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minds they enlightened, and whose hearts they interested in the subject, they are certainly to be put down as no small instruments in the promotion of it: but chiefly to him, under Divine Providence, are we to give the praise, who became the first great actor in it, who devoted his time, his talents, and his substance to this Christian undertaking, and by whose laborious researches the very pleaders themselves were instructed and benefitted. By means of his almost incessant vigilance and attention, and unwearied efforts, the poor African ceased to be hunted in our streets as a beast of prey. Miserable as the roof might be, under which he slept, he slept in security: He walked by the side of the stately ship, and he feared no dungeon in her hold. Nor ought we, as Englishmen, to he less grateful to this distinguished individual than the African ought to be upon this occasion. To him we owe it, that we no longer see our public papers polluted by hatesul advertisements of the sale of the human species, or that we are no longer distressed by the perusal of impious rewards for bringing back the poor and the helpless into slavery, or that we are prohibited the disgusting spectacle of seeing man bought by his fellow-man. To him, in short, we owe this restoration of the beauty of our constitution; this prevention of the continuance of our national disgrace.
I shall say but little more of Mr. Sharp at present, than that he felt it his duty, immediately after the trial, to write to Lord North, then principal minister of state, warning him, in the most earnest manner, to abolish immediately both the trade and the slavery of the human species in all the British dominions, as utterly irreconcileable with the principles of the Br. tish constitution, and the established religion of the land.
He died on the 6th of July, 1813, after having pursued his studies to the age of 79, with all the ardour of his youth. The following is a list of his writings.
1. “ Remarks on several very important Prophecies; in five Parts. 1. Remarks on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Verses in the 7th chapter of Isaiah; in answer to Dr. Williams's Critical Dissertation on the same subject; 2. A Dissertation on the Nature and Style of the Prophetical Writings, intended to illustrate the foregoing Remarks; 3. A Dissertation on Isaiah vii. 8; 4. and on Gen. xlix 10; 5. Answer to soine of the principal Arguments used by Dr. Williams, in Defence of bis Critical Dissertation,” 1768, 8v0.-II.“Å Representation of the Injustice and dangerous 'Tendency of tolerating Slavery, or of admitting the least Claim of private Property in the Persons of Men in England; in four Parts; containing, 1. Remarks on an opinion given by the then Attorney-General and Solicitor-General, concerning the Cases of Slaves in Great Britain; 2. Answer to an Objection made to the foregoing Remarks; 3. Examination of the Advantages and Disadvantages of tolerating Slavery in England; 4. Remarks on the ancient Villanage, shewing that the obsolete Laws and Customs, which favoured that horrid Oppression, cannot justify the Admission of the modern West Indian Slavery into this Kingdom, nor the least Claim of Property or Right of Service deducible therefrom," 1769, 8vo.-III. “Remarks on the En. croachments on the River Thames Dear Durham Yard," 1771, 8vo.-IV. “ Remarks on the Opinions of some of the most celebrated Writers on Crowd Law, respecting the due Distinction between Manslaughter and Murder; being an Attempt to shew, that the Plea of sudden Anger cannot remove the Imputation and Guilt of Murder, when a mortal Wound is wilfully given with a Weapon: That the Indulgence allowed by the Courts to voluntary Manslaughter in Rencountres, and in sudden Affrays and Duels, is indiscrimi. nate, and without Foundation in Law: and that Impunity in such Cases of voluntary Manslaughter is one of the principal Causes of the Continuance and present Increase of the base and disgraceful Practice of Duelling. To which are added, some Thoughts on the particular Case of the Gentlemen of the Army, when involved in such disagreeable private Differences. With a prefatory Address to the Reader, concerning the Depravity and Folly of modern Men of Honour, falsely so called; including a short Account of the Principles and designs of the Work,” 1773, 8v0.-V. “ A Dissertation of the People's natural Right to a Share of the Legislature," 1775, 8vo.-VI. “Limitation of Slavery," 1776.–VII. “Law of Retribution," 1776.–VIII. “A Tract on the Law of Nature, and Principles of Action in Man," 1778, 8vo.-IX. “ The Legal Means of Political Reformation,” 1781, 8v0.-X. “ An Account of the Ancient Division of the English Nation into Hundreds and Tithings, the happy Effects of that Institution, &c.” 1785, 8vo.-VI. “A short Sketch of Temporary Regulations (until better be proposed) for the intended Settlement on the Great Coast of Africa, near Sierra Leone," 1787, 8vo.-XII. “ Remarks on the Uses of the Definitive Article in the Greek of the new Testament; containing many new Proots of the Divinity of Christ, from passages which are wrongly translated in the common English Version. To which is added, a plain Matter-of-Fact Argument for the Divinity of Christ by the Editor.”
