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drivers, were not the most likely methods to give them exalted views of Christianity, and to create in them a desire for Christian "baptism, and the other blessed sacra. ment." For the comfort of Philalethes, however, let me say, that he need not yet hang his harp on the willows, for, though the slave trade is by law abolished, yet there continues to be large importations of pagans into many of the good Christian islands.
But, seriously, let me ask that writer in the Morning Post, what slave-trade men, and the friends of slavery, have ever done to convert their pagan slaves to Christianity? Has their example promoted it? Have they supplied them with Christian schoolmasters, or catechists, or ministers? Have they allowed them time for the public exercises of religion, on the Christian sabbath? Let him answer these questions, but let him answer them truly. If he be acquainted with the moral and religious his tory of the West India islands, for the last century, and will faithfully exhibit the truth of that history, I know what his answer will be. He will tell you, that till towards the latter end of that century, the slave population was almost universally neglected; * that, between forty and fifty years ago, some Christian missionaries went to those islands, to devote their labours chiefly to the religious instruction of the slaves; in which benevolent work they met, not with support, but with violent opposition, and, in some cases, with imprisonment, from the slavery-men. That, since that time, many other Christian missionaries, some Methodists, some Moravian, some Independents, and some Baptists, have been actively employed in endeavouring to Christianize the slaves, though often maligned and perse. cuted, and, at least in two instances, murdered by the traffickers in the "muscles and the bones of men," whose advocate, in this very paper, whimpers and cants about the spiritual interests of the slaves.
It is, indeed, true, that many of the poor Africans have, notwithstanding all the opposition of the slavery men, been, not only baptized, but "turned from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God." But, after all, no more thanks are due to the traders in human blood, than to the murderers of St. Stephen. The death of Stephen occasioned the disciples to be scattered abroad, and was the proximate cause of a very rapid and extensive spread of
* With the exception of those who resided in Antigua, where the Moravians had laboured with great success, from the year 1732.
Christianity. Yet, no thanks to Stephen's murderers, but to Stephen's God, who in this, as in the case of the men-stealers, made the wickedness of man to praise Him. But we must not do evil that good may come-we must neither murder nor steal men, nor hold innocent men in chains, because these things have, in some instances, been overruled for good. If Philalethes be sincere in his regrets for the spiritual loss of the poor Africans, let him manifest bis sincerity, by contributing to the support of some Christian missionaries, who shall visit them, not with manacles, but with the gospel of peace, the divinely appointed and authorised instrument of conversion, that gospel which casts down the strong holds of satan, and which is the power of God to salvation, to all that believe.
Among slave-proprietors and managers, it is pleasing to remark, that there are some who attend to the spiritual interests of their slaves, and who contribute liberally towards the support of Christian missionaries; men to whom that kind of property has descended from their predecessors; and who, it is believed, would throw no obstacles in the way of the total and speedy abolition of slavery; men who are humane and be nevolent, and pious, and who form a perfect contrast to such libels on human nature as Parson Bridges, and his worthless asso-T ciates; and men who, should the British parliament much longer delay the extinc tion of slavery, and thus provoke the coloured and black population to insurrec22 tion and self-emancipation, would have little or nothing to fear. Whilst the indig nant insurgents would visit their tyrants and oppressors with vengeance, they would be as a wall of fire round about the per- › sons, and families, and property, of those benevolent individuals, who had treated i them, in the period of their bondage, with something approaching to patriarchal kind
Every philanthropist must deprecate the probable evils of self-emancipation, an event which, should the abolition of slavery! be much longer delayed, is, in the very nature of things, inevitable. It therefore becomes the solemn duty of the humane and religious constituency of this country to elect only those members to represent them in parliament, who will give a solemn pledge to vote for the speedy and total abolition of slavery. Should the reform of parliament, so much talked of, take place, the constituency of this country will be greatly enlarged; a thing which, it is calcusu lated, will have a powerfully beneficial operation upon this question. Let / Britons,
ANCIENT VAULT AT ROTHWELL.
