LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life of William Roscoe
Chapter III. 1787-1792

Vol I. Contents
Chapter I. 1753-1781
Chapter II. 1781-1787
‣ Chapter III. 1787-1792
Chapter IV. 1788-1796
Chapter V. 1795
Chapter VI. 1796-1799
Chapter VII. 1799-1805
Chapter IX. 1806-1807
Chapter X. 1808
Chapter XI. 1809-1810
Vol II. Contents
Chapter XII. 1811-1812
Chapter XIII. 1812-1815
Chapter XIV. 1816
Chapter XV. 1817-1818
Chapter XVI. 1819
Chapter XVII. 1820-1823
Chapter XVIII. 1824
Chapter XIX. 1825-1827
Chapter XX. 1827-1831
Chapter XXI.
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Early opinions of Mr. Roscoe on the subject of the African slave trade—his allusion to it in the poem of “Mount Pleasant.”—Publication of “The Wrongs of Africa”—translated into German.—Publication of the “General View of the African Slave Trade,” his pamphlet in answer to the Rev. Raymund Harris.—Thanks of the Abolition Committee.—Publication of the “Inquiry into the Causes of the Insurrection of the Negroes in the Island of St. Domingo.”

The African slave trade constituted, at this period, a great part of the commerce of Liverpool. A numerous body of merchants and shipowners, and a still more formidable array of masters of vessels, and sailors, looked to the continuance of that traffic for their emolument or their support. The wealth and prosperity of the town were supposed to depend chiefly upon this branch of commerce, and there were few persons whose interests were not, directly or indirectly, connected with the prosecution of it. Even those whose employments had no reference to commercial objects, found their opinions and feelings with regard to the traffic necessarily affected by the tone of the society in which they mingled.* Under these circum-

* The painful effect which the discussion of the Slave Question occasioned in Liverpool is described by Dr. Currie, in a letter written in the year 1788.—“The general discussion of the slavery of the negroes has produced much unhappiness in Liverpool. Men are awaking to their situation; and the struggle between interest and humanity has made great havoc in the happiness of many families. If I were to attempt to tell you the history of my own transactions in this business, I should consume more time than I can spare. Altogether, I have felt myself more interested and less happy

stances it was hardly to be expected that Liverpool should be the place from which a voice should be heard appealing to the world on behalf of the captive African. Fortunately, however, the mind of
Mr. Roscoe remained unshackled by the prejudices or the interests of those around him, nor did any motives of a personal nature operate to prevent the expression of his opinions. He had been gifted with those strong feelings of abhorrence to injustice, and of resistance to oppression, which are the great moral engines bestowed by God upon man for the maintenance of his virtue and his freedom. The “aversion to compulsion,” recorded by Mr. Roscoe as one of his earliest characteristics, led him in his youth to form very decided opinions upon this question, which, in his after life, occupied much of his attention, and in which he had ultimately the gratification of knowing that he had laboured

than is suited to my other avocations. The attempts that are continually made to justify this gross violation of the principles of justice, one cannot help repelling; and, at the same time, it is dreadful to hold an argument, where, if your opponent is convinced, he must be made miserable.”—Memoirs, vol. i. p. 135.

In the same letter, Dr. Currie gives the history of a short poem, which appeared about this time, under the title of “The African,” in the London papers, and which was the joint production of himself and of Mr. Roscoe. It has also been printed in Mrs. Riddell’sMetrical Miscellany,” under the title of “Maraton.”

