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was a fitting condition of civilized society, and so to be preferred, and by a people and government such as ours. The intimations with which I have introduced this important subject, lead to far •ther inferences.
• In any negotiation for peace, may our Ministers peremptorily require conditions of honour, justice, and security ; as 1 trust my country hath yet the further means to contend for these her rightful pretensions by force of arms: but let us remember, that no war is, or can be just and wise, which is not waged with views to peace.
* On good and fair conditions, I pray to God that peace may speedily be restored to my country! and with this earnest and heartfelt prayer 1 close this Miscellany.'
In the solemn petition thus addressed to heaven by this very respectable person, we cordially unite. May similar sentiments be diffused ; and may the inestimable blessing, here duly appreciated, be realized!
Art. III. An History of Jamaica; with Observations on the Climate, Scenery, Trade, Productions, Negroes, Slave Trade, Diseases of Europeans, Customs, Manners, and Dispositions of the Inhabitants. To which is added, An Illustration of the Advantages, which are likely to result from the Abolition of the Slave Trade. By Robert Renny, Esq. 410. pp. 333. ll. 78. Boards. Cawthorn. 1807.'
The country which is the subject of this volume proves the grave of Europeans, yet it is distinguished by fine natural scenery, by many advantages of climate, and even by the" longevity of - its native inhabitants. Mr. Renny, though a stranger, bears honourable testimony to these islanders: who, notwithstanding that they live in the utmost luxury, have, according to him, ever since they have been a people, displayed on all occasions a high spirit of independence, and an ardent passion for liberty. A few passages illustrative of this position, which militates against the hypothesis of Montesquieu, we shall submit to our readers;
* Charles the Second, who was at once the most popular, the most torrupt, and tht most unprincipled of all the Stuarts, had, on the restoration of his family to the throne of England, displayed some regard to the privileges of the people. But as the seltish passions always increase wiib age, and especially after a life of debauchery, it is not surprising that Charles endeavoured to establish a despotic form of government. The assembling of parliaments had never been on agreeable measure to any of the Stuarts, and Charles was inclined and advised to govern without their aid. The administration of Jamaica being a link of this great chain of despotism, was now completely altered. A new code of laws was now framed for the colonists, one of which settled a perpetual revenue upon the crown; and the house of
assembly assembly was peremptorily required by Lord Carlisle, to adopt the whole code without alteration or amendment The heads of all bills (money-bills excepted) were, in future, to be suggested in the first instance by the governor and council, and transmitted to his majesty, to be approved of, or rejected; after which, they were, on obtaining the royal confirmation, to be returned under the great seal, in the shape of laws, and then passed by the assembly, which, unless in consequence of special orders from England, was to be convened for no other purpose, except that of voting the usual supplies.
* Had the assembly tamely submitted to this iufamous attempt on their liberties, they would have merited the chains which were forged for them, and would undoubtedly have been exposed to the execration and contempt of posterity. But they indignantly rejected a scheme which would not have left even a shadow of deliberation. "No threats," says a learned author, " could frighten, no bribes could corrupt, nor arts nor arguments persuade them, to consent to laws that would enslave their posterity." Colonel Long, chief judge of the island, and member of the council, distinguished himself highly in this honourable contest. He argued with great eloquence against a system, which was equally contrary to the interests and independence of the colonists; and his opposition to the measure was finally successful. Being, on account of his patriotic conduct, dismissed from all his offices, he was sent as a state-prisoner to England. But his misfortunes only advanced the interests of the cause for which he suffered. Having been heard before the king and privy council, he pointed out with such force of argument, the evil tendency of the measures pursued, perhaps also, not without hints of the danger attending them, that the English ministry, though with great reluctance, and a very bad grace, thought it prudent to submit. The Earl of Carlisle was recalled, the house of assembly had their powers restored, and Henry Morgan, now created a baronet, was appointed lieutenant-governor.
