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tyranny, and are therefore allached to the only system under which they can enjoy it gratis. The former wish only to secure their possessions; the latter are desirous to perpetuate the oppressive privileges of the white skin. Against those privileges let us declare interminable war, -war for ourselves, and for our children, and for our grandchildren,-war without peace, war without truce, war without quarter! But we respect the rights of property as much as we detest the prerogative of colour.
We intreat these respectable persons to reflect on the precarious nature of their tenure by which they hold their property. Even if it were in their power to put a stop to this controversy, -if the subject of slavery were no longer to occupy the attention of the British public, could they think themselves secure from ruin? Are no ominous signs visible in the political horizon? How is it that they do not discern this time? All the ancient fabrics of colonial empire are falling to pieces. The old equilibrium of power has been disturbed by the introduction of a crowd of new States into the systemi. Our West India possessions are not now surrounded, as they formerly were, by the oppressed and improverished colonies of a superannualed monarchy, in the last stage of dotage and debility, but by young, and vigorous, and warlike republics. We have defended our colonies against Spain. Does it therefore follow that we shall be able to defend them against Mexico or Hayti? We are told, that a pamphlet of Mr. Stephen, or a speech of Mr. Brougham, is sufficient to excite all the slaves in our colonies lo rebel. What, then, would be the effect produced in Jamaica by the appearance of three or four black regiments, with thirty or forty thousand stand of arms? The colony would be lost. Would it ever be recovered ? Would England engage in a contest for that object, at so vast a distance, and in so deadly a climate? Would she not take warning by the sale of that mighty expedition which perished in St. Domingo ? Let us suppose, however, that a force were sent, and that, in the field, it were successful. Have we forgotten how long a few Maroons defended the central mountains of the island against all the efforts of disciplined valour ? A similar contest on a larger scale might be protracted for half a century, keeping our forces in continual employment, and depriving property of all its security. The country might spend fifty millions of pounds, and bury fifty thousand men, before the contest could be terminated. Nor is this all. In a servile war, the master must be the loser-for his enemies are his challels. Wbether the slave conquer or fall, he is alike lost to the owner. In the mean time, the soil lies uncultivated, the machinery is destroyed. And when the possessions of the planter are restored to him, they have been changed into a desert.
Our policy is clear. If we wish to keep the Colonies, we must take prompt and effectual measures for raising the condition of the slaves. We must give them institutions which they may have no temptation to change. We have governed the Canadians liberally and leniently; and the consequence is, that we can trust to them to defend themselves against the most formidable power that any where threatens our Colonial dominions. This is the only safeguard. You may renew all the atrocities of Barbadoes and Demerara ; you may inflict all the most hateful punishments authorised by the insular codes; you may massacre by the thousand, and hang by the score; you may even once more roast your caplives in slow fires, and slarve them in iron cages, or slay them alive with the cart-whip;—you will only hasten the day of retribution. Therefore, we say, “Let them ge
forth from the house of bondage. For woe unto you, if you wait for the plagues and the signs, the wonders and the war, the mighty hand and the outstretched arm!
If the great West Indian proprietors shall persist in a different line of conduct, and ally themselves with the petly tyrants of the Antilles, it matters little. We should gladly accept of their assistance : but we feel assured that their opposition cannot affect the ultimate result of the controversy. It is not to any particular party in the church or in the state ; it is not to the right or to the left hand of the Speaker; it is not to the cathedral or to the meeting, that we look exclusively for support. We believe that, on this subject, the hearts of the English people burn within them : they hate
slavery; they have hated it for ages. It has, indeed, hidden itself for a | time in a remote nook of their dominions : but it is now discovered, and
dragged to light. That is sufficient. Its sentence is pronounced; and it never can escape! never, though all the efforts of its supporters should be redoubled, -never, though sophistry, and falschood, and slander, and the jests of the pot-house, the ribaldry of the brothel, and the slang of the ring or Fives' court, should do their utmost in its defence,-never, though fresh insurrections should be got up to frighten the people out of their judgment, and fresh companies to bubble them out of their money, -never, though it should find in the highest ranks of the peerage, or on the steps of the throne itself, the purveyors of its slanders, and the mercenaries of its defence ?
ON THE RIGHT, THE EXPEDIENCY, AND THE NECESSITY OF PARLIAMENTARY INTERFERENCE TO ABOLISH NEGRO SLAVERY.*
The only arguments that have ever been urged against Parliamentary interposition, may be reduced to three; those which deny the right, those which dispute the expediency,--and those which question the necessity of interfering. We shall shortly examine these three objections in their order.
