The profits of rice culture, in which no poor man could engage, increased the ability, without at all diminishing the eagerness of the richer class to possess slaves. No regard to the general welfare could restrain the importation.
In an address to the King, about 1750, it is stated: "The only commodity of consequence produced, is rice." The "negroes are ready to revolt on the first opportunity, and are eight times as many in number as there are white men able to bear arms."
"At the lowest computation," the export of rice is declared to be two hundred and twenty thousand pounds sterling in value, and to require the use of one hundred and sixty ships. This crop was almost wholly the produce of slave-labor.
Little or no result of the labor of white men was exported, and the free laboring men were constantly engaged in trying to preserve something of their few legal rights, from the rapacity and ambition of the rich, slave-owning aristocracy.