not unsuccessfully. In his poem of “
Mount Pleasant,” which, though written in the year 1771, was not published till the year 1777, he did not hesitate to brand with the opprobrium it merited, the traffic in which so large a portion of his fellow townsmen were engaged.
“There Afric’s swarthy sons their toils repeat,
Beneath the fervors of the noon-tide heat;
Torn from each joy that crown’d their native soil,
No sweet reflections mitigate their toil:
From morn to eve by rigorous hands opprest,
Dull fly their hours, of every hope unblest,
Till broke with labour, helpless and forlorn,
From their weak grasp the lingering morsel torn,
The reed-built hovels’ friendly shade denied,
The jest of folly and the scorn of pride;
Drooping beneath meridian suns they lie,
Lift the faint head, and bend the imploring eye,
Till death in kindness from the tortured breast
Calls the free spirit to the realms of rest.
Shame to mankind! but shame to Britons most,
Who all the sweets of Liberty can boast;
Yet, deaf to every human claim, deny
That bliss to others which themselves enjoy;
Life’s bitter draught with harsher bitter fill,
Blast every joy, and add to every ill;
The trembling limbs with galling iron bind,
Nor loose the heavier bondage of the mind.”

The writings of many excellent men, about this period, had attracted the attention of the public to the momentous question of the slave trade. Dr. Beattie, in his “Essay on Truth;” Wesley, in his “Thoughts on Slavery;” Adam Smith, in his “Wealth of Nations;” and Paley,
in his “
Moral Philosophy;” had exposed the cruelty, the injustice, and the impolicy of the traffic. Denunciations of its unchristian spirit began to be heard from the pulpit; and the question was brought before the legislature in the year 1776, by Mr. David Hartley, the member for Hull. The opponents of the traffic, at length, in the year 1787, united themselves together for the purpose of rendering their opposition more effective; and a committee was formed in London, which met weekly, for the purpose of considering the best means of procuring the abolition of the trade.

To promote the same great object, Mr. Roscoe took up his pen; and, in the summer of 1787, published the first part of the “Wrongs of Africa,” a poem designed to awaken the feelings of the people to the horrors of the slave system. The profits of this poem were presented by Mr. Roscoe to the London committee, through his friend, Mr. John Barton, a member of that body. “This circumstance,” observes Mr. Clarkson, in his “History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade*,” “was not only agreeable, inasmuch as it showed us that there were others who felt with us for the injured Africans, and who were willing to aid us in our designs; but it was rendered still more so, when we were

* Vol. i. p. 280.

given to understand that the poem was written by Mr. Roscoe, of Liverpool, and the preface to it by the late
Dr. Currie, who then lived in the same place. To find friends to our cause rising up from such a quarter, where we expected scarcely any thing but opposition, was particularly encouraging.”

The first part of “The Wrongs of Africa” was intended to illustrate the mode of procuring slaves on the coast of that country. The manner in which the captives were obtained, by wars or by domestic treachery, is described; and the cruelties and privations to which they were subjected, are painted in strong colours. Throughout the poem, that love of freedom, that inextinguishable hatred of oppression, are displayed, which were such signal features of the writer’s character:—
“Dear to the heart is Freedom’s generous flame,
And dear the exulting glow that warms the soul,
When struggling virtue from the tyrant’s grasp
Indignant rushes and asserts her rights.’

The following passage, in which the writer endeavours to show that, even in savage life, the natural affections exert their full influence, may be considered as affording a fair specimen of the poem:—
“Nor yet unknown to more refined delights,
Nor to the soft and social feelings lost,
Was the swart African: wherever man
Erects his dwelling, whether on the bleak
And frozen cliffs of Zembla’s northern coast,
Or in meridian regions, Love attends
And shares his habitation; in his train
Come fond affections, come endearing joys,
And confidence, and tenderness, and truth.
For not to polish’d life alone confined
Are these primeval blessings, rather there
Destroy’d or injured; mercenary ties
There bind ill-suited tempers; avarice there,
And pride, and lowering superstition, cross
The tender union; but where nature reigns,
And universal freedom, Love exults
As in his native clime; there aims secure
His brightest arrow, steep’d in keen delights,
To cultured minds and colder skies unknown.”

