Page images

amount to the entire value of the islands Emancipation is certain, and the only and all their slaves, (but it is believed they question is, shall they emancipate themwill amount to much more,) then the abo- selves, as the slaves of St. Domingo did, litionists would immediately raise a fund or shall Government emancipate them ? to make the purchase proposed, and at The former would be attended with the loss once set every captive free. But the abo- of the islands, and the massacre of a large litionists think it too much for any man, portion of its white population ; whereas, who is found in the possession of stolen the latter would be accomplished without property, to say, “ I'll not give it up, unless the loss of either life or territory. you will pay me its full value; and if you The arguments in favour of slavery are wish me to do so on any other terms, you in the estimation of its advocates very cogent are a consummate hypocrite."

and conclusive, and are reducible to three Were an ordinary horse-stealer thus to classes :-first, to the loss which abolition reason, he would be immediately con would occasion to the proprietor ; secondly, vinced of its fallacy by a lodgment in to the inferiority and incapacity of the some prison, and the morally certain pros. slaves ; and, thirdly, to abolition being in pect of ending his life of villany upon opposition to the Divine will, and greatly some drop: and it is very bad policy for injurious to the spiritual interests of slaves ! the retainers, not of stolen horses, but of On the first of these, we have perhaps stolen men, and women, and children, to already said enough. Let the whole of take high ground, and indicate their claims the case be examined by impartial and disto such property, and insult and bespatter interested judges, and should it appear with opprobrious epithets all those who that, on the whole account, there is a balance desire them to give it up. They had better in favour of any proprietor, in such case speak softly, and sing low, or the proba. the abolitionists would feel no objection to bility is, that a British public will be the payment of the utmost farthing of that tempted strictly to analyze their claims, balance. More than this, they ought not and the claims of their slaves ; and should to expect. they do this, it is not the most improbable The second argument requires more exthing in the world, that the resuli of the tended remark. According to the stateanalysis would be, that, instead of having ments of some slave advocates, the West to receive any thing, they would be required India negroes do not belong to the human to pay to their slaves such a sum as would family, but are a grade lower in the chain educate the rising generation, and supply of being; an order as distant from man, the afflicted, the infirm, and the aged with as the dog is from the ape. Yet, like man, every necessary comfort.

they have the organs of speech-like man, So zealous is this writer in defence of they are physically and anatomically the the slave system, that even in this very same-like man, they perform the mechanic loyal paper he absolutely turns rebel, and arts-like man, they possess the powers of says, “ If I were a member of the House perception, judgment, imagination, will

, of Assembly in any of the West India and memory-like man, they reason-like islands---Jamaica, for instance-1 should man, they are sentient as well as intellectual, say :-Gentlemen,-You may pass as many and hence they are the subjects of every acts in England as you like, but we shall human passion-like man, too, they are capay no attention to them.” Very likely, pable of religion, and many of them know, for the Jamaica Assembly has done this love, and obey God, enjoy the consolations already. But they had beiter not repeat it of religion in life, and die in the lively too often, for though the British lion may hope of a blessed immortality. It is true permit a little cur once or twice to frisk that they have retiring foreheads, and flat and jump about it, yet, should it take toonoses, and thick lips, and that their hue is great liberty, and become indecently trou- black; but what of all this? Perhaps, blesome, it will, by a single whisk of its were the physiognomy of the Jamaica tail, lay it prostrate and lifeless at its Assembly examined, it would be found, feet.

that though not quite so black as the negro, Should British protection be withdrawn some of them have nothing either of the from Jamaica, what would become of it? lily or the rose in their complexion, and Did those Jamaica legislators never hear that many of their forheads are not proof such an island as St. Domingo? Are minent, nor their noses aquiline, nor their they in love with what took place there ? lips remarkably thin ; yet for all this they If not, let them take care how they provoke never for a moment doubt their affinity to the coloured and black population of Ja- the human family, but believe themselves maica 'to an imitation of their conduct. to be the

“Distinguished link in being's endless chain, unfit to be placed in the condition of the Midway from nothing to the Deity."

British peasant. Why? Can they not Men who would exclude them, for this work ? 'Yes, they can work well. Among reason, from the human family, betray their them are all descriptions of mechanics and ulter ignorance of such illustrious names artisans, and they are admirable cultivators as Hamilcar, and Hannibal, and Cyprian. of sugar, and cotton, &c. Will they not

But suppose them not to be of the human work? No, say the slave system advocates, species; in what a position does this con- they wont work unless they are driven to it. clusion place many West Indian propri- Neither would you, Mr. Advocate, if you etors, and attorneys, and managers ! The could get nothing by it. The hope of reWest India islands contain an immense ward sweetens labour, and makes a man multitude of coloured people. Whence work cheerfully ; but, alas ! they have, in came they ? Many of them are the offspring general, no such sweetener of their labour ; of white men and black female slaves. whether they work much or little, they and But if black female slaves belong not to their wives and their little ones still remain the human family, then the white men, who slaves—slavery, interminable slavery, is are the fathers of these coloured people, still before thein. But give them the hope deserve to be put to death, both by the of reward, and they will work as diligently laws of God and man. See Exodus xxii.

as their European brethren. 19, and Burns' Justice, vol. 1, page 267. Many of them have small plots of ground On their own shewing, therefore, a system for the cultivation of vegetables for thempregnant with such unnatural and monstrous selves, in which they labour as cheerfully abominations ought not to be tolerated as any English peasant when he returns another day. If what they say be true, from his master's labour, without being the miscreant white fathers of these coloured followed by the merciless driver. Have slaves, deserve not only to be excommu- they understanding enough to take care of nicated from all respectable society, but to what they may acquire? Who can doubt be utterly exterminated by the hand of this? A few, of the many thousands of justice from the face of the earth ; and a West India slaves, have been fortunate pillar should be erected to perpetuate their enough to belong to planters of more than infamy, and hold them up to the endless ordinary kindness, in whose service they execration of posterity.

have, from the produce of their own little This argument is indeed abandoned by gardens, or from other sources, been able some West India advocates, who admit to lay by a sum sufficient to purchase their them to be a part, though a very humble freedom. Besides, multitudes of the slave and inferior part, of the human family. population are sober and moral from prinSuch admission parries the consequences ciple, having been favoured with Christian of its rejection, referred to in the preceding instruction. They are both able and willing paragraph, whilst, at the same time, it to labour; only let them have adequate enplaces the slave system in a most unamiable couragement, and they, for any evidence and forbidding light.

that has yet appeared to the contrary, are It is a fact which none will have the quite as provident as their neighbours. hardihood to deny, that many West India Where then lies their incapacity for proprietors have children by their slaves, liberty? Is it in their ignorance? Whose and these children, their own sons and fault is this? Beyond all question, it is daughters, are in general doomed to a state the fault of their masters, in not providing of perpetual slavery. Where are the ten them with the means of instruction. But, derness, and the howels of compassion, for after all, their ignorance is not such as to which we have sometimes heard West India bar their liberty ; it is rather an argument planters eulogized ? Fathers abandoning why they should be liberated, for so long their own children to all the horrors of as they continue in their present state of slavery, to the laceration of the driver's bondage, that ignorance will be perpetuwhip, to the prison, and to the stocks ; ated. Set them free, and furnish them and in addition to all this, their daughters with the ordinary means of knowledge, and are made the victims of the lust as well as they will soon rise, to say the least, as high the cruelty of a licentious attorney, or ma as our own peasantry, and conduct themnager, or driver. A system under which selves as peaceable and loyal subjects, and such evils are lolerated is intolerable, and be useful and important members of civil should be at once and for ever overthrown. society.

