Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

from their friends, are represented by eye-witnesses to be perfectly de Verds, directs the attention of her Majesty's government to the frightful, such, indeed, as to make the hardest heart bleed. fact that it is carried on extensively at the Portuguese settlements

Among the Pagan and Mahommedan, and nominal Christian of Bissao and Cacheo; and Captain Foote, in an official report nations of Asia and Africa, with but few exceptions, slavery, in observes, “ the whole coast claimed by the Portuguese government one or other of its forms prevails, and a most extensive slave-trade is interspersed with barracoons full of slaves, under the immediate is connected with it. It is not, however, confined to Africans : management of Portuguese subjects, who fly the Portuguese flag the natives of the more temperate as well as the more tropical thereon, and pay a certain tribute to the chiefs for their sanction climes are its victims. The Caucasian, as well as the negro race, and protection ;” and he adds, “I may here be permitted to remark are in great demand. In the Kingdom of Bokhara, it is said there that the treaty with Portugal, as it respects this coast, has had no are upwards of 200,000 Persians in slavery.

beneficial effect; the only alteration being to change the PortuIn northern Europe absolute slavery does not exist to any great guese flag in the slave vessels to the Brazilian, to evade the punishextent, but in its modified form of serfage it is frightfully preva- ment decreed by the treaty." lent. It is estimated that in the Russian, Austrian, and Prussian The whole of the correspondence of her Majesty's commissioners dominions, including Poland, there are not less than from seventy at the Havana for the year 1844, confirm the fact of extensive imto eighty millions of human beings in this degraded state.

portations of slaves. In one of their monthly reports, after giving The Committee are not without hope, however, that the influence the names of certain vessels which had sailed direct from the of British example in America, Africa, and Asia will be found to Havana for Africa, “ showing that the trade continues unabated,” operate most powerfully in breaking down the various forms of they say, “Besides these we understand that a very great number bondage which have so long oppressed and degraded mankind. have lately sailed from the neighbouring coasts, and other parts of

the island; we are credibly assured, not fewer than fourteen, of THE SLAVE-TRADE.

which a large proportion have been despatched from Santiago de

Cuba;" and they add, “ During the month, we regret to have to This execrable traffic still continues to desolate and degrade state, that we hear of many vessels having arrived from the coast Africa. Its activity is unabated. Not all the efforts made by the of Africa, though we cannot learn all the particulars we could British government, seconded by other powers, have affected to any wish, from the degree of constraint under which this community is considerable degree, if at all, this gigantic evil. The demand for now held.” The number of slaves imported into Cuba in 1843, slaves in Brazil and the Spanish colonies increases with the the commissioners estimate at about 12,000, though they confess demand made by foreign countries for their productions. Such their inability to give an exact account from the mystery cast being the case, the slave-traders, who are usually men of wealth, over all the transactions of the slave-dealers. In the years 1844 offer the greatest inducements to the worst class of maritime and 1845, the number of slaves imported must have been consideradventurers to aid them in carrying it on. The enormous profits ably greater, though the actual extent of the trade can never, for they derive from a single successful voyage, compensates them for the reasons already given, be fully known. many failures. Besides which, the authorities of these countries In adverting to the bad faith of the Spanish government, and to either openly or covertly connive at their transactions; and the the participation of the highest functionaries in the Spanish colosubordinates in office, receiving their accustomed fees, allow them nies in the slave-trade, the commissioners say :

“ Under the treaty to land their cargoes of human beings without molestation or of 1817, no vessel was to be allowed to enter here after the 30th of hindrance of any kind.

October, 1820; and Lord Castlereagh’s remonstrances on one With respect to the extent and activity of this infamous traffic having been allowed to enter on the 6th of November, "seven her majesty's commissioners at Sierra Leone, in their last published days after the expiration of the period,” were as urgent as any that annual report, say, “During the last year (1843), just ended, we can be made now, when twenty-four years have expired, and the have heard of numerous cargoes of slaves having been shipped at same practices are continued. (See Slave-trade Papers for 1821, Bissao, Rio Pongas, and Gallinas; and within the last six weeks class B. p. 162.) All however hitherto have been of no avail, and the brig Volador actually embarked 600 slaves at Sherbro', nearly it only left us to hope that your lordship’s efforts may be attended adjoining this colony." .

“ Last week we learned that with better success. In another place they justly observe :a large brig, armed with six guns, succeeded in getting away with “Spain has unfortunately proved that no government there can be 1000 slaves on board from the neighbourhood of Whydah.” The relied on for the fulfilment of the treaty; and acting as she has number of slavers condemned during the same year in the mixed done in total disregard of its obligations, it needs little more to commission courts at this settlement was thirteen, of which eleven nullify it altogether.” were Brazilian, one Portuguese, and one Spanish. With the Here then we have the melancholy result of all the diplomacy, exception of two all were equipment cases. In these two the sacrifices, and labours of Great Britain to put an end to the Spanish number of slaves found on board at the time of capture was 830. slave-trade. In spite of treaties, in spite of cruizers, in spite of

From private sources of information the committee learn that remonstrance upon remonstrance, the Spanish colonies have, there were brought before the Mixed Commission Courts at Sierra during the last quarter of a century, been filled with African slaves ; Leone in 1844, 27 slavers, nine of which were captured with and fresh supplies of these unhappy beings are still poured in to 2,523 slaves on board. During the year 1845, the number of meet fresh demands created by the mortality which decimates then, slavers condemned by these courts was 36, having on board and the active demands of commerce. upwards of 6,000 slaves, and there yet remained 6 which had | |And the case is even worse in relation to Brazil. In the report been captured, for adjudication.

of her Majesty's commissioners, stationed at Rio de Janeiro, on The committee further learn, that, from the beginning of April, the state of the slave-trade for 1843, they say—“We have been 1844, to the middle of May, 1845, the squadron of cruisers assured that nearly 40,000 have been landed within these provinces stationed on the western coast of Africa captured 59 slavers, in the period. This sudden augmentation during the past year is thirteen of which had on board upwards of 4,500 slaves. In attributable to the continued encouragement and protection afforded tracing the history of these slavers, the committee find that one of by the Brazilian administration to all slaving adventures. The them had been captured and condemned eight times, one seven greater number of slave-ships which have effected the landing of times, two six times, three five times, seven four times, twelve their cargoes, have escaped our vigilant observations in consequence three times, eleven twice, twenty-one once, and respecting one no of the novel system recently followed by the slave-dealers, which particulars are given. This striking fact shows clearly that the has proved eminently prosperous.” slave-dealers have agents residing at the seats of the Mixed Com- The reports of the consular agents at Bahia and Pernambuco mission Courts, particularly Sierra Leone, who regularly purchase confirm those of Rio de Janeiro, as to the activity of the slavesuch of the slavers as cannot be destroyed under treaty; and as trade. The consul at Bahia, writing to Lord Aberdeen, under date regularly send them forth to carry on anew the dreadful traffic. Sept. 30, 1844, says, “Your lordship will perceive that nearly The committee deem it highly probable that many of these vessels are 3,000 slaves have been landed in this vicinity during the last three used as decoys to attract the attention of the British cruisers, while months, besides others, of whom accounts may not have reached he real slavers, taking advantage of their being thus employed, run the consulate.” The perfect impunity with which the slave-trade nto the slave haunts, load their cargoes, and sail off to Cuba and is permitted to be carried on in every part of the empire of Brazil Brazil.

is so notorious, as to have convinced the British functionaries But the Committee have not only these proofs of the great activity residing in that empire, of the utter uselessness of confiding in the of the slave-trade. The British consul residing at Boa Vista, Cape good faith, humanity, or honour of its government. The Africans,

m

introduced since the year 1830, form probably one-third of the where needed, to give the necessary information, and secure the whole slave population of the country.

practical working of the new law. In addition to this, the comThe stimulus to this dreadful trade is its profits. What they mittee have written to every part of India where they could find are may be gathered from the following extract of a despatch a correspondent, suggesting the formation of Anti-slavery comaddressed by the British minister residing at Rio to Lord Aberdeen, mittees for the purpose of diffusing information, and watching dated 18th May, 1844, viz: “It is my belief, my Lord, that over the working of the law, with copies of its various enactments, this increased activity on the part of the pursuers of this nefarious as well as of those relating to the suppression of the slave-trade. trade will not be relaxed; that however decided the success that the answers which they have received to their communications, and may wait on the new system resorted to by her majesty's govern- information they have collected, though more encouraging than ment, these individuals will not be wanting on their part in ex- that of last year, warrant them in saying, that the utmost care is ertions still greater, nor hesitate one moment more at incurring required to prevent the law from becoming inoperative in some any description of risk. The safe return here of one venture parts of India. alone, with a full cargo of slaves, out of six despatched to the Another field of labour is now open to the efforts of the society. coast, countervails all the loss suffered by capture of the re- The committee allude to the existence of slavery in the native promainder.”

tected states, over which the East India Company, or rather the With respect to the eastern coast of Africa, it is clear from the British government, possess great influence. In some of these states reports of her majesty's commissioners at the Cape of Good Hope, this dire evil puts on its most hideous form, and calls loudly for the that the slave-trade is carried on with great vigour. Slave bar- most strenuous efforts to secure its overthrow. The government racoons are found, both to the north and south of Quillemane, in have been appealed to, and the committee trust they will not fail to each of which from 200 to 300 slaves are sometimes kept ready instruct their agents residing at the courts of the native princes, to for shipment on the arrival of slavers from Brazil. The river urge upon them the duty of performing an act of justice to their Macuse was, however, by the latest accounts, the principal point long oppressed subjects. of embarkation. The governor of Quillemane is reported to have received not less than 60,000 dollars in fourtcen months in fees, for

THE BRITISH WEST INDIES. permission to ship slaves from the district under his jurisdiction.

The duties which the committee have had to discharge towards The commissioners further state that in a period of about ten the emancipated classes in the British West Indies, during the last months, eighteen vessels had been captured for being engaged in year, have been highly important. They have been grieved to the slave-trade, and brought to the Cape of Good Hope for ad- observe a decided tendency on the part of the principal colonial judication.

legislatures, to increase the stringency of the laws, and so to alter The committee scarcely need add the fact, that the usual amount and modify them, as not only to bring the labouring population of horrors characterize the slave-trade ; that the slaves are jammed more and more under the power of the governing class, but to within the spaces between decks, in which they can barely move,

ensure the adminstration of the laws to themselves. To this the exposed to a fætid atmosphere, in which they can scarely breathe; committee add, that a system of oppressive taxation has been oftentimes a prey to the most terrible diseases, without any cir- resorted to, the proceeds of which are applied to the most excepcumstance to alleviate their misery; and subjected, except in a few

tionable purposes.

It would occupy too large a space in the rare cases, to a mortality which is perfectly frightful to contemplate. report to specify the various laws which either have been enacted,

Every year's experience convinces the committee that it is in the or attempted to be enacted, of an objectionable character. The abolition of slavery alone that any reasonable hope can be indulged committee would remark, however, that they are intended to affect of the extinction of the slave-trade; and they would add, that it the relations between masters and ser vants, in the matter of contracts is their firm conviction, arising out of long and painful experience, for labour; vagabondage and police; the constitution of inferior, that this enormous evil can never be overcome by means of an armed tivil and criminal courts, which are to be presided over by planter force. They would, therefore, hope that the energies both of the magistrates, with power to inflict heavy punishments for light government and of the country may be henceforth directed to the offences, and from whose decision there is no appeal; the creationTM universal extirpation of slavery by those means which are of a of appeal courts on the other hand, from the decisions of the purely moral and pacific character.

stipendiary magistrates, whose removal from the important and

independent position they occupy, is most earnestly desired; tariff HOME OPERATIONS.

ordinances and laws, by which the food, clothing, and various This is the first anniversary of the society at which the committee other articles in common use among the labourers are heavily taxed, have been able to congratulate its members, their fellow-countrymen, whilst those required by their masters are subjected to comparatively and the world, on the glorious fact, that in no part of the British light duties; and loan ordinances for the purpose of raising large empire can a single human being be now legally held as a slave, sums of money in this country, to be repaid, both principal and and that its most remote dependencies are as sacred to freedom interest, out of the colonial taxes, which loans are to be applied to as Great Britain itself. By an official communication from the the introduction of large masses of immigrants for the ostensible late colonial secretary, Lord Stanley, the committee are informed purpose of adding to the labouring population, but whose real that “an ordinance was enacted by the Legislative Council of object is to reduce the price of labour ; and thus to inflict a double Ceylon, in the month of December last (1844), to provide for the wrong on the more helpless and unrepresented portion of the total abolition of slavery in Ceylon, and that the-ordinance has population. been confirmed and allowed by the Queen."

