« PreviousContinue »
less commerce, yet we have never recognized the independence of Hayti. On every ground worthy of regard, this is a disgrace to our national character. It gives the lie to all our professions of friendship for human liberty. It will pass down to coming generations as a stain upon our memory. It is time that those who feel any responsibility or have any regard for their country's good name-to say nothing of philanthropy-should bring this matter to the notice of Congress. Let us at least know the reasons why a horde of piratical land agents are to be met on their return from a successful skirmish, and welcomed with all due pomp and form to the platform of nations, while a people. who have thrown off a foreign yoke for the best of all reasons, and not only fairly won, but with dignity maintained their independence for thirty-five years, and with whom the commercial interests of our citizens are involved to the amount of two or three millions of dollars per annum, should be utterly neglected-not even recognized by the residence of a consul?
But, not to rest altogether on the higher feelings of our nature, have not some of our citizens reasons of a pecuniary kind to induce them to seek the recognition of Haytian independence? What is it that protects our commerce with Hayti? what, but an honesty on their part, for which we offer but the slightest inducements? Let the following facts testify how much at the mercy of Hayti our complaisance to slaveholders places our fellow-citizens who are engaged in Haytian commerce. King Henry Christophe, as part and parcel of his royalty, seized certain vessels from the United States with their cargoes, and put the proceeds into his royal treasury. The owners of these vessels have since been claimants for indemnity; and while in similar circumstances, indemnity has been recovered for our citizens from the governments of France, Spain, Naples, Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, and Russia, they have been left to manage for themselves. At sundry times these merchants have urged their claims by special agents-first, upon King Christophe himself, and since his downfall, upon President Boyer, under whom the whole government was consolidated. King Christophe, it is believed, had the shrewdness to entrench himself behind his royal dignity: he would not treat with the agents because his sovereignty had not been recognized. President Boyer, also, through his able secre
tary, Inginac, politely informed the agents that he could not treat with them till they were furnished with regular credentials, which must of course recognize the independence of the government with which they were to treat! What blame our statesmen can attach to these "negroes" for their troublesome scrupulosity about forms and national etiquette, we do not pretend to know; nor do we know whether or not the claims of these merchants have been hushed by men in power, lest they should give "color to the idea" on the floor of Congress, that a nation of negroes can take care of themselves. We are not informed whether they have asked Congress or the President to recognize Haytian independence in favor of their claims, or whether they have pocketed their loss in silent dignity. But the facts serve to show how cheerfully we can make ourselves contemptible for the support of our darling national sin.
In closing, the Committee would merely say that they feel constrained, both by the experience of the past and the prospects of the future, to press forward. They throw themselves with renewed confidence upon the holy principles of this precious cause. In advocating these principles, they stand not only upon the safe foundation of the law of God, but fully upon the Constitution of their country. In demanding that slavery shall immediately cease, both in law and fact, in the general and the particular, they neither transcend their own rights, nor seek to impose upon others a wrong. Whether their demand shall be acceded to, they leave to God, well assured that their labor has not been and will not be in vain, inasmuch as liberty is the common cause of human kind; and all we enjoy we owe to the possession of that freedom which we seek for all.
WAS SLAVERY FORCED UPON THE SOUTH?
We cannot disguise the pleasure we feel at being able to enrich our present number with the following letter from Dr. John Farmer, the historian of NewHampshire.
CONCORD, N. H., 4th May, 1837.
My dear Sir-How often do we hear it asserted that Slavery was forced upon the South by Great Britain, contrary to their wishes and remonstrances? Even some of the publications of the Colonization Society have given currency to this idea, and have declared that slaves were early "introduced in great numbers by the English, but not without the serious remonstrances of the Colonists." Notwithstanding the southern members of the convention which, adopted the United States' Constitution insisted, at the formation of the national "compact," that no restriction should be put upon the importation of slaves for the succeeding TWENTY YEARS, this assertion is believed by a great portion of the community. But how are the facts in the case? I have not the means of examining them in regard to the oldest colonies; but, with your indulgence, I will give you from authentic sources some particulars in reference to one of them, and leave it to you to make such comments as you deem proper. I will select the state of Georgia. This was the last of the original thirteen that was settled. The charter of the colony was granted by George II., on the 9th of June, in the fifth year of his reign. It was settled in 1733. Gen. James Oglethorpe conducted the first transportation of settlers, which consisted of forty families, making one hundred persons, who arrived in Georgia on the 1st of February, 1733. The establishment and settlement of the colony was entrusted to a corporation, consisting of twenty-one persons, called Trustees, who were vested with the powers of legislation twenty-one years.
