Matt. chap. vii. ver. 12.




The Design of the following SHORT SKETCH is not to supersede, in any Degree, MORE IMPORTANT PUB­LICATIONS, but, on the Contrary, to extend their Circulation, and promote their Influence.



VIRTUE, say moralists, is so transcendently beau­tiful, that she need but be seen, to be univer­sally admired: and is not VICE so hateful, that the more its features are viewed, the more it will be a­voided? The traffic in the human species, particu­larly as carried on by the Europeans on the coast of Africa, has so horrible an aspect, that nothing, one should think, but the MASK, under which it has been concealed, could have prevented all the ci­vilized nations in the world uniting to drive the de­tested Monster from the face of the earth. This MASK is, however, at length taken away, and the traffic stands exposed in all its real, unalterable de­formity. The PEOPLE are now called upon to be­hold, to feel, and judge for themselves. The re­presentations of former writers on this subject were roundly denied; the facts they stated were not only contradicted, but deemed impossible, and the authors themselves were accused of slander. Now we have a body of EVIDENCE to which to appeal; of evi­dence, possessing every essential of credibility. The witnesses have declared before the Select Committee of the House of Commons, what they themselves saw: they had the best opportunities of observation, and they are disinterested. And now it appears, that one half of the tale of human misery hath not been told; and that every principle, that can bind a man [Page 4]of honour and conscience,* loudly calls for the pro­hibition of the iniquitous traffic. Hard indeed must those hearts be, and inaccessible those understand­ings. which such evidence cannot reach!

The Evidence delivered before the Select Commit­tee of the House of Commons is very voluminous, occupying two thousand pages in folio. But a judi­cious Abstract and Arrangement of the Evidence, on the Part of the Petitioners for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, has been published, and in a short compass, contains the evidence of well informed per­sons on that subject.

In the PREFACE to this important volume of evi­dence we read of rewards offered for taking run-away negroes alive or dead—of laws being required to be made to prevent the practice of cutting off ears, no­ses, and tongues—of breaking limbs and putting out eyes—to prevent distempered, maimed, and worn out negroes from infesting towns—to prevent aged and infirm negroes being driven from the plantations to starve. We meet also with such kind of PREAM­BLES to acts as the following, viz.

'Whereas the extreme cruelty and inhumanity of the managers, overseers, and book-keepers of estates, have frequently driven slaves into the woods, and oc­casioned rebellions, internal insurrections, &c. And whereas also it frequently happens, that slaves come to their deaths by hasty and severe blows and other improper treatment of overseers and book-keepers, in the heat of passion; and when such accidents do happen, the victims are entered in the plantation-books [Page 5]books, as having died of convulsions, fits, or other causes not to be accounted for; and to conceal the real truth of the cause of the death of such slave or slaves, he or they is or are immediately put under ground, &c. Other preambles of a similar complex­ion, respecting the lodging, food, and clothes of ne­groes, are here to be met with. We also find that run-away negroes, when advertised, are described by the various brands upon their shoulders, breasts, cheeks, and foreheads. A woman is described with a wooden leg; a man as having both his ears cropt, and another by his nose and ears being cut off.' Cornwall Chronicle, Nov. 7, 1789. Other instan­ces occur within the year 1791.

The FIRST CHAPTER contains an account of the Enormities committed by the Natives of Africa on the persons of one another, to procure slaves for the Europeans, proved by the testimony of such as have visited that continent—and confirmed by accounts from the slaves themselves, after their arrival in the West-Indies.

Under this head, we learn that Kidnapping, or as the natives call it, Panyaring, is very common, that war is made on purpose to procure slaves. The king's soldiers sot fire to villages in the night, and seize the wretched inhabitants as they attempt to escape from the flames, and many perish, either by the fire or sword, in the execution of this horrid pur­pose. A Boy, who was carried away in the night from his father's house, says, he believes both his parents were killed, he is sure that one was, and that many others were killed and some taken. Various instances are mentioned of consummate treachery em­ployed in making captives. Kidnapping is profession­ally followed; large parties go up the country three [Page 6]hundred miles to drive down captives—they go a wood ranging, and pick up every one they meet, and strip them naked. The purchasers generally say, they do not care how the sellers come by their slaves. Many are sold for crimes falsely imputed; the Judges participate the profits of the sale, and are therefore strongly induced to condemn the innocent. Crimes are invented and multiplied for the purpose of traffic. The great men dress up and employ wo­men, to entice young men to be connected with them, that they may be convicted of adultery and sold. The slaves are separated without the least regard to ties of consanguinity, or the pathetic expostulations and re­monstrances of nature. When slave-ships are on the Coast the natives go armed, but are no where safe. The man, invited to drink with his neighbour, on ri­sing to go, is seized by two of them and a large dog: and this mode of seizure is common.

By the Second Chapter it appears that the Euro­peans, by means of the trade in slaves, are the occasi­on of the before-mentioned enormities; that they sometimes use additional means to excite the natives to practise them, often attempt themselves to steal the natives, and succeed, force trade as they please, and are guilty of injustice in their dealings. In proof of this charge, we learn from the evidence, that Afri­cans receive European goods in exchange for slaves— that they declare when ships cease to come (as in times of war) slaves cease to be taken. African dealers make the Princes drunk, in order to overcome their aversion to unprovoked war: they furnish the natives with arms and ammunition and excite them to pillage.

The term war, in Africa, is used in general to signify pillage; and when many towns are seen bla­zing [Page 7]in the night, the natives say war is carrying on.

The Traders advance goods to Chiefs to induce them to seize their subjects or neighbours. Capt. Patterson set two villages at variance, and brought prisoners from both sides. It is not uncommon to make the natives drunk, and then buy them. Gene­ral Rooke says, that it was proposed to him by three English captains of ships, to kidnap a hundred, or a hundred and fifty men, women, and children, king Damel's subjects, who had come to Goree in conse­quence of the friendly intercourse between him and Damel: He refused and was much shocked by the proposition. They said such things had been done by a former governor. Two men, black traders, were invited on board, intoxicated, and captured when asleep. The Gregson's people, in running down the coast, kidnapped thirty-two of the natives. The Dobson's boat of Liverpool had stolen a man and wo­man; the captain on the remonstrance of Capt. Briggs, who told him, there would be no more trade if he did not deliver up his two captives, restored them; upon which the natives loaded a boat with yams, goats, fowls, honey, and palm wine, and would take nothing for them,—a striking instance of for­giveness of injuries, and of unmerited kindness!

We then meet with as opposite an exhibition of character as can possibly be conceived: three or four hundred Africans cruelly massacreed or carried off, by means of the treacherous contrivance of six En­glish captains in Old Calabar River. But let us "turn our eyes for relief to some ordinary wickedness"*: Some consider frauds as a necessary part of the traf­fic; they put false heads into powder casks, cut off two or three yards from the middle of a piece of [Page 8]cloth, adulterate spirits, and steal back articles given. Besides these, there are others who pay in bottles, which hold but half the contents of the samples shewn; use false steel-yards and weights, and sell such guns as burst on firing; so that many of the natives of the windward coast, are without their fin­gers and thumbs on this account, and it has become a saying that these guns kill more out of the butt man the muzzle.

The Third Chapter contains an account of the transactions of the enslaved Africans, and of the me­thod of confining, airing, feeding, and exercising them; incidents on the passage, and the manner of selling them when arrived at their destined ports; the deplorable situation of the refuse or sickly slaves; se­paration of relations and friends; mortality on the passage, and frequently after sale; and the causes of this mortality.

