Imatges de pÓgina

on the spot where he committed the wrong. Your pages, also, will be open to" the Honourable Member for Bristol," and I shall be most desirous of retracting any sentence or expression by which, from erroneous information, I may have misrepresented him.

supposions que ces gens-là soient des hommes; parce que si nous les supposions des hommes, on commenceroit à croire que nous ne sommes pas nous-mêmes Chrétiens." See De L'Esprit des Loix, L. xv. ch. 5. De L'Esclavage des Nègres.

May 16.

I observe in the Times of this day, that, during the last night's discussion in the House of Commons, "the Honourable Member for Bristol" trans-ARLY ferred his accusation, Mr. Cooper, to the author of "Negro-Slavery," which he described as 66 a most notorious book, full of mistakes and misrepresentations," and "imputed an evil intention to the man who put it together." This man, unfortunately, I think, for the credit of the Hon. Censor's discernment, was Mr. Macaulay, a name," as Mr. Brougham remarked, "respected wherever it was known." We must, perhaps, except the reception of that name among Negro-Slave Holders, yet unawakened to their true interest, whose disapprobation Mr. Macaulay has largely earned, as I have frequently witnessed, by the unwearied, gratuitous labours of an active life, in behalf of the injured Africans.



"The Honourable Member" is also reported to have "contended" that "the statements of Dr. Williamson, instead of being disadvantageous, were highly creditable to the Planters of the West Indies." Your readers, who have perused the descriptions of West India discipline, which I have quoted with scrupulous accuracy from those statements, as extracted in " NegroSlavery," will be prepared to discover the senses of disadvantageous and highly creditable, peculiar to a West-India Vocabulary. The Honourable Member for Bristol,” however, felt himself "bound in justice to declare" that among "the West-India Planters he had found nothing but a disposition to advance, as far as they with safety could advance, the comforts and interests of the beings committed to their care." If the report be correct, we are left to guess whether these are considered as human beings. I suspect that West-India Planters have not yet quite forgotten the caution of Montesquieu given them more than 70 years ago: "Il est impossible que nous


On Early Recollections.
Weldon, Northamptonshire,
April 18, 1823.

impressions are the most is something exquisite in calling forth associations connected with our youth and juvenility. A tree that one has long known-known from one's infancy, becomes an object of interest; and we cannot help cursing the unfeeling axe which levels it to the ground, and mourn for it as for a departed friend : for, perhaps, a thousand pleasing recollections are identified with it. We remember in our childhood to have frequently loitered on the thick boughs of an old fir-dale which stood contiguous to a rivulet, and watched on a sunny day the minnows playful beneath its glassy surface-it remains there still, and we never pass it without sensations of pleasure.

Early friendships are also exquisite. Who ever met an old school-fellow without a smile? He must be an iron-faced one, and we pity him.About six months back we passed through the village where we received our earliest education; a thousand little remembrances burst upon ussome of our favourite haunts remained as heretofore-others, fresh proprie tors had modernized. We were particularly attracted by a staring and gaudy figure of a greyhound as a sign for the village inn, where we remembered the more humble representation of a malt shovel !-empty and unmeaning innovation! for where is the analogy between the qualities of a greyhound and the beverage of Boniface? There was some meaning in the malt shovel, and we are fond of meanings even in a sign.

As we sauntered along the streets recognizing many objects which were once familiar to us, we arrived at the well-known residence of our late revered tutor. Alas! the busy hum was silent; the artless merriment of unsophisticated childhood had long

ceased to vibrate through those walls; -no more the " boding trembler," culprit-like was arraigned before the stern and inflexible aspect of his of fended master. The unsparing hand of time had swept from this sublunary surface the venerable sage; and dire contagion with remorseless virulence had also levelled his son and intended successor, in the prime of life and vigour of manhood!

