Abbildungen der Seite


were aware of the terms and period of their engagement; and more especially of the fact that they were destined to a slave-holding country. On these points I was enabled to satisfy myself, through the assistance of an interpreter, and in presence of some officers from the garrison whɔ came on board, one of whom seemed not unacquainted with the language and habits of the emigrants.

I may add that the emigrants appeari d cheerful and contented, and to have had their comforts in all respects attended to.

The ship cleared at Hong Kong on the 18th day of May last, with ?41 emigrants, and the surgeon of the vessel stated to me that the casualties, chiefly from diarrhæa, up to this date, have been 58.

The “ Mauritius" is a British ship, built in the year 1852 ; official number, 26,216; gross tonnage, 2,134 16; register tonnage, 1,451 105; owners, Robert Barclay, Robert Carle, and James Hamilton, all of Glasgow, in the county of Lanark, Scotland; present master, Donald Cruikshank, the number of whose certificate of coinpetency is 11,231.

I have, &c. J. Hampden King, E.sq.

(signed) R. D. Fraser, Acting Colonial Secretary.



Barbados “ Liberal,” 22 Sept. 1838.

No. 6. . (No. 55.)

No. 6. Copy of a DESPATCH from Governor Hincks to the Right Honourable Governor Hincks Sir E. Bulwer Lytton, Bart. M. P.

to Right Hon.
Sir E. B. Lytton,

Bart. M. P.
Windward Islands, Barbados, 25 September 1858.

25 Sept. 1858. (Received, 15 October 1858.) In my Despatch of the 1st instant, transmitting the Barbados Blue Book for Barbados, No. 48. Sir,

(Answered, No. 23, 10 November 1858, p. 68.) the year 1857, and my remarks thereon, I drew your attention to the recent establishment, by the resident and non-resident proprietors of estates in this island, of voluntary associations for promoting the amelioration of the condition of the labouring classes, and specially adverted to a proposition which had been made by the local associations to change the tenure on which land is rented to the labourers.

2. The West India Jabour question is one of such great importance that I venture to your attention to an editorial article which has recently appeared in the Barbados - Liberal," edited by Mr. Prescod, for many years a member of Editorial article in the Assembly of this Colony, and a gentleman who enjoys the confidence of a very large portion of the inhabitants of the British West Indies.

3. This article has been elicited by the discussions which have taken place in Barbados in consequence of the proposition to change the present tenure to one of a more permanent character. It is well deserving of attention, and especially because it explains the views of large classes, who, from the fact that they are not represented in the Colonial Legislatures, have little opportunity of making their opinions known in England.

4. The arguments in the article which I transmit are, I believe, applicable to the West India Colonies generally; but the practical effects of the existing tenure have been felt much more seriously by the planting interests in other Colonics than in this.

5. In Barbados, owing to the scarcity of land and the density of the population, the tenure has not yet deprived the planters of an adequate supply of labourers. In all the other colonies the effect has been to drive the labourers from the plantations.

6. My object being simply to lay before you the views of a large and influential class in the West Indies, which are stated with moderation and temper, I shall not further trespass on your attention. It will be for you to determine whether the article which I transmit is deserving of the publicity which is given to documents transmitted with the Blue Book Reports.

I have, &c.
(signed) F. Hiricks.

[blocks in formation]

Bridgetown, Wednesday, 22 September 1858. The proposition before the public in the recommendation of the joint associations of St. Philip and St. John, which the meeting at Sandford was held to controvert, has exclusive reference to thic tenore on which the labourers located on estates occupy lands and houses for which they pay rent. That tenure is now, with some few exceptious, a monthly one, with condition of service on the part of the tenant in addition to stipulated rent. It will assist very materially our perception of the real merits of the controversy if we take a full and particular view of the whole case which the question embodies.

The advent of emancipation found the slaves on the several estates in occupation of the houses that had been pri vided to shelter them, and the allotment lands they had been permitted to cultivate for their benefit during slavery; and, for the first few years after the close of the apprenticeship, they with few exceptions continued to occupy these, as incident to service, without paying direct rent for them. They gave their labour to the estate, generally for five days in the week, at a fixed rate of wages, some 20 to 30 per cent. below the common market rate, and this was the considered equivalent for rent. But the

arrangement was, in the very nature of things, calculated to enabroil the two parties in constant dispute and litigation. The labourer, on his part, was naturally anxious to get, whenever he could, the higher wages offered away from home; and the planter, just as naturally, perhaps, sought to involve all the working members of the labourer's household in the obligation to give their services to the estate at the fixed rate of wages. We need not dwell at present on the evil results from this state of things to the parties themselves, and to society through them. The syste: 11 was gradually relaxed when it was found that the law did not bear out the planter in his claim to the sevices of all the members of the occupier's household, and the plan of direct renting came by degrees into vogue, this renting being almost in every case weekly, and with the mischievous condition still invariably attached of service on the part of the renter at a fixed rate of wages.

