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Biographical Sketch of Mr. Roscoe.
46 Life's bitter draught with harsher bitter fill,
perhaps too cordially united,) Mr. Blast every joy, and add to every ill ;
Roscoe was busily employed in writThe trembling limbs with galling iron bind, Nor loose the heavier bondage of the mind.
ing the History of Lorenzo de Medicis.
This work was begun about the year Thus, by his own reflections, Mr. 1790, and published early in 1796. Roscoe was prepared to enter with On its first appearance, public opiardour into the views of the friends nion proclaimed in its favour; and of suffering bumanity. He had fre- this was confirmed by the decisions of quent conversations with Mr. Clark- criticism, through the ordeal of which son, who first drew the attention of the it quickly passed. Since thatperiod, the kingdom at large to this national dis- literary world have had time to recover grace. A specious pamphlet was pub- from the dazzle of surprise; and the lished in defence of the trade, en- buzz of ignorant applause, raised by titled, “ Seriptural Researches into the the leaders of literary fashion, is now Licitress of the Slave Trade," and writ- still. The sentence of sober judgment ten by a Španish Jesuit of the naine confirms the verdict which was proof Harris.' Mr. Roscoe answered it nounced according to the dictates of with great spirit and acuteness, in a first impressions. The liberal acumen counter-pamphlet, called " A Scriptu- of Parr has assayed the Life of Loral Refutation of a Pamphlet lately pub- renzo, and has found it sterling gold. kished by the Rev. Raymund Harris.”
Its dignity and grace bave shielded Bat this copious and interesting its author from the merciless tomahawk subject awaked all bis sympathies, and of the writer* of the Pursuits of Litethe public were gratified by a most rature; and we may fairly presume, affecting poem, entitled, “ The Wrongs that its rank is fixed among the most of Africa," which Mr. Roscoe intended splendid ornaments of English comto complete in three parts. The two position. first appeared in 1787, and 1788, but
The admiration with which the pubthe lovers of genuine poetry have to lic have been affected by the perulament that he bas not yet fulfilled his sal of this work will, no doubt, be inpromise of favouring them with the creased by a knowledge of the cirthird. During several years, expecta- cumstances in which it was composed. tion was kept alive; but circumstances At the time when it was projected, have still occurred, to diminish the Mr. Roscoe lived at the distance of hopes that were once entertained.
two miles from Liverpool, whither he A mind so active and generous as
was obliged daily to repair to attend Mr. Roscoe's, could not remain unin- the business of his otice. The dry terested in that stupendous event, the and tedious details of law occupied French revolution. He of course bis attention during the whole of the caught the enthusiastic glow that
morning and afternoon; his evenings warmed the breasts of the friends of alone, he was able to dedicate to freedom, while they beheld a mighty study': and it will be easily conceived, nation throwing off the fetters of des- that a gentleman, surrounded by a potism; and fondly hoped that the
numerous family, and whose company consequences of their exertions would
was courted by his friends, must have be lasting peace, good order, and experienced, even at these hours, a equal laws. He even taned the lyre variety of interruptions. No public on this bewitching theme, and pro- library provided him with materials. claimed the praises of Freedom in a The rare books which he had occasion translation of one of Petrarch's Odes, to consult, he was obliged to procure which found its way into the Mereurio in London at a considerable expense. Italico; a soog entitled, “ Millions be But in the midst of all these difficulFree ;” and the famous poem, ties, the work grew under his hands; Vine-covered Hills,” which may be and' In order that it might be printed classed among the most finished com- under his own immediate inspection, positions in the English language. he established an excellent press in
During the season of tumult and the town of Liverpool, and submitted discord, which succeeded the attempt to the disgusting toil of correcting the of the combined powers to reinstate,
proofs. in the plenitude of its authority, the
Soon after the appearance of his despotism of France, (an attempt, in
• Mr. Mathias. which this country, fatally to itself,
48 history, Mr. Roscoe relinquished the sentation of his native town. After profession of an attorney, and en- an arduous struggle, be was returned tered himself at Gray's Inn, with a at the head of the poll. But when his view of becoming and acting as a friends retired from office, he expebarrister.
rienced the mutability of popular taHe took advantage of the leisure vour, and found the probability of supwhich the relinquishment of business port so much diminished on the dissoafforded him, to enter upon the study lution of parliament, which took place of the Greek language ; in which, ac- | in 1807, that he declined standing ancording to the report of his intimate other contest. friends, he has made considerable pro- It was, however, a high gratification gress.
