Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

ing with the more refined and graceful signorine of the Strada di Toledo ;-regaling themselves da che si parte il sole,'* with the savoury Sardines and love-inspiring glances of some female Kitchener, youthful and lively, in the open air--who, with an affected blush, exclaims in the delicious language of his delicious land, Dio il ti perdoni,'t as either elder rapturously descants on the beauties of form and feature of the nut-brown maid of Santa Lucia ;-or to observe them quaffing long draughts of delight and acqua gelata,' from the hands of some laughter-loving ragazza's of the Rua dei Guanti.'ll Indeed it is better, far better than the Law, I rather envy the lazy Lazzarone the fair humanities of his religion,' who finds no ill-grudged sustenance in the fruits and waters of his liberal land, and who enjoys them stretched in the eye o' the sun,' upon the sands of his lovely bay : than he who, having wasted a wearisome and dull existence in laborious study, is poorly recompensed by tardy, wealth and illtimed honours, when the zest for the enjoyment of either has long since past away.

“ Gifford I have told you of-his reign in the Common Pleas was of brief duration; but while there he held the fraternity with an iron hand, and made them wince within his despot grasp. The ring-presenting coifs were as happy to get rid of him as Brougham of the Lord Chancellor, or the No Popery parsons of Canning.

“ Last came- mais il faut commencer par le commencement.' Serjeant Best was undoubtedly one of the most popular advocates of his day; when popularity was worth something, and its attainment more uphill work than it has since become. To great talent and learning he united nature's mother-wit, and a manner frank, unaffected, and engaging. He had a taste too for social enjoyment, which he has not yet, I believe, resigned, and the lawyer had never vanquished the man in him. He was always ardent and often bold in the discharge of his duties , had much of homely and useful eloquence with high moral courage ('faith he had more); with none of the solemnity of the pleader, or the pertness of the Serjeant, he identified his feelings so effectually with the cause he espoused (when it justified their being called into action) that no man probably ever so well satisfied a losing elient as Serjeant Best. It was quite delightful to see him too in a consultation at chambers divested of all formality and stiffness—bis corporeal attributes duly refreshed, knocking some long-winded didactic Coke upon Littleton dissertation on the head by untimely piquant and mirth-stirring jest, until the very dark and rigid muscles of poor Romilly himself would relax perforce that “ Lancashire witch," Jockey Bell

, for once forgetting Law and mathematics, would join in the laugh--even Preston afford one of his equivocal and half-frightful cachinnations—while supple solicitors would anxiously rustle among their papers in an attempt to conceal their indecorous jollity, and even the bugbearing abortions of the Law could not but venture to chuckle in the rear of their reverend masters. Then he hated refining and quiddities, and all the insufferable but profitable nonsense of the profession ; be would toss away impediment and obstacles by the horns with more of frankness than cere

Iced water.

• When the sun declines.

$ Girl.

+ God forgive thee !

ll Glove street.

mony; crush objections in the bud, as indifferently as he crumbled the bank notes in the pocket of his nether, man without regarding them, and bolting out his sententious say with the soul of brevity, limp on to his chambers with fun and good-humour in his countenance, nodding to all of human kind he knew with beartiness and familiarity, not even forgetting, in the bountiful dispensation of friendly acknowledgment, old Sam the shoe-black, who would hastily throw away his polisher and the arm-intrenched boot to assume a Wellington position which he had learned of the Bloomsbury and Inns of Court Association (he was extreme polisher to the corps) to salute with due observance him whom the eccentric rubber of shoes would deign to term Brother Best. I never beheld him at that season of the day but Foote in the Lame Lover would force himself on my memory : for he could drink his wine and flavour that of others with many a well-told tale and pleasant saying. I greatly fear however, that, like Falstaff, with his well-acquired dignity he proposes 'to reform and live clean." Frolic and good taste forbid--if Brother Wilde will but act as safety-valve for the occasional explosion of the superabundant gas of indignation when the provoking twitches of the gout and Morning Chronicle torment him, he will long live respected and beloved as a man, and have many another opportunity for boating it with Brother Burroughs in his few but joyful vacations.

