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this long contested question. It is now a barren and exhausted subject, on which every sentence and sentiment which could at this time be uttered, would be only a repetition of what has eagerly and long since been anticipated. It would only be ranging, on one side of the question, the words trade, commercial adventure, cultivation of waste-lands, revenue, expediency, unavoidable decrease of negroes, prosperity of the colonies, consideration of what is due to the West India planters and merchants, &c. &c. and, on the other, reason, nature, religion, grave of seamen, immutable décrees of eternal justice, and other sounding epithets; and spinning out, with these materials, supplied by the sagacity, the ingenuity, and research of original gleaners in this once fruitful field, a useless web of controversial eloquence. Were it possible that the two extreme opinions could ever coalesce, an union or compromise would long since have taken place. One only expedient would be likely to make converts of either party, or induce them to change sides.Let the abolitionist come into possession of extensive landed property, or mortgages upon that property, in the West Indies; let the anti-abolitionist drop that hold, and, at the same time, let him be suddenly inspired with a desire for popu. larity, by displaying the powers of a brilliant oratory in behalf of “ suffering humanity ;” and perhaps the staunchness of neither of their prin
ciples. can be answered for. Far be it from the author to think, that the agitation of this question has been useless ; on the contrary, he knows, and has already said, that it has been productive of the most beneficial effects and influence in favour of that portion of the human race which it regarded : nor does he mean to insinuate that znany of its generous and distinguished leaders were not actuated by the purest and most benevolent motives. Were he to venture an opinion of his own, it would be a middle one.--He would say, that while he admitted the eternal principles and fundamental maxims (these cannot be called in question) on which one party built their opinion; he would, at the same time, join with the candid and moderate of the other, in blaming precipitation in a business which involved so much public and individual property. One evil of a very serious nature, which the abolition of the slave trade is likely to produce, he does not recollect having heard particularly urged. It will considerably diminish the encouragement to young Europeans to go and settle in the West Indies; and the white population in our colonies (an object of the greatest importance) will thereby, in the course of a little time, be sepsibly and alarmingly diminished. The young planter has hardly any other way of acquiring an indepen- . dency, than by the occasional purchase of a few negroes, the hire of which is a material part of
his income. He can save but little of his salary ; and his employer can hardly afford to enhance it, from the heavy burthens which lie upon himself. But this resource in a great measure ceasing with the importation of slaves from Africa, his views will be diminished, if not annihilated : he will rarely meet with slaves to purchase; and these of course will be at so enormously increased a value, as to make the purchase of them incompatible with his finances.
Prejudices' against the West India planter.-
Former condition and treatment of the slaves. -Present ameliorated condition and treut. ment.--Routine of their work.—Their dwellings, food, clothing, 8c.
IT is a common received opinion, that the slaves on the estates are treated with an uno justifiable harshness and severity. However this supposition might have been too well founded in former times, it certainly is not so correct a one
In general they are treated with every proper lenity, and with the greatest degree of attention to their wants and comforts. It is in a marked degree the interest of their masters to treat them with this gentleness, and be thus attentive to their comforts. Without his slaves (and they are now become additionally valuable) the land of a West India proprietor is nothing better to him than a useless waste. Self love will therefore, independent of humanity, operate to produce all its purposes. But it would be ungenerous and unjust to assume, that humanity was a principle extinguished in the breast of a Wesť India planter. In spite of the odium under which this class of people too generally lie, there are
ainong them many worthy, respectable, and benevolent characters. The prejudices against them often originate in the misrepresentations of the ignorant, the exaggerations of the malicious, or the credulity of those who seek for no other evidence than the boldness of unqualified assertion. There may be, there doubtless are, solitary exceptions; and it is such exceptions which create a belief that a system of cruelty universally prevails. This is not an unusual mode of inference, though certainly a most illiberal one. As well might a stranger infer, from witnessing crime in a country he visited, that the people were all ruffians. That there are still such men as cruel masters, and violent and merciless, overseers, in this country, it would be folly to deny; but thạt such characters are rare, will naturally be concluded from what has before been said ; it seldom happens, that either the one escapes long from reprobation, and even punishment, where his conduct comes within the cognizance of the law, or that the other ever succeeds in his profession. In former times, the condition and treatinent of the poor negro was truly deplorable ; particularly when he had the misfortune to fall into the hands of a barbarous master or manager. ; He might torture him in various ways, he might wound, maim, or even kill him, and all the punishment he was liable to for this savage exercise of authority, was the payment of a pecuniary fine ! The author has heard