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- SECTION I.
Flattery reproved. Canute. Is it true, my friends, as you have often told me, that I am the greatest of monarchs ?
Offa. It is true, my-liege; you are the most powerful of all kings.
Oswaid. We are all your slaves; we kiss the dust of your feet.
Offa. Not only we, but even the elements are your slaves. The land obeys you from shore to shore; and the sea obeys you.
Canute. Does the sea, with its loud boisterous waves, obey me? Will that terrible element be still at my bidding?
Olla. Yes, the sea is yours; it was made to bear your ships upon its bosom, and to pour the treasure of the world. at your royal feet. It is boistrous to your enemies, but it knows you to be its sovereigo.
Canute. Is not the tide coming up?
Oswald. Yes, my liege ; you may perceive the swell already.
Canute. Bring me a chair then; set it liere upon the sands.
Offa. Where the tide is coming up, my gracious lord ?
Canute. O mighty Ocean? thou art my subject; my courties tell me so; and it is thy duty to obey me. Thus, then, I stretch my sceptre over thee, and command thee to retire. Roll back thy swelling waves, nor let them presume to wet the feet of me, thy royal master.
Oswald. (Aside.) I believe the sea will pay very little regard to his royal commands.
Offa. See how fast the tide rises !
Oswald. The next wave will come up to the chair. It is folly to stay; we shall be covered with salt water.
Canute. Well does the sea obey my cominands? If it be my subject, it is a very rebellious subject. See how it swells, and dashes tke angry foam and salt spray over my sacred person? Vile sycophants ! did you think I was the dupe of your base lies ? that I believed your abject flatteries ? Know, there is but one being whom the sea will obey. He is sovereign of heaven and earth, King of kings, and Lord of lords. It is only he who can say to the ocean, “ Thus far shalt thou go but no farther, and here shalt thy proud waves be stayed.” A king is but a man and a man is but a worm. Shall a worm assume the power of the great God, and think the elements will obey him ? May kings learn to be humble from my example, and courtiers learn truth from your disgrace!
DR. AIKIN, SECTION II.
THE TWO ROBBERS.
IVe often condemn in others what we practise ourselves, - ALEXANDER the Great in his tent. A man with a fierce
countenance, chained and fettered brought before him.
Alexander. WHAT, art thou the Thracian robber of whose exploits I have heard so much?
Robber. I am a Thracian, and a soldier.
Alexander. A soldier! a thief, a plunderer, an assassin! the pest of the country! I could honour thy courage, but I must detest and punish thy crimes.
Robber. What have I done of which you can complain?
Alexander. Hast thou not set at defiance my authority; violated the public peace, and passed thy life in injuring the persons and properties of thy fellow subjects ?
Robber. Alexander ! I am your captive-I must hear what you please to say, and endure what you please lo inflict. But my soul is unconquered : and if I reply at all to your reproaches, I will reply like a free man. '
Alexander. Speak freely. Far be it from me to take the advantage of my power, to silence those with whom I deign lo conyerse ?
Robber. I must then answer your question by another, How have you passed your life?
Alexander. Like a hero. Ask Fame, and she will tell you. Among the brave I have been the bravest; among sovereigns, the noblest: among conquerors, the mighliest.
Robber. And does not Fame speak of me, too? Was there ever a bolder captain of a more valiant band? Was there ever-but I scorn to boast. You yourself know that I have not been easily subdued ? :
Alexander. Still what are thou.but a robbera base, dishonest robber?
Robber. And what is a conqueror? Have not you, too, gone about the earth like an evil genius, blasting the fair fruits of peace and industry: plundering, ravaging, killing, without law, without justiee, merely to gratify an insatiable lust for dominion ? All that I have done to a single district with a hundred followers, you have done to whole nations with a hundred thousand. If I have stripped individuals you have ruined kings and princes. If I have burned a few hamlets, you have desolated the most flourishing kingdoms and cities of the earth. What is then the difference, but that as you were born a king, and I a private man, you have been able to become a mightier robber than I ?
