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had fallen from one side above us, while, on our other hand, val. leys dreadful to view in the day-time from their steepness and depth, yawned below, into which one false step must have hurled both mule and rider. After a laborious and perilous descent of nearly three hours, we beheld the lights of the suburbs of Ca. raccas at a tremendous distance below us in our front; we arrived, however, without any accident, at the foot of the mountain, and there passed the remainder of the night, which was signalized by two very severe shocks of earthquake. Next morning we took the direction of Savanah Grande: passing through this village we struck to the left for the house of Abila; where, having left our mules, we commenced the ascent of the mountain, which is here very steep and difficult of ascent even for foot passengers.

The same appearance of continued longitudinal fissures in the surface of the mountain presented itself every where, even immense mica rocks, with which the mountain abounds, were thus broken ; the line of fissure passing through them regularly as through the earthy or softer parts. In examining those fissures, which extended to an immense depth, (but whether below its earthy surface to the more solid and internal bodies of the mountain we cannot say,) we could perceive no signs, either by smell or otherwise, of combustion or mineral influence, which would lead to the conclusion that such an effect had been produced by the violent shocks which those distinct, elevated masses composing the mountains had received, and that if any matter had escaped by those fissures, it was such as had no immediate connexion with combustion; for, as we before observed, not a single sign of that action could be traced by us either this day or the one before.. That a matter, however, (we should suppose electric) did escape, appears probable from the circumstance that one side of the fissure is universally higher above the other side than the ascent of the mountain warrants, which would seem to indicate that some propelling force had raised the former above the latter. After continued exertions under a mid-day and nearly vertical sun, which shone out clear, and afforded us a prospect of mountains and plains in which were blended all that was sublime and beautiful in na. ture; we surmounted our difficult ascent, and gained a summit which gave us a near and perfect view of the spot whence had,

issued the appearance of smoke. It is necessary to observe the mountain here forms a kind of gully or triangular valley, whose long or acute angle points northerly, while its sides are formed on the east by the steep “Cierro d'Avilla,” and on the west by the nearly perpendicular mountain which rises next in height to the Sylla of Caraccas. The base is formed of the spur, on which we stood, to the south, and on the right of which the river Chacao, rising in the junction of the mountain at the north angle, runs into the plain of Chacao. As the north point of the spur on which we were projects like a wedge into the gully or valley, and has an elevation of more than 6,500 feet above the level of the sea, we had a complete view of the left or west side of the valley, from which the supposed smoke had issued, and still continued to issue. There we had the satisfaction of proving that the supposed smoke was no other than the lighted particles of sand and earth raised by the south wind blowing into the gully or valley, during the various fractures of the mountain, and the consequent falling of its projecting or perpendicular masses of stones and earth ; and as a further proof, we saw the dust rise with every increase of the wind, and particularly from the white or bare sandy patches, whence large pieces of the mountain had been detached, or were then falling.

6. The trees on the bottom and the lower sides of the valley were covered with this dust, and the innumerable white patches on the almost perpendicular side of the left, or west mountain, left no doubt of the matter. On this side, which we have said is next in height to the Sylla of Caraccas, there are continued shoots or veins of white sand from the summit down to the river of Chacao, at its base, and from all parts of which shoots we could perceive the dust raised at times by the wind to a considerable height in the form of smoke. With a view of having it still more in our power to dissipate the apprehensions of the citizens of Caraccas and La Guyra, with respect to the existence of an incipient volcano, we penetrated a wood, so as to approach the rising dust, and examine if it partook of a sulphureous or other volcanic smell, which we found was not the case. While engaged in these observations we experienced a severe shock at 2 o'clock P.M., presenting to us the awful spectacle of huge masses of the mountain tumbling around us, in every direction. Vol. IV. New Series.

89

“ Having perfectly satisfied ourselves, and, we trust, fulfilled the objects of our mission, we struck to the left, and after considerable fatigue gained the summit of the ridge, and descending the south side of the mountain, arrived at its base close to St. Lazarus at 6 o'clock in the evening.

“We conclude by hoping that the inhabitants of Venezuela will perceive they have nothing to fear from any volcanic irruption, and we cannot at the same time forbear expressing our horror at the highly culpable conduct of many of the priests and other enemies of the republic, who attribute to other sources those results which have their origin in natural causes, in the peculiar construction of our earth, and with which all parts of the globe have been occasionally visited, as if the God of Justice and Goodness would punish a long-oppressed people for breaking their chains, and endeavouring to place their extensive country, like the rest of the civilized world, in a state of improvement and prosperity. We flatter ourselves that the inhabitants of Venezuela will know how to distinguish natural from other causes, and to see that had their houses been constructed as the nature of the coun. try demanded, and the streets of their cities and towns been of sufficient breadth, the mortality that unfortunately took place could not have happened. It is, therefore, to the old Spanish mode of constructing houses, with heavy mud and earthen walls, together with narrow streets, that the late calamity is to be principally attributed; and which a different plan of building, such as is used in Italy, Peru, and other places subject to earthquakes, will, under Divine Providence, prevent in future.”

The preceding report of Doctor Burke's allayed those fears which had been excited relative to a volcanic irruption, but it could not rouse the people from that despair and apathy which overwhelmed all classes of society since the awful catastrophe; and the consequences, in a moral point of view, have been infinitely more dreadful than their physical calamities.

The residue of 1812, all the year 1813, and the present year, have been marked in Venezuela, by alternate political revolutions, and scenes of horror among the royalists and those struggling for independence, baffling all powers of description. The whole empire of Venezuela presents one vast scene of atrocity and desolation, where the European Spaniards and their South American descendants vie with each other in cruelty, ferocity, fanaticism, and ignorance.

The writer intends shortly to submit further observations to the public on this interesting section of the globe. New-York, September 11, 1814.

W. D. R.

:

BIOGRAPHICAL MEMOIR

OF

CADWALLADER COLDEN, M. D. F. R. S.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF THE COLONY OF NEW-YORK.

THERE is nothing which can afford a more sure indication of the growth of national feeling, and the consequent formation of a more definite national character among us, than that curiosity and Anterest which has been of late so strongly manifested with respect to the history, anecdote, and the humble antiquities of our provincial annals.

To a mind warmed by the feelings of patriotism, and accustomed to elevate its views above the realities which surround us, to the contemplation of the past and the future, there is something inexpressibly pleasing in the contrast which suggests itself between the simplicity and rudeness of these infant institutions of our society and government, the fortunam et mores antiquæ plebis, and the present greatness of our country, as well as that yet brighter scene of probable future glory and grandeur which, amidst all the thick gloom which now surrounds us, still opens beyond in brilliant perspective.

The feelings which arise from such a contrast are touched with admirable truth and skill in that part of the Eneid where the good Evander, at the head of his humble colony, receives the wanderer of Troy on the very spot which, in a few centuries, was to be. come the site of imperial Rome. This sentiment is the natural growth of patriotism and refinement; and Virgil is the poet of refined nature and of national feeling.

In the present state of society it is probably too late to expect any thing like a first-rate national epic ; but whether we consider the importance of collecting materials for the historian and the philosophical speculatist, or the more immediate advantages to be derived by society from directing the curiosity of our youth to domestic examples and the history of their own country, we cannot but be impressed with a strong sense of the utility of preserv. ing all that is still known of the earlier part of our history, and more especially of the lives and characters of the fathers of our religion, our science, our laws, or our liberty. Much of this now remains only in memory, or in perishable manuscript, and if not very speedily fixed in some permanent form, will be soon for ever lost.

Among those to whom this country is most deeply indebted for much of its science, and for very many of its most important institutions, Lieutenant Governor Colden is very conspicuous; and it is much to be regretted that as yet we have no more ample detail of his character, studies, and public services, than is contained in a brief memoir in a medical journal, and a meager article of a biographical dictionary. From these, and some examination of his various publications, the following sketch of his life and character is hastily drawn up.

CADWALLADER COLDEN was born in Scotland, February 17th, 1688, and was educated at the University of Edinburgh, which he left in 1705. He then devoted himself to the study of medicine and the cultivation of mathematical science, which he pursued with great ardour and success. In 1710, allured by the Battering accounts of William Penn's colony in America, where mild laws, a benevolent system of policy, and a fertile soil, seemed to the young adventurer almost to promise the revival of the golden age, he came over to Pennsylvania, where he practised physic with great reputation for about five years. He then returned to England, where he formed an acquaintance with most of the literary and scientific men of the day, particularly with those engaged in the cultivation of natural knowledge. That celebrated natural philosopher, Dr. Halley, with whom he bad formed a great

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