« PreviousContinue »
Nero. Nero never tink of dat before. (To himself.)---Toin good marksman, I no good. Nero no kill Tom, Tom kill Nero, dat sartain. Poor Nero dead, de world say, dat good for him, and Nero no here to contradict him. Poor Nero wife no home, no bread, no nottin, now Nero gone. (Loud) What Nero do, Massa Fenton? How him save him honour?
Mr. F. The only honourable course, Nero, is to forgive your friend, if he has wronged you, and let your future good conduct show that you did not deserve the wrong.
Nero. But what de world tink, Massa Fenton? He cali Nero coward, and say he no dare fight Tom. Nero no coward, Massa Fenton.
Mr. F. You need not be ashamed of not daring to murder your friend. But it is not your courage which is called in question. It is a plain case of morality. The success of a duel must still leave it undecided, while it adds an awful crime and a tremendous accountability to the injury you have already sustained.
Nero. True, Massa Fenton, but de world no make de proper distinction. De world no know Nero honest.
Mr. F. Nor does the world know that you are not honest. But what do you mean by the world, Nero?
Nero. Why all de Gentlemen of honour, Massa Fenton, Mr. F. You mean all the unprincipled men who happen to hear of this affair. Their number must be limited, and they are just such as you should care nothing about.
Nero. How, Massa Fenton? Dis all new to Nero.
Mr. F. The number of people who approve of duels, compared with those who consider them deliberate murder, is very small, and amongst the enemies of duelling, are always found the wise, humane, and virtuous. Would you not wish to have these on your side?
Nero. O yes, Massa Fenton.
Mr. F. Well, then, think no more of duelling, for the duellist not only outrages the laws of his country and humanity, but he incurs the censure of good men, and the vengeance of that God who has said "THOU SHALT NOT KILL.”
Nero. O Massa Fenton, take de pistol fore Nero shoot himself. Let de world call Nero neger, neger, neger, what Nero care? de name not half so bad as murderer, and Nero take care he no deserve either.
Mr. F. Your resolution is a good one, and happy would it be for all the Gentlemen of honour, as you call them, if they would make the laws of God, and the dictates of common sense, a part of their code.
SPEECH OF MR. PITT IN THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, ON THE SUBJECT OF THE SLAVE TRADE.
WHILE I regret the ill success which has
hitherto attended my efforts on this subject, I am consoled with the thought that the house has now come to a resolution declarative of the infamy of the slave trade.
2. The only question now is, on the continuance of this traffick, a traffick of which the very thought is beyond all human endurance; a traffick which even its friends think so intolerable that it ought to be crushed. Yet the abolition of it is to be resolved into a question of expediency.
3. Its advocates, in order to continue it, have deserted even the principles of commerce; so that it seems, a traffick in the liberty, the blood, the life of human beings, is not to have the advantage of the common rules of arithmetick, which govern all other commercial dealings.
4. The point now in dispute is the continuance for one year. As to those who are concerned in this trade, a year will not be of any consequence; but will it be of none to the unhappy slaves? It is true that in the course of commercial concerns in general, it is said sometimes to be beneath the magnanimity of a man of honour to insist on a scrupulous exactness in his own favour, upon a disputed item in ac
5. But does it make any part of our magnanimity to be exact in our own favour in the traffick of human blood? If I could feel that any calculation upon the subject were to be made in this way, the side on which I should determine, would be in favour of the unhappy sufferers; not of those who oppressed them.
. But this one year is only to show the planters that Parliament is willing to be liberal to them! Sir, I do not understand complimenting away the lives of so many human beings. I do not comprehend the principle on which a few individuals are to be complimented, and their minds set at rest, at the expense and total sacrifice of the interest, the security, the happiness, of a whole quarter of this world, which, from our foul practices, has, for a vast length of time, been a scene of misery and horrour.
7. I say, because I feel, that in continuing this trade you are guilty of an offence beyond your power to atone for; and by your indulgence to the planters, thousands of human beings are to be consigned to misery.
8. Every year in which you continue this trade, you add thousands to the catalogue of misery, which, if you could behold in a single instance, you would revolt with horrour from the scene; but the size of the misery prevents you from beholding it. Five hundred out of one thousand who are obtained in this traffick, perish in this scene of horrour, and are brought miserable victims to their graves.
9. The remaining part of this wretched group are tainted both in body and mind, covered with disease and infection, carrying with them the seeds of pestilence and insurrection to your islands.
10. Let me then ask the house, whether they can derive any advantage from these doubtful effects of a calculation on the continuance of the traffick? and whether two years will not be better than three for its continuance ?
11. For my part, I feel the infamy of the trade so heavily, the impolicy of it so clearly, that I am ashamed not to have been able to have convinced the house to abandon it altogether at an instant; to pronounce with one voice the immediate and total abolition. There is no excuse for us. It is the very death of justice to utter a syllable in support of it.
12. I know, sir, I state this subject with warmth. I should detest myself for the exercise of moderation. I cannot, without suffering every feeling and every passion that ought to rise in the cause of humanity to sleep within me, speak coolly upon such a subject. And did they feel as I think they ought, I am sure the decision of the house would be
with us for a total and immediate abolition of this abominable traffick.
13. In short, unless I have misunderstood the subject, and unless some reasons should be offered, much superiour to any I have yet heard, I shall think it the most singular act that ever was done by a deliberative assembly, to refuse to assent to the proposed amendment. It has been by a resolution declared to be the first object of their desire, the first object of their duty, and the first object of their inclination.
THE SLAVES. AN ELEGY.
F late I paus'd upon the twilight plain
2. Lo! where to yon plantation drooping goes
To feed the luxury of British pride.
4. E'en at this moment, on the burning gale,
5. O, cease to think, my soul! what thousands die
6. Are drops of blood the horrible manure
7. Yes, their keen sorrows are the sweets we blend
Or for fictitious ills affect to feel.
8. Yes, 'tis their anguish mantles in the bowl,
9. And there are men, who, leaning on the laws,
10. And there are men with shameless front have said, "That nature form'd the negroes for disgrace;
"That on their limbs subjection is display'd;
11. Send your stern gaze from Lapland to the line, And ev'ry region's natives fairly scan,
Their forms, their force, their faculties combine,
12. Then why suppose yourselves the chosen few,
Bent on gain,
14. Ah! how can he whose daily lot is grief, Whose mind is vilify'd beneath the rod, Suppose his Maker has for him relief?
Can he believe the tongue that speaks of God? 15. For when he sees the female of his heart, And his lov'd daughters torn by lust away,
sons, the poor inheritors of smart
Had he religion, think ye he could pray?
16. Alas! he steals him from the loathsome shed,
17. Haste, haste, ye winds, on swiftest pinions fly, Ere from this world of misery he go,
Tell him his wrongs bedew a nation's eye,
Tell him Britannia blushes for his wo!