“Well, Newton,” said Mr Berecroft, as soon as they were alone, “what do you think of the planter?”
“I think that, considering his constant advice to be temperate, he swallowed a very large quantity of arrack punch.”
“He did indeed; but what think you of his arguments?”
“I hardly can say, except that none of them were sufficiently convincing to induce me to be a slave proprietor. We may perhaps, as he asserts, have contented ourselves with the shadow instead of the substance; but even the shadow of liberty is to be venerated by an Englishman.”
“I agree with you, my boy. His discourse did, however, bring one idea into my head; which is, that there is a remarkable connection between religion and slavery. It was in a state of bondage that the Jews were prepared to receive the promised land; and whenever they fell off from the true worship, they were punished by captivity. It was through the means of slavery that the light of the true faith was first brought to our island, where it has burnt with a purer flame than elsewhere; for, if you recollect, the beauty of some English children exposed for sale at Rome, assisted by a Latin pun, caused the introduction of Christianity into Great Britain; and who knows but that this traffic, so offensive to humanity, has been permitted by an Allwise Power, with the intent that some day it shall be the means of introducing Christianity into the vast regions of African idolatry?”
“True,” observed Newton; “and the time may not be far distant.”
“That it is impossible to calculate upon. He worketh by His own means, which are inscrutable. It was not the cause of virtue, but a desire that vice might be less trammelled, which introduced the Reformation in England. The more we attempt to interfere with the arrangements of the Almighty, the more we shall make evident our own folly and blindness, and His unsearchable and immutable wisdom.—Good-night, my boy.”
all these wretches slaves?
Stanley—All sold, they and their posterity, all slaves.
Lucy—O! miserable fortune!
Bland—Most of them know no better, but were
Born so, and only change their masters.”
The party were up at an early hour on the ensuing morning, that they might enjoy the delightful freshness of the air, which so soon evaporates before the scorching rays of the tropical sun. They were joined at breakfast by the doctor who attended the estate, and who had called in to announce the birth of a little negro boy in the early part of the night.
“Who did you say, doctor?” answered the planter, “Mattee Sally? Why, I thought Jane Ascension was in advance of her.”
“They were running it neck and neck, sir,” replied the surgeon.
“How is she—quite hearty?”