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same cause on nearly the whole of the American continent formerly subjected to Spain and Portugal; the country between Vera Cruz and Mexico, Mexico itself, and the dining districts nearest to this city, have been variously described. Lieutenant Hardy, therefore, by a bold leap, takes us at once to the capital, on which he makes but few observations, collected at the end of his book, and proceeds at once on his northern journey.
Mr. Hardy travelled in the capacity of commissioner to “the General Pearl and Coral Fishery Association of London ;” and his object was, in the first place, to meet two of the Company's vessels in the Gulf of California, and there to explore “ the caverns of the deep” in search of those “beds of oysters," with which the gulf was represented to abound, and each of which was supposed by the deluded shareholders to contain tons of pearls of the first quality ; but his directions farther enjoined him, to make during his journey all possible inquiries respecting the situation and value of mines in the districts he should visit. Of both these commissions our traveller seems to have acquitted himself well, although probably he gave no great satisfaction to his employers. For, condensing his report on his sub-marine researches in a few words, he says, alluding to pearl-oysters: 'On the coast of Senora, there are none at all, except at Guaymas; and that to the northward of 28° 30', I could not discover any trace whatever of that shell on either side of the gulf.. Moreover, I remarked, that pearl-oysters, in shallow situations, are almost totally unproductive. This information he gives pro bono publico, 'to prevent future speculators in this department from embarking in so wild an enterprise as that of the Mexican Pearl Fishery.'-p. 419.
His account of the mines is more encouraging, although, no doubt, by far too sobre to have suited the heated inaginations of the bubble-mongers of 1825, who could dream of nothing but of bonanzas, or at least, of lumps of solid gold and silver. Mr. Hardy has come to the conclusion, that 'the owner of a rich mine is generally also a rich man,' and consequently stands in no need of English money to work it; whence we may conclude (and experience has shewn it to be the fact), that most of the mines which have been sold to our companies, are such as no native thought worth his while to work. Mr. Hardy, indeed, recommends the working of copper-mines in preference to those of gold and silver :
“There is an abundant supply already of that metal above ground and in circulation, much of which has been known to cost the original discoverers of it more than its intrinsic value. Perhaps the same observation might be extended to copper also ; but, however, as in this country it actually produces seventy-five and even sometimes ninety-nine per cent., independent of its being so much nearer the surface than is either of the precious metals, except in the créaderos, the balance in favour of copper is certainly great. Some of the largest fortunes which have been gained in Senora, have arisen from the extraction of copper.'—p. 412.
His road, as may be traced on a well-executed map, accompanying the work, conducted him, by way of Toluca, Valladolid, and Guadalaxara, to the first sea-port in the Gulf of California, Mazatlan. Here he embarked for Guaymas, from which place he made various excursions through the mining districts in the rear of the port; and on his return, embarked on his diving expedition in the gulf, of which he made a complete tour, rectifying in many instances our geographical and hydrographical knowledge of that unfrequented corner of the world. Having returned to port, he set out for Mexico by a different road from which he had come; for he ascended the course of the rivers, and turning round the foot of the hills towards the south, traversed the whole of Durango, and reached the capital by way of Zacatecas.
Mr. Hardy, like most naval men, is a pleasant travelling companion, a little too fond of sea-phrases for landsmen, tolerably free from prejudices, good-natured, fond of a joke, candid and honest, at the same time shrewd, and mostly well-informed. He seldom deals in generalities, of which travellers in general are too fond, but confines himself to facts. By these we find, that the Mexicans are very much like other people, a mixture of good and bad men, and in each again a mixture of good and bad qualities. In one place he meets with the most friendly hospitality, in another he is rudely repulsed, and refused provisions even for money; the kindness he meets with from one is perfectly disinterested, while another speculates on the profits he is to make of his guest. Instruction, as may be supposed, is rare in those remote provinces, but good sense is as plentiful here as elsewhere. The natives exhibit that love of the marvellous which is shown by the uneducated in all parts of the world; only that it here takes a peculiar direction, and people talk of mountains of solid silver and gold, and immense beds of pearl oysters, instead of the fairies, kelpies, and other absurdities we hear of in Europe. They do not seem to be particularly brave, and our traveller relates instances of individual cowardice and public alarms, which we should pronounce to be caricatures, if we had not ourselves seen similar exhibitions among nations generally reputed for their bravery. They are bigoted, and generally intolerant, like all people kept in darkness by an interested priesthood. They are dirty, like most of the inhabitants of warm climates, and with few wants. But we are happy to find, by the testimony of our author, that the Mexican people in general are improvable, and that corruption, duplicity, deceit, and falsehood, which justly disgust all foreigners, brought in contact with their government, is confined to the higher classes, and among these again more to those of the capital than to those of the remoter provinces.
