Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the Archduchess Louisa to Don Pedro, apArt. IV.-Naturhistorische Reise nach pears to have been great in the latter coun

der West Initischen Insel Hayli, auf Kos-try. Our author, partaking this feeling in ten Sr Majestät des Kaisers von Oester- no ordinary degree, and burning, as he reich. Von Carl Ritter, Gartendirector in tells us, with desire to improve his knowUngarn und Mitglied mehrerer gelehr- ledge of nature, and especially in a tropicten Gesellschaften. Mit lithographir al climate, readily undertook the commis. ten Abbildungen. (Travels to the West sion to Hayei, suggested to the Imperial Indian Island of Hayti for the advance Court by that well-known patriotic and sciment of Natural History, and at the ex- entific nobleman, Joseph von Dietrich. A pense of His Majesty the Emperor of collection of natural curiosities from the Austria. By Carl Ritter, &c. &c.) Stut- Imperial Cabinet, were packed in six chests, gard. 1836.

to further the views of the expedition by a

propitiatory offering to the sable ruler, Though somewhat late in its appear. Christophe; with what success, our author ance, as regards the actual time of the jour- has here explained fully and at length. So ney narrated herein, this volume comes be little is generally known of the past and fore us at a moment when the affairs of present condition of this singularly interHay:i begin to assume a tone of greater esting island, that we shall give ample eximportance to Europe than has for many tracts from the volume before us, as the best years been its fate. The curious problem means of gratifying curiosity; accompany-how far the negro and his descendants ing, however, our extracts with such reare qualified to take their place in civilized marks, from later and more intimate knowsociety, has now had a reasonable period ledge of the scene, as to give the reader a for solution allowed to it: and the answer clearer insight than the work before us, to this question, though still in progress, in- without such assistance, could furnish, of volves a point if not of greater difficulty, the free government of the blacks. at least one more closely connected with M. Ritter, who, it seems, is director of the our own immediate interests. The doubt imperial gardens in Hungary, as well as whether our West India settlements are to member of several scientific societies, lest be shortly transferred to the United States Trieste, on his mission, on board of an of North America has, for the present at English vessel ; and notices, as a freshany rate, been answered satisfactorily in the water sailor, the varieties of weather, which negative, by the party most capable perhaps was squally; and which, on one occasion, of determining the question in one shape. " with a fearsul crash and a loud peal of The probability next arises of an Emanci- thunder, brought all upon deck to beholdpation more effective than even that recent- the two masts, with their sails, lying on the ly granted to our slave population in the waters." The captain, John Smard, comWest Indies, by their possible imitation of forted the passengers with the assurance the example of St. Domingo, either in the that, had the masts not broken, the ship subversion of European rule and establish- must have upset; 20, making the best use ment of separate and independent legisla. of the mizen till the others could be retures or else by their union with the go- paired, they proceeded on their course, novernment of Hayti. We cannot take upon ticing whole islands of fucus natans, with ourselves to decide so difficult a question, quantities of small crabs adhering thereto; and are the less disposed to hazard any and amongst them that rare species, the hoconjectures upon it by the simple fact, that lothuria. Paying a tribute off Trafalgar time will solve the riddle, at present involy. to the memory of that “hero, the great ed in obscurity ; and that inquiries so Nelson,” M. Řitter, proceeds to detail the vague into the future, have already receiv. ceremony of crossing the line, which, aled one correction by the starting of new ready growing obsolete, may still possess states, possibly new claimants, into exis- an interest at Vienna. After something tence, both in North and South America. more than a two month's voyage, they made Meantime, the past and present condition the land at Cape Nicolet, on the 14th of of Hayti, the great exemplar of negro in- April. dependence, may assist us in forming a From Nicolet to the harbour of Cape judgment on several points scarcely yet ripe Hayti, the passage is extremely narrow, for mature decision.

and surrounded or edged by rocks and coThe interest excited by the acquisitions to ral reefs; often fatal as he observes, to navinatural history, furnished by the kingdom gators that have surmounted "the danger of Brazil during its temporary connection of the seas." The pilot came on board, with Austria, by the ill-fated marriage of and shortly after four negro ehildren, one XX,





of them a girl, made fast their miserable I was on the ground floor, and furnished in canoe to the vessel and calmly went to the most simple style, with merely writing sleep in it.

tables and stools. From hence on the capThey neared Cape Town as the early tain's return, they were referred to the ofmorning broke into day-light, and the tra- fice of Baron Dupuy, secretary of state, veller thus describes the scene

who was to introduce them to the king.

