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TWICE in each year material for conversation abounds in Leipzig. A complete stranger may then be addressed without having recourse to that hackneyed subject, the weather; for one has only to say, "How goes the mart? "Is the mart good?" "How many bankrupts are we to have?" All this is quite allowable to do, and thus an acquaintance is commenced.
These time-killing moments annually occur at Easter and Michaelmas, and are well known to the trading world. There is also a smaller mart, or rather fair, at the new year.
The Leipzigers are such thorough-going traders, that they must keep their hands in, even upon a new-year's day. The weather is then too cold to expect a visit from the turbans or caftans of the East. The great merchants of the west also remain at home; so that the chilly Neujahrmesse is generally a mere commonplace fair.
Leipzig is famous, as all the world knows, for its university, as well as its marts; but one alternately gives place to the other, and before the deafening noise of hammering up the booths begins in the streets of Leipzig, the students, the disciples of the muses, may be seen pouring out of each of the five city gates, after a long half-year of study; and now they sally forth from Alma Mater, with their heads crammed with learning, and their knapsacks with themes, all hurrying and marching homewards, in exuberant spirits at the thoughts of the happy meeting with family and friends, and the savoury flesh-pots reeking with delicious odour upon the paternal hearth.
Scarce are the loud-singing, choral groups of students clear of the precincts of the city, ere the Rossplatz is sonorous with exotic sounds-Asiatic and African,-bawls, growls, roarings, and bellowings! Leipzig's hopeful youths, bare-legged and bareheaded, stand staring at the imposing figures depictured upon canvass, and hung upon the lofty poles which raise their heads high above the dusty waggons, which contain the wondrous birds, beasts, and reptiles. Next to the wild beasts stands a cabinet of wax figures; there may be seen that police master of finesse, Fouché, now no longer to be feared; Mary Stuart, whose charms the vile executioner's axe was to lay in the dust; near to this unfortunate queen stands Peter the Great of Russia, with the still bleeding head of a Strelitzer in his hand. In a neighbouring booth may be seen a mystical being-a man covered from head to foot with hair; and the notice informs the wondering gazers that he is a native of a country four thousand miles beyond Batavia! How far Batavia is from the Rossplatz few of the Leipzig gapers have any idea. But four thousand miles beyond Batavia! that entirely gravels and floors these clever Leipzigers. Once before there was a wonderful nondescript sort of a wild man to be seen in this same Rossplatz of Leipzig. The land from whence he was said to have come was never seen in any map, or described in any geography; he was a cannibal, and had been tamed with much care, lest he might take a fancy to feed upon some of the Leipzigers. He was carefully placed in a dusky corner, as if it were feared that too much light might induce him to break loose, or commit some fearful act of native ferocity. In point of intellect he was supposed to be nearly equal to the Esquimaux, who can count as far as nine, only this wild man could neither count, nor speak, but in a growl, half sloth, half bear; yet, notwithstanding, a most learned professor, after much profound cogitation, brought forth a treatise in flowing Latin, in which he gave country, species, nay the very herd, or family, where this lusus naturæ might perchance be found in the wilds of Asia.
In this same Rossplatz of Leipzig might also be seen tumblers, horse-riders, monkeys, cockatoos, sugar-plums, and waffle-cakes. The atmosphere of the Rossplatz is odorous with the savoury smell of Westphalia ham, smoked sausages, eels, looking like dried snakes, herring salad, renowned eel soup, smoke of countless cigars and meerschaums.
In every inn, hostel, and booth, may be heard music, singing,
harping, waltzing; and to this add card-playing, billiards, roulette, dust, crowding, and elbowing. Such is the physiognomy of the Leipziger Rossplatz, where, during the mart, many curious scenes are played; but, thanks to a watchful police, serious affrays are of rare occurrence.
Each Leipzig mart, or Messleben, is held for three weeks, and each week has its own particular name; and in the middle of these twenty-one glorious days, two are held as days of jubilee, and at night pillars of light, like central suns, illumine the entire fair. These days are the Alpha and Omega of the mart, and upon these two days, if it does not hail paving-stones, no one stays at home, for the gadfly seizes upon all.
The natives of the East and of the West mingle together in this motley throng; and the mighty human stream, finding the crowded streets too narrow and too close to breathe freely in, sally out at every gate to storm the wirthschaften (public-houses) in the suburbs; these are shortly as crowded as the houses left behind them in the stadt. Many, finding the nearer houses already full, push forward towards the Rosenthal, for here have two knowing fellows, like clever fishers, spread their nets; their names are Kyntschi and Clermont; they are both restaurateurs, and ensnare the people by hundreds to cool their magens with delicious ices. The motley throng soon fills every room, nor can entreaty or money, at all times, procure refreshments, where the luxury of a chair is of infinite value.
