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tion! I read the recital from the despatch of the late Secretary for the Colonies, * a document never to be sufficiently praised for its statesman-like firmness, for the manly tone of feeling and of determination united, which marks it throughout. “ The slave girl was accused of theft,” he says; “ but some disobedience in refusing to mend the clothes was the more immediate cause of her punishment. On the 22d of July 1826, she was confined in the stocks, and she was not released till the 8th of August following, being a period of seventeen days. The stocks were so constructed, that she could not sit up and lie down at pleasure, and she remained in them night and day. During this period she was flogged repeatedly,--one of the overseers thinks about six times,- and red pepper was rubbed upon her eyes to prevent her sleeping. Tasks were given her, which in the opinion of the same overseer, she was incapable of performing ; sometimes because they were beyond her powers ; at other times because she could not see to do them on account of the pepper having been rubbed on her eyes; and she was flogged for failing to accomplish these tasks. A violent distemper had been prevalent on the plantation during the summer. It is in evidence, that on one of the days of her confinement she complained of fever, and that one of the floggings which she received was the day after she had made this complaint. When she was taken out of the stocks she appeared to be cramped, and was then again flogged. The very day of her release she was sent to field-labour, (though heretofore a house-servant,) and on the evening of the third day ensuing was brought before her owners as being ill and refusing to work, and she then again complained of having had fever. They were of opi
* Mr. Huskisson,
nion that she had none then, but gave directions to the driver, if she should be ill, to bring her to them for medicines in the morning. The driver took her to the negro-house, and again flogged her, though this time apparently without orders from her owners to do
In the morning, at seven o'clock, she was taken to work in the field, where she died at noon." Mark the refinement of their wickedness! I nowise doubt, that to screen themselves from the punishment of death due to their crimes, these wretches will now say,—they did indeed say on their trial, that their hapless victim died of disease. When their own lives were in jeopardy, they found that she had caught the fever, and died by the visitation of God; but when the question was, shall she be flogged again ? shall she, who has for twelve days been fixed in the stocks under the fiery beams of a tropical sun, who has been torn with the scourge from the nape of the neck to the plants of her feet, who has had pepper rubbed in her eyes to ward off the sleep that might have stolen over her senses, and for a moment withdrawn her spirit from the fangs of her tormentors,—shall she be subjected by those accursed fiends to the seventh scourging? Oh! then she had no sign of fever! she had caught no disease! she was all hale, and sound, and fit for the lash! At seven she was flogged--at noon she died ! and those execrable and impious murderers soon found out that she had caught the malady, and perished by the “ visitation of God!" No, no! I am used to examine circumstances, to weigh evidence, and I do firmly believe that she died by the murderous hand of man! that she was killed and murdered! It was wisely said by Mr. Fox, that when some grievous crime is perpetrated in a civilized community, we are consoled by finding in all breasts a sympathy with the victim, and an approval of the punishment
by which the wrong-doer expiates his offence. But in the West Indies there is no such solace to the mindthere all the feelings flow in a wrong course-perverse, preposterous, unnatural—the hatred is for the victim, the sympathy for the tormentor! I hold in my band the proof of it in this dreadful case. The Mosses were condemned by an iniquitous sentence; for it was only to a small fine and five months' imprisonment. The public indignation followed the transaction ; but it was indignation against the punishment, not the crime ; and against the severity, not the lenity of the infliction. The Governor, a British officer and I will name him to rescue others from the blame—General Grant-tells us in his despatch, that " he had been applied to by the most respectable inhabitants to remit the sentence;" that “ he loses no time in applying to Lord Bathurst to authorize the remission.” He speaks of “ the unfortunate Henry and Helen Moss ;” says, “ they are rather to be pitied for the untoward melancholy occurrence,” (as if he were talking of some great naval victory over the Turk, instead of a savage murder), and that “he hastens to prevent the impression, which the mention of the case might make on his Lordship's mind.” In a second despatch, he earnestly renews the application; describes “the respectability of Mr. and Mrs. Moss, their general kindness to their Slaves, the high estimation in which they are held by all who have partaken of their hospitality;" tells us that “they have always been favourably spoken of in every respect, including that of Slave management;” states his own anxiety that “persons of their respectability should be spared from imprisonment;" and that at any rate " the mulct should be relinquished, lest they should be thought cruel and oppressive beyond others, and also in order to remove in some degree the impression of their being habitually and studiously cruel;" and he adds a fact, which speaks volumes, and may well shut all mouths that now cry aloud for leaving such things to the assemblies of the islands—“notwithstanding their being in gaol, they are visited by the most respectable persons in the place, and by all who knew them before.” The Governor who thus thinks and thus writes, has been removed from that settlement; but only, I say it with grief, to be made the ruler of a far more important colony. From the Bahamas he
. has been promoted to Trinidad—that great island, which Mr. Canning described as about to be made the model, by the Crown, for all Slave colonies. Over such a colony was he sent to preside, who, having tasted of the hospitality of the Mosses, could discern in their treatment of their slaves, nothing out of the fair, ordinary course of humane management.
From contemplating the horrors of slavery in the West Indies, it is impossible that we can avoid the transition to that infernal traffic, alike the scourge of Africa and America, the disgrace of the old world and the curse of the new, from which so much wretchedness has flowed. It is most shocking to reflect that its ravages are still abroad, desolating the earth. I do not rate the importation into the Brazils too high, when I put it at 100,000 during the last twelve months. Gracious God! When we recollect that the number of seventy-three capital punishments, among which are but two or three for murder, in a population of twelve millions, excites our just horror in England, what shall we say of 100,000 capital crimes, committed by a handful of desperate men, every one of which involves and implies rapine, fraud, murder, torture, in frightful abundance? And yet we must stand by and see such enormities perpetrated without making any remonstrance, or even urging any representation! By the Treaty with Portugal, it is true, no such crimes can henceforth be repeated, for this year the traffic is to cease, and the mutual right of search is given to the vessels of both nations, the only possible security for the abolition being effectual. But there is another country nearer to us in position, and in habits of intercourse more familiar, one of far more importance for the authority of its example, in which the Slave Trade still flourishes in most portentous vigour, although denounced by the law, and visited with infamous punishment: the dominions of the Monarch who calls himself “ Most Christian,” and refuses the only measure that can put such wholesale iniquity down. There it must thrive as long as groundless national jealousies prevent the right of search from being mutually conceded. Let us hope that so foul a stain on the character of so great a nation will soon be wiped away; that the people who now take the lead of all others in the march of liberty, will cast far from their camp this unclean thing, by all lovers of freedom most abhorred. I have heard with amazement some thoughtless men say, that the French cannot enjoy liberty, because they are unused to it. I protest before God I could point to no nation more worthy of freedom, or which knows better how to use it, how to gain it, how to defend it. I turn with a grateful heart to contemplate the glorious spectacle now exhibited in France of patriotism, of undaunted devotion to liberty, of firm yet temperate resistance to arbitrary power. It is animating to every beholder; it is encouraging to all freemen in every part of the world. I earnestly hope that it may not be lost on the Bourbon Monarch and his Councillors; for the sake of France and of England, for the sake of peace, for the sake of the Bourbon Princes themselves, I pray that they may be wise in time, and