On being brought on board, says Dr. Trotter, they shew signs of extreme distress and despair, from a feeling of their situation, and regret at being torn from their friends and connexions. They sometimes dream of being in their own country, and when they awake shew their despair by howling and shrieking in a most dreadful manner. The women go into fits. In the course of the voyage, the slaves are chained to the deck every day from eight in the morning to four o'clock in the afternoon. They are fed twice a day with rice, yeams, and horse-beans, and now and then a little beef and bread: after each of these two meals they are allowed half a pint of water; and are forced to jump in their irons, which, by the slave dealers, is called making them dance. This exercise frequent­ly occasions the fetters to excoriate their limbs; and, when it is very painful to move at all, they are com­pelled [Page]to dance by a cat-of-nine-tails. The captains order them to sing, and they sing songs of sorrow, the subject of which are their wretched situation, and the idea of never returning home: the witness re­members the very words upon these occasions.

The slaves are so crouded below, that it is impossi­ble to walk among them without treading upon them. Dr. Trotter has seen the slaves drawing their breath with all those laborious and anxious efforts for life, which are observed in expiring animals, subjected by experiment to foul air, or in the exhausted receiver of an air pump: they cry out—'we are dying,' and many are irrecoverably lost by suffocation, having had no previous signs of indisposition. They are closely wedged together, and have not so much room as a man in his cossin, either in length or breadth. They sometimes go down well at night, and are found dead in the morning. Alexander Falconbridge was never among them for ten minutes together below, but his shirt was as wet as if dipped in water. Sometimes the dead and living are found shackled together. They lie on the bare blanks, and the prominent parts of their bones, about the shoulder-blade and knees, have frequently been seen bare. No situation can be conceived so dreadful and disguisting as that of slaves when ill of the flux. In the Alexander (A. Falcon­bridge says) the deck was covered with blood and mu­cus, and resembled a slaughter-house; the stench and foul air were intolerable. The slaves, shackled toge­ther, frequently quarrel, and make a great disturb­ance. Some refuse food and medicine, and declare they want to die. In such cases compulsion is used. The ships are so fitted up as to prevent, by net-work, the flaves jumping overboard; notwithstanding which they often attempt it, and sometimes succeed, shew­ing [Page 10]signs of exultation in the very jaws of death. Some employ other means to destroy themselves, and others go mad. Some resolve to starve, and means are ineffectually used to wrench open their teeth: they persist in their resolution, and effect their purpose, in spite of the utmost pains to prevent it. When severely chastised for not taking their food, they have looked up with a smile and said, "presently we shall be no more." The thum screw is an instrument of torture, the application of it sometimes occasions mortifications, of which the negroes die. An in­stance occurs of the cruelty of a captain to an infant only nine months old, which one would suppose too shocking to be true, were it not corroborated by other specimens of as great cruelty in various parts of the evidence. After a series of tortures the infant ex­pired, and its savage murderer, not yet satiated, would suffer none of the people on deck to throw the body overboard, but called the Mother, the wretched Mo­ther, to perform this last sad office to her murdered child. Unwilling as it might naturally be supposed she was, to comply, "he beat her," regardless of the indignant murmurs of her settered countrymen, whom in the barbarous plenitude of secure tyranny, he per­mitted to be spectators of this horrible scene—"he beat her, until he made her take up the child and car­ry it to the side of the vessel, and then she dropped it into the sea, turning her head another way, that she might not see it!"* Another instance occurs in this chapter, not perhaps of more cruelty, though of greater magnitude.

A ship from Africa, with about four hundred slaves on board, struck upon some shoals, called the Morant Keys, distant eleven leagues, S. S. E. off the [Page 11]east end of Jamaica. The officers and seamen of the ship landed in their boats, carrying with them arms and provisions. The slaves were left on board in their irons and shackles. This happened in the night time. When morning came, it was discovered that the negroes had got out of their irons, and were bu­sy making rafts, upon which they placed the women and children; the men, who were capable of swim­ing, attended upon the rafts, whilst they drifted be­fore the wind towards the island where the seamen had landed. From an apprehension that the negroes would consume the water and provisions which the seamen had landed, they came to the resolution of destroying them, by means of their fire-arms and other weapons. As the poor wretches approached the shore they actually destroyed between three and four hundred of them. Out of the whole cargo only thir­ty three or thirty four were saved and brought to Kingston, where they were sold at public vendue.

When the ships arrive at their destined ports, the cargo of slaves is sold, either by scramble or ven­due. The sale by scramble is described:—"A great number of people come on board with tallies in their hande (the ship being first darkened with sails and co­vered round; the men slaves placed on the main deck, and the women on the quarter deck) and rush through the barricado door with the the ferocity of brures. Some have three or four handkerchiefs tied together, to encircle as many as they think sit for their purpose. This is a very general mode of sale, and so terrifies the poor negroes, that forty or fifty at a time have leaped into the sea; these, however, the witness believes, have been taken up again: the wo­men have got away, and run about the town as if they were mad. The slaves sold by public auction or ven­due, [Page 12]are generally the refuse, or sickly slaves. These are in such a state of health, that they sell greatly un­der price. They have been known to be sold for five dollars, a guinea, and even a single dollar each. Some that are deemed not worth buying are left to expire in the place of sale, for nobody gives them any thing to eat or drink, and some of them live three days in that situation! In the sale no care is taken to prevent the separation of relations; they are separated (says the evidence) like sheep and lambs by the butcher. Making the slaves walk the plank, is a term used for throwing them overboard when provisions are scarce. Sometimes the ships lose more than half their cargoes by the small-pox; at others they bury a quarter or one-third on the passage, owing to various other cau­ses of mortality: and it is confessed by the planters,* that half the slaves die in the seasoning, after arrival in the West-Indies. Surgeon Wilson says, that of the death of two-thirds of those who died in his ship, the primary cause was melancholy. The disorders which carry off the slaves in such numbers, are ascribed by Falconbridge to a diseased mind, sudden transitions from heat to cold, a putrid atmosphere, wallowing in their own excrements, and being shackled together.

The captains, surgeons, &c. who have quitted the African slave-trade, uniformly declare the reason to have been, that they could not conscientiously con­tinue in it: they say, that it is an unnatural, ini­quitous, and villainous trade, founded on injustice and treachery; manifestly carried on by oppression and cruelty, and not unfrequently terminating in murder. Capt. Hall says, he quitted it (in opposi­tion to lucrative offers) from a conviction that it was perfectly illegal, and founded in blood.

[Page 13] The Fourth Chapter gives an account of the ge­neral estimation and treatment of the slaves in the West-Indies. Dr. Jackson says, that the negroes are generally esteemed a species of inferior beings, whom the right of purchase gives the owner a power of using at his will. T. Wooldrich says, he never knew the best master in the West-Indies use his slaves so well, as the worst master his servants in England: that their state is inconceivable—that a sight of a gang would convince more than all words.

Slaves are either Field Slaves, or in or out Door Slaves.

