« PreviousContinue »
WITH great deference does the author of the following pages, submit them to the inspection of a discerning public. To novelty of sentiment, or refinement of composition, he does not pretend. From a slave-trader or a West-Indiaplanter, neither the one nor the other will be expected. If his labour of love obtain the approbation of the genuine friends of religion and humanity, he is willing to allow logicious cavillers and snarling critics to say what they please. If it contribute, in any degree, to the promotion of the good cause in which he has embarked, his end is gained; he is amply rewarded. The importance of the cause, and the rectitude of his intentions, he reckons sufficient to fortify him against every kind and every degree of bad treatment to which he can be exposed.
The author judges it necessary to apprize his readers, that this small performance is ultimately intended to pave the way for the publication of a poem on slavery; a work of considerable magnitude, in which he has been employed for some years. To enable him to publish this poem, in
a manner corresponding to the merits of the
subject, and the labour with which he has prepared it for the press, he is obliged, in this manner, to bespeak the attention, and solicit the aid of a generous public. Subscription papers will speedily be issued; and, as soon as a number of subscribers sufficient to defray the expense shall be obtained, the work will be put to press. Of the ready co-operation and liberal support of the friends of bleeding humanity, he is certain.
Confidently relying for encouragement on the humane and philanthropic citizens of America, especially from a particular sect of people, whose liberality of sentiment displayed for a series of years in their laudable and indefatigable exertions in the vindication of the unalienable rights of men of every nation and colour, has done immortal honour to themselves and the cause which they espoused; whose relative conduct not only evinces that their hearts must be exceedingly humanized, but that they abound with a philanthropy which ennobles human nature. From these considerations, the author ventures to publish this premature performance, without soliciting patronage by subscription; and he flatters himself the merits of the cause will plead his excuse for any literary inaccuracy that may be discovered. It is his wish to represent in its proper colours the complicated
villainy of the African slave trade-to put to the blush hypocritical professors of the Christian religion, who, with impunity make daring innovations on the natural privileges and liberties of mankind: finally, he wishes to arise, and to arise with energy-and strive, though he should strive in vain, to oppose this popular corruption which has too long infected the principles of the inhabitants of Christendom, repugnant to the precepts of moral rectitude, natural reason, and evangelical religion.
To publish the poem, with all convenient speed, rompted by recent conduct of the legislature of a certan the law that prohibited the importation Dealing Criminal, shameful, disgraceful conduct. The situation of the exiled and enslaved sons of Africa, who can forbear to commiserate? He that does
not pity them, is a monster rather than a man. A man of feeling and honor he cannot be. Are human beings to be bought and sold like the brutes which perish? No. If, therefore, his performances shall contribute, in the smallest degree, to retard the progress of this most scandalous traffic, the reflection will be pleasing to the author in his latest moments.
As to the letter subjoined to the preliminary
when the author wrote and addressed it to the first consul of France, his intention was to keep it a profound secret. By some means, however, a certain person heard of it, and reported it to his friends, who conceived an unfavourable impression of it. How rare, in our times, is the charity which thinketh no evil! How painful are the wounds of a friend! For the satisfaction of those who may have imbibed and entertained mistaken notions concerning this epistle, he now publishes it. And he flatters himself that it will not be uninteresting or unprofitable to the public at large.