Page images
PDF
EPUB

3. On a certain day, he declared in a full assembly of the people, that he had a very important design to propose'; but that he could not communicate it to the people, because its success required it should he carried on with the greatest secrecy; he therefore.desired they would appoint a person to whom he might explain himself upon the matter in question.

4. Aristides was unanimously fixed upon by the whole assembly, who referred themselves entirely to his opinion of the affair; so great a confidence had they both in his próbity and prudence.

5. Themistocles, therefore, having taken him aside, told him the design which he had conceived was to burn the fleet belonging to the rest of the Grecian states, which then lay in a neighbouring port; and by this mean Athens would certainly become mistress of all Greece.

6. Aristides hereupon returned to the assembly, and only declared to them, that indeed nothing could be more advantageous to the commonwealth than Themistocles' project; but at the same time, nothing in the world could be more unjust. All the people unanimously ordained that, Themistocles should entirely desist from his project.

DIALOGUE SHEWING THE FOLLY AND INCONSISTENCY OF

DUELLING.

Mr. Fenton. HOW now Nero! why are you loading that pistol? No mischief, I hope ?

Nero. O no, Massa Fenton. I only going to fight de duel, as dey call em, with Tom.

Mr. F. Fight a dael with Tom! what has he done to you !

Nero. He call me neger, neger, once, twice, three time, and I no bear him, Massa Fenton.

Mr. F. But are you not a negro, Nero!

Nero. Yes, Massa; but den who wants to be told of what one know already ?

Mr. F. You would not kill a man, however, for telling so simple a truth as that.

Nero. But den de manner, massa Fenton, de manner,

him every thing. Tom mean more him say, when he can Nero name.

Mr. F. It is hard to judge of what a man means ; but if Tom has insulted you, I have no doubt he is sorry for it.

Nero. Him say he sorry, very sorry; but what him sig. nify when he honor gone? No massa ; whep de white man be insulted, what him do? he fight de duel. Den why de poor African no fight de duel too?

Mr. F. But do you know it is against the law to fight duels ?

Nero. De white man fight, and de law no trouble himself about dem. Why den he po let de African have de same privilege ! No, massa Fenton, “Sauce før de goose, sauce for de gander.”

Mr. F. The white men contrive to evade the law, Nero, so that it cannot punish them.

Nero. Ah, massa Fenton, de law no fair den; him let go de

rogue who outwit him, and take bold of de poor African, who no know what him be.

Mr. F. It is a pity that those who know what is right do not set a better example. But tell me, were you not always good friends before ?

Nero. O yes, massa Fenton, we always good friend, kine friend, since we boy so high, and dat make me ten time mad to be call Deger, neger.

O him too much for human nature to bear!

Mr. F. But how do you expect to help the matter by fighting with Tom?

Nero. When I kill Tom, he no blackguard me more, dat sartain. And den nobody else call Nero name, I know.

Mr. F. True, Nero. But suppose Tom should kill you? Tom, you know, never misses his mark. Nero. How? Massa Fenton.

What dat you say? Mr. F. Suppose Tom should kill you, instead of your killing him, what would people think then ? You know you are as liable to be killed as he is.

Nero. O no, massa Fenton, de right always kill de wrong, when he fight de duel.

Mr. F. O no, Nero, the chance at best is but equal ; and as bad men are more used to such business, I have no doubt that the instances in which the injured party is slain, out: number those where the aggressor has suffered.

Nero. Nero never tipk of dat before. (To himself.) Tom good marksman, I no good. Nero no kilì Tom, Tom kill Nero, dat sartain. Poor Nero dead, de world say, dat good for him, and Nero no here to contradict him. Poor Nero wife no home, no bread, no nottin, now Nero gone. (Loud.) What Nero do? Massa Fenton ? How bim save him honor?

Mr. F. The only honourable course, Nero, is to forgive your friend, if he has wronged you, and let your

future good conduct show that you did not deserve the wrong.

Nero. But what de world tink, massa Fenton. He call Nero coward, and say he no dare fight Tom. Nero no coward, Massa Fenton.

Mr. F. You need not be ashamed of not daring to murder your friend. But it is not your courage which is called in question. It is a plain case of morality. The success of a duel must still leave it undecided, while it adds an awful crime and a tremendous accountability to the injury you have already sustained. ,

Nero. True massa Fenton, but de world no make de proper distinction. De world no know Nero honest.

