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thoughts and actions, and shines forth in all his most private and unstudied writings. Whenever he made any great discovery, he celebrated it by solemn thanks to God. The voice of prayer and melody of praise rose from his ships when they first beheld the New World, and his first action on landing was to prostrate himself upon the earth and return thanksgivings. Every evening, the Salve Regina, and other vesper hymns, were chanted by his crew, and masses were performed in the beautiful groves that bordered the wild shores of this heathen land. The religion thus deeply seated in his soul, diffused a sober dignity and a benign composure over his whole demeanour. His language was pure and guarded, free from all imprecations, oaths, and other irreverent expressions. his great enterprises were undertaken in the name of the Holy Trinity, and he partook of the holy sacrament previous to embarkation. He observed the festivals of the church in the wildest situations. The sabbath was with him a day of sacred rest, on which he would never set sail from a port unless in case of extreme necessity. He was a firm believer in the efficacy of vows and penances and pilgrimages, and resorted to them in times of difficulty and danger; but he carried his religion still farther, and his piety was darkened by the bigotry of his age. He evidently concurred in the opinion that all the nations who did not acknowledge the Christian faith were destitute of natural rights; that the sternest measures might be used for their conversion, and the severest punishments inflicted upon their obstinacy in unbelief. In this spirit of bigotry he considered himself justified in making captives of the Indians, and transporting them to Spain to have them taught the doctrines of Christianity, and in selling them for slaves if they pretended to resist his invasions. In doing the latter, he sinned against the natural goodness of his character, and against the feel
ings which he had originally entertained and expressed towards this gentle and hospitable people; but he was goaded on by the mercenary impatience of the crown, and by the sneers of his enemies at the unprofitable result of his enterprises. It is but justice to his character to observe, that the enslavement of the Indians thus taken in battle was at first openly countenanced by the crown, and that, when the question of right came to be discussed at the entreaty of the queen, several of the most distinguished jurists and theologians advocated the practice; so that the question was finally settled in favour of the Indians solely by the humanity of Isabella. As the venerable Bishop Las Casas observes, where the most learned men have doubted, it is not surprising that an unlearned mariner should err.
"These remarks, in palliation of the conduct of Columbus, are requir ed by candour. It is proper to show him in connection with the age in which he lived, lest the errors of the times should be considered as his individual faults. It is not the intention of the author, however, to justify Columbus on a point where it is inexcusable to err. Let it remain a blot on his illustrious name, and let others derive a lesson from it.
"A peculiar trait in his rich and varied character remains to be noticed-that ardent and enthusiastic imagination which threw a magnificence over his whole course of thought, Herrera intimates that he had a talent for poetry, and some slight traces of it are on record in the book of prophecies which he presented to the catholic sovereigns. But his poetical temperament is discernible throughout all his writings and in all his actions. It spread a golden and glorious world around him, and tinged every thing with its own gorgeous colours. It betrayed him into visionary speculations, which subjected him to the sneers and cavillings of men of cooler and safer, but more groveling minds. Such were
the conjectures formed on the coast of Paria about the form of the earth, and the situation of the terrestrial paradise; about the mines of Ophir in Hispaniola, and the Aurea Chersonesus in Veragua; and such was the heroic scheme of a crusade for the recovery of the holy sepulchre. It mingled with bis religion, and filled his mind with solemn and visionary meditations on mystic passages of the Scriptures, and the shadowy portents of the prophecies. It exalted his office in his eyes, and made him conceive himself an agent sent forth upon a sublime and awful mission, subject to impulses and supernatural intimations from the Deity; such as the voice which he imagined spoke to him in comfort amidst the troubles of Hispaniola, and in the silence of the night on the disastrous coast of Veragua.
"He was decidedly a visionary, but a visionary of an uncommon and successful kind. The manner in which his ardent imagination and mercurial nature was controlled by a powerful judgment, and directed by an acute sagacity, is the most extraordinary feature in his character. Thus governed, his imagination, instead of exhausting itself in idle flights, lent aid to his judgment, and enabled him to form conclusions at which common minds could never have arrived, nay, which they could not perceive when pointed out."
have known that he had indeed discovered a new continent, equal to the whole of the old world in magnitude, and separated by two vast oceans from all the earth hitherto known by civilized man! And how would his magnanimous spirit have been consoled, amidst the afflictions of age and the cares of penury, the neglect of a fickle public, and the injustice of an ungrateful king, could he have anticipated the spendid empires which were to spread over the beautiful world he had discovered; and the nations, and tongues, and languages which were to fill its lands with his renown, and to revere and bless his name to the latest posterity !"
