Page images
PDF
EPUB

Texas is a war for the restoration of slavery where it had been abolished? And you, sir, your own government has given occasion for a man at the head of the Mexican government to make war in the cause of human liberty; and he might invade your own territory.

He believed that that ruffian, Santa Anna, had he not been defeated, would have crossed our borders before this time, and, with the banner of freedom waving about him, would now have been proclaiming liberty to the negroes of the South, and carrying into execution the Mexican decree ;-while Texas was carrying on a war for the restoration of slavery, which was the cause of this war. Well, did gentlemen believe, even if this monster were dead, as is supposed, there were not many others who could fill his place? If so, they were greatly mistaken. There were many more, able and willing to take his place. But did not gentlemen suppose that this monster, had he lived to come into the United States, with his banner of freedom, marching with his victorious army, (which he might have been,) would have been satisfied until he had succeeded in rallying every Indian-rallying every negro slave, with the hope and promise of freedom? Did gentlemen suppose that such a war as that was to be carried on in the territory of Arkansas, and the States of Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, and Georgia, without a great loss of life, and an expenditure of money?.

. Even should it turn out that Santa Anna is really dead-has been shot, and he believed it probable-did the house think that Mexico was not fertile enough to produce another chief able to meet our army, at least as able as those to be found in that one sent against the Indians? Did honourable members suppose that that country was not fertile enough, too, to produce monsters his equal in cruelty? And what would be the condition of the South? Did gentlemen suppose, furthermore, that they had a contest now only whether Texas shall become a territory of this Union? What is the territory of Texas, admitting it independent and free? What is it? Why it has not half the physical power or population of your territory of Michigan; and you are treating your territory of Michigan, and have been for years, with injustice, with more than Mexico has done to justify the Texians to declare their independence.

'But one word more: he had shown the house that he had in prospect a Mexican, an Indian, and a negro war, raging upon all our borders-most defenceless borders-which we are now endeavouring to prop up with some support. There was ANOTHER COUNTRY to which the voice of liberty has a charm quite as powerful as it has here, with this addition, that it extends that feeling of liberty to all races-to all conditions and colours. That country has set you an example within the last two years of proclaiming freedom to their slaves in the very vicinity of your own country. Aye, that is the country for fanatics, for abolitionists; and that country, furthermore, has a sentiment of jealousy with respect to your power, which will suggest to them another question beside that of slavery, as connected with this territory, which it is proposed with such promptitude to admit into the Union. Before you admit that territory into the union, you will have to ask the permission of Great Britain. Take word for it, you will have to do so. And, upon this occasion he would say, some little re

my

flection ought to be taken. If the United States should annex Texas to her territory, time was very near when she would have the island of Cuba. And even that question had not been one altogether unconsidered. He knew when propositions were actually made from the Island of Cuba to the United States to be independent, and asked to be annexed to our Union, upon pretty advantageous terms, too. They were not satisfied to be considered as one state;-they would have at least four, if not six members in the other branch of this building. That proposition, however, was not accepted; and there was a reciprocal understanding with her, that she would not belong to Great Britain..

At the time he referred to, there were two great revolutionary parties in the island,—one which was extremely anxious to belong to the United States, and the other to Great Britain. And he believed there were propositions made to her, though he could not say for a certainty what they were. All this took place just prior to Ferdinand VII. being restored to the throne of Spain. The people then had undoubtedly, according to all the principles of the rights of men, a right to form what alliance they chose-to ask an admission into this Union, or the protection of Great Britain. There was a British, and an American party in Cuba; and, he repeated, he knew that propositions were made here, and he had no doubt that propositions were made to England, and to France also. It happened precisely at the moment when the French Government had sent a squadron to cruise in the West India seas; and so alarmed was Mr. Canning, a minister at that time, at this mere circumstance, that he sent a peremptory order to France, to know what was the object of that squadron, and to tell her in distinct words, that the squadron must not go and attack Cuba. And the same communication was made on the part of the United States, in a frank manner, to Great Britain, that she was not to take possession of Cuba; and yet, at that very time, secret advices were received by the Government of the United States, stating that there existed an intention on the part of Great Britain to take possession of Cuba.

"I say," continued Mr. Adams, "you will have an account to settle with Great Britain; and Great Britain will not allow you to have Texas at all. And at any rate, if you have it, you shall take it without slaves, and be compelled to respect the abolition of slavery which has been extended throughout her colonies; and this war of yours will be considered by that Government an infernal and abominable war. And depend upon it, if you get into a war with her on account of Texas, it will be one of the most popular wars she ever waged against any nation. I have supposed this war might happen within twelve months -and I do say that you have already given great cause for it to happen, by authorizing the aggression of the territory of this monster, and of his country."

Mr. A. further remarked, that, whether the war had been brought about by Santa Anna, or by the mighty power of man-jobbers, the question whether Texas was to belong to us or not, or be an independent State, was yet to be settled ; and this country would have to deal with others besides Santa Anna and the three-and-twenty Mexican tates, and your negroes and Indians.'

[ocr errors]

All this abuse of Santa Anna as a monster and a ruffian, goes for little with us; but it was requisite, perhaps, on the part of the Speaker, in addressing a reluctant audience, to speak of him in these terms. According to all accounts, the Texian' General Houston, is far more deserving of these epithets. But will Great Britain justify the expectations, and respond to the appeal of this noble-minded American statesman? Hitherto, we deeply regret to say, our Government has professed to have no official information of these notorious transactions; and to questions put to His Majesty's Ministers in Parliament, the answers have been anything but satisfactory. The press has maintained an unaccountable and ominous silence as to the real nature of the contest. But surely the session will not be suffered to close, without bringing this important topic-important in every point of view, as affecting both our national honour, our political relations, and our commercial interests-before a British House of Commons.

Art. IV. 1. The Topography of Rome and its Vicinity. By Sir William Gell. In Two Volumes, 8vo. pp. 877. Map in separate Vol. London, 1834.

2. An Epitome of Niebuhr's History of Rome, with Chronological Tables and an Appendix. By Travers Twiss, B.C.L. 8vo, pp. xliii., 359. London, 1836.

IT

T is not often that we are able to bring together, in a single Article, two Works of so much value and interest as are combined in the volumes now before us. We could fancy that we never thoroughly understood the movements of the Romans on their own proper soil, and on the adjacent territories, until we rose from the steady and studious perusal of Sir William Gell. His style is not particularly good; nor is it, indeed, always perfectly clear in the expression of his meaning; but his materials are excellent, and his knowledge unquestionable. In all his undertakings he has had a distinct object in view, and he has spared no labour in effecting his purpose. The consequence has been, that he has laid the student of antiquity under lasting obligations. His Itineraries of Greece, and his Gazetteer of the Campagna, will be to the inquirer and the traveller inseparable and invaluable companions, at once supplying information and suggesting new tracks of investigation. Not that we like the present form in which Sir William has chosen to convey his instruction: an abecedarian arrangement is, after all, but a school-boy's way of getting through difficulties, and, while it offers no advantage that an index may not more effectually give, has the manifest inconvenience of rejecting all legitimate order and sequence. Either an historical method, or a system of routes, is in all respects pré

VOL. XVI.-N.S.

[ocr errors]

ferable; and, independently of its higher qualities of connexion and specific illustration, is far more interesting than an unconsecutive series of fragments taking post under the letters of the alphabet. Still, however, notwithstanding its broken and scattered condition, the substance is there; and if we cannot get it in our own way, which must of course be the best, we are quite willing to accept it in the only shape in which it can now be accessible.

