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SONG OF A SPIRIT. In the fightless air I dwell,
On the floping fun-beams play; Delve the cavern's inmoft cell,
Where never yet did day-light stray:
And gambol in the briny deeps;
Above the wide earth's fhadowy zone;
Through realms of space to thought unknown:
And listen to celeftial founds
That fwell the air unheard of men, As I watch my nightly rounds
O'er woody fleep, and filent glen. Under the fhade of waving trees,
On the green bank of fountain clear, At penfive eve I fit at ease,
While dying mufic murmurs near. And oft, on point of airy clift,
That hangs upon the western main, I watch the gay tints pafling fwift,
And twilight veil the liquid plain. Then, when the breeze has funk away, And ocean fcarce is heard to lave, For me the fea-nymphs foftly play
Their dulcet fhells beneath the wave. Their dulcet fhells! I hear them now,
Slow fwells the strain upon mine car ; Now faintly falls-now warbles low,
Till rapture melts into a tear. The ray that filvers o'er the dew,
And trembles through the leafy fhade, And tints the fcene with fofter hue,
Calls me to rove the lonely glade; Or hie me to fome ruin'd tower,
Faintly fhewn by moon-light gleam,
And paufing filence makes more dread;
Sad folemn ftrains, that wake the dead.
Several other poetic pieces, of at lei equal merit, are introduced in the course of the romance, particularly, Titania to her Love, and Morning on the Sea fhore.
ART. XIII. Examination of an Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs; to which is prefixed an Introduction, containing Remarks on Mr. Burke's Letter to a Member of the National Af fembly. By W. Belfham, Efq. Author of Effys Philofophical, Hiftorical, and Literary. 8vo. pp. 102. 2s. 6d. Dilly. 1792. NOT OT only the two publications mentioned in the title, but alfo feveral paffages in Mr. Burke's celebrated "Reflections," are here criticized, with fpirit and ability. The greateft fhare of Mr. Belfham's attention, however, as might be expected, is bestowed on the Appeal: of which both the arguments and the authorities are fhewn to have much less weight than is attributed to them by the author. Several of Mr. Burke's inconfiftencies are pointed out; and, in particular, the abfurdity of his founding an alarm both in and out of parliament, and affirming, in the moft pofitive terms, that "a wicked faction was incorporated for a purpofe nothing fhort of fubverting the whole conftitution of this kingdom," when, as Mr. Belfham remarks, Mr. Burke's own writings, formerly published, abound with language as bold and pointed, as any which he would now reprefent as being fo factious, feditious, and even treasonable.
In the celebrated pamphlet entitled "Thoughts on the Caufes of the prefent Difcontents," Mr. Burke, it appears, was once of opinion,
"That the virtue, fpirit, and effence of the House of Commons, confifts in its being the exprefs image of the feelings of the nation. An addreffing Houfe of Commons, and a petitioning nation: an Houfe of Commons full of conficence, when the nation is plunged in defpair'; who vote thanks, when the public opinion calls upon them for impeachments; who are eager to grant, when the general voice demands account; who, in all difputes between the People and Adminiftration, prefume against the people; who punish their diforders, but refufe even to enquire into the provocations to them; this is an unnatural, a monftrous ftate of things in this Constitution. Such an Affem bly is not to any popular purpofe an Houfe of Commons. This change from a ftate of delegation to a course of acting as from original power, is the way in which all popular magistracies in the world have been perverted." And he tells us, "that, for his part, he fhall be compelled to conclude the principle of Parliament to be totally corrupted, and therefore its ends to be entirely defeated, when he perceives two fymptoms:-firit, a rule of indifcriminate fupport to all Minifters; and fecondly, the fetting up any claims adverfe to the right of a free election."
Having obferved that Mr. Burke undertook to prove that thefe two fymptoms did exift at that time, Mr. Belfham asks, if the principle of parliament is totally corrupted and its ends entirely defeated, what more can be wanting to justify any man in ftyling it a mockery of reprefentation ?"
In the fame work, Mr. Burke fcruples not to affert, that "In the fituation in which we ftand, with an immenfe revenue, an enormous debt, and mighty establishments, he fees no other way for the prefervation of a decent attention to public interest in the reprefentative body, but the INTERPOSITION of the people, whenever it fhall appear to be neceflary to hold the Conflitution to its true principles. The dilempers of Monarchy were the great fubjects of apprehenfion and redrefs in the latt century-in this, the ditempers of Parliament; and it is not in the Parliament alone, that the remedy for parliamentary diforders can be completed. "Hardly indeed can it begin there."-"It is not," fays he, "fupport that is wanting to Government; it is reformation."
Critical exigencies will arife. This, if I am not mistaken, is one of them. Men will fee the neceffity of honeft combination: but they may fee it when it is too late; and they may at length find themselves under the neceffity of CONSPIRING, instead of confulting."
On these fentiments, which, as coming from the author of Reflections upon the French Revolution," muft appear truly fingular and extraordinary to every reader, Mr. Belsham very justly obferves:
When I read the fe, and fimilar paffages, I confefs myself loft in indignation and aftonishment at the matchlefs effrontery of a man, who, in his angry moods, can indulge himself in fuch unbounded licence of speech; and yet affect to apprehend danger from, and dare to impute criminal difaffection to, thofe who, in comparison with himself, may be confidered as guarded and cautious writers. What a torrent of furious and malignant declamation would not this political PROTEUS have poured forth, had Dr. Price or Dr. Priestley talked of the probable neceflity of confpiring against the Government, or recommended an interpofition of the people as the only means of retraining the unconftitutional innovations of the legislative body?'
As we obferved in our account of this author's Hiftoric Memoir on the French Revolution, fo we must remark here, that, in fpeaking of Mr. Burke, he, at times, is rather too harsh and severe. We wish him to recollect that juftice lofes none of its power, while it gains much in refpectability, by being tempered with mercy.
ART. XIV. Letters on the Slave-Trade, and the State of the Natives in those Parts of Africa which are contiguous to Fort St. Louis and Goree, written at Paris in December 1789 and January 1790. By T. Clarkton. 4to. pp. 81. 55. Boards.
T° o reconcile the minds of the public to the odious traffic profecuted by Europeans on the coaft of Africa, it has been afferted that the condition of the negroes is not rendered worfe by the flave-trade: but if the information here conveyed merits any credit, this is very far indeed from being the truth; and it must be owned that the quarter whence it comes entitles it to belief. The circumftances which Mr. Clarkfon relates in these letters from Paris, were carefully collected by him, as he tells us, from Monf. Geoffroy de Villeneuve, a gentleman of fortune and family who accompanied the Chevalier de Bouffers, in the capacity of aid-de-camp, during his refidence as Governor of Goree. Having a great curiofity to learn the customs and manners of a people but little known, he undertook embaffies and expeditions of obfervation, for the governor; and he penetrated a confiderable way into the interior parts of the vast and unexplored continent of Africa. He was in this part of the world during two years, and had better opportunities of knowing the real ftate of things there, than most other African travellers. He kept a journal, as Mr. Clarkfon farther informs us, of all that he heard and faw on the fpot; and left he may be confidered as biaffed by party, we are affured that these facts were collected previously to the agitation of the question of the flave-trave. Thus much as to the authenticity of the information.
As to himself, the reporter of this knowlege to the public, Mr. Clarkfon fays that he attended M. de Villeneuve feveral times on the subject; and that what he wrote down one morning, though, from his own mouth,' he fubmitted to M. de V.'s infpection on the fecond, and fometimes even on the third; and when any doubt arose, the journal was confulted. Such evidence we have no reafon to hefitate in admitting; and yet it would have been more fatisfactory, had M. de Villeneuve publifhed his own narrative. This is however an abundantly more authentic teftimony, than that which Mr. Lucas has exhibited in The African Refearches; and it will be more readily received, because it is more credible. M. de V. faw nothing to corroborate the wonderful teftimony of Mr. Lucas's informant.
The facts related in thefe letters are defigned as a reply to the two following queftions:
I. What are the different methods of making flaves of fuch perfons as come into the hands of the French, by means of their eftablishments at Fort St. Louis and Goree?
II. What is the ftate of fociety, in which the natives bordering on thefe eftablishments may be faid to live?
The information collected by Mr. Clark fon, in his converfations with M. de Villeneuve, refers chiefly to the countries extending along the coaft from the mouth of the Gambia to that of the Senegal. It is afferted, that the grand mode of obtaining flaves in the diftricts or kingdoms of Sallum, Sin, and Cayor, is the GREAT PILLAGE, which is executed by the mili tary, at the command of their refpective kings:
It is fo fyftematically practifed, and it is a fource so much more fertile than any other of fupplying flaves, that from the conflant experience of thofe refident on the coast of Africa, into whofe hands the flaves have ufually fallen, the following has paffed into a rule. About one hundred and twenty may be confidered as pillaged out of the two hundred from Sallum, about forty out of the hundred from Sin, and about one hundred and twenty again out of the two hundred from Cayor; that is to fay, out of the five hundred fent from thefe countries in one year, two hundred and eighty may be confidered as having been reduced to flavery by means of the Great Pillage.
The way of practifing the Great Pillage is as follows: When any of thefe kings are in want of flaves, and intend to procure them in this manner, they affemble their military, confilling of horse and foot. These are armed with fabres, lances, bows and arrows, piltols and guns. The number they affemble is proportionate to their own ftrength, and the strength of the village to be attacked. The hour of calling them together for this purpofe is uncertain. It depends on the diftance of the village whofe inhabitants are deftined for the prey. This village is fometimes near. It is at other times far off, and perhaps at the distance of a journey of four days. The rule, however, upon fuch occafions is, to fet out at fuch a time, as to come upon it in the dead of night. The villages in these countries are open, and have no breaft-work or defence.
As foon as the military arrive at the deftined place, which is as before defcribed in the dead of night, they furround it, but never attack it at that time. They wait always till the dawn of day. It is then that the women rife, and employ themfelves in pounding millet for the purpose of reducing it to cufcus, to ferve as bread. The found of the peftle is the fignal for the attack. The military directly ruth in and feize all they can. There are many reasons why they make their attack at this hour: firft, because being dawn of day, they can fee better: fecondly, becaufe though the women are up, the men are in bed, and the doors of the huts are opened: and thirdly, because the negroes in this part of the world, never like to perform any enterprize in the night.
It fometimes happens that the kings accompany their troops in perfon. It is customary for them, however, not to enter the village. They remain always on the outfide till the business is over.
As foon as the unfortunate inhabitants are captured, they are driven off. The men and women are made to walk. The children