The field-slaves begin their work at break of day. They work in rows, without exception under the whip of drivers, and the weak are made to keep up with the strong. They continue their labour (with two intermissions, half an hour during the morning, and two hours at noon) till sun set. In the intervals they are made to pick grass for the cattle. Cook has known pregnant women worked and flogged a few days before their delivery. Some, however, are a lit­tle indulged when in that state. After the month they work with the children on their backs. In the crop­season the labour is of much longer duration*. The slaves sometimes work so long that they cannot help sleeping, and then it not unfrequently happens, that their arms are caught in the mill and torn off. They are said to be allowed one day in seven for rest, but this time is necessarily employed in raising food for the other days, and gathering grass for their masters cattle. The best allowance of food is at Barbadoes, which is a pint of grain for twenty four hours, and half a rotten herring when to be had. When the [Page 14]herrings are unfit for the whites, they are bought up by planters for the slaves. Some allow nine pints of corn a week, and about one pound of salt fish, which is the greatest allowance mentioned in the whole course of the evidence. Some have no provision but what they raise themselves, and they are frequently so fa­tigned by the labour of the rest of the week, as scarcely to be able to work for their own support on the Sunday. And the land allotted them for this purpose is often at the distance of three miles from their houses; it would, however, be quite ample for their support, were they allowed time sufficient for its cultivation. Sometimes when they have been at the pains of clearing their land, their masters take it for canes, and give them wood land instead of it. This hardship some have so taken to heart as to die. Putrid carcases are burnt; if they were buried, the slaves would dig them up and eat them, which would breed distempers among them. They are sometimes driven by extreme hunger to steal at the hazard of their lives. They are badly clothed; one half of them go almost naked. The slaves in general have no bed or bedding at all. Their houses are built with four poles and thatched. They have little or no pro­perty. All the evidence (to whom the question has been proposed) agree in answering, that they never knew or heard of a field-slave ever amassing such a sum, as enabled him to purchase his own freedom. The arificers, such as house carpenters, coopers, ma­sons, the drivers and head slaves, are better off. The owners of women let them out for prostitution, and flog them, if they do not bring home full wages.

The negroes, when whipped, are suspended by the arms, with weights at their feet. They are first whipped with a whip made of cow-skin (which cuts [Page 15]out the flesh, whereas the military whips cut only the skin,) and afterwards with ebony bushes (which are more prickly than thorn bushes in this country,) in order to let out the congealed blood. Dr. Har­rison thinks the whipping too severe to be inflicted on any human being: he could lay two or three fin­gers into the wounds of a man whipped for not com­ing when he was called. Many receive from one hundred and fifty to two hundred lashes at a time; and in two or three days this is repeated: they wash the raw parts with pickle; this appears from the con­vulsions it occasions, more cruel than whipping; but it is done to prevent mortification. After severe whipping, they are worked all day without food, ex­cept what their friends may give them out of their own poor pittance. They are returned to the stocks at night, and worked next day as before. This cruel treatment has made many commit suicide. Cook has known fourteen slaves, who, in consequence thereof, ran into the woods and cut their throats together. These severe punishments are frequent. The scars made by whipping last to old age. T. Wool­rich has seen their backs one undistinguished mass of lumps, holes, and furrows. They sometimes die of mortification of the wounds. A planter flogged his driver to death, and boasted of having so done.

Under the head of Extraordinary Punishments (for those already named are reckoned only ordinary,) men­tion is made of iron collars with hooks*, heavy cat­tle [Page 16]chains, and a half hundred weight fastened to them, which the negroes are forced to drag after them, when working in the field, suspending by the hands 'till the fingers mortify; flogging with ebony bushes 'till they are forced to go on all fours, unable to get up, being tied up to the branch of a tree, with a heavy weight round the neck, exposed to the noon­day sun—thumb-screws; a man was put on the pick­et, so long as to occasion a mortification of his foot and hand, on suspicion of robbing his master, a pub­lic officer, of a sum of money, which it afterwards appeared, the master had taken himself. Yet the master was privy to the punishment, and the slave had no compensation. He was punished by order of the master, who did not then chuse to make it known that he himself had made use of the money. A girl's ears were nailed to a post, afterwards torn away, and clipt off close to her head, with a pair of large scissars; besides this, she was unmercifully flogged, and all for—BREAKING A PLATE, OR SPILLING A CUP OF TEA! A negro, impelled by hunger, had stolen part of a turkey, his master caused him to be held down, and, with his own hands, took a hammar and punch and knocked out four of his teeth. The hand is cut off if lifted up against a white man, and the leg for running away. A planter sent for a surgeon to cut off the leg of a negro who had run away. On the surgeon's refusing to do it, the planter took an iron bar, and broke the leg in pieces, and then the surge­on took it off. This planter did many such acts of cruelty, and all with impunity. The practice of drop­ping hot lead upon the negroes, is here mentioned. H. Ross saw a young female suspended by her wrists [Page 17]to a tree, swinging to and fro, while her master appli­ed a lighted torch to the different parts of her writh­ing body. It was notorious that Rushie tortured so many of his negroes to death, that he was obliged to sell his estate. Another planter, in the same Island§, destroyed forty slaves out of sixty (in three years) by severity. The rest of the conduct of this infamous wretch was cancelled by the Committee of the House of Commons, as containing circumstances too hor­rible to be given to the world. We, however, go on to read of knocking on the head and stabbing, of a hot iron forced between the teeth, of a slave thrown into the boiling juice, and killed, of a negro shot and his head cut off. And it appears, that the women, deem­ed of respectability and rank, not only order and superintend, but sometimes actually inflict with their own hands severe punishments on their slaves.

The offences for which the before-mentioned pu­nishments are inflicted are, not coming into the field in time, not picking a sufficient quantity of grass, not appearing willing to work, when in fact sick and not able; for staying too long on an errand, for not coming immediately when called, for not bringing home (the women) the full weekly sum enjoined by their owners; for running away, and for theft, to which they are often driven by hunger.

Under the head of "Extraordinary Punishments," some appear to have suffered for running away, or for lifting up a hand against a white man, or for break­ing a plate, or spilling a cup of tea, or to extort con­fession. Others again, in the moments of sudden re­sentment, and one on a diabolical pretext, which the master held out to the world to conceal his own vil­lany, and which he knew to be false.

[Page 18] The slaves have little or no redress against ill-usage of any sort; the laws to restrict punishment are a mere farce, and universally disregarded, or when pre­tended to be observed they are in divers ways ef­fectually evaded: besides, the evidence of a Black is in no case whatever admitted against a White Man; which circumstance alone is enough to deprive the negroes of all legal protection whatever, were the laws, in other respects, ever so just and salutary. Lieutenant Davidson was so hurt at the severe and frequent whippings of one of the women, that he com­plained to a magistrate, who said, "he had nothing to do with it."

The particular instances mentioned in the evi­dence, of slaves dying in consequence of severe and cruel treatment from their masters, were not punish­ed, though generally known; nor do the perpe­trators of these barbaraties appear to have suffered any disgrace!

If you speak to a negro of future punishments, he says,—"Why should a poor negro be punished? he does no wrong? fiery cauldrons, and such things, are reserved for white people, as punishments for the oppression of slaves."

In the Fifth Chapter, it is proved, by such as have seen them in their own country, that the natives of Africa are equal to the Europeans in their natural ca­parities, feelings, affections, and moral character. They manufacture gold and iron, in some respects, equal to the European Artists—also cloth and leather with uncommon neatness; the former they die blue, yellow, brown and orange. They are skilled in making indigo and soap, and pottery wares, and prepare salt for their own use from the sea water. They also make ropes with aloes. With respect to their moral [Page 19]character, they are very honest and hospitable: grate­ful and affectionate, harmless and innocent; punctu­al in their dealings, and as capable of virtue as the Whites. They are susceptible of all the social virtues: generosity, fidelity, and gratitude, are allowed them by Dr. Stuart. Those virtues Dr. Jackson enume­rates, and adds charity to all in distress, and a strong attachment on the part of parents to their children, T. Woolrich says, he never knew of an African, who could express himself, that did not believe in the ex­istence of a supreme Being.