Alexander. But if I have taken like a king, I have given like a king. If I have subverted empires, I have founded greater. I have cherished arts, commerce, and philosophy.
Robber. I, too have freely given to the poor, what I took from the rich. I have established order and discipline among the most ferocious of mankind; and have stretched out my protecting arm over the oppressed. I know indeed, little of the philosophy you talk of; but I believe neither you nor I shall ever alone to the world for the mischiefs we have done it.
Alexander. Leave me Take off his chains, and use bim well. Are we then so much alike? -Alexander too a roh. ber?--Let me reflect,
A FAMILY CONVERSATION.
On the slavery of the negroes. Augusta. My dear papa, you once informed me that in the West Indies, all laborious operations were performed by negro slaves. Are those islands inhabited by negroes? I thought these people were natives of Africa.
Father. You are right, my dear: they are, indeed natives of Africa; but they have been snatched, by the hand of violence, from their country, friends, and connexions. I am ashamed to confess, that many ships are annually sent from different parts of England, to the coast of Guinea, to procure slaves from that unhappy country, for the use of our West-India islands, where they are sold to the planters of sugar-plantations; and afterwards employed in the hardest and most servile occupations: and pass the rest of their lives in slavery and wretchedness.
Sophia. How much my heart feels for them ! How agotizing must it be to be separated from one's near relations; parents perhaps divided from their children for ever; husbands from their wives; brothers and sisters obliged to bid each other a final farewell!- But why do the kings of the African states suffer their subjects to be so cruelly treated?
Mother. Many causes have operated to induce the Afri. can princes to become assistants in this in famous traffic: and instead of being the defenders of their harmless people, they have frequently betrayed them to their most cruel enemies. The Europeans have corrupted these ignorant rulers, by presents of rum, and other spirituous liquors, of which they are immoderately fond. They have fomented jealousies, and excited wars, amongst them, merely for the såke of obtaining the prisoners of war for slaves. Fre. quently they use no ceremony, but go on shore in the night, set fire to a neighbouring village, and seize upon all the unhappy victims, who run to escape the flames.
Cecelia. What hardened hearts do the captains of those ships possess! They must have become extremely cruel, before they would undertake such an employment.
Mother. There is reason to believe that most of them, i
by the habits of such a life, are become deaf to the voice of pity: we must, however, compassionate the situation of those, whose parents have early bred them to this profession before they were of an age to choose a different employment. But to resume the subject of the negroes. What I have related is only the beginning of their sorrows. When they are put on board the ships, they are crowded together in the hold, where many of them die for want of air and room. There have been frequent instances of their throwing themselves into the sea, when they could find an opportunity and seeking in death a refuge from their calinity. As soon as they arrive in the West-Indies, they are carried to a public market, where they are sold to the best bidder, like horses at our fairs. Their future lot depends much upon the disposition of the master, into whose hands they happen to fall; for among the overseers of sugarplantations, there are some men of feeling and humanity; but too generally the treatment of the poor negroes is very severe. Accustomed to an easy, indolent life, in the luxurious and plentiful country of Africa, they find great hardship from the transition to a life of severe labour, without any mixture of indulgence to soften it. Deprived of the hope of amending their condition by any course of conduct they can pursue, they frequently abandon themselves to despair, and die, in what is called the seasoning: which is, becoming inured by length of time to their situation. They who have less sensibility and stronger constitutions, survive their complicated misery but a few years: for it is generally acknowledged, that they seldom attain the full period of human life.
Augusta. Humanity shudders at your account? but I have heard a gentlemen, who had lived many years abroad, say, that negroes were not much superior to the brutes : and that they were so stupid and stubborn, that nothing but stripes and severity could have any influence over them:
Father. That gentleman was most probably interested in misleading those with whom he conversed, People, who reason in that manner, do not consider the disadvantages which the poor negroes suffer, from want of cultivation. Leading an ignorant, savage life in their own country, they can have acquired no previous information: and when they