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prisons of his government, when Providence thought fit to relieve mankind from his oppressions, full thirty thousand men and twenty thousand women; many of them confined in that species of prison invented by himself, without roof: in which, alternately exposed to the scorching rays of the sun, and the vicissitudes of cold, heat, and rain, the unhappy victims were left to suffer every variety of pain and wretchedness.” P. 480.
On his death-bed, haunted by his reflections, he employed confidential persons to ascertain the public opinion of his character; and had the consolation to learn the general hope and belief that the hottest place in hell was assuredly reserved for him.
Another of these monsters swore a tremendous oath, that if it were his fortune to be successful in an enterprise that he was about to undertake, he would not restrain the sword from its course of vengeance, until the blood of his opponents had flowed in a stream sufficient to turn the wheel of a corn-mill, and he had appeased his hunger by eating bread prepared from four so ground. His enterprise succeeded; and he caused twelve thousand of his prisoners to be led into a water course and butchered; and diverting a neighbouring streamlet through its channel, turned a mill with the human gore liquefied, and commingled with the water. His conscience thus appeased by the promised repast, he proceeded to the farther gratification of his vengeance, by causing four thousand more of his prisoners to be gibbeted. This, by the way, appertains also to Yezzid.
Merwaun, another of these instruments of wrath, after the capture of a fortress, seated himself at one of its gates, and causing the garrison to be led out, one by one, saw their throats cut to the last man. Proceeding in his career, he promised a thousand pieces of gold, and the most beautiful maiden in another fort that resisted him, to the man who should first cnter it. The place was captured, and
“The principal adventurer was punctually paid his thousand dinaurs, and desired by Merwaun to take his choice among the fairest of the female captives. This he accordingly proceeded to do; and having fixed upon a young girl of exquisite beauty, was conducting her downwards from the fort; when, seizing her opportunity, the generous damsel suddenly clasped the odious foreigner in her arms with all the force of female revenge, and casting herself headlong from the works before he could disengage himself from her embrace, they were both together dashed to pieces in the fall. Enraged at such an instance of desperate and mortal antipathy, Merwaun caused every human being that was found in the place to be put to death, without mercy and without exemption." P. 506.
Opposed to these frequent instances of enormity, in which hundreds of thousands of human beings perished-to such an aggregate, indeed, in the first century of the Mahommedan era, as, making due allowance for the exaggerations of historians, may excite surprise, how, in such countries, such hosts could be produced and reproduced ;-opposed to these enormities, occasional instances of humanity are recorded by the Arabian writers, and preserved by the author of the Retrospect, who does not withhold from himself and his readers the little consolation to be thence derived; but, with a generous sentiment, indulges in the contemplation of them, as the refreshing Oasis of the moral desert of Arabia.
We were desirous of noticing some parts of this work, in which the author treads the ground preoccupied by Gibbon; but for reasons that may be too obvious, must now decline item remarking merely, that Major Price, in adhering to the authority of the original sources whence he has drawn the materials for his work, differs considerably in several instances from the relation of that celebrated writer; to whose general accuracy, in as far as agreeing in the main with such authorities may deserve that commendation, this Retrospect bears honourable testimony. Considering that Mr. Gibbon was unable to consult such original works, his industrious research, and discriminating talents, demand as much praise as can ever be due to great abilities allied to overweening vanity, and grossly misapplied to purposes for which they were never bestowed.
Our readers will have perceived that our opinion of Major Price's work is favourable; and we were gratified at being accidentally afforded an opportunity of ascertaining that a similar sentiment prevailed in quarters more important to its author's interests. It is patronised, we understand, by the Indian government, and we are fully warranted in saying that the importance of the subject, the competent knowledge of the author in the language of the originals, his indefatigable patience of inquiry, his judgment in selection, and facility in arranging and communicating the result, give him a fair claim also to the patronage of the literary public.
American State Papers: Containing the Correspondence velveen
Messrs. Smith, Pinkney, Marquis Wellesley, &c. 8vo. pp. 60. London, 1811.
[From the Edinburgh Review, for November, 1812.]
So little is to be gained and so much to be lost by an American war, that though our preposterous policy has at last brought the disputes between the two nations to this issue, no class of politicians seems wholly satisfied with the result. Strictly speaking, indeed, we have no real quarrel with America ; our contest with that power arising incidentally out of our main quarrel in Europe. America invades us in no sub, stantial interest she crosses us not in any favourite walk of policy-she aims no blows at our prosperity or independence; and, being excluded from all the common scenes of European ambition, her case afforded, to all appearance, no great scope to the common jealousies of politicians. After a twenty years' war with France, however, we are now fairly involved in an additional war with this apparently harmless powerhaving for this purpose sacrificed all those ancient connexions of trade which
gave the two countries so great an interest in the maintenance of peace. The exports of Great Britain to America amounted annually to ten millions. All this vast trade, and the animating scenes of industry and business which it produced, the war lays waste at one blow. But it is not merely as a case of profit and loss, though in this view it is sufficiently important, that the subject ought to be contemplated. The trade between Britain and America, independent of its profits to individuals, accomplished objects which must ever be dear to the friends of human improvement. Our readers are no doubt aware that America, like all other rising communities, having her whole spare capital embarked in agriculture, must necessarily depend on other countries for a supply of manufactures, in exchange for which they receive an equivalent in rude produce. Such was the nature of the trade carried on with this country; by means of which America, assisted by the wealth and industry of Britain, was left free to pursue the great work of domestic improvement, while Britain found, in the demands of America, ample employment for her overflowing capital and her numerous artisans. The trade thus diffused industry, plenty, and smiling looks through this once prosperous and happy land; while
it gave energy to the wide-spreading agriculture of the New World, and extended cultivation over its lonely wastes.
From a picture so delightful to contemplate, we turn with no pleasing emotions to the policy by which it has been defaced. The correspondence before us relates to the Orders in Council, and to other unfriendly acts committed against the American trade; and though we have no intention of revi. ving these hateful controversies—though we would willingly forget this everlasting stain on the character and policy of our country-yet there is one view of the case suggested by these papers which we cannot avoid laying before our readers. It is instructive to look back to what has happened, that we may draw lessons, for the future, from the dear-bought experience of the past.
It was long the anxious business of the American minister, as appears from the documents before us, to procure by persuasion an abandonment of the measures hostile to the American trade. He urged his case on views of justice and of general policy-he calmly combated the pretexts by which he was met-he boldly and pointedly asserted, that the claims of this country must, sooner or later, be abandoned ; and he added, what ought never to be forgotten, that they were unjust-and that time, therefore, could do nothing for them. His representations were met by declarations of “ what his Majesty owed to the honour, dignity, and essential rights of his crown,” and by all the other sounding commonplaces usual on such occasions. These sentiments were afterwards explained at greater length, and promulgated to the world in the deliberate record of a state paper. But in spite of the honour of majesty thus pledged to these obnoxious measures, they were repealed. A laborious investigation into their merits ended in their unqualified reprobation and abandonmenttheir authors were unable to look in the face the scenes of beggary, disorder and wretchedness, which their policy had brought on the country; they were borne down by the cries of suffering millions and they yielded at length to necessity, what they had formerly refused to justice. This was clearly, therefore, an act of unwilling submission. It bore not the stamp of conciliation; and the only inference to be drawn from it was, that the plotters of mischief, being fairly caught in their own snare, were glad to escape, on any terms, from the effects of their ill-considered measures.
How forcibly does this transaction teach the necessity of a prudent and moderate conduct! How strikingly does it mark the contrast between insolence, which delights in abusing power--and true
dignity, which, being founded on a reverence for justice, can never be humbled !
The repeal of the Orders in Council has considerably narrowed the controversy between the two countries; and were it not for the rankling of past injuries, the few remaining points of difference might, we should imagine, be very speedily adjusted. The Americans still complain of the undue extension we have given to the privileges of blockade-and of the impressment of their seamen under the character of British deserters.
On both those points the rulers of the two countries are agreed, as far as the principle is concerned. America insists that no place shall be held blockaded, unless it is so surrounded as to make it dangerous to enter, and we do not object to this definition of blockade. On the other question still at issue, it may be shortly observed, that as we have gone to war with America in defence of the supposed privileges of naval war, we would do well to ascertain to what extent those privileges can be safely pushed. Will the warmest advocates of maritime supremacy now assert that we have not suffered equally with our enemies in the contest of mischief which has been stirred up between us in Europe ? Admit that we have ruined our enemy's trade--that our hostility has been deeply felt in the misery which it has produced in France--have we ourselves not participated largely in the general distress? It is of little moment what privileges we may be entitled to, according to the theory of the law of nations; since it is plain, that if we push our abstract notions of maritime right to their extreme consequences, no nation will agree in the result-universal war and misery will be the consequenceand every state will suffer exactly in proportion to its interest in peace and good order. In such a struggle, it is just as likely that we should be the first to cry for quarter as our enemies; and in point of fact the first concession has come from this country. We were unable any longer to bear the interruption of trade occasioned by the Orders in Council and, therefore, these measures were repealed.
It is clear, therefore, that some limits must either be fixed to the persecution of our enemy's trade, or we must come in for a large share of the miseries resulting from our hostility. However high we may hold our abstract rights, they must always, when reduced to practice, admit of some temperament, and amicable compromise with the rights of others. During the whole of the last war, accordingly, such a compromise existed; and the dreadful crisis which has befallen the present times was thus happily avoided. The policy then