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FOR JUNE, 1809.
[FOR THE SELECT REVIEWS.]
Voyage en Pologne et en Allemagne fait en 1793, par un Livonien, &c. 2 vols. 8vo;
Travels through Poland and Germany, by a Livonian.
THE republick or kingdom of Poland is no more. A series of revolutions which took place within the last forty years, has terminated in the total destruction of a state formerly much renowned in the annals of civil, military, and political glory. In the present state of affairs, details concerning the ancient constitution of this kingdom, its senate, its diet, and its king, can be considered only as contributions to the history of past times, and would scarcely furnish our American readers with any considerable share of interest. But the picture of men and manners will never cease to engage a reasonable curiosity; and happily the present work contains, in this respect, a number of very valuable observations. We shall first select a very lively description of the manner of living of one of the most illustrious families of Warsaw, which will give a pretty adequate idea of high life in general in that country.
This family, says our author, is composed of five persons, viz. the prince, the princess his spouse, two sons, and one daughter. The place of their residence is not fixed, and they never live two years together in the same place. Wherever they fix their abode, a regular court is paid to them by the numerous officers appointed for the administration of the finances of the house. This court is increased by all those whom the family patronizes in a political respect, and by a number of courteous neighbours. An open table, theatrical performances, and rural festivals, form the constant amusements and almost the only occupations of the company. When the family is on a journey, they carry along with them all the persons they stand in need of, such as tutors for their children, chaplains, valets, musicians, physicians, secretaries, and servants. All these people attend in carriages. Wagons follow loaded with wardrobe, wine, kitchen utensils, and beds. The whole forms a long procession of carriages and horses led by drivers, equerries, grooms, &c. Most of the publick taverns in Poland being very miserable, the travelling party is provided with tents, which are pitched wherever they choose to repose. It might be said, that such a camp is like those of the ancient patriarchs. When the journey takes place to a foreign country, the attendants are not equally numerous; nevertheless, they seldom employ less than three or four carriages drawn by six horses each. If they wish to make any considerable stay in a large city, an entire hotel is hired, and the family is established there completely. There they give dinners, suppers, balls, and card parties. They frequent the best company and admit parasites of every description. It happens often that the princess finds more pleasure in a city than her husband. In El
that case she remains with her court, whilst he proceeds further with his own. Thus she stays at Vienna and he at Rome. On his return to Poland he will meet her, perhaps, at Pisa going to Naples. In this manner the family is often scattered over all Europe; its ducats circulate every where, and years elapse before they find themselves united again in Warsaw. Each keeps a separate apartment and separate attendants. These adhere so strictly to their particular business that often the master or mistress of the house find nobody to execute their orders, whilst there are a dozen servants in the house. A stranger having business with the master addresses by chance one of the servants of madame. He scarcely receives an answer. At the utmost he is directed to the room of the master's servants. There you may find often ten persons waiting an eleventh one to announce them. The prince gets up sooner or later according to the hour at which the supper or the ball of the last evening was finished. The large door of the palace remains shut until the prince gives admittance; but the small side door is sooner open. By this the trusty confidants, the clients, the officers of the family, the creditors, the solicitors, the scholars, and the artists glide in, whenever they have any thing to ask from the prince. The servants are accustomed to receive them with a pan spie, that is: the master is asleep. Others who are acquainted with the place, visit one of the secretaries or of the pages, explain their business, under the protection of a present, or give to understand that they will not be ungrateful if they are introduced by a private door. The prince is found in his bed or sitting before the chimney in his dressing gown, either alone or surrounded by his clients, solicitors and other people, who pay him their court. When there is no diet the prince spends the forenoon either in riding on horseback out of town, or he goes on foot to visit his acquaintances, or else glides into the suburb of Cracovia to see a young person, whom he entertains regularly or whom he visits only through accident. Meanwhile the apartment of madame begins to stir. As she did not get to bed till after midnight, she does not rise till between ten and eleven o'clock. She finds near her bed two or three ladies of her friends, who chatter with her about the company of last evening, and who listen to her own observations. They will plan some amusement for the day. For fear of missing a rendezvous in the garden of Saxony, the princess puts on, in haste, an elegant morning dress, and covers her head with a muslin handkerchief of dazzling white, which conceals every part of her face except two sparkling eyes. Another time she rings the bell for the breakfast and gives orders to let in the people who are waiting in her antichamber. These are tradesmen of both sexes and of every description, who bring in new wares and old accounts, painters, genealogists, virtuosos from abroad, who come to invite her to a concert, hairdressers just arrived from Paris, dentists, and other people of the same kind. They enter all in a crowd, together with lords decorated with crosses and badges, who are not ashamed to flatter the wife in order to get the more surely at the husband. Whilst all this is going on in the apartments of the prince and the princess, the children remain not inactive. Masters of languages, of dancing, of musick, and of drawing have arrived in the room of the daughter; they have given their lessons or have been sent back, because the princess had a headach, or because she wished to embroider. In the chamber of the sons you hear a confused noise of violins, of whistling flutes, and of clashing foils, intermixed with voices chaunting Polish songs and the huzzas of half a dozen young people chasing one another, fighting one against the other, and throwing topsy turvy chairs and tables. In the midst of this tumult you may distinguish the voices of the drawing and fencing masters, and that of the tutor, alternately entreating, threatening, swearing, but almost constantly accompanied with shouts of laughter. In the yard some Tartar horses, on which the princes, their companions, and their equerries intend to take a ride, stamp and beat the pavement, and by their gambols tire the hoarse voices and the whips of the grooms. At last the blustering company run down stairs; leap upon the horses; rush out from the gate, and tranquillity is finally restored in the palace.
There is certainly a great deal of variety in this picture. It would not be unworthy of the pencil of a Teniers or of a Vateau. The description of Poland fills the first volume of the work, and the first pages of the second.. After this the author sets out for Dresden. He visits Berlin, Munich, Salzburgh, Vienna, and arrives at last at Balsamo where his journey ends. The following is a faithful representation of the manners, and especially of the economical habits of the inhabitants of Dresden.
It is difficult to discern, that Dresden is the residence of ministers, of generals, of officers of superiour rank, and of wealthy citizens. Nevertheless, the number of all these persons is very considerable. You will not see in this place that number of magnificent carriages, that numerous retinue of servants, those sumptuous tables, those brilliant assemblies, those splendid repasts, nor those pleasure parties, things so frequent in other chief cities. In compensation for this you will not hear in this city of men famous for their debts, nor of merchants and mechanicks cheated and ruined by fashionable debtors. Many of the officers in the service of the state, who in other small residences cannot commonly do without horses and carriages, walk here on foot, and use, on days of ceremony, a modest sedan chair. How should it happen, that a counsellor should think himself obliged to incur expenses of this kind, when he sees the ministers themselves dressed very plainly and going on foot? There is, I believe, not one instance of a merchant keeping horses and a carriage. Two or three bankers only keep equipages. All other persons of this class keep at the utmost a gig or a carriage drawn by one single horse [une demi fortune] and a small country seat in a neighbouring village, where they spend some time in the summer season. It must not be imagined that this economy degenerates into avarice. On proper occasions they show themselves in a manner suitable to their fortune. They are equally removed from the profusion of Warsaw and from the Spanish pageantry that reigns in Vienna. They will display in exquisite dishes and in delicious wines every thing a delicate palate may wish for. At the same time you will be treated with a conversation more agreeable, more witty, and more various than in either residence before mentioned. The fashionable people of both sexes are there better informed and possessed of more wit than in many other residences of Germany.
We shall not follow our author to Nuremberg, to Berlin, to Munich, nor even to Vienna, although there are interesting details enough in the description he gives of these different cities; but if we except some slight shades, the physiognomies are there nearly the same. In Nuremberg the fine arts are a little more cultivated; in Berlin the higher classes of society are more austere; in Munich more affable and more hospitable; in Vienna more solemn and more cold. Such is the general result of his observations, and the writer of this article can bear testimony, that this result is in general correct. We shall conclude this article with the account our author gives of the saltworks of Salzburgh, situated near the small town of Hallein, where they purify the salt extracted from a neighbouring mountain called Durremberg.
I had procured at Salzburgh a permission for visiting the mines. On my arrival at Hallein, I sent it to the officer of the administration, in order to inform him of my design. As I was assured that more than two hours would pass before I could get an answer, I ordered my dinner to be served, after which I took the way of the mine. People go there commonly on horseback or in sledges, but these two modes equally displeased me. I preferred walking. I found the road neither too long nor too rough, and the diversity of the prospects, which change every moment, rendered the walk very agreeable. After you have ascended a mountain for nearly one hour, you discover before you a small village with a neat church built of pale red marble, which is highly ornamental to the landscape.
About two hundred paces further you reach the end of your journey, and arrive at a tavern where the director of the mine awaits the curious visiters with the costume necessary to undertake the subterraneous excursion. When entering I per ceived a being of a singular form, dressed in white, which suddenly disappeared. The director having conducted me to a closet, told me, that a company was to visit the mine with me. He displayed the bundle of garments necessary for the purpose, and now I guessed immediately what the kind of phantom was, that had struck my eyes at the moment of entering. He explained to me the rest. It was a young woman, who had come from a neighbouring town with her brother and her elder sis ter. The attire consists of a white great coat, breeches of the same colour, long, white cotton stockings, large shoes with thick soals, a leathern apron, and finally, a cap for the protection of the head. The breeches, the great coat, and the stockings are wide enough to be put on over every other dress. The good humour which these preparations excited in us, was the cause, that from the first instant we were toge
ther like old acquaintances. We entered the mine under the guidance of the director. The soil is clayey and of unequal hardness. As we proceeded, we had the pleasure of enjoying the admirable effect produced by the torches which each of us held in his hand. Their light was reflected by the water and the vault of the gallery covered with crystalized salt. The numerous facets of the mineral decomposed the rays of light, and produced a variety of admirable colours. The director had made some arrangements to render our excursion more amusing, by placing at proper distances miners engaged in some particular kind of work. One continued to dig the gal lery; another was employed in carrying the earth out of the mine; a third was repairing the canal where the briny water flows along. On a sudden the director stopt on the brink of a deep abyss, where our eye could penetrate only to the depth of a few feet. "We must descend to the bottom of this abyss," said the director. Our ladies, alarmed at the proposition, inquired whether there was no other way to be pursued. Without paying any attention to their anxiety he answered coolly, it was the only one. At the same time he spread his apron upon two parallel beams with a smooth surface and extending into the abyss in an oblique direction. All along the beams a rope was fastened to take hold of during the descent. Having seated himself on his apron, he requested a gentleman of our company to do the same behind him, to have afterwards a lady seated in the same manner, and so alternately with the others. In the twinkling of an eye we glided with him to the bottom of the abyss. We had already alighted before our fair companions had yet completely fetched the sigh which their fears had excited. They give this expeditious mode of descending the name of rolling. The ingenious mind of the director had reserved until the last moment the most beautiful prospect. He led us, as it seemed, to the entry of a new gallery. We plunged into it, and on a sudden a dark vault was open before us, whose spacious extent could be discovered by the light of our torches. At the first sight it presented the image of a dark sky, where a few stars sparkled at a distance. As soon as the eye was accustomed to their lustre they took the appearance of glistening exhalations, which illuminated the surrounding objects and communicated to them that intermediate tint of light and shade which is so pleasing at the entry of a large cavern. This ought to be visited by novel writers desirous of producing some grand effect in the modern manner that has been adopted for this kind of composition. Otherwise all the efforts of their imagination will produce nothing but wretched sketches whenever they have to describe caverns, subterraneous halls, tombs, prisons, and other scenes dire and lugubrious. This cavern may contain as many as seven hundred thousand buckets of water. At the moment we saw it, it resembled much the publick square of a city illuminated all around, which made its extent appear much more considerable. The mine contains thirtythree similar caverns. The one we visited is the largest. They make use of them in the following manner. They convey to them soft water, which dilutes the saline parts with which the side walls are impregnated. The water is left there for some time to be perfectly well saturated, after which, it is conducted by canals to Hallein, where it is made to boil and to evaporate in order to extract the salt. After we had gone through the cavern in all its extent, we saw a kind of chariot advance, drawn by two workmen of the mine. We all seated ourselves on it. Our charioteers carried us at a fast trot through a beautiful gallery on an inclined plane hewn in a white marble rock, and we saw again the splendour of daylight. We found our clothes in a neighbouring saw-mill, where we took leave of our obliging director and his workmen.
