Billeder på siden

for it a large flask of spirits. I was now left like many of themselves, naked from the waist upwards, and for this night I found it impossible to sleep."

Mr. Robertson was removed to a separate room on the next morning, and he was furnished with clothes by a friend; but eight days elapsed before he was liberated in consequence of the representations of Captain Percy (who had been informed of his capture by Manuel) to Artigas, who affected great indignation at the conduct of his subordinates, and ordered the restoration of the ship and property. The ship and property were rendered up, with the exception of about 12001. This amount was pilfered by the gentlemen in office and their subordinates. Mr. R.'s wardrobe, the arms, the Dictator's finery (as Candioti called it), the clothing for the troops, with such other things as struck the particular fancy of the governor, the captain of the port, serjeants, and others, were detained without scruple. Having despatched the ship on her route to Paraguay, bearing letters to his brother and the Dictator, with a full account of his mishap, Mr. Robertson returned to Buenos Ayres, for the purpose of taking measures for obtaining compensation for his losses from Artigas. Armed with a British protection, he visited this semi-barbarous chief, at his head-quarters at Purificacion, and was received with great politeness; but he totally failed in the object of his journey. "You see," said the general, with great candour and nonchalance, "how we live here; and it is as much as we can do, in these hard times, to compass beef, aguardiente, and cigars. To pay you 6000 dollars just now, is as much beyond my power as it would be to pay you 60,000 or 600,000. Look here," said he, (and so saying, he lifted up the lid of an old military chest, and pointed to a canvas bag at the bottom of it.) "There," he continued, "is my whole stock of cash; it amounts to 300 dollars; and where the next supply is to come from, I am as little aware as you." This was unanswerable, and Mr. Robertson, finding there was no hope of dollars, took leave of the general, and prepared for his return to Paraguay.

[ocr errors]

Meantime, the letter written by Alvear to Francia had been published by Artigas, with some comments of his own, in which he asserted that Mr. Robertson had acted as Francia's commissioner, in a plan for selling the Paraguayans to Alvear, and denouncing this treacherous conduct in the most stinging terms. This paper, which was very widely distributed, enraged the Dictator to a furious pitch: he instantly sent to Mr. W. P. Robertson, and, refusing to listen to any justification of his brother, he banished both; allowing Mr. W. P. Robertson two months, to wind up the affairs of his house, but prohibiting Mr. J. P. Robertson from returning to Assumption. Messrs. Robertson accordingly removed to Corrientes, where, and subsequently at Buenos Ayres, they continued to trade successfully, freed from the tyranny and caprice of Francia.

The soil of Paraguay is rich and productive: in fact, it appears to possess more natural advantages, except the possession of minerals, than any other known part of South America. The wood ranks decidedly the first in importance. The lapacho is a magnificent tree; its grain is so close, that neither worm nor rot can assail it. "English oak," says Mr. J. P. Robertson, "is very firm, but never to be compared to lapacho. From the solid trunk of one of these trees, a Portuguese scooped out, at Villa Real, a canoe, which brought down to Assumption a hundred bales of yerba, (that is, 22,500 lbs. of Paraguay tea,) several hides made up into balls and filled with molasses, a load of deals, seventy packages of tobacco, and eight Paraguay sailors, to manage the three masts and sails of the large but yet elegantly scooped-out trunk of the lapacho tree. Of this tree are constructed vessels which, when fifty years old, may still be called young. Their frame is not shaken, nor is their constitution debilitated by all the bumps they have on the sand-banks of the Paraná, nor by the scorching rays of a tropical sun, nor by the 'even-down pours' (as the Scotch have it) of tropical rains. Besides the lapacho, there are the urandig-pitá, the urandigirai; of which, the latter is equal in durability to rose-wood, and excels it in beauty. Then there is the timbo, the tatayiba (or wild mulberry), the lancewood, the orange-tree, the carandig, the palm-tree, the tataré, and sheraró; all at once useful and ornamental. The cebil and curupaf furnish excellent park for the purpose of tanning; while many of the shrubs and plants afford dyes of the richest hue. There is one tree, of which the trunk is composed of several stems twisted round one another, yet so compactly as to form the appearance of one solid trunk. There is the palo santo, or holy wood, producing odoriferous gum; and


the incense-tree, yielding the delicious perfume of the pastilla. From the manguasi is produced gum elastic, from which matches are made; and the trees, plants, and shrubs of medicinal properties are rich and various. There is one especially worthy of notice it is called the palo de vivora, or serpent's tree, and the juice of its rind, produced by mastication, is an infallible cure for the poisonous bite of the great original enemy of the human race. Rhubarb and sarsaparilla grow wild all over Paraguay. The cordage of the vessels is there made from a plant which furnishes fibres of so strong and irresistible a texture, as water has not much power to rot, nor the sun much to destroy. The cotton-plant grows in the greatest luxuriance. Tobacco, coffee, sugar, Indian corn, the yucca-root, melons, rice, and especially the pine-apple, are all abundant.”

But the staple article of Paraguayan produce is the yerba, or Paraguay tea,-an infusion of which, known as maté, forms the favourite beverage of the inhabitants of South America. The tree grows wild in the forests; and, with an account of the mode in which it is gathered and prepared, we shall take our leave of Paraguay.








"I was invited," says Mr. R., "by one of the great master yerba manufacturers, to sail with him in his smack to Villa Real, and to accompany him by land from thence to the scene of his operations in the woods. Before I describe this, I will give you some account of the men-masters and labourers by whom the traffic was carried on. It was one of so arduous a nature, that, though very lucrative, it was generally conducted either by young beginners in the world or by low men, who, like miners, having got entangled in a system of gambling, alternately made and lost fortunes, were always poor, and finally died in the yerbalés. Exceptions to this rule there were, but very few. Like their masters, the peons were almost invariably gamblers too: they were, therefore, no sooner out of the woods than they were obliged to return to them. "So impenetrable and overrun with brushwood are these forests in many places, and so tenanted in all by reptiles and insects of the most tormenting and often venomous description, that the only animals capable of being driven through them are bulls, which are necessary for the maintenance of the colony of yerba makers, and mules, which are not less necessary for the conveyance out of the woods of the tea, after it is manufactured and packed. With Miguel Carbonell, then, (a very coarse catalán,) who had spent a long life alternately on the river and in the woods, I sailed from Assumption still farther up the stream; and we arrived at Villa Real, in latitude 23° 20′ S., on the tenth day of our mosquito martyrdom on the Paraguay. We were now on the borders of a territory inhabited by the Mbaya and Guaycurú Indians. The latter is the fiercest of all the unsubdued tribes in that quarter. In two days after our arrival we left Villa Real, and never was I more thankful than when we did; for, if the pains and penalties of purgatory be at all equal to those of that place, there certainly cannot be much to fear beyond it. The heat, the effluvia, the filth, the mosquitoes, the lizards, the serpents, the toads, the centipedes, the binchucas, the bats, the naked inhabitants, the wretched huts, the squalid poverty, all rendered my residence there, for two days, not only painful, but loathsome in the highest degree. Our cavalcade, as we departed, was rather a grotesque one: mounted upon forty mules, rode by as many peons, with no covering but a shirt, a pair of drawers, a girdle round their waist, and a red cap on their head. Some of the mules were saddled, some not. Before us went a dozen sumpter mules, laden with barrels of spirits, tobacco, and other merchandise. Half-a-dozen of the peons, a little way a-head, drove upwards of a hundred bulls, bellowing under the smart inflicted by stinging insects; while the catalán, a capataz (or overseer), and myself, brought up the rear. Our legs were cased in raw hide, to defend us at once from the thorns of the underwood and from the bites of the mosquitoes. Our faces, with the same object, were vizored in tanned sheepskin, and our hands were fitted with gloves of the same material. peons, it appeared to me, had their own hides so tanned and hardened as to require no better protection from the insects."


On the fifth day they reached a yerbal, or forest of the yerbatree, and active preparations were immediately made for a sixmonths' settlement.

"At dawn of day the peons were at work. Here, one little band was constructing for our habitation a long line of wigwams, and overlaying them with the broad leaves of the palm-tree and of the banana. There, other sets were making preparations for the manufacturing and storing of the yerba. These preparations con

sisted, first, in the construction of the tatacúa. This was a small space of ground, about six feet square, of which the soil was beaten down by heavy mallets, till it became a hard and consistent foundation. At the four corners of this space, and at right angles, were driven in four very strong stakes, while upon the surface of it were laid large logs of wood. This was the place at which the leaves and small sprigs of the yerba tree, when brought from the woods, were first scorched, fire being set to the logs of wood within it. By the side of the tatacúa was spread an ample square of hide-work; of which, after the scorched leaves were laid upon it, a peon gathered up the four corners, and proceeded with his burthen on his shoulder to the second place constructed,-viz. the barbacúa. This was an arch of considerable span, and of which the support consisted of three strong trestles. The centre trestle formed the highest part of the arch. Over this superstructure were laid cross bars, strongly nailed to stakes on either side of the central supports, and so formed the roof of the arch. The leaves being separated, after the tatacúa process, from the grosser boughs of the yerba tree, were laid on this roof, under which a large fire was kindled. Of this fire the flames ascended, and still further scorched the leaves of the verba. The two peons beneath the arch, with long poles, took care, as far as they could, that no ignition should take place; and, in order to extinguish this when it did occur, another peon was stationed at the top of the arch. Along both sides of this there were two deal planks; and, with a long stick in his hand, the peon ran along these planks, and instantly extinguished any incipient sparks of fire that appeared. When the yerba was thoroughly scorched, the fire was swept from under the barbacúa or arch; the ground was then swept, and pounded with heavy mallets, into the hardest and smoothest substance. The scorched leaves and very small twigs were then thrown down from the roof of the arch, and, by means of a rude wooden mill, ground to powder. The yerba, or tea, was now ready for use; and being conveyed to a large shed, previously erected for the purpose, was there received, weighed, and stored by The peons worked in couples, except that they hired a third peon, and paid him accordingly, to aid them in superintending the operations of the barbacúa. These two peons got a receipt for every portion of tea which they delivered to the overseer; and they were paid for it at the end of their stipulated sojourn in the woods, at the rate of two rials, or a shilling, for the arrobe of twenty-five pounds. The next and last process, and the most laborious of all, was that of packing the tea. This was done by first sewing together, in a square form, the half of a bull's hide, which, being still damp, was fastened by two of its corners to two

