صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

insuperable impediment to the Christian baptism of the slave, the colonial legislators, not liking to pay any more money for such a purpose, very prudently enacted, that, in future, the baptisms shall be administered "without fee or reward."

But, after all, who, that knows any thing of Christianity, or of scriptural conversion, would give a rush for such baptisms? Baptism administered to adults, without instruction or any moral qualification, or to infants, without providing means for their education in the knowledge and practice of Christianity, is a solemn profanation of that sacrament. Such baptisms, indeed, give them a Christian name, but it leaves them the subjects of all their former pagan principles, superstitions, and vices. They multiply nominal Christians, but do not add a single individual to the church of Christ.

The acts in favour of the marriage of slaves, if not a mere dead letter, will greatly contribute to the improvement of their morals; and, unless their domestic and conjugal enjoyments be invaded by their licentious superiors, will much increase their comfort. After all, even these acts are clogged with difficulty to the poor slave. In some of the colonies he can only be permitted to marry one who belongs to his proprietor. No matter how much he may desire to be joined to one of a neighbouring plantation, or how ardent and reciprocal their affection, no union between them can take place. He must either be married to a part of his master's freehold, as an honourable member of the name of Burge, in his speech in parliament, on April 15th of the present year, with true West Indian taste and feeling, denominated the slave population, or remain unmarried for ever. And in the other colonies, where this restriction does not exist, no marriage can take place without the consent of their owners, and without the approbation of a clergyman. Without the consent of their owners! Poor slaves ! Suppose a law were made in this kingdom, prohibiting the marriage of all operatives and labourers without the consent of their employers, how would it be regarded? As an act of tyranny, which every man would despise and violate. And then were it addedand you must have a certificate from the PARISH PRIEST, that you are marriageable, or you must remain unmarried for ever," their indignation would be roused from Penzance to Johny Groat's house, and the priest who should dare to hinder them from entering into the holy and honourable estate of matrimony, would be placed in circum

stances at once the most unenviable and perilous.

It is easy to conceive of a multitude of cases, in which the parochial clergy would not encourage the marriage of slaves, when both the examination of the candidates, and the performance of the marriage ceremony are gratuitous. If the baptism both of adults and infants were in general neg lected by them, until rewarded with two shillings and sixpence per baptism, what reason has the public to believe that they will voluntarily come forward and perform a work not less onerous, for nothing? Besides, suppose a slave a sectarian slave, however moral or well instructed, to have offended a parochial clergyman, say parson Bridges, for instance, by overroasting a turkey, or some other such like felonious act, would he pronounce such an offender fit to enter into the sacred bonds of marriage? Instead of solemnizing the marriage between her and her virtuous swain, he would at once marry her to the thirty-nine lashes of the cart whip, and to the prison, and the stocks. Such are the prejudices of such men as Bridges, against those whom they contemptuously call sectarians, that, in multitudes of instances, the most enlightened and virtuous of the slave population, who owe their all of knowledge and virtue, instrumentally, to sectarian ministers, would, it is believed, be pronounced by them destitute of an "ade quate knowledge of the obligations of the marriage contract.”

Thus we have seen that their religious instruction amounts to nothing; that their very laws for the observance of the Sabbath are impracticable, and in direct opposition to God's law; that their baptism/is an unmeaning and ludicrous farce; and that slave marriages are subjected to the caprice both of owners and priests, who, whenever they please, can hinder their slaves from entering into this relation.

The second section of the Circular is headed-" Food, Clothing, Lodging, General Treatment.”

To persuade us to believe that every thing here deserves commendation, they tell us "that slaves shall be furnished with adequate provision-grounds; or, in default of ground, or during drought, a weekly allowance of 3s. and 4d. to each slave;" that in some of the islands they shall be allowed twenty-six days in each year to cultivate their grounds; that sick and infirm slaves are to be maintained by their owners. These and sundry other particulars are enforced by penalties varying from 5 to £100,


To the superficial observer, these legal enactments look tolerably well; but when a few things are considered, even here the miserable condition of the slave appears. "Slaves shall be furnished with adequate provision-grounds." But who is to judge of what is "adequate?" Suppose the slave should say it is not half enough? He has no power to compel his owner to give him an inch more. The owner, and not the slave, is the sole judge. And suppose, instead of the ground, he has wages, what is their amount? three shillings and four pence per week! Labourers in this country are thought most miserably remunerated, when they receive no more than seven shillings per week; but the poor slave who works from five in the morning till seven in the evening, under a burning sun throughout the year, and, during crop, generally from 16 to 18 hours a day, receives, on the shewing of the 40 gentlemen slave-holders, whose names are affixed to the Circular, no more than three shillings and four pence. This, small as it is, is nearly double the amount of what they actually receive; for these gentlemen have very carefully concealed, that the moneys specified in the abstract which they have published, is not sterling, but currency, the latter being not much more than half of the former. So that the total amount of the weekly wages of a slave, by which he is to be sustained for a fifteen hours' labour every day, from January to January, and year after year, is no more than ONE SHILLING AND TEN PENCE per WEEK!! Such is the condition of slaves! a condition which some mercenary scribes tell us is at least equal in point of comfort to the English labourer!

