Obrázky stránek



Few among us have labored more assiduously and earnestly in the cause of liberty to the slave than Mr. Jay. The present pamphlet is one that has been some time before the public, but we are moved even at so late a day to notice it, in order by a few quotations to correct errors still prevailing in regard to the success of the West India Emancipation, having their origin in either the careless or partial statements of the public press. We are not aware that any authorized documents have appeared since the reports of Parliament at its last sitting, to contradict the satisfactory results it then made known to the world through its Committee. Mr. Jay in the first part of his pamphlet gives a clear and succinct narrative of the origin of the anti-slavery movement in Great Britain, and of the measures and early results of Emancipation in the Islands. This is all familiar ground. We confine our citation to his summary of the latest published official statements of the present actual condition of those Islands.

He says:

“Recent statements made in the English Parliament respecting Jamaica, since the foregoing pages were written, have been so grossly distorted by some American prints, that persons relying on their statements would have been justified in believing, that the predictions of the planters were after all to be verified, and emancipation even at this day prove a failure. On the 22d of March, 1842, Lord Stanley moved for a select committee to inquire into the state of the West Indian colonies in reference to the existing relations between employers and laborers, the rate of wages, supply of labor, et cæteru. The noble lord rem rked, that' Emancipation had in the benefits which were derived from it excelled the most sanguine expectations of the most ardent advocates of the measure. IN EVERY ONE OF THE ISLANDS the physical condition and prosperity of the laboring classes had reached to an extent far greater than had been anticipated; and what was still more gratifying, the improvement in their physical condition was accompanied by a corresponding improvement in their social and moral habits.' After recapitulating various particulars of their advancement, he said, to show that he did not exaggerate the improvement, which had taken place in the habits and condition of the West Indian laborer, he would read to the House an ex


tract from an official document, which he had a short time since addressed to a foreign power, in answer to a statement in which the experiment of Emancipation was alluded to as having proved a failure. The words were these : 'It will be found that the British Emancipation took place without the occurrence of a single instance of tumult or disturbance; that the joy of the negroes on the first of August, 1838, was orderly, sober, and religious ; that since Emancipation, the negroes had been thriving and contented ; that they have varied their manner of living, and multiplied their comforts and enjoyments; that their offences against the laws have become more and more light and unfrequent ; that their morals have been improved ; that marriage has become more and more substituted for concubinage; that they are eager education, rapidly advancing in knowledge, and powerfully influenced by the ministers of religion. Such are amongst the results of emancipation, which are plain and indisputable; and these results constitute, in the estimation of Her Majesty's Government and the people of England, THE COMPLETE SUCCESS OF THE BRITish EMANCIPATION, in so FAR AS RELATES TO THE PRIMARY AND PARAMOUNT OBJECTS OF THAT ACT !'

“Lord Stanley, in confirmation of these facts, quoted at length the despatches of Sir C. T. Metcalf, from which we have extracted, and said that to one of these despatches was attached a most singular document, showing the nuinber of those who had voluntarily entered their names as owners of possessions liable to taxation, and stating their willingness to bear their proportion of the public burthens. From this it appeared that in one parish, Manchester, the number of tax-payers in the year 1836 was 387, and that they had steadily increased until, in the year 1841, they numbered 1866. The number of freeholders becoming so by the accumulations of their industry assessed in Jamaica, as given by the Governor, were, in 1838, 2014; in 1840, 7848.*

“ Governor Light of Demarara, it was stated by Lord Stanley, gave similar encouraging views. His lordship then spoke of the very high price of labor in the colonies, owing to the attention which the colored people bestow upon their own freeholds, and the consequent loss to the planters; and this he proposed to remedy by a reduction of the expenses of cultivation by improved management, and also by emigration from the American colonies and the coast of Africa.

“ Such are the official statements of the English government of the present condition of the islands, which by American editors are distorted into “ lamentable accounts,”+ and are thus made matter for gratulation to the fawning parasites of slavery.

* Parliamentary Documents, p. 228. # The following paragraph contains the abstract of Lord Stanley's “The high prices of labor from which the planters are now suffering, it is very evident, have resulted in a great degree from the mean and narrow policy, which has been pursued by them towards the negroes, from the commencement of the apprenticeship. Twenty millions of pounds sterling did they receive when slavery was abolished. The heaviest curse that ever rested on a nation was then withdrawn. Free labor, more valuable by far than slave labor, as the magistrates have proved, was introduced, and with the exercise of only common honesty and ordinary humanity, the planters with perhaps, at first, a few exceptions in those, who during slavery had been as noted for their cruelty, might have commanded as much willing labor as they could possibly desire. Unhappily another policy - a miserable policy, engendered by the dark spirit of slavery, not yet extinct in the breasts of the masters, was allowed to prevail. The poor negroes, who had been toiling all their lives for others, were now for the first time to labor for themselves, and knew not how to make good bargains; of their guilelessness and ignorance, these tlemen of property and standing' took advantage, and in some cases, as already mentioned, the tenant was credited with 5 shillings a week for his labor, and charged 8 shillings for rent."

