Speech of Hon. Wm. Lowndes Yancey, of Alabama, on the annexation of Texas to the United States, delivered in the House of Representatives, Jan. 7, 1845. Page: 10 of 14
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if that State chooses to own it-and it throws ite
shield around Louisiana in the enjoyment oi
the same rights. And if that species of popula.
tion in any State shouldrise in arms, the 4th sec
tion of the 4th article secures to it the protection
ofthe armies of the Union. Is notslavery then a
national institution? And if so, was it not the
duty of the Secretary of State to resist an improper
interference, directly or indirectly, by any foreign
power? And when he sounded the note ol
warning, should it not have excited the patriotic
ardor of all our citizens, instead of the fierce, bitter,
and vulgar denunciations, with which it has been
met? Truly did the gentleman from Massachusetts,
(Mr.WINTHRoP,) observe, that "some seem
disposed to forget the honor, the happiness, and
prosperity of their own country, and to fly off
to indulge in sympathies for a foreign land;" and
that remark could never be more appropriately
applied than to the distinguished fellow-citizen
of that gentleman, whc, in a recent letter to Miss
Thaxiter, said that it rermained to be seen wheiter
the august and powerful Government of England
would turn aside from her purposes on account
of such ptny threats as ours!
Having thus given expression to my own
'views upon the point on which the Secretary of
State has been assailed, I ask the indulgence of
the Committee while I address myself to the
reasons why Great Britain is so desirous of affecting
abolition of our slave property.
The statistical history of the world has demonstrated
the immense superiotity of a system of
associated slave labor over free individual labor
in every species of tropical cultivation; while
those regions are now, as of old, the great sources
of commercial wealth and grandeur to the civilized
nations of the temperate zone. To them enlarged
commercial enterprises are directed, and
it is to the capacity of their inhabitants to consume
the productions of the older civilized States
that industry must look for its reward. To secure
to herself pre-eminence in this vast market,
and to infuse new vigorinto her vast system, England
has been endeavoring to rear up her East
India possessions, with a population of near
ninety millions, as the great competitor of the
other nations of the world in the productions of
cotton, sugar, and indigo. In a moment of fanaticism,
though under protest of her wisest and.
most sagacious statesman, Lord Wellington, she
had abolished slavery in her West India islands.
The result, so far from answering the anticipations
of the friends of the measure, who made it
under the seducing theory that free labor was
cheaper than slave labor, has proved the utter
fallacy and suicidal character of the move. A
report of a select committee, to the British Parliament,
made July 25, 1842, speaks of the result
as having "caused serious, and in some
cases ruinous, injury to the proprietors of estates
in those colonies," (West Indies,) "as to have
caused many estates, hitherto prosperous and
productive, to be cultivated for two or three
s years at considerable loss, and others to be abant
The Assembly of Jamaica, in 1835, speaks, in
its address to the Governor, of "seeing large por
tiQns of our neglected cane fields being overrun
with weeds, and a still larger extent of our pasture
lands returning to a state of nature; seeing,
in fact, desolation already overspreading the very
face of the land, it is impossible for us, without
abandoning the evidences of our own senses, to
entertain favorable anticipations, or to divest
ourselves of the painful convictions that progressive
and rapid deterioration of property will continue
to keep pace with the. system of apprenticeship,
and that the termination thereof must
complete the ruin of the colony." The exports
of Jamaica, in 1805, two y( ars before the abolition
of the slave trade, were over 137,000 hhds.
of sugar, and above twenty-four million pounds
of coffee. In 1841, after' having felt the fair effects
of the abolition policy, those exports were
reduced to thirty thousand hhds. of sugar,;and
about eight million pounds of coffee! Trinidad,
St. Vincent, and British Guiana, where the same
policy has been pursued, all exhibit the same
speaking symptoms of commercial ruin.
To the mortification of perceiving her once
rich and flourishing colonies prostrated by her
own acts, England has to add that of finding
her vast East India possessions at a stand still.
By a report of a recent date, of a select committee
on East India produce, made Lo the British
Parliament, we are inforrred that "the imports
from 1816 to 1825 amounted to nine hundred
and sixteen millions rupees; and in the ensuing
ten years, to seven hundred and ninety eight
millions, showing a decrease of one hundred and
eighteen million rupees for the past ten years;
and this during a period of 'general peace, increasing
civilization, and every possible advantage
for the development of the trade of tie country."
The evidence submitted by that report,
shows, too, that "comparing the years 1819 to
1835, with the years 1802 to 1818, there has
been a decrease of tonnage of all nations, nqtering
the port of Calcutta, of 192,182 tons."
The above extracts, which might be multiplied
to volumes, but which are sufficient for the purposes
of this debate, show, officially, the true
condition of England in respect to tropical cultivation.
To fathom her designs and views fully,
it is necessary to take the same *rapid glance at
her great antagonist interests-the cultivation
of tropical productions by slave labor:
Brazils, from 1805 to 1841, the period in which
I have reviewed the statistics ot Jamaica, increased
her prodtuctions from 400,000 cwt. of
sugar, and 24,000,000 lbs. of coffee, to 2,400,000
cwt. of sugar, and 135,000,000 lbs. of coffee.
Porto Rico, twenty years since, imported sugar
for its own use, but now exports one hundred
In Cuba, Turnbull, an intelligent English traveller,
informs us, "in 1837, the date of the la
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Yancey, William Lowndes. Speech of Hon. Wm. Lowndes Yancey, of Alabama, on the annexation of Texas to the United States, delivered in the House of Representatives, Jan. 7, 1845., book, 1845; Washington. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth2415/m1/10/: accessed May 11, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; .