Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

bottles. The Americans are peculiarly fond of table oratory. When it has happened that two or three candidates for the attention of the company have risen at the same time, I have seen momentary disputes respecting the right of speaking first, and on those occasions I observed that the President generally settled the difference by speaking himself. The English mode of expressing applause, “Hip! hip! hip! Hurra! hurra! hurra!" has been adopted in America, and the uproar of a dinnerparty there, is not exceeded by that of the happiest midnight revellers at the London Tavern ; neither is it an uncommon thing to see every glass upon the table broken, or dashed against the walls of the apartment—the climax of joyous feeling and satisfaction at what has been said, implying that the subject is too good ever again to suffer the same glasses to be defiled by being made to contain a bumper to any less acceptable sentiment.'- vol. ii. pp. 306–311.

On his way home, Mr. Temple was able to see two moons in the heavens, gazing on which too intensely, he lost his path-facts that are quite decisive as to the extent to which the hilarity of the meeting was carried. His occupation being at an end in Peru, the author lost no time in preparing for his departure, and at the end of April, 1827, he bade a long adieu to Potosi. Directing his course to Rio Janeiro, where he purposed to embark for his native country, he had before him a long and various route to pass through. The journey, though made under circumstances of disappointment that would have depressed the spirits and saddened the expressions of any other man living, was accomplished by him with the most perfect ease of mind, and an ever ready disposition to turn every occurrence to the gratification of his humour. At Tarija he met with Don Francisco Burdett O'Connor, whose name did not belie his nativity, and who had the honour of holding the office of commandant over a district, the fruitfulness of which beats, really beats, the fertility of the green gem itself.

• The town contains about two thousand inhabitants; a peaceable community, who prefer sleeping the siesta to any occupation connected with arts or industry, which, as yet, have obtained no footing here. The partiality to a delicieux repos is considerably encouraged by the nature of the climate and the fruitfulness of the soil, which requires only a little scratching at seed time, to yield, year after year, without interruption, a superabundance of crops, particularly of maize, which here grows to great perfection. When eating a peach, if you take the trouble to thrust the store into the ground, two years afterwards you may eat fruit from the tree it produces. In a court belonging to the Prefect's house, there is now a tree which was planted two years and a half before I saw it, and which, when put into the ground, was only a small twig, three feet long, and as thick as a man's finger. It had grown in that space of time to the height of twenty feet, and measured thirteen inches in circumference for several feet above the ground. It is the increase in the size of the stem that is deserving of notice, and shows that it was not a mere shoot, slender and useless, such as often grows from many species of trees to a great length, in a very short space of time, even in England.'.--vol. ii. pp. 354, 355.

The Commandant and our traveller, accompanied by a small party, made an excursion to the convent of Salinas, about thirty leagues from Tarija, formerly a station of the Jesuits, but, since their suppression, inhabited by Franciscan friars. From this place again these two gentlemen proceed farther into the country, and being greatly struck with the fertility of the soil, and the salubrity of the climate, our author suggests that the province of Tarija is a very suitable spot for the friends of emigration to consider. In point of fact, his opinion had been anticipated by his friend O'Connor, who charged him to bring the following proclamation to Great Britain, and use it to the best advantage.

"“ People of Ireland ! ““ My dear countrymen.—After nine years' fighting and hardships, I have had the pleasure of seeing these beautiful provinces free from the Spanish yoke, and now enjoying a Republican form of government, and true happiness and independence. The country is a beautiful one; there is a great abundance of the best land in the world, but very few men and women to occupy, or to till the ground.

"" I have chosen this province for my residence. Here I intend to found the colony of New Erin.-as green, fertile, and flourishing as our poor old native land. The province of Tarija is much larger than Ireland, and our colony may be more extensive than its largest county, or perhaps than any two counties.

s“Men of Ireland !-Here is the home of all those who wish to make New Erin their home. The poorest of my countrymen will be received by me with open arıns—they are of my flesh and blood; and after working for a short time, to make me a house, they shall be provided with a good one for themselves, with every thing necessary; a good cow, horse, pig, and poultry, at the door, and the crop for the year in their haggard. This house and land will be theirs for ever, and no man shall have the power to put them out of it. They will not be asked for rent, more than to help now and then, on a hurry day, for the general good. They will be completely masters of their own for ever.

