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FOR DECEMBER, 1816.
MEMOIR OF GRANVILLE SHARP, Ese. (WITH A PORTRAIT, ENGRAVED BY T. BLOOD, FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING BY
GEORGE DANCE, ESQ. R.A.]
Exalt the ingenuous heart,
They lend a nobler sway
Could ever yet procure ;
Conduct her forth to sight,
Akens. Ode 4th, B. 2.
tion, throughout which the exem- irreversible by the erring reason of plary character before us pursued and man; but in times like the present, promoted the individual welfare of man- when even the divine prescript is queskind, we trace the path of both the pa- tioned by the pertinacious decision of triot and the philanthropist: and both human petulance, it may not be unseaassociated in that genuine and unso
sonable for us to make them the sub. phisticated union of the noblest quali- ject of a few preliminary reflections ; ties of each, which blends the purest en- especially when we see the name of pa. crgies of the man with the more clevat- trivt, claimed by every self-opinionated ed virtues of the Christian.
demagogue, and that of philanthropist This is an union which, alas! for the assumed by every cold-hearted sophist of civilized dependencies of human nature, a party, who pretends to lament ibe suf. is but seldom recognized by us in all its ferings of the poor, but exclaims against salutary influence;
yet, certain it is that, the means of alleviation devised for to love our country for its own sake, their relief ; not because the provision and to love mankind for GOD's sake, is not commensurate with the necessity, are doubtless the soundest principles on but because he would irritate the feelwhich any one can assert bis pretensions ing of this necessity into an excitement to patriotism and philanthropy.
to dissatisfaction and revolt. These were the principles which Were he, of whom we are about to prompted every sentiment and sympa. speak, still numbered among the living, thy that regulated the public and pri- sure we are that his patriotic convic. vate life of this zealous advocate of his tions would be arranged on the side of country's freedom, this conscientious the public weal, which he well knew supporter of the liberty of the subject consisted in the uniform maintenance on the firm foundation of the laws of of that just balance between authority Heaven, themselves grounded in that and subordination which preserves the love which “ deals equally to all.” rule of government and the submission
of the governed in a just equipoise of the invigorating source of all that was law and obedience, of equity and right. sublimely great in the character of naWhile, therefore, we trace thisamemoir, tions, all that was dear and cherishing we feel, that at this very momentous to associated man.--He loved his Cousinstant of the times, teeining as it is try for her own sake; wherever he perwith various implications of the best ceived defects in ber polity, or devia. interests of our national prosperity, our tions in her government and, of all, pen is guided by the tutelary shade of these he was competent to judge), he hiin whose judgment was too clear to stepped forward, not to signalize bis decide by events, and whose heart was own talent, but to reinedy the evil - not too free from the adverse domi. to place himself above his country, but nation of the evil passions, to place to raise bis country above the world those events in hostile array against the he was the obedient vindicator of her tranquillity of bis native soil.
laws, the filial defender of her fame; The name, the talents, and the virtues but at the same time he was the affecof Granville Sharpe embody the idea of tionate restorer of the purity of the one, patriotism with all its most recommend. and the disinterested guardian of the atory, identity of intrinsic qualification. other. - He knew no party but that of “He loved his country for bis country's truth—he adopted po prejudice but sake”—he had none of those question what justice essentially upheld he was able measures to accomplish, which a a patriot because he was an Englishman, vain self-reference, or a selfish regard to and he loved his country because he personal pre-eminence might suggest. patriotically maintained the unalienWhen his country's happiest interests able rights of Englishmen. Yet, in were concerned, he was lotus in illis-lie all this he was po system-monger-no was neither the leader nor the tool of a visionary projector of uncertain innomob - his patriotism was the effluence vations upon the constituted order of of deliberate conviction, 'not the ebul things he well knew the comprehenlition of an empassioned prejudice--his sive good his country's jurisprudence judgment was formed by profound was capable of producing, and, while he study, uot framed according to the eve. acknowledged the value of the casket, he ry-day impulse of a superficial feeling; descended into the depths of the raine, he -what he thought he said, and what he traversed the regions of its treasures, he said he did—but then he thought ma- brought many agem into its appropriate turely and he spake advisedly-and light, and increased the lustre of the what he did he feared not to do again, general store. As the diamond is pobecause he knew it could not be better lished by its own component particles, done-he owned no olber authority, so Granville Sharp caused the laws of he followed no other precedent, than his Country to emit a clearer ray of juswhat the soundest dictate of the law, tice, by bringing into collision those inand the safest testiinouy of experience