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but with the whole of his family, in making his escape, first to Holland, and afterwards to London, where he resided during sixteen years. At length having, in some degree, retrieved his fortune by successful commerce, he ultimately settled in Philadelphia. Anthony was born in 1713, before the emigration of the family. The earliest event of importance in his life, seems to have been his union in society with the Quakers, at the age of fourteen. In 1736 he married; but long after that period, his mind seems to have been exceedingly unsettled in the choice of a profession. He tried several, but found none perfectly congenial with his mental and bodily powers, until he fixed himself down to the desk of a school-master, and in this occupation he seems to have been both successful and satisfied. His biographer, with a very strange and not very judicious determination to seize on every point that may be turned or twisted to the advantage of his hero, discovers in this wavering of choice, an amazing spirit of disinterestedness, and gravely and elaborately. assures us that it exhibits the rare example of a man subjecting every selfish and ambitious passion to the superior obli'gations of religion, offering himself a candidate for any 'service which might contribute to promote his Creator's honour, and advance the happiness of his fellow beings.' His first engagement was as a teacher in Penn's chartered school; but after twelve years' service, he opened, in 1755, a seminary for the instruction of females, which he appears so to have conducted as to secure the attachment of his pupils, and the grateful goodwill of their parents. He could not, indeed, fail to produce these favourable impressions, since he was eminent for gentleness of manner, mildness of temper, and purity of heart. While engaged in these offices, he compiled, and we should infer from the slight indications given in the present volume, on sound principles, some elementary books for the initiation of youth. The following observations on general instruction, exhibit Benezet's judgement in a very favourable aspect, and we feel much inclined to think that a plan, constructed on such principles, but variously modified, might advantageously supersede the empirical and inefficient system of the present times. Benezet's scheme, slightly as it is sketched, is not only sequent, but consequent; it bears upon specific objects, and instead of the distinct and insulated points, round which the memories of of youth are made incessantly to revolve, it has a direct tendency not only to inform the mind, but to excite it to action; and simple as it appears in its present state, it contains the element of the only true method of primary instruction.
With respect to the education of our youth, I would propose, as the fruit of forty years experience, that when they are proficients in the use of their pen, and become sufficiently acquainted with the
English grammar, and the useful parts of Arithmetic, they should be taught mensuration of superficies and solids; as it helps the mind in many necessary matters, particularly the use of the scale and compass; and will open the way for those parts of the mathematics, which their peculiar situations may afterwards make necessary.
It would also be profitable for every scholar, of both sexes, to go through and understand a short but very plain set of merchants' accounts in single entry, particularly adapted to the civil uses of life. And in order to perfect their education in a useful and agreeable way, both to themselves and others, I would propose to give them a general knowledge of the mechanical powers, geography, and the elements of astronomy: the use of the microscope might also be profitably added, in discovering the minute parts of the creation. This, with the knowledge of the magnitude and courses of those mighty bodies which surround us, would tend to exalt their ideas.
Such parts of history as may tend to give them a right idea of the corruption of the human heart, the dreadful nature and effects of war, the advantage of virtue, &c. are also necessary parts of an education founded upon Christian and reasonable principles.
These several instructions should be inculcated on a religious plan, in such a way as may prove a delightful, rather than a painful labour, both to teachers and pupils.
It might also be profitable to give lads of bright genius some plain lectures upon anatomy, the wondrous frame of man, deducing therefrom the advantage of a plain, simple way of life; enforcing upon their understanding, the kind efforts of nature to maintain the human frame in a state of health with little medical help, but what abstinence and exercise will afford. These necessary parts of knowledge, so useful in directing the youthful mind, in the path of virtue and wisdom, might be proposed by way of lectures, which the pupil should write down, and, when corrected, should copy in a neat bound book, to be kept for future perusal.
The prevailing characteristics of Anthony Benezet's mental T and moral constitution, seem to have been an active, rather than an acute or profound intellect, and a kindness of heart, unwearied in exertion, and unlimited in its range. To a being of this cast, it will be anticipated that the Slave Trade would present an object of horror and of indefatigable interference. In America, he would not only have to contemplate slavery in description, but he would encounter it in its palpable and visible effects; and he acted with zeal and energy, and at the same time with meekness and prudence, upon his deep convictions of its unlawfulness, and his practical acquaintance with its mis-. chievous consequences. He first opened an evening school for the instruction of the Blacks. His opinion of their intellectual endowments, founded on much personal observation, was highly favourable.
'I can (said Benezet) with truth and sincerity declare, that I VOL. X. N. S. 2 G
have found amongst the negroes as great variety of talents, as among a like number of whites; and I am bold to assert, that the notion entertained by some, that the blacks are inferior in their capacities, is a vulgar prejudice, founded on the pride or ignorance of their lordly masters; who have kept their slaves at such a distance, as to be unable to form a right judgement of them.'
