« AnteriorContinuar »
only to actions of magnanimity and goodness; he has passed the strongest test to which he can be submitted ; who, with the frailties of human nature, and without the adventitious aids of those born to rule, held one of the highest situations in society.
• His government does not appear to have been sullied by the influence of any ruling passion ; if a thirst of power had prompted him alone, he would have soon ceased to be a leader of insurgents; had avarice swayed him, he, like many others, could have retired early in the contest, with immense riches, to the neighbouring continent; or had a sanguinary revenge occupied his mind, he would not so often have offered those pathetic appeals to the understanding, which were the sport of his colleagues on crimes which the governors of nations long civilized would have sentenced to torture!
His principles, when becoming an actor in the revolution of his country, were as pure and legitimate, as those which actuated the great founders of liberty in any former age or clime.
• Such was the character of Toussaint L'Ouverture, as regarded his office of Commander in Chief, and Governor of the island of St. Domingo. In his relations towards other countries, he appear3 to have excited admiration for his justice, and the courtesy of every enlightened state: the charges of his most inveterate enemies never extended to a fact that can diminish the well-earned eulogies he has obtained. His rules of conduct were the emanations of a mind capa. civus and well informed ; and buc for the exertions of his talents, or those of some chief equally able, indefatigable, and sincere, the country, now blooming with culture, and advancing in true civiliza. tion, might have been a ruined state, sacrificed to the conflicts of disappointed ambition), revenge, and the whole train of evils which a multiplicity of factions could create That there should be found partizans of each of these factions in the then divided state of France, to complain of every arrangement formed by this astonishing indi: vidual, is to be expected, rather than wondered at; and to these motives alone, there is no reason to doubt, may be ascribed all the calumnies which have been vented against himn.
• In his private life, Toussaint lost none of the excellence of that character which is conspicuous in his public actions. With much sensibility, he supported an even temper in domestic privacy; and in contra-distinction to the general custom of other great men, might be considered equally an hero in the closet as the field. To his wife, a sensible and affectionate woman, he behaved with the most endear. ing tenderness and consideration, and to liis children imparted all the warmth of paternal affcction; yet he had no overweening tundness 10 conceal incir faults from his notice, even the smallest want of proper attention to an interior was censured with severity proportionate to the difference of their condition. If they obtained not knowledge from the transitory nature of human circumstances, so necessary to check the pride of birth or situation, almost always manifest in children reared in affluence, it was not the fault of a father whose life was conspicuous for humility of disposition, and a diffidence of his powers, proportionable to the elevation of his rank, or the accumulation of his honors. As his children grew to an age
capable capable of that education which his individual acquirements instructed hiin as necessary to the sphere of life in which they were to move, Toussaint procured for them the best tutors he could obtain, and afterwards sent them to France under their care, for the advantages of higher instruction. – His leisure, which was not great, was occupied in relieving those who suffered in any way undeservedly; nor did he, as is often the case in the world, weigh guilt by incapacity or distinetion. The weak of every description were his peculiar care; the strong in intellect, the mighty in war, or the amiable -in domestic lise, shared alike his esteem.
• In person, Toussaint was of a manly form, above the middle stature, with a countenance bold and striking, yet full of the most prepossessing suavity - terrible to an enemy, but inviting to the objects of his friendship or his love. His manners and liis deportment wale elegant when occasion required, but casy and familiar in common ;when an inferior addressed him, he hent with the most obliging assiduity, and adapted himself precisely, without seeining condesceusion, to their peculiar circumstances. He received in public a general and voluntary respect, which he was anxious to returii
, or iaiher to prevent, by the most pleasing civilities. His uniform was a kind of blue jacket, with a large red cape falling over the shoulders; reil cuffs, with eight rows of lace on the arnis, and a pair of large gold epaulettes thrown back ; scarlet waistcoat and pantalvons, with half boots; round hat, with a red feather, and a national cockade; these, with an extreme large sword, formed his equipment. - He was al astonishing lorseman, and travelled with inconceivable rapidity.'
In announcing the melancholy terniination of his carcer, he is termed the great, the good, the picus, and benevolent Toussaint L'Ouverture.'-Many attractive anecdotes are also inserted, corroborative of this high eulogium.
Having observed in the concluding chapter, that the close of the year 1804 was the end of that eventful revolution, in which the Imperial dignity was the reward of the courage and experience of the chief (Dessalines) who, profiting by the misfortune of his brave and good predecessor, had more successfully combated his enemics ;' the author proceeds to consider the probable effects of this colonial revolution. He is of opinion that, if judicious and humane measures are pursued by proprietors in the islands of the West Indian Archipelago, and particularly if they be careful to diffuse morality among the Blacks, litile danger is to be apprehended from this colony of manumitted slaves. According to bim, 'the negroes, though sufficiently warlike and vindictive, when roused by revenge, court quiet, and are ardent in all the relations of life when kindly treated by their superiors.' Impressed with this favourable idea of their character, he deems it probable that the people of Hayti will be disinclined to experitions for conquest; That they do not wish for the maritime power so absolviely nem Gessary for an attack on the other islands; and that many diffi
culties occur to prevent such a scheme. Mr. R., however, does not presume to decide on what may happen in the course of time: but, regarding it as impossible to reduce the Negroes of St. Domingo to their former state of slavery, he cautions the planters in the other islands and the Governments of Europe to pursue a wise policy, in order that the late Revolution in the most splendid colony of the Antilles may not prove injurious to their interest and dominion.
The style of this work is not every where correct, and the author's views are not always sufficiently dispassionate: but, as his details are interesting and important, and as his prejudices incline to the side of humanity, we are not disposed to criticize minute faults, nor rigorously to restrain an amiable
T. X. Measures as well as Men: or the Present and Future In. terests of Great Britain ; with a Plan for rendering us a martial as well as a commercial People, and providing a military Force adequate to the Exigencies of the Empire, and the Security of the
United Kingdom. 8vo. pp. 218. 55. sewed. Johnson. 1806. WE
E have the misfortune to be of too inert a nature to soar
with the author of this pamphlet to those sublime heights, whence he discerns that state of the human race in which the dreams of the golden age, and the felicity of the millenium, will be realized. Yet, though to our dull underStandings the scenes here anticipated are chimerical, and the hopes indulged are extravagant, we do not deny that remarks are made, and hints thrown out, which deserve the attention of the more temperate friends of mankind.- His name does not appear in the title-page, but we understand that these Mea. sures owe their origin io George Edwards, Esq., M. D. whose prolific pen has already given birth to various similar publications; (see Rev. N.S. Vol. iv. pp. 65. and 73.-Vol. xxxiv. p. 213.-Vol. xl. p. 106. &c.); and by whom another work in three 8vo. volumes now waits our attention.
Dr. Edwards thus briefly states the grounds on which the fair fabric of society, from which he expects so much benefit, is to be erected:
Human welfare, however, is fixed, and can be established alone on the twelve grand foundations provided for it, that embrace respecte ively the several powers of universal good known in this life ; and by completing them, and deriving from them the means essential to the consummation of the destiny of man.
These foundations are the 12 heads of the grand system of general weltare, and are : 1, Government : 2, Public Agency : 3, Politics : 4, Finance : 5, Agriculture : 6, General Industry, manual and intellectual: 7, Commerce: 9, Mental Instruction : 9, Religion : to, Medicine : 11, Practical Jurisprudence, or the Law: and 12, Public Philanthropy, or the appropriate means of advancing individual prosperity and happiness. For it is certain from induction, that man neither knows nor can comprehend any good, or the means of effecting any good, that may not be referred to one or other of the twelve heads : and as either an omission or defect in the subordinate parts of one of these heads cannot occur without injurious consequences to the human race, so each head fully and perfectly constituted is necessary to complete the lot of mankind.'
