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to the public by Messrs. Westley and Davis, is admirably ""got up". It is altogether the cheapest, most complete, and we should even say the handsomest edition that has ever been published. We trust its success will fully repay the enterprising spirit which has sent it forth. The Essay is without a name, but we have little doubt that it proceeds from the same pen as produced the masterly preliminary dissertation to President Edwards's Works.
Art. III. Letter to Lord Glenelg, Secretary of State for the Colonies; containing a Report, from personal Observation, of the Working of the New System of the British West India Colonies. By John Innes. 8vo. pp. 119. London, 1835.
THE gentleman to whom the public are indebted for this valu
able Report, having, during long intercourse with the West Indies, experienced inconvenience from never having been in the Colonies, determined last September to visit them, in order to observe with his own eyes the working of the great experiment, in the success of which this country is so deeply interested. Previously to his departure, he waited upon His Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, to ascertain whether there were any points upon which Government desired information; and he was furnished by Mr. Spring Rice with certain heads of inquiry, as well as with letters of introduction to the Colonial Governors. The colonies which he visited in succession are, British Guiana, Barbadoes, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Grenada, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitt's, Nevis, Dominica, and Jamaica; all the West India islands, in fact, except the Bahamas, the Bermudas, Tobago, Tortola, Anguilla, and Montserrat.
Our readers are aware that, of the 700,000 negroes in these colonies, Jamaica contains nearly one half; and Barbadoes, which ranks next in population, contains a fourth of the remainder. Of the white and free coloured population of the West Indies, these two colonies contain together more than one-half. The settlements of British Guiana rank next in importance, comprising a population of between 3000 and 4000 whites, between 7000 and 8000 free men of colour, and 90,000 negroes. Then follow in order of their population, Trinidad, Antigua, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitt's, Dominica, St. Lucia, Tortola, Tobago, Nevis, and Montserrat. The success of the experiment may, however, be tested as well on a small scale as on a large one; and a peculiar interest attaches to Antigua, which has distinguished itself by setting the noble example of dispensing with the apprenticeship. The bold step,' Mr. Innes remarks, of masters gratui'tously giving freedom to thirty thousand slaves in one day, and
thereby making their own subsistence, and that of their families, dependent on the voluntary labour of those whom they had previously held in subjection, is, I believe, without a parallel in the annals of the world.' We shall, therefore, in the first instance, lay before our readers the substance of Mr. Innes's Report respecting the working of the system of free labour in this colony. Next, we shall examine his account of the state of things in the colonies where the apprenticeship system is working favourably; viz. Barbadoes, Grenada, and St. Kitt's; and we shall then be prepared to estimate the causes of the less satisfactory results of the Abolition Act in the important colonies of Jamaica and Guiana, as well as in some of the smaller islands.
Antigua is one of the largest of the Leeward Islands, being about 54 miles in circumference, and containing 59,838 acres, of which only 15,000 are uncultivated. The population consists of less than 2000 whites, about 5400 free persons of colour, and about 30,000 negroes. The estimated value of its exports is about £500,000. This island has for many years taken the lead in the attention paid to the religious instruction of the slaves; and Mr. Innes states, that the principal reason assigned for not taking advantage of the apprenticeship is, that the slaves were as far advanced in civilization as those in the other colo'nies are likely to be at the end of it.'
After having conversed with the negroes here,' he proceeds, 'visited the schools, and observed the respectful deportment and decent appearance of every class of the labouring population, I am inclined to think that the apprenticeship stands every chance of terminating in the other colonies, before the apprentices in some of them will bear a comparison with the present state of the negroes in this island. Here, moral and religious instruction are attended to more extensively than I have witnessed elsewhere. It is supposed that about one-fifth of the whole population is undergoing instruction; a proportion that, I believe, exceeds that of most countries far advanced in civilization. A French admiral, making a tour of the island while I was there, expressed to me in strong terms his surprise and gratification at witnessing such a general diffusion of the blessings of education. The largest Moravian mission in the world is here. There are twelve ministers, and at each settlement there is a school. The colony contributes £300 currency annually in aid of the mission. The minister at the head of the principal settlement informs me, that the number of registered Moravians exceeds 15,000*. If any of these conduct themselves improperly in any relation of life, they are expelled, or suspended until their penitence is made manifest. The Moravians, however, do not
*The United Brethren have twenty-six settlements in the West India Islands and Dutch Guiana, which have under their care 38,316 negroes, of whom 13,236 are communicants.
outstrip in zeal the clergymen of the Church of England, some of whom labour greatly beyond their strength.'
Mr. Innes does not mention the Wesleyan Mission in Antigua, which has six stations, under five Missionaries, and numbers 2740 members in society. The favourable picture he draws of the results of these efforts, is supported by the evidence given before the Commons' Select Committee in 1832, by Mr. Loving, a gentleman of colour, the Editor of a Weekly Register published in his native colony. After stating that, of late years, a remarkable inprovement in the state of manners among the free persons of colour had taken place, he is asked, 'To what do you attribute that alteration of manners?' I attribute it,' is his reply, to the increased advance in education as well as in spiri'tual knowledge.'
Has any remarkable improvement taken place lately in the education of the free population of Antigua ?—It has.
Has a corresponding improvement taken place in the knowledge of the slave population?-Unquestionably it has, and I can very easily account for it. It must be well known to persons who have given the subject any attention, that, since the earliest history of the colonies, the labours of the missionaries there have been most incessant and most indefatigable in instructing and enlightening the minds of all their congregations, both free and slaves: the slaves especially, being the largest number, they have paid particular attention to. At that time the exertions of the Established Church slept ; and I may go as far as to say, that of the whole of the population, not one-tenth belonged to the Established Church; nor did even that tenth derive the benefit they ought to have got from religious instruction from that Establishment.