He also published seasonable appeals to the public mind on this momentous subject; and by communicating with eminent persons in all quarters of the globe, awakened a lively attention to it in the minds of those who were, in some respects, better fitted than himself for the more arduous achievements of the great war which was then commencing between the friends and the enemies of the human race. We are, however, sorry to find in Benezet's biographer, a weak and overweening disposition to make both things and persons subservient to the exaltation of his subject, manifesting itself throughout his work, sometimes very absurdly; but in the portion at which we have now arrived, this disposition is exemplified in a way not at all creditable to his fairness-we had almost said, his veracity. Our readers will probably recollect that interesting part of Mr. Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade, where he describes the manner in which he was first induced to euter upon that task of scarcely paralleled difficulty and hardihood, which he so nobly laboured, and so gloriously achieve. Clarkson's mind was directed to the subject by a University thesis, and his feelings were gradually and by various means awakened and stimulated to a keen and ardent sympathy in the sufferings of the enslaved African. While meditating at the outset on the subject, with a mere view to the composition of a Latin dissertation on the unlawfulness of slavery, he found himself very scantily stored with facts and illustrations, and was
at a loss what authors to consult respecting it, "when going by accident,' says he, "into a friend's house, I took up a newspaper, then lying on the table; one of the articles which attracted my notice, was an advertisement of Anthony Benezet's historical account of Guinea. I soon left my friend and his paper, and to lose no time, hastened to London to buy it. In this precious book I found almost all I wanted."*
The information furnished by Benezet's book encouraged him to complete his essay, which was rewarded with the first prize; and from that moment Clarkson's mind became interested with the great subject of the abolition !'-Vaux, pp. 35, 36.
This passage is so constructed as to convey an altogether incorrect notion of the real state of the case, and the extract from Mr. Clarkson's book is mutilated for the purpose of assisting
* Vide Clarkson's History of the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
the erroneous impression. It has evidently been Mr. Vaux's intention, to give to Benezet the credit of exciting and informing the zeal and the genius of Clarkson, by communicating to I him nearly all the knowledge necessary to complete his thesis, and to gain the prize; whereas, the very next sentence, as it stands in Mr. Clarkson's book, explains the nature of the assistance afforded, and limits it to little more than a reference to authorities. I obtained,' says Mr. Clarkson, by means of it, a knowledge of, and gained access to, the great authorities of Adanson, Moore, Barbot, Smith, Bosman, and others." In addition to this, the whole tenour of Mr. Vaux's representation, as it stands in this Memoir, tends to make it appear, that but for Benezet, the heroic devotedness of Clarkson would have been lost to Africa and the world; while the impression produced upon our minds by Mr. C.'s account is, that the strong workings of his own mind, aided by soine external circumstances, had already given the impulse, and that the pamphlet in question was only instrumental in giving it assistance and direction.
In the course of his exertions, Benezet corresponded with many individuals of celebrity, and we have here selections from his letters to Dr. Fothergill, to the acute, accomplished, and determined Granville Sharp, to the Abbé Raynal, and to 1 Queen Charlotte. In one of his letters to a friend, we find a sentence which we quote for the benefit of all whom it may concern: People are shamefully careless in not returning borrowed books.
His kind and merciful disposition engaged him in the benevolent, but we fear always hopeless, design of extirpating the spirit of war. On this subject he wrote, he published, he expostulated; but, we suspect, to little purpose, since he seems to have, in common with many other excellent individuals, taken weak ground, and to have rested his arguments rather on the appeal to feeling than to existing circumstances, and to strong stern reasoning. In fact, we think that this subject is yet sub judice, and that it has not yet by any means undergone that extended discussion and severe sifting, which its importance demands. When Sir Jeffery Amherst, in 1763, was preparing to open a campaign against the Indians, Benezet addressed a letter to that officer, deprecating hostilities, and pointing out the means of obtaining and securing peace. This address, fraught with calm good sense, strong facts, and business-like statement, we regret our inability to insert entire, and it would weaken its effect, were we to mutilate it. The Indians, indeed, had not been neglected by this amiable man; their cause lay near his heart, and in 1756, he had joined an association for the purpose of regaining and preserving peace' with that perse
cuted race. We are, however, compelled to turn aside from much interesting matter connected with this and other transactions, in which Benezet took a conspicuous part, steadily and always seeking to promote "peace on earth, and good will to"wards men.' 19 When harsh and injurious measures had been adopted towards the French settlers in Nova Scotia, on the allegation, not very clearly made out, that they were in traitorous correspondence with their countrymen, during the war of 1755, and they were in consequence exiled to different parts of North America, Benezet was active in behalf of those who were landed at Philadelphia, and to the utmost extent of his power, mitigated their sufferings. Respecting the private character and conduct of this admirable man, we are furnished with many interesting anecdotes and illustrations, by Mr. Vaux. In fact, Benezet was always on the alert; beneficence was the business of his existence; the anxiety to do good never went from him and his life is a striking instance of the excellent effects of energy and determination, even where the means are comparatively small. We must, however, refer to the Memoirs themselves for these and other impressive facts, excepting the following extract, which does honour to both the parties principally concerned.
During the American war, when the British army occupied Philadelphia, Benezet was assiduous in affording relief to many of the inhabitants, whom the state of things, at that distressing period, had reduced to great privation. Accidentally observing a female, whose countenance indicated calamity, he immediately inquired into her circumstances. She informed him that she was a washerwoman, and had a family of small children dependant on her exertions for subsistence; that she had formerly supported them by her industry, but then having six Hessians quartered at her house, it was impossible, from the disturbance they made, to attend to her business, and she and her children must speedily be reduced to extreme poverty.
"Having listened to her simple and affecting relation. Benezet determined to meliorate her situation. He accordingly repaired to the general's quarters; intent on his final object, he omitted to obtain a pass, essential to an uninterrupted access to the officer; and entering the house without ceremony, he was stopped by the sentinel, who, after some conversation, sent word to the general, “that a queer looking fellow insisted upon seeing him.”
He was soon ordered up. Benezet, on going into the room, inquired which was the chief, and taking a chair, seated himself beside the general. Such a breach of etiquette surprised the company present, and induced a German officer to exclaim in his vernacular tongue : "What does the fellow mean?" Benezet, however, proceeded, in French, to relate to the general the cause of his visit, and painted the situation of the poor woman in such vivid colours, as speedily to accomplish the purpose of his humane interference. After thanking the commander for the ready acquiescence to his