« PoprzedniaDalej »
discharge their loads. They carry a great weight, and the rule with the driver is to load his camel with as much as he can get up with, and then they travel a steady jog of three miles an hour, chew their quid all day, and at night stop to rest. They are called camels here, but they appear to be of that species which naturalists describe as dromedary, having but one hump upon the back, and the upper lip is slit like the hare's. Nature, in creating different sorts of animals, often approaches them together, sometimes even confounds them. There is no small likeness between the camel and the ostrich, and hence the Turks call the ostrich the camel-bird; their heads and necks are much alike, and the very silly movement and expression of these parts in cach, are entirely similar.
I have before observed that the Turks at'e a peaceable, quiet people, and I think this is the stillest place I was ever in. They use no bells or public clocks, and the only noise I have heard here is the braying of an ass, the howling of jackalls, and the cry of a man every day from the tower of the mosque-the cry from the mosque tower is regular twice a day, and serves in lieu of a bell to summons the people to prayers.
These are all natural sounds; I have not heard the sound of any instrument in the place-what a contrast between this and Malta? There the ringing of bells was continual, the striking of clocks every quarter of an hour, and with the rattling of cannon, beating of drums, sound of trumpets, saluting and serenading bands, blind fiddlers, horns, haut-boys, clarionets, &c. your ears are never at rest.
It is an error to suppose that the Turks indulge excessively in women, polygamy is permitted to be sure, but there is not a Turk in a hundred that has more than one wife; they sometimes have a concubine besides, but this is also seldom. They do not like to increase the evils of life, and one woman, they say,
is generally trouble enough for one man.
The beauty of the Turkish women has been very much magnified, I imagine from the circumstance of their being so concealed. What a lesson this for our females! If they would but realize how prone we are to enhance the value of every thing kept out of sight, they would not be so forward to expose parts of the body which would increase in our estimation by being covered.
I have occasionaliy seen several female faces here, but none that had the least claim to beauty. They have a filthy custom of staining their hands, their nails, and also their hair, which hangs in uncomely strings about the face and neck; their dress is unbecoming, loose and flabby; they are kept in a degrading state of servitude, which of course precludes all improvement of their minds; so that without beauty, and a good share of it, they must be entirely uninteresting. Hence we may conclude, that although their prophet has promised to the faithful a paradise of fine wo. men in the next world, a Turkish haram in this is no very desira. ble resort.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO-THE PRESS.
WHEN we look at the remains of ancient literature that have passed unhurt the ordeal of Gothic barbarism, and reached us untarnished by the gross ignorance of the dark ages; when we recollect the number of literary works that formerly existed and which formed a magnificent monument of Roman and Grecian literature, and at the same time reflect on the endless drudgery, requisite in their formation and compilation, we can never sufficiently adinire the prevalency of that taste for science and learning which characterised the ancient republics of southern Europe; never do sufficient justice to the laborious efforts of the scientific portions of those communities, in raising a fabric of learning and knowledge, the vastness and magnificence of which should dazzie and astonish the imaginations of a future world. But eminent as was the genius and numerous the literary acquirements of such as, in those days, were considered men of science, when we reflect upon the absolute impossibility there existed of diffusing the knowledge they possessed through the mass of society, or at least the irremediable inconvenience of communicating a portion of their numerous acquisitions to their more ignorant fellow citizens, we find those great talents and the superabundance of knowledge they possessed, entirely destitute of that general utility which constitutes the essential
importance of learning and science. For what benefit to society can ever result from knowledge, however extensive, if possessed solely by a few that are either unable or unwilling to share it with others?-Who could ever consider the philosopher, that from some obvious reason, was incapable of allowing the world ever to taste the fruits of his labours, a useful or profitable member of society? --In how important a light then, must we not view a discovery, that enabled man to scatter the results of his literary researches, with rapidity and equality, among those around him; that rendered all the divisions of a state capable of participating in the knowledge of their ci-devant superiors; that released the scientific riches of the learned from the narrow limits of their closets, and empowered them to spread free and unconfined but by the bounds of society itself.- View the art of printing in whatever light fancy may dictate, and we find it equally useful and important. Whether connected with civil government, religion or literature, it is to mankind of similar utility:-To enumerate and demonstrate the dangers of despotism and make generally known the point at which the devesting man of his natural liberty, when becoming a member of a civilized community, should with propriety stop; to infuse into the soul suitable ideas of our Creator's excellence, and expand the mind by a knowledge of his omnipotence and infinitude, and “to pour the fresh instruction o'er the mind,” are in the end equally beneficial to society, and are among the many important advantages of which as rapid and effectual conveyance to the world in general, and the various classes of society in particular, has been primarily derived from the invention of printing
To illustrate the vast importance of this discovery by examining the subject under the first of the three above-mentioned points of view is my intention in this essay; and of consequence the freedom of the press will engage the most considerable portion of my attention.--My remarks on the subject will be characterised by brevity and their object shall be to distinguish the point at which a change from civil to natural liberty in the publication of sentiments, if I may be allowed the expression, becomes perceptible.
To the comprehension of some it has been an inquiry of considerable difficulty to investigate the nature of the methods which one or more individuals must pursue in order to succeed in acquiring a tyrannical power over millions of others.-This difficulty arises from considering only the great improbability, nay, apparent impossibility there exists of a few persons taking forcible possession of the extensive prerogatives of tyranny, and is in a moment obviated 1.y reflecting on the absolute necessity, in the persons interested, of using concealed and insidious measures, in order to secure the affections and confi. dence of those who are to co-operate with them in obtaining the elev.ition they aspire to. That one man can never by open and undisguised efforts succeed in obtaining despotic sway, over a nation of feliow men I hold to be an undeniable principle. To acquire in safety this ne plus ultra of human power, he must resort to other unjustifiable methods than those of which man can be externally sensible. He will be necessitated to use secret and concealed methods of attack, and must make hypocrisy his covering from the scrutiny of patriotism. For as men even although intellectually blind to the powers and dictates of reason and sense, can never voluntarily shut their eyes to their external and personal advantages, it follows, that secresy is the grand support and prop of political tyranny, and that disguised methods of proceeding are the only effectual means of finally succeeding in its acquirement and retention. It may perhaps be urged in objection to the truth of this opinion, that it is expressly contradicted by the instances on record of generals, by means of their armies, arriving at imperial power: but is it not evident that, by the most unpar. donable methods, the commander, in a case of this kind, must first acquire the capability of making the army subservi. ent to the completion of his own designs; is it not obvious, that by the most insidious means, he must first secure the interests of his soldiers that he may afterwards succeed in rendering them assistant to his personal aggrandizement; and that, although force is the immediate agent in his elevation, yet the power of using that force, was obtained by at first concealing his original intentions.--It may also be argued that as the army
co-operates with him, openly in attempting to assume the diadem of tyranny, it must be considered as no longer blind to the object of his wishes, and therefore, from the period at which this becomes disclosed, forcible endeavours usurp the place of insidious and secret, although equally successful attacks. To the trut: of this apparent objection, I assent, for as no one before ne had obtuined the sincere and undivided affections of his soldiery would ever dare, openly and without some previous salutary precautions, to declare his wishes, this objection cannot possibly have the least effect, in detracting from the certainty of the opinion I advanced.
These remarks will tend to evince the manner in which ambitious men must invariably proceed, in order to accomp.ish their tyrannical designs, and I will now proceed to exhibit the methods, which are to be pursued, in order to prevent tie final success of their endeavours. The invention of printing having afforded a ready method of circulating information on cvery subject, is consequently the grand source whence we derive the means of accomplishing this desirable end, and for this reason it has always been the first care of tyrannical governments, since the discovery, to abridge as much as possible the freedom of the press. Freedom of discussion, and a right of examining and pronouncing on the propriety of public measures, form the noblest and most important prerogative of a free people. The legislative and other acts of their governors to meet with their approbation, both as a community and as in. dividuals, should be liable to an open and public investigation, must be tried at the bar of national opinion, and be pruned by the hands of the subjects of all such parts as are offensive to the common welfare, or as may prove injurious to the general liberty of society. To scrutinize the official conduct of “ in power,” and point them out as unworthy of possessing the privileges conferred on them by the people, whenever their behaviour indicates the possession of ambitious sentiments, form the most essential requisites in the freedom of the press. To render those two privileges more extensively beneficial, no official character ought to be allowed an exception from the general right, however elevated his rank cr extended his