the overseer.

strong trestles driven far into the ground. The packer, then,

with an enormous stick made of the heaviest wood, and having a huge block at one end, and a pyramidal piece, to give it a greater impulse, at the other, pressed, by repeated effort, the yerba into the hide-sack, till he got it full to the brim. It then contained from two hundred to two hundred and twenty pounds, and being sewed up, and left to tighten over the contents as the hide dried, at the end of a couple of days, by exposure to the sun, a substance as hard as a stone, and almost as weighty and impervious too.


"After all the preparations which I have detailed were completed (and it required only three days to finish them), the peons sallied forth from the yerba colony by couples. I accompanied two of the stoutest and best of them. They had with them no other weapon than a small axe; no other clothing than a girdle round their waist, and a red cap on their head; no other provision than a cigar, and a cow's horn filled with water; and they were animated by no other hope or desire, that I could perceive, than those of soon discovering a part of the wood thickly studded with the yerba tree. They also desired to find it as near as possible to the colonial encampment, in order that the labour of carrying the rough branches to the scene of operations might be as much as possible diminished. We had scarcely skirted for a quarter of a mile the woods which shut in the valley where we were bivouacked, when we came upon numerous clumps of the yerba tree. It was of all sizes, from that of the shrub to that of the full grown orangetree; the leaves of it were very like those of that beautiful production. The smaller the plant, the better is the tea which is taken from it considered to be. To work with their hatchets went the peons; and in less than a couple of hours they had gathered a mountain of branches, and piled them up in the form of a haystack. Both of them then filled their large ponchos with the coveted article of commerce in its raw state; and they marched off with their respective loads.


"When I returned to the colony, I found the peons coming by two and two, from every part of the valley, all laden in the same There were twenty tatacías, twenty barbacúas, and twenty piles of the yerba cut and ready for manufacture. Two days after that, the whole colony was in a blaze. Tatacúas and barbacúas were enveloped in smoke; on the third day, all was stowed away in the shed; and on the fourth, the peons again went out to procure more of the boughs and leaves. During the eight days that I witnessed these operations, I was profoundly struck with the patient and laborious perseverance of the workmen. Then, for their abstemiousness, it was, if possible, still more striking. Beef dried in the sun, and a few water-melons, constituted their whole fare, with, at the close of day, a cigar and a glass of spirits. Neither the perpendicular rays of the sun, nor the everlasting attacks of insects and reptiles, had the power of producing an intermission of labour, or of damping merriment after the toils of the day were brought to a close."

PRESENT STATE OF THE SLAVE TRADE. "IT is melancholy to reflect, that the efforts which we have so long and so perseveringly made for the abolition of the Slave-trade, should not only have been attended with complete failure, but with an increase of Negro mortality. Millions of money and multitudes of lives have been sacrificed; and in return for all, we have only the afflicting conviction that the Slave-trade is as far as ever from being suppressed. Nay, I am afraid the fact is not to be disputed, that while we have thus been endeavouring to extinguish the traffic, it has actually doubled in amount.

"Twice as many human beings are now its victims as when Wilberforce and Clarkson entered upon their noble task; and each individual of the increased number, in addition to the horrors which were endured in former times, has to suffer from being cribbed up in a narrower space, and on board a vessel where accommodation is sacrificed to speed. Painful as this is, it becomes still more distressing if it shall appear that our present system has not failed by mischance, from want of energy, or from want of expenditure, but that the system itself is erroneous, and must necessarily be attended with disappointment. "Hitherto we have effected no other change than a change in the It was stated by our flag under which the trade is carried on. Ambassador at Paris, to the French Minister, in 1824, (I speak from memory,) that the French flag covered the villains of all nations. For some years afterwards the Spanish flag was generally used. Now, Portugal sells her flag, and the greater part of the trade is carried on under it. Her governors openly sell, at a fixed

price, the use of Portuguese papers and flag.

