Page images
PDF
EPUB

Coast, the Slave Trade carried on Mr Wilberforce's motion,)“ to conby her citizens, or, at least, under ceal from themselves, that all their cover of her flag, is hardly inferior exertions for the suppression of the to that carried on under the flags Slave Trade must be nugatory, while either of his Most Catholic, Most America and France are restricted Ckristian, or Most Faithful Majesty? from joining them!” We trust the So perfectly irresistible do these ar- example of Spain will have its due guments appear to us, that we agree weight with Portugal, which, in desith Mr Wilberforce in thinking fiance of the most sacred Treaties, that the American Government can and the recent happy change in the not long refuse to acquiesce in their character of her Government, still validity, and “to exert herself in continues to foster a traffic, which, à cause where the happiness of so if persevered in, must affix to her many millions is concerned !" If name the brand of historical infamy, a qualified right of search were once and entail execration and shame on acceded to, in terms of the recom her latest posterity! mendation of the Committee of the By what quip or cantrip of diploHouse of Representatives, the ob- macy, Russia, Prussia, and Austria, jections stated by Mr Rush, in his have been permitted to identify their correspondence with Lord Castle Gothic, dark-lanthorned policy, with reagh, in December 1818, to the a question which, in no degree, conconstitution of the Mixed Com cerns their secular interests, and mission Courts, might easily be got which they are too legitimately barthe better of by a new arrange

barous to entertain upon arguments ment, equally effective in its opera- and considerations founded on such tion, and more consentaneous in its Revolutionary principles as those of character to the views of the Amerie Justice and Humanity, we do not can Government, and the fundamen- profess ourselves cunning enough to tal principles of the Union. Till these divine ; nor should we, perhaps, be great objects are attained, and till much enlightened on this curious America and France shall no longer matter, were the “ Holy Alliance" besitate to go hand in hand with Bri- to put forth another Rescript, like tain, in a work which justice, huma- that of Vienna, to be belied, like its nity, and enlightened policy, unite predecessor, by their whole future in recommending to all nations, it is conduct. But what, let us ask, are impossible that the Governments of the facts ? Russia has few colonies, Portugal and Spain should ever be and none where the labour of black bearty in the cause, or take

effectual slaves could possibly be employed ;measures to prohibit a traffic, from she has also few ships, and no foreign which the neighbouring Powers con commerce-at least none worth mentinue to derive a sordid, and inhu- tioning. What right, then, had she

to man, but extensive advantage. The put herself forward as a party in the interesting intelligence recently re discussions on the Slave Trade which ceived from Spain, however, that took place at the Congress of Aix-lathrough the highly laudable efforts Chapelle, and to oppose her hostile of Count Torreno, the Cortes had influence and inveterate prejudices been induced to pass a law, inflict- to the emancipation of Africa, and ing an infamous punishment on all the purgation of Europe from one of Spanish subjects engaged in the Slave the foulest crimes ever committed Trade, and had determined to treat against humanity? What right had as felons, punishable with ten years' she, who, in 1815, had denounced labour on the public works, persons this traffic as “odious in itself, and convicted by the tribunals of this contrary to the principles of religion crime, as also to manumit the un and nature,” to endeavour, in 1817 fortunate creatures destined to sla- and 1818, to resist the only measure very,-must tend greatly to facilitate the right of search-by which that the necessary future arrangements traffic could have been successfully between this country and America. abolished ? Having no colonies, and For “it is in vain for Parliament” consequently no Slave Trade,-how (we use the words of the Marquis could this right, claimed by the Briof Londonderry on the occasion of tish Plenipotentiaries, even had it

L.

TOL. XI.

