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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, Vol. 20, - Issue 559, July 28, 1832
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOL. 20. No. 559] SATURDAY, JULY 28, 1832. [PRICE 2d.



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OPORTO



Persons who are looking for "news from the seat of war" will probably hail the timely appearance of this Engraving, and regard it as folks sitting at a play do a drop-scene between the acts. The reader knows our pacific politics: we are of the pen, not of the sword; but we cannot be indifferent to a great political result, when

Old men, and beldams, in the streets Do prophesy upon it.

Oporto is a place of great commercial as well as political consideration. Thousands of Englishmen have a grateful recollection of the former importance upon their very lips. Its situation is one of great natural beauty. It is the largest city in Portugal, Lisbon excepted. It has been commonly said to owe its origin to the Romans;[1] but it appears, from the best authors, to have been founded about A.D. 417 by the Suevi, who had established themselves in Braga and other parts of ancient Galicia, but who were driven by the Alani to the banks of the Douro, where they fortified themselves on the steep hill now occupied by the cathedral and the bishop's palace, and which is still distinguished by the appellation of the Cidade de Antiga.

[1] At Coimbra, about two days' journey from Oporto, is a Roman bridge and aqueduct, nearly entire.

The city occupies the north bank of the Douro, (anciently Durius,) about five miles from the mouth of the river, and the Atlantic Ocean. The approach from thence to Oporto is remarkably beautiful. The dangers of the bar, across the mouth of the river, once passed,[2] a succession of interesting objects present themselves on both sides, as we ascend towards the city. The little town of St. Joao da Foz stands on the north bank, close to the sea, and is the favourite resort of the wealthier inhabitants of Oporto during the violent heat of the summer. The river, immediately within the bar, expands into the appearance of a lake. A little higher up it is narrowed by two abrupt hills. That on the right terminates in a precipice of bright hard sandstone, descending so steeply to the water's edge, that but lately a road has been made from Oporto along the bank of the river, to St. Joao da Foz, by blasting and hewing down a sufficient portion of the rock. This height, from its precipitous sides, is called the Monte d'Arabida, and forms the western boundary of a lovely valley, opening upon the Douro, covered with the Quintas, or villas, of the wealthier inhabitants of the adjoining city. Most of the Quintas at the mouth of the river command delightful prospects of the Atlantic Ocean, and the splendid effects produced on these scenes at sunset, in this glowing climate, are almost indescribable. Some idea of its beauty may be formed by reference to Colonel Batty's view from this point.[3] The appearance of the Douro, with its numerous shipping, and the variety of interesting objects scattered on its cheerful banks, render this one of the most pleasing scenes in the circle of Oporto.

[2] The dangerous passage across the bar of the Douro, and its shifting sands, are well known. The care and skill required to navigate a vessel with safety into the Douro, even during the summer, may give an idea of what the perils of this dangerous bar must be during the winter months; when the coast is exposed to the unbridled fury of the westerly winds, and to the full force of the Atlantic waves.—Portugal Illustrated, by the Rev. W. Kinsey, B.D.

[3] See Select Views of Oporto. By Lieut. Col. Batty, F.R.S., the accuracy of which may be said to extend as far as pictorial art can succeed in conveying foreign objects to our firesides. We are indebted for our Engraving to this valuable work.

To economize time and space we must quit this enchanting spot. Gondolas, like those at Venice, are used on the river, but will not suffice for our celerity. We must reach at once the point of our Engraving. The view is taken from Villa Nova, an important suburb of Oporto, on the opposite bank of the river. The city may be divided into the high and the low town. It contains, in a civil sense, five wards, or bairros, of which the Se, or cathedral hill, and the Vittoria, or height opposite to the Se, (and crowned by a church, which was founded in commemoration of a celebrated battle fought on the spot with the Moors, which terminated in their defeat and expulsion from the place,) form the town properly called Oporto; and it is possible still to trace the remains of the old wall, which formerly surrounded and defended the place. The three other quarters, San Idelfonso, Miragaya, and Villa Nova, are open. The latter is connected with the principal town by a bridge of boats, which is so badly constructed as to be scarcely able to sustain the violent power of the river when swelled by winter torrents. The Douro, like the Rhine and the Rhone, and all other rivers which flow through a rocky and often confined channel, commits at certain seasons the greatest ravages; and property to a considerable amount is annually lost at Oporto, by the irresistible force with which the river pours down and carries every thing before it. A bridge of granite has been long talked of to connect Villa Nova and Oporto, but the funds are not yet forthcoming, and the expense will be considerable.

The Engraving represents the most ancient part of the city of Oporto. We are here directly fronting the bishop's palace, which, with the Se, or Cathedral,[4] and buildings, to the left, occupy the crest of the hill. Further left is the steeple of the church dos Clerigos, said to be the loftiest in Portugal after that of Mafra. This tower is visible from the sea at a distance of ten leagues, and serves as an important landmark for ships steering to the mouth of the Douro. It was erected in the year 1748, and is built entirely of the finest masonry, an art in which the Portuguese are almost unrivalled. On the summit of the hill to the right, touching the old walls and towers, is the convent of Santa Clara. Immediately below the Cathedral, the rocky steep has been cut into terraces, and laid out in gardens. The river is bordered by the old city wall. A noble street, the Rua Nova de St. Joao, is seen opening upon the quay on the left. Part of the bridge of boats appears on the right: it was first constructed in the year 1806, destroyed in 1809, but re-established in 1815. It was the scene of dreadful slaughter at the time the city was given up to pillage by the French. Some of the boats forming it had been destroyed, and many of the wretched inhabitants crowding to the bridge, in hopes of escaping from the enemy's sword were urged on by the affrighted multitude into the rapid stream, and thus perished. On the river, to the right and left, is seen a Portuguese coasting vessel, called Hyate; in the centre is a wine-boat of the Douro, with a raised platform for the steersman. The foreground of the view is the shore of Villa Nova, adjoining the quay. The chief article of export is wine;[5] and here is the grand depot for this commodity, which is stowed in long, low buildings, called lodges.

[4] Here is the altar of wrought silver, which was fortunately rescued from the hands of the French, when in possession of Oporto.

[5] The annual average quantity of wine exported from Oporto to Great Britain, was in the ten years, 1813-1822, 24,364 pipes, and to all other parts of the world only 1,094 pipes per annum. The quantity since 1822 has not materially altered.—See a Communication to vol. xv. of the Mirror, p. 118.

"On the quays," says Mr. Kinsey, "are seen fine blocks of granite, already converted into form, having their edges cased with wood, ready to be shipped off for buildings in Brazil, where it appears that no good stone, or, at least, so durable as this, can be procured;—pipe-staves from Memel,—flax and iron,—and occasionally coals from the north of England. There are generally at anchor in the river between Villa Nova and Oporto, Russian, Brazilian, English, American, Dutch, Danish, and some French vessels; but many of the latter nation are not to be found in the Portuguese ports. Two thirds of the shipping to be seen in the Douro, are British, Brazilian, or Portuguese."

The gardens of the city are luxuriantly stored. Brazilian plants, easily distinguished by their gaudy colours, vines on trellis, superb lemon-trees, lime and orange-trees, pear, apple, and plum-trees, and Alpine strawberries are in abundance. The Indian cane, with its splendid blossom, whose colour resembles that of the Guernsey, or rather the Chinese lily, is a gay addition to the ornaments of this earthly paradise. Mr. Kinsey says "The ulmis adjungere vitem is well known in poetical description, but in Portugal, besides overshadowing their artificial supporters, the vines are seen attaching themselves to, or hanging down in luxuriant festoons from forest-trees, such as the oak, chestnut, and cork, in all the wildness of nature, and not unfrequently insinuating themselves among the branches of myrtle-trees, which attain a considerable size in the hedge-rows, and contrasting their large, purple bunches with the snow-white blossom. The union is truly poetical, and its novelty is charming to the eye of a northern traveller. A vine is often purposely planted by the farmer under an oak-tree, whose boughs it soon over-runs, repaying the little labour expended in its cultivation by its fruit, and the lop of its branches. Ten pipes of green wine, vinho verde, expressed from these grapes, will yield one pipe of excellent brandy. Being light and sharp, the vinho verde is preferred by the generality of Portuguese in the summer, to wines of superior strength and quality."

The population of Oporto and Villa Nova was stated by Colonel Batty in 1830, to amount to about 80,000 inhabitants.

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POETS, MINOR AND MAJOR.

