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My soul that hour yearned strongly to be free,
But in the air appeared a form half-seen,
And indistinct and dreadful was bis mien:
As in administering this mighty land
The will of Heaven, so shall my faithful hand
My name is DEATH: THE LAST BEST FRIEND AN I!" . Thus terminated the body of the poem, and in the Epilogue Mr. Southey apologizes for introducing this last character in a Carmen Nuptiale: indeed we do not perceive any sufficient reason for it, since the promise of reward might have more fitly been delivered by any of the characters before mentioned. Surely Death was a most unwelcome visitor at a marriage entertainment. The author then again reverts to himself (a theme he is rather too fond of), and delivers a mixture of piety and adulation in the form of a prayer, from which however we must in justice admit that: patriotism is not excluded : the following short specimen is from the conclusion :
“ He prays, that when the sceptre to thy hand
In due succession shall descend at length,
Truth be thy counsellor, and Heaven thy strength;
The wise laws handed down from sire to son:
All may be added which is left undone,
Brute man may be to social life reclaimed;
The saving Faith may widely be proclaimed
This is his ardent hope, his loyal prayer.
“In every cottage may thy power be blest,
For blessings which should every where abound;
May bring forth good where'er the sun goes round;
Surpass our great Eliza's golden name.” After having gone so much at length into this small yo. lume, it is scarcely necessary for us to add any thing in the way of general observation. We certainly think that Mr. Southey would have done much better if he had not thought necessary to give an allegorical appearance to it, for we think his talent does not lie that way, nor were he ever so capable is it the taste of the present age. In his style, as in his stanza and in the mode of treating his subject, the author obviously intends to imitate the productions of a period when many of the public entertainments were allegorical; the masques at court and the pageants in cities prepared the mind for works of this sort, but in the present day they have fallen into total disuse; none but a few fervent admirers of Spenser can now understand allegorical poetry, and because they are such admirers, they will be the less disposed to endure any thing of second or third rate merit in this species of composition. For these reasons, we deem Mr. Southey's choice injudicious, independent of the very inartificial manner in which he has introduced and connected his characters, which are described, as our readers have seen, in a manner neither novel nor striking.
Throughout the various lectures read to the Princess by the personages presented, much good advice is given upon the general maxims of policy and government, and so far we highly approve of the work before us; but we must say, that from beginning to end very little poetry is to be found in it, even of the descriptive kind; it is any thing but a Carmen Nuptiale, and a prose discourse upon the duties of a Princess would have been quite as appropriate to the occasion. The verse however may in some respects be considered an excuse for the advice, the intrusion of which is an innovation upon the ordinary functions of the Laureate; but Mr. Southey recollected no doubt the adage, that the morals of the Prince make the manners of the times;
“For Princes are the glass, the school, the book,
* Shakspeare's Tarquin and Lucrece.
Art. IV.-A Defence of the Bill for the Registration of
Slaves. By JAMES STEPhen, Esq. in Letters to W.Wiiberforce, Esq. M. P. Letters I. und II. London, for Butterworth and Son, 1816. Pp. 50 and 218.
host final victor of parliamelon wi
The contest between the friends of the Abolition of the Slave Trade and the Planters of the West Indies who are inimical to it, at no period since the commencement of the struggle has been carried on with greater warmth than in the last session of parliament. For about eight years after the final victory of the cause of humanity, a cessation of hostilities took place, occasionally disturbed however by the efforts of Sir Samuel Romilly, Mr. Brougham, and other members, to repel the enemy whom they saw making daily encroachments upon the line of demarkation.
Those who were acquainted with the real state of things in the West Indies, and with the local advantages most of the islands possessed for carrying on an illicit trade in ne. groes, were scarcely sanguine enough to hope that the abolition law would be completely effectual : without casting any heavier imputation upon the planters, than that they would be influenced by the same motives that actuated other men, it was foreseen that the Act would be evaded, because the promoters of it were not then able to introduce, or perhaps to devise all the provisions calculated to secure its strict observance. They therefore trusted to the continuance of that feeling which had passed the Abolition Bill, for the adoption of subsequent measures when it should be found that those measures were necessary. The advocates for the amelioration of the condition of the negroes, now contend that the time bas arrived when that necessity is evinced-when all who trusted that the first law would be sufficient are undeceived, and when none but the Planters of the West Indies themselves can maintain that no other regulations are required. Under this impression, Mr. Wilberforce introduced his measure for the registration of slaves, by which it was to be provided, not only that books should be kept in the West Indies, ascertaining precisely the number of slaves in each of the islands, but that duplicates of those books should be transmitted to Great Britain, with periodical authenticated returns, in order that all changes in the property of slaves might be known, and their increase or diminution by importation or otherwise, with accuracy ascertained.
