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to the voice of reason, or the cry of hu- brought the question forward; but on manity, or the reproach of conscience, this occasion he failed, by a majority of than slave owners of 1833; and his mo- four in favour of postponement; and he tion was lost by a majority of 75.
was defeated by the same majority in “But Mr. Wilberforce was not to be 1798, although in the intervening year an discouraged. It was the noble trait of address to the Crown, praying for its inhis long and useful life, that he uniformly terposition with the Colonial Legislaadhered to principle: neither calumny, tures to encourage the native population nor difficulty, nor defeat, could make him of the islands, bad been carried. The swerve, even for a moment, from his de. same bad success attended his exertions in termined purpose : and by principle he 1799, although on this occasion he was triumphed. On the 3d of April, 1792, strenuously supported by Mr. Canning. he again moved the abolition; and he was “ We believe that it was not till 1804 again opposed by all the virulence and all that Mr. Wilberforce renewed his attempts the sophistry of colonial interest. The to awaken the Parliament to their duty: in West-İndian advocates recommended, that year, on the 30th of May, he moved then as now, palliatives and ameliora- that the House should resolve itself into tions, but protested against the only cure. committee, and he prefaced his motion Mr. Bailey talked of the great religious with one of the most impassioned speeches cultivation of the slaves : Mr. Vaughan ever made within its walls. We have recomiended schools for education : generally heard it acknowledged to have Colonel Thornton predicted the ruin of been his grandest effort in the cause. His our shipping: and Mr. Dundas had the Bill passed the third reading, by a mamerit of first proposing 'gradual mea- jority of thirty-six; but at so late a period sures !' The ruse succeeded, and gra. of the session that it was too late to disdualism was carried by a majority of 68. cuss it in the Lords; and, on the motion Another attempt was made, on the 25th of Lord Hawkesbury, it was postponed to of April, to alter the period of abolition, the ensuing session. This was the last fixed by Mr. Dundas for the lst of Ja- time that Mr. Wilberforce took the lead nuary 1800, to the 1st of January 1793. in this great question. On the 10th of This was lost by a majority of 49; but a June, in 1806, Mr. Fox, being then in compromise was subsequently effected, office, brought it forward at Mr. Wil. limiting the time to the 1st of January berforce's special request. He intro1796. The Bill, however, did not pass duced it with a high eulogium upon him. the Lords. There, of course, further No man,' he observed, either from his evidence was required!
talents, eloquence, zeal in the cause, “ In 1794, Mr. Wilberforce limited his or from the estimation in which he was exertions to the introduction of a Bill to held in that House and in the country, prohibit the supply of slaves to foreign could be better qualified for the task.' colonies. It passed the Lower House, but “Bitter experience has since proved was also thrown out in the Lords, by a how little either talents or eloquence, zeal majority of 45 to 4. Is it that Peers, or public estimation, have to do with the like the geese of Rome, have more in- success of public measures that have no tellect than others to perceive approaching better foundation than humanity and jusdanger? or too much strength of mind to tice, even when backed by popular opinion. be unseasonably affected by the sufferings Mr. Wilberforce rightly calculated on the of their fellow-subjects ? *
superior influence of Ministerial power. “In 1795, Mr. Wilberforce moved an The Bill, under the auspices of Govern. Amendment on the Address. His object ment, passed the Lower House by a mawas to promote a pacific relation with jority of 114 to 15; and, through the France; and, at a later period of the ses efforts of Lord Grenville, was, at length, sion, he made another motion to the same triumphant in the Lords. But the trieffect; but we purposely refrain from umph was fairly given to Mr. Wilberforce. entering upon this topic.
He was bailed with enthusiastic acclama“Nothing could long divert him from tions on re-entering the House after his the theme of Abolition; and, even in the success; and the country re-echoed the midst of these busy times, he made an applause from shore to shore. In the opportunity of again calling to it the at following year, his return for Yorkshire, tention of the Legislature. On the 26th which county he had represented in seof February he moved for leave to bring veral successive Parliaments, was warmly in his Bil. Mr. Dundas moved an contested; but such was the ardour with amendment, for postponing the motion for which the friends of humanity espoused six months; and it was carried by a ma- bis interest, that their subscriptions far jority of seventeen. On the 18th of exceeded the expense of his election, alFebruary 1796, Mr. Wilberforce again though more than 100,0001. We do not
recollect the exact sum ; but we believe The eloquent writer would, probably, that money to more than double that upon reflection, have expressed himself amount was subscribed. differently. The fact is too painful for “He remained in Parliament for many sarcasm.
