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elders. Their state of civilization is, in general, very imperfect; their notions of morality extremely rude ; and the powers of their governments ill defined. It is natural, therefore, to imagine, that if the kings or chieftains should be tempted by the solicitations of appetite to acts of injustice or oppression, they would not be slow to the commission of them.—To such ill cemented societies as these, imagine then the vessels of the Slave Traders resorting; and offering, in exchange for men, women, and children, all the arti. cles by which the industry and ingenuity of highly polished nations can supply the wants and gratify the appetites, and stimulate the passions of uncivilized men; more especially spirits, to excite to acts of rapine, and fire-arms and gunpowder to effect them.
Such are the causes ; what must be the effects ? Surely every form of wrong and robbery, of fraud and violence. The chieftain would be incited to become the assailant and ravager of the territory of his petty neighbour. When too weak to venture on a foreign inroad, he would but too naturally be tempted to become the despoiler of those very subjects of whom he was naturally the guardian and protector. But it would not be on the chieftains only, that these effects would be produced ;-all men have the appetites, all the weaknesses, all the passions of their nature, We might but too surely anticipate the result : universal insecurity and distrust. Every man dreading to find an enemy in every other; the stronger preying on the weaker; the whole community would be rendered one wide scene of anarchy, rapacity, and terror.
These speculations, founded on the principles of human nature, and verified by the experience of all ages, were confirmed but too fully, in every particular, by authentic relations of specific facts. It was proved by most respectable, and indeed unquestionable testimony, and was admitted by the opponents of the immediate Abolition of the Slave Trade, no less than by its warmest supporters, that this detestable traffic was indebted for its supplies to wars, in many instances excited by Europeans; in many, commenced by the natives, for the purpose of procuring Slaves. These wars, of course, produced retaliation. A lasting, feud was generated; and a spirit of hostility and revenge, between chieftain and chieftain, transmitted from generation to generation. Again : Slaves were proved to be obtained by depredations, perpetrated by the kings of the country on their own subjects, when too weak or too timid to attack a neighbour ; sometimes, by seizing unsuspecting individuals; sometimes, by breaking up and setting fire to villages in the night, and catching the inhabitants as they fled naked from the flames.
Once more:–The Slave Trade was shown to be supplied by predatory' acts of all sorts and sizes; from that of the larger or
şmaller armed party, which seizes some unguarded village or unprotected family, to the individual who lurks in the bushes, or by the watering places, and seizes some female, or some child, who may accidentally be passing. The Slave Trade obtained a considerable number from panyaring, as it is termed, (for the practice is so frequent, as to have produced a specific name), or kidnapping of Negroes, of every tribe, of all ranks and occupations, of both sexes and all ages, most commonly by the black traders, occasionally by British captains and seamen. When a slave ship is on the coast, an immediate premium is held out for the perpetration of every species of fraud and rapine. It is not only between state and state, between village and village, that the seeds of insecurity and terror are copiously sown : in the delirium of intoxication, in a sudden access of anger or jealousy, a husband or a master is tempted to sell his wife or his domestics, whom afterwards he in vain wishes to recover.
Finally. The Slave Trade was proved to owe a large supply to the perversion of penal justice, by the infliction of slavery as the punishment of almost every real crime, however trilling; more frequently as the punishment of pretended crimes, especially of witchcraft, imputed for the very purpose of enslaving the party accused, sometimes his whole family with him, • The miserable condition into which Africa is actually sunk by the prevalence of such a system of atrocious enormities, was equally established. The almost total annihilation of private security, of mutual confidence, of domestic comfort ;-the temptations held out to the darkest passions of the human heart; to malevolence and guile, to cruelty, rancour, and revenge; these, and all the other dreadful effects which the Slave Trade had been charged with producing in that devoted land, were allowed not merely to have been delineated with the sober colouring of truth, but to have been ascribed to their proper and never-failing source, when stated to be the inevitable consequences of that horrid traffic. Again-It was established but too clearly, and was abundantly confirmed by the authentic acknowledgment of writers, themselves engaged in the Slave Trade, that by the progressive operation of slow but too sure causes, the various civil and religious institutions of Africa had been gradually warped and moulded into the means of furnishing victims to the Slave Market. The native superstitions, which had often faded away before the feeble light of Mohammedanism, instead of being discouraged, had been carefully fostered by the Christian visitors, and rendered an abundant source of supply. The administration of justice had received the same poisonous taint. The older writers assure, us, that the crie minal law of Africa used to be very mild, but by degrees every
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crime, however trivial, has become punishable by being sold for a slave, with all its dreadful consequences : and the judge who tries the criminal has commonly a share of the price for which he is sold. The creditor, for lack of payment, may sell his debtor for a slave ; or, if he cannot seize the person of his immediate debtor, he may take one of his relations, or any of the same town, or even of the same nation, and sell him for a slave. Indeed, it is very rarely that the debtor himself is molested; it is his neighbours or townsmen who are the sufferers. Hence persons become debtors more freely, because, while they gratify their appetites by obtaining the European goods they want, they are not likely to pay for this indulgence in their own persons. The captains of slave ships are in their turn less backward in advancing goods on credit to the black factors, and they again to other native dealers, knowing that from some quarter or another the slaves will surely be supplied.
