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structure of a republican government, without destroying its symmetry, and endangering its permanence.
If we inquire what is the actual state of religion and morals in districts where slavery is predominant, we shall find our previous conclusions corroborated. To institute a comparison between the opposite sections of our own country, might, perhaps, appear invidious; I shall therefore look to a more distant quarter. Bryan Edwards, the historian so frequently quoted in the preceding numbers, notes as one of the peculiarities of the West Indians, an eagerness for litigation and juridical controversy, which he says remarkably predominates in most of those islands; certainly no flattering description from the pen of an advocate. But upon a point much more closely allied to the peace of society, and the virtues of domestic life, we have, from the pages of the same writer, an account of the general condition in which the females of mixed blood are kept, which presents a sombre view of the prevailing morals.* Thomas Cooper, a clergyman of the established church, who went to Jamaica in 1817, for the purpose of instructing the slaves in the doctrines of Christianity, declares, that “the state of morals and religion there is as bad as can well be imagined, both among whites and blacks. The general profligacy is perfectly notorious and undisguised. It is well known that the morals of nineteen out of twenty white men are ruined before they have been a month in the island. They get into habits of debauchery, and every idea of religion vanishes.”+
“Even the clergy,” says he, “in some instances, fall into this horrid impurity of manners, and that, too, without being expelled from their situations in the church. Many persons in Jamaica seem to think that the mere circumstance of vice being common, renders the practice of it almost if not altogether excusable. The plea is, I am not worse than my neighbour; I only do that which is common to all classes of the community. Serious attention to religion is out of the question. Persons who are received into the best society of the place, speak of having been drunk, and getting drunk, without apparently feeling any sense of shame. All this applies to the whites, and I have advanced it merely with a view to show the necessity of some efficient steps being taken to reform the manners of this branch of our fellow subjects; and to warn parents and others from sending their innocent sons and wards across the Atlantic to be plunged into this dreadful sink of vice and abomination.”I “The demoralizing influence of the slave system ought to be deemed a most important argument for its destruction, especially when there seems no reason whatever to imagine that it can ever be made to coexist with true religion and virtue.” “ It might be stated as a fact, that he that wishes to form a complete idea of the immoral influence of colonial slavery upon society, must not be contented with reading on the subject, but must go and see for himself.”
In regard to the slaves and free coloured persons, it is observed, that “they regard the whites as a superior species, and are therefore flattered by any attentions from them. Hence in
* Vol. ii. p. 10.
† Facts illustrative of the condition of Slaves in Jamaica, p. 9.
the estimation of their own commu semblance of the forms of religious nity, that is to them an honour, which worship.”+ in a moral respect ought to be viewed If we guppose, as the cool calcuwith abhorrence. Slavery sinks them lating reader will probably do, that below the condition of women, and to these pictures are somewhat overslavery a great part of their immoral wrought, we can hardly fail to conities must be imputed. Persons who clude, that religion and morals are pride themselves on the superiority of sunk very low in the places to which their natures, their liberty, their power, these descriptions were intended to their education, ought to blush for the apply. Indeed, almost every one who mean and unmanly advantage which has undertaken to describe the state they never fail to take of the helpless of morals among slave-holding comand miserable beings whom despotism munities, has represented a shameless has placed in their power.”
licentiousness as one of the most promiDr. Williamson, an advocate of the nent features. To this our own southslave system, who resided in Jamaica ern states cannot be marked as an from 1798 to 1812, gives a description exception. Morris Birbeck remarks, of religion and morals little more fa " Perhaps it is in its degrading influvourable than that of Thomas Cooper. ence on the moral senses of both mas
Contempt for religion,” says he,“ is ter and slave, that slavery is most openly avowed by a great proportion deplorable. Brutal cruelty, we may of those to be met with in that coun hope, is a rare and transient mischief;
His account of the prevailing but the degradation of 'soul is univermorals is too gross for insertion in the sal. All America is now suffering in columns of this journal.
morals, through the baneful influence Religion and morals being poisoned of negro slavery, partially tolerated, in the fountain, we should naturally || corrupting justice at the very source.” expect that even the forms of religion Little more than four years have would be very generally disregarded; | elapsed since a chapel in the island we accordingly find that the day usu of Barbadoes, occupied by William ally set apart professedly at least for Shrewsbury, a Wesleyan minister, was devotion, is in the islands the market demolished with circumstances of noday for the slaves. If we are to believe toriety and brutal ferocity which speak the uncontradicted statements so re ry unfavourably of the prevailing peatedly made, that a large part of the morals of the place. The object of vegetables and small meat used by the vengeance appears to have been a man planters is bought of the slaves, it must of blameless life, remarkably cautious be obvious that the market day of the of giving offence, and much beloved slaves must be a day of business for || by the congregation who received his others. In a late report of the bishop instructions. He had been selected by of Barbadoes to Lord Bathurst, we the Wesleyan missionary society, to find it asserted, that “the parishes in engage in the difficult task of teaching the interior are absolutely without the the negroes in the truths of Christian
* Medical Observations, &c. vol. i.
+ Anti-Slavery Monthly Reporter for June 1826, p. 196.
should do? to which they replied, “ Nothing at all ;” and accordingly nothing was done.*
If slavery is found to be unfavourable to religion and morality, we may rest assured that its influence is equally deleterious, both directly and indirectly, to the growth of national wealth.
PROGRESS OF DISCOVERIES IN AFRICA.
ity. To this object he had assiduously devoted himself for several years. But an impression having in some way obtained, that his doctrines, or those of the society to which he belonged, were less congenial to the legal or political maxims of the slave-holders than they desired, the floodgates of popular indignation were at once opened upon him. Several riots were made, in which the rioters were encouraged if not actually joined by the magistrates entrusted with the preservation of the public peace. During the time of worship, the assembly who attended upon his ministry were several times rudely assaulted, and finally a large concourse assembled and demolished the building, not leaving, as they afterwards insultingly declared, one stone upon another. The worthy minister fled for his life, and sought an asylum in a neighbouring island. The process was of sufficient duration and notoriety to allow ample opportunity for the interference of the civil authorities; but the magistrates permitted the work of destruction to proceed without molestation. When the governor soon afterwards issued his proclamation offering a reward for the discovery and conviction of the offenders, a counter proclamation was fulminated against all those who should dare to make the disclosures required. In this it was asserted, that the majority of the persons engaged in the demolition of the chapel were of the first respectability, and had the concurrence of nine-tenths of the community. The professed object was, the eradication of methodism from the island; and accordingly, all methodist preachers were warned, at their peril, not to approach their shores. When the governor saw this proclamation, he asked his council what he
(Continued from page 307.) Discoveries during the middle ages.
The rise of the Mahometan power, and the vast hordes of Saracen invaders which poured into Africa, caused a complete revolution in the moral and political aspect of that continent. This revolution, of which the ultimate effect was to extinguish all the intelligence, activity, and civilization, by which it had been illustrated, showed. at first a completely opposite tendency. The caliphate was held during several ages, by a race of monarchs who rank among the most accomplished by whom any throne has been filled; the arts of peace were perfected even in the bosom of war, and the nations placed under their rule, cherished, almost alone, the lights of science, which were fast expiring in every other region. The migratory spirit of this celebrated people, their commercial habits, their zeal in the pursuit of geographical science, all impelled them to direct their steps into the yet unknown regions of interior Africa. The desert, that barrier which deterred all former approach, appeared less formidable to an Arabian explorer. It recalled to him the image of his
native country, where he had long been familiar with every expedient by which such an expanse could be traversed in safety. The camel, transported into a congenial soil, afforded the means not only of effecting a passage once for the purpose of discovery, but of establishing a regular and constant communication across it. The first route appears to have been from Fezzan by way of Agades, being the one still followed by the Cassina
* Account of Proceedings in H. Com. June 23, 1825.
caravan. The passage is less difficult works of painting and sculpture. at this than any other point; the im- || Tamed elephants and camelopardales mense breadth of the desert being are mentioned as among the accombroken by the large oases of Fezzan paniments which swelled the pomp of and Agades, and by several others of the sovereign's equipage. The ciress magnitude. After passing it, they cumstance, however, which was confound a shore, whose fertility and beau sidered as distinguishing him above all ty were probably much heightened in other African potentates, was à mass their view by the length of the dreary of native gold, weighing thirty pounds, approach to it. But the eyes of this which formed the ornament of his commercial people were peculiarly at throne. Notwithstanding this splentracted by a commodity which, precious dour of the court, the nation, in general, in itself, has always been much over appears to have been characterized by rated in the opinions of mankind. From simplicity, and even by rudeness. The the regions immediately to the south, common people wore merely a girdle, was brought in abundance gold, not composed frequently of the skins of disguised in chemical combinations, beasts; and it was considered as indi. which could be discovered only by cating a superior rank to have any genius and labour; but ready pure, further covering and separated, by a simple mechanical To the sovereign of Ghana was also process, from the sand with which it
subject Wangara, or the land of gold, was mingled. A splendour, partly real considered, probably, as the brightest and partly imaginary, was thus thrown jewel in his crown. The gold here, as around this region, which, in the un over all the rest of Africa, is represettled state of northern Africa, at sented as entirely alluvial, and found tracted numerous colonists towards it. chiefly in the beds of the rivers, or Compulsory exile has always been a inundated ground after the water has powerful instrument in peopling the retired. Wangara is represented as globe. Those who fled before the arms formed into a species of island by of the Saracens, and those who were branches of the Nile, which surround worsted in the intestine divisions which it on all sides, and which, overflowing shook the caliphate, alike sought re during the rainy season, lay nearly the fuge and settlements in the depth of whole country under water. As soon the interior. The precise period of as the inundation subsides, the inhathese emigrations cannot be distinctly bitants are described as rushing with traced; but it is unquestionable, that, eagerness, and digging up the earth, by the tenth or eleventh century, the in every part of which they find a banks of the Niger were covered with greater or less quantity of gold. Imkingdoms, in which Mahometans form
