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Speech of Rev. Henry Bleby, missionary from Barbados, on the results of emancipation in the British West Indies colonies

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Material Information

Title:
Speech of Rev. Henry Bleby, missionary from Barbados, on the results of emancipation in the British West Indies colonies
Physical Description:
Text of speech
Language:
English
Creator:
Bleby, Henry
Publisher:
Boston : R. F. Walcut
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Slaves - Emancipation - West Indies, British
Slavery
Spatial Coverage:
Jamaica

Notes

General Note:
Speech delivered at the celebration of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society, held at Island Grove, Abington, July 31st, 1853
Funding:
Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.

Record Information

Source Institution:
National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) ( SOBEK page | external link )
Holding Location:
National Library of Jamaica (NLJ) ( SOBEK page | external link )
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the source institution.
System ID:
CA01099989:00001


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SPEECHOFREV.HENRYBLEBY,MISSION.A.RY ffR01tI B.ARBADOES,ONTHERESULTSOFEMANCIPATIONINTHEBRITISH'V.I.-COLONIES,DeliveredattheCelebrationoftheMassachusettsAnti-SlaverySociety,heldatIslandqrove,Abington,July31st,1858.FHONOGRA.PHICREPORTBYJ.M.W.YERRINTON*BOSTON:,R.F. WA.LLeuT,21CORN HILL.1858.

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SPE,ECH, Iamh3:PPY,Mr.President,thatyouhaveplacedmebeforethisassembly,notasonefromwhomaspeechmaybeexpected,butinthecapacityofawit.'ness;andthereforeIcantellaplain,straight-forwardtale,withoutbeingatallcastdownbytheconsciousnessthatIcannotmakeanypretensiontothosegiftsoforatory,whichIhaveobservedourfriendshavebeenaccustomedtomeetwithinconnectionwiththosewhohavetakena leadingpartonsuchoccasionsasthis.I am, perhaps, Mr.Chairman,theonlypersonpresent,vhowasalleye-witnessofthateventwhichyouhavemettogetherthisdaytocelebrate.YouwillseethatIamnotayeryoldman,sir;thesnowsofagehavenotentIrely coveredmyhead;butIamold.enoughtohavebeenpresentduringthatinsungectlonto,vhichyouhavereferred,al1dwhichwasoneoftheprincipalevel1tswhichhastenedonthecrisisofthemovementforWestIndiaEmancipation,andconstrainedtheB.ritishgovernmentto'lettheoppressed go free.'Ithadbeencustomarywiththepro-slaverypressofGreatBritain,-andaverylargeportionofthatpress waStuptoalatehour,undertheinfluenceof theWestIndiabodYtandofthoseinterestedin

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4themaintenanceofslavery,-ithadbeencustomaryforthatpress, asitisno,,"ofthepro-slavery pressofthiscountry,toendeavortomisleadthemassesbyassertingthattheslaves,,,,erebetter,offtheywouldbeinfreedom,thattheywereperfectlycontentwiththeil lot,thattheyhuggedtheirchains,andth,atitwas,inbrief, aconditionverylittleshortofthehappinessofParadise.Youmayimagine,then,whatsortoffeelingwouldbeexcitedinGreatBrit-.t'ain,amongits,churchesandthegenerally,,.,'w'henthe'startlingintelligen;cereachedthem,'illthebeginningof1832,thatfiftythons'andslavesinthe'islandof'Jamaicahadmadeaneffortfor liberty,had-res'olved tostrikeablow:forandhadstood'upinoppositiontotheir-masters,andtothelawwhich,heldtheminbondage,'andclaimedtheirfreedom.theillusionwasatonce dispelled,and:itwasseen'-:andfelt,throughoutthelengthandbre-adth, of'GreatBritain,thatthepublicmindhadbeenimposed upari,""aridthat'thereexistedintheWestIndies"amongst.;theslaves,an'intensedesire,nay,.,morethal1that,atobefree.'Sir,Ihappenedtobesta-:,tionedintheislandofJamaica,andinthatpartofit-whichwasthesceneofinsurrection.Iknewthe"person-with-whomtheinsurrectidnoriginatedv'ery ,,well;'1'markeditsprogress;1wasane)1Oe.,\\'itnessto,:"the'crueltiesandslaughterbywhichit''''assup,pressed;:'andI sawitbroughttoatermination.-The'-manwithwhomtheinsurrectionoriginated,-Samu-,el-Sharp,-wasa slave,andamemberoftheBaptistchurch'in' MontegoBay.Althoughitmayseem-strangetomany,SamSharpWRsa,veryhandsome, -negro, aperfectmodelman;and,moretllanthat,'he .

