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We think it would be a vast advantage to the public in general, if ingenious opticians would turn their attention to a remedy for that long sighted benevolence which sweeps the distant horizon for objects of compassion, but is blind as a bat to the wretchedness and destitution abounding at their own doors.-Blackwood.
I cannot however believe that the Creator made man to leave him in an endless struggle with the intellectual miseries that surround us: God destines a calmer and more certain future to the communities of Europe. It appears to me beyond a doubt, that sooner or later we shall (in Europe) arrive like the Americans at an almost complete equality of conditions. -De Tocqueville.
We appeal to all competent observers, whether all the moral elements of an American state of society are not most rapidly growing up among us.-Edinb. Review.
The result of the long struggle between the Patricians and Plebians of Rome was their perfect equality; and incontestibly this is the tendency of modern Europe.-Raumer.
SOCIETY IN ENGLAND.
HE World's Convention, in London, in 1840, was one of
tined to have greater influence on the fortunes of the United States, than the proceedings of any other body of men in Great Britain, since the passage of the Stamp Act by the British Parliament. The English abolitionists had invited all nations to send delegates to London, to discuss the question of slavery, wherever it existed, and devise ways and means for its abolition, all over the earth. Nearly all of the illustrious men of Great Britain, and many of the most eloquent and learned men of other countries, were present.
The venerable Thomas Clarkson, in his eighty-first year, had come from his home in Ipswich, to preside over the Convention. Freemason's Hall, on that day, held a most dignified and imposing assembly.
The name of Clarkson called forth loud applause. 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 was 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, the Convention rose and received him in (177)
THE VENERABLE THOMAS CLARKSON.
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 general murmur of approbation which could not be suppressed. He took his scat and held his handkerchief to his face.
We felt a veneration for the aged Chieftain, which words. could not express. 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 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, left on earth, to lay the beautiful boy in consecration upon freedom's altar, on this, his ninth birth-day. 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 rcsponse 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 color 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."
DANIEL O'CONNELL'S SPEECH.
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 eighty-first year of my age, as it did at the age of twenty-four, when I first took it up. And I can say further, 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 upon all 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.
ANIEL O'CONNELL was called for. He rose and said: "This was a Convention, the most important that ever assembled. 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 race-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 coöperation. In the chair he was happy to see the patriarch of liberty. He was glad that the venerable gentleman had lived to see the brightening of a day, the dawn of which the fervor of his youth could scarcely have hoped to sec. His was the purest of all fame that of doing good. 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. They must speedily adopt practical means for establishing correspondence, and coöperating societies all over the world. It was a gratifying thing to hear that Massachussetts had declared the
MRS. AMELIA OPIE.
first clause of American independence to be utterly inconsistent with slavery, and on that ground alone it should be abolished. At present, it was only in the East Indies that slavery, under British rule, existed. There, not only the laborers were slaves, but the great mass of the population were serfs, completely under the sway of the East India Company, to be ground down by the land-rents' exactions, at its will. There should be a glorious combination of anti-slavery societies all over the world, and no motives should be allowed to mar the disinterested sincerity of their efforts. He was rejoiced to see their chairman among them. He was happy to find himself in a Convention, to the members of which no selfish motives could by any possibility be attributed. Let them persevere in their efforts, and they would raise the entire of the human race from a state of slavery and degradation, to that liberty which was the best preparative for receiving the truths of Christianity, and the blessings of civilization."
At the close of O'Connell's speech the chairman was obliged to retire. The whole Convention rose, and as he left the Hall, leaning upon the arm of the Irish Orator, the feelings of the assembly were expressed by the most enthusiastic applause.*
*I was introduced to the celebrated Mrs. Amelia Opie, who was enjoying a green old age, She lived in Norwich, about 120 miles east of London, but, like everybody else, was spending "the season" in town. She had, long before, adopted the simple faith, and plain, rich costume of the Society of Friends, and suppressed several of her fictitious works, from conscientious scruples in regard to their influence. But she showed unbounded cheerfulness, and was certainly a delightful woman. I did not know her age, but she must have been over seventy, I think, although her cheek still wore the rich bloom of earlier years.
"It is very painful," she said, "to think that your great and free Republic should be desecrated by slavery. It is very lamentable. It is like some odious blemish on a beautiful painting; the eye would contemplate the beauties of the picture, but it cannot: the blemish fills the vision. Oh! I hope I shall live to see the day when there will not be a slave in all your beautiful land. It has been the home of freedom; there is no such land on earth; and this makes it so indescriably painful to think that it is a land of slaves."
You have never visited our country, I think, madam?"
"No, I have not; but there is no part of the world I so much desire to see