« 前へ次へ »
The value of these products landed in France, and before the French duties were paid, was more than six millions sterling. The number of vessels employed in the year 1789, from the different ports of France, direct to St. Domingo, were 710; navigated by 18,460 seamen, and measuring 213,460 tons. The value exported from France to St. Domingo, in the year 1789, was 4,125,610!, English money. In the same year, an extensive smuggling trade was carried on between French St. Domingo and the Spanish main, to the value of 2,450,1151. English money. In the same year, there sailed, from France for the coast of Africa, 119 large ships, importing 35,260 slaves into St. Domingo, at a profit of more than a million sterling. In spite of the irreconcilable hatred of the two people, a smuggling trade was also carried on between the French and Spanish divisions of the island, to an amount of 1,445,000 dollars. In the year 1789, 684 vessels, of the United States of America, entered the French ports of St. Domingo with provisions, lumber, and East India goods; carrying back the produce of the island. The amount of this trade was about 900,000l. sterling. From this specimen, may be inferred, what the value of this island would be, if it were completely in the hands of the French; and the advocates for peace with France must be prepared to show, that a good would result from it to this country, equivalent to all the enormous increase of power, which it would necessarily place in the hands of our rival, or, as the Morning Post calls him, the direful foe. r Long before the cession of Hispaniola to the French, the Spanish government had begun to relax from its narrow policy. As far back as the year 1700, fresh colonies were sent out from the Canaries; a frugal, laborious people, well suited to the climate. More politick and econo
mical measures soon bettered the face of the country. The demands of the neighbouring French increased the industry of the Spaniards. The herds multiplied rapidly; the old towns were rebuilt; new ones formed; and chapels and hermitages (the sure signs of prosperity in Spain, as alehouses are in England) began to rear their heads. The late queen of Spain, whose passions were the mains ring of the Spanish monarchy, fell in love (as every one knows) with Godoy, a robust officer of the guards; and a reign of vigour commenced, as lately with us. Godoy became prime minister; and, in 1795, conveyed away Hispaniola, the oldest American colony of the Spanish crown, to the French republick. None of the Spanish colonies are more loyal; and the most earnest remonstrances were made, so much in vain, that they were not even noticed by the Spanish court. Don Emanuel Godoy conceiving (like our ministry at home) that true vigour, and real force of mind, consists in neglecting and despising the wishes of the people. As they could not live under their old sovereign and laws in St. Domingo, the greater part of the inhabitants emigrated to Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Spanish main, with the dry bones and the embalmed heart of the cortes, and the living carcases of the useless. Ships were freighted with monks, friars, eremites, and nuns; and loaded higher than the poop with miraculous legs and arms, and all the holy fopperies of the catholick church. It was not till the latter end of 1801, that legal delivery was made to Toussaint, the representative of the French people. Don Gartia counteracted every thing that •could militate against those orders for a peaceful cession of the island, which he had received from home. Toussaint marched in; and his brother Paul was quietly invested with the government of what had hitherto been the Spanish part of the island.
. The cession of the island was folrowed by the usual French crimes, of sacrilege, murder, robbery, cruelty, and falsehood; by the loss of 50,000 Frenchmen; by their final expulsion by the English; and by a treaty between the English and Spaniards, in which the ships of the former are, upon their entry into the ports of the island, put on the same footing as Spanish ships. Upon the importance of this treaty to our commerce in general, Mr. Walton has some sensible remarks, and brings forward some valuable information. The quantity of mahogany this island is capable of furnishing, is about 10,000 logs, each containing, on an average, 300 feet, or, in all, three millions; but this year it will exceed that quantity. In the
year 1808, the duty paid on mahogany to our government was 26,0801. but, in 1809, it had got up to 46,9271. yet the greatest results of commercial speculation have not yet reached England. One third of the mahogany furnished by St. Domingo goes to the United States; and the remainder comes over to England; but, formerly, there was a considerable demand for this article in Hamburgh, Holland, and the Hanseatick towns; a branch of trade that may revive again, if Buonaparte, or the pregnant empress, become fond of mahogany tables, and include them in the list of importable articles. The following scale will afford an idea of the quantity and prices of those articles which the country af. fords:
Besides the above articles, there are shipped annually 1,000,000 lb. of coffee; 10,000 hides; and large quantities of satin wood, ebony, cattle, mill, ship, and building timber. The material advantage, however, to be derived from this commerce, is, that whilst, on the main, and in the other Spanish islands, the import duties amount to more than 34 per cent. they here do not exceed 5 per cent. and the export 6 per cent. by which means, this port might be made a depôt for all the west coast of Puerto Rico.