* Morgan conducted himself with that firmness and piudence, which are usually displayed by those, who raise themselves by their merit from low situations. He, agreeably to his orders from the English court, .discouraged and severely punished those pirates, who, treading in the steps of the Buceaniers, but not, like them, furnished with commissions, committed depredations on the commerce of the Spaniards. He administered the affairs of the colony till the year 1682, when Sir Thomas Lynch, who had formerly presided in the island as lieutenant-governor from the year 1670 to 1674, wa3, very much to the satisfaction oT the inhabitants, appointed governor.
« Sir Thomas Lynch's administration was distinguished by the meeting of the house of assembly, which took place in the year 1682. This assembly, which was composed of the most illustrious characters in the island, compiled a body of statutes, which were admirably adapted to their particular situation. The desire of a separate revenue was still warmly indulged, and anxiously expressed by the English ministers; but to this, the assembly would on no account, and in no shape, submit. This refusal displeased several successive English administrations j and the sovereigns were, during fifty years,
advised advised to withhold their assent from acts of the legislature, on which many important judicial decisions in the colony had been founded. On this precarious footing did the affairs of Jamaica remain, till the year 1728, when a compromise was made, by which an irrevocable and permanent annual revenue was granted to the crown, and his majesty consented to confirm all the laws which had been, or should be, enacted by the legislature of Jamaica.'
Recently insulted at home, and degraded abroad, by bigotted and fanatical professions and addresses, proceeding from men in high stations, it is with satisfaction that we see that in times less enlightened, even before toleration had a legal establishment among us, and in a sequestered corner of the empire, there lived men who advanced the public prosperity by a policy more liberal, and more worthy of the magnanimous character of the British people:
'Sir Thomas Lynch having returned to England in the year 1684, Colonel Hender Moles worth was created governor. His administration was peaceful and moderate ; and the island, at this time, with a rapid, though silent, progress, advanced in the career of civilization. The Jews, an industrious, persecuted, and unjustly degraded people, who, as a nation, arc unreasonably stigmatized, on account of the i-icts of some individual!, were treated by Governor Molesworth with a laudable kindness, and a politic protection. They were, at this period, almost the only individuals in the western world, who possessed accurate views of commerce; and the rulers of the various nations of Europe were now become sensible of its advantages, and anxious for its success. The" Jews in Jamaica were favoured with several privileges, which, by the selfishness and fanaticism of other countries, were denied them; and what was, in these days, thought to be great condescension, they were allowed to erect synagogues, and to worship God according to the forms of their own religion. Their unremitted attention to business, their cautious bargains, and their sober manners, not only gave them a decided superiority over their competitors, but furnished them, at the same time, with useful lessons, and an instructive example.'
Instances in history, in which a policy of this sort has rendered states great and flourishing, are numerous: but we challenge the selfish zealot to produce one in which systems of exclusion and a religious hue and crj^have had that effect.
The principal incidents in the annals of the colonization of Jamaica have been so often stated, that we need not pursue its outline step by step with the present writer; and we shall confine ourselves to distinct passages, that excite our attention.
Mr. Renny's description of the dreadful hurricane of 1722 * is highly creditable to his powers as a writer; and our desire of drawing attention to communications of superior practical interest alone prevents us from inserting it.
We are happy to find that this author coincides with the notions which we have uniformly professed, in regard to the dispute between the mother country with the American colonies, which ended in the independence of the latter. Speaking of that event, he remarks that, with a view to rcTenue,
• The executive government turned its attention to the thriving colonists, who were not only independent, but, compared with the people of the same rank in L-\irope, were even rich. But the English ministers were unfortunately ill fitted for their situations; they were presumptuous, arrogant, weak, and wavering. They were incapable of entertaining those enlarged views, which enable men to rule and harmonize the discordant parts of a widely extended empire. Instead of conciliating the colonists to a measure which must have been unpalatable, they first provoked them by their haughtiness, and afterwards excited their contempt by meanness. Wat was by the madness of a presumptuous administration, declared against the people of North America; and thus, the richest and most powerful colonien, which the world had ever seen, were not only severed for ever from the mother country, but were actually rendered her most bitter enemies, and her most dangerous rival.'
