Imágenes de página

A lady, whom I have seen, a young lady, and one of the hand, somest in the island, gave a grand dinner. Furious at secing a dish of pastry brought to the table overdone, she ordered her negro cook to be seized, and thrown into the oven, yet giowing wiih beat-And this horrible Megæra, whose name I suppress out of respect to her family ; this infernal fiend whom public execration ought to drive with every mark of abhorrence from soci ty ; this worthy rival of the too famous Chaperon *, is followed, and admired for she is rich and beautiful! . So much for what I have heard, and now for what I have seen.

The day after my return, I was walking before the casa of a planter with one of his neighbours, when we overheard him bid a negro go into the inclosure of this very neighbour, pull up two young. trees which he pointed out to him, and re-plant thein immediately on a terrace he was then forming.

- The negro went : the neighbour followed him, surprized him in the fact, and brought him to his master, whom I had by this time joined, in the hope of witnessing a scene of confusion which promised to be amusing.

Conceive, Sir, what passed in my mind, when, on the complaint of the neighbour, I heard the master coldly order another of his negroes to tie the pretended culprit to a ladder, and give him an hun. dred lashes ! We were both of us struck with such astonishment, that, stupified, pale, and shuddering, while the unhappy negro received the bai barous chastisement in silence, we looked at one another without being able to utter a single word_And he who ordered, he who thus punished his own crime on the blind instrument of his will; at once the dastardly perpetrator and the unfeeling witness of the most atrocious iniustice, is here one of the first organs of the law, the offi. cial protector of innocence! Heavens! if a pitiful respect for deco. rum forbids me to devote the name of this monster to eternal infamy, let me at least be permitted to hope that Divine Justice will hear the cries of the sufferer, and sooner or later accumulate on the tyrant's head, all the weight of its vengeance !

In his xxviith letter, the author gives an account of the extent and divisions of the French part of St. Domingo, its population, &c. He makes the surface of it equal to nearly 2000 square leagues ; and the inhabitants, as enumerated in 1790, to amount to 38,360 Whites; 8370 people of colour; and 455,000 Blacks; exclusive of the Whitis and Blacks of whose residence there was no legal document; and he thinks that, comprehending the garrisons and crews of ves. o-ls, the total population of the French part of the island might have been fairly estimated at 506,000 souls ; con. sequently, that, during the five years preceding 1790, there

** A planter of Saint Domingo, who, in the same circumstances, seeing the heat shrivel and draw open the lips of the unhappy negro, exclaimed in a fury, “ 'The rascal laughs.”

Nouveau Voyage aux Isles Françoises de L'Amérique. Tom. 1, Chap. l.'


had been an addition of more than 150,000 negroes; their number at the end of 1785 having amounted only to 300,000. He afterward states the average value of sugar, coffee, cotton, indigo, cacao, molasses, rum, hides, dying woods, and tortoise-shell, annually exported, at 205,370,067 livres.

Of the dress, manners, &c. of the white females in the French part of St. Domingo, the author gives the following description,

• If we put off here, Sir, to the epoch when innocence begins to blush at its nakedness, the precaution of giving a veil to the modesty of the daughters; that of the mothers has merely what is necessary to conceal the nudity, without hiding the shape of their limbs. Á single petticoat and a loose gown of the finest muslin compose their asual dress—there is no occasion for a long and narrow examination to distinguish across the faint carnation tinge which floats along this airy vesture, the impostures of art from the real treasures of nature ! When circumstances require them to be dressed with more care, they add a coloured under petticoat, and a corsst: if there be any who have the folly of attempting to set themselves out with inore parade, so much the worse for them they are certainly not the inost handsome; and the art which deprives beauty of some of its charms, can never embel. lish ugliness. With respect to the face, that must be left at all events as it came out of the hands of nature ; for however skilfully the paint may be applied, we should see in a few minutes the charms of the prettiest made-up face melt away with the ceruse and the carmine that composed it.

A female Creole, who has never been out of Saint Domingo, would be a creature of a particular species, were it not for the cona formity which an education, similar alınost in every instance, establishes between her and the female mulatto. Let this, however, be a secret between us : for you will easily comprehend that with the prejudices which exist here, such a comparison must be an inexpiable crime in the eyes of those whose dignity it compromises.

