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George Walker Examined


George Walker, Esq˙, called in.

Question. What is your situation?

Answer. I am of Barbadoes; resided there a great many years, and have been their Agent ever since I left the country.

Q. Please to inform the Committee what you know in relation to the state of Barbadoes, the Leeward Islands, and the rest of the Sugar Colonies?

A. My situation having been such as to afford me the means, I may be presumed to know something of the state of Barbadoes, of the Islands in its neighbourhood, and of the Sugar Colonies in general. Barbadoes, and all the Sugar Islands are to be considered as countries in which a great Manufacture is established. It is a manufacture of Sugar and Rum. Instead of being able to purchase at market, the raw materials for the manufacture, they are obliged to produce the raw materials from their own soil. They ingraft the Farmer upon the Manufacturer; not (in the intention of furnishing the workmen with food, but,) but from the necessity of growing the raw material. Thus the land and labour of the country being devoted to the cultivation of the Sugar-cane, the Corn and Provisions they raise are merely accidental; they are no more than can be raised without prejudice to the Sugar Cane. To the Sugarcane every thing is sacrificed as a trifle to the principal object. In Barbadoes, I doubt whether the Corn, (it is Indian Corn, not Wheat) and the ground Provisions (I mean Yams and other Roots,) raised in the Island, are sufficient to maintain the inhabitants for three months; I am certain they will not maintain them for four months, unless the four months be those in the beginning of the year, in the season for ground Provisions. The Indian Corn and ground Provisions cannot, by common means, be preserved for any length of time. I ought to add the uncertainty of the native products, especially of Indian Corn and ground Provisions: dry


weather, or excess of wet weather, hurricanes, blast, vermine, frequently diminish or destroy the hopes of the Planter. The last year exhibited a melancholy example in Barbadoes, many families having been supported by publick contributions, nor is the soil in every plantation capable of producing Corn, although very proper for the Sugar-cane. As to the Leeward Islands, they produce neither Corn nor ground Provisions worth mentioning, except Tortola. Tortola was a Cotton Colony; Cotton and Corn are not inconsistent. Tortola began to make Sugar within my remembrance; and there is reason to believe the whole country is not yet engrossed by Sugar-cane. From this view of the Sugar Colony, in the light of a manufacture, where the soil, as well as the labour is employed in the manufacture, it follows, that such Colonies must depend, in proportion to the extensiveness of the manufacture, upon other places for necessary food, for actual subsistence. The observation applies to Jamaica, and to the Islands under the Granada Government.

Q. From what places do the Sugar Colonies draw food for subsistence?

A. They are not many; Great Britain, Ireland, North America. From Great Britain, the Sugar Colonies receive a little salted Fish, Pilchards from the West, Herrings from the North. As to Corn, they receive no Wheat in Grain, and a mere trifle in Flour. The Flour during the three years, from 1771 to 1773, may be shown to have been under four quarters, upon the whole to all the West Indies. It may be shown that the Beans and Peas together do not exceed thirteen thousand quarters, nor the Oats nineteen thousand; and even this importation, small as it is, is owing to a particular circumstance: it is, that the Indian Corn of North America, the great supply of the West Indies, soon perishes in a hot and moist climate; and as the trade is carried on from different Provinces, it is unconnected, unconcerted, dependent upon the opportunities, upon the caprices of individuals; dependent upon accident of winds and weather; it is therefore, in its nature irregular. A fortuitous combination sometimes increases the irregularity to such a degree, as to reduce a particular Colony to a real, though temporary distress. Beans, Peas, and Oats, being capable of a longer resistance against putrefaction than the Indian Corn from North America, the Sugar Colonies, especially the Leeward Islands, who have the fewest internal resources, do therefore make some provision in these articles against that temporary distress; so delicately strained already is the string, which is now threatened with a rough and unremitting violence. I purposely forbear other articles of food from Great Britain, intended for the use of people of some condition, Hams, Cheese, and the like; they belong properly to the general commerce of Great Britain with the West Indies. I confine myself at present to necessary food. Ireland furnishes a large quantity of salted Beef, Pork, Butter, and Herrings, but no Grain. North America supplies all the rest, both Corn and Provisions. North America is truly the granary of the West Indies; from thence they draw the great quantities of Flour and Biscuit for the use of one class of people, and of Indian Corn for the support of all the others; for the support not of Man only, but of every animal; for the use of Man, Horses, Swine, Sheep, Poultry. North America also furnishes the West Indies with Rice. Rice, a more expensive diet, and less capable of sustaining the body under hard labour, is of a more limited consumption, but is a necessary indulgence for the young, the sick, the weakly, amongst the common people and the Negroes. North America not only furnishes the West Indies with Bread, but with Meat, with Sheep, with Poultry, and some live Cattle; but the demand for these is infinitely short of the demand for the salted Beef, Pork, and Fish. Salted Fish, (if the expression may be permitted in contrast with Bread) is the meat of all the lower ranks of people in Barbadoes, and the Leeward Islands. It is the meat of all the Slaves in all the West Indies. Nor is it disdained by persons of better condition. The North American navigation also furnishes the Sugar Colonies with Salt from Turk' s Island, Sal Tortuga and Anguilla; although these Islands are themselves a part of the West Indies. The testimony which some experience has enabled me to bear, you will find confirmed, sir, by official accounts. The same accounts will distinguish the