6 “ Irishmen!-- This is not an adventurer's trick to deceive you. This is the genuine offer of your father, your brother, your friend, your countryman, to share among you what he has gained with his sword. Come to his arms—you will find in him a protector ; by his side you will find health, prosperity, and happiness. Given under my hand and seal, in the city of Tarija, 24th June, 1827.

«« Francis Burdert O'Connor,”!

vol. ii. pp. 390–391. Mr. Temple, however, whilst giving his friend credit for the best intentions, candidly avows that the distance, the uncertainty of provisions in the beginning, with other circumstances, would make it infinitely more prudent in his poorer countrymen to endeavour to make out an existence nearer home than in Tarija. The remainder of the journey to Rio is described in the same pleasant vein, and with quite as good a proportion of miscellanies, as the wanderings of which we have now given some partial account.

Amid the details of personal adventures, there is a great deal of shrewd and strong observation, and hence the work is calculated to be eminently useful to persons at all interested about Sonth America. The temper and candour of Mr. Temple, at once shew him to be a person above being led away in his estimate of men and manners, by any undue considerations. Whatever he may do to check the hopes of those who looked with enthusiasm to the establishment of so many altars to liberty in the new world, his testimony goes very far indeed in favour of the moral dispositions of the people. The instances of hospitality, even amongst the lowest classes, and the warmth of their kindness, on any occasion where an appeal to humanity is made, as attested by our author, shew to what an extent they are endowed with some of the best virtues of our nature. He relates that in no part of the world has he observed such ardent affection amongst families as he has witnessed in South America. It is the custom, he says, for young married couples to live with the parents of either, and every little arrangement connected with the formation of new and permanent associations, is made as far as possible with the view of preventing a separation of the old members of a family. A similar custom, however, exists in France-at least amongst that class in which the progress of luxury has not swept away the traditionary feelings of domestic attachment. We have, then, to thank Mr. Temple for a very lively and agreeable book, upon a subject of very great interest; and though very amusing indeed for the most part, it is by no means so to the extent of prejudicing a sound and sensible view of matters which require to be treated with due gravity.

ART. X.- Remarks occasioned by Mr. Moore's Notices of Lord Byron's

Life. By the Right Honourable Lady Byron. London: 1830. In our Review of the “ Notices, Journals, &c.” of Lord Byron, by Mr. Moore, we ventured the expression of our opinion, that much as the biographer had shewn himself ready to suppress matter that was little calculated to raise the roble bard in the world's estimation, he yet had allowed in that work a great deal to remain which signally called for the expurgatory knife. Our notions, which were certainly not confined to any single point contained in the book, are somewhat strikingly confirmed by the expostulation which stands at the head of this article ; and we verily believe, that had Mr. Moore the slightest suspicion of the real state of the facts, he never would have sanctioned the publication of such loose and unmeasured charges against Lady Byron's family, as are contained in some of the letters from her noble husband inserted in that book. We cannot, it is only candid to state, get over the impression, that Mr. Moore, the poet laureate, we may well say, of the elegant sex, wrote and arranged his compilation under the influence of a strong prejudice against Lady Byron. Her Ladyship, as pictured in the quarto, is certainly a most unamiable being, The whole tenor of Mr. Moore's account of the marriage and separation of the parties, is to criminate her Ladyship, by insinuating that she was the first to take a decisive step in the affair of the separation; that, out of mere pride, she persevered in that measure, and, that as she was inflexible, whilst her husband was ready to be reconciled, it followed as a corollary from the old maxim, which declares that they never pardon who do the wrong, that the wrong in this instance was committed by the lady ; in short, the “Notices” are characterized inost strongly, as regards Lady Byron, by that combination of promptitude and timidity so well described in the line of the poet

“ Willing to wound, and yet afraid 10 strike.” But it is not on her own account that Lady Byron has departed from that mysterious silence, which, we are now satisfied, proceeded not less from the delicacy of her sex than from the sense of dignity belonging to conscious innocence. The reluctant exhibition which she now makes before the public, is the sacrifice which filial piety offers to the shades of parents whose memory is sought to be calumniated. History makes mention of a dumb boy, who, when his mother was attacked, burst the ligaments which obstructed his utterance in his effort to defend her.

