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Title: No Abolition of Slavery - Or the Universal Empire of Love, A poem
Author: Boswell, James, 1740-1795
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "No Abolition of Slavery - Or the Universal Empire of Love, A poem" ***

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  P O E M.

       *       *       *       *       *

  _Facit indignatio versus._   HORAT.

  _Omnia vincit amor._   OVID.

       *       *       *       *       *


  [Price One Shilling and Sixpence.]

  Entered at Stationer's Hall


  P. 13, l. 7, for mighty _read_ magick.






    ----Most pleasing of thy sex,
    Born to delight and never vex;
    Whose kindness gently can controul
    My wayward turbulence of soul.

    Pry'thee, my dearest, dost thou read,                               5
    The Morning _Prints_, and ever heed
    MINUTES, which tell how time's mispent,
    In either House of Parliament?

    See T----, with the front of Jove!
      But not like Jove with thunder grac'd{1},                        10
    In Westminster's superb alcove
      Like the unhappy Theseus plac'd{2}.
    Day after day indignant swells
      His generous breast, while still he hears
    _Impeachment's_ fierce relentless yells,                           15
      Which stir his bile and grate his ears.

    And what a dull vain barren shew
      ST. STEPHEN'S luckless Chapel fills;
    Our notions of respect how low,
      While fools bring in their idle Bills.                           20

    Noodles{3}, who rave for abolition
    Of _th' African's improv'd condition_{4},
    At your own cost fine projects try;
    Dont _rob_--from _pure humanity_.

    Go, W------, with narrow scull,                                    25
    Go home, and preach away at Hull,
    No longer to the Senate{5} cackle,
    In strains which suit the Tabernacle;
    I hate your little wittling sneer,
    Your pert and self-sufficient leer,                                30
    Mischief to Trade sits on thy lip,
    Insects will gnaw the noblest ship;
    Go, W------, be gone, for shame,
    Thou dwarf, with a big-sounding name.

    Poor inefficient B----, we see                                     35
    No _capability_ in thee,
    Th' immortal spirit of thy Sire
    Has borne away th' æthereal fire,
    And left thee but the earthy dregs,--
    Let's never have thee on thy legs;                                 40
    'Tis too provoking, sure, to feel,
    A kick from such a puny heel.

      Pedantick pupil of old Sherry,
    Whose shrugs and jerks would make us merry,
    If not by tedious languor wrung--                                  45
    Hold thy intolerable tongue.

      Drawcansir DOLBEN would destroy
    Both slavery and licentious joy;
    Foe to all sorts of _planters_{6}, he
    Will suffer neither _bond_ nor _free_.                             50

      Go we to the Committee room,
    There gleams of light conflict with gloom,
    While unread rheams in chaos lye,
    Our water closets to supply.

      What frenzies will a rabble seize                                55
    In lax luxurious days, like these;
    THE PEOPLE'S MAJESTY, forsooth,
    Must fix our rights, define our truth;
    Weavers{7} become our Lords of Trade,
    And every clown throw by his spade,                                60
    T' _instruct_ our ministers of state,
    And _foreign commerce_ regulate:
    Ev'n _bony_ Scotland with her dirk,
    Nay, her starv'd presbyterian _kirk_{8},
    With ignorant effrontery prays                                     65
    Britain to dim the western rays,
    Which while they on our island fall
    Give warmth and splendour to us all.

      See in a stall three feet by four,
    Where door is window, window door,                                 70
    Saloop a hump-back'd cobler drink;
    "With _him_ the muse shall sit and think;"
    _He_ shall in _sentimental_ strain,
    That _negroes_ are _oppress'd_, complain.
    What mutters the decrepit creature?                                75

      WINDHAM, I won't suppress a gibe.
    Whilst THOU art with the whining tribe;
    Thou who hast sail'd in a balloon,
    And touch'd, intrepid, at the moon,                                80
    (Hence, as the Ladies say you wander,
    By much too fickle a Philander:)
    Shalt THOU, a Roman free and rough,
    Descend to weak _blue stocking_ stuff,
    And cherish feelings soft and kind,                                85
    Till you emasculate your mind.

      Let COURTENAY sneer, and gibe, and hack,
    We know Ham's sons are always black;
    On sceptick themes he wildly raves,
    Yet Africk's sons were always slaves;                              90
    I'd have the rogue beware of libel,
    And spare a jest--when on the Bible.

      BURKE, art THOU here too? thou, whose pen,
    Can blast the fancied _rights of men_:
    Pray, by what logick are those rights                              95
    Allow'd to _Blacks_--deny'd to _Whites_?

