Puslapio vaizdai

claimant said, he would be sorry to put me to so much trouble; he would be content to receive back his apprentices without any public ceremony. I assured him, however, the public ceremony he should have, and that no pains should be spared to give the decision in his favour all the solemnity which the utmost publicity could give it. There was a general buzz amongst the assemblage, both of blacks and whites, which was tolerably indicative of the feelings that were entertained of him. He now said something about giving the woman her liberty, or of selling it to her at a very low rate, but the children he would have, and no price would induce him to relinquish his claim to them. The poor mother looked the picture of despair. I again told him he should have them all before the face of his countrymen, and that it should be out of the power of any human being in Jamaica ever to dispute his claim to them, or to call in question the title by which he had held his own mother in slavery to the hour of her death. He said, in a very low tone, he would give his sister her freedom. I was too much afraid of his resolution to affect to hear him, but I drew out the manumission paper, and subsequently told him he might sign it or not, as he thought proper. He had it read over to him ; and when it came to the signing part, he positively refused to subscribe his name to it. I was in the act of tearing up the document, when the audible groans of his own people induced him again to take the paper:

: I allowed myself to be persuaded to let him have it—the paper was in his hand-humanity did not

guide it, but shame did-he signed the paper ; and never was there a manumission performed with so bad a grace. “Now,” said he, “ tell her to gire me up these two children she has taken away from me," pointing to two chubby little Mulattos about seven and eight years of age (the eldest he had managed to get into his possession; the youngest, being under six, I gave up to the mother). I wish you could have seen that poor mother standing before the bar with her baby in one arm, and with the other encircling the two little boys, with that unutterable terror in her wild look, which I believe nothing but the wildness of a mother's fears can ever equal. I had the children placed before the bench to prevent any sudden disappearance of them or the complainant; and now before giving them up, I felt it necessary to applaud the generosity of this man, to extol his humanity, and to put his heart on the best of terms with itself; and it was not my fault if he was not overpowered with the sense of his own goodness. What I had asked from him before, I asked for his own sake; I now requested him, for mine, to give up one of the children ; I was afraid to ask too much : well, he did give up one, and,


before he left the office, he gave up the other. It was an arduous business, indeed,-at one time almost a hopeless one, but I was well seconded by Captain Dillon, and one of the reporters of a paper not very partial to me or any of my colleagues,-a well-disposed creature of the name of Michell. I wish, Sir, you had witnessed this scene; that you had observed that callous negro, drawling out his claim, with all the apathy of a slave-owner, and all the brazen insensibility of an upstart freeman,--while the wretched woman, his sister, whose manumission has been just extorted from him, is trembling for her children, standing by his side with averted looks of fear and of abhorrence, clasping her little children, and gathering them about her, while he is in the act of demanding “ his sacred rights” in the flesh of his own sister and of her children. You may imagine, better than I can describe, her fearful interest in the scene that is going on,—the bewildered expression of her regard when she sees her children, as she believes, about to be given up to their legal owner, or when she hears the threat of the only person she looked to for protection, of destroying the manumission already obtained with so much difficulty ; and all this time the tranquil deportment of the claimant, the ineffable imperturbableness of the slave-holder's feelings, while he is dinging into my ear, in reply to every appeal I can make to his humanity, or intimation to his fears—" I wants nothing but my rights !!!” But in his idea nature was possessed of none; and in seeking to deprive that poor woman of her children, he might be only legally claiming his pound of flesh, but he was prepared to cut it from the side that was next the mother's heart.

In this letter I fear I have presented human nature to you in one of the most abject of its forms: it will be my pleasing task to offer it to you in my next in one of its noblest aspects; and

; believe me when I speak in terms of commendation of any thing that attracts my notice, it affords me infinitely more gratification than to have to speak disparagingly of any sight or scene that passes before me. And when I do, I would fain have it remembered that slavery, “call it by what name you will,” is the misfortune of Jamaica, the crime of the mother-country.


dear Sir,
very truly,

R. R. M.

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Kingston, September 29, 1834. My dear Sir, Having made up my mind in the case of the negro Edward Donlan, to purchase the unexpired period of his apprenticeship, (which is the jargon now in use, to express the act of redeeming a man from slavery,) I made an application to his master, to request he would nominate a local magistrate, to act with the special justice of some adjoining parish, for the purpose of proceeding to a valuation of his apprentice. Whatever that valuation might be, I hoped to indemnify myself by a public subscription for so large an outlay.

I was given to understand, by Mr. Anderson, that the man was invaluable to him—that he kept his books (in Arabic characters)--and that the accounts of the whole of his vast business were kept by him—in short, that no sum of money which

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