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sible indignity, when weighed down by sorrow, the weary slave was induced by a more spirited companion to rebel—when the firebrand was mercilessly applied to beautiful mansions, when the ripe cornfields waved in towering flames, when grass, ba. nana, and stately limes fell in the pile oh! then very shockingly appalling was the sight, but so were the sufferings those sons of revenge had experienced.
Revenge in a Christian bosom will cancel those bonds of kindred feeling, those links of humanity, which assimilate the man to his Maker ; but when ignorance and barbarism are leagued with revenge, dreadful indeed is the sight. Dreadful! it is as appalling as the plague which desolated our unhappy country, darker than the fathomless grave, for there beyond it the bright rays of eternity shine. Revenge is the demon of sin. A Negro’s revenge is proverbial—why is it so ? Because his ignorance is equally startling. The voice of religion is afar from his heart ; his soul languishes in the depths of ignorance. No ray of better things lighted until lately those benighted minds; no clear path shone in the dark wilderness of Paganism ; if he were virtuous, he knew not from whence the aspiration sprung ; if he were wicked where was the bright ray conducting to the sure haven of repentance through prayer ? When the arduous toils of missionaries had at length been partially rewarded, when the seed of light sprung up on a more fruitful soil, when “ the way, the truth, and salvation” were felt, with what perspicuity the unlearned tongue expressed the primitive sense in which each Divine precept was taken, and though expressed in homely, sometimes coarse, language, a dawning sense of religion breathed throughout. As I before stated,
low upon bended knee the dark-hued multitude celebrated with thanksgivings the important first of August. This circumstance is well authenticated, and is worthy of record, for it is seldom a multitude celebrates an auspicious event in such a devotional manner.
A public dinner was given at Kingston, and a few ludicrously pronounced Negro speeches were made ; speeches which would have sent Punch into ecstasies of mirth, but which a good old English parliamentary man would have called beautiful in their way. These speeches were at least replete with gratitude, and gratitude is a noble quality. The being who can receive a favour and not feel its kindness, lacks a spirit which, instead of lowering, would exalt his soul. The mastiff turning to lick the hand of the master who feeds and carresses him, might, brute though he is, give
many a human being a lesson. Those Negroes who had received somewhat of instruction were the most orderly, and the most sensible of the change contemplated in their position.
Amongst these ranked the governor's Negroes. His excellency had arrived in the island at a critical time, and, sensible of the importance of his post, his own humane heart had dictated the rest.
The marquis had told his slaves that to work was no disgrace, but that to be riotous and idle was debasing and wrong.
How much a wise man can influence the ignorant and silly ; how often love and respect are so sweetly blended together that, in receiving both, the man of riches, genius, or power feels only their value, because he reaps their interest in the good wishes of his poorer brethren.
The Governor of Jamaica found the island
full of malcontents; these were to be appeased, without allowing them to perceive they were feared ; ungenerous spirits were to be quelled, untamed minds to be enlightened ; and, above all, the discontented proprietors were to be impressed with the belief that the King of Great Britain had acted in a manner worthy of the head of a great nation—that nation a body of Christians. The Marquis of Sligo proved that a humane heart was the root of peace, and the peaceable manner in which the first of August was passed reflects honour upon the influence his voice had on the Negroes.