Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

« Fear,” says

[ocr errors][merged small]

the unhappy object dropped down dead.
my informant, “probably caused the effect, for I could
not perceive (but I was too far distant to observe minute-
ly) that the juglum was molested.” The dismal looking
monster Vallot was present, who seemed much elated
on account of his having received his fees previous to the
execution. “ The same day,” continued my informant,
(Mr. Dowding, who was confined more than two years
and a half in the Bastille), “ I saw another black negro
receive a most severe castigation, until the skin was whol-
ly excoriated from his posteriors. I was curious enough
to ask this bleeding victim, who was his master, and what
he had done to merit so severe a punishment? He re-
plied, that he had no master, was a free man; but what
is freedom in this colony? He formerly belonged to an
English gentleman of humanity in the island of Grenada,
who had been so benevolent in his last papgs as to be-
queath him his freedom, as a just recompense for his
past services. He came over to Trinidad to obtain em-
ployment as'a wood-cutter, and was accordingly employ-
ed by a Mr. Langton, for whom he successfully worked
until seventy dollars were due to him. Being in want of
some money to sustain himself, he demanded a part only
from his employer, who refused to give him any, telling
him to continue the work, and that he would pay him at
a future period. To this the poor fellow would not com
ply, alledging that he could not work without eating,
and he must have money to purchase eatables, as nobody
would give him .credit for them. Upon which he was
arrested, and thrown into the common dungeon, when
Vallot finding he had no person to take his part, claimed
him as his property for the jaol fees. He received this
castigation for having been rather disguised. I then
asked him whether there were no means of obtaining

justice; to which he replied in his own dialect thus :« Gubnah da one debble, de juyla da hee broder, an de jail da hell. IVhen jayla say hang um, Gubnah say teek de rope!!" “ This exornation excited my risible faculties as much às previously his treatment had claimed my commiseration ; accordingly, I left him in the most excruciating pain, putting a dollar in his hand to console him in his unhappy situation."

There are many more of these disgusting scenes of depravity in my possession, but I think you have here enough of them to wish the prime mover of them in private the benison of all tyrants.

Anxious as I am to proceed with this narrative, with as few interruptions as possible, I cannot avoid pausing for a moment at such a scene as is here presented, in the execution of this diabolical commission. Are we to conclude that the wretches who compose it believe in the potency of drugs, charms, conjuration, and mighty magic, and in sentencing those poor creatures to death, do they believe they are performing a duty they owe to truth? Or must we admit that they deride such exploded notions as unworthy of credit, and yet are so debased by their fear, or won by their interest, as, to execute whatever the author of this commission commands, however detestable or shocking to justice and humanity? Alas! in either case, the character of human nature suffers:- In one case she is reduced below the level of savage ignorance, and in the other below the depth of savage depravity.

Having mentioned Mr. Dowding, it is not my duty to pass him over in silence,-his long and tedious confinement merits my attention; and I hope an illegal and wanton exertion of authority will claim some consideration in your humane heart, at whatever period his hard case may come under your reprobation. This gentleman is a native of Barbadocs, and, I believe, had been many years

in England attending his education, where he has many respectable friends and connections in the mercantile line. He came here about three years ago on some busie ness or other of that nature:

Opposite to the house he occupied was a grog-shop, or more properly speaking, a disorderly house, kept by a Spaniard, and a place of resort for vagabonds of every colour and description, who took it into their heads to make it a constant practice of leaving their filth at his door. He complained of the nuisance to the officer of the police, a Frenchman of the name of Lasauvagier, who told Mr. Dowding that he must take the aggressors whenever he detected them, and carry them to prison. Mr. Dow. ding very properly replied that he could not with propriety take upon him the duty of a magistrate. These vagabonds finding that Mr. Dowding received no redress from the officer abovementioned, persevered in their former conduct, but in a more open and aggravated manner,

till they were detected one evening by his servant. Mr. Dowding, irritated at these repeated acts of insult, pursued them with a stick,-they were too nimble for him, therefore escaped a well merited chastisement. The next morning Mr. Dowding received a message from an Alcalde of the name of Bernard, to appear before him to answer to a complaint of an assault preferred against him by those vagabonds, which he obeyed, attended by some respectable neighbours to prove his innocence, if necessary. It was to no purpose, for the Alcalde, partial to his Spanish friends, sentenced Mr. Dowding to the Bastille for an hour or two, who was of course obliged to coinply, but with the prospect of being liberated ; however, to his great astonishment, General Picton, instead of liberating him, confirmed the unjust decree, and desired him to quit the colony without delay, notwithstanding Mr. Dowding

remonstrated against the second unjust decree, very properly alledging the particular mercantile affairs in which he was concerned would, if he obeyed, prove very prejadicial to his interest, besides having landed property in the island, and unconscious of being a transgressor in any one instance whatever, he was firmly impelled to resist the new mandate, in itself not only arbitrary, and inconsistent, but not extraordinary in the annals of Picton's administration ; which evinces to your candid judgment how far the interest of the colony, and that of Great Britain has been regarded by the military mamouth, in the ill-treatment he manifested towards this gentleman, whom he immured in an unwholesome prison, the Bastille of the Inquisition, for more than, as I have already said, two years and a half, and he might have continued in that situation to the end of his days, had not the benevolent colonel Fullarton introduced him once more to society and personal liberty. It is superfluous to mention, that upon the arrival of the colonel, he was (as an innocent man) set at liberty! I have no comment whatever to make on the important and disgraceful facts which I have exhibited in this letter; I leave them to the reprobation of every-admirer of British humanity and British freedom.

Ad interim vale.

S

[ocr errors][merged small]

Preliminary RemarksA Biographical Sketch of Gover

nor Picton-His Origin and Connections, with his first Career in Trinidad-A common Mode of raising the Wind,displayed-Custom-house Rats and PandersHis false Exploits trumpetedHis disgusting Conduct to Strangers reprobatedMadam Rosetta selected for a Mistress to prevent a Repetition of certain CrimesThe Honey Moon-Presents bestowed for Secret Services Her AscendancyHer peculative and plundering Excesses-Resistance dangerous--The Goa vernor sunk in the Lap of Ease-Rosetta takes the Reins of Government into her own Hands-Her first Act of Cruelty directed towards Mrs. Griffiths and her Daughters-The Governor remonstrated with on this Occasion--His romantic Reply-The illegal Execution of a Serjeant of the Royal Artillery, and a French Planter-Slaves clandestinely carried away, and the Planters plunderedGeneral Reflections, &c.

Head-Quarters, PUERTO DE ESPANA, March 1803,

DEAR SIR,

DR. BLAIR somewhere remarks, “ that the history of mankind has ever been a continued tragedy,—the world a great theatre, exhibiting the same repeated scene of the follies of men shooting forth into

« AnteriorContinua »