Page:The slave trade of east Africa.djvu/8

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


clerk had, by unflinching industry and toil,proved himself on a par, if not superior, in one main branch of English law, to some of our most eminent judges of that period; such at least is the dictum of the late Sir James Stephen, One hundred years have passed away, a century marked by events as important as any that have transpired in the world's history, and among them no landmark stands out more conspicuously than the monument which records the history of the abolition of the Slave Trade. To Granville Sharpe belongs the honour of having first aroused in the English mind a sense of the enjoyment of a freedom so perfect, so ennobling, so gracious, as to cover and enfranchise all who share with Englishmen the privilege of treading English soil.

When, in the mercy of God to Africa, a few earnest men were found whose hearts bled for her wrongs, and whose hands were strong to redress those wrongs, foremost as leaders stood Granville Sharpe, Clarkson, and William Wilberforce. To the first was committed the presidency of the Society formed for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, and to Wilberforce was assigned the general superintendence and Parliamentary management of the cause. The century whose commencement we have marked has passed away, and we witness the result of these men's labours; truly they have laboured, and we have entered into their labours. They contemplated but the overthrow of a gigantic evil, the curse of Africa's sons; we see that curse removed, and in place of the slaver and the slave barracoon, we see, looking from the very spot where John Newton lamented his captivity in the service of Satan, a Freetown, many of whose inhabitants, once slaves, or the children of slaves, are now free men in Christ Jesus. Nay more; we see the Gospel carried into the old haunts of the slavers; and as the sailor makes for the bar of Lagos, that last haunt of the slave trade, his landmark for the harbour is the spire of an English church, one of three erected there by the Church Missionary Society. Still further on we find a native Christian church in Abeokuta, and at various places on the Niger, native churches, their spiritual father himself once a slave, now a bishop of our