Page images

they would repose under the soft shade of the plantain, equally regardless of the riches of commerce and the honours of industry. The yam, the plantain, and the pepper-pot, the barrier, the merry dance, and their beloved Wowski, would gratify all their wishes, and crown their highest ambition.

However simple the question of emancipation may appear, to those who reason only from an abstract principle regarding humanity and the natural rights of man, it is a subject of no less intri cacy than importance. Although urgent and imperative, still it needs much and serious consideration, and cannot be acted upon without the utmost caution. To judge of it properly, requires an extensive knowledge of the interests of the Colonists, an intimate acquaintance with the character and disposition of the slaves, and much information with regard to the relative policy between this country and the settlements. By hasty or inconsiderate measures a serious wound might be given to the sacred principles of humanity and justice, and infinitely more mischief than advantage would be the result.

It is possible that, by proceeding with great care and discretion, the loud calls of humanity may be obeyed, and the emancipation effected to the great benefit of the slaves, and without serious injury to their masters: but to force upon the blacks and their descendants, at all hazards, a freedom, which they know not how to value or to use, would be cruel and fatal.

It should be held, always, in remembrance, that, in a mental point of view, the slaves are but as children, having their untutored minds in a more abject state of imbecility, than the lowest of the poor in the meanest state of Europe. Much has been done, during many years past, to meliorate their condition; but, in order to make it consistent with the policy of the parent-country, the safety of the West India proprietors, or the benefit of the Negro race themselves, to abolish slavery altogether, this beneficent and glorious achievement must be accomplished by a steady perseverance in the use of slow and gradual means.

A general system of education and moral improvement should be established among the slaves; a due sense of their religious duties should be inculcated i and they should be taught to estimate the high value of freedom, and social intercourse: private punishments should be prohibited; all invidious distinctions between the different colours done away; and every man, of whatever hue,,should be made subject to the same

laws, and the same rules of government. The degrading ignorance, the sullen perverseness, and revengeful feelings of the slaves should be softened by liberal instruction; they should be gradually associated, and brought to a level with those who are better informed, and more conversant with the arts of industry and they should be taught to understand the advantages which would arise from continuing the cultivation and commerce of the Colonies. A general change in their minds and habits, must be either in progress, or effected, before it can be safe or useful to grant them so great a. boon; or, rather, to restore to them so manifest a right.

Perhaps the best preparatory step would be, to bring a considerable proportion of the people of colour, between the Whites and the Negroes, to England to be educated, together with such of the Blacks themselves, as might display any peculiar marks of intellect; allowing them to return as free subjects, possessing all tbe privileges of citizens; and, in addition to these, annually to enfranchise a certain number of the bestdisposed slaves, until the whole should be free; taking care, always to preserve a due proportion between the number educated, and the number emancipated, and to make their liberation a reward to superior merit.

In this manner, the individuals of all shades, and all degrees, might be brought to mix together as people of the same state, subject to the same laws, following the same pursuits, and feeling the same interests and propensities. The coloured inhabitants would be made fellow-citizens with the whites, and they would aspire to be—Englishmen • Among them would be found merchants and planters, as well as tradesmen, mechanics, and labourers: all hurtful jealousies would be done away, and the Africans and their offspring having acquired a knowledge of the benefits to be derived from industry, and the accumulation of property, the cultivation of the Colonies would be continued, and the commercial influence preserved to the mother-country.

To attempt to enumerate the manifold advantages which would result from such a system of enfranchisement, would be to enter too much into detail. Among the most important of them would be that of preventing the sad waste of human life, and of treasure, which is at present incurred, by the necessity of sending out utiacclimated Europeans to garrison the Colonies, and to execute the offices of managers, clerks, book-keepers, and the like. These

would would not, as at present, be indispensably required. The danger of revolt and insurrection would no longer exist; and the people of colour being capable of performing all the duties of the plantation and the counting-house, they would sow become possessed of stores and estates; and the garrisons might be safely intrusted to them, as the best defenders of their own property.

England having set a generous and splendid example, in being the first to forego the unhallowed protits of a cruel and impious traffic in human beings, might it not be an object worthy the magnanimity of the Prince Regent of this Nation, to carry the august work of humanity to its consummation, by establishing an institution, for the emancipation of the slaves, and for their education and improvement after they became free.'

