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upon himself.--"si quis unquam diffidens mei.” A most ex. travagant self-confidence, on the contrary, is every where conspicuous, except in a few of these prefatory flourishes : and though his maturer judgment has enabled him to see in his own Silva critica, " plurima, quæ fint juveniliter temeraria, appoodiovox prorsùs, et homine critico, indigna ;" yet the very same character, unimproved, will be found to prevail in his critical conjectures, scattered abundantly thoughout the notes to this work, and readily accessible by means of his critical Index. No author escapes his rage for correction ; and Horace and Virgil, in pariicular, would have as liute knowledge of their own works, were they presented to them reformed à la Wakefield, as we thould of the British conllitution, were it given to his emendation. We can, however, pily while we censure; and most sincerely with that, with a more temperate mind, even in literature, he would give himself exclusively, and without mixture, to those studies, in which, with all his failings, he has certainly made a proficiency, nor common among scholars of this country,

THE

Art. II. The History of Mauritius, or the Ife of France,

and the Neighbouring Tands, from their firjt Discovery ta the present Time ; composed principally from the Papers and Memoirs of Baron Grant, who refded I wenty Years in the Island, by his Son, Charles Grant, Viscount de Vaux. Illugfrated with Maps from the best Authorities. 4to. 592 pp. il. 16s. Wright. 1801. HE author of this work is a French emigrant, and, as he

expresses himself, presents the History of the Island which gave him birth, to the country that affords him protection. It contains a great deal of interesting and important information; but it is very unmethodized in its arrangement, diversified in its detail, and prolix even to tediousness. The reader would hardly expect to find a protracted account of the fiege of Pondicherry ; biographical sketches of various French characters, of greater or less celebrity; a life of Hyder Ally; and long and multiplied extracts of the correspondence between various individuals. The neighbouring islands are, the Idland of Rodriguez, or Diego Ruis, and the Ile of Bourbon, concerning both of which there are very curious and interesting accounts. The work is divided into Thirty Chapters, and extended to 571 pages ; but perhaps the Five first Chapters contain all that the geographical student, the topographical enquirer, or the lover of natural history will be solicitous to

know, know. The Maps which accompany the work are well-exe. cuted, and will be found extremely useful and convenient. We take an extract from the Third Chapter, as containing matier of more general entertaininent.

« The Ife of France was an absolute desert wien Mascaregnas discovered it. The French who first etablished themselves there, were certain planters from the Isle of Bourbon, who brought with them fimplicity of manners, good faith, an hospitable difpofition, and an indifference for riches. M. de la Bourdonnais, who maj, in tome degree, be considered as the founder of this colony, brought some workmen along with him. When, however, he had rendered this isand interesting by his labours, and it was thought convenient as a staple for their commerce of the Indies, persons of all conditions fete tled in it.

“ The agents of the Company, who possessed all the principal emfloyments in the island, exercited too much of that financial disposition, which is discouraging to those who are employed in cultivating the earth. The whole of the public establishment was at their disposal; they, at the same time, controlled the police, the civil adminitration, and magazines of the island; some of them cleared the land and built houses, all of which they disposed of, at a very high price, 10 those who had rentured hither, in hope of advaneing ineir fortune. There was consequently a great outcry against thein ; but the power was in their hands, and complaint was of no avail.

“ Several persons in the marine service of the Company settled here. They had long complained, that while they encountered dangers

and suffered farigues in support of the East Indian commerce, others acquired the honours and emoluments of is. As this fetilement was so near to India, a fanguine hope of advantage from fixing in it animated their mind, and they became its inhabitants.

“ Several military officers of the Company arrived here; they were very respectable persons, and some of them diftinguited for their birth. They could not imagine that an officer would debase himself so far as to receive orders from a man who had formerly been a clerk in an accompting house, though he might condescend to receive their pay. Nor did they like the sailors, who are rather too peremptory in their manners. On becoming inhabitants, they retained their original disposition, and consequently did not advance their for

• Some of the King's regiments put in liere and made some stay; while several of the officers, allured by the beauty of ihe climate and the love of repose, were induced to establish theinfelves in the island : but every thing was at the disposition, and submiited to the power of the Company,

“ The inhabitants were also increased by the arrival of some mis. fionaries of the order of St. Lazarus.

To complete the settlement of this idland, fome merchants with {mall capitals arrived, and found it without commerce. These people augmented the abuses of money jobbing, which they found already

established,

tunes.

eftablished, and employed themselves in forming petty monopolies : they soon became obnoxious, and acquired the name of Banians, or Jews. On the other hand, they affected to despise any particular diftinctions of the inhabitants, and were fond of propagating the opinion, chat, after having passed the line, a general equality prevailed.

“ Such was the fituation of this colony when it was ccded to the King in the year. 1765.

One part of the inhabitants, who were attached to the Company from gratitude, beheld, with pain, a royal adminiftration ; while the other part, who had so long looked for favour from a new goverment, feeing it principally occupied in plans of economy, were proportionably chagrined and disappointed.

“ The soldiers furnish a considerable number of workmen, as the moderate heat permits the white people to work in the open air; though they have not been rendered so beneficial to the colony as they might have been, in a more enlarged disposition of their capacities.

“ Though the seafaring people are always going and coming, they have, nevertheless, a considerable influence on the manners of the colony. Their policy is to complain alike of the places which they left, and of those at which they arrive: they have always bought too dear and folu too cheap, and think they are ruined if they do not gain an hundred and fifty per cent.

Ap hogshead of claret costs five hundred livres, and every thing else in proportion. It is scarce credible, that the merchandize of Europe is dearer here than in India, and that Indian commodities fetch a higher price here than in Europe. The inaritiine people are fo necessary to the inhabitants, ihat they are held in great consideration.

“ The greater part of the married people live on their plantations; and the woinen seldom visit the town, but when they are rempted by a ball, or are called to perform some essential duries of their religion. They are passionately fond of dancing; and no sooner is a ball an. nounced, than they come in their palanquins from every quarter, as the roads will not admit of wheel carriages.

" The wounen have but little colour, but they are well made, and, in general, handsome. Nature has given them a considerable portion of wit and vivacity: and if their education were not neglected, their fociety would be very agreeable : they are very fond mothers; and if they ever fail in fidelity to the marriage vow, it is too often owing to the indifference of their husbands, or to the Parisian manners which have been introduced among them. Their ordinary dress is fine mur. lin, lined with rose-coloured taffetas.

They possess, in a great degree, the more estimable domestic qualities; they feldom or never drink any thing but water, and their cleanliness is extreme. Their children are never confined in swaddling clothes, but son about almost as soon as they are born; they are often bathed, and allowed to eat fruit at their own discretion. As they are left entirely to themselves, and are uncontrouled by the superintendance of education, they soon become strong and robust, and their temperament advances in proportion. The females are fometimes married at eleven years of age.

« There

There are about four hundred planters in this island, and about an hundred women of superior rank, not more than ten of whom live in the town. On firing the evening gun, at eight o'clock, every one retires to his own habitation.

« The Blacks. “ Of the population of this island, we must consider the Indians and Negroes as forining a considerable proportion,

". The first are from the coast of Malabar, and are very mild and gentle people : they come from Pondicherry, and let themse!ves out for a certain number of years. They are almost all of them workmen, and occupy a suburb which is called the Black Camp; they are of a deeper colour than the islanders of Madagascar, who are real Negroes, have the features of Europeans, and their hair is not woolly: they are sober and economical. Their head is dressed with a curban, and they wear long dresses of muslin, with large gold ear-rings, and silver bracelets at the wrists. There are some who enter into the service of the rich and titled inhabitants, as pions; a kind of domestic, which answers to the character of an European running foorman: his pecan liar distinction is a cane in his hand, and a dagger at his girdle. It were to be wished that there were a greater number of the inhabitants of Malabar established in this island, particularly of the cast of hulbandmen.

“ At present, Madagascar furnishes the Negroes which are defined to cultivate the land in the Ife of Bourbon. The common price of one of them is a barrel of gunpowder, a few muskets, some pieces of cloth, and, above all, a certain proportion of piattres. The dearest of them costs about fifty crowns of France.

“ These people have neither fo flat a nose, or fo dark a complexion as those of Guinea; some of them are only brown; while others, as the Balambous, have long hair : nay, others of them have fair, and even' red hair. They are dexterous, intelligent, and have a sense of honour and gratitude. The greatest infult

which can be offered to one of these people, is to speak disrespectfully of his family; they are far less sensible to personal injuries. In their own country they work up various articles, with equal ingenuity and industry. Their zagaye, or half pike, is very well forged, though a couple of stones form their hammer and their anvil. The linens which their women weave are very fine, and well dyed; these they cast around them in a graceful form, and the manner in which they arrange their hair produces a pleafing head-dress; it consists of curls and treffes very taste. fully blended with each other, and is the work of the women. They are passionately fond of dancing and music; their inftrument is the tantam, which is a bow fixed to a gourd, from whence they draw a soft harmonious sound, with which they accompany the airs that they compose. Love is the general subject of them, and the girls dance to the fongs of their lovers: the spectators beat time and applaud.

“ They are very hospitable. A black who is on a journey, enters without previous ceremony, or being known to the owner, into any hut which suits his convenience; and those whom he finds in it most wil. lingly share their meal with him. Nor is it their custom to ak from whence he comes, or whither he is going,

196 Suck

“ Sech are the qualifications and manners with which they arrive at the Isle of France. They are all disembarked with no clothing or any kind, but a strip of lined round their loins. The men are placed on one side of the beach, and the women with their children on the other. The planters then examine them, and make their purchases accordingly. 'Brothers, Lifters, friends, and lovers, are now feparated, and are led away to the respective plantations to which they are des. tined. Sometimes, in the paroxysis of their despair, they imagine that the white people are preparing to eat them, thai they make red wine of their blood, and gunpowder of their bones.

“ Their manner of life is as follows; at day-break, the smacking of a whip is the signal that calls them to their work, and : ley then proceed to the plantation, where they labous in a ítate of almok entire nakedness, and in the heat of the fun. Their nourishment is ground maize boiled in water, or loaves of the manioc; and a small piece of cloth is their only covering. For the least act of negligence, they are tied hand and foot to a ladder, when the overseer gives them a certain number of strokes on their back, with a long whip; and with a threepointed collar clasped round their necks, they are brought back to their work. It is not necessary to describe the severity with which these ponishments are sometimes inflicted. On their return to their habitations in the evening, they are compelled to pray to God for the prosperity of their masters.

" There is a fubfifting law in favour of llaves, called the Code Noir, which ordains that they shall receive no inore than thirty it rokes ac each chastisement ; that they fall not work on Sundays; that meas Shall be given them every week, and shirts every year : but this law is mot observed,

The Negroes are naturally of a lively disposisjon, but their state of slavery foon renders them melancholy. Love alone seems to allay their pain : they exert themselves to the utmost in order to obtain a wife; and, if they can choose for themselves, they always preler those who are advanced into a state of womanhood, who, they say, make the beft foup. They immediately give them all they posless; and if their wives live in another plantation, they will undertake the moft difficult and dangerous journies to see them. On such occations they fear neither fatigue nor punishment. Parties of them sometimes meet in the middle of the night, when they dance beneath the shelter of a sock, to the mournful suund of a gourd filled with peas.

“ The discontented Negroes generally fly for refuge into the woods, where they are pursued by detachments of soldiers : when they are taken, they are punished with great severity; and the third offence of this kind is followed by deach.

Religion is, indeed, sometimes employed to alleviate the evils of their fituation. Some of them are occasionally baptised : they are then told that they are become the brethren of the white people, and chat they will go into paradise; but it is not an eafy matter to persuade them, that the Europeans will ever prove their guides to heaven.

It is not for us to discors, in this place, the subject of flavery, on which very able writers have differed, and with which volumes have been fitled. That discipline, and sometimes a severe one, may be ne

cessary

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