who themselves are free, and whose generous spirits hate slavery; and, especially, let British Christians give their suffrage to no man, however talented or estimable on "other accounts, who will not most distinctly engage to support, not the gradual abolition of slavery, a phrase with which this country has been too long amused and gulled, and which, in the vocabulary of the slavery-men, means neither more nor less than interminable bondage; but its speedy and total annihilation. Let the day be fixed by parliament for its extinction, and let that day be an early one. Let not the friends of humanity any longer be imposed upon by the dead letter enactments of colonial assemblies in favour of slaves, but *proceed in their benevolent course, till they shall be delivered out of the hands of their oppressors. Already the sword is drawn from the scabbard, now let the scabbard be thrown away; and never abandon this war of aggression, till the last link of the last chain of slavery be broken.
Weymouth, May 26, 1831.
any subterraneous vault or cellar. beneath the consecrated pile.
The entrance is situated within the south porch of the church, where a small door is now placed, by which you descend sixteen narrow winding steps, at the bottom of which another door communicates with the interior. The place is completely dark, even at midday, so that at least a pound of ordinary-sized candles is necessary, to obtain a sufficient light to explore its gloomy recesses, and to examine its fleshless and bloodless inhabitants. They literally surround the interior of the building about two yards in width, like an extended wall, to the average height of five feet, and appear to be laid crosswise or transverse, with considerable regularity and skill. There are many thousand bones contained within the vault, some of them in good preservation, and of an unusual size. But those that have observed them for years, say they have sunk more than twelve or fifteen inches, since the beginning of the present century, and that those nearest the door, where the current of air draws the strongest, moulder almost as fast again as those that lie at the other extremity. The dimensions of the
SOME ACCOUNT OF AN ANCIENT VAULT, place are, eleven yards in length, and five
By Thomas Royce.
THERE is to be seen at Rothwell, Northamptonshire, in an old excavation under the parish church, a remarkable curiosity, at once interesting from its antiquity, and singular from its obscurity. It contains one of the most awful and venerable assemblages of human relicts, in fact, a depository of bones, larger, and more ancient, perhaps, than any of a similar kind, whose origin cannot be ascertained, in Great Britain. It is supposed that it was not originally built for the purpose to which it has since been appropriated, but was primarily intended as a place for religious retirement, or a cell in which to incarcerate offenders, as there is a passage adjoining, which some say once communicated with a nunnery in the neighbourhood, of which the foundations still remain, although the building is now demolished.
According to the tradition which prevails respecting this singular vault, it was accidentally discovered about one hundred and fifty or sixty years since, by some workmen engaged in repairing or exploring the lower part of the church, through an aperture, and, on further investigation, was found to be nearly filled with human bones, piled up in regular layers. The entrance, previous to that time, was ingeniously closed up, so that it was never suspected there was 2D. SERIES, NO. 9.- VOL. I.
in breadth. The roof is considered a perfect masterpiece of the kind. The arches are formed of durable materials, and constructed in a very strong and singular manner; the centres are about nine feet in height.
It has never been accurately ascertained how long these bones have been deposited in this dreary cemetery, or by whom thus carefully laid; but they have evidently lain here for many hundred years; and it is probable they were the bones of Roman Catholics, (the architecture being decidedly gothic,) who were slain in those sanguinary wars that so often in by-gone days ravaged our native land. This place, perhaps, being contiguous to the scene of action, offered the readiest means for the interment of the dead; though it is not improbable that, prior to this event, it might have been used for other purposes. Or, as it was the practice of those times to carry the remains of their forefathers along with them, when they travelled in large bodies to any considerable distance; perhaps, when an enemy was heard of a sudden to be rapidly advancing upon them, they might have placed them in this strong-hold, to protect them from the wanton insults of the invading foe.
