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For the Christian Observer.
offence, or for no offence. These
discretionary punishments are usualADDRESS TO THE CLERGY OF THE ly inflicted on the naked body with
ESTABLISHED CHURCH, AND TO a cart-whip which cruelly lacerates CHRISTIAN MINISTERS OF EVERY the flesh of the sufferer. Even the DENOMINATION.
unhappy females are equally liable
with the men to have their persons THE subject to which your earnest thus exposed, and tortured, at the
attention is solicited is that of caprice of their master or overseer. NEGRO SLAVERY as it subsists in The slaves, being in the eye of the the Colonies of Great Britain. The law mere chattels, are liable to be following is a concise view of its na- seized and sold for their master's ture and effects, every circumstance debts, without any regard to the fain which stands fully established by mily ties which may be broken by the testimony of the colonists them- this oppressive process. Marriage is selves.
protected, in the case of slaves, by In the Colonies of Great Britain no legal sanction, and cannot there's there are, at this moment, upwards fore be said to exist among them ; of 830,000 human beings in a state and in general they have little access of degrading personal slavery; the to the means of Christian instrucabsolute property of their master, tion. The effect of the want of such who may sell or transfer them at his instruction, as well as of the absence pleasure, and who may brand them, of the marriage tie, is, that the most if he pleases, by means of a hot iron, unrestrained licentiousness, (exhibitas cattle are branded in this country. ed in a degrading and depopulating These slaves, whether male or fe- promiscuous intercourse,) prevails male, are driven to labour during among the slaves; which is too much the day by the impulse of the cart- encouraged by the example of their whip, for the sole benefit of their superiors the Whites. The evidence owners, from whom they receive no of slaves is generally not admitted wages; and in the season of crop, by the Colonial Courts, in any civil which lasts for four or five months or criminal case affecting a person of of the year, their labour is protract- free condition. If a White or free ed not only throughout the day, as man, therefore, perpetrates the most at other times, but during half the atrocious acts of barbarity, in the night. Besides this, they are usual- presence of slaves only, the injured ly obliged to labour for their main- party is left without means of legal tenance on the Sunday; and as that redress. In the Colonies of Great day is also their market-day, it is of Britain, the same facilities have not necessity a day of worldly occupa- been afforded to the slave, to purtion, and much exertion. The colo- chase his freedom, as in the colonial laws arm the master, or any one nial possessions of Spain and Porto whom he may delegate his au- tugal. On the contrary, in many thority, with a power to punish his of our colonies, even the voluntary slaves to a certain extent (generally manumission of slaves by their that of thirty-nine lashes) for any masters has been obstructed, and in CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 289.
some loaded with large fines. Many Colonial Legislatures, they said, thousand infants are annually born, were themselves the cause of all within the British dominions, to no the evil that was to be redressed : to inheritance but that of the hopeless hope for effectual reform at their servitude which has been described; hands was vain and illusory: that and the general oppressiveness of reform could be brought about only which may be inferred from this by the direct and authoritative interfact alone, that while, in the United ference of Parliament—a point which States of America, the slaves in- experience had abundantly proved. crease rapidly, there is, even now, in The Ministers of the Crown, howthe British Colonies, though a more ever, thought it right once more to favourable climate to Negro life, no try the experiment, only intimating, increase, but on the contrary from that, if the Colonies contumaciously year to year a diminution of their resisted, Parliament would be called numbers.
upon to interfere. Accordingly they Such are some of the more pro- lost no time in urging the Colonial minent features of Negro Slavery, as Legislatures to pass certain laws it exists in the Colonies of Great for giving effect to the Resolutions Britain. Revolting as they are, they of Parliament. Those Legislatures form only a part of those circum- have, however, resisted the call. stances of wretchedness and degra. Upwards of two years and a half dation which might be pointed out, have passed, and no effectual steps from their own official returns, as have yet been taken by them with characterizing that unhappy state of a view either to the mitigation or being
extinction of slavery. On the conIt is by no means intended to trary, the documents, laid before attribute the existence and continuo Parliament in the last session, prove ance of this most opprobrious system that they are fully resolved not to to our colonists exclusively. On comply with the requisitions of the contrary, the guilt and shame Government. What now remains, connected with it belong also to the therefore, on the part of the public, People and Parliament of this coun- but to implore Parliament at length try. But on that very account are to take upon themselves the task of we the more rigidly bound to lose terminating the evils of colonial bondno time in adopting such measures age, and to proceed with all conas shall bring it to the earliest termi- venient speed to the accomplishment nation which is compatible with the of their own resolutions ? well-being of the parties who sus- It is our clear and indisputable tain the grievous yoke of colonial duty, not only to do this, but to bondage.
strain every nerve to effect, by all In May 1823, the Government other lawful means in our power, the and Parliament of this country, hav- extinction of Slavery. And the obliing taken these evils into their con- gation we are under thus to act will sideration, resolved that the degrad- be strengthened, when we consider ed Negro should be raised, with all the large sums we are now paying convenient speed, to a participation annually--not less than a Million of the same civil rights which are en- and a Half-to the slave-holders, in joyed by the other classes of his Ma- the shape of bounties and protecting jesty's subjects. In this resolution duties on their produce ; by which all parties, even the West-Indians, payments we are made the great and concurred. Ministers proposed to efficient upholders of that slavery carry it into effect by a recommen: which we condemn. We ought at dation from the Crown to the Co. least to claim to be freed from conlonial Legislatures. Against this tributions, by which we are made course, the leaders in the cause of to participate directly in its guilt. abolition entered their protest. The And if this boon should not be grant
ed to us, we have it still in our power did he chiefly discourse, in his divine to abstain from the purchase and Sermon on the Mount, but on those consumption of articles which tend of justice and mercy, of compassion to implicate us in the maintenance and kindness? And what were the of that hideous system.
objects of his severest maledictions, As we cannot doubt that the resist- but injustice, oppression, and cruelance, on the part of the colonists, to ty; above all, hypocrisy,--the comthe proposed reforms, will be power- bination of a high profession of reliful and persevering, it becomes ne- gion with the violation of its righcessary to call into action all pro- teous precepts; long prayers and per means, both of diffusing a know- sanctimonious observances, with the ledge of the evils of colonial bond- “ devouring of widows' houses,” exage throughout the land, and of ex- tortion, and oppression? What was citing increased efforts for speedily the chief aim of his instructive paputting a period to the state of rables—of the rich voluptuary and slavery itself throughout the British Lazarus; of the good Samaritan; dominions *.
of the relentless fellow-servantIn taking a view of the means and of his awful illustration of the which may be employed with ad- Day of Judgment, but to inculcate vantage to bring about this result, lessons of compassion and sympathy, it would be unpardonable to over
and to incite men to works of mercy look the ambassadors of Him who and labours of love? came to proclaim “peace on earth, But it is losing time to attempt and good will to men;" of Him who to obviate objections which have no claims it as his peculiar office to real existence. The Christian pulpit “bind up the broken hearted,” “ to is every where employed in pressing preach deliverance to the captives, topics of an exactly similar nature, and the opening of the prison to though of less urgent necessity than them that are bound."-To the con- that in question. Is not a great proscientious Christian Minister, of portion of the Charity Sermons which every name, we look, with confi- issue from the pulpit, preached for dence, for effective aid in behalf of the establishment and support of inthe wretched Negro.
firmaries and hospitals; for the relief Should it be objected, that it of temporal want, and the mitigawould be a lowering of the dignity, tion of bodily suffering ? or a desecration of the sacredness But not only would the exposition of the Christian pulpit, to employ of this subject from the Christian it in the discussion of secular ques. pulpit be in strict accordance with tions, it may be replied, that the established precedent, but the conpresent degraded and oppressed con- sideration of it there would be pe.
of 830,000 of our fellow-crea- culiarly appropriate. If righteoustures and fellow-subjects, with the ness, justice, and mercy, be essenbrutish ignorance and heathen dark- tial parts of the Christian character; ness consequent upon their cruel if all the Law and the Prophets be bondage, is by no means a mere se comprehended in the two command. cular consideration. If it be, then ments of loving God with all the is a great portion of the instructions heart, soul, and strength, and our of our great Lord and Master of a neighbour as ourselves; then are we secular kind: for on what subjects bound to manifest those qualities by
the sympathy we feel for our Negro * The greater part of what follows has brethren, and by the exertions we been taken, by the author's permission, make for their relief; then is it the from a small work just issuing from the indispensable duty of the Christian press, entitled, “ Letters on the Necessity Minister to urge his hearers to comof a prompt Extinction of British Colonial Slavery, chiefly addressed to the more in- bine their efforts for that purpose. fluential Classes,” published by Hatchard. He does not hesitate to urge upon
them their obligation to abound in have gained that footing which it every good work. But is it possible to now possesses in this land of high conceive a work more consonant to Christian profession and of preemithe Christian character, than that. nent benevolence and refinement. of administering relief to the most And if they were now to exert wretched and helpless of the human themselves with becoming zeal and race, whom our own institutions energy, that system, comprising have doomed to misery, barbarism, every calamity and outrage which and bondage; and whose intense man has power to inflict upon his sufferings we ourselves are perpetu- fellow-men, could not long subsist in ating and aggravating, both by the a country where Christianity is reconsumption of their sugar, and by cognized and established as a part of the additional support we afford to its fundamental laws; where temples the slave-system by bounties and for Christian worship are profusely protecting duties upon it? Unques. scattered in every part of it; where tionably the guilt of its enormous its Ministers have free access to all and accumulated evils lies on every ranks of the community; and where individual in the empire, who can Religion lifts her mitred head in raise his voice against it, and yet is Courts and Parliaments, is suffered silent. And more especially does to raise her voice in the Palace as this responsibility press upon every well as the Church, and to admonish Minister of the Gospel, who, believe the Legislature and the Monarch, as ing such things to exist, yet shrinks well as the People. from denouncing and reprobating Why this deep crime and foul them, and from urging on his flock disgrace of our country should, with their solemn obligations with respect a few noble exceptions, have hitherto to them.
escaped the reprobation, and been If it be true, that, in the Last Day, imagined to lie out of the sphere, of those who have not sympathized the Christian Pulpit, it were useless with, and aided, their suffering bre- to inquire. We rejoice in the hope thren, will be classed with the ene. that the illusion is rapidly dissipatmies of Christ, who “ shall go into ing, and that the time is at hand everlasting punishment;" can we when the cause of the hapless Negro suppose that those shall be deemed will be advocated in the right place, wholly guiltless, who, having had it with the boldness and fidelity bein their power to contribute to put coming Christian Pastors. Some disan end to such a frightful complica- tinguished Ministers of the Gospel tion of misery and crime, have re- have already set the example; and fused to unite in that work of justice we anxiously desire that all, whether and mercy? When“ righteousness of the Establishment or belonging shall” at length “ be laid to the line, to the various religious bodies, may and judgment to the plummet;" and follow the noble precedent-not when actions, which too many are merely by adverting briefly and curapt to regard as indifferent or in- sorily to the subject of slavery; not nocent, will be ranged, their motives merely by describing the horrors of and consequences being taken into the system, and exciting the symaccount, in the column of crime; pathy of their hearers for its unhappy the part we may have acted respect- victims; but by pointing out and ing the poor Negro will assuredly pressing the adoption of the most not be left out of the awful estimate. effectual means of putting an end to
Had the Ministers of the Gospel it; and by shewing that every indibeen always alive to the obligations vidual, however obscure his station, which lay upon them as the preachers or humble his talents, may render of truth and righteousness, Negro important assistance, may do much, Slavery, that compound of injustice, by his own example and influence, impiety, and cruelty, could never towards its final destruction-He
may at least unite in petitioning genuine fruits of righteousness which Parliament to emancipate the slaves tend to improve and to bless manfrom their cruel bondage. He may kind. . testify to all around him his detesta- When he has once fairly entered tion of that bondage, by abstaining on the subject, he will not find it as much as possible from the use of barren and circumscribed. It will those articles which are the produce afford ample exemplifications of of the tortures and agonies of his Christian duty; strong and varied fellow-creatures. And he may at appeals to the hearts and consciences least address his earnest and unceas- of his hearers, especially those of ing prayer to the God of mercy, that the higher and more influential He would listen to the sorrowful classes, to whom a wide field of insighing of the oppressed, and that teresting labour may be presented, He would hear and answer the cry in endeavouring to spread and to of those who are suffering from the keep alive, among their friends and cruelty and rapacity of men calling neighbours, a general interest and themselves Christians.
sympathy for the most deeply inThe preacher who is acquainted jured of the human race, and in with the enormities of Negro Slavery shewing by what means relief may will find it a subject fruitful of in- be most effectually administered. struction, and bearing with import- Thus would a fresh and powerful ant weight on the great fundamental impulse be imparted to benevolence, truths and essential duties of Chris- and the warm glow of Christian tianity. He may trace in its history, Charity be circulated from bosom and in its effects especially on the to bosom.
Thus would the rich, masters, on the free-born sons of according to Apostolic injunction, Christian Britain, who are unhappily be admonished to “ do good,” to engaged in administering this sys- be “ rich in good works.” New tem, the state of hardness and in
sources of pure satisfaction would sensibility at which the human heart be opened to them, in exciting felmay arrive, under the petrifying in- low-feeling and brotherly kindness fluence of an unrestrained passion for in all around them ; in tasting the gain. He may point out the depths luxury of beneficence; in proving of wickedness into which men may that the pleasures of sympathy far plunge, when invested with unlimited surpass those of selfish enjoyment; power; the tremendous mass of bo- that their own happiness is augdily and mental anguish to which mented in proportion as they are they can remorselessly consign their earnestly engaged in promoting the fellows; the monsters of cruelty and welfare of others, and those not of oppression they may become, when their own neighbourhood and counabandoned to themselves, when try alone, but of the stranger, the emancipated from the fear of human poor captive in a distant land, of punishment and from the restraints him who seems to have no human of religion, unawed by the prospects helper; and in thus inheriting “ the of future judgment, and unsoftened blessing of those who are ready to by the love of God. In the deve- perish,” and the richer blessing of lopment of this system he may aw- Him who hath declared that a cup fully illustrate the natural tendency of cold water alone, imparted in of human propensities, and the con- Christian charity, shall not lose its sequent necessity and infinite value reward. of a Redeemer, and of that Divine The preacher, by directing the Influence which can alone renovate moral perceptions and religious prinour fallen nature, and from which ciples of his hearers to the subject alone proceed all the virtues and of Negro Slavery, will shew them a graces which adorn and beautify the great work of righteousness, of jushuman character, as well as all the tice and mercy, in which all may