It was the intention of those concerned in the settlement to prevent the introduction of slavery; and the Trustees, among the first rules and orders for the regulation of the plantation, absolutely forbid the use of negroes as slaves. In "An Account, shewing the Progress of the Colony of Georgia in America, from its First Establishment," pub
lished at London in 1741, and reprinted at Annapolis, in Maryland, by Jonas Green, in 1742, the Trustees give their reasons for keeping slavery out of the colony, which I will transcribe at length:-
"The Trustees were induced to prohibit the use of Negroes within Georgia, the Intention of his Majesty's Charter being to provide for poor People incapable of subsisting themselves at Home, and to settle a Frontier to South Carolina, which was much exposed by the small number of its white Inhabitants. It was impossible that the Poor who should be sent from hence, and the Foreign Persecuted Protestants, who must go in a manner Naked into the Colony, could be able to purchase or subsist them, if they had them, and it would be a Charge too great for the Trustees to undertake; and they would be thereby disabled from sending white People. The first Cost of a Negro is about Thirty Pounds; and this Thirty Pounds would pay the Passage over, provide Tools and other Necessaries, and defray the charge of Subsistence of a white Man for a Year, in which time it might be hoped that the Planter's own Labour would grant him some Subsistence; consequently, the Purchase Money of every Negro (abstracting the Expence of subsisting him, as well as his Master,) by being applied that way would prevent the sending over a white Man who would be a Security to the Province, whereas the Negro would render that Security precarious.
"It was thought the white Man, by having a Negro Slave, would be less disposed to Labour himself, and that his whole Time must be employed in keeping the Negro to Work, and in watching against any Danger he or his Family might apprehend from the Slave, and that the Planter's Wife and Children would by the Death, or even the Absence of the Planter, be at the Mercy of the Negro.
"It was also apprehended, that the Spaniards at St. Augustine would be continually enticing away the Negroes, or encouraging them to Insurrection. That the first might easily be accomplished, since a single Negro would run away thither without Companions, and would have only a River or two to swim over, and this Opinion has been confirmed and justified by the practices of the Spaniards even in times of profound Peace amongst the Negroes in South Carolina, where though at a greater Distance from St.
Augustine, some have fled in Periaguas and little Boats to the Spaniards, and been protected, and others in large Bodies have been incited to Insurrections, to the great Terror and even endangering the Loss of that Province, which though it has been established above seventy Years, has scarce white People enough to secure her own Slaves.
"It was also considered that the Produces designed to be raised in the Colony, would not require such Labour as to make Negroes necessary for carrying them on; for the Province of Carolina produces chiefly Rice, which is a Work of Hardship proper for Negroes; whereas the Silk and other Produces which the Trustees proposed to have the People employed on in Georgia, were such as Women and Children might be of as much Use as the Negroes.
"It was likewise apprehended, that the Persons who should go over to Georgia at their own Expence, should be permitted the use of Negroes, it would dispirit and ruin the poor Planters, who could not get them, and who by their Numbers were designed to be the Strength of the Province; it would make them clamorous to have Negroes given them, and on the Refusal would drive them from the Province, or at least make them negligent of their Plantations, where they would be unwilling, nay, would certainly disdain, to work like Negroes; and would rather let themselves out to wealthy Planters, as Overseers of their Negroes.
"It was further thought, that upon the Admission of Negroes, the wealthy Planters would, as in all other Colonies, be more induced to absent themselves and live in other Places, leaving the Care of their Plantations and Negroes to Overseers.
"It was likewise thought, that the poor Planter sent on Charity, from his desire to have Negroes as well as the Planter who should settle at his own Expence, would (if he had leave to alienate) mortgage his Land to the Negro Merchant for them, or at least become a Debtor for the Purchase of such Negroes; and under these Weights and Discouragements would be induced to sell his Slaves again upon any Necessity, and would leave the Province and his Lot to the Negro Merchant: In Consequence of which, all the small Properties would be swallowed up, as they have been at other Places, by the more wealthy Planters.
"It was likewise considered, that the admitting of Negroes