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“Farewell, thou Moon, whose silver light
“ Imperial Sun, so gorgeous bright,
Then the fair journeyer of the sky
The child shall rue that is unborn.
THE BRITISH COLONIES.
To his Grace the Duke of Wellington, &c. &c.
From James M Queen, Esq.
My Lord DUKE,
ledge the propriety and the necessiIn my last letter, under date 18th ty, under present circumstances, of April last, I had through this channel pressing these points still more strongoccasion to advert to the notorious ¡y upon the attention of the public. though still disputed fact, that person There is a periodical work, pubal slavery exists, and to an incredible lished in London, and entitled “THE extent, in every Presidency of Bri- WESTMINSTER REVIEW," which, as it tish India. In proof of this I adduced is not at all probable that your Grace extracts from that ponderous volume, countenances, I am anxious, through entitled, “ SLAVERY IN India,” called a much wider circulation and proudfor by Mr FOWELL BUXTON some er channel than it can command, to years ago, and produced by the East bring some of its anti-colonial laIndia Company in obedience to the bours (by printing and circulating order of the House of Commons, and these separately, the Anti-Slavery by that House ordered to be printed Society have made its labours their March 12, 1828. The great length labours) to the notice of your Grace of these papers, occupying 936 close and the public. The writer is, I am ly printed" folio pages, and the ne- informed, the author of a scurrilous cessarily circumscribed pages of the attack upon the proprietors of land periodical publication through which in Great Britain, under the title of I have the honour to address you, “ THE CATECHISM OF
THE CORN compelled me to omit many import- Laws,” &c. He was, as he tells us, ant particulars regarding the exist “ eight years in India ;" at p. 288, he ence of Personal Slavery, and the proceeds thus :state of the slaves, in our Eastern do “ Nobody believes that cultivation is minions; but sufficient, and more than carried on by slaves in the east, as it is in sufficient, was stated to establish the the west. If so, where are the slave laws, fact, that in India slaves and their and where are the advertisements in the progeny were the property of their Gazettes ? The natives of India, in their masters in ABSOLUTE RIGHT, and of own extraordinary English, advertise their descendants from generation to every thing that can possibly be bought or generation; that they were sold with sold; how is it that they never advertise the land or without the land, as cir- slaves ? There is not a common soldier that cumstances occurred; that they were
arrives from India, that is not capable of chiefly employed in the labours of bearing witness to the FLAGRANT FALSEagriculture; that they were sold in
Hood of the assertion, that India is cultidividually, and without any regard dia Company would not hold possession long
vated by slaves. If it was, the East Into families, relatives, or connexions, enough to send a dispatch to the Governor and that, with the coarsest possible General. It is true, that among the infare, they had, in anti-colonial phrase, numerable tribes and castes that compose severe tasks to perform “ under a
the immense population of India, vestiges burning sun;" and that while left of slavery may be found.” wholly without instruction, they en Ănd he adds, joyed and received but limited and
“ It would not be much trouble to the very scanty protection.
governors of India at home, to send out As the documents which I referred five lines in a dispatch, disavowing all reto, and the extracts which I made cognition of the estate of personal slavery from them, cannot be contradicted, throughout their vast dominions, and it may by some be considered super- they have as manifest an interest in doing fluous to return to the subject; but it as in sending out to enquire the price when I have shewn the cause why I of cotton." do so, they may see and acknow I pass over the cool mercantile as
sociation of the human beings with “ 14th. The practice of selling and pur“ the price of cotton,” to observe, chasing slaves, has been in existence from that it is melancholy to find an indi TIME IMMEMORIAL,” (p. 853.) vidual who, according to his own
“ 10th. They are required to perforın shewing, is above the rank of “a all the work connected wlth husbandry," common soldier,” and who has been (p. 855.) “ eight years in India,” and who yet “ 10th. They are employed in ploughknows so little about that country, ing the fields (parrambas,) cutting wood, its establishments and its population, planting, cropping, and in short in all as to venture to expose his own ignorance or stupidíty by asserting They are, besides, required to watch the
fields and granaries DURING THE NIGHT," “the flagrant falsehood,” that no such state of society (for this is what he (p. 865.) means his words to convey) as per In pages 6 and 7 we have a corsonal slavery, in its strictest and most rect translation of the Hindoo slave unmitigated character, exists in In- code, which enumerates no fewer dia. Accustomed to the total disre than fifteen species of slavery, and in gard for truth which is on every oc which we find included, “ lst, Whocasion shewn by anti-colonial wri ever is born of a female slave;" ters, it excites in my mind no sur “ 2d, whoever is purchased for a prise to meet with such assertions as price;” “ 8th, whoever hath been those which have just been quoted. enslaved by the fortune of battle;" Instead of resorting to the tone of “ and 10th, whoever of his own dehaughty Eastern declamation, which sire says to another, I AM BECOME has no doubt been resorted to by YOUR SLAVE." this writer, because he was deficient The Hindoo slave code, p. 7, runs in candour, information, and facts, I thus :shall bring before your Grace and
“ Whoever is born from the body of a the public the following plain, unvarnished selections from the official
female slave, and whoever hath been pur
chased for a price, and whoever hath been papers, transmitted by the Governors General, and other authorities in
found by chance any where, and whoever
is a slave by descent from his ancestors, India, who may, I humbly presume, these four species of slaves, until they are be acknowledged to know more about
freed by the voluntary consent of their India, its establishments, its popula- master, canNOT HAVE THEIR LIBERTY ; if tion, and its laws, than any “common
their master, from a principle of benefisoldier,” and a great deal more than cence, gives them their liberty, they bethis very ignorant and very insolent
come free." East Indian anti-colonial champion. “ Whoever for the sake of enjoying a In the documents which they have slave girl becomes a slave to any person, transmitted, this bravo scribbler may he shall recover his freedom upon renounfind out, if he has the understanding cing the slave girl," (p. 8.) to find out, some of the East Indian “ Whoever hath become a slave by sell“ slave laws,” and “ advertisements ing himself to any person, he shall not be in the Guzettes,” which he calls for free until his master of his own accord observing to him shortly, and once
gives him his freedom." for all, that " governors of India at
“ If the master, from a principle of behome” dare not, and have acknow neficence, gives him his liberty, he becomes ledged in writing that they dare not,
free,” (p. 8.) “ send out five lines in a dispatch At page 121 we find it admitted disowning all recognition of the es and stated by “ G. Dowdeswell, Setate of personal slavery throughout cretary to Government Judicial Detheir vast dominions."
partment,” in an official letter to the In the proceedings of the Revenue Register of the Sudder Dewanny Board at Calcutta, April 1819, we Adawlut," and dated 6th June, 1820, have the answers of no fewer than that “the Hindoo and Mahommedan nineteen Hindoos of rank, the most laws regarding domestic slavery versant in the Hindoo laws regard- remained “
“ UNQUALIFIED.” At
page ing personal slavery, made to four- 102, we find an official letter, dated teen different questions put to each. 13th November, 1812, addressed by I confine myself to the following re the Governor-General to C. T. METplies :
CALFE, Esq., the resident at Delhi, on
was NOT PREPARED TO SANCTION.
the subject of a proclamation issued Under date March 6th, 1813, the by him regarding the abolition, not Government again writes Mr Metof slavery, but of a Foreign Slave calfe thus:Trade. It runs thus :
66 In continuation of the orders of “ 2. The Governor General in Coun Government of the present date, I am cil observes, that your proclamation not directed to acquaint you, that it occurs to only prohibits the importation of slaves
the Right Hon. the Governor General in for sale into the assigned territories, but
Council, that the prohibition established the sale of slaves actually within these against the importation of slaves into the territories previously to its promulgation, territory, subject to your superintendence, a measure which his Lordship in Council should not extend to slaves accompanying
their masters from other parts of the Comand abominable as such a traffic is in any pany's territories, and not intended for shape, the laws which have hitherto been
sale. As persons possessing slaves are not enacted to restrain it, have been confined restricted under the general laws and rein their object to the trade in slaves by gulations from removing them from one importation and exportation, but bave not district to another, the principles of conbeen extended to the emancipation of per- sistency and uniformity in arrangements sons already in a state of slavery under the
of a legislative nature, seem to require that old law, nor to the PROHIBITION of their
no such restriction should be established transfer by sale to other masters within on the removal of slaves from other parts the country which they inhabit.
of the British territories into the places “ 3. For these reasons, and from other
subject to your superintendence.”-(Signconsiderations of much apparent weight, ed G. Dowdeswell, Chief Secretary to Gothe views of Government have been limit
vernment, page 107.) ed to the prohibition of further importation of slaves for sale into the territories of
These and other communications the Honourable Company; and you will
terminated in the prohibition of a observe the regulation X. of 1811, is con
slave trade, by the sale of new slaves fined to this object. In conformity, there in the province of Delhi. How the fore, to the sentiments conveyed to you in
law was obeyed, I consider unnecesMr EDMINSTONE's letter of the 25th of sary to state, and, besides, have neiSeptember, his Lordship in Council de ther time nor limits to enter upon this sires that the terms of your proclamation part of the subject. may be modified, so as to correspond with At page 559, we find a letter from the enactment contained in that regula- Mr Secretary Thackeray to the Pretion."
sident and Members of the Board of J. Adam, Trade, Madras, and dated 13th Nov.
Secretary to Government.” 1810, which states thus :In a further communication to the
Although the exportation and importGovernment upon the subject, Mr
ation of slaves as a traffic is prohibited, Metcalfe, under date 3d January 1813,
domestic slavery is recognised by the usage
of the country, and the Mahommedan and amongst other things, states:
Hindoo laws, and has never been abolish“ 17. In issuing a proclamation for the
ed by the British Government.” abolition of the future importation and sale of slaves, I had no idea of infringing
At pages 303–308, we find, among on the rights of the actual proprietors of
the replies of the Mufties, and the slaves purchased or possessed heretofore.
Pundits of Bengal, to the Sudder All the proprietors of slaves in this terri.
Dewanny, in April, 1808, regarding tory, notwithstanding that proclamation,
the nature of personal slavery, under retain all their rights over their slaves, the Mahommedan and Hindoo laws, except that of selling them, or making the following :them the property of another. This is perfectly understood in consequence of the
“ Answer to the 2d Question. decisions given in the Court of Judicature
Mahommedan Law. in trials between owners and slaves. I “ The rightful proprietor of male and have more than once embraced the oppor female slaves has a claim to the services of tunity afforded by such trials to explain such slaves, to the extent of their power publicly, that slaves are still the property and ability, i. e. he may employ them in of their owners, though not (with refer- baking, cooking, in making, dying, and ence to my former misconception of the washing clothes, as agents in mercantile views of Government) as heretofore dis transactions, in attending cattle, in tillage, posable property."
or cultivation; as carpenters, ironmongers,
and goldsmiths; in transcribing; as wea slave, had afterwards sold bim to another, vers, and in manufacturing woollen cloths; or that any person had compelled another as shoemakers, boatmen, twisters of silk, into slavery by force and violence, the ruling water drawers ; in shaving, in performing power may then order the emancipation surgical operations, such as cupping ; and of such child or slave. This is the law as farriers, bricklayers, and the like; and declared by Jak Bulk, Munu, Minoo, he may hire them out in service in any of and Kuteeabun, according to Met Unchhra the above capacities. He may also employ and other authorities." them himself, or for the use of the family
The Mahommedan and Hindoo in other duties of a domestic nature, such as in fetching water for washing or weezoo,
laws being the codes by which the religious purification, in, anointing his jurisprudence of India is administerbody with oil, rubbing his feet, in attend
ed to the natives thereof, and personing his person while dressing, and in al slavery being sanctioned and supguarding the door of his house," &c. ported by these laws, it is necessary
to ascertain how far the British laws, “ Answer to the 2d Question." emanating from Great Britain, and Hindoo Law.
the British Government in India, have “ The owner of a male or female slave altered the Hindoo slave code. The may require of such slave the performance following extracts “ of a letter in the of impure work, such as plastering and Judicial Department from the Goversweeping the house, cleaning the door, nor General in Council of Bengal, to gateway, and necessary, rubbing his mas the Court of Directors, dated the ter's body with oil, and clothing him, re 29th October 1817,” will shew this:moving fragments of victuals left at his master's table and eating them, removing
“ 145. On this point it appeared to us, urine, or human ordure, rubbing his mas that none of the provisions of the act of ter's feet and other limbs, &c. In cases of
Parliament passed for the abolition of the disobedience or fault committed by the
slave trade, in any manner affected, or proslave, the master has power to beat his slave fessed to affect, the relation between maswith a thin stick, or to bind him with a
ter and slave wherever that relation might rope ; and if he should consider the slave exist by law; whatever, therefore, had been deserving of severer punishment, he may
the law according to the Mahommedan pull his hair, or expose him upon an ass.
and Hindoo codes (for those over whom But if the master should exceed this ex they extended) on the subject of domestic tent of his authority, and inflict punish- slavery, before the passing of the act of the ment upon his slave of a severer nature 51 Geo. III. c. 23, continued to be the than the above stated, he is liable to pay a
law still: MORE ESPECIALLY AS THESE CODES fine to the hakim or ruling power of a thousand puns of Khur mohurs (eighty
DERED TO BE OBSERVED BY PARLIAMENT !” thousand Kowries.) This is declared by
6 155. The native subjects of the BriMunoo, according to Rutnad, Khun, Bi- tish government residing in the territories, bad, Chinta, Mun, and other authorities.” subordinate to the several Presidencies,
have, in fact, the same authority over their 66 Answer to the 3d Question. slaves, and the same property in them, that “ A master has no right to command they would have had, if the act in queshis male and female slave to perform any
tion had never been passed; and the seveother duties besides those specified in the ral Zillah and provincial courts are bound answer to the 2d Question, or authority to to receive and to determine all questions punish his slave, further than in the man
of that nature, which are respectively cogner before stated ; and if he should exceed nizable by them under the existing reguthis discretionary power in either case, he lation.” is liable to the same penalty, viz. one thou “ 158. A slave, by entering the Comsand puns of Kowries. This is declared pany's territories, does not become free; by Munoo and Bishee."
nor can he, who was lawfully a slave,
emancipate himself, by running away “ Answer to the 4th Question. from one country where slavery is lawful, “ The commission, however, of offences to another where it is equally lawful.” of the above nature by the master, does “ 159. The property in the slave still not affect the state of bondage of the slave, continues in the master; and the master and the ruling power has not the right of has the same right to have it restored to granting his manumission; but if it should him, that any native subject of our terribe established in evidence before the hakim, tories could have, supposing that right to that any person having stolen or inveigled be established in the mode prescribed by away by fraud and treachery a child or the local laws and regulations."
HAD BEEN DISTINCTLY RECOGNIZED AND OR