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city; or when, adding to the same sensations the absolute idea of causation, we erect a theory of atheistic materialism. In like manner, the combination of absolute ideas with our internal sensibility, of which the form is time, and the general representation spirit,' gives rise to all those systems of spiritualism, which suppose a simple unextended soul. The perplexing controversies on the divisibility of matter are the product of a double amphiboly, which confounds sensation and conception.”
THE WEST INDIES.
“ CONSIDERING the almost daily intercourse which exists between this country and the West Indies,” said Egeria, “our intimacy with so many who have resided long in that quarter, and also with natives, it is very singular that there is not one book in the language which gives any thing like a tolerable account, either of the natural history of the islands, or of the manners and customs of the inhabitants. I doubt not that this is partly owing to the unlettered state of those returned adventurers who constitute the chief class of our West Indian acquaintance. They are in general persons come of humble life and very ordinary acquirements, without taste, if they had time, to make the requisite observations, and without time, on account of their original poverty, if they had the taste. When they return home, their habits and predilections render them averse to enter into that kind of society where their natural shrewd. ness,-for I hold all successful adventurers to be naturally shrewd,-might be rendered available to the advancement of knowledge. The consequence is, that almost with every opulent West Indian, a considerable quantity of valuable information perishes unknown; and that although for mercantile, and perhaps political purposes, there be no lack of knowledge with respect to the West Indies, there is very little for any purpose of science or of pastime. The mortality of the climate is, however, the main cause of the state of ignorance in which we are suffered to remain : no literary man in his health and senses, nor any gentleman for amusement, ever thinks of visiting the indigenous region of hurricanes and the yellow fever.”
“I am not sure,” replied the Bachelor, “ that you have hit on the true cause. I think it is more owing to the want, in the first place, of refined society; and, in the second, to the scarcity of interesting historical monuments or remains.”
“I dare say you are partly in the right, Benedict; man in his general is as much an egotist as he is in his individual capacity; and therefore I suspect it is, that, notwithstanding the luxuriant vegetation, the delicious fruits,--the turtle and the slaves of the West Indies--that they are never visited for pleasure: for they contain but few objects calculated to awaken those associations which make so many among us long for the less hospitable and not less pestiferous shores of Egypt and of Greece. In fact, every thing about the West Indies and West Indians savours of barbarity. The trade, manu
factures, arts, and commerce of the islands, have all reference to tillage,—to the cultivation of the sugar cane, pimento, and such things—and tillage is the earliest occupation of man when he first begins to be civilized. Then the brutalizing effects of slavery, a thing in itself much more dishumanizing to the master than to the slave. The passions there, too, are all of a coarser kind than elsewhere ; and any traditions which are preserved among them relative to those qualities which popularly interest mankind, such as bravery, enterprise, or address, the modifications of heroism, are mixed up and alloyed with enormities and crimes. The West Indies have produced no heroes nor warriors, but only buccaneers; and M-Kinnen's account of John Teach, the famous Black Beard of the Bahamas, affords you some idea of the sort of corsairs a Jamaica Byron would celebrate, if ever it be in the nature of rum, rhobe, and sangree to engender a poet.”
“ This extraordinary man had united in his fortunes a desperate and formidable gang of pirates, styling himself their Commodore, and assuming the authority of a legitimate chief. Under a wild fig-tree, the trunk of which still remains, and was shown to me in the eastern part of the town, he used to sit in council amongst his banditti, concerting or promulgating his plans, and exercising the authority of a magistrate. His piracies were often carried on near the English settlements on the coast of North America, where he met with extraordinary success. Perhaps in the history of human depravity it would be difficult to select actions more brutal and extravagant, than Black Beard's biographer has recorded of him. As the narrative to which I allude is generally credited, and bears strong internal evidence of truth, it may be amusing to mention a few particulars of a man who was for some time considered as sovereign of this island.
“ In person, as well as disposition, this desperado, who was a native of England, seems to have been qualified for the chief of a gang of thieves. The effect of his beard, which gave a natural ferocity to his countenance, he was always solicitous to heighten, by suffering it to grew to an immoderate length, and twisting it about in small tails like a Ramilies wig; whence he derived the name of Black Beard. His portrait in time of action is described as that of a complete fury,—with three brace of pistols in holsters slung over his shoulders like bandoliers, and lighted matches under his hat, sticking out over each of his ears. All authority, as well as admiration amongst the pirates, was conferred on those who, committing every outrage on humanity, displayed the greatest audacity and extravagance.Black Beard's pretensions to an elevated rank in the estimation of his associates, may be conceived from the character of his jokes. Having often exhibited himself before them as a dæmon, he determined once to shew them a hell of his own creation. For this purpose he collected a quantity of sulphur and combustible materials between the decks of his vessel ; when, kindling a flame, and shutting down the hatches upon his crew, he involved himself with them literally in fire and brimstone. With oaths and frantic gestures, he then acted the part of the devil, as little affected by the smoke as if he had been born in the infernal regions, till his companions, nearly suffocated and fainting, compelled him to release them. His convivial humour was of a similar cast. In one of his ecstasies, whilst heated with liquor, and sitting in his cabin, he took a pistol in each hand, then, cocking them under the table, blew out the candles, and, crossing his hands, fired on each side at his
companions : one of them received a shot which maimed him for life. His gallantry also was of the same complexion as this vein of humour. He had fourteen wives, if they may be so called; but his conduct towards one of them appears to have been too unfeeling and unmanly to admit of description.”
BATTLE OF THE TITANS.
“ I do not wonder," said Egeria, in reply to some remarks which the Bachelor was making on the genius of the ancients as compared with that of the moderns, « why persons particularly attached to their literature have adopted so contemptuous an opinion of the works of the latter. It is perfectly evident, that, besides a knowledge of the laws which governed the style and composition of the Greeks and Romans, something much more ingenious than mere philological knowledge is required to extricate the meaning from the obscurity with which time has invested much of their phraseology. There is something, too, of the delight of discovery attached to classical reading; for many of the ideas, which probably were common-place enough in the time of the writers, have acquired a recondite and curious interest merely by having lost somewhat of their clearness, by becoming in fact obsolete. To decipher the genuine meaning, various readings are resorted to, and these trials of ingenuity are in themselves pleas