Imágenes de páginas


and a body of them became masters of Port St. Louis. Port-auPrince had been reinforced by some troops from Europe, who drove the revolters from the city with great slaughter: they, however, before their retreat, set fire to it- more than one-third of the buildings were destroyed in the conflagration.

In this war of extermination, there was a diabolical emulation which party could inflict the most abominable cruelties on the other."* In the district of the Cul de Sac, an engagement took place, in which the Negroes, being ranged in front, and acting without discipline, left 2000 dead on the field. Fifty Mulattoes were killed, and several taken prisoners. Every refinement in cruelty that the most depraved imagination could suggest was practised on these wretched men. One of the Mulatto leaders was among the number. The victors placed him on an elevated seat in a cart, and secured him in it by driving large spiked nails through his feet into the boards : his bones were afterwards broken, and he was thrown alive into the flames.

Just before Christmas, Mirbeck, Roome, and St. Leger, three commissioners nominated by the national assembly for St. Domingo, arrived at Cape François. Military honors were shewn them, and they were led in public procession to the cathedral.

Their first proceeding, after announcing the new constitution for the mother country, was to publish the decree of the 24th of September, by which the decree of the 15th of May was annulled. În a few days they proclaimed a general amnesty and pardon to such

Edwards, vol. iii. pp. 99. 110.

[ocr errors]

I « Amidst these scenes of horror, one they would find a canoe on a part of the instance, however, occurs of such fidelity river he described, they followed his direcand attachment in a Negro as is equally tions, found the canoe, and got safely into unexpected and affecting. Monsieur and it, but were overset by the rapidity of the Madame Baillon, their daughter and son current, and, after a narrow escape, thought in-law, and two white servants, residing on it best to return to their retreat in the a mountain-plantation about thirty miles mountains. The Negro, anxious for their from Cape François, were apprised of the safety, again found them out, and directed revolt by one of their own slaves, who was them to a broader part of the river, where himself in the conspiracy, but promised, if he assured them he had provided a boat, possible, to save the lives of his master and but said it was the last effort he could his family. Having no immediate means make to save them. They went accordof providing for their escape, he conducted ingly, but not finding the boat, gave them into an adjacent wood; after which themselves up for lost; when the faithful he went and joined the revolters. The Negro again appeared, like their guardian following night he found an opportunity angel. He brought with him pigeons, of bringing them provisions from the rebel poultry, and bread, and conducted the camp. The second night he returned family by slow marches in the night along again with a further supply of provisions, the banks of the river, until they were but declared that it would be out of his within sight of the wharf at Port Margot, power to give them any further assistance. when, telling them they were entirely out After this they saw nothing of the Negro of danger, he took his leave for ever, and for three days; but at the end of that went to join the rebels. The family were time he came again, and directed the in the woods nineteen nights." family how to make their way to a river

Edwards, vol. iii. p. 80. which led to Port Margot, assuring them

people, of all descriptions, as should lay down their arms, and within a certain time take the oaths required. A general amnesty to revolted slaves was considered by the Whites as a justification of their enormities, and a dangerous example to such Negroes as had bren faithful. They published also the decrees for an equality of rights and of ranks, and the planters did not conceal their dissatisfaction.

The deputies of the colonial corps, instead of wearing the national colours when they waited upon the commissioners, wore black scarfs, as a sign of the general grief of the inhabitants; and those of the provincial assembly wore red scarfs, emblematic of the blood which had been shed. They insinuated, in their address, that a great part of their miseries was owing to the intrigues of what they termed a pernicious society, who neither understood the true interests of France or of her colonies. They declared openly against the measures, and begged that they might not be forced to consent to them.

