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All this, undoubtedly, bad as it is, very many respects, better off than the forms but one small feature. Small as poor peasantry of our own countryit is, however, it is sufficient to shew they will convert these at once into what the real character of these peo- a set of lawless banditti, revelling in ple's method of acting is; and there, blood. In doing this, they will abfore we have not disdained to say a few solutely ruin the fortunes, and, in all words upon it. The truth is, that probability, endanger, to a fearful exa TRUTH is becoming a matter of the tent, the lives of our brothers and kinsextremest rarity in anything like the men, the loyal subjects of this empire, discussion of anything like a public and entitled to all the protection of this question. By truth, we mean the bold- government. They will produce such ness of truth-the courage to speak a work of desolation as their limited manfully 's the truth, the whole truth, imaginations are inadequate to form and nothing but the truth.” Look, now, even the most distant notion of ;-and at that most interesting debate in the they will do all this, because they are House of Commons, of which we have foolish, weak, well-meaning, vain creabeen speaking-just look at it-read it gures themselves; and because they from end to end ; and say, honestly, are unwittingly made the tools of a set whether there ever appeared in the re- of deeper and more designing persons, cord of any one human transaction, a who take especial care to keep out of more extraordinary specimen of the to- sight at present, but whose motives and tal suppression of the truth. We see influence we are most thoroughly Mr Canning, Mr Baring, and many aware of. We must take this subject more men of enlightened minds, of li- out of the hands of these men, and beral knowledge, of rational conduct,. THESE ARE OUR REASONS. opposed to a set of people whom we Such, if this had been an age of all most perfectly know they regard as openness, and real above-board proa set of complete imbeciles, vain and ceeding, would have been the language restless (however well-intentioned and as every rational man is quite conwell-principled) agitators—so many vinced it was the feeling—of his Maliving specimens of humbug. But jesty's Ministers. But no; this is not does anybody dare to hint this ?-No, the way things must be managed in no. The subject is argued with a these days. Wilberforce, Buxton, and grave face, and the desired end is cle- the rest of them, must be borne gently verly accomplished. But does any in hand. If we spoke the fair, simple one venture to clothe that end which truth about them, we should perhaps every one understands, in plain, intelli- run a risk of throwing them into the gible words ?-No, truly. The real hands of the Whigs. The Whigs defeeling of the Ministry, and of Mr Can- sire nothing but a handle for creating ning in particular,we all perfectly know, confusion. Give them an opportunity was this:-Hereis a subject of the great of making a few grand flowery speeches est consequence--here is a subject fit about liberty, and they will read, withto exercise the intellect of the greatest out one shudder, the narrative of a and wisest of men,here is a subject whole colony bathed in blood and fire, deserving and demanding the closest over their chocolate the next morning. and most serious attention of the first All this we are perfectly aware of; minds in England. This subject a set nay, more-we well know that every of dreaming enthusiasts have taken sane man in these islands kpows quite into their hands; and, if we do not take well that we are thoroughly aware of it out of their hands, they run a great all this ; but yet, we cannot venture to risk of ruining, by means of their fol- beard the humbug spirit of the agely, one of the chief supports of the we must not speak out—we must deal commercial wealth of England. We in round-abouts, we must submit to must take it out of the hands of these flatter these imbeciles- we are setting Wilberforces and Buxtons, or they our faces to a toil, of which these peowill ruin the whole body of West In- ple are incapable of estimating either dian proprietors—they will convert a the importance or the extent-we are body of slaves, who are not suffering about to do what we feel to be our anything like the hundredth, the thou- duty, and a duty our hearts will resandth part of that misery which these joice in performing, cost what pain it people delight in describing--a set of may to us- we are setting our faces to slaves, who, in point of fact, are, in this great toil-we are entering upon this great work-we have freed our fault to have rekindled.--These men country from the danger of a foreign are accused loudly by the violent deyoke, and it is now our desire and our claimers on the other side of the dishope, that our future years may be pute, of having disclaimed, in their destined to be spent in the not less no- management of the abolition question, ble toils of interior amelioration. This and in every stage of it, any intention is a branch, and a greatone, of the great, of disturbing the condition of slavery, the arduous, the ill-paid toil to which as existing in the West Indies. we have set our hands and our hearts; Now, here we must at once espouse but the age of open sincerity in poli- their part. Be it so, that their lantical procedure is gone by. It is our guage as to this matter, was, on some duty and our desire to do what is right; occasions, more vague and incorrect but it is our necessity to keep terms than it should have been — we are not with folly in the midst of wisdom. prepared to say, that such was the • We confess it is not without sorrow case, but let it be granted for a moand humiliation we take such a view ment that it was so-Still we contend, of such matters, and such men ; but there could never have been, among we cannot alter that which we see. men capable of any degree of thought Our voice, at least, shall be open. We or reflection, the least doubt but that have no need to court the forbearance these men attacked the slave trade, of those we despise. There is still first, for its own hideous peculiarities, one corner where truth may and shall and secondly, but not less earnestly, as be spoken. And well do we know, that a part of the system from which the exwhenever there is the courage to speak istence of such a thing as slavery had the truth, there is no fear but there · come to be recognized within any part will be plenty of ears to listen, and of the colonial possessions of the Engplenty of consciences to acknowledge. lish crown. Whatever they said, or