" Justice Park, by no very desirable luck in the adjudication of extraordinary criminal causes, is known to the public quite as well as Irving, Hunt, Alderman Waithman, the Green Man, or the battle of Navarino. At the Bar he was never prominent, although his admirably written · Treatise on Insurance procured him ample business, which he ever conducted in a plain, efficient, and somewhat noisy manner. His voice was harsh and devoid of distinctness; his oratory without effect ; and he would speak with as much warmth on a dry question of mercantile law as Erskine when he deemed the liberties of his country at stake, or Garrow when, after a perplexing cross-examination, he had beautifully intangled a suborned witness, and having once got his head under bis arm milled him most unmercifully until he could no longer stand or go, but only lie. Park, however, was, and is, universally respected—he is a man of honour and integrity, with much warmth of feeling, and no one more heartily despises any thing low, grovelling, or mean, than he does.”

EPIGRAM TO A NEW-MADE BARONET.

Imitated from Martial.
Though I do Sir thee, be not vain, I pray,
I Sir my monkey Jacko every day.

2

PO MEXICO IN 1827.* THE book now before us is the production of Mr. Ward, his Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires to the Government of Mexico, whose mission commenced in the year 1825, and continued into that of 1828.

The information communicated by Mr. Ward is principally, though by no means exclusively, either of a political or commercial character, and doubtless of the most authentic as well as most recent description. The work is comprehended in six books; and, from a concise statement of the respective contents of these, the reader of the present pages will imniediately collect the range of materials of the entire production. Thiús, the First Book, subdivided into four sections, (they ought to have been denominated chapters.) informs us of the “Boundaries, Geological Structure, and Climate" of Mexico : its “ Population;” its “ Productions ;” and the “Spanish Colonial System,” under which it was anciently governed. In the Second Book, we have the history of the Revolution, from 1808 to 1824, the date of the final overthrow and death of Iturbide ; in the Third, the description of the “Present Form of Government;" accounts of the state of Religious Establishments and feelings, and of the Army, Navy, and Trade; and reflections on the former and probable future importance of the last. The Fourth Book, comprising four sections, is devoted to the “ Mines of Mexico;" and the Fifth and Sixth to the “ Personal Narrative" of the author; that is, to a narrative of his excursions in the country. The Appendix supplies some political papers, and some local descriptions, from the pens of recent writers.

Upon the difficulty of writing the truth concerning the commercial prospects of Mexico, in such a manner as to meet the present state of public feeling in England upon that subject, Mr. Ward, in his preface, has thus expressed himself :

“ It is difficult for a person who is desirous to lay before the Public an impartial view of the present state and capabilities of Mexico, to determine exactly at what point to commence his undertaking.

** Three years ago, nothing was questioned that could tend to enhance the opinion entertained of its resources. Now, the most cautious assertions are received with a smile, and facts, however well demonstrated, are hardly admitted to be such, if, they militate against a preconceived opinion.

« This state of things is, perhaps, the natural consequence of the advantage that was taken of the first removal of those barriers, which so long separated the Old World from the New, by men, some of whom were themselves enthusiasts, while many had no better object than to turn the enthusiasm of others to account. Both, unfortunately, concurred in exciting the imagination of the ignorant by pictures of a state of things, that could have no foundation in nature or truth,

* Viewed through the medium of delusive hope, Spanish America presented nothing but prospects of unalloyed advantage. Great and instantaneous success was to attend every enterprise there, without the employment of those means, upon which the experience of the world has hitherto proved success to depend. Time, industry, perseverance, a knowledge of the scene upon which operations were to commence,—of the men by whom they were to be conducted,—of the language and peculiarities of the country in which they were to be carried on; all these were stated to be considerations of minor importance ; capital alone was represented as wanting ; and facts, important in themselves, were so warped and distorted, in order to favour this theory, that when its fallacy was demonstrated, the facts fell to the ground with the superstructure which had been raised upon them.