In several of the skulls I observed a kind of perforation, or square hole, evidently inflicted by some weapon now become
obsolete amongst the implements of war, which brings its quota to prove, that they were the bodies of those that fell victims in a conflict with the enemy, whether their own party were victorious or not. But all suppositions, from this distance of time, must necessarily be vague, as it is very likely the precise cause will never be satisfactorily determined; and, that the gloom of unravelled mystery, in which this interesting piece of antiquity now remains involved, will never be dissipated.
It is a place which inspires the reflective mind with the most intense thought, awakened by the tangible evidence stationed around, to proclaim the universal mortality of our race. To this, both the darkness and the silence, which hold undisturbed dominion here, most awfully contribute. It is an abode which the thoughtless and the gay might visit with much advantage.
Directly as you step on the floor, a scene bursts on the view, calculated to impress the beholder with the most profound awe, to strike and appeal to his mind with the most solemn convictions of the extreme vanity of all worldly distinctions, if he but for a moment pause to consider that he, too, shortly must mingle and lie undistinguished in some such motley group, and to think that these were the bones of those who once trod the earth, that they were exposed to accidents, and familiarized with misery; that pleasure allured, beauty fascinated, and riches engrossed their thoughts, and occupied their time: that they were possessed of the finest susceptibilities and the strongest emotions; that some revelled in poetic visions, and soared aloft through the bright heaven of imagination; some, the rich scenery of nature charmed; and that others the din of war, and the strife of arms, delighted. Yonder skull, perhaps, was the favourite abode of genius, and its cavities were lit up with intellectual fire, that shone with a steady and splendid blaze on the republic of letters; which, by the thunder of its eloquence astonished, by the subtlety of its reasoning powers convinced, and, by the brilliant coruscations of its wit enlivened the world, of which it was the glory and the ornament. Now, all is mute and motionless, compressed within small limits, where the silence of the sepulchre reigns, and the monotony of the grave pervades its peaceful inmates; all noiselessly, yet eloquently and emphatically, conspiring to assert the melancholy truth, "dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt assuredly return;" all evincing to man, with irresistible evidence, these are his prototypes, and the grave is his final goal.
An arrival from Bombay has brought t England the copy of a document of very great interest, and closely connected with a subject of the highest political importance It is the petition to the House of Com mons of the Christians, Hindoos, Parsees, Mahometans, and Jews, natives of the British possessions in India, on the griev ances they suffer under the administration of Government, as at present constituted, in that part of the world; the remedy of those grievances; and the rights and advantages to which they aspire, and claim from the humane and prudent consideration of our Legislature. This petition is understood to speak the sentiments of no less than 60,000,000 of human beings, all subjects of the British empire in India. It commences with a grateful acknowledgment the benefit derived to the natives from the establishment of the Supreme Court of Judicature at Calcutta, and those which have sprung from it, the Recorder's Court at Madras, and the Supreme Court of Judicature at Bombay, and combats the notion that such courts are either incom. patible with their habits and feelings, or that they are incompetent to sustain their share in them, either as jurors or as wit nesses. For proof of the contrary, they appeal to the experience of the last five years at all the three Presidencies. They complain, however, that the administration of justice on a system at all adapted to their feelings is confined to the three Presidencies, and that beyond them, throughout the whole interior of the country, it is grossly neglected or perverted, and the management of their courts such as to stamp on them the character of a distinct, a conquered, and a degraded people. They object also to the criminal code prepared for them, as vague in its language, as well as too severe in its punishments, and left generally too much at the discretion of those who administer it. This discretion is left, too, to men who have little knowledge of, and no sympathy with, them. Their decisions consequently are charged with being constantly arbitrary and unjust. Most of the
ANECDOTES OF HAROON AL RASHEED.
persons to whom these judicial functions are intrusted are, as the petitioners affirm, wholly incompetent; being sometimes introduced abruptly from the civil service into the administration of justice, and generally allowed to remain so short a time at each station, that, however able and intelligent, they have not the opportunity for acquiring the I requisite knowledge.
