Imágenes de páginas
PDF

upon the objection to the Bible Society, upon the score of its novelty, it should be recollected that the same might once have been urged, and in fact was urged, against the Reformation, against Christianity itself. But that there was one novel circumstance attending this institution, which could not but give pleasure to every benevolent heart: it was the spirit of concord thus produced and cherished among those who had been in the habit of differing widely from each other. This was delightfully exemplified in the large and mingled company who thronged the room in which they were assembled. The history of the university and town of Cambridge recorded many bitter and disgraceful conflicts between those bodies; their mutual jealousy and animosity had long been fomented by prejudice and intolerance; but upon this happy occasion, not a vestige of discord appeared. It was surely a just ground of exultation upon which he congratulated the meeting, that the Mayor and Corporation of Cambridge had, with a liberality which did them much honour, shewn their readiness to meet the University upon the common basis of the Protestant religion, in a public declaration of respect for the holy Scriptures; and that so large a portion of the University had shewn themselves willing to accept, and would (he trusted) be ready to acknowledge, the obligation conferred in the use of that room. We cannot follow these interesting and animating speeches with any thing more appropriate than was inserted, by some masterly hand, at the conclusion, of the report given of them in the Cambridge newspaper. “Previous to the suggestion of any reflections upon the event of this meeting,” says this anonymous but able observer, “we think it our duty to bear testimony to the manly conduct of our distinguished Chan

cellor, and of the Noble Earl who

so ably presided on the occasion. Notwithstanding the misrepresentations so artfully circulated, they have used their own unbiassed judgment; and the result, we trust, has been felt by them, as their best reward. “Such were the proceedings at Cambridge on this memorable day; a day to which succeeding generations, when “every distinetion be. tween Christian brethren shall be annihilated,” will look back with joy and gratulation. It has indeed opened a field before us, which ‘tre may well lift up our eyes and look upon, for it is white already to the harnest.” “We cannot conclude this subject without making two observations, connected with the progress of the Bible Society. Great Britain new stands alone among the nations, with the wreck of Europe scattered at her feet: and though the dangers of war have been imminent beyond all example of former times, yet it has pleased Providence to give her strength to resist all the efforts of her enemies, and to establish an empire co-extended with the bounds of the ocean. We are fully aware, that political greatness and extended dominion are no tests of Divine approbation; that nations have been exalted only to the degrading office of executioners in the infliction of Divine vengeance; and, when their appointed course of war and devas. tation has been finished, they have, like Babylon, been swept away from the face of the earth. It is not, therefore, from political greatnes and extended dominion that wo would augur any thing whatever in our own i. but, from the dispositions which God has been leased to put into our hearts, we . hope, that our country ho been exalted among the nations for nobler purposes; that the empire of Britain shall be an empire of mercy; and that no shore shall echo to the thunder of her power, but who shall smile also under the blessing” of her beneficence. Judging fro the events passing around us, ‘the signs of the times,’ is, it presumptuous to indulge the humble and pious hope, that to Great Britain may be entrusted the high commission of making known the name of Jehovah to the whole earth; and when she shall have faithfully performed this sacred office, and the period of her ministry shall have been terminated in the universal diffusion of Christianity, that then her work and labour of love may be had in remembrance in the sight of the Lord, and she may repose in peace, and blessing, and honour, till she sink in the conflagration of the world 2 “Nor is our second observation wanting in reasonable grounds of hope, that we may thus found for our children an empire on the Rock of Ages. As we are assured by Him, whose name is Truth, that “a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand;’ so, on the other hand, the spirit of conciliation and mutual benevolence, which is rapidly diffusing itself through all denominations of Christians in the land, seems espe-cially to indicate the favour of Heaven towards the temporal as well as the spiritual interests of our country. And when it pleases Almighty God thus to bind up the hearts of the nation, in the same bond of brotherly love and Christian charity, we trust with humble confidence, that, whatever chastisements his providence may deem necessary for our correction, we shall not greatly fall. We have now seen all denominations of Christians cordially uniting for the noblest of all purposes, and we cannot but hail it as the dawn of that *y, when the dominion of charity *all be universal in the universal *ingdom of Christ; of that day, when, according to the sure word of Prophecy," the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;’ of that day, *hen the ‘earth shall be filled with

* knowledge of the Lord, as the **ters cover the sea.’ ”

To the Editor of the Christian Observer.