The Master and Servants Act of 1840 had been framed for the then existing state of things; and providing for the resumption by the planter of houses and lands which his hired servants were permitted to occupy as incident service, it gave the latter a right to a month's notice to quit, and to reap his growing crops or receive their appraised value, at the option of the planter. But the provisions of this Art did not exactly coincide with the new state of renting. Tenures incident to service were tenures at will with a circumstance, and the Act of 1840 was made in special reference to that circumstance. It could not well be strained to apply to simple tenancies at will, as the labourers' holdings now generally were; and in 1850 Mr. Maycock effected the desirable alteration in the law by passing a Bill through the Legislature, bringing all such tenancies, where the rent reserved is payable at less than quarterly periods, under the provisions of the Act of 1840, as occupations incident to service.

This, then, is the state of the law at present, as regards the tenant-labourer. In practice, he has a house and land allotment on the estate-more commonly the land alone, the house being his own—for which he pays weekly, either in money or in labour, a stipulated rent, generally the full value of the property, and is under engagement besides, as a condition of the renting, to give the estate a certain number of days' labour at a fixed rate of wages, varying from one-sixth to one-third ltss than the market rate. The tenant, of course, is subject to all the biddings of the landlord, and those in authority under him, as to the service of the stipulated number of days, and exposed besides to their perpetual interference and attempted control in all matters in which it may be their pleasure to override his personal right to judge for himself. The penalty, if he presumes to resist this petty tyranny, is ejectment at a month’s notice from his rented allotment, his growing crops being taken at an appraised value, which is often grudgingly paid, and in lý cases out of 20 comes short of their actual value to him, to say nothing of the improvement of the land, or the tillage in actual preparation at the time for putting in a crop: For any cause whatever, or, so to speak, for no cause, at the mere will and pleasure of the landlord or his agent, this heavy penalty may be applied at any instant, with the legal month's notice. But as the tenant forfeits his crops if the notice proceed froin him, an inconceivable amount of petty oppression may be inflicted on the one side and endured on the other in view of this fact.

Is it reasonable to suppose-- we appeal to the coinmon sense and ordinary experience of fellow-men to say if it be at all reasonable to suppose, that, in such a state of things, unrler such circumstances as these, the labourer, as a general rule, can be satisfied, contented, have settled and correct views of home, be particularly anxious to surround himself with substantial comforts, and in a fair way to profit by the moral and religious influences bronght 10 bear for his improvem?nt? Is it in the nature of things that he should, under such circumstances, entertain for his landlord and employer any other feelings than those of dread, of distrust, of reckless indifference to his inierests beyond the mere momentary point of contact where his own self-interest is directly involved? Does it consist with our knowledge of human nature, as we see it in everyılay intercourse with the world, that the relations of these parties and the feelings to which they vive risa, under the circunstances stated, could, by any possibility, be such as the best interests of the parties themse ves, and the wellbeing of society around them require that those rela:ions and feelings should be?


It is this highly mischievous state of things that is now sought to be corrected, by the change of land tenure from monthly to yearly at least, with no condition of service. We are told, in opposition to the proposed change, that the evils complained of are only theoretic, the power held by the planter being very rarely exercised to the detriment of the labourer. "But those who argue in this way, do so in seeming thorough ignorance of human nature and the influences by which it is affected. And the argument, besides, in this particular instance, is, in point of fact, untrue. The power of ejectment, we grant, is but rarely exercised by the planter, and, from the very nature of things, could only be exercised rarely, or society would be in a constant state of convulsion through the country, as some of us remember to bave seen it in 1838-9. The planter holds this power as his ultimatum tu enforce submission to his will and pleasure. He has seldom occasion to exercise it; but his abiliiy to do so at any moment and in any given case is undoubted, and has in practice all the desired effect. There is nothing, we say, in the present state of law or the prevalent public sentiment through the country, to prevent any tenant labourer, for any cause or for no cause, receiving, at the very instant we are now writing, notice of ejectment, and at the end of the legal month laving his crops taken from him at an appraised value, his household rudely broke: 1;), and the members of it, infancy and decrepit age, mere boys and budding maidens, with those of riper age, all turned adrist to shift as they best can for themselves, until another location under precisely the same circumstances, and subject to the self-same chances, bring them, perhaps, together again. This is the evil. The exposedness of the labourer and his family to such treatment is the thing complained of. It is no answer to this to say that the power is rarely exercised. It ought not to be possessed. We dread a murderous weapon in the hands of a madman, from the mere sense of insecurity induced by his possession of it. We kuiow that he holds that which may he used to our injury, and we cannot be sure that he will not so use it.

But if the ultimate power of ejectment is rarely exercised by the planter, his vast power, short of this, and to which thi , in fact, is meant to enforce submission, is in constant operation, effecting all the mischief that we charge to it. The power of ejectment, of itself, would be of small practical value in the eyes of the most strenuous stickler for letting “well alone," and few of our planters, we dare say, would be unwilling to relinquish it, but for the superstructure of which it is the base. The labourer, to go no further into detail, pays in rent the full value for his allotment, with or without a house, and is required besides to give his labour to the estate for four or five days of the week, at a rate of wages usually froin one-sixth to one-third less than the market rate, having at times to endure even greuter hardships than this. Some planters, we know, give the full rate, but they are the exception which goes to prove the rule. The general understanding is, that the located labourer shall give the estate four or five days' labour when required for there is no obligation to find him constant employment-at 20 cents (10d. sterling) a day, whilst that labour is cominonly worth 24 cents, sometimes 30 cents, these higher rates being often paid to unlocated labourers working in the same field with the located. We say nothing of the simple morality of this as a mere business transaction between man and man; but we revert to the question, whether it is in accordance with our experience of the world that the labourer should be satisfied, contented, and in a fair way to improvement under such circumstances, or that the wellbeing of society should be promoted by them?

One of the resolutions of the meeting at Sandford declares

“ That the present Contract Act is sufficient in itself to carry into effect ihe reciprocal duties of master and servant; and that under the said Act in force, since the abolition of slavery, the best of feeling is promoted between employers and employed, giving full and ample protection to both parties.”

This resolution gives direct contradiction to all we have written in this arti'le, and may farther write on the same subject. Either the framers of it bave used words in a sense very different, indeed, from the ordinary significations attached to them by people in general, or we are woe'ully and amazingly in error, to say the least, in our views as to the actual condition if the renant-labourers, and the state of the relations between them and their land'ordemployers. Now we don't care to merely argue a point like this, when we can put the matter plainl. before the public in practical operation, and let every one judge for bimself. One instance, of recent occurrence, in illustration of the actual working of this “ Contract Act” (the Master and Servants Act of 1840, with Mr. Maycock's addendum), will show how it carries, practically, “ into effect the reciprocal duties” of the parties in question, what sort of “ feeling" it promotes between them, and the amount of “ protection,” said to be “ full and ample,” which it affords to the labourer in particular. To obviate, as far as possible, any supposition of unfirness in selecting our illustration, we shall take it from the practice of one of the very gentlemen who were prominent at the meeting at Sand ford. We shall make Mr. Joseph Connell, who moved the fourth resolution at the meeting, the expounder of the third, which was carried, like all the rest,“ nem. con."

Haiton estate, in the parish of St. Philip, is the property of Mr. John Connell, who is now on a visit to England, his brother, Mr. Joseph Connell, having charge of the property as attorney. On the 5th of July, in the present year, four of the located labourers on the estate, namely, King Hunte, William Shepherd, Richard Parris, and John Daniel, were cited before the police magistrate of the parish, for breach of this Master and Servants Act. Mr. Joseph Connell, in hi, information taken before the magistrate at the trial, stated the charge to be, that the defendants had absented themselves from work for the whole of the

BARBADOS. previous week. “I gave them 300 cane holes to dig where the lands had been previously

subsoiled with the plough for 20 cents, which they refused to do." And Mr. Thomas Bradshaw, the under manager, in his deposition, after stating this refusal of the four defen. dants to dig 300 cane holes for a day's work for 20 cents, added, “their average work is five days generally per week, at 20 cents.”. We may state that the magistrate gave judg. ment against the defendants, and the Assistant Court of Appeal, to whom the case was carried by defendants, confirmed his decision a few days after. And so proud was Mr. Connell of this result, that he sent a copy of the proceedings before the magistrate for publication in the “West Indian,” from which paper, of 16th July, the above quotations are made.

Now, at the time when these labourers were required to dig 300 cane holes a day for five days in the week, at 20 cents a day, the common market price of labour for this description of work in the district was at the rate of 10 cents per 100 holes, and some few pushing planters were paying at the rate of 12 cents per 100. We took the trouble, at the time, to inquire particularly as to this. These four labouring men were therefore required, in addition to their rent, to give their labour to the estate for five out of the six working days of the week, at a reduction of just one-third of the common market value of that labour! Fifty cents—two shillings and a penny sterling a week were they required, one and all, to surrender out of their poor incomes! Mr. Crinnell exacted it—'twas “ in the bond," and the law bore him out in the exaction--that law which, we are blandly assured, “ is sufficient in itself to carry into effect the reciprocal duties of master and servant; under which, • since the abolition of slavery, the best of feeling is promoted between employers and employed ;” and which affords such “ full and ample protection to both parties." We now know exactly what these bland phrases mean in the resolution of the meeting at Sandford; ond--need we write another word on the subject ?

Despatches from the Secretary of State.


No. 1. Right Hon. H. Labouchere, m. r. to Governor Hinck 3. 22 October 1857.

• Page 31.

- No. 1. (No. 86.) Copy of a DESPATCH from the Right Honourable H. Labouchere, M.P.

to Governor Hincks.

Downing-street, 22 October 1857.
I have to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch, No. 42,* of the 22d of
August, in which you lay before me your views on the question of labour in the
West Indian Colonies, and on the system of coolie immigration.

I beg to return to you my thanks for your able and interesting Despatch on this important subject.

I have, &ic. (signed) H. Labouchere.

No. 2.

Right Hon. H.
Labouchere, M.P.
10 Governor
26 Dec. 1857.

| Page 39

No. 2. (No. 96.) Copy of a DESPATCH from the Right Honourable H. Labouchere, m.p.

to Governor Hincks. Sir,

Downing-street, 26 December 1857. I HAVE to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch, No. 52,7 of the 9th of November, forwarding the copy of a letter from Mr. T. D. Hill, with a petition to the Legislature of Barbados from certain non-resident proprietors in that island, on the subject of improving the condition of the labouring classes; together with a copy of your reply.

I have, &c. (signed) H. Labouchere.

[ocr errors]

No. 3

was accordingly received by my predecessor, and was referred, along with your 28 January 1858.

No. 3.
(No. 97.)
Copy of a DESPATCH from the Right Honourable H. Laboucherr, M.P.

Right Hon. H. to Governor Hincks.

i...vouchere, M P.

to Gorernor Sir,

Downing-street, 26 December 1857.

26 Dec. 1857. I HAVE received your Despatch marked “General,”* of the 9th of November,

* Page 38. respecting emigration from the Windward Islands to British Guiana.

Having heard that a law is about to be passed in British Guiana to legalise contracts for three years made out of the Colony with inhabitants of other West Indian Islands, you state that such a law would cause serious discontent among the planters in the Windward Islands; and you observe that, though a free passage may be provided by British Guiana for emigrants from those islands, abuses would occur unless the contracts were authenticated by some officer of the Crown in the place in which they were made.

I annex copies of the 12th and 16th sections of the British Guiana Ordinance, No. 2 of 1848, from which you will perceive that by the existing law of the Colony, planters would be authorised to engage labourers for three years in any of the “ Islands of America," but that no such contract would be valid except signed in the presence of a magistrate or notary public.

You will see by the Despatch from the Lieutenant Governor of British Guiana, No. 31, of which I enclose a copy, that the proposed enactment in British Guiana is 10 October 1857.

Vide page 11 of merely introduced to remove a doubt (unfounded as it appears to me) respecting Part I. the applicability of the existing law, not to introduce any new principle.

The policy of the Home Government on the subject of inter-colonial emigration has hitherto proceeded on a principle in some degree at variance with that suggested by you. The Government has considered that the public money of one Colony could not properly be applied to an emigration supposed to be injurious to another, but has not generally interfered with emigration conducted at the expense of private persons, except so far as it was expedient for the security of the individual emigrants.

I have, &c.

(signed) H. Labouchere,

No. 4. (No. 8.) Copy of a DESPATCH from the Right Honourable the Lord Stanley, M.P. Right Hon. Lord to Governor Hincks.

Stanley, M. P. to

Governor Hincks, Sir,

Downing-street, 16 April 1858. 16 April 1858.
I have had under my consideration your Despatches, Barbados, No. 427 of the
220 August; Grenada, No. 41f of the 9th November; and St. Lucia, No. 577 of + Pages 31, 71,

and 2.
the same date, in which you explain the views which you have been led to adopt
on the subject of the importation of immigrants into the West Indies.

2. My predecessors profited by the presence of the Governor of British Guiana
in this country to obtain from him a statement of his views upon the same subject
with reference to those stated by you.

3. The communication from Governor Wodehouse, of which a copy is enclosed,

No. 4

Enclosure 1.

own Despatches and their , to the Commissioners for Emigration.

4. I enclose herewith a copy of the Report which I have now received from
the Commissioners; and I have to express muy general concurrence in the views
which it expresses.

I have, &c.
(signed) Stanley.

Enclosure 2. 15 March 1858.

« ZurückWeiter »