« ForrigeFortsæt »
ged with the electric fluid, plays its whole artillery upon the hills en passant, and resembles a ship of war bidding defiance to a , line.
After much fatigue and unpleasant travelling, we reached L’Ance Folin, a small village of about twenty wicker huts situate upon the very border of the ocean. Here we stopped and procured some punch for refreshment, of an old negro woman who lived upon the road side. After continuing our route until seven o'clock, we arrived at St. Louis, another small town upon the margin of the sea, about three leagues distant from Port de Paix. The approach of night determined me to proceed no further. I had heard of the hospitality of Mr. Lleland, a man of colour, proposer or deputy ordonnateur of this quarter, who resided at this place, and although I had no letters of introduction to him, I made no hesitation in going to his house. I was received by him and his family with much civility, provided with an omelet, some bread and claret for my supper, and after having enjoyed this frugal repast, I retired to my lodging room, which had a ground floor, where a comfortable matrass spread upon the tops of two tables, was prepared for my accommodation. This town contains about forty houses, the best of which are of log and the rest of the basket kind. It has also a church, and on the following morning before day-light I heard its bell summoning the pious portion of its inhabitants to matins.
At an early hour after leaving upon the table in my chamber, the usual bonus, I departed, and at eight o'clock, after passing over a level and pleasant road, reached the place of my destination. Immediately on arrival, I fulfilled the requisite formality of waiting upon the commandant of the place to report myself, but he not being at his office, his assistant examined my passport and endorsed it with the official notice, visé. From my knowledge of the extreme unhealthiness of Port de Paix I did not feel disposed to continue in it any longer than my business absolutely required, which was but a few hours. As soon therefore as it was concluded, and I had visited two of my countrymen who were sick, and dined with two others who were well, I set out at four o'clock on my return. We lodged at St. Louis, and after having repassed the same rugged mountains and roads which we had encountered the preceding day, arrived at Le
Borgne, on the following afternoon. I here saw a young Frenchman whose appearance attracted my attention and with whom I entered into conversation. His age was apparently about four and twenty, his person handsome, and his countenance interesting; but sorrow was depicted in such glowing colours in his looks and deportment, that one could not but sympathise with him upon the wretchedness of his situation. I found him to be a man of liberal education, and gentlemanly manners. His clothes were rather upon the threadbare order, but at a single glance one might perceive that mean apparel was not adapted to the style of his address. He informed me that he was an European, that he had been in the Island about three years, that his life had been spared because he was generally liked by +P: inhabitants of the town (being I presume what they call in beims of endearment un bon diable), and that he was the only white man left there. He also stated to me, that Christophe had wished him to perform upon the stage at the Cape, but that he preferred to drag on his miserable life in his present situation as a clerk in the proposer's office, rather than subject himself to the slavery which such an occupation would impose
On the following day I returned to port Margot, and thence took a different road from the one I had before travelled, which led me to Limbé, a small town, regularly laid out, but composed, with two or three exceptions, of wicker houses. Here I breakfasted about noon, and amused myself whilst the meal was preparing with a game of billiards. This species of amusement is the principal one, to which the Haytian gentlemen are attached, and so prevalent is the fondness for it, that there is scarcely a town in the island of any moderate extent, which has not its billiard-table. From the constant practise of this game, many expert players have been produced, and perhaps there is no country in which they can be excelled. Having but six leagues to travel to the Cape, I soon set out, and completed my expedition, late in the afternoon. I arrived just in time to join in the festivities of a splendid entertainment given by an American in commemoration of the day which gave birth to the illustrious Washington. Almost all the nfficers of distinction as well civil
as military, resident at and near the Cape were present to partake of the sumptuous banquet, and to express their congratulations on the return of the day which gave cause for this proud celebration. The name of Washington is well known in Hayti, as the chiefest pride of an American, and when I see men, strangers to my native land, venerate the memory of that immortal hero of whom they have only heard as the champion of liberty, I shrink with pain at the recollection, that there are, in the United States, vipers who owe the free air they breathe to the virtues of that great man, yet who would be happy if his name could be buried in eternal oblivion.
