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THE SLAVE TRADE.
and of the people at large ; that education was making a progress unexampled in the history of the world ; that the spirit of liberty was at its height; and that the Christian religion was dominant at home, and spreading abroad. They will read, that at this very time, under the sanction of this Government, and with scarcely a dissentient voice among its subjects, the unoffending inhabitants of the distant and almost unknown coasts of Africa were visited by English vessels, stolen from their homes, conveyed to our West Indian colonies in such numbers, that a large proportion of them invariably perished on the passage by suffocation, neglect, or punishment; that they were there separated and sold, and, while all the attachments of nature and instinct were lacerated and festering, the memory of these ills was effaced by a series of inconceivable toils and torments, from which they were only relieved by a mortality unknown except under the immediate inflictions of the Divine judgments. They will learn that a few individuals of singular philanthropy arose, who deeply felt, and inveighed against, the injustice and atrocity of this system, and devoted their lives to its extirpation ; but that they were very generally regarded as enthusiasts, who were willing to sacrifice the commercial interests of their country to certain abstract principles of their own. That, after years of futile effort, the reins of government were placed in the hands of one, whose benevolence was as ample as his genius, and who bequeathed his name to immortality, linked with the ABOLITION OF
But with what unmeasured indignation and contempt will they view the conduct of their ancestors subsequently to this great act of justice. That a Christian nation, after having thus slowly and reluctantly yielded to the imperative claims of humanity, after having committed themselves to the principle upon which the continuance of slavery must be condemned as the last of atrocities, should have still continued carefully to rear slaves, and only so far altered the laws affecting them, as to make them a contraband article of import; worst of all, that they should have visited with the most malignant persecution those who dared to speak to them of hope even beyond the grave, and to mitigate the horrors of bondage by announcing“ a rest that remaineth ;"-surely, if such persons as have been supposed, should read and believe these accounts, they would blush to belong to the same species as ourselves. We may, however, imagine that they would read on, with some degree of curiosity, to discover what we proposed to ourselves in this monstrous inconsistency and atrocity; and at length they will satisfactorily trace it to a general preference of one kind of sugar to another, and a prevalent taste for rum and water, and cigars !!
But leaving hypothesis. It is not too much to assert,--that no man, of average good sense and good feeling, would tolerate improprieties analagous to these in his own household, or in any social system under his exclusive control; and that, not from their interference with his own comfort, but from their inconsistence with the universally received principles of equity. Yet society tolerates them; and finds its defence, as one would suppose, in the same excuses as might be framed by a riotous mob, in which the ringleaders would plead that they were impelled forward involuntarily by the multitude in their rear; while the multitude would plead their ignorance of the mischief which was done by the foremost.
But, perhaps, the strongest instance of inconsistency between the opinions of each individual, and the almost universal conduct of society, is to be found in the practice of duelling. There can be little doubt as to the origin of this absurd and barbarous custom. It is a relic of one of the most gross and stupid superstitions which ever disgraced human nature—that of litigation by combat. The principle in which this practice originated, namely, that God would decide for the right, in every instance of dispute, by the death of the injuring party, is sufficiently absurd ; and is only to be accounted for by the utter ignorance and barbarism of those who adopted it. But this principle has long been abandoned. The practice is continued on very different grounds; but these, while they are more wicked, are equally irrational and indefensible. It is manifest that the practice of duelling is not now regarded as a mode of revenge, else it would be punished with death; for it is “malice aforethought,” which, in the eye of the law, constitutes murder. Again, as a means of reparation, it is utterly absurd ; for the injured party generally subjects himself to a degree of danger equal to that incurred by the aggressor, and consequently runs an even chance of adding mutilation or death to the injury he has previously sustained. It is impossible, therefore, to attribute this motive to the challenger, except in those few cases in which the chances are known to be in his favour. The principle by which duellists are generally actuated appears to be this—that the commission of the affront supposes that the party against whom it is committed will be afraid to resent it, and therefore virtually charges him with cowardice; but cowardice, in warlike and chivalrous nations, is held as a crime which renders a man infamous, and ought to exclude him from society ; and the stigmatized party feels himself, in consequence, bound to prove his courage by fighting the aggressor. Now, we imagine that, whatever be the result of a duel, it will be difficult, morally, to clear the duellist of all the sin which attaches to suicide, to murder, or to both; the latter, certainly the most frightful accumulation of guilt which any single action can involve. At all events, we will hazard an opinion, that no man accepts a challenge, without a distinct conviction of the heinousness of his conduct ; but he dares not endure the alternative.
