We see then, in whatever light we consider the Slave Trade, whether we examine into the nature of it, or whether we look into the extent of it, or whether we estimate the difficulty of subduing it, we must conclude that no evil more monstrous has ever existed upon earth. But if so, then we have proved the truth of the position, that the abolition of it ought to be accounted by us as one of the greatest blessings, and that it ought to be one of the most copious sources of our joy. Indeed, I do not know, how we can sufficiently express what we ought to feel upon this occasion. It becomes us, as individuals, to rejoice. It becomes us, as a nation, to rejoice. It becomes us even to perpetuate our joy to our posterity. I do not mean, however, by anniversaries, which are to be celebrated by the ringing of bells and convivial meetings, but by handing down this great event so impressively to our children, as to raise in them, if not continual, yet frequently renewed thanksgivings, to the great Creator of the universe, for the manifestation of this his favour, in having disposed our legislators to take away such a portion of suffering from our fellow-creatures, and such a load of guilt from our native land.
And as the contemplation of the removal of this monstrous evil should excite in us the most pleasing and grateful sensations, so the perusal of the history of it should afford us lessons, which it must be useful to us to know or to be reminded of. For it cannot be otherwise than useful to us to know the means which have been used, and the different persons who have moved in so great a cause. It cannot be otherwise than useful to us to be impressively reminded of the simple axiom which the perusal of this history will particularly suggest to us, that “the greatest works must have a beginning;” because the fostering of such an idea in our minds cannot but encourage us to undertake the removal of evils, however vast they may appear in their size, or however difficult to overcome. It cannot, again, be otherwise than useful to us to be assured, (and this history will assure us of it,) that in any work, which is a work of righteousness, however small the beginning may be, or however small