The facts connected with these various points have been laid Thus has terminated one department of philanthropic labour in before government, and not, the committee trust, without producing complete success; and whether its results be viewed in relation to some effect, though they wait to see when the papers shall be laid the millions of human beings who have been emancipated ; or the before Parliament, relating to them, to what extent the government influence which it must necessarily exert on the nations of the earth have yielded to this species of legislation. in pronoting the liberty, the civilization, and the happiness of their 'The committee cannot leave this part of their subject without people, there is abundant cause for gratitude to Almighty God, who expressing their satisfaction that a vigorous attempt is being made has crowned the efforts of his servants with success; as well as by the inhabitants of British Guiana and Trinidad to secure for abundant encouragement to persevere in this work of Christian themselves the benefits of a representative legislature. They philanthropy, until the common brotherhood of man shall be uni-heartily wish them success, and counsel them to persevere in their versally acknowledged and practically enjoyed, by men of every efforts until they shall have obtained it. colour, of every tribe, and of every tongue.

EMIGRATION TO THE BRITISH COLONIES. But, although the law of slavery has given place to the law of freedom in every part of the British empire, it must not be imagined The committee regret to have to report that the practice of supthat its blessings are yet fully enjoyed. It is to be feared that in plying the emancipated colonies with foreign labourers still continues many districts of British India the emancipated slaves are yet under the sanction of government, notwithstanding its manifest. ignorant of their rights. This the committee do not attribute to any injustice to the native cultivators, its inhumanity to the emigrants fault on the part of the government, but to various circumstances introduced, its impolicy as an economical arrangement, and its depeculiar to the position of the slaves themselves. The committee cidedly immoral results

. The committee whilst they would offer no have brought the facts of the case under the attention of the objection to the introduction of labourers on just and honourable government, and have been assured that measures shall be taken, principles, and under proper regulations to prevent abuses, have felt

..

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

it to be their duty to give the present schemes their most deter

RESULTS OF EMANCIPATION. mined and vigorous opposition.

On this point the committee are gratified in being able to report MAURITIUS.

that, upon the whole, the progress of the emancipated classes in The number of Coolies introduced into this colony from 1834 knowledge and character, and a just appreciation of their position to 1844 inclusive is thus stated in certain documents laid before

as free men is extremely cheering. That they are rapidly ingovernment, though the Committee feel persuaded that it falls creasing in number is placed beyond doubt by the census of 1844, considerably short of the actual amount imported. —

which, though extremely imperfect, shows a very remarkable 1834 1839

25,468

increase of births over deaths. The habits of the women, both 1842 1844

46,014

personal and domestic, have greatly improved. The purchase of

small freeholds, the erection of houses, and the formation of vil. 71,482

lages and towns still goes on, though the means of the people are

much less than formerly, owing to the reduction which has taken The cost introduction is stated to have been

place in their wages, and the heavy taxation to which they are now By the planters

£380,000

subjected. This circumstance, the committee regret to say, has led Government £324,652

to a considerable withdrawal of children from the schools, and, in

other respects, has been found to operate injuriously. £704,652

The latest official reports from the colonies indicate a great decrease in crime, especially among the Creole or native population.

The immigrants are chiefly chargeable with the violation of law, The taxes imposed on the colonists generally to meet the advances and the more heinous offences against person and property. of government, yielded in 1843 £10,854, in 1844, £29,024, to

The committee have no reason to believe that any considerable gether £39,878, leaving a balance due to the treasurer of £284,774 portion of the emancipated classes have abandoned themselves to

During the year 1845, the number of Coolies imported was idle or dissolute habits. On the contrary, it is quite clear that they upwards of 6.000, at an expense of from £40,000 to £50,000; are industrious, and will work for moderatè wages, when they are and it is provided that an equal number shall be introduced annu- honorably paid and their just rights respected. The following ally, to meet the demand that will be created in the labour market tabular statement of the exports of sugar from the British West by deaths and removals, but it is ascertained that with that Indies will prove this :additional yearly supply, there will be fewer labourers in the colony

Hhds. Tierces. in 1852 than at the commencement of 1845, though the operation

1841
sugar exported

121,295 12,225 will involve a further expenditure of between £300,000 and

1842

135,910 15,985 £400,000 to be added to the public burdens of a small commu

1843

141,100

13,640 nity, chiefly composed of the labouring class. The committee of

1844

138,150 16,395 inquiry, before alluded to, estimate the mortality during the eight 1845

157,200 20,075 years ending in 1852, on a moderate computation, at 15,214. It will, the committee venture to predict, be nearer 20,000.

In reference to the exports of the colonies, it should be rememThe injustice and impolicy of this vicious system must, the com- bered as a gratifying fact, that the emancipated classes are now great mittee think, be obvious to all—its inhumanity and immoral ten- consumers of the produce which they raise. dency, they are of opinion, are equally manifest.

