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was exclusive ---insisting upon Parliament leaving the corrective in their hands,—what have they ever done, or even attempted ? In their prosperity, when produce was dear, and cultivation easy, -when the infernal traffic with Africa gave them an inexhaustible and unlimited supply of victims,--to what were their whole 'efforts directed ? To the protection of that horrible traffic, and the unbounded speculations which it facilitated, by the wholesale destruction of negro life. In the decline of their affairs, when, from their own trading in slaves and produce, their profits began tò fall off, and it was manifest that the diminution of culture, and a more temperate use of the African trade could alone save them,—what was their course ? A continuance of the same traffic !--the same speculations, as far as their means would allow, without any respite to Africa, or any intermission of West Indian suffering. And even now, when at last in spite of their clamours, and from a well-grounded distrust of their pretences, the Parliament of England stepped forward, and put down the slave-trade ;--when, from the supply being cut off, one might naturally have expected a better treatment of the stock on hand, and, from the glut of the markets, there was reason to expect that some rest would have been afforded by avarice (if pity was out of the question) to the wretched arms from whence the too abundant load of those markets was wrung,—what change has been effected ? Look at the trials of Huggins and Hodge, and the despatches of Mr Elliot; to be convinced, if this sad truth is not already sent home to the mind, that no improvement in the lot of slave-no régulations for his safety even, much less for his comfort-can be expected from the spontaneous efforts of the White oligarchy.
What, then, it may be asked, do we propose ?--Are we for stirring the question of internal legislation, and for embroiling 'the mother country and the colonies in a new contest ? -Without feeling the necessity of answering this question, we must frankly say, it carries nothing scaring or alarming to us: -On the contrary, we conceive, few things can be pictured more ridiculous, than the notion of apprehending danger, or even embarrassment, from an assertion of the right-the unquestioned and undeniable right of Parliament to legislate for the colonies ; right never yet abandoned, except in so far as regards taxation alone,-exercised in a variety of important particulars every day, and which the conduct of the Işlands has rendered it absolutely incumbent on Parliament to exert with respect to the present question, if no other means can be devised of effectually reforming the abuses of the slave system, and carrying the abolition of the traffic into full execution. But, waving for the present this
1 selection ous improve hint at this
question, we shall beg leave to suggest the line of conduct, by steady perseverance in which, we conceive it will be possible to effect a great deal of good, under the laws as they at present stand, and by the sincere exertions of the government.
The careful selection of governors and military commanders, is one of the most obvious improvements, and, we lament to say, one of those most wanted. To hint at this subject is perhaps sufficient; but we cannot avoid particularizing a certain most essential qualification, of a negative kind, which ought to be made a sine quâ non in every such appointment. The persons so chosen should have no colonial property, and should not have power, directly or indirectly, to acquire any such interest. If possible, they should even have no colonial connexions; and this qualification should be extended, without exception, to every considerable officer on the West Indian establishments. It is unfortunately the present usage (and, we admit, not a very unnatural ones to chuse such functionaries upon the very contrary principles-the consequences of which are too manifest to require enumeration,
A similar degree of care should be shown in the choice of per..sons to fill judicial and other legal situations; nor do we perceive any thing in the trials and papers now before us to render this suggestion less necessary than the former. It would evidently be proper to extend to those officers also tke qualification with respect to property..
A more constant intercourse by correspondence should be inaintained with the government at home; and others, as well as the chiefs of the civil and military departments, should be encouraged to correspond. If this branch too much increases the labour of the colonial office, let it be transferred to some other department, or let some other additional assistance be obtained for a short tine, until the business has got into a more manageable shape. The strictest attention should of course be paid by government to investigate, instantly, every case of inattention or misconduct, and to make the most striking examples of persons behaving either negligently or blameably in their official capacities. On the other hand, proper encouragement should be held out, not merely to propriety of conduct, but to zeal and activity displayed in the cause of humanity, and particularly to the effectual investigation and punishment of cruelty and other delinquencies.
Much might even be effected by a vigorous and zealous administration in the islands, watched, encouraged and supported by the government at home, towards improving the feelings of the colonial legislatures as they are called, and obtaining
from them amendments of the existing laws. It is scarcely possible that these should be the only assemblies in which the Crown has no influence; at least when some boon is craved for the cause of humanity and justice.
It is unnecessary to enlarge further on the beneficial effects which may be expected from a firın determination on the part of government to act upon such principles as these. Of this we are quite sure, that, if some reform be not effected, either by the interference of the executive, or of the legislative branch of the government, we shall learn in the colonies, even -before the Lesson is taught us at home, that the enemies of reform are the true abettors of revolution.
Art. VI. Papers on Toleration. By the Reverend C. Wyvill.
This is an excellent book, written by an excellent man ;--a
manly statement of the absurdity of intolerance, and an rearnest effort to awaken his fellow-subjects, to a proper sense of the importance of religious liberty.
