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Printed by Anderson & Bryce;
AND BY ALL THE BOOKSELLERS.
SA 1175, 37.10
HARYARD COLLEGE LIDRANY
JAN 7 1943
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND DONATIONS
For the Edinburgh Society for promoting the Mitigation and Ultimate
Abolition of Negro Slavery, are received at the following places, viz.
At the Treasurer's, William Bonar, Esq. Banker, Royal Ex
change ; SIR WILLIAM FORBES, & Co., Bankers ; COMMERCIAL BANK; MERCHANTS Hall; Mr Oman's, Waterloo Tavern; Mr M'Ewan's, Royal-Exchange Coffee-house ; Mr PLENDERLEATH's, North Bridge Street; ALEXANDER CRUICKSHANKS', Hosier, Nicolson Street ; John WiGhan’s, Manufacturer, Nicolson Street; J. & J. MACDONALD's, Ironmongers, High Street; WILLIAM WHYTE's, Bookseller, St Andrew's Street; DAVID Brown's, Bookseller, St Andrew's Street; Waugh & INNEB's, Booksellers, Hunter Square; WILLIAM OLIPHANT's, Bookseller, South Bridge Street; YULE & ABERNETHY's North Bridge: Street; ADAM Black's, Bookseller, North Bridge Street ; ConSTABLE & Co's, Booksellers, Prince's Street; WILLIAM Black-wood's, Bookseller, Prince's Street; and by the OFFICE-BEARERS of the SOCIETY.
The following pages have been drawn up with the view of communicating a clear knowledge of the question respecting Negro Slavery, as it exists in the West Indies, to those who may not have had an opportunity of perusing the numerous pamphlets that have been published on the subject. The Committee under whose direction this tract has been prepared, are very far from wishing to excite a temporary glow of feeling, by exaggerating the horrors of slavery, or by representing individual instances of cruelty as fair specimens of the usual conduct of West India planters towards their slaves. They look to the gradual and lasting operation of reason and information upon religious and liberal minds; and they have no doubt but that, when these have been allowed sufficient time to operate, a nation, which, like Scotland, has been taught to consider religion as the first, and freedom as the next blessing it has derived from the bounty of God, will rise as one man to declare, that it is neither consistent with the honour, the interest, nor the duty of the nation, to debar six hundred thousand of our fellowsubjects from any, the slightest participation in these blessings.
Those who take any interest in this most important subject, are aware, that considerable exertions have been made in Parliament, for effecting the immediate Mitigation, and ultimate Abolition of Negro Slavery: and these exertions have been seconded by Associations in London, Edinburgh, and almost all the principal towns of the United Kingdom. The single object of these Associations is to alleviate the state of Negro Slavery in the West Indies, and so to raise the character of the Negroes, by religious instruction, and by political regulations, as gradually to fit them for the enjoyment of personal freedom; and of this, after all that has been written on the subject, they see no reason whatever for being ashamed; nor has the evidence that has been brought forward by the advocates for. Slavery as it exists, tended in the slightest degree to shake their confidence in the justice and feasibility of their .object. They do not assume, nor do they even insinuate, that the slave-holders are generally cruel; but they asserty that from the present state of the law, they may be so, almost to any extent, without any risk of punishment. They do not assert that no improvements have taken place in the Slave laws; but they assert that they still give such powers to the White, as can scarcely be possessed without being abused *. They do not assert that nothing has been done for the religious and moral instruction of the Negroes; but they assert (on the authority of their opponents), that, at this day, after a lapse of two hundred years, during which British planters have had the absolute command of the Negro population, that population remains in a state of gross ignorance and brutal immorality; that as now circumstanced they are incapable of appreciating or using the liberty which we are anxious should be communicated to them; that marriage, the very first element of civil society, is incom
• See Note A.
patible with their happiness, and unrecognised and unprotected by the laws under which they live * ;' and, finally, that such is their indolence and apathy, that to expect liberated Negroes to work beyond what is actually necessary for the supply of their immediate animal wants, is to betray a total ignorance of their character.
Such is the representation of the actual state of the Slave population, as drawn by those who deprecate any alteration-in the system under which this character has been formed; and such is the state which, we are unwillingly obliged to say, a reverend advocate for Slavery, with an obtuseness of moral feeling fully equal to that which he has been describing, ventures to call superior to that of the British peasantry to
We have now to shew that this debased state of character is not to be attributed to any peculiarities of constitution in the Negro, but that it is solely and entirely to be attributed to the system under which he has been placed. And, in order to prove this, we need not have recourse to those true, though hackneyed arguments, by which philosophers of old, and even schoolboys in our time, have proved that Slavery is destructive of all the higher virtues. We are fortunately enabled to appeal to facts, to facts existing at this moment. We can refer to a Negro population of nearly 17,000, the greater portion having been liberated from Slavery f, of whom we may assert, that they are at least rapidly advancing to an equality with our own countrymen in knowledge, industry, and morality. We refer to the colony of Sierra Leone, the greater portion of whose inhabitants have, during the last ten years, been rescued by British cruizers from such Slave ships' as have been
* See Note B.
+ See Note C. By the last returns the population is 16,661 ; ,of these more than 15,000 are natives of Africa, the rest being Europeans, and Maroon or Nova Scotia settlers.