Page images
PDF
EPUB

of humanity; the exercise of which virtue they seem more earneft to recommend to the inhabitants of the East and West Indies, than to practise it themfelves.

They have already, about the time of the decision above-mentioned, tried the effects of emancipating the negroes at home, and they found it would not do. From that to the present time the number of slaves, who have attended their masters and their families from North-. America and the islands to Great Britain and Ireland, cannot bave been much less than 40,000 ; particularly, taking into the account, the many families who have been forced from the Southern colonies of the American continent by the late unhappy contest. Notwithstanding the planters had every right to suppose they were authorised by the laws of Great Britain, as well as those of the colonies, to consider those people as their property; and that they had a right to their services in Europe, or to send, or accompany them back to the colonies, as they judged proper, they found themselves mistaken; and that it was permitted to debauch their slaves, to encourage or entice them to run away, with impunity. The ideas of liberty, the charms of novelty, and an ignorance of the country they had got to, where they found themselves upon a perfect equality, at least, with the inferior white people, could not fail of having pernicious effects upon their minds, and

grert

b 2

great numbers ran away from their masters. They in general plunged into vice and debauchery, and

many

of then who were desirous of returning to their masters and mistresses, were refused to be received. The whole of those thus lost to their owners, and as to every useful purpose to the community, cannot have been less in number than from 15,000 to 20,000.-As most of them were prime, young, feasoned, or Creole slaves, the loss to their owners, the planters, has not been lefs than from 1,000,000 to 1,200,00ol. fterling : a large sum to be facrificed to the mere names of liberty and humanity! What has been the result of thus extending the blessings of liberty to so many wretched faves ? Let any body shew scarce a single instance of any one of thefe people being in so happy a situation as they were before. The greater part, it is known, died miserably in a very short tiine. No parish was willing to receive them, so that the survivors, after begging about the streets of London, and suffering all those evils and inconveniencies consequent on idleness and poverty, famine, diseafe, and the inclemency of the weather, attracted the attention of the public, and Government was prevailed upon to undertake the transportation of them to the country from whence they, or their ancestors, had been ravished by the wicked traders of London, Liverpool, and Bristol. They. were there to be made perfectly happy : they were there to possess “ land and beeves;" instruments of

husbandry

[ocr errors][merged small]

husbandry, tools, and other necessaries for building, Grain, and the seeds of all sorts of vegetables, proper to the climate, were furnished them; and all that was necessary for their future happiness was, that they should work But so far, it feems, were these ungrateful people from thankfully profiting by the kind disposition of the public towards them, that we are told Mr. Glanviile Sharp, the great promoter of all these mistaken acts of humanity, found it necessary to diftribute hand-bills about the town, to request gentlemen not to relieve their distresses, in order to force them to go to Portsmouth, where the thips were to take them in to carry them to Africa. It is confidently said here, that very few hundreds were prevailed on to proceed to that place, great part of whom ran away when they got there; of those who embarked many died of disease or chagrin, before they arrived, and many more afterwards; and of the few who remained alive, there was scarce one who did not express his wish to quit his new abode, his estate and his liberty, eyen although it should be to return to his pristine Savery, in the sugar colonies. This is, however, the account given us by the master of one of the transport fhips, who came from Sierra Leon, to seek a freight to London, after having landed some of these people at their place of deftination.

3

Equal

Equal unhappiness, would be the lot of the slaves in the islands, if they were set free:-what could they do to obtain a livelihood? To suppose they would hire themselves out to work, can only enter into the imagination of those who do not know the people, or the country. What has so lately passed in England, is surely sufficient to thew, that there can be no idea, they will, any of them, wish to return to their own country. Thousands of negroes have been made free by their masters in the colonies; and it may, with truth, be asserted, that, notwithstanding many of them were very capable of paying for a passage to any part of Africa they thought proper, scarce a single infance can be produced

any one of them defiring to return to the place of his nativity.*

The

of

* A negro woman was imported amongst a cargo of slaves from Anamaboa about the year 1772. . In the latter end of the year 1773, her brother, named Quashy, who is well known to all the masters of ships in the Gold Coast trade, as a kind of broker or interpreter, and who has, more than once, sailed in a ship from the coast to the islands, and home by the way of London, hearing his sister was in Jamaica, took his passage in a ship bound from the coast to this island, for the sole purpose of endeavouring to discover her, obtain her freedom, and carry her back to her own country: he brought money with him for that purpose ; and was lucky enough to find her out, The having been sold to a Miss Tindal, of Kingston. He purchased her from Miss Tindal ; and he was prevailed upon, though with

great

The present attempt to cram liberty down the throats of people who are incapable of digesting it, can, with

propriety,

great reluctance, to embark with him for England, in the Nancy, Capt. Brown, the latter end of 1773. Early in 1774, they took their passage from London to Anamaboa, in a snow belonging to John Shoolbred, Esq. called the Peggy, Robert Martin, master, who landed them safe at that port. During Capt. Martin's stay there, he had frequent opportunities of seeing this woman, who, after having been home a short time, grew perfectly tired and disgusted with the place, and repeatedly requested Capt. Martin to carry her back to Jamaica, and would even have returned as a Nave, rather than stay where she was; but Capt. Martin dared not comply with her desire, as the laws of the country do not permit the carrying away a free woman, or another's flave, without the master's permission.

a

This anecdote was communicated to the author by Robert Hibbert, Esq. of this town, who was personally acquainted with the former part of this history, from a servant of his being husband to the woman while she was in Jamaica; and the other part of it he had from Capt. Martin, on his return from Anamaboa to Jamaica, who told it, at his table, in the presence of the negro, the husband, without having any previous knowledge of the connection between the parties.

The attestation of a man of Mr. Hibbert's reputation to such a fact, is surely of more authority than the journals, or pretended journals, of twenty such surgeons of Guinea Thips, as are said to have failed from New York fixty or seventy years ago.

What

« PreviousContinue »