That love of liberty, which is ascribed to the people of Jamaica, was shewn by the House of Assembly of the island presenting a petition to the king, in favour of their brethren of North America, which was couched in strong but respectful language. From the subsequent account will be seen the necessity of a late measure, about which much clamour was at the time raised;
* A considerable trade has also, for several years, been carried Or with the United States of America. This traffic is certainly more advantageous to the colonists, than to the mother country. Indeed, it is actually contrary to the interests of the latter, while, to the former, it seems to be in a great measure necessary. It is carried on in direct contradiction to both the spirit and letter of the navigation act, which has been one of the principal sources of the naval superiority of England. It increases the wealth, by advancing the commerce, encouraging- the industry, and enlarging the naval power of the Americans. These considerations led the English ministers effectually to exclude American ships from the ports of Jamaica, after the termination of that unhappy contest, called the American war. This exclusion proved extremely detrimental to the colonists, as the cargoes of the American ships chiefly consisted of articles necessary to their subsistence, with which they could not be supplied in sufficient quantities by the mother country. The prohibition of this traffic was therefore, for several years, a source of alarm, discontent, and danger to the colonists. During the space of seven years previous to the year 1787, no less than five hurricanes had desolated the ftirest and most productive portions of the island; and to add to their distress, a great drought succeeded, and destroyed such of the
provisions as had been planted in the years 17^5 and 1786, to supply the want of their cargoes, from the continent of North America. And so great was their distress, that the house of assembly made a representation, to the British government on the subject, in which they stated, that within the space of seven years, no fewer than fifteen thousand Negroes had perished by famine, or by disease, contracted in consequence of scanty and unwholesome diet. This commerce, however, has been since suffered to continue; the governors of the various islands issuing a proclamation, by which the trade is permitted during a certain specified period, a measure which is extremely advantageous, and, indeed, in some degree, necessary to the colonists. The articles imported by the Americans consist chiefly of corn, rice, flour, deals, staves, and shingles. In return, the Americans generally take a certain quantity of rum or some other production of the island, and the rest is paid in gold coin, or dollars. But this commerce, now for a considerable number of years carried on, and highly advantageous to both parties, has been (1806) rendered legal by an act of the British parliament, subject, however, to a discretionary power vested in his Majesty's privy council. Respecting the policy of an act of this nature, it is not at present our business to inquire; but there cannot remain a doubt, that it will prove extremely advantageous to the colonists of this island, and will be equally agreeable to them, and to the Americans.'
The cautious and qualified approbation, which Mr. Renny gives to this proceeding, is a trait which has nothing else .resembling it in his work. On other occasions, he shews no fear of speaking the language of humanity and sound policy; and we regret that the fair and manly character of his book fails even in a 6ingle instance. Was the fact alleged true? Did fifteen thousand negroes die within the space of seven years from famine, or from disease contracted in consequence of a. scanty or unwholesome diet? »ls a measure suggested by so dreadful a calamity to be described as oiie in seme degree necessary? If this be not a case of absolute necessity, we are at a loss to guess what can be such.—Can any thing be highly advantageous to the colony, and at the same time injurious to the mother country ?. Was the discretion better lodged in insulated individuals, far removed from responsibility, and surrounded by examples which have little tendency to strengthen the moral principle, or in the Privy Council of Great Britain?
On the subject of population, Mr. R. states that 4 the total number of inhabitants able to carry arms, including free Negroes and Mulattoes, will amount to about ten thousand; while the whole population of whites does not exceed thirty thousand. The free Negroes and people of colour amount to about ten thousand; and of slaves, there are at least two hundred aud sixty thousand. The population of the island of
Rev. Aug. 1808. A a Jamaica,