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had probably never passed the barriers of Paris ; this last work is, in most respects, a very close parallel to that of M. Beltrami.
This ex-judge of an ex-court in an ex-kingdom would seem, by his own account, to have been sent into exile, without trial, at a time when a recent fracture of the thigh rendered it necessary for him to support himself on crutches. What the nature of his offence was we are left to conjecture; but he speaks of errors of youth, odious persecutions, and spies.' He sets out from the Roman states on what he calls his pilgrimage, or ramble, through a part of Europe and in North America. If we had seen nothing more of his work than the fulllength portrait, which stands at its head, we could have formed a tolerably correct judgment of its character : a more exquisite dandy, than is presented in the effigies of this ex-judge, thrown into the desolate regions of North America, could not have been imagined; and the foppish frontispiece corresponds with every page of the book, both father and fatherer of which have great need of the 'schoolmaster.' We shall not waste much time or paper upon the gentlemen; but there is so much fiction, stated as matter of fact, in the account of their American rambles, that, for the sake of truth, of geography, and natural history, we deem it right to expose a few of their absurdities. As for the ex-judge's mopings and moanings poured out into the bosom of his": Dear Countess;' his horror of the Jesuits, coupled as it is with a most potent appetite for popish miracles of all kinds; his affection for the memory of Napoleon, “ the greatest man that ever lived;' and his hatred of the Cabinet of St. James'—these, and all similar vagaries, we may safely entrust, as they are, to the common sense of the laughing animal.' In sailing up the Thames in an Ostend packet, the ex-judge says,
• To describe it to you in all its majesty, in all its grandeur; to exhibit to you the numerous ships, steam-vessels, and vessels of every size and form, some sailing up, and others down; the towns, villages, and delightful pleasure-grounds which adorn, and the arsenals and docks which animate its banks; to paint the vast floating forests of innumerable masts which, rising above the dark smoke that covers London as with a perpetual veil, seem to pierce and tower above the clouds ;would reqnire the pencil of a great painter ; I have not the presumption even to attempt it.'-voi. i. p. 270.
M. Beltrami, at least, is here more susceptible of impressions from external objects than was the Infant Don Miguel, who, while passing through the crowds of shipping, unusually great the day he sailed up the Thames, could not be prevailed on to leave the cabin to take a glance at them, not even at the artillery drawn up 2 G 2
the principal results of these pompous and costly enterprises.'— vol. ii. pp. 469, 470.
A person thus utterly and hopelessly ignorant of what he ventures to write about, is not likely to collect any observations, or to make any discoveries in such a country as America, that can benefit either himself or the public. Our readers, however, may like to have an example or two of the mode in which this Italian philosopher' sees nature as she is.' He kills a rattlesnake of certain dimensions—and apropos of rattlesnakes, he thus writes to his · Dear Countess.' 'I must detain you an instant, my dear countess, to give you some new information respecting the phenomena of their poison :' and what is it? why, that the poison of the rattlesnake produces no effect upon pigs, they eat it, thrive, and fatten.' This new information has long ago been communicated by Linnæus, who says, the rattlesnake a sue ubsque noria devoratur:' yet,' continues the ex-judge, 'it (the poison) is fatal to itself; when it is held down with a forked stick, if it can turn its head, it bites itself, swells, and dies. If this, which has been said of the scorpion, be true, there is nothing very wonderful in it. A very small degree of the study of that part of natural history, called pathology, would have informed him, that the same poison which becomes fatal, when carried into the system by the blood, may be perfectly harmless when taken into the stomach.
But this is not the point, regarding rattlesnakes, which we meant to adduce as an illustration of the superior advantages to be derived from his • looking at nature as she is,' or, in other words, knowing nothing about her. The instance we are about to mention would, indeed, as he tells his dear Countess,' be
one of the most remarkable phenomena in nature,' if nature did not abhor and disown it, as a monster engendered by sheer ignorance and egregious folly.
• A rattlesnake was killed there with a hundred and forty young ones in its belly, several of which contained other young ones. Major Anderson, agent of the mines, and a man of unimpeachable veracity, told me this as a positive fact, of which he had been an eye-witness.'
- vol. ii. p. 162. It would be offering an insult to the understanding of our readers, to tell them, by way of information, that the rattlesnake and all the serpent tribe are oviparous; but any man of common sense (of which we by no means intend to accuse M. Beltrami) would know, that had the animal in question been viviparous, the idea of a fætus in the womb of its mother, being impregnated with another fætus, was not only preposterous, but a physical impossibility. The knowledge of this fact, it is to be hoped, will allay the apprehensions of the • unimpeachable’ Major An
derson, lest this extraordinary species of superfetation may inundate his mining district with rattlesnakes, even though our Italian ex-judge should have added to his alarm by telling him, as he has told his dear Countess,' that he understands rattlesnakes, like fishes, cross the sea without compasses or pilot.'
* I shot,' says our author, “an animal to which naturalists, if I am not mistaken, give the name of Mouffeta ;' the guess of a man who never condescends to read what 'naturalists' have written might have been wider of the mark. It is the mephitis to which he alludes, and whose wonderful qualities he is about to describe, along with some others which it does not possess. There are two species of this animal, both common in every part of America--the viverra putorius, and the viverra mephitis,—the skunk, polecat, or stinking weazel of the English–the bête puante of the French.
· Nature has given it a weapon of mighty power against its assailant, consisting in the intolerable stench of a liquid which it conceals under its tail, (as the serpent conceals its poison under its fangs,) and which it darts on the pursuer with such force, that it reaches him sometimes at the distance of sixty paces.'—vol. ii. pp. 478,479.
* Sixty paces' sounds well: a distance equal to that which is thrown by a twelve-man-power fire-engine ! —but had this ex-judge condescended to consult Linnæus, or almost any other naturalist, he would have found that, instead of this small animal squirting a fetid liquid (which does not exist) to the distance of sixty paces, it is its breath that gives out the fetid odour,— halitum explodit quo nihil fætidius.' -- We are sorry we cannot dissect the exjudge's statement more thoroughly: we could not do so without offending the delicacy of our readers.
Of his capacity for viewing objects of nature, we have given sufficient specimens ; let us now see with what accuracy he describes objects of art. As an instance of this talent, we shall extract his account of a Mississippi steam-boat:
Our passage to this place forms, I think, an epoch in the history of navigation. It was an enterprise of the boldest, of the most extraordinary nature ; and probably unparalleled. Never before did a steam-boat ascend a river twenty-two thousand miles above its mouth. The vessel which conveyed us was the Virginia, one hundred and eighteen feet long, and twenty-two wide, drawing six feet water, and of two thousand tons burthen.'— vol. ii. pp. 127, 128.
It is possible, though not probable, that the twenty-two thousand miles may have been a typographical error, and that so many hundreds were meant; even then, they are five or six hundred beyond the mark; but as to the steam-boat, it is unfortunate that, for once, he has quitted generals, and given details, as by these we are enabled to arrive at our own conclusion, which is,
if there be any truth in arithmetic, that, instead of 2000 tons, she was somewhere about 500 tons !
