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to throw odium upon the West India planters, attempting at the same time to prove and dilate upon the deterioration of the West India soil, and laud the preferable produce, soil, and free labour of the East India, proprietors. This is a material point to ascertain, and no doubt will be appreciated by Parliament accordingly.
Most certainly I should have moved an amendment to your motion, for petitioring the House of Commons, and have attempted to shew the far greater urgency of other cases for our pity, commiseration, and interference, than that of the well-fed, regularly worked, singing, dancing, happy negroes of the West India islands; but, seeing so many reverend divines, bankers, and 'merchants afar off, amid the clouds and symbols of a musical heaven, raised so far above their fellows, how could a humble individual pretend or find modest assurance sufficient to take so unequal a field: as well might the witness attempt to combat with a barrister, as a layman to harangue and publicly argue with a practised parson, and lo, on the high seats enthroned were seven ecclesiastics ! But, granting the propriety of an abolition : of a complete change of property, is this, I would ask, the time to get up petitions, to load the tables of the House of Commons with the signatures of thousands of unthinking individuals, many of whom sign by influence, and probably, who, if asked, would not know the difference between the spirituous sugar of the West, and the sweet clay of the East Indies. A few months have but elapsed since Mr. Canning's five resolutions or laws were passed, in favour of the negroes' security and happiness, but the abolitionists are as the seamen represent the negroes to be; more discontented in proportion to the grants and concessions made to them. Give a negro an inch and he'll want or take a fathom, is their proverb from experience; and, it is a well-known fact, where there is one act of punishment by British planters, there are ten by the Portuguese and other proprietors, and about twenty in these isles of freedom and liberty. It is a question with me, Sir, whether the negro population of our colonies do not enjoy a greater ratio of bappiness, than the majority of the labouring population of the United Kingdom; they are never half-starved and debilitated by fatigue and want, they have no care for the morrow,
“ With circling dance they beat the ground,
The joyous song still reigns around.' While our ploughmen homeward plod their weary way, our sickly artizans ply their arduous tasks in an unnatural degree of heat! Hundreds delving below the surface of the earth, shut out from the light of heaven! Thousands half naked exposed to the fiercest heats and sudden colds; and at this moment probably half a million out of employ, wanting both food and raiment; and is this a time to petition the House of Commons upon an imaginary
case of distress abroad, when the horrid reality stares us in the face at home? For I contend, Sir, it is an imaginary case, and the fact self-evident, that there is tenfold more crime, with consequent executions and imprisonments, in this boasted land of liberty, than in our colonies, taking an equal number of slaves and self-styled freemen. What then, I would ask, is liberty the cause of vice or mismanagement? Either then the slaves are better managed, of liberty is productive of crime, imprisonment, and death. Is it not horrible that two tradesmen have been murdered in their own shops, within these three months? and, if I am right here, that there is less crime in the West India islands proportionately to Great Britain, then it must follow as a necessary result, the population are more happy, for
« 'Tis a truth enough for man to know,
Virtue alone is bappiness below.” then, Sir, it follows that a real philanthropist would have founded a petition for a reformation of our laws at home, or for a better execution of them, so that the frightful tide of crime and punishment may be stayed in our native land. In the meeting at the Music Hall there was a paucity of argument, and a redundancy of declamation. The Rev. Mr. Wilson took something like a fair view of the case between the philanthropic abolitionists and the owners of estates, but he overlooked unhappy Ireland, the benighted semibarbarous Highlanders, and the distress of the country in which he enjoys affluence and comparative independ
Mr. Roscoe's letter was honourable to him as a man of feeling, but when he affirmed we were the cause of negro slavery, the position was incorrect, for we cannot be the cause of that wbich has existed for.preceding ages. The Rev. Dr. Stewart was clearly for strengthening the hands of ministers, but while with a high hand and an outstretched arm they reach forth and collect fifty-seven millions of money annually from the people, surely they want not the worthy doctor's support. One speaker alone, Ottiwell Wood, Esq. addressed the elevated synod from the body of the hall. His address was more laudatory of the late Messrs. Corrie, Rathbone, Rushton, and of Mr. Roscoe, than replete with arguments in favour of emancipation. It is a remarkeble fact, and worth mentioning here, that the two most sensible, publicspirited, ard patriotic men ever connected with the society of Friends, I allude to the calumniated, reviled, and banished Thomas Payne; the honest, candid, independent, and injured Wm. Rathbone,-both suffered for their opinions. You knew this, Mr. Cropper, and you also know that several persons are confined in the cells of Newgate up to this hour, merely for matters of opinion publicly expressed. And when will you ever convene a meeting for the promotion of freedom in this respect? I much fear, Sir, you resemble Mr. Wilberforce, who I saw two
or three years ago in the House of Commons, armed with Arctis deacon Paley's Theology, resisting the petition of a poor woman, with an infant family, who pleaded at the bar of the House of Commons, through the influence of that indefatigable representative, Joseph Hume. She pleaded for the liberty of her husband from that worst of bondage, the confined precincts of a gaol. How inconsistent, Sir, was such a picture, compared with the scene of the friend to liberty emancipating the negroes. They may call him king Wilberforce, but in my opinion such unfeeling legislation plainly indicates a man to be the subject of superstition, bigotry, prejudice, and error.
