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of their society) were alarmed. The Legislature of Grenada passed an Act, on the 5th of July, 1784, which contains the following curious recital and enactment: 'Whereas the persons guilty of such robberies and frauds have found, and continue to find, a refuge and asylum in the Island of Trinidad for the slaves so taken away, and all applications for redress made to the Go
vernor of that Island, &c. have hitherto continued fruitless ;'--therefore the Act proceeds to authorize the arrest, upon suspicion, of all persons coming from the said Island.' In the year 1797, General Abercrombie commanding a large body of his Majesty's forces, reduced this colony to capitulate, and at the peace of Amiens it was ceded, in perpetuity, to the British crown. What we have gained by this acquisition, of which we should not be better contented to be destitute, we profess ourselves unable to explain. That rage of speculation which, during a short time, exhausted the resources of our merchants and planters, in stocking with negroes the estates which were granted with a profuse liberality by the Crown, has long since ceased to operate. Commercial bankruptcies and political dissension have for the last ten years filled the newspapers, and exercised all the intellect and energies of this restless community. During a long period, they carried on an unceasing persecution against the Governor-General Picton, and more recently have waged a war no less inveterate against Mr. Smith, their principal Magistrate.
The pamphlet before us forms a worthy continuation of these most unworthy squabbles. Its immediate purpose seems to have been, to call the attention of the public to certain disputes, lately depending in the Court of King's Bench, between the author and the Chief Judge of Trinidad; and truly had it contained nothing else, we should not have thought it very just to the latter gentleman, or quite fair towards our readers, to have called it from that obscurity in which, happily for the reputation of Mr. Sanderson, it has hitherto reposed. But it relates to matters of much more extensive interest than nisi prius disputes and insular controversy. It is a formal and laboured defence of the system of legislation adopted by this country in her West Indian settlements, and may be presumed to contain the whole argument which can be adduced in support of that anomalous form of colonial government. Upon this subject we have formerly intimated an opinion irreconcileably at variance with that of our author, and we shall endeavour, as briefly as the nature of the question will admit, to state the grounds and reasons of our dissent.
It will perhaps, however, relieve us from some difficulties in the prosecution of this task, to discharge, in the first place, the duty we have undertaken of passing sentence on the merits of Mr. Sanderson's publication. His work then is partly legal, partly political, and in part rhetorical. His law, however, is we think materially injured by his politics, his politics are not much improved by his law---and his eloquence is equally detrimental to both. The learning exhibited in this pamphlet is at once minute and inaccurate; its speculative or theoretical parts alike bold and feeble. Mr. Sanderson announces himself as a barrister; and had we been left to guess at the nature of his professional pursuits, we think we should probably have had but little difficulty in discovering them from his usual tone and manNer. He is a great quoter of authorities, and relies with the utmost confidence on the responda prudentum. With him the opinion of Mr. Serjeant Marshall is conclusive---the dicta of a Chief Justice oracular. But then, like too many of his brethren, he is somewhat fickle in his respect for cases and decisions. So long as they support his own views, they possess an authority which it would be at once useless and presumptuous to question : but let them oppose themselves to his peculiar notions, and they become méré hallucinations---the day dreams of erroneous and fanciful beings, by whose reveries no wise man would suffer the natural independence of his understanding to be controlled. All this in its pface may be well enough. But we would submit to our author, that it is only in an argument at bar that men are privileged to be inconsistent.
The faults of this work de not, however, wholly arise from the professional habits of its author. It is the production of an angry partisan, who overrates the importance of the subject by which his own feelings are agitated, and expresses his indignation against his opponents, by a liberal use of every mode of invective, and of all those mute expressive symbols of resentment and admiration for which we are indebted to the skill of the compositor. Some passages however may be found which have not been produced without much labour and assiduity: one of the most elaborate of these we extract for the perusal of our readers.
Because arbitrary government is, of necessity, continued over a class of people, who, from want of education in religion and morality, are incapable of using freedom, with any benefit to themselves or safety to the community ; must it be therefore argued, that it is also necessary to deny the civil and political liberties of enlightened society to those superior orders of men, whom Providence has per. mitted to be elevated, by birth and education, to that rank and authority, which has constituted them the immediate lords of those, whom the same Providence has ordained to remain still in vassalage ? Upon what principle of political reasoning can it be established that the colonists ought to be disfranchised, because their negroes cannot with safety be made free? Where did the ideas of civil and political liberty ever become so nobly exalted as in ancient Rome, when similar servitude was tolerated there? More than half the inhabitants of the earth are still in bondage. Though liberty like the ocean gains ground in some parts of the world; yet like the ocean, too, she recedes from others : and though there is no domestic slavery in modern Rome, yet an ancient Roman would have considered Himself a very slave, under those privations of civil and political liberty, that are now suffered by his posterity.'
• As well therefore, might it be asserted, that none shall be rich, because some still must be poor; as that the white colonists in Trinidad, may not enjoy civil and political liberties, because they cannot be conceded to the negroes.'
· These are nature's inequalities. Systems of equalization are not found in nature, any more than in politics. All animated nature teaches us subordination : Christianity enjoins obedience to superiors on earth; and teaches us that even in heaven “ there are many mansions" !!! p. 192.
The taste and the theology of the foregoing passage are of nearly equal excellence, but it is not our present object to enter upon discussions either of belles-lettres or divinity: our immediate concern is with Mr. Sanderson's argument.
In the abolition of the slave trade no men rejoiced---none continue to rejoice---more cordially than ourselves. It was the noblest triumph of justice and mercy which the history of the world records---the greatest practical benefit, perhaps, which it has ever been permitted to man to confer on his fellow creatures. On these things, however, it is now happily unnecessary to dwell. The short interval of six years has effected a mighty revolution in the minds of men on this subject. Parliament which once, from year to year, quietly tolerated the continuance of this plague, have recently, without a dissenting voice, declared that trading to be a felony, which, a few short months ago, was confidently extolled as the means of relieving Africa from the horrors of famine, massacre, and infanticide ;---a valuable lesson to those who are still struggling against reproach and difficulty for the good of mankind; who are labouring for the promotion of Christian knowledge at home, or the abolition of an inhuman superstition among our subjects in the East !
Nil actum reputans, &c. is a maxim to which the race of conquerors have ever shewn the most resolute adherence. The friends of mankind should not, in the pursuit of their objects, neglect a policy to which the enemies of the world have been indebted for their greatness. If the abolition of the slave trade effected much, no slight exertions must be yet made to secure the full accomplishment of the great work of benevolence, of which the abolition was intended to be the commencement and the foundation. On this subject, as we apprehend it is less considered than its importance deserves, we must be indulged with a few remarks,
When civilized men migrate in large bodies to barbarous and ill-peopled countries, it seems to be in the natural order of events, that the native population should melt away to make room for the support of the new adventurers. The causes of this triumph of civilized over savage society are very obvious, and have been very frequently explained. Thus, the encroachments of the Europeans in North America and in New Holland, were made at the expence of the aboriginal inhabitants of those countries; and whatever may be thought of the justice or injustice of the usurpation, it seems very clear that it has been the means of making large additions to the general stock of intelligence and social happiness throughout the world. Some may question the legitimacy of the means which have been adopted to produce that result; but no wise man, we think, will deny that the result itself has been salutary. It can scarcely be disputed, that the citizens of the United States, alone, far out-number the aggregate population of the whole continent of North America, as it stood immediately before our occupation of that territory;---that they incalculably surpass their predecessors in religious knowledge, in social virtue, and domestic happiness, seems too clear to need to be stated.
This however is not the history of the fluctuation of mankind in the West Indian islands. The Spaniards invaded the New World with no ideas or intention of colonization. Having established their authority in those once happy regions, they compelled the wretched Charibs to the most cruel and unintermitted labours. Toiling in the mines without relaxation and without sufficient subsistence, unknown European distempers, frequent famines, and the slower but not less certain ravages of unusual fatigue swept off, in a time incredibly short, the whole race of native inhabitants. Fifty years had not rolled away after the first approach of the Spaniards to their shores, when, throngh the whole extent of those fertile islands, scarcely one of their original possessors remained to mourn the extinction of his kindred, or to preserve the memory of the independence of his fathers. Nor was this waste of mankind compensated, as in other countries, by any great augmentation in the number of the invaders. The Spaniards, though powerful to depopulate, were wholly incompetent to occupy or cultivate their new territories ; and it is probable that the great chain of the Antilles would have remained to the present day a fruitful desart, had not the project been conceived, in an evil hour, of supplying the want of slaves by importation from the continent of Africa. A resource perfectly inexhaustible being thus opened to the avarice of the colonists, the suspended labours of agriculture and mining were resumed with increased alacrity. The same policy was followed by the other nations of Europe in the several settlements esta
blished by those powers in the West Indies; and the trade in slaves rapidly increased, till at length the amount of the annual importations almost exceeded belief. It will not be an exaggeration to state, that, in some years, the whole number of negroes carried by Europeans into servitude, was not less than 200,000. This unequalled abomination was at length, in 1807, most materially checked by the Abolition Act, and has, subsequently to that time, been either regulated or abolished in the United States, and the Spanish provinces of Chili, Buenos Ayres, and the Caraccas.
The past is remediless. The evils which we have inflicted on Africa, ages will not repair; but something it may be possible for us to do, towards the amelioration of the state of the oppressed natives of that country. On this subject it is, in the first place, quite obvious that nothing is more necessary for our future guidance, than a careful retrospect of our past conduct; and, secondly, that no part of the African race has so imperious a claim on our exertions for its benefit, as that unhappy class of men who are immediately subject to our controul in the West Indies. With respect to this great body of men, a question immediately occurs to the mind of the most important and interesting nature. What is the probability that the present race of slaves in the West Indies will, like their predecessors the Charibs, be swept away by the oppression of their masters from the face of the earth? Is there in their condition any thing which seems to promise a longer term of existence? The consideration of this question will perhaps be less irrelevant to the subject matter of Mr. Sanderson's pamphlet, than may at once appear.
1. It will be admitted, that the negro race has already existed in a state of West Indian slavery much longer than the original inhabitants of the country; and hence, perhaps, it may be concluded, that in future they will continue to keep up their population under all the pressure to which they are at present, and have been for so many years past, subjected. They who reason thus, however, completely exclude from their calculations one consideration which is quite sufficient to overthrow their whole inference. Most unquestionably it is not the fact that the negro slaves in the West Indies have kept up their population. It has been supported, not by natural increase but by importation. The whole number of slaves in Jamaica, for instance, or any of the old settled islands, was not greater at the period of the abolition than it had been twenty years before that time; and yet in those twenty years not less than from forty to fifty thousand native Africans, of all ages, were, at the lowest estimate, purchased by the planters of that island. Such was the waste of human life that, but for these periodical additions to the existing stock, the diminution in the numbers of the slaves must