Again :-It has become the custom for captains of slave ships, in exchange for the goods which they advance on credit, to receive the children or other near relatives of the black factor as pledges, or, as they are termed in Africa, pawns; whom the slave captains are to return, when the stipulated number of slaves has been delivered. Furnished with the goods, he sets about fulfilling his contract. But the supply from the interior fails him -- or he is in some other way disappointed in the quarter to which he had looked for obtaining his complement of slaves. Meanwhile the slave captain becomes urgent, the ship is about to sail, and, by some mode or other, he must make up his requisite number, or his own nearest relatives will be carried off into slavery. Thus the domestic and social affections, and even . parental instinct itself, through the malignant influence of the Slave Trade, are rendered incentives to acts of fraud or rapine: and all that machinery of the social state to which our happier communities are chiefly indebted for the security and comfort of life, and which, though but rude and unshapely in these uncivilized countries, might yet have tended, according to its imperfect measure, to their peace and conservation, is perverted into so many engines of oppression and cruelty. Such are the methods by which from 80 to 100,000 of our fellow-creatures, a race of people too, declared by Park, Golberry, Winterbottom, and other respectable authorities, to be remarkable for their attachment to their native soil, are annually torn from their country, their homes, their friends, and from whatever is most dear to them. All the ties of nature, and habit, and feeling, are burst asunder; and these victims of our injustice are carried to a distant land, to wear away the whole remainder of their lives in a state of hopeless slavery and degradation, with
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the same melancholy prospect for their descendants after them for ever. Thus, as was acknowledged in the Assembly of Jamaica itself by the historian of the West Indies, Mr. Edwards, though one of our chief opponents : “ Thus, the greatest part of that vast continent is rendered a field of warfare and desolation ; a wilderness, in which the inhabitants are wolves towards each other ; a scene of oppression, fraud, treachery, and blood.” Finally, thus the Slave Trade has become entitled to that pre-eminence in evil, which the sober judgment of a great English Statesman assigned to it, in those memorable words which he uttered in the British Parliament, “ that the Slave Trade was the greatest practical evil that ever had been suffered to afflict the human race."
Such then are the horrors, such the cruelties, such the guilt and shame of the African Slave Trade. But more is yet behind. Nay, strange as it may appear, the grand evil of all still remains to be specified. For it were some mitigation of these evils, intense as they are in degree, and extended in their prevalence, if we might look forward, though at a distant day, to their final termination; if we might hope that the genial influence of civilization, and still more that the blessed light of Christianity, might shine at length on those benighted regions, and law and order, entering in their train, might hereafter succeed to insecurity and rapine. But that accursed plague of the human race, the Slave Trade, is so prolific of evil as, from generation to generation, to provide for its own continuance. What progress can be made by , civilization, but under the sheltering protection of laws, when
there is some tolerable security for person and property? But Africa is one vast scene of insecurity, anarchy, and terror. That dreadful system of wrong and robbery, by so misapplied a courtesy of speech termed the Trade in Slaves, keeps the vast area, throughout which it prevails, in a state of constant disquiet and alarm. More especially on that side where alone the uncivilized sons of Africa come into contact with inhabitants of more polished regions, the slave traders maintain, as it were, a high and impenetrable barrier against the entrance into the interior of all social improvement, of any rays of the religious and moral light of our happier quarter of the globe ; thus locking up the whole of that vast continent in its actual state of darkness and degradation. Hence arises a strange and, till now, unprecedented phenomenon. In reviewing the moral history of man, and contemplating his progress from ignorance and barbarism to a state of social refinement, it has been perhaps invariably found that the sea coasts and the banks of navigable rivers, those districts which from their situation had most intercourse with more polished nations, have been the earliest civilized. In them civil order and social improvement, agriculture, industry, and, at length, the arts and sciences have first florished, and they have by degrees extended themselves into more inland regions. But the very reverse is the case in Africa. There the countries on the coast which have had a long and intimate intercourse with the most polished European nations, are in a state of utter ignorance and barbarisin --using, indeed, some of our manufactures, but having derived from us the knowledge only of our crimes. On the contrary, the interior countries, where not the face of a white man was ever seen, are far more advanced in the order and security, the comforts and improvements, of social life. :
And now you see the bitter cup of Africa filled to the very brim. Yet, bitter as it is, it is far exceeded in bitterness by the draught prepared for the miserable wretches whom the slave ships carry away from her much-injured coasts ; by the miseries of the Middle Passage, as it is termed. So manifold, indeed, were these miseries, so humiliating, so heart-rending, that, when the interior of these floating prisons was first opened to the view, they appeared almost to surpass the possibility of human endurance. The habit of viewing and treating these wretched beings as articles of merchandize had so blinded the judgment, and hardened the hearts of the slave dealers, as to produce a savage brutality of treatment, that was destructive even of the lives of its wretched victims, in spite of all those considerations of self-interest which might have been deemed sufficient to obtain for the Slaves all those outward comforts at least, which might be supposed condu.. cive to the preservation of their bodily health. Human ingenuity had almost been exhausted in contriving expedients for crowding the greatest possible number of human bodies into a given space. Imagine to yourself a vessel completely filled with these miserable wretches, never before on ship-board; the men, commonly the greater part of the cargo, linked to each other (for the safety of the vessel) two and two, sometimes men of different countries and languages, by fetters, and, when brought on deck, additionally secured with chains! Conceive the flooring of the decks and hold, and of intervening stages on platforms also, for by far the greater part of the voyage, completely covered with human bodies, so closely as to touch each other, and as to be unable of themselves to change their position ; often their limbs excoriated by lying on the boards, or wounded by the fetters! Conceive, what often happens, the flux, the small-pox, or some other epidemic breaking out among them! I will not proceed; I will only state that such scenes take place as are too nauseously horrible for description, though not too bad for human avidity for gain to subject fellow-creatures to undergo. The surgeons who have witnessed these dreadful scenes assure us, that the heat and