been as malignant in its principle, and rooted and deep, that it appears to as dangerous in its operation, as it is have been more than a match for the exactly the reverse--how could this usual principles by which the conright have affected her interests ? She duct of Cabinets is guided, and their could not surely imagine that the decisions determined. But still the Slave Trade was to be put down by question returns—upon what known a few pages neatly written on parch- principle of international law could ment, even through the magical Russia object to the right of search names of Barclay de Tolly and Pozzo at Aix-la-Chapelle? Every body who di Borgho were appended : or, if has made himself acquainted with she was insane enough to believe so the subject, can explain the conduct firmly in the omnipotence of diplo- of France, in refusing her accession matic parchment,—what right had to it:-she has colonies, by our geshe to stand forward and throw ob- nerosity, and the right of search once structions in the way of wiser and granted would, in a great measure, honester people, who only proposed have annihilated a traffic, which, in to take effectual measures to do that defiance of every obstacle and obli, which she herself had, in the most gation, she was resolved to foster and solemn manner, and in the face of encourage. But it could not affect all Europe, sanctioned? But let the Russia, any more than it could affect reader mark the consistency of Mus- the kings of Bavaria or Wirtemberg. covite policy. In 1815, she anathe- How, then, came our Plenipotentiamatised the traffic in human flesh, ries to suffer her to interfere at all? and seemed to be so much in earnest, We hope Lord Londonderry can exthat she declared she would shut her plain this—we cannot ! ports against the colonial produce of Whatever applies to the case of those nations who should persist in Russia must, a fortiori, be more apbuying, selling, and torturing their plicable to that of Austria and Prusfellow-creatures ; and in 1819, just sia. Where are their colonies and four years after this memorable des fleets to be met with? We say noclaration, a tariff* was promulgated, thing of the moon, having never in which the foreign produce of those travelled thither except in imaginaPowers who had abolished the Slave tion; but if she be made of ice, as Trade is virtually excluded, and the the Liverpool Sage maintains, we monopoly of the Russian market given fear she would furnish but cold to those who had obstinately refused, quarters to the sun-burnt children notwithstanding repeated pledges, to of the torrid zone. Sure we are, discontinue it. Was not this of- however, that, on the surface of this fering a premium for the encourage- terraqueous globe, neither seaman ment of the Slave Trade? Was not nor geographer ever met with, or this contributing, to the utmost of heard of, the fleets or colonies of her power, to support those inhuman these great powers. Why, then, monsters who have filled Africa with were they suffered to throw their rapine and murder, and deluged weight, such as it is, into the scale that great Continent with blood ? against the poor, oppressed, tortured, Was not this conduct “ odious in it- enslaved Africans? Where a nation self, and contrary to every principle has no interest, it can have no right. of religion and nature ?” Had this These are equal and reciprocal. We hostile and malignant influence been have shewn that Austria and Prusexerted from any principle of inter- sia had no interest to be comproest, however sordid and base, it would mised by the abolition ; they could, have been at least intelligible ; but as therefore, have no right to obstruct the matter stands, it appears to have or oppose it. Is it not a proof, then, proceeded from an innate hatred to of imbecility, on the part of our Goevery thing that promised to rend vernment, that they were at all sufasunder the fetters of the slave, and fered to inter in a matter with to elevate him one grade in the migh- which they had no manner of conty scale of Humanity,--a hatred so

cern?

We did not consult these

* See the Speech of Sir James Mackintosh, 27th June 1822.

LONGER TO

ENDURE

THE

SLAVE

Powers when we issued the orders and we are quite satisfied that he in Council ; nor when we carried has done—and, what is more, done into effect the belligerent right of zealously and ably--all that REASON search, and in consequence involved or REMONSTRANCE can ever do on the country in a war with America; the subject. But still his conduct nor when we sabred the Reformers has not been satisfactory to the counat Manchester ; nor when we hanged, try—and for this best of all reaand then, that the operation might sons, that he never assumed that ats be quite complete, beheaded the he- titude and tone which he was enroes of Bonnymuir; nor when we ap- titled to assume,-with the gigantic pointed Secret Committees; nor when power and resources of this country, we passed the Six Acts; nor when with Justice, Humanity, Reason, Re. we legislated for India ; nor, in short, ligion, and Waterloo, at his back!! when we did any thing which we We hold it, however, as a truth, at had deeply and seriously at heart. once sacred and consoling, that THE Now, Russia, Austria, and Prussia, PRESENT AGE IS TOO HUMANE, ENhad just as much to do with one, or LIGHTENED, AND RELIGIOUS, MUCH all, of these matters, as with the Slave Trade. Whence, then, all this TRADE !!! difference in the discussion of that These Preliminary Remarks have question ? If Britain, France, Spain, insensibly swelled out to such an exPortugal, and America, abolish that tent, that we are compelled to postmurderous traffic, the natives of A- pone, till next Number, our Detail frica run little risk of being dragged of the Atrocities of the Contraband into slavery by the subjects and ships Slave Trade, as presently carried on of Prussia and Austria. Is Great under cover of the Spanish, PortuBritain, then, to be restrained and guese, Netherlands, American-AND trammelled, in doing what she is im- French flags. periously called upon to perform, in obedience to the just feelings and opinions of her people, by a Divan MODERN FANATICISM t. of Northern Despots, who hate the very semblance and shadow of liber IF Micromegas, or the Saturnian ty? We solemnly protest against philosopher, who, according to a being thought to insinuate ought lively Frenchman, once visited our against the perfect and entire sin- globe, were again to arrive among us, cerity of our own Government–far and, without any previous knowledge from it. Many of Lord Castlereagh's of our habits and literature, were to Notes to the Congress of Aix-la-Cha- endeavour to estimate our general pelle, and to the Earl of Clancarty, morality and religion merely from our Ambassador at the Court of the the habits of those to whom either Netherlands, are masterpieces of for- happened to be introduced, how difcible, and sometimes eloquent rea ferent would that estimate be, acsoning-for even he glides into elo- cording to the different circumstances quence on such an inspiring subject; of his introduction ! If either hap

