Abbildungen der Seite

assigned by the Dean of Westminster against that integrity, but he has also presented, in the course of his reply to Dr. Stanley's third objection, which is grounded on the alleged differences of language between the earlier and later prophecies, an amount of positive evidence on the other side, not only neutralizing the vague and indefinite assertions of certain German philologists, but sufficient, in our opinion, to present a strong primd facie case in support of the identity of authorship.*

We refrain from adducing other quotations from these Lectures, our object being to afford our readers such a general idea of the nature of the work as may induce those who have the leisure and inclination for such pursuits, to examine it for themselves.

We are unwilling, however, to conclude this notice of a book so deserving the attention of Biblical students, without quoting the concluding passage of the Note to which we have already referred, in which Mr. Leathes, after referring to Isaiah vi. as affording an illustration of his statement that the writings of the so-called first Isaiah present us with phenomena as inexplicable, on merely natural principles, as those of the so-called second Isaiah, continues thus :—

"I have not mentioned this because I believe it to be the only passage in the early chapters of Isaiah referring to distant events, or to these events," (i. e. to the Babylonian Desolation and the succeeding Consolation,) "but because, to understand this chapter thus, seems to me to throw great light upon it. As a matter of fact, the real title of the prophets to the name they bear, and their real claim to professing, in a snpernatural manner, the power of prediction, does not rest upon the establishment of this or that fulfilled prophecy, but upon the cast and tenour of their writings as a whole. Let any man read the second chapter of Isaiah, for example, and

• So far from overstating, it appears of praise. Now the only other place in to us that Mr. Leathes has rather which the word occurs in this sense is understated, the evidence arising out of Ps. xcviii. 4, whore, as in the six the occurrence of words peculiar, or places in Isaiah, it occurs in conjuncahnost peculiar, to Isaiah in both parts tion with tho same word ranan, and in of his prophecies; e.g., with regard to closo connexion with such other verbal the word pazah (orpazach) Mr. Leathes coincidences with the prophecies of observes that this word, which he Isaiah as render it, in the highest dorenders "broke forth," occurs "once gree, probable, either that Isaiah was tho in xiv. 7, and five times in later chap- author of the Psalm, or that ono of the ters; once only in Psalms, and once in two writers borrowed from the other. Micah, besides." This statement is Much might be added under the head perfectly correct, but in no wise pre- of similarity of style and expression sents the full force of the argument, between the earlier and later proinasmuch as Micah uses the word in phecics of Isaiah, with regard to the ordinary sense of breaking, with which, by way of illustration, we may reference to the bones, whoreas Isaiah refer to the very striking and characin each of the six cases in which the teristic use of anadiplosis or iteration, word occurs, uses it, in conjunction which may be traced throughout the with some of the derivatives of ranan, whole of theso prophecies, in the sense of breaking forth into a shout

say whether or not there is prediction there; let him say .whether. or not that has been fulfilled,—whether or not it remains still to be fulfilled. To my mind, the superhuman and Divine character of these writings is stamped upon them in ineffaceable letters. I read it there broad and deep; but start with the denial of its existence, and who shall prove it to exist?"


Exactly one hundred years have passed since Granville Sharpe gave to the world the result of his enquiries into the law of England on the toleration of slavery in this kingdom. The basis of this investigation was, it may be remembered, the opinion given in 1729, by the then Attorney and SolicitorGenerals, Yorke and Talbot, that a slave, by coming to England, did not become free, and might be legally compelled to return with his master to the plantations. Granville Sharpe, after a careful examination of the subject, concluded "that the sentiment of Lord Chief Justice Holt, that as soon as a negro comes into England he becomes free, might safely be preferred to all contrary opinions."

Soon afterwards, the action brought on behalf of the negro Somerset, afforded an opportunity of testing the correctness of this opinion, and for the establishment, as a rule of law, of Lord Chief Justice Holt's now well-known sentiment.

Least prominent in the contest which led to this result, though its real mainspring, stands the figure of Granville Sharpe, the prosecutor, who, though poor and immersed in the duties of a toilsome daily occupation, supplied the money, the leisure, the perseverance, and the learning required for this great controversy, and yet had carefully concealed his own connection with it, fearful lest so humble a name should weaken a cause so momentous.

With no special education, and but little leisure, the Ordnance clerk had, by unflinching industry and toil, proved himself on a par, if not superior, in one main branch of English law, to some of our most eminent judges of that period; such at least is the dictum of the late Sir J. Stephen. One hundred years have passed away, a century marked by events as important as any that have transpired in the world's history, and among them no landmark stands out more conspicuously than the monument which records the History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade. To Granville Sharpe belongs the honour of having first aroused in the English mind a sense of the enjoyment of a freedom so perfect, so ennobling, so gracious, as to cover and enfranchise all who share with Englishmen the privilege. of treading English soil.

When, in the mercy of God to Africa, a few earnest men were found whose hearts bled for her wrongs, and whose hands were strong to redress those wrongs, foremost as leaders stood Granville Sharpe, Clarkson, and William Wilberforce. To the first was committed the presidency of the Society formed for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and to Wilberforce was assigned the general superintendence and Parliamentary management of the cause. The century whose commencement we have marked has passed away, and we witness the result of these men's labours; truly they have laboured, and we have entered into their labours. They contemplated but the overthrow of a gigantic evil, the curse of Africa's sons; we see that curse removed, and in place of the slaver and the slave barracoon, we see, looking from the very spot where John Newton lamented his captivity in the service of Satan, a Freetown, many of whose inhabitants, once slaves, or the children of slaves, are now free men in Christ Jesus. Nay, more; we see the Gospel carried into the old haunts of the slavers; and as the sailor makes for the bar of Lagos, that last haunt of the slave trade, his landmark for the harbour is the spire of an English church, one of three erected there by the Church Missionary Society. Still further on we find a native Christian church in Abbeokuta, and at various places on the Niger native churches, their spiritual father himself once a slave, now a bishop of our own beloved Church. The century may well close with words taken from an evening paper which, writing in May last, pronounces the African slave trade to be a thing of the past, adding that the British cruiser is not the only obstacle to the trade, but the want of purchasers has rendered the trade nseless and unprofitable, and never to be resuscitated.

