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No. 56.

Saturday, October 3rd. 1840.


(Continued from No. 55.)

Herculaneum and Pompeii.

Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? and he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. Gen. xviii. 24-32.

HERCULANEUM and POMPEII seem both very distant from the focus of Vesuvius. They are now separated from it by inhabitants and cultivated spaces which have been conquered from the lava and recovered from the volcano. The village of Portico is built upon the roofs of the first of those two cities, which was petrified on the day of its death, and into the tomb of which one descends as into a mine, by a sort of shaft, ending at the theatre, where, it is conjectured, the inhabitants were assembled when the eruption surprised them. It was in 1689 that the ruins of the city made their appearance for the first time in an excavation made at random, which was resumed in 1720, and finally organized in 1738 with admirable success. The discovery of the theatre and of everything else has taken place since that period. The theatre is of Greek architecture; it is ornamented with a fine front, and with marble columns standing on the stage itself; the spectators occupied twenty-one rows of steps, with a gallery above embellished with bronze statues. One can still distinguish the places allotted to the magistrates, the scene behind which the actors withdrew, and a number of objects which excite in the traveller mingled astonishment and emotion. There are also at Herculaneum a Forum surrounded with particoes and temples, which are almost all of them damaged, and a gaol with old rusty iron bars, to which the prisoners were chained—a melancholy feature of all times, and a monotonous emblem of human society at all periods. As you leave these excavations, which have as yet made little progress, and cannot be

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much extended without endangering the safety of Portici, you distinctly perceive several strata of lava, proving beyond a doubt that Herculaneum was drowned in repeated eruptions of Vesuvius.

The difficulty of carrying on the excavations at so great a depth, and under the very foundations of a new town, has caused the ruius of Herculaneum to be almost abandoned for those of Pompeii, which presents a far more striking interest. At Herculaneum there are only catacombs. At Pompeii the Romans entirely revive; the houses stand, and are furnished and ornamented with picturesque paintings; the cellars are stocked as well as the tables; in more than one dwelling the dinner has been found on the table, and the skeletons of the guests ronnd it, and then you enter everywhere on the same floor; and as the ashes, which lie but a few metres thick upon the ancient buildings, are cleared, the town appears, as those come to light again when the snow melts in mountainous countries. You arrive by a suburb wholly lined with Roman tombs, and walk over a Roman pavement, worn out by Roman vehicles; you may enter the inn; there are the stabies, with the rings to fasten the horses; close by is the farrier, with his sign over the door. If you penetrate into one of those tombs, you will find urns containing ashes, hair, and fragments of calcined bones. Every where are displayed inscriptions, unaffected, dignified, and touching, such as the epitaph dedicated by a woman to her husband:"Servilia, to the friend of her soul." Let us advance; we are in town. To the right of the gate you behold the guardian's sentrybox cut into the stone. Take the footway, for there are footways at Pompeii, Roman footways, with posts at intervals on both sides, footways wherein one ceases not to gaze on wheel-ruts, made eighteen hundred years ago!

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Temple of Fortune.

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Whom do you wish to be taken to? You have but to speak - the names are written on the doorway of every house, in large red letters. Here is an apothecary's shop, with his drugs in phials, with surgical instruments and balsams still yielding a smell. Here are far different things. Enter, you have nothing to fear; but dare not tell you where you are, unless you have perceived the sign over the door. What think you of it?and yet facing one of those houses stands a temple of Vesta!

Let us, then, pay a few visits; we are in a baker's shop, and here is the flower grindstone; suppose a stone sugar-loaf, covered with an extinguisher also of stone-rub the one against the other, after throwing some corn between them, and you have a Roman mill. This wretched piece of machinery was entrusted to the hands of slaves. But I have reserved a surprise for you: here is some bread-do you read the baker's name hollowed out of that carbonised pancake; take and break it. Open that cupboard, you will find there preserved olives, dried figs, lintels, and eatables of all descriptions. A saucepan has been carried to the Naples Museura, containing a piece of meat, as well preserved as by Mr. S.... process. What a number of meals Vesuvius interrupted on that awful day.

I nevertheless do not think that the Romans were great eaters. I have carefully explored a number of kitchens and dining rooms at Pompeii, and I have found, even in the richest houses, but very trifling cooking apparatus, and miniature table utesils. Their plates were real saucers, and the tables upon which the dinner was served up but little stands, in general of stone or marble, which could hold but one dish at a time. The guests lay down around, as soldiers round their mess. What is admirable, delightful, charming and overwhelming to us barbarians of the nineteenth century, is the exquisite pureness and delicacy of shape of all the utensils which served in Roman domestic life. One must see those candelabras, lamps, vases of all sizes, those charming little bronze calefactors (for everything was of bronze), those tripods, scales, beds, chairs,

those graceful and so ingeniously-wrought shields which fill up whole rooms at the Naples Museum. One must above all see the toilet arsenal of the Roman ladies, their combs, toothpicks, curling irons, and the pots of vegetable or mineral rouge found in a boudoir. Thus the Roman ladies used rouge and deceived people, just as is practised now-a-days; they wore like our ladies those necklaces, rings, and ridiculous earrings which add nothing to beauty and diminish not ugliness. How times resemble one another, in spite of the space that separates them.

Above thirty streets of Pompeii are now restored to light; it is a third part of the town. The walls which formed its ancient inclosure have been recognized; a magnificent amphitheatre, a theatre, a forum, the temple of Isis, that of Venus, and a number of other buildings have been cleared. The secret stairs by which the priests of those times slily crept to prompt the oracles have been detected. On beholding so many monuments which display in so lively a manner the importance of private life among the Romans, it is impossible to resist a feeling of sadness and melancholy. Behold, along that fall of earth, the vestige of the breast of a woman who was buried alive, and stiffened by death-behold the stones of that well, worn by the rubbing of the ropes -examine that guardhouse, covered with caricatures of soldiers-one might suppose that a Roman people still existed, and that we were but strangers in one of their towns. Who knows what future discoveries may be made in those august ruins! Murat employed upon them 2,000 men every year. Only 60 men and 1,000l. are now employed upon them. The excavations proceed in consequence with dismal slowness, however great may be the interest which his Sicilian Majesty takes in their success. It is not to Rome devasted and disfigured Romethat one must go to study the Romans-it is to Pompeii. Pompeii, as regards antiquities, is worth all Italy together.

The view of the Temple of Fortune in its present state seems scarcely intelligible

without the drawing of the restored Temple, which will be given in the number next following. The steps, the iron railing, and the altar in the lower part, are still distinguishable. On the platform of the portico the yet existing capitals of the antæ and columns point out the site of the front and lateral pillars.

On the left of the cell, on entering, may be seen the niche of a statue. The whole must have been cased with marble. Many of the trees have been cut down in the progress of the excavation since this view was taken. On the stone pier on the right of the arch was painted a galley, larger and in greater detail than any yet seen, but it was gradually effaced by the rain. The The triumphal arch opens into the street, now called that of Mercury; and the windowlike holes in it afford a sight of water pipes of which the use is not apparent.

HUMAN LIFE.-Human life is a journey which commences for each of us the moment we enter the world, and which terminates at the grave. We are like those, who, passengers on the ocean, are wafted by the winds towards the port, whilst they are asleep in the vessel; and who, insensible of the progression of their course, arrive there before they are aware. It is the same with the whole of life. It runs on, impelled by a continual current, which carries us on unconsciously along with it. We sleep; and, during our sleep, our brief space of time flies silently over our heads: we wake to a thousand cares; and, while struggling with them, life pursues its rapid course at the same rate. We are here below only as travellers; every thing rapidly recedes from our view; we leave every thing behind us; we throw a passing glance on the enamelled meads, or the purling brook, or whatever other object may charm our sight; we feel a pleasure in contemplating it, and, before we can analyze our pleasure, we have already lost sight of it. To charming prospects and a smiling country often succeed rocks, ravines, precipices, and rugged paths, sometimes infested with ferocious animals, or venomous reptiles; or perplexed with thorns which lacerate the flesh; these things annoy or afflict us for a moment, and the next we are beyond their reach, Such is life; neither its pleasures nor its pains are durable, nor does the road we traverse belong to us, any more than any of the objects with which it is diversified: other travellers have preceded us on it, others are com ing along it at the same time with ourselves, and countless multitudes will follow us.-St. Basil.

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No. 57.

Saturday, October 10th. 1840.


(Continued from No. 43.)

It is remarkable that all the nations which use the Chinese written character, harbour the same prejudices against foreigners. By means of this written language they have been united for ages under similar laws, institutions, and religion. Hence they have formed one great family distinct from other nations, in all points of peculiarity. As they enjoyed the privileges of civilization at an early period, while the adjoining nations were living in barbarism, they learned to look down upon them with contempt, and in all collisions with them, to treat them, if inferior, as vanquished enemies, or if superior, as savage intruders. By sedulously shunning any intercourse with the "barbarians," the opinion of their ferocity and depravity, which the Chinese had imbibed, continued to be cherished through ignorance of its objects and settled prejudice. This general contempt was increased also by the consciousness that they were the most numerous of the nations of the world. The fact is certainly true, but not so the conclusion which they derive from it, that their country was the most extensive of all. Fancying the earth to be a square, they assumed to themselves the main land in the centre, and allowed to the other nations the small and remote clusters of islands, in various directions around themselves. How could they look upon the poor inhabitants of those scattered lands otherwise than with the utmost contempt! The sovereign of so great a nation, also, regarding himself as the sole potentate of the earth and the vicegerent of heaven, claimed the universal dominion over all the lands and the four


Their princes he considered his vassals and tributaries. He slighted them when he pleased, viewing them merely as

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the petty chiefs of barbarous tribes; yet, with much compassion, he occasionally condescended to receive their embassies. Though the modern improvements in navigation, the progress in the science of geography and in general information, have partially rectified their opinions on this subject, yet they are too proud to confess the fact of their national ignorance: to this moment they claim the title of "the flowery middle kingdom," and would have all the princes of the earth humbly do them homage. We still hear the same old stories about the "four seas" repeated, and maps of the world may be met with, which so represent it still. So long as the public opinion is swayed by such notions, we cannot expect foreigners to be held in any just estimation among them. Those petty nations which use the Chinese written character, and acknowledge their vassalage to the Celestial Empire, imitate them also in all the arrogance of national vanity.

Another cause operating to favour the same system of restriction, exists in their literature. The Chinese are much attached to their own literature, and are therefore prepared highly to value any degree of eminence in this department. But foreigners are not often acquainted with their literary productions, and having scarcely any thing else which in the estimation of a Chinese entitles them to rank among the "literati," they are together regarded as ignorant barbarians. Proud of their own observance of the rules of propriety and justice, the Chinese are also taught by their classical authors to look down upon these barbarians as rude and fraudulent, and to esteem any friendly intercourse contaminating. "These barbarians," they are told, "have never felt the transforming influence of the Celestial Empire, and though they may therefore be pitied, yet much more do they call for our

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