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for I am persuaded that none of these things are hid-den from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa! believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Then Agrippa said unto Paul, "Almost thou persuadest me to be'a christian." And Paul said,
I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds..
Sentence passed by Judge Wilds, on John Slaters, for the inhuman murder of his slave, in Janu-· ary, 1806.
John Slater, you have been convicted, by a Jury of your country, of the wilful murder of your own slave; and I am sorry to say, the short, impressive, uncontradicted testimony, on which that conviction was founded, leaves but too little room to doubt its propriety...
'The annals of human depravity might be safely challenged, for a parallel to this unfeeling, bloody, and diabolical transaction.
You caused your unoffending, unresisting slave, to be bound hand and foot, by a refinement in cruelty, compelled his companion, perhaps, the friend of his heart, to chop off his head with an axe; and to cast his body, yet convulsed with the agonies of death, into the water! And this deedy you dared to perpetrate in the harbour of Charleston, within a few yards of the shore, unblushingly in the face of open day.
Had your murderous arm been raised against your equal, whom the laws of self-defence, and the more efficacious laws of the land, unite to protect, your
crime would not have been without precedent, and would have seemed less horrid. Your personal risque would at least have proved, that though a mur-derer you were no coward. But, you too well knew, that this unfortunate man, whom chance had subjected to your caprice, had not, like yourself, chartered to him by the laws of the land, the sacred rights of nature; and that a stern but necessary policy, had disarmed him of the rights of self-defence: Too well you knew, that to you alone he could look for protection, and that your arm alone could shield him from insult, or avenge his wrongs; yet that arm you cruelly stretched out for his destruction.
The counsel, who generously volunteered his services in your behalf, shocked at the enormity of your offence, endeavoured to find a refuge, as well for his own feelings, as for those of all who heard your trial, in a derangement of your intellect. Several witnesses were examined to establish this fact, but the result of their testimony, it is apprehended, was as little satisfactory to his mind, as to those of the Jury, to whom it was addressed: I sincerely wish this defence had proved successful; not from any desire to save you from the punishment which awaits you, and which you so richly merit; but from the desire of saving my country from the foul reproach, of having in its bosom so great a monster.
From the peculiar situation of this country, our fathers felt themselves justified, in subjecting to a very slight punishment, the man who murders a slave: Whether the present state of society requires a continuation of this policy, so opposite to the apparent : rights of humanity, it remains for a subsequent legislature to decide. Their attention, would long ere this, have been directed to this subject; but, for the honour of human nature, such hardened sinners as yourself, are rarely found, to disturb the repose of society; the grand Jury of this district, deeply im.. pressed with your daring outrage against the laws both of God and Man, made a very strong expres
sion of their feelings on this subject to the legislature ;; and from the wisdom and justice of that body, the friends of humanity may confidently hope soon to see this, blackest in the catalogue of human crimes, pursued with appropriate punishment.
In proceeding to pass the sentence, which the law provided for your defence, I confess, I never felt more forcibly the want of power, to make respected the laws of my country, whose minister I am. You have already violated the majesty of those laws,― you have profanely pleaded, the law under which you stand convicted as a justification of your crime -you have held that law in one hand, and brandished your bloody axe in the other, impiously contending that the one gave a licence to the unconstrained use of the other.
But though you will go off unhurt in person by the present sentence, expect not to escape with impunity: your bloody deed has set a mark upon you, which I fear the good actions of your life will not efface.. You will be held in abhorrence by an impartial world, and shunned as a monster by every honest man-your unoffending posterity will be visited for your iniqui-ty, by the stigma of deriving their origin from an unfeeling murderer-your days which will be few, will be spent in wretchedness;-and, if your conscience is not steeled against every virtuous emotion;. if you be not entirely abandoned to hardness of heart, the mangled, mutilated corpse of your murdered: slave will ever be present in your imagination: ob-truding itself into all your amusements, and haunting. you in the house of silence and repose.
But should you not regard the reproaches of an offended world; should you bear with callous insensibility, the gnawing of a guilty conscience; yet remember! I charge you remember! than an awful. period is fast approaching, and with you is close at hand, when you must appear before a tribunal, whose
want of power can afford you no prospect of impuni
ty; when you must raise your bloody hands at the
bar of an impartial, omnipotent judge! Remember! I pray you remember! whilst you have time, that God is just, and that his vengeance will not sleep for
Speech dictated by Doctor Johnson in defence of a school-master, in Scotland, charged with severity in the chastisement of his scholars, who had been deprived of his office by an inferior court, and afterwards restored by the court of Session; the court considering it to be dangerous to the interests of learning and education, to lessen the dignity of teachers, and make them afraid of too indulgent parents, instigated by the complaints of their children; which was appealed against by his enemies to the house of Lords.
THE charge is, that he has used immoderate and cruel correction-Correction in itself is not cruel; yet as good things become evil by excess, correction, by being immoderate, may become cruel. But when is correction immoderate? When is it more frequent, or more severe than is required for reformation and `instruction? No severity is cruel which obstinacy makes necessary; for the greatest cruelty would be to desist, and leave the scholar too careless for instruction, and too much hardened for reproof. Locke, in his treatise on education, mentions a mother, with applause, who corrected her child eight times before she subdued it; for had she stopped at the seventh act of correction, her daughter, says he, would have been ruined.
The degrees of obstinacy in young minds are very different; as different must be the degrees of persevering severity. A stubborn scholar must be cor
rected till he is subdued. The discipline of a school is military. There must be either unbounded licence, or absolute authority. The master, who punishes, not only consults the future happiness of him who is the immediate subject of correction, but propagates obedience through the whole school; and establishes regularity by exemplary justice. The victorious obstinacy of a single boy would make his future endeavors of reformation or instruction totally ineffectual. Obstinacy, therefore, must never be victoricous. Yet it is well known, that there sometimes occurs a sullen and hardy resolution, that laughs at all common degrees of pain. Correction must be proportioned to occasions. The flexible will be reformed by gentle discipline, and the refractory must be subdued by harsher methods. The degrees of scholastic, as of military punishment, no stated rules can ascertain. It must be enforced till it overpowers temptation; till stubbornness becomes flexible, and perverseness regular.
Custom and reason have, indeed, set some bounds to scholastic penalties. The schoolmaster inflicts no capital punishments; nor enforces his edicts by either death or mutilation. The civil law has wisely determined, that a master who strikes at a scholar's eye shall be considered as criminal. But punishments, however severe, that produce no lasting evil, may be just and reasonable, because they may be necessary. Such have been the punishments used by the respondent. No scholar has gone from him either blind or lame, or with any of his limbs or powers injured or impaired. They were irregular and he punished them: they were obstinate, and he enforced his punishment. But, however provoked, he never exceeded the limits of moderation, for he inflicted nothing beyond present pain; and how much of that was required, no man is so little able to determine, as those who have determined against him ;-the parents of the offenders. It has been said, that he used unprecedented and improper instruments of correction.