And then as to the penalties to which the owner is subjected on the non-fulfilment of the several legal requirements, we know, on authority which none of the 40 gentlemen slave-holders will controvert, that these are never enforced. "The colonial governments being required to furnish copies or extracts of the public returns made pursuant to their meliorating acts, and of any records of convictions or prosecutions for default of them, were driven to admit that those plausible enactments had been treated with universal contempt; for not a return, or the record of any prosecution for default of them, was to be found." The following is the answer of the council and assembly of Antigua: "The declarations required to be made on oath, by the proprietors of slaves, respecting the distribution of provisions, &c. &c. have not been made; nor have any prosecutions for the non-compliance with any or either of the said sec


tions ever been instituted against the defaulters."* So true is it, that colonial laws in favour of the slave are made not for his benefit, but to amuse and deceive a British public, and to paralyze their exertions in the great and important cause of abolition.

The third section, headed, Labour and Holidays, supposing every thing to the very letter were true in practice, exhibits the condition of the slave to be such as the meanest peasant in Britain would depre


The fourth section, headed, Punishment, though intended to shew the leniency of the present state of slave discipline, furnishes such a tissue of legalized cruelty, as cannot be contemplated but with feelings of indignation and horror, except by such West India callous-hearted honourable gentlemen as smiled at an allusion made by the Attorney General, in his speech, to the affecting and atrocious case of Kitty Hilton. Such smiles speak volumes, and shew most clearly, that familiarity with the every-day treatment of slaves, has blunted, if not entirely annihilated in them, every feeling of humanity. According to these laws, any driver, in the absence of both owner and overseer, may give the slave 10 lashes with the ponderous cart-whip upon his naked body, whenever he chooses, not indeed more than once a day, but he may if he please give him the same number every day. And in the presence of the owner or overseer, he may give him 39 lashes with the same dreadful instrument, every stroke of which not only causes the blood to gush, but inflicts a deep wound, and as soon as these wounds are skinned over, he may give him 39 more, and thus continue to lacerate the unhappy victim week after week, and month after month, till death emancipates him from the execrable tyrant, and removes him to the place "where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest." The slave too, on the mere caprice of his master, for any offence, or for none, may be sent to the workhouse, alias, prison, for 10 days, and there receive 20 lashes. Such is the system of cruelty directly sanctioned by colonial law!

The fifth section, headed, "Separation of Families," &c. refers us to several acts to prevent the separation of husband and wife, and children, from each other by sale. As slaves have been accounted mere chattels in all the colonies, so their owners

See Stephens on the Slavery of the British West India Colonies Delineated, pages 99, 100; a work which abounds in the most important information.

treated them as such, and when they found it necessary to raise money for any purpose, they sold as many of them as they chose, to such buyers as would give them the highest price. As an English farmer sells his cow to one, and his calf to another, his horse to a third, and his pigs to a fourth, so the slave-owner has sold his slaves; the father to one, the mother to another; one child to this estate, another to that, and a third and a fourth to others. Thus trampling upon the strong laws of consanguinity, and tearing those

"In sunder Whom love had knit, and sympathy made one." At the application of such language to slaves, no doubt such parsons as Bridges, and such Jamaica ex-Attorney-Generals as Burge, will smile. Let them smileit is perfectly natural that men accustomed to look upon slaves as mere brutes, and to treat them as such, should smile at the idea of their possessing the sensibilities and sympathies of our common nature.

Against these monstrous and outrageous attacks on every principle and feeling of humanity, the British public raised its voice, and a British parliament called upon the colonial legislatures to put an immediate stop to the abomination. And what have they done? The Circular of the 40 gentlemen slave-holders answers the question; and the following is their own account of the matter;-from which it appears, that some have not pretended to do any thing; others have pretended to do much, but have done absolutely nothing; whilst only two have, even on paper, done any thing effectually.

Under the head of Barbadoes, the article is omitted altogether; and under that of St. Vincent, though we have the title, Separation of Families, &c." there is not the slightest reference to it.

In Jamaica, Grenada, Dominica, St. Christopher, Tobago, Bermuda, Antigua, Demerara, Berbice, Trinidad, and St. Lucie, we have the law, but no penalty to enforce it. Such law therefore is a dead letter.

In Nevis, the law forbidding the separation of families by sale is enforced by a penalty of £50; and in the Bahamas, by a penalty of £100.

