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where a period of less than twelve months had sufficed to produce a very visible alteration in the style of dress, and even in the manners of the people, in the exterior and interior appearance of the houses, in the sedan chairs, and in the equipment of the horses.The impulse of this change is represented as mainly given by a few families newly imported from Lisbon and England. It seems a pity that a people so easily rendered dissatisfied with themselves and their customs, should not have had the good fortune to obtain from abroad exemplars that would have prompted and attracted them to changes in inuch more important matters. How many diversities of the cut of their clothes, and the colour of their house fronts, and the shape of their furniture, and the regulations of their promenading, will they be manæuvred through, at the caprice of the adventitious dictators of fashion, before any detachment of the European community will disturb them into innovation, by examples of judicious education, extensive and useful reading, genuine religion, and an adjustment of manners at once liberal and systematically moral?
Our author amused himself with an excursion among the sugar plantations, with a particular attention to the economy of slave employment, and observant also of the characters and habits of the proprietors, and the free labourers. He was struck with the contrast between the almost solitary appearance of the country, on a geneal view, and the large assemblages of people drawn together at the churches at particular times, and at the planters' residences on occasions of sport festivity. Frolic and riot are quite as necessary against the tedium of existence to the superior people, as to the meaner tribe; and on some of the days before Ash-Wednesday, Mr. K. and an accompanying friend were regaled quite to satiety, and something further, with a sport called intrudo. Before a meal is well ended, the partakers, the family, (that is, the men of it) guests and all, fall to pelting and bespattering one another with the eatables remaining on the table, commonly no small quantity. At one house, even the blackened pots and pans from the kitchen were introduced,' for the purpose of a mutual besmearing of the gentlefolks' faces. Here, even the ladies were induced to join in the war, and the slaves were de. lighted to be admitted to a share. It is all taken in perfect good humour; or the utmost contempt assails any one that becomes angry and resentful.
Among the various plantations the author visited, he distinguishes one, but without giving either local or personal name, as horribly infamous for cruelties perpetrated on the slaves, with a systematic, continued, wanton enormity.'
* The estate was inherited by the person in question, with sixty good slaves upon it; fifteen years have elapsed since that time to the period of which I speak, and there were then remaining only four or five individuals who were able to work. Sonne have fled, and have escaped; others have died, God knows how; and others again have committed suicide in sight of their masters' residence.'
Mr. K. says he did not hear any other of the planters charged with a conduct so systematic and atrocious:--might it not be expected then, that the miscreant in question would often have to encounter the most unequivocal and intentional signs of detestation from what is accounted the respectable part of the society of the country? No such thing:
* The conduct of the owner toward his slaves is often spoken of with abhorrence, but yet he is visited and treated with the same respect which is paid to an individual of unblemished character.'
So base a betrayer can politeness be to the cause of justice! Yet it perhaps never occurs to the thoughts of these civil gentry, that they will stand accountable, and will be joined in retribution, for so much of the wickedness as the honest manifestation of their opinion might have prevented. And our author's delicacy, too, in so carefully suppressing the name,—was it in return for being regaled with pine-apples and oranges, at the plantation? If so, we wish that, however hot the day might have been, he had declined swallowing so sweet a bribe to protect the entertainer's name from infamy by concealing it.
This tour among the plantations, was preparatory to our Author's becoming, in connexion with a friend a sugar-planter himself, by renting, in 1812, an estate called Jaguaribe, with the slaves, cattle, and other requisites upon it, four leagues from Recife, and one league from the coast. He relinquished it, however, towards the end of the following year, and became a resident and co-planter on the island of Itamaraca, where he remained till some time in the year 1815, when he abandoned, for reasons not assigned, the planter's vocation, to which he confesses he was become partial, and returned, perhaps finally to Europe: perhaps finally, for he seems willing to contemplate a possibility that he may be destined to accomplish, what he earnestly and vainly wished while in South America, a journey of discovery quite across that continent.
The proceedings and incidents in the course of these planting speculations, furnish a considerably lively and diversified narration, which is followed, toward the close of the volume, by a large assemblage of descriptions and observations of a more general kind. The natural appearance of the country, so different from the Sertam or desert, is largely displayed, with all its diversity of landscape, vegetation, and soil. The description of the whole economy of the plantations, is enlivened by a very great number of anecdotes and little personal adventures, for the most part illustrative of the state of the country, and the characters and habits of its heterogeneous population. The distinctive characteristics of each class and race, are marked; their moral effect
on one another is rendered apparent; and the fantastic spectacle formed by the jumbling of so many sorts of human beings together, is brought out in a striking light.
The picture of a planter's life, is perhaps less repulsive in our Author's work, than in any former representation given on respectable authority; and it is so because he constrains us to believe, even though we should make some allowance for the circumstance of his being a native of Portugal, toat the great majority of the Brazilian planters, have a much less oppressive and cruel system of management, than that which has loaded with so much infamy the slave-owners of the Dutch, Spanish, and English colonies. He deliberately and constantly declares, that, in the tracts of Pernambuco, at least, the condition of the slaves is not generally severe, and that any savage infliction, or systematic intolerable oppression, would render a planter infa. mous even among his class, notwithstanding the polite attention with which, as in the instance above quoted, he might be hypocritically treated among them.
