網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

and criticisms into a popular form. A learned ministry is unquestionably of eminent advantage, where it can be obtained; and I hope the Academy at York will long flourish under its present excellent tutors, and continue to supply our opulent churches with learned and exemplary young men, who, by their talents and virtues, will do honour to themselves and to the Unitarian cause; but a great deal might be done by those that have not been favoured with a classical education, if they would make the best use of the means which the Almighty has graci. ously put into their power. May all perceive and feel the im. portance of their respective situations, and act accordingly, as probationers for eternity! As the labourers are still very few, and the fields are already white for harvest, let us ardently pray the Lord of the harvest that he will speedily furnish an ample supply:

Permit me to add, that there is one part of your letter in particular which affords me the most sincere pleasure; it is that wherein you express your approval of the motives I have invariably urged to enforce the practice of a virtuous and holy life, which we, as Unitarian Christians, derive from our peculiar views of the person and character of our blessed Lord and Master. May we be duly influenced by these motives; and however zealous we may be for the eradication of erroneous opinions, and the dissemination of correct doctrinal sentiments, (and we can hardly be too zealous when we behold the formida. Es ble phalanx of reputed Orthodoxy which is marshalled in array against us,) let us endeavour to imbibe the amiable spirit and tem per of our great Teacher and humbly,“ trace the steps he trod.” And may every day of our sojourning here below find us better prepared for uniting with the ten thousand times ten thousand who will, on the glorious morning of the resurrection, assemble around the throne of the ONE ETERNAL, to adore his matchless perfections and celebrate the abounding riches of his grace throughout the illimitable ages of futurity. I am, my Christian Friends, with sincere respect, Your fellow-labourer in the Gospel vineyard,

SILVANUS GIBBS.
To the Members of the
Unitarian Christian Church, Devonport.

Negro-Slavery: Speeches of Lord Nugent, at Bucking-
ham, and of Henry Cockburn, Esq., Advocate, at
Edinburgh. . .; "..
We are almost ready to reproach ourselves for not having
brought the crying national sin of Negro-Slavery more
frequently before our readers. A reform of this great
evil is demanded by every consideration of justice and

humanity and national policy, and, above all, of Christianity. The reproach will not surely lie much longer at our doors. The People are aroused; the Parliament is awake to the enormity; and the Government is, we believe, sincerely disposed to do all that the complex interests involved in the question will permit. We look forward with earnestness to the approaching parliamentary discussions. Ju the mean time we lay before our readers the two following speeches, which cannot be read without admiration, delivered at public meetings ; Lord Nugent's at a meeting of the county of Buckingbain, Jan. 17, le himself being in the Chair ; and Mr. Cockburn's, at Edinburgh, Feb. 1, the Earl of Roseberry in the Chair.

Lord Nugent's Speech. His Lordship, in opening the proceedings, said, he should not detain the meeting with any expression of the pleasure and pride he felt at being called to preside where freemen were assembled in the cause of humanity, justice and liberty—in the cause of eight hundred thousand fellowmen and fellow-subjects, deprived of the best gift of God to his creatures the blessing of personal freedom ; of men, engaged in the cause of their country's honour, which was still unredeemed, while one slave or slave-master existed under the shadow of the British flag. Even the Colonial party had begun to relent, and, instead of uncompromising hostility to all change, had adopted a different system, with the motto “gradual abolition." He did pot like the phrase. Unprepared and sudden emancipation of a population of beings, whom the crimes of this country had, for centuries, taught to know no law but their mas. ters' word-no government but that of the cart-whip, was not the object of the friends of freedom. The Planters knew it was not; but when they said, " gradual,” they meant “ above all things, and at all events, Mind you do not advance rapidly.” When we, said''his Lordship, say “ gradual," we mean, “ above all things, and at all events, Mind you advance.” (Cheers.) Very important progress had been already made. About four years ago, on a motion of Mr. Wilberforce's, on a day honourable to the House of Commons, and auspicious to mankind, the phrase " ultimate emancipation" was first adopted there, and in 1823, the House of Commons resolved, that it “ was anx. ious for the accomplishment of this purpose at the earliest period consistent with the well-being of the Slaves and safety of the colonies." That vote no circumstances could ever hereafter reverse or expunge. (Cheers.) The Colopial party asked for compensation. He would vote for compensation to-morrow, but never, never, as a matter of right. Never would he admit the right of one man to plunder another of his natural liberty-his heart was for ever shut against such a claim. England now paid £1,200,000 in increased price of sugars and bounties on export, for the maintenance of Slavery in the West Indies. He would willingly pay that sum directly to redeem 800,000, fellow-subjects from Slavery, and restore them to the right that God bad given them, at the moderate price of 1l. 58. per head per annum. (Cheers.) How often have we heard that the condition of the Slave is on the whole preferable to that of the English peasant! Oh, how. often is this said, with a degree of gravity, too, which would be very becoming in any proposition a little less monstrously absurd! We see his hard life and scanty means of comfort, and even of existence, in this rigorous season too, and we are told that his condition is harder than the Slave's. · Indeed! Then shame on ourselves ! Attend to his wants, better his condition, raise him from the misery and degradation to which he is too generally reduced by that bad system called the Poors? Laws. But, in the naine of common justice, common humanity, and common sense, use not his sufferings as an apology for the unspeakable horrors of Slavery. At least, if he cannot always find a tender consideration of his necessities, the English peasant can always find redress against barefaced outrage, nor can the hand of created man be raised against him unpunished. (Cheers.) Enjoyments few, comforts few, hardships many and difficult to endure; but rights, God be thanked, intact and intangible ; rights which may look the proudest oppressor in the face, and which would wither the hand that would so much as dare to approach them; rights wbich, if not imperishable, can perish only among the last expiring embers of the English Constitution.. (Loud and repeated cheers.) But, Slavery, how can we picture to ourselves ?-Scenes such as in this land eye hath not seen, and such as it hath not entered into the heart of freemen but most imperfectly to conceive! We cannot generalise—we must take a single instance.' Place the English peasant in his cottage ; surround him, like the

