Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/19

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1400 free negroes, 1000 coloured creoles, and from 3 to 400 whites.

The slaves are chiefly employed up the rivers in the cutting and trucking of mahogany, and are generally well treated. Their owners are probably afraid of harshness from the many opportunities the negroes have of escaping to the neighbouring Guatimalian territory and becoming free.[1] The free negroes are only remarkable for their excessive indolence and pride. The moral effects of slavery are but too visible in their character. The coloured Creoles of the country, descendants of Europeans by African women, carry on mechanical trades, or keep small stores in the back streets. Many of these possess considerable property. The white population consists of merchants and their clerks, and of individuals employed in civil or military capacities by the governor. The internal regulations of the settlement are confided to the Superintendent appointed by his

  1. Since the Revelation in Guatimala from one to two hundred slaves have absconded from their masters and taken refuge in the American territory. Their owners have repeatedly applied to the Government of the Republic in order that they may be given up, but after several debates in Congress the request has been refused. Putting the rights of humanity out of the question, it seems difficult to reconcile such a demand with the common principles of reciprocity among nations. So long as England maintains the noble principle that to breathe British air is to be free, any other nation not only has a right but honours herself by following the example. It is needless to add that the application was never sanctioned by the government at home.