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this subject, will compel the government to wipe away the foul stain created by this most atrocious breach of national faith. The distracted state of the Spanish nation and the revolt of her colonies should not be forgotten in reflecting upon her failure to fulfil the stipulations she has entered into. A great change has recently taken place in the relative positions of the goverument and people in that country, and most of her colonies have as. sumed independence. Liberal and enlightened sentiments are rapidly gaining ground; and although a secure and radical change of character and condition must be the gradual work of many years, it is reasonable to presume, that this subject, occupying so much of national attention throughout the civilized world, and presenting so conspicuous an opportunity for the display of the principles, which the popular leaders are anxious to promote, will receive the consideration and treatment best calculated to prove their sincerity.
Holland is still degraded by the connivance of the government at the breach of the treaty above named, by her own citizens and foreigners under her flag: and still more by the officers stationed on the coast of Africa to enforce their laws, some of whom have at least assisted in evading them, if not themselves engaged in the traffic. England, from obviously interested as well as honest motives, is zealous in her efforts to abolish the trade ; but all her exertions are unavailing to prevent British subjects and British capital from being extensively engaged in it, while the flags of other nations can be so easily assumed, which renders seizure of vessels illegal, unless slaves are actually found on board of them.
American capital and American citizens, also, we blush to add, are still largely employed in this nefarious commerce, escaping detection by the same expedients. The possession of the Floridas by the Spaniards afforded every facility for smuggling slaves into the Southern States: that territory being now ceded to the United States, the introduction of them into this country will become extremely difficult if the government performs its duty.
One thing only remains to be done by Amercia, and that is, to assent to a inutual right of search within prescribed limits, and subject to suitable regulations. This alone can prevent her fag frorn being prostituted to the protection of pirates and slave dealers. And when this subject shall again be brought before the national legislature, we trust that a sense of its necessity, now so fully established by information from the coast of Africa, will overcome the objections which have hitherto very justly existed : it being remembered, that a specific concession of this right for this particular purpose, is a virtual abandonment by the contracting parties of any claim to visit and search vessels in time of peace, for any other purpose. Such a concession, with the laws now in operation, and the increasing zeal of the people at large, would soon terminate our participation in the guilt and ignominy of this traffic. France and America are the only nations concerned in the trade, which have not assented to this arrangement, and this is now the chief obstacle in the way of its extirpation.
The pamphlet selected for the introduction of these remarks, contains an interesting report of the case of a vessel American built, but bearing the French flag and having French papers, captured on the coast of Africa on suspicion of being engaged in the slave trade, and sent into this port for adjudication by captain Stockton, commander of the United States' schooner Alligator. The libel contained two allegations; the first, against the vessel as being employed in the slave trade, contrary to the laws of the United States; and the second, as being so employed against the general law of nations. The report includes a very learned and elaborate argument by the counsel in behalf of the French claimants, tending to prove that the slave trade is not an offence against the law of nations; and also the decision of the court, pronounced by the learned judge with bis characteristic eloquence and ability, in which a contrary doctrine is established. After commenting upon the general theory of the national law, the nature of the slave trade, and the various laws and treaties of Europe and America concerning it, he proceeds to give his opinion as follows ;- I think therefore that I am justified in say. ing, that at the present moment the traffic is vindicated by no nation, and is admitted by almost all nations as incurably unjust and inhuman. It appears to me therefore, that in an American court of judicature, I am bound to consider the trade an offence against the universal law of society, and in all cases where it is not protected by a foreign government, to deal with it as an offence carrying with it the penalty of confiscation.'
Similar views have been entertained in the highest prize court in England; and should this principle be ultimately recognized in both these countries and in France, which by the way would be the best evidence she could give of her sincerity in attempting the abolition, nothing will be wanting, except the mutual qualified right of search above mentioned, to enable these three nations hereafter to wash from their hands the blood of this crime.
As the treaties which Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands have respectively made with Great Britain providing for the abolition of this trade, limit the right of seizure to cases where slaves are actually found on board of the vessels ; and the right of adjudication to the mixed courts above mentioned, something more seems necessary to be done by those nations, to render their sub, jects and vessels engaged in the traffic, amenable to the general law of nations.
The Quarterly Review for December, 1821, contains the fol. lowing remarks upon this subject. We think then, that, as six years and a half have passed since the combined sovereigns made this public declaration (of their intention to abolish the trade) the success of which instead of being " complete" has been entirely " negative," they are bound in honour and con. science to take some further steps : and we know of none so likely to be efficient as the one we have suggested ;'(to declare the slave trade piracy.) It was our intention to have remarked upon the calumnies against this country contained in the article from which the above passage is extracted : but we have already far exceeded our intended limits, and will not trespass further upon the patience of our readers. We have been desirous to attract attention to this subject by the above statements, because there is at present none upon which a christian community ought to feel more deeply and zealously interested : because in this country the sentiments and feelings of the people have a direct and immediate influence upon the proceedings of the govern. ment; and because it is high time that the energy of the nation should be exerted, in exterminating this atrocious, remorseless commerce ; in comparison with which, All other injustice, all other modes of desolating nature, of blasting the happiness of man, and defeating the purposes of God, lose their very name and character of evil.'
