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NOVEMBER 1, 1823.
MEMOIR OF ADAM CLARKE, LL.D. F. R. S.
THE mere circumstance of an individual undertaking, and succeeding to a certain extent, in the translation of the Holy Scriptures, is sufficient to attach a degree of importance to his character. The gen. tleman whose portrait is at the head of the present number has, however, other claims to attention scarcely less important.
Dr. Adam Clarke is a native of Ireland, where his father, who was an Englishman, had been long settled. He was born at Magherafelt, in the year 1763, and received the first rudiments of a classical education from his father, who had the reputation of being a good scholar. The circumstances of his family, and the nature of their occupations, afforded, however, little time for cultivating his talents, which had at an early period given a promise of excellence. He was obliged to assist in tilling a small farm, and to renounce even the slender opportunities for study which he had before enjoyed. Soon after this he was employed in a linen manufactory, but, having for some reason conceived a strong dislike against this business, he quitted it.
His father was a man of strict and pious habits, and the manners of the other members of his family could not fail to draw the attention of a person so disposed as was the subject of this memoir to the importance of religious duties. He manifested a strong desire to assume the ministry of the Gospel; and began to preach at an age so young, that in any other place but that remote district, and at the singular period in which he lived, would not have been advisable, nor even permitted.
His zeal, which at this age was probably his most remarkable quali fication, caused him to be mentioned to the celebrated John Wesley, on one of his visits to Ireland. The young man was introduced to the preacher; and the latter received so favorable an impression from this interview, that he recommended Mr. Clarke to become a pupil in the school at Kingswood, where he might supply some of the deficiencies under which he laboured, and become qualified by education for a function to which he seemed admirably adapted by nature. This offer he very readily accepted, and quitted Ireland shortly afterwards. He remained only a short time at Kingswood; and Mr. Wesley, finding in him a person infinitely above those who were treading the same path, appointed him to a circuit, as was then his custom; and at the age of nineteen the youth began his labours as an itinerant preacher. His inexperience, his zeal, his fervour, and a certain natural eloquence, which, if not very refined, is always striking, soon made him exceedingly popular with the persons in the district to which his exertions were directed. He is said to have attracted crowds not inferior in point of numbers to those which decorated the triumphs of his master and friend, Mr. Wesley.
VOL. I. Nov. 1823. Br. Mag.
In the midst of this popularity Mr. Clarke, however, found time to indulge his passion for study: the extent and depth of his acquirements are the best proofs that can be offered of the exertions which it must have cost him to procure them; and we can conceive none more decisive of his strength of mind than the resolute self-denial with which he turned from the charms which the general applause of his hearers presented to him, and devoted himself to severe and unremitting study. The temptation would have been too powerful for most men, and more particularly young men, to resist. He is said to have been occupied in such labours from as early an hour as four or five in the morning until ten at night for many years, without any other intermissions than such as were caused by his ministerial avocations, and the time otherwise necessarily consumed. Surprising as this may appear, when it is considered that he had to begin his education at a time when that of other men is often completed, it will be readily admitted that he could by no other means have conquered the difficulties which lay in his way.
The respectability of his parts and his character have long made Dr. Clarke eminent among that body of dissenters to which he belongs, and he is usually looked upon by them as a person in every way qualified to take the lead whenever the concerns of their society require any public expression of their wishes or opinions.
After five-and-thirty years passed in the constant discharge of such labours as these, Dr. Clarke retired to an estate he possesses in the neighbourhood of Liverpool, where he enjoys the honorable ease which ought to wait upon such exertions as his. It is a singular and characteristic fact, that Dr. Clarke's farm and grounds are said to bear the marks of that vigorous skill which have distinguished all his actions: it seems that his lands are not only so well cultivated as to be more productive than those of any of his neighbours, but that the very boundaries of his domain are best pointed out by an air of neatness and propriety which differs from those of the surrounding lands. Some men possess this quality of improving whatever they touch-a real Midas-like art-and such a one is Dr. Clarke said to be.
Of Dr. Clarke's works, his Translation of the Scriptures is in every sense the most important. It has been exposed to much criticism, and the censure which it has received has been in many instances well deserved. The impossibility of any one man discharging satisfactorily such a task would, however, amply shelter him from the consequences of some trifling failures; while the praise and admiration to which piety, learning, and industry, are entitled, cannot fail to be awarded to him. The difficulties which oppose a complete and faultless translation of the Bible are such as are almost insurmountable by human wisdom ; nothing short of inspiration would seem to suffice for such a task; and, although many mere sciolists are sufficiently qualified to cavil at parts of the execution, there are few who have heads and hearts sufficiently clear and strong to undertake so great a labour. Dr. Clarke's other works are of a miscellaneous character, and, although far inferior to that of which we have been speaking, possess considerable merit. The following list is nearly a correct one:
Dissertation on the Use and Abuse of Tobacco: London, 1797,
8vo. A Bibliographical Dictionary, containing a Chronological Account of the most curious books, in all departments of literature, from the infancy of printing to the beginning of the 19th century; to which are added, An Essay on Bibliography, and An Account of the best English Translations of each Greek and Latin Classic. 1802, 6 vols. 12mo. and 8vo.-The Bibliographical Miscellany, or a Supplement to the Bibliographical Dictionary, down to 1806, 2 vols. 12mo. and 8vo. Baxter's Christian Directory abridged. 1804, 2 vols. 8vo.-Claude Fleury's History of the Ancient Israelites, with an Account of their Manners, Customs, &c. and a Life and fine Portrait of Claude Fleury. 1805, 12mo.-The Succession of Sacred Literature, in a chronological arrangement of authors and their works, from the invention of alphabetical characters to the year of our Lord 345. 1807, 12mo. and 8vo. vol. 1st.: a second vol. is de signed to bring the succession down to the year 1440.-Shuckford's Sacred and Profane History of the World connected, including Bishop Clayton's Strictures on the work, embellished with a set of maps. 1808, 4 vols. 8vo.-Sturm's Reflections, from the German, 4 vols. 12mo.The Holy Scriptures, &c. &c. with the Marginal Readings, a Collection of Parallel Texts, and copious Summaries to each Chapter; with a Commentary and Critical Notes, designed as a help to the better understanding of the Sacred Writings. 4to. 1810.-Harmer's Observations. 4 vols. 8vo.-Clavis Biblica; or a Compendium of Scripture Knowledge. 8vo.-Dr. Clarke has also published several sermons and detached pieces.
He was employed several years by Government in collecting materials for a new edition of Rymer's Fœdera, in folio, of which he saw the two first vols. through the press. This work is now super
intended by a commission under Government.
Dr. Clarke has had a large family, of which six only remain alive. His eldest son is the principal clerk in the Record Office of the Court of Exchequer; his second is a printer in London; and his third, and youngest, a student of Trinity College, Cambridge.
He is one of those persons whose example is not less valuable than his labours; and, to say nothing of the worth and usefulness of his exertions as a preacher, the proof which he has given that application, steadiness, and integrity, can lead a man from insignificance, ignorance, and comparative poverty, to honour, learning, and wealth, is of incalculable worth. In such a country as England it is worth a thousand homilies.'
A View of the Past and Present State of the Island of Jamaica; with Remarks on the Moral and Physical Condition of the Slaves. By J. STEWART.
THE painful interest which has been excited by the statements made, in the last session of Parliament, with respect to the slaves in the West India settlements, induces us to turn with considerable eagerness to whatever source seems likely to afford information on the subject. The more recent accounts received here of the insurrection in Demerara, and which seems unquestionably to have been brought about by the proceedings in Parliament, changes that interest which was felt on the score of humanity to a sensation of serious alarm.
The volume before us becomes, on these accounts, entitled to a more general attention than it would otherwise have commanded, and concerns the public as nearly as it does those persons whose property is vested in the West India Islands. The author appears to be a man of intelligence, and, what is still more important in this case, of great candour. Fully qualified by a long and intimate acquaintance with the slaves as well as the other inhabitants of Jamaica, he never expresses an opinion in favour of either the one or other, without stating the grounds of that opinion so fairly that the reader may ascertain its value, and use his own reason in coinciding with it. There are no airs of authorship about the composition; the style is plain, and suited to the statistical nature of the subject: whenever ⚫ this is departed from, which is only in few instances, it is done so modestly and frankly that it may be pardoned. The stock of information which this work contains would be interesting and valuable at any time; and, under existing circumstances, we are glad that the task of imparting it has fallen into hands so able and impartial as those of Mr. Stewart.