Our object is the truth, and no did not say, nobody but a very thoughtthing but the truth; and we shall less person indeed could ever have speak the truth on both sides of the been blind to this. If the slave trade question. On both sides of the con- was an abomination, it always followtroversy, there has been a very greated as the clearest of consequences, that deal of unfairness. The Wilberforcians the existence of slavery was an evil. have dealt most unfairly in accepting We confess, that till we saw some the pledge of his Majesty's Govern- of the recent pamphlets, we should ment, and then continuing to speak scarcely have imagined it possible that and act as if there had been no coun any serious accusation could have been ter-pledge given by themselves-no brought against the abolitionists on pledge to be silent spectators for å time this head. Such, however, has been at least-no pledge to allow the Go- the case ; and we acquit ourselves of vernment a free stage for experiment, one of the most pleasing parts of our and for exertion-no pledge, the mat present duty, by thus declaring that ter being solemnly delivered up by we have listened to the accusation with Parliament into the hands of high and all the pain which the contemplation responsible persons, to have done with of visible injustice, in regard to a matall the meddling of these unresponsible ter of so grave and serious importance, associations, until there had been time was well calculated to inspire in imand opportunity for the Government partial and disinterested minds. to let it be seen whether or not they . Having said this, we have reduced really were in earnest in the part which the subject within still narrower limits. they had acted in the conduct and at In truth, abstracting all consideration the conclusion of that memorable de- of the personal conduct of Mr Wilberbate.
force and his friends, the matter is In these respects the Wilberforcian now comprized within a space of no body have behaved themselves in a very formidable dimensions. Mr Canmanner which we have freely confessed ning, in the speech which introduced ourselves unable to reconcile with any the resolutions adopted by the House honourable and manly standard of of Commons, pledged the government, public action. But, on the other as far as any government can pledge hand, we must do these men justice in itself, that no time should be lost in regard to another part of the contro- endeavouring to do away with those versy, which it is certainly their own most prominent features of hardship which had so long held the first place and the experiment that is successin every representation of the evils fully tried there, can have but a slenof West-Indian bondage. He pled- der chance of being met by any very ged the faith of Government, that its considerable difficulties when it is probest endeavours should be given to the posed for repetition elsewhere. total and immediate abolition of the On every account, therefore, we are use of the whip, in so far as female most anxious that Mr Wilberforce and slaves are concerned. This was con his associations would be persuaded to fessedly the maximum opprobrium. pause. The fact cannot be denied, that The Secretary also expressed himself the Ministry have within the last few as having quite made up his mind years done enough to entitle them to about the necessity of giving the cha- the same respect as internal reformers, racter of legal security to property re- which their conduct of the war of realized by negro slaves--and also of ex- volution so undeniably fixed upon tending the allowance of free time, so them as defenders from foreign aggresas to permit the exclusive devotion of sion. If these men are not to be trustthe Sabbath-day to the exercises of re ed, where are we-to whom can we ligion and the enjoyment of repose. look ? If we have not faith enough to Upon the more intricate question con give them “ ample room and scope cerning the admission of the evidence enough” for a work which they pledge of negroes, in cases where the lives themselves to go through with, to what and properties of the whites are in quarter are we to turn ourselves? The volved, Mr Canning frankly confessed prominent agitators of the emancipathat he had not been able to see his tion question are not statesmen at all way through all the inherent difficul and they that at least wish to lurk ties of that matter ; but he as frankly behind, are, as we shall shortly have avowed the strong tendency of his occasion to see, persons whose past hismind to believe, that, upon more ma- tory has been but little calculated to ture consideration, some practicable create any feelings other than those of measure of improvement as to this distrust-distrust moral--distrust poalso might be fallen upon. In regard litical-distrust religious—total and to the liberty of bequest, he brought deep distrust. out the very beautiful idea of making In the meantime, it is very gratifythis a reward consequent upon en- ing to learn, upon authority, which a trance into the marriage state, accord few sneering paragraphs in the last ing to the solemn institutions of Chris- pamphlet of the Mitigation Society tianity. In a word, the government have little chance of discrediting, that, is pledged already to do its utmost en- in point of fact, it is utterly false that deavours for the removal of the most no improvements have been already black and flagrant features of this in introduced into the condition of the itself evil condition; and which is a West Indian Negroes. That very rash matter of the very highest importance, and ill-judged production, “ The Apalthough apparently but little attend peal” which Mr Wilberforce published to by the worthy but rash men of ed in the beginning of this year, has whom so much has been said-his called into the field a highly respectMajesty's government possesses the able and most zealous clergyman of means of making experiments as to the name of Bridges, * who has long this matter, with far greater hope of been resident in Jamaica, and who success, and speedy success too, than necessarily, from the character of his even the Legislature of England could office, has had the very best means of possibly attain. For there are several making himself acquainted with the islands in the West Indies entirely real state of the negro population of free from any control of provincial that great island. This gentleman's assemblies, &c.-appendages to the letter appears to have excited feelings Crown, and nothing more. It is there, of no pleasurable nature in a certain as Mr Canning, of course, took occa- quarter-and no wonder; for, in truth, sion to hint, that the government will Mr Bridges, churchman though he be, make its first experiments. There it seems to be far more than a match for can act free, unfettered, unopposed; the church-despising institutionists
A Voice from Jamaica; in reply to William Wilberforce, Esq. M. P. By the Rev. George Wilson Bridges, B. A. Longman and Co., London. 1823.
