Imágenes de página

the libels of certain individuals, who, judging other men by the feelings of their own heart, can attach no credit to disinterested virtue, but always attribute to others the vilest motives.'

Non, la postérité ne pourra jamais concevoir la 'multitude et la noirceur des menaces, des imposteurs, des outrages dont, jusqu'a l'epoque actuellement inclusivement, nous fùmes les bjets, et dont plusieurs d'entre nous ont été les victimes : on essaya même, et sans succès, de flétrir le nom de Philantrope, dont s'honore quiconque n'a pas abjuré l'amour du prochain. Puis, d'aprés le langage usité alors, il fut du bon ton de répéter que les principes d'équité, de liberté, étoient des abstractions de la métaphysique, voire même de l'idéologie, car le despotisme a une logique et un argot qui lui sont propres.'

We are informed, in the next paragraph, that privateers were ready to set sail for the coast of Guinea, in the

hope that, after the expiration of the five years al' lowed for continuing the traffic, it would be indefinitely 'prolonged.' This fact, the accuracy of which we see no room to doubt, appears to us decisive as to the wisdom of that Article in the Treaty of Paris. M. Grégoire excepts, however, from the general condemnation to which the planters are subjected, some individuals, who, whether they were influenced by benevolent motives, or had been led to feel the necessity of accommodating themselves to circumstances, had meliorated the condition of their slaves, and had even, in some cases, raised them into free cultivators of the soil, awarding them a quarter of the produce. This system, he adds, had been established by Toussaint Louverture, and is followed up by his successors to the present time, as fully developed in a work on the colonies, and particularly on St. Domingo, by Colonel Malenfant, published at Paris in 1814.

The Authyr proceeds to cite the examples of Denmark, which has the glory of being the first state that abolished • the trade;' of the United States; and of England; and the subsequent conduct of the Governments of Chili, Venezuela, and Buenos Ayres, wbich have made this measure one Article of their constitution. He cites the names of Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Granville Sharp, anii anterior to them in the work, the celebrated Frencbran, Benedet, as in the first rank of those to whose persevering exertions, so great a proportion of these results is to be ascribed. He contrasts with the number of the English petitions against the Slave Trade, e pecially with those from ristol abi Liverpool, towns in which, formerly, a friend to the Ait cans would have stood in danger of being insulted, the one having 27,000 signatures, the other, 36,000;-he contrasts with these the silence and indifference of all classes in France; which were so general, that not a single petition from any one town or corporation, was raised against the Article in the Treaty, while, on the contrary, one was presented from Nantes, imploring the prolongation of the Trade: so completely, it seems, has France become deinoralized!

M. Grégoire comments upon the Sixth Resolution of the Friends of the Abolition, passed at the meeting in last June, (the Duke of Gloucester in the Chair,) in which it is stated, that · This Society conceive that the disposition manifested in France in favour of the Slave Trade, at a time when a renewed zeal has been excited for the institutions of religion, proves, unquestionably, that the true nature and effects of the Trade are not known in that country.'

• First,' replies our Author, • The inclination manifested towards the Slave Trade, is not the result of ignorance as to its real nature and the effects of this traffic. This inclination is dictated by avarice, horrid avarice, which esteems nothing sacred.'

. Secondly, It is painful but necessary to say to this respectable Society, that this novel zeal for religious institutions, scarcely exists but in the desires of real Christians, that is to say, of a few individuals. Some pompous ceremonies are but an equivocal evidence of piety: it is by the reformation of manners that we must estimate its effects. We must judge of the tree by its fruits; and France, contemplated under this aspect, presents a deplorable picture of moral deterioration: “Do to no one that which you would “ not have done to you;" “Do to others as you would they should “ do to you;" “ love your neighbour as yourself” these are the maxims which emanate from heaven : this is the rock upon which all the paralogisms of covetousness must inevitably be wrecked.'