Perhaps no branch of literary reputation is so difficult to establish as that of first-rate poetic excellence. During the last fifty years, many meritorious competitors for bardic renown have successively aspired to public favour, and have each in their turns exhibited their fancy-woven bouquets, as containing a more beautiful assemblage of "flowers of all hue," as Milton divinely sings, than those which their equally emulative and praiseworthy compeers have, in their best attempts, laid out upon the parterre of the public. In the poetic foreground of the above period, are to be seen the names of Pye, Ogilvie, Whitehead, Tasker, Mason, Cowper, Merry, Jerningham, Woty, Hurdis, Pratt, Fitzgerald, &c. over whose metrical effusions, with the exception of the fifth and sixth, the clouds of obscurity have long since cast a darkening hue. Even the "Elegaic Sonnets" of Charlotte Smith, which first appeared in 1784, and formed a sort of poetical era in point of popularity, have long since "fallen into the sere and yellow leaf," as it was discriminately hinted by Burns would be the case with his soul-breathing Letters; the Sonnets by the Rev. W.L. Bowles, although emanating from a beautiful fountain-spring of thought and feeling, which should have screened their writer from the venomous shaft of Byron, have already sunk beneath the meridian of their popularity; and the loaded ornamental rhymes of Darwin; the prettily embroidered couplets of Miss Seward, together with the Della Cruscan Rhymes of Mary Robinson, Mrs. Cowley, &c. are left like daisies, plucked from the greensward, to perish beneath unfeeling neglect. Who now reads the verses of Ann Yearsley, the poetic milkwoman, who was so lauded beyond her deserts, by Mrs. H. More?—few or none. Why is this revolution in public taste? Because those master-spirits which guide the present age, have given birth to a species of poetry more legitimate and useful in its design, and more valuable in its tendencies and characteristics. Instead of the "namby pamby" verses of the period I have alluded to, and the coarse scurrility of style which runs with a discolouring vein through the satirical pages of Dr. Wolcot, we have now the heart-stirring metres of a Campbell, as in that beautiful rainbow of poetic loveliness and imagination, his "Pleasures of Hope." We have now a series of pictures bearing an impress as pleasant as the gleams of warm autumn in the "Pleasures of Memory," by Rogers; the wildness of Loutherbourgh, the grandeur of Salvator Rosa, the terror-striking forms of Fuseli, embodied with increased energy in the immortal Lays of Byron: the every-day incidents of life, copied with the graphic fidelity of a Sharp, and bearing the faithful stamp of cottage grouping, which distinguished the pencil of a Morland,—in the natural paintings of Crabbe. We have Catullus stealing from his couch, to breathe a new intonation into the harp of Moore; and last of all, we have the votaress of virtue and moral feeling, the Cambrian minstrel, Mrs. Hemans, making melancholy appear as delightful as love.

The Author of a Tradesman's Lays.

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STANZAS FOR MUSIC.

Though the waves of old Time are darkly advancing, There still is one spot where the sunbeams are glancing, There glow the gay visions of youth's sunny morn, Safe from the ocean-wave, safe from the storm: For Memory keeps the spot fresh and green ever, The dark tides of Time, shall sweep over it never!

There Fancy, her mirror holds up to the eye, And lovely the forms that come wandering by, Like music come softly the sounds that have fled, The voices of lov'd ones, the tones of the dead: Oh Memory! keep that spot fresh and green ever, And the dark tides of Time, sweep over it never.

For beautiful Hope, wanders oft to the Isle, With her wreath of bright flowers, and radiant smile. She stands with her finger upraised to the sky, And she dries the sad tear-drop in Memory's eye: An emerald green, be that Island for ever, May the dark tides of Time, sweep over it never!

Kirton, Lindsey. ANNE R.

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ANECDOTE GALLERY

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CARDING A TITHE PROCTOR.

In Ireland, carding the tithe proctors was occasionally resorted to by the White Boys, and was performed in the following manner:—-

The tithe proctor was generally waked out of his first sleep by his door being smashed in; and the boys in white shirts desired him "never to fear," as they only intended to card him this bout for taking a quarter instead of a tenth from every poor man in the parish. They then turned him on his face upon the bed; and taking a lively ram cat out of a bag which they brought with them, they set the cat between the proctor's shoulders. The beast, being nearly as much terrified as the proctor, would endeavour to get off; but being held fast by the tail, he intrenched every claw deep in the proctor's back, in order to keep up a firm resistance to the White Boys. The more the tail was pulled back, the more the ram cat tried to go forward; at length, when he had, as he conceived, made his possession quite secure, main force convinced him to the contrary, and that if he kept his hold he must lose his tail. So, he was dragged backward to the proctor's loins, grappling at every pull, and bringing away here and there strips of the proctor's skin, to prove the pertinacity of his defence.

When the ram cat had got down to the loins he was once more placed at the shoulders, and again carded the proctor (toties quoties) according to his sentence.

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WALKING GALLOWS.

(From Sir Jonah Barrington's Sketches.)

Among the extraordinary characters that turned up in the fatal "ninety-eight," there were few more extraordinary than Lieutenant H——, then denominated the "walking gallows;"—and such he certainly was, literally and practically.

Lieutenant H—— was an officer of the line on half pay. His brother was one of the solicitors to the Crown—a quiet, tremulous, vino deditus sort of man, and a leading Orangeman;—his widow who afterwards married and survived a learned doctor, was a clever, positive, good-looking Englishwoman, and, I think, fixed the doctor's avowed creed: as to his genuine faith, that was of little consequence.

Lieutenant H—— was about six feet two inches high;—strong, and broad in proportion. His strength was great, but of the dead kind unaccompanied by activity. He could lift a ton, but could not leap a rivulet; he looked mild, and his address was civil—neither assuming nor at all ferocious. I knew him well, and from his countenance should never have suspected him of cruelty; but so cold-blooded and so eccentric an executioner of the human race I believe never yet existed, save among the American Indians.[6]

[6] His mode of execution being perfectly novel, and at the same time ingenious, Curran said, "The lieutenant should have got a patent for cheap strangulation."

His inducement to the strange barbarity he practised I can scarcely conceive; unless it proceeded from that natural taint of cruelty which so often distinguishes man above all other animals when his power becomes uncontrolled. The propensity was probably strengthened in him from the indemnities of martial law, and by those visions of promotion whereby violent partizans are perpetually urged, and so frequently disappointed.

At the period alluded to, law being suspended, and the courts of justice closed, the "question" by torture was revived and largely practised. The commercial exchange of Dublin formed a place of execution; even suspected rebels were every day immolated as if convicted on the clearest evidence; and Lieutenant H——'s pastime of hanging on his own back persons whose physiognomies he thought characteristic of rebellion was (I am ashamed to say) the subject of jocularity instead of punishment. What in other times he would himself have died for, as a murderer, was laughed at as the manifestation of loyalty: never yet was martial law so abused, or its enormities so hushed up as in Ireland. Being a military officer, the lieutenant conceived he had a right to do just what he thought proper, and to make the most of his time while martial law was flourishing.

Once, when high in blood, he happened to meet a suspicious-looking peasant from County Kildare, who could not satisfactorily account for himself according to the lieutenant's notion of evidence; and having nobody at hand to vouch for him, the lieutenant of course immediately took for granted that he must be a rebel strolling about, and imagining the death of his Most Gracious Majesty.[7] He therefore, no other court of justice being at hand, considered that he had a right to try the man by his own opinion; accordingly, after a brief interrogation, he condemned him to die, and without further ceremony proceeded to put his own sentence into immediate execution.

[7] The lieutenant's brother being a Crown solicitor, had now and then got the lieutenant to copy the high treason indictments: and he, seeing there that imagining the death of a king was punished capitally, very naturally conceived that wishing it was twice as bad as supposing it: having therefore no doubt that all rebels wished it, he consequently decided in the tribunal of his own mind to hang every man who hypothetically and traitorously wished his majesty's dissolution, which wish he also conceived was very easily ascertained by the wisher's countenance.

A cabinet-maker, at Charing Cross, some years ago, put on his board "patent coffin-maker to his majesty:" it was considered that though this was not an ill-intentioned, yet it was a very improper mode of imagining the king's death, and the board was taken down accordingly. Lieutenant H. would surely have hanged him in Ireland.

