HC Deb 01 June 1824 vol 11 cc961-1076

After numerous petitions had been presented to the House, for an inquiry into the proceedings on the Trial of the late John Smith, in the island of Demerara,

Mr. Brougham

rose, and addressed the House to the following effect:—

Mr. Speaker

; I confess that, in bringing before this House the question on which I now rise to address you, I feel not a little disheartened by the very intense interest excited in the country, and the contrast presented to those feelings by the coldness which prevails within these walls. I cannot conceal from myself, that, even in quarters where one would least have expected it, a considerable degree of disinclination exists to enter into the discussion, or candidly to examine the details of the subject. Many persons who have, upon all other occasions, been remarkable for their manly hostility to acts of official oppression, who have been alive to every violation of the rights of the subject, and who have uniformly and most honourably viewed with peculiar jealousy every infraction of the law, strange to say, on the question of Mr. Smith's treatment, evince a backwardness to discuss, or even to listen to it. Nay, they would fain fasten upon any excuse to get rid of the subject. "What signifies inquiring," say they, "into a transaction which has occurred in a different portion of the world?" As if distance or climate made any difference in an outrage upon law or justice. One would have rather expected that the very idea of that distance; the circumstance of the event having taken place beyond the immediate scope of our laws, and out of the view of the people of this country; in possessions, where none of the inhabitants have representatives in this House, and the bulk of them have no representatives at all, one might have thought, I say, that, in place of forming a ground of objection, their remote and unprotected situation would have strengthened the claims of the oppressed to the interposition of the British legislature. Then, says another, too indolent to inquire, but prompt enough to decide, "It is true there have been a great number of petitions presented on the sub- *From the edition published by Hatchard and Son, with the sanction of the London Missionary Society. ject; but then every body knows how those petitions are procured, by what descriptions of persons they are signed, and what are the motives which we know influence a few misguided, enthusiastic men, in preparing them, and the great crowd in signing them. And, after all, it is merely about a poor missionary!" It is the first time that I have to learn that the weakness of the sufferer; his unprotected situation; his being left single and alone to contend against power exercised with violence—constitutes a reason for this House shutting its ears against all complaints of those proceedings, and refusing to investigate the treatment of the injured individual.

But, it is not enough that he was a Missionary; to make the subject still more unpalatable, for I will come to the point, and at once use the hateful word, he must needs also be a Methodist. I hasten to this objection, with a view at once to dispose of it. Suppose Mr. Smith had been a methodist; what then? Does his connexion with that class of religious people, because, on some points essential in their consciences, they are separated from the national Church, alter or lessen his claims to the protection of the law? Are British subjects to be treated more or less favourably in courts of law; are they to have a larger or a smaller share in the security of life and limb, in the justice dealt out by the government, according to the religious opinions which they may happen to hold? Had he belonged to the society of the methodists, and been employed by the members of that communion, I should have thought no worse of him or his mission, and felt nothing the less strongly for his wrongs; but, it does so happen, that neither the one nor the other of these assumptions is true: neither the Missionary Society, nor their servants, are of the methodist persuasion. The society is composed indifferently of churchmen and dissenters. Mr. Smith is, or, as I unhappily must now say, was a minister, a faithful and pious minister of the Independents, that body, much to be respected indeed for their numbers, but far more to be held in lasting veneration for the unshaken fortitude with which, in all times, they have maintained their attachment to civil and religious liberty, and, holding fast by their own principles, have carried to its uttermost pitch the great doctrine of absolute toleration; men to whose ancestors this country will ever acknow- ledge a boundless debt of gratitude, as long as freedom is prized among us: for they, I fearlessly proclaim it—they, with whatever ridicule some may visit their excesses, or with whatever blame others, they, with the zeal of martyrs, the purity of the early Christians, the skill and the courage of the most renowned warriors, gloriously suffered and fought and conquered for England the free constitution which she now enjoys. True to the generous principles in church and state which won those immortal triumphs, their descendants still are seen clothed with the same amiable peculiarity of standing forward among all religious denominations, pre-eminent in toleration: so that although, in the progress of knowledge, other classes of dissenters may be approaching fast to overtake them, they still are foremost in this proud distinction. All, then, I ask of those who feel indisposed to this discussion is, that they will not allow their prepossessions, or I would rather say their indolence (for, disguise it as they will, indolence is at the bottom of this indisposition), to prevent them from entering calmly and fully into the discussion of this proceeding. It is impossible that they can overlook the unexampled solicitude which the question has excited in every class of the people out of doors. That consideration should naturally induce the House of Commons to lend its ear to the inquiry, though fully sufficient, on its own merits, to command undivided attention.

It will be my duty to examine the charge preferred against the late Mr. Smith, and the whole of the proceedings founded on that charge. And in so doing, I have no hesitation in saying, that from the beginning of those proceedings to their fatal termination, there has taken place more of illegality, more of the violation of justice—violation of justice, in substance as well as form—than, in the whole history of modern times, I venture to assert, has ever before been witnessed in any inquiry that could be called a judicial proceeding. I have tried the experiment with every person with whom I have had an opportunity of conversing on the subject of these proceedings at Demerara, as well members of the profession to which I have the honour of belonging, as others acquainted with the state of affairs in our colonies, and I have never heard one who did not declare to me, that the more the question was looked into, the greater attention was given to its details, the more fully the whole mass was sifted—the more complete was his assent to the conviction, that there was never exhibited a greater breach, a more daring violation, of justice, or a more flagrant contempt of all those forms by which law and justice were wont to be administered, and under which the perpetrators of ordinary acts of judicial oppression are wont to hide the nakedness of their injustice [hear, hear!].

It is now necessary for me to call the attention of the House to that unhappy state of things which took place at Demerara during the course of the past year. Certain instructions had been forwarded from this country to those slave colonies which are more under the control of the government than the other West-India Islands. Whether the instructions were the best calculated to fulfil the intentions of those who issued them; whether the directions had not in some points gone too far, at least in prematurely introducing the object that they had most properly in view—and whether, in other points, they did not stop short of their purpose; whether, in a country where the symbol of authority was the constantly manifested lash of the driver, it was expedient at once to withdraw that dreadful title of ownership, I shall not now stop to inquire. Suffice it to say, that those instructions arrived at Demerara on the 7th of last July, and great alarm and feverish anxiety appear to have been excited by them amongst the white part of the population. That the existence of this alarm so generally felt by the proprietors, and the arrival of some new and beneficial regulations, were understood by the domestic slaves, there cannot be a doubt. By them the intelligence was speedily communicated to the field negroes. All this time there was no official communication of the instructions from the colonial government. A meeting had been convened of the Court of Policy, but nothing had been made public in consequence of its assembling. A second meeting was held, and it was understood that a difference of opinion prevailed, after a discussion, which, though not fierce, was still animated. The only means which the circumstances of the case naturally suggested do not appear to have been adopted by those at the head of affairs in Demerara. I do not impute to them any intentional disregard of duty. It is very possible that the true remedy for the mischief may have escaped them in the moment of excited apprehension—in the prevalence of general alarm, rendered more intense by the inquisitive anxiety of the Slave population—an alarm and anxiety continued by the state of ignorance in which they were kept as to the real purport of the instructions from England. But most certainly, whatever was the cause, the authorities at Demerara overlooked that course of proceeding best calculated to allay at least the inquisitive anxiety of the slaves; namely, promulgating in the colony, what it really was that had been directed in the instructions of the king's ministers, even if they were not disposed at once to declare whether they would or would not carry those instructions into execution. Unhappily, they did not take that plain course. Week after week was suffered to elapse; and, up to the period when the lamentable occurrence took place, which led to these proceedings, no authentic, or, at least, authoritative communication, either of what had arrived from England, or of what was the intention of the authorities at Demerara, was made to the slaves. This state of suspense occupied an interval of nearly seven weeks. The revolt broke out on the 18th of August. During the whole of that interval the agitation in the colony was considerable: it was of a two-fold character. There was on one side, the alarm of the planters, as to the effect of the new instructions received from his majesty's government; and on the other, the naturally increasing anxiety of the negro as to the precise purport and extent of those instructions. There existed the general impression, that some extension of grace and bounty had been made to them. In the ignorance which was so studiously maintained as to the nature of it, their hopes were proportionably excited—they knew that something had been done, and they were inquisitive to know what it was. The general conversation amongst them was, "has not our freedom come out? Is not the king of Great Britain our friend?" Various speculations occupied them: reports of particular circumstances agitated them. Each believed in the detail as his fancy or credulity led him; but to one point all their hopes and their belief pointed;—"Freedom! freedom!" was the sound unceasingly heard, and which continually raised the vision on which their fancy loved to repose.

And now, allow me to take the opportunity of re-asserting the opinion which, with respect to that most important subject of emancipation, I have uniformly maintained, not only since I have had the honour of a seat in this House, but long before, with no other difference, save, perhaps, in the manner of the expression, correcting that manner by the experience and knowledge which a more extended intercourse with human life must naturally have bestowed. My opinion ever has been, that it is alike necessary to the security of our white brethren, and just, and even merciful, to the negroes—those victims of a long-continued system of cruelty, impolicy, and injustice—to maintain firmly the legal authorities, and, with that view, to avoid, in our relations with the slaves, a wavering uncertain policy, keeping them in a condition of doubt and solicitude, calculated to work their own discomfort, and the disquiet of their masters. Justice to the Whites, mercy to the Blacks, command us to protect the first from the effect of such alarms, and the last from the expectation, that, in the hapless condition in which they are placed, their emancipation can be obtained—meaning thereby their sudden unprepared emancipation, effected by violent measures or with an unjustifiable haste, and without previous instruction. The realization of such a hope, though carrying the name of a boon, would inflict the severest misery on these beings, whose condition is already too wretched to require, or indeed to bear, any increase of calamity. It is for the sake of the Blacks themselves, as subsidiary to their own improvement, that the present state of things must for a time be maintained. It is because to them, the bulk of our fellow subjects in the colonies, liberty, if suddenly given, and, still-more, if violently obtained by men yet unprepared to receive it, would be a curse, and not a blessing; that emancipation must be the work of time, and, above all, must not be wrested forcibly from their masters [hear, hear!].

Reverting to the occurrences at Demerara, it is undeniable that a great and unnecessary delay took place. This inevitably, therefore, gave rise to those fatal proceedings, which all of us, however, we may differ as to the causes from which they originated, must unfeignedly deplore. It appears that Mr. Smith had officiated in the colony of Demerara for seven years. He had maintained, during his whole life, a character of the most unimpeachable moral purity, which had won not alone the love and veneration of his own immediate flock, but had procured him the respect and consideration of almost all who resided in his neighbourhood. Indeed, there was not a duty of his ministry that he had not discharged with fidelity and zeal. That this was his character is evident even from the papers laid upon the table of that House. These documents, however, disclose but a part of the truth on that point. Before I sit down I shall have occasion to advert to other sources, which shew that the character of Mr. Smith was such as I have described it; and that those who were best qualified to form an opinion, had borne the highest testimony to his virtuous and meritorious labours. Yet this Christian minister, thus usefully employed was dragged from his house, three days after the revolt began, and when it had been substantially quelled, with an indecent haste that allowed not the accommodation even of those clothes which, in all climates, are necessary to human comfort, but which, in a tropical climate, were absolutely essential to health. He was dragged, too, from his home and his family, at a time when his life was attacked by a disease which, in all probability, would in any circumstances, have ended in his dissolution; but which the treatment he then received powerfully assisted in its fatal progress. He was first imprisoned, in that sultry climate, in an unwholesome fetid room, exposed to the heat of the sun. This situation was afterwards changed, and he was conveyed to a place only suited to the purposes of torture, a kind of damp dungeon, where the floor was over stagnant water, visible through the wide crevices of the boards. When Mr. Smith was about to be seized, he was first approached with the hollow demand of the officer who apprehended him, commanding him to join the militia of the district. To this he pleaded his inability to serve in that capacity, as well as an exemption founded on the rights of his clerical character. Under the pretext of this refusal, his person was arrested, and his papers were demanded, and taken possession of. Amongst them was his private journal; a part of which was written with the intention of being communicated to his employers alone, while the remaining part was intended for no human eye but his own. In this state of imprisonment he was detained, although the revolt was then entirely quelled. That it was so quelled, is ascertained from the despatches of General Murray to Earl Bathurst, dated the 26th of August. At least the despatch of that date admits, that the public tranquillity was nearly restored; and at all events, by subsequent despatches, of the date of the 30th and 31st, it appears that no further disturbance had taken place; nor was there from that time any insurrectionary movement whatever. At that period the colony was in the enjoyment of its accustomed tranquillity, barring always those chances of relapse, which in such a state of public feeling, and in such a structure of society, must be supposed always to exist, and to make the recurrence of irritation and tumult more or less probable. Martial law, it will be recollected, was proclaimed on the 19th of August, and was continued to the 15th January following—five calendar months, although there is the most unquestionable proof, that the revolt had subsided, and indeed that all appearance of it had vanished.

In a prison such as has been described, Mr. Smith remained until the 14th day of October. Then, when every pretence of real and immediate danger was over; when every thing like apprehension, save from the state of colonial society, was removed; it was thought fit to bring to trial, by a military court-martial, this minister of the gospel! I shall now view the outside of that court-martial; it is fit that we look at its external appearance, examine the foundations on which it rests, and the structures connected with it, before we enter and survey the things perpetrated within its walls—I know that the general answer to all which has been hitherto alleged on this subject is, that martial law had been proclaimed in Demerara. But, Sir, I do not profess to understand, as a lawyer, martial law of such a description; it is entirely unknown to the law of England—I do not mean to say in the bad times of our history, but in that more recent period which is called constitutional. It is very true, that formerly the Crown sometimes issued proclamations, by virtue of which civil offences were tried before military tribunals. The most remarkable instance of that description, and the nearest precedent to the case under our consideration, was the well-known proclamation of the august, pious, and humane Philip and Mary, stig- matizing as rebellion, and as an act which should subject the offender to be tried by a court-martial, the having heretical, that is to say, Protestant, books in one's possession, and not giving them up without previously reading them. Similar proclamations, although not so extravagant in their character, were issued by Elizabeth, by James the first, and (of a less violent nature) by Charles the first; until at length the evil became so unbearable that there arose from it the celebrated Petition of Right, one of the best legacies left to his country by that illustrious lawyer, lord Coke, to whom every man who loves the constitution owes a debt of gratitude which unceasing veneration for his memory can never pay. The petition declares, that all such proceedings shall henceforward be put down: it declares that "no man shall be fore-judged of life or limb against the form of the Great Charter;" that "no man ought to be adjudged to death but by the laws established in this realm, either by the custom of the realm, or by acts of parliament;" and that "the commissions for proceeding by martial law should be revoked and annulled, lest, by colour of them, any of his Majesty's subjects be destroyed or put to death, contrary to the laws and franchise of the land." Since that time, no such thing as martial Jaw has been recognized in this country; and courts founded on proclamations of martial law; have been wholly unknown. And here I beg to observe, that the particular grievances at which the Petition of Right was levelled, were only the trials under martial law of military persons, or of individuals accompanying, or in some manner connected with, military persons. On the abolition of martial law, what was substituted? In those days, a standing army in time of peace, was considered a solecism in the constitution. Accordingly, the whole course of our legislation proceeded on the principle, that no such establishment was recognised. Afterwards came the annual Mutiny acts, and Courts Martial, which were held only under those acts. These courts were restricted to the trial of soldiers for military offences; and the extent of their powers was pointed out and limited by law.

But I will not go further into the consideration of this delicate constitutional question; for the present case docs not rest on any niceties—it depends not on any fine-spun decisions with respect to the law. If it should be said, that, in the conquered colonies, the law of the foreign state may be allowed to prevail over that of England; I reply, that the Crown has no right to conquer a colony, and then import into its constitution all manner of strange and monstrous usages. If the contrary were admitted, the Crown would only have to resort first to one coast of Africa, and then to another, and afterwards to the shores of the Pacific, and import the various customs of the barbarous people whom it might subdue; torture from one; the scalping knife and tomahawk from another; from a third, the regal prerogative of paving the palace court with the skulls of the subject. All the prodigious and unutterable practices of the most savage nations might thus be naturalized by an act of the Crown, without the concurrence of parliament, and to the detriment of all British subjects born, or resident, or settling for a season, in those new dominions. Nothing, however, is more clear, than that no practice inconsistent with the fundamental principles of the constitution—such, for instance, as the recourse to torture for the purpose of obtaining evidence, can ever be imported into a colony by any act of conquest. But every consideration of this nature is unnecessary on the present occasion; for this court was an English court-martial. The title by which it claimed to sit was the Mutiny act, and the law of England. The members of the court are estopped from pleading the Dutch law, as that on which their proceedings were founded. They are estopped, because they relied for their right to sit on our own Mutiny act, which is time after time referred to; and they cannot now argue that they proceeded on any other basis.

Let us now look for a few moments at the operations which preceded the trial of this poor missionary. He was, as I have just stated, tried by a court-martial; and we are told by General Murray in his despatch of October 21, that it was all the better for him—for that, if he had been tried in any other manner, he might have found a more prejudiced tribunal. Now, Sir, I have no hesitation in saying, that if I had been the party accused, or of counsel for the party accused, I would at once have preferred a civil jurisdiction to the very anomalous proceeding that took place. First of all, I should have gained delay which, in most cases, is a great advantage to the accused. In this particular case, it might have proved of inestimable benefit to him, as the fever of party rage and personal hostility would have been suffered gradually to subside. By proceeding under the civil jurisdiction, the addition of the Roman law to that of the common law necessarily occasioned great prolixity in the trial. Months must have elapsed during those proceedings, and at every step the accused would have had a chance of escape. All this would have been of incalculable value; and all this was lost to the accused, by his being brought before a summary military tribunal. The evidence of slaves was admitted by the court without doubt or contest;—a point, however, on which I do not much rely; for I understand that in Demerara the usage in this respect differs from the usage of some other colonies, and that the evidence of Negroes against Whites is considered admissible, although it is not frequently resorted to. Still, however, there is this difference as respects such evidence between a civil and a military court: in the latter, it is received at once, without hesitation; whereas, if the matter is brought before a civil jurisdiction, a preliminary proceeding must take place respecting the admissibility of each witness. His evidence is compared with the evidence of other witnesses, or parts of his evidence are compared with other parts, and on the occurrence of any considerable discrepancy the evidence of that witness is finally refused. There are also previous proceedings, had the subject been brought before a civil jurisdiction, which might have had this effect: a discussion takes place before the chief justice and two assistants, on the admissibility of witnesses, who are not admitted as evidence in the cause until after a preliminary examination; and I understand, that the circumstance of a witness being a slave, whose evidence is to be adduced against a white man, in cases of doubt, always weighs in the balance against his admissibility. But I pass all this over. I rest the case only on that which is clear, undeniable, unquestioned. By the course of the civil law, two witnesses are indispensably required to substantiate any charge against the accused. Let any one read the evidence on this trial, and say, how greatly the observance of such a rule would have improved the condition of the prisoner. Last of all, if the accused had been tried at common law, he would have had the advantage of a learned person presiding over the court, as the chief justice, who must have been individually and professionally responsible for his conduct; who would have acted in the face of the whole bar of the colony; who would also have acted in the face of that renowned English bar to which he once belonged, and to which he might return, and whose judgment, therefore, even when removed from them by the breadth of the Atlantic, he would not have disregarded, while he retained the feelings of a man, and the character of an English advocate. He would have acted in the face of the whole world as an individual, doubtless not with out assistance, but with the assistance of laymen only, who would not have divided the responsibility with him. He would, in every essential particular, have stood forth single and supreme, in the eyes of the rest of mankind, as the judge who tried the prisoner. In such circumstances, he must have conducted himself with an entire regard to his professional character, to his responsibility as a judge, and his credit as alawyer.

Now, Sir, let us look at the constitution of the court before which Mr. Smith was actually tried. Upon a reference to the individuals of whom it was composed, I find, what certainly appears most strange, the president of the civil court taking upon himself the functions of a member of the court-martial, under the name of an officer of the militia staff. It appears to be the fact, that this learned individual was invested with the rank and degree of lieutenant-colonel of the militia, a few days before the assembling of the court-martial, in order that he, a lawyer and a civil judge, might sit as a military judge and a soldier! Sir, he must have done this by compulsion. Martial law was established in the colony by the power to which he owed obedience. He could not resist the mandate of the governor. He was bound, in compliance with that mandate, to hide his civic garb, his forensic robe, under martial armour. As the aide-de-camp of the governor, he was compelled to act a mixed character—part lawyer, part soldier. He was the only lawyer in a court where a majority of military overwhelmed him. Having no responsibility, he abandoned—or was compelled to sit helpless and unresisting, and see others abandoning—principles and forms which he could not, which he would not, which he durst not, have abandoned, had he been sitting alone in his own court, in his ermined robe, administering the civil law. After this strange fact respecting the members of the court, it is not surprising that one as strange should appear with regard to the subordinate officers. The judge-advocate of a court-martial, although certainly sometimes standing in the situation of a prosecutor, nevertheless, in all well-regulated courts-martial, never forgets that he also stands between the prisoner and the bench. He is rather, indeed, in the character of an assessor to the court. On this point, I might appeal to the highest authority present. By you, Sir, these important functions were long, and correctly, and constitutionally performed: and in a manner equally beneficial to the army and to the country. But I may appeal to another authority, from which no one will be inclined to dissent. A reverend judge, Mr. Justice Bathurst, in the middle of the last century, laid it down as clear and indisputable, that the office of a judge-advocate was, to lay the proof on both sides before the court; and that whenever the evidence was at all doubtful, it was his duty to incline towards the prisoner. No such disposition, however, appears in this judge-advocate: I should rather say in these judge-advocates; for, one not being considered enough, two deputies were appointed to assist him. These individuals exercised all their address, their caution, and their subtlety, against the unfortunate prisoner, with a degree of zeal bordering upon acrimony. Indeed, the vehemence of the prosecution was unexampled. I never met with any thing equal to it; and I am persuaded, that if any such warmth had been exhibited before a civil judge by a prosecuting counsel, he would have frowned it down with sudden indignation. In the first instance, the judge-advocate concealed the precise nature of the accusation. The charges were so artfully drawn up, as to give no notice to the prisoner of the specific accusation against him. They were drawn up shortly, vaguely, and obscurely; but short, vague, and obscure as they were, they were far from being as short, as vague, and as obscure as the opening speech of the prosecutor. That speech occupies about half a page in the minutes of the trial which yet give it verbatim. But, scarcely had the prisoner closed his defence, than a speech was pronounced, on the part of the prosecution, which eighteen pages of the minutes scarcely contain. In this reply the utmost subtlety is exhibited. Topic is urged after topic with the greatest art and contrivance, Every thing is twisted for the purpose of obtaining conviction; and, which is the most monstrous thing of all, when the prisoner can no longer reply, new facts are detailed, new dates specified, and new persons introduced, which were never mentioned, or even hinted at, on any one of the twenty-seven preceding days of the trial. Again, Sir, I say, that had I been the accused person, or his counsel, I would rather a thousand-fold have been tried by the ordinary course of the civil law, than by such a court.

To return, however, to its composition. I rejoice to observe, that the president of the supreme civil judicature, although he was so unwise as to allow his name to be placed on the list of the members, or so unfortunate as to be compelled to do so, refused to preside over the deliberations of this court. Although he was the person of the highest rank next to the governor, and although in a judicial inquiry he must naturally have been more skilful and experienced than any man in the colony, nevertheless there he is in the list among the ordinary members of the court; and as he must have been appointed to preside, but for his own repugnance to the office, I am entitled to conclude that he refused it with a firmness not to be overcome. Against the other members I have nothing whatever to say. The president of the court, however, was lieutenant-colonel Goodman. Now, that gallant officer, than whom I believe no man bears a higher character, unfortunately, beside bearing his Majesty's commission, holds an office, in the colony of Demerara, which rendered him the last man in the world who ought to have been selected as president of such a judicature. Let the House, Sir, observe, that the reason assigned by governor Murray for subjecting Mr. Smith to a trial before such a tribunal, was not only that he might have in reality a fair trial, but that he might not even appear to be the victim of local prejudice, which it seems would have been surmised, had his case been submitted to a jury, or a court of planters. How is it, then, that with this feeling the governor could name lieutenant-colonel Goodman to be president of the court? For that gallant officer does, in point of fact, happen to hold the situation of Vendue-master in the colony of Demerara, without profit to whom not a single slave can be sold by any sale carried on under the authority of the courts of justice. Accordingly, it did so turn out, that a few-days before the breaking out of the revolt, there were advertised great sales of negroes by auction, which most naturally excited sorrow and discontent among many of the slaves. There was one sale of fifty-six of these hapless beings, who were to be torn from the place of their birth and residence, and perhaps separated for ever from their nearest and dearest connexions. I hold in my hand a colonial gazette, containing many advertisements of such sales, and to every one of them I find attached the signature "S. A. Goodman." One of the advertisements, that, I think, for the sale of fifty-six negroes, states, that among the number there are many "valuable carpenters, boat-builders, &c. well worthy the attention of the public." Another speaks of several prime single men. One party of slaves consists of a woman and her three children. Another advertisement offers a young female slave who is pregnant. Upon the whole, there appear to have been seventy or eighty slaves advertised to be sold by auction in this single gazette, in whose sale lieut.-colonel Goodman, from the nature of his office, had a direct interest. I do not for a moment affirm that this circumstance was likely to warp his judgment. Probably, indeed, he was not personally aware of it at the time. But I repeat, that, if this proceeding were intended to be free from all suspicion, lieut-colonel Goodman was one of the last men to select as the president of the court. That, however, is nothing compared to the appointment of the chief justice of the colony as one of its members. He, the civil judge of the colony, to be forced to sit as member of a court-martial, and under the disguise of a militia officer, by way of a qualification! He to whom an appeal lay against any abuse of which that court-martial might be guilty! From whom but from him could Mr. Smith have obtained redress for any violation of law committed in his person? Yet, as if for the express purpose of shutting the door against the possibility of justice, he is taken by the governor and compelled to be a member of the court. That tin's tribunal might at once be clothed with the authority of the laws which it was about to break, and exempted from all risk of answering to those laws for breaking them, the only magistrate who could vindicate or enforce them is identified with the court, and so outnumbered by military associates, as to be incapable of controverting, or even influencing, its decision, while his presence gives them the semblance of lawful authority, and places them beyond the reach of legal revision.

