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nal is erected even in the midst of a corrupted society; and the members of the most vicious order begin to bend before public opinion. The minds of men arc cleared; public character is submitted to the ordeal of shame or approbation; and that lethargy of a state which ig the sure forerunner of dissolution, is effectually prevented.' pp. 84—86.
Lord John must have been thinking of his own country only, when he penned this paragraph. There is, however, a principle of life in nations, unknown to Greece and Rome, with which the philosophic historian rarely concerns himself, which eludes his observation, and scarcely comes into his creed. That vital principle is the secret of England^ strength and greatness,—her religious faith. "God is in the midst of her: she shall not be moved."
Whatever were the secondary causes of the French Revolution, no one who believes that the affairs of nations are under the moral government of the Judge of the whole earth, can look upon that catastrophe in any other light than as a national punishment. If it was the offspring of infidelity, it was the avenger of the persecuted faith. The iniquities of the court and the nation were full, and retribution for all the innocent blood that had been shed in former reigns, was fearfully exacted from that generation. The Quarterly Reviewer would fain exculpate altogether the nobles, and clergy, and court of France from having had any share in causing the Revolution. Oh, no;—the heartless profligacy of Louis XV., the tyranny and oppression under which the nation groaned, the abominations of Popery, the hypocrisy and immorality of a corrupt priesthood, had nothing to do in causing the displeasure of Heaven or the madness of the people. No, the chief cause was the feeble character and the concessions of Louis XVI.! This is worse than absurd, because it is irreligious. It not only falsifies history, but would blot out the salutary lesson which the handwriting of God has inscribed upon its records, that Sin alone is the cause of the ruin of nations.
Our confidence that no such dire and fatal overthrow awaits Britain, mainly rests, after all, upon the animating and consolatory assurance, that, with all our national guilt, the characteristics of the times are not such as mark 'a people prepared for de'struction'. The righteous are not few; their numbers are not diminishing. The signs of the times are, in many respects, full of promise. The standard literature of p^ngland does not consist of the obscene effusions of deism. Never was .eligious knowledge so widely diffused. Compare the state of France before the Revolution with that of England now, in this one respect, and the difference is infinite. In the one country, the word of God was less read than Voltaire by the higher classes, and was a sealed book to the lower orders. In the other, the Bible is found in every cottage. Need we pursue the contrast? The truth is, we feel in danger of glorying in our country, as we dwell upon all that distinguishes it from all the nations of the earth. But we check ourselves. "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory."
Art. II. Christianity and Slavery; in a Course of Lectures preached at the Cathedral and Parish Church of St. Michael, Barbados. By Edward Eliot, B.D., Archdeacon of Barbados, and late Fellow and Tutor of Exeter Hall, Oxford. 12mo. pp. xx. 232. Price 4*. 6d. London, 1832.
HPHIS is in all respects an interesting, and, considering the -"• circumstances under which these Lectures were delivered, a remarkable volume. In Archdeacon Eliot, a spirit of fervent and enlightened piety is happily blended with no ordinary moral courage,and at the same time with sound discretion and conciliatory manners. His character was well known to us before; and these Lectures have but confirmed our previous estimate. Barbados has been highly favoured in having so faithful an instructor and reprover among her residents; and well would it be for that colony, if at such preaching her slave-owners could be brought to repent. In these Lectures, however, there is nothing of a declamatory, nothing of a directly criminating character: it is only indirectly that the Preacher becomes a witness, a most valuable and unimpeachable one, as to the present state of Slavery in the Colonies.
