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habitants of the southern and western parts of the United States of America will with great reluctance be brought to relinquish the use of slaves. In Spanish and Portuguese America, all attempts to abolish the Slave Trade will be unsuccessful. I have remarked, that the change of the race of the inhabitants has in most countries been occasioned by conquest. But this will not be the case in respect to the Negroes carried to America. They will be carried there as slaves, but the inhabitants will gradually become a mixed race.
When the Abolition of the Slave Trade was first suggested in the House of Commons, I did not think, that the means, by which it was proposed that the abolition should be effected, were judicious. I had entirely approved of the measures by which it was hoped that the sufferings of the slaves in their passage from Africa to the West Indies might be diminished. The bounty given to those captains, who transported their slaves with the smallest average loss, appeared likely to produce the most beneficial consequences.
I thought this idea should have been farther extended. I thought no slaves should be allowed to be transported from Africa to the islands, except in large ships. In a large ship the number of the crew frees them from apprehension of the insurrection of their slaves: And from this circumstance, they are enabled to allow more indulgence to the Negroes. The number of the slaves on board each ship ought by law to have been regulated, and proportioned to the tonnage. I believe, that since the open exportation of slaves has been prohibited, much misery has been experienced by the slaves, from their being carried by contraband in small ships immoderately crowded.
my chief hope of an amelioration in the condition of the slaves was from the decisions of the courts of law. I believe, that the courts in the West Indies still
persevere in not permitting a Negro to give evidence in any cause, either civil or criminal. I cannot conceive how this maxim has arisen. It certainly is not drawn from the common law of England. If the veracity of the witness is doubted, from the circumstance of his being a slave, let the objection go to his credit, not to his competency. As the law now stands, the Negro is considered as below the rank of a reasonable being. When the Negroes were brought to the island, the legislature ought to have provided, as far as possible, that every Negro should be annexed to some plantation : that he should become glebæ ascriptus, and that he should never afterwards be sold to any other master except with the plantation. As the law now stands, the judgment creditor may levy his debt by the sale of the Negroes on the plantation, and thus break the nearest connexions. Privileges might have been granted to such Negroes as were born within the island, for they are not so likely to take part in insurrection as the Negroes newly imported. By these, and other similar regulations, the legislature and the courts of law might have ameliorated the condition of the Negro, and gradually elevated him to the character of a subject. But this plan was not approved of. The Trade was to be immediately abolished : its
abolition was voted by Parliament; but it has not yet been effected. And I doubt whether that abolition ever will be effected by the means pursued.
Will Revolution produce an increase of
Happiness to Mankind ?
This is a question, which must frequently recur to every reflecting mind. I have no hesitation in saying, that I think Revolution will add to the happiness of mankind. The only country in which we have yet seen a Revolutionary Government completely established is America: and there the prosperity of the People has been morerapidly increased, than it is probable that it would have been under the old Government. Before the independence of the United States of America, the governors sent from Great Britain to its colonies were, for the most part, necessitous courtiers ; and the object of Government was to check the growth of the Colonies.