26 SEPTEMBER 1829, Page 13

It is easy to perceive that a considerable change of

opinion has taken place among ninny efficient supporters of the Anti-Slavery Society. We no longer witness the Only of design, or the similitude of argument which at one time was conspicuous in all the publications which espoused the politics of Mr. WILBERFORCE, and Ivhieli gave that distinguished but erring philanthropist his great influence with several successive administrations.

There seems now to be mutiny in the camp, indicative of improper proceed- ings; and of a growing consciousness that those proceedings have been primarily grounded upon erroneous views.

Whersdisunion once becomes apparent, there are always individuals anxious to mske their escape with credit, who are desirous to start new theories for them- selves, and who are prompt to let the world know that they are not tinged with any of the fallacious doctrines which their more prejudiced coadjutors have maintained.

The writer on the West Indian Interest in the New Monthly for August and

September, seems to come under this denomination. He hesitates not to affirm that the Abolitionists have advocated very wild notions of amelioration, and that their charges of cruelty against the planters must be untrue, as he has reason to know that the Negro population arc in a better state, and enjoy more comforts than, in many instances, are experienced nearer home by the productive classes. But with this acknowledgment he has plans of his own for Colonial reform, which are nearly as equitable, and which evince just about as much knowledge of the

subject, as might have been expected from the most declamatory .:abolitionist. In these times there is a disposition in the Legislature, to say the least, quite prone enough to travel abroad in place of looking at our own country for the redress efgri6vances; and as every insignificant commonplace &sort:Hien against our Colonies which appears in our periodicals is represented to the Government as exhibiting the state of public opinion, it may not be improper briefly to examine the views of the critic in the New Monthly Magazine, and to show the degree of credit to which his statements are entitled.

He contends, in his first position, that the \Vest Indians ought not to demur against any experimental measures which are introduced for Negro management, or for the abolition of slavery, because if loss be sustained, their protecting duty of twopence per pound over East India sugar is a full recompense, and ought to be made available for such a procedure. Well, indeed, may we exclaim, along with more than one of Mr. CAmpBELL's contributors, that knowledge progresses but slooly. This writer professes to be a warns suppOrter of those changes which have lately been made in our commercial system ; and can he be ignorant that

leseoo, Mr. HessissoN, and every leader of the free trade party, uoithrmly maintained that the West Indians enjoyed, in effect, no protecting duty ?—that the advantage of 10s. per cwt. (how did the critic get his twopence per lb.) over East ludiasugar was but nominal, in consequence of the large surplus of British plantation sugar which was obliged to be shipped annually to the Continent, and which had the effect of reducing the price of all sugar consumed in England to the same level as that of Hamburs' and Amsterdam? It is the argument, therefore, of the ablest of the free trade advocates, which this writer in his ignorance has attacked, and not that of the party whom he thought he was opposing. The real grounds of apprehension also which the West Indians entertain against the introduction of East India sugar into this country, have been suppressed by this critic, and others snore easily answered substituted in their place : a trick common with Many of the opponents of our Colonial system. The arguments of the West Indians are these:— That India is open to importations of sugar from Java, Cochin China, and piny places where slave labour exists, all of which can easily be reshipped Is England ; causing a _prodigious increase of supply, to the great detriment of the West India cultivator, and without the smallest benefit to British India. That the East India Company levy a large portion of their taxes in kind. II; in the double nature of their functions, the cupidity of merchants should pre- dominate over the justice of sovereigns, they might regulate taxation in such a manner as would greatly favour and facilitate the growth of sugar ; a description

Of power, which the Wekt Indians contend should not be given to a commercial company.

Lastly and chiefly, That cultivation in the West Indies is burdened with re- strictions designed to benefit other interests of the empire. The provision mer- chant has 1 2s. a cwt. on his beef and pork ; the Canadian farmer has 5s. a barrel on his flour ; the timber merchant has protection to a corresponding degree; and our manufacturers at home hare 20 to 30 per cent on their commodities. From all these charges, the East India cultivator is exempt; and surely it is equitable in principle, that if the West Indians benefit other interests which the East Indians do not, they should receive proportionate protection in return.

