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His health broke down. He had been nine years in Rome, and had never suffered from the climate. But now sickness came. Change of air was all the doctors were able to prescribe. He wished to go home, and home he went. “ To finish our life at the place where we received it, seems to be a natural wish ; and it may be but right to pay this tribute to that spot on earth.” These words occur in one of his letters, and may often have been the theme of his graver thoughts. The journey homewards was sad. He could not bear to make it in the same coach with his wife and his two boys, but was obliged to ride on horseback. Though taking a long rest now and then, his state became worse and worse. The artists of Florence and Milan welcomed him with speeches and laurel-wreaths, those of Zürich with a torchlight procession; and when he had arrived at his loving friends', news reached him from Karlsruhe that the place of a court-painter, with sufficient salary, and but six months' work a year, was waiting for him ; but it was too late. All that love, science, and care could do for him was done, but in vain. ' He died on Ascension-day, 1812, not thirty-three years of age.
Stuttgart, the town in which he was born and in which he died, must be proud to possess his three greatest works : “David,” and " Apollo amongst the Shepherds,” both in the Stuttgart Gallery; and his masterpiece," Noah," in the king's palace. Other pictures, studies, sketches, and drawings of his hand are in the possession of his only living son at Stuttgart; and other smaller pictures and many portraits are dispersed here and there, in Prussia, Hanover, and Russia.
“Of another nature than the fiery and high-aiming Schick, Wächter, this mild and gentle nature, nevertheless, sets forth the character of a true artist, whom the high idea of his art—which stands before his soul as something holy-raises and supports even in the days of want and trouble.” Thus writes Professor Haakh. Wächter was born in 1762, and, like Schick, was educated in the famous Karlsschule, so closely connected with the memory of Schiller. “ I have been," says Wächter, “several years in that high school, but not as a future artist. I was going to study law, or whatever I should like to choose, but not the fine arts: this was then considered a disgrace." But “ by a mysterious law, every thirst blindly, yet unerringly, finds its way to the fountain," and thus our painter, too, became a disciple of the fine arts, although, as he tells us himself, his father, a court councillor, had " to suffer for it," at least in the eyes of, and from, his royal master. Wächter was sent to Paris, studied under David, and, when the French Revolution broke out, went to Italy. It was to him a new world into which he entered, though, as he always complained, “ too late.” In Rome he became acquainted with Carstens, and this acquaintance was the source of his greatest improvements as well as pleasures. “The discourses with him, the study of his works, of his genre, were of the greatest importance to him for his whole life.”
Those years in Rome were the happiest of his life, for he married there, too, and his wife, a Roman lady (with whom he lived most happily for more than half a century, and who survived him), and his children, increased his happiness in no small degree. On quitting Italy he
* Strauss, "Kleine Schriften,” 1862.
settled in Vienna, where he painted his “ Job” (now with many of his clever and beautiful pictures in the Stuttgart Gallery), “ The Sleeping Socrates ;” and, in order to sustain his family, made several illustrations and drawings for literary and artistic purposes. His greatest wish was to return to Italy, but the hope was vain,
In 1809 he was appointed keeper of drawings and engravings at Stuttgart. Still clinging to the hope of returning to Rome, he became an old man. Providence prolonged his life far beyond the ordinary term of man's existence. He died at Stuttgart on the 14th of August, 1852, “uncared for and almost forgotten. Half a century had passed away since he had excited the admiration of his contemporaries with his beautiful picture of · Job and his Friends ;' almost a quarter of a century since the last more remarkable compositions had been seen in his study. He had reached his ninetieth year.
Wächter's letters are addressed to a friend, who proved to him a friend for life.t He surely felt the value of such a friendship in words and deeds, for artists have seldom friends, merely flatterers or detractors. This epistolary intercourse is a full illustration of the painter's character: forgiving, resigned, mild, and gentle.
