Page images
PDF
EPUB

generally known and appreciated by the friends of the cause in England; that it had given them pleasure beyond measure, to find that this injured people had so powerful a protector and friend; and I could not doubt, that he (the Emperour) should any opportunity offer, would continue to advocate their cause. He replied, that he would never desert it. In the original treaty with France, he had taken a very active part in their behalf; but the obstacles were so very great on the part of the French government, which at that time had great and extravagant colonial schemes in prospect, that he found it impossible to realize his wishes. In a period succeeding this, viz. during the Congress at Vienna, he had exerted himself again; he had united with the British minister in their favour; and though new and great obstacles had arisen upon the part of other nations concerned in the odious traffick; he trusted, that some further advantages had been gained there; something like a foundation of a new treaty had been laid there, and at a subsequent period very lately, (that is, since his last arrival at Paris) he had again taken up the cause in conjunction with the British minister. Again he had been so successful, that France had agreed to give up the remaining four years continuance of the trade; so that another nation had been added to the list of those who had agreed to abandon the infamous traffick.

I replied, that we were all of us sensible, that great things had Vol. IV. No. 12.

46

been done, for which we could not be too thankful; and that he (the Emperour) had been a powful instrument under Providence in accomplishing them. But those in England, who had been the means of developing and. bringing to light, the mass of crime and suffering continued in the slave trade, and whose feelings, perhaps, had led them to be too sanguine in their expectations, had been disappointed; (I hoped his majesty would excuse the freedom with which I was going to speak; here he bowed assent.) I then resumed-had been disappointed in finding, that the allied sovereigns, at the Congress of Vienna, had not proclaimed the slave trade PIRACY." This would have been a noble declaration in the face of the whole world, in favour of justice and religion; and it would only have accorded with the principles all of them were daily obliged to confess in the administration of their respective governments. They were all obliged to punish, and thus try to put an end to robbery and murder; this was essentially necessary, or their governments could not go on. But the slave trade, was a combination of robbery and murder, and it was deeply to be regretted, under this, and under every other view of the subject, that such a noble decree had been overlooked.

The Emperour admitted the truth of what I had said; he admitted, that it would have been more worthy the Congress to have passed the decree now mentioned; and moreover, the

continuance of the slave trade by the allies, was in direct variance with their own principles as Governours; but that we could not cure great and inveterate evils at once. Besides, the difficulties at Vienna were greater than I had any idea of. The decree which I had mentioned might have passed, if some of the most powerful sovereigns had agreed upon it; and if, at the same time, they had agreed to use force; but the Congress at Vienna consisted of sovereigns united, and in alliance for one great object, viz. the future safety, peace, and tranquillity of Europe, where harmony was essentially necessary, as far as it could be obtained. This harmony must have been broken, if such a decree had been persisted in. He trusted, however, great objects would be finally accomplished, in consequence of what had already taken place. Indeed, he did not doubt it. Great progress had already been made; a new nation, viz. France, had now fully come into the measure; he did not doubt from what he had seen and heard, that Spain and Portugal would follow. If any other exertions were necessary on his part, it was only for us to point them out, and he would attend to our suggestions on principles of duty. I might return to England with the assurance from himself, that he would not desert the cause of the injured Africans; he would never disappoint our hopes; and if I myself, or one of the individuals who had laboured in the

glorious cause, should be disposed to write to him, I was at liberty to do so; but I must write to him fully and without ceremony, as to a friend acting in, and for the same great object. He added, "I trust we have so laboured in the Congress, that the result will be yery satisfactory to all Christian people."

I

This last sentence was uttered after a pause, and as if it came out unexpectedly. I was at a loss to determine, whether it related to the slave trade, or to some arrangement at the Congress at Paris, respecting religious toleration, or any other religious subjects; and while I was reflecting upon it, the Emperour turned to another subject, and asked how Mr. Allen, Mr. Wilkinson, and Mr. Grellet were, and where they were now. replied, that the two former were in England, and were well when I left them; but the latter was gone home to America, to the bosom of his family. The Emperour said, the two hours conversation he had with them in London, were amongst the most agreeable hours he spent in England. The religious opportunity which he had with them, had made a very serious impression on his mind, such an one, indeed, that he believed he should never forget it; and he could not but have a high regard for the society, to which three such good men belonged. With respect to the society itself, it seemed to him as if its members, considering the plainness of their dress and appearance, and the simplicity, yet independence of

their manners, approached nearer the primitive Christians than any other people; he might say the same of their doctrines; their first great doctrine of the influence of the Holy Spirit, was the very corner-stone of religion. Here he abruptly asked me, if I was a Quaker. I replied, I was not in name, but hoped in spirit; I was nine parts out of ten of their way of thinking; they had been fellow-labourers with me in the great cause; the more I had known them, the more I had loved them. The Emperour said (putting his hand to his heart) I embrace them more than any other people; I consider myself as one of them.

I told him as he had such an esteem for them, I would furnish him with one or two anecdotes, which I had no doubt would please him to hear; but more particularly, if he had not heard them before. His predecessor, Peter the Great, professed an attachment to the Quakers, similar to that which he had just expressed. He was acquainted with the great William Penn and others, of the first founders of the society; and when he worked in the dock-yard, at Deptford, in order to learn practically the rudiments of naval architecture, he frequently attended the Quaker meetings there, when he conducted himself with all due solemnity and decorum

The Emperour said, he had known that anecdote before. I said, that with his permission, I would relate another. The same Peter the Great, about sixteen years after he left England, went with an army to Fredericstadt.

