Imatges de pÓgina
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MONTHLY RETROSPECT of PUBLIC AFFAIRS;

OR,

The Christian's Survey of the Political World.

THE explosion has taken place which has been so long dreaded. Every one connected with the West Indies had prognosticated that the efforts used by Mr. Wilberforce and his friends to get a bill passed by the parliament of the empire to enforce certain regulations respecting the blacks, must produce some fatal effects in the colonies. The language used by the favourers of the measure was of a most unhappy tendency. It raised expectations in the slaves that there was an authority here highly paramount above that of their masters, and that Mr. Wilberforce was so great a man, and so much their friend, that their servitude was soon to be broken, and a general emancipation was to take place. Highly culpable indeed was the language of some of the writers upon this question. They took a delight in representing the planter in the most odious colours, in exaggerating every instance of ill-treatment that might have occurred, concealing all the kindness that is continually displayed, and has for many years been increasing in the islands; and in fact doing every thing to excite a spirit of discontent in the minds of the slaves, and depreciating the character of the masters.

That man in every part of the world, whatever may be his colour, should attain to the dignity of his nature, should be free in the highest sense of the word, is the great object of Christianity, and the desire of every reader of this Miscellany. But till his mind is improved and he is capable of understanding and appreciating the bless ings of this freedom, it is in vain that he is released from certain yokes laid upon him by the rules of civil society. Many a king upon his throne is as much an object of our pity as the slave under the lash of his driver; and who would wish to enjoy the liberty of the savage in the wilds of America? It is an old and a good adage, Natura nihil facit per saltum. A greater evil could not possibly befall the blacks, than that they should be instantly declared free, for the only result of this freedom would be the tearing of each other to pieces and the destruction of the masters. In what manner they are best to be brought forward to a higher degree in the scale of nature, is a problem worthy of the consideration of the true politician; but of this we may be sure, that Mr. Wilberforce and his friends are taking the worst methods possible for the attainment of this end. If

the slave is to look up to the authority of this island, and to conceive that he has a party in the House of Commons in his favour, if Mr. Wilberforce is to be his patron and the local legislature to be set at nought, it will be in vain to expect any thing but what has already taken placethe burning of plantations and the destruction of life.

The error of Mr. Wilberforce consists in not attending to the state of society which exists in that country over which be attempts to regulate. He does not recollect that slavery existed at the first propagation of Christianity, and that it took several ages before the maxims of our holy religion could prevail over the principles of the world. In this state, however, no violent efforts were used by the apostles and first teachers of Christianity. They did not attempt to excite an outcry against the holders of slaves, nor to use any irritating language respecting slavery. They saw clearly that the emancipation would be produced in a better manner by teaching slaves to obey their masters, not from eye-service, but from a regard to duty, and in like manner by inculcating on the masters the duty of being kind to their slaves. Thus gradually both parties were brought nearer to each other, and at last slavish services were exchanged for a better tenure-the compact between master and servant.

The abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of the blacks are two distinct questions, and they ought to be kept entirely distinct in our minds. On the first question the parliament of the kingdom had an undoubted right to interfere, for it might assuredly dictate that an Englishman should not carry on a trade in the persons of blacks, as well as it prohibited his trading in other articles. To this law the West Indians submitted equally with all other subjects; and the advocates for the abolition of the slave trade having gained this point, were interested only in seeing that the law was not broken. But the emancipation of the blacks involves a variety of questions on which the residents of England are not competent judges. There are three conditions in the West Indies, that of the white, who must be the ruler-the freed manand the slave. The white enjoys all the privileges of Englishmen, the other two parties are necessarily deprived of some of them; but all are under certain laws liable to be changed at the discretion of the go

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ment, the holders of property in the Wes Indies are in fear for its security, as well as for the lives of their friends and relatives in those regions. The mischief that has already been done will make the legislature pause before it gives its countenance to a set of persons so little acquainted with our West India islands and deriving their information from very suspicious quarters.

vernor of the two houses of assembly in the
island. Here as in England is a proper
place for improvement: and it is unjust to
say that great improvements have not been
gradually taking place under the local le-
gislatures. All has not been done that the
sanguine emancipator may expect; but it
would be time for Mr. Wilberforce and his
friends to call on a superior authority
when, having proposed to the colonial le-
gislatures a regulation, it had been rejected
by them without cause. The rude attempt
to legislate for all the islands is such an
attack upon the local legislations as can-
not but excite dismay and distrust; and if
a similar thing had been attempted in
England, interfering with all our corporate
bodies, the table of the House of Commons
would have been overwhelmed with peti-
tions from every part of England.

The spirit of insurrection first appeared
in the island of Barbadoes, and it displayed
itself in the burning of plantations to a
very great extent. From the energy of
the whites the misled blacks were brought
into subjection, but not without consider
able slaughter of the latter in the field, and
the execution of others by the hand of jus-
tice. The island, however, is in that
state that the whites are compelled to keep
a strict watch over their dependents. The
proclamations issued by the governors of
other islands indicate that a similar watch-
fulness is necessary in them; but it is
hoped that as the whites are now every
where on the alert the intended mischief
may be prevented.

