« ZurückWeiter »
the conclusion, except where
themes required grave reflections. The question of Slavery, on which I have thrown a new light, is one of these ; one, too, which is exciting and causing every thing connected with the West Indies to excite the greatest interest in this country. I entreat the reader to peruse with attention what I have said on this subject; and, whilst perusing, to bear in mind that it comes not from planters or the foes of planters, but from an Englishman and a lover of liberty, who has no tie, no feeling, no consideration of interest to induce him to advocate the cause of the colonies; but who, on the contrary, is prompted by humanity to plead in behalf of those measures which four years' experience have convinced him would benefit the slave. ... For the views and remarks connected with Codrington College I am indebted to a collection of ecclesiastical papers and reports, printed for private circulation by the Lord Bishop of the Leeward Islands. They would not have appeared in this work but for a reason which the reader will doubtless deem a sufficient apology, if indeed any apology were necessary. Codrington College is the only institution of the kind in the West Indies.
It is supported by the produce of several estates, and the reports in question give an account not only of the progress of the affairs of the college, but also of the management of slaves on these estates; and the reader is thus enabled to compare it with the mode of managing the negroes on other properties in the West Indies, not connected with this institution. Such are the claims which these reports have to the attention of the public; and those who do not think them of sufficient importance will do well to omit them altogether, and peruse only the tale which has been inserted to interrupt their monotony.
The information which enabled me to compile the brief original account of the Charaib war was derived from an officer who had served in St. Vincent during the period, from its commencement to its conclusion, and who had been an active participator in its dangers. The narrative respecting the explosion of Mount Souffrière has also an equal claim to authenticity, as I obtained it from a gentleman who had been one of the principal sufferers by its fearful eruption.
It is for these historical facts and for the matter contained in the Appendix to my volume, that I claim for it a place in the library
of my reader as a BOOK OF REFERENCE. Up to the present time no one has attempted to compile a concise chronology of the several islands, taking them separately, and Captain Southey is the only person who has even produced a general history of the whole in a chronological order. I therefore hope that my endeavours to remedy this deficiency will be found successful, although, from various causes, the attempt is not so perfect as I could wish. It has cost much labor to commence the work; to complete it will require more.
The Geography and Geology, given in the Appendix, will tend to enhance my claim, and the lithographic views, which are faithful delineations of the places they are intended to illustrate, will, I trust, be also found interesting
And now I commit my volume to the liberal and enlightened Public; its faults, its errors, and its imperfections they will, I trust, forgive, when they consider that its author does not range himself on the list of those who seek to gain fame, honor, or emolument by their talents, but that he has written it to give his readers the latest information on deeply interesting subjects, much mistated and little understood ; that its lighter parts pretend only to amuse and entertain, not to edify or instruct; and that its graver chapters are either plain and simple narrations of incontestable truths, or contentions founded on the convincing experience of practice, and not arguments based on the futile reasoning of theory.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.