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had been defended in a manner which any decision was given in which, in his opinion, only tended favour of the slaves, was miserably to aggravate it. It was the case small. A slave named Felix comof a woman who had been flogged, plained of general profligacy on and who had miscarried in conse- the part of the manager towards quence. The driver, who was or- the wives of the slaves, and that dered to flog her, remonstrated, say, his own wife had been taken from ing that the woman was pregnant. him for improper purposes. He The manager's reply was, "Give went to the fiscal and complained ; it to her, till the blood flows out." and what sort of redress did he This happened on the Friday; she obtain ? A case of adultery was was sent to work on the Saturday, proved against the manager; the and miscarried in consequence of fiscal ordered Felix to be flogthe flogging. Her testimony was ged, and the manager was merely confirmed by that of a medical reproved for his misconduct. The man, and a negro woman. The pretence for flogging Felix was, defence set up was, that the driver that he neglected his work. A said she was rather big with child, negro, named Lambert, was very and the word. “ rather” was omit- ill, and could get no medicine. In ted in his examination. The next this state he was compelled to case to which he should allude was work day and night. It was not that of a man named Brutus, who contended that he feigned illness ; was flogged because he would not he was flogged, however, and no consent to the violation of his reason assigned for it. Another case daughter. He would mention only was that of the slave Michael, a very one other case, which remained oldman, whowasflogged for refusing undenied in every part, that of a to do what was in itself illegal, and negro named Michael, who had could obtain no redress. No change been flogged on the same planta- for the better could be reasonably tion as the former, and, for aught expected, so long as those very he knew, by the same manager. functionaries, who ought to protect He had been suspected of theft, the slave against the cruelty and being found in possession of pro- tyranny of the master, were themperty similar to some that had been selves slave-proprietors. He therestolen. He denied the theft to fore moved, that an Address be the manager, who threatened him presented to his Majesty, praying with the stocks, and flogged him. that he would be graciously pleasHe complained to the proprietored to direct that, in future, no that he had been flogged for an
person, being the
of offence of which he was not guilty; slaves in any of the colonies, or and, obtaining no redress, he went possessing a reversionary interest to the fiscal, who said that, as in such property, should be apthere was no proof of his inno- pointed to the situations of govercence, he could do nothing for nor, chief justice, attorney-genehim. Thus the man was punish- ral, fiscal, guardian, or religious ed, not because guilt had been instructor, in any of the said proved against him, but because colonies. he could not prove his innocence. Lord Bathurst opposed the moThe manager was only reprimand- tion. He had no difficulty, he ed. . The number of cases in said, in admitting the propriety of preventing the Governor and Chief- cial documents which have been justice from being slave-proprie- laid on the table of the House, and tors; but the case was far from from other authentic information being so clear with respect to the respecting the colonies of Demerara other functionaries included in the and Berbice, it appears that, ale motion. He saw no reason why though protection has been held the Attorney-general, who could out to the slave-population by the derive but an inconsiderable income appointment of a Fiscal Chief-jusfrom his practice in any of the co- tice, or some other individual in lonies, or why the fiscal, or reli- the character of a protector of gious instructor, who must be resi- slaves, yet the slaves are in dents, and possess lands for their general exposed to numerous vexsupport, should be shut out from atious and grievous oppressions the only means of cultivating them. which demand relief ; and thereThe noble lord had complained of fore that this House bas observed the number of cases, in the report with great satisfaction the declared from Demarara, in which com- determination of his majesty's miplaints were made by slaves against nisters to promulgate in those cotheir masters, and, in place of lonies an order in council on so being redressed, visited with puc important a subject, to which unnishment. It ought to be consi- qualified obedience will be redered that there had been, not quired; but that, from all reason long back, a rebellion in Demerara and experience the House is led
that the fiscal was placed in a to conclude, that no legal act, howcritical situation ; and that, from ever well devised and strongly the very nature of society in the framed, will be sufficient for the colonies, it was necessary that effectual safeguard of the slaves, slaves should be punished when unless the officers, either principal they brought against their owners or subordinate, to whom the execomplaints utterly destitute of cution of the law may be intrusted, foundation. He could see no rea- are appointed and supported by son for conceding the motion, and the government at home; and are would therefore move the order of absolutely prohibited from possessthe day. Lord Ellenborough said ing and employing slaves in any that he would rather have met the capacity, either predial or domesmotion with a direct negative, for tic.” This resolution he vindicated he disapproved both of its princi- by the same considerations, and the ple and its details. The good ex- same allegations of practical abuses amples set by public functionaries which had been put forward by in the treatment of their slaves, lord Suffield in the House of Peers, could not ultimately fail to have coupled with delineations of the the best effects on the conduct of good which had been effected in other proprietors. The House the colonies by the labours of passed to the previous question, the missionaries, the proportion in and the motion was lost.