to him, that during the short period of The literary public had been so much his parliamentary life, it was his lot gratified by the perusal of Mr. Ros- to assist in the proscription of that coe's Life of Lorenzo de Medicis, that blot on the national character, the they unanimously called upon bim for African slave trade. On one of the t!c life of the son of that distinguished debates on the bill, for the abolition of patron of letters and learned men, that odious traffic, he made a speech ile celebrated Pontiff Leo X. The marked by firmness, good sense, and undertaking of this work was entirely good feeling. congenial with Mr. Roscoe's taste Mr. Roscoe seems to have brought and wishes, and he soon commenced with him, on his return from public to its composition with his usual zeal and private life, a taste for political disindustry. In the year 1805, it was cussion, which he evinced in the public published in four volumes in quarto. cation of a few pamphlets on the topics Its reception was not quite so favour of the day. These, as might be exable as that which was experienced by pected, were reccived with much comthe Life of Lorenzo de Medicis. The mendation by one party, and with charm of surprise was diminished; much abuse by the other. Whatever and by his strictures on the conduct of may be their merits or demerits in some of our early reformers, who other respects, it was universally ac
though they had suffered persecu- knowledged, that they were written in tion, had not learned mercy,” Mr. a spirit of urbanity which political Roscoe gave umbrage to ecclesiasti- writers in general would do well to cal bigotry. It soon, however, came imitate. 10 a second edition, and competent The sequel of Mr. Roscoe's history judges recognize in it the same fide- cannot be narrated without pain. Jity in the narration of facts, the same Whilst he was engaged in the pursuits taste in the fine arts, as characterised of elegant literature, and in deeds of its precursor; expressed in a tone of active benevolence, a series of unstyle more nervous and compressed, toward events compelled the banking than its author had hitherto exhibited. establishment, in which he was coa
Whilst employed in the arrange- cerned, to suspend its payment. By ment of the materials for this work, the liberality of the creditors, indulMr. Roscoe was invited to take the gence was afforded to enable it to situation of chief and active partner reíricve its affairs ; but the difliculties in the banking-house of Clarke and of the times precluded the possibility Sons, which had been long established of this, and Mr. Roscoe, and bis partin Liverpool; a situation which, with ners, were obliged to submit to the much reluctance, and, as the event process of bankruptcy. proved, unfortunately for himself, his To a man of Mr. Roscoe's temperafamily, and the public, he accepted. ment, this calamity, as affecting the
During the whole of his life, Mr. interests of others, is no doubt exRoscoe had been an ardent admirer tremely grievous. As to bimself, we of the political principles of Mr. Fox; are confident that he will bear misforand whilst the last Whig Administra- tune with firmness. In the hour of his tion were in office, he was solicited by adversity he will be consoled by the the friends of that administration in sympathies of friendship; and the acLiverpool, and by many others of dif- tivity of his mind will discover in the ferent political sentiments, on the dis- wide field of science and literature, solution of parliament in the year objects, the contemplation of which 18:16, to stand candidate for the repre. I will beguile the sense of alliction.
Cruelties in India.
CRUELTIES PRACTISED IN INDIA. superstition, which has no parallel in
the history of tribes the most savage The name of Mr. Ward is well known and barbarous. among the Baptist missionaries, who,
A female is despised as soon as she: for zeal and usefulness, have of late is born: she comes into the world been so justly distinguished among the amidst the frowns of her parents and idolaters of India.
friends, disappointed that the child is On returning to England, and sur- not a boy. Every mother among the veying the various privileges and bless-tribe of Rajpoots puts her female child ings enjoyed by his countrymen, it was to death as soon as born. While I was natural for him to contrast them with in Bengal, I was informed of the case the barbarities he had been called to of a Rajpoot who had spared one of his witness, during his long absence from daughters, and she lived till she attainhoine. In his several discourses, while ed the age when India girls are marmaking an appeal to the judgments riageable. A girl in the house of a Rajand feelings of his hearers, Mr. Ward poot was, however, so extraordinary a gave in detail, to large and deeply af- circumstance, that no parent chose to fected audiences, particularly in Liver- permit his son to marry her. The fapool, a recital of facts that filled every ther then became alarmed for her chasnind with horror. From these, the tity and the honour of his family, and impression that was made will not be he therefore took her aside one day, easily effaced. But as there are mul- and with a hatchet eut her to pioges ! titudes within the circulation of the These the circumstances into Imperial Magazine, who had not the which your sex enter into life in Briopportunity of hearing from his own tish India. lips an account of the melancholy inci
In childhood and youth they have dents, we rejoice in being able to fur
no education, no cultivation of any nish, from his pen, a faithful narration kind whatever. There is not a single of cruelties, which cannot be too widely girls' school in all India ; and the modiffused, nor too deeply deplored.