However, to do the lieutenant justice, his mode was not near so tedious or painful as that practised by the grand signior, who sometimes causes the ceremony to be divided into three acts, giving the culprit a drink of spring water to refresh him between the two first; nor was it so severe as the burning old women formerly for witchcraft. In fact, the "walking gallows" was both on a new and simple plan; and after some kicking and plunging during the operation, never failed to be completely effectual. The lieutenant being, as before mentioned, of lofty stature, with broad and strong shoulders, saw no reason why they might not answer his majesty's service, upon a pinch, as well as two posts and a crossbar (the more legitimate instrument upon such occasions): and he also considered that, when a rope was not at hand, there was no good reason why his own silk cravat (being softer than an ordinary halter, and of course less calculated to hurt a man) should not be a more merciful choke-band than that employed by any Jack Ketch in the three kingdoms.

In pursuance of these benevolent intentions, the lieutenant, as a preliminary step, first knocked down the suspected rebel from County Kildare, which the weight of mettle in his fist rendered no difficult achievement. His garters then did duty as handcuffs: and with the aid of a brawny aide-de-camp (one such always attended him), he pinioned his victim hand and foot, and then most considerately advised him to pray for King George, observing that any prayers for his own d—d popish soul would be only time lost, as his fate in every world (should there be even a thousand) was decided to all eternity for having imagined the death of so good a monarch.

During this exhortation, the lieutenant twisted up his long cravat so as to make a firm, handsome rope, and then expertly sliding it over the rebel's neck, secured it there by a double knot, drew the cravat over his own shoulders, and the aide-de-camp holding up the rebel's heels, till he felt him pretty easy, the lieutenant with a powerful chuck drew up the poor devil's head as high as his own (cheek by jowl), and began to trot about with his burden like a jolting cart-horse,—the rebel choking and gulping meanwhile, until he had no further solicitude about sublunary affairs—when the lieutenant, giving him a parting chuck, just to make sure that his neck was broken, threw down his load—the personal assets about which the aide-de-camp made a present of to himself.

Now all this proceeding was very painstaking and ingenious: and yet the ungrateful government (as Secretary Cook assured me) would have been better pleased had the execution taken place on timber and with hemp, according to old formalities.

To be serious:—this story is scarcely credible—yet it is a notorious fact; and the lieutenant, a few nights afterwards, acquired the sobriquet which forms a head to this sketch and with which he was invested by the upper gallery of Crow Street Theatre—nor did he ever get rid of it to his dying-day.

The above trotting execution (which was humorously related to me by an eye-witness) took place in the barrack-yard at Kerry House, Stephen's Green. The hangee was, I believe, (as it happened) in reality a rebel.

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MANNERS AND CUSTOMS.

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LAWS RELATING TO BACHELORS.

Many laws have been made against bachelors by various nations, who all concurred in considering the bachelor as an enemy to his country and to mankind. The chief of these laws were those made by the Romans, and consisted of fining the bachelor, and various other penalties: the most celebrated one was that of Augustus, which was entitled the "Lex julia de maritandis ordinibus" by which the bachelor was made incapable of receiving legacies, or of holding inheritances given by a will, unless they were bequeathed to him by a near relation. Plutarch observes that this brought many to marry, not for the mere sake of raising heirs to their estates, but to make themselves capable of receiving legacies, and for the purpose of inheriting such estates as might be left them by a friend.

The Jewish nation also had their laws to the disfavour of the bachelor. The rabbis affirm, that according to the Laws of Moses, every one who has attained the age of twenty-one years is bound in conscience to marry; and this makes one of their 613 precepts. We should suppose that if this law ever had existence, it has been handed down by tradition, as we cannot find any trace of it in the "Books of Moses." Their "wise men" have many sayings in favour of marriage and against bachelors, one of which is "He who does not take necessary means to leave heirs behind him, is not a man, and ought to be reputed as a homicide." The Law of Lycurgus was not a shade more favourable to them: by his statutes, bachelors were branded with infamy and disgrace; they were also excluded from participating in the cares of government, from all offices either civil or martial, and were not permitted to view either public shows or sports. At certain of their feasts, they were forced to appear in the marketplace, and there were exposed to the cutting sarcasm, jest, and derision of the populace. At one feast, in particular, they were led to the altars by women, amidst a concord of harmonious sounds, and there were obliged to submit to blows and lashes with a rod, at the merciful pleasure of a merciful people. And "Oh, most unkindly act of all," they had also to sing certain songs composed to their own dishonour, contempt, and derision.

By many, the Christian dispensation is supposed to be, in a great degree, favourable to a state of bachelorism, because the Apostle, Paul, has recommended it as preferable; but we think the recommendation was given for the following reason: (i.e.) every one in the early ages of Christianity was exposed to liability of testing his religious principles, by the loss of both his property and life; and consequently, the loss must have been felt in a greater degree, if the sufferer was married. Thus persecution must have been more dreadful to the married than to the unmarried. The ancient church, misconstruing the Apostle's words, and also overlooking his meaning, recommended the state of bachelorism in the male, and perpetual virginity in the female sex, not only as a state more perfect than marriage, but even as highly meritorious. Thus, by degrees, came into being the absurd and fast decaying system of monastic establishments, which, for many centuries burdened Europe with drones innumerable.

In England, bachelors are not left to go forgotten to their solitary graves. There was a tax laid on them by the 7th William III., after the twenty-fifth year of their age, which was L12. 10s. for a duke, and 1s. for a commoner. At present they are taxed by an extra duty upon their servants: for a male, L1. 5s.; for a female, 2s. 6d., above the usual duties leviable upon servants. E.J.H.

*** So, Touchstone's philosophy hath legal warrant: "Is the single man blessed? No: as a walled town is more worthier than a village, so is the forehead of a married man more honourable than the bare brow of a bachelor."—As you like it. (Ed. M.)

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SAXON ALMANACS.

The Saxons were accustomed to engrave upon square pieces of wood, the courses of the moons for the whole year, (or for a specified space of time) by which they could tell when the new-moons, full-moons, and changes would occur, and these pieces of wood were by them called Al-mon-aght (i.e.) Al-moon-heed, which signifies the regard and observation of all the moons, and from this term is derived the word Almanac.

Many of our readers are probably aware of, or have seen, a Saxon Almanac, answering the above description, in St. John's College, Cambridge. E.J.H.

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SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY

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EXEMPLARS ABRIDGED FROM MR. BABBAGE'S "ECONOMY OF MACHINERY AND MANUFACTURES."

Voyage of Manufacture.—The produce of our factories has preceded even our most enterprising travellers. Captain Clapperton saw at the court of the Sultan Bello, pewter dishes with the London stamp, and had at the royal table a piece of meat served up on a white wash-hand basin of English manufacture. The cotton of India is conveyed by British ships round half our planet, to be woven by British skill in the factories of Lancashire; it is again set in motion by British capital, and transported to the very plains whereon it grew, is repurchased by the lords of the soil which gave it birth, at a cheaper price than that at which their coarser machinery enables them to manufacture it themselves. At Calicut, in the East Indies (whence the cotton cloth called calico derives its name) the price of labour is one-seventh of that in England, yet the market is supplied from British looms.

Additions to human power.—The force necessary to move a stone along the roughly-chiselled floor of its quarry is nearly two-thirds of its weight; to move it along a wooden floor, three-fifths; by wood upon wood, five-ninths; if the wooden surfaces are soaped, one-sixth; if rollers are used on the floor of the quarry, it requires one-thirty-second part of the weight; if they roll on wood, one-fortieth; and if they roll between wood, one-fiftieth of its weight. At each increase of knowledge, as well as on the contrivance of every new tool, human labour becomes abridged.

Economy of time.—Several pounds of gunpowder may be purchased for a sum acquired by a few days' labour; yet, when this is employed in blasting rocks, effects are produced which could not, even with the best tools, be accomplished by other means in less than many months.

Economy of Materials.—The worn-out saucepans and tin-ware of our kitchens, when beyond the reach of the tinker's art, are not utterly worthless. We sometimes meet carts loaded with old tin kettles and worn-out iron coal-scuttles traversing our streets. These have not yet completed their useful course; the less corroded parts are cut into strips, punched with small holes, and varnished with a coarse black varnish for the use of the trunkmaker, who protects the edges and angles of his box with them; the remainder are conveyed to the manufacturing chemists in the outskirts of the town, who employ them, in conjunction with pyroligneous acid, in making a black dye for the use of calico printers.

Accumulation of Power arises from lifting a weight and then allowing it to fall. A man, even with a heavy hammer, might strike repeated blows upon the head of a pile without producing any effect. But if he raises a much heavier hammer to a much greater height, its fall, though far less frequently repeated, will produce the desired effect.