trinsic excellencies which lay hid in the corroborated - he loved his coun. passive mass of custom, or were obtry, because he was conscious that in scured by the erroneous construction of all her wisest provisions for the secu- precedent. This he effected, not less rity of her children, she deserved his by his numerous and Icarned publicalove-it was her honour, her happiness, tions, thau by bis strenuous and success. thathe keptin view; not his own aggran- ful exertions in the indefatigable purdisement, not his personal popularity, suit of the various objects which connot his own brief authority among those stantly occupied his benevoleut atten. who kucw not in what that louour and tiou. that happiness intrinsically consisted His Remarks On the Obsolete Laws it was not with him as with the puny sa. and Customs of Villenage," —" On the tellites of the multitude; he sought not Impress Service,"—" On the Mistakes to become conspicuous by partially Application of the Crown Law in Cases cclipsing the sun of his country's glory; of Manslaughter and Murder,"- and his he was anxious that she should ihrew her Researches into the Ancient Provisplendour over all the civilized world; sions of our earliest Jurisprudence, and, instead of dividing her rays for the as they related to the great question of greater facility of his own participation Reform in the elective franchise," ina. in the borrowed light, he was studiously nifested a very active and disinterested employed in bringing thein into a focus spirit; while-ibe temper and argument of concentrated brilliancy and power; which characterized his discussions, that Britain might be ackuowledged as proved the purity of his motives and
the superior strength of his under thenceforward applied, with the utmost standing.
eagerness, to a more general extension Besides these and many other evi- of this measure of emancipation, and dences of his being actuated by the slavery in every shape and country bemost equitable principles, there re- came the object of his unceasing oppomain on record several instances of his sition. The society which he had been personal intervention in behalf of indi- the means of establishing, very shortly viduals, in wbich oppression found bim grew into an institution which spread its its most determined adversary, and its branches through every part of the victims, bowever humble their condi. United Kingdom. Among its members tion or depressed by destitution, hailed were found the most exalted personages, him as their generous and ardent de. -men of the highest rank and talent, fender.
and not more ennobled by birth than emiAs it has happened in the natural pent for their virtues. Never were more world that the most fortuilous incidents eloquent appeals made to the humanity have led to the most important disco. of the world-never was a better cause veries and improvements in the arts and more ably supported, and yet never sciences, so, in the political, judicial, were stronger prejudices nor more inveand moral systems, apparently trivial terate hostility opposed to the efforts of causes have given rise to many of those the wisest and the inost beneficent part wholesome provisions and solemn regu- of mankind. At length, however, comlations of national polily, by which ibe plete success crowned the glorious strugnatural and civil rights of the man and gle, and a victory even of divine triumph the citizen have been progressively de recompensed the charity, the fortitude, veloped and ultimately secured. the perseverance, and the virtue of those
It was from a similar concurrence of who boldly maintained their ground events, merely accidental, that the So- throughout the conflict. The drooping ciety for the Abolition of the Slave slave was restored to freedom-" the Trade was iostituted by the subject of iron that entered into his soul" was rethis Meinuir. The origin of this in moved, and the easy yoke of heaven's stitutiou arose out of a circumstance law substituted in its stead. To the cutirely casual-Mr. Sharp having been glory of God—to the happiness of man an accidental witness of the brutal treat and to the everlasting honour of Bri. ment of a negro servant by bis master, tain, this law of mercy was first promul. who claimed him as his slave, he indig. gated by a British sepate ; and, now, nantly vindicated the poor fellow's right by the wisdom of its councils and the to the protection of the laws of this free influence of its power, is made the country, and he did not lose sight of rule of almost all the civilized parts of the affair until, by his bumane and per. the globe. severing exertions, he delivered the To the philanthropy of a private indiblack from the tyranny of his pretended vidual this great work of moral good owner. Such an incident could not fail owes the first spring that gave inipuise deeply to impress a benevolent mind, to its action-and that man was Granand having succeeded in the instance of ville Sharp--whose name will, for this one iodividual negro, he interested him. deed alone, “ shine as the stars of hea. self in the condition of many olbers, ven for ever,"-and, incorporated with whom he met wandering about the the pames of bis coadjutors, will form streets of London ; and, at his own ex- the brightest constellation in the hemipence, he collected them together and sphere of our national greatness. sent them back to Africa, where they This, then, is true philanthropy, which formed a colony on the river Sierra induces us to love our fellow-creatures Leone ; to which, in grateful remem- for God's sake, and to adopt, as