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Jamaica; and your laws in force in Virginia, while it was a colony of the British empire. Of the laws relative to both, I have produced a specimen in the former part of this work. Review them, and say, whether they be not laws which it befitted a Nero or a Draco, rather than a British parliament, to enact?
I have, in the foregoing pages, given a specimen, and only a small specimen, of the barbarous cruelties of the West-India planters to their unhappy slaves. A full recital would occasion a shock too great for humanity to bear. But, on this part of the subject, you are not without sufficient information. You know what stands on your own records, and on the docket at Guildhall. Has providence assigned to you the im
* This refers to a case, that was, in the most unexpected pros vidential manner, discovered by a trial at Guildhall, in the year 1783. The master, I ought to have said inhuman monster, of a slave-ship, had over-shot his port in Jamaica, and, under pretext of wanting water before he could beat up again, ordered his mate to throw overboard forty-six slaves handcuffed; and his diabolical order was immediately executed. Two days after he commanded thirty-six more to be thrown overboard; and, at the end of other two days, forty more. All which infernal orders were instantaneously obeyed. Afterwards ten others, who had been permitted, unfettered, to take an airing on deck, indignantly plunged into the ocean after their countrymen. After all, this
portant trust of protecting, and promoting the happiness of all within your extensive dominions? Has he put it in your power to do what is incumbent upon you? Do the oppressed cry to you for relief? Why do you not hear the cry of misery and woe? Can you return any answer? Can you assign any reason? Has not slavery continued, already, far too long? Long will posterity remember the period at which the Portuguese com
murderous crew brought into port with them four hundred and eighty gallons of water. This monster of a captain had the effrontery to commence a suit against the underwriters, in order to recover the neat value of the slaves he had, with such unexampled barbarity, murdered; and his mate, who gave evidence against him in court, had the impudence, even at the bar of one of the most august tribunals on earth, to boast, and to boast with impunity, of his prompt obedience to the master's commands. Human nature, how art thou fallen! Low degraded and brutalized! Africans, hard is your lot! We have heard of slave.traders, after purchasing their slaves from the African chiefs, treating them with more than brutal cruelty, in their own country, during a fatiguing journey of hundreds of miles, through woods and forests, to the Guinea-ships. We have heard of their floging some to death; and others, because they refused food, they cut in pieces, and forced their companions to eat them. We have, in short, heard of individual slaves being thrown overboard alive; but the above instance seems to exceed every thing we have either scen, read, or heard. The monster, the master of the ship, might have two objects in view; to gratify his own more than infernal malevolence, and to defraud the underwriters.
menced the infamous trade, and your own Hawkins, like them, stimulated by a thirst for gold, followed their unhappy example. Now the far greater part of this criminal and disgraceful traffic is engrossed by your merchants in Liverpool and other places. With how great truth and propriety does an inspired writer affirm, the love of money is the root of all evil! That the best informed, the most improved, the most generous nation in the world, should encourage, or tolerate, a trade which does disgrace, and is an indelible stain to human nature, must be matter of astonishment to friends and foes.
But, gentlemen, the question recurs-Why do you not interpose your authority, and employ your power, to remedy this enormous and alarming evil? Never, till retention and reflection totally fail me, can I be silent on this topic. The retrospect of the horrid scenes, which duty has obliged me to witness, haunts my mind, and oppresses my spirits, night and day.
Are there obstacles, pretended insuperable obstacles, which lay in the way of an immediate total abolition of the commerce and slavery of the human race? Can there be an obstacle or an objection to an immediate melioration of the con
dition of the slaves? It is impossible. Supposing, then, though I do not admit, that you cannot, at present, totally abolish slavery, why do for a moment, delay to alleviate the insupyou, portable sufferings of your wretched slaves?
Here is a great number of forlorn mortals; forced from their own beloved country, detained in servitude and misery, from which death alone is expected to relieve them. No human helper or comforter can they find. You, and you alone, under God, have power to relieve them. Why will you not do it? O that I could exhibit to your view the thousanth part of their miseries, sufferings, and woes, of which I have been a spectator, and which my imagination still paints to me, in colours which I am utterly unable to express! Most wretched of the wretched! To such forlorn wretches, will you, can you, refuse relief? Forbid it, Justice; forbid it, Contpassion; forbid it, Heaven! Can you withhold compassion from them; and, either in life, or at death, ask mercy from God? I repeat the question, I insist for an answer: if you shew no mercy to them, how can you expect mercy from God? Will you deny them not only mercy, but justice? You must allow me to tell you, that you may deny them justice; but God will do justice both to you and to
them. The oppressed, his mercy, in unison with his justice, will reward; the oppressor, his justice, without disparagement to his mercy, will punish.
From the tyrants, despots, and oppressors of former ages, receive instruction and warning. Behind them they have left numerous monuments of their barbarity and cruelty; and are remembered by posterity, with detestation and horFor their barbarity and cruelty, God and man hated them alive, and hate them now dead. But of you, gentlemen, I hope better things, though I thus speak.
Are you not, gentlemen, bound, by the law of remunerative justice and gratitude, to make greater and better provision for the accommodaition and comfort of your poor, but profitable -slaves? Need I remind you of the vast sums, which you periodically receive into your exchequer, raised by duties on sugar and rum? Of the immense sums, which proprietors of estates in the West-Indies, receive annually, and spend in great magnificence and splendor, in your metropolis, I do not now say any thing. Whence is all this great treasure? How is it raised? The answer is easy; by the sweat, the blood, the lives