Page:Transportation and colonization.djvu/25

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



and extended, convict-labour became less and less valuable in these colonies than it had previously been; while the extreme impolicy of exhibiting white men in a state of slavery, in the midst of a gradually increasing black-slave population, became more and more apparent. Accordingly, as soon as the "calculating" colonists of the American plantations found that kidnapped negroes from the coast of Africa, whom they had bought with their money at a comparatively low price, and reduced to hopeless and hereditary slavery, with the sanction and encouragement of the British parliament, were healthier and more robust, besides being more easily controlled, and altogether a better bargain than criminals from England, they began gradually to testify their reluctance to have any additional consignments of convicts thrown into their respective territories; or to be thus made the felon-drivers as well as the negro-drivers of the empire. If I am not greatly mistaken, it was the people of Barbadoes, that slave-holding colony "of old extent," that first testified this extreme delicacy of feeling; in which, however, they were soon followed by the slave-holders of Maryland, whose colonial legislature passed an Act, so early as the year 1692, prohibiting ship-masters from landing convicts in that colony. Similar sentiments were afterwards expressed by