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this more anxiously than it is done in Jamaica. Not to mention the facility which free persons have in procuring evidence of their freedom, and that none ever are molested but such as there is reason to suspect are run-away slaves, it is expressly provided by the 70th and 71st sections of the slave law, that when any negro or other person, detained in any gaol or workhouse as a runaway slave, shall allege himself to be free, the custos, or senior justice of the precinct, shall immediately convene a special sessions, of not less than three justices of the peace, to investigate the truth of the allegation ; and if it appear that such person so detained as a run-away slave is free, he shall be forthwith discharged ; and no slave so detained, and making such allegation, shall be sold until such investigation has been made, otherwise the sale to be null and void.
Moreover, if the justices (easily satisfied as they always are where there is the least evidence to bear out the claim of freedom) should not decide that the person so detained is free, he has still another resource, and may serve an ejectment or writ of Homine Replegiando on the supervisor of the workhouse, who, by section 72d of the slave law, is required to give four weeks' previous notice thereof, with a description of the person ; after which, if no owner comes forward to claim the person in question as his slave, he must be liberated ; and if a claimant appears, he must prove a title before a court: the person detained as a slave
is not, in this action, required to prove that he is free. In proof of this, I copy the following advertisement from the Royal Gazette, Jamaica, 5th June 1824:
Kingston Workhouse, May 22d, 1824. · Whereas I have been this day served with an action of Homine Replegiando at the suit of a black woman, therein called Betsey alias Elizabeth Green, and stated to be free by Henry J. Ross, Esq., her attorney: Notice is therefore hereby given, that unless some person or persons shall, within the time limited by law, inform me of his, her, or their intention to take the defence of the said action, I shall release the said woman on her fees being paid. This woman was sent in under the name of Bessey Green, is a creole, five feet four inches high, marked b on the left shoulder, and having stated herself to be free, was ordered by L. M.Lean, Esq., sitting magistrate, on the 14th of October last, to be received into this workhouse, and detained until proceedings were instituted the same.
HENRY BROUGHTON, Sup.
This notice clearly shews the onus probandi in this action to be on the master claiming, and not on the slave. Whether E. Green be free or not, unless a person appears to claim her within four weeks after the date of the advertisement, she will be liberated; and if a claimant appears he must prove his title; she is not required to prove that she is free.
It also deserves to be noticed, that the claimant must prove his right by
his right by a written title, duly erecuted and recorded. Mr. S. indeed, says, that
the law allows the master to deduce his title by parol evidence, and demands no proof of the ser
vile state beyond the colour of the skin,' p. 390. But this is of a piece with his assertion, already noticed, when treating of the trial of slaves upon criminal accusations, that the proceedings against them in all cases, capital as well as others, are
wholly by parol. There is just as much truth in the one proposition as in the other. A man can no more lay claim to a negro in Jamaica, than to an estate in England, without shewing a legal title. Hence, in purchasing slaves, the first object always is, to ascertain from the public records that the person offering them for sale holds a valid title, and has a right to dispose of them.
No evidence has been, nor, I believe, can be, adduced to shew that free persons have ever suffered wrong by the police laws under consideration; while, on the other hand, it is notorious that slaves in Jamaica, by deserting and removing to a distant part of the island, frequently manage to pass themselves as free, till by being reputed as such, they obtain a sort of prescriptive right to freedom; which, though it may not entitle them to all the privileges of free people, such as giving evidence, &c., will save them from being committed to a workhouse. Many negroes I have myself employed on board of coasting vessels as free persons, who had no document of freedom to shew, and who, I had no doubt, were run-away slaves; but that was no business of mine; I paid them their wages as others did, and made no inquiries.
Let the reader now turn to Mr. S., bearing in mind the provisions of the law to protect free persons, with the fact, that while no cases of such persons having been reduced to slavery in the colonies are even attempted to be proved, instances of slaves effecting their freedom, by deserting and passing themselves as free, are frequent and notorious.
• I have said that the Assemblies, while leaving the sources of the condition undefined, have, by the presumption against freedom, and by the police acts together, virtually sanctioned every source of slavery to which private fraud or violence may resort. But this is an inadequate view of the case. They have invented a cause of slavery, additional to all those which lawgivers, civil or barbarous, have elsewhere recognised, or rapacious avarice explored ; namely, the having a black skin without a deod of manumission. They have thus contrived to effect what human despotism never attempted or imagined before. When they made a black or tawny skin a presumption of bondage, they threw à convenient veil over the enormities of the slave trade, and indulged their proud contempt of the African race, without danger to any one whose censure they feared, or whose rights they deemed worth protecting. Free negroes and mulattoes might probably suffer from it; but these have no share in the work of legislation, or in electing the assemblies; and from an odious middle class, which it has been the uniform though preposterous policy of the British colonies to discourage and reduce.' pp. 371-2.
This is the language of the man, who object “is not to inflame popular indignation ;' this is the book which the London emancipation society solicited the publication of, in the cause of Christian benevolence!
We have already asked Mr. Stephen to produce,
in proof of this cruel and unmerited charge, single instance of a free person having been reduced to slavery in the colonies. We call upon him also to reconcile the fact he himself admits, that people of colour are rapidly increasing,' with his charge, that a ' black or a tawny skin, with'out a deed of manumission, dooms those persons 'to indiscriminate slavery.' We call upon him farther to bring forward the evidence of the free coloured people themselves, whom we are accused of so cruelly injuring ; they have repeatedly, both the blacks and the browns, applied to the legislature for extension of their political rights, which sometimes has been granted and sometimes refused ; they have repeatedly complained of grievances ; but when did they complain that any of their numbers were reduced by violence and injustice to a state of slavery ? and what other grievance could equal this?
thy of the white
In every page of his laboured work, Mr. Ste- Alleged antipaphen speaks of the hatred and contempt which the to the black white people in the colonies have of the black and people. brown. This, above all things, he' hammers on 'the public ear.' But the idea is too preposterous to be entertained by any reasonable person ; causes are obvious for a master's attachment to his labourers, who are at the same time his property and humble dependents ; but we can imagine no causes for hatred and contempt of them. Nor can we imagine any cause for that animosity