Regulating Power.—A contrivance for regulating the effect of machinery consists in a vane or a fly, of little weight, but presenting a large surface. This revolves rapidly, and soon acquires an uniform rate, which it cannot greatly exceed, because any addition to its velocity produces a much greater addition to the resistance it meets with from the air. The interval between the strokes on the bell of a clock is regulated by this means; and the fly is so contrived, that this interval may be altered by presenting the arms of it more or less obliquely to the direction in which they move. This kind of fly or vane is generally used in the smaller kinds of mechanism, and, unlike the heavy fly, it is a destroyer instead of a preserver of force. It is the regulator used in musical boxes, and in almost all mechanical toys.

Increase and Diminution of Velocity.—Twisting the fibres of wool by the fingers would be a most tedious operation; in the common spinning-wheel the velocity of the foot is moderate; but, by a very simple contrivance, that of the thread is most rapid. A piece of cat-gut passing round a large wheel, and then round a small spindle, effects this change. The small balls of sewing cotton, so cheap and so beautifully wound, are formed by a machine on the same principle, and but a few steps more complicated. The common smoke-jack is an instrument in which the velocity communicated is too great for the purpose required, and it is transmitted through wheels which reduce it to a more moderate rate.

Extending the Time of Action in Forces.—The half-minute which we daily devote to the winding up of our watches is an exertion of labour almost insensible; yet, by the aid of a few wheels its effect is spread over the whole twenty-four hours. Another familiar illustration may be noticed in our domestic furniture: the common jack by which our meat is roasted, is a contrivance to enable the cook in a few minutes to exert a force which the machine retails out during the succeeding hour in turning the loaded spit.

Saving Time in natural Operations.—The process of tanning formerly occupied from six months to two years; this time being apparently required in order to allow the tanning matter to penetrate into the interior of a thick hide. The improved process consists in placing the hides with the solution of tan in close vessels, and then exhausting the air. The consequence of this is to withdraw any air which might be contained in the pores of the hides, and to employ the pressure of the atmosphere to aid capillary attraction in forcing the tan into the interior of the skins. The effect of the additional force thus brought into action can be equal only to one atmosphere, but a further improvement has been made: the vessel containing the hides is, after exhaustion, filled up with a solution of tan; a small additional quantity is then injected with a forcing-pump. By these means any degree of pressure may be given which the containing vessel is capable of supporting, and it has been found that, by employing such a method, the thickest hides may be tanned in six weeks or two months.

Printing from Wooden Blocks.—A block of box-wood is, in this instance, the substance out of which the pattern is formed: the design being sketched upon it, the workman cuts away with sharp tools every part except the lines to be represented in the impression. This is exactly the reverse of the process of engraving on copper, in which every line to be represented is cut away. The ink, instead of filling the cavities cut in the wood, is spread upon the surface which remains, and is thence transferred to the paper.

Making and Manufacturing.—There exists a considerable difference between the terms making and manufacturing. The former refers to the production of a small, the latter to that of a very large number of individuals; and the difference is well illustrated in the evidence given before the Committee of the House of Commons on the Export of Tools and Machinery. On that occasion Mr. Maudslay stated, that he had been applied to by the Navy Board to make iron tanks for ships, and that he was rather unwilling to do so, as he considered it to be out of his line of business; however, he undertook to make one as a trial. The holes for the rivets were punched by hand-punching with presses, and the 1,680 holes which each tank required cost seven shillings. The Navy Board who required a large number, proposed that he should supply forty tanks a week for many months. The magnitude of the order made it worth while to commence manufacturer, and to make tools for the express business. Mr. Maudslay therefore offered, if the Board would give him an order for two thousand tanks, to supply them at the rate of eighty per week. The order was given: he made the tools, by which the expense of punching the rivet-holes of each tank was reduced from seven shillings to ninepence; he supplied ninety-eight tanks a week for six months, and the price charged for each was reduced from seventeen pounds to fifteen.

Brass-plate Coal Merchants.—In the recent examination by the committee of the House of Commons into the state of the Coal Trade, it appears that five-sixths of the London public is supplied by a class of middle-men who are called in the trade "Brass-plate Coal Merchants:" these consist principally of merchants' clerks, gentlemen's servants, and others, who have no wharfs, but merely give their orders to some true coal-merchant, who sends in the coals from his wharf. The brass-plate coal merchant, of course, receives a commission for his agency, which is just so much loss to the consumer.

Raw Materials.—Gold-leaf consists of a portion of the metal beaten out to so great a degree of thinness, as to allow a greenish-blue light to be transmitted through its pores. About 400 square inches of this are sold, in the form of a small book, containing twenty-five leaves of gold for 1s. 6d. In this case, the raw material, or gold, is worth rather less than two-thirds of the manufactured article. In the case of silver leaf, the labour considerably exceeds the value of the material. A book of fifty leaves, covering above 1,000 square inches is sold for 1s. 3d.

The quantity of labour applied to Venetian gold chains is very great, but incomparably less than that which is applied to some of the manufactures of iron. In the case of the smallest Venetian chain the value of the labour is not above thirty times that of the gold. The pendulum spring of a watch, which governs the vibrations of the balance, costs at the retail price twopence, and weighs fifteen one-hundredths of a grain, whilst the retail price of a pound of the best iron, the raw material out of which fifty thousand such springs are made, is exactly the sum of twopence.

In France bar-iron, made as it usually is with charcoal, costs three times the price of the cast-iron out of which it is made; whilst in England, where it is usually made with coke, the cost is only twice the price of cast-iron.

* * * * *



THE NATURALIST.

* * * * *

THE NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO.



Armadillos are almost exclusively natives of South America, principally of the province of Paraguay. Some inhabit the forests; others are found in the open country. There are several species, all of which are invested with a coat of mail, or a kind of plate armour resembling the covering of the pangolin, or scaly ant-eater, and the shell of the tortoise. This crust or shell covers the upper parts of the animal, and consists of four or five different parts or divisions. The head may be said to have a helmet, and the shoulders a buckler, composed of several transverse series of plates. Transverse bands, varying in the different species from three to twelve, which are movable, cover the body; the crupper has its buckler similar to that on the shoulders, and the tail is protected by numerous rings. The hairs of the body are few, springing from between the plates; the under parts, which are without armour, have rather more hairs. In a living state, the whole armour is capable of yielding considerably to the motions of the body; the pieces or plates being connected by a membrane, like the joints in a tail of a lobster. The under parts present a light grainy skin. The legs are thick and strong, but only long enough to raise the body from the ground; the nails are very powerful, and calculated for digging; and, according to Buffon, the mole is not more expert in burrowing the earth.

Some of the species have nocturnal habits and are very timid, flying to their burrows the moment they hear a noise. Other species quit their retreat equally by day and night, and these are said not to be so rapid in their motions as the others. All the species walk quickly, but they can neither leap, run, nor climb; so that, when pursued, they can only escape by hiding themselves in their holes; if these be too far off, the poor hunted creatures dig a hole before they are overtaken, and with their strong snout and fore claws in a few moments conceal themselves. Sometimes, however, before they are quite concealed, they are caught by the tail, when they struggle so powerfully that the tail often breaks short, and is left in the hands of the pursuers. To prevent this the hunter tickles the animal with a stick, till it looses its hold, and allows itself to be taken without further resistance. At other times, when pursued, and finding flight ineffectual, the Armadillos withdraw the head under the edge of the buckler of the shoulders; their legs, except the feet, are naturally hidden by the borders of the bucklers and the bands; they then contract the body as far towards the shape of a ball as the stretching of the membrane which unites the different movable pieces of the armour will permit.[8] Thus defended, they frequently escape danger; but if near a precipice, the animal will sometimes roll itself over, and in this case, says Molina, in his Natural History of Chili, it generally falls to the bottom unhurt.

[8] It should here be observed that the Three-banded Armadillo is remarkable for the faculty of rolling itself up more completely than the other species. It can, in so doing, totally conceal the head, the tail, and the fore feet, which none of the other species can completely effect.—Cuvier.

Armadillos were formerly thought to feed exclusively on vegetables; but they have since been found to devour insects and flesh. The directions of their burrows evince that they search after ant heaps, and the insects quickly disappear from near the hole of an Armadillo. The largest species, the great black Armadillo, common in the forests of Paraguay, feeds on the carcasses of animals; and the graves of the dead which are necessarily formed at a distance from the usual places of sepulture, in countries where the great Armadillo is found, are protected by strong double boards to prevent the animal from penetrating and devouring the body. It appears, also, that it eats young birds, eggs, snakes, lizards, &c. The Indians are very fond of the flesh of the Armadillo as food, especially when young; but, when old, it acquires a strong musky flavour. Mr. Waterton, who tasted the flesh, considered it strong and rank. The shells or crusts are applied to various useful purposes, and painted of different colours are made into boxes, baskets, &c.

Cuvier remarks that that old mode of distinguishing the species of Armadillos by the number of the bands is clearly objectionable, inasmuch as D'Azara has established that not only the number of these bands varies, in the different individuals of the same species, but further, that there are individuals of different species which have the same number of bands. Eight species mentioned by D'Azara are admitted as distinct, but the whole number is very doubtful.

(The species represented in the Cut,[9] or, the Nine-banded, is the most common. In the Zoological Gardens, in the Regent's Park, and in Surrey, are several specimens. They are usually kept in cages, but on fine sunny days are let out upon the turf. Their general pace may here be seen to advantage: it is a sort of quick shuffling walk, and they get over the ground easily, notwithstanding the weight of their shelly covering.)

[9] From a specimen figured in Dr. Shaw's Zoological Lectures, with plates, by Mrs. Griffith, vol. i.

In conclusion, it is interesting to remark that the whole series of these very singular animals offers a notable example of one genus being confined to a particular country. We have observed that they all belong to South America; nor do we find that in any parts of the old world, or, indeed, in the great northern division of the new, any races of quadrupeds at all to resemble them, or in any manner to be compared with them. They may be said to stand perfectly insulated; they exhibit all the characters of a creation entirely distinct, and except as to the general characters of mammiferous quadrupeds, perfectly of their own kind. There is no break in the whole circle of them, no deviation or leaning towards any other organized form; so that the boldest conjecture will hardly venture to guess at any other than a separate creation for these animals, and a distinct allocation in South America. This peculiarity is rendered the more striking by the facility with which it seems to endure removal, even to our latitudes; thereby proving that its present confined identity with South America is not altogether the result of its physical necessities.[10]

[10] Popular Zoology. Comprising Memoirs and Anecdotes of the Animals of the Zoological Society's Menagerie. With many Engravings. 1832.

* * * * *

CLIMATE OF CANADA.

From Sketches, by a Backwoodsman.

It never has been accountable to me, how the heat of the sun is regulated. There is no part of Upper Canada that is not to the south of Penzance, yet there is no part of England where the cold is so intense as in Canada; nay, there is no cold in England equal to the cold of Virginia, which, were it on the European side of the hemisphere, would be looked upon as an almost tropical climate. To explain to an European what the climate of Upper Canada is, we would say, that in summer it is the climate of Italy, in winter that of Holland; but in either case we should only be giving an illustration, for in both winter and summer it possesses peculiarities which neither of these two climates possess. The summer heat of Upper Canada generally ranges towards 80 deg. Fahrenheit; but should the wind blow twenty-four hours steadily from the north, it will fall to 40 deg. during the night. The reason of this seems to be the enormous quantity of forest over which that wind blows, and the leaves of the trees affording such an extensive surface of evaporation. One remarkable peculiarity in the climate of Canada, when compared with those to which we have likened it, is its dryness. Far from the ocean, the salt particles that somehow or other exist in the atmosphere of sea-bounded countries are not to be found here; roofs of tinned iron of fifty years' standing are as bright as the day they came out of the shop; and you may leave a charge of powder in your gun for a month, and find, at the end of it, that it goes off without hanging fire. The diseases of the body, too, that are produced by a damp atmosphere, are uncommon here. It may be a matter of surprise to some to hear, that pectoral and catarrhal complaints, which, from an association of ideas they may connect with cold, are here hardly known. In the cathedral at Montreal, where from three to five thousand people assemble every Sunday, you will seldom find the service interrupted by a cough, even in the dead of winter and in hard frost; whereas, in Britain, from the days of Shakspeare, even in a small country church, "coughing drowns the parson's saw." Pulmonary consumption, too, the scourge alike of England and the sea-coast of America, is so rare in the northern parts of New York and Pennsylvania, and the whole of Upper Canada, that in eight years' residence I have not seen as many cases of the disease as I have in a day's visit to a provincial infirmary at home. The only disease we are annoyed with here, that we are not accustomed to at home, is the intermittent fever,—and that, though most abominably annoying, is not by any means dangerous: indeed, one of the most annoying circumstances connected with it is, that, instead of being sympathized with, you are only laughed at. Otherwise the climate is infinitely more healthy than that of England. Indeed, it may be pronounced the most healthy country under the sun, considering that whisky can be procured for about one shilling sterling per gallon. Though the cold of a Canadian winter is great, it is neither distressing nor disagreeable. There is no day during winter, except a rainy one, in which a man need be kept from his work. It is a fact, though as startling as some of the dogmas of the Edinburgh school of political economy, that the thermometer is no judge of warm or cold weather. Thus, with us in Canada, when it is low, (say at zero,) there is not a breath of hair, and you can judge of the cold of the morning by the smoke rising from the chimney of a cottage, and shooting up straight like the steeple of a church, then gradually melting away in the beautiful clear blue of the morning sky: yet in such weather it is impossible to go through a day's march in your great coat; whereas, at home, when the wind blows from the north-east, though the thermometer stands at from 55 deg. to 60 deg. you find a fire far from oppressive. The fact is, that a Canadian winter is by far the pleasantest season of the year, for everybody is idle, and everybody is determined to enjoy himself. Between the summer and winter of Canada, a season exists, called the Indian summer. During this period, the atmosphere has a smoky, hazy effect, which is ascribed by the people generally to the simultaneous burning of the prairies of the western part of the continent. This explanation I take to be absurd; since, if it were so to be accounted for, the wind must necessarily blow from that quarter, which is not in all instances the case. During this period, which generally occupies two or three weeks of the month of November, the days are pleasant, and with abundance of sunshine, and the nights present a cold, clear, black frost. When this disappears, the rains commence, which always precede winter; for it is a proverb in the Lower Province, among the French Canadians, that the ditches never freeze till they are full. Then comes the regular winter, which, if rains and thaws do not interfere, is very pleasant; and that is broken up by rains again, which last until the strong sun of the middle of May renders everything dry and in good order. A satirical friend of mine gave a caricature account of the climate of the province, when he said that, for two months of the spring and two months of the autumn, you are up to your middle in mud; for four months of summer you are broiled by the heat, choked by the dust, and devoured by the mosquitoes; and for the remaining four months, if you get your nose above the snow, it is to have it bit off by the frost.

* * * * *



THE PUBLIC JOURNALS

* * * * *

AN INCIDENT IN THE LIFE OF A RASCAL.

"His name is never heard."

Late one evening, a packet of letters, just arrived by the English mail, was handed to Mynheer Von Kapell, a merchant of Hamburgh. His head clerk awaited, as usual, for any orders which might arise from their contents; and was not a little surprised to observe the brow of his wealthy employer suddenly clouded; again and again he perused the letter he held, at last audibly giving vent to his feelings—

"Donder and blitzen!" he burst forth, "but this is a shock, who would have thought it? The house of Bennett and Ford to be shaken thus! What is to be done?"

"Bennett and Ford failed!"' cried the astonished clerk.

"Failed! ten thousand devils! not so bad as that; but they are in deep distress, and have suffered a heavy loss; but read, good Yansen! and let me have your advice."

The clerk read as follows:—

"London, August 21st.

"Most respected friend,

"Yours of the 5th inst. came safe to hand, and will meet prompt attention. We have to inform you, with deep regret, that the son of the trustworthy cashier of this long-established house has absconded, taking with him bills accepted by our firm, to a large amount, as per margin; and a considerable sum in cash. We have been able to trace the misguided young man to a ship bound for Holland, and we think it probable he may visit Hamburgh, (where our name is so well known and, we trust, so highly respected) for the purpose of converting these bills into cash. He is a tall, handsome youth, about five feet eleven inches, with dark hair and eyes; speaks French and German well, and was dressed in deep mourning, in consequence of the recent death of his mother. If you should be able to find him, we have to request you will use your utmost endeavours to regain possession of the bills named in the margin; but, as we have a high respect for the father of the unfortunate young man, we will further thank you to procure for him a passage on board the first vessel sailing for Batavia, paying the expense of his voyage, and giving him the sum of two hundred louis d'or, which you will place to our account current, on condition that he does not attempt to revisit England till he receives permission so to do.

"We are, most respected friend,

"Your obedient servants,

"BENNETT, FORD, AND CO.

"Mynheer Von Kapell."

"My life on't," said Yansen, "'tis the very lad I saw this day, walking up and down in front of the Exchange, who appeared half out of his wits; looking anxiously for some particular object, yet shunning general observation: his person answers the description."

"That's fortunate," said the merchant, "you must devote the morrow to searching for him; bring him to me if possible, and I'll do my utmost to serve my excellent friends, Bennett and Ford of London."

Early next morning, Yansen went to the Exchange, and kept an anxious watch for many hours in vain; he was returning hopeless, when he saw the identical youth coming out of the door of a Jew money-changer; he brushed hastily past him, exclaiming, "The unconscionable scoundrel! seventy per cent, for bills on the best house in England!"

Yansen approached him. "Young gentleman," said he, in a very mild tone, "you appear to have met with some disappointment from that griping wretch, Levi. If you have any business to transact, my house is close by; I shall be happy to treat with you."

"Willingly," replied the youth, "the sooner the better. I must leave Hamburgh at day-break."

The clerk led him to the house of the merchant, and entered it by a small side door, desiring the young man to be seated, whilst he gave some directions. In a few minutes he reappeared, bringing Von Kapell with him. The worthy Hamburgher having no talent for a roundabout way of doing business, said bluntly, "So Mynheer! we are well met; it will be useless to attempt disguise with me; look at this!" and he put into his hand the letter he had the night before received.

Overwhelmed with consternation, the young man fell at his feet.

"Oh heaven!" he cried, "I am lost for ever—my father, my indulgent, my honourable father, is heart-broken and disgraced by my villany. My mother!" Here he became nearly inaudible, and hid his face in his hands. "You," he continued, "are spared all participation in the agony your wretched son is suffering."

"Boy, boy!" said the merchant, raising him, and quite melted at this show of penitence, "listen to me! are the bills safe? if so, you may still hope."

"They are," eagerly exclaimed the youth; "how fortunate that I did not listen to the offers of that rapacious Jew. Here, sir, take them, I implore you," pulling from his breast a large pocket-book; "they are untouched. Spare but my life, and I will yet atone—Oh, spare me from a shameful death."

There was a pause, broken at last by Yansen's saying significantly to his employer, "as per margin."

The merchant turned to the unhappy young man. "Take heart," said he, "'Wenn die noth ist amgroeszten die huelfe ist am naechsten.'[11] There's an old German proverb for you. Sit down and hear what I have to say. I think myself not a little fortunate in so soon being able to fulfil the wishes of my English correspondents; your natural alarm did not suffer you to finish their letter; you will perceive how generously they mean to act; their house's credit saved, they intend not to punish you. Read, read; and Yansen, order some eatables, and a bottle or two of my old Heidelberg hock, trouble always makes me thirsty—three glasses, my good Yansen."

[11] When things are at the worst they must mend.

Again the young Englishman hid his face, and sighed convulsively, "I do not deserve this lenity. My excellent father! this is a tribute to your virtue."

Von Kapell left his guest's reflections undisturbed, till a servant entered, who placed refreshments on a well polished oak table; when she retired, he resumed.

"And now, what devil tempted you to play the—runaway?" swallowing the term he had intended to use. "Was it for the wenches, or the dicing table?"

"Spare me, most kind and worthy sir, I intreat you! To my father I will make full confession of all my faults; but he must be the first to know the origin of my crimes."

"Well, well, take another glass of wine; you shall stay in my house till we can find a passage for you. It was but last night my good ship the Christine sailed for Batavia, and—"

"Under favour," interrupted Yansen, "she has not yet left the harbour; the wind blew too fresh for her to venture on crossing the sand-banks at night, and it is now only shifting round a point or two."

"You are lucky, youngster;" quickly added the merchant, "the Christine has noble accommodations; you shall aboard this evening. Put these in the chest, good Yansen," handing him the bills, "and count me out the two hundred louis d'or the boy is to have. Come, man! finish your meal, for I see," said he, regarding a vane on the gable of an opposite house, "you have no time to lose."

The meal was finished—the money given—the worthy merchant adding as much good advice as the brief space would permit. The Briton was profuse in his expressions of gratitude, promised amendment, and returned the warm grasp of Von Kapell, unable to speak for his tears. Yansen accompanied him on board, gave the owner's most particular charge to the skipper, to pay his passenger every attention on the voyage. The vessel cleared the harbour—was in a few hours out of sight—and the next morning, Mynheer Von Kapell wrote to London a full account of the transaction, returning the bills he had so fortunately recovered.

* * * * *

In less than a fortnight, the following letter reached the good old German:—

"Sir,—We have to inform you, that we never lost the bills sent in your last favour, every one of which is fabricated, and our acceptance forged. Our cashier has no son, nor has he lost a wife. We are sincerely grieved that your friendly feeling towards our house should have led you to listen to so palpable a cheat.

"We remain, with great respect, yours,

"BENNETT, FORD, AND CO.

"P.S. If you should ever hear again of the person you have, at your own expense, sent to Batavia, we shall be glad to know."

* * * * *

What can be said of the good old German's feelings, but that they may "be more easily conceived than described?"—Monthly Magazine.

* * * * *



NEW BOOKS.

* * * * *

OTWAY'S "VENICE PRESERVED."

(Hundreds of our readers who have again and again heard

Belvidera pour her soul in love—

may not be aware of the precise historical connexion of the incidents of Otway's play with the events of history. They are taken, in the main, from an atrocious conspiracy formed at Venice in 1618. Sir Henry Wotton, then English ambassador at Venice, writes as follows on the 25th of May, in the above year:—"The whole town is here at present in horror and confusion upon the discovering of a foul and fearful conspiracy of the French against this state; whereof no less than thirty have already suffered very condign punishment, between men strangled in prison, drowned in the silence of the night, and hanged in public view; and yet the bottom is invisible." Beyond this quaint, meagre, chronological notice, little is actually established of the details, although the event is perhaps as familiarly known by name to English readers as any other in the History of Venice. We are, therefore, happy to see the affair treated with minute consideration in the second volume of "Sketches from Venetian History," in the Family Library; and so interesting is the narrative, or rather the facts and conjectures, to the lover of history, as well as to the unstudious playgoer, that we are induced to quote nearly every line of the passage. The editor observes:—)

Muratori indeed has scarcely exaggerated the obscurity in which this incident is enveloped when he affirms that only one fact illuminates its darkness; namely that several hundred French and Spaniards engaged in the service of the Republic were arrested and put to death. The researches of Comte Daru have brought to light some hitherto unknown contemporary documents; but even the inexhaustible diligence of that most laborious, accurate, and valuable writer has been baffled in the hope of obtaining certainty as its reward; and he has been compelled to content himself with the addition of one hypothesis more to those already proposed in explanation of this mystery.

All that can be positively affirmed is that during the summer of 1617, Jacques Pierre, a Norman by birth, whose youth had been spent in piratical enterprises in the Levantine seas, from which he had acquired no inconsiderable celebrity, fled from the service of the Spanish Duke d'Ossuna, Viceroy of Naples; and, having offered himself at the Arsenal of Venice, was engaged there in a subordinate office. Not many days after his arrival in the Lagune, Pierre denounced to the Inquisitors of State a conspiracy projected, as he said, by the Duke d'Ossuna, and favoured by Don Alfonso della Cueva, Marquis de Bedemar, at that time resident ambassador from Spain. The original minutes of Pierre's disclosures, written in French, still exist among the correspondence of M. Leon Bruslart, the contemporary ambassador from the court of France to the Republic; and they were translated into Italian, with which language Pierre was but imperfectly acquainted, by his friend Renault, in order that they might be presented to the Inquisitors. In this plot, Pierre avowed himself to be chief agent; his pretended abandonment of the Duke d'Ossuna forming one part of the stratagem: and he added that his commission enjoined him to seduce the Dutch troops employed in the late war, who still remained in Venice and its neighbourhood; to fire the city; to seize and massacre the nobles; to overthrow the existing government; and ultimately to transfer the state to the Spanish crown. The sole immediate step taken by the Inquisitors in consequence of these revelations was the secret execution of Spinosa, a Neapolitan, whom Pierre described as an emissary of the Duke d'Ossuna; and whom he appears to have regarded with jealousy as a spy upon his own conduct. For the rest, the magistrates contented themselves, as it, seems, by awaiting the maturity of the plot with silent vigilance. Ten months elapsed during which Pierre communicated on the one hand with the Duke d'Ossuna, unsuspicious of his treachery, and on the other with the Inquisitors; till at the expiration of that term he was seized by an order of the X, while employed on his duties with the Fleet, and drowned without the grant of sufficient delay even for previous religious confession. More, perhaps many more, than three hundred French and Spaniards engaged in various naval and military capacities were at the same time delivered to the executioner; and Renault, after undergoing numerous interrogatories, and being placed seven times on the cord, was hanged by one foot on a gibbet on the Piazzetta, which day after day presented similar exhibitions of horror.