In the following year (1788) appeared the second part of the “Wrongs of Africa;” the subject of which is, the voyage of the slaves to the West Indian islands. The description of the dwelling of Matomba, the guardian of Cymbello, a native prince, who is captured and carried away, is a proof that, at this period, Mr. Roscoe had become attached to botanical pursuits.
“Remote from peopled haunts, ’midst silent groves,
Where palms and plantains intermix’d their shade.
And spread their broad leaves to the scorching sun,
Matomba’s dwelling stood.—A crystal stream
Gush’d from the gloom and lav’d a chosen spot,
That own’d his constant culture: Aloes there
Shot forth their vigorous stems, and hung their bells
In graceful negligence; Hæmanthus spread
His crimson bloom; the flowery Almond there,
Profuse of fragrance, scented all the plain;
And the gay Protea waved his silvery leaf,
And glitter’d on the day;—a thousand plants
The favourites of the sun, whose vivid tints
Decay, and sicken, in our northern climes,
There in perennial lustre smiled, nor fear’d
The chilling blasts of Eurus.”

The captive Cymbello is visited by Despair, and the personification of that power is declared,by Dr. Currie, to be “one of the most sublime thoughts in modern poetry.”*
“Torn by conflicting passions, barr’d from air,
With taunts and stripes insulted, and compell’d
To share the anguish of desponding throngs
That hourly cursed existence, soon began
His vigour to decline, and on her throne
Sat Reason tottering. Sleep refused to close
His eyes, that gazing wild with maniac glare
Froze in their sockets—when before their orbs
Rose a majestic form, that, not confined
Within the ship’s scant boundary, rear’d her head
Amidst the rolling clouds. Her right hand held
A falchion dropping blood, and in her left
A heart yet palpitating shock’d the sight.
Dreadful she smiled, yet in her dreadful smile
Lurk’d fascination: horrid was her voice,
Yet did it vibrate on the wretch’s ear
Sweeter than music. ‘Prince,’ she cried, ‘I come
To free from weak regret thy manly mind,
And vindicate thy wrongs. To deeds of death
Rise then! my steel shall point the way.’ She spoke,
And clasp’d him to her bosom. Through his frame
Ran fierce emotions of tumultuous joy;
He spurn’d the fond complaint; no more the sigh
Burst from his heart; his eyes forgot to weep;
Ambition now was hush’d; the patriot Hope
Expired; and Love himself the rule resign’d
To one unbounded thirst of dread revenge.”

* Memoirs, vol. i. p. 135.


The opinions expressed with regard to this poem, both privately and publicly, were very gratifying to the author. His friend Mr. Barton, who had superintended it as it passed through the press, thus spoke of it:—“I have at last got the second part, which, to say the least of it, will not disappoint the expectations raised by the first part. I think the poet evidently improves as he advances, and I hope nothing will prevent his going further. To me the language and thoughts appear to flow with greater ease, without the smallest diminution of boldness or energy. I have never been more pleased or affected by any poetical production whatever, and (all compliments out of the question) I must say, I cannot but feel a pride in calling such an author my friend.”

The Wrongs of Africa” were subsequently translated into German, as Mr. Roscoe learned, upwards of twenty years after its publication, from the following letter:—“I shall beg leave,” says his correspondent, Mr. Johnson, “to mention another circumstance which I hope will be, in some degree, interesting to you, as it will show you that Germans of literary celebrity have thought themselves well employed in rendering into their native tongue the least important of your works. During my residence at Leipsic, I became acquainted with a clergyman of the name of Kühn, who showed me
the manuscript of a poem which has since been published; it was a translation of an English poem in two parts, entitled ‘The Wrongs of Africa;’ and although I had not read the original, I easily recognised the author. I was sorry to find, on my arrival in England, that the poem had never been completed, as otherwise I should have sent the conclusion to my friend, as I had promised.”

But it was not in verse alone that Mr. Roscoe raised his voice against the continuance of a system so injurious to the interests of humanity as the African slave trade. In the winter of 1787 he published a short pamphlet, entitled “A General View of the African Slave Trade, demonstrating its Injustice and Impolicy; with Hints towards a Bill for its Abolition.”* In this pamphlet Mr. Roscoe considers the subject in two points of view: first, with respect to its justice or iniquity; and secondly, with respect to its political advantages or disadvantages to this country: and that he did not altogether fail in establishing his arguments, may be inferred from the following observations of Dr. Currie, who, though a sincere friend to the abolition of the trade, yet regarded with a cool and dispassionate judgment the efforts of those who

* London: printed for R. Faulder, New Bond Street, 1788. One thousand copies of this pamphlet were printed.

were labouring in the cause.* “A pamphlet has just appeared, entitled ‘A General View of the African Slave Trade, with Hints towards a Bill for its Abolition,’ which puts the subject in a very clear point of view, and contains a brief, but masterly, chain of propositions that bear irresistible force. I recommend it to your perusal. The moderation of its language is likely to make it useful.”†
Mde. Necker, whose zeal for liberty led her to interest herself in the sufferings of the Africans, appears to have entertained the idea of translating this work into French. “On the subject of the Slave Trade,” says Mr. Barton, in a letter to Mr. Roscoe, “I have nothing new to communicate, except that one of the London Committee has lately been in France, and dined at Paris with the committee established in that place with the same views as our own. Our friend says, the committee appears to consist of very worthy and respectable characters, and that they are very much in earnest to bring about the reformation we wish for. He particularly mentioned the zeal of Mde. Necker in this great business, and her intentions of publishing some tracts on the subject, so soon as she could obtain leave for that purpose, which is a confirmation of the account received at Liver-

* See his Letter to Mr. Wilberforce, in the second volume of his Memoirs.

Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 51.

pool of her having been translating the ‘General View.’” From another of Mr. Barton’s letters, it appears that the pamphlet excited considerable attention in Liverpool. “I rejoice,” says he, “to find that thy pamphlet has occasioned a ferment amongst the African merchants at Liverpool, and I trust it will occasion a ferment amongst our senators likewise, and produce the conviction we so much wish them to feel.”

The “General View of the African Slave Trade” had not been many months before the public, when Mr. Roscoe found himself again called upon for fresh exertions in the same cause. The Rev. Raymond Harris, a clergyman of the Church of England, who had been educated for the Catholic priesthood, published, under the title of “Scriptural Researches on the Licitness of the Slave Trade,” a work which was intended to tranquillise the consciences of those who carried on the traffic, by representing slavery as a system approved of by God. He proposed to show “its conformity with the principles of natural and revealed religion, as delineated in the sacred writings of the Word of God.” This bold attempt to degrade the noblest of all the attributes of the Deity,—his justice and his mercy,—met with many admirers. “Even people,” says Mr. Barton, in the same letter from which an extract has been made above, “the least likely to be influenced in their own judgments by arguments
drawn from this quarter, have yet shown a wonderful desire to have such arguments pass for solid with others. I am assured that
Lord Hawkesbury himself condescended to distribute some of Harris’s ‘Scriptural Researches,’ recommending them at the same time as containing unanswerable arguments in favour of the slave trade.”

Other persons, who felt that the interests both of religion and of humanity must suffer from a publication like this, were filled with indignation at its appearance. Dr. Currie, whose temperate mind and well-balanced feelings seldom permitted him to use harsh expressions, thus speaks of it:—“A little scoundrel, a Spanish Jesuit, has advanced to the assistance of the slave-merchants, and has published a vindication of this traffic from the Old Testament. His work is extolled as a prodigy by these judges of composition, and is, in truth, no bad specimen of his talents, though egregiously false and sophistical, as all justifications of slavery must be. I have prompted a clergyman, a friend of mine, to answer him, by telling him, that if such be religion, I would ‘none on’t.’”*

The reply to the “Scriptural Researches” might with great propriety have proceeded from a minister of religion, though it did not require any very considerable knowledge of divinity to

* Memoirs of Dr. Currie, vol. i. p. 135.

refute arguments derived from an authority so obviously misapplied. The zeal of
Mr. Roscoe, however, did not permit him to wait until others engaged in the contest; and, in the summer of 1788, he sent to the press “A Scriptural Refutation of a Pamphlet lately published by the Rev. Raymond Harris, entitled ‘Scriptural Researches on the Licitness of the Slave Trade,’ in Four Letters from the Author to a Friend.”* As an argumentative piece, this pamphlet may certainly be considered as fully equal to any of the productions of Mr. Roscoe’s pen; nor could a more full and satisfactory answer to the sophisms of his antagonist have been wished for by the friends of the abolition. The work immediately attracted the attention of the London Abolition Committee, a member of which addressed to Mr. Barton the following letter on the subject:—

“At the desire of our committee, I have to request, that thou wouldst, with as much expedition as possible, communicate to the author of the Scriptural Refutation, &c. of Harris, their wishes to take off what remains of the impression (on his own terms of course), and in case that should not be sufficiently numerous for their purpose, they request the author’s leave to print a new edition. I beseech thee lose no time.”

* London: printed for B. Law, Ave Maria Lane, Ludgate Street. 1788.


In the letter from Mr. Barton, communicating this request, he says, “On my return from Brighton, I had the pleasure to receive a parcel, ‘from the Author,’ containing six pamphlets, in answer to Harris. I immediately perused one of them myself, and gave the others to some of the most intelligent members of our committee, and we are all unanimously of opinion, that it is the work of a master, and by much the best answer that Harris has received.” The wishes of the committee were immediately complied with by Mr. Roscoe; and the thanks of that body were transmitted to him in the following letter from Mr. Barton:—

“Immediately on receipt of thy favour of the 5th, I communicated the contents (so far as they related to the ‘Scriptural Refutation’) to the committee in London, who were much pleased with the offer made to them, and very happy to accept of it. The following is an extract from their minutes:—

“‘At a Committee of the Society for effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade, July 15. 1788.

“‘This Committee, impressed with a sense of the laudable zeal, and great abilities, manifested by the author of “A Scriptural Refutation of a pamphlet, entitled Scriptural Researches on the Licitness of the Slave Trade,” do gratefully accept his offer, and request Mr. Barton to con-
vey to him the thanks of the Committee, for the important service he has rendered the cause in which they are engaged.’

“I was not in town myself at the time of this meeting, nor have been since (nor do I know when I shall be again), therefore I have not seen the committee books; but, I suppose, this minute must have been preceded by another, in which the particulars of the offer made by the author would be stated.

“The Committee ordered a new edition, at the same time, which I should imagine must ere this be completed; so that the circulation of this pamphlet will very soon be general over every part of the kingdom, and I trust its utility will be as great as its circulation will be extensive. All who have read it, that I have yet met with, speak of it in terms of the highest commendation; and many are the enquiries and conjectures respecting its author.”

The insurrection of the negroes in the Island of St. Domingo, in the year 1791, having been made use of as an argument against the proceedings of the Abolitionists in this country, Mr. Roscoe was induced to examine this question with attention, and the result of his enquiry was given to the public in a short tract, entitled “An Inquiry into the Causes of the Insurrection of the Negroes in the Island of St. Domingo; to which are added, Observations of M. Garran-
Coulon on the same subject, read in his absence by Guadet, before the National Assembly, February 29. 1792.
”* The particular object of this pamphlet was to review the account of the Insurrection, given in the speech of the Deputies from the General Assembly of St. Domingo to the National Assembly; in which the origin of the calamity was charged upon the Amis des Noirs, “by which name,” it is said, in the English translation of the speech, “is distinguished in France, the party that have seconded the English project for abolishing the Slave Trade.”

A more dreadful and appalling picture of aggravated cruelty and atrocity, than the speech of the Deputies exhibits, can scarcely be conceived. Murder, and violence of every kind, were remorselessly committed, not only upon the persons of the whites, but upon such of the negroes as remained faithful to their masters, who were frequently put to death by the slow torture of fire. Such were the acts which the Deputies from St. Domingo accused “the Friends of the Blacks” with having caused in the island; and such were the consequences which the enemies of the abolition in England predicted, as the result of their adversaries’ labours in our own colonies.

Those who regarded these dreadful scenes

* London: J. Johnson. 1792.

with a calmer and more philosophical eye, beheld in them only the inevitable consequences of slavery:—“Are these enormities,” says
Mr. Roscoe, “to be lamented? Surely they are. Can they excite our wonder? By no means. What is the state of the labouring negro? Is he not a being bound down by force? Labouring under constant compulsion? Driven to complete his task by the immediate discipline of the whip? Are affection, lenity, and forbearance, the result of oppression and abuse? When the native ferocity of Africa is sharpened by the keen sense of long-continued injury, who shall set bounds to revenge?

But it was not alone from the fierce teachings of their own clime, that the negroes derived their lessons of blood. The white man had added his terrible instructions.

“Again,” adds Mr. Roscoe, “how have the fierce dispositions of savage life been counteracted or improved by the example of their white superiors? Resistance is always justifiable where force is the substitute of right: nor is the commission of a civil crime possible in a state of slavery. Yet the punishments that have been devised in the French islands, to repress crimes that could only exist by the abuse of the slaveholder, are such as nature revolts at. How often have these unfortunate beings beheld their fellows beat, in famine and distraction, the bars of
an iron cage, in which they were doomed to pass, in inconceivable misery, the last days of their existence? Is it not known that, in these wretched islands, a human being has resigned his life in the torments of a slow-consuming fire? An unavenged instance of an act so awfully atrocious marks out for perdition the country that could suffer it. When the oppressor thus enforces his authority, what must be the effect of the sufferer’s resentment?

Other instances were not wanting to urge the Negro upon the track of blood. “Yet the Negro had other examples before his eyes. A dissension had arisen amongst the holders of the slaves: those who were before united in oppressing them, were now at variance among themselves. They had proceeded to open violence; whilst the slaves awaited the event with silence, though not with indifference. One party obtained an early superiority: the leader of the weaker number was taken; and the Negroes were spectators of the death of Ogé, a man, who partook of their colour, and who was broken alive upon the wheel. Twenty-five of his followers shared the same fate. If the cold-blooded sons of Europe, educated in the habits of improved society, and affecting to feel the precepts of a mild and merciful religion, can thus forget themselves and insult their own nature, ought they to wonder that the African should imitate
the pattern, and, if possible, improve upon their example?”

Amongst the atrocities detailed by the Deputies, are the two following instances:—

“At Great River, an inhabitant, M. Cardineau, had two natural sons of colour, to whom he had given their liberty, and who, in their childhood, had been the objects of his tenderest care. They accost him, with a pistol at his breast, and demand his money. He consents; but no sooner have they obtained it, than they stab him.

“At Acul, M. Chauvet de Breuil, Deputy to the General Assembly, is assassinated by a Mulatto, aged sixteen, his natural son, to whom he destined his fortune, having manumitted him from his childhood.”

Upon these transactions, Mr. Roscoe makes the following remarks:—

“But the horrors of the slaughter increase. The white father falls a victim to the unnatural rage of his Mulatto son. Have human crimes their origin and causes in human affairs; or are they incited by some malignant demon, who possessing himself of that cup of affection, the human heart, pours out its contents, and fills it with poison? Alas! we vainly seek, in fable, the apology of our own depravity; and, unhappily, the causes of those transactions, which would scarce meet credibility in any other part of the globe, are in these regions of guilt too apparent.
However the Author of nature may have instilled affection into the breast of a parent, as the means of preserving the race from destruction, we must allow, that the corresponding sentiment in the mind of the offspring is merely the effect of a long-continued course of care, partiality, and tenderness. Shall the harvest, then, rise up without seed? and where no fondness has been shown, shall filial attachments be expected? In a country, where it is by no means unusual for the known children of the planter to undergo all the hardships and the ignominy of slavery, in common with the most degraded class of mortals, is it there we are to seek for instances of filial affection?”

What must be thought of that condition of society, which, if we may believe the Deputies themselves, reverses all the feelings of the human breast? “The slaves,” say they, “who had been most kindly treated by their masters, were the soul of the insurrection. It was they who betrayed and delivered their humane masters to the assassin’s sword; it was they who seduced and stirred up to revolt the gangs disposed to fidelity. It was they who massacred whomsoever refused to become their accomplice. What a lesson for the Amis des Noirs!

“Upon this part of the address,” says Mr. Roscoe, “reflections still occur, in which the planter is deeply interested. An opinion is thus incul-
cated, which, if acceded to, and acted upon, must render the islands a constant scene of cruelty and bloodshed. We are told, that the slaves who had been most kindly treated by their masters were the soul of the insurrection; that it was they who had betrayed and delivered their humane masters to the assassin’s sword, and seduced and stirred up to revolt the gangs disposed to fidelity. Hear this, ye planters! and if there be one amongst you so singularly foolish as to harbour a lurking sentiment of humanity, let him for his own safety divest himself of it without loss of time! The Negro is a being, whose nature and dispositions are not merely different from those of the European, they are the reverse of them. Kindness and compassion excite in his breast implacable and deadly hatred; but stripes, and insult, and abuse, generate gratitude, affection, and inviolable attachments! Upon this principle, we are enabled to reconcile an apparent inconsistency in the address. ‘Slaves,’ we are informed, ‘were still found, who gave proofs of an invincible fidelity; and who made manifest their determination to detest the seduction of those, who would, with promises of liberty, inveigle them to certain destruction.’ If the humanity of the master only sharpens the appetite of revenge, is it difficult to discover by what mode of treatment the friendship of these slaves was secured? Be grateful, ye planters, to the
man, who has at length disclosed this important truth; and admire his courage who has dared to avow it, even in the bosom of a nation devoted to liberty!”

In perusing this pamphlet, the reader will be but too forcibly reminded of similar calamities which have recently occurred in our own colonies, and which have been in the same manner attributed, not to their true cause, the demoralising and debasing nature of slavery, but to the interference of the abolitionists. The concluding observations of the writer are as applicable at the present moment as on the day when they were written.

“If, however, no conclusions can be drawn from the history of these disorders, either to impeach the promoters of the abolition of the Slave Trade, or to deter the British Parliament from duly considering, and fully deciding on, that important measure, it will afford instruction of a different nature. Nourished in inveterate, and it will be feared irremediable, prejudices, it may show us, that the colonists are not the best judges even of their own interests; it may apprise us of the danger of sacrificing general principles of substantial justice to variable and temporising expedients; it may demonstrate to us, that the preservation of our own islands from similar disasters, depends on the early adoption of measures, which, whilst they are vigorous
and decisive, are just, conciliatory, and humane; and may caution us, that, where we choose not to impart the beamings of hope, we excite not the ragings of despair.”

The merit of this pamphlet, in its application of general principles to particular cases, is remarked by Mr. Rathbone, in a letter to Mr. Roscoe, written many years after its publication:—“I have been reading some other of your publications lately, and am struck with the ability and address with which you introduce general principles; and this is a talent of unspeakable value. They leave an impression, and apply to other subjects than those which gave them birth. * * * Your account of the causes of the insurrections in St. Domingo is full of these general principles. It is, in my opinion, your great forte; and I earnestly advise you to cultivate it.”