Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

health. Mr. Dunwell, the Wesleyan Missionary, died. Mr. and Mrs. Wrigley soon died. Mr. and Mrs. Harrop soon died. Mr. and Mrs. Freeman succeeded—the latter soon sickened and died, and Mr. Freeman was compelled to visit England for his health. He recovered and returned to the scenes of his labours, and to him we are indebted for much of the information contained in Mr. Beecham's book.

A Fetiche man, named Akwah, is mentioned, who would make a most distinguished table-mover and spirit-rapper. He could pound up beads into powder and instantly restore ihem. He could thrust his finger through a stone; and he could make people believe him, for he was dexterous in substituting one thing for another. He could call apes from the bushes and make them talk. This he could do in the night, but not in the day. Daylight did not suit his Fetiche. It preferred darkness. He took people into the bush and deceived them. Boys were sent out in the dark for the purpose of detection, and deposited bottles of rum. The monkeys smelt the rum and drank of it so freely that they were soon taken, and pro\ed to be other boys disguised and instructed for the cheat. "Father, father, it is not an ape; J have caught a boy." "Hold fast,'' and before they could be brought to the light, old Akwah had taken to his heels and was never more seen at Cape Coast Castle. This broke the spell. So, no doubt, might some of our spells be broken. But Judge O'Neall would not consent to give " a little rum," even to detect an imposter, and gentlemen, like Cuffee, will still continue to believe. Rum is, no doubt, a potent finder out of other spirits.

One decided improvement and step towards advancement, Beecham thinks, is evident atDomonasi, where some of the Africans actually begin to wear European clothes, and beg for a fresh supply! Wonderful indeed! as if every savage on earth would not do the same 1 Has Mr. Beecham ever read Catlin's Indians of North America? We remember reading, sometime since, the travels of some young British officer, who visited Hayti in the course of a voyage, and was sent into the country from Port au Prince, to visit at his country residence some black general to whom he had letters. Passing an extensive prairie with mountains on the back ground, he saw some object approaching, which, for his life, he could not comprehend. In a short time he came up with the very general of whom he was in search, and to his astonishment found the black gentleman upon a mule, without an article of clothes upon him, but a straw hat and a pair of spurs. Now, this general, according to Mr. Beecham. though one of the distingilts, or great men of Hayti, must have been much less civilized than another gentleman whom he met, who had on nothing but a cast-off short-tail European cavalry jacket, and was extremely elegant in his bows. Thinking of the " VVe'el done cutty sark" of Burns, we conceive, at a moment, how appropriate would be the presence of such civilized gentry, at a witch's festival or a devil's feast, such as they had in New-England, when Cotton Mather was an oracle, and such as they may still have on the weird summits of the Brocken.

A great mass of the negro territory is still an immense and impenetrable forest. The soil in many parts is extremely fertile, as is proved by the immense population it supports, for nowhere are these natural advantages less improved by man. A hoe, a little spade, with which he scratches the ground, is the highest degree of his agricultural advancement in Africa. There is no such thing as property in land. Mr. Henry Carey's theory of rent cannot prevail thereManufacturing industry ranks still lower, though the producer and consumer lie down together—the wife being the producer and the husband the consumer; the happiest of industrial conditions. Notwithstanding, however, no treasury there can be filled but by the slave trade, and it is not thereby abolished, as Mr. Carey would suppose. Though a magnificent country for cotton, we need not fear their rivalry, as they have been brought here that the advantage might be mutually enjoyed of having the producer and consumer placed side by side. But the king wishing to replenish his treasury, instead of resorting to the "Loom, the Anvil and the Plough," fixes upon some village in his own or neighbour's territory, surrounds it in the night and sets fire to it. Attempting to escape, the wretched inhabitants are seized and hurried off. The trial by ordeal, or "swearing liquor" already spoken of, prevails to a peculiar ext< nt. It is impossible to name any region tolerably peopled, so illiterate as the African. They have neither alphabet, hieroglyphic, picture or symbol. Their villages are mere dog-kennels. Their family brawls, and the wranglings incident to their thousand wives, may well be conceived, and are only subdued and kept down after the failure of scolding and beating, by the terrors of Mumbo-Jumbo, the bugbear of the African ladies, and detector of adultery. Summoned before Mumbo-Jumbo, the unhappy one dares not disobey. Appearing before him, she is stripped naked in the presence of the bulk of her fellow-citizens, and undergoes a severe whipping, inflicted by the rod of Mumbo-Jumbo! And Mumbo-Jumbo is never known to grant a divorce.

