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TO THE COUNT D'ORSAY.
Kingston, Sept. 10, 1834. My dear Sir, Among the numerous cases that have come before me, of a ludicrous character, either where negroes have been plaintiffs or defendants, there have been many which might have given excellent occupation to the genius of Hogarth, or the inimitable talent of the Morning Herald police-reporter ; but the perception of the ridiculous is one thing, and the description of it is another,--and unfortunately the latter is not much in my way. I shall therefore content myself with giving you a few negro epistles, without taking a liberty with a single letter of the original.
But if all the cases which came before me within the last twelve months were only of a ludicrous character, if the majority were of a description to occasion merriment, the necessity for the
change in the system which has taken place, might not be considered very apparent. I will only say that I consider that change was most imperatively called for by existent circumstances, as well as past ones; but I do not mean to refer to any cases that came before me in my official capacity, to substantiate this assertion.
I trust the time for animosity and heart-burnings between all parties here is drawing to a close ; it certainly has not come to it, but it shall not be my business to hinder or impede it. But once for all I most distinctly state, that no measure ever was more imperatively called for by urgent and obvious necessity, than that for the abolition of slavery. There is one gratifying prospect for the friends of humanity, who regard with disquietude the continuance of slavery in the islands of the other European powers, in some of which, not forgetting the French, the condition of the slave is even more abject than it has been for many years in the British colonies : the abolition of slavery in our islands must lead to its cessation in the neighbouring colonies. I do not expect it will be relinquished willingly, either by the governments of France or Spain; but the very efforts that will be required to continue it, and the imposition of new restraints on the now awakened spirit of the negro population of these islands, will render the slaves less patient of oppression,
and more united in the effort to demand justice, and, when denied, to exact it. Both of these governments had better make a virtue of necessity, and do what is expedient, with the grace of a cheerful concession. There is merit in an act even of tardy justice: there is nothing but fatuity in persistance in a system which is surrounded with difficulties that are not to be surmounted. It needs no ghost from the grave to tell us that the days of slavery are numbered in the Western World, or to point to the words that the finger of destiny has visibly written on the walls of the slave-holder's habitation — Thy property in man shall speedily pass away!
But I must not forget my police matters, in my politics. The following epistle was handed me by a negro lady, about sixty years of age, whose rụeful expression of countenance, and violent gesticulation, made me think she had some mortal grievance to complain of: the grievance, however, was not of so serious a nature as I
“ Dr. MADDAN Esq. Stependary Magistrate.
“Kingston, Oct. 16, 1834. “ Please your worship “ To Hear my Complaint wich I am Entend to Lay Down before your worship and hopeing your worship will Have it Justified before your worship that is on Monday the 29th September 1834, one Mrs Hope live in Brown Town She began to through Casom and to abuse but wich She Didnot Call no Name ontill this last Monday She Came to my Gate and put a false Accusation on my Daughter Elizabeth Frances and Call Her a theefe and accuse her of Mug Staling that this Mrs hope Have lost and make use of Great many words in Bad Expesstion and Please your worship I have Gott witness that my Daughter never put her fut in Mrs hope yard and further more wich it can be Prove that my Daughter Never take her mug and She have Kick up Such a Row that the permanence Guard was Oblige to came out to make Peace and to make Her Keepe Silence from maken use of bad Expression before she whould bedon and if your worship Please to Send for her to let her prove that my Daughter taken Her Mug for I think it is hard for my Daughter Caracter to be taken away falsly and which Mr. Curtiss was the permenence Guard that make Silence and She is a Common Disturbeance threwout the neabour Hood.
The next case is that of a negro suing for divorce on grounds certainly of very strong suspicion of infidelity on the part of his better half. The following epistle is the preliminary application:
“ To MR MADDAN ESQUIRE
“ Anderson Mattix beg the favour of Mr. Maddin to grant him a paper to carry to Church to join together in Matrimony as I had taken one before and ask my Master for a paper to Marry and he told me he would join us in Matrimony himself and the Overseer accordingly he did and since he join us togeth Buckra has taken away my wife from me these nine years I have tried to see if she would return to me and she will not leave Buckra after I found that be the case I went to him to give me a paper to join a fresh he said he could not I must go to the Bishop and he will give me leave to join according to his orders I went and he send to Parson Camill of half-way Tree and he told me he would Bublish the Banns, and on the third Sunday I must come to join together on the Sund I was to go my Master would not allow me to go I have brought this to you my Master to beg of you to look into this Complaint for me as I am a Religious man and wish to live as Christian life and not a sinful one my Master