صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

the case.

sealed the fate of the Austrian can wish to know of the island of power in Italy, and it placed Napo- Jamaica, and considering it only as leon on the pinnacle of fame and of a work of this nature, we have no political influence. Melas has been hesitation in bestowing upon it our much blamed for his signing the commendations, and in prononneing armistice of Alessandria after the it a work likely to supercede all loss of the battle, but Napoleon others upon the same subject with proves that that concession was in- which we are acquainted. There posed upon him by the necessity of is no work, we believe, that, within

the same compass, says so much of The volume ends with the battle what is useful and agreeable upon of Marengo, and is followed by an the subject upon which it treats. appendix of official papers relating Bat, in pronouncing this landatory to the events which have been pre- judgment, we must not be consiviously described. We particularly dered so indiscriminate in our praise call the attention of our readers to as to neglect our duty of censuring the note, (page 360) addressed by the author for two very material Napoleon to our late King, and of faults in his performance. In the Lord Grenville's reply in the suc- first place, the style is inaccurate, ceeding page. Impartiality will loose, and redundant to a degree, oblige future historians to lament which shews either that the author that the government of his late never condescended to revise bis maMajesty took so erroneous a view of Duscript, or that he is not gifted with the then state of affairs, and that they the faculty of close thinking. Tradid not stop the effusion of blood by velling from form to substance, we listening to the First Consul's pró- must observe, that, analogous to posals of peace. The documents, these faults of style, is the author's establishing the constitution after habit of formally stating the most the revolution of 18 of Brumaire, obvious and puerile reflections, and must be of great importance at an of detailing with his facts all those epoch like the present, when every simple and ordinary associations of nation is desirous of improving the ideas that would either strike every form of its government. We have common mind, or which would be read the whole of this volume with of no sort of consequence if they great pleasure, and we flatter oar. had never entered into the mind, selves with great improvement, for either of the author or of his readers. it elucidates a period of history re- The second fault is rather one of plete with events, which for many omission than of commission. Conages must have an influence on the sidering the author's long residence affairs of mankind.

in Jamaica, he is remarkably free

from what may be called creole A View of the past and present state prejudices, and particularly free

of the Island of Jamaica, with from all of those prejudices which Remarks on the Condition of the militate against humanity and the Slaves, and on the Abolition of first principles of religion and ethics. Slavery in the Colonies. By J. But yet, on certain subjects, he is Steward, late of Jamaica, 8vo. pp. prejudiced, and he evinces those pre363. London and Edinburgh, judices, not, we must allow, by any 1823.

mistatement of facts, but by often

omitting a part of his story. He It would be scarcely fair to ex always tells the truth, and nothing amine this work by any very high but the truth, but he does not tell standard of criticism, for, we appre- the whole truth, and this suppreshend, its author never meant it as a sion, or, we will be so liberal as to work of history or of science; nor as say, this omission of a part of a a philosophical enquiry into the story has frequently an effect equimany questions of deep interest valent to making a positive mistatewhich intimately concern our co- ment. Our observations will be lonies ; that he intended it as borne out by the succeeding matter. an intelligent and amusing com- Mr. Stewart does not woo the pilation of whatever general readers muse of history, for he despatches

[ocr errors]

the whole of the ancient and modern treaty, which stipulated that they history of Jamaica in less than “should be suffered to remain in , twenty-five pages, an offence for the country, under the whites, as

which he deserves to be cited before before." ri This last article,” says the court of Clio. We shall make no Mr. Stewart, “ the governor'and further remark upon this part of his assembly conceived to be highly work, except reprobating his ac- impolitic and refused to ratify," and count of the Maroon war of 1795, then our author adds, only in a note, an event which affords every oppor- that this rejection of this article led tunity of exciting breathless anxiety to a disagreeable rupture between in a reader, and which Mr. Stewart General Walpole and the governor has slurred over with such a cul- and assembly.". Now we are very pable negligence as not only to pro- fond of soft and courtly expressions, duce no effect on our feelings, but but morals are seriously injured even to leave erroneous and very when terms of delicacy are used to immoral impressions on the mind. soften perfidy and dishonour. Had He justifies the Maroon war, by the governor and assembly, in recharging that singular people with fusing to ratify the treaty, placed making demands in “ an arrogant the enemy in statu quo ante foedus, tone of defiance," and with their they would have done no more than wanting a superintendant of their

