Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

“ Between the tyranny of sleeping laws, and the tyranny of lawless monarchy, there is this difference: the latter is the tyranny of one; the other is the tyranny of millions. In the one case the slave has but one master; in the other he has as many masters as there are individuals in the party by whom the tyranny has been set up.

“ Tyranny and anarchy are never far asunder. Dearly indeed must the laws pay for the mischief of which they are thus maile the instruments. The weakness they are thus struck with does not confine itself to the peccant spot; it spreads over their whole frame.

“ The tainted parts throw suspicion upon those which are yet sound. W'90 can say which of them the disease bas gained; which of them it has spared ? You open the statute. book, and look into a clause : does it belong to the sound part, or to the rotten? How can you say? By what token are you to know? A man is not safe in trusting to his own Cues. You may have the whole statute-book by heart, and all the while not know what ground you stand upon under the law. It pretends to fix your destiny : and after all if you want to know your destiny, you must learn it, not from the law, but from the temper of the times.

“ The temper of the times, did I say? You must know the temper of every individual in the nation; you must know not only what it is at the present instant, but what it will be at every future one: all this you must know, before you can lay your hand upon your bosom, and say to yourself, I am suje.

“ What, all this while, is the character and condition of the law ? Sometimes a bugbear, at other times a snare; her threats inspire no efficient terror, her promises no confidence. The canker-worm of uncertainty, naturally the peculiar growth and plague of the unwritten law, insinuates itself tbus into the body, and preys upon the vitals of the written.

* All this mischief shews as nothing in the eyes tyrant by whom this policy is upheld and pursued, and whose blind and malignant passions it has for its cause.

His appc tites receive that gratification, which the times allow of: and in comparison with that, what are laws, or those for whose sake laws were made ? Ilis enemies, that is, those whom it is his delight to treat as such ; those whose enemy he has thought fit to make himself, are his foot-stool : their insecurity is his comfort; their sufferings are his enjoyments; their abasement is his triumph.

of the

" Whence comes this pernicious and unfeeling policy! It is tyranny's last shift, among a people who begin to open their eyes in the calm wbich has succeeded the storms of a civil war. It is her last strong hold, retained by a sort of capitulation made with good government and good sense. Common humanity would not endure such laws, were they to give signs ot life : negligence, and the fear of change, suffer them to exist so long as they promise not to exist to any purpose. Sensible images govern the bulk of men.

What the eye elocs not see, the heart does not rue. Fellow-citizens dragged in crowds, for conscience sake, to prison, or to the gallows, though scen but for the moment, might move compassion. Silent anxiety and in ward humiliation do not meet the eye, and draw little attention, though they fill up the measure of a whole life.

“ of this base and malignant policy an example would scarcely be to be found, were it not for religious hatred, of all hatred the bitterest and the blindest. Debarred by the infidelity of the age from that most exquisite of repasts, the blood of heretics, it subsists as it can upon the idea of secret sufferings; sad remnant of the luxury of beiter times.*

" It is possible that in the invention of this policy, timidity may have had some share ; for between tyranny and timidity there is a near alliance. Is it probable? Hardly: the less so, as tyranny, rather than let go its hold, such is its baseness, will put on the mask of cowardice. It is possible, shall we say, that in England forty should be in dread of one: but can it be called probable, when in Ireland forty suffer nothing from fourscore?

“ When they, who stand up in defence of tyrannical laws, on pretence of their being in a dormant state, vouchsafe to say they wish not to see them in any other, is it possible they

*"Seventy thousand catholic dissenters, added to two hundred thousand presbyterians and other protestant dissenters, are to join in first subduing, and then oppressing eight millions of church of England men. So irrationalare the principles of those parties, that their prevalence is the greatest calamity that can befal the nation: so rational are they, at the same time, as well as so concordant among themselves, that they want nothing but fair play and the liberty of being heard upon equal terms, to gain the majority of churchinen, and make them either catholics or presbyterians, or independents, or quakers, or all at once. To prevent a catastrophe thus horrible and thus imminent, the whole body of these here. tics are to be kept in a state of slavery, collectively and individually, with regard to the whole body of the orthodox. The former are to be, with regard to the latter, what the Helotes were with regard to he Lacadæmonians. Every man of the one class is to have it in his power at pleasure to devote to ruin every man of the other, whenever ne happens to be in a mood for it. Upon such terms, and upon such terms only, the church is safe."

should speak true ? I will not say: the bounds of possibility are wide. Is it probable? That is a question easier answered. To prevent a law from being executed, which is the most natural course to take? To keep it alive, or to repeal it? Were a man's wishes to see it executed ever so indisputable, what stronger proof could he give of his sincerity, than by taking this very course, in taking which he desires to be considered as wishing the law not to be executed. Where words and actions give one another the lie, is it possible to believe both ? If not, which have the best title to be believed. The task they give to faith and charity is rather a severe one. They speak up for laws against thieves and smugglers : they speak up for the same laws, or worse, against the worshippers of God according to conscience : in the first instance you are to believe they mean to do what they do ; in the other, you are to believe they mean the contrary: their minds and actions are at variance, and they declare it: they profess insincerity, and insist upon being, shall we say, or upon not being, believed. They give the same vote that was given by the authors of those laws; they act over again the part that was acted by the first persecutors; but what was persecution in those their predecessors, is in these men, it seems, moderation and benevolence. This is rather too much. To think to unite the profit of oppression with the praise of moderation, is drawing rather too deep upon the credulity of mankind.