Deficient as M. Beltrami obviously is, in every acquirement that a traveller ought to possess, it required some little ingenuity to contrive to swell out a whole volume of five hundred pages, in ascending the Mississippi to its sources, and from thence dropping down to its mouth. If we were asked, how he has managed this, we should be at a loss for an answer; and all we could say is, that, like Hamlet, we have been reading words, words, words;' the paucity of facts, the barrenness of incident, the namby-pamby style of sentimentality, with here and there an attempt at a touch of the pathetic, have passed off without leaving any distinct traces on our memory. About one-half of the volume is occupied with adventures among the Indians, with long and tedious details of their religion, and their medicine-bag-how they dance, and drink, and smoke, and fight—what long speeches they make, and how this intrepid traveller composed a serious breach between the two friends, Wide-mouth and Cloudy-weather. The attitudes of one of these heroes were so graceful, that they alternately reminded him of the equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius on the Capitol, and that of the great Numidian king; and the skin girt over the horse's back was exactly the vestis stragula, or the strata of the Romans. It is here, indeed, that M. Beltrami shows his ingenuity in swelling out his book by the extraordinary similarities which he calls parallels (certainly not much in the manner of Plutarch) between the manners, customs, religious ceremonies, dresses, &c. of the Greeks and Romans, and the American Indians. A combat of some beavers, reminds him of the Horatii and Curiatii. The round shields of the Indians resemble the clypeus of the Romans—the oval ones, the scutumthe skin cloak is the pallium, and the mocassins are the perones, cothurni, mulei, and calcei of the ancients. I was forcibly struck,' he says, 'with the resemblance of the chief Wamenitouka to that famous statue of Aristides in the museum at Naples. In the chief Cetamwacomani, I behold that of Cato predicting to the Romans, that their vices, their luxury, and their avarice would soon reduce them to slavery.'— And he adds, “ the corona castrensis, the vexillum, the phaleræ, the armille, the exuvie of the Romans, are the distinctions which the Indians grant to military merit.' With so many points of similarity, and we have not mentioned a tenth part of them, there is no resisting the conclusion, that antiquarians and geographers have hitherto been mistaken in calling America the New World, seeing it is made up of such old materials. Indeed, we are almost persuaded that, with the help of Potter and Adam, M, Beltrami would be able to prove the
descent, not only of the American Indians, but of the Hottentots also, from the Greeks and Romans.
At Fort St. Peter, near the falls of St. Anthony, the steam navigation of the Mississippi ceases. Here Major Long had arrived on a mission up St. Peter's river to the northern boundary of the United States, and this cautious officer, it would seem, was rather shy of our Italian traveller, regarding him as a sort of spy. At Pembinar (Pembina), therefore, near the southern part of Lord Selkirk’s colony, he thought it prudent to part company, and having engaged two Indians and a bois-brullée (the fire-brand, or hunter) of Canada, he crossed over to the eastward, towards Red Lake. His grand object was to discover the sources of the Mississippi, which had, in fact, been already discovered. It is on this journey, sometimes with one Indian, at other times with two or three, and frequently alone, that our traveller riots in his adventures, disasters, and discoveries. In short, he is, among the Indians of the sources of the Mississippi, precisely what that lively Frenchman Le Vaillant was among the Hottentots of Southern Africa ; and as the Frenchman met with a fair Narina to sooth his cares among those nastiest of humankind, so the Italian was consoled by the attentions of Woasceta, the daughter of Widemouth, or Cloudy weather, we forget which, who mended his torn mocassins, kept his pantaloons in order, and, we suppose, embroidered with porcupine quills that smart coatee which decorates his full-length portrait. But we shall leave his hair-breadth scapes and amorous adventures for the amusement of his dear Countess,' to whom they are addressed, preferring rather to sift the ex-judge's pretended and impudent claim to a discovery which was made by Mr. Schoolcraft and others, two or three years before the date of his pilgrimage.
It has long been known by the Canadian hunters, that to the westward of Lake Superior, and between the 46th and 49th degree of latitude, the whole surface of the country is one vast, elevated, rugged plain, abounding in lakes, and the swampy levels and hollows covered with numberless pools of water, such as in the north of England are usually called tarns; that the latter communicate with each other, sometimes by almost stagnant channels, sometimes above and sometimes beneath the surface, which, from its undulating motion when passed over, is called by the Indians the shaking land.' About the latitude of 47° 45' is Red Cedar Lake, whose name Mr. Schoolcraft thought fit to change to Cassino Lake, in honour of Governor Cass. It is from this lake, fed by the drains around it, that the Mississippi issues. Immediately to the northward of it runs the broken ridge which separates the northern from the southern waters; the former taking a