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tion by a revival of his trade. The foreign colonies, it is universally admitted, make sugars cheaper than ours can. Their soil is much better, and they pay fewer taxes. These advantages, but especially the former, are more than sufficient to balance our superiority in capital, manufactures and navigation. The Committee of 1789 estimated the total effect of them, as reducing the prices ini the proportion of five to seven. It is easy to perceive, then, that the peace prices in the market of the world, when peace is restored, will be regulated by the cheapness of the foreign sugars, and that as long as our market requires a large exportation-as long, in short, as the glut continues our own sugars must be sold, both at home and abroad, according to the prices of the cheap produce.
We apprehend, then, that as the evil complained of in the colonial system did riot originate in any thing else than the excessive cultivation of the cane, the war did not necessarily aggravate this evil to any considerable degree. Hoftilities might, in fact, have been carried on by a countrý poffefsing a decided naval superiority, not only without increasing the distresses of its colonists, but in such a way as to throw upon the enemy the greater pressure of the load common to all West Indian proprietors. By abstaining from conquests in the West Indies—by carefully preventing the introduction of flaves into foreign colonies in our vefsels-by impeding the navigation of the enemy to and from his sugar islands, as far as we could, consistently with the law of nations by doing our utmost to prevent him from supplying his colonies with flaves * by adopting every method of encouraging our own trade with the Continent, clinging to our American connexions, and showing ourselves the protectors of neutrality, wherever the general inteDd 2
* To check the neutral slave traffic carried on with the enemy's islands, might have been impracticable, unless some previous arrangement had been made with the American government. We certainly should inculcate a respect for neutral rights, as necessary at all times, but as more essential in proportion to the extension of hostilities, and the violation of all public law by our enemies. Nevertheless, we question whether, in point of strict justice, and according to the law of nations itself, cargoes of kidnapped human beings are to be respected as innocent merchandize, when found on board neutral vessels on their voyage to an enemy's port. This, at least, is certain, that, with a government so well disposed as the American has always been to abolish the slave trade, few obstacles could have occurred to prevent some amicable arrangement which should give us the power of obstructing this odious intercourse with the foreign islands. No such attempt, however, could be expected from those who allowed the slave trade to flourish under the protection of Eng. lish laws.
rests of the world permitted it to exist :-By such a policy as this, while we raised our name amidst the ruins of public character by which we were every where surrounded, we should also have preserved our commerce from the general wreck of industrious pursuits; and inflicted upon our adversaries the greatest share of the distresses which all colonial adventurers have brought upon themselves—while we checked the progress of the common evil-saving the Antilles from bankruptcy, and redeeming Africa from defolation. Thus much might have been effected by virtue and prudence : it would have been a palliative, at least; and, if applied in time, it might almolt have effected a cure. But our rulers were pleased to pursue an opposite course--of which, by the way, one can find no disapprobation recorded in any of the West Indian reports, largely as they treat of every other topic,--and seem to have exerted themselves to elicit calamities from the war which did not naturally attend it, and which it is much to be feared peace cannot now lefsen. Our statesmen, our ambitious statesmen, must needs reverse the policy of their fathers; and, instead of conquering America in Germany, bethink themselves of defending Germany in the West Indies. Armament after armament must be equipped, and army succeed army in the inheritance of a pestilential climate, and conquests barren of all but honour. Barren? They were worse than barren. They aggravated every distress of which our own colonies had to complain ;-they haftened the progress of our enemy's colonial resources to the point where they must undermine our own ;--they brought on the day of reckoning with Africa, far fooner than it could otherwise have come and revenged the countless wrongs which she owes to our colonies, by involving those colonies in one scene of misery. If we were bid to express, by a single phrase, the object of the only successful operations carried on against the enemy by land, during the last war, we should certainly say, 'the encouragement of the . flave trade :'* and, itrange and dismal to relate, this was the
* We must here repeat what we have so often before noticed, be. cause the recollections are highly edifying, that the warfare pursued in the West Indies, viz. the capture of the enemy's settlements, suddenly increased the British slave trade to nearly double its former amount. This plan was again pursued during the present war; and the remedy of preventing the slave trade was only applied late in 1805. The extension of the slave trade, and the conquest of a sugar colony, are happily no longer synonymous terms: yet surely the state of the home market, and the difficulty of reexporting produce, not to mention the benefits which the hostile colonies derive from being in our possession, and having access to our capital, should lead us to deprecate, as a piece of the most unmeaning restlessness, the plan of attacking Martinico, said to be now in agitation, for a new proof of our vigorous policy.
system adopted by a government which professed itself generally friendly to the abolition ; unanimously the patrons of religion and social order; and altogether chivalrous in the cause of oppressed princes, and exiled nobles. Unhappily, not they, and not even the enemy whom they encouraged in his African traffic, but their own countrymen, have reaped the reward of so much inconsistency
so much shortfighted rapacity—such sneaking from the performance of their duty-and skulking behind the established prejudices of the mercantile mob. But, whatever the country may have hereafter to pay for the calamities which are now oppressing the West Indian body, let us never forget that the creatures of the flave trade are they who now solicit relief from the calamities which it has entailed upon them;--and, as often as their tale is told, while it excites our compassion, let it also keep alive the memory of that long reign of impolicy and contradictions, to which England and Europe, as well as the other parts of the world, owe so many of their present afflictions.
ART. VIII. Partenopex of Blois; a Romance : Freely translat
ed from the French of M. Le Grand, with Notes. By William Stewart Rose. 4to. London. 1808.
