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ries of cannon “vomiting death” in their faces. Huge rocks and musquetry accompany the unwelcome salutations of the grape shot and langrage, and regiments of heroes are crushed into atoms or swept down by the torrent of balls. The sides of the mountain are crimsoned with the gore of dying armies, and the retreat of those who have not yet been sacrificed, is cut off by the treacherous system of ambuscade.
On these mountains, the plantain grows in great profusion. It is the food of negroes, morning, noon and night, and affords them an inexhaustible store of provisions. The European troops on the contrary, after the consumption of the provisions brought with them, would have to depend for a supply of food upon importations. They would find none in the island, for even the plantain which would at best afford them but a miserable sustenance, would be cut off from their reach.
But a more powerful and dangerous foe, than the desperation of men shut up in their strong holds, or the system of surprisal could present, would oppose an invading French army. I mean the climate. The paralizing arm of fell disease can with a single blow destroy more veteran soldiers than a whole legion of conquerors, and it is sufficiently well known that her ravages are extremely favoured by the torrid .temperature of the WestIndies. By taking a retrospective view of the effects produced by this destructive warrior, you may be enabled to form a pretty correct estimate of what would probably be the result of another campaign. I have been assured that during the expedition under the command of Le Clerc and his successor, Rochambeau, at least thirty French generals lost their lives, most of them by sickness. If you then consider the proportion between the number of general officers and their men, and take into view the advantages which the former enjoy from their rank, in point of attention, over the miserable wretches who are crowded by platoons into the confined rooms of an hospital, you may draw very fair conclusions as to the total loss of the invaders upon this occasion. For my own part, I should presume that thirty or forty thousand lives would not be too low a calculation.
It is true that that expedition was basely and miserably conducted. The commander in chief and his principal officers had
nothing in view but their own aggrandizement. They went to St. Domingo, not so much for the purpose of reducing it to the state of a colony, as to gain wealth--not so much for the purpose of military renown, as to indulge in the luxurious ease and dissipation so congenial to the climate. They had heard that Hispaniola was a sort of paradise, and they were desirous of attesting the truth of the assertion. But they met with disappointment. Splendour and luxury could not be attained without means, and they found that wealth could not be so easily grasped, as they had anticipated. They were led too to believe, that the native rebels as soon as they should perceive a powerful French army land upon their shores, would instantly surrender up their arms, and retire peaceably to their accustomed labours; but in this expectation they were also deceived. The visionary prospects which dazzled their eyes before their departure from home, were transformed into melancholy realities. But they must be rewarded in some way for their toils; and for the promotion of the grand object which had governed all their actions, they oppressed and despoiled the very people for whose relief they had been sent. The merchants were called upon for heavy sums of money, which they were compelled to pay, and in one case, Mr. Fidon, of the Cape, was shot, by the orders of Rochambeau, for not instantly complying with his villainous demand. The inhabitants generally were plundered of their goods under the lawless pretext of requisition, and the property of American merchants (without which the French army would have perished with hunger,) was forcibly purchased of its owners, for bills upon the French government, which have never been paid to this day, and probably never will be. Such a disgraceful system could not long be pursued. The remaining French chiefs from their vile conduct, had deservedly excited the detestation of the citizens, and at the expiration of two years, with the miserable remnant of thcir troops, had the mortification to embark for Jamaica, as prisoners of war to the British.
But I contend, that however ably commanded, and however well disciplined in the science of war, no European army of an hundred thousand men, or more, for the greater the number the
more extensive the mortality, could effect the object, for which Bonaparte had sent their predecessors. They would most certainly share a similar fate, and if the climate and the fortune of war, would not destroy them in two years, it would in three.
FOR THE PORTFOLIO
ON THE GENIUS OF THE CHINESE.
“ Humano capiti cervicem pictor equinam
Undique collatis membris, ut turpiter atrum
Spectatum admissi risum teneatis, amici?
suppose a painter to a human head
The great wall, which separates China from Tartary, has next to the peculiarity of their language been esteemed the most conclusive evidence of their high antiquity. But this stupendous fabric was, agrecably to their own records, constructed by the commands of Chi-hoang-ti, so late as two hundred years before Christ, and cannot therefore be alleged to prove a more remote age. Its magnitude, it is truc, is astonishingly prodigious, being fifteen hundred miles in extent, and of the breadth of sixty feet; and though it is un irrefragabie argument for the populousness of the country, and the tirannij of the government, yet cannot be warped, by any subtlety of reasoning, to evince their great age, or supurior sagacity. Objects are immense or diminutive, as their iocal situation or compürütive posicion augments or diminishes their importance. And nuppily for the fame of the great wall, the Chinese are destitute of every monument which might attract notice for its beauty, tasti", or stability, or derrogate from the mightiness of this huge memorial of folly, and loss of labour. That it surpasses in bulk any of the works of refined Europe, luxurious Asia, or scientific Egypt, cannot add to its utility or importance; and is worthy of attentici, only as it exhibits the power of aggregated labour. As a means of defence it is imbecile and inefficient in its purpose, and shows evident marks of that barbarity, in which the Chinese were probably immersed, at the time it was constructed, for we find that these walls were common as a means of defence, both in Africa and Asia in the earliest periods of their history;* and we likewise perceive the sturdy Britons using the same method to guard against the irregular incursions of the ferocious Picts; and we may form a reasonable conjecture of the state of the Chinese, at that time, from the known ignorance, imbecility, and want of conduct in the Britons; who though possessed of valour, were totally destitute of auxiliary means to render it effectual; and too ignorant to devise resources to avert the dangers which incessantly threatened them.t
From having held at a former period, similar notions of the antiquity and civilization of the Chinese, with the clcunrous and idle, we are induced to apprehend from this experience, that those who so readily give their assent to hyperbolical and vauge assertions, are too supine to investigate into their foundation, or too timid to exercise their
In a conversation some
Sec De Pauws Dissertation.
† Hume, vol.i p. xi.
ago with a physician of this city eminent for his talents, and remarkable for his genius, we stated with ingenuousness our sentiments respecting this unique people: that those sentiments wire diainetricülly contrary to those now maintained, is true; , but út that perioil, we had neither read por reflected much on the topic, but bericved upon the authority of fallacious representations, what an acquaintance with the subject has impelled us to discard.
The question regarding the great age of China, has been discussed with more attention, because it involves the supposition of their possessing in the sacred archives of state, any science or knowledge, of which other civilized nations are destitute;. and which it has been imagined could only be ascertained in the course of future ages; when Europeans would acquire a knowledge of the language, and the Christian religion be diffused through that immense empire, agreeably to the prophecy of our Lord, of its universal adoption by all the nations of the earth. But the possibility of their having any science or knowledge peculiar to themselves is wholly destroyed by these two circumstances: the extreme superstition and credulity of their phil080phers and literati, if a few trite maxims can constitute the one, and the absence of literature the other; and, secondly, because if they had had possession of such knowledge or science, it is reasonable to infer, from the disposition of the people, and the inflexibility of their customs, that they would never have violated a fundamental larv, and jarred the prejudices of the vulgar, by the admission of foreigners to the first literary posts, to the exclusion and injury of natives, equally endowed with the requisite qualifications. What inducement could actuate them: to so contradictory a scheme, which could not superadd to their reputation, but would indubitably lessen them in the eyes of all civilized nations? To preserve the people in a state of ignorance. and degradation, suitable to slavery, inight have been a reason worthy of a tyrannic prince, for circumscribing the extension of letters, by the employment of foreigners, who are beheld with a jealousy, and watched with a vigilance, which effectually precludes a frequent or secret correspondence with the natives.. That this was not the motive however is incontrovertibly eviden