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A similar argument rnay be urged to meet the far more plausible objection, arising from want of local information. There is no doubt that, generally speaking, the colonial assemblies possess considerable advantage, in framing regulations for the management of the slaves and the improvement of their condition over the Legislature at home. We might admit that there are many inconveniences unavoidably attending such an exercise
of distant control and superintendence, unless where the questions lo be in dealt with are few and simple. But that the difficulties are not insuperable,
we may safely assert, and may again appeal to the experience of Trinidad; aboul lo be repeated in the other settlements which have no assemblies. If
indeed we could have the cordial co-operation of the Legislature in the old ca Islands, and could then not only profit by their superior local information fac in passing the law, but obtain their willing aid in executing its provisions,
unquestionably the work of reform would be far more prosperously con
ducted. But supposing we are driven to interfere by the supreme authoai. rily of Parliament, enough appears to warrant the conclusion, that its wis
dom may as easily frame a law applicable to the circumstances of the old le colonies, and its power carry it into effect, as the wisdom of the execuolive government can frame Orders in Council, and ils power enforce them
in the conquered seltlements. The West Indians have no right to contend that they are better qualified to amend their slave system on the spot than
we are in the mother country. They may have better capacity ? but ve what if the will be wanting? what avails is to tell us how well they could
do it if they would ? All are ready to admit, that Parliament, how undeniable soever its right may be, ought only to exert it when no other means are lest of executing justice, and fulfilling the lawful and righteous policy of the empire. This brings us to the most important part of the argument, the necessity of interference.
III. The proof of this rests upon the whole conduct of the Colonial Legislatures. Many illustrations have occurred, from their own proceedings,
of the prevailing determination to do nothing until thoy are compelled by is superior authority. The length of time that has elapsed since the state of
colonial slavery first occupied the care of the mother country, and becamo the subject of Parliamentary discussion, not casually, but regularly and habitually, is of itself a powerful reason to prove the hopelessness of looking lo lhat quarter for reform. It is more than forty years since Thomas Clarkson roused the people of England to put down the slave trade. It is not much less since Mr. Wilberforce fixed upon that horrible crime the jealous eye of Parliament. For half that long period the nuest Indians ceased not to tell us that their assemblies alone could grapple with the question, and that as they only could effect the abolition, so in good time they were sure to do it; and yet, for half of that long period, those assemblies did nothing but remonstrate against the abolition, which the interposition of Parliament at last and alone accomplished! The residue of the period has been passed in almost entire inaction by the same body. Always pretending that to them belongs the regulation of their internal concerns, and that their good will lowards reforming the Slave Laws can only be exceeded by their qualifications for the task, they have suffered tweniy years to elapse since the abolition of the trade rendered the duty of saving and cherishing the stock more imperative upon them than ever, whether they regarded the interest of slave or of master; and they have really done hardly any thing that deserves the name of improvement : what lillle they have altempted, having been mixed,
in the majority of instances, with so much of evil, that, upon the balance, there has been nothing like any advantage gained."
To us it appears manifest that, supposing the West Indian legislatures far more desirous of complying with the desire of the mother country than their conduct in any one instance warrants, the interposition of Parliament is necessary for their support. Placed as they are in the centre of a po pulation incurable in their aversion towards the proposed reforms, those Assemblies are wholly unable to combat the force of the prejudices and passions which surround and assail them on every side. The countenance of the mother country, and her constituted authorities, is not enough; they must have the interposition of direct influence of overruling power, lo strengthen their hands, or rather to do that good work for them, which they are either unwilling or unable themselves to accomplish. If they are still unwilling, nothing but parliamentary authority can effect the object; if they are well disposed, but unable, from the prevalence of local influence, they will be the first to rejoice that those have entered upon the task, whose power to perform it is as indisputable as their right to undertake it. +
SOCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL CAPACITIES OF NEGROES.
It was not till a short time back that we entertained the slightest intention of criticising the speculations of Major Moody. We had supposed that they would of course pass in their infancy to that Limbo which is ordained for Laureate Odes, old Court Kalendars, and Sermons printed at the request of congregations. That a commissioner should write a dull report, and that the government should give him a place for it, are events by no means so rare as to call for notice. Of late, however, we have with great surprise discovered, that the books of the Major have been added to the political canon of Downing Street, and that it has become quite a fashion among statesmen who are still in their noviciate to talk about physical causes and the philosophy of labour. As the doctrines which, from some inexplicable cause, have acquired so much popularity, appear to us both false and pernicious, we shall attempt, with as much brevily as possible, lo expose their absurdity.
