Billeder på siden

fusion in the town was frightful: the soldiers, who remained behind, broke open the houses, and plundered every thing that was left. Abundance of wine was in the town, almost all the casks having been filled during the vintage. A wild scene of revelry commenced before midnight, and no vestige of subordination remained. Some soldiers, who had come from Kravari, which is the district of the ancient Locri Ozolæ, were preparing to set out for their native villages, and I begged to join them, as they took the road to Lidoriki, where I intended to go myself. They readily consented; and we left Salona after midnight. Inimediately on leaving Salona there is a long ascent, for Salona is situated in the hollow of a valley which extends to the gulf of Corinth, and at the opposite end of it. We walked the whole night over a rugged mountainous road, having loaded two mules with our luggage. We reached Lidoriki at ten o'clock in the morning, its distance from Salona being eight leagues. The few houses of Lidoriki were filled with people, fugitives from all parts. To my great surprise, I met there a number of persons coming from the neighbourhood of Missolonghi, who informed me that the Turks were advancing upon that place, and stated that they intended to take refuge at Salona. They appeared equally surprised, when we communicated to them the news we brought from Salona. We remained at Lidoriki the remainder of the day; and before evening others arrived, who had left Salona after us, who brought information that the Turks had forced the derweni; and next, that they had arrived at Salona, burnt the greater part of the town, and murdered all they found there. I still hoped to be able to reach Missolonghi, and was glad to continue my journey during a part of the night and the following day, with my companions of Cravari. The whole country through which we passed is mountainous, woody, and extremely wild and thinly peopled. Before I separated from my companions they begged me to open my knapsack, which I did. It contained few articles that pleased them, but they coudescended to accept a Turkish golden embroidered handkerchief, which I had intended to take to Europe as a specimen of Turkish workmanship, and gallantly returned me the remainder. To object to their selection would, of course, have been as useless as it might have been dangerous,

The third day I arrived on the banks of the Fidari, the ancient Evenus. I could not discover a single house or chanie. The river was swoln, and almost impassable, from the quantity of rain which had fallen the preceding day. I passed the night in a wretched hut, called calybe, which the Greeks can make up anywhere in the course of a day. They use for this purpose the reeds which grow so exuberantly, and to an astonishing height. They shew great skill in constructing these huts, which resemble tents, and contain just the same space as tents usually do. This calybe belonged to goatherds, who treated me hospitably with cheese and olives, of which I made my supper. I felt little inclined to sleep, because the night was cold; and I continued smoking my pipe till midnight. Now and then I walked out of the hut, and I shall never forget the magnificent midnight scenery on the banks of the Fidari. Innumerable stars brightening the sky; some passing clouds throwing their wandering shadows over the mouns.

tains, forests, and the waters of the river, which rolled its impetuous waves—the stillness and repose of nature around us,—all this left a deep impression on my imagination. In such moments of contempla. tion I could hardly believe that I lived in a country ravaged by war, whilst my soul was drinking the delights of profound peace. My recollection went back to the days, when the banks of the river were adorned by the buildings of ancient Calydon, and I could fancy Dio. medes hunting the wild boar through the neighbouring forests. The goatherds slept in the hut as soundly as if they had never heard of an enemy threatening their flocks and their lives. At intervals I also laid myself down on the ground, and covered myself with my cloak; but the beauty of the night did not allow me any rest, and more than a dozen times I rose again ; and when the goatherds awoke in the morning they found me already walking on the banks of the river. They procured me some fresh milk, and one of them assisted me in passing the river. He gave me a strong pole, twice as long as my body, to support myself against the water, sounded the way before me, and led me safely to the opposite bank. The water frequently reached to the neck, but the luggage on my back served as a counterpoise against its impetuosity. The Fidari has an extensive bed, and its overflow causes frequently great devastations: it took us above half an hour to pass it. From the banks of the Fidari I continued my journey toward Missolonghi, walking a whole day through the woods, where I met some hundreds of fugitive families from the villages, which the Turks had burnt successively as they advanced upon Missolonghi. It was most distressing to see a whole population driven, at the approach of winter, almost without food, to the forests, where they were in imminent danger of perishing from cold or hunger. The news I brought of the taking of Salona by the Turks doubled their despair. They appeared to doubt whether I should succeed in reaching Missolonghi. I arrived, however, that evening safely at Bochori, three leagues distant from Missolonghi, and the following morning I entered the town early, in the company of some soldiers who came to reinforce the garrison, which was commanded by the valiant Souliot captain, Marco Botzari.