Such, then, is the present improved state of slavery! In every colony, except two, they may be sold separately; and even in these they may be driven to the slave mart by families, and sold like droves of pigs in an English market!

The particulars in the Circular, entitled, "Evidence, Trial and Defence, Right of Property, and Right of Action, and Legal

Protection," are so much in character with the particulars already examined, that it would be little better than a waste of time to dwell upon them. In some of the colonies slave evidence is admitted, but under such restrictions as, in a court composed as colonial courts generally are, would in many, if not in most cases, exclude it; whilst in other colonies, slave evidence is not received against his owner; so that he may do whatever he likes in the presence of his slaves with impunity. Rape and murders in such case would go unpun ished.

And is such a state of things to continue year after year, under the eye of a British parliament and a British public? It cannot be. Every thing British, and every thing christian, denounces it. Slave-holders say, they wish to put an end to slavery, but this is not the time. Suffer slavery to go on, and they will say the same 50 years hence. Put an end to it at once, and let no question of remuneration hinder it another year. Let the subject of remuneration be submitted to a dispassionate, impartial, and enlightened committee, and in their decision the country will cheerfully acquiesce.

But after all the outcry of slaveholders about the loss which they will sustain in case of emancipation, they have never, as far as I have seen, defined that loss. Sup pose slavery were abolished to-morrow, and I were a proprietor of a West India Plantation, upon which I had 600 slaves, where would be my loss? Would abolition annihilate my estate, pull down my mills, destroy my sugar canes, or coffee, or any other produce of my estate! No, the land, and the buildings, and the sugar, and the cotton, would remain as before the abolition took place. Would the abolition destroy the 600 men and women on the estate? No, not one of them. It would merely change their relation from that of slave to that of servant. The loss, then, that I should sustain by the abolition, would simply be the difference between what the 600 cost me as slaves, and what they will cost me as servants. And if what slave-holders tell us be true, about the good living of their slaves, and good clothing, and good accommodation, and good medical attend ance, and good nursing in sickness and in old age, the difference will be trifling indeed; especially when it is remembered, that under this new relation, they will have motives to labour, which have no existence in slavery. Remuneration being in pro portion to their labour, they will accom plish more in four days than they now perform in six.


But however great the sacrifice to be made, whether by the planter or the public, or both, humanity, sound policy, and christianity, alike require it. It is indeed urged by the advocates of slavery, that if slavery be relinquished by Britain, it will still be carried on by other nations; an argument this, which may with equal force and propriety be employed by pickpockets and horse-stealers,-"If you, gentlemen, don't pick pockets, and steal horses, others will, and therefore we may as well do it as any body else." Such, precisely, is the argument used to cool the zeal of the friends of humanity. Whatever other nations may do, let the British nation no longer sanction a system of the most cruel oppression and injustice, but, in the face of the nations, let her break the chain of the slave, and set the captive free-an act of moral chivalry, which will invest her with a glory far surpassing that which was obtained on the plains of Waterloo.

Weymouth, June 17, 1831.




Ir is lamentable to perceive men of talents and real piety uniting with Deists and Freethinkers, Arians, Neologians, and Socinians, in their attempts to overturn the established church, and consequently, in all probability, with it our present form of government. It was painful to the writer of this article, and, no doubt, to many of your readers, to perceive the severe attack made by one of your correspondents, in your number for February, on our esta blished church, but which was so ably answered by Mr. Tucker, in that for April


Many great and learned men, who have taken a widely different view of this subject, agree in opinion, that an established religion is one of the greatest blessings any kingdom can enjoy. And not only members of the church of England have written in defence of an established church, but men of different denominations have expressed themselves favourably on this subject, particularly Dr. Adam Clarke-one of the greatest scholars of the age-a man of uncommon talents, great abilities, extensive reading, and of deep erudition and unfeigned piety. His words, which I am about to quote, are in his commentary on the second chapter of the first book of Samuel.

“An established religion, when the foundation is good, as in ours, I consider a


great blessing-and if the bishops be faith ful, the establishment will be an honour to the kingdom, and a praise in the earth." And in his notes on the xiiith chap. of the 1 Kings, are the following observations :--"A holy priesthood, a righteous ministry, is a blessing to any state, because it has a most powerful effect on the morals of the community, inducing order, sobriety, and habits of industry among the people. This is the principle in which all national establishments of religion were originally formed. The state thought proper to secure a permanency of religion, that religion might secure the safety of the state, because it was supposed, from the general aversion of man from good, that, if left to themselves, they would have no religion at all. When the religion of the country is pure, founded solely on the oracles of God, it deserves the utmost sanction of the state, as well as the attention of every individual. A Christian state has surely authority to enact, 'The Christian religion is, and shall be, the religion of this land;' and, prejudice apart, should not the laws provide for the permanence of this system? Is the form of Christianity likely to be preserved in times of general profligacy, if the laws do not secure its permanence? What would our nation have been, if we had not had a version of the sacred writings established by the authority of the laws; and a form of sound words, for general devotion, established by the same authority? Whatever the reader may do, the writer thanks God for the religious establishment of this country." "God is the only ruler of princes," observes the same learned and pious commentator; "and as the peace of the world depends much on civil government, hence kings and civil governors are peculiar objects of the Almighty's care. Woe to him, then, who labours to bring about a general disaffection, as such things almost invariably end in general disappointment and calamity. It is much easier to unsettle than to settle, to pull down, than to build up."

