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ear Society who have been in confine- men have been in our society for eight ment on suspicion, are set at liberty, years; they are brothers; T had no without a spot of guilt being attached doubt of their innocence. Not one of to them in this affair. These young our people has been found in the revolt. After this pleasing intelligence we are, however, under the painful necessity of announcing a most wanton and disgraceful
RIOT IN BARBADOES :
the results of which have been the demolishing of our new Chapel in BridgeTown, and other atrocities. MR. Shrewsbury, our Missionary there, is a most respectable man, and has in every respect the full confidence of the Committee. He has laboured in Barbadoes for three years with diligence and some success; though our Mission there has never obtained much influence, and has uniformly been treated by the majority of the people with great hostility. A letter, containing a plain and just account of the neglected and immoral state of the slave-population was written by Messrs. Shrewsbury and LaRcom, to the Committee, in 1820, in order to show the necessity for continued and enlarged exertions to extend the benefits of Christian Instruction in that island, and was published in the Missionary Notices for October, 1820; and, on looking into it, we find nothing to give just offence to any one. The spirit of it is that of a good and benevolent man, lamenting the darkness and immorality of so many thousands of slaves. This letter, thus published, was by some mischievous person reported to contain statements to the discredit of the island, and expressions favourable to the emancipation of the slaves, to which subject not the slightest allusion was made. A blind and idle clamour was excited against Mr. Shrewsbury, who, by making the letter public, silenced his adversaries. The news of the insurrection in Demerara, however, arrived; and the disgraceful proceedings, with their result, shall be given in Ma. Safewsbury's own words. His letter is dated Barbadoes, October 18th, 1823. After some general statements, he observes,
wars the intelligenceof the insurrect tion of the slaves in Demerara reached Barbadoes, it was publicly posted up in the Commercial Rooms, that, “The Methodist Clergymen of Demerara were both imprisoned, they being deeply implicated in the insurrection which had broken out in that colony.” This falsehood, stated in so public a manner, set the people in a flame. Fresh stories were circulated every day; the island newspapers (one excepted) teemed with invectives against certain hypocritical characters, who, under the pretence of giving religious instruction to the slaves, were introducing principles entirely subversive of those foundations on which the comfort and happiness of society rested. My letter was again revived, and some confidently asserted that I had therein stated, that “the slaves ought to take their liberty by force, if it could not be otherwise obtained.” To silence this report, I carried the Number," containing the letter, to the Commercial
* Referring to the Missionary Notices, No. 58, Oct. 1820, to which we direct the attention of our Readers.
Rooms, that any one who chose might read it. This measure considerably allayed the public ferment, till one of the printers published scraps of the letter in his paper, with comments upon it, which quickly revived the public resentment, and increased it to a still higher pitch. But not only were my words misrepresented, but it was further said, and by many believed, that the letter I produced was not the real one; that I had obtained what I made public from home, merely to blind the eyes of the people; and that the genuine letter contained the vilest calumnies against the Barbadians that were ever sent home to England. Yet more, every sermon I delivered became a subject of conversation afterwards, so that not a week occurred but I was charged with having said something in my public discourse which endangered the peace of the colony; and to all this it was added, that I held private meetings with the slaves to get all the information from them I could, to convey intelligence to the African Institution. These things have all combined to arouse
Vol. III. Third Series. JANUARY, 1824. F
the public feeling against us, and the of ficial dispatches relative to the discussions in Parliament coming at such a crisis, consummated the whole. Iespecially am now hated of all men. This hatred has long manifested itself by angry and contemptuous looks; and by shouting after me, “That fellow ought to have a rope tied round his neck: hang him.” But on Sunday, October 5th, more violent proceedings were had recourse to. In the midst of our evening-service, some unknown individuals threw amongst the congregation eight bottles, containing some offensive chemical mixtures, which created the greatest confusion, and dispersed a part of my audience. The first bottle was aimed at me, and just went over my head. The next day I offered £30 currency reward for the detection of the offenders, but was soon convinced, that, whoever they were, many of the community were disposed to countenance them. Hence, the offenders were emboldened. The next Sabbath, the 12th inst., there were many persons within the Chapel, apparentl ready for any mischief; and a mob of, at least, two hundred people without. I was forewarned that evil was meditated against us, but it did not appear to me right to be intimidated by o threats from performing my duty. We sung and prayed in tolerable peace ; but as we rose from prayer, two men wearing masks, and armed with swords and pistols, came riding swiftly down the Chapel street, and as they got opposite the door, presented their pistols, and fired. One pistol did not go off, and the other providentially did not discharge its contents within the chapel, but just at the bottom of the window ; which, as soon as the mob saw, they shouted, Fire! Fire!