British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

bringing themselves more and more within the danger of calamities far more grievous than any which can be caused by commercial reverses, and of disasters from which it may be beyond the power of any Government to protect them. . . .


38
JAMAICA: REPORT OF A COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY APPOINTED TO INQUIRE INTO THE CAUSE OF, AND INJURY SUSTAINED BY, THE RECENT REBELLION, 18321

. . . Your Committee express it as their opinion, and do report the same to the House, that the causes which have led to the late rebellion among the slaves in this island are as follows:

The primary and most powerful cause arose from an evil excitement created in the minds of our slaves generally, by the unceasing and unconstitutional interference of His Majesty's Ministers with our local legislature, in regard to the passing of laws for their government, with the intemperate expression of the sentiments of the present Ministers, as well as other individuals in the Commons House of Parliament in Great Britain, on the subject of slavery; such discussions, coupled with the false and wicked reports of the Anti-Slavery Society, having been industriously circulated, by the aid of the press, throughout this island as well as the British Empire.

Secondly, from a delusive expectation produced among the whole of the slave population of the machinations of crafty and evil-disposed persons, who, taking advantage of the prevailing excitement, imposed upon their disturbed imaginations a belief that they were to be free after Christmas; and in the event of freedom being withheld from them, they 'must be prepared to fight for it'.

Thirdly, from a mischievous abuse existing in the system adopted by different religious sects in this island, termed Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists and Moravians, by their recognizing gradations of rank among such of our slaves as had become converts to their doctrines, whereby the less ambitious and more peaceable among them were made the dupes of the artful and intelligent who had been selected by the preachers of those particular sects to fill the higher offices in their chapels under the denomination of rulers, elders, leaders and helpers.

And lastly, the public discussions of the free inhabitants here, consequent upon the continued suggestions made by the King's Ministers regarding further measures of amelioration to be introduced into the slave code of this island, and the preaching and teaching of the religious sects called Baptists, Wesleyan Methodists and Moravians (but

____________________
1
Parl. Papers, 1831-2 (561), vol. xlvii, pp. 3-4; ordered to be printed by the Commons at the request of the Agent for Jamaica, William Burge, on 28 June.

-584-

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