It has been proposed to declare the trade piracy: but even if all nations were to accede to such a declaration, Mr. Buxton declares it must fail.

of the preceding. All nations shall have acceded to the Spanish "But now I will make a supposition still more Utopian than any Treaty, and that treaty shall be rendered more effective. They shall have linked to it the article of piracy; the whole shall have been clenched by the cordial concurrence of the authorities at home and the populace in the colonies. With all this, we shall be once more defeated and baffled by contraband trade.

"The power which will overcome our efforts is the extraordinary profit of the slave-trader. It is, I believe, an axiom at the Customhouse, that no illicit trade can be suppressed, where the profits exceed 30 per cent.

"I will prove that the profits of the slave-trader are nearly five "Of the enormous profits of the Slave-trade," times that amount. says Commissioner Macleay, "the most correct idea will be formed by taking an example. The last vessel condemned by the He gives the cost of Mixed Commission was the 'Firm.'"'

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


THE reader is aware that the large island of Australia is colonised on three portions of its coast:-New South Wales, on the eastern side; Western Australia, or the settlement of Swan River, on the western side; and the new experimental colony of South Australia, on the southern coast.

Of New South Wales it is scarcely necessary to say anything. It was selected, in 1787, as a place of transportation: the first fleet with convicts sailed in that year, and anchored in Port Jackson ou the 25th of January, 1788. The convict settlers endured for some years great privations, from the want of provisions, while their difficulties were aggravated by the bad conduct of the convicts themselves, who, turbulent at all times, were exceedingly hard to manage in the infancy of the colony; but at last, after an interval of half a century, in spite of much bad management and many obstructions,-in spite of the depraved character of the greater portion of the colonists,-this penal colony has become a very flourishing settlement, and will probably continue to advance. But it is not adapted for a dense population. "The present limits of the New South Wales territory extend coastwise from about the thirty-second to the thirty-fourth degree of south latitude, with a breadth not exceeding two hundred miles. The portion within which land might be selected, was fixed, in 1829, at 34,505 square miles, or about 23,000,000 of acres; of which, Major Mitchell states, only 4,400,000 acres have been found worth having, whilst the owners of this appropriated land have been obliged to send their cattle beyond the limits, for the sake of pasturage. The soil is good only where trap, limestone, or granite rocks occur; but, unfortunately, sandstone predominates so much as to cover about six-sevenths of the whole surface of the territory, and there the soil is merely a barren sand, without turf, and the trees subject to conflagrations, which leave behind them little vegetable matter. The want of water and of moisture render the country unfit for agriculture, and, until a well-arranged system of roads can be effected, there will be serious impediments in the way of communication between the isolated spots of a better description.

"The unproductiveness, upon the whole, of the present colony induces Major Mitchell to recommend its extension, together with the formation of additional lines of communication. He proposes that New South Wales should thus be made to reach northward to the tropic of Capricorn, westward to the 145th degree of east longitude; the southern portion having for boundaries the Darling, the Murray, and the sea-coast. Even, however, of this extended territory, one fourth part only is stated to be available for pasturage or cultivation; one third consisting of desert plains, and the remainder of rocky mountains and impassable tracts.'

"It had long been wished," says Mr. Butler, in his "Handbook for Australian Emigrants," "that the western coast of Australia should be occupied by Great Britain: the fine colony we had succeeded in establishing on the eastern coast, under the most adverse circumstances, was a stimulus to the undertaking; and the favourable report of Captain Stirling, R.N., who explored the coast in H.M.S. Success, led, in 1829, to a proposition, on the part of Thomas Peel, esq., Sir Francis Vincent, E. W. Schenley, T. P. Macqueen, esqrs., and other gentlemen, to promote the views of government in founding a colony, to aid the mothercountry. These gentlemen offered to provide shipping to carry ten thousand British subjects (within four years) from the United Kingdom to the Swan River,-to furnish provisions and every other necessary, and to have three small vessels running to and from Sydney, as occasion might require. They estimated the cost of conveying these emigrants at 301. each, making a total of 300,000.; and they required, in return, that an equivalent should be granted them in land equal to that amount, and at the rate of ls. 6d. per acre, making four million acres; out of which they engaged to provide every male emigrant with no less than two hundred acres of land, free of all rent.

"This arrangement was not carried into effect, and a project for the formation of the new colony (without making it a penal settlement) was issued from the Colonial Office in 1829.

