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ENTERPRISE OP ENGLISHMEN.
The capital and skill of our countrymen appear as'busily at work in the New as in the Old World, and we are constantly meeting with accounts of the various projects in which they are engaged. One .Englishman, named Thompson, has been introducing an improved mode of working the mines of Zipaquira; another has obtained a license from the Republic to establish steam-boats on the Magdalena; a third party have been exploring the Isthmus of Panama, with the view of opening a communication between the two seas; and a fourth adventurer has obtained a monopoly of the fisheries on the coast,
"Such are the principal facts we have been able to collect from Mr. Mollien's Travels in Columbia ; and, in conclusion' we cannot help expressing our regret, that the' task of describing this interesting community has not fallen to the lot of a more acute and impartial observer. The general merits of the Columbians may be ascertained by a much safer process than the perusal of our author. In Columbia, .where the government is truly republican, the acts of government are the acts of the people—and how much have they not performed since their revolution 1 They have raised the native Indians from a state of servitude to the rank of freemen ; they have adopted measures for the entire abolition of slavery; they have removed the restrictions which fettered industry and commerce; and finally, as a proof of the general wisdom and economy of their public administration, the whole expenses of government, general and provincial, do not exceed 100,000'. per annum. We ought to observe, that Mollien's book is full of repetitions and contradictions, and a considerable portion filled with tedious details about himself. .
Autobiography.—This species of memoir writing is often impartial, and affords a better insight into character than if written by an indifferent person. Selflove makes us communicative, and we disclose little traits, which though venial in our own eyes, appear altogether different to others. Next to a person writing his own history, the worst thing that can befall him is, to have it written by a particular friend. We should have known little of the foibles of Johnson, had it not been for the gossiping admiration of Boswell; and the same may be observed on the memoirs of Curran by his son—of Edgeworth by his accomplished daughter—and the account of Napoleon by Las Casas.
QUALIFICATIONS FOR A SECRETARY OF STATE.
It being related to general Monk, the firsf duke of Albermarle, that a person was not fit for a secretary of state. "Not fit," replied Monk, " why he can speak French and write short-hand."
Companies for establishing railways are rapidly forming all over the kingdom. The great northern rail-road is to communicate between London, Manchester, Hull, and the principal manufacturing towns in the north. The Norfolk and Suffolk rail-road company propose constructing a railway from London to Norwich, through Chelmsford and Colchester, with branches to Harwich, Ipswich, Bury St. Edmund's, Lynn, and Yarmouth. ,The probable cost of a straightline from London to Norwich, is 555,000/. In Yorkshire, a rail way has been projected from Bradford by way of Leeds to Selby, whence the line is to be continued on the east side of the Ouseto Hull. Such is the popularity of these projections, that shares in the Liverpool and Manchester rail-road are now at a premium of 100/. each ; and the demand for them is so great, that they are advertised for.—Qu. What is to become of the canals, if a speedy and cheap conveyance is established all over the kingdom by means of railways 1
When the steam coach is brought fully into use, practice will teach us many things respecting it, of which theory lea'ves us ignorant. With the facilities for rapid motion which it will afford, however, we think we are not too sanguine, in expecting to see the present extreme rate of travelling doubled. We shall then he carried at, the rate of 400 miles a day, with all the ease we now enjoy in a steam boat, but without the annoyance of sea sickness, or the danger of being burned or drowned. It is impossible to anticipate the effects of such an extraordinary facility of communication, when generally introduced. From Calais to Petersburg, or Constantinople, for instance, would be but a journey of five days; and the tour of Europe might be accomplished in a shorter time than our grandfathers took to travel to London and home again.—Scotsman.
'THE DRAMA. The Lord of Misrule now bears absolute sway at the metropolitan theatres, and we should be sorry by any criticism of ours, to interfere with his drolleries at this festive season.
We must also, for the present, defer our notice of public lectures, and institutional intelligence.
This interesting ruin is situate in the vale of Nedd, Glamorganshire, and forms one of the picturesque objects which adorn that district, being distant about a mile westward from the town of Neath, near the road leading to Swansea; whence the garb of antiquity which it wears is too attractive not to allure the traveller to a closer inspection. The situation must have been delightful before the establishment of numerous iron-works, coal-pits, and smelting-houses, which, by the smoke of fires continually burning, have given to this once beautiful retreat the appearance of the domain of Pluto.
The abbey was built by Richard de Grenville, one of the Fitzhamon knights, who came into South Wales in the year 1090, to assist Einion and Jestyn against Rhys ap Tewdwr, the prince of that country, in the reign of William Rufus. It was for Cistercian monks, and dedicated to the Holy Trinity : the house formed an admired seat of the Hobbys family about the year 1650. "A part of the ruin is composed of rough stone,with lancet windows, which form the north side of a triangle. The gate, hall, and gallery,still remain, having in front of a contiguous room the arms of England and John of Gaunt. The ichnography of the old church may be distinctly traced. The nuns' dining room has been shown here with the roof entire, supported by Saxon, or rather early Norman pillars and niches. A dungeon is also to be seen, which, according to the legend of the abbey, was the place of confinement for recreant damsels.
No adequate idea can be formed from the present remains of the original extent and magnificence of this edifice, as foundations of buildings are to be traced in the adjacent grounds for a considerable distance, and some of the houses in the town were evidently connected with the main building. At the dissolution, the revenues of Neath abbey amounted, according to Speed, to 150/. 4*. 9d., and contained only eight monks.
#rogr«ra of f&Mie."
Although the power of "sweet sounds" has been felt in all ages, among the more refined as well as the less cultivated of mankind, yet there have always existed some tuneless mortals, who either from organic defect, or entire ignorance of the principles of harmony, have disputed the dignity of this delightful science, and have even gone so far as to refuse to rank it among our rational pursuits. With these unfortunate individuals we shall not presume to enter into controversy. But there are others again, while they admit a musical ear to be a valuable gift, and the sensation awakened by euphony to be one of the pleasures which add to the value of life, deny that the science of harmony soars to the regions of intellect; while others, though they do not debase it to the station of a mere flatterer of the external sense, will by no means allow it a higher dignity than that of the occupant of a rank between the grossness of sensual, and the elevation of mental entertainment. That music, abstractedly exercised, and separately heard, comes, in a degree, under this latter description, we are not unwilling to allow. As "far as its inferior office of amusing the ear is concerned, its gratification is scarcely more than sensitive; but when the scientific profundity of its harmonic combinations, modulations, and evolutions; the expressive and stronglyexciting power of its finer and nobler melodies, and the union of their charm with the kindred magic of poetry,—when these, pin their just and due proportions, are considerately weighed, it will be evident that music was designed for, and is qualified to effect, a much more exalted purpose than that of indulging our capacity for the pleasures of sense.
That music, in its infancy, like every other science, like the human understanding itself in its merely natural state, was feeble and uncreative—that its results were as limited as the mind's intelligence, cannot be doubted ; the rude breathings of the perforated reed, the vague vibrations of the ill-distended string, were no doubt upon a par with the tuneless ear and undeveloped intellect. But as the beauties of nature drew the attention and awakened the admiration of man, her occult properties excited his inquiry, knowledge opened upon him in the form of science, and music, properly so called, was among the first of his acquisitions. The dawn of mental intelligence, like the first rays of the natural day, displayed itself in the East; spreading thence to Egypt, and thence again to Greece: the taste and genius of the latter country burst forth in the high improvement of what, till then, was but imperfectly understood; and art and science assumed a degree of splendour that immortalized their new cultivators. Grammar, poetry, and rhetoric, oratory, history, and painting, sculpture, architecture, and music, were cultivated with an ardour, and polished with a care, that evinced the propitious aptitude of the Greeks for advancing the nobler ornaments of life. They were all the fond objects of the patient and ingenious pursuit of that elegant people; their prolific invention created for the arts divine protectors: and it is worthy of remark, that though each of the Muses was invested solely with the presidency of her own particular accomplishment, they were all represented singing. The fine discernment of the natives of ancient Greece perceived the harmonic affinity of music with the proportions that produced beauty in the other sciences, and regarded them all as consisting of a species of musical symmetry. Cherished by the Greeks with a love that ensured its perfection, and produced from it effects the accounts of which have astonished later times, we are not to wonder, that music passed with the geniu3 of poetry to
the Italian shore, and thence to the other countries of Europe. That, in common with literature and general science, it partially slept during the prevalence of Gothic ignorance, cannot be disputed; but its own captivating character preserved it in a degree; it never sunk into so profound a lethargy as to be lost, even among the northern barbarians; it lived in their hymns, their war strains, and their love songs. Nature that had been its parent, was its nurse ; though, as a science, it might he said to be in a trance, as a wild untutored ebullition of joy, grief and exultation, it was far from slumbering. As mental light first arose, so, at length it returned, in the shape of science; and amid the revivification of intellectual accomplishments, no one was more conspicuous than that of musical theory. The Church took it under its especial auspices; its succeeding patroness was the drama; of devotion and the passions of piety and pleasure, it was the protege' and the protector. Religion ejaculated, felicity rejoiced, and misery wept in regulated melody; and nature heard the echoes of her own voice in the intonations of science.