—to create analarm, that those who were within, waiting to injure us, might take advantage of the confusion to effect their purposes. My chief concern was for my dear
In a Postscript, MR. Shrewsbury
Monday, 20th. Last night the Chapel was demolished by the mob; and my library almost wholly destroyed. My wife and I, with the things saved, are
wife, she being near her confinement; but on looking down, I saw her, without the least dread, take her stand at the bottom of the pulpit-stairs, determined that none should dragme from the pulpit, without first trampling her under their feet. After a few minutes I gave out a hymn, and was enabled to deliver the sermon with tolerable composure, although we were every now and then annoyed by the throwing of stones. But no one received any injury. The following day, instead of having protection offered me, a Magistrate sent not a summons to appear before him on the 23d instant, to answer for not having enrolled myself in the Colonial Militia. It is the determination of many to attempt to make me serve in the militia; “for,” say they, “the Toleration Act, by which Methodist Ministers are exempted, does not extend to the West Indies.” ... I have personally waited on his Excellency the Governor, and stated the case; but he says, it is a matter of law, and he is not sufficiently acquainted with the law to decide. I then waited on the Attorney-General : he was extremely ill, and could not be seen. I next went to the Solicitor-General ; but he was at a distance in the country, and would not return to town for three weeks. My last resource is, to address the Governor in Council. My present expectation is, that if I refuse to serve in the militia, I shall be thrown into prison: my next letter will, therefore, be probably dated from the TownGaol. At present I cannot remain at the Chapel-House in safety. I have therefore taken up my residence, for a few weeks, with WM. KING, M.D., my brother-in-law.
I am thankful to God for such a retreat; and shall esteem it a mercy indeed, if neither I nor my family receive any personal o: quit Barbadoes.
adds in haste:—
preparing to flee for our lives: we must quit the island without delay. I will write farther hereafter: we are obliged to keep ourselves in secrecy.
The following Letter from Barbadoes, published in The Times Newspaper, Dec. 12th, 1823, though, as will be seen in the sequel, the
Writer is quite misinformed as to
MR. SHREwsbury's Letter, and some
other facts, furnishes other particulars of this wanton proceeding.
“Barbadoes, Oct. 20th, 1823. * I HAve this moment returned from witnessing the effects of an infuriated mob of strong fools. It appears
that MR. Shrewsbury, the Methodist Preacher, in his correspondence with the Missionary Society, represented Barbadoes as an island of infamous blasphemy,
it being no uncommon occurrence to hear children, as soon as they are able to speak, curse their parents; and that, generally speaking, they were of most unruly dispositions and inclinations. As to the adults, it appeared to him, as though the Sun of religion had never shed its rays on their heads. He made but few exceptions to this sweeping calumny, in favour of persons who permitted him to h to their negroes. The knowledge that Mt. SHREwsbury had made such communications, and which he did not attempt to refute, created a great sensation to his prejudice in the public mind; and many idle persons collected about the Wesleyan-Chapel, evening after evening, breaking the windows, throwing squibs and crackers in at the door, riding to and fro on horseback, and saluting the congregation, assembled for devotional purposes, with cat
calls, whistles, blowing of horns, and every description of offensive noise. MR. Shrewsbury was undismayed by these proceedings, and continued to assemble his flock. This infuriated the mob to such a degree, that they became unfo. and a paper, signed Z., was
anded about on Saturday, inviting the rabble to attend at the chapel-door, at seven o'clock, (Sunday evening,) armed with pick-axes, crows, saws, hatchets, &c. Accordingly, about one thousand headstrong fellows did assemble, and began to demolish the Chapel; and, by twelve at night, had completely annihilated the building, carrying off in their flight all the materials, so that, at day-break, not a piece of wood was to be found near the spot. So determined was the mob, that they had resolved to resist the military, if opposed in their designs.