[ocr errors][merged small]

previous to the year 1840, by receiving forty acres for every child above three years, eighty for every child above six; up to ten years 120, and exceeding that age and upwards 200 acres, for each person conveyed to the colony. The terms requisite to obtain 500,000 acres having been complied with, early in 1829, a number of settlers left England for Swan River, where they began to arrive in August, and to locate themselves along the banks of the Swan and Canning rivers, so that by the end of that year there were in the new colony, residents 850; non-residents, 440; value of property, giving claims to grants of land, 41,5507.; lands actually allotted, 525,000 acres; locations actually effected, 39;number of cattle, 204; of horses, 57; of sheep, 1096; of hogs, 106; and twenty-five ships had arrived at the settlement between the months of June and December. Such was the commencement of our new colony on the shores of Western Australia. The settlers met at first (as must be expected in all new countries) with many difficulties, and great hardships had to be surmounted: the land near the coast was found poor and sandy, but subsequently, on exploring the interior, fine pastoral and agricultural tracts were discovered. A portion of the settlers have been located at King George's Sound (latitude 35° 6' 20" S., longitude 118° 1′ E.), near the south-west extremity of Australia." Lavish grants of land nearly caused the ruin of the colony of Western Australia. The colonists were dispersed; land was indeed procured in abundance, but labourers to cultivate the land were procured with great difficulty, capital was wasted, and hopes, which were raised extravagantly high, were crushed; and for a year or two the name of Swan River was a bugbear to emigration. The colony begins to hold up its head, though still struggling with the difficulties arising out of the original errors and mismanagement of its settlement. In the Colonial Gazette," we remark an extract from a letter dated June 1st, 1838, York, Western Australia, in which the writer says," I am happy to say that our prospects generally have been much improved, but we want settlers and labourers very much the price of labour now is ruinously high. Shepherds particularly are wanted: they are getting as much as 40%. a-year, besides provisions."

[ocr errors]

Another letter, dated Swan River, August 28th, 1838, states, that "The colony is in a satisfactory condition, and steadily advancing; stock is increasing, money plentiful, and, though wages are high, and we happen to be short of supplies just now, confidence in the future success of the colony never was so high as at present. All we want is a moderate influx of new settlers, especially agricultural labourers, to bring out the capital which remains unemployed in the colony."

A new plan of colonisation was proposed by Mr. E. G. Wakefield, in a book called "England and America," a very clever book, but not to be depended on in all its statements and opinions, which are exaggerated, and strained at times to meet the writer's views. His book, however, made a very great impression on the public mind; and a society was formed, to get up a colony, to be managed on the principle laid down in "England and America," which was held to be the great secret of colonisation. This principle consists in the just combination and proportion of capital and labour. It was contended that where land was easily procured, there was a natural tendency in man to appropriate as much of it as he could; thus a vast extent of country might be in the hands of individuals who were too few in number to cultivate it themselves, and were without the means of procuring labourers to render their possessions productive-that is, to render them worth the keeping. Moreover, wherever people were scattered over large tracts, there was no market for labour-no productive energy-nothing of that combination and concentration which, by stimulating industry, render it re-productive.

An act of parliament was passed in 1834, erecting a certain portion of South Australia into a province, to be colonised on the new principle. No land was to be given away; it was all to be bought and paid for, at a price which was to be sufficient, and, in order to provide labour to cultivate this land, the purchase money was to be appropriated to carrying out emigrants, who, being unable to procure land themselves, would be obliged to work for wages. The following are the avowed principles on which the colony is established and managed:

"I. The characteristic feature of the plan of colonisation laid down by the act of parliament is a certain means for securing a sufficient supply of free labour.

"II. This is accomplished by requiring every applicant for colonial land, in order to entitle himself to a grant, to pay a certain sum per acre to a general fund to be employed in carrying out labourers.

"III. The emigration fund thus raised is placed under the management of the commissioners; whose duty it is to regulate the rate of payment, so as to obtain neither too large nor too small a number of labourers; and by the selection of young, healthy persons, of good character and of both sexes, in equal numbers, to render the fund as efficient for the purposes of the colony as possible.

"IV. This arrangement secures many very important advantages. First: having provided a sufficient supply of free labour, the act of parliament declares that no convicts shall be sent to the settlement, and thus the colonists are protected from the enormous evils which result from the immorality and profligacy unavoidable in a penal settlement. Secondly: As the labourers will he carried out at the common cost of the landowners by means of the emigration fund, and as they will be sufficiently numerous, it is not necessary that they should be indentured to any one. Both employers and labourers will be perfectly free to enter into any arrangements which may be mutually agreed upon, a state of things which experience has shown to be much more conducive to contentment and prosperity than any other. Thirdly: The contribution to the emigration fund being a necessary preliminary to the acquisition of land, labourers taken out cost free, before becoming landowners, and thus ceasing to work for others, will furnish the means of carrying out other labourers to supply their places. This arrangement, the fairness of which must be obvious to every one, is really beneficial, not only to those who are landowners in the first instance, but to those also who may become such by a course of industry and frugality; for, while it diminishes the injurious facility with which, in most new colonies, a person with scarcely any capital can become a petty landowner or coltier -a temptation which few have sufficient strength of mind to resist, notwithstanding the state is one of incessant care and toil -it holds out a prospect of real independence and comfort to those who will patiently wait the very few years which are necessary to enable any one, with colonial wages, to acquire sufficient capital to purchase land and become a master. Fourthly: As those who will cultivate their land, and thus require many labourers, will contribute no more to the emigration fund than those who may leave it waste, the non-cultivation of extensive appropriated districts-one of the chief obstacles to the progress of every colony hitherto established-will be greatly discouraged, if not altogether prevented."