source of the principal, the great supply of Corn and Provisions. They will fix it precisely in the Middle Colonies of North America; in those Colonies, who have made a publick Agreement in their Congress, to withhold all their supplies after the tenth of next September. How far that Agreement may be precipitated in its execution, may be retarded or frustrated, it is for the wisdom of Parliament to consider: but if it is persisted in, I am well founded to say, that nothing will save Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands from the dreadful consequences of absolute famine. I repeat the famine will not be prevented. The distress will fall upon them suddenly; they will be overwhelmed with it, before they can turn themselves about to look out for relief. What a scene! when rapine, stimulated by hunger, has broken down all scenes, confounded the rich with the poor, and levelled the free man with his slave! The distress will be sudden. The body of the people do not look forward to distant events; if they should do this, they will put their trust in the wisdom of Parliament. Suppose them to be less confident in the wisdom of Parliament, they are destitute of the means of purchasing an extraordinary stock. Suppose them possessed of the means; a very extraordinary stock is not to be found at market. There is a plain reason in the nature of the thing, which prevents any extraordinary stock at market, and which would forbid the Planter from laying it in, if there was: it is, that the objects of it are perishable. In those climates the Flour will not keep above six or eight weeks; the Indian Corn decays in three months; and all the North American Provisions fit only for present use.

Q. If the West Indies are deprived of their usual supplies of Corn and Provisions from the Middle Colonies of North America, are there no resources by which the deficiency may be made good?

A. I will examine the resources I have heard mentioned. Great Britain cannot increase her exportation of Corn and Provisions to the West Indies; for she would increase a scarcity at home already complained of: notwithstanding the assistance she largely receives herself, particularly in Wheat and Flour from North America. Ireland has other markets to furnish besides the West Indies; these markets will not suffer themselves to be deprived of their usual share, beyond a certain limited degree; a degree too limited to supply the whole West India consumption. The Colonies at the Southern extremity of America, the two Floridas, are not able to feed themselves; and Georgia, a small country, is said to have acceded to the Congress. At the Northern extremity, St˙ John' s is in its infancy. From Nova Scotia, the West Indies receive some small supplies. As to the salted Fish from Newfoundland, it is Fish from New England; it is taken upon the banks by the New England people chiefly; who are to have none to send us, unless the Fishery Bill should operate a submission, or have no operation at all. Canada, sir, produces not Indian Corn. In the hands of Great Britain, and under English laws, it has exported Wheat; but the quantity is neither equal to the demand of the West Indies, nor is it prepared for the West India market; but all these are expedients for a distant day. In future times from all these countries, according to their several natures, a constant and regular demand will create a constant and regular supply. It is impossible; it is inconsistent with the nature of commerce to furnish an adequate supply to a vast, an immediate, and an unexpected demand; the demand and the supply must grow up together, mutually supporting and supported by each other. One more expedient remains; it is distant like the rest: it will be effectual, but it will be ruinous; it is to change our system. We must abandon the manufacture, and apply the land and labour now appropriated to the manufacture to the purposes of raising food. The undone remnant of the people who shall not have fallen victims to the intermediate famine, may thus provide against it for the time to come. I flatter myself, sir, I have shown from a deduction of facts the dependence of Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands upon North America for subsistence. I leave it to gentlemen of more intimate knowledge of the state of Jamaica than I can pretend to, to show that a relation of the same kind, and if not to the same extent, yet far beyond the common opinion, subsist between that great


