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There is another testimony on this subject, which will be received with deep respect by the British nation. It is extracted from the "Instructions". drawn up by the late Dr. Porteus, Bishop of London, for the Missionaries belonging to the Church of England, going out to the West India Islands, under patronage of the Society for the Conversion of the Negro Slaves," incorpo
"I have, for some years past, ordered some sugar or rum to be given annually, by every estate under my direction in this island, to the Missionaries, as a small gratuity for their attendance upon the Negroes; and the practice has been followed by many others, though it has not yet become general."-House of Commons' Papers, 1804. Letter from PRESIDENT THOMPSON, of St. Christopher, then Governor of the Leeward Islands, to the Duke of Portland.
We shall close this decisive evidence with what might have been singly sufficient; an extract from the Minutes of the General Council and Assembly of all the Leeward Islands, in 1798.
"Resolved, That the slaves in these islands may be brought gradually to a considerable degree of religious knowledge, by attention on the part of their masters and the clergy; as evidently appears from the great success that has attended the pious exertions of the Moravian and other Missionaries in the several islands of this Government, whose mode of instruction and discipline seems to be particularly adapted to the minds and capacities of the hearers.” -Papers, House of Commons, 1804; 63. H.
rated by Royal Charter in 1794; of which the Bishop of London is President.
"The harvest before you is a plentiful one; the "work you are engaged in is a glorious one. "It is nothing less than the opening a new "school of morality and religion in the Western "world; laying the foundation of a new Chris"tian Church within the confines of the Atlantic "Ocean; and diffusing the blessings of the Go"spel to more than 500,000 human beings, with "all their numberless descendants, to the remotest "periods of time.”
"This surely is a prospect sufficient to animate your zeal. zeal. One thing we know with certainty; << we know from fact, and from experience, from "the example of the Moravians above mentioned, "that the Negroes are capable of being made real "Christians; and that they give the most un"equivocal proofs of this, by the visible influence "which the Gospel actually has upon their hearts "and lives. The Society trusts, therefore, that "the Missionaries of the Church of England will "not manifest less piety, less zeal, less activity, "less diligence, than those of the United Bre"thren; and that, of course, their labours will, "under Providence, be at least equally success"ful."-Instructions for Missionaries to the West India Islands. p. 15.
EDICT CONCERNING CHRISTIANITY IN JAMAICA.
In the West Indies, there are honourable characters and respectable families, who are entitled to as high estimation as those of any country; particularly among the higher classes, and among the learned professions. The virtues of benevolence, humanity, generosity, courage, and love of country, are, no doubt, frequently to be found, to the honour of individuals. But it is well known, that these popular virtues are perfectly compatible with a spirit hostile to Christianity. Infidelity generally arrogates to itself high personal virtues: and indifference to Christianity (the sum of the charge in this chapter) makes the same pretensions.
The legislative acts of a people are undoubtedly the best evidence of their general spirit and temper. Whether the acts of the legislative body in Jamaica*, which we are about to recite,
* The legislative body of Jamaica, consists of the Governor; a Council of twelve gentlemen, appointed by his Majesty; and an Assembly, or House of Commons, consisting of forty-three members, generally planters.
are to be attributed to that contempt of the Slaves, which, it is alleged, prevail among the Planters, and which would naturally lead them to view with indignation the attempt to instruct them in that religion which would seem to raise them to a level with their masters; or whether it arise from a fear, lest the Slaves should really suffer a moral injury from the Teachers of Christianity, and be excited, in some future time, to insurrection; we shall not presume to determine. The following statement shall be merely a transcript, with little comment of our own, from the official Records of Jamaica, and from the printed Accounts of the Missionaries.
After the Methodist Missionaries had been about ten years in the Island of Jamaica; and had built a chapel at Kingston, which was attended by some Whites, and by many People of Colour and Negroes; the Colonial Legislature passed an Act, on the 17th December, 1802, by which they prohibited, and made penal, "preaching or teaching in a meeting of Negroes, or People of Colour, by a person not duly qualified." There had hitherto been no law in Jamaica for Dissenters to qualify at all; and the Legislature thought fit to determine, that a person regularly and legally qualified in England, under the Toleration Act, was not duly qualified for Jamaica. In conse
quence of this law, two of the Missionaries were The penalty for the first
thrown into prison. offence was one month's imprisonment, and "hard labour in the common workhouse." The penalty for the second offence was, "imprison"" ment and hard labour for six months," or such farther punishment "not extending to life, 66 as the Court should see fit to inflict."-Such a law, in relation to a white man, had never been heard of before in Jamaica; for the laws there are highly respectful to the privileged order. If, again, a black man should "teach or preach in a meeting of Negroes, not being duly qualified," he was "to be sentenced to receive, for the se"cond offence, a public flogging, not exceeding "thirty-nine lashes."
By the operation of this law, the places of worship of other denominations of Christians besides the Methodists, were shut up. The preachers were silenced; and, among the rest, a regularly ordained minister of the Church of Scotland*. The Missionaries, in the extremity of their sufferings, compared this legal opposition, and its effects, to the persecution of Dioclesian; only that the, punishments were not, as the law expressed it," to extend to life."
*The Rev. Mr. Reid.