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Pref. p. 53. And if this holds in the case of an individual among
own people, in his native land, how much more must such ‘reiterated public defamation' prove successful when directed against the distant colonists in charges, the truth or falsehood of which it is so much more difficult to ascertain or judge of, and concerning which, people will almost necessarily take their opinions from the representations forced into circulation through the press ? I am far, however, from thinking, that all those who have taken part with Mr. Stephen and his party, are actuated by bad motives, or are knowingly the abettors of the conspiracy against the colonists. On the contrary, I am well aware that many of them are people of the best intentions, and of such known integrity and benevolence, that their motives are liable to no suspicion ; but they are ignorant or misinformed as to the real state of matters in the colonies; and being full of generous indignation at the supposed oppression of the negroes, are easily misled by such writers or orators as Mr. Stephen, who affect to plead the cause of religion and humanity, and who thus convert the best feelings of our nature from charity and kindness into engines of oppression against a few unoffending individuals, born amrag them, their own sons or brothers, entitled to some consideration for carrying the national industry and enterprise into foreign and dangerous climes, and persecuted only for the sin of the nation in establishing slavery in the colonies some ages before they were born.
In the discussion of measures, which, whether they would benefit the slaves or otherwise, almost necessarily involve the ruin of the colonists, and the annihilation of many millions of British property, although strong language might be excusable on the part of those whose lives and property are endangered, surely it would not be unreasonable to expect some degree of coolness, deliberation and temper (if not even of compassion for the sufferers), on the part of those who are urging the necessity of such measures, who are themselves safe at a distance from the convulsions they may give birth to, and are to have comparatively little or no share in the ruin their schemes of reform in those distant colonies, are likely to bring on their countrymen there. But what is the language in which they treat this grave and most important question ? Let the reader judge of this by the extracts from Mr. Stephen's work given in the following sheets, and they are not by any means the most violent passages it contains; or take the following specimen of the cool and dispassionate manner in which it is treated in the Edinburgh Review.
• If you can still rise up and sit down in security‘ if you can still eat the bread of the fatherless, and ' grind the faces of the poor—if you can still hold ' your petty parliaments, and say your little speeches, and move your little motions—if you can still outrage and insult the parliament and 'people of England, to what do you owe it? to ' nothing but to our contemptuous mercy.
suspend our protection-if we recall our troops‘in a month the knife is at your throats. What are you to us that we should pamper and defend you? If the Atlantic ocean should pass over you, and your place know you no more, what should we * lose?' No. 82. p. 481.
Such is the mild language of the philanthropy of our day- such the style in which one class of Britons can address their brethren! What Englishman in Jamaica can read this paragraph, and the many such to be found in the writings of the party, without feeling the chords which attached his affections to his native land, violently torn asunder? It was such language, more than the sword of Washington, that lost England her American colonies; and though the West India islands may be less able to resist oppression, the loss of them to the mother country, if this unnatural hostility is continued, will be equally certain, and far more calamitous; for (unless they should chance to pass under the protection of some other power) they will be lost, not to England only, but to the world, at least for many ages to come, almost as much as if the Atlantic ocean should actually pass over them, and the place of the present inhabitants know them no
According to Mr. Stephen, there exists among his countrymen in the West Indies, an universal feeling of hatred and contempt of the negroes, arising from the personal peculiarities and rudeness of the African race. It is by this assumed hatred
and contempt, that he strives to give probability to the most incredible charges of cruelty and oppression; and indeed, in many cases, this alleged feeling of aversion and abhorrence on the part of the whites, is the sole ground for supposing that the charges should be made, and the sole proof of them. Such things must have happened, because the colonists hate the negroes. Now, I most solemnly affirm, not only that I am unconscious of any such surely unnatural feeling having place in my own breast, but that I have never seen any proof of its existence in the breasts of others. I may be in error; but to me it appears, that what Mr. Stephen considers as aggravating the slavery in the British colonies, viz. the superiority of intellect on the part of the masters, mitigates rather than aggravates it, by preventing that jealousy between the slave and his master, which a near approach to equality is apt to produce, as is strikingly exemplified in the case of negro and mulatto masters with their negro and mulatto slaves. Servitude and slavery are surely in many respects the same, and has it ever been alleged that servitude is aggravated, or the condition of a servant worse, in proportion to the superiority in education, or of talents and acquirements on the part of the master ? * If slavery indeed could be
* We might also ask, if it has been observed, that those who have black servants in this country, “ hate and despise' them? or if they do not treat them as well as their other servants, and take as great an interest in their welfare ? But as the anticolonial party find it convenient to make a wide distinction between the colonists when in England, and the same pe when in the colonies (since otherwise the character and behaviour of those West Indians, whom the people have an oppor
justified in any, state of man, it surely is where rude and ignorant pagans are advancing to civilization, under the government of an enlightened people, to whom they look up as so greatly their superiors, that subjection to their authority is scarcely felt as a hardship, and certainly not at all as a degradation.
But ' slavery is an evil, and therefore it should be abolished. Many a long speech has been delivered in parliament to tell this, and tell nothing more. It is one thing, however, to discover that slavery is an evil, and another to be able to alter a long established system. Who does not admit, for instance, that the English poor-rates are a great evil? but who has been able to suggest how even this evil may be abolished, and the indolent made to maintain themselves ? and how much more difficult to abolish slavery, and transform at once, or in a few years, a nation of slaves into a nation of freemen! Than this never did the legislature of any country attempt a task more arduous, or beset with greater difficulties. It involves a question between the government and the present holders of property,
tunity of seeing, might make them doubt if they could be such monsters in the colonjes), they will probably tell us, that, though a gentleman may be kind to his black servant in England, where,' say the Reviewers, ‘be participates in English feelings,' in the West Indies, where he retains no English feelings, and where he is degraded 'by familiarity with oppression,' he would hate and despise bim, cart-whip him anmercifully, &c. &c.
I do not mean to assert, that the blacks are no where despised and borne down by the whites; it is notoriously the case, wherever they have the misfortune to intermingle with white labourers. But this they have not the misfortune to do in the West Indies, where the labouring class is all black or brown.