Page images

joto rum.

and not immediately pressed, the sheet anchors of our commercial juice begins to ferment, and is fit prosperity. only to be converted by distillation The ruin of the West India

At these seasons, there- islands, it is to be feared, would fore, and particularly in the latter, equally affect the tranquillity of every

hand that can work, however those colonies on the continent of feebly, is of importance to the South America, in the possession of planter; and the urgent demand for the English and the Dutch, which labour sometimes makes him wholly would tend in a very material degree insensible to acts of inhumanity, to enhance the value of the posses which, perhaps, at other times, might sions of Spain and Portugal on the appear to him in their true light, and same continent. But the restrictions, as odious and atrocious in the ex. the exactions, and the monopolies, treme. This is not the case in the under which the settlements of these Brazils. The season of planting, two powers are oppressed, and the on account of the longer continu- total want of energy in the inhabit. ance of rain, is at least two months ants, which necessarily results from longer here than in the West Indies; such a system, are so many invincible and the gradual ripening of the barriers against any improvement plauts protracted in the same pro. which favourablecircumstancesmight portion. It is not therefore found otherwise suggest. Few countriesa. to be necessary herc, as is the case ford so great a number or so great a in our colonies, to drive the slaves variety of valuable productions as to work with the crack or the lash the Brazils. Beside the articles de of the whip, or to regulate the scribed in eight ancient painting stroke of the bill or the hoe by the which are noticed in a former chapter measure of a forced song.

of the original work, the country proIf it should unfortuvately happen duces an inexhaustible supply of the that our colonies in the West Indies finest timber, suitable for all the may ultimately be involved in the purposes of civil and naval architecfate of St. Domingo, a considerable ture; but the cutting and disposia: mass of property will no doubt be of it is a monopoly of the crown lost to this country; but, at the The first object of every man wb same time, it cannot well be denied obtains a grant of woodland, is ? that this loss would be productive destroy the best trees as fast as } of a most important saving to the can : because he is not only forbid. state, by the number of British sub- den to send them to market, b1 jects who, in their removal to a may have the additional mortifica better climate, would escape a pre- tion of being obliged to entertas mature death. The most valuable the king's surveyor, whenever be productions of the West India thinks fit to pay him a visit, with a islands were originally transplanted numerous retiue, for the purpose from the East, where the labour of of felling the timber, which he, s slaves is not required, nor any ex- owner of the estate, has not th' traordinary waste of Europeans oc. power to prevent. Yet, notwithcasioned. To this source we may standing this discouraging monopolr again recar, and India and China together with the difficulty of tras may eventually prove the great port, on account of the badness ei the roads, and the scarcity of ship- evening preceding we observed an w rights, very fine vessels, equal in unusual bustle about the place, au size to an English 74 gun ship, have increased number of troops in and been constructed at Bahia or St. about the town, besides several huge Salvador, and sent afloat, at the ex- elephants of war. We therefore, on pence of about fifteen or sixteen our part, took the precaution of

pounds a ton, which in England sending the two armed brigs up the I would have cost from twenty-four river opposite to the town, to make to thirty-four pounds a.ton. a retreat, if necessary, the more Wheat, barley, Guinea corn, mil. secure.

secure. The day, however, passed let and all the European and tropical over in harmony and conviviality. grains are produced in the greatest We were conducted from the place abundance; and all species of pro. of landing to a temporary building, visions and supplies for victualling on a larger scale than that which we and storing ships, and fitting them had hitherto occasionally occupied. out for actual service at sea, are The two pitches of its roof were, procurable at moderate rates in supported by a row of bamboo poles almost all the ports of the Brazils. which, running down the middle, At Rio de Janeiro alone a navy divided the building into two parts. might be built, equipped, and fitted The sides and the roof were covered with every necessary for a sea voy- with thick double matts, and lined age, sufficient to command the navi. within with coarse Manchester cot. gation of the southern Atlantic ; tons, of various patterns. These and the fisheries, by proper encou- prints appeared to be new, but ragement, would create a nevor- damaged, and were probably the failing supply of seamen. Both the refuse of the China market, carried black whale and the spermaceti are thither by the Portuguese trader. plentiful on every part of the coast. In the first compartment of the

building was a long table covered

with linen, and laid out with plates, Account of a Theatrical Entertain. knives and forks, in the manner and

ment at Cochinchina. From the style of Europe. Our Portuguese Same.