Once arrived at a certain point, music advanced with an accelerated motion. In every country, profound theorists and accomplished 'composers arose in rapid succession, and modern Europe became a musical theatre. Italy had her Marcellos, Bononcinis, and Guglielmis; Germany her Handels, her Mullers, and herBachs; France her Lullys and her Chorons; and England her Blows and her Purcells. Refimng upon the styles of these, more finished, though less powerful masters, have carried the art of composition into all the recesses of harmonic intricacy, and all the delicacy of melodial sweetness. If in the extravagance of abrupt and extraneous modulation, and the semitonic artificiality of air, the moderns have done much of what their predecessors would have been ashamed of doing, they have also, in many respects, accomplished what former masters could not have achieved. If sometimes they are abstruse beyond comprehension, and more rapid and fantastic than florid or beautiful, they also, in numerous instances, produce a degree of pathos and elegance of which the renowned musicians of a century back had little idea. If, generally speaking, they fail in grandeur and sublimity, they often exhibit much real fervour and energy; and if their melodies are not strongly and analogously featured, there is, for the most part, an ease, a smoothness, and a taste in their passages, distinctly considered, which powerfully flatter the ear, while the ingenuity and appropriateness of their ac
companiments illustrate and enforce the sentiment of the poetry, and contribute to the emotion of the hearer.
In this latter province of the art, the old school has no comparative excellencies with the modern. Neither the brilliant animation, nor the 'subtle softness, that alternately pervade the vocal compositions of a Mozart, a Cimarosa, or Paesiello, were within the conception of what we now call the ancient masters. The present scores are infinitely more elaborate, more variegated, and more picturesque. The instruments are taught to assist, without covering the voice, and to adorn, without disguising the character of the air, the general aspect of which they imitate, without absolutely borrowing its features. We admire the dignity and solidity of the old school, its massy harmony and majestic fugue, its affluent fulues3 and artful conglomerations of parts j but do not suffer them to come between our applause and the high title to it possessed by the compositions of our own times. If we enjoy the sober grandeur that characterises the performances of the concert of ancient music, we do not receiveHhe less delight from the fervid floridity of the Italian opera, the masterly richness displayed at the Philharmonic, nor the occasional musical excellence that adorns our national drama; Our ears are open to merit at all times 'and all places; and it is with no small pleasure and pride that we feel justified in pronouncing England to be as well stored with fine compositions, native and foreign, and as richly furnished with first-rate performers, as most countries in Europe. Every cathedral has its choir, every principal town its concert-room, every parish church its organ, and almost every respectable house its piano-forte. We nave a Royal Academy of music, an amateur in every well-educated man, and most of our ladies play or sing, or do both: in a word—England is a musical country.
HEColLECTIONS OF DE LolME.
The author of the once celebrated Essay on the English Constitution, has shared the fate of many other writers of the last age, and descended from that eminence which he formerly occupied. I presume every generation must be considered wise in its day, and I do not consider myself sufficiently a politician to call in question the judgment of the present; but I should imagine there must be merit of no ordinary kind in the work of De Lolme, otherwise it would not have passed through so many editions within a few years after it was first published, and received the commendation
of such able men as lords Camden and Chatham, and even the author of the Letters of Junius. It is not, however, of the writings of De Lolme I intend to speak, but of the individual.
