DREADFUL DESIGNS OF THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON AGAINST THE WEST
TOPICS OF THE DAY.
THERE is a prayer of one of the saints of old, which the West India planters have often had, and most especially at this moment have, occasion to offer up : "Lord deliver us from our friends!" If ever, indeed, their interests be sacrified to the misdirected zeal of the Abolitionists, it will not he the arguments of the latter that will achieve the deed, so much as the folly and inconsideration of those officious individuals who come forward to oppose them. The planters have already suffered much from the advocacy of such men, and we fear they have not yet suffered all they are doomed to. We are sorry for this, because they have so many points of right on their side, that it is only by the grossest neglect of easily tenable defences that their position can ever be turned. Among the most notable acts of these mischievous supporters, is the recent circulation of a report that Ministers, when they have got the Catholic Relief Bill through Parliament, mean to propose. a wholesale measure of slave emancipation. It has been promptly contradicted in a journal which has long been connected with Government, and which, as it was specially chosen by the Duke of WELLINGTON as a medium for communicating to the public the particulars of the rencontre of last Saturday, may be justly supposed to be ac- quainted with his Grace's sentiments. But the assertion is so infinitely ridiculous, as hardly to require the solemnity of for- mal contradiction, and the object is too apparent to deserve it. To sound an alarm to-the West Indian planters in order that they may be induced to join the ranks of the Anti-Catholics, is an ex- tremely shallow trick. What connexion has the admissibility of Catholics to Parliament with the slave question? The only argu- ment worth a moment's examina! ion that has ever been urged against the Catholics, is that the principles of their faith are hostile to civil and religious freedom. Do their enemies suppose th:it they will persuade even the Negroes of the West Indies that Catholicity is at one and the same time dangerous both to liberty and to bond- age ?—that neither the free laws of England nor the slave laws of Jamaica will be respected by it ? But let us for a moment examine the evidence of the Duke's in- tentions. First, we are told that he has 'declared that no sooner shall the Catholics be emancipated, than he will propose another measure which will excite still greater surprise than followed the introduction of the one now in progress. By whom was he heard ? and when, and where ? Granting that the. closest-minded States- man in Europe—he whose present great measure surprised only because he was never heard by anybody to say a word about it— granting that he has done in respect of some contemplated measure what he so sedulously avoided in respect of the Relief BIII, who but a man whose bead was full of windmills would conclude that no measure under heaven could possibly be meant but a general abo- lition of West India slavery? - it is the more necessary to at- tend to the consideration of this point, because WO cannot :bid that there is one fact put forward, but the solitary one that the Duke has said, or rather has been heard to say,by some person or persons un- known, that he intends to do something very surprising! It is from this fact alone that the whole rawsheati-and-bloo0y-bones conclusion is drawn ;—the starvation of seven hundred thousand Blacks in the first place, and in the second the subversion, in the same destitute men of soot, of all principles of morality ; the destruction of one hundred millions of property ; the beggaring of three hundred thousand families and of ten thousand sailors ; the rot of two hun- dred thousand tons of shipping ; the loss of India, Botany Bay, and Prince of Wales Island; the reduction of Great Britain to a lower station in Europe than its own kingdom of Hanover; the bank- ruptcy of every merchant in London, Liverpool, Bristol, and Glas- gow, including a few elsewhere ; change of condition in all the leading and influential men in England,—the appointment, for in- stance, of the Duke of WELLINGTON to the Scottish National Church in Judd-street, and of Lord WINCEIILSEA to the dignity of Vicar Apostolic of Kildare and Loughlin, with a bishomic in partibus infideliwn ; the firing of the Thames, and the flight of the Monument to Shooter's-hill! All which will infallibly come to pass in poor old England,,—that is, unless the planters bring some- thing better than cane-sugar honesty (will beet-root sugar honesty do?) against the Catholic Bill,—when rivers run up hill, and trees grow with their heads downwards!
We look upon the West Indian planters as a highly respectable body of men. They have, of course, some knaves and some fools among them, and some wrong-headed honest men, who are more injurious to the cause they espouse than eit her plaits knaves or plain fools ; but as a whole, they are, we repeat, a most respectable band of merehmts—sound-headed, clear-sighted, and possessinggenerally even more generosity of temper and dignity of conduct than mer- cantile wealth usually brings along with it. They are strong in the justice of their cause, and strong in its legality—strong also in the permanent and inborn respect which all Englishmen feel for the rights of property fairly and honestly acquired, and fairly and honestly enjoyed. They have nothing to fear. But there is no case so good that it may not be weakened by foolish defences ; nor do we know any thing more likely to weaken theirs than for the *niers, in a body and as planters, to offer a factious opposition to a measure that concerns them no more, in that capacity, than does the wandering of the last-discovered comet. On the general subject of Slavery we have not room at present to enter ; but we shall, unless something very pressing prevent us, do so next week, not as partisans of either the Whites or the Blacks, but as heartily desirous to see indifferent justice done to both. How much justice they who would convert the Colonial Coffee-house into a Brunswick Club, by such an arguntrnium ad rigmaroleam as that which we have been noticing, do to the com- mon sense of the members, we leave them to settle.