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,5.hadlearnedtoread.Hewasborninslavery,buthehad"never feltanythingofthebitternessofslavery.Hewasbornina familythattreatedhimindulgently;hewas apet,andwasbroughtupastheplaymateofthejuvenilemembersofthefamily,andha,dopportunitiesoflearningtoreadandformentalcul-tivation,towhichveryfe,,"ofhisfellow-slaveshadaccess;alldSharp,aboveallthis,was, possessedofamindworthyofanyman,andoforatoricalpowersofnocommon order. IhavebeenwhenIhaveheardthatmanaddress alargeassembly, as Ididseveraltimeswhilehewasinjail,toseethepowerwithwhichheswa:redthefeelings,thehearts,andthemindsofhisauditory.Hewasamanofno'commonstamp,thoughablackman,andborninslavery.Well,sir,Sharpdetermincdtofreehimselfandhisfellow-slaves. I donotknowwhetherhewashimselfdeceived,orwhetherhekNowingly deceivedhisbuthepersuadedalargenumberofthemtobelievethattheBritishgovernmenthadmadethemfree,andthattheir,ownerswerekeepingtheminslaveryinoppositiontotIlewishesoftheauthoritiesillEngland.Itsohappened,. sir,that,justatthattime,theplantersthemselveswerepursuinga coursewhichfavoredSharp'sproceedingsdirectlJ'.l'heywereholdingmeetingsthroughthelellgthandbreadth,oftheisland,pro-.testingagainsttheinterferellceofthehomegovernmentwiththeirproperty,passingveryinflammatoryresolutions,andthreateningthattIleywouldtransfertheirallegiancetotheUnitedStates,inorderthattheymight)?erpetuatetheir.interestintheirslaves.

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6Sharp:dexterouslytook'a'dvantage' of:thesemeetings,'andpointedouttotheslaves, .thatifitwerenottruethattheBritish.governmentwere. willingto'makethemfree,therewouldbenonecessity'forsuchmeet, ings''and;suchpublicationsas these.The'consequencewas,that'abqut. fifty thous'andofthese .people,"atthe. Christmas-'holidays,wereininsUl'rection,andclaimed,theirrightsasBritishsubjects,andas free'men,re"fusingtogotoworkonanyterms,exceptonthepayment'oftheirproper wages as freeworkmen.The:insurrectionwassoonputdown,as.youmayimagine..:Sharp'reallybelievedthattheBritishsoldiers'wouldnot'actinoppositiontotheslaves,inclaimingtheirfreedom;'hesoonfoundhismistake, however.Alargebody ofmilitar)" wasordered'tothatpartoftheisland.Thecommander-in-chiefwas amanwho'feltas'amanoughttofeelunder'suchcircumstances,andsoughttodoeverythinghecouldtoputanel1dtotheinsurrectionbylenientmeasures,andissuedaproclamation, promisingthatallwhowOllldreturntotheir'duty'withinalimitedperiodshouldbepardon'ed,-thatnonoticeshouldbetakenofwhattheyhad--done,unlesstheyhadbeenguiltyof-incendiarism,orhadcommittedpersonal violenceuponthe0ppo'siteparty.Parties'weresentoutwiththeproclnmation,manyofthe. slaves, findingthattheirat'tempttorecovertheirfreedominthiswaywouldbevain,in,andresumedtheirlaborsuponthees-'tates.Theinsurrectionwouldsoonhavebeenputdown,andvery'littlelossoflife'wouldhaveensued,hadnotthemilitiaoftheisland,consistingofthe''planters,'whohadmanifestedth'egreatestcow "ardicewhenthe'insurrection :brokeout,:nowrecov-

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7eredtheirbravery,andsubjectedthosewhohadtakenpartinittoindignityandoutrage.Ihaveseenmenandwomen whocameinundertheproclamation,andthepromiseitcontainedfromthecommander-in-chief.takenoutofthefield,withtheirhoesintheirhands,tied,apdshotdead.!'usedto.seethegallows filledwithinsurgentsfrom.morningtonight.Iremember,ononeoccasion,m'yattentionwasdirectedtoarlexe'cutionwhichwas'abouttotakeplace-thatofon'eofthepl'incipalleadersintheinsurrection.Acourt-martialwassittinginMontegoBay,andabouttwentyorthirtyy-ardsoff, agallowshadbeen'el"ected,011whichfiveorsix: personscouldbeexecutedatonce.Fivemenwerehangingonit,and-fivemorewerebeneathit,:anditwasrumoredthatCapt.Dehany,amanwho,hadtakenaleadingpartintheinsurrection,wasto_beexecutedinthenextlot.Theexecutioner,,,"howasabrutalblackman,andonewhohadescapedthe-gallowsonconditionthatheshouldperformthesehorribleduties,wasleallingagainstoneofthepostsofthegallows,eatinghisbreakfast.-apieceofsaltfishinonehand,andapieceof,plantainintheother.Hewastoldhisvictimswereready.",(Theyonlyal-lowedthedoomedoneshalfanhouraftertheircon'victiontopreparefor-death.)Bacchus,-thatwasthenameoftheexecutioner,.......putdo,vnhisfooduponaprojectionofthegallows,walkeduptheladder,andwiththeknifewithwhichhehadbeeneatinghisbreakfast,severedthecordsonwhichthevictimsonthegallowswerehanging,anddowntheyfell,oneafter-anotller,upontheheapofdeadbelow.ThenhebroughtoutDehanyand hisfellows.Ikllewhimatonce,-

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,thoughIhadneverseenhimbefore,bythedemeanoroftheman,-afine,proad-chested,modelman,-ayellow-skinnednegro, astheycalledhimthere;butthereresteduponhiscountenanceanangryfrown.l'hemanwalkedouttomeethisdoom asifhewerewalkingatt4eheadofatriumphalprocesgentlemansteppeduptohimandsaid, 'Dehany,whatis troublil1gyouatatimelikethis?'-
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Ihavemyselfseen-notlessthannineteenofthese,poorcreaturesled-outinonebatch,to-behangeduplikedogs. -Ihavekllowntobeledoutfromthe,samejail,illthecourseoftllreedays,andputtodeath,Onone,-occasion, Isawapoorfello,vbroughtinto,town,hisl1andstiedbehindhim;acourtmartialwasimmediatelysUlIlmol1ed,andwiihscarcely ashowofevidencethatthemanhaddoneanythinginconnectionwiththeinsulrection,-indeed,-therewasnothing:found,excepttllathewasinthemidstofa .crowdlookingon -whilstabuildingwasburning'v11ichhad-beensetonfirebytheinsurrectionists,-hewascon--victed,andledouttobesllot.Theywereinsucha;hurry,thattheydidnoteventakethetroubletopass-sentenceUpOl1him;andwhenwithinanhourandahalffromthetimehewasbroughtintothetown,-he'stoodunderthegallows,Iheardhiminquire,'What-areyougoingto,dowithme?'Theyhad110teven. -hadthehumanitytotellhimhewasgoingtodie.T4eoffi,cersteppeduptohim,tOOkl.lphisjacket,-whichhadbeentorlloffwhenhewasbroughttothespot, -thre\vitoverhisface,andsaid, ,Youwillfindoutinamoment.'-Hesteppedback,thewold'wasgiven,andthemanlaythel'e" -abulletthroughhisbrain,andanotherth'roughl1isheart.Iheardonemansaytothecrowdofslavesstanding-round,pointingtotheholeintheslave'shead,-'Youwantyourfreedom,-doyou?Putyourfingerthere!That-istIlekind'offreedomwewillgiveyou,youblack-devils!'ThisIheard,,"ithmyOWllears. ISR,vhundredsthusslaughteredillcoldblood.Sharpwas-the .lastbroughtouttobeputto"death;alld"his,endwaswortllYofhis character.