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.-FRENCH LITERATURE.
ON THE CHARACTER OF RACINE.
(Concluded from page 190.) Thus then love is really tragical in Pyrrhus, Orestes, and Hermione: it is different in all three, and in each partakes the spirit of the individual character: ardent and impetuous in Pyrrhus; dark and desponding in Orestes; haughty and furious in Hermione. He never beheld such characters in Corneille. Thus the effects which love produces here are in proportion to its own strength; and that which constitutes the essence of the drama, the changes of situation which succeed each other in the piece, growing out of that fluctuation which is natural to inflamed minds, and producing those bursts of admiration at the theatre, which are not excited by sudden or wonderful events, but arise from feelings that find a home in every heart. Pyrrhus, believing that the danger of her son would induce Andromache to give him her hand, refuses to deliver Astyanax to the Greeks. Hermione, offended, has promised to go off with Orestes, who abandons himself to joy. But between the first and second acts, Andromache has rejected the offers of Pyrrhus, and at the moment when Orestes believes himself sure of conquest, Pyrrhus arrives.
Je vous cherchais, Seigneur. Un peu de violence
Et l'on vous va, Seigneur, livrer votre victime. Orestes is struck with consternation, and the spectator is affected in the same manner. Here we behold the hand of a master. The interest increases with the peril of the principal personages, and the capital knot consists in the resolution which Andromache shall conceive. The conduct of Pyrrhus depends upon it: that of Hermione depends upon Pyrrhus, and Orestes hangs upon Hermione. This mutual dependence is so distinct that there is no complication, and the different degrees of interest which each person inspires, does not destroy the unity of object, because every thing is subordinate to the first feeling excited by the situation of Andromache and her son. For we must carefully distinguish on the stage, two sorts of interest which are too often confounded, through a mistake which has given rise to many unjust criticisms: the first consists in desiring the happiness or safety of a principal personage, the second in partaking his misfortunes or palliating his passions by reason of their violence. It is the first, which forins the ground of this play: it is attached to the person of Andromache, to the peril of her son, who is her only consolation, and to the great feeling of maternal affection depicted in the most touching language. What we most desire is the safety of her son. But how can she save her son if it is necessary that the widow of Hector shall espouse the son of Achilles. This is what creates suspense and uncertainty: it is the principal interest. That which we attach to the passions of Hermione, Pyrrhus and Orestes, is of a different sort: it goes no further than to sympathise with them and to follow their movements to a certain point, because they are natural; but we do not care whether their loves shall be successful. It is a general rule in relation to the stage that this desire does not exist in the spectator, excepting when the love is exhibited as reciprocal or has been so, because it then constitutes the happiness of two persons, as we see in the Cid. Here then all our wishes are for Andromache and her son: and it is time to speak in detail of this character, which forms so admirable a contrast with all the furious passions by which it is surrounded.
Let us remark, in the first place, the advantage of known subjects. The names of Troy, of Hector, his widow and son, at once dispose the hearts to soft emotions. They are among those great and memorable personages, with whose misfortunes we have been familiar from our infancy, in the pages of Homer and Virgil. But it is necessary that the poet should endeavour to clothe these subjects in the drapery that belongs to them. And who has ever done this better than Racine! What a model does he present in the character of Andromache! we see at once the Grecian and the garb of antiquity. What amiable simplicity! what noble and fascinating modesty! what connubial and maternal affection! what majestic and ingenuous grief! How affecting her lamentations ! How admirably in all her reproaches and denials, does she preserve that moderation and self command, which belong to her sex and her misfortunes ! what numerous shades of character are here first exhibited, and affecting instances of pathos, of which we had no further example! who is there that is not sweetly affected by these simple verses, which steal to the heart and elicit the tears of pity ?
Je passais jusqu'aux lieux où l'on garde mon fils.
Digne objet de leur crainte!
Que Pyrrhus est son maitre et qu'il est fils d' Hector! We may comprehend the full force of the interest which this child excited; when Pyrrhus tired of repulses, reverts to his marriage with Hermione and has promised to deliver up Astyanax, Andromache does not hesitate to throw herself at the feet of a rival, who ought to detest her; she is not afraid to expose herself to her haughtiness and contempt. Maternal affection supports and ennobles every thing.
Où fuyez-vous, Madame ?