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with General Lord Fairfax, who held his head-quarters at his house at Bradford." Thomas Sharp had a son who became archbishop of York in 1689, and was justly distinguished for his learning and piety. The youngest of this prelate's sous was made archdeacon of Northumberland in 1722. He was the rector also of Rothbury in the same county, and kept up at his own expense five different schools at convenient distances for the instruction of the children of the poor. It is particularly honourable to his character, that "the children of Roman catholics and of all other sects were equally admitted into his schools, and that very strict care was taken not to give offence to them or their parents about the difference of religious opinions." This venerable man had two daughters and seven sons, the youngest of whom was the subject of these Memoirs.

Mr. Granville Sharp was born at Durham in 1735, and at a proper age was bound apprentice to a linen-draper, a Quaker, on Tower Hill. On the death of his master, he was turned over to a person of the Independent denomination, and when his apprentice ship had expired, he entered the service of a catholic, an Irish factor in Cheapside. It appears that he disliked the religious tenets of his three masters. This however made no difference in his behaviour to them. His residence with them only taught him "to make a proper distinction between the opinions of men and their persons." The former, he often used to say, I can freely condemn without presuming to judge the individuals themselves. Thus freedom of argument is preserved as well as christian charity, leaving personal judgement to Him to whom alone it belongs. was during his apprenticeship that he made his first advances in learning, and it is curious to trace the motives which appear to have first induced him to prosecute his studies. That he might successfully contend with an Unitarian who lodged in the same house, he entered on the study of the Greek; and the better to combat a Jew, also living with him, he applied himself to the study of the Hebrew.


In 1757, he took up his freedom of the city of London in the Company of Fishmongers, and in 1758 he left trade for a situation in the Ordnance Office. While employed there, he made an extraordinary proficiency in the sacred languages; but to do this, he was obliged to snatch his hours of study from sleep.

In 1765, he engaged in a literary controversy with Dr. Kennicot, in which, having been previously so well prepared, he displayed a superior accuracy in Hebrew and biblical learning.

In the same year he took up the cause of Jonathan Strong. This person had been a negro slave, and brought to England by Mr. David Lisle, a lawyer of Barbadoes, who used him so cruelly as to render

him unserviceable, and then turned him adrift in the streets of London. In about two years afterwards, Strong recovered, when Lisle, happening to see him, had him kidnapped and lodged in prison, with a view of taking him back to Barbadoes. It was by the merest accident that Mr. Sharp became acquainted with the case. He was, however, so struck with the circumstances of it, that he resolved to interfere. He accordingly rescued Strong from prison by a law process; but a suit was in return immediately instituted against Mr. Sharp. It was then the belief of our West India planters, backed by the joint opinions of the attorney and solicitor general, York and Talbot (in the year 1729), that a slave coming from the West Indies to Great Britain or Ireland did not thereby change his condition. In consequence of this opinion, it had been a practice with West India masters to bring slaves with them as servants to England, and to oblige them, by main force, to return home as slaves. The London newspapers of these times were frequently stained by advertisements offering rewards for the apprehension of persons of this description, who had run away, considering themselves free, and being unwilling to go back into slavery. Such was the state of things when Mr. Sharp was called upon to defend the action by Mr. Lisle. But never had any person a more difficult task to perform. The opinion of York and Talbot was considered of such high authority, that he could not find a lawyer in his favour. But he was a man not to be deterred in a righteous cause. was a man who held the doctrine, that labour and perseverance could overcome every obstacle. He determined to give his time night and day to the study of the English law, to enable him to do justice to this oppressed race of men. Two years of intense study enabled him to produce his celebrated pamphlet "on the Injustice and dangerous Tendency of tolerating Slavery, or even of admitting the least Claim to private Property in the Persons of Men in England." This he circulated among his friends, but particularly among the members of the legal profession. The arguments contained in it were irresistible, and he had the satisfaction of stemming, in some degree, the torrent of legal opinion which had opposed his exertions. The lawyers of Lisle himself were intimidated, and the man, rather than go on with the cause, submitted to pay treble costs for not bringing forward the action. Just at this time a book printed in America in 1762 found its way to London, written by the virtuous Benezet, and containing "an Account of that part of Africa inhabited by the Negroes, and of the Slave Trade." Mr. Sharp immediately republished this book as an auxiliary to his "Injustice and dangerous Tendency," &c. just mentioned. The former was to satisfy the gentlemen of the law upon the question;



the latter was to interest the public feeling in favour of the African race, and consequently in favour of Jonathan Strong, whose cause he had undertaken.

In the year 1768, a new case occurred, though not entirely of the same complexion as the former. Mr. Sharp was induced to take up the cause of Hylas, an African, whose wife had been kidnapped by one Newton in the streets of London, and sent to the West Indies, and sold there as a slave. The cause was tried before Lord Chief Justice Wilmot, on the 3d of December 1768. The decision was in favour of Hylas. Damages were given, and Newton was bound under a penalty to bring back the woman, either by the first ship, or at furthest within six months.

In the year 1770, Mr. Sharp had occasion again to exert himself in behalf of an unfortunate African, Thomas Lewis, who had formerly been a slave of a Mr. Stapylton, then residing at Chelsea. Stapylton, finding him in the neighbourhood, waylaid him, and by the aid of two watermen, whom he had hired for the purpose, seized him in a dark night, and dragged him into a boat lying in the Thames at the bottom of a garden belonging to a Mrs. Banks, where they tied his legs and gagged him. Having thus secured him, they rowed him to a ship bound to Jamaica, whose commander had been previously engaged in the conspiracy, and delivered him on board to be sold as a slave on his arrival there. This infamous act, though perpetrated in the dark, did not escape unnoticed; for the cries of Lewis were heard by the servants of Mrs. Banks, who, on being apprized of the circumstances, communicated them immediately to Mr. Sharp, who began to be publicly regarded as the protector of the persecuted Africans. Mr. Sharp lost no time in obtaining a warrant, and sent it down to Gravesend, where the ship lay, for the delivery of Thomas Lewis. The captain however refused to obey it, and sailed directly for the Downs. On receiving this intelligence, Mr. Sharp was only roused into fresh activity; he procured and sent off a writ of Habeas Corpus, signed by two judges. The officer, who carried it, arrived at Deal just in time to see the vessel getting under weigh: he instantly procured a boat, overtook her, and delivered the writ to the captain. At this time, poor Lewis was found chained to the mainmast, and bidding his last adieu to the land. He was, however, now delivered into the hands of the officer and brought on shore. A bill was instantly preferred against Stapylton, but the case was removed to the Court of King's Bench, and brought before Lord Mansfield on the 20th February 1771. Here Mr. Dunning was ready to have defended Lewis, on the broad ground that "a negro in England, whatever might have been his condition before, was as free as any other man.' It appears that even this great luminary of


the law had been instructed by Mr. Sharp; for holding up in his hand the tract before mentioned, "On the Injustice and dangerous Tendency of tolerating Slavery in England," to the view of the whole Court, he said triumphantly, "I am prepared to maintain, that no man can be legally detained as a slave in England." Lord Mansfield, however, fearful of the consequences of deciding such an important case hastily upon so broad a ground, settled the matter in favour of Lewis, by showing that Stapylton could bring no evidence that Lewis had ever been, even nominally, his property.

Thus was Mr. Sharp happily successful in his noble efforts to rescue three African slaves, Strong, Hylas, and Lewis: in whose favour he had been instrumental in obtaining separate verdicts. These verdicts, however, were dependent upon peculiar circumstances in their respective cases. Their general right to freedom in England, was still a question. This essential point still remained to be decided, and it was necessary to put it to rest. A case was therefore selected, among those which occurred in the begin ning of 1772, at the mutual desire of Lord Mansfield and Mr. Sharp, for this purpose. It was the case of James Somerset. This man had been brought to England by his master, Mr. C. Stewart, but in process of time Somerset had left him. Stewart at length found an opportunity of seizing Somerset, and caused him to be conveyed privately on board the Ann and Mary, captain Knowles, in order to be carried to Jamaica, and there sold as a slave.

The case was brought into Court by Mr. Sergeant Davy, on the 24th January 1772, before Lord Mansfield, who, after some conversation, fixed the hearing of it for that day fortnight. In the mean time Mr. Francis Hargrave, then rising in reputation at the bar, generously offered his assistance, and was added to the counsel, On the 7th of February, the cause was opened by Mr. Sergeant Davy, on the broad ground, "that no man at this day is or can be a slave in England." Mr. Sergeant Glynn followed with equal ability on the same side, after which Lord Mansfield ordered that the matter should stand over till the next term.

There being now a respite for a while, Mr. Sharp employed it in preparing himself and counsel for further operations. He availed himself also of this occasion to write a letter to Lord North, then prime minister, on the monstrous injustice and abandoned wickedness occasioned by slave-holding. His language was respectful but resolute. He said, among other things, that no grievance required more immediate redress: "I say immediate redress, because to be in power, and to neglect (as life is very uncertain) even a day in endeavour ing to put a stop to such monstrous injustice, and abandoned wickedness, must necessarily endanger a man's eternal welfare, be he


ever so great in temporal dignity or office." This was bold lan guage from a clerk in the Ordnance department to the prime minister. But Mr. Sharp always dared to do what he believed to be religiously right. Dependent on the Government for his maintenance, he nevertheless presented his remonstrance without restraint.

On the 9th of May, the second hearing came on. The pleadings were opened by Mr. Mansfield, after whose luminous speech the cause was further adjourned. On the 14th, it came on again. Mr. Hargrave began, and Mr. Alleyne closed the proceedings in be half of Somerset; after which the counsel were heard in part on the other side, when Lord Mansfield proposed an adjournment to that day seven-night. On the 21st the opponent's counsel were heard again, and Sergeant Davy in reply. Nothing now remained but to give judgement. Lord Mansfield however put it off, on account of the importance of the decision, to another day. At length on Monday, the 22d of June, this great cause was decided, and decided in favour of Somerset, on the broad ground, "That no property could exist in England in any slave, or that every slave on coming to England became free." Thus ended the great cause of Somerset, by the issue of which Mr. Sharp, after laborious and anxious exertions for seven years, became the great author of freedom to Africans in England-an event of which our history will be proud, and for which posterity will be grateful. The poor slave, who now reaches our shore, is no longer hunted in our streets as a beast of prey. Though the roof under which he sleeps may be miserable, he sleeps in security. Our public papers are no longer polluted by hateful advertisements of the sale of the human species, or of impious rewards for bringing back the poor and helpless into sla very. There were some circumstances, in the course of this trial, peculiarly gratifying to Mr. Sharp. Dr. Fothergill, then an eminent physician resident in London, and one of the religious society of the Quakers, offered to relieve him of a part of the heavy burthen of his law expenses incurred on these different occasions. This offer was peculiarly honourable and gratifying; for Mr. Sharp had been opposed to the doctor in a controversy, though conducted with extreme delicacy, on the subject of the religious worship of the Quakers. They had, in fact, been literary adversaries in priBut good men do not suffer little differences of sentiment to diminish their mutual esteem. It was highly gratifying to Mr. Sharp, that all his counsel refused their fees, for pleading in this righteous cause.


The account of the trial of Somerset, as it produced great joy in England, so it excited similar sensations when made known in the American colonies. The name of Granville Sharp became the emblem of charity in both countries. The most cordial intercourse


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