Imágenes de páginas

nial government, embarked for France, as the legal representatives of an integral part of the French empire. M. Duchilleau, the governor, issued proclamations to prevent the meetings, which were treated with indignity and contempt. The deputies arrived at Versailles in June, about a month after the states-general had declared themselves the National Assembly: Eighteen deputies from one colony was thought excessive; and it was with difficulty six were allowed their seats among the national representatives.

Upon the 20th of August, the National Assembly voted the declaration of rights, the promulgation of which in St. Domingo occasioned a general ferment: it declared, that “ all men are born and continue free and equal as to their rights." The colonists declared it was calculated to convert their contented Negroes into implacable enemies, and render the whole country a scene of bloodshed.

Orders were sent from France to convoke the inhabitants, for the purpose of forming a legislative assembly for interior regulation. The inhabitants of the northern district had already constituted a

Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 17. 19. 21.

thing, even supposing that the complaints able for any neglect of theirs in not having of the slaves are not just; for this notice is made use of the necessary means to have given only to the attorney-general that he my royal resolutions put into execution. may demand for the justice to nominate an individual of the town-house, or another

“ CHAPTER XIV.— Chest of Fines. person of approved conduct, who is to “ In the towns and villages where the investigate the business, and to form the before-mentioned regulations are to be first proceeding which he is to deliver formed, and where the courts of justice in to the justice, who shall pursue the are, a chest with three keys shall be made, proceedings, and determine the cause, and kept in the town-house; one of which according to law, giving information of it keys shall be delivered to the justice of the to the audience of the district, and admit. peace, another to the governor, and the ting of appeals in all such cases as are third to the attorney-general, in order to authorised by the laws.

keep in the said chest the produce of the “ Besides those means, it will be neces fines which are to be laid on those who do sary that people of good characters and not fulfil my royal orders; and the said conduct be appointed by the justices and produce shall be employed in the necessary magistrates to visit the estates three times means of making them to be observed, a year, and to make inquiry whether every neither can there be a single maravedi thing be observed which is ordered in the taken out of it for any other purpose, foregoing chapters, informing the said jus without an order signed by the three who tices of it, who must apply the remedy; keep the keys, expressing its destination, and it is likewise declared to be a popular and they shall remain responsible, and action, that of informing against a master under the obligation of restoring what has or his steward for not obeying one or the been spent or employed to other purposes, whole of the said chapters, as the name of for fear that for those reasons, or for the informer shall not be made known, others, their accounts, which must be reand he shall have the part of the fine mitted every year to the intendant of the which he may deserve, without being re province, together with the attestation, of sponsible in any other case than in that the produce of the fines, may not be apwhere it is proved that the information is proved of by him. false. And lastly, it is likewise declared, « In order that all the rules prescribed that the justices and attorney-general, as in the before-going chapters may be ful

[ocr errors]

a provincial assembly, which met at Cape François in November. The western and southern provinces did the same. The western assembly met at Port-au-Prince, the southern at “Les Cayes.” Parochial committees were at the same time established, for a more immediate communication between the people and their representatWes. All these provincial assemblies concurred in the necessity of a full and speedy colonial representation, and voted, that if instructions from the King for calling such an assembly should not be received

within three months, that the colony should itself adopt and enforce

the measure. Large bodies of Mulattoes, determined to claim the full benefit of all the privileges enjoyed by the Whites, appeared in arms in different parts of the country; but acting without sufficient concert, were easily overpowered. They were defeated at Jaquemel, and their chiefs imprisoned. At Artibonito, the revolt was more extensive; but on the submission of the insurgents, an unconditional rdon was granted. Against such of the Whites as had taken part in favour of the o: of colour, the rage of the populace was extreme. M. Ferrand de Beaudierre drew up a memorial in the name of the Mulatto people, claiming the full benefit of the declaration of rights. This was considered as a summons to the Negroes to revolt, and the author was committed to prison; but the populace took him from thence by force, and put him to death.

! "The first Methodist meeting-house was built in Barbadoes by subscription this year: it was sufficiently large to contain six .

or seven hundred people, and was opened on the 16th of August. Mr. Pearce, the missionary, by whose zeal it was built, j upon the island in the latter end of 1788, and began to build, trusting to a bank of faith to pay the expences. Several tradesmen, who could not afford to give money, contributed their labour. In March, the whole number of persons belonging to the Methodist society amounted to fifty, of whom only sixteen were Whites. They soon began to attract attention: large mobs pelted the building with stones, and frequently interrupted the prayers with hideous noises. Some of the most riotous were carried before a magistrate, who observed, that “the offence was committed against Almighty God; it therefore does not belong to me to punish.”

* Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 22, 23. Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. pp. 143. 145.

custom which are opposed to them; and cuted whatever is decreed in this my royal I command my supreme council of the order, for this is my will. Indies, viceroys, presidents, audiences, “Published at Aranjuez, the 31st May, governors, intendants, justices, ministers, 1789.”—African Institution, Fifth Report, &c., that they fulfil and cause to be exe- pp. 93-101.


This insult gave great encouragement to the mob: preaching by candle-light became impracticable. This persecution served as a stimulus, and by the end of the year the Methodists reckoned forty-four members in society. Several people of colour were compelled to quit the connexion. Blacks were forbidden to attend, on pain of corporal punishment.

In February, there were 2800 persons in the society of Methodists in Antigua, and 2000 in the Moravian society.

