Sidor som bilder

brought to a conclusion. It has been for upwards of four and twenty years the constant object of my thoughts; and it will be a source of the purest and most genuine satisfaction to me during the remainder of my life, and above all, at the final close of it, that I have had some share in promoting, to the utmost of my power, the success of so important and so righteous a measure. It ought to be remembered, however, in justice to a most worthy man, no less remarkable for his modesty and humility, than for his learning and piety, I mean Mr. Granville Sharp, that the Jirst publication which drew the attention of this country to the horrors of the African trade, came from his pen; and that at his own expense, and by his own personal exertions, he liberated several Negroes from a state of slavery, who were brought over by their



masters to England, with an intention of carrying them back again to the West Indies. .

"Upon the whole, long and severe as this conflict has been, the labour of it is amply repaid by the immense magnitude of the benefit obtained by it. It is nothing less than a total change in the condition of one quarter of the habitable globe, containing many millions of inhabitants; a change from the lowest abyss of human misery, to ease, to freedom, and to happiness. What a glorious work for this country to have accomplished! and what a contrast is there between the conduct of the common Enemy of mankind, and that of the English Government—the former desolating, enslaving, and deluging with blood the Continent of Europe—the latter giving liberty, not merely political liberty, but real,

substantial, substantial, personal liberty to the Continent of Africa !*

"It was said by Mr. Pitt, that the Slave Trade was the greatest practical evil that ever afflicted the human race: and, if this be true, the annihilation of that trade is the greatest practical good that can be conferred on man; and so I firmly believe that it will prove to be. There never was, I am persuaded, from the beginning of the world to this hour, a single instance, in which so great a quantity of evil was ever exterminated


* How perfectly applicable to this country, with a few slight alterations, is that eloquent eulogy of the Greeks upon the Roman people. The former exclaimed with ecstacy—" Esse aliquam in tends gentem, qure sua impensa, suo labore ac periculo, bella gerit pro libertate aliorum; nee hoc finitimis, aut propinqu» vicinitatis hominibus, aut terris continent junctis pmtstet: maria trajiciat, ne quod toto orbe termrum injustum imperium sit, et ubique Jus, Fas, Lex potentissima sint." Liv. 1. xxxiii. c. 33.


from the earth, and so great a quantity of good produced, as by this one act of the British Legislature. It will call down upon us the blessing of millions, not only now in existence, but of millions yet unborn: and, what is still more important, it will draw down upon our arms the blessing of Heaven; and be the means of securing to us the favour of that Being, whose hand outstretched in our defence can alone carry us safely through the dangers that surround us!

"Of the conduct of Mr. Wilberforce in the prosecution of this great cause, I cannot express my admiration in adequate terms. The applause he received was such, as was scarcely ever before given to any man sitting in his place in either House of Parliament: but, had it been even greater than it was, he would have deserved it all, for the unceasing

efforts, efforts, the firm, unshaken, intrepid perseverance, with which he maintained, and finally brought to a successful issue, the most glorious battle, that ever was fought by any human being."

In this just panegyric of the illustrious Champion of the Abolition, all men must unite: but still let it not be forgotten, that the Bishop was one of its earliest promoters and most strenuous advocates. Next to the great and paramount concerns of religion, it was the object of all others nearest to his heart. He never spoke of it but with the utmost animation and enthusiasm. He spared no pains, no fatigue of body or mind, to further its accomplishment. He not only expressed his sentiments, on every occasion that presented itself, publicly and strongly in Parliament; but he was indefatigable in urging all, over whom he


« FöregåendeFortsätt »