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snakes, with black and yellowish spots ; crocodiles and alligators.
BARBADOES rises into hills from the coast by a regular ascent to the interior. It has few trees; but the houses are partially shaded by straggling cocoas. It furnishes landscapes, however, curiously contrasted; and, having no marshes or forests, has a serene atmosphere. Tobago is a continued plain, studded with various trees, peopled with birds of resplendent plumage. ST. VINCENT is a rich and beautiful island; and the vale of Buccament is the most delightful in all the Windward Islands Antigua has not a river; and Nature seems there to have dropt the usual benevolence of her character; for the soil is parched, and the whole picture wears “an aspect of disappointment.”
The Island of St. Domingo is one of the finest in the world; whether it is considered in reference to the natural richness of the soil; the beauty of its internal landscapes; or the fineness of its shores. It contains every species of soil usual in tropical climates ; and the plains of Los Llanos are intersected with natural groups of the noblest trees ; much after the manner of an English park. The forests abound in palm, mahogany, machineals, and palmettoes, round the trunks of which wind the convolvolus and the wind-band in many a graceful fold: forming a complete school to the architect, for the study of domes and peristyles, arches, and colonnades a While surveying these beauties, Columbus, struck with wonder and delight, boasted that he had discovered the original seat of paradise. This island is probably destined, one day, to prove not only the errors of Montesquieu and Du Bos; but to solve the problem, whether ability and genius are indeed regulated by the colour of the skin for it is impossible to calculate what may be the destiny of * Vid. Walton's Hispaniola. Edwards' Hist. Survey of St. Domingo, c. ix. the people of this island, when we see a black secretary writing to a black Emperor, in the following manner :“ Like the Romans, we go from arms to the plough; from the plough to arms: and when we have taken advantage of the mechanical arts, and employed machines, animals, fire, air, and water, our country will be the most beautiful, populous, and flourishing ; and its inhabitants, hitherto so unfortunate, the happiest people in the world.”—When the French had managed to get the mild Maurepas (the black general of St. Domingo) into their power, they bound him to the mainmast; nailed his hat upon his head; and his epaulettes upon his shoulders ; and then precipitated his wife, his children,
and himself into the sea ! · NORTH AMERICA, adorned in the midst of boundless soli
tudes, celebrated for its mountains, lakes, rivers, and cataracts, has soils of every quality, and climates of every degree. In the UNITED STATEs the transitions from heat to cold, and from cold to heat, are frequent and instantaneous. These states comprise a territory of more than 2,700,000 miles; in which are the dregs of almost all the European nations, blending, as it were, with men capable of every lofty enterprise. What a field for the man of science and the moralist does the northern continent of America present, in natural wealth and national manners! Gifted with every valuable material, it exhibits society in almost every shade of distinction : from the disgusting savage on its north-western shores, where Russians, in procuring skins, sleep with rifles under their arms, and cutlasses by their sides a ; to the savage of the interior, whose manners are compensated by the rudiments of many virtues ; : and thence to the commercial circles of New York and New Orleans.
What a beautiful and unequalled extent of country stretches from the Alleghany to the rocky mountains on the west! com
* Portlock and Dixon's Voy. round the World, 1785-1788, p. 49.
prising an area of more than 1,600,000 square miles. Watered by innumerable rivers, all of which are tributary to the Mississippi, and blest with a pre-eminently productive soil ; this region possesses a capacity for improvement beyond any other on the surface of the globe. It is by far the richest portion of North America ; and may, one day, perhaps, contain a population of nearly 100,000,000 of inhabitants. With New Orleans for foreign commerce; and the mouth of the Ohio for the centre of its greatest activity; this great vale may, and most probably will, afford the most delightful picture of industry, the world has ever witnessed : and the more so, since there are not only extensive salt-springs, but mines of coal, limestone, iron, and lead. At present it offers the beautiful prospective of 2000 years for the active industry of man.
