Imatges de pÓgina

offered to the prosperity and happiness of Brazil by that spirit of monopoly and lust of immediate profit, which is the besetting sin of all such bodies as their West India Company. They had conquered Brazil as a commercial speculation; and though, evidently, by no means insensible to feelings of ambition and national pride, it was still mainly necessary that the directors and their officers should satisfy their constituents by an immediate profit on the capital advanced; and here their interest as merchants and debtors was often in direct hostility to their duty and interest as sovereigns. They had made the Pernambucans their subjects, but they were, in trade, their rivals. Lest, therefore, they should compete with the Company in the European market, heavy imposts were laid on the exportation of their produce; and every kind of vexatious impediment interposed to cramp and confine their industry. So far did this extend, that they were not permitted to slaughter beasts for sale, or even for home-consumption. They were compelled to sell the animal to the Dutch butchers, and purchase their meat at a price fixed by the council!

The like necessity of attending to present profit only had induced the council two years before, instead of filling the confiscated lands with European and Protestant colonists, to sell them to any one who offered, and at prices so extravagant, that the wisest of their own countrymen would not purchase. In consequence, they were chiefly bought by Portugueze with neither character nor capital, on the dishonest and desperate speculation to which a great arınament then ineditated by Spain encouraged them, that the province would change sovereigns before the time of payment arrived. The expedition failed. The Company, being themselves almost ruined, were merciless towards their debtors; and the colony was filled, at the time of which we are speaking, with men insolvent, desperate from want and passion, and, urged by every motive, bad as well as good, to get rid of their foreign


It was not, however, in Pernambuco that the flames of revolt were first kindled. Maranham, as it had been disgracefully won during a truce, was more disgracefully governed than any other of the Dutch possessions. The governor had even advanced so far in cruelty as to expose, without so much as a pretext, four-and-twenty of the Portugueze inhabitants to be devoured by the savages. The people, though deserted by their mother-country, determined to right themselves. A small band of fifty conspirators under Antonio Monis Barreiros, formerly governor of the colony, gained some successes by surprize, and soon so far swelled their numbers as to drive the Dutch from their province as well as the neighbouring districts of Seara. This ill news made the Company and

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its agents more distrustful as to the allegiance of the Pernambucans, and that distrust produced fresh severity. The priests and monks were subjected to many oppressions, and the latter, at length, collected and sent out of the country; and, while every thing menaced an approaching storm, Nassau, for whom alone, of all the Dutch, the Portugueze had some respect, and in whom alone they had any confidence, was recalled to Holland, and the government committed to Henrik Haus and the other members of the council, whose plebeian names and mercantile habits excited the contempt of the Pernambucans as much as their interested and oppressive conduct did their abhorrence. This was not likely to continue. A wealthy Portugueze, of high reputation for courage, liberality, and sanctity, by name Joam Fernandes, organized an insurrection, in correspondence with the governor of Bahia, and with Dirk or Theodorick van Hoogstraten, a treacherous Dutch officer of high rank. Camaram with his Indians, and Henrique Diaz with his terrible band of negroes, were not slow in joining him. The necessary quantity of miracles was performed for the encouragement and edification of the faithful. The Dutch, though not surprized, were unprepared for the greatness of the danger. One detachment after another was cut off in the woods, while with every victory the insurgents became more numerous and better armed; and though great military talent was shewn by many of the Company's officers, they were soon shut up in the town of Recife, and exposed to all the miseries of a siege with very little hope of succour. This was in 1645. From thence to 1654 a tedious and miserable contest was maintained, in its circumstances so nearly resembling that which had previously taken place in Bahia, that we may be well excused repeating what, though full of illustrious instances of individual talent and bravery, are to an European of the present day what Milton calls the squabbles of our English Heptarchy, the battles of kites and crows!' But, though we ourselves have shrunk from the task of detailing this long war of posts and skirmishes, we are by no means disposed to regret that Mr. Southey has detailed it even at the length to which his love for the Portugueze and his respect for valour have carried him. It is well that details, which relate to the early fortunes of an empire so considerable as Brazil must one day become, should be rescued from the obscure annalists and obscurer manuscripts in which they were previously buried. It is well that South America should have had its Dionysius of Halicarnassus, before the lapse of years had destroyed its ancient monuments, and the learned had been reduced to fill up its earlier periods with conjectures or inventions. When time shall have conveyed to the shores of the Plata and the Orellana a purer faith and a more efficient system

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system of education; when liberty and learning shall flourish in Brazil; these pages of Mr. Southey may furnish their warriors and statesmen with national precedents of valour and patriotism, with reasons for an ingenuous pride, and with landmarks against those errors which enslaved their illustrious ancestors. In these details Mr. Southey may not have written for present popularity or present interest, but he has not written in vain. He has cast his seed on the waters,' and after many days are come and gone, his harvest of renown will spring up, and grow green, and ripen.

Nor, though an abstract of such events must inevitably have become tiresome, do we dissuade the general reader from those chapters which we pass even in silence. Those who have read Bruce's Abyssinian Annals, or Sir John Malcolm's History of Persia, are well aware that the interest of a narrative depends far more on the power of the relator than on the political importance of the facts related, or their relevancy to our immediate interests. And they who wish for living and moving portraits of illustrious men, who are delighted with patriotism of the highest class united to the wildest superstition and the most singular traits of simplicity, will find such pictures here afforded in the instances of Fernandes, Henrique Diaz and Camaram.