We have no further particulars from Barbadoes; but the St. Christopher's Gazette, of Oct. 28th, has the following article:—
“By a vessel, arrived from Barbadoes ta-day, accounts have been received of the destruction of the Methodist Chapel, in Bridgetown, on the night of the 19th inst., by a party,who, in a sort of bulletin, issued on the occasion, describe themselves as “respectable gentlemen,” and to all “true lovers of religion,"in other places, to “follow the laudable example of the Barbadians.” In consequence of this daring outrage, SIR HENRY WARDE issued a proclamation, offering a reward of £100 for the conviction of the offenders. Upon this,
For MR. SHREwsBuny's Letter we Oct. 1820. year, page 794.
a counter proclamation, printed, was promulged by the party, threatening, that any person who came forward to “impeach" any of them, “shall receive that punishment, which their crimes will justly deserve;" and observing, that the reward is offered on conviction, which cannot be effected whilst the people are firm to themselves. This extraordinary and contumacious document affirms, that these midnight rioters were not the rabble of the community, but “that the majority of the persons assembled were of the first respectability / / / "
have referred to the Notices, No. 58,
It may also be found in the Methodist Magazine, for the same
For what purpose a Letter, which had been in Barbadoes in a printed form
for nearly three years, was thus brought forward, it is not for us to say: it could not be for a liberal one. An excitement had been produced by the proceedings of the British Parliament respecting the West India Slaves, and the receipt of the official dispatches to which they gave rise; and the totally unfounded idea, that MR. SHREwsBURY was an agent of the African Institution, probably led to the examination of our Missionary publications, in pursuit of Ma. Shrewsbury's letters to the Committee, from which to extract something to his prejudice. The contents of the Letter were however totally misrepresented. It was said to contain reflections upon the white inhabitants. of ‘the poorer classes,' whereas it will be seen, that all that Mr. Shrewsbury states concerning these Whites of ‘the poorer classes' is, that they “were extremely ignorant, clearly meaning, ignorant of religious truth. He takes no further notice of the Whites of any class, except to compliment several respectable Gentlemen and Clergymen for their attention to the instruction of the slaves, or their friendly disposition to their moral improvement. His observations relate, as the Letter plainly shows, to the free and slave co
loured and black population. Upon Mr. Shrewsbury's showing his Letter to different gentlemen of the island, they were satisfied; and but for the report from Demerara, nothing would have followed but a repetition of the personal insults, which our Missionaries there have regularly been in the habit of receiving from persons calling themselves respectable, and that disturbance of their congregations by the gross ill-behaviour of persons of the same class, which had been frequently experienced long before the late excitement was produced, and indeed almost ever since the establishment of the Mission. These things are peculiar to Barbadoes. In every other island our Missionaries are now treated with respect, and our congregations worship in peace. If any ask what motive led the Committee to publish such a letter as . that of MR. Shrewsbury, we answer, that as the Committee never wish to intrude upon the labours of the Clergy, or of the Ministers of other denominations in any place, but to send their Missionaries to those parts of the world where the people specially need religious instruction, and are destitute of it; so such statements as MR. SHREwsbury's letter contains, show to the friends of our Missions that we are not spending their subscriptions for party-purposes, and tend to awaken a proper sympathy in the behalf of the thousands of our fellow-creatures, who are living without the knowledge and corrective moral influence of Christianity. Our Mission in Barbadoes had never been prosperous, because it had never been much encouraged in that colony. A new and larger Chapel was, however, built about four years ago, in the hope that it might effect a greater benefit; and two of our most valuable Missionaries were appointed, with the expectation that access might be obtained to the slaves in the country. MR. Shrewsbury had been in several of the other islands, and every where was highly respected by the Planters." This was a sort of new era in our Barbadoes Mission, which had been languishing for years; and as the Mission was recommencing, MR. Shrewsbury's Letter was written to the Committee to show the necessity of supporting it with vigour in so wide a field of usefulness as the neglected slaves and coloured people of Barbadoes presented. The tone of the Letter has nothing in it sarcastic, nothing reproachful; it is written in the sympathizing spirit of a Christian Minister who lamented the condition of his fellow-creatures, and wished every moral means to be used for their benefit. The object of the Committee in publishing it was to produce the same pious sympathy among the friends of religion, whose liberality supplies the means of instruction to the slaves in the West Indies. Had it been the intention of the Committee to draw an unfavourable picture of the morals of Barbadoes, they had the means of doing it, in terms and particulars not used by MR. Shrewsbury, and especially of the unmanly behaviour of “respectable persons' at our Chapel from year to year: but the Committee have never dealt in reproach, nor will this outrage provoke them to it.
Montserrat.—Ertract of a Letter from MR. Hyde, dated August 27th, 1823.