The same simplicity was observable here, “ The sea was calm, the land inviting: and a profound silence reigned throughout. à profound stillness reigned over all, and even the dash of the waves upon the coral The baron, a Mestizo, received us in breakers was no longer audible : a gentle his closet, which was hung with maps and breeze rippled over the waves that reflect- charts, in a friendly manner. He sat ed the ship in their watery mirror. Sur- there in great state : his powdered head rounded by fisher-boats reached with a small pigtail appended, the imposthe shore, and cast anchor exactly at ing green velvet coat, embroidered with twelve.

gold, and of the most stylish cut, giving “ The view, before landing, presented so him altogether a ludicrous appearance.” interesting a scene that it is requisite to describe it here. Towards the north, we

Having paid this visit of form to this imsaw the majestic plain of waters, glancing light from its changeful shades, that varied portant personage, their next care was to from clear green to a darker hue; espe

seek lodgings: but, as no hotel existed, they cially at the breakers, where the foaming took apartments in a coffee-house kept by waves broke up the deeper color of the a coloured woman, who received strangers

To the west lay the picturesque only for a week; at the expiration of which landscape of Cape Town, which stretched they are expected to furnish themselves with some fortified points, northwards, to with private apartments, and provide their Cape Nicolet. On the south, we saw the whole distance to Haut du Cap, la plaine

own kitchen. du Nord, and the neighborhood of Sans

The presents were landed on the fifth Souci, behind which last rose, as in amphi- day, under the care of a negro functionary, theatre, the mountain-chain, crowned with the director of Christophe's

garden at Sansthe citadel of Henri. Eastward, the small Souci, and the chests were carried on the town of Petite-Anse, surrounded with its heads of black porters to the palace : "the sugar plantation, invited the eye; and be- Baron Dupuy, in his gala.dress abovemenyond this the prospect extended to the tioned,” leading the procession on foot, and rocky promontory, covered with a variety the travellers following, attended of course of vegetation, and the gigantic, palms hy a posse comitatus of rabble. At a glance rising here and there, aided greatly the from the baron, the guards withdrew their general effect of the picture."

crossing weapons from before the doors,

and gave them entrance. They ascended In the harbour they were boarded, at an. to the first floor, where our naturalist was chor, by the commissioner of health, with to unpack and arrange the collection in a the concise salutation, Bon jour, Capi. tolerably large room, but devoid of every taine Blanc." He carried them ashore to thing except tables: he was assisted in his the bureau of Count Limonade, for a due task by "some laquais of Christophe, who examination, while a ragged and barefoot in all their dark complexion, resembled Eu. negro of the Haytian guard took charge of ropean cooks." the ship. A swarm of the curious, com: The peculiarities of the negro character, posed of both whites and blacks, lined, as and their passion and respect for finery, elsewhere, the shore. The crowd present when all civilized nations have abandoned ed a singular contr ist of well-dressed whites it

, are sufficiently displayed in these exmingled with half-naked negroes, and here tracts; but the jealousy which marks their and there relieved by a sable officer, in his dominion, and which formed a striking feauniform with gold and silver facings. ture in the savage and sullen character of

In the office of Count Limonade, the Christophe himself, was evinced by a triminister of foreign affairs, the travellers fing circumstance. The servants had were not a little surprized to find all the quitted and left the naturalist to himself at functionaries in uniform; the principal, with the conclusion of his labors, and he saiv, the minister at their head, in handsome at no great distance from the window, à suits of velvet embroidered with gold. balcony where two dark females were Whilst the captain was ushered into anoth- standing, but who at sight of him immedier room to give an account of the voyagers' ately retired. Two servants, entering the objects and the vessel's cargo, chairs were room where he was, at once closed the brought in for the travellers. The room window so as to leave him in darkness, ex

cept the little light that gleamed through Etrangère, a building tenanted by English the blinds " The wonder was explained by only, and at a short distance from the town. the circumstance that the ladies were the Here he was enabled to pursue his labors two princesses, who had taken his appear without interruption through the neighborance at the window so much amiss." He hood, remote, as he tells us, from political was consequently subjected to a close ex- suspicions. amination of his effects; and even his instructions from the director of the Imperial