In Dahomey, the greater nobles cannot approach their king without throwing themselves flat on the ground, and laying their heads in the du>t. The belief is instilled into them that their lives belong entirely to their sovereign. Human skulls and putrifying carcases ornament their temples and their dwellings. Even the king's sleeping apartment is paved with human skulls. The Jaggas, represented for their extreme barbarity and ferocity two hundred years ago, retain still the same characteristics without any change. The same may be said of all those nations which inhabit that vast country called the Coast, from Senegal to the Cape of Good Hope. But, we must cease the disgusting picture of a people, whose savage and shocking barbarities, and loathsome habits, and horrid crimes, are supposed to establish a condition so preferable to that of slavery to the white man, that the fleets of civilized Europe and America, are employed to maintain and perfect them in it. D. J. M.

Art. IV.—Napoleon Bonaparte And Sir Hudson Lowe. History of the Captivity of Napoleon at St. Helena, from the Letters and Journal of the late Sir Hudson Lowe, and Official Documents not before made public. By WilLiam Forsyth, M.A., author of Hortensius. &c. 3 vols. Murray.

The uncertainty of history has become a proverb. Richard III., Shakspeare's bloody hunchback, has been demonstrated to be an Apollo Tonans; in the words of Blake, the Seer, "harsh but handsome, terrible to look upon," and the fascination which won so suddenly the repugnant Lady Ann, abundantly accounted for. Robespierre, the grim embodiment of the "Reign of Terror," stands before us in the picturesque pages of Carlyle, as "the sea-green incorruptible," a steady but gentle denouncer of tyrants and tyranny; to say the worst of him, "the mildest mannered man," like Byron's Lambro, " that ever scuttled ship or cut a throat." While Whately, in his "Historic Doubts," has thrown the shadow of question over the very existence of Napoleon Bonaparte, the Rev. Mr. Abbott, of Harper's Magazine, has washed away every stain upon the character of that personage, supposing him to have existed; and has proved him a meek disciple, a true lover of the people and of the people's rights; utterly averse to war, and indifferent to conquest; careful of human life, absolutely unselfish, and entirely innocent of all ambitious aspirations. It must not surprise us to meet with a formal defence of Nero, upon whose tomb, indeed, as Suetonius tells us, "some unseen hand strewed flowers," or a laboured eulogy upon Caligula. Doubtless, these personages had enemies who hated them; their friends were overwhelmed with them, and have never obtained a hearing. We may yet be called on to regard them as martyrs.

Public opinion, if it ever settled down upon any topic, ancient or modern, may be said to have been, for nearly half a century, unanimously of accord as to the imprisonment of Napoleon at St. Helena. His escape from Elba roused Europe into universal commotion, and relighted the destructive fires of civil strife and devastating war. When he again became captive, it was a fair question what most effectual mode of rendering him impotent for further evil should be resorted to by those who held him in their power. Wc are far from entertaining any soft or sentimental views of the matter. The same reasons which justified the regicides of England and France, in removing for ever Charles I. and Louis XVL, apply with equal and sufficient force; and we should, probably, have voted with the fierce old "Marshal Forwards,'' and have had the disturber shot—like the Duke d'Enghien. But though it is right and necessary to cage a lion, or a tiger, or a hyena, the savage creature, while kept in confinement, must not be tormented. A criminal may be capitally punished ; but he must not be subjected to torture while he is permitted to live.

Asgreat as was the mistake made by Bonaparte, in throwing himself on the mercy of England in his hopeless adversity, so great was her error in receiving and detaining him under the circumstances. He was the defeated enemy of the Allied Powers, to whom he should have been at once delivered up. She embarrassed herself by holding him captive on any terms, as fugitive, prisoner of war or prisoner of state, banished exile or escaped criminal. There are plausible arguments ready for placing him under each or either of these categories; but it is altogether clear that the conditions or characteristics which belong to them, could not, without injustice, be mingled or confused- England committed the remarkable mistake, worse in its results, humanly speaking, and in the well known phrase of Talleyrand, "the mistake far worse than any crime," of confounding them all. Admitted as a fugitive on hoard the Bellerophon unconditionally, she gave him hospitality, with all respect as an illustrious exile, for twenty-four days. Suddenly changing her aspect, she transferred him to the Northumberland as prisoner of war, under the incident conditions; disarming him and his followers, limiting their numbers, and taking from them their purses and their property, as well as their swords. At St. Helena she allowed, if she did not invite, the formal

« AnteriorContinuar »