The West Indies, like all frontier communities, were in great need of capital to develop their unusually rich natural resources. But, in the eighteenth century, the loan of capital by Europeans was by no means as common a practice as it has become in more modern times. Nevertheless, the British West Indies profited by the loan of probably more European capital than did any other colonies in the new world. Comparing the English islands with the French in this respect, Adam Smith observed that the capital “which has improved the sugar colonies of France, particularly the great colony of St. Domingo has been raised almost entirely from the gradual improvement and cultivation of those colonies. It has been almost altogether the produce of the soil and of the industry of the colonists, or, what comes to the same thing, the price of that produce gradually accumulated by good management, and employed in raising a still greater produce. But the stock which has improved and cultivated the sugar colonies of England has, a great part of it, been sent out from England, and has by no means been altogether the produce of the soil and industry of the colonists. The prosperity of the English sugar colonies has been, in a great measure, owing to the great riches of England, of which a part has overflowed, if one may say so, upon those colonies. But the prosperity of the sugar colonies of France has been 128entirely owing to the good conduct of the colonists, who must therefore have had some superiority over that of the English; and this superiority has been marked in nothing so much as in the good management of their slaves.” 1