mediately after arrive the merchants ed a numerous, and the ruling part of from every part of Africa, to exchange the population. Of these kingdoms, their various commodities against this according to the unanimous testimony single one. The principal cities of Wanof the Arabian writers, the most pow. gara were Reghebil and Semegonda, erful and splendid was Ghana, situated both handsome, and situated on the on the great central river, called by shore of large fresh water lakes. To them the Nile of the Negroes. The the west of Ghana lay the kingdom of sovereign was absolute within his own Tocrur, including the capital city of territories, and owed homage only to the same name, with those of Sala and the head of the Abbassides. The pomp Berissa. The monarch is said to have of his court was the adrniration of the been also very powerful, and his doage; and appears certainly to have minions the seat of an extensive combeen accompanied with a degree of art merce, but in both these particulars and civilization, which scarcely any yielding to Ghana. This kingdom was other negro kingdom has yet attained. also traversed by the Nile of the NeThe palace, built on the banks of the groes, which, after flowing fifteen days river, besides being a peculiarly journey westward from Tocrur and solid structure, and having the luxury, Sala, fell into the sea, or more probalittle known in those regions, of glass bly into a large lake. At some diswindows, was adorned with elaborate tance from its shore, was found the
island of Ulil, which afforded salt so abundantly as to supply all the states of Nigritia ; those states being then, as now, wholly destitute of that neces. sary of life. To the south of all these countries lay the extensive regions of Lamlam, (supposed the Melli of Leo). Great part of it was a desert; the rest inhabited by people who were little removed from savages. This tract afforded to the people of the Niger a theatre for the barbarous practice of slave hunting. Inroads were habitually made for that sole purpose; and the victims procured became an article of traffic with northern Africa. There is reason to suspect, that the same practice continues undiminished over all this part of the continent. Edrisi was not acquainted with any inhabited regions to the south of Lamlam, and doubts even if any such existed. The empire of Bornou is not mentioned in any of the Arabian writers by that name; but different portions of it appear evidently to be described under the appellation of Zaghara, Kanem, and Kuku. Of these Kuku appears to have been decidedly the most powerful and splendid. The king kept a numerous army finely equipped, and the splendour of his court eclipsed every thing in that part of Africa. The lower orders, as usual in negro states, were very indifferently clothed; but the merchants, who were numerous, wore vests, tunics, caps on their heads, and ornaments of gold. The nobility are said to have been clothed in satin. The capital city of the same name was celebrated among the negroes for its extraordinary magnitude.
As the Arabs extended themselves westward through Barbary, they opened always new routes across the desert; and when Morocco became the seat of their principal power, Segelmessa was in consequence the emporium of the commerce of Nigritia. Another territory, called Vauclan, situated apparently to the south of Morocco, carried on a very extensive trade; and its merchants went as far as Wangara in search of gold. The only parts of the interior on which the Arabs made no impression, were Nubia and Abyssinia. These countries, in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, continued still Christian, and were therefore in a state
of habitual enmity with the Saracen powers. Only, the necessities of trade produced a species of truce on the frontiers of Egypt and Nubia. The merchants of the respective nations met near the cataracts of Syene, and made an exchange of their respective commodities, without entering each other's territories.
Between the narrative of the Arabian geographers, and the discoveries of modern travellers and navigators, the link is formed by a celebrated description of Africa, written by a person bearing the appellation of Leo Africa
He was born at Granada; but when that city was besieged and taken by Ferdinand,* sought refuge in Fez, and devoted himself wholly to Arabic literature: Partly as a traveller, and partly as an ambassador, he traversed a great part of Africa, and composed, in Arabic, the description of that continent, which still renders his name celebrated. Lastly, being taken prisoner and brought to Rome, he attracted the notice of Leo X., who proved himself the patron of every liberal art and science. Under the auspices of this, pontiff, Leo made a translation of his work into Italian, which has been reprinted by Ramusio in his collection of voyages. Having been an eye witness to most of the scenes, which he describes, his work forms the only original authority for the state of northern and united Africa during the period at which he wrote. Where personal observation failed, he unfortunately had recourse to very blundering and erroneous compilation. The coincidence, however, in many respects, of his report with the best modern information, leaves no doubt as to its original character; so that it throws an important light, both on the progress of knowledge, and the changes in the political aspect of this continent.
It appears, that in the interval between the Arabian writers and Leo, some very important changes had taken place. Ghana, mentioned under the name of Cano, no longer held the
* Granada was taken by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492. Leo X. ascended the papal throne in 1513.