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where he carried on the trade of a questions had been put to him; butcher, had occasion to rebuke as it was impossible that the boy, his boy Ned, for something that having first, perhaps, from the did not please him about the boy's fear of punishment, told a falsedress, and also for being dirty. hood, should answer otherwise Out of the conversation which than he did to the questions which ensued at that time between the had followed his remark about the butcher and his boy, the whole bad Christmas. The boy was proceedings had arisen ; and op taken before a magistrate, and reno other evidence than that con- peated his story, with some childversation, eight individuals had, ish additions ; upon which the six within four days, namely, on the negroes, whom he had implicated 20th of December, been condemn- as having been mentioned by his ed to be hanged; and the sentence father, were apprehended. Both within four days more, namely, these steps were proper and judion the 24th of December, had cious; but it surely was not to be been carried into execution. The justified that they should be thrown conversation between Roberts and into prison upon

such evidence, the boy was this: the master without having undergone any asked him, in an angry tone, examination. They ought to have

Why he did not get his crops been examined separately, by taken off, in order that he might which the trụth or falsehood of be in a proper state to follow him the boy's statement would have at Christmas?"

The boy an been clearly proved ; at all events, swered, “Ah! Massa, you will by such a mode of proceeding, the have bad Christmas." Mr. Ro- plot, if any had existed, would berts then said, “For what? are have been detected. Instead of the negroes going to rise ?” The that, on the 16th of December, boy replied, “ Yes, his father had they were committed to jail, and, told him so." Mr. Roberts then on the 19th they were brought to questioned him as to whether he trial, when only one other person had seen the negroes meeting. He who pretended to know any thing answered that he had, two times. about the meetings was examined. Mr. Roberts asked him, “If they The boy had stated that two nemeant to kill all the buckras ?” groes, of the names of Ned and William (the boy's name) replied, Douglas, were there. Of these that they did, for his father had two, only Ned was called. He told him so. His master then stated, “that he had been present asked him what he should do; and at a meeting, ten days ago, at the boy told him that he and cap- Bridge-house Estate ; there were tain Barton had better go on board five other negroes with him; they ship, for it was the only place in said they would prepare themwhich they would be safe, as the selves for Christmas ; they were negroes were going to rise, and all going to meet at, and set fire walk all about and murder every to, Frontier Trash-house first, and, body. He (Mr. Denman) begged when the buckras came out, would the House to observe, that the kill them; they would then come boy had been almost furnished on Port Maica Bay, and raise a with the answers by the master, mob, and when the gentlemen from the manner in which the came out, they would rise on

them, and kill them, and then them say that they were going to they would be free.” What man rise at Christmas. The boy Wilof common sense could believe, liam was next called as evidence that such a meeting could have against his own father; and, being taken place in an open street, and admonished to speak the truth, that the conspirators would talk said, that he went to his father, publicly of murder and arson, the prisoner's, house, who told him under the certainty of being heard that the negroes were going to by every person who might hap- rise, and that he must take care of pen to pass ? To e every reflecting himself, and keep out of the way. mind, it must appear to be no He said that he did not see his thing more than the idle and im- father among the

negroes,

and in probable story of two young boys; that respect his testimony was at and yet, on such a story, six indivi- variance with Ned's. Another duals had lost their lives. Douglas, person was then called, who gave the other negro mentioned by the some evidence about a gun, which boy, had not been used as a wit- did not bear at all upon the

quesness by the accusers at all, un- tion; and upon this evidence, una doubtedly, because they had found sifted, unsupported, and without that his evidence would not serve any corroborating evidence, this to convict; and, throughout the old man was sent to the gibbet. whole of these proceedings, neither The next case was one of so absurd William nor Ned, the only wit- a nature as scarcely to justify its nesses, were put upon oath, al- being noticed, althougħ it had though so many lives depended been held sufficient to justify

their testimony. Charles punishment. It was one in which Brown, the first of the accused the principal conspirator was half slaves, had, it seemed, been form an idiot, who used to walk about erly an overseer on Frontier Es- the town and talk of king Wilbertate, where he had been guilty of force, for which he underwent partial and cruel conduct, such as imprisonment for three months. was very likely to render him the Such punishments were neither object of a conspiracy. Against more nor less than a premium for the next, Charles Watson, there perjury, as those who came forwas not the slightest evidence of ward to make such charges were guilt, but, on the contrary, there frequently rewarded with manu