“ For those who insist there is no hardship in a state of insccurity, there is one way of proving themselves sincere :let them change places with those they doom to it.-One wish may be indulged without breach of charity : may they and they only, be subject to proscription, in whose eyes it is no grievance.

These reflections, on the important circumstances which occurred in the life of Mr. Howard, previously to his entering upon that peculiar course of public usefulness which has rendered his name so illustrious, have engaged us, but we hope not without instructiveness, to a considerable extent. We shall here make a pause. Mr. Howards Pilgrimage, his Pilgrimage of Philanthropy, we shall reserve entire for a new Number

(To be continued.]

23

of the Manners and Customs of the People of Cayor, Sin,

and Sallum.

[Continued from Vol. I. p. 291.]

The people, who thus cultivate their lands, and who are employed, taking in all the different sorts of produce, for the months of July, August, September, October, November, December, and May, are not idle for the other months of the year. They betake themselves in the interim to other stationary employments. Some of them make pipes, the bowls of which resemble our own both in shape and size. These are mostly ornamented with colours, which are burnt in with the clay. The ground of them is generally bay, and the devices black. T'he pattern is small, neat, and elegant, and the workmanship well executed. The pipes, which now and then find their way down the Senegal from Galàm, are similar in size and shape, but are not distinguished by colours, making a beautiful appearance without them; for the earth, of which they are made in the neighbourhood of Galàm, being richly impregnated with gold, a number of little stars or spots of gold present themselves on their outward surface.

Others of the natives employ themselves in the interim in making mats ; some of them for use, others for orna. ment. The former are made of the leaves and twigs of trees; the latter of various sorts of grass. These grasses being often coloured, and then worked in according to the fancy of the artist, give the mats great variety, and often beauty of appearance.

Others follow soap-making as a trade. The soap is composed of certain insects and grease. Soap-making, however, is an employment in which only the women are concerned.

According to the advantages which the situation of the country affords, other stationary occupations arise. Thus the villagers on the sea-coast employ themselves in fishing. They go out to sea for this purpose, and are engaged there, off and on the coast, from February till nearly June. The fish which they catch they preserve by drying in the sun. At the end of the fishing season it begins to be time, from what has been said before, to cultivate their lands. They betake themselves therefore to agriculture. Hence, includ. ing the fishing season, and the months alrcady stated to have been the months for husbandry, these inarine villagers have sufficient work for the year round.

Another occupation is that of building canoes or boats. And here it is remarkable, that the boats, which the fishermen use in th:c tract of country now under our consideration, are not built upon the shore; first, because there is but little wood upon the part of the coast where they live; and, secondly, because that little is neither so good nor so fit for the purpose as that in the interior parts. llence arises, by necessity, the business of boat-building at the distance of thirty (French) leagues from the shore, and in a part of the country where the reader will find, by referring to the map, (Philanthropist, No. iii. p. 204,) there are no rivers to bring them down when made. The Serreres of Baol, who have been described as living among the woods, particularly follow this employe ment. These are free men, and work themselves, unaided by the labour of any slaves. They cut down the trees first, They then sbape the canoes; but do not hollow them, lest, in dragging them over-land across the country (for there is no other way of conveying them) they should break them. When they have shaped them, they fasten to them the ropes or cords of the country, which are made of stout twisted grass, and by the assistance of the village, pull them by main force about six (French) leagues. Here they are assisted by people from thie next village, who drag them about six leagues further; and so on, till they reach the shore. They give those who thus help them their food only for their pains, with which they are content. Notwithstanding the wonderful trouble and perseverance from the felling of the trees to the delivery of these boats upon the shore, they sell them at a price which would be hardly credited by an European. A boat, that will hold two people, may be bought for about four bars, that is, for about twelve livres, or ten shillings English; and a large canoe, of forty feet in length, for something less than eighty livres, or about three guineas or pounds. Those, furnished by the Serreres of Baol, are dragged to dit: ferent parts of the coast between Point de Serreres and Gambarou, and are generally of the length of twenty-five feet; boats of these dimensions only being in use between these limits.

Those in use from Gambarou to Cape Rouge, are about twelve feet long. These are cut down, and formed in the vi.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »