« AnteriorContinuar »
rom the injurious effects of the detestable ern States of America, — British subjects lave trade, is apparent, when we remem- are not only carrying on the slave trade per the immense revenue they are capable with these ports, but some have recently of relurning to this country.
purchased estates there, and which are alto“ The year 1829 was a most disadvan. gether worked by slave-labour recruited by ageous season to the West-India colonists, the slave trade. and consequently the duties paid from their “For upwards of thirty years I have conproduce were less than in other years, tributed my feeble aid to the overthrow of nevertheless the sum received by our Go- slavery in all its forms, as it has and does vernment amounted to £7,878,316 sterling. still exist in our own colonies. The prosThis sum does not include that which was pect of the speedy and entire removal of derived from the Mauritius, nor those paid this degraded state of society from the on the lesser articles of produce imported British dominions is a source of high satis. from the West Indies ; so that even the faction to every benevolent mind. But if above sum must be very much below the our efforts are not to be continued for the total amount of revenue on all produce im- total extirpation of it from the world, it is ported into this country and Ireland from evident that we have failed, although by the whole of our Colonies. The revenue the expenditure of twenty millions of derived from the Assessed Taxes in 1829, money, to afford either efficient or extenamounted to £5,000,000, a sum inferior sive relief to suffering humanity. We have by nearly £3,000,000, to that which was only put an end slavery in the English paid as duties on British colonial produce. colonies, in which (comparatively speakThe whole revenue of Great Britain in the ing) it has existed in its milder forms, and year ending Jan. 5, 1830, amounted to by such an arrangement we have consti£50,786,882, sterling; it is, therefore, evi- tuted the Brazils, the Southern States of dent, that the duties paid on our colonial America, and other foreign ports, its produce for the same year were nearly exclusive marts, and where it now prevails equal to a sixth part of the whole revenue to a degree, and exists in a form, more terof the United Kingdom. Such is the im- rific than it ever has appeared in the Engportance of our colonies to the crown of lish colonies. Great Britain, and which imperiously de- “I am aware that great obstacles may premand protection from that abominable sent themselves, to discourage our attempts foreign slave trade which our laws so to destroy the foreign slave trade, and properly prohibit to be carried on from our the disgusting state of society produced as own ports.
its entire result. It may be thought im“Slavery in the Brazils presents a most proper to interfere with the regulations of direful spectacle. The negroes are em- foreign powers, or the employment of ployed in the mines as well as in the cul- British capital under such protection, but tivation of the lands. The greatness of it should be remembered that this shameful their number, and that rapidly increasing traffic is maintained entirely by the direct by constant and large importations from violation of a treaty, formed in 1825, beAfrica, renders the life of a slave of little tween France, Spain, Portugal, the Brazils, consideration to his owner, so that not even and England, and by which it was stiputhe principle of self-interest protects these lated that the slave trade was to be for miserable beings. Hence they are to be ever abolished in four years from the above seen in every direction deformed by labour period. Instead of this being fulfilled, the -wounded and maimed by blows—lace- Slave Trade has proceeded with the utmost rated with stripes even to ulceration-dis- vigour, and to the greatest extent; and it is eased and emaciated with hunger-and not by the neglect of this treaty that our own unfrequently expiring by the sides of the fellow-subjects have been tempted to emroads.
bark in this infamous traffic under foreign " It is indeed lamentable to reflect that influence, which they dared not to have such a system exists in the world; but inde- attempted at home. Surely the fulfilment scribably disgraceful is it, that this traffic is of this treaty can be urged with great force, carried on in no small degree by British and probably with final success. capital, influence, and representation. There “It is likewise in the power of the British are English agents at Rio, who are con- Parliament to pass an Act, prohibiting all stantly receiving goods from this country, produce, the fruit of slave-labour, from which
re-shipped from thence to entering British ports. Such an Act would Africa, and there bartered for slaves, who certainly go very far toward the removal of are conveyed back to the Brazils. The foreign slavery, as well as to afford full · same may be stated respecting the South- and efficient protection to our own colo.
nies, now about to be cultivated by free entirely to the oversight of those who a labour. It must not be forgotten that the inimical to slavery in all its forms, a moral principle of our own country will whose attention I hope will be speediy exert itself for the abolition of this dreadful and successfully directed to its revision." trade. Several public meetings have been In prosecuting this great and noble de called, and several efficient societies have sign, the Society to which we have refer!, been formed, both in England and Scot- has very properly determined to begin wm land, for the destruction of slavery, in America. Our consanguinity, our comune whatever part of the world it may exist. nity of religious belief and professios, 67 Other societies, of a similar nature, will intimate commercial and social relation, be soon raised in all parts of the United all point out America as the fittest scene di Kingdom for the same benevolent object, our first exertions. Already has a poreta so that we may safely calculate on the representation been made to the most it mighty co-operation and influence of the merous and influential body of religious powerful moral principle of our own coun- professors in the United States, we cea try in attempting the removal of this evil. the Baptists, from the same denomication In proportion as you may view the import- in this country, and more recently the fol ance of this Letter, allow me to request_lowing powerful address to Congress has your utmost influence in accomplishing its been drawn up, and will be presented and design.
enforced with a large proportion of the “The benefit arising from the destruction influence of the christian and benevolat of foreign slavery will be great when it is public in England :obtained ; not only commercial competition will be placed upon an equal and To the President, Senate, and Represes just footing, and the importance of eman- tatives of the United States, in General cipating our own colonies, even with the Congress assembled, and to the People price of twenty millions of money, unde- of America generally. niably evident, but that disgusting altar, on
Gentlemen, whose bloody summit the liberties and lives of so many millions of our fellow-creatures We approach you with those feelings of have been so long sacrificed, will disappear affectionate regard, which our national cos for ever.
sanguinity leads us to cherish; and with “In concluding this Letter, I cannot but that sincere respect which we share in conmention a great defect in the recent Act of mon with all Europe, for the energy, and Parliament for abolishing Slavery in the the determination with which you first conBritish Colonies. This Act extends east- quered, and have since maintained your ward to the Cape of Good Hope and to independence. You stand conspicuous en the Mauritius only, whilst St. Helena, the the face of the earth, as a people who have Island of Ceylon, and the Continent of acquired wealth, and power and glory, British India, are not placed under its while yet in the infancy of your existence
, control. Slavery has been partially de- when other States have toiled for centuries stroyed both in St. Helena and Ceylon, to emerge from the ignorance of their forebut it has not totally expired. On the fathers, and to assert their proper importContinent of India there are slaves under ance in the common family of mankind. the name of Ryoots; they are very nume- That, under the superintendence of an rous, and are considered private property. Allwise and Almighty God, this distinExtensive cultivation is carried on by their guished triumph is to be ascribed to your means in the Company's dominions. Their innate love of equal laws, and equal liberty, owners let them out for hire to Europeans, is indisputable. Your vast resources, you the men as labourers, and the females chiefly extensive and fertile territories, your comfor the worst purposes; and so legal is this mercial advantages, and your characteristic practice deemed, that the owner of these industry, have combined to make you slaves can recover the sum for which they great ; but these are blessings in which were hired, in any Hindoo Court of Law. millions participate with yourselves, who This unfortunate clause must have been yet remain degraded, uncivilized, and constructed by those who framed the Act unknown. entirely with the design of protecting sla- These privileges, however large, are bot very as it at present exists in the East the instruments, not the source, of your Indies, or there could not have been any magnificent and unparalleled success. You reason for so expressly excluding St. Helena started upon principles which are, not, and British India from its operation. The universally acknowledged just ; you carried insertion of the clause must be attributed them into all the details of Legislation. Personal freedom, and equality of civil system, nothing effectual, even in the way rights, formed the basis of all your political relief, was accomplished. Yet, that in all or domestic economy, and unbounded pros- its incidents, our colonial slavery was both perity has been the result.
cruel and unjust, was admitted; the inhaGentlemen, we exult in the reflection, bitants of the only state in Europe that that you derived these principles from our could boast of a free constitution, could common ancestors; and that, by resolute not do otherwise than concede, that comand consistent adherence to them, you pulsory servitude stimulated only by whips have established in the new world, the and chains, and imposed as the penalty of truth of that high maxim which Great colour, not of crime, was a monstrous anoBritain bas proved to the conviction of the maly in the economy of a free people; but old, that no nation can permanently flourish the oppression was hidden from immediate whose constitution is not built upon the observation; men, not personally mixed up rock of liberty.
with its details, were willing to hope, and It is not in the spirit of idle compliment to believe, that it could not be so bad as that we thus introduce ourselves to your its enemies represented—while their opponotice. We address you, not as petition- nents on the other hand, boldly challenged ers, who must propitiate a favourable ear; their veracity-vindicated their own purity not as strangers, who would court attention and humanity-and menaced the country by servile adulation, but as your brothers; with the destruction of its commerce, and as descendants from the same stock, and the ruin of its subjects, if it presumed to children of the same country; our veins lend a favourable ear to the cause of aboare filled with the same blood-our prin- lition! Thus men settled down into the ciples have been acquired in the same conviction, that slavery was a necessary school-we have pursued the same path to evil; that it admitted of no cure except by national happiness -- we have worshipped gradual amelioration of its harsher inciat the same altars—in language, in descent, dents, and by enlarging from time to time in political faith, and in Christian profes- the scanty privileges of its victims. We sion, we are closely, and, we hope, inse- felt this to be delusion. We were con. parably allied.
vinced by the dictates of common sense, We presume, then, upon this acknow- that a system bad in itself, and founded ledged community of character, to ap- upon cruel principles, could never by any proach you as mediators between your- human ingenuity be ameliorated into beneselves and millions, equally entitled with ficial operation. We knew, almost by yourselves to full participation in the intuitive perception, that man, even in his rights and privileges of citizens. The day immaculate nature, could not safely be has at length arrived, when Great Britain trusted with an irresponsible power over has avowed, that she recognizes no poli- the limits and actions of his fellow-man ; tical distinction of blood or colour ; that and especially, we were told by the voice she will acknowledge no natural bar be- of conscience, that this wicked and unnatween any of her subjects, and that protec. tural bondage was opposed to the plain tion which she owes to all : she has purged commands of God, and contradictory to herself from that foul stain, which for cen. the whole spirit and bearing of the Gospel turies had tarnished all her glories, and of Christ. slavery is no longer able to find a resting Years, however, "rolled on, before these place within the dominion of her crown. truths, obvious as they were to sober reflec
Gentlemen, we need not inform you of tion and disinterested observation, were the nature of that arduous struggle which confirmed by such evidence as could not the enemies of slavery have had to sustain. be resisted. When we spoke of cruelty, it It has been a war almost coeval with your was emphatically denied; when our misindependence, between truth and falsehood sionaries complained of intolerance or - between humanity and selfishness-be- oppression, their characters were traduced; tween the interests of the few, and the wel- their pious labours were thwarted; and fare of the many – between the charity of their persons subjected to persecution and Christ, and the ferocity of man-between insult; when eye-witnesses of negro sufferthe commandment of God, and the sophis- ing were prompted by humanity, to distry and the power of Satan,
close the secrets of the prison-house, they Victory in such a conflict, relying only paid a penalty for their compassion in the on the ordinary motives and feelings of loss of their colonial occupation, and their mankind, would have been hopeless. So exclusion from colonial society, on which long as the abolitionists rested their case their bread depended. But when the lapse on the inherent cruelty and injustice of the of time brought before the public eye the
fatal workings of the system on human life, doubts even on this point. Our own cola when it became apparent from our official nies have in their domestic history, fua registers, first introduced for a different nished abundant proof of the ruinous tes purpose, that West India mortality would dency of the system. Experience has satis depopulate the world in half a century, the factorily established it as a maxim of poly country, as with one voice, protested against tical economy, that slave - labour is les being made unwilling accessaries to this efficient, and far more costly, than perpetration of wholesale murder; and, no labour of the free man--coercion loses longer deceived by statements, however stimulus by repetition, while the acquisita bold, or sophistries however subtle, de- of property and independence is a neves manded as a solemn duty to God himself, failing incentive to industrious and perse that, at whatever cost, slavery should be vering exertion.-Hence, almost from the extinguished.