Sir, one word more, before I advert to the proceedings of the court, on the nature of its jurisdiction. Suppose I were ready to admit that, on the pressure of a great emergency; such as invasion or rebellion, when there is no time for the slow and cumbrous proceedings of the civil law, a proclamation may justifiably be issued for excluding the ordinary tribunals, and directing that offences should be tried by a military court: such a proceeding might be justified by necessity; but it could rest on that alone. Created by necessity, necessity must limit its continuance. It would be the worst of all conceivable grievances—it would be a calamity unspeakable—if the whole law and constitution of England were suspended one hour longer than the most imperious necessity demanded. And yet martial law was continued in Demerara for five months. In the midst of tranquillity, that offence against the constitution was perpetrated for months, which nothing but the most urgent necessity could warrant for an hour. An individual in civil life, a subject of his majesty, a clergyman, was tried at a moment of perfect peace, as if rebellion raged in the country. He was tried as if he had been a soldier. I know that the proclamation of martial law renders every man liable to be treated as a soldier. But the instant the necessity ceases, that instant the state of soldiership ought to cease, and the rights, with the relations, of civil life to be restored. Only see the consequences which might have followed the course that was adopted. Only mark the dilemma in which the governor might have found himself placed by his own acts. The only justification of the court martial was his proclamation. Had that court sat at the moment of danger, there would have been less ground for complaint against it. But it did not assemble until the emergency had ceased; and it then sat for eight-and-twenty days. Suppose a necessity had existed at the commencement of the trial, but that in the course of the eight-and-twenty days it had ceased; —suppose a necessity had existed in the first week, who could predict that it would not cease before the second? If it had ceased with the first week of the trial, what would have been the situation of the governor? The sitting of the court-martial at all, could be justified only by the proclamation of martial law; yet it became the duty of the governor to revoke that proclamation. Either, therefore, the court-martial must be continued without any warrant or colour of law, or the proclamation of martial law must be continued only to legalize the prolonged existence of the court-martial. If, at any moment before its proceedings were brought to a close, the urgent pressure had ceased which alone justified their being instituted, according to the assumption I am making in favour of the court, and for argument's sake; then to continue martial law an hour longer would have been the most grievous oppression, the plainest violation of all law; and to abrogate martial law would have been fatal to the continuance of the trial. But the truth is, that the court has no right even to this assumption, little beneficial as it proves; for long before the proceedings commenced, all the pressure, if it ever existed, was en-rirely at an end.

I now, Sir, beg the House will look with me, for a moment, at the course of proceeding which the court, constituted in the manner and in the circumstances that I have described, thought fit to adopt. If I have shewn that they had no authority, and that they tried this clergyman illegally, not having any jurisdiction, I think I can prove as satisfactorily that their proceedings were not founded on any grounds of justice, or principles of law, as I have proved that the court itself was without a proper jurisdiction. And here I beg leave to observe, that the minutes of the proceedings on the table of the House are by no means full, although I do not say they are false. They do not misrepresent what occurred, but they are very far, indeed, from telling all that did occur; and the omissions are of a material description. For instance, there is a class of questions which it is not usual to permit in courts of justice, called leading questions; the object of which is, to put into the witness's mouth the answers which the examiner desires he should make. This is in itself objectionable; but the objection is doubled, if in a report of the examination the questions are omitted, and the answers are represented as flowing spontaneously from the witness, and as being the result of his own recollection of the fact, instead of the suggestions of another person. I will illustrate what I mean by an example. On the fifth day of the trial, Bristol, one of the witnesses, has this question put to him; "You stated, that, after the service was over, you stayed near the chapel, and that Quamina was there: did you hear Qua-mina tell the people what they were to do?" To that the answer is, "No, Sir." The next question but one is, "Did you hear Quamina tell the other negroes, that on the next Monday they were all to lay down their tools and not work?" To which the witness (notwithstanding his former negative) says, "Yes, I heard Quamina say so a week before the revolt broke out." Now, in the minutes of evidence laid on the table of the House, both the questions and the answer to the first are omitted, and the witness is described as, saying, without any previous prompting, "A week before this revolt broke out, I heard Quamina tell the negroes that they were to lay down their tools and not work" [hear, hear!].

The next instance which I shall adduce, of the impropriety of the proceedings of the court, is very remarkable, comprehending, as it does, almost all that I can conceive of gross unfairness and irregularity: I mean the way in which the court attended to that which, for want of a better word, I shall call hearsay evidence; although it is so much worse in its nature than any thing which, in the civil and even the military courts of this country, we are accustomed to stigmatize and reject under this title, that I feel I am calumniating the latter by the assimilation. In the proceedings before this court at Demerara, the hearsay is three or four deep. One witness is asked what he has heard another person say was imputed to a third. Such evidence as that is freely admitted by the court in a part of its proceedings. But before I shew where the line was drawn in this respect, I must quote a specimen or two of what I have just been adverting to. In the same page from which I derived my last quotation, the following questions and answers occur:—"How long was it that Quamina remained there?—Three days: they said some of the people had gone down to speak to Mr. Edmonstone; that Jack had gone with them."—"Do you know what has become of him (Quamina)?—After I came here, I heard he was shot by the bucks, and gibbetted about Success middle path. "And this, Sir, is the more material, as the whole charge against Mr. Smith rested on Quamina's being an insurgent, and Mr. Smith's knowing it. So that we are here not on the mere out-works, but in the very centre and heart of the case. And this charge, be it observed, was made against Mr. Smith after Quamina was shot. It would appear, indeed, that in these colonies it was sufficient evidence of a man's being a revolter that he was first shot and afterwards gibbetted.—In one part of the examination, a witness is asked, "Do you know that Quamina was a revolter?" The witness answers in the affirmative. The next question is, "How do you know it?" Now, mark, the witness is asked, not as to any rumour, butas to his own knowledge; his answer is, "I know it, because I heard they took him up before the revolt begun!" [cries of hear, hear! and a laugh.] This evidence is to be found in pages 24 and 25 of the London Missionary Society's Report of the Proceedings. In page 35 of the same publication, I find the following questions and answers in the evidence of Mr. M'Turk:—"Where were you on that day (the 18th of August?)"—On plantation Felicity, until five in the afternoon."—"Did any thing particular occur on that day? I was informed—(mark informed)—I was informed by a coloured man, about four o'clock, that the negroes intended revolting that evening; and he gave me the names of two, said to be ringleaders, viz. Cato and Quamina, of plantation Success." Here, Sir, we have a specimen of the nature of the evidence adduced upon this most extraordinary trial.

In pages 101 and 102 of the Missionary Society's Report, I find the following pages in the evidence of John Stewart, the manager of plantation Success; and be it in the recollection of the House, that the questions were put by the court itself before which this unfortunate man was tried:—"Did Quamina, Jack, Bethney, Britton, Dick, Frank, Hamilton, Jessamine, Quaco, Ralph, and Windsor, belong to plantation Success at the time of the revolt? Yes.'—"Did any of these attend the chapel? The whole of these, except Ralph.—"Have the whole, or any of these, except Quamina, been tried by a court-martial, and proved to have been ac- tually engaged in the rebellion? I have been present at the trial of Ralph and Jack; and I have seen Ralph, Jack, Jessamine, Bethney and Dick, but have heard only of the others."—"Who was the most active of the insurgents in the revolt on plantation Success? Richard was the most desperate and resolute; Bethney and Jessamine were very active, and all those mentioned, except Quamina and Jack, whom I did not see do any harm; they were keeping the rest back, and preventing them doing any injury to me. "The Court goes on to ask," Was not Quamina a reputed leader (I beg the House to mark the word reputed) in the revolt?—I heard him to be such; but I did not see him."

Here, then, we have hearsay evidence with a vengeance; reputation proved by rumour; what a man is reputed to be—which would be no evidence of his being so if you had it at first hand—proved by what another has heard unknown persons say—which would be no evidence of his being reputed so, if reputation were proof. There are here at least two stages from any thing like evidence; but there may be a great many more. The witness had heard that Quamina had been a reputed leader; but how many removes there were in this reputed charge we are unable to learn [hear, hear!].

I next come to the evidence of the rev. William Austin, and I find, in page 112, that on the cross examination by the judge advocate, ample provision is made for letting in this evidence of repute and hearsay. The judge-advocate says—"Did any of these negroes ever insinuate that their misfortunes were occasioned by the prisoner's influence on them, or the doctrines he taught them?—I have been sitting for some time as a member of the Committee of Inquiry; the idea occurs to me that circumstances have been detailed there against the prisoner, but never to myself individually in my ministerial capacity. "This line of examination is too promising, too likely to be fruitful in irregularity, for the court to pass over: they instantly take it up, and, very unnecessarily distrusting the zeal of the judge advocate, pursue it themselves. By the court;" Can you take upon yourself to swear that you do not recollect any insinuations of that sort at the Board of Evidence? "The witness here objected to the question, because he did not conceive himself at liberty to divulge what had passed before the Board of Inquiry, but particularly to the form or wording of the question, which he considered highly injurious to him. The president insisted (for it was too much to expect that even the chaplain of the government should find favour before that tribunal) upon the reverend witness's answering the question: observing, that the court was the best judge of its propriety. The witness then respectfully requested the opinion of the court, and it was cleared. Upon reentering, the assistant judge-advocate said, "The court is of opinion that you are bound to answer questions put by the court, even though they relate to matters stated before the Board of Evidence." And, again, the opportunity is eagerly seized of letting in reputation and hearsay evidence. The court itself asks—"Did you hear before the Board of Evidence, any negro imputing the cause of the revolt to the prisoner?—Yes, I have."

I shall now state to the House some facts with which they are, perhaps, unacquainted, as it was not until late on Saturday that the papers were delivered. Amongst the many strange things which took place, not the least singular was that the prisoner had no counsel allowed, until it was too late to protect him against the jurisdiction of the court. Most faithfully and most ably did that learned person perform his duty when he was appointed; but had he acted from the beginning he, doubtless, would have objected at once to the power of the court, as I should have done, had I been the missionary's defender. I should have protested against the manner in which the court was constituted; I should have objected, that the men who sat in judgment in that case had previously sat upon many other cases where the same evidence, mixed with different matter not now produced, but all confounded together in their recollection, had been repeated over and over for the conviction of other persons [hear, hear!]. I ask this House, whether it was probable that the persons who formed that court, should have come to the present inquiry with pure, unprejudiced, and impartial judgments, or even with their memories tolerably clear and distinct? I say it was impossible; and, therefore, that they ought not to have sat in judgment upon this poor missionary at all.

But, is this the only grievance? Have I not also to complain of the manner in which the judge-advocate and the court allowed hearsay evidence to be offered to the third, the fourth, aye, even to the fifth degree? Look, Sir, to what was done with respect to the confession, as they called it, of the negro Paris. I do not wish to trouble the House, by reading that confession. It will be sufficient to state, that finding his conviction certain, and perhaps judging but too truly from the spirit of the court that his best chance of safety lay in impeaching Mr. Smith, he at once avows his guilt, makes what is called a full confession, and throws himself upon the mercy of the court. This done, he goes on with one of—I will say not merely the falsest—but one of the wildest and most impossible tales that ever entered into the mind of man, or that could be put to the credulity even of this court of soldiers. And yet, upon the trial of Mr. Smith, the confession of this man was kept back by the prosecutors; that is to say, it was not allowed to be directly introduced, but was introduced by means of the questions I have last read, as matter of hearsay, which had reached different persons through various and indirect channels. In that confession, Paris falsely says, that Mr. Smith administered the sacrament to them (the form of which he describes) on the day preceding the revolt; and that he then exhorted them to be of good heart, to exert themselves to regain their freedom, for if they failed then, they would never succeed in obtaining it. He says, in another place, that Mr. Smith asked him whether, if the negroes conquered the colony, they would do any harm to him; to which Paris replied in the negative. Now, Sir, only mark the inconsistency of this man's confession. In one place Mr. Smith is represented as anxious for his personal safety, and yet, in almost the same breath, it is said that this very Mr. Smith was the ringleader of the revolt—the adviser and planner of the insurrection—the man who joined Mr. Hamilton in recommending that the negroes should destroy the bridges to prevent the whites from bringing up cannon to attack them [hear, hear!]. This negro is made to say, "I heard Mr. Hamilton say, that the president's wife should be his in a few days; then Jack said the governor's wife was to be his father's wife; and that if any young ladies were living with her, or she had a sister, he would take one for his wife." Mr. Smith is pointed out as the future emperor; Mr. Hamilton was to be a general, and several others were to held high offices of different descriptions. Again; Mr. Smith is made to state, that, unless the negroes fought for their liberty upon that occasion, their children's children would never attain it. Now, I ask, is this story probable? Is there any thing like the shadow of truth in it? I said just now, that there was no direct mention of Paris's evidence on the trial: it was found too gross a fabrication to be produced. There were several others who, before the Board of Evidence, had given testimony similar to this, but somewhat less glaringly improbable: but their testimony also was kept back; and they themselves were sent to speedy execution. The evidence of Sandy was not quite so strong; but he, as well as Paris, was suddenly put out of the way. The tales of these witnesses bear palpable and extravagant perjury upon the face of them; they were therefore not brought forward: but the prosecutors, or rather the court, did that by insinuation and side-wind which they dared not openly to attempt. I say that the court did this; the court well knowing that no such witnesses as Paris and Sandy could be brought forward—men, the excesses of whose falsehoods utterly counteracted their effect—contrived to obtain the whole benefit of their statements, unexposed to the risk of detection, by the notable device of asking one who had heard them a general question as to their substance; the prisoner against whom this evidence was given, having no knowledge of the particulars, and no means of shewing the falsehood of what was told, by questioning upon the part which was suppressed, "Did you hear any negro, before the Board of Evidence, impute the cause of the revolt to the prisoner?" When compelled to answer this monstrous question, the witness could only say, Yes. He had heard negroes impute the cause to the prisoner: but they were the negroes Paris and Sandy (and those who put this unheard-of question knew it, but he against whom the answer was levelled knew it not)—Paris and Sandy, whose whole tale was such a tissue of enormous falsehoods as only required to be heard to be rejected in an instant; and whose evidence for that reason had been carefully suppressed.

Having said so much with respect to the nature of the evidence offered against the prisoner, and had occasion to speak of the confessions, I shall now call the attention of the House to a letter which has been received from a gentleman of the highest respectability, and entitled to the most implicit credit, but whose name I omit to mention, because he is still resident in the colony. If, however, any doubt should attach to his statement, I shall at once remove it, by mentioning the name of a gentleman to whom reference can be had on the subject—I mean the rev. Mr. Austin. He is a man who had no prejudices or prepossessions on the subject; he is a clergyman of the Church of England, chaplain of the colony, and I believe the curate of the only English Established Church to which 77,000 slaves can have recourse for religious instruction. I mention this in passing, only for the purpose of shewing, that if the slaves are to receive instruction at all, they must receive it in a great degree from members of the missionary society. [The hon. and learned member here read a letter, in which it was stated, that the rev. Mr. Austin had received the last confession of Paris, who stated that Mr. Smith was innocent, and he (Paris) prayed that God would forgive him the lies that Mr.—had prevailed upon him to tell.] I shall not mention the name of the person alluded to by Paris: it is sufficient at present to say, that he took a most active part in getting up the prosecution against this poor missionary [hear, hear!]. The letter goes on to state, that similar confessions had been made by Jack and Sandy. The latter had been arrested and sent along the coast to be executed, without Mr. Austin's knowledge (as it appeared, from a wish to prevent him from receiving his confession); but that gentleman, hearing of the circumstance, proceeded with all speed to the spot, and received his confession to the above effect. He also went to see Jack, who informed him, that Mr. Smith was innocent, and that he (Jack) had said nothing against him but what he had been told by others [hear, hear!]. Now I beg the House to attend to what Jack, at his trial, said against Mr. Smith—statements which had been put into his mouth by persons who wished to injure Mr. Smith and bring the characters of missionaries generally into disrepute. This poor wretch said, that he had lived thirty years on the Success estate, and that he would not have acted as he had done, if he had not been told that the negroes were entitled to their freedom, but that their masters kept it from them. He went on to say, that not only the deacons belonging to Bethel Chapel, but even Mr. Smith himself had affirmed this, and were acquainted with the fact of the intended revolt; and this he stated as if, instead of being on his own trial, he was a witness against Mr. Smith. He also threw himself on the mercy of the court. Now, what did the court do? They immediately examined a Mr. Herbert, and another gentleman, as to this confession. The former stated, that he took the substance of the confession down in his own language to a certain point; the rest was taken down by a gentleman whom I refrain from naming, but who, I am bound to say, deserves no great credit for the part which he acted in this unfortunate scene. Jack, in this defence, thus prepared, and thus anxiously certified, says—"I am satisfied I have had a fair trial. I have seen the anxiety with which every member of this court-martial has attended to the evidence, and the patience with which they have listened to my cross-examination of the witnesses. From the hour I was made prisoner by captain M'Turk up to this time, I have received the most humane treatment from all the whites; nor have I had a single insulting expression from a white man, either in prison or any where else. Before this court, I solemnly avow that many of the lessons and discourses taught, and the parts of Scripture selected for us in chapel, tended to make us dissatisfied with our situation as slaves; and, had there been no Methodists on the east coast, there would have been no revolt, as you must have discovered by the evidence before yon: the deepest concerned in the revolt were the negroes most in parson Smith's confidence. The half sort of instruction we received I now see was highly improper: it put those who could read on examining the bible, and selecting passages applicable to our situation as slaves; and the promises held out therein were, as we imagined, fit to be applied to our situation, and served to make us dissatisfied and irritated against our owners, as we were not always able to make out the real meaning of these passages: for this I refer to my brother-in-law Bristol, if I am speaking the truth or not. I would not have avowed this to you now, were I not sensible that I ought to make every atonement for my past conduct, and put you on your guard in future" [hear, hear! and a laugh].—Wonderful indeed are the effects of prison discipline within the tropics! I would my hon. friend, the member for Shrewsbury, were here to witness them. Little indeed does he dream of the sudden change which a few weeks of a West-Indian dungeon can effect upon a poor, rude, untutored African! How swiftly it transmutes him into a reasoning, speculating, creature; calmly philosophizing upon the evils of half education, and expressing himself in all but the words of our poet, upon the dangers of "a little learning;" yet evincing by his own example, contrary to the poet's maxim, how wholesome a "shallow draught" may prove when followed by the repose of the gaol! Sir, I defy the most simple of mankind to be for an instant deceived by this mean and clumsy fabrication. Every line of it speaks its origin, and demonstrates the base artifices to which the missionary's enemies had recourse, by putting charges against him into the mouth of another prisoner, trembling upon his trial, and crouching beneath their remorseless power.

I have stated, that, up to a certain point, the court received hearsay evidence and with unrestricted liberality. But the time was soon to come when a new light should break in, and the eyes of those just judges be opened to the strict rules of evidence, and every thing like hearsay he rejected. In page 116 I find, that, when the prisoner was questioning Mr. Elliot as to what another person, Mr. Hopkinson, had said, an objection was taken, the court was cleared, and, on being re-opened, the assistant judge-advocate thus addressed Mr. Smith: "The court has ordered me to say, that you must confine yourself to the strict rules of evidence; and that hearsay evidence will not in future be received." [hear, hear.]—"Will not in future be received!" [loud cheering.]—Up to that period it had been received; nay, the judges themselves had put the very worst questions of that description. I say, that great as had been the blame due to the judge-advocate upon this occasion; violent, partial, un-just, and cruel as had been his conduct towards the prisoner; much as he had exceeded the limits of his duty; flagrantly as he had throughout wronged the prisoner in the discharge—I was about to say in the breach—of his official duty; and much and grievously culpable as were sonic other persons to whom I have al- luded, their conduct was decorous in itself, and harmless in its consequences, compared with the irregularity, the gross injustice, of the judges who presided [hear, hear!]. Well, then, those same judges, when the prosecutor's case was closed, and sufficient matter was supposed to have been obtained by the most unblushing contempt of all rules, from the cross-examination of the prisoner's witnesses, suddenly clothed themselves with the utmost respect for those same rules, in order to hamper the prisoner in his defence, which they bad systematically violated in order to assist his prosecution. After admitting all hearsay, however remote, after labouring to overwhelm him with rumour, and imputation, and reports of reputation, and insinuation at second hand, they strictly prohibited every thing like hearsay where it might avail him for his defence. Nay, in their eagerness to adopt the new course of proceeding, and strain the strict rules of law to the uttermost against him, they actually excluded, under the name of hearsay, that which was legitimate evidence. The very next question put by Mr. Smith went to shew that he had not concealed the movements of the slaves from the manager of the estate; the principal charge against him being concealment from "the owners, managers, and other authorities." "Did any conversation pass on that occasion between Mr. Stewart, yourself, and the prisoner, relative to negroes; and if so, will you relate it?"—Rejected. "Did the prisoner tell Mr. Stewart, that several of the negroes had been to inquire concerning their freedom, which they found had come out for them?"—Rejected. These questions, and several others which referred to the very essence of the charge against him, were rejected. How, then, can any effrontery make men say that this poor missionary had an impartial trial? To crown so glaring an act of injustice can any thing be wanting? But if it were, we have it here. The court resolved, that its worst acts should not appear on the minutes: it suppressed those questions and expunged also the decision, forbidding heresay evidenced for the future! But the rule having, to crush the prisoner, been laid down, we might at least have expected that it would be adhered to. No such thing. The moment that an occasion presents itself, when the rule would hamper the prosecutor and the judges, they abandon it, and recur to their fa- vourite hearsay. In the very next page, we find this question put by the court: "Previous to your going to chapel, were you told that plenty of people were there on that day?" If hearsay evidence was thus received or rejected as best suited the purpose of compassing the prisoner's destruction, other violations of law, almost as flagrant, were resorted to, with the same view. Conversations with Mrs. Smith, in her husband's absence, were allowed to be detailed: the sentences passed upon five other persons, previously tried, were put in, and I should suppose privately read, by the court; as I find no allusion to them in the prisoner's most able and minute defence, which touches on every other particular of the case; and all mention of those sentences is suppressed in the minutes transmitted by the court. For the manifest purpose of blackening him in the eyes of the people, and with no earthly reference to the charges against him, a long examination is permitted into the supposed profits he made by a sale of Bibles, Prayer and Psalm-books, and Catechisms! and into the donations he received from his Negro flock, and the contributions he levied upon them for church dues; every one tittle of which is satisfactorily answered and explained by the evidence, but every one tittle of which was wholly beside the question. I find that many material circumstances which occurred on the trial are altogether omitted in the House-copy. I find that the evidence is garbled in many places, and that passages of the prisoner's defence are omitted; some because they were stated to be offensive to the government—others because they were said to be of a dangerous tendency—others, again, because the court entertained a different opinion on certain points from the prisoner, or because they might seem to reflect upon the court itself [hear, hear!]. Mr. Smith was charged with corrupting the minds of the slaves, and enticing them to a breach of their duty, and of the law of the land, because he recommended to them not to violate the Sabbath. It was objected against him also by some, that he selected passages from the Old Testament; and by others that he did not, as he ought, confine himself to certain parts of the New Testament: others, again, found fault with him for teaching the negroes to read the bible. And when, in answer to these charges, he cited passages from the bible in his defence, he was told that he must not quote scripture, as it was supposed that every member of the court was perfectly acquainted with the Sacred Writings—a supposition which certainly did not occur to one on reading their proceedings, [hear! and a laugh.] By others, again, this poor man was held up as an enthusiast, who performed his functions in a wild and irregular manner. It was said, that his doctrines were of a nature to be highly injurious in any situation, but peculiarly so amongst a slave population. In proof of this assertion, it was stated, that the day before the revolt he preached from Luke xix. 41, 42—"And when He was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it; saying, If thou hadst known even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace but now they are hid from thine eyes." Thus was this passage, which has been truly described by the rev. Mr. Austin as a text of singular beauty, turned into matter of accusation and reproach against this unfortunate missionary. But, if this text was held to be so dangerous—so productive of insubordination and rebellion—what would be said of the clergy of the established church, of whose doctrines no fear was entertained? The text chosen by Mr. Smith on this occasion, appeared to the heated imagination of his judges to be one which endangered the peace of a slave community. Very different was the opinion of Mr. Austin, the colonial chaplain, who could not be considered as inflamed with any daring, enthusiastic, and perilous zeal. But what, I ask, might not the same alarmists have said of Mr. Austin, who, on that very day, the 17th of August, had to read, as indeed he was by the rubric bound to do, perhaps in the presence of a large body of Black, White, and Coloured persons, such passages as the following, which occur in one of the lessons of that day, the 14th chapter of Ezekiel:—"When the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it." "Though these three men" (who might easily be supposed to be typical of Mr. Austin, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Elliot), "were in it, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters: they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate. Or if I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land, so that I cut off man and beast from it; Though these three men were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither sons nor daughters; but they only shall be delivered themselves." Let me ask any impartial man, if this is not a text much more likely to be mistaken than the other? And yet every clergyman of the established church was bound to read it on that day.

