Apr 10, 2007

Statesman and Saint

"When I look to the man at the head of the French monarchy (Napoleon), surrounded as he is with all the pomp of power and all the pride of victory, distributing kingdoms to his family and principalities to his followers, seeming when he sits upon his throne to have reached the summit of human ambition and the pinnacle of earthly happiness—and when I follow that man into his closet or to his bed, and consider the pangs with which his solitude must be tortured and his repose banished, by the recollection of the blood he has spilled and the oppressions he has committed—and when I compare with those pangs of remorse the feelings which must accompany my honourable friend from this House (Wilberforce) to his home, after the vote of this night shall have confirmed the object of his humane and unceasing labours; when he retires into the bosom of his happy and delighted family, when he lays himself down on his bed, reflecting on the innumerable voices that will be raised in every quarter of the world to bless him, how much for pure and perfect felicity must he enjoy, having preserved so many millions of his fellow creatures."—
Sir Samuel Romilly on Wilberforce and Napoleon

Some of you may think I am slightly obsessed with William Wilberforce. The rest of you may think that I am majorly obsessed with William Wilberforce. You are both wrong. After the movie Amazing Grace came out, Brett, my older brother suggested that I read this book: a bio on Mr. Wilberforce.

For your understanding, before the movie came out, I knew virtually nothing about William Wilberforce besides that he abolished slavery in the British Empire. This book explains more of the life of this British Parlimentarian.

The author, David J. Vaughan, has been accused of only writing about Wilberforce’s good side. I don’t believe so. David Vaughan writes in response “I displays William’s faults as much as his strengths, but as Wilberforce’s triumph is so great, his faults dim in comparison.”

Vaughan begins by giving a short, eighty-page summary of Wilberforce’s life. He explains how William grew up, his college life, his political life, his love life, and of course, his struggle against slavery.

After the summary, David then talks about the Character of William Wilberforce. Things such as Providence, Religion, and Integrity are talked about. He also talks about Faults for as they say, “Faults he has, as who is free from them?”.

Through this book I learned about his personality, his social life, his struggles, his family, his devotion to God, and many more things. William Wilberforce was used by God to accomplish something great. He is a man who should be emulated by all.

Buy Statesman and Saint

Isaac Harris

Apr 3, 2007

A Tale of Adventure and Self-Sacrifice

In 1904 Sir Henry Rider Haggard, known for his book King Solomon’s Mines, wrote The Brethren, an adventure story set in the months before the Third Crusade. The reader follows two brothers, Godwin and Wulf, as they fight for the life and love of their cousin, Rosamund.

Before Godwin, Wulf, and Rosamund were born Rosamund’s father, Sir Andrew D’Arcy, married Saladin’s sister and took her to England, far away from Saladin, were she gave birth to Rosamund.

Sir Andrew had a brother who died in the Crusade, leaving his two young sons alone with their mother. In time, these three grew up together and were each special in their own way. Godwin and Wulf were both skilled swordsmen, Wulf being the stronger of the two, but Godwin the wiser. Rosamund was a beautiful Saracen princess, the niece of Saladin.

Their lives might have been wonderful and full of happiness if it had not been for two things. One, both Godwin and Wulf loved Rosamund and had asked her to decide between them in a year. The other was that Saladin had sent a letter to Sir Andrew demanding Rosamund be sent to him in Damascus.

Because Rosamund does not want to go to Saladin’s court, he sends some of his men to capture her. After drugging Godwin and Wulf and killing Sir Andrew the treacherous Saracens sail for the sands of Israel.

Godwin and Wulf set sail after the pirates, chasing them to Israel. What follows is an edge-of-your-seat tale that takes the knights through the Middle East in search of the woman they both love. I choose not to reveal the rest of this tale to create suspense and not ruin the plot twists. But I will say that the reader will feel a sense of accomplishment after reading this book.

If you do not appreciate loyalty, justice, and chivalry then this book is not for you. Godwin and Wulf fight together for Rosamund and never betray the other. They remain loyal to Rosamund and protect her from rogue nights and evil chieftains. The author does go into detail when some of the less fortunate characters meet the wrong end of Wulf and Godwin’s blades.

I recommend this classic story to people 12 and up because of some of the incidents Godwin, Wulf, and Rosamund end up in. Overall The Brethren is a must read for it’s excellent portrayal of courage, love, and selflessness.

Ted Bradley