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an end put to the passing of acts as temporary expedients, which is the chief cause of all the mischief. If only one of these passed every single or alternate session it would be a great step towards the object in view, and the Statute book would thus, like a troubled fountain, gradually work itself clear. With whatever is done we shall rest satisfied, provided it really tends to simplify and methodize the laws under which we live, and to continue the practice of them in the rank of a liberal profession, which if things go on as they now do it cannot long remain. The task is so difficult and important that we should be sorry to see it fall into the hands of inadequate and bold projectors, who quote from every code ancient and modern, whatever suits their own views, without reference to the existing institutions or circumstances of the country, and whose views are materially influenced by the clamour created by newspaper speculations, the chief writers in which frequently express themselves with a degree of dogmatism and arrogance unequalled in any other publications. That public feeling, when unequivocally conveyed through such a channel, deeply deserves attention, there can be no dispute; but it did not require the confirmation which the recent history of the Insolvent Act affords to convince us, that those changes of feeling are so rapid as to deserve far less weight in questions of legislation than in any other instance. Those upon whom so difficult and important a duty naturally devolves are men of acknowledged rank and established reputation, whose minds have been enlarged by study and corrected by experience; and it is to be hoped that if upon a full and fair inquiry into the subject which we have now brought under review, such persons should be satisfied that the country demands their assistance, the claim will not be made upon them in vain.

ART. VI.-1. Mémoires pour servir à l'Histoire de la Révolution de Saint Domingue. Par le Lieutenant Général Baron Pamphilé de Lacroix, &c. Tom. II. Paris. 1819.

2. History of the Island of St. Domingo, from its First Discovery by Columbus to the present period. London. 1818.

3. Réflexions sur les Noirs et les Blancs, la Civilization de l'Afrique, le Royaume d'Hayti, &c. Relation de la Fête de S. M. la Reine d'Hayti, &c. Par le Baron de Vastey, Secrétaire du Roi au Cap Henry.

4. Almanach Royal d'Hayti. 1818.

THE abolition of negro slavery, and the civilization of this long oppressed race of human beings, will probably, in after-ages,


be considered to date from the era of the French Revolution. In the midst of all the mischief and misery occasioned by the eruption of that volcano of the moral world, the first germ of negro emanci pation was unintentionally planted in the island of St. Domingo, where it originated, and from whence it can hardly fail to spread its roots, in the course of no very distant period, through the whole of the archipelago of the Antilles: nor is it likely to confine its growth to the islands of the western hemisphere, when the commerce of Hayti shall cross the Atlantic in Haytian ships, and open a communication with the native soil of the negro race.

Without meaning to undervalue the exertions that have been made for abolishing the odious traffic in human beings, we may yet be permitted to doubt whether much real benefit has been experienced in Africa, from any of the measures adopted in Europe. The abolition of the slave-trade by us, while other countries were permitted to carry it on, was, in every respect, a positive aggravation of negro suffering. The wise and humane regulations of the English trade had softened the evils of the middle passage; but the total abolition, without materially diminishing the numerical amount of slavery, added immeasurably to its misery. Under the regulated trade, one in ten perhaps died on the middle passage; in that which has succeeded to our abolition of it, scarcely one in ten survives it. The instances of atrocity in the avaricious and merciless traffickers, engaged at present in this abominable trade, are shocking to humanity in one of them now before us, it is stated that Sir George Collier, the commander of a squadron now on the coast of Africa, boarded a Spanish schooner bound for the Havannah, five days from the river Nazareth, situated a few minutes to the southward of the line, just enough to legalize the traffic. Her burden was only ninety tons, and she had on board two hundred and fifty slaves! These miserable beings were wedged together between the decks, in a space barely thirty-two inches high, the males ironed; and such was the heat and horrible stench, that the English officer, who attempted to examine into their state, could not remain there one minute, from the apprehension of being suffocated. This was not all. There was no rice on board, nor any means of subsisting them beyond forty-eight hours; and they were then on an allowance of water of one pint a day, served out half in the morning and half in the evening. What would become of the poor creatures it was impossible to conjecture; the vessel was not far, it is true, from Annabon, but this miserable island affords nothing for subsistence.


Neither has humanity gained any thing by the transfer of the slave-trade from the prohibited northern latitudes, to the legalized southern latitudes :-In fact, however, the transfer itself is merely nominal; for it is notorious that it continues to be vigorously carried



ried on, under the very muzzles of the guns of our forts, by French, Spanish, Portugueze, and above all, by Americans; and were it not so, the difference in the march of a coffila from the interior to any part of the western coast, whether north or south of the line, will throw but little impediment in the way of the native slavedealers. The loss of a few days or weeks in point of time, or of a few lives from fatigue or sickness, is not of much consequence to these dealers, who will soon accommodate themselves to the new channels into which the trade is turned; and it is well known that every negro chief is perfectly ready to second their efforts, in smoothing the difficulties which the interference of this country may have occasioned.

It is in vain therefore to hope for any progress in the civilization of Africa, so long as the slave-trade shall be permitted to any nation, either to the north or the south of the line. It may even admit of a doubt whether the complete abolition of that trade would produce the happy effect of bettering the condition of the negro population. It is much to be feared that, as soon as the slave shall cease to be an object of traffic, he will again become the object of superstition; and that the brutal and inhuman rites of the country will require as great a number of victims for the sacrifice of life, as the trade has demanded for that of liberty. To civilize the Africans, therefore, it will be necessary to redeem them from their superstitions as well as from slavery; and this, we conceive, can only be effectually done by means of their emancipated brethren of St. Domingo, and by the introduction of the Christian religion (without which there can be no hope) through missionaries of their own caste sent, as they unquestionably will be sent, from that island. Though not yet ripe for this purpose, the present condition of the negro and mulatto population of this beautiful spot, compared with what it recently was, affords one of the most interesting and instructive lessons ever offered to the contemplation of mankind.

By a fortuitous concurrence of circumstances, a negro population of half a million of souls has received the blessings of liberty and independence; and their conduct in this new condition has, after a fair experiment, completely set at rest that long disputed problem of negro inferiority, by evincing the fallacy of those theories, which would place him in the lowest link of the chain of human being, or in the highest of the family of monkeys. Such idle dreams ought long since to have vanished. It is now indeed well known to comparative anatomists that there is nothing in the structure of the negro to constitute a specific difference, and that all mankind exhibit but one primitive type; that the colouring matter of the epidermis, which is but skin-deep, is owing chiefly to climate and habits of life; and that a change of that climate and those habits,

with three or four crossings, will, in the course of a century, untwist the negro's hair, and lengthen his nose, and pare down his lips, and blanch his skin; just as the Portugueze of Congo and Loango, in about the same lapse of time, is converted into a negro. The exbishop Gregoire in his treatise De la Littérature des Nègres,' has brought forward a multitude of examples to shew that the intellectual faculties of the negro race are by no means inferior to those of the whites; but these being individual cases will perhaps be considered as exceptions only. We have now, however, incontrovertible proof, that the negro is not, in general, wanting in the higher qualifications of the mind; and that, with the same advantages of liberty, independence and education as their white brethren of Europe or America, the race would not be found deficient in hearts pregnant with heroic energies, and hands capable of wielding the sword of war, or swaying the rod of empire.' These are truths which the history of the last thirty years of St. Domingo has fully established; and blind indeed must those be who foresee not the important consequences that must result from them to the West India islands, in the first instance, and, in due succession of time, to the world at large.

It would seem, however, that we are exceedingly disposed to shut our eyes to what is passing on that island, which has resumed its original name of Hayti. We hear of a negro king, who calls himself Henry I.; of a negro nobility, with titles (not, perhaps, in the very best taste, though taken from the names of districts) such as Limonade, Marmalade, and Terrierrouge, at which we are apt to smile; of negro generals and a negro clergy, appearing to our distant view like the dramatis personæ of a mock tragedy. A closer inspection, however, will convince us that in all these things they are but imitating us; and a dispassionate survey of what has passed, and is now actually passing in St. Domingo, will probably change our feelings of contempt into those of respect. The works, whose titles are placed at the head of this article, will enable us to take such a survey. We have no intention, however, to enter into a detail of the murderous transactions which, in the struggle for liberty on the one hand, and the efforts for rivetting the chains of slavery on the other, were too frequently indulged in, to the disgrace of both parties, but merely to offer such a concise narrative of events, as may serve to elucidate the characters of those negroes who have acted the most distinguished parts on the great theatre of this extraordinary revolution; to bring down, to the present time, the history of their progress in literature, and the arts, and to exhibit the state of society as it exists at this moment in St. Domingo.

When the French revolution broke out, the colony of St. Domingo had attained the summit of prosperity: all ranks and condiEE 2



tions and colours were living in luxury, except the labouring negroes, whose state underwent no change; but from the moment that the madness of the National Assembly of Paris reached the city of the Cape, a correspondent frenzy seized on the minds of the more wealthy part of the colonists. In the midst of a population of slaves, which outnumbered the rest of the inhabitants in the proportion of seven to one, they planted the Tree of Liberty, pulled down the legitimate authorities, and set up the pernicious doctrines of equality and the Rights of Man. They mounted the national cockade, and constituted themselves into a sort of military government in imitation of the national guard of France: it was no longer enough,' says the Baron de Lacroix, to be simply an officer, a colonel, a general; every commandant of the national guard in the towns expected to have, and actually took, the title of captain-general.' In the midst of this military mania, a ridiculous report of three thousand blacks being assembled on the hills which command the city, with a view to pillage it, called forth a detachment of the national guard, which, after a fatiguing march, returned with a volunteer mortally wounded,-not indeed by the revolted negroes (whom they never saw, because they did not exist) but by his own comrades. The extreme folly of this expedition was fully experienced when, at the moment of the actual insurrection of these people, it was discovered that those who had served as guides on the occasion, were the chief instigators and leaders of the revolt.

The madness of the white colonists, however, seemed to create but little or no sensation among the negroes; but the people of colour, who were already free, and at least equal in numbers to the white population, soon set up their claim to an equality of rights for their whole class. A mulatto of the name of Lacombe presented a petition to the proper authorities, in which he demanded, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,' all the rights and privileges of man. The patriots of the colony, composed chiefly of what were called petits-blancs, or the overseers of estates, shopkeepers, and tradesmen, who hated the people of colour, voted the petition to be the act of an incendiary, and the mulatto was condemned to the gallows. At Petit-Goave, a respectable planter was torn in pieces, without trial, for having presented a petition in favour of the persons of colour; and all who had signed it were banished from the colony.


These violent measures against a wealthy, and in general a respectable, body of men, were followed by a declaration on the part of the self-constituted general assembly of whites, that they would rather die than participate their political rights with a bastard and degenerate race. This race, however, had powerful advocates of their own cast in France, who through the means of Brissot,


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