« НазадПродовжити »
that when once this barrier is removed, little difference is made by law between the different casts, and less by public opinion. In all other colonies, there are fearful difficulties in the way of that amalgamation which sooner or later must take place,--and till it has taken place, there can be neither prosperity nor safety ;-in Brazil it has already been effected, and whatever revolutions that country may be destined to undergo, it is safe at least from a war of colours,—the most horrible of all wars. This, which is one cause why the Brazilians are so intinitely superior to the Spanish Americans, and indeed to all other creoles, arose less from the superior policy of Portugal, than it did necessarily from the smallness of its population. An abominable system of exclusion (which has not cost less than 200,000 lives within the last eight years, and must yet cost many more) degraded the mestizo of Peru and Mexico, and even the creole ;-but in Brazil the mamaluco ranked with his father, and inheriting all his privileges inherited bis feelings and his interests.
There is another point also in which the Brazilian slaves are intinitely happier than those in the British islands: they are baptized; and though the religion in which they are instructed is debased with many superstitions, still the advantage which they derive from it is beyond all price. They are proud of it,---the vegro till he has received baptism being considered in a very inferior state,—they derive from their faith, hope and consolation; and the good effects which are produced by the institution of marriage, effectually disproves the audacious assertion of Bryan Edwards, that those alone who are utterly ignorant of the negroes' nature can suppose that marriage could be introduced among them to any good purpose. It was he who was ignorant,--ignorant of the nature of man, ignorant of the duties of a Christian. Upon the whole subject of slavery, Mr. Koster writes with thorough knowledge, with the best feelings and the best principles.
The slave-trade, however, is carried on by the Portugueze with great inhumanity. The ships were formerly crowded in a most shocking manner; and though a law has been passed for proportioning the number of slaves to the size of the vessel, Mr. Koster more than suspects that it is evaded. The rules of the port direct that as soon as slaves are landed at Recife, they shall be taken to St. Amaro, an airy situation opposite the town, upon the inland bank of the waters on the land side; sufficiently distant to prevent any dauger from infection, if an infectious disease should exist among them. This regulation is disregarded; or if the slaves are removed to St. Amaro, they are soon brought back, and placed in the streets before the doors of their owners, regardless of decency, of humanity, and of due attention to the health of the town. The B B 2
small pox and the yaws have thus full opportunity of spreading, and that the most fatal consequences are not produced, must in great measure be imputed to the excellence of the climate.. So Mr. Koster thinks, --but the excellence of the climale must not be relied on with too much confidence. The bicha, the most destructive pestilence which ever visited Brazil, broke out at Recife;- from that malady the negroes and the coloured races were exempt; and in like manner, perhaps, the white population may not be susceptible of diseases which the negroes bring with them from Africa. They are driven into warehouses, like cattle into a pen, by night, and by day they are seen sitting or lying upon the footpath, to the number of two or three hundred ;-the stench is almost intolerable to one unaccustomed to it, and the sight of them'- Mr. Koster exclaims--good God! is horrid beyond any thing! It is not wonderful that they start up eagerly to be examined and bandled when a purchaser appears, and that they appear joyful when they are led away from this state of inaction and wretchedness.The slaves upon the Church property are those who have least reason to regret their lot. The Benedictines, in particular, omit nothing which can contribute to their well-being. T'he children are carefully instructed in their religion ; they generally solicit permission to begin their regular work before the age which the rulers of the estates have appointed. Marriages are encouraged; the means of emancipation facilitated by allowing them the Saturday in addition to the other holidays; and those who are superannuated enjoy every comfort of which feeble age is capable. Upon estates which are thus managed, there is no occasion to keep up the stock by purchase ;-on that which Mr. Koster describes there were about an hundred, and all creoles. Here also it is not the custom to inflict corporal punishment: the slaves are regarded as moral and intellectual beings, -as men and brethren,-severity, therefore, is not needful. It is only when the slaveholder is a brute that the slaves are treated as such. In Brazil it appears that, generally speaking, the richer the proprietor the better is the condition of the slaves ; men who are greedy of gain are proportionately hard-hearted; but individuals are found like Hodge and Huggins, whose cruelties not only render the men themselves infamous, but prove the system to be in itself radically wrong under which such things are possible. Mr. Koster has not, like Stedman, lacerated the feelings of his readers by entering into the dreadful detail of such crimes; but he tells us that they exist; and delivers his opinions with good feeling and good sense, upon the impolicy of Portugal in continuing the slave-trade.
The volume concludes with some remarks npon the last treaty between this country and Portugal, the writer arguing that the
manner in which it has been condemned by both parties is presumptive proof of its general fairness; and entering into its merits. He points out the abuses and grievances in Brazil which the goveryment could easily reform, and the reform of which be considers as absolutely necessary to the security of the government, and a sure means of averting the unutterable miseries and infinite evils of revolution. The geveral spirit of the book, indeed, is excellent ; the manner more resembling the good, old, plain, straight-forward style of our best travellers, than the modern fashion of fine periods; and the matter for the most part equally curious and amusing, presenting a faithful picture of a very interesting stage in the progress of society.
Art. V. The Veils, or the Triumph of Constancy. A Poem,
in Six Books. By Miss Porden. 8vo. London. 1816. WE
E have been much pleased with Miss Porden's poem, and
almost against our will. In our opinion she could not have chosen a species of composition by which her extraordinary powers of versification could have been exercised under greater disadvantages, than a poem intended to display the different energies of nature, exerted in producing the various changes which take place in the physical world, but personified and changed into the spirits of the Rosicrucian doctrine.' • A system' which, as she observes,
was introduced into poetry by Pope, and since used by Darwin in the Botanic Garden.'
We have sometimes thought that the ministry of the people of the elements might be profitably employed; but for that purpose the tenets relating to them should be sought for in their native truth and orthodoxy, and not as corrupted by the French novelist, who has most wrongfully ascribed those tenets to the pure brethren of the Rosie Cross. The Intelligences with which this holy fraternity held converse were more ethereal, and housed above the lunar sphere. They knew nothing of the existence of the gnomes, and nymphs, and sylphs, and salamanders, whose secrets were first revealed to the listening world by Paracelsus. This
daring dreamer' deserves not the vame of an impostor which some of our friends have given him. Wild as his visions were, they were undoubtedly his belief: hence they have acquired a fanciful but impressive consistency. He delivers his oracles with a solemn tone of mystic theosophy, whilst his eyes are glistening with the keen, wandering gaze of rising madness.
* Happier is he,' quoth Philip. Theophrastus Bombast Hohenheym Paracelsus, leaning on the tremendous long sword whose BB 3
hilt incloses a captive angel — who describeth the origin of the giants, than he who descanteth on courtly pride.' Happier is he who describeth Melusina, than he who writeth of armies and artil. lery;' and happier still is he who describeth the gnomes who dwell beneath the earth than he who delighteth in ladies' love, and tournaments.' But although our adept speaks thus contemptuously of ladies' love, he was far more indulgent towards the nymphs and Undines. Melusina is an Undine, and Venus in her time, for she is dead and gone now, was another. And he gives a most circumstantial detail of the gallantries of those fair nymphs, who, as every one knows, are constantly on the watch to obtain a terrestrial lover: honestly, indeed, warning us, at the same time, not to trust the elemental charmers, whose temper is none of the most serene. "The theologians' maintained that the nymphs were devils. They are not devils,' says Paracelsus, although they are nearly the same as our women.' They were the goddesses of the blind heathens.'The 'blind heathens,' however, as well as Bombast, preserve some degree of consistency in their mythology; and never represent, even a goddess, as endowed with unalterable temper. The nature of the inhabitants of the elements is indeed singular. Although they are of human kind, they owe not their race to Adam. They are susceptible of every passion which agitates the human heart. The sylphid can hate like a woman, or love like one; the gnome can be bountiful or churlish ; the salamander, vindictive or grateful. They can gratify their passions with boundless might. A wish transports them from pole to pole. They cannot be confined by walls, or bonds, or fetters : and they command the elements, and all which the elements bestow. But, with all these advantages, they are as much below the children of Adam as the beasts of the field. The existence of these demons is cheerless and gloomy; although prolonged through ages, it must end; they die, and their death is annihilation.
With Pope they are no longer the powerful beings, at once the objects of pity and of awe, who hold their midnight revels in the forest, or guard the treasures of the mine. He wanted spirits of lither mold; such as could nestle in Belinda's bosom, or shew their tiny faces peeping between the heavy plaits of the rich brocade. And the light militia of the lower sky' assume the size and semblance of the playful winged gevii whom the French designers used to be so fond of representing--one wrapped from head to foot in a cap of Mechlin lace; another girt with a diamond hilted sword; and a third bending beneath the weight of a laced hat and military plume. Thus diminished, they became suitable machinery for the Rape of the Lock. But Pope only calculated them for this elegant trifle, the labour of a week, the perusal of an hour; and
there alone can Ariel and his subjects act a consistent part. His wit reduced the heroes and the gods of the classical epic to a scale of miniature brilliancy. He was sporting with the lessons which the critic finds, or imagines that he finds, in the master-pieces of antiquity.
When the Doctor-Wo worth the while !-made bold to borrow Pope's' machinery' for his philosophical' poem, he never stopped to recollect that Pope was not in earnest, that his epic was a mock epic, and that his gnomes, and sylphs, and salamanders, were nothing less than the hieroglyphic figures of the elements.' In the days of good Queen Anne
the gnome could spoil a grace,
Or discompose the head-dress of a prude.' Such tasks were light ones: but Doctor Darwin set the at hammering granite rocks, calcining flints, and grinding Ka-o-lins and Pe-tun-sees.* The nymphs were disturbed in the enjoyment of their elemental tea,' and called away to watch the simmering cauldrons' + of Bolton's steam-engine, or the deep cauldrons' of Etna and Hecla.
The sylphs fared as badly—perhaps worse :—they whose province had been
to tend the fair, To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let th' imprisoned essences exhale' were dispatched by him in bold myriads' to the most unhealthy climes, and on the most dangerous services—to stop #' fell Syroc's' breath; to arrest Simoom, in spite of his poisoned javelin' and
whistling hair,' and seize the locks of old Tornado. Whilst others, once · light coquettes,' are ordered, as a penance, we presume, to listen to Doctor Priestley's courtship, and to slip into his cabinet in the most tempting dishabille.
Sylphs! you retiring to sequestered bowers,
undress appear, Or pour your secrets in his raptured ear. How nitrous gas from iron ingots driven,
Drinks with red lips the purest breath of heaven; * Ecouomy of Vegetation, Canto II. v. 297–300. + Economy of Vegetation, Canto I. 151-253. Economy of Vegetation, Canto IV. Sec. III. B B 4