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Mayor of Bath, who stated that the venerable Thomas Clarkson had arrived, and would soon enter the Hall. The name of Clarkson called forth loud applause. We were requested, in consideration of his age and infirmities, to refrain from any manifestation of our feelings when he should enter the Hall. The whole assembly was silent, and every eye turned towards the door. The scene which followed surpassed anything I ever witnessed.
This venerable patriarch of liberty had left his quiet home in his old age, to meet the representatives of the different nations of the earth, to devise means for “the emancipation of man everywhere from the thraldom of man,” and then go back to his peaceful retreat, and await his summons to Heaven. As he entered the Hall, supported by two distinguished gentlemen, and accompanied by his daughter-in-law and grandson, the Convention rose and received him in silence. He seemed bowed down with age, and his hair was perfectly white. He was deeply affected by his reception; and when he was proposed as chairman, there was a gentle murmur of approbation which could not be suppressed: he took his seat and held his handkerchief to his face.
We all felt a veneration for the aged chieftain in our presence which words could not describe. We saw before us the man whose name had been associated for more than half a century with almost every great enterprise for the advancement of human liberty; the originator, and now the only surviving
YOUTHFUL GRANDSON OF CLARKSON.
member of the first committee ever instituted for the abolition of the slave-trade. Hoare, Smith, Dilwyn, Harrison, Phillips, and Wilberforce were all dead. This was probably the last great assembly in whose deliberations he would mingle; and feeling that his time on earth was short, and under the impulse of freedom's fires, which burned on the altar of his heart as brightly as ever, he had brought his little grandson, Thomas Clarkson, into the Convention, the only representative of his family and name now on earth, to lay the beautiful boy in consecration upon freedom's altar on this his ninth birthday. It was a beautiful offering to the genius of liberty: a nobler dedication than when his father brought the young Hannibal to the altar, and made him swear eternal hostility to the enemies of Carthage.
The gentleman who introduced the boy to the assembly laid his hand upon his head, and prayed that the blessing of Heaven might rest upon him, and that, with the descending mantle of his venerated ancestor, he might catch a double portion of his spirit. “I am sure,” said he,“ that this prayer will find a response in every bosom in this assembly (cries of amen), as well as the earnest hope, that when some of us shall be removed to that bourne where the wicked cease from troubling, and where all distinctions of clime and colour will be swept forever away, he may live to see the day when the divine blessing shall so eminently have crowned this great cause of justice and mercy we have this day assembled to
promote, that the sun shall cease to rise upon a tyrant or set upon a slave.”
Clarkson then rose, and delivered a most affecting and eloquent address. Some parts of it were sublime. In alluding to himself, he said, “I can say with truth, I think, that although my body is fast going to decay, my heart beats as warmly in this sacred cause now, in the 81st year of my age, as it did at the age of 24, when I first took it
And I can say farther with truth, that if I had another life given me to live, I would ask no better fortune than to devote it all with firmer resolution and warmer zeal to the same glorious work of redeeming humanity from oppression.”
He closed with a benediction upon the assembly and the friends of human liberty throughout the world. When he sat down, I believe there was not a heart in the Convention that was not deeply moved, nor an eye that was not filled with tears.
After a few moments of silence, the following letter from Lord Brougham was read:
House of Lords, Thursday. Gentlemen: I am much honoured by the request which you have made to me through your deputation this morning, that I would attend the meeting of delegates to-morrow. I assure you that it is very painful for me to be under the necessity of refusing. But the state of my health has been such for some time past, that I am barely able to discharge those
LETTER FROM BROUGHAM.
duties in this place from which I cannot withdraw; and I have been compelled to lay down a rule against going to any public meeting whatever. Of all the instances in which I have been obliged to follow this rule, there is no one which has given me greater pain ; for I need hardly say how deeply I feel interested in whatever concerns the great cause which brings you together. I earnestly hope that all your proceedings may be guided by the same wisdom and animated by the same zeal which have, from the earliest period of the controversy, been displayed by the friends of humanity and justice; and I trust that, under the blessings of Providence continued to their exertions, our earnest desires may finally be crowned with success. I have the honour to be, gentlemen, Your faithful and humble servant,
BROUGHAM. To the Committee of Management of Delegates.
I have not for a long time felt so much disappointed as when I learned that we should not have Brougham in this Convention. Such an occasion as this would have been a fine field for the display of his powers, and there was a general expectation that he would attend.
After considerable time spent in settling the manner of conducting the business of the Convention, the chairman called upon Daniel O'Connell, who rose and said:
“This was a Convention the most important that ever assembled. (Hear.) To it came men from hundreds and thousands of miles distant; not with a selfish motive, not even alone for the pride and pleasure of participating in the great and ennobling work, but from sincere philanthropy to the human racemo (hear)—and it included delegates from all parts of the world, even from America; certainly from all parts of the British empire, and none ought to be exempt from co-operatien. (Hear.) In the chair he was happy to see the patriarch of liberty. (Hear, hear.) He was glad that the venerable gentleman had lived to see the brightening of a day, the dawn of which the fervour of his youth could scarcely have hoped to see. (Hear, hear.) His was the purest of all fame, that of doing good. (Hear, hear.) They were not met here only to talk or display talent ; that would be insufficient; they must direct their minds to some practical movement: Forward must be the word. (Hear, hear.) They must speedily adopt practical means for establishing corresponding and co-operating societies all over the world. (Hear, hear.) It was a gratifying thing to hear that Massachusetts had declared the first clause of American independence to be utterly inconsistent with slavery, and on that ground alone it should be abolished. (Hear, hear.) At present it was only in the East Indies that slavery, under the British rule, existed. There not only the labourers were slaves, but the great mass of the population were serfs, com