We are sometimes met by pro-slavery advocates with the remark, that there is evidence on both sides. To rebut the decisive testimony afforded by men of the highest character, such as Vice-Admiral Fleming, Mr. Jeremie, the Rev. Mr. Thorp, the Rev. Mr. Trew, Mr. Whiteley, the Baptist and Wesleyan. Missionaries, and others,—we have the strong affirmations of Sir Michael Clare, who had never heard of the whip being used to stimulate labour, or of any waste of life by over-working; —of Mr. Baillie, who professed equal ignorance about the cart-whip, and yet declared that the negro, unless compelled, would not work, and who did not consider that any licentious intercourse prevailed among the slaves;—of Major General Sir John Keane, who, during the eight years he was in Jamaica, never heard of a complaint or a cause of complaint, who affirms that no cruel proprietor or manager would be tolerated in Jamaica, and describes tbe negroes as always singing, and most happy at the heaviest work*;—of Admiral Barrington, who, in I'JdO, thought that the slaves seemed so happy, that ' he had wished him-self a negro ^
* Report of Lords'Committee, pp. 279—287; 41—45; 17&—172. —and of Governor Payne (afterwards Lord Lavington), and Governor Parry, who respectively affirmed, that the common labour of the negro would be play to any peasant in this country 1 * Here is counter-evidence with a vengeance, such as, were it not, fortunately, so self-contradictory as to carry its own refutation, would render it difficult to determine what we are to believe. But although this difficulty is obviated, there is another embarrassing question arising out of this opposite evidence. How, without charging flat perjury on the pro-slavery witnesses, shall we account for their very different use of their senses of seeing and hearing, to say nothing of their moral perceptions? The following remarks may serve, perhaps, as a partial explanation of the phenomenon.
'The evils of slavery are strikingly perceptible to the European on his Jirst arrival. I have often remarked, that a protracted residence Las the effect either of confirming unalterably his first impressions, or of almost entirely removing them. There is rarely a middle state. Most generally, the feelings of dissatisfaction cease, when the mind is familiarized to the objects mhich at Jirst shocked it. If, then, such be the effect frequently produced on the disinterested spectator, we ought not to wonder that the proprietor, who regards his all at stake in the continuance of the present system, and whose associations in its favour have grown with his growth, should be adverse to a change. I believe experience has proved, that in no part of England, and among no class of its inhabitants, are unreasonable prejudices so prevalent, and so difficult to be subdued, as in our agricultural districts, and among the people who are directly interested in the productive cultivation of the soil.' Preface, pp. ix, x.
We are willing that the more respectable among the apologists for slavery should have the full benefit of this charitable way of accounting for their unhappy prejudices; but the fact referred to may serve to put the reader on his guard against the deceptive statements of those individuals in whom familiarity with all that is disgusting and cruel in the system, has deadened the feelings of dissatisfaction, if not obliterated all sense of its enormity.
Archdeacon Eliot has happily preserved the integrity of his feelings, and, if not the vividness, the correctness of his first impressions. At the same time, it is evidently his wish as much as possible to avoid giving offence to the parties to whom these Lectures are addressed. They were originally preached, with the exception of the last, before large congregations of the white inhabitants of Barbados; and are now published, 'with a view to 'disseminate more widely the suggestions they contain, as well to
* Cited in Stephen's Slavery of the West India Colonies Delineated. Vol. II.
'non-resident proprietors in England, as to their agents and sub'ordinate officers on estates in these colonies.' The subjects of the Lectures arc: I. The Duty of preaching the Gospel to the Slaves in the West Indies. Mark xvi. 15.—II. The Progress of the Gospel in the West Indies. 2 Thess. iii. 1.—III. The Observance of the Lord's Day in the West Indies. Mark xi. 2"J.— IV. Causes of the Infrequency of Marriage among the Slaves. Heb. xiii. 4.—V. Giving unto Servants that which is just and equal. Col. iv. 1.—VI. Souls not Saleable. Mark viii. 37
In the first lecture, Mr. Eliot takes a brief review of the progress of Christianity in the colonies, or rather of the systematic attempts of the colonists, from the very earliest period, to exclude the Gospel, so far as regards the African population. Prohibitory laws, some possessing the 'harshest features of per'secution % were enacted to prevent the pious endeavours made, in the first instance, by the Society of Friends, to Christianize the imported Africans. 'Theirs is the praise of having first 'attempted, amidst obloquy and suffering, to preach the Gospel 'in Barbados to the heathen African slave.' Nearly about the same time, a clergyman of the Church of England, Rev. Morgan Godwyn, student of Christ Church, arrived in this colony, 'and 'earnestly endeavoured to obtain the acknowledgement, that the 'African was one of the human species, and therefore, as de'scended from Adam, entitled to be admitted into the blessings 'of the Gospel covenant which was ratified by the blood of the 'Second Adam, the Lord from heaven.