In the Sixth and Seventh Chapters it appears that the natives possess industry and a spirit of commerce, sufficient for carrying on a new trade; that their coun­try abounds with, and might easily be made still more productive of, many and various articles of commerce; but that the traffic in slaves is an insuperable impedi­ment to opening a new trade.

In the Eighth Chapter it is inquired, whether the slave trade be not a grave (instead of a nursery) of the seamen employed in it

It appears by the muster-rolls of Liverpool and Bristol, that in 350 vessels, 12, 263 men were em­ployed, out of whom 2643 were lost, that is to say, more than a fifth of the whole number employed, or more than seven in every single voyage, besides near­ly one half of those who go out with the ships are con­stantly left behind.

Capt. Hall (of the merchant's service) says that the crews of the African ships, when they arrive in the West Indies, are the most miserable objects he ever met with in any country in his life: he does not know a single instance to the contrary. He has frequently seen them with their toes rotted off, their legs swelled to the size of their thighs, and in an ulcerated state all [Page 20]over, &c. &c. This account is confirmed by Capt. Hall of the navy. Sir W. Young is of opinion, that a trade to Africa in the natural productions of the country, would not be attended with more inconveni­ence to the health of the seamen employed in it, than the present West-India Trade.

In the Ninth Chapter we find that the seamen em­ployed in the slave trade are in general barbarously used. They are worse fed both in quantity and qua­lity of food than the seamen in other trades. They have little or no shelter night or day from the incle­mency of the weather during the whole of the middle passage. They are inhumanly treated when ill, and subjected to the fury of the impassioned officers for very trifles. A boy, to avoid the cruel treatment of his officer. jump'd overboard, and was drowned. A man was killed with a hand spike for being very ill and unable to work. Six men were chained together by their necks, legs, and hands, for making their escape from the vessel; they were allowed only a plan­tain a day; they all died in their chains; one of them (Thomas Jones a very good seaman) raving mad! The evidence proves that instances of wanton cruelty, and in human treatment in general, are nu­merous, various and frequent. One man, with both his legs in irons and his neck in an iron collar, was chained to the boat for three months, and very often most inhumanly beaten for complaining of his situa­tion, both by the captain and other officers. His al­lowance of provisions was so small that (after his re­lease from the boat, on account of extreme weakness) he begged something to eat, saying that if it were not given him he should die:—the captain reproached him, beat him, and bid him die and be damned. The man died in the night. This was in the Ship Sally, [Page 21]on board of which ill-treatment was common. Ano­ther man was deliberately, by a series of shocking bar­barities, murdered.

Sir Geo. Young remarks that a ship of the line might be presently manned by the sailors who wish to escape from the miseries of African ships. One poor young man, when dying in consequence of the ill treatment he had received from the captain, said (which were the last words A. Falconbridge heard him speak) "I cannot punish him (meaning the cap­tain) but God will." The sailors when sick are beat­en for being lazy, till they die under the blows!

"If this be the real situation of things, how hap­pens it (the reader may perhaps ask) that the objects of such tyranny and oppression should not obtain re­dress, and that our courts of law should not have to decide upon more cases of this kind, than they have at present?" It is answered, "these objects are gene­rally without friends and money, without which the injured will seek for justice but in vain; and because the peculiarity of their situation is an impediment to their endeavours for redress." Whoever wishes for a more particular answer to this question, may meet with it in "Clarkson's Essay on the Impolicy of the African Slave-Trade," (page 52) from which the question and the above general reply are quoted.

If it should still be asked, "how it happens that seamen enter for slave vessels, when such general ill usage on board of them can hardly fail of being known?" the reply must be taken from the evidence, "that whereas some of them enter voluntarily, the greater part of them are trepanned; for that it is the business of certain landlords to make them intoxicat­ed, and get them into debt, after which their only al­ternative is a Guineaman or a Goal.

[Page 22] In the Tenth Chapter it is proved not to be true, what some say, that the natives of Africa are happier in the European colonies than in their own country. They love their own country, but destroy them­selves in the colonies, &c. &c. But any comparison between the two situations is as (H. Ross says, tho' on another occasion) "an insult to common-sense."

The Eleventh, Twelfth, and Thirteenth Chapters are on the subject of negro population in the colonies, and plainly shew that the importation of fresh Afri­cans might immediately be superceded, by the intro­duction of general good treatment, and of ecertain sa­lutary regulations therein suggested.

The Fourteenth Chapter is employed to demon­strate, from the evidence before the committee, that the colonists would be able to carry on the necessary cultivation of their lands, without a fresh importation of slaves while the generation immediately succeeding the regulations proposed, were growing up to supply the vacancies occasioned by the natural deaths of the slaves of all ages, now in their possession.

The Fifteenth Chapter inquires, whether there be not a prevailing opinion in the colonies, that it is cheaper to buy or import slaves than thus to increase them by population. And whether the very reverse of this opinion be not true: namely, that it is more profitable to breed than to import. The result of this inquiry is clearly in favour of the immediate Abo­lition of the African Slave Trade. The same may be said of the sixteenth and last chapter, in which it is considered. Whether it be more political to ex­tend the cultivation of the colonies by the continu­ance of the slave-trade, or wait till the rising genera­tion shall be capable of performing it.

Having thus taken a general view of the most [Page 23]striking features of the evidence for the abolition of the traffic in the human species, as carried on by the English on the coast of Africa, it might not be im­proper to close it with the declaration of a virtuous and wise Senator, whose indefatigable labours on be­half of the oppressed Africans, cannot fail to insure him the unfeigned respect of every lover of freedom and humanity:


The noble exordium of another able advocate of the same righteous cause, must not however be omit­ted in this place: The House of Commons being now apprized of the nature of this trade, having received evidence, having had the facts undeniably established, knowing, in short, what the Slave-Trade was, he de­clared, that if they did not, by the vote of that night, mark to all mankind their abhorrence of a practice so enormous, so savage, so repugnant to all laws, human and divine, it would be more scandalous, and more de­faming, in the eyes of the country, and of the world, than any vote which any House of Commons had ever given. He desired them seriously to reflect, be­fore they gave their votes, what they were about to do that evening. If they voted that the Slave Trade should not be abolished, they would, by their vote that night, give a Parliamentary sanction to RAPINE, ROB­BERY and MURDER; for a system of rapine, robbe­ry, and murder, the Slave Trade had now most clear­ly been proved to be.

[Page 24] It remains now to recommend, as earnestly and as strongly as possible, to the inhabitants of this Land of Freedom individually, a particular and serious atten­tion to THE ABSOLUTE NECESSITY, ON EVERY CONSIDERATION OF MORALITY AND JUSTICE, OF BUTTING AN END TO A PRACTICE SO PREGNANT WITH CIRCUMSTANCES OF TERROR AND ALARM TO THIS COUNTRY.

