Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. VI. - An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species
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CHAP. VI. - Thomas Clarkson, An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species 
An Essay on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species, particularly the African, translated from a Latin Dissertation, which was Honoured with the First Prize, in the University of Cambridge, for the Year 1785, with Additions (London: J. Phillips, 1786).
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If the treatment then, as before described, is confirmed by reason, and the great credit that is due to disinterested writers on the subject; if the unfortunate Africans are used, as if their flesh were stone, and their vitals brass; by what arguments do you receivers defend your conduct?
You say that a great part of your savage treatment consists in punishment for real offences, and frequently for such offences, as all civilized nations have concurred in punishing. The first charge that you exhibit against them is specifick, it is that of theft. But how much rather ought you receivers to blush, who reduce them to such a situation! who reduce them to the dreadful alternative, that they must either steal or perish! How much rather ought you receivers to be considered as robbers yourselves, who cause these unfortunate people to be stolen! And how much greater is your crime, who are robbers of human liberty!
The next charge which you exhibit against them, is general, it is that of rebellion; a crime of such a latitude, that you can impose it upon almost every action, and of such a nature, that you always annex to it the most excruciating pain. But what a contradiction is this to common sense! Have the wretched Africans formally resigned their freedom? Have you any other claim upon their obedience, than that of force? If then they are your subjects, you violate the laws of government, by making them unhappy. But if they are not your subjects, then, even though they should resist your proceedings, they are not rebellious.
But what do you say to that long catalogue of offences, which you punish, and of which no people but yourselves take cognizance at all? You say that the wisdom of legislation has inserted it in the colonial laws, and that you punish by authority. But do you allude to that execrable code, that authorises murder? that tempts an unoffended person to kill the slave, that abhors and flies your service? that delegates a power, which no host of men, which not all the world, can possess?—
Or,—What do you say to that daily unmerited severity, which you consider only as common discipline? Here you say that the Africans are vicious, that they are all of them ill-disposed, that you must of necessity be severe. But can they be well-disposed to their oppressors? In their own country they were just, generous, hospitable: qualities, which all the African historians allow them eminently to possess. If then they are vicious, they must have contracted many of their vices from yourselves; and as to their own native vices, if any have been imported with them, are they not amiable, when compared with yours?
Thus then do the excuses, which have been hitherto made by the receivers, force a relation of such circumstances, as makes their conduct totally inexcusable, and, instead of diminishing at all, highly aggravates their guilt.