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Arion and Pittacus, Phanios, Sappho, and Theophrastus, it was worthy of being the occasional residence of Aristotle and Epicurus. Fragments of the finest marble attest its ancient magnificence. Croto was said, in ancient times, to have been remarkably conducive to the strength of men, and the beauty of women. The Isle of Samos .consists of rocks, mountains, and precipices, interspersed with pines, mulberries, and olives, growing over mines and quarries of white marble. Thunder-storms in this island are more frequent in winter than in summer. Samos was so fertile and beautiful, that Horace applies to it the epithet concinna a. The air in the Isle of SIPHNOS was so pure, that men lived longer on that island, than in any other of the Greek republics: and RHODES, an island once so celebrated for its roses, had so mild a climate, that there was not a day in the year, in which the sun did not shine upon it. Pindar called it the daughter of Venus, and the wife of Apollo;—the most elegant compliment ever paid to any country.
The climate of CRETE is as delightful, as its constitution was formerly excellent. Its winter of two months resembles the May of England and the April of Italy. The rest of the year is a continued succession of fine days and brilliant nights. In the day, the sky is cloudless; in the night, a countless profusion of stars, whose brilliancy is seldom obscured by vapours, renders the season of sleep more beautiful than the splendour of the day. Hence it was called “Macarias, the happy Island." The ancients might well fable this country to be the birth-place of Minerva, the cradle of Jupiter, and the theatre, in which he consummated his nuptials: the favourite haunt of Cybele; and on whose enchanting shores the Dardan hero was so anxious to erect a city.
I have always esteemed that passage one of the most affecting in all Virgil, where Æneas, after having made good his landing, erected a fort, and built houses ; where, after his companions had begun to cultivate the soil, and he had turned his thoughts towards legislating for his little colony, by dividing the lands, promoting marriages, and enacting laws, he is represented, as finding himself under the necessity of quitting the island, and of seeking his fortune in another country! For his corn was blighted, and his grass was parched ; his trees devoured by caterpillars; and his companions in danger and in exile falling every day from fevers, occasioned by noxious vapours.
i á Epist. xi. 1, 2. weer in j ou,
On quitting Greece and its dependencies we may remark, that though, for the most part, it was sterile :- yet it was the land of freedom and the arts. Sicily, on the other hand, was so fertile, that it was called the granary of Rome. There is, in fact, not a wealthier soil in the whole circumference of the globe: and yet what a nursery of tyrants it has always been! · The republic of San MARINO affords nothing, by which we may accurately judge of the effect of climate ;, but it proves how compatible happiness is with a sterile soil, and an elevated region. This small republic, standing upon an indurated sand-rock, has neither soil, climate, nor spring-water to boast; but it has independence and happiness. It consists of an abrupt mountain, surrounded by small crags lying around it; enveloped, for the most part, in clouds; with neither a flower nor a rivulet ; and frequently covered with snow, while the country beneath glows with alternate shade and sunshine. This republic owes its origin to the circumstance of a Dalmatian having fixed upon this craggy eminence for a hermitage. Having obtained, during the course of a long life, a high reputation for sanctity, many religious persons resorted to him ; and having effected what the world regarded a miracle, the princes of the country gave him the entire property of the mountain. From this time the eminence increased in population ; and a republican form of government was instituted, which exists even at the present day: an interval of 1,300 years having elapsed since its creation.
The history of this unique republic comprises only seven folio pages. The first commemorates the origin : the second records the purchase of a castle (A.D. 1100): the third the purchase of another castle (A. D. 1170): the fourth mentions a war (A. D. 1460), in which the inhabitants assisted Pope Pius II. against one of the lords of Rimini, and for which they received four small castles in recompence: the fifth gives an account of their territories, reverting to its ancient limits: the sixth records some of the intrigues of Cardinal Alberoni to overturn the republica: the seventh and most interesting page, records a proposition, that was made to them by Buonaparte, of increasing their territory; which, in conformity to ancient principle, they had the magnanimity to refuse.
