Imatges de pÓgina

alike by sound policy, and a just regard to the best interests of the country, by making it depend on the impracticable condition of those who are not interested in it voluntarily consente ing to give up what they consider an advantageous monopoly.

But without waiting for this consent, there can be no question that Ministers would do well to abolish the restriction on the free exportation of British wool, as well as the tax on the importation of foreign wool. This restriction was enacted in a comparatively barbarous age, beforethe true principles of commercial intercourse were well understood; and it is undeniably certain, that every such restriction, whether on exportation or importation, has a tendency to force the capital and industry of the country into employments where they are necessarily less productive of advantage than they would be, were it left to the sagacity of individuals to find out those that are naturally most beneficial. It would, moreover, be easy to show that, in point of fact, the worsted manufacturers have never reaped any real advantage from this restriction; although, had such been the case formerly, the late improvements in machinery must now have rendered it quite inoperative. Up to 1818, or thereabouts, no wool of less than five inches in length, or, as it is technically termed, in the staple, could be made into worsted; but, since then, machinery has been so much improved as to enable worsteds to be manufactured from wool of only threc inches in length. The long wool of the country has thus been virtually about doubled ; and as the same machinery is now used in Prussia and France, a proportional increase must have taken place in the Continental long wools. In these circumstances, it is quite absurd to suppose that the smallest injury could arise to our worsted manu ., factures by allowing the freest exportation of British woch, while, by repealing this restriction, the only ground on whicle it is possible to frame any thing like an excuse for the wool-tax, would be done away.

But whatever may be done with the restriction on exportation, it is indispensable that the wool-tax should be repealed We must not forget that the cloth manufacture is more tha/ three times the value of the worsted manufacture; and it woulo be downright madness to sacrifice it, either for the sake of preserving an imaginary advantage to the latter, or for a wretched pittance of 300,0001. or 400,0001, a year !

ART. VII. Thoughts on the Necessity of Improving the Condition of the Slaves in the British Colonies, weith a view to their ultimate Emancipation ; and on the Practicability, the Safety, and the Advantages of the latter Measure. By T. CLARKSON, Esq. Second Edition, corrected. 8vo. pp. 60. London, Hatchard. 1823.

Few ew things could have given the friends of justice and huma

nity more gratification, or less surprise, than to find the excellent and enlightened man whose name recommends this very able Tract, coming forward, from the repose to which he had so well entitled himself by the useful labours of his early life, and devoting what remains of his days (may they be many as they are honourable !) to the final triumph of a cause, in the history of which his fame will be held in lasting remembrance, --second to that of Wilberforce alone. He has been labouring with his wonted cheerfulness and perseverance, not only in the composition of this admirable work, but in traversing the country to aid, by his presence and councils, the diffusion of full information, upon a question which ignorance alone can incumber with any difficulty or doubt. The formation of a Society for this purpose has been already mentioned by us; its members have increased rapidly since that time; and it now has branches in almost every part of the Island, more or less closely connected with the parent stocks at Liverpool and London. The principle upon which they everywhere proceed, is that which we have now broached-that a fuller knowledge of the subject is alone wanting to an unanimous concurrence of opinion, and complete practical success. A surer indication of conscientious conviction cannot be imagined, nor a better earnest of ultimate victory be desired, nor a stronger title to it be advanced. The friends of the oppressed only say to the community at large, Examine and judge for yourselves if we are • right, the inquiry will convince you; and if you are con

vinced, we rely upon your cooperation.' Let men be well assured that this is a test which no system, ecclesiastical or civil, nor any line of policy, nor any particular measure, will ever venture on if conscious of wrong, or can ever have the least reason to dread, unless it is undeserving of support from the good and the wise. The golden rule is this to shun whatever shuns the light.

When the means are considered by which the Negroes were carried over to the American Settlements, and when it is further recollected by what measures of violence they are there kept in a state of bondage, as alien to their own nature as


the enforcing it is repugnant to the moral and religious du-, ties of their task-masters, little wonder can be felt that many enlightened and virtuous men have regarded such a condition with a feeling of impatience; have cried out against it as a grievous enormity; and refused to reason calmly upon a matter which the instinctive sense of right and wrong seems capable of deciding without any appeal to argument. Good men, who have differed on all other subjects, seem to have felt alike on this. When one who had written an elaborate work against the Slave Trade, sent it to Mr Fox, he happened, from some expression in the letter, and before reading the book, to mistake the object of it, and to suppose that it was designed to prove the national advantages of the traffic. Such (he replied) is


hatred of the Slave Trade, that if you were to con• vince me of its expediency, I should only hate it a thousand 6 times worse.' Dr Johnson went further, and with more practical notions. We are told by Bryan Edwards, that a frequent toast of his, in the hearing of his Black servant, was, “A speedy

insurrection of the slaves in Jamaica, and success to them !! Boswell tells us, that he once gave this toast, with a slight variation, when in company with some very grave men at Ox. ford.' • Here,' said he is to the next insurrection of the

, Negroes in the West Indies.' *

Now, let it not be supposed that we shrink from the most rigorous scrutiny of the whole question, which the most argumentative and cold-hearted logician can desire, when we observe, in passing, how very reasonable, as well as natural, such summary views of the subject are. Can

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Life, iii. 219. His Biographer, indeed, protests vehemently against such sentiments; and avows, with even less than his usual judgment, his veneration for the long-established status of slavery'-nay, for the Trade itself, to abolish which, he says, would be to shut the gates of mercy on mankind!!'-meaning, as he distinctly states, the African portion of mankind, whom, saith he, it saves from intolerable · bondage in their own country, and introduces into a much happier state of life!' In his great alarm lest the 'wild and dangerous at. tempt to abolish so very important and necessary a branch of com'mercial interest’ should succeed (for he has the White as well as the Black interest in his view), he derives a mighty consolation from the reflexion that, whatever may have passed elsewhere concerning

it, the HOUSE OF LORDS' (so he prints their Lordships) is wise and independent,' (ib. p. 222)—with more matter, which now-adays would be of dangerous import to a publisher, and expose him to the risk of being punished perhaps by both Houses—the Lower' taking it as serious,-the Wise' as satirical.

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ing to prove, that one man has no right to steal another, and then, by force, keep possession of him and of his children for ever? or that, admitting some claim of property could be set up to the father, as from his own voluntary sale of himself, the unborn child, at least, has a right to freedom? Whoever requires such proof, would also demand reasons for abolishing cannibalism, or punishing murder. Indeed, if reasons were given, he would probably be found inaccessible to them. A voyage to the West Indies, or to the Western Coast of Africa, would not convince him;

he must go to the north of that continents—to the states of Tripoli or Algiers, and view the very trifling and inadequate retaliation there practised upon Europeans. It is then possible that he might change his opinion upon the point of lawfulness; but his conversion would, after all, be rather through the appeal made to his feelings, when the case of the slave became his own, than through any elaborate process of demonstration.

Whoever regards the relative numbers and situation of the Whites and Blacks in the West Indies, must at once be prepared, either to assert that there is no such thing as human rights, and indeed no difference between right and wrong, or to admit, that there can be but one conceivable justification for the continuance of the slave system--the unfitness of the slaves themselves to change their state suddenly, and become free citizens. From hence results the inference, that their immediate liberation would be injurious to themselves as well as to their masters; and that, after doing them irreparable injury, by reducing them to so cruel and unnatural a state, we have no right to aggravate their wrongs by striking off their fetters before they are prepared to move about in freedom. Any considerations of expediency, as far as the master is concerned, can weigh nothing in deciding the question of right; but we have a right, no doubt, to retain the Negro in slavery, if his own safety absolutely requires it. This only tenable ground of defence must, however, on all hands, be admitted to be slippery and dangerous, and situated on the brink of the most fatal er

We must therefore take heed to our footing while we stand upon it, and, above all things, beware that we do not fall into the position on which it so closely borders—the strong> hold of those who used even to defend the African traffic itself as beneficial to the Africans. Happily there is a principle which guides us in safety and consistency through this whole question, which reconciles, too, all conflicting interests, and is alike conformable to reason and to feeling-alike suggested by views of policy and of right. If the slaves can be gradually emancipated by preparing them for liberty, and facilitating their acquirement of itand if their children, at all events, may be made free, under such temporary restrictions only as are necessary to secure for them due care during the years of infancy,--the whole slave population will immediately be improved in its condition ; and a period will be fixed, beyond which the evils of slavery must entirely cease to vex mankind. We cannot better close these introductory remarks than by the following passage, which forms the Preface to the work before




• It is possible there may be some, who, having glanced over the title-page of this little work, may be startled at the word Emancipation. I wish to inform such, that Mr Dundas, afterwards Lord Mela ville, an acute man, and a friend to the planters, proposed this very measure to Parliament in the year 1792. We see, then, that the word Emancipation cannot be charged with novelty. It contains now no new ideas. It contains now nothing but what has been thought practicable, and even desirable to be accomplished. The emancipation which I desire is such an emancipation only as I firmly believe to be compatible not only with the due subordination and happiness of the labourer, but with the permanent interests of his employer.

. I wish only to say, in case any thing like an undue warmth of feeling on my part should be discovered in the course of the work, that I had no intention of being warm against the West Indians as a body. I know that there are many estimable men among them living in England, who deserve every desirable praise for having sent over instructions to their agents in the West Indies, from time to time, in behalf of their wretched Slaves. And yet, alas ! even these, the Masters themselves, have not had influence enough to secure the fulfilment of their own instructions upon their own estates ! nor will they so long as the present system continues. They will never be able to carry their meritorious designs into effect against Prejudice, Law, and Custom. If this be not so, how happens it that you cannot see the Slaves, belonging to such estimable, men, without marks of the whip upon their backs? The truth is, that so long as overseers, drivers, and others, are intrusted with the use of arbitrary power, and so long as Negro-evidence is invalid against the White oppressor, and so long as human nature continues to be what it is, no order from the Master for the better personal treatment of the Slave will or can be obeyed. It is against the system, then, and not against the West Indians as a body, that I am warm, should I be found

so unintention, ally, in the present work. .

One word or two now on another part of the subject. A great noise will be made, no doubt, when the question of Emancipation comes to be agitated, about the immense property at stake. I mean the property of the Planters, and others connected with them. Thiş is all well. Their interests ought undoubtedly to be attended to. But I hope and trust, that, if property is to be attended to on one

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