According to Richard Howard "In the single decade from 1783 to 1793, Liverpool slavers mad a estimated profit of 2,360,000 for carrying 303,000 slaves. They were probably brought for about 12 and sold for 50" (11) (prices averaged into today's prices). It was not only the slavers who became wealthy from the trade. According to a Jamaican planter in 1801(12) "no common thing to find at the country habitations of the planters, a splendid sideboard loaded with plate, and the choicest wines, a table covered with the finest damask and a dinner of perhaps 16 or 20 covers; and this is a hovel not superior to an English barn".
This implies that the planters were made extremely wealthy from the trade, indicating that if they were made so rich then they would not want to end the trade, which is exactly what was the attitude of the Council and Assembly of Jamaica in 1789. In a the 'Report, Resolutions and Remonstrance of the honourable the council and assembly at a joint committee on the subject of the slave trade" they declared that "It is with furprize, equalled only by our affliction, we learn that certain innovations are projected in Parliament, which is not only threaten injury to all property throughout the Britifh Weft Indies, but, in the cafï¿½ of many individuals, ftrike altogether as its exiftence."
Even though this quote does not say that Jamaicans are made wealthy from the trade but the use of the words "threaten injury to all property throughout the Britifh Weft Indies," (13), suggests that is the trade was abolished then there would be financial ruin in not only Jamaica but also the British Empire. Many supporters of the trade who believed that if the trade was to be abolished there would be economic ruin for many. According to a slave owner in Mozambique when commenting on the abolition of the slave trade "I feel it is best, but it will never pay to adopt it. I am here. I must be here.
What am I to do? Starve? Not if I can help it. I do as others do I keep slaves…"(14). Further evidence to support the motion of economic ruin can be seen when looking into the people and organisation involved in the slave trade. In 1683 it was recorded that 'seven hundred people in London and a thousand in Kidderminster owed their employment to the manufacture of goods exchanged for slaves in Africa' (15). As these figures only show London and Kidderminster, notably there were thousands more who were employed in the trade such as the seaman which is reported to of been "18,400…were directly and indirectly…employed…"(15).
Other people who were involved in the trade were the people who built the trade ship, the slave company owners, the slave owners themselves, auctioneers, food sellers who sold the food for the slaves to eat, whip makers, branding iron makers and thousands more were directly or indirectly involved in the slave trade which meant that if the trade was abolished they would suffer, which is why key supporters of the trade used this argument to keep the trade going, as according to James Boswell the slave trade was a "necessary branch of commercial interest…".
The idea of the trade being an economic success and so being one of the reasons why slavery lasted for so long also leads me onto another reason why it took for so long to end slavery. As the trade brought financial gain to many it meant they led to believe it to be a success, so when politicians and influential individuals in the decision of whether the trade should be abolished or not they automatically; would say no to abolition of the trade. Charles II owned the slaving company, "Company of Royal Adventures" (16), which became a profitable organisation.
So, evidently he did object to the trade. As all ready mentioned the Jamaican government had made great profits from the trade, so they wished it to continue "An abolition of the Slave-Trade of Great Britain cannot but prove fatal to her colonial interefts…after having ftuggled for feveral fucceffive years with moft calamitous vifitations of Providence, a dawn of hope just opens upon us, of fulfilling, all our pecuniary engagements with Great Britain, and gathering the fruits of our toil". (Biased, say that as long it'll keep going.).
Mannix and Cowley (1962) (3) supports this idea of the countries involved in the trade becoming wealthy and therefore wanting the continuation of the trade, "It is usual for Europeans to give the king the value of 150 slaves in goods, for the permission to trade." Indicating that if the King were making a profit he would refuse to abolish the trade.
As the politicians and influential people were making an excessive profit, it can be concluded that most of the evidence presented when looking at the slave trade is biased making it unreliable, this is one of the views held by neutral politicians when investigating the evidence into the slave trade, which leads to the conclusion that this conflicting evidence is one of the reasons it took until 1833 for the government to abolish.
As the politicians and influential people were making an excessive profit, it can be concluded that most of the evidence presented by politicians and slave owners is biased and questionably unreliable, which brings to the point that one of the reasons why it took until 1833 for the government to abolish then slave trade was because they were presented with conflicting evidence from supporters of the trade and abolitionists. One example is this is the lodging's, which the slaves had to live in during the middle passage.
According to evidence by the abolitionist committee "…Their lodging rooms below the deck, which are three, beside a place for the sick, are sometimes more than feet high and sometimes less; and his height divided toward the middle for the slaves lie in two rows, one above the other on each side of the ship" (3). This portrays their conditions as horrendous and small where as according to a Member of Parliament from Liverpool describes their lodgings as being "fitted up as much for their advantage as circumstances will admi9t.
The right ankle of one, indeed, is connected with the left ankle of another by a small iron fetter, if they are turbulent, by another on their wrists. They have several meals a day – some of their own country provisions with the best sauces of African cookery – and by way of variety, another meal of pulse etc….Before dinner they are amused in the manner of their country. The song and dance are promoted…the men play and sing, while the women and girls make fanciful ornaments with beads with which they are plentifully supplied (17), which implies that the slaves were treat in a satisfactory and healthy way. However as the abolitionists are trying to abolish the trade it could be said that they over excaudated the evidence in order for the abolition.
This is similar to the evidence that was given by the MP who could of made the middle passage sound suitable in order for the legalisation of the trade. This therefore is not surprising that this conflicting evidence was one of the reasons why the trade was not abolished in 1789. As according the official report "Sir Guy Cooper…thought…that the representatives of a generous and brave people might be carried by too rapid steps to the adoption of a measure which introduced such novelty to the concerns of the West Indian islands. He confessed he entertained much doubt and perplexity on the subject".