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enduring. Let us, then, concisely, in empire. This depression--this almost the present instance, mark
stagnation-in various branches of trade, The trials under which the community has been acknowledged, and felt to be a have been, and still are, labouring; and very serious calamity. let it be specially observed, that, not There has been, too, and still is, inmerely has one part of the community tense anxiety among all classes, in consebeen called to suffer, but every part ; quence of the high price of all kinds of not merely specific classes, but every provisions. class. A dark and an appalling cloud This has been felt most sensibly by has been overshadowing the entire land, all, and most grievously by some. It and we have been compelled to say, has occasioned intense and universal “ This is the finger of God!" and to cry, alarm, and among the poor it has created " () Lord, rebuke us not in thy wrath, quite a panic. Almost every article of neither chasten us in thy hot displea- importance on which we rely, rose in sure !"
price, speedily, and, in many respects, There has been, and still is, great de- fearfully. Even rice, and oatmeal, and pression in various branches of trade. peas, which thousands of families would
All that we have read, and all that we have been glad to have secured, regularly have observed, during the last nine or increased in expense almost at once. As twelve months, especially, has amply for flour, the augmentation of price was confirmed this statement. Large houses most alarming, and nearly every week it in our manufacturing districts have been has been heightened. Bread, families suffering most extensively; and on them, must obtain ; but they have found, by its not only tens, but hundreds of thousands increased price and consumption, that of hands, have been dependant. In many their expense, in this article alone, has quarters trade has been almost paralysed. been nearly doubled, and, we fear, that All branches, except those furnishing even now, the maximum price has not provisions to the people, have been, for been attained. We cannot wonder, then, some period, comparatively inactive. at the anxiety which has been felt, and Rents, taxes, and other burdens, have at the general alarm which has been ocbeen equally heavy, indeed, heavier ; still casioned. there has been little or nothing doing, There has been, and still is, realised, and we cannot wonder; for the poor in consequence of the circumstance just have had no money to spend, unless for mentioned, the extreme difficulty of the the staple and necessary articles of life. humbler class, in procuring the common We were conversing, very recently, with necessaries of life at all. This has been a commercial gentleman, of considerable palpable to every intelligent and dispasintelligence and observation, who travels sionate observer. The writer has been nearly throughout the kingdom, and he familiar with many cases of poverty, remarked, that he has scarcely witnessed during the autumn and winter; and his anything equal to it. The depression range of observation among the worthy was general, and most painful. Persons poor has not been narrow; and he can in business everywhere were involved in honestly aver, he has scarcely ever seen gloom. Scarcely any orders were given, anything like it—such extreme difficulty and never was there a time when it was in getting enough bread, on which to found more difficult, in certain depart- maintain existence. He has met with ments of trade, to get pecuniary transac- numbers of deserving creatures who, tions promptly and honourably settled. after all their continuous labour, can earn This observation, we are persuaded, will only six, seven, or eight shillings weekly; be fully sustained by tens of thousands of but how can a poor man, with a large upright, persevering, and excellent per- family, and the mere pittance of seven or sons, engaged in business throughout the eight shillings a week coming in, gain more than bread, and can he gain enough districts and wide-ranging counties; inof that? It is impossible! With five or volving in the deepest poverty, and in six children, what are two loaves daily? almost unendurable misery, not merely Bat these, according to present prices, thousands, but millions of our fellowamount to one shilling and sixpence creatures-our brethren and sisters;daily — and, multiplied by seven, will mowing them down in multitudes with be ten shillings and sixpence! What is the scythe of destruction, and diffusing there, then, in the wages of this poor and inexpressible alarm and horror through deserving man, for rent, fire, candles, the British empire, and the whole of tea, sugar, meat, clothing, the education Europe. of his children! Nothing—absolutely no- What can surpass the power and thrilthing. British philanthropists! British ling effect of the subjoined heart-rending Christians! Is not this heartrending statements respecting Ireland? They are Does it not make your souls bleed? Do pictures of misery from life indeed. One you not ask, How have multitudes of the of the excellent and Christian visitors repoor been living during the last winter? | siding at Waterford observes, the most It has scarcely been existence at all. extreme cases of distress are those which Life, to hundreds of thousands of the are silently endured, and then gives this poor, has been lately a heavy hurthen. illustration : " I pushed in the door of a
