Imatges de pÓgina
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not be entered in the parish register. by export or import, along the shores The inconvenience that arose from of their extensive dominions. Their this, compelled Dissenters, as soon as political agent, Captain Thompson, their dissent was recognized, and their persuaded some Arab tribes, inhabitmode of worship established by the ing the borders of the Persian Gulf, Legislature, to keep a register of their to stigmatize the trade as piracy. The own, which, being merely a register Marquis of Hastings, their Governor of births, interfered not with private General, put a stop to this trafic in opinions concerning baptism. And Nepaul, heretofore the great mart copies thereof are good evidence, for from whence the neighbouring counthe same reason that copies of the tries had been supplied with Slaves. Bank and East India Company's books They also interposed their powerful are evidence, because they belong to mediation with the Imaun of Muscat public bodies recognized in and esta- for the entire abolition of the Slave blished by Act of Parliament. Trade at Zangebar. Hitherto, men

However, if this reasoning should had been sold there like cattle, and appear to any person not sufficient to they had been annually sent to India, prove, what I have been aiming at, to the Mauritius, and to Muscat, to that a copy of the Register at Dr. the amount of ten thousand. Williams's Library is evidence in our Slavery, both agricultural and docourts of law and equity, to him, I mestic, is said to have prevailed in say, that an argument ab inconveni- Indostan from time immemorial. The enti, should make judges in future sources of bondage were numerous. reprobate the conduct of the judge Colebrook states that there are seven who has refused it, and sanction a modes of obtaining Slaves, recognized Register in which not only Dissenters, by the laws of the Hindoos : “ One but the public at. large, from the peer made captive in battle; one maintained to the peasant, are most deeply inte. in consideration of service; one born rested.

of a slave in the house ; one sold or A. B. given away, or inherited from ances

tors; and one enslaved by way of puLetter of Col. Stanhope's to the Duke nishment.". These methods were com

of Gloucester on the State of Sla- mon to all ancient nations. I shall very in British India,

now mention some examples illustra

tive of the origin of Slavery in India, To his Royal Highness the Duke of Tippoo, having subdued Coorg, caused

GLOUCESTER, K. G., Patron and Pre- seventy thousand of the inhabitants to sident of the African Institution, &c. be driven, like cattle, to Seringapatam. &c. &c.

He there forced them to submit to the London, rite of circumeision, and sent back

June 20, 1822. the labourers among them to become NOWING the influence which a Slaves under his Zemindars. In most

SIR,

K Prince of England mouse poise, of the Hindel places of Worship there

who has ever taken an active part in are establishments of dancing girls. promoting the rights and happiness of They are generally purchased when man, I venture to address my thoughts infants, by the old prostitutes of the to your Royal Highness on the state Pagodas. 'When the children grow up, of Slavery in British India.

they dispose of them as they please, In the following observations, I so that the Bazars and Seraglios are shall endeavour to shew the origin of supplied from this source." In the this bondage, the condition to which Hindoo Code, the Sudra tribe are conit has reduced a large portion of our sidered as Slaves, the property of any fellow-creatures, and the policy of person who defrays their marriage exabolishing such an oppression, in our penses, which is the ordinary way of eastern empire.. I shall enter on this constituting hereditary slavery. Free discussion with the more confidence, men of low caste, when in distress or because the Court of Directors of the debt, often sell their progeny, or their East-India Company have, in several sisters' children, who are their heirs. instances, declared themselves hostile In short, it appears that any man may to the principle of Slavery. They pro- voluntarily dispose of his own liberty, hibited the commerce in Slaves, either and may soll, without their consent,

on the State of Slavery in British India.., 1 91 the liberty of his children, and his Slaves have either a portion of ground heirs, and all their issue, from genera. allowed for their subsistence, or about tion to generation.

