Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

law.

ever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” But Peter said unto him," thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought the gift of God may be purchased with money." It is true, you do not desire to purchase the power of communicatiog the Holy Spirit. Bat you do desire that the state should acquire the power of ascertaining the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. Both are the gift of God. Both are equally incapable of being either hired or purchased. Believe us, it is impossible for the law to define “ a Christian.” If then a Christian cannot be defined by statute, neither can a “ christian church," be organized or the services of a spiritual pastor be secured by

If you cannot engage pastors, neither can yon have a Christian Establishment. You never can have, you never have had such an impossibility. Start not at this assertion ! You have had, you have at this moment, establishments containing many Christians. But the machinery is not the less anti-christian. If the lapse of years should convince you that this is the case, will you not grieve that while you thought you were serving the cause of Christ the energies of your minds should have been directed to furthering the cause of antichrist ?

We intended to have included in this article a full notice of Dr. Wardlaw's admirable and truly scriptural lectures, and the able prize essay of Mr. Angus. The length to which it has already extended it. self, must plead our excuse with those honoured advocates of the church's liberties, for postponing to another occasion 'the grateful task which we had proposed to ourselves. We trust and believe that their labours will not have been in vain in the Lord. One word, however, to our friends and associates, the avowed adherents of voluntary churches. Brethren, a great responsibility is upon us. Our cause is believed by many to be the cause of irreligion, of sectarianism, or of avarice. We are supposed by many real Christians to be indifferent to the declaration of Scripture, that “righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” We are accused of condemning the establishment on account of “ the non-essentials of Christanity, the nugæ triviales, if not the nugæ difficiles of doctrine or government." (Chalmers, p. 174, concluding lecture.) We are thought to be seeking the abstraction of the wealth of this world from the Episcopal and Presbyterian churches of the empire, in order that Baptists, and Independents, and Wesleyans may obtain a share in the spoils. God is our witness that such are not the principles of those Christians who are seeking the separation of church and State. There may be demagogues, there may be men of the world, there may even be some few partially enlightened voluntary churchmen, who are influenced by one or more of these unsound motives. The honour of our Divine Master demands the public disavowal on our part of principles, which cannot be imputed to us without some reproach on Him whom we rejoice to serve. Nor is the success of our Master's cause less at stake, than our Master's honour. The coming of the kingdom of heaven depends upon “ all rule and all authority and power being put down," which in any degree trespass upon our Lord's undivided sovereignty. It is true that it is God who will “put all these enemies under his feet.” It is true that “the mystery of iniquity is to be consumed with the Spirit of the Lord's mouth, and be destroyed with the brightness

“ When my

of his coming." But it is not less true that God works by means, and that one class of means which he condescends to employ, consists in the convictions of his people as to their line of duty. The knowledge which he has bestowed upon our churches concerning the spiritual nature of his kingdom, is a talent which we are not at liberty to wrap up in a napkin. We are bound to employ it to his glory. We are bound to trade with it. What, if in the prosecution of our righteous cause, we give offence to some who are near and dear to us? father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." Even if those with whom we have taken sweet counsel, and walked unto the house of God in company,” even if they should reproach and oppose us, yet our duty is not the less clear. “ He that loveth father and mother more than Christ, is not worthy of Him." If God be dishonoured in the unholy alliance between his kingdom and the king. doms of this world, man may condemn us for endeavouring to effect the discussion, but God will give us honour. Receive not, then, the honour which cometh one of another, but seek the honour that cometh from God only. Feel, too, for those of our brethren whose usefulness is impeded and whose happiness is shut up within the walls of the establishment. Trammelled by early habits and unable, even if they are disposed, to contend against the torrent of worldiness which sweeps through the very sanctuary, they kneel at the communion table by the side of the ungodly, they (in too many cases) listen habitually to the preaching of unconverted clergymen, they ally themselves with those with whom they have no community of religious sentiment, and shrink from the society of those whom they cannot but feel are children of the same Heavenly Father and heirs of the same glorious immortality. We believe that there is no greater agony in any section of the christian church, than is experienced by sensitive minds, placed in the situation which we have described. Let us rescue them, then, brethren, from their false position. They will oppose us now, but they will one day bless us. Let us regard them as friends, enduring the tortures of a disease of which we know the only remedy to be amputation. Let us not suffer their resistance, or our affection, to overpower our sense of what we owe to their friendship. But, above all, let us not forget what is our Lord's will in this matter. He who knew his Lord's will, and did it not, shall be beaten with many stripes, while he which knew not, shall be beaten with few stripes. We are convinced that it is his will that his people should render unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's, but'unto God the things which are God's. Let us then seize the earliest opportunity of vindicating the honour of our Lord's kingdom. It will probably not be long ere such an opportunity will be afforded us.

