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Bahamas shew, that no marriage the drivers are slaves, and usually had there been solemnised between the strongest of them, therefore their slaves down to the close of 1822. punishments and outrages are the
On the whole, therefore, it will ap- more violent, certainly will not hold pear that Mr. Wilberforce was com- good in any point. They are not pletely justified in affirming, that the appointed on account of their slaves were “strangers to the institu- strength, for they have no work to tion of marriage;" and that the fact do, but merely as a reward for good of Mr. Bridges having, subsequently conduct and faithful services; and to October 1822, solemnised 187 the very circumstance of their being marriages of slaves, (the whole proof slaves, liable to be reduced to the he adduces to shew that Mr. Wilber- ranks by the representations of those force's statement was unfounded,) under them, whose complaints it is does in no way invalidate that the interest of the master to see restatement. In fact, they were cele- dressed, must be a guarantee for brated after Mr. Wilberforce had their not abusing the temporary printed his pamphlet; and, after all, power confided to them. The freit remains to be ascertained whether quent removal of these drivers at these marriages are any thing more the instance of the working Negroes than a mere unavailing ceremony, would, if you did not reside at such conveying no legal rights whatever to a distance as to forbid your acquainthe parties, and binding them by no tance with the economy of a planlegal obligations ; or whether they tation, have rendered your obserconstitute what is understood in this vation on that head totally nucountry by a marriage.
gatory.” (p. 22.) Having disposed of two of the This is neither proof nor reasonpoints, religious instruction and mar- ing; it is pure mistification. We riage, which Mr. Bridges makes the have not even one of Mr. Bridges's ground of his attack on Mr. Wilber- hardy denials to stagger us. Mr. force, we now come to the third Wilberforce's observations he tells us point, on which he tells us that he arenugatory. Why? Because drivers has proved Mr. Wilberforce's state- are often removed at the instance ment to be unfounded; we mean that of the working Negroes. But asof the Negroes being worked like cattle suming the fact to be so, which is not under the whip. The following pas- a little improbable, why, we would sage, however, contains the only ask, are they often removed? Is it remark which Mr. Bridges makes not because they often abuse their on this subject; and it certainly power? Otherwise their removal sounds more like an admission than would be an act of injustice. And a denial of the practice.
yet Mr. Bridges would make us be“ Your very natural and humane lieve that there is a secure guarantee anxiety to abolish the use of the for their not abusing their power. whip meets only the desire of every Then, he tells us, they are not appossessor of slaves, and by many of pointed for their strength, but merely them it has been abolished. The as a reward. They are, it would treadmill holds out a very excellent seem, honorary, and not efficient substitute, and probably your wishes officers. The work of Mr. Roughley, in that particular you will find fore- a Jamaica planter, was published stalled. Yet, as if you considered about the same time with the pamthe lash cruel and ignominious only phlet of Mr. Bridges; and being a when applied to the Negro race, you didactic work intended for planters, seem to overlook its continuance in and not at all of a controversial desthe army, navy, and courts of jus- cription, it deserves the more credit. tice at home, where its use is in- What is Mr. Roughley's view of the finitely more humiliating and severe. subject? “ The most important But your argument, that because personage in the slave population of an estate," he observes, “is the head ficting the lash at their discretion, driver. He is seen carrying with him for any offence or for no offence, the emblems of his rank and dignity;a and that without the slightest repolished staff with prongy crooks to sponsibility for the exercise of that lean on, and a short handled, tangible discretion. The law of Jamaica, whip.” Some West Indians, in this and of most of the islands, limits, it country, are fond of representing the is true, the number of lashes which whip as the mere badge of office. But an owner, attorney, guardian, exwhy might not the polished staff ecutor, administrator, or overseer, with its prongy crooks suffice? It may inflict, to 39; and the number might, and certainly would, if such which may be inflicted, in the abrepresentations had been any thing sence of such persons, to ten at one else than the grossest fallacies. The time, or for one offence. The law driver, whatever Mr. Bridges may therefore actually exempts from all choose to think and say of him, is, legal responsibility the punishments in Mr. Roughley's estimation, no of the driver to this extent, at one merely honorary officer, intended time, or for one offence; and it furfor show rather than use. “ A bad ther leaves him