ere contradictions in the testi- mission, or with money. Another mony, which ought to have en case was that of the trial at St. sured an acquittal; and the only George's, where there was a witcircumstance of identity against ness named Corberand, who had Cosley, .one of the prisoners, was, invented more plots than his prothat he had the same clothes on totype Titus Oates, and then, to at the meeting as he wore on his prevent investigation, had procured trial. The last and most afflicting the removal of his confederates case was that of the boy's own from the island, to which the father, James Stirling. The wit- House of Assembly consented, ness Ned, said that he knew the instead of prosecuting them for prisoner, whose former name was perjury. On the last trial, the Joe, and that he saw him at the most direct perjury had been combridge with five others, and heard mitled. Two persons had intro

on

duced the name of M. Lessein, as ers could have occasioned - and having been present on two occa that very state of alarm, in which sions, on both of which he proved they might have found themselves, a clear alibi, having been, on one of only rendered mistakes and irreguthem, out of the island, and, on larities more probable. Yet, if the the other, in prison. Throughout proceedings, however much to be the whole of the depositions, if regretted in themselves, were really depositions they might be called, carried on according to the forms there were repeated and barefaced of the existing laws of the island, contradictions; and they were the which the colonial tribunals were contradictory affirmations only of bound to administer, it seemed difslaves, who, the House had often ficult to discover a good reason for been told, were incapable of under supporting a resolution which censtanding an oath, or feeling its obli- sured them for having followed gation. What opinion was to be their only legal guide, and accused formed of the courts of justice in them of having perverted and vioJamaica, where slaves were con- lated that law. Accordingly, Mr. demned

upon

the evidence of slaves Wilmot Horton, in opposing the alone, who were not even examin- motion, did not take his ground on ed upon oath, and whose con any justification of every part of sciences were crippled by the same these trials, considered merely in fear as their bodies ? for, if when themselves, but maintained that called as witnesses, they gave the courts had only applied the law evidence unpalatable to their mas- which they were bound to apply ; ters, they knew well that they that they had applied it according would only leave the court-house to the forms required by that law, for the work-house. He proposed and in circumstances which fairly the above resolution, that the called for the interference of the Commons of England might have legal authorities. There could, he an opportunity of raising their voice said, be no doubt, that at the time against acts of such crying injus- when the insurrections which occatice and barbarity.

sioned these trials were to have Although in the views thus broken out, the public authorities taken by Mr. Denman of these were convinced that rebellious deproceedings of the colonial tribu- signs existed among the negroes in nals and authorities, too much in- the northern districts of the island, fluence might be allowed to the inflamed by the idea that the intenhabits of thinking and feeling pro- tions of government in their favour duced by the cautious and unim were frustrated by the masters passioned administration of justice, being unwilling to obey instrucstill enough had been disclosed to tions which had been sent out. excite the gravest doubts, whether, The proof that such was the imin these trials, very great injustice pression on the mind of the duke had not been comunitted, and whe- of Manchester, the governor, was ther the whole proceedings, besides to be found in his demands for being founded on incredible testi- additional troops, and the preparamony, had not been hurried on, tions made to meet the danger from accusation to execution, with with which circumstances induced a degree of interested precipitancy him to believe the island was which only the alarms of the plant- threatened, In the proceedings at

St. Mary's there was nothing con- given to the evidence adduced was trary to the law under which alone a question entirely for the jury. the court acted. However desira- The discrepancies or contradictions ble an alteration in that law of the witnesses were not of such might be, and however much a kind as to destroy their credithe state of things, which for a bility; and, at all events, the jury moment, could render it necessary, had believed them. In all the was to be lamented, still, if the instances in question, rebellious proceedings which had taken place, proceedings had taken place; whatwere conformable to it, could the ever the state of the law might be, House now censure those who, it had been strictly followed; and having no other rule to guide them the punishment inflicted had been in their legal decisions, felt them- pursuant to its enactments. He selves under the necessity of acting would, therefore, move the followupon its provisions? He did not ing amendment: That the House stand up as the advocate of that sees, in the proceedings brought law; he did not mean to defend under their consideration, a further the justice or wisdom of it; but, if proof of the evils attendant upon it existed when those trials took slavery, and derives from them an place, the conduct of the court increased conviction of the procould not justly orfairly be attacked, priety of resorting to the measures however deserving the law itself recommended by government in might be of reprobation. The the order of council; but does not forty-sixth section of the existing deem it necessary, however desistatute provided, that if slaves rable a change of the law should be convicted of rebellion, to impeach the sentences passed murder, robbery, or of compassing according to law, by a competent or imagining the death of white tribunal, and convicted by a jury persons, they should suffer death.

