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it occupies three days to clear a vessel out, besides the necessity of complimenting many of the officers. This system of delay occasioned one day a ludicrous circumstance. A Baltimore captain entered the custom-house in great haste, and asked for a permit: the great pressure of business prevented the collector from immediately attending to his demand: the captain enraged at his delay, swore, stamped, and danced about the room like a madman. Raphael seeing him impatient, but not understanding the abusive language he used, said to him in a civil good-natured manner,
“ Tout à l'heure capitaine." “ D-1 your toot allures," replied the captain, if you do'nt give me a permit, I'll kick you to the devil.” In this manner he continued blustering and swearing, until a friend whispered him, that if the collector should perchance discover the purport of his language, he would be in a sure way of visiting the inside of the cachot.
A man may be placed in a situation so precarious, that for the preservation of his life, a little, finesse, flattery, or even pretended adulation might be pardonable, but what must be thought of a wretch, who voluntarily becomes an intriguant, who builds his whole prospect of success upon the misfortunes of others, and who endeavours to ingratiate himself into the favour of his superiors, by calumniating and misrepresenting the actions of others? such men exist, and even in Hayti, where the machinations and artifices of the profound courtier, could yet scarcely have been introduced, many of the vices so familiar to him, are daily put in practice. Citizen A-, whom I have noticed on a former occasion, is of this class. As the public interpreter he has intercourse with all strangers, and from the nature of his office, has a fine opportunity for peculation. All invoices of imported cargoes pass through his hands for translation. The duties are payable on the invoice value, five per cent; this value he diminishes in his translated copy, receives however the full amount from the importer, and defrauds the government of the balance. He is a perfect slave to Christophe, and is forever cringing behind his chair with, “ General, I hope you are well today;” “I hope the general has had a good night's rest,”? and “I am extremely glad to see the general's health is good.” He is at Christophe's house the principal part of his time--follows hin like a shadow-and at entertainments devotes his whole attention to the black gentry, frequently disdaining to notice persons of his own colour. Ile is an adept in deception and intrigue, and as the general's evil counsellor I fear he has too much influence. By his machinations vessels have been detained many days from sailing, under the pretence of having goods on board which were prohibited by government, although those very goods had been shipped by regular permits issued from the custom-house. Thuis fact was fully tested upon ove occasion. An American captain received orders from the general to reland a small quantity of iron which had been put on board his vessel for ballast, although regularly permitted, and this too when the vessel was loaded and ready for sea. Exasperated at such base treatment, and suspecting Monsieur A as the author of his misfortune, the captain resolved upon a bold expedient to prevent a delay. He waited upon the interpreter, and stated to him in plain but resolute language, that “ he was satisfied this villainy was of his devising,” and, added he, “ if my vessel is detained and I am compelled to discharge the
I will blow out your brains.” This menace, accompanied by the manly firmness with which it was uttered, had the desired effect. The citizen was alarnied, and immediately procured liberty for the vessel to depart. The object of the interpreter was either to obtain satisfaction for some affront offered him by the captain, or to extort a douceur, under the impression that he would prefer making a handsome present, to being subjected to the inconveniences and expenses of a detention. Most probably the latter, but the citizen found himself mistaken in his man. Thus you see in a country where the will of an individual is law, and where this individual is liable to be exposed to the designs and influence of wicked men, all pretensions to regularity and system are at an end, and the security of the persons and property of strangers may very well be questioned. A merchant is permitted one day to ship an article which is the next day prohibited, and in fine, laws are only made as occasions require, and exist just as long as the private interest and views of the general and his advisers demand.
Monsieur A to his other amiable qualities, las combined the virtues of a common spy. As an eavesdropper he is continually listening to the conversations of others, that he may have some important intelligence to communicate, and every expression he hears reflecting upon the blacks or their government, is carried to head-quarters.
Christophe was once informed that a certain English merchant residing in the Cape, had said that “he thought it dangerous for the French whites to remain in the island.” This is what any man might have said with propriety, for the fact is incontrovertible. The general sent for the gentleman, and stated to him the charge. Mr. Bad denied it, and asked the name of the informer: this Christophe refused, and in a harsh and threatening tone, dismissed him from his presence, with the following words, “ If I ever hear of your uttering such an expression again, I will go myself to your house, drag you out of it, and cut you up with my sabre like an ox; (comme un bauf) I hereby order you to leave the Island in cight days.” This Mr. Bm was compelled to do.
The general had a private secretary, a Frenchiman, of the name of Tourke. This unfortunate man had a quarrel one evening at the
theatre, which was represented to Christophe very much to his disparagement. On the following morning early the general ordered him to prison, but no sooner was the mandate pronounced, than the report of a pistol was heard from Tourke's apartment. Upon entering it, he was found dead. Desperation, it appears, upon hearing the order for his imprisonment (for here, to a Frenchman, that dreadful word is almost synonimous with death,) drove him to the fatal deed. The interpreter was by every body considered as the informer in both these cases. He is detested by all the whites, French as well as strangers, and I have some doubts whether the partiality which is apparently entertained for him by the sable grandees extends further than his utility. As a spy he is extremely convenient to them. The heads of the government find in him a safe channel through which the opinionsof foreigners, as well as of the unhappy Frenchmen within their power, are conveyed to them.