at liberty to renew driver,” says Mr. Roughley,“ is like them as often as he pleases, while, a cruel blast that pervades every thing in that respect, it lays a restraint on and spares nothing; but when he is the owner and overseer. The owner well disposed, intelligent, clever, and or overseer, we admit, may restrain active, he is the life and soul of the the driver, and may even prohibit estate.” Contrary to Mr. Bridges's his inflicting the lash at all ; but we view of the case, Mr. Roughley speak now of what the law leaves asserts, that to change a head driver the driver or any one else at full is a most momentous affair, and may liberty to do, to whom the owner or produce inconceivable mischief to overseer may choose to delegate his an estate. Should an overseer, authority. It may obviate, however, however, be obliged to dismiss a bad all doubt on this point to give the one, and appoint another, “I must law as it stands in the 27th and 28th beg leave,” says Mr. Roughley, “to clauses of the Consolidated Slave lay before my readers my opinion Act of Jamaica, passed in 1816:of the proper choice of one. He " And in order to restrain arbishould, in my judgment, be an athletic trary punishment, be it further enman, sound and hardy in constitu- acted, that no slave in any plantation tion, of well earned and reputed or settlement, or in any of the workgood character; of an age, and, if houses or gaols in this island, shall possible, an appearance, to carry receive more than ten lashes at one respect; perhaps about 35 years old, time, and for one offence, unless the &c." “ The junior drivers, if pos- owner, attorney, guardian, executor, sible, should be men of the same or administrator, or overseer of such description; but having a good mas- plantation or settlement, having such ter over them in the head driver, slave in his care, or supervisor of they will be induced to behave such workhouse, or keeper of such themselves tolerably." (p. 79.) gaol, shall be present, and that no
As for the hąckneyed argument such owner, attorney, guardian, exdrawn from the use of flogging “in ecutor or administrator, or overseer, the army, navy, and courts of justice supervisor, or gaol keeper, shall, on at home,” it might furnish a defence any account, punish a slave with more for the practice of judicially punish- than 39 lashes at one time, and for one ing the slaves with the whip; though offence, or inflict or suffer to be inone bad practice is ill defended by flicted suchlastmentioned punishment, another ; but it can furnish no de- nor any other number of lashes on the fence for arming masters, overseers, same day, nor until the delinquent has and drivere, with the power of in- recovered from the effects of any former punishment, under a penalty the fair construction of penal laws. of not less than 101. or more than 201. It is further remarkable, that the for every offence, to be recovered responsibility of owners for exceedagainst the person directing orpermit ing the specified measure of punishting such punishment, in a summary ment seems to be limited to such as manner, upon conviction before any are owners of plantations. It does two magistrates, hy warrant; be- not seem at all to touch those who sides being subject to be prosecuted are only owners of personal slaves. by indictment in the supreme as
We have heard much of late, and size courts, or courts of quarter on high authority, of the great imsessions of this island, as for an of- provements introduced into the Slave fence against this Act. And be it Code of St. Vincent's, which was further enacted, that in case any passed in 1820. These improvejustice of the peace, shall receive ments are certainly not very obviany complaint or probable intelli- ous to common apprehensions, as we gence from any slave or otherwise, may hereafter take occasion to shew. that any slave or slaves has or have We would only remark, in the been improperly punished contrary mean time, that the St. Vincent's to the true intent and meaning of law relative to punishment seems this Act, it shall and may be lawful to be a transcript, with a few unto and for such magistrate to as- important verbal alterations, of the sociate one other of the magistrates law of Jamaica inserted above. The of the said parish with him, and to only material difference is, that the inquire in a summary manner into magistrate is not allowed to punish such complaint; and, if upon inquiry the groundless complainant with it shall be found that the said com- more than thirty-nine lashes. plaint is true, it shall be the duty But to return to Mr. Bridges-He of the said magistrates, and they are tells us, that “ every possessor of hereby required, to proceed against slaves" desires to abolish the use the offender according to law; but of the whip, and that “by many if it shall appear that such complaint of them it has been abolished.” It was groundless, the said magistrates certainly would have been well had shall punish the complainant, and the Mr. Bridges afforded us some clearer person giving information thereof, in and less ambiguous information on such manner as to them may seem this important subject. By manyproper."
