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 Of the various ranks in social...
 The advancement of slaves would...
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Group Title: An essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British sugar colonies
Title: An Essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British sugar colonies
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00084160/00001
 Material Information
Title: An Essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British sugar colonies
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Ramsay, James
Publisher: James Phillips, printer and seller
Place of Publication: London
Publication Date: 1784
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Bibliographic ID: UF00084160
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
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    Table of Contents
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    Of the various ranks in social life
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    The advancement of slaves would augment their social importance
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    The advancement of slaves must accompany their religious instruction
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    Natural capacity of slaves vindicated
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    Plan for the improvement and conversion of African slaves
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    Back Cover
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Full Text





( N T HI E





I N T H E .A


V ic It of TESTON, in KENT.

o h e a a41 Nations of the Earth, f.-r to dwell on
11 th I',e d of the Earth, A6ts xvii. z6.
S : 4 Ma, an frelleth him, or if he le found in his Hand,
d l a tirely be put to death, Exodus xxi. 16.

L O N D 0 N:
I1 i' by JAMES PHI L L I s, George-Yard,

[ iii]


P R E F A C E.

A I.xtter of an ordinary length, in an-
twer to the humane one which is here
i ... 11, ,..hc b-inning to this perform-
m V. 1:'y frcqucnt tranfcription, it fenfibly
m iii h dI in fi,'-, and extended itfelf to col-
ihfubjedts, till it had become fome-
.,,,.. like a fyftem for the regulation and
n(povecment of our fuig.ir colonies, and the
.vi. mctncnt and conversion of their flaves.
I),i f.ilimitting the manufcript to thofe,
lhn were much better judges than the au-
un sinuhld pretend to be, of the prefent pre-
Sin 1lie (and many perfons of rank and
I i.: have honoured it with a perufal) the
At -i1tt of the treatment of flaves in our
S ng.'iged their sympathy, and the
a z plan

iv P R E F A C E.

plan for their improvement and conversion
had their hearty good wifles. But they
exhorted him, almoft all with one voice, to
fupprefs every part that tended to introduce
thofe political difcuffions, which muft be
unavoidable in treating of the flate of co-
lonies, and their dependence on a mother
As the author had, from the firft, no pri-
vate views to gratify in the plan, and wifhed
only to give it every poffible chance of fuc-
cefs with the public, their decision was
final with him; and in conformity to it,
every thing that related to the improvement,
and better government of the colonies, has
been omitted. By this alteration in the
original form of the work, it has neceffarily
loft something of that fyftematic order,
which contributes fo much to the beauty
of compositions, and leads fo pleafant-
ly on from premifes to conclusion. But
humanity is its object, not reputation.
When the finer feelings of the foul are en-
g:I ,, it would be a criminal trifling to aim
at amusement.
I will not infult the reader's underfland-
ing, by an attempt to demonstrate it to be

V R E F' A C E.

il ..* .t f i i( j on '.n td .,li,;i.,n, half a million of our
I. 1.p. *1" .ly with us adapted for advancing
' I he Iv. in %, rv art and fcience, that can
S' i nI frion ih n.m, equally with us
S aap ably o(f I, l(,kiir forward to and
.. l ,ial ( ii. I rather with to call in
h lie(l e f, his l'1 in ci nce, his interest,
( a th. .atdI in .rirrying on the work.
I i ,j.lt,. whole improvement is here
I. til fr the Biritith fate. The
', t., tl irct e, has an interest in their
.tmn ~mo iit itI Iu icty. And what is here
Sit 1- r t themi Not bounties, or gifts
- i h ; i'n :it, (o people; but leave to
1,no uanoe tiAful to themselves, their
, aiml tih if.ii. And furely a plan,
Sb h a ,.ih an end in view, needs only to be
d to pi, cure a general prepoffefflon in
V- 1.0,. Wlilc the man of feeling finds
S. ,,,ii fntii nent indulged in the
1 which it opciis, the p,..litician, the
S:b. wi ll have all their little wifhes of
v'm, a.nd accumulation fully realized.
I I n then, muft have every man of
m ra~uaplcxiuon combined in its behalf;
ti i, nothing to be accounted for but
a 3 the

vi P R E F A C E.

the author's courage, in prefuming to offer to
the public his thoughts in particular on the
From the manner in which this work had
its beginning, it will appear that neither
vanity, nor felf-fufficiency, led the author
to the attempt. It was not till after the
feventh copy had been read, and its pur-
pofe approved of by many perfons of worth
and judgment, that he entertained the moft
diftant thoughts of publication. Even now,
that it has undergone every fuggefted cor-
redtion, and received every improvement
that three transcriptions in fucceffion could
give it, on their opinion, rather than his
own, he refts the probability of its proving
acceptable to the public.
Not to be guilty of ftifling what had a
generous purpofe in view, and poffibly might
do good, if fo it- pleaded God, has been,
from the firft, as far as refpeded himself,
the only inducement. Profit he difclaims
and willingly would he transfer all the cre-
dit that can poffibly arife from it, to him
who would take on him the cenfure. Yet
mfould he not forgive himself, were he to
difcover that ill nature had fharpened a single


r% ,I iilion in the Effay, or dragged an unlucky
,,iic,'l of recfntment into view. To blame
has not been a pleafant tafk. He has suffered
more from the neceffity of doing it, than
the persons affected will probably do from
the .,ililic.iti,,n; which yet, except in one
tafe, nmuft be the work of confcience with
ilinfi Ives. In this cafe, the perfon who
i the .ljil. is of fuch an happy difpofi-
ii.., ii to be im .ip.ible of feeling cenfure,
.and tf that eltablifhed character, that noth-
n. ta.u hurt him. The public, therefore,
h., a right to him, as to a beacon placed
cal .1 1 ,Ii,,rous quick fand.
To include, the reader has here the re-
t; ks of about twenty years experience in the
WV t ilI dies, and above fourteen years parti-
s ular application to the fubjet. If it draws
tlei attention due to its importance, the author
.- ,ll have the hftisfadion of reflecing, that
he has not lived in vain for his country
.~nd mankind. And this consideration will
i,.,th before him the otherwise rugged
.tl.of life. Should it fail in anfwering
In well meant purpofe, fill the thoughts
l hJiavhiii made the attempt, will pleafe on
n ili t i'n1 ; nor will the intention lofe its re-
a 4. ward

P R E F A C E.

ward there, where his particular aim is to be
found acceptable.

Letter referred to above, which fuggefted to
the author the consideration of the follow-
ing fubjeW.

I will omit any apology, however needful,
for offering my thoughts on the fubjea of
flavery, to one, whofe office and opportu-
nities among flaves muft induce him to think
and a(t what is right refpecting them. The
moft I can hope for is, to echo to him fome
of his own reflections, which perhaps the
univerfal careleffnefs and indifference pre-
vailing in every thing that concerns them,
may, at times, caufe him to pafs inattentive-
ly by, or consider lefs than their import-
ance deferves.
I am fure Mr. -- muff always think him-
felf not only obliged to ufe his flaves with
kindnefs, but alfo viewing them as fellow-
creatures, bound to extend his care to the
security of their 'eternal happinefs, by in-
fIricting them in the relation which they
bear to the great Author of their being,
and gracious Redeemer of their fouls, and


in tlhe duty .,1 ii1ng from that relation, as it
n VC.iahld in the ,ofj-cl, and is required of
all in ii, who feek after future happiness.
A .rc \% IJi, h, however contrary to the ufual
p~du Iy of masters, would be the moft pro-
h-ble in .uii of making flaves diligent and
.aithfill; for it would awaken confcience
within tlitm, to be a ftrit overfeer, and a
it % i ,Ie niit'ir, whom they could not evade.
Ii, i. a ( n 1t iiLneniic, that if duly confi-
i, ,iii, mi i:'ht induce even thofe who, neg-
l,,:ti,, to take providence into the account,
Sun1lidcr only how they hall make the moft
if their b 1rk, to afford their flaves oppor-
nit i,. of 1k'.iring their duty; allowing
,* i,, for example, fome portion of the
%wck for procuring their fubfiftence, and
I'. ting the Lord's day apart for religious
ll r(ilptloll.
still ir.,nting that masters, who look no
ittli'i than present profit, may laugh at
the ar'-fetched expedation, furely men who
h-licve in revelation cannot indulge a doubt
Juit that the treating of them like fellow-
aturcs, and the fhewing of mercy to their
li.l-,, will on the whole more advance the
,ii ilt's real interest, than a method which

it P Rt F A C E.

Auffcrs them to continue in brutifh igno.-
rance of themselves and their Creator; which
obliges them to labour for the support of
their bodies, on a day fet apart for the im-
provement of their fouls.
I know in this cafe it is argued, to fup-
pof thit the work of five days may poffi-
bly be found as profitable to owners, as
that of fix days, is to exped that God
will work a miracle to reward the indul-
gence; an extraordinary exertion of pow-
er, which on fo trivial an occafion, it would
be prefumptuous to look for." But when
in any situation, we doubt God's justice or
goodnefs, we injure his power and wifdom,
for thefe ad under their influence. And
when we imagine him refting at a diftance,
or acting only in great .events, we entertain
improper nations of his relation to the work
of his own hands. Scripture and reafon,
when they contemplate the Divine nature,
join to represent him as ever prefent to all
his works, as quickening every thing that
liveth, upholding whatever hath a being, as
directing the operations of nature, and guid-
ing the adions of men, all to their proper
purposes, in a manner indeed that we cannot

I' R E F A C E.

Stipi li, finl; but fo, that a fparrow falls
tixt to the ground without his perimiffion, and
h.a ., cup of cold water giv'n for his fake,
I!..Il 14t Ali .ip his notice, nor go without
.t reward; yet in a manner, which leaves
in II.lliir d thit liberty, by which moral
;cniit l,. ,--nmc accountable for their actions.
A ri if this be the fate of things, under
(odl' ,-.v iiiincnt, can we doubt of their
i rin1 i it. v. IlI, in conformity to God's,
. iiiis.'t .1 laid on our firft parents, and
(i1,, I 4,t, n renewed, allow themselves and
iihrii ie, ilii .lt. leifure, on the Lord's day,
t learn their ('reator's will, and pay him a
11n hi 11, .. and duty ? Humbly to be.
l i. nd exped tlii.., as declared tom us in
S. ...' "-n'r.il promifes in fcripture, is an
,. i.ii r of faith that we cannot refufe to
hi. veracity, who has engaged to perform it.
I ven were we unable to conceive a par-
, iil it In thld, by which a compensation
i.,, this rclinquifhed part of our fervants
Shhour could be effected, when we on that
., ...iint included, that the obedience will
, ~l., 1 no benefit on us, we diftruft God's
rn,,;(I or doubt of his ability to find a
, ,v to reward our compliance with his

P R E F A C E.

*will. And yet, without working a manifeft
miracle, God may give fuccefs to our en-
deavours, in a thoufand ways, which hall
feem to be the natural effeCts of industry, or
of that unknown direction of human affairs,
which in common account is called chance.
He may make us fkilful in managing occa-
fions, fagacious in forefeeing events. He
may preferve us from expensive illnefs, guard
us from mifchievous neighbours. He may
blefs us with faithful fervants. He may in-
cline mens affections to us, and make them
instruments in promoting our profperity.
Endlefs are the methods by which, in an
unperceived manner, he can turn the com-
mon accidents of life to reward men who
prefer duty to prefent advantage, who co-
operate with his benevolence in promoting
the happinefs of their fellow-creatures.
To doubt of a reward, even in this world,
whenever it hall be, on the whole, beft for ut,
is to doubt of the propriety and efficacy of
prayer, and to cut off our hopes of its fuccefs.
Yet God invites us to make our requests
known unto him, and folemnly promifes,
that when we afk we fall receive. That it
will be fo, even in this life, we may pofitive-

P R E F A C E.

1% conclude, if we consider only the confe-
qjuence of this juft reflection, What is
" called the ordinary courfe of Providence,
" which governs events, is not the effed
" of blind chance, or uncontroulable fate,
" but a wife and orderly chain of caufes and
" clicdts, adapted by the Almighty contri-
" ver, as nicely to the conduct of free
" ..:.oir-., as to the inftinds of brutes, or
* the laws of vegetable and inanimate mat-
" ter."
It is owned even by men- who consider
ilavce as property, and who, having bought
hli,11 conclude that they have a right to
IaIikc the moft of their money that the
working of flaves beyond their ability, fhort-
ets their lives, and checks their population.
Do not fuch men acknowledge in this,
ln,,n:,, traces of Divine justice, punifhing
I ruelty and thirft of gain by the moft na-
tural means, by making them counteract
1.md defeat their own purpofe. And 'by
.iiitvy of reafoning may we not exped
P'uvidence to proper by means as na-
turil, our humane, benevolent attention to
I. t, lics, whom the crimes and avarice of
6i l11 men have placed in our power ? With

P R E F A C E.

"refped to religion, unlefs we deny revela-
tion to be a bleffing, or benefit to mankind,
we cannot hold ourfelves blamelefs, if we
forbear ufing our beft endeavours to com-
municate the knowledge of it to every one
within our reach. And whatever may be
our fuccefs in other refpeas, the pains that
we ufe to improve the minds of our fel-
low creatures, will return with advantage
into our own bofoms. God's grace will
be ftirred up within us, and our own difpo-
fition and behaviour will be correded and

IntroduCtory Addrefs, in Anfwer to the
preceding Letter.

