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very respectable proofs of eloquence and talents, there are no traces of literary studies, no poets nor dramatists. Although the author extols the genius, urbanity, liberality, and above all the humanity of his countrymen, he has obliged his readers to dispense with his assertions, without furnishing them with any documents to corroborate his praises. The natives indeed of petty islands have long been celebrated as flatterers; and we supect that Mr. Poyer wishes not to detract from their celebrity in this respect, at least so far as it is applicable to his “dear native island." His own pretensions, however, are sufficiently modest; and he laments his want of an "academical education," and his inability to render greater justice to his native country by composing a more learned work: this volume nevertheless is written with considerable simplicity and neatness; and, considering the paucity of the author's materials, and the very circumscribed nature of the subject, it is more interesting than would generally be supposed. As a specimen of the genuine spirit by which the people of Barbadoes are actuated, we find that not one of the author's countrymen would lend him Oldmixon's History of the British Empire in America, nor could he get" access to the journals of the colonial parliament!!” Such conduct sufficiently betrays the narrowmiuded illiberality of. these colonists, and fully justifies the author in lamenting "the envious malignity which has endeavoured to obstruct his pursuits.” We have not been able to discover any sentiments in this book which would induce us to believe that the author had been a violent partisan, or that his political principles were such as to render hiin obnoxious either to the governor or the Legislative Assembly; of course we can conelude the existence of no other cause than "envious malignity,” which would prohibit his inspection of the journals. To the Rev. Mr. Brome and Judge Hinds, however, he returns his grateful acknowledgements for their “unremitting endeavours to procure him the materials necessary for the completion of his work.”'
We shall pass over the author's defence of his country, against the torrent of illiberal invective with which our mistaken and misinformed trans-atlantic fellow-subjects continue to overwhelm a peaceful unoffending community, with the gross calumnies propagated concerning the treatment of slaves,”. to notice what is properly historical, or what relates to the present condition of the island, in which we doubt not negroes are now very humanely treated. Barbadoes
was first cultivated, or rather discovered, 'about the end of the 16th century, by the Portuguese, who called it A Ilha Barbada (the bearded island), probably from its containing numerous Indian fig-trees. This name afterwards degenerated to As Barbadas (not Las Barbadas, as its historians erroneously suppose), which has been transJated into English - Barbadoes. Thus far it is necessary to fix the true orthography of the name, which Mr. Poyer has wished to write Barbados, had not his printer very properly corrected him. Of the first settlements of Barbadoes, the author has furnished nothing but what was previously stated in Ligon's History, or the Rev. Mr. Hughes's Natural History of Barbadoes; and the grants and countergrants of this island, by the unprincipled Charles to the Earls of Marlborough and Carlisle, are not now worthy of detailing. The well-known story of Inckle and Yarico affords Mr. Poyer an opportunity of vindicating his country from the charge of inhumanity; and after relating the fact. from ligon, of Inckle's selling Yarico (the woman who had preserved his life) for a slave, he adds:
" It will readily be perceived, how much this simple tale has been embellished by the creative imagination and descriptive powers of Addison. And it is painful to add, though it is too obvious ' to escape observation, that similar artifices and exaggerations have been successfully employed in later times to inflame the passions and prejudice the minds of the credulous misinformed Europeans on the subject of West-Indian slavery. It does not, however, appear, that the lady possessed any remarkable share of delicacy, since it is reported by Ligon, who was personally acquainted with her, and received many offices of kindness at her hands, or that she would not be wooed by any means to wear clothes. Nor does she seem to have been much affected by the ingratitude of her perfidious betrayer. Her excellent shape and
colour, which was a pure bright bay; and small breasts, with
nipples of porphyrie,' were irresistible attractions, and she soon consoled herself in the arms of another lover. In short, she
chanced to be with child by a Christian servant, and lodging • in an Indian house, amongst the other women of her own countrye • and being very great with child, so that her time was come to • be delivered, she walked down to a wood, and there, by the
side of a pond*, brought herself a-bed; and presently tyashing
her child, in three hours time came home with a lusty boy, frolic 6. and lively: Who could suppose that this is the same unfortunate female, of whom so much has been said and sung by moralists,
** There is a pond in Kindall's plantation, which, from this circumstance, is called, at this day, Yarico's Pond.
poets, and historians; whose hapless fate has caused such lively sensations in the tender minds of Europe's philanthropic sona? No apology, it is presumed, will be thought necessary for this minute and authentic account of the celebrated Belle Sauvage, whose wrongs have been amplified and recorded by the ablest pens; and whose imaginary sorrows have drawn, the tear of sympathy from the brighest eyes." P. 45.
The principal agricultural information which we find in this volume, is contained in a note, recommending attention to the situation and preservation of the peasantry of the island. It is dictated by good sense, and breathes a genuine philanthropy.
“ Every man, even of common observation, must be convinced that the decline of the Barbadoes inilitia is owing to the disastrous emigration of the lower classes of people. This grouping evil requires some legislative remedy. In a country possessed of a population so extensive as this is, and circumscribed within such narrow boundaries, every possible encouragement should be held out to the poor and laborious, to exert their
industry and ingenuity in such useful employments as are suited to their humble condition. These men are not only the real effective strength of their country ; they would add to its opulence were they placed in a situation to earn a subsistence for their families. But, unfortunately, different policy prevails among us, Few plantations have a sufficient number of labourers to cultivate their fields, yet many slaves are employed as tradesmen, who would be equally as profitably engaged in agricultural occupations, while the industrious mechanic is destitute of employment. No wonder that, under such discouragements, he is compelled to forego his fond attachment to his native soil, and emigrate to the neighbouring colonies, where his skill and diligence are better rewarded. Thus, the physical strength of the country is daily diminished; and the common stock deprived of a due proportion of labour and industry,
The decay of population, according to an eminent political philosopher, " is the greatest evil that a state can suffer; and the im
provement of it, the object which ought, in all countries, to be ' aimed at in preference to every other political purpose whatever.'
