Page images
PDF
EPUB

the Planters, it has been the fashion from the beginning to accuse and irritate them. Mr. Wilberforce treats the Colonies as Mr. Brougham treats the Church, with the most unbounded and undeserved abuse. And then he thinks it very hard that they do not place implicit confidence in his advice, do not submit themselves entirely to the guidance of his emissaries, do not enter heartily into all his plans, and acknowledge him as the patron Saint of a country to which he has done at least as much barm as good.

Now, putting justice, candour, and honesty, out of the question, is it politic in the emancipationists to alienate and traduce the Planters? If the morals of white men in the West Indies are corrupt, let proper steps be taken to improve them. If prejudices are strong, and benevolence weak, let the one be gradually excited, and the other 'as gradually rooted out. Until this has taken place, it is easy to produce an insurrection and a massacre, but impossible to effect a genuine reform. We believe the event to have taken place already, and contend that it rests with government to make the best of the circumstance. Mr. Wilberforce maintains that it neither has happened or will bappen, and yet supposes the present a convenient season for telling the slaves, that they ought to be, and shall be, free. The information, if communicated in the name of the British Parliament, could hardly fail to produce a revolt. And if that calamity were escaped, what would be the amount of the benefit for which such a risque has been incurred? The laws adopted by our Parliament must be carried into execution by the Planters . themselves, viz, by persons destitute, according to Mr. Wilberforce, of humanity and religion, persons whom he accuses of evading his Abolition and Register Bills, and who will much more easily and completely evade his Improvement Bills. Without the active and hearty concurrence of the whites, no real improvement can take place among the slaves. And our legislators, it is to be hoped, are too well aware of the fact, to sanction any system of forced or violent melioration, or to suppose that they can abolish vice and immorality by a Statate.

Sir Henry Martin recommends a much more reasonable measure.

“ The quiet and contented behaviour of the Negroes for some time past, has drawn the attention of the Planters to consider their farther amelioration, and especially as to their moral and religious improvement; for this purpose the Planters have been for some time past (and still are) employed in collecting from individual proprietors, the various plans and arrangements which they have adopted of late years upon their respective properties, for the greater comfort and better management of their Negroes; intend. ing to collect from these and other sources, such information as may enable them to form a general and uniform system ; and when it has been arranged into a practicable plan of amelioration, and of religious instruction, to submit it to the legislative authorities in the West India Colonies for their approbation, and by whom it might receive such particular and minute arrangements, as may be judged, by them, most proper for final adoption in each particular colony.

When this plan of amelioration shall have been carried into execution, I am perfectly convinced that the Negroes 'will, in every point of view, be in a much better situation than they would be under emancipation, for in the latter state they could not obtain one half the comforts they possessed in the former : and, therefore, it is a most false philanthropy to attempt changing their situation : and I have but little hesitation in declaring my opinion, that the better sort of Negroes (if they were not suddenly thrown into a state of ferment and temporary enthusiasm by the name of liberty) would decidedly reject the boon of emancipation, if coupled with a life of labour.

“ I sincerely wish his Majesty's ministers would make arrangements with the proper authorities for the appointment of several orthodox clergymen of the Church of England, or the Episcopal Church of Scotland, to proceed to the different Colonies, on sufficient stipends, to be paid from a fund established and maintained by government, which no doubt those gentlemen who seem so anxious for the religious instruction of the Negroes would most liberally assist by their donations; and to which I conceive most Planters would largely subscribe ; but all deficiency to be made good by government. These clergymen might be sent out solely for the religious and moral instruction of the Negroes ; and their duties so arranged as not to interfere, but to co-operate with the rectors of the different parishes in the Islands. I think much good might be effected by such a measure, if judiciously conducted on sound Church principles, to the absolute exclusion of all persons who do not strictly maintain it." P. 19.

Here is another proof of the extreme candoar of Mr. Wilberforce's declaration respecting Planters.

Every West Indian who took a part in the recent discussion in the House of Commons, professed bis readiness to support and sanction the removal of real grievances. Several members suggested the propriety of making further provision for religious instruction, and every one admitted, what is too obvious to be denied, that the interests of the slave, and slave owner, are one and the same. In addition to all this, we have the evidence, the upimpeached and unimpeachable evidence of Sir Henry Martin, to prove that preparations are actually making for the adoption of a general systein of religious instruc tion; and he suggests the proper steps by which such a measure

cess.

of

may be hastened. We are informed, likewise, that it is in contemplation to enlarge an ancient and valuable Institution, the Society for Promoting the Conversion of Negroes. The plan is heartily approved of by a large body of West Indians, who are equally well disposed towards a still greater undertaking, the establishment of one or more West Indian bishopricks. This indispensable measure bids fair, at last, for suc

It will be supported by all the friends of Colonial improvement. The emancipationists, who are so keenly sensible of the misconduct of (the resident Europeans, will rejoice at the prospect a more efficient ecclesiastical establishment. The Planters, who are jealous of the proceedings of illiterate and irresponsible missionaries, will not object to teachers or lessons that are authorised and sanctioned by the Church. The West Indian clergy will no longer be scattered over the country like sheep without a shepherd, waging an unequal warfare against the ignorance of savages, and

the licentiousness of slave drivers, but will have the benefit of an acknowledged ecclesiastical head, who will be the organ of their sentiments and wishes, the director of their exertions, the friendly superintendant of their conduct, and the promoter of their utility, their reputation, and their welfare.

