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and, at last, silence reigns so profound that the ticking of a watch is sensibly heard, and even the pulsations of the heart become audible. The buffalo now steals to the tanks and watercourses, concealing all but his gloomy head and shining horns in the mud and sedges; the elephant fans himself languidly with leaves to drive away the flies that perplex him ; and the deer cower in groups under the over-arching jungle. Rustling from under the dry leaves the bright green lizard springs up the rough stems of the trees, and pauses between each dart to look inquiringly round. The woodpecker makes the forest re-echo with the restless blows of his beak on the decaying bark, and the tortoise drops awkwardly into the still water that reflects the bright plumage of the kingfisher, as he keeps his lonely watch above it.
So long as the sun is about the meridian, every living creature seems to flee his beams and linger in the closest shade. Man himself, as if baffled in all devices to escape the exhausting glare, suspends his toil ; and the traveller, abroad since dawn, reposes till the mid-day glow has passed. The cattle pant in their stifling sheds, and the dogs lie prone upon the ground, their legs extended far in front and behind, as if to bring the utmost portion of their body into contact with the cool earth.
As day declines, nature recovers from her languor and exhaustion, the insects again flutter across the open glades, the birds venture once more upon the wing, and the larger animals saunter from under cover, and move away in the direction of the ponds and pasture. The traveller re-commences his suspended journey, and the husbandman, impatient to employ the last hours of fading light, hastens to resume the interrupted labours of the morning. The birds which had made distant excursions to their feeding-grounds, are now seen returning to their homes ; the crows assemble round some pond to dabble in the water, and readjust their plumes before retiring for the night; the parroquets settle with deafening uproar on the crowns of the palm trees near their nests ; and the pelicans and sea-birds, with weary wing, retrace their way to their breeding-place near some solitary watercourse or ruined tank. The sun at last
“Sinks, as a flamingo
Drops into her nest at nightfall ;" twilight succeeds; and the crepuscular birds and animals awaken
from their mid-day torpor and prepare to enjoy their nightly revels. The hawk-moths now take the place of the gayer
butterflies, which withdraw with the departure of light; innumerable beetles make short and uncertain flights in the deepening shade, and in pursuit of them and the other insects that frequent the dusk, the night-jar, with expanded jaws, takes low and rapid circles above the plains and pools.
Darkness at last descends, and every object fades in night and gloom ; but still the murmur of innumerable insects arises from the warm earth. The fruit-eating bats launch themselves from the high branches on which they had hung suspended during the day, and cluster round the mango trees and tamarinds; and across the grey sky the owl flits in pursuit of the night moths on a wing so soft and downy that the air scarcely betrays its pulsations.
The palm-cat now descends from the crest of the cocoa-nut where she had lurked during the day, and the glossy genette, emerging from some hollow tree, steals along the branches to surprise the slumbering birds. Meanwhile, among the grass already damp with dew, the glow-worm lights her emerald lamp, and from the shrubs and bushes issue showers of fire-flies, whose pale green flashes sparkle in the midnight darkness till day returns and morning “pales their ineffectual fires.”
Sir J. E. Tennent's “Ceylon."
SLAVERY IN ANCIENT AND MODERN TIMES.
THE social marks of a slave state lie on the surface. At Athens we have the slaves running away by thousands to an invader when he takes post in the country. We have the slaves in the mines of Laurium rising, seizing the fortress of Sunium, and holding out there against their masters. At Sparta we have the servile population taking advantage of an earthquake to break out into desperate insurrection ; and on another occasion the government takes off by secret assassination two thousand Helots, whose valour, displayed in its own military service, it sees reason to fear. At Rome we have a series of the most sanguinary servile wars ; and after the final victory of the masters, the road from Rome to Capua is garnished with sixteen thousand crosses, on which writhe the bodies of the vanquished slaves. The serfdom of the Middle Ages was signalized by the Jacquerie, the Peasants' War, and the revolt of the English villeins under Wat Tyler. There were frequent disturbances among the slaves in our West Indian colonies. There was a dreadful insurrection in St. Domingo. There have been insurrections in the Southern States; and the panics caused by them among the whites have led to cruel reigns of terror.
Not only so, but over slave states there has always brooded an atmosphere charged with the fear which springs from the consciousness of a great wrong. The laws and customs of Sparta, for fear of the Helots, were those of a city in a perpetual state of siege. Whatever may have been the exact nature of the Crypteia, it certainly was an instrument of terrorism put in action each year against the servile class. Plato himself, when, not without a deep moral pang, he has acquiesced in the necessity of slavery, sanctions the inhuman policy of mixing together as much as possible slaves of different races and languages, that they may not be able to communicate and conspire with each other. This policy, and that of encouraging dissensions among them, were, in fact, parts of the economic system of antiquity.
The Roman was, as usual, plain in his sentiments and practical in his measures. “So many slaves,” he said, “ so many enemies ;” and it was a maxim of the Roman writers on agriculture, that“ a good watch-dog ought not to be on too friendly terms with his fellowslaves.” The senate feared to let the slaves wear the same dress, lest they should become conscious of their own numbers. If a master was found dead, every slave in the household was at once and without trial put to death : and the number of victims on one occasion to this horrible safeguard, was no less than four hundred. Of the relations in which the feudal lords as a class stood to their serfs, the statute-book of the later Plantagenets and the earlier Tudors is the record. In the Southern States of America, the law forbids the education of slaves, a precaution which goes beyond the cruel fear of the Roman slave-owner ; for at Rome, not only was the education of slaves freely permitted, but many of them received the highest education, and were employed in callings of the most intellectual kind.
The economical marks of a slave state are almost as clear as its political marks. “The great slave plantations,” says a Roman writer, “have ruined Italy, and they are ruining the provinces too.” “ Slave labour,” says Pliny, “makes bad husbandry, like everything that is done by despair.” Within sixty years after the death of Constantine, Campania, once the garden of Italy, was surveyed by the government, and an exemption from taxes was granted, in favour of three hundred and thirty thousand acres of desert land. “ As the footsteps of the barbarians,” says Gibbon, “had not yet been seen in Italy, the cause of this amazing desolation, which is recorded in the laws, can be ascribed only to the administration of the Roman Emperors." But a blight more deadly to the fruitfulness of the land than that of imperial administration had been there. In America, as is well known, slavery subsists by moving forwards to fresh soil ; and it leaves a desert, like that of ruined Campania, where it has been. Contrast this with the land of the Hebrews. Canaan appears to have been cultivated with a care which carried fertility to the hill-tops, and which bespeaks not only free labour, but the love of a peasant proprietor for his own land.
Not only the honoured founders of the Jewish nation, but its heroes, kings, and prophets, were sons of labour. Gideon, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him, was threshing wheat by the wine-press. Saul was in search of his father's asses when he was anointed king of Israel. David was taken from following the flocks. Elisha was called from the plough. Amos was a herdsman.
The spirit of a slave-owning aristocracy is insolent, as we know by the example of Lacedæmon and of the Southern States. But that of slave-owners under a despotism is doubly slavish, as we know by the example of imperial Rome. The spirit of the Hebrew people in its dealings with its kings is high and free. Solomon in all his power does not dare to treat them as bondmen, and they at once break the yoke of his tyrant son. Their undying patriotism, their unfailing hope for their country, the tenacity of national life which brings them back from Babylon and restores their Commonwealth and Temple, would never, it may safely be said, have been found in a slave state. Nothing of the kind was shown even by the indomitable Roman when once his character had been corrupted by the possession of wealth and a multitude of slaves.
The hearts of the Hebrews were “hard.” In matters of social humanity and justice they fell away from the beneficent precepts of their lawgiver in their dealings with their neighbour, as in matters of religion they fell away from their allegiance to the true God. Judaism was not Christianity, nor was Judea Christendom ; yet it may be perhaps safely said, that no two communities in the history of the world have been more different from each other, than the community of great capitalists and landowners, with their droves of slaves, which covers the Southern States of America, and the community of peasants “dwelling each under his own vine and his own fig-tree,” and each "going forth to his labour until the evening,” which in the happy days of the Hebrew people lay around the Holy City, and worshipped together in the courts of Sion. It was among this peasantry, true sons of labour, yet free of soul, pure, simple-minded, religious, and though devoid of the wisdom of the world, not uninstructed in religion, that when the time for the fulfilment of their longcherished hope was come, the Saviour of the world appeared. It was from their cottages and fishing-boats that He called the open and ardent natures, neither corrupted by riches nor debased by slavery, which were destined to confront a world in the strength of conviction, and to become the founders of Christendom.
Does the Bible Sanction American Slavery ?
CONNEXION OF GOD WITH HIS WORKS.
PHYSICAL inquirers, in prosecuting their method of induction, look
upon all things from a particular point of view—they look at hem from the earth and from below, and their views are in consequence to some extent narrow and contracted. Without departing from the same method of induction, we may, after having arrived at the knowledge of the existence of God, look at all things from another and a higher point of view—we may look at them, from time to time, from above. Astronomers must begin their investigations, by taking the earth as their basis, and regarding it as their centre ; but after having determined in this way that the sun is the true centre, they change their point of view, and look on the