'His efforts were openly opposed by the lay proprietors in Barbados; nor have we reason to believe that he received much active cooperation from his brethren in the ministry. His individual and unaided exertions were consequently almost entirely fruitless; and he has recorded his failure in a work which may still be read with a melancholy interest.' p. 13.
In a note, Mr. Eliot cites from a contemporary French writer, Labat, a corroboration of the account given by Morgan Godwyn, of the neglected state of the English slaves about this period; which shews that even Roman Catholics will rise up in the judgement against British, Protestant slave-owners.
'" The English take little care of their negroes . . . Their ministers neither instruct nor baptize them. They look upon them almost as cattle, to whom every thing is allowed, provided that they punctually discharge their task. They suffer them to have several wives, and to leave them at pleasure: provided that they have many children, work hard, and are never ill, their masters are satisfied, and ask nothing further."
'Labat proceeds to inform us, that insurrections were very common at this time in the English islands, notwithstanding the insurgent slaves were always punished with the utmost severity. There was no disposition to deal mercifully with them. "Those who are taken and led to prison, arc condemned to be crushed in the mill, burned alive. or exposed iu iron cages which confine them so that they are unable to move, and in this state, they arc hung to a branch of a tree, where they are left to perish with hunger and rage. They call this putting a man out to dry (mellre tin homme au sec)." The French colonies were much less liable to these insurrectionary movements; and one reason assigned by Labat is, ///• • attention which mas paid by the French proprietors of that day to the moral and religious improvement of their slaves . . . After relating that the French slaves of St. Christopher'* fled to the mountains, when the English seized on the island, and afterwards, as opportunities offered, voluntarily returned to their former musters, he adds:—" These instances of fidelity can be attributed only to the instruction in the faith which these pour people bad received from their masters, and to the fear they had of losing it, in living under masters who gave themselves so little trouble about the salvation of their servants."' pp. 189—191.
It would seem that both the English and the Dutch, either from a 'mistaken interpretation of the laws relating to colonial 'slavery ', or more probably from motives of Christian delicacy, and a regard to the honour of Jesus Christ, opposed making their slaves Christians, because they could not hold Christians as slaves! The Mohammedan chieftains of Central Africa are actuated by a similar delicacy in confining their graxzies, or glaring incursions, to the pagan tribes; since, as Major Denham tells us, they may not make slaves of the Moslem. 'Not a few Christian 'masters', says Archbishop Seeker, in a sermon preached before the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 'have openly 'opposed the instruction of their slaves, from an imagination, now 'indeed proved and acknowledged to be groundless, that baptism 'would entitle them to freedom; and some, it may be feared, have 'been averse to their becoming Christians, because, after that, 'no pretence will remain for not teaching them like men.' Dr. Collins of St. Vincent's, a sensible and benevolent planter, hinu at another reason. There were some, in his day, who ridiculed attempts to impress the slaves with religious ideas, 'not wishing 'their negroes to be better Christians than themselves!' Those times, however, Mr. Eliot says, are happily passed;—not altogether indeed, whatever may be the case in Barbados;—but there,
'The assertion is no longer openly made, that the African is degraded below the level of hnman nature, and is therefore neither qualified nor designed for the enjoyment of the blessings of the Gospel. The advocates for his admission to the Church are no longer withstood on the ground that he is not of the same descent with the European; nor are arguments now brought forward to invalidate the declaration of St. Paul, that "God hath made of one blood all nations of men for