• We cannot deny ourselves the pleasure of adorning our pages with an extract from a speech delivered by Mr Fox, in a Committee of the whole House, on the Slave Trade, April 2, 1792: “ He knew it was an unpopular thing to renounce moderation; but he did not profess moderation on this subject. In Middleton's Life of Cicero, there was a passage which exactly described what he thought of moderation applied to the Slave Trade :-A man might break open a house at midnight, for the purpose of robbery, and might murder the father, mother, children, and domestics ; but, said the passage, all this might be done with MODERATION! So, in like manner, by this sort of reasoning, we might proceed in this trade ; we might rob, plunder, kidnap, murder, and depopulate a whole country, with moderation ! He professed no moderetion ; there could be no qualification of such guilt ; he was equally an enemy to all their regulations--regulations as disgraceful as they would be im potent!"

† Sermons by the late Rev. Alex. Stewart, D.D., one of the Ministers of Canongate, Edinburgh. To which is prefixed, a Memoir of his Life, including Letters, Sro. Oliphant, Edinburgh.

pened to associate with one class of of other countries, he could hardly our fashionables, he would be apt to fail to arrive at this proud national conclude, that knowledge and mora- conclusion, that whatever might have lity were designed chiefly for those to been the case formerly in popish whom they are necessary for acquir countries, more saints now make their ing or continuing the means of sub- exit from this favoured kingdom, sistence ; while the golden rule of than from all the rest of Europe tohis associates was to eat, drink, and gether. We have every day printed be merry,—their highest knowledge, and well-authenticated accounts of the calculation of the chances of a the child dying an hundred years gaming-table,-and their best morali. old; and many a happy parallel to ty, punctual payment of their debts the case of the thief upon the cross ! of honour. If he associated with Now, it has always appeared to us, another class, he might find know that much of the statements containledge highly valued, and morality to- ed in these evangelical reports and lerably practised; but if he were to magazines is gross exaggeration, form his general estimate of our re- Nothing surely can be more absurd ligion from either class,-from the and ridiculous, than to publish meHunts, Carliles, Cobbetts, and some moirs of the lives and minutes of the of our best poets and philosophers, conversations of children of seven .such estimate would be neither very years old. However satisfactory or correct, nor very favourable. He consoling to relatives the recollecwould suppose that Christianity was tion of such things may be,--to others so absurd or pernicious, as to be a fit it must appear highly ridiculous, subject of ridicule on every proper gravely to assert, that children who occasion, and neither valued nor cannot, without hesitation, distinpractised by any one with the least guish between their right hand and pretensions to taste or intellect. If, their left, understand, and can exhowever, our philosopher had been press their ideas respecting some of introduced to a third class of our ci- the most mysterious truths of our retizens, he would conclude exactly ligion,-respecting the divinity and the reverse of this. If he had fallen incarnation of our blessed Saviour, among the brethren of the Taber- for instance,-or the depravity of nacle, or those persons who, like them, their own nature,--or the doctrine appropriate to themselves the title of of the atonement, the foundation of Evangelical, he could not but con- every sinner's hope. clude, that we were the most religious It has become of late, too, very people under heaven; and that since much the practice to publish methe days of La Trappe, and the other moirs of such unhappy persons as monastic establishments, there had have forfeited their lives to the laws been nothing to equal the quantity of the country, and sometimes to and regularity of their religious ob- hold forth almost certain assurance servances, their apparent humility, of their salvation. Now, we think the rigidity of their self-denial, and the utility of such publications very the austerity of their aversion to all questionable. It appears to us, that kinds of pleasure.

such a practice too closely resembles If one judged of our literature, in- that of a physician, who publishes an deed, from the evangelical tracts, account of a difficult case which he monitors, magazines, and reviews, he has successfully treated. Neither certainly would not rate it high-for the physician nor the divine is prohe would find no great indications of bably so much interested in the subtalent, and fewer of taste ; but he ject of his skill, as in another personwould surely be lost in unbounded age, viz. self; and perhaps neither is astonishment, both at the earnestness so very much concerned for the pubof our efforts to convert our unen lic, for whose temporal or eternal inlightened brethren, comprehending terest alone both accounts profess to two-thirds of the inhabitants of these be published :—but Dr A. is desirealms, and at the uncommon success rous it should be known, that he that seemed to attend these efforts; has cured a most difficult and danand if he thought of comparing the gerous disease ; and the Rev. Mr monthly obituaries here with those B.'s regard for truth will not allow

un

him to eonceal that he was the hum- he would hesitate the less to superble instrument of “plucking a brand add murder to his other criminalities : from the burning !" If the hearts of nor does it appear to us at all condueither were narrowly examined, we cive to the interests of morality or cannot help thinking, that some such religion, to publish a flourishing motive of pride or vanity might be statement of the peace and comfort often found lurking there, under the in which a malefactor can die, after guise of zeal for the temporal or having embrued his hands in human spiritual welfare of the public. blood, and sent a fellow-mortal into

It is unquestionably our duty to the presence of his Judge, attempt the conversion of such un- housell’d, unanointed, unanneal'd," happy persons, and to prepare them with all his unrepented sins upon

his for their untimely fate. Humanity head. requires it, Christianity enjoins it, the But to pass from these 'to more law of the country has in most cases harmless memoirs. Never was the cominanded and provided for it; but old adage, De mortuis nil nisi bonum still neither one nor all of these re so well understood, or so fully pracquire the publication of the result of tised as at present. Indeed, so thoour attempts; and sure we are, that roughly is its force felt by many biomorality has not been consulted on the graphers, especially by those who occasion. She would positively for- undertake to write the lives of “just bid all such publications. We mean men made perfect,” that it goes far not to say that such publication, to destroy the interest and utility of thongh it did contain almost certain their biography altogether. Few inassurance of the late malefactor's deed can recognize Humanity in the having now entered into the happi- unnatural attitude in which she is ness of immortality, would of itself often placed, and under the load of induce any one to go and do like- panegyric with which she is always wise;", but what we mean to say is encumbered. If something indicathis, that when a person who has ting the class to which the subject of already begun his career of guilt, ob- the memoir belongs be permitted to serves that another, who he sees has appear, there is absolutely nothing, done more atrocious deeds than him. 'bating the circumstances of their self-deeds that have drawn down births, deaths, and localities, that can the vengeance of human laws,—has, distinguish any one individual from notwithstanding, obtained forgive- every other individual of the same ness and felicity, he is not very like- class. It is in vain that we look in ly to stop short in his career. See- such memoirs for traits of character, ing that the other has as yet gone far or judicious anecdotes describing the beyond him, he is much more likely man; it is in vain that we seek for to be tempted to fill up the measure their opinions of books, men, or manof his own iniquity; and should he ners, or any thing else that can renimagine that murder is necessary, der the account of the life of one either to attain his object, or to se man interesting to another :-all is cure his personal safety, we ask, so injudicious, formal, and laudawould the remembrance of such a tory, that one might venture to afpublication have no mischievous ef- firm, that there was really nothing fect at such a critical moment of of which the writer had so great a temptation? A publication, which, dread as that one feature of nature by injudiciously offering pardon “tó should somewhere peep forth in his the chief of sinner3,” holds out to performance. This excessive laudhim the hope of eternal happiness, ing, and this want of nature, we take even should he do his worst; while, to be the perpetual and predominaif he do so, he sees clearly that he ting faults in all religious memoirs. diminishes the chance of being ap The portraits are commonly so geneprehended, or, if he should, silences ral, that the likeness of any one might for ever a most material witness serve equally for the likeness of any against him. We think, if such a other. These are the faults of Bosrecollection were unfortunately to ton's, Newton's, (of Olney,) Bacon's, occur to his mind at such a moment, (the Sculptor,) Cadogan's, and Marit would decide his choice; and that iyn's; all of which would have been

« PreviousContinue »