“ The state of society," says he,“ obliges me to this; else, I must prepare for the stigma and sneer of my associates ; and that, I dare not and will not incur.” In this, which we are persuaded is the true point of view, the conduct of the party alluded to assumes a character which, if the subject were not a solemn one, would be unspeakably ridiculous. His conscience and his instincts revolt from this mode of proving his courage ; but he adopts it because he dares not incur the consequences of declining it—that is, (as he knows that every body will perceive,) because he is fearful of being thought afraid to do so!! The peculiar character of the logic by which the duellist arrives at his conclusion, will, perhaps, suggest to the reader a reason why the practice is so prevalent in the sister kingdom.
But it is not only the principle of duelling which is indefensible and absurd, the most monstrous inconsistencies are involved in the practice. Can any thing be imagined more preposterous than that the first General of the present day, covered with the glory of a hundred victories, at the summit of reputation both as a soldier and a commander, and occupying the most important station in the government of his country, should feel it necessary, in order to prove his courage, to exchange shots with a harmless and respectable country gentleman, who happened to be a little bilious and irritable ? Yet this farce we have seen enacted in our own day. We had hoped, indeed, that this occurrence would have been the means of exploding the custom, by demonstrating such an intolerable absurdity. But this appears to have been premature ; it has but recently, in the Ilouse of Commons, received the virtual sanction of one of the most influential and respected members of the present government, whose excellent sense and proverbial goodness of heart were unable to stand against the fashion of his associates ; who lost the opportunity of distinguishing himself by an open reprobation of this absurdity, and was content to rank among the fops and fools of his day.
Here, then, is a striking instance of inconsistency and guilt, peculiar to men in their collective capacity. A practice which would be repudiated by each individual composing society, is retained by each, because society enforces it! This is scarcely too strong a statement of the case. And whence are we to expect the remedy? Upon the infatuation which dictates this childish practice, all argument is lost and thrown away. Moreover, it has already been so unmercifully burlesqued and caricatured, that we can hope for but little effect from ridicule, unless some second Cervantes should arise, and level against it the laughter of the world.
This is, it must be confessed, a most humiliating, though, we believe, a just view of society : veed we go far for the inferences to which it leads, and the lessons it is adapted to impress ? A very cursory examination of the inconsistencies which we have indicated, will convince us that they are mainly attributable to the want of independence and decision of mind. They could never have originated, except from the universal surrender of the right of private judgment; and nothing more is necessary to explode them at once and for ever, than a general or even a partial assertion of that right. However true it is that “in the multitude of counsellors there is safety," it is equally true that “where no counsel is, the people fall;" that the large majority of society never think for themselves, and are helplessly dependent for the accuracy of their notions on those to whom they yield a servile acquiescence : surely, in bending to such a majority, we shall “follow the multitude to do evil.” Apart from the ignominy of this “passive obedience,” as involving the surrender of that freedom of mind which is the birthright and the glory of human nature, it is chargeable with a high degree of moral turpitude, as evincing an utter insensibility to the value of truth, and the consequent sacredness of opinion. The charge of eccentricity, therefore, (except on those points which “come home to every man's business and bosom," and on which, therefore, each individual thinks for himself,) appears to be one of a very light, and often of a very enviable character. While the monstrous inconsistencies and vices which we have noticed, and which will probably suggest others to the mind of the thoughtful reader, receive the blind and tacit sanction of the community ; eccentricity must wear the aspect of a duty, and that conformity to which it is opposed, however favourable it may be to the repose of society, is chargeable with all the results which follow from those fatal slumbers.
There is such a thing as the despotism of the many, far more to be feared than that of any individual. To the latter species of tyranny, Providence has appointed some mitigations, by limiting the term of life, and the sphere of personal influence. But though individual tyrants die off (through God's mercy) and “ go to their own place," this more formidable tyrant, this “bellua multorum capitum,” never dies, but continues from generation to generation, to rivet upon men the fetters of custom, the more fatally secure from being neither seen nor heard, - nor even felt, except when they are attempted to be broken. It is evident that this power could never have arrived at the illegitimate height which it has attained, had not men lost sight of the fact, that though they might act in a collective capacity, they were responsible as individuals. It is then the duty of the wise and the good to assert, and act upon this principle, and to draw from it the motives which it supplies to decision of character. It is the want of this most ennobling distinction of the human mind, to which most of the inconsistencies and crimes of communities are attributable. It is the cultivation of it to which we must look for their only sure and permanent remedy. At the same time, while we connect these results with decision of character, it is necessary to distinguish between it, and that obstinacy which sometimes resembles it in its operation, but which is a vice as common as the virtue which it apes is rare. The essential difference between them is easily stated. Obstinacy is the invariable mark of an obtuse and insusceptible mind, and consists in immoveable adherence to opinions or purposes, irrespectively of the arguments and opinions of others; but to decision of character, nothing is more essential than extended induction and mature deliberation ; at the same time, the capital distinction of the decided mind is, that while it entertains the opinions, arguments, or practice of others, they merely enter as elements into a calculation which is throughout conducted by itself alone. The essential difference between the genuine and counterfeit, between true decision of character and “that false and contemptible kind of decision which we term obstinacy,” has been admirably illustrated by one of the greatest moralists of whom our literature can boast, in his incomparable Essay on Decision of Character; where he designates obstinacy a temper which can assign no reasons but mere will for a constancy, which acts in the nature of dead weight, rathe than of strength; resembling less the reaction of a powerful spring than the gravitation of a big stone."
excursive tour, his residence at one place, MEMOIR OF THOMAS CORYATE,
except at Venice, seldom exceeded a few
days. He remained at Paris only till the Eccentric biography has its uses, in exhi- 28th of May, during which time he visited biting the varieties of human nature, the Isaac Casaubon, with whom he had much effects of the passions on the conduct of familiar conversation. From Paris he went men, or of certain predominant tendencies to Lyons, where he had an interview and diswhen destitute of their natural counterac- pute with a Turk belonging to the train of tives, in whom the imagination takes the the French ambassador at Constantinople. place of reason. Among the strange cha- This Turk, it seems, understood six or seven racters that have attracted curiosity, without languages, besides Latin, which he spake rendering any benefit to themselves or others, well. Coryate quitted Lyons on the 6th the subject of this memoir was particularly of June, and ascended Mount Cenis on the remarkable; and his history, therefore, may 11th of the same month. The next day he afford amusement and instruction.
arrived at Turin, where he was severely Thomas CORYATE, the son of George attacked with an inflammation in his hands Coryate, prebendary of York, and rector and face. From Turin he went to Milan, of Odcombe, in Somersetshire, was born in next to Lodi, and afterwards to Padua, the parsonage-house of the latter place, in where, in the church of St. Anthony, he 1577. From Winchester school he went observed a monument, which made him, to Gloucester Hall, Oxford, where he con- he says, very melancholy; being that of a tinued three years, and profited consider- certain English nobleman, viz., Edward ably in Latin and Greek, as well as in Courtenay, Earl of Devonshire, who was logic and scholastic learning. In 1600, he buried there in the time of Queen Mary. assembled his neighbours at Odcombe, on He was the son of Henry, Earl of DevonWhitsunday, and with them made a caval- shire and Marquis of Exeter, who was cade to Yeovil, where he delivered an oration beheaded by Queen Mary. “ Truly, it at the cross, to the people of that town, struck great compassion and remorse in and about two thousand persons more, who me,” observes Coryate, " to see an Engcame thither from many places in the lishman so ignobly buried. For his body neighbourhood. His design in this pro- lieth in a poore wooden coffin, placed upon ceeding, he says, was to draw a great com- another faire monument, having neither pany to Odcombe, for the benefit of the epitaph nor any other thing to preserve it church; the whole stock, for the reparation from oblivion, so that I could not have of which, had been expended. On the known it for an Englishman's coffin, death of his father, soon after, Coryate except an English gentleman, my kind removed to London, and was received friend, Mr. George Rooke, had told me of there into the household of Henry Prince it, and shewed me the same.” of Wales, who allowed him a pension, Coryate remained at Padua three days. and the attendance of a servant. What On leaving it, he proceeded to Venice, kind of office he held in the royal house, where he arrived on the 24th of June. Of hold is not stated, though it seems to have this place he speaks with rapture : “it been any thing but honourable, for Dr. yieldeth,” says he, “the most glorious and Fuller says
that “Sweetmeats and Coryate heavenly shew upon the water that ever made up the last course at all entertain- any mortal eye beheld ; such a shew as did ments ;” indeed, adds the historian, “he ravish me with delight and admiration.” was the courtier's anvil to try their wits Here he resided six weeks, which he deupon, and sometimes this anvil returned the clares to have been the sweetest time, for hammers as hard knocks as he received, so much, he ever spent in his life. As at his bluntness repaying their abuse." Lyons he entered into a dispute with a
Until this time he had lived in obscurity, Turk on the truth of the Christian religion ; but now he fell into the company of wits, so here he engaged in another, with a Jewwho, as Anthony Wood remarks, “ finding ish rabbi, whom he endeavoured to conhim little better than a fool in many respects, vert, but without effect, and to the danger made him their whetstone, and so he of his life. “ After there had passed many became notus nimis omnibus." In the vehement speeches, to and fro, betwixt us, beginning of 1608, Coryate commenced says he," it happened that some forty or his travels on foot through Europe. On fifty Jews more flocked about me, and some the 14th of May he embarked at Dover, of them began very insolently to swagger with and the same day arrived at Calais, from me, because I durst reprehend their religion. whence after a short stay he proceeded to Whereupon fearing lest they would have Paris. Through the whole course of his first offered ine some violence, I withdrew my
self by little and little towards the bridge, used in any other country that I saw in at the entrance into the Ghetto, with an my travels; neither do I think that any intent to flee from them ; but, by good for- other nation of Christendom doth use it, tune, our noble ambassador, Sir Henry but only Italy. The Italians, and also Wotton, passing under the bridge in his most strangers that are visitants in Italy, gondola at that very time, espyed me do always, at their meals, use a little fork somewhat earnestly bickering with them ; when they eat their meat. For, while with and so, incontinently, sent unto me out of their knife, which they hold in one hand, his boat one of his principal gentlemen, they cut the meat out of the dish, they Master Belford, his secretary : who con- fasten their fork, which they hold in their veyed me safely from these unchristian other hand, upon the same dish, so that miscreants, which, perhaps, would have whatsoever he be that, sitting in the company given me just occasion to forswear any of any others at meal, should unadvisedly more coming to the Ghetto."
