« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
We know that no registry will be effectual, but one that is accompanied by regulations, and enforced by sanctions, which belong to the jurisdiction of Parliament alone. The transmission, for instance, of daplicates of the colonial books, and of the subsequent periodical returns to this country; the establishment of a public depository for them here; and the making a correspondence with these Records necessary to the validity of titles acquired by British purchasers or mortgagees; are all provisions absolutely necessary to the due execution of the law: yet they are such as no authority but that of Parliament can ordain.
“ Let these, and the other securities proposed by your Bill, be given against the fraudulent evasion of the Abolition Acts; and we are willing to abide by the experiment. We may then trust to the effects on the temper of the Assemblies, for the reformation of the Slave Codes, and for all such improvements in the condition of the slaves, as can be introduced by positive law. We may also with confidence expect, from the progressive effects in the minds and on the conduct of masters, the fuller reformation, and future extinction of slavery itself.
“ Should however this most efficacious and inoffensive remedy be withheld, let not our opponents tax us with inconsistency when we resort to other Parliamentary means for the relief of the unfortunate slaves.
“ Denied a fair trial of the expedient we prefer, we shall be driven to others, in which we have less confidence indeed, but which it would be opprobrious in that case to leave untried. Adopting the first views of Mr. Burke, we shall pursue the only course open to us, that of applying to Parliament for laws directly addressed to the abuses we wish to restrain. Some of these are the mere creatures of positive laws, and may be cured by a simple repeal ; such as the acts which make slaves liable to be separated, for ever, from their homes and families, by process of law; and those, audacious recent innovations that restrain in some of the islands the master's power of enfranchisement. But it will be our bounden duty also to call on the Legislature to prohibit, at least, the brutal practice of driving, and other destructive oppressions, in the exercise of the master's power. With all the difficulties of giving effect to such laws on the plantations, it is a work which it would be criminal not to attempt, if a registry, in other words an effectual Abolition, the best remedy for snch evils, be withheld.
“ It is true, that in efforts like these we must expect opposition at least as warm and pertinacious as that which is now making to your Register Bill. But repeated discussions will diminish our difficulties, and add to our strength. Our case is too strong to be resisted when thoroughly understood; and though like that of the open slave trade, it may be long disguised by misrepresentation and prejudice, we shall triumph at last, by bringing it home to the conviction, and to the humane, the moral and religious feelings of Parliament and the Country.”
The motives with which this Bill is brought forward are next stated—first he shews that they are not fanatical, but those which had induced the house to pass the Abolition Law-next, that they are not uncharitable, because besides the evidence of fact, it is founded on the repeated declarations of the planters before 1807 as a reason for noi passing the Abolition Law, that smuggling could not and ought not to be prevented; and thirdly, as to the insidious and mischievous designs imputed, he appeals to past experience.
The second letter is more important than the first, as it is devoted to prove that the Registry Bill is necessary; and it is chiefly in reply to a Report published by the assembly of Jamaica, which reports an answer to a similar document from the African Institution drawn up by Mr. Stephen. After the first point is opened, relative to the actual existence of an illicit trade in slaves, the second letter contains a long legal argument in opposition to the Attorney General of Jamaica, and a barrister, relative to the writ de homine replegiando and other laws affecting the condition of slaves, and the redress they can receive in colonial courts of justice. The object of Mr. Stephen in this discussion is, to establish the truth of the preamble of the Bill which had been attacked by his antagonists. A minute examination of the oral evidence, adduced to prove the non-importation of slaves is then entered upon, and it is followed by a series of very acute remarks upon the Population Returns of Jamaica, by which the author endeavours to prove, by clear deduction, that in the year before the passing of Sir Samuel Romilly’s Bill to make trading in slaves a capital felony, a large number were clandestinely introduced in anticipation of that law. It is impossible in the compass of a review, to give even a few links of the chain of reasoning by which he arrives at the conclusion, that slaves have been clandestinely imported to a considerable extent. He derives the following estimate of the number of negroes with which Jamaica may be supplied, notwithstanding existing prohibitory laws, from a naval officer correspondent in the island.
Annually. Sixty Spanish false traders between Cuba and Jamaica, making a voyage in three weeks or seventeen voyages in
10,200 the year, and bringing each time 10 negroes disguised as mariners or otherwise concealed in the vessel
Brought forward....10,200 Thirty do. do. from the Spanish Main and Jamaica, making a voyage in five weeks, or ten voyages in the year, 3,000 and bringing each time 10 negroes
Twenty-five British force traders from Jamaica to different parts of the Spanish Main, making six voyages in the 1,500 year, and bringing each time 10 negroes....
Total annual importation of slaves....14,700
Having with patience and logical acumen detected other misrepresentations and impositions contained in the Jamaica Report, into which our limits will not allow us to enter, Mr. Stephen concludes his second letter in these terms.
“ But our cause, my dear Wilberforce, (he observes) will gain strength from these important attacks on its leader. Reasoning men who have had prepossessions against the necessity of the Registry Bill, are now coming over to our side, in consequence of their observing by whom, in what manner, and with what unprecedented exertions, we are opposed. They will reason in the same way, from the visible antipathy to a character so unlikely from his manners to inspire it, and to whom the Assemblies would vote statues rather than libels, if they had really opened their eyes to the evils and guilt of the slave trade.”
The points yet remaining to be discussed by Mr. Stephen are therefore the constitutionality of the interference of the British parliament with the internal regulations of the colonies, and the dangers threatened to the West Indies if the Registry Bill be passed into a law. We cannot conclude this article without subjoining another passage from the excellent speech of Mr. Brougham on the 19th of June, in which he treats of the improbability that the Colonial Legislatures will adopt any regulations, if they be not enforced by the Parliament at home.
“ It is argued that we must not interfere with the colonial legislatures; that such a step would be both unconsti. tutional and impolitic; that they are perfectly competent and perfectly ready to exert themselves for the amelioration of the condition of the slaves. I will tell the house one of my reasons for thinking that the Assemblies of the Islands will not exert themselves. We are therefore at issue upon this point. Having occupied already so much of its attention I will only refer the house to one specimen of their readiness, which shews, that for bettering the condition of
the blacks, not only the recommendations of Parliament, but even the orders of the Governors of the Islands are disregarded. The house will recollect, that after 1805 a great deal of discussion took place in consequence of the dispatches of Lord Seaforth, when the Barbadoes Legislature refused to make murder a capital offence, notwithstanding they were told, that if they did not adopt that and other laws for the improvement of the condition of their slaves, the Abolition Law would be passed to compel them. Yet what was done by the Barbadoes Legislature ? Nothing. -Up to 1804 the law of the Island was, that if any white man shall kill a slave it should be held no offence, if it were not done with malice prepense, but if it be done with malice prepense and bloody-mindedly, then the murderer shall be fined fifteen pounds. After the discussions in this country however, they did think fit to enact that the murder of a slave should be a capital offence: but in what way? In such a way as to render the law totally nugatory; for the law provides that if any white shall wantonly, wilfully, with malice afore-thought, and without protocalion kill a slave, then he shall be adjudged guilty of murder, without benefit of clergy. Then, I ask whether the Legislature of Barbadoes has made murder a capital crime? No-for the murderer has a loop-hole through which he may creep from punishment; for if he can prove even the slightest provocation on the part of the deceased—a stubborn look, a humble remonstrance against cruelty, a refusal, from positive inability, to continue at work, or merely the elevation of the voice, the murderer is excused, and he is only fined eleven pounds four shillings for the wanton destruction of a fellow creature. I ask the house if this law does not in fact aggravate the evil and encrease the impunity of the master? and what reform can we expect from bodies formed like the Legislatures of the Colonies ? Shall we leave it to them, instead of remedying the causes of our complaints, to augment and aggravate them?”
We shall take an opportunity of renewing our remarks upon this subject as soon as the series of Letters of Mr. Stephen to Mr. Wilberforce are continued.
Art. V.-Of Statuary and Sculpture among the Ancients,
with some account of Specimens preserved in England. By JAMES DALLAWAY, M. B. F. A. S. London, for
J. Murray, royal 8vo. Pp. 418. Tuis work is a very useful compilation, and if the materials are not new, the arrangement is sufficiently precise and methodical. The author is an amateur, but we think of no very lively feeling, although he has visited Rome and Florence to have his passions inflamed by the powerful originals, which are the subjects of his observation. It seems that a considerable time has elapsed since be made his excursion for that purpose, and perhaps his sensibility may, by the frigid effects of time, have been much diminished. But however this may be, there is nothing assuming in his pretensions, and these pages are modestly offered to the young lovers of the art, who may require an account of curious and expensive volumes beyond their reach, or
as mere scantlings, by the help of which a more complete structure might be raised.”
Etchings to the number of twenty-nine are subjoined, and it is some objection as to the choice of the subjects that, the Laocoon excepted and perhaps one more, these designs have no reference whatever to the discussions of the merits and demerits of the specimens of Sculpture noticed in the course of the work. It would almost seem as if the author had chosen them on account of their inapplicability, instead of being selected as an illustration of the principles, and a display of the powers of execution on which he dilates. It is admitted the etchings are not the work of a professional artist, but we are told they “ are contributed by friendship and genius.”.
Before we enter more particularly into the subject, we will give the general outline of the work. It is divided into six sections, the first of which treats of the history of Sculpture and Statuary, principally in Greece, Egypt, and Etruria ; the second of the Schools of Sculpture, the masters under which they were conducted, and the artists who were educated in them to the period of the decline of their profession; the third adverts more especially to the state of Sculpture at Rome, from the foundation of the city to the removal of the seat of empire to Constantinople; the fourth is applied to an account of the discovery of the antique Statues in Italy, a detail of the collections at Rome, a dissertation on the materials, and some remarks on the maxims to be