the brance of their benefactor, they gave pure standard of our conduct tothe name of Granville. He thus eman- wards them, that ever-flowing compas. cipated the whole race of blacks from a sion which, althongh it has, from the state of slavery whilst on British ground, first beginning of the world, been emaud, in fact, banisbed slavery from Great ployed in pouring unceasing blessings Britain. During this undertaking, which he upon its inhabitants, is still as rich and fully accomplished, he published several inexbaustible in gooduess as its Eternal tracts, and controverted the opinion of Source. O, bow degraded froin such a the then attorney and solicitor-general. standard are those minds, who seek to His compreheosive powèrs of miud were raise their inferior natures into a false importance by pretensious to a regard that he is aumbered among the dead, for rights without social restraint, and that the name of Graoville Sharp ranks freedom without legal order-who, with among the most able defenders of that the fierce aspect and portentous course Redeemer's divinity. In his Remarks of the comet's menace, traverse the sys. on the Uses of the Definitive Article in tem of our country's peace, and fill our the Greek of the New Testament, be minds with fearful foreboding of subver- has elicited many irrefragable proofs of sion and destruction-disquieting the the divinity of Christ, from passages ignorant, and involving the well-dis- incorrectly translated in the Common posed in alarming doubts and trembling English Version.His scholastic learn. incertitude! yet these men say they are ing was thus made to co-operate with philanthropists - while they acknow- his Christian impressions, in this, putjedge no interest but that of their own ting to the blush many of those adverselfish passions--no government but saries of God and man, who are prouder their own unyielding self-reference-no of their learoing than of their religion law but the dictumn of their own head. - who do not hesitate to deny even the strong wills; their plea is pecessity, power and wisdom of their Creator, but their purpose is, to aggravate the and to reject the faith of wiser and bel. inevitable visitations of heaven into an ter men than themselves, rather than excitement to discontent-their ayowal surrender the vain and short-lived dis. is reform, but their design is the ag- tinction of being better sophists than grandisement of their own vicious Christians; or, in other words, of beand lawless domination—their pretence ing more capable of asserting their own is restoration, but their practice is judgment, than disposed to submit it to * confusion and every evil work”-and, the will and ordinances of the Most in this confusion they hope to seize High. by surprize what they are conscious On no such self-assumption were they never can retaio but by faction. the faith and life of Granville Sharp Our fervent prayer is, that their plea coostructed. He was educated and may be detected their avowal despis. brought up in the principles of the ed their pretence scorned-their prac. Established Church, and his knowledge tice disowned their hope frustrated of those principles gave a stedfastness —and their faction punished, by the to that attachment to them which be vigour of our laws--by the good sense justified, not more by his learning than of the people--by the conviction of our by his life. And it is recorded of him, Country's better experience—and by that the wisdom of the one and the unithe vital strength of her loog.tried Con- form piety of the other, gave that constitution. Our prayer is grounded upon sistency and value to his opinion, that the assured persuasion that, among the the first episcopal establishment in Catrue patriots and real philantliropists of pada originated from bis suggestion ; our beloved native soil, there is many for be introduced to the Primale of all an one, in whom the cultivated genius England the first Bishop wbom bis Grace of a Sharp still prompts the intellect consecrated to the supremacy of that and directs the heart; for he was a branch of the English Church. Christian, and a man of literary attain- The vigour of his intellect, and the ments; and these he always conformed power of his talents, continued unimto the positive duties of that respon- paired unto the very eve of his death : sibility which the conscience of the which he sufficiently demonstrated by Christian justified.-Religion was his an elaborate “ illustration of the 46th law, not his party : - He bad humi. Psalm, relative to the hill of Bashau, lity enough to submit himself to the and the calling together of the Jews." dictate, and he had learning enough to This extraordinary performance disknow that this dictate, as conveyed in plays at one view that union of the doctrine and precept by the constituent scholar and the Christian, which it was principles of the Established Church, the study and the practice of his long was, in all essentials of the Christian's life to maintain, and confirms the wise obligations and hopes, suficient to dum of the one and the piety of the make his present condition of trial a other by the testimony of his experimedium of his future reward, through ence, that he considered neither incomthe merits of a Redeemer. It was his patible with the other ; but rather was chief happiness, while living, and it is anxious to prove, that the principles of the bright record of bis reputation now both could not be better blended than
in cultivating that blessed hope which He possessed a very valuable library, extends beyond the grave.