Mr. Hardy, with the gay spirit peculiar to his profession, mixed in all the amusements of the people, and is very amusing hin:self in his descriptions of them. The following, which gives an account
to eigners, broydeceit, generala
of a ball our traveller attended at Valladolid, may serve as a speci. men of his graphic powers.
•The assembly, which was held in the town-hall, was numerously at. tended. The rooms, which are large, were well lighted, and when we arrived the ball had already commenced, and the sound of the music, together with the gay dresses of the ladies, formed an agreeable contrast with the cheerless hotels in which we had lodged since we left Mexico. One of the masters of the ceremonies received us with great politeness, and conducted us to scats which were arranged on each side of the room in a double column; the musicians being placed at one end. When I entered, the delighted company were threading the difficult mazes of a Spanish country dance, with characteristic slowness and precision. To this succeeded the waltz; and if the men were stiff and formal in their movements, the languishing attitudes into which the young ladies threw themselves, and which, out of Mexico, might have been deemed highly indelicate, but which passed here for winning gracefulness, certainly made ample amends. There was something abundantly ridiculous in the contortions of the body, where the head, for example, was made to repose on the hand, whilst the elbow was supported on the extended arm of the fair one's partner, after which another attitude was assumed, and her eyes rested on the floor. The next minute they were raised to the ceiling, which movement was succeeded by a severe frown. It was, indeed, intended to be descriptive of every passion from love to hate—from admiration to contempt-1. From grave to gay, from gentle to severe !" But description would fail of giving an adequate idea of the effect produced. I had not for a long time been so much amused, and felt quite angry when supper was announced.
*The supper-table was laid out with a profusion of flowers and viands of all descriptions, with emblems on the sweetmeats in the shape of little paper flags, curiously cut out, and with patriotic verses written upon them, calculated to increase the general enthusiasın inspired by the occasion. The repast being ended, the party again resumed their dancing attitudes; the music struck up, and the same animated countenances and sylph-like forms raised a deep feeling of anxious expectation. Presently the dance ceased, and instantly the attention was fixed by a party of ladies and gentlemen, who threatened a song. The ceremony, however, opened with à solo, and then succeeded a chorus. Another solo, followed by another chorus was given, till the singers were exhausted, and their patriotic verses were ended. The dance was again resumed, and lasted till about four in the morning, when the party separated. On my return to the meson, I fell into the arms of Morpheus, and was laughing and enjoying in my dreams the evening's entertainment.'—pp. 41-43.
We will add a short sketch of a lady's tertulia (assembly) at Pitic, and then pass on to graver matters. It was at the house of a lady, the widow of an Englishman, who, hearing our officer hum an English air in the street, politely invited him to join her party.
Several other ladies were assembled in Tertulia, one of whom was fascinatingly beautiful for her age, certainly not more than seventy-five, and who, on the appearance of a stranger, was wont to put on all those
melting smiles which are intended to captivate the heart. There was another damsel equally young and very lady-like in her manners and appearance; certainly not of less antiquity. She was as sentimental as a dore, and as insinuating as the point of a needle. The only remaining female present, save and except an old Indian cook, was a young widow, whose attack upon all stragglers was irresistible. “ Formed to adorn a court,” she cast a ray of splendour on all who were so happy as to gaze opon her; and the expression of her countenance seemed to demand that
homage to which she was so amply entitled. Nature had lent a master's Cod hand in forming her elegant figure; and having exhausted her last efforts ei' in the beauty of her features, was contented to leave the mind, enclosed in f so beautiful a casket, to the mere schooling of the Graces. In manners I gentle, and full of sensibility, her very look carried conquest in it; and
that index of the heart, the eye, shone with a refulgence which the hardest & metal could not resist. Teeth of the most exquisite whiteness, lips that I never moved but to enchant, and bosom that never heaved except to i liberate a sigh, or in dole of her helpless widowhood,-but, kind reader! o let thy imagination fill up the rest. I am not competent to complete the
portrait.'—pp. 100, 101.
We have already stated, that Mr. Hardy first embarked on the Gulf of California, at Mazatlan ; he went on board a small country vessel, called Cocúla, the description of which is highly characteristic.
The cabin of the Cocúla was unique; filled with trunks, casks of hogs' lard, salt pork, and salt junk, frying-pans, quadrants, oil bottles, empty wine bottles, and bags; all in elegant confusion, and in sympathetic movement with the vessel. A muddy twilight only was seen to enter through the closed hatches (the weather being very stormy), add to which, the groans of a sick fellow-traveller, who, for want of a wash-hand bowl, made use of a half-emptied bread cask—the floor rendered slippery through involuntary contributions from an occasional upset of a barrel of batter, into which the black cook, twice a day, introduced his yet more greasy band, to take out the quantity required for cooking beans for our meals all these things not a little contributed to the discomforts of a sea-voyage, rendered still more disagreeable by bad water, and the apprehensions of our being soon unable to keep body and soul together, for want of food of any description; unless, indeed, we could manage to salt down the flesh of a continually-barking little dog, which belonged to the captain.'--pp. 85, 86.
As the most interesting part of the book, however, is that which describes Mr. Hardy's voyage in search of pearls, we will at once proceed to it, reserving our notices on some previous parts of the
work. ¿ The month of July being considered the most favourable for the
pearl fishery, Mr. Hardy sailed on the 17th of that month, from Guaymas, on board the Wolf, in company of the Bruja, another vessel in the service of the Company. Owing to a revolt of the Yaqui-Indians, who furnish the best divers, he could obtain no inore than two divers, and those of very indifferent skill. On the 19th
they arrived at Nuestra Senora de Loreto, the capital of Lower California. This he describes as a small town, situated in a narrow valley, surrounded by rocky mountains, leaving room for only two gardens, which supply the inhabitants with some fruit, but leave them to depend for their principal subsistence on Senora. Besides, they are exposed to frequent inundations, from the rain-water rushing down the hills. But man is a creature of habit, and where he has once taken his abode he will remain, although roaring cataracts, or burning lava, should threaten to overwhelm him. The governor Mr. Hardy met here was a scientific coxcomb, but showed himself very obliging to the English commissioner, who now embarked in the smaller vessel, and proceeded to the northward, while he dispatched the Wolf' to La Paz, to procure divers, and then examine the pearl-beds in the southern parts of the gulf.
Having reached the Gulf of Molexe (or Moleje), where Mr. Hardy had been informed a bed of oysters had formerly been seen, wbich produced immense riches to the first discoverer, but could not be found since. The Bruja drawing but little water, they anchored among the islands and little harbours of the gulf, and began trying their drags; but these bringing up nothing, and there being but one diver on board, and be a bad one, Mr. Hardy considered it his duty to become himself a diver. His account of this transaction, and of the mysteries of the deep, is so curious, that we consider ourselves justified in extracting it at full length.
"If it be difficult to learn to swim, it is infinitely more so to dive. In my first attempts I could only descend about six feet, and was immediately obliged to rise again to the surface, but by degrees I got down to three or four fathoms; at which depth the pressure of the water upon the ears is so great, that I can only compare it to a sharp-pointed iron instrument being violently forced into that organ. My stay under water, therefore, at this depth was extremely short; but as I had been assured, that so soon as the ears should burst, as it is technically called by the divers, there would be no difficulty in descending to any depth; and wishing to become an accomplished diver, I determined to brave the excessive pain, till the bursting should, as it were, liberate me from a kind of cord which limited my range downwards, in the same way that the ropes of a balloon confine the progress of that machine upwards.
• Accordingly, taking a leap from the bows of the boat, full of hope and resolution, with my fingers kvit together over my head, the elbows straight, and keeping myself steadily in the inverse order of nature, namely, with my feet perpendicularly upwards, the impetus carried me down about four fathoms, when it became necessary to assist the descent by means of the hands and legs; but alas ! who can count upon the firmness of his resolution ? The change of temperature, from warm to cold, is most sensibly felt. Every fathom fills the imagination with some new idea of the dangerous folly of penetrating farther into the silent dominions of reckless monsters, where the skulls of the dead make perpetual grimaces, and the yawning jaws of sharks and tinteréros, or the death-embrace of the manta, lie in wait for us. These impressions were augmented by the impossibility