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passed solely to silence the clamours of the fanatics in England, that it was never meant to be obeyed, and that it would be unjust and impolitic to punish the violation of it. Huggins was acquitted ; and, probably, while we are writing this narrative of his former exploits, he may be employed in flogging another slave to death.

But we will not multiply anecdotes of this painful description. We might, God knows, fill volumes with narratives of West Indian cruelty and injustice. It is sufficient to observe, that, where the greatest crimes so often elude justice, it must be easy to inflict with impunity every petty suffering and privation.

The condition of servitude in our colonies is perpetual. The master cannot be compelled to relinquish his slave upon receiving either the original purchase-money, or the present market-price. Even where he is willing to bestow liberty he is not always able. The disgraceful codes of the islands abound with provisions intended to obstruct emancipation. In Barbadoes and St. Kitt's, immense fines, amounting in fact to a prohibitory duty, have been imposed on manumission. In other islands fines are established, smaller indeed in amount, but still most pernicious in their effect. In the Bermudas no slave can ever receive his liberty.

Lastly, every inhabitant of our West Indian islands, in whose complexion the slightest negro tint can be discovered, is presumed to be a slave, unless he can produce evidence of his freedom. The law considers servitude as the natural portion of the African, and liberty as the exception. To that exception he must make out his claim. And, in this arduous task of proving a negative, the law throws every possible difficulty in his path. He cannot adduce the testimony of a slave. In some colonies he cannot even adduce that of a freeman of colour. He may have been manumitted. He may have been born free. He may have passed all his life in England. No person claims him. No person pretends to know or to believe that he is a slave. The West Indian code, with characteristic wisdom and liberality, lays the whole burden of the proof on the unhappy being whose dearest interests are staked on the result. And unless he can demonstrate that which must often be, in its own nature, unsusceptible of demonstration, he is put up to public auction, and sold into perpetual and hereditary bondage.

People of England ! these are the West Indian institutions. And these institutions, replete with misery and guilt, these institutions, condemned by the whole spirit of the religion which you profess, and of the laws in which you glory—these institutions you encourage by your whole commercial policy ;-these institutions you defend with your fleets and armies. Over those colonies you have a just and an irresistible authority. Most dearly have you purchased the right, most fully do you possess the

power, to controul them. To enrich them your gold has been scattered like dust; to defend them your blood has been poured forth like water. Even now you are sacrificing to their cupidity every other interest in the empire. Even now your arms alone protect the master from the vengeance of the slave, and avert that day of deliverance and retribution, which otherwise would soon bury the accursed agents beneath the ruins of the accursed system.

“ Beware of provoking the Colonists,” is the cry of the timid and the ignorant.“ Remember the American war. Remember all our defeats and humiliations. Remember the capitulation of Saratoga, and the treaty of Versailles. What will you do if they resist?"--What indeed !-Woe to England when Nevis shall pour forth its two hundred invincible warriors to annihilate the legions of Waterloo ! Woe to England, above all, when Jamaica shall arise in her wrath! That island, when all its white inhabitants capable of bearing arms are called into the field, will probably furnish not much less than three thousand heroes, to defend her independence against a nation which cannot conveniently send against her much more than thirty thousand disciplined soldiers. Some second Washington will doubtless arise to defend the privileges of the cart-whip. Hodge is indeed no more. The cruelty of England has snatched from the slave-islands their brightest ornament.

The resentment of the colonists could not save, nor, alas! will their sorrow restore him. But Huggins, we believe, still survives. He will doubtless, like Cincinnatus, obey the call of his country, quit his plantation, exchange the scourge for the swe

word, and tear the laurels from the head of Wellington. But, seriously, who can refrain from laughter at the thought of this resistancethis combat between Tom Thumb and the queen of the giants ? Is it not the fact, that the whole white population of the West Indies would fly like sheep before two British regiments ? Is it not the fact that, without our assistance, they would be unable to defend themselves from their domestic enemies? Could they sleep in security without the protection of those bayonets which they have madly affected to defy? And these men have dared to mutter about resistance, and to dispute the legislative supremacy of the British Parliament over their assemblies. How long will the mother country, in all the plenitude of her parental authority, bear to be defied, disobeyed, and buffetted, by the spoiled and pampered child whom she could beggar in an instant.

“ But,” cry the West Indians, “ though your policy may not alienate, it may ruin us. Will you be so unjust as to withdraw your support from establishments which you founded, and which you so long encouraged ?-Will you interfere with rights which every obligation of public faithbinds you to respect ?" Rights! And have no men rights but yourselves? Obligations !

'

And is justice no obligation? Is mercy no obligation? Or are all obligations voidable except those which bind us to participate in the guilt and the infamy of your accursed dominion? Faith! And is no faith to be kept with human nature? Are we to sit down contented with recommending the improvements which we have full power to enforce, while to every request the West Indian answers, like the merciless Jew in Shakspeare,

*“ I cannot find it. 'Tis not in the bond.” No. The engagement cannot bind us. The compact is cancelled by its own iniquity. Our absolution is pronounced by the understandings of all who can reason, by the hearts of all who can feel, by the mandate of heaven, by the cry of blood from the earth. Our past encouragement of this system does indeed lay us under an obligation :-a solemn obligation, not to assist the cruelty of our accomplice, but to redress the wrongs of our victim.

But what if it can be shown that all these dangers are chimerical;—that the pecuniary interest of the colonies will not suffer from the abolition of slavery? What if it should appear that the economist has nothing to offer in defence of institutions which the moralist must for ever condemn? Can it be that this shame and guilt have been gratuitously incurred, and that we have sacrificed immense advantages in order to maintain what no bribe should have induced us to tolerate? Yet thus it is ; and thus, by the eternal connexion of effects and causes, it must for ever be. The principles of human nature render it impossible that a permanent fabric of prosperity should be erected on a foundation of injustice and cruelty. Industry is the common offspring of liberty and knowledge. The lash of the driver may indeed compel the negro to make a certain number of movements; but neither that nor any other instrument of cruelty can compel him, with his languid body, his gloomy temper, and his degraded intellect, to maintain a competition against the active, cheerful, and intelligent workman, who knows that his comforts will be proportioned to his exertions. The unnatural situation in which the slave is placed renders it his interest to produce as little and to consume as much as possible. Diligence and idleness, parsimony and profusion, alike leave him where they found him. He has no motive, but the fear of punishment, to augment the wealth of which he is never to partake. Hence his labour is, of all kinds of labour, the least productive.

This reasoning is fully confirmed by the present state of the West Indian colonies. After all the encouragement that we have bestowed, after all the privations to which we have submitted for their sake, what is their present condition ? A

triple length of navigation, and an enormous protecting duty, are found scarcely sufficient to secure to them a monopoly of the sugar trade against the free labourers of Hindostan. They are at the present moment complaining of distress, and clamouring for relief. We have opened their trade ;--we have fettered our own ;-we have sacrificed the interests of the East Indian cultivator and of the British manufacturer to their prosperity :and in vain. All this is inadequate to save them from the effects of their internal abuses. Their ruin is rapidly approaching; a ruin which nothing but the emancipation of their slaves can possibly avert.

It is true that the negroes are in a great measure unable to enjoy the blessings, and unfit to exercise the rights of freemen. It is true, to use an illustration which a West Indian overseer will easily comprehend, that their minds, like their bodies, have become crippled in the irons and callous under the scourge. But these circumstances, while they enhance the difficulty, prove the necessity of manumission. They are the worst part of a state of things in which all is bad. Slavery is indeed altogether evil; evil unmingled, unmitigated, unredeemed ; evil without any affinity to virtue, evil without any tendency to happiness. To all that alleviates the other miseries of life, to the tenderness of affection, to the majesty of law, it imparts its own deadly nature. But the withering influence which it exercises on the hearts and faculties of its victims is its foulest disgrace and its strongest security. It resembles the tree in the Italian romance, which showered poison from its boughs in such torrents that no one durst approach to sever its trunk. It is perpetuated by its pestilential nature. Its suppression must therefore, we fear, be gradual. Measures must be taken to improve the negroes, as the first step to their liberation. Worse than useless would be the benevolence of those, who, like the two daring brothers in Comus," would drive away the hateful wizard before they have taken off the charm from the senses of the fascinated prisoner.

“ Oh, ye mistook. Ye should have snatched his wand,

And bound him fast. Without his rod reversed,
And backward mutters of dissevering power,
We cannot free the captive that sits here

In stony fetters fixed, and motionless.” By what means the slave may be most completely and most speedily rendered capable of exercising the privileges of a citizen, we will not now inquire ; but this we will confidently say, that unless effacious measures be speedily adopted for the attainment of that great object, it is easy to foresee that a violent and bloody close will terminate this violent and bloody system. Jamaica may yet produce a Spartacus. But the planters have less danger to apprehend from their debased slaves than from their formidable neighbours. Amidst those islands where all the bounties of nature have so long been counteracted by the tyranny of man ;-amidst those islands from which European rapacity swept away the whole race of original cultivators, and which it has since repeopled with equally miserable but more enduring victims ;-amidst those islands which have exhibited at once the worst evils of polished and of savage society,—the strength of civilization without wisdom or mercy,-the ignorance of barbarism without energy or freedom ;-amidst those islands a black republic has arisen, --free,—warlike,-enlightened. The greatest prince and conqueror of modern times attempted to reduce Hayti to subjection. He made the attempt when an interval of peace had laid the ocean open to the arms which had subjugated the monarchs of the earth. The largest and finest army that ever crossed the Atlantic was arrayed against the emancipated slaves. The best soldiers of France, the heroes of Arcola and Marengo, were employed against an undisciplined multitude, whose backs were still red from the whip, whose limbs were still stiff from the chain. Perfidy was exercised in aid of force. The Haytians were surprised by an unexpected invasion, beguiled by false professions, disunited by intrigues. Their ablest leader was seized by treachery, and sent to perish in an European dungeon. Enormous bribes were offered to the black leaders. All the horrors of savage, and all the tactics of disciplined warfare were united. No mercy was shown to old men, or women, or sucking children. The blood-hound completed the work of the bayonet; and the nightly pit covered the still palpitating relics of the daily massacre. It was in vain. Wasted away by famine, by pestilence, and by the sword, that mighty army perished in the enterprise ; and the independence of Hayti was established for ever.

Can Negro slavery long continue to exist in the immediate vicinity of the liberated queen of the Antilles ? Is there nothing in our colonial institutions which might furnish a pretext for aggression? A black merchant, nay a black ambassador, proceeding from Port-au-Prince to Venezuela or Mexico, might easily be compelled by stress of weather to land in Jamaica. The law commands, that in such a case he shall be sold for a slave. Will this be tamely borne ? Or will the Haytians long continue to endure their exclusion from all commercial intercourse with our colonies ? Is it impossible that some able and aspiring leader may feel inclined, even without any particular provocation, to engage in so easy, and so glorious an enterprise as the extinction of slavery in the surrounding islands ? The

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