On the second day after my arrival the Turks approached from Anatolico; and after an unsuccessful attempt to maintain the last position which defended Missolonghi, Marco Botzari shut himself up within the town, and closed the gates. The Turks spread themselves over the plain of Missolonghi, and presented, in their gaudy attire, a most interesting spectacle. Their army amounted to 4000 men, cavalry and infantry, commanded by Omer Pasha. The siege began on the 5th of November 1822, and lasted till Christmas, when, after a desperate assault, the Turks were forced by Marco Botzari to retreat upon Arta, with the loss of all their ammunition, baggage, and the greater part of their men. Marco Botzari, the hero of Missolonghi, was a short man, like all the Souliots, but of a strong and compact frame; rather pale in the face, with a serious and thoughtful cast of features. His Albanese dress was simple and yvostentations. He spoke little, and in a meek tone of voice, and whenever he was not at the head of his soldiers, he resembled more a martyr than a hero.

But his countenance brightened in the face of battle, or at the approach of danger; and then his whole person bespoke unbending courage and determination. Marco Botzari, and Canaris the sailor, who burnt the Turkish frigate at Scio, are the two greatest men which the revolution of Greece has produced.

THE JOURNAL OF A NATURALIST.* In these days of scepticism and scrutinizing, it may appear no easy matter to diffuse a belief in the existence of a universal elixir, capable of arresting or retarding the wane of life, so that youth,' as the scriptures beautifully express it, shall be renewed like the eagle's. Yet, that such an elixir not only exists, but may be procured with small difficulty and at little expense, we think we can (upon premises granted) bring plausible argument to shew. We mean not to assert indeed that the wane of manhood may be brought back thereby to the bloom of infancy, nor the decrepitude of age to the standard of adolescence; but it will —as we can aver upon the testimony of our own experience-impart a ruddier tint and a warmer glow to the blood, -enkindle a brighter expression in the eye,--and call up in the mind a train of thoughts fresh, lively, beautiful, and rapturous

Such as youthful poets dream,

On summer's eve by haunted stream. The elixir we allude to, is the study of nature-embracing the whole range of the visible creation from the almost invisible mite, to the huge leviathan who maketh the deep boil like a pot ;—from the hyssop that groweth on the wall, to the cedar of Lebanon ;—from the dew-drop, to the broad thunder-cloud that o'ercanopies the horizon ;-and from the grain of sand on the seashore, to the planet which hangs selfbalanced in the empyrean. This study is as inexhaustible as it is delightful; it never tires, because it is always new,-and, what is more, it can be pursued in all circumstances and in all places; for examples are not wanting to prove that even in the crowded city (witness Mr. George's investigation of dry-rot), and, still more wonderful, in the narrow prison cell (witness Trenck’s tame mice and musical spiders) the study of nature has been pursued with no less ardour than in the woods and fields-where to the enthusiastic naturalist

Not a breeze
Flies o'er the meadow,-not a cloud imbibes
The setting sun's effulgence,-not a strain
From all the tenants of the warbling shade
Ascends, but whence the bosom can partake

Fresh pleasure.
If it be granted, therefore, that the pleasures of childhood are more
exquisite and contain less alloy than those of riper years, it must be
because then every thing appears new and robed in all the fresh beau-

Murray-) vol. small 8vo.

ties of infancy,--whereas in adolescence, and still more in manhood and old age, whatever has frequently recurred, begins to wear the tarnish of decay, or to be tinged with the fading colours of sun-set. That there are minds tuned to the quiet apathy of reposing, like the imaginary gods of Epicurus, without a wish for a new feeling or a new idea, is no reason why those who are not altogether of such clay' should

Renounce the boundless store
Which bounteous Nature to her vot'ries yields ;
The warbling woodland, -the resounding shore-
The pomp of groves, the garniture of fields-
All that the genial ray of morning gilds-

And all that echoes to the song of Even. Looking at the study of nature in this point of view,-as affording an endless succession of 'ever new delights'—such as charmed us in childhood when everything wore the array of beauty,—we think the position with which we set out must be abundantly manifest; and with such a volume as “The Journal of a Naturalist' to corroborate our arguments, we may hold out to all those whom we can persuade to examine the marvellous contrivances and mechanism of the things around them, a countless succession of new pleasures, which, like Anacreon's cupids, become the sources of myriads more.

