Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

went away; they were frightened; heard that when they turned out they were to be surrounded, and if any ran away they were to be shot and handcuffed."

From this evidence, I think it is very plain, that the discontent of these Slaves on Mr. Malcolm's estate (and they were the ring-leaders) arose from their being deprived of the Saturday, which they considered their due, and which was truly so, according to the law of Jamaica; for it must be recollected, that by the Consolidated Slave Law, of that island, the Slaves are allowed every other Saturday, out of crop-time, and as many other days as will make up the number to twenty-six, in the year. Now croptime often lasts six months, as I will venture to say it did on this estate, for we have it in evidence, (the evidence of R. Johnson) that it was a long crop; if so, then every other Saturday (till Christmas, or next crop) would amount to only thirteen days, they were therefore entitled to every Saturday, till the following crop-time, (or to some other day,) and that day being illegally taken away from them, though it does not justify the criminal acts which they committed, certainly very much mitigates their guilt, and throws a dark shade on the character of their rigorous master; for why did he not give them the extra days as the law required of him? It

appears by the evidence of the same man, that he had done so in former years; but now that his neighbours were doing the same, and even something more, he is determined to shut the avenues to his heart, that had previously listened to the calls of justice and mercy; and to employ nothing but rigour in the government of the helpless sons of Africa!-I fear there is too much of this unbending and cruel spirit abroad, in Jamaica; for seeing that the House of Assembly had too successfully resisted the instructions and influence of the British Government, by their violent conduct, and exaggerated reports of conspiracies or pretended conspiracies, the planters, in different parts of the country, have resolved to adopt a similar course, and instead of following the noble example of some of the large proprietors, in England, by indulging their Negroes a little more than the laws require, have, on the contrary, deprived them of a part of that little (by much too little) which the law allows. One may without a stretch of imagination fancy them to say,—“ Ha, ha, we will teach the British Parliament to listen to the Saints, and to send out their instructions to us how we are to govern our Slaves; our Members are as independent as they, and our Assembly, as their House of Commons. Give these vagabond Slaves more time indeed! why

they have too much already, and that makes them idle and impudent. Let us give them only every other Saturday (out of crop) in future, and, then they won't have time to talk of rebellion and conspiracy."-That such ideas as these are prevalent among the planters and other colonists, may be gathered from some of their newspapers. The Jamaica Journal and Kingston Chronicle treating of the cause of this conspiracy, observe,-"That the humane and devout Mr. Wilberforce and his associates, in and out of the British Parliament, may form the main spring of the business, we think no one will venture to deny; but there are other causes which serve to bring the efforts of these authorised instigators of rebellion into earlier play than of themselves could possibly be produced. Their secret agents of course, stand foremost in the iniquitous list-the fervent and over-heated zeal of Sectarian Missionaries, however innocently exerted, propel to the same end-the direct falsehoods of the numerous white vagabonds who are at this moment strolling over the country, the loose jokes of the sailors who come in contact with them, all combine to distort in the mind of the Negro, the benevolent regulations which have of late been formed for his benefit. But there yet remains a still more fatal error, which more immediately applies the

appears by the evidence of the same man, that he had done so in former years; but now that his neighbours were doing the same, and even something more, he is determined to shut the avenues to his heart, that had previously listened to the calls of justice and mercy; and to employ nothing but rigour in the government of the helpless sons of Africa!-I fear there is too much of this unbending and cruel spirit abroad, in Jamaica; for seeing that the House of Assembly had too successfully resisted the instructions and influence of the British Government, by their violent conduct, and exaggerated reports of conspiracies or pretended conspiracies, the planters, in different parts of the country, have resolved to adopt a similar course, and instead of following the noble example of some of the large proprietors, in England, by indulging their Negroes a little more than the laws require, have, on the contrary, deprived them of a part of that little (by much too little) which the law allows. One may without a stretch of imagination fancy them to say," Ha, ha, we will teach the British Parliament to listen to the Saints, and to send out their instructions to us how we are to govern our Slaves; our Members are as independent as they, and our Assembly, as their House of Commons. Give these vagabond Slaves more time indeed! why

they have too much already, and that makes them idle and impudent. Let us give them only every other Saturday (out of crop) in future, and, then they won't have time to talk of rebellion and conspiracy."-That such ideas as these are prevalent among the planters and other colonists, may be gathered from some of their newspapers. The Jamaica Journal and Kingston Chronicle treating of the cause of this conspiracy, observe,-" That the humane and devout Mr. Wilberforce and his associates, in and out of the British Parliament, may form the main spring of the business, we think no one will venture to deny; but there are other causes which serve to bring the efforts of these authorised instigators of rebellion into earlier play than of themselves could possibly be produced. Their secret agents of course, stand foremost in the iniquitous list-the fervent and over-heated zeal of Sectarian Missionaries, however innocently exerted, propel to the same end—the direct falsehoods of the numerous white vagabonds who are at this moment strolling over the country, the loose jokes of the sailors who come in contact with them, all combine to distort in the mind of the Negro, the benevolent regulations which have of late been formed for his benefit. But there yet remains a still more fatal error, which more immediately applies the

« FöregåendeFortsätt »