The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 384 pages of information about The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I.

                   “My ear is pain’d,
  My soul is sick with every day’s report
  Of wrong and outrage with which earth is fill’d. 
  There is no flesh in man’s obdurate heart,
  It does not feel for man.  The nat’ral bond
  Of brotherhood is sever’d as the flax
  That falls asunder at the touch of fire. 
  He finds his fellow guilty of a skin
  Not colour’d like his own, and having pow’r
  T’inforce the wrong, for such a worthy cause
  Dooms and devotes him as his lawful prey. 
  Lands intersected by a narrow frith
  Abhor each other.  Mountains interpos’d,
  Make enemies of nations, who had else,
  Like kindred drops, been mingled into one. 
  Thus man devotes his brother, and destroys;
  And, worse than all, and most to be deplor’d
  As human Nature’s broadest, foulest blot,—­
  Chains him, and tasks him, and exacts his sweat
  With stripes, that mercy with a bleeding heart
  Weeps, when she sees inflicted on a beast. 
  Then what is man?  And what man, seeing this,
  And having human feelings, does not blush
  And hang his head to think himself a man? 
  I would not have a slave to till my ground,
  To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
  And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
  That sinews bought and sold have ever earn’d. 
  No! dear as freedom is,—­and in my heart’s
  Just estimation priz’d above all price,—­
  I had much rather be myself the slave,
  And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him. 
  We have no Slaves at home—­then why abroad? 
  And they themselves once ferried o’er the wave
  That parts us, are emancipate and loos’d. 
  Slaves cannot breathe in England; if their lungs
  Receive our air, that moment they are free;
  They touch our country, and their shackles fall[A]. 
  That’s noble, and bespeaks a nation proud
  And jealous of the blessing.  Spread it then,
  And let it circulate through every vein
  Of all your empire—­that where Britain’s pow’r
  Is felt, mankind may feel her mercy too.”

[Footnote A:  Expressions used in the great trial, when Mr. Sharp obtained the verdict in favour of Somerset.]

CHAPTER IV.

Second class of forerunners and coadjutors, up to May 1787, consists of the Quakers in England—­of George Fox, and others—­of the body of the Quakers assembled at the yearly meeting in 1727—­and at various other times—­Quakers, as a body, petition Parliament—­and circulate books on the subject—­Individuals among them become labourers and associate in behalf of the Africans—­Dilwyn—­Harrison—­and others—­This the first association ever formed in England for the purpose.

The second class of the forerunners and coadjutors in this great cause up to May 1787 will consist of the Quakers in England.

The first of this class was George Fox, the venerable founder of this benevolent society.

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The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808), Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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