Page images
PDF
EPUB

XI.

[ocr errors]

ONA.

CH A P. natives or the Nova Scotians, against them; nor have they

encouraged failors who thought themselves cruelly used, or slaves, in the ships or factories, to desert to the colony. Indeed the governor and council have been peculiarly moderate, in some trying cases; labouring to promote peace, to compose differences and to prevent private vengeance. They have been just towards the slave-traders, and have given them proofs of humanity and kindness. They have entertained many fick Europeans from the slave-lhips, whom the known salubrity of the air, or the expectation of good medical advice have attracted to Freetown, and who have been lodged in the town, at the Company's expense, or gratuitously received into the hospital.--Their impartiality appeared, when a complaint having been made against some natives by the slave-captain, whose cruelties on board, and seizure of the natives on shore, appear from his conversation before recited, the governor and council induced the neighbouring head-man to obtain a hearing of the case. But the accused natives exculpated themselves, the slave-captain being wholly to blame.

486. The following is an instance of the protection afforded to a slave-trader, by the governor and council, and of their prudent care to prevent the outrages of the slavetrade from taking place on the Company's district. It has been stated that an European slave-factor sold a free native, in his service, without the form of a trial, on a charge of adultery with one of his wives, ( s 460.) This sale gave

rise to the outrage now to be described. French Nave A neighbouring French slave-factor having landed on the colony, a native ac

cused him of having wrongfully sold a free grumetta (his brother) who had served tested at S.

him faithfully, many years. The native collared the Frenchman, threatening to drag him to a neighbouring town, that the dispute might be settled. I rescued him, with some difficulty, being determined to forbid all such acts on our ground. But

fagor pro

Leona

ONA.

while I was getting a boat, to convey him out of the colony, he fell again into the C HA P. hands of the same natives. By help of the governor and another principal servant

XI. , of the Company, I rescued him again, and he got safely to his velel. He was fo SIERRA LEterrified, that he thought us all his enemies, and begged that we would kill him our. selves, and not give up to the favages. I feared the interference of the N. Scotians, many of whom beheld this scene; but they behaved very well; though their feel. ings leaned frongly to the side of the natives. I told them that, before any stranger should be forced from our district, we were resolved that we ourselves would be car. ried olf, and this language restrained them very much. The next Sunday, our clergyman noticed from the pulpit, how unbecoming it would be if any stranger, how. ever, culpable, who had come to the colony for protection, should be seized in it: of this the N. Scotians approved. On complaining to the chief of the native who collared the Frenchman, he apologized, and assured me that no such

outrage should be committed in future. Soon after this, the Frenchman reported, that the assault of the native had been instigated by us. He was certainly fo terrified at the allault, that he might not have been a judge of what passed. Besides, as a llave. trader, he would be prejudiced against us. But, I think, I would again submit to such calumny, rather than let any violence be committed on our ground, 487. This same slave-trader, soon after his own rescue, His ingrati

tude. instigated the drunken chief to assault one of the Company's captains ( 478.) Though the governor and council have acted upon the pacific principles recommended by the Directors, some instances of the Company's interference with the interests of the slave-traders may have been interpreted into acts of hostility.

488. To the following incident, it is necessary to premise, that the legislatures of the Northern States of America have prohibited the slave-trade, in certain cases, under hea

[ocr errors]

vy penalties.

An American ship arriving in S. Leona river, the supercargo, who seems to have Americans known little of the Company's principles, went hastily to the governor and council clandestinely and offered them his cargo, for a cargo of slaves, saying he would take no other arti- pursue favecles, and hoped they would foon favour him with the flaves he wanted. -A coun- prohibited. sellor asked him how the American laws stood, respecting this trade.—He said that, where he came from, it was prohibited, under forfeiture of the ship and £ 1000 penalty on the captaill. But, added he, no body will inform.”—Indeed, Sir, teplied the counsellor, I myself shall inform, if none else will.-I hope Sir, you will not

do

ONA.

