« ForrigeFortsett »
more than compensated by what they gained in the other. Let the West India planters reflect. And let those who have to legislate for the West India planters reflect. They will find that the parallel between the two cases is exact.
It will be the mark of a little and trilling mind, or of a man that wishes to chicane away the truth, if any one seeks to erect into a great matter the difficulties of detail, without appreciating the merits of the great question itself. If the great question itself be decided in favour of the Africans; if it be certain that the labour of the islands may be performed as well as in the state of compulsion, and better than in the state of compulsion, by allowing the labourers, as pay, and for their maintenance, a portion of the produce which they raise, no difficulties of detail ought to be allowed to stand in the way of the great boon to humanity for which every laudable principle of the human breast is an advocate. Surely the only object of consideration of which it should be lawful to think, is, By what plan of proceeding can these same difficulties be the most happily surmounted, and the inconveniences reduced to their lowest amount?
But we must leave this subject, for the present, interesting as it is; and it is by far the most interesting which has ever yet been brought into the field of discussion, since that blot upon humanity, West India Slavery, first happily attracted the attention of the Philanthropists of England. We have no fear, we can have no fear, that it will be allowed to drop. As far as we ourselves can answer, it shall not be allowed to drop. The change in contemplation is that grand hinge, upon which the passage from evil to good essentially depends. It is the only change which can materially alter the dreadful lot of humanity in the West Indies. If things are ripe for it, every year which is lost, is a year of misery and of crime, for which we are all, in our places, responsible at the bar of hunan nature, before every moral power existing in the universe. That things are ripe for it, there are proofs now presented, which we believe will never be successfully combated.
There is only one or two other topics among the multitude which receive more or less of illustration in the work of Mons. Malenfant, that we deem of sufficient importance to lengthen this article by mentioning at present. The first regards the use of the plough, in the raising of West India produce. It is well known what prodigious improvements have taken place in Great Britain by extending the use of the plough; and that in the most intelligent part of the country it is applied to almost every thing. We have long been of opinion, that, so far was there from being any impossibility in applying it to the cultivation of the sugar
cane, that it would be the greatest possible advantage. It is of vast importance to have obtained the decided authority of a man of acknowledged experience, to combat thc wretched prejudices by which the introduction of this great improvement has been hitherto successfully opposed. In reflecting, says Malenfant, upon the manner of cultivating the canes, I cannot conceive why the planters have continued their operations upon the footing of the ancient routine. It is astonishing that they should have so long adhered to an inefficient instrument like the hoe, which doubles the expense of cultivation. Doubtless the plant inserted in a furrow drawn by the plough, will grow as well as that which is put into a hole dug by the hoe, I say more; I say, that the plant which is placed in the furrow will be the most productive, because it will have more air. The number of plants will be smaller ; but they will be more large and more productive. The entire crop will be augmented, and the quality of the produce will be improved, while the expense of cultivation will be diminished a half. Some faint trials, he says, have been made; and the little success attending them has been erected into arguments for the impracticability of the improvement. But why have these experiments failed ? Because they have been badly performed :because the men who tried them had not courage and strength of mind to contend with the prejudices and bad habits of their neighbours and negroes, who are abundantly ready to join in the ridicule of all innovations. But in the American republic, he observes, a black man may be seen conducting singly a plough, with as much address as a white. And it would he
he affirms, to reconcile the negroes,and procure their zealous co-operation, not by stripes and ill usage, but by patience, slight rewards, and persuasion.
There is another point which is of so much importance, that we cannot forbear to make some mention of it before we conclude, few as are the words which we can now bestow upon it; that is, the education of the regroes. M. Malenfant combats the idea, that they ought not to be instructed in a religion which teaches that all men are children of one father, and all are equal. He even recommends the schooling of the black children; and we have no doubt whatsoever that the most salutary effects would arise from it. This subject cannot be pressed too strongly on the attention of the African Institution. We venture to assure them that it is a field of much greater value than any other the cultivation of which they can undertake; and that it is widely extended, and full of desolation, under both the African and American climes.
To the EDITOR of The PHILANTHROPIST.
SIR, My mind has lately been drawn to a consideration of the slow advances of practical Truth in the world. It is not surprising, perhaps, when the depraved state of human nature is taken into the account ; the mind, the judgement, is darkened ; the will is perverse, and the passions in general hold the reins and direct the course of mankind, as the apostle affirms, after the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now worketh in the children of disobedience. But when we consider on the other hand, that the kindness of God our Saviour has appeared, teaching us (his professed disciples) that, denying all ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ; it certainly appears extraordinary, that under such a profession, built on such principles, practical Truth should have made so small progress in the world, and that there are yet antichristian prejudices prevalent even among those whom we are nevertheless willing to believe good men ; which, when the sun of Truth shall have advanced more towards its meridian, shall be dispelled like the fleeting vapour or the morning cloud. The present state is marked by imperfection; and this is a strong and unanswerable argument to prove it.
