« السابقةمتابعة »
are exposed to the fun in Madeira and Turk's ifland, the latter place is between Jamaica and Hifpaniola; there are about thirty inhabitants of the Bermudian race on this fandy barren island; their children run naked, and, as foon as they are able, rake falt at the pond, and carry it to the beach, where they pile it in heaps: it is their only article of commerce.
I obferved, with attention, the tawny fry bufy at their labour: their hair was coarfe, fhort, and curly; their skin as dark and brown as any Mulatto, and they were as rude and almost as wild, as favages; fo that no rational being would take them to be the children of white parents; then if in one generation they change to Mulattoes, in all human probability, in fifteen or twenty generations to come the defcendants would be black.
Blacks, I contend, are human flesh and blood, and have fouls and intellects as well as whites; and if their geniufes were properly cultivated, would make as great improvements in all the polite arts and fciences as whites; yes, most certainly they would. Good God! when I think how many millions of my fellow creatures have been murdered fince the beginning of this horrid commerce, and how many more are ftill groaning in bondage and mifery, and no profpect of a change, my blood runs cold. Great Creator of this terreftrial ball! furely thou didst not people one quarter of it to be flaves to the other three; nor didst thou cause the West Indies to emerge from
from the waters to be theatres for rapine and murder.-No-thofe iflands teem with bounce-ous nature and fpontaneous plenty; but barbarous man, tyrant of the world, has changed the delightful scenes to fcenes of horror, chains and torture, and unparalelled cruelty!
In Great Britain and Ireland the beafts of the field are better protected by the laws than flaves in the West Indies: for if a horfe or a cow is wantonly killed, or deprived of the tail or horns, or any way maliciously maimed, diligent enquiry is made, and if the offender be detected, he is brought to trial and tranfported; and though a white man or woman barbarously and wantonly attacks a flave, even the property of another, and lops off the ears, nofe, or tefticles of the fame, the only punishment by the law, though the owner of the injured flave prosecutes moft vigorously, is a fine, perhaps not one fourth the value of the flave: authenticate this affertion, I shall submit the first and fecond claufes of the Slave Act in Jamaica.
"After the paffing of this act, if any perfon whatfoever fhall wittingly, wantonly, or bloody-mindedly kill any negroe or flave, fuch perfon or perfons fo offending fhall for the first offence be guilty of felony, and have the benefit of the clergy, and shall fuffer as a further punishment, an imprisonment for fuch time as the court, before whom fuch offender fhall be tried, shall adjudge; K 3
not exceeding twelve months. That fuch perfon being convicted of felony for killing a flave, if fuch flave did belong to any other person than the perfon convicted of fuch felony, fuch person so convicted fhall pay the fum of fixty pounds to the owner to whom such slave did belong, to be recovered by action of debt."
The fifty-fourth clause of the Slave Act in the Inland of St. Vincent is as follows: to wit; "And be it further enacted by the authority aforefaid, that if any free perfon or perfons whatsoever, fhall* geld or dismember any flave, fuch perfon or perfons fo offending, shall and may be profecuted by prefentment, indictment or information, before the juftices of the peace in their feffions, or the juftices of Oyer and Terminer, and general goal delivery, and upon conviction of any fuch gelding or difmembering, the offender or offenders shall and may be fined any fum not exceeding fixty pounds current money, or less than forty; and fhall be imprisoned until fuch fine fhall be paid, and fhall give fecurity for his or her good behaviour."
*It occurs to me that fome one or more of the council or affembly must have been jealous of black wenches, and compiled this claufe merely for the purpose of gratifying their revenge on black men; and it is a cruel and ridiculous claufe,
Though there is a claufe in the Slave Act, fetting forth, That if any mafter or owner of a flave gives more than thirty-nine ftripes at one time to his flave, he is liable to be indicted before the juftices of the peace in their feffions, and upon conviction to forfeit a fmall penalty, this but very little protects poor flaves from the severity of cruel and vindictive whites: for as the evidence of a flave will not be admitted against a free perfon, a free person may flog in private his own or any other person's flaves; and supposing he was inftigated by the devil to kill them, if a free person was not prefent, he could not be injured; and if a flave who is wantonly cut and mangled, battered and bruifed by a white man, attempts to fave his eyes, his nose, ears, &c. by lifting up his hand in his own defence, he is inftantly brought to tryal before two or three calliloo justices, and immediately tucked up; this is, I appeal to all the world, a more cruel, unjuft and barbarous law than any of those of old; though the Gibeonites were flaves, kings could not injure them with impunity: Saul had feven of his fons hung up in his presence for murdering a few of them, though they were only "hewers of wood, and drawers of water," like poor Africans.
There was a law at Athens, fetting forth, That he who flogged or ill treated another's flave, was to fuffer fevere corporal punishment; and in some cases was put to death.
By a law of the Greeks, when a slave was barbarouflytr ated by his mafter, he could infift on being fold, and could chufe another mafter:there was a fimilar law at Rome, fo that flaves in thofe places had fome protection; but how is it in the West Indies? There their lives and properties are in the hands of their owners, nor can a flave do any thing through a virtuous motive: therefore, flavery is bad in various refpects: it is bad for the flave, because he is compelled to act contrary to his difpofition, to break the commandments, and to do every diabolical business he is directed: it is bad for the mafter, because he has an unlimited power over his flave, and infenfibly forgets all moral virtues, and becomes cruel, fierce and voluptuous.
Good God! how cruel and depraved the heart of man! I have known clergymen, on the most frivolous occafions, to order their flaves to be flogged and tortured, contrary to all the texts in the gofpel; and to fit in their piazza's looking on, finging and laughing at the fhrieks of anguifh forced by the lafhing and cutting of their drivers.
When a fhip arrives in the West Indies from the coaft of Africa with a cargo of negroes (three, four or five hundred, or perhaps more), an advertisement immediately appears in the newspapers, that on a certain day will be fold a choice parcel of prime flaves; and though they may be a mixture of different countries, fuch as