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and aid native taste and talent. His loss may not only be lamented by his state and city, but we may safely add, it was one to be deplored by the country at large. When he travelled, he did not seek the splendid works of cultivated genius, only to boast of the delightful sensations he had felt in viewing them ; but selected, under the guidance of his pure taste, the best models of the most distinguished sculptors, and had casts taken of them which he freely gave to the Academy in the ardent hope of awakening that taste, the purifying influence of which he had so happily and amply experienced. Such a man is a public benefactor, and an illustrious example, that should produce higher and better results than mere cold and costless praise.
Semper honos, nomenque suum, laudesque manebunt." Far more advantageous would it be to the public, while it would be infinitely more honourable to the few who bring over busts and casts, if they were presented to the Academy. The room and situation are well adapted to exhibit their beauties in a proper light; while, in a private room, from its limited size, they are hidden, and the whole effect lost. But the truth is, it
, savours of affectation ; the owners have no collection, and it is a feeble effort that goes rather to establish the want, than the existence of true taste: besides, these added to the number already in the Academy, would assist our artists; while, if misplaced in a dark corner of a room, or elevated on pedestal in the form of a large and cumbrous table, they serve only to bring ridicule upon conceited blunders. The fame of West can never be forgotton; every bosom thrills with pride in speaking the praises of his countryman ;-shall cold and chilling indifference continue then to blast the hopes of every native artist, and be the means of disseminating the seeds of future greatness to adorn and dignify a foreign land? Let us not think so, but indulge the longing desire that public spirit may spring up among us, and spread itself, like the other blessings of freedom, over our city. Then may the Goddess of Commerce, with her benignant smile, cheer the labours of the artist, and crown his works with golden rewards; and then may stately public edifices, magnificent and tasteful, be reared amidst us, proudly attesting the blessings of wealth.
NOTES ON A VOYAGE TO CARACCAS.
No. Jl.-Road to Caraccas.
Quitting La Guyra, we proceeded, for the first mile, along the narrow slip of land that forms the shore, with the wall of mountain on the left, and the ocean on the right. We then reached the village of Maycatia. This place was formerly the seat of a thriving population, and contained some neat dwelling houses, and a large and handsome church. It is now mostly in ruins; the earthquake of 1812 having, here as well as elsewhere in this devoted province, laid low almost every vestige of human art and industry; and the long continued civil war having prevented any attempts at rebuilding. Ten years had now elapsed since the rude shock was felt, and still the ruin strews the ground, lending to the scene its mournful contrast with the every-where revived freshness of nature.
Leaving Maycatia to the right, we pierced into the cleft of the mountain through which the road is cut. The ascent at first is gentle—the mountain still barren, with here and there a solitary tree to break in upon the monotony of the scene. The road, however, soon becomes more precipitous and winding, forming a perfect zig-zag. The ledges of rock, which rise on every side, bound the prospect for a considerable distance, and keep the mind of the traveller who has never before ascended the mountain, in constant anxiety to reach some vista, and some resting place withal, for his jaded limbs. A change is now evident in the appearance of the soil; the aridity gradually giving place to spots of verdure, and to shrubbery shooting out from the crevices of the rock.
Emerging, at length, from the pass, we came to a part of the road which, being open to the left
, overlooks a deep valley below, and commands a prospect beyond, which, for sublimity and beauty combined, I have never seen equalled. On the opposite side of the valley, high mountains throw up their sum mits into the sky, shrouded in a veil of clouds, their sides feathered over with thick forests, and their bases terminating, or rather lost in profound abysses which the eye cannot penetrate. Far beneath, between the sides of the mountains enclosing the valley, is caught a glimpse of Maycatia, lying with its verdant groves, like an emerald, on the bosom of the ocean, whose waves, crested with foam, are seen pursuing each other in endless succession, though their roar “cannot be heard so high.” Farther on, in the direction of La Guyra, is dis
cerned the fleet of vessels, at anchor, 6 diminished to their cocks."
The bottom of the valley beneath, is occupied at intervals by lesser hills, whose terraced tops, enriched with the freshest verdure of spring, form the sites of extensive coffee plantations. In one of
up the mountain, I was induced, by the solicitations of a planter, to visit his hacienda, or plantation. Striking into a narrow and wild dell, we followed a path at first descending, but which afterwards ascended the hill on which the place was situated. The house was a commodious and spacious one. It was supplied with a chapel, in which mass was about being performed in the presence
of the collected family, including the slaves. During service the priest delivered a sermon, or exhortation, the greater part of which, by way of illustration, consisted of long Latin quotations from the fathers and saints, and which to render intelligible to his audience, the good priest was sain to translate into the vernacular, thus getting rid of no little portion of his time. After mass we adjourned to a well-supplied breakfast table, and thence to the plantation ground. The coffee trees are planted in separate rows, and present a beautiful and rich appearance, This tree, originally a native of Arabia, was first transplanted to Batavia, and thence to the Spanish colonies in the western hemisphere. The natural height of this tree is twelve feet ; but the planter, in order to facilitate the gathering of the fruit, arrests its growth as soon as it reaches five feet. The flowers very much resemble those of the jasmine, of which they are a species, and, as they fade, give way to a berry; which is at first green, but afterwards turns to a bright red. It is not generally known, nor easy to conceive the numerous manipulations which these berries must undergo, before they are in a condition fit to be delivered to the venders. First, the external pellicle that encloses the seed containing two berries, which are united by their flat sides, and a ligament, the groove for which it is easy to recognize, is removed by the action of a mill, and the two berries separated. They are then placed in an inclined sieve, through which the pellicle drops, while the berries glide down the plane, and are received into baskets. They are then washed and steeped in water, and after they have been carefully dried, they are subjected to the action of a second and a third mill-the one for removing a pellicle which scales off as the berries dry, and the other for winnowing them thoroughly. Placed then on a table, they are farther cleaned by negroes, who remove all external matters, and se
parate the broken from the whole berries.* Such labour does it require to prepare for our domestic use this grateful luxury, whose reviving effects from stupor and inertia many a gourmand has experienced after a full meal, and to whose inspiring influence the future historian will find himself indebted for many an illustrious achievement, with the record of which to grace the chronicles of heroism and genius.
To return to the road : The higher we ascended, the more wild and romantic became the scene, the more variegated and unbounded the prospect. The temperature sensibly lowered, and reminded me of " cool mornings and evenings” at home in September. We were now occasionally enveloped in mists and clouds, which, in broken fragments, occupied the sides of the mountain ; the darkened atmosphere being finely contrasted by the bright spots of sunshine, that intervened between their masses.
It was most gratifying to me, who had been for several months pent up in a barren island, on which neither dew nor rain had fallen for years, and in which scarce a vestige of vegetation was to be discovered, to find myself once more among scenes, resembling, in their general character, those I had left at home. The lofty precipice overhung with wood; the blossomed branch perfuming the air with its delicious sweets ; the lowly flowret at the foot of the majestic tree; the lichen and the fern, and the swarded mould; all reminded me of more beloved scenes. My companions, some of whom were enraptured at once more beholding the scenes from which misfortune had so long exiled them, others, intent on the difficulties and fatigues of the journey, understood not the nature of my feelings ; neither had they those feelings intruded on their sympathies.
After two hours' ride, we reached the venta, or inn, where we refreshed ourselves, and then continued our ascent for another half hour. We then came to a level plain, winding round the mountain, and extending some distance, till a sudden angle in the road showed us that we had gained the side of the mountain, opposite to the one we had ascended, and gave us the view of a fine and fertile valley, several thousand feet beneath us and enclosed by mountains. Our road was now very fine ; on the left was the natural rampart, formed by the mountain : and on the right, towards the valley, thick shrubbery divided us from the frequently precipitous and dangerous descents. Between the foliage of this shrubbery was at length pointed
* For farther particulars, see “ Historie Philosophique et Politique &c. &c. par l'Abbé Raynal, Livre XI.”
+ See the St. Helena Memorial, particularly O'Meara's book.
out the city of St. Leon de Caraccas, famous for its situation, its former riches, its wars and its earthquakes. It lay in a fertile valley to the south of the Silla de Caraccas, about two thousand nine hundred feet above the level of the sea. Rich plantations surround it on all sides, and at this height they appeared like so many gardens. Language would fail to express the emotions which the sight excited in my Colombian companions. They cried, embraced each other, and tearing with transport the wild flowers of their native soil from the shrubbery, decorated their hats with them, and shouted " Colombia, Bolivar, and Liberty.” They had reason to be proud of the
" sublime and beautiful features, which, in its bounty, Providence has bestowed on this favoured region. Yet, the sigh of regret could not be withheld from the melancholy reflection, that this fine portion of land had been the theatre of the most calamitous events, the most heart-rending scenes. It was not enough that nature had, by a convulsion of the earth, such as history rarely parallels, shaken the prosperity of the people to its very foundation-ruining thousands—deforming the face of the countrydestroying the labour of two centuries, and making chasms in society that were irreparable ;-man, unnatural man, must lift his arm against his brother, and whatever was distinguished in science or art, or aspiring in genius, had here been barbarously sacrificed at the bloody and never-saturated shrine of civil discord, by the hand of an unrelenting and exterminating tyranny. We now descended rapidly; and at 11 A. M. passed the powder magazine, a plain white building, inclosed in a large square, neatly fenced.
At 12, we entered the city by the Porta de Pastoras, or Shepherd's Gate, and were immediately shown the way to the Hotel of Independence, sign of the American and Colombian flags, stiffly pendent over a roast duck or fowl.
Soon after the discovery of the coast of Venezuela, by Columbus, the Spaniards began to cast wishful glances towards the fertile valleys which abound in the interior of the province. They were for a long time, however, successfully opposed by the resolute natives. Expedition followed expedition, each sharing the same defeat. But civilized, or rather skilful warfare, must prevail in the end over wild and irregular opposition. After many spirited contests, and almost desperate efforts, Diego de Losada made a permanent settlement in the valley of Caraccas; and in 1567 he founded the present city, to which he gave the name of Santiago de Leon de Caraccasa