I have perufed with attention, your hu,
mane and pious remarks on the treatment of
flaves in the Britifh colonies. I think my-
felf honoured by your fuppofing me, in par-
ticular, capable of being influenced in my
behaviour towards them, by a consideration
fo benevolent, as a refped to their moral
improvement, and their eternal welfare. In
return, allow me to think highly of the
heart, that with a good will, in which the


meaneft and moft diftant of your kind have
a fhare, can, in the caufe of humanity and
icligion, thus warmly interest you for fuch
Liipitic.d, and defpifed objeas as our flaves
in ,'gLe r.l are.
An account which may be depended on,
in a matter wherein humanity is nearly con-
curncd, cannot be unfatisfaaory to a mind,
turned like yours to all the tender feelings.
And thowrh I fear the emotions which this
account muft naturally raife in your breaft,
will not be of the cheerful kind, yet I
doubt not of its producing reflections, which
you would not willingly have been without.
An humble re fignation to the measures of
P'wtiilencc, is our duty at all times; but
thcn especially, when our concern for God's
ht'ry, and our brother's eternal welfare,
fcems to mark out an object for our wishes
and prayers, which God is pleaded to keep
rci(Irved among the hidden things of his
government, till his own good time (hall
i ,iic to reveal, and give it to the world.
I with indeed, for your eafe, that I could
have comprehended any tolerable view of
the fubjedc, within more moderate limits ;
but it became complex under my hands, and

P R E F A C E.

drew after it a variety of considerations.
Happy fill shouldd I have thought myself,
could I have made this view, fuch as it is,
exprefs what you charitably with it might
unfold; could I inform you, that we are
careful of the bodies, and tender of the fouls
of thefe our fellow-creatures, thus fubmitted
to our power, thus abandoned to our huma-
nity. But truth requires a different, a
mournful tale of unconcern and unfeeling
To make this view more complete, I
hall firft consider the several natural and
artificial ranks that take place in focial life,
and more particularly that of master and flave
in the European colonies. I flhall flew
how much the public would be profited,
and how much the master would gain, by
adv.incing flames in fLui.' l life. I fall flew
how this advancement in fociety, and their
improvement in religion, muft neceffarily go
hand in hand, and aflift each other, if either
one, or both thefe purposes, be our view re-
ftpClging them. As extr:v.,g.iinc and avarice
have hb;n n of late to make fad encroachments
on that reft of the fabbath, which hitherto
had been reckoned thcrcd; in addition to

P R E F A C E. xvii

, 11 pi.i. rcafons for Ittiing it apart for the
,1f, ,l:, of religion; I fliall prove how
1ui this imconfiderate robbery hurts the
in,,l, r's own interest. I fall affert the
Loim of the Ncgrocs to attention from us, by
* 11i.lliiing their natural capacity, and prov-
i,, them to be on a footing of equality in
,ili t of the reception of mental improve-
,n.-iii with thli natives of any other country.
\n.i 1oii ,luli.1n I Ihall lay down a plan for
ri i 1 ii;iplj cment and conversion.


( xviii )



Sea. i. The Ranks into which the
Members of a Community necef-
farily separate. 5
Set. 2. Mafter and Slave in ancient
Times. 19
Se&. 3. Mafter and Slave in Gothic
Times. 29
Set. . Mfaler and Slave as proposed
by Fletcher for Scotland, Anno 1698 37
Sed. 5. Ma\tier and Slave in the French
Colonies. 52
Seat. 6. Mailer and Slave in the Bri,
tifli Colonies. 62
Sea. 7. Miatier and Slave in particular
Iniftances. 91

C O N T E N T S. xix

Sed. i. Their prefent Importance in
Society as Slaves. i06
Sca. 2. Their present Importance in
Society would be increased by Free-
dom. 113
Sel. 3. Their Mlalers would be pro-
fited by their Advancement. Ii8
Sct. 4. Their Mailers would be pro-
fited by allowing them the Privilege
of a Weekly Sabbath. 30o

Sect. i. Examples of the Difficulty
found in infiruding them in their
present State. 153
bCed. 2. The Obftacles that the Mora-
vian Miffions have had to struggle
with. -161
Se6t. 3. Inefficacy of the Author's pri-
vate Attempts to inftrut Slaves. 166
Sect. 4.

xx C O N T E N T S.
Se&. 4. Inefficacy of the Author's pub-
lic Attempts to inftrud Slaves. 178
Se&. 5. The Manner fuggefted, inr
which private Attempts on large
Plantations to improve Slaves may
probably fucceed. 181

Sea. i. Obje&ions to African Capacity
drawn from Philofophy, considered. 198
Sea. 2. Objedions to African Capacity
drawn from Form, considered. 211i
Sed. 3. Objeaions to African Capacity
drawn from Anatomy, considered. Z19
Sea. 4. Objedions to African Capacity
drawn from Obfervation, considered 231
Sea. 5. African Capacity vindicated
from Experience. 241

Sed. i. Eftablifhment of Clergy, and
their Duty among Slaves. -* 65
Sed. 2. General Improvement of Slaves. 273
Sea. 3. Privileges granted, and Police
extended to Slaves. 281
Conclufion. -








C H A P. I.

Of the various RANKS in SOCIAL LIFE.

T HERE is a natural inequality, or
diverfity, which prevails among men
that fits them for fociety, enables them to
fill up all the different offices of polished life,
and forms their varied abilities, nay, even
their particular defeas and wants, into a
firm band of union. Where the arrange-
A ment

ment pf thefe varied attributes in man is
conducted in fociety by the views of nature,
or the dictates of revelation which explain
and inforce them, there the feelings and
interests of the weaker, or inferior mem-
bers, are consulted equally with thofe of
the flrong-r or superior. Each man takes
that flation for which nature intended him;
and his rights are fenced around, and his
claims are refrained, by laws prefcribed by
the Author of nature: for He is the only
rightful legiflator; and human regulations
are in a moral fenfe binding, only when they
can be traced immediately, or in principle,
to this pure origin. As the creation of man
had the general improvement and happinefs
of the race in view, every law that refpects
him muff fuppofe an attention to this pur-
pofe of his being, and therefore cannot
regard the interest of one at the expence of
another. All, as far as is confiftent with
general good, muff be left to the free ufe
of their powers and acquisitions, or of life,
liberty, and property. In the ufe of thefe,
within the limits of law, confifts the only
equality that can take place among men;
and it is evident that the extent of this ufe


muft vary according to the different situation
of each individual, and the c.iiacity, or
power of exertion, which he poffeflheth,
and farther mufl be affected by the late of
improvement, that the community, of which
he is a member, has attained,
Oppofed to this law of nature, and of God,
that gives and fecures to every man the rights
adapted to his particular station in fociety,
lands the artificial, or unnatural relation of
master and flave; where power conflitutes;
right; where, according to the degree of his
capacity of coercion, every man becomes
his own legislator, and erets his interest, or
his caprice, into a law for rc uliting his
condud to his neighbour. And as the one
draws its origin from the heavenly fountain
of benevolence, fo the other may be traced
to the infernal enemy of all goodnefs. For
here no mutual benefit is confulted, but
every with, every feeling, is fubmitted to
the mandate of a felfifh tyrant. Yet the
influence of this luft for aaing the mailer
has been fo universal, and has obtained fo
long, as to oblige us alfo, in principle, to
deduce it immediately from that love of
power, which, within the boundaries pre-
A 2 fcribed

fcribed by nature, makes a part of our con-
ftitution; it not being poffible to account
for its having fo generally prevailed, as we
find it has in the world, on any other fup-.
pofition than its being an abufe of what is
natural to mankind, excited and cherifhed
in them by an enemy to their virtue and
For, as far back as history carries us, we
read of after and flave. Even in the favage
fate, cuftom, which leaves men on a footing
of equality, has enflaved wives. Among
our negro flaves, he who cannot attach to
him elf a wife, or fubdue any other creature,
buys fome half ftarved dog, over whom he
may exercise his tyrannic difpofition.
If thefe be the unalienable claims of human
nature, and this the practice of mankind
oppofed to them, how neceffary muff it be
to fix fuch boundaries, as may preferve the
rights of the weak from the incroachments
of the firong. And this cannot be done in
a more effectual manner, than by drawing
the natural, and the artificial fate of fociety,
each in its proper colours, and leaving the
decision to the common fenfe of mankind.



S E C T. I.
The Ranks into which the Members of a
Community neceffarily separate.

In every independent ftate, whether monar-
atlv or republic, that has got beyond the
lrit Otp,'. of civilization, the people, or
i, ii n.itiirally divide into fovereign and
iitill' n, mialtvr and family, employer and
i ill,,yctd; all other ranks being arbitrary
Or ari, lr1 i.l.
Thl fivcrcign declares and executes the
% ill ,i the people at large. He muff there-
tf r e hie ipricle, or uncontroulable by any
' it tl.ir number, or part of the people.
I i. .iutlioiity muff extend over all ranks,
( iiipIcl (iln all poffible cafes, and conclude
r vry particular diftriat. In this 'fenfe he
i. arbitraryy, or intrufted with the power of
n .'ii g and abrogating laws, within the
t11nir, which man's constitution, and the
,I,1. .1 r,. of morality prefcribe. But as the fo-
, ,i .i, whether hereditary or elective,
I" ,i.nii-,Tt or temporary, one or many acting
* ;-itt-r in one body, is intrufted with this
, ,rI for the benefit of the people, which
A 3 fup-


fuppofeth it to be exercifed for the general
good; therefore the law, or will of the
fovereign IL .uld be declared in general
tern... that it may affect individuals only by
inference in particular cafes, and conclude
the perfon of the fovereign in his ordinary
conduct, and individual caipcity, equally
with the fubjea.*
It is the general purpofe of every govern-
ment, that, in extraordinary cafes, conftitutes
the people judges of their fovereign's con-
du&, and juffifies them in refusing a power,
which, in refped of its end, muff be con-
fidered as delegated. Such a cafe happened
at the revolution, But the occasion may

This circumstance is carried to a great length in the
I'r ii if conflitution with the happieftl dl-t''. The Hopfe of
Pecr. helps to compofe the legislature; but each member, as
an individual, continues fubje& to the laws. The Houfe of
Commons p.1i. ft- for a time limited, a fhare in the legif-
lation; but each representative is a private citizen, under
the operation of the laws; and, after a time, the whole mixes
with the mafs of the people, to obey, as fubje&s, thofe
1 atutcs that they had af:fifed to frame. The perfon of the
king .idor, out i.t refpeft to his office, is not made the objef
of coi rive law. It is this mixed character of legiflator and
citi /, in our rulers that makes authority compatible with
freedom ; not the particular proportion of thofe who have
the privilege of i! .l.1, : them, or their numbers, or the
period for which te- in i have been chofen.


iaf.ly continue to be left, as it'was then, to
the feelings of the people. Dfigning men,
otherwise uhable to work themselves into
notice, are, under the mafk of patriotifm,
fo ready to fet up, at every trifle, a clamour
against government, to enhance their price,
or pave the way to their own ambition,
that a virtuous citizen will not eafily fuffer
himfelf to be drawn in to join the cry.
A free fate, then, is that in which known
laws bind equally fovereign and fubject.
A proclamation forbidding the exportation
of grain is an ad of power, refting on the
propriety of the meafure. A vote of credit
is as illegal a manner of raising money
on the fubjedt, as was formerly fhip-money,
or a benevolence; though it may not be
followed by all their bad confequences.
Both fhew a defend in the constitution which
wants to be correced by a general law,
prefcribing the proper condud in particular
exigencies. The law that fhut up Bofton
Port was hard, because particular. A law
to fhut up every port, where the revenue
laws are refifted, would be juft and equi-
table. Thus might a dictatorial authority,
(I mean a latent power to be occ.fioijly
A 4 called


called forth) which is neceffary in every
hate, be eftablifhed on a legal foundation,
and be kept from tranfgreffing its due
Families are, in the detail, what commu-
nities are at large, except that the head, or
mafler of the family, having a kind of
property, either continued or temporary,
in all under his roof, governs by the dictates
of discretion, rather than by known laws.
Still the good, even of the loweft member of
the family, muft be a co-operating principle.
And that family, whofe government ap-
proaches neareft to the regular imethd,
which prefcribed known rules fuppofe,
where the claims, and duty, or bufinefs, of

The cafes, for which it is nec., Lry to provide a di&atorial
power, miy eafily be forefeen, and be provided for in one
general statute, to he binding till the legislature can be af-
fembled to deliberate on the fubjeft. The circumstances that
make it proper to fufpend the Habeas Corpus Af, to open or
Jhut the ports, to lay eimbar.;:o-, to give a vote of credit,
may easily be enumerated. But arbitrary undefined power
has charms too alluring to be refined by ..nm, who find them-
felves in pfjiellioni of it. Even our Houfe of Commons,
while acting as ;U.rdi.,rl of the privileges of the people,
choofes to fubmtit its ri;ht of commitment, in cafes of con-
tempt, to the capricious decision of any ordinary magistrate,
rather than permit the circumstances of the claim to be- de-
fined by a pofitive law.


each individual is diftindtly afcertained,
will, on the whole, be beft managed, and
allow the perfons compofing it to enjoy the
greatest poffible freedom in their stations.
In this light the rank of mafler and fervant
is comprehended in that of family; fervants,
as a part of the family, are fubje&t to its
rules, and, as contributing to its eafe, are ia-
titled to its advantages. But as the agreement
between the after and fervant is voluntary ,
prefcribing the duty on one fide, and af-
certaining the wages on the other, it may
likewife be considered under the head of
employer and employed. The want, at firlt
view, appears to be reciprocal; but cuftom
has univerfally affixed to property the idea
of fuperiority over personal ability, or labour.
It is in this particular view, of emolument
of office, that magiftrates may be faid to be
the fervants of the people, though when their
authority, and not their maintenance, is con-
fidered, they may be faid to partake of
The poffeffing of materials, or a fubje& to
be improved for ufe by the kill or labour of
another, fuppofeth in the poffeffor a right
to prefcribe the manner in which that kill

is to be exercifed, or that labour performed;
and on allowing a certain reward or advantage
to the man, thus employed, to appropriate
to his (the poffeffor's) own ufe the labour, or
improved materials. This fuperiority is bal-
lanced on the fide of the workman, by his
being free to refuse or accept the condition.
It varies with the demand for labour, and
with the number of thelo, who offer them,
felves to the work; but mutual want and
mutual utility is the band that connects
them together.
Similar to this, is the relation between the
mechanic, or artizan, and his customer.
The artizan provides his own materials, and
works for the public: yet, though he fets
his own price on his workmanfhip; and the
cuflomer, without having made a previous
bargain, can only refuse or agree to the con-
dition, the consideration of having given
occasion for the employment, in moft cafes,
transfers the fuperiority to the customer.
In the cafe of the learned profeffions,
there is, indeed, fome variety; but the like
analogy of employment on the one fide,
and encouragement on the other, runs
through the whole. Particular perfons fltudy,


and make themselves ;I'|,luinted with
fckinces, that are g'n.r.lly ufcful, with a
vicwv of bKing enmpl.,yed by the public, and
of drawing a maintenance, and dc.ii ing
diftindion from the exercise of their federal
Religion, independent of its relation to
the Supreme Being, is fo n-cecffry to fupply
the defend of law, and to inforce obedience
to government by the influence of con-
fcience, that hitherto, in every polifhcd
fate, it has made a part of the constitution;
and because it is apt to be perverted to bad
purposes, by ill designing men, its profef-
fors have always been an important object
of the public attention.* They are fettled
in every little corner of the fate as monitors,
or cenfors of the people, and they have their
maintenance afcertained out of tlfe labours
of thofe, whom they are appointed to ex-

If it be objefed, that the original conflitution of federal
of the American provinces is an exception, it may be anfwered,
that thefe provinces were fettled under the prote&ion of a fate,
of whofe constitution an eflablithed religion made an eflential
part; and, at a period, when the hopes and fears offuturity had
a general influence, independent of public .i abliihrent: ; and
that they have not had a length of time, or, till within there few
laft years, been in circumstances to flew the genuine effects of
fgch a pcucli..[ri.

hort and iiftrut. Their support cannot,
any more than that of the magistrates, be
left by government to the voluntary choice
of the people, because thofe, who moft
need to be controuled by the ministry
of both, favour their inflitution left, and
would be far from contributing willingly to
their maintenance. It would be unjuft to
expe&, that the good citizen should alone be
taxed to support that magiftrate, whom the
conduct of the bad renders especially necef-
fary; or that the pious man alone should
contribute to maintain that minister, who,
as far as refpeds the fate, is eflablifhed
chiefly to moderate the profligacy of the
vicious. The loweft members of the ftate,
men infenfible of the neceffity of effablifh-
ment,, and generally unable to contribute
to them, yet at the fame time objects of
them, and poffeffing importance sufficient to
demand the public care, are the great con-
fideration in the institution of magiftrate and
miniffer. The public, therefore, muft efta-
blith equally, and maintain both. The clergy,
by their eftabliflhment, become fervants of
the public, for promoting order and good
conduct among the people, by the hopes and

fears of religion. As fuch tli-y have their
duty prefcribed, and their maintenance, and
rights, afcertained by law;, which fixes the
limits of each, and prevents their encroach-
Men are fo attentive to whatever regards
their health, or property; and the emolu-
ments, and difiintion, which accompany
eminence in the profeffions relating to
them, encourage fuch numbers to apply to
them, that government has feldom been
obliged to meddle with the pradice of law
or phyfic. A man applies to that physician,
or lawyer, who has his confidence; and he
muft exert kill and addrefs to preferve that
diftindion. Here the dependence and utility
are reciprocal, and adequate to the purpose.
Thefe profeffions, though a confequence of
society, yet refped each man chiefly as an
individual; on this account, except in
flagrant abufes, they are fafely left to private
interest, and private exertion. But religion,
in its eftablifhment, refpeding chiefly pub-
lic order, and private improvement only
as far as it is fubfidiary to the other, its pro-
feffors are considered as auxiliaries to the
magistrate, and thus, being fervants of the
fate, are supported at the public charge.


In the pjrofeflion of arms there is fome-.
thing more particular; but fill the general
analogy takes place. fn it one part of the
community comes under certain engage-
ments for the prefervation of the whole;
but the exigency is fuppofed to be preffing,
and the purpofe nation.i. When it is necef-
fary to eftablifh an army, the foldier becomes
obliged to obey his genera.l. Here the foldier
protects himfelf, his family, his country:
and to do this with effect, he fubmits to
fuch orders as are conducive to that end;
and in the exercise of his duty his country
cares for, and maintains, him. He, thercfire,,
is alfo the fervant of the public, and, as
fuch, is employed, and maintained by it;
being as neceffary, in time of peace, to pre-
ferve the little 'police that licentioufnefs
has fuffered to remain among us, as, in time
of war, to defend us from our enemies.
Now in the cafe of the laws, which refped
government and people, the rule is general,
fixed, and known, and equally binds the
foreign and citizen. Prejudice, caprice, or
intLrcfi, cannot single out an individual to
tyrannize over him. In the cafe of a family,
its ftriC union and affection bind it in one
common interest, and caufe the members to


rejoice or fuffer together. In the cafe of the
labourer or artizan, he being at liberty to
accept or refufe an offer from a particular
employer or customer, and this laft being
alfo free in making his agreement, and
obliged to comply with it, when determined
on; thefe conditions fecure both parties
equally from injury and oppreflion. In the
learned profeffions, the like circumstances
produce fimilar effects. Even in the pro-
feffion of arms an equality is prefcrved in the
compact, and fentiment and honours com-
penfate for the resignation of fome of the
privileges of citizenship.
But in the arbitrary relation of matiler and
flave, no law refrains the one, no election
or compact fecures the other. The maftiler
.may invade the deareft rights of humanity,
and trample on the plaineft rules of justice;
the flave cannot change his tyrant, or remon-
ftrate against the impropriety, perhaps im-
poffibility, of his tafk.
The authority which men allow to the
laws that govern them, has its foundation in
general utility, and the reafon of things:
and as all law is, or ought to be found-
ed on our constitution, it, according to
what has been obferved, draws its ultimate

fan&ion from the God of nature, and thus
interests confcience in the obedience due to
it. Here the equality and comprehenfive-
nefs of the rule fecure the individual from
opprefflon; he can be affeded only together
with the community, or when he puts him-
felf in the cafe forbidden generally by the
law. Hence it is that all Bills of Attainder
muft carry oppreffion and injuftice in their
very form, being calculated not for general
utility or prevention, as laws should be,
but for particular deftrution; not for guard-
ing against crimes, but for creating them.
The deference claimed by the employer or
customer, and the refpe& paid by, or to
the learned profeffions, according to the
rank of the perfons concerned, have their
foundation in the regard fhewn to wealth,
learning, or power; and their excefs is
guarded against by the nature of the com-
pad, and the power of affent lodged with
the labourer, artizan, or inferior perfon.
Now as far as the deference refpeding the
employer extends, it fuppofeth as real a
fuperiority, limited only in its operation to
the defign thereof, as that of after over
flave; and as it arifeth from the ranks into
which fociety univerfally feparates men, it


may be called focial fervitude, which mult
take place in the freeft latee*
Here the fervant makes his compact
with the master, or fuperior, and frames it
to agree with his feelings, and to fall in with
his abilities; and when the terms of his
agreement are fulfilled, his time and his
enjoyments are in his own power. But in
the flavery of our coloniu, the a1rger part
of the community is literally facrificed to
the lefs; their time, their feelings, their
perfons, are fubject to the inrti.L, the
caprice, the fpite of masters and their fub-
ftitutes, without remedy, without recom-
penice, without propects. This may be
called artificial fervitude, unprofitable to the

In the contest between Britain and America, it may be
remarked, that the friends of the latter contended not for the
eq ualit r i men, considered as indiidiI.. un,:neci-.. in
society, till mut,.lI benefit b.rougi hi tihern together, and formed
the diilin.t.ion of ranks; f,:.r in this li.ht Americans have
made as irc'nli,-r re rtm.ilers to as n.iFer .le l1 ": can
any where be found. But they contended for th., print dual
Ctu.Ilit, ..tf all men, with an exception to th'Ir or. iti l'ae.
And again, to fapport the argument, they v.ere obliged to
flippofe fociety di ll,. ed, and men reduced to that folitary,
favage rate, where fuch equality only .,n take place For
society cannot be maintained, even in idea., but by the ine-
tIu:dlity of condition, and various ranks neceffarily auillrig
from the focial conipa&..-So eafy is it for men to take fuch
parts of reafoning as beft fuit their prefent purpofe.


-public, burdenfome even to the after,
intolerable to the fervant, repugnant to hu-
A law, for the purpofe of police, may direa
the ftrength and industry of the citizens to
a particular object; as when it cncouragei,
by a.temporary monopoly, the eftabliflhment
of a certain ftaple or manufacture; nay, for
purposes which refpect the fate, it may in
certain points, and for a certain period, fub-
jet. the perfon of one man to another, as
in forming an army. But We cannot fuppofe
a law that hall fubjed the perfon of one man
to the private purposes of another, with-
out once ltipul.iting the extent of the au-
thority, the nature of the service, or the
fiffliciency of the recompence. Such a law,
by putting, perhaps, the greater part of the
community out of the proteCtion of all law,
would be inconfiftent with the notion of
society. For the prime defign of fociety is
the extension of the operation of law, and
the equal treatment and proteCtion of the
citizens. Slavery, therefore, being the ne-
gation of law, cannot arife from law, or be
compatible with it. As far as flavery pre-
vails in any community, fo far'muft that
community be defeCtive in anfwering the


purposes of fociety. And this we affirm to
be in the highest degree the cafe of our
colonies. Slavery, indeed, in the manner
wherein it is found there, is an unnatural
fate of oppreffion on the one fide, and of
suffering on the other; and needs only to be
laid open or exposed in its native colours,
to command the abhorrence and opposition
of every man of feeling and fentiment.

S E C T. II.
Madter and Slave in ancient Times.
We are taught, by the higheft authority,
that iMo\l^ adapted federal of his institutions
to the particular difpofition of his country-
men. He did not attempt to prohibit
fla\vry among them, perhaps, because they
were not then more ripe for it, than for the
indiffoluble band of matrimony; but while
he allowed them to make flaves of the con-
quered Canaanites and their pofterity, he
endeavoured to render their lot eafy, .nd the
behaviour of mafters humane. Indeed, in the
early ages, it is in a manner peculiar to him,
and the Athenian legislators, (of whom here-
after) to have paid in the cafe of flaves a
proper attention to the referved and unalien-
able rights of human nature.
B 2 He

He enacs, that there flould be one law,
one rule of justice for the native and for the
lcranger; which is in dired opposition to
fome of. our colony laws, where the evidence
of even a free African will not be taken
against a white man. He fecures good ulage
to the flave, by commanding, that if his maf-
ter, in beating him, ftrike out but a single
tooth, he fall have his freedom. He or-
dains the perfon.,l flavery of every Jew
to terminate in the beginning of the fev, nth,
or fabbatical year, whether near at hand, or
diftant, when that commenced. He guards
effeaually against a groveling flavifh spirit
among his people, by condemning him to
perpetual flavery, who, inticed by kind treat-
ment from his after, should fhow a dif-
reigard of this noble privilege of the fabba-
tical year. He calls repeatedly on his peo-
ple to remember, that they themselves had
been flaves in Egypt; and, therefore, from
motives of fellow-feeling should make the
condition of their flaves eafy and agreeable to
them. He bids them treat well ftrangers of
one country, because they had been firangers
in their land; others, becauIe they were of
the fame lineage with themselves. He tells


them, that the inflitution of a weekly fabbath
had in contemplation, the benevolent pur-
pofe of giving reft to the wearied flave, and
a refpite from toil, even to the wearied ox.
Among thofe nations that had not the
light of revelation to dire& their condu&,
the Athenians deferve the. firft place: they
were indulgent, eafy, and kind to their flaves,
when compared with their neighbours.
And well this condefcenfion became a peo-
ple, who, by mere force of genius, advanced
human nature much nearer to perfedion
than any other nation. That their good fenfe
did not, in every particular, carry them to
that equality of behaviour towards their
flaves, which humanity might exple, or be-
nevolence fuiLcft, is not fo much to be
wondered at, 'as that they should be able to
oppofe the example of all their neighbours
for capricious feverity, and in the chief lines
of their conduct refpecting fuch ill-fated
being-, should give occafion to the obferva-
tion, that the life of a flave at Athens was
much happier than that of a freeman in
any other Grecian fate.
If Athenian flaves were tre.ited with cruel-
ty by their mafters, they might claim pro-
B 3 teaion


te&ion in the Temple of Thefeus: there
they remnincd in safety till the fubjecd of
complaint could be tried at law. Nor, in
that cafe, did the law ruin, or refufe to re-
lieve, thofe whom it pretended to allill;
for justice was distributed to rich and poor
at the expence of the public. If the com-
plaint of the. flave was found to be jufl,
the master was obliged to affign over his
service to fome other perfon. Slaves could
demand an exchange of matters, if their
matter had made any attempt on their
chastity. The law alfo gave them protec-
tion and remedy, in their own names and
perfons, againil every injury thit might
have been done them by any citizen, not
ih ir inaler.
Atliciain flaves were not rc-lraincd in any
of thl common amusements of society.
Thcy were .illuo- wd to acquire property, on
paying their masters a certain yearly rate.
If .dilc to purchase their freedom, they might
dtiiimlnd it of their master for a dett mined
price. Thlicir masters sometimes, the 1"ate
often, rewarded their fcrv'ice and fidelity with
f'reed.. n,; in particular, after having been
once employed in war, they were fure to be

nrade free. Contrary to the policy of modern
times, the Athenians deemed no man fit to
defend the fate, but him who was worthy to
be a member of it.
The Athenians reaped the advantage of
their moderation and humanity. For though,
by the loweft calculation, their country con-
tained three grown male flaves for one free-
man, notice is taken, in their history, of
only one infurreaion among their miners;
and once, in time of war, of a con-
liderable number who defeated from their
mafters, and abandoned the country. On
the other hand, their neighbours, the Spar-
tans, who, through a wantonly cruel policy,
were continuually liarraffing, ill treating,
opprelling, nay, to keep their hands ac-
cutiomed to blood, butchering their flaves,
were held in conftant alarms by them, and
often were brought into extreme danger, by
their desperate attempts to regain their
liberty. Yet the condition of flaves among
the Spartans, from the circumftance of their
being generally the property of the pub-
lic, and attached to the foil, more readily
admitted of univerfil relaxation and in-
dulgence, than it did among the Athenians,
where they were chiefly private property.
13 4 The


There is fuch a conformity, not only in
thefe, but other particulars, btwccn the
laws of Mofes, enaded during the fabulouL
ages of Greece, and thefe laws, eflablifhed
in its improved fate, long after that time,
by a people defervedly celebrated, as the
beft cultiv.atid, the moll fenfible, and
humane .-imong the ancient nations, as might
have fecured to that great man a little more
rcfpect than he in common meets with,
among the wits and reafoners of the present
age; who, while they deny his divine mif-
fion, in that denial, muff acknowledge his
forefight, his benevolence, his knowledge
of the human heart, above every character
in antiquity. For his laws continue, at
this day, to be obeyed by a confiderable peo-
pli, in the moft inconvenient circum-
flanccs, while all other laws of former ages
are loft in the gulph of time, or are only
to be found in fragments in old neile-ced
Fvrn th.: law that abfolves a after for fl:..ing hi: flave,
in the cafe of his not dying till two days after the ftroke,
bears a living analogy to that tendernefs in the common law
of England, that .iiltinguiih-i between homicide and murder,
pnd, as it were loth to find the culpT-it guilty, takes the


In the infant ftate of Rome, flaves
worked, and licvd with their imalers, with-
out much dillintction of rank or ufage.
But in proportion as luxury increased among
the Romans, the condition of their flaves
funk gradually down to the loweft degree of
wretchednefs and mifery. And indeed fuch
reprefentations as the flttue of the dying
gladi.itor, which exhibits the life of a brave
ufeful man facrificed, not to the safety of
his country, but to the barbarous whim of,
perhaps, the moft wvorthlefs Let of men that
ever were affembled together in one place;*
deadlinefs of the weapon into account; and it fhews, that
among the Jews, the magiirate interpofedbetween the after
and his flave; which, in fome of our colonies, has not been
the cafe, even when bliockling circumftlaces of murder have
loudly called for it.
In what an amiable point of view doth the following
incident place the Athenians, even in their latter degenerate
fate ? Some fycophants of the Romans, then their mailers,
had proposed to them, in. a public affembly, to imitate their
lorJ in the exhibition of fhows of prize fighters, and gladi-
atcrs in their theatres. A worthy citizen, who was prefnt,
affected to applaud the flattering meafure, and requested his
fellow-citizens only firft to accompany him and help him to
throne, down the altar, which, in their better times, they had
eredcud to mercy. That fenfible people felt immediately
the grave rebuke; and were the onl% flite in Greece, that
had courage to forbear imitating the barbarity of their


the fiiandaloui1 traffic that the elder Cato
carried on in the natural feelings of his
flaves, his getting them adrift to ftarve in
their old age,* when they could no longer
be ferviceable to him, the condemning of
them to fifh-ponds for trivial faults; all thefe
things muft fill every reflefing man with
fuch abhorrence of, and indignation at, the
conduct of the Romans, in the character of
masters, in their advanced fate of empire,
as muft prove them unworthy of being
drawn into example, except to be execrated
for their condua. While they fancied them-
felves lords of the world, they forgot that
they were men; while they ind~ulgcd their
amusement, they flified their humanity,
Indeed, what could be expected from a peo-
ple capable of receiving a law, that, accord-

How inconfiftent with himfelf is man. lie, who, in
his own conduct, 'could debate himfelf by fuch a&s of mean-
nefs and cruelty, when Cenfor, degraded Lucius, the brother
<.I I'laminius, because he had indulged the capricious curiosity
of a favourite boy, with the fcene of a man dying a violent
Ji at.. in the perfon of a flave, whom, for that purpol.,
he Il.. .. with his own hand.-The traffic referred to above,
was his :.tl.ing up his female flaves, and hiring them out, by
the night, to fuch males as could lay down a certain prik" fon


ing to the ufual interpretation of it, in a
cafe of infolvency, ordained a fellow-citizen
to be cut piece meal, and be divided amlnong
his creditors ?
But how miier:.ble the condition of flaves
ingeneral was among the ancients, may be
collected from the opinion and exjin1ple of
that benevolent and difcreet ph il"o kpher,
Plutarch, who yet has very freely ccnfurcd
the inhuman behaviour of others. He af-
fures us, that the only effetual way of ma-
naging a flave is by the discipline of the
whip; that a iLve is inc:ipa.bl of underflanding
any arguments, except ftripes, and a chain.
And agreeably to this opinion he is intro-
duced to us, as in a Lh.r.acteriitic action of
his life, fhel ing how coolly a philofopher
could flea the back of a poor fric-dles,, help-
lefs wret'.h.* Farther, Demnofthenes, who,

The hMilor. is this: He had ordered the flave to be cor-
reded. The fellow muttered; and obferved, that a man,
like his after, who pretended to af the Philofopher, and to
hold all his pa1llc.n and affecions equally poifed, behaved
in a manner unbecoming his charader, when, on any poffible
provocation, he fell into fuch a paffion with a poor flave,
as could be fatiated only by flaflhing and cutting him un-


in every thing refpeating the freedom, and
lldradcter of his country, feems inspired with
the very genius of liberty, lays it down as
a maxim not to be controverted, that the
highest evidence, and testimony moft to be
depended on, is what is forced out of a
flave by torture.
Adrian is the firfl on record, who, by an
edict, deprived the maflcr of the power of
life and dcath in his family. As the bene-
volence of the Chriftian religion, about
his time, had fecretly, yet univerfally, in-
finuated itfelf into the fentiments, and tinc-
tured the reafoning, of the learned; and as
he was more fond of the title of Philofo-
phlLr than of Emperor, it is beyond con-
jecure, that this edict, at that particular

mercifully with a whip. Plutarch, quibbling with the wretch,
observes, in anfwcr, that paflion generally had marks by
which its presence was denoted: an elevated tone, a flushing'
countenance, a threatening look; could he have any of thefe,
or the violence that they expreffed, who argued the nmater
with all the calmnefs of a floic. And as the executioner
had interrupted his firokes, waiting for the-ilrue of the
difcourfe, he coolly bids him proceed in 'Lis inerhod of incul-
rtin.'. knowledge by the whip, while he and Syrus difcuffed
the fubje&. 'hili.pi illy. But a man mull have fpent fome
time in the southern provinces of North America, or our fugar
colornini, to be able to imagine the fcene,


time, owed its origin to revealed religion;
and within a fhort period after this, perlbnal
slavery, by the iime influence, was aLoliflied
throughout the emrpiJc'.


rIafler and Slave in Gothic Times.

The inundation of the northern nations,
that broke into the Roman Empire, and the
feudal tenures that were introduced by it,
gave rile to a new species of slavery in Eu-

Raynall afferts, that the abolition of slavery and Paga
nifm, by edia, in the time of C..-ril tin.., brought on the
ruin of the Roman Empire. Doubtlefs every violent change
in, a fate, muft bring danger with it. But, perhaps, it %ill
be difficult for anY, but a modern phlilofopher, who follows
Hume in his paradoxes, to conceive how the extenfwn of
fentiment and freedom floulh. Ipread ruin among a people.
That empire had b,'cun to nod to its fall. long before this
charge could have pr,.duJcd any ctfed. The univerfal de-
generacy of manners, the contempt of religion, the preva-
lence of Epicurean notions, the difre..irJ of nation.il cha-
rader, the effeminac) of the soldiers, their lofs of dilciplint,
the inlla.bilit. of the government, and the natural course of
human grandeur, are sufficient to account for the downfal
of that Efbric, under the rude fhock of surrounding favages.
That Chrillianity produced this effea of abolilhing flavery,
is the opinion alfo of Fletcher; for which fee Se&. IV. of this


rope, the remains of which are yet to be
found, particularly in Denmark and Poland.
But it appears, that, in general, this flavery
confilled in obliging the conquered nations
to cultivate their own lands, and render to
the conquerors fuch a part of the produce
as they thought proper to ascertain. This
condition naturally connedled the labourers
with the foil which they cultivated;, and it
rofe into a cuflom to transfer them together
from one proprietor to another: and, doubt-
lefs, there were many reduced alfo to the
condition of domestic flaves. But, like
the Swedifh prisoners made at the battle of
Pultowa, they became the teachers and re-
formers of their masters. And as thefe were
by degrees converted to religion and won to
civilized life, fo this fate offubordination went
on approaching gradually to the condition of
equality, or rather of that reciprocal social
dependence, which we have flewn muft exift
between the fervant and after. And among
the many fad things that we every day hear
of popes, priests, and prieftcraft,- this muft
be acknowledged to their credit, (they are
indeed charged with it by their enemies) that
their influence was conflantly ufed with the


converts, to procure the manumilion, or
at leaft the humane treatment of their flA.Cs.
Such has been confn.mtly the natural ethcct of
Chrillianity, in every poflible form, to
flour personal as well as mental liberty,
till the gradual improvement of society, the
extension of fentiment, and fluctuation of
property, become sufficient to change per-
fonal flavery into a voluntary compact of fer-
vice and fidelity on the one fide, of wages and
protedion on the other: a compact, which
fuppofcth that fate of mutual dependence
efTential to polif ed fociety, and which
may be con fidcred as entering originally
into the plan thereof, and I truft is not entirely
out of fight in the cafe of which we treat.*
Indeed this latter flavery, in its worfl date,
muff, after the conversion of the mailers, have
been far preferable to the ancient flavcry of the
he.ithens, or the modern flaveryofthe negroes
in theEuropea.n colonies. TheChriftian flaves
of Chriftiin masters were considered as en titled
to certain rights, on which a maiflr could
The Banians in India are, at this day, supplied with
flaves from Abyffinia. But as foon as they are brought home,
they are treated as children of the family; thed 5r ii',ll, Ut,'tL
in fome ufeful trade; they are allowed to r.i lc families, and
maintain them with the profits of their labour, with which the
matter meddles not.


not encroach: particularly, the making of the
ceremony of marriage a religious folemnity,
and its obligations of confequence indidlb-
luble, except by death, drew after it all the
claims and rights of a family. Their wor-
fl-ipping at the fame altar, and thcir being
considered as entitled, equally with their
mailers, to all the spiritual advantages an-
nexed to the profcftion of Chriltianity,
were circumflances which the priefis were
careful to ule to the bell advantage in their
favour: and, in an age, wherein the pro-
mifes and threats of religion influenced, at
leaf, the outward conduct of the people,
and its do&lrine. maiLd generally a part of the
rcafliiing in, ufe;* when its miniifl.rs were
held in honour, and their injunctions car-
ried with them reverence and authority for
their Mafaler's fake, thefe were effectual and
prevailing topics. The people alfo reaped
advantages from thefe disputes between the

