period in which the fallen and abject state of man might have been almost an argument in the mouth of the atheist and the blasphemer, against the existence of an all-just and an all-wise First Cause'; if the glorious era of the revolution that followed it, had not refuted the impious inference, by shewing that if man descends, it is not by his otvn proper motion, that it is with labour and with pain that he can continue to sink only, till, by the force and pressure of the descent, the spring of his immortal faculties acquires that recuperative energy and effort, ihat hurries him as many miles aloft-he sinks but to rise again. It is at that period that the state secks shelter, in the destruction of the press; it is in a period like that, that the tyrant prípares for an attack upon the people, by destroying the liberty of the press; by taking away that shield of wisdom and of virtue, behind which the people are invulnerable; in whose pure and polished convex, ere the lifted blow has fulien, he beholds his own image and is turned into stone. It is at those periods, that the honest man dares not speak, because truth is too dreadful to be told; it is then humanity has no ears, because injury bas no tongue. It is then the proud man scorns to speak, but like a physician baffled by the wayward excesses of a dying patient, retires indignantly from the bed of an unhappy wretch, whose ear is too fastidious to bear the sound of wholesome advice, whose palate is too debauched to bear the salutary bitier of the medicine which might redeem him, and therefore leaves him to the felonious piety of the slaves that talk to him of life, and sirip him before he is cold.'

We shal) indulge our readers with one further extract from the same speech :,

'I tell you, gentlemen of the jury, it is not with respect to Mr. Orr that your verdict is now sought; you are called upon, on your oaths, to say that the government is wise and merciful, that the people are prosperous and happy, that military law ought to be continued, that the British constitution could not with safety be restored to this country, and that the statements of a contrary import by your advocates in cither country were libellous and false. I tell you, these are the questions; and I ask you, Can you have the frout to give the espected answer in the face of a community,who knows the country as well as you do? Let me ask you, how could you reconcile with such a verdict, the gaols, the tenders, the gibbets, the conflagrations, the murders, the proclamations, that we hear of every day in the. streets and see every day in the country? What are the processions of the learned counself himself circuit after circuit ? Merciful God! what is the state of Ireland,and where shall-you find the wretched inhabitant of this land? You may find bim perhaps in a gaol, the only place of security, I had almost said, of ordinary habitation; you may see him flying by the conflagrations of his own dwelling; or you may find his bones bleaching on the green fields of his country; or he may be found tossing upon the surface of the ocean, and mingling bis groans with those tempests, less savage than his persecutors, that drift him to a returnless distance from his family and his home. And yet with these facts ringing in the ears and staring in the face of the prosecutor, you are called upon to say, on your oaths, that these facts do not exist. You are called upon in defiance of shame, of truth, of honour to deny the sufferings under which you groan, and to fate ter the persecution that trampies you under foot.

. But the lèarned gentleman is further pleased to say, that the traverser has charged the government with the encouragement of informers. This, gentlemen, is another small fact that you are to deny at the hazard of your souls, and upon the solemnity of your oaths. You are upon your oaths to say io the sister country, that the government of Ireland uses no such abominable instruments of destruction as informers. Let me ask you honestly, what do you feel when in my hearing, when in the face of this audience you are called upon to give a verdict that every man of us and every man of you knows by the testimony of your own eyes to be utterly and absolutely false? I speak not now of the public proelamation of informers with a promise of secrecy and of extravagant reward; I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the pillory. I speak of what your own eyes have seen day after day during the course of this commission from the box where you are now sitting; the number of horrid miscreants who avowed upon their oaths, that they had come from the very seat of government, from the Castle, where they had been worked upon by the fear of deaih and the hopes of compensation to give evidence against their fellows, that the mild and wholesome councils of this government are holden over those catacombs of living death, where the wretch that is buried a man, lies lill his heart has time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up a wito

• Is this fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him after his resurrection from that tomb, after having been dug out of the region of death and corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both ? Have you not marked when he entered, how the stormy wave of the mullitude retired at his approach? Have you not marked how the human heart bowed to the supremacy of his power, in the undissembled bomage of deferential horror? How his glance, like the lightning of. heaven,seemed to rive the body of theaccused, and mark it for the grave; while his voice warned the devoted wretch of woe and death-a death which no innocence can escape, no art elude, no force resist, no antidote prevent: there was an antidote-a juror's oath--but even that adamnantine chain that bound the integrity of map to the throne of eternal justice, is solved and melted in the breath that issues from the informer's mouth ; conscience swings from her mooring, and the appalled and affrighted juror consults his own safety in the surrender of the victim:

• Et quæ sibi quisque timebat.
Unius in miseri exitium conversa tulere."


After the perusal of these extracts, (which are a few only aniong the many brilliant and pathetic passages contained in the volume before us,) it were superfiuous to exhort our readers to study every one of the speeches which are there recorded. We pledge ourselves for an ainple return of profit and delight, to ihose who may undertake the task; but we decline the office of pointing out merits loo conspicuous 10 pass unnoticed by the most careless observer, or of expatiating on excellencies which have been acknowledged and admired froin the moment when they appeared. Panegyric. were useless, and criticism is already forestalled. We content ourselves therefore with performing the humbler but more essential duty of introducing this volume to the notice of our readers, and earnestly recommending them to culo tivate a further acquaintance with its intrinsic beauties.

