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SA 2646.10


MAR 3 1937



AGREEABLY to the minute of the Yearly Meeting of 1839, encouraging the Meeting for Sufferings to send out to the West Indies one or more friends, with a view of inquiring into the present condition of the newly-emancipated Negroes, and also of ascertaining in what way the funds at the Society's disposal might be most satisfactorily applied, the proposal of our friend John Candler and his wife, of Chelmsford, to undertake this interesting and arduous service, was accepted, and they sailed from Falmouth, on the 4th of 11th month last, in the government packet-ship, Magnet, bound for Barbadoes. The following extracts, from the accounts transmitted of their proceedings, are printed for the information of Friends.

Kingston, Jamaica, 23d of 12th Month, 1839.

HAVING dispatched one letter from Cape Haytien to my sisters, and prepared another, giving an account of our voyage, I now sit down to communicate a few particulars that may perhaps be interesting to thyself and our other friends of the Committee. On first day, the 24th ult., when about 400 miles from Barbadoes, we discerned a sail at sea, which the officers of our ship pronounced, from its appearance, to be a slaver. The commander, on the first day before, had called over the muster-roll, and read the prayers and lessons of the Church of England: on this occasion he put off the religious service, stating as a reason, that the strange vessel was suspicious craft, and must be narrowly watched. The portholes were ordered to be opened, and the guns got ready, and powder and loaded fire-arms were brought on deck from the magazine. The Magnet, our vessel, is a man-of-war gun-brig, but has no authority to pursue or detain slavers. During the pre



parations, myself and wife, and our young friend to our cabin to enter on a service, which I hope will be ever dear to us, that of waiting on a God of peace: we felt not the least alarm, and the circumstance was, perhaps, useful to us, in bringing our Christian testimony against war to the test of individual principle in our own minds, and as leading us to look forward with hope and confidence to the time when all fightings shall be at an end. Before we left the cabin we heard a commotion on deck: the sailors were moving one of the great guns near to the forecastle, and there was much excitement. The commander had hoisted his pennant and flag, and the stranger making no reply, he was preparing, according to the rules of war, first to fire a-head of her, then to fire over her, and then to fire into her; but before the match was applied she hoisted Sardinian colours, and we were compelled to move on. What she really was nobody could tell, perhaps a slaver, perhaps not; but the officers said the colours were very likely meant to deceive us. The commander said he once came up with a slaver in distress, whose captain the night before had thrown fifty of his slaves overboard for want of water, but he could neither take nor detain the vessel; he sent them, however, a supply of water.


We arrived at Barbadoes on the 6th instant, having been thirtytwo days at sea, without once seeing land, and the same night set sail again by the mail-boat for St. Thomas. had experienced some sea-sickness on board the Magnet and much discomfort, and for a few days some miserable feelings arising from squalls and head-winds that made the ship pitch and roll, the timbers creak, and heavy things to roll and tumble about on deck and the cabin-floors, so that we could not stand to dress, and had several bruises. We had dreaded the change to the mail-boat, which is a much smaller vessel, but found it on the whole an improvement: the passengers were reduced in number and the berths more commodious, and we could take all our meals upon deck under an awning. Enjoyment might now be almost said to begin: we were favoured with good health, lovely weather, gentle breezes, a smooth sea, and sailed among beautiful islands which it gladdened our eyes to see.

Our captain, contrary to his regulations, stopped at Martinique, and allowed us to land at St. Pierre. Nature has done much for this lovely island, spreading over it the beauties of tropical vegetation and a fertile soil, and man has done much to deform it. Slavery lingers here, and the lot of the servile population is still so hard that they are constantly making efforts to escape. Joseph Sturge tells us, that large numbers had escaped to the British islands when he was in the West Indies. I mentioned this fact to one of our fellow-passengers, a slave-owner at St. Thomas, who denied it, and said it was impossible; that the French government would never submit to have

its runaway slaves harboured in the neighbouring islands, and that the English would not dare to detain them. I told him to make inquiry on shore. We all took a different course in the town, and went to different quarters. When we met again on board the vessel, my aforesaid friend said to a Kingston merchant, a thorough-paced planter's man, "Mr. Candler was right." Yes, was the muttered reply. My wife and I went to a large hotel kept by a Barbadian woman of colour. I asked her how things were going on in Martinique? How are they going on? why slaves had got to be of no value now; she would gladly sell all she had for eighty dollars a-piece: two of her slaves had lately run away to St. Lucia, and there was no getting them back again: she wondered at one of them, for she had never even slapped her in the face: it was infamous, and the French government winked at it. I asked her how the slaves got away? In boats, she said, and on rafts, and many of them were drowned: the coast-guard had often seen rafts upset and the negroes perish, but now there was a man-of-war to sail round the island and keep the shore. As a further confirmation that the system of escape continues, I will here copy an article of session news, which I saw in the "Journal Officiel de Martinique, 27 Novembre, 1839." "Par arrêts du contumace. Les nommés, Joseph, esclave du Sieur Louis Marie, habitant aux Trois-Islets; Jonas, esclave du Sieur de Vassoigne; Elisée, esclave du Sieur Ferdinand de Pelletier, accusés, 1°, d'avoir soustrait frauduleusement une pirogue, à l'aide de laquelle ils ont fui dans une colonie étrangère; 2°, d'avoir, dans la nuit, penétré dans la maison du dit Louis Marie, et d'y avoir enlevé les divers agrès et apparaux de la dite pirogue, &c., ont été condamnés à recevoir chacun 29 coups de fouet, et à cinq années de chain de police." So that when they are caught, which we may hope they never will be, they are to receive twenty-nine lashes each, and to work five years in a chaingang! Another number of the same journal advertises six runaway slaves, caught in the act of decampment.

I was told at St. Thomas' Town that fifty slaves had run away from that island to Tortola: some of the slaves escape to Dominica, but more to St. Lucia; and Captain Stuart, who is now in Jamaica, but I have not seen him,-told the captain of our mailboat, that he had in his possession a piece of cork on which a slave floated from Mariegalant to Dominica, about sixty miles, exposed to sharks swimming around him, and that he was picked up, exhausted and senseless, on the shore.

At Tortola I visited the national-school founded by the bishop of Barbadoes. Boys, girls, and infants are all instructed under one roof in a splendid room. A coloured master and mistress, a female superintendent, and an under-teacher were all in attendance; and groups of children, black, white, and brown, mostly jet black, but classed without distinction of colour, were receiving instruction: the first class read remarkably well, and the

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