« PreviousContinue »
of Great Britain might be as formidable, or, if that were desirable, infinitely more so, though we had not a single merchant ship. Away then
with your ships and your colonies—a few cotton
spinners, tailors, and weavers will make just as good seamen in our day of need, and just as surely beat the Yankees, as sailors that were apprenticed cabin-boys and have spent their lives at sea.’
“But you think you are part of us, our own
sons and brothers, and that we ought to buy from you, in preference to foreigners, because you would again return to us every farthing of the money, while they might take it away to other countries. We desire not your money, we disclaim all connexion with you. What are you to us? If the Atlantic ocean should pass over you, and your place know you no more, what should we lose?” No. 82. p. 481. “We cannot indeed deny, that we long carried on a lucrative trade, buying slaves in Africa, and carrying them to the West Indies, where we sold them to you for a great deal of money; but we have repented of that, thank God! and
...to make amends for our sins and redeem the na
tional conscience, we have, with great liberality
on our part, resolved to emancipate by our para
mount power, the poor slaves we sold to you,
and give them your estates: to which we con
sider it most unreasonable in you to make any
objections. But you do object to this. You
‘ even talk of withdrawing your allegiance if we ‘attempt to enforce our benevolent designs. ‘Look to it that we do not take you at your word. “If we suspend our protection, if we recall our * 1500 troops from Jamaica, in a month the knife “is at your throats, No. 82. p. 481. “Do you ‘think your republican neighbours and brothers “would deem you worth their protection? that “they would send a few hundred troops to gar“rison your forts, and a few of the ships of the ‘line which they have been lately building to fight ‘us, to protect you? or that they would con‘ descend to add you as a star to the banner of the “ Union? No they are too unaspiring, witness * Louisiana—witness the Floridas, and their ma“nifest indifference about “the noble island of * Cuba.’”
A Letter to Robert Hibbert, Jun. Esq. in reply to his pamphlet entitled ‘Facts verified upon Oath, in contradiction of the report of the Rev. Thomas Cooper, concerning the general condition of the Slaves in Jamaica,’ &c. &c. To which are added, a Letter from Mrs. Cooper to R. Hibbert, Jun. Esq. and an Appendix, containing an exposure of the falsehoods and calumnies of that gentleman's affidavit-men. By Thos. Cooper. 1824.
The West Indies as they are; or a real picture of Slavery: but more particularly as it exists in the Island of Jamaica. In three parts. . With Notes. By the Rev. R. Bickell, a Member of the University of Cambridge, &c. &c. &c. 1824.
THERE is naturally a more than common degree of credit attached to the testimony of a clergyman: we are disposed to view men clothed with the sacred office, as what they are sometimes called, ‘ministers of the truth;' we regard them as in some degree exempted from the tumultuous passions and jarring interests which inflame and mislead other men; we expect to find in their own subdued passions and well-regulated lives, an example of the Christian virtues they inculcate on others—truth, humility, and charity; and with these impressions, we listen to them with a degree of confidence we cannot so easily repose in others. How far the reverend authors before us have shewn themselves deserving of such confidence, the remarks which follow may in some degree enable the reader to determine.
‘Out of thy own mouth will I condemn thee,’ is the text chosen as a motto by Mr. Cooper, who modestly expects that his statements will be considered entitled to equal, if not greater credit, than the solemn affirmations upon oath of three gentlemen filling offices of trust and respectability—assigning as a reason, that “he is living ‘ under the influence of the fear of God,” while ‘they are living in the habitual and daily disregard ‘ of the obligations of morality and religion.’
‘Men,” says he, “who live in the habitual and daily disregard of the obligations of morality and religion, cannot be under the influence of the fear of God: hence it must be more easy for them to appeal to heaven in confirmation of a misrepresentation, or even a falsehood, than it is for the upright to make a serious declaration of a contested fact; for the anxieties which the latter feel, lest, in any thing they should err from the truth, are utterly unknown to the former, their consciences being rendered torpid through iniquity.’ p. 16.
I shall satisfy myself with noticing a few only of the more important points at issue between the parties. In reference to statements published on Mr. Cooper's authority, in a book called Negro Slavery, Mr. Oates, the manager or attorney of
the estate of Georgia, on which Mr. Cooper re
sided when in Jamaica, swears,
* That on one occasion a complaint was made to him, that a boy named John Harding, who was waiting upon Mr. and Mrs. Cooper, had received a very severe and cruel punishment from the overseer (who was afterwards discharged), and on investigating the matter, he was told that it had been inflicted at the particular direction of Mr. Cooper; and when deponent com
plained of it to Mr. Cooper, he acknowledged that he had given such directions, but attempted to palliate his conduct by saying, that the overseer had been more severe than he intended. The punishment, however, created a very extraordinary sensation amongst the domestics attending on Mr. Cooper, and left on the minds of the Negroes a very unfavourable impression of him.’ p. 57.
Mr. Cooper's reply to this, or justification of his conduct, is as follows:
‘This boy was put into my service the day I arrived in the island; and at first he gave me every satisfaction. His work was light, and I may safely say, that his situation was not more laborious than that of the majority of gentlemen's servants in this country. I taught him to read, and did every thing in my power to make him comfortable, not doubting that mild treatment would secure, for any length of time, his useful services. But I was completely mistaken; for, after the first six months he began to relax in his duty, and to indicate an indifference to please me. I reasoned with him upon the impropriety of his conduct, and he promised to amend. For a short time he was as good as his word, and then became worse than ever. Again and again I called him to account, hoping that I might by remonstrance restore him to his former state of obedience. I spoke to my neighbours upon the subject; and also to the attorney and overseer of the estate, all of whom seemed to agree, that my measures were not sufficiently decisive, and some of them repeatedly recommended to me to try the whip. This I was extremely reluctant to do, notwithstanding I saw that the other servants, as well as John, were determined to have their own way, and take every possible advantage of us. At last, things got to so bad a state, that I saw the necessity of effecting some alteration. The silver spoons, after every meal, were thrown down in the yard, instead of being put into their places”, and the greatest confusion prevailed through the
• Washing the spoons is, in Jamaica, the work of the female servants.