And when shall we learn wisdom? will not experience teach us? How many thousands of lives were destroyed in the time of Charles the First, in order to esta blish a Protector on the throne, instead of a King; and were there not disgraceful dissensions, and violent contentions, between different sectarists at that period, in order to gain influence and superiority, particularly between the Presbyterians and Independents?-and after verging to the extreme of puritanical sectarianism, the whole nation nearly relapsed again, in the time of

Charles II, to popery, deism, free-thinking, libertinism, licentiousness, and dissipation. And it is greatly to be apprehended, that a similar crisis is now approaching, for the whole nation seems to be on the tiptoe of expectation, hoping for great and wonderful events, and indescribable improvements, from this new bill of reform. Many people expect a second golden age will come, from the abolition of tithes the confiscation of church pro'perty, and the downfall of the clergy; and vast numbers, of all ranks and denominations, seem to be uniting with this view; but if the church be plundered, the property of the nobles and of the higher ranks will not long be respected.

The cravings and demands of an infuriated mob, and of a licentious and disorganized populace, will not easily be satisfied. I pray God matters may not proceed to such extremities; but in all probability such would soon be the result of general suffrage and vote by ballot. Democrats and radicals might be generally elected, who would vote the house of lords and a monarchical government as worse than useless. On a moderate computation, there are ten men of desperate fortunes, persons who may be said to have nothing to lose, for one who is independent, or in easy cir. cumstances; and the former are naturally lovers of change, and advocates for reform, alias, revolution,-as they hope to pick up something in the general scramble. And there are many, no doubt, who vote for reform for the sake of popularity.

It was at one time thought that the Bible Society would have united together the church of England and all denominations of dissenters in one bond of charity and brotherly love; but now it is to be feared, that many of the latter are uniting with neologians, infidels, &c. against the clergy of the establishment, whether from jealousy and envy, or from an idea that the plunder of the church will probably be allotted to them, or assigned by government to reduce

the taxes.

There are many evils, no doubt, to be purged out of the establishment, and there is no want of those who will submit it to the severest regimen. But our source of anxious wish, in this time of trial and peril, of rebuke and blasphemy, is, that men of God, whether in or out of the establishment, should act as becomes their high calling, should humbly keep in view their own failings, and the manifold imperfections of their respective systems; and instead of joining with those who hate all godliness, whose hearts are enmity against

God, whose object it is to root out the christian faith from under the face of heaven; instead of joining and mingling with such, we say, to destroy the venerable establishment of the country, that they will join in all lawful measures for supporting our common christianity, and cherish warm christian affection for all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. There are, in the country, hundred of thousands of the members of the establishment, conspicuous for every Christian grace: with men of this character (wherever they are found) may we live; with them may we die; and with them may we be finally gathered. LLANRUG.



(Continued from p. 402.)

"I AM in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better," Phil. i. 3. The sophistical construction put upon this passage, to obstruct its force from bearing upon the sleeping system, needs only to be mentioned, to expose its futility.

Some maintain that the apostle does not mean to say, that his soul should enjoy the presence of Christ immediately after its having left the body; but that, as the space of time between death and the resurrection would appear so short, that he speaks of it in some sense as not existing. This was the gloss which Crellius, the Polish Socinian, put upon it, and whose opinion many of the same school have imbibed. But what sober-thinking man would ever imagine that the apostle would be guilty of such ambiguity of meaning? Is it possible, that he who counted every thing but refuse, in comparison with the knowledge of Jesus Christ, would prefer a state of insensibility to a life of faith and communion with Christ? Can it be supposed that the man who submitted to every deprivation, with a view to save the souls of others, and who esteemed the preaching of the gospel the highest honour that could be conferred upon him, would have preferred a temporary annihilation to a continuance in exhibiting the unsearchable riches of Christ? It is, in fact, impeaching the probity of the apostle to assert that he believed in a doctrine, which we find him contradicting in his preaching, and denying in his letters.

Others say, that the apostle alludes to the resurrection, and the last judgment, which he believed would take place in his

« السابقةمتابعة »