exercise an undoubted right pos. own choosing.' Now the war with sessed by all belligerents ; but as these people was excited by an act they accompanied this non-ratificaof wanton insensibility on the part tion by a seizure of the persons of of the whites, which could only their enemies, and by forcibly transarise from that lassitude of intellect porting them from the island, what and want of decency, wbich seem to Mr. Stewart is pleased to call a be the offsprings of the luxurious rejection of a treaty was, in fact, a and tropical climate of the western most infamous violation of the acArchipelago. The “ arrogant tone knowledged laws of nations, and of of defiance," of which Mr. Stewart the most sacred principles of justice. complains, can be attributed, not As such it was treated by the galto the Maroons, but solely to the lant general Walpole, whose indig. whites. Mr. Stewart must have nation at this mean and cowardly heard of the conduct of Mr. Galli- conduct was such, that he contempmore, one of the gentlemen who was tuously refused to accept a sword authorised to treat with the Maroon worth five hundred guineas, which chiefs. He broke off the conference, was voted to him for his conduct in by taking a handful of musket balls the field. out of his waistcoat pocket, and,

The Maroons for fifty-six years shaking them in the faces of the had faithfully kept the treaty they Maroons, declared that those were had originally signed with the the ambassadors that should in whites, under Governor Trelawney, future obtain the demands of the and yet Mr. Stewart expresses an whites; an insult, for which the apprehension that they would not Maroons inflicted a horrid vengeance have adhered to that which they had by a night attack on his house. But signed with General Walpole, and on the Maroons requested that the such apprehension justifies the congovernment would not remove from duct of the governor and assembly. them a Mr. James, a popular super. Such is Mr. Stewart's reasoning ! intendant, merely on account of that But the fees of a Governor of gentleman's petitioning for an in- Jamaica, during the existence of crease of salary, and this Mr. Stew- martial law, are immense; and the art has construed into their demand- time which tbe whole island was deing“ a superintendant of their own prived of its civil rights, under the choosing: But at a crisis when pretence of danger from the Mathe North side of Jamaica, with its roons, caused the most general and crops and immense property were at well-founded dissatisfaction on the the mercy of the Maroons, the brave part of the inhabitants ;, and yet and skilful General Walpole induced Mr. Stewart has not thought it them to lay down their arins by a his duty as a liistorian to allude to

a

the fact. The arguments, by which the island is merely corporeal; there our author justifies the use of the is no revelling of the fancy or imaSpanish bloodhounds against the gination-there are no splendid paMaroons, would equally justify all laces or magnificent habitationsthose atrocities of barbarous war

no lofty temples-no luxurious gai. fare, which, thank Heaven, have dens, cool arcades, refreshing founlong ceased to exist, at least amongst tains, or bust, or statue, or bas réEuropeans.

Jief, or painting. There is no acaWith respect to the statistical demy of science--no hall of musicdata in this volume, we can only no gallery of art-no public library observe, that Mr. Stewart's figures --Dio theatre --no national festival often differ, and differ materially and no national pride or national from the returns specified in the feeling. The gallantry of the SpaJamaica Almanack, now on our niard in his serenade, the delicacy table; and he often disagrees with of the Italian in his love-poem, the the statistical data in the works of romance of the Troubadour, or the Mr. Dallas, a gentleman of consi- social intellection of modern Londerable talents and of general ac- don, or the gayer and more public curacy, and who, being a native conversazioné of Paris, are all unand for some years a resident of known in these latitudes, and the Jamaica, had opportunities of at- ‘novellist or poet, who, laying his taining knowledge at its fountain- scene in Jamaica, should represent head. "But the fact is, that statistical any thing approaching to these, and all other sciences are at so low would be as absurd as a painter an ebb in the island, and such gene- who should characterise a 'Welch ral laxity pervades the habits of landscape by leopards, elephants, business,' that no two authors are and Indian wig-whams. Every thing found to agree on any subjects re- here is selfish and sensual. The day lating to the West Indies.