The appearances exhibited to the view of a traveller, when surveying the face of the country, are of a melancholy character, and cannot fail to excite in his mind the most glitomy sensations. He beholds, all around him, the remains of ta prince
1 ly mansions of the ancient proprietors of the soil, fast crumbling to dust. He sees the tottering pillars on which still hang massy gates of iron, almost eaten up by rust; walls, pyramids, marble statues, and many other vestiges of magnificence and splendour falling to decay. Instead of these proud structures, the devastation of which has been accompanied by such horrible transactions, a mean solitary cabin is presented to the sight. Instead of the comforts and luxuries which here once so highly abounded, a miserable horde of ignorant negroes, scarcely enjoy the necessaries of life. These uncheering appearances are eminently conspicuous on the Plaine du Can, which extends many miles to the southward and eastward from the Cape, and which was formerly so abundant in luxurious gardens, fertile plantations, and splendid edifices.
But the gloominess attendant upon such scenes of destruction, is in some measure alleviated by the civility, which one meets with from the peasantry in travelling. There is a strong contrast between the insolence of the soldiers, who are stationed in the large towns and the politeness of the simple cultivators. Not an individual passes without taking off his hat with the friendly salutation of salut monsieur' or « bon jour capitaine,' which latter appellation is the one indiscriminately given by the lower class of people, as well in town as country, to all white men who,
they perceive, are not Frenchmen. Thus a negro speaking to a merchant, captain, supercargo or sailor, never forgets to entitle him capitaine, that appellation with him being synonymous with stranger, and at the same time the most dignified and respectful title for a private citizen, which his vocabulary affords. The females are equally polite, and never fail in passing to drop a low curtsey, and with a modest smile to greet you with “ bo jou moucher.”
The peasantry of Hayti exhibit a sad spectacle of the effects of a mistaken policy. They are miserably poor, and live in
, wretched hovels. The clothing of the men consists of a shirt, and sometimes a pair of pantaloons, made of coarse German linen, and their food of cassada bread, yams, and roasted plantains, seasoned perhaps with a salted herring, which answers the purpose of being pointed at. The women, particularly those of the younger sort, are like the ladies of the city, extravagantly fond of ornaments, and elegant rings are frequently to be seen pendent at the ears of a damsel, who has scarcely any other dress to appear in, but a chemise.
The produce of the plantations belongs one ha’f to the proprietor, who is usually some officer who has laid claim to the soil on account of his services, one fourth to the cultivators, and the remaining fourth is paid to the government for the duty of subvention. On the arrival of any coffee in the sea port towns, to which it is transported in bags, upon the backs of mules, horses or asses, it is taken to the office of the directeur des domaines, where it is weighed and the duty paid in kind. 'A certificate is then granted, called a papier de subvention, which states that the duty has been paid upon so many pounds, and that the owner is authorized to sell it. Without this paper it cannot be shipped, and at the clearing out of a cargo, certificates must be produced for the whole quantity intended to be exported. Still however there is a considerable deal of fraud practised. Coffee is often brought to market, which is purchased without this certificate, and as a pretty large quantity is smuggled on board of the vessels, it is not difficult to procure subvention papers.
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
The defence of American genius against the aspersions of misrepresenting foreigners, has of late, been so frequently and so ably undertaken, that an exemplification of its excellence may perhaps be unnecessary to its support. All, unbiassed by prejudice for the old, or speculative contempt for the new country, have at length been convinced, from the authority of fact, that unlike any people that ever existed, we have not required the progressive advances of time to mature our taste, or give expansion to our talents. We burst forth, like the Minerva of poetry, fully equipped and perfect. The causes which have operated to produce an effect so unprecedented, must be obvious to any cne acquainted with the history of the United States, and therefore unnecessary to be mentioned here. Our Barlows, our Ramsays, and our Henrys, have flourished already-and be it mentioned with pride, though kingly patronage has seduced a West from our shores, we have Stuarts in abundance to rival and excel him. Truth, however, can never be too forcibly proved-ard patriotism alone will prompt us to announce every occurring instance that may contribute to exalt us in the estimation of our proud cotemporaries. Eager as I find you are to encourage native genius, in whatever shape it may appear, and anxious myself to add one more testimonial to my country's superiority, I offer for publicity the following sketch relative to a man, hitherto but little known, equally deserving as he is industrious. The exertions lutely made, to infuse a spirit and love for what are justiy and emphatically denominated the fine arts, among the citizens of Philadelphia particularly, having proved in a most unexpected degree successful, I am induced to believe that the introduction of a new artist to notice, will not be unproductive of pleasure to many, and benefit to others.
Jacob Eichold was born at Lancaster about the year 1781. He early evinced a natural turn for drawing, but the solicitude of parental foresight, or the severity of prejudice, prevented en