“In the concerns of life and business, Cabinet of Natural History of Vienna were (says M. Ritter,) I found discipline severe, translated by a black who had lived long in the police well arranged, religion protect Hamburg, and spoke German well. Noth-ed, trade and commerce flourishing, though ing suspicious being found therein, for the same regulations exist as in Europe

the whites are under strong restrictions. probably the inspection of princesses forman (military ) towns. Every morning at ed no part of the Austrian views of natural five, the trumpet sounds at the Place d'history, they were returned to him. To armes. On Sundays the guard assembles, view the interior of the island was not per and plays a salute of Turkish music. The mitted him, especially after this unfortun- | troops go through their exercise, overate debut in exploration, but he was prom- window. About seven, when divine ser

looked by Christophe from a balcony or ised whatever he might desire for his col. vice began, he went to church with his lection. He did, in fact, obtain some speci- nobility, under a splendid canopy, borne mens, but in the worst possible state; the by four negroes clad in silk; by the side feathers clipt, &c. Some plants also were of each an individual of high rank walked, equally useless when brought to him; nor holding the end of a silken streamer hang

In the church was be more fortunate in his attempts to ing from the canopy. penetrate beyond the barriers, where he Christophe sat with the Crown Prince was greeted with the courteons sentence tophe had the two princesses by her side.

Victor at hand, and the consort of Chris“Tournez, blanc." He seems, however, to the noblesse surrounded them, and a nuhave made some attempts to reach the coun- merous body of military enclosed the try; being as he states, in the very centre of whole. natural productions, without daring to pass “The sight was extremely striking; the the limits of the town ; but his botanical re- military music ceased; at the word of searches amongst the bushes of the Cape-command the soldiers stood up, and the mountain were speedily relinquished, for in accompaniment with a bassoon, two one day he only saved himself from severe clarionets, and a violin, some strophes, ill-treatment by hard running.

which were then taken up by the congreIn truth, the prince, as little as the peo- gation generally. The archbishop, standple, seemed disposed to encourage M. Rit- ing at the altar, delivered an impressive ters's labours. The valuable presents he oration, apparently in good French; and had brought created no interest whatever, mass was performed with the usual cereeven with the former, Christophe being to monies: Christophe then returned to the

palace in form as he had issued thence, tally occupied with the care of his own and the troops retired to their barracks.' kingdom. "M. Ritter, thereforo endeavored to cross over to the Spanish side of the isl It will be interesting to compare the conand, inorder to prosecute his researches dition of the capital at the time our author there: but difficulties inter posed. There visited it, with its previous and present was no travelling without a passport by states; especially as we perceive that an exland, and the Spaniards held no communi- pedition is preparing in the French ports eation with their brethren by sea.

at this time, to support the claims for peAt the end of six weeks from their arri- cuniary coinpensation to that nation from val, they first obtained the key of a stone the Haytians. Amongst these last, the exhouse from the government. This they periment is trying, for the first time, as to hired at a yearly rent of 1000 pi astres, and the capability of the negroes for self-gothough it swarmed with rats and mice, it vernment; and notwithstanding the doubts was nevertheless more convenient for our that prevail in some quarters, of their intelauthor's avocations than the coffee-house, leetual capacity, it must be confessed, that where he had remained “unfurnished with even with all the errors and faults incident every convenience" till that time. For to every rising people, seeking for the first unately for himself, he sometime after made principles of social government(upon which the acquaintance of Marshall Stuart, an topics the light-hearted author before us Englishman, and physician of the body to appears to have touched but slightly,--and Christophe, who procured, after some trou- and in truth there was little inducement for ble, M. Ritner's removal to the Habitation him), -in spite of these serious moral and

social defects, we would observe, that the is in utter decay. The town is regularly negroes in the time of Christophe were, built, in a quadrangle of 6 by 400 toises. comparing their previous relative condition, It reckons 14 streets from east to west, and scarcely inferior in the art of self-govern- | 19 from north to south, and once contained ment to the Greeks under the protection of 900 houses, one-third of which were of Capodistrias. The French, indeed, are stone; now of the latter, there are not 150, proverbially, if not in reality, bad coloniz. and in some places hovels are erected ers; but their system of national gaiety in amidst the standing walls of a once splenlife, and of military rule in politics, appears did mansion. at least as well calculated to give satisfac The old government-house seems from tion and ensure stability for their native suc- its ruins to have been a handsome building: cessors in the government, as the crude The palace of Christophe is tasteful and schemes of republicanism adopted so wide- pretty, but not expensive. “It is surroundly in South America. If a republic is, as ed on the first floor by a gallery, shaded asserted, the best of political systems, it from the sun by an awning all round, which should be remembered, that perfection is gives it a pleasing effect. Below, near the but slowly approachable; and that the state entrance, is a long covered

passage, where thus constituted cannot exist, till not only Christophe and his generals conversed usuthe wills, but the babits and capacities of ally during the Sunday parade: no white the citizens are sufficiently formed for its man durst be seen there ; which is a proof establishment Despotism, though the of the erroneous tales in the newspapers, worst, is still the most effective of adminis- that Christophe was in the habit of giving trations at the commencement: and if it sweetmeats to the children of the wbites in can but avoid (a difficult task, we admit) that spot. Having had an opportunity of running into its natural tendency of tyranny, visiting the interior after the revolution, I it serves, for a time at least, as the key found all the apartments tastefully ornastone of the arch; though, like every mis- mented. Besides fine mahogany furniture, applicatiou of mechanical powers, it only there were mirrors, portraits, landscapes, destroys in the end what it was intended to &c." unite. Thus, though never lasting, it Christophe, it seems, had no great taste strengthens the first institutions of political for theatres, and seldom visited either; nor society, and keeps in subjection that men- durst any white man venture therein; they tal excitement created by the fierce efforts were boih small. of a nation against its former rulers and During his stay in the neighborhood of oppressors: but yet it is in its own nature the town, M. Ritter was witness to the efdestructive, and Hayti is in every sense an fects of the yellow fever; two of his fellowillustration of the fact.

travellers perished by it, and his own life

was preserved by the care and attention of “The Cape Town, formerly Cape Fran- of his English medical friend, after a sharp çais, now Cap Haytien, was one of the attack. He recovered entirely by the use most flourishing settlements in the West of a ptisan, made of tar, lemon juice, and Indies previous to the French revolution. Wealth and luxury, theatres, concerts, rum, mixed hot; but drunk, he says, cold, and fashions, were all, as in Paris, daily like lemonade : it was a sailor's recipe, on changing. This onceflourishing commer- board the vessel that brought him.' The cial town-the mart, as it was called, of archbishop, not having had the experience the West Indies--now (when the author of a sea voyage, nor the consequent benevisited it) lies half in ruins, an image of fit of M. Ritter's cold plisan, “died of the misery and an instance of earthly insta- disorder without medical aid”(!)* for the bility. In this, erewhile minor Paris, a fearful feeling comes over the mind of the two English physicians were retained near stranger, as he walks through the desolate Sans-Souci, the royal country palace, during streets, with only ragged negroes nigh, and the illness of the king. each catastrophe unveils its melancholy

Olher terrible scenes followed, threatenmonuments. How mournful to think, that ing the existence of individuals: the tyranof the population of 50,000, whereof 30,000 ny of Christophe, creating great disconwere slaves, the whole number at present tents, a rebellion broke out in the west part scarcely reaches 8000, amongst whom, at of the province, which extended to the capithe utmost, are 100 whites.”

tal, and cost that ruler his life. Christo“ The town is built on the shores of the phe's education had been greatly neglected: sea, and rises in an amphitheatre against Cape untain. It is open on all sides, and only at the western extremity possess attributed, less to the causes assigned by M. Ritter,

* In Hayti, at the time, his death was by some es a barrier.” The battery towards the sea'than to the displeasure of the king.

he was unable to write, but dictated his nies. Sometimes the notes of a guitar, or private letters to Count Limonade, as his of a female voice, struck the ear. Promesecretary, and signed them himself in a nading commenced only after the death character utterly illegible.

M. Ritter af. of Christophe. In his time no natives firms this from a letter in his possession,

were seen in the coffee-houses, but these

were filled when Boyer, with his army, enwhich he gives, and which does not seem tered the town. Under the former, also, a to predicate much in favor of the noble se- certain cold etiquette and distance was cretary's own style of writing French; but preserved by the black nobility, who kept as the contents are merely about adminis- themselves aloof from the rest of the peotering a medicine, we need not quote them ple. The whites, however, then as now, here. It is signed "C. Henry." The wife stood in high consideration, regulated by ofChristophe was better educated, and of the amount of their property. The black a mild temper, as were his two daughters apartments handsomely: a good proof of

nobility had no idea of furnishing their a so, who were carefully instructed, and this was in the ornamental furniture I had taught music and singing. Victor Henri, taken out on speculation: the beautiful the son, was the third child, and, though glass-ware, ornamented clocks, and gilt scarcely seventeen, nearly as tall and stout coffee-cups, pleased those gentry very as bis father; we may ourselves add, with well, but they did not think they would a more pleasing expression of face, though suit their moderately furnished apartnot so intellectual. He was surrounded by elegant furniture to be found amongst

ments. Their beds are almost the only Englishmen, and a proficient in our lan- them. English or East India stuffs often guage, but Christophe's policy in this was form the drapery. The mosquitaire (or to eradicate every tendency towards the fly-nets) are frequently of the finest and French and France.

most transparent texture. We have given some space to Christo “Expense is a characteristic rather of phe, as being, like Napoleon himself, the the whites than of the natives. At the first and last of his dynasty in our own table of the black man of rank the wine is

and often there is none but day: and both (parvis componere magna) cassava (black) bread to be had. There appear to have been overthrown by carry is also no regular arrangement or display ing too far the predominant feeling of their at meal-times. At particular festivals, proper subjects, till the latter themselves however, the table is as richly laid out as complained of the excess. Like Napoleon with many Europeans, and on these octoo, the Haytian possessed an army, but casions banquets and similiar elegancies could not succeed in forming a naval force. are not wanting. But we must complete our picture of Hayti

“Carriages were at that time used only by a few notices of the domestic manners ter was often seen going to court on foot,

on extraordinary occasions; thus a minisand culture of the inhabitants :

in shoes and silk stocks, and at best a

dirty negro trotted behind him. Rich “Though the common people retain ladies make their maid-servants carry much of their former manners, and a large stools to and from church for their use" ; portion of rudeness, amongst the higher the common people, during divine service, classes predominates the pleasing socia- sit on the floor. bility of the French. I have known culti “Luxury of dress is carried to the utvated negroes who united an easy and most height; the linen of both men and dignified deportment with extreme ele- women is of the finest quality, and worked gance in conversation and company; and with rich embroidery, of which they are from their fertility of imagination, they not so fond, that every thing is made with it. only generally possess fluency of speech, The men, in Christophe's time, wore uniand a certain talent of improvisation, but forms while none of the military were deckthere are among them orators who might ed out. Even the young Haytians, of from easily be conceived to have studied in eighteen to twenty, and just come from more than one school. Yet intellectual school, dressed in the blue uniform ; nor life is but in its origin amongst them.” was this taste changed till Boyer became

president. We know not what the opponents of the “ The women and damsels are fond of blacks will say to this. The next extract show and appearance: their head-dresses refers to habits and marners more espe, their clothing of the costliest stuffs. On

are of rich and elegantly formed material: cially :

festivals they are dressed entirely in silks,

of showy colors; their fingers covered “Under Christophe there was a levee with rings; the neck and ears decked with every summer evening: and during the

gold trinkets. Their shoes are of the carnival a court ball was given. The usu- finest French manufacture. Upon silk al amusement of the men was riding; that stockings, and shoes of the finest colored of the women, sitting before their doors leather, they wear small gold spangles, as under a screen, or in their covered balco

« AnteriorContinuar »