Lapas attēli

In our remarks on this subject, which is as vitally interesting to a large part of this Union, as it is to the West Indies, we are aware that it is one of peculiar delicacy--that it agitates different parts of our confederacy with the most opposite feelingsand that, in proportion as we are able to keep that middle course, in which truth and wisdom are commonly found, if at all, we shall be likely to offend the violent of both sides, since' nothing short of bigotry is acceptable to bigots.

There are, indeed, two descriptions of persons with whom all temperate reasoning on this subject is thrown away. One comprehends those who declaim against slavery, as utterly inconsistent with religion or morals; and who extend their hatred of slavery in the abstract, to the owners of slaves. This class of persons would be piously angry with one for being a Mahometan in Constantinople—a Catholic in Spain-a Presbyterian in Scotland—and they philosophically regard war as legalized murder and robbery-government as another name for despotismand law, as only a more regular system of oppression and fraud.

The other class comprehends those who are averse to any disclusion of the subject whatever. With these, an inquiry into che mischiefs of domestic slavery, excites an impatience that is equalled only by that with which they hear proposals for a remedy: Believing the evil incurable, they reluctantly admit it to be an evil. They exhibit, in short, the same sort of sensibility, as those who are infected with a loathsome disease, whenever it happens to be mentioned. We take this occasion to state, that we belong to neither of these classes; not to that of the Saints, as they affect to be considered, nor of Mr. Stephen, nor of the English reviewers, on the one hand; nor yet to those fiery spirits of the south, on the other, who treat their opponents in the same lordly style as they would reprove their slaves, and who manifest too little temper or moderation, to afford the promise of much wisdom, in a subject so replete with difficulty. But we belong to a class which is illustrated by the names of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Marshall, Crawford, Pinkney, Lowndes,-men not more distinguished for their patriotism, than their prudence—who are or were slave owners, and the enemies of slavery; but who, in their desire to better the condition of the bondsman, have not forgotten the welfare and safety of his master.

Widely as the two parties differ in opinion and feeling on this great subject, there is one error which is common to both. They agree in thinking, that slavery, with us, affects the interests only of those states in which it has the sanction of the law. The slaveholders of the southern states, tax their northern brethren, who show solicitude on the subject, with meddling in what does not

concern them; and the enthusiasts, in like manner, never seem to recollect, that the evils of a precipitate, or ill-advised emancipation, would extend more or less to themselves. But a little reflection would teach both parties, that the present consequences of slavery—its remote effects—the mischiefs and the benefits attendant on any remedy, immediately concern every member of the confederacy. They all therefore have the same interest, though not to the same extent; and all who are sensible of this interest, have the right, and indeed, owe it as a duty, to discuss every question of policy concerning it. Claiming this right, and feeling this duty, we shall speak freely and plainly, both of the mischiefs of slavery, and of the policy of its remedies; and although we do not delude ourselves with the belief, that we are entirely free from all bias on the subject, we can give this manifestation of impartiality, that we feel wedded to neither party, and think we see faults in both.

Mr. Barclay shows, by details founded on personal o'hservation, that the condition of the slaves in the British West Indies has been greatly meliorated since the abolition of the slave trade in 1807—that the laws afford them more protection, and the owners treat them with more kindness. The most important changes are exhibited in the following summary:

“At no very distant period, when “ It is now limited to thirty-nine savage Africans were pouring into Ja- stripes, to be inflicted by order, and in maica, and while there were yet but presence of the master or overseer, and few natives or Creoles, the master's ten by subordinate agents: and, compower of punishing his slaves was little paratively speaking, is but seldom rerestrained by law; and was exercised quired at all. There is not now one to a great extent, by the subordinate punishment for twenty that were inwhite people, and the drivers." Hicted fifteen or twenty years ago.”.

Ten years ago, chains were in com. “ The use of them is now entirely mon use on the plantations, for punish- abolished.” ing criminal slaves."

“ Twenty years ago, there was “Now they are nearly all baptized.” scarcely a negro baptized in Jamaica.”

Twenty years ago, the churches “Since then, the number of churches, were scarcely at all attended by the or places of worship, of one kind or slaves."

other, has been more than doubled, in fact nearly trebled, and yet, in the districts where I have had an opportunity of seeing them, they are all fully at

tended, and principally by slaves." “Twenty years ago, negroes were “Negroes are now buried during buried at midnight, and the funeral the day, and in the same manner as the rites, in the forms of African supersti

white people.” tion, were the occasion of continual excesses among those who attended.”

Ten years ago, the marriage rite “The number now married is not was altogether unknown among the inconsiderable, and is fast increasing." slaves."

“While the importation of Africans " It is now seldom heard of.was continued, the practice of Obeah was common and destructive."


"The working of sugar mills en- “ It is now prohibited by law, and croached on Sunday, during crop.” Sunday is strictly a day of rest.”

“Formerly the negroes cultivated “Now they have by law twenty-six their grounds on Sunday-white per- working days in the year for this pursons were even sent to superintend pose: every manager must swear that them."

he has given them this number of days; and no slaves now work at their grounds on Sunday, but such as are more inclined to make money than to attend church. A law to forbid their working at all would be of doubtful policy, until they learn to employ the day better

than in idling and drinking:” “When the abolition of the African “Now the plantation slaves in Jatrade took place, a large proportion of maica have all houses of their own, and the slaves were newly imported Afri. grounds of their own, and are, in every cans, maintained with provisions raised respect, more comfortable and inden or bought by the master'; or lodged pendent. They form more steady conwith other slaves, who had grounds nexions, pay more attention to their which they assisted in cultivating.” families in the way of keeping them

clean, and dressing them neatly; and, in short, have acquired more taste and

desire for domestic enjoyments.” “Manumissions were, at one time, “ They are now perfectly free.” burt'ened with heavy taxes."

- For cruel or improper punish- “Now they are manumised, and proments, slaves had forinerly no adequate vided with an annuity for life ; and maredress."

gistrates are appointed a council of protection, to attend to their com

plaints." “Formerly, the trial of slaves was, “Now the whole evidence and conI believe, by parol ; and the power of viction must be transmitted to the go. death was intrusted to the slave courts, vernor: and, unless in cases of rebelwho could order the criminal to imme- lion, the sentence cannot be carried diate execution.”

into execution without his warrant." “For ten slaves that were executed « There is not now more than one, twenty years ago,

and I think not even that proportion." “Twenty years ago, the coasting “ From the increase of the free povessels of Jamaica were almost exclu- pulation, the coasting vessels are now sively manned with slaves."

more commonly manned with free “ The operative mechanics about “ This description of work is now towns-carpenters, ship-builders, &c., performed principally by free people were mostly slaves."

of colour." “ A few years ago, marriage was un- “ It is now becoming common, and known among the free people of co- many of them are careful to preserve lour."

the sanctity of the institution." “The number of free persons in Ja- “It is now 35,000, and rapidly inmaica, in 1787, was estimated at only creasing, by manumissions as well as 10,000.

births." This comparison exhibits an improvement in the condition of the slaves in the West Indies, that is very gratifying to the abolitionists—to the friends of emancipation—to every man, indeed, that is not indifferent to the welfare of his species; and although the melioration may be regarded partly as a propitiation to the friends of the blacks in Great Britain, yet much must be also attributed to the spirit of the age, since a correspondent change has taken place in the treatment of slaves in this Union, where every


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state is free to make its own laws, and consequently the improved condition of the slaves could have proceeded only from a change in the public sentiment. Every one capable of making a comparison, knows, that the slaves in all parts of our country, are better fed and clothed than they formerly were—are allowed more indulgences-and are punished with less severity and frequency. They have become, in fact, a superior class of beings, and they can be now operated on by other motives than fear.

