« IndietroContinua »
sweetness of her temper, during her matin devotions at the mirror, coaxes a smile upon her lip, which lasts until dinnertime. She is distinguished throughout her neighbourhood, for the salt of her sayings, and the smartness of her repartees, yet as honest Tom Brown would pronounce, her humour is like the spirit in a blind horse, only serving to risk his shins.
Nam quæ docta nimis cupit, et facunda videri,
Even wit's a burthen when it talks too long;
An elegant French writer observes, that spiders might weave Italian gauze, or lustrings, or changeable silks, if they could associate in friendship together, instead of spinning out their cobwebs. So Miss Belinda Blossom, that pink of gallantry and paragon of taste, would be a seraph, an angel of the seventh Heaven, if she were not guilty of certain monstrous faults and unseemly foibles.
With regard to our country married ladies, they sufficiently answer every qualification. Who can find a virtuous woman; for her price is above rubies? She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor, yea, she reacheth forth her hand to the needy. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Her children arise up and call her blessed: her husband also, and he praiseth her. Situated in the centre of conjugal bliss, a sigh will oft prevail, when I reflect, that I am a lonely being, without an object to'engage my affections, and make cheerful by her smiles, the dark winter of age. Hope once spread before my eyes, a harvest of joys, whose fruition would prove a foretaste of Elysium, yet the wanton gossip soon laughed to scorn my easy credulity, and fulfilled her promise to a rival.
Moralists, who would direct our steps in the pursuit of happiness, and virtuous men, who proved by experiment, many modes of human life, have regarded retirement, as fraught with peculiar felicities. Seneca inculcated this doctrine, and eloquently petitioned his imperial pupil, that he might practise it. Marcus Agrippa, the illustrious leader of the armies of Augustus, relinquished without a sigh, all his honourable preferment, for the solitude of Lesbos. Every contemplative mind turns with rapture, from the pomp and refinement, that prevail in cities, to the simplicity of rustic manners. Herc, Nature seldom appears otherwise, than in her primitive loveliness; and although Tiberius, may have extended the example of his licentious court amid the rocks of Capræa, yet there seemed a guardian genius, ever watchful to save the sylvan shades from any lasting pollution.
Luxury is more baneful than pestilence or the sword, and always selects for its ravages, that scene, where they may prove most extensive. Its victims are not entangled in any thicket where age may have wandered alone for recreation, or youth through pastime. They themselves voluntarily prepare the sacrifice-their own hands bind them to the altar, and present the instruments of immolation-An ascendancy gained, its progřess is accelerated, until it break into corruption. Then every vice predominates; reason is bewildered; the heart debased, and this noblest work of God sinks from his rank in the creation.
If we examine the books of Tacitus, a picture is presented to our view, at which the soul recoils with horror. Rome displays herself in the full maturity of sin-All the laurels that bloomed around the tombs of her heroes are trod into the dust-her triumphal arches form a gray and drooping ruin--her temples only mock the glory of ages that have passed-Virtue is proscribed Philosophy inculcating its divine precepts, expires in the bathConjugal affection is stigmatised with obloquy, and Love, resist-ing Lust, provokes the knife of venal Murder-hero is beheld on the house-top of Mæcenas, chanting blithely to his harp the sicgo of Troy, whilst the flames of palaces and towers checr his song:
or Messalina publicly practises her meretricious endearments, making a pride of prostitution. God forbid, my dear Christopher, that a similar spectacle should ever be exhibited any
where in our beloved republic!
MEMOIRS OF HAYTI.--FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
The Cape, Island of Hayti, April, 1806. I HAVE mentioned to you upon former occasions that the Haytian chiefs have directed a considerable portion of their attention to the construction of fortifications in the interior of the country, in order that should the conquest of the island be again attempted by the French, strong holds might be reserved for the retreat of the native troops, in the event of their being compelled to abandon the coast. One of these forts I have lately had an opportunity of visiting, and as I was exceedingly astonished at its extent and apparent security, I shall describe it as well as my recollection will enable me. Much particularity however cannot be expected, for in a country, where a continual suspicion is entertained of the views of foreigners, prudence requires, that great caution should be exercised in an examination of its political state.
