Well, here is a wonderful little archive of seven letters, comprising approximately 14 full pages of content, written from Adam Clarke to long-time friend, fellow Methodist, and prominent surgeon, James Grime.
Clarke [1762-1832], though of limited education, was thought of so highly for his academic gifts and curiosity that Wesley invited him to attend Seminary at 14 years of age! By 19 he was an itinerant. He was earnest and successful, but always was most alive among his books. He was three times the President of the Conference and finally moved to London to give himself to study and writing. He is most remembered for his Commentary, which is still in print. He was also, however, deeply interested in and well read in the natural sciences and also in paranormal research. He published on both.
After Wesley himself, it is probably accurate to think of Clarke as having the deepest influence theologically on Methodism in the 19th century. His commentary was owned and used as the primary interpretive help by ever Methodist minister and any serious Methodist student of Scripture.
This sprawling little archive of previously unpublished correspondence, because of the personal nature of the relationship, spans from the deeply personal, regarding his wife, to desire to be sent some tissue so that he [Clarke!] can perform an inoculation, to thoughts on missions, ministry, and a wonderfully important letter on slavery!
14 pages in very good condition. Dating from 1819-1829.
"Do you wish to have my mind on the subject [slavery]? Then here it is. The whole trade is diabolic, from the capture of the innocent creatures in their own country, by their own people whom we have corrupted so as to render them like all European slave dealers . . . till that time in which these forlorn creatures breathe their last in the service of . . . the West India Planter.
And is it made a great political question whether these should get their liberty? Or by what degree? It is, to the summary scandal of our nation. Their liberty is not ours. It belongs to God and themselves! The highest angel of God cannot claim a control over it. Our Legislature sanctioned it in the beginning & legalized it in the end. And now, after being forced to acknowledge our iniquity, we hesitate to undo our wicked acts! But it may be said, "We admit the principle - they should not have been made slaves and now that they are such, they should be made free. But an enlightened policy would not give them their liberty all at once, as they could not use it to their own advantage."
He is outraged at the idea that even in the abolition of slavery, it seems that the English and Europeans continue to insist they, as wise fathers, know what is best for those they have enslaved. He sees it as an indignity to the slaves and as a way of perpetuating slavery, if only for a time. It turned out he was right. When the 1833 act passed, still slaves were forced to work as "servants" for six additional years for "pay." This was spun as helping them acclimate. In reality, it just perpetuated slavery for years to follow.
Rare to find a sequence of correspondence like this. Perfect for the avid Methodist collector or institution interested in Methodism or Slavery and Abolition.