In this state of things Mr. Wilberforce's motion was coming forward, but it was delayed till government had received its dispatches; and after they had arrived, Mr. Wilberforce made a long speech tending rather to inflame than to appease the existing troubles. He was replied to by a gentleman connected with the West Indies, who contented himself with a plain representation of facts, which pointed out the inevitable loss of the colonies unless speedy measures were taken to make it clear to the blacks that no such measure was in agitation as their emancipation. He proposed that an address should be presented to the Prince Regent to request that the In France all is quiet, if we are to begovernors of the islands might be directed lieve government reports. The principal to issue proclamations testifying his bigh instigators to the insurrection in Dauphiny displeasure at the late outrages and the have been executed. The court has been insidious attempts of those who were ex- occupied with two grand events—the marciting hopes of emancipation, since no riage of the Duke of Berri and the celebrasuch measure was in contemplation, though tion of their grand feast called by them every effort should be encouraged which the Feast of God. On the day for this had in view their moral and religious im- feast processions are made in every parish provement. All sides of the House saw of the Catholic world. The wafer god is the necessity and propriety of this measure, paraded about the streets-altars are erectwhich was unanimously voted, and we trusted at various places-and the deluded that it will have the desired effect, though multitude falls prostrate as it passes before it must not be concealed that, at this mo- this miserable emblem and other abomi

An occurrence has taken place of a singular nature, which might give room for many comments. A meeting of the county of Kent took place at Maidstone for the purpose of congratulation on the late royal marriage. An address was moved and seconded, but on taking the show of hands scarcely any hands were held up in its favour and the meeting was dissolved. The principal gentlemen retired to an inn and requested the High Sheriff to take the chair, which he with great propriety declined, and the company resolved that copies of the address should be sent to the principal towns for signatures. Addresses so signed want the legitimate stamp and can convey only the sentiments of individuals; and the expression of popular feeling at the meeting cannot be construed into any intended affront to the young couple, in whose happiness all must be interested, though it is indicatory of a discontent which it will be the duty of government to examine, and if there are just causes for it to endeavour to remove the grounds of it.

The spirit of discontent has appeared in our own country. Great outrages have been committed in the isle of Ely; the alleged cause--the distresses of the poor from want of work and want of proper pay. By a due degree of spirit these infatuated people were brought under, and a number of rioters were committed to prison. A special commission was appointed of two judges to sit with the judge of the isle of Ely upon this occasion, and after the trial and condemnation of a few of the ringleaders, the crown very humanely stopped farther prosecutions, letting the rest go out upon recognizances for future appearance and bail for their good behaviour.

nations of their strange idolatry. The whole represents a heathen rite. During the reign of Buonaparte such exhibitions were prohibited, but they are now revived with all their ancient folly and superstition.

Symptoms of some new regulations with respect to the Barbary powers have made their appearance. They have for too long a time been permitted to exercise a tyranny over their captives in war, which is disgraceful even to the religion they profess. The Americans have shown what may be done with them, and England has interfered to procure the liberation of a numher of Christians from a wretched captivity in which some of them had been held for many years. A project was on foot for the union of the Christian powers to put

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CORRESPONDENCE.

Our correspondent Liberus is informed that the article of Public Affairs is always written by the same gentleman, who expresses in it his own sentiments without assuming to represent those of the Editor, correspondents or readers. The Editor is too sensible of his obligations to this gentleman to attempt to interfere with the free statement of his views of public events. The Slave Registry Bill is a measure to be decided not by the feelings but by a cool judgment on the state of the West India Islands. To such as wish to understand the question, we recommend an able pamphlet just published, entitled, "The British Legislature's Interference respecting Slaves in the West India Islands deprecated."

The paper on Poetical Scepticism, with various other articles, was too late for insertion the present month.

ERRATUM.

P. 191, col. ii. I. 1. for "jocundum," read jucundum.

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*

[Translated from "Literature des Negres,"
by M. Gregoire. (p. 130.) Paris, 1808.]
Angelo Solimann
THOUGH
never published any thing, he
merits one of the chief places among
Negroes distinguished by a high de-
gree of cultivation, and extensive
knowledge, and still more, by moral
excellence.

He was the son of an African prince, the sovereign of Gangusilang, and his family name Magni-Famori, Besides the little Mmadi-Maké, (which was Angelo's name in his own country) his parents had a younger child, a daughter. He used to relate with what deference his father was treated, being surrounded by a great number of servants. Like all the children of princes in that country, he had characters imprinted on each thigh, and long did he indulge the hope that he should be known by those characters and discovered to his parents. The recollections of childhood,

[Vol. XI.

*

It is my duty publicly to mention the names of these to whom I owe the biography of this estimable African, who was first mentioned to me by Dr. Gall. On the application of my countrymen of Hautefort, attached here to the foreign relations, and Dodan, first secretary to the French legation in Austria, great zeal was discovered to satisfy my curiosity. Two respectable ladies of Vienna, Madame de Stief and Madame de Picler paid the greatest attention to it, carefully collecting the accounts furnished by the friends of the deceased Angelo. From these materials this interesting narrative has been compiled. In the French translation it loses much elegance of style; for Madame de Pieler, who drew it up in German, possessed the rare talent of writing equally well in prose and verse. I have great pleasure in expressing to these obliging persons my just grati

tude.

