Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

reap the benefits so liberally spread out by the Father of mercies. Perhaps another expedient check to rural depopulation might be suggested, an equalization of the right of succession. Commercial accumulation has, during the last halfcentury, gone far in re-uniting those enormous estates which at one time commerce had disjoined. Every great merchant and money-dealer wishes to be the founder of what is called a family. Now, I would indulge this vanity, by allowing such persons to found, not one family, but a number of families, in proportion to the number of their children. To the peerage, and perhaps to families that have been long established in their possessions, the law ought to be left as it now stands. But if it be expedient to keep things as they now are^-to check the rapid progress of a hideous Oligarchy, the old law of inheritance, as it existed in England prior to the Norman conquest, and as it now exists in the county of Kent, ought to be made the general law of the land. ,

Note 17. p. 47. 1. 589.

Enchain'd, endungeon'd, forc'd by stripes to live.

"A child of about ten years old took sulk,. and would not eat. The captain took up the child, and flogged him with a cat.—" D—n you," said he, " I'll make you eat, or I'll kill you." From this, and other ill treatment, the child's legs swelled, and the captain ordered some water to be made hot, for abating the swelling. But even his tender mercies were cruel; for the cook, putting his hand into the water, said it was too hot. "D—n him," said the captain, "put'hisfeet in." The child was put into the water, and the nails and skin came all off his feet. Oiled cloths were then put round them. The child was then tied to a heavy log; and two or three days afterwards, the captain caught it up again, and said, "I will make you eat, or I will be the death of you." He immediately flogged the child again; and in a quarter of an hour, it died." Evidence before the House of Commons.

Note 18. p. 48. 1. 608. O England! England ! cleanse thy purpled hands.

I Hold England literally and exclusively culpable in regard to the slave-trade. The people of Scotland raised their voices as one man against the monstrous iniquity. In Parliament, indeed, their voice is but the repetition of a whisper.

Not a single slave-ship sails from a Scottish port.

The slave-trade has been attempted to be defended by appeals to the authority of the Old Testament. The existence of slavery appears, indeed, to have been tolerated among the Jews; but where is the authority for any thing like the slave trade ? Is it in the following express law? "And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death." Exod. xxi. 16.

Extracts from the Parliamentary Register (1790 of the Debate on the Abolition of the Slave-trade.

"There was another transaction that he (Mr. Wilberfbrce) must distinctly state, not only on account of its enormous magnitude, but also because it established, beyond all controversy, the frequency of those acts of rapine, which was the conclusion he had before referred to. When General Roofce, a respectable member of that House, was commanding in his Majesty's settlement at Goree, some of the subjects of a neighbouring king, with whom he was on terms of amity, had come to pay him a friendly visit; there were from 100 to ]50of them, men, women and children ; all was gaiety and merriment; it was a scene to gladden the saddest, and to soften the hardest heart: but a slave-captain, ever faithful to the interests of his employers, is not so soon thrown off his guard; with what astonishment would the-Committee hear, that in the midst of this festivity, it was proposed to General Rooke, to seize the whole

of this unsuspecting multitude, hurry them on board the ships, and carry them off to the WestIndies. Was there ever a man bold enough to venture on such a proposal? Not only one, but three ! three English slave-captains preferred it as their joint request, alledging the precedent of a former Governor! If in the annals of human wickedness, an instance of fouler treachery were to be found, Mr. Wilberforce was happy to be ignorant of it. But it was not on account of its magnitude that he wished to impress it on the Committee, so much as because it was a pregnant proof of the frequency of the acts of rapine he had before described; for what must be the habits of the slave-trade, what must have been the familiarity with scenes of depredation produced on the minds of the slave-captains, when three of them durst not only meditate within themselves, not only confer one with another, but bring into the light of day, and carry to a British officer of rank, a proposal which one would have thought too horrid to be allowed for a single moment, even in

« AnteriorContinuar »