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West Indies is decreasing, and that system from the charge of cruelty, this decrease is mainly connected or to represent its administration with sugar cultivation, it appears,
as humane and lenient. justly remarks the “Reporter," to From the statistical details in the be the least exceptionable mode of Reporter, a few plain inferences arriving at the truth, to exhibit in a seem fairly deducible. tabular form the statistical facts, 1. That the slave population of bearing on the subject, which may the West Indies continues to debe gleaned from the returns fur- crease. nished by the colonial authorities, This single fact we hold to estaand laid before Parliament. Forblish incontrovertibly, against the this tabular synopsis, which ap- system of slavery prevailing in our pears to have been drawn up with colonies, the charge of cruelty, and considerable labour and care, we to disprove the evidence which has must refer our readers to the “ Re- been alleged in favour of its general porter” itself; but the following lenity. The treatment of the slaves, are among the appalling results we are confidently told, has greatly which it furnishes. It appears that improved of late. Who are they the whole decrease of the slave who tell us so ? They are the resipopulation in our West-India colo- dent planters, the very men whose nies has amounted in six years to character and conduct are involved about 28,000, being 34 per cent., in the question, and who have not or & per cent. per annum. When only now, but in every successive we compare this with the growth of stage of this discussion, from 1787 the slave population in the United downwards, used precisely the same States of America, where the in- language. The declarations of the crease proceeds at the rate of nearly colonial legislatures, of the resident 24 per cent. per annum, it involves planters, of naval and military offia destruction of life equal to 3 per cers, of medical men, and even of cent. per annum. At the American clergymen, were to the full as rate of increase, the slave popula- strong in favour of the lenity of the tion of the British West Indies, system in the early periods of the which in 1818 was 746,651, ought controversy as in the present day. in 1824 to have been 858,648. Its One main cause of this unvarying actual amount in that year was eulogy, doubtless, is, that, at all only 713,317, leaving a deficit of times, men, who are interested in 145,33l, as compared with that upholding any system, are found rate of increase, which, with all the very dexterous in palliating every common disadvantages of a state of circumstance connected with it bondage, marks the superiority of which might endanger its stability. the United States in the physical It is obvious that this tendency treatment of their slaves, and espe- will be greatly increased, when cially in respect to the larger quan- those who have an interest in the tity of their food, and the smaller system are actually engaged in its portion of labour exacted from administration. Their reputation is them; for on these must the rate then involved in its defence. Their of increase or decrease mainly de- pride and self-love impel them to pend. Now there must be some- support it, and to resent every atthing peculiarly deleterious in the tack upon it as a personal attack British colonial system which can on themselves. But besides this, produce such fearful results-re- it is perfectly natural that men sults which form of themselves a should mistake the growing, and complete answer to every attempt, almost unavoidable, diminution of however confidently made, and by their own sensibility to its evils, for whatever shew of evidence support- an improvement of the system ited, which goes to exculpate that self. They can recollect the horror and disgust they felt when first “oppressed " inhabitants of Hayti introduced to the sight of the hu- have been more than doubling their man team in the field to the driver numbers ; and while among the and his cart-whip, the stocks and slaves of the United States the inand the hot-house, the indecent ex- crease has been rapidly progressive. posures, and the merciless lacera. -The climate of Jamaica and that tions, which form component parts of Hayti are the same. In Jamaica, of the system. Ten or twenty the Negro population has been dimiyears have quieted these involun- nishing from year to year. In Hayti, tary risings of nature. The sights the Negro population has doubled which originally shocked them have its numbers in about twenty years, become familiar. At first they were (from 1805 to 1825), its amount mere spectators, they have since being now about a million: that of become the administrators of sla- Jamaica, which in the same period very; and they are willing to flatter of time, and at the same ratio of themselves that the abatement of increase, ought to have risen to upthe pain they once experienced in wards of 700,000, does not exceed contemplating it, is to be ascribed, 335,000. There is, therefore, a ponot to that growing callousness of sitive waste of life occasioned by the feeling which necessarily springs Jamaica system, as compared with from familiarity, but to the amelio- that of Hayti, even on its limited ration of the system under their scale of population, of 365,000 huown more lenient and improved man beings in twenty years. How management. We do not deny that is this phenomenon to be explained? in particular cases great improve. It can be explained only in one way. ments may have been intended, and The toil of the Jamaica Negro is attempted; but we doubt whether uncompensated: it is extracted from even in these cases much has been him by the impulse of the lash : he effected. But there has been no is over-worked; he is under-fed. proof exhibited hitherto, beyond The toil of the Haytian Negro is the vague declarations of interested amply rewarded : it is voluntary : parties, to warrant the belief, that, his labour is suited to his strength, either in law or in practice, colonial and his food is measured by his slavery has undergone any substan- wants. The Negro in Jamaica is an tial amelioration. In this absence of inferior animal, divested of all civil all satisfactory affirmative evidence, and political existence, and who the negative evidence arising from dares not raise an arm in defence decrease of population seems quite of his property, or even of his life, conclusive, even if we had not had against the meanest White person many recent and well-authenticated in the island. The Negro in Hayti instances of oppressive legislation is a member of the state, and is and cruel practice. Even the po- amenable only to the law which pulation of Great Britain and Ire- protects him, and which Negroes, land, whom the West Indians re- chosen by himself, have framed for present as starving, increase ; while the common good. the peasantry of the West Indies, 2. It is evident, that, independwhom they describe as well fed, and ently of the other evils of slavery, slightly worked, as living happily, sugar-planting generally, as it is and even luxuriously, are decreas- conducted in the British West Ining. These too decrease, while the dies, is decidedly unfriendly to hufree Maroons on the mountains of man life. This arises, in part, from Jamaica, though unhappily strangers the oppressive labour which attends to the vaunted blessings enjoyed by the digging of the trenches for rethe slaves around them, increase : ceiving the cane, and which is exnay,, they have continued to de- ecuted not by ploughs and cattle, crease, while the “ wretched” and but by men and women ; and, in part, from the privation of their na- the principle which thus connects tural rest, to which the slaves are the gains of the planter, and the subjected in erop-time, extending high prices of his produce, with the to a period of four or five months misery and mortality of his slaves, of the year, during which they are we would only refer them to the obliged to labour for half the night Second Report of the Anti-Slavery as well as for the whole of the Society, pp. 16–33; and to the day.
Reporters, No. 19, pp. 283-285; 3. It is further evident, that the No. 22, pp. 321, 322; and No. 24, destructive influence on human life p. 386.If we are correct in the of sugar planting, as it is carried on view we have taken of this subject, in the West Indies, is aggravated shall we blame those, as guilty of by that very circumstance of fer- exaggeration, who affirm, though in tility of soil, which seems most to strong language, that the sugar of swell the gains of the planter ; and, our plantations is produced by the dn the same principle, is further blood of the slaves ; or, as unreasonaggravated by the extent of the ably squeamish, who object to aggraprotection afforded to his produce vate the evil, either by consuming against competitors, and of the that sugar themselves, or by restbounties allowed to him upon it. It ing satisfied with those fiscal regu. is not only that these advantages lations which factitiously enhance enable him to live at a distance its value? This view of the subfrom his slaves, who are thus left ject supplies, moreover, a satisfacto the care of mere hirelings; but tory answer to the argument, on that they form a strong temptation which too many repose as a justito an increased exaction of slave fication of their supineness in this labour. Accordingly we find, that cause, namely, that it is so obwhere the lands are most productive, viously the interest of the master yielding the largest return for the to treat his slaves well, that no labour of each slave, and a propor- foreign interference is required to tionately larger share of whatever that end; for it shews that various gain arises from protection and adventitious circumstances may conbounty, the ratio of mortality is cur, as unhappily they do concur the highest. We do not mean to in the case of our sugar colonies, say that the advantages of the plan- to bring the profit of the master ter and the mortality of the slave and the well-being of the slave into bear such a uniform relation to each direct and immediate collision. other, as may be made the subject 4. The progress of manumission of a very exact calculation : the ge- in the different colonies is another neral tendency of things, however, subject of curious inquiry; some is not the less apparent. If we in- important facts connected with it spect the first of the tables inserted will be found in the Reporter. in the Reporter, it is impossible not The rate per cent. of manumissions to be struck with the mortality which from 1819 to 1825, on the whole takes place in Demarara, Grenada, population of the several islands, St. Vincent's, Tobago, and Trini- varies from three in one hundred, dad, the very colonies which pro- the highest rate, to only one in duce by far the largest quantities of four hundred, the lowest. The sugar, in proportion to their popu- average price of slaves varies from lation, as compared with any of 161. 158. to 901 ; and the armount the other colonies, and particu- of taxes and fees payable in 1821 larly with Barbadoes and Dominica, to 1825, on each manumission, from which raise comparatively little 5s. to 391. 5s. sugar, and with the Bahamas, which 5. It is further evident, that all raise none at all. If any of our the alarms respecting the effect of readers are desirous of investigating manumissions in producing pauperism, which formerly furnished the is greatest in those colonies where pretext for imposing a tax upon their price is the highest, and the them, and which is still one of the quantity of produce they rear the reasons alleged for resisting the com- largest. This may only prove, perpulsory manumission clause, have haps, that the more fortunate adno foundation whatever in fact. In venturers in the West-Indian lota free Black and Coloured popula- tery are incited, like all other gamtion amounting to about 88,000, blers, by their very success, to inonly 227 appear to have received dulge in habits of greater profusion, even occasional relief as paupers, and to become more careless and being one in each 387 individuals; improvident in the management of wbile of about 63,400 Whites, 1675 their affairs. But even if this should have received such relief, being one be the real solution of the phenoin 38. The whole of the manumit- menon, does it not still shew that ted slaves and their descendants, the natural course of the moral gotherefore, in the West-Indian colo. vernment of the world is framed nies, are placed more above want with a singular aptitude to disapthan even the Whites; and it is well point the cupidity of those, whose known that a large proportion of object it is to enrich themselves by them are industrious and wealthy, rigorous exaction of the unnotwithstanding the many civil and compensated labour of their fellowpolitical disabilities by which their creatures ? efforts are most unjustly and injuriously repressed. 6. It is unnecessary to advert to
For the Christian Observer. the very low state of religious and moral feeling in the West Indies, The late Bishop Heber commenced, which is evinced by the small num- in several Numbers of the Christian ber of marriages of slaves in the Observer for 1811 and 1812, a series different colonies, and by the ge- of Hymns composed or adapted for neral absence of all legal sanctions the Church Service throughout the to such marriages ;-circumstances year. Having gradually enlarged which incontestibly establish the his collection, he hoped it might be prevalent disregard of the colonial deemed worthy of general adoption legislatures, and the colonial pro- in churches ; and for this purpose he prietary, to the best interests of the intended to publish it shortly after slave population. We see again in his arrival in India, but was prethis fact a confutation of that argu. vented by the arduous labours of ment, which would lead us impli- his episcopal office. The volume citly to rely on the master for has, however, just been given to the either clearly perceiving his own world, but with some considerable interests or for promoting those of inaccuracies. The well-known hymn, his slave.
“ Lo, He comes with clouds de7. There is only one other point, scending," and the still more popular connected with the above details, Hymn for Easter-day, are attributed to which we would now again direct to the. Bishop in the text; though the attention of our readers ; and it the error was discovered in time is this singular fact, that while the to paste in a slip of paper at the mortality of the slaves seems to end of the copies to correct it. One keep pace with the productiveness hymn is said to be a contributed by of the soil, and the consequent highSir Walter Scott;" but that hymn profits of the master, the distress of is the well-known version of the the planter seems also to run paral- Dies Iræ in the Lady of the Lake. lel with those apparently favourable These, and some other mistakes, circumstances in his lot. The pro- will doubtless be corrected in a portion of slaves sold in execution new edition. In the mean time, the following compositions from the SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. pen of this pious and highly gifted INCARNATE Word, who, wont to dwell prelate will deeply interest every Didst not refuse a guest to be
In lowly shape and cottage cell, lover of devotional poetry; though At Cana's poor festivity: it is doubtful whether all the poems Oh, when our soul from care is free, in the volume are adapted for public Then, Saviour, may we think on Thee, worship. The metre alone, in se- And, seated at the festal board, veral instances, forbids it.
In fancy's eye behold the Lord. There are some excellent hymns Then may we seem, in fancy's ear, in the volume from the pen of the And think, -even now, thy searching gaze
Thy manna-dropping tongue to hear, Rev. H. H. Milman; one or two of Each secret of our soul surveys ! which, with a few additional ones So
such joy, chastised and pure, from Bishop Heber, it is proposed Beyond the bounds of earth endure; to insert in another Number.
Nor pleasure in the wounded mind
Shall leave a rankling sting behind.
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY. The world is grown old, and her pleasures LORD!, whose love, in power excelling, are past;
Wash'd the leper's stain away, The world is grown old, and her form may
Jesus ! from thy heavenly dwelling, not last;
Hear us, help us, when we pray! The world is grown old, and trembles for From the filth of vice and folly, fear;
From infuriate passion's rage, For sorrows abound, and judgment is near! Evil thoughts and hopes unholy, The sun in the heaven is languid and pale;
Heedless youth and selfish age; And feeble and few are the fruits of the vale; From the lusts whose deep pollutions And the hearts of the nations fail them for Adam's ancient taint disclose, fear,
From the Tempter's dark intrusions, For the world is grown old, and judgment
Restless doubt and blind repose ; is near!
From the miser's cursed treasure,
From the drunkard's jest obscene, The king on his throne, the bride in her
From the world, its pomp and pleasure, bower,
Jesus! Master! make us clean! The children of pleasure, all feel the sad hour;
FIFTH SUNDAY IN LENT. The roses are faded, and tasteless the Oh Thou whom neither time nor space cheer,
Can circle in, unseen, unknown, For the world is grown old, and judgment Nor faith in boldest flight can trace, is near!
Save through Thy Spirit and Thy Son! The world is grown old !—but should we And Thou, that from thy bright abode complain,
To us in mortal weakness shown, Who have tried her and know that her Didst graft the manhood into God, promise is vain ?
Eternal, co-eternal Son! Our heart is in heaven, our home is not
And Thou, whose unction from on high here, And we look for our crown when judg- Who, with the Parent Deity,
By comfort, light, and love is known; ment is near!
Dread Spirit! art for over one! ST. JOHN THE EVANGELIST'S DAY. Great First and Last! thy blessing give! Oh God! who gav'st thy servant grace,
And grant us faith, thy gift alone, Amid the storms of life distrest,
To love and praise Thee while we live, To look on thine Incarnate Face,
And do whate'er Thou would'st have
done! And lean on thy protecting breast :
WHITSUNDAY. To see the Light that dimly shone, Eclips'd for us in sorrow pale,
Spirit of Truth! on this thy day
To Thee for help we cry,
To guide us through the dreary way
Of dark mortality! Be ours, O King of Mercy! still
We ask not, Lord ! thy cloven flame, To feel thy presence from above,
Or tongues of various tone;
But long thy praises to proclaim
With fervour in our own.
And Nature waits thy dread decree, Is found on earth no more ;