« ZurückWeiter »
While detained in the town of San José, our author had an opportunity of seeing a Baptismal procession, the appearance of which must have made him think for the moment that he was living in the middle ages.
• The next day a party of people came by, forming a very characteristic procession. In front was a curtained sedan, carried on poles between two mules. Inside, was a veiled lady and a child. Next followed a tall thin stately cavalleiro, with a large round Spanish hat turned up before, and ornamented with a plume of feathers, short mantled cloak trimmed with gold, large puffed breeches, with pink silk lining appearing through the şlashes, yellow boots, and enormous silver spurs; he was attended by two others, dressed nearly in the same antique fashion; then followed huntsmen with poles, holding greyhounds in leashes; and behind, a train of other domestics. The whole exactly resembled the pictures one sees in the early editions of Don Quixote, or Gil Blas, and was one of the many instances I had remarked, where old manners and customs were preserved in the mountains of Brazil, as they were originally brought over by the early settlers, long after they had passed away in the mother-country. This was, I found, a baptismal procession ; they repaired to the house of the vigario to have the ceremony performed. vol. ii. p. 240.
Dr. Walsh entertains a favourable opinion of the prospects of the Anglo-Brazilian Mining Association. We cannot follow him in the account which he gives of their possessions, or of the other mines which he visited, as this article has already reached its just limits. One or two of the birds which he observed in the open and more cultivated parts of the provinces, must, however, claim our attention for their extraordinary habits.
• The birds here were more numerous, and their notes more cheerful, than in the dense forests we had passed. The most usual and attractive is Joao de Barros, or John of the Clay, because he always builds a regular house of it. We saw this constantly, in shape like an Irish cabin, built on the upper side of a large branch of a tree, not pendant, but erect. It consisted of an edifice, with an arched roof, having a corridor or porch, with a door leading to an inner apartment. With a singular instinct, the door was always found on the side from which the wind less frequently blew; and the edifice was so strong and well constructed, that one has been known to last its ingenious architect many winters. The bird is about the size of a lark, or larger, and is sometimes called the yellow thrush. It is exceedingly familiar, and generally found near ranchos and villages. Whenever we approached we saw John clinging to the branch of a tree, in an upright position, announcing our coming with a shrill, lively note, as if he was the warder placed there to warn the inhabitants of the arrival of a stranger. This cheerful salutation, however, was not confined to human habitations, but he frequently accosted us far from the haunts of men ; and his lively note of welcome often met our ear in the most solitary places.
* Another familiar and cheerful bird was the Ben te vi, so called from the perfect accuracy with which he pronounces these words. He is about the size of a sparrow, and distinguished by a circle of white round his head, with a yellow belly. Whenever we passed, he put his head out of the bush,
and peeping at us from under the leaves, he said, “ ben te vi-oh, I saw you !" with an arch expression, as if he had observed something which he could tell if he pleased. --- vol, ii, pp. 310-311.'
The reader will be much pleased with the interesting varieties which our Author presents of the climate, remarkable for its salubrity, the varied scenery, the insects, the trees, the plants, and the other natural objects which Dr. Walsh observed in the course of his excursion. It is however time for us to return to Rio, and collect a few of the details which tend to make us better acquainted with the Emperor.
• The church of N. S. da Gloria, close by our house, was that to which he was particularly attached, from a sincere and deep feeling, I was told, for the memory of his wife. Every Saturday, at pine in the morning, as regular as the movement of a clock, he passed our door, driving four mules in a phaeton, and attended by a troop of horse with a trumpeter. I frequently followed in my morning walk over the hill. always stopped his phaeton at the bottom, and walked up, leaning on his chamberlain, and dressed generally in plain clothes. A few respectable people of the neighbourhood formed the congregation on this occasion, and when he walked in they followed him; he knelt on a carpet laid on the steps of the altar, and they knelt behind him. I have observed him during the continuance of the service, and he seemed serious and sincere, frequently crossing himself with much devotion. When it was over, they all rose, and he walked out among the crowd, as a simple individual of the congregation. He was generally accosted in the portico by some person, with whom he entered into familiar conversation ; and on one occasion, a droll forward fellow, of the lower ranks, told him some story with the ease and familiarity he would to an acquaintance, at which the emperor laughed heartily, and every one about him joined, as if they were not in the smallest degree restrained by his presence. On his way down, he generally had a group about him joking in the same way, and his whole progress was totally divested of any seeming dislike to the profanum vulgus, or a wish to repel them, but was on the extreme of familiarity. When he again entered his carriage, he drove off with velocity, followed by his guards at a gallop, and was soon lost in clouds of dust and sand.'-vol. ii. pp. 450, 451.
Our author thus describes an interview which he had with Don Pedro, and indeed a very satisfactory one to the clergyman's view, as we should imagine.
' I found the emperor standing in the middle of a room inside. When I had seen him before on the steps of the throne, with his little boy beside him, he looked to me a tall and portly man; but when I now approached, and we stood close together, I perceived his person was below the middle size, and remarkably thick and sturdy. The face was full, and appeared deeply pitted or blotched. His hair was black, and thick about his forehead, with large whiskers, and his countenance rather coarse and forbidding. His manner, however, though dry, was affable and courteous. When I approached him, he said to me in French, “ I am much obliged to you for the books you sent me by the Marquez d'Aracaty.” “ Your
Majesty does, me too much honour. I trust you found in them something to approve of?” “Oh! as to that, I have not had time yet to read them ; besides, I do not understand English well.” “1 have been informed your Majesty speaks it fluently ?” “ No! I was learning it from father Tilbury, but he is ill, poor man. How did you find the interior of the country through which you travelled ?”. “ Oh! the country is very superb, it only wants inhabitants." “ What do you think of our butanic garden : we hope to make something of it?” “ It will be highly useful, when the indigenous plants are scientifically arranged.” After a few more similar observations, I made my bow, and was conducted out by the marquez; and I have transcribed for you, verbatim, what passed ; as, perhaps, you would wish to know in what manner the emperor converses.'— vol. ii. pp. 457, 458.
The Emperor's general habits are said to be very active and temperate.
• He rises every morning before day, and, not sleeping himself, is not disposed to let others sleep. He usually begins, therefore, with discharging his fowling-piece about the palace, till all the family are up, He breakfasts at seven o'clock, and continues engaged in business, or amusement, till twelve, when he again goes to bed and remains till half-past one; he then rises and dresses for dinner. The Brazilians, as far as I have observed, are neat and cleanly in their persons; and the emperor is eminently so. He is never seen in soiled linen or dirty clothes. He dines with his family at two, makes a temperate meal, and seldom exceeds a glass of wine, and then amuses himself with his children, of whose society he is very fond. He is a strict and severe, but an affectionate father, and they at once love and fear him. I heard Baron Marechal the Austrian minister, say, he one day paid him a visit: he met no person at the door to introduce him; so availing himself of his intimacy, he entered without being announced. He found the emperor in an inner room, playing with his children with his coat off, entering with great interest into all their amusements, and like another Henry IV., was not ashamed to be found by a foreign ambassador so employed. At nine he retires to bed. :
• His education was early neglected, and he has never redeemed the lost time. He still, however, retains some classical recollections, and occasionally takes up a Latin book, particularly the breviary, which he reads generally in that language. He wished to acquire a knowlege of English, and to that end he commenced, along with his children, a course of reading with the Rev. Dr. Tilbury, an Englishman, who has taken orders in the Catholic church, and to whose courtesy and information on several subjects, I am very much indebted. After having made some progress, he laid it aside and began to learn French, in which he sometimes converses. He has an English groom, from whom also he unfortunately learned some English. This fellow, I am informed, is greatly addicted to swearing and indecent language, and the emperor, and even the late empress, adopted some of his phraseology, without being aware of its import.
. In his domestic expenses, he is exceedingly frugal. The careless profusion of his father, and the total derangement of the finances, had involved the country in such difficulties, that he found it necessary to set an exam.
ple of frugality in his own person, by limiting himself to a certain expenditure. In his speech to the constituent assembly, he announced this determination. <« The king's disbursements," said he, “ amounted to four millions; mine does not exceed one. I am resolved to live as a private gentleman, receiving only 110,000 milreis for my private expenses, except the allowance to which my wife is entitled by her marriage contract.” This, at the rate of exchange before we left Rio, would not have amounted to more than 10,0001 per annum. His present allowance, as fixed by the chambers, is 200,000 milreis for himself, and 12,000 for his children. To make this answer, he engages in various profitable pursuits, and adopts, in every thing, the most rigid system of economy. He lets out his fazenda at Santa Cruz, for grazing cattle passing to Rio, from the Minas Geraes, and receives so much a head from the drovers. His slaves cut capim, and sell it, on his account, in the street, where they were pointed out to me distinguished by plates on their caps. He derives, also, a revenue, I am told, from several caxas shops, of which he is the proprietor, and thinks, like Vespasian, that the money is not at all affected by the medium through which it passes. In his domestic expences, he is rigid even to parsimony. He allows a very small sum to his cook, of the expenditure of which he exacts a minute account, and is very angry if this trifling sum is exceeded on any occasion; and it is said that this was one cause of his disagreement with the late empress, whose free and careless bounty he never could restrain.'-vol. ii. pp. 459–462.
We must now close these volumes, conscious that we have omitted many topics which the author has treated with great care and intelligence. They contain a complete picture of the actual state of Brazil, and the accuracy of resemblance which we may safely ascribe to it, confers upon it a degree of importance that cannot be said to appertain to many of the works lately published in this country upon South America.
ART.VIII.-Address of Earl Stanhope, President of the Medico-Botanical
Society, for the Anniversary Meeting, January 16, 1830. London:
J. Wilson. 1830. There is sometimes to be met with about town a gentlemanly person, of moderate stature, comely it may be said, immaculate as to his cravat, and eminently scrupulous respecting the purity of his visible costume. He patronized the Medico-Botanical Institution; he was a sort of masculine Flora, and led a life of bliss amidst the roses and the praises of this Society. The members called him “Director;" to vulgar souls he left the administration of the Society's affairs. Such people as Earl Stanhope, Sir H. Halford, and Sir J. Macgregor, might fill the executive offices, if they pleased; but he was director, gubernator, all in all; in short, he was a living concentration of that abstract principle of sovereign controul, which subtile jurists affect to believe exists in the monarchical department of the British Constitution. Mr. Frost,
for such is the name of our hero, led the Society a merry dance : he always managed the royal correspondence himself; he exchanged compliments with the monarchs of Europe, and once paid a state visit to his Majesty's representative in Ireland, on behalf of the Society. Sometimes ribbands and seals were presented to the Society by potentates in far and distant countries; Mr. Frost usually adorned his person with the same, caring as little about the immediate use of the several articles, as some of those imitators of humanity whom Landseer has figured in such fantastic positions. But Mr. Frost took it into his head to deliver lectures. Such lectures ! He was absolutely lost in his subject ; so lost that he had not one moment's thought for the minor concerns of grammar and syntax. But, like all the despots that we read of in history, Mr. Frost fell a sacrifice to his own ambition ; he assumed a dispensing power, he set aside popular elections, and made members at will. This was putting the drop into the cup after it could hold no more : it overflowed, and in the dreadful thaw which it brought on, Mr. Frost melted away into a last year's recollection.
What is the moral of all this? How is it that one, whose very name in connection with science only raises a laugh, should have been allowed to lord it over an association composed of some of the wisest and best men of the day,--should have been permitted to represent them to the world, to be their organ, their mouth-piece, the chosen specimen which was to give foreigners a due notion of the exalted qualities which characterized the Medico-Botanical Society? What, we ask, is the moral of all this? Why, it is simply that John Frost, Esq. was a very wealthy young man, and possessed a disposition of corresponding liberality. Yes, it was the worship of Mammon-the idolatry of gold which raised Mr. Frost to his unmerited rank; a directorship forsooth, was found out for him; bells and rattles were obtained for the restless boy. We appeal to the candour of the Society itself, if they would not still have lain prostrate under this dominion, but for the dignified firmness which Earl Stanhope displayed upon the very first overt act in violation of the Society's laws, which could be proved against Mr. Frost; and, we may take this as an example of the value on a much larger scale, of an aristocracy, to the safety and happiness of the people. A more detestable, or more galling influence never cursed any state than that which is conceded to mere wealth. No doubt the possession of power in the hands of most men will constantly suggest the abuse of it. In the case of the nobility, this tendency is restrained by a great many circumstances peculiar to their order ; at all events the vindication of their superiority over other men, is gilded over, generally, by so much of the personal courtesy that is habitual to noble families, that to individuals of inferior rank, it is scarcely ever made odious or even irksome. But with respect to the aristocracy of the purse, the thing is altogether different. The hereditary nobleman is placed above the people--not the people below