The charges against Mr. Smith are four. The first states, that, long before the 18th of August, he had promoted discontent and dissatisfaction amongst the slaves against their lawful masters. This charge was clearly beyond the jurisdiction of the court; for it refers to matters before martial law was proclaimed, and consequently before Mr. Smith could be amenable to that law. Supposing that, as a court-martial, they had a right to try a clergyman for a civil offence, which I utterly deny, it could only be on the principle of martial law having been proclaimed that they were entitled to do so. The proclamation might place him, and every other man in the colony, in the situation of a soldier; but if he was to be considered as a soldier, it could only be after the 19th of August. Admitting, then, that the rev. Mr. Smith was a soldier under the proclamation, he was not such on the 18th, on the 17th, nor at any time before the transactions which are called the revolt of Demerara; and yet it was upon such a charge that the court-martial thought proper, and indeed was obliged, to try him, if it tried him at all. But they had no more right, I contend, to try him for things done before the 19th in the character of a soldier liable to martial law, than they would have to try a man, who had enlisted to-day, for acts which he had committed the day before yesterday, according to the same code of military justice. The same reasoning applies to three of the four charges. There is only one charge, that of communicating with Quamina touching the revolt, which is in the least entitled to consideration; yet this very communication might have been to discourage, and not to excite or advise the revolt. In fact, it was clearly proved to have been undertaken for that purpose, notwithstanding the promises of the judge-advocate to the contrary. There are three things necessary to be established before the guilt of this unfortunate man can be maintained on this charge: first, that Quamina was a revolter; secondly, that Mr. Smith knew him to be a revolter; and thirdly, that he had advised and encouraged him in the revolt:—for the misprision, the mere concealment, must be abandoned by those who support the sentence, inasmuch as misprision is not a capital offence. But all the evidence shews that Quamina did not appear in such a character—that Mr. Smith was ignorant of it, even if he did—and that his communication was directed to discourage, and not to advise any rash step into which the sufferings of the slaves might lead them. As to his not having seized on Quamina, which is also made a charge, the answer which the poor man himself gave was a sufficient reply to any imputation of guilt that might be founded on it. Look, said he, on these limbs, feeble with disease, and say, how it was possible for me to seize a powerful robust man, like Quamina, inflamed with the desire of liberty, as Quamina must have been if he were a revolter, even if I had been aware that he was about to head a revolt. But, in truth, there is not a tittle of evidence that Mr. Smith knew of the revolt: while there is abundant proof that he took especial measures and watchful care to tell all he did know to the proper authorities, the managers of the estate. If, again, the defenders of the court-martial retreat from this to the lower ground of mere concealment, and thus admit the illegality of the sentence, in order to show something like matter of blame in the conduct of the accused, I meet them here as fearlessly upon the fact, as I have already done upon the law of their case; and I affirm, that he went the full length of stating to Mr. Stewart, the manager of the estate, his apprehensions with respect to the impending danger; that "the lawful owners, proprietors, and managers" were put upon their guard by him, and were indebted to his intelligence, instead of having a right to complain of his remissness or disaffection; that he told all he knew, all he was entitled to consider as information (and no man is bound to tell mere vague suspicions, which cross his mind, and find no abiding place in it); and that he only knew any thing precise, respecting the intentions of the insurgents, from the letter delivered to him half an hour before the negroes were up in arms, and long after the movement was known to every manager in the neighbourhood. The court, then, having no jurisdiction to sit at all in judgment upon this preacher of the Gospel—their own existence as a court of justice being wholly without the colour of lawful authority—tried him for things which, had they ever so lawful a title to try him, were wholly beyond their commission; and of those things no evidence was produced upon which any man could even suspect his guilt, even if the jurisdiction had been unquestionable, and the accused had been undeniably within its range. But, in spite of all the facts—in spite of his well-known character and upright conduct—it was necessary that he should be made an example for certain purposes: it was necessary that the missionaries should be taught in what an undertaking they had embarked; that they should be warned, that it was at their peril they preached the Gospel; that they should know it was at the hazard of their lives that they opened the bible to their flocks: and therefore it was, that the court-martial deemed it expedient to convict Mr. Smith, and to sentence him to be hanged by the neck until he was dead!

But, the negroes, it seems, had grumbled at the reports which went abroad respecting their liberation by an act of his majesty, and the opposition said to be given to it by their proprietors. Who propagated those reports? Certainly not Mr. Smith. It is clear that they originated, in one instance, from a servant who attended at the governor's table, and who professed to have heard them in the conversations which took place between the governor and his guests. Another account was, that a kept woman had disclosed the secret, having learnt it from her keeper, Mr. Hamilton. The negroes naturally flocked together to inquire whether the reports were true or not; and Mr. Smith immediately communicated to their masters his apprehensions of what he had always supposed possible, seeing the oppression under which the slaves laboured, and knowing that they were men. But, it is said, that at six o'clock on the Monday evening, one half hour before the rebellion broke out, he did not disclose what he could not have known before; namely, that a revolt was actually about to commence. Now, taking this fact, for the sake of argument, to be proved to its fullest extent, I say that a man convicted of misprision cannot by the law be hanged [hear, hear!]. The utmost possible vengeance of the law, according to the wildest dream of the highest preroga- tive lawyer, could not amount to any thing like a sanction of this. Such I assert the law to be: I defy any man to contradict my assertion, that up to the present hour, no English lawyer ever heard of misprision of treason being treated as a capital offence; and that it would be just as legal to hang a man for a common assault. But, if it be said, that the punishment of death was awarded for having aided the revolt, I say the court did not, could not, believe this; and I produce the conduct of the judges themselves to confirm what I assert. They were bold enough in trying and convicting, and condemning the victim whom they had lawlessly seized upon; but they trembled to execute a sentence so prodigiously illegal and unjust; and having declared that, in their consciences and on their oaths, they deemed him guilty of the worst of crimes, they all in one voice add, that they also deem him deserving of mercy in respect of his guilt! Is it possible to draw any other inference from this marvellous recommendation, than that they distrusted the sentence to which it was attached? When I see them—frightened by their own proceedings, starting back at the sight of what they had not scrupled to do—can I give them credit for any fear of doing injustice; they who, from the beginning to the end of their course, had done nothing else? Can I believe that they paused upon the consummation of their work from any motive but a dread of its consequences to themselves; a recollection tardy, indeed, but appalling, that "Whoso shed deth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed?" And not without reason, not without irrefragable reason, did they take the alarm: for, verily if they had perpetrated the last act—if they had dared to take this innocent man's life (one hair of whose head they durst not touch), they must themselves have died the death of murderers [hear, hear!].

Monstrous as the whole proceedings were, and horrid as the sentence that closed them, there is nothing in the trial from first to last, so astounding as this recommendation to mercy, coming from persons who affected to believe him guilty of such enormous crimes. If he was proved to have committed the offence of exciting the slaves to acts of bloodshed—if his judges believed him to have done what their sentence alleged against him—how unspeakably aggravated was his guilt, compared with that of the poor untutored slaves, whom he had misled from their duty, under the pretext of teaching them religion. How justly might all the blood that was shed be laid upon his head! How fitly, if mercy was to prevail, might his deluded instruments be pardoned, and himself alone be singled out for vengeance, as the author of their crimes! Yet, they are cut off in hundreds by the hand of justice, and he is deemed an object of compassion! How many victims were sacrificed we know not with precision. Such of them as underwent a trial before being put to death were judged by this court-martial. Let us hope that they had a fair and impartial trial, more fair and more impartial than the violence of political party and the zeal of religious animosity granted to their ill-fated pastor. But, without nicely ascertaining how many fell in the field, or by the hands of the executioner, I fear we must admit that far more blood was thus spilt than a wise and just policy required. Making every allowance for the alarms of the planters, and the necessity of strong measures to quell a revolt, it must be admitted, that no more examples should have been made than were absolutely necessary for this purpose. Yet, making every allowance for the agitation of men's minds at the moment of danger, and admitting (which is more difficult) that it extended to the colonial government, and did not subside when tranquillity was restored, no man can avoid suspecting, that the measure of punishment inflicted considerably surpassed the exigencies of the occasion. By the negroes, indeed, little blood had been shed at any period of the revolt, and in its commencement none at all: altogether only one person was killed by them. In this remarkable circumstance the insurrection stands distinguished from every other movement of this description in the history of colonial society. The slaves inflamed by false hopes of freedom, agitated by rumours, and irritated by the suspense and ignorance in which they were kept, exasperated by ancient as well as more recent wrongs (for a sale of fifty or sixty of them had just been announced, and they were about to be violently separated and dispersed), were satisfied with combining not to work; and thus making their managers repair to the town and ascertain the precise nature of the boon reported to have arrived from England. The calumniated minister had so far humanized his poor flock—his dangerous preaching had so enlightened them—the lessons of himself and his hated brethren had sunk so deep in their minds, that, by the testimony of the clergyman, and even of the overseers, the maxims of the Gospel of peace were upon their lips in the midst of rebellion, and restrained their hands when no other force was present to resist them.

"We will take no life," said they; "for our pastors have taught us not to take that which we cannot give;"—a memorable peculiarity, to be found in no other passage of Negro warfare within the West-Indian Seas, and which drew from the truly pious minister of the Established Church the exclamation, that "He shuddered to write, that they were seeking the life of the man whose teaching had saved theirs!" But it was deemed fitting to make tremendous examples of those unhappy creatures. Considerably above a hundred fell in the field, where they did not succeed in putting one soldier to death. A number of the prisoners also, it is said, were hastily drawn out, at the close of the affray, and instantly shot. How many, in the whole, have since perished by sentences of the court, does not appear; but, up to a day in September, as I learn by the Gazette, which I hold in my hand, forty-seven had been executed.

A more horrid tale of blood yet remains to be told. Within the short space of a week, as appears by the same document, ten had been torn in pieces by the lash: some of these had been condemned to six or seven hundred lashes; five to one thousand each; of which inhuman torture one had received the whole, and two almost the whole, at once. In deploring this ill-judged severity I speak far more out of regard to the masters than the slaves. Yielding thus unreservedly to the influence of alarm, they have not only covered themselves with disgrace, but they may, if cooler heads and steadier hands control them not, place in jeopardy the life of every white man in the Antilles. Look now to the incredible inconsistency of the authorities by whom such retribution was dealt out, while they recommended him to mercy, whom in the same breath they pronounced a thousand times more guilty than the slaves. Can any man doubt for an instant that they knew him to be innocent, but were minded to condemn, stigmatize and degrade him, because they durst not take his life, and yet were resolved to make an example of him as a preacher? The whole proceedings demonstrate the hatred of his persecutors to be levelled at his calling and his ministry. He is denounced for reading the Old Testament; charged with dwelling upon parts of the New; accused of selling religious tracts; blamed for collecting his hearers to the sacrament and catechism, all under various pretences, as that the texts were ill chosen—the books sold too dear—the communicants made to pay dues. Nay, for teaching obedience to the law which commands to keep holy the Sabbath, he is directly, and without any disguise, branded as the sower of sedition. Upon this overt act of rebellion against all law, human and divine, a large portion of the prosecutor's invectives and of his evidence is bestowed. What, though the reverend defendant shewed clearly, out of the mouths of his adversary's witnesses, that he had uniformly taught the negroes to obey their masters, even, if ordered by them to break the rest of the Sabbath; that he had expressly inculcated the maxim, Nothing is wrong in you which your master commands; and nothing amiss in him which necessity prescribes? What, though he reminded the court, that the seventh day, which he was charged with taking from the slaves, was not his to give or to withhold; that it had been hallowed by the divine Lawgiver to his own use, and exempted in terms from the work of slave as well as master—of beast as well as man? He is arraigned as a promoter of discontent, because he, the religious instructor of the negroes, enjoins them to keep the Sabbath holy, when their owners allow them no other day for working; because he, a minister of the Gospel, preaches a duty prescribed by the laws of religion and by the laws of the land, while the planters live in the contempt of it.

In short, no man can cast his eye upon this trial, without perceiving that it was intended to bring on an issue between the system of the slave-law and the instruction of the negroes. The exemplar which these misguided creatures seem to have set before them, is that of their French brethren in St. Domingo—one of whom, exulting in the expulsion of the Jesuits, enumerates the mischiefs occasioned by their labours. "They preached," says he, "they assembled the negroes, made their masters relax in their exactions, catechised the slaves, sung psalms, and confessed them." "Since their banishment," he adds, "marriages are rare; the negroes no longer make houses for themselves apart: it is no longer allow- able for two slaves to separate for ever their interest and safety from that of the gang" (a curious circumlocutory form of speech to express the married state). "No more public worship!" he triumphantly exclaims, "no more meetings in congregation! no psalm singing, nor sermons for them!" "But they are still catechised; and may, on paying for it, have themselves baptized three or four times" (upon the principle, I suppose, that, like inoculation, it is safer to repeat it). In the same spirit the Demerara public meeting of the 24th of February, 1824, resolved forthwith to petition the Court of Policy "to expel all missionaries from the colony, and to pass a law prohibiting their admission for the future." Nor let it be said, that this determination arose out of hatred towards sectaries, or was engendered by the late occurrences. In 1808, the Royal Gazette promulgated this doctrine, worthy of all attention: "He that chooses to make slaves christians, let him give them their liberty. What will be the consequence when to that class of men is given the title of 'beloved brethren' as actually is done? Assembling negroes in places of worship gives a momentary feeling of independence both of thinking and acting, and by frequent meetings of this kind a spirit of remark is generated; neither of which are sensations at all proper to be excited in the minds of slaves." Again, in 1823, says the government paper; "To address a promiscuous audience of black or coloured people, bond and free, by the endearing appellation of 'My brethren and sisters,' is what can no where be heard except in Providence Chapel;"—a proof how regularly this adversary of sectarian usages had attended to the service of the church. And, in February last, the same judicious authority, in discussing the causes of the discontents, and the remedy to be applied, thus proceeds: "It is most unfortunate for the cause of the planters, that they did not speak out in time. They did not say, as they ought to have said, to the first advocates of missions and education, We shall not tolerate your plans till you prove to us that they are safe and necessary; we shall not suffer you to enlighten our slaves, who are by law our property, till you can demonstrate that when they are made religious and knowing they will still continue to be our slaves."—"In what a perplexing predicament do the colonial proprietors now stand! Can the march of events be pos- sibly arrested? Shall they be allowed to shut up the chapels and banish the preachers and schoolmasters, and keep the slaves in ignorance? This would, indeed, be an effectual remedy; but there is no hope of its being applied"!—"The obvious conclusion is this; Slavery must exist as it now is, or it will not exist at all." "If we expect to create a community of reading, moral, church-going slaves, we are woefully mistaken"—Ignorant! oh, profoundly ignorant, of "the things that belong to their peace!" may we truly say, in the words of the missionary's beautiful text,—to that peace, the disturbance of which they deem the last of evils. Were there not dangers enough besetting them on every side without this? The frame of West-Indian society, that monstrous birth of the accursed slave-trade, is so feeble in itself, and, at the same time, surrounded with such perils from without, that barely to support it demands the most temperate judgment, the steadiest and the most skilful hand; and, with all our discretion, and firmness, and dexterity, its continued existence seems little less than a miracle. The necessary hazards, to which, by its very constitution, it is hourly exposed, are sufficient, one should think, to satiate the most greedy appetite for difficulties, to quench the most chivalrous passion for dangers. Enough, that a handful of slave-owners are scattered among myriads of slaves—Enough, that in their nearest neighbourhood a commonwealth of those slaves is now seated triumphant upon the ruined tyranny of their slaughtered masters—Enough, that, exposed to this frightful enemy from within and without, the planters are cut off from all help by the ocean. But to odds so fearful, these deluded men must needs add new perils absolutely overwhelming. By a bond, which nature has drawn with her own hand, and both hemispheres have witnessed, they find leagued against them every shade of the African race, every description of those swarthy hordes, from the peaceful Eboe to the fiery Koromantyn. And they must now combine in the same hatred the Christians of the old world with the Pagans of the new. Barely able to restrain the natural love of freedom, they must mingle it with the enthusiasm of religion,—vainly imagining that spiritual thraldom will make personal subjection more bearable;—wildly hoping to bridle the strongest of the-passions, in union and in excess.—the desire of li- berty irritated by despair, and the fervour of religious zeal by persecution exasperated to phrensy. But I call upon parliament to rescue the West Indies from the horrors of such a policy; to deliver those misguided men from their own hands. I call upon you to interpose while it is yet time to save the West Indies; first of all, the negroes, the most numerous class of our fellow-subjects, and entitled beyond every other to our care by a claim which honourable minds will most readily admit,—their countless wrongs, borne with such forbearance—such meekness—while the most dreadful retaliation was within their grasp: next, their masters, whose shortsighted violence is, indeed, hurtful to their slaves, but to themselves is fraught with fearful and speedy destruction, if you do not at once make your voice heard and your authority felt, where both have been so long despised.—The hon. and learned gentleman concluded with moving.

"That an humble address be presented to his Majesty, representing that this House, having taken into their most serious consideration the papers laid before them relating to the Trial and Condemnation of the late Rev. John Smith, a missionary in the colony of Demerara, deem it their duty now to declare, that they contemplate with serious alarm and deep sorrow the violation of law and justice which is manifest in those unexampled proceedings; and most earnestly praying, that his Majesty will be graciously pleased to adopt such measures as to his royal wisdom may seem meet for securing such a just and humane administration of law in that colony as may protect the voluntary Instructors of the Negroes, as well as the Negroes themselves, and the rest of his Majesty's subjects, from oppression."

Mr. Wilmot Horton


The House, Sir, are fully aware of the peculiar circumstances of difficulty under which I am placed, from the voluminous nature of the documents on which the hon. and learned member has founded his motion. I have earnestly to request their attention on this occasion, placed, as I am, in a situation which, they will easily conceive, is one of no ordinary difficulty; and if they find that I am thus compelled to this unequal war, I hope the more, that they will give me their indulgence, as I feel confident that I shall more easily discharge my duty if I can command the patient attention of the House, and that I shall diminish that claim on their time which the importance of the subject will compel me to interpose.

Sir, the hon. and learned gentleman commenced his speech by stating, that he found, with much regret, that the interest excited on this subject within this House bore very little proportion to that which existed out of it, I beg to say, that I am not at all surprised at that remark. I well know by what means the interest has been excited. It will be in the recollection of the House, that when the hon. member for Knaresborough presented a petition on this subject, containing many charges and imputations, I protested against the accuracy of the statements in that petition, and against the prudence of those who preferred it. Before I sit down, I trust I shall redeem that pledge. At present, I shall proceed to follow the hon. and learned gentleman in what has fallen from him through the course of his observations.

The hon. and learned gentleman seems to have endeavoured to establish an interest with a party in these proceedings, who, in point of fact, have no real relation or connexion with them. I contend, that it is not against missionaries in general, but against the misuse of the powers delegated to a particular missionary, that any dissatisfaction exists. I contend, that if this individual had followed those admirable lessons of prudence which had been addressed to him in the Instructions of the Society which sent him to the colony, instead of the House being employed, as they now are, in the examination of the circumstances that attended his unfortunate fate, he might have remained in the colony in the discharge of those duties which they had so discreetly imposed upon him. It appears to me, that the solution of this case involves no material difficulty. The hon. and learned gentleman has, for some time, descanted on the duties which belong to the situation of a missionary. But, let us look to the state of that society to which this missionary was sent. It was one in which slavery existed by law. It was for him to inculcate religious doctrines on the minds of the slaves, without exhibiting to them views referring to their lot in society. I think we have abundant proof that the solution will be found to be this, that Mr. Smith was an enthusiast. The hon. gentleman has characterized him by that term; supposing, perhaps, that it might be imputed to him. I impute it to him, not as a matter of criminality, but as the key by which his actions are to be explained; and I trace him through a long course of conduct, as influenced by ill-regulated enthusiasm, until I find him guilty of actions which, if not in themselves in the highest degree criminal, carried with them all the attributes of criminality to such an extent that they could not be distinguished from criminality itself.

Now, Sir, in the first place, let us consider in what this transaction originated. In speaking of the revolt which the hon. member admits to have taken place in Demerara, he does not at all undervalue its importance. He states it to have been one of a dangerous tendency; one which naturally excited the utmost alarm, and which might afford a justification for summary and severe measures. The correspondence of the governor justifies that view of the case. He states, that martial law was the only measure to which he could resort for the preservation of the colony. I shall leave that question to others more competent to speak on it than myself: but I would observe, that I consider it to be a course of proceeding which ought only to be resorted to when a country is so situated that no other alternative remains for its safety. And the continuation of this state of martial law will not be a matter of surprise to any man who knows the circumstances; who is aware of the disproportion existing between the slaves and the white population; and who reflects upon the dreadful consequences that might result from one single day passing among those slaves in a state of insurrection. Every person, in this view of the case, will acknowledge the necessity that compelled the governor to resort to such a measure, which, as an inevitable consequence, carried with it the suspension of civil government, and of the common course of judicial proceedings.

Under these circumstances, a court-martial was appointed for the trial of Mr. Smith. If it were proved, as the hon. gentleman states, that in some instances evidence was admitted contrary to the rules which govern the admission of it in ordinary courts of law, I am yet to be satisfied that it is necessary that those rules should be imperatively binding on the proceedings of a court-martial, or that the validity of that mode of administering justice can be in any degree affected by the introduction of evidence of a less limited nature. And I am at present uninformed as to the grounds upon which the hon. and learned gentleman has founded his objection to the legality of the evidence actually introduced; but I presume that it is not upon the official papers, but upon the Report of the London Missionary Society.—[Mr. Brougham here explained, that his reasoning as to the evidence was founded on the House copy.]—It appears from that Report, that the parties who took it down (not meaning to impeach the correctness of their intentions) took it down as the result of their memory, and recorded what they believed to be the substance of the questions and answers.

The hon. and learned member principally founds his assertion of the illegality of these proceedings of the court-martial, with respect to the reception of evidence, on the presumed fact, that at the period when they objected to the further introduction of hearsay evidence, that species of evidence had been previously admitted, and that the effect of its introduction was of necessity prejudicial to the interests of the prisoner. He prefaced those observations by calling the attention of the House to a testimony, which he asserted not to be the genuine testimony of the person delivering it, but a testimony got up for the purpose. But it is to be remembered, that the individual to whom he specially alluded was not a witness on the trial, but one of those persons whose evidence was taken before the Board of Evidence previous to the commencement of that trial. Therefore, although I am willing to allow, that the actual expressions which are put down as the evidence of that witness before the Board, cannot be supposed to be his own, I am by no means prepared to admit, that the substance of them might not have been communicated by that individual himself. But, as the tendency of the arguments of the hon. and learned gentleman appears to have reference to the evidence actually admitted on the trial, it is right that the House should understand that this particular evidence was received at the Board, and not introduced in the course of the court-martial. With respect to the passage in page 116 of the Missionary Society's Report, in which the court is represented as admitting that hearsay evidence had been admitted up to that particular period, but stating that for the future it could not be received, I am justified in saying that I do not believe that to have been the case; I mean, that the interposition there alluded to was so expressed without material qualification.

The hon. gentleman has canvassed the constitution of the court, and has expressed his dissatisfaction that the president of the court of justice should have been appointed a member of that court-martial. But I would ask, whether the state of Demerara was not such, at the period of those proceedings, as to make it probable that his introduction would materially sustain the ends of justice, and give a more deliberate and judicial character to the proceedings—give them a greater bias towards the proceedings of civil justice, than was likely to occur under the more technical regulations of military law. The introduction of a person, not only conversant with the administration of civil justice, but holding the highest judicial situation in the colony, could only have had the effect of giving to those proceedings a more lenient character; and it is my decided opinion, that it is impossible that he could have allowed any thing so monstrous to have taken place, as a rejection of hearsay evidence when it turned in the prisoner's favour, after the admission of it when it tended to his crimination. I put it to the House, who are only cognisant of the documents which are officially before them, sent to us on the faith of the responsible servants of the Crown, whether it is to be inferred from those documents, that anything so monstrous as that interposition could have taken place. The hon. and learned gentleman has also referred to another member of that court-martial, the president. And here, again, I anticipate, that the House will not share the belief of the hon. gentleman, that because that individual happened to hold the office of vendue-master of the colony, he was prepared to abandon his duty as a gentleman and a soldier, for the sake of some indirect interest in the maintenance of the slave system. I assert, that such a presumption seems to be contrary to all probability; and, therefore, I am persuaded that the House will pause before they admit a conclusion so fatal to the honour and character of an individual—that individual a man of the highest reputation, who filled the office of judge-advocate during the Peninsular war, and served with unblemished credit under the illustrious general who conducted its operations. What individual, therefore, could be selected more proper and suitable to be appointed the president of that court-martial? I am the first to allow that the state of martial law is, in the abstract, what all men must deprecate;—and we, who come down to this House with all those feelings of confidence and security which belong to this happy country, can be roused with much less eloquence than that of the hon. and learned gentleman, when the contrast between that state and our habitual state is made the subject of observation. But, the point for the consideration of the House is, whether substantial justice was not intended to be done; and again, whether, in point of fact, it has not been done.

I would ask, whether the House, up to the present moment, have any clear notion of the situation of Mr. Smith, and the circumstances under which he was brought to trial? I am certain they could not have derived it from the statement of the hon. and learned gentleman. I am not here to defend these proceedings from the charge of having been conducted, in some instances, without exact technicality in point of law, but rather to recal to the recollection of the House the striking facts and circumstances which attend the case. The colony was placed in a situation of most imminent danger. Its population consisted of between three and four thousand whites, and between seventy and eighty thousand slaves. Reflect on the consequences immediately accruing to the property and to the lives of those persons, and of their families. They were satisfied that, by the existing laws, their property was held sacred. Can it, then, be supposed that they should not entertain strong feelings on the subject? But when the constitution of that tribunal is considered, which, had not a court-martial been appointed, must have proceeded with the trial of Mr. Smith, no one can fairly consider that his interests were prejudiced by the substitution which circumstances rendered it necessary to make. The court-martial consisted of thirteen individuals, eleven of whom had no sort of connexion with the colony, but the accidental circumstance of military service at that precise period. The regular tribunal would hare consisted of the president, Mr. Wray, who, in his capacity of lieutenant-colonel of militia, actually served on the court-martial, and of eight planters, a majority of five of whom would have decided the sentence of the prisoner. Those planters would have been summoned to the exercise of judicial duty, under the impression that their lives and property were placed at the utmost hazard; and it is impossible to suppose that they would not have entertained strong feelings on the subject, had they been assembled under a belief that the cause of this critical situation was, in a great degree, referable to the conduct of Mr. Smith.

But, Sir, to return to the court-martial.—Did Mr. President Wray divest himself of responsibility as a member of that court? No; certainly not. Was it not in his power to prevent any injustice being done? Was it not likely that his presence would be of assistance to the prisoner; and, above all, that he accepted his situation from benevolent motives? Is there any reason to believe, that, from the beginning of the transaction to the end, there was any deliberate intention to do injustice to this individual? The hon. and learned member has characterised these proceedings as irregular; which character they may possibly bear, when contrasted with those which we are in the habit of contemplating; but as a question on the measure of justice, is it likely that more substantial justice could have been dealt out to this individual, had he been tried in the civil court of the colony?

The hon. and learned gentleman complains, that an injustice was done to the prisoner, on account of the absence of that delay which would have occurred if the trial had taken place before a civil court. The petition, on the contrary, states, that essential injustice was done by there having been so much delay. Now, both those propositions cannot be true. In point of fact, there was no unnecessary delay. It will be found that the court was summoned immediately after the breaking out of the insurrection; and, on the 25th of August, it began its functions, and continued them regularly from that period until their final termination.

The hon. and learned gentleman, at the close of his speech, contended, that this court-martial had affixed the punishment of death to an offence to which that punishment did not apply. Now, for a moment divesting the question of all the technicalities, and looking to the objects and motives of the parties who were in the situation to pronounce that sentence, I will appeal to the House, and ask them deliberately to decide, whether the court-mar- tial, in pronouncing that sentence of death, coupled with the recommendation to mercy, did not sentence the prisoner to the most lenient punishment they could possibly inflict? I will ask, whether the House is not convinced, that though the court-martial pronounced the sentence of death, it did not, at the same time, unequivocally shew, by the recommendation of mercy, that it was never intended that that sentence should be carried into effect? The hon. and learned gentleman implies that that recommendation arose from fear. On the contrary, I will tell him, that the court-martial, being aware that, for the crime of misprision of treason which attached to Mr. Smith, no other punishment than that of death could have been pronounced under the Dutch law, thought that the crime itself did attach to Mr. Smith—that he was guilty of a concealment,—but, on the other hand, considered that there were circumstances of palliation, which made it desirable that that sentence should not be carried into effect. It is necessary that the House should well consider the motives that influenced them. It is to be remembered, that, though they found that individual guilty, and sentenced him to death, it has been the constant and unvaried course for years, without exception, that where capital sentence has been passed by a court-martial, accompanied with the recommendation of mercy, the capital punishment has not been inflicted. The court-martial well knew that the power of remitting the extreme sentence was deposited, where it ought to be deposited; namely, in the Crown, which has the power of regulating punishment, of commuting it, and of carrying that recommendation of mercy specifically into effect. I will read, on this subject, the opinion of a noble lord (Loughborough), whose memory stands high in the respect of his country. The noble lord says, "With respect to the sentence itself, and the supposed severity of it, I observe, that the severe part is by the court deposited, where it ought only to be, in the breast of his majesty. I have no doubt but that the intention of that was, to leave room for the application for mercy to be made to his majesty," &c. I therefore contend, that, if it was argued that misprision of treason had been committed by Mr. Smith, and that that commission under the Dutch law rendered him subject to the extreme punishment of death, still the circumstance of sentencing him to death, with the re- commendation to mercy, would shew, that even the Dutch law had not been carried into effect; for the sentence of death is not only qualified, but changed, by the recommendation to mercy; and the sentence, accompanied by that qualification, is not in fact a sentence of death.

To revert to the constitution of the civil tribunal at Demerara. What individual, under the circumstances of Mr. Smith, would not have preferred a tribunal composed of persons exempt, as far as possible, from the general irritation then prevailing among the colonists, and from local prejudices, to one constituted of individuals who might have been subject to both? Negro evidence would have been admissible upon that court, as well as on the court-martial. There is not, therefore, that discrepancy which has been supposed between the proceedings of this court-martial, and those of a court of common law in Demerara; and, in point of fact, the same measure and mode of justice were meted out to the prisoner under the operation of the court-martial, as would have been if the civil course of proceeding had been adopted.

But the hon. and learned gentleman has accused the constituted authorities of having deliberately kept up this state of martial law, for the purpose of involving the prisoner in the consequences of its maintenance, and has stated, that no necessity existed for such prolongation. I think I can bring before the House the most conclusive proof that such was not the case. The governor writes, in a letter addressed to lord Bathurst, dated, the 26th of August—"I shall not fail to seize the first justifiable period for restoring to the colony the regular course of law, consulting with the president thereon; but, the alarm of the white inhabitants is too great and too general to lead me to hope for an early return of confidence. They at present place none but in their arms; and the rigour of militia service must be permanently resorted to." Now, under these circumstances, I appeal to the House whether they can doubt the accuracy of this statement, when they consider the circumstances under which the colony was placed, with the fearful disproportion of whites to blacks, and, above all, the small number of troops at that time under the command of the governor. In a letter, dated as late as September, the governor says—"The commander of the forces will have acquainted your lordship with his inability, under existing circumstances, to send me any reinforcements. I must depend on my own resources, in any future emergency, and will not fail to be prepared accordingly." All this tends to shew, that he was compelled by a severe necessity to maintain the state of martial law.

And now, Sir, I will call the attention of the House, as shortly as the subject will admit, to the nature of the insurrection itself. Has the hon. member alluded to the district in which this insurrection broke out? Has he attempted to deny that the principal leaders in it were the agents and assistants of this missionary? Does he mean to say that those circumstances do not involve the elements of strong suspicion? The extensive influence which, on all hands, it is admitted that Mr. Smith exercised over the minds of the slaves, though it does not directly establish criminality, is a circumstance that cannot be put aside by the House, in the view which they will be disposed to take of the subject. Again: what was the amount of the population of the slaves in this particular district? Thirteen thousand. This fact additionally convinces me of the reality and danger of the revolt; and the necessity of martial law; and, consequently, of the justification of the principle upon which this court martial was established.

I have already given the opinion which I have formed of Mr. Smith. I think that he must be pronounced an enthusiast by every person who reads these papers with attention, and who reads the evidence with a desire to possess himself of the real motives which influenced his conduct. It is impossible not to consider him as an enthusiast. I do not mean to attach to that term any criminality; but I think that if he had followed more strictly the admirable instructions of the Society who had sent him forth, and which were given so carefully in detail—if he had expounded the principles there pointed out as right and necessary to inculcate in the minds of the slaves—he would have exercised a far more sound discretion, than in resorting to those hazardous topics, which were likely, at least, to be misunderstood, but which, in my opinion, had a tendency to produce much mischief. I do not here impute to him motives of a directly criminal character; but, at the same time, he appears to have been a man evidently intending to awaken feelings in the minds of the slaves, which, when awakened, it was most hazardous, if not impossible, to direct to any useful purpose. I introduce these observations, to shew that he cannot be considered, what the missionary society unequivocally consider him, a perfect pattern of what a missionary ought to be. It appears to me, that an enthusiast, in the sense in which I have employed the term, is not the fittest person for such a task. He seems to have been impatient to accomplish supernatural results by the intervention of human means. His mind reverted to those periods when events were brought about by signal judgments, and by the special interposition of Heaven. He reasoned himself into error, and became dangerous. Had he applied himself more closely to the development of those doctrines of the New Testament which recommend fidelity, patience, and obedience, he would have shewn more discretion, and fulfilled more accurately the directions of the society that sent him forth, than in expounding passages from the Old Testament (such as where the children of Israel were held in bondage to the Egyptians), which were calculated to excite dangerous impressions in the minds of those slaves who attended his ministry. I allude principally to that part of the evidence, where, in two different instances, the negroes quote those parts of the bible which speak of the children of Israel in Egypt, and make use of the term "Slaves." "God commanded Moses to take the children of Israel into the land of Canaan."—"Was it told you why God so commanded Moses? That was because God did not wish that they should be made slaves." [Examination of Manuel.]—"Was it also read to you why Moses went to deliver the children of Israel? Yes: because they were slaves under Pharaoh." [Examination of Bristol.]

To shew in what respect I consider Mr. Smith as an enthusiast, I am compelled to have recourse to his journal, notwithstanding the hon. member objected to the Production of that journal as evidence, allude to this journal, not in any degree for the purpose of establishing his criminality, but to shew you that enthusiasm had a great practical influence upon his conduct. I would refer the House to that passage which is in page 6 of the printed proceedings. He says, "I felt my spirit moved within me, at the prayer meeting, by hearing one of the negroes pray most affectionately, that God would overrule the opposition which the planters make to religion, for his own glory. In such an unaffected strain he breathed out his pious complaint, and descended to so many particulars relative to the various arts which are employed to keep them from the house of God, and to punish them for their religion, that I could not help thinking" (and it is to this part of the passage that I wish to refer) "that the time is not far distant when the Lord will make it manifest, by some signal judgment, that he hath heard the cry of the oppressed." He also says, "I should think it my duty to state my opinion respecting this to some of the rulers of the colony, but am fearful, from the conduct of the Fiscal in this late affair of the negroes being worked on Sundays, that they would be more solicitous to silence me, by requiring me to criminate some individual, than to redress the wrongs done to the slaves, by diligently watching the conduct of the planters themselves, and bringing them to justice (without the intervention of missionaries) when they detect such abuses of the law as frequently take place." If such were the principles on which he acted—if he thought that he could not reconcile it to his duty to give the lawful authorities knowledge of this transaction, though he was cognisant of and privy to it, it appears to me that no man of correct judgment can think that he acted right.

Again, he says,—"Just returned from another fruitless journey; have been for the answer to my petition, but was again told, by the governor's secretary, that his excellency had not given any order upon it, but that I might expect it to-morrow. I imagine the governor knows not how to refuse, with any colour of reason, but is determined to give me as much trouble as possible, in the hope that I shall be weary of applying, and so let it drop; but his puny opposition shall not succeed in that way, nor in any other, ultimately, if I can help it." The House must perceive that Mr. Smith stands here in a character of direct opposition to the constitued authorities.—Again:"Oh, that this colony should be governed by a man who sets his face against the moral and religious improvement of the negro slaves! But he himself is a party concerned, and no doubt solicitous to perpetuate the present cruel system; and to that end probably adopts the common though most, false, notion, that the slaves must be kept in brutal ignorance. Were the slaves generally enlightened, they must, and would be, better treated."—It is material here that the House should observe, by reference to the concluding passage of these extracts which have been made from his journal, that he appears to have changed his opinion. They will perceive how it ripened from one degree of enthusiasm to another still more intense. Having recorded his opinion, on the 21st of October, 1822, that, "the common, though most false, notion" was, "that the slaves must be kept in brutal ignorance," and that if they were enlightened "they must, and would be better treated;" on the 15th of July, 1823, he says "Mrs. de Florimont, and her two daughters, called to take leave of us: they are going to Holland. Mrs. de F. says, she is uncertain as to her return to the colony. Hamilton, the manager, came in with them: his conversation immediately turned upon the new regulations which are expected to be in force; he declared, that if he was prevented flogging the women, he would keep them in solitary confinement, without food, if they were not punctual with their work. He, however, comforted himself in the belief, that the project of Mr. Canning will never be carried into effect; and in this I certainly agree with him. The rigours of negro slavery, I believe, can never be mitigated; the system must be abolished." Is it meant to be laid down as a principle by any missionary society whatever, that an individual holding that sacred character should express, or even entertain, the opinion, that the rigours of slavery can never be mitigated, but that the system must be abolished? That opinion is a speculative one, which may be right or wrong; but I contend, that it is an opinion utterly unsuited for a missionary to hold. It is an opinion which is extremely dangerous in a slave colony; and such an opinion is irreconcileable with those principles which the House of Commons and the executive Government have pointed out, and those means by which amelioration of the condition of the slaves may be gradually effected. But Mr. Smith was not prepared to adopt this progressive course on the principles which this House proposed; he was not prepared to follow those directions: but he had created within himself an opinion founded on enthusiasm, or on what I should consider as mistaken notions of right and wrong, which, as it appears to me, induced him to think and reason falsely.

As I think it material to establish the fact of the enthusiastic disposition of Mr. Smith, I would refer you to p. 26 of No. I., to the evidence of colonel Reed, who stated, that, in conversation with the prisoner, the prisoner observed "this was not the first insurrection that had taken place in the colony. I said it was an insurrection of a peculiar nature: he then remarked, that much blood had been shed at different periods in religious wars, or on account of religion." I do not quote this passage as one to which any sort of criminality attaches; but I quote it to shew, that such was his habitual custom of considering the subject, such was his opinion, produced by his natural habits of thinking, which led him to do what he did—to become cognizant of this conspiracy without making the necessary exposure of it. I then refer to No. I. p 7, to the deposition of Mr. W. M'Watt, who is the overseer of an estate in Demerara. He had a conversation with the prisoner; and he says, "I said I thought the slaves were much happier than some of the working people at home: I also mentioned that they were well attended to in sickness, a privilege that a number of working people did not enjoy at home. The prisoner then mentioned, that they would not better their situation until something took place, such as had been done in St. Domingo: Mr. Bond then replied. Would you wish to see such scenes as had taken place there? The prisoner said, he thought that would be prevented by the missionaries." Now, do I quote this as crimination? I do not: but I quote it to shew the character of Mr. Smith, and the opinions which he entertained; and I infer that he thought that it was less his duty to ward off the measure, as the dreadful alternative of shedding blood would not be, in his opinion, a necessary consequence. It is admitted, I presume, that he laid it down as a doctrine, that it was religiously wrong to permit the slaves to work on the Sunday. Now, Sir, I think I am justified in attributing that doctrine to the extent to which he carried it, to ill-regulated enthusiasm. I affirm, that it is the intention of government, that it is the positive duty of government, that it has been the resolution of the House of Commons, and that it is the general wish of the people of England, to provide that Sunday should be held sacred, and that all compulsory labour on that day should be discontinued; but, under the circumstances of the colony of Demerara, it appears to me that it was a most inconvenient doctrine to hold out to the slaves, that they were to work for their masters on the Sunday, but on no account to work for themselves. It was to deprive them of the only means they had of obtaining those little temporal comforts and conveniences which were so necessary to the endurance of their lot. I think, therefore, that it was departing from the responsibility of his situation to tell those slaves, "If you work on the Sunday for yourselves, you are, in a religious point of view, guilty of a criminal action." He should rather have said, "You are not responsible for the institutions of the country in which you live; but I trust the time will come when you will have no excuse for executing any work for yourselves on a day destined to be kept holy."

I now approach a part of the subject which is perfectly new. As yet I have considered Mr. Smith in no criminal character whatever: the facts which I have hitherto stated only present him to us as a person with an enthusiastic frame of mind, and entertaining speculative opinions of what I consider a dangerous character; but I can now, I think, carry it further, and shew his conduct to have been criminal, or, at least, as I have said, having all the attributes of criminality. I can now demonstrate, by evidence not to be impeached, around which there can be none of that doubt which the hon. and learned gentleman would attach to some parts of the evidence adduced—that is, by the evidence of Mr. Smith himself—that he, Mr. Smith, was privy to this insurrection, and that he did not communicate it to the proper authorities; and then I would particularly call the attention of the House to the fatal consequences which resulted from such conduct. In p. 14 of No. I., it appears that Quamina, Bristol, and other negroes, being his own confidential assistants, and holding situations under him, came to Mr. Smith and held a conversation with him on the Sunday immediately before the insurrection: broke out; when the expression was used, "driving the white people to town," on which the hon. and learned gentleman puts a very different meaning to what I am disposed to do. The hon. and learned gentleman says, the phrase is only equivalent to striking work: it is now for the House to interpose their judgment, and to decide, whether they agree in that construction of the import of the phrase. When we consider the obedience necessarily due from the slave to the master in any colony where slavery is sanctioned by law, am I not justified in inferring, that such an avowal of intention ought to have excited in his mind the highest degree of alarm, and to have produced the strongest terms of reprobation? Did not that avowal declare that such was their impatience of their condition, that such was their doubt whether any advantages were come out for them, and such their anxiety to improve their state, that they were resolved to take their cause into their own hands, and to use force? I do not mean to say, that they distinctly intended to take possession of the colony under the operation of a revolt; but their intention evidently was a resistance to power, resistance to authority, and the cessation of the obligation of obedience. Such doctrine could not be entertained by the slaves and be compatible with the safety of the lives and properties of any of the white residents in the West Indies, or any where else, where slavery exists. And now, I would ask, whether Mr. Smith in his defence impeaches the veracity of that evidence? In p. 71 of No. I. you will find that he says,—"They cannot all be believed; no two of them can be believed together. Three of them have certainly made use of the word drive it was not the word that Quamina used to me." I consider that as a distinct admission that Quamina employed some word similar to that in spirit, and that no expression whatever conveying such an idea could be employed, tending to shew that resistance to authority was their intention, without giving just cause for the highest degree of alarm, and making it necessary that communications should be conveyed in a proper manner to the proper authorities on the subject.

I now, Sir, come to a point wholly omitted by the hon. and learned gentleman; I refer to p. 21 of No. I., where the examination of Jacky Reed is resumed. It proceeds as follows: "The letter you received from Jack Gladstone, you state you sent to the prisoner: do you know its contents?" Now, it is necessary to explain here, that that letter so sent to the prisoner had been destroyed by him. I believe it will not be attempted to shew that such destruction had not taken place. The letter he states to be this; "My dear brother Jacky, I hope you are well, and I write to you concerning our agreement last Sunday. I hope you will do according to your promise. This letter is written by Jack Gladstone and the rest of the brethren at Bethel chapel; and all the rest of the brothers are ready, and put their trust in you, and we hope that you will be ready also. I hope there will be no disappointment either by one or the other: we shall begin to-morrow night at the Thomas about seven o'clock." I am not aware that Mr. Smith protested against the genuineness of this letter. My object here is not so much to prove that Mr. Smith was guilty of misprision of treason, as to shew, that the individuals alluded to in this note were members of his chapel, and that he lived with many of them on terms of confidence and intimacy. The House must never forget, that these individuals Were afterwards leaders in this revolt, which might have made the colony of Demerara one indiscriminate scene of desblation and blood. It will be observed, that the plan of this conspiracy had been nursed and matured by the "brethren of Bethel chapel "and I am inclined to think that a pre-disposition had been excited in the minds of these slaves; which made them feel impatient of authority, which induced them to believe that the authority exercised over them was unlicensed and unlawful; and, consequently, that they had a right, at any time, to resist those whom they considered as their oppressors. The letter written to the prisoner was as follows:—"Dear Sir, excuse the liberty I take in writing to you: I hope this letter may find yourself and Mrs. Smith well. Jack Gladstone present me a letter, which appears as if I had made an agreement upon some actions, which I never did, neither did I promise him any thing. I hope you will see to it, and inquire of the members, whatever it is they may have in view, which I am ignorant of, and to inquire after, and know what it is. The time is determined on for seven o'clock to night." To which Mr. Smith sends this answer:—"I am ignorant of the affair you allude to; and your note is too late for me to make any inquiry. I learned yesterday that some scheme was in agitation; but, without asking questions on the subject, I begged them to be quiet. I trust they will. Hasty, violent, or concerted, measures are quite contrary to the religion we profess; and I hope you will have nothing to do with them. Your's, for Christ's sake, J. S."—What! am I to understand, then, that it is the duty of a missionary, when he becomes acquainted with intentions such as these—intentions to resort to measures of violence,—that he is to exercise his discretion, and ask no questions, and voluntarily deprive himself of the means of giving information to those authorities who might have repressed and checked this affair in its commencement? If such a doctrine is to be tolerated for a moment, more injury will be done to the cause of missions, the cause of religion, and to the resolutions of this House, with regard to that great object which all parties are pledged to carry into effect, than ever has been done before. I think it would have been enough to have been maintained by his dearest friends, that Mr. Smith had been an individual of good intention, and of a pure and spotless character; but to contend, that he was a man who could be safely trusted in the delicate situation of a missionary, that he was a man of sound discretion, with a well-regulated mind, and safe maxims of conduct,—all this appears to me to be pregnant with danger, and infinitely more so, when we reflect on the consequences that may result from it. It does appear to me to have been plain that, whatever measures had been adopted by the government, whatever opinions he himself might have entertained on the question of the abolition of slavery, he ought to have known, that that abolition could not have been safely carried into effect without a mutual good feeling between the proprietors and the slaves. How can we imagine, for a moment, that the views taken by this House for the benefit of the negro population can ever be effected without the co-operation and favourable disposition of the masters? Would any master be likely to accept the services of a missionary who declared himself unwilling to obtain information on a subject, the ignorance of which might involve the lives and property of the colonists in destruction? I must confess that it appears to me full of danger to establish the justification of any missionary on such principles, who had shewn such a reluctance, and such a resolution not to hear, or become possessed of, information which it was his duty to obtain for the safety of the inhabitants of the colony. He says, however, "I begged them to be quiet: I trust they will. Hasty, violent, or concerted measures, are quite contrary to the religion we profess; and I hope you will have nothing to do with them." But, when he wrote this, it is obvious that he knew of the existence, or at least of the intention, of carrying into effect "hasty, violent, or concerted measures:" for, unless that were the case, there could be no necessity for his giving the caution to his correspondent to abstain from concurring in them. The existence of this letter satisfies my mind conclusively, that at this time, Mr. Smith was acquainted with an intended movement which must necessarily lead to insurrection and revolt;—that, being acquainted with it, he did not give the information which it was in his power, and which it was his special duty to have given. By not having communicated it, he placed himself in a situation of criminal responsibility; and it appears to me, that, knowing that a treasonable conspiracy was in agitation, he was guilty of the crime of misprision of treason. Now, whether that crime be punishable by death or not, still I consider that I have established that he was guilty of it.

Then, Sir, I would draw the attention of the House particularly to the charge against Mr. Smith, of having seen Qua-mina on the Wednesday; and, if the evidence of the witness, Romeo, be believed, there can be no question of the establishment of that fact. It appears by his evidence (p. 9, of No. I.) that he saw Mr. Smith after church on Sunday, in his own house. He says—"I cannot recollect that I saw him on Monday; I saw him on Tuesday, in the evening: I went to visit him, seeing the negroes make such a great noise, as my heart was uneasy. I bid the prisoner" good night,' and he answered me 'good night. He then asked me, if I had seen Quamina or Bristol? I replied, 'No:' he made answer, They are afraid to come to me now'. He said further, I wish I could see any one of them.'" He admits, indeed, that he saw Quamina on the Wednesday, but that he had no knowledge of his being concerned in the revolt. The work published by the missionary society, to which the hon. and learned gentleman has made such frequent reference, contains a document which throws light upon this subject. It is stated by Mrs. Smith, in her affidavit published in that book, that the only conversation that passed between them, on the occasion, was, an observation by Mr. Smith, that "he was sorry and grieved to find that the people had been so foolish, and so wicked, and mad, as to be guilty of revolting,"—expressions which I regret he did not use when such revolt was only in prospect,—"and that he hoped Quamina was not concerned in it." But it is difficult to understand how he could have entertained such a hope, as the expressions that Quamina had employed in preceding interviews could hardly have led him to suppose, that, if a revolt took place, he could not have been connected with its operations. And when it is considered that Quamina himself, engaged in the revolt, went to Mr. Smith on the Wednesday, I cannot but infer, that he went to him with a consciousness that he was not endangering himself by those consequences of a visit which might have resulted from his going to any other person whom he considered less in the light of a friend and confidant. All these circumstances appear to me to place Mr. Smith in an attitude affording a strong prima facie case of suspicion of guilt. I think the whole of the transaction carries with it this conviction, and that nothing can resist it. You find that individuals already convicted of participation in the insurrection, were dependants of Mr. Smith, on terms of intimacy and acquaintance with him, many of them his agents, and some of them holding offices in his chapel; and yet you are told to believe, that all these circumstances may be the creatures of mere accident, and are utterly independent of the question. I entreat honourable members, with regard to this part of the evidence, to read these papers with attention, and then to avow what is the impression produced on their minds. I would ask any member to read this evidence with attention and to put his hand upon his heart, and declare that he believes Mr. Smith had not been guilty of misprision of treason, whether intentionally or inadvertently, in suppressing his knowledge of the proceedings of the negroes. And, if his conduct has placed him in a situation in which he appears to have been clothed with all the attributes of crime, it is impossible to clear or exonerate him; at least, it is unjust to criminate the court-martial, on the ground of his having been induced to act as he did by good intentions. If a man, under the influence of irregular opinions, of an indiscreet zeal, or of enthusiastic feelings, decides to act in a manner different from those who possess sound and accurate judgment, it is impossible to prevent criminality from attach- ing to him; and it is useless to deny that it is to such habits and opinions that he owes his misfortunes;—and if the enthusiasm of this individual is to be defended, enthusiasm might be defended in her worst efforts. You may suppose, if you please, that every man is actuated by good intention, but you can only judge of the characters of men by their actions; and judging of Mr. Smith by his actions, you find that he was cognizant of this traitorous conspiracy—a conspiracy calculated to overthrow the whole colony;—and that, being cognizant of it, he omitted to give the proper authorities that information which might have prevented it.

