Зображення сторінки

night. Of late, however, the introduction of more skilled methods of capture has sensibly thinned them. And no wonder, for I was told of one man taking in a single night upwards of six hundred lobsters, getting only about sixty cents, or about half-a-crown per hundred. The fishermen in this trade also are very much in the hands of large capitalists, who supply the gear and tackle, purchase the shellfish, boil then in great caldrons, and tin' them for export to the United States and to Europe. It is impossible that any supply can long support the present rate of capture without being very speedily reduced. But the shores along which the lobsters are found are so extensive that, if proper regulations are made and enforced as to a close time and as to the size of fish, they may continue for many years to yield a profitable return.

The northern shores of the Bay of Chaleur, although higher than the southern, are, nevertheless, low and far from picturesque. Small farms, divided by straight lines, with wooden houses of various shapes and sizes, cover a gentle declivity, which ends in a steep bank or an insignificant precipice of red sandstone. But at one point, Cape Bonaventure, the carboniferous strata have been thrown on edge, and rise into a high and sharp-pointed cliff, which has been cut off by the action of the sea and of floating ice from the mainland. This island is perpendicular on all sides, very narrow, and about three hundred feet high, with an undulating platform at the top, inhabited by thonsands of Cormorants and other sea fowl, where they are absolutely secure from molestation. Through this great cliff the sea has worked its way in an arched cave, which pierces from one side to the other, and through which, at high water, a boat can row. It is from this peculiar feature, I presume, that the place is called Percé. When the colours of the sunset were thrown on this island, with its splintered plates of rock, its deep cracks and fissures, and its own fine local tints, it formed one of the most curious and beautiful objects I have ever seen on any coast.

A drive of ten miles up the valley of the Cascapediac, and a descent from that point to the sea in canoes, enabled us to see another of the most lovely rivers of Canada. Smaller than the Restigouche, but with a greater extent of fine alluvial soil between its banks and the surrounding hills, fringed consequently by forests with a larger proportion of deciduous trees, its windings presented scenes of almost ideal beauty, as we floated down the river on a delicious evening in the beginning of July. Some of the Elms were particularly fine, and Maple, Ash, and Black Birch, with thickets of a feathery Willow, hung over or fringed the water with every variety of foliage, whilst some parklike openings in the wood, and occasional clearings and comfortable farms, gave their own interest and their own charm. We were most hospitably received at our farthest point by Mr. Woodman, a farmer who had cleared and cultivated a large extent of fine meadow land on the banks of the river. His capacious by a most kind and comfortable Scotch wife from Ayrshire, afforded us welcome rest and refreshment, after the jolting of one of the roughest of Canadian roads. But not even the attractions of my countrywoman's delicious milk and home-made bread could keep me long from the banks of that glorious river, with the crimson Finches, which were flitting among its Birches and Alders, the Striped Squirrels running under drift logs, and the great Belted Kingfisher plunging into its eddies. Although somewhat far from kirk and market,' the whole place seemed the perfection of a happy agricultural home. Viret memoria!

On our return home, we passed by the Intercolonial Line to St. John's, the capital of New Brunswick, and embarked there in a steamer for Boston. The valley along which the line passes in approaching St. John's, called Sussex Vale, is drained by the Kenabecacis river. With its large lakelike expanses of water, its mixture of rock, and its abundance and variety of wood, it was much prettier than any description of New Brunswick had led me to expect. In St. John's itself the effects of the recent great fire are only too apparent. But rebuilding and revival had begun, and the effects of these were fortunately even more obvious to the eye.