date of their establishment, our West India Such, Gentlemen, has been the character colonies have complained of insolvency of the colonial controversy with ourselves; and distress ; though their produce las but such, in a far minor degree, will be the been protected by a monopoly, and their nature of a similar controversy with you : internal peace maintained by the mother You have an advantage which we never country, 'at a prodigious expense of life possessed. The horrors and the iniquities and money. These facts are too notorious of slavery are not brought to your know- to be disputed ; and, now that the contest ledge upon equivocal testimony, or hearsay is ended, are acknowledged even by those report ; they come under your daily obser. who formerly denied them. vation; they are familiar to your eyes ;
Nor will we condescend to argue from they are established by the evidence of your sears. That your slave population your senses. Slavery, her most abject a source of great uneasiness, you acknow, and miserable form, pollutes the very ledge from the extraordinary precautions paths, where you range in all the pride of which some of your states adopt, to retain unbounded freedom. Her wailings mingle them in that abject ignorance, which is with your songs of liberty-her fetters clank esteemed the best security for submission : in horrid discord with the chorus of your nor can you but feel that the danger of triumphs : the records of your States are revolt is not likely to be diminished, by the not less distinguished by their wise provi- emancipation of a million of their brethren: sions for securing the order and maintain- in our Transatlantic possessions. The ing the independence of your country, rapid progress which our free black fellowthan by their ingenious devices to rivet the subjects, are now likely to make in cive chains and perpetuate the degradation of lization and national importance, is not your coloured brethren-Negro education likely to conduce to the internal tranquillity is branded as a crime against the state- of neighbouring States, who still consider Negro freedom is dreaded as a blasting colour as the badge of Slavery. pestilence--the bare suggestion of Negro No debasement, however brutal, no ignoemancipation, is proscribed as treason to rance, however dark, can long keep back the sacred cause of American indepen- from your slaves the knowledge of this dence !
great reform in the western hemisphere, Thus you will enter the conflict through or render them insensible to the comparawhich we have passed, with the advantage tive hardship of their lot. In proportion of accurately knowing the ground on which rather to the darkness in which they are it is to be fought. You cannot be misled kept, their resistance is likely to be acceleby misrepresentation of facts, or beguiled rated in time, and rendered desperate and by the falsehoods of self-interest and pre- ferocious in character. judice. Slavery is known, acknowledged, But these are not the grounds on which and dreaded by every man among you ; its we feel it to be becoming, to rest our extinction can only be discussed by you on solemn appeal to a great nation, whom we abstract principles of moral and religious invite as brothers to co-operate with us in duty, and to those principles you are the great work of Negro emancipation. pledged on the side of freedom beyond We have told you that it was not by such every nation of the world!