      But Thou! bold Faction's chief _Antistes_,
    Thou, more than Samson Agonistes!
    Who, Rumour tells us, would pull down
    Our charter'd rights, our church, our crown;
    Of talents vast, but with a mind
    Unaw'd, ungovern'd, unconfin'd;                                   100
    Best humour'd man, worst politician,
    Most dangerous, desp'rate state physician;
    Thy manly character why stain                                     105
    By canting, when 'tis all in vain?
    For thy tumultuous reign is o'er;
    THE PEOPLE'S MAN thou art no more.

      And Thou, in whom the magick name
    Of WILLIAM PITT still gathers fame,                               110
    Who could at once exalted stand,
    Spurning subordinate command;
    Ev'n when a stripling sit with ease,
    The mighty helm of state to seise;
    Whom now (a thousand storms endur'd)                              115
    Years of experience have matur'd;
    For whom, in glory's race untir'd,
    Th' events of nations have conspir'd;
    For whom, eer many suns revolv'd,
    Holland has crouch'd, and France dissolv'd;                       120
    And Spain, in a Don Quixote fit,
    Has bullied only to submit;
    Why stoop to nonsense? why cajole
    Blockheads who vent their _rigmarole_?

      And yet, where _influence_ must rule,                           125
    'Tis sometimes wise to play the fool;
    Thus, like a witch, you raise a storm,
    Whether the _Parliament's Reform_,
    A set of _Irish Propositions_,
    _Impeachment_--on your _own conditions_,                          130
    Or RICHMOND'S wild _fortifications_,
    Enough to ruin twenty nations,
    Or any thing you know can't fail,
    To be a tub to Party's whale.
    Then whilst they nibble, growl, and worry,                        135
    All keen and busy, hurry-scurry;
    Britannia's ship you onward guide,
    Wrapt in security and pride.

      Accept fair praise; but while I live
    Your _Regency_ I can't forgive;                                   140
    My Tory soul with anger swell'd,
    When I a parcel'd Crown beheld;
    Prerogative put under hatches,
    A Monarchy of shreds and patches;
    And lo! a _Phantom_! to create,                                   145
    A monster, more alarming still
    Than FOX'S raw-head India Bill!

      THURLOW, forbear thy awful frown;
    I beg you may not _look_ me down                                  150
    My honest fervour do not scout,
    I too like thee can be devout,
    And in a solemn invocation{10},
    Of loyalty make protestation.

      Courtiers, who chanc'd to guess aright,                         155
    And bask now in the Royal sight,
    Gold sticks and silver, and white wands,
    Ensigns of favour in your hands,
    Glitt'ring with stars, and envied seen
    Adorn'd with ribbands blue, red, green!                           160
    I charge you of deceit keep clear,
    And poison not the Sovereign's ear:
    O ne'er let Majesty suppose
    The _Prince's_ friends must be HIS foes.
    There is not one amongst you all                                  165
    Whose sword is readier at his call;
    An ancient Baron of the land,
    I by my King shall ever stand;
    But when it pleases Heav'n to shroud
    The Royal image in a cloud,                                       170
    That image in the Heir I see,
    The Prince is then as King to me.
    Let's have, altho' the skies should lour,
    No interval of Regal pow'r{11}.

      Where have I wander'd? do I dream?                              175
    Sure slaves of power are not my theme;
    But honest slaves, the sons of toil,
    Who cultivate the Planter's soil.

    He who to thwart GOD'S system{12} tries,
    Bids mountains sink, and vallies rise;                            180
    Slavery, subjection, what you will,
    Has ever been, and will be still:
    Trust me, that in this world of woe
    Mankind must different burthens know;
    Each bear his own, th' Apostle spoke;                             185
    And chiefly they who bear the yoke.

      From wise subordination's plan
    Springs the chief happiness of man;
    Yet from that source to numbers flow
    Varieties of pain and woe;                                        190
    Look round this land of freedom, pray,
    And all its lower ranks survey;
    Bid the hard-working labourer speak,
    What are his scanty gains a week?
    All huddled in a smoaky shed,                                     195
    How are his wife and children fed?
    Are not the poor in constant fear
    Of the relentless Overseer?

      LONDON! Metropolis of bliss!
    Ev'n there sad sights we cannot miss;                             200
    Beggars at every corner stand,
    With doleful look and trembling hand;
    Hear the shrill piteous cry of _sweep_,
    See wretches riddling an ash heap;
    The streets some for old iron scrape,                             205
    And scarce the crush of wheels escape;
    Some share with dogs the half-eat bones,
    From dunghills pick'd with weary groans.

