31 OCTOBER 1840, Page 16



THE avowed object of Friend GURNEY'S visit to the West Indies, as of a previous tour through the United States, was to preach the gospel after the fashion of the people called Quakers. An- other of his motives, we opine, was to survey Slavery in America, and Emancipation in the West Indian Islands. Perhaps a third purpose, though hidden from his own mind, was to enjoy himself by observing strange men and modes of life, and by gazing upon the glories of nature in the New World. For JOSEPII JOHN IS not a Quaker of drab alone, but possesses a mind, resembling the coat of his namesake the beloved of Jacob, in being of many co- lours. lie drinks in the ever-changing beauties of sea and sky, as developed during a voyage, in calm, breezy sunshine, or storm; he luxuriates in the romantic mountains or teeming vegetation of the Tropics ; he gazes with delight on the strange forms and brilliant colours of the fish, without concealing his liking for their more useful quality ; and he waxes eloquent upon the foliage and flow- ers of' the Western Intl, not forgetting its tempting fruitage, and actually indulging in its "forbidden fruit." All these things, and the workings of Emancipation as he saw it, or as it was de- scribed to him, together with a picture of the society of the West Indies so far as he could observe it in a rapid visit, he narrates with simplicity, breadth, and spirit, mingled with a fresh and delightful playfulness. Nay, so much is he excited by his jaunt, that ever and anon he breaks out into snatches of song ; the scene before him furnishing at once his inspiration and his theme. The images of these verses are natural, and the topics drawn from the occa- sion ; the lines rhyme and scan ; and they are all anitnated by an amiable benevolence ; but, considered as poetry in a critical sense, they have more of the flesh than the spirit. When at Washington, Josamt GURNEY and his friends mingled with the magnates of the land, and freely discussed the subjects of Emancipation and Slavery. Amongst others to whom he was in- troduced was the celebrated IlliNay CLAY ; amid, by the American orator's own permission, Jost:eit GURNEY addresses to him in " Familiar Letters" a description of "A Winter in the West Indies ; " the object being to operate upon the mind of the Ameri- can public in favour of Abolition by the picture drawn of its success in our Colonies.

Without imputing any nmtives to Friend GURNEY, or even sus- pecting him of a lawyer-like desire to make out a ease, we must observe, that the Americans cannat but perceive that the different

islands he visited were so circumstanced as to throw the best light upon the working of Abolition, if his visits were not so planned. Excepting Jamaica, and perhaps Dominica, no evidence of any kind was required to show that Emancipation did not stop labour in Tortola, Saint Christopher's, and Antigua—little islands, well peopled, where n11 the best land is occupied, and where liberty only gave the Negroes the liberty of working or starv- ing, unless they emigrated, which many have done. Why did our Friend not extend his tour to the noble island of Trinidad, and the still nobler colony of Demerara ? What is the use of telling us that the exports of sugar from Antigua (which felt. so sure of her Negroes that she emancipated them at once on the passing of the Compensation) have nearly doubled since 1839, when one year's diminution in the value of sugar raised in British Guiana amounts to 665,7481., and the total decreast on sugar, coffee, rum, molasses, and cotton, to 1050,000/. ? Jamaica, no doubt, is a magnificent island ; and here our author cannot deny that the produce has fallen short : but he attributes this not to Abolition, but to the misconduct of the planters ; and he holds that production will reach or exceed its former state, if matters are ma- naged wisely, and the protective duties on sugar, &c. not repealed. But, in the words of our homely proverb, " the proof of the pudding is in the eating": and, in despite of literature and eloquence, plain people will measure Emancipation by the prices of produce, and think it a failure till they reach their former state.

Besides the doubt thrown upon our author's Abolition pictures, arising from the limited extent of his tour, the character of the man

and of his journey must be borne in mind. His first asso- ciates would of necessity be persons of his own shade of opi- nions ; who would naturally represent things in the brightest colours, and not own that the predictions and labours of their lives had ended in disappointment. At the smaller islands, his stay was too limited for thorough inquiries, or in fact to enable him to see more than he was shown ; and though he made a longer sojourn in Jamaica, his interior tour only occupied fifteen days. Except little trips for pleasure, his excursions seems to have been directed by the religious meetings he could hold : and it is highly probable, that if this class of Negroes are not the most industrious, their teachers have sufficient influence over them to induce them to put on an imposing out \vard appearance when cue of the great " massas " of Abolition conies to view and report upon their be- haviour.