comparatively trivial motives, that we were It is on these principles that we found ourselves impelled to enter upon the moour appeal to you on behalf of our Negro mentous question, or eventually induced to brethren. On such a subject, and on such discharge the debt of justice, setting all an occasion, we will not stoop to the dis- consequences at defance. We felt that as cussion of questions of commercial or pe- freemen, we were acting a base, oppressive
, cuniary interest : not that we entertain and inconsistent part,
We felt that as
ritons, we were degrading our country; you, as we have said to ourselves, the e were giving the lie to our ostentatious Negro is by birth, by natural right, and in ve of liberty; and daily violating the divine regard, your equal and your brother. rinciples of that Constitution, of which we He is entitled to participate in all your privasted as a pattern to the world. We felt vileges; he is justified in claiming all your
to be a galling reproach to our national immunities of equal laws, equal rights, caracter - a loathsome stigma upon our equal advantage of education and protecational honour. We blushed and were tion. You cannot withhold them, without shamed, when the finger of scorn pointed convicting yourselves of injustice-of in» our colonies, and derided our pretensions consistency — of hypocrisy. Your case
freedom, and 'exposed the hypocrisy of was ours; every stigma, every reproach ur humanity: but, more than all, we felt, that has heretofore been heaped upon us, sat in the sight of Heaven, and before that attaches equally to yourselves. You exult iod who created us, and that Saviour who in your independence, while you cherish ied for us, we were a guilty nation ; we slavery in your bosoms! You hoast of vere daily violating the first commandment freedom, while you exact submission from of the Gospel
, and committing with im- a fellow-creature, in its most odious and rious audacity an atrocious and a murder. degrading shape! You glory in your rapid jus crime. The Negro, by nature our advance in knowledge and in power, and qual—made, like ourselves, in the image of you hermetically seal the door of knowhis Creator-blessed with the same intelli. ledge to the victim of your power! You zence-impelled by the same passions— triumph in your national schools of educasaved by the same Redeemer-and looking tion, while you deny education to those forward to the same heaven, and the same who most require it! You carry your eternity-was reduced, by our cupidity and principles of equality to republican extent, oppression, to the level of the brute; spoiled while you observe the exclusion of caste of his humanity; plundered of his rights; with greater rigour than the pagans of Hinrobbed of his earthly and heavenly hopes, dostan! You give to religious liberty resoand hurried to a premature grave, the mi. lute protection, and refuse to millions of serable victim of our avarice and heedless your fellow citizens freedom of conscience, tyranny ! We had presumptuously arro- or unrestricted access to religious worship ! gated to ourselves the power of intercept- You avow your abhorrence of unequal laws ing the bounty and the mercy of the Al. you built your liberties on the citizen's mighty! We had interposed our selfish right to share in the legislation which views and fancied interests, between man bound him; yet you legislate partially for and his salvation ! we had secluded him a class, and spurn the possibility of that from knowledge—we had closed the door class claiming independence ! to his intellectual progress—we had shut Can this be less criminal or less hypo. up every avenue to moral and religious im- critical with you, than with ourselves ? ' 'Or provement—to maintain him in that igno- will you be less disinterested in the cause of rance, without which man cannot long be freedom, than we have proved ourselves to held in unnatural bondage to his fellow- be? Will you sit quiet under the charge, creature.
that while you were foremost in asserting, When once our eyes were opened, we and boldest in acquiring your right to indefelt all this; we perceived the extent of our pendence, you are content to be laggards guilt-the infamy of our shame—the con- in the race of humanity ? Will you not science of our country was awakened, and repelthe imputation, that your love of she roused herself with becoming energy: liberty is selfish and hypocritical ? that your amidst all the agitation and tumult of great republican spirit is a cloak for domestic political changes, when all the complicated oppressiou ? and your religion bounded by interests of her commerce, her agriculture, the convenience of your purse ? and her manufactures, appeared involved We advert not to compensation. We are in the important discussions then before the not ourselves of one mind, either as to its legislature, she kept the emancipation of necessity or its justice; but on this we must the Negro steadily in view, and demanded all agree ; if with our heavy arrear of debt, it in a voice that commanded attention and under the severe pressure of our taxamidst all the noise and confusion of party ation, we have submitted without repining warfare !
to this appropriate penalty for our guilt, Gentlemen, on the same grounds, and you, in the food of national prosperity, impelled by the same motives, we most must blush to avow such an obstacle to a earnestly and most respectfully urge his measure, which is required to clear your claims upon your attention. We say to character from the foulest stain. You will 20. series, No. 40.-Vol. IV.