Early in the last month, three or four Americans, of whom I was one, were invited by colonel Joysin to take a ride with him into the country to visit the fort called Le Ferrier, situated about seven leagues from the Cape, in a southwardly direction. Such invitations are extremely rare, and of course the one with which we were favoured, was eagerly embraced. This officer commands the second regiment, and is the same man I have in one of my early letters described in very unfavourable terms;
but as his conduct towards me since my present residence here, has been of a friendly character, I have thought it not unadviseable to make the best use of his civility. On Sunday, the ninth of March, the party set out at 4 o'clock in the morning, on horseback, in conipany with the colonel who was attended by his guard of dragoons. We crossed the ferry near the town, and putting our horses upon a gate which exhibited more the appearance of a race than a jaunt of pleasure, we continued our route through the pretty little village of Petit Ance, and in less than two hours, reached Millot, a small town about fifteen miles distant from the Cape. The road thus far, being across the Plaine du Cap, was almost as level as a bowling green, and I think I may with safety assert, that in the whole distance, there is not one spot of ground which is elevated twenty feet above the rest. The road is of solid carth in most places, but the surrounding lands are principally soft and marshy, and are well calculated for the cultivation of sugar. The fields of the plantations are separated by ditches and hedges, which supply the place of fences, and many of the roads are well shaded by rows of trees.
Millot is the place of residence of our military companion, and is also the spot which has been selected by the general in chief for his country retreat. It is a delightful little village, containing besides the general's mansion, several neat houses, and is situated at the very foot of the ridge of inountains, upon the summit of one of which the fort is erected. We stopped at the colonel's villa, which is a small house pleasantly situated with a piazza in front and a flower garden in the rear. We found the parlour ornamented with a number of engravings, amongst which were the likenesses of six or eight of the most distinguished French generals, and that of our great Washington. The colonel soon after entering the room, pointed the good old chief out to us, and emphatically remarked, "there is a man.” During our stay at the colonel's, a soldier was brought before him, charged with having struck an unarmed man a severe blow on the arm with his sabre. The prisoner endeavoured to exculpate his conduct, but Joysin provoked at the fellow's cowardice, as he termed it, ordered him iminediately to the dungeon at the fort, there to
await the punishment which “his excellency" the general in chief would inflict upon him for his base crime.
After having taken some liquid refreshment, we saw a regiment of infantry reviewed, and such a collection truly it was, that had they been under the marching orders of Jack Falstaff, he could not but have repeated his old honest confession"If I be not asham’d of my soldiers, I am a souc'd gurnet." This operation being finished, the colonel provided us with a set of fresh horses and mules, and at seven o'clock we resumed our journey. In the vicinity of Millot, the mountain is indented by a cove, on one side of which the road ascends, until reaching its extremity it winds around and passes on the opposite side. Without such a circuitous direction the mountain could not be ascended on account of its steepness. Five miles of continual ascent brought us to a corps de garde, where we stopped and left our horses under the care of the soldiers. The fort was yet half a mile distant, situated upon the pinnacle of a peak of the mountain, of such steepness, as to be accessible only by means of an artificial road cut in a serpentine form. This part of the route was scarcely passable for the horses, and it was on that account we left them below. After much labour and fatigue, we at length reached the gate of this stupendous structure, and with the colonel at our head, gained ready admission.
During our progress up the mountain, we very sensibly perceived the variation of the atmosphere from heat 10 cold. We at first saw the clouds above us, whilst the power of the sun was exceedingly oppressive, then beheld them all around us, when assailed by their chilling influence, and lastly observed them floating beneath our feet. From heat almost insupportable, we were introduced to a state of such coolness as was calculated by the contrast to excite our astonishment. In one case we found the soldiers perspiring at their labour with scarcely any clothes upon their backs, and in the other the sentinel at the fort wrapped in a blanket and shivering as though he had a fit of the
ague. The Ferrier is the pride of Christophe, and has engrossed the principal part of his attention since its commencement upwards of two years ago. The chief architect whose talents have