If a school were endowed, somewhat upon the plan of Christ's Hospital, or the Royal Military Asylum, and appropriated to the education of the Creole children of colour, it would immortalize the name, and prove a lasting monument of the wisdom and benevolence of the Prince who should have the happiness of being its founder. Such an institution might stamp the Regent's government, which has been already distinguished by such auspicious events, with unpa^ ralleled glory. It would mark the periud as an era of humanity, and His Royal Highness could not fail to experience the grateful reward of feeling, that his name would be uttered with prayers and blessings, not only by hundreds of thousands of fellow-beings now existing, but by millions yet unborn!

The Slave Tradesince the Treaty for its general Abolition.—No. 1.

THji Treaty of Peace with France in 1815, which permitted the subjects of France to continue the Slave Trade for live years, was, practically speaking, creating it anew; for it may confidently be asserted that, at the time of signing that Treaty, there was not a single French vessel eagageid, nor one livre of French capital invested in that trade; more than SOU petitions to Parliament, signed by nearly a million of individuals, were presented against the revival of the French Slave Trade t aud Mr. Wilberforce carried the unanimous Resolution of the Commons to the Throne, for the best exertions of the Country at the Congress of Vienna, to obtain the objects of its emancipation; and a similar Resolution of the Lords, by

the Marquis of Lansdownr, accompanied this just appeal. The Duke of Wellington was induced to exert his influence in the same cause during his residence at Paris. The Prince Regent also wrote to the King of France to the same effect, in which he concluded thus: "I own it would afford me the highest of all possible gratifications, were we enabled together to efface this painful and disgusting stain, not only from the practice of our own, but of all (lie other States, with whom we are in friendly relations."

Louis answered in such a manner at" maintained the time mentioned in the Treaty, but proposed some restrictions in the interval. England then offered an Island in the West Indies, or a sum of money, as the price of immediate abolition; but this offer was rejected! In a short time afterwards France agreed to it as far as to prohibit the trade to the North of Cape Formosa, situated about the 4th degree of North Latitude. At the Congress of Vienna the same was renewed, and acceded to by all the Eight Powers, except Spain and Portugal, which afterwards joined in a general declaration for universal abolition; but the term was not abridged. They published a joint declaration on the 8th Feb. 1815, denouncing this traffic, "which has so long desolated Africa, degraded Europe, and afflicted Humanity." Portugal afterwards acceded to this, to the Northward of the Equator; Spun concurred, with exception of supplying its own Islands, aud to the 10th degree of North Latitude, for a period of eight years. This was objected to by England, as tending to frustrate all her efforts.

Napoleon, upon his re-possession of the throne of France, published his decree of abolition on pain of confiscation of vessel and cargo, giving liberty of sale in the Colonies to those who had previously lifted out vessels. Holland decreed the abolition on the 14th June 1814, Denmark and Sweden on the 14th Jan. 1814, and America ou the 24th Dec. 1814. The Officers of the Navy exerted themselves every where to effect this great object, agreeably to their respective instructions; and if they sustained any losses, they are justly entitled to a fair remuneration. But, notwithstanding these accession's ou the part of France, this trade was


occasioned it, and the immediate consequences thereby induced to afterages, has hardly it, parallel in the modern ur ancient history of mankind. The accounts given by Moses are now the only documents of known authenticity, or from which any certain inferences can be drawn. From these

carried on very extendi vely in the East, in the Isles of France and Bourbon.

By the English laws, any British subject, guilty of this trade in any part of therglobe, may be brought to trial as a felon before any competent court, _ All these regulations originate various plans for ameliorating the con- we have traditions that a city and dition of slaves already in the Co- tower of extraordinary dimensions lonies; and of\e very important part were contrived, and partly completed of these measures, has been the intro- by the sons of Noah after the flood, duction of the Bill by Mr. Wilberforce thedeath of that second Adam, for the Registry of Slaves, which would had abandoned the mountain Ararat', effectually check their being smug- and tire adjoining country, in quest of gled. It has been much misrepresented, regions more novel, or countries more and therefore misconceived in the fertile. Having arrived at the plain Islands, and some insurrections have of Shinaar, they determined upon the been falsely ascribed to the reports-ef erection of a city and tower, whose the effect of this Bill. The capacity top, while it approached the heavens,