Nothing could satisfy us but we would walk over the grave of these departed worthies. We felt an indescribable emotion as we surveyed the narrow compass by which they were bounded; our pride (of which doubtless we have our share) felt deeply wounded as we contemplated the mouldering heap! And is it for this (thought we) mankind bestir themselves, and bustle and toil? Is it for this the proud tyrant wields the sceptre of despotism, and oppression forges her fetters? Is it for this that ambition strides from empire to empire, subjugating all to her iron rule, wading through blood, and inflicting misery on myriads and myriads of beings? Here the conqueror and tyrant, however proud or victorious, find an enemy over whom they cannot triumph, and one who limits their extent of territory to a space insignificant indeed, over which their meanest vassal can bestride! How short a period has elapsed since Europe was menaced by the famous continental adventurer, whose victories seemed more than human; before whom empires bowed, and at whose name kingdoms trembled-see him now! a remnant of mortality enclosed within a narrow confine, rotting on a foreign and inhospitable rock, far distant from the seat of his former splendour,-a rock, the very existence of which, when in the zenith of his power, was scarcely known to him.

and we thought we recognized her
features, although time had made
some deep fissures and furrows in her
countenance-we were not deceived,
and felt unusual pleasure in being also
recognized. She pressed us to take
a survey of the old residence. We
did so; but who can describe our
sensations? They were a mixture of
pleasure and pain, a kind of compli-
cated feeling, better imagined than
described: not a nook or hole but our
curiosity led us to peep at. Ah!
here stood and still stands the deli-
cious cherry and the vine, the fruit of
which we have often longed for, but
dared not touch! There the bushy
evergreen that has often sheltered us
from the meridian heat; and there
the majestic oak, upon the branches
of which we have cliinbed to our infi-
nite satisfaction.

We found, on inquiry, that an old school-fellow was residing in the neighbourhood, and had established a school. This intelligence gave us great pleasure, and we were grievously disappointed on finding him from home; we resolved, however, that if chance ever directed us there again, to enjoy an hour or two in his company.-A few weeks back we again had occasion to pass through the same village, and were preparing to send for our early friend to take a social glass with us at the inn. The hostess, of whom we inquired, (and who seemed a kindhearted person,) informed us with a sigh, that our juvenile friend was no more! He had died (she said) of consumption, six weeks before, and was deeply lamented. A tear trickled down our cheeks at the recital-and hastily paying for our entertainment, dejected and disappointed, we mounted our vehicle and drove off, sighing, as we passed,

"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
E. D.

We returned from this humiliating spectacle with strong impressions of the vanity of all sublunary things; and our pride which caused us to walk with unusual erectness through the village, as we went, was now so lowered and crest-fallen, that we had


Birmingham, May 9, 1823. as

again arrived at the late residence of Ce to the public for the moral

our lamented tutor, before we ven-
tured to hold up our heads. A vene-
rable looking female was leaning over
the pales, surveying us as we passed;

tendency only of the papers you admit
into your Miscellany, and by no means
for the sentiments or opinions of your

Remarks on a Particular Providence:
suggested by Mrs. Cappe's Me-


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numerous correspondents; I request your insertion of the inclosed, leaving it to the free exercise of your discretion, whether to admit or reject it. If I am right in my speculations, why should you or I hesitate to divulge them, admitting the subject to be of the highest importance; but if wrong, how can you render me or the world a greater service than by means of your liberal pages to invite the public to their scrutiny or refutation?

I have just finished the perusal of the Memoirs of Mrs. C. Cappe, and I feel no hesitation to declare that I scarcely ever met with a work which commanded more of my unqualified approbation. Such a galaxy of worthies as is there displayed, is a redeeming grace to the errors and enormities too fatally subsisting in the moral and political world. It is highly gratifying to find the delinquencies of publie life, so counterbalanced by the energies and virtues of domestic retirement; and we have here a noble display of the power of sound principies, to enable their possessors to make every sacrifice for the internal delight of an approving conscience, and the plaudit of an omniscient and merciful God. The leading features in the author's mind, as she herself wished it to be observed, are an unbounded, constant and cheerful reliance on the wisdom and benignity of Providence; and well did this confidence animate her to sustain a noble and distinguished character, in the grand and interesting drama, sacred to virtue and public utility. From such prolific and matured fruits, who can doubt the excellence of the culture? Who will call in question the soundness of the principles that produced such results ? What mind could even frame the wish to have changed or weakened those opinions that formed so ardent and benevolent a character-so worthy of imitationso commanding of universal love and esteem? If the great end of intelligence is virtue, and the moral means must ever be subservient to the perfection of character, those means which produce the effect, however inadequate or imperfect they may appear to casual observation, must be the best for the given purpose. In fact, the doctrine of a particular providence is the polar star of her confidence and joy;

