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ment; and indeed we fear the best friends of the deceased statesman would have been as well pleased if no attempt, or at least no such attempt as this, had been inade, to explain how he was unable to effect a most wise, benevolent, and popular measure, while his gigantic influence enabled him, in scornful defiance of opposition or public disgust, to carry into prompt execution anyotherscheme, however questionable in policy or odious in principle. It was, however, a most unfortunate thing for many thousands of Blacks, that one of their zealous patrons, with such a melancholy and singular disparity between his power and his professions, should bave continued in place for fifteen years, to the exclusion of those, who in the very first year of administering the public affairs were able to accomplish their final deliverance !
As we cannot attempt to abstract or specify the substance of the second volume, we shall hastily particularize its leading features and bring our observations to a close. The author's travels in search of witnesses to appear before the privy council and the house of Commons are peculiarly prominent; and a very affecting account is given of his labours, and especially of his mortifying failures and disappointments, in this arduous but essential occupation. The second chapter of this volume contains a curious narrative of his journey to Paris, with the view of promoting the Abolition of the Slave Trade in France; but his efforts were eventually frustrated, by the tempestuous commotions which speedily destroyed all the other hopes of liberty and projects of reform in that miserable country. Some very pleasing details however are given of Mr. C.'s intercourse with Mirabeau, La Fayette, Brissot, and other celebrated men of that period. The remainder of the volume, till the accession of the late ministry to stations of power and influence, is employed in a melancholy history of the unwearied labours of the Abolitionists and the dishonour of the British Parliament, of very many motions made and rejected, of engagements contracted and broken, of demonstrative proofs and transcendent eloquence resisted successfully by sophistry, calumnies, and falsehood. Thespeeches on the several debates appear to be ably reported ; but it is as impossible to read, as it was to hear them, with much pleasure, under the conviction that the truth and force which pre-eminently distinguish them were certain to serve no other purpose than that of aggravating the guilt of unpitying majorities, obsequious enough to the dictates of sovereign power, but hardened against the cries of the oppressed, and the claims of outraged humanity.
The anxiety of Mr. Fox to secure the accomplishment of this important measure, is within the recollection and knowledge
of all our readers; bis success, for in every respect it was his . success, will be deemed by the most sanguine of his enlightened friends an ample compensatiou for a life of unprosperous contention, and will compel every honest and good man, laying entirely out of view his personal qualities, to rejoice that he has lived, and to acknowledge that he has not lived in vain. No circumstance can fix a deeper stain on the Parliament in which this illustrious man made his last efforts in behalf of human liberty, than that he did not live to see his hopes completely realized,—that he was afraid, though armed with all the authority of government, to submit the grand question to its vote ; and that he was compelled merely to prepare the way for it in a new Parliament, by an abstract resolution asserting the African Slave Trade to be unjust, inhuman, and irnpolitic, and pledging both houses to take effectual measures for its abolition.
We have left ourselves room but for a very few of the observations which forcibly strike the mind in contemplating this memorable triumph of good over evil. And the first is, most obviously, the view which this history gives of human character and the divine government. It contains one of the most hideous pictures of man's depravity that was ever exhibited to his inspection. There was every thing united in the Slave Trade to terrify a rational being from participating in its guilt. It would seem to have been promoted and maintained by the enemy of our nature, as the master-piece of his craft and power.
It was a standing representation of all the evil that man could perpetrate or suffer ; a miniature view of the malignity and the tortures of the damned. And it would really seem that the ability employed in defending it was of congenial origin; there was something Pandemonian in the eloquence of its abettors; there was an intense and venomous malice, a specious and speckled lubricity of argument, a scaly impenetrability of face, that scarcely ever before ascended so conspicuously into earthly conflict.
The'establishment was indeed worthy of some extraordinary effort. Nothing ever was adapted so completely to destroy all its agents and victims; never was any institution so fitted to ruin both life and immortality, to extend the domain of evil, to turn the earth into a Tophet, and precipitate its inhabitants into the gulf of final perdition. According to the usual course of divine arrangements, the existence of this particular evil, tolerated for a while, has at length been terminated: its destruction has been effected by human agency, by the influence of a divine religion, by the preparation of individuals with peculiar talents for their several offices, by such a division of the service among many, and by such a concurrence of circumstances indispensable to success but impossible to any of the agents, “that no flesh might glory in his presence.”
Other methods of ob:aining this end may be imagined, which would have given a far piore complete gratification to the mind, totaught to descry the hand of Infinite Wisdom in the revolution of earthly affairs. It would have been glorious to the Parliasient of Britain, to have struck dow) this gigantic usurpation over the rights of their fellow creatures at the no. ment when it was first exposed to public view; it would have becu glorious to the People of England, when their Parliament had dared to become the accomplices of the most abairdoned men, and the patrons of infernal crimes, to exert their constitutional power at the first re-election of representatives. It would hare been glorious to r сcive this great blessing from the beneficent influence of a free press, and the power of public opinion. The virtue of the country miglit bave been celebrated, it it had ma«le some sacrifice of temporary interest to its social and religious duties, and if the odious word “ policy.” could have been excluded from a resolution which "humairity" and "justice” should have been perfectly sufficient to enforce. It is mortifying also to our loyalty, we confess, and to many other feelings, that we should owe this exalted benefit in so great a degree to a particular ministry, and that there should have been such a general and awful trepidation in the country, as Mr. Clarkson assures us there was, lest the royal assent should not be obtained before that particular ministry was deprived of political power; as if there was not virtue enough in the Sover.ign, nor in his more favoured advisers, nor in the Parliament, nor in the people, to secure the abolition of a traffic confessedly inhuman, unjust, and iinpolitic!
