Saturday, 2 March 2013

Jane Austen Quote of the Week 224

Statue of Wilberforce at Yorkshire
This past week I had a "light-bulb" moment after viewing the movie "Amazing Grace" about William Wilberforce's campaign against the British slave trade which was abolished in 1807.  I began to realize exactly what that "trade" was all about, and it wasn't 'pretty'.  This movie actually happened during Jane's life time and she knew of the writer Hannah More.
I was checking James Austen's periodical, "The Loiterer" that I put on line, for a quote and ran across this in Issue 23 subtitled "Vexations attending the pursuit, and possession of wealth, in a letter from Indicus.":
The Son of a Neighbour (very few years older than myself) about this time returned from the East-Indies, with one of those sudden fortunes, which never fail to draw upon their possessors the admiration of the Vulgar, the envy of the Weak, and the pity of the Wise. — As we had been formerly Schoolfellows, and our Families were still upon terms of great intimacy, I was one of the first who were invited to a magnificent Villa, he had just purchased, on the banks of the Thames, where one fortnight spent amidst the luxury of fashionable dissipation, and the blaze of Oriental Grandeur, completely turned my head, and determined me to waste no more time in this dirty Island, but to go at once to that Country, were riches were so easily to be acquired. It was to no purpose, my Friends attempted to oppose this resolution: it had so entirely taken possession of my mind, that it haunted my very Dreams. Sometimes I found myself carried in an elegant Palanquin, attended by a long train of Blacks; and at others inclined at my ease on a rich Sopha, while my careful Slaves drove away the Mosquitoes with their fans. I now settled the accounts with my Circars, now counted imaginary Lacks, and admired the lustre of ideal Diamonds.
My point being that James Austen used the terms "Blacks" and "Slaves".  So the Austens must have had some idea about that situation.  However, I am not at all sure what James means with the term "Lacks".
The movie left me in tears and consternation at the ignorance of us "Southerners" (in the U.S.) of the real circumstances of the People of Africa.  I am here to declare that slavery is wrong and evil.
The complete Issue No. 23 gives us a good example of what should and should NOT be done with wealth.  You may read it HERE.
Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian


Linda Fern said...

Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear me! In the U.S. we had a Civil War from 1861 to 1865 which ended in freeing the slaves. I thought that slavery was done with. BUT last night on the radio, I heard a man speaking of "human trafficking" and I almost fainted. I vaguely knew that 'something' was going on, but his commentary gave the full story. The 'trafficking' consists of kidnapping, child slaves, and all sorts of humans bought and sold for sex and pornography. Sorry to shock our readers so, but so it is. I think I shall go have a good cry now, and pray for help from Above. My little corner of the world is so neat and tidy, and it makes me sad to hear such things.

Yrs aff'ly,
Linda the Librarian

Icha said...

Oh dearest Linda... a bit of more regular watch on or CNN International will tell you of how sad the world we're living on now.

Still, hope for a better world must prevail. Or else, what is living for?