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PRESENT STATE OF SLAVERY
THE WEST INDIES,
AN EXAMINATION OF MR. STEPHEN's
" SLAVERY OF THE BRITISH WEST INDIA COLONIES.”
CONTAINING MORE PARTICULARLY
AN ACCOUNT OF THE ACTUAL CONDITION OF
The Negroes in Jamaica :
ON THE DECREASE OF THE SLAVES SINCE THE ABOLITION
OF LEGISLATIVE EMANCIPATION:
STRICTURES ON THE EDINBURGH REVIEW, AND ON THE
PAMPHLETS OF MR. COOPER AND MR. BICKELL.
BY ALEXANDER BARCLAY,
LATELY AND FOR TWENTY-ONE YEARS RESIDENT IN JAMAICA.
“ When we have to reason with a practical purpose, concerning, existing es-
tablishments, the most particular and experimental view of them will ever
The Legislature of Jamaica having, in December last, passed a Consolidated Slave. Law, which provides in some important instances, in favour of the Slave Population of that Island, measures of protection and of extended rights; and, in other instances, gives the requisite sanction of Law to what was before established merely by general practice, we have the authority of Mr. Barclay for annexing to his book that law, as it has been, in Jamaica, printed, with references to repealed enactments. We also add an extract from the Code Rural of Haiti containing those clauses, which may be usefully compared with the Jamaica Law. The fidelity of the translation of these extracts may be ascertained by comparing them with the original Code, recently published by Ridgway, from a copy received, under unquestionable authority, from Paris, and which will be found exactly to coincide with that which will soon be printed under authority of Parliament.
The Code Rural was passed by the Legislature of Haiti in May last, and the members of the Chamber of Commons, announcing it to the citizens in their
address, dated the 10th May, speak of it as a law
although just, yet severe," and from their address it appears that they judged it necessary for the purpose of regenerating agricultural labour among the free Negroes which constitute the mass of the population of that once flourishing Colony.
NEVER, perhaps, were mistakes more prevalent upon any subject than they are at present upon that of West India slavery. There are many in this country, and by no means in the lowest stations, who never hear the subject, mentioned but they have before their minds chains, dungeons, scourging, maiming, wounding, and death. To their terrified imaginations it appears the land of horrors, where cruelty sits in brief authority, and the oppressed drag out a gloomy life in groans and tears, without any of the comforts of existence, and of course, without manifesting any signs of enjoyment. These false impressions have been mainly owing to a class of authors, and orators in the mother country, who, for many years, have