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in Normandy. At the commencement of winter the unfortunate negro chief, after being immured in a miserable dungeon, expired on the 27th of April, 1803.
Such are the general facts connected with the life of Toussaint L'Ouverture, which Miss Martineau has chosen as the basis of a ‘historical roinance. The real history is indeed itself a romance, and required little embellishment or amplification. She has accordingly added very few imaginary personages, and these barely sufficient to form amusing under-plots to the main story. The title combines the headings of two of the chapters, from one of which we shall furnish an extract by which the reader may be enabled to judge of the nature of the work and the method of its execution. It is the hour' of changing sides, and Toussaint is with the French priest Laxabon.
“Father,' said he, commanding his voice completely, is there not hope, that if men, weakened and blinded by degradation, mistake their duty when the time for duty comes, they will be forgiven?'
• In what case, my son ? Explain yourself.'
• "If I, hitherto a slave, and wanting, therefore, the wisdom of a free man, find myself engaged on the wrong side, -tighting against the providence of God,—is there not hope that I may be forgiven on turning to the right?'
- How the wrong side, my son? Are you not fighting for your king, and for the allies of France ?'
• I have been so pledged and so engaged ; and I do not say that I was wrong when I so engaged and so pledged myself. But if I had been wise as a free man should be, I should have foreseen of late what has now happened, and not have been found, when last night's sun went down (and as to-morrow night's sun shall not find me), holding a command against the highest interests of my race, -110w, at length, about to be redeemed.'
r. You—Toussaint Breda—the loyal! If Heaven has put any of its grace within
it has shown itself in your loyalty ; and do you speak of deserting the forces raised in the name of your king, and acting upon the decrees of his enemies ? Explain to me, my son, how this can be. It seeins to me that I can scarcely be yet awake.'
"And to me it seems, father, that never till now have I been awake. Yet it was in no vain dream that I served my king. If he is now where he can read the hearts of his servants, he knows that it was not for my comm
mand, or for any other dignity and reward, that I came hither, and have fought under the royal Aag of France. It was from reverence and duty to him, under God. He is now in heaven ; we have no king; and my loyalty is due elsewhere. I know not how it might have been if he had still lived; for it seems to me now that God has established a higher royalty among men than even that of an anointed sovereign over the fortunes of many millions of men. I think now that the rule which the free man has over his own soul, over time and eternity,—subject only to God's will,—is a nobler
authority than that of kings; but, however I might have thought, our king no longer lives; and, by God's mercy, as it seems to me now, while the hearts of the blacks feel orphaned and desolate, an object is held forth to us for the adoration of our loyalty,ếan object higher than throne and crown, and offered us by the hand of the King of kings.'
"Do you mean freedom, my son ? Remember that it is in the name of freedom that the French rebels have committed the crimes which—which it would consume the night to tell of, and which no one knows better, or abhors more than yourself.'
"It is true : but they struggled for this and that and the other right and privilege existing in societies of those who are fully admitted to be men. In the struggle, crime has been victorious, and they have killed their king. The object of my devotion will now be nothing that has to be wrenched from an anointed ruler, nothing which can be gained by violence,-nothing but that which, being already granted, requires only to be cherished, and may best be cherished in peace, the manhood of my race. To this must I henceforth be loyal.'
"Well. Explain, explain what you propose.'
"I cannot remain in an army opposed to what are now the legal rights of the blacks.' " "You will give up your command ?' "I shall. " And your boys,—what will you do with them ?'
"Send them whence they came for the present. I shall dismiss them by one road, while the resignation of my rank goes by another.'
And you yourself by a third.' • “When I have declared myself to General Hermona.'
Have you thoughts of taking your soldiers with you ?' 6.No.' • But what is right for you is right for them.'
• If they so decide for themselves.—My power over them is great. They would follow me with a word. I shall therefore avoid speaking that word, as it would be a false first step in a career of freedom, to make them enter upon it as slaves to my opinion and my will.'
« • But you will at least address them, that they may understand the course you pursue. The festival of this morning will afford an opportunity-after mass. Have you thought of this ?-I do not say that I am advising it, or sanctioning any part of your plan: but have you thought of this ?'
"I have, and dismissed the thought. The proclamation will speak for itself. I act from no information which is not open to them all. They can act, thank God, for themselves : and I will not seduce them into subservience, or haste, or passion.'
• But you will be giving up everything. What can make you think that the French at Cap, all in the interest of the planters, will receive you?'
"I do not think it; and I shall not offer myself.'
• Then you will sink into nothing. You will no longer be an officer, nor even a soldier. You will be a mere negro, where negroes are wholly despised. After all that you have been, you will be nothing.'
« I shall be a true man.'
• “You will sink to less than nothing. You will be worse than useless before God and man. You will be held a traitor.'
• 'I shall ; but it will be for the sake of a higher fidelity.'
Toussaint payed him his wonted reverence, and left the tent. • Arrived in his own, he threw himself on the couch like a heartbroken man.
". No help ! no guidance !' thought he. I am desolate and alone. I never thought to have been left without a guide from God. He leaves me with my sins upon my soul, unconfessed, unabsolved : and, thus burdened and rebuked, I must enter upon the course which I dare not refuse. But this voice within me which bids me go,—whence and what is it? Whence is it but from God? And how can I therefore say
that I am alone? There is no man that I can rely on,-not even one of Christ's anointed priests ; but is there not he who redeemed men ? and will he reject me if, in my obedience, I come to him ? I will try,-I will dare. I am alone; and he will hear and help me.'
