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their bond-brethren, were the first instruments of spreading discontent among the slave population. Very far from independent and from repre. senting the wealthy planters' interest must have been the public bodies of the island, who thus patiently saw the germs of violent insurrection sown broad-cast over the land, without most earnestly assailing the Spanish ministry with their complaints. It was not however until about the year 1835, that the disproportion of the races became alarming. In 18:37, General Tacon received an official communication from Madrid, enclosing a copy of a note from the Spanish minister at Wash. ington, containing a vivid picture of the dangers to Cuba from the abo. litionary efforts making in the United States and generally all over the world. He who had heedlessly given new life and development to the policy which Vives had only partially unfolded, and which consisted in separating the old Spaniards from the natives, was now made to feel that the coöperation of the country's bourgeoisie, in all their united effort, was requisite to oppose the encroachments of the abolitionists.
The exposition of the Minister at Washington, though abounding with contradictory opinions, was in the main exact. It predicted immediate danger. No public bodies existing which could be considered as emanating even indirectly from the people, rich or poor, and having dis. credited and crushed such institutions as once existed in the island, what could he do? He contrived to call a general meeting of the planters in the city of Matanzas, whose very judicious report provided for domestic and rural government, material defence and funds to carry their plans into effect. The colonization of the island by white inhabitants, which had been unlawfully terminated, was demanded by this meeting of planters, who also insisted upon the establishment of a rural militia. In consequence of these requisitions, their resolutions on the first were not carried into execution. The immigration of whites has been materially obstructed by an influential party, who consider it hostile to the introduction of laborers more consonant to their taste and interest. General Valdez was latterly named Captain-General, an honest and generous soldier, whose memory is still dear to the liberal party in Spain, wearing many honorable marks of worth, gray in the service of his country, but his capacity undoubtedly impaired by age, joined to a general ignorance of the colonies and of political affairs, common to all the military as a class. A person observing the progress of English pretensions respecting Cuba, would certainly conclude that Lord Palmerston had himself chosen such a man, who though beyond the reach of bribery, and incapable of wilful wrong to his country, was from his weakness a suitable and manageable instrument. Let it however be said in his praise, that he had occasion to show that when the Captain. General chooses to put an end to the slave-trade it is in his power to do so.
Soon after his arrival, a series of by-laws made for the government of the slaves was published, wherein, instead of providing for the real circumstances of the occasion, the dominical rights of the master were suddenly attacked, yet not so much perhaps by their positive provisos, as the appearance of interference at a period when the restlessness and uneasiness of the blacks required measures of an entirely contrary
nature. The management of a slave country is ever a difficult matter. To avoid the commission of great errors, in the condition of Cuba, would have been scarcely less than miraculous. The actual feelings of the blacks could not, with certainty, be ascertained by individuals who had either recently arrived from Spain, or never attended on their estates but for a few moments, or during excursions of pleasure. Thus it happened, that many judicious planters, judging from the small and gradual changes in the domestic life of the blacks, foresaw the coming storm for years, while the government agent could not comprehend, and resolutely refuted, such opinions as they thought unnecessarily alarming.
Mr. Turnbull, the English consul, who from his European reputation would never have been allowed to occupy the post of consul at Cuba, had the Cuban proprietors had an organ of complaint, other than the government agents, concerted incendiary plots, and boldly prosecuted them, notwithstanding the timely and honorable interference of Garcia, one of the governors of the city of Matanzas.
I might name several little incidents, evident precursors of an insurrection, which for many years before the late repeated attempts, demanded a change in the system of the whole island ; a change which would have taken place under a government having the means and disposition to ascertain the true state of things. But as I am not writing the history of Cuba, I must rest here for a time, reserving for another opportunity, the relation of late events, as they were communicated to me, and which you could not well understand, without this preliminary exposition, which to my great joy is now concluded.
I lay me down beneath the palm; the cup
My hands still vainly keep;
Like sudden sleep.
The desert was not in my dreams, nor heat,
Nor weariness, nor thirst;
The fountain burst.
I laughed to see the joyous streams all round
Run purling through the plain ;
Of falling rain.