Much has been lately done, by the united friends of equitable freedom, in circulating throughout the king­dom important information on this interesting subject: but much remains yet to be done. The minds of many have been informed, and their indignation just­ly kindled by the history of a commerce "written throughout in characters of blood *." But the under­standings it is to be feard, of a great majority of the people of England, are still unenlightened. Should the foregoing Short Sketch of the Evidence, awaken the feelings, or quicken the attention, of any, in fa­vour of their greatly injured fellow-creatures, the op­pressed Africans, it is much to be wished, that they will not hastily dismiss the subject from their recol­lection, or suffer its painful impressions to be made in vain: but seek a further acquaintance with the evidence, which the more they examine, the stronger will be their inducements to exert every power and faculty they possess, for the purpose of procuring the Abolition of the Slave-Trade. Let no one say, "my situation of privacy and obscurity, precludes all possi­bility of serving the cause"—for the greatest numbers consist of units, and the most mighty exertions of states and empires are but aggregates of individual ability. Next to Members of Parliament, all who have any just influence in the election of them, are parti­cularly [Page 25]concerned to consider, how far the attainment of the great end we have in view may depend upon their conduct. We may certainly conclude, that who­ever is not a friend to the liberty of the meanest sub­ject, is not fit to be entrusted with that of the state: and even those who have no vote, are nevertheless comprehended in our idea of the public mind,—nor is any man of sense and virtue, let his situation in a free country be what it may, to be deemed of no ac­count. Upon his judgment, his voice (if not his vote, his example, much may depend. The discove­ry of truth, the communication of useful knowledge, and the exemplary recommendation of virtuous con­duct, may dignify a plebeian, as well as add lustre to a crown. Even a negro slave, amidst the horrors of a middle passage, and debased by every external cir­cumstance of degradation and misery that the imagina­tion can conceive, shall divide his meagre morsel with the inhuman monster in distress, who stole him from his native country, and his nearest connexions, thereby returning all the GOOD in his power, for all the EVIL his merciless enemy could inflict, and giving an example of true benevolence of heart and real greatness of mind, unsurpassed in the history of civil­ized nations, and worthy of the best and purest of all religions:—"if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink ." Let no one, therefore, think too meanly of himself when called upon to as­sist in a good cause, seeing, that from the most abject state of human wretchedness a lesson may sometimes be learnt, and an influence imparted which the proud­est philosophy need not blush to own. The abolition [Page 26]of the slave trade is an object of such high importance, and so nearly concerns every one who has a mind to comprehend, and a heart to feel, that no communi­cation or assistance is too small, nor any too great, to be exerted upon this occasion.

Some people seem inclined to lend an ear to tales of human woe, and feel a certain gratification in be­holding the exhibitions of tragedy, or in the perusal of pathetic poetry, and the like. Even the case of the oppressed Africans, when represented by their fa­vourite bards, or appearing in the form of the "Dy­ing Slave," or the "Negro's Complaint," seem to pos­sess, if not charms to please, at least powers forcibly to attract their willing attention, and to win their sympathetic regard. Yet the evidence delivered be­fore the House of Commons, containing a true and faithful account of the miseries and wickedness at­tendant upon the traffic in their fellow-creatures, un­embellished by flourishes of rhetoric, undecorated with the splendid habiliments of poetry, is almost in vain recommended to their notice. Should they be pre­vailed upon to cast their eye over a few pages of the shocking history, they presently shut up the book— it makes them shudder—they have read enough— such horrid barbarities, such complicated sufferings, are not to be endured even in imagination! But let such remember—" that humanity consists not in a squeamish ear—it consists not in a starting or shrink­ing at such tales as these, but in a disposition of heart to relieve misery, and to prevent the repetition of cru­elty:—Humanity appertains rather to the mind than to the nerves, and prompts men to real, disinterested endeavours to give happiness to their fellow-crea­tures§." It is therefore to be wished that no affection [Page 27]of extreme sensibility, or real effiminacy of manners, may disincline, or disqualify, for the service of huma­nity. That extreme DELICACY which deprives us, if not of the disposition, yet of the ability to encoun­ter suffering for the sake of, and in order to help our brethren in affliction, and under the severest oppessi­on, is detrimental to its possessor, and injurious to the community; it renders compassion a painful, useless thing, and makes beneficence fruitless.

To the busy and the gay "a great book is a great evil." TWO THOUSAND PAGES IN FOLIC, written (like Ezskiel's roll) within and without,—lamentati­ons, mourning and woe, stand but little chance of ob­taining their notice—even THE ABSTRACT OF THE EVIDENCE, would detain some of them too long from their eager pursuits of business, or their favour­ite schemes of pleasure. This HASTY SKETCH will not, however, it may be presumed, encroach too much upon their time; and well rewarded will the compiler of it be, if it should prove a stimulus to further investigation of the Evidence. No one knows what opportunities he may have, or how far his in­fluence may extend, to assist the endeavours now us­ing for the abolition of a trade, the continued carry­ing on of which, after being so fully apprized of its dreadful enormity, may be expected (without the smal­lest tincture of superstions fear) to expose this nation to the just punishment of PROVIDENCE.

Three nations, Juvan, Tubal, and Meshech, are mentioned in Scripture as having their principal trade at Tyre in the selling of men. This circum­stance has been appealed to in vindication of the African Slave-Trade:—but mark the sequel. In the following chapter, verse 18, the Prophet addresses [Page 28]the Prince of Tyre thus:—"Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffic: therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth." A prophe­cy which has been remarkably fulfilled.

The great leader in the Debates of the House of Commons on this momentous subject has declared— "That interested as he may be supposed to be in the final event of the question, he was comparatively in­different as to the then decision of the House. What­ever they might do, the people of Great Britain, he was confident, would abolish the slave-trade, when, as would now soon happen, its injustice and cruelty should be fairly laid before them. It was (said he) a nest of serpents, which would never have endured so long, but for the darkness in which they lay hid. The light of day would now be let in upon them, and they would vanish from the sight."

W. B. C.


Why did all-creating Nature
Make the plant for which we toil?
Sighs must fan it, Tears must water,
Sweat of ours must dress the Soil.
Think ye Masters, iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial Boards,
Think how many Backs have smarted
For the Sweets your Cane affords!
COWPER'S Negro's Complaint.

The Tenth Edition, with Additions.



NOtwithtranding the late determination be the House of Commons on the Slave-Trade, we may hope that the discussion it has received will not be useless; and that the public attention has not been excited in vain, to a system of cruelty which it is painful even to recite. It may be hoped that, claim­ing for ourselves the most perfect freedom, we shall no longer impose upon others a slavery the most op­pressive; and that, enjoying a degree of felicity un­equalled in any age or country, we shall no longer range the world to increase the misery of mankind.

The lust of power, and the pride of conquest, have doubtless produced instances far too numerous, of man enslaved by man. But we, in an enlightened age, have greatly surpassed, in brutality and injustice, the most ignorant and barbarous ages: and while we are pro­tending to the finest feelings of humanity, are exercis­ing unprecedented cruelty. We have planted slavery in the rank soil of sordid avarice; and the produce has been misery in the extreme. We have ascertain­ed, by a course of experiments in cruelty, the least portion of nourishment requisite to enable man to lin­ger a few years in misery; the greatest quantity of la­bor which, in such a situation, the extreme of punish­ment can extort; and the utmost degree of pain, labor, and hunger united, that the human frame can endure.

In vain have such scenes been developed. The wealth derived from the horrid trafric, has created an influence that secures its continuance, unless the people at large shall refuse to receive the produce of robbery and murder.

