« PreviousContinue »
equity from iniquity, or oppreffion in all cates whatsoever, by applying to them the comparable measures or principles of natural Right, commonly called MAXIMS, which, like the rules and fquares of ordinary workmen, will affilt our natural difcernment to afcertain exactly the right fenfe of Juftice from the oblique or crooked deviations, and will enable even ordinary men to decide, with equity, all the controverfies of their Brethren, over which, in Revealed Religion, they are appointed the competent judges.
THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE hath fo implanted this knowledge of Good and Evil in the nature of his creature Man, that all Mankind, of all complexions white or black, and of all the various degrees between them, do equally inherit it from the first common parents of mankind. But though it is natural to all, and written as it were on the hearts of all; yet, we know, that it is likewife improveable in all, because it is de clared to be the duty of all to have their under
understandings exercised by habit to dif cern both good and evil. Heb. v. 14. This point needs no demonstration on the prefent occafion; the affociated fettlers themselves, confifting of various nations, and various complexions, from the East and West Indies, from Europe, Afia, Africa, and America, are all fufficiently interested in these principles to adopt them freely, and to affert an equal
natural claim to them.
The wicked Braminical doctrines to the contrary about" feveral species of men, whether afferted by Whites or Blacks (by our English fceptics, petty philofophers, and fuperficial naturalifts, or by the more artful black Bramins of India) are equally perverfe, and obvioully refutable, not only by the felf evident principles of Natural Religion, but alfo by the express evidence of the fecond foundation, REVEALED RELIGION.
The following fample of English Gentoo-ifm was lately advanced by a white advocate for the flavery of blacks :
Although a negroe is found in Jamaica, or elsewhere, ever fo fenfible "and acute, yet if he is incapable of "moral fenfations, or perceives them only as fimple ideas, without the power of "combination in order to use, &c. (which Iverily believe," [fays the advocate for flavery]" to be the case) it "is a mark," (fays he) "that diftinguifbes him from the man who feels, and is capable of thefe MORAL SENSATIONS, who knows their application, "and the purposes of them as fufficiently, as he himself is diftinguished "( FROM THE HIGHEST SPECIES OF BRUTES." (" Confiderations on the Negro Caufe, &c.” 1773, P.79.)
This unchristian doctrine, built on fome wild atheistical notions of Hume, and other fcepticks, has also been indifcriminately adopted by the author of "An Hiftory of Jamaica;" who has added many other ftrange conceits and inconfiftent remarks of his own for the fame uncharitable purpofe of degrading the Blacks from the dignity of Men, in order
order to vindicate the inhuman pretenfions of the Weft Indian flaveholders to treat them like brutes! (See Vol. III: p. 376 and 477.) The tyrannical fyftem of the Black Indian Bramins [that
their particular caft alone proceeded from the mouth of the Creator, and that all the other cafts of the Indian tribes, (as they injuriously pretend), proceeded from inferior parts of his body; and the Sooders, or poor labourers, laft of all, from the foles of his feet] is equally unjust and falfe, but not quite fo wicked as the Braminical falfhoods of the English, Scotch, and Creol infidels, because the latter have had more ample opportunities of information than the illiterate Pagan doctors of Indoftan. But a very moderate acquaintance with the first foundation of English law, and the ordinary means of employing it in the difcernment of Truth, Justice, and Right, will fufficiently enable a man of common Jenfe to demonftrate the grofs injustice, falfhood, and impofition of all thefe proud Braminical pretenders to a fuperiority in themfelves over the rest of mankind,
as over a different fpecies of men." The influence of this first foundation on the hearts even of the poor Indian Sooders (notwithstanding the dark mist of Paganism in which they are involved, and the deplorable bigotry and enthufiasm which are generally the confequences of a falfe religion,) does fome times, however, awaken in their minds fuch a conviction of their natural equat lity with the Bramins, that they have
been induced even to affume the Braminical character and pretenfions, in order to share the undue privileges of the Bramins, rather than endure their oppreffion with other miferable dupes to Braminical falfehood. I need not affign any other proof of this point, than the evidence of the Bramins themselves in their collection of the Gentoo laws; amongst which we find laws of fuch brutal feverity, enacted against the poor Sooders, to prevent the very circumftance in queftion, as muft neceffarily degrade from the dignity, even of ordinary humanity, the framers, devifers, and maintainers of fo deteftable a sys