“ Unexampled credulity amongst the disappointed, was succeeded by obstinate unbelief. Transatlantic States and adventures were involved in one indiscriminate condemnation ; and, even at the present day, enterprises of the greatest public utility are stigmatized as bubbles, because, during a period of unbridled speculation, bubbles may have been recommended by a similarity of form to the notice of the public.

Mexico in 1827. By H. G. Ward, Esq. his Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires in that Country during the Years 1825, 1826, and part of 1827. TwoVols. 8vo.

“ It is possible, that on a closer examination of the subject, we may find that the expectations of 1824, and the despondency of 1828, originate in the same cause,namely, a want of proper data for the regulation of our opinions ; and it is the hope of being able to supply these data, with regard to one very interesting portion of the former dominions of Spain, that has induced me to undertake my present task.”

After these preliminary remarks, it will be the business of the ensuing pages to take a cursory view of “Mexico in 1827," under the exact series of heads presented by Mr. Ward.

1. The internal geography of Mexico is still but imperfectly known; but its boundaries, or relative position, is already defined with sufficient exactitude.

“ The republic of Mexico, which comprises the whole of the vast territory for. merly subject to the Vice-royalty of New Spain, is bounded to the East and Southeast by the Gulph of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea ; to the West by the Pacific; to the South by Guatemala, which occupies a part of the isthmus of Darien; and to the North by the United States."

It is added,

“ It will be perceived, by this sketch of the Mexican territory, that, at the two most distant points of S.S.E. and N.N.W. (the southern extremity of Yucatan, and the boundary line, where it runs into the Pacific,) it extends over twenty-seven degrees of latitude, or 18764 English statute miles. Its greatest breadth is in the parallel of 30 N. lat. where, from the Red River (Rio Colorado) of Texas, to the coast of Sonora, Humboldt gives the distance at 364 leagues, of twenty-five to the degree."

Placed between the north parallels of 15° and 42°, (a space occupying nearly two thousand miles in a north and south direction,) and infinitely diversified as to the elevation of its surface, the agricultural capabilities alone, of this vast country, are almost incalculable. It is, however, in tropical, or, as it is commonly called among ourselves, in colonial produce, alone, that its fecundity can appear. In the production of wheat, its powers must be more limited; so much so as scarcely to promise that it can ever appear in even the adjacent West India market. Mr. Ward assigns his reasons for not supposing “ that the exportations of Mexico in corn will ever be very considerable

The prospects of Mexico as a “manufacturing country," and as a ritime country," come next under consideration.

Of the Population, Mr. Ward, after estimating it at eight millions, observes,

“ Before the revolution this population was divided into seven distinct castes. 1. The old Spaniards, designated as Gachupines, in the history of the civil wars. 2. The Creoles, or Whites of pure European race, born in America, and regarded by the old Spaniards as natives. 3. The Indians, or indigenous copper-coloured race. 4. The Mestizos, or mixed breed of Whites and Indians, gradually merging into Creoles, as the cross with the Indian race became more remote. 5. The Mu. Tattoes, or descendants of Whites and Negroes. 6. The Zambos, or Chinos, de scendants of Negroes and Indians. And, 7. The African Negroes, either manu. mitted or slaves.

“ Of these Castes, the three first, and the last, were pure, and gave rise, in their various combinations, to the others; which again were subdivided, ad infinitum, by names expressing the relation borne by each generation of its descendants to the White, (Quarteroons, Quinteroons, &c.) to which, as the ruling colour, any approximation was desirable."

“ The Mestizos (descendants of Natives and Indians) are found in every part of the country; indeed, from the very small number of Spanish women who at first visited the New World, the great mass of the population has some mixture of In. dian blood. Few of the middling classes (the lawyers, the Curas, or parochial clergy, the artizans, the smaller landed proprietors, and the soldiers,) could prove themselves exempt from it; and now that a connexion with the Aborigines has ceased to be disadvantageous, few attempt to deny it."

ma

[ocr errors]

“ Next to the pure Indians, whose number, in 1803, was supposed to exceed two millions and a half, the Mestizos are the most numerous caste : it is, however, im. possible to ascertain the exact proportion which they bear to the whole population, many of them being, as I have already stated, included amongst the pure Whites, who were estimated, before the Revolution, at 1,200,000, including from 70 to 80,000 Europeans, established in different parts of the country.

“Of the Mulattoes, Zambos, and other mixed breeds, nothing certain is known. “ It will be seen by this sketch, that the population of New Spain is composed of very heterogeneous elements : indeed, the numberless shades of difference which exist amongst its inhabitants, are not yet by any means correctly ascertained.

“ The Indians, for instance, who appear at first sight to form one great mass, comprising near two-fifths of the whole population, are divided, and subdivided, amongst themselves, in the most extraordinary manner."

“ I cannot conclude this sketch of the population of Mexico, without remarking upon one great advantage which New Spain enjoys over her neighbours, both to the North and South, in the almost total absence of a pure African population. The importation of slaves into Mexico was always inconsiderable, and their numbers, in 1793, did not exceed six thousand. Of these many have died, many have been manumitted, and the rest quitted their masters in 1810, and sought freedom in the ranks of the Independent army; so that I am, I believe, justified in stating, that there is now hardly a single slave in the central portion of the republic.

“ In Texas, (on the Northern frontier,) a few have been introduced by the North American settlers; but all farther importations are prohibited by law; and provi. sion bas been made for securing the freedom of the offspring of the slaves now in existence. The number of these must be exceedingly small, (perhaps not exceeding fifty altogether ;) for, in the annual solemnity, which takes place in the capital on the 16th September, in commemoration of the proclamation of the Independence by Hidalgo, at Dolores, a part of which was to consist in giving freedom to a certain number of slaves, which is done by the President himself, the greatest difficulty was found, in 1826, to discover persons, on whom to bestow the boon of liberty, and I much doubt whether any can have been forthcoming in the present year.

“ The advantages of such a position can only be appreciated by those who know the inconveniences, and dangers, with which a contrary order of things is attended. In the United States, where the Slaves, Mulattoes, and Free Blacks, constitute more than one-sixth of the whole population," they are a constant source of disquiet and alarm."

II. The fourth section of the preceding book, in which we are furnished with a view of the “Spanish Colonial System,” forms a proper prelude to the subject of the Second Book, or history of the Revolution through its progress between the years 1808 and 1824; because, in the grievances subsisting under that system, as, in a great degree, we are to discover the causes of the Revolution, so, also, we are to discover the grounds of belief, that a return of the country to the dominion of Spain is a very improbable event. Mr. Ward has also justly thought, that in tracing the history and causes of the Revolution, and in exhibiting the feelings of the parties engaged, he has afforded to his readers the best means of judging of the present stability of Mexican independence; - a topic of considerable moment, as well under commercial as under political views. To this historical and most interesting portion of the volumes we are prevented, by our limits, from doing more than making reference.

III. We pass to Mr. Ward's description of the “present political condition of the United States of Mexico;" and we preface this part of our analysis by a quotation from among the first pages of the book, in which the new subdivisions of the country are supplied :

“The former division of New Spain into what was denominated the Kingdom of Mexico,' and the Eastern and Western Internal provinces, was never very distinct, and is now of liittle importance ; as the Republic is distributed, under the

*“ By the census of 1810, the total population amounted to 7,239,903 inhabitants, of whom 1,377,810 were black, either free or slaves; by that of 1820, the total population was 9,638,226, of whom 1,538,118 were slaves, and 233,557 free people of colour."

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »