« السابقةمتابعة »
• This arises also from the necessity under which the free blacks * are of remaining incorporated with the slaves, of associating ha. bitually with them, and forming part of the same class in society. • The slave, seeing his free companion live in idleness, or subsist, however scantily or precariously, by occasional and desultory
employment, is apt to grow discontented with his own condition, 6 and to regard as tyranny and injustice the authority which compels him to labour. Hence he is strongly incited to elude his authority by neglecting his work as much as possible, to with• draw himself from it altogether by flight, and sometimes to attempt direct resistance. This provokes or impels the master *to a severity, which would not otherwise be necessary; and * that severity, by rendering the slave still more discontented with his condition, and more hostile towards his master, by adding the sentiments of resentment and revenge to his original dissatisfac* tion, often renders him more idle and worthless, and thus induces * the real or supposed necessity of still greater harshness on the 'part of the master. Such is the tendency of that comparison . which the slave cannot easily avoid making between his own situ*ation and that of the free people of his own colour, who are his
companions, and in every thing, except exemption from the au*thority of a master, his equals: whose condition, though often
much worse than his own, naturally appears better to him, and * being continually under his observation, and in close contact with * his feelings, is apt to chafe, goad, and irritate him incessantly.
• Free blacks of the better class, who gain a comfortable subsistence by regular industry, keep as much as possible aloof from the • slaves: but the idle and disorderly free blacks naturally seek the • society of such slaves as are disposed to be idle and disorderly *too, whom they encourage to be more and more so, by their ex* ample, their conversation, and the shelter and means which they
furnish. They encourage the slaves to theft, because they par.take in its fruits. They receive, secrete, and dispose of the stolen
goods; a part, and probably much the largest part, of which they often receive as a reward for their services. They furnish places of meeting, and hiding places in their houses, for the idle and the * vicious slaves, whose idleness and vice are thus increased, and rendered more contagious. These hiding places and places of • meeting are so many traps and snares for the young and thought« less slaves, who have not yet become vicious; so many schools in
which they are taught, by precept and example, idleness, lying, . debauchery, drunkenness, and theft. The consequence of all this is • very easily seen, and I am sure is severely felt in all places where * free people of colour exist in considerable numbers.'
Much has lately been said relative to the treatment both of the
slaves and of the free blacks in America. On this subject, we must bring together the rather discordant accounts of the two Writers before us. Mr. Walsh says:
Nothing can be more false than the representations of the En* glish travellers concerning the treatment of the free blacks by the i wbites in the middle and eastern states : it is not true that they care “excluded from the places of worship frequented by the whites ;” that “the most degraded white will not walk or eat with
a negro;" or, that “they are practically slaves.” Their situation * as hired domestics, mechanics or general labourers, is the same in
all respects as that of the whites of the same description : they are * fed and paid as well, equally exempt from personal violence, and * free to change their occupation or their employer. They ap*proach us as familiarly as persons of the correspondent class in England approach their superiors in rank and wealth, and, in general, betray much less servility in their tone and carriage. They do not make part of our society, indeed; they are not invited to our tables; they do not marry into our families; nor would they, were they of our own colour, with no higher claims than they possess on the score of calling, education, intelligence, and • wealth. I confess that, whatever claims they might possess in " these or other respects, those are advantages from which they would be excluded : there must remain, in any case, a broad line
of demarcation, not viewed as an inconvenience by them, but indispensable for our feelings and interests. Nature and accident combine to make it impassable. Their colour is a perpetual me
mento of their servile origin; and a double disgust is thus created. • We will not, and ought not, expose ourselves to lose our identity, * as it were; to be stained in our blood, and disparaged in our re"lation of being towards the stock of our forefathers in Europe. • This may be called prejudice, but it is one which no reasoning can overcome, and which we cannot wish to see extinguished.
Mr. Walsh affirms again and again, that the treatment of the slaves is mild and humane, and their condition much better than that of the slaves in the West India Islands. He admits in general terms, in several places, that, “great abuses and evils accompany
our negro slavery; but he takes great pains to prove that the people are not in fact deteriorated by the existence of slavery among them. The plain meaning of which is, that Mr. Walsh, being endowed with much argumentative courage, and having undertaken to apologize for his countrymen at any rate, it does not please him to admit the existence of any such deterioration. At the same time, the injurious influence of every existing abuse in England, is duly and philosophically appreciated. He is, indeed, led to diverge so far from the road of common sense, as actually to
institute a comparison between American slaves and English apprentices. Does such an advocate serve or injure most the cause he would defend? But let us turn to Mr. Bristed :-[whose misstatements have justly given to the whole of his writings a loose character :—who cannot be compared with a writer, whose precision is such, that, with all his zeal, argumentative courage, and the like, his antagonists have not been able to detect a single misrepresentation of his.
The Article concludes with a quotation from Mr. Bristed, which represents a South Carolina master chopping off the head of a slave with an axe-for which he suffered a small fine: and another, which says “The United States afford no instance of a master being capitally punished for killing his slave !"]
Art. X.-America and her Resources ; or a View of the Agri
cultural, Commercial, Manufacturing, Financial, Political, Literary, Moral, and the Religious Capacity and Character of the American People. By John BRISTED, Counsellor at Law, Author of the Resources of the British Empire. 8vo. pp. xvi. 504. London, 1818. [Review, July, 1820.]
We have already said that this volume may be recommended to the perusal of the general reader who is not in search either of precise statistical information, or of profound political reasoning. He will find in it a spirited rambling descant upon all sorts of subjects connected with American politics and American manners. The Author's loose, declamatory, and turgid style must prevent his taking that rank as a writer, which the tone he assumes would seem to solicit; his report, however, of American affairs, is, on several accounts, specifically valuable, and if his political principles were of a purer character, he might with some consisteney receive the praise of being the professed champion of the cause of humanity and religion. One of the circumstances which give a value to this volume, is the apparent unfixedness of the Author's prejudices. The discriminating reader will, perhaps, gather up the truth, from the reports of a writer of this fitful turn more readily and surely than, even, from one whose impartiality is studied and laboured. Mr. Bristed is neither a furious hater of England, nor a devoted worshipper of America.[•] His affection for his adopted country, is, we imagine, a somewhat wayward passion, liable to frequent disgusts. Citizen Bristed is, indeed, an excellent
(a He has not the least of either character. The terms of the remark would be very apposite if reversed. Citizen Bristed may not be a “furious bater of America, but a' devoted worshipper' of England.]
patriot and republican in his closet, while roving among his own. speculations, or poring, with prophetic eye, over the map of the continent that is to rule the world;' but out of doors, jostled in the throng of Broad-Way, he looks often much like the disappointed wanderer, and now and then betrays the irritability of one whose enthusiasm has been roughly cured.
The Author, we have said, professes to be the advocate of religion. Before the sceptical portion of his countrymen, he boldly pleads the claims of Christianity; but in assuming this character, he only exposes himself to the severer reprehension on account of the profligate system of national policy, avowed, without cover or apology, in every part of his work. He talks of humanity, of morals, of the Bible; but he seems alınost to seek occasion to stimulate the restless desire of national aggrandizement, and sometimes even to inflame the murderous passions of war. Passages might be cited, from the volume of a kind, to which, as the lovers of peace, we would not be accessary in giving a wider circulation. We are constrained to hope that Mr. Bristed calumniates, or at least, that he grossly misrepresents his countrymen, in attributing to them some of the sentiments which he retains with apparent exultation.
-[There should be no doubt in the reviewer of this. He proceeds to quote passages of Mr. Bristed, relating to the purchase by the United States of Louisiana and Florida ; and their probable possession of Cuba, Mexico, and Peru, with the British West Indies, —and remarks that he 'passes over some absurd and mischievous vapouring of Mr. B.'—the object of which the reviewer does not appear exactly to comprehend. It is this,—to excite, if possible, an alarm in his beloved government of England, at the extending power and growing ambition of America, -to induce the former to take timely and effectual measures to curb the strength and thwart the progress of the latter :-or, at least, the effort of Mr. Bristed, though too refined for the observation of the British Reviewer, is so understood, as far as his book is read, in this country. The following passages will exemplify.]
• Why does not England, as part of the indemnity due to her * from Spain, transfer to her own sceptre the sovereignty of Cuba ;
seeing that the Havanna commands the passage from the Gulf of * Mexico? Why does she not take possession of Panama on the
south, and Darien on the north, and join the waters of the Atlan“tic with those of the Pacific ocean, in order to resuscitate her drooping commerce? or is it her intention still to slumber on, until she is awakened from the stupefaction of her dreams by the final fall of Spanish America, and of her own North American ' provinces, beneath the ever-widening power of the United States.'
• How strange and portentous is the contrast between the steady
and progressive policy of the United States, and the supine indif. ference of the British Government !
Again ; after some absurd and yet mischievous vapouring, which we pass over, Mr. Bristed says:
The American rulers have become wiser by their own experi"ence, have profited by their own blunders, have extracted strength • from a sense of their own weakness. They are not likely again 'to plunge into a war, without funds, and without men : they are ' now preparing in the bosom of peace, the means of future con'flict; by building up the finances of the country, by planting • every where the germs of an army, by sowing those seeds which • will soon start up into bands of armed warriors, by a rapid aug'mentation of their navy; and, above all, by attempting to allay
the animosities of party spirit, and endeavouring. to direct the • whole national mind and inclination of the United States towards * their aggrandizement by conquest alike on the land and on the • ocean; by adding to their present immense empire the continen- tal possessions of Spain and England, and the British insular domains in the West Indies.' p. 237. [The Reviewer proceeds:]
"The way of barter,' Mr. B. says, is a much easier, safer, and • better mode of acquiring dominion than that of war and con•quest.' No doubt, so far as the immediate transaction is considered apart from its motive and its remoter consequences, it is, if not always easier, at any rate, always safer and better,' to buy than to plunder; but it should be remembered, that there are some things which can never be honestly bought and sold, and also that bargains by which a third party may think himself so far either injured or endangered, as to impel him to break the peace rather than acquiesce in the transfer, are justly chargeable with all the violence and outrage which they indirectly occasion.
If we are to take the account of the Writer before us, the Americans are far from being pleased with the irregular figure which the Republic exhibits upon the map. This and that corner of the continent must be bought (or conquered if it cannot be bought) in order to give a more hardsome sweep to their periphery. But surely we have already heard enough of arrondissemens : in fact, their boundary line is never só exactly round to satisfy the nice eye of an ambitious people; the jagged polygon still needs here and there some trimming; but this perfecting of the figure is to be effected always by increments,-never by retrenchments. .
As to the means employed on such occasions, those are not to be feared the least which are the most silent and plausible. As for instance, the plan of buying territory, which, while it springs from the same restless spirit, is more base than the passion for military glory, and in every respect as hazardous to the repose of nations. Vol. H.