Puslapio vaizdai

folly of protracting the miserable existence of slavery, when its members were paralysed ; and its right hand, forgetful of its cunning, had neither the power to close its trembling fingers on its former gains, or to grasp the wages of its present fleeting privileges, now that its body is in the embrace of death :—that misfortune and that folly were the planter's. I am well aware it is not in human nature to encounter injury to property without repugnance, or even the fear of injury without a spirit of resistance even where resistance can only augment the evil that is apprehended. But I am also persuaded, the fears of the proprietors have greatly overrated the dangers of a complete and immediate emancipation.

The present system has not succeeded; hitherto the opposition to it has been on the part of the white people. I fear the time will not be long before it is shown as strongly on the side of the apprentices. It will be in vain to attempt to patch up this worn-out system, at the instance of the advocates of the latter, with any new shreds of restricted liberty, or at the demand of the planters, with any of the old remnants of slavery. The best in this instance will be the boldest measure of improvement; and what cannot be amended had better be abolished. That abolition and the payment of the compensation-money should be simultaneous; and were both immediate,

and the per-capita award were substituted for that by valuation, a boon which Jamaica, in my opinion, has good grounds for laying claim to, the colonists would most willingly concede the immediate emancipation of their slaves—that is, their apprentices. The settlement of contending claims and disputed titles, it may be objected to this plan, would not admit of an immediate payment, but the adjustment of these might be deferred without involving those claims which are indefeasible in the postponement. Even were it necessary to add another five millions to the twenty already granted for the compensation of the owners, in consideration of an immediate abolition, in the most precarious condition of the partial measure for that object at the present moment in Jamaica, I would say the safety of that colony -the avoidance of the probability of the evils of martial law-the rescuing the measure now in operation from the imputation of a failure, that will be hurtful to the cause of negro emancipation over the world-would be cheaply purchased.

As to the people of this country, separated from slavery, I can speak of them generally in no other terms than those which are inspired by kind and friendly feelings. To find them a kindhearted, hospitable, and honourable class of men, it is only necessary to separate the interests of slavery from the ordinary sentiments of the pro



prietors, and to discriminate between the planter in the presence of his negroes, when every intimation has its epithet, and every trivial remonstrance its invective,—and the private gentleman in society, where the rancour of colonial politics does not happen to interfere with the frankness and urbanity of his manners, and the fervid influence of the clime has suspended its dominion for the time over his temper, and its tyranny over the tone of his opinions. In a word, I freely confess, leaving the conduct that is influenced by slavery aside, I have not met in any country more estiinable men than I have been acquainted with in Jamaica.

I am, my dear Sir,
Yours very truly,

R. R. M.


The circumstances which led to my resignation of the office of Special Magistrate were of a nature that I considered surrounded with too many difficulties, to enable me to discharge my duties with honesly to the intentions of the measure under which I acted. These circumstances I have unwillingly referred to; and in ny anxiety to avoid all personal allusions, it is very possible I may have done injustice to the cause I profess to have at heart, by understating the difficulties that I have met with, and indeed those of every gentleman who has been similarly circumstanced, with regard to his duties and the opposition given to an honest and impartial discharge of them.

The three points on which I made a stand for the rights and newly established privileges of the apprentices, were these :

First-In cases of valuation of the unexpired term of apprenticeship, an award conformable to the intrinsic value of the services appraised, and not the ideal value estimated by the injuries inflicted on slavery by any legislative enactment.

Secondly-In all cases of disputed title to the services of the negro, wherein there was reason to believe the apprentice had been illegally held in slavery, the duty of the Special Magistrate to satisfy himself that

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he did not exercise his jurisdiction over freemen, as the new law limited his jurisdiction to apprentices who had been slaves.

Thirdly-In all misdemeanours, wherein resistance was apprehended on refusal of the negro to accompany his owner to a Magistrate, bearing in mind that on all estates there are constables, negroes belonging to the property, specially appointed by the stipendiary Ma. gistrates, to apprehend and bring before him refractory Apprentices, while in Kingston - there is a resi

a dent Special Justice and police attached to his court, for all necessary purposes of apprehension ;-the obvious intention of the Abolition Act to prevent all collision leading to violence between master and owner, and the right of the negro to all the judicial forms compatible with his present state of restricted freedom; to afford him protection from violence on the pretext of bringing him to justice; authorising the employment of warrants for his apprehension, instead of the arbitrary process, on every trivial disagreement, of dragging the Apprentice, with open violence, before the Magistrate.

The Corporation entertained very different notions of the remedial character of the new law. Its members not unfrequently favoured me with their exposition of it. One of them went so far as to trample on the authority of my office, and one of his partisans to assault me in the public streets. I found the protection of the negro incompatible with my own: the power of the Corporation was paramount in Kingston to that of the Executive, as, in the imbecility of its arrogance, it dreamt that its privileges were tantamount to those of the British Parliament. From the gentlemen of the

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