CHA P. do so unfriendly a thing.-I would rather prevent evil than punish it, (said the XI.

counsellor) and I warn you, that if you carry a single slave from this coast, you shall SIERRA LE- find an information lodged against you in America.—The supercargo then said, he

was not in earnest, and that he really abhorred the slave-trade. which the

489. This ship quitted the river, immediately, to the Directors are taking steps obvious prejudice of the Nave-factories there.—The Directo prevent.

tors have received from S. Leona, a list of all the American ships, which have transgressed the laws of that country, and are taking measures for conveying to the several legiflatures, whose authority hath been insulted, sufficient evidence of the circumstances tending to the conviction and

punishment of the offenders. Company ge. 490. Another step of the Directors to limit the excesses neroufly reSolve to re of the slave-trade, may be worthy of mention. The indeem llaves, formation of the sale of the free mariners found in the

French prizes, came accompanied with an intimation of the doubts of the Company's servants abroad, whether they ought to have redeemed those injured men. It was thought that the price paid for their liberty might be recovered in England, by an action against the British subjects who fold them. On the other hand, the expense of sending witnesses from Africa, the danger of failing in some point of legal evidence, and the many uncertainties of such a business, were so obvious, that, on the whole, the governor and council were afraid of adopting this step. But the Directörs, on considering the advantages of avowing their determination to interfere in future cases of this sort, thought it right to send instructions, that if, in certain specified cases, any neighbouring native should be unjustly sold, either to or by a British subject, the governor and council were to pay the price of such person's redemption, if no other means of liberating him should be afforded. This intelli

gence

XI.

SIERRA LE

ONA

liate chiefs.

gence is said to have been satisfactory to several of the C H A P. neighbouring chiefs.

491. The obstacles of the slave-trade to the Company's designs will farther appear in describing their direct efforts to set on foot plans of cultivation and industry, and to pre- and to concipare

the
way

for the introduction of Christianity and civilization. One of the most effectual means of promoting these objects must obviously be, by gaining over some principal kings or chiefs to this great cause. (see $ 130.) If any chief possessed of fertile land, and having grumettas under him, could be persuaded to employ them in regular cultivation, under the direction of an European planter; if he could be induced to entertain a school-master or missionary, a friendly intercourse, also, fubfisting between such chief and the Sierra Leona government ; it can hardly be doubted that civilization would rapidly advance.

492. Among the obstacles to the adoption of any plan of si.trade, okcultivation by the kings or chiefs, near S. Leona, it has vation; by been stated that they universally deal in slaves. By the it's profits, same traffic also many private slave-traders have become chiefs: the difference between a chief or king, who is also a slave-trader, and a flave-trader who has raised himself into a chief, being principally that the king is the less powerful of the two, and is commonly also in debt, and subservient, to an European factory; whereas the slave-trader is often rich and independent, having many chiefs in his debt, and therefore, subject to him. It is obvious that neither kings leagued with a Nave.factor, nor chiefs become rich by the slave-trade, can generally be expected to patronize industry and reformation of manners. This traffic, indeed, presents profits often so easy and tempting, that habits of labour seem not likely to prevail till it shall cease.

-On

.

XI.

SIERRA LE

ONA.

CH A P. On the other hand, the slave-trade hath initiated the na

tives into the use of European goods, some of which they

consider even as necessaries. This taste may, therefore, be (but it has in- expected to stimulate industry, as soon as ever the produce taite for Eu. of the land and labour of Africa shall be required, for sogeangcods) European goods, instead of her inhabitants themselves, is

36 et seq.) by it's large

493. The large credits given in the slave-trade also credits,

oppose any sudden dereliction of it ; since they render it very difficult for chiefs who might be disposed to favour

cultivation, to call in their capital. bygroundless

494. The prejudices which many chiefs at first imbibed prejudiccs.

against the Company, form another obstacle to cultivation. They seem to have been taught to believe, that the Company were to be the general disturbers of the peace, by changing the customs of Africa ; that they intended to deprive the chiefs of their power, and, in the end, of their territories ; and to encourage slaves 'to desert their masters and take refuge in the colony. It is obvious, however, that this impediment is merely temporary.

495. These obstacles were expected to oppose, and have whu expected to

in fact more or less opposed, all the Company's attempts to interest the African chiefs in plans of civilization and indulry; but, though many of them still operate, they have, in several instances, been happily overcome.

The means by which this has been effected are easily explained. First, a few natives of some consequence, the successors of deceased slave-traders, are growing less fond of that dangerous traffic, by which their property was originally acquired. Among fuch the Company may be expected to make proselytes. Other chiefs may be thrown into distress by the save-trade; may lose a near relation by it; or possibly

Chiefs, &c. may

be

favour the Company's views.

« PreviousContinue »