Imágenes de páginas

Do the encouragers of smuggling breach of our revenue laws, from ever reflect on the great expense the pulpit. incurred to support the laws and protect the fair dealer? And have they ever heard of the daring outrages and open violence occasioned by smuggling transactions, attended in not a few instances with bloodshed and murder? Must not every Christian, every humane, every patriotic heart, shrink from a practice which causes such dreadful violations of every moral, social, and political obligation? I trust that none of the grumblers at taxation are among the friends of smuggling.

With regard to the wealthy female -purchasers of lace, shawls, and silks, who have not even the excuse of economy for their offence, but who often give higher prices for smuggled foreign articles than for British goods of the same kind, and perhaps equal in quality, and who, in fact, are often deceived, by giving foreign prices for home manufactures, and their lords, who encourage and allow the breach of the laws themselves have made; I would not only increase the penalties, but endeavour to attach inconvenience and disgrace to the commission of any act of smuggling.

How would a female of common humanity, vested in Lyons silks, French shawls, gloves, and stockings, feel on attending the trials of those whom she had encouraged to employ personal resistance, and perhaps murder, in the course of their violation of the law, in order to import those illegal articles of luxury?

We have many admirable societies formed for the encouragement of moral and religious improvement; and if one more were added, founded on a resolution never, directly or indirectly, to encourage smuggling, but, on the contrary, to use every fair means for suppressing it, I consider that much benefit to the public might result from such an institution. Much good might also arise from serious expositions of the evils which flow from the

But while I reprobate offences against the revenue, I would recommend to our financiers to view the subject of taxes in a moral as well as pecuniary light. Hogarth's pictures of Gin Lane and Beer Street, might be sufficient, one would think, to induce public men to devise measures to check the prevalent use of ardent spirits. It would also be an act of deep moral and religious advantage, to diminish the litigation and perjury arising from our revenue laws. I might add much on a variety of kindred topics, but, for the present, only suggest these brief hints for the consideration of your readers. C. V. P.

To the Editor of the Christian Observer

Good Mr. Editor,

I HAVE always fully concurred with you in the enormity of the African Slave-trade, because I have no interest in doing otherwise; but am grievously offended at your venturing, as you seem to do in your last Number, to attack the very principle of slavery, and to wish for the immediate amelioration of the condition of the slaves in our colonies, and the ultimate abolition of the system itself. I am persuaded you cannot have given due attention to the many excellent arguments which have been urged in favour of slavery in general, and of Negro slavery in particular. I could detail to you many powerful syllogisms of my own on the subject; but as they might lose some of their weight for want of my name being appended to them, I shall content myself with translating the following valuable chapter from Montesquieu's Esprit des Loix, for your edification, and that of your readers. His reasoning appears to me quite conclusive. The last sentence is an excellent anticipatory censure on the Congress of Vienna, and especially on our own government, for troubling

their beads with these matters. The general one on the side of mercy and French cabinet understand Mon- pity?"-Montesquieu, De L'Esprit tesquieu better. des Loix, liv. xv. c. 5.

[ocr errors][merged small]

"On Negro Slavery.

"If I were called upon to defend our right to make the Negroes our slaves, I should say as follows:

"The good people of Europe, having exterminated the natives of America, are bound to make slaves of those of Africa, in order to reduce such a quantity of land to cultivation.

"Sugar would be too dear if we did not employ slave-labour on the plantations.

"The creatures about whom all this stir is made, are black from head to foot; besides which, they have such snub noses that it is impossible to feel pity for them.

"We cannot for a moment imagine that the Deity, who is an allwise Being, could have placed a soul, and much less any good or generous principle, in a body all over black.

"We may judge of the colour of the skin from that of the hair, which, among the Egyptians, the best philosophers in the world, was a matter of such importance that they put to death every red-haired person who fell into their hands.

"It is a proof that the Negroes have not common sense, that they think more of a necklace of glass beads than of gold, which, among civilized nations, is of such vast 'importance.


For the Christian Observer. QUAKER ADDRESS ON THE SLAVE TRADE.

THE Society of Friends, whose humane and zealous exertions for the suppression of the Slave Trade need no panegyric, have just issued an energetic "Address to the Inbabitants of Europe, on the iniquity" of that direful traffic, which deserves extensive circulation. After stating that a regulation was made upwards of sixty years ago, which has continued in force to the present time, that those who persisted in the unrighteous traffic in Negroes, when pains had been taken to con. vince them of their error, should no longer be considered as belonging to the society; and that, from their known principles and conduct relative to this great question, they can have no commercial or political end whatever to answer by thus advocating the rights of the oppressed, they proceed to plead the cause of Africa, "on the simple, but firm, basis of Christian principle."

"We have rejoiced," they remark, "to hear that the respective governments of those countries, whose subjects are still implicated in the traffic, have proceeded so far as they have hitherto done towards its abolition; but we have learned, with deep regret and sorrow, that it is still pursued to a great and truly lamentable extent, and that under circumstances of aggravated cruelty, by the subjects of those very powers. We bear that nume

"It is impossible to suppose that these people are human beings; for if we could suppose them to be human beings, it might begin to be thought that we ourselves are not Christians. "Persons of little minds exag-rous vessels are still hovering along gerate the injustice which we inflict upon the African race; for if the matter were as they say, how is it that it has never entered the heads of the princes of Europe, who are always making so many useless treaties among each other, to make a

the shores of Africa, to procure cargoes of human beings, and transport them to distant lands, whence they are designed never to return; and that the trade which the Congress at Vienna in 1814 pronounced to be the desolation of Africa,

the degradation of Europe, and the afflicting scourge of humanity,' has been carried on with increased eagerness in the course of last year. "It is under the influence of Christian love and good will, that we are now engaged to express our interest on behalf of this injured people. In thus introducing ourselves to the notice of our conti.nental neighbours, we feel that we need not offer any apology, considering them as our brethren, as the children of one universal Parent, as fellow-professors of a belief in one and the same merciful Saviour. The same feelings which lead us to consider the natives of France, of Spain, of Holland, of Portugal, and of the other nations of Europe, as our brethren, induce us to extend this endearing appellation to the inha-bitants of Africa. Our heavenly Father has made of one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the face of the earth; and we are all the objects of that great redemption which comes by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. And although the kindreds of the earth are divided into distinct communities and nations, we are all bound one unto another by the ties of love, of brotherly kindness, and compassion. But the nations of Europe are united by an additional bond. To them has been granted a blessing, which has not hitherto been enjoyed by the greater part of the natives of Africa: this blessing, this invaluable treasure, is the Bible in which is contained the record of the Gospel of Christ.

"Permit, us, then, as fellow-professors of the Christian name, to remind you of the complicated iniquity of the Slave Trade. Possessed of a superior force, which he has acquired by a greater knowledge of the dreadful arts of naval and military warfare, the slave-trader visits the coasts of unoffending Africa. He employs his agents to tear her inhabitants from their country, their families, and their friends; to burn their villages, and ravage their fields;

to spread terror and desolation through their peaceful dwellings. He foments wars between neighbouring chieftians, in order to supply himself with their subjects, the victims of his avarice. Having thus either stolen or bought bis fellow-men, who are equally with himself entitled to their liberty, and of which he possesses no right whatever to deprive them, he hurries them to the vessel that may be waiting in some adjoining creek, to receive the objects of his cruelty; or he chains them with iron fetters, or loads them with heavy yokes, and drives them, like the beasts of the field, to the shores. There new distresses await them: they are violently conveyed on board the ships stationed to receive them, stowed beside each other, like bales of goods, and conveyed across the Atlantic to the place of their destination. The horrors of this passage cannot be adequately described, even by those who have been witnesses of them. Faint, then, must be the idea we can form of the situa tion of upwards of three hundred human beings, in a comparatively small vessel, each limited to so narrow a space, that it often happens they cannot lie on their backs. Here they are subjected to miserable reflections-for the power of reflection in common with us they undoubtedly possess-on the past, the present, and the future. Their shrieks, and cries, and groans, ought to be sufficient to excite pity in the hardest heart. Arbitrary, cruel power, is often exercised to prevent those attempts at insurrec tion to which their situation prompts them. And such is their state of desperation, that they are often ready to have recourse to suicide. The noxious and pestilential effluvia that arise from their close confinement between decks, (which are often not more than three feet apart,) or from the illness of their companions, produce loss of appetite, disease, and, in many instances, suffocation, and other dis

tressing forms of death. And here let us bear in mind, that these cruelties are practised in violation of the laws of many of the nations of Europe; and that the slave-dealers, in their attempts to elude the operations of the law, have recourse to fresh acts of oppression to accomplish their wicked designs.

"When released from their horrible prison, the surviving slaves are exposed to sale like cattle, and consigned to pass their days in the loss of liberty, far separated from their nearest earthly ties, and exposed to such acts of domineering violence as a capricious master or his dependents may be disposed to exercise. Such is the cruelty practised upon thousands and tens of thousands of innocent sufferers, not by men who might attempt to palliate their conduct on the plea of retaliating injuries, but by those who, when they themselves are enjoying the blessing of liberty, when the comforts of social life are with in their reach, leave their native land for the sake of sordid gain, and spread desolation, distress, and misery, amongst a people who have never injured them. May the nations of Europe consider in time the awful consequences that await such accumulated guilt!"