      Dear CUMBERLAND, whose various powers                           210
    Preserve thy life from languid hours,
    Thou scholar, statesman, traveller, wit,
    Who prose and verse alike canst hit;
    Whose gay _West-Indian_ on our stage,
    Alone might check this stupid rage;                               215
    Fastidious yet--O! condescend
    To range with an advent'rous friend:
    Together let us beat the rounds,
    St. Giles's ample blackguard bounds:
    Try what th' accurs'd _Short's Garden_ yields,                    220
    His bludgeon where the _Flash-man_ wields;
    Where female votaries of sin,
    With fetid rags and breath of gin,
    Like antique statues stand in rows,
    Fine fragments sure, but ne'er a nose.                            225
    Let us with calmness ascertain
    The liberty of _Lewkner's Lane_,
    And _Cockpit-Alley_--_Stewart's Rents_,
    Where the fleec'd drunkard oft repents.
    With BENTLEY'S{13} critical _acumen_                              230
    Explore the haunts of evil's _Numen_;
    And in the _hundreds_ of _Old Drury_,
    Descant _de legibus Naturæ_{14}.
    Let's prowl the courts of _Newton-Street_,
    Where infamy and murder meet;                                     235
    Where CARPMEAL{15} must with caution tread,
    MACMANUS tremble for his head,
    JEALOUS look sharp with all his eyes,
    And TOWNSHEND apprehend surprise;
    And having view'd the horrid maze,                                240
    Let's justify the Planter's ways.

      Lo then, in yonder fragrant isle
    Where Nature ever seems to smile,
    The cheerful _gang_{16}!--the negroes see
    Perform the task of industry:
    Ev'n at their labour hear them sing,                              245
    While time flies quick on downy wing;
    Finish'd the bus'ness of the day,
    No human beings are more gay:
    Of food, clothes, cleanly lodging sure,
    Each has his property secure;                                     250
    Their wives and children are protected,
    In sickness they are not neglected;
    And when old age brings a release,
    Their grateful days they end in peace.

      But should our Wrongheads have their will,                      255
    Should Parliament approve their bill,
    Pernicious as th' effect would be,
    T' abolish negro slavery,
    Such partial freedom would be vain,
    Since Love's strong empire must remain.                           260

      VENUS, Czarina of the skies,
    Despotick by her killing eyes,
    Millions of slaves who don't complain,
    Confess her universal reign:
    And _Cupid_ too well-us'd to try                                  265
    His bow-string lash, and darts to ply,
    Her little _Driver_ still we find,
    A wicked rogue, although he's blind.

      Bring me not maxims from the schools;
    Experience now my conduct rules;                                  270
    O ------! trust thy lover true,
    I must and will be slave to you.

      Yet I must say--but pr'ythee smile,--
    'Twas a hard trip to Paphos isle;
    By your keen roving glances caught,                               275
    And to a beauteous tyrant brought;
    My head with giddiness turn'd round,
    With strongest fetters I was bound;
    I fancy from my frame and face,
    You thought me of th' Angola race{17}:                            280
    You kept me long indeed, my dear,
    Between the decks of hope and fear;
    But this and all the _seasoning_ o'er,
    My blessings I enjoy the more.

      Contented with my situation,                                    285
    I want but little REGULATION;
    At intervals _Chanson à boire_
    And good old port in my _Code noire_;
    Nor care I when I've once begun,
    How long I labour, in the sun                                     290
    Of your bright eyes!--which beam with joy,
    Warm, cheer, enchant, but don't destroy.

      My charming friend! it is full time
    To close this argument in rhime;
    The rhapsody must now be ended,                                   295
    My proposition I've defended;
    For, Slavery there must ever be,
    While we have Mistresses like thee!



{1} Had he the command of thunder, there can be no doubt that he would
long before now have cleared a troublesome quarter.

{2} _Sedet eternumque sedebit
    Infelix Theseus._    VIRG.

{3} If the abettors of the Slave trade Bill should think they are too
harshly treated in this Poem, let them consider how they should feel if
_their_ estates were threatened by an agrarian law; (no unplausible
measure) and let them make allowances for the irritation which themselves
have occasioned.

{4} That the Africans are in a state of savage wretchedness, appears from
the most authentic accounts. Such being the fact, an abolition of the
slave trade would in truth be precluding them from the first step towards
progressive civilization, and consequently of happiness, which it is
proved by the most respectable evidence they enjoy in a great degree in
our West-India islands, though under well-regulated restraint. The
clamour which is raised against this change of their situation, reminds
us of the following passage in one of the late Mr. Hall's 'Fables for
Grown Gentlemen.'

