Page:A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica.djvu/13

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"Aug. 2, 1810.—This sum, received of an old Eboe negro woman, named Martia, to be transmitted to England for the benefit of her young master,

"In dollars 72
"In macaronies 40
"In ten pences 20
"In doubloons 16
"Small change 2
£150 ."

Mr. Miller remonstrated with her upon her wish to divert so large a sum from her family; but she only replied, that she had enough left for them and to bury herself; how much more she might have had was never ascertained. The occasion of this donation was a report which had reached her that the estate was to be sold, and imagining that a portion of her savings might be of use to her owner, she thus generously offered them. Now this was an old imported negress, and it proves incontestably two facts: first, that she must have been amply supplied with every comfort of life to have been able to sell so much provision (the only mode she had of acquiring money); and secondly, she must have been well treated or she would not have made so affecting a return of gratitude.

In bringing forward this evidence of the personal comfort of the negro population, the Author is desirous of being understood as by no means advocating slavery on principle; or asserting that the situation of the negro would not still admit of amelioration; they must, indeed, be a favoured race, to whose condition no further enjoyment could be added. But while its inhumanity is made a favourite topic of invective against a system, on the maintenance of which the interests or the safety of the colonies appear to be committed, it may be considered to be sufficient for the purpose of vindicating it from this charge, to shew that its practical operation is not destructive of the negro's comfort; that his circumstances are ordinarily easy, and frequently affluent; and that in the scale of physical enjoyment, the condition of the slave population of our colonies is equal or superior to the generality of the working classes of the free communities of Western Europe. Against this an argument is sometimes drawn, from the advertisements in the public papers for the recovery of runaway negroes, as if the disinclination of a slave to work, were a proof of the cruelty with which he is treated; or that in a population of 300,000 of the lowest class of a