One of the thick fogs so common on the coasts of North America shrouded the low rocky shores of New Brunswick as we passed, and when it cleared off we were running along the coast of the State of Maine. We found ourselves then threading our way among an archipelago of beautiful little islands, rocky and wooded, full of comfortable little farms, and villa residences, and fishing stations, with multitudes of boats of all sorts and sizes rowing or sailing between them and the mainland. The whole was bathed in glorious sunlight, the sea was unruffled, and the sky showed on every side those immense spaces of horizon which are so rare in the more vaporous atmosphere of Great Britain. The coast of Maine, though generally low, is far from being flat, and is deeply indented by a multitude of creeks and inlets, which afford a charming intricacy and variety to its shores. After a splendid sunset night fell upon an ocean with a surface of polished glass, and for a long time I watched the shoals of mackerel darting away from under the steamer's bow in courses which were marked by miniature rockets of phosphorescent light. The sea seemed alive with fish, and yet we saw very few fishing-boats engaged in taking them.

We entered the magnificent harbour of Boston on one of the first very hot days of the cold and late summer of 1879. It is certainly one of the very finest harbours in the world : immensely capacious, absolutely sheltered, and easily defensible. As the virtual birthplace of American Independence, it has an historic interest as remarkable as its beauty.

The main object of my visit to Boston was accomplished in the kind and hospitable reception I received from Mr. Longfellow. I did

The great

Cambridge is the very house, timber-built, and now more than 150 years old, which for several months was the head-quarters of General Washington when or soon after he first took the command of the American army. In the society of Mr. Longfellow and of his family, of Mr. Norton, and of my old friend Mr. Richard Dana, we spent a delightful summer evening under the shadows of a deep verandah and of umbrageous trees, with the lights of sunset streaming across distant meadows upon the picturesque and comfortable house. I can only express my earnest hope that it may long continue to be, as it has so long been, the abode of genius and of virtue.

I have already mentioned that few things in the New World surprised me more than the appearance of the country along the short railway line between Boston and Fall River. extent of what may be called uncleared or wild land in one of the oldest states of the Union is very curious. It is not, of course, primæval forest; but to a large extent it is what in Australia would be called “bush,' and in India ‘jungle. It is land wholly uncultivated-much of it marshy, or covered with thickets of pretty but useless wood. Here, as everywhere else in the Eastern States, it is obvious that the soils of poorer quality do not pay for cereal cultivation, or indeed for any cultivation at all. I should have thought that, if for nothing else, much of this waste surface might be profitably used for sheep pasture.

But the truth is that the inexhaustible areas of land, which are naturally rich, in the far west, and the products of which can be cheaply conveyed to the coast by the railway system, determine all industry and all enterprise in that direction. Thus even in the heart of Massachusetts, and in the immediate vicinity of some of the oldest and most populous cities of the Union, it is not worth while to lay out much capital on the reclamation of land comparatively poor.

Under the hospitable care of Mr. Cyrus Field, we enjoyed a most agreeable visit to Newport, a watering place on the coast of Rhode Island which is the favourite resort of the most cultivated society in the United States. The handsome villas and houses of Newport are surrounded by well-kept lawns and shrubberies, and the principal drives are pleasantly shaded, in the New England fashion, by flourishing trees. On the Ocean Drive,' which extends for some miles along the rocky shore, one can enjoy the freshest breezes of the Atlantic, which here washes the low cliffs, and penetrates into the little creeks, with waves of the purest water and of the most lovely green. We visited the venerable old church, and saw the pulpit from which the great Bishop Berkeley had discoursed to the colonists of Rhode Island, and a pleasant road along the shore to the northward led us to the rocks where he is said to have composed his Minute Philosopher. It gave me great pleasure to renew my acquaintance with Mr. Bancroft, who so long and so worthily represented his Government in London. But it was with deep regret that I missed father, whose zealous pursuit of science, and whose high attainments in many departments of knowledge, promise to give fresh renown to an already illustrious name.

