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The life of West has been written by the ingenious author of "Annals of the Parish," with such minuteness of research and general accuracy of information, that little may seem to be left for a new biographer but to remodel his narrative, correct some dates, and add a few anecdotes. Something more, however, is necessary. He who writes the biography of any living person, is fettered much even as to matters of fact—much more in his expression of feelings and opinions—and not only was the President alive when Mr. Galt composed his memoir, but they were intimate friends.
John West, the father of Benjamin, was of that family settled at Long Crendon, in Buckinghamshire, which produced Colonel James West, the friend and companion in arms of John Hampden. Upon one occasion, in the course of a conversation in Buckingham Palace, respecting his picture of the Institution of the Garter, West happened to make some allusion to his English descent; when the Marquis of Buckingham, to the manifest pleasure of the late king, declared that the Wests of Long Crendon were undoubted descendants of the Lord Delaware, renowned in the wars of Edward the Third and the Black Prince, and that the artist's likeness had therefore a right to a place among those of the nobles and warriors in his own piece.
The warlike propensities of this branch of the race had been long extinguished; in 1667 they had embraced the peaceful tenets of the Quakers, and emigrated to America with some other families de sirous of escaping from the contests and distrac tions of their native isle. John West remained behind only till his education was completed at the Quakers' Seminary at Uxbridge: he then followed his family to Philadelphia—married Sarah Pearson (whose grandfather was the confidential friend of William Penn, and aided him in founding the state of Pennsylvania),—and settled at Springfield in that province. One part of the marriage portion of his wife was a negro slave, an affectionate and faithful creature; but in his intercourse, as a merchant, with Barbadoes, John West happened to witness the cruelties to which certain unhappy Africans were subjected, and—touched in conscience—the worthy Quaker liberated his bondsman and retained him as a hired servant. Others of the Society of Friends fc Uowed his example—the charitable feeling spread far and wide—it was privately taught and publicly preached, and finally established as one of the tenets of that people, that no person could remain a member of their community who held a human creature in slavery.
When Mrs. West, already the mother of nine children, was again about to be confined, she went to hear one Edward Peckover preach in the fields near her residence. The subject which he chose was popular with such an audience—the corrupt and degraded condition of the Old World—the pure morality and flourishing establishments of the New. The language of the preacher was vehement and inflammatory. He pictured the licentious manners