« ZurückWeiter »
of this detestable proposition, the manumission of Christian slaves, the adoption of which would, by depreciating our lands and houses, and thereby depriving so many good citizens of their properties, create universal discontent, and provoke insurrections, to the endangering of government and producing general confusion. I have therefore no doubt, but this wise council will prefer the comfort and happiness of a whole nation of true believers to the whim of a few Erika, and dismiss their petition."
The result was, as Martin tells us, that the Divan came to this resolution; "The doctrine, that plundering and enslaving the Christians is unjust, is at best problematical; but that it is the interest of this state to continue the practice, is clear; therefore let the petition be rejected."
And it was rejected accordingly.
And since like motives are apt to produce in the minds of men like opinions and resolutions, may we not, Mr. Brown, venture to predict, from this account, that the petitions to the Parliament of England for abolishing the slave-trade, to say nothing of other legislatures, and the debates upon them, will have a similar conclusion? I am, Sir, your constant reader and humble servant, HISTORICUS.
THE articles contained in the following SUPPLEMENT have never before appeared in any edition of the author's writings. Some of them were originally printed in the Pennsylvania Gazette. They have all been recently transcribed from a manuscript book in Dr. Franklin's handwriting, now in the possession of Mr. William Duane, Jr. of Philadelphia, and published by Mr. T. W. White of Richmond, in the Southern Literary Messenger. With Mr. Duane's permission they are inserted in the present work.
PROVIDENCE OF GOD IN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE WORLD
WHEN I consider my own weakness and the discerning judgment of those who are to be my audience, I cannot help blaming myself considerably for this rash undertaking of mine, being a thing I am altogether unpractised in, and very much unqualified for; but I am especially discouraged when I reflect, that you are all my intimate pot-companions, who have heard me say a thousand silly things in conversation, and therefore have not that laudable partiality and veneration for whatever I shall deliver, that good people commonly have for their spiritual guides; that you have no reverence for my habit, nor for the sanctity of my countenance; that you do not believe me inspired or divinely assisted, and therefore will think yourselves at liberty to assert or dissert, approve or disapprove of any thing I advance, canvassing and sifting it, as the private opinion of one of your acquaintance. These are great disadvantages and discouragements; but I am entered and must proceed, humbly requesting your patience and attention.
I propose, at this time, to discourse on the subject of our last conversation, the Providence of God in the