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LITERATURE, SCIENCES, AND THE BELLES-LETTRES.
JANUARY TO JUNE, 1826.
NEGRO SLAVERY: PLAN FOR ITS ABOLITION. Another of those meetings, for the Abolition of Negro Slavery, which have already created so much excitement in our colonies, was lately held at Norwich :' when Lord Suffield stood forward, and after vituperating the planters, and setting forth, most pathetically, all the evils of slavery, proceeded to cite particular instances of peculiar cruelty to females, and concluded by alledging these alone to be a sufficient ground for the immediate interference of Government, and the instantaneous abolition of slavery. It is not my intention to question the accuracy of the facts stated to have occurred, though it is difficult to reconcile such charges with the reputed avarice of the planters, whose property, depending upon the increase of their slaves, must necessarily be endangered by severity to females, more especially in a state of pregnancy; calumnies such as these have been so frequently promulgated, and so frequently refuted, that it is quite unnecessary to vindicate the large body of slave proprietors from any general inference in the present case ; indeed it is altogether foreign from my purpose to enter at all at this moment into the nature of slavery in our colonies: it exists, and its existence, in any form, is a sufficient argument for its extinction : such at least is the doctrine of the Anti-Slavery Society, and stated by them to be the general feeling of the British people ; and truly, if any opinion can be drawn from the numerous petitions which have been presented to Parliament upon this subject, we must all arrive at the same conclusion. But, whilst this society has been busy in stirring up the feelings of the public, and preparing all these petitions, it is not a little singular that no system of negro amelioration, no system of emancipation, either progressive or inimediate, has ever emanated from their body. Dark and distant hints have, indeed, been given by individuals some have suggested task-work-some copyholds and some, more bold, instant manumission; but no connected system has ever been agreed upon, and I firmly believe the whole society to be as much divided amongst themselves as to the true and proper course, as the Reformers in England on the great question of Parliamentary Reform. On one point, however, they appear to be unanimous—that the whole onus of the experiment, whatever it may be, must rest upon the colonists alone, without the shadow of security or indemnity for the consequences of its failure; and though some have admitted the right of compensation, yet none have pointed out the manner of affording it.
M. M. New Series.-Vol.I. No.l.