Our journey from Newport to New York was performed by sea, in one of those gigantic steamers which are more like immense floating hotels than boats of any kind, and which are peculiar to America. To see one of these immense vessels approach a pier or quay, on which one is standing, is quite a new sensation. It is the pier which seems to move, and not the vessel, which from the vastness of its proportions cannot be accepted, as it were, by the eye, as a moving body. It is impossible by any effort to get rid of this illusion. The momentum of a floating body of such vast weight is, of course, enormous, and the slightest collision with any structure on the shore would be correspondingly destructive either to the vessel or to the pier. Consequently they have to come up to these places with the utmost caution, and nothing but great experience and great skill enables them to be brought alongside with the requisite nicety. By the kind permission of the Captain we were allowed to be in the wheel-house in coming up to the pier at Newport. Although the water was perfectly calm, and there was no wind which could affect even that huge structure, there were six men at the wheel. The approach was made in perfect silence, with an intentness of attention on the part of the officers in command which showed the great care requisite in the operation. In many respects these great steamers are as comfortable as they can be - excellent sleeping cabins, excellent cooking, great speed, and the utmost attention on the part of the service on board. But in my opinion they have one great fault, and that is that very much too small a space of uncovered deck is left for the enjoyment of the scenery and of the fresh air. Almost the whole area is occupied by immense saloons, with all the closeness and stuffiness which are inseparable from cabins, however large, especially when they are occupied by a great number of passengers of all kinds and classes, and when they are also lighted with gas. Only a very small space at either end of the vessel is perfectly uncovered and open to the air. The top of the whole structure, the roof of the • Noah's Ark'-the hurricane deck-is not available for passengers, and the gigantic walking beam of the engine, which swings its arms on the top of every American steamer, would make it a dangerous walk for careless people.

The intense heat which brooded over New York during the very short stay I was able to make there rendered it a work of no small labour to see even the Cypriote collection of General Cesnola and the Museum of Natural History. The first of these ought to have been secured for the British Museum. Its great interest lies in the close links of connection which it supplies between the Art of Assyria, of Phænicia, of Egypt, and of Greece. At New York it is, for the present at least, entirely isolated and separated from all other collections which are related to any one of its many-sided aspects. it for a sum small in comparison with its great value in the history of ancient Art. It must be added that the wealthy and enterprising citizens who secured it for the New World show a proper appreciation of the prize, and that the illustrations and descriptions of the many curious and beautiful objects it contains, which have been executed in America under General Cesnola's directions, are worthy of their theme.

Even a visit of two days to a city like New York leaves some impressions on the mind which cannot be very wide of the truth. It is impossible not to be struck by the great wealth and luxury displayed both in its public and in its private buildings. It has been a commonplace to speak of the growth of luxury in the Old World, and of the increasing separation between the rich and poor. It is often said that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. I have always doubted the fact. The increase of wealth in recent years in England and in Europe generally has been mainly, I believe, an increase in the number of moderate incomes and an increase in the wages of labour. But if the common saying is at all true anywhere, I should say that the appearances of it are most conspicuous in such a city as New York. Costly and ostentatious houses are far more common than in London. Shops for the sale of luxuries are on an enormous scale. I doubt if there exists anywhere in London, or in any Capital of the Old World, such an establishment as that of Tiffany, in New York, for the sale of jewellery and other articles of great cost. It is an establishment, too, it must be added, not more remarkable for its enormous extent than for the admirable taste of its designs. Other stores' on a similar scale, for the sale of women's attire, indicate the scale on which luxurious expenditure prevails among the richer classes of America. And it must be so. The growing wealth of America is founded on the secure possession of every element which can yield boundless returns, not only to industry, but, above all, to capital shrewdly used. In the Old World those who gain great profits are accustomed to look to the future, and not to think only of the present. They seek investments which will be a permanent record of their success, and be a lasting influence in the society to which they belong. They buy an estate, they build cottages, they drain and reclaim land. In the New World this incentive to saving does not exist. Fortunes are expended as rapidly as they are made. A few individuals of great public spirit found or endow public institutions, or become munificent supporters of scientific research. But such persons are, and always must be, a very small minority. The tendency of things is to lavish expenditure, and to luxurious living. I am not now arguing as to which of the two systems is the best. One great moralist of the last century has said in a celebrated passage that 'whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future predominate over the present advances us in the dignity of thinking beings.' But many political philosophers do not accept this doctrine, and are jealous of the wealth or of the

« НазадПродовжити »