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Art. I. 1. View of the past and present state of the Island of Jamaica; - with Remarks on the Moral and Physical Condition of the Slaves,
and on the Abolition of Slavery in the Colonies. By J. Stewart,
late of Jamaica. 8vo. pp. 374. Price 10s. 6d. Edinburgh, 1823. 2. A Letter to M. Jean Baptiste Say, on the Comparative Expense of
Free and Slave Labour. By Adam Hodgson. 8vo. Second Edi
tion. pp. 60. Liverpool, 1823. 3. Substance of the Debate in the House of Commons on the 15th of .May 1823, on a Motion for the Mitigation and gradual Abolition • of Slavery throughout the British Dominions. With a Preface and
Appendixes containing Facts and Reasonings illustrative of Co
lonial Bondage. 8vo. pp. xl., 248. London, 1829. 4. The Jamaica Planter's Guide ; or a System for planting and ma· Daging a Sugar Estate and other Plantations in that Island, and
throughout the British West Indies in general. Illustrated with interesting Anecdotes. By Thomas Roughley, nearly twenty
Years a Sugar-planter in Jamaica. 8vo. pp. 420. London, 1823. 6. Thoughts on the Necessity of improving the Condition of the Slaves
in the British Colonies, with a view to their ultimate Emancipation ; and on the Practicability, the Safety, and the Advantages of the latter Measure. By T. Clarkson, Esq. Third Edition, corrected.
8vo. pp. 58. London, 1823. DVERY friend to the cause of humanity must have exulted
in the result of the memorable debate on Mr. Buxton's motion on the 15th of last May; when his Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was himself the mover of Resolutions which recognised the necessity of immediate measures for meliorating the condition of the slave population of our Colonies, with a view to their eventual participation in those civil * rights and privileges which are enjoyed by other classes of • his Majesty's subjects. If Parliamentary Resolutions could secure the effectuation of their object, little would remain for
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those who have grown old in the cause of the Negroes, but to await with pleasing confidence the operation of those measures by which the Government should redeem the pledge given by the Right Honourable Gentleman in terms so explicit and satisfactory. It is a remarkable circumstance, that the Resolutions passed on that occasion were not opposed by any West India proprietor in Parliament: so far as appears, they met with the unqualified acquiescence of the West India body. It is true, that they came in the shape of an Amend. ment on Mr. Buxton's motion, by which that acquiescence was no doubt in part conciliated. It is also true, that general resolutions are very innocuous things, which it is often found invidious to oppose, but easy to frustrate. Yet, on the whole, the unanimous concurrence of the House in the unequivocal declaration that slavery is an evil imperiously calling for instant mitigation, and that its extinction in the British colonies ought to be made the ultimate object of remedial measures,-must be viewed as a circumstance of high importance, and one which affords cause for congratulation, if not of triumph or complete satisfaction.
It can no longer be said with decency, that what the Abolitionists are aiming at, is a chimerical or illegitimate object. There is room for a difference of opinion as to the measures which it may be expedient to adopt, but every principle which they contend for has now been substantially recognised. The trade which has peopled our colonies with the victims of slavery, is acknowledged to be one of the most atrocious iniquity; aud Mr. Canning, not unforgetful, perhaps, that he is associated in office with men who, to the last, stickled for the continuance of that nefarious traffic,-deprecated a recurrence to the former delinquencies of this country'-he wondered that Mr. Buxton should go out of his way to recal the horrors
and cruelties connected with the now abolished slave-trade.' But ought they to be forgotten? Is it true, that, as the Right Honourable Gentleman affirmed, ' if capable of expiation, • they have been expiated ? If, as a matter of courtesy, it were admitted to be proper to bury in oblivion the past, and to accept as a free quittance, these expressions of penitence on the part of Mr. Canning's colleagues,—the spirit which has again manifested itself beyond the walls of Parliament, the unextinguished spirit of malignity in the abettors of slavery, renders it impossible not to recur to their former conduct. Nay, they are taking all possible means of reviving the recollection of that other odious question,' by a repetition of the same stale and often refuted arguments, the same alarms, and predictions, and calumnies, in almost the same language, by which the advocates of the Abolition were assailed for twenty years by substantially the same party. Scarcely ever did the Press present, on this subject, a more alarming front of determined hostility to the friends of Negro civilization. Blackwood, the Admiralty Review, John Bull, the British Critic, and the Old Times, are leagued in honourable fraternity with a host of minor scribblers in West India pay, to defend to the last the accursed system of slavery, and to write down, each according to its peculiar gift and style, the Wilberforces and the Buxtons. And if this be not enough to rouse the attention of those who have hitherto looked on in supineness, and to indicate the nature of the renewed contest, the Colonists have themselves furnished a lesson, in their recent treatment of an estimable Missionary, which cannot be lost on the religious public. We deprecate any inflammatory appeal to the passions ; but if this state of things does not awake the anxious attention, and call forth the best efforts of every friend of religion and humanity, it must be that they are beguiled into a strange forgetfulness of their duty.