The materials indeed are altogether exhaustless in the chemistry of the atmosphere with its clouds and the dew, in the structure of rocks and the formation of soils, in the varied machinery of the vegetable tribes, and the philosophy of the animal population in the earth, the air, and the waters. Into all these subjects our author has entered, with a' zeal as buoyant and fervid as that of a boy just let loose from school for the Easter holydays, when he rushes through brake and wood, and pries into every bush in search of birds' nests; and yet, if we are not misinformed, he is considerably advanced into the vale of years. The author of this pleasing book, we have been told, is John Leonard Knapp, Esq., F. L. S., of Alverston Thornbury, near Bristol, previously well known among naturalists, by a splendid work on British Grasses, entitled “Gramina Britannica.' By the work before us, he is certain, we think, to become as universally known among general readers as he has long been among scientific botanists; for he has proved himself to be not only an ingenious and original observer, but an eloquent and delightful writer: so that while his science is generally accurate, and sometimes profound, he displays admirable tact in selecting the points of a subject which shall be striking and intelligible to all, and no less taste in embodying these in language. The great variety of his materials also indicates considerable skill, for he leaves few topics untouched among those which have come within the range of his observation-and such only he takes up-the work being, in no sense of the word, a compilation from books—(with which indeed he claims little acquaintance)--but a genuine personal narrative and record of rural phenomena. In works professing to treat of natural history, we seldom meet with anything relating to the natural history of man,- — though perhaps this is the most interesting part of all; but it has not been overlooked by Mr. Knapp, who has interspersed through his

volume, several curious particulars with respect to the people in his vicinity. We were much pleased, for example, with the following trait of rural economy, in the cultivation of potatoes :

Our land is variously rented for this culture ; but perhaps eight pounds per acre are a general standard: the farmer gives it two ploughings, finds manure, and pays the tithe ; the seed is found, and all the labour in and out is performed by the renter; or the farmer, in lieu of any rent, receives half the crop. The returns to the labourer are always ample, when conducted with any thing like discretion ; and the emolument to the farmer is also quite sufficient, as, beside thc rent, he is paid for the manuring his land for a succeeding crop, be it wheat or barley; hence land is always to be obtained by the cotter, upon application. We have a marked instance in the year 1825 how little we can predict what the product of this crop will be, or the change that alteration of weather may effect; for after the drought of the summer, after our apprehensions, our dismay (for the loss of this root is a very serious calamity), the produce of potatoes was generally fair, in places abundant; many acres yielding full eighty sacks; which, at the digging out price of 68. the sack, gave a clear profit to the labourer of 11l. 78. 6d. per acre! But at any rate it gives infinite comfort to the poor man, which no other article can equally do, and a plentiful subsistence, when grain would be poverty and want. The injudicious manner, in which some farmers have let their land, has certainly, under old acts of parliament, brought many families into a parish; but we have very few instances, where a potato-land renter to any extent is supported by the parish. In this village a very large portion of our peasantry inhabit their own cottages, the greater number of which have been obtained by their industry, and the successful culture of this root. The getting in and out of the crop is solely performed by the cotter and his family: a child drops a set in the dibble-hole or the trench made by the father, the wife with her hoe covering it up; and in harvesting all the family are in action ; the baby is wrapped up when asleep in its mother's cloak, and laid under the shelter of some hedge, and the digging, picking, and conveying to the great store heap commences; a primitive occupation and community of labour, that I believe no other article admits of, or affords.

A mode of cultivating the potatoe somewhat similar obtains in Scotland, of which an interesting account is given by the Rev. Mr. Harley, of Sorn, Ayrshire, in Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of that parish. We have not the book at hand to refer to, but the practice is for each villager to rent from a neighbouring farmer as much land as he wants for the supply of his family, for which he pays so much per fall or perch. In some cases the villager finds manure, seed, and labour; the farmer having nothing to do with the crop: in others, the farmer ploughs the land, carts the inanure, forms drills ready to receive manure and cuttings, and when these are done by the villager, the farmer covers in the drills with the plough. All hoeing and weeding are performed during summer by the villager, but the farmer again assists him with the plough to take up the crop. In the first case, the principal part of the labour is done by the spade, and the field is usually parcelled out into lots laid out in ridges; in the second, the lots are in long drills, usually one, two, or three of which are rented by an individual, according to the supply wanted for his family, or as he can produce manure. It becomes, therefore, an important matter for a villager to attend to this, and some who are careful in collecting vegetable refuse to mix with their coal ashes, will, in the course of a May, 1829.

2 M

« ForrigeFortsæt »