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in a few small pools, where it was stagnant; and the thermometer, at mid-day, about the middle of August, stood from 95° to 100° in the tents. Clouds of locusts filled the air, uttering shrill and deafening cries; while the Mississippi-hawk, wheeling through their ranks, seemed to enjoy his favourite prey; rattlesnakes of various kinds, and scolopendras of enormous size were crawling on the naked surface; and immense black, hairy spiders, like tlxe bird-catching animal of South America (mygale avicularid), watching for prey at the mouth of their subterranean habitations. On these arid plains the annoyance of the mosquito is not felt; but another of a more serious kind was experienced, the moment they left the desert, from an innumerable multitude of minute and almost invisible wood-ticks, against which neither wind, nor smoke, nor close leather-dresses afforded any protection. These insects bury themselves in the flesh, occasioning large and painful swellings—like the leech of Ceylon, which works itself into the legs of those who cross pools of water, and sometimes occasions death.
Arrived within the range frequented by the larger animals, the party were no longer distressed for want of food; and it will readily be imagined, after their long and fatiguing journey over the desert, how agreeable was their return to a surface which presented some appearance of verdure; where the mulberry and the guillandina, the hybiscus, &c. reminded them of the comforts of home and civilized society, and where, above all, the vine, full of ripe clusters, afforded them a repast, rendered yet more delicious by the parched and arid deserts, the brackish and muddy pools to which they had been so long condemned. It has been said that America is not the country of the vine. The following description, however, disproves this assertion. The vitis vinifera is found there in its wild state; but with this peculiarity attending it:—though in leaf and fruit it differs nothing from the cultivated vine of Europe, yet in America it is said that the male and female are different plants.
'The small elms along this valley were bending under the weight of innumerable grape vines, now loaded with ripe fruit, the purple clusters crowded in such profusion as almost to give a colouring to the landscape. On the opposite side of the river was a range of low sandhills, fringed with vines, rising not more than a foot or eighteen inches from the surface. On examination, we found these hillocks had been produced exclusively by the agency of the grape vines, arresting the sand as it was borne along by the wind, until such quantities had been accumulated as to bury every part of the plant, except the end of the branches. Many of these were so loaded with fruit, as to present nothing to the eye but a series of clusters, so closely arranged as to conceal every part of the stem. The fruit of these vines is incomparably finer than that of anv other native or exotic which we have met with in
B 4 the the United States. The burying of the greater part of the trunk, with its larger branches, produces the effect of pruning, inasmuch as it prevents the unfolding of leaves and flowers on the parts below the surface, while the protruded ends of the branches enjoy an increased degree of light and heat from the reflection of the sand. It is owing, undoubtedly, to these causes, that the grapes in question are so far superior to the fruit of the same vine in ordinary circumstances. The treatment here employed by nature, to bring to perfection the fruit of the vine, may be imitated; but without the same peculiarities of soil and exposure, can with difficulty be carried to the same magnificent extent. Here are hundreds of acres, covered with a movable surface of sand, and abounding in vines, which, left to the agency of the sun and the winds, are, by their operation, placed in more favourable circumstances than it is in the power of man, to so great an extent, to afford. We indulged ourselves to excess, if excess could be committed in the use of such delicious and salutary fruit, and invited by the cleanness of the sand, and a refreshing shade, we threw ourselves down, and slept away, with unusual zest, a few of the hours of a summer afternoon.'—James, vol. ii. pp. 315, 3l6.
The detachment who descended the Canadian fell in with a large hunting party of the Kaskaia Indians, or Bad-hearts, men, women and children, to the amount of two hundred and fifty, all mounted on horseback: their chief's name was Red-mouse; who misinformed them, designedly it was supposed, that it was the Red River on which they were. These Indians behaved with great insolence, demanded every thing they saw, pilfered whatever they could, and, what appears to have mortified the Americans more than all the rest, intimated ' that they had never heard of such a people before:' in return, the citizens considered them 'among some of the most degraded and miserable of the uncivilized Indians on this side of the Rocky Mountains.' They were covered with filth, but had well-turned features, aquiline noses, large and regular teeth, clear and brilliant eyes. Mr. James saw, he says,'several young mothers giving suck to their children, the mother and the child at the same time standing erect upon the ground.' It was supposed, from the image of the alligator, which they wore about their necks, ornamented with beads, that they were in the habit of going where that t animal was common. They are excellent horsemen, and evinced great dexterity in throwing the rope, and taking the wild horse, in the manner practised on the pampas plains of South America.— But we must have done.