It is necessary, more necessary than ever, that the voice of the British public should be heard. We believe Mr. Canning to be sincere, and that he has the confidence and, to a certain extent, the support of his distinguished colleagues. But even were there no difference of opinion whatever on this point among the members of the Cainet, the difficulties with which his Majesty's Ministers have to contend, in dealing with intractable Colonies and hostile commercial interests at home, render it indispensable that they should be under no mistake as to the feeling of the country; that they should not want any motive on the one hand, or any justification on the other, in following up the measures to which they have pledged themselves. The nature of some of these difficulties is very intelligibly indicated by a cautiously worded paragraph in Mr. Canning's speech, in which he followed up the declaration, that' we have a right to • expect from the Colonial Legislatures a full and fair co-opera'tion,' by adding :
And being as much averse by habit, as I am at this moment precluded by duty, from mooting imaginary points, and looking to the solution of extreme, though not impossible questions, I must add, that any resistance which might be manifested to the express and de. clared wishes of Parliament-any resistance, I mean, which should partake, not of reason, but of contumacy-would create a case, (a case, however, which I sincerely trust, will never occur,) upon which his Majesty's Government would not hesitate to come down to Par. lament for counsel.' The temper of the Colonial Legislatures has been sufficiently manifested. Some of the Colonists have been insane enough indebted as they are to the mother country for their very existence a separation from which they could not survive three years--to hold the language of independence and intimidation. Standing, as it were, on a mine which a spark from the torch of war would explode, few in number, insulated, and physically powerless if once the standard of revolt were raised, depending on England absolutely for their markets and their wealth,—these madmen affect to talk as America did-swelling like the frog in the fable in emulation of the ox; forgetful that they have not, what America had, a righteous cause, and the means of asserting it. This language, however, may be considered as meant to alarm our West India Proprietors here, and to give the lead to the alarmists, rather than to intimidate the Government. Whether meant as a manœuvre, however, or in earnest folly, it shews that every expedient short of a contumacious resistance will be resorted to, in order to defeat or to elude the legislative interference of the mother country. On this account, the Committee for the Mitigation of Slavery express their deep regret
that the mode of proceeding by Parliamentary enactment, in effecting the Colonial reforms which have been recognised as necessary, should not have been preferred to that of leaving this great work to be carried on through the medium of the Colonial Legislatures. Past experience, to say the least, discourages any sanguine hope of their prompt, cordial, and efficient co-operation; and the Committee, Therefore, lay their account in meeting with much delay and disappointment, as the consequence of this arrangement.' p. xxxiii.
It may have been thought, that the mode which has been preferred, would occasion less collision, would at least preclude in some degree the danger of an open conflict between the National Legislature and the Colonial Courts, by giving the latter time to effect the changes which the British Parliament has declared to be necessary. However this may be, the results will require to be watched, both in and out of Parliament, with an unslumbering vigilance. What is to be feared is, not resistance on the part of the Colonists, but cajolery, backed by Quarterly Reviewers and West India proprietors at bome. Time has been gained by this legislative compromise (for as such we must view it) which substitutes a sentiment for a law; and of this time the most diligent use is making, and will be made by the slave-holders, to deceive the public with artful representations, and to throw suspicion alike on the information, the talents, and the motives of those philanthropic individuals who have signalised themselves in the cause of the degraded African. Of some of these attempts, made through the medium of the daily Press, it is probable that a Jury will be called upon to record an opinion, as they have been of that base and malignant description for which the Law has provided redress. But we shall now proceed to lay before our readers a few specimens of the more specious and dexterous tactics of those who would fain pass theniselves off for neutrals and moderators.
In the last Number of the Quarterly Review, there appears an article which would have disgraced the lowest of our Journals by the ignorance, the stupid prejudice, and the daring .contempt of veracity which it displays. Its spirit may be judged of from the fact, that the Writer holds up the -Abbé Dubois as the model of Missionaries, affirms that the conversions, as they are called, made by other Missionaries, are confined to the lowest of the population, and sneers at what he chooses to call the hasty versions of the Scriptures ; adding,
The Jesuits certainly contrived to manage these matters better.' This Reviewer hopes and trusts that the local government of India' will not be interfered with in consequence of the rest• less spirit of a few ultra-philanthropists, the activity of whose • benevolent feelings appears to expand in the direct ratio of • geographical distance.' Who these ultra-philanthropists are, he is honest enough not to leave in uncertainty. . In stirring the question of the sutties in the East, it is added, * we are as far from impeaching the good intentions of Mr. Fowler # Buxton, as we are those of Mr. Wilberforce for his zealous endeavours to effect the liberation of the blacks in the West ; but we must be permitted to doubt the practical wisdom and discretion of both. The affairs of this world are not to be governed, nor the happiness of mankind to be secured, by intentions, however good, which militate against a sound and prudent policy. If, by a misplaced zeal, an in surrection should spread in one hemisphere, and a rebellion be created in the other, resulis, we regret to say, far from impossible, it would be but a poor apology to plead, that no such calamities had been contemplated.' Quarterly Review, No. Iviii. p. 413. . We shall at present offer no further comment on this passage, than that should such results take place, no such plea as this Writer bas the arrogance to frame in excuse for the philanthropists, will ever be urged on their part for their pro
. * We are not sure whether this is meant for a joke, or not; it savours of “ John Bull." "Mr. Buxton' would have sufficiently designated the individual, and the Editor must have known Mr. Fow. ell Buxton's name, if the writer did not.