The commissioners had not a sufficient force to compel obedience, and the disagreement between them and the colonial assembly palsied the efforts of both parties. Nevertheless, a negociation was opened with the Negroes, and an exchange of prisoners effected. Jean François consented to attend a conference with the commissioners, to arrange the conditions of a general agreement. The interview took place in the evening at St. Michael, near Petite Anse. The Negro general professed the most pacific sentiments, and knelt before the commissioners, who raised him up, embraced him, invited him to remain for at least that night in the house, and offered to deliver hostages for his safety. He refused to remain, but promised to return the next day for a second interview. He never returned his troops had their liberty, and the power of keeping it appeared every day easier : they obliged him to break off the conference. The royalists were also suspected of advising it. The “ aide-major” of the cape regiment was seen, the night after the interview, by some white prisoners, in the Negro general's camp at Tannerie, and was known to have remained there great part of the night.

Four hundred and fifty-five thousand Negroes belonged to the French part of St. Domingo this year. .

The number of baptized Negroes, under the care of the Moravian missionaries in Barbadoes, consisted of forty-four adults and three children.

Mr. Montgomery, the Moravian missionary at Tobago, having lost his wife, seeing no fruit of his labours, and being ill of a dysentery, returned to Barbadoes in March : and thus ended the Moravian mission in Tobago.

Soirées Bermudiennes, pp. 142. 144. 146. Edwards, vol. iii. p. 213.

There were 250,000 Negro slaves in Jamaica, 1400 Maroons, 10,000 people of colour and free Negroes, and 30,000 Whites.

On the 2d of February, a turtler belonging to Montego Bay, Jamaica, was upset in a gale of wind. Captain Samuel Hood, of his Majesty's ship Juno, went in his barge, and saved the lives of three of the crew. One man had been drowned before Captain Hood came up with her. The danger of the attempt was such, that some of the boat's crew hesitated when ordered into the boat. Captain Hood set them the example, saying, “ I never gave an order to a sailor in my life, which I was not ready to undertake and execute myself.”

The house of assembly at Jamaica, the next day, “ Resolved, nem. con., that the receiver-general do forthwith remit to the agent of this island the sum of 100 guineas, for the purchase of a sword, to be presented to Captain Samuel Hood of his Majesty's ship Juno, as a testimony of the high sense which this house entertains of his merit in saving (at the manifest peril of his own life, in a violent gale of wind of the port of St. Ann, on the 2d instant) the lives of three men discovered on a wreck at sea, and who must inevitably have perished, but for his gallant and humane exertions."

Captain M. Russell, in his Majesty's ship Diana, was off Montego Bay, Jamaica, the 1st of November, when the inhabitants apprehended a rising among the Negroes. The committee of safety at St. James sent off to say, they intended to salute the frigate with twenty-one guns, and requested Captain Russell to return the salute with as many as the rules of the service would admit, for the purpose of giving satisfaction to the Whites, and to deter the Blacks from attempts to disturb the public peace.

At day-break, the 21st of June, it began to rain near the Havana, which continued till half-past two in the afternoon of the following day, with such force as to cause the greatest flood ever remembered in that country. The royal tobacco mills, and the village in which they stood, were washed away, and 257 of the inhabitants killed. In the spot where the mills stood, the water, or a partial earthquake, opened the ground to the depth of forty-five feet, and in one of the openings a river appeared of the purest water.

Where the Count Baretto's house stood, was a cavity more than sixty feet deep, from which a thick smoke rose.

Four leagues from thence, the torrent was so great, that none of the inhabitants within its reach escaped. All the crops of corn and growing fruits were carried away.

Three thousand persons, and 11,700 head of cattle, are said to have perished in the flood.

August the 13th, William Woodley, Esq. was appointed governor of the Leeward Caribee islands.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Edwards, vol. i. p. 284.

Naval Chronicle, vol. xvii. pp. 6. 453.
Annual Register, 1791, pp. 44. 62.

Chief Justice Ottley of St. Vincent, in his examination by the House of Commons, stated, that the slaves in St. Vincent were never married, and that he knew of no law to prevent' a woman being taken from the man with whom she lived, and debauched by a white person. He did not recollect any cases of the kind happening, but they might have done so without his knowledge. It is clear, for the reason he himself assigns, that the domestic happiness of the slaves may have been violated to any extent, without his judicial knowledge.