The petitioners anticipate that a reform in the Indian provincial courts of justice will be extremely unpalatable to their native princes, who have availed themselves of them as a means of oppression and violence; but assume that such a consideration, so far from influencing the British Legisblature, will form the stronger inducement for granting the reform they solicit.
The petitioners claim in the most urgent and energetic manner a participation, equally with Europeans, in offices of trust and emolument, from which they have been excluded by malevolent and interested misrepresentations; setting forth their pretensions to civilization and refinement, not with them of recent date, but existing from remote ages, when the nations of Europe, now taking the lead in civilization, lived in forests, and fought with bows and arrows and clubs. They state that they have long felt the degrading despotism to which they have been subjected from their local princes, and perceived the superiority of the British rule, but that all advances towards a closer union have been repulsed by insult and contumely. They state, however, that nothing is more easy than to attach that immense population firmly to the British empire, by administering justice to them wisely and impartially, and by rewarding intellectual and moral merit with honourable and profitable offices.
They suggest also, as a further means of promoting this attachment, that the cultivation of the English language should be - as much as possible promoted, and that a competent acquaintance with it should, after a period of twelve years, be made one of the conditions of the admission of the natives into office. For this the foundation is already laid, as, through the establishment of schools, and general diffusion of education, great numbers have already learnt .the language.
This petition, of which copies have also been forwarded in the Goozeratta and Mahratta languages, which are those most in use in Bombay, is signed by 4,000 of the most respectable inhabitants of that presidency, and will be presented to the House of Commons in the course of a few days.
ANECDOTES OF THE CALIPH HAROON AL RASHEED, THE GRAND VIZIER GIAFFAR, AND THE FAMILY OF THE BERMEKI.
(Concluded from p. 378.)
To place the ingratitude of Haroon in a stronger light, it may be as well to state, that this Caliph owed not only his education and taste for literature to Yiah Bermeki, but also his life and crown. His elder brother, the Caliph Hadi, jealous of Haroon's favour with the people, had resolved to put him to death, and to raise his own son to the throne. Yiah, who was Grand Vizier to Hadi, finding that the Caliph was determined to take his brother's life, informed Haroon the evening previous to that fixed upon for his murder, and urged him to provide for his safety by flight; this however was rendered unnecessary, as the Caliph Hadi that same night died suddenly of a cough, while drinking a glass of water, and Haroon succeeded to the Caliphate.
The sons of Yiah, though born in the midst of greatness and opulence, were early taught to estimate both at their true value: their father would often say to them, "Be generous and liberal of your substance to those who merit your favours on account of their talents, their virtues, or their misfortunes. Do not fear that your means will be diminished by your bounty; for though you should be deprived of your riches, by the permission of God, or the wickedness of man, the good use you have made of them will afford you an inward consolation, and support you in the day of adversity; but if you employ them in luxury and riot, you must foolishly flatter yourselves that you are absolute proprietors of a blessing which is only lent you to use for a time; and the loss of it will drive you to despair."
That these were not sentiments for fair weather only, Yiah plainly shewed by his behaviour in prison. "How comes it," said his son, who was confined in the same prison, “that having served God and the state with the utmost zeal and application, having loved to bestow favours on all men, and having done nothing against the Caliph, for which we can be justly blamed, we should yet be reduced to so wretched a condition?" "It is perhaps," answered Yiah, “ the voice of some distressed person, who hath cried aloud to heaven for vengeance against us: perhaps we have unwittingly neglected to administer justice to some person under oppression; if the crime is involuntary, the Divine mercy will pardon us. Perhaps it is an effect of God's goodness, to shew us the instability of the riches of this world; he may be pleased to try our faith, to
see if we love him more than ourselves; if we adore him in prosperity and in adversity, equally just in all conditions in which he may place us, he will obliterate all our faults, and make us worthy of him."
