Page:The slave trade of east Africa.djvu/9

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own beloved Church. The century may well close with words taken from an evening paper which, writing in May last, pronounces the African slave trade to be a thing of the past, adding that the British cruiser is not the only obstacle to the trade, but the want of purchasers has rendered the trade useless and unprofitable, and never to be resuscitated.

It may be well, in directing the attention of our readers to the slave trade at present carried on with all the horrors of the old trade, upon the East Coast of Africa, to call to remembrance the circumstances under which the battle of the West Coast slave trade was fought and won. The disappointments and failures in that conflict may not be familiar to all, and many of our readers may be surprised to learn that twenty long years of labour and sorrow were consumed ere Mr. Wilberforce's efforts for the abolition of the slave trade were crowned with success. In 1789, he first proposed the abolition of the slave trade in the House of Commons, and it was not until April 1791, that the question was brought directly to an issue. The two years that had elapsed since his successful speech in 1789, had sufficed to change the current of popular feeling; and some indication of the temper of the time, and of the estimate formed by thinking men of the difficulties in Wilberforce's path, may be gathered from the following letter, penned by John Wesley on his dying bed. They are probably the last written words of that great servant of God:—

"Mr Dear Sir—Unless Divine power has raised yon up to be as Athanasius contra mundum, I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that execrable villany which is the scandal of religion, of England,' and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary in well-doing! Go on in the name of God, in the name of His might, till even American slavery, the vilest that ever saw the sun, shall vanish away before it. That He who has guided you from your youth up may continue to strengthen you in this and in all things, is the prayer of, dear Sir, your affectionate Servant,

"John Wesley."

The event justified these forebodings. Mr. Wilberforce's motion was lost by a large majority; even Mr. Pitt, with