mult invite him to partake. Thus, whatever abundance a man may get by asliduity, will be shared by the lazy; and hence, they seldom calculate for more than necessaries. Hence also they feldom live in large communities. Industrious men, who have wives, children, and domestics about them, retire to some sequestered creek to avoid those interlopers, who lounge in every small town. Here they may thrive; but are often exposed to the dangers of slavery, from some neighbouring tyrant. But the laws of hospitality are not restrained to diet. A common man cannot quietly enjoy a spare shirt or a pair of trowsers. Those who are too lazy to plant or hunt, are also too lazy to trade, and begging is not disgraceful ; so that if an indusa trious man gets a spare fhirt or utenfil, he will be teazed to death for it, and he must not refufe; but he must talk the palaver. Whatever reasons the beggar offers for the want of any thing, he must give others for detaining; and such is their patience; that they will palaver as long as fome gamesters will play-long enough for the detainer to have worn out the shirt or matter in dispute. A man in those cases must sometimes give of neceffity, that he may keep with fafety. The rich are continually plagned with such requests, and are in fact but fewards for the rest. As they are constantly drained by their dependants, and are themselves both improvident and extravagant, they often suffer a total want of European luxuries. A great chief who fells 20 or 30 flaves for cloths, laced hats, beads, rum, tobacco, gunpowder, (chiefly for falutes) falt beef, pork, hams, butter, flour, buiscuits, porter, wine, tea, coffee, choco. late, sugar, spices, &c. as they affe&t very much to live in the European mander, shall, in 6 or 8 weeks, be entirely exhausted, and be obliged to live on rice and cafe sava, and take his chance of fishing or hunting. What a dreadful trade, and how weak must be focieties, where they part with those who constitute the wealth of other countries, for articles, from which they derive as little benefit as we do from the Weft Indian turtle!

638. From what has been faid, it appears, that the indolence and ignorance of might be rethefe men arife not from the climate ; and that good government and education forned by

good laws would change them wonderfully. Those Europeans, indeed, who are brought up in indolence and ignorance, generally remain at least ufeless to society. But many of the Gentoos, in a climate as warm as that of Africa, are, by wiser laws and a better education, rendered ingenious and industrious. We have then every reason

Dd 2

to

APPENDIX. to imagine, that by a small encouragement to African productions, and by degrees

introducing habits of industry, we might open a current of commerce, which would increase like one of their rivers, to which " our floods are rills.". For hitherto we have been as little acquainted with Africa, as we were with America, during the first 20 years of our connection with that continent.

639. “ I have now stated on what grounds a new and profitable trade to certain parts of Guinea, without dealing in human bodies, seems very practicable. I could have mentioned many more, but they appeared unnecessary, since I have particularly

described the produce of the country, and the manner in which it might be cultiThe Doctor's vated to greater advantage. Referring to that account, I shall conclude with sub. plan of colonizing

mitting to better judgments an outline of the methods, which the information obtained seems to indicate as necessary to the success of a new and natural commerce to a country, which, for these 200 years, we have only drained of it's population, with. out increasing our own, or that of the colonies, in any manner adequate to our own expense of men and money, or the defolation of a prolific continent.

640.“ From what has been said, it might seem, that nothing but princely fortune, or the power of government, is adequate to this undertaking. But this is not the case, since any two ships of 150 or 200 tons each, slaving on the coast, always carry more men, and cost a greater outfit, than would be necessary for our purpose; and

at a time like this, (viz. in 1783,) when so many want employment, it will not be Whites to be difficult to procure proper persons. These are chiefly tradesmen, as carpenters, Jonilts

joiners, coopers, smiths, rope-makers, fail-makers, weavers, taylors, masons, gar. deners, men bred on West India plantations, viz. planters, distillers, &c. Many such having been pressed, or otherwise introduced into the naval or military service, ale now become ill-qualified to resume their occupations at home, or are supplanted by younger labourers. We very often find men of most of these professions on board of one Guinea ship, where they generally are very usefully employed ; and, when at work under the awning, make the deck appear like a manufactory.

641. “ Success would much depend on the conduct of those men. But I would also recommend the procuring of a great number of black men. There are, I con.. ceive, now in this country, hundreds, and many of them persons of character, possessed of a little property, who under the fanction of a respectable company of

Quakers, and the prospea of an independent settlement, would gladly engage. And and blacks. if it once takes place, there are vast numbers of people of colour in the West Indies,

who though called free, labour under such intolerable oppression, that they would alınost to a man unite themselves to such a community. Even those of America would not be backward in emigrating to a country where colour would be no reproach, and where they would enjoy those privileges never allowed them in governments framed solely by white people. How far it might be prudent to acquaint the

coloured

choten as co

coloured people on the other side of the Atlantic of such a project, previous to it's APPENDIX. execution, is not easy to determine,

642. “ Supposing one large or two small ships, fufficiently manned and provided, I lould propose sailing first to Madeira, to take in live stock and wine, for medical 'uses. From thence it might not be amiss to call at the Canaries, where we might probably procure volunteers. If it might be permitted to purchase a few llaves at Senegal, Goree, and Gambia, it would be political: many of the slaves from those parts have as just a sense of the value of liberty, as either Britons or Americans, and are brave and ingenious men. We should by these means vary our new subjects A mixture of very usefully; for, not to mention their different kinds of knowledge, one great ad

people easiest

forined into a vantage is obvious. These people could not have the same customs and language, fociety. which they would give up for liberty, and readily agree to be governed by what they term White-man's fashion. Upon this every thing would depend; for by the singular, as well as the useful, difference, we should be enabled to exclude the bad customs of our ignorant neighbours. For the same reasons it would be proper also to call at the Western Islands, where the fine cloths are made, of which I have spoken in my account of cotton. The inhabitants were so oppressed formerly, as to offer by hundreds to emigrate with our Guinea captains, some of whom have been villains enough to sell them in the Weft-Indies. Here it has also been usual for Guinea ships to take in salt, live stock and fresh provisions, which we might probably want in that part of our voyage. When we arrive at that

part

of the coast destined for our settlement, we should immediately agree with one of the kings or chiefs for a fequeftered port and tract of land. In a month or fix weeks, we should have compleated sufficient habitations, and be advanced a great way in clearing land, and that without much impediment to our trade. In a few months we might not only buy quantities of rice, but see the indications of plenteous harvests of our own. All sorts of plants will vegetate merely from the genial influence of the climate. Hence the lof. tiest mountains, which, at least most of those I have seen, are nothing but rocks, are covered to their summits with stately trees; and we often see fine rice flourishing on the steep sides of those mountains a mile and a half high. ( 62.) Here then is the fineft field for exerting that species of industry, which is the furest foundation of national prosperity. Agriculture, as . Dr. Johnson observes, not only gives riches to a nation, but the only riches we can call our own, and of which we need not fear either deprivations or diminutions.” And again, “ the nation which can furnish grain and wool, may have her ships welcomed at a thousand parts, or sit at home and receive the tribute of foreign nations, enjoy their arts, or treasure up their gold.”

643. “ As rice there is the finest and most nourishing of all grain, and cotton comes Proposed fitu. into universal demand; we shall have two solid objects of commerce on which to exercise our industry. I have two deserted rivers in my memory, enjoying all the neces. sary advantages. In either place we could have excellent situations for water-mills

for

APPENDIX. for the cleansing rice, grinding corn, and fawing timber, good ports for small craft,

and fish in plenty. If I was to conduct this enterprize, I would lift the first axe and the first hóe myself; and may say without vanity, since it is said from experience, set an example of labour and industry in cultivation. For husbandry, far from being to me a drudgery, is the most delightful amusement. I attribute all the extreme good health I enjoyed by intervals in Africa, with the foundness of my constitution at this hour, to the hard labour I then sustained with infinite pleasure, often contemplating

with how much greater enjoyment I could labour, in prosecuting such an attempt of Seeds, Scc. to civilization. It would be our business to take not only the seeds common in the clie be carried out.

mates, but also all the seeds to be procured from warmer regions, of use in food or me.
dicine. Our own hot-houfes would furnish us with coffee, American indigo, aloes and
other useful plants; and I should think the chocolate tree (theobroma cacao,) might be
procured. These are not indeed primary obje&is, but by the time they increase, will
be very worthy of attention. As this settlement would require frequent supplies of
European necessaries, our first endeavours would be to obtain such remittances, by
trade or cultivation, as would at leaft support our credit. In the first year, the erec-
tion of store-houses and other public works, would necessarily abridge our efforts in.
agriculture. Else by that we might hope to make very important remittances.
Probably 3 or 4 blacks might, by that branch alone, in one year, pay for their re-
demption, which will not probably coft us above 10 or £ 12 each; and our land will
coft us nothing. The West India planters pay about four times as much for their
Naves, and exorbitantly too for their grounds, with taxes and other expenses: and
yet some few who have borrowed their capitals at 8 and 10 per cent, have made
pretty fortunes.
. 644. " Besides artificers, I should propose taking out naturalifts, to collect fub-
jects in natural history, and draughtsmen to delineate them, &c. The collection I
shipped under innumerable disadvantages, had they all arrived fafe, would have fold
for a very great amount.

645. " It would perhaps be the most prudent method, if practicable, to give the persons employed small wages, and allow them shares of ihe profits, as in distributing prize-money in fhips of war. In these instances such a mode may increase tapa

city, in our's it will promote industry and economy. Preservation 646. “ Among many other regulations which I have yet to propose, are the me: of health.

thods of preserving the health of our people. The district I propose, is as healthy as any between the tropics. And such is my confidence of that circumstance, and the knowledge. I have of tropical diseases, that, let me have the care of 100 persons of good conftitutions for 3 years, barring accidents and obftinate refusal of medicines, I would engage to bring them all home again. The mortality of Europeans on this coat may be objected; to which I shall oppose other facts and plain reasoning, in my account of the diseases of those climates.

« PreviousContinue »