Page images

there not national as well as personal pride? Do you not recollect instances, in which the highest prosperity, and that consequent vanity which it is apt to occasion, have been the immediate harbingers of a fearful and fatal downfal? Do not such examples occur in the history of every period? Does national honour, or greatness, consist in foreign domination, or a vast extent of territory? Has not every nation, has not every tribe of mankind, as good a title to the undisturbed possession > of the country, in which the common Father of the human family has placed it, as you have to. yours? By what authority do you invade and dispossess them; and who gave you this authority? Are not the oppressor and the oppressed equally related to one common Creator? Yes, and, perhaps, the latter more valuable, in his estimation, than the former. The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour. Righteousness, not riches, but righteousness exalteth a nation.



[ocr errors]

Shall my warning be, by any concerned, considreed as a subject of sneer and banter, burlesque, and laughter? I shall be sorry, not on my own, but on their account. Now, they laugh, but the day will shortly dawn in which they will laugh no more. Then He, who sits in heaven, will laugh at their calamity, and mock when their fear

cometh. When judgment overtakes you, and you are involved in inextricable distress, you will learn, from expensive experience, to feel for others. What desolation by famine, fire, and sword, have your armies spread in different quarters of the world? The havoc they have made, I will not attempt to describe. Justice would weep, benevolence would mourn, and human nature would blush at the bloody recital! But what words can possibly describe, what imagination can paint, the horrors they have occasioned? Their cruelties in the East-Indies, as well as in Africa, will never, never be forgotten. Far removed from the scene of action, you must have formed a very faint and inadequate idea of them. Destruction, and complicated woe as far as the arms of Christians could extend them, have been spread, with wanton cruelty, from the East to the West, and from the North to the South. While you, remote from the scene of action, had nothing to lose, you had still less to fear; and of course, the intelligence reached you, like a tale of antiquity; the impression of which is, by distance of time, as well as place, in a great measure prevented: and woe unutterable is converted into momentary amusement. The horrors and miseries of war you have not experienced in your country. You have not been alarmed at

midnight, with the hollow noise of the drums, or the shrill clangor of the trumpet. To the afflicting scene of a family in flight, you have been strangers. You have not been reduced to the pain, ful necessity of beholding your children dashedagainst the stones, or pierced through by the point of the bayonet. Nor can you form a just conception of a beloved relative blown to pieces by a ball from the mouth of a cannon, burnt alive, or suspended on a gibbet, for asserting his natural rights and unalienable privileges. These are only the fainter sufferings occasioned by war, particulary in the East-Indies; where streets have overflowed with streams of blood, mountains of human bodies have been raised, and towns have been seen in one general blaze, But even these complicated calamities, which the avarice of your governments, and the thirst of individuals for gold, have produced, fall far short of the horrid slaughter which has been made by the cruelty of your factors and slave-traders in Africa, and the West-Indies. This no imagination can conceive, no tongue or pen can describe. Innumerable groans arising from dying mortals, you have had no opportunity to hear; innumerable woe-worn cheeks continually wet with silent, tears, you have had no opportunity of seeing. That such tyranny is encouraged, and the hands


of these murderers are strengthened by your laws, you know. Millions have been redu ced to a state of perpetual slavery, or brought to a premature death, which you never did or can feel. Could you hear their bitter lamentations, were their blood sprinkled on your garments; blood which cries to heaven for vengeance against you; would you not tremble for your fate, and refuse to participate in such diabolical crimes? That you may have some idea of their auguish, make their case your own, and your case theirs; when we recollect the wretchled sons of Africa, we can scarcely forbear to curse the governments, that, to the natural evils incident to mortal man, adds the dreadful adventitious misery and horrors of slavery. Are not the unavoidable misfortunes of mankind sufficiently numerous, without a wilful increase of them? Are not the histories of Nero, Cataline, and Alexander, histories of devils incarnate? Who can think of their actions without horror or of their death without satisfaction? And yet, I cannot forbear to say, those men were angels, in comparison with your servants, soldiers, and sailors, in distant countries. To see the bounties of heaven abused, the charming face of nature wasted, the noblest works of God destroyed; methinks, is enough to force a curse from holiness itself. Can

there be any sin greater than light in the head and malice in the heart? The whole compass of human language seems inadequate to express the cruelty, malice, and villainy of the British, Dutch, French and Spanish officers, factors, and planters, and their agents. They have refined so far in cruelty, that we have no proper name for it. To the unmethodized vices of ancient times, they have added the dregs, and methodized barbarity of modern times; and are wholly immersed in the abyss of serpentine deceit, as well as diabolical cruelty. The dying groans of millions, who have fallen victims to their more than brutal cruelty, have ascended to heaven, and their petitions are registered in eternity; while vengeance is on the wing.

These are serious considerations. Whatever oppressors or their abettors, persons judicially infatuated, may think, there is a minute account of all their barbarities in the records of eternity. And woe to all tyrants, despots, and oppressors, when the accounts are settled; or, to use the language of scripture, when they are weighed in the balance, for they, doubtless, will be found wanting! The most populous and famous nations of antiquity have been called to a reckoning; and the most haughty kingdoms have sunk to ruin,

« PreviousContinue »