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to disseminate more widely the suggestions which my residence in the West Indies, from the establishment there of episcopacy, has enabled me to offer, as well to non-resident proprietors in England, as to their agents and subordinate officers on estates in these colonies. I am aware that
many of the facts and opinions introduced in them will meet, at best, with a hesitating and reluctant approval. Why, it will be asked, thus draw forth the faults of our ancestors, or even expose our own defects? Why disturb us with the language of reproof, or with exhortations to measures of doubtful expediency?
teneras mordaci radere vero Auriculas?
My answer is, because the case requires that there should be no concealment of the truth, and because the official situation in which the author is placed, not
only authorizes, but compels him to speak plainly on the subject of Christian duties. “If,” says the pious Augustine, " we must give an account of our idle words, how much more of our idle silence!"
The minister of the gospel in the West Indies is often beset with difficulties. He must either neglect his duty, or give offence to the people. If he preaches openly and unhesitatingly the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, he is reproached with being needlessly severe. His discourse, to use the words of Bishop Latimer, is considered to have a “ full bite, to be a nipping sermon, a pinching sermon, a biting sermon. He is a naughty fellow, a seditious fellow : he maketh trouble and rebellion in the
" For my
land; he lacketh discretion.' part,” continues the same venerable prelate, «jt rejoiceth me sometimes, when my friend comes, and tells me that they find fault with my discretion; for by likelihood, think I, the doctrine is true; for if they could find fault with the doctrine, they would not charge me with the lack of discretion, or the inconvenience of the time."
That the system of slavery, as it is at present conducted in the West Indies, is associated with practices of an injurious tendency, even its warmest advocates must allow; but many of the evils complained of may be diminished, if not entirely removed, by the meliorating influence of Christianity. I am at a loss to imagine what advantage the master can propose to himself by keeping his people in a state of moral and mental degradation. Intellect, which is the most valuable part of man, is at present allowed to run to waste in the slave. His worth is estimated only by his physical power, and no endeavours are used to draw forth into practical usefulness the powers of his mind. The result is manifested in the dearth of invention. Agriculture is conducted in the rudest manner, : Human toil is but scantily relieved by the aid of brute force; and few and feeble have been the efforts to substitute machinery in the room of direct unmitigated personal labour,
· The evils of slavery are strikingly perceptible to the European on his first arrival. I have often remarked that a protracted residence has the effect either of confirming unalterably his first impressions, or of almost entirely removing them. There is rarely a middle state.
Most generally the feelings of dissatisfaction cease when the mind is familiarized to the objects which at first shocked it. If then such be the effect frequently produced on the disinterested spectator, we ought not to wonder that the proprietor, who regards his all at stake in the continuance of the present system, and whose associations in its favour have grown with his growth, should be adverse to a change. I believe experience has proved, that in no part of England, and among no class of its inhabitants, are unreasonable prejudices so prevalent, and difficult to be subdued, as in our agricultural districts, and among the people who are directly interested in the productive cultivation of the soil.
While I notice the too general acquiescence in abuses which have no sup