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of three helpless boys, whom their wicked father had often trampled under foot, and treated in a manner too shocking to relate, when, nearly starving with hunger, they dared to cry out for food. Soon afterwards, she proved the happy means of saving the lives of four Roman catholic children, who, without her assistance, would have fallen a prey to want and famine. Thus she had the management of seven children, to whom several more were added, belonging to members of three several religious denominations. She now hired a house and a servant girl, and supported the whole of the family entirely with her own work, and the little money she got from the industry of the children, whom she taught to spin cotton. A fine youth, of a noble mind, made her an offer of his hand; she at first refused, but he declared he would wait for her even ten years, when she replied that she could never consent to part with her poor orphans: he nobly answered, 'Whoever takes the mother, takes the children too.' This he did, and the children were brought up by them in the most careful manner. They have lately taken in other orphans, whom they are training up in the fear and love of God."
In the pleasures of benevolence, the esteem of his flock, and the approbation of Heaven, M. Oberlin has already enjoyed a rich reward; and a still nobler recompense awaits him. More than eighty years have rolled over his head; but, if life be measured rather by actions than by time, his has been indeed a lengthened existence; much longer, in the course of nature, he cannot survive; but whenever he shall be called to hear the cheering words-" Well done, good and faithful servant”—may Divine Providence raise up successors, who, animated by the same spirit, and following his honourable example, shall perpetuate the felicity of the Ban de la Roche!
ART. V.-Slave Trade.
T the commencement of the present session of parliament, Dr.
A Lushington announced his intention of bringing in a bill for the
consolidation of the Acts relating to the abolition of the slave trade. We are disposed to attach considerable importance to this measure: and though fully sympathizing in the distaste which we suppose our readers in general feel for mere legal discussions, we must request their indulgence, if, on so momentous a subject as this, we should engage them in an investigation of a series of Acts of Parliament. We shall not be often found in so sterile and uninteresting a region.
From generation to generation, Englishmen have been com plaining of the obscurity of the laws by which they are governed: many have even supposed, that the legislature, willing to promote the selfish ends of those who live by expounding the law, has deliberately set itself to bewilder common understandings, and that the mists in which our statutes are involved, have been wilfully raised by a succession of crafty and designing spirits. The truth, however, we take to be, that in this, as in other cases, we buy our blessings at a price." In a free country, laws will necessarily be more obscure than in other states: the jealousy of trusting too much to judicial interpretation; the necessity of defining crimes and their punishments with precision; and the severity with which advocates are permitted to criticize the law in favour of their clients, are among the permanent sources of that cautious and redundant phraseology in which our Statute-book abounds. Other causes may be found in the peculiar constitution of the House of Commons, and in the magnitude of the commercial and financial affairs of the empire. But although this inconvenience is, we think, intimately connected with that which constitutes the peculiar glory of our country, far be it from us either to deny the magnitude of the evil, or to with-hold our thanks from those who endeavour to mitigate it. Among the means of cure, the consolidation of all the laws relating to the same general topic is one of the most easy and effectual; and as no Acts of Parliament are more important than those which relate to the abolition of the slave trade, so none more deserve or more urgently require a careful revision:-it may, howerer, be permitted us to doubt whether the time is yet ripe for the accomplishment of this task. The consolidated Slave Trade Abolition Act should, as far as possible, be the permanent immutable law of Great Britain: it should stand as a model for the imitation of other legislatures; and should not contain any thing at enmity
with those great principles of justice and benevolence on which the whole fabric is built. Now is such the present state of the abolition laws? or are there not rather some important corrections, which should precede any attempt at consolidation? These questions, we apprehend, will best be answered by the compendious summary which we shall attempt to give of this title of the law of England. The very learned and amiable person who has taken on himself the duty of superintending the proposed revision of these Acts of Parliament, will, we trust, regard us as zealous though humble labourers in the same field; happy if we should be able in any measure to assist him in the pursuit of his benevolent and patriotic object.
We are the rather disposed to defer the more interesting views of the present state of the slave trade, in favour of this inquiry, because many of our cotemporaries have placed within reach of the public, in a convenient and most impressive manner, the substance, of all the recent information from the coast of Africa. We refer, especially, to Mr. Clarkson's pamphlet entitled "The Cries of Africa," -to a tract circulated by the society of Friends, entitled "Information concerning the Slave Trade,"-to a Report made by a committee of the directors of the African Institution, and published as a supplement to their Annual Report for 1821,-and especially to an admirable paper to be found in the last number of the British Review, and lately reprinted in the form of a separate tract. These few pamphlets will convey, to all who are anxious to understand the merits of this question, a body of information of the most deep and painful interest; stated with a perspicuity, force, and feeling, which would be necessarily impaired by any abridgement. Leaving then for the present, to these powerful writers, the task of rousing the consciences and stimulating the zeal of our fellow-countrymen, we turn aside to the humbler but not, we trust, unserviceable office which we have proposed to ourselves.
