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the other. As it was simply for the purpose of looking into this volume, as a work of travels, that we selected it in this place, we do not think it necessary to follow the details into which the author enters concerning the antient and modern history of Switzerland ; we shall likewise pass by that early portion of Mr. Agassiz's work which is composed of a description of his journey from Calais to Paris, and then from Paris to Lausanne. These are matters too thread-bare for modern exhibition, proceed accordingly to the pleasanter and more novel portion of the volume. Before dismissing, however, the historical chapters, we should not forget that they conclude with an excellent description of the state of the constitution of Switzerland at the present moment.
The register of the first of the pedestrian tours, we must say, offers nothing of peculiar interest beyond a few notices of the inhabitants. Thus, the author describes the females of the Valley of Grindalwald as having very little expression of countenance, though many of them have fine profiles. Their holiday dress is very smart;- -a black close-fitting bodice, with enormous white sleeves, from the shoulders of which some of the wealthier dames have silver chains, which fall down to the back of the waist, and then pass round to the front. Nearly all of them wear their backhair in one long plaid, which, with its loose, broad, black ribband, reaches nearly to their heels. Their caps, which sit close to the head, are of black velvet, bordered with very wide black lace. Two, who seemed to be of the better class, had this edging stuck out, in the Bernois fashion, like the wings of the horse-fly.
The survey on which this judgment was founded, it is fair to state, was made during one of the fetes given in this valley, which, unhappily for the moral character of the inhabitants, terminated in a scene of debauchery as gross as ever was witnessed in Ireland at a fair. Mr. Agassiz found on his visit to Lucerne, that the inhabitants were quite as prone to the practice of bowing to strangers as ever they had been in Lausanne; and, though very much fatigued when he arrived in the former city, and not too well satisfied with the figure which he cut after his journey, he could not but be extremely pleased at the numerous and courteous salutes which were made to him. Here he visited the monument erected to the Swiss guards who perished for their fidelity to Louis XVI. This monument represents a lion dying in his den, and the emblems around it import the manner of his death, as well as the cause for which he died: it is placed in a cave in the face of a rock, which is overhung with trees. This cave, it is stated by the author, measures forty-eight feet by thirty-six ; while the lion, which is carved out of the solid rock, measures twenty-eight feet by eighteen. In front of the cave is a small piece of water, which prevents too near an approach ; and some drops which trickle slowly into it from the face of the rock, fall
VOL. 1V. (1833) NO. I.
upon the ear with a melancholy sound, which accords well with the scene. The words, "Helvetiorum Fidei ac Virtuti," and the names of Thorwaldsen, the designer of the monument, and Ahorn, the sculptor who executed it, appear in staring crimson colour.
The second pedestrian tour of the author began in the German Cantons; and, from his experience in them, he is enabled to give a brief vocabulary, in the vernacular language, of such words and phrases as are requisite on the road, or in the inns, on the important subjects of dinner, breakfast, utensils, going to bed, &c. To those who meditate a tour in the territory alluded to, this is information worthy of their best attention. Fribourg was the first of the places which our pedestrian arrived at in this his second tour: the only occurrence of moment which marked his investigations in this place, was his visit to a neighbouring hermitage--a curious specimen of devotion and industry. It consists of a large hall, twenty-nine paces in length, and a chapel capable of containing 150 people. Mr. Agassiz found, that, amongst the most curious features of this singular place, were the chimnies, which are cut through the rock from the back of the apartments in a sloping direction to the front. The doors and windows are all opened through the solid rock, not a particle of the whole being built
. The windows of the hall open in the perpendicular face of the mountain, at a height of some two or three hundred feet above the river, of which, and of the high and picturesque cliffs opposite, they command a full and very interesting view.
