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A single word, appropriately thrown in, is often, in Mr. Noyes's translation, a guide to the explanation of a dark and doubtful saying. We shall not be like to perceive the meaning at once of the fourteenth verse of the Sixty-eighth Psalm, as it stands in the common version. • When the Almighty scattered kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon.' But we shall immediately understand the comparison, by reading,
'When the Most High destroyed the kings in the land,
It was white with their bones like Salmon.' And equally important is frequently a slight change of collocation. For instance let us take the ninety-eighth verse of the Hundred and Nineteenth Psalm. • Thou, through thy commandments, hast made me wiser than mine enemies : for they are ever with me.' We might, in reading this, make the mental inquiry, Who are ever with me, thy commandments,' or mine enemies'? The collocation might lead us to answer, mine enemies. But this answer would be wrong, and we should not have hesitated at all, if we had read thus; • Thou hast made me wiser than my enemies by thy precepts; For they are ever before me.'
We have said much in praise of this new translation, but not more than we think is justly due to it. We have observed some instances in which Mr. Noyes has departed from the common version, where we should have preferred an adherence to it; and one or two more, in which his translation has not seemed to us to convey so probable a meaning as that of some other interpreter. It is very seldom, however, that he has not left a doubtful text plainer than he found it; and for continuity of sense and harmonious flow of sound, his Psalms are to be read throughout with more pleasure and profit than any other translation of them with which we are acquainted. Regarding this volume as intended for popular use, rather than as a critical help to the student, we have noticed it in a corresponding manner. Should Mr. Noyes favor us, as we hope he will, and that soon, with an additional volume of notes, we shall expect to examine his labors more thoroughly.
We do not look to see this or any other translation supersede the one in common use. We regard it as altogether improbable, as almost impossible, that all English Christendom will for a long period to come, if ever again, unite in adopting the same version of the Scriptures, should that of king James be repudiated. Let the common version, then, remain in our families, in our schools, in our churches. It is a bond of union among us all, of all denominations, the value and strength of which may be greater than we know. But let us understand it; and let us have helps to the understanding or correction of it, that we may read it intelligently as well as reverently. Our apparatus for this purpose need not be cumbersome or expensive. A family will hardly want any other aid, for instance, to the right understanding of the Psalms, than this new translation by Mr. Noyes. Let it be kept by the side of the Family Bible, as the interpreter of a very portant portion of it. Let the translator's excellent Preface be carefully read, and then, with the help of the few notes scattered through the book, we know not what will be wanting to the profitable perusal of those divine and ancient songs.
ART. VII. - The Slavery of the British West India Col
onies delineated, as it exists, both in Law and Practice, and compared with the Slavery of other countries, Ancient and Modern. By JAMES STEPHEN, Esq. Vol. II. Being a Delineation of the State in point of Practice. London. 1830. 8vo. pp. xliv, 452.
When the slave-trade was abolished by Great Britain in 1807, it was confidently expected by the friends of that measure, that it would soon lead to the mitigation and abolition of slavery. In this confidence they remained inactive for a few years. It at length became apparent that no measures of importance for the improvement of the slaves would be voluntarily adopted by the colonial legislatures. New efforts were therefore made by the friends of humanity to call into action the energy of the British government to soften and finally abolish the system of oppression which disgraced the colonies of the empire. Among other means adopted for this purpose was the establishment, we believe about ten years ago, of a Society for mitigating and gradually abolishing Slavery throughout the British Dominions. This society has continued in successful operation ever since its first formation, and has done much to forward the great work in which it is engaged. In May, 1823, three resolutions were passed by the House of Commons, expressing the expediency of adopting effectual and decisive measures for meliorating the condition of the slave population of the colonies; and by these measures of raising them, at the earliest possible period, to a participation in the civil rights and privileges of other subjects. It was hoped, that the opinion of the House, thus expressed, would induce the colonial legislatures to adopt specific measures for the improvement of their slave population, and thus render the direct interposition of Parliament unnecessary. The exertions of the friends of abolition, though not entirely stopped, were in some degree checked by this slow and cautious policy of the government. Time, however, has completely proved that nothing is to be expected from the West Indian legislatures. The acts which they have passed have all been of the most unsatisfactory character, and obviously intended, not to benefit their slaves, but to delude the imperial government by an apparent compliance with some part of the recommendation in the resolutions.