friend, it seemed, by way of making

some atonement for the injury he The ambassador had not as yet had nearly, though perhaps not landed at the town of Turon; and maliciously, done us, had prevailed as the principal officers of that place on the Cochinchinese to allow him were extremely desirous of testifying to be master of the ceremonies their respect by a public entertain. for the day, concluding in his own ment to be given on the occasion, mind that, as the eating and drinkhis lordship fixed on the 4th of ing would be considered by us as the Jone for celebrating, with the Co. best part of the entertainment, he chinchinese on shore, the anniver. would be able to suit our taste ia sary of his majesty's birth-day. these respects better than the Co. Whether through accident, or in chinchinese.; and under this impresconsequence of former suspicions, sion, to do him justice, he bad or to give eclut to the entertain. spared neither tr le nor expence ment, did not appear, but on the in making lis dianer as complete as VOL. XLVIII.

3 K

circumstances would admit: and gaged in the midst of an historical thus, by his misplaced zeal, a good drama when we entered ; but on Cochinchinese entertainment was our being seated they broke of and entirely marred by a bad Portuguese coming forward, made before u dinner.

that obeisance of nine genuflexious A trifling circumstance occurred and prostrations, which we had been on our first entering the building, so very uncivil to omit to the Man. .which was rather en barassing to the darin and his painted skreen of Cochinchinese officers. These peo. silk; after which they returned to ple who, on most occasions, adopt their labours, keeping up an inces. the Chinese customs, had prepared sant noise and bustle during our a yellow skreen of silk, bearing, in stay. The heat of the day, the large painted characters, the name thermometer in the shade standing of the young adventurer at Hué. at 81° in the open air, and at least Whether they took it for granted, ten degrees higher in the building, or were so told by Manuel Duomé, the crowds that thronged in to see that the English, as a matter of the strangers, the horrible crash of course, would make the usual pro. the gongs, kettle.drums, rattles, strations to this shade of majesty, trumpets, and squalling flutes, were we did not inquire, but it was very so stunning and oppressive, that evident they expected it; for when nothing but the novelty of the scene the general commanding at Turon, could possibly have detained us for and who sat cross-legged on a bench a moment, The most entertaining as proxy for his master, observed as well as the least noisy part of the that, having made our bow, we filed theatrical exhibition was a sort of off and took our seats regardless of interlude, performed by three young the yellow skreen, he appeared to women, for the amusement, it would be greatly disconcerted, and could seem, of the principal actress, whe hardly be said to recover himself the sat as a spectator in the dress and remainder of the day. His disap- character of some ancient queen ; pointment in missing the nine pros. whilst an old eunuch, very whimsi. trations seemed to operate on his cally dressed, played his antic mind as if he had been sunk so many tricks like a scaramouch or buffoon degrees in the estimation of his in a harlequin entertainment. The brother officers. He took little dialogite in this part differed entirely potice when the rank and station from the querulous and nearly were explained, though at his own monotonous recitative of the Chi. disire, which each of us held in the nese, being light and comic, and embassy, until the Chinese interpre. occasionally interrupted by cheer. ier announced captain Parish of the ful airs, which generally concluded artillery as their overseer of the with a common chorus. These airs, great guns," upon which his at. rude and unpolished as they were, reation was suddenly roused, and appeared to be regular composibe seemed the whole day to regard tions, and were sung in exactly mea. this officer as a very formidable sured time. One in particular at. and a dangerous man.

tracted olir attention, whose slow In the farther division of the builo melancholy movement breathed that Jing a party of comedians was een kind of plaintive softness so peculiar


to the native airs of the Scotch, to among them pieces of copper which indeed it bore a very close money : for this purpose, the Manresemblance. The voices of the darins brought us some hundred women were shrill and warbling, pieces strung on cords, of the same but some of their cadences were not kind as those which are current in without melody. The instruments China. By the Cochinchinese the at each pause gave a few short tlou.. regular drama is called Troien, or rishes, till gradually overpowered a relation of histories. To the ope. by the swelling and deafening gong. ' ratic interlade of recitative, air, and Kuowing nothing of the language, dancing they give the name of Songwe were of course as ignorant of the sang ; and a grand chorus accompasubject as the majority of an Eoglish nied with the gong, the kettle-drum, audience is of an Italian opera. In castanets, trumpets and other noisy the shed of Turon, however, as well instruments, is called the Ring-rang. as in the theatre of the Haymarket, The ambassador had ordered his the eye was amused as well as the band to attend on shore, where they ear. At each repetition of the chorus played a few light airs; but the the three Cochinchinese graces dis. Cochinchinese had no ear for the played their fine slender shapes in soft and harmonious chords of Eurothe mazy dance, in which, however, pean music. Their Ring-rang and the feet were the least concerned. their Song-sang were infinitely supe--By different gestures of the head, rior in their estimation, and were body, and arms, they assumed a the more applauded in proportion variety of figures ; and all their as they were the more noisy. motions were exactly adapted to the measure of the music. The burden of the chorus was not un pleasing, On the Character of the Cochinchia and was long recollected on the

