« PreviousContinue »
attributed to the circumstance of his having previously visited those parts of England, the description of which occupies a consi→ derable portion of his first volume. But he becomes more com municative as he proceeds, and therefore appears in a more favorable light to his readers. We become convinced that we have before us not a stiff piece of elevated humanity that disdains to enter into the social feelings of his fellow creatures, but one who unites the qualities of the Gentleman with those of the Nobleman. We should, indeed, have been grievously disappointed if a branch of the illustrious house of Weimar, whose name will descend to the latest posterity, inwreathed with the brightest names of modern times, had appeared before the public in any but a favorablę point of view. If there is cause for regret in the work before us, it is that the author has generally confined himself to a bare narration of facts, without favoring his readers with his own observations upon them. Whenever he has adopted the latter mode, we have always found his observations amusing or instructive; and a work of this nature throughout, from the hands of a Prince who has shown himself so diligent an observer of nature and society, in the different countries he has visited, would have been, indeed, a treasure. But it is scarcely to be expected that one in onr author's rank of life, should devote himself to the toil and labour necessary for literary distinction. We feel grateful to him for what he has done; he has not, it is true, presented us with piquant anecdotes of society, or general characteristics of a nation, which are frequently so liberally and gratuitously conferred by authors, but we have an interesting personal narrative, in which due attention is paid to the great interests of mankind, and a desire evinced of transferring the Good in All countries to his own. The military habits and strict education of the writer are occasionally manifest, and vary the picture by directing attention from the described to the describer, but he always displays a thorough impartiality.
The work is neatly and tolerably correctly printed, and among the typographical errors which we noticed, the German words appeared the most numerous, the English, except in a few instances, being properly given. There are many valuable maps annexed, with plans, vignettes, and two landscapes of American scenery. We trust that the very favourable reception which the present volumes have found, will induce the Duke to publish his travels in this country.
ART. X. Journal of a Voyage to Peru; a Passage across the Cordil-
BEYOND the novelty of a passage effected across the Cordillera of the Andes, in the depth of winter, when those giant-mountains,
always difficult to a traveller, were rendered more than usually perilous from being covered with snow, we have found little in Lieutenant Brand's Journal deserving attention. The whole line of his route is already familiar to most of our readers. Captain Head's picturesque and animated account of the Andes, has made them perfectly acquainted with those magnificent wastes. They may be said to have frequently climbed the Andes with one adventurer or another during the last five or six years; and as to Valparaiso or Lima, there is scarcely a street, or a public building in either, that can be said to be new to them. In a literary point of view, our author himself acknowledges that his volume has no pretensions whatever. It is certainly written with as little elegance, or even accuracy of composition, as can well be imagined. We are told it was drawn up, according to a very laudable custom which prevails amongst naval officers, solely for the information and entertainment of the author's friends; but that he was 'per suaded to present it to the notice of the public,' doubtless by that partiality of private admiration which in all such cases is irresistible. As to the rest, the production contains nothing positively offensive, except the usual proportion of bigotry, which is found in almost every book of travels that emanates from our countrymen. They have so very generally acquired the notion that no religion can be proper but their own, and that they have a right to ridicule or censure every mode of worship save that which they have been taught, that a chapter on superstition and idolatry seems to be as indispensible, as a chapter on costume.
Our author does not inform us whether he wandered forth as a man of business or pleasure, as a diplomatist or an engineer. We suspect that he was employed as a special agent, by one of the British Mining Companies, on some urgent occasion which he did not find himself at liberty to explain. This matter, however, is of very little consequence, as he does not enter into any questions at all connected with speculations of a commercial nature. He left Falmouth on the 23d of April, 1827, and made the passage to Rio Janeiro in forty-five days. From thence he sailed to Monte Video, but having been refused permission by the Brazilian Admiral to proceed by the packet to Buenos Ayres, then in a state of blockade on account of the war between the two countries, he was obliged to make an over-land journey thither, through the Banda Oriental. It seems extremely absurd that the Admiral should have prevented passengers from going to Buenos Ayres by the packet, when they had no difficulty in procuring passports for the frontiers, if they were inclined to expose themselves to the fatigue and danger of travelling through a tract of country affording none of the conveniences of civilized life, and moreover infested with robbers. But this is one of those anomalies known to the governments of South America, for which we who live in the old world are at a loss to account.
