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attempt to do away with the whip on his estates, and to substitute the cat in its stead. One accordingly was prepared, and proved on application so insignificant, that the negroes laughed at it, and by way of derision called it things were in this state, the commander of a ship of war, then lying in Port Royal, happened to call at the estate. Among other subjects of conversation, this of pussy being brought on the carpet, the captain requested a sight of it; and after a hearty laugh, said, if worth sending for, he would let his boatswain prepare one as a pattern, such as is commonly used in the navy. This was done; nothing more was said of pussy. In a few months great complaints were made against the cat; and the people were almost in open rebellion at what they boldly termed an unlawful instrument of punishment. Of course it was laid aside.
It would indeed be a blessed consummation, if corporal punishments could be altogether dispensed with among mankind; but if this cannot yet be accomplished in a nation, that boasts itself at the head of civilization, it is surely unreasonable to look for it among a people only emerging from barbarism. The disuse of the whip ought, however, to keep pace with the advances made in civilization; and let those who have seen, say, if it has not done so in the colonies ? As far as my observation goes, there is not now one punish
ment inflicted for twenty that were at the time I went to Jamaica, in 1803.
On some plantations, the whip has ceased to be exhibited in the field, and it is much to be wished that this was universal; but what is practicable on one estate, is not always so on another. In the character of the negroes, even on two adjoining estates, there is often a wide difference: one of the gangs will be industrious, sober, and well-behaved; the other prone to desertion, and with no disposition to work, either for themselves or their masters. Here, it is impossible to adopt exactly the same mode of management: but the carrying of a whip in the field ought to be discontinued in every case where it is practicable; and unquestionably it is carried at present on many plantations merely from custom, and as a badge of authority, where there exists no real necessity. This is improper; and brings us to the question, whether the law ought not at once to put an end to so degrading a practice? Desirable as its disuse would be, I confess I should hesitate to recommend such a measure, from a dread of misapprehension, on the part of the slaves, of the object or extent of a law so directly interfering between them and their masters. In some cases, it might lead to increased delinquency, and consequent severity; and even more serious consequences might be apprehended. But whatever may be the duty of the legislature, that
of every individual concerned in the management of negroes clearly is, to abolish as fast as he can a practice so revolting; and which, generally speaking, is no longer necessary, however dangerous the immediate abolition of it by law might be.
In Jamaica, punishment is seldom inflicted on the day the crime has been committed; but early on the following morning. There could not, I think, be any good objection to this being made peremptory by law; nor to the presence of another free person besides the overseer being made necessary, as has been proposed. Records of punishments have long been kept on many plantations, and are proper; but to make the manager swear to them, seems a measure of doubtful utility. A man capable of inflicting cruel or improper punishments, would scarcely stick at an oath. The good do not require such restraints, and the bad would not be restrained by them. Fortunately, , there are more powerful checks on such wickedness, which will be noticed as we proceed.
* Rule VI. - Slaves have no legal rights of property in things Property of
real or personal; and whatever property they may acquire, spected. belongs in point of law to the master.' p. 58.
Here, the British West Indians are put to shame, not only by the Roman, the Spartan, the German, the Polish, the English, the Spanish, and the Portuguese slave laws, but even by that of the coast of Guinea !
Yet, on our author's own showing, the most of these codes, or the more important of them, were the same, or harsher than that in our colonies, though he labours to draw distinctions, disadvantageous to his countrymen. In point of fact, the right of a slave to his property in the West Indies is held equally sacred as his master's right to his estate. Even Mr. Stephen concludes with a reluctant acknowledgement, qualified as any thing he must admit in their favour always is, that' with a few exceptions, he believes' the master never asserts his right to his slave's property; and we shall only add, that if the Romans, whom he sets so far above Englishmen of the present day, could never have been accused by their most inveterate enemy of asserting a title to the property or peculium of their slaves, it is manifest there would have been no occasion for many anxious provisions in the Im'perial code,' to protect it to them. But such is Mr. Stephen's virulence against his own countrymen, that every thing is with metaphysical subtlety' turned against them, however obviously to common sense it makes in their favour; and when he has nothing else, he has always abuse for them. For this purpose, an anecdote is introduced respecting a slave called Amachree, in New Calabar, who offered a hundred slaves for his freedom; and which offer, his master, who was a poor man, would gladly have accepted, but could not, from its being contrary to the law of that country that a purchased slave should become
free. p. 60. The cruelty of such a law (not being a colonial law) is of course passed over; but the story serves to introduce the following most barbarous attack on the West India character :
• From this country, I beg the reader to remark, slaves were bronght to improve their happiness in the British West Indies; for such some of our planters, or their witnesses, were pleased to assert was the consequence, if not even the motive of their removal.
* A comparison between the states called Slavery in those two opposite quarters of the world, in point of treatment by the master, will belong to another part of this work; but I would here shortly infer from the fact related by Mr. Penny, that the poor African master was either a miracle of generosity, or he was not legally armed, like a West India planter, with the power of the dungeon, the chain, and the whip. A little of this iron,' said a poor but warlike barbarian,' will win all that gold. • A little of this thong,' might the poor African master have said, had he possessed West Indian authority, 'will make you glad to give some part of that hundred-fold value of yours, to relieve my necessities. I need not, therefore, solicit the state for a licence to supply my wants, by selling to you your freedom.'
61. What other impression does this convey-what other is it meant to convey, but that “the West India planters, legally armed with the power
of * the dungeon, the chain, and the whip,' use them to extort from their humble labourers the fruits of their industry? For what purpose such a monstrous accusation was brought forward, it is impossible to conjecture; as in the very next passage he acknowledges it to be without the shadow of foundation. Can we suppose his disposition to ca