I remember Mr. De Lolme very well, having seen him many times between the year 1795 and the period of his death in 1807. He was a jolly, portly, and gentlemanly looking person, though by no means remarkable for a showy exterior. Both his accent and appearance bespoke him a foreigner. Though grave in his external deportment, his conversation was uncommonly facetious; and if the graces did not appear in his manners, his turn for pleasantry and humour has been compared to that of Burke, for the felicity of his illustrations. In domestic life he was remarkably fond of privacy and retirement, so that very few indeed of the small number of his acquaintance knew his place of residence, or dared to inquire of him. However, for several years before he retired from England, it was well known that to be near a dairy, was with him an indispensable condition; as was likewise the entrance of the house by an unbolted door, without the trouble of knocking for admission, and thus attracting notice.
Several years previous to the adoption of this habit, he had lodged at the London coffee-house on Ludgate-hill, and at a bookseller's in Shoe-lane. With this person, who died some years before him, he was uncommonly intimate. I recollect that, in the early period of the French revolutionary war, he would frequently call in upon the editor of an evening paper in the city, and converse upon passing events very freely, giving his opinion upon the past, and often on the future operations of the armies, with striking and remarkable accuracy. These remarks were never lost upon the person to whom they were principally addressed.—During one of these visits, a person belonging to this office was so imprudent as to express a kind of wish to become acquainted with Mr. De lolme's address, the consequence of this false step was a suspension of his attendance for several months.
In his passion for privacy, he was once heard speaking of Black-boy-alley, situated between Field-lane and Smithfield, as a preferable spot; and almost the last time I saw him, was in Brick-lane, Spitalfields. It was about seven o'clock upon a summer evening, I was standing with Mr. Wagstaff, the bookseller, at his door, Mr. De Lolme passed us, taking his direction towards the fields.—The question, "Do you know that gentleman 1" to me was almost involuntary: "No, I do not," "That is the celebrated De Lolme, author of the Constitution of England." As Mr. W. remarked that he passed his door much ahout the same time every evening, I concluded he had chosen a resilience in this quarter, on account of its proximity to some favourite cow-house or secluded dwelling; but do not recollect to have heard any more of him, till it was supposed some fortunate turn in the lottery had enabled him to retire to the neighbourhood of the Richterberg in Switzerland, where the village he occupied and two others were swept away by the fall of part of that mountain in September, 1806. Mr. De Lolme died near this place in December, 1607.
All the portraits I have seen of him have too much effeminacy in the outlines of his face. Although his work on the English Constitution is considered by many little better than an ingenious dream, which had no existence except in the author's imagination; yet there is one chapter, entitled «l a more inward view of the English government," that one might suppose would be sufficiently searching and practical even for modern taste. He was author of several other works on subjects of politics and jurisprudence ; the last, I remember, was published in 1787, entitled " Observations on the late National Embarrassments."
Of this curious animal, only two species have been discovered, one inhabiting South America, the other the island of Sumatra. The rarity of the Indian tapir, of which we believe there are only two specimens in England, that in the select but valuable museum of the East India Company, and another in the College of Surgeons, induces us to commence our sketches in Natural History with an account of this singular quadruped: we will first speak of the tapir of the western hemisphere.
The American Tapir [Tapirus Americames.—Cuvier) is one of the largest quadrupeds that has hitherto been observed in South America, being about the size of a small cow. Its general appearance is heavy and massive, and greatly resembling the hog; it is furnished with a long flexible proboscis, resembling in some respects that of the elephant, though it is much shorter. Its interior is hollow, and divided into a double tube, covered with a strong tendinous membrane, furnished
with a number of mucous'lacuna;, and is enclosed in a fleshy mass, enveloped by the skin. The proboscis extends far beyond the lower jaw, and is capable of being contracted and extended at pleasure; the sides are furrowed lengthways, and the animal is able to lay hold of any object, however diminutive, and convey it to its mouth. The tapir is found in the woods and on the banks of rivers. It sleeps during the day in the thickest and most obscure parts of the forest, adjacent to the banks of lakes and rivers, into which h plunges when disturbed, and walks at the bottom with perfect ease; it wanders on land during the mght, and feeds on various vegetables, but principally grass, sugar-canes, and fruit. It is an animal of a mild and gentle disposition, easily tamed, and when domesticated becomes very familiar, and will take any thing that is offered. In a state of nature it is timorous, salacious, sluggish, and slow-paced, but swims and dives remarkably well. This species has roundish and erect ears; the eyes very small; neck short and thick, and furnished with a bristly mane, of about an inch and a half