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of Fernando Po. Our author says, “ The number of slaves annually exported from Bonny and Old Calabar rivers, were formerly, and still continue to be great. They are chiefly brought from the interior, by a water conveyance. The people are every where fond of trade, generally civil and obliging to Europeans who deal honestly, and they are anxious to cultivate commercial connexions with them. All around the Delta, the population on the sea coast is busily employed in making salt for the interior market: the land on the coast is called the salt ground; it is, perhaps, the place where Ibn al Vardi mentions the numerous salt-pits on the shore of the sea. This sale is carried in boats so large as to contain * 200 people, and having a cannon placed at each end. (Robertson's Notes on Africa, p. 308.) Boussa, on the Niger, is a great emporium for this trade, and the place where the people from the sea-coast meet the caravans from Barbary, to exchange their merchandize. (Robertson, p. 209 and 301.) The natives on these coasts also talk familiarly of their trade, intercourse, and communication with Boussa and Timbuctoo,” p. 135.
Then follows some reasons for supposing the Niger and the Nile to have no connexion; which being founded on theories, and being irrelevant to our purpose—which is to state the arguments for asserting the discharge of the Niger in the Bight of Benin-we shall pass over, and proceed with our author's observations, who, speaking of Park, says, p. 149, “ This celebrated traveller descended the stream in safety to Boussa, where an accident terminated his life. The traders from the coast go up the river above this place.”
Our author gives reasons for supposing the Niger and Congo to be different streams. In order to obtain the command of Africa, Mr. M'Queen recommends stations on the Niger, either where the stream divides or unites, as may be found most eligible ; another station is recommended at the Rio Lagos, which would give us the command of the trade into the recesses of the Kong mountains. A settlement, or depôt, on the island of Fernando Po, is also urged as expedient; and this island could be easily purchased of the negro natives, as we presume the Portuguese have long since given it up. Steam boats would navigate from the coast to Timbuctoo in 10, 15, or 20 days, at the utmost, and establish a communication with Bornou, Balia, Dar Saley, &c.
page 173. Wood being very plentiful, the steam-boat could be navigated at a trifling expense.
" Granting that the navigation of the Niger was interrupted at Boussa by reason of rapids and rocks rising amidst the stream, still we know that the river can be navigated in safety from Boussa upwards, and from Boussa downwards.” p. 178.
This is the point to be ascertained. Mr. M'Queen has given very strong presumptive evidence that this communication exists, sufficient at least to invite the British nation to attempt the navigation, which might be done without incurring any extraordinary expense. If it failed, it would add certainly one more failure to our many African expeditions ; but if, on the contrary, it succeeded, it would amply reimburse all expenses hitherto incurred, and open besides an incaleulably beneficial trade, and provide withal, what is so much wanted at this time, a great and new market for our various manufactures.
* This is a corroboration of what Jackson and Alex. Scott say. Vide New Monthly Mag. No. iii. pages 355 and 356.
If the navigation of the river failed of conducting to Timbuctoo, it would conduct, most assuredly, to many countries of the interior, with which we might establish a commerce on the most advantageous terms, as a prelude to civilization. The immense bodies of waters discharged from the interior into the Bight of Benin, is an incontrovertible evidence that the waters come from remote regions of the interior, and that a navigable communication and intercourse might be established with several populous countries of the interior of Sudan, if not with Timbuctoo! Therefore our author says, “ let the British standard be planted at Boussa, where no power in Africa could tear it up, a trifling land carriage would then give this nation all the advantages of an open navigation, and by such a natural barrier, place the Niger completely under her controul. Firmly planted in central Africa, the British flag would become the rallying point for all that is honourable, useful, beneficial, just, and good. Under the mighty shade thereof, the nations would seek security, comfort, and repose. Allies Great Britain would find in abundance! The resources and energies of Africa would be made (under a wise and vigorous policy) to subdue and controul Africa. Let Britain only form such a settlement, and give it that countenance, support, and protection, which the wisdom and energy of British counsels can give, and which the power and resources of the British empire can so well maintain, and central Africa will remain a grateful and obedient dependancy of this empire. The latter will become the centre of all the wealth, and the focus of all the industry of the former. Then the Niger, like the Ganges, would acknowledge Great Britain as its protector, our king as its lord,” page 179.
“ The extent of country and population, the improvements, labours, and wants of which would be dependant upon, and stimulated to exertion by a settlement on the Niger, is prodigious, and altogether unequalled and incalculable. Fifty millions of people would be dependant on it."
“ The French nation have long looked towards Africa, as a means of repairing the losses which revolution has produced in their colonies. They have established a * college for the teaching of the Arabic, a travelling language of Africa, on an extensive scale, as a necessary preliminary towards the colonization of that continent. Let us not
nat powerful, enterprising, and ambitious rival to step before us, and fix herself securely in the Lower Niger, and give Great Britain reason to repent of her supine disregard of this favourable opportunity to effect a great commercial establishment in Africa.” p. 181.
The abolition of those human sacrifices, under the name of customs, at the death of any person of note; the civilization of Africa; its gradual conversion to Christianity, from the most degraded barbarism, through the medium of a regular and well-conducted commercial intercourse, are the laudable objects which the author of this Geographical and commercial View has in perspective, and for which the author really appears to have discovered an eligible and a practicable path.
Denominated L'Ecole Royale des Langues Orientales vivantes à Paris.
* The exertion, on the part of Great Britain, to accomplish all this, would be small: the climate opposes some obstacles; the population of Africa none. The smallest gun-brig in our navy would lay the natives dwelling on both banks of the Niger, from Bammakoo to its mouth, from Bornou to Benin, prostrate before us with obedience and respect. Coming as their friend, overthrowing superstition and whatever is evil; rearing up, encouraging, and protecting what is just; we should teach the natives in these extensive regions to assume their rank among the sons of men. To accomplish this we have, by means of the Niger, a safe and an easy road. Let no other nation pre-occupy it.”
We now take leave of Mr. M‘Queen, thanking him for his suggestions. We have omitted many ingenious observations of our author, not wishing to detain the reader on a subject already exhausted, African discoveries; a subject which has become of late unpopular, from the repeated disasters of our various enterprising travellers. The philanthropist, however, and every individual interested in the improvement and civilization of the millions of Pagans of this interesting continent, now sunk into the lowest depth of ignorance and idolatry, cannot fail to be interested in the perusal of Mr. M'Queen's pages.
“ Je m'imagine que le plaisir est grand de seroir imprimer.”
And what is Love?-a light
SHAKSPEARE'S BERTRAM. "I cannot reconcile my heart to Bertram ; a man noble without generosity, and young without truth ; who inarries Helen as a coward, and leaves her as a profligate ; when she is dead by his unkindness, sneaks home to a second marriage, is accused by a woman whom he has wronged, defends himself by falsehood, and is dismissed to happiness.”—Dr. Johnson.
This is a hard sentence, Doctor,—we wish you had never written it. There it stands, in all the modern editions, at the beginning of the play, damping our pleasant anticipations by a solemn assurance that the principal dish at the feast is unwholesome. Just as the reader is hastening among the dramatis persona, the great moralist pulls him back, and bawls in his ear, "Beware of a bad character!" He spreads a wet blanket over the poet's work, and, like Lady Macbeth, forbids “ Heaven to peep through it.” Few are at the trouble to raise it, and those few may be tempted to throw it in the face of him who put it there. We, however, have no love for human retribution ; nor would it be, in this case, just. Happily there are many proofs of unaffected kindliness and compassion in Johnson's heart, though his doctrine often sounds harsh and unforgiving; and had he been better acquainted with Bertram, we think he would not have "made night hideous," by aggravating those faults, for whose pardon Shakspeare had so eloquently pleaded, into crimes which admit of no allowance. The truth is, his edition of Shakspeare was undertaken as a job, and executed with as much speed as his bookseller enjoined. He wrote a preface in his best style, and seemed to think that was nearly enough. His notes, in many instances, are careless, and even strangely blind ; and his observations, though sometimes pithy and admirable, betray errors which an attentive perusal of the text must have obviated. As for the inferior plays, and “All's well that ends well” has always been considered one of them, he willingly shewed neglect where the world would scarcely have thanked him for care and study.
If we cannot“ reconcile our hearts" to Bertram, the play is altogether intolerable. If at any time his conduct is such as to provoke Our contempt, or if we did not perceive, among his errors, the germs
a good and honourable mind, the interest of the story would be at an end. The hopes and fears of the other characters, their efforts to reclaim him, and the happiness of Helen, would be all despair the instim he became unworthy of our sympathy,
Shakspeare appears to have adopted this tale, and conceived the character of its hero, for the purpose of portraying those moral evils, frequently interwoven with the privileges of nobility,--prejudice, arrogance, and wilfulness ; and to point out how they may be corrected in the discipline of the world. Let it be borne in mind, that a nobleman in the days of Queen Elizabeth differed widely from one of our present House of Lords; and, in this instance, the scene being laid in France, we may suppose him invested with the rights of a feudal lord to their fullest extent. Bertram is, by nature, generous and affectionate. His vices are factitious as the heraldic records of his ancestry, and, like his inheritance, belong to him by legitimate descent. His father, we suspect, was not a jot better in his youth. Among his many virtues VOL. IV. NO, XVII,
there is one mentioned, which lets us a little into his patrician character, and it comes most appropriately from the mouth of majesty,
-"Who were below him,
Making them proud of his humility.” Praise from a king sounds bravely within the walls of a palace, but loses elsewhere. It is not enough that we should be told the old count was excellent as a soldier and a courtier, in order to make us esteem him. We understand his value better when his widow prays that her
may succeed his father in manners as in shape," and willingly join in her love of his memory; for the word of such a lady is worth a thousand kings,--and, in all probability, it was her strength of mind, aided by his own experience, that made him a man to be lamented. The
young Count comes before us possessed of a good heart, and of no mean capacity, but with a haughtiness of rank, which threatens to dull the edge of the kinder passions, and to cloud the intellect. This is the inevitable consequence of an illustrious education. The glare of his birthright has dazzled his young faculties. Perhaps the first words he could distinguish were from an important nurse, giving elaborate directions about his lordship's pap. As soon as he could walk, a crowd of submissive vassals doffed their caps, and hailed his first appearance on his legs. His spelling-book had the arms of the family emblazoned on the cover. He had been accustomed to hear him: called the great, the mighty son of Roussillon, ever since he was helpless child. A succession of complacent tutors would by no me 'i: destroy the illusion; and it is from their hands that Shakspeare rece him, while yet in his minority.
It is too much to say that Bertram “marries Helen as a cowa. He is ward to the king, who commands the marriage,
“Which both thy duty owes, and our power claims ;'' and he backs his authority with threats of
“ Both my revenge and hate, Loosing upon thee in the name of justice,
Without all terms of pity. Speak, thine answer !" His majesty is a moody old gentleman, but not the less fearful on account. The most bigoted bachelor would prefer a wife to irretriev ruin. If ever there was little shame in yielding to compulsion, here case in point. Helvetius indeed tells us that “he who fears nothing do nothing contrary to his inclination; it is in quality of cowards troops are brave.” But this is a refinement upon a word beyonc general acceptation. It suits the mouth of a metaphysician, but a of the world would hardly understand it, and a great moralist nothing to do with it. We rather admire the boldness of young Bertram's sneering and ironical speech, wherein he consents to “take her hand,” which could not be uttered without some hazard, while the brow of royalty was scowling on him. Nor does he “ leave her as a profligate." A profligate would have taken her to his arms before he abandoned her ; but he flies from her with indignation, immediately after the marriage-ceremony. As we profess to entertain a brotherly