Thus, among precipices, the natives of San Marino, 5,400 in number", enjoy a liberty and a tranquillity, entirely unknown in any other part of the world. The natives of this republic seem to be indebted for a great portion of their happiness to three peculiar regulations; viz. the commissary, who pronounces judgment, must always be a foreigner, a doctor of laws, and resident only three years :—The physician must be thirty-five years of age, and remain only three years:- and the school-master is chosen for the purity of his morals, his humanity, mildness of temper, and useful knowledge. One of the chief doctrines, he is called upon to instil into the minds of his pupils, is to make them satisfied with their condition; to love their country as their own house, and their fellow-citizens as their own families. Thus situated
. For the correspondence between him and Cardinal Corsini, &c., vid. Ris. posta al Manifesto, &c., annexed to Relaziona anonima, &c. &c.
6 Mons. Augustus Frederick Crome, in his General View of the Relative Political Strength of European Nations, states, that the republic of San Marino is, in extent, about eighteen English square miles ; that it has six thousand inhabitants, and a public revenue of fifty thousand Rhenish florins.
and thus educated, the inhabitant of San Marino thinks that every thing, which is valuable, is centered on his native rock“. : With these detached people we may, not inappropriately, associate the natives of St. Kilda. St. Kilda is a large rock, five miles in circumference, rising out of a sea that never sleeps : and against which the waves dash with an appalling fury. Though this rock is insulated from land several leagues, it has wells of the purest water. The natives are described as being models of simplicity and innocence. Envy, jealousy, and ambition are said to be totally unknown amongst them: They have no money ; but barter with fowls, feathers, Solan geese, and birds' eggs. Bred in social affection, they are mild and humane ; and when sailors are wrecked upon their shore, they pay them all possible attention. They are, also, extremely sensible to the charms of poetry and vocal music.
The great Loo-choo Island is, also, fortunate in many respects. It lies out of the usual track of trading ships : it has no want of foreign commodities ; and produces nothing to tempt the avarice of stangers. The inhabitants have no arms, and no money: and, cannot be made to understand the nature of war. Kæmpfer relates, that they are all either fishermen or husbandmen ; that they lead a contented life; are cheerful and affectionate ; and that after their daily work is done, they take their children and wives into the fields ; where they sit; drink a little rice liquor ; and play upon musical instruments. Hall and Macleod's accounts of this interesting people are equally picturesque and engaging. The Deity is known to them by the name of Boosa b: but there is nothing in the climate of this island to make the inhabitants wiser, better, or more happy, than their neighbours; and yet they are so.
^ Boccalini fables (Adv. Parnass. vii.), that a difference arose in Parnassus, on the subject of precedence, between Corbelli, doctor of law at San Marino, and the Baron of Bisagnano. This difference was referred to the congregation of ceremonies, who decreed, that Corbelli being born in a free country was to walk hand in hand with kings; and, therefore, to take precedence of any baron, or even prince, born in a country where liberty was unknown.
b Clifford's Vocabulary of the Loo-choo language.
Of the climate of England a much has been said by those, who have written on the subject. For my own part, my Lelius, I am persuaded, that you are well contented with it; being thoroughly convinced, that Bishop Berkely was justified in saying, that groves and meadows were nó where in such perfection as in England; and that Charles II. was equally correct, when he declared, that a gentleman might walk out oftener and with greater comfort in England, than in any other country of Europe. Let us, therefore, adapt our wishes to our climate; rather than presume to expect, that Nature will adapt our climate to our wishes : and the more so, since, even in the age of Elizabeth, the best compliment, ever paid to any climate in the world, was paid to this : viz. “ That it was too pure for a slave to breathe in 6.” Britons ! remember, that liberty is not only your birth-right, but the birth-right of your children. Be, therefore, neither cheated, canted, coaxed, nor conquered out of it. It is more to be valued than beauty, manners, wealth, rank, power-ah ! more to be prized than life itself. It is the gem of all mental ornaments; and the whole universe has nothing to compare to it, either in grandeur or in beauty.
In this part of my subject, I shall take leave to record the very extraordinary season of 1818 and 1819. The year 1817 had been remarkable for its violent storms, inundations, and earthquakes. The mountain of Hausnick, in Upper Austria, sank into a lake; the lake of Porciano, in the territory of Ferentino, (Italy,) became dry; flames issued out of a bed of sulphur, near Salzborg, in Bavaria ; and a whole mountain, in the bailiwick of Rattenburg, fell into the valley, which stretched at its feet. The summer of 1818 was the most delightful,
a For some curious observations, relative to the weather of these islands, vide Lieut. Mackenzie's System. He makes the cycle complete in fifty-four years.
b 2. Rushworth, p. 468.