touch the dish of meat with his fingers, We next find Coryate visiting a courtesan, from which all at the table do cut, he does with the design of converting her; and, it give occasion of offence unto the company, must be owned, he gives a very entertain. as having transgressed the laws of 'good ing account of the manners of these people. manners, insomuch that for his error he He departed from Venice on the 8th of shall be at least brow-beaten, if not repreAugust, and on the 14th arrived at Brescia, hended in words. This form of feeding, I where, happening to be present at the dedi- understand, is generally used in all places cation of a new image of the Virgin, he of Italy: their forks being, for the most secretly stole the idol, and carried it off part, made of iron or steel, and some of unperceived. His next stage was to silver ; but those are used only by gentleBergamo, where he was obliged to take up The reason of this their curiosity, his lodging in a stable with the horses. is, because the Italian cannot, by any Intending to go through the Grisons' means, endure to have his dish touched country into Germany, he repaired to a with fingers, seeing all men's fingers are monastery to obtain information for his not alike clean. Hereupon I, myself, journey. He was courteously received, and, thought good to imitate the Italian fashion among the instructions given to him, he by this forked cutting of meat, not only was particularly warned to avoid a certain while I was in Italy, but also in Germany, castle, on the Lake of Como, which was and oftentimes in England since I came garrisoned by Spaniards, who would pro home; being once quipped for that frebably detain him a prisoner. On the 26th quent using of my fork, by a certain he arrived at Zurich, where he was in- learned gentleman, a familiar friend of troduced to Henry Bullinger, nephew of mine, one Mr. Laurence Whitaker, who, the famous Helvetic reformer, who suc. in his merry humour, doubted not to call ceeded Zuinglius. Coryate stayed here me at table, Furcifer, only for using a only one day, and on the 30th he arrived fork at feeding, but for no other cause.” at Basil, from whence he travelled to Coryate prided himself, and not without Strasburg. On the 3d of October he
reason, in being the first to introduce the landed at the custom-house in London, fork into his native country; and if he had having, in less than five months, travelled no other merit, he deserved to be commeon foot 1975 miles, more than half of morated on this account. which he performed with only one pair of Upon this subject it may not be amiss to shoes. These memorable shoes, which, in this add an historical remark. In the ruins of long peregrination, were only mended once Pompeii, spoons have been discovered, but at Zurich,
our pilgrim, on his return to Od- no forks ; whence it is inferred, that the combe, caused to be hung up in the parish Romans, at least before Titus, had no such church, as a trophy of the owner's extra- table utensil. Nor is it known that at any ordinary enterprise. It will give some sur. later period, the ancient world ever adopted prise to those who have not perused the such articles. Peter Damianus tells us, account of his travels, to be informed that that in the year 939 Giovanni, a son of Aso, he was the first Englishman who made use doge of Venice, married at Constantinople of a fork at his meals. His account of this a lady of luxurious habits. He adds, novelty is as follows :
“Cibos quoque suos manibus non tungebat, “Here I will mention a thing that might sed ab eunuchis ejus alimenta quæque mihave been spoken of before, in discourse of nutius concidebantur in frusta ; quæ mox the first Italian town :-I observed a cus- illa quibusdam furcinulis aureis atque tom in all those Italian cities and towns bidentibus ori suo liguriens adhibebat." through the which I passed, that is not Hence it appears that two-pronged forks