It is consolatory indeed to find that in the House of Commons the justice of their claims is generally acknowledged. Mr. CHARLES GRANT himself, not the feeblest of the free trade advocates, in his motion last year for the reduction of duty on sugar, broadly admitted that the West Indians were entitled to protec- tion on principle. It is true that the amount of protection offered was not equal to what the West Indians claimed ; but still the admission of the principle is important, as nothing more is desired by the Colonists than what is enjoyed by other classes similarly restricted in their production. From this exposition, it is evident that the real state of the case is exactly op- posite to that which the writer in the New Monthly Magazine has maintained. If the West Indians are entitled to protection on principle, and if they cannot avail themselves of that protection, from certain causes, which Mr. Rieman, and Mr. Huss:ism-ix have described, it is plain that in place of being harassed by needless experiments in the Colonies, they should be specifically, assisted.

Distress now exists among them, great and unprecedented ; and unless some- thing speedily be done other collateral interests in this country will be deeply in- jured. The critic of the Magazine attempts to show that this distress is attribu- table to the Colonists themselves, and to the expensive manner in which their trade• has hitherto been conducted. He declaims loudly against the system of our mer- chants lending money to the planters, as tending to encourage improvidence, and as being one of the causes which have brought ruin upon the Colonies. On his own promises it would be easy to expose the inconsistency and inaccuracy of him conclusions. The more the assistance of monied "men is required in any s':e- scription of cultivation, the greater is the guarantee for prudence on the part of the cultivator ; for who ever heard of improvidence being one of the means to pro. cure credit from a cautious capitalist, who scrutinizes the character of the bur- rower before he parts with his money ?

In point of fact, the system of West India merchants lending money on mort- gages, and the manner in which the West India trade generally has hitherto been conducted, has nothing to do with the existing distress; and far from being a cen- surable system, it is the very best for the interests of the community that could be devised. The West Indian merchants are content with their commissions,— that is to say, they do not speculate; they do not buy up sugar in the same man- ner as other capitalists buy up cotton and foreign commodities, for the purpose of creating monopoly in a few hands, and thus, in place of looking for small and cer- tain accumulations, chequering commerce with alternations of great gain, and great loss. It would he deeply to be deplored if ever the system should change: the manufacturers and the community at large would be as great sufferers as the- immediate cultivators in the Colonies.

The remarks of the critic in the Magazine respecting the slaves are, if possible;_ more peurile than those affecting the proprietors. He advocates Mr. OTWAr CAVE'S plan of freeing the children born after a certain period. This plan, taking it on the grounds of humanity alone, may justly be considered the most objec- tionable of all the schemes for Negro emancipation which has been net proposed ;.; even supposine, that the nation should come forward to indemnify the planters.

In the first place, it was always maintained by the most reasonable of the AboliS. tionists, that the Blacks, like other men, were creatures of habit, and that it would; be madness to free any of them until they had been inured to labour, and' its youth taught such habits of industry as in matures manhood might be presumed to have become constitutional. The plan of giving freedom to the children, completely sets at nought this design. Those slaves whom the free labour ad- vocates as it were patronized, are placed aside, and freedom is to be given to a race who are never to be inured to work, nor to be taught any of those incentives to exertion without which our Colonies must soon become like St. Domingo, an abandoned waste.

But this is not all. Mr. CANNING met with general support when he laid it down as his position, that that mode of amelioration was the best which made it the interest of the master to promote the welfare of the slave. It was the Object, of his plan to make the prospective increase of value in the plantation on compensate. for the diminution of immediate returns. The object of the New MontIdg critic- is exactly the reverse of that of Mr. Csxsiso. lie would say to the planters, look not to the future, thick riot of instructing the rising generation in order ie• make their skill more available for your service, but get all you Can from your existing labourers. Which of the two modes, let us ask, is the more humane or deserving of encouragement ?

The least reflection must show that it is as much the object of the proprietor as it was of Mr. CANNING to forward the amelioration of the Blacks. A contented shoe is worth 100/., a discontented slave is not worth 501. Surely, therefore,_ there is some guarantee for good treatment, when a planter, by his humanity,. doubles the value of his property.

130 after all, the West Indians are not desirous to continue slavery one instant longer than the nation wills its extirpation ; they only insist that the loss incurred. shall he borne equally by all classes of the people. That sooner or later this politic contribution must be made, there is emery reason to believe, unless a great change takes place in the government of our Colonies. If France has made com- plete and comprehensive indemnity for losses inciirred in the period of her Revo- lutionary phreasv—if even degenerate Spain has strained every nerve to maintain: the inviolability 4 private property, which, alter all, is as much an object of sclf- interest in a nation as it is of abstract justice, why should we imagine that Eng- land will act differently ? Why should we imagine that when she returns to reason she will not indemnify losses inflicted during the fe%er of fanaticism. Were is shadow of doubt to arise as to the stability of her legislative pledges, her floating capital would very speedily be transferred to other countries. v.