*I have,' Lady Byron commences, I have disregarded various publications in which facts within my own knowledge have been grossly misrepresented ; but I am called upon to notice some of the erroneous statements proceeding froin one who claims to be considered as Lord Byron's confidential and authorised friend. Domestic details ought not to be intruded on the public attention: if, however, they are so intruded, the persons affected by them have a right to refute injurious charges. Mr. Moore has promulgated his own impressions of private events in which I was most nearly concerned, as if he possessed a competent knowledge of the subject. Having survived Lord Byron, I feel increased reluctance to advert to any circumstances connected with the period of my marriage ; nor is it now my intention to disclose them, further than may be indispensably requisite for the end I have in view. Self-vindication is not the motive which actuates me to this appeal, and the spirit of accusation is unmingled with it; but when the conduct of my parents is brought forward in a disgraceful light, by the passages selected from Lord Byron's letters, and by the remarks of his biographer, I feel bound to justify their characters from imputations which I know to be false.

This is sufficiently strong, but the biographer deserves it; for although he professes a prudent neutrality between the husband and wife, his insinuations against the latter are not the less calculated to be effective against her reputation. The first passage which Lady Byron specifies as containing 'an imputation' which she knows to be false,' is contained in a letter from Lord Byron to Mr. Moore, dated March 8th, 1816. Before, however, we come

[ocr errors]

with me, and satisfactorsting an

to this quotation, we shall take the liberty of making a few observations illustrative of the feelings of the biographer, both at the time when he received Lord Byron's letter, and when, in arranging his work, he had to furnish a commentary upon its contents. In the February of 1816, Mr. Moore heard reports of Lord Byron's separation, which induced him to make inquiries of his noble friend by letter. The reply of Lord Byron exhibits, in our opinion, any thing but the confidence of a friend. Instead of telling his correspondent that he was actually separated, and how the event occurred, he seems anxious to evade the question; and what he does say touching that interesting and prescribed subject, is singularly loose and unsatisfactory." All the world and my wife are at war with me, and have not yet crushed me, whatever they may do.” “Her" (Lady Noel's) “ daughter (Miss Milbanke that was) is, I believe, in London with her father.” These are the only words respecting his separation which Lord Byron thinks proper to yield to the pressing curiosity of Mr. Moore, who solicited information in the following importunate terms:-“Just communicate as much or as little as you think proper; only something I should like to know, as soon as possible, from yourself, in order to set my mind at rest with respect to the truth or falsehood of the report.” We have seen how yery little Lord Byron conceded to his inquisitive correspondent, even after a fortnight had intervened between the application and the reply. We only ask the reader's attention to the theory which Mr. Moore instantly jumped at, assisted by only such materials as his noble friend had supplied. After all,” says he, in his rejoinder to Lord Byron, “after all, your choice was the misfortune. : I never liked-but I'm here wandering, &c.” Now what was the prompt, decisive reply from the husband to this precipitate and exceedingly uncharitable judgment? It was this, “The fault was notno, nor even the misfortune-in my choice' (unless in choosing at all), for I do not believe-and I must say it, in the very dregs of all this bitter business—that there ever was a better, or even a brighter, a kinder, or a more amiable and agreeable being than Lady B. I never had, nor can have, any reproach to make her while with me. Where there is blame, it belongs to myself..

Here, then, is a testimony given under circumstances which at once stamp its character for genuineness. Nothing that Lord Byron has said,--nothing that Mr. Moore can insinuate, will ever wash away this beautiful tribute to Lady Byron's connubial heroism. “You made a bad choice,” exclaims Mr. Moore. “No,” mournfully responds the noble sufferer, “I was wrong in marrying at all; but, marrying at all, I could not have selected a better wife.” An angel out of heaven would scarcely have met with more agreeable treatment from one so passion-tost as his Lordship.' It is the curse of men possessing extraordinary genius, that they think the laws of society, particularly domestic society, should VOL. XIII.

2 R

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »