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several works were put into our hands, which, in the main, proved exceedingly unsatisfactory, as they contained little or nothing of the practical Missionary. In one, indeed, was found abundance of useful and entertaining matter, put together with considerable talent and judgment, but relating almost exclusively to the colony; in another, a hasty visit to certain Mission stations within the colony, with as much trite and common-place remark as was necessary to fill up an imposing quarto volume broadly margined; whilst a third presented little besides a mere journal of every day's occurrences, taking in every circumstance, and almost every thought, that seems to have struck the traveller while amidst African scenes.
As it will be manifest from the map, that the Author had occasion to pass through the very heart of the colony, on his way into the interior, the reader may probably be led to anticipate something respecting its state, politics, and prospects; but upon these subjects enough has already been said by Barrow, Lichtenstein, Thompson, and other respectable writers, to whose works reference is repeatedly made in the sequel. On this account, therefore, he has purposely abstained from touching upon them, excepting in cases where the interests and affairs of the native tribes were immediately concerned. Not at all anxious about the merit of mere book-making, any more than of personal emolument, he has selected from a large mass of materials such articles
for the present volume as were most likely to prove generally useful and interesting, bringing the work within a comparatively small compass. Should no other end be answered, it will at least serve to remind us of the degraded state of ancient Britain when Julius Cæsar first invaded it; for in the present condition of the Caffrarian tribes is reflected, as in a mirror, the leading features of our great progenitors; while from our own history we may also learn the state to which such tribes may be elevated, by means favourable to their improvement.
The true character of the African, like that of the American, has been vilely and universally traduced; sometimes from sheer ignorance,-at others from malice; but more frequently, from absolutely mercenary motives. Nor has the philosopher himself, with all his fine schemes of civilization, schemes which, for any thing we yet know, have effected just nothing at all,-done much towards raising these degraded children of Ham. Nearly two centuries elapsed," says Dr. Robertson, "after the discovery of America, before the manners of its inhabitants attracted, in any considerable degree, the attention of philosophers. At length they discovered that the contemplation of the condition and character of the Americans in their original state tended to complete our knowledge of the human species, enabling us to fill up a considerable chasm in the history of its progress, leading at the same time to speculations no less curious than important.
"They entered upon this new field of study with great ardour; but instead of throwing light upon the subject, they have contributed, in some degree, to involve it in additional obscurity. Too impatient to inquire, they hastened to decide; and begun to erect systems, when they should have been searching for facts on which to establish their foundations. Struck with the appearance of degeneracy in the human species throughout the New World, and astonished at beholding a vast continent occupied by a naked, feeble, and ignorant race of men, some authors of great name have maintained, that this part of the globe had but lately emerged from the sea, and become fit for the residence of man; that every thing in it bore marks of a recent original; and that its inhabitants, lately called into existence, and still at the beginning of their career, were unworthy to be compared with the people of a more ancient and improved continent.* Others have imagined, that under the influence of an unkindly climate, which checks and enervates the principle of life, man never attained in America the perfection which belongs to his nature, but remained an animal of inferior order, defective in the vigour of his bodily frame, and destitute of sensibility, as well as of force, in the operations of his mind; a brutish, obstinate being, incapable either of acquiring religious knowledge, or of being trained to the func
* M. de Buffon, Hist. Nat. iii. 484, &c., ix. 114.
tions of social life.* In opposition to both these, other philosophers have supposed that man arrives at his highest dignity and excellence long before he reaches a state of refinement; and in the rude simplicity of savage life, displays an elevation of sentiment, an independence of mind, and a warmth of attachment, for which it is vain to search among the members of polished societies. They seem to consider that as the most perfect state of man which is the least civilized. They describe the manners of the rude Indians with such rapture, as if they proposed them for models to the rest of the species." +
Equally absurd and contradictory theories have been proposed, and that with equal confidence, respecting the African; and great genius as well as uncommon powers of eloquence have been exerted to clothe them with an appearance of truth. The Author has therefore been led to make the subject one of close and studied observation. The bodily constitution of the natives, the qualities of their minds, their domestic state and political institutions, their system of war and public security, their arts and arms, together with the singular customs and degrading superstitions universally prevalent amongst them, have all been points of diligent inquiry for years; and he has now endeavoured to present them to view just as he found them. The opportunities afforded by a settled residence in their ham
*M. de P. Recherches Philos. sur les Americ. passim. + M. Rousseau. Hist. Americ. Book iv. pp. 314, 315.
lets, and by daily intercourse with them under all the varied circumstances of savage life, have been such as to induce an unostentatious confidence in the conclusions to which he has come; and should increased interest be hereby excited, or Africa's weal at all promoted, he will feel more than compensated for that which was but his "reasonable service." S. K.