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The cause is yours-it is the cause of every son and daughter of liberty-it comes home to the door of your happiness-it strikes at the very root of your freedom.
For it, our ancestors have contended-for it, many have died martyrs for it, many now alive, not only struggle for and contend, but are willing to sacrifice their treasures, yea, if needs be, their very lives to uphold.
Need I then fear in submitting such a cause into your hands? I think not. I have already proved my zeal, by the sacrifice of my fortune-nay, by the sacrifice of personal ease and family comfort, and am still willing and ready to push on, to the full exposure of the baseness of those who have been sent out to protect and uphold the rights and privileges of you and your brethren in foreign climes, but who have disgracefully violated that trust so committed to them.
You, my friends, whose voices have been raised for years towards the liberation of your black brethren, I am sure will feel interested. For what have they been raised-for what have the coffers of the British Empire been thrown open-and for what have the twenty millions of solid gold heen drawn? but for freedom-for liberty-for the free exercise of those dearest of all privileges, "free and unshackled liberty of conscience.”
I have, my friends, gone, cordially, hand in hand with you for years, in this most mighty undertaking, although living in a very land of slavery; yet will I not take to myself the praise of being alone and single handed there, for if I did, well might the Lord's answer to Elijah in the 19th chapter of the 1st book of Kings, and at the 18th verse, be made use of, when he was in straights and difficulties, zealous for his God, thinking he alone was left in his cause:- "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel; all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."
Were I to attempt to take to myself such praise, (see page 230) it would be a very LIBEL on many of your brethren in Jamaica, who are equally as zealous as yourselves in support of these liberal and praiseworthy measures, but who, through fear and dread of RUIN and DESTRUCTION, have been compelled to stand aloof-to hide their heads, and only silently to watch the progress of reformation.
Will you then, my friends and countrymen, seeing all this to be the case, back out of the conflict, and also stand aloof, permitting myself and family to be alone sacrificed in the cause, after having, with so much labour, patience, perseverance, and sacrifice of every kind, hitherto buffeted the storms, to the suc
ceeding of thus far exposing oppression, and advocating our mutual rights as freemen?
No, I feel confident that you will not—yea, if you even do, I feel I have but done my duty in my day, as many others have done before me.
But, if you are, really and conscientiously, the advocates of the principles I have laid down, I entreat you not to throw cold water on your cause-not to damp the energy of those whom I have left behind, I say, still in a land of SLAVERY; for, when you have read this volume, you will see it but too trueSLAVERY in its darkest shades, and upheld too, disgracefully upheld by those- -but I proceed no further.
All that man could do, have I done, in order to obtain Justice. Having been denied my right, by those whose place it was to do no wrong, I still have persevered, led on by the justness of my cause, and an abhorrence of such perfidy in the ruling powers.
I have been both basely and falsely held up (by those very powers whom your zeal has sent out to administer justice) to the public as a spy, as an enemy (so falsely termed) to the island of Jamaica, and an agent to the Anti-Slavery party in England, who are likewise (so falsely) demominated the sworn enemies of the Colonies; see the Chief Justice's unwarrantable address to the jury (page 217) and the Editorial remarks in the Jamaica Dispatch alluding thereto (page 224).
As to the part Mr. O'Riley, his Majesty's Attorney-General of Jamaica, is represented to have taken, I can freely excuse him, and trust my readers will do the same, as he only did his part, in the way of his profession, as an advocating council.
He, my friends, I verily believe, is a good man—a friend of the distressed—a charitable supporter and advocate of a just
I will now say a few words for your information, as to the true state of things, in connexion with your black brethren. I say, friends of a righteous cause, slack not your zeal, and be not led away by false accounts." The prayer of the righteous availeth much." Well might I quote the words of the inspired Psalmist, Psalm 68, v. 13, Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold."
It has been spread, both far and wide, by a party, that the Colonies will be lost-that the blacks are still but savagesthat they are unfit for freedom, and that the liberality of the British nation towards them, has been thrown away; yea, my
friends, in this my own native Isle, since my return from Jamaica, have I heard it echoed and argued with solemn force.
Will it then be taken amiss in my now stoutly speaking in defence of such very broad, and erroneous notions? I think not. I do, therefore, from a practical acquaintance of 21 long years residence amongst them, speak to facts in contradiction.
The upholders of slavery, will always be averse to let you arrive at the truth of it; but, my friends, read this volume, and in it you will find abundant proofs to contradict such unjust assertions.