I woke. The cup was brimming in my hand,
The drops of Heaven still fell;
The bubbling well.
The building which we secured for our performances was a large empty house, in its arrangements very like the hotels of the Spanish noblesse. A large stable occupied the lower portion of it: this part was dedicated to the audience. A way was broken above into the house, where our stage was formed, not very extensive, as may be imagined, but still sufficiently large to answer the purpose.
Behind the scenes it was almost impossible to pass, in consequence of the room being very limited in its dimensions. I had, like all young actors who have the means of procuring it, a splendid wardrobe. In the play of Pizarro my Rolla's dress was superb, and quite worthy the court of the Incas. My royal master, Ataliba, was contented with a simple shirt, and a little drapery formed of glazed calico. My ambition prompted me to lose no time in producing that gaudy and attractive play. The Welch looked upon me with primitive wonder. I died like a hero, amidst deafening shouts of applause, and the ill-concealed tears and sobs of many a Welch beauty. Those tears however were quickly changed, first to gentle titterings, and finally to obstreperous bursts of laughter. The company of actors was limited, and the principals were compelled to do the work of supernumeraries. Our gallant army was in nubibus, and I presume that the representative of Rolla was never treated with so much respect before. It was of course essential to remove my body previous to interment, and thus commenced the funeral procession : Alonzo and Ataliba had each a leg, Cora and the blind man, who by the way had played four or five parts, had an arm. In the first place, one leg was put up; down went that; and then they tried the other; one arm! touched the floor, one leg was flying in the air, while strong expressions were hovering about my lips, longing to have vent, for ĭ was full of indignation at my beautiful tragedy-acting being destroyed by their awkardness. At length they succeeded in getting half my body off at one of the wings, and there I stuck fast, for there was literally no room to carry me farther ; but fortunately the delicate, tender Cora recollected that at the next entrance there was a fair chance of putting an end to my torture and the amusement of the audience. I was instantly removed, and every obstacle was vanquished. A fire-place was in that position, and they literally crammed me, finery and all, half-up the chimney! The curtain was obliged to be lowered immediately, to relieve me from my agonizing situation; and I came down amidst the convulsive laughter of the whole company, and afterward to my own great amusement, the picture of one of the celebrated Mrs. Montague's protegées on the first of May. The retrospect is infinitely more agreeable than was the fact itself; although I very soon got over my chagrin. For a few days, in my walks, I produced nearly as much amusement as my friend Liston in his palmy days; and many a black and blue eye was turned upon me with something more than a simper, as I reminded the gazer of the absurd situation in which I had been placed. My performance of the Stranger was considered very touching, but I am afraid it is a play that does not much improve the morals of any place, as there are many fair ones who may be tempted to commit the sin for the sake of the reconciliation.
EXCURSION TO CHEPSTOW AND TINTERN ABBEY.
To return to Bristol. I started on a pedestrian excursion with a friend, highly educated and accomplished, for the purpose of visiting Berkeley Castle, with all its historical recollections, Chepstow Castle, the prison of some of the regicides of CHARLES the Martyr, and that most magnificent of ruins, Tintern Abbey. Of Berkeley Castle, where I had the honor afterward of being a guest, I will speak hereafter. Chepstow is a ruin, of great beauty, and its position is most romantic. One of the towers is built on the edge of a rock, overhanging the lovely river of the Wye: the ivy clinging to and combining with both, conveys the idea that one is coeval with the other. The gate was nearly perfect, and a deep dry moat was on the land side : there were rooms in sufficient preservation to be let during the summer months; and oh ! how I longed to be one of its occupants, and to be enabled to wander at night through its baronial halls and tenantless apartments; to hear the whispers of the autumnal breeze, and to watch the fitful changes of the moon, throwing her silvery light upon the waters; to hear the moanings of Martin and of his brother regicides, whose prison was in the keep, as if in deep repentence of their guilt; for surely the errors and even the crimes of Charles were greatly obliterated by his gallant bearing from the moment he became a prisoner, and through the brutal treatment he experienced from his fanatical persecutors.