If critics could be prepossessed by the external beauty of a book,
we should perhaps speak too favourably of this work. But we are past all gallantry of that kind. The whiteness, firmness, and purity of paper,- the strength and rotundity of types,-the breadth of margins,---eyen the attractions of coloured engraving, we can behold with equanimity-Intrgri laudamus; and if the author has sent his poem into the world with all these arts of fascination, in imitation of those fair suitors of whom he has read in romance, to smooth the wrinkled brow of criticism, we must tell him, that, to us, he might as well have offered base gold, or eyen his annual buck (see p. 200.) from the New Forest.
Yet we cannot pass without notice, the engravings from designs by Mr Richard Smirke, which decorate this elegant volume. For these, Mr Rose claims the praise of exhibiting" a faithful picture of the scenery and habits of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the result of much industry and faithful observation.' We believe this to be perfectly well deserved. They are strictly according to the costume of those times; and free from that mixture of arms, dresses, and styles of architecture, which generally prevails in the drawings of undistinguishing artists. Considered in this light, they not only adorn, but illustrate the poem ; and may be strikingly contrasted with those contemptible blots in aqu
tinta, or ill engraved portraits, which the purchaser of most modern books would cut out, if he were not restrained by the melancholy reflection, that they have doubled the price of his bargain. 1. It is much less than a century since the attention of the literary republic has been diverted, in a great degree, from Greece and Rome, to the laws, usages, and literature of what we call the middle ages,-a subject more copious, more applicable to modern times, and not less interesting. Among the original sources of this information, the Romances have justly been placed very high. It is needless, in this place, to combat those, if any there are, who despise such works. The respect shown to them by Du Cange, St Palage, and the best French antiquaries, speaks sufficiently in their favour. Those, in fact, who are conversant with the legitimate histories of the middle ages, know how inex. pressibly meagre they are, with a very few exceptions, as to the most interesting points—the state of manners and the progress of society; so that, if a sacrifice was to be made of a Chronicle or å Romance, we should very frequently, with a view even to historical knowledge, in this comprehensive use of the words, throw the former, without hesitation, into the fire.
These legends bear generally strong marks of an Oriental li. neage : of the many sources, at least, whence they have been derived, this is the most copious. It may seem strange, indeed, to deny the praise of invention to the trouveurs of France, and to look for any foreign origin of such works, as a warm imagination might be thought to suggest to the poets of every country. Yet there is much more of plagiarism in fiction, than would at first sight be believed. It has been always more easy and more safe to dress up an old story, than to form a new one. Few romances can be named, which have not some prototype, or of which no imitation has been attempted. There is the less to surprise in this, since even wit, which seems indigenous, has been generally a transplanted fruit. Half of Joe Miller may be traced to Athens--and the remainder to Bagdad." *. A question, however, might be raised, why, in those ages of the marvellous, these tales of faery came to supersede, in popularity, the domestic anecdotes which fill up the monkish chronicles. For, wheh so many saints and devils were gamboling around, for little other purpose than to amuse the public, it seems hard that more attention should have been paid to the enchantments of Merlin and Morgana.' There was, indeed, a sort of competition between these rival powers of féerie'and diablerie, to which we inay ascribe the spleen which was borne by the monks towards dle niinstrels, and the satirical strokes with which the latter re
venged themselves on the monks. Among the vulgar, we suspect the feats of Beelzebub to have been the most popular. But, in the court and the castle, it was quite the contrary : the rom mances were full of pageants and tournaments, of chivalrous lore and warfare ; and the terrors of enchantment were always of a kind that yielded to valour and fortune : whereas the religious legends were apt to lead to a much less favourable conclusion. The story of that tall black man, who beckoned out of his hall, in the midst of a feast, a certain Count of Maçon, might have excited some uncomfortable feelings in the heart of a feudal baron.
• The romance of Partenopex, or rather an extract from it, made its first appearance in the Bibliotheque des Romans, under the title of Partenuple de Blois, translated from a story in Spanish prose. M. le Grand has, however, successfully established the French origin of this work. His own translation is made from a MS. poem, in the library of St Germain-des-Prés, which he is at first inclined to consider as a production of the twelfth century: he afterwards, reasoning from a piece of internal evidence, revokes his first opinion, and, with greater appearance of probability, ascribes it to the thirteenth.
• Of its French origin, little doubt will probably be entertained by those conversant with the literature of the middle ages. It is scarcely necessary, after the able essays on these subjects by Mr Ellis and others, to insist, that all the antient romances were written in verse. Nor is this the only ground on which M. le Grand might vindicate the title of his country. The oldest verse which Spain can boast, is that of the Troubadours, whose works consist exclusively of metaphysical disquisitions on love, and satires ; and even this strain of poetry, amongst the Spaniards, dates long posterior to the period which, arguing from the manners it reflects, and the sentiments which it breathes, must have given birth to Partenopex de Blois. '
The kings of France, as every body knows, are descended from Priam, through Marcomeris, son of Hector ; ---such luck had these Trojans to found every where better kingdoms than that from which they were forced to fly. In the course of this royal stem between Priam and Pharamond, there reigned a certain Cleoner, whose nephew, son of the Count of Blois, was yclepped Partenopex, the hero of our tale. On a certain day the king. went out to hunt the boar in the wood of Ardennes, when Partenopex, after slaying one beast, is separated from his company in quest of another, which he has started. In vain Cleoner and his courtiers seek him on every side, and make the air reecho with their shouts and horns : no Partenopex was within hearing ; 'nor voice nor bugle made reply:' and they return home to supper without tidings. Meanwhile, Dd 4