Early in 1789, Dr. Coke says, “ We again made two visits to Nevis. From this period we may date the introduction of the gospel into the island. At this time we (the Methodists) formed a little class of twenty-one catechumens, and provided for their instruction before our departure, by leaving them to the care of Mr. Owens, one of our missionaries, who was appointed to take upon him the charge of the mission throughout the whole colony."

Dr. Coke landed at Port Royal, in Jamaica, on the 19th of January, 1789. He was the first of that class of men who attempted to make converts in that island ; and the following extract is from his own report:-“ At this period the form of godliness was hardly visible in Jamaica; and its power, except in some few solitary instances, was totally unknown. The exertions of the Moravian brethren were quite inadequate to the field which lay open before them : iniquity prevailed in all its forms; and both Whites and Blacks were evidently living without hope and without God in the world.”

Dr.Coke preached four times in a gentleman's house in Kingston to shall but increasing congregations. The room being too confined, a Roman Catholic gentleman offered him the use of a very large one, which had been a public concert-room.

“ The first evening I preached there,” he says, “ the congregation was considerable, and received the word with great decency and great attention. Whilst I was pointing out to the unregenerate the fallaciousness of all their hopes, and the impossibility of reversing the decree, • Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven,' and seriously inquiring of them, whether they had found out some new gospel as their directory, a poor Negro woman cried out, • I am sure you are a new priest. The second evening, the great room, and all the piazzas round it, were crowded with people. I believe there were four hundred white people present (the largest number of Whites I ever preached to in the West Indies), and about two hundred Negroes, there being no room, I think, for more. After I had preached about ten minutes, a company of gentlemen, inflamed with liquor, began to be very turbulent; till at last the noise increasing, they cried out, • Down

with him, down with him!" They then pressed forwards through the crowd in order to seize me, crying out again, ‘Who seconds that fellow?" on which my new and gallant friend, Mr. Bull, whose house was then my residence, stepped forth between the rioters and me, saying, “I second him against men and devils.’ A lady also stood up, and reasoned boldly with the rioters on the impropriety of their conduct. They soon afterwards retreated, vociferating, ‘Down with him, down with him P “The spirits of the congregation were so discomposed by this unhappy accident, that I gave out a hymn, and then chose another text, and preached to a serious and attentive audience. “Between three and four hundred thousand souls, living chiefly without hope and without God in the world, forbade all supineness; and the attention of many among those who heard, by giving an early promise of a productive harvest, presented an opening which pointed out our path. “Four or five families of some property opened their houses, and very evidently their hearts also, to me; and assured me, that any missionaries we should in future send to the island should be welcome to beds, and to every thing their houses afforded. “Thus was the work of God begun in the south of Jamaica.” Mr. Wilberforce made the following propositions to the House of Commons:— “That the number of slaves annually carried from Africa to the British West Indies amounted to 38,000. That the probable demerits of the supposed delinquents, as alleged by the advocates for the trade, could not justify, or even sanction, the hardships they endured. That the waste of human life must be dreadfully enormous to require such an annual demand. That the influence which our support of this traffic must have on the minds of the inhabitants of Africa at large must be productive of the most pernicious consequences, and must for ever prevent that social intercourse which might ultimately tend to their civilization. “That the injury sustained by British seamen engaged in this inhuman employment was almost beyond calculation. That the fatal consequences attending the transportation of slaves across the Atlantic were such as made humanity shrink with horror. That if this trade were discontinued, Africa presented sources of wealth which might be secured on the ground of honourable commerce, from which we were now totally debarred. That the causes of mortality among the Negroes might be traced to this common source of their calamities. That, with proper attention to their condition, the Negro population might easily be increased in the islands of o and Jamaica. That the present system rendered it more profitable for the planter to import Negroes from Africa than to rear an infant in the colony. That these


profits were abominable, as they were the price of blood. And, finally, it could be proved that no considerable disadvantage would be experienced ultimately by those who were interested in the trade, if all further importation were prohibited.”

The Baron de Wimpfens carried out and set the first seeds ever sown in St. Domingo of the narcissus, hyacinth, and violet

Table of West India Exports for 1789. Return to the House of

Commons, 1806.

Hhds. of Sugar 13 cwt.


9,400 Antigua

12,500 St. Kitt's

11,000 Nevis

4,000 Montserrat

3,150 Tortola, &c.

6,100 Dominica

5,450 St. Vincent's

6,400 Grenada

15,000 Tobago


[blocks in formation]

Antigua varies from 2500 to 18,000 hhds.; St. Kitt's, from 8000 to 17,000; Barbadoes, from 6000 to 13,000; whilst Grenada, St. Vincent's, and Tobago, vary only as from 12,000 to 16,000

hhds. average.

The number of slaves annually exported from Africa, as stated by the delegates from Liverpool, were 74,000. By the British

38,000 French

20,000 Dutch

4,000 Danes

2,000 Portuguese


[blocks in formation]

More of these came from Bonny and New Calabar than any other place.

In February, the inhabitants of Tortola amounted to 1000 Whites, and 8000 coloured people and Blacks.

The population of Santa Cruz was estimated at 30,000 souls.

Baron de Wimpfens' St. Domingo, p. 141.

Sir W. Young's Common-place Book, pp. 28, 29.
Report of the Lords of the Committee, 1789, Part IV. No. 14.

« AnteriorContinuar »