July 22, 2008

Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade

Following are selections from "Thoughts upon the African Slave Trade" by John Newton, a slave captain in the 1700's. Newton stopped directing slave ships for personal medical reasons, but later recognized the horror of the slave trade.


THOUGHTS UPON vHE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE
The Works of the Rev. John Newton





If I attempt after what has been done to throw my mite into the public stock of information it is less from an apprehension that my interference is necessary than from a conviction that silence at such a time and on such an occasion would in me be criminal If my
If I attempt, after what has been done, to throw my mite into the public stock of information, it is less from an apprehension that my interference is necessary, than from a conviction that silence, at such a time and on such an occasion, would, in me, be criminal.


rather unsuitable to my present character as a minister of the Gospel to consider the African slave trade merely in a political light This disquisition more properly
...rather unsuitable to my present character as a believer of the Gospel, to consider the abortion trade merely in a political light.



2 There is a second which either is or oui ht to be deemed of importance considered in a political light I mean the dreadfol effects of this trade upon the minds of those who are engaged in it There are doubtless exceptions and I would willingly except myself But in general I know of no method of gI tting money not even that of robbing for it upon the highway which has so direct a tendency to efface the moral sense to rob the heart of every gentle and humane disposition and to harden it like steel against all impressions of sensibility
...the dreadful mental, emotional, and spiritual effects of this trade upon the minds of the doctors, nurses, and mothers who are engaged in it. There are, doubtless, exceptions; and I would willingly except myself. But, in general, I know of no method... which has so direct a tendency to efface the moral sense, to rob the heart of every gentle and humane disposition...



reason to doubt A mate of a ship in a long boat purchased a young woman with a fine child of about a year old in her arms In the night the child cried much and disturbed his sleep He rose up in great anger and swore that if the child did not cease making such a noise he would presently silence it The child continned to cry At length he rose up a second time tore the child from the mother and threw it into the sea The child was soon silenced indeed but it was not so easy to pacify the woman she was too valuable to be thrown overboard and he was obliged to bear the sourfd of her lamentations till he could put her on board his ship I am persuaded that every tender mother who feasts her eyes and her mind when she contemplates the infant in her arms will commiserate the poor Africans But why do I speak of one child when we have he
A boyfriend, telling her he loved her, got her pregnant with a "fine child", just several weeks old, in her womb. In the night, worry for the future overwhelmed the boyfriend, and disturbed his sleep. In great anger, he swore, that she must have an abortion. At length, he rose up, and drove her to the clinic. The worry was silenced indeed, but it was not so easy to calm the woman... he was obliged to bear the sound of her cries, till he could leave her for another woman.
I am persuaded, that every tender mother, who feasts her eyes and her mind when she contemplates the infant in her arms, will understand the pain of an abortion. - But why do I speak of one child, when we have heard and read a melancholy story, too notoriously true to admit of contradiction, of more than a hundred thousand children, thrown out...



Perhaps some hard hearted pleader may suggest that such treatment would indeed be cruel in Europe but the African women are negroes savages who have no idea of the nicer sensations which obtain among civilized people 1 dare contradict them in the strongest terms I have lived long and conversed
Perhaps someone may suggest that such treatment would indeed be cruel, to infants; but infants not yet born are fetuses, tissue, that have no idea of life or pain. I dare contradict them in the strongest terms. I have lived long, and conversed with doctors, and carried a fetus in my womb. The unborn experience life, and can experience pain and death.




After a careful perusal of what I have written weighing every paragraph distinctly I can find nothing to retract As it is not easy to write altogether with coolness
After a careful perusal of what I have written, weighing every paragraph distinctly, and knowing the offense that I may cause some of my friends, I can find nothing to retract.



Though unwilling to give offence to a single person in such a cause I ought not to be afraid of offending many by declaring the truth If indeed there can
Though I will not ever condemn an individual person for their mistakes - For I am full of awful mistakes and gross sin, and am only saved and whole by the blood of Jesus Christ, not by any good thing in me - I cannot be afraid of offending many, by declaring the truth.

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Approach, my soul, the mercy seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before His feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed,
By war without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.

Be Thou my Shield and hiding Place,
That, sheltered by Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died!

O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame,
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious Name.

“Poor tempest-toss├Ęd soul, be still;
My promised grace receive”;
’Tis Jesus speaks—I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.


"Approach My Soul, The Mercy Seat" by John Newton
Ol­ney Hymns
(1779)










1 comment:

The Farmer Files said...

Sad that some that hold the infants in their arms buy into pluralism...into thoughts, I would never personally have an abortion, but I believe it is an individual choice....