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“I believe your grace has the lists sent you of the new choice, which contains many of the old members, and some of the hottest, only Hammond and Davenant happen to be dropped.
vol. iii., p.
But this was moderation, compared with the scene exhibited by the partisans of Vernon and this Sir Harry, about four years previously. . Your
grace can hardly imagine what fatigue there is in an election at Westminster, and especially when one has to do with so obstinate a creature as Sir Harry Colt.
• We had a mighty appearance against him in the field, both of horse and foot, who run down his men at a strange rate, and cudgelled them into ditches full of water, and yet we say they were the aggressors.
Notwithstanding this, Sir Harry demanded the poll, and I believe he was glad his fellows were banged, that he might have a pretence to petition the house. We went immediately to the poll, which lasted till seven at night. I must say, that for Sir Harry, there was never more industry, nor more artifices used to carry his point ; and I know not what would have been the event if he had either been beloved or esteemed, or kept up any reputation among the civilized part of mankind. He has his rabble under such discipline that almost every one of them polls for him singly, and his sparks being on foot, had the adFantage of being first at the place where the poll was taken, while the horsemen were all obliged to go home, and thought no more of it for that day ; by these means he thought he had got a great victory. When the poll was cast up that nightFor Sir Harry
222 For Mr. Montague
189 And for myself
171 But he has received a check to-day; the poll, when we adjourned at dinner-time, running
For Mr. Montague
• For Sir Harry
For Mr. Montague
So that, as it now stands, Mr. Montague is about thirty-five before me, and I have only 197 voices more than Sir Harry; and if night had not come on, the inequality would have been greater. To say the truth, he has such a mob that any one but he would be ashamed to be chosen by them. He has not one gentleman in his list, but has
picked up the very scum of the town,-victuallers, porters, and chairmen, Patch, your grace's footman, is as one of his voters, and stated himself gentleman. He has collected all the papists; two of them, being notorious ones, were caught, and the oaths tendered them, as the asseveration act directs, which they refusing, were hissed off.'
-vol. ii., pp. 135–137. The following passages are instructive, as bearing upon the character and circumstances of the Nonconformists in that age.
I have another matter to acquaint your grace with by my lord chancellor's direction. It has been taken notice of for some time, that the independent congregations have formed themselves into a fraternity, begun at first for the management of their own societies; and they have since enlarged themselves by the addition of some others, who have associated with them under the pretence of a reformation of manners. They have appointed a general meeting, and there are beside several private cabals, and many discontented persons of all persuasions are endeavoring to herd among them.
• My lord archbishop apprehends their design may be to undermine the church, and my lord chancellor thinks they rather aim at discrediting the administration, which they represent as atheistical, and designing to drive Christianity out of the world.
The king being acquainted of this growing sect, thinks it is of great consequence to have all their proceedings observed. My lord chancellor is for finding out all ways of getting into their secret, and in the same clandestine manner to work against them, that if it were possible they might be defeated without noise. Among other instruments proper for this purpose, he thinks good use might be made of Mr. Griffith, the Independent minister, both as your grace has a good influence over him, and as he is looked upon to be a man of probity, who, however he may be zealous in his way, would not knowingly ad. mit of a mixture that under specious pretences should be laboring to subvert the government.
* His lordship thinks your grace might engage him to be watchful in this matter, and to communicate to my lord chancellor, or to me, if he thinks that would be the least taken notice of, what he observes of these designs. He need not be shy of opening himself as to the innocent part of it, which concerns their own congregations only; for that giving no jealousy to the government, will not be made use of to create them any disturbance; but the thing we would know is, what discontented churchmen or discarded statesmen mean by insinuating themselves into their familiarities. My lord chancellor believes he would choose rather to see me. Some other ways will likewise be taken to come at the bottom of this machination.'
- vol. ii., pp. 128—130. About a week later we find the following:
I have been talking with Mr. Owen, whom your grace knows to be considerable among the dissenters, and inquired of him at a distance, if there were any societies formed for the reformation of manners ? He told me there was one which had subsisted these seven or eight years, but had met with discouragement from the late commissioners of the great seal.
I suppose the meaning of that must be, that these zealots applied to them, that some, whom they thought loose in their morals, and not fitted to carry on the work of reformation, might be put out of the commission of the peace. But the commissioners did not think fit to affront men, for what they called a want of grace.
He says these gentlemen have still their meetings, and that there are about fifty or sixty of them. I would not show so great prying as to ask their names, and he did not tell me any of them ; but I perceive the business he is driving at, at present, is the more easy conviction of those who are guilty of swearing. He would have a justice of peace levy a fine in that case, without sending for the party accused, or letting him know who is the informer, which he says would only be to expose that sort of men to be knocked at the head.
*He doubts whether this will be allowed to be according to the received rules of law, which provides that no man shall be condemned unheard, and that the party may expect to have his accuser face to face; but he thinks it justifiable by the prerogative of the king of heaven, whose honor ought to be vindicated by extraordinary methods. He seems resolved to make the trial of it, and so go on until he finds it disapproved by the courts at Westminster.
*Your grace will easily imagine that such an inquisition will not be borne in this kingdom, let the pretence be what it will. He thinks there are not above three or four justices that would join with him, and the rest are remiss and dissolute, and perhaps fitter to be removed than continued.
