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necessary to say, that Mr. Sharp realized here, as elsewhere, the high opinion which had been formed of his zeal and labours in that righteous cause. The Memoirs, indeed, which we are now reviewing, when they introduce him into this committee, give an account of its formation to the end of its useful labours, during which they furnish us with anecdotes concerning him; but as this account is very long, and is abridged from Mr. Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the Slave-Trade, it would be beyond our limits, as well as unnecessary, to follow it. We shall therefore only observe, that Mr. Sharp lived to see this execrable trade abolished by the British Parliament, and add from the Memoirs, that, when the news of this glorious event was brought to him, he fell immediately on his knees in devotion and gratitude to his Creator, and this in the deepest retirement of his soul. Probably that interval was the most awful and happy in his whole life; an interval in which the pleasures, arising from adoration and thanksgiving to God, must have been heightened by an ecstasy of joy which no other earthly object could have given.
Having now done justice to the public life of Mr. Sharp, we shall look at him for a few moments as an individual. The Memoirs furnish us with many anecdotes and traits of his private character, from which, however, we shall only select the following:-Mr. Sharp is said to have possessed an even cheerfulness of temper. Though always serious, he never assumed the appearance of rigour, nor abstained from the common recreations of the world. He was delighted with young children, and took great pleasure in amusing them. He was fond of the animal creation, which he had studied with great care from his youth. When young, he had usually a jackdaw, or a bat, or a lizard, or some other living creature for a companion. It is said of him, that he never refused or neglected a charitable application. His sensibility in this respect increased with his years, so that in the latter part of his life, when he took rooms in the Temple, the doors of his chambers were beset from morning till night by a crowd of beggars. To do good more extensively, he became a member of many societies. He was well known at the hospitals of Bridewell and Bethlehem. He assisted at the African Association, African Institution, and Palestine Association. He was a member also of the Bible Society, Hibernian Society, Female-Penitentiary, and other excellent institutions. Humility and meekness were very leading features in his character. He was peculiarly delicate in his conduct towards others: and yet, humble, meek, and delicate as he was, he never lost the independence of his mind to whomsoever he wrote, or with whomsoever he conversed, on any occasion. He had no respect of persons in forming his judgeThe mandate of a king could not have biassed him. In
judging of constitutional matters he referred to the constitution, and
sion. His religion was without ostentation. He was attached in a most extraordinary manner to protestantism, and to the Established Church as a part of it. He was constant in his attendance on divine worship. He avoided all secular business on the Sunday. He fasted frequently according to the rites of the church. He was accustomed to read in his family the morning and evening prayers from the liturgy. Notwithstanding all this, he lived in habits of friendship and intimacy with men of all religious persuasions; for he did not consider the highest human virtue as exempt from error or as inconsistent with it. He was friendly to all literary pursuits, but particularly to those which related to pious researches into the Holy Scriptures, a study which perhaps few men ever carried so far as himself. His doctrines of the Greek article and the Hebrew conversive vau, and of other particularities of the Hebrew language, though not unknown to some profound scholars before his time, had all the merit of discovery, and more than that merit in the valuable use which he made of them. His employment in reading, writing, and study, must have been both incessant and intense. He printed no less than sixty works, many of which indeed were but of a small size; and it is remarkable that only four of these were printed for sale. The rest he gave away. It is added of Mr. Sharp, that never was there a more loyal subject to the king, or a firmer friend to the constitution.
It was a maxim of Mr. Sharp, that human life ought to be a state of continued active preparation for the service of God both here and hereafter. Acting upon this, he became fitted for the awful change which was approaching. His health and strength declined gradually. The first symptom of this decline was a partial loss of memory, which was visible in something like an inability to connect his sentences, when he spoke both at the African Institution and at the Bible Society. On the day preceding his death he breakfasted, as usual, with the family. His weakness after this was very sensibly increased. He was several times compelled to lie down
his bed in the course of the afternoon. He appeared often to labour for breath. Night, and partial repose, came on. In the morning his countenance was changed-in colour only; in expression it remained unaltered. About four o'clock in the afternoon he fell into a tranquil slumber, in which, without a struggle or a sigh, on the 6th of July 1813, he breathed his last in the 79th year of his age. The talents,, which had been intrusted to him as a steward, had been then faithfully disbursed, and were returned to the bosom of the Giver.
VOL. I. NO. II.
The news of his death immediately drew forth marks of the highest respect from some of the public bodies with which he had been connected. The British and Foreign Bible Society adopted a most suitable resolution on the occasion, which they inserted in the public papers, expressive of their gratitude and their grief. The African Institution sent a deputation of some of their choicest members to attend his funeral to the church at Fulham, where his remains were deposited in the family vault; but, not conceiving that they should acquit themselves of the debt of gratitude due to Mr. Sharp for his assiduous and unceasing efforts in the cause of the abolition of the slave-trade by this measure alone, they paid a more permanent tribute of respect to his memory by erecting to it a monument in Westminster Abbey. The work was executed by Mr. Chantrey, and exhibits in the centre a medallion of Mr. Sharp: on one side, in low relief, are a lion and a lamb lying down together; and on the other an African in the act of supplication. To these devices a most beautiful inscription, written by William Smith, Esq. mem. ber for Norwich, was added.
