« AnteriorContinuar »
Extract from Mr. WILBERFORCE's Speech in the British Parliament.
Would you be acquainted with the character of the Slave Trade-look to the continent of Africa, and there you will behold such a scene of horrors as no tongue can express, no imagination can represent to itself. One mode, adopted by the petty chieftains of that country to supply our traders with slaves, is, that of committing depredations upon each other's territories: This circumstance gives a peculiar character to the wars in Africa. They are predatory expeditions, of which the chief object is the acquisition of slaves. But this,
sir, is the lightest of the evils Africa suffers from the Slave Trade. Still more intolerable are those acts of outrage, which we are continually stimulating the kings to commit on their own subjects. Instead of the guardians and protectors, those kings have been made, through our instrumentality, the despoilers and ravagers of their people.
A chieftain is in want of European commodities. He sends a party of soldiers by night to one of his own defenceless villages. They set fire to it; they seize the miserable inhabitants as they are flying from the flames, and hurry with them to the ships of the Christian traders, who, hovering like vultures over these scenes of carnage, are ever ready for their prey:
Nor is it only by the chieftains that these disorders are committed; every one's hand is against his neighbour. Whithersoever a man goes, be it to the watering-place, or to the field, he is not safe. He never can quit his house without fear of being carried off by fraud or force; and he dreads to come home again, lest on his return, he should find his hut a heap of ruins, and his family torn away into perpetual exile. Distrust and terror everywhere prevail, and the whole country is one continued scene of anarchy and desolation.
But these evils, terrible as they are, do not equal those which are endured on board ship, or in what is commonly called the middle passage. The mortality during this period is excessive. The slaves labour under a fixed dejection and melancholy, interrupted now and then by lamentations and plaintive songs, expressive of their concern for their relations, and friends, and native country.
Many attempt to drown themselves; others obstinately refuse to take sustenance; and when the whip and other violent means have been used to compel them to eat, they have sometimes looked up in the face of the officer who executed his task, and consoled themselves by saying, in their own language, “presently we shall be no more.”
O, sir! are not these things too bad to be any longer endured? I cannot but persuade myself that whatever difference of opinion there may have been, we shall be this night at length unanimous. I cannot believe that a British House of Commons will give its sanction to the continuance of this infernal traffic. Never was there, indeed, a system so big with wickedness and cruelty. To whatever part of it you direct your view,
finds no relief. It is the gracious ordinance of Providence, both in the natural and moral world, that good should often arise out of evil. Hurricanes clear the air, and persecution promotes the propagation of the truth. Pride, vanity, and profusion, in their remoter consequences, contribute often to the happiness of mankind. Even those classes of men that may seem most noxious have some virtues. The Arab is hospitable. The robber is brave. We do not necessarily find cruelty associated with fraud, nor meanness with injustice.
But here it is otherwise. It is the prerogative of this detested traffic, to separate from evil its concomitant good, and reconcile discordant mischiefs; it robs war of its generosity; it deprives peace of its security. You have the vices of polished society, without its knowledge or its comforts; and the evils of barbarism, without its simplicity.
No age, sex or rank is exempt from the influence of this wide-wasting calamity. It attains to the fullest measure of pure, unmixed wickedness; and, scorning all competition or comparison, it stands in the undisputed possession of its detestable preeminence.
ADDRESS TO THE HIGHLANDERS.--Scott.
See, the dark hours of night and of slumber are past,
Ye sons of the strong, when that dawning shall break,
eye, But it roused each high chieftain to vanquish or die.
Awake on your hills, on your islands awake!
'T is the summons of heroes for conquest or death,
Be the brand of each chieftain like Fin's in his ire!
ANSWER OF LEWIS, DAUPHIN OF FRANCE, TO THE POPE'S LEGATE.
Your grace will pardon me, I will not back;
And, now it is half conquered, must I back,
I will not return,
MR. BURKE'S OPINION RELATIVE TO THE RIGHT OF ENGLAND TO
OH! inestimable right! Oh! wonderful, transcendent right, the assertion of which has cost this country thirteen provinces, six islands, one hundred thousand lives, and
seventy millions of money! Oh! invaluable right! for the sake of which, we have sacrificed our rank among nations, our importance abroad, and our happiness at home! Oh! right! more dear to us than our existence, which has already cost us so much, and which seems likely to cost us our all.
Infatuated man! (fixing his eye on the minister,) miserable and undone country! not to know that the claim of right, without the power of enforcing it, is nugatory and idle. We have a right to tax America, the noble lord tells us; therefore we ought to tax America. This is the profound logic which comprises the whole chain of his reasoning. Not inferior to this was the wisdom of him who re
solved to shear the wolf, What! shear a wolf! Have
you considered the resistance, the difficulty, the danger of the attempt? No, says the madman, I have considered nothing but the right. Man has a right of dominion over the beasts of the forest; and therefore I will shear the wolf. How wonderful that a nation could be thus deluded.
But the noble lord deals in cheats and delusions. They are the daily traffic of his invention; and he will continue to play off his cheats on this House, so long as he thinks them necessary to his purpose, and so long as he has money enough at command, to bribe gentlemen to pretend that they believe him. But a black and bitter day of reckoning will surely come; and whenever that day come, I trust I shall be able, by a parliamentary impeachment, to bring upon the heads of the authors of our calamities, the punishment they deserve.
AMERICAN COLONISTS DEFENDED.
Extract from E. Everett's Oration, delivered at Charlestown, July 4, 1828.
A LATE writer in the London Quarterly Review, has
permitted himself to say, that the original establishment of the United States, and that of the colony of Botany Bay, were pretty nearly modelled on the same plan. The meaning of this slanderous insinuation, is, that the United States were settled by deported convicts, in like manner as New South Wales has been settled by felons, whose punishment by death has been commuted into transportation. It is doubtless true, that at one period, the English government was in the habit of condemning to hard labour as servants in the colonies, a portion of those who had received the sentence of the law.
If this practice makes it proper to compare America with Botany Bay, the same comparison might be made of England herself, before the practice of transportation began, and even now; inasmuch as a large portion of her convicts are held to labour, within her own bosom. In one sense, indeed, we might doubt whether the allegation were more of a reproach or a compliment. During the time that the