" To check this alarming decrease of population two things are obviously necessary; first to provide homes for the poor, and employment for the industrious. Among the ancient Romans we find frequent mention of Agrarian laws for the relief of the poor. That wise and politic people thought that it signified but little, if, while the senate. and patricians lived in affluence, the veteran soldier pined in want and obscurity. It is not intended to interrupt our modern patricians in the quiet possession of their estates, by recommending this example to their imitation; but it must be allowed, that there are very few plantations which cannot, without injury to the owner, spare a few acres of indifferent land at their extremities for the accommodation of the tenantry. This unfortunate, but useful class of people, ought to be assisted;
they deserve encouragement. On the scanty glebes which may be assigned to them, they would find rest when their labours were done, and shelter from the pitiless pelting of the storm. Here they would toil, and, enjoying the fruits of their industry, become useful members of the community. Sweet, to the mind of the most humble, is the little native cot, under whose lowly roof peace and security dwell. Another important object is, to find employment for the industrious. To effect this grand desideratum, one thing only is necessary, to confine our slaves, by an act of the legislature, to the labours of the field. This will furnish the inferior orders of people with an opportunity of gaining an honest livelihood in the various mechanical professions which luxury and necessity have introduced for the convenience or ornament of society. Were this done, Barbadoes would furnish employ and subsistence for her numerous sons at home; the security of the country would be strengthened by the aggregation of faithful loyal subjects; the community would enjoy the advantages of a general circulation of the wages of industry; and our planters would no longer require fresh importations of Africans for the cultivation of the land. Perfectly aware of the objections to the execution of this plan, I can only lament the invincible obstacles which deep-rooted prejudices and mistaken avarice have raised to oppose its accomplishment ; for I feel the strongest conviction that the day is not far distant, when the proposed regulations, had they been early adopted, would have proved [i. e. if adopted would prove) the salvation of the country.”
P. 60. “ To provide a remedy suitable to the magnitude of this evil, the best policy which could be adopted in a country where slavery prevails, is to hold out every possible encouragement to that hardy and useful, though humble, class of people, known by the colonial appellation of the tenantry. The only legitimate aim of hiiman politics is the extension of human felicity; and this cannot be effected except by the encrease of numbers, provided with the comfortable means of subsistence. To acquire and maintain an extent of population essential to the security- and prosperity of the country, the rich, whose individual interest is inseparably connected with the public welfare, should be made to .yield, in some points, to the support and accommodation of the poor. The proprietors of plantations may be compelled, by the militia law, instead of billetted men, to furnish tenants, in proportion to their quantity of land, who should be legally confirmed in the unmolested enjoyment of their little tenements*. It was the wish of
“ * The present militia law has made some .provisions for tenants; but it seems to have been ineffectual. They are either eluded with facility, or violated with impunity. On some plantations, without regard to justice, policy, or humanity, the tenants have been wantonly and cruelly driven from their homes, cand shain leases given to the white servants for the vacant tevements. In others, the poor tenant, besides his personal services, is.compelled to provide hiinself vith uniform, arms, and ammunition, at
Henry IV. of France, surnamed the Father of his people, that he might live to see a fowl in the pot of every peasant in his kingdom. Let it be the aim of every Barbadian, emulous of the same glorious appellation, to erect a cottage over the head of every peasant in Barbadoes, and gratitude will invigorate the arm under which the lordly possessor will find his best security in the hour of danger. The trifling property thus bestowed on the humble husbandman, the lowly roof endeared to him by the society of a wife and children, the partners of his toils and the solace of bis days, would bind him, by the most invincible ties, to his native soil
; and impel him, when led on by his generous landlord, to risque his life with ardour, in defence of a country to which lie is altached by the most indissoluble connexions.”
P. 129. To this plan we know only one objection: if the peasantry are virtuous, it should be adopted; but if vicious and intemperate, it would be ruinous. The necessity of this distinction is sufficiently obvious, without our referring to any illustrative facts. We fear, however, that the public stock of virtue is not very great in Barbadoes, especially as we find that there are numerous tribunals, or courts of justice, "regulated by laws" which are “in many instances partial, absurd, unjust, and oppressive.” The want of judges*, who are men of learning to expound the laws, is also feelingly and we think candidly deplored. A reform in the constitution of the courts of law, and a reduction of their number, are deemed indispensable; and it is frankly avowed that the salaries of the law-officers
his own cost, which is more, in many instances, than the rent of the barren heath which he occupies is worth.
Some men have a strange propension to evade the legal institutes of their country, merely to show their superior cunning and dexterity. But what minds must these men possess, who can find satisfaction in such pitiful evasions; who, while they waste thousands in riot and debauchery, deny bread to the labourer, and refuse rest and shelter to the houseless wanderer?
«* Few of these gentlemen” (says the author)." have laid up any stores of knowledge to qualify them for the arduous undertaking; they have never drunk at the fountain of science; but trusting to natural intuition, they assume an awful office, and grasp the avenging sword of justice. Every ordinary justice of the peace, whose vanity prompts him to sit in judgment on the lives and liberties of his fellow-creatures, is eligible to a seat on the bench. A court of criminal judicature is thus formed of men unacquainted with the laws which they are bound, by the most solemn obligations, to administer faithfully. In a court so absurdly constituted, prejudice and partiality may safely exert their deleterious influence, secure within the dark immunities of a crowd.”' P. 200.