Negro, if you will, with every comfort which a better climate and the interested care of a calculating master can afford; surround him with his family. He looks at his wife, the partner only of his bondage ; her back, perhaps, striped with the lash, her wrists galled with the fetters, and on her shoulder the burning brand which marks her as the chattel of another; subject, like himself, to the cruel caprice of a slave-driver, to all the violence which unrestrained and irresponsible power never fails to engender in the human mind; subject, perhaps, to worse-to the delicate partialities of her task-master! And these are the domestic reflections of a Slave, until the crack of the thoug calls him to labour, and tells him that reflection is not for the Slave. ; He looks at his children ; not the hope and pride of his affections, but children born only to receive from him and drink to the dregs the bitter cup of heredi, tary degradation to inherit from him the lateful and hopeless portion of the brand, and the chain, and the carta whip - a family, whom he may love, but whom he can neither cherish nor detend. And this is the condition of 800,000 British subjects. (Cheering.) It is said that Slaves have no feelings to be wounded by this. Then a thousand times cursed be the systein which has extinguished such feeling within them ! But of this even

slavery is not guilty. No; the poor slave can feel as a Iman, and has feelings which would often put those of more

cultivated minds to shame.
',« As the stern captive spurns his iron load,

And asks the image back that Heav'u bestowed,
Proud in his eye the fire of pature burns,

And, as the Slave departs, the Man returns!" (Hear, hear.) I would that those who deny to the poor slave a participation in feelings like our own, who Jibel the justice of creating Providence and would cancel the charter by wbich God has given feeling and soul to universal man; I would that they had but heard the testimony on that point as I did, of a slave-master, but one of the kindest of human beings, a gentleman who resided long on his property at St. Vincent's. He told ine, that after a few years' residence there, finding that the village in which his gang lived was unhealthy and incommodious, he looked about for some better spot to build habitations upon for them. He fixed upon one with all the advantages that situation and good air, and, the inestiinable

blessing there, of good water, could give them, and be employed the gang to collect materials for building. One day, as he was superintending his preparations, one of the gang advanced to him as spokesman, and begged he would be kind enough to say what he was making those preparations for. He pointed out the advantages of the site on which they stood, and told them he meant to remove them from the unhealthy swamp in which they were living. Suddenly a strange and universal groan burst from the gang. Divers slaves came up to him in attitudes of sorrow and supplication. They pointed to their village. One said, “ Under that tree lies the body of a child I lost in its infancy." Another," There are buried my parents.” A third, “In that village I lived with my wife ; I lost her. Do not remove us from that spot." Let Him who alone can try the hearts of man judge between such feelings and those of the majority of the men in whose hands the mortal destinies of these poor creatures are placed ; between such feelings and those of the Legislatures of Barbadoes and Jamaica. (Hear, hear.). Why, then, driven to their · last hold, the planters take refuge in the very citadel of

their cause. They ask us, “ Have we not at least an in. terest in the health of our labourers? And can their health be better secured than by kind treatment? Would any man who values his property abuse or overwork or starve his farm-horse?"! Let us for a moment subdue the sentiments of disgust and indignation that spring up to meet such a question ; let us forget every claim of right and reason and immortal soul; grant that man is. justly given to his fellow-man as a beast of burthen and of toil; and grant that the driver has the same interest and no passions, neither of which, I apprehend, is true; then I turn from the case of the slave of the farm and of the household, to a worse state tban either—the jobbing slaves; a class whom it is always the business of the planters to keep out of sight in these discussions; slaves kept by masters who have no land, to let out on jobs to those who have. And I then say that, whatever is the interest of him who works the poor horse in the mill to his last expiring sob, the same precisely is the interest of the master of this jobbing gang. And who is to provide for the jobbing slave, when old age or hopeless infirmity has closed for ever the account of profit between his master and himself? But I turn willingly from these subjects to one which may well inspire us

« 上一頁繼續 »