is absorbed in vulgar toils for pelf Mr. Stewart's volume contains and in coercing negroes; the evening popular descriptions of the scenery, passes in sullen and drowsy indo and of the climate of the island, with lence, until the return of some perioits botanical and zoological history, dical ball, the only amusement of and its agriculture, trade, commerce, the Creoles, and then the cup of and civil and military institutions. pleasure is drained to its last and We must refer our readers to his coarsest dregs. Let us hear what pages for much knowledge and en- Mr. Stewart himself says upon the tertainment on these subjects, and subject. shall content ourselves in observing, He is pleased to head a chapter that his work bears ample evidence with the words, “ Education, Literathat the whole social economy of ture, Amusements, Entertainments, the island needs every species of re- Travelling." formation. It is singular to reflect Of education, he says, that such upon that modification of society is its despicable state, that " no which now exists in this and similar parent with the means of giving his English colonies, a social condition son a British education, would think which, we believe, has no parallel in of placing him in one of these semi. ancient or modern history; it bears naries" of the island ; and that the the impress of Eastern luxury and gentry of the country would rather wantonness without its splendour doom their children to perpetual and magnificence; of Asiatic sen- and degrading ignorance than to suality without its refinement and subject them to the discipline of a imagination; of European institu- school, or “ to any thing in the tions without their vigour and in: shape of correction.". Kingston, a tellectual direction, and without capital with a population of 35,000 their dignity which arises from souls, contains but one lady's school, moral principle. The sensuality of "and that school,” says Mr. Stew

• The theatre at Kingston is beneath cantempt. It is seldom opened, and never one-quarter filled.

here;

com

açt,“ is the only one in the island, for dancing." The music," says where young ladies can receive any our author, “is in general very in thing like an accomplished educa- different, four or more violins, played tion.” So much for education. Of by black or brown fiddlers, a tamliterature, Mr. Stewart says, with bourine, drum, and triangle, form the exception of some medical tracts the usual orchestra band, very few, and a hortus siccus, which no Euro-, having the more appropriate accom, pean ever heard of,“ no work of any' paniment of a violoncello.Soul of note has issued from the

press Apollo, what a concert! Paddy's periodical works have been repeat. concert of the bagpipes, two hirdyedly tried but without success. Nine girdies, and five jews harps, is not. tenths of the inhabitants never to be compared to it. think of reading any thing beyond There are no field

sports

in Ja. a newspaper, &c. This being the maica.

“ The Creoles,

says our, case, we are at a loss to conceive author, "are not extravagantly exhow Mr. Steward could think of any pensive (i. e. extravagant) in the furthing so ridiculous as that of liead. niture of their houses.” This is an ing a chapter with the words “ Edu- indisputable fact, but Mr. Stewart, it cation and Literature.” But did the strikes us, might have done his earth ever present such a spectacle countrymen inuch service by point.' as this? A rich commercial people ing out the total want of good sense connected closely with the most en- and proprieté which they evince in lightened nation on earth; spring- all their domestic habits and entering from it, and in constant tainments. A Jamaica gentleman, munication with it, and yet lost of wealth and distinction will give-a in a state of ignorance more gross large dinner to his friends; his. and complete than the annals of so- table exhibiting a profusion of birds ciety ever recorded.

and joints, but withal betraying • The elegant arts,” says Mr. that, except roasting and boiling, Stewart, “meet with no encourage the culinary art is unknown in the ment in Jamaica, in Kingston ex- island. This dinner table will be, cepted, where there is a theatre and graced by a profusion of elegant concerts occasionally, the only pub- plate, of rich porcelain, and of costly lic amusements are monthly or quar.

wines. But the wines will be in terly balls." This is really an odd black bottles, wrapt in wet cloths, classification of subjects. The ar- for coolers ; much of the furniture ranging of occasional concerts and of the room will be of the descripmonthly hops, under the head of tion to be met with in English cotelegant arts, is a great improvement tages or

kitchens. The room itself in science. But such is the coarse will have uncovered plastered walls, excess to which the Creoles 'carry the joice and, rafters of the ceiling. their love of balls, that our author will be naked, and, to crown the informs us, that whole families will whole, before the dinner is half over, travel forty miles, “ regardless of the floors, which are rubbed, to a the oppressive heat and clouds of high state of polish, will be rendered dust,” merely to enjoy a ball. Con- filthy in the extreme by the dissidering what a journey of forty gusting habit gentlemen have of miles is in Jamaica, with ten or a spitting about the room. This dindozen band-box bearers en avant, ner will be followed by the absolute and with “the uncles, aunts, and inebriation of every male guest, and, cousins, sume in carriages, some on after which, no respect for their host's horseback, followed by grooms, wife or daughters will restrain the waiting-men, and waiting-women, guests in their freedoms with the sumpter mules, * &c. we must pro- black female servants of the family. nounce the Jamaira penchant for The mentioning of such almost con. balls to be one of the strongest and stitutes the remedy, and Mr. Stewmostextraordinary passions of which art has lost, we conceive, an oppor. our nature can be susceptible. Some tunity of meliorating the manners idea may be formed of what Mr. of his countrymen. We have now Stewart would call a Jamaica con- given our readers a competent idea cert as well as the sort of music of the nature of Mr.Stewart's work, which assists in creating the passion and we shall, therefore, conclude Eur. Mag. Oct. 1823.

2 X

our critique by a few remarks upon such subjects we beg to refer Mr this gentleman's treatment of the Stewart, as well as our readers in subject of slavery and of Negro general, to a popular novel of the emancipation; prefacing our remarks season, the Tales of old Mr. Jefferby our homage to Mr. Stuart's hu. son, the author of which we conmane feelings and enlightened prin- ceive to have been at least well acciples.

quainted with the secret history of Our author bears testimony to the the Island of Jamaica, if not with prodigious improvement which has the West India Islands in general. taken place, both with respect to the Mr. Stewart acknowledges three whites and blacks, within these last material points respecting the slaves, thirty years; but he very justly la- viz.—That their condition has been ments certain features of barbarity in improved only within these thirty the conduct of the white ladies, and years, the period when Mr. Wilberwhich have been generated by the force commenced his benevolent er. institution of slavery. A white lady ertions in their behalf. Secondly, will, he observes, patronize, coun- that even up to the abolition of the tenance, and in some respects asso- slave trade in 1806, the treatment ciate with, the coloured mistresses of the slaves was so ferocious as of her white friends. He might sensibly to diminish the black pohave said much more than this, for pulation. Thirdly, that although Mr. Stewart, from his connection in the aggregate treatment of the nethe island, must be familiar with groes is so improved as to allow of the case of a lady of Montego Bay, an increase of black population, who was repudiated on her bridal yet the condition of a slave still night for acts of horrid incest with depends very much on the perher brother, and who, after a life of sonal disposition of his owner. great imprudence, is still allowed Now it appears to us that it is imby Jamaica, matrons to associate possible to protect a slare from with unsullied youth and virgin misery and oppression by any laws; purity. He must recollect the easy Because, whatever laws are passed reception of this lady's sister into for his protection, the execution of society immediately after a coroner's those laws must be entrusted to the inquest had sat on the body of a masters, and those masters are not slave whom she had driven to suicide only brutalized by the very instituby cruelty, and after that inquest tion of slavery, but their passions had exposed a most frightful course are for ever excited against the of barbarity on the part of this lady, negroes by their love of gain, and in her management of a gang, of by the great inferiority of slave şlaves upon the Catherine Hall labour to the labour of free workestate. These facts are recent, and men ; and, lastly, because happiness he must have known them from all is so seriously affected by the ag. of the six Jamaica newspapers, and gregate of a number of minor usages, how absurd is it, therefore, for him customs, and habits, which no laws to talk of a pure tone

of manners can possibly reach, and which can amongst the whites. The fact is, be regulated only by a tone of feel." that immediately a lovely and deli- ings and of sentiments which never cate girl arrives in Jamaica from has existed, and never can exist her English friends, who have where slavery is permitted. With brought her up in innocence and respect to the aversion which the virtue, she is liable to witness the slave proprietors have to the interexcess of impurity in all around her. ference of the British legislature in Every female attendant of colour the modification, or in the abolition has been brought up to prostitution, of slavery, it appears to us, that and is steeped in vice-not a friend the contest between the two parties dines at her father's house without bears precisely the same features kerrunning the risk of witnessing his which have always been exhibited improprieties with her mother's ser- by that ceaseless contest which is vants or her own waiting-women. always waging in every society be Such is the direful manner in which ¿ween those, whose philosophic minds the vices of the slaves reverberate aspire to an improvement of their upon their oppressors. But upon species, and those narrow intellects

a

« السابقةمتابعة »