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afford to indulge themselves with a fowl or a duck, except upon particular occasions.*
The common dress of the male slaves is an osnaburgh or check frock, and a pair of osnaburgh or sheeting trowsers, with a coarse hat. That of the women is an osnaburgh or coarse linen shift, a petticoat made of various stuff, according to their taste and circumstances, and a handkerchief tied round their heads. Both men and women are also provided with great-coats (or croocas, as they call them) of blue woollen stuff. Neither sex wear shoes in common, these being reserved for particular occasions, such as dances, &c. when all who can afford it appear in very gay apparel-the men in broad-cloth coats, fancy waistcoats, and nankeen or jean trowsers, and the women in white or fancy muslin gowns, beaver or silk hats, and a variety of expensive jewellery. But it is only a small proportion who can afford to dress thus finely. The annual allowance of clothing which they receive from their owners is as much osnaburgh as will make two frocks, and as much woollen stuff as will make a great-coat; with a hat, handkerchief, knife, and needles and thread to make up their clothes. This specific quantity an owner is obliged by law to give to his slaves. But all of them who can afford to buy a finer dress, seldom appear, excepting when at work, in the coarse habiliments given them by their
"The slaves have little time to devote to amusement, but such occasions as offer they eagerly embrace. Plays, as they call them, are their principal and favourite one. This is an assemblage of both sexes, dressed out for the occasion, who form a ring round a male and female dancer, who perform to the music of drums and the songs of the other females of the party, one alternately going over the song, while her companions repeat in chorus. Both the singers and dancers show the exactest precision as to time and measure. This rude music is usually accompanied by a kind of rattles, being small calibashes filled with the seed of a plant called by the negroes Indian shot. Near at hand this music is harsh and clamorous, but at a distance it has not an unpleasant sound. When two dancers have fatigued themselves, another couple enter the ring, and thus the amusement continues. So fond are the negroes of this amusement, that they will continue for nights and days enjoying it, when permitted. But their owners find it prudent and necessary to restrain them from it, excepting at Christmas, when they have three days allowed them. This and harvest-home may be considered as their two annual festivals. Little do they consider, and as little do they care, about the origin and occasion of the former of those festivals; suffice it to say, that Buckra gives them their three days though, by-the-by, the law allows only two, in consideration of the injury they may sustain by three successive days of unbounded dissipation, and of the danger, at such a time of unrestrained licentiousness, of riots and disorder.
'On these occasions the slaves appear an altered race of beings. They show themselves off to the greatest advantage, by fine clothes and a profusion of trinkets; they affect a more polished behaviour and mode of speech; they address the whites with greater familiarity; they
* Some of the Africans eat the cane-field rat, which they regard as a great luxury.'
come into their masters' houses, and drink with them; the distance between them appears to be annihilated for the moment, like the familiar footing on which the Roman slaves were with their masters at the feast of the Saturnalia. Pleasure throws a temporary oblivion over their cares and their toils; they seem a people without the consciousness of inferiority or suffering.
'Plays, or dances, very frequently take place on Saturday nights, when the slaves on the neighbouring plantations assemble together to enjoy this amusement. It is contrary to the law for the slaves to beat their drums after ten o'clock at night; but this law they pay little regard to. Their music is very rude; it consists of the goombay, or drum, several rattles, and the voices of the female slaves, which, by-the-by, is the best part of the music, though altogether it is very rude. drums of the Africans vary in shape, size, &c. according to the different countries, as does also their vocal music. In a few years it is probable that the rude music here described will be altogether exploded among the creole negroes, who show a decided preference for European music. Its instruments, its tunes, its dances, are now pretty generally adopted by the young creoles, who indeed sedulously copy their masters and mistresses in every thing. A sort of subscription balls are set on foot, and parties of both sexes assemble and dance country dances to the music of a violin, tambarine, &c. But this improvement of taste is in a great measure confined to those who are, or have been, domestics about the houses of the whites, and have in consequence imbibed a fondness for their amusements, and some skill in the performance. They affect, too, the language, manners, and conversation of the whites: those who have it in their power have at times their convivial parties, when they will endeavour to mimic their masters in their drinking, their songs, and their toasts; and it is laughable to see with what awkward minuteness they aim at such imitations. They have also caught a spirit of gambling from their masters, and often assemble and play at games of hazard with the dice, though there is a law against such species of gambling, and such slaves as are found assembled for this purpose are liable to punishment. At horse-races, betting goes on among the negro servants who are present as regularly as among their masters.