    "'Tis thus the Highlander complains,
    'Tis thus the Union they abuse,
    For binding their backsides in chains,
    And shackling their feet in shoes;
    For giving them both food and fuel,
    And comfortable cloaths,
    Instead of cruel oatmeal gruel,
    Instead of rags and heritable blows."

{5} The question now agitated in the British Parliament concerning
slavery, is illustrated with great information, able argument, and
perspicuous expression, in a work entitled, "_Doubts on the Abolition of
the Slave Trade, by an Old Member of Parliament_;" printed for Stockdale,
in Picadilly, 1790. It is ascribed to John Ranby, Esq.

That the evils of the Slave Trade should, like the evils incident to
other departments of civil subordination, be humanely remedied as much as
may be, every good man is convinced; and accordingly we find that great
advances have been gradually made in that respect, as may be seen in
various publications, particularly the evidence taken before the
Privy-Council. It must be admitted, that in the course of the present
imprudent and dangerous attempt to bring about a total abolition, one
essential advantage has been obtained, namely, a better mode of carrying
the slaves from Africa to the West-Indies; but surely this might have
been had in a less violent manner.

{6} Diogenes being discovered in the street in fond intercourse with one
of those pretty misses whom Sir William Dolben dislikes, steadily said,
"{Greek: Phytenô Andras}--I plant men."

{7} Manchester Petition.

{8} Some of the Scottish Presbyteries petitioned.

{9} _Risum teneatis amici._ HORAT.

{10} When I forget HIM, may GOD forget me!

{11} _Mira cano, Sol occubuit, nox nulla sequuta._ See CAMDEN'S REMAINS.

{12} The state of slavery is acknowledged both in the Old Testament and
the New.

{13} The great Dr. Bentley was Mr. Cumberland's grandfather.

{14} Mr. Cumberland is a descendant of Bishop Cumberland, who wrote _De
legibus Naturæ_.

{15} Messieurs Carpmeal, Macmanus, Jealous, and Townshend, gentlemen of
the Publick Office, in Bow-Street.

{16} Sir William Young has a series of pictures, in which the negroes in
our plantations are justly and pleasingly exhibited in various scenes.

{17} The Angola blacks are the most ferocious. The author does not boast,
like Abyssinian _Yakoob_, "of no ungracious figure": nor does he, like
another _beau garçon_, Mr. Gibbon, prefix his pleasing countenance to
captivate the ladies.


All original spellings and punctuation have been retained, except as noted.

Title page: "By James Boswell, Esq." is handwritten below "P O E M."

Erratum: the change of "mighty" to "magick" has been made.

Line 9: "Thurlow" is handwritten above "T----".

Line 12, footnote 2: "Sedet eternumqre sedebit" corrected to "Sedet
eternumque sedebit".

Line 27: There is no footnote marker in the original text for footnote 5.

Line 35: "Brown" is handwritten above "B----".

Line 100: The line numbering is inconsistent.

Line 109: "magick" substituted for "mighty" as specified in the erratum

A press cutting from _The Athenæum_ of 4th May 1896 was included with
the original. It reads as follows:


    A hitherto unrecognized work by James Boswell was sold a few days
    ago by Mr. Salkeld, of Clapham Road. It is in quarto, and the title
    is, 'No Abolition of Slavery: or, the Universal Empire of Love: a
    Poem, 1791.' The authorship appears to have been attributed to
    Boswell on the strength of an inscription, "By James Boswell, Esq.,"
    in a contemporary handwriting on the title-page, and there is little
    doubt that the inscription is correct.

    In the volume of Boswelliana edited by the Rev. Charles Rogers for
    the Grampian Club there is a letter, written in April, 1791, to Mr.
    Dempster by Boswell, who mentions a recently published poem on the
    slave trade, written by himself. The editor, in his comments on the
    letter, remarks that the work referred to by Boswell is unknown to
    bibliographers. Mr. Salkeld's discovery, though interesting, will
    not confer additional lustre on Boswell's reputation as a bard; but
    the poem is characteristic and amusing. It is "Addressed to Miss
    ----," perhaps intended for Miss Bagnal, who was occupying his
    attention at that time, and is described in one of his letters as
    "about seven-and-twenty ... a Ranelagh girl--but of excellent
    principles, in so much that she reads prayers to the servants in her
    father's family every Sunday evening." The merits of the work are
    pretty nearly on a level with 'The Cub at Newmarket' and other
    poetical effusions of the writer. Nothing could be more Boswellian
    than the manner in which the subject is treated, and the piece is
    full of personal allusions. Now that the authorship of the work is
    known, it is probable that other copies will turn up.

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