It is apparent, from the works we have been examining, that a very considerable portion of the great valley of the Mississippi is capable of cultivation; that it lies wholly within the temperate zone, and, though much colder than in the corresponding degrees of latitude in Europe, is not unfriendly to vegetation; and that its
present present unhealthy state is less owing to climate than to those canebrakes, cypress-swamps, alluvial bottoms—to those dense forests and unchained wilds, which nothing but an increasing and industrious population can remedy. When it is added that a water-communication may, at no ruinous expense, be opened between every part of the Valley, and with the Atlantic Ocean, it is not difficult to foresee that, in the long succession of ages, it will rank among the most important possessions of the globe. Population is said to be rapidly gaining on the eastern side of the Mississippi; so that a native Indian is scarcely to be found there, with the exception of a few Cherokees on its banks, who possess negro slaves, and live by agriculture! while, according to Major Long, the settlements on the banks of the Missouri and the Arkansas, will only be stopped at the very borders of the sterile desert, which (to use his words) 'is well calculated to serve as a barrier to prevent too great an extension of population westward.' Some of the American statesmen, however, lose all patience at the mention of a 'barrier.' 'Gentlemen,'(said one of them in the House of Representatives,) 'gentlemen are talking of natural boundaries. Sir, our natural boundary is the Pacific Ocean. The swelling tide of our population must and will roll on until that mighty ocean interposes its waters, and limits our territorial empire. Then, with two oceans washing our; shores, the commercial wealth of the world is'ours, and imagination can hardly conceive the greatness, grandeur and the power that awaits us!' We have no wish to disturb these pleasant day-dreams; but we venture to hint that, whenever ' our territorial empire' shall have reached the limit of the orator's 'imagination,' its affairs, whether political or commercial, will not be administered at Washington.
Art.II.— I. Attila, Tragedie en cinq actes. Par Hyppolite Bis.
2. Regulus, Tragedie en cinq actes. Par M. Arnault, fils.
3. Maccabees, Tragedie en cinq actes. Par Alexandre Giroux.
4. Saul, Tragedie en cinq actes; Clytemnestre, Tragedie en cinq actes. Par Alexandre Soumet.
HPHE most important and the most extensive department of ■*■ French literature, that on which the nation founds its highest pretensions to celebrity, is the Drama. A late critic indeed, whose dreadful fame as a legislator is more likely to give him immortality than his renown as a man of letters, M. J. Chenier, the juridical murderer of his brother, asserts that tragedy and comedy have been richer in genius, than all the other walks of French poetry taken together. ' Corneille,' he says ' est un genie sublime; il stit creer; il est grand. Racine eut un, talent admirable; rable; il sut embellir; il est parfait. Voltaire eut un esprit superieur; il etendit les routes de l'art; il est vaste.' After these classical names come Crebillon, Thomas Corneille, Lafosse, Guymond de la Touclie, Lefranc, Lemierre, du Belloi, La Harpe, &c. with others of inferior note.
More than forty years have elapsed, since a translation of Hamlet opened the career of fame to a dramatic poet, who has since risen to a high reputation, in the same walk of tragedy, Ducis. Romeo and Juliet, Lear, Macbeth and Othello were translated by the same author; who produced, as original works, CEdipus, and an Arabian tragedy, called Abufar. M. Arnault in the beginning of the revolution brought out his 'Marius A Minturnes,' which obtained the most brilliant success; and shortly afterwards Lucrece, with Cincinnatus, Oscar, and the .most successful of all, les Venitiens. He was followed by Legouve, author of La Mort d'Abel, of Epichares et Neron, Eteocle et Polynice, et la Mort d'Henri IV; by Lemercier, author, at a very early age, of le Levite d'Ephraim, Agamemnon, and other tragedies, which gave a promise of talent that he has not fulfilled. At a more advanced period of the revolution, appeared les Templiers by Raynouard, Abdelasis by M. de Murville, Joseph by M. Baove Lormian, Artaserce by Delrieu, &c. The most meritorious tragedies of this epocha, says the critic above mentioned, are remarkable for simplicity of action; for having banished all useless personages, such as confidants, &c.; and all insipid episodes of unmeaning love, which custom had, in some shape, made indispensable; and which are frequent even in Racine and Crebillon. Tragedy, he continues, took a more philosophical turn since Voltaire; and subjects taken from modern history began to occupy the stage. But modern history, in his opinion, is not so well adapted for dramatic composition, as ancient history; not merely because manners (les moeurs) are now less poetical, but because a graver religion than polytheism is unfit for theatrical representation. Five centuries, therefore, of modem Jiistory, during which the wars of priesthood raged, must be excluded ; for what does tragedy paint ?—des passions:—quelles passions?—celles des hommes qui furent a la tete des ttats. Que resulte-t-il de ces passions ?—des crimes et des malheurs. De 1& decoulent la terreur et la pitie; hors de la, point de tragedie. Elle fut telle chez les Grecs, telle parmi nous, telle en Angleterre! Thus then, by a stroke of the pen, the French critic annihilates about nine-tenths of what we thought our best tragedies; and sends us to our cabinet councils to supply the deficiency.
Corneille, the creator of tragedy, left also a model of the best species of French comedy, Le Menteur; but Moliere, who
according according to M. Chenier has no superior among philosophers, no equal among comic poets, carried every branch of this art to perfection. After him, but at an immense distance, followed the ingenious and brilliant gaiety of Regnard; the ' finesse originate' of Dufresny; the skill of Destouches; and the vis comica of Lesage, who in Turcaret, his masterpiece, was almost equal to Moliere. Then came Piron and Gresset, who supported the comic muse in her usual splendour; but she soon afterwards became melancholy with Lachauss6e, and affected with Marivaux; defects which were still further heightened by their successors, . and soon became the fashion of the day. Cailhava, in his Menechmes Grecs, was an exception, as was Loujon in the Amoureux de Quinze Ans, and the Couvent. When M. Laya produced l'Ami des Loix, anarchy and popular tyranny were beginning in the republic, and his comedy could not succeed against such opponents; and M. Francois de Neufchateau, who since has played many parts, drew down upon himself an honourable persecution, for having diffused sound and philosophical ideas in his Pamela. About the same time appeared three comic poets, Fabre d'Eglantine, (who, by the by, was the principal composer of another work, not less comic, the Republican Calendar, which substituted cabbages, parsnips, turnips, and other esculent plants, in the room of the saints which formerly presided over the days of the year,) author of the Philinte de Moliere, the Convalescent de Qualite, the Intrigue epistolaire, the Precepteurs; Colin d'Harleville, who wrote 1'Inconstant, l'Optimiste, les Chateaux en Espagne, le Vieux Celibataire, les Mceurs du Jour; and Andrieux, author of Anaximandre, les Etourdis, le Souper d'Auteuil, le Tresor, &c. The most prolific poet of the times in this walk of the drama is M. Picard, who produced twenty-five comedies before he was forty years of age; and all of them at least amusing. His best, in verse, are Mediocre et Rampant, le Mari ambitieux, les Amis de College; and in prose, le Contrat d'Union, la Petite Ville, les Marionettes; to which may be added les Ricochets, and M. Musard. M. Picard was formerly an actor of merit, in his own plays. To these must be added la belle Fermiere, by Madame Candeille, an actress; le Reveil d'Epimenide, and la Jeune Hotesse, by Flins; le Tartuffe des Mceurs, by Cheron, copied from the School for Scandal, but much inferior: lesHeritiers, les Projets de Mariage; la Jeunesse d'Henri V., le Tyran, domestique by Duvalle Tableau and l'Avocat by Roger; Pinto, by Lemercier; l'Assembl^e de Famille by Ribout6, &c.