It may be well, in directing the attention of our readers to the slave trade at present carried on, with all the horrors of the old trade, upon the East Coast of Africa, to call to remembrance the circumstances under which the battle of the West Coast slave trade was fought and won. The disappointments and failures in that conflict may not be familiar to all, and many of our readers may be surprised to learn that twenty long years of labour and sorrow were consumed ere Mr. Wilberforce's efforts for the abolition of the slave trade were crowned with success. In 1789, he first proposed the abolition of the slave trade in the House of Commons, and it was not until April, 1791, that the question was brought directly to an issue. The two years that had elapsed since his successful speech in 1789, had sufficed to change the current of popular feeling; and some indication of the temper of the time and of the estimate formed by thinking men of the difficulties in Wilberforce's path, may be gathered from the following letter, penned by John Wesley on his dying bed. They are probably the last written words of that great servant of God:—

"My Dear Sir,—Unless Divine power has raised you. up to be as Athanasius contra mundum, I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villany which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary in well-doing! Go on in the name of God, in the name of His might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it. That He who has guided you from your youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and in all things, is the prayer of, dear Sir, your affectionate Servant,

"john Wesley."

The event justified these forebodings. Mr. Wilberforce's motion was lost by a large majority; even Mr. Pitt, with whom he had concerted his first measure, avowing his opinion that it was wiser to await more tranquil times before the trade could be abolished. Again and again did Mr. Wilberforce return to the attack. His perseverance was at length rewarded, and the House of Commons for the first time passed a Bill, in 1794, for the immediate abolition of the trade. This Bill was lost in the House of Lords; and in succeeding Sessions Mr. Wilberforce laboured zealously, though ineffectually, to induce the House of Commons to resume the ground they had already occupied. Defeat followed defeat, and the contest, which had lasted for twelve years, seemed for a while to leave the advocates of slavery the masters of the field. In 1802, however, Mr. Wilberforce resumed his attempt, though under most discouraging circumstances. A second time did the Bill pass the Commons, only to be hung up in the Lords, and the question was adjourned to the following Session. The next effort was foiled; the House of Commons, in 1805, rejecting the Bill, inflicting upon Mr. Wilberforce distress and pain beyond that suffered on any previous defeat. But the impending change in the position of parties gave promise of hope. The Ministry of Mr. Fox had scarcely succeeded Mr. Pitt's Cabinet, when Bills were introduced into the Lords, and a Resolution carried in the Commons, condemnatory of the trade; and finally, in 1807, the Bill was passed which condemned for ever the trade in slaves. Twenty-six years afterwards, the abolition of slavery in all British Dominions took place, and the example and influence of England soon secured from all European powers treaty

engagements by which trade in African slaves was declared to be piracy, and punishable as such. Under these treaties the African squadron was maintained, and mixed courts instituted at various ports around the African coast, for adjudging all cases of capture or seizure of vessels engaged in the trade. The watch maintained by the cruisers of the African squadron, and the energy and interest in the subject displayed by the late Lord Palmerston, have brought about the result we have adverted to, and true it is, so far as the West Coast of Africa is concerned, that the African Slave Trade is a thing of the past.

But while this happy result is chronicled concerning the old Atlantic Slave Trade, the annual reports of our Consul at Zanzibar, and the despatches of the naval officers in command of the few vessels which form the East African Squadron, tell a very different story. From these reports and despatches, which are annually presented to Parliament, we learn some particulars of the trade in slaves, carried on between the Bast African Coast and ports on the Persian Gulf, the Southern shores of Arabia and Persia, and the Red Sea. Dr. Livingstone, in his last work, "The Zambesi and its Tributaries," speaks from his own personal observation of the horrors and atrocities which accompany the slave raids made to supply this trade; and the late Bishop of Mauritius, at the request of the Committee, addressed a letter to the Earl of Chichester, as President of the Church Missionary Society, calling attention to the increasing extent of the trade, and urging the Society to take such measures as lay in their power to mitigate the evils and misery inflicted on that hapless land. Not unmindful of the claim that all Africa has on the Society, a claim indicated by its title, "The Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East," nor forgetting the link which biuds the memory of its earlier days with the circle which gathered round Wilberforce, and with the contest in which he was the leader, the Committee have, we rejoice to learn, responded to the call, and we would venture to express our confidence and trust in the ultimate success of any cause undertaken in the calm prayerful spirit which guides the deliberations of the men who compose that Committee.

The measures decided upon by the Committee are twofold. They have endeavoured, first, to apply to the present circumstances of the trade some mitigating remedy; and secondly, by spreading information upon the subject, and by urging upon the Government, with such influence as the Society may possess, the adoption of measures for that purpose, to bring about the suppression and extinction of this nefarious traffic. Most gladly would we assist in this enterprise, and we thorefore propose to lay before our readers a short account of the present

VoL 68.—No. 382. 5 H

« ZurückWeiter »