Obrazy na stronie

not gives of Milton: 'It is well known that Milton was an ardent enemy of kings: he composed many works, in which his republican principles are unfolded with much energy, and sometimes with a species of frenzy. One of the most remarkable, is his treatise on the right of kings and magistrates. He there maintains, that a tyrant on the throne is accountable to his subjects; that a process may be raised against him; that he may be deposed, and put to death. Milton has composed a treatise on the true religion, on heresy, on schism, on toleration, and on the best means which can be employed to prevent the propagation of popery. In this work, the author shews much animosity against the Catholic religion, which he calls a tyranrical faction, that seeks to oppress all others. He inculcates a toleration which is quite singular; he excludes from salvation no Christian society, except the Roman Catholics: he doubt less wished to make a parody of the axiom, "No salvation out of the church." We must not wonder at the erroneous principles of this fiery republican on the subject of religion, ince he was of all sects, and ended with being of none. In his epic poem, he speaks of Jesus Christ like a real Arian.' (To be continued.)

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pier regions; and Africa enjoy at last, in the evening of her days, "the benefits of knowledge, and the blessings of religion." How those benefits and blessings may most certainly and most quickly be communicated, is a problem which well deserves the attention of the greatest masters of political science. A profound knowledge of general principles, as well as an intimate acquaintance with details, are undoubtedly required for its solution. A large investigation of the question is not intended; but a few cursory, and rather obvious remarks on this subject, cannot be uninteresting. The following speculations, however, must be understood only as hints for a general "projet," without insinuating any minute enquiries into the practical difficulties which may oppose its execution. The first advance to excellence is to conceive greatly, and tho' it may prove impossible to effect all that seems desirable, still it is of great importance to establish a standard, to know what we pursue, and when we deviate.


The Act lately passed in this country will, at least during the war (if the cession of Biassao can be obtained from the Portugueze, and that nation can be induced to confine its Slave Trade within the line of its present operation) liberate a range of country from the ravages of the Slave Trade, extending from Cape Verd, in latitude 15 North, to Congo, in latitude 6 South. This is the field in which our beneficence may profitably display itself, for to this vast territory we have sufficient access. It is filled, to the distance of 100 or 150 miles into the interior, with a great number of petty principalities, under the government of their several chieftains, who may, for the most part, be consi dered

* Biassao is a small island at the mouth of the Rio Grande, and is the

only settlement possessed by the Portu gueze on the Windward coast of Africa,

dered as absolute. Many of these little states are independent. of each other; while some are bound together by a loose federal union under a nominal head; a powerful vassal, however, paying little attention to the sovereignty of his liege lord. They can hardly be said to be controuled by any system of international law, or general policy; nor are they subjected to the jurisdiction of a legislative, or even of any regular judicial council. Their law is strength, and their strength men. Their territorial limits are ill defined, the rights of succession ill settled. The passions and caprices of their chiefs are unchecked by the power of privileged orders or national assemblies. The Slave Trade has nursed them for centuries in habits of violence and insecurity; and the acts of mutual aggression, which the temptations afforded by that traffic have occasioned, remain deeply imprinted on the memories both of chiefs and people-the seeds of eternal hostility thick sown in minds exasperated with the sense of injuries received and inflicted. A state of society more miserably dismembered, and in which the elements seem less capable of combination, can scarcely be imagined. Europe might be rebarbarized before Africa could civilize herself. On the other hand, the whole of this extensive track is washed by the ocean, and is therefore easily accessible from every quarter; the soil is rich, and capable of furnishing all those tropical fruits which are so largely consumed in the rich empires of Europe; and a vast multitude of rivers entering almost every part of this territory, and connecting the whole of that maritime belt now described with the sea, supply great facilities, both for the production and conveyance of those commodities which may hereafter constitute the surplus wealth of this quarter of the globe. In short, it would be difficult to determine, whether the physical advantages or moral impedi

ments to the civilization of Africa be the greater.