Island and the Northern Continent. As to Granada and its dependencies, sir, let me only observe, that the manufacture of Sugar and Rum, and the cultivation of Coffee, in those Islands having been prosecuted with unremitting ardour, little of their labour can have been diverted to the raising of Corn and Provisions. Their dependence upon North America was reasonable; and I may venture to conclude it to be similar to that of their neighbours. I have been the more explicit upon this subject, the dependence of the West Indies upon North America for subsistence, as it is the calamity which presses immediately, affecting life as well as fortune; it is a distress which your humanity will conspire with your interest to prevent; and I trust that the wisdom of Parliament will find the means.

Q. What is the commodity called Lumber? For what purpose used, and whence procured?

A. In the West Indies, they understood, by the term Lumber, every species of North American wood, when prepared for the use of buildings or the cooperage. It includes the Deal, the Pine, the Cypress, the Cedar, the White Oak, the Red Oak, and others; and comes in the shape of Beams, Joists, Planks, Boards, Shingles, Staves, and in Logs. Buildings where great strength is required, and which are exposed to wind and weather, demand timber of a texture more solid, and of a quality less subject to decay in those climates; it is distinguished by the name of hard wood; Mahogany is of that tribe. Such, as far as my experience extends, grow only between the Tropicks; the price is high — three and four Shillings sterling the cubick foot; employed from the call of necessity, the consumption is limited. For every other purpose of the Carpenter and of the Cooper, it is the Lumber of North America that is used. It is a pleasure to me, sir, to spare the patience of the Committee a detail of conjectural calculations. I understand that there is some official paper which will inform you precisely. The part which is furnished by the Middle Colonies of North America is out of all proportion to the others. Without Lumber to repair the buildings they run immediately to decay. And without Lumber for the proper packages for Sugar, and to contain Rum, they cannot be sold at market, they cannot even be kept at home.

Q. Are there not places besides the Middle Colonies of North America, from whence may be drawn a supply of Lumber in some degree proportionate to the wants of the West Indies?

A. I will examine. The first resource may be in the Colony itself; but Barbadoes and the Leeward Islands are altogether destitute of wood. The gentlemen of Jamaica will inform you how unequal their country is to its own demands. Remains the Government of Granada. And here I beg leave to state a fact. Ready-made Houses of North American Lumber have been exported from Barbadoes to the Islands under the Government of Granada. These Islands have plenty of wood; and this wood is of a more durable nature than Lumber; but an anxiety for the staple manufacture superseded this consideration; and the labour of the Slaves, instead of being turned to the providing of materials for the Carpenter, was reserved for the cultivation of the Sugar-cane.

Although the Sugar Colonies may find no resources from their soil, they may find it in their market at home. Lumber is a commodity not so perishable as Cora and Provisions. A stock of it might be laid in. This certainly is an expedient. It will be attempted by the provident and the wealthy; the combined description includes not a multitude in any country, and the attempt will greatly enhance the price. But it is practicable only to a certain point. It must be confined to the quantity at market. If an unusual quantity should be imported, as is probable, supposing no sinister events to prohibit, the Planter has no fund to pay for it. I speak of the great body of Planters in general. They are not able to provide for the expenses of two or more crops out of the profits of one crop. It is well if every crop can bear up against its own particular load. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. Before I proceed to external resources, I beg leave, sir, to repeat what I have said before upon the subject of a new channel for the supply of Corn and Provisions. I said it was inconsistent with the nature of commerce to furnish an adequate supply to a vast, an unexpected, an immediate demand; that the