The Legislature having refused to interpose, the people are now necessarily called on, either to reprobate or approve the measure; for West-India slavery must [Page]depend upon their support for its existence; and it is in the power of every individual to increase, or to diminish its extent. The laws of our country may indeed prohibit us the sugar-cane, unless we will re­ceive it through the medium of slavery. They may hold it to our lips, steeped in the blood of our fel­low-creatures; but they cannot compel us to accept the loathsome potion. With us it rests, either to receive it and be partners in the crime, or to exone­rate ourselves from guilt, by spurning from us the temptation. For let us not think, that the crime rests alone with those who conduct the traffic, or the Legislature by which it is protected. If we purchase the commodity, we participate in the crime. The slave-dealer, the slave-holder, and the slave-driver, are virtually the agents of the consumer, and may be considered as employed and hired by him to procure the commodity. For, by holding out the temptati­on, he is the original cause, the first mover in the horrid process; and every distinction is done away by the moral maxim, That whatever we do by ano­ther, we do ourselves.

Nor are we by any means warranted to consider our individual share in producing these evils in a trivial point of view. The consumption of sugar in this country is so immense, that the quantity commonly used by individuals will have an important effect. A family that uses only 5 lb. of sugar per week, with the proportion of rum, will, by abstaining from the con­sumption 21 months, prevent the slavery or murder of one fellow-creature; eight such families in 19 ½ years, prevent the slavery or murder of 100, and 38,000 would totally prevent the Slave-Trade to sup­ply our islands. Nay, so necessarily connected are our consumption of the commodity, and the misery [Page 5]resulting from it, that in every pound of sugar used, (the produce of slaves imported from Africa) we may be considered as consuming two ounces of hu­man flesh, besides destroying an alarming number of seamen by the Slave-Trade, and spreading incon­ceivable anguish, terror and dismay, through an im­mense continent, by the burning of their villages, tearing parents from their families, and children from their parents; breaking every bond of society, and destroying every source of human happiness. A Frouch writer observes, "That he cannot look on a piece of sugar, without conceiving it stained with spots of human blood:" and Dr. Franklin adds, that had he taken in all the consequences, "he might have seen the sugar not merely spotted, but thoroughly dyed scarlet in grain."

Dreadful consideration—that our increasing hap­piness and prosperity has spread desolation and mi­sery over a country as large as all Europe! For it is an indisputable fact, that it is British luxury, the African Slave Trade depends on for support: they have increased, and they would fall together. For our consumption of sugar is now so immense, that it nearly equals that of all Europe besides; and Ja­maica new supplies more than all our West-India Islands did at any period prior to 1755.

But amazingly extensive as is the increase of the culture, so far is it from keeping pace with our lux­ury, that (before the disturbances in the French Is­lands, within these two or three years) sugars have ever sold in the British market 20 or 30, sometimes 50 per cent. dearer than in any other part of the world. Nor is it to support the old plantations, as is pretended, but to form new ones, for the sup­ply [Page 6]of this our increasing luxury, that the wretch­ed. Africans are torn from their native land.

Let us then imagine our immense consumption wholly, or in great part to cease, and our sugars to be thrown on the foreign markets; would additional slaves be wanted to supply an overflowing market at a falling price? No: the African Slave Trade, by whomsoever conducted, to supply sugar colonies, by whatever nation possessed, must totally cease. Hor­ror and dismay would give place to peace and civili­zation, through a coast of above three thousand miles extent, and above a thousand miles inland: for so extensive are our depredations, and so extensive are the benefits which it is in our power to confer. Nor would the beneficial effects crase, even here. The West-India islands, finding less demand for sugar, must appropriate less ground to the sugar-cane, and leave more for provisions: the slaves would be less worked, better fed, and in a few years consist intirely of native Creoles. Or if the planters appropriate the land to the other productions of the islands, the frome beneficial effects must ensue. For M. Onoke tells us, ‘the cultivation of cotton, pimento, and coffee, is easier than sugar: the slaves look better, and incrtase fastens;’ and instead of requiring additi­onal slaves, they would be able to increase their plan­tations with those already in the islands. For Go­vernor Barry says, ‘one acre of sugar requires as much labour as three of cotten.’ Thus our re­fraining from the consumption of the sugar-cane, even for a few years, would destroy the Slave Trade to the West-India Islands, bring fresh land into culture, and place the slaves in such a situation, that they must rapidly incroase.

[Page 7] The diminution of the consumption of West India produce, would also have a powerful effect by sink­ing the price of the commodity; and thereby take a­way the temptation to import additional slaves. The effect a small variation in the supply or demand has on the price, we have recently experienced. The di­sturbances in the French sugar islands, has suddenly raised some of the markets, which were 20 or 30 per cent. lower than the British, much above it; and thereby occasioned an exportation from this country to supply the deficiency: and our exportation, though only amounting to a 10th of our importation, has raised our sugars 50 per cent. And as a fall in the price would obstruct the Slave Trade, and meliorate the condition of the slaves; so this rise will produce effects the most baneful. The planter, tempted by the high price to get sugar and rum to market while that high price continues, will deprive his slaves of their provision grounds, to plant them with canes; and by the energy of the whip, they will be forced to the most extreme exertions. The murder, or, in the technical language of the West-Indies, the loss of his slaves, will be to him but a secondary considera­tion. The large crop, and the high price, will am­ply compensate him: and the question now is, not merely whether we shall hold out to him and induce­ment to purchase additional slaves; but whether we shall tempt him to murder those he already has. We can hardly doubt, but that West India packets have already borne the murderous dispatches, expressed in language too dreadfully explicit, and to the follow­ing effect. ‘The price of sugar and ruin still continues high. You must adopt every mode to forward as large a cargo as possible. A fortunate crisis now offers itself for extricating my estate from the diffi­culties [Page 8]in which it is involved. We must avail our­selves of it: another may never occur. Conse­quences, though disagreeable, must at the present moment be overlooked. The slave market is still open for a supply. New-fangted humanity is no more. The day hardly dawns when the whip re­sounds through those regions of horror; nor ceases, till darkness closes the scene, which day after day is renewed. The miserable victims, destitute of every source of comfort to body or to mind, and sinking under the three endemic diseases of our islands, hun­ger, torture, and extreme labour; and urged to ex­ertions they are unable to sustain, at length expire beneath the lash, which in vain endeavours to rouse them to a renewal of their labour.

As neither the slave-dealer, nor the planter, can have any moral right to the person of him they stile their slave, to his labour, or to the produce of it; so they can convey no right in that produce to us: and whatever number of hands it may pass thro' if the criminal circumstances appertaining to it be known to them at the time of the transfer, they can only have a criminal possession: and the money paid, either for the slave, or for the produce of his labour, is paid to obtain that criminal possession: and can con­fer no moral right whatever, So, if the death of the person called a slave, be occasioned by the criminal possession, the criminal possessor is guilty of murder; and we, who have knowingly done any act which might occasion his being in that situation, are acces­saries to the murder before the fact; as by receiving the produce of his labour, we are accessaries to the robbery, after the fact.