The Author records the memorable declarations of two pontiffs of the Roman Church, against the Slave Trade; an authority which we have not been accustomed to see exerted on behalf of the general rights of oppressed humanity. Pope Alexander the Third, in a letter to the king of Valentia, remarked, that • Nature' not having made any slaves, all men had an equal right to liberty.' Paul the Third, in two briefs, dated June 10, 1557, hurled the thunders of the Church against the Europeans who should spoil and enslave the Indians, or any other class of individuals. The Author adduces a siinilar authority, in obviating the common pretext which he anticipates on the part of the enemies of the Abolition, under the name of reasons of state:

Cette raison, si fameuse chez les publicistes, que le Pape Pie V. appeloit la raison du diable, est le bouclier derriére lequel se re

tranchent des hommes qui veulent échapper à l'impunité, derriére lequel s'ourdissent les attentats les plus crians contre les peuples.'

i Wo to the policy,' continues our Author, that would found the prosperity of a nation on the misery of others ; and wo to the man whose fortune is cemented by the tears of his fellow-men. It is according to the established order of things under the control of Providence, that whatever is iniquitous should be at the same time impolitic, and that fearful calamities should be the chastisement of crime,

The individual culprit suffers not always here below the punishment due to his offence, because, to use the words of St. Augustine, God has eternity to punish in. It is not so with nations: for in their collective capacity, they do not belong to the future state of existence. In this world, according to the same Father, they are either recompensed, as the Romans were, for some humane virtues, or punished, as so many nations have been, for national crimes, by national calamities. These calamities are events, to which in England the ministers of religion have often called the attention of their auditory. France, who for a century past, has waged impious war with the Almighty, and with Divine truth, has drunk of the cup of bitterness. Who knows if the dregs are not still reserved for her. This language we must expect to be ridiculed as fanaticism by certain personages: this is one of the lesser trials to which I have acquired the habit of the most perfect resignation.'

Our readers will not fail to appreciate such sentiments as these, which need not the consideration of the character and situation of the individual from whom they proceed, to give them interest and weight. How far the fears which tbe Bishop expresses for his country, may be esteemed prophetic of the issue of the impending conflict, a few months will probably enable us to forın more than a conjecture.

The Author proceeds to compare the outrages of the Europeans upon Africa, with those committted by the Algerine pirates, which it is disgraceful to the Continental Powers not to have adopted long ago the most vigorous measures for suppressing

And yet will any one dare say,' he exclaims, that the enorinities committed by the Algerines at all equal those we have inflicted upon Africa? What would Europe say, if, suddenly, a second Genseric, a descendant perhaps, or at least a follower of the king of the Vandals, landing upon our coast, were to invade us, saying, 'I come as a liberator

M. Gregoire ventures to conjectnre the language which the African conqueror might plausibly maintain; and among the examples to which he supposes him to appeal, he cites the pressgangs of England, and the degradation of Ireland. IIe supposes him to demand of those who pretend that African slaves are necessary for the cultivation of the West India colonies, whether he has not an equal right to bear away European artists and artisans, as more expert than his fellow country. men, and as necessary, therefore, to the promotion of industry and of the useful and polite Arts in his states.

"A White Code which my paternal goodness is about to prepare, shall legalize these measures, and shall be the standard of the . Black Codes, published among you for the government of the "Antilles.'

'I do not see,' pursues our Author, in a fine strain of contemptuous irony which subsequent events have almost converted from satire into history,-- I do not see what argu* ments could be opposed to those of this second Genseric."