Thin ii., eceedingly well e.-mplified in what is called the
truce of God or the church, when the fabbathi, and lblernn
times, and f..lli\al: of the church, gave a lepilte to thfei
cruel depredations and murders that eich villagee tyrant or
lord of a cattle, thofe former felf-erected leglliioi thought
himfelf permitted, at other times, to perpetrate among his


kings and their barons. Kings favoured the
liberty of burghers and peasants, because
every individual abfolved of his allegiance
to a baron, was an auxiliary detached from
an enemy or rival lord.*
Had Europe, as a much diftinguilhed quar.
ter of the globe, reaped no other focial ad-
vantage from the eftablifhment of Chrifti-
anity than the abolition of flavery, this
benefit alone would have been immenfe;
the fuperiority gained by it over the reft of
the world would have been incredible.
And with what flame and forrow muff we
remark, that mlhe, who has been raised fo
high above her fellows, by the influence of
this heaven-defcended liberty, at this day is,
and, for more than two centuries paft, has

Though, in many cafes, this was only changing one ty-
rant for another; yet the people favoured the meafure, because
they have conflantly found an oppreffor intolerable in the in.
verfe ratio of his rank and extent of power. A poor man,
opprefling the poor," faith Solomon, is like a sweeping
rain," he leaves no food. To give security to the members
Sof any fate, the community muit be of that extent and
power which will make it refpeEtable among its neighbours;
and its governors muft be removed fo far from the level of
other citizens, that private interest or refentment may not
fenfibly influence their public condud. But this can hardly
ever be the cafe in fall states.
C been,


been, ftriving with all the venturous energy
of a commerce i1 fpirit, to eftablifh flavery
in. the new world; in a region, where the
curfe of flavery was unknown, till, through
an infernal love of gold, fhe introduced and
fixed it? But when the Englifh, (for though
the Portiigucfce and Spaniards had tranfported
Africans more early to their American fet-
tlements; yet Hawkins, an Engliflunan, is
faid firft to have given occafion for the pre-
fent inhuman trade) a nation moft highly
favoured of liberty, is viewed as taking the
lead in this odious traffic, and as bending
down the foul in utter darknefs, the more
effedtually to enflave the body; freedom
nituf blulh indignantly, while humanity
mourns over the reproachful tale.* Would

It muft fill the reader with very ferious refleftions, to
be told, that, fince the year 1759, the Britifh African trade
has been, in a great piuportion, turned to the fupplying of
the French islands with flaves. This has given a moft rapid
improvement to their fugar plantations; and there is laid a
lu1Ini.tion for fuch a naval force, as if not guarded against in
time may :a' engc humanity on our nation for this shocking
traffic, which it has carried on to a greater extent than all
the rell of ELuropc,- wi th peculiar circumstances of barbarity
and cruelty


God we might indulge the hope, that
the fame people, who firft riveted, might allb
firft cut auLinder, the iron chain which dif-
graces our nature and nation, in the weftern
world; and that a people, who have rifqued
their own exiftence, frequently, as a fate,
to keep one continental tyrant from ridding
the world of another, might at laft have
wifdom to render themselves rich and pow-
erful, by reaforing to liberty, and recover-
ing to fociety and reafon, the exiled fons
of Africa!* But

In the month of March 1783, the following circumstances
came out in the trial of a cafe of insurance at Guildhall.
An ignorant after of a flave-fllip had overshot his port,
Jamaica, and was afraid of wanting water before he could
beat up again to the ifland. He himfelf fell fick. In the
courfe of his illnefs, he ordered his mate, who was the
man that gave the evidence, to throw overboard 46 flames,
hand-cuffed; and he was readily obeyed. Two days after he
ordered 36 more to be thrown after them, and after two dal:,s
more another parcel of 40. Ten others, who had been per-
mitted to take the air on deck, unfettered, jumped into the
fea indignantly after them. The ihip, after all, brought
Vnto port 480 idlon, of water.- Can humanity im igine that
it was meant, in any poffible circumstances, to fubmit the fate
of fuch numbers of reasonable creatures to the reveries of
a fick monfter; or that his brutal instrument Ihould dare to
boat of his obedience, and ever, do it with impunity, in the
higheft criminal court of the bei .in foi m.cd people of Europe ?
The Incas of Peru conquered to polish and improve.
When they came to 4 brutifh people, who could not readily
C z apprehend


But before I consider flavery as it has been
introduced and eftablifhed by Europeans
in the weftern world, I hall lay before the
reader a plan of that celebrated friend to
liberty, Fletcher, of Saltoun, for reducing

apprehend their inftru&ions, Lei us turn, faid they, from the-c
incorrigible animals, and feek out a people worthy of being
our scholars. The favages of America are fo wholly without
the conception of the pollibility of one man's being submittedd
to the will of another, that they know no medium between
roafting their prifoners, and adopting them into their f.amilie4.
The Europeans, fettled in the fame country, could traverfe
the vaft Atlantic to :.- the for, enflave, and fell, wretches
unknown to them, who never injured them; nay, could
keep working in iron chains their own unhappy countrymen
Cent among them: while they boat of having vindicated
for themfcives, as the natural inheritance of freedom, a total
inti pendence on all authority not c-I initino from them-
ilvk.. Reafon, as found in practice among men, is but a
nuoer, when feiparated from interuft.-It is but juftice due to
the ". I I ,;t n proprietors to obl erve that the planters of
tubac o onkd rice, in America, in common, not only treated their
Aricean I..-., and Fi'gEfll .1 ,i\,.-, but even fober, honeft
it.*, lo, who, to p.y tor their ,.ujl..-e fli-n Europe, had been
ihilig, i to fell their service for five years, with full as much
', r .* am was ,r i- 1.. I only on Africans in the fugar islands;
ld, ml was inctxcunble, in a country where provisions coft
ab i h rnly, tvn pinched them in Lheir food. Indented fer-
ant ~ were tied up, .:.d laflied cruelly on the moft trifling
, ...... 'I ) ..-.e-, made to drag iron rings of ten or twelve
pound, ,..' ihn. hamurmed round their ancles, and fleep as
they could, with heavy iron chains and crooks round their


his country back into the ancient fate of
after and flave, in order to obviate fome
temporary inconveniences imagined to arife
from freedom. And as he does this with
an appearance of reafoning, and, indeed,
fuggefts things that would be exceedingly
proper to be attended to, in the firft dawn-
ings of liberty; I fall at once consider his
proposal, and add fuch observations as na-
turally arife from it.

S E C T. IV.

After and Slave, as proposed for Scotland,
Anno 1698.

Soon after the revolution, Scotland was af-
flited with four or five fucceffive unfruitful
years, that, in its then improvident method
of agriculture, reduced it to a fate of
famine, which is fill remembered under
the name of the Dear Tears. Many died of
want, and thousands, all over the country,
were reduced to beggary; the Highlanders,
especially, fuffered greatly, and came down
and overfpread the low-lands; and, where
C 3 they

they did not fucceed by begging, made no
fcruple to fleal and rob, to fupply their wants.
In this situation of things, when the poor
were numerous, few manufactures eftablifh-
ed, and the fisheries lay neglected, did
Fletcher propofe his plan of flavery, found-
ing it on a ftatute enacted Anno 1579, which
empowered any fubject of sufficient estate
to take the child of any beggar, and educate
him for his own service, for a certain term
of years, which term was extended Anno
1597 for life.
He obferves, that hiftory makes no men-
tion of .poor or beggars in ancient times,
because all the poor, being flaves, were main-
tained by their own mafters. He fays, no
modern late, except Holland, by the aid of
its manufactures, has been able to employ
or maintain its poor: that this new burthen
has been brought on fociety by churchmen,
who either by mistake or design have con-
founded things fpiritual and temporal, and
all good order, and good government, by re-
commending it to mafters to fave their fouls,
by getting at liberty fuch of their flaves as
should embrace the Chriflian faith; in con-
tradition to our Saviour, who was far from

ufing temporal advantages to enforce eternal
truths; and to St.- Paul, \\ho, I Cor. vii.
pofitively gives the preference to slavery.
Hence we date hospitals, alms-houfes, and
contributions; burdens, which we find fo
heavy on the community, and fo inadequate
to the purpofe.
He fates the common objedions urged
against flavery; that men are equal by nature;
that it is unjuft to fubmit the feelings and
happinefs of the major part of a commu-
nity, to the opprefflon and barbarity of the
few; and that the tyrant, who enflaves his
country, has the fame plea for profecuting his
ambitious views, that a rich man can offer
for bringing his fellows into bondage to him.
He anfwers thefe by dillinguilhing between
political and domestic flavery, affirming that
the latter has been disgraced, by having been
confounded with the other, which alone de-
ferves the name of flavery, as being fub-
mitted, not to law, which may regulate
domeffic flavery, but to a jealous tyrant's
caprice: that it is the interell of every
master to ufe his flaves well, in order that he
may reap the full advantage of their labour;
that occasional deviations from the fug-
C 4 geftions

geftions of this prudence may be prevented
by proper laws and regulations, and by the
watchful care of a judge appointed for that
He fhews the advantages which would
accompany this eftablifhment, by ftating
what was the cafe in ancient times. The
ancients had no poor caft loofe on the pub-
lic. They could, without poffeffing much
other wealth, undertake, with their flaves,
great public and private works: and this
manner of employing their flaves and their
wealth, preferved among them a fimplicity
of manners, and living, not othe;wife to
be accounted for. Mafters knew nothing of
the vexation of hired fervants, who, after
having been educated at a great expence for
a man's service, will leave him on the molt
trifling occasion. Their flaves, in hopes
of obtaining their liberty, had an emula-
tion to pleafe; and their being able to pof-
fefs nothing, took away that temptation to
pilfer, fo commonly the propenfity of hired
fervants, and, indeed, sometimes rendered
neceffary for them to support their families.
He propofeth that vagabonds, and fuch
poor as cannot maintain themselves, be pro-


portioned out to men of a certain eflate, to
be employed in their grounds, that their
children be brought up to fuch ufeful manu-
factures as can be carried on at home; and
that the public may not, in any cafe, lofe
the benefit of their labour, they and their
children fall be transferable for ever.*

Vagabond beggars are a nuifance which call loudly for
redrefs, and which every well regulated fociety will exert
itfelf to get rid of. Let every vagabond be considered as the
property of the public. Let a day be fixed, by proclama-
tion, for apprehending them throughout the kingdom. Let
their service be fold for even years to fuch as have employ-
ment for them. Let the money got for the ftrong be given
with the weak. If, at the expiration of their flavery, they
thew a difpofition to fettle, and can make a private bargain
with any refponfible perfon, who will anfwer to the public
for their behaviour, and will take them to work on the
footing of free labourers, let them be discharged. This
will excite them to be honeft and faithful. Slavery, ex-
cept for a crime that forfeits life, should not be for life,
that it may not perpetuate flavery in their children. Every
vagabond child should be brought up to fome ufeful calling,
and be free at thirty years of age. They all, when restored
to freedom, fhould.be allowed a settlement.
A particular magistrate should fuperintend their treatmcrt,
hear, and decide on their and their mailers complaints. If at
the termination of any period of flavery, they be found un-
worthy of freedom, let them be fold anew. If purchafers
do not offer, let them be divided by lot, and their children
be apprentices. Coarfe, wholefome food should be allotted
them, the kind and minimum being fixed by law.


He thinks the after should not have
power over the life of his fervant, but should
answer for it with his own. lHe should not
torture or mutilate him: if convided of fuch
ill treatment, he should free his flave, and

If parifltes were obliged to improve their commons, there
would be full empllo ment for them ; and every thief, being
firfl marked, should be added to the number. When restored
to freedom, they might have a cottage and garden give'
them, in full right, which they may prepare during the
time of their fervitude.
Such a fate would be far beyond the condition of a vaga-
bond, a wretch, that regards neither divine nor human laws,
but wallows is every impurity and low vice, Thefe regula-
tions, properly purfued for one generation, would annihilate
the evil; the very dread of being fold, and working at the
,will of another, would recover the greatest part of them to
labour and fociety. But this remedy should be ftri&ly con-
fined to thieves and vagabonds, and only while they continued
At present our poor laws are calculated to encourage lazinefs,
by fuppoirting an idli man in as much plenty as" him who
labours and gets his bread honeilly. When fick, the poor
oinuld be tenderly cared for; but when only idle they Thould
have a fcanty coarfe fare, and clothes made up of patches, to
make their situation irkfome to them. Thofe that have large
families should have every reasonable indulgence, and the
burden of their children should be made eafy to them. All
single ftrollers flould be ftri&ly dealt with. Wherever the
indolence of thofe that are supported by charity is fufpe&ed,
their pittance Ihould not be given in money, but in food, from
day to day; and there Ihould, as in hospitals, be rate4 of full,
half, and third allowance.


fix a penfion on him. The fervant's family
Should be provided for in clothes, diet, and
lodging. His children should be inftrudted in
the principles of morality and religion, be
taught to read, and be furnifhed with proper
books. They hall not work on Sundays;
but have liberty to go to church. In every
circumfiance, but that of not poffeffing
property, and their labour being direled at
the will of another, they fall not be under
the rule of their mafilers, but the protection
of the law. When grown, by age, ufelel'
to their mafters, they hall be received into
public hospitals. If their master, on any
account, make them -free, he fall either
accommodate them with a penfion, or put
them in a way of living, that will keep them
from becoming burden ome to the public.
To check the abule of power in the master,
a magiffrate should be appointed to fee that
justice be done them.
Now, however inadmiffible fuch a fate
of fervitude may be, in a country where li-
berty is the eftablifhed birth-right of the
loweft member of the community, yet,
would heaven, that the slavery in our fugar
colonies were only what is here proposed.


