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Having been thus candid, I trust it will gain me the meed of impartiality even with the West Indians; and as I am as strenuous an advocate for amelioration and improvement in the condition of the Slaves, as any unbiassed individual who has written on the subject, or indeed any impartial person can be, I hope to stand well in the opinion of all humane persons, and even with the most ardent friends of the African


Looking at the Negroes in the West Indies in a physical point of view, I think it must be allowed, by all who have had opportunities of judging, that they stand as high in the scale of being, as white persons would who had never enjoyed superior advantages; for as to the malformation of their heads, and other deformities, so influencing their minds as to render them incapable of the higher efforts of judgment and reflection, thereby proving them an inferior race, and a connecting link in the great chain of being, between white men and brutes;* I believe no sensible and disinterested person is now weak enough to give in to that degrading opinion, unless it be the planters themselves, (though they are not disinterested,) and here and there a shallow-pated disciple of Messrs. Gall and Spurzheim. The poor Negroes being kept con*Note 3. See Appendix.

tinually at hard labour, and not having the least opportunity of exercising the powers of their minds, are certainly very ignorant and even stupid; when they are favoured by circumstances however, such as domestic Slaves, who mix more with the whites, and more especially those that have been born free or have been long emancipated, they exhibit much acuteness of judgment and shrewdness of observation; and when, in a few favoured situations, they have had a little education, they shew such a quickness of apprehension and retentiveness of memory, as would make many white persons blush, and place them completely in the shade. In the schools of Kingston and other towns, the free black children learn equally as well as the Browns and Whites, for the time they are sent, though as their parents are generally poorer than the other classes, they are not kept long enough to learn anything more than reading, writing, and perhaps the rudiments of arithmetic; were they continued long enough to attend to the higher branches of education, I am convinced they would lose nothing by a comparison with the more privileged colours and casts. I shall mention an instance or two which came more immediately under my own observation, to confirm this. As curate of Port-Royal, I thought it my duty during Lent, in the


1821 and 1822, to examine the children of different schools, in the Church Catechism, after divine service on Wednesdays; and to excite emulation among them, I promised to give books, as rewards to those who should excel. For the more advanced I procured one or two copies of Crossman's Introduction to the Christian Religion, which is distributed by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and which I gave to one of the masters; when two or three of the classes learnt, in the course of a few weeks, the greater part of the answers, (two or three hundred,) and in more than one instance, a black child excelled and carried away a prize. In making these observations, I know I am completely at issue with the great body of the colonists, who, with very few exceptions, look upon the Negroes as beings every way inferior to the Whites; and this is one great cause of their ill treatment, and being deprived of many little privileges which, I think, might with perfect safety be granted them.

The first remark I shall make on their condition,. is the provision made for their natural, or bodily wants, and this to a Slave is almost of the first consideration, for being a natural heir to labour, work indeed being his only inheritance, and from which he has little or no cessation, except the time allowed for sleep and his meals,

he must be anxious about the quantity of his food; the eating of which constitutes (all animal as it is) the greatest of his enjoyments.

The universal custom in Jamaica, is not to allow the Slaves any wages, (except a few domestic ones in the towns, where they are allowed from two shillings and threepence to three shillings sterling, per week,) but each Slave is apportioned a piece of land, which he is to cultivate at the portions of time allowed him, and on which he raises roots and other vegetables, such as yams, cocoas, and plantains, for himself and family, if he have any; the females have portions of land as well as the men, and provide for themselves, when single, but when married or living constantly with a man, they often unite their grounds, and conjointly labour for themselves and families, till the children arrive at a certain age, when they must provide for themselves. The vegetables, provisions as they call them, they commonly boil in an iron pot (sometimes they roast them) in the open air, and to qualify them they are allowed a few salt herrings each, not always of the best kind, and they are served out to them once a week or fortnight, most commonly the former; but at Christmas, on most estates and plantations, they have an extra allowance of salt cod-fish, which they use in like manner; it generally goes with them under the

name of salt, and they take a small portion of it at most of their meals, and put it in the pot to boil with the vegetables. It is a savoury meal, not very rich or expensive to be sure, but is to them a wholesome kind of food; though a poor Englishman, perhaps a poor Irishman, would think it hard to subsists on that and nothing else all the year round, and even all his life long. In a few lowland parishes they cannot raise yams and plantains, which are the staple food of the West Indies generally, and in those Guinea corn is planted by the Managers, a certain quantity of which is served out to the Negroes weekly, and which, with pulse, and a few little things of that kind which they grow themselves, constitutes their daily fare.

Many of the Negroes also, in favoured situations, keep a hog with a few fowls, which they commonly sell to purchase a little better clothing than is allowed them from the owner. This however is not general, as the huts in which the Slaves live are very often so confined (fifty or sixty or more being in the small space of an acre, or even half an acre of ground,) that there is not room for poultry; and if poor piggy is caught any where, out of durance vile, upon the estate, he is hunted down and killed, stout and ravenous dogs being kept for the purpose. Some few of the head Negroes are however much

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