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قراءة كتاب The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 1, July, 1863 Devoted to Literature and National Policy

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‏اللغة: English
The Continental Monthly,  Vol. 4,  No. 1, July, 1863
Devoted to Literature and National Policy

The Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No. 1, July, 1863 Devoted to Literature and National Policy

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 9

class observe: 'We do not complain of the negroes; they have done as well for themselves perhaps as any people would. But just because they are doing so well for themselves, they cannot be depended on to do well for us.' Hence the call for immigrant laborers; a just and reasonable call, if only the immigration is conducted with that rigid and conscientious care for the comfort of the immigrants for which Mr. Sewell gives the government of Trinidad credit, and if it is really voluntary. The fear that it will injure the negro, or that he dreads it, is wholly baseless. The negroes have remained utterly indifferent to the whole agitation of the subject, and are on perfectly amiable terms with the few coolies already introduced. Indeed it will be rather for their interest, as a negro remarked to Mr. Underhill, by giving them a better sale for their produce. The coolies now in the island appear to have done well. And the danger of overcrowding the population on a land teeming with tropical plenty, whose area of 6,400 square miles is occupied by but 441,000 inhabitants, is not a very imminent one, from any number within the means of the colony to introduce. And on the ability to procure foreign labor very much depends the hope of reviving the planting prosperity of Jamaica on a sounder basis, and in such a degree as is compatible with the substantial good of the whole population. It is true the population, relieved from the dreadful waste of slavery, is increasing. The census of 1844 showed a population of 377,433. That of 1861 showed one of 441,264, an increase of 63,831 in seventeen years. The immigration of coolies during that time has been between 18,000 and 20,000; the decrease of the whites, 3,000. The net increase by immigration then has been at the most 17,000, leaving 47,000 as the natural increase, or 12 per cent., in seventeen years. This is what remains after two terrible visitations of cholera, and one of small pox, all within eleven years, which together are computed to have swept off 40,000 persons. The increase would doubtless be much greater but for the loose living and careless habits of the negroes, and their almost entire destitution of medical attendance. There are now, it appears, but fifty qualified practitioners in the island, with no hopes of reinforcement.

The results of this census were very gratifying, and very unexpected. Such scanty means are there, ordinarily, of knowing the true condition of the country, that it was a prevailing impression that the population was decreasing. Had slavery continued, the present population would probably have been about 275,000. The difference of 165,000 in favor of freedom tells its own story. But the present necessities of the estates call for a more speedy augmentation of the laboring force than is furnished by natural increase alone.

I have omitted to mention in its proper place one gratifying sign that those minor industries which make so large a part of the prosperity of the wealthiest free communities, but which are neglected by the coarse labor of slaves, and have been particularly despised by the Jamaica planters, are now coming up in the island. Hitherto, sugar, rum, and coffee have been the all in all of prosperity to Jamaicans. But in 1838, the pimento export was 2,708,640 pounds; in 1858, 9,465,261 pounds. In 1838 the export of logwood was 8,432 cwt.; of fustic, 2,126 cwt.; of mahogany, 1,936 feet; of cocoanuts, 0; of honey, 0. In 1859, the export of logwood was 14,006 cwt.; of fustic, 2,329 cwt.; of mahogany, 35,000 feet; of cocoanuts, 712,913; of honey, 6,954 pounds. The ginger export has diminished from 1,834,120 pounds in 1841, to 709,620 pounds in 1858. This increase in the lesser articles of trade shows a brisker circulation in the capillaries of the social system, a sure token of reviving health. Indeed, before the writer left the island, that dreary uncertainty how affairs were turning, which prevailed for the first half of his stay, had given way to the returning cheerfulness arising from the feeling that Jamaica had touched bottom, and that henceforward, however slowly, her prospects were brightening. This cheerful feeling displays itself in a late report of Governor Darling to the Home Government, some paragraphs of which follow, quoted from Mr. Underhill's book, from which the writer has derived so large a part of the facts that he has had to take at second hand, and which he is glad again to commend as kindly, impartial, and full of carefully gathered and exactly appreciated information. His conjectural estimates of property, however, are exceptionable, as decidedly too high.

Governor Darling, himself a planter, says: