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in the jjlace was able to g-ive him last night — and all through
HliedropV^

Poor Ellen felt her lover's degradation more than he felt it
himself; though he did feel it when he saw that, however others
might think of it who were as bad or worse than he, Ellen's
pale cheek and wasted form proved how much she suffered.
It was nearly four weeks before Lawrence was able to resume
his employment, and during that time Ellen never re-
proached him — never said a word that could give him pain —
but when he was quite recovered, and again spoke of their mar-
riage, she at first turned away to weep bitterly, and then firmly
told him "that her mind was fixed; she never would marry
him until he took 'an obligation' on himself 'at the priest's
knee' never to touch spirits of any kind from that day to the
day of his death." There might have been a struggle in Larry's
mind as to which he would give up, Ellen or the whisky. Ellen,
however, triumphed; he practised total abstinence for three
months. When, from faith in his oath, she married him, expe-
rience had convinced him that his tower of strength was total
alstinence, his guardian angel his fii'm yet gentle wife. He
never tasted whisky from that time, and Ellen has the proud
satisfaction of knowing she had saved him from destruction. I
wish all Irish maidens would follow Ellen's example. Women
could do a great deal to prove that " the least taste in life^^ is a
large taste too much — that " only a drop " is a temptation
fatal if unresisted.

Since the foregoing story was written, a great change has
taken place in Ireland,* and, by the blessing of God, in England

* For an account of the Irish Temperance Reformation generally, we
refer to our Tract entitled " The Temperance Movement ;" the following
particulars, however, may here be advantageously introduced from the
recent work on Ireland by Mr and Mrs S. C. Hall : — " In reference to the
extent to which sobriety has spread, it will be almost sufficient to state,
that during our recent stay in Ireland, from the 10th of June to the 6th of
September 1840, we saw but six persons intoxicated ; and that for the
first thirty days we had not encountered one. In the course of that
month we had travelled from Cork to Killarney — round the coast ; return-
ing by the inland route, not along mail-coach roads, but on a 'jaunting-
car,' through byways as well as highways ; visiting small villages and
populous towns, driving tlnrough fairs, attending wakes and funerals (re-
turning from one of which, between Glengariff and Kenmare, at nightfall,
we met at least a hundred substantial farmers, mounted) ; in short,
wherever crowds were assembled, and we considered it likely we might
gather information as to the state of the country, and the character of its
people. We repeat, we did not meet a single individual who appeared to
have tasted spirits ; and we do not hesitate to express our conviction,
that two years ago, in the same places, and during the same time, we
should have encountered many thousand di-unken men. From first to
last, we employed perhaps fifty car-diivers ; we never found one to accept
14



it's only a drop.

and in Scotland also : there are many thousands at this moment
who, instead of striving' to content themselves with " only a di'op'^
— an experiment that failed in nine cases out of ten — never taste
or touch the liquid poison. What has been the consequence ?
Their comforts have aug'meuted fom'fold ; they are bringing- up
their families respectably, giving them better clothes, better food^
and better education, than their means could have permitted them
to do, had they spent what they once did upon strong- drinks.
Many, many are the blessings they hourly enjoy, arising- out of the
monies of which di'inking - houses are deprived. Their heads are
cool, while their hands are strengthened by industry sevenfold
productive — industry born of temperance. Moreover, there are
very few members of temperance societies who have not laid by

a drink : the boatmen of Killarney, proverbial for drunkenness, insubordi-
nation, and recklessness of life, declined tlie whisky we had taken with
us for the bugle-player, who was not ' pledged,' and after hours of hard
labour, dipped a can into the lake, and refreshed themselves from its
waters. It was amusing as well as gxatifying to hear their new reading of
the address to the famous echo — ' Paddy Blake, plase yer honour, the
gintleman promises ye some coffee whin ye get home ;' and on the Black-
water, a muddy river, as its name denotes, our boat's crew put into shore,
midway between Youghal and Lismore, to visit a clear spring, with the
whereabouts of which they were familiar. The whisky-shops are closed
or converted into coffee-houses ; the distilleries have, for the most part,
ceased to work ; and the brcNveries are barely able to maintain a trade
sufficient to prevent entire stoppage. Of the extent of the change, there-
fore, we have had ample experience ; and it is borne out by the assurances
of so many who live in toT\Tis as well as in the country, that we can have
no hesitation in describing sobriety to be almost universal throughout Ire-
land." IVIr Hall, at a late meeting m Exeter Hall on behalf of Father
Mathew, related the following anecdote illustrative of the great moral
change which had taken place hi Ireland. " About seven or eight years
ago he had visited a friend of liis at Limerick, intending to enjoy the
sport of fishing in the Shannon. In order that the man whom Ms friend
employed to attend the boat should ap]pear as decent as j)ossible, a new
suit of clothes had been given to him the day previous to that appointed
for the fishing. The man, however, appeared in his usual rags, and after
some prevarication, confessed that he had pa-v^-ned them to get drink. The
wife and family of this man were in the most abject state of wretchedness,
having neither clothes, furniture, nor even potatoes ; and before he left
Limerick, this same man was in prison for an assault. Two years since he
again visited his friend, and what was his surprise to find the same man
healthy, well clad, his wife and children comfoi-table, and having money in
the savings' bank. And how was this change brought about ? Why, the
man had taken the pledge, and kept it. His master had given him five
shillings to go to Cork and take the pledge ; but before he got there, not
only had he spent the five shillings in drink, but had pa^-ned his clothes;
and when he took the pledge, Father Mathew gave him half-a-crowTi to
help him on his road back. No man loved Ireland or the Irish cha-
racter more than he did ; and he should always endeavour to place that
character in its best and truest position before Englishmen ; and now that
the Irishman had added to his many high and good qualities the gi'catest
of all virtues next to religion, temperance, they might depend he was now
to be trusted at all times and under all circumstances." — Note hy Editors.

15



it's only a dkop.

& little at least against " a rainy day." Proud and liappy men
are tliev who once a week visit The SAYI^'Gs' BA^'K, that
tower of the working-man's strength. Proudly yet humbly do
they pass by the '•' gin-palaces,*' whose glaring lights and broad
windows shine in bitter mockery upon the rags, the violence,
the evil-speaking, the debilitated forms and emaciated counte-
nances of those who are there ruining bodies and perOing souls
by the most debasing and least defensible of all bad habits. Of
such unhappy fellow - creatures the upholders of temperance
may well say, though with an unblameable and truly Christian
feeling, " God be thanked that we are not as other men are."

But^the hero of total abstinence will not be satisfied with this ;
he will not be content with his own prosperity ; he will not say,
"Stand back, I am holier than thou" — not he. He will call to
mind when he too was one of the " unclean ;" he will prove his
gratitude for the saving knowledge he has acquired by endea-
vouring to impart it to others ; and he will do this gently and
without self-exaltation. He will be ready at all times and in all
^^laces to give a reason unto all men, to show why he is more
comfortable than his neighbours ; and why, despite the " hard-
ness of the times," he is able to multiply his "little" by the
self-restraint that renders it " much." I look upon the temper-
ance movement as one of the greatest glories of the age we live
in. It was preached unto the poor by a few good men, and the
poor adopted it ; its influence spread upwards, and the rich have
since followed the example of the humblest class.

But while I rejoice at the spread of temperance in England,
and hope it may be as widely extended in Scotland, I find it
difficult to write dispassionately of the seJf-denial practised by
the peasantry of my own dear country, gi^'ing up what might
be termed, and with perfect truth, their only luxury — relinquish-
ing what, according to one of their popular songs, was

" Sister and brother,
And father and mother ;
My Sunday coat, I have no other'''' —

discarding a habit, the growth of centuries, suddenly, and yet
faithfidly — is enough to warm even a stranger's heart towards
the country, despite all that is said against it. The fact, that
they made a resolution to which they have adhered, and gave a
pledge which they have kept faithfully for above six years, ^iil
surely be accepted as sufficient proof that the Irish may be trusted
fully in even higher matters — that they are capable of any effi)rt
for the social elevation of their- country — and that the poverty
and misery which have been for a series of years proverbial, can-
not be much longer their burthen and reproach.

A. M. H.

16





TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE AND THE REPUBLIC
OF HAYTI.

T the middle of the chain of islands composing: the
"West Indies, lies one of large size discovered br
Columbus on the 6th of December l-49'2, and called
by him, in honour of his native country, Hispaniola,
or Little Spain. This name, however, was afterwards aban-
^•^doned, and the island was called St Doming'o, from the
name of its principal town. Latterly, this second appella-
tion has likewise dropped out of use, and the island now
bears the name of Hayti, a word sig-nitying* mountainous, by
which name it was called by its orig-inal inhabitants before the
visit of Columbus.

Hispaniola, St Doming-o, or Hayti, is not only one of the
largest, but also one of the most beautiful and productive islands
in the "NYest Indies. Extending* a length of 390 miles by a
breadth of from 60 to L50, it presents great diversity of scenery —
iofty mountains, deep valleys, and extensive plains or savaiinahs,
clothed with the luxuriant vegetation of a tropical climate. The
sea sweeps boldly jiere and there into the land, forming com-
modious harbours and channing bays. The air on the plains is
warm, and laden with the perfume of flowers ; and the sudden
chang'es from di'ought to rain, though trving to a European con-
stitution, are favom^able to the growth of the rich products of the
soil.

Columbus and his successors having founded a settlement in
the island, it became one of the Spanish colonial possessions, to
No. 57. 1



TOUSSAINT L^OUVERTUIIE AND THE REPUBLIC OF HAYTI.

the great misfortune of the unhappy natives, who were almost
annihilated by the labour which the colonists imposed upon them.
As Spain, however, extended her conquests in the American
mainland, the importance of Hispaniola as a colony beg-an to
decline; and at the be^-inning of the seventeenth century the
island had become nearly a desert., the natives having been all
but extirpated, and the Spanish residents being few, and con-
gregated in several widely-separated stations round the coast.
At this time the West Indian seas swarmed with buccaneers,
adventurers without homes, families, or country, the refuse of all
nations and climes. These men, the majority of whom were
French, English, and Dutch, being prevented by the Spaniards
from holding any permanent settlement in the new world,
banded together in self-defence, and roved the seas in quest of
subsistence, seizing vessels, and occasionally landing on the coast
of one of the Spanish possessions, and committing terrible ravages.
A party of these buccaneers had, about the year 1629, occupied
the small island of Tortuga on the north-west coast of St
Domingo. From this island they used to make frequent incur-
sions into St Domingo, for the purpose of hunting ; the forests of
that island abounding with wild cattle, horses, and swine, the
progeny of the tame animals which the Spaniards had introduced
into the island. At length, after various struggles with the Spanish
occupants, these adventurers made good their footing in the island
of St Domingo, drove the Spaniards to its eastern extremity, and
became masters of its western parts. As most of them were of
French origin, they were desirous of placing themselves under
the protection of France ; and Louis XIV. and his government
being flattered with the prospect of thus acquiring a rich posses-
sion in the new world, a friendly intercourse between France
and St Domingo began, and the western part of the island
assumed the character of a flourishing French colony, while the
Spanish colony in the other end of the island correspondingly
declined.

From 1776 to 1789, the French colony was at the height of its
prosperity. To use the words of a French historian, everything
had received a prodigious improvement. The torrents had been
arrested in their course, the marshes drained, the forests cleared ;
the soil had been enriched with foreign plants ; roads had been
opened across the asperities of the mountains ; safe pathways had
been constructed over chasms ; bridges had been built over rivers
which had formerly been passed with danger by means of ox-
skin boats ; the winds, the tides, the currents, had been studied,
so as to secure to ships safe sailing and convenient harbourage.
Villas of pretty but simple architecture had risen along the bor-
ders of the sea, while mansions of greater mxagniticence embellished
the interior. Public buildings, hospitals, aqueducts, fountains,
and baths, rendered life agreeable and healthy ; all the comforts
of the old v/orld had been transported into the new. In 1789 the
2



T0ussAI^'T l'ouverture a>'d the republic of hayti.

population of the colony was 665,000 ; and of its staple pro-
ducts, it exported in that year 68,000,000 pounds of coiFee and
163,000,000 pounds of sugar. The French had some reason
to be proud of St Doming-o ; it was their best colony, and
it promised, as they thought, to remain for ag*es in their pos-
session. Many French families of note had emigrated to the
island, and settled in it as planters ; and both by means of
commerce, and the passing to and fro of families, a constant
intercourse was maintained between the colony and the mother
country.

Circumstances eventually proved that the expectation of keep-
ing permanent possession of St Doming'o was likely to be falla-
cious. The constitution of society in the island was unsound.
In this, as in all the European colonies in the new world, negro
slavery prevailed. To supply the demand for labour, an impor-
tation of slaves from Africa had been going on for some time at
the rate of about 20,000 a-year ; and thus at the time at Vv'hich we
are now arrived there was a black population of between 500,000
and 600,000. These negroes constituted an overwhelming majo-
rity of the inhabitants of the colony, for the whites did not
amount to more than 40,000. But besides the whites and the
negroes, there was a third class in the population, arising from
the intermixture of the white and negro races. These were the
peo})le of colour, including- persons of all varieties of hue, from
the perfect sable of the freed negro, to the most delicate tinge
marking remote negro ancestry in a white man. Of these various
classes of mulattoes, at the time of which we are now speaking,
there were about 30,000 in the colony.

Although perhaps less cruelly treated than others in a state of
hopeless servitude, the negroes of St Domingo were not exempt
from the miseries which usually accompany slavery ; yet they
were not so ignorant as not to know their rights as members of
the human family. Receiving occasional instruction in the
doctrines of Christianity, and allowed by their masters to enjoy
the holidays of the chui'ch, they were accustomed to ponder on the
principles thus presented to their notice, and these they perceived
were at variance with their condition. This dawning of intelli-
gence among the negroes caused no alarm to the planters gene-
rally. The French have always been noted for making the
kindest slave-owners. Imitating the conduct of many of the old
nobility of France in their intercourse with the peasantry, a
number of the planters of St Domingo were attentive to the
wants and feelings of their negro dependents — encouraging their
sports, taking care of them in sickness, and cherishing them in
old age. In the year 1685, likewise, Louis XIV. had published
a code noir, or black code, containing- a number of regulations for
the humane treatment of the negroes in the colonies. Still, there
were miseries inseparable from the system, and which could not
be mitigated ; and in St Domingo, as in all the other colonies of

3



TOUSSAINT l'OUVERTURE AND THE REPUBLIC OF HAYTI.

the new world, slavery was maintained by tlie cruelties of the
whip and the branding-iron. It was only, we may easily sup-
pose, by a judicious blending" of kindness and severity, that a
population of upwards of 500,000 negroes could be kept in sub-
jection by 40,000 whites.

The condition of the mulatto population deserves particular
attention. Although nominally free, and belonging to no indi-
vidual master, these mulattoes occupied a very degraded social
position. Regarded as public property, they were obliged to
serve in the colonial militia without any pay. They could hold
no public trust or employment, nor fill any of the liberal profes-
sions — law, medicine, divinity, &c. They were not allowed to sit
at table with a white, to occupy the same place at church, to bear
the same name, or to be buried in the same spot. Offences which
in a white man were visited with scarcely any punishment, were
punished with great severity when committed by a mulatto.
There was one circumstance, however, in the condition of the
mulattoes, which operated as a balance to all those indignities,
and enabled them to become formidable in the colony — they
were allowed to acquire and to hold property to any amount.
Able, energetic, and rendered doubly intent .upon the acquisition
of wealth by the power which it gave them, many of these
mulattoes or people of colour became rich, purchased estates, and
equalled the whites as planters. Not only so, but, possessing
the tastes of Europeans and gentlemen, they used to quit St
Domingo and pay occasional visits to what they as well as the
whites regarded as their mother country. It was customary
for wealthy mulattoes to send their children to Paris for their
education. It ought to be remarked also respecting the mulatto
part of the population of St Domingo, that they kept aloof both
from the pure whites and the pure negroes. The consciousness
of his relationship to the whites, as well as his position as a free
man, and frequently also as the owner of negro slaves, gave
the mulatto a contempt and dislike for the negro ; while, on the
other hand, he had suffered too much from the whites to enter-
tain any affection for them. The most inveterate enemies of the
mulattoes among the whites were the lower classes, or, as the
mulattoes called them, Lespetits Manes — •' The little whites.' These
petits hlancs regarded the mulattoes not only with the prejudice
of race, but with feelings of envy on account of their wealth.
Among the whites themselves there were feuds and party dif-
ferences, arising from difference of social position. The petits
Manes grumbled at the unequal distribution of the good things of
the island, while the superior men among the whites, proud of
their descent from old French families, were not content with
merely being rich, but wished also to have titles, to make the
distinction between them and the other colonists greater. Such
was the state of society in the colony of St Domingo in the year
1789-90, when the French Revolution broke out.