Before we throw unqualified censure on the court by whom this individual was tried, let us for a moment consider the consequences of this conduct. If this conspiracy could have been prevented by the interference or communication of Mr. Smith, he himself became more or less responsible, not only for the consequences which did follow, but for those also which might probably have followed, and which were and would have been the result of his concealment. I now, Sir, particularly wish to refer you to a passage in the petition* presented to this House by the hon. member for Knares borough, which has necessarily produced an impression on the public. That petition states as follows: "It appears to have been rather a riotous assemblage than a planned rebellion; and within a very few days it was easily suppressed. Many negroes were shot and hanged, though little, if any, injury had been done to any property, and though the life of no white man was voluntarily taken away by them." As to the loss of property, I would ask, whether the effect of this temporary suspension of the course of common affairs was not highly prejudicial to the interests of property; and though the effect of the insurrection might not have been the destruction of houses and property by fire and plunder, yet I would inquire if the necessity of compelling individuals to abandon their civil, for exclusively military, occupations, is not to be considered as highly detrimental to their interests; and whether in fact, they did not sustain a severe loss in their property by this removal from their customary avocations? With respect to loss of life, I call on the House to lend me its attention, while I *See p. 401 of the present volume. refer to the examination and declaration of Mrs. Mary Walrand, to which I venture to challenge the particular attention of the other side of the House. This examination is in p. 22 of No. II. of the Demerara papers now before the House. It is in these terms: "On this day, the 1st of September, 1823, personally appeared Mrs. Mary Walrand, wife of F. A. Walrand, part owner of Nabaclis, on the east coast of the united colony of Demerara and Essequibo, who states, that at half-past four in the morning of the 19th August, 1823, she heard the firing of guns, and persons breaking into the house, the jealousies breaking open."—I am justified in pressing this statement upon the House. I think it scarcely possible for history to supply a case more interesting than the one I am going to read, or one where female heroism is more likely to challenge and receive admiration, than the narrative of the conduct of this lady. She proceeds to say—"Mr. Walrand then ran down stairs to defend the house, and I ran to one of the chamber windows, threw it open, and begged them to desist. I asked them what was the matter; they said 'Look at the lady at the window;' some said, 'Fire at her:' they did fire, and struck me in the arm. I retreated then a little from the window, and returned to it again, where I again beseeched them to be quiet; when holding up my hands in an attitude of supplication they again fired and wounded me in the hand. I then ran from the window to the stairs. As I got on the stairs I met my servant boy Billy (a servant boy of Mr. Walrand's who came from Barbadoes); he asked me where I was going; I said, below; and he said, 'Oh! my dear mistress, don't go,' and spoke with great terror; 'they have killed Mr. Tucker, wounded Mr. Forbes severely, and my master, I believe, is killed; I saw him dragged on the ground.'"—Be it remembered that when the petitions which have been poured forth upon the table are exclaiming against the proceedings of the court-martial, and when the hon. and learned gentleman would have all the sympathy of mankind mortgaged, as it were, to his eloquence and pathos in behalf of Mr. Smith, I have a right to claim some portion of compassion for those who have fallen victims to this conspiracy; and I would inquire, if some degree of pity is not due to the state of suffering and alarm Which this lady was compelled to endure—She goes on: "He then pulled me into my own room, an upper room, and locked the door as soon as I got in; and we had scarcely been in the room before they rushed up stairs. He then opened a window, and jumped on the gallery, where they attempted to fire at him; he called our cook, called Lancaster, and said, 'Are you going to fire at me? I know you.' A boy presented at me, standing in the window, when Billy said, 'Are you going to shoot my mistress?' I then perceived a very tall man close under the window, below on the ground; he told me, putting his hand on his mouth, Hush! they would not kill me. I begged him then to come up stairs and protect me; he burst the door, a number rushed in, filled the room instantly; the tall man (believed to be Calib, as he confessed it to Mr. Walrand and Mr. R. Reed) entered first, with a pistol presented at me; they all presented at me. I asked them, why they would kill me; what harm I had done them. They said, they did not intend to kill me, but I must show them all the powder and shot, where it was and where my husband was; I said that he had gone down stairs on hearing the noise, and I had never seen him since that time: they said, 'other gentlemen were in the house, where are they?' I said I did not know. They then proceeded to examine all the trunks in the room, and boxes, and to take every thing valuable. About this time I began to inquire for Mr. Walrand, what they had done with him. A man then advanced from the crowd, and asked me if I knew him; I said, No, I really did not: he said, I know you, you are a very good lady; I know that you go to your sick-house, give the people physic, and attend to them; and that Mr. Walrand is an excellent master: my name is Sandy, of Non Pared, head carpenter.' 'Well then,' said I, 'Sandy, tell me what they have done with Mr. Walrand?' He said, 'he is not hurt, m'aam; he is only in the stocks.' 'Then,' I said, 'I must go there too:' the tall man then said, 'O no, you must be guarded in the house.' Whilst I was begging to go, a man named Joseph of Nabaclis, driver, came up to me, and then I clung to him, and insisted to go to Mr. Walrand: he likewise entreated for me, and spoke of my character as a good mistress to them, and upbraided them with their cruelty in having fired at me. While Joseph was speaking, the tall man went to the window, called from the window to the negroes, who were committing great excesses, breaking open the logie, and drinking the wine, 'Make haste away to the post; you are losing time.' After he gave that order, he gave no reply to ray entreaties, but ran down stairs to accompany them. All this time I held Joseph by the arm, whilst they were retreating down the side line, they having only left a guard; Rodney, of Bachelor's Adventure, was the one. I still persuaded him to take me to Mr. Walrand; he said it was more than his head was worth, without leave from the guard: he then went away and brought one of the guards: I said I would run to him at all events; the guard, Rodney, came into the house and accompanied me down stairs, then gave me leave to go; and in my way down stairs I saw Mr. Tucker's body; they had rifled his person of his watch, and everything on him, except his clothes; and after recovering from the shock of the first sight of it, I thought it might make some impression on their minds to speak to them of the crime, and see whether religion had any government of their motions."—This passage appears to me to show the danger of trusting to the effects of religious instruction for its influence over the conduct of slaves in insurrection; it shews the shocking degree of barbarity which ensues when the passions of men are excited in consequence of their sudden freedom from restraint, and of a discontinuance of their usual habits of obedience.—She goes on: "Rodney said they had not murdered him; he had cut his own throat. Joseph was still with me; said, 'Don't say so,' and stooped, untied his cravat, opened his shirt-collar to shew him his throat was not cut, and said, 'Don't you see that throat is not cut? he is shot in the body.' I said, 'You will then say that I shot myself; here is blood on my hands and all over me; here is my gown all over with it.' (They had previously told me their freedom had come out, and they had great friends at home)."—Here I would remark, that the circumstance of this misapprehension of the nature of the benefits intended to be conferred upon them, affords no justification or palliation, whatever of the conduct of the slaves; but if this insurrection of these slaves attending Bethel chapel arose solely from the circumstance of the resolutions of the House of Com- mons having been known to have passed, how came it that all the rest of the 70,000 slaves in the colony, who were in a situation precisely to be acted on by the same feelings, who were equally interested in the subject; how happened it that they were not equally dissatisfied with the delay of this communication, that they did not join in this conspiracy, that they were not equally excited to these cruelties and atrocities? I answer, Sir, the movement did not arise from the operation of a general feeling, but from a particular local cause; and to that it is mainly to be attributed—Mrs. Walrand proceeds: "I told them I would send my gown home and let them see what savages they were to fire on a defenceless lady, who attended them in sickness. I begged Joseph, and all our negroes, to testify if those who had been poorly, had not drunk the chocolate out of my own cup. Joseph said it was all true; and not one of our negroes would injure me, he was sure. Rodney said, there was no occasion to talk any more; and took me by the arm over to the sick-house, and into the room were Mr. Forbes, who was badly wounded, was lying on the hard floor, and Mr. Walrand was there: neither was in the stocks at that time. After speaking to Mr. Walrand, I went to Mr. Forbes; he was a Scotchman, overseer of the estate; and he said 'What a scene is this for you, madam!' His blood had covered the floor in great quantities: I asked him to hare his wounds dressed; he replied to me, 'No, he would rather die; they have taken all my clothes, and all the little money that I had been toiling for; and this is now no country for a poor man to get his living in.' He asked me if there was no hope of relief: 'if this act passes unpunished, what have we to expect? I lie here murdered by the hands of those wretches; our Prince gave me a blow in my head,' where there was a cut across his neck, which Mr. Walrand saw. He said, 'I wish Wilberforce was here in this room, just to look on me; for we may thank him and them for all that has happened, that the same might be dealt to him by some band."—[Mr. Wilmot Horton did not wish to have read this last passage, but the House called upon him to go on with it.]

I would not have the House suppose that I read this passage for the purpose of exciting any sympathy of feeling; but, however these expressions may be to be regretted, still some apology is to be made for the language of a man expiring in the last painful agonies of death, and asserting his intimate conviction of the cause which had occasioned it. It shews, at least, what impressions can be produced upon the minds of persons who are heated by strong feeling on those subjects in which this question is involved. This will shew, at least, the danger of working upon the feelings and passions of men who are susceptible of excitement to the highest degree, and will shew the necessity of checking any dangerous exercise of enthusiasm. Those who act under its influence, and are determined to go beyond the bounds which reason, and the common course of nature, prescribe to human actions, must be taught to repress their enthusiastic feelings; and if you have missionaries like Mr. Smith, who entertain opinions, that negro slavery cannot be improved, that there is an end of all rational probability of improving the condition of the slaves, and that it is an evil which must suddenly be got rid of, it is not less our duty than our policy to prevent the evils which such a habit of thinking is calculated to produce. I also contend, that this great object, to which the legislature of this country are solemnly pledged, on the subject of the ultimate Abolition of Slavery, and which will require a long lapse of time to effect, will be inevitably frustrated, unless you can induce the masters and the possessors of slaves to concur with you in the measures necessary for its accomplishment. Therefore, if it be imagined that there is one common ground of complaint against all missionaries, because this court-martial has sat in judgment upon the missionary Smith; if all missionaries conceive themselves to be attacked; it is an error into which they have fallen, more to be deprecated than any other circumstance. No word has dropped from any hon. member of this House, to warrant such an inference; no one would be capable of uttering it; for if the instructions of the London Missionary Society are read with attention, it will be impossible to imagine directions more prudent or more satisfactory. Any missionaries who acted literally under such instructions, must undoubtedly prove advantageous to any colony. I call on every gentleman in the House to answer, when he reads these instructions, and compares them with Mr. Smith's conduct, whether he thinks that they were fulfilled by Mr. Smith. These instructions were of the most salutary nature; better could not have been devised; more proper instructions could not have been wished: but Mr. Smith is held up by his partizans, not only as a man of innocent intentions (which we are not discussing), but of exemplary prudence and discretion; and these are considerations well worth the attention of those persons who are connected with other missionary societies when they are called upon to make a common cause with this individual, who, whatever may be his guilt or innocence, had not the good fortune to possess that prudence and temperance of feeling, without which the labours of a missionary must not only be fruitless but dangerous.

Mrs. Walrand

proceeds: "He (Mr. Forbes) said, how he envied Mr. Tucker his immediate death; and seemed in the most excruciating agony, but perfectly in his senses. I entreated the guard, in the name of every principle of humanity, just to let me send to Golden Grove, the next estate, to Dr. Goldie; I tried to get them to look at the dying, bleeding man, hoping the sight of his misery would move their compassion. Each of the guards, at different times, Murphy, Rodney, and others, refused. The man died at half past twelve that night. In the course of the forenoon of Tuesday, Murphy (the man since executed) came into the gallery of the sick-house, and was examining the house. I asked what was the meaning of all they had done, and what they wanted. He said, their freedom; the king had sent it out, and their owners would not give it. I asked, 'Who told you so?' he said, 'parson Smith preached it every Sunday.' I gave him my word most solemnly that I knew nothing of it; at least our negroes had received no such freedom. They seemed to think I was deceiving them. He said, parson Smith was put in the stocks also. They said, 'The negroes no want to put him in, but parson Smith said, they must put him in, if they put other whites in, for copy of countenance.'"

Whatever may be the credit attached to this latter testimony, I quote it to shew the crimes that result from transactions such as these, and the dangers to the white population. Mr. Smith held in his hands the destinies of this colony, and might have prevented these scenes by communicating his information to the proper authorities; and he might have done so without producing mischief to any individual. If Mr. Smith had been afraid; if he had felt, that, as the spiritual master and director of these slaves, as their confidant and friend, he was unwilling to state any thing that would tend to criminate them, still he might have made all necessary communications without any such consequences; he might have said, "there is some misunderstanding among the negroes, who have heard that the promise of some indefinite good has come out, which has been misapprehended from not having been properly explained; I think that this may lead to disturbances which, when once commenced, it may be difficult or impossible to check: you cannot do better than to have your police out, to be on your guard, and to watch the motions of the negroes." He does nothing of this kind. If he had reasoned and acted thus, he would essentially have done his duty. It would not be necessary that a man should have a tithe of the ingenuity which Mr. Smith possessed, to have directed him how he should do all this; to have enabled him to hit upon some mode by which he might have acquitted himself, consistently with his own sense of friendship for the negroes, and with his duty to the government. While the House is directing its attention to the circumstances of Mr. Smith, let it reflect on the crimes that I have been describing, and which were the consequences of that insurrection which he might have prevented. I should like to know where the casuist is, who, listening to this individual instance which I have read, which appears to have been most atrocious, can justify it, or can tell you, when once you let in the principle of insurrection, where its effects and its desolation will stop. To whom is it owing, if in the present instance it proceeded no further? To the exertions of those honourable officers who are now sought to be criminated by the hon. and learned gentleman; whom he holds up as persons who have forfeited every principle of honour, and whom he represents as hostile to the abolition of slavery. But, can you suppose that the officers of this court-martial, utterly unconnected with the colony, were actuated by such base and unworthy motives? Can you suppose that such men as colonel Goodman and Mr. President Wray, though connected with the colony, should have acted upon such principles? What ob- ject could they expect to gain by such a dereliction of their plain duty? If it could be shewn that they were actuated by unworthy motives, the feelings of the country might justifiably be roused; but I assert, that the public are as yet utterly unacquainted with the details of this subject. I feel satisfied that the House will consider Mr. Smith, not as a pattern of prudence, but as a man guilty of the grossest imprudence; though, as to the criminality or innocence of his motives, that is a question between his Creator and himself, and, as far as human judgment is concerned, there will be a difference of opinion upon it to the end of the world. For myself, I must think him an enthusiast; I must think that he entertained notions of an extravagant and irrational nature, incompatible with the well-being of society, or at least of that society in which he lived. He appears to me to have believed that there were cases where the end justified the means; that passive knowledge was not actual guilt: and, whatever may have been his intentions, I do not see why he is not to be treated as guilty, when we find that all the attributes of guilt belong to him. As to the question of bringing him before a court-martial, I think there could have been no other intention than to do justice. Then, as to the character of the proceedings, I think I am justified in saying, that nobody will maintain, that the same nicety of evidence is to be required in a court-martial as is required in a trial at common law*. Under all the circumstances of the case, therefore, there appears to be no reason for suspecting any intended injustice towards Mr. Smith.

Now, Sir, before I sit down, I feel it my duty to allude once more to the petition which was presented by the hon. and learned member for Knaresborough. The petition states, that the cause of this insurrection was in no degree connected with the conduct of Mr. Smith himself, or of the slaves under his immediate *"That all common-law courts ought to proceed on a general rule, namely, the best evidence that the nature of the case will admit, I perfectly agree. But that all other courts are in all cases to adopt all the distinctions that hove been established and adopted in courts of commonlaw, is rather a larger proposition than I choose directly to assent to."—Lord Loughborough, in Grant v. Gould. jurisdiction; but was the result of an opposition to the moral and religious instruction of the slaves on the part of his persecutors, and the cruelty of the masters towards the slaves. I challenge the hon. gentleman, or any other person to shew that the slaves were influenced by ill-treatment. It so happened (and I beg the attention of the House to this), that the principle leaders in this insurrection were high in the confidence of their masters; they were trusted, they were well fed, they were well paid, and (if I may be allowed the expression) they were in comparative circumstances of affluence and prosperity. The petition states, that "capricious interruptions and impediments were thrown in the way of their religious duties," and that "a long and inexplicable delay in promulgating the directions transmitted from his majesty's government favourable to the negro population, that were known among them to have arrived, were causes sufficient to have accounted for the effect." That statement is positively inaccurate. There may have been interruptions; but to what do they amount? Particular parties may have been wronged; but it forms no ground work for the transactions which ensued. With respect to the delay in promulgating the intentions of government, whether that was or was not prudent, I do not pause to argue; but still I think it is no cause sufficient to account for the effect. If it had been so, it would have operated as much in the other districts of this colony, as well as in other parts of the West Indies, which were placed precisely under the same circumstances. I have already shewn, that the assertion that this "bloodless insurrection," as it has been called, had been productive of no loss of property or lives, is inaccurate. The petitioners then set forth, that the particular circumstances connected with Demerara have rendered the duties of missionaries there particularly arduous and perplexing, and have occasioned difficulties which no other West-India colony presents in an equal degree. This statement I believe to be exaggerated; but, at least, it does not affect the present question. I do not imagine that any missionary can go out without expecting that he is going on a severe and difficult service; that he will have much to endure, and much to bear, and to forbear; but even if he does meet with scandalous conduct, that does not justify him in taking measures of reprisals on the whole population of the colony. Why not disclose to the government any acts that might warrant a suspicion of an existing intention on the part of the negro population to revolt?

It is stated, that Mr. Smith was put in close confinement; and the hon. and learned member has descanted on the horrors of that imprisonment. It does not, however, appear that he had to endure any unnecessary severity; and the complaint of his imprisonment would at least have equally applied if he had been imprisoned under a civil process, and not in pursuance of the sentence of a court-martial. There were circumstances which rendered it impossible that he could be imprisoned elsewhere. I cannot believe that it was the intention of the parties under whose authority that imprisonment took place, that it should be more severe than was necessary. I do think that all those points are crowded together in the petition by way of aggravation, and to excite the feelings of the country; but before blame is imputed, I think the proofs ought to be satisfactorily established. Then it is stated that he had not the assistance of an advocate. The fact is otherwise; he had the assistance of an advocate, as far as he could be useful to him for all necessary purposes. As to the receiving hearsay evidence against him and not for him, I am satisfied that it is an inaccuracy, and that the court-martial did not do what they are stated to have done. It seems impossible that such a man as the honourable president of this court-martial can ever have said, or suffered it to be said. "After admitting hearsay evidence for the prosecution, we will not now hear any more;" that declaration being made, too, after the commencement of the defence, with a view to deprive Mr. Smith of the benefit of similar evidence. I am satisfied that this could not have been said, without some qualification which deprives it of its injustice; and I hope the House will not feel itself bound to agree with the hon. and learned gentleman's motion, made on the faith of this publication, proceeding from a society, however respectable, but not from official documents upon which this House has to act.

The petition states, that the influence of the doctrine promulgated by Mr. Smith was visible in the manner of conducting the insurrection, and by the absence of outrage by which it was marked; that more mildness was manifested during this commotion by the parties than is usual on such occasions. I ask the House, How can any man, who has read the declaration on oath of Mrs. Walrand, agree with these petitioners, that the happy influence of Christian instruction, with its mild and benignant spirit, was visible throughout those proceedings? The whole country has been told that this was an insurrection attended by no violence. I deny it altogether. I would refer to the evidence of Mrs. Walrand, and ask, if there was not unnecessary cruelty. Was it necessary, for any useful object, that Mrs. Walrand should herself be shot at? It is true, that she received the balls only in her arm, but they might have reached her heart. Surely there never was a case of insurrection more distinguished, in some of its incidents, than this was by features of outrage. While such aggravation of some facts and mitigation of others have been put forth, can it be wondered at that petitions on this subject should have deluged the table? and will you be surprised that they should be continued, until the public are satisfied of the exaggeration of the statements which have gone forth? The petitioners say, that "it was on Mr. Smith, an innocent and unprotected victim, that they (the colonists) chiefly poured the torrent of their wrath. I say, that it was not on Mr. Smith as an innocent and unprotected victim; but on Mr. Smith whom they believed to be the person who might have prevented their distress, and whom they believed to be cognisant of, and connivant at, the conspiracy, and who, though he did not criminally encourage it, might at least have prevented it. I cannot think, under these circumstances, that he is fairly to be characterised as an innocent and unprotected victim.—The petitioners state, also, that "all the legal opinions they have obtained, and all the information they have collected, tend to confirm their belief, not only of the legal, but perfect moral, innocence of Mr. Smith." As to what opinion he had formed in his own conscience of his own moral accountability, of his notions of right or wrong, it is not for us to judge; but if a man suffers himself to believe that he can, with a false confidence on his own judgment, act in a manner not sanctioned by law—not only incompatible with the good of society, but which must lead to the destruction of it—we are justified in characterizing him as a criminal, though his own interpretation of his duty may absolve him from guilt. It is a necessity arising out of the imperfection of human nature, that we are compelled to look at the actions of men as indicative of their intentions; and looking at those acts of Mr. Smith, whatever may have been his misapprehension of his duty, I cannot but consider him as guilty.

I have endeavoured, Sir, to establish that the statements in the petition are inaccurate; and that this petition is to be considered as the parent of all the other petitions. On the faith that this petition has represented facts as they occur, there has been an universal disposition, on the part of those who are interested in missions generally, to present these petitions to the House. But I contend, that it will be most unfortunate for the cause of missions and of missionaries, if it is to be laid down, that the conduct of Mr. Smith is to be considered as a model by those who are destined to the performance of the same duties with himself; and whatever may be the opinion of the petitioners of Mr. Smith's innocence, they would, in my opinion, have acted with more discretion, if they had allowed that his conduct in some instances had all the characteristics of guilt belonging to it. I assert, that no man could be guilty of misprision of treason, without involving a doubt of his criminality. A man may have an innocent intention, and yet do that which is criminal; the moral character of the crime may unquestionably be affected by the circumstances that attend it. It is not for me to lay down law; that must be read in the authorities that are to be found on the subject, or explained by honourable members who are more competent to the task; but Mr. Smith does unequivocally appear to me, to have been guilty of misprision of reason; and his letter completely establishes the fact.—With respect to the mode of his trial, it was necessarily under the operation of martial law. I have shewn that martial law was proclaimed, not for the purpose of injuring or oppressing Mr. Smith, but in strict compliance with the wishes of the inhabitants of the whole colony. The hon. and learned gentleman has allowed that the wishes of a whole community are always to be considered as the sanction of any measure. I have shewn, that the whole community were in favour of the continuance of martial law, so satisfied were they of its necessity; and therefore, upon the principle of the hon. and learned gentleman himself, the authorities were justified in continuing it. Under these circumstances, I cannot "contemplate with serious alarm, and deep sorrow, the violation of justice" in the proceedings against Mr. Smith. It appears to me, that the case of Mr. Smith, under the suspicions which attach to him, and on the evidence adduced against him, was one that required justice to be put in action; and that justice in intention, and in substance, has been carried into effect. It has been argued, that the judge-advocate had mistaken his duty, when he summed up the evidence rather in the character of a counsel against the prisoner, than as an assessor to hold the balance between him and the court; but that argument, if it be tenable, as founded on precedent, cannot destroy or affect the weight of evidence itself, on which the members of the court must be presumed to have formed their opinion.

Looking, then, at the whole of this subject, the question is, Was it intended that substantial justice should be done to Mr. Smith, and has substantial justice been done to him? And, under the circumstances of difficulty and danger in which this colony was placed; under the circumstances of its relative population, with its absence of means of military resistance; can it be said, that the measures to which the authorities were compelled to resort were such as deserved the stigma which is attached to them by the resolution of the hon. and learned gentleman?—As to the concluding part of the resolution, "for securing such a just and humane administration of law," &c.; that is a proposition, in the abstract, to which no one could object. At present, the Dutch law is in the progress of alteration in Demerara, for the purpose of having another and a better system substituted for it. I see no reason, therefore, for the House coming to the resolution which has been proposed. I have felt it to be important for me, in the discharge of my public duty, to express my opinion. It is the wish of government that the affair should be impartially heard and investigated, on such evidence as the House is in the possession of. There are others who are more capable of doing justice to the subject; but for myself, I must dissent from the proposition of the hon. and learned gentleman; and I trust that he will not be able to prevail on the House to concur with him in his motion, and by their vote to sanction the resolution which he has brought forward.

Sir James Mackintosh


Mr. Speaker

; even if I had not been loudly called upon, and directly challenged by the honourable gentleman—even if his accusations, now repeated after full consideration, did not make it my duty to vindicate the petition, which I had the honour to present, from unjust reproach—I own that I should have been anxious to address the House on this occasion; not to strengthen a case already invincible, but to bear my solemn testimony against the most unjust and cruel abuse of power, under a false pretence of law, that has in our times dishonoured any portion of the British empire. I am sorry that the hon. gentleman, after so long an interval for reflection, should have this night repeated those charges against the London Missionary Society, which, when he first made them, I thought rash, and which I am now entitled to treat as utterly groundless. I should regret to be detained by them for a moment, from the great question of humanity, of justice, before us, if I did not feel that they excite a prejudice against the case of Mr. Smith, and that the short discussion sufficient to put them aside leads directly to the vindication of the memory of that oppressed man.

