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PLAXTEHS AND SLA FES. CHAPTER, xix. (From Coleridge's Six Months in the West Indies, in 1825.) (Continued from our Paper of the 25th ult.) I know perfectly well that there are many persons scattered throughout our numerous colonies who do in- waidly cling to their old prejudices, and very likely mourn in secret over the actual or designed reformations of the present day. But in almost every island there is a majority of better mind, so powerful in numbers and respectability, that it not only puts to silence men of the ancient leaven, but even compels them, through fear of shame, to become the ostensible friends of amelioration. Surely there is nothing extraordinary in this; the owners of estates in the West Indies are a changeable body; they go to England, they visit the United States, they tour in Europe. Is it according even to the most unfavourable estimate of human conduct, that a youth educated at Oxford or Cambridge, the naval or military officer who has retired from his pro- fession, the merchant, the physician, persons of whom in England no one would dare to whisper a reproach, should one and all, as soon as they have landed in Carlisle Bay or St. John's Harbour, be transformed at once into such monsters of avarice and bloodthirstiness, that the once glorious Wilberforce could not find any pity for them, if they were all stabbed at night by black men on their pillows of slumber. Caelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt," savs Horace but Horace, as Mr. Stephen knows, had slaves himself, and upon one occasion argued that he had worthily rewarded one of them for an honest and industrious course gf life bv not crucifying him for crows meat. So we will give up little Horace. But slavery creates the change, slavery infects the air which they breathe and the soil which they tread slavery hardens their hearts and darkens their understandings! Tme, slavery did all this formerly, does so sometimes now, and has a natural tendency to do as much always. Then slavery is a bad system ? To be sure, a very bad system who says it is a good one? Certainly none of the planters with whom I am acquainted, and most certainly not the author of this book. But are temptations never rcsisted- nay sometimes dared and conquered, and made the vantage ground of virtue? Is not this the case with temp- tations even more seductive to human weakness than starving a man who gives me bread, and lashing a woman who stoops and sweats to do me service ? Consider the subject, gentlemen of the Institution, with a moment's calmness. Make a few analogies with yourselves. Put off the accusing spirit for a day, and cry hush to the devil of party which distracts the natural rectitude of your hearts. You have gained a great notoriety with moderate talents and much declamation; you have succeeded by appealing with assiduity to the easily entreated sympathies of the humane, of the English, of the female bosom you have talked of Christianity with some who scantily believe in Christ, and you have spoken when you could not be answered. You say the planters have gross prejudicps and defend them in the face of reason and justice! They do 50, though I hope, and indeed think, they are shaking them off gradually. The planters are acrimonious! They are, for they are mortal men. The system should be abolished. Pardon me-hardly at present, I think. The question lies between our fingers. We all profess an intention of ameliorating the condition of the slaves, and a wish to raise them ultimately to an equality with the rest of the citizens of the empire. The dispute is about the means. Now, unless we are infatuated by the mere sound of a word, we must acknowledge that the power of doing whatsover a man pleases, if unaccompanied with some moral stimulus which shall insure habitual industry, and correct the profligate propensities of savage nature, is so far from being a step in advance, that it is rather a stride backward instead of being a blessing it is plainly a curse. The body of the slave population does not at present possess this moral stimulus. Emancipation, therefore, would not put them in the road to become good citizens. What must be done then ? Manifestly this one only thing we must create a moral cause in order to be able to abolish the physical cause of labour: we must bring the motives, which induce an Eugish rustic to labour, to bear upon the negro; when the negro peasant will work legularly like the white peasant, then he ought to be as free. How are we to originate this moral stimulus. By various means. First.-By education, this is to say, by teaching every child to read; by providing Bibles and Prayer-books at moderate prices; by building or enlarging churches, or in- creasing the times of service, so that every one may be ah'e to worship in the great congregation one at least on the Sunday. Secolid.-By aine ding the details of existing slavery; that is to say, by thoroughly expurgating the colonial codes, by enacting express laws of protection for the slaves, by reforming the judicatures, by admitting the competency of slave evidence; by abolishing Sunday markets at all events; by introducing task-woi-k by declaring women free from corporeal punishment. Third —By allowing freedom to be purchased at the market price. C To be continued.)




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