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words, he drew the knife, with all his strength, across his own throat, and fell down dead, without a groan, on his master, bathing him in his blood.

CHAP. VII.

Melioration of the State of the Slaves proposed,

and urged from Motives of Duty, and of Interest.

THAT the African slaves are partakers of the same specific nature, and have the same faculties and powers, corporeal and mental; the same sensations and feelings, with us, is, to every unprejudiced person, perfectly evident is not their situation, then, far beneath the dignity of their nature ? Ought it not, without any farther delay, to be meliorated? Would the melioration of their condition be detrimental to their masters? No, the very reverse would infallibly be the case. The total abolition of slavery, and the final suppression of the slave-trade, I do not hesitate to affirm, are indispensibly incumbent on all the powers, who are, directly or indirectly, concerned in the infamous business. Is it judged impolitic to attempt this at once? Then, as a temporary remedy, let their slavery be mitigated, and their situation made easier; and let this change in their condition be effected without delay. Are there not multiplied obvious respects, in which their situation ought to be changed for the better? Why should they be compelled to consider themselyes below, and their masters above, the rank of men? Instead of recommending the Christian religion to them, do not their masters, by their cruel usage, instil into their minds the most invincible prejudices against it? Why are the necessaries of life, which the earth affords superabundantly for all its inhabitants, rational and irrational, either withheld from them, or dispensed in such a scanty degree, as is utterly insufficient for their comfortable support? Why is the property of their offspring violently wrested from them, and transferred to a stranger? Is not this a gross violation of the laws of nature, of religion, of mo- . rality, of common sense? Why are their wives and their daughters, in opposition to every remonstrance and effort they can use, compelled to become prostitutes to their brutal masters? Were these intolerable grievances speedily redressed ; these insufferable grievances effectually remedied; what a happy change would immediately ensue! This glorious alteration we are, in our several stations and places, indispensibly bound to attempt. May our attempts be attended with desired success! Do our slave-holders know, do our Christian legislators recollect, that the distinction between master and slave, between the savage tribes of Africa and the civilized nations

of Europe, is adventitious? Is not every adventitious advantage fortuitous and accidental? Suddenly, and by means the most unexpected, have nations and individuals exchanged harvarism for civilization, and civilization for barbarism. Easily could I name immense countries, once the seat of science and liberty, now the abode of barbarism and slavery ; once swarming with inhabitants, now a dreary inhospitable solitude. Such are the important mutations, vicissitudes, and revolutions, to which human affairs are liable. Happy would it be for every oppressor and tyrant, every slave-trader and slave-holder, to entertain a deep impression of this momentous truth!

Is it not, to every thinking person, apparent, that a redress of the grievances and oppressions, under which the unhappy slaves labour, would enhance, instead of injure, the interest of their masters? When a farmer starves his horses, and oppresses them with excessive labour, is he a gainer? No, he is a loser; and to oblige him, by law, to feed his horses, and work them in moderation, is to promote his interest, as well as afford to innocent animals that protection, to which they are entitled.

Our merciful God cares even for oxen and asses;

and shall he not resent the oppression of a part of his rational offspring? But, shameful to tell! Africans are degraded beneath oxen and asses, horses and hogs. Certain governments, while they extend the benefit of civil police to the latter, seem to withhold it from the former. Colonial laws, indeed, enforce the authority of masters, and the unbounded submission of slaves. But what protection do they secure to slaves ? Are they not, in effect, abandoned to the caprice of their masters? What! human beings entirely in the power of a cruel monster? Horrid situation! At the very idea of it, nature shudders. That it is the indispensible duty of every government, that has hitherto tolerated the slave-trade, immediately to abolish it, does not, with me, admit of a doubt. No advantages that may be supposed to result from the continuance, or inconveniences that may be supposed to attend the discontinuance of a practice in itself sinful, can justify it. For, as a writer of the highest authority teaches, we must, in no case, do evil, from a pretence that good may attend it. But, supposing prudential considerations to plead for a postponement of the final abolition of slavery, and the universal emancipation of the slaves, what consideration can possibly warrant a delay in alleviating their miseries, restoring them to the rank of rational beings, and rendering their servile condition tolerable? The means of accomplishing the

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