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THE AUTHOR OF,“ WAR IN DISGUISE.”
The following Sheets are the concluding section of a larger work, which issues at the same time with them from the press, entitled, “ The Dangers of the Country.”
In that work the Author has taken a distinct view of a possible calamity, hitherto regarded too much in the abstract, to be justly estimated, that of our falling under the yoke of France. He has afterwards attempted to demonstrate the impolicy and danger of making peace with that Power, in her present state of aggrandisement; and above all, has endeavoured to shew the inadequacy of our domestic defence, and the proper means of improving it; one of which, and in his opinion the most important, is the propitiation of Heaven, by an immediate Abolition of the Slave Trade.
A work so comprehensive in its plan, has unavoidably formed a pretty large pamphlet; and has cost much more time than the Author at first expected; so that he has found himself unable to offer it to the Public, till the great practical question considered in the following sheets has come again under deliberation in Parliament; and is likely very soon to be decided.
At the same time, he finds the public mind suddenly elevated by the report of an improved state of affairs on the Continent; and though we have seen enough of strange reverses, as well as of false intelligence, to teach us the rashness of trusting to these new born hopes, they will probably make the generality of readers less disposed to attend, at this moment, to plans of military defence, or to the dangers of invasion.
It has been thought right, therefore, to publish separately, a part of the work, which, though intimately connected with, has no neces. sary dependence on, the rest; and which, if at all worthy of public attention, now most pressingly demands it,
London, 26th Januury, 1807.
Sect. 4. Reformation, is an essential basis of our
national safety. It remains to say something of that other mean of averting our public dangers, which I proposed to consider, namely, reformation. As to patience and unanimity, their importance will be readily perceived ; but the necessity of such reformation, as I mean to suggest, may perhaps not be equally obvious.
Were I to recommend the correction of abuses of a financial or constitutional kind, some readers would readily concur.—These, they would say, are indispensably necessary; and without these, patience and unanimity cannot be expected. But these are species of reformation, which it is not my design here to consider ; both because there is no dearth of advocates to recommend them; and because a wish to reform such abuses, where they adinit of safe correcction, is not wanting in his Majesty's councils.
Frugality in the public expenditure, is beyond all doubt a duty of high moment, and the neglect of it under the present circumstances of the country, would be truly opprobrious. Whether any such constitutional reformations, as moderate and wise men have desired, ought now to be attempted, is a question which I will not discuss. It is of too extensive and delicate a nature, to form an incidental topic in a work like this. I will only remark, that, as there never was a period in which the popularity of our glorious constitution, and of our government, was more important; 90 never was it more dangerous to propose in Parliament, any measure greatly desired by a large portion of
the people, against the known sense of a majority of the legislature.
Leaving such questions to others, I would insist only on the immediate duty and necessity of one reformation, which we have too long owed, both to God and Man ; which a great part of the community most anxiously desires; to which both Houses of Parliament are now solemnly pledged ; and which I firmly believe to be more essential to the salvation of the country, than her volunteers, her army, or her navy: I mean the abolition of the Slave trade.
Here, perhaps, some readers who have hitherto assented to most of my remarks, and have found little to censure in these pages, except the feeble and inadequate manner in which momentous truths have been treated, will be disposed to lay the pamphlet down with a smile ; and exclaim, what connection has this stale subject with the fate of England ?
I conjure them, however, if they have borne with me thus far, to listen a little longer. I implore them to recollect, that many of the most important relations between human events and human conduct, have been hidden from the wise and prudent, till subsequent to catastrophes which their timely discovery might have averted : “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least “ in this thy day, the 'things that belong unto thy
peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes.”
That the Slave trade is in its conséquences, politi. x cally injurious to the country, is a proposition which has been proved so often, and so clearly, in Parliamentary debates, and in arguments addressed to the