which negro life was shortened or A few days afterwards (20th extended according as more or less April) the same topic was brought of the soil was employed in the before the House of Commons by cultivation of sugar, and
tri Mr. W. Smith, who moved this vial claims which the colonists resolution: “ That from the offia could have to sympathy, after hava ing shut their eyes, for so many as it is to protect the slaves from years, to the signs of the times. injustice and oppression. On these Mr. Wilmot Horton deprecated points you are to endeavour to exthese irritating references to the ercise a sound discretion, and to pastma system which, whatever it adopt such measures as, while they might have been, was superseded, secure the slaves, may not interand would never return. In re- fere with their industry or with gard to the two colonies in ques. the obedience which they owe to tion, the motion was unnecessary. their masters. For that purpose, The Trinidad Order in Council although you ought to exercise the was already, with a few modificar utmost vigilance in protecting the tions, in full operation in Deme- slaves from injurious treatment, rara, and would soon be so in Ber- you ought at the same time to disbice. A protector of slaves, pos- courage all frivolous and unfounded sessing ample powers to fulfil the complaints. One of your earliest purposes of his appointment, had studies ought to be the means of been nominated for Demerara, and fixing on the minds of the slaves, the instructions given to that func- by such statements and arguments tionary afforded the best answer as may be capable of comprehento the speech which introduced the sion by them, the principles of motion. They were to the follow. these instructions." Under all ing effect : “ It is your particular those circumstances, seeing that duty, as protector of slaves, to the regulations which had been watch over all the regulations that introduced into Trinidad were almay exist at present, or that may ready in operation in Demerara, be introduced hereafter, respecting and would speedily be so in Berthe treatment of slaves in Deme- bice; it would be much better to rara. You are to apply to the lo- look forward with confidence and cal government for such facilities hope to the future, than to exasas may enable the slaves to com- perate the parties interested by a municate to you any complaints recurrence to the past; and, for his they may have to make against own part, he could not see the use their owners ; and you are not to of this perpetual agitation of the fail to report to the lieutenant-go- question. vernor any impediments which Mr. Rose Ellis denied the exist may be thrown in the way of suchence of that system of refusing recommunication. You are not, on dress, and of even punishing slaves all occasions, to wait for the sponta- for complaining, which was made the neous complaints of the slaves
them- foundation of such sweeping charges selves; but if you hear of any mal- against the colonies. He had treatment to which they have been taken the pains to analyse the resubjected, you are to repair to the port made by the Fiscal of Berbice ; estate on which that reported mal- and it appeared that, out of fortytreatment has occurred, and insti- three cases of complaint made by tute a diligent inquiry into the cir- the slaves, which had occurred in cumstances of the case.
a period of thirteen months, twennot, however, to forget, in the ex- ty-seven were adjudged to be altoecution of your office, that it is as gether unfounded ; and of the remuch your duty to secure the legi- maining sixteen cases, there were timate rights of the proprietors, eight in which both parties were
adjudged to be in the wrong, and meaning of the resolution, if it eight cases only in which the com- was not intended, or thought to plainants were right. In a period be in opposition to the views and of five years there was a total of wishes of government. If it was three hundred and twenty-three not so intended, it was unnecescomplaints in two hundred of which sary; if it was so intended, it the complainants were altogether was both inconvenient and dangerin the wrong, and of the remain- Both in Jamaica and Deme.. ing cases it appeared there were rara no greater danger had been fourteen well-founded complaints experienced than what arose from each year from a population of rumours getting abroad ; first, 20,000 slaves. Another test of that the government at home was the accuracy of that report was to in hostility with the colonial aube found in a report of the Fiscal thorities; and next, that parliaof Demerara, from which it ap- ment had determined to goad on peared that, out of eighteen com- the government--for such was the plaints in six months, fifteen were notion with which the strange adjudged to be unfounded, and conduct, speeches, and pamphlets there were only three in which of some persons here had impressed there was cause of complaint. So the negroes of Demerara. He far, therefore, the report of the Fis- must say of the whole Anti-Slavery cal of Demerara confirmed that of Society, and perhaps he should the Fiscal of Berbice; and he put it have said more, if he had not the to the candour of the House, whe- highest respect for the talents and ther those sixteen decisions in upright intentions of so many which the managers or
owners honourable friends of his in that were adjudged to be in the wrong, House, who were also members of whilst there were two hundred the body he was now alluding to, and ninety cases in which no that there was in their proceedings such decision was recorded, were something not only totally irreconsufficient ground to found sweep- cileable, with common prudence ing charges. Of the three cases and propriety, but something which in which it was stated that the had about it a character of rashparties had been punished for ness, precipitation, and confusion, bringing forward unfounded com- that was calculated to produce in plaints, the report stated that the the colonies irremediable mischief parties were punished, the charges and vexation. He must take leave being unfounded, and they having to apply this remark, to a certain absconded. Absconding was the extent, to some of these gentlemen greater offence, for which the ma- even in that House; more than jor part of the punishment of one of whom appeared, from the seventy-five lashes was inflicted. notice-book, to have prepared each They had been so punished, not some motion or resolution on this for bringing forward unfounded favourite topic. If he could see, complaint only, but for that of- in the conduct of these memfence aggravated by running away. bers, any object of possible attain
Mr. Baring, in the course of a ment (well knowing, however, the very sensible and business-like integrity of their motives) which speech, declared, that he could he could reconcile with the dictates not conceive what was the of that common sense which no
men, on other occasions, more emi- House of Assembly in Jamaica nently possessed, he should know passed two bills, the object of what construction to put upon which was to put an end to the their proceedings, of which at pre- slave trade: but at home the insent he could not understand any fluence of Bristol and Liverpool part.
succeeded in defeating the meaThe motion was negatived with sure. The question on that occaout a division.
sion had been submitted to the On the part of those who were Board of Trade, and the President interested in the colonies, petitions of that day (lord Dartmouth) inwere presented to the House of timated the opinion of that body Lords from the Board of Council, to be against the views of the and House of Assembly of An- Planters-whose intentions on that tigua, and to the Commons from occasion, as on former occasions, the Board of Council alone, on the were defeated; for it was alleged 14th of April, and, on the 20th, to that no measure could be acceded both Houses from the great body to which would have the effect of of British merchants trading to checking a trade so advantageous the West Indies; all of which to the nation at large. The petirenewed those incidental and un- tioners, therefore, maintained, with defined discussions which could by much apparent reason, that, if they no possibility lead to any prac- were to be deprived, by the emantical conclusion. The petitioners cipation of the slaves, of what the of Antigua said, that the slave law had declared to be their propertrade had not been established for ty, and had encouraged them to acthe benefit of the colonies; and quire, they should at least be comthey proved, by a reference to do- pensated for the loss; and, if any cuments, that, but for the govern- wish was entertained by parliament and legislature at home, it ment to try the experiment of would long since have ceased to raising. West-India crops by the exist. So far back as the year free labour of negroes, the peti1717, the House of Assembly of tioners expressed their perfect wilSouth Carolina, planters them- lingness, cheerfully to sell the selves, and alive to the interests of whole island, at a fair valuation. their class, had passed an act with The merchants, again, represented a view to the abolition of the in their petitions, that the emantrade. In 1765, a bill had pro- cipation of the slaves would be a ceeded so far as the second reading, direct interference with existing in the House of Assembly in Ja- securities over West-Indian promaica, the object of which was si- perty. The statute 14 Geo. 3, milar to that which had previously expressly recognized slaves as propassed in South Carolina. But in perty of which mortgages might Jamaica the bill went no further, be granted. But, until it should in consequence of its having been be proved by experience, that intimated that the governor of the free negroes would carry on the island had received such instruca ordinary cultivation of the estates tions from the ministers of the in a regular and effectual manCrown as precluded his assenting ner, as hired servants, the slaves to the measure.
At a still later formed the essential part of the period, in the year. 1774, the security, because, without them,