With the example of the East before our eyes it is impossible to doubt that great and glorious effects may be anticipated from the proposed measure. In no department has the Episcopal oilice in India been more eminently successful than in the attention to religious duties, which it has excited among Europeans, and in that visible alteration in the moral conduct of the community, which has been contemporary with its establishment. It has assisted in bringing about the downfall of those fears respecting the conversion of the Hindoos, which were so long and so generally entertained. It has opened paths for the gradual progress of the Gospel, which the timid have pronounced safe, and the most desponding do not deem impracticable. May we not reasonably anticipate similar effects in the West? While little, comparatively speaking, has been accomplished by the isolated exertions of a small, but very respectable body of clergy, their united efforts will be speedily and signally beneficial. Religion will occupy a more conspicuous station among the whites as well as the blacks ; her claims, and her merits will be brought more conspicuously before the public: and the national sympathy will be excited and the national zeal directed by persons under no temptation to abuse it.

Without challenging the sincerity or piety of those teachers

[ocr errors]

wbom Mr. Wilberforce so warmly panegyrises, we must participate in the suspicion and jealousy with which they are regarded by the European population in the West Indies. Their desire of doing good may be intense, but their means are small. They want superintendance, they want sobriety, they want education, they want an orthodox creed, and an apostolic church; and, for these deficiencies, good intention cannot atone. The universal prevalence of methodism would overturn the constitution of Britain. Much more would it revolutionize and ruin such a society as exists in her colonies. And the colonists exhibit their practical good sense by declining its proffered friendship, and declaring, that the religion which they wish to encourage among their negroes is the religion not of the conventicle but of the Church. Under proper controul and direction methodist teachers might become instruments of much good. In their proper station, that of catechists and schoblmasters, they might perform an indispensable though humble task, and perhaps perform it better than men of superior education. If their hearts are pure and their discernment clear, they will hail the arrival of a Protestant Bishop, and hasten to put themselves under his protection. Should they think fit to pursue an opposite line of conduct, should they and their supporters oppose the Establishment and thwart the exertions of Episcopacy, we shall know what to think of their religious professions, and endeavour to explain their motives to our readers and the public.

ART. III. The Cambridge Tart: Epigrammatic and Satiric-Poetical Effusions ; &c.

&c. Dainty Morsels, served up by Cantabs, on various Occasions. Dedicated to the Members of the University of Cambridge. By Socius.

Crown 8vo. 300 pp. 8s. Smith. 1823. Those who have heard, read, and enjoyed as much excellent waggery from the wits of Cam as it has been our own good fortune to do, may be attraeted by the imposing title of this little volume. It is our duty, therefore, equally out of regard for the pockets of our readers, and from yeneration for the established fame of Alma Mater for facetiouisness, to warn all who may be inclined to purchase the Cambridge Tart, that by so doing they are preparing for themselves severe mortification. Half the “ dainty morsels". herein offered to the public were not written by Cantabs; and as to the other balf, such Cantabs as can write would perhaps wish that they had never been written at all. Out of our own port-folio of scraps, we would pledge ourselves to produce a more authentic and a far more entertaining collection. As it is, we shrewdly conjecture that some enemy from the illegitimate Academies north of Tweed, or perhaps from one of the many Royal, Metropolitan, and Literary Institutions, which are hoarly endeavouring to push our venerable mothers from their stools, has amassed this spurious assemblage of dullness, and palmed it with an evil intent upon the world, solely to detract from the fair reputation of our misused parent. Nay, the suspicion has crossed us, but we dismissed it on the moment, as unworthy both of ourselves and of its object, that some false brother on the banks of Isis being about to republish a variorum edition of the Oxford Sausage, had sought to heighten the rich seasoning of that exquisite dish by contrasting it with the stale and vapid refuse of which he has composed the Cambridge Tart

Great names are first put in requisition from bygone times. Chaucer we think, however, would not recognize the masquerading rifatto of his Reve's Tale, in the Miller of Trumpington; and we know not by what rule or measure selections have been made from Randolph, Cowley, Bishop Corbet, Milton, Ben Jonson, Prior, Phillips, and Lord Chesterfield. Certain it is, that few if any of the productions here attributed to this sounding catalogue, bear more reference in particular to Cambridge, than any other indivi dual page would have done, which it might have suited the compiler's fancy to transcribe from the body of their works. But this is not all. Little care has been taken to put the right, labels on the right bottles ; and names are grievously mismatched. Thus some pointless and not very good-natured lines (the Georgic) which a little trouble, if they were worth it, might perhaps have assigned to their lawful owner, are “ ascribed to a gentleman of Sidney College.” We also have heard them so ascribed, but every contemporary who cared to inquire, knew that the gentleman in question, to whom they were falsely attributed, had not this offence to answer for. Again, The Devil's Thoughts is here printed under the title of “ Extemporaneous Lines ascribed to the late Professor Porson." By an odd accident, we have now lying before us the rough draft of these very lines in the handwriting of their real author, Mr. Coleridge. As they are very incorrectly printed in the Cambridge Tart, and, we believe, have been so before, we shall transcribe our MS. below, premising (as will be evident from the perusal,) that the lines in the state in which we give them had not received

« PreviousContinue »