8, Mental system
While treating of the vices and defects of the false system of general welfare, Dr. E. calls our attention to the abuses which it has occasioned, and the course and progress of which he describes much at length:
• One of these sources (he states) is that predatory disposition, which impels nations to seize the possessions, property and riches of one another, cither by open war, or by fraudulent commerce; and may be referred to their ignorance, as well as to their avarice and ambition. I say to their ignorance, for, possessing capital, population, and science, or useful knowledge, it is much more the interest of each nation to complete, by means of these, it's internal and colonial improvements, than to prey upon others; and it is for it's real advantage to permit other nations to become rich, in order to be valuable customers. The only true policy is, to allow the golden eggs to re. main and multiply in their respective matrices; not by ripping these open, to desolate and impoverish the World.'
This picture, we presume, is intended for modern France: but let us not prematurely indulge feelings of exultation, since our own portrait, which immediately follows it, is not more flattering :
• Another source, (says the author is a certain modification of the preceding. This is a policy, which leads nations to ai quire riches from others by an exclusive monopoly of foreign commerce and aggrandizement, in order to carry on wir; and which on the other hand, prosecuting war for the purpose of supporting these views, ex. pends far more riches, and destroys infinitely greater resources of in. ternal prosperity, than they can possibly acquire by such a commercial phrensy. This species of political immorality is accompanied by a restless and giddy inquietude of mind, and violence of passionate deception, which lead us to sanction every favourite scheme, indulge all our prejudices, suppose the balance of power always in danger, and make a plaything of war ; while we give the worst measures the appellation of lawful sources of wealth, the true objects of British enterprise, fair grounds of ministerial fame, the proper means for satisfying the calls of corruption, and innocent resources for supplying curiosity with news. Wars that ensue from this species of immorality being of longer duration, and at last becoming perpetual, arethe worst wars to mankind.'
Among other means for establishing the new and complete æra of human prosperity, here held up to view, are a military
system extremely similar to that which has been recently adopted, and a real and cordial peace with France.
This tract seeks to draw attention to certain plans for meliorating human affairs which are disclosed in the other works of Dr. Edwards, and on which, in his present anonymous character, he here bestows high praises. He is of opinion that, in order to remedy our social ills, to remove our interior grievances, to stand weli abroad, and to be a flourishing and happy people at home, we have only to give due consideration to the counsels to which he thus refers, and to unite all hearts and hands in order to reduce them to practice. Faith and works are required of the disciples of this new gospel. They must believe in the efficacy of the plan, and in the infallibility of its founder ; they must hold it to be their first duty and their highest honour to co-operate in what is here called the art of practical improvement,' in order to introduce and establish what is denominated the system of general welfare,' or
the kingdom of God;' or in other words that political and spiritual order of things which Dr. Edwards has a mission to unfold and recommend.
Though the changes which the new faith contemplates are very considerable, they appear rather to affect the sentiments and pursuits of individuals, than political and social arrangements; the relations of men, it would seem, are to continue much the same, while the motives and views which actuate them are to undergo an entire revolution ;--monarchs are not to be stripped of their crowns--the privileged orders are not to be divested of their rank, -the senate, the church, the professions, and the several classes of active life, are still to retain their appellations, though their exertions are to assume new directions. Of the functions assigned to the monarch we highly approve: but, if heaven does not impart the necessary wisdom to the individual on whom the crown devolves, we fear that the system of general welfare' will be endangered.o. The Houses of Parliament are to discard, as pernicious and puerile, the flourishes and displays about which they are at present occupied, and to become schools in which the art of practical improvement' is to be exclusively pursued. The church is to form men to that religious and moral purity, which is essential to the prevalence and continuance of the system of general welfare.' The profession of the law is to assist in devising the best legislative regulations, and in advancing the real ends of justice. Commerce is to rise above jealousies, and to derive its interests from the abundance which is to be consequent on universal prosperity. Medicine is to inform itself still farther in regard 10 the nature and causes of