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and occasions the corruption of many, * it renders the smugglers more desperate, and procures for them the sympathy and commiseration, and frequently even the active cooperation of the public. The continuance of such a system, in short, is most disgraceful to the country: It is subversive of every principle of justice; it diminishes the public revenue ; injures our foreign trade; and is productive of nothing but perjury, villany, and bloodshed!
We have heard it said, that though the effect of a reduction of the duties on brandy and geneva to 89. a gallon, might not occasion any reduction in the revenue derived from them, it would lessen the consumption, and, by consequence, the revenue derived from British spirits. But it must be recollected, that the effect of this measure would be, to put an instant stop to the practice of smuggling, and to a considerable extent also to the practice of adulterating; and it may well be doubted, when allowance is made for the great quantity of brandy that is now clandestinely imported, and also for that which is furnished by the practices of adulterators, whether the consumption would be very greatly increased. But supposing it were, still it is plain, inasmuch as the duties on brandy would be as high as the duties on rum, and much higher than those on whisky, that the revenue could lose nothing in that way.
In every point of view, therefore, in which this subject can be placed, the policy of reducing the duties is obvious. We certainly have no desire, to use a phrase of Mr Robinson's, to ride a willing horse to death ;' and we are fully aware, that, under the present circumstances of the country, no portion of revenue can be spared. But we feel perfectly confident that we are not asking the Right Honourable Gentleman to part with a single shilling. On the contrary, if he adopts the plan we have ventured to suggest, we think there is little doubt that he will add 300,0001. or 400,0001. a year to the public revenue, and save 100,0001. a year in the Customs department; at the same time that he will give peace to extensive districts, and will suppress one of the most fruitful sources of crime anel atrocity
* Two officers were, not long since, convicted of a collusive seizure'; having planned with a smuggler where he should land some of his goods, in order that they might be seized, and that he might share in the res ward given by government !
ART. VII. Anti-Slavery Monthly Reporter. 8vo. London,
stituted for mitigating the Evils of Slavery, and effecting its Gradual Abolition, has published during the last two years. It contains the intelligence most interesting to the friends of this great and good cause; with such remarks as are fitted to make the passing events produce their due effect towards its furtherance and final success. The price is, by the liberality of the Society, made exceedingly moderate, being only eight shillings a hundred, when the number consists of a whole sheet, and so in proportion when it is larger or smaller. It is therefore somewhat less than a penny per sheet. At this price, any anti-slavery society is entitled to receive a supply, by making application to the Office, No. 18, Aldermanbury, London, and pointing out the conveyance by which the work is to be sent. Such is the announcement in the front of each number; and we gladly take this opportunity of giving it greater publicity.
The time now approaches when we were taught to expect, last Session of Parliament, that the West Indian Legislatures would show their disposition to adopt the necessary changes in their system, pointed out by the Government of the mother country: and we cannot better employ the interval that yet remains, than by examining what those feats of colonial reformation were, which so inspired our rulers and legislators at home with confidence in their tropical brethren, as to make them perfectly easy while abdicating their own functionstheir highest functions of justice and mercy-and leaving the rights of 800,000 fellow-creatures in bondage, and the controul over their masters, to select bodies-composed of those masters, and of them alone. We examined a portion of this subject some months ago; but the more recent acts of the colonial Assenblies had not then arrived ; and as much was said in the disa cussions that took place before Easter, respecting certain provisions then in progress, or enacted, but not yet received in this country, we cannot have a complete view of the question without adverting to the information laid before Parliament, in the latter part of the Session. This will enable us to clear the ground, as it were, and be prepared for the reception of whatever may come from the Islands, in consequence of last Session's renewed appeal to them. Possibly it may be found to confine our expectations on this score within very narrow limits. At any rate, it will enable us to judge calmly of the wisdom exercised by our representatives in the last Parliament, when, with this case before them, they renewed, almost by acclamation, their professions of confidence in assemblies of Slaveowners, and acted up to those professions.
When Mr Brougham, in order to ascertain the credit due to the representations made by the Government on behalf of the Colonial Assemblies, and examine accurately the grounds upon which his proposed Bill was delayed, moved for a return of the titles and dates of all the West Indian laws, passed since May 1823, and providing for any of the great interests of the Slave population, distinguishing those interests under the various heads, of Religious Instruction, Admissibility of Slave Evidence, Facilities to Marriage, Compulsory Manumission, Security of Property, Regulation of Punishment, and Prevention of Separation by Sale from the estates or from their families, a statement was produced in a Tabular form, and ordered to be printed on the 5th of April. That document, the first case relied on by the West Indian advocates, now lies before us; and in almost all the Islands, and all the important particulars, it presents a blank! Nil, to use the technical phrase, is the prevailing feature of the return. But much dissatisfaction was expressed by those zealous defenders of the system, at the nature of this paper, when they perceived the effect which it was caleulated to produce; when, for instance, they saw that the greatest Island of all, Jamaica, presented to the eye, in five out of eight columns, the word "none;' and in the remaining three, a few words, which to the mind in an instant conveyed the very same impression; and that the Island next in importance, Barbadoes, in every one of the eight columns made the same ominous negative sign! A tabular form was plainly ill adapted to the statement of their case; and after a good deal of surd murmur at the negligence with which the paper had been got up, they presented perhaps a more full, certainly a more bulky, but in reality not a more correct statement, containing extracts from the Acts of Assembly themselves, under all the heads. The Acts themselves, and the correspondence with the Governors, were about the same time laid before Parliament; and we shall now shortly demonstrate how en. tirely they speak the same language of negation; how accurately their amount in substance is, after all, nil ; how truly they present one wide and dreary waste, without an object for the eye of him to rest on, who would still fondly imagine that slave-owners are fit to legislate for slaves; how impressively they teach, for the thousandth time, the lesson, that what is
wanting to those unhappy beings, must be supplied from the disinterested solicitude of the mother country.
Let us begin with Jamaica, the most forward object in every point of view, and the quarter from which, on every account, most was to be expected. The amended statement, after citations from three Acts passed since 1823, concludes with this very ample admission.
• It does not appear from the documents received at this department, that any Act has been passed by the Legislature of Jamaica since the fifteenth of May one thousand eight hundred and twenty-three, contain
ing any provisions respecting the admissibility of the evidence . of slaves- for preventing the sale of slaves detached from the
estates of their owners--for preventing the separation of slaves « from their relations—for restraining or regulating the punish(ments of slaves by their masters or those having authority • from their masters-provisions for enabling slaves to acquire
and enjoy property-Nor any provisions respecting the office • of protector and guardian of slaves.' (p. 6.)
What then, it may be asked, has been done under the remaining heads, of Religious Instruction, Marriage, Manumission, and Property? An Act has been passed, extending to Saturday the protection against being taken in execution for their master's debts, already provided for Sunday; and another has been framed respecting the clergy, the principal provision of which is, to give the newly appointed Bishop ecclesiastical jurisdiction. Curates are allowed to marry, either on the estates, or at the chapels. A person possessing only a lifeinterest in a slave, is allowed to free him, upon providing compensation to the party having the reversion; and by another act, slaves are declared capable of receiving legacies of
personal property,- but are prohibited from suing for them in any court of law or equity. Is not this a very prolix and roundabout way
of saying the same word None, -or nil,-or nothing ? The extension from Sunday to Saturday is plainly for the benefit of the master; the provision respecting life-interests, does not enable a slave to obtain his freedom upon being able to pay for it, by a fair appraisement between him and his master, which was the meaning of manumission in the discussion as referring to the Trinidad Order in Council; and the right to receive a legacy, and give a valid acquittance' for it, if the executor or administrator chooses to pay it, is a right of property closely resembling the foregoing personal right. The Duke of Manchester himself justly characterises such measures as of very trilling importance,' (Continuation of Papers, 1825, p.-5); and the following expressions of his Grace to the Secretary of State, and to the Assembly, show how different an estimate of our prospects in that quarter is formed by those on the spot and those at a distance.
Mr Speaker, and Gentlemen of the Assembly - Another year • has been allowed to pass away
effectual measure having been adopted for the improvement of the condition of “the slaves. It does not become me to anticipate what the result • may be of the great disappointment his Majesty's Government will ' experience, when they learn that the reiterated representations • which have been made to you, to do what your own interest
calls for, as much as a due regard for those who look up to 'you for protection and relief, have totally failed. In obeying
the instructions which I received, I earnestly pressed upon ' your consideration the necessity of doing something, if not to
disarm your enemies, still to satisfy your friends; and more • than all to convince Parliament, that the urgent representa
tions of his Majesty's Government had not been entirely dis• regarded.
To Lord Bathurst he writes- I am afraid, after so many re* peated trials, that there is no hope of persuading the present House of Assembly to do any thing effectual for the relief of the
slaves. I have exhausted all the means in my power to lead them ' to a proper way of thinking. I, in the first instance, assumed “a responsibility, by speaking to them in my own name, and which, perhaps, I was not justified in doing. I have
since addressed them in the name of his Majesty's Govern'ment, and employed the words of your Lordship's despatch in 'my speech. I reminded them that the time had now arrived •when the island enjoyed perfect repose, and nothing had oc
curred to mislead the minds of the slaves, or encourage a'mongst them unreasonable expectations, and, of course, peóculiarly favourable for the consideration of what may be . found practicable for their benefit.'
In Barbadoes, the Tabular View laid by the Government before Parliament had represented, that no provisions were made under any one of the eight heads. Each column contained the word “ None,' and nothing else ; although certainly it was stated, that an Act passed there, in March 1825, was under consideration at home, and that this Act had, for one of its objects, to give the slaves further protection. The more detailed statement afterwards produced, extracts from this notable specimen of Colonial Legislation several of its enactments, and parades them under the heads of Evidence, Manumission, Punishment, and Property. The reader who does not read who only looks at the title or head of the column, and finding VOL. XLV. NO. 89.