They are admitted to be of the human Already they know much more than family, but so intelectually inferior as to many of their masters wish them to know, be utterly incapable of liberty, and utterly and than well consists with their remaining

much longer in their present degraded But, after all, it seems, according to anstate of bondage. Many of them are mar other writer, in the same Morning Post, ried, and know that they have an exclusive who signs himself “ Philalethes, M.,” that right to their own wives. But, alas ! this slavery is a good thing, that it is of divine knowledge is often fatal to their peace. institution, that it will continue for ever, Not long since, a poor, but virtuous 'slave, “notwithstanding the clamour

." raised who had not long been married, came in against it, and that this nation has most a state of frenzy to the minister who had grievously sinned in abolishing the slave married him, and said, in his imperfect trade, for which we “ought to repent in English, “ Massah Minister, you know you sackcloth and ashes.” The religious quailmarried me

to —

(naming his wife) but ing of Philalethes forcibly reminded me of de big man at de big house has taken my the very pious address of Judge Jefferies to wife to sleep with him dis night. Me will the venerable Richard Baxter. “Richard,” shoot him!Under the present system, said Jefferies, “thou art an old fellow, an such villanies, it is to be feared, are not old knave; thou hast written books enough unfrequent; nor can the slave easily, if at to load a cart, every one as full of sedition all, obtain any redress.* Should he com- (I might say, treason) as an egg is full of plain, he is punished for his insolence, and meat. Hadst thou been whipped out of the lascivious tyrant continues and extends thy writing trade forty years ago, it had his debaucheries with impunity. And what been happy. Thou pretendest to be a else can be expected, so long as slaves are preacher of the gospel of peace, and thou considered as mere chattels !

hast one foot in the grave; 'tis time for thee But the slave population have too much to think what account thou intendest to knowledge to submit much longer to such give. But leave thee to thyself, and I see enormous villanies. Emancipate them, thou wilt go on as thou hast begun; but, and the sanctuary of marriage could not by the grace of God, I'll look after thee." thus outrageously be profaned, but at the And Philalethes seems determined, Jefferiesrisk of condign punishment. Instead of like, to look after those “old fellows” and being too ignorant to be capable of liberty, “old knaves,” who have so wickedly put they are too wise tamely much longer to an end to men-stealing in Africa, with all submit to those multifarious injuries which the horrors of the middle passage, and they have sustained ; and multitudes of whose restless spirits urge them onwards, them have too much virtuous principle, to to fill up the measure of their iniquity, by witness the seduction and ruin of their abolishing slavery altogether. I shall conwives and daughters by a libidinous planter, elude this paper with an examination of or manager, or overseer, without the highest the religious argument of Philalethes. indignation. Nothing can tend more di That slavery, and the buying of bondrectly to the moral improvement of West men, or slaves, are recognized and sancIndian society, than the extinction of tioned in the Old Testament, is readily slavery, for it will at once rescue from the conceded. But, in order to make this conunhallowed domination of unprincipled cession available in favour of West India libertines, the whole female slave popula- slavery, it will be necessary to prove, 1st., tion.

That, whatever was either permitted or enIn some of the islands, such offences, indeed, joined, in patriarchal or levitical times, is are by recent acts punishable: in Antigua by A equally enjoined or permitted now. 2. fine of £100, and in Jamaica by death. But' of

That the slavery formerly enjoined, and what avail are such Acts, when, in many of the islands, slave evidence is not admitted against

West India slavery, are the same. 3. That any white person; and in many others, not admitted such slavery, or any other species of slavery, against either the owner or his representative ? Now, suppose these “ big men" to select, as the

is necessary to be perpetuated, in order to yictiins of their lasciviousness, either the wife or the fulfilment of the curse pronounced upon daughter of a slave, in the presence of slaves only, he could not be convicted, and consequently would

Canaan. And, 4. That great spiritual good go unpunished ; unless, indeed, the injured and in

is the natural result of the system : for dignant slave were to take summary vengeance each of these is assumed by Philalethes. by stabbing the wretch to the heart, or shooting

Let us inquire whether these assumptions know that West India laws, in favour of the slave, are true or false. are, as regards them, a 'dead letter, and that

Is it true, that, whatever was either pertheir chief object is to mislead and deceive a British public? The recent case of the infamous mitted or enjoined, in Old Testament Parson Bridges furnishes a striking illustration times, is also enjoined or permitted now? the slave. In reference to such laws, Burke long Then polygamy and concubinage were ago said, withi as much truth as eloquence, It is permitted. Then divorce, whenever the they have done'is good for nothing. It is totalling husband chose to be separated from his destitute of an executory principle."

wife, was allowed. Then the lex talionis,

him through the head.

Besides, who does not

use us.

an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a land will be servants unto Pharaoh," Exod. tooth,” was enjoined. But, will Philale- xlvii. 18, 19. thes say, that, under the Christian dispen Such, too, appears to have been the ori. sation, these things are either allowed or gin of the servitude of a poor Israelite to a commanded ? Christianity permits neither richer brother, and of the bondage of the concubinage nor polygamy; nor divorce, heathen to the Jews, as recorded and comexcept in case of adultery; nor the ler manded in Leviticus xxv. 39,44. In both talionis at any time, but commands us not cases they appear voluntarily to have sold to resist evil, but to love them that hate us, themselves. That a man has a right to and to do good to them who despitefully give up his liberty, if he pleases, and to

place himself entirely at the command of Besides, it lays down this golden rule, another, for a limited period, or for his “Whatsoever ye would that men should do whole life, is a thing which I shall not conto you, do ye even so to them.” What trovert--a thing which is actually done by ever, therefore, cannot be made to harmo, every man who enters liis majesty's service, nize with this rule, Christianity absolutely either in the army or navy; for, so long as interdicts. If, indeed, Philalethes, or any he is there, he must not act on his own of his slave-loving friends, really desire to judgment or inclination, but must in all be kidnapped, and to enjoy the filth, and things implicitly obey his superiors. effluvia, and suffocation, with all the ac. But have West India slaves become such companying luxuries of a slave ship-and, in either of these ways? Is there a man or to taste the delicate pleasures of a naked woman among them, who, like the Egypexhibition in a slave market, and the sub- tians, voluntarily sold themselves? If so, let sequent enjoyment of being tickled by the all such remain in bondage, and fulfil their driver's cart whip, &c. they, for any thing engagement; it is their duty to do so, and I can see to the contrary, may, consistently their purchaser has, in such case, a right to with the golden rule, continue to support their service. Or, are they slaves in virtue slavery. But, unless they really desire all of being prisoners of legitimate war? No, this, they must either give up Christianity they are not; they were made such by or slavery. And such desire is so much methods the most villanous and cruel. out of the ordinary way of feeling, that One of the ordinary methods of enslaving Philalethes will never obtain credit for its them, was to set fire to their villages at existence, unless he and his friends actually night, and then, when in their fright they put theinselves under the yoke, and experi- attempted to escape from the flames, a set mentally prove what are the great privileges of base miscreant armed Europeans seized of slavery.

them, and, regardless of the agonizing Philalethes assumes, that the slavery shrieks of men, women, and children, allowed in the Old Testament, and West forced them into that worst of all receptaIndia slavery, are the same, But is this cles, a slave ship, where they were crowded the fact? Are they the same in their together like so many beasts, and nearly origin? The allowed bond-servants, or scorched to death with intense heat, and slaves, of the Old Testament, were of two almost poisoned with the stench of the inclasses ; those who were made slaves in describable filth of their floating prison. war, and those who, in extreme poverty, Old Testament and West India slavery sold themselves. In the former case, do not bear to each other the most distant slavery was a commutation of punishment resemblance in their origin. The Old Tesfor that of death ; for, according to the laws tament, instead of sanctioning, denounces and usages of war, the victor might have West India slavery, and dooms its abettors put them to the sword. In their case it to death. “He that stealeth a man and was an exercise of mercy, similar to that selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, which a felon experiences, when transported he shall surely be put to death," Exod. xxi. for life, instead of being hanged.

16. But West India slaves have been In the latter case, the act was voluntary. stolen, and the thieves have sold them, This was evidently the case with the which thieves, according to the Old TestaEgyptians; they went to Joseph, and said, ment, have forfeited their lives; nor they “We will not hide it from my lord, how that only, but their present possessors also our money is spent; my lord also hath our even all those in whose hands these stolen herds of cattle; there is not ought left in ones are found. Did Philalethes, when he the sight of my lord, but our bodies and appealed to the Old Testament in favour our lands : wherefore shall we die before of West India planters, know this ? As a thine eyes, both we and our land ? Buy friend, let me advise him in future to be us and our land for bread, and we and our careful bow he runs into the lion's mouth.