In reviewing the state of the British colonies the committee have The Coolies are for the most part in the prime of life, and as but come to the conclusion that it is capital not immigrants which they few women are taken with them, and those, except in a few in- want; and that with a resident proprietary, improved modes of stances, not their wives, it follows, that the greater portion of them cultivation, a fair system of taxation, just laws, and a pure adminmust leave their wives and children in India without due protec-istration of justice, so great an impetus would be given to the cultion or the visible means of support. The inquiries which have tivation of tropical produce as to remove all fears of their future been instituted in India on this point, have led to the knowledge prosperity, and of their capability of supplying their fair share of of the most afflicting facts.

sugar to meet the ever-increasing demand in the British market. In reference to its immoral tendency, the committee would refer It is a cheering circumstance, that whereas but a few

years

since to the great disparity of the sexes which it allows. Of the 70,000 the markets of the world were supplied almost exclusively with Coolies introduced in ten years, scarcely 7,000 were women. This tropical produce wrung from the uncompensated toil of slaves, fact alone reveals a state of things wholly inconsistent with good that now no inconsiderable portion of the demand is supplied by morals, and the social well-being of the people. The disparity of the the labour of freemen. On the continent of Europe indigenous sexes which existed in the colony at the commencement of the sugar produced from the beet root, enters largely into the general apprenticeship, viz., 38,189 males, and 20,602 females, was fright- consumption; and in this country, all the sugar consumed, and a ful; but, as will be seen from the foregoing statement, that disparity considerable quantity of other produce required for use or manuhas been fearfully aggravated by the introduction of masses of male facture, is free froin the taint of slavery. The quantity of free Coolies.

labour sugar imported into Great Britain during the last year was The committee need not dwell on the character of these people, to 5,069,678 cwts., of which 168,180 cwts. were the produce of their ignorance of moral restraints, and to their want of education foreign states; Molasses, 528,238 cwts. ; Rum, 4,807,612 gallons ; in a purer faith than their own, to deepen the picture. It is Coffee, 23,151,602 lbs.; Cocoa, 4,917,907 lbs.; Indigo, 90,388 sufficient to say, that they have abandoned themselves to a cwts. degree of disgraceful licentiousness which no persons acquainted with their habits in India (dissolute as they were known to be,)

BRITISH SUBJECTS HELD IN SLAVERY. could possibly believe.

The practical difficulty which the government have interposed

in relation to several thousand British-born subjects now held in JAMAICA, BRITISH GUIANA AND TRINIDAD.

bondage in the Spanish and Dutch colonies, contrary, as the comIn addition to the liberated Africans from Sierra Leone, St. mittee believe, to every principle of justice and international law, Helena, and elsewhere, these colonies have commenced the importa- they grieve to say, has paralyzed the exertions of British functiontion of Coolies. Thirty-nine vessels were engaged last year in aries, residing in those countries, on their behalf. The government England and India for the purpose of transporting, under the direc- refuse to demand their freedom on the ground that they were held tion of government agents, about 8,000 Coolies to them, in as slaves in the British colonies, previously to their removal to the certain proportions, British Guiana to have the largest number. countries where they are now held as slaves, though it is, at the The cost of transport and agency will cost these three colonies nearly same time, admitted they were removed illegally. Difficult, how£120,000, the payment of which must be provided for out of ever, as the case has become, the committee hope, by persevering their respective treasuries, the burden of which will fall chiefly on exertions, to place their right to liberty, on such a basis, the labouring class.

as ultimately to insure their freedom. In the meantime they Several cargoes of these Coolies, have already arrived in Jamaica, are happy to say that several slaves who were manumitted British Guiana, and Trinidad, the proportion of women to men previous to their removal to Cuba, where they were re-enslaved, being 193 of the latter to 1,005 of the former.

have, during the past year, been restored to liberty.

LAWS AFFECTING THE LIBERTY OF BRITISH SUBJECTS IN

their friends that the government have determined to abandon the

tax upon tools, agricultural implements, &c.; and, by relieving the FOREIGN STATES.

labourer from these imposts, stimulate his industry, and tend to The importance of securing to every British subject, without secure to him the fair reward of his toil. distinction of condition or color, the right to be treated as free In connection with these points, the committee may state that and to be protected in foreign countries, whilst in the pursuit of it is expected one of the great lines of railway now contemplated his lawful calling, is too obvious to require any argument in for India, will traverse the principle cotton districts, and by reducing its support. But in the person of every colored man visiting the the cost of transit from the interior to the coast, say—from £20 to southern sections of the United States that right is not only £4 per ton, give the purchasers an additional advantage, and denied, but constantly violated. Cases have occurred in which greatly promote the growth of cotton-wool, a circumstance not British subjects have been seized and imprisoned, and, failing less to be desired for the general interests of humanity, than for to establish their right to freedom, have been sold as slaves to pay the benefits it will confer on the country at large. jail fees. Others have been taken out of vessels trading to

The committee are pleased to be able to report that some of their American ports, and imprisoned during the stay of such vessels in friends have devoted their attention to the feasibility of promoting port, whereby not only has their liberty been grossly violated, but the use of articles manufactured exclusively from free-grown cotton. their captains put to great inconvenience and expense. It is, They most earnestly desire, that having begun this good work, they unquestionably, within the power of her majesty's government to will vigorously prosecute it; and they have no doubt that Christian require that the convention between the United States and Great philanthropists generally, will aid them in their laudable enterprise. Britain touching this point be respected. As well might Great in the United States, a kindred effort was commenced several years Britain imprison every citizen of the United States, on arriving in since, and the committee are pleased to learn that it is attended with a British port, as American citizens presume to incarcerate, without

many tokens of success. crime, British subjects resorting to any part of the United States

The announcement made by the her majesty's government, on business or pleasure. This is a crying evil requiring the applic of their determination still to maintain a prohibitory duty on the cation of an immediate remedy. To this subject the earnest slave-grown sugar of Brazil and the Spanish Colonies, on account attention of the government has been called. It remains to be of its connection with the African slave-trade; and, at the same seen whether any steps have been taken to protect the rights of time, of their intention to lessen the amount of the differential every portion of her majesty's subjects by the Government.

duties between foreign free-grown sugars and those raised in the FREE LABOR CULTURE.

British plantations and territories abroad, is satisfactory; and

would have been more so, had the government removed those diffeWhatever difference of opinion may exist among public men, on

rential duties altogether. The proposition is to reduce the present the expediency of discouraging the growth of tropical productions rate of duty to 58. 2d. per cwt. on Muscovados, and 8s. 3d. per by slaves, by fiscal regulations in favour of free labor, there happily

cwt. on clayed sugars. The views of the committee on this imexists none as to the importance of encouraging the cultivation of those productions to the greatest extent, in British India and portant subject remain unshaken ; and it would be a source of sin

cere gratification to them were they practically recognised and the British colonies. Statesmen, merchants, manufacturers, and

applied. philanthropists, are agreed in opinion on this point. At present one great branch of our national industry and commerce,

The MORAVIAN MISSIONARY SOCIETY. is almost entirely dependent on the United States for the supply of

In the last report of the Society, the committee were enabled to the material required for its successful prosecution. Cotton wool

announce that the Moravian Missionary Society had emancipated is not only in great demand, but that demand is enlarging from year the slaves connected with their mission stations in the Danish Coloto year. Any sudden interruption of the requisite supplies would be nies. The result has proved an unmixed good to all parties. They felt as a great calamity, and hence all whose interests are bound have now the satisfaction to state that by a recent letter from Paup with our gigantic cotton manufactures, are anxious to draw

ramaribo, Surinam, received in the early part of this month, mea. hem from quarters, where such interruption is not likely to

sures had been taken to emancipate the slaves connected with the occur. It is not on this ground however that abolitionists direct mission stations in that colony. It will be a source of sincere the attention of the public to the growth of cotton in India. To rejoicing to all the friends of that Society to find their missions, in them it would be a matter of comparative indifference whence the every part of the world, divorced from the system of slavery. supplies came if they were produced by free-labor. One fact will show how greatly the demand for cotton-wool in this coutry has

THE FREE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND. increased the extent of slavery in the United States. In 1790 the

It will be remembered, that the commissioners of this important slave population of that country was 657,437; and the exports of cotton wool were 189,316 lbs.; in 1843, the number of slaves section of the British Churches, who went to the United States in amounted to 2,847,810; and the exports of cotton wool were

1844, were, unhappily, induced to visit the Slave-States, and to 1,081,919,136 lbs. The committee rejoice, however, to be enabled give the right-hand of fellowship to slave-holders. In return for to state that the supply of slave-grown cotton has not kept pace with which, liberal contributions were placed in their hands, for the purthe demands of commerce. British India has interposed a check. In poses of the Free Church. They were warned of the consequences 1825 that country exported tothis 39,657 bales; in 1844, 239,718 bales. that would result from this act

, by the executive Committee of During the five years ending 1841-2, the quantity of cotton-wool American Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, but without effect. From exported from British India to Great Britain was 330,629,830 lbs.;

what took place in the General Assembly of the Free Church last to China 452,795,315 lbs.; the average export to this country per year, the committee have felt it to be their duty to memorialize that annum, 66,125,966 lbs., and to China, 90,559,063 lbs. The effect body, and to suggest the necessity of their bearing a decided testiof this has been to keep the price of cotton-wool down to a very timony, to send back the money received from American Slave

mony against slavery, and by way of giving emphasis to that teslow figure; and looking forward, as they confidently do, to

holders. the improvement of India cotton-wool from superior cultivation,

FOREIGN OPERATIONS. clean picking and ginning, and superior packing, the committee feel persuaded, that the time is not distant when it will not only

UNITED STATES. come into competition with the lower kinds of American cotton, The event of the most importance which has transpired during but with the finer qualities also, and by its superior cheapness, drive the last year, affecting the Anti-Slavery cause, has been the it out of the market. The committee have given their close annexation of Texas to the United States, by formal acts of their attention to this subject; and, in the course of the year, have laid respective legislatures. Thus has an extent of territory equal to the before her majesty's government a summary of facts bearing upon seventh part of the United States been added to that republic; it which they trust has not been without its influence. The com- and what is most to be deplored, devoted, by its constitution, mittee are happy to add that the government of Bombay have in perpetuity, to the curse of slavery. In the history of nacaused the lands in that presidency, to be valued, with a view to tions, an act of greater perfidy, a deed of greater unrighteousa fixed instead of a fluctuating land-tax, much to the satisfaction ness, was never perpetrated by any people, with any pretence to of the cultivators, and with advantage to itself; and the Committee civilization and religion. It is impossible to foresee what may be trust the same equitable principle will be applied to the whole of the ultimate issue of this criminal transaction. It has not been the presidencies. The Committee believe they may also congratulate effected however, without the strenuous resistance and solemn protest

[ocr errors]

of the better class of Americans, who believe it to be equally a was established at Utrecht for that purpose, some time since, is exviolation of the eternal principles of Justice, and of the constitutional tensively read and is increasing in circulation. It is reported that law of their country, and it has added, the committee believe, to the government is seriously entertaining the question. In the the number and power of Abolitionists, and given new impetus meantime, however, the slaves are rapidly decreasing ; and recently, and force to their exertions.

there has been added to the horrors of their suffering condition, a But if the committee have to deplore this sad event, they have great scarcity of provisions, which it may be feared will add to the to record others of a gratifying nature. The present state of mortality which previously prevailed. Maryland, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and Alabama, give The attempt to colonize a certain number of white persons in indications that they are fast ripening for abolition. The facts Surinam has been attended with a great waste of life. It would are too numerous to be adduced in proof of this in the brief space of appear, that the only beings who can labour for any continuance this report. It may however, be proper to say, that the discussion on the flat alluvial lands of Surinam are Africans, or their of the question of abolition is beginning to force itself on the descendants. attention of thinking men in the slave states, and that the attempts From correspondence with their friends in Holland, the committee which have been made to silence the expression of opinion, whether rejoice to find that they are earnestly engaged in promoting the by mobs, or by the action of the legislature, have failed in their york of abolition. effect.

DENMARK AND SWEDEN. In many of the free states, there is evidently a desire to mitigate

The committee have nothing new to report respecting these the severity of the laws against coloured persons, and to secure to countries. They trust, however, that the measures which have them, in common with other citizens, the enjoyment of common

been adopted by their respective governments will speedily issue in rights.

the emancipation of all their slaves. Measures, it will be rememBut it is chiefly among the various sections of the professedly bered, were taken some time since to soften the condition of Christian church, that the greatest revolution in opinion on the the slaves in the Danish colonies; whilst a provision was made by subject of slavery is taking place. Never was there among them the king and the diet of Sweeden last year to secure the abolition so large a body of sound anti-slavery sentiment and feeling as at of slavery in St. Barts in a period of five years. the present time. From this we argue that the days of slavery are drawing to a close in the United States, for the committee

SPAIN. are persuaded that when the church shall do its duty this monstrous The unsettled state of this unhappy country has prevented, any evil must cease.

direct effort being made by the committee to promote the abolition The Liberty Party is extending its operations and diffusing its of slavery in its colonies. They have to report, however, that influence throughout the Union. It contemplates an extensive and instructions have been issued to the captain general of Cuba to efficient organization of its forces, and there is every reason to exert himself in the suppression of the slave-trade; and, a penal believe it will make itself felt and respected at the next presidential law has been passed by the Cortes for the punishment of those election.

engaged in that nefarious traffic. The committee, do not attach The committee cannot close this short reference to the United the slightest degree of importance to either of these measures. States without assuring the friends of abolition there how sincerely The Spanish functionaries derive too great an advantage from the they sympathize with them in their struggles and difficulties; and traffic to allow it to be abandonede; and the mother country is too how highly they appreciate their zealous labours and sacrifices in distant and too inefficient to control them. Besides which, part of the cause of human rights.

the splendid revenue it derives from the colonies, results from the FRANCE.

traffic; and it has political reasons for winking at its continuance. On the continent of Europe no nation occupies so important a

It is, however, certain that many of the influential planters and

residents in the Havana are terrified at the large influx of negroes position on the anti-slavery question as France. In the last report of the society, the committee announced that a bill was before the during the last few years; and have earnestly petitioned the French legislature, the object of which was to ameliorate the con-government for its discontinuance. The recent insurrections in dition of the slave population of the French colonies. After a

Cuba have tended to deepen their convictions of the danger of its protracted discussion in both chambers, it was, with some modi- continuance, and have presented scenes of cold blooded atrocity, fications, adopted. Up to this time, however, it has proved ineffi- which have scarcely a parallel in the history of human oppression cient for the purpose for which it was designed, and it evidently and human crime. From private sources of information the Comappears to be the fixed intention of the colonial authorities to make mittee learn that upwards of a thousand slaves have been flogged it a dead letter. This is what might have been expected ; but it to death, in the neighbourhood of Havana, and that some of them will, the committee trust, open the eyes of French abolitionists received more than two thousand lashes before they expired. to the necessity of taking higher ground than they have yet done,

To shew how lightly the Spanish government view the infamous and of demanding with one heart and voice the immediate and proceedings of the captain-general of Cuba, O'Donnell

, it has entire abolition of slavery. This is the only effectual cure for pleased the queen to confer on him a patent of nobility as a reward

for the eminent services he has rendered his country. the evil.

Another appeal has been made by the Spanish minister in this With a view to promote this desirable object, the secretary of the society visited France during the autumn of last year; and the country, to allow of the introduction of Spanish West India sugar committee have the gratification of stating that a pamphlet, written into the British market

, which has been courteously but firmly

resisted by the British government. by an eminent individual in that country has been prepared, and will be extensively circulated, in which the right of the slave

BRAZIL. to immediate and unrestricted freedom is boldly maintained. As

In consequence of the expiry of the treaty for the suppression a sequel to this, the committee trust there will be an organi- of the slave-trade between Great Britain and Brazil, in 1845, conzation of abolitionists on that basis, who will prosecute the work ceding the right of search, it became necessary that measures should with fidelity and zeal. The Committee regret to learn that their be taken to enforce the principle of the Portuguese convention of estimable friend M. Isambert, who has so long and so honourably 1817, which was accordingly done by the passing of an act of filled the office of secretary to the French Anti-Slavery Society, parliament under which slaves covered by the Brazilian flag, are has been compelled from the pressure of his official duties, to resign now captured and condemned in the British admiralty courts. it into other hands. No man has served the cause of the slave with

It is a melancholy fact that the Brazilian government appear to more zeal, or given greater proofs of devotion to it than he has be determinedly hostile to the abolition of the slave-trade ; and that, done. It is gratifying however, to be able to report that the at the present time, it is more deeply involved in the traffic than Anti-Slavery cause will still have the advantage of his steady any other power. The venality of the functionaries is complete. adherence and zealous advocacy. M. Dutrone succeeded him in Yet the committee do not abandon all hope. The free people of the arduous and responsible duties he has resigned.

colour are rapidly increasing in number, position, and wealth, and

unless they are destitute of all sympathy for their brethren in HOLLAND.

bonds, it may be expected that their influence and efforts will be In Holland, the committee are pleased to report that the friends devoted to their emancipation. of abolition are diligently engaged in diffusing information on the Under the present system of supplying its plantations with slaves subject of slavery and abolition ; and that the periodical which it is utterly impossible Brazil should flourish ; and in the esti

a

« ZurückWeiter »