For several reasons, more particularly on account of the state of our negociations on the continent and in the Peninsula, he refrained from pressing his measure during either the last, or the preceding session of parliament, and in the mean time his antagonists collected their forces to oppose him with the utmost obstinacy. Pamphlets of all dimensions and of all degrees of ingenuity have been launched at him and his friends, and even the Legislative Assemblies of some of the islands, and particularly of Jamaica, have not scrupled to engage in the conflict. They had the powerfully impelling motive of temporary and personal interest to urge them, while the supporters of the registration, actuated by the present principles of humanity, found many who concurred in their benevolent project, but comparatively few who were willing to afford them any zealous assistance: their antagonists were firmly united in a common resistance, and aided by all the influence of wealth; they on the other hand had only the goodness of their cause to support and combine them, and their only reward was the consciousness of deserving it. · All the misrepresentations that before the passing of the Abolition Bill, "for twenty years, were heaped upon its friends and were constantly refuted-all the calumnies by which they were assailed so ineffectually, have been revived within the last two years, and the Registry Bill, which only has for object to render the abolition effectual, has been attacked, as if its effect were to be the instantaneous emancipation of the slaves on our plantations. The truth is, that a measure of this kind is rather calculated to postpone than to accelerate such an event, for by promoting the comforts of the negroes, and rendering them contented in their stations, it will tend rather to secure, than to endanger the property of the West India proprietors. To repel these attacks and accusations, the two letters, wbose titles are given in the commencement of this article, have been written by Mr. Stephen, who long was an active member of the House of Commons, and the motive for whose retirement from his ostensible duties does him as much credit as if he had been able, by remaining, to accomplish the most commendable designs.
Since they were published, indeed within the last few weeks, their interest has been considerably augmented by a discussion in parliament of great importance upon the subject of the Registry Bill, and as in the usual vehicles of intelligence of the kind, only the speech of Mr. Wilber
force, and even that, very unperfectly was given, we are happy to have it in our power, from the most authentic sources, to supply the deficiency, more especially upon points that have arisen since the date of the correspondence of Mr. Stephen.
The points to which the able author of the two letters before us applies his most convincing arguments, are principally two.-lst. To shew that the measure is necessary in consequence of the frequent illicit importations of negroes. 2ndly. To prove that only by the legislature of the empire can this purpose be effectually accomplished, as the colonial assemblies will do nothing to interrupt a practice, in the continuance of which they are so deeply interested These subjects, more or less, were both touched npon in the course of the debate to which we have alluded, ample use being made of the matter supplied by Mr. Stephen; but there is a third point which in the discussion became extremely promi. nent-we mean the charge that the present disturbed state of the West India Islands, by which (as was argued by the enemies of registration), the value of property is so much depreciated-even that the late insurrection in Barbadoes, are both to be attributed to the Registry Bill, and to no other cause. This is indeed a very heavy accusation, and we will give it in the words of an honourable member, distinguished for this exception to the general liberality of his character: we mean Mr. Barham, one of the most extensive West India proprietors now in Parliament. We advert, in the first instance, to this part of the subject, because the intelligence of the insurrection in Barbadoes has arrived since the appearance of the Letter of Mr. Stephen.
“ It is said (observed Mr. Barbam) that the universal ferment in the West Indies, and the recent bloody insur. rection in Barbadoes, have not been caused by the Registry Bill. We all know that in that Island an insurrection was least likely to be successful-First, because there are no mountains and no fortresses; secondly, because the white population is greater there than in the other colonies; and thirdly, because a larger military force is kept up there; yet we see that an insurrection did take place that the moment the Registry Bill arrives the ferment begins, which ends only in the destruction of many hundred lives. I ask any man how it could happen, that before the receipt of this measure all the colonies should be in a state of profound tranquillity, and yet after the receipt of it, that they should be thrown into the utmost confusion and alarm, if it were