Transcript

Planters' Insatiable Appetite for Slave Labour
CO 318/160, no. 1502


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[in left hand margin] Answ[ere]d Sept. 5/43
To the Right Honorable Lord Stanley
Her Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Colonies.
The Memorial of the Associated Body
of West Indian Planters and Merchants of
Liverpool.
Respectfully Sheweth.
     That your Memorialists desire to call your Lordships most serious attention to the distressed condition of the West Indian Colonies where many Estates have been entirely thrown out of cultivation, and almost all the Land has been cultivated without remuneration if not to a positive loss since the cessation of Apprenticeship owing to the want of continuous and steady labor.
     That even in the Island of Antigua where the population is very abundant and the difficulty of obtaining a livelihood consequently greater than in most of the other Colonies; and where it was at first believed that labor could be obtained sufficient for the profitable cultivation of the Soil, the want of continuous labor is now loudly complained of.
     The declining state of the West Indies has been repeatedly brought under the notice of Her Majestys Government, without any effectual relief having been afforded to their necessities.
     Their present distress having been caused, not by any negligence or imprudence of the West Indians themselves, but by a deliberate Act of the Imperial Parliament, your Memorialists conceive that they have a just claim upon Her Majestys Government for the employment of the most energetic and comprehensive measures of relief that can be afforded, without injury to the interests of other parties, and your Memorialists appeal with confidence to your Lordship and the other Members of the Cabinet, because the consequences of the Emancipation as regarded the prosperity of the West Indies were distinctly foretold during the debates in Parliament on the Bill, by
1st.      His Grace the Duke of Wellington who, having presented a Petition praying to be heard by Counsel against the Bill, which Prayer was refused, protested against the passing of the Bill, to which Protest your Memorialists respectfully crave permission to refer.
2ndly.     by Sir Robert Peel who in his speech on the Bill observed "In the West Indies after you abolish the necessity of labour from coercion, you cannot substitute the stimulus to labour from the necessity of procuring subsistence: The labour of a few days is all that is necessary in those countries to procure, not merely the articles of subsistence, but also the articles of luxury. The evidence is conclusive, that so fertile is the Land in most of the West Indian Islands that a Slave by a very small .....

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