Slike strani

as well as your's; but it must have some- you

will listen and submit to the wisdom thing solid to act upon. These are the of a king. You have it from royal authopremises. Then what is the conclusion ? rity, that truth shall spring and fouIn one word, give property to the negroes. rish out of the earth.” What can that What! property to a slave! to a being, sentence mean, but that human know. who is not the master of his own actions, ledge, with all its illustrations in society,

is not the owner of himself! Yes. I was intended to originate frow the clod, say, property to a slave. I mean a pro- broken by the spade, or turned by the perty in the soil, the best for their use, plough; and that the labour bestowed the most convenient for yourselves, qua- upon the earth, is the first step to the lified and limited on one side, and accom- cultivation of the mind? Before I pro-, panied on the other with time and means ceed to specify the sort of property, in to cultivat e, and security to enjoy. which I wish the negroes to participate, Without those conditions, the mere grant I am bound to show generally that rights of property would be nominal and naga. of property are not incompatible with a. tory. I am not alluding to goods and state even of absolute slavery,, and that chattels, but to a real though inferior in fact they have existed together, under tenure in the land. To that sort of pro- governments, which, in other respects, perty in all its degrees, cultivation is the exhibited no sign of lenity, or even mercy, origin of right, antecedent to laws and to their slaves. It was the practical wiseven to society. But, if that proposition dom or policy of those states, which, only be true, how peculiarly powerful is the in this respect, and for a public purpose, inference in favour of the negro ? The prescribed a limit to the power of the moment you forced him to work, you master, though, in all other instances, utgave him the claim, and much more than terly arbitrary and uncontrolled. By the I contend for. To some participation at custom of Rome, if not by positive instileast, the labour and the right are inse- tution, the slave might acquire, by extra parable. I say that the protection of work, or by savings on his allowance of property is the cause and foundation grain, a peculium or private property, of society. In that single and simple which the master could not take from principle is involved, and out of it will him, though he might dispose of his

pergradually unfold, the benefits, the orders, son. I do not know that the peculium and the improvements of social life. In was provided for by the laws of the twelve that acorn the wbole oak is included. tables; but it was considered as a custoGive it time to take root: give protection mary right, and protected by the Prætor. to the plant; let it thrive and flourish. This money, with their master's permis.. The ornament and the use will pay you sion, they laid out at interest, or pur.. hereafter. The branches, as they expand, chased with it a slave for themselves, will shelter you from the storm. The from whose labour they might make majestic stem itself, even when it falls, profit. They might buy out their liberty, will be devoted to your service. From and have their names inserted in the cen.. this single act of giving property to the sor's roll; by which they obtained some negroes, the improvement of their facul- of the advantages attached to the condities and character as well as of their con- tion of a Roman citizen, though the reladition will gradually and necessarily pro- tion between the freedman and his masceed, or on this stock it may be grafted. ter was not entirely dissolved. Even The cultivation of the earth is not merely while the bond continues, the allowance the source of nourishment, or comfor, of, or the connivance at petty profits by or personal enjoyments, but of order,laws, the slaves tends of itself to soften and art, and science, of every thing that is efface the impression of slavery, and to most refined, and most purely intellectual convert it gradually into the condition of in the human system. Even eloquence, voluntary service. The essential differmusic, and poetry, though last in succes- ence between slavery and service is, that sion, are the progeny of the earth. Mo. one is forced, the other is voluntary. rality and religion undoubtedly derive Montesquieu says that, in Germany, the from a higher source. But this is the labour of the mines, in itself severe and medium through which they are conveyed odious beyond all others, was maintained to us. “ Prima dedit leges, Cereris sunt by the encouragement of little privileges, omnia munus.” You may not believe in perquisites, and profits to the miners; that. the inspiration of poetry i but I am sure they were even brought to love their cons dition, and to live happily in it. From talk of it to the people, mean nothing this fact he concludes, that there is no but to deceive them. The very act of labour that man can execute, which may justice and good government, which senot be performed by freemen. My con- cures to every man his respective right, clusion from it is, that the more of free excludes the idea of positive equality. dom you can impart to a slave, the The Roman slave had some rights of permore he will Jabour, provided it bé ac- sonal property, though he had no other. companied with a gradual accession of That example, however, is but little to profit. “ Cupiditate peculii nullam condi- my purpose compared to the condition of tionem recusant durissimæ servitutis.” In the Helots, under the tyranny of Sparta. society, or in contact with society, I hold My general wish and object is to make that the possession of property, of some

the service of the negroes, as much as kind and to some degree, is more neces- possible, a real service, by attaching it sary to a slave than to a freeman. It tends to the soil, and as little as possible a perto give him not only comfort but protec- sonal service. The negroes, in our istion, and necessarily prepares him not lands, are equally subject to both, or may only for social benefits, but for personal be capriciously transferred from one to the improvement. The savage is satisfied with other. The horrible barbarity,with which his liberty. Instead of stationary labour, the Helots were treated, was the deliberate he ranges for subsistence; and, having policy of the state, not the indulgence little or no idea of property, has still less or result of personal cruelty. The Sparof laws or settlement. In society, a free tans were far outnumbered by the Helots. man may do without property ; because The security of the few was thought to he is free. His liberty is his freehold. be incompatible with common justice, or Without acquisition he may have enjoy- even with common mercy, to the many. ment. But, in some way or other, he One crime produced another. The first must serve, or he must labour. So must violation of right, in reducing a free peowe all, though in different senses, or in ple to slavery, could only be supported opposite directions. The many cannot by a perpetual outrage to humanity. govern the few, nor do they desire it. Such at least was the principle and pracBut is there a rank in society, including tice of that extraordinary government, the highest, in which the master in effect in which every thing was original and unis not very often more a servant to his exampled. In another instance, directly servants, than they are to him? From applicable to my present purpose, they my own experience, though on a little departed boldly from all the vulgar rules scale, I can affirm it to be true. But the of human prudence ; and yet they acted relations between the different classes of wisely. They renounced the uses of promankind, to be usefully maintained for perty for themselves, and in effect gave any, must be reciprocally observed by all. the lands of Laconia to the Helots, to be In the lowest situations of life, the people cultivated by them, on the sole condition know, as well as we do, that wherever of returning to their masters a fixed and personal industry is encouraged and pro- certain tribute in kind, equivalent to a perty protected, there must be inequali- quit-rent, which could never be increased. ties of possession, and consequently dis- To every other intent of use and profit, tinction of ranks. Then come the form the Helots were in fact proprietors of the and the order, by which the substance is lands. The amount of the demand on the at once defined and preserved. Distribu: produce of their labour being once made tion and limitation prevent confusion, and unalterable, a vigorous and general cultigovernment by orders is the natural result vation followed. Many years ago, I enof property protected by freedom. Take deavoured to inculcate a similar principle care that you adhere to it. Where the on the English government of Bengal. I few possess all, and the multitude have said then, and I say now, leave the lands nothing, there is no government by orders. with the natural owners, the Zemindars, Every thing is in extremity, and nothing and fix your demand of a certain portion in gradation. It is ignorance or calumny of the produce at once and for ever. to say, that if the poor man was allowed Subject, as it is, to a foreign dominion, his humble share in the allotment, he much heavier in detail than that of a single would feel any disposition to invade the resident despot, Bengal cannot exist, with portions of the ranks above him. Equality security of any kind to the natives, or of condition is impossible. They who with permanent advantage to the govern[VOL. XXXII.]

[3 Q]

ing power, on any other principle. The ment may be made with greater ease and effective right of property was inviolable convenience than in others. But no planin the Helot, though subject, in his per- tation should be so overstocked with neson, to a cruelty at once deliberate and groes, no more than a farm with cattle, capricious, and though his life was never as not to leave room enough for the prosafe. He still held a middle rank between duction of subsistence. Ground food is the freeman and the domestic slave. The the only nourishment, in which the neHelots were commonly inrolled in the groes have any pleasure. The House will Spartan armies; and, though seldom re- observe that I mean to confine myself to warded for their courage or fidelity, their the general principles and outlines of a condition was mended, at least as long as plan, the detail of which will appear bethe war lasted. The life of a soldier, with fore you more distinctly in another form, all its fatigues and dangers, is undoubtedly if I should be permitted to proceed in the preferable to that of a slave. We are manner I propose. Marrige must be entold that the negroes on our plantations couraged; I mean a real bond of union are always ready to take up arms for their between the sexes. A certain participaowners, and to fight in their defence; and tion in the usufruct of the land, however this is advanced for a triumphant proof of limited and qualified, is the first entheir attachment, and consequently of the couragement to marry.

The marriage mildness with which they are treated. In must be contracted with some ceremony, some cases, it may be so.

I have no

and recorded in some form; and then it wish or occasion to overstate any thing to must be seriously protected. By the laws the disadvantage of the planters. But, of some of the Grecian states, if a masgenerally speaking, the fact does not ter violated the wife of his slave, the hus prove the proposition. All it proves, with band and the wife were instantly free. any certainty, is, that in the army the ne- “ Leges pudicitiæ sunt juris naturalis." groes are sure of food and clothing, and Direct force or violent compulsion of any exempted from field labour and arbitrary kind, employed against a negress, should punishment. How were the armies of be punished with death. Corruption of Lewis 14th recruited in the latest of his the wife should make the husband free. wars? The distress and misery of every It is shocking to human nature to think other condition of life drove all men into that personal protection, even to this the army, where alone it was possible to amount, would constitute in itself a state subsist. How often have we been told of improvement. But, once granted and that the wonderful facility with which the secured, it would of necessity lead to French have been able to keep their forces greater. I know that, according to the complete in the present war, proves no actual laws of the islands, in which you thing but the general desolation of the will find that principles are for ever decountry, and that all the bread, that ex- duced from practice, the difficulty of conisted, was reserved for the army. This victing a white man of any crime against example of the Helots, Sir, is direct and a negro, is little less than insurmountpowerful to my immediate purpose. They able. The negroes are not supposed to be were slaves, and they had landed property, moral agents. Against a white man, no or an equivalent to it in the use and en- evidence of theirs is admitted. The laws, joyment. In our own ancient history, if they were good, cannot act for want of the first estate or tenure, superior to proof. The hand of the magistrate, downright slavery, but inferior to every though disposed to punish, is disarmed or other condition, was that of a Villan ré- suspended. The most shocking acts of gardant, whose service was annexed to cruelty are encouraged by impunity; and, the manor or to the land, and who could in the midst of horrible sufferings, there not be separated from it. To a state re- is no complaint. By mending the posisembling this, I would, in the first in. tive existence of the negro you will grastance, raise the negro. The planters dually raise him to a moral character, should be obliged to furnish every adult sufficient at least to make his evidence negro, as they say they do at present, admissible. Without it, he can have no with a cottage and a small portion of land protection from the laws. His credit and for his own use, with implements of til- estimation will grow with the interest you lage, and a fixed allowance of time for I give him, and keep pace with the advancultivation; the entire produce to be his tages, in which you suffer him to partici. own. In some of the islands, this allot- pate. In no case should the negroe be removed, against his will, from the spot | the superior court. I have another meawhich he has cultivated, much less from the sure in contemplation, materially conestate. They should always descend, or be nected with the general object of relief, transferred together. In no case should for which I am contending, though it wives be separated from their husbands, be not to operate immediately in the or children from their parents. In these islands. I know that, in the circumstances institutions I lay my foundation. Par- to which

