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The late king, Christophe, whose authority is also quoted, is more candid; and, in a letter cited, instead of proclaiming the accomplishment of improvements, “unprecedented in the history of the species,' he only says, “I am endeavouring,
as far as possible, to inculcate the principles of · religion and virtue, among my fellow-citizens : he does not assert that he has accomplished this ; or that his fellow-citizens have become in a few years 'civilized and even refined;' on the contrary, he honestly desires his friend' to consider what ' time is necessary, and what care and exertions ' are required, to effect the diffusion of religious and moral feelings, among a people recently emerged from the gloom of ignorance and slavery.'
But, say the Reviewers, lest such representations should be deemed partial, as coming from Haytians, and even public functionaries, we subjoin another authoritiy, not liable to suspicion, viz. an extract from a report of a committee of a society at Philadelphia, called the American Convention for the abolition of slavery and improvement of the African race.
Unfortunately, we cannot help considering this authority no less suspicious. But let us hear what the impartial African institution of Philadelphia reports on the subject. It is not said that any one of the members of the society, has ventured to St. Domingo, to ascertain the actual state of it, whereby to judge of the best means of improving the African race ;' on the contrary, we find from the first
sentence, that the report is made up from the representations of others (not the most unfavourable we presume), and from public documents printed in the island, from which,' say they, it appears, that the Haytians have made a progress in civilization and intellectual improvement, nearly, if not altogether, unparalleled in the his"tory of nations; free schools are established to a
greater extent in proportion to the wants of the ' people, than is known in European countries, What a happy illustration in addressing the people of the United States, who, equally ignorant how European countries are provided with schools, as how Hayti itself is provided, are not likely to challenge the correctness of the ingenious comparison ! "The government is efficient and ap
parently stable; it is republican in its form, the • laws being passed by a legislative body chosen
by the people. Yet, it is said, that the controul ‘of the president is predominant, the military 'force being at his command. He does not however appear to abuse his authority,'&c.
Such is the hearsay account given of the state of education and of the government of Hayti. Let us now attend to what this report says respecting the condition of the people. The great body of men in all countries are hired labourers, who 'subsist on their wages, and the quantity of the ' means of subsistence given them for their ser'vices is perhaps the best criterion which can 'be obtained of the degree of happiness they ' enjoy, or of positive oppression they suffer,
Trying the condition of the Haytians by this test it would appear decidedly better than that of the people of any European nation, and the • citizens of the United States would be able to * boast of no striking pre-eminence. The wages • of the labourers in the Haytian sea-ports is one • dollar per day.'
The great body of men in all countries are the hired labourers, and we are to judge of the state of the great body of men in Hayti by the wages occasionally given on board of a foreign ship in a sea-port! The master of a ship, if his crew happens to get sick, a misfortune not uncommon in a West Indian port, must give any rate of wages demanded of him to get his vessel loaded : but even this is not fairly told; he pays the Haytians one dollar per day.' It may be so, but what kind of dollar, Spanish or American? Neither but a current Haytian dollar of base metal, by which valuable coin, perhaps, the amount of imports, exports, and revenue, is estimated. How
many of these go to a million sterling we have never been told.
Such is the evidence brought across the Atlantic to prove to the people of England the success of negro emancipation, and to encourage them to press the experiment upon their own colonies. It is to be hoped the next American report will furnish us with satisfactory reasons why the poor blacks they so charitably transported to that land of promise, where the great body of men are paid
'a dollar a day' for their labour, made so short a stay in it as Inginac reports.
One word more on education : we may hear on this side of the water of schools in Hayti for teaching history, geography, geometry and
algebra,' (and why not have added Greek and Hebrew ?) but never having heard of any Haytian who had acquired a knowledge of these branches of education in the island, we cannot help suspecting that these schools will be found as much a hoax as the 200,000 tons of shipping employed to carry 16 or 17 thousands tons of produce, or their armed force of 158,848 men! Reference has been made to their official documents to prove their scholarship, as if it followed that Boyer (originally, it is said, a tailor) was his own clerk or secretary; report attributes them to a young American from New England, who publishes the official newspaper called the Telegraph, at Port-au-Prince.
From what has been said it clearly appears that the dreadful massacres of the revolution in St. Domingo have not been compensated to humanity, by any beneficial results. On the contrary, this beautiful island, once the richest and most valuable in the Western Archipelago, has become nearly a desert. Deprived of the light of civilization by the murder or expulsion of the Europeans, its rude population, now under a military despotism, is relapsing into African barbarism. With all the natural advantages
which the most favoured soil and climate can boast, cultivation has disappeared, desolation is stamped on the face of the country; it is the last place on earth that an exile would choose for his home. The very outcast free blacks of North America have fled from it in horror.
The Edinburgh Review on the Spirit of West
India Society.' In a subsequent number of the Edinburgh Review (84), 'the spirit of West Indian society' is ascertained from a riot, and the destruction of a methodist chapel in Bridgetown, Barbadoes. Of that disgraceful transaction I never heard mention made in Jamaica, but in such terms as would be used in England in speaking of the riots in Ireland ; and it is just as fair and candid to judge of the inhabitants of Jamaica by a riot in Bridgetown, Barbadoes, as it would be in a foreign writer to illustrate the spirit of English society' by a minute and studied account of a riot in Connaught. Such conduct, however, on the part of the Review, can excite no surprise, because the uniform practice of the party has been, when any case of cruelty or violation of the law occurred in any of the colonies, to hold it up and dwell upon it in their speeches and publications, as a proof of the general ill-treatment of the slaves,--as a fair specimen of the