Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

the sandy tracts the thermometer rises to 45° and even 46° of heat (above 130° of Fahrenheit); the soles of the shoe are positively burnt in crossing the deserts, although an egg resists the effects of this intense temperature, even if it be buried in the sand. Between nine and ten is the hour of the day when the heat is most intense. The wind rarely blows from the east or west, but generally from the north; and the interval between November and May is the season of rain and storms. The leaves fall at the close of December, but are succeeded by young vegetation at the commencement of January. The long and dreary period of our European winters is unknown in the regency of Algiers; nature assumes her winter garb merely to show that she has one, and instantly apparels herself again in a new robe of splendid verdure. The olive tree grows to the size of our oak; but the fruit is small, and, from want of better care, the oil made from it is bitter and unpalatable. Rozet gives it as his opinion that Algiers could be made to supply France with all the oil and silk which that country at present receives from foreign countries. The date is fond of ruins and cemeteries; pomegranates abound; the orange of Belyda is fully equal to that of Majorca ; but the apricot is a dangerous fruit here, and goes by the name of the Mazza-franca, or "killer of the Franks (European)." Algiers is peculiarly the land of vines, and might be made to produce wines of the choicest quality. It has mines, particularly of copper as Rozet sees reason to believe, which remain to be explored and worked; but, with regard to the animal kingdom, he remarks that it presents but little variety, and that the French soldier has been more successful in civilizing monkeys than Beduins. On this a French critic observes, that "the monkey fondles in the soldier's bosom, but the Beduin meets his caress with a bullet."

NORTH AMERICA.
UNITED STATES.

The St. John Indians.—On the northern bank of the St. John, and within the disputed territory, is found the settlement of Madawaska. This place, containing a population of two or three thousand, has lately attracted considerable attention. The first inhabitants were some French neutrals, who, in 1755, escaped from the savage cruelty of their civilized enemies, and fled to the wilderness to enjoy their liberty, religion, and lives. But the same power, by which they were once oppressed, is still exerted over them, and they have found their residence in the forests no safeguard against the rod of their former masters. They have generally preserved the French language of the seventeenth century, and the old manners, customs, and fashions of the Gallic colonies. Near to this singular people, and somewhat connected with them, we find the tribe of St. John Indians. Only three small communities of the aborigines now remain; the St. John's tribe, and those on the Penobscot and at Passamaquoddy, consisting of three or four hundred persons each. These are the miserable remnants of the once powerful race that

held the other tribes, as far south as New York, in constant fear of their attacks; and, who, with little intermission, waged, for more than fifty years, a war of extermination against the inhabitants of the eastern country. Their incursions caused the destruction of nearly as many of our people as the last war with Great Britain. The leading tribe (the Penobscot Indians) reside on some fine islands in the beautiful river which bears their name. Their settlements commence at Old Town Island, about twelve miles above Bangor, and are scattered along the islands in the stream, more than forty miles. This part of the river is in general wide, smooth, and glassy; and skirted with the luxuriant flowering maple. The low alluvial islands appear like so many floating gardens on the bosom of the smooth, still stream. These delightful abodes have but few charms for the savage; he rarely attempts to cultivate his lands, but prefers the precarious subsistence of the hunter, and passes his life in alternate want and profusion, stupid indolence, and unnatural exertion. They, as well as the other two tribes, are nominally Catholics, have a church at Old Town, and are usually attended by a priest. Their language is smooth though guttural, and abounds in long compound words. Some attempts have been made by their priests to teach them to read and write, with limited success. Their intellectual faculties are good, but their schools are not equal to those of their civilized neighbours.

Education in the State of Maine.-The common schools of Maine are inferior to none in the Union. As soon as the separation had taken place (from Great Britain), the attention of the legislature was directed to the subject of education, and the laws respecting it underwent a thorough revision. Every town is required, under a penalty, to raise at least forty cents to each inhabitant, for the support of common schools; and there are few that do not exceed the requisition of the statute. A comparison of the proficiency of the students at common schools in Maine with those in Massachusetts, would be decidedly in favour of the former. In most of the higher institutions, however, the case would be reversed. Bowdoin College, and the Medical School attached to it, are exceptions to this observation, and would advantageously compare with institutions of the same nature in any country. Many persons in this State have believed, that a more practical education than is generally acquired at literary institutions would be of great utility to persons engaged in the active business of life. The legislature has lately taken measures to investigate the subject, and to determine the propriety of altering the course of studies pursued in those institutions over which it has control. The opinion begins to prevail, that the study of the ancient languages is not attended with so many advantages as formerly, when most scientific works were written in them; and some consider the study of Greek and Latin not only in a great measure useless, but, on the whole, injurious.-(North American Review, October, 1833.)

Hayti.-Literary pursuits are no novelty amongst the sable citizens of this commonwealth; and newspapers and books belong to the

ordinary appearances of the day: the Haytian penmen have even got up a critical review, which they have entitled "The New Literary World." One of the last Numbers contains a somewhat singular article, written, as it appears, by no less eminent a personage than theCount de la Marmelade." The subject which he has chosen for his biographical flight is a history of the Emperor Christophe; and the following extract may serve as a fair specimen of the state of the lettered community, for whose edification the Count has set himself in type. "I do love and admire the great man", says our biographer in his Introduction. Now, do thou listen," he adds, addressing the reader," and hear me tell of his brilliant campaigns, and how he so contrived, that black should be put upon white; very kind he was towards the soldiers in the field, but many a time hard of heart on parade; every day he devoured six little whites for his breakfast, and numbers of snakes did he give the public to devour." And in this strain the Count ambles on to the end of his sixteenth page. Neither history nor biography were perchance ever dispatched in such style as this before.