I. They who deny the right of the mother country to legislate for the colonies, proceed upon a most inaccurate recollection of the law and of the colonial history of this country. They refer to the unhappy and disgraceful time of the American war, when the honour and interest of England were sacrificed to the violent bigotry of the Tory party; and they ask, whether a question so triumphantly decided in favour of colonial independence, uot merely by events, but by the general opinion of the world, is now to be revived, and a new war waged with colonial rights ? Nothing, however, can be more ignorant and superficial than this view of the subject. The dispule with North America was confined to the question of Taxation; and the right of Parliament to legislate internally for the colonies was ncver denied, until their entire independence was claimed, and things had come to the last extremity. The friends of American rights in England never claimed more for the colonies than the exemption from taxes imposed by the mother country; they regarded the claim of Parliament to tax the colonies as prin
• An Address to the Electors and People of the United Kingdom. By James Stephens, Esq.Vol. xliü, p. 431. February, 1826.
cipally to be discountenanced, because of its tendency to put in jeopardy the general legislative power; and when the right of taxation was given up, they joined in passing the act which is confined to that taxation alone. Indeed, the manner in which taxation is given up, shows how little disposition there has ever been to abandon legislative supremacy in any of the branches. The Declaratory Act of 1766 (6 Geo. III. c. 12.) had asserted that supremacy absolutely, and in all its branches; affirming that Parliament had, hath, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the colonies and people of America, subjects of the Crown of Great Britain ; in all cases whatsoever.” Being nearly defeated in the American war in the year 1778, it was deemed expedient to give up one portion of the right; and it is done in these words : “ That after the passing of this Act, the Parliament will not impose any duty, tax, or assessment whatever, payable in any of his Majesty's colonies, provinces, and plantations in North America or the West Indies, excepting only such duties as it may be expedient to enforce for the regulation of commerce" (18 Geo. III. c. 12); and it is remarkable that the preamble of the act specifies taxation to be the only subject in dispute. The best authority on constitutional law accordingly took a bro distinction between taxation and legislation. “Taxation," said Lord Chatham, “is no part of the governing or legislative power. Taxes are a voluntary gift or grant of the Commons alone. In legislation the Three States of the realm are alike concerned; but the concurrence of the Peers and the Crown to a tax is only necessary to clothe it in the form of a law; the gift and grant is of the Commons alone.” The general right of legislation, then, stands exactly as it did before the American war.
But perhaps the best proof of its existence is the distinction taken by those who dispute it, between internal legislation generally, which they deny, and commercial regulation, which they are forced to admit.-Parliament, they allow, may make laws to model as it chooses all the mercantile concerns of ihe colonies; to prohibit export and import; to punish smuggling by all manner of penalties; to restrain the intercourse of colony with colony, and of all colonies with foreign states; nay, Acts of Parliament may be passed to make transactions formerly lawful punishable as felonies, though done within the bounds of the colonies; but, as all these things bear some relation to commerce, they are supposed not to come within the description of internal legislation. Ii is manifest, however, that there is no rational or solid ground for such a distinction; and that it rests wholly upon the greater necessity which there is for such matters being regulated by the superintending power of the mother country. Some of those laws could not be carried into effect by the local legislatures; but many of them could, and many of the most important. The slave trade could have been effectually abolished by the islands themselves, if they had chosen; yet Parliament first abolished it, and then made it felony, and lastly piracy, without waiting for the effects of Colonial legislation. Ii is plain that, in point of principle, there can be no difference between making such laws as these, and making laws to regulate the treatment of slaves in the Colonies ;--and that it is altogether impossible to deny the latter power to the body which you admit is clothed with the former.
There is, however, one broad principle never to be lost sight of in discussing the rights of the Colonial Assemblies, and that is, the wide disference between their constitution and that of our own Parliament and the
Assemblies of the North American Colonies before the separation. They who speak of “representative bodies," and "constitutions upon the model of the English,” and who deprecate the invasion of popular rights,” and recommend a lender regard for “constitutional privileges,” really are guilty of unpardonable thoughtlessness; they commit the grossest abuse of language, and call things by names which do not in the least degree belong to them. We regard it as unconstitutional in England, that men should be governed by laws passed in assemblies where they are not represented; and we consider Parliament as authorised to make laws, because it represents, more or less accurately, the people of the realm. But suppose the people divided into two classes, one about a lenth part of the other in point of numbers, and suppose this class alone to be represented, and the great body of the community not to have one single vote in the election ; ---suppose all chosen as the rotten boroughs of England, and the boroughs and counties of Scotland, choose their members; - surely our sense of the uses of such a Parliament would be greatly altered, and we should hardly feel disposed lo regard its existence as essential to the interests of the people at large. This, however, conveys but a feeble idea of the West Indian Parliament. Suppose the body excluded from all share in elections to be, although ten times more numerous, yet of a race wholly different from the small privileged order, and alienated by habits and feelings, as well as distinguished by nature; -suppose them to be the objects of suspicion, jealousy, and dislike, and regarded as a kind of natural enemy; -o put the maller very intelligibly, suppose England overrun by a handful of Frenchmen, who had settled among us, and had usurped the exclusive power of governing us, and that the Parliament should be composed of Frenchmen, and chosen by Frenchmen alone, while the whole body of the English people had neither a representative nor a vote, from the Tamar to the Tweed; could any one call this a free government, or a constitutional plan ; or, without the most gross perversion of language, describe this as a Parliamentary scheme of polity? And yet something must still be added, to make the case exactly ially with that of the West Indies. The bulk of the community must be supposed uncivilised, and of a different complexion from their privileged oppressors, and holding no more intercourse with them than if they were a part of the animal creation. With what propriety could it be said that a Parliament so constituted would be calculated to represent or legislate for a community so composed ? Would it not be a very mockery to tell such a community that it was represented, and that its affairs were administered by itself ? ' Would not the community gain incalculably by having its affairs taken into the hands of some other body, belonging neither to the predominant nor to the subservient class, but standing even between both ? Would it not be at once admitted, that the arguments against legislation without representation have failed entirely, inasmuch as non-representation is far less calamitous than misrepresentation? The answer, then, to every objection against the Parliament legislating for the colonies is short and plain ; as long as the great body of the people there remain slaves, upon all constitutional grounds local legislation can only be regarded in the light of oppression, and only tolerated in cases where it is absolutely necessary for the performance of local duties. We believe, however, that the question of right will by all be admitted to be less important than the question of expediency or discretion; and they who hold the claim of right highest must
adınit, that it is a right only to be exercised in peculiar cases, and then to be exercised with due circumspection : and this brings us to the argument of those, who, admitting the right, maintain that it is unsafe and impolitic to enforce it.
II. When safety or policy is spoken of, it is quite clear that no reference can be intended to the danger of the West India islands throwing off their allegiance, and establishing independent governments; and, almost equally clear, that no risk is intended to be suggested of their placing themselves under the protection of France or America. The danger apprehended is of exciting animosities injurious to the internal peace of the colonies, and likely to retard the work of improvement, or perhaps to hazard the subordination of the slaves. But it is manifest (hal such an appeal can never be suffered from the colonişts themselves; for they can, by yielding a ready obedience to the lawful authority of the parent stale, at once destroy the force of the argument. Then we have the example of Trinidad, where the promulgation of the Order in Council was vehemently opposed, and excited ihe greatest discontent; and yet no mischievous consequences have followed, either to the tranquillity of the white or of the negro population. It is absolutely necessary to look in the face the topic so constanily brought forward of negro insurrection. To hear the planters and their advocates in England, you would believe that the poor slaves form a mass prone to seditious movements, and that the slightest breath must produce an explosion. Every debate in Parliament, every proceeding in the country, is likely, we are told, to create rebellion among them. Yet they who use such topics here, allow in the West Indies the free publication of their own most intemperate debates, al meetings holden within sight and hearing of the slaves; they speak with a freedom more than touching upon licentiousness, of all questions relating to West Indian affairs, before their slaves; and they cohabit with negresses, who are made acquainted with all they think, and hope, and fear on the subject of slavery. It is ridiculous to suppose that the freest discussions in Parliament can be dangerous, while all these doings in the colonies are found to be safe. But if it be said that, by showing a disposition to interfere for the slave's protection, Parliament teaches him to look beyond his master, and thus weakens the tic of domestic authority, the answer is obvious. The negro understands, at least, as well the prolection of the Crown in the conquered colonies, as he can that of Parliament in the old settlements. Indeed, the idea is far more easily conceived by him of the King being his friend, than the Parliament, an abstraction not very well suited to his comprehension. Therefore, we may observe, on the one hand, that this argument, if good for any thing, would apply still more strongly to exclude all interposition of the Crown in Trinidad, than to dissuade Parliament from legislating for Jamaica ; and, on the other, that the er:tire failure of all predictions of danger in Trinidad proves how chimerical such apprehensions are in the old colonies. Every thing that can be urged to show the dangers of loosening domestic authority by legislalive interference, may still more forcibly be urged against exlending the Trinidad order to the six other conquered settlements. Yet the goveroment avers that, at length, though somewhat lardily it must be allowed, they are resolved lo make that order
general through those dependences of the Crown. Can there be any reason, then, for Parliament refusing its co-operation lo establish it in the old colonies ?