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OBSERVATIONS, &c.

IT
T is now many years since I read a Pamphlet respecte

ing the Injustice of the Slave Trade, and the Barbarity with which Negroes were treated by their Owners in the Sugar Colonies, written by Mr. Glanville Sharpe. Though not then established in this part of the world, my business had occasioned my temporary refidence in the West Indies, and led me also much among all the British islands, from Barbadocs to St. Kitts, inclusively. I had abundant opportunities of judging how far that gentleman's remarks and strictures were just and merited ; and I was fully convinced that he had been moft egregiously imposed upon. The greatest part of his assertions, I was satisfied, were void of foundation, and where he seems to have been better informed, every fact is beyond measure exaggerated. If I recollect right, he quotes some of the antient laws of Barbadoes as the rules of government of the Naves throughout the West Indies. In that instance, and, as far as I can remember, in the whole of his pamphlet, he appeared to ine to be unacquainted with his subject, and

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I concluded, he was then, as I am convinced he is

now, actuated by a zeal not according to knowledge.

It is long since the clamour raised against the Slave Trade, and the charge against the planters for the inhumanity of their conduct towardsthe negroes they possess, have reached them. The insignificancy of the persons from whom they originated, and the falsity of the reports they circulated, raised no other sensations amongst them, than those of contempt. Some, indeed, who had a knowledge of the cruelty and misconduct which one of the most remarkable writers upon the subject used to be guilty of towards the slaves that were under his care in one of the Windward islands, added to their contempt, a degree of astonishment at his audacity, equal to the detestation they formerly expressed at his behaviour; I should not, however, have considered any reply necessary : but, as this charge of inhumanity, against the planters, seems now to have gained credit with many people of worth and integrity, so far as to induce them, to consider it a duty incumbent on the good and virtuous of all denominations, to enter into a general combination, if not to procure an emancipation of all the negroes already in bondage, at least, to put a stop to what they consider as a most shameful traffic; by which others may be reduced to the like unhappy condition; a traffic, which is by some, said to be equally contrary both to the laws of God and Nature.

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Amongst many others, (who I doubt not are actuated by the purest principles of humanity and philanthropy), a gentleman, whose character I highly revere, has written from England, to a particular friend of mine on this island, declaring his intention of giving a bill,

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intended to be brought into Parliament to abolish the Slave Trade, his strongest support and assistance. To convince this gentleman, and those, who like him, act from principle, how grossly they have been imposed upon, in being taught to think so ill of the proprietors of slaves, I take up my pen; and doubt not, but I shall shew, that so far from the negroes in the West India islands being in a state of misery, their lot is to be envied by the generality of the peasants in every part of Europe.

In order to fulfil my purpose, it certainly is not incumbent to enter into a defence of the Slave Trade itself; and, under the present prepossession of all ranks of people in favour of general liberty, the attempt may be considered as imprudent ; yet amongst those who have now set themselves to oppofe this commerce, some persons may have religious scruples respecting the lawfulness of it, I cannot resist the temptation of pointing out to such of them, as allow the Scriptures to be the word of God, that they will find it there, exprefly tolerated, at least.

The curse upon Canaan, indeed was "A fervant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.“ But Noah said,

Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan Mall be his servant," God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem, and Canaan Mall be his servant.” Exod. chap. 9.V. 25.

Isaac

* It is generally allowed by the learned, that the Europeans are the descendants of Japheth. The Welch particularly claim to be descended from Gomer, his eldest son, and they antiently called themselves Gomeroi.

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Ifaac, when he blessed his son Jacob, said unto him, “Come near now, and kiss me my son ;-and he came near, and kissed him,---- and he blessed him, and said, -let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee; be Lord over thy brethren; and let thy mother's fons bow down to thee; Cursed be every one that curseth thee ; and blessed bę he that blesseth thee.” Gen, 27. V. 29, and again ; yerse 27, to Thew what was meant by Jacob's being Lord over his brethren, Isaac fays to Esau, “Behold, I have made him thy Lord; and all his brethren have I given to him for servants.

That the fale of men from very early time prevented niurder, is evident from the fame authority. Gen. chap. 37: v. 26. “ And Judah said unto his brethren ; what profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood ?. Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, and our flesh.”

It is contended by many pious Chriftians, that the moral precepts of the Mosaic law are of eternal obligation; and few people who profess that faith, will deny the authority of the Old Testament, as to those laws which are not abrogated by the New. Thus the laws of the Decalogue are allowed to be in full force; and I am in, clined to believe, that whatsoever appears in the Bible to have been authorised by the Deity, (who .was, and is,

The eldest born of Ham, who was accursed by his father, was called Cush, which, in the Hebrew language fignifies black. Ethio. pia, under which name it is supposed Africa is included, is called în Scripture, the land of Cush, and the inhabitants Cushim, or Çulha jtes. Is it an improbable conjecture that the Negroes are descendants of Ham, by his eldest son Cush? Which may, perhaps, account for the degraded fituation those people have ever continued in.

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and will be the same, then, now, and for ever) which has not, like the ceremonial law, been forbid, or changed since, by the same authority, cannot be considered as criminal. That the purchasing slaves is a very antient practice, is certain. It appears to have caused no surprize in the rest of Jacob's children, when Judah proposed the transaction to them; the Ishmaelites do not seem to have looked upon it as a novelty; and the whole of the account shews it to have been an ordinary transaction ; which surely proves it was not considered as either illegal, or uncommon.

That it was permitted by God, would be clear from the foregoing passages: But if any doubt should still rcmain in the mind of the Christian reader, his fcruples will surely be removed by the following directions given by the Deity himself, to Moses, in Mount Sinai. “ Both thy bond men and thy bond maids, which thou fhalt have, shall be of the Heathen, which are round about you; of them shall you buy bond men and bond maids. Moreover, of the children of the strangers, that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your poffeffion.

And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bond men for ever : But over your brethren the children of If. rael, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.' Lev. chap. 25, v. 44. Nor is it forbidden to the chil. dren of Israel to sell themselves to strangers; it is only provided, “in such case, that the near of kin may redeem them; and in case they are not redeemed before, that they should go free at the Jubilee. And, if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that

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