66

66

New California (an Extract from P. de Morineau's Communication to Baron A. de Humboldt.)—The Spaniards began to establish themselves in this country in 1769, and built four Presidios close to the best harbours; these Presidios are now become the capitals of the four districts of which the province is composed. They are denominated San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, and San Francisco. It was the Franciscan brothers, however, who really laid the foundations of the missions, under which they have gradually collected the Indians whom they have succeeded in civilizing. Such as would not submit have withdrawn into the interior, and still adhere to their original mode of life. They are all known by the general name of Tolès, though they are of various races. At the termination of the last century there was not an inhabitant in any of the Presidios, excepting the twenty or thirty soldiers employed in protecting them; and the only buildings they contained were a barrack and an insignificant fort, on which the ostentatious name of Castillo" was conferred. But, at the present day, the Presidio is become a borough, inhabited by Creoles of all descriptions, and ruled by military law. Such villages as are peopled with Californian citizens since the year 1824 are called " Pueblos," and are governed by alcaldes. The " Ranchos," which it were more appropriate to term "Haciendas," are isolated farms. The ecclesiastics, belonging to the missions, perform all religious duties, and likewise keep the registers of the civil administration. The seat of government is at Monterey, where the governor of the two Californias resides; and the state, of which I am now speaking, did not shake off the Spanish dominion until the year 1821. It was declared part of the territories of the Mexican Confederation by the constitution of October, 1824. Nothing can exceed the salubrity of New California; the seasons are similar in division to those of France; but the winters are much milder, and the heat more moderate. It were much to be wished, that so fine a country as this possessed a population OCT., 1833-JAN., 1834.

N

equivalent to its extent; but so far from it, there are scarcely more than three and thirty thousand souls distributed over a surface of five thousand square leagues, according to the subsequent apportionment ;

[blocks in formation]

This enumeration is independent of about forty Creole families, who reside upon the ranchos, and between three and four thousand "Indios reducidos," or new converts, who are passing through a species of noviciate in the villages adjoining the missions, and, after the term of trial is over, are admitted into the religious communities under the name of " Parientes,” or kinsmen. The Indians are much better treated at the present day than in the time of La Pérouse and Vancouver; indeed their condition appears to me to have undergone every amelioration compatible with the theocratical government under which they live. Brick dwellings have been substituted for their former wretched cabins; they are plentifully supplied with food, and considerable numbers of them are clad in the European dress. This change has had some influence on the mental disposition of the Parientes themselves; those at least who are employed in mechanical arts are not wanting in intelligence; and I should be led, therefore, to conclude, that the stupidity which still appears to characterise the majority of these Indians arises as much from an excess of rigour in the pains bestowed upon them by their spiritual fathers as from the quality of mind attributed to their race. What would confirm me still more in this opinion is, that those settlements, where affairs are conducted with the nearest approximation to our own principles, are the very spots where I found the reason most developed and the welfare of the community in the most advanced state. Among the Creoles, the births are three times as many as the deaths; but among the Indians, the latter are not even balanced by the former: the one enjoy robust health and a strong constitution, whilst the other, whom the missionaries compare with children, have not the slightest forethought in their composition, pay no attention whatever to the sickness or disease which is the customary fruit of their intemperance, and appear, in the majority of instances, to have lost even the instinct of self-preservation.

PHILADELPHIA.

Girard College.-The corner-stone of this institution was laid on Thursday, July, at Philadelphia, and the ceremony witnessed by a

6

large and respectable assemblage of citizens. An address was delivered on the occasion by Nicholas Biddle, which is spoken of by the National Gazette, in terms of unqualified admiration. The public, like the auditory,' says the editor, will feel its eloquence and beauty, and the force of those apt and powerful considerations by which Mr. Biddle recommends so noble an institution.'-New York Paper.

SOUTH AMERICA.

New Granada.-An official return states the number of schools in this portion of the Columbian republic at 332. In Bogota alone there are 62, and in Carthagena, 74. The number of children educated in them is 9025. The Lancasterian system has been introduced into twenty of the schools, which have been opened in Bogota.

Brazilian Gipsies.-M. Pohl, the keeper of the Imperial Museum of Natural History at Vienna, who travelled through the interior of Brazil between the years 1817 and 1821, at the expense of the Austrian government, and has lately published the first volume (and a splendid one it is) of the result of his investigations, gives the following account of the Gipsies in that country:—" On our way from Meiaponte, (the second town in rank in the Capitania of Goyaz:) to the twenty-six Legaos, we fell in with a troop of gipsies, consisting of five men armed with muskets, and several women, three of them having children with them, who were clad in rags, which were not sufficient, in many instances, to cover their nakedness. . . . Even in the Brazils, the gipsies maintain, that they originally came from Egypt, and they have preserved the old tradition, that it is their doom to wander for ever over the globe in a state of homelessness and dispersion, as a punishment for the sin of having refused an asylum to the Virgin Mary at the time of her flight. They are found in greatest numbers in the Capitania of Minas Geraes. Here, as under every other sky, they lead a wandering life, deal in soothsaying, employ themselves in curing or exorcising diseases, and, as opportunity offers, steal horses and mules, under covert of the night. They have rendered themselves so formidable to the owners of Fazendas and Engenhos, that they enter their residences without so much as asking permission of them; on such occasions, however, their conduct is peaceable, and they are careful not to lay their hands upon any thing."

AUSTRALIA.

Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts.-This institution was established 22nd March, 1833; and from a copy of its laws which we have received, it appears to present a very close imitation of our Mechanics' Institutions, and as such affords another pleasing evidence of the rapid advance which the very remarkable penal colony in New South Wales has made, and is making. The object of the institution is stated to be the diffusion of scientific and other useful knowledge as extensively as possible throughout the colony of New South Wales, by forming, for the use of the members,

« AnteriorContinuar »