The blacks have richly deserved the great and liberal boon conferred upon them! What have I asserted? conferred! nay, my friends, it is only yet in name; the blessing as yet is lost to them, and before the final accomplishment the rich enjoyment, by their total liberation from APPRENTICESHIP, I fear many thousands will have gone to that long home from whence no traveller returns.
To assert that they still remain a herd of savages, undeserving freedom, is so unjust that I have hardly patience to contest the point with those, who are so led to believe such an assertion.
And, to contend that the Colonies will be lost-that they will not work when they become absolutely free, is so mischiev ous and unjust, that I must refute it.
First then, I must say, that since my arrival in England, I have never yet witnessed that lively christian joy amongst my own country folks, upon the Sabbath day, as may be witnessed amongst the blacks in Jamaica. Nothing now prevents their keeping it holy, but absolute works of necessity, and I must say that those who are the most faulty in this respect, are the owners of the apprentices themselves (see page 263). Families are to be now seen in the neighbourhood of a chapel, on the Sabbath day, who have travelled from the mountains on foot, through the night, ten, fifteen, and even more miles, purposely to hear the joyfal gospel sound? Is this a proof of the assertion? I think not; their zeal and patience often puts me to the blush, my countrymen,
Secondly, that, they will not work, &c. I have been in the habit, for the past ten or twelve years, of circulating, in my little neighbourhood, St.George's, about £5000 a season, a very large portion of which has been always amongst the negroes; to one family alone I have paid as much as £40 at a time, and to many from 10 to £20, for their own crops of agricultural productions, which they had planted, taken in and manufactured in
their own spare hours of labour, say dinner time, nights, &c., this is no proof of their habitual laziness, but, I think, on the contrary, sufficient to destroy the false charge.
I once more add, on their behalf, to you, whose hearts are warm with christian love, cease not your vigilance on their behalf. The iron yoke of SLAVERY (for apprenticeship is equally as bad, if not worse) still reigns. The LASH, DUNGEONS, and CHAINS, are in constant attendance throughout the land, and will remain so, for near four long years yet to come.
If 1, as a proprietor on the spot, have had my faithful servant, because he happened to be a black apprentice, SEIZED upon, in defiance of my entreaties, (and yet no charge against him (see page 31 and 77) put into CHAINS, and kept at hard labour for two long weeks, and during which time his back and body, so mutilated with the lash, that when he was released I lost months of his services from sickness; if this be the case, and this, indeed, is fact, which has urged me on to expose such gross injustice, what need I urge further ?
I have now merely to add, that it is my full intention, when I have succeeded in carrying my case through the British House of Commons, to publish a second edition of my work, adding to it all further matter of consequence; particularly, the full Trial of the Most Noble the Marquis of Sligo, at the Old Bailey, in 1812, as referred to at page 237; and to all who are liberal enough, now, to forward me their mite, in order to assist me in this most arduous undertaking, shall then receive a fresh volume.
I have this request to make of all, who may be so liberally disposed, that they will forward to me their names and address (though, if for private reasons, some may wish their names not published, yet, still, I should request some cipher of note,) as it is my wish to give a complete, full list of all my supporters in order to encourage my friends, and the friends of liberty in Jamaica, that they need not fear party ruin or destruction, so long as they are acting in a just and righteous cause,
Your very faithful friend,
P.S. Where to apply to for copies of this Work, &c. see the last page of this Volume.
Having now completed the volume intended by me, 1st, for your Lordship's consideration, and 2ndly, for the consideration of the British House of Commons, and the people of England, (unless I get full and ample satisfaction at your Lordship's hands, for all the series of wrongs and injuries sustained, therein complained of), I, with the utmost respect and consideration, beg leave to tender your Lordship a complete copy, with a full detail of my grievances, to which I earnestly intreat your Lordship's most serious attention.
My complaints, my Lord, must now be simply confined against two high and important personages, although the volume abounds or speaks of deep injuries received by me at the hands of many others.
The two high and important personages, against whom I am compelled now to seek for redress, are His Excellency, the most noble the Marquis of Sligo, the late Governor, and Sir Joshua Rowe, the present Lord Chief Justice of the Island of Jamaica.
My Lord, when humble individuals such as myself, voluntarily stand forward for the sake of truth, and have to struggle at so enormous an expense, and personal sacrifice, as I have done, against such high and important characters-as the Representative of Majesty and the Chief Judge of the land-it surely becomes a question well worthy his Majesty's Government, and if not of them, the people and their representatives, to investigate into.
My Lord, although I was represented to Lord Sligo, by Mr. Custos Bell, on the very onset of my troubles (when I appealed to his Excellency for redress) as an individual contemptuous, or