It can hardly be deemed necessary in these days to warn our readers to prepare themselves to be sometimes surprized, and sometimes offended, with the extravagancies of political fervour, which are mingled with the more valuable parts of Mr. Curran's addresses. They, however, whose zeal or whose prejudices are too powerful to be surmounted by their admiration of eloquence, may spare themselves the trouble of opening the volume. But the number of such Persons, we trust, is few.

We cannot conclude without expressing our disgust at the shameful prodigality and matchless effronteryof adulation, which the anonymous editor has poured forth in the preface; nor can we repress our censure of the unprecedented trick of attaching to this volume the speech of another orator, printed in a type and form different from the work itself.

[ocr errors]

Art. VI.-Travels in Trinidad, during the Months of Fe

bruary, March, and April, 1803, in a Series of Letters, addressed to a Member of the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain. Illustrated with a Map of the Island. By Pierre F. Macallum. Svo. pp. 254. Liverpool. 1805. THIS volume of Letters is of a very peculiar cast, and under the pretence of giving a view of the settlement of Trinidad, is in reality for the greater part occupied with the discussion of some most extraordinary transactions which have occurred in the administration of that island. The consideration of these circumstances would not only prove very interesting to the public at large, and tend somewhat to their instruction, and greatly to their amusement, but would afford ground for some discussions regarding the most proper method of governing those possessions which have fallen beneath the fortune of the British arms. But as a great part of this subject is now under the consideration of more formidable tribunals than those of taste, our strictures must necessarily be restrained within those narrow bounds which are prescribed by the customary delicacy of avoiding every appearance of endeavouring io influence the public mind before trial.

Mt. Pierre, or, as we should suppose he was styled before his emigration from the mountains of Caledonia, Peter "Macalluny, is a man of high life: he announces his correspondent as a member of the Imperial Parliament, and assures us he has in former days condescended to npbraid him with the epistolary crime of laziness. We cannot discover, however, many symptoms of parliamentary language in his composition, which is devoid of elegance, and besprinkled with various upcouth scraps of pedantic Latin, furbished up from some melancholy remnant of a grammar. This member of the senate must feel highly gratified by the familiarity of the Dear Sir, which emblazons the front of these ill composed Lelters, and hug himself in the cautious prudence which las guarded from public view the mystery of his name.

In the commencement of these Letters, Mr. Macallum makes his appearance on the ocean during a voyage from America to Trinidad, employing his leisure in making cursory observations on his unfortunate friend General Toussaint,' from whom he digresses to abuse the New Englanders for selfishness and avarice. He next touches at Barbadoes, and his attention is there arrested by a deaf governor, numerous cats, and swarms of old women. Leaving that island, on which we are assured there have been many civilized savages, Mr. M. next morning descried Tobago, on which he descants for two pages without saying any thing very remarkable, if we except the observation that the mud of the Oronoko discolours the sea so far as the strait between Trinidad and Tobago, in which instance it can hardly be doubted that the debris of the American continent is carried far beyond its shores, and must be deposited in the depths of the Atlantic. After a due interval of time and paper, we are ushered into the Puerto de Espana,' and have the additional satisfaction of being introduced to Governor Picton, under the title of Don Thomas Picton. In this respect we are more honoured than was our author himself, who was allowed to kick his heels, and number the extremities of his paws in the audience-chamber, without receiving even the

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

gracions encouragement of a smile from that personage. We know not whether this arose from the insignificance of Mr. M. or from some ferocious fit of incivility in the governor, but thenceforward that officer is stigmatised in terms which our sense of justice forbids us to repeat without the strongest authořily. Of these expressions we have only at present to remark, that the views of malignity are defeated by their very virulence, and the severity of just reprobation is counteracted by the intemperance of its language. What then shall we say of a mighty prætor whose knife was set in oil that it miglit cut the deeper, and (who) never hesitated tu engulf the reeking blade into the warm bowels of a fellows creature, por to pour aquafortis into the bleeding wound in order to provoke the innocent object to a state of madness?" Surely if such assertions are just, there needed only to have stated the bare facts, which would outvalue a million of such inelaphorical comments; but if here exists one shade of exaggeration, no language can sufficiently reprobate this base assassination of the character of another.

In the first part of this volume, a little attention is be. stowed by the author upon the island of Trinidad itself. From physical considerations, however, he soon flies to declaim in terms of no moderate violence on the predilection of General Picton for the foreigners, and his hatred 'to the British under his command. The erection of forts and barracks is next represented as a folly calculated, as Mr. M. observes with a wise air, to benefit some folks. . Poor John Bull! (groans out this gentleman,) I have seen, on my travels, much, too much of ihy hard earnings squandered away on many a foolish project in this as well as in other colonies.' From these unpleasing suggestions, we are now led to contemplate Mr. M.'s approach to Colonel Fullarton, as he advanced to whoin, a secret satisfaction unucedunt. ably stole across his mind.' But, according to our author, it is not for mortals always to be blest; and from our pleasing reverie on the subject of Colonel Fullarton, we are roused to listen to the execrations bestowed with a liberal pen on the negro regiments, which Mr. M. regards as threatening a terrible destruction to the country that has nurtured them. The policy of raising black corps is certainly extremely questionable, and nothing could for a moment justify or render in the sınallest degree tolerable, the existence of armed slaves, but the pestiferous diseases, that with a rapidity forinerly unknown, sweep away whole ranks, nay battalions, of the unfortunate Europeans destined to encounter these inhospitable climates. It has been held forth indeed, that,

« ElőzőTovább »