but error may supply delusive hopes or feelings, as well as they can be communicated by demonstrable truth; and in spite of my warm admiration of her general principles and character, I think that in this opinion she was wrong. Not, however, with the view of taking advantage of the impossibility of her reply, was this particular case chosen, but because I cannot divest myself of the feeling, that it betrays a weak place in the argument advanced, almost bordering on the ludicrous. Had the same incidents been recorded and animadverted upon in the same manner by Voltaire or Carlile, would not the common opinion of the world have attributed them to the spirit of irony or burlesque? And the circumstances of their being committed to the public in her name, or in any other, must allow their being a subject for public discussion, without any regard to individual reply.

That I may not be suspected of intentional or careless misrepresentation, I

shall transcribe the whole of the passage to which I mean particularly to allude, and then, Sir, your readers will best judge how far I have given the subject fair play.

"Dining at a gentleman's house in Wakefield, I swallowed a piece of gristle of a breast of veal, which stuck in the throat so as entirely to compress the wind-pipe, and prevent the possibility of breathing. It happened that Dr. Hird, of Leeds, had accidentally called upon the family, and been prevailed upon to stay dinner; and the thought struck him, whilst all the rest of the company were running for assistance in various directions, to dash a quantity of cold water into my mouth, which producing a sudden contraction, gave instant relief by dislodging the gristle. In a minute or two more all would have been over, and 1 verily believe that this was the only expedient that could have been effectual. Dr. H., therefore, was the agent, under Providence, to whom I was indebted for the preservation of my life. Had the accident happened the day before or the day after, both of which I spent in the country, my death had been inevitable, likewise that it must have been equally fatal, occurring when and where it did, had not Dr. H. that day called upon the family, and been prevailed on to stay

dinner, and also had he not possessed the presence of mind to apply the only possible remedy. Now when a train of circumstances so minute, apparently independent of each other, yet operating as distinct causes, are every one of them essential to the production of a given effect, must we not conclude that not one of them happened by chance? And am I not warranted in the firm belief that it was the intention of a gracious Providence, by these means, at that time, to preserve my life? So literally true, then, is the assertion of our Lord, that not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our heavenly Father. But it may be asked, could not life have been preserved in a much shorter way, by simply preventing the accident? I answer, undoubtedly; but let it be remembered, that the mercy would then have been wholly unperceived, and, consequently, that not one of the salutary convictions would have been felt, which similar dangers, and similar deliverances, are intended to produce. Do they not teach us in language not to be mistaken, that we and our affairs are at all times in the hands of God-that circumstances, apparently the most trivial, and arrangements the most minute, may be and often are employed as his agents, to take away life, or to restore it, even at the very moment when it is about to expire?"

I dare not attempt to enter into the detail of circumstances which force themselves upon my imagination, which are necessarily connected with the subject, and which Mrs. C. passes over in such general terms as to disguise their fallacy; for the sake of my opponents it were well they should be omitted. Let any person who has been accustomed to follow up the link of mental association, let him trace these "distinct causes every one of them essential to the production of a given effect"-and he may be safely challenged to declare where he can stop. Let him penetrate but a step or two into this labyrinth, and he may soon be glad to retrace his steps, and give up the pursuit. Our amiable author calculates, that the circumstance was appointed to impress her mind with an extraordinary degree of gratitude for her preservation. Not to dwell upon the roundabout contri

vance for a purpose so little requisite, will such preternatural cases always produce the same effect; and if not, to what other intention will they be ascribed, or to what improvement will they tend? And is she not assuming a degree of personal importance rather unwarranted? She had a heart, no doubt, susceptible of the warmest emotions of gratitude, which millions under the same circumstances would not have felt; but what is the difference in the estimation of perfect wisdom, between the highest state of human refinement and its most humiliating imbecility? They can be no other than equal in his parental regard; and to suppose a being of infinite perfection to be swayed in his attentions to the improvement of his creatures by such little, insignificant partialities, is sadly perverting all ideas of reason and propriety. We have no authority for the conclusion, and if we had, our limited comprehension could not trace the boundless consequences. If this supposed interference is exercised occasionally, in behalf of some individuals, all mankind must be the subjects of its display, as varying circumstances may require; and this for evil as well as for good. For if one man's life is providentially preserved from the pistol of a highwayman, how could the attack have been warded off unless it was first made; and how could this train of cause and effect have been produced, but by some secret impulse which should operate on the conduct of the plunderer? So with respect to the treachery of Judas; if his Master must be betrayed by his means, and if without this train of circumstances the designs of Providence would not have been accomplished-then the delinquency of the traitor becomes as necessary in the scale of events as the sufferings of the unoffending victim. Such must be the result of such opinions; and hence it follows, that every event in human life is preordained, and that we are all as much under the controul of circumstances as the fingers of a clock are subject to the internal movements. There still, however, remains this difference-in the one case the universal laws of necessity are alleged as the operating causes; and in the other every possible event must be regulated by the immediate volition and plea

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sure of the Almighty Being who gave existence to the universe-and to this latter opinion I wish to confine the present inquiry.


Suppose, then, by way of illustration, a coach to be overset, carrying six passengers-two of them killed on the spot, two maimed for life, and the remaining two totally unhurt. How will this case be explained? I know but of four solutions to which we can resort to unravel the difficult problem. Either that the downfal was the effect of universal rules established by Omnipotence as the permanent laws of nature; or that it was the act of some malevolent but subordinate being; or that it was the special and immediate appointment of Providence for the particular occasion; or that the accident itself was in the common course of natural cause and effect, but that the Almighty interposed his power to save the lives of the two who escaped, and left the other four to their fate thus accounting for a part of the case as involving a miracle in favour of some to the exclusion of others; and this solution is, perhaps, the general sentiment of the world. Admit the first cause, and all is intelligible to our slender comprehension: but in what absurd and incomprehensible difficulties will not either of the others involve us? Can a single demonstration be adduced of any such supernatural interposition? How then can we resort to that as a proof where there can be nothing more than empty supposition? And why presume on this system of favouritism, when the very authority on which so large a portion of mankind rests its belief, has declared that "one event happens alike to all"? It is true, we have it from the same source that "not a sparrow falleth to the ground without our heavenly Father, and even the hairs of our head are all numbered." -These are beautiful and impressive illustrations of the doctrine that we are not in the vortex of a blind and undistinguishing fatality that what we understand by chance or accident has no reference to a state of things out of the government of a Supreme Intelligence-and that however we may be unable to trace the infinite connexion between causes and effects, yet the whole universe is under such


2 P

laws and regulations, as its Almighty Creator has undoubtedly and wisely appointed.

Here is a system perfectly rational and intelligible; which contradicts no deductions of human reason, nor any real or supposed revelation from heaven. Here we are all agreed; then why not remain satisfied, and not be anxious to make it a subject of dispute and contention? Take the terms as metaphors, or as expressive of general principles, and we see and feel their truth and propriety; but if they are to be interpreted literally, then every truant schoolboy who may rob a bird's nest of its young, must be an appointed agent, acted upon by an irresistible impulse; and then we not merely admit that Omniscience is capable of numbering the hairs of our heads, (which is perfectly within our comprehension,) but we consider him as absolutely occupied in such a detailed exercise of his unlimited powers; and it then becomes a subject far too deep for our scrutiny. We may conceive, (for who shall fix bounds to Omnipotence?) that in every snow storm Omniscience should know to the thousandth part of an inch where every flake should be deposited; and still more that this penetrating scrutiny may have been exercised before the world was formed, or even from all eternity; but what can we possibly have to do with such an overwhelming subject? And how puerile must be our highest conceptions of the employment of the Divine attributes!

I once saw an old woman dug from the ruins of her house, under which she had lain buried three or four hours, without the slightest apparent injury whatever. A high wall contiguous to her tenement had been washed down by a deluge of water, produced by a sudden storm; the house was levelled with the ground, and the poor creature was found under a beam which had rested lengthwise on the board at the bed's head, and the other end on the bedstead at her feet. On her release she walked some distance to the place appointed for her reception. Here was a signal proof of Divine interposition, beyond the puny cavils of incredulity! Another inch lower, and the beam would have missed its support, and death have been the certain con

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