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It is said by some, that however great the power of England, she sits upon a barrel of gunpowder. Be it so! Where is the torch which she cannot avert or quench? And if such language is used in reference to any loss she may sustain in her colonial relations, the argument is soon answered, by affirming, that the disseverance of a colony from the jurisdiction of the parent country, may not destroy, or even injure the latter; and by quoting the United States of America as the proof of such position—" but no islands can maintain their independence against a maritime parent state, having an efficient navy."
Colonies, like children, being nursed up to a certain extent of growth, will become independent states, when extensive enough to provide for their own defence; and if, during their growth or pupilage, the habits, customs, and laws of the parent state are well inculcated, (the habits, customs, and laws of such parent state being worthy of imitation), a dissolution of the province from the metropolitan, is but to create a second England in another hemisphere. Independence by no means includes a dislocation of mutual wants, mutual interests, or mutual intercourse.
The daughter separates upon her marriage, from the parental roof, and becomes herself a mother, retaining an affection for the guide of her youth. If then the Constitution of England is so admirable, and the principles emanating from it are profitable and worthy of imitation, colonies may be trained as children, whó, even in a state of separation, may still be bound by wants, feelings, and interests mutual to both. But to be capable of such feelings, the colony must be, as it were, impregnated with the customs and habits of the mother country.
THE COLONIES. · The colonies of England are of two kinds. Those which can be completely commanded and protected by her marine, and those which can be retained only by military occupation.
Her West Indian possessions are of the former, and her East Indian dependencies of the latter character.
The one is held amidst a greatly disproportionate body of slaves, the other amidst an overwhelming population, whose castes do but form a slavery of a different aspect; for surely, the being, who from his birth, is predestined to an employment from which he can never depart, without being considered as an alien among his countrymen; is as much, or more a captive, than a slave from whom are not irrevocably withheld the power of obtaining liberty, and the exercise of his will. : When a mighty genius shall arise, and break the bondage of the Indian castes; India would in all human calculation, shake off our controul, re
sume her independence, frame her own government, and possibly become Christian.
But in the West Indies, the negro is 'not bound by the fetters of an ancient religion, but by those of a personal slavery—the emancipation from which, either by hasty, unconditional, or unprepared steps, might be the signal of death to their white masters, or to themselves of an exterminating warfare ; and by either extreme, the object in view would be frustrated.
We have come now to that most important and anxious subject-the question of slavery as it exists in the West Indies, and the means of producing such an amelioration in the negro character and habits, as shall prepare them for participating in a state of regulated freedom.
The question is not now, whether slave-labour shall be abolished, but how it can be done. The impulse which has been given to the subject, has overpowered the legislature, which has been completely caught in its former ambiguities.
It is one of the highly important and solemn duties of a Christian people, and of a Protestant government, to draw no profit to themselves by bad means. The revenue of slavery is against the spirit of the British people; but still that revenue, under existing circumstances, must be preserved, or what becomes of the property of individuals upon which public credit is bottomed ? To preserve that property and that revenue, the labour must be continued ; and on the continuance and subordination of that labour, (encouraged heretofore by the laws of England, even against the better feelings of the colonists themselves) depend immense property, and the lives of tens of thousands of British colonists. * This is one of the public questions, which the people of England have, as it were, taken into their own hands, and of which the execution has been demanded from the government;- abstractedly, all our kindlier feelings are in favour of the measure, and of these feelings full advantage has been taken---(the colonists having been painted much blacker than their negroes); practically, the thing is difficult in its performance, and in many points directly opposed to our national resources..
We fear, many of the steps hitherto taken, have been suggested and carried on by a zeal devoid of judgment, which in endeavouring to remove one evil, has engendered another.
We wish to speak respectfully of public characters; but it is possible, very possible, that many who undertake to urge and carry into effect certain measures, are, of themselves, from their very temperament, the most unfit of all other men to effect the purpose, or to be entrusted with its management.
We believe it is the case, that the question of negro emancipation is carried on principally by sectarians in this country of every denomination. Now, we impute to them as a faulty habit, thať - they are actuated, upon most occasions, by an ultra zeal. However excellent their motives, this very error in their constitution, renders them not the most dispassionate in the means of obtaining their object; coupled with the emancipation of the negro, are the pride and glory resulting to them as a party, should the purpose be-attained. This vain feeling may defeat the object. In two islands the meeting-houses of the missionaries have been destroyed, from a supposition that the inculcation of religious principles is accompanied by an incitement to revolt; by creating an inclination to some secret and yet unenjoyed benefit. Thus, to the danger arising during the progress of emancipation, may be superadded, the consequences of religious fanaticism.
What must be the feelings of the negroes at Barbadoes, who find themselves deprived of their house of worship, and their minister obliged to fly, to save his person? It may be said, that the act of destruction is unjustifiable and sacrilegious ; and so it is. But if religion is to be abused into an instrument of insubordination, it is to furnish fuel to a kindling fire.
It may be said, that the objects of the African Society and the Missionary are quite distinct; and so they may be; but still, if the same persons who think alike on any one important and paramount subject, are the active instruments of