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itself, in the presence of the assembled wisdom of the world, in maintaining the defence of the iniquities of the slave-trade.
IV,—-But every one must see, that, even if this measure were effected, it would not necessarily destroy the slave-trade. The temptation to human cupidity may, under certain circumstances, be so great, as to set absolutely at defiance all internal and municipal regulalations. In order to the entire and permanent extinction of the slave-trade, slavery itself must be destroyed. This would necessarily bring before this great assembly one of the greatest questions pertaining to the cause of humanity, viz. whether man can hold property in his fellow-man. And one thing is certain, whatever opinions they might hold on this subject, that the slave trade can never be entirely abolished, until slavery, which is the great source and supporter of it, shall cease.
V,-Nor is this all. The human race owe a great debt to Africa, which enlightened justice and humanity call loudly upon them to pay. The world has been her oppressor, and the world, (at least the civilized and christian world,) are called upon to redress the wrongs they have done her, by sending her letters, the arts, the elements of an improved jurisprudence, enlightened principles of government, and the Christian religion. If nations would put an end to slavery, let them think of this.
And here we have a word further to say. Whether a Congress, composed of all civilized States, shall be assembled or not, and whatever course may be taken in other matters, touching international law and usages, we cannot but hope, that the cause of suffering Africa will not be wholly abandoned, neither by states, nor by individuals. Most earnestly would we implore the attention of all persons to her sufferings, who are in any degree capable of appreciating them. Let the Christian
offer his supplications ; let the statesman weigh well his responsibility to his God and his country ; let the rich devote of their substance, and let the poor boldly speak out their heartfelt testimony, not only to aid in terminating the miseries of Africa, but to gild the return of her better and brighter days by planting civilization, religion, and liberty throughout all her coasts.—We appeal to those especially, who believe in an overruling Providence. Have we not a Father in heaven? Does he not clothe the lily, and hear the voice of the lions in the wilderness, and feed the young ravens when they cry to him? Does he not watch the falling sparrow, and number the very hairs of our heads ? And can it be possible, that he has forgotten poor, suffering, insulted Africa ? Every believer in christianity will reject the unworthy thought. Whoever else may have been blind, one eye at least has seen the fires kindled upon her coasts ; whoever else may have been deaf, one ear at least has been open to the heart-rending cries of her children. He has walked abroad on the ocean, and has followed in the track of the slave-ship, and has marked, one by one, his beloved offspring, as they have been thrown alive into the depths of the sea. With all the compassionate tenderness of a father he has marked their despairing countenance, their uplifted hands, their heartrending exclamations. Filled with indignation, he has cast his searching eye upon great and light-hearted cities; he has there noted the merchants engaged in this traffic of blood, and the legislators and ministers and kings that have authorized it; and he has written down their names in the book, inscribed within and without, with sin and mourning, with lamentation and woe. And that Almighty arm, that knows to forgive when it is time to forgive, and knows to destroy when it is time to destroy, is now stretched out over the nations, red with the accumulated wrath of ages.
INSUFFICIENCY OF PRESENT MODES OF REDRESS.
There are some persons, agreeing with us in the belief of existing evils, and that much remains to be done, who nevertheless profess themselves to be satisfied with the means of improvement already in operation. It will be the object of this Chapter briefly to show, that the existing methods of redress, from which they anticipate a gradual but sure and complete remedy of national evils, are not sufficient.
1,- One of the means, to which we now allude, are treatises on the Law of nations. Much credit is undoubtedly due to the authors of these treatises. With a commendable regard for the rights and happiness of their fellowmen, they have displayed a great compass of thought, and the rich treasures of learning. The subject itself is one of the highest interest ; and the manner of treating it has often corresponded to the dignity and interest of the subject. They have explored the grounds of obligation in man himself; they have gone upward, and have studied the intimations and counsels of his Creator ; and have thence deduced principles, applicable to the government both of individuals and of great communities. We venerate the men and their efforts ; we cheerfully render them the homage of sincere admiration and grat
itude; but while we readily admit, that they have done immense good, we can never be persuaded, that they have met in all respects the wants of mankind, or that the results of their labors have corresponded even to their own intentions. Nor could we rationally expect, that it would be otherwise. The subject of international law is too vast to be settled by a single individual, however great his genius and learning. It requires no ordinary degree of foresight and discretion to institute properly a mere municipal code ; and there can be no doubt, that the difficulties, attending the establishment of an international one, are far greater. And if the accomplishment of a work so vast were within the compass of any one man's ability, we are still to recollect, that these writers are not left solely to the guidance of their own minds, to the original instinctive sentiment of justice ; but are trammelled in their decisions by prescription, by the practice of nations, whose usages have been frequently controlled by the pressure of interest, rather than the dictates of rectitude. But whatever may be the cause, there can be no doubt as to the fact. The ex positions, which have already been given in the Second Part of this Work on contested and obscure principles of the public Code, sufficiently show, that these attempts are not commensurate with the object; and that the law of nations, as it is laid down in professed writers on that law, partially fails, at least, to satisfy the doubts, and to control the conduct of nations.
II,—Nor can we rely fully and satisfactorily for an exposition of the law of nations, and for a remedy of the evils hitherto attending the intercourse of nations, on the decisions of Admiralty Courts. Their position, considered as the expounders of a law applicable to the citizens of other nations, as well as their own, is in some respects an unfavorable one. Taking it for granted that the
judges of those Courts are in general men of great uprightness and learning, still it would be unreasonable to expect, that they would always escape every bias, incident to their peculiar situation. And even if this were the case, are their decisions always to be held conclusive ? - In the celebrated case of the Swedish Convoy, decided in England in June 1799, Sir William Scott makes a declaration to this effect, that though the seat of judicial authority is in England, the law itself has no locality ; and that he is under obligation to decide in London, the same as he would do in Stockholm. Allowing due weight to these assertions, it is still abundantly obvious from the general spirit of this celebrated decision, which went to establish the illegality of certain doctrines in relation to neutral rights maintained by Russia, Denmark and Sweden, that he felt too as an Englishman ; that he was not insensible, and could not be insensible to the perilous situation of his suffering country; and that these feelings tended to strengthen his confidence in the opinions he asserted, and to enhance his contempt for “those loose doctrines, which modern fancy, under the various denominations of philanthropy and philosophy, have thrown upon the world."* These last are his own expressions, and when we consider, that they were used as applicable to a principle, which had been recognized by some respectable writers on national law, by the treaties of a number of highly respectable nations, and by an armed neutrality, they are of themselves enough to justify us in what we have intimated of the unfavorable position of an admiralty Judge to a just arbitration on international rights.
We are desirous, however, not to be misunderstood on this subject. We presume, as a general statement, that these courts are incompetent to make the law of
* Robinson's Admiralty Reports, Case of the Maria.