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THE EISENHOWER LIBRARY



3 1151 02745 1156






S0J'- THE ^//7

' ANTI-SLAVERY REPORTER^^

^0^76^ FEBRUARY. 15, 1831. [Vol. iv. No. 4.

I— TESTIMONY OF REV. J. M. TREW ON COLONIAL SLAVERY.-

I. Administration of Justice; 2. Siave Evidence ; 3. Compulsory Manu-
misston; 4. Arbitrary Puntshment ; 5. Marriage; 6. Rest of the Sabbath ;
7. Kelifnuus Imlruction : '6. Emancipation.

"•""Jof^Mf?]^^' ^^ "T"^ CHRISTIAN RECORD OE JAMAICA ON
L.ULUNIAL SLAVERY.— 1. Profanation of Sabbath ; 2. Religious In-
st rue lion ; 3. Conduct or Hisliop and Clergy; 4. Fouer of Arbitrary
runisliment and its (lreudf:.i eftcts; 5. Libertinism of Jamaica '; 6. Minutes
"jjlff'"'^ '" ^'" ^"'^ "i' *''^ •^^- (^''- "'■ Bridgl,, and his slave Kitty

III.— MISCELLANEOUS INTELLIGENCE.



I.— Testimony of Rev. J. M. Trew on Coloni.al Slavejt use she made of it was to applv to a ma-
gistrate ; who, shofked at the cruelty of the treatment she had received,
summoned a Council of Proieciion forthwith to hear her story. It was
simple, and well aullienticHted; but, it was the story of a slave.
Gladly would the Council of Protection have punished the monster;
for the members of it were fully persuaded of the truth of the girl's
statements; but the law forbade thein : and thus, not only was justice
impeded, but guilt of the most appalling and aggravated character
suffered to cscapt;.' — What terms are sufficiently strong to mark the
detestation of every rational man to a case like this, to which it were
impossible to find a parallel, but in the annals of slavery ( And yet this
part uf the evidence, taken before the Committee of the Jamaica Assem-
bly, does not appear on the face of their printed minutes ; and on en-
quiring why it was not reported, I was informed that a discussion arose
in the committee, as to the propriety of expunging this part of tlie evi-
dence ; and that it was expunged from the minutes accordingly —a
member at the same time observing, 'Are we not cutting a rod to break
our own heads'"' " A tarthei proof," says the author, is to be found in
the report of a late trial in Jamaica "of sundry slaves for the murder of
their master,"' contained in the Jamaica newspapers of Sept. lo"29. (A
brief account of it will also l>e found in the Anti-Slavery Reporter, N'o. .55,
p. lti.5.) " It appears," says Mr.Trew,"from thereportof this trial, that the
master of these slaves was a man overwhelmed with debt; and that the
sheriff's officer or marshal had in his possession sundry writs for the seizure
of his chattels. His wite and family, from what reason -it does not appear,
formed a design against his life; and in order to etiect their horrid pur-
posf, they set to work upon the luinds of the slaves, saying that if their



Slave Evidence — Compulsory Manummion — Punishment. 109

master should survive beyond a certain day, they would be seized by the
sheriff's officer, and themselves and their families sold, and perhaps
separated for ever. The plot succeeded ; and the unfortunate slaves,
maddened by the anticipation of a final bereavement of all that earth
held dear to them, perpetrated the cruel deed. Justice, however, speedi-
ly overtook them : tliey were tried, condemned, and executed. At the
place of suffering, the unhappy men, when placed on the scaffold, de-
clared tliat during the time of the murder, the mistress and her sons
were present, walking up and down in the piazza; and that when their
master awoke from his sleep, crying, help! help! the same persons were
engaged in encouraging the negroes, (having previously given them rum
to drink,) telling them to seize their master; and that they seized and
murdered him accordingly. Just as these dying men were about being
launched into the eternal world, they spoke as follows to the surround-
ing multitude — ' Tell massa, thanky — tell him thanky. Tell misses,
and old misses, thanky — for them bring us to this. Them bring us
here. Them cheat we. Them say we must kill massa, else them
would punish us, and marshal would take and sell every one of we.
But we pray every body to pray God to forgive ihem.' — Here, adds
our author with just indignation, " is a case of the most unheard-of
cruelty covered by the absence of negro evidence. For, admit-
ting the criminality of the slaves to the fullest possible extent, yet
surely the instigators of so foul a conspiracy oujht first to have paid
the forfeit of their own lives to the oflended laws of the country. But
the freeman escapes the vengeance of the law, and the poor, deceived,
and semi-barbarous slave, meets with an end, the moral guilt of which,
if there be a God in heaven, will grind the freeman to powder." (p. 16 —
19.) And yet these very slaves, thus shut out from testifying against a
free person, are allowed to testify against their fellow-slaves, even in
capital cases. In the case just cited, the conviction and execution took
place on the evidence of slaves.

3. The next point to which Mr. Trew adverts is that of compulsory
?na7iu7nission ; and here he shews very clearly the great unreasonable-
ness of the objections made to it on the part of the planters, either as
they respect their own interests, or the well being and moral elevation of
the slaves. " Indeed.'' (he thus concludes his able argument,) '• there
does not appear to be any one objection, which can be founded upon
either reason, justice, or the expediency of the case, against the enact-
ment of a law enforcing the manumission of slaves under such circum-
stamces ; whilst it involves in it so many likely advantages to all parties,
as to render the immediate adoption of the plan not only practicable,
but highly necessary and expedient.'' (p. 27.)

4. He next treats of the master s power of punishment, which, of
all the abuses that have ever existed in any country, he regards as
calling most loudly for redress. Over the slave " torn from his home,
compelled to labour against his will without hire," " the law gives his
master, or any man, however base, to whom his master mav delegate
that power — an authority the most arbitrary, an authority almost abso-
lute. Hi niay, as often as his anger, or caprice, or revenge dictates,
and without any previous trial, or even without assigning any reason,



110 The Rev. J M. Treiv's Testimony on Colonial Slmeri/.

iiiriiot upon his per?4un, with a cunuiion carl-whip, thirty-nine lashes —
nol uiilrcnuentlv to be ' brushed out with ebonies,' or, in other words,
to be lacerated bv tlio^ns whilst his wounds, yet bleeding from the in-
Hiction of the former punishment, are open to receive them. It is no
libel upon the planters to state these facts; for however humane and
merciful as individuals thev may be, here is a power which no man liv-
ing should possess over his fellow-creature, but which at this very hour
is entrusted to the West India planter. And especially when it is con-
sidered, that both the (juanlum and the mode of punishment devolves
upon overseers, a class of men, possessing no interest in the slaves be-
yond a mere sti[>endiarv allowance, and removable at the caprice of their
employer. In the heat of passion, or on the impulse of the moment, he
may, without taking time to weigh the circumstances or the merits of
the case, command the slave to be laid down with his face to the earth,
and in the most summary and cruel manner tlog him, as he would not
do, though restive, his own pampered steed. Surely it cannot be re-
concileable with the due administration of justice ; surely it cannot tend
to maintain the peace or the stability of the colonies; neither can it
operate as a moral stimulus to the slave to demean himself submissively
in his present condition, that such monstrous power should be confided
to men who, if they abuse it not, yet have, unquestionably, many strong
temptations to do so." (p- 29).

" How parado.xical, that in one happv portion of the kiii^ of England's
dominions, a man may not cruelly abuse his ass, and yet in another por-
tion of the very same possession, man may, with impunitv, and as spleen
or passion governs him, so despotically lord it over his t'ellow-man, that
his lite has not unfre({uenlly been the sacrifice. Justice, reason, and
humanity, all cry aloud for the redress of tins abuse. And how simple
is the remedy I Place the power of inflicting corporal punishment in
the hands of the stipendiary magistrate, and henceforth let no man
dare, at his peril, without the intervention of lawful authority, to lay a
ringer upon the slave.'' (p. 30.) But he proceeds —

" It were sad enough to think that such a system of punishment
could be tolerated in the case of men, but doubly so when it is consi-
dered that women likewise are subject to it, under circumstances of the
most shameful indecency. The young and the aged, mothers of fami-
lies, and even those whose hoary locks proclaim lenerlh of years, are
openly, and in the presence of the other sex, doomed to the endurance
of this disgraceful abuse. Yes ; were it not that 1 had rather see the
evii corrected by the strong hand of power, on the ground of its barba-
rous and unchristian tendency, than from the exposure of some of its
many enormities, I could point out some of its astounding facts, hearing
upon this point, that would harrow up the soul of any individual
not yet past teelms:. But I shall be content at present, without entering
into a minute detail, with merely hinting at the fact, that the unhappy
female, even at that season when nature puts in her claim to more than
common sympathy, is often doomed to sutfer from the unrelenting lash;
and, in some cases, with an aggravation of wrong such as were I to re-
peat, no reader of these letters would credit. But, my lord," (says the
reverend author, addressing the Duke of Wellington,) "it remains for you



Arbitrary Punishment by the Master or his Delegate. 1 1 1

to raise the poor sable slave from the depth of her degradation ; for I
am persuaded you will allow, that every stroke inflicted upon her, sinks
her lower in the scale of being. She may be a mother ! and what will
her children say, as she returns to them bleeding in sorrow ? And her
husband, too! — if the black man have a heart, oh ! how will it beat,
and rise, and swell with indignation, against the cowardly dishonour
done to the partner of his bed. The wonder is, that nature's feelings
can be bound and enslaved, as the body is, when every spring in man's
affections is impelled to burst the barrier and to avenge the wrong.
What a conflict must there be between revenge and fear, as the hus-
band, in silent sorrow (for he dare not give utterance to what is passing
within,) contemplates the scene; and what lesson do the children
learn, but to desecrate the wretch that made a mother weep! I know
not a more bitter drop in the whole cup of slavery than this.'' (p. 3"2.)

" But it is vauntingly said by some, that when they punish the female
slave the whip is not used, and that rods only, or ebonies, are substituted
for it. And what of this ? Is there not the same scandalous expo-
sure of the person of the female ? And is not this the only difference
between them, that if the wounds are not so deep, they are yet more
abundant? But it is not the fact, that even rods are generally adopted
in the punishment of females. There may be. and there are a few
isolated cases, where some persons, from humanity, but many more from
a view to their own interests, and that they may be thought humane,
have adopted this plan. But in general the female slave knows no dif-
ference from the opposite sex, either as to the manner, or the quantum
of punishment they receive." (p. 33.)

"The law prescribes thirty-nine stripes as the maximum of punish-
ment. This, when contrasted with military usage, will by some be
considered not excessive : but mark the instrument — a whip, the lash
of which is from nine to twelve feet in length, wielded by a powerful
arm, well skilled in the management of it; so much so, that by the
sound of the whip the negro is commonly roused to pursue his daily
toil, the woods resounding with the echo. This instrument, also, is not
unfrequently in the hand of a person in whose breast revenge or jea-
lousy may exist, which serves to nerve the arm that holds it. It has been
attempted to be shewn by some, that the drivers are in general men who
are advanced in years — rather to be distinguished for their venerable
locks, than by their austere countenances; but this is not the fact. The
driver is commonly an able-bodied negro; and, from his office and ha-
bits, loo frequently possessing less of the milk of human kindness than
other men : dressed in a little brief authority, he feels the full weight of
an office, which enjoins upon him the execution of all his master's com-
mands, whether those commands may be agreeable to his own feelings
or not." " It commonly happens, that the driver will be found ready for
all work, and more commonly converting his office into an engine for
the exercise of the most arbitrary power, and using it for the purpose
of gratifying the worst passions of his nature, rather than that he may
administer in the smallest degree towards befriending his brother la
adversity. Slavery were a lot hard enough to bear, without superad-
ding to its misery the absolute rule of so many masters." (p. 35.,^



I I J 'A


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