This is all eminently cheering to the philanthropist. It so far proves that immediate emancipation may take place with safety and even advantage to both master and slave. It is a pity, so far as the force of example is concerned, that this good deed, done in the West Indies, could not have proceeded from some other source. For England will always be believed to be prompted in her efforts against American slavery by some secret and selfish policy, so long as in other quarters of the world she inflicts such grievous wrongs upon helpless and half-civilized nations. There must be more completeness and consistency in her measures, before she can so far secure the respect kind, as to teach, with any effect, lessons of morality. A greater and more wanton assault upon the rights of nations, a speech, given to the public by the New York Commercial Advertiser. The Courier and Enquirer and several other of the daily papers had no notice of it whatever. The “ EXPRESS" was an honorable exception, giving a fair summary of the facts. “On Lord Stanley's motion, select coinınittees were ordered to inquire into the state of the British possessions on the west coast of Africa, and into the state of the West Indian colonies in reference to labor, wages, &c., the object being to establish a large emigration from Africa to the West Indies. Lord STANLEY GAVE A LAMENTABLE ACCOUNT OF THE STATE OF THINGS IN THE WEST Indies !!" — Commercial Advertiser, April 18, 1842.

of man3D S. VOL. XY. NO. III. 49

more flagrant violation of the principles of peace, of humanity and Christian philanthropy, a more heartless attack upon property and life was never committed by one nation upon another, than by England upon China in this inhuman war,— that is to say, if the origin and causes of the war have not been hidden from all the world, in secret despatches and the locked cabinets of both China and England. If the truth has ever come abroad, England has incurred deep guilt in the measures she has pursued, and the atrocities of the war she has carried on

a war of the Giants against the Pigmies. As a high-minded, generous people, to say nothing of religion, the war is discreditable to her in the highest degree. Her attitude throughout, especially of late, has reminded us of nothing so much as of a butcher, each hand armed with the murderous implements of his trade, rushing into a crowd of thoughtless children, cutting them down right and left till the ground is covered with their bodies - their feeble resistance only inflaming his passions the more, their wailing cries of terror only tempting his coward heart to yet farther deeds of slaughter - and all for what? because the children did not choose the butcher's boy should distribute among them poison in the shape of sugar plums. Setting aside wholly the question as to the justice of the war on the part of England, the manner in which it has been conducted, the massacres, not battles

not a battle has been fought — that have sacrificed lives by thousands, reflect anything but honor on the character of a Christian people. The voice of such a people, lifted up against the institution and horrors of slavery, will scarcely be listened to but with derision.

Much is said of the advantage to the world of the commercial spirit taking place of the military. But however plausibly the idea may strike one as a theory- in the main it is perhaps just - the example of England would seem to prove that the world gains little by the exchange. If it was not the ambition of conquest

, of power, the ancient spirit of war, that sent England into India, in the last century, and into China in this, it has been the spirit of covetousness, the love of plunder, the purpose of concentrating into the grasp of one people the trade of the world. And where is the difference, so far as the peace and happiness of mankind are concerned, between the insane ambition of sway and love of glory which moved Napoleon and his myriads, and the base lust of gold which builds its greatness on dollars cemented by blood which lays waste and enslaves


a feeble nation, but rich, to drain it of its wealth, and by its local governments make offices for younger sons and court favorites. The voice of such a power is raised in vain against the injustice and wrong of slavery.

England, we fear, with all her loud asseverations in behalf of freedom and peace - we do not doubt the sincerity of one of her noble army of philanthropists, but what, and while, they are building up, the cabinet, whether whig or tory, is employed in pulling down — is doing more to perpetuate the spirit of war and aggression than all the rest of Christendom. She is secretly embittering the heart of Europe. The rival nations are at present looking on in silence all at peace save this old Roman gladiator. But is there no secret plotting? Are there no wbispers of jealousy and fear passing from court to court? How much longer will they stand by, while one power, by conquest after conquest, engrosses to herself the commerce and wealth of the world? How much longer before this towering pride of the English throne will enlist against itself the combined arms of the nations, who, as they behold one people after another swallowed up, will feel bound by a principle of self-defence to strike a league for their common liberty, and so Europe again be converted to one vast battle-field ? How can it seem very different from the policy and purpose of Bonaparte, except that the movements at present made are in a remote part of the world, and the policy and purpose a little more subtle and disguised. She, who so needlessly nourishes and perpetuates the spirit of war, cannot and will not be heard, when, at the same moment, she turns round


the world with the tone and rebuke of a moral and religious Censor. Be it that some shall say, or she shall say, good in the providence of God comes out of this Anglo-Saxon progress with fire and sword — the world shall become English, and English is the best stock wherewith to stock it - so it may be said with as much pertinency that good in His providence comes out of slavery- that African pagans are thus gradually Christianized, and educated here as an army of missionaries with which, by and by in the ages, to subdue Africa to the law and influences of the Gospel. Admitting both allegations to be true, still it were the guiltiest impiety to make war, or make a slave on this plea.

When will Power learn to be just, humane, Christian ?

The following extracts from English papers will show that in what has been said there has been no exaggeration. The first paragraphs are, it will be seen, from a work by a Captain Bing


« PředchozíPokračovat »