against whom he has been induced to benevolent exertions in the cause of justice draw his pen. His little pamphlet is and OF TRUTH. You, sir, doubtless, are composed, in general, in a style that actuated by the same humane motives, and does him honour-a sprinkling of La. hope for the same celestial rewards ; but, tin quotations, rather of the tritest or
permit me to remind you, that you follow der, may indeed throw rather a ludi
that great man at an immeasurable dis
tance. crous air over some passages; but, on
Instead of endeavouring to gain
the most satisfactory information, you sit the whole, the production is evidently
calmly in your library, compose speeches, that of a gentleman, a Christian, and
and write books, on countries you have nea philanthropist. But this philanthro
ver visited ; on the imaginary condition of pist has really lived in the West In- a race of people four thousand miles from dies. Hear in what language he ven- you ; and in defamation of fifty thousand tures to address the Honourable Mem- of your countrymen, zoho are actually la. ber for Bramber:
bouring with you in the same cause of hu.
manity, though, from experience, with “ You, sir, have never been in the West
more circumspection; content, it should Indies ; you have never viewed the habits
scem, to gather the little information you of negro life in its indigenous state ; nor possess from the disappointed or disgraced ever had communication with that people, refugees of these traduced colonies." other than what you may have obtained from some casual intercourse with a few It is thus that an English gentleman, individuals in London, who have visited
everyway as well educated as Mr Wilyou as their avowed protector, and the
berforce, and certainly possessed of ready listener to their tales of woe; yet you conceive your knowledge of their character
much better opportunities for underto be perfect. As perfect, sir, as is that
standing the true state of West Indian you would form of the English peasant,
affairs than he can haveenjoyed, thinks from the artful tale of a wandering street.
himself entitled to address a person for beggar at your door.
whose character as a philanthropist he " Allow then one who has profited by had once, as he himself tells us, been all those opportunities which you want, one accustomed to entertain an almost suwhose professional duties induce an inti. perstitious degree of veneration. The mate acquaintance with the negro character simple fact, that a gentleman, situain its progressive stages of improvement; ted, in all respects, as this Mr Bridges one who is equally anxious as yourself to is, has ventured to write such a pamph. see the negroes raised to the rank which
let as this at this time, after all the all Christians should be first rendered com
discussions that have taken place, at petent to sustain, to tell you that you are
the back of all this voluminous paper fatally in error throughout;-that, in fact, you know little of their actual state ; and
war, in the teeth of all this array of
war, in the teeth that if your views of the case are founded Associationsand Institutions, is at least on the statements detailed in your « Ap a sufficient proof of one thing—and that peal,' they are as inaccurate and pre. one thing is neither more nor less than mature, as the information you have ob this : that Mr Canning ought to begin tained is false.”