After leaving the Brazilian outposts, which were held by black troops, our author soon reached the republican lines. His description of the Patriot forces is by no means flattering. They had a most wretched and wild appearance: they were all mounted on half wild horses, no shoes or stockings, with tremendous large spurs fastened to their naked heels by strips of hide: their long black hair hung down their backs, huge black mustachios, red caps, and blue pouches lined with red, underneath which, as they galloped to and fro, appeared a brace of pistols in front, and a large long knife stuck behind; added to all this, they carried a sabre and blunderbuss: those that had not the latter had old muskets, fowling pieces, &c.' These men were in arms against the treaty for giving up the Banda Oriental to the emperor. They were little better than a set of banditti, and to increase the romance of the scene, there were numerous armed deserters from both lines, who were employed in pillaging and murdering in all directions.
Lieutenant Brand was fortunate in having for his travelling companions three Englishmen and a Spaniard. They were guided for three leagues by a fine little child only five years old, who was mounted on a noble horse, and sang all the way a native song of the country, in which the only words our author could make out meant in substance-" stand to your arms, brave Orientals; the enemy are coming-fight, and be bold." Generally speaking, the guides are beautiful horsemen instantly they mount, they cry "vamos senores!" (let us go, gentlemen,) and start off at full speed; nothing stops them-through mud, water, brooks, and every thing you must follow, or be left behind.' The tigers, vultures, vermin, robbers and starvation of the Banda Oriental having been all surmounted, our travellers crossed the Rio de la Plata in an open boat, and found Buenos Ayres a perfect London, or Paris, compared with the savage country they had just traversed. In a political point of view, however, the republican metropolis was in a sad condition enough. Paper money was falling to a mere nothing-sixty-four paper dollars to the doubloon, and daily expected to be lower.'
From Buenos Ayres, Lieutenant Brand proceeded across the Pampas, galloping as usual in that wild district as quickly as the animals would go. The reason for this velocity of movement he states as follows:
'It may be a matter of surprise to some of my readers, why travellers should gallop over the Pampas at the amazing rate they do. In order, in some measure, to account for this, it must be taken into consideration, the total discomfort and wretchedness which reigns throughout the dreary waste; and it may well be imagined, that a man has no inclination to remain there longer than he can possibly help. It must also be taken into consideration, that, probably at all times, there may be Indians, or Monteneros, hovering about; and if, by any chance, they get informa
tion of a traveller being on the road, no doubt but they would endeavour to waylay him; therefore the best and most secure way of avoiding this, is by riding at that rate which would prevent them (even should they get such information) from being able to overtake you added to this, the natural pace of the horses is such, that really the animals appear to be sensible of the journey they have to perform, and seem to be as eager tó get over it as the riders themselves; neither is their labour so great as may be imagined, for there is no up-hill or down-hill, windings or turnings, obstructions of blocked-up roads, or any thing of the sort: in short, nothing to impede the straight-forward progress; and also there is a peculiar pleasure and buoyancy of spirits in riding over a dreary waste, with nothing to attract the attention; the mind gets absorbed in pleasing reflections, building castles in the air, which are scarcely broken by the galloping of the horse, or till the post-house rises in the horizon of the desolate plain, like a strange sail seen from a ship at sea, which serves only to break the monotony for a few passing moments, until he changes his horse, and gallops on again, anticipating and calculating how long it may be before he gets to the end of his monotonous journey: thus it is, having no inducement to stop, onward he goes, from daylight till dark, as long as he can get relays of horses; never thinking of the journey he has performed, only how much more remains to be accomplished.'-pp. 282-284.
From this portion of the journal, which describes the author's route across the Pampas, we shall only extract his notice of the family of a good-humoured host whom he found at Las Manantiales, or the Springs, and the general character of the natives of the Pampas.
