صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

nature; they are now drawn too tightly and are in danger of breaking: by slackening them, and supplying a something to soften their indurated qualities, they may last for ages, and be more beneficial to all parties.

The colonial residents, if left to themselves, will not, I fear, do what is right. Most of the members of Assembly look only to their own interests; the great planting attornies and attornies at law, in Jamaica, make nearly one half of the number; and they, to secure their enormous profits, will strain every nerve to keep things in their present state, caring but little for the owners of properties, or for the Negroes, and looking only, through heavy charges, to the making of fortunes, (for they with a few CoffeePlanters, are almost the only persons who do now make them,) while the few well-meaning and humane men in the House, are a minority. If therefore these pages should fall into the hands of large proprietors, or merchants, in England, who have vested rights, in the West Indies; I would call upon them (from mere interest, if humanity will not avail), as they value those properties, not to be led away by the exaggerated statements and false representations, of their narrow-minded and avaricious deputies and agents, in the colonies. The greater part of these noisy and interested.

L

men have no estates to lose, and look not to the future, but only to the present, that they may grind something from the sweat and perpetual labours of the over-worked Negroes. If things things can be carried on as now, for twelve or fifteen years longer, it will answer their purpose, and then it will be of no moment to them, what becomes of the Negroes and their owners; for their own turn being served, the masters and Slaves may rush to destruction together.

Let the respectable proprietors and merchants in this country then, use their influence with, and even compel their agents and debtors in the colonies, to ameliorate the rigorous and unchristian system at present carried on. Let every Saturday be given to the Negroes for working their grounds and carrying their surplus provisions to market: Let the Sabbath be kept holy Let none but magistrates have the power of flogging: Let them encourage marriage among their overseers, and lessen the power of the overgrown and rapacious attornies. Then the West Indian Islands, instead of being nests of vice and fraud, of oppression and licentiousness, as they now too generally are; would gradually become advantageous and comfortable receptacles, for those of the poorer classes of the British Islands, who might wish to emigrate and improve their condition. They would

also return a handsome income to the proprietors of estates and merchants; and would be a happy and favoured home to the then improved and grateful Negro; who, in a few years, instead of being the untutored and grovelling savage he now is, and the revengeful one he is inclined to be, (and will be made by the present system,) would become a contented and virtuous servant; and, grateful for the benefits conferred by humanity and religion, would be more happy in himself, more valuable to his master, to the colonies, and to the British go

vernment.

Should not the colonial assemblies be induced, at their next Sessions (through those immediately interested) considerably to ameliorate the condition of the Slaves; I trust the British parliament will again take up the subject, and fearlessly legislate for those who have refused to pass what is so just and reasonable. The interests of humanity require it, for the dignity of human nature is insulted in the persons of the doubly enslaved blacks; enslaved, chained, and fettered in their bodies and minds.

To British senators, under our gracious King, are committed the high destinies of the Negro Slaves, as well as of the free Britons: these Slaves are bound to islands which are a part and parcel of this great empire; they have sent mil

lions of wealth into our national treasury for the public good, and shall they not be allowed to receive some benefit in return? The Members of Parliament legislate for the free-born Englishman, who dwells at home, and encourage him to improve his condition by all proper means, but will not allow him to do as he pleases on the Lord's day, because they are sensible that the fear of God is the best wisdom, even in a political point of view; being well assured (I trust) that the long duration of this great and enviable kingdom must be by righteousness: will they then any longer suffer the Sabbath to be so shamefully broken, by men who emigrated, for the most part, as adventurers, and who have gone out and prospered on their bounty? If it were the souls of the Whites only that were at stake, still they would be deserving of compassion, as they must answer before the Almighty, for most of the guilt incurred there; but when it is considered that nearly a million of harmless and unoffending creatures, stolen and transported (most of them) from their native land, to work day and night for the benefit of others; must also, in defiance of laws, human and divine, be compelled to labour on Sundays, to gratify the insatiable cupidity of their masters; it is too much for Christian patience to bear.

If they are to die with enslaved bodies, give

them, in the name of every thing sacred, give them a better opportunity of being happy in eternity.

Be resolved, in the sincerity and humanity of your Christian hearts, O ye wise and powerful men, to do what is just and right. Let not the sophisms and foolish threats of the most favoured class, have any effect upon your determinations; for what comparison is there between our small Slave-holding islands, and the mighty States of America? Four or five millions of freemen, in an extensive continent, might well insist on legislating for themselves; but shall a few thousands of traders and planters, who could not exist a single year, or even a month, without the protection and support of this country; shall they insist upon an independent legislation, not only for themselves, but over ten times their number of fellow-beings, for whom they have no common sympathy, and whom they rule with a rod of iron? Forbid it outraged humanity; forbid it impartial justice!!

The West Indians can hardly be said, indeed, to have full possession of all the powers of the human mind. They are so influenced by love of gain and servile fear, that they are driven to coercion and cruelty; for in their sleeping and waking dreams, they fancy that every Slave is a discontented rebel, ready to strike at his

« السابقةمتابعة »