in which the theologian, the classical Such was Granville Sharp, as a pa- scholar, the politician, the antiquary, triot, a philanthropist, and a Christian. and the orientalist, might find almost It now only remaius for us to relate his every thing which their respective stupersonal biography.
dies required ; and bis collection of BiHe was the grandson of the celebrat- bles was esteemed the best in the king. ed Doctor Sharp, Archbishop of York; dom. Many of these he gave to the who, in the despotic reigo of James the library of the British and Foreigu Bible Second, so honourably distinguished Society, of which he was a zealous probiinself as the Champion of the Protes- moter. The rest, and remaining part tant Religion, and of the liberty of bis of his library, were sold by auction by Country; of both of which he conti: Messrs. Leigh and Sotheby.
He was nued to be the zealous advocate during the author of the following Works. the whole period of bis valuable life. 1. “Remarks on several very impor
The son of this ornament of his coun- tant Prophecies; in five Parts. 1. try was Master of the Temple, and Remarks on the 13th, 14th, 15th, and emulated the zeal of bis Sire in all its 16th Verses in the 7th Chapter of estimable qualities, which he transmit- Isaiah; in answer to Dr. Williams's Crited with undiminished lustre to the sub- tical Dissertation on the same subject; ject of this Memoir, wbu was born at 2. A Dissertation on the Nature and Durham in the year 1735, where be re. Style of the Prophetical Writings, intendo ceived the first rudiments of his educa. ed to illustrate the foregoing Remarks; tion, and then came to London to pur. 3. A Dissertation on Isaiah vii. 8; 4. and sue his foriunes in trade. This object, on Gen. xlix. 10; 5. Answer to some of however, he changed for a different me. the principal Arguments used by Dr. dium of activity, having obtained a si- Williams, io Defence of his Critical tuation in the Ordnance Department, Dissertation," 1768, 8v0.-II. “ A Rea which he held until the year1775; when presentation of the Injustice and dan. he relinquished it in consequence of his gerous Tendency of tolerating Slavery, adverse sentiments with respect to the or of admitting the least Claim of pri-American war. He then took chambers vate Property in the Persons of Men ia in the Temple, and devoted himself to a England; in four Parts; containiog, 1. life of study, at the same time laying Remarks on an opinion given by the himself out for public utility; and first then Attorney-General, and Solicitorbecame kuown to the public by his ex. General, concerning the Cases of Slaves ertions iu the poor Negro's case, to in Great Britain ; 2. Answer to an Obwhich we have referred ; -and died on jection made to the foregoing. Rethe 6th of July 1813, at the house of his marks; 3. Examination of the Advansister, Mrs. William Sharp, of Fulhain, tages and Disadvantages of toleraafter having pursued his studies to the tiug Slavery in England; 4. Remarks age of 79, with all the mental ardour on the antient Villepage, shewing - of bis youth.
that the obsolete Laws and Customs, His form was the medium between which favoured that borrid Oppression, the thin and the athletic; bis stature was 'cannot justify the Admission of the of tbe middle size; bis countenance was modern West Indian Slavery into this
elear ; bis disposition cheerful; his gait Kingdom, nor the least Claim of Pro• upright; his nerves steady; and his ac- perty or Right of Service deducible tion, though thus considerably ad- "therefrom," 1769, 870.-III. panced in lite, possessed all the spright marks on the Encroachments on the liness of his earlier years. He was an 'River Thames near Durham Yard," able linguisl, deeply read in theology, 1711, 8v0. --IV. “Remarks on the Opi. and was well acquainted with the Scrip- nions of some of the most celebrated tures in their original tongues-He was Writers on Crown Law, respecting the pious and devout without gloom, strictly due Distinction between Manslaughter moral and temperate, a great lover of and Morder; being an Attempt to shew, music, and lively in conversation. The that the Plea of sudden Anger cannot graces and the virtues of life were all his reinove the Imputation and Guilt of own; and jew persous įu private society Murder, when å mortal Wound is wilbave deserved a higher or a more ho- fully given with a Weapon: That the nourable commemoration from posIndulgence allowed by the Courts to terity,
yoluntary Mauslaughter in Rencoun: