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subject, which he introduced in a masterly and argumentative speech; of which the following substance was afterwards published from the recollection of a gentleman pres
"The continent of Africa is inhabited by people differing from the inhabitants of Europe in their complexion, manners, and institutions. The inhabitants of those parts to which the Europeans resort for slaves being under no right form of government, and civil polity, live in a constant state of hostility to each other. Chief makes war against chief, town against town, and village against village. The vanquished are made slaves to the victors, and one plundering excursion gives rise to another. Mutual depredations are continued, and the weak becomes a prey to the strong. But the African Slave trade encourages and perpetuates those usages, so disgraceful to human nature, and so detrimental to the well-being of society. For, as the intention of those British ships which visit Africa, is to purchase slaves, and as these can be procured from the natives, only by their committing acts of hostility upon one another; so, whilst the importation of slaves is carried on, the unhappy Africans will always have an incitement to mutual wars, and the vanquished will be made captives and sold to the slave-merchant.
"Africa abounds in many valuable and rich productions; the soil, in many places, is rich, and capable of high cultivation. Cotton, indigo, and the sugar-cane, being suited to the climate, might be cultivated with great advantage; and, were the natives taught to rear them, the nations of Europe might carry on a much more valuable trade with that part of the world, than the trade in slaves. But the continuance of this diabolical traffick has been, and will always be an insuperable bar to every such improvement, and
just commercial connexion. Moreover, the Slave trade is inimical to every improvement in the morals and civil condition of the Africans. The trader in slaves visits Africa, not with an intention to instruct the poor natives; not to teach them the principles of morality and religion; not to meliorate their condition as men ;-but to reduce them into a state of endless slavery? And, when he has sold them in the West Indies, the planter exacts their labour with severity; but dreads their emancipation, and, with a criminal indulgence, allows them to increase in profligacy and wickedness.
"The situation and sufferings of the slaves, in their passage from Africa to the British West Indies, is such, as wholly to preclude the exercise of humanity. How humane and tender-hearted soever the captain and crew of a slaveship may be, it is impossible for them to alleviate the sufferings of their cargo. When Sir William Dolben's bill, which allows a certain number of feet in the ship to every two slaves, was brought into Parliament, those concerned in the trade, combated it with this argument, that to be obliged to carry only a certain number of slaves, would be in effect to give up the trade, for that it could not be carried on, if reduced to the number specified in the bill. Therefore, as the slaves are confined to so little room on ship-board, each not having the space which a dead body occupies in its coffin, so their sufferings must still continue whilst the Slave trade exists, as those concerned in it cannot carry it on, if the slaves are allowed more room in the middle passage.
"Increase and multiply, is the first law of nature, and it is evident from experience and observation, that no class of beings, when they have a sufficiency of food, and live in a climate suited to their constitution, ever decrease, but still keep up their numbers: the lowest class of the Irish
affords a proof in point. They are poor, and in point of situation, in a state of slavery; yet they not only keep up their numbers, but are greatly upon the increase; an evidence that they have plenty of food, and live in a climate which suits them. The climate of the West Indies is not hostile to an African constitution; and yet there is an annual waste of twenty thousand slaves in the British West India Islands: a demonstration, that the slaves in the British plantations have not a sufficiency of food, or that their food is unwholesome, or both; for were they properly treated, they would, at least, keep up their numbers.
"This being so, the following inference may be justly drawn; that to remedy this evil, and enable the slaves not only to keep up their numbers, but increase them, the future importation of slaves from Africa into the British. West Indies, must be prohibited. It is then, and only then, that the planters will be convinced of the necessity of adopting just regulations, and exercising proper dispositions towards their slaves. Were the importation stopped, the West Indians would take the greatest care to preserve the lives, and better the morals of their slaves. They would not encourage the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, prostitution, and other wickedness; they would enact wholesome laws concerning marriage; every man would have his own wife; they would be careful of their offspring; they would establish families, and allow them wherewith to support them; they would not neglect the education of the black children. But this will not come to pass, whilst the waste of slaves can be supplied from Africa, and as long as they think they can procure them at a cheaper rate than they can rear them.
"The enemies to an abolition of the Slave trade allege, that the charges brought against it, are founded upon a few solitary instances of cruelty, which might happen, and have
happened in England, or in any other country; but that the necessity of putting a stop to the Slave trade, cannot be justly argued from these.
"To this it may be observed, that all these singular cases are put out of the question. None of the propositions rest upon one or two instances of cruelty, but proceed upon this data, that there is some radical errour at the bottom, something fundamentally wrong. Particular instances of cruelty, proceeding from the passions of mer, may happen, and yet those in a servile state, be upon the whole, comparatively happy; but it is the general treatment which the slaves receive, a treatment, the necessary consequence of the Slave trade, which renders their case so very hard, and which never will be better whilst the importation from Africa is permitted. That a trade however admits the possibility, the impunity, of such instances of cruelty, and we fear, occasions the frequency of such examples, is certainly an objection to its being carried on.
"The West Indian slave has but a small chance of having justice done him. The slave-holder is both judge and juror, and we know how ready men are to be biassed, when their own interest is in view. Of this a proof was given in what happened to a planter, who beat his female slave with his own hands, in so cruel a manner, that she died about a half an hour after. He was tried for the murder of his she-slave, and acquitted, upon the oath of a surgeon, who swore, that she was subject to fits when she was seventeen years of age: though it was well known, that many women are subject to them at that time of life. The truth is, she died of the blows she received from her master. This planter's case, was exactly similar to that of Mrs. Brownrigg, who was condemned, and executed, some years ago, for the murder of her apprentice girl. But the one was tried by an impartial English jury, and the other by a jury of West India slave-holders.
"Those who are averse to the abolition of the traffick in slaves, combat the solid reasons for its prohibition, with specious, but weak arguments. 'Slavery,' they say, 'existed in Africa, before the English, or any other European nation, visited that part of the world to purchase slaves; therefore to impute to the Guinea trade, the evils which it is said to occasion, is an unjust accusation.' To this argument it has been answered, that the allegation is futile, and can have no weight; for though the Europeans were not the original cause of slavery in Africa, yet they certainly perpetuate, by a traffick in human flesh, the evils which necessarily result from it. And if men, with a view to their own interest, do what in them lies, to continue wicked and unnatural customs, they may be said, with great justice, to be the immediate cause of them. Scalping was in practice among the Indians, long before the Europeans made settlements in America. None will surely plead in favour of scalping. But suppose scalps should become of request in Europe, and a trade in them be carried on with the American Indians, might it not be justly said, that the Europeans, by their trade in scalps, did all they could to perpetuate, amongst the natives of America, the inhuman practice of scalping?
"It is also alleged, that the miseries which result from the Slave trade, would not be diminished, even supposing the importation of slaves from Africa into the British West Indies, were to cease; for that other nations, availing themselves of that circumstance, would take possession of the trade we relinquished. This is an argument of no force; it is only a weak excuse to palliate a practice replete with many evils, and can have no weight with those who see the Slave trade in its proper light. What other nations may, or may not do, should have no weight with the inhabitants of Britain; the Slave trade has been clearly 63