Happily, however, man possesses more absolute dominion over moral than over physical causes; and it remains for us to pay back to Africa some part of that enormous debt which has been accumulating against us. Great Britain possessess several establishments on the windward coast, and a considerable number of forts or factories (for in such a traffic as the Slave Trade, forts and factories are synonimous) scattered along the line of coast which lies between Cape Three Points and Benin; while no other nation at present possesses any establishment in that quarter; if we except the French fort of Senegal, at the northern extremity of the windward coast, the small Portugueze colony of Biassao, and two or three Dutch forts now wholly at our mercy. The British forts on the Gold coast are at present in the hands of the African Company, and it is needless to say to what purposes they have been hitherto applied. The expence, however, incident to these settlements, has long been defrayed out of the public purse; and the African Company, (which is a regulated body founded by the act of 1750, on the ruins of an old exclusive company,) is merely the channel through which these supplies are distributed. The first step then which seems desirable is, to obtain a surrender of all those settlements; if possible also the surrender of Biassao, to the crown of Great Britain. The second is to consolidate the whole under one government, and to constitute a presidency. Whether the great objects to be embraced in this establishment can conveniently be left to form part of the details of our colonial office, it is the province of others to decide. This system of consolidation is requisite in the present case for the same reasons which render it generally desirable. Unity and consistency of design cannot otherwise be secured, and these are


necessary upon a principle of econoiny, to prevent a great waste of time, stock, and labour."

The next question which presents itself is much more intricate and extended. What are the means to be adopted for reclaiming Africa from her present unsocial state, and preventing or diminishing the evils which must spring from a constitution of things, such as has been above described? The first and most obvious measure is, by all possible means to encourage internal industry; and, happily, there are circumstances which, even in that ill-settled state of society, seem favourable to the attempt. The African chieftains are in a great degree absolute; and they are so numerous, that they bear perhaps nearly the same proportion to the general population, as the higher classes in Great Britain to the mass of the nation. A large part of their dependents are in a state of servitude; that is, tho' possessed by the customs of Africa of may civil rights, their labour to a certain extent is the property of their masters. Hitherto this labour has been of little value. Every chieftain was a Slave-factor, and men being the anly export article, his subjects were valuable to him only as they furnished the means of panyaring his neigh. bours, or were themselves, in default of other resources, objects of legal conviction for witchcraft, which made not only the convict but his family liable to sale. These chiefs, however, retain a strong taste for the various articles of merchandize which they have been accustomed to purchase from Europeans, and will doubtless be willing to continue the commerce in those articles. This the labour of their vassals may enable them to effect. Let every encouragement then be given by this country to the raisag of those articles in Africa, which will find a demand in our markets. For this purpose instruction must be ghly useful, and to promote the August 1808.

same end there can be no objection to such custom-house regulations in the way of bounties, drawbacks, &c. as may serve to stimulate exertion in Africa. Africa. The disadvantages under which their competition with other tropical countries is commenced, may render such measures necessary; and Great Britain ought not to regret some expence, where blessings so great may be bestowed, where injuries so aggra vated are to be recompenced.

2. The export wealth of Africa it is evident must be chiefly agricultural. Her soil and climate are fitted for the culture of fruits which no art can raise cheaply in our northern latitudes, and with these she may be able to supply us; while in manufactured articles, our advantages of capital and skilled industry are so enormous, as to render her rivalry hopeless. At the same time it is of first-rate importance, that encouragement should be given to her manufactories for home consumption. The Africans may go on purchasing daily by their field industry more and more European luxuries, yet remain nearly as barbarous and as ignorant as ever; but if they can be taught to desire decent apparel, and comfortable habitations, innumerable blessings will spring up from these humble shoots. Habits of domestic virtue, order, and happiness, habits of self-estimation, a sense of character and propriety, a desire of knowledge, prospective industry, and all the lovely family of social charities which peace and contentment engender, will gradually be diffused. To this end it seems very desirable that they should be instructed without delay in some of the most useful arts and simplest machinery known among us. Much may be done in this department by the aid of schools; but perhaps still more may be effected by the activity of British settlers. Example works more rapidly than precept on all who are quick to perceive, but slow to reason; and such are children and uncultivated na


tions. An African will discern characters as acutely as an Englishman, while much labour is required to make him comprehend a logical proposition: at least it is easy to supply them with specimens of the most useful mechanical contrivances.

3. One of the first steps towards the civilization of a rude people is to provide for general security; and in the state of society at present subsisting in Africa, such provision is indispensable. It is difficult to speculate at a distance on the best means of effecting this object; yet it is to be hoped that it may be possible gradually to establish, in different quarters, some description of federal court or council, whose jurisdiction may extend to the adjustment of all national rights and differences. Such institutions have, under various shapes, existed in most countries, where a number of small principalities, either rightfully or prac tically independent, have been crowded together. Such was the great council of the Amphyctions among the Greeks; such probably in their original constitutions were the Cortes of Spain, the assemblies of the states, held annually under the earlier monarchs in France, and the Parliament of England: such, in former ages, was the secret tribunal of Germany, and the Imperial Chamber in later days. Among many of the negro chiefs, as has been already said, an imperfect federal union subsists; a nominal sovereign is recognized, and palavers are held, in which complaints are presented and redressed. Here then are at least the elements of such establishments as are recommended. Their natures, forms, and the limits of their several jurisdictions, it would be idle to sketch in theory. Practical institutions must be governed by existing circumstances. But the benefits which would flow from the recognition of such judicatories are obvious, nor does there appear sufficient reason to suppose our influence in

adequate to effecting their foundation.

4. The propriety of establishing schools and other seminaries of instruction as extensively as possible, will not be disputed. This measure, therefore, may be assumed to be necessary, and its details are too numerous for this paper. It may be observed, however, that the success of our schemes will naturally depend on the conduct of these little nurseries of knowledge; for the young are much better subjects for civilization than the old, and with due care the next generation may be as far removed above the present in general improvement, as they will themselves probably still remain below their European instructors. The Mahometans owe the ascendency which they have acquired, and are daily acquiring, over the native princes of Africa, principally to their exertions in this line.-Shall Christians be less active?

There yet remains one great question to be examined *. Shall Great Britain rigidly confine herself to the factories now in her possession, and act on the surrounding principalities only by influence; or shall she accept the submission of such neighbouring states as may be willing to adopt her patronage? The advantages and disadvantages of either alternative are so numerous, that merely a sketch of the general arguments can be given, without attempting a decision. Two things, however, must be premised:


Some other measures worthy of consideration are here omitted: one of these is, "commercial residents," and (if they may be so termed)" secular missionaries."

The obligation of extending Christianity in Africa, and the beneficial effects are likewise omitted in this discussion, likely to be produced by its extension, as they are points which do not come immediately under the Society's consideration.

first, that nothing like a project of encroachment can for a moment be listened to; and, secondly, that the question ought to be considered as referring principally to the benefit of Africa

Considering the present state of Africa, and the authority of Europeans in that quarter, it is probable that a considerable number of the little states in the neighbourhood of our factories would willingly place themselves under our protection. At Sherbro', the sovereignty of the King of Great Britain is at this moment recognized, and the administration of justice among the natives has long been possessed by the governors of our castles on the Gold Coast. The facilities which the adoption of that system would furnish are obvious and important. All the institutions above noticed as necessary for the civilization of Africa would then become, in a great degree, matters of mere regulation. Our customs, manners, and opinions, would spread rapidly, from the power of example, which always acts downwards with the greatest force. The pure administration of justice would secure private property, and national rights be protected, without an appeal to arms, by the authority of British arbitration. But the greatest advantage, and that alone which renders the question in any degree disputable, is this: the extension of our territorial rights might prevent the future revival of the Slave Trade, by rendering such an attempt on the part of France or Holland impossible, witht trenching on our authority, and furnishing thereby grounds of war. There undoubtedly is reason to fear, lest this odious traffic should, at the conclusion of the present war, once more ravage this devoted continent, if ot then found reposing under the shade and shelter of the British empire. On the other hand, the attendant evils are of no common magniade. Supposing even (what we must

be very sanguine to expect) that, in the assumption of sovereignty over the native princes, Great Britain should always act with scrupulous equity, merely accepting, and never exacting, still the inconveniences must be great. Those princes, though willing to recognize our national controul, will certainly not be willing to relinquish the internal authority which they now possess within their respective dominions, and the evils flowing from such a constitution of things are very great, though not very obvious. The existence too of a disposition in the British government, so liable to misconception, will probably give birth to ap prehensions and jealousies, which, if we would benefit Africa, it is our duty by all possible methods to allay; nor would a satisfactory reply be easily found, should it hereafter be said that the princes of Africa had beeri robbed of their independence, and the people of their liberty, while too ignorant to understand the value of the privileges they surrendered. But the most alarming evil incident to such a system is, that it holds out a lure to injustice, too strong perhaps for the political virtue of any nation; and when the vast strides which our ambition has made in the East, under the plausible pretexts of consulting at once the happiness of the native principalities, and the safety of our own establishments, are considered, a fear may well be entertained lest the existence of similar temptations in another continent should lead to similar enormities. At the same time, it is fair to state the reasons which make it probable, that, even under circumstances in some respects similar, Africa would not witness a repetition of those crimes which have disgraced us during two centuries in the East. That continent is much nearer to the mother country, and the transactions of our government there being in consequence more immediately under inspection, its members will feel a stronger dread of res


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