one-eighth of the produce of the land As to the actual state of Slavery in they cultivate; or they get a small Indostan, the domestic prevails all allowance of food, and one-twentieth over India ; but the agricultural ex- part of the gross produce of the rice ; ists, I believe, chiefly, though not ex- or else they have a certain quantity of clusively, on the Malabar and Coro food daily. A man Slave receives about mandel coasts, and the adjacent pro- seven cubits of cloth yearly; a woman, viaces. Slavery may be divided into about double that quantity. In some two classes,-domestic Slaves, belong- places they receive a larger allowance. ing to rich inen, and prostitutes ; and There are three modes," observes Slaves employed in agriculture. The Buchanan, “ of disposing of a Slave : wealthy Mussulmans employ domestic First, by sale. Secondly, by mortgage; Slaves, and these are usually converted the proprietor receives a loan of mos to their faith. The men serve them ney, generally two-thirds of the value as menials, the women are placed in of the Slave; also, annually, a small and about their Seraglios. The Ma- quantity of rice, to shew that his right hometans in general treat their Slaves in the Slave exists. He may resume well. This may be traced to a reli- the Slave on paying the money borgious feeling; for by their law, Slaves rowed, and if he dies, the proprietor are in some cases liable to only half must find another. Thirdly, by letting the punishment adjudged to other the Slave for rent. This tenure is utoffenders. Moreover," says the terly abominable; for the person who Hadaya, -“ as bondage occasions the exacts the labour, and furnishes the participation of only half the blessings subsistence, is directly interested to of life, it also occasions the suffering increase the former and diminish the of only half the punishment; because latter as much as possible.” It is not an offence increases in magnitude in incumbent on the Master to provide proportion to the magnitude of the subsistence for his Slave, except when blessings under the enjoyment of which employed in his business. When the it is committed." With respect to proprietor does not protect and subsist the number of domestic Slaves, all we his bondsman, he may seek employknow is, that they are to be met with ment elsewhere; but he is bound to in almost - every town and village, return to his master at barvest-time, throughout our Indian empire. and if not then wanted, he is still-liable

The great Slave population consists to be reclaimed at any future period. of Hindoos, who are chiefly employed Slaves are incapable of acquiring any in agriculture. The principal Slave property of their own, districts, are Arcot, Madura, Canara, sons,” says- Menu, a wife, a son, Coimbatore, Tinnivelly, Trichinopoly, and a slave, are declared by law tó Malabar, Wynaud, Tanjore and Chin. have in general no wealth exclusively gleput. No just estimate can be form their own. The wealth which they ed of the extent of Slavery in these may earn is regularly acquired for provinces. In Canara alone, there are the man to whom they belong.". The said to be above 16,000 Slaves. The Master possesses power over all the prices of Slaves vary in different pro- property of the Slave, and may use finces. A child may be estimated at the cattle reared by him, for agricula priee varying from 10s. to 408.; a tural purposes. He may also sell his woman, from £2 to £6 ; and a man Slave with or without his land. On from £3 to £20. In times of great the Coromandel coast, the Slaves are scarcity or distress, they have been usually sold with the land, but the purchased for a handful of rice. The reverse is the case on the coast of purchase, sale, or gift of a man, is Malabar. « The Hindoo law,” says usually confirmed by a title-deed, and Colebrooke, contemplates these this is binding on his descendants. two - species of property, as one and The owners of Slaves are required to the sume; but in this, as in other provide them with food and clothing, countries, it has been usual to transto defray their wedding expenses, and fer the Slaves who were adscripti to assist them, on the births of chil- glebæ, with the land itself.”. The dren, and in funeral charges. · The Master cannot sell his Slave to one

"Three per

who will carry him to a distant coun- These assertions of Dr. Buchanane try, without his consent. A Slave have been partially contradicted in recannot marry without his Master's ports made by the Collectors of Repermission ; but a husband and a wife, venue who preside in the Slave disexcept in Canara, cannot be sold sepa- tricts_men of worth and talent. Adrately. Children

may be separated mitting most of the facts I have stated, from their parents, and brothers from they have maintained generally that sisters. These inlsuman acts are the condition of Slaves differs little checked from a fear lest the husband from that of free labourers. Miseor parent should desert, as the trouble rable then must be the condition of and expense attending their recovery other productive classes in our Eastern would exceed their value. The Slave, possessions. on the other hand, is prevented from Having alluded to the reports of absconding by his strong attachment certain Collectors on the subject of to his native soil. In former times, a Slavery in British India, I am bound Master had the power of life and death in justice to them and to the local over his Slave. The exercise of such Government to disclose what occaauthority would not be allowed under sioned the inquiries from which those the British Government; for the per- reports resulted. The third Judge of son of a Sudra is as well protected by Circuit in Malabar reported in 1819, law as that of a Raja. This princi- through the Adawlut Court, the seiple, derived from equal laws, has ope- zure of certain Slaves, being British rated to prevent the merchandise of subjects, for the payment of arrears Slaves, and to render them less valu- of revenue due from their. Masters able. Some of the superior subdivi- to the Madras Government. The sions of the Sudra tribe have in mo. Governor in Council, consisting of dern times emancipated themselves; the Right Hon. Hugh Elliot, Mr.' but in general, Slaves never obtain Fullarton, and Mr. Alexander, with their freedom except when their Mas- becoming feeling and wisdom, now ters are reduced to indigence or their call upon the Board of Revenue to families become extinct.