"I have no intention to speak of their morals, yet I cannot help observing that the female Creoles have so much the more merit in living chaste, as the example of the males, and the education they receive, leave them absolutely without resource against the influence of the climate, and the dangers of an eternal idleness. They pass their lives either stretched at length, cr chinta, that is, sitting in the oriental manner on mats, where their supreme delight is to have the soles of their feet tickled by a female slave. With the exception of a little cookery, they never employ themselves in the occupations of their sex: for in all parts of the world, where labour is the lot of the slave, idleness is necessarily an essential prerogative of the master. The only art in which they excel, the only one in which, I am told, their diligence equals their knowledge, is the art which constitutes not the least indiffereat part of the Ars Amandi of Ovid or of Bernard.'

Our readers will now be able to judge of the general merits of this work. It must, however, be remembered that the au


thor's accounts and descriptions (with a few exceptions, relating chiefly to immoveable or unchangeable objects) will no longer accord with the state of things in St. Domingo; where all the varieties of desolation, all the modes of destruction and misery which can reach human existence and human industry, have co-operated to sweep away or change almost every thing that was worthy of attention.

Respecting the translator's language, we think that it is generally entitled to commendation, though in some instances it certainly might have been improved ;-and we consider it as one of his principal defects that several of the French names, particularly those of vegetable productions in the West Indies, are retained and printed without any attempt towards a translation ; though they have been long and generally known by appropriate English names. Such are the · Manciniller' (Manchineal tree); · Papayer' (Papauw tree); Calebasier' (Calcbash tree); • Goyavier' (Guava tree); Ignama' (the yam); · Banana' (the Plantain); and a considerable number of others.

Art. V. A Practical Treatise on Draining Bogs and Swampy Grounds,

illustrated by Figures, with cursory Remarks upon the Originality of Mr. Elkington's Mode of Draining. To which are added, Directions for making a new Kind of strong, cheap, and durable Fence for rich Lands; for crecting, at little Expence, Mill-Dams, or Weirs upon Rivers, that shall be alike firm and durable ; for effectually guarding against Encroachments by the Sea upon the Land, and for gradually raising drowned Fens, into sound Grass Lands. As also Disquisitions concerning the different Breeds of Sheep, and other domestic Animals : being the principal Additions tuat have beun made to the Fourth Edition of Essays relating to Agriculture and Rural Affairs, published separately, for the Ac. commodation of the Purchasers of the former Editions of this Work. By James Anderson, LL. D. F. R. SS. &c. &c. 8vo.

pp. 308. 6s. Boards. Robinsons. 1797 JF Dr. Anderson be not rich, and his motto ( Meo sum pauper sin ære ) seems to indicate that he is not, he has been, according to this account, the cause of riches to other men. He “has laboured, and other men have entered into his labour." Mr. Brodie is supposed to have realized, we are here told, a hundred thousand pounds by his patent Bat! Stove, constructed on a principle illustrated by a plate in Dr. A.'s treatise « On Smoky Chimneys ;” and Mr. Ilkington has obtained a premium from parliament of 1000l. for a mode o? draining by what he calls tapping of springs, which Dr. A. discovered, practised, and


explained many years ago *. Dr. A. does not positively accuse Mr. E. of having taken the hint from his Essays relating to Agriculture and Rural Affairs : it may with him have been an orie ginal thought: but Dr. A. contends that Mr. E. was not the first inventor.

In two letters to Sir John Sinclair, as president of the Board of Agriculture, the Doctor puts in his claim to a little "empty praise,” and is hurt at the oblivious silence in which his name is endeavoured to be buried, and at Sir John's apparently marked partiality. He also complains of Sir John in another respect, with which we will not interfere.