ther being herself entirely unlettered,
and being the devoted victim of a dark On board the Ship Nestor, for New York, and cruel superstition, is uttcrly incaOctober 2, 1820.
pable of improving her cbild. The Having heard, in passing through Li- first days of the girl are therefore spent verpool on my way to America, that in an inanity which prepares her for a some Ladies of that town are anxious life doomed to be spent in superstition to promote the education of Native and vice. Females in British India, I beg leave In the age of comparative childhood to offer to them some remarks on this she is united in marriage without any subject. This is one of the most in- knowledge of, or having cver seen, her teresting and stupendous charities husband : when they meet together for which has ever excited the attention the first time, they are bound together of British Females. Tbis Letter is for life. Thousands who are thus martherefore immediately addressed to ried in a state of childhood, lose their them.
husbands without having ever lived
with them, and are doomed to a life of To the Ladies of Liverpoot
, and of the widowhood; for the law forbids them United Kingdom.
to re-marry. Parents in some cases THERE are in Hindoost'han seventy- marry fifty or sixty daughters to one five millions of your sex who can nei- Bramhun, that the family may be ther read nor write, and thirty millions raised to honour by a marriage relaof these are British subjects. In every tion to this man. These females never country not ameliorated by Chris- live with the husband, but in the houses tianity, the state of women has always of their own parents, or they leave the been most deplorable ; but the Hindoo houses in which they have been thus legislators have absolutely made their sacrificed for the supposed honour of acquisition of the knowledge of letters the family, and enter the abodes of a curse, and they are by a positive infamy and ruin. probibition denied all access to their Supposing the female, however, to Scriptures. Being thus degraded, even have been united to a person who really by their Sacred Writings, women in becomes attached to her, what a moIndia are in a state of ignorance and ther, without the knowledge of the
alphabet! Wholly unacquainted with But horrors still deeper are connectmankind, and with all the employments ed with the state of female society in of females in a civilized country ; un- India. The English magistrates in the able either to make, to mend, or to presidency of Bengal, in their annual wash the clothes of her household! Official returns to the Calcutta governShe never sits to eat with her husband, ment, state, that in the year 1817(three but prepares his food, waits upon him, years ago,) seven hundred and six wos and partakes of what he leaves. If a men, widows, were either burnt alive friend, of the other sex, calls upon her or buried alive with the dead bodies of husband, she retires. She is veiled, or their husbands, in that part of British goes in a covered palanquin if she India. Is there any thing like this in leaves the house. She never mixes in the whole records of time? Have fires public companies. She derives no like these, and so numerous, ever been knowledge from the other sex, except kindled any where else on earth-or from the stories to which she may lis- graves like these ever been opened! ten from the mouth of a religious men- Two females roasted alive every day dicant. She is, in fact, a mere animal in one part of British India alone ! At kept for burden or for slaughter in the noon-day, and in the presence of nuhouse of her husband. A case lately merous spectators, the poor widow, occurred in Calcutta, of a girl being ensnared and drawn to the funeral burnt alive on the funeral pile with the pile, is tied to the dead body, pressed dead body of the youth with whom she down on the faggots by strong levers; was that day to have been married. and burnt alive, her screams amidst You will be prepared now, Ladies, to the flames being drowned by shouts expect that such a system of mental and musie. Amidst the spectators is darkness will have rendered the sex, her own son, her first born, who, trein India, the devoted victims of ido- mendous idea! has set fire to the pile, latry: and such victims no other coun- and watches the progress of the flames try, however savage, however benight- which are to consume the living moed, can boast. What must be the state ther to ashes, the mother who fed him of the female mind when millions are from her breast, and dandled him on found throwing the children of their her knees, and who once looked up vows into the sea; when a ard of to him as the support of the declining Hindoo soldiers are necessary to pre- days of herself and his father. vent mothers throwing their living I have seen three widows thus burnt children into the jaws of the alligators, alive, and could have witnessed many these mothers standing and watching more such spectacles, had they not the animal while it crushes the bones, been too much for my feelings. Other tears the flesh, and drinks the blood of widows are buried alive: here the fetheir own offspring! How deplorable male takes the dead body upon her the condition of your sex, when super- knees, as she sits in the centre of a deep stition thus extinguishes every sensi- grave, and her children and relations, bility of the female, and every feeling who have prepared the grave, throw in of the mother, and makes her more the earth around her: two of these de. savage than the tiger which howls in scend into the grave and trample tho the forest, which always spares and earth with their feet around the body of cherishes its own offspring.
the widow. She sits an unremonstratAt the calls of superstition, many fe- ing spectator of the process : the earth males immolate themselves by a volun- rises higher and higher around her; at tary death in the sacred rivers of India. length it reaches the head, when the A friend of mine, at the junction of the remaining earth is thrown with haste Jamna and the Ganges, at Allahabad, upon her, and these children and relain one morning, saw, from his own win- tions mount the grave, and tramplo dow, sixteen females, with pans of wa- upon the head of the expiring victim !! ter fastened to their sides, sink them- O ye British mothers-ye British selves in the river, a few bubbles of air widows, to whom shall these desolate arising only to the surface of the water beings look? In whose ears shall these after they were gone down. The drown- thousands of orphans cry, losing father ing of so many kittens in England would and mother in one day, if not to you? excite more horror here, than the Where shall we go? In what corner of drowning of sixteen of your own sex this miserable world, full of the habitain India !
tions of cruelty, shall we find female
Historical Observations respecting Liverpool. 54
orconcorrono society like this-widows and orphans putation, is not a town of any consilike these? Seventy-five millions in this derable antiquity. Within the memory state of ignorance? Say, how long, of many now living, its appearance ye who never saw a tear, but ye wiped has assumed a new aspect, and houses it away a wound, but ye attempted and streets now cover an extensive to heal it-a human sufferer, but ye tract, which, within the reach of their poured consolation into his heart-how recollection, was formerly clothed with long shall these fires burn-these graves verdure. be opened! The appeal, my fair coun- Emerging thus from comparative try-women, is to you, to every female obscurity into affluence and power, its in Britain. Government may do much origin has been but indistinctly markto put an end to these immolations ; ed; and its progressive movements but, without the communication of from insignificance to wealth and influknowledge, these fires can never be cnce, have partially escapod thc notice wholly quenched, nor can your sex in of its merchants, to whose industrious India erer rise to that state to which activity, and successful speculations, Divine Providence has destined them. it is chiefly indebted for its aggran
Don't despair—thc victims are nu- disement. merous; but on that account shall the On the origin of its name, different life-boat not leave the shore? There opinions have been entertained ; and can hardly be a misery connected with from the variations which occur in the human existence, which the pity and orthography of the term Liverpool, the zeal of British females, under the its etymology, which perhaps was forblessings of Providence, is not able to merly distinct and unambiguous, is remove; and if this dreadful case be now rendered equivocal and uncerproperly felt in every town of the tain. United Kingdom, these immolations Liver, the former part of this name, must shortly cease for ever.
is said by some to have heen derived Scbools must be commenced-know- from a species of Liverwort, which in Jedge must be communicated ; and then some places abounded on its coasts.
the Hindoo female will be behind none Others have contended that a particuof her sex in the charms which adorn lar species of water-fowl, denominated the female character-in no mental ele- Liver or Lever, frequenting a collecvation to which the highest rank of tion of waters, which in ancient times British females have attained. Other was called the Pool, gave birth to this triumphs of humanity may have been branch of its name. To favour this gained by our Howards, our Clarksons, etymology, it is urged that the crest of our Wilberforees, but this emancipa- the town-arms exbibits a bird, bearing tion of the females and widows of this appellation. This fact, however, British India must be the work of the has been doubted by others, and British Fair. (Signed)
powerful reasons have been assigned to destroy the application, but without
substituting any thing more plausible OBSERVATIONS, HISTORICAL AND DE- in its stead.
SCRIPTIVE, RESPECTING LIVERPOOL. The latter part of the term appears The large, populous, and flourishing evidently to have been derived from town of Liverpool, may be considered local circumstances. It seems to be as holding, in a commercial point of admitted by universal consent, that the view, a rank inferior to none in the site now occupied by the Old Dock British nation, with the exception of was formerly a pool, to which the tide London; and even to this grand empo- flowed through Byrom-street, Whiterium of the world, it may be deemed chapel, and Paradise-street. On the in many respects a formidable rival. border of this pool the town originally The enterprising spirit of its mer- stood; and the primitive appellation chants, and the adventurous hardi- is still preserved in the name of Pool hood of its sailors, have carried its lane, name into every quarter of the globe, But from what source soever the and established its mercantile reputa- former term Iras been derived, there is tion aniong all the civilized nations of decisive evidence that the compound the earth.
was in existence so early as the days Liverpool however, notwithstanding of Henry II., for in a charter bearing its long-established and increasing re- date 1172, it is said to be a place