Sorry should I be, Sir, to oppose for one moment any reasonable plan for the amelioration of the slaves, but had I been a volunteer abolitionist, I should tremble at the hopes I had excited in the poor deluded negroes, the disaffection I had created by inflammatory language, and should sicken at the carnage that took place last year at Demerara ; every rebellious head, every ghastly countenance exhibited on the walls and upon the posts of that town, would to my imagination writhe, grin, and gibe at my foolish and hasty interference, and my presumptaous attempts to assist the slaves, in getting by force emancipation or freedom ; thus rendering them miserable, restless, and desperate. Granting your utmost views were accomplished, that they had thrown off the yoke of their masters, that by these means the soil was neglectert, labour reduced, crops failing, then, Sir, you would perhaps direct us to the supplies from India; and here is an appalling pieture indeed! At this moment there is a sanguinary warfare going on to secure our Indian possessions; a greater waste of human life by the sword in one year than has been exhibited by the western colonies in ten years. Have you forgotten a whole regiment of native Indian infaniry were enclosed, fired upon, and cut to pieces for revolting from European Christian government; and do you, Sir, uphold this system of force, of bloody warfare, and say it is preferable to negro slavery? Can such things overcome us like a summer's cloud, without our special wonder. View the operations of the Burmese, consider the valour with which they contend for their native plains and rights; they, although not so ferocious a species of man as the African negro, yet are hateful of our oppression, enraged at our inroads upon their religion, country, and laws. What a sight is it to view one ship laden with missionaries, another with armed men of war.
Contrast the account:—the three days sanguinary fight mentioned in the last arrivals from India, and the following from Bermuda, dated March ultimo:-“We have begun, and still continue our endeavours to abolish Sunday markets; but, indeed, negroes can every day send the produce of their own gardens for sale. How few, Sir, in this frce country enjoy this privilege, the healthful blessing of a garden. - Is not every recreation every pastime of a public and
healthful nature put down ; and are not our labouring, our most = useful class of people reduced to the almost solitary injurious en, joyment of ardent liquors at the tavern. Besides, Sir, if I understand rightly, the India cultivators of the soil are hereditary bondsmen, the slaves of slaves ! They are bought and sold,
brothers are separated from their sisters, children from their parents. These East India slaves are miserably supplied with food, living in small wretched huts like baskets, and itis notorious that the ill treatment they receive renders them diminutive in stature, and squalid in their appearance ; indeed, the price of these slaves 'shews the value of human beings in free India ; a man and bis wife will cost from six to eight pounds; if two or three children, from two pounds ten shillings to three pounds in addition, and these are not ferocious woolly headed savages, but wild, inoffensive, effeminate creatures, with human hair, whose ereed is: it is painful to walk, that lying down is better than sitting, that sleep is better still, but death the best of all. If these poor creatures, to use Mr. Smith's expression at your meeting, have no aptitude for work, then how hard, how much more wretched is their situation than the sturdy, well-fed, athletic negro in the West Indies?
"I cannot, for a moment, suppose you seek personal aggrandizement and wealth from an extension of commerce witle India, and that in the attainment of that object you are cool and indifferent to the interests of the lawful proprietors of West India estates; I acquit you of so mean, so selfish a plan, but this I do most conscientiously believe, that true philanthropy would be more clearly evidenced by petitioning the Commons' House of Parliament for relief to our starving weavers and manufacturers, for the abolition of the restrictions upon the importation of corn, for the extension of education and employment to our halfclothed, half-starved, and industrious willing brethren of Ireland, who are almost brutalized by neglect and indifference, for an extension of the liberty of the press, and release to the captives who are imprisoned in dungeons for mere difference of opinion. True philanthropy, Sir, would pray that the affairs of this country, and happiness of its inhabitants; should not be blown about at the mercy of a flimsy, artificial medium, such as the paper carrency, which prostrates the happiness of the people at the shrine of bankers and directors, at the same time holding forth inducements to greedy speculators and monopolizers, as well as to criminals, whose lives have been sacrificed so frequently for the protection and maintenance of the baseless fabric.
“ Were yon, Sir, to found a petition to the House of Commons, beseeching the interference of Government between the invading and barbarous Iurk, and the suffering, yielding Greek, disinte. rested pure philanthropy would be demonstrated beyond a doubt; there we behold men, women, and children exposed to all the hor
rors of famine and the sword, defending their properties and lives to the last gasp, but no helping hand is stretched out to their assistance, no voice raised to stop the indiscriminate massacre of the noblest and most beautiful of the human species. Oh! 'tis a shame to genius, to philanthropy! to Great Britain, to America, that the voice of your brothers' blood should cry unheard, unregarded from the ground! That the isles of Greece should resound with the groans and shrieks of the struggling, dying children of liberty, that the inhabitants of the isles of Britain should stand unmoved, and regardless as the rocks that surround their shores!
“ Before putting this letter to press, allow me to call your attention to the state of affairs in Blackburn ; there we see ten thousand unemployed industrious men, rendered furious by 'distress, and madiy destroying machinery and factories : the military are called in, and what a scene is this exhibiting at the very time you are deliberating in public assembly, upon relieving negroes, who are without distress, who are well fed, cheerful, and generally speaking, happy.
Apologising for the disjointed and hasty manner of this communication, and recommending the matter thereof to your serious consideration, “ I subscribe myself, Sir, your's truly,
“ A FRIEND TO GENERAL EMANCIPATION.” April 26, 1826.
The followiny Correspondence is taken from an old newspaper and
is a specimen of the character of the Vice Society at its commencement :
CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE SECRETARY OF THE SOCIETY
FOR THE SUPPRESSION OF VICE, AND SOME YOUNG LADIES.
We are assured that the following very curious Correspondence is genuine :
No. 9, Vigo-lane, Piccadilly, May 29, 1809. Young LADIES,
(Peace be among you !) alam directed by one of the Worshipful Governors of the So