C. F. A. C.
[FOR THE SELECT REVIEWS.]
The Complete Farrier, or Gentleman's Travelling Companion; comprising a General Description of the Perfections and Imperfections of that Noble Animal the HORSE; with a concise Account of his Diseases, their Symptoms and Remedies; and Advice with respect to Purchase, Age, Action, Condition, Shoeing, Feeding, Exercise, Docking, Nicking, Pricking the Tail, and the Structure and Management of the Stable; with Directions for the Treatment of a Horse, Preparatory to, and on a Journey, whereby a Person will be at once prepared to treat any Accident or Disease that may occur. Compiled from the best Authorities, particularly adapted to this Country, and interspersed with much Original Matter, the Result of the Observations of a Gentleman of known Experience in the United States. pp. 248. Bradford and Inskeep, Philadelphia, 1809.
ON the first notification and appearance of this volume, which offers so much, we prepared ourselves for a disappointment when we should come to its perusal; for the titles of book are something similar to Vintners' Signs; the most specious and promising do not always indicate the best entertainment; and under an inviting portico we frequently find but an insipid host, and a very scurvy bill of fare. Amidst the swarms of ephemeral publications to which this observation is justly applicable, the volume now before us must be acknowledged to be a solitary but honourable and distinguished exception. We have examined its contents with a high degree of satisfaction, and we do not doubt, but every friend to that noble and generous animal which is the subject of the treatise, will find in its perusal an unexpected treat; and more clear and comprehensive practical information than in any other volume of its size hitherto published.
The author or compiler, with a view to render the account of the diseases of the horse more intelligible to those readers who are altogether unacquainted with anatomy, commences with a sketch of the general structure of the animal; the bones, with their vessels, ligaments, cavities, period of formation, &c. the eyes, lungs, heart, stomach; their conformation, functions and peculiarities. Next follow the formidable train of diseases to which this most useful quadruped is subject, among which are fever, inflammation of the lungs, inflammation of the bowels, stomach, kidneys, bladder, eyes and liver; strangles, or throat distemper, lockjaw, broken wind, jaundice, gripes, staggers, diarrhea or purging, diabetes or excessive staling, worms, hide-bound, surfeit, mange, grease or scratches, mallenders and sallenders, glanders, farcy, wounds and bruises, fistula in the withers, poll-evil, saddlegalls, sitfasts, strains, ringbones, wind-galls, spavin, with a melancholy train of et ceteras. The symptoms, causes, nature, prevention and proper treatment of these, are particularly pointed out. The observations of the writer are evidently deduced from long experience and a minute attention to the subject; and so much feeling and good sense appears in his reasoning and remarks, as do equal honour to his understanding and humanity. The anatomy and physiology of the foot are treated in a clear and masterly manner. The principles of shoeing, so little known and attended to by those whose ignorance produces such extensive mischief and misery to this generous, uncomplaining animal, are laid down with such plainness and precision, that, for the sake of humanity, we could wish this section in particular, to be read and studied by every blacksmith in the union. The numerous and distressing diseases of the foot are next minutely described, and the proper treatment, as well as mode of prevention particularly pointed out. The articles bleeding, physick, &c. are followed by advice on the management of a horse preparatory to and during a journey, with which every