Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

procured foreign papers for the sole purpose of engaging in an illegal trade. In reviewing the several facts which appear in evidence, we find no change taking place either in the circumstances of the vessel or her cargo, with the exception of four Spaniards, who are shipped on board to give the transaction a colourable appearance, and, it is also reasonable to suppose, to assist in the navigation of the vessel through by far the most hazardous part of the voyage. To procure these foreign papers, it is necessary that Wing and MʻWilliams, the owners, should appear to sell both the vessel and cargo ; but we find no change whatever to take place with respect to their own situation on board.

Wing still appears throughout as an owner, and M-Williams as an assistant, bearing his former character. It further appears, that the whole of the transactions relative to the vessel were executed in their namie, and, as was well una derstood on board, solely on their behalt, and for their benefit. With respect to the crew, they still remained on board, and neither received any wages on account of the transfer (as it might be supposed they would if they had changed masters) nor entered into any new agreement. They are, it is true, reinforced by the addition of the four Spaniards to their complement; one of which is advanced to cominand of the vessel, and, it is said, carried her to the Rio Pongas. Wing, however, still appears in his original character: he disposes of her cargo; and, on the death of this nominal master, again assumes the coinmand as master; completes the sale of the outward cargo, and the purchase of a cargo of slaves. This appears plainly from the log-book kept in his hand-writing; for the present nominal master, Scarnelia, can neither read nor write.

“ M Williams acknowledges himself to be a party to the bill of sale; but in reviewing all the evidence before the court, and all the papers produced, there appears nothing to show that any valuable consideration was ever received for any part of the property; and from this circunstance, and that of the real acknowledged owners still remaining in the same situations, and assuming the same characters as before the alleged sale, there is every reason to conclude that their interest in the vessel and cargo remains unchanged. A plea is made by M'Williams that he is a subject of the United States of America; but it will never be held by this court that any man may throw off his natural allegiance, in order to cover a fraudulent and illegal transaction. In the case of M'Williams, therefore, the property is not only confiscable, but he is liable to all the penalties of an express act of parliament.

* With respect to Wing himself, he very much invalidates the credit of his evidence, by stating repeatedly that all the papers relating and belonging to the vessel and cargo have been delivered up. Some time after, however, it occurs to him that he has a power of attorney; and this power is to enable him to act for Don Joseph Navarro. When this paper is produced, it proves to be a joint power of attorney to M Willie ams and himselt:-MWilliams expressly declares, that every paper has been delivered up. Surely being a party to the sale, he could not be ignorant that this power of attorney existed, and that he was a party in it. Allowing that this power of attorney were a valid instrument, reguJarly signed by the original grantee, it is such a one as has the eventual tendency to render the most effectual assistance in carrying on the fraud, by delivering, or rather leaving, the whole of the property again in the hands of the original owners, It gives a full power both to Wing and M-Williams to dispose of and manage the property, in the same and as full manner as they did before the transfer. There is no agreement or charter-party between the parties. I must consider the whole transaction as false and illegal, and condemn the property as a lawful prize.”

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

When we reflect that the late worthy Governor of Sierra Leone, Captain Columbine, with the small force under his command did much towards annihilating the trade to windward, and would probably have crushed it entirely had it not been for the small island of Bisao, belonging to the Portuguese* ; it appears matter of surprise that it should have been carried on with such impunity to leeward : but as information is now generally circulated through the navy, of the circumstances under which such vessels inay be sately captured, we may confidently expect to hear that a considerable number of them are taken in the course of a very few months; and it is much to be wished that some striking examples shoull be made of those unprincipled men in tliis country wito may be convicted of participating in the guilt of thiis trailic. Such men should be driven from civilized society, and sent to herd with natures congenial to their own.

It appears to us that the disposalof the imhappy beings caps tured in slave ships, is a subject claiming the most serious consideration of those benevolent characters who have so strenuously exerted themselves in brhalf of a much-injured race. It is true that the act orders the persons so captured to be apprenticed out for a certain term of years; but when this takes place in the West India islands, what security have we that these poor defenceless people will not be treated, and even sold, as slaves : Is it not po sible to have the act so amended that they should be all publicly registered, and placed under the protection of the mag strates ? This list should be called over from time to time, and every master obliged to produce the persons so placed uncler his care. The public register ought also to be so kept that any person might have access to it. Indeed we can hardly conceive a more desirable measure than an act enjoining a public registry of all slaves on every plantation in our West India islands; and that, as long as this odious kind of property exists, insertion in the registry should in all cases be required to prove a title to the slave. This would secure two very important points. First, It would show the progress of increase by births, which compared with the manage. ment and other local circumstances in any given place, might furnish most useful inferences: and, secondly, such a system would render the smuggling of slaves into the islands almost impossible.

It must surely rouse the honest indignation of every feeling mind to consider, that while this nation is exhausting its vitals in support of the political existence of Spain and Portugal, those two countries should be opposing the most powerful obstacles to the completion of our works of merc

57

A Review of the Arguments of Dr. Herbert Marsh and

others, in opposition to the Lancasterian Plans for educating the Poor.

The nation is aware that the cry of “The Church is in danger!” has been raised, upon the occasion of a new and promising attempt to educate the children of the poor.

There are certain general things of which mankind have acquired a general experience. This experience affords, with regard to those things, pre-existing evidence for each occurring instance, if not infallible, at any rate highly presumptive.

The cry of "The Church is in danger!" is one of the things of which the world has acquired a general experience. Now let ecclesiastical history be ransacked ; let it be explored with the utmost minuteness from the beginning to the end; hardly in any instance will the cry of "The Church is in danger!” be found to have been raised except for the purpose of doing mischief to mankind. Many are the instances in which it has been raised for the purpose of producing trains of the most atrocious actions. In still more numerous instances, particularly in our own country, it has been raised to prevent the introduction of some benefit to mankind. Two of the greatest blessings, competent to human nature in its social capacity, are liberty and knowledge. Against these, the cry of “ The Church is in danger!” has hardly ever failed to be set up. So long as ignorance was prevailing; so long as despotism was trenching upon liberty, no such cry was heard as that of any danger to the Church. But no sooner did the tide appear to turn; no sooner bave liberty and knowledge appeared to be beginning to flow in, than the cry of “danger to the Church," has, in almost every instance begun to resound.

As it will thus be found that this cry has in almost all ages and countries been a mischievous cry, so it will almost always and every where be found that it has been the cry, not of the whole of the church, but only of a part, and that of a part by no means considerable in point of numbers, but for. ward and capable of making a great noise; which, by the silence and non-resistance of the greater number, is too frequently and too naturally mistaken for the voice of the whole.

VOL. II.

[ocr errors]

As friends to the Lancasterian plan for educating the poor, it is our most earnest desire to have no controversy with any religious class of our countrymen, of whom it is our object to combine all classes in a grand project of national good. Tlie Lancasterian plans count among their most zealous and effectual supporters not a few of the most sincere and steadfast followers and meinbers of ihe church, both lay and clerical; and we doubt not that every day will add to their numbers, when the sophistry with which it is at ptesent endeavoured to oppose them is refuted, and the affected apprehensions of evil are shown for what they are, and well known and understood by the public.

But unfortunately the name of the Church has been con. verted into an engine of war against us. In the use which is thus made of it, we are in self-defence constrained to resist it. But we desire at the outset, that what is extorted from us in opposition to their own proceedings, by an ambitious, a clamorous and political section of churchmen, may not be construed (as it seems to be the wish to construe every thing) into an opposition to the Establishment as such. Such friends of the establishment as see to the bottom of this important case, will see that the men who are doing injury to the church, are the men who, either led by the most anile bigotry, or in pursuance of their own ends, seek to stake the name and credit of the churcht upon the defeat of a scheme so clearly for the benefit of mankind, that in an age like the present it is hardly possible that it should fail of success.

The circumstances of this case are pretty notorious. Whatever may be the nature of the institutions provided in England for the education of the higher orders of the people, no general provision whatsoever has been made for the education of the poor. In other protestant countries, as in Scotland, at Geneva, in Switzerland, and Holland, the education of the lower orders was regarded as an object of the greatest importance, both in a religious and a political point of vicw. Careful provision was made for it. "Parochial schools were established ; funds were set apart for their maintenance; means for acquiring the first and most important parts of the literary branch of education were placed within the reach of all the people; all the people were actually taught them; and tbe lower orders, in all these several countries, as they have been the best educated, so have they been the most virtuous and orderly that ever existed upon inc face of the earth. In England the case was widely different. The education of the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

lower orders was totally neglected. In general they could neither write nor read. The formation of their minds was the result of chance; that is to say, of the casnal and dis orderly circumstances in which they were placed. It is true tbat they still exhibited a number of virtues, which the political circumstances of the country happily engendered. But the political circumstances of the country received not, as they onght to have received, any assistance from the education of the people; they suffered, on the other hand, all the disadvantages which the non-education of the people carried in such numbers in its bosom.

The hideous deformity of this picture, of an ignorant and brutal people in an enlightened age and country, began at last to strike with commiseration the eyes of philanthropic and public-spirited individuals; and means began to be thought of for extending to the people, as in other protestant countries, the blessings of education. It is now considerably more than half a century since charity schools, almost all supported by private contributions, began to be erected ; and in some few parishes, where the inhabitants were wealthy, means were provided for educating a small proportion of the children of the poor, in general a very small proportion even in those parishes where the schools existed; while the children of the poor throughout the rest of the country remained deprived of all the means of education, · At this point the business rested. During a period of fifty years, the education of the poor received little extension. Å few thousands in the metropolis, and a similar proportion in a few more of the more opulent towns in England, might be found receiving the rudiments of learning. The rest of the people were abandoned to their own tuition; and that in a country boasting that it was the richest and the most enlightened country in the universe,

At last an individual arose, who, having proved by his own experience that the most useful branches of education might be taught to the poor at a wonderfully small expense, at an expense so small that even the strength of private contributions might rise equal to the demand for the whole nation, conceived the glorious design of extending the benefits of education to every member of the community. While bishops and archbishops, and deans and rectors, and lords and gentlemen, looked on in apathy, this individual performed two things: he first proved that the education of the poor might be rendered incredibly cheap; he next conceived the truly

[merged small][ocr errors]
« FöregåendeFortsätt »