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con. I bought next Huntingford's good chest of tools, worth I suppose Greek Exercises, which I wrote throughout, and then, in pursuance of the advice laid down in the Exercises, read Xenophon's Cyropædia, and soon after Plato's Dialogues, some part of the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer, Pythagoras's Golden Verses, with the Commentary of Hierocles, Lucian's Dialogues of the Dead, and some of the Poetæ Minores, with the Antigone of Sophocles.
"I now thought I might attempt the Hebrew, and accordingly procured Bythner's Grammar, with his Lyra Prophetica; and soon after obtained a Psalter, which I read by the help of the Lyra. I next purchased Buxtorf's Grammar and Lexicon, with a Hebrew Bible: and now I seemed drawing fast towards the summit of my wishes, but was far from being uninterrupted in these pursuits. A frequent inflammation in my eyes, with every possible discouragement from those about me, were certainly powerful opponents; but habit, and a fixed determination to proceed, had now made study my greatest happiness: and I every day returned to it, rather as a source of rest from manual labour; and though I felt many privations in consequence, it amply repaid me in that solitary satisfaction which none, but a mind actuated as mine was, could feel. But to return: chance had thrown in my way the Targum of Onkelos; and I had a Chaldaic Grammar in Bythner's Lyra, with the assistance of which and of Schindler's Lexicon, I soon read it. I next proceeded to I next proceeded to the Syriac, and read some of Gutbir's Testament, by the help of Otho's Synopsis, and Schindler's Lexicon. I had also occasionally looked over the Samaritan; but as the Samaritan Pentateuch differs little from the Hebrew, except in a change of letters, I found no difficulty in reading it, in quotations, wherever I found it; and with quotations I was obliged to content myself, as books in that language were entirely out of my reach.
"By this time I had attained my twenty-fifth year, and had got a
about 25l. I was now sent into Worcestershire, to superintend, on the part of my master, Mr. John Lee, the repairing of a large house belonging to the Rev. Mr. Cookes. I began now to think it necessary to relinquish the study of languages; as I perceived that, however excellent the acquisition may have appeared to me, it was in my situation entirely useless. I sold my books, and made new resolutions. In fact, I married, considering my calling as my only support; and some promises and insinuations had been made to me, which seemed of a favourable nature in my occupation. I was awaked, however, from these views and suggestions by a circumstance which gave a new and distressing appearance to my affairs; a fire broke out in the house we were repairing; in which my tools, and with them all my views and hopes, were consumed. I was now cast on the world without a friend, a shilling, or even the means of subsistence. This, however, would have been but slightly felt by me, as I had always been the child of misfortune, had not the partner of my life been immerged in the same afflicting circumstances. There was, however, no alternative; and I now began to think of some new course of life, in which my former studies might prove advantageous. I thought that of a country schoolmaster would be the most likely to answer my purpose. I therefore applied myself to the study of Murray's English Exercises, and improved myself in arithmetic.
"There was, however, one grand objection to this: I had no money to begin; and I did not know any friend who would be inclined to lend. In the mean time, the Rev. Archdeacon Corbett had heard of my attachment to study, and, having been informed of my being in Longnor, sent for me in order to inform himself of particulars. To him I communicated my circumstances; and it is to his goodness that I am indebted for the situation I at
present fill, and for several other valuable benefits which he thought proper generously to confer. My circumstances since that time are too well known to you to need any further elucidation. It is through your kind assistance I made myself thus far acquainted with the Arabic, Per. sian, and Hindoostanee languages; of my progress in which you, sir, are undoubtedly the best judge. I am, sir, with every possible respect,
Blue School, Shrewsbury,
"Mr. Lee was introduced to me
by Mr. Archdeacon Corbett. The assistance he so gratefully speaks of from myself, was chiefly in the loan of books, and directing him in pronunciation; he wanted no other. In the course of a few months he was able not only to read and translate from any Arabic or Persian manuscript, but to compose in those languages, Since my residing at Bath, he has sent me translations, into Arabic and Persian, of several of Dr. Johnson's Oriental Apologues in the Rambler, and of Addison's Vision of Mirza in the Spectator. They are wonderfully well done; and in this opinion I am not singular, as they have met also the approbation of Mr. James Anderson, whose abilities as an Orientalist are sufficiently established to render his applause highly satisfactory. Mr. Lee, in addition to his knowledge of the dead and Eastern languages, has made also consider. able proficiency in French, German, and Italian. With his amazing facility of acquiring languages he possesses taste for elegant composition, and has no slight poetical talents, of which I have seen some specimens in English and Latin; also a Parody of Gray's Ode to Adversity, in Greek Sapphic verse, which I am informed by judges, for I am myself no Grecian, is a surprising effort of self-instructed genius. His present situation is that of master of a small charity foundation in Shrewsbury;
but he also attends two schools as teacher of arithmetic, and at a few private houses as instructor, in Persic and Hindoostanee, to the sons of gentlemen who expect appointments in the civil or military service of the Honourable East-India Company; and the progress made by his pupils shews that he has the talent of conveying knowledge to others, an art not always possessed by the learned."
I will not detain your readers with the reflections which occur to my mind in perusing this narrative; but one in particular presents itself, in connexion with Professor Lee's subsequent pursuits-namely, the remarkable manner in which the Pro
vidence of God often prepares and brings into operation instruments to promote his designs, whether of mercy or displeasure. The Bible is replete with such narratives, nor are modern days destitute of them; though for want of that infallible linking together of cause and effect which we find in the inspired narratives, it might be presumptuous in ordinary cases to attempt to trace out too minutely what we consider to be the special designs of God, or his peculiar instruments to effect them. Yet in the larger affairs of nations and empires no seriously minded man hesitates to connect them: the history of a Bonaparte appears to him as plainly monitory as though it had been declared to be so by a direct revelation; or as much so as that of Pharaoh, or Sennacherib, or Nebuchadnezzar. And so, in private life, every Christian in his own case traces cause and effect: he records his sin in his punishment, and the long-suffering of God in his mercies; and while he looks back on his own personal narrative, he exclaims "Goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." And why not with equal justice connect the apparently trivial circumstance of the burning of a journeyman carpenter's tools, with that great work which our valued friend was raised up to per
form in the Church Missionary Society, the Bible Society, and the University of Cambridge, for the promotion of biblical knowledge and spiritual and eternal blessings through out the world? Mr. Greenfield's history was in a similar manner remarkable; he was prepared, unknowing and unknown, for that important occupation to which his last days were devoted: he was discovered and appreciated at the very moment when his services were specially required; and, having laid a solid foundation for the future labours of whoever may succeed to his post, he was taken to his rest. The Bible Society will find it difficult to supply his place; but such instances as the above are illustrations of the encouraging fact, that wherever God has put it into the hearts of his servants to endeavour to promote his glory he can raise up, even in quar. ters the most unlikely, instruments to effect his designs.
ADMIRAL SIR C. PENROSE ON SLAVERY.
AMONG our old letters we find the following addressed to us by the late venerable Admiral Sir C. Penrose. It was not inserted at the time, owing, probably, to the accumulation of papers on the same subject, and the absence of the writer's name (though known to us privately) to authenticate his statements; but we are induced, even thus late, to rescue it, both in honour to his memory for his warm protest against slavery, and because his personal testimony, in regard to the condition of the slaves and the state of colonial society, is valuable, on account of the ample opportunities he had possessed of investigating them while serving on the West-Indian station. Our readers will mark how lightly one so well qualified to judge of the matter regarded the direful evils which the colonists have conjured up to scare ignorant and timid persons from the duty of complete
emancipation; how indignantly he repels the fabrication of slaves being as well off as the British peasantry; how honestly he traces up the whole system, amidst all its disguises, to its elements of selfishness, indolence, and cupidity; and how earnestly he warns both the colonists and the mother country of the just retribution of God, if they do not undo the heavy burdens and let the oppressed go free. We feel how much caution is necessary in presuming to speak of any particular calamity, personal or national, as an express punishment for a particular sin; for we know that those on whom the tower of Siloam fell were not more wicked then many others around them; and that in every extensive visitation, the scourge may often smite the righteous with the wicked; yet the Scriptures teach us to con. nect national sins with national judgments, and we should fail to derive the religious warning which ought to be gathered from great public calamities, if we did not urge our West-Indian proprietors suffering under the late awful visitation in their blood-stained islands to consider their guiltiness before God, as participators in the accursed system which has not less brutalized America than it has degraded Europe, desolated Africa, and afflicted humanity. The lines of Cowper are strong; but they convey more than a poetical fancy, where he represents the slave apostrophising his oppressor:
Why did all-creating nature
Make the plant for which we toil? Sighs must fan it, tears must water, Sweat of ours must dress the soil. Think, ye masters, iron-hearted, Lolling at your jovial boards; Think how many backs have smarted For the sweets your cane affords. Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there One who reigns on high? Has he bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne the sky? Ask him if your knotted scourges, Matches, blood-extorting screws, Are the means that duty urges Agents of his will to use?
Hark! he answers-wild tornadoes, Strewing yonder seas with wrecks, Wasting towns, plantations, meadows, Are the voice with which he speaks. He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo, Fixed their tyrants' habitations Where his whirlwinds answer-No.
Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. As a drowning man will catch at straws, so we may observe to what frail supports those who are engaged in a bad cause frequently resort.
I have observed in the newspapers some documents issued, or said to have been issued, at St. Domingo, and republished in Jamaica, in order to prove that compulsory labour only can force a Black population to cultivate the soil so that a commerce shall be created by its produce.
If the slave owners of Jamaica pertinaciously continue to resist the emancipation of slaves by moderate measures and fair remuneration, I verily believe that that island will, ere long, be in the same state in which St. Domingo now is; but at present there is no comparison of their relative situations; and the planters, if they learn wisdom by experience and example, may still avert the catastrophe which will put both islands on the same footing.
If Jamaica and St. Domingo possess such a soil and climate as to enable a free Black population to live at ease, each man under his own vine and his own fig tree, without using more labour than the cultivation of a small garden and the care of a poultry yard would require; what treatment can be more cruel than that which, by the most despotic means, forces them to labour hard, through a long day's work, to create a commerce which is not requisite for the necessities or comforts of the inhabitants?
I humbly conceive, that the only plausible plea for compulsory labour is real necessity; and before the slave-holders of Jamaica can prove this necessity, they must shew that the produce of their island caunot be dispensed with. If sugar were
the staff of life, and Jamaica were to Great Britain what Egypt once was to Canaan, we might selfishly plead for compulsory labour, if it could be proved that free labour would not supply us with food. But the case is not so. If Jamaica were and a hundred fathoms of sea rolled over her fine mountains, friends would mourn for relations lost, and humanity would sicken at the thought of so many amenable beings hurried at once to a final doom: but not in the smallest degree would the loss be national. Sugar would come as sweet to the palate, and tenfold sweeter to our mental taste, from other quarters; and the duties to the revenue and the tonnage of shipping employed would be at least equally great.
For what then is compulsory labour continued? No national benefit arises, no general good proceeds. The system of slavery is then continued to gratify the avarice of a few individuals, who still keenly feel that even their darling system is so extravagantly expensive that ruined houses and mortgaged estates are the result. Such indeed is the uneconomical nature of slave cultivation, that it is supposed that very few engaged in it have a bona fide creditor-balance to their accounts.
It has been boldly stated, that the Negro Slave in Jamaica is better off than an English Labourer. I have, sir, been in that island; and Ido not deny that in many a Negro hut, and on some estates, I could fancy the existence of pleasing scenes, if reflection would have allowed me to enjoy the spectacle before me. that climate all that nature really wants, nature bountifully supplies: and when real kindness is shewn, the slave for the time may have about him all, or nearly all, the physical comforts which he might desire if he were free; but not being free, he has neither time nor spirits to enjoy these, and is also shut out from others.
Between a master and a slave, there is indeed neither verbal nor
written covenant: the man and the beast are, in most respects, on the same footing: but tyrant custom, tyrannous habit, and licentious indulgence, have decreed the slave's allotment in life.
Let us suppose, that one of our poorest labourers had lived in a house where rain, wind, and snow could penetrate, and that the fuel which had formed his few embers on the open hearth were the precarious supply from the common. Bring this poor and shivering man into a well-built Negro hut on a most favoured plantation. Point out to him the little need of clothing or fuel; shew him how dry and cheerful every thing smiles around him; make him notice the plantain and banana holding the sweet bread of the climate in clusters at the door, and a fine brood of chickens ready for the market; he might then, perhaps, think of the pelting of the pitiless storm on his poverty struck cottage, and believe for a moment the change would be desirable. But let him know the whole truth, and let all that is expected from the slave be told him, before he exchanges (I make the contrast as strong as possible) his poverty and cold, for tropical warmth and abundance. Let the planter say, Thus comfortably you shall be fed and clothed; but for this you shall labour ten or fourteen or more hours a day, according to circumstances; and if you do not work with all your strength, a heavy cartwhip will compel you. Remember also that you are my property. If misfortune or misconduct reduce me to want, you and your family may be sold, with my other animals, to satisfy my creditors. If your wife, sisters, or daughters, please me, or any of my friends who visit me, they are always to be at our command. I have not half finished the detail of Negro advantages: but John Bull would not have waited to hear half of what I have already written; and in good truth I should not like to be the man who would venture to make the proposal for such a change.
I think John would have given the planter "a facer ere this.
In a climate which too often deprives the European of his best energies, and reduces him to a mere indolent voluptuary, even if the lash were abolished, would not any compulsion to labour be a most dreadful cruelty? The back being relieved from the stroke of the whip will not prevent the continued smart of the mind. How then can the words kindly treated be ever applied to the case, without the salvo of comparative treatment?
I have said that I have visited the regions of slavery; and, indeed, I saw a good deal of the system under advantageous circumstances for forming a fair judgment. My opinions (exclusive of their Christian foundation) were chiefly formed by observation and conversations in the company of slave-owners. Some of these I have in the field of labour convinced that their system was expensive, even to absurdity. A team of the large brewers' horses employed to draw a wheel-barrow of oranges, would not be more preposterous than some of the labours I have witnessed. But conviction in the field soon yielded to indolence in the house. The man-dram, the cool punch, the grass hammock, and the feather fan in the hands of a favourite, soon damped all ardour for active exertion, even when profit was made evident. The mental labour was great, even to discuss the point; but to execute, to reduce conviction to practice, is a labour which, I am certain, must be undertaken out of the tropics.
But let me add, that I pity more than blame the man who has been a slave-holder. He is entangled in a web of crime, sanctioned by custom, and, I regret to say, British authority. But a Briton, blushing for his father's errors, cannot yet elicit a corresponding flush from his Creole brother: yet these men have eyes, but they see not; ears have they, but they hear not to any good effect; that their fellow-subjects at