This is not a regular post-house, not having a post-room, but our laughing host, who is a fat, jolly, good-natured man, did every thing to make his miserable abode as comfortable to us as possible. These people have many amiable qualities that of urbanity of manners in particular : I wish I could say that my own countrymen possessed half their politeness: give way a little to their humour, and they may be made any thing of. This poor man, humbly and miserably as he was situated, living with his wife and two daughters, in a perfect desert, gave up the only room he had for our service; and when he sat down to eat with us, did not touch his meat without crossing himself, and breathing a prayer of thanks to his Maker. While we were at our supper inside, we had a noble view without the thistles had been set on fire to clear the land, and for miles it was to be seen blazing and marching majestically along the horizon, a wilderness of fire. Our Peons had also two blazing fires, which they were assembled close round, cooking their suppers; not a breath of wind moved over the quiet scene, which only tended to add melancholy to its dreariness. We all slept on the mud floor in our host's small room, which did not appear to incommode either himself or his family, for his wife and daughters came and undressed just as if no person had been there. Shortly after, between talking and laughing, we heard them at their prayers, stopping now and then to chat in the middle of them. I could not but think of the good qualities which were evidently innate in this family; and what they might be brought to with a little cultivation and education.'
pp. 43, 44.
In the same kindly spirit, Lieutenant Brand speaks of the natives of the Pampas generally.
Indolence and gambling appear to be their existing propensities: the former I am not astonished at, on account of their very few wants; as long as they have beef, water, and a cigar, all are supplied. The natives of the Pampas are a remarkably fine, handsome race of men, with expressive intelligent countenances. From necessity, being driven entirely to their own resources for a livelihood, they have acquired a very independent air; and from living almost on horseback, it approaches even to nobleness. Their good qualities are very conspicuous: treat them civilly, they will always return it in kind far beyond what may be expected. A cigar presented in due season, and with a proper degree of politeness, will effect more than all the harsh words you can give them, for they will not brook it; and why should they? Living as free and independent as the wind, they cannot, and will not acknowledge superiority in any fellowmortal. They are fond of asking questions, but it will be done with all the air and manners of a courtier, fearing to give offence; nevertheless, they will expect to be answered with equal civility. Their ideas are all equality the humble peon, and my lord, would be addressed equally alike by the simple Gaucho with the title of "Senor."—pp. 73, 74.
We must add our author's account of two travellers, brothers, and natives of Mendoza, who accompanied him over the Pampas. They had purchased an old English travelling carriage, of which they were ludicrously vain; and we rather suspect, that in order to crown their pretensions to grandeur, they exhibited our naval Lieutenant as a "lion," on their arrival at Mendoza.
They purchased the carriage on the strength of meeting with two Englishmen, who paid them a hundred and twenty-five silver dollars each for their seats, and for which they paid two thousand paper dollars, or shillings, which was the current rate of exchange at the time. It was ridiculous to see with what pride they surveyed this vehicle every day; and they did not, positively, know how to open or shut the door, or let down the steps. Every wretched post-house we stopped at, a description of the carriage was given, a general survey held, the door opened and shut, the glasses let up and down half a dozen times, very much to the amusement of the simple Gauchos, who stared with astonishment, while the gallant colonel and his brother would stand with folded arms, eulogizing its various qualities, with an air of self importance not to be equalled by the Dey of Algiers himself; taking care, as we advanced in distance, that they advanced in the price they gave for it; for not being very particular with regard to their veracity, it increased to the amount of three thousand five hundred dollars by the time we arrived at Mendoza. Independent of this, they carried with them various articles of merchandize, in a small way, such as snuff-boxes, watches, rings, fans, &c. &c. much resembling our hawking pedlars in England. A gold, musical snuff-box was a grand display, every place we stopped at; it confirmed their grandeur, by the surprise and astonishment of the natives, who had never seen such a thing in their lives: even the Indians had a laugh and roar at it, and I verily believe would have smashed it on the ground, from pure delight, could they have got it into their hands. A trumpery watch was shewn to me