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Port-au-Prince, with a view to terminate my affairs, in order to absent myself as soon as possible from this land of horror and desolation; but before I close this letter, I must add a few observations on a man, whose secret mission to this island was never fathomed or known.
This extraordinary character, styled an envoy from the government of Havanna, to the general in chief of St. Domingo, arrived at Port-au-Prince, in a Spanish corvette. He had no exterior mark of distinction, but he was received, treated, regaled, and feasted, with the most pointed marks of distinction.
In his honour were heard salutes from all the vessels, from all the armed posts, and from all the vessels of the state.
In his honour were prepared feasts at the government-house, feasts on board the commander of the station, La Touche Treville; feasts by the prefect d'Aure.
At each of these entertainments were heard to roar Salutes from all the forts, posts and vessels, of the nation.
In his honour were given balls and tournaments, celebrated by the light of torches.
At his departure, after finishing so glorious a campaign, he was conducted on board the same vessel that brought him there, in a manner the most distinguished; and in his honour the forts, posts, and vessels, for the last time rent the skies with their thunder.
I often asked myself the question, who could this man be, that Rochambeau treated with such distinguished marks of respect? I never could satisfy myself....I never could be satisfied. I believe that he only, and his intimate friends, La Touche Treville, still more cunning than himself, can explain the mystery: with regard to myself from the display of shew and parade I witnessed on the occasion, I imagined him the envoy of princes, or the representative of mighty powers and poten
I could still longer dwell on these and other scenes that have risen horrid to my sight, since my return to this unfortunate spot; but I already exceed the bounds of a letter ....shall therefore only add an adieu, and again advise you to remain snug on the continent where you are, as long as it presents you with the means of a livelihood, at least till the revolutionary tempest is entirely passed, for the calm we at this time enjoy, is possibly merely momentary and certainly, it is the part of prudence, not to brave the threatened storm, as long as one can command the security of the port. Your's sincerely,
STATE OF THE FRENCH PEASAN
IF provisions are cheaper in France than they are in England, labour is proportionably paid for: so that the peasant, probably, is not better off here, where mutton and pork are two pence halfpenny or three pence per pound, and the quartern loaf is at eight pence or nine pence, than in England, where these, and every other article, are considerably higher. The advantages, however, to persons of fixed income, are obvious and great: the exchange of coin against England is not to be compared with the exchange of provisions in favour of France. I know nothing about the burden of taxation here; houserent is dear, however, and fuel is dear; whether these form a counterpoise to the advantage just mentioned, I am not able to say. To return to the peasantry:....
The French are incomparably better managers of their provi sion than the English. Nothing can possibly be more comfortless, more unsociable, more sulky, if I may so express myself, than the manner in which the labourers of England take their meals. Of the
country-labourers I speak, with
And sounder too;
whom I am a good deal conversant: For cares cause Kings full oft their with the domestic habits of city
sleep to spill,
workmen, manufactory-labourers, While weary Shepherds lie and sleep
&c. I am totally unacquainted. It is the custom of countrymen to bring in their wallet a large hunch (as it is emphatically called) of coarse and stale brown bread: this is eaten for breakfast, sometimes with a parsimonious accompaniment of cheese or butter, but this relisher is not always afforded. At dinner the treasures of the wallet are brought forth, and in the depth of winter a cold heavy dumplin, of no mean magnitude indeed, is produced, in the centre of which is a lump of fat bacon, and perhaps a slice of apple! This however, does not fall to the lot of every one: many a labourer have I seen dine off a hard dry loaf, which he cheerlessly eats under a cart-shed to shelter him from the weather. The only comfortable meal which our labourers get, the only meal, at least, which gives me any idea of comfort, is their supper: after his day's work, if a man has a careful and industrious wife, he may expect to see a pot boiling over his fire when he goes home; he may expect something warm and nourishing for his supper; he may perhaps, afford himself a pint of beer....throughout the day his thirst is quenched at the pump, unless his master finds him a little beer.... and at last, indeed as that most simple and sweet song of the "Shepherd's Wife” says....
To bed he goes, as wanton then, I
Ah then....Ah then, &c.
The French cookery is the most economical in the world, and the lower classes of the people are not excluded from the comfort of it: a great deal of Indian wheat is grown, and this is said to thicken soups in a very profitable degree. About Geneva the bread, which the poor people eat, is made either from this wheat or from barley, which is cultivated on a very extensive scale in the neighbourhood of Mantua, whence it is exported to the town: the bread, which we have sometimes seen in the cottages, where we have stopt to boil a few eggs, has been dark in colour, and very harsh to the palate, but when softened in soup, may probably be nevertheless extremely nutritious and palatable.
Tea is a luxury but little known among the poor in the provinces of France: instead of it, however, they have abundance of coffee, a far greater luxury when so deliciously prepared as it is here. We have seen coarse-looking fellows sit round the kitchen-fire at a post house, drink their hot coffee, and eat their hot rolls, with a great deal of apparent, and no doubt of real enjoyment. We have occasionally stopt to change horses at the hour of dinner, and have seen a number of labourers....at Pont sur Ain, there could not be less than a dozen of them....collect together and call for their dinner, which the hostess had already prepared for them. To the water in which meat has been boiled, a large quantity of vegetables of various sorts, turnips, carrots, potatoes, garlic, &c. are added; large slices of bread, or some farinaceous substance, is incerted, and together with a proper proportion of pepper, salt, and herbs, form a soup which is thus
By Mr. Reilly.
ABOUT the time I commenced my experiments, Mr. Pritchard, master of his majesty's ship Prince, presented me with a chameleon, that had been sent him by a gentleman from Saffia in Barbary, which extraordinary production of nature I remarked with particular attention every morning after fumigating. On the admission of atmospheric air I had this animal brought into the berth, and as regularly observed his colour change to a variegated black, which in no small degree excited my curiosity: unthinkingly, I one morning allowed it to remain in the berth during the fumigating process, which, I am sorry to say, ended its existence. I found, when it was dead, its colour was black, the reason of which I shall attempt to explain. As this animal is not known in England, I examined the comparative anatomy of the thorax and abdominal viscera, these being the only parts I dissected, having stuffed his body; which will fully account for the singular phenomenon that takes place in its changing to the same colour with the object placed before it. On opening to view the thorax and abdomen, there appears no mediastinum, but a thorough communication, without any intervening substance; the whole space of which is filled by three bladders, the middle and smallest of them may be called with propriety the esophagus and stomach. It is firmly attached to the os hyoides, and terminates in the anus. The other two bladders are attached to the trachea, and in every respect perform the office of lungs: and the animal can at discretion fill itself
sociably eaten, and has the appear- ACCOUNT OF THE CHAMELEON ance at least of giving a comfortable meal to those who partake of it. Each peasant drinks his vin ordinaire de pays out of a separate glass; and, with all their abominable filth, the French may, in this particular, teach the English a lesson of cleanliness. In England, not merely at a harvest frolic and a sheep-shearing, but at the tables of most respectable and genteel persons we are in the habit of seasoning beverage with the copious saliva of half a dozen greasy mouths! But it is time to take leave of this subject, and proceed to my journal: one remark I shall make on the general appearance of the peasantry, and that is, that we sce no fine old heads of either sex. We see many healthy children, many very beautiful girls, and fresh hardy-looking boys: but when the men and women approach to sixty years of age, we have very frequently had occasion to observe, that their complexions are sallow, and their faces shrunk and unhealthy. How is this to be accounted for? I shall not stop to inquire, but merely suggest two circumstances which it strikes me may possibly co-operate to produce it. Almost all the hovels, and indeed all the hotels, that it has been our fortune to rest at, are afflicted with smoky chimneys: in France every body takes snuff, and many, no doubt, in an immoderate degree. If the peasant and his family, residing in a dark and filthy room, are ever inhailing the suffocating particles of wood-smoke, and using, moreover, the vile stimulus of snuff, it is not very wonderful, that their countenances should prematurely become haggard and unhealthy. We have never seen a drunken man in France, but eau de vie is sold in almost every other shop: if it is habitually drunk by the labour-out to a large size, by inflating these ing people, as one is forced to infer, from the frequency of its exposure for sale, a third and very powerful cause presents itself to account for the fact.
vesicles, which are extremely pellucid, and, when inflated, fill completely the whole of the abdominal cavity, where there is no other substance but these transparent
membranes and the change of colour that takes place is occasioned by the reflection of any other colour on these transparent membranes, as the skin of the animal is extremely thin, and between the cellular substance and the skin is a filamentary expansion of the membranes; which pellucid or transparent membrane serves as a lens or mirror to reflect the rays or colour when objects are placed before it. A very clear demonstration of this is, that when a collapse takes place, which is not unfrequent, it is not influenced by colour; and, on the contrary, when these bladders are full, its colour is influenced by the object placed in competition, but scarlet more particularly, from its being more vivid. I doubt much whether nature has designed this animal to live on food or not, from the following circumstance; that I have frequently given it flies, which it never appeared to swallow with avidity; and I believe, if it were possessed of the power of returning them, that it would have done so; and in dissecting it I found the whole of the flies unaltered in this middle space; and, as a farther proof, from the part of the cyst where the flies were, to its termination, was so closely filled with bezoar-mineral, that the most minute substance could not have passed. This, in my opinion, clearly proves that nature did not design it to live on food; or, if it had, that its fæces were of the bezoar mineral.
The tongue of this extraordinary animal is seven inches long, and in appearance like the sucker of a pump, with two apertures. The expansion of the nerves is beautiful, having no muscular substance to cover their colour: I counted distinctly twenty-nine pair; they in every degree perform the office of muscles, and all motion is performed by them the same as by the muscles in other animals. The eyes are of a very particular structure; they are very prominent, with a small pupil; and the animal can look
VOL. I....NO. VI.
forward with one, and back with the other, at the same time. Its colour, when not influenced by objects, is a bluish grey, beautifully variegated with small yellow spots; its body about seven inches long; its head about an inch and one half, handsomely helmeted; its tail about five inches long, which it makes as much use of as any of its legs, particularly when descending from heights; it is of the oviparous class, resembles much, only smaller and handsomer, the gauana of the WestIndies.
THE extraordinary increase of the town of Liverpool, which has been commensurate with the extension of its commerce, has of late years rendered it an object well worthy the attention of the enlightened traveller. The particular circumstances of its trade have frequently occupied the deliberations of the British legislature; and the literary reputation of some of its inhabitants has conferred upon it no small degree of lustre.
The streets of Liverpool present the appearances which usually occur in large towns. The carriages of the wealthy splash the humble pedestrian, and the splendid ornaments lavished upon youth and beauty form a striking contrast to the misery of aged poverty. But we do not here meet with the extreme squallidity, and the quantity of disgusting objects which deform the streets of manufacturing towns. Poverty is here decent in its appearance; and the lower classes of people, not being corrupted by the bare-faced licentiousness of crowded factories, wear tolerably healthy
countenances, and are in general orderly and civilized in their behaviour.
Liverpool is the child of commerce. It owes its existence and its prosperity to trade, and its inhabitants pay honour due to that activity to which it owes its elevation. With the exception of the customary proportion of professional men, almost every body resident in the town is employed in some department of traffic. Consequently, a gentleman, that is to say, a person not engaged in business, is out of his element in Liverpool. There he is, as it were, alone, in the midst of a crowd. He meets with no associates whose company will speed the heavy flight of time; and what is worse, he is held in very slight estimation in the public opinion. So strikingly is this the case, that many instances have occurred of merchants of the first consequence entirely loosing their influence in the town on their retiring from business with large fortunes.
As commercial pursuits are in their nature hazardous, the annals of a town of such extensive commercial dealings as Liverpool may be naturally expected to exhibit most striking instances of the vicissitudes of fortune. It often happens that the servant rises while the master falls. To-day a man is a merchant, all spirit and enterprise, and living in splendor and luxury.....to-morrow he is a bankrupt, humbly requesting the signature of his certificate, or soliciting for some scantysalaried situation in the customs or excise. Families, which twenty or thirty years ago took the leads in the circles of Liverpool fashion, are now reduced, forgotten, and unknown. More fortunate or industrious characters have risen to supply their place, and shine for their day, in all probability never asking themselves, whether it is not possible that they may be in their turn eclipsed by future adventures. In Liverpool, the prophecy may at any given time be safely pronounced.... Many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first." In this
town, few families can count three opulent or successful generations.
In reference to these fluctuations in the circumstances of individuals and of families, it may be observed, that the mercantile inhabitants of Liverpool have been charged with the indulgence of a propensity to hazardous speculations. It is difficult to determine how far this charge is well founded, since it is difficult to define the limits beyond which speculation, the main-spring of commerce, is unwarrantable. The general prosperity of the town should seem to indicate that it ought at least to be confined to a few indivi duals. Nowhere does the unsuc cessful trafficer meet with more lenity and forbearance than in Liverpool. This is not an indication of laxity of principle or viciousness of disposition. It is an universal canon that knaves are suspicious and unrelenting, while good men are open-hearted and merciful. If the mercantile character of Liverpool be tried by this test it will appear to considerable advantage.
They who make the acquisition of a fortune the main object of their exertions are, generally speaking, absorbed in attention to business; because it is a very evident and intelligent truth, that industry is the high road to wealth. The cultiva tion of the elegant arts tends too much to the unproductive consump tion of time, and to the detraction of the mind from less amusing concerns, to be tolerated in a countinghouse. Of course it frequently happens in Liverpool, as in all commercial towns, that men rise to affluence by mere dint of undeviating industry; and the cultivation of the mind, and the refinement of manners, do not keep pace with the accumulation of property. In Liverpool there is no court-end of the town, no permanent selection of society which has sufficient influence to give a tinge to the public character. Commerce is the soul of the place; and purity of pedigree, and liberality of education, are by no means indispensable requisites to the