If we, as individuals concerned in the Slave Trade either by procuring the slaves, compelling them to [Page 9]labour, or receiving the produce) imagine that our share in the transaction is so minute that it cannot perceptibly increase the injury; let us recollect that, though numbers partaking of a crime may diminish the shame, they cannot diminish its turpitude. Can we suppose, that an injury of enormous magnitude can take place, and the criminality be destroyed merely by the criminals becoming so numerous as to render their respective shares indistinguishable? Were an hundred assassins to plunge their daggers into their victim, though each might plead, that without his assistance the crime would have been compleated, and that his poinard neigher occasioned nor accelerated the murder, yet every one of them would be guilty of the intire crime. For into how many parts soever a criminal action may be divided, the crime itself refts intire and compleat on every perpetrator.

But waving this latter consideration, and even sup­posing for a moment, that the evil has an existence from causes totally independent of us, yet it exists; and as we have it in our power jointly with others, to remedy it, it is undoubtedly our duty to contribute our share, in hope that others will theirs; and to act that part from conscience, which we should from in­clination in similar cases that interested our feelings.

For instance: Let us suppose the Algerines to estab­lish sugar plantations, and resort to the banks of the Thames for slaves, as the only place to be insulted with impunity. Suppose our wives, our husbands, our children, our parents, our brethren, swept away, and the fruit of their labour, produced with agonizing hearts and trembling limbs, landed at the port of London. What would be our conduct? Should we say, Sugar is a necessary of life? I cannot do without it. Besides, the quantity I use is but a small propor­tion: [Page 10]and though it is very criminal of the Algerines to enslave others, yet I am not bound to look to the nature or consequences of the transaction; and pay­ing for the sugar, I have a right to consume it, how­ever it may have been obtained. If such would be our language in that case, be it so on the present oc­casion. For let us recollect, that the only difference is, that in one case our relation to the enslaved is ra­ther more remote, but that in both cases they are our brethren.

But it is hardly requisite to state so strong a case as that supposed. For were only one Englishman to re­ceive injuries, that bore but the slightest resemblance to those daily committed in our islands, the nation would be inflamed with resentment, and clamorous to avenge the injury. And can our pride suggest to us, that the rights of men are limited to any nation, or to any colour? Or, were any one to treat a fellow creature in this country as we do the unhappy Afri­cans in the West-Indies; struck with horror, we should be zealous to deliver the oppressed, and punish the oppressor. Are then the offices of humanity and functions of justice to be circumscribed by geographi­cal boundaries? Can reason, can conscience justify this contrast in our conduct, between our prompti­tude, in the one case, and our torpor in the other? Mr. Addison justly observes, that "humanity to be­come estimable must be combined with justice!" But we seem to act as if we thought that the relief of our fellow-creatures; protection from injuries, commu­nication of benefits, were works of supererogation, to be granted or with-held, as caprice, or custom, or inclination may suggest.

After the important considerations adduced, it might be reckoned a degradation of the subject to [Page 11]mention the national dignity; or even that might in­duce us to counteract a powerful body of men, who are trampling under foot the dictates of humanity, and the interest of the nation: men, who have in 50 years received for sugar alone, above 70 millions more than it would have cost at any other market. And from Mr. Botham's evidence it appears, that in Bata­via, where labour is as high as in England, sugar, equal to the best West-India, is sold at 1 d half penny per pound. These are the men, who are endea­vouring to overthrow a plan for supplying us with sugars, by means of free labour; and have the auda­city to tell the British legislature, "That they cannot abolish the slave trade; for that if England refuse to furnish them with slaves, they will obtain a supply through other channels." And a governor of Barba­does admonishes us, "From policy, to leave the islands to the quiet management of their own affairs." These nominal colonies have, it seems, been taught, that we have no right to controul them; that the acts of their Assembles alone are obligatory; and that those of British legislators, are binding only on those whom they represent. The right of enslaving others, they contend for, as the most valuable of their privileges.

Thus it appears, that the legislature is not only unwilling, but perhaps unable, to grant redress; and therefore it is more peculiarly incumbent on us, To obstain from the use of sugar and rum, until our West-India Planters themselves have prohibited the importa­tion of additional slaves, and commenced as speedy and effectual a subversion of slavery in their islands, as the circumstances and situation of the slaves will admit: or till we can obtain the produce of the sugar cane in some other mode, unconnected with slavery, and unpolluted with blood.

[Page 12] For surely it may be hoped that we shall not lamit our views merely to the abolition of the African slave trade, as the colonial slavery formed on it, is in its principle equally unjust. For if it be iniquitous to force the Africans from their native land; equally iniquitous must it be, to retain them and their poste­rity in perpetual bondage. Though the African slave trade be the most Prominent feature in this wickedness, yet it is but a feature: and where it abolished, the West India slavery would still exist. Our planters would breed, instead of importing slaves; and shall we suffer half a million of fellow subjects, and their posterity, to be held in slavery for ever? I say, fellow subjects. For undoubtedly, every person born in the dominions of Great Britain is a subject, bound to obey and entitled to the protection of the common law of England; and in opposition to which the acts of Assemblies, existing merely by grant from the crown, can be of no authority.

In demanding liberty then for the persons called slaves in our islands, we demand no more then they are entitled to by the common law of the land. The most eligible mode of putting them in possession of their legal and natural right, may be a question of difficulty; but it is a question that ought to be con­sidered with no other view, but to their happiness. The plan to be adopted, ought to be certain and speedy in its operation; without any consideration of the supposed, or even real interest, of their oppres­sors: and let it be remembered, that it is in the pow­er of a small proportion of the people of England to effect it, by refusing to receive the produce. For the planters themselves would adopt the plan, were that the only condition on which we would consume the produce of their islands: nor would the legislature be [Page 13]then harrassed with preposterous claims for compen­sation; which, however unfounded in justice or rea­son, will be supported by influence, and enforced with clamour.

The case now fully lies before us; and we have to make our choice, either to join ourselves with these manufacturers of human woe, or to renounce the horrid association. If we adopt the former, let us at least have the candour to avow our conduct in its real deformity. Let us no longer affect to deplore the ca­lamities attendant on the Slave Trade, of which we are the primary cause: nor let us pretend to execrate the conduct of the slave-dealer, the slave-holder, or the slave-driver; but apologize for them as our part­ners in iniquity: and be assured, that if we now take our share in the transaction, we should, were we plac­ed in a similar situation with them, with as little com­punction take theirs; unless we can suppose the or­der of nature would be so far inverted, as that we should become virtuous, in proportion as the temp­tation to vice increased. Nor should we then, any more then now, be destitute of subterfuges to destroy the feelings of our minds, and the convictions of our consciences.

If ignorance and inattention may be pleaded as our excuse hitherto, yet that can be the case no longer. The subject has been four years before the public. Its dreadful wickedness has been fully proved. Every falshood, every deception with which it has been dis­guised, has been compleatly done away; and it stands before us in all its native horrors. No longer can it be pretended, that Africa is a barbarous, uncultivated land, inhabited by a race of savages inferior to the rest of the human species. Mr. How, who was em­ployed by government to go up the country, deposes, [Page 14]that in land it is every where well cultivated, abound­ing with rice, millet, potatoes, cotton and indigo plantations; and that the inhabitants are quick in learning languages, and remarkably industrious, hos­pitable and obliging. It appears that they possess no­ble and heroic minds, disdaining slavery, and frequent­ly seeking refuge from it in the arms of death. Nor shall we be again told, of the superior happiness they enjoy under the benevolent care of the planters; Mr. Coor having deposed, that ‘setting slaves to work in the morning, is attended with loud peals of whipping;’—and General Tottenham, ‘that there is no comparison between regimental flogging, which only cuts the skin, and the plantation, which cuts out the flesh;’—Capt. Hall, ‘that the punish­ments are very shocking, much more so then in men of war;’ Capt. Smith, ‘that at every stroke of the whip a piece of flesh is cut out,’—and Mr. Ross, ‘that he considers a comparison between West-India slaves, and the British peasantry, as an insult to common sense.’

