Page images

pressed fellow creatures, I shall, I trust, deliver my own soul.

; It is with no small concern that I reflect, that a very large share of the infamous conimerce has fallen to that nation to which I originally belonged, and for which I still retain a strong predilection. That a nation, not less distinguished for refinement and delicacy of sentiment, than for arts and manufactures, should suffer any of its members, with impunity, to embrue their hands in the blood of the innocent, is truly astonishing. If I cannot remedy this alarming evil, I will not cease to remonstrate against it. Had I ten thousand tongues and pens, I should employ them all on the subject.

It is to me no small consolation to reflect, that, though many nations of Christendom are, to their disgrace, engaged in the infamous commerce and oppression of their fellow creatures, there are, in all these nations, thousands, and tens of thousands, who, in proportion to their measures of information, reprobate and bewail the evil, as much as I can do. As for any proportion of the nations of Christendom, who favour the inhuman traffic, they are all comprehended under two divisions; those who are concerned in it, and derive pecuniary advantage from it, or those who either are uninformed concerning it, or receive their information from persons, who, from sinister considerations, are prepossessed in favour of it. The great mass of the people are uninformed, or misinformed, concerning the shocking barbarities under which the exiled Africans languish. The situation of the united kingdom of Britain and Ireland is attended with peculiar advantages. Its air is salubrious, its soil fertile and highly cultivated; the seas with which it is surrounded, abound in a great variety of the best fish; and its inhabitants rendered secure by a navy so formidable, that it has become the admiration and the terror of the world. Thus situated, it has, for a long series of years, been exempted from the calamities and ravages, to which the seat of war is necessarily exposed. Of slavery and war abroad they merely hear, but do not feel the one or the other. But, though they allow no slavery at home, their merchants and traders are active promoters of it abroad. Peace as well as plenty they enjoy in their own country; but their armies and navies shed torrents of human blood, and spread desolation around them, in distant parts of the world.

To the Inhabitants of Christendom.

Christian Nations! You hear of the achieve. ments of


forces in the several distant quarters of the world. You admire their invincible bravery, and their unparalelled success. But are the accounts you are accustomed to read, full and fair? Are they not often mutilated, altered, and disguised, before they are put into your hands? Are your officers and armies as humane and

generous as they are intrepid and brave? They conquer barbarous nations, you are told, with the most benevolent, with the most philanthropic design, and for purposes

the most beneficial to the conquered ; to civilize, or, perhaps, to Christianize them. Your trade rs and factors in Africa, it is pretended, are men distinguished by their humanity; they purchase the natives, in order to rescue them from the barbarities and massacres of which they are in danger in their own country; and to place them in a situation easy and comfortable in the West-Indies. Are these pretensions just? Do you believe them? Such pretensions are, perhaps, the greatest insult that ever was offered to the human understanding; and an imposition on the credulity of uninformed people, at which effrontery itself can hardly forbear to blush! This, all this, is the downright reverse of truth. Do not allow partiality for your nation and connexions to pervert your judgment. For the sake of your country, for the honour of humanity and the Christian name, you wish the most favourable accounts to be true; and what you wish, you are apt to believe to be true. The time I can recollect, when I was in a similar predicament; but dire experience has rectified my mistake. Cruelties and barbarities, too shocking to be related, have I seen perpetrated by European emissaries and agents, both on the coast of Africa and in the West-India islands.. Never can I recall them to my mind, but the blood almost forgets to flow in my veins. Has the behaviour of European governors and armies in the East-Indies; or has the conduct of the European agents in Africa, or of the owners of slaves in the WestIndies, had any tendency to recommend either civilized life or the Christian religion? Has not their conduct, on the contrary, been, in the highest degree, calculated to prejudice Pagans and Mahometans against both the politics and the religion of Christendom? Has it not proved an im-: penetrable barrier to preclude the promulgation of the gospel, the benign gospel of our Lord and blessed Redeemer? Has it not, in various instances, proved to be a war against religion, against-reason, against humanity, against the authority of heaven, and against the most valuable rights and the dearest interests of mankind ? Hu. man natur ehas been abused, the Deity has been insulted. To Omnipotente itself, tyrants have bidden defiance. Natural is it to ask, with what great views, for what valuable purposes, has a traffic, so iniquitous, and attended with such shocking circumstances, been prosecuted? What can sufficiently counterbalance such enormous evils? The question admits of no satisfactory


Such ambition, such'avarice, such luxury, such ill-gotten gain, the curse of God necessarily attends. Did such pursuits ever promote the true prosperity of either nations or individuals? It is impossible. Punishments ever follow crimes, and sometimes the former run paralell with the latter, with a mysterious uniformity. Nations and individuals, addicted to such acts of oppression, may seem, for a time, to flourish. But how unexpected, sudden, and alarming has their downfal often been? You imagine, perhaps, you have reached the highest summit of terrestrial prosperity and honour. Your armies and navies are powerful, your commerce flourishes, your national resources are inexhaustable. But remember, pride is the usual fore-runner of ruin; the ruin of nations and of individvals. Is

« PreviousContinue »