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.]
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.