On his arrival there, one of his first questions was, whether there were any of those good men called Quakers in the place? and being told there were, he signified his intention of attending one of their meetings, accompanied by his suite. He heard the discourse, which followed, with great attention, and bestowed his commendations upon it. He (the Emperour) might remember this was precisely his own case, when last year he attended the Quakers' meeting-house in St. Martin's lane; so that he had (probably without knowing it) trodden in the footsteps of his great predecessor. The Emperour thanked me for this anecdote, which was new to him; and said, that he could not follow a better example than that of Peter the Great, and desired to follow him in every thing that was good.

He then asked if Mr. Wilkinson and Mr. Allen were of any profession. I said Mr. Wilkinson was a minister of the gospel, and devoted himself to his religious office; and Mr. Allen was in trade, but that he spent his time principally in doing good. Here I could not resist the impulse I felt to do justice to the character of my friend, by an eulogium in which, however high it might appear, I was conscious it did not exceed the bounds of truth. After which, I said, of the many objects which engaged Mr. Allen's attention, that of forming publick schools, was amongst the foremost; and that I knew he wished similar establishments might be formed in the Emperour's dominions. He abruptly replied, that I knew there

[ocr errors]

with him on this subject, were not labouring for a private or a partial good; their views extended to the whole world; and for this purpose, they were educating foreigners of different nations to qualify them to carry the system of British education into the countries to which they severally belonged. They had lately educated, one from Denmark, and another from France, and they would be glad to educate one from Russia with the same design.

were schools in Russia, but that perhaps they were not on so improved a plan as those in England. I said the difference laid there; I then said, in the mechanism of the English schools; and that in consequence of the great number of boys, that one master could teach, education became cheap, so as to be even in the power of the poor. I then enlarged on the benefit of education. I observed, that his empire was great and powerful; but what would it be, if his subjects were im- On hearing this, the Empeproved by a wise and universal rour seemed pleased, and said, education! His empire would be "You may be sure I should be more powerful, more happy, and glad to promote the system in more permanent. Nothing con- Russia; and said he was sorry tributed so much to make sub- to take his leave of me so soon, jects useful, orderly, virtuous but that he had more engageand happy, as an acquaintance ments than he feared he could with the truths of the gospel; perform, whilst he staid in Paris. and education, in as much as it He added, remember me kindly taught them to read, was one of to Mr. Allen, and his good friends the outward means of enabling the Quakers; and tell Mr. Allen, them to know these truths. In that I wish him to write me on this point of view, these schools the subject of his schools; he were of inestimable value. may depend on my countenance in Russia. He then took my hand and said, my best wishes attend you to England; and if, at any time, I can be useful to the cause of the poor Africans, you may always have my services, by writing me a letter.

He replied, that there was no surer foundation for peace, order, and happiness among a people, than the Christian religion, and added, This is quite as necessary for kings as for the people."

66

I then informed him that Mr. Allen, and those that laboured

POETRY.

PARODY OF ROBERT SOUTHEY'S ODE, WRITTEN ON SUNDAY MORNING.

Yes-I will seek the hallowed house of prayer,
And listening to the precepts taught me there,
Adore the God of nature, and of. Love.

The swelling Organ's peal

Shall rouse my languid zeal,

And every sense to wrapt devotion move;
No gorgeous altars and no mystick vest,
Awakes the ardour of my breast-
Yet truth, with purest ray,

Shall light the devious way,

And point to future bliss my dazzled sight;
Shall teach me to sustain

Severest mortal pain;

Make sorrow's burthen on the heart sit light,
And change despairing gloom to visions bright.

With mended heart, I'll leave the house of prayer,
And to the woodland grove repair;

There feast with nature's charms mine eyes,
And listen to its melodies.

The primrose bank shall then dispense
More fragrance to the awakened sense;
For gratitude shall that pure joy impart,
With which it warms the elevated heart;

And the full tears that down my cheek will steal,
Shall eloquently speak the praise I feel.

Yes-I will seek the hallowed house of prayer,
Nor let my erring footsteps stray;

For pure religion meets me there,

To guide me through life's thorny way;
Not her in false Philosophy array'd,
The idol of the modern Poet made,

And taught with modern fiberty to roam:
But such as warms the real Christian's breast,
His sorrows sooths and calms his griefs to rest;
Her influence lends from dark despair to save,
Displays a brighter world beyond the grave,

And bids him seek in Heaven a peaceful home.

RELIGIOUS INTELLIGENCE.

PETITION TO CONGRESS, FROM THE MASSACHUSETTS CONVENTION OF CONF GREGATIONAL MINISTERS.

A COMMITTEE, chosen by the Convention of Congregational Ministers the last year, to petition Congress on the subject of the transmission and opening of the mail on the Lord's day, prepared the following Petition, which was presented at the last session by the Hon. Mr. WARD. It is devoutly wished, that this and similar peti

tions, from various parts of the United States, may receive the serious attention of the National Legislature at the approaching session.

PETITION.

THE Convention of Congregational Ministers, in the Common

« EelmineJätka »