“He was,” says David Friedrich, Strauss, in a beautiful sketch of the life of our noble-minded artist, "a worthy priest of the high art; he felt an eager seriousness for his vocation, and has, in unfavourable circumstances, done for it all that could possibly be done. Amongst the fathers of the modern school of painting he is worthy to take an honourable place. The genius of Carstens may be above his in originality and loftiness; the amiable talent of Schick may surpass his own in facility and gracefulness; but no one is above him in earnestness and dignity; and consi
; dered as a man we can only compare him with the noblest artists of all times, in sublimity, purity of life, and gentleness." I
Professor Haakh deserves high commendation for his work. His lectures are very interesting, and comprehensible even by the non-artist; and his introductory preface is well worthy of attention. The latter contains some valuable information how schools of art and academies ought to be managed, and how painters ought to be educated. We entirely agree with his views on the latter point. The painter, especially the historical painter, has not to study nature and natural observances alone, but history as well, and, above all, classical history. Historical painting-especially in this country, is far too much neglected at the present time. Landscapes and genre pictures fill our exhibitions, but few historical pictures attract notice.
* Strauss, “ Kleine Schriften," 1862. + The Baron von Uexküll, a great lover of the fine arts.
“Kleine Schriften,” p. 360.
By ALEXANDER ANDREWS.
XXXVIII.--VENEZUELA. COTTON cultivation is a matter of more that eighty years' standing in Venezuela, which is one of those countries where it has been tried and has died away under the discouragement of ill success. Yet, as this failure is in no way to be attributed to any natural disadvantages of soil or climate, but to conditions entirely subject to changes of circumstances and times, it by no means follows that because Venezuela could not compete with the other producers in 1850 there is no chance of her doing so ten or fifteen years later. External circumstances have changed if internal ones have not; and though Venezuela may be as poor, and its population not much increased, and its political condition not quite settled or satisfactory, yet the price of cotton now gives its producers a margin of profits, equal to its former price, to meet
these drawbacks. Whether under the altered circumstances Venezuela can produce cotton at a profit, Mr. Hemming, the Venezuelan consul in London, and Mr. Orme, the British consul at Caracas, have taken great pains to test. The first export of cotton to any extent from Venezuela appears to have taken place in 1794—when the quantity was 10,000 quintals-in nine years afterwards (1803) it had reached 25,000 quintals. It then appears to have languished, and at or about those figures it remained for three years. The disturbed state of the country and the falling price of cotton seem to have combined about this time, and in 1830-31 the returns show only 96,000 pounds exported. In eight years after this it had got up to four millions of pounds (or 39,000 quintals) in 1839, but this was its culminating point; in 1844-5-6 it fell as low as 600,000 pounds. The last return before us gives no indication of revival, the export having (in 1860) dropped again to 550,000 pounds. This time the producers had to contend against something more formidable even than intestine commotion or low-priced markets, insects and blight caused by a long succession of Dorthern rains had played havoc with the crops, and the cotton growers of the fertile distriets of Aragua, Carabobo, Barinas, Cumana, Caracas, Barcelona, and Maracaybo, became disheartened, and began cultivating coffee instead.
The sowing time for cotton in Venezuela is in May, and in fifteen days it shoots. In dry and temperate places it produces a crop in seven months, in cold soils it takes longer, but at fifteen hundred yards above the sea it is found to require nine months. All opinions seem to concur that the country around Maracaybo and dry sandy-bottomed plains of the Lagunes, and the greater portion of the province of Coro, which at present produce little more than wild cactus and dividivi, are admirably suited to the growth of cotton, as well as the province of Bolivar, in Venezuelan Guiana. In fact, this seems a cotton region par excellence, for Mr. Linden, who was employed by the Belgian government for twelve years in visiting cotton countries and studying the habitat and cultivation of the plant, and who in the pursuit of his inquiries lived three years in Venezuela, reports as follows: “Having been entrusted with a scientific mission by the government of his Majesty the King of the Belgians during a period of twelve consecutive years in the various parts, extra and intra-tropical, of America, such as the Brazils, the Island of Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Guatemala, New Granada, Venezuela, and the United States of North America, I have had opportunities of forming a sound opinion of the respective advantages which these several states offer for the cultivation of cotton, and I do not hesitate to declare that of all these countries, not even excepting the actual centre of American cotton production, Venezuela possesses within itself the most completely favourable elements for the cultivation of the important article of cotton.”
But we need not multiply evidence corroborative of facts which have never been disputed. There is another aspect of the question which we will first touch upon before we pass from Venezuela.
Coffee, the staple article of the country at present, is exported almost exclusively to Germany and France, so that not a single vessel clears out from Venezuela to England to bring a return freight of English manu-. factured goods. In fact, the commercial intercourse between the two countries has been of the slightest, the returns showing an importation of English goods to the amount of some six hundred thousand dollars only per annum, and an exportation of Venezuelan produce represented by a "0." There is every reason to suppose, therefore, that the opening up of any trade between Venezuela and this country would introduce us to a new and considerable customer, perhaps—from the fact that the people are essentially an agricultural race-even a more considerable one than the whilom United States, the instincts of whose inhabitants is to manufacture for themselves, and to do without our goods as much as possible.
XXXIX. - NICARAGUA. It was no doubt the unlimited field for the extension of cotton growing which is presented by Central America that actuated General Walker in those filibustering expeditions which were openly countenanced by the planters of the Southern states. With such a rapidly increasing demand for cotton, and remembering that England had possessions of her own which could produce it if any scarcity or other circumstance should raise the price above paying point, it was natural that the Americans should have an eye to the future, and favour any enterprise which would assure to them an extension of their frontier southwards whenever it should become necessary.
The states of Central America are perhaps better suited for the growth of cotton even than the Southern states of North America, for whereas, for instance, in Nicaragua the plant yields two crops yearly, averaging five hundred pounds to the acre, in the Southern states it only gives one crop a year,
than half as productive.
The impediments which have stood in the way of these fine countries are their perpetual internal commotions and their poverty, a result partly of their chronic civil wars, and partly of the indolent and slothful habits of their Spanish descended inhabitants. The government of Nicaragua have made feeble efforts and small concessions to encourage the growth
and export of cotton, but the results at present, so far as we have been enabled to learn, are insignificant. Yet this state of things cannot long continue ; a more active and energetic race will succeed the effete population, and perhaps disdain to make the climate a plea for apathy and indolence.
Mr. Gerstenberg, who represented the republic of Ecuador at the cotton conference, stated that “there is not the slightest doubt that cotton can not only be produced there, but that cotton to an enormous extent is produced there, of just the quality we require.” Of the first of these statements there can be little doubt, but of the last we must be content with Mr. Gerstenberg's assurance, as we can find no facts, or figures, or returns of Ecuador cotton either in growth, manufacture, or export. Laud in Ecuador can be had for one shilling an 'acre, and labour three shillings per day. Making these facts the basis of his calculation, and, on the other side, taking the price of raw cotton at fourpence per pound, and the produce at six hundred pounds per acre, Mr. Gerstenberg obtains the following results : That the produce of ninety-six acres of land in Ecuador would be nine hundred and sixty pounds worth of cotton, whilst the cost of production would amount only to four hundred and fifty-nine pounds ; thus yielding, or seeming to yield, a return at the rate of one hundred and ten per cento profit.
We are, however, always exceedingly sceptical about these calculations on paper, and we have serious misgivings as to whether cotton growing can ever yield over cent. per cent profit where the wages of the cottonfield are at the rate of three shillings a day, and the produce only worth fourpence per pound.
XLI.-GUATEMALA. Mr. Carlos Meany having been requested by our chargé d'affaires in Central America to make inquiries as to the capabilities of the republic of Guatemala for producing cotton, seems to have directed his attention particularly and very properly to the labour question, as materially affecting the prospects of the commerce. He reports that “the principal place for cultivating cotton in the republic is Verapaz; the Indian villages of Cajabon, Lankin, Cariba, San Miguel, and Tamapi, chiefly employ themselves in the business, making their plantations towards the coast, where they raise what they require annually for their traffic and consumption, selling it at twelve rials the “ mocul" of fifty pounds. In the other villages of San Juan, Coba, and Saluma, they generally spin the cotton by the hand, and weave mantos (domestics) and a great variety of coarse cloth. The Cajabon and Polochie are the best spots for extensive plantations, where plenty of hands can be obtained and labour is very cheap."
-“The next place for cultivation would be on the banks of the river Motagua, in Chiguimula, from the Quirigua upwards, where there is plenty of hands, although not so abundant as in Verapaz.”—“On the Pacific coast there are many places good for raising cotton extensively, chiefly by Chiguimulilla and the Costa Grande, where hands are not scarce. S“ In the state of Salvador, in the department of San Miguel, the district of Usulutan, on the Bay of Xiguilisco, cotton is cultivated largely; but, as this cotton, as well as the Verapaz, is so difficult to