'At their funerals, the African negroes use various ceremonies, among which is the practice of pouring libations, and sacrificing a fowl on the grave of the deceased-a tribute of respect they afterwards occasionally repeat. During the whole of the ceremony, many fantastic motions and wild gesticulations are practised, accompanied with a suitable beat of their drums and other rude instruments, while a melancholy dirge is sung by a female, the chorus of which is performed by the whole of the other females, with admirable precision, and fulltoned and not unmelodious voices. When the deceased is interred, the plaintive notes of sympathy are no longer heard, the drums resound with a livelier beat, the song grows more animated, dancing and apparent merriment commence, and the remainder of the night is usually spent in feasting and riotous debauchery.
Previous to the interment of the corpse it is sometimes pretended that it is endowed with the gift of speech; and the friends and relatives alternately place their ears to the lid of the coffin, to hear what
the deceased has to say. This generally consists of complaints and upbraidings for various injuries,-treachery, ingratitude, injustice, slander, and, in particular, the non-payment of debts due to the deceased. This last complaint is sometimes shown by the deceased in a more cogent way than by mere words; for, on coming opposite the door of the negro debtor, the coffin makes a full stop, and no persuasion nor strength can induce the deceased to go forward peaceably to his grave till the money is paid; so that the unhappy debtor has no alternative but to comply with this demand, or have his creditor palmed upon him, as a lodger, for some time. Sometimes, however, the deceased is a little unconscionable, by claiming a fictitious debt. In short, this superstitious practice is often made subservient to fraudulent extortion. A negro, who was to be interred in one of the towns, had, it was pretended by some of his friends, a claim on another negro for a sum of money. The latter denied any such claim; and accordingly, at the funeral of the deceased, the accustomed ceremonies took place opposite to the door of his supposed debtor; and this mummery was continued for hours, till the magistrates thought proper to interfere, and compelled the defunct to forego his claim, and proceed quietly on to his place of rest.'
From the information contained in this volume, as well as from all that we have read and heard before upon this subject, the conclusion is forced upon us, that, however desirable it may be to see the blessings of freedom extended to the negroes of the West Indies, they are yet in no condition to enjoy them. Much is yet to be done to place them in the requisite condition, and this must be by means of religious and other instructions. Until they are more virtuous and more enlightened they cannot become free. If those persons who are loudest in their declamations on the subject, and who at a very cheap rate gain themselves a certain reputation for sanctity, would direct their exertions to this end, they would escape the imputations of canting and insincerity which are at present with some reason fixed upon them.
We conclude our notice of this deserving work with the author's opinions on the important subject of the emancipation of the slaves, in which we mainly concur, and which deserve very deep consideration:
'With respect to the policy of the measure, in a national point of view, it may be reduced to the very momentous questions-first, whether, in such an event, the mother-country would be in a condition to pay nearly one hundred millions of money to her subjects whose capitals were embarked in West-India property, under the guarantee of British laws, for the loss of that property:-which she would be as much bound in honour and good faith to do, if she gave freedom to the slaves, as to keep faith with the national creditors? and, secondly, whether she could afford to suffer a defalcation in her revenue of five millions and a half, derived from her colonial commerce-the loss of a market for her manufactures to the amount of more than three millions and a half per annum-a great nursery for her seamen, and employment for a considerable portion of her shipping ?* It is easy to
*It was stated in the House of Commons, that, from the papers laid before Parliament in 1822, it appeared that, on an average, the exports
speculate on such a subject; but theory and practice are very different. The warmest rational friends of humanity would hardly advocate a measure fraught with so much evil on one side, without being likely, on the other, to be attended by the good comtemplated.