The opening part of the volume contains a succinet history of the principal events which have occurred in the history of the island, and particularly with respect to the Maroon war. The natural history of the island, and its various productions, is interestingly and agreeably described, and the political and other institutions clearly explained. It is, however, the succeeding parts of the work-which contain particulars of the white population, and of the slaves, and the treatment they experience-which claims our more immediate attention, and from which we proceed to lay before our readers some extracts:
The white inhabitants of Jamaica consist of creoles, or natives of the country, and Europeans. There may be about three of the former to two of the latter. Formerly there was a marked difference in the habits, manners, and mode of life of those two classes, but that no longer generally exists. The primitive creolian customs and manners are fast disappearing, being superseded by the more polished manners of European life. Even within the last fifteen or twenty years a very considerable improvement has taken place in the state of society here. This is owing in a great measure to the now universally prevailing practice of sending the children of both sexes to Great Britain for their education.
There are obstacles, however, in this country, which must necessarily operate to keep down the state of society far below that improvement of which it would otherwise be capable. These partly grow out of, and are inseparably connected with, a state of slavery, but more especially arise from the gross immorality which too generally prevails among all ranks.
Human nature is shaped and governed by the force of early habits and of example. The very children, in some families, are so used to see or hear the negro servants whipped, for the offences they commit, that it becomes a sort of amusement to them. It unfortunately happens that the females, as well as the males, are too apt to contract domineer. ing and harsh ideas with respect to their slaves-ideas ill suited to the native softness and humanity of the female heart, so that the severe and arbitrary mistress will not unfrequently be combined with the
affectionate wife, the tender mother, and agreeable companion-suck is the effect of early habits and accustomed prejudices, suffering qualities so anomalous to exist in the same breast. A young lady, while yet a child, has a little negress of her own age pointed out to her as one destined to be her future waiting-maid; her infant mind cannot conceive the harm of a little vexatious tyranny over this sable being, who is her property; and thus are arbitrary ideas gradually ingrafted in her nature. The growth of this unamiable propensity is not sufficiently guarded against and corrected by the parents, who are too fond and indulgent to check these indications of spirit in their darlings; while, should the little black retaliate the ill usage she meets, she is immediately chastised for her impertinence. The more ignorant of thể natives do not appear to be sensible that there is any impropriety in suffering their children to be witnesses of a most improper spectaclethe punishment of the slaves. The chastisement may have been justly inflicted; but why should the pliant mind of unhackneyed youth be thus early hardened and contaminated by witnessing such scenes? Such inflictions may in time be viewed with a sort of savage gratifica. tion; in the males it may produce brutality of mind; and in the females, to say the least of it, an insensibility of human misery, and a cold contemplation of its distresses-qualities little in unison with the female character, of which humanity and compassion should ever form a part, for without these, beauty, wit, and accomplishment would lose half their charms. Such is the power of habit over the heart, that the woman accustomed to the exercise of severity soon loses all the natural softness of her sex. Nothing was more common formerly than for white mistresses not only to order their slaves to be punished, but personally to see that the punishment was duly inflicted! It must, however, in justice to the white females of Jamaica of the present day, be remarked, that such characters are now very rare, except among the most low and ignorant; and the author can with truth say, that he has known ladies who were as kind, attentive, and indulgent to their slaves, as their relative situations would admit. The mistress of a family, where there is a crowd of black and brown servants, has a more difficult and painful duty to perform than can well be conceived; they are often so refractory, vicious, and indolent, that, in managing such a household, she is perhaps, in effect, a greater slave than any of them. There is something in their manner, their behaviour, their language, and, not unfrequently, their dress, which to one not accus. tomed to such attendants must appear exceedingly disgusting. To the master, or mistress, whose pride is gratified by a numerous train of slaves around them, who know how to manage them, and who are accustomed to their ways, all this is pleasant enough; but to those who have been used to decent and orderly attendants, who require not the stimulus of the lash, such a barbarous retinue would be intolerable.
These semi-barbarous customs and practices, as they may well be called, will sufficiently show that this is not the happiest country in the world for a virtuous and well-educated female. The young ladies who are sent early in life to Great Britain to be educated readily perceive this, on their return, and often think with a sigh on the happier and more civilized country they have quitted. This alienation of