does he mean ten, or twenty, or Under this provision, magistrates five hundred? And if the desire will obviously not be troubled with to abolish the use of the whip be so many complaints. The evidence of universal as he represents it to be, the slave and of his fellow-slaves is what has prevented all the possessors of course insufficient to convict the of slaves from following the example offender. The magistrates there- which many, it seems, have afforded fore can only dismiss the complaint, them? And why has not the law and punish the complainant; who been altered in compliance with this is perhaps " sent home to suffer re- universal desire? Mr. Bridges has newed severities for his audacity in given no solution of these interestpreferring a complaint.” (See Mr. ing inquiries. He has not even told Stewart on the Past and Present us what substitute has been found State of Jamaica, pp. 220–228.) for the whip in the case of those The law seems also to be so fram- who have abolished it. Now this ed, that no penalty attaches to the was a most important particular of abuse of power by the inferior agents, information to be given to all, either as driver or book-keeper, but only in Jamaica or in other colonies, who to the owner, attorney, overseer, might be desirous of following so &c. This point, however, we sub- laudable an example. Has not the mit to those who better understand silence of Mr. Bridges arisen from this, that the substitute really found has no such substitute for the whip for the whip, wherever it has been been introduced into Jamaica, but laid aside, is only some instrument no such substitute
can be introduced of coercion which happens to bear with any effect. The project is peranother name, but which is not less fectly ridiculous. But Mr. Bridges, efficacious in enforcing labour; per- who admits the necessity of a subhaps the prickly bush, called ebony stitute, ought to have told us—we bush, which though not so tremend- hope he will still tell us--what is ous in its sound or in its permanent the substitute actually employed by effects as the cart-whip, must never- the many planters who, according theless be exceedingly painful, mak- to him, have abolished the whip. ing the blood to start at every ap- We are persuaded the only subplication of it? Such seems to have stitute that any one of them has been the impression of Mr. Barbam. thought of has been a new instru“ Nothing could be easier," he says, ment of correction, as Mr. Barham " than to abolish the use of the intimates; or the institution in some whip; but those who call for this cases of task-work, which, if imabolition always end by proposing posed with judgment and moderasome other means of coercion, some tion, would unquestionably be an other instrument of punishment, less improvement, but which, if immodecried perhaps, but which is to be derate and excessive, as in Demeequally effectual. What will the rara, would prove a greater curse to slave gain by this? It were better the slave than the driving whip it. that his chains should appear in their self. No one, not even Mr. Bridges, full deformity than that they should seems to have dreamed of substibe gilded over.” Mr. Barham, it is tuting reward and encouragement well known, is a considerable planter, for punishment, terror, and exand has seen slavery with his own action. eyes. Mr. Bridges therefore can- We have said that some West not object on that ground to his Indians have been hardy enough, testimony.