We mull then drop many of our objections
againft it. Still the arg:1inuts against this
degree of it are unanfwerable.
He fuppofeth that a fenfe of interest will
prevent the abufe of power in the after,
There cannot be a fairer dedudion in theory,
(which was all that he could have to go
upon) nor is there one more falfe in fad.
Even should we afcribe the treatment which
Africans meet with from their mafters,
not wholly to an abufe of power, but, in
fome meafure, alfo to a perfuafion, whether
it be true or falfe, that because of
their inferiority we are not obliged to treat
them well; how comes it that fober, in-
dented, white fervants, are treated with
equal, perhaps superior cruelty by their
North American masters; in confequence of
which, not more than one in five furvives
even a temporary flavery of five years, in a
condition to fettle a habitation and family
for himfelf? Revenge for contradiction or
faults in an inferior, whether' real or inia-
gined, will not allow the cooler affedions
of the mind to operate, but drives at once,
like an eagle on its helplefs prey, heedlefs
how far the avenger himfelf may be involved
in the mifchief.


Nor, though his magiftrate be an exceed-
ing proper and neceffary check, would he,
or could he, if ever fo impartial and watch-
ful,. be able to enfure good ufage to fervants,
from the ignorant, the parsimonious, the
luxurious, the extravagant, the capricious,
the paflionate, the fpiteful matter. In a
thoufand ways may they be, and they daily
are, tormented, which no law can provide
against, no care can poffibly remedy.
His diftinaion between political and do-
meftic flavery, except wherein they refpect
different objects, is imaginary and incon-
clufive, when applied to individuals; or
whatever difference there is, will be found
to conclude ag:nifl the latter. The great
tyrant has not the opportunity of exercising
his luff of oppreffion over individuals, ex-
cept they ftand oppofed to his power; and
a quiet man may, in an extenfive country,
pafs his time tolerably eafy and fecure under
the moft arbitrary government. But the
domeftic tyrant can teize and torment every
wretch fubmitted to his power, every mo-
ment of their lives. They cannot eat or
fleep, but when and how he plcafeth. Every
feeling, every indulgence, is held at his

pleafure; and too often he feels a fpiteful
amusement, an infernal delight, in unnecef-
farily imbittering their miferable cup, even
at the expence of his own eafe and interest.
That the heavenly Preacher of peace and
good will towards men, should be fuppofed
to have encouraged an unnatural fate of
fociety, which, in its very inftitution, muft
counteract in the superior every benevolent
inclination from man to man; and muft go
far to fupprefs in the inferior every defire
after that intellecual improvement, and
heavenly happinefs, to point out the way
to which was the very defign of his hu-
miliation; is fuch blafphemy againft the
divine goodnefs and condefcenfion of his
miffion, and is fo flatly contradicted by the
whole tenor of his doctrine, as to be utterly
unworthy of any anfwer. St. Paul again is
preffed into the service of flavery, against
the plain grammatical fenfe of the expref-
fion in the original, and the whole fcope
of his argument: of fo much more weight
than truth is the driving of a favorite point.
After generally remarking, that, notwith-
fianding any fuppofed particular inconve-
niences, political happinefs, by the extension


of freedom, has been extended far beyond
what the warmeft imagination could con-
ceive; we may allow churchmen in the com-
pany of their Mafter and his apoftle, to reft
fatisfied with the blame of having been the
means of abolishing flavery; and may hope
that this writer's authority, in this cafe, may
fland them in fome lead against that more
general reproach caft on them of their be-
ing the worfhippers of power in whatever
hands it is found.
By depriving a fervant of property, as he
propofes, we know, that, in fad, you make
him carelefs and defperate. The beft way of
fecuring his fidelity and honefty, is to con-
trive that he may have property to care for
and fear the lofs of. If a flave has defeated
the plantation, the moft effeaual way to
bring him back is to give out, that you mean,
if he does not return, by fuch a day, to pull
his houfe down. He remarks that the High-
landers of his days were favage thieves and
beggars, because fubjea to their chieftains;*
and would not his eftablifhment of the like
fubje&ion in the civilized low-lands, in time,
produce the like effeas ? A Chriflian would
refolve the filence concerning the poor in


the hea.then world, to their not being deemed
an object either of hiflory or philosophy;
or to that common tie between man and
in.m, which revelation inculcates, not be-
ing then acknowledged, to make the relief
of their dittrcfs a matter of duty or merit.
But if no poor were then supported by
private benevolence, was no mifery therefore
felt? What were the early feditions at Rome,
but struggles between wealth and poverty,
till war and diftant conquest had enriched or
drawn off the oppreffed flaring multitude?
Indeed, where was there room left for public
beggars, when the poor were flaves, and had
only their own master to whom to cry for
hllp? Yet the elder Cato turned out fome
hl',g.trs on the public, in a manner not
gr..nly to his credit. Among the Jews, the
rig'iiis of flavery were foftened by religion;
andl there ihe poor, from the firft, w( an
odiject of law. Their law-givers informed
them, that in their moft flourifling fate,
rlwrc should be always poor among them,
hliiii tlihy were to consider as the Lord's
jiC1,fiitirb, who were in his name to receive,
from the-ir wc-.lthy neighbours, that tribute of
grateful thanks which is goodnefs claimed


from them. And, doubtlefs, had this duty
been proposed, from the like motives, in
other flates, proper objects of it would not
have been found wanting,
A better reafon to be given for the fim-
plicity of the ancient manner of living may
be found in the little communication which
there was between different countries for the
purpofe of exchanging modes and fuperflu-
ities. Thofe who live now on the produce
of their own grounds, live as uniformly,
and fimply as the ancients did. But was the
Roman mode fimple after the conqueft of
Afia ? He mentions the public works of the
ancients, Do we know thofe of any fate
that in grandeur or utility may be compared
to the floating fortreffes of Britain, which
carry the arms and power of the fate around
the world ?
Why the public should build hospitals to
receive flaves, worn down in the service of
private perfons, he gives not a reafon; nor
is any obvious. If the ancients were not
troubled with the reftlefs ingratitude and
pilfering habits of hired fervants, did they feel
no inconveniency from the fullen intractable
difpofition of flaves, whom they would not
D get


get rid of? Or, if the defire of freedom ex-
cited the emulation of a flave, would it not
make him alfo feel the immediate, hardships
of flavery ? would he not, with defpair, look
around him, and view many flaves transfer-
red from one after to another; often from
good to bad, without acquiring that liberty
which they had endeavoured to deferve by
their fidelity? and would he not anticipate
the like fate, and lofe all defire of exertion ?
Is not this indeed the general cafe, at this
day, in the fugar colonies ?
Fletcher fuppofes that neceffity will drive
his country into the meafure of flavery. It
is near a century fince he hazarded this opi-
nion; and inftead thereof, by the abolifh-
ing of jurifdidtions, more liberty, and
greater privileges have been communicated
to it: and the confequence has been a more
general cxtenfion of political happinefs, and
private conveniency. Had his plan taken
place, would fo many towns have arifen, or
been enlarged in various parts of the country?
Should we have heard of the manufactures
at Paifly ? Could Glafgow have been able to
have endured a lofs (even fuppofing it only
temporary) of perhaps a million of money,
by American independency, almost with-


out once complaining ? Would a few over-
grown landlords have allowed the Bri-
tith army and navy to have been filled up
and recruited out of their gangs of flaves,
by the many ten thousands of Scotchmen,
that in every war, fince his time, have bled
sometimes for the rights of the empire,
sometimes to quiet the popular alarms, about
that bugbear, the balance of power ? Would
oppreffed, half flarved flaves have made fuch
hardy soldiers; or, like them, endured-,
without complaint, every various oppofite
climate, in carrying on the public service?
It is true Scotland fill labours under dif-
advantages. The tenant is not fufficiently
fecured against the extortion of the landlord.
But what would be gained by reducing a
great proportion of thefe tenants and their
pofterity into the condition of flaCve ? Would
they be allowed to live plentifully, when their
lords wanted to parade it at court ? Or are
luxury and extravagance to be fatisfied, while
any thing within their reach remains to be
devoured ? If slavery had been eftablifhed on
his plan, would not power and intrigue have
been ufed, to draw within its circle as many
as pofiible, till mailer and flave had abforbed
D 2 every


every other rank ? No, let lazinefs and vice
be effetually refrained, even by restraining
that liberty and privileges which they juftly
forfeit. But fet not one man paramount
over another. Let their country and its laws
remain mafters of their fate.

S E C T. V.

MIlailer and Slave in the French Colonies.

In the French colonies, the public pays an
immediate attention to the treatment and
inftru&ion of flaves. The intendants are
charged with their protection, proper mif-
fionaries are appointed for the purpose of train-
ing them up to a certain degree of religious
knowledge; and ample eftates or funds are
allotted for the maintenance of thofe eccle-
fiaftics. The negroes, as foon as introduced
into the colony, are put under the care of
thefe laft. The after is obliged to acquaint
the governor or intendant, within eight days,
of every African flave whom he has pur-
chafed, that a miflionary may be affigned to
inftrut him. All the fafts and festivals of the


Romifh church, which it is well known are
very numerous, are commanded to be ftrialy
obferved, during which the flave is forbid-
den to labour, that he may have leifure to
attend mafs.
Every flave has a claim to a certain allow-
ance of food and clothing, which is not
to be diminifhed by their masters, under
pretence of having given him time to work
for himfelf. The power of the master is
restrained to the whip and chain; he may
not wound or mutilate his flave. On ill
treatment received .from his master, or on
being deprived of his allowance of food and
raiment, the flave is directed to apply to the
King's attorney, who is obliged to prosecute
the master forthwith. This officer is alfo
bound to profecute, if by any other means
he hears of the abufe. This reafon is added
in the law, This we will to be obferved,
" to check the abufe of power in the master."
If a flave rendered unferviceable, through
age, hurts, or difeafe, be turned adrift by
his master, he is to be placed in the public
hospital, and to be m.iintaiined there at the
expence of his matter. Thefe are fome of the
regulations eftablifhed by the Code Noir,
to check the e:xcbita.ncy of masters; an in-
D 3 ftance


fiance of attention and benevolence in the
French government, that may well put .Bri-
tifh negligence to fhame.
The rcfped in which marriage is held,
bri ing a farther advantage to French flaves.
The ceremony is folemnized by the prieft,
and the tie continues for life. This gives
them an attachment to their little families,
and a concern for their interest, and of con-
fequence a care over them, and their own
behaviour, that is feldom feen among
Englifh flaves; where the connexion between
the fexes is arbitrary, and too frequently
cafual; where a male flave reckons it a piece
of irate to multiply his wives, and change
them at pleafure, without looking beyond the
present gratification, or considering how his
condua may affed the fate of his offspring.
Care is alfo taken in the French iflands to
marry them young, in the fame plantation;
and if they perceive a particular attachment
tweeccn two young people, belonging to
diffi rent masters, it is common to refign or
t.cchalnge them, that they may both have the
fame owner, and that marriage may have its
full effe& oin their condua.*
.*A gentleman of Guadaloupe, Monfieur Seguer, informed
me, that, with fome pains, he had brought it about to have


The French flaves reap a considerable ad-
vantage from the presence of their owners.
One caufe of this is, that, in the colonies,
they enjoy more liberty, and pay fewer taxes
than in France.* An Englifh planter, if

all his flaves married within his own plantations; and that
by making them all people of property, in allowing to each
his bit of land, with a hog, a goat, and fome poultry, and
by fome extraordinary pains ufed to infiruft them, he had
brought them to a degree of healthinefs, good fenfe, tracta-
bility, and happinefs uncommon among his neighbours. And
I hall here remark, generally, that nothing has a happier
effe& in reforming or improving a flave, than the giving him
something of his own to care for, and fear the lofs of.
The French governors have liberal appointments from
the crown to fet them above the neceffity, and to take away
the temptation of oppreffing their people by extraordinary
fees from them in the manner of our Weft Indian governors,
who, to the difgrace of the government that appointed them,
are forced to colle& their maintenance in perquifites from thofe
who have bufinefs with them. The Britifh colonies are alfo
made the property of patent officers, the profit of whofe
places confifts wholly in perquifites, and is in general farmed
from the principals in England by two or three fubftitutes in
fucceffion, till the immediate poffeffor be obliged, in his own
defence, to commit acts of oppreflion, to make up his
rent. And fuch is the corrupt influence at our court of thefe
fine cure patentees, as to have procured a landing inftrufion
to governors to oppofe and render null every attempt made
by provincial affemblies to regulate their fees of office, or
check their extortion. Thus the government of the mother
D 4 country


out of debt, or a cafual crop be plentiful,
muft run away to England, which he calls
his home, where generally loft to every ufe-
ful purpofe in life, he vies with the nobi-
lity in entertainments, extravagance, and cx-
pence, while his attorney, and manager, are
obliged to over-work, and pinch, his poor
flaves, to keep up, or increase the ufual re-
mittances. It would make indignation her-
felf alinof fmile to hear their piteous com-
plaining letters to their agents read, when
the neceffities of the plantation have occa-
fioned a finally draught to be made on them.
And often the manager, whom the caprice,
or fid ith, or family views of an attorney

country is deprived of the afflance of men of chi,.clr and
fubftance in public offices, to support its influence in the
colonies; while thefe have impofed.on them a mofft humilibtng
and burdenfome badge of flavery, and have all their interests,
and all improvements of their police facrificed to the felfilh
views of men whom they never faw. It has alfo been ufual
of late years to permit the cuftom.houfe officers to hold their
places Lby deputies, doubtlefs, to the great improvement of
the revenue. The intercourfe between our Weft Indian colo-
nies is by fmall veffels carrying 40 or 50o freight. The
cuflom-houfes force full one half of this fum out of them,
under the name of (not taxes but) fees. The confequence
is, that when provisions or ftores are unloaded in one island,
they cannot, but in extreme neceflity, be relhipped for another


can, without warning, difplace, looks not for-
ward to the confequences of ill treatment of
flaves, while trying to recommend himfelf by
a forced exertion of their strength, in hopes
that its pernicious effects may poflibly not
appear in his time.* If the Englifh owner
lives on his plantation, he is too often fo in-
volved in debt, the effects of his predecef-
for's, or his own former extravagance, or of
injudicious purchafes, that he can fpare little
from the prefling demands of his creditors,
to allot for the eafe, and well-bling offlaves,
or indeed for any neceffary improvement of
his property. The French, as they gene-
rally live each on his own plantation, fo
they are happy in not having the credit, or
opportunity which the Englifh hav,.e of run-
ning in debt.t All their improvements muft
Hence a planter always knows the fate of his affairs beft,
at the change of managers; it generally requiring many
hundreds, sometimes thousands of pounds, to fet matters
going under the new direaor; an expence that ri.:Lt be
faved by ufing a lefs parcimonious method in the or.indi:.y
management of the plantation.
1- The whole debt owing by the Martinico planters about
the year 1773. was estimated nearly at 200,0001. 2..r1i, ;. St..
Chriftopher's, which, in proportion to its extent, is our richeft
colony, and maybe in value about one-t i I of the importance
of Martinico, though divided among fewer than zo pro.
prietors, could not owe lefs at that time than 7zo,oool.


arife out of their industry. They are there-
fore more gradual, and better founded, than
in our colonies, where it has been only ne-
ceffary to deliver into a merchant an exag-
gerated, pompous account of the richnefs of
the plantation on which the money is to be
raised, to procure liberty for drawing on
him for thousands after thousands. For-
merly industry, in a courfe of years, raised
immenfe fortunes in the Weft Indies; few
have been raised fince loans became frequent
in England. Borrowed money, fcldom,
one may fay hardly ever, has succeeded,
when in any considerable proportion to the
property mortgaged for it. Let others ex-
plain the caufe, I content myfelf with re-
cording the fad. Thus French planters, not
having interest money to provide, nor the
ambition of retiring to Europe, to ftimulate
them in accumulating money, are not under
the neceffity of forcing their flaves beyond
their strength, in carrying on their planta-
tions to that exquifite degree of culture,
that is common in our colonies, and which
is effe&ed, not fo much by contrivance and
method, or by increasing with proper care
gand nourishment the animal powers of their


leaves, as by obliging them to extraordinary
efforts, that foon wear them out; and which,
inflead of allowing' them to increase in the
courfe of nature, make conflant demands on
the flave market, to enable them to support the
charaider of the plantation. Far from plant-
ing, as we do, every rood of land that they
poffefs, in fugar cane, and depending on
foreign fupplies for food, the French try to
live as much as poffible within themselves.
A considerable proportion of land is fet apart
for provisions. A late edia has reftrided the
minimum to one acre in ten. Farther, the
French plantation flaves are attached to the
foil, and cannot be drawn off to pay debts,
or be fold separate from it. This gives them
a lafting property in their huts, and little
fpots of ground. They may fafely cultivate
them, and not, as in the Britifh colonies,
fear their being turned out of poffeffion, or
transferred from one proprieto'r to another,
without regard had to their interest or feel-
ings. From thefe circurnftances, and from
their manners being more communicative,
the French, in the colonies, live more in a
family way among their flaves, than our
planters; they become more fenfible of their


wants and abilities; they naturally contract
a regard and an affection for themrn; the flaves
are not hurried in their work, and enjoy a
greater plenty, and variety of wholesome
food, than when their allowance of mufly
flour, or weavily maize from America, is dealt
out to them from a fcanty, bruised tin or
pewter meafure, by an unfeeling overfeer;
who perhaps recommends himfelf to his
abfent employer by the number of shares
into which he has divided the wretched

Thlii;Ii the French government has cared thus humanely
for flaves, though the manners and circumstances of the
French planters peculiarly favour their good treatment; yet,
lince the temper of the master muft fill have great influence
on the condition of the flave, this will not prevent, nor can
we wonder, when we find, among the French, particular a&s
'pprellfive, and particular owners cruel. But in a vigorous
government, fuch as is that of France, thefe aas cannot be
frequent, nor thefe men numerous. On the other hand, we
muft acknowledge, that the free principles of our constitution
counterad many of the ill effects of our fcandalous negle& of
the police of our colonies; and that the tyrannical nature of
the French government prevents the French from reaping the
full Uf.:t, of this their benevolent attention to the claims of
humanity. Had we governors and other officers as difinterefted
as the French, and aaing under the like benevolent infiruc-
tions, the di llhre-ce would be highly in our favour; and had
the French governors the fame principles to guide them as
we have, the French colonifts would enjoy a great acceflion
pf political happinefs,


Now the obfervation is, that the French
flaves are more decently drefied, are more
orderly, fenfible, and ten times more honeft
than Englifh flaves. They ufe private prayer.
The field negroes begin and leave off work
with prayer; the black overfeer officiating
as prielf. This custom of having field pray-
ers has been found fo encouraging and ufe-
ful, that many of the Englifh planters in
Grenada, on their becoming owners of
French flaves, kept it up on their planta-
tions; yet fome of thefe would have mocked
and fneered at the praaice, if proposed in
their own iflands. In the French colonies
even in their towns, there is hardly occafion
for a lock to fecure goods, or flore-houfes.
In our colonies, no door, or lock, is a
sufficient security for any thing which a flave
can carry away. In Grenada, they have long
bitterly complained, that fince Englifh flaves
came among them, they can keep nothing
faTe from being purloined, and that even the
honefty of their own old flaves has been
greatly debauched.



S E C T. VI.

Mailer and Slave in the Britifh Colonies.

To purfue the preceding obfervations,
which candour obliged us to make in favour
of our rivals, we muft acknowledge, that an
English flave has nothing to check him in
ill doing, but the fears of the whip, and
that is a weak restraint on a flarving, craving
appetite. The French flave is placed above
the folicitations of hunger; and refpecting
his behaviour, has, to the dread of pain,
fuperadded, as a guide, the hopes and fears
of religion, and the approbation and dif-
pleafure of his prieft. The French, in the
treatment of their flaves, regard the fug-
geftions of humanity, and enforce its didtates
by their laws. The Englifh have not paid
the leaft attention to enforce by a law,
either humanity or juffice, as thefe may
refpect their flaves. Many are the reftridions,
and fevere are the punishments, to which
our flaves are fubjected. But if you except a
law, that Governor Leake got enacted in
Nevis, to diftinguifh petty larceny in flaves


from felony; and a law in Grenada and
Jamaica, that obligeth mafters to allot to
their flaves a certain portion of land for the
growth of provisions; and one in this laft
ifland, that grants them Saturday afternoon
for the culture of it; I recolle6 not a single
claufe in all our colony aas, (and I perufed
the federal codes with the view of remarking
fuch) enacted to fecure to them ihe left
humane treatment, or to fave them from the
capricious cruelty of an ignorant, unprin-
cipled after, or a morofe, unfeeling overfeer.
Nay a horfe, a cow, or a fheep, is much
better protected with us by the law, than a
poor flave. For thefe, if found in a trefpafs,
are not to be injured, but fecured for their
owners; while a half ftarved negroe, may,
for breaking a single cane, which probably he
himfelf has planted, be backed to pieces
with a cutlafs; even though, perhaps, he be
incapable of refiflance, or of running away
from the watchman, who finds him in the
fa&. Nay, we have men among us, who
dare boat of their giving orders to their
watchmen, not to bring home any flave that
they find breaking of canes, but, as they
call it, to hide them, that is to kill, and


bury them. And, accordingly, every now-
and-then, foime poor wretch is miffed, and
fome lacerated carcafe is discovered.
Our countrymen are left, each to be guided
by his own changeable temper, and to be in-
fluenced by a femblance of felf-intereft; nor
have they any tie on them, in their behaviour
to the wretches under them, but this interest,
often ill underflood; in fome perhaps there
may be a dclire after reputation for humanity,
too frequently little guided byfentiment; in a
few benevolence direded by confcience. Slaves
are efteemed among us the intire property of
their inallers, and as having, diftind from
him, no right or interest of their own.
And our conflitution has fuch an exceftive
bias to personal liberty, that in contradic-
tion to the maxims of every well ordered
ftate, it cannot, or will not, meddle with
private behaviour. Hence that want of
energy, x igour, and even propriety in every
department of our police. Many actions
pafs daily unnoticed among us, that would
have degraded the highest fenator of Rome
into one of the loweft tribes. Society pro-
feffes to direct the actions of individuals to
the greatest public good; a purpofe to which


all private interest and gratification should
conftantly be made to give place. Hence
the true fecret of police, after having secured
the lives, liberties, and properties of the
citizens, is to turn the conduct and industry
of individuals to public profit, considering
the fate as one whole, and leaving private
persons, each to find his own particular hap-
pinefs in public profperity, checking every
appearance of a wayward difpofition, that
may make the man injurious to his neighbour,
or unprofitable to his country. What a field
do the Britifl territories offer for fuch a plan
of police ?
Indeed, with this view before us, our boaft-
ed constitution presents only an uncultivated
wild. How much remains undone in the
various departments of commerce, of rural
economy, roads, rivers, commons, govern-
ment of towns, perfection of flaple commo-
dities, exclusive privileges, and the like ? In0
the cafe of which we treat, the conftitution,
lays no claim to the flave, but confines its
attention to the intercourse of freemen, leav-
ing citizens at liberty, as malfers, to difpofe
of, and treat their flaves, with the fame in-
E difference,


difference, if they pleafe, with the fame un-
feeling wantonnefs, which without con-
troul they may exercise on their cat-
While we reflect on the fate of flavery in
our colonies, among the freeft people in the
world, and extend our views to the like
inftances in history, it becomes a mournful,
an humiliating consideration in human na-
ture, to find that thofe men and nations,
whom liberty hath exalted, and who, there-
fore, ought to regard it tenderly in others,
are constantly for restraining its blelffings
within their own little circle, and delight
more in augmenting the train of their de-
pendents, than in adding to the rank of
fellow citizens, or in diffufing the benefits
of freedom among their neighbours. Every
where, in every age, the chain of flavery
has been fashioned, and applied by the hand
of liberty. Every ancient, every mo-
dern ftate gives fhameful evidence of the
truth, from the mock manumiffion of the
Grcks, by the Roman Flaminius, to theop-
preffed ftate of the Dutch barrier, and
their laft Indian fettlements, begun while


ihey themselves were fltrLtling for free-
It will perhaps be alleged, that this in-
confiderate treatment of flaves in our colo-
nies may, as is 'generally fuppofed in Bri-
tain, be the effect of the illiberal turn of
the colonills, accuilomied from their infancy to
trifie with the feelings, and file at the mi-
fleries, of wretches born to be the drudges
of their avarice, and flaves of their caprice.
But it is to be remarked, that adventurers
from Europe are universally more cruel and
morole toiwvirds flaves, than Creoles, or native
Wetl-Indians. Indeed, whatever I fall
have to fay of the condua of individuals to-

The Athenians never admitted strangers to the privilege
ofcitiznillip; Hercule:, and one or two more, being the only
fori ei el inJulgd e ith it. T'i. account for the ihort period
of their once fplendid maritime empire. It is true the Ro-
mans fucceflively admitted their neighbours, according to their
vicinity, to the privilege of citizens; but they aaed from no
generous principle. Theii i ncrcedi the number of t r.ust,
in proportion as their conquefts added new flaves to be kept in
fubje&ion by them. Of this the focial war is an undoubted
proof. Yet this conduct, though fpringing from unworthy
motives, was followed with the beft effeas, and gave Jtability
to a late, that conquest other,-.i e ,Aight have ruined.