The Address proceeds to shew the unjust and unchristian nature of the traffic, and to answer the principal arguments which interested and evil-minded persons have invented to justify its enormities. It then concludes as follows:

"The nations of Europe owe a heavy debt to Africa. Instead of improving the opportunity of their commercial intercourse with that unoffending people, to exemplify the excellence of the Christian religion, by the kindness of their conduct, and the purity of their morals ;-instead of endeavouring to convey to them a knowledge of those exalted views, of that increase of temporal happiness, which the spirit of Christianity produces; many of them have gone forth to

plunder and to ravage, to spread desolation and terror, to practise injustice and cruelty in their most odious forms; and thus have caused the name of Christ to be blasphemed among the gentiles through them.

"We appeal to all who have felt that love of their country which is inherent in our nature; who can appreciate the blessings and enjoyments of social life; who can form an estimate of the endearing relation of parents and children, of brothers and sisters, of husband and wife. We entreat all to reflect on the violation of these feelings which is now practised on the continent of Africa; to cultivate in their minds from day to day, and from year to year, sentiments of pity for these poor unhappy sufferers ;-to embrace every opportunity of advocating their cause among their neighbours, with Christian firmness and love; and to obtain and diffuse correct information, on the nature and extent of the traffic, by every means in their power, and in such a way as becomes the subjects of a Christian government."

"We hope that none will be disheartened from doing their utmost in this good cause, from the thought that their efforts will be of little avail. No one knows, let his station be ever so obscure, let his sphere of action be ever so limited, what may be the result of his persevering attempts in the cause of justice and mercy. Great events have often followed what appeared to be but small and unimportant beginnings. And we earnestly entreat those whose influence may be more extensive, to lose no time, to neglect no opportunity of pleading a cause in which the happiness and comfort of an incalculable number of our fellow-men are most deeply involved."

"The voice of reason and justice, the voice of humanity and religion, proclaims, that the Slave Trade is an iniquity of the deepest die. May then the friends of the

abolition of this abominable traffic, wherever they are scattered, combine their efforts in this righteous cause!-may their energy and alacrity be in proportion to the enormity of the evil!-and may it please the Almighty Parent of the universe to hasten the period of its extirpation, and by this and other means to prepare for the coming of that day, when, from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same, his Name shall be great among the gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto his Name, and a pure offering!"

It would only weaken the force of this earnest and seasonable appeal, to add any thing to it, except a devout aspiration, that its affecting statements may find admission to the heart of every reader, and induce those who have never yet come forward in this interesting cause, to withhold no longer their prayers, their exertions, and their liberality, from injured and afflicted Africa. Great as at present may appear the obstacles to the full success of their labours," in due time they shall reap, if they faint not."


To the Editor of the Christian Observer. ALTHOUGH the wide extension of a missionary spirit in this country is to be ascribed to a far higher principle than national pride, it may not be amiss to remind my countrymen of the expectations cherished throughout every part of the Christian world, of the zeal, liberality, and success of British missionary enterprize; or rather, I would say, of the obligations which result from our favourable national circumstances, and which well-judging foreigners often estimate even more highly than ourselves. I am reminded of the subject, by a passage in a pamphlet recently published at Lausanne, from the pen of M. Curtat, the chief pastor of that place. The object of the work is to censure

some of our countrymen, visiting or resident in the canton de Vaud, for distributing tracts, holding Sunday evening religious assemblies, and exciting the inhabitants to missionary zeal and co-operation. It is not my intention to enter into the merits of the controversy; respecting which those readers who are anxious to know more of the subject may find ample information in the attack of M. Curtat, and the reply of M. Du Plessis-Masset, lately published at Geneva. The only passage which I purpose to quote is the following, in which M. Curtat exhibits the opinions which our Christian brethren on the continent entertain of our duty, our facilities, and our readiness, (would that the last were as widely demonstrable as the others!) respecting missionary exertions. The passage has

I cannot however resist furnishing the opposers of Sunday evening services in our own country, with a new argument from M. Curtat's quiver; namely, the unhappy fate of Eutychus, in con"It sequence of an evening sermon. would appear," says M. Curtat," that the only example of evening worship

mentioned in the New Testament was related for no other purpose but to shew us its dangerous consequences. It is true that Eutychins was restored to life by a miracle; but what must have been the sorrowful emotions of the Apostle, the anguish of the relatives, and the grief and disturbance of the whole assembly! Should but one accident, even the slightest, occur in the dark in a conventicle, or at going out, it could

not but cause vehement exclamations against these unlawful meetings, and against the faithful who frequent them, and perhaps even against religion itself." M. Cartat is somewhat happier in his argument, when he observes, that to rich Englishmen, who lose their Sunday morning in bed, and their afternoon in the enjoyment of a late dinner, an evening service may be very necessary; but gin their Sunday after the scriptural that for his simple countrymen, who be

model at sunset the preceding evening, and rise early on the day of sacred rest, the Christian Sabbath legitimately ends at sunset; and that a Swiss has, in fact,

« AnteriorContinuar »