Hitherto no legislative measure has been adopted by the British government, since the abolition of the African slavetrade, which can have a very powerful influence in mitigating the evils of slavery, except the law forbidding the intercolonial slave-trade, which was passed a few years ago. In 1829 Orders in Council were passed, by which the free black and colored population of Trinidad, St. Lucia, and the Cape of Good Hope, which are crown colonies,* have been placed on an entire equality in regard to civil and political rights with other British subjects in those places. This measure, it is true, does not directly act upon the condition of the slaves, but, indirectly, its influence will be most important, by removing the prejudices which exist against their color.
In consequence of the obstinate determination which the white inhabitants of the colonies have exhibited not to do
* All our readers may not understand the distinction between the crown, and the chartered colonies. The former are governed entirely by the orders passed by the king in the privy council, having no legislative assemblies; the latter have legislative assemblies, in which their laws are made, which, however, they are obliged to submit to the king for approval or rejection.
any thing for the relief of their oppressed brethren, the friends of emancipation have, for a long time past, been exerting themselves more earnestly than ever to procure the interposition of Parliament. Their exertions have not been unavailing. The subject has been again and again brought before that body. The advocates for the abolition of slavery have been constantly increasing in numbers. The facts and arguments which the Anti-Slavery Reporter’and other publications on the same side, have presented to the public, appear to have produced a very deep impression throughout Great Britain, that the situation of the blacks in the colonies demands the instant interposition of the national government for their relief. The general feeling on the subject may be estimated from the following statements of the Anti-Slavery Reporter.' It informs us that the public meetings for the purpose of petitioning Parliament for the Abolition of Slavery, had been numerous beyond all example. The number of petitions for the Abolition of Slavery presented to the House of Commons from the commencement of the Session in October, 1830, to the Dissolution of Parliament on the twentythird of April, 1831, was five thousand four hundred and eighty-four ; -- a number' far larger, it is believed, than has ever before been presented in one Session on any other subject of public interest.' Many of these petitions, which were adopted at large public meetings, prayed for the immediate abolition of slavery. A petition of this kind was voted at a public meeting in Edinburgh, which was afterwards signed by upwards of twenty-two thousand persons. Resolutions in favor of immediate abolition were also adopted at a public meeting in Liverpool. These proceedings show a remarkable advance in public opinion. A few years ago immediate abolition would have probably been pronounced a rash and hasty measure, by a great majority of those by whom it is now recommended. This change in public sentiment can only be ascribed to the publications which have been made on the subject.
If we are not entirely mistaken in the conclusion to be drawn from the expressions of the general feeling of Great Britain, the time is fast approaching when Parliament will pass laws either for the immediate or the gradual abolition of slavery in the colonies of the empire. A more favorable time could not be chosen for bringing the subject before that
assembly, than the present, when the party which is at the head of the government contains among its members so many who have pledged themselves to the cause of emancipation. Lord Brougham, to specify no others, was, while a member of the House of Commons, its most strenuous advocate. We trust that a regard to his character and his conscience will prevent him from abandoning it, while he is in power.
The publication of the work of Mr. Stephen, named at the head of our article, we consider as most auspicious to the ultimate triumph of the cause of humanity. Before, however, giving an account of the contents of this volume, we shall present our readers with some particulars respecting the author, which we think will be found not devoid of interest. Our information on these points is drawn principally from the Prefaces to the two volumes of his work.
All who have attended to the controversy which has been going on for many years, respecting colonial slavery, have heard of the name of James Stephen. But the nature and extent of his conscientious, long-continued, and devoted exertions for the benefit of the African race, are probably not generally known in this country.
In his Preface to the Second Volume, he narrates the circumstances that prevented him from experiencing the corrupting effects which familiarity with slavery is too apt to produce. In the year 1783 he sailed from England to St. Christopher, in a vessel which touched on the voyage at Barbadoes. At this latter place he attended the trial of four plantation slaves for the murder of a physician. We give the story in his own words.
"The court, consisting of a bench of justices of the peace, five I think in number, without a jury, was no sooner constituted, than the four black prisoners were placed at the bar ; and, as they were the first common field negroes I had seen, their filthy and scanty garbs would have moved my pity, if it had not been more strongly excited by the pain they were visibly suffering from tight ligatures of cord round their crossed wrists, which supplied the place of hand-cuffs. I noticed it to my companion, and said, “Surely they will be put at bodily ease during their trial"; but he replied it was not customary. As there was no indictment, or other express charge, and consequently no arraignment, they had not to hold up their hands;