Williams Thesis On Slavery

Williams Thesis On Slavery-64
Slave labor is given reluctantly, it is un- skilful, it lacks versatility. 12 Other things being equal, free men would be preferred. Prohibited from employing slave labor by trustees who, in some instances, themselves owned slaves in other colonies, the Georgian planters found them- selves in the position, as Whitefield phrased it, of pepple whose legs were tied and were told to walk.

Slave labor is given reluctantly, it is un- skilful, it lacks versatility. 12 Other things being equal, free men would be preferred. Prohibited from employing slave labor by trustees who, in some instances, themselves owned slaves in other colonies, the Georgian planters found them- selves in the position, as Whitefield phrased it, of pepple whose legs were tied and were told to walk.

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A person who can acquire no property can have no other in- terest than to eat as much, and to labour as little as possible." 11 Adam Smith thereby treated as an abstract proposition what is a specific question of time, place, labor and soil.

The eco- nomic superiority of free hired labor over slave is obvious even to the slave owner.

Every age rewrites history, but particularly ours, which has been forced by events to re-evaluate our conceptions of history and economic and political development. The "Commercial Part of the Nation" and Slavery 169 n. Portu- gal, which had initiated the movement of international expan- sion, claimed the new territories on the ground that they fell within the scope of a papal bull of 1455 authorizing her to re- duce to servitude all infidel peoples.

The progress of the Industrial Revolution has been treated more or less ade- quately in many books both learned and popular, and its lessons are fairly well established in the consciousness of 'the educated class in general and of those people in particular who are re- sponsible for the creation and guidance of informed opinion. The Development of British Capitalism, 1783-1833 126 8. The two powers, to avoid controversy, sought arbitration and, as Catholics, turned to the Pope a natural and logical step in an age when the universal claims of the Papacy were still unchallenged by individuals and governments.

On the other hand, while material has been accumulated and books have been written about the period which preceded the Industrial Revolution, the world-wide and interrelated nature of the commerce of that period, its direct effect upon the de- velopment of the Industrial Revolution, and the heritage which it has left even upon the civilization of today have not any- where been placed in compact and yet comprehensive perspec- tive. After carefully sifting the rival claims, the Pope issued in 1493 a series of papal bulls which established a line of demarcation between the colonial possessions of the two states: the East went to Portugal and the West to Spain.

This study is an attempt to do so, without, however, fail- ing to give indications of the economic origin of well-known social, political, and even intellectual currents. The partition, however, failed to satisfy Portuguese aspirations and in the sub- sequent year the contending parties reached a more satisfactory compromise in the Treaty of Tordesillas, which rectified the papal judgment to permit Portuguese ownership of Brazil. It is there- fore first a study in English economic history and second in VU Vlll PREFACE West Indian and Negro history. Francis I of France voiced his celebrated protest: "The sun shines for me as for others. It is not a study of the institu- tion of slavery but of the contribution of slavery to the de- velopment of British capitalism. The staffs of the follow- ing institutions were very kind and helpful to me: British Museum; Public Record Office; India Office Library; West India Committee; Rhodes House Library, Oxford; Bank of England Record Office; the British Anti-Slavery and Aborigines Protection Society; Friends' House, London; John Rylands Library, Manchester; Central Library, Manchester; Public Library, Liverpool; Wilberforce Museum, Hull; Library of Congress; Biblioteca Nacional, Havana; Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pai's, Havana. I should very much like to see the clause in Adam's will that excludes me from a share of the world." The king of Denmark refused to accept the Pope's ruling as far as the East Indies were concerned. Wilberforce regarded the Tsar's importation of Brazilian produce after his promise to boycott it as "a breach of faith of which any private NOTES TO PAGES 189-193 257 man who should be guilty would forfeit for ever the character of a man of honor." Liverpool Papers, Add. Peel, who took 50,000 and three hundred laborers with him to the Swan River colony in Australia. His plan was that his laborers would work for him, as in the old country. It made the American South and the Caribbean islands. becoming used to the idea of sacrificing human life to the deity of increased production." 10 Adam Smith, the intellectual champion of the industrial mid- 6 CAPITALISM AND SLAVERY die class with its new-found doctrine of freedom, later propa- gated the argument that it was, in general, pride and love of power in the master that led to slavery and that, in those countries where slaves were employed, free labor would be more profitable. Seen in historical perspective, it forms a part of that general picture of the harsh treatment of the underprivileged classes, the unsympa- thetic poor laws and severe feudal laws, and the indifference with which the rising capitalist class was "beginning to reckon prosperity in terms of pounds sterling, and . Universal experience demonstrated con- clusively that "the work done by slaves, though it appears to cost only their maintenance, is in the end the dearest of any. 8 "Odious resource" though it might be, as Merivale called it, 9 slavery was an economic institution of the first im- portance. It had been the basis of Greek economy and had built up the Roman Empire. 6 Labor, that is, must be constant and must work, or be made to work, in co-operation. In such colonies the rugged individualism of the Massachusetts farmer, ORIGIN OF NEGRO SLAVERY 5 practising his intensive agriculture and wringing by the sweat of his brow niggardly returns from a grudging soil, must yield to the disciplined gang of the big capitalist practising exten- sive agriculture and producing on a large scale.

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