There are stars, it is said, of which the light has not yet travelled through the space that separates them from the eye of man; and it is possible that the blaze of glory which dazzles all the young politicians between Charing Cross and Westminster Hall may not yet have reached our more remote readers. In order, therefore, that our remarks on the Report of Major
. Sic in orig.
+ The writer of this article proceeds to show how little has been done by the slave owners, to ameliorate the condition of the negroes; and he adduces several undeniable statements to prove that, if left in the hands of the colonists, the great work of slave emancipation will never be accomplished.
#1. Papers relating to Captured Negroes. No. 1. Tortola Schedules. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 16th March, 1825.
2 Further Papers relating to Captured Negroes. No. II. Separate Report of John Dougan, Esq. No. III. Separate Report of Major Thomas Moody. Ordered by the House of Commons 10 be printed, 16th March, 1825.
3. Second Part of Major Moody's Report. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, 24th February, 1826.-Vol. xlv. p. 383. March, 1827.
Moody may be clearly understood, we shall give a short account of the circumstances under which it appeared.
By the act which abolished the trade in slaves, the king was empowered to make regulations for the employment and support of negroes, who, under the provisions of that act, or in the course of hostilities with foreign states, might be rescued from their kidnappers. Some of the liberated Africans were, in consequence, admitted into the army and the navy. Others were bound apprentices in the colonies: and of these last many were sellled at Tortola.
In the year 1821, the House of Commons presented an address to the King, requesting that commissioners might be sent to ascertain the condition s of these people, and to report it to the government. Major Moody was I selected for this purpose by the Colonial Office. Mr. Dougan, a gentleman
to whose talents and integrity the Major bears the highest testimony, was joined with him in the commission. But Mr. Dougan, whatever his good qualities may have been, was under the influence of some unhappy prejudices, from which his colleague appears to have been wholly free. . He had been led to adopt the extravagant notion that the Africans were his fellow-creatures; and this delusion betrayed him into errors which Major Moody, to his eternal honour, endeavours lo palliate, but which a less candid and amiable censor would have stigmatised with the severest reprehension. Our readers will be shocked to hear that an English gentleman actually desired a black apprentice, during a long examination, to take a seat! and they will be touched by the delicacy and generosity of the Major, who mentions this disgraceful occurrence only,” as he says, “to show the bias on the mind of his colleague when one of the African race was concerned with a while person.”*
At length some female Africans, in the service of a person named Maclean, were brought before the commissioners. By their statement, and by the confession of the master himself, it appeared that they had been cruelly treated. Maelean, too, it appeared, had no legal right to them; for they had been originally apprenticed to another person, and the indentures had never been transferred. Mr. Dougan thought it desirable to take advantage of this circumstance, and at once to place them in a more comfortable situation; and he prevailed on his colleague to concur with him in recommending the case to the particular consideration of the collector. In the mean time, however, Maclean wrote to the commissioners, requesting them lo revise their proceedings, and most impudently telling them, at the same time, that he had whipped the apprentices with tamarind switches for daring to bear evidence against him! Mr. Dougan seems to have imagined that such conduct was grossly insulting to the commissioners, and to the government which employed them. He probably thought too, that to reexamine
persons who had been flogged for what they had stated on a former examination, would be to violate every principle of equity and reason. On this point it appears that Major Moody was of a different opinion, and conceived that truth was likely enough to be obtained from a witness who had just learned that, if his evidence be disagreeable to the accused parly, he will undergo severe chastisement. A rupture took place. The apprentices, should perhaps say the slaves, remained with Maclean; and Mr. Dougan returned to England.
First Part of Major Moody's Report, page ?03.
But we really cannot continue to speak ironically on a subject so serious. We do earnestly and gravely assure Major Moody, that we think his conduct, on this occasion, most unjust and unreasonable. Lord Bathurst seems to have entertained the same opinion ; for, in consequence of orders sent out from England, the wretched women were taken from Maclean and apprenticed to another master.
Mr. Dougan now returned to the West Indies; and the disputes between him and his colleague recommenced. At length both were recalled. Mr. Dougan drew up a report of the proceedings under the commission. The Major refused to concur in it, and presented a separate statement in answer to it. Mr. Dougan, while labouring under a fatal malady, prepared a reply. This document has, since his death, been transmitted to the Colonial Office, and will, of course, be published with all expedition.
Mr. Dougan thought it sufficient to perform the duty with which he was charged. His report is, therefore, what it professes to be, an account of the condition of the liberated Africans. But the genius of the Major was not to be confined within limits so narrow. He had command, without stint, of the public paper and the public type. He conceived that the opportunity was not to be lost—that now or never was the time to be a philosopher like his neighbours, and to have a system of his own, which might be called after his name. The history of the liberated Africans forms, therefore, a mere episode in his plan. His report is, in substance, a defence of West Indian slavery, on certain new principles, which constitute what he is pleased to call the Philosophy of Labour.