Besides, the cruelties inflicted upon West of Canaan and his descendants, then he India slaves has no parallel in Old Test- will assert what is completely variance ment slavery-nó, not even in Israel's slavery with the truth of history; for Canaan never in Egypt. They were never exposed in a was subject either to Shem or Japheth, till state of nudity, without regard to sex or about nine hundred years after the proage, in a public market, and handled like phecy, when the Jews, who were the deso many beasts in Smithfield. The husband scendants of Shem, took possession of was never sold away from the wife, nor the Palestine. Now, if the prophecy did not parent from the child. They were, indeed, require the slavery of Canaan for so long a cruelly oppressed, and severe labour was time in the beginning of their history, why exacted from them, but we never read of should it require its bondage to the end of the cart whip-of the thirty-nine lashes the world ? Already they have been under upon the naked back-or of the indecent the dominion both of Shem and Japheth, exposure and severe lacerations of female and many of them in a condition of deep slaves. No; West India slavery, both as it degradation; and, therefore, should they regards its origin and its character, is, for from this day rise to a state of indepenits villany and its cruelty, pre-eminent and dence, the truth of the prophecy would unparalleled in the annals of slavery. not be at all impugned.

Philalethes refers to some prophecy, from Besides, to suppose that slavery shall which he confidently infers interminable continue to the end of the world, is entirely slavery. He does not, indeed, give us the at variance with all those predictions which words of the prophecy, nor even say where relate to the universal spread and influence it may be found. He simply says, “We of Christianity—a state of things in which know that slavery, in its origin, was a pro- all the charities of the gospel will be in full phetic curse inflicted for a heinous offence," and vigorous operation, and in which the and that “the prophecy will be fulfilled to existence of slavery will be utterly imposthe end of the world." I suppose, how- sible; when “the wolf shall dwell with the ever, he means the curse pronounced by lamb, and the leopard will lie down with Noah against Canaan, in Gen. ix. 25—27. the kid; and the calf, and the young lion, “ Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants and the fatling together; and a little child shall he be unto his brethren. And he shall lead them: and the cow and the bear said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; shall feed; their young ones shall lie down and Canaan shall be his servant; God shall together; and the lion shall eat straw like enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the the ox. And the sucking child shall play tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his on the hole of the asp, and the weaned servant." This is a most remarkable pro- child shall put his hand on the cockatrice's phecy, and one which has been so clearly den. They shall not hurt nor DESTROY fulfilled, as to produce the most perfect in all my holy mountain.” Such is the conviction that it proceeded from the in- purpose of Him who came both to purchase spiration of the Almighty, to whom the liberty, and proclaim it to the captive. future is as the past or the present. It includes Philalethes greatly regrets the abolition of three important facts—the peculiar blessed- the slave trade, inasmuch as through that ness of 'Shem—the great enlargement of abolition the poor inheritors of the curse of Japheth—and the subjection of Canaan. Canaan are continued in a pagan land, and

At present we are concerned with the thus are "prevented from being baptized prophecy only as it regards Canaan. into the Christian church, and made parPhilalethes thinks it predicts slavery, unin- takers of the other blessed sacrament.” terrupted and interminable slavery. But The good people in this country were so why he thinks so, he has not condescended simple as not to perceive the godlike and to inform us. Certainly, the expression, benevolent object of the African slave“ servant of servants,” obviously implies a traders ; they ihought their object was the low and degraded state; yet it does not same as that of horse-stealers, merely to get necessarily imply a state of slavery, much money: in this, however, it seems they less West India slavery. But, suppose the have been egregiously mistaken, for it was expression to mean a state of slavery, how the conversion of the heathen which they does it appear that it must be interminable? had in view! After all, the methods they Do the words of the prophecy determine took for their conversion were not much this? They simply assert that he shall be calculated to make them fall in love with Ha servant of servants” to his brethren, Christianity. Kidnapping, and the middle without specifying any time of servitude. passage, and the slave market, and the apShould Philalethes say, that the prophecy plication of the cart whip, with the other of degradation is coeval with the duration benedictions of their Christian masters and

« PreviousContinue »