Now let us turn our eyes to GREENLAND and the northern regions. There we shall behold a melancholy picture of a waste of frigidity, forming a bird's-eye contrast to the waste of torridity in Asia and Africa. It seems a woe-struck region; but it has phenomena, exceedingly striking to curious observers. The sun does not go down in summer for many months: Captain Ross beheld continued day from the 7th of June to August the 24th; making an interval of 1,872 hours. The sun moves in a circle round the horizon: and shadows point to all parts of the compass. At this season, the earth is farther from the polar star, than it is at the winter solstice, by 180,000,000 of miles. This sunshine is succeeded by long twilights. In winter, the moon is constantly above the horizon every alternate fortnight; and the hemisphere is perpetually illuminated by the Auroral coruscations, and the northern constellations. In those regions, too, are seen vast icebergs : some two miles in circumference. These are frequently aground even at the depth of 300 fathoms; they are often 367 feet high : and if reduced to a plane of one inch in thickness, they would cover an area, equal to 21,000 miles; and if weighed by measurement a they would equal the result -of 1,292,397,670 tons !
Cradled, as it were, in the womb of Nature, and nurtured in the midst of privation, the name of want is yet scarcely known to the Greenlanders. The whale chiefly constitutes their food; as its oil furnishes them with light. And here, in a region, cold and sterile even to a proverb, and where the breath becomes visible to the eye, we behold men, whose virtues, in many engaging points, would honour the latitude of Italy. They have no laws; no magistrates ; no discipline; and they have little occasion for either. The head of every family is its father, magistrate, and sovereign: and the courts of equity and law reside in every house. Thefts are so little known amongst them, that locks and bolts are useless. In their conduct to the foreigners, who frequent their shores for their own purposes, however, they are not so scrupulous: but their urbanity towards them is said to equal that of any other nation. In their temperaments they are placid and content ; and peculiarly averse to altercation. They have no written laws; yet they enjoy an almost perfect security of property ; and are so attached to their country, relatives, and friends, that no argument and no reward can induce them to leave their native shores. In the northern parts of this country, there is little or no grass ;-— The peasants are, therefore, obliged to buy it from the southern parts, in order to put in their shoes to keep their feet warm b. But, unlike the inhabitants of every other northern region, they have a fixed aversion to every kind of spirituous liquor.
In the ARCTIC regions iron is found so soft and ductile, that it may be cut with a hard stone. The natives called glass ice; when they saw a watch, they took it for an animal; they could count only to the number of their fingers ; and before they saw Captain Ross, they believed themselves to be the only inhabitants of the universe ; and the globe, to be en- Parry.
• Egede, p. 44-7.
tirely composed of snow and ice, except the small portion they inhabited. When they saw the English ships they took them for birds a, having sails for wings : and they had no conception where they could come from, unless from the sun or the moon.
The object of exploring the polar regions is to discover a nearer route to China, than by Cape Horn, or the Cape of Good Hope. The latter of these routes is 5,500 miles ; by the polar one, if it exist, only 2,598: a saving, therefore, would be effected of 2,902 miles : that is, more than one-half of the whole distance.
A green sea is the most clear of iceb; a blue one the fullest : but Scoresbyo has proved, that the existence of land is not essential for its production. In fine weather the water is so transparent", that the bottom may clearly be seen, even at the depth of fourteen fạthoms. The icebergs themselves are frequently of a bright verdigris blue, varied with tints of red; some near their bases of sea-green; with summits snow-white.
One astonishing peculiarity of these regions consists in the number of medusæ. They are indeed incalculable. They lie about a quarter of an inch from each other : and it has been calculated®, that a cubic mile of them contains not less than 23,888,000,000,000,000.
At Cape Farewelf the eye is presented with spiral rocks, rising amid blue mountains, striking the spectator with delight or with horror, in proportion to the cloudiness or brilliancy of the sun. The ice, in the neighbourhood of these scenes, as well as in Spitzbergen, is frequently shivered with the sound, wafted from fire-arms. Similar effects, from the concussion of the air, are witnessed among the Alps; and the
a Ross's Voy. of Discovery to the Arctic Regions, p. 93, &c. 4to.
U Purchas' Pilgrimes, vol. iii. p. 564.
e Scoresby. r Pickergill's MSS. Barrow, p. 322.