We have never, we hope, lost any opportunity of expressing our sentiments in favour of toleration in general; but as the great question agitated since the commencement of our labours, has been that of the Catholics, we have not hitherto paid any attention to the state of the Protestant Dissenters, or examined the nature and utility of those penalties, to which they are exposed in consequence of their dissent from the Established Church of England. In order to do this effectually, we shall give a slight historical sketch of the penal laws to which Protestant Dissentérs are subjected--specify the present state of those laws,--and then examine their utility for the preservation of the Established Church.
The first law, by which any person was bound to receive the sacrament according to the rites of the Anglican Church, is that of the 3d of James I, c. 4. This was not intended against Protestant Dissenters, but against Papists; for Protestant Dissenters then thought it sinful to separate from the Established Church; and occasional conformity always existed between the different reformed churches. The old Puritans, indeed, were dreadfully afraid of falling into the crime of schism ; and in 1587, one of the rules they imposed upon themselves was, that they should endeavour to wipe off the imputation of that crime, inasmuch
as the brethren communicate with the Church in word and sacraments, and in all other things except their corruptions.' The nonconformists in general continued to communicate (at least occasionally) till the year 1645, when the Presbyterian form of worship was established, After the Restoration, and even after the act of uniformity, most of the Presbyterians, and many of the other sects, communicated occasionally with the Episcopal, establishment. In the very year that the Corporation Act passed, out of hifty-six known Presbyterian members of Parliament, there were only two who had any scruples to obey the order of the House, and receive the communion after the manner of the Church of England. Occasional conformity indeed was so prevalent about this time, that in 1663, the year after the Presbyterians were turned out by the act of uniformity, Mr Baxter proposed, at a meeting of their ministers, that they should consider how far it was lawful, or their duty, to communicate with the parish churches in the liturgy and sacraments; and used many arguments to prove, that it was lawful: And this opinion of Mr Baxter met with no sort of opposition from his brethren. And at another meeting held in 1666, it was agreed, that communion with the Established Church was in itself lawful and good. Bishop Stillingfleet, accordingly, dates the separa. tion of the Dissenters from the Church, only from the time of the King's declaration of indulgence, issued 1671-2; in consequence of which, they built meetinghouses for themselves, and continued ever afterwards to keep up separate congregations. The practice, however, of conformity continued to a considerable extent among the Presbyterians, as Bishop Stillingfleet tells us in his preface to his book on Separation, published in 1681; but he adds, when they were earnestly pressed by those in au“ 'thority to join in communion, they refused it, and have been • more and more backward, ever since, till now.' Occasional conformity has been upon the decline since Bishop Stillingfleet wrote; but there has been no period in which it has not been practised.
The majority of every House of Commons tbroughout the reign of Charles the Second, had a rooted dread and hatred of Popery; and although, at the beginning of the first Parliament, they fell in with the resentments of the King and Church, yet in a few years they discovered their error, and the danger to which they were exposing the country. The latter part of this reign was therefore passed in continual disputes between the House of Commons and the Crown ;-the latter struggling hard to protect Papists from persecution, and the former pressing for:
further severities against them. In the year 1671, Charles the Second, in order to secure the nonconformists, issued a proclamation, suspending, by a dispensing power, all the penal laws, and granting to the Protestant nonconformists public places of worship-to Papists, freedom of religion in their own houses. This usurpation of power roused the drooping spirit of liberty ; and the common danger united Protestants of all descriptions. The Dissenters accepted the indulgence, but provoked the resentment of the Court, by reprobating that exercise of prerogative by which it was bestowed. Charles, opened the session, by declaring, in high terms, his resolution to maintain his des claration of indulgence. The unprincipled firmness of the King, however, gave way to the virtuous firmness of his Parliament; and the indulgence was withdrawn. The Parliament, not content with this, proceeded to incapacitate Catholics from holding any place of trust in the kingdom ; and, in their zeal to enforce that object, tacked on the present Test act to the Bill of Supplies, and by that means got it passed.
The Test act provides, that every person who shall take any of fice, civil or military, or shall receive any salary, pay, fee, or wages, by reason of any patent of his Majesty, or shall be admitted into the family of his Majesty, shall receive the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper after the manner of the Church of England, within three months after their admittance into the said office. Any person convicted of offending against this act, is disabled from ever after suing in any court,-from becoming guardian, executor, or administrator, from profiting by any legacy or deed of gift, or from bearing any office within England or Wales, and, in addition to these incapacities, is to forfeit 5001. Noncommissioned officers in the navy, petty constables, overseers of the poor, and such like small civil offices, are exempted from the operation of the bill,—the preamble of which expressly states the design of the act to be; for preventing any dangers which may happen from Popish recusants.
To conciliate the affections of a people divided by religious distinctions, Charles the Second, immediately before his restoration, had published the declaration of Breda. “We do
declare,' he says, ' a liberty to tender consciences, and that no .. man shall be disquieted and called in question for matters of
o religion which do not disturb the peace of the kingdom; and 's that we shall consent to such an act of Parliament as, upon ma• ture deliberation, shall be offered unto us for the full granting " that indulgence.' This declaration was made in 1660. Copies were sent over to both Houses of Parliament; and it contributed materially to gain the support and assistancc of the Dissenters, In 1661, however, the Corporation act was passed, by which