Such is the information afforded" by Mr. Walton, respecting the present state of St. Domingo. His second volume contains his observations on the settlement of the Spanish continent. But in this part of
- 60s. per ton 17,700 O O - 60s. - 500 O Q - 120s. - - 1 40 O O
his work, there seems to be so much of book-making; the Travels of Humboldt, and the Mercurio Peruano, are so outrageously pillaged, and the obligation so little acknowledged, that we have no kind of temptation to pursue our criticism any further. The whole work is the production of a very ordinary man, who has had his notes upon St. Domingo furnished up in the row; and deemed it necessary, that the little he had to say should be said with as much parade and embellishment as possible. That the island of Santo Domingo will ever be regarded with a wistful eye by France, there can be no doubt; but we scarcely see . any probability of her regaining it, unless, indeed, she is destined to absorb every thing in her empire.
St. Domingo cannot be given up at a peace; for what have the French to offer, but the nominal manumission of some of their European slaves 2 If we were to speculate upon the future destiny of St. Domingo, we should conjecture, that the Spa
nish slaves would rise upon their masters, and supply fresh spirit and aliment for a long and bloody contest between the savages of every colour, race, and denomination. Sevit toto Mars impius orbe.
FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW.
The Curse of Kehama. By Robert Southey. 4to. pp. 376, London. 1810.
WE admire the genius of Mr. Southey; we reverence the lofty principles, and we love the tenderness of heart, that are visible in all his productions. But we are heartily provoked at his conceit and bad taste, and quite wearied out with the perversity of his manifold affectations. Not many poets, dead or living, have given proofs of a finer fancy, or drawn more copiously from the stores of a rich and cultivated imagination. Still fewer have maintained a sublimer tone of sentiment; or pictured, in more enchanting colours, the simple and innocent affections of our nature; and none has ever “ made these rich gifts poor” by such an obstinate strain of childish affectation: or so perversely defrauded the world of the delight, and himself of the glory, which they were intended by nature to produce. * *
It is this mixed feeling of provocation and delight, that has given that contradictory character to our observations on Mr. Southey's former productions; which, we fear, may have brought our judgment into disrepute with the more uncharitable part of our readers. Our praise and our blame, we suspect, have appeared to be both too strong, to be justly applicable to one and the same performance; and we have been accused, alternately, of malice and of partiality, by those who will not understand, that a long poem
may afford matter both for just ridicule, and for just admiration. Mr. Southey’s case, indeed, we have always considered as an extreme one; and, however awkwardly the censure and applause may stand together in our pages, we must be permitted to say, that nothing could be more sincere and conscientious than our expression of both these feelings; and that it appears to us, that no other expressions could have done full justice to the extraordinary performances by which they were excited. It is Mr. Southey himself that is the grand inconsistent; and the more truly we are charmed by the brilliancy of his imagination, and the truth and delicacy of his feelings, the more we must be of. fended by the wilful deformities by which he has rendered vain the combination of so many beauties. Mr. Southey, of course, despises equally our censure and our advice; and we have no quarrel with him for this. We have been too long conversant with the untractable generation of authors, to expect that our friendly expostulations should have any effect upon them; except as exponents of the silent, practical judgment of the publick. To that superiour tribunal, however, we do think ourselves entitled to refer; and while we, who profess the stately office of
thinking, that a poet, whose sole object is to give delight and to gain glory, ought to show something of the same docility. There is, indeed, another and a final appeal—to posterity; from the benefit of which, we are very far from wishing to exclude any unfortunate persons, whose circumstances may reduce them to rely on it. But the cases, we believe, are wonderfully rare, in which that mysterious and inaccessible judge has ever reversed the unfavourable sentences of the ordinary jurisdictions; and there seems even to be great reason for thinking, that such reversals will be still fewer in time to come. Without resting much upon the superiour intelligence of the present age, we believe we may safely pass a large encomium on its indulgence; and may be fairly allowed to doubt, whether any time is at all likely to come, in which every sort of merit will be so sure of being detected and extolled, in spite, and sometimes in consequence, of the incongruities and deformities with which it may be associated. Things are wonderfully changed in this respect, since a licentious and illiterate age withheld from Milton the fame which its successour was so proud to bestow. Poetry is read now, we suppose, by very nearly ten times as many persons; and fifty times as many think themselves judges of poetry; and are eager for an opportunity to glorify themselves as its patrons, by exaggerating the merit of some obscure or dubious writer, in whose reputation they may be entitled to share, by contributing to raise it. Thus, in our own time, we have had Mrs. H. More patronising Mrs. Yearsley, the milkwoman; and Mr. Capel Loft bringing forward Mr. Bloomfield, the shoemaker; and Mr. Raymond Grant challenging immortality for Mr. Dermody, the drunkard; and sir James Bland Burgess, and sir Brooke Boothby; and Miss Aikin, and Miss Holford, and fifty others, Vol. v., 3 A
patronising themselves, and each
other, with the most laudable zeal and exemplary activity. Now, whatever may be its other effects, it is certain that all this competition for patronage and discovery ensures notoriety, and a certain viaticum of praise, to almost every poetical adventurer; and takes away almost the possibility of that neglect, which, in former times, stood so often in the way, not merely of reputation, but of fair trial. That a great deal of false reputation will be raised, under such circumstances, and various lots of undeserved and perishable praise be awarded, by vanity, partiality, and caprice, cannot, indeed, be doubted; but it is not so easy to conceive,
that any real merit should escape
detection, or miss honour, in this sanguine search after excellence; that the active manure which quickens so many colder seeds, should not stimulate the more sensitive fibres of genius; or that the bright sun, which gilds, with a passing glory, the idle weeds of literature, should fail to kindle into beauty the splendid blossoms of poetry. But, leaving Mr. Southey the full benefit of his chance with posterity, it is enough for us to observe, that his appeal to the present generation has now been made with sufficient fulness and deliberation; and that the decision, as we understand it, has not only confirmed, but outgone all that we had predicted as to the fatal effects of his peculiarities.
During the last fifteen years, he has
put forth (besides the present work) three very long poems; none of which, we think, can be said to have succeeded. That they have all had some readers, and some admirers, we do not mean to dispute. Nay, there are many who pass for tolerable judges in such matters, who think that they had a very strange and unaccountable success. But the author, and his admirers, and his booksellers, are not by any means of that opinion; and we, for our
parts, have no hesitation in saying, that they have not had nearly so much success, as it appears to us that they deserve. There have been three editions, we believe, of Joan of Arc; two of Thalaba, and one only of Madoc; though the last has been six years in the hands of the publick; and of a publick which has called, during the same interval, for more than ten editions of the Farmer’s Boy, and five or six, if we do not mistake, of the Wanderer of Switzerland. This, we think, is pretty strong testimony against the taste of a poet, whose genius, we believe, was never lowered, even among those who neglect him, to a comparison with that of Mr. Bloomfield, or Mr. Montgomery. But the inference is still stronger, when we consider the circumstances under which this testimony has been given. Mr. Southey is no longer in his noviciate. Though still in the vigour of life, he has been a full fledged and industrious author for nearly twenty years; and has not wanted, as we ourselves can testify, for advice and admonition, both laudatory and vituperative. With all these advantages, however, and means of improvement, we are afraid that he is rather less in favour with the publick, than he was at the beginning of his career. His first poem was decidedly more successful than his second; and his second than his third. Yet his genius certainly is in no degree impaired; and his judgment and powers of execution may be fairly presumed to have received some improvement. When we find him rather on the decline, therefore, in publick estimation, and discover that his fame, instead of gathering brightness, as his course is prolonged, seems rather to waste away and wax dim, it is difficult to suppose that this proceeds from anything but the misapplication of acknowledged powers, and the obstinacy with which he has persisted in errours, of which he re
ceived very early warning. The publick is naturally disposed to be very kind to the errours of youthful genius; and was entitled, in this case, to look for the speedy correction of faults, for which mere inexperience could scarcely at any time be received as an apology. If such faults, therefore, are long persisted in, their indulgence will be gradually exhausted. What was at first ascribed to inadvertence, will now be referred, with some appearance of justice, to bad taste and perversity; and the reader will turn away, disappointed and disgusted, from an ostentatious display of absurdities, that are no longer original. There is one other peculiarity in the state of Mr. Southey’s poetical reputation, from which, we think, that he should take warning, while it is yet time. His admirers, we fear, are not the very best sort of admirers. In so far as we have been able to gather, there are but few persons of cultivated taste and sober judgment in his train; and his glories are celebrated, we think, chiefly by the young, the enthusiastick, and the uninstructed; persons whose fancies are easily captivated with glitter, exaggeration, and novelty, and whose exuberant sensibility is apt to flame out at the approach even of the false fire of bombast and affectation. Not many of the admirers of the ancient or the modern classicks are admirers of Mr. Southey; and many of those who applaud him the most warmly, can discover no merit in those celebrated performances. We do not propose, by any means, to deny, that there are many dull and weak persons among the professed admirers of Homer and Virgil; and that there is much natural feeling in the description of readers whom we have supposed to take delight in Mr. Southey. But it is not of good augury, we think, for his future fame, that his supporters should be all of this description; and that almost all