The right of private judgment in religion, vindicated against
the claims of the Romish Church and all kindred usurpations, in a Dudleian Lecture, delivered before the University in Cambridge, October 24, 1821. By John PIERCE, A. M. Minister of Brookline. pp. 24.
This sermon is sensible, manly, and candid; and does honour to its author, a man universally respected and loved. The subject is distinctly announced in the title, and the right of private judgment is maintained on just and sufficient grounds. First, from the reason of the case. God has given man the power of discrimination between truth and falsehood, right and wrong; and, in the forcible language of Tucker, the gift of a power is the call of God for the exertion of that power. Besides, religion from its nature is a matter of voluntary choice ; other. wise it could not be called a reasonable service, or the worship of God with the spirit and the understanding. No arbitrary or compulsory measures can produce it. Christian faith is far different from a merely mechanical and unintelligent assent to any doctrines, however well founded; no man can be said to believe a proposition, the terms of which he does not understand. Christian piety absolutely implies the deepest and purest exercises of the heart. No external authority therefore can make men christians. The right of private judgment is maintained, in the next place, from the evils, which we may expect to follow, and which experience shows have followed, an implicit reliance on human authority. All motives to the investigation of truth are taken away, where either we are compelled to acknowledge an infallible authority, and are made to believe that no more truth remains to be discovered; or where we are forbidden to follow the results, to which, in such investigation, we may be led.
Implicit dependence on human authority,' we give it in the words of the sermon, is very apt to make men place the essence of religion in something, which deserves not that distinction ; and subjects men to receive, without examination and without gainsaying, the most grievous impositions upon the understanding.'
That these consequences have followed from the assumptions and claims to infallibility made by the Romish church, is then shown by decisive evidence; by the decrees of the Council of Trent; by the remarks of some of the most distinguished ministers of that church on the inutility and impropriety of allowing to the laity the free use of the sacred scriptures ; by the worship, which bas been paid in that church to saints and images; and by the compulsion, which has been used, to bring men to receive the doctrines of infallibility and transubstantiation.
Many of the remarks connected with these topics have great force ; and we shall indulge ourselves with some quotations.
• In the Council of Trent the Bishop of St Mark said,* The Ca. nons determine that the laicks ought humbly to receive the doctrine of faith, which is given them by the church, without disputing or thinking farther on it.
• One cannot but observe, how different is the language of rational and consistent protestants. As they maintain that the Scriptures
* Father Paul's Hist. p. 141. Nero Series--vol. IV.
alone contain the words of everlasting life, and are the only perfect rule of faith and practice, they exhort all to peruse them with fidelity, not doubting, but with the honest use of their faculties, and the means of information within their reach, they will be guided into all necessary truth. They ask not for entire uniformity of faith ; for they believe it impracticable in the present state of imperfect views. The free adoption and expression of conflicting opinions, they consider to be not only innocent, but indispensable to the eviction of truth. Hence that different readers of Scripture should affix different meanings to many of their contents, they consider no better an argument against the expediency of allowing men to uoderstand them for themselves, than abuses of reason prove that men must not be allowed to use their reason in the common affairs of life.'--p. 10.
Again speaking on the subject of infallibility the preacher asks,
• What, for example, can be more incredible, than the doctrine of infallibility maintained by the Romish church! They are not agreed where it resides ; but that it is the property of their church, they have not the smallest doubt. Many of them allow that every individual, even the pope, taken by himself, is fallible ; but then the decisions of their general councils are infallible. This is as evident an absurdity in religion, as it would be in arithmetical calculations, to assert, that though every single cypher is of no amount ; yet a certain combination of cyphers would produce a sum of unspeakable value.'-p. 11.
He proceeds afterwards to make a powerful appeal.
• Consider, for a moment, what must have been the result of im. plicit faith and denial of the right of private judgment, if applied to the arts and sciences. Assume, for example, the period, when the church of Rome had risen to the zenith of her power, and held the civilized world under her imperious control ; and suppose, she had then, in the common affairs of life, as in religion, precisely defioed, what must be believed and practised by all succeeding generations. It is demonstrable, that the sciences would have continued in the same degraded condition, to which they were reduced, during the dark ages. The arts would also have remained in the same rude state. The invention of printing would have been stified in its infancy as the effect of magic. The mariner's compass would have been unknown. Most of those improvements, which now adorn the face of society, and contribute most effectually to the comfort and convenience of life, would have been prevented. The land in which we live, would have been, through every successive age, the exclusive abode of savages; and instead of this growing community of enlightened freemen, the arts of civilized life, which are advancing with rapid strides, our temples of religion, and our seats of literature and science, the tenants of the wilderness might still have beer