« PoprzedniaDalej »
• Part III. 101
“In process of time, having embraced Christianity, they raised places of worship of their own, and had ministers of their own from their own body. They led a harmless life, and gained the character of an industrious and honest people from their white neighbours.”
“I know of no evil that ever has existed, nor can imagine any evil to exist, worse than the tearing of eighty thousand per. sons annually from their native land, by a combination of the most civilized nations, in the most enlightened quarter of the globe ;
but more especially by that nation, which calls herself the most free and the most happy of them all.”.
The Right Honourable Williara Pitt.
Mr. Foster. “ I must admit, Sir, that a state of Slavery
ages, and in which so many important interests are
tire Planters, you are bound to put into the other the liberty of 800,000 of the African race ;, and which of these two different sorts of property is of the greatest value. Let us suppose an English gentleman to be seized by ruffians on the banks of the Thames, (and why not a gentleman, when African princes have been so served ?) and hurried away to a land (and Algiers is such a land, for instance), where white persons are held es Slaves.
Now this gentleman has not been used to severe labour (neither has the African in his own country); and being therefore unable, though he does his best, to please his master, ne is roused to further exertion by the whip. Perhaps he takes this treatment indignantly. This only secures him a severer punishment. I say nothing of his being badly fed, or lodged, or dothed. If he should have a wife and daughters with him, how much more cruel would be his fate! to see the tender skins of these lacerated by the whip! to see them torn from him, with a knowledge, that they are going to be compelled to submit to the lust of an overseer! and no redress! “How leng,” says he, “is this frightful system, which tears my body in pieces and excruciates my soul, which kills me by inches, and which involves my family in unspeakable misery and unmerited disgrace, to continue ?"_" For ever,” replies a voice suddenly: for ever, as relates to your own life, and the life of your wife and daughters, and that of all their posterity.” Now would not this gentleman give all that he had left behind him in England, and all that he had in the world besides, and all that he had in prospect and expectancy, to get out of this wretched state, though he foresaw that on his return to his own country he would be obliged to beg his bread for the remainder of his life? I am sure he would. I am sure he would instantly prefer his liberty to his gold. There would not be the hesitation of a moment as to the choice he would make. I hope then, that if the argument of property be considered on one side of the question, the argument of property (liberty) will not be overlooked on the other, but that they will be fairly weighed, the one against the other, and that an allowance will be made as the scale shall preponderate on either side."
Mr. Foster. “ I cannot, Sir, object, to the fairness of
this statement; and if the emancipation of the Negroes could be effected without endangering our West Indian possessions, I should most certainly advocate such a measure ; but I do not see how that is possible. Indeed, if they were emancipated, I should tremble for the cor.sequences.
It would be turning out on the peaceful orders of society, a lawless band of savages, who would, the moment their chains were knocked off, rush forward to the work of destruction; and with a merciless hand, they would wreak their vengeance on their former masters."
* As you are now, Sir, sketching from fancy, I am not surprised by the high colouring which you give to your group of frightful and horrifying images; but if you pursue this simple enquiry, What is meant by emancipation ? all these terrible spectres of rapine and murder will soon disappear. “Does emancipation from slavery imply emancipation from law? Does emancipation from lawless tyranny,-- from compulsory unremunerated labour, under the lası, of the cart whip, imply emancipation from all responsibility and moral restraint? Were slavery in the British colonies extinguished,—the same laws which restrain and punish crime in the white population, would still restrain and panish crime in the black population. The danger arising from inequality of number would be more than counteracted by the wealth, influence, and the armed force, possessed by the former. But independent of such considerations, the oppressed and miserable, corrupt as is human nature, do not naturally become savage and revengeful when their oppressions and miseries are removed. As long as a human being is bought and sold,-regarded as goods and chattels, - compelled to labour without wages, - branded, chained, and flogged at the caprioe of his owner; he will, of necessity, as long as the feeling of pain.--the sense of degradation and injury remain, le will, unless he have the spirit of a Christian martyr, be vindictive and revengeful. Oppression (it is said) will make (even) a wise man mad.” But will the liberated captive, when the iron yoke of slavery is broken ;when his heavy burdens are unbound, his bleeding wounds healed, his broken heart bound up; will he then scatter vengeance and destruction around him ?