While the Brazilian Portugueze were thus nobly contending with almost the whole force of Holland, they received but little countenance and still less effectual support from their European brethren, and the sovereign to whose cause they were devoted. Such was, indeed, the lamentable situation of Portugal, contending for her very existance with a formidable neighbour, with no other aid than the very inefficient alliance of France, and a few occasional supplies of arms, in exchange for her money, from Holland; that her rulers would have been utterly unjustifiable in courting a war with the latter power, whose friendship was indeed not very serviceable, but whose enmity in Europe would have been truly terrible. All that could be done was to dissemble; to disclaim all correspondence with or controul over the Pernambucans, and by every art of diplomacy to gain time, and invent excuses for deferring the execution of the treaty which the Dutch required, by which the insurgents of Brazil would be formally abandoned, and the territory confirmed to the West India Company. In the devices necessary for such a warfare, their minister at the Hague, Francisco de Sousa, was unrivalled. From simple falsehood to direct forgery, nothing was too mean or too daring for him; all things, as he pleaded, were justified by the previous treachery of the Dutch; and though these last were fully aware of the person with whom they had to contend, his turns and sleights were too quick for their tardier craftiness. Nothing could irritate, nothing escape, nothing disconcert him; and he fairly or


foully, call it which we chuse, held them at bay for three most important years, during which time the insurgents had made so considerable a progress as to render it a matter of comparative indifference whether the king disowned them or not. But to abandon, even nominally, men who had done and were doing so much for the honour of the nation and the crown, was still a most bitter draught; and when the acceptance or refusal of the treaty offered by the Dutch could be no longer delayed, a long and interesting struggle took place between the national necessity and the national honour, of which the traces are preserved in the written opinions which, by the king's command, the principal counsellors of state sent to him. Those documents, of which Mr. Southey has given specimens, are singularly curious and characteristic; they are such, indeed, as to induce us to suspect, that if Portugal had been only a little stronger or a little more enlightened, Brazil would in all probability have been lost to the crown, or have been regularly ceded to the Hollanders.

Had Portugal been a little stronger, it is plain that the preservation of Brazil was an object so popular with the people and government, that they would have exerted themselves to the very utmost in sending out armaments and regular officers to support and organize the insurrection. But that such expeditions could have been sufficiently powerful to outnumber those which the Hollanders might send, was not to be expected even in the most flourishing times of the Portugueze monarchy. Small and inefficient armaments, however, would certainly have done less good than harm. They would have been enough to change the character of the war from that of guerrillas to that of regular troops-from the sort of campaign in which the strength of the planters lay and for which only they were qualified, to one in which the troops of the United States were sure to excel them. And, when we add to all this the ill blood which would have probably arisen between the regular officers and such men as Camaram and Henrique Diaz, as well as the almost certainty that the planters, if not compelled to trust to themselves, would have returned very soon to their national inertness, and have abandoned the defence of the country to the regulars; when, even on the most favourable supposition, that these two descriptions of force should have continued to act together with cordiality and zeal, we consider how extremely unequal European troops were to that species of Maroon service, among woods and marshes, which the planters and their slaves endured, and how surely their despondency would have endangered the general cause; it is not, perhaps, too much to say that no assistance was better than that sort of help which the mother-country, if she had been able, would probably have furnished.


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On the other hand, had Portugal been a little wiser, it is highly probable that, situated as she then was, she would have thought it necessary, nowever painful the sacrifice, to accede to the demands of Holland. The Jesuit Vieyra, indeed, who was incomparably the most able politician, as he was, in every way, the most extraordinary genius of his nation, was decidedly of this opinion, and urged it on the king's conviction in a memorial which, on account of its cogent language and reasoning, was called by his countrymen, 'o papel forte In this he called the attention of the Portugueze to their pressing necessities at home and in India; the latter country more valuable than Brazil, yet, without the cession of Brazil, not to be defended. He urged that the Dutch did not, in fact, require all, nor even half Brazil; and that, since Angola had been recovered from them, their possessions in America would be dependant on Portugal for negroes, a dependance in itself a sufficient guarantee of their peaceable dispositions, as to the provinces which remained to the mother-country. Those provinces contained land enough and to spare; and would be increased in value by the removal thither of those Pernambucans who preferred the government and manners of their forefathers. All who chose might remove, and this was an answer to the objection that it was cruel and impious to leave Portugueze Catholics under the government of heretics. Those who exclaimed that it was disgraceful for the king of Portugal to give way to a mercantile and heretical republic, he referred to the examples of Spain and France, the former of which had. just concluded a dishonourable peace with the United Provinces, while the latter had tamely suffered injuries from them rather than incur the danger of a war. To the national elation of spirits which the exploits of Joam Fernandes and his colleagues had excited, he replied, that the more miraculous the late success appeared, the more it should make us feel the inequality of our strength. Yet persons (he added) who advised peace a few days ago have changed their opinion in consequence of this news. Ought we to trust to such things? It is better to deserve miracles than to expect them: but to rely on them, even when we deserve them, is tempting God.'

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It is hardly possible but such arguments must have produced the effect intended, if it had not been for two prejudices of a very singular nature, which had taken deep root in the public mind, and which the supporters of the opposite opinion were at no pains to conceal or qualify. The first was one for which the conduct of Holland at the commencement of the truce had, it must be owned, given them too plausible a foundation. They thought that no oaths were binding with heretics, and that whatever terms they made would be broken as soon as it suited their interest. It


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