صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Religion also, pure and undefiled religion, abhors the general profanation of the Sabbath, and rejects such avaricious and idolatrous worshippers as those who cause their Slaves to buy and sell and make gain on God's own day, and drive them to the field, to labour for that which perisheth, but to neglect their precious souls; and after all to dignify it with the name of Christianity. The days of ignorance (the days when Negroes were considered as nondescripts, half-men, half-brutes, but are now passed by) God winked at, but now (that they are universally acknowledged to have souls, and are worthy of being admitted into the Christian covenant) that same God commandeth all men everywhere to repent-to leave off this prostitution of sacred things; or true religion, affrighted and scared with such repeated mockeries, will fly away from such heathen lands, and draw down a double portion of punishment on those who cause his black servants to err; and perhaps, on that enlightened nation also, which permits, through interest, and from a false policy, such profanations to be carried on, from year to year, by a set of mercenary men, who, through her indulgence and fostering care, have raised themselves from nothing to some little local consequence, and who now arrogantly insist on an entire disposal of their own affairs, in oppo

sition to that parent state which gave most of them existence, and still protects them with her fleets and armies.

Let us see what blessings are promised to Sabbath-keepers. The prophet Isaiah saith, "If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it." Whilst the Jews kept the Sabbath, they prospered; but we all know, that from the converse of that, viz. when they became Sabbath-breakers and idolators, they lost the promised heritage, and became a reproach and a hissing to the whole world.

What happened to the natural descendants of Israel, will not fail to fall upon the most highlyfavoured spiritual Israelites, (the inhabitants of Britain,) if the Sabbaths of Jehovah be mocked at by her permission; for he that said to the eunuchs, "Say not I am a dry tree (worthless), for if ye keep my Sabbaths and choose the things that please me, I will give you a name

better than of sons and of daughters, even an everlasting name." That same God says also to the Negro Slave, "Blessed is the man that keepeth my Sabbath from polluting it; I will bring him to my holy mountain, and make him joyful in my house of prayer; but cursed is he that throweth a stumbling-block in his brother's way, and saith, tush, the Lord doth not see, neither will the God of Jacob regard it: I will come upon that man, saith the Lord, when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”

Justice also forbids the present system; for it must be allowed that a large revenue has long been derived from the West Indies, through the sweating brows, and labours and sufferings of the Negroes; they are therefore entitled to protection in return, and should be raised from the degraded state of animals, in which they now are, to that of reasonable beings. Give them some of the rights of men, and encourage them to labour, by kindness and reward, and not drive them like mules that have neither sense nor feeling. But if this be too much to be conceded at present, justice loudly demands that, at least, they should fare as well as our cattle, and rest on the Sabbath day. The bow that is continually bent, loses its force and usefulness; and the body that is bent down by in

cessant labour and toil, cannot have half the strength of one that is relieved by occasional and stated days of ease and recreation. Policy therefore would dictate, that more time should be allowed; but if that succeed not, the claims of justice imperiously require that those who have, for so many years, given their whole time for our advantage, should in return be allowed by us, time sufficient to provide for their perishing bodies, without intruding on the Sundays; for the Sabbath is the Lord's, and he will find justice without mercy, who teaches and obliges others to pollute it.

Then, as to the second point; should the powers that be (those on both sides of the Atlantic) still refuse to alleviate the sufferings, and to restore some of the rights of the bondmen in our colonies, I think it is very probable, that the Slaves themselves will no longer be content to bear such burthens; for the Creole Negroes (and they are now very numerous) seem for some time past, to have had an idea that they ought not to be worked like cattle, to be sold here and there, and to be punished for no offence, but just at the whim and will of another. I know that many of them had these ideas, and strongly expressed them some years since; but now that the friends of humanity and religion, in England, have taken up the subject and pub

lished it to the world, the idea is universal among them, and there is not a Slave but thinks that he is entitled to Saturday and Sunday, and must not be flogged as heretofore. If therefore those days are not granted them; unless their future treatment be less rigorous, and that additional and pious clergymen be appointed to instruct, and induce them, to improve their time,—continual attempts at conspiracy may be expected. Their bad intentions may be counteracted, they may be anticipated and even punished, time after time, and the present system may be carried on for some years to come; but an unconquerable hatred will be generated in their minds against all the Whites; they will be sworn enemies; and as they are annually increasing in intelligence, in knowledge and power, they will embrace the first opportunity of wreaking their vengeance, on their unbending and avaricious oppressors.

I wish no evil to the colonies or colonists; for I think every reasonable man must allow, that they are valuable to the British crown, both as a source of revenue, and as a nursery for our navy; and that they would be very detrimental to us under the protection of another power. My object is not to hasten the dissolution of the ties that bind them to us, but to make them more durable by changing their

« السابقةمتابعة »