From the same. quarter-deck of the Lion, till the novelty which succeeded in China Cochinchina, until a few centuries effaced it from the memory. Jn the after the Christian æra, formed a latter country, however, we saw no part of the Chinese empire; and the dancing, neither by men nor women, general features of the natives, many which makes it probable that this of the customs, the written language, part of the Cochinchinese entertain. the religious opinions and ceremoment must be an amusement of their nies still retained by them, indicate own invention, or introduced from distinctly their Chinese origin. In the western part of India.

the northern provinces, however, No entrance money is ever ex- they are more strongly marked than pected in the theatres of China or in those to the southward. The Cochinchina. The actors are either same characteristics are likewise disa hired to play at private entertain. cernible, but in a fainter degree, in ments, at a fixed sum for the day ; Siam which is properly Se-yang, or or they exhibit before the public in the western country; in Pegu, pro. a temporary shed, entirely exposed bably Poquo, or the northern pro. in front. On such occasions, instead vince; and in Ava and the rest of of cheering the performers with the petty states now comprehended empty plaudits, the audience throw under the Birman empire, where,

3 K 2



however, from an intermixture with that are amply endowed, whose the Malays of Malacca and the buildings are extensive and enclosed Hindoos of the upper and eastern with walls for their better security. regions of Hindostan, the traces of The houses in general near Turonthe Chinese character are in many bay consisted only of four mod respects nearly obliterated. The walls, covered with thatch ; and such Cochinchinese of Turon, notwith- as are situated on low grounds, in standing the loose manners of the the neighbourhood of rivers, are women which I shall presently have usually raised upon four posts of occasion to notice, and the tendency wood, or pillars of stone, to keep which all revolutions in governments out vermin as well as inundatious. have to change, in a greater or less The dress of the Cochinchinese degree, the character of the people, bas undergone not only an altera. have preserved in most respects a tion, but a very considerable close resemblance to their original, abridgment. They wear Deither though in some points they differ thick shoes, nor quilted stockings, from it very widely. They per- nor clumsy sattin boots, nor peuj. foctly agree, for instance, in the coats stuffed with wadding ; but etiquette observed in marriage and always go barelegged and generally funeral processions and ceremonies, barefooted. Their long black hair, in the greater part of religious super- like that of the Malays, is usually stitions, in the offerings usually pre- twisted into a knot, and fixed on the sented to idols, in the consultation crown of the head. This, indeed, of oracles, and in the universal pro. is the ancient mode in which the pensity of inquiring into futurity by Chinese wore their hair, until the the casting of lots; in charming Tartars, on the conquest of the away diseases; in the articles of country, compelled them to submit diet and the mode of preparing to the ignominy of shaving the whole them ; in the nature of most of their head except a little lock of hair public entertainments and amuse. behind. ments ; in the construction and On the precepts of Confucius is devices of fire-works; in instru- grounded the moral system for the ments of music, games of chance, regulation of the conduct in this cock-fighting and quail-fighting. country as well as in China. Here, The spoken language of Cochin. however, to the exterior forms of china, though on the same principle, morality very little regard seems to is so much changed from the original be paid. In China these precepts as to be nearly, if not wholly, unin. are gaudily displayed in golden cha. telligible to a Chinese; but the racters in every house, in the streets written character is precisely the and public places ; but here they same. All the temples which fell are seldom seen and never heard. under our observation were very Were they, indeed, repeated in their humble buildings; and we saw no original language, and they will specimens either of the heavy curved scarcely bear a translation,) they roofs, or of the towering pagodas, would not be understood. Their so frequently met with in China; conduct, in general, seems to be but it seems there are, in many as little influenced by the solema parts of the country, monasteries precepts of religion as by those of


« EelmineJätka »