His theory has met with a very flattering reception from those who are favourably inclined to the colonial system ; because they dread innovation, because they hate the saints, or because they have mortgages on West Indian plantations. Unable themselves to defend their opinion, but obstinately determined not to renounce it, they are pleased with a writer who abounds in phrases which sound as if they meant something, and which, in the chat of a drawing-room, or in the leading article of a newspaper, supply the place of a reason very creditably.
We came to the consideration of the Report with no such bias upon our minds, and we have, therefore, formed a very different estimate of it. We think that it is, in malter and manner, the worst state-paper that we ever saw. The style is the jargon of a tenth-rate novelist, engrafted on that of a tenth-rate pamphleteer. It abounds with that vague diction which the political writers of France have invented, and by which they often contrive to keep up appearances, in spite of the most abject mental poverty. At certain distances, and in certain lights, this paste and pinchbeck logic serves ils purpose respectably; and to this, unquestionably, the Major owes the greater part of his reputation. The highest compliment which we cao, with any sincerity, pay to him, is to say, that he has some faults in common with Montesquieu-a writer whom he evidently regards with great admiration. He calls one of the silliest remarks of the lively President profound ; an epithet which would have amazed us, if we had not recollected that the terms in which we describe magnitudes, whether material or intellectual, are only relative, that the Grildrig of Brobdignag may be the Quinbus Flestrin of Lilliput. The theories of Montesquieu are gone where the theories of the Major will soon go. But though Montesquien could not keep his doctrines alive, he understood how to embalm them. Their mummies are beyond all price. The mouldering remains are valued, for
tid the sake of the intricate folds in which they are swathed up, the sweet and
and pungent spices with which they are seasoned, and the gilded hierothe glyphics with which they are emblazoned. The Major has no such skill.
Abundance of italics, and occasional flowers of speech from the Emmelines - Men and Adelines of the Minerva Press, are the only ornaments which set off
bis speculations. If our object were to render him ridiculous, we could make easily fill our pages with solecisms, with affected phrases, with sentences of em which the obscurity would leave the most sagacious interpreter at a fault.
But this is not our intention. We shall direct our attacks against the great ali principles of his theory. To find these out, indeed, is no easy task : for the
work has neither beginning nor end. The author, instead of taking the
trouble to state his propositions, and class his arguments for himself, has Elie left the whole of that task to his opponents, and has made it as difficult as i possible by the most elaborate artifice of disorder. We shall do our best, 2x however, to perform it faithfully, and to separate the most important pasbe by sages from much curious matter concerning the feudal system—the chisel DI of Phidias—the marriage in Cana of Galilee—the difference between theory hal and practice the choice of Hercules-the peace and happiness of rural
life-the rape of the Sabines—the Supreme Being-and Major Moody harbiy himself.
The first great principle, then, which the Major professes to have disich, is covered is this, that there exists between the white and black races an
instinctive and unconquerable aversion, which must for ever frustrate all
hopes of seeing them unite in one society on equal terms. We shall consider in in succession the facts from which he draws this bold conclusion. do By the constitution of Hayti, it seems, no white man of any nation can be We a master or proprietor in that island. From this circumstance the Major deduces the following inferences :
seems as if each party, when in power, acts as if it was mutually thought the two races could not exist together, in the same community, with equal political powers, from the operation of some powerful causes, which do not appear to have been felt in England in former ages, when her inhabitants were composed of freemen and slaves, or when national distinctions among people living in the same country formed a political barrier between Britons and Romans, or Saxons and Normans."
Moreover a young Haytian, named Moyse, about thirty years ago, com* plained of the attention which Toussaint Louverture paid to the interests of
the Europeans, and declared that he should never like the whites till they
should restore to him the eye which he had lost in battle with them! This * last important anecdote the Major prints in italics, as quite decisive. The
poor Haytian must have been best acquainted with the origin of his own feelings; and, as he ascribed them to a cause which might well account for them, it is difficult to divine why any other should be assigned. The liberality of Toussaint, also, is at least as strong an argument against the hypothesis of Major Moody, as the animosity of Moyse can be in its favour.
From the law which declares white men incapable of becoming proprietors in Hayti, nothing can be inferred. Such prohibitions are exceedingly foolish ; but they have existed, as every person knows who knows any thing of history, in cases where no natural antipathy can be supposed to have produced them. We need not refer to the measures which the Kings of Spain adopted against their Moorish subjects-to that tyranny of nation over nation which has, in every age, been the curse of Asia —or to the
Major Moody's Second Report, p. 29.
+ Ibid. p. 45.