years, until he was nearly the father of the House. About the year 1825 he retired motive impelled him to a more frequent altogether into domestic life, his increas. attendance than consisted with his physi. ing infirmities having latterly obliged him cal strength. In his later years be often to relieve himself from the heavy burthen availed himself of the too frequent opporof the county business, by accepting a tunity given by a heavy speaker, to indulge seat for the borough of Bramber, then in himself with an hour's sleep in the back the nomination of Lord Calthorpe. Mr. seats under the galleries; and this indul. Wilberforce frequently took an active gence was cheerfully and respectfully part in public affairs, after the termination conceded by the House. To have dis. of his Abolition duties. On the arrival turbed the slumber of Mr. W. would have of the late Queen he exerted himself stre- been, with one consent, scouted, as a nuously to avert those revolting discus- breach of privilege, for which no ordinary sions which he too plainly foresaw must apology could have atoned. ensue; and he moved his well-known ad- “ We have scarcely reserved time or dress to her Majesty, entreating her to space for a few particulars of his private return to France, as we have heard whis. habits. He married Miss Barbara Spoonpered, in concurrence with the feelings of er, the daughter of an opulent banker at one at least of her legal advisers, who Birmingham, in the year 1797. We bepromised his influence to obtain her as lieve that it was about this time that he sent. That influence, if exerted, availed published his celebrated work on Christibut little. Mr. Wilberforce, however, anity. It was his only work on religious had the satisfaction of feeling that he had or miscellaneous subjects; but it procured discharged an important duty to his con- for him great celebrity, not less for the science, as well as to his public character. elegance of its style than the sterling value Had he been accessible to the vanity of of its principles. It has passed through ordinary men, he must have felt flattered many editions, and is now a standard book by the confidence reposed in him by the in every library. For some years after House on this occasion. His suggestion his marriage, he resided at Bloomfield was received with almost reverential at House, on Clapham Common, except tention, and one and all seemed to regard during the Session, when he was generally him as the only man whose acknowledged at his town residence in Old Palace Yard. address, and weight of character, afforded He removed from Clapham to Kensington a hope of extrication from the painful Gore, where he lived many years. For a dilemma in which they found themselves short time, he occupied another house at placed.
Brompton; but, on leaving public life, “ We do not recollect that Mr. Wilber- we think about the year 1825, he purchasforce ever personally introduced any mea- ed an estate at Highwood-bill, about two sure of importance after the Abolition miles from Barnet, where he remained Bill had passed.
till within two years of his death. His “ The general bias of his politics was lady and his four sons have survived him. towards the Tories; but a man more free His eldest daughter died unmarried four from servile attachment to his party was years ago. His other daughter married never found in Parliament. Though the the Rev. J. James, and died within twelve intimate friend and constant supporter of months of her marriage. Her loss deeply Mr. Pitt, he never accepted or solicited affected her venerable parent; but, faitheither place or honour. We doubt if he ful to that God who had never failed him ever asked a favour for himself, though he throughout his arduous life, the morning never refused his influence to support of her decease found him in his usual seat the applications of men who possessed at church, seeking at the altar that peace fair claims on the public justice. Few which the world cannot give. Mrs. James members attended with more assiduity in inherited too much of her father's beautitheir places in Parliament. Though his ful mind, not to leave a wound in the frame was always weak, and his health parent's heart which never healed during indifferent, he rarely absented himself ihe short time that he survived her. from public duty: he had, indeed, a higher “ We dare not presume to describe the motive to its discharge, than most men. character of this illustrious servant of Though more destitute of self-importance God. Nor is it necessary: every one than most men, he was sensible that he among us, high or low, rich or poor, has had gradually risen to a peculiar respon been more or less familiar with his virtues; sibility, which there were few, if any, to for, in private or in public, the man was share with him. He was regarded by the still the same. He had formed a little religious world, as the protector, in the paradise around him, and it attended him Lower House, of the public morals and wherever he went. Tenderness, affecreligious rights. He was justly conscious tionate sympathy for the least want or that this was the highest trust confided to suffering of his neighbour, yet a benevohis care, and he was vigilant in proportion. lence so expanded that every man seemed He was never to be found sleeping when his neighbour, characterised him at home any question trenching on public decorum, or abroad. He was happy in himself, for or the interests of religion, came before he wished and he sought the happiness of the legislature. We believe that this high all around him. The protection of the Negro was only an emanation from that lable ; but never was a Churchman less principle of love which seemed to govern tainted with the least approach to bigotry. every action and every thought; a brighter His feelings were truly liberal. We recoruscation of that light which radiated collect on one occasion that he received in all directions, and spread warmth and the Sacrament in a Dissenting chapel : a comfort on all within its rays. He lived gentleman had expressed some doubt of for others ; he died for himself, to enjoy the circumstance, and Mr. Wilberforce in all its fulness the heaven which he had was asked if the report was true. Yes, endeavoured to realise on earth, by follow my dear,' he answered in a tone that intiing the footsteps of that Saviour on whose mated surprise: 'is it not the church of atonement he entirely rested for salvation. God?'
“ In his domestic life, Mr. Wilberforce “In person Mr. Wilberforce was not was playful and animated to a degree calculated to excite attention ; but, when which few would have supposed, who had his countenance was animated by converbeen accustomed to regard him only as sation, the expression of the features was the leader of the religious world. He very striking. An admirable likeness of was extremely fond of children, and would him, though inferior as a work of art, was enter into their gambols with the gaiety lately painted for Sir Robert Inglis, by an of a school-boy. We need scarcely add, artist of the name of Richmond. It apthat he was the idol of his own. Their peared in the late Exhibition. veneration, their filial attachment, bor “ His remains are interred close to dered on enthusiasm ; their hourly attend those of Pitt and Canning. It was not ance on his wants, resembled the mater less honourable to the age than to his nal anxiety of a widowed parent for an memory, to witness men of every rank, only child. Mr. Wilberforce was particu- and every party, joining together to pay larly happy in conversation : his memory the last tribute of homage to a man whose was richly stored with classical allusion; title to public gratitude was exclusively a natural poetry of mind constantly dis founded upon his private worth and displayed itself; a melodious cadence interested services to mankind. marked every thought and every expres. “Oh! may I die the death of the sion of the thought. He was seldom im- righteous, and may my last end be like passioned; not often energetic; but his his!” tones were mellifluous and persuasive, exactly according with the sentiment they It is not without an exercise of selfconveyed. Those who studied the cha- denial that we at present forbear dilating racter of his elocution in public, cannot upon the fruitful topics included in the fail to recognise the same distinguishing above sketch; more especially his retraits in all the speeches of his later years. ligious character, and his zealous efforts in
“ We must not conclude even these many ways to promote the spiritual wellengthened remarks without noticing his fare of mankind; but we purpose resumreligious habits. His attachment to the ing the subject. Established Church was deep and invio
(To be continued.)
VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
The length of the preceding article obliges us to 80 good and judicious a man as Lord Bexley. It postpone what we had written upon the Public has also rejected a most unjust Bill fur prevent Affairs of the month, which, however, was chieflying the Claimants of Tithes instituting actions for to mention the passing of several of the Bills their recovery, in anticipation of the operation which we have already noticed, and a summary of Lord Tenterden's Act, by which all claim of the most important of which, as finally settled, not legally sued for during sixty years will we hope to insert during the recess of Parlia be extinguished. We approve upon the whole ment. Among these measures, there is not one for of Lord l'enterden's Act, in its prospective apwhich we feel such lively gratitude to God as the plication, as tending to prevent litigation and Slavery Abolition Act, which, though not all that manifold evils, though it also quashes many just we wish, or think just and politic, is far beyond claims ; but to make it apply instanter, and withall that three or four years ago we could have out notice, is most unjust, as many indubitable ventured so soon to expect. We have much to rights have not been prosecuted, owing to neglisay on this and other measures.
gence, poverty, or the love of peace, on the part The House of Lords bas negatived the Jewish of the tithe owner, and chicane on the part of the Disabilities Bill, and we think properly, not payer. withstanding it was introduced and advocated by
SUPPLEMENT TO RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE. BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE SOCIETY.
ON THE RELATION OF CHRISTIANITY TO CIVIL GOVERN. MENT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
For the Christian Observer. M UCH as the condition of the United States of America is popularly
misunderstood and misrepresented in England, in relation to matters of social and political arrangement, still greater are the mistakes which prevail in reference to the religious affairs of that vast and interesting nation. Nor can we wonder at the popular ignorance upon this subject, respecting which the mass of tourists and journalists are not qualified to afford much accurate information, when we see how credulously thousands of Englishmen receive the blunders and slanders of such flippant scribblers as Mrs. Trollope, and such wilfully party-spirited misrepresenters as the Quarterly Reviewers, in reference to matters more on the surface than those connected with the state of religion. It is not likely that writers who retail the most absurd fallacies respecting the civil condition, and obvious usages and customs of a nation, should have penetrated very carefully into the less visible indications of its moral and religious condition.
It is often asked in England, both within and without the Established Church, What is the relation of Christianity to civil government in the United States of America, and how does the system practically work ? These inquiries are of considerable moment, as connected with the important question of national Church Establishments. It is urged by the opposers of Established Churches, that in the United States of America the experiment of doing without them has been tried, and has succeeded. It is replied, by the friends of national Religious Establishments, that the experiment has not yet been fully tried; for that the United States still retain much of the beneficial influence of the arrangements which existed before the Revolution; and that there is, under the present plan, a lamentable inadequacy of religious ordinances to the wants of the people, which of itself shews the need of a national church establishment. It is not, indeed, generally understood in England what are the real facts of the case-as was lately seen in the discussions on the Jewish Disabilities Bill, during which the example of the United States was appealed to as that of a truly wise and virtuous nation, in which not only is there no established church, but no national recognition of religion whatever, so that a Jew stands in every respect upon precisely the same footing as a Christian,
Now this is not the actual state of facts in the United States. It is true that the Federal Constitution declared that “ Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise Christ. Observ. No. 382.
thereof;" but the best lawyers and statesmen of America contend, that, though this prohibits a national ecclesiastical establishment, it was not intended to set aside as the national faith that Divine religion which, under varying modifications, had been professed and cherished from the earliest settlement of the country, and which it was the great object of the pilgrim fathers who quitted Great Britain for America to enjoy in the wilderness of the Western World according to the dictates of their conscience, and to hand down as the best gift to their children's children.
Believing as we do that a National Church Establishment is, under the blessing of God, an instrument of incalculable benefit to a land, we think that the United States have ventured upon a most dangerous experiment; and we do not consider it possible, without an especial miracle, which we are not authorized to expect, that the spiritual wants of the people can be supplied, and a system of religious instruction be perpetuated, under the present arrangements. At the same time, it is not just to overlook the measure of religious legislation which is still permitted, either federally or in individual States; and we firmly believe that it is chiefly to the presence of even these partial recognitions, and certainly not to the absence of more direct sanctions, that the American Union is indebted for whatever is most hopeful in her religious condition.
We are happy in being able to lay before our readers some authentic particulars relative to the connexion between Christianity and Civil Government in the United States, as detailed in an Address to the Convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of South Carolina by the Rev. Dr. Adams, President of Charleston College. Dr. Adams is an Episcopalian Clergyman, and a zealous advocate for the national recognition of Chris. tianity; but he is an equally zealous opposer of the civil establishment of any particular communion. We may therefore the more confidently quote his statements, against those who are ever referring to the American commonwealth in favour of that modern “ Liberalism” which would render a nation avowedly unchristian, under the pretext of not being sectarian. We do not defend America: we think her quite wrong, and we believe that ultimately she will either be obliged to alter her course, or that infi. delity will work her ruin : but we ought not to represent her case as worse than it is; and Dr. Adams's facts are of great importance, as shewing the extent, however inadequate, to which legislation has gone in establishing Christianity as part and parcel of the national institutions. Should we, in quoting from Dr. Adams, be obliged to introduce any of his interwoven remarks against national church establishments, we need not say that we do not do so with approbation ;-a disclaimer which we should have thought unnecessary and obtrusive, had we not learned, with much astonishment, that some readers consider all that they find in any quotation in our pages as our own sentiment, unless we explicitly state the contrary ; to do which in every instance would not only be tedious or impracticable, but in most cases would be unnecessary, as the character of a periodical work is sufficiently known to its readers to enable them to discover whether or not a quoted remark is adopted as the sentiment of its conductors. We should not, however, have digressed into this explanation, had we not been gravely accused of patronising king-killing, because, in the course of a quotation in our pages from an American author, there happened to occur the title of some publication advocating that doctrine, and we did not chance to add a ridiculously superfluous note to say that we did not approve of that atrocity.
Dr. Adams relates as follows the state of ecclesiastical affairs in his native land, up to the period of its separation from Great Britain :
“ The relation which the prevailing system of religion in various countries