The hon. gentleman calls the London Missionary Society bad philosophers; by which I presume he means bad reasoners, because they ascribe the insurrection partly "to the long and inexplicable delay of the government of Demerara to promulgate the instructions favourable to the slave population," and because he, adopting one of the arguments of that speech by which the deputy judge-advocate disgraced his office, contends, that a partial revolt cannot have arisen from a general cause of discontent—a position belied by the whole course of history, and which is founded upon the absurd assumption, that one part of a people, from circumstances sometimes easy, sometimes very hard, to be discovered, may not be more provoked than others by the grievance common to all. So inconsistent, indeed, is the defence of the rulers of Demerara with itself, that in another part of the case they represent a project for an universal insurrection as having been formed, and ascribe its being in fact confined to the east coast to unac- countable accidents. Paris, the ringleader, in what is called his confession, says, "The whole colony was to have risen on Monday, and I cannot account for the reasons why only the east coast rose at the time appointed." [Demerara Papers, No. II. p. 21.] So that, according to this part of their own evidence, they must abandon their argument, and own the discontent to have been as general as the grievance.

Another argument against the Society's petition is transplanted from the same nursery of weeds. It is said, that cruelty cannot have contributed to this insurrection, because the leaders of the revolt were persons little likely to have been cruelly used, being among the most trusted of the slaves. Those who employ so gross a fallacy must be content to be called worse reasoners than the London Missionary Society. It is, indeed, one of the usual commonplaces in all cases of discontent and tumult, but it is one of the most futile. The moving cause of most insurrections, and in the opinion of two great men (Sully and Burke) of all, is, the distress of the great body of insurgents: but the ringleaders are generally, and almost necessarily, individuals who being more highly endowed, or more happily situated, are raised above the distress which is suffered by those of whom they take the command.

But, the hon. gentleman's principal charge against the petition is the allegation contained in it, that "the life of no white man was voluntarily taken away by the slaves." When I heard the confidence with which a confutation of this averment was announced, I own I trembled for the accuracy of the petition. But, what was my astonishment when I heard the attempt at confutation made? In the Demerara papers No. II. there is an ample and elaborate narrative of an attack on the house of a Mrs. Walrand, by the insurgents, made by that lady, or for her—a caution in statement which the subsequent parts of these proceedings prove to be necessary in Demerara. The hon. gentleman has read the narrative, to show that two lives were unhappily lost in this skirmish; and this the hon. gentleman seriously quotes as proving the inaccuracy of the petition. Docs he believe, can he hope to persuade the House, that the petitioners meant to say that there was an insurrection without fighting, or skirmishes without death? The attack and defences of houses and posts are a necessary part of all revolts, and deaths are the natural consequences of that, as well as of every species of warfare. The revolt in this case was, doubtless an offence; the attack on the house was a part of that offence; the defence was brave and praiseworthy; the loss of lives is deeply to be deplored, but it was inseparable from all such unhappy scenes: it could not be "the voluntary killing" intended to be denied in the petition. The governor of Demerara, in a despatch to lord Bathurst, makes the same statement with the petition: "I have not," he says, "heard of one white who was deliberately murdered." Yet he was perfectly aware of the fact which has been so triumphantly displayed to the House. "At plantation Nabaclis, where the whites were on their guard, two out of three were killed in the defence of their habitation." The defence was legitimate, and the deaths lamentable. But, as the governor distinguishes them from murder so do the society. They deny that there was any killing in cold blood. They did not mean to deny, any more than to affirm (for the papers which mention the fact were printed since their petition), that there was killing in battle, when each party were openly struggling to destroy their antagonists, and to preserve themselves. The society only denies that this insurrection was dishonoured by those murders of the unoffending or of the vanquished, which too frequently attend the revolts of slaves. The governor of Demerara agrees with them; the whole facts of the case support them; and the quotation of the hon. gentleman leaves their denial untouched. The revolt was absolutely unstained by excess. The killing of whites, even in action, was so small, as not to appear in the trial of Mr. Smith, or in the first accounts laid before us; I will not stop to inquire whether killing in action may not, in a strictly philosophical sense, be called "voluntary." It is enough for me, that no man will call it calm, needless, or deliberate. This is quite sufficient to justify even the words of the petition. The substance of it is now more than abundantly justified by the general spirit of humanity which pervaded the unhappy insurgents, by the unparalleled forbearance and moderation which characterized the insurrection. On this part of the subject, so important to the general question, as well as to the character of the petition for accuracy, the mis- sionary society appeal to the highest authority, that of the rev. Mr. Austin—not a missionary, or a methodist, but the chaplain of the colony, a minister of the church of England; who has done honour even to that church, so illustrious by the genius and learning and virtue of many of her clergy, by his christian charity, by his indexible principles of justice, by his intrepid defence of innocence against all the power of a government, and against the still more formidable prejudices of an alarmed and incensed community. No man ever did himself more honour by the admirable combination of strength of character with sense of duty; which needed nothing but a larger and more elevated theatre to place him among those who will be in all ages regarded by mankind as models for imitation, and objects of reverence. That excellent person—speaking of Mr. Smith, a person with whom he was previously unacquainted, a minister of a different persuasion, a missionary, considered by many of the established clergy as a rival if not an enemy, a man then odious to the body of the colonists, whose goodwill must have been so important to Mr. Austin's comfort—after declaring his conviction of the perfect innocence and extraordinary merit of the persecuted missionary, proceeds to bear testimony to the moderation of the insurgents, and to the beneficent influence of Mr. Smith in' producing that moderation, in language far warmer and bolder than that of the petitioners. "I feel no hesitation in declaring," says he, "from the intimate knowledge which my most anxious inquiries have obtained, that in the late scourge, which the hand of an All-wise Creator has inflicted on this ill-fated country, nothing but those religious impressions which, under Providence, Mr. Smith has been instrumental in fixing; nothing but those principles of the gospel of peace, which he had been proclaiming; could have prevented a dreadful effusion of blood here, and saved the lives of those very persons who are now, I shudder to write it, seeking his life!"

And here I beg the House to weigh this testimony. It is not only valuable from the integrity, impartiality, and understanding of the witness, but from his opportunities of acquiring that "intimate knowledge" of facts on which he rests his opinion. He was a member of the Secret Commission of Inquiry established on this occasion, which was armed with all the authority of government, and which received much evidence, relating to this insurrection, not produced on the trial of Mr. Smith. And this circumstance immediately brings me to the consideration of the hearsay evidence illegally received against Mr. Smith. I do not merely, or chiefly, object to it on grounds purely technical, or as being inadmissible by the law of England. I abstain from taking any part in the discussion of lawyers or philosophers, with respect to the wisdom of our rules of evidence: though I think that there is to be said more for them than the ingenious objectors are aware of. What I complain of is, the admission of hearsay of the vaguest sort, under circumstances where such an admission was utterly abominable. In what I am about to say, I shall not quote from the Society's edition of the trial, but from that which is officially before the House; so that I may lay aside all that has been said on the superior authority of the latter. Mr. Austin, when examined in chief, stated, that, though originally prepossessed against Mr. Smith, yet, in the course of numerous inquiries, he could not see any circumstance which led to a belief that Mr. Smith bad been, in any degree, instrumental in the insurrection; and that, on the contrary, when he (Mr. Austin) said to the slaves that bloodshed had not marked the progress of their insurrection, their answer was, "It is contrary to the religion we profess" (which had been taught to them by Mr. Smith): "we cannot give life, and therefore we will not take it." This evidence of the innocence of Mr. Smith, and of the humanity of the slaves, appears to have alarmed the impartial judge-advocate; and he proceeded, in his cross-examination, to ask Mr. Austin whether any of the negroes had ever insinuated that their misfortunes were occasioned by the prisoner's influence over them, or by the doctrines he taught them. Mr. Austin, understanding this question to refer to what passed before the committee, appears to have respectfully hesitated about the propriety of disclosing these proceedings; upon which the court, in a tone of discourtesy and displeasure, which a reputable advocate for a prisoner would not have used towards such a witness in this country, addressed the following illegal and indecent question to Mr. Austin: "Can you take it upon yourself to swear that you do not recollect any insinuations of that sort at the Board of Evidence?" How that question came to be waved does not appear in the official copy. It is almost certain, however, from the purport of the next question, that the Society's Report is correct in supplying this defect; that Mr. Austin still doubted its substantial propriety, and continued to resent its insolent form. He was actually asked, "whether he heard, before the Board of Evidence, any negro imputing the cause of the revolt to the prisoner?" He answered "Yes," and the inquiry is pursued no further. I again request the House to bear in mind, that this question and answer rest on the authority of the official copy; and I repeat, that I disdain to press the legal objection of hearsay, and to contend, that to put such a question, and receive such an answer, were acts of mere usurpation in any English tribunal. Much higher matter arises on this part of the evidence. Fortunately for the interest of truth, we are now in possession of the testimony of the negroes before the Board of Inquiry, which is adverted to in this question, and which, be it observed, was wholly unknown to the unfortunate Mr. Smith. We naturally ask, why these negroes themselves were not produced as witnesses, if they were alive; or, if they were executed, how it happened that none of the men who gave such important evidence before the Board of Inquiry, were preserved to bear testimony against him before the court-martial? Why were they content with the much weaker evidence actually produced? Why were they driven to the necessity of illegally obtaining, through Mr. Austin, what they might have obtained from his informants? The reason is plain: they disbelieved the evidence of the negroes who threw out "the insinuations," or "imputations." That might have been nothing: but they knew that all mankind would have rejected that pretended evidence with horror. They knew that the negroes, to whom their question adverted, had told a tale to the Board of Evidence, in comparison with which the story of Titus Oates was a model of probability, candour, and truth. One of them (Sandy) said, that Mr. Smith told him, though not a member of his congregation, nor even a christian, "that a good thing was come for the negroes; and that if they did not seek for it now, the whites would trample upon them, and upon their sons and daughters to eternity." [Demerara Papers, No II. p. 26.] Another (Paris) says, "that all the male whites (except the doctors and missionaries.) were to be murdered, and all the females distributed among the insurgents; that one of their leaders was to be a king, another to be a governor, and Mr. Smith to be emperor" [id. p. 30];—that on Sunday, the 17th of August, Mr. Smith administered the sacrament to several leading negroes and to Mr. Hamilton, the European overseer of the estate Le Resouvenir; that he swore the former on the bible to do him no harm when they had conquered the country, and afterwards blessed their revolt, saying, "Go: as you have begun in Christ, you must end in Christ!" [id. p. 41.] All this the prosecutor concealed, with the knowledge of the court. While they asked whether Mr. Austin had heard statements made against Mr. Smith before the Board of Evidence, they studiously conceal all those incredible, monstrous, impossible, fictions which accompanied these statements, and which would have annihilated their credit. Whether the question was intended to discredit Mr. Austin or to prejudice Mr. Smith, it was, in either case, an atrocious attempt to take advantage of the stories told by the negroes, and, at the same time, to screen them from scrutiny, contradiction, disbelief, and abhorrence. If these men could have been believed, would they not have been produced on the trial? Paris, indeed, the author of this horrible fabrication, charges Bristol, Manuel, and Azor, three of the witnesses afterwards examined on the trial of Mr. Smith, as having been parties to the dire and execrable oath: not one of them alludes to such horrors: all virtually contradict them. Yet this court-martial sought to injure Mr. Austin, or to contribute to the destruction of Mr. Smith, by receiving as evidence a general statement of what was said by those whom they could not believe, whom they durst not produce, and who were contradicted by their own principal witnesses; who, if their whole tale had been brought into view, would have been driven out of any court with shouts of execration.

I cannot yet leave this part of the subject. It deeply affects the character of the whole transaction. It shews the general terror, which was so powerful as to stimulate the slaves to the invention of such monstrous falsehoods. It throws light on that species of skill with which the prosecutors kept back the absolutely incredible witnesses, and brought forward only those who were discreet enough to tell a more plausible story; and on the effect which the circulation of the fictions, which were too absurd to be avowed, must have had in exciting the body of the colonists to the most relentless animosity against the unfortunate Mr. Smith. It teaches us to view with the utmost jealousy the more guarded testimony actually produced against him, which could not be exempt from the influence of the same fears and prejudices. It authorizes me to lay a much more than ordinary stress on every defect of the evidence, because, in such circumstances, I am warranted in affirming that whatever was not proved, could not have been proved.

But, in answer to all this, we are asked by the hon. gentleman, "Would President Wray have been a party to the admission of improper evidence?" Now, Sir, I wish to say nothing disrespectful of Mr. Wray; and the rather because he is well spoken of by those whose good opinion is to be respected. We do not know that he may not have dissented from every act of this court-martial. I should heartily rejoice to hear that it was so: but I am aware we can never know whether he did or not. The hon. gentleman unwarily asks, "Would not Mr. Wray have publicly protested against illegal questions?" Does he not know, or has he forgotten, that every member of a court-martial is bound by oath not to disclose its proceedings? But really, Sir, I must say, that the character of no man can avail against facts. "Tolle e causâ nomen Catonis." Let character protect accused men where there is any defect in the evidence of their guilt. Let it continue to yield to them that protection which Mr. Smith, in his hour of danger, did not receive from the tenor of his blameless and virtuous life. Let it be used for mercy, not for severity. Let it never be allowed to aid a prosecutor, or to strengthen the case of an accuser. Let it be a shield to cover the accused; but let it never be converted into a dagger by which he is to be stabbed to the heart. Above all, let it not be used to destroy his good name, after his life has been taken away.

The question is, as has been stated by the hon. gentleman, whether, on a review of the whole evidence, Mr. Smith can be pronounced to be guilty of the crimes charged against him, and for which he was condemned to death. That is the fact on which issue is to be joined. In trying it, I can lay my hand on my heart and solemnly declare, upon my honour, or whatever more sacred sanction there be, that I believe him to have been an innocent and virtuous man; illegally tried, unjustly condemned to death, and treated in a manner which would be disgraceful to a civilized government in the case of the worst criminal. I heartily rejoice that the hon. gentleman has been manly enough directly to dissent from my hon. friend's motion; that the case is to be fairly brought to a decision; and that no attempt is to be made to evade a determination, by moving the previous question. That, of all modes of proceeding, I should most lament. Some may think Mr. Smith guilty: others will agree with me in thinking him innocent: but no one can doubt that it would be dishonourable to the grand jury of the empire, to declare that they will not decide, when a grave case is brought before them, whether a British subject has been lawfully or unlawfully condemned to death. We still observe that usage of our forefathers, according to which the House of Commons, at the commencement of every session of parliament, nominates a grand committee of justice; and if in ordinary cases other modes of proceeding have been substituted in practice for this ancient institution, we may at least respect it as a remembrancer of our duty, which points out one of the chief objects of the original establishment. All evasion is here refusal; and a denial of justice in parliament, more especially in an inquest for blood, would be a fatal and irreparable breach in the English constitution.

The question before us resolves itself into several questions, relating to every branch and stage of the proceedings against Mr. Smith:—Whether the court-martial had jurisdiction; whether the evidence against him was warranted by law, or sufficient in fact; whether the sentence was just, or the punishment legal? These questions are so extensive and important, that I cannot help wishing they had not been still further enlarged and embroiled by the introduction of matter wholly impertinent to any of them. To what purpose as the hon. gentleman so often told us, that Mr. Smith was an enthusiast? It would have been well if he had given us some explanation of the sense in which he uses so vague a term. If he meant by it to denote the prevalence of those disorderly passions which, what- ever be their source or their object, always disturb the understanding, and often pervert the moral sentiments; we have clear proof that it did not exist in Mr. Smith so far as to produce the first of these unfortunate effects; and it is begging the whole question in dispute, to assert that it manifested itself in him by the second and still more fatal symptom. There is, indeed, another temper of mind called enthusiasm, which though rejecting the authority neither of reason nor of virtue, triumphs overall the vulgar infirmities of men, contemns their ordinary pursuits, braves danger, and despises obloquy; which is the parent of heroic acts and apostolical sacrifices; which devotes the ease, the pleasure, the interest, the ambition, the life of the generous enthusiast, to the service of his fellowmen. If Mr. Smith had not been supported by an ardent zeal for the cause of God and man, he would have been ill qualified for a task so surrounded by disgust, by calumny, by peril, as that of attempting to pour instruction into the minds of unhappy slaves. Much of this excellent quality was doubtless necessary for so long enduring the climate and the government of Demerara. I am sorry that the hon. gentleman should have deigned to notice any part of the impertinent absurdities with which the court have suffered their minutes to be encumbered, and which have no more to do with this insurrection than with the Popish plot. What is it to us that a misunderstanding occurred three or four years ago between Mr. Smith and a person called Captain or Doctor Mac Turk, whom he had the misfortune to have for a neighbour—a misunderstanding long antecedent to this revolt, and utterly unconnected with any part of it? It was inadmissible evidence; and if it had been otherwise, it proved nothing, but the character of the witness—of the generous Mac Turk; who, having had a trifling difference with his neighbour five years ago, called it to mind at the moment when that neighbour's life was in danger. Such is the chivalrous magnanimity of Dr. Mac Turk. If I were infected by classical superstition, I should forbid such a man to embark in the same vessel with me. I leave him to those from whom, if we may trust his name or his manners, he may be descended; and I cannot help thinking that he deserves, as well as they, to be excluded from the territory of Christians.

I very sincerely regret that the hon. gentleman, by quotations from Mr. Smith's manuscript journal, should appear to give any countenance or sanction to the detestable violation of all law, humanity, and decency, by which that manuscript was produced in evidence against the writer. I am sure, that, when his official zeal has somewhat subsided, he will himself regret that he appealed to such a document. That which is unlawfully obtained, cannot be fairly quoted. The production of a paper in evidence containing general reflections and reasonings, or narratives of fact, not relating to any design, or composed to compass any end, is precisely the iniquity perpetrated by Jeffries in the case of Sidney, which has since been reprobated by all lawyers, and which has been solemnly condemned by the legislature itself. I deny, without fear of contradiction from any one of the learned lawyers who differ from me in this debate, that such a paper has been received in evidence since that abominable trial, by any body of men calling themselves a court of justice. Is there a single line in the extracts produced which could have been written to forward the insurrection? I defy any man to point it out. Could it be admissible evidence on any other ground? I defy any lawyer to maintain it: for if it were to be said that it manifests opinions and feelings favourable to negro insurrection, and which rendered probable the participation of Mr. Smith in this revolt (having first denied the fact), I should point to the statute reversing the attainder of Sidney, against whom the like evidence was produced precisely under the same pretence. Nothing can be more decisive on this point than the authority of a great judge and an. excellent writer. "Had the papers found in Sidney's closet," says Mr. Justice Foster, "been plainly relative to the other treasonable practices charged in the indictment, they might have been read in evidence against him, though not published. The papers found on lord Preston were written in prosecution of certain determined purposes which were treasonable, and then (namely at the time of writing) in the contemplation of the offenders." But the iniquity in the case of Sidney vanishes, in comparison with that of this trial. Sidney's manuscript was intended for publication. It could not be said that its tendency, when published, was not to excite dispositions hostile to the bad government which then existed; it was perhaps, in strictness, indictable as a seditious libel. The journal of Mr. Smith was meant for no human eye: it was seen by none; only extracts of it had been sent to his employers in England, as inoffensive, doubtless, as their excellent instructions required. In the midst of conjugal affection and confidence, it was withheld even from his wife. It consisted of his communings with his own mind, or the breathing of his thoughts towards his Creator; it was neither addressed nor communicated to any created being. That such a journal should have been dragged from its sacred secresy, is an atrocity (I repeat it) to which I know no parallel in the annals of any court that professed to observe a semblance of justice.

I dwell on this circumstance, because the hon. gentleman, by his quotation, has compelled me to do so, and because the admission of this evidence shews the temper of the court. For I think the extracts produced are, in truth, favourable to Mr. Smith; and I am entitled to presume, that the whole journal, withheld as it is from us, withheld from the colonial office, though circulated through the court to excite West-Indian prejudices against Mr. Smith, would, in the eyes of impartial men, have been still more decisively advantageous to his cause. How, indeed, can I think otherwise? What, in the opinion of the judge-advocate, is the capital crime of this journal? It is, that in it the prisoner "avows he feels an aversion to slavery!" He was so depraved, as to be an enemy of that admirable institution! He was so lost to all sense of morality, as to be dissatisfied with the perpetual and unlimited subjection of millions of reasonable creatures to the will, and caprice, and passions of other men! This opinion, it is true, Mr. Smith shared with the king, parliament, and people of Great Britain; with all wise and good men in all ages and nations: still, it is stated by the judge-advocate as if it were some immoral paradox, which it required the utmost effrontery to "avow" One of the passages produced in evidence, and therefore thought either to be criminal itself, or a proof of criminal intention, well deserves attention: "While writing this, my very heart flutters at hearing the almost incessant cracking of the whip!" As the date of this part of the journal is the 22nd March, 1819, more than four years before the insurrection, it cannot be so distorted by human ingenuity as to be brought to bear on the specific charges which the court had to try. What, therefore, is the purpose for which it is produced? They overheard, as it were, a man secretly complaining to himself of the agitation produced in his bodily frame by the horrible noise of a whip constantly resounding on the torn and bloody backs of his fellow creatures. As he does not dare to utter them to any other, they must have been unaffected, undesigning, almost involuntary, ejaculations of feeling. The discovery of them might have recalled unhardened men from practices of which they had thus casually perceived the impression upon an uncorrupted heart. It could hardly have been supposed that the most practised negro-driver could have blamed them more severely than by calling them effusions of weak and womanish feelings. But it seemed good to the prosecutors of Mr. Smith to view these complaints in another light: they regard the "fluttering of his heart at the incessant cracking of the whip" as an overt act of the treason of abhorring slavery. They treat natural compassion, and even its involuntary effects on the bodily frame, as an offence. Such is the system of their society, that they consider every man who feels pity for suffering, or indignation against cruelty, as their irreconcilable enemy. Nay, they receive a secret expression of these feelings as evidence against a man on trial for his life, in what they call a court of justice. My right hon. friend (Mr. Canning) has, on a former occasion, happily characterized the resistance, which has not been obscurely threatened, against all measures for mitigating the evils of slavery, as "a rebellion for the whip." In the present instance, we see how sacred that instrument is held; how the right to use it is prized as one of the dearest of privileges; and in what manner the most private murmur against its severest inflictions is brought forward as a proof, that he who breathes it must be prepared to plunge into violence and blood.

In the same spirit, conversations are given in evidence, long before the revolt, wholly unconnected with it, and held with ignorant men, who might easily misunderstand or misremember them; in which Mr. Smith is supposed to have expressed a general and speculative opinion, that slavery never could be mitigated, and that it must die a violent death. These opinions the hon. gentleman calls fanatical. Does he think Dr. Johnson a fanatic, or a sectary, or a methodist, or an enemy of established authority? But he must know, from the most amusing of books, that Johnson, when on a visit to Oxford, perhaps when enjoying lettered hospitality at the table of the master of University College,* proposed as a toast "Success to the first revolt of Negroes in the West Indies." He neither meant to make a jest of such matters, nor to express a deliberate wish for an event so full of horror, but merely to express in the strongest manner his honest hatred of slavery; for no man evermore detested actual oppression, though his Tory prejudices hindered him from seeing the value of those liberal institutions which alone secure society from oppression. This justice will be universally done to the aged Moralist, who knew slavery only as a distant evil, whose ears were never wounded by the cracking of the whip. Yet all the casual expressions of the unfortunate Mr. Smith, in the midst of dispute, or when he was fresh from the sight of suffering, rise up against him as legal proof of settled purposes and deliberate designs.

On the legality of the trial, the impregnable speech of my learned friend has left me little, if any thing, to say. The only principle on which the law of England tolerates what is called martial, is necessity: its introduction can be justified only by necessity; its continuance requires precisely the same justification of necessity; and if it survives the necessity on which alone it rests for a single minute, it becomes instantly a mere exercise of lawless violence. When foreign invasion or civil war renders it impossible for courts of law to sit, or to enforce the execution of their judgments, it becomes necessary to find some rude substitute for them, and to employ, for that purpose, the military, which is the only remaining force in the the community. While the laws are silenced by the noise of arms, the rulers of the armed force must punish, as equitably as they can, those crimes which threaten their own safety and that of society: but no longer; every moment beyond, is usurpation: as soon as the laws can act, every other mode of punishing supposed crimes is itself an enormous *Dr. Wetherell, father of the Solicitor General. crime. If argument be not enough on this subject; if, indeed, the mere statement be not the evidence of its own truth; I appeal to the highest and most venerable authority known to our law. "Martial law," says sir Matthew Hale, "is not a law, but something indulged, rather than allowed, as a law. The necessity of government, order, and discipline in an army, is that only which can give it countenance. 'Necessitas, enim, quod cogit defendit.' Secondly: this indulged law is only to extend to members of the army, or to those of the opposite army, and never may be so much indulged as to be exercised or executed upon others. Thirdly: the exercise of martial law may not be permitted in time of peace, when the king's courts are" (or may be) "open."* The illustrious judge on this occasion appeals to the Petition of Right, which, fifty years before, had declared all proceedings by martial law, in time of peace, to be illegal. He carries the principle back to the cradle of English liberty, and quotes the famous reversal of the attainder of the earl of Kent, in the first year of Edward the third, as decisive of the principle, that nothing but the necessity arising from the absolute interruption of civil judicatures by arms, can warrant the exercise of what is called martial law. Wherever, and whenever, they are are so interrupted, and as long as the interruption continues, necessity justifies it. No other doctrine has ever been maintained in this country, since the solemn parliamentary condemnation of the usurpations of Charles the 1st, which he was himself compelled to sanction in the Petition of Right. In none of the revolutions or rebellions which have since occurred, has martial law been exercised, however much, in some of them, the necessity might seem to exist. Even in those most deplorable of all commotions which tore Ireland in pieces in the last years of the eighteenth century; in the midst of ferocious revolt and cruel punishment; at the very moment of legalising these martial jurisdictions, in 1799, the very Irish statute which was passed for that purpose did homage to the ancient and fundamental principles of the law, in the very act of departing from them. The Irish statute 39 Geo. 3rd, c. 2, after reciting that martial law had been successfully exercised to the restoration of peace so far as to per- *Hale's Hist. Com. Law, c. 11. mit the course of the common law partially to take place, but that the rebellion continued to rage in considerable parts of the kingdom, whereby it has become necessary for parliament to interpose, goes on to enable the lord lieutenant "to punish rebels by courts-martial." This statute is the most positive declaration, that, where the common law can be exercised in some parts of the country, martial law cannot be established in others, though rebellion actually prevails in these others, without an extraordinary interposition of the supreme legislative authority itself.

I have already quoted from sir Matthew Hale his position respecting the two-fold operation of martial law, as it affects the army of the power which exercises it, and as it acts against the army of the enemy. That great judge happily unused to standing armies, and reasonably prejudiced against military jurisdiction, does not pursue his distinction through all its consequences, and assigns a ground for the whole which will support only one of its parts. "The necessity of order and discipline in an army" is, according to him, the reason why the law tolerates this departure from its most valuable rules; but this necessity only justifies the exercise of martial law over the army of our own state. One part of it has since been annually taken out of the common law; and provided for by the Mutiny act, which subjects the military offences of soldiers only to punishment by military courts, even in time of peace. Hence we may now be said annually to legalize military law; which, however, differs essentially from martial law, in being confined to offences against military discipline, and in not extending to any persons but those who are members of the army.

Martial law exercised against enemies, or rebels, cannot depend on the same principle; for it is certainly not intended to enforce or preserve discipline among them. It seems to me to be only a more regular and convenient mode of exercising the right to kill in war; a right originating in self-defence, and limited to those cases where such killing is necessary, as the means of insuring that end. Martial law put in force against rebels, can only be excused as a mode of more deliberately and equitably selecting the persons from whom quarter ought to be withheld, in a case where all have forfeited their claim to it. It is nothing more than a sort of better-regulated decimation, founded upon choice, instead of chance, in order to provide for the safety of the conquerors without the horrors of undistinguished slaughter; it is justifiable only where it is an act of mercy. Thus the matter stands by the law of nations. But by the law of England it cannot be exercised except where the jurisdiction of courts of justice is interrupted by violence. Did this necessity exist at Demerara on the 13th of October, 1823? Was it on that day impossible for the courts of law to try offences? It is clear that, if the case be tried by the law of England, and unless an affirmative answer can be given to these questions of fact, the court-martial had no legal power to try Mr. Smith. Now, Sir, I must in the first place remark, that general Murray has himself expressly waved the plea of necessity, and takes merit to himself for having brought Mr. Smith to trial before a court-martial, as the most probable mode of securing impartial justice—a statement which would be clearly an attempt to obtain commendation under false pretences, if he had no choice, and was compelled by absolute necessity, to recur to martial law. "In bringing this man (Mr. Smith) to trial, under present circumstances, I have endeavoured to secure to him the advantage of the most cool and dispassionate consideration, by framing a court entirely of officers of the army, who, having no interest in the country, are without the bias of public opinion, which is at present so violent against Mr. Smith." [Letter of general Murray to lord Bathurst 21st October 1823] This paragraph I conceive to be an admission, and almost a boast, that the trial by court-martial was matter of choice, and, therefore, not of necessity; and I shall at present say nothing more on it, than earnestly to beseech the House to remark the evidence which it affords of the temper of the colonists; and to bear in mind the inevitable influence of that furious temper on the prosecutors, who conducted the accusation; on the witnesses who supported it by their testimony; on the officers of the court-martial, who could have no other associates or friends but among these prejudiced and exasperated colonists. With what suspicion and jealousy ought we not to regard such proceedings? What deductions ought to be made from the evidence? How little can we trust the fairness of the prosecutors, or the impartiality of the judges? What hope of acquittal could the most innocent prisoner entertain? Such, says in substance governor Murray, was the rage of the inhabitants of Demerara against the unfortunate Mr. Smith, that his only chance of impartial trial required him to be deprived of all the safeguards which are the birthright of British subjects, and to be tried by a judicature which the laws and feelings of his country alike abhor.

But, the admission of governor Murray, though conclusive against him, is not necessary to the argument; for my learned friend has already demonstrated that, in fact, there was no necessity for a court-martial on the 13th of October. From the 31st of August, it appears by general Murray's letters, that no impediment existed to the ordinary course of law; no negroes were in arms; "no war or battle's sound was heard" through the colony. There remained, indeed, a few run aways in the forests behind; but we know from the best authorities,* that the forests were never free from bodies of these wretched and desperate men in those unhappy settlements in Guiana, where, under every government, rebellion has as uniformly sprung from cruelty, as pestilence has arisen from the marshes. Before the 4th of September, even the detachment which pursued the deserters into the forest had returned into the colony. For six weeks, then, before the court-martial was assembled, and for twelve weeks before that court pronounced sentence of death on Mr. Smith, all hostility had ceased, no necessity for their existence can be pretended, and every act which they did was an open and deliberate defiance of the law of England.

Where, then, are we to look for any colour of law in these proceedings? Do they derive it from the Dutch law? I have diligently examined the Roman law, which is the foundation of that system, and the writings of those most eminent jurists who have contributed so much to the reputation of Holland. I can find in them no trace of any such principle as martial law. Military law, indeed, is clearly defined, and provision is made for the punishment by military judges of the purely military offences of soldiers. But to any power of extending military jurisdiction over those who are not soldiers, there is not an allusion. I will not furnish a subject for the * See Stedman, Bolingbroke, &c. pleasantries of my right hon. friend, or tempt him into a repetition of his former innumerable blunders, by naming the greatest of these jurists, lest his date, his occupation, and his rank might be again mistaken, and the venerable president of the supreme court of Holland might be once more called a clerk of the States General. "Persecutio militis," says that learned person, "pertinet ad judicem militarem quando delictum sit militare, at ad judicem communem quando delictum sit commune." Far from supposing it to be possible that those who were not soldiers could ever be triable by military courts for crimes not military, he expressly declares the law and practice of the United Provinces to be, that even soldiers are amenable, for ordinary offences against society, to the court of Holland and Friesland, of which he was long the chief. The law of Holland, therefore, does not justify this trial by martial law.

Nothing remains but some law of the colony itself. Where is it? It is not alleged or alluded to in any part of this trial. We have heard nothing of it this evening. So unwilling was I to believe that this court-martial would dare to act without some pretence of legal authority, I suspected an authority for martial law would be dug out of some dark corner of a Guiana ordinance. I knew it was neither in the law of England nor in that of Holland; and I now believe that it does not exist even in the law of Demerara. The silence of those who are interested in producing it is not my only reason for this belief. I happen to have seen the instructions of the States General to their governor of Demerara in November, 1792—probably the last ever issued to such an officer by that illustrious and memorable assembly. It speaks at large of councils of war, both for consultation and for judicature. It authorizes these councils to try the military offences of soldiers, and therefore, by an inference which is stronger than silence, authorizes us to conclude that the governor had no power to subject those who were not soldiers to their authority. The result, then, is, that the law of Holland does not allow what is called martial law in any case, and that the law of England does not allow it without a necessity, which did not exist in the case of Mr. Smith, If, then, martial law is not to be justified by the law of England, or by the law of Holland, or by the law of Demerara, what is there to hinder me from affirming, that the members of this pretended court had no more right to try Mr. Smith, than any other fifteen men on the face of the earth; that their acts were nullities, and their meeting a conspiracy; that their sentence was a direction to commit a crime; that if it had been obeyed, it would not have been an execution, but a murder; and that they and all other parties engaged in it, must have answered for it with their lives?

I hope no man will, in this House, undervalue that part of the case which relates to the illegality of the trial. I should be sorry to hear any man represent it as an inferior question, whether we are to be governed by law or by will. Every breach of law, under pretence of attaining what is called substantial justice, is a step towards reducing society under the authority of arbitrary caprice and lawless force. As in many other cases of evil-doing, it is not the immediate effect, but the example which is the larger part of the consequences of every act, and which is most mischievous. If we listen to any language of this sort, we shall do our utmost to encourage governors of colonies to discover some specious pretexts of present convenience for relieving themselves altogether and as often as they wish, from the restraints of law. In spite of every legal check, colonial administrators are already daring enough, from the physical impediments which render it nearly impossible to reduce their responsibility to practice. If we encourage them to proclaim martial law without necessity, we shall take away all limitation from their power in this department; for pretences of convenience can seldom be wanting in a state of society which presents any temptation to the abuse of power.

But I am aware that I have undertaken to maintain the innocence of Mr. Smith, as well as to show the unlawfulness and nullity of the proceedings against him. I am relieved from the necessity of entering at large into the facts of his conduct, by the admirable and irresistible speech of my learned friend, who has already demonstrated the virtue and innocence of this unfortunate gentleman, who died the martyr of his zeal for the diffusion of religion, humanity, and civilization, among the slaves of Demerara. The hon. gentleman charges him with a want of discretion. Perhaps it may be so. That useful quality, which Swift somewhere calls "an alderman like virtue," is deservedly much in esteem among those who are "wise in their generation," and to whom the prosperity of this world belongs: but it is rarely the attribute of heroes and of martyrs; of those who voluntarily suffer for faith or freedom; who perish on the scaffold in attestation of their principles:—it does not animate men to encounter that honourable death which the colonists of Demerara were so eager to bestow on Mr. Smith.

On the question of actual innocence, the hon. member has either bewildered himself, or found it necessary to attempt to bewilder his audience, by involving the case in a labyrinth of words, from which I shall be able to extricate it by a very few and short remarks.—The question is, not whether Mr. Smith was wanting in the highest vigilance and foresight, but whether he was guilty of certain crimes laid to his charge? The first charge is, that he promoted discontent and dissatisfaction among the slaves, "intending thereby to excite revolt." The court-martial found him guilty of the fact, but not of the intention; thereby, in common sense and justice, acquitting him. The second charge is, that on the 17th of August he consulted with Quamina concerning the intended rebellion; and on the 19th and 20th, during its progress, he aided and assisted it by consulting and corresponding with Quamina, an insurgent. The court-martial found him guilty of the acts charged on the 17th and 20th, but acquitted him of that charged on the 19th. But this charge is abandoned by the hon. gentleman, and, as far as I can learn, will not be supported by any one likely to take a part in this debate. On the fourth charge which in substance is, that Mr. Smith did not endeavour to make Quamina prisoner on the 20th of August, the court-martial have found him guilty; but I will not waste the time of the House, by throwing away a single word upon an accusation, which I am persuaded no man here will so ill consult his own reputation as to vindicate.

The third charge, therefore, is the only one which requires a moment's discussion. It imputes to Mr. Smith, that he previously knew of the intended revolt, and did not communicate his knowledge to the proper authorities. It depends entirely on the same evidence which was produced in support of the second. It is an offence analogous to what in our law is denomi- nated misprision of treason, and it bears the same relation to an intended revolt of slaves against their owners, which misprision in England bears to high treason. To support this charge, there should be sufficient evidence of such a concealment as would have amounted to misprision, if a revolt of slaves against their private masters had been high treason. Now, it had been positively laid down, by all the judges of England, that "one who is told only in general that there will be a rising, without persons or particulars, is not bound to disclose." [Keling, 22.] Concealment of the avowal of an intention is not misprision, because such an avowal is not an overt act of high treason. Misprision of treason is a concealment of an overt act of treason. A consultation about the means of revolt, is undoubtedly an overt act, because it is one of the ordinary and necessary means of accomplishing the object. But it is perfectly otherwise with a conversation, even though in the course of it improper declarations of a general nature should be made. I need not quote Hale or Foster in support of positions which I believe will not be controverted. Contenting myself with having laid them down, I proceed to apply them to the evidence on this charge.

I think myself entitled to lay aside, and indeed in that I only follow the example of the hon. gentleman, the testimony of the coachman and the groom, which if understood in one sense is incredible, and in the other is insignificant. It evidently amounts to no more than a remark by Mr. Smith, after the insurrection broke out, that he had long foreseen danger. The concealment of such a general apprehension, if he had concealed it, was no crime; for it would be indeed most inconvenient to magistrates and rulers and most destructive of the quiet of society, if men were bound to communicate to the public authorities every alarm that might seize the minds of any of them.

But, he did not conceal that general apprehension: on the contrary, he did much more than strict legal duty required. Divide the facts into two parts: those which preceded Sunday the 17th of August, and those which occurred then and afterwards. I fix on this day, because it will not be said, by any one whose arguments I should be at the trouble of answering, that there is any evidence of the existence of a specific plan of revolt previous to the 17th of August. What did not exist could neither be concealed nor disclosed. But the conduct of Mr. Smith respecting the general apprehensions which he entertained before that day, is evidence of great importance as to what would have been his probable conduct, if any specific plan had afterwards been communicated to him. If he made every effort to disclose a general apprehension it is not likely that he should have deliberately concealed a specific plan. It is in that light that I desire the attention of the House to it.

It is quite clear that considerable agitation had prevailed among the Negroes froth the arrival of lord Bathurst's despatch in the beginning of July. They ad heard, from seamen arrived from England, and by servants in the governor's house, and by the angry conversations of their masters, that some projects for improving their condition had been favourably received in this country. They naturally entertained sanguine and exaggerated hopes of the extent of the reformation. The delay in making the instructions known, naturally led the slaves to greater exaggeration of the plan, and gradually filled their minds with angry suspicions that it was concealed on account of the extensive benefits which it was to confer. Liberty seemed to be offered from England, and pushed aside by their masters and rulers at Demerara. This irritation could not escape the observation of Mr. Smith; and, instead of concealing it, he early imparted it to a neighbouring manager and attorney. How comes the hon. gentleman to have entirely omitted the evidence of Mr. Stewart? [Trial, p. 47, &c] It appears from his testimony, that Mr. Smith, several weeks before the revolt, communicated to him (Stewart), the manager of plantation Success, that alarming rumours about the Instructions prevailed among the negroes. It appears that Mr. Smith went publicly with his friend Mr. Elliot, another missionary, to Mr. Stewart, to repeat the information, at a subsequent period; and that, in consequence, Mr. Stewart, with Mr. Cort, the attorney of plantation Success, went, on the 8th of August, to Mr. Smith, who confirmed his previous statements; said that Quamina and other negroes, had asked whether their freedom had come out; and mentioned that he had some thoughts of disabusing them, by telling them from the pulpit that their expecta- tions of freedom were erroneous. Mr. Cort dissuaded him from taking so much upon himself. Is it not evident from this testimony, that Mr. Smith had the reverse of an intention to conceal the dangerous agitation on or before the 8th of August? It is certain that all evidence of his privity or participation before that day must be false. He then told all that he knew, and offered to do much more than he was bound to do. His disclosures were of a nature to defeat a project of a revolt, or to prevent it from being formed; he enabled Cort, or Stewart, to put the government on their guard; he told no particulars, because he knew none; but he put it into the power of others to discover them if they existed. He made these discoveries on the 8th of August: what could have changed his previous system of conduct in the remaining ten days?. Nay, more: he put it out of his power to change his conduct, effectually: it no longer depended on him whether what he knew should be so perfectly known to the government as to render all subsequent concealment ineffectual. He could not even know on the 17th whether his conversation with Stewart and Cort had not been communicated to the governor, and whether measures had not been taken which had either ascertained that the agitation no longer generally prevailed, or had led to such precautions as could not fail to end in the destruction of those who should deliberately and criminally conceal the designs of the insurgents. The crime of misprision consists in a design to deceive, which, after such disclosure, it was impossible to harbour. If this had related to the communication of a formed plan, it might be said that the disclosure to private persons was not sufficient, and that he was bound to make it to the higher authorities. I believe Mr. Cort was a member of the Court of Policy [Here Mr. Gladstone intimated, by a shake of his head, that Mr. Cort was not]. I yield to the local knowledge of my hon. friend, if I may venture to call him so, in our present belligerent relations. If Mr. Cort be not a member of the Court of Policy, he must have had access to its members; he stated to Mr. Smith the reason of their delay to promulgate the Instructions; and in a communication which related merely to general agitation, Mr. Smith could not have chosen two persons more likely to be on the alert about a revolt of slaves, than the manager and attorney of a neighbour- ing plantation. Stewart and Cort were also officers of Militia.

A very extraordinary part of this case appears in the Demerara Papers No. II., to which I have already adverted. Hamilton, the manager of plantation Resouvenir, had, it seems, a negro mistress, from whom few of his secrets were hid. This lady had the singularly inappropriate name of Susannah. I am now told that she had been the wife of Jack, one of the leaders of the revolt—I have no wish to penetrate into his domestic misfortunes—at all events, Jack kept up a constant and confidential intercourse with his former friend, even in the elevated station which she had attained. She told him (if we may believe both him and her) of all Hamilton's conversations. By the account of Paris, it seems that Hamilton had instructed them to destroy the bridges. Susannah said, that he intreated them to delay the revolt for two weeks, till he could remove his things. They told Hamilton not only of the intention to rise, three weeks before, but of the particular time on Monday morning. Hamilton told her, that it was useless for him to manumit her and her children, as she wished, for that all would soon be free; and that the governor kept back the Instructions because he was himself a slave owner. Paris and Jack agree in laying to Hamilton's charge the deepest participation in their criminal designs. If this evidence was believed, why was not Hamilton brought to trial, rather than Smith? If it was disbelieved, as the far greater part of it must have been, why was it concealed from Smith that such wicked falsehoods had been contrived against another man—a circumstance which so deeply affects the credit of all the negro accomplices, who swore, to save their own lives. If, as I am inclined to believe, some communications were made through Susannah, how hard was the fate of Mr. Smith, who suffers for not promulgating some general notions of danger which, from this instance, must have entered through many channels into the minds of the greater number of Whites.—But, up to the 17th of August, it appears that Mr. Smith did not content himself with bare disclosure, but proffered his services to allay discontent, and shewed more solicitude than any other person known to us, to preserve the peace of the community.

The question now presents itself which I allow constitutes the vital part of this case—whether any communication was made to Mr. Smith on the evening of Sunday the 17th, of which the concealment from his superiors was equivalent to what we call misprision of treason. No man can conscientiously vote against the motion, who does not consider the affirmative as proved. I do not say that this would be of itself sufficient to negative the motion I only say that it is indispensably necessary. There would still remain behind the illegality of the jurisdiction, as well as the injustice of the punishment. And on this latter most important part of the case, I must here remark, that it would not be sufficient to tell us, that the Roman and Dutch law ranked misprision, as a species of treason, and made it punishable by death; it must be shewn not only that the court were by this law entitled to condemn Mr. Smith to death, but that they were also bound to pronounce such a sentence. For if they had any discretion, it will not be said that an English court-martial ought not to regulate the exercise of it by the more humane and reasonable principles of their own law, which does not treat misprision as a capital offence. I am sorry to see that the hon. agent for Demerara has quitted his usual place, and has taken a very important position [Mr. Holmes was whispering to Mr. Canning]. I feel no ill-will to the hon. member, but I dread the sight of him when pouring poison into the ears of the powerful. He is but too formidable in his ordinary station, at the head of those troops whom his magical wand brings into battle in such numbers as no eloquence can match, and no influence but his own can command.—But, to return. Let us now consider the evidence of what passed on the 17th of August. And here, once more, let me conjure the House to consider the condition of the witnesses who gave that evidence. They were accomplices in the revolt, who had no chance of life but what acceptable testimony might afford. They knew the fierce, furious hatred, which the ruling party had vowed against Mr. Smith. They were surrounded by the skeletons of their brethren. They could perhaps hear the lash resounding on the bloody backs of others, who were condemned to suffer a thousand lashes, and to work for life in irons, under the burning sun of Guiana. They lived in a colony where such unexampled barbarities were inflicted as a mitigated punishment, and held out as acts of mercy. Such were the dreadful terrors which acted on their minds, and under the mental torture of which, every syllable of their testimony was uttered—There was still another deduction to be made from their evidence. They spoke to no palpable facts: they gave evidence only of conversation. "Words," says Mr. Justice Foster, "are transient and fleeting as the wind; frequently the effect of a sudden transport; easily misunderstood, and often misreported." If he spoke thus of words used in the presence of witnesses intelligent, enlightened, and accustomed to appreciate the force and distinctions of terms, what would he have said of the evidence of negro slaves, accomplices in the crime, trembling for their lives, reporting conversations, of which the whole effect might depend on the shades and gradations of words in a language very grossly known to them—of English words, uttered in a few hurried moments, and in the presence of no other witnesses from whom they could dread an exposure of their falsehood? It may be safely affirmed, that it is difficult for imagination to conceive admissible evidence of lower credit, and more near the verge of utter rejection.

But what, after all, is the sum of the evidence? It is, that the negroes who followed Mr. Smith from church on Sunday the 17th, spoke to him of some design which they entertained for the next day. It is not pretended that time or place, or persons, were mentioned. The contrary is sworn. Mr. Smith, who was accustomed for six weeks to their murmurs, and had before been successful in dissuading them from violence, contents himself with repeating the same dissuasives; believes he has again succeeded in persuading them to remain quiet; and abstains for twenty-four hours from any new communication of designs altogether vague and undigested, which he hoped would evaporate, as others of the same kind had done, without any serious effect. The very utmost that he seems to have apprehended was, a plan for obliging, or "driving" as they called it, their managers to join in an application to the governor on the subject of the new law; a kind of proceeding which had more than once occurred, both under the Dutch and English governments. It appears from the witnesses for the prosecution, that they had more than once gone to Mr. Smith before on the same subject, and that his answer was always the same; and that some of the more exasperated negroes were so dissatisfied with his exhortations to submission, that they cried out "Mr. Smith was making them fools; that he would not deny his own colour for the sake of black people." Quamina appears to have shewn at all times a more than ordinary deference towards his pastor. He renewed these conversations on the evening of Sunday the 17th, and told Mr. Smith, who again exhorted them to patience, that two of the more violent negroes, Jack and Joseph, spoke of taking their liberty by force. I desire it to be particularly observed, that this intention, or even violent language, appears to have been attributed only to two, and that in such a manner as naturally to exclude the rest. Mr. Smith again repeated the advice which had hitherto proved efficacious: "He told them to wait, and not to be so foolish. How do you mean that they should take it by force? You cannot do any thing with the white people, because the soldiers will be more strong than you; therefore you had better wait. You had better go and tell the people, and christians particularly, that they had better have nothing to do with it." When Mr. Smith spoke of the resistance of the soldiers, Quamina, with an evident view to persuade Mr. Smith that nothing was intended which would induce the military to proceed to the last extremities, observed, that they would "drive" the managers to town; which, by means of the expedient of a general "strike," or refusal to work, appears to have been the project spoken of by most of the slaves. To this observation, Mr. Smith justly answered, that even if they did "drive" the managers to town, they "would not be able to go against the soldiers," who would very properly resist such tumultuary and dangerous movements. Be it again observed, that Bristol, the chief witness for the prosecution, clearly distinguishes this plan from that of Jack and Joseph, "who intended to fight with the white people." I do not undertake to determine whether the more desperate measure was at that time confined to these two men: it is sufficient for me that such was the representation made to Mr. Smith. Whoever fairly compares the evidence of Bristol with that of Seaton, will, I think, find the general result to be such as I have now stated. It is true that there are contradictions between them, which, in the case of witnesses of another cast, might be considered as altogether subversive of their credit. But I make allowance for their fears, for their confusion, for their habitual inaccuracy, for their ignorance of the language; for their own incorrectness, if they gave evidence in English; for that of the interpreters, if they employed any other language. In return, I expect that no fair opponent will rely on minute circumstances; that he will also allow the benefit of all chances of inaccuracy to the accused; and that he will not rely on the manner, where a single word, mistaken or misremembered, might make the whole difference between the most earnest and the faintest dissuasive.

I do not know what other topics Mr. Smith could have used. He appeals to their prudence: the soldiers, says he, will overcome your vain revolt. He appeals to their sense of religion: as christians you ought not to use violence. What argument remained, if both these failed? What part of human nature could he have addressed, where neither danger could deter nor duty restrain? He spoke to their conscience and to their fears; surely admonition could go no further.

There is not the least appearance that these topics were not urged with perfect good faith, as they must have been in those former instances where he demonstrated his sincerity by the communications which he made to Stewart and Cort. His temper of mind on this subject continued, then, to be the same on the evening of the 17th, that it had been before; and, if so, how absolutely incredible it is that he should, on that night, and on the succeeding morning, advisedly, coolly, and malignantly, form the design of hiding a treasonable plot confidentially imparted to him by the conspirators, in order to lull the vigilance of the government, and commit himself and his countrymen to the mercy of exasperated and triumphant slaves.

I have already stated the reasons which might induce him to believe that he had once more succeeded in dissuading the negroes from violence. Was he inexcusable in overrating his own ascendant; in over-estimating the docility of his converts; in relying more on the efficacy of his religious instructions than men of more experience and colder temper would deem reasonable? I entreat the House to consider whether this self-deception be improbable; for if he believed that he had been successful, and that the plan of tumult or revolt was abandoned, would it not have been the basest and most atrocious treachery to have given such information as might have exposed the defenceless slaves to punishments of unparalleled cruelty, for offences which they had meditated, but from which he believed that he had reclaimed them? Let me for a moment again remind the House of the facts which give such weight to this consideration. He lived in a colony where, for an insurrection in which no white man was wantonly or deliberately put to death, and no property was intentionally destroyed, or even damaged, I know not how many negroes perished on the gibbet; and others, under the insolent, atrocious, detestable pretext of mercy, suffered a thousand lashes, and were doomed to hard labour in irons for life, under the burning sun, and among the pestilential marshes, of Guiana? These dreadful cruelties, miscalled punishments, did indeed occur after the 17th of August. But he, whose heart had fluttered from the incessant cracking of the whip, must have strongly felt the horrors to which he was exposing his unhappy flock by a hasty or needless disclosure of projects excited by the impolitic delays of their rulers. Every good man must have wished to find the information unnecessary. Would not Mr. Smith have been the most unworthy of pastors, if he had not desired that such a cup might pass from him? And if he felt these benevolent desires; if he recoiled with horror from putting these poor men into the hands of what in Demerara is called justice; there was nothing in the circumstances which might not have seemed to him to accord with his wishes. Even without the influence of warm feeling, I do not think that it would have been unreasonable for any man to believe that the negroes had fully agreed to wait. Nay, I am convinced that with Quamina Mr. Smith was successful. Quamina, I believe, used his influence to prevent the revolt; and it was not till after he was apprehended on Monday, on unjust suspicions, and was rescued, that he took refuge among the revolters, and was at last shot by the soldiers, when he was a run-away in the forest—a fact which was accepted by the court-martial as the sufficient, though sole, evidence of his being a ringleader in the rebellion!

The whole period during which it is necessary to account for Mr. Smith's not communicating to the government an immature project, of which he knew no particulars, and which he might well believe to be abandoned, is a few hours in the morning of Monday; for it is proved, by the evidence of Hamilton, that he was informed of the intended revolt by a captain Simson, at one o'clock of that day, in George Town, the seat of government, at some miles distance from the scene of action. It was then so notorious, that Hamilton never dreamt of troubling the governor with such needless intelligence; yet this was only four or five hours later than the time when Mr. Smith was held to be bound, under pain of death, to make such a communication! The governor himself, in his despatches, said, that he had received the information, but did not believe it [Demerara Papers No. II. p. 1], This disbelief, however, could not have been of long duration; for active measures were taken, and Mr. Stewart apprehended Quamina, and his son Jack, a little after three o'clock on Monday; which, considering the distance, necessarily implies that some general order of that nature had been issued by the government at George Town not long after noon on that day [Demerara Papers No. II. p. 70]. As all these proceedings occurred before Mr. Smith received the note from Jack of Dochfour, about half an hour before the revolt, I lay that fact out of the case, as wholly immaterial. The interview of Mr. Smith with Quamina, on the 19th of August, is negatived by the finding of the court-martial. That on the 20th will be relied on by no man in this House, because there is not the slightest proof, nor indeed probability, that the conversation at that interview was not perfectly innocent. Nothing, then, called for explanation but the conversation of Sunday evening, and the silence of Monday morning, which I think I have satisfactorily explained, as fully as my present strength will allow, and much more so than the speech of my learned friend left it necessary to do.

There is one other circumstance which occurred on Sunday, and which I cannot pass over in silence. It is the cruel perversion of the beautiful text from the gospel on which Mr. Smith preached his last sermon. That circumstance alone evinces the incurable prejudice against this unfortunate man, which so far blinded his prosecutors, that they actually represent him as choosing that most affecting lamen- tation over the fall of Jerusalem, in order to excite the slaves to accomplish the destruction of Demerara. The lamentation of one who loved a country, was by them thought to be selected to stimulate those who were to destroy a country; as if tragical representations of the horrors of an assault were likely to be exhibited in the camp of the assailants the night before they were to storm a city. It is wonderful that these prosecutors should not have perceived that such a choice of a text would have been very natural for Mr. Smith only on the supposition that he had been full of love and compassion and alarm for the European inhabitants of Demerara. The simple truth was, that the estate was about to be sold, and the negroes to be scattered over the colony by auction; and that, by one of those somewhat forced analogies, which may appear to me unreasonable, but which men of the most sublime genius as well as fervent piety have often applied to the interpretation of scripture, he likened their sad dispersion, in connexion with their past neglect of the means of improvement and the chance of their now losing all religious consolation and instruction, to the punishment inflicted on the Jews by the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem.

In what I have now addressed to the House I have studiously abstained from all discussion of those awful questions which relate to the general structure of colonial society. I am as adverse as any one to the sudden emancipation of slaves; much out of regard to the masters, but still more, as affecting a far larger portion of mankind, out of regard to the unhappy slaves themselves. Emancipation by violence and revolt I consider as the greatest calamity that can visit a community, except perpetual slavery. I should not have so deep an abhorrence of that wretched state, if I did not regard it as unfitting slaves for the safe exercise of the common rights of mankind. I should be grossly inconsistent with myself, if, believing this corrupting and degrading power of slavery over the mind to be the worst of all its evils, I were not very fearful of changes which would set free those beings, whom a cruel yoke had transformed into wild beasts, only that they might tear and devour each other. I acknowledge that the pacific emancipation of great multitudes thus wretchedly circumstanced, is a problem so arduous as to perplex, and almost silence, the reason of man. Time is undoubtedly necessary; and I shall never object to time, if it be asked in good faith. If I be convinced of the sincerity of the reformer, I will not object to the reformation merely on account of the time which it requires. But I have a right to be jealous of every attempt, which, under pretence of asking time for reformation, may only aim at evading urgent demands, and indefinitely procrastinating the deliverance of men from bondage.

And here I should naturally close: but I must be permitted to relate the subsequent treatment of Mr. Smith, because it reflects back the strongest light on the intentions and dispositions of those who prosecuted him, and of those who ratified the sentence of death. They who can cruelly treat the condemned, are not in general scrupulous about convicting the innocent. I have seen the widow of this unhappy sufferer—a pious and amiable woman, worthy to be the helpmate of her martyred husband, distinguished by a calm and clear understanding, and, as far as I could discover, of great accuracy; anxious rather to understate facts, and to counteract every lurking disposition to exaggerate, of which her judgment and humility might lead her to suspect herself. She told me her story with temper and simplicity; and, though I ventured more near to cross-examination in my inquiries than delicacy would, perhaps, in any less important case, have warranted, I saw not the least reason to distrust the exactness, more than the honesty, of her narrative. Within a few days of his apprehension, Mr. Smith and his wife were closely confined in two small rooms at the top of a building, with only the outward roof between them and the sun, when the thermometer in the shade, at their residence in the country, stood at an average of 83 degrees of Fahrenheit. There they were confined from August to October, with two sentries at the door, which was kept open day and night. These sentries, who were relieved every two hours, had orders at every relief to call on the prisoner, to ascertain by his answer that he had not escaped. The generality, of course, executed their orders; a few, more humane, said Mrs. Smith, contented themselves during the night with quietly looking into the bed. Thus was he, labouring under a mortal disease, and his wife, with all the delicacy of her sex, confined for two months, without seeing a human face except those of the sentries, and of the absolutely necessary attendants—no physician, no friends to console, no legal adviser to guide the prisoner to the means of proving his innocence—no mitigation—no solace! The first human face which she saw, was that of the men who came to bear tidings of accusation, and trial, and death, to her husband. I asked her, whether it was possible that the governor knew that they were in this state of desolation? She answered, that she did not know, for nobody came to inquire after them! He was afterwards removed to apartments on the ground-floor, the damp of which seems to have hastened his fate. Mrs. Smith was set at large, but obliged to ask a daily permission to see her husband for a limited time, and, if I remember right, before witnesses! After the packet had sailed, and when there was no longer cause to dread their communications with England, she was permitted to have unrestricted access to him, as long as his intercourse with earthly things endured. At length he was mercifully released from his woes. The funeral was ordered to take place at two o'clock in the morning, that no sorrowing negroes might follow the good man's corpse. The widow desired to accompany the remains of her husband to the grave. Even this sad luxury was prohibited: the officer declared that his instructions were peremptory. Mrs. Smith bowed, with the silent submission of a broken heart. Mrs. Elliot, her friend and companion, not so borne down by sorrow, remonstrated. "Is it possible," she said, "that general Murray can have forbidden a poor widow from following the coffin of her husband?" The officer again answered, that his orders were peremptory. "At all events," said Mrs. Elliot, "he cannot hinder us from meeting the coffin at the grave." Two negroes bore the coffin, with a single lantern going before; and at four o'clock in the morning the two women met it in silent anguish at the grave, and poured over the remains of the persecuted man that tribute which nature pays to the memory of those whom we love. Two negro workmen, a carpenter and a bricklayer, who had been members of his congregation, were desirous of being permitted to protect and distinguish the spot where their benefactor reposed; That, ev'n his bones from insult to protect, Some frail memorial, still erected nigh, With uncouth rhimes and shapeless sculpture deckt, Might claim the passing tribute of a sigh. They began to rail in and to brick over the grave; but as soon as this intelligence readied the first Fiscal, his honour was pleased to forbid the work—he ordered the bricks to be taken up, the railing to be torn down, and the whole frail memorial of gratitude and piety to be destroyed!

"English vengeance wars not with the dead." It is not so in Guiana: as they began so they concluded; and, at least, it must be owned that they were consistent in their treatment of the living and of the dead. They did not stop here: a few days after the death of Mr. Smith they passed a vote of thanks to Mr. President Wray, for his services during the insurrection; which, I fear, consisted entirely in his judicial acts as a member of the court-martial. It is the single instance, I believe, in the history of the world, where a popular meeting thanked a judge for his share in a trial which closed with sentence of death! I must add, with sincere regret that Mr. Wray, in an unadvised moment, accepted these tainted thanks, and expressed his gratitude for them! Shortly after, they did their utmost to make him repent and be ashamed of his rashness. I hold in my hand a Demerara newspaper, containing an account of a meeting, which must have been held with the knowledge of the governor, and among whom I see nine names which, from the prefix of "Honourable," belong, I presume, to persons who were members either of the Court of Justice, or of the Court of Policy. It was an assembly which must be taken to represent the colony. Their first proceeding was a declaration of Independence. They resolved, that the king and parliament of Great Britain had no right to change their laws without the consent of their Court of Policy. They founded this pretension, which would be so extravagant and insolent if it were not so ridiculous, on the first article of the capitulation now lying before me, bearing date on the 19th of September 1803, by which it was stipulated that no new establishments should be introduced without the consent of the Court of Policy—as if a military commander had any power to perpetuate the civil constitution of a conquered country, and as if the subsequent treaty had not ceded Demerara in full sovereignty to his majesty. I should have disdained to notice such a declaration if it were not for what followed. This meeting took place eighteen days after the death of Mr. Smith. It might be hoped, that, if their hearts were not touched by his fate, at least their hatred might have been buried in his grave; but they soon shewed how little chance of justice he had when living within the sphere of their influence, by their rancorous persecution of his memory after death. Eighteen days after he had expired in a dungeon, they passed a resolution of strong condemnation against two names not often joined—the London Missionary Society, and lord Bathurst—the society, because they petitioned for mercy (for that is a crime in their eyes); lord Bathurst, because he had advised his majesty to dispense it to Mr. Smith. With an ignorance suitable to their other qualities, they consider the exercise of mercy as a violation of justice. They are not content with persecuting their victim to death: they arraign nature, which released him; and justice, in the form of mercy, which would have delivered him out of their hands. Not satisfied with his life, they are incensed at not being allowed to brand his memory; to put an ignominious end to his miseries; and to hang up his skeleton on a gibbet, which, as often as it waved in the winds, should warn every future missionary to fly from such a shore, and not to dare to enter that colony, to preach the doctrines of peace, of justice, and of mercy

Mr. Scarlett

rose, and begged that a short time might be allowed him to express his opinion on this subject, and to state the reasons for the vote which he should give on the present motion. He expressed his warmest admiration at the talent and eloquence which had been displayed by the learned and honourable member who had brought forward the motion; but he doubted very much whether he ought to concur in a vote of condemnation proposed against individuals who had no advocate in that House, and proposed in language which described them as little better than murderers: for it was admitted, by both of his learned friends, that if the persons whose conduct was now under consideration had had the courage to carry into execution the sentence passed against Mr. Smith, the present proposition would have the effect of stigmatising them as persons who had committed murder. When called on to take part in such a vote, directed against individuals not before the House, he could not but wish, that, instead of passionate declamation, and vehement invective, they had been favoured with a little more argument, and with less of those appeals which were only fit to inflame the passions of the hearers. He considered the question before the House of a nature that called for the utmost candour, gravity, and deliberation; and he thought that the House should be on its guard against the impressions of a speech which he was compelled to consider, not as judicial or deliberative, but as an extraordinary specimen of the highest sort of forensic eloquence.

Before he entered upon the discussion, he thought it proper to do justice to a gentleman, whose name had been mentioned by the last speaker in terms which proved how little his learned friend was acquainted with him. He had long known Mr. Wray, the chief justice of the colony. He was a gentleman of high education, liberal principles, and honourable feelings. When he stated that he had received his education at Cambridge, and was a distinguished member of Trinity college, there were many gentlemen in that House who would feel with him that he was not likely to be deficient in learning, or illiberal in his conduct. He was certain that if his learned friend had known Mr. Wray as well as he did, he would have considered it fortunate for Mr. Smith that such a person, at least, was a member of the tribunal which tried him; and would have acknowledged that no man could have been found for that station of more correct judgment, more impartial feeling, or more undeviating rectitude.

There were, he must own, some parts of the proceeding of the court-martial of which he could not approve. He did not think it was correct that the court-martial should have been empowered, or called upon, to try an offence which was committed before the institution of martial law. He did not approve of the sentence of death, which could not have been inflicted by the ordinary tribunals for misprision of treason. Neither was he satisfied of the propriety of using against the defendant those private memorandums, which appeared not to have been intended for the inspection of any eye but his own. At the same time, it ought to be observed, in justice to the court-martial, that this evidence was laid before them by the judge-advocate, and was not objected to at the time by the prisoner: nor did it appear, till he entered upon his defence, that the court were apprised of the real nature and object of these notes. But, though he was free to own that, in these particulars, he did not approve of the proceedings, he thought the difference was very great between not approving entirely, and condemning entirely, more especially in the very strong language used by his honourable friends.

He would proceed to state, shortly, the points on which he differed with the mover of the question. It was asserted, that Mr. Wray was the most improper person to have been a member of the court-martial, because, as chief justice, it might have become his duty to preside at the trial of an action that might, upon the restoration of the ordinary tribunals, have been brought by the prisoner against the governor. Now, this was a misconception. It was true that the governor, when in England, might be liable to an action for exceeding his authority whilst governor in the colony; but no such action could be brought against him in the colony, where he represented the king, and was, during the continuance of his office in the place where he exercised it, irresponsible. Therefore, Mr. Wray could have tried no such action.—Next, his learned friend who opened the debate, had insisted, that there was no evidence of Quamina being in open rebellion but hearsay evidence; and had read with many comments, a part of the evidence, which, if taken by itself, and in the manner in which his learned friend had stated it, seemed undoubtedly to warrant the assertion. But he had looked into the printed report at the very passage whilst his friend was reading it, and he was surprised to find that the most essential part of the evidence was omitted by his learned friend. He would now read the whole of that part of the evidence; from which the House would perceive, that Quamina was proved, by the most direct testimony, to have been seen with arms, in open rebellion; and that the hearsay evidence related only to his being taken up afterwards and hanged, and was introduced, not by the design of the examiner, but by the ignorance of the witness, as often happened before the most tribunals. [Here Mr. Scarlett read part of Bristol's evidence, in p. 15 of the printed trial.]

He next adverted to a position laid down by his honourable friend who spoke last—that there could be no misprision of treason until after the commission of an overt act;—from which his hon. friend had argued, that, as the communication of Quamina to Mr. Smith was not of an overt act, but only of an intention; there was no misprision of treason in concealing this communication, although an overt act had afterwards taken place. Now, it was true that there could be no indictable treason without an overt act; and it might therefore be said, in one sense, that there could be no misprision where there was no overt act. But if an overt act did in fact take place, which the party accused of misprision was aware was intended before it took place, he was clearly guilty of misprision if he did not immediately disclose his knowledge. For example; if a party knew to-night that the king's person was to be assailed to-morrow, and that act of treason should be committed to-morrow, then the party omitting to disclose his knowledge would be clearly guilty of misprision of treason to-night.

This brought him to the main question, in which he found himself obliged to differ with both his hon. and learned friends: namely, was there evidence to warrant the court in finding that Mr. Smith had been guilty of misprision of treason? He could only appeal to the evidence for his opinion. By this it appeared, and that upon the testimony of two witnesses, that, before the insurrection broke out, Quamina had conversations with Smith upon the subject; that he had communicated the intention of the slaves to drive the managers to the town to fetch the new law; that Mr. Smith understood him to mean force, because he remonstrated against it, and represented that it would be unavailing against the king and the governor [Here Mr. S. read another part of the trial, in p. 17]. The very next day, or the day but one after, the rebellion broke out, and Quamina took an active part in it. Mr. Smith, however, made no immediate communication of what he had learned, nor indeed any communication at all; as it did not appear that he had told Mr. Stewart and Mr. Cort any of the particulars stated by Quamina. It was said, however, that the fact of these communications to Mr. Smith by Quamina was proved by the evidence of Bristol and another, and that these witnesses were unworthy of credit. Of the credit of the witnesses the court-martial were competent judges; and it would be altogether a new ground for condemning the judgment of a court, that they oughtrather to have believed the state- ment of the prisoner, upon which his learned friend placed so much reliance, than the evidence of the witnesses. He had, however, looked at the statement of the prisoner. He collected from it, that he was a man of considerable talent; and he was bound to say, that, though he thought his enthusiasm had led him into error, he was impressed with a strong persuasion of his general integrity and virtuous life. But, he found in that statement the strongest confirmation of Bristol's evidence. Mr. Smith admitted that Quamina was at his house at the time mentioned by Bristol. He admitted a conversation with him. It was true he did not state the same terms exactly; but it was plain, from one circumstance, that the conversation was of the nature and substance stated by Bristol, for Mr. Smith admitted that be found it necessary to reprove Quamina for what he had heard him say. Then he must have said something that called for reproof. What was it? Mr. Smith did not state it; Bristol did. Again: Mr. Smith states his remonstrance to Quamina in such terms as are not only substantially the same as stated by Bristol, but as clearly imply that Quamina had been talking of force, and using the very language which Bristol puts into his mouth. He observed from some indications near him, and some expressions meant to be overheard by him, that some of his friends thought he should read the whole of Smith's statement, and accept his protestations of innocence, whilst he employed his own admissions against him. This, however, was not correct judicial reasoning. In trying whether a witness against the prisoner was worthy of credit, it was perfectly legitimate to consider how far he was confirmed by the prisoner's statements in his evidence, without being obliged to resort to the extraordinary candour, which was adopted by his learned friends, of taking all that the prisoner said for himself to be true, and all the witnesses swore against him to be false. This was an error they could only have fallen into from the warmth of debate. If, instead of contending with his honourable friends in this debate, he had them impanelled upon a jury, sworn to try the question upon its merits, and freed from all prejudice, he entertained not the least doubt but that they and the whole jury, would yield to the positive testimony of two witnesses, corroborated in many material points by the statements of the prisoner himself. Upon these grounds he was compelled to come to the conclusion, that the court-martial were warranted in finding Smith guilty upon the charge of misprision of treason.

It had been stated by the hon. gentleman who spoke second in the debate (Mr. W. Horton), that Mr. Smith might be guilty though not intentionally. He could not concur in that opinion. There could be no crime without the intention to commit the criminal act. "Non reus nisi mens sit rea" was a maxim of universal application. He imagined the hon. gentleman had confounded the motive with the intention. It might be very true, and he was disposed to believe, that Mr. Smith, in concealing the knowledge he had of an intended insurrection, acted from some motive which, according to his peculiar views of the subject, he could reconcile to his own con-I science. He might wish to avoid the reproach of violating the confidence reposed in him. It was probable, from some passages which occurred in the trial, that he was persuaded an insurrection must break out at no distant time at all events, and that no efforts of his could prevent it. But, whether these were his motives or not, the law had nothing to do with the motives of men. If the party intend to do or to omit that, the doing or omission of which was criminal, then his offence was complete, whatever might be his object or motive.

He observed that his hon. and learned friend, who opened the debate, had made considerable use of a statement of the trial printed by the Missionary Society. He had considered that document as containing the most full and accurate account, and complained of the trial printed by order of the House as imperfect. Now, if his learned friend was correct in that opinion, he might have a very proper ground to press upon the House a motion for an inquiry; but he (Mr. S.) protested against the propriety of calling upon the House to come to a strong vote of censure, not upon the document which was official, and communicated by the authority of government, but upon a document published without authority, not laid upon the table of the House, and of the accuracy of which neither the House nor his learned friend had any means of judging. And he must say, however respectable the Missionary Society might be, he thought it not a parliamentary proceeding to ask of the House, upon the mere publication of a statement by that society, which, for aught they knew, might be wholly fallacious, to pass as trong vote of censure upon absent individuals.

His hon. and learned friend, who last addressed the House, appeared to him to be actuated by feelings as strong, and perhaps as exaggerated, though in an opposite direction, as those which he imputed to the colonists, of Demerara. Upon these unhappy persons he had poured forth his eloquent invective without measure or discrimination, involving in one common censure the planters, the governor, the chief justice, and all the members of the court-martial. He charged them, not only with cruelty and injustice to Mr. Smith in his life time, but with an unrelenting vengeance, which pursued him to his grave and disturbed his ashes. He also embarked on his side all the feelings of compassion that were due to the widow, and declaimed upon her merits, her privations, and her sufferings. It was impossible for him (Mr. Scarlett) to listen to his hon. and learned friend without pleasure, or to differ from him without pain and diffidence; but upon this occasion, he would appeal to the sober sense of the House, whether such topics, and the passions they were calculated to excite, were fairly or properly introduced upon a grave and important question of the conduct of judges acting under the sanction of an oath; introduced, too, without any authentic information on which the House could rely. If it were indeed true, that the natural prejudices of the planters, and the inflammation of their minds against those who were favourable to the moral and religious improvement of their slaves, rendered them partial, unjust, and incapable of fair judgment in the case of Mr. Smith, it did not follow that the chief justice and the military gentlemen, who formed the court-martial, were liable to the same objections. If he understood the matter correctly, most, if not all, of these gentlemen were officers in the army, having no local connection at Demerara. It would therefore afford an argument in favour of the governor, that he had referred the case of Mr. Smith to a tribunal so composed, rather than to the ordinary courts, which were formed of the planters. In this view of the subject, the friends of the missionary ought to find cause of satisfaction, rather than of complaint that he had been tried by a court-martial.

With respect to the intemperance of which the colonists were accused, and the unjust, as well as indiscreet conduct with which they were reproached, he would fairly own, that, in his judgment, the very peculiar situation in which they were placed, called upon the candour of the House for some indulgence to their errors, instead of the indignation and the bitter animadversion with which their faults and their prejudices had been treated by his hon. and learned friend. Let it be recollected, that the unfortunate state of society in the colonies exposed them to constant apprehension upon two subjects of the deepest interest to mankind, the loss of property and the loss of life. The greatness of the perils to which they were exposed, placed them, upon the slightest cause of alarm, under the influence of the passion of fear, which was, of all others, the most overwhelming. Was it reasonable to expect coolness, moderation, and judgment in the councils of those who debated with the knife at their throats? Was it candid to exaggerate, or was it prudent to excite, that exasperation of feeling which could not fail to arise in the colonies, when they were threatened, by resolutions and speeches in Parliament, with ruin and death? Was it just, when they were persuaded that they were struggling against these mighty calamities, to ridicule the badness of their reasoning, or to reproach the indiscretion of their conduct? The House of Commons was debating in perfect security from all personal danger or loss, at the distance of some thousands of miles from the scene of action. No fear influenced their deliberations, no interest biassed their judgment, their passions, at the most, were but rhetorical: they had no excuse for violent resolutions or intemperate debates upon subjects so remote in position and in interest from themselves. But let him suppose, that whilst he was addressing that assembly a cry should be raised that the house was on fire; that a panic should seize them, as had been sometimes known in a crowded theatre—the wisest counsel would be for a while to sit still. But, would that disposition prevail? On the contrary, the members would probably rush out in the greatest confusion, and crush each other in striving to escape. If at that moment some individual, more calm and collected than the rest, should endeavour to arrest their progress at the door, and recommend their return till the passage was cleared, with what temper would they receive his advice? They would probably become exasperated by his resistance, and trample him to death who was endeavouring to save them. Surely, however indiscreet their conduct as it affected themselves, however cruel and unjust as it affected him, it would be barbarous to reprove men for intemperance and misconduct, who acted under circumstances so little fitted for judgment and reflection. Such, in effect, was the position in which the colonies were placed; and to such extremities must they be reduced by the excitement of their slaves to insurrection, or even by the very terror of so great a calamity. He was, therefore, more disposed to make allowances for all that was really to blame in the indiscretion of their councils and the intemperance of their language, than to condemn them, more especially in the severe terms of his hon. and learned friend's motion, rendered still more severe by the speech which introduced it. Seeing, however, as he thought he did, some things which he could not approve in the papers laid before the House, he should be glad if some middle course could be adopted that might avoid the necessity of appearing to approve what he could not conscientiously, in the terms proposed, bring himself to condemn.

Dr. Lushington

rose, but was nearly inaudible from the cries for adjournment. He said he thought there were many gentlemen most anxious to speak on this question, and he should, therefore, submit to the feeling of the House; ready now to proceed, but willing to defer the expression of his sentiments, if they should think it necessary.

The cries for adjournment here became very loud; and accordingly at half past one o'clock, the further discussion of the motion was adjourned to the following day. It was afterwards further adjourned to the 11th instant.