This evidence of Pierre remained at the time concealed in the bosoms of the Inquisitors to whom it had been delivered; and no official declarations satisfied public curiosity as to the cause of the sanguinary executions which deformed the Capital. A rumour indeed spread itself abroad, and, although not traced to any certain authority, was universally credited, that a great peril had been escaped; that Venice had trembled on the very brink of destruction; and that the Spaniards had meditated her ruin. Popular fury was accordingly directed against the Marquis de Bedemar; and so fierce were the menaces of summary vengeance that the ambassador was forced to protest his innocence before the Collegio, more in the spirit of one deprecating punishment than defying accusation. He then earnestly solicited protection against the rabble surrounding his palace; for "God knows," affirmed his pale and affrighted secretary more than once, "the danger of our residence is great!" The Vice-doge, who during the interregnum between the death of one chief magistrate and the election of another presided over the Collegio, replied vaguely, coldly, and formally; and, the application having been renewed without any more favourable result, Bedemar, justly apprehensive for his safety, seized a pretext for withdrawing, till a successor to his embassy was appointed. Meantime, considerable doubts were entertained, not only by the resident foreign ministers,— especially by that of France, better informed than his brethren through the possession of Pierre's minutes,—but by the Venetian senators themselves, also, whether any conspiracy whatever had really existed. Nevertheless, in spite of these misgivings not obscurely expressed, it was not till the expiration of five months that the X presented a report to the Senate, detailing the information which they had received and the views upon which they had acted. That report however is so manifestly contradicted in many very important instances by Pierre's depositions, that it must be considered as drawn up and garbled solely with the intention of making a case; and therefore as revealing only so much truth dashed and brewed with a huge proportion of falsehood, as it suited the interests of the magistrates to exhibit to public view. All mention of the denouncements of Pierre during the long period of ten months is carefully suppressed, and yet no fact in history is more distinctly proved than that he did so communicate. The first intimation of the plot is there said to have been given but a few days before it was to have been executed, by two Frenchmen, Montcassin and Balthazar Juven, whom Pierre had endeavoured to seduce. "Look at these Venetians," said the daring conspirator one day to his apparent proselytes, "they affect to chain the lion; but the lion sometimes devours his master, especially when that master uses him ill." According to their further evidence, some troops despatched by the Duke d'Ossuna were to land by night on the Piazzetta and to occupy all the strong holds of the city; numerous treasonable agents already within the walls were to master the depots of arms; and fire, rapine, and massacre were to bring the enterprise to consummation.

The papers abovementioned, together with a few letters from the Doge to the Venetian ambassador at Milan, and one or two other not very important documents contained in the archives of Venice, all printed by Comte Dam, are the sole authentic vouchers for this conspiracy now known to exist; and it must be confessed that they are insufficient for its elucidation. The Abbe St. Real, who for a long time was esteemed the chief historian of this dark transaction, is an agreeable and attractive writer; but—since he was unacquainted with the report of the X; since he does not cite the correspondence of the French ambassador containing Pierre's depositions; and since he frequently varies from a MS which he does cite, The Interrogatories of the Accused,[12] a MS indeed, which, even when quoted faithfully, is often contradicted by the few established facts, and by numerous well-known usages of the Venetian government,—little faith can be attached to his narrative. It was his opinion, and it has been that which has most generally prevailed, that the Duke d'Ossuna, the Marquis de Bedemar, and Don Pedro di Toledo, governor of Milan, mutually concerted a plan for the destruction of Venice; the chief execution of which was entrusted to Pierre and Renault: and that, on the very eve of its explosion, Jaffier, one of their band, touched by the magnificence of the Espousals of the Adriatic which he had just witnessed, was shaken from his stern purpose, and revealed the conspiracy. In order to overthrow the latter part of this hypothesis, it may be sufficient to state that the first executions took place on the 14th of May, 1618, and that it was not till the 24th of that month that the Feast of Ascension, and its gorgeous ceremonies, occurred in the same year.

[12] A translation of this document is given by Daru: the original Italian may be found in the Memorie recondite of Vittorio Siri, i. 407.

Comte Daru, on the other hand, first explains a design which it is notorious was entertained by the Duke d'Ossuna to convert his viceroyalty of Naples into a kingdom, the crown of which, wrested from Spain, should be placed on his own head. And hence he establishes the impossibility that d'Ossuna should at the same moment be plotting the overthrow of Venice; that power whose assistance, or at least whose connivance was one of the weapons most necessary for his success. On these grounds, Comte Daru contends that the Duke maintained a secret understanding both with the Signory and the court of France; that, refining on political duplicity, he deceived Pierre by really instructing him to gain over the Dutch troops quartered in the Lagune; not, however, as his emissary supposed, to be employed ultimately for the seizure of Venice, but in truth for that of Naples; that Pierre's courage was not proof against the dangers with which his apparently most hazardous commission beset him; and that accordingly he betrayed his employer, and revealed to the Inquisitors a plot which they well knew to be feigned: and, lastly, that when the ambitious plans of d'Ossuna, partially discovered before their time by the Spanish government, might have compromised Venice also if they had been fully elucidated; in order to blot out each syllable of evidence which could bear, even indirectly, upon the transaction, so far as she was concerned, it was thought expedient to remove every individual who had been even unwittingly connected with it. So fully was this abominable wickedness perpetrated, that both the accused and the accusers, the deceivers and the deceived, those either faithless or faithful to their treason, the tools who either adhered to or who betrayed d'Ossuna, who sought to destroy or to preserve Venice, were alike enveloped in one common fate, and silenced in the same sure keeping of the grave. Some few, respecting whose degree of participation a slight doubt arose, were strangled on the avowed principle that all must be put to death who were in any way implicated; others were drowned by night, in order that their execution might make no noise.[13] Moncassin, one of the avowed informers, was pensioned, spirited away to Cyprus, and there despatched in a drunken quarrel; and if it be asserted that his companion Balthazar Juven was permitted to survive, it is because he is the only individual concerning whose final destiny we cannot pronounce with certainty.[14]

[13] Laurent Brulard, concerning whose fate much discussion arose, was strangled par beaucoup de considerations et par une suite du parti qu'on avrait pris de mettre a mort tons ceux qui etaient impliques dans cette affaire. The brothers Desbouleaux were drowned by night in the Canale Orfano, pour ne point ebruiter l'affaire; and the instructions sent to the Admiral who was to drown Pierre were to fulfil his commission avec le moins de bruit possible. Accordingly that ruffian, and forty-five of his accomplices, were drowned at once sans bruit. Interrogatoire des Accuses, translated by Daru, vol. viii. sec. x.

[14] It is believed that Balthazar Juven, and a relation of the Marechale de Lesdiguieres, who is stated to have escaped punishment, are one and the same person.

Of one personage who holds an important station in St. Real's romance, and yet more so in Otway's coarse and boisterous tragedy, which, by dint of some powerful coups de theatre, still maintains possession of the English stage, we have hitherto mentioned but the name; and, in fact, even for that name we are indebted only to the more than suspected summary of the Interrogatories of the Accused.