These are all circumstances of' suspicion, for which every unpre- judiced reader should make allowance. Having noticed them, we may say that the statements of Friend GURNEY are the most favourable that we have yet seen as to the working of Emancipa- tion ; because they are more specific, and more sensible, and wear a much greater air of fairness and candour, than the exaggerations of Abolition fanatics or adventurers. Ile describes the advance in morality and education as considerable,—schools and churches full, prisons nearly empty, and marriages increasing, not only amongst the Black but even the White population, who are sliamed into regular c.onduct. That the produce on many cstates in Jamaica is reduced, he does not attempt to deny ; but he says the real profit of the estate is greater. Under the old system, the dead-weigitt of the slaves—of the old, the young, the sick, or the shammers of sickness, who did no work, but had to be maintained—cannot be estimated at less than two-thirds of the whole number of the gang. From this dead-weight the planter is now relieved : he only pdys far the work which is actually performed, and gets an income besides, in the shape of rent, for his huts and provision-grounds. (But we must bear in mind that sometimes the Negroes will leave work half dune—will sow, for example, but not reap.) Emanci- pation has also developed new labour; old men, who were put aside as superannuated, executing some kind of work, under the stimulus of wages. But the best proof of all, he says, is the rise in the value of property. One estate, which was sold in the times of kar and depression at. 1,5001., is now estimated at 10,000/. (But the price is a diet—the estimate an opinion, and, according to his own show- ing, a loose off-hand one.) Properties abandoned are now in the course of cultivation ; and some plantations, formerly cultivated by absentee owners at little profit, if not at a loss, are now let at a good income.

The partial evil working of Abolition in Jamaica, our author attributes to attempts on the part of the planters to mix up rents and wages, or rather to make house and land a means of exacting labour. Wherever the planter fixes a thir rent on his

houses and provision- grail and pays fair money-wages ill return for his labour, there every thing goes on smoothly. But Where he stipulates for so nmeli labour as a set-MI against occu- pation, there will be found disputes and complaints. It appears, however, from an incidental statement of his own, that the :Negro is uncertain and childlike—diverted from his task by any thing that attracts him. We also suspect, that on sonic plantations there is a want of money, and that it is more con- venient to deduct the wages than to pay them. The folly of absenteeism is an old mischief, which Emancipation will probably 4.2ure ; inducing proprietors resident in Britain to let their estates, Instead of attempting to cultivate them by deputy. We may also observe, that our author presses every thing into the service of

egro freedom; whereas it is obvious, in several eases, that com- pensation-money has had no small share in the " prosperity."

Having made such observations as seem called far on A ll'inter in the Mat Indies, we proceed to give some samples from the work


As we found our way into the Tropics, we observed that the atmosphere

became clearer and clearer; no mists were perceptible, the sun seldom obscured, and the appearance of the sky and stars at night peculiarly bright and clear. The moon, in these latitudes, often assumes an almost vertical position; and many of the stars which belong to the Southern hemi- sphere are visible. Before daylight one morning, the Captain called me upon. deck to look at the Southern Cross; which is certainly a constellation of rare beauty. One of the five stars which form the cross, however, is of inferior mag- nitude, and not in the true position ; which some,. hat mars the image. When I turned towards the East, I enjoyed a still finer spectacle. The horn of an almost expiring moon, Venus, and Mars, were in all their splendour ; and the profusion of azure, lilac, ultramarine, pea-green, orange, and crimson, which mantled the sky about half an hour before sunrise, I never before saw equalled.


The charms of a tropical country, when novel, are calculated to make a de- lightful impression on the mind ; and as live roamed along the lanes and cane- fields of Santa Cruz during the first few days after our arrival, we could easily conceive the pleasure enjoyed by Columbus and his followers when the fertility and beauty of West Indian scenery first burst upon their view. Many beautt- fol productions of nature, however, not indigenous, are now added to the ca- talogue of wonders which inflamed the imagination of Columbus.