DEDICATION TO MY WIFE.
I KNOW of no species of composition so universally attractive to readers of unvitiated taste, as pictures of conjugal attachment and felicity. Such a state constitutes so decidedly the largest portion of all possible happiness upon earth, that descriptions of it, call forth the most natural, the most affecting, the most tender, and the most virtuous of our associations. How familiar to every reader are the delineations of happy marriage, by Thomson, by Dr. Cotton, by John Gilbert Cooper, by his prototype the author of Winifreda, by Mr. Bishop, and by Dr. Aikin! All collections contain them in part. Æquè pauperibus [irosunt locupletibus æquè, to the poor and to the rich in poetical taste they are equally attractive. How very interesting is the account given us by that excellent woman, Mrs. Reiske, of her husband and his literary labours ! How honourable is the attachment of a man so eminently learned as Reiske to every conjugal feeling! And how admirably was lic supported through a life of prodigious literary labour very ill recompensed, unless by the attentions of that valuable woman! I was much pleased with a similar instance of public acknowlecigment to the merit of a worthy woman, by a man not inferior in extent of reading and re
search, in patient industry and eminent learning to any man of his day. Fanciful, indeed, and visionary in his theory: paradoxical and hetorodox is his opinions; but honest, laborious, learned, and profound, beyond any of the French deists, whose chief merit, for the most part, is having stolen from the English deistical writers, from lord Hubert and Blount, through Toland, Tindal, Chubb, Morgan, Bolingbroke, and Dowdswell.
The eulogy on Voltaire, is natural from the pen of a deist and a Frenchman, and therefore may well be forgiven. I neither defend his French prejudices, nor his deistical theories: but it is competent even to a Frenchman and a deist, to be a kind and affectionate husband, as well as a learned and good man. The Origine de tous Cultes, in four vols. 4to., was published in the third year of the republic; its author is Dupuis.
DEDICATION TO MY WIFE.
An epistle dedicatory has almost always been a monument erected by Indigence and Meanness to Opulence and Rank. That interested praise, which the servile tribe of authors so lavishly bestow on the favourites of Fortune, raises a blush on the cheek of the Muses; it confers no honour on those to whom it is given, and it degrades tiose who give it. For my own part, I composed this work, while nobility yet existed, but I never sullied the first pages of my book, with this dishonourable stain. It was under the auspices of Hymen that it was destined to appear; and Erato, the most enchanting of the Muses, engraved on its frontispiece the name of LOVE. Ah! who is so well entitled to receive the homage of my labours, as she wlio witnessed the first germe of my systern, who assisted in its development, who has traced its progress, who consented to expatriate herself that it might issue from the press, who has smoothed the labour, and counteracted the listlessness of sixteen years of painful research, by the sweet charm of her society! Twenty-two years have we been united in the marriage bond, my wife; and you have spread happiness over each moment of the time. A good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good citizen, unasected, frank, and generous, you have joined the philosophy of conduct to the philosophy of opinion, and the most perfect equaninity of character, to an understanding the most enlightened. The serenity of your look which designates the tranquillity of your soul, inspires every one about you with a mild and placid good humour. Your husband and your books have constituted your ruling passion: to love him and inform your mind, your sweetest pleasure. The highest eulogium that can be paid to your taste, is your esteem for Voltaire, to whose works you have consecratod that leisure which your family duties have afforded you; a family, whose good order is the fruit of your superintendance, your industry, and your prudent care. If you can spare any part of your leisure from perusing the works of that immortal genius, of which Nature affords but a single specimen, cast your eye upon the labours of your husband. His mind, like his heart, is yours. His name will, to you, give interest to the perusal, and your regard for the author, will conceal from you the faults of his performance. Read ic; and I shall be amply recompensed for the pains I have taken. It is from you the public shall receive this work. But for you, it had been consigned to the flames. To myself, the most interesting part of it is this page of dedication.
FOR THE PORTFOLIO.
MY POCKET BOOK_NO. IV.
“Quicquid agunt homines-nostri est farrago libelli,”
Espriella's Letters. AMONG the most interesting and entertaining books that have appeared in England for the last twenty years, every man of true taste will readily allow that Espriella's letters may be placed. They are clegant, accurate, and profound in the highest degree. The English national character is drawn with very great ability and correctness. Its bright points are set in a clear light and the dark ones are exhibited with justice, wholly free from the peevislıness, impertinence, and petulance, that disgrace the Welds, the Moores, the Parkinsons, the Buloes, et hoc genus ontne, who appear to have visited this country, merely with a view to exhibit its climate, its soil, its inhabitants, with their manners, and customs, in the most odious point of light.
This work has appeared without its author's name. But there is nothing in it that could render the arowal of authorship either imprudent or inexpedient. It has been, as far as I know, universally ascribed to Southey, the poet, who published a few years since, Letters from Spain, one of the most vapid, jejune performances that have appeared for a long time. The two works carry the strongest internal evidence, that they could not possibly have been written by the same person. As