To some of his friends who came to condole with him in his prison, he said, "Power and riches are only loans, which fortune trusts to man; we must be contented with the use of them for a season. She hath chosen us for an example to such as shall come after us, that they may learn not to be proud of her gifts, but to make a prudent use of them. God doth no wrong to man, in withdrawing the favours he hath in a plenteous manner bestowed on him. He owed him nothing; he hath gratified him therewith, according to his appointed time; it is now his pleasure to confer them on others; it is our duty to submit to his will. The wise man ought not to covet riches, but he may receive them, in order to employ them for the good of the state, and should enjoy the residue only as a traveller enjoys his rest for a night at his inn on a journey."
At the death of Yiah, a paper in his own hand-writing was found in the bosom of his dress, containing the following words :"The accused is gone first; the accuser will soon follow him; they must both appear before that tribunal where false pleas and illicit proceedings will not avail." Haroon was moved even to tears on reading it, but it produced no change in his conduct towards the surviving branches of the family.
In the history of Imaum Yafee, the following anecdote, of the Bermeki family, is related in the words of the poet Mahummud Bin Yezeed of Damascus. " Fuzzul Bermeki (the eldest brother of Jaffier,) one day sent for me, and said, 'Last night the Almighty blessed me with the birth of a son, and many poets presented me with congratulatory verses, but none of them pleased me; there fore I wish an ode from thee.' I replied (says the poet), that the splendour and crowd of his court was unfavourable to the contemplative mood requisite for composition; but he would accept no excuse, and insisted on my giving somewhat, if only a line. Remediless, I composed two couplets, with which Fuzzul was so pleased, that he presented me with ten thousand deenars, with which I purchased an estate, that in time yielded me great wealth.
"Some years after the lamented destruction of the house of Bermeki, I was one day bathing in the warm bath, and desired the keeper of the hummum to send me a rubber, which he did. While the lad was performing his office, the generosity and virtues of the Bermeki occurred to my mind, and I
insensibly repeated the verses already mea tioned, when the youth instantly fainted away. I called in the master of the bath, who declared he had never seen him troubled with such a fit till the present; upon which I was astonished, and, when he came to himself, inquired what had affected him. "Alas!' said the unfortunate youth, the verses you recited were composed on my birth, for I am the son of Fuzzul. When I heard them, the misfortunes of my unhappy family so pressed upon my heart, as to make me faint.' When I heard this, (continues the poet,) I sympathized with the youth, and said, “My dear son, I am stricken in years, and have no offspring. Whatever I possess, was from the bounty of thy revered parent. Come, then, and reside with me, and I will, before proper witnesses, make over to thee, after my death, all that I have.' The wonderful youth burst into tears, and said, “God forbid that I should take away from thee what was given by my father, however wretched my condition.' I reiterated my request, but in vain; nor would he accept of me even a trifling present."
The following anecdote is from the same history, as related by another person. "Going once to pay congratulations to my mother, on a grand festival, I found with her a very old woman, meanly dressed. In the course of conversation, my mother inquired if I knew who she was; to which I answered,
No;' when she informed me she was Attaba, the mother of Jaffier Bermeki. I saluted the unfortunate matron with the most profound respect, and begged she would relate to me some of the wonderful events she must have witnessed. The venerable but unhappy lady replied, My son, I remember, that on this very festival I used to be waited upon by four hundred slaves, and yet accused my son of illiberality in his allowance for my expenses; but now, all the furniture I possess is two goat-skins, one of which serves me for a bed, the other for a covering. What can I tell thee more wonderful than such a reverse of fortune?' Upon hearing this, says the narrator, I was moved with awe and compassion, and presented her with a purse of five hundred deenars; on receiving which, she had nearly expired with joy. Be warned, oh ye men of understanding! though from the breast of avarice and care thou imbibest the milk of riches and prosperity; on the couch of affluence be not too secure of thy possessions, but recollect the days of the ancestors of the Bermekies.' ” ·
O child of fortune,
Haroon, not content with having mur dered the unfortunate Jaffier, and reduced this distinguished family to such a state of