We are now called on to redress evils, in compari­son with which, all that exist in this nation sink be­neath our notice; and the only sacrifice we are re­quired to make in order to effect it, is the abandon­ing of a luxury, which habit alone can have rendered of importance. If we refuse, can we form the least pretence to a moral character? May it not be justly inferred, that those numerous displays [...], of which this kingdom boasts, have not their foun­dation in any virtuous or valuable principle; but that to custom and ostetation they owe their origin? And if our execration of the slave trade be any more than mere declaration against crimes we are not in a situ­ation to commit, we shall, instead of being solicit­ons [Page 15]to find despicable distinctions to justify our con­duct, abhor the idea of contributing, in he least de­gree, to such seenes of misery.

If these be the deductions from the most obvious principles of reason, justice, and humanity; what must be the result if we extend our views to religious con­siderations? It will hardly be said, that we assume a religious profession to diminish the extent of our mo­ral duties, or to weaken the force of our obligation to observe them.

We will therefore ask, if it be meant to insult the God we pretend to worship, by supplicating him to "have mercy upon all prisoners and captives," and to ‘defend and provide for the fatherless, widows, and children, and all that are desolate and oppressed.’ But, if the national religion be a mere matter of form, yet surely we may expect that the various denomina­tions of dissenters, will think it at the least as requi­site to dissent from the national crimes, as the nation­al religion; unless they mean to exhibit consciences of so peculiar a texture, as to take offence at the re­ligion of their country, while they can conform with­out scruple, to its most criminal practices. If indeed they are satisfied, after an impartial examination, that the traffic alluded to is fair and honest, and that the produce ought to be considered as the result of lawful commerce, it will become them to encourage it; it will become them to reprobate this work as an attempt to slander honest men, and to injure their property, by holding it out to the public, as the produce of rob­bery and murder. But, if the arguments be valid, will they presume to treat the subject with cool indif­ference, and continue a criminal practice? May we not also hope that the Methodists, who appear to feel forcibly their principles, will seriously consider it? [Page 16]They are so numerous, as to be able of themselves to destroy that dreadful traffic, which is the sole obsta­cle to their ministers spreading the gospel in the ex­tensive continent of Africa; and, however others may affect to degrade the Negroes, they are bound to consider thousands of them as their brethren in Christ.

But there is one class of diffenters who justly stand high in the public estimation, for their steady, manly and uniform opposition to our colonial slavery. And can it be supposed that, after having awakened the public attention, they can refuse to contribute what is in their own power to remedy the evil? The plan proposed, is a plain and obvious deduction from their uniform principle, of having no concern in what they disapprove. Thus, considering war as unlawful, they consider goods obtained through that medium as cri­minally obtained; and will not suffer any of their members to purchase prize-goods: and surely they must consider the seizure of a man's goods, as a crime far inferior to the seizing his person.

However obvious the duty, yet the mind hardened by habit, admits with difficulty the conviction of guilt; and sanctioned by a common practice, we may commit the grossest violations of duty without remorse. It is therefore more peculiarly incumbent on us in such situations, to examine our conduct with the ut­most suspicion, and to fortify our minds with moral principles, or the sanctions of religion. In propor­tion as we are under their influence, we shall exert ourselves to remedy these evils, knowing that our ex­ample, our admonitions, our influence, may produce remote effects, of which we can form no estimate; and which, after having done our duty, must be left to Him who governs all things after the counsel of his own [...].


POSTSCRIPT, Added to this American Edition.
Containing Extracts from an Essay, intitled, an impar­tial Enquiry into the State and Utility of the Pro­vince of Georgia; printed in London in 1741.

WHEN Georgia was first settled, besides other use­ful regulations, the inhabitants were not allowed to have Negro Slaves. No doubt their objections to them, were founded partly in civil policy, and partly from a sease of the injustice and cruelty of that inhu­man practice, which did not operate, with equal force, upon the minds of all the inhabitants; some of them be­ing desirous of having the benefit of their labour, whith­out looking into consequences, in a remote degree, either as it respected their own personal safety, or had an in­fluence on the morals and happiness of their immedi­ate offspring, and their posterity: with views so con­tracted, some soon grew discontented with this salutary restraint, and petitioned the Governor for liberty to have slaves. This produced counter petitions, which leaves a favourable opinion of the wisdom and virtue of some of the first settlers of that state, parti­cularly of the Saltzburghers who settled at Ebenezer: these, to the number of 49 men, with their two mi­nisters, John Martin Bolzius, and Israel Christian Gro­nan, in a petition "beseech the honourable trustees (of that settlement) not to allow that any Negroes might be brought to their place, or in their neighbourhood." And with respect to its being "impossible and dan­gerous [Page]for white people to plant and manufacture rice" in that climate, "as being a work only for Negroes, not for European people," they say, "having experience to the contrary, we laugh at such talking, seeing that several of us have had a greater crop of rice last year, than we wanted for our own consumption." And the inhabitants of Frederica, upon the same occasion, pe­titioned against having Negroes introduced amongst them, "but desisted from sending it, upon an assurance that their apprehensions of it were needless."

But the following petition of the Highlanders from Scotland, who had settled at New-Inverness in Geor­gia, is deserving of particular attention, as it con­tains sentiments congenial with those advanced in the first of these treatises; and does credit to the discern­ment, probity and humanity of the ancestors of that set­tlement. In this petition they remonstrate to their then Governor Oglethorpe, that they ‘were informed, that their neighbours of Savannah had petitioned for the liberty of having slaves;’ in consequence of which they say, ‘We hope, and earnestly entreat, that be­fore such proposals are hearkened unto, your Excel­lency will consider our situation, and of what dan­gerous and bad consequences such liberty would be of to us.’ Then after reciting some of these they pro­ceed:

‘It is shocking to human nature, that any race of mankind, and their posterity, should be sen­tenced to perpetual slavery; nor in justice can we think otherwise of it, than that they are thrown amongst us to be our scourge, one day or other, for our sins: and as freedom must be as dear to them as to us, what a scene of horror must it bring about! And the longer it is unexecuted, the bloo­dy scene must be the greater: We therefore, for our [Page]own sakes our wives and children, and our poste­rity, beg your consideration, and intreat, that in­stead of introducing slaves, you will put us in the way to get some of our own countrymen, who with their labour in time of peace, and our vigilance, if we are invaded (with the help of these) will ren­der it a difficult thing to hurt us, or that part of the province we possess.’

Dated ‘New-Inverness, January 3, 1738-9, and signed by 18 freeholders.

As the sentiments contained in the above petitions are expressed with a considerable degree of energy, and are peculiarly favourable to the cause of humanity, with an explicit and clear declaration of their disapprobation of holding Negroes in a state of slavery on account of its impolicy and injustice, as well as from other alarming considerations; and as they have proceeded from the ancestors of a people, whose representative in a former Congress, was a distinguished advocate for continuing the slave trade, they are added; hoping, that the vene­ration they may entertain, for characters so truly de­serving as these Inverness petitioners and Saltzburghers of Ebenezer were, may induce a more candid reception of the foregoing pamphlets in that and other Southern states.

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