'But though such would be the awful consequences of a too precipitate emancipation of the slaves, let no one draw from thence an argument in favour of the perpetuation of slavery. It is clearly repugnant to the immutable principles of reason and justice as well as to the mild spirit of Christianity; and those who endeavour to justify or excuse it, by telling us that it has prevailed from the remotest times, and existed among all the great nations of antiquity-the Greeks, Romans, &c., and under the Jewish and Christiau dispensations-merely inform us that a great moral evil was suffered to exist in those times and among those nations. Bryan Edwards, one of the most able and zealous champions of the West Indies, speaking of slavery, abstractedly, says, After all, I will not conceal that I am no friend to slavery in any shape, or under any modification." If then a West Indian, holding large properties in one of the islands, makes this candid avowal, what shall we think of those who gravely set up a defence of slavery, and would thus justify its indefinite continuance? Nothing surely can be more revolting than the thought that a state of degrading bondage (for such slavery at best must be considered) shall be handed down from generation to generation-to beings yet unborn, on whom the morn of freedom shall never dawn! The strong plea of necessity is the only ground, in short, on which the continuance of slavery, for a time, can be defended. The national weal-the incontrovertible right of a large and opulent body of British subjects, whose whole property is embarked in the colonies, under the sanction and faith of acts of the British legislature-and even the welfare of the enslaved themselves-forbid other than a gradual extinction of slavery, by progressive ameliorations. The liberal-minded West Indian himself must look forward, with pleasure, to a period when the boon of rational freedom shall be extended over the American Archipelago-in other words, a just and secure reciprocity of interests and services between the landholder and the labourer, in which the wholesome control of just and impartial laws only shall have force. By what progressive measures such a state of things may be brought about, without danger or substantial injury to the possessors of the soil, and, of consequence, to the parent state, is a question full of difficulty, and involving many considerations of deep interest. Time and a gradual improvement of system can only develop the safest and wisest means of bringing about that effectual change in the moral and political condition of the slaves, which the liberal and enlightened of all parties seem to view as so desirable.
from Great Britain and Ireland to the West Indies amounted in value to the sum of 3,560,000l. annually,-that Great Britain derived from West-India commerce an annual revenue of 5,500,000l.,—and that 23,700 seamen, and 438,000 tons of shipping, were employed in that commerce. The average annual amount of revenue in the five years ending the 5th of January, 1813, was 6,585,6431. In 1816 the value of exports from the united kingdom to the colonies was 4,155,1637.: during the war they are sometimes little short of five millions.'
Such are the author's unprejudiced opinions on the question of the abolition of slavery in our West India colonies-a question surpassed by none in magnitude and importance, whether as it regards the rights, property, and safety, of a numerous, opulent, and respectable body of British subjects, or the vital interests of the empire at large. A precipitate emancipation of the slaves is allowed by all parties to be a wild, impolitic, and ruinous scheme. Such a change must be the work of time, and of a preparatory moral and intellectual improvement of the slaves. In the mean time, such improvements in the slavelaws as can with perfect safety be made at the present moment should be carried into effect-not by the imperial parliament, as has been strangely recommended, but by the colonial legislatures, to whom belongs the right of regulating all matters connected with their internal policy. The former, and the government, may indeed recommend to the latter such enactments as they conceive would be productive of good; but any attempt to force such enactments on the colonies would most assuredly be resisted at all hazards. Those who would persuade the British parliament to legislate for the colonies may be very well-meaning people, but, unquestionably, they are not aware of the consequences of what they recommend. The colonial assemblies have uniformly and strenuously resisted all interference of the British parliament in their internal affairs, even in matters of inferior moment, on the ground that it was a direct violation of their right to legislate. What, then, would they think of such interference in a matter of vital importance, involving not merely their rights, but their lives and property?-that if they submitted to it their authority would be but a shadow and a mockery. Jamaica, in particular-an island almost equal in value and importance to all the other colonies-has always been most inflexible on this point. A contention between the imperial parliament and the colonial assemblies, on such a subject, would be pregnant with the most dangerous consequences. The slaves, made acquainted with what was going on, would be incited to disaffection and rebellion, and thus an event would be brought about which would too probably terminate in scenes of havoc and bloodshed, and, finally, in the loss of the colonies to Great Britain.'
Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, performed in the years 1819 and 1820, by order of the Honorable J. C. Calhoun, Secretary of War, under the command of Major Stephen H. Long; from the Notes of Major Long, Mr. T. Say, and other Gentlemen of the exploring Party. Compiled by EDWIN JAMES, Botanist and Geologist for the Expedition. In 2 volumes, with an Atlas. Philadelphia, 1823. THE interesting nature of the work which forms the subject of the present article will, we trust, form an ample apology for our introducing it to our readers, although it has not yet been published in England. It is impossible but that the affairs of America must always appear to us to be more intimately connected with our own than those of any other nation. The expedition of Major Long being, moreover, directed to a part of America nearly adjoining our own possessions