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others pleased. Nor have we any doubt that the more the people frequent places of innocent amusement, the better behaved they will become, till their alleged rudeness as well as love of mischief shall cease to be any thing better than libel.
We remarked at the commencement of this article, that the vast increase which has taken place in the body of sight-seers, and the prodigious efforts which have recently been made for their gratification, augur well for the physical, intellectual, social, and moral improvement of the people.
Of the wonderful impulse which in this respect has been recently given to the public mind, those only can form any thing like an adequate conception who have paid attention to the statistical accounts of the number of visitors which, during the last few years, have been at the British Museum, the Tower, and other places.* We subjoin the following statements.
1. THE BRITISH Museum. From the year 1807, we find a steady progressive increase in the interest taken in the Museum by the public, as evinced by the number of visitors. The parliamentary return for that year gives the visitors at 13,046 ; in 1814 we find it stated at 33,074; in 1818 it was 63,253; it fell below that number till 1821, when it is stated at 91,151; and 1825 and 1826 the numbers are 127,643 and 123,302 ; but the commercial distress of that period appears to have reduced the numbers in 1827 to 79,131. In 1830, the numbers were 71,336 ; 1832 it rose to 147,896 ; and the numbers each year since are 1833; 200,495 ; 1834, 237,366 ; 1835, 289,104.
2. Tue ARMOURIES AT THE Tower. Before the reduction of the admission fee from two shillings to one, the number of visitors who paid entrance was about 10,000 annually, but during the year which succeeded the change, it increased to nearly fourfold, or 40,000. Since the farther reduction to sixpence, the number of visitors is again greatly beyond the average. In the month of May alone, 1838, the average number of visitors was 4,528 ; but in May 1839, it was 9,454, producing a much larger profit than when the charge was four times the present fee.
3. ZoologICAL GARDENS, Regents' Park. The Gardens,' says the Report of the Society for 1836, "during the past year have proved unusually attractive to the members and the public. The visitors to that establishment have amounted to 263,392 ; of which number
* We cannot in justice refrain from stating our conviction, that the great interest taken by the public of late years in the British Museum, as well as in exhibitions generally, is to be attributed very mainly to cheap literature ; more especially to the innumerable woodcuts and the descriptive letter press of the various publications of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge.' The Society have in this respect been eminently suecessful in one of their main objects, that of quickening and rousing the public mind, as well as in imparting useful information.
64,102 consisted of members and their companions; 10,028 were admitted by means of named ivory tickets; and 189,262 on the orders of fellows on the payment of one shilling each : these last receipts amount to £9463 2s., being a sum of £2119 16s. beyond that received in the previous year.
4. ZOOLOGICAL MUSEUM. The number of visitors to the Museum of the Zoological Society in 1836, (exclusive of the months of April, May, and June, during which the removal from Bruton Street to Leicester Square took place,) was 3660, and the sum received for ad. mission was £38 17s.
5. NATIONAL GALLERY. By a return recently laid upon the table of the House of Commons, it appears that the number of visitors in each of the last four years, was as follows : 1835, 14,827 ; 1836, 125,747; 1837, 113,937 ; 1838, 397,649.
Now we say, that all this is matter of congratulation. An hour of rational amusement, the gratification of an intelligent curiosity is itself a good, since, for the time at least, it is happiness. Secondly, it is favourable to health, by securing at all events in some degree, change of object and cheerful relaxation, and by suspending for a while the pressure of business and the cares of life; the consuming toils of the workshop, the counting-house; and the study.
Thirdly, it improves the mind by enlarging and multiplying its conceptions, and in some degree by refining and elevating it. Nor is it possible, we think, for even a stupid and uninquisitive mind to gaze at the wonders opened to it at the Polytechnic institution or the Adelaide Gallery without feeling itself in some measure roused out of its habitual apathy, and disposed to ask the reason of many things it sees. Fourthly, such amusements are favourable to morals, not only inasmuch as all intellectual culture and every degree of refinement is in some measure so, but far more, by diminishing the opportunities of temptation, by occupying the spare hours of the young and the thoughtless, and by filling up that vacancy of thought which is itself the most dangerous and frequent incentive to vicious pleasure. It is pleasant to see public exhibitions crowded and prosperous, while the theatres and other like places are complaining of comparative desertion. In this last respect we hail with heartfelt delight the efforts which are being made to supply the people with rational amusement, and the disposition on their part to take advantage of it. As rational gratifications become cheap and abundant, they will be accessible, and are even now becoming accessible to the masses,—to those whose severe toils especially require hours of relaxation, and who if they cannot readily find relaxation that is innocent, will not hesitate to avail themselves of that which is vicious. There is not a more pleasing sight than to see amongst the crowds who throng the British Museum on a
Monday, large classes of artisans and mechanics intermixed with the other visitors ; and who, if that place were not opened to them, might be dedicating the day to St. Monday—to the alehouse or gin-shop-to low gambling or sensual riot. This multiplication of the sources of rational entertainment is of equal promise to those vast numbers of country visitors, more especially of youth, who come to spend an occasional month or two in the metropolis. The sight of whatever is novel, wonderful, and curious tends to enlarge and liberalize their minds, and to diminish the solicitations to vicious indulgence.
Nor even in a mercantile point of view, is this increasing taste for sight-seeing any other than a subject of congratulation. Much enterprise and much capital are invested in providing the public with these amusements, and thousands upon thousands get an honest livelihood by ministering to the public taste for them. Upon the whole, we question whether a shilling or sixpence is ever more profitably or more agreeably spent, than in going to see any one of the principal · London Exhibitions.'
Art. IV. The African Slave Trade. By THOMAS Fowel BUXTON,
Esq. London: Murray. 1839.
was a time when the whole realm of England rang with the horrors of the Slave Trade, and with the voices of the benevolent and noble-minded men who summoned forth the energies of a just and indignant people for its overthrow. The popular enthusiasm of that day was not unlike that which has lately been awakened, with such happy and complete resultswe say complete, because the 31st of March in the present year, witnessed the termination of the apprenticeship in the last of the British colonies in which it had existed, and that in which it threatened to linger longest, the Mauritius—for the extinction of slavery itself; and it seemed to have a like success. The men who led on that conflict with avarice and murder laid down their weapons, for they thought the victory won; and the public mind, under the same soothing asşurance, lulled itself into repose. The suppression of the Slave Trade has thus come to be set down in the mind of every one as an achievement made; and the chronicles of the times had already recorded it as an event of English history. A generation has nearly passed away-the average duration of one has quite passed away–in this happy persuasion; when the public ear is hailed—and not only hailed but startledby another blast of the trumpet to which the friends of humanity and freedom have so often and so readily responded, telling of perpetuated wrongs, and summoning to new exertion. The African Slave Trade again! The African Slave Trade? What, the exposed, the execrated, the condemned, the abolished Slave Trade-has this risen from the grave to torment the world anew ? Alas! it has never been either buried or dead. Amidst the silence of supposed extinction it has survived; and more, it has gathered fresh energy and perpetrated aggravated crimes. O! if the generation were now alive whose determined zeal fought that desperate battle, and won that delusive semblance of a triumph; who witnessed the efforts, listened to the eloquence, and sustained the demands of Sharpe, Clarkson, Wilberforce, and their compeers, how their hearts would thrill, and their resolution be nerved, at the appeal now made! Not that we think the present generation less humane or less determined than their predecessors—numerous and unequivocal indications forbid us to think so; but it is their misfortune, in relation to the Slave Trade, not only that the subject is new to them, but that, believing the infamous traffic to have been suppressed, they regard all statements respecting it with a primary incredulity, which, to the ordinary difficulty of awakening sympathy, superadds an unusual difficulty of producing conviction. It is to this object more particularly that Mr. Buxton addresses himself in the important volume now before us, in which with deep feeling and earnestness he combines, in an eminent degree, research, calmness, and impartiality. His statements are at the utmost distance from being either vague, exaggerated, or passionate. He exercises even exemplary candour. He might honestly have made his case much stronger than he has made it; but it is more than strong enough to answer his purpose. His book, by the preparation of which he has created for himself a new title to the gratitude of Africa, and of every friend of the African race, must be read and pondered -it should be universally read, and deeply pondered. To us it is a sacred duty, as well as a melancholy pleasure, to do what we can for the diffusion of the authentic and afflictive information thus presented to the public.
Mr. Buxton adverts in the first instance to the extent to which the African Slave Trade is at the present moment carried on. And this he considers under two divisions. He computes first the number annually conveyed across the Atlantic, and sold as slaves. Under this head he notices Brazil, Cuba, Buenos Ayres, Porto Rico, and Texas ; adducing copious evidence, every item of which is trustworthy and convincing, but a great part of which he declines to employ as an element of his numerical calculation, because it is not official and demonstrative. The number which he thus brings out is unquestionably far below the truth ; but it has this advantage, that its accuracy cannot be disputed. Of his calculations under this head he gives the following summary.
• I have then brought the case to this point. There is Slave Trading, although to an unknown and indefinite amount, into Porto Rico; into Texas; and into some of the South American republics.
• There is the strongest presumptive evidence, that the Slave Trade into the five ports* of Brazil which have been noticed, is much more considerable 'than my estimate makes it; and that I have also under. rated the importation of negroes into Cuba. There are even grounds for suspicion that there are other places (besides Porto Rico, Texas, Cuba, Monte Video, &c., and Brazil) where slaves are introduced ; but for all these presumptions I reckon nothing, I take no account of them ; I limit myself to the facts which I have established, viz., that there are, at the present time, imported annually into Brazil 78,333 That the annual importations into Cuba amount to
60,000 That there have been captured
8,294 And I assume that the casualties amount to
Besides the traffic across the Atlantic,' our author informs us that there is an immense trade carried on for the supply of the • Mohammedan markets of Morocco, Tunis, Tripoli, Egypt, Tur• key, Persia, Arabia, and the borders of Asia. This commerce
comprises two distinct divisions, 1st, the maritime, the victims of which are shipped from the north-east coast, in Arab vessels, and 2nd, the Desert, which is carried on, by means of caravans, 'to Barbary, Egypt, &c.' The numbers which he adopts, with the same candour as before, are
We will not stop to say, that this is melancholy. Let us go on. If the number annually enslaved is fearful, the number who annually perish is more so. For every ten who reach
Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Pernambuco, Maranham, and Para.