Herr Kyntschi takes the people in like shoals of herrings, and when all his rooms are full, hundreds may be seen wandering in the garden, breathing an atmosphere impregnated with the smoke of the narcotic weed.
"Robert der Teufel" begins at half-past six, and pleasantly beguiles an hour or two later over a glass of grog or punch; you may listen to the gabrielen, or the iriswalzer; dancing is quite out of the question; but look to your glass, and take care of your toes.
Brimful of the delights of vulgar sights, and wearied with the crowding, elbowing, and pushing, the fashionable man, by a kind of natural instinct, now makes for the saloon of the Hôtel de Pologne, hoping there, at least, to find a place at the well-served table; and if he is so fortunate as to find a vacant place, he hastily seats himself, and rests in luxurious ease from the labours of the busy day. But immense as this saloon is, countless as are the covers, in a very brief space of time every place is occupied. Those who, being gifted with the virtue of patience (which few Germans are without), obtain the much desired seat at last, may revel in the delights of the varied fare, and quaff from humble Port to imperial Tokay. Delighted with your good fortune at finding yourself with unbroken limbs, blessed with a keen appetite, you will not be over-particular or critical about the cookery, -remember it is the messe, and do not be sparing in your allow. ance on this account, nor do not be curious about your wine, and smack, and taste, and flavour, neither hold it up to the light, expecting to find your nectar as clear as amber, or particularly fine-flavoured; you may indeed, upon detecting any flagrant fault in your wine, order in another bottle or vintage, but believe me, you will be apt to find the same sour result. The common wines at last provoke-you become desperate, order in champagne, and, after a bottle or two, good humour is restored, friends and acquaintance gather together, and a jovial carouse closes a day of the Leipzig mart.
The pleasantest of the three weeks' mart is the middle one, when the retail trade is generally in full bloom. As to the great merchants, many of them finish their traffic in the first week, and. some long before its termination. The third week is much quieter, and the Thursday of this week is the most serious day in the year to the gambling mercantile speculator, for many bills fall due upon this day, and many a renowned firm totters, staggers, falls. Few fairs pass over without defaulters and failures, and many a ruined merchant hears of zahlwoche donnerstag with bitter recollection and breaking heart.
What traveller or stranger in Leipzig has not paid a visit to the neu Buchhändler-börse (Booksellers' Exchange)? The best speech made upon its opening was that of Regierungs-CommissärVon Falkenstein, a man esteemed and respected by all-the mercantile, professional, and literary man.
An old German proverb says, "That where a new temple is erected to the Deity, the devil is sure to build a wine-house close by." So close by this new literary exchange is there also a winehouse established, which the Leipzigers call the Rheinbaiersche Weinhandlung.
We do not mean to infer that this exchange is a temple to the Divinity, neither do we mean to accuse mine host of the weinhaus of being an emissary of the prince of darkness; for this establishment is greatly praised for the pure quality and fine flavour of its wines, which are served in schoppens, and half schoppens. This name stimulates and amuses the genuine Leipziger, who has been accustomed from time immemorial to drink his wine out of a römer, a wide-footed drinking-glass.
Notwithstanding Piracy, Censorship, and cheap literature, the book-making trade flourishes, and enables these literary merchants to give a splendid dinner. The hotel-keeper, doubtless a man of delicacy and tact, liberally erased the item of And to conkrebsuppe (crayfish-soup) from the dinner bill. vince every one concerned that the book trade flourishes, the ABC merchants gave a splendid ball at the Hôtel de Pologne, where they danced à la Strauss and Lanner until the sun arose. Let us not forget the baierisches Bier (Bavarian beer). This beverage is in wonderful request during the messe; and if the Bavarian export is as much admired in Greece as it is in Leipzig, then will the brave Greeks have cause of congratulation. Many a tottering Leipziger landlord is, by the aid of this foreign auxiliary, baierisches Bier, become his own man again. How the Leipziger brewer may approve of this love of change is quite another matter. Besides the bookselling crabs and baierisches Bier, there was a third article in superabundance, Maikäfer (cockchafers), and they feasted upon the greater part of the young and tender leaves in
Every German publisher has his commissioner at Leipzig, to whom he sends prospectuses and specimens of his new publications, which the commissioner distributes, and gathers orders. At the Easter fair, booksellers from all Germany, Sweden, Denmark, the Russian Baltic provinces, from the Netherlands, and even France and England, to the number, sometimes, of three hundred, meet at Leipzig, to settle their accounts; and this meeting has acquired additional importance by the establishment of the book sellers' exchange, a handsome building, which has just been completed. The number of book and music-sellers in Leipzig itself is one hundred and nineteen. There are twenty-three printingoffices: above forty millions of sheets are annually printed, and the bales of books brought to Leipzig every year amount, on an average, to 30,000,000 cwt.; the value of which is, however, not probably more than from £200,000 to £250,000.