E 2


wards flaves, and the inattention of maffers to-
wards their claims, may be applied with more
jullice to the new fettlers, than to the natives.
Often attachment will fecure from there laft
good ufage, while the flave' has no hold on
the others; nay, probably is degraded by
over-weening European pride, into a fate
differing but in name from brutal, by a
treatment lefs generous, lefs considerate,
than a horfe or an ox receives from them.
Opprefflon makes the wretches flupid, and
their flupidity becomes their crime, and
provokes their farther punishment. In par-
ticular, in the colony from which the fol-
lowing obfervations are chiefly drawn, fo
great is the proportion of Europeans in all
its active stations, that the character of the
community muff be taken from them, not
from the natives. And when one confiders
how thefe adventurers are ufually collected,
how often the refufe of each man's connec-
tions, of every trade, and every profeffion,
are thronged in upon them, much fenti-
ment, morality, or religion, cannot well be
expected to be found within the circle of
their influence. This muft ferve as an apo-


logy for any thing seemingly fevere, that
may appear in the prosecution of the fub-
jetd; to which we now return.*
The discipline of a fugar plantation is as
exad as that of a regiment : at four o'clock
in the morning the plantation bell rings to
call the flaves into the field. Their work
is to manure, dig, and hoe, plow the ground,
to plant, weed, and cut the cane, to bring
it to the mill, to have the juice expreffed,
and boiled into fugar. About nine o'clock,
they have half an hour for breakfast, which
they take in the field. Again they fall to
work, and, according to the cuftom of the
plantation, continue until eleven o'clock, or
noon; the bell then rings, and the flaves'are
difperfed in the neighbourhood, to pick up
about the fences, in the mountains, and fal-

We muft not confound every European fettler in
the above cenfure; fentiment, and benevolence, refined
by education, influence federal fuch within the author's
acquaintance. Indeed, whatever there is generally amifs in
the condua of mafters to their flaves, arifes not fo much from
any particular depra.ilty in them as men, as from the arbitrary
unnatural relation that exists between them and their wretch-
ed dependents; the effects of which, neither sentiment nor mo.
reality ani at all times prevent.



low or wafte grounds, natural grafs .and
weeds for the horfes and cattle. The time
allotted for this branch of work, and prepa-
ration of dinner, varies from an hour and an
half, to near three hours. In collecting pile
by pile their little bundles of grafs, the flames
of low land plantations, frequently burnt up
by the fun, muft wander in their neigh-
bours grounds, perhaps more than two miles
from home. In their return, often fome
lazy fellow, of the intermediate plantation,
with the view of having himself the trouble
of picking his own grafs, feizes on them,
and pretends to infitt on carrying them to
his after, for picking grafs, or being found
in his grounds; a crime that forfeits the
bundle, and fubjefts the offender to twenty
laflhes of a long cart whip, of twirled lea-
thern thongs. The wretch, rather than be
carried to judgment in another man's plan-
tation, is fain to efcape with the lofs of his
bundle, and often to put up quietly with a
good drubbing from the robber into the
bargain. The hour of delivering in his
grafs, and renewing his talk, approaches,
while hunger importunately folicits him to


remember its call; but he muff renew the
iri-kfome toil, and fearch out fome green,
fhady, unfrequented fpot, from which to
repair hi, loft-.
At one, or in fome plantations, at two
o'clock, the bell fuimmons them to, deliver
in the tale of their grafs, and affemble to
their field work. If the overfeer thinks their
bundles too fmall, or if they come too late
with them, they are punished with a nurm-
ber of ftripes from four to ten. Some maf-
ters, under a it of carefulnels for their cattle,
have gone as far as fifty ftripes, which effec-
tually dilble the culprit for weeks. If a
flave has no grafs to deliver in, he keeps away
out of fear, lkulk, about in the mountains,
and is ablent from his work often for
months; an aggravation of his crime, which,
when he is caught, he is made to remember.
About half an hour before fun fet, they
may be found scattered again over the land,
like the Ifraelites in Egypt, to cull, blade
by blade, from among the weeds, their fcanty
parcels of graf.. About even o'clock in the
evening, or later, according to the feafon of
the yc..r, when the overfeer can find lcifure,
SE 4 they


they are called over by lift, to deliver in
their second bundles of grafs; and the fame
punishment, as at noon, is inflicted on the
delinquents. They then separate, to pickup,
in theirway to their huts, (if they have not
done it, as they generally do, while gathering
grafs) a little brufh wood, or dry cow-dung,
to prepare fome simple mefs for fupper, and
to-morrow's breakfaft. This employs them
till near midnight, and then they go to fleep,
till the bell calls them in the morning.
This picking of grafs, as it is fitly called,
often in a fevere drought, when it is to be
found only in the receffes of the mountain,
thus thruft in by the by into the hour of
wearinefs and reft, is the greateft hardl(hip
that a flave endures, and the moft frequent
caufe of his running away, or abfenting him-
felf from his work; which not only fubjeds
him to frequent punishment, but actually
renders him unprofitable, worthlefs, and de-
ferving of punishment. He can neither re-
frelh, or indulge his wearied body. He is
fubjected by it to injury. He is placed in
the jaws of trefpafs, and unavoidably made
obnoxious to oppreflion, and Itripes. And


yet a few acres of land, in proportion to the
extent of the plantation, allotted for artifi-
cial grafs, and a few weakly flaves separated
from the work, would take away the necef-
fity of providing for cattle in this harraffing
fcanty manner.
:, This grafs, except fuch part of it as is re-
ferved for the flable horfes, procured by fo
much toil, and forced out of the flave by
fuch repeated punishment, under pretence
of feeding the cattle and mules, is fpread
abroad under their feet, on a fermenting
inclofed dung heap, called a pen. There
a very considerable part is loft to every pur-
pofe of nourifhment, by being trampled uh-
der the beafts feet; where mixing with dung
and urine, it ferments, corrupts, and with
its fuffocating fleams in that fultry climate,
instead of fupplying them with vigour, fills
them with difeafe ; as if Providence meant
to revenge the opprefflion of the flave, in
being forced to drudge thus for it, by in-
fpiring the mafter with a fpirit of abfurdity,
in his manner of ufing it.*
This pen is an inclofure, perhaps of fixty by eighty feet,
in which, from thirty ,to fifty cattle and mules are kept and


'The work here mentioned, is considered
as the field duty of flaves, that may be infiiled
on without reproach to the manager, of un-
ufual verity, and which the white and black
overfecrs fand over them to fee executed;
the tranfgreffion againtnl which, is quickly
followed with the fnart of the cart whip.
This inllrument, in the hands of a fkilful
driver, cuts out flak-:s cf Ikin and fleih with
every lfroke; and the wretch, in this nu.ng-

ted. The Je.': .,ed leaves, and fl0il. of the fugaIr cane, are
from time to time thrown in for litter. Their .rutvendcr is
frread 'over it, arld being mkied w'irh urine, dung, and rain,
becomes afeirmenting matl, which i, emptied once, and in
foame plainttions, tv. ie a %ear. Thi difeafe genc r.ill fatal to
mules, feems to be cCf the nature of a putrid infe&ious fever,
which, ifit ioes not arrive tr.-m, is at leall heightened by, thi,
absurd manner of feeding. The cattle being often fIaked out
in the fallow grounds, are not fo c:nil.,atly i-.Ipof:d to thefe
noxious teams.
Though a planter will readily pay '30. sterling f. r a lood mule,
ora bull, and though chiefl, from this Icanty abi'urd method
of feeding them, he be obliged to renew his expence from year
to ye:.; .ywt will he not allow a few acres for artificial grafs, nor
,en .1 flall, a numner, or a clean fpot, to fave their fmall pit-
tance of provender fr,.n filth, or to feed them npant fr.m the
foul exhalations of a dan o heap, in it riooll un'..hold Lme flat.
There have been inftances-of pen, bum flying out into a fmoul-
dering flame, while the cattle were feeding on them.


led condition, is turned out to work in dry
or wet weather, which laft, now and then,
brings on the cramp, and ends his fufferings
and flavery together.
In crop-time, which may be when reck-
oned altogether on a plantation, from five to
fix months; the cane tops, by fupplying the
cattle with food, gives the flaves fome little
relaxation in picking grafs. But fome pre-
tendedly indu(lrious planters, men of much
buffle, and no method, will, especially in
moon-light, keep their people till ten o'clock
at night, carrying wowra, the decayed leaves
of the cane, to boil off the cane juice. A
considerable number of flaves is kept to at-
tend in turn the mill and boiling houfe
all night. They tleep over their work; the
fugar is ill tempered, burnt in the boiler,
and improperly truck ; while the mill every
now-and-then grinds oif an hand, or an arm,
of thofe drowfy worn down creatures that
feed it. Still the prjce:s of making fugar
is carried on in many plantati :ns, for months,
without any other interruption, than during
fome part of day light on Sundays. In obme
pl.tat ions

plantations it is the cuftom, during crop-
time, to keep the whole gang employed as
above, from morning to night, and alter-
nately one half throughout the night, to fup-
ply the mill with canes, and the boiling
houfe with wowra.
This labour is more or lefs moderated, in
proportion to the method and good fenfe of
the manager. In fome plantations the young
children and worn out flaves are fet apart
to pick grafs, and bring cane tops from the
field for the cattle, and do no other work.
Sometimes the field gangs bring both their
bundles of grafs at once, being allowed for
that purpose a little extra time, during the
meridian heat; which faves them an unne-
ccflliry repetition of wandering in the even-
ing three or four miles to fearch for it, and
cna.bles the manager to employ the cool part
of the aftcrinoo in the common labour of
tlche plantation. Sometimes they are dif-
milled for grats before the ufual hour ; or if
they be hoc-ploughing land, frequently none
is required frt)m them. In fome plantations,
they are not punished for coming late into
the field, if they appear there about fun-rife.


In moll well-ordered plantations, they leave
off grinding and boiling before midnight,
and begin not again till about dawn : it
having been found, that the quantity of
fugar made in the night, is not in propor-
tion to the time; that it not only fuffers
in quality, but alib lies open to pilferage;
and that the mules, particularly the mofl
tradable, and eafily harnefled, are injured by
being worked indifcriminately, in the dark,
out of their turn; another valuable confe-
quence, this of their being confufedly
huddled together in that inclofed dung-heap,
the pen: for the danger of grinding off a
drowfy negroe's arm, or harraffing him to
death, is a consideration which without thefe
other circumflances, would hardly inter-
rupt the grand work of fugar-making.
Every plantation contains little fkirts, and
portions of broken land, unfit for the cul-
tivation of fugar. Thele are ufually .divided
among the flaves for the growth of provisions;
but where the after is inattentive, a few
of the principal negroes often leize on,
and appropriate to themselves, the pofflelions
of the reft, and make the fimpler fort labour
for them; and many are fo lazy, that no-


thing hut the whip, and the prci-nce of the
overfeer, can make them work, even for them-
felves. There is fuch a ready market for all
the little articles which the .' fpots produce,
that the indufirious flames of a fev.w, though
but a few, plantations situated near the
mountains, where the weather is fealbnable
and favours the growth of vegetables, main-
tain themselves in clothes and food, tole-
rably well, by the file of their various fruits,
with little other immediate aid from their
master, besides a weekly allowance of her-
rings. But, in far the greater number of
plantations, the quantity of provisions, or
marketable vegetables, is uncertain and
trifling; and neceility and hunger will not
permit the wretches, to leave them in the
ground to ripen fut-iciently. Hence many
difeafes and ruined conflitutions, from this
fcanty, rude, ill-prepared food, ufed among
Formerly, before we became fuch accurate
planters, and before luxury liad rapaci-
oufly converted every little nook of land
into fugar, the leaves had a field or two
of the fallow cane-land yearly divided
among them, for a crop of yams, peafe,


and potatoes; and a field of the bell cane-
land was annually put in yams, to be re-
lerved for their weekly allowance. When
our late North American brethren were
pleaded to threaten our figar iflands with
famine, this cuftom began again to be re-
newed, and with fuch fucccfs As miht have
encouraged them, never, in time to come,
to have made themselves as dependent on
-North America as formerly for their daily
Some mafters, now-and-then, give their
flaves Saturday afternoon, out of crop-time,
to till their 1ipots of ground; sometimes will
turn in the whole gang among them to weed
and put them in order, under the direction
of the overseer. But, in general, the cu'ure
of their private patchbs, and the picking of
gras rfti their cattle, are ,bhir embpli'ments
on Sunday. In the low lands thefe pro-
vilion pots are hardly ufeful fix months in
twLlve, from the ufual drinefs of the wea-
ther. Added to the produce of their own.
provision lands, and the cafualty of a fallow
field, the flaves have a weekly allowance of
grain, varying in different plantations, from
one to three pounds, under the nominal mea-


Cure of from two to eight pints. A few plan-
tations go near to five pounds; one or two
as far as fix. They have alfo from three to
eight herrings a week'. In general, they are
far from being well or plentifully fed.*

The pra&ice of turning all our lands to the growth of
the fugar cane, and neglealing the culture of provisions for
the flaves, and of artificial grafs for the cattle, has lately
arifen equally from the demands of extravagance in our ahbent
planters, and of poverty in thofe on the fpot. Sugar, fugar, is
the inceffant cry of luxury, and of debt. To increase the
quantity of this commodity, gardens of half an acre have
been grubbed up; and that little patch, which he had ufed to
till for his own peafe, or caffava, has the flave been made to
dig for the reception of his master's fugar cane. Nor has the
little Ikirt of pasture, or half rood of artificial grafs, been
more fpared in this univerfal facrifice to would-be greatnefs;
while the poor flave muft attempt to make up for this, and
every other want but his own, by exertions taken from the
hour of wearinefs and hunger. Hence the annual expence of
plantations, within lefs than thirty years, has been more
than doubled. Hence the fending of two or three extra
caiks of fugar to market has been attended with an expence of
hundreds of pounds in provisions to flaves, in oats to horfes,
and in keeping up the flock of flaves and cattle, worn out,
before their time, by indifcreet extraordinary efforts, and
a fcantyallowance. The peculiar fertility of St. Chrillopher's
has the molt baneful effe&s. It enables the greatest part of its
proprietors to live in England; where, infenfible of the fuf.
ferings of their flaves, they think and dream of nothing but
fugar, fiigar; to which, in confequence, every fpot of land
is condemned. Hence grafs is procured there with more dif-

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