Dr. A. tells us in what manner he was led to the discovery of draining by boring or tapping. It is curious; and we think that our readers will deem it worth insertion :

• I had a field of wet land that lay very fat, but so surrounded by ditches, that no surface water could come to it from higher ground any where, and possessing at the same time such a level as to prevent any water from necessarily stagnating upon it. The field was so wet, that in many places it was a mere hobbling bog, over which a man could scarcely pass during the driest weather in summer. This was a very unprofitable as well as disgustful object ; and, in the beginning of the year 1764, I set about seriously to have it drained. On considering the circumstances of the case with attention, I soon pera ceived that as no surface water could come upon it from the higher ground; and as the rain that fell upon the field itself was suffered freely to run off, the water that drowned it must rise up from below. But as the weight of the atmosphere acted on this field as well as on those around, the water could not be made to ascend, as in a pump, by means of suction : it must, then, be forced to take that direction in consequence of some powerful pressure from below ground, acting so strongly as to overcome its natural gravity. This pressure, it was evident, could only be in consequence of the water flowing from higher ground, under the surface, through a stratum of pervious matter, being pent in near the bottom, by a stratum of clay placed above it, and thus forced to rise to a higher level, than the low ground, in this kind of subterraneous canal, so as, by the natural power of gravity, to be squeezed forcibly through small fissares in the superior stratum of clay. If so, it would necessarily follow, that should a hole be dug through the superincumbent stratum of clay, so as to reach the bed of the reservoir, the water would be allowed to issue freely through that cpening, and to run off the ground by its natural level; and thus would the accumulated water, which occasioned the pressure, be gradually discharged, after which, it could no longer be

* • I have often imagined, that the expence of digging these pits right be saved, by boring a hole through the solid stratum of clav, with a large wimble (auger) made on purpose ; but as I never experienced this, I cannot say whether or not it would answer the desired end exactly.'

forced forced up through the small fissures in the clay; and, of course, the wetness, which had arisen solely from that cause, must be gradually removed. On this reasoning, which seemed perfectly conclusive, and which was confirmed by observing that the subsoil of that field was every where a very stiff clay, mixed with small stones, the dry weather was no sooner ser in, than I put a man to dig a pit as near to the edge of the swaggle as he could approach, ordering him to penetrate directly downwards, making the pit no larger than was sufficient to allow him to work, and to proceed without interruption, until he should perceive that, on making his strokes, it should sound as if it were somewhat hollow below. On observing this, he was desired immediately to desist, until he called me, and received farther orders. The labourer accordingly fell to work ; but he found the ground so hard, that, in the course of two days, he had only penetrated to the depth of about five feet. During that time, I frequently visited the work, to examine appearances. Nothing remarkable occurred, save that little peering springs often were discovered, through which the water issued; but the quantity of water that came from them was not such as to interrupt the work. On the morning of the third day, about breakfast time, the labourer called on me, and said, that as his stroke gave a douf sound, (that was his phrase) he had called me, according to my desire. I went immediately with him to the place, and having inade him go down into the pit, I de

sired him to show me in what manner he could come out of it. He - then pointed out to me a kind of steps he had made into the clay on one side ; and having lent him my hand to assist him, I found he could get out very quickly. I then ordered him to take a kind of sharp-pointed iron crow', with a cross handle and foot to it, which he had found a very useful tool in loosening the clay, and give a stroke of that with all his force upon the bottom, which he did. On this, to his great surprize, the tool penetrated a thin crust, and then fell down, from one to two feet, as in a vacuity. Through the opening thus made, a strong jet of water rushed instanily with impe. tuosity ; but I being aware of it, and at hand to assist the man in mounting, he got very quickly to the surface, and out of all danger, though not a little terrified at what had happened. The stream was at first so large, as night, I suppose, have filled a pipe of from six to twelve inches diameter; and rose, as a jet d'eau, to the height of six fcet at least, above the surface of the ground. The labourer, who liad no idea of such a phenomenon, looked upon it with an overpowering astonishment, which would have furnished a fine subject for the painter. The stream continued to flow, and to rise above the surface of the ground for about a week; but gradually abated in height, till it arose not above the surfase of the ground, and conti. med still to flow; but the quantity of water gradually diminished, till it at last settled into a perennial spring, which continues to run till the present day.

• The consequence of this operation was, that during the course of the ensuing summer, the water gradually drained off from the boggy ground; the swaggle slowly acquired a firm surface, so as to admit of being ploughed at any season; and about twenty acres of


« AnteriorContinuar »