THE CHARTER OAK.
HARTFORD is a very handsome country town. The streets are wide. One of the great objects of attraction here is the Charter Oak, which is still standing in the lower part of the town, and is said to have been a forest-tree before the land was cleared. The original charter to this state of Connecticut was demanded by Sir Edmund Andross, on the part of the English government, in 1687. The legislature had no alternative but to deliver it up. At the meeting appointed for that purpose, which was attended by the British agent, the candles in the room where the meeting was held in the evening were extinguished, and the charter seized by a citizen, who escaped and conveyed it to this tree, in which it remained till after the revolution. The charter is still preserved in the office of the secretary of state.-Stuart's Travels in America.
THE DESERT AND GARDEN.* IMAGINE yourself in the interior of India, on one of those boundless plains which characterise the country called the Deccan. Here the eye stretches in vain for a limit, unless some rising hillock breaks the prospect. Neither fence, nor hedge, nor forest, inter. Not a tree relieves the eye, rupt the monotony of the scene. except it be near a well, or reservoir of water.
It was in the early part of June. Eight months had already elapsed since the fall of a single shower of rain. Not a shrub, not a blade of grass, not a relic of former vegetation was to be seen, except where the soil had been artificially irrigated. Here and there a shade tree, or a fruit tree, whose roots penetrate far beneath the surface, can survive the dearth of the hot season. Dreariness and desolation cover the land on every side.
At an early hour we left our resting-place, a kind of caravansary. The atmosphere was slightly refreshing, though not cool. But no sooner had the sun appeared above the horizon, than we began to wither beneath the intensity of his rays. It was scarcely nine, when the hot wind, a kind of sirocco, commenced, which, added to the scorching of the heated earth, rendered travelling almost intolerable. We sought a place for shelter.
Casting our eyes to the left, we explored an immense waste plain, which apparently extended to the shore of an interminable ocean. Knowing well that we were in the interior of a great country, and far from sea, lake or river, we recognised, for the first time in this appearance, the mirage, or extraordinary optical illusion, formed by the refraction of a vertical sun, from the heated earth. So perfect is the deception, that deer, and other animals, have died from exhaustion while pursuing the retiring phantom.
But from the opposite side, we saw a reality, nearer at hand, and scarcely less wonderful. A verdant spot, fresh and blooming. Fragrance in the midst of desolation. A fertile island in the bosom of an ocean of sand. Spring amid the deadness of autumn. Wearied by travel, and almost suffocated by dust and heat, we drew near as to the "shadow of a great rock in a weary land." How cheering amidst such desolation, how refreshing to the pilgrim beneath the rays of a tropical sun, to behold a green field, a cool, fair garden, whose trees bend with fruit, whose flowers diffuse perfume, whose atmosphere breathes the sublimity of a temperate clime. Hasting to this enchanted spot, we pitched our tent beneath the thick foliage and wide-spreading branches of a tamarind tree.
How changed the scene! It was a garden of several acres in extent. Every plant and flower, every shrub and tree, was clad in the richest verdure. Here was a compartment filled with healthful vegetables. Near it was ripening grain, corn in "the blade, or in the ear;" then a tuft of trees, loaded with blossoms, or enriched with perfected fruit. The tamarind, the mango, and the orange, the lemon and pomegranate, the citron and banana, were here in their glory. Here, also were the rose, the lily, the jessamine, and countless other flowers peculiar to the tropics, and the luxuriant vineyard, maturing its rich clusters. And among the embowering verdure, the warbling songsters found a pleasant retreat from the tyrant rage of an Indian sun.
What a contrast with the surrounding country! What a fulfilment of the sublime promise of the Hebrew prophet: "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad, and the desert rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon."
But what caused this sudden springing forth of beauty? A fountain was there, deep and broad, sending forth copious streams to fructify the surrounding region. Fertility in the East depends much on an artificial supply of water. If this can be freely commanded, vegetation is rapid and abundant. The intense heat, and plentiful moisture, make even barrenness prolific. Seed-time and harvest meet. A succession of crops, thrice, or even four times continued harvest-hymn of praise. in a year, are realised. Spring, summer, and autumn, blend in one
The garden or field is usually divided into compartments of fifteen or twenty square feet. In the centre is a fountain or well, and near it a small reservoir. From thence, the main watercourse extends in some convenient direction, and smaller channels are led from it, in branches, to every separate compartment. The water
*By the REV. HOLLIS REED, formerly Missionary in India.
is raised by oxen, attached to a long rope, which passes over a windlass, and is made fast to an enormous leathern bucket. When a great quantity is thus thrown into the reservoir, it spontaneously flows into the principal channel, from whence the gardener conducts it at his pleasure. "The rivers of waters are in his hand;
he turneth them whithersoever he will."
When the stream begins to flow from the reservoir, he stations himself at the channel which conveys it to the first compartment, and removing with his foot a slight mound of earth, directs thither as much water as is requisite for its irrigation. Closing that avenue, he proceeds to the second, thence to the third, and thus onward till all have been visited. This is repeated every morning and evening, and it matters little how large the field is, if the fountain contain a sufficient supply. But if the space to be irrigated is out of proportion, or the fountain diminished by drought, vegetation withers, or becomes extinct. The further you recede from the centre, the more blighted does everything appear. The water is too low, the impetus too feeble, to reach the remoter bounds. This constant and laborious process of cultivation explains the inspired description of a tropical region; where "thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs."
We know that Lebanon was renowned for its sublime scenery; that its lofty cedars, its plantations of olive, its vineyards, producing the choicest wines, its crystal streams, its fertile vales, and odoriferous shrubberies, combined to form what, in the poetic style of prophecy, is called "its glory." Mount Carmel is proverbial, in the sacred volume, for its unfading verdure and surpassing fertility. Sharon, an extensive plain, to the south of Carmel, celebrated for its vines, flowers, and green pastures, and adorned in early spring with the white and red rose, the narcissus, the white and the orange lily, the carnation, and a countless variety of other flowers, with its groves of olive and sycamore, is but another name "for excellency" and beauty.
But what did the prophet intend to illustrate by these forcible and significant emblems? Doubtless a vision burst upon his mind, no less magnificent than the boundless dispersion of the waters of life, the reclaiming of a desert world, the clothing it with the golden fruits of immortality. Behold, in the heart of the wilderness, a fountain breaks forth. Sterility blossoms, desolation lifts up its head with "joy and singing."
Is not our earth as a great moral desert, whence the "glory and excellency" of Eden have departed? The fruits of righteousness shrank from its forbidden soil. Sin, by its fearful monopoly, sought to cover its whole face with tares. How shall this barren waste be redeemed from its desolation?
The wise landholder of the East, when he would reclaim a barren jungle to fertility, provides a fountain of water, lets out his ground to husbandmen, and makes them accountable for its improvement. Thus hath the Almighty provided in our moral desert, a fountain of the waters of life, fathomless, boundless, inexhaustible. "O, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge
The mandate has gone forth, from his throne, that its waters be conveyed to the utmost regions of the thirsty earth. Is the fountain full? Are the gardeners, his ministering servants, ready to conduct its healing streams to the world's remotest bounds? Is the propelling power, the power of fervent, united, effectual prayer, forcing those living waters through all the fields of death?
Why then does not the wilderness put on her beautiful garments, and break forth in songs of gladness? Why is not the voice of heathen lamentation changed to the cheerfulness of health, and to the hope of glory?
Alas! the reservoir has not been kept full. The irrigation has been partial. Even the adjacent portions have not received their full supply but to the remoter provinces, only here and there has A feeble streamlet been directed. The propelling force has been Inadequate. The waters have sometimes been wasted on their course. They have often failed of their destined end. The gardeners are too few to conduct what the reservoir imparts.
Only here and there a spot regales us with the delights of spring, or the harvests of autumn. Only a few bring forth the "fruits of the spirit." A vast proportion of the desert is still unreclaimed. Especially are its most remote bounds left unvisited by the lifegiving streams. Neither fertilised nor irrigated, they vegetate not, they blossom not: and yet the fountain is ever full, and the voice of God invites the utmost ends of the earth to drink of its living waters and thirst no more.
THE GOLD MINES OF GEORGIA, UNITED STATES. THE imperfect condition of the machinery, and the disorganised state of the management of almost all the mines productive of the precious metals, affords a striking contrast to the admirable order and systematic mode of working observable in most of those productive of the (so-called) baser metals. These causes have tended extremely to keep up the value of the precious metals; for, if the working of the mines of Peru and Mexico were directed by the same scientific knowledge which gives effect to the efforts of the Cornish adventurer, silver spoons would quickly drive Britannia metal from the field, and our gold coinage would become almost as cumbrous as the Spanish dollar. Even in the state of Georgia, (the most southern of the United States, on the Atlantic,) where we might have expected the spirit of American enterprise would have been more active, we find the gold mines worked in the same rude and primitive manner as in the distracted countries of the South. The following account of a visit to them in the year 1835, is appended to Mrs. Gilman's "Poetry of Travelling," an amusing account of an American's tour of observation on her countrymen.
"From Athens, the seat of the State University, where I had attended a very creditable commencement, directed my course towards Clarksville. This village, the seat of justice for Habersham county, is beautifully situated, in a most healthful and temperate region, near the mountains, whose blue summits rise in full view around it. The village itself is very pretty, with numerous well-built frame houses, and a brick court-house, in the middle of its square, according to the invariable plan of countytowns in Georgia. I arrived about noon on Sunday, and had the satisfaction of attending service in a building, comfortable and neat, though plain,-belonging, I believe, to the Methodist denomination, though on this occasion its pulpit was occupied by a clergyman of other sentiments. The next morning found me on the way to the mines, on horseback, and in agreeable company. We crossed the beautiful valley of Naucoochy, a spot which had been under cultivation long before the Whites became possessors of the soil, and probably even before it was occupied by the Cherokees. A small conical hill was pointed out to me, rising from the level of the valley, and supposed, with great probability, to be a work of art, and to contain the bones of some Indians of an earlier In another portion of this valley, the miners, last summer, while digging for gold, encountered beneath the soil unexpected vestiges of the hand of man. They disinterred a number of huts, constructed in the usual manner of log-houses, but with the remarkable circumstance that they were without doors or windows. These apertures are, in building log-huts, generally sawn out after the logs have been secured in their places; so the natural conclusion is, that this cantonment, commenced by some party, was, from some cause unknown, hastily abandoned before it was completed. But who were the builders? The most probable conjecture, perhaps, is that they were Spaniards, by whom it is well known, under the command of De Soto and others, Georgia was partially explored.
"After being deserted by their builders, it seems probable that these half-finished huts were for a time under water, and that Naucoochy valley was temporarily a lake, among the accumulating length forced its way through its bank, and left, as at present, the alluvium of which the huts were at last buried. The lake at valley intersected by a small stream.
"But I must leave Naucoochy, and, turning to the left, cross a branch of the Chatahoochee, and make my way along the side of Mount Yonah; now no longer inhabited by the bears, from which friend who had made his home in this region; and with him and it derives its name. * It was my object to spend a few days with a his acquaintances I learned that warm hearts and cultivated minds can live in log-cabins and deal in gold. It was not long after arriving at my place of destination, before I walked forth to visit a deposit mines. These are found along the banks of rivulets or gold mine. The first which I saw was one of the alluvial or 'branches,' and the gold is separated by the simple process of washing. For my gratification, a workman went through this process in its simplest form, that of panning. This is merely to fill an iron pan with the gravel among which the gold is found, and to stir the pan about with the hands for some time, under water, throwing out the gravel from time to time. The metal, by this process, sinks to the bottom of the vessel, and the workman comes
* Yonah, in Cherokee, signifies bear.
to us at last with nothing in his pan visible at first sight except a little black sand. On narrowly inspecting this sand, however, you discover here and there a bright yellow speck, which is pure gold.
"This process of panning is of course slow and laborious; very little of the gravel can thus be washed at a time. But in this manner the gold-diggers at first laboured to expedite the business, however, a machine is now commonly used, called a rocker. One of these machines finds employment for ten or twelve men, who are commonly negroes. You see three or four at work in digging out the gravel, which lies commonly about two feet under the surface, and composes, itself, a stratum of the same thickness. Two or three are employed in carrying the gravel in wheelbarrows to the rocker. One is occupied in shovelling it from the barrows to the machine, others keep the machine in motion, and another, with a large rake, distributes the gravel over its surface. The upper part of the rocker is very like a coarse sieve, and the gravel being thrown on it, and washed with water from the stream, which continually runs upon it, the smaller particles, among which is the gold, fall through the sieve into a box, where they are still further washed until the water runs out. This lower box contains a quantity of quicksilver, which, as you well know, attracts other metals and combines with them. This quicksilver therefore seizes the small particles of gold from among the sand and water with which it is still mingled; and at night the owner of the mine finds in his machine a mass of amalgamated quicksilver and gold. He may then have the metal in a pure state by exposing the whole to a strong heat.
"By far the greater number of mines at present wrought in Georgia are deposit or surface veins; since the hill or vein mines, though richer in the precious metal, require more machinery than most gold-seekers can command. In these latter, the metal exists not interspersed among gravel, but deeply imbedded in rock; and in order to obtain it, the rock must be broken out and reduced to powder before the process of washing can be commenced. I have not yet seen any works in full operation for the performance of this process. I visited, however, a few days after the time mentioned in my last, a lot where extensive and very costly preparations were making for the purpose. A small hill had been pierced with holes from above, and in various directions around its base, till it looked like a colander; but this part of the work had been abandoned for another attempt.
"I entered one of the openings, with a guide who carried a torch. On each side of me were deep pits, full to the top with water. Quantities of rock, however, had been cut out, from which, perhaps, before this, gold had been procured. The workmen were at the time engaged on another and larger opening,-a shaft about twelve feet square, and, at the time I saw it, perhaps forty feet deep. This was half full of water, which the 'hands' were baling out by the barrel-full, with the aid of machinery. I was told that the owner expected to penetrate about a hundred feet deeper before he touched the wealthy vein, but that when that had been reached its profits would be incalculable.
"When I looked into the yawning gulf before me, where the flow of water suspended the possibility of further excavation, I did not envy him his prospect. The same morning I visited a rich deposite mine, belonging to the same gentleman. Here I was shown some very beautiful and valuable specimens of virgin gold, by which term the metal is designated when found pure, and in pieces of sufficient size to secure it without the use of quicksilver. A steam-engine had been erected here, for effecting more rapidly the process of washing: but it had been found on trial inferior to the rockers, and it now lay useless and motionless, like the carcase
of a slain mammoth.
"Another method of obtaining gold has been resorted to by some enterprising men. This is, to search for the precious metal the sands of the rivers and smaller streams. In some instances the course of the water has been turned, and its ancient channel laid bare to the eye of industry: elsewhere machines are employed to draw up from the bottom of the river the precious deposite. The Chestatee and Cane Creek especially appear to rival the ancient Pactolus, to which (according to the fable) king Midas, by bathing in its waters, imparted his own power of making gold. I hope Georgia is not destined to exemplify in other respects the truth of that most ingenious and instructive fiction. May she never, like Midas, find her wealth a curse, and, losing the habits of regular productive industry, starve in the midst of uncounted riches, like the unhappy king who could not touch an article of food without turning it into gold!
"The danger, however, which existed of such a result is, I trust, decreasing. The mode adopted by Georgia, of disposing of the lately acquired territory by lottery, gave, it is to be feared, too great encouragement to unprincipled speculators; and among the population who first crowded in upon that region, there were many who would scarcely have been tolerated anywhere else. With them, however, were others of correct principles and unexceptionable conduct; and, as the wildness of a new settlement gradually wears away, the Gold Region assumes and maintains more and more the aspect of an orderly, moral, and religious community. The first excitement which attended the discovery of the metallic treasures in our country has worn off; and it is perceived that, with a few remarkable exceptions both on the favourable and on the unfavourable side, gold-mining is like any other form of honest labour: he who works hard may expect I may moderate prosperity; he who is idle will fail of success. add, however, that to the lover of nature the view is more agreeable, of a field of waving grain or flowering cotton, than of turbid streams, muddy ditches, and exhausted, squalid, and sickly negroes. Whatever evils, however, attend this branch of industry will gradually give way. The deposit mines will, before many years, be exhausted; and in the vein mines, which may be regarded as the permanent wealth of that section, the use of machinery will probably supersede the cause which renders mining at present unhealthy. This cause I consider to be the necessity of working much in water. But the miners have at present a free circulation of air and a fine climate; they are not pent up within the walls of a factory, nor are they exposed to the dangerous Thus Providence apportions among vapours of a level soil. different climes and occupations the advantages and disadvantages of life."
We see here a vast field for the exercise of skill and capital, and we may reasonably expect that they will be attracted to it, and by their combined operations render Georgia a formidable rival to the previous occupants of the bullion market. Besides natural advantages, she possesses the unspeakable blessing of a free but settled government, the most favourable for the development of all the resources of a country. There the capitalist may risk his money in undisturbed confidence; whilst the unhappy inhabitants of Mexico and Peru are constantly in dread of seeing the hard-earned produce of their toils torn from their grasp by revolutionary tyrants.
HAVING been told that a religious celebration, in a neighbouring village on the sea-shore, was well worth seeing, we drove there. A vast number of peasants, male and female, attired in their fêteday dresses, formed of such varied and bright colours, that at a distance they looked like a moving parterre filled with tulips, first attracted our attention. The women wore richly embroidered boddice and white petticoats; their hair braided exactly as I have seen that of an antique statue, and crowned with flowers and large combs, or bodkins of gold filagree. Their ear-rings, of the same costly material, nearly descended to the shoulders; and around their necks were chains, from which hung crosses and medallions, with the images of Madonnas and saints. They wore large rings, resembling the shields used by ladies to preserve their fingers when employed at needle-work; and shoes of the most brilliant colours, with silver buckles that nearly covered the fronts of them. These gay dresses formed a striking contrast with the sombre black and brown robes of the monks; and the gold brocaded vestments and stoles of the priests were as admirably relieved by the snowy surplices of the boys who attended them. The procession moved along under an arcade of green foliage erected for the occasion, on the sea-shore, the waves approaching to its very limit; and their gentle murmur, as they broke on the sand, mingling with the voices of the multitude as they chanted a sonorous hymn. The blue sky above, and the placid azure sea, by the side of which the procession advanced, with the sunbeams glancing through the open arches of foliage, on the bright colours of the dresses of the priests and women, formed a beautiful picture; from which not even the deaths' heads, nor grotesque images of saints and martyrs, could detract. The monks, bearing these sad mementoes of mortality, wore cowls, with holes cut for the eyes, and cross-bones painted on their breasts. Some of them held banners on which were represented various insignia of death; the whole scene reminding one of the old "mysteries" of the middle ages, in which the pomps and vanities of life were contrasted by the ghastly images of the grave.-Lady Blessington.
SEA SONGS OF THE SAILORS.
"It was on the first of August, about noontide of the day,
She show'd us a light on that good night the battle to decide."
As very fallacious notions exist respecting the style of sailors' songs, many supposing they are selected from the budget of Dibdin, or from the nautical pieces enacted at the theatre,-we shall endeavour to describe them as really sung by our Jack tars
It is only within these twenty or thirty years that Dibdin's admirable lyrics have been known to seamen-even now they are by no means popular, and probably will never supersede the old ballads, which, not being printed, are preserved by oral descent from generation to generation, like the traditions of nations in remote periods. During the last war we rarely knew Dibdin's songs chanted on the forecastle, although most of them were familiar to the officers, and must have been sometimes heard by the men at the theatres of seaport towns, where nautical pieces were sure to attract their attention. Sailors have, however, an abundant stock composed by themselves, of less pretension, but better suited to their taste, from one of the best of which we have taxed our memory with the portion which heads these remarks : and regret that we cannot recollect, or by any means procure, the whole of that ballad, which most graphically describes the events connected with the glorious victory of the Nile.
Some years ago, a controversy arose respecting the effect which Dibdin's songs had produced upon sailors, and the claims put forth by the friends of the author for a pension on that account. We believe that the verdict was so far awarded in favour of the poet, as to obtain for him the pension; for every one will admit that his stirring ballads had a powerful tendency to excite feelings of enterprise, heroism, and generosity, in the young aspirant for naval fame. That they had any effect upon the generality of common sailors--the long-tailed jack-tars, who gained for the British seaman the reputation he enjoys-we utterly deny, seeing that not one in a hundred of them could recite a line of his composition and we shall endeavour to show that the style of their sea-songs is very different, relating merely to practical events, and seldom alluding to those points which Dibdin delights in, and which lead people to suppose that "Saturday Night at Sea" is appropriated to carousal and pledging "sweethearts and wives;" all which, and much more to the same tune, has no existence, except in the fertile imagination of the lyrist *.
We have now before us a score or two of the songs usually sung by sailors at sea during the last war; they are for the most part taken down from oral delivery, or transcribed by seamen themselves in a style of caligraphy, orthography, and-if the truth must be told-of cacophony, difficult for any but the initiated to interpret. We recollect their effect, the attention they excited, when chanted to tunes never yet reduced to scale or gamut, but which, like our popular rustic ballads, have endured for generations.
