« ÎnapoiContinuați »
ritual superstitions of their Hindoo neighbors, and in that respect are even more free-souled than the Malays, their only rivals on the coasts of the Oriental Archipelago-although I suspect that they are not very strong to land Mussulmen. The Malays form, at present, a fringe of population round most of the islands in those seas, whatever may be the description of the inhabitants in the interior. This we certainly find to be the case along four or five hundred miles of the north coast of Java; but the moment we strike inland, a different and indigenous race appears. The Malays are the masters by sea; and, like a certain nation, throned in the west,' are said to lord it in tolerably imperious style. On the other hand, the Chinese, who are the worst possible sailors, but who are agriculturists by nature and by necessity, as well as taste, are gradually out-mastering the Malays along shore; and in time, I have little doubt, they will become the chief proprietors of the soil. They may then build forts at the mouths of the rivers, and bully the good folks of the interior. Thus, ages hence, Pontiana may become a second Antwerp; and protocols in Chinese, Malays, and Bornese, occupy all Eastern men's thoughts from Timor to Formosa."
Here, then, according to the opinions of a very correct observer, are opportunities of disseminating religion and the higher marks of civilization among the Chinese, which set at defiance all the laws of exclusion which China can either devise or execute. The immense population of that empire, so great indeed as to be considered, until recently, equal to that of all the rest of the globe together, and which in truth is such that millions are born and die on the rivers and coasts without ever setting foot upon terra firma-this population, dense almost beyond imagination, compels its individuals, by the strong law of necessity, to seek for a subsistence wheresoever it may be found, regardless of the minor law of the state, which would produce distress and starvation in the most formidable shapes. They traverse, therefore, the waters of the Eastern ocean and Archipelago in every direction. Bad sailors as they are, the necessities of nature, and the hope of something better, drive them forth, and make them adventurous in spite of themselves.
In such a state of things, then, what need we care for Hong merchants to regulate our traffic, and for Mandarins to restrict our movements? Let them shut us out entirely from the ports of China-let them even make it capital to have intercourse with our shipping under any pretence and what would it avail? The wealth of China would be as completely at our command as if every harbor were open to us; the intercourse with her people would be fully as great as if there were the most unrestricted commerce and the closest relations of interest between us. The new India and China bill will produce most important effects among the British capitalists, and, by consequence, will materially operate upon the movements of our own merchants. The British and the Americans will drive, as they have hitherto driven, the whole China trade of the Western world; but, as private individuals will now stimu late the endeavors of the East India Company to retain superior advantages, and these in their turn will operate upon American commerce in the same quarter, it will be a general competition for advantages; the
Chinese themselves will perceive it as well as we; it is obvious, therefore, that settlements will gradually be made among the islands which surround the east and south of China and Cochin-china, or Chin India, and our missionaries will have abundant opportunity to do their high duty, as well as the mere worshippers of Mammon.
Éven Bombay itself, without regard to any other part or quarter of the East, presents such prospects to the soldier of the cross, to the philanthropist, and to the enlightened philosopher, as are unmatched in the history of the world. The same intelligent writer, whom we have already quoted, has given such a description of the numerous varieties who constitute its population, and move in its busy streets and markets, as cannot but be highly interesting and flattering to the prospects of all who have the welfare of the world, in its highest relations, at heart. Here are met together merchants from every part of the known world, in such numbers from each, that a stranger would be at a loss which is the predominating nation; and the whole presenting such a novel scene that it looks like the region of romance. Unreserved discussions are continually taking place; descriptions of manners, customs, religions, modes of thinking, are interchanged to the general gratification, and abundantly to the information of all. Here is a field for the missionary duly qualified, of an importance, perhaps, beyond estimation. The Oriental nations are remarkable, above all the rest of the world, for the patient attention with which they listen to argument; it does not always produce conviction, it is true, because prejudice is a powerful opponent; nevertheless, with such an auditory, the speaker must understand little himself, or be very deficient in oratory-and in either case very unfit for his office-who cannot make some salutary impression, who cannot cause some portion of the seed to take root.
The time, then, is come when the Christian world may "be up and doing." Every thing conspires in their favor; even worldly interests offer their assistance in the cause; and we may reasonably hope that shortly the Christian standard will be triumphantly flying through the vast regions of the East. It is really the case, that the propagation of the gospel will forward temporal interests; printers will be in great request; type-founders, paper-makers, leather-dressers-all the concomitants of literary enterprize, will walk in the train of religious conversion. Science, in particular, will ensue; and science has ever been the friend of commerce.
How exquisitely delightful to imagine the addition of so many millions of our fellow-creatures to that social intercourse which the participation in one common religion will produce. To think that, like one great family, mankind lift up the imploring eye, or pour out the overflowing soul, to the same great God and Father of the universe; that their hopes are the same, the foundation of those hopes the same; and, above all, that their religious sentiments are founded in verity and truth! How gratifying to the hopes, that the soft influences of the religion of love may, not long hence, tend more powerfully to preserve peace and good-will among the hitherto turbulent princes of India than the arbitrary dictum of an alien governor, with a powerful soldiery
at his beck; that the wisdom of Christian government may probably enlarge the mind of a Chinese despot, and teach him that love for the institutions of a country is a better mean of retaining her citizens than penal laws; and that a free intercourse with the other nations of the earth will do more to enlighten and refine a people, whilst it will also contribute to their temporal prosperity, than harsh restrictions, which will of necessity be broken; and by the very breach there enters an enemy, in the shape of contempt for a nation's laws. A.
Give me, fond Memory, but one music-tone
Give one bright presence back. Now wave thy wand!
Far midst the rocky cliffs, in mine own land,
Oh Night! thine is the power
To call long-vanished scenes around the soul,
Then is it not most meet
That to the dreamer o'er vain hopes, but high,
Gleams not as once upon his waking eye,
FORTUNATA OF RAMETTA:
A TALE OF SICILY.
FORTUNATA NOUSIATE was deservedly the pride of Rametta. beauty, though unsurpassed by that of any of the lovely daughters of Sicily, was not more endearing than her pleasing amiability of manner, and her perfection in all rustic accomplishments. Yet, although the fame of her attractions had spread for many miles around her native town, and though, from the great cities of Messina, Palermo, and Naples, many of the young nobles came to visit the beautiful Contadina, her good sense told her that it was not among these admirers that she was to look for a companion for life; and the flutter of the heart which their admiration excited, was, at most, but the evidence of the gratification of a natural vanity.
The father of our heroine was a staunch royalist, who honestly believed that his country never was so happy and prosperous as under the control of the Neapolitan government. He was satisfied with his own lot; and while he looked up to the nobility as far above him, he did not envy them their destiny; and, conscious of his daughter's surpassing loveliness, and of the admiration she excited, he did not for a moment dream of its becoming confirmed passion. He therefore discountenanced the efforts of the higher classes to form an intimacy in his family, while he cautioned Fortunata to hear without heeding the praises of her admirers, as the flattering nothings of mere worldliness, or the temptings to destruction of the evil-disposed. With such a father, and a mind naturally pure, what danger could be apprehended?
But although strictly virtuous, the daughters of Sicily are liable to form attachments, as ardent as they are permanent and engrossing. Adversity cannot chill their affection. No! An Italian woman clings with
fonder devotion to her first love, in misfortune and in sickness, than in the brighter day of health and affluence. She is proud
"To know that she to him has given,
Her affection is like the eternal fire of the sun; unquenchable-consuming.
Fortunata, at the time our story commences, had but just attained her fifteenth year; yet she was, to all appearance, a full grown and a wellformed woman. It was only in her artless manner, or in the joyous laugh, which, in her merrier moods, came ringing on the ear, that the mere girl betrayed herself. Among her noble admirers, the most conspicuous for birth, wealth, and gallantry, was the young Duke of Melazzo. Although descended from royalty itself, this haughty noble had seen, admired, and loved the humble peasant's daughter. Her father was, in some measure, dependent upon him; and this circumstance gave him opportunities of addressing her, enjoyed by but few of his rivals. Flattery, presents, devoted attentions, and passionate avowals, he had tried in turn, but thus far tried in vain. Were the admonitions of a prudent father, and the silent cautions of an innocent heart, sufficient safeguards against the insidious approaches of the wealthy libertine? A better and a far surer barrier was to be found in a previous attachment. She loved another.
At the time of which we write, the government of Naples appeared to take delight in wantonly oppressing her dependencies, of which the most important was the island of Sicily. While she ground the people to the very earth, she, by a master-stroke of policy, precluded almost the possibility of resistance. This policy was, to keep alive a constant jealousy among them. One day opening a vast field of commerce and consequent prosperity to one city, the next day damming up the current of enterprize-turning the tide of fortune into the bosom of some-for the moment-more favored rival. Thus were the inhabitants of a country, possessed of a luxuriant climate and productive soil, kept in subjection and the most galling poverty. But another means to which she resorted-one still more calculated to cripple the power of the Siciliansmore irksome to the people, and which finally drove them to rebellionwas the enactment of militia laws, by which the young men were enrolled and sent to bear arms in places where they were, for the most part, wholly unnecessary. From this service it was possible to procure exemption; but to obtain it, so much influence, as well as wealth, was requisite, that few could avail themselves of the privilege, save those who had no interest in desiring a change of government, and for whose benefit it was especially intended. From the effect produced on the prosperity of Sicily, as well as indirectly on that of the Neapolitan state itself, by such policy, the political economist might draw a great and useful lesson.
Filippo Vitelli belonged to a class, of which some few still exist in Sicily, between the wealthy nobles and the poorer peasantry-not absolutely rich, and yet not in actual want-enjoying a patrimony sufficient to provide the necessaries of life, without resorting to labor; and yet