to which I am compelled to submit, it ticular regulations will follow in their could not fail of producing many salutary place. There should be a general limita- effects; and yet I cannot mention it withtion by law of the hours of labour accord-out a deep sensation of regret. With or ing to age and sex. Indulgence to weak without it, the general plan might proness or infirmity must still be left to the ceed. But, if the plan fails, the mea. discretion and benevolence of the master. sure I allude to is indispensable. I shall Every negro should have the privilege of submit it to the consideration of the applying the petty profits of his industry House, as I received it from a gentleman, to the recovery of his freedom, by buying who possesses a considerable property in out the remainder of his slavery, or Antigua, and with whom I have the hapsome part of it, at a price to be fixed by piness to be united by personal friendship law. Fathers and mothers, who have as well as by alliance. As it is still perbrought up a certain number of children, mitted to be the will of Parliament, that should be rewarded with premiums, and this infernal trade should continue, let us the mothers exempted from Jabour. No endeavour to mitigate, if we can, the hor. man should be deemed capable of the of. rors that belong to it. There ought to fice of overseer or manager of an estate, be commissioners stationed at the prinwho was not of a certain age, and married. cipal places of traffic on the coast of The superintendance of female slaves Africa, with salaries sufficient to engage would naturally devolve, as it ought, to men of character to accept the office, and the care of his wife. I need not paint with legal powers to examine the accomthe cases, in which the sympathy of a modation in the ships, to superintend and woman and a mother would be a source regulate the purchase of negroes, to act of comfort and relief to these creatures. as magistrates of the market, to prevent The sufferings, appropriated to the sex, or put a stop to treacherous or fraudulent demand the office, and allot the depart- transactions, to see that iniquity and inment. I am not, Sir, so weak or inexpe- justice are at least conducted fairly, on rienced as to expect that, if laws were ever their own pretended principles, and withso judiciously framed to accomplish all out unnecessary aggravations. Above all these salutary purposes, they would exe- things, it should be the care and duty of cute themselves, and especially in the such commissioners to prevent the sepaWest-India islands, without the concur- ration of families-not to suffer the wife rence of other establishments. Undoubt to be divided from her husband, the sister edly there must be special courts, and ma- from the brother, the infant from its mogistrates and officers, to receive complaints, ther. The sales in the islands should be to prosecute, and to punish. There must be governed by the same rules. A multia judge conservator of the negroes in every tude of other duties and offices, with * island, with an advocate and attorney to which the commissioners should be plead and act for them, appointed by the charged, will occur upon reflection. That king, and dependent solely on the crown, a case should exist, with the consent of with sufficient salaries, and no way inter- an enlightened government, in which ested in the property or produce of the such an institution should be wanted, is plantations. Under the principal judge, shameful, is intolerable. I am sure it is and by his deputation, there should be an opprobrium to the name of England. itinerant inspectors, with some of the In the treatment of the negroes in our powers of a justice of peace, who should islands, of all its evils the most grievous travel occasionally, and not at stated pe- and afflicting remains to be considered. riods, in circuits through the islands, give As long as it exists, I know that general notice of their arrival at convenient sta- institutions, laws, and magistrates, will tions, and wait there a sufficient time to avail but little in their defence. The arreceive complaints ; in petty instances, bitrary power of the whip, committed to to give redress ; in graver cases, to insti- men without feeling, to be exercised in tute a more serious proceeding before anger, and unchecked even by the interest of an owner in the well-being of the complaint, or any provocation that could object, is not in its nature capable of re- be discovered. The whole battalion saw gulation, or subject to control. To limit the fact. The grenadiers on the flanks the number of stripes, to, interpose be- immediately wheeled without orders, and tween the naked helpless wretch,-a preg: surrounded the assassin. The difficulty nant woman perhaps--and the uplifted then was to prevent their tying him to a hand of the driver, would be an unjust horse's tail, and dragging him to death invasion of necessary authority, and pos- without a trial. The British officers insibly in its consequences might hazard sisted on his being regularly tried, and the crop. For a mischief of this kind executed in the usual military form. I there is no partial remedy. In the place need not, however, have gone so far from of a despotic power of punishment en- the islands for a successful instance of trusted to a single person, I would sub- practice founded on the same principle. stitute a form of trial, not less effectual i have not the honour of knowing the to insure the reasonable demand on, la- gentleman, whose example I am going to bour, and equally safe to the only in appeal to; I mean sir Phillip Gibbs; but terests, which the planters seem to think I know his character, and what his conof. I would give jurisdiction to the ne- duct has been in the management of his groes, in every plantation, over one ano- estate in Barbadoes. The former is emither. The whole gang of males adult nently humane; the latter equally judishould constitute the pannel, out of cious. His virtues are to me a proof of his which a kind of jury should be formed wisdom. He gives his negroes land and by lot or by selection, with a right of stock, with time to cultivate. He feeds challenge, on one side to the offender, and and clothes them well. He encourages on the other to the master, or to his re- marriage among them, and allows of no presentative, who should superintend and punishment but by the sentence of a jury regulate the proceedings, and mitigate or of negroes. The consequence is that his remit the sentence, if he thought proper. slaves do double the work of others, beGentlemen, who are fond of justice, may cause they are better able and more wil. apprehend, perhaps, that a black tribunal ling. The instructions he has given to would rarely if ever inflict sufficient pu- the managers of his estate are a model for nishment on a negro. I, for my part, am imitation. The success and the profit confident that, as soon as they understood have corresponded with the benevolent their office, and were sensible of the trust design. Before I quit this first division reposed in them, they would rather lean of my subject, I owe it in justice to an to severity, and that the overseer would honourable person, lately a distinguished often find himself obliged to restrain it. member of this House, as well as to my On this principle, the discipline of our cause, not to conceal the lights I have rearmies in India is effectually maintained. ceived from him, and to avail myself, as 'An hon. gentleman near me (general | far as I can, of the concurrence of his auSmith) can give your better information thority. On a subject of this nature there on this subject. But I know enough of cannot, in my opinion, be a greater. I it to be able to assure you that no Sepoy mean Mr. Burke. Divided, at we are, by can be punished but by the sentence of a an irreconcileable difference of opinion court martial composed of native officers, on another important subject, and separawho have all been taken from the ranks, ted in private life as long as that unfortuand with an European officer to act as nate question continues, I still hope and judge advocate ; and that I never heard believe that the bond of personal friend. the justice of their proceedings disputed. ship and good will between us will never As long as they are tolerably well treated, be dissolved. As soon as I had deterthey are attached to their officers, and mined to take an active part in this busiwill follow them as far as the best British ness, I went to Mr. Burke, as wiser men troops. A remarkable instance of this have done before me, for advice and inattachment, and of their disposition to do formation. I know how little I am quaeven more than justice on offenders of lified to occupy his station on any subject, their own cast, occurred a few years ago. and that I have undertaken a task, which Captain Ewans, an officer general beloved, eminently and peculiarly belonged to him. at the head of his battalion, was murdered To form and to digest a complete and by a Sepoy, who suddenly went out of perfect code of laws, on a subject so ex: the ranks and shot him, without notice or tensive and so full of difficulties, would

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