At an early period of the twelve years war, which commenced in the year 1803, the whole of the French and Dutch colonies were surrendered to Great Britain. It being a principle of the Law of England, that the king has a legislative authority over a conquered country, the difficulties which impeded the abolition of the slave trade by parliament, did not exist with regard to these conquests.
Their restoration, on the return of peace, was an event which in those times it would have been absurd to doubt; and the policy was obvious, of preventing the use of British capital in extending the culture of foreign colonies, destined, as it then appeared, to become at no remote period the rivals of our own. The friends of the abolition had therefore the less difficulty in obtaining a law
for preventing the introduction of new labourers into these settlements. Accordingly, on the 15th of August 1805, an order in council was issued, prohibiting the importation of slaves into any of the colonies, either on the continent of America or in the West Indies, which had "surrendered to his majesty's arms during the present war."
Although the king in council had power thus to prohibit the slave trade in any conquered colony, yet his authority was insufficient to establish all those regulations which were essential to ensure obedience to the prohibition. At an early period, therefore, of the following session, the subject was brought before parliament, when the act usually known as the Foreign Slave Trade Act (46 Geo. III. c. 52.) was passed in order to give effect to the preceding order in council. The act, however, was not confined to this object; and the cause of the abolition was now able to gain a second triumph, of more extensive influence and of greater importance than the first. Not content with supplying her own colonies, England had long engrossed much of the carrying trade in slaves, between the coast of Africa and countries not subject to her own dominion. The waste of capital and of human life in this commerce had so frequently been demonstrated, as to force conviction even on the most prejudiced; and it was at length admitted, that to engage in the African trade, without any view to the culture of our own colonies, was an act of gratuitous and unprofitable wickedness. The foreign slave trade act, therefore, supported as it was by the influence of Government, encountered no formidable opposition in parliament. It passed on the 23d May 1806.
By this law, the actual importation of slaves into the conquered countries, and the shipment of slaves in British shipping, or on British account, with an intent so to import them, were prohibited. Thus far it only gave effect to the order in council: but it also forbad all persons amenable to the law of Great Britain, to carry slaves from any place whatever to any place under the dominion of any foreign power; and thus prevented, not only the great carrying trade between Africa and the colonies of foreign states, but also the supply of such colonies by means of any redundant popu→ lation of our own.
Hitherto the direct trade between the British colonies and the coast of Africa was subject to no restraint; but the hour was approaching when the parliament of Great Britain was to make to Africa the great though tardy atonement for the injustice and cruelties of nearly two centuries. On the 25th of March 1807, a day to be held in everlasting remembrance, was passed the "Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade," the precursor and in some
sense the model of those laws which all the maritime states of Europe have since adopted;-the most solemn acknowledgment to be found in the history of legislation, of the submission due by nations to the great laws of justice and humanity;-the statute which, whether we regard its immediate or its indirect consequences, may be justly considered as the most important which was ever deliberately enacted by any human legislature.
By this Act, the African Slave Trade was "utterly abolished, prohibited and declared unlawful." No subject of his majesty, nor any person resident in the King's dominions, was thenceforward to remove, or assist in removing, to any place whatever, as slaves, or for the purpose of being dealt with as slaves, any inhabitant of Africa, or of any foreign territory in the West Indies or America. Neither was any such person to be received or confined on board of any ship for the purpose of being so dealt with. Such was the general prohibition of this statute. The provisions framed for ensuring obedience to it were unavoidably complicated,-in some particulars defective,-and perhaps in some few subordinate points, as time and experience have shown, injudicious. Yet no candid man will, we think, deny that the act, even in its minor details, was worthy the great occasion on which it was introduced, and that it exhibits an extent of caution, of practical knowledge, and of foresight, of which it would be difficult to find any other example. Our space will not afford a lengthened explanation of these subsidiary provisions: we must be content to touch very briefly on some of the more important.
As the war with France was at its height in the year 1807, and as maritime captures made in the prosecution of that war would unavoidably introduce into the colonies natives of Africa found in the slave ships of hostile nations, it was necessary to provide for the treatment and disposal of them: the same difficulty arose respecting slaves who might be imported in violation of the law, a practice reasonably to be feared, since the assembly of Jamaica had deliberately asserted, that the whole united navy of Great Britain would not be able to prevent it. It was therefore provided, that all such Africans should be prosecuted either as prize of war, or as forfeitures to the crown, and should be condemned to the use of the king, not so as to deprive them of liberty, but for the purpose of barring any claim which any other person might assert. They were then either to be enlisted into the king's service as soldiers or seamen, or were to be bound apprentices for any term not exceeding fourteen years.
It required but an ordinary measure of sagacity to foresee the objections to which this plan was open, and the result has justi