British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

appears to have existed in a considerable degree in these colonies, that the arrival of the English was to be the signal of emancipation, and the release of the slave from all obligation towards his master. . . .


15
REPORT FROM A SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, 12 June 18111

The Committee appointed to consider of the practicability and expediency of supplying our West India colonies with free labourers from the East; and to report their opinion thereupon, to the House;--

Have proceeded to investigate the subject submitted to their consideration; and having examined such persons and documents as appeared most likely to furnish them with the best information upon the different points connected with it, they are of opinion, that the general result of their enquiries may be comprised under the following heads. . . .

[Though contrary to Chinese law, there is a great disposition for the Chinese (who are orderly and industrious) to emigrate. There seems to be no reason why the Chinese should not extend their emigration to the West Indies.]

Your Committee are fully impressed with the important advantages which might, under proper arrangements, be expected to result to those islands, from the introduction of a class of free people, so distinguished by their orderly and industrious habits.

Your Committee however cannot but feel that the execution of any project of this description would be attended with no inconsiderable difficulties: the most important of these would be the procuring females to accompany the male emigrants; a condition which your Committee consider absolutely indispensable, on account of the nature as well as the limited amount of female population in the West Indies.

In the East, the Chinese have always found, either in the countries to which they have emigrated, or in countries bordering upon them, a female population, to which similar objections do not apply; but your Committee have not sufficient means of judging how far it would be practicable to induce females of those countries to accompany the Chinese, in their more distant emigrations to the West Indies. . . .

It is to be observed also, that as the introduction of a new class of inhabitants into our colonies could hardly meet with success, if the colonial legislatures were indisposed to favour it, it would, in the opinion of your Committee, be expedient that those legislatures

____________________
1
Parl. Papers, 1810-11 (225), vol. ii, pp. 1-2.

-548-

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