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society,- -or from the united operations of both causes; in other words, from his education.”
Then follows a contrast of the state of society as it now exists, with the theoretic advantages of the "new system," as exhibited in each of the six classes of circumstances, which the circles of the diagram represent. This is so curious and visionary, that, had we space, we would copy it for the amusement of our readers.
We have already stated our objections to the System of Education which is predicted to effect so much, and which is referred to, more especially in the two first classes of circumstances and circles of the diagram.
It is said, in introducing to notice the third class of circumstances, "That the character is formed for, and not by, the individual, is a principle which constitutes the basis of the New System." Then, is man a mere machine? and, as punishments are disused in the New Lanark system of education, so they will be of course in all states. Well may its advocates substitute pity for blame. How ought our sympathies to be excited for the murderer and the assassin!
We think it will be a long time before mankind will receive the docrine propounded, in illustrating the fourth class of circumstances. Wealth is so powerful a means of procuring almost every thing we need, that we are apprehensive its influence will endure as long as the cause; although the philosopher, in his study, may denominate its distinctions childish, those who can grasp the treasure will smile at the censure. What a curious state of things it will be, when the desire of superabundance is a mark of insanity. We wonder, in those days, whether the expression of the desire will be followed by the strait-waistcoat!
In reading the remarks under No. 5, we were still more surprised indeed, we could not believe our eyes, or, at all events, our understanding, and therefore read them over again, and again, and again. But it seems that, "under the New System, men will not be engaged from morning to night heading pins, or drawing wire;" no, nothing "irksome;" and yet they will possess "the requisite skill;" yea, "ordinary men, in those days, will display an acuteness in the path of science most agreeable to his taste, far exceeding the ficiency of the most highly gifted professor under the old system." It is a maxim, that "practice makes perfect;" and this is the principle on which mankind have ever devoted themselves to distinct occupations, which have at length grown into what are called trades and professions; but, perhaps, in those halcyon days, there may be innate ideas and tastes, and men may be born pin-makers and wire-drawers!
As we admire the institutions and laws of our country, it is to us no recommendation of this system, that it is to change them; but, if we believed the oracular predictions of the consequences of this New System, we should, of course, hail it as the greatest blessing ever revealed to the world.
The pamphlet concludes with a reply to objections, and directs to important auxiliaries, on which it relies for assistance, the power of habit, and the influence of the association of ideas.
The present is denominated a chaotic state of society,—the New System will, of course, introduce all that is harmonious and beautiful. It will be the fabled golden age realized :— "Etas quæ, vindice nullo,
Sponte sine lege fidem rectumque colebat.
Poena metusque aberunt: Nec verba minacia fixo
Six Months' Residence and Travels in Mexico; containing Remarks on the Present State of New Spain, its Natural Productions, State of Society, Manufactures, Trade, Agriculture, and Antiquities, &c. with plates and maps. By W. Bullock, F.L.S. Proprietor of the late London Museum.-8vo. pp. 532, Murray. 1824..
DURING his six months' residence in Mexico, Mr. Bullock has contrived to collect a great mass of interesting, and, we may add, valuable information. His knowledge of botany and natural history, his enthusiasm in the cause of science, with no small powers of observation, have rendered him highly qualified to explore this extensive and hitherto neglected country. It is true, a number of commercial speculators have visited it since the commencement of its struggles for independence, but they were not precisely the persons most qualified for liberal investigation; having had, in general, sufficient employment for their time and attention in furthering the magnum opus of their individual interest. Under the ancien regime systematic obstacles of an insurmountable nature effectually closed the door against the intrusion of foreigners. In vain might the antiquarian thirst to investigate the history of a people whose origin was enveloped in profound mystery. He was doomed to stand aloof, to view the "effacing fingers of time," year after year, obliterating some important memorial of their attainments in art or science, and to be excluded from the field of enquiry by the stupid and selfish measures of a government, which
looked upon scientific research but as a flimsy veil, intended to conceal some deep-laid scheme of political aggression. The dawn of a brighter day has, however, opened on the political horizon of New Spain, and our author was one of the first to avail himself of the opportunity of visiting this hitherto interdicted spot, and to thrust his sickle into the abundant harvest. We shall briefly notice some of the leading parts of the work, regretting that our limits will not allow us to go into the subject at any great length. The port of Vera Cruz has long been known as one of the most unhealthy places in the world, yet it is the resort of great numbers of merchants, and an appearance of activity is displayed in some parts of the city, which is looked upon as the grave of Europeans. The island of Sacrificios is whitened by the bones of hundreds of victims to disease, whose faith has excluded their remains from consecrated ground.The market, though ill supplied with vegetables, and meat of most disgusting appearance, presents to the naturalist and bon vivant a rich profusion of singular and beautiful fish, few of which are met with in Europe, and many of them altogether unknown. The buildings are higher than in the southern states, but the same bad taste is manifested in a profusion of gilded ornaments and statues painted to the life. The place has a gloomy and melancholy aspect; which, associated with its character of extreme insalubrity, increases the dread which Europeans feel on entering its half-deserted walls; without a particle of vegetation to enliven the scene, the eye dwells upon a dreary waste, rendered pestilential by the stagnant vapours of neighbouring swamps; added to which, the dreaded yellow fever and black vomit incessantly haunt the imagination, and certainly predispose to disease. Under these circumstances, it is little wonderful that society should assume a decidedly selfish and mercantile character.
"I had several letters to the first houses, both English and Spanish ; but as I brought no cargo nor consiguments, and had no speculation to offer, those to whom I had presented them, generally left me with marks of surprise, that a man in his senses could venture so far from home to such a place, with such motives; and this occurred so constantly, that at last they almost persuaded me to be of the same opinion."
Contrasted with the above is an instance of liberality on the part of General St. Anna, who (finding that the author had visited the country solely for the purpose of acquiring scientific information) absolutely refused to examine his papers; and, in a handsome manner, offered his passports and protection to Xalappa, adding, at the same time, that he had no doubt his political opponents would be equally generous.
The numerous carrion vultures of Vera Cruz are as tame as VOL. II. PART I.
our domestic poultry; and, with the assistance of dogs, with whom they are on the most friendly terms, remove every kind of filth and offal from the markets, which useful employment is regularly delegated to them. The road to Xalappa lies over a very diversified country, alternately fertile and barren, but abounding with beautiful birds. At San Raphael the travellers enjoyed the luxuries of a South American Posada in high perfection; Spanish inns have been always celebrated for the comforts they supply; but, on this occasion, every circumstance of a disagreeable nature, that the most teeming fancy could suggest, was accumulated into one grand focus of misery. On a near approach to Xalappa, they entered a district thickly covered with oaks, which marks the boundary of the yellow fever, beyond which it seldom passes. The situation of the city is extremely fine, having an elevation of 4264 feet above the level of the sea, and commanding extensive prospects, terminated by volcanic mountains of immense magnitude. This city (from which the drug jalap, which is cultivated in the neighbourhood, derives its name,) contains about 13,000 inhabitants; it was formerly the grand emporium of trade; and, though apparently on the decline, exhibits many elegant buildings and highly decorated churches. It possesses also a public establishment for the washing of linen, certainly a singular one, and yet we could point out many capital cities in Europe where institutions of a more ostentatious, but less useful, character, are highly patronized. Whether the above be the cause or the effect we know not, but Xalappa, or Jalappa, has acquired a degree of celebrity for the performance of this domestic art, sufficient to induce many families in Vera Cruz to send their linen a distance of twenty-two leagues to undergo the process of purification. There are here great external marks of politeness; and the stranger is everywhere informed, that the house is at his disposal, but he is seldom invited in. The inhabitants are extremely ignorant, and have been taught to believe, that all the large states of Europe, our own included, are but so many provinces, over which the King of Spain appoints governors; they speak of Drake, and Sir Walter Raleigh, as pirates, and have scarcely heard the name of Wellington. The author was introduced to several families; and, upon one occasion, at an evening party,
"I observed a smoke rising above the head of a lady who was playing on the piano; and on going round to ascertain the cause, I found that, notwithstanding her engagement at the instrument, she did not forego her segar, but was puffing the fumes away in volumes from mouth and nostrils."
When about to depart,
"Cards were produced, the table was immediately spread with doubloons and dollars, and considerable sums were won and lost in a few minutes. I was shocked to observe the change which took place, and in so short a time, from boisterous but innocent mirth, to a display of passions of the worst kind, aud in which the ladies acted a still more unpleasant part than in the former sports. Those beautiful beaming black eyes which, but a few minutes before, had sparkled with life and joy, were now overcast and louring with expressions of avarice and discord: not one smile nor jest occurred during the whole of this short scene; for it only continued whilst the horses were getting ready, when our cavalcade, consisting of twenty-two animals, took a narrow path through the woods."
We notice this, because the practice is universal; we need not say, it would be "more honoured in the breach than the observance." Several leagues on the road to Perote, are the remains of an immense volcano, which exhibit the tremendous effects of an eruption, of which there is no tradition. Perote, which lies at the foot of the mountains, at an elevation of 12,000 toises above the level of the sea, the houses are built with great strength, and used as places of security. The accommodation at the Posada was truly Spanish :
"We arrived shivering in our great coats, but no landlord or waiter greeted our arrival; we were shown several apartments, and had, indeed, our choice; but not an article of furniture was visible, except benches to sleep on, and a huge table, that seemed coeval with the building. We procured a candle, but the luxury of a candlestick was out of the question: a hole in the table, round which grease had accumulated, pointed out to us, however, the means of remedying the deficiency. But though, probably, many a hungry appetite had been appeased off this table, yet I doubt whether it had ever received a table-cloth, or undergone the purification of washing, since its construction."
In the neighbourhood of this place are several extensive plantations of the agava Americana, or great American aloe, which yields a liquor called pulque, universally drank throughout Mexico; it is obtained from the plant at the time of throwing up the flower-stem, which usually happens in about ten years. At this time, the centre leaves are hollowed out in the form of a bowl, and the remaining ones removed, so that the whole flow of sap runs into the cavity, and in such quantity, as to require emptying several times in a day; it continues to yield this supply for about two months; the liquor is slightly fermented, and becomes immediately fit for use; it is, however, not admired by the natives, till it has acquired by age a strong flavour and fœtid smell, extremely disagreeable to strangers, but grateful to those accustomed to its use. To such a height does the passion of gaming run among all classes, that the tra