state, “ Whether the practice which With respect to the effects of Sla- actually prevails with respect to the very in British India, they may be sale of Slaves should be permitted to justly estimated from what has been continue as at present, or whether already stated. They have been de- it ought to be said under such rescribed by that religious, humane, strictions as would render it less oblearned and impartial observer Doc- jectionable, or to be altogether abotor Francis Buchanan. This gentle- lished, as productive of evils for man was employed by the Marquis of which no adequate remedy can be Wellesley to inspect the state of our devised.” The Board of Revenue, Indian Provinces. In his book, dedi- on the receipt of this order, direct cated to the East-India Company, he the Collectors of Revenue to report has given a statistical account of the fully on the state of Slavery in their Slaves in those parts which he had respective districts. The Collector visited. Speaking from ocular demon- of South Arcot observes, that “Slastration and after patient research, he very in India is free from many obsays, “When the crop is not on the jections that exist against West-India ground, the Slaves are kept with the Slavery. The Slave is not sent to a labouring cattle, in a house built at foreign land." No; but, like the some distance from the abode of free West-Indian Slaves, many of their anmen; for these poor creatures are cestors came from a foreign land. considered as too impure to be per. “The convention,” he continues, "is mitted to approach the house of their mutual, and the Slave enjoys his prirLord. In fact, the Slaves are very se- chase-money." I shall answer this asverely treated; and their diminutive sertion in the words of the Collector stature and squalid appearance shew of Canara : "The price,” says he, “of evidently a want of adequate nourish- a Slave is from twelve to twenty-six ment. There can be no comparison rupees ; of a child, four rupees. So between their condition and that of that for four rupees the posterity of a the Slaves in the West-India Islands, man may be enslaved from generation except as regards the marriage state.” to generatìon. The Zilla Court has

on the State of Slavery in British India.

93 guaranteed this right by decrees both fluence of an individual, the Masters on transfer of landed property, and in were persuaded to emancipate their sale in execution of decrees." The Slaves. Sir Alexander Johnson, after Collector of Trichinopoly writes thus: ten years' exertion, succeeded in pre" In the wet districts there are 10,000 vailing on the Special Jurymen of Slaves; in the dry districts about 600 various castes and persuasions to enSlaves. A female Slave is here never tertain the subject. They called a sold; while in Malabar, men, women general meeting, and declared that all and children, are sold indiscriminately. children born of their Slaves after the The Slaves are athletic and tall. The 12th August, 1816, should be free. abolition of Slavery here would be at- These children were to be educated by tended with ruinous consequences. It their Masters, and provided for till may be urged that there is something the age of fourteen.“ “ It is our dedegrading in a Government being con- sire," say these Dutch slave-owners, cerned in selling human beings like so “if possible, to disencumber ourselves many cattle. It would PERHAPS be of that unnatural character of being better if it could be avoided; but so proprietors of human beings.” Thus long as the land continues possessed Slavery, which had prevailed in Ceylon by Brahmin Merassidars, who by the for centuries, and which was supposed laws of Caste are prevented from per- to be too closely interwoven with the 'sonally exercising the offices of agri- native institutions to admit of reform, culture, I see no means of cultivating was abolished. This noble example the land or collecting the revenue was followed at Malaccas, at Bencoowithout the establishment of Slaves." len, at St. Helena, and in South AmeNo! Why not, as in other parts of rica. May it be speedily followed in India, by free persons of the labonring British India, in the United States of classés ?' This gentleman does not America, and in every part of the seem to be aware that (to borrow the world! language of Adam Smith) “the expe The Board of Revenue having delirience of all ages demonstrates that berated on these reports of their Colthe work done by Slaves the dearest lectors, reply to the Governinent, in of any; their interest being to eat as substance as follows : “THE SALE, much and to labour as little as possi- by public auction, of THE SLAVES OF ble. Thus the planting of sugar

and THE REVENUE DEFAULTER, took place tobacco can pay for slave cultivation, without the knowledge of the Collecbut corn cannot.” This Collector tor. On a petition being presented further asserts, “that the human to him, he ordered the paddy-seed principle of self-interest is conducive, and Slaves to be restored. The order, in the present instance, to soften seve- the Board observe with great regret, rity.” The same may be said in all was not obeyed, and the

four Slaves instances of bondage, or other oppres- were sold for thirty-two rupees. [About sion, because self-interest, rightly un- four pounds sterling.] The Collector derstood, excites to render others free states, that the sales of Slaves, both and happy. “I will suppose,” ob- in execution of decrees for arrears of serves this Revenue Officer in conclu- revenue, and mutual and private consion, “that by a Proclamation of Go. tracts, is as common as the sale of vernment the establishment is directed land; for if the soil is sold, what can to be abolished. In this case, the be the use of retaining the Slave of consequence would be either the de- it?' The Collector next proves, that, sertion of the Slaves, or that they in the space of five years, no less than would remain in statu quo !” The 186 suits were instituted in the Zilla answer is, that neither would occur; Court of South Malabar alone, on the for the emancipated Slave would not subject of Slaves, and in execution of quit the soil to which he is known to be decrees.” The Board then enumerate so strongly attached, and his condition the advantages of Slavery, as set forth would necessarily be improved. Any by the Collectors, and reason on them arbitrary Proclamation, however, on in a proper tone.

· Where," say this subject, would be highly objec- they,“ in some instances, the Slaves tionable. We should follow the wise may be considered as in more comexample set in Ceylon; where, by the fortable circumstances than any of the perseverance, talent, address, and in lower or poorer classes ; where no

want 'or cruelty is experienced by tions from Mr. Greeme, for their Slaves;' where the abolition of Slaves amelioration and their gradual emanwould be attended by the most seri- cipation. But whatever may be the ous and ruinous consequences ;' where future decision respecting those who they seem not to shew any desire to are already Slaves, the Board think be free;' where the treatment of that a regulation ought to be publishSlaves is the same as that of other ed, to prevent the further extension of labourers, which is in general of a Slavery ; the further purchase of free mild nature;' where the Slaves are persons as Slaves, should be declared on the whole better treated by their invalid and illegal, and ALL CHILDREN Masters, than the common class of HEREAFTER BORN OF SLAVES SHOULD free-labourers;' where, finally,'hu BE DECLARED FREE. The Board furmanity on the part of the Masters is ther submit, whether it would not be encouraged by a sense of their own properto annex some penalty to the interest, and a disposition to personal purchase of female children, for the cruelty and ill-treatment is checked purpose of being brought up as proand restrained by Courts of Justice,' stitutes. It might further be proit does not appear to the Board vided, that Slaves shall have power to that any IMMEDIATE interference on purchase their liberty, at the price for the part of the Government is par. which it was forfeited; and, that Slaves TICULARLY called for, or that any attached to lands or estates that may alteration in the existing state of Sla escheat to Government, shall be libevery should be made, except by de- rated. Many of these provisions congrees and after mature deliberation. travene those of the Hindoo law, A But because no immediate measures formal enactment of them in a code are URGENTLY called for, it does not will therefore be necessary." follow that the most useful, the most I must here inform your Royal numerous classes of our subjects, Highness, that the document which I should, from generation to genera- have so largely quoted, was drawn tion, continue the hereditary bonds- up by those distinguished public sermen of their Masters—incapable of pants, Mr. Hodson and Mr. Ellis. It inheriting property of their own; de- is the result of their joint experience prived of that stimulus to industry and wisdom ; and certainly nothing which possession of property ever in- could be more creditable to their hearts spires. And because they are fed, and understandings, or better calcuclothed and reconciled to their prelated to promote the eventual abolition sent condition, it does not follow that of Slavery. We must bear in mind, the Government should confirm insti- however, that British subjects are still tutions which doom those who have bought and sold like the beasts of the thus fallen into this condition, as inca- field ; that girls are deprived of their pable of ever again recovering their liberty, and for a few shillings disposed liberty, or of rising to a level with of to become prostitutes, and that their fellow-men. Independent of those Slavery is for ever entailed on their defeelings among freemen which prompt scendants. them to extend to every one under

Much has indeed been said on the their government, the blessings which abolition of Slavery in Indostan, but freedom confers, it appears to the much remains to be done; " for good Board, on the mere calculating princi- thoughts towards men are little better ple of self-interest and policy, to be than good dreams, except they be put desirable that no one should be de- in act, and that cannot be without prived of the means of acquiring pro- power and place." perty, or of diffusing those benefits Humbly, therefore, I implore your among society which proceed from an Royal Highness, to exert your powerincrease of capital and wealth. The ful influence with the African InstituBoard are decidedly of opinion, that tion, and the Honorable Court of DiSlaves should not be sold for arrears rectors of the East-India Company, of revenue, and prohibitory orders to to appeal to their judgment and to this effect will be issued. In Malabar excite their English feeling by a plain and Canara alone, the Slaves amount statement of facts here recorded; then to 180,000, and the Board have now to call upon them as Christians, to under consideration, certain proposis save our Asiatic fellow-subjects and

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