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I'had'frequentopportunities to conversewithhimwhilehewasinjail.WhenI sawsornan)Tputtodeath,Iwrote a communication for oneoftheisland: newspapers,withtheintentionofdirectingtheGovernor'sattentiontothewholesaleslaughterthatwas going on.'IthadtheeffectIintended.TheGovernorreadit,andthenextpostbroughtdo,,'nanordertotheauthorities, civilandmilitary,thatnofurtherexecutionsshouldtake.placefor crimes committedtheinsurrection,withouthis .ownwarrant.l"husithappenedthatSamuelSharpwasdetainedinprison several weeksafterhehadbeen'tried,and.sentenceofdeathp:(onounceduponhim,andIhadfrequentopportunitiesofconversing\vithhim.Hewas anlanwhohadreadtheNewTestament,andreadthenewspapers,andwasinallI-e'spects a superiorman.Iaskedhimwhatitwasthatinducedhimtotakepartinthis movement, sincehehadneversuffered,asmanyhad,underthelash.'Sir,'saidhe,'inreadingmyBible, Ifoundthewhitemanhadno morerighttomakea slaveofmethanIhadtomakea slave ofthewhiteman-Cap"!"pIause);andIwouldrathergoout,anddie onthatgallows,.thanlive a slave.'(Loudapplause.) 'l'heyoungladiesofthefamilytowhichhebelongedmadellim a'very handsomesuitofwhiteclothes,andI sawhim.marchtohisdeath.Iheardtheremarkswhichhemadewhenhestood ontheplatformunderthegallows;and,sir, I couldnotbutdropatearto see amanlikethatputtodeath,"l'hose0111ycrilne was,thathemadeanefforttorecoverthatlibertywhichis the.rightof everyhumanbeing,andofwhichhe,incommonwithhisbrethren,hadbeen wrongfully and wickedly deprived.

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11Theinsurrectionwasputdown,andtheintentionwhichSharpentertainedinconnectionwithitwasfrustrated.Hisdesignwasnottodo violenceto,anypersonorproperty,butsimplytoactupontheprincipleofpassive resistance.Hearguedinthisway:-,Theywillputtodeathsomeofus,ifwesitdown',andrefusetoworkafterChristmas,andwemustbecontenttodie forthebenefitoftherest.I,.for one,amreadytodie,inorderthattherestmaybefree.(Applause.)Theymayputsomeofustodeath,buttheycannothangandshootusall,andifwearefaithfulonetoanother,wemustobtainOU1-freedom.' (Renewed*"pplause.) ,SamuelSharp'splanwas defeated,inthisway:HehadnotcalculatedBufficientlyupolltheimpulsivecharacterof.themenheundertooktoleadinthismovement,-upontheirnotbeing accustomedtoexerciseself-restraint;consequently, .when someofthembroke'intothestore-housesoftheestates,andbecame intoxicated,andthensetfiretothebuildings,thatwasregardedas asignalall over tIlecountry,andtIle worksandmillswere'destroyedontwohundredorthreehundredestates.Sharpsaid,'Whenthis'occulred,Isawtheschemewasdefeated. Iknewthatthewhiteswouldslaughteruswithoutmercy,andourfreedom be alongwhileputoff.'
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12.L01'dsto investigatethewhole questionofslaverYtandalsothatintheCommitteeappointedbythe:HouseofCommons,thedecisiol1-ontheqtle8tionoftheimmediate. abolitionofslaveryturneduponthispoint,-''ViIIitbe safetothe.plantersthatsla-:verybecontinu.ed? ':Twoofmybrothermissionawhowenthomefol'the.expresspurposeofappearing before these..Committees,gave,itastheirOpillionthatitwouldnotbesafe;that;theseinsur-:rectionaryattemptsWQuldbe repeated,andthatthe,prQbabilitywas,tllat:,iftheBritish:gQvernmentdid;notbringslaveryinthecoloniestoapeacefultermina-:tion,itwouldsoonbeinblood,andtheslaveswouldemancipatethemselve.s.'rhatconvictionwasforced upontheCommittees.ofbothHousesofParliament;theyreported,.:accordil1g1)?,andthedoomofslavery,vas sealed.Sir,itwas InyprivilegetobeinJamaicawhenslaverycametoanelld,and.!;rejoicedthemore.tobeaofitsextinction,because,IhadBufferedincommonwithmybrethren,.inconnectionwitllit.\Ve,veresentoutastheinstructorsoftheslavesandfree coloredpeople.'VebuiltchurchestassistedbytIleliberalityoftheBritish:people,all.overtheisland,whereverweandwewere sustainedbyfundscontributedbyBritishbenevolence,-'ttSin-. structorsofthenegroes..Well, sir,wewere.denouncedbytheplanters,fromthebeginningofourefforts, as spiesoftheAnti-SlaverySociety.Theyhadsagacityenoughto discover,ataveryearly periodofourlabors,thatslaveryandChrist,ianitycould.notlongco-exist;thattheywere essentiallyantagonistic,andthattheonemustultimatelyde$tro,theother,,':De-


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