With respect to the Memoirs themselves we must now say a few words. Mr. Prince Hoare has certainly executed his work with great ability. When we consider the laborious task imposed upon him of examining whole boxes of manuscripts, and the prodigious variety of matter contained in these, we cannot help thinking that his arrangements and divisions have been very judicious. We do not indeed see how, out of such a chaos, there could have been produced light to show the intended objects more distinctly than Mr. Hoare has done. The work, to be sure, is very long. But then Mr. Sharp was no ordinary man. His objects too were multifarious, and his labours were incessant. It can therefore be no matter of astonishment that his life, and this a long one of nearly four score years, should have furnished materials, the record of which should require a considerable space. There is one characteristic of these Memoirs, always desirable, which is, that they may be relied upon as strictly true. They were compiled not from hearsay, but from manuscripts of the deceased, who was incapable of falsehood, and to the truth of which many valuable persons now living can add their testimony. We now recommend the work itself to the perusal of the reader; for every thing that Mr. Sharp wrote, and said, and did, is worthy of attention; and we have been obliged to omit even the mention of many circumstances in his life, as well as traits in his character, on account of the narrow limits which are usually allotted to a review.
ART. XVIII.-On the Policy of removing the Restriction imposed on the Importation of East India Sugars.
T is our desire on the present occasion to draw the attention of our readers to the question which is agitating between the growers of sugar in the West Indies and those who advocate the admission of sugar from the East Indies, upon the same terms as those which are granted to the sugars of any of our other colonies.
The principal object of the few pages which we can at this time devote to the subject, will be to convey a due estimate of its importance, as affecting both the great interests of humanity and the more particular and immediate interests of the British nation. The facts in detail, which may be adduced in abundance, to establish the whole of the points in dispute, will be presented more fully to the reader, as future occasions may call upon us to revert to them.
It is not necessary for us, we confidently hope, to dwell upon the miseries of West India slavery, even when detached from the atrocities of the slave-trade. Of these an adequate idea, we cannot but believe, is already impressed upon the minds of our readers.
To those who have reflected upon the condition of their fellow creatures, raising sugar as slaves in the West Indies, a short argument must be perfectly conclusive.
The question is, How much of good is obtained on the one hand, how much of evil incurred on the other?
If the good obtained is overbalanced by the evil incurred, the conclusion is, that the good should be renounced, rather than the evil incurred. This is an universal rule. There is not a human being who will dare to controvert it; because the scorn and hatred of mankind would be his approprate portion.
If, then, the certain, the notorious evils of West India slavery, are not only great in amount, but enormous; if the principal good derived from it can be shown to be capable of attainment, and of attainment in much greater perfection, from another source; and if all that remains of the good imputable to West India slavery, is a pittance, altogether insignificant compared with the evil which it produces, the propriety of resorting to that better source is fully and completely demonstrated.
The principal good derived from the labour of slaves in the cultivation of sugar in the West Indies is, incontrovertibly, the supply of sugar to the consumers of that article. The addition which is made to the pleasures of life by the use of that agreeable production is, of course, the sum total of the good of which it is productive. Whether this, taken at its highest estimation, ought to be regarded as an equivalent for the evils of West India slavery, might, we think, very well be questioned, even by those whose sympathy with the
sufferings of others is not very intense. But we are happily, on this occasion, relieved from the obligation of prosecuting any such inquiry, because we are enabled to affirm, and to affirm with assurance, that all the benefit derivable from the use of sugar is to be obtained by permitting its importation from the East Indies. It may be obtained not only in any quantity which may be required, but much cheaper than from the West Indies.
Let us first of all endeavour to ascertain the import of this proposition, of the truth of which we shall produce abundant evidence as we proceed.
As far as the consumers of sugar are concerned, the change would produce nothing but advantage. They would obtain the article from which their gratification is derived, and obtain it with less of a sacrifice than they did before. The circumstances, when taken in detail, are these. Every person who obtains by purchase an article, which is a source of gratification, obtains it by giving in exchange, something which is also a source of gratification, either mediately as money, or immediately as a consumable commodity. The consumer, therefore, who obtains sugar, makes a sacrifice to obtain it of something which is a source of gratification. If he obtains it from the West Indies, he makes a sacrifice to a certain extent of his sources of gratification; if he obtains it cheaper from the East Indies, he obtains the same quantity of this source of gratification, with a smaller sacrifice of his other sources of gratification. He is therefore a richer man upon the whole. All consumers are thus richer men upon the whole. The nation consists almost wholly of such consumers; the nation therefore is richer upon the whole, when it is allowed to obtain its sugars from the cheapest market.
Let us now, then, make up this account, and observe attentively the state of it. For one item, we have the annihilation of all that enormous mass of evils which is included in the term West Indian Slavery. For another item, we have the saving of all that sacrifice of the sources of gratification which every individual in the nation must bear to obtain sugar at a greater cost from the West Indies, than it might be obtained at from the East.
To these benefits, of all this magnitude, what is it that the West India gentlemen have to oppose?
If you admit East India sugars into the British market, we, they cry, shall be ruined.
This is what they have to say. This they repeat in all forms of expression. To this they apply all kinds of epithets, which they deem calculated to excite either sympathy in favour of themselves, or indignation against those who support the doctrine which they regard as injurious to them.
The results, at the utmost would be these: some hundreds of West