The African Slave-trade. By Thomas Fowell Buxton, Esq.

Second Edition. London: J. Murray. 8vo. pp. 240. 1839. Of the many services which Mr. Buxton has rendered to the canse of humanity, we regard the production of the volume before us as incalculably the most important. It is a complete picture of the slave-trade; a picture, dark, hideous, revolting; exhibiting human nature in its worst aspect, human depravity in its most malignant excess, and human suffering in its utmost intensity and most aggravated form. Who would willingly dwell upon such a picture! Yet it is one which needs to be not merely casually contemplated, but deeply studied. The disposition to relieve distress can be snstained only by investigation. A spirit of active benevolence can only co-exist with the full persuasion of the existence of the evils to be abated, and an intimate

acquaintance with their nature, causes, and results. Mr. Buxton's work is peculiarly well-timed. Now that slavery is abolished in our own colonies, the moral mind of Britain is beginning seriously to entertain the question of universal abolition. We owe a vast debt to Africa. We have heaped wrong and outrage for ages on her children, and, if we would prove the sincerity of our repentance, we must now make compensation and restitution. Never can Britain retire with honour from this field, till the last slave-ship has left the coast of Africa, and till the fetters have fallen from the limbs of the last slave.

We rejoice to perceive that Mr. Buxton's labours are duly appreciated, as is evidenced not only by the rapid absorption of the first edition of his work, but by the numerous articles of which it has furnished the theme in the monthly magazines and the leading provincial newspapers. Various circumstances have prevented our noticing it earlier, but we purpose, in our present number, to present a view of the extent and character of the slave-trade, reduced from his more ample delineation, and afterwards to discuss with him the results of the means hitherto employed for its extinction, and finally, to offer some remarks on Mr. Buxton's hints of a new plan for its suppression.

When the slave-trade was relinquished, in 1807, by the British nation, its extent was estimated at from 70,000 to 80,000 annually, by the most competent authorities. Abont half this number were absorbed by the British Colonies, and our merchants were likewise the great slave-carriers for the other markets of the western world. It was not unnatural, therefore, for the philanthropists of that day to suppose, that the abolition of the trade by Britain would prove the death-blow of the traffic. Never was there a greater mistake. Mr. Buxton shows that its present extent cannot be less than 150,000 annually, and that it probably very far exceeds that number. He rests his proofs mainly on the testimony of British official residents in the slave-trading ports. The Brazilian empire is the most deeply implicated. The importation of slaves into the port of Rio Janeiro, in one year, was 56,777, and into four other principal ports, Bahia, Pernambuco, Maranham, and Para, 21,554, leaving a total of 78,331 for the whole empire. “ So many, at least, were landed.

That number is undisputed.

But is it easy to believe, while Brazil receives so vast a number into five of her principal ports, that the trade is confined to them, and that none are introduced along the remaining line of her coast, extending over 38 degrees of latitude, or about 2600 miles, and abounding in harbours, rivers, and creeks, where disembarkation can easily be effected ?” (pp. 4, 5.) We fear Mr. Buxton's estimate is very far within the mark. His anthorities, it will be observed, are of a date preceding, by a short interval, the abolition of the trade by Brazil, in 1830; but he shows, from the public declarations of the high functionaries of that government, that their pretended abolition law does not prevent the trade being carried on with increased vigour. Indeed, Brazil might well have spared her fictitious and hypocritical abolition.

In corroboration of Mr. Buxton's statements, we may refer to a list now before us, carefully compiled from official documents, of the vessels belonging to the port of Rio engaged in the slave-trade, under the Portuguese flag, in the year 1837, (eight years subsequent to the abolition of the traffic.) These vessels land their cargoes on the coast, sometimes even at the entrance of the port, and then enter Rio in ballast, to refit for a new voyage. The trade is, in fact, openly carried on, with the connivance of the government, to a greater extent than ever, as is apparent from the following Extract of Letter from Mr. Gordon to Viscount Palmerston, January 19th,

1838." “ During the year 1837, 92 vessels under the Portuguese flag have entered this port from the coast of Africa, after landing their cargoes of slaves in the neighbourhood. By these vessels 41,616 slaves have been imported; this number, however, is short of the actual importation, because some vessels have made two or three voyages during the year, without having entered the port ; and no account has been made of their cargoes, except for the voyage on which they have entered to refit.

“The slave-trade with this port, I regret to add, has increased to a fearful and unprecedented extent.

New negroes are now openly exposed for sale in several parts of the city, and at Taquahy, a few leagues distunt, there is established a regular market for them, eractly as before the passing of the law of November 7, 1831."

The following quotations from the list referred to, and of which the above extract is a summary, sufficiently indicate the character of the Brazilian slave-trade.

“Brig. Leao,' from Quilamane. Embarked 855 slaves; of these 283 died, or were thrown overboard alive, during the voyage. The smallpox having appeared among the slaves, 30 of them were immediately thrown overboard alive; afterwards the measles made its appearance, of which 253 died. The remaining slaves, 572 in number, were landed on the coast of Brazil, at Mozambayo, near to Ilha Grande, but in so miserable a state, that the greater number could not walk, but were carried on shore. Some of the crew of the vessel also died from the sickness on board."

“No. 6. Schooner, Josefina,' from Angola, landed 420 slaves, in a very sickly state, at Campos. During the voyage a great number of the slaves embarked died from the crowded state of the hold, the number shipped being greater than the vessel could well stow."

The most important slave-market, after Brazil, is the island of Cuba.

Here we find it impossible to ascertain the numbers imported with any degree of precision. “Every thing that artifice, violence, intimidation, popular countenance, and official connivance can do, is done to conceal the extent of the traffic.” (p. 13.) For Spain has abolished the slave-trade, and therefore finds it necessary to add hypocrisy to villany. “A privilege, (that of entering the harbour after dark,) denied to all other vessels, is granted to the slavetrader."-(p. 13.)

Mr. Buxton exhibits data sufficient to prove that the importations into Cuba exceed 60,000 annually. The trade is also carried on to a considerable, though unknown extent, to Porto Rico, Texas, Buenos Ayres, and other of the new republics of the South American continent. These last have, like Brazil, their abolition law, the only use of which is to procnre bribes for the officers of government, and the name of colonists for the imported Africans.

“ It is most disheartening to find that, in spite of all our efforts, the slavetrade, instead of ceasing where it has long prevailed, is spreading over these new and petty states; and that the first use they make of their flag, (which, but for us, they never would have possessed,) is to thwart Great Britain and to cover the slave-trade; and farther, to learn that their slave-traffic is attended with even more than the usual horrors. It must not be forgotten, that, as we have just seen, for a voyage from the southern coast of Africa to Monte Video, (a voyage of some thousands of miles,) the space allowed is less than one ton for three slaves."-(pp. 20, 21.)

British manufacturers and merchants are indirectly implicated to a great extent in slave-trading, but the merchants of the United States do not allow them to monopolize this iniquitous source of gain. The British Commissioners at Havanna observe, in one of their reports, that the declaration of the American President, “not to make the United States a party to any convention on the subject of the slave-trade, has been the means of inducing American citizens to build and fit, in their own ports, vessels only calculated for piracy or the slave-trade, to enter this harbour, and, in concert with the Havanna slave-traders, to take on board a prohibited cargo, manacles, &c. and proceed openly to that notorious depôt for this iniquitous traffic, the Cape de Verde Islands, under the shelter of their national flag." (pp. 22, 23.) Since that ominous declaration of President Jackson, the citizens of the United States have embarked openly in the slave-traffic under the national colours, and the United States and the “respectable" kingdom of Portugal now divide the slavecarrying business of the world between them. How long will the former people endure this disgraceful association. But we mast recur to British participation in the slave-trade. From private information in which we place confidence, we believe some of the British merchants resident in Rio to be deeply implicated. There are houses whose sole or principal business it is to supply “coast goods” (a description of cotton fabrics used only in the slave-trade,) to the slave-dealer, for the purpose of bartering for slaves. Some of these firms exhibit names well known and highly respected in this country. We could instance among the offenders two members of Parliament, one representing an important manufacturing empo

« PoprzedniaDalej »