There is one striking difference, however, in the circumstances attending the melioration of slavery in the United States, and in the West Indies. Here, it has been altogether the voluntary change of individuals—there, much has been effected by legislative enactment. Although the statute books of the several states, show us provisions for the defence of the slave, and some, indeed, of a contrary character, his enjoyments have been steadily augmenting, and his privations diminishing. A knowledge of this fact, makes us deduct somewhat from the credit which Mr. Barclay claims for these legislative provisions, since they evince not only the liberal feelings of the legislature, but also the frequency of the offence. And the forbearance of our legislatures to impose restrictions on branding slaves, or putting collars on their necks, may have the same justification as was given for not assigning a punishment for parricide.

The success which has thus far attended the exertions of the abolitionists, has encouraged them to extend their views still further. Indeed, this object was always distinctly and honestly avowed by Mr. Wilberforce, the great champion of the African race. Having succeeded, after a parliamentary struggle of nearly twenty years, in putting a stop to further importations of slaves from Africa, they have insisted that the colonial legislatures should impose some restraints on the authority of the master. This further object being in like manner attained, they begin now to look to a general emancipation. Nor, if this were effected, would they stop there—the same party would not be satisfied with a mere exemption of the blacks from personal servitude, but would insist that there should be an equality of rights between the two races—every other privilege and distinction—that of birth, of wealth, of religious opinion, being fully tolerated, except the peculiarly odious one of a white skin. For this they can have no toleration. They would then eventually claim for the blacks the right of voting at elections-of being eligible to all offices-and of intermarrying with the whites.

That the friends of the blacks will not stop short in the midst of their successful career, that they will urge these further concessions on the part of the whites, we have clear indications. The leaders of this party do not hesitate already to avow, that such are their views; and what they now advance as speculative VOL. II. --NO. 3.


truth, the multitude will by and by clamorously demand, and per fas aut nefas enforce.

Thus, the Westminster Review of Jan. 1826, in a plan of gradual emancipation which it proposes to the southern states, gravely recommends the admission of the free coloured man, to all the powers and privileges of a white man, and the removal of all the disabilities and prohibitions which operate against the marriage of white, with free coloured persons.

When the friends of the blacks in Great Britain have been thus steadily rising in their demands, it is not surprising that the slave owners, who consider that all they hold dear would be endangered by such a course of policy, whether their inferences be well or ill founded, should resist that policy, not merely on account of the inconvenience which any particular measure may produce, but of the much greater mischief to which it ultimately tends. Those who in England make their efforts in the cause of negro slavery a matter of conscience-who turn their eyes from the million of suffering paupers in their own country, and the three or four millions in Ireland—from the eighty millions of Hindoos in a state of abject political vassalage, and many of them actual slaves, and those who, deaf to these calls upon their sympathy, have set their hearts upon raising the slave to the level of the white, may continue to goad the West India planter to further concession, and wring from hís fears, what they could not obtain from his interest or inclinations. But the friends of the blacks in this country, and those who are opposed to slavery, as much on account of the whites, as of the negrocs, must pursue a very different course, if they would succeed in their wishes. Emancipation can never take place here, but by the consent and co-operation of the slaveholding states themselves. They must take their own time-form their own plans—pursue their own measures : and they never can be brought to move in the business, until they are convinced that it is their interest to do so. But if they believe that the advocates for emancipation, in their zeal to effect their favourite object, will be utterly regardless of their feelings-prejudices, if you please--and that they will ultimately entertain such wild and preposterous notions as have been quoted from the Westminster Review-such belief will prejudice them against every plan of melioration, however temperate or feasible. While, therefore, the abolitionists of England, who have to operate on the fears of the whites of the West Indies, may succeed in proportion to their zeal, those of the United States must owe their success entirely to their moderation, and the conviction they can produce on the minds of the slaveholders.

Any scheme which they may propose, must then not only be shown to be conducive to ihe interests and security of the whites, but must not offend their settled prejudices. Of this character

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