There has been, moreover, the almost room I was passing by, and there I saw universal failure of the potato crop a man lying on a little straw on the throughout the world. This was scarcely damp floor. At his feet lay a child. On credited at first, but facts compelled be the other side of the room lay another lief. Alarm was awakened that alarm child, on a little straw apart by itself. By increased, till consternation and dismay a small fire sat another child, quite filled the land, and, in many parts, where naked. On the father, in the bed, lay a the people mainly depended on the po- fourth child, in a state of mortification ; tato, there was nothing but wailing, hor- and on the floor sat a woman, seemingly ror, and despair. Every means was em- in good health, from whom I learned the ployed, in order that the blight might be tale of misery. The whole family had checked, that the calamity might be been in the Fever Hospital. The mother diminished, but it was perfectly unavail-died there. As soon as the others got to ing. It had gone forth from the Lord, the crisis of the disease, they were sent and that on which multitudes principally away, to make room for others.” relied, was smitten, and smitten by him. An intelligent and able minister, at “ The meat was cut off before our eyes." | Cork, tells us, that it is impossible to de“The seed was rotten under their clods," scribe to English minds the actual condiand it was God who “laid our vinė waste, tion of the miserable and dying people who barked our fig tree ;" so that "the throughout that district. “ Thousands," garners have been laid desolate, and the he remarks, "perish around me. Many barns are broken down." Let us, then, thousands are beyond the reach of effec"humble ourselves under the mighty tual aid, and must inevitably perish. hand of God," and, instead of complain- Thousands more are hastening. An ining, offer the prayer, “When thy judg- telligent Roman Catholic clergyman has ments are abroad in the earth, may its calculated the deaths to be at the rate of inhabitants learn righteousness.”
twenty thousand a month !!" There has been, also, the most ap
Is not this horrible to contemplate ? palling destitution and misery prevailing The Rev. A. King powerfully observes, in the sister-country and the Highlands. “The sight, the shocking sight, of cold, It has been, we say, appalling-most ap- naked, squalid, filthy, diseased, dying, palling destitution, because it has been so dead, fellow-creatures, strikes an indeextensive ; reaching and pervading entire scribable horror through the heart of a living man. All this I have seen and thy cure be effected? While we write, felt, in almost innumerable instances, after all that has been done, and done so during the past few days. In about three nobly, there is nothing but one loud and hundred cabins, within less than thirty deep cry of mourning, lamentation, and miles of the city of Cork, so cold, filthy, woe.' The Society of Friends most geneunteriantable, that an Englishman would rously contributed forty thousand pounds not, I would not-keeps wine in them; to alleviate the sufferings of Ireland; I found human beings huddled together, and yet, among its starving millions, that diseased, dead, and dying, in such a state magnificent sum was only like a drop as I had never conceived in my imagin- falling into the ocean. British Chrisings of possible destitution. These mise- tians, of all denominations, have, in this rable dens contained more than seven good cause, united both hands and inmates each, more than one-third of hearts; still all appears only to have been whom were ill of fever and dysentery, a trifle for Ireland-so fearful has been and all of whom were starving. In some the amount of human misery there. The of these abodes of horror, not twenty feet Government, in the most magnanimous square, I found as many as seven, and manner, came forward to Ireland's help, even ten, miserable wrecks of the human and Ireland's rescue; but even their aid form, in the midst of stench, contagion, is insufficient. May God pity Ireland! and death ; without fire, without furni. May God alleviate the woes of Ireland! ture, without food, and with scarcely rags May our heavenly Father soon come to to cover them. Some absolutely naked, her deliverance! Still, Ireland must learn some laid down in filthy wisps of straw, many valuable lessons, from past and precalled beds, to die; some moaning for sent calamities. The ignorance and sufood or drink; some unable to use either perstition of multitudes of the lower class when supplied; some expiring, at the there must be checked. Improvident moment of my visit.
marriages must be guarded against. “In a miserable hut, on the side of the Periodical, instead continuous labour, bleak mountain road, absolutely without
must be discountenanced. The soil must furniture, I found a poor man, lying on
be well cultured; and wheat, instead of the floor in fever ; his wife sitting by the potatoes, must be depended on. An effihearth, like a corpse, unable to rise and cient poor-law must be introduced. open the cabin-door ; a child, about eight There must be a better and happier unyears, as miserable-looking as the mo- derstanding between landlord and tenant, ther; and, most horrible of all, partly and the curse of absenteeism must be reconcealed beneath some straw on the moved. Then we should anticipate a floor, the corpses of two young children, brighter day for ill-fated Ireland : and, one of whom had been nine days, and the especially, when we found that the simother thirteen days dead!! And such ple, benevolent, expansive, and ennobling was this sad case, that the police officer institutions of Protestantism were genecould not promise to inter the bodies of rally received and observed, instead of these children until the following Sunday! the superstitious, meretricious, unscripAre not these trials ? Are not these tural, and pernicious rites of popery being agonising calamities ? But these are some
regarded. of the present appalling woes of Ireland. Come, happy day, we long to see O Ireland ! unhappy Ireland! when will Your hour of light and liberty."" thy wound be closed ?—when will thy
T. W. heart's blood be stanched ?—when will
GREAT EVENTS FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS.
“ Who hath despised the day of small things,” ZECHARIAH. Tue “ Biographical Sketch" of the late work that should call forth a vigorous Thomas Clarkson contains the following public effort, to redress the wrongs of interesting announcement :-" Early in injured Africa.” He completed bis essay, 1785, his attention was called to the sub- and was again honoured with the first ject of negro-slavery. The occasion that prize. After patient, vigorous, and pergave rise to it was incidental. Dr. Peck- severing exertions, in which he experihard, then vice-chancellor of the uni- enced opposition of the most formidable versity, had investigated the subject of character; after attaching to the cause negro slavery ; and under the conviction many of the worthies of the land, amongst that the slave-trade was most iniqui- the friends of freedom and religion; after tous traffic, he bad announced, as a sub- encountering difficulties which he had ject for a prize Latin dissertation, 10 never anticipated, he had the triumph of bethe senior Bachelors of Arts, Anne holding the successful issue of his labours liceat invitos in servitutem dare ?" Is it in the passing of the bill for the abolition right to make slaves of others against of slavery in the British colonies, on 1st their will ? The chancellor might pro- Aug., 1834. To Clarkson, to Wilberforce, bably have hoped, that thus to bring the and others, the thanks of the negro are due, subject before the public would be fol- butthepraise must be ascribed to God. The lowed by some good result; but he could following are Clarkson's own reflections: hardly have imagined that it would issue" That I was the first to take up the aboin the organization of a plan for the total lition of colonial slavery, or the indiviabolition of slavery itself. Events the dual who originated it, is indeed true; most trifling, and sometimes the most in- but I take no merit to myself on that auspicious, are occasionally pregnant with account, being assured that those feelings the mightiest results. On the apparently which pointed out to me the path I was incidental, the Divinely-controlled turn of to pursue must have sprung from a holy a thought, Providence sometimes sus- source; and that I was able to labour for pends the destiny of millions."
forty-eight years in this noble cause is Clarkson having, in the preceding year, equally true; but every one must be gained the first prize for the Latin disser- sensible that no individual could, by himtation, entered, with all the ardour of self, have completed so vast a work. rival scholarship, on the subject; deter- What could I have done without Mr. mined, if possible, to sustain his reputa- Wilberforce, as a parliamentary leader ? tion. To obtain all the information he and what could both of us have done could
upon slavery, he repaired to Lon- without the aid of the ever-to-be-honoured don, and having purchased Benezot's committee? And what could these have Historical Account of Guinea, with other done without the co-operation of the Bribooks on the question, he returned to tish nation? And what would these have Cambridge, and commenced his task, in done, had they not been lovers of liberty which he felt increasingly interested. and Christians ? The victory is, in fact, " It is impossible,” he says, in his History if we wish to know who gained it—the of Slavery, “to imagine the severe anguish triumph of Christianity over barbarism.” which the composition of this essay cost The sacred Scriptures are full of the me. All the pleasure I had promised sentiment, that great events proceed from myself from the contest was exchanged small beginnings. Look at the introducfor pain, by the astounding facts” (of op- tion of sin, that dire evil, produced by pression the most villanous and cruel) eating the forbidden fruit, an act, in itself, " that were now continually before me. apparently trifling, but in its consequences My great desire now was to produce a dreadful and ruinous. Look at the exalta
tion of Joseph, and the consequent pre- | sation—have, in more than one instance, servation of Jacob's family. Its remote been the means of a sinner's salvation, 'cause was a dream; and it is remark- that the excelleney of the power may be able that, as a dream was the occasion of of God, and not of man. his abasement, a dream was the precursor We may refer to vature, and point to of his elevation, Gen. xxxvii. 5 ; xli. 9. the humble acorn, the parent of the Look at Jericho; its walls levelled, and spreading oak; and to the small spring, the city taken; not by battering rams which creates the majestic river; the and warlike artillery, but by rams' horns spark which generates the flame; the and the sound of trumpets, Joshua vi. 20. grain which originates the mustard-tree, Look at Goliath the Philistine, overcome whose branches afford a lodging for the by the stripling David, by a sling and a fowls of the air ; and the scholar, whose stone, 1 Sam. xvii. 50. How strikingly knowledge of the alphabet conducts to do these facts illustrate the declaration, high attainment in language and science. “Who-art thou, O great mountain ? be- Who would conjecture that the authors fore Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain. of the Synopsis Criticorum and the Com. Not by might, nor by power, but by my mentaries on the Scriptures were once Spirit, saith the Lord,” Zech. iv. 6, 7. infants, who could scarcely articulate the
The progress of the gospel affords an- letters of the alphabet ? Such were Pool other confirmation. To effect this, Jeho- and Henry, cum multis aliis. vah did not select princes, nor potentates, And so in the progress of Divine grace nor philosophers, but poor illiterate fisher- | in the hearts of the converted, an immen, “Without literature, without arms, pression at first, perhaps, faint and weak, without power, without intrigue, without grows to a firm and settled conviction of human help, without philosophy, with the necessity and blessedness of religion. out eloquence. Contemptible, persecuted Prejudices are relinquished, sins are forpeople, in a word, earthen vessels,” says saken, the cause of religion is espoused, Mons. Claude, "triumphed over the whole holiness of heart and life are cultivated, world with the sound of their voice. old things are passed away, all things are Idols fell, temples were demolished, ora- become new. cles struck dumb, the reign of Satan Many of the benevolent societies owe abolished, the strongest inclinations of their origin to circumstances apparently nature diverted from their course, ancient insignificant. A paper in the Evangelihabits changed, old superstitions annihi- | cal Magazine for September, 1794, on lated, all the devil's charms wherewith the subject of missions, excited the attenhe had stupified mankind dissolved; mul- tion of many serious Christians, and led to titudes flocked to adore Jesus Christ—the the formation of the London Missionary great and the small, the learned and the Society, September 21, 1795. The writer ignorant, kings and subjects, whole pro- of this, at the distance of nearly fifty-two vinces presented themselves at the foot of years, recalls to his memory, with feelings the cross, and every thought was capti- of delight, the holy enthusiasm which vated to the obedience of Christ. It is pervaded the minds of those who listened not enough to say, “This is the finger of to the sermons preached on the occasion God;' we must rather exclaim, “This is by the Revs. Dr. Hawiés, G. Burder, the outstretched arm of the Lord !'” S. Greathead, J. Hey, R. Hill, and Dr.
And it is still manifest in the conver- Bogue. These first advocates have been sion of sinners, which is frequently effected gathered to their fathers, but their sucby the most humble means. The plain cessors (and their number is great) still announcement of salvation by Christ, by “Walk by the same rule, and mind the an untaught villager; the distribution of a same thing." religious tract; a Bible placed in the chest The same remark applies to the Reliof a sailor ; amere word dropped in conver- gious Tract, and British and Foreign