'What were the establishments from which they derived instruction? The Moravian and Wesleyan, not the Baptist: they have never been in the Windward Islands. This uniform degree of perseverance on the part of the sectarians has advanced the slaves considerably in moral and religious knowledge; but I am happy to say that, since that quarter of the world has been erected into a bishopric, the Bishop of Barbadoes has used the most indefatigable exertions which could possibly have been expected from him, to assist in further advancing that knowledge which had become so prevalent by the exertions of the Wesleyan and Moravian missionaries. . . . . . I attribute the sudden advance in the education of the lower orders to the erection of schools by the Church Establishment; because, notwithstanding the very great disposition which the sectarians had to do the utmost in their power, yet, the want of pecuniary means frequently prevented them from extending that knowledge in the way they would otherwise have done; but the bishop having been furnished with ample means for the purpose of erecting schools, he has done so; and the ministers of the Gospel there being under the direction of a most able man, the archdeacon, aided as he is by the rector of the parish of St. John, I think that matters are now going on, in the scale of religious education, most cheeringly indeed..... Of all the islands in that archipelago, it
has been acknowledged on all hands, that the island of Antigua has a more intelligent slave population than any other.'
Minutes of Evidence, 1934-1937.
Mr. Loving subsequently stated, that he thought nine-tenths of the slaves of Antigua attended some place of religious worship.
The experiment which Mr. Innes considers as so bold a one, had, indeed, been already made in this island on a small scale. In December, 1828, 371 captured negroes and 36 Creole escheated slaves were enfranchised by the Crown; and Mr. Loving justly adduces the conduct of these people since their liberation, as a 'fair proof by which to ascertain the fitness of any colonial slaves for speedy emancipation.' Some of them had been in the island as long back as fourteen years; others had been not many years 'from their native wilds. Almost all had attached themselves either to the Moravian or Methodist communions, or to the Established Church. Five months after their emancipation, Sir Patrick Ross expressed his satisfaction, in a despatch, at being able to report to the Home Government, that he had not received a single complaint against them; that not one of them had been committed by a magistrate for the most trifling offence; that there had not, to his knowledge, been any application from them on the score of poverty, and that they appeared to be in general industriously occupied in providing for their own livelihood *. In August, 1831, Viscount Howick stated, in the House of Commons, his entire satisfaction with the result of the experiment, and the encouragement he had thence derived to proceed to the emancipation of all slaves belonging to the Crown, in every colony where such were to be found. Mr. Loving, in June, 1832, bears his testimony, not only to their continued good conduct, but to their exemplary industry. With the solitary exception of a case of petit larceny,' he says, 'no others of their whole number had been guilty of any breach of the laws of the island' down to the period when he left it in the July preceding. With reference to their industry, it is notorious that most of the laborious work in the town of St. John is performed by them. But the most remarkable facts are, that not fewer than 'five per cent. have purchased their own houses, including three freeholds; and of the 371 who received their certificates of liberation, only one man and five women have returned upon 'the bounty of the Crown, and even these were obliged to do so 'by medical advice, because they were decrepit, and unfit for ' labour.' (Minutes of Evidence before the Commons' Committee, 1988.)
It is from no wish to detract from the merit of the colonists of
*Minutes of Evidence before the Lords' Committee, p. 922.
Antigua, that we adduce these facts to shew that they acted without rashness in giving immediate freedom to their slaves. In one respect only they ran any risk of inconvenience. Hitherto, no free men had been suffered by the planters to engage themselves as agricultural labourers, lest they should inject into the minds of the slaves, notions of liberty incompatible with the interests "of their owners.' The necessary consequence of this precaution was, to fix a stigma upon field labour, so that, apart from its severity, the employment would be regarded by a free negro as degradation. Mr. Loving gave it as his opinion, that one-third of the slaves, if emancipated at once, would not return to field labour, unless some law were passed for the purpose of confining them to those pursuits in life to which they had been brought up. The third part who would not so labour would, he conceived, be persons that had been disgusted with the life they had hitherto lived, and which they wished to get rid of, because they deemed it a punishment. The remaining two-thirds, he thought, would attach themselves strictly to the soil, from the strength of their local associations.
'Notwithstanding this attachment to the place of their birth, and notwithstanding this fear of want, still you state that your belief is, that the first immediate consequence of emancipation would be, onethird of the whole population having recourse to a vagabond life?—I am of opinion that one-third of them, from hard treatment and cruel usage, and other things, have so completely turned their minds against agricultural pursuits, that, in the event of emancipation, they would put down the hoe, expecting that they could get labour of a lighter description elsewhere, by which they would be able to maintain them
Then the first effect of emancipation would be, either a suppression, by force, of this vagabondism of one-third of the whole population, or a civil convulsion in the island ?-Exactly so.'
Minutes of Evidence, 1967, 1968.
The apprehension expressed by this witness, and participated by other sincere friends to the abolition of slavery, had, there can be no doubt, considerable influence in suggesting the scheme of the apprenticeship; an expedient, however, which, it required no profound knowledge of human nature, nor any preternatural foresight, to predict, would go far towards nullifying the Abolition Act, wherever it should be relied upon as the means of coercing labour; while, for the purpose of repressing vagabondage, police restrictions would have been quite as efficacious. The planters of Antigua had the good sense to perceive this, and they resolved to dispense with the purgatorial scheme. Our readers shall now have Mr. Innes's report of the result. At the commencement of the experiment, the attendance of the field negroes was extremely