•I find these reformers are people of all persuasions, as well churchmen as dissenters, so that it is not the interest of any particular sect they would promote, but the general good of mankind, by introducing a conformity of manners, and a primitive purity. This is a pretty temper to be worked upon, if designing persons get amongst them, and if they grow to any strength. I know not what models they may have for establishing saintships. I am inclined to be of opinion that this may be a way to set up hypocrisy, but will not much advance real honesty or virtue.'—vol. ii., pp. 133, 134.
About a month later great alarm was taken, because a body of nonconformists had met as a sort of synod or association at Newbury, of which the very circumspect Mr. Griffith expressed his grave disapproval.
* This passion of theirs,' says Vernon, 'has appeared more barefaced in Ireland, where they have had such an assembly at Antrim, and published the sermon preached upon the occasion, maintaining it was their right and duty to meet, with or without the allowance of the laws, or the consent of the supreme magistrate. The episcopal clergy, intend to remonstrate to the government against this liberty. I know not how soon we may expect the like to be done in England, and if it break into an open contest about church discipline, the moderate man will have a fine time of it.'-vol. ii., pp. 156, 157.
The following passage is a fair specimen of the greedy temper of the times. The Harry Griffith mentioned, is the son of Griffith, the Independent minister, for whose services, as somewhat too much like a spy upon his brethren, it was deemed expedient to do something in the way of reward.
* The next post may tell us what his Majesty says to the disposal of the auditor's place. If it were consistent with the first commissioner's, his friends would rather he should have it so, and perhaps his enemies too, if there might be more to cavil at on that side. I have spoken to him about Harry Griffith: he is well disposed in his favor. But there is nothing vacant, and when it happens, pretenders are infinite.
“A prebend of Worcester fell lately void. I spoke to the archbishop and went to the bishop of Salisbury, in behalf of Mr. Vernon ; but the bishop of Worcester is like to carry it away for his son. this poor man, if the rich and the young are all to be preferred before him !'-vol. ii., pp. 173, 174.
In conclusion, we commend these volumes, as not without considerable interest to the general reader, and as highly valuable to the historian.
Art. III. Poems by a Slave in the Island of Cuba, recently liberated ;
Translated from the Spanish, by R. R. MADDEN, M.D., with the History of the early Life of the Negro Poet written by himself. To which are prefixed two Pieces descriptive of Cuban Slavery and the Slave Traffic. By R. R. M. London: Ward and Co.
THIS is a volume of more than ordinary interest, whether
regarded in a literary or in a moral point of view. It contains the autobiography and poems of an African slave in the island of Cuba, and satisfactorily disposes of the theory long prevalent amongst us of the essential inferiority of the African intellect. Our philosophers, in descanting on the origin and history of the human family, have strangely overlooked some of the most important facts bearing on the case which they have undertaken so dogmatically to decide. The color of the skin or the conformation of the skull has been deemed sufficient evidence of an essential variety in the human species, whilst the
uncultivated and barbarous habits prevalent amongst some races have been adduced as proofs of a necessary and hopeless inferiority. The haste with which such conclusions have been drawn awakens the suspicion that the mind of the reasoner has not been wholly free from sinister influences,--that some unacknowledged element has been admitted into his mental process, which has served to destroy its simplicity, and to conduct it to an unwarranted and prejudiced conclusion. Nor would it be difficult for the most part to discover what this influence has been. European pride contemptuously spurns the brotherhood of an enslaved and brutalized race, or an ill-suppressed infidelity seeks to undermine the authority of revelation by invalidating its account of the origin and history of man. Facts which are easily resolvable into causes of daily operation, are made the basis of a theory friendly to human pride or conducive to the ends of an unscrupulous and irrational scepticism. Let the history of the European and the African families have been reversed, let the former have been subjected for eenturies to the degradation and cruelty which have befallen the latter, and the latter have been blessed with the culture and moral training which the former have possessed, and the relative position of the two parties at the present day would be the very opposite of what it is. Science, and good government, and religious hope would be the heritage of the now degraded children of Africa, whilst the efforts of philanthropists and the interpositions of civilized governments would have been needed to rescue Europeans from the depths of their degradation and wretchedness. There is nothing in the nature of the case which should lead us to doubt that the African intellect would have borne fruit as liberally as that of Europe, had it been cultivated with equal generosity and skill. We have been so long accustomed to regard the negroes as a degraded and brutalized race that many of our countrymen will probably regard with extreme incredulity the genuineness of these poems. The following is Dr. Madden's statement on this point, and it will be perfectly satisfactory to those who have the honor of that gentleman's acquaintance.
A collection of poems written by a slave recently liberated in the Island of Cuba, was presented to me in the year 1838, by a gentleman at Havana, a Creole, highly distinguished, not only in Cuba, but in Spain, for his literary attainments. Some of these pieces had fortunately found their way to the Havana, and attracted the attention of the literary people there, while the poor author was in slavery in the neighborhood of Matanzas. The gentleman to whom I have alluded, with the assistance of a few friends, of pursuits similar to his own-(for literature, even at the Havana, has its humanizing influence), redeemed this poor fellow from slavery, and enabled him to publish