Nevertheless, Mr. K. is a most decided enemy to the whole of the slave-system; and this, not because it would be disgraceful or unfashionable to be its advocate, but because, together with a conviction of its intrinsic iniquity, he perceived, in observation and experiment, the many practicable evils inseparable from its operation. These he has pointed out; and at the same time he has shown the advantages attending the employment of freemen; ---advantages on the mere trade account, besides all the satisfactions of a moral kind. Happily, the various rules and modes of manumission, have rendered this class of negroes and mulattoes sufficiently numerous for an extensive diffusion of the practical evidence of the benefits of freedom.
An extended account is given of the methods of cultivation, with the annoyances and disasters to which it is liable, and of the process of preparing the sugar. Mr. K. judges the Brazilian planters to be quite a century behind those of the West Indies, or, to use his phrase, the Columbian Islands,' in all the mechanical expedients for saving the labour of men and cattle. He anticipates that this incuriousness or dread of innovation cannot continue among them very long; but thus far, nothing can exceed the stupidity with which they have retained all the clumsy, tedious, toilsome, and unthrifty methods of their forefathers. А gross ignorance, indeed, on all subjects beyond the most contracted routine of accustomed practice, is quite general among the inferior order of planters. Some of the richest class are beginning to come in contact, in their visits or residence at Recife, with the knowledge of Europeans.
With respect to religion, if it may be so called, all classes seem nearly alike the slaves (or rather the dupes, for as a burden, it is tolerably light upon their consciences) of the most ridi. cuious superstitions, of which a great number of curious illustrative instances are related.
The chief fault of this work is prolixity, occasioned by a uniform minuteness of detail. On some subjects great minuteness may be essential to the requisite precision; but in many of the matters of a book of travels, the writer should make an earnest effort to put himself in the reader's place, and subject his work to a severe process of selection and exclusion. The work is, nevertheless, of very considerable merit for the information it brings, and for the principles of justice and humanity it serves to confirm.
The eight coloured plates, combining costume with scenery, are well executed, and contribute materially to the purpose of information.
IX A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
I happened not long since to be present at the muster of a captain's company in a remote part of one of the counties, and as no general description could convey an accurate idea of the achievements of that day, I must be permitted to go a little into the detail, as well as my recollection will serve me.
The men had been notified to meet at nine o'clock, armed and equiped as the law directs,' that is to say, with a gun and cartridge box at least, but, as directed by a law of the United States, with a good firelock, a sufficient bayonet and belt, and a pouch with a box to contain not less than twenty-four sufficient cartridges of powder and ball.' At twelve, about one third, perhaps one half, of the men had collected, and an inspector's return of the number present, and of their arms would have stood nearly thu s; I captain, i lieutenant; ensign, none; fifers none; privates, present, 23; ditto absent, 50; guns, 15; gunlocks, 12; ramrods, 10; rifle pouches 3; bayonets, none; horsewhips, walking canes, and umbrellas, 22. A little before one, the captain, whom I shall distinguish by the name of Clodpole, gave directions for forming the line of parade. In obedience to this order, one of the sergeants, whose lungs had long supplied the place of a drum and fife, placed himself in front of the house, and began to bawl with great vehemence, 'All captain Clodpole's company to parade here! come GENTLEMEN, parade here! and all you that hasn't guns fall into the lower eend. He might have bawled till this time with as little success as the Syrens sung to Ulysses, had he not clianged his post to a neighbouring shade. There he was immediately joined by all who were then at leisure; the others were at that time engaged, either as parties or spectators, at a game of fives, and could not just then attend. However,
in less than half an hour the game was finished, and the captain enabled to form his company and proceed in the duties of the day.
Look to the right, and dress! They were soon, by the help of the non-commissioned officers, placed in a strait line, but as every man was anxious to see how the rest stood, those on the wings pressed forward for the purpose, till the whole line assumed nearly the form of a crescent.
Why look at 'em,' says the captain'why gentlemen you are all a crooking here at both eends, so that you will get on to me by and by-come gentlemen, dress! dress!'
This was accordingly done; but impelled by the same motive as before, they soon resumed their former figure, and so they were permitted to remain.
Now gentlemen, says the captain, I am going to carry you through the revolutions of the manual exercise, and I want you gentlemen, to pay pa ticular attention to the word of command, jist exactly as I give it out to you. I hope you will have a little patience, gentlemen, if you please, and I'll be as short as possible, and if I be a going wrong, I will be much obliged to any of you gentlemen, to put me right again, for I mean all for the best, and I hope you will excuse me, if you please. And one thing, gentlemen, I must caution you against, in particular, and that is this, not to make any mistakes if you can possibly help it; and the best way to do this, will be to do all the motions right at first and that will also help us to get along so much the faster, and we'll try to have it over as soon as possible. Come, boys, come to the shoulder.
Ram down cattridge! No! no! Fire! I recollect now that firing comes next after taking aim, according to Steuben; but with your permission gentlemen, l'll read the words just exactly as they are printed in the book, and then I shall be sure to be right. • yes! read it captain, read it (exclaimed twenty voices at once) that will save time.'
"Tention the whole then; please to observe, gentlemen, that at the word of fire! you must fire, that is, if any of your guns are loaden'd, you must not shoot in year'nest, but only make pretence like, and you gentlemen fellow-soldiers, who's armed with nothing but sticks, riding-switches, and corn-stalks, need'nt go through the firings, but stand as you are, and keep yourselves to yourselves.
Half cock, foulk! Very well done. S, h, u, t, (spelling) Shet pan! That too would have been very handsomely done, if you had'nt handled cartridge instead of shettin pan, but I suppose you want noticing. Now 'tention one and all gentlemen, and do that motion again.
Shet pan! Very good, very well indeed, you did that motion equal to any old soldier---you improve 'stonishingly.