The real key to the Work must be looked for in the Map; certainly one of the most instructive in matter and in execution that we have ever seen. It is at once scientific and picturesque : not elaborated with the insipid and unexpressive finish of the ordnance maps, but bold and characteristic; suggesting, if not actually expressing, the landscape, as well as the military surface of the country. It adds to the value of this delineation, that it is not the result of pacings and compass-bearings, however carefully conducted, but of a regular and laborious trigonometrical survey; and that no attempt has been made to fill up, with materials less than scientifically accurate, the blanks of the map. It takes in the sea-coast from Punicum to Astura, and includes the course of the Tiber from Ponte Felice, and that of the Anio from its source. When we have added, that its dimensions exceed 'three feet by two, our readers will be able to form a tolerably fair idea of the contents, as well as of the scale on which they are exhibited. In truth, with the exception of Greece, the world does not contain a region, of similar extent, so intensely interesting to sight, to memory, and to scientific exploration. Its landscape is rich and varied, both in natural and in structural scenery. Mountains, plains, rocks, forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, present themselves in all directions; while castles, palaces, churches, temples, entire or in ruins, occupy every advantageous position. Every step calls up recollections of the past. arts or arms have left their traces in all directions. Not a rivulet but bears a consecrated name, nor a road but exhibits in its construction, or passes in its line, the signs manual of Roman magnificence and skill. To the man of science, the country offers, if possible, a still more interesting range of research. The whole region is a volcanic surface, of which the fires are extinct, but with the wreck of former convulsions lying scattered in all directions. Nothing is more striking, in the inspection of the map, than to mark the crater-like aspect of the lake and mountain scenery. Albano and Nemi are evidently the water-logged basins of a volcano which once comprised the entire circuit of the Alban range. The Lago di Martignano, with the broad sheet of Bracciano, are of similar origin; and many a quiet pool, deep, dark, and clear, amid rocks and rich foliage, was once a fountain of fire.

According to present appearances, there is but little in the Campagna di Roma to make it a commanding, or even an advantageous site for the capital of the world. As a central point of energy and action, it may have had some partial eligibilities; but the power of Rome was independent of place or circumstance: it grew, slowly but surely, out of vigorous institutions and favourable opportunities unscrupulously seized. As a strong position, Rome was altogether inferior to the fortresses that hemmed her in; and this may have led to that very policy which, by making her almost invariably the assailant, gave her the vantage of the first blow, and placed her antagonist in the attitude of weakness. Veii, Alba, Tibur, Præneste, with nearly all the cities of Latium and Etruria, were founded on elevated spots, scarped, insulated, and fortified with those Pelasgian or Cyclopian munitions, which, even in their utter ruin, excite our marvelling admiration. Yet, Rome on her seven hillocks, became the mistress of them all, or rather crushed and destroyed them before her constant and exhausting aggression. There was the river, it is true; and no doubt the Tiber presented many inducements to a settlement on that part of its banks which, while it was within reach of the sea by a sort of canal navigation, afforded no advantages in the upper part of its course, to either a treacherous or menacing approach. Sir William Gell's draught of the Campagna is far from an inviting picture.

There is nothing particularly fertile in the soil of the Campagna to render it an eligible position for the mistress of the world: on the contrary, extensive tracts of country are rendered uncultivable by sulphurous springs, as, for instance, in the road to Tivoli; and in many other parts, the plain is covered only by a thin layer of sterile soil, as along the Appian Way, from the third to the tenth mile: the coast is either a deep sand, as at Laurentum; or a frightful marsh, as at Ostia and Maccarese; and the whole has the reputation of malaria, and of disposing to agues and fever. It has been proved that volcanic lapillæ and volcanic productions in general, possess, in an eminent degree, the power of retaining moisture; (imbibing, with ease, seven-eighths of their own weight of water;) and that their humidity is a principal cause of their fertility. Mixed with the soil, and impregnated with a store of moisture acquired during the winter months, they occasion, in the ensuing spring and summer, the fertility so remarkable in the vicinity of Naples. About Rome, a thin stratum of soil is, in many parts, spread over volcanic productions, but is not mixed up with them. The climate of the Campagna cannot be called fine, for it is seldom the traveller can look around without observing a tempest deluging some part of the plain; and in the numerous excursions which were necessary for the construction of the Map, an impression almost of destruction has been frequently produced, by the bursting of storms over the capital, or Frascati, or Tivoli. They are often so partial as

« PreviousContinue »