Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 36.djvu/327

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Brilliant Eulogy on General W. H. Payne.

develop the idle fertilities of the west; out of two refractory negations make one intelligent affirmative; thus supplying a reason for existence to two continents, otherwise having none." Europe became a huge employment agency for the idle hands and idle acres of two worlds; that two voluntary inutilities might be fashioned into involuntary utilities; and did not trust to baptism unaccompanied by works. Land and the unemployed were brought together on a business rather than a philanthropic basis; but like more modern agencies for profit, this too called itself philanthropism.


The red man, by a mute appeal more eloquent than words, had said, "give me liberty, or give me death." The answer came—"we will give you death." The negro, who imposed on himself no such extreme alternative, took the place thus made vacant. When Hawkins made his voyage to the coast of Africa, there to collect a cargo of heathen raw material to be built into pious uses, Queen Elizabeth lent him her good ship "Jesus," for the prosecution of his missionary zeal. One of the few features of the Peace of Utrecht which gave general satisfaction (Queen Ann went in person to communicate it to the peers) was that Assiento treaty whereby the right to supply Spanish colonies with negro slaves was transferred to England. A te deum composed by Handel was sung in thanksgiving. The elder Pitt made this trade "a central object of his policy." Great is England's pride in the Somerset case, wherein the greatest judge who ever sat on a common law bench decided that the law of England provided no remedy whereby, in England, the master could reclaim his slave. At that very time the government of England had negatived every effort of Virginia—twenty-three in all—to prohibit the slave trade.

Nowhere was the profit of this trade enjoyed with keener zest than in New England. The composition of the first fugitive slave ship of an English colony—the "Desire"—was built at Marblehead, Mass. At the time of the Declaration of Independence slavery was recognized by law in each of the thirteen colonies. That declaration did not suggest the emancipation of a single slave, but did arraign George III, for seeking to foment servile insurrection.