"With all the visionary fervour of his imagination, its fondest dreams fell short of the reality. He died in ignorance of the real grandeur of his discovery. Until his last breath he entertained the idea that he had merely opened a new way to the old resorts of opulent commerce, and had discovered some of the wild regions of the East. He supposed Hispaniola to be the ancient Ophir which had been visited by the ships of Solomon, and that Cuba and Terra Firma were but remote parts of Asia. What visions of glory would have broke upon his mind could he
It must be needless, after extracting these spirited, elegant, and interesting paragraphs, in which also every thing is as judiciously reasoned as it is beautifully and forcibly expressed, to offer any formal testimony to the general merits of the present work of Mr. Washington Irving, so much more grave in its character, and laborious in its execution, than any of his preceding ones, as, nevertheless, it obviously is. Some literary blemishes, it is true, present themselves, but they are by no means of frequent occurrence, or such as ought to be mentioned in deterioration of the work at large. As a matter of grammar, we have been surprised to observe, in the index to the work, the constant repetition of the phrases, "Gourds introduced to Hayti," "Herbs, European, introduced to Hispaniola, &c." and in the text we find, more than once, the employment of a vulger colloquialism of the author's native country; one that has often offended our ears, and which we could much wish to see removed from pages so generally pure, and so generally polished, as those before us. The following is an example: "His circumstances were limited, and he had to observe a strict economy."
intended husband of Glover's daugh
IT appears from the researches of ter Catherine. These two last cha
M. Adrian Balbi, that upwards of three thousand one hundred and sixty eight periodicals are published in the world. Of these 2142 are published in Europe, 978 in America, 27 in Asia, 12 in Africa, 9 in Oceanica.
racters are the hero and heroine of the novel. The story teems with incidents and situations most striking and characteristic. A great deal of dramatic dialogue is interspersed; and the English or foreign reader is not perplexed by those Scotticisms which occur in many of the other novels.
The greatest rage for periodical literature appears to exist among the English, and the states of English origin; for, out of 3168 periodical works published in the world, 1378 belong to the English race, leaving for all the rest of mankind only 1790. It is in the United States of America, however, that this passion prevails most strongly; for, with a population of only eleven millions, that country has 800 journals; while the British monarchy, with a population of upwards of one hundred and forty-two millions, has no more than 588 periodicals. To show how incompatible periodical literature and despotism are, it may be remarked, that with a population of upwards of thirteen millions, Spain has only 16
The new work of Mr. Cooper, the American novelist, is to be called Notions of the Americans; picked up by a Travelling Bachelor. It will form two octavo volumes, and will appear early in May.
The appearance of St. Petersburgh at the close of 1827, by A. B. Grauville, M.D. F.R.S. &c. has been de layed in consequence of the number of Engravings to be executed for the work. It is now, however, in a state of forwardness.
CHRONICLES OF THE CANONGATE.
The new series of "Chronicles of the Canongate" consists of but one story,which is to be entitled "Valentine's Day, or the fair Maid of Perth." The era of the events is the reign of Robert III., the scene is principally about Perth, but sometimes changes to the Highlands. The story is partly domestic and partly historical; and there is a great variety of characters, from the king himself, his son the Duke of Rothsay, his brother the Duke of Albany, many of the bold barons of the time, the Earl of Dunbar, the Earl of March, Sir John Ramorny, the confidant of the Duke of Rothsay in his pleasures and debauchees, down to the burgesses of Perth, with old Simon Glover at their head, and the brave Henry Wynd, the smith or armourer, the
Mrs. Hemans, the first of our living poetesses, is about to publish a new volume of her charming verse, entitled Records of Woman, some specimens of which have already been published.
A Poem, entitled Tecumoth, or the Warrior of the West, is about to appear, the scene of which is laid in Canada. The author of this work, which is in four cantos, illustrated by copious and interesting notes, is per fectly familiar with the manners and customs of the Indian tribes, and was personally known to the hero whose fame he has attempted to celebrate.
In a few days will be published, in 1 vol. post 8vo. Three Days at Kil larney, with other Poems. By the Rev. Charles Hoyle.
The Rev. George Stanley Faber has nearly ready for publication new work, entitled "The Sacred Ca lender of Prophecy." In 3 vols. 8vo.
The Rev. F. A. Cox, LL.D. is preparing a translation of the chief works of Masillon.