Almost every plant we saw as we drove ur rode about the country, from the largest tree to the small weed, was unknown to us, and formed the subject of somewhat troublesome inquiry. It was a new world to us, as well as to its first discoverer ; and several days must be passed amidst these scenes before one can obtain any thing like a familiar acquaintance with the productions of nature. Splendid exotic plants, which would be regarded as rarities even in the greenhouses of England and America, are cultivated in the little gar- dens of Santa Cruz ; and the wild flowers are scarcely less attractive. Amongst them we observed large kinds of convolvolus, white and pink, yellow bell-flowers, scarlet creepers, bright blue peas of singalar beauty ; and, to crown all, the " Pride of Barbados," sometimes crimson, sometimes yellow, with butterfly petals, long pendant stamina, and acacia-like leaves adorning the hedges in great profusion. The trees are for the must part bearers of fruit, and many of them are covered with luxuriant foliage. To select a few of the most remarkable, I would just mention the plantain and banana, (nearly the same in appearance,) with pendant leaves of vast dimension, and a profusion of' finger-like fruit growing in clusters ; the wild orange tree, revered at the same time with fruit aed flowers ; the lime, which lines the hedges, and is equally fragrant, producing in abundance a small kind of lemon ; the guava, with pink blossoms and pear 'like fruit, also frequent in the hedge-rows; the mango, heavily laden with foliage, and with fruit in its season ; the mammee, growing - to a great size, and profusely covered with glazed dark green foliage ; the tamarind, with its light feathery leaves and long pods, which contain the fruit used for a preserve, spreading its branches far and wide, like the British oak.


It is a circumstance much to be lamented that the distillery- is an almost unvarying appendage to the boiling-house, and every two hogsheads of sugar are accompanied by at least one puncheon of ruin. The new ruin of the West Indies is a ternpting but most unhealthy liquar, and has doubtless caused an unnumbered multitude of untimely deaths. Our friend Stevenson drinks only water, and, with an honest consistency, manufactures no rum. The- " scummings" of the sugar-liquor, from which (with a mixture uf molasses) the rum is usually distilled, are on his estate pumped back into the clarifier, and converted into surer as excellent as any that he makes. He is confident that this change of system is economical and profitable ; and greatly is it to be desired that his example may be followed throughout the West Indies.


One of our first visite seas to a school fir Black children, uniler the care of Alexander Boa, the picius minister at the parish-church. It was in good order ; the chOdren answered our questions well. We then proceeded to the gaol, ii which, if my memory serves me right, we fonnd only one prisoner, with the gaoler and the judge : Our kind friend Francis Speneer Wigley, Chief Justice of the British Virgin Islands, happened to be there, aunt cheered vievvith the Mformation that crime ha,I vastiy devresseil sinc:: the period of full emancipation. I looked over the livt of commitments to the goal, which, fir the misiit part, are summary fir petty offences, and observed that in the hot E1x mow::: of 1Sll; the number committed was I Se,: and in the last six- months of Is:ad Ludy 75, making rt difference raf III in favour a freedom. With regard to Ilea% ler offences, the three pri ceiling courts eff session (em- bracing a period of nine months) were occasions of pet feet leisure—not le criminal indictment at any of them.


First moat h, Ill Ii, first day of the week. .Ve 11 appointed a meeting at a country v,11,+go eall,d. Parham. It was a riort.in:, of vio!.:.; rain ; bat about two elides,: Negro, s lnaved the weather, and unitoil with us in pahlie worship. It is said that tinry are less willing to come at to their places of warship in the rain, than mm ms the ease formerly. The taai..in is curious: iliey now have shoes and stockings which they are unwilling to exposo to the mug.

MARRIAGE, CRIME, AND coatrona : ANTIGUA. Vicer of St. John's, timing the last :even ..ke,irs cf slav rev, n;arried only Ile pairs of Negroes. In the sin,;le y,ar of freedom, 1639, the ma. limier of pairs led by him vi is 1S5. p.et to crime, it has been rapidly diminishing daring the last few years. The ',initials committed to the house of correction in Is:17, elidly for petty offences, 1.erinerly timid:lied on the estates, were Sal; in IS3S only 244; iii IS:19, alt. The nullifier left in the prison at the close of 1S37 ma: 147 ; at the close of I IL5, only Nor can it be do 1 1+ 1 t.na, the personal comforts of the labourers have been, hi the mean tin it', vastly inereas,d, 'flte duties ou imports in Isei:1 ((him last y_ra of slavery) wore ; in IS;I:1 tiny were 24,650/. This augments- thin lets been oc.aidoned by the import:itiou of dry goods and mat L. articles for Mach a demand, entirely new. has arisen among the lahouring population. The quantity of bread and meat uved as food by the labourers is surprisingly increased. Th,ir wedding-cakes and dinners are extravagant, even to the point, at times, of drinking champagne!


" How many dollars should I find in thy purse at homo:" said a friend in our company to a young married Negro. is ho isis guiding us along one of the mountain-passes. " Should I and ri plied he; and tie great matter neither." Ilow very test La- Oar labourers in England would be found with t wenty shillings in their por,e of spare money, was oar reilection on the occasion. " llow nitwit dest thou pay at one time for lignor " panni!, Sir,- said lic.—that is tic 'Avehmiilinma sterlieg; whiell lasts this lahourer, for wine, porter, &e, enly six weeks. They are hy no means given to intem- perance; but some of them keep these al ticks in their cottages for their own use in times of hard labour, and for the entertainment of their Iiiends,—a luxury which we hope will he S01111 (Sr domestic Comforts of a niOre de- sirable character. Their provisionigrounds are often extremely productive sometimes y hiding a clear itleome rit 20/. or 25!. sterling. They are a decent, intelligent race. alive to their owct. interest, and increasingly cognisant of all that concerns it.

This filet, though "interesting," rather supports the planter's view—that the exactions of the Negroes are destructive of profits. What would an English farmer think of his labourer drawing a clear income of-20I. or 251. a year from his cottage-garden, over and above wages of from 2.s. to 2s. 6d. a day, when he chose to do his master the favour to work.


I can hardly refrain from inserting an anecdote which he told us, illustra- tive of the mind and manners of this people. A tame plover which he kept in hie garden before the date of freedom, frightened at the report of a gun, was seen burying her long beak and hiding her head in the sand. A Negro lad was passing by at the time; and, after a few moments' melancholy musing, was overheard saying, "Every something know him own trouble."


As I was riding down the Mandeville hills on a hackney lent me by the Missionaries, enjoying the grandeur of nature and the beauties of cultivation, I overtook a good-looking young Negro, handsomely attired, and mounted on a Pony of his own. He was a labourer on Richmond Park coffee-estate, in the parish of Clarendon; paid half a dollar per week for his rent ; was able to earn four dollars per week by piece-ivork; had paid 10/. sterling for his pony ; kept wine at times in his cottage ; bad gone to Mandeville to obtain his marriage- certificate from the Rector; and, with his young bride, seemed to be in the way of as comfortable a measure of moderate prosperity as could easily fall to the lot of man. This is one specimen among thousands of the good working of freedom in Jamaica; but I fear it would be easy to draw the reverse picture, and to tell of much oppression and exaction to which this people are still ex- posed in some parts of the island. "Are the people working well," said I to George Wedderley, (that was his name,) " in the parish of Clarendon ?" " Yes, generally; but on some properties they are uncomfortable." " Why so, George?" " When a man has finished his job, he goes for his money, and can't get it. Sometimes he hires helpers, but can't get his money, and there- fore can't pay them. The rent is set off against him. Then come bad words. The rent is often increased, often doubled." I had every reason to give my young informant credit both for shrewdness and veracity.


We overtook a wedding-party. Both bride and bridegroom were common la- bourers on the estate. The bridegroom was attired in a blue coat, handsome waistcoat, with a brooch, white pantaloons, and Wellington boots ; the bride in a vast pink silk bonnet, lace cap, and white muslin gown with fashionable sleeves!