By an act of Jamaica, passed this year, the testimony of slaves was admitted, without reserve, against the free Maroons of that island. “ The enslaved Negroes, who had often, pursuant to legal requisition and encouragement, been seized and brought home, when fugitives, by these active mountaineers, had certainly here a fair invitation to revenge.

The congregation of Moravians at Basse Terre, St. Christopher's, consisted of “ 624 souls, besides many new people, who came to beg for baptism.”

In the three Danish islands, the want of rain, which had prevailed there for about four years, killed great numbers of the Negroes. From Easter 1790 to Easter 1791, above 240 Negroes were baptised by the Methodists, and upwards of 200 were added to the communicants in that island. The whole number under the care of the missionaries in the three islands was about 8000.

At the close of this year, the two Moravian congregations in Antigua, at Gracehill and St. John's, consisted of upwards of 7400 persons, besides a great number of new people, who constantly attended public worship. The number of missionaries on the island was only five.

Henry Botham, Esq. stated, when examined, that “the slaves in the French islands appeared to be better clothed, better fed, and better behaved, than in the British ; and their being well fed is chiefly owing to the French planter putting a great proportion of his estate in provisions.”

The British West India islands (Mr. Irving stated) produce annually a greater quantity of sugar and rum than is requisite for the consumption of Great Britain and her immediate dependencies. The extension of the culture of those islands beyond what is necessary for that supply, is not likely to promote the interests of the British empire, because the French sugars are sold by the planters 20 or 30 per cent. cheaper than the British sugars could be purchased in our islands. And it is unwise to push forward by means of bounties, &c. any branch of commerce, which cannot be carried

Stephen on West Indian Slavery, pp. 161. 182.
Coke's West Indies, vol. ii. p. 425.; vol. iii. pp. 53. 167.
Parliamentary Papers, 1791, Examination of Henry Botham, Esq.
Minutes reported to the House, April 7, 1791, Mr. Irving's Examination.


on within 15 per cent. of the prices of other rival countries. The money expended upon West India estates in general does not leave the owner, even after a good crop, more than 6 per cent. If sufficient land was cultivated to supply the Negroes with provisions, it would be attended with advantage to the planters themselves slaves might be bred to keep up the stock, and the little slaves from seven years and upwards might be useful.”

Such were Mr. Irving's opinions when examined before a Committee of the House of Commons.

[ocr errors]


Translation of an Edict of the King of Denmark, for the Abolition of

the Slave Trade carried on by his Subjects ; dated at Copenhagen, 16th March, 1792.

“ We, Christian the Seventh, by the Grace of God, King of Denmark and Norway, &c. &c., do hereby make known, that, in consideration of the circumstances attending the slave trade on the coast of Guinea, and the transporting of Negroes, purchased there, to our West India islands; as well as, likewise, because it fully appears that it would be good and serviceable if the carrying of Negroes from Guinea could be avoided, and that our West India islands, in time, could be cultivated by labourers born and trained up on the same, who from their youth might be used to the work, the climate, and their employers — we have caused investigations to be made as to the manner, and how soon, a regulation hereof might be accomplished.

“ And, in consequence, it appears, beyond a doubt, that it may be rendered possible, as well as beneficial, for our West India islands to do without the purchase of Negroes, after the plantations have been stocked with a sufficient number; a suitable assistance in this case to be made to such of the planters as may stand in need thereof, and due care to be taken to promote marriages between the Negroes, and moral instruction.

« In order, therefore, to do away the improprieties that are and have been annexed to our West India possessions, on account of the importation of Negroes, and to the end that the importation of Negroes may in time become altogether extinct, we do hereby make known, command, and require, for the information of every individual, that it is our gracious will, so far as relates to a part of these regulations, and which it is requisite should be immediately made known :

“ 1. With the beginning of the year 1803, that all traffic in the slave trade by our subjects shall cease on the African coasts, and

Appendix to Seventh Report of African Institution.

« AnteriorContinuar »