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ence and encouragement. Even the humblest participates in the general feeling, as he enjoys the advantages which generous wealth copfers. The eloquent remark of Mr. Verplanck, is here fully realized—“A noble hall for the purposes of legislation or justice, or a grand pile of buildings for the uses of learning, is the immediate property of the people, and forms a portion of the inheritance of the humblest citizen.” Nor is this the only superiority that they claim, and are indisputably entitled to over us. They have a keener and more fixed relish for the fine arts, and a more substantial literary taste. They feel a deep interest in the success, and consider their characters concerned in the advancement and prosperity of their periodical publications. But among us the reverse of the picture is the melancholy truth. We may regret it, but cannot deny that a literary journal has in vain been attempted among us. It droops, languishes and decays, from the withholding of public patronage; and after a short and sickly career, it " exhales its odours, blazes, and expires." Such has been the gloom of the past. If brighter days have succeeded, we stand ready to hail their approach ; and their coming can be tested by the experiment that is now renewed.
This listlessness may be, in some slight degree, accounted for, in those who have remained entirely at home, (saving and reserving to them the benefit of every excuse ;) but what shall we say for those who have been abroad? What public evidence do they put forth of their improvement ? Travelling is important and very useful; it is essential, however, that certain preparations be made beforehand, in order to realize its benefits. He who crosses the Atlantic, leaving his country behind him, in ignorance of its geography and its institutions, to be landed on the opposite side of the ocean in equal darkness as to the country through which he came to travel, can learn but little. He meets with curiosities unexpectedly, and without being ready for them; and a great variety of subjects for his information so rapidly succeed one another, that his mind (if it may so be called) is thrown into the most absolute confusion. This species of improvable travellers place the fullest reli
their instinct; and some one, who is thus bold in his originality, being early freed from the trammels of a grammar school, and rejoicing in his escape from such useless expenditure of time, resolves, having
Drop't the dull lumber of the Latin store,
Spoil'd his own language, and acquir'd no more, to commence his travels. This worthy representative of his country returns to admire things he never saw, and to speak
of others that he could not comprehend ; thus, at every word he utters, we perceive, with sorrow and contempt, “how fluent nonsense trickles from his tongue.” We do not mean to be understood to include in this class all our citizens who visit distant climes. The charge would be unfounded ; for there are gentlemen, who go abroad, fitted to embrace the advantages that offer ; but it is fair to inquire how far their native city is benefitted by these visits. Transatlantic liberality, it is reasonable to suppose, would impress them agreeably, and awaken a desire to see our country emulating it as far as our means will permit. Who could visit the Liverpool Institution, and behold it flourishing in the full vigour of its usefulness by voluntary subscriptions, and not feel that it was a proud monument of the liberality of the place, and of its love of literature and science ? Where are the useful effects of these impressions? They must have been felt at the moment, but seem to have passed away and been forgotten. When an American visits the Royal Academy of Paintings, in London, he there beholds the finest works of art to improve his taste, and must be forcibly struck with the happy effect of encouragement, in nourishing and bringing to perfection the genius of the artist. If he visits the Louvre at Paris, he is again reminded that genius is the gift of Heaven to a nation, worthy to be fostered by private taste and public spirit. In reading the very entertaining travels in Europe of Professor Griscom, an observation of the author upon visiting a gallery of paintings at Milan, ought to be promulgated, to call the attention, if possible, of our wealthy citizens, whose enlightened curiosity may hereafter lead them in that direction, to the opportunity there given them to encourage the Fine Arts in their city. “ There was a variety of elegant paintings in this room, at the time of our visit, for sale. From the prices attached to them, I could not but think, that an American Academy might be supplied on very moderate terms." Notwithstanding they enjoy the means, and see the chance within their reach, they bring home with them no decided evidence of an improved taste; nor is a single specimen of the Fine Arts, in painting or in sculpture, presented to our Academy to assist and improve the genius, zeal and industry of the artists of their country, who are struggling with difficulties almost insurmountable. The classic taste and patriotic spirit of Chancellor Livingston did much to improve
* We must here do justice to the patriotism of our citizen, Mr. Weeks, who, ou his return from Europe, brought with him several busts for the Academy. These instances are too rare; and we are not without our hopes that so creditable an example may produce its proper effect.
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 a 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. II.-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 summits into the sky, shrouded in a veil of clouds, their sides seathered 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, “ 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
In one of my excursions 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 fain 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