" Do you see that excellent new stone wall round the field below us ? " said the young physician to me, as we stood at A. B.'s front door surveying the de- lightful scenery : " that wall could scarcely have been built at all under slavery or the apprenticeship; the necessary labour could not then have been hired at less than five pounds currency, or fifteen dollars per chain. Under freedom, it cost only from three dollars and a half to four dollars per chain, not one-third of the amount. Still more remarkable is the fact, that the whole of it was built under the stimulus of job-work, by an invalid Negro, who during slavery had been given up to total inaction." This was the substance of our conversation ; the information was afterwards fully confirmed by the proprietor. Such was the fresh blood infused into the veins of this decrepid person by the genial band of Freedom, that he had been redeemed from abso- lute uselessness, had executed a noble work, had greatly improved Ids master's property, and, finally, had realized for himself a handsome sum of money. Tins single fact is admirably and undeniably illustrative of the principles of the case; and for that purpose is as good as a thousand. A few more particulars, however, which bear on the same point, may be in- teresting and satisfactory. They are contained in the letter already cited, from any friend Dr Stewart, dated " Mandeville, Jamaica, March 28th 1840." 4' 'With regard to the comparative expense of free and slave labour," says he," I give you the result of my experience in this parish. Wherever rent and labour bare not been mingled together, prices have been reduced, in the picking and curing of coffee, from one-third to one-half; from 10/. per tierce to from 5L to 6/. 10s. Grass-land is cleaned at one-third of the former expense. A perm in this neighbourhood, when cleaned in slavery, cost, simply for the contingen- cies of the Negroes, 80/. : the first cleaning by free labour, far better done, cost less than 241. Stone walls, the only fence used in this rocky distiict, cost 51. Gs. 8d. per chain, the lowest 4/., under slavery : the usual price now is 1/., the highest IL 6s. 8d. per chain. To prepare and plant an acre of woodland in coffee, cost, twenty years ago, 201.; up to the end of slavery, it never fell below 16/. ; in apprenticeship it cost from 10/. 13s. 4d. to 12/. : now it never exceeds 5/. Us. 8d.; I myself have done it this year for 51,-that is the general price all through the district. Iii 1833,1 hired servants at from 161. to 25/. per annum : in 1838, 1839, and since, I have been able to obtain the same de- scription of servants, vastly improved in all their qualifications, for front 8/. to 10/. per annum." These are pound, shilling, and pence calculations; but they develop mighty principles-they detect the springs of human action-they prove the vast superiority of moral inducement to physical force in the production of the useful efforts of mankind. It is the perfect settlement of the old contro- versy between wages and the whip. " I know the case of a property," observes Dr. Stewart again, "on which there were one hundred and twenty-five slaves, the expense amounting (at Si. per annum for the maintenance of each slave) to 625/. The labour-account for the first year of freedom, deducting rents, was only about '2201.; leaving a balance in favour of freedom of 400/. More improvement hail been made on the property than for many years past, with a proved of an increasing extent of cultivation. On a second property, the Awe and apprenticeship expenses averaged 2,4001.; the labour-account for the first year of freedom was less than 850/. On a third estate, the year's expense under slavery 1,480/.; under apprenticeship, 1,050/. ; under freedom, 637/. On a fourth, the reduction is from 1,100/. to 770L" [What were the returns?] Allowing a little time for the calming of apprehension and the development of truth, such results must infallibly find their way into the value of landed property. That they have already done so in Jamaica to is considerable ex- tent, is undeniable. A person in the parish of Manchester who never held slaves, availing himself of the general alarm, bought a property, at the date of full freedom, for 1,000/. currency. The free labourers work the better for him, because he never Was a slaveholder. lie cleared the whole purchase-money, besides his expenses, the first year lle would, of course, make a nriberable bar- gain were he now to sell the property for five times the amount-i. c. for 5,000/.

On his return-voyage, our author spent three days at Cuba, and witnessed the slave-trade in its glory. Upon this topic we dwelt at length in our notice of Mr. Tutimier,1:s Cuba; but there are one or two fresh facts which we will quote.


I was afterwards informed that it is the uniform practice of the slave-traders both in Porto Rico arid Cuba to fee the resp( ctive Governors pretty largely for every African imported into those islands. The late Governor of Porto Rico is said to have retired, in Consequence, with an immense fmtune. The price of connivance, now fixed in Cuba, is reported to, be twelve dollars per slave,-a sum which is, I believe, shared by subordinate officers. The profits of the slave-trade are such as to render these iniquitous allowances but a trifling percentage.