of native Africans for all the comforts and civilizations of life, and all the manual improvements of art, are fully proved by those who have been relieved from their chains on board slave-ships captured and carried into Sierra Leone, where, from the lowest extremity of wretchedness and misery, they have, in a few months, become conversant with the means of tillage, masonry, shingle making, sawing, building, and the cultivation of land; and to these have been happily subjoined the sale of vegetables at the raarkeUof Freetown,and regular marriage for life. They appear to be as happy, and are as comfortably situated, and are as likely to rise in life Colony, as any class of persons in it. This colony, in 1814, consisted of nearly 6000 souls, amongst whom education on the general system, and vaccination, have happily diffused their mutual blessings; and to these a coin of copper has been added from England. Yours, &c, A. H.

(To be continued.)

Observations relating to the
Tower Of Babel, Sfc.

* Princes Street, Mr. Urban, Cavendish Square.

THE separation of the first families of the world, and their division into the different nations, which, by a gradual increase in population, have, Si the course of years, overspread the surface of the earth, if it be not uni versally acknowledged, is generally attributed to the confusion of tongues at the building of the Tower of Babel 5 an event, for the singular cause that

might serve as a land-mark or signal to their families,—as a preservative against their dispersion,— ,nd not as a monument that was to perpetuate their name to posterity. But to throw a proper light upon this subject, or indeed upon any not easily demonstrated, facts must he quoted and opinions recited. The introduction, therefore, in this place, of portions of the scriptural writings cannot be avoided, especially as they form the most sublime specimens of historical composition. Here we read "that one man s.'<id to another, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower," &c. &c. "lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth." This passage has been variously but ambiguously translated into different languages* The Greek and Latin make it "let us acquire a name before we be scattered," &c.; so that, had this translation been literally true, mankind must have known and calculated upon their future dispersion over the globe. Now the Hebrew, in conjunction with the Arabic, have made it simply "lest we be scattered, he." with a total omission of the word "before." Jackson, on Chronological Antiquities, (to whose book I am partly indebted for the above,) maintains that the word 'name' has been misinterpreted—that

* Ararat, a mountain in the province of Armenia, where the ark first rested after the deluge. A learned writer, Bryant, on Ancient Mythology, has asserted "that Armenia was thus designated from Atr-mtn ur Har-inen ; ;and that Ararat is a compound of Ararat, signifying the mountain of descent." „. it probably expressed nothing more than "signal." The analogy, too, between the meaning of each word becomes obvious to our sense* from the utility of a lofty tower to men, who were necessitated by their avocations to journey far from the city in the extensive flat th it bounded all its sides. Whatever was their intention in building it, or for what purposes it was used, is immaterial, since God, who plainly saw that the population of the earth must have been much retarded by the undertaking, cut short their labours, which they endeavoured to facilitate by employing bricks and bitumen*, instead of mortar and stone, by confounding the common language of the builders, and rendering them unintelligible to each other. Though the natural lie that had hitherto united n ankind into one body, was thus dissolved, and their general dispersion shortly ensued, yet it is not unlikely that the city and tower now called liabcli still survived the shock of God's displeasure, and became peopled by one particular family from the aggregate number of those who were its builders or projectors. For it is related that Nimrod, the most famous hunter of his day, and the first king of the sons of Noah alter the flood, united under his sway the four kingdoms of Babel, E/rech,Acced, and Calnth. Both from the similarity which the name of Babel bears to that of Babylon, and other coincidences in favour of this hypothesis, it is not perhaps erroneously imagined that Babylon, changed only in name, in magnitude, aud opulence, was no other than the identical city of Babel, that gave rise to that wonderful event, the dispersion, by which the whole aspect of human nature became in a measure perverted, and even at this distant period is presented to our notice as one ol the most great and awful phenomena of ancient times. In this city, once so celebrated for the magni