Antoine Jaffier, a French captain, is there made chief evidence against Pierre and Renault, who are employed by d'Ossuna, as he vaguely states, to surprise some maritime place belonging to the republic. This informer was rewarded with four thousand sequins, and instructed forthwith to quit the Venetian territories; but having, while at Brescia, renewed communications with suspected persons, he was brought back to the Lagune and drowned. The minute particularities of Jaffier's depositions, and the motive which prompted him to offer them, (the latter, as we have already shown, resting on a gross anachronism,) are, we believe pure inventions by St. Real; and Otway has used a poet's license to palliate still farther deviations from authentic history. Under his hands, Pierre,—whom all accounts conspire in representing to us as a foreign, vulgar and mercenary bravo, equally false to every party, and frightened into confession,—is transformed into a Venetian patriot, the proud champion of his country's liberty; who declaims in good, set, round, customary terms against slavery and oppression; and who, in the end, escapes a mode of execution unknown to Venice, by persuading the friend who has betrayed him, and whom he has consequently renounced, to stab him to the heart, in order "to preserve his memory." The weak, whining, vacillating, uxorious Jaffier, by turns a cut-throat and a King's evidence; now pawning, now fondling, and now menacing with his dagger an imaginary wife; first placing his comrade's life in jeopardy, then begging it against his will, and finally taking it with his own hand, is a yet more unhappy creation of wayward fancy; and it is only in the names of the conspirators, in the introduction of an Englishman, Eliot, (whom he has brought nearer vernacular spelling than he found him,—Haillot,[15]) and in the character of Rainault, that Otway is borne out by authority. The last-mentioned person is described by the French ambassador as a sot, a gambler, and a sharper, whose rogueries are well known to all the world; in a word, therefore, as a fit leader of a revolutionary crew wrought up, "without the least remorse, with fire and sword t' exterminate" all who bore the stamp of nobility; and not as the most fitting depository in which Belvidera's honour might be lodged as a security for that of her irresolute husband.

[15] Nani, iii. p. 169. He was to have commanded the naval part of the enterprise.

Whatever hypothesis may be adopted, be this conspiracy true or false, there is no bloodier, probably no blacker page in history than that which records its development. Were it not for the immeasurable weight of guilt which must press upon the memory of the rulers of Venice if we suppose the plot to have been altogether fictitious, we should assuredly admit that the evidence greatly preponderates in favour of that assertion. But respect for human nature compels us to hesitate in admitting a charge so monstrous. Five months after the commencement of the executions, either a tardy gratitude or a profane mockery was offered to Heaven; and the Doge and nobles returned thanks for their great deliverance, by a solemn service at St. Mark's.

(Among the master-spirits who have commemorated the olden glories of Venice, but more especially her association with our dramatic literature, must not be forgotten Lord Byron:

But unto us she hath a spell beyond Her name in story, and her long array Of mighty shadows, whose dim forms despond Above the dogeless city's vanish'd sway; Our's is a trophy which will not decay With the Rialto: Shylock and the Moor, And Pierre cannot be swept away—- The keystones of the arch! though all were o'er, For us repeopled were the solitary shore.

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I lov'd her from my boyhood—she to me Was as a fairy city of the heart, Rising like water-columns from the sea, Of joy the sojourn, and of wealth the mart; And Otway, Radcliffe, Schiller, Shakspeare's art Had stamp'd her image in me, and ever so, Although I found her thus, we did not part, Perchance even dearer in her day of woe Than when she was a boast, a marvel, and a show.

Returning to the "Sketches," we must observe that we beg to differ with the Editor in merely applying the epithets "coarse and boisterous," to Otway's play, and pointing to "coups de Theatre" as its only merits. He surely ought not to have omitted its originality of whatever order it may be.

The volume before us brings the history of Venice to her subjection to Austria in 1798. It is throughout spiritedly executed. The illustrations, antique and modern, are precisely of this character, being from Titian, and our contemporary artist, Prout.)

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THE GATHERER.

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Sir Hercules Langreish and his Friend.—We found him in his study alone, poring over the national accounts, with two claret bottles empty before him, and a third bottle on the wane; it was about eight o'clock in the evening, and the butler, according to general orders when gentlemen came in, brought a bottle of claret to each of us. "Why," said Parnell, "Sir Heck, you have emptied two bottles already." "True," said Sir Hercules. "And had you nobody to help you?" "O yes, I had that bottle of port there, and I assure you he afforded me very great assistance!"—Sir Jonah Barrington.

The Irish Bar.—They used to tell a story of Fitzgibbon respecting a client who brought his own brief, and fee, that he might personally apologize for the smallness of the latter. Fitzgibbon, on receiving the fee, looked rather discontented. "I assure you, counsellor," said the client (mournfully) "I am ashamed of its smallness; but in fact it is all I have in the world." "Oh! then," said Fitzgibbon, "you can do no more:—as it's all you have in the world—why—hem—I must take it."

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Speaking of the Catholics in the hall of the Four Courts, Keller seemed to insinuate that Norcott was favourable to their emancipation. "What!" said Norcott, with a great show of pomposity—"what! Pray, Keller, do you see anything that smacks of the Pope about me?" "I don't know," replied Keller; "but at all events there is a great deal of the Pretender, and I always understood them to travel in company."

National Gallery and Record Office, on the site of the King's Mews, Charing Cross.—The estimated expense of erecting the above building is 50,000l.; the amount proposed to be taken for the present year is 15,000l.; leaving to be granted in future years 35,000l. The proposed building will be 461 feet in length and 56 feet in width in its extreme dimensions, and will consist of a centre and two wings. The western wing will contain, on the ground floor, rooms for the reception of records, and an entrance into the barrack-yard such as now exists. Above them will be the picture-gallery, divided into four rooms; one 50 feet by 50 feet; two 50 feet by 38 feet; and one room 50 feet by 32 feet; together with four cabinets for the reception of small pictures, or for the use of the keeper. The floors will be made fire-proof. The eastern wing, of similar extent, will contain, on the ground floor, a hall for casts, the library and council-room of the Royal Academy, and a dwelling for the keeper. There will be likewise a gateway or entrance corresponding to that leading into the barrack-yard in the other wing. In the basement below this wing there will be offices for the use of the Royal Academy, and a separate set attached to the dwelling-house of the keeper. The centre building will consist of halls, vestibules, staircases, &c. for both establishments; they will be distinct and separated; but so brought together as to form one grand feature of interior decoration. The building is proposed to be executed in stone. The central portico is to be constructed with the columns and other members of that which formerly decorated the palace at Carlton House. The materials of the present building are to be used in the construction of the new building, so far as they can be employed with propriety. The whole cost of the building will be 50,000l., exclusive of the old materials above mentioned, which have been valued at 4,000/l. It is impossible to state with any degree of accuracy the cost of the grates, air-stoves, and fittings of the buildings, which will mainly depend upon the mode to be adopted in warming them; but it may be confidently stated that it will not exceed 600l.—Parliamentary Paper, No. 611.

Home Truth.—"Give me my liar," was the phrase in which Charles the Fifth was used to call for a volume of history; and certainly no man can attentively examine any important period of our annals without remarking, that almost every incident admits of two handles, almost every character of two interpretations; and that, by a judicious packing of facts, the historian may make his picture assume nearly what form he pleases, without any direct violation of truth.—Quarterly Rev.

Envy.—"Of all the spies that are," says Mr. Owen Feltham, "envy is the most observant and prying. When the physicians to Frederick were relating what most would sharpen the sight, some were for fennel, and some for glasses, and others for other matters; the noble Actius did assure them, there was nothing that would do it like envy. Whatsoever man does ill, by it is magnified, and multiplied; his failings are all watched, drawn out, and blazed to the world; and under the pretence of good, he is oft led to the extremest issue of evil. Like oil that is poured upon the roots of trees, which softens, it destroys and withers all the branches. And being once catched, with scorn he is insulted on. For envy is so unnoble a devil, that it ever tyrannizeth most upon a slip or low prostration, at which time gallant minds do most disdain to triumph. The envious is more unhappy than the serpent: for though he hath poison within him, and can cast it upon others, yet to his proper bosom it is not burdensome, as is the rancour that the envious keeps; but this most plainly is the plague, as it infects others, so it fevers him that hath it, till he dies. Nor is it more noxious to the owner than fatal and detrimental to all the world beside. It was envy first unmade the angels and created devils. It was envy first that turned man out of Paradise, and with the blood of the innocent first dyed the untainted earth. It was envy sold chaste Joseph as a bondman, and unto crucifixion gave the only Son of God. He walks among burning coals that converses with those that are envious. He that would avoid it in himself, must have worth enough to be humble and beneficent. But he that would avoid the danger of it from others, must abandon their company."

Extraordinary Whipping.—During the minority of King James I. he was at Stirling Castle, under the tuition of the celebrated Buchanan. It is reported that Buchanan's reverence for his royal pupil, did not prevent his giving him a severe whipping when he persisted against remonstrance, in disturbing him whilst he was reading. Historians do not tell us how the royal pupil supported this chastisement. Swift says, "Heirs to titles and large estates, have a weakness in their eyes, and are not able to bear the pain and indignity of whipping." P.T.W.

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Erratum in page 2—the line quoted from Montgomery should be "The parrots swung like blossoms on the trees."

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Printed and published by J. LIMBIRI, 143, Strand, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by ERNEST FLEISCHER, 626, New Market, Leipsic; G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.

THE END

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