Pure practical Truth is that perfect conformity to the moral image of the Deity, which our first parent was capacitated to render unto God in his state of innocence; and it is that perfect conformity to the same image, to which the heirs of life eternal shall fully' attain in the world of spirits ; that perfect conformity to the image of the Son of God, which is the design of God in the salvation of man, and is substantially a noble part of the salvation itself. As this salvation becomes the object of the soul, this conformity by degrees takes place, elegantly described as progressive, shining like the rising sun, more elevated, more influential to the perfect day. So is the path of the just : styled by divines, the progression of the work of sanctification. The mind which is thus affected, rests not in any set of principles or sentiments, however good; it seeks a holy result from them. Not that principles are to be thought lightly of: if properly appre
ciated, they are the bulwarks of our steadfastness, and as needful to preserve a regular godly practice, as the shell is to preserve the kernel. But without kernel, shell is worthless -- and adopted principles devoid of practice are so too: “for, as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Therefore grace, the spirit of grace, reigns in all good men, in that sufficient degree as to bring them, even at this time, so effectually out from this world, as neither to partake of her sins nor receive of her plagues. But nevertheless it must be confessed, that there still remains, to the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, great scope for higher attainments in holiness, and greater exercises in piety and devotion to God, than now appears in the world even among the best of men. And are we to believe that this low estate will always be the case ? Not if credit is due to the language of prophecy: there we are encouraged to look for a food of holy light, when the light of one day shall be as the light of seven days (concentrated), and when the reproach that now is cast on religion, and an attachment to purity, shall be rolled away.
We are taught in the Bible, that it is by the coming of the Redeemer that ungodliness is to be turned away, by the outpouring of his spirit from on high : “for then shall the wilderness become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.' And has Truth, practical Truth, made no progress? Is nothing done? This question must not be answered by stating what evils exist, but what have already given way, and in a measure submitted to Truth; and this will give the assurance of further and final victory. We might refer to the Old Testament, and produce instances from the history of the Jewish Church, under some of their godly kings, particularly Jehosaphat, Asa, and Hezekiah ; but I pass these to notice a powerful effect produced on the impure idolatry and vile mummery of the Pagan world, by the first preaching of the Gospel — Their pretended oracles struck dumb-the scope of their real or pretended incantations amazingly narrowed and put to shame. And as the belief of the Gospel made its way in the vestments of eternal Truth, men were taught to fear God and none but him; and the false claims of magicians and sorcerers, with all their deceptions, received a mortal wound. Then, indeed, the seed of the woman bruised the head of the serpent.
But passing over many instances, let us draw nearer to modern times. When, through the meridian of the reign of Antichrist, darkness had covered the earth, and gross darkness the people, then
the freedom of inquiry was bound and riveted in the iron shackles of Ignorance, riveted by the anathemas of a papal bull. Then emphatically “ Truth had fallen in the streets, and Equity could not enter in.” My soul glows with ardour to meet those worthies above, on whose conduct I look back with admiration and delight; who, bound by these fetters, yet ventured to struggle, and struggled successfully, against the powers of darkness-revered names, written in heaven! Wickliffe, Huss, Jerome, Luther, Erasmus, who dared attack the prejudices of a world, and overcame, in the divine panoply of Truth, the world they attacked. Then practical Truth obtained a glorious victory, in the emancipation of the human mind from the false dominion of the Roman Pontiff, and every other usurped dominion over the conscience; and men were taught to know their God and Saviour as the only sovereign of the heart. With mental liberty, natural liberty became better understood ; and men by degrees were brought to know the blessing of that right, which God has bestowed as an inheritance on his creatures, in common; though so often invaded by the tyrant and oppressor, and so little understood, where Ignorance and Guile have erected their ebon throne. Ages passed away, while the advantages of this victory in a very delightful degree continued its inroads on the territories of Error and Ignoranee, until their shackles are iri a great measure broken, and final victory may be anticipated over them, perhaps ere apother century has passed away. In our days the world has witnessed the hand of divine Providence raising up many advocates for the civil and religious privileges of men, so that it now ought to be ashamed of that infidel interrogatory, “ Where is the promise of his coming ?” Open your eyes, and you cannot but behold his approaching footsteps. Does not Toleration lead to the temple of Truth, and suffer men to believe, not from the impulse of the bayonet, but from research, from argument, from conviction? What is the victory of the advocates for the abolition of the accursed Slave Trade, but the victory of practical Truth over igno, rance, covetousness, cruelty, and the most detestable fraud ? Was it delayed so long because the duty was unknown, because convictions of its injustice and criine were wanting ? No such thing --it was interest and lust of gold prevailed for many a long year. The best laws of the land were misinterpreted to give it countenance, and our judges gave it their sanction; while advocate after advocate arose almost in vain, until Granville Sharp, Esq. (of revered memory) hunted the horrid system through all its vain pleas, until he obtained a decision in favour of the liberty of the Afri