The author, pursuing his route to Berne, saw, as he states, all that was worth seeing; paid a visit to Hofwyl, the seat of a famous seminary, and also of an agricultural establishment. The remarks of the author on Zurich, Embrach, Schaffhausen, and many other places, are little more than details of inanimate nature. Neither man, nor any other possessor of the living principle, obtains the least attention from him. Even of the baths of Schinznatt he has nothing of more importance to relate than that the waters of this place have the reputation of being blessed in their early days with the power of locomotion, and that they now are in a very different position from that which they formerly held. Another important fact is this, and he has it from the same gentleman who told him about the baths--the clergyman of Schinznacht bore the title of vicar of Wakefield! At Soleure, the principal town of the Canton of that name, Mr. Agassiz found the chief object worthy of inspection to be the arsenal, on account of the collection of armour which it contains, there being in one apartment a representation of the members of the antient diet, seated in council and clad in complete armour: another curiosity is a square tower in the centre of the town, said to be built by the ancient Romans; and the church of St. Ours. The Canton of Neufchatel appears, according to our author's representation, to yield a considerable
quantity of excellent wine, a great part of which is grown on the lower face of the Jura. The more elevated and barren regions, where the soil is too poor for cultivation, the author found, are inhabited by very ingenious mechanics, who make watches and musical boxes, similar to those for which Geneva is so celebrated. According to Ebel, they yearly export a hundred and thirty thousand of these. The principal establishments of these manufacturers are at the Chaux de Fond, and Locle, to which places he proceeded.
Mr. Agassiz modestly declares that he was not a sufficiently knowing mechanic to enable him to judge of the skill of the highlypraised mechanics of these places; but they deserve unbounded applause if they only imitated the mechanical exploits of one Monsieur Droz, who once lived at the Chaux Fond, and of whom the author cites the following story:
Being at Madrid, he exhibited to the King of Spain a clock, upon which were figures of a shepherd, a dog, and a negro. The shepherd played six airs upon his flute, the dog in the meantime approaching and caressing him. I'he king expressed his admiration of this, when M. Droz replied, that the gentleness of his dog was but the least of his good qualities. If, he added, your majesty will deign to touch one of the apples in the basket by the side of the shepherd, his dog will evince his fidelity also. The king did so, when the dog flew at his hand, and barked so loudly, that a living dog, which was in the room, gave tongue; and the courtiers, with the exception of the Minister of Marine, hastily left the room, not doubting that M. Droz was a sorcerer.
• The king, who, of course, was in the secret, desired the Minister of Marine to ask the negro what o'clock it was. He did so, and obtained no answer. M. Droz informed him, that, as the negro was ignorant of Spanish, the question should be asked in French. The minister asked it accordingly, and the negro answered, so much to the consternation of the minister, that he too took flight, vowing that it was the work of no one but the devil.'-pp. 223, 224.
The author commenced his third pedestrian excursion, by proceeding from Lausanne to Geneva, and thence he directed his steps, or we should in this instance say, took his caleche, to Chamouni. In this tour he visited the Hospice of Mount St. Bernard, and gives a description of it externally and internally, which differs in no material point from the one already executed, as may be seen a few pages back, by Mr. Brockedon. The present author states of the St. Bernard dog, that the true breed is very rare, and that, when he was there, no more than two were at the hospice. Having entered Villeneuve, the first town on the lake of Geneva, the author could not resist his propensity to see the castle of Chillon. This part of his mission being accomplished, the author returned to Paris, and finally to England, evidently much pleased with his continental excursion.
Art. VI.-- The Tropical Agriculturist : A Practical Treatise on
the Cultivation and Management of Various Productions suited to Tropical Climates. By GEORGE RICHARDSON PORTER, Author of " The Nature and Properties of the Sugar Cane,” &c. &c. 1 vol. 8vo. with plates. London: Smith, Elder, and Co.
1833. Although the circumstances of this country, and her dependencies, have been considerably altered since the plan of this work was conceived, still there has been no result from that change which can diminish its value at the present moment. And the justice of this remark will be seen when we state what the object of the work is. The author sets out with stating that the wonderful fecundity of nature in the tropical climates had induced, for a long time, the cultivators in them to remain contented with the uninterrupted and spontaneous succession of harvests of the same description. This system did well while it lasted, that is to say, as long as there was a monopoly in the market for the productions which were thus furnished: but it is evident, that, from the extension of competition to which modern times have given rise, the former system is rendered inapplicable, inasmuch as the demand for the articles alluded to is at present supplied from other countries. Hence it becomes a consideration how far good might be done by changing the objects of cultivation, and so diminishing the supply of sugar, for example, within the real and effective demand, as to make room for entirely new productions on the old sugar land. Such is the view of the author, and perhaps our present altered state, so far as the West India islands are concerned, is rather improved in its capability to be served by his proposals
. His plan is by no means unattainable, nor is it difficult of accomplishment; and it only remains for us to follow him whilst he demonstrates how means, which are abundantly supplied by the hand of nature, can be best improved and rendered most available to the desired end. The work before us may then be regarded as an attempt to furnish information which may guide the colonial agriculturist in any conjuncture wherein he may be compelled to change his object of cultivation. The knowledge here advanced is not the result of mere speculation, but the offspring of experience, deduced from the practice which is successfully employed in the culture of the various productions belonging to each country.
The vegetable productions which are here described in detail, are in number thirty-two; they are natives of various climates, and are cultivated according to a great diversity of methods. Cotton is the first, which, from its extensive consumption, merits a preference. This plant, it is well known, has been cultivated from time immemorial on the continent of India: it likewise grows in Africa, and forms a staple commodity in many southern countries. The cotton tree was met with in Mexico at the time when the Spaniards effected the conquest of that territory. But it is not to its native place, or to the part of the world where its cultivation is carried on, that cotton is to be regarded as solely serviceable to the human race. There is scarcely any substance drawn from the vegetable world, whose adaptation to manufacturing purposes is more extended, and it would require almost a volume to describe the useful purposes to which cotton is applied. It appears that this plant succeeds best in light sandy soils, which are moderately moist. Volcanic depositions are found to agree best with the cotton plant; the soil next in rank, as favourable to its growth, is a fine sand, where particles are held together by a small portion of clay, or calcareous earth, particularly if mixed with decomposed vegetable matter. The choice of seed, and the method of sowing them, form the next subjects of observation ; and then the progress of the plant is traced to maturity, directions being given for its management in every stage. The perennial cotton tree rarely produces a full crop before the second
of its growth; but after this it usually remains productive for a period of four or five years. The blossoms are generally expected to appear in July or August; and after the blossoms come the pods in which the cotton is contained. When the fruit is ripe the pods open, and exhibit their woolly contents in the form of locks of a brilliant whiteness, each lock being contained in a cell of the pod. The cotton is subsequently removed from the pods, and this, from the earliest date, has been habitually accomplished by a machine. There have been, of course, various improvements in the engine, but that which is now in exclusive use is called a gin, which Mr. Porter tells us, was, up to a recent period, of the very simplest construction, being composed of two hard-wood cylindrical rollers, each about an inch in diameter, and furnished with five or six longitudinal grooves, or flutings. These rollers were placed horizontally one over the other, almost in contact, one end of each being fixed into the centre of a fly wheel thirty inches in diameter, two of these wheels being attached to the gin for this purpose, one at each side. The wheel bearing the upper cylinder was at rather a higher level than that which bears the other, and both were caused to revolve by means of a footboard, similar to that of a common turning-lathe, motion being thus given to two straps or cranks, one attached to the exterior of each fly-wheel, at a point somewhat removed from its centre. The
person working at this gin employed his feet to set it in motion, while his hands were occupied in feeding the cylinders with cotton. This being engaged by the fluted rollers, was drawn between them through to the side beyond, leaving behind it the seeds which were too large fo pass between the same opening.
The principle of this apparatus is still retained in the modern gin, except that it is provided with the addition of a kind of comb, having teeth two inches long and about two thirds of an inch apart, with sharp points. This comb, which is placed parallel to