• Si le succés couronnoit son entreprise, bientôt à ses pieds il verroit en extase et bouche béante, cette multitude d'individus qui dans tous pays n'ont que des idées, des sentimens d'emprunt. En flattant la cupidité par des pensions, la vanité par des décorations, il rendroit tous les arts tributaires. Au Parnasse, où il faut toujours quelqu' idole, on s'empresseroit de briser les statues des hommes qui auroient cessé d'etre puissans, pour y substituer celles des hommes qui le seroient devenus. Une foule de livres seroient dédiés a Genseric, le grand, le bien aimé, etc: les savans attache. roient son nom à des decouvertes etrangéres à ses connoissances; la plupart des hommes de lettres chanteroient ses louanges; le génie même, ébloui par ses conquêtes, s'aviliroit peut-être en lui présentant des complimens adulateurs sous la forme de menace niaise, dans le genre de celle qu' adressoit Boileau à Louis XIV.

“ Grand roi, cesse de vaincre, ou je cesse d'écrire.” • Des libellistes, humblement soumis à la censure de la police africaine, iroient journellement chercher le mot d'ordre dans une antichambre; ils seroient chargés de diffamer les écrivains qui refu. seroient de prostituer leurs plumes et tout homme à caractére qui, même sans être frondeur, ne se déclareroit pas admirateur de Genseric; ils répéteroient, jusqu'à la satieté, qu'il est le Pére de ses sujets, l'objet de l'amour et de l'admiration generale ; dans l'espérance qu'il daigneroit abaisser sur eux un regard protecteur, ils canoniseroient le Salomon, le Titus, le Trajan, le Marc-Aurele, qui auroit daigné conquérir l'Europe et qui daignera la régénérer : et comme on apprécie presque toujours la légitimité des entreprises par leur issue & les résultats, on béniroit Genseric, on maudissoit son devancier jusqu'à ce que lui même fût supplanté par quelque autre dominateur qui seroit béni & maudit à son tour. L'Histoire de France depuis vingt-cinq ans dispense de chercher ailleurs des exemples à l'appui de cette assertion.'

The Author closes the first chapter of his work with a reference to the sensation produced among the Haytians by the obnoxious article in the Treaty of peace, and the formidable VOL. III. N. S.

2 N

aspect which they would oppose to an invading army that should attempt to reduce them again to slavery. Their minds are imbued with this principle, that no individual may be deprived of his liberty, if he has not forfeited it by crime and been legally condemned. • They know that the oppression of

an individual is a menace against all the rest, an act of

hostility against all mankind.' If they had had representatives at the Congress of Vienna, they would, no doubt, have procured the acknowledgement that the right of France to sub, jugate them, is as illusive as that which they might arrogate to themselves of subjugating France.

• To debase men, is the infallible way to render them vicious : sla. very degrades at once the master and the slave : it hardens the heart, extinguishes the moral sense, and leads to all descriptions of calamity.'

Here we must suspend our notice of this interesting pamphlet. In our next Number we shall present to our readers an abstract of the second chapter, 'On the truffic and slavery of

the Whites;' the subject of which is so distinct, that it may seem to many persons unconnected with that of the preceding pages. It exhibits to us a clergyınan of the most intolerant Church, pleading for universal toleration, and maintaining the consistency of the true rights of man, with the rights of Cæsar and of God.

Art. VII. A Sermon occasioned by the Detection and Punishment

of Criminals, guilty of Robberies and Murder in the Counties of Essex and Hertford ; preached at Bishops Stortford, March 19, 1815. By William Chaplin, 8vo. pp. 34. Price 1s. Conder,

WE are not surprised that the Author of this judicious and

impressive discourse was strongly urged to give it to the public. Not merely local interest and feelings must have been excited by the circumstances which gave it birth ; but the nature of those circumstances, and especially their originating in a practice prevalent to a melancholy extent, and by many regarded with a lenient eye, gives to the subject an universal importance.

• In the month of March, 1814, the crimes of burglary and murder were committed by two men, at Berden, in the county of Essex. Al attempts to discover the perpetrators were fruitless, until the following January; when two of the Bow-street officers, apprehended two labouring men residing in Bishop's Stortford. In their houses a found

a large assortment of picklock keys, together with a complete

« AnteriorContinuar »