Puslapio vaizdai

by parson Camill— (intimation that the charge against him had nothing to do with his baptism) well, massa, no matter about the Christen, soon as me grow up and able to talk a leetel, me always yeerie good advice,– (requested to pass over his childhood) well, massa, say no more of piccanini times-new parson open schools : ebery Sunday go to school; soon know plenty- (reminded to leave his school-days for the present times) well, my good massa, say not one word more about school, what signify for true how much poor neger larn? what for neger learn to read book?-to beat gombah all day Sunday ? no! to play bonjaw all day Sunday? no! to tell oder negro nancy stories all day long ? no ! to go after John Canoes in big holidays, or spend piccanini Christmas (Easter) dancing and all oder vanities ? no, massa ! me go to school to larn uprighteous conduck, and to be a perfect Christian. Me neber do nothing bad ; work for massa like a good neger; never teef massa's goods; never tell oder neger bad ; never make miscief 'gainst busha. Magistrate come to me and yeerie de complaints ; him tell we all de law, den me axe what crime for law punish neger so da we regulate our conduck. Him den reckon all crime up. Fus him tell us 'insubordination ;' den me say what for dat mean? him say imperance to massa; den me axe what dat mean? him say, if massa tell me for to do something, and

[ocr errors]

we don't yeerie very well, dat mean imperance. Den me axe if imperance mean saucy, and him say yes. But black neger constable say, what for axe all dese things ?-ebery body know what dese things mean. But me axe once more, 'pose me want to pray to Gar Amighty, and busha says there is something else to do, does dat mean imperance ? Constable cry again, ebery body knows about dat; den me tell him, ebery constable stops neger's mouth-a false constable, and has taken oath falsely, and ebery body swears false, him belly swell, and him die, but nebber said constable die so. Neber said magistrate was a false, an unjust magistrate : him know himself too well, and ebery body know him to be perfect Christian.”

Mr. Mathews having concluded a very long speech, the delivery of which was a great deal better than the matter, folded his arms and retired a couple of steps. It was intimated to him that had he attended more to the instruction of his parson, he would not boast of being that which no one is in the eyes of religion--a perfect man; and that it is not those who call themselves perfect, who are always found devoid of imperfections ; that one of

! his most obvious ones was a quibbling spirit, which he displayed in his interrogatories but for the purpose of producing a misunderstanding of the meaning of the magistrate's observations, and not in the fair spirit of inquiry for the sake of information, for the future guidance of himself and others. He was also reminded that the law had been before explained to them, and he could not be ignorant that the apprentices could not be now prevented, at all proper and seasonable times, from performing their religious duties, as any such interference with them would be illegal.

This man wanted to do mischief, and I thought deserved punishment. But even in this instance, where, by misrepresenting the exposition of the law to the negroes, a spirit of partial discontent was created, the very negroes themselves gave evidence against him, and, after his punishment, acknowledged that he justly deserved it. Now in every estate whereupon there are three or four hundred negroes, in all probability there must be some characters of this sort: those inimical to the negroes say they all are of this kind : I believe, on properties which are commonly well managed, they would find it difficult to pick out more than one or two of this description.

It is a difficult thing to get a negro to understand any thing which he does not wish to hear : the more you try to explain a matter that is disagreeable to him, the more incapable he appears of comprehension ; or if he finds this plan ineffectual, he endeavours to render the matter ridiculous; and his talent at rendering ridicule sar

castic is really surprising. An overseer was lately reading one of the Governor's admirable addresses to the negroes, in which the obligation of industry was enforced by the observation that every one was obliged to work for his bread, some with their hands, and others with their heads. When the overseer was done, one of the negrodrivers said to his comrades, “ Heerie him well, and be sure to work; good Gubernor says ebery body work, some with their hands—dese are de trong men what dig de cane-holes—some with their heads—dese are de piccanini moders, who carry de pots and pitchers on their heads every day to de field-ebery good neger woman work hard with him head--ya heerie de Gubernor."

I suppose by this time you wish me and all the negroes in the centre of Africa, where there is no post-office.

I am, my dear Count,
Yours very truly,




Kingston, Sept. 15, 1834. Dear Sir, A negro was recently brought before me belonging to a Mr. Anderson, of this town, to be sworn in as a constable on his master's property. I discovered, by the mere accident of seeing the man sign his name in very well written Arabic, while I was swearing in his comrades, that he was a man of education, and, on subsequent inquiry, a person of exalted rank in his own country, who had been kidnapped in a province bordering on Timbuctoo. He had been sold into slavery in Jamaica nearly thirty years ago, and had preserved the knowledge of the learning of his country, and obtained the character of one little more enlightened than the majority of his savage brethren, and that was all. The interest I took in all Oriental matters (if no other motive


« AnkstesnisTęsti »