SUMMI UMMER! glowing summer! This is the month of heat and sunshine, of clear, fervid skies, dusty roads, and shrinking streams; when doors and windows are thrown open, a cool gale is the most welcome of all visiters, and every drop of rain "is worth its weight in gold." Such is July commonly-yet it is sometimes on the contrary a very showery month, putting the haymaker to the extremity of his patience, and the farmer upon anxious thoughts for his ripening corn; generally speaking, however, it is the heart of our summer. The landscape presents an air of warmth, dryness, and maturity; the eye roams over brown pastures, corn fields "already white to harvest," dark lines of intersecting hedge-rows, and darker trees, lifting their heavy heads above them. The foliage at this period is rich, full, and vigorous; there is a fine haze cast over distant woods and bosky slopes, and every lofty and majestic tree is filled with a soft shadowy twilight, which adds infinitely to its beauty-a circumstance that has never been sufficiently noticed by either poet or painter. Willows are now beautiful objects in the landscape; they are like rich masses of arborescent silver, especially if stirred by the breeze, their light and fluent forms contrasting finely with the still and sombre aspect of the other trees.
31 ATHENEUM, VOL. 9, 2d series.
[VOL. 9, N. s.
Now is the general season of haymaking. Bands of mowers, in their light trousers and broad straw hats, are astir long before the fiery eye of the sun glances above the horizon, that they may toil in the freshness of the morning, and stretch themselves at noon in luxurious ease by trickling waters, and beneath the shade of trees. Till then, with regular strokes and a sweeping sound, the sweet and flowery grass falls before them, revealing at almost every step, nests of young birds, mice in their cozy domes, and the mossy cells of the humble bee streaming with liquid honey; anon, troops of haymakers are abroad, tossing the green swaths wide to the sun. It is one of Nature's festivities, endeared by a thousand pleasant memories and habits of the olden days, and not a soul can resist it.
There is a sound of tinkling teams and of wagons rolling along lanes and fields the whole country over, aye, even at midnight, till at length the fragrant ricks rise in the farmyard, and the pale smooth-shaven fields are left in solitary beauty.
They who know little about it may deem the strong penchant of our poets, aud of ourselves, for rural pleasures, mere romance and poetic illusion; but if poetic beauty alone were concern erned, we must still admire harvest-time in the country. The
whole land is then an Arcadia, full of simple, healthful, and rejoicing spirits.
The shadows of the trees are particularly grateful, heavy, and still. The oaks, which are freshest because latest in leaf, form noble clumpy canopies; looking, as you lie under them, of a strong and emulous green against the blue sky. The traveller delights to cut across the country through the fields and the leafy lanes, where, nevertheless, the flints sparkle with heat. The cattle get into the shade or stand in the water. The active and air-cutting swallows, now beginning to assemble for migration, seek their prey about the shady places; where the insects, though of differently compounded "fleshless and bloodless," natures, seem to get for coolness, as they do at other times for warmth. The sound of insects is also the only audible thing now, increasing rather than lessening the sense of quiet by its gentle contrast. The bee now and then sweeps across the ear with his gravest tone, The gnats "Their murmuring small trumpets sounden wide :"
and here and there the little musing, cian of the grass touches forth his tricksy note.
The poetry of earth is never dead;
venerable oak, in such a scene, and listen to the summer sounds of bees, grasshoppers, and ten thousand other insects, mingled with the more remote and solitary cries of the pe-wit and the curlew! Then, to think of the coach-horse, urged on his sultry stage, or the plough-boy and his team, plunging in the depths of a burning fallow, or of our ancestors, in times of national famine, plucking up the wild fern-roots for bread, and what an enhancement of our own luxurious ease !*
But woods, the depths of woods, are the most delicious retreats during the fiery noons of July,
The strong rains, which sometimes come down in summer-time, are a noble interruption to the drought and indolence of hot weather. They seem as if they had been collecting a supply of moisture equal to the want of it, and come drenching the earth with a mighty draught of freshness, The rushing and tree-bowing winds that precede them, the dignity with which they rise in the west, the gathering darkness of their approach, the silence before their descent, the washing amplitude of their outpost
the suddenness with which they appear to leave off, taking up, as it were, their watery feet to sail onward, and then the sunny smile again of nature, accompanied by the "sparkling noise" of the birds, and those dripping diamonds the raindrops;-there is a grandeur and a beauty in all this, which lend a glorious effect to each other; for though the sunshine appears more beautiful than grand, there is a power, not even to be looked upon, in the orb from which it flows; and though the storm is more grand than beautiful, there is always beauty where there is so much beneficence.
It is now the weather for bathing, a refreshment too little taken in this country, either summer or winter. We say in winter, because with very little care in placing it near a cistern,
But whoever would taste all the sweetnees of July, let him go, in pleasant company, if possible, into heaths and woods; it is there, in her uncultured haunts, that summer now holds her court. There creep the various species of heath-berries, cranberries, bilberries, &c., furnish ing the poor with a source of profit, and the rich of luxury. What a pleasure it is to throw ourselves down beneath the verdant screen of the beautiful fern, or the shade of a
*It is a fact not known to every juvenile lover of nature, that a transverse section of a fern-root presents a miniature picture of an oak tree which no painter could rival.