The following account of Captain Paul Cuffee is taken from the Liverpool Mercury of the 4th and 11th of October, 1811, with only the omission of a few sentences. Any slight variation which has been introduced, is the result of the impressions which the writer's personal intercourse with that highly interesting character produced on his mind.

I am, &c.

A friend to Affti CA.

Memoir of cAPTAIN PAUL curree.

“On the first of August, 1811, a vessel arrived at Liverpool, with a cargo from Sierra Leone, the owner, master, mate, and whole crew of which were free negroes. The master, who is also owner, is the son of an American slave, and is said to be very well skilled both in trade and navigation, as well as to be of a very pious and moral character. It must have been a strange and animating spectacle to see this free and enlightened African-entering, as an independent trader, with his black crew, into that port which was so lately the nidus of the Slave Trade.”—Edinb. Review, August, 181 l.

We are happy (say the Editors of the Liverpool Mercury) in having an opportunity of confirming the above account, and at the same time of laying before our readers an authentic memoir of Capt. Paul Cuffee, the master and owner of the vessel above referred to, who sailed from this port on the 20th September, with a licence from the British Government, to prosecute his intended voyage to Sierra Leone. The father of Paul Cuffee was a native of Africa, whence he was brought as a slave into Massachusetts. He was there purchased by a person named Slocum, and remained in slavery a considerable portion of his ić. Like many of his countrymen, he possessed a mind superior to his condition; and although he was diligent in the business of his master, and faithful to his interest, yet by great industry and economy he was enabled to purchase his personal liberty. At this time the remains of several Indian tribes, who originally possessed the right of soil, resided in Massachusetts; Cuffee became acquainted with a woman descended from one of those tribes, named Ruth Moses, and married her. He continued in habits of industry and frugality, and soon afterwards purchased a farm of 100 acres in Westport in Massachusetts. Cuffee and Ruth had a family of ten children. The three eldest sons, David, Jonathan, and John, are farmers in the neighbourhood of Westport, filling respectable situations in society, and endowed with good intellectual capacities. They are all married, and have families, to whom they are giving good educations. Of six daughters, four are respectably married, while two remain single. Paul was born on the Island of Cutterhunkker, one of the Elizabeth Islands near New Bedford, in the }. 1759. When he was about ourteen years of age, his father died, leaving a considerable property in land, but which, being at that time unproductive, afforded but little provision for his numerous family; and thus the care of supporting his mother and sisters devolved upon his brothers and himself. At this time Paul conceived that commerce furnished to industry more ample rewards than agriculture; he therefore entered at the age of sixteen as a common hand on board of a vessel destined to the bay of Mexico, on a whaling voyage. His second voyage was to the West Indies; but on his third he was captured by a British ship, during the American war, about the year 1776. After three months’ detention as a prisoner at New York, he was Permitted to return home to West

port, where, owing to the unsonal continuance of hostilities, he open, about two years in his agrico pursuits. During this interval,Pul and his brother John Cuse: were called on, by the collector of their trict in which they resided, or the payment of a personal tax. A * peared to them, that, by the hoof the constitution of Massachua", taxation and the whole fight of citizenship were united. But a people of colour had never on considered as entitled to the pri. vilege of voting at elections." of being elected to places of trust m honour, they refused payment of the demand. The collector reso ed to the force of the laws, ano" many delays and vexation, Paul and his brother deemed it mo"P" dent to silence the suit Py Pomo of the demand; but they solo if it were possible, to obtain the rights which they believed to be connected with taxation- They presented a respeciful po tition to the state legislato. From some individuals, it met witha" and almost indignant opposium, A considerable majority wo however, favourable to their object?" they perceived the propriety and justice of the petition, and, with an honourable magnanimity, in defiance of the prejudice of the times, they passed a law, rendering all steeper sons of colour liable to taxation, according to the ratio established for white men, and granting them all the privileges belonging to other citizens. This was a day equally honourable to the petitioners the legislature: a day which ough to be gratefully remembered by every person of colour within the book daries of Massachusetts; and the names of John and Paul Coffs should always be united with its recollection. At this time, being about twenty years of age, he thought himself sufficiently skilled to enter intobus: ness on his own account. He laid before his brother David a plan for carrying on a commercial inter

course with the states of Connecticut. His brother was pleased with the prospect: they built an open boat, and proceeded to sea. Here, for the first time, his brother found himself exposed to the perils of the ocean, and the hazard of a predatory warfare, which was carried on by the Refugees. They had not traversed many leagues before his brother's fears began to multiply and magnity its dangers; his courage sunk, and he resolved to return. This was a great disappointment to a young man of Paul's adventurous spirit, but he was obliged to submit to the determination. Paul returned to his farm, and laboured diligently in his fields; but his mind was frequently revolving new schemes of commercial enterprise. He again collected the materials for another effort, and made the attempt. He went to sea, and lost all the little treasure which by the sweat of his brow he had gathered. Paul, however, seems to have possess. ed a large share of active courage; he therefore resolutely determined to persevere in the road which he had marked out for himself. The necessity of aiding his mother and her family was a constant and strong incitement to renew his efforts. His funds were not sufficient to purchase a boat, but, in order to obviate this difficulty, he set himself earnestly to work, and with his own hands formed and completed a boat, from keel to gun-wale. This vessel was without a deck, but he had been on a whaling voyage, and was therefore well skilled in its management. Having launched his boat into the ocean, and when steering for one of the Elizabeth Islands, to consult with his brother on his future plans, he was discovered by the Refugee Pirates, who chased and seized both him and his vessel. Robbed of every hing, he returned home pennyless, but without sinking under this disSouragement. Thus circumstanced, he applied to his brother David, who, *ugh in some degree deterred by *want of success which had hither

to attended Paul's attempts, yet acquiesced in his proposal to build another boat, if he would furnish the materials. This being accomplished, the respectability of Paul Cuffee's character at this time procured him sufficient credit to enable him to purchase a cargo. He proceeded towards Nantucket, and on the voyage was again chased by the R. gees pirates, but escaped them by night coming on; he, however, struck upon a rock on one of the Elizabeth Islands, and so far injured his boat as to render it necessary for him to return to Westport to refit; which being accomplished, he again set out for Nantucket, where he arrived in safety, but did not dispose of his cargo to advantage. He afterwards undertook a similar voyage, with better success; but as he was returning home he again fell into the hands of the pirates, and was deprived of his all, except his boat, which they permitted him to take, not, however, without his having received much personal injury and ill treatment from them. Under such numerous and untoward discomfitures, the courage of most persons would have failed, but Paul's dispositions were not of that yielding nature. He possessed an inflexible spirit of perseverance and great firmness of mind; and he believed that, while he maintained integrity of heart and conduct, he might humbly hope for the protection of Providence. Under these impressions he prepared for another voyage : in his open boat, with a small cargo, he again directed his course towards the island of Nantucket. The weather was favourable, and he arrived safely at the des. tined port, and disposed of his little cargo to advantage. The profits of this voyage strengthening the confidence of his friends, enabled him still farther to enlarge his plans. At the time of his father's decease Paul had not received the benefit of education, and scarcely knew the letters of the alphabet; but this disadvantage he obviated by his assi. of his countrymen, he possessed a mind superior to his condition; and although he was diligent in the business of his master, and faithful to his interest, yet by great industry and economy he was enabled to purchase his personal liberty. At this time the remains of several Indian tribes, who originally possessed the right of soil, resided in Massachusetts; Cuffee became acquainted with a woman descended from one of those tribes, named Ruth Moses, and married her. He continued in habits of industry and frugality, and soon afterwards purchased a farm of 100 acres in Westport in Massachusetts. Cuffee and Ruth had a family of ten children. The three eldest sons, David, Jonathan, and John, are farmers in the neighbourhood of Westport, filling respectable situations in society, and endowed with good intellectual capacities. They are all married, and have families, to whom they are giving good educations. Of six daughters, four are respectably married, while two remain single. Paul was born on the Island of Cutterhunkker, one of the Elizabeth Islands near New Bedford, in the fear 1759. When he was about io. years of age, his father died, leaving a considerable property in land, but which, being at that time unproductive, afforded but little provision for his numerous family; and thus the care of supporting his mother and sisters devolved upon his brothers and himself. At this time Paul conceived that commerce furnished to industry more ample rewards than agriculture; he therefore entered at the age of sixteen as a common hand on board of a vessel destined to the bay of Mexico, on a whaling voyage. His second voyage was to the West Indies; but on his third he was captured by a British ship, during the American war, about the year 1776. After three months’ detention as a prisoner at New York, he was Permitted to return home to West

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »