Page images
[ocr errors]

separate from the seed, there being no machinery or gins, and considering it of an inferior kind, the people have received no encouragement to extend planting"

Our readers will have observed a novel feature in this report. Labour seems to be plentiful in the cotton districts of the republic, and the principal difficulty which in most of the countries we have had under our consideration stands in the way of cotton planters, does not present itself.

XLII.-NEW GRANADA. At some period in the future, New Granada will be a splendid cotton country, but at present its finest provinces are almost in a state of nature, with scarcely a road worthy of the name, but full of vast alluvial flats, intersected by navigable rivers, and scarcely trodden by human foot, except of the wild Indian. Socorro and Velez are the only parts where cotton is at present grown, but it is of superior quality, and is worth from eighty cents to a franc and twenty aroba per pound, fifty pounds of said cotton yielding thirty pounds clean. Immense tracts of country are reported as adapted for cotton cultivation in the provinces of Cartajena, Mompox, Soto, Ocana, Santa Marta, Rio Hacha, Upar, Cundenamarca, Bogota, Cipaquira, Tequenthama, Mariquita, and “the immense and almost unknown territory of Mocoa.” On the verge of the plain of Casonare, and on the dip of the eastern range of the Andes, a very superior cotton is produced. The country, in fact, has all the natural

. elements of a vast cotton-field, but wants population. Though there are no roads that can be considered practicable, there are rivers running throughout the country which will supply their place; the Atrato, with navigable tributaries branching right and left, falling into the Gulf of Darien ; the Ziver, discharging into the Gulf of Morasquilla; the Magdalena, with numerous navigable tributaries; the Zulia, falling into the Lake of Maracaibo ; the Meta, discharging into the Orinoco-in fact, there is in this lovely region a ready formed and perfect network of water communication. But alas! of what avail are rivers without men ? The entire population of New Granada is estimated at about two millions and a quarter, spread over a surface of 394,664 square miles, being at the rate of twelve and a half to the square mile; whilst 216,354 square miles, or more than two-thirds of the country, are in the undisputed pos. session of the Indians. When the day comes that shall see this rich and favoured region under cultivation, men will be astonished at the wealth that nature has so long held within her womb, and perhaps cotton will be the most extensive of her productions.

XLIII-THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC. The Buenos Ayres Standard gives so succinct a statement of the prospects of cotton supply from the Argentine Republic, that we do not know we can do better than quote the article which treats of the subject as we find it:

“After a most minute inquiry into the capabilities of this country for cotton growing, we have arrived at some incontrovertible facts. First, that the grand objection against cotton growing is the dearness of labour; second, that other countries, with not half the natural advantages of

[ocr errors]

Buenos Ayres and the other provinces, have introdaced the growth of cotton with the most unparallelled success, and that within the last twenty years South America is the only place where cotton has not been properly introduced, either by government or individuals. We extract the following remarks from the reply of the Honourable J. A. Podra, in answer to certain questions propounded by the United States Patents Office, in the year 1856:

« The Argentine Republic lies mostly between twenty-two degrees and thirty degrees south latitude on the west side of the Parana and east of the Uruguay. The climate in summer is sufficiently hot and dry, but the winter is less cold generally than in Buenos Ayres. I have seen cotton grown in some places in very small quantities and under rude culture for domestic use. In the year 1826, a year of comparative peace, the amount of cotton passing through this city was two thousand arobas of twenty-five pounds each. I do not think that the amount has been doubled since the period above named-thirty years.

"• I believe that the varieties are both annual and perennial—the former prevailing in excess, though I have been told by a person who had cultivated cotton to a small extent, that the crop of stalks was generally left for two years, and that the ratoon was now productive in yield and the fibre better.

“Of the quantity produced, about one-half is exported, and the other half consumed in the remote sections of the Confederation, in the manufacture of the ornamental fringes used by the gauche or peasant, and for various other purposes. I have seen a kind of towel, manufactured from the cotton of Entre Rios and Corrientes, equal to the same kind of fabric from the best Sea Island cotton in the United States.

65 • The cultivation is to the last extent rude; the wooden plough, which merely scratches the earth, is used, and the hoe is scarcely ever employed. I have never heard of the application of manure-in fact, the manuring of soil is a thing unknown here.

““I am of opinion that in Corrientes, Entre Rios, and Santa Fé, cotton may be planted during all the winter months.

** . Neither the physical nor the political condition of the country is adapted to agricultural pursuits; the peasantry or gauches have undergone no visible change in more than half a century. They are nomade to a great extent, looking down upon labour of all kinds, except the raising of horses and cattle, as degrading. They are indolent, except in such of their vocations as may be followed on horseback ; they are literally unfit for walking, and, of course, for agricultural pursuits; and they are prejudiced, proud, and insubordinate in many things, yet they possess many good qualities.

• There is a superabundance of land, yet bread is to a great extent unknown to the gauches or labourers of the country. Beef is their only food.

" "The usually unsettled political condition of the country also exerts a depressing influence upon enterprise of this character.'

“ Such are the words of Mr. Podra. We leave it to our readers to judge of their correctness. Cotton growing is now-a-days a subject of the greatest importance to every country in the world save South America. But this Argentine Republic is a sort of Sleepy Hollow;'

[ocr errors]

men's minds are occupied with trifles of the most ephemeral character, whilst real sterling subjects, which are fraught with the material advancement of the country, are eschewed and laughed at by these sapient gentlemen who cry out so loudly for emigration immigration ?), yet forget to supply the means of an honest livelihood for these poor strangers."

We have quoted from this article at so great length because we believe it reflects the difficulties which embarrass, more or less, the whole of South America. The disturbed and unsettled political condition of the country, and the indolent temperament of the people, stand in the way of any native efforts at enterprise, and destroy the confidence of foreign speculators. What prudent or sane man would invest capital in a country where the reins of government are so slackly held that the factious are always rearing, plunging, or fairly kicking over the traces, and so frequently overturning the state coach? Setting aside all the ordinary difficulties that arise out of tenure of land or supply of labour, we fear that, at all events, the condition of the Argentine Republic is such, that cotton growing there on any extended scale must be put down among the very barest of our Cotton Possibilities.



That your

“What ails thee, daughter Janet,

cheek's so full of woe?
When at morn you went to market,

Your face was all a-glow;
Your lips were red as cherries,

Your eye was bright and clear,
What ails thee, daughter Janet ?

Come, tell your mother dear.”
“Oh! I took my eggs to market,

And I sold them at the fair,
When who but Rob the Miller

Should I see standing there ;
He took me up behind him,

And the maids did flout and jeer,
Is it thus I'm to be laughed at ?

Is it right, say, mother dear ?”
"Don't be foolish, daughter Janet,

You are old enough to tell,
Many take their eggs to market

Who have more than eggs to sell;
The Miller has a house and land,

From rent and tithe all clear,
And you'll always ride to market,

If he weds you, daughter dear."



ROME—the Eternal City—as the followers of the Cæsars and the Popes are alike pleased to designate it, may be viewed under as many aspects morally as physically; it may be contemplated by morning, noon, or night; in sunshine and in shower; in summer or in winter. So also it may be studied in an artistic, an archæological, a theological, or a political point of view. It may appear to the one party as the last European stronghold of the traditions of the middle ages—the only relic of feudal barbarism—the abode of the enemy to all progress and civilisation; and it may appear to the other party, as to the author of the first work on our list, as the scene of antagonism between the two great principles which govern the universe," the scene of the palpitating drama of the antagonism of Satan and of God, a superb and terrible duel, the field for combat in which is the heart of man, and which shadows forth, as painfully as magnificently, his destinies.”

A grandiose sentence, yet an obscure generalisation, is like a two-edged sword. Which at Rome is Satan and which God? The principles of liberty and progress are probably viewed from the recesses of the Vatican as of archangelic hue; the tiara used as an extinguisher of inadequate dimensions to stifle intelligence and enlightenment would best befit the brows of the dragon overcome by Michael and his angels in the eyes of others.

The Campagna of Rome is as illusory as the city itself. It may be seen enamelled with flowers in spring, enlivened by smiling industry in summer, struck down by death in autumn. Yet the imitators and admirers of the Cæsars adore the Campagna; it is not, they say, permitted by an imperious necessity to love it by halves. The followers and admirers of the Innocents and the Piuses look upon the pale spectre of fever that haunts those terrible plains in quite a different light. That "implacable fever” is, according to them, “ the divine punishment of the learned cruelty of corrupt Cæsars, who associated death with the most refined orgies, in order to spice them with a high flavour of terror.” “When,” exclaim the same antagonists of ancient and modern Cæsars—" when will

you cease to soar over Rome like a funereal bird in quest of prey, and to strike the new innocents in the name of the ancient guilty ones? Perchance, alas ! only when each crime of old shall have been individually repaid by the sacrifice of a modern soul !"

To minds so disposed, these alternately green and watery, arid and dreamy wastes appear as the asylum of spirits and souls that have much suffered. “ All this nature possesses," writes our Gallic author, thing so magnificently desperate, that instead of gathering up the secret griefs of our hearts, it rouses them and then pacifies them. The land of Rome, sublimely fallen, carries its decadence, gloriously sanctified, high,

[ocr errors]


* Rome. Paris : J. Hetzel.

Last Winter in Rome. By Charles Richard Weld. Longman and Co. May-VOL. CXXXIV. NO. DXXXIII.



and weeps for its past glories in a manner that makes us think of the wise saying of an old Spanish poet: "Who chants his griefs, enchants.'»

There is no point of view in which Rome, to minds sympathising with a second dynasty fading away before the inevitable scythe of time—for immortality no more belongs to the Piuses than it did to the Cæsarscannot be brought to harmonise with the toue of mind of he who contemplates it. This is the rich legacy of ruins and thoughts of the past that everywhere mix themselves up with the unsatisfactory and fearfully threatening aspect of the present. The view from the portico of St. John Latrano is almost unique in the world for its tranquil splendour ; by the convent of the Holy Cross of Jerusalem the eye passes over the sculptural cypresses and gloomy pines that embosom so many ruins of olden times to the aqueducts of Claudius and the blue haze of the Apennines beyond. There is in this, to those so disposed to view it, something more touching than it may be supposed to have possessed in the times when rich villas covered a soil“ which produced nothing that was useful, for everything was devoted to luxury and to pleasure, as Tiberius tells us in one of his most curious letters to the Senate.” Ascend Monte Mario, enter the pavilion built by a pope, and now tenanted by a Dominican friar and an organist, and contemplating the panorama of the Tiber that flows at your feet to Ponte Molle, you will only feel that “ you




very mountain where the cross appeared to Constantine (a legend dubious in its locality as well as in its very nature), you will bless God for having made the world so vast and so beautiful, and you will feel that life has for all of us some days of blessed truce.” Passing the grotto of Egeria, and the ruined temple which in the present day gives admission only to catacombs, and ascending to the Sacred Grove, whence the city, Albano, and Tiber, are dominated, and you will understand that “intelligence to which Heaven has given the leisure to initiate itself by study and by reflection in the knowledge of that antiquity which imparts so many enchantments to a nature already so enchanting," has as a duty " to reach that paradise of which one has at Rome dazzling but premature glimpses, which fill the mind with nameless grief and intoxication."

If the religion of Rome produces so painful and so unsatisfactory a feeling, it might almost be questioned if we should not with the Cæsars of to-day return to the religion of old, or sympathise with the poet, who admits that when contemplating “Cæsar's chambers” and “ Augustan halls” from within the “gladiator's bloody circus," the rolling moon casting

a wide and tender light,
Which softened down the hoar austerity
Of rugged desolation, and filled up,
As 'twere anew, the gaps of centuries ;
Leaving that beautiful which still was so,
And making that which was not, till the place
Became religion, and the heart ran o'er
With silent worship of the great of old-
The dead, but sceptred sovereigns, who still rule

Our spirits from their urns !
Neither the one religion, however, which brings with it " nameless grief

« EelmineJätka »