In 1835, the South Australian commissioners advertised land for sale in the new colony, at £1 per acre: but sales being effected slowly at this rate, and a company having proposed to take a large quantity, if given to them at 12s. per acre, the price was reduced.'" When a sufficient quantity was sold at this rate, so as to raise the fund required by the act of parliament, the price was again raised to £1 per acre, at which price it continues to be sold in sections.

The first ship sailed for South Australia on the 24th March, 1835, carrying out the officers of the surveying staff, and other official persons; and, in May following, the surveyor-general, Colonel Light, went out in the brig Rapid, which had been purchased by the commissioners as a surveying vessel.

A CURE FOR DYSPEPSIA. THERE are few beings in the world that are not united by some bonds of relationship; if they have neither brothers, sisters, or still nearer ties, they have generally a great uncle, or a far of cousin, that occasionally sends them an inquiring letter. Such, however, is not my case; I stand alone in the world. How I came to be so is no part of my present narrative; the wounds that time I have heard wise has closed, I have no desire to tear open. people say, the blessings of life are equalized; perhaps they would have pointed to my lot as an exemplification: they might have said, 'Look at his plantation, his negroes, his immense crops, his groves of orange trees.' Go into the city; see his house with its verandas, his luxuriant garden, his stud of horses! but after all, poor man, he is to be pitied, he is alone in the world, he has no health to enjoy anything.' Such was the superficial survey. Alas! they knew not, like me, the weary wasting regrets that pressed on my heart, the recollections that neither religion nor philosophy could banish. All that was fair and beautiful added to the keenness of my sensations, and I found solitude and silence most conducive to my comfort. No one broke in upon my retirement. It is an easy art to live alone. For years I scarcely spoke to a human being; my slaves learnt to communicate with me by signs, and the little negroes, for I am not hard-hearted, minded my presence no more than they did one of my palmettos. My ill health daily increased; my nights were sleepless; I consulted physicians: some said my complaints were pulmonary, others that they were dyspeptic; all prescribed, but none benefited. I was one evening sitting in my veranda and anticipating the miserable nights I was to pass as one succeeded another, when one of my servants entered and said, 'Here is a little girl want very much to see Masser.' I felt some sensation of surprise, but said, 'Let her come.' A girl approached, about fourteen years old; she held in her hand a little basket of flowers, and seemed doubtful whether to come nearer or not. At length I said, 'Do you want anything?' I have brought the gentleman some flowers,' said she, if he will take them.' There was an expression in the child's countenance, that bordered on compassion; her voice, too, was soft and sympathetic. I thank you, my dear,' said I, 'put down the flowers; I will take yours, and you may fill your basket with some of mine.' Won't you keep the basket, Sir?' said she; I made it myself.' I took it in my hand and examined it; it was composed of small crystals, that sparkled in the setting sun, and beautifully contrasted with the rich purple and crimson flowers that hung over it. I took out a piece of money and offered her; she thanked me, but refused to take it, and said she did not bring her basket for sale.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


'Where do you live, my dear?' said I. 'There,' said she, pointing to a little narrow building, the upper window of which overlooked my garden. You have seen me in my garden?' said I. Yes,' replied she, and I heard the gentleman was sick, and I thought,'-she hesitated and coloured, I might help him.' 'Then you are a doctress,' said I, smiling. 'No, Sir,' replied she, 'I am not one, but Sook is.' 'Who is Sook?' said I. She is an Indian woman, that can cure everything, all'sorts of disorders.' The site for the capital having been chosen, the survey for it 'She cannot cure mine,' said I, involuntarily. O yes, Sir, she can,' was completed early in 1837; and the preliminary arrangements said the girl, I have got a cure in my basket; will you please to having been completed, the first court of gaol delivery was held try it?' and she turned over her flowers, and took out a little square at Adelaide on the 13th of May, before the late Sir J. W. Jeff-packet, with some figures wrought in Indian characters. This is cott; and on the 23rd of the same month the streets and squares it, Sir,' said she. I went to her yesterday and got it on purpose of the new town were named. By this month (May, 1837) for your complaint.' 'But what did you tell her was my comsixteen vessels had arrived from England, carrying out upwards plaint? I told her,' said she, with an air of confidence, of a thousand individuals, together with supplies of provisions, that it was an indigestion of the heart.' The girl is right, stores, &c. Altogether, the number of vessels which have failed thought I; she is more skilful than all the physicians. from this country for South Australia is as follows, viz. :what am I to do with your packet? Swallow it?' And I made a sound nearer a laugh than I had done for years. O dear, no, Sir; you are to hang it round your neck and let it cover your heart; Sook says you have the cold disorder in the heart, and this will cure it; may I leave it, Sir?' said she. I could not refuse, indeed I felt some curiosity to know more about the girl. You may leave it to-night,' said I. She made a low curtsey and left me. The next day she did not sue for admittance, nor the next after that; but the third day she came. There was the same gentle, innocent expression of countenance, as she inquired after the success of her prescription. When I told her I had not tried it, her disappointment was too apparent to be feigned, and I said, 'You shall not lose the profit of your prescription,' and I handed her a bill; it was five dollars. That will do, I suppose,' said I. She took it and looked at it. 'O Sir,' said she, Sook does not ask anything if it don't cure you, and only a dollar if it

[ocr errors]

13 36

[ocr errors]

4,424 12,834

For the year 1836 15 vessels, about 4,577 tons register.
To 26th Nov. 1838
Several vessels have sailed during the present spring.

[To be continued.]


AN old farmer, who lives by the Hampshire hills, observed lately, when talking about the corruption and degeneracy of the times, that it was the fine words and the flattery of men to the farmers' wives that had done all the mischief. "For," said he, "when it was dame and porridge, 'twas real good times; when 'twas mistress and broth, 'twas worse a great deal; but when it came to be ma'am and soup, 'twas very bad.-Newspaper.

[ocr errors]

does.' And what do you charge?' said I, a little scornfully. Nothing, Sir,' replied she eagerly, nothing at all.' 'Come, be honest,' said I, tell me your motive.' The girl did not seem to understand me. When I explained myself, she said, 'I want nothing, nothing, Sir; I live with my mother, she is a widow: we are very happy, so happy,' added she, that I could not bear to see anybody looking so sick and sad as you do, and I told Sook about the gentleman, and she said she could cure him.'

[ocr errors]

This was the beginning of my acquaintance with Amie, for so she was called: I was at length persuaded to try the remedy; it certainly did me no harm, and it produced a pungent sensation upon the skin that almost amounted to a blister, and possibly might have done good. I think, from some cause or other, I grew a little better. Amie used to come every day, and often brought me some little delicacy. I had gone the round of suspicion; at first I conceived it was for money she had made my acquaintance; then I thought, possibly, young as she was, and old as I was, for there was certainly thirty years' difference in our ages, it might be for love; but after three years' experience, I became convinced she had no motive under heaven but the desire of serving a fellow-creature. One day Amie came to me with a sorrowful look. I shall not see you much longer,' said she, 'I am going away.' 'Where?' asked I. To Alabama,' she replied. What in the name of heaven carries you to Alabama? exclaimed I; Are you going to be married?' 'No,' said she, but my mother is, and she is going to Alabama with her new husband.' And takes you?' Yes, Sir.' Poor child!' I involuntarily exclaimed; do you want to go?' She hung her head, and I saw a few tears hastily brushed away. It is a wild uncultivated country,' said I. Yes, Sir, that is the reason my father-in-law is going; he has worn out his land here, and he can purchase a hundred acres there for fifty dollars.' 'But it is good for nothing.' 'Indeed, Sir, you are mistaken,' replied she, it is the best of land; he will have nothing to do but cut down the trees, build a log house, and plant corn or cotton, just as he pleases, and it will grow of itself.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

After Amie's departure I remained solitary as usual, nobody near me. I ought to except a young lad that I had sometimes employed in writing; he was an intelligent, well-behaved boy, and lived near; I transferred, in a degree, my kindness for Amie to him, for he in some measure supplied her place; but who that has experienced the attentions of a gentle, kind-hearted woman, can feel compensated for their loss, by the awkward attempts of one of his own sex. I grew more and more sick; the spring and summer wore heavily away; I thought continually of my last interview with Amie; of her evident emotion and embarrassment when I asked her if there was nobody she loved as well as her mother. My first idea returned with redoubled conviction. I cannot doubt it, thought I; strange as it is, she loves me, she has loved me from the first!

At length I determined to seek her, and I asked Theodore if he was willing to go with me on horseback; he eagerly embraced the proposal. I pass over all the difficulties and misgivings of my mind, how often I relinquished the plan and then resumed it again; at last, however, Theodore and myself were on our way; we travelled south. Theodore I found a pleasant companion, he often made me laugh heartily; and, generally speaking, my health was not worse than when I left home; he was very attentive to my accommodation; and though I had many hardships to endure, I was saved from actual suffering by his constant and persevering efforts.