It was, we believe, Fletcher of Saltoun who observed, nearly a century and a half ago, that any one might make the laws, so that he had the making of the national ballads. Who is there that cannot, to the remotest period of his life, revert to the nursery rhymes which engaged his childish attention; or ever forget, or wholly repudiate the impressions they produced? We believe, moreover, that the more homely the ideas and images, the more powerful the effect; and that, although polished couplets have their influence on minds cultivated to receive and appreciate the beauties of composition, the general and vulgar understanding is more attracted by such songs as, "There was a brisk young sailor, from Dover he came," or "The girl I left behind me;" than it would be by Dryden's chef-d'œuvre, "St. Cecilia's Day," Gray's "Elegy," or Collins's "Ode on the Passions," however impressively recited. These masterpieces are like the polished periods of eloquent divines, inappropriate for general influence, *What we have stated in the eighth article of "The British Navy," regarding the daily routine at sea, will show that it is impossible such scenes could be enacted. In fact, we never heard mention of the "flowing can," and presume it is adopted for the sake of rhyming with "lovely Nan." Kids (buckets) and pannikins (tin pots) are the utensils used by sailors to hold their grog or beer.
and therefore ineffective on an humble audience: and it is for this reason that the ballads we shall instance, being more readily understood, are better appreciated by sailors than lyrics of poetical merit, and continue to hold place in their favour.
But we have invariably remarked, that the popular songs of the jack-tars, although deficient even in point of harmony, besides setting at defiance the rules of syntax, and luxuriating in every sort of metre or measure, with utter contempt of prosody, are nevertheless constructed upon the critic's rules. This is a fact worthy of attention, for it is produced by an innate principle of genius, as of course they must be considered entirely ignorant of the elaborate dictates laid down by the critics.
The burden of their songs being generally the relation of a battle, a shipwreck, or some exciting event, they may be considered in the light of humble epics: and, rough as they appear, it is a curious speculation to test them after this fashion. Their general design appears to commence with an invocation to the muse, or an appeal to the attention of the listener, sometimes dashing into medias res in the approved fashion, but always detailing most graphically a chase and a battle, winding up with effusions of loyalty and patriotism, not forgetting a health to the commander.
Our sea-songs seldom embrace more than the time of one day; when they do, it is but to record the events immediately preliminary to the action, instead of introducing them in long-winded episodes, as Virgil and Milton have done, for the sake of effect in the opening; all which trickery is utterly beneath Jack's straightforward purpose; and in this respect his plan has been imitated by Byron, who protests against the practice, "as the worst of sinning," and begins his celebrated epic "at the beginning," with the birth, parentage, and education of his hero*.
But, to be serious. The collection of ballads before us is valuable, not only by portraying the real sentiments of seamen, as expressed by themselves-for Dibdin has only described these feelings as he conceived they would or should be expressed-but as detailing a number of events, connected with naval battles, that have never appeared in history; we mean relating to the conduct of parti cular ships, and the honest and impartial opinions of the seamen regarding matters which have heretofore beer canvassed on the partial evidence of the commanders, or so much of the public despatches as have been permitted to see the light.
We proceed to describe the manner in which our sea-songs and the "long yarns," about which our readers have often heard, are delivered at sea. The early half of the first watch on the forecastle being the time and place usually selected for this purpose, a group is formed around the singer, or yarn-spinner, and up to ten o'clock the practice is permitted in all ships. It generally happens that the yarn-spinning particularly is continued to a much later hour; and even in the middle watch, if a good hand is willing to "spin," he seldom wants an audience.
We recollect a foretopman, a kind of nautical Shahrazád, whose budget was inexhaustible, and who never wearied at his task, dealing in continuations night after night, with a pertinacity equal to the celebrated Sultana. He was-and the declaration is a bold one, seeing that we have been associated with sailors for thirty years and more-the most inveterate yarn-spinner that ever we encountered withal; and, what is remarkable, his name rejoiced to be distinguished, and he probably took this Purser'st was Selkirk, an adopted cognomen, we suppose, but by such he Robinson Crusoe were nothing in comparison to the real and name out of respect to his great prototype. The adventures of imaginary ones related by our hero as having occurred to himself, on shore and afloat, and being "a fellow of infinite humour," he never failed to suit his discourse to his audience, who so "seriously did incline," they they used to draw lots who should take his look-out duty, or spell at the wheel, in order to leave him at
*The noble poet was indebted to his frequent sojourn on board ships of war for the imagination of some of his most brilliant passages. Many will occur to the reader; but he may be surprised to learn, that the noble stanza in Childe Harold, commencing "Existence might be borne," was addressed to a youngster, who was regretting his hard lot; and we have conceived from hearing the usual recommendation to "grin and bear it," heard that the contemplation of a mast-headed midshipman, and the complacency with which he viewed things below, gave rise to another beautiful stanza in the same poem, commencing, "He who ascends to mountain tops."
+ Seamen are fond of changing their names as well as ships. During the war, when pressed men embraced every opportunity to desert, they adopted different aliases to avoid discovery if re-pressed, or accused as deserters. The alias was given to the purser, to be entered on the ship's book. Hence the derivation of " purser's name."