his career with sending out some really And again
sensible, impartial, and well-educated “Las Cases, the great philanthropist, man or men, to collect something like whose labours were, for fifty years, exclu. a real body of information regarding sively directed to the melioration of slavery
the actual state of the West Indian in the West Indies, before he ventured to charge his fellow-countrymen with cruelty,
slaves at this moment. Nothing can - made repeated voyages across the Atlantic,
be done well, or wisely, or effectually, to inform himself correctly on the subject
until there is a clear foundation of of their actual condition ; 'unwilling, from knowledge to build upon. And it cerhearsay evidence only, to cast imputations tainly does strike us as a most remarkupon men who possibly might not deserve able thing, that, while every season them; and thinking it not too much to sa- brings so many Tours, descriptive of crifice a life of ease and opulence to effect foreign countries with which we have, strict justice in the cause he undertook. comparatively speaking, nothing to do, His equity, and his impartial labours, we have no one good book of travels though not crowned with all the success
ess in the West Indian islands. If any they so richly merited, yet obtained for him the gratifying title of 'Protector of the In. one man of common observation would dians ;' a meed of honourable fame which go out for a year, and give us, at the will attach to his name as long as the world end of that time, a plain unvarnished exists ; and he is, doubtless, now wearing
diary of his residence, we should know a bright diadem of immortal glory, the re. more of these regions, and of the real ward of his upright philanthropy, and condition of their inhabitants, than we shall do fifty, ay, a hundred years "Amongst your numerous pugæ cohence, if we have nothing to look to noræ,' you say that your feelings are shockbut the vampeil-up ex parte statements
"ed by hearing some of the partisans of the of the appendices of institution and
West Indies have re-echoed the assertion, association reports. This hint we drop
that these poor degraded beings, the negro -and stop there for the present. His
slaves, are as well, or even better off than
our British peasantry.' P. 45. Now, sir, Majesty's government have sent out
if a constant supply of all the necessaries commissioners to inspect Botany Bay of life; the best advice and assistance in
-how infinitely more necessary is it sickness ; perfect reliance on the future to send out for sound information con- support of themselves and children ; if cerning those great colonies, in the warm houses, freedom from all restraint soil, commerce, and shipping of which, during fourteen hours of relaxation out of it is probably much within the mark every twenty-four, with a proportion of lato say, that TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY bour incalculably inferior to that of our MILLIONS STERLING of British cápital own English workmen, whose o'er-wearied are invested!
slumbers are too often broken by the agoni. In the present inadequate state of
zing thoughts of the future, or by vain at
tempts to sooth the heart-rending cries of information which surrounds and in
their hungry helpless children ; if these are cludes us, there are two circumstances
blessings which can elevate the one above which certainly have always weighed
the other, so far the comparison is infinitevery strongly upon our minds when ly in favour of our West Indian labourers. considering these matters, and the op- And without intending to render the Eng. posite points of view in which the con- lish peasant discontented with his condiAlicting parties represent them. The tion, I will add the important truth, that first of these is the paucity, after all, the advantages I have enumerated as posthe extreme paucity, of instances of sessed by the negro, ARE HIS OWN BY actual cruelty and oppression, which LAW; he claims them as his right, and Mr Wilberforce and his friends have
holds them by a far more noble tenure, of been able to bring home to the plant
which he is fully aware, than the British ers. In spite of all the books they have
labourer holds the parish pittance, that ra.
ther prolongs his misery, than relieves his written, their facts are amazingly few
wants. And for this reason, that the ne. the same stories are endlessly re
gro either has already paid, or is now pay. peated, which certainly argues no ing his master, with his labour, for the wealth of stories ; and, what is still comforts which that master is compelled more suspicious, the far greater pro- by law to allow him ; he therefore receives portion of the stories are of very old his allowance with a feeling of indepen. date. We have quotations from Bar- dence, and as the wages of his service. badoes of one hundred and fifty years And to prove the ample means which are standing, and of long since obsolete
placed within reach of the industrious slave,
let me mention, that on an estate in the statutes and enactments everywhere. And the instances of anything like
anythin, liks parish of Westmoreland, the overseer be.
ing about to make a large purchase, was modern, not to say contemporary atro
accosted by one of his slaves, who told him eity, are so Iew, that they have been that he was aware of his need of money at reprinted en masse ny times over in that moment, that he had about four hunthe space of half a dozen pages. Now,
dred pounds by him, his friend, another what a contrast is here to the over slave, as much more, and that it was all whelming richness of detail which much at his service to supply his immediate these same men poured upon the in wants. With respect to enjoyments supedignant world, when their object was rior to those of sense, you urge their prethe abolition of the African trade in sent incapacity, yet you draw a comparison slaves! Their diligence, in both in which in that respect confessedly places stances, has been great-probably equal
them on a level with the English peasantry, -how different, how prodigiously dif
• Is there, you say, “ in the whole three
kingdoms, a parent or a husband so sordid ferent, the result! And then what a mass of evidence is there on the other
or insensible, that any sum, which the rich
est West Indian proprietor could offer him. side of the question ! how many affect- would be deemed a compensation for his ing stories of negro attachment have suffering his wife or his daughter to be we not all of us met with ! how strange subjected to the brutal outrage of the cartis the contradiction between the two whip, to the savage lust of the driver, to parties ! Hear once more the Reverend the indecent, and degrading, and merciless Rector of Manchester, Jamaica-(he punishment of a West Indian whipping.' is addressing Mr Wilberforce, as be P. 47. Now, sir, “comparaison n'est pas fore)
raison;' and, unless you allow to the ne.