TOUSSAINT l'oUVERTURE AND THE REPUBLIC OP HAYTT.



FRENCH REVOLUTION — INSURRECTION IN THE ISLAND.

Although, situated at the distance of 3500 miles from the
mother country, St Domingo was not long in responding to the
political agitations which broke out in Paris in 1789. When the
news reached the colony that the king had summoned the States-
general, all the French part of the island was in a ferment.
Considering themselves entitled to share in the national commo-
tion, the colonists held meetings, passed resolutions, and elected
eighteen deputies to be sent home to sit in the States-general as
representatives. The eighteen deputies reached Versailles a con-
siderable time after the States-general had commenced their
sittings, and constituted themselves the National Assembly ;
and their arrival not a little surprised that body, who probably
never expected deputies from St Domingo, or who at all events
thought eighteen deputies too many for one colony. Accord-
ingly, it was with some difficulty that six of them were allowed
to take their seats. At that time colonial gentlemen were not
held in great favour at Paris. Among the many feelings which
then simultaneously stirred and agitated that great metropolis,
there had sprung up a strong feeling* against negro slavery.
Whether the enthusiasm was kindled by the recent proceedings of
Clarkson and Wilberforce in London, or whether it was derived
by the French themselves from the political maxims then afloat,
the writers and speakers of the Revolution made the iniquity of
negro slavery'' one of their most frequent and favourite topics ;
and there had just been founded in Paris a society called Amis
des Noirs, or Friends of the Blacks, of which the leading revo-
lutionists were members. These Amis des Noirs seem partly to
have been influenced by a real benevolent zeal in behalf of the
negroes, and partly to have employed the movement for the eman-
cipation of the slaves in the colonies merely as an instrument to
assist them in their home-politics. To them negro slavery was
a splendid instance of despotism ; and in rousing the public mind
by their orations and writings respecting* the blacks, they were
creating that vehement force of opinion which was to sweep
away French monarchy and French feudalism. They succeeded
in raising a prejudice ag-ainst the colonists and their interests.
"Wlien a planter from the sugar islands made his appearance
in the streets of Paris, he was looked at as a walking* specimen
of a despot who had grown rich at the expense of the blood
and the agonies of his fellow-men. The mulattoes, on the other
hand, then resident in Paris, the young, men who had been sent
over for their education, as well as those who chanced to have
come on a visit, were diligently sought out by the Amis des NairSy
and became public pets. Amiable, well-educated, and interesting
in their appearance, it gave great point and effect to the eloquence



TOUSSAINT l'oUVERTUHE AND THE REPUBLIC OF HAYTI.

of a revolutionist orator to have one of these young mulattoes by
his side when he was speaking ; and when, at the conclusion of
a passage in praise of liberty, the orator would turn and indicate
with his finger his coloured friend, or when, yielding to French
impulse, he would throw his arms round him and embrace him
with sobs, how could the meeting be unmoved, or the cheering
fail to be loud and long ?

The intelligence of what was occurring at Paris gave great
alarm in St Domingo. AYhen the celebrated declaration of
rights, asserting all men to be "free and equal," reached the
island along with the news of the proceedings of the Amis des
Noirs, the whites, almost all of whom were interested in the pre-
servation of slavery, looked upon their ruin as predetermined.
They had no objection to freedom in the abstract, freedom which
should apply only to themselves, but they considered it a violation
of all decency to speak of black men, mere property^ having poli-
tical rights. What disheartened the whites gave encouragement
to the mulattoes. Rejoicing in the idea that the French people



Online LibraryWilliam ChambersChambers's miscellany of useful and entertaining tracts (Volume v.5-6) → online text (page 49 of 59)