Without priest, without voice, without form of words, he confessed and prayed, and no longer felt that he was alone. He arose, clear in mind, and strong in heart : wrote and sealed up his resignation of his commission, stepped into the next tent to rouse the three boys, desiring them to dress for early mass, and prepare for their returnto their homes immediately afterwards. —Vol. i. pp. 136–151.
The ninth chapter is headed . The Man. The news that Toussaint was gone over from the allies to republican France soon became universal in Cape François, and that this step had been followed by a large defection from the allied forces. Toussaint and Henri Christophe took possession of the town, released General Laveaux from prison, and spread universal joy among the French.
We have been much pleased with these volumes; chiefly, perhaps, for the hero's sake. In some passages there is a decided failure, from the want of probability; while in others there is unquestionably much to interest and impress. A Walter Scott would have found this a fine subject for his genius. We are glad, however, it has now been treated, and in a manner which does no discredit to a clever writer, though it is not perhaps the best production of the author's pen.
Art. IX. 1. Extracts from Papers Printed by the order of the House of
Commons, 1839, relative to the West Indies. By Authority. London:
1840. 2. A Winter in the West Indies, described in Familiar Letters to Henry
Clay, of Kentucky. By JOSEPH JOHN GURNEY. London : 1840. 3. The Present Condition of the West Indies ; their Wants, and the Re
medy for These : with some Practical Hints showing the Policy of a New System for their future Regeneration. By HENRY MORSON.
London : 1841. 4. Past and Present Efforts for the Extinction of the African Slace-trade.
By W. R. GREG. London: 1841. 5. Emancipation. By WILLIAM E. CHANNING. London: 1841.
THERE is an important sense in which the phrase we have
adopted as the running title of this article is far from being applicable to the subject to which we have applied it. The results of emancipation—of the emancipation, that is to say, of the eight hundred thousand bondsmen who lately watered with their sweat and blood the West Indian possessions of Great Britain, are as yet, in their completeness, no matters of discussion, for they are not yet in existence. The influence of this great measure stretches both so wide and so far; it spans, only so broad an expanse of waters—for it will assuredly reach the continent of Africa--but so vast an expanse of time—since it will affect the character of all coming ages—that it is precipitate, even to trifling, to speak as though we saw, at the present moment, anything which can properly be called the results of emancipation. We may observe, indeed, things which have resulted from it, as we may observe what has resulted from the husbandman's toil, when we see the clean ploughed furrow, the smooth raked earth that covers the seed, or the light green hue with which it is clothed by the up-springing blade; but it is for them to speak of the result of his labors, who shall see the waving yellow crop, and the industry of the harvest field. Not more, at the largest amount, than the tender herb to the ripened corn, are present results of negro emancipation to the harvest of unmeasurable good of which it is to be productive.
Using the term with this qualification, however, there is enough in the results of emancipation, as at present visible, to furnish matter of interesting inquiry and gratifying record, more especially as its immediate effect was anticipated by many persons with real or feigned alarm. We propose, therefore, to devote a few pages, under the guidance of the works named at the head of this article, to a statement of the present, and an inquiry into the prospective issue of emancipation in our West India colonies.
Before we enter upon our task, it will be proper to give some brief account of the works upon our table.
During the parliamentary session of 1839, there were laid on the table of the House of Commons voluminous papers on the state of the British West Indies, during the critical period which elapsed between the spring of 1838 and that of the following year. On the first of August, 1838, emancipation took place; the period we have named, therefore, comprehends the time immediately preceding that change, and immediately following it. At this period the stipendiary magistrates were in the official habit—a habit which has subsequently been most injuriously discontinued-of making monthly reports to the colonial governors, of all things which they deemed material to a correct knowledge of the state of affairs. These reports, although far from being in all cases what they ought to have been, brought to head quarters, and ultimately to the British government and the British parliament, an immense amount of invaluable information, and contributed to most important beneficial effects. As a class-we are happy in having this opportunity of saying it—the stipendiary magistrates of the West Indies have deserved well of their country; and their services, performed amidst accumulated difficulties and implacable hostility, entitle them to the warm approbation and high esteem of every friend of freedom and humanity. The reports of these functionaries, together with the despatches of colonial governors, are the staple of the volume which we have placed at the head of our list, as at once of the largest bulk and of the highest authority. It is a thick, but not a cumbrous octavo volume, consisting, as the title says, of extracts from papers printed by order of the House of Commons in 1839, relative to the West Indies. It is an admirable digest of the documents relating to emancipation and its immediate consequences, prepared, as it appears, by direction of government, in order to throw the important information contained in the parliamentary papers into a form generally accessible and easily available. Its price is extremely small; and every person who wishes to know upon authority the facts of the case, or to be able to refer to authority in relation to them, should place it in his library. Thanks are certainly due to the government, for the careful preparation and economical publication of it.
The work of Mr. Gurney, A Winter in the West Indies, although illustrative of the same subject, is the antipodes of that we have just noticed. It is the narrative of a well informed and highly cultivated traveller, who suffers nothing to escape him, and looks upon every thing with a benevolent, and generally a discriminating eye. With a view to render his volume useful in the United States, he has thrown it into the form of