After we hadexamiued the ship, he conveyed us iu his boat on a cruise about the harbour, in order to give us a quiet view of the slavers. Five of them were then stationed there, in the open face of day, notoriously fitted up for the traffic, and ready to slip off for:Africa for fresh supplies of bultos (bales-so the slave-merchants call the Negroes) so soon as a dark or stormy night should afford them an opportunity of escaping the vigilance of the British cruiser Snake, then in port at Havana. They consisted of two brigs, one of which had already landed three hundred and fifty slaves, the Sorocco ship, built for one thousand ; the Grandes Antilles, for twelve hundred ; and lastly, the no- torious Venus, now called La Dueheza de Braganza, Baltimore-built, width had taken in eleven hundred slaves on the coast of Africa, and after losing two hundred and forty in the middle passage, had landed eight hundred and sixty in Cuba. We understood that the three larger of these vessels were intended for Mozambique, on the Eastern coast of Africa,-a voyage of great length, for which their size peculiarly adapts them. They are fitted up with guns; and, like the brigs or schooners, are constructed with consummate art for the pur- pose of swift sailing. They are utterly unsuitable for a legitimate Commerce.


In general, the country round Havana is far from being picturesque, and is cultivated chiefly with maize for fodder. Many miles must be travelled inland before one can reach either a mountainous district or those luxuriant fields of sugar-cane which are managed by a mere process of rattooning, without the insertion of new plants, for twenty or even thirty years in succession. Rat- toening is the annual raising of fresh canes from the same plant ; and the num- ber of years during which it may be carried on is an index of the strength and richness of the soil. While this process may be continued in Cuba for so great a length of years, the virgin land is so rich that a mere touch of the hoe is sufficient to prepare it for the reception of new cane. In most of the British colonies the rattooning lasts only three or four years; and the ground re- quires the laborious process of holing, or some adequate substitute, as a prepara- tion for planting. No wonder, therefore, that the sugars of our colonies have always been undersold by the planters of Cuba.

This work is published simultaneously in America ; where it will doubtless make some impression. It will probably be the first time in the States that the spirit-stirring question of Abolition has been adorned at once with an elegant literature and a true Quaker sim- plicity, or treated with fairness tavards the slaveholders as men. In these pages there will be found none of the free use of black which so generally distinguishes the friends of the Negro, and none of their threatful violence of tone. As an example of the author's controversial mode, we will conclude with a passage from a pamph- let addressed to HENRY CLAY on his speech on the Abolition of Slavery in the United States, and republished in the Appendix to the present volume.


Every humane and generous mind must revolt at the notion of breeding human beings for sale ; and the term itself is scarcely tolerable to polite ears. But that they are actually bred for sale in some of the Slave States of North America, is a fact which, I fear, cannot be denied. 1 confess I feel seine com- passion for the shareholder of Virginia, who, seated in his old and gentleman- like mansion, surveys the wide demesnes which have descended to him from his ancestors. His lands, long since exhausted by slave-labour, present to his eye a brown and dreary aspect, except where they have become overgrown by a miserable forest of pines. His Black people have multiplied around him, and he scarcely knows how to feed them. His family necessities are perpetually calling for money. The slave-jobber is prowling about the neighbourhood, with his tempting offers of five hundred dollars for a lad or girl, or one thou- sand dollars tbr an adult person. The temptation soon heroines irresistible, and slave after slave supplies the Southern market. By degrees he discovers that by far the most profitable article which his estate produces, is the slave ; and, instead of the old-fashioned cultivator of the soil, he becomes, by slow de- grees and almost insensibly to himself, is slave-breeder. But whother this be or be not the true trade and profession of the slaveliolder, it is all onT to the slave. He is sold to the merchant, torn from his wife and family, lodged in some Negro-gaol at Baltimore, Winchester, or Washington, and finally driven, as one of a handcuffed gang, to Alabama or Louisiana-there to be sold, with an enormous profit for the jobber, to the planter of cotton, rice, or sugar.