Page:Guatimala or the United Provinces of Central America in 1827-8.pdf/25

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superior. Fawning in the extreme, when in dread of punishment, he is tyrannical and overbearing if clothed for a moment in temporary power. His only wisdom is a species of low cunning. His only virtues belong to the brute creation,- an instinctive love of his offspring, and a species of attachment to the tyrant who rules him.

Nor is the freed African one degree raised in the scale of being. Under fewer restraints, his vices display themselves more disgustingly. Insolent and proud, indolent and a liar, he imitates only the sins of his superiors, and to the catalogue of his former crimes adds drunkenness and theft.

Such is the poor child of Africa, after centuries of subjection to the enlightened sons of Europe. The thought of what he might have been, had the same efforts been used to improve, which have been exercised to degrade, makes one shudder at the awful responsibility of those who have made him what he is.

The favourite amusement of the negroes here, as in other parts of the West Indies, is dancing. It surprises an European to observe the regularity with which these nightly entertainments are conducted; the graceful step of the dancers to the sound of the gumby, the expensive refreshments provided, and the air of display that pervades the whole performance. The same passion manifests itself at their funerals, which are conducted in as