It is by no means inconsistent with any thing we have said or intended, to observe the vast importance of civil liberty in all its forms to the interests of mankind. What chance had there been for the Abolition of the Slave Trade under any arbitrary government ! The reward of Mr. Clarkson's very first exertions would have been a lettre de cachet, or a bowstring in the Seven Towers. If a Committee could have been formed at all, one of its first meetings would have been broken up, and the hopes of freedom dissipated for ever, by a party of constables or a serjeart'sguard. No evidence could have been collected, noinformation circulated, 10 endiusiasm inspired. It would have been totally impossible to discover the inpolicy of such a trade, and absolutely preternatural to regard its inhumanity and injustice, if even these could have been discovered, as adequate motives to crush it. The case were perfectly hopeless, unless indeed a miracle were performed in creating a consummately wise and virtưous Sultan or Vizir. No human light or flame could have been developed without the collision of minds and the communica
tion of thought; and only desperation could look for assists ance to the unpromised lightnișgs of heaven.
:* A very important lesson is furnished by this history to all who wish to live and to labour in any respect for the public good; “ let us not be weary in well doing; in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Whọ that reads this work will be deterred, by disappointments, difficulties, or defeats, from prosecuting to its final attainment any purpose really interesting to mankind ! Who that has a mind or a heart one line exalted above the brutal level will tremble or shrink at the opposition of upprincipled men, when he perceives, by the instance of the Slave Trade, that the clamours and struggles of evil are always most violent in the agony of its desperate fears, and the immediate prospect of extinction! Who will hereafter blush at the vociferations of calumny, when he reflects that the Abor litionists of the Slave Trade have been hooted as methodists, fanatics, enthusiasts, and jacobins! Those names will surely become symbols of excellence, which are constantly applied to the best of men in the best of causes. The present times afford ahnost a parallel instance of strenuous and persecuted philanthropy; and when we transcribe some of the charges against the friends of liberty in Africa, we afford the best vindication and the best solace to the advocates of Christianity in the East. “ The Earl of Abingdon deprecated the new phir losophy. It was as full of mischief as the Box of Pandora. The doctrine of the Abolition of the Slave Trade was a species of it. To the epithets then bestowed upon the Abolitionists by this nobleman, the Duke of Clarence added those of fanatics and hypocrites, among whom he included Mr., Wilberforce by name.” Vol. II. p. 464. “Mr. Macnamara, (even Mr, Macnamas ra!) called the measure hypocritical, fanatic, and methodisti cal,” p. 102.“ Lord Temple affirmed that the Bill would seal the death-warrant of every white inhabitant of the Islands.” p. 492
Col. Tarleton inveighed bitterly against the Abolitionists, as a junto of sectaries, sophists, enthusiasts and fanatics. He brought to the recollection of the House the barbarous scenes which had taken place in St. Domingo, all of which, he said, had originated in the discussion of this question. He described the alarms, in which the inhabitants of our own islands were kept, lest similar scenes should occur from the
same p. 389. We defy any man to read this, without thinking of the celebrated Major John Scott Waring, and his barbarous scenes at Vellore, and his universal alarm, and his antipathy to sectaries and fanatics. Indeed it was in this very school that the Major was initiated in the arts of defamation, the alread of change, and the hatred to measures of beneficence. VOL. IV.
Even our Major, too, opposed the Abolition, for " in the present state of the finances of the country, he thought it would be a dangerous experiment to risk any one branch of our foreign commerce. p. 344. When it is remembered, also, that the enemies of Africa affected a regard to religion, and appealed to the Scriptures,' that they represented the Slave Trade to be both just and humane, and predicted universal inevitable ruin to our West India Colonies and Commerce, from the event, and even from the project, of its Abolition, the considerate observer will learn how highly to appreciate their pretended political wisdoin and moral worth, their unholy vaticinations of evil, and their artful, angry, and deistical opposition, when there seems a probability of procuring a gradual but effectual emancipation, for the Hindoos, from the slavery and the sufferings of superstition. Let all who would despond when they consider the atrocities and resources of human adversaries to the cause of God, remember the downfal of the Slave Trade, and exclaim,
Ως απολοιτο και αλλος, στις τοιαυτα , or with a still nobler poet, and a still stronger emphasis of appli' cation, “So let all thine 'enemies perish, O Lord !"+
We will only glance at another aspect, in which this history is very impressive; that is, as a disclosure of character. We would willingly pay the proper respect to several personages who are immortalised in this yolume; but we have no time to bless at all, or to curse at all. The voice of posterity will discharge this duty; and the minority of 1791, beginning with Pitt, Fox, and Burke, and the minority of 1807, consisting of the Duke of Clarence, the Earls Westmoreland and St. Vincent, and the Lords Sidmouth, Eldon, and Hawkesbury, &c. not forgetting the absent Lord Melville, will receive their doom from its justice, In closing the volumes, we must turn once more to Mr. Clarkson, congratulating him on the true wisdom of his choice between brilliant prospects in the church" and the glory of being the benefactor of Africa, “We had intended to display his exertions more fully to our readers'; but it is not necessary; they will peruse his work for themselves. It is impossible, however, not to insert the account of one of his exploits, which would alone exalt him far above the rank of ordinary men, and which was happily attended with "success. It was highly desirable to obtain the evidence of some individual who had been up the rivers of Bonny and Calabar for slaves, in order to ascertain the manner in which they were procured; the slave dealers, all veracious and “honourable men," averred that they were purchased at fairs on the banks where there was a regular show: but as the canoes went up the rivers much better provided with arms than with merchandize, * d. A. I. 47.
+ Judges, Y. 1.