Williams Thesis On Slavery

Williams Thesis On Slavery-45
m Capitalism Sf Slavery Capitalism Slavery Eric Williams s THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS Chapel Hill Copyright, 1944, by THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY THE WILLIAM BYRD PRESS, INC. RICHMOND, VIRGINIA To Professor Lowell Joseph Ragatz Whose monumental labors in this field may be amplified and developed but can never be superseded PREFACE THE PRESENT STUDY is an attempt to place in historical per- spective the relationship between early capitalism as exemplified by Great Britain, and the Negro slave trade, Negro slavery and the general colonial trade of the seventeenth and eighteenth cen- turies. Conclusion 209 Notes 213 Bibliography 262 Index 2ji ix Capitalism & Slavery I THE ORIGIN OF NEGRO SLAVERY WHEN IN 1492 COLUMBUS, representing the Spanish monarchy, discovered the New World, he set in train the long and bitter international rivalry over colonial possessions for which, after four and a half centuries, no solution has yet been found. Herskovits of Northwestern University, very kindly read the manuscript and made many suggestions. According to Adam Smith, the prosperity of a new colony depends upon one simple economic factor "plenty of good land." 3 The British colonial possessions up to 1776, however, can broadly be divided into two types. Wilberforce later admitted that "we have had the religious char- acter of Alexander the Great represented to us ...

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The lesson of the early history of Georgia is instructive. 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. So the Georgia magistrates drank toasts "to the one thing needful" slavery until the ban was lifted. Without this compulsion, the laborer would otherwise exercise his natural inclination to work his own land and toil on his own account. The story is frequently told of the great English capitalist, Mr. 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. 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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