ficence of its buildings, and the wealth of' its kings, yet justly censured by God and man for tlie iniquiious slate of its inhabitants, formerly stood the temple of liclus, "a solid lower built of brick and bitumen, and considered as the same with that of Babel. It consisted of eight square towers with winding stairs on the outside, that gave it the appearance of a square pyramid +." In this temple the idolatrous sons of men offered up daily adoration to their favourite god Belus, better known in Scripture by the appellation of Baal. Herealsoa pure virgin, selected from among (lie most modest ol Babylonian women, was sacrificed every night to the lascivious desires of abominable priests, under a pretext, on their part, and a belief on that of the victim, that the god himself honoured her with his em- braces. The name of Belus seems to have been derived from the sun, which, in the Assyrian la gunge, signifies Bel. By some he is accounted the son of the Osiris of the Egyptians. But the most probable supposition is, that he was the Son of Nimrod, and succeeded that monarch on the throne of Babylon. Astronomy is said to have been invented by this personage; but the Cbaldees have long been esteemed as the most early cultivators of that art. The ignorance of the present age with respect to the identical site or situation of Babylon, is the more remarkable, if we reflect upon its former greatness and extent. All vestiges of this vast metropolis of the ancient world are now involved in as great obscurity as the gloom pervading the desert, which is said to have sustained both the weight of its vices and its walls. "The greatness of this place," says Lempriere, "was so reduced in succeeding ages, that in the time of Pliny, it was almost a doselate wilderness, and at present the place where it stood is unknown to travellers. The following prophecjf of Isaiah has therefore been wonderfully fulfilled ; Isaiah xiii. v. 19.


J. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall he as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

2. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there, neither shall the shepherds make their folds there.

3. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

4. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant places, and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged."

Thus was Babylon, the most renowned and opulent city of ancient times, destroyed at once "from off the face of the Earth," so that not one glimpse of its former greatness remains, but what history has recorded ; nor one ruin to point out that it ever held a place in the vocabulary of cities. Together with it, no doubt, have been lost to futurity, documents which might possibly have illustrated the complex accounts relating to the tower of Babel and concomitant city. There is, however, a general concurrence of opinion among men, that the languages of the earth, as now spoken, were derived from one matrix; and the uarrative of Moses, Genesis xi. v. 4. where every region is said to have been "of one lip or mode of speech," is an obvious confirmation that supposes it. This, in addition to the present wellknown fact, that various languages, bearing an affinity to each other, either in pronunciation, derivation, or expression, are spoken among many races of mankind; and that new languages, evidently modelled out of the old. ones, are continually arising, and superseding the most ancient, is another coincidence plainly evincing that all languages must have sprung from some source primitive in itself, and common at one period to all the world. Yet bishop Newton has expressed himself of a contrary opinion, by asserting *• that if every language was derived from one and the same source, the old names, or something like.them, would certainly have been retained, whereas the total difference, even of the most comsnon. thiugs,

shews that different languages must have sprung from different sources. "Bread," he continues, "is lechevi in Hebrew, artos in'Gieek, panis ill Latin, and burn in Welsh."' But Mr. Kilt, author of a well-written book intituled "Elements of General Knowledge, &c." has-demonstrated, by numerous examples, that in all languages something exists delineating their ancient alliance, and depicting their present similarity to each other. I deduce one exam pie from many; and as the opinions of both writers may be thought equally plausible, the decision of the reader himself may possibly furnish the most satisfactory' conclusion. According to the latter ol these two authors, the word sack has undergone little variation in speech. It is sk in Hebrew, saccos Greek, sacevs Latin, sack Teutonic, Gaelic, and Welsh, sacco Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese, and sac Frcuch.

To the confusion at the Tower of Babel we are certainly indebted for those languages now subsisting among* .mankind; and though the opinion of divines may be accounted futile, who have imagined that a great number of languages, radically different, owed a miraculous origin to that event, yet it is more than probable I hat, as one mode of speech was common to all in the earliest epochs, the same language has been gradually converted, by the lapse of years, the vicissitudes of ages, together with the varying customs of succeeding generations, into those extensive varieties every where apparent.

What was the primitive language, is neither communicated to posterity by the sacred historians, nor satisfactorily ascertained by those of afterages. But * "from treaties of war and peace between the Hebrews and other nations, all conducted in language nearly the same," it may be inferred, that the language of that people predominated among mankind for many ye .rsallrr the confusion, and might have been the original one of the new world.

As man is a social animal, fond as he is capable of joining the society of his fellow creatures with the, arts and comforts of a domestic life, God of his infinite wisdom soon discovered an

* Bryant's Analysis of Ancient My-' thology.


« PreviousContinue »