Mr. F. Nor does the world know thai you are not honest. But what do you mean by the world, Nero ?

Noro. Why all de gentlemen of honor, massa Fenton.

Mr. F. You mean all the unprincipled men who happen to hear of this affair, Their number must be limited, and they are just such as you should care nothing about.

Nero. How, massa Fenton ? Dis all new to Nero.

Mr. F. The number of people who approve of duels, compared with those who consider them deliberate murder is very small, and amongst the enemies of duelling, are always found the wise, humane, and virtuous. Would you not wish to have these on your side ?

Nero. O Yes, massa Fenton.

Mr. F. Well, then, think no more of duelling, for the duellist not only outrages the laws of his country and humanity, but he incurs the censure for good men, and the vengeance of that God who has said, " THOU SHALT NOT KILL."

Nero. O massa Fenton, take de pistol fore Nero shoot himself. Let de world call Nero neger, néger, neger, what Nero care ; de name not half so bad as murderer, and Nero take care he no deserve either.

Mr. F. Your resolution is a good one, and happy would it be for all the gentlemen of honour, as you call them, if they would make the laws of God, and the dictates of common sense, a part of their code.

SPEECH OF M

PITT, IN THE BRITISH PARLIAMENT, ON THE SUBJECT OS THE SLAVE TRADE.

SIR,

WHILE I regret the ill success which has hitherto attended

my efforts on this subject, I am consoled with the thought that the house has now come to a résolution declarative of the infamy of the slave trade.

2. The only question now is, on the continuance of this traffic, a traffic of which the very thought is beyond all human endurance; a traffic which even its friends think so intolerable that it ought to be crushed. Yet the abolition of it is to be resolved into a question of expediency.

3. Its advocates, in order to continue it, have deserted even the principles of commerce ; so that it seems a traffic in the liberty, the blood, the life of human beings, is not to have the advantage of the common rules of arithmetic, which govern all other commercial dealings.

4. The point now in dispute is the continuance for one year. As to those who are concerned in this trade, a year will not be of any consequence; but will it be of none to the unhappy slaves ? It is true, that in the course of commercial concerns in general, it is said sometimes to be beneath the magnanimity of a man of honour to insist on a scrupulous exactness, in his own favour, upon a disputed item in accounts.

5. But does it make any part of our magnanimity to be exact in our own favour in the traffic of human blood ? If I could feel that any calculation upon the subject were to be made in this way, tre side on which I should determine, would be in favour of the unhappy sufferers ; not of those who oppressed them.

6. But this one year is only to show the planters that Parliament is willing to be liberal to them! Sir, I do pot understand complimenting away the lives of so many buman beings. I do not comprehend the principle on which a few individuals are to be complimented, and their minds set at rest, at the expense and total sacrifice of the interest, the security, the happiness of a whole quarter of this world, which, from our foul practices, has, for a vast length of time, been a scene of misery and horror.

7. I say, because I feel, that in continuing this trade you are guilty of an offence beyond your power to atone for ; and by your indulgence to the planters, thousands of human beings are to be consigned to misery.

8. Every year in which you continne this trade, you add thousands to the catalogue of misery, which, if you could behold in a single instance, you would revolt with horror from the scene; but the size of the misery prevents you fron beholding it. Fi: a hundred out of one thousand who are obtained in this traffic perish in this scene of horror; and are brought miserable victims to their graves.

9. The remaining part of this wretched group are tainted both in body and mind, covered with disease and infection, carrying with them the seeds of pestilence and insurrection to your islands.

10. Let me then ask the house, whether they can de. rive any advantage from these doubtful effects of a calculation on the continuance of the traffic ? and whether two years will not be better than three for its continuance ?

11. For my part, I feel the infamy of the trade so heavi. ly, the impolicy of it so clearly, that I am ashamed not to have been able to have convinced the house to abandon it altogether at an instant ; to pronounce with one voice the immediate and total abolition. There is no excuse for us. It is the very death of justice to utter a syllable in support of it.

12. I know, sir, I state this subject with warmth. I should detest myself for the exercise of moderation. I cannot, without suffering every feeling and every passion that ought to rise in the cause of humanity to sleep within me, speak coolly upon such a subject. And did they feel as think they ought, I am sure the decision of the ho

H

1

« PreviousContinue »