Edinburgh Review,  1 (1802–03), 216–37.

Art. XXVII. [Review of The Crisis of the Sugar Colonies]

[Henry P Brougham] *



Publications reviewed:

[Stephen] 1802


Imperialism, Nutrition, Pharmaceuticals, Aeronautics, Race, Disease, Mental Illness, Instinct, Feeling, Radicalism, Agriculture, Experiment

    The reviewer dislikes the anonymous author's 'predilection for circuitous modes of expression'. Quotes his contrast between mere labour on the one hand, and slavery on the other, which differs from it 'as widely as a nauseous drench in the mouth of an infant, from the medicated milk of its mother'. (218) Observes that the author tries to 'convey the idea of a white man's inferiority to a Negro, in the warfare of the West Indies' by comparing 'the contest to that of an aeronaut with an eagle'. Suggests that this analogy would be more likely to be used 'to pourtray [sic] the superiority of discipline and art over natural advantages'. (219) Gives examples of the author's more eloquent medical imagery. The author believes 'the instinctive dread' that the slaves have of their masters is 'a mysterious charm, which if once broken, cannot be restored'. The reviewer observes that, even if the feeling of slaves towards masters is instinctive rather than rational, it is no more 'anomalous and capricious than the emotions of the maniac, who trembles at the nod of his keeper, from some strange, ideal, and inexpressible dread—then, in a paroxysm of his disease, shakes off this unaccountable obedience—but soon, exhausted by the effort, returns to passive submission'. (224) The author recommends that 'the newly acquired island of Trinidada' (231) should be used as '"a farm of experiment", where the possibility of emancipating the negroes, by slow and prudent means, may be safely and conveniently tried' (232).

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