demand and the supply must grow up together, mutually supporting and supported by each other. This principle destroys the prospect of a timely and effectual assistance from any quarter whatsoever. Not content with the operation pf the general principle, I will examine the particular resources. I will only say of the two Floridas, that the population is feeble in the extreme. Georgia sends some Lumber; but Georgia is said to have acceded to the Congress. What has been said of the Floridas with respect to population, is applicable to St˙ John' s, and in some measure to Nova Scotia. Nor does Nova Scotia export any materials proper for Casks to contain Rum. In Canada the population is not adequate to the new enterprise, without neglecting points of greater importance in their system. I say of greater importance; because the West India market is now open to them; an exchange of West India commodities is desirable; and notwithstanding Canada exports Lumber to the West Indies. In truth, there is a mass of objections which nothing but a length of time can overcome. Supported by large capitals, or long credit, Canada must first combine several commercial objects, so as to furnish an assortment of cargoes. They must have proper Artificers, as well as people. They must provide a navigation equal to the bulky commodity — equal to it under the accumulated difficulties of a great distance, and the dangers and delays of a River covered or choaked with ice for more than half the year. If there is little or no resource to be found in America, let the West Indies, in search of Lumber, turn their eyes to Europe. I pass over Great Britain and Ireland, because they both import vast quantities of Lumber. No inconsiderable part of it is drawn from the Middle Colonies of North America. But it is to be found in Europe, of every sort, and in every shape. The demand of the West Indies has been shown to be vast. It will be immediate. The tenth of September is advancing very fast, and the demand will be unexpected; unexpected, in the opinion of every person who hopes that lenient measures may be adopted; unexpected, in the opinion of every person who, without reasoning farther, depends upon the wisdom of Parliament to extricate the West Indies, and in them the whole Empire, from danger. A domestick event, unexpected in Great Britain, will not be presumed in foreign countries. Nor Germany, nor Norway, nor the Baltick, will risk an extensive operation in commerce upon the speculative idea of a continuance of a most unnatural quarrel. I will, however, suppose for a moment that Germany provides a more plentiful stock of Staves; that Norway and the Baltick pay the like attention to their Deals. I pray it may be understood that the freight of bulky Goods trenches deeply into their value. The freight of Lumber from North America to the West Indies, a short safe passage, is a moiety of the Goods shipped. The double voyage, first to Great Britain, and then to the West Indies, takes away at the same rate for distant and hazardous voyages, an half of that moiety, leaving only a quarter part to the original shipper. At what an enormous price then must this Lumber come to the hands of the consumer? By a suspension of the Acts of Navigation, it may indeed be carried to the West Indies, disencumbered of the intolerable burden of a double voyage; yet add the original price much higher than in America; add the increase in this price from the increase in the demand from Great Britain, Ireland, and the West Indies; the remedy itself is only the lesser evil.

Q. What other species of commodities, from the Middle Colonies, are interchanged with the West Indies?

A. Besides the absolute dependence of the West Indies upon North America for Subsistence and for Lumber, there are supplies less consequential, but very useful, and even necessary, in some respect, to the West Indies; which are all furnished by the confederating Colonies. The articles are, Train Oil, for the many lamps in the Sugar Works, Horses, for the saddle and for draught, Tallow, Leather, Tobacco, Pitch, Tar, Turpentine, Iron, Sloop and Boat Timbers, and some others. As to Ships, I refer them to the head of Navigation, created by the commerce of the West Indies.

Q. What commodities do the Sugar Colonies give in exchange to North America?

A. They did give a part of all their products in exchange: but the Middle Colonies have refused to take


Molasses, Syrups, Paneles, Coffee, and Pimento, since the first of last December. The principal exchange is of Sugar and Rum. The Sugar is generally supposed to amount to twenty-five thousand hogsheads directly, besides fifteen thousand hogsheads in the shape of Refined Sugar from England. As to Rum, the dependence of all the Islands, except Jamaica, is as great upon the Middle Colonies of North America for the consumption of their Rum, as it is for Subsistence and Lumber. Jamaica sends about eleven thousand puncheons to London, which stocks the market at the present price. Lower the price, the method is plain and easy, the consumption increases in proportion. Nor will the revenue suffer. How far the expedient may save Jamaica, in this momentous article of their manufacture, I leave to be explained by gentlemen more intimately acquainted with that Island. The Rum of Barbadoes, the Leeward Islands, and the Government of Granada, does not come to England, except in small portions. It goes in part to Ireland; and all the rest, the great quantity, is distributed chiefly amongst the Middle Colonies of North America, agreeable to the law of reciprocal exchange. The Agreement of those Colonies, which is to take place the tenth of next September, extends, in words, only to the withholding of all supplies; but it must effect a total suspension of commerce. They will not send their Vessels in ballast, to purchase with gold and silver the Goods they have been accustomed to receive in exchange for the products of their own soil and industry. It is an idea repugnant to every principle of commerce — it is more; it is repugnant to the spirit which now inflames those Colonies. Sir, I have shown, I trust, the absolute dependence of the Sugar Colonies upon the Middle Colonies of America, in three essential points, viz: for Corn and Provisions for subsistence; for Lumber and other necessaries for the maintenance of their Plantations; and lastly, for the consumption of their produce of all kinds — greatly of Sugar, but principally of Rum. This doctrine of the dependence of Sugar Colonies upon North America is confirmed by an authority which will not be disputed. The Act of Parliament of the sixth of George the Second, chapter thirteenth, was made upon this occasion. The British Sugar Colonies complained of the great increase of the French Sugar Colonies, and demonstrated the increase to have been owing principally to the support which the French Sugar Colonies received from the Middle Provinces of North America, in exchange for Sugar and Molasses. Perhaps it is beside my present purpose to remark the manner, in which the administration of those days adjusted the great dispute. Sir, they contrived to please both sides. To the Islands they gave the letter of the law; and the Continent they indulged in the breach of it. The fact is all I want. It shows that even the French Sugar Colonies do depend, in no small degree, upon North America. Nor are the Danes in the Islands, nor the Dutch in the Southern Continent, an exception. Such is the force of that principle, which considers a Sugar Plantation as a manufactory obliged to raise its own materials. If, in the course of events during this unhappy dispute, the foreign Colonies should be deprived of their resources from America, it is not my province to examine whether the distress will be looked upon with indifference: but it becomes me to hope that Great Britain will never suffer her own to be ruined for want of the accustomed and accessary supplies from North America.

Q. What is the kind of Property in the West India Islands? And can you estimate the value thereof?

A. The nature of the property vested in the West Indies will appear by the estimate of its value. I shall calculate in sterling money of Great Britain. To begin with Barbadoes. It stands first on the map. This Island contains one hundred and eight or six thousand acres. The Land is almost entirely under cultivation; but I will reckon only upon the hundred thousand. From a knowledge of a multitude of appraisements made upon oath, by freeholders of the vicinity, upon occasions of deaths, or of extents for the payment of debts; from many actual sales; I state that thirty Pounds an acre is a reasonable valuation. I include with the Land all the dwelling-houses in the country, the Sugar Works, and the young Crops. I throw in the Cattle, the Plantation, and household Furniture. This article, the Land, amounts to three millions. The Negroes,


by a poll tax, in which the whole number is certainly not included, are seventy-five thousand; cheap at forty Pounds each, they make a second sum of three millions. I throw in the two Towns, whose rents amount to forty thousand Pounds a year, as a casting weight to make good the aggregate sum of six millions. Taking Barbadoes as a standard by which to measure all the rest of the Sugar Colonies, I observe that the Sugar exported from Barbadoes to all parts, at a medium of many years, (it is a calculation formed upon the receipts of the Duty of four and an half per cent.) is about fifteen thousand common hogsheads a year. Now the Sugar imported into Great Britain alone, from all the Sugar Colonies, amounted, in the year seventy-three, to one hundred and seventy thousand hogsheads, allowing ten hundred weight of Sugar to a hogshead. The import of seventy-four is more. I will suppose the produce of Barbadoes to be as one in ten. If a part of the Barbadoes Sugar is clayed, if its muscovado is properest for common use, yet there are clayed Sugars from other Islands; the muscovado of several, especially of St˙ Kitts, is fitter for the refiner. Besides, twenty thousand such hogsheads are deducted, and a great number of common hogsheads, I mean the exports to North America, are omitted before the proportion of one in ten is stated. If Barbadoes yields Ginger, Cotton, and Alloes, the other Colonies add to the same products Coffee, Pimento, and other articles. The capital of Barbadoes then being six millions, and its produce as one in ten of the produce of all the West Indies, it is fair to conclude, at the same proportion, the capital of the whole to be sixty millions: a conclusion which amply warrants the Petition in declaring it to be upwards of thirty millions. I take nothing in the estimate for the value of the future increase of Jamaica and the new settled Islands.

Q. Can you make any estimate of the value of West India Property owned by persons who live in England; and of the amount of the debt due to this Kingdom from the West Indies?

A. Of the millions vested in the West Indies, many are the property of persons residing in England, and not a few are united and consolidated with the landed property of this Kingdom. It is difficult to ascertain the total. I have endeavoured at a calculation for Barbadoes, and am below the mark in stating it at one million four hundred thousand Pounds. In the other Islands, for obvious reasons, the proportion is greater than in Barbadoes. The most eminent Merchants will tell you that they have hardly any body to correspond with in St˙ Christopher' s, except the overseers of plantations. Resuming Barbadoes as a rule to measure with, the proportion is fourteen millions. It is a more difficult and less pleasing task to investigate the millions due to the Merchants and others in this Kingdom, upon the security of West India Plantations. I can form no particular estimate. The sum, in general, is immense. The Sugar trade, from its infancy, by reason of the small capitals of the first Planters, and the great cost of a Sugar Manufacture, must have been the creatures of credit. It was raised to the present pitch by the wealth of the Merchant supporting the industry of the Planter. Neither is it necessary to be exact in the value of the property of the English residents, nor of the debt to the English Merchants and others. For the Sugar Colonies are really no other than a British Manufacture, established at the distance of three and four thousand miles, for reasons of convenience. And the dependence of this Manufacture is the same as if it was situated in the heart of the Kingdom. I do not retract the idea of its dependence upon North America. In such a case it can be suggested only in theory; Great Britain must draw from North America the supplies, without which her Manufacture, wheresoever it is situated, is incapable of subsisting.

Q. What are the advantages of the Sugar Colonies to Great Britain? And what to the Revenue thereof?

A. I desire, sir, I may consider them as a British Manufacture, whose capital is sixty millions. The advantage is not that the profits all centre here; it is, that it creates, in the course of attaining those profits, a commerce and a navigation in which multitudes of your people, and millions of your money are employed; it is, that the support which the Sugar Colonies received in one shape, they give in another. In proportion to their dependence upon North America, and upon Ireland, they enable North America


and Ireland to trade with Great Britain. By their dependence upon Great Britain for hands to push the cultivation of the Sugar-cane, they uphold the trade of Great Britain to Africa. A trade which in the pursuit of Negroes, as the principal, if not the sole intention of the adventurer, brings home Ivory and Gold as secondary objects. In proportion as the Sugar Colonies consume, or cause to be consumed amongst their neighbours, Asiatick commodities, they increase the trade of the English East India Company. In this light I see the India Goods which are carried to the Coast of Guinea. In proportion as the West Indies use the Wines of the African Islands, and as they use the products of Europe, so far they add to the trade of Great Britain with the African Islands, and with the rest of Europe. Without taking in any of these circuitous channels, the direct exports to the West Indies will appear, by official accounts, to be of immense value; will show the wealth gradually earned by the hands of labour and of skill, which the Sugar Colonies are daily adding to the national stock. I hardly dare venture to place in this light the salaries and profits of the Officers appointed by Government for the superintendence of the West Indies. As to revenue, the nett receipt, I understand, to exceed seven hundred thousand Pounds.

Q. In case the usual intercourse between North America and the Sugar Colonies should be interrupted, what would be the prejudice to Great Britain, and to the revenue thereof?

A. The advantages arising from, and dependent upon the usual intercourse, must cease with the interruption. I will not add that the Nation is to pay in money to the foreigners the large sum for West India commodities, for which the British Manufactures, and the profits of a circuitous commerce, are now given in exchange. The observation would be fallacious. The decrease in the consumption of West India commodities will surely keep pace with the decay of the Manufactures and Commerce the West Indies supported. The revenue will lessen in proportion to the diminished consumption, nor will the loss stop at the West India commodities. The revenue from Tea, without the accustomed plenty of Sugar, without the profits of the Sugar trade, and of the commerce created by the Sugar trade, will sink into insignificance; the interruption will be felt severely in every branch of revenue; for it will be felt severely in every branch of trade which contributes, by consumption, to the revenue; and in trade, as in the human body, nothing suffers singly by itself; there is a consent of parts in the system of both, and the partial evil grows into universal mischief. Of all the branches of commerce which will suffer immediately, or indirectly, from the interruption of the usual intercourse, the most important is the navigation. By investigating its value, we estimate the loss. It is equal to the bulky products, and still more bulky supplies of a stock in trade of sixty millions; it is co-extensive with the commerce created by that trade, comprehending the navigation to Africa, and making no inconsiderable part of that of England to the East Indies, and to the rest of Europe. It establishes, as is asserted in the Petition, a strength which wealth can neither purchase nor balance. Sir, I will add, it is a strength which is so justly a favourite with the Nation, that nothing but some unhappy mistake can deprive it of the national protection and support.

Mr˙ Innes asked, how many White People are there in Barbadoes?

Question objected to.


Called in.

Q. What is the common food of the Negroes in the Leeward Islands?

A. In all the Islands it is salt Fish (as I said before) and Indian Corn. I entered into those points particularly before.

Q. Whether the Islands will not be supplied equally well, notwithstanding the Newfoundland Fishery from New England should be stopped?

A. That is a matter of opinion. I came here as an evidence


of facts, which I hope will influence the opinions of the House, but not to obtrude my own. My opinion is, that they will not have the usual supply, because there will not be the usual quantity taken, and fewer people to carry it to them.

Q. What proportion of Land in the Leeward Islands, being applied to the raising Provisions, would supply the Negroes with Provisions, on an estate of two hundred hogsheads, for instance?

A. The native products of the Islands are very uncertain; all so, but Guinea Corn; therefore much more land must be applied to this purpose than would be necessary to raise the supply for the regular constant consumption. They must provide against accidents, such as hurricanes, excess of wet weather, or of dry weather, the climate being very uncertain; it is, therefore, impossible to answer this question precisely; but this I can say, that if they were obliged to raise their own food, that their food must be then their principal object, and Sugar only a secondary object; it would be but the trifle, which Provisions are now.

Q. If the Planters could not be supplied from North America, would they not have a share of fresh Provisions from Great Britain and Ireland, to answer their wants?

A. They must have more than a share; they must have a full proportion for their whole subsistence, and England cannot afford it; it would occasion a scarcity at home.

Q. Would not the Merchants here send out cargoes of Provisions to the West Indies?

A. I answered that question, and most of the others, before, by obviating them in my evidence. I have said, and repeat, that Great Britain cannot increase her exports of Provisions to the West Indies, without increasing a scarcity already complained of at home.

Q. What quantity of Flour is allowed to the White People, on an estimate of two hundred hogsheads?

A. No regular allowance. They have Rice, Biscuit, as they may want, in proportion as a variety of things which are provided for them by the plantation, falls short, or abounds.

Q. Whether Deal Boards would not do in the room of Staves, for packing Sugar?

A. The Portuguese pack in Chests; but they are not made of Deal Boards, but of strong Plank. We must make a total alteration in our Shipping, our Tradesmen, and many circumstances, if we were to pack our Sugar in Chests.

Q. Whether there are not many packs of Staves shipped to the West Indies from London, both for Rum and Sugar?

A. I have known some for Sugar; but it has been found necessary to mix them with many new Staves from North America. Our Staves, like our Cloths, wear out by use; many of them are broken in the voyage, and the rest are seldom fit for much.

Q. I mean new Staves?

A. I never knew any sent [supposing the words to have been new Casks,] but as packages for Goods exported to the West Indies; this is sometimes done, and the Casks so made as to be used afterwards for Sugar and Rum; but this is done merely to save particular packages for the Goods; nor even in that case is it always thought an advantage.

Q. I mean Staves sent on purpose?

A. I cannot answer that but by saying, I never knew an instance of it. I know Staves are brought from the West Indies to London upon a prospect of advantage; but I never knew them sent from hence to the West Indies.

Q. How are the French Islands supplied with Lumber, Bread, Flour, &c.?

A. I cannot give a precise answer to that question. I have said they receive great supplies from North America, I have mentioned before, that the French, Dutch, and Danes, in their Sugar Colonies, depend in a great measure on North America; but I do not know the particulars precisely.

Q. Whether he does not know that the French carry on ten times the trade with North America that the English do?

A. I do not know the extent of the French trade; I am not well enough acquainted with it, so as at this time to be able to state propositions. I have said there is a certain


degree of dependence of the French Islands on North America.

Q. Whether, if the Americans were prevented from trading with the French Islands, it would be advantageous to Great Britain?

A. A speculative opinion is asked; I speak only to facts.




* Eighty thousand quartersThis sentence is not in the evidence.

* The medium of fourteen years, from 1756 to 1773, is £469,237. Imports from Africa £49,858.

† Medium of exports for fourteen years, from Christmas 1756 to Christmas 1773, is £1,145,735.