trusting to the ignorance of colonial But Mr. Bridges, while he ad- matters prevailing in this country, mits that a substitute for the whip to affirm that slaves in the colonies is necessary, and while he chooses are not worked like cattle under the to conceal from us what substitute lash. We might confidently refer, has actually been provided in those in proof of the existence of the many cases where the whip, ac- practice, to the vulgar argument recording to him, has been abolished, sorted to on all occasions, when the insinuates that the treadmill holds subject is pressed on West Indians in out a very excellent substitute; but private; “The Negroes won't work then he leaves it a little ambiguous without the whip." We might adwhether it has been already adopted duce the whole current of the evias such, or has only been proposed dence on this subject, from the exfor adoption. We assume, however, aminations before the Privy Council that it is nothing more than the in 1788 to the present day. We humane suggestion of Mr. Bridges might refer to every writer of credit himself, who, in the plenitude of his who has visited the West Indies, Christian charity, proposes that the from the Rev. James Ramsay to the labour of the slave should be stimu- Rev. Thomas Cooper ; and all of lated, and any failure in their tasks whom, during a period of forty years, punished, by that contrivance which have successively affirmed the preforms the secondary punishment of valence of the practice. We might criminals in this country. Such a even refer to the violent publications proposal, however, besides being in almost every colony of the West most unjust, is altogether extrava- Indies during the past year; in some gant and impracticable. Not only of which ye should have met with a
flat denial of it, did they not know ject of the Order in Council “ to that it was too notorious to be de- abolish the use of the whip as a nied. Their attention, be it also stimulus. to labour; he meant that remembered, had been particularly cruel and degrading use of the whip excited to this subject, by the cir- which placed the labouring slave cular letters addressed to the local on the same footing with brute authorities by Lord Bathurst.- animals;" he meant “the use of the “With respect,” says his lordship, whip when it was brandished by the “ to the practice of driving slaves to driver over the slave in the field, their work by the sound of the whip, ready to be applied to the brute and to the arbitrary infliction of it nerves as an incitement to labour,"&c. by the driver as a stimulus to labour, Was one West-Indian voice raised I'am disposed to trust to the Court to repel the charge against their of Policy to originate measures for system implied in this regulation, the cessation of this practice, which, and in Mr. Canning's comment upon I need not state, must be repugnant it? Now what was it that Mr. to the feelings of every individualin Wilberforce had said ? “ The Nethis country."
“ As an immediate groes are worked like cattle under measure, I cannot too strongly re- the whip.” The truth of that statecommend that the whip should no ment, it will now be granted, requires longer be carried into the field, and no further proof, notwithstanding there displayed by the driver as the the declaration of Mr. Bridges that emblem of his authority, or employ- he has shewn it to be unfounded. ed as the ready instrument of his It is a settled case. displeasure." This letter was writ- But then it will be alleged, that, ten on the 28th of May, 1823. It although the whip is carried into the reached all the West-Indian islands field, yet it is very rarely applied as in the course of the succeeding July. a stimulus to the bodies of the slaves. Ample opportunity had been given if we were to grant this, it would for commenting upon it previous to only prove that the terror caused by the meeting of Parliament; but has its presence prevented the necessity a single governor, or has a single of its actual infliction; and we are set of resolutions, in any one island not sure that its brutalising effect of the West Indies, ventured to tell would be materially lessened by that Lord Bathurst that he was deceived circumstance. It would still be true in assuming the existence of any that the whip is the stimulus, and the such practice? We will be bold to only stimulus, to labour in the field, say not one: and yet, if they could, while as an instrument of severe would they not, one and all, have punishment it may be cmployed by united in repelling so gross an im- the owner, overeser, &c. to the extent putation on the humanity of their of 39 lashes without control and system as this very instruction of without responsibility. Now let us Lord Bathurst implied ? So far in- suppose that, instead of the island deed was this from being the case, of Jamaica, it was the county of that on the 16th March, 1824, Cornwall, which was subject to such Mr. Canning in the House of Com- a law. Let us suppose, that in that mons, and Lord Bathurst in the county, every proprietor of land, or House of Lords, speaking in the of mines, or of manufactories; every presence of numerous West Indians, bailiff, or overseer, or head of an not only gave no intimation of any establishment, having servants under such denial, but, assuming it to be him ; every attorney, guardian, exan actually prevalent practice, they `ecutor or administrator; every suproceeded to legislate for its aboli- pervisor of a work-house, and every tion in Trinidad, as a prelude to its keeper of a gaol, might at their own abolition in every other colony. discretion for any offence, real or Mr. Canning stated it to be an ob- imaginary, cause to be stripped