After many wanderings, one night, as we proceeded on our journey, after travelling all day through forests scarcely marked by the track of wheels, we came to a log-house; there was all the marks of a new settlement. We dismounted to ask for a night's lodging; a young woman came to the door, with a white handkerchief tied over her head, and fastened under her chin. At one glance I saw it was Anie! Judge of her astonishment; she looked first at me, then at Theodore, and flung herself upon a little wooden bench that stood near, half fainting. As I have said before, I detest egotism; I will not therefore dwell on our meeting; Amie had been sick, and she looked pale and languid; she said the climate agreed better with them all than with her. We were comfortably accommodated. Amie was full of wonder, and repeatedly asked me where we were going, and how we came there. I put her off, however, and merely told her she should know all in the morning. It was a luxury to eat my boiled eggs from a clean table-cloth, and a still greater one to throw myself into a clean bed. Long after I closed my eyes I could hear the faint whispers of Amie's and Theodore's voices. How soothing

it was to reflect that the beings I loved best were engaged in talking of me! Theodore, thought I, is giving an account of my sufferings, my hardships, and hair-breadth escapes ;' Amie is listening. Yes, my mind is made up; I will rescue this fair flower from an untimely fate; I will bear it back, and cherish and watch over it; my devoted kindness shall repay her for the years of secret and heart-consuming tenderness she has lavished upon And I actually dropped asleep with those lines of Shakspeare in my head, which need not be repeated; she never told her love,' &c.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


The next day Amie looked still paler; I had not the heart to let her languish longer in concealment, and I invited her to walk with me; for in these log-houses every sound is communicated from one part to the other. When we reached an old log that made a convenient seat, I sat down, for I was a little out of breath, and I motioned her to sit by me. It was, even for me, an agitating moment, I breathed quicker than usual; she perceived a change, and was alarmed; Let me run back,' said she, and get some of your restorative drops.' 'No, no,' said I, 'Amie, you are my restorative, the drop of happiness in my cup.' She gave me a sweet smile and kissed my hand. Ah, Amie,' said I, 'I have found out your secret, and it was for your sake alone I have come this long way. Foolish-girl,' said I, drawing her towards me, why did you not tell me you were in love, it would have saved us both this long journey.' Her blushes grew deeper and deeper; really pitied her, and thought it best to finish the scene. 'Come, confess,' said I. 'There is no need of confessing,' said she, half playfully, half bashfully, if you have found me out.' There was something so bewitching in her manner, that I really began to feel love's young dream' stealing over me. 'Well, well,' said I, I will send Theodore to the nearest town for a parson; we will have the ceremony performed, and all return together.' She seemed wholly overpowered. are too, too kind,' exclaimed she, how shall I repay such goodness! It shall be the occupation of my life to make yours happy! and Theodore, too, what will he say! let me go and tell him this joyful news.' Before I could speak, she was off. I confess I thought, considering her previous silence and reserve, she was a little forward in communicating the matter; that it would have been as well to have left it to me; but I made every allowance for the intoxication of happiness; in a few moments I saw them returning, arm in arm. I have brought Theodore to thank you for himself,' said Amie, as they approached. 'Indeed,' said Theodore, modestly looking down, I have no words to do it; how little I imagined what were your intentions; and that it was to make us happy you were enduring all this hardship !' 'And how little,' interrupted Amie, did we suspect that our secret was known!' I was perfectly astonished; my cough became so violent that I thought I should have strangled: the children were really alarmed. When it ceased, Amie again began to express the overflowing of her heart. Theodore was the first,' said she, that told me how much you suffered, and how good and kind-hearted you were; how you felt for everybody, and tried to do everybody good. I went to Sook and told her your case; I knew she could cure everything, but I little thought what a blessing was to come of it!'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

She might have run on for ever, as she seemed inclined to, for I was perfectly bewildered. Theodore and I,' continued she, have loved each other from children; he always made my pens for me at school, and proved my sums, but when I came away to the Alabama country, I never expected to see him again.' And again she seized hold of my hand, though I really made some resistance, and kissed it. But what signifies all this; egotism is detestable. I will only add, that I had the wisdom to keep my own counsel, and concealed my mistake in the best manner I could. By degrees I grew quite reconciled to the change things had taken, and thought it was for the best. I determined to adopt them as children. Amie returned, Mrs. Theodore Grey. I gave up a useless part of my house, and kept the southern veranda for myself. Little Henry Grey, who is named from me, is sleeping on the sofa by my side; his father is a fine, intelligent, manly fellow; and Amie, Amie, is the joy and comfort of my life, and bids fair to be the prop of my old age. As for my dyspepsia, I really don't know what has become of it, or when it left me; I have not thought of it for months; but I now recollect that it was to recommend Sook's prescription that I began this narrative; whether it would be as successful in all complaints I cannot take it upon me to determine: I can only say, I have found it a complete cure for the dyspepsia.

« ForrigeFortsæt »