VOL. XL

3 C

especially of his first attempts to draw the bow, in which he surpassed his companions, the remembrance of the his country often produced in his simple manners, and the fine sky of mind a pensive pleasure, even to old age. He could never sing his country's songs, which his excellent memory had retained, without being deeply affected.

It appears, from the recollections of Angelo, that his nation had then attained to some degree of civilization. His father possessed many elephants, and even horses, which are rare in those countries. Money was unknown, but the commerce of exchange was regularly conducted, and they had sales by auction. They worshipped the stars, and practised circumcision. Two families of whites resided in the country.

Authors who have published their travels mention perpetual wars among the nations of Africa, of which the objects are revenge, plunder, or the most shameful species of avarice, the conqueror haling his prisoners to the nearest market, to sell them to the whites. A war of this kind, against the people of Mmadi Maké, broke out so unexpectedly that his father had no suspicion of danger. The child, at the age of seven years, one day, standing by the side of his mother, who was suckling his sister, they suddenly perceived the clash of arms and hurling of arrows. The grandfather of Mmadi Maké, seized with terror, rushed into the house crying out the enemy is at hand. Fatuma started up alarmed, the father seized his arms, and the little boy, terrified, fled with the swiftness of an arrow. His mother called to him loudly, where are you going Mmadi Make? The child answered, there where God wills. In advanced age he often reflected on the important meaning of those words. Having fled from the house he looked back and saw

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his mother, and of his father's people, fall under the blows of the enemy. With another boy he crept under a tree, terrified and covering his eyes with his hands. The tumult increased, the enemy who already assumed the victory, seized and held him up in token of triumph. At this sight the countrymen of Madi Maké made a last effort and rallied to recover the son of their king. The combat was renewed around the child. In the end the enemies remained conquerors, and he became unquestionably their prey. His master exchanged him with another Negro, for a fine horse, and the child was conveyed to the place of embarkation. He there found many of his countrymen, all, like himself, prisoners, and condemned to slavery. They recognised him with unavailing sorrow, but were even forbidden to speak to him.t si must

The prisoners, having been thus conveyed in small boats to the sea, Mmadi Maké saw with astonishment large floating houses, into one of which he entered and found a third master. He conjectured that this was a Spanish vessel. After escaping a tempest, they came on shore, and his master pro mised to conduct him to his mother. This delightful hope soon vanished, on finding, instead of his mother, his master's wife, who received him affectionately and treated him with much kindnesss. The husband gave him the name of Andre, and employed him to lead the camels to pasture and take charge of them. audio The master's country is unknown or how long the boy remained with him. Angelo has been dead twelve years, and this account has been lately collected from the information of his friends. It is only known that after a considerable time his master proposed taking him to a country where his condition would be improved. Mmadi Maké was well pleased, but his mistress parted from him with regret. They embarked and arrived at Messina. He was brought to the house of a rich lady who was expecting him. She treated him with much kindness, had him instructed in the language of the country which he easily acquired. His affability conciliated the affection of the numerous domestics, among whom he distinguished a Negress, named Angelina, for her gentleness and kind attentions.

He fell ill, the marchio ness, his mistress, felt for him all the anxiety of a mother, so that she sat, up with him a part of every night. The most skilful physicians were called in. His bed was surrounded by a crowd of persons who waited his orders. The marchioness had long wished that he might be baptized. After repeated refusal, one day during his convalescence he himself requested baptism, when his mistress, highly gratified, ordered the most magnificent preparations. In a saloon, a richlyembroidered canopy was suspended, over a bed of state. All the family and friends of the house were present. Mmadi Maké reclining on this bed, was consulted on the name he would have. From gratitude and friendship to the Negress Angelina he wished to be called Angelo. His wish he had Solimann. He annually celewas gratified and for a family name brated the 11th of September, the day of his entrance into Christianity, with the same pious feelings as if it had been the anniversary of his birth.

His good conduct, complaisance, and excellent understanding, endeared him to all. The Prince Lobkowitz, then the imperial general in Sicily, frequented the house where this child lived, of whom he became so fond that he requested him of the marchioness. From her regard for Angelo, she reluctantly yielded to considerations of interest and prudence, which determined her to make that present to the general. Many tears were shed by her on parting with the little Negro, who entered with regret into the service of a new master.

The functions of the prince were incompatible with a long residence in that country. He loved Angelo, but his manner of life, and perhaps the spirit of the times, induced him to attend very little to his education. Angelo became wild and choleric. He passed his days in idleness and childish sports. An old house-steward of the prince, perceiving his good disposition and other excellent qualities, notwithstanding his idleness, provided him a tutor, under whom Angelo learned, in the space of seventeen days, to write German. The grateful affection of the child, and his rapid progress in every branch of knowledge, amply rewarded the old man's care.

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