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THEBES. Thebes, the hundred-palaced, on the banks of the Nile, in Upper Egypt was, according to Volney, the metropolis of the ancient kingdom of Ethiopia; whose inhabitants, explorers of the phenomena of nature, discoverers of the elements of science and art at a time when all other men were barbarous, founders of those civil and religious systems which yet tread our world under foot, were a people of black complexion, thick lips, and woolly hair, the prototypes of those Negroes whom we-servants of the Egyptian-dare to degrade as an inferior race. Diodorus, Lucian, and other authors confirm this fact, of which their own monuments, discovered by Belzoni and others, are an enduring witness. A miserable village stands amid the ruins of the Past-ruins which give credibility to all that Homer has sung of the Theban splendour, and lead us to infer its stupendous power and commerce. The very name of Thebes is worn out; and to be one of the same coloured skin as its ancient and super-royal sages, whose tutelage the world has not yet outgrown, is to give occasion for a doubt, even to the modern wise men, whether one so constituted can possess the common capabilities of humanity. The blind world will run its head against the pyramids.
Where is the Giant of the Sun, which stood
LIFE OF TOUSSAINT L'OUVERTURE. In the scroll of tlie Apostles of Patriotism few are the names more worthy than that of Toussaint L'Ouverture.
At the breaking out of the French Revolution, the island of St. Domingo, now Hayti, belonged, by right of conquest, partly to the French, and partly to the Spaniards. The inhabitants were composed of whites, free mulattoes, and town and rural slaves; the proportion of slaves being about sixteen to one white; the mulattoes were about the same number as the whites. News of the Revolution in France reached the colony, and the new doctrine soon spread. Social equality was demanded by the mulattoes; and refused by the whites; a dreadful war ensued; the mulattoes were put down; but the blacks
In August, 1791, a fire broke out on a plantation in the northern part of the island. It was the signal for a general insurrection. Toussaint was at this time about forty-six years of age.
On an estate called Breda, about three miles from the town of Cap François, on the north-west coast of St. Domingo, Toussaint was born. His father is said to have been the second son of an African king who had been sold into slavery. Toussaint's earliest employment was tending cattle. The earliest recollections of his character were of gentleness, thoughtfulness, and strong religious tendencies. The bailiff was kind to him. By some means he learned to read and write, and some little arithmetic. He was promoted to be the bailiff's coachman.' In this, and, indeed, in every situation he was remarkable for a sedateness which nothing could disturb, and an invincible patience. At the age of twenty-five he married. When the slaves arose, Toussaint at first kept quiet; but so soon as he saw their object was political justice, he stepped forth into freedom, and stood among them as a leader. Having cared for the safety of his master, he presented himself to the black general, Jean François; and, on account of his having some knowledge of medicine, was made physician to the forces. He soon rose to be aid-de-camp and colonel. The black army was under royalist commanders, in the Spanish influence, fighting against the revolutionary French planters. Toussaint refused even to listen to the French Commissioners sent out to negociate. At length he heard of the decree of the French Convention, of February 4, 1794, which proclaimed the liberty of all slaves, and declared St. Domingo an integral part of France. Toussaint saw the path to freedom; and immediately marched from his Spanish quarters to join the French republican commander, who made him brigadier-general, but jealously watched him. One after another the Spanish posts fell into his hands; and the French Commissioners exclaimed “Cet homme fait ouverture partout.” (This man makes an opening everywhere.)
From this time Toussaint bore the name of L'Ouverture (the Opening).' Having by his promptitude saved the French general from a Mulatto conspiracy, he was appointed lieutenant of St. Domingo. From that day he was dictator. The war was soon brought to a close. The blacks were free. Toussaint now devoted himself to the inprovement of his people. Everywhere he made order take the place of licenciousness, diligence of recklessness. The waste land began to teem with fertility. Toussaint was too proud to be elated. He was born to a great lot. He was patient in depression, he was undazzled in his elevation. He disdained all French interference; but, unwilling to offend the Directory, he sent his two sons, Placide and Isaac, to be educated in France. He wrote, “I guarantee, under my personal responsibility, the submission of my black brethren to order, and their fidelity to France.” He was publicly extolled at Paris. However, the jealous Directory sent out an officer to supersede him, who soon turned homewards. He had now no enemies but the English and the mulattoes. The English were speedily compelled to give up their posts. The English general had such confidence in "Toussaint's honour, that he proceeded from a great distance to an audience with him, among armed blacks, with only three attendants. Toussaint was worthy of his confidence. For some time the mulattoes defied him; at length he worsted them. In utter despair they crowded into Cap François. Toussaint was instantly upon them again." The men of colour," said he, “have been punished enough. Let them be forgiven by all, as they are by me. They may return to their dwellings, where they shall be protected, and treated like brethren." He was victorious. In 1799, Napoleon, then First Consul, confirmed him in his dictatorship. He zealously inforced the duties of morality and religion, himself setting the best example. He maintained the strictest order and decorum. His levees and evening, parties were as well managed as the best in Europe. Everything around him was magnificent. He was plain in his dress, his food, and his habits. His bodily strength was prodigious. He would ride one hundred and fifty miles without rest; sleep for two hours, and be again ready for exertion. He was accessible to every one; no one left his presence dissatisfied. His generals looked to him as to a father. His soldiers and the whole people idolized him. He was the Saviour of St. Domingo. He employed a council to prepare a colonial Constitution, which worked admirably during the short time it was tried. Commerce flourished; the treasury filled; the estates were prosperous; Toussaint was adored. In January, 1802, the French squadron, bearing the choicest troops of Napoleon's army, bore down upon St. Domingo, by Napoleon's order, to reestablish slavery. Attempts were made to seduce Christophe, one of Toussaint's generals, (afterwards King of Hayti). Christophe fired the town of Cap François, to prevent a harbourage for the French; and withdrew with two thousand whites, as hostages, not one of whom was ever injured. Le Clerc, the French general, next assayed the integrity of Toussaint. His sons were sent to seduce him from his countrymen. He ordered them back to the French general; but Placide refused to leave him, and remained to fight by his father's side. He was outlawed. Weakened by defeat and desertion, he still held up, his head. At length he was compelled to seek terms. The French were but too glad of any which stayed his opposition. His outlawry was rescinded; and he was permitted to retire to his estate. He was still, even in his privacy and adversity, the virtual monarch of the island. He was, therefore, suddenly and treacherously seized, and with about one hundred of his most devoted adherents, hurried on board the French squadron. His companions were never more heard of. Toussaint was carried to France; and imprisoned, tirst in the Temple, and afterwards in a dungeon (the floor of which was actually under water), in the castle of Joux, near Besançon, in Normandy. The noble Negro endured his torture for ten months, and sank under a fit of apoplexy, on the 27th of April, 1803.
Fearful was the retribution in St. Domingo. The blacks were roused : Though the French established the torture, though they introduced bloodhounds to hunt down the blacks, yet, even before Toussaint's death, 40,000 Frenchmen are said to have perished; and on the 1st of January, 1804, Hayti was proclaimed independent, and a Black Nation took its place among its white brethren.
The monument of Toussaint has hidden the dust of Napoleon.
Black and White.—The hand does not feel pain the less because it is black. Why then should it feel the more because it is black, which does not alter the essence of the question? But it is not like mine, which is white! By what law is it bound to be like it, except to the ignorant and prejudiced; who, knowing of no other colour, could not believe in the existence of any other, and wondering to find that such people existed, and struck with the difference, required two hundred years more to look on them as human beings-Hazlitt. do yet
Progress of Error.- Whoever believes anything thinks it a work of charity to persuade another into the same opinion, which the better to do, he will make no difficulty of adding as much of his own invention as he conceives necessary to obviate the resistance or want of conception he sup. poses in others. I myself, who make a particular conscience of lying, and am not very solicitous of gaining credit and authority to what I say, find, that in the arguments I have in hand, being warmed with the opposition of another, or by the proper heat of my own narration, I swell and puff up my subject by voice, motion, vigour, and force of words; and moreover by extension and amplification, not without prejudice to the naked truth : but I do it on condition, nevertheless, that to the first who brings me to recollection, and who asks me the plain and real truth, I presently surrender, and deliver it to him without exaggeration, without emphasis or interlarding of my own. A quick and earnest way of speaking as mine is, is apt to run into hyperbole. There is nothing to which men commonly are more inclined, than to give way to their own opinions. Where the ordinary means fail us, we add command and force, fire and sword. 'Tis a misfortune to be at that pass,
that the best touchstone of the truth must be the multitude of believers, in a crowd where the number of fools so much exceeds the wise. 'Tis hard for a man to form his judgment against the common opinions. The first persuasion taken of the very subject itself, possesses the simple, and from that it spreads to the wise, by the authority of the number and the antiquity of the witnesses. For my part, what I should not believe from one, I should not believe from a hundred; and I do not judge of opinions by their years.
SELF-SUFFICIENCY. It is curious enough to observe the variety of inventions men have hit upon, and the variety of phrases they have brought forward, in order to conceal from the world, and, if possible, from themselves, this very general and therefore very pardonable self-sufficiency.
1. One man says, he has a thing made on purpose, to tell him what is right and what is wrong; and that is called a “moral sense”: and then he goes to work at his ease, and says, such a thing is right, and such a thing is wrongwhy? “Because my moral sense tells me it is.”
2. Another man comes and alters the phrase : leaving out moral and putting in common in the room of it. He then tells you that his common sense tells him what is right and wrong, as surely as the other's moral sense did : meaning by common sense a sense of some kind or other, which, he says, is possessed by all mankind: the sense of those whose sense is not the same as the author's being struck out as not worth taking. This contrivance does better than the other; for a moral sense being a new thing, a man may feel about him a good while without being able to find it out: but common sense is as old as the creation; and there is no man but would be ashamed to be thought not to have as much of it as his neighbours.
3. Another man comes, and says, that as to a moral sense indeed, he cannot find that he has any such thing: that, however, he has an understanding, which will do quite as well. This understanding, he says, is the standard of right and wrong: it tells him so and so. All good and wise men understand as he does: if other men's understandings differ in any part from his, so much the worse for them: it is a sure sign they are either defective or corrupt.
4. Another man says, that there is an eternal and immutable Rule of Right: that that rule of right dictates so and so: and then he begins by giving you his sentiments upon anything that comes uppermost : and these sentiments (you are to take for granted) are so many branches of the eternal rule of right.