sworn to give a verdict according It further provided, that if slaves to the evidence. should be found in possession of The Attorney General and Sofire-arms, swords, cutlasses, slugs, licitor General, in supporting this balls, &c. without the knowledge amendment, frankly joined in adof their masters, they were to suffer mitting the vices of the system of death. Now, it was proved by a law under which the proceedings female witness that she saw a slave in question had taken place; but with a gun and bayonet in his could not concur in stigmatizing possession, and also some powder West-Indian jurors, because they and ball; and the powder and ball had not done their duty so well as, were found by the officer who perhaps, an English jury would searched for them, in the place have performed it, or imputing the where she had said they were con- highest delinquency to the judicial cealed, in a basket. Here was an and executive departments of Jaact, which, by the law, subjected maica, not for having violated, but the person so offending to the pu- for having observed the law. It nishment of death. If censure was was impossible, said the Attorneyto be laid any where, it was surely general, to look at the case, arising, the law they had to blame, and not as it did, out of the vice of the the persons whose business it was system, without wishing for a to administer it. The effect to be change. If the white man, upon his

Voz. LXVIII,

may be,

duced the name of M. Lessein, as ers could have occasioned and having been present on two occa that very state of alarm, in which sions, on both of which he proved they might have found themselves, a clear alibi, having been, on one of only rendered mistakes and irreguthem, out of the island, and, on larities

more probable. Yet, if the the other, in prison. Throughout proceedings, however much to be the whole of the depositions, if regretted in themselves, were really depositions they might be called, carried on according to the forms there were repeated and barefaced of the existing laws of the island, contradictions; and they were the which the colonial tribunals were contradictory affirmations only of bound to administer, it seemed difslaves, who, the House had often ficult to discover a good reason for been told, were incapable of under supporting a resolution which censtanding an oath, or feeling its obli- sured them for having followed gation. What opinion was to be their only legal guide, and accused formed of the courts of justice in them of having perverted and vioJamaica, where slaves were con lated that law. Accordingly, Mr. demned upon the evidence of slaves Wilmot. Horton, in opposing the alone, who were not even examin- motion, did not take his ground on ed upon oath, and whose con any justification of every part of sciences were crippled by the same these trials, considered merely in fear as their bodies ? for, if when themselves, but maintained that called as witnesses, they gave the courts had only applied the law evidence unpalatable to their mas which they were bound to apply ; ters, they knew well that they that they had applied it according would only leave the court-house to the forms required by that law, for the work-house. He proposed and in circumstances which fairly the above resolution, that the called for the interference of the Commons of England might have legal authorities. There could, he an opportunity of raising their voice said, be no doubt, that at the time against acts of such crying injus- when the insurrections which occatice and barbarity.

sioned these trials were to have Although in the views thus broken out, the public authorities taken by Mr. Denman of these were convinced that rebellious deproceedings of the colonial tribu- signs existed among the negroes in nals and authorities, too much in- the northern districts of the island, fluence might be allowed to the inflamed by the idea that the intenhabits of thinking and feeling pro- tions of government in their favour duced by the cautious and unim were frustrated by the masters passioned administration of justice, being unwilling to obey instrucstill enough had been disclosed to tions which had been sent out. excite the gravest doubts, whether, The proof that such was the imin these trials, very great injustice pression on the mind of the duke had not been comunitted, and whe- of Manchester, the governor, was ther the whole proceedings, besides to be found in his demands for being founded on incredible testi- additional troops, and the preparamony, had not been hurried on, tions made to meet the danger from accusation to execution, with with which circumstances induced a degree of interested precipitancy him to believe the island was which only the alarms of the plant- threatened, In the proceedings at

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