Page images
[ocr errors][merged small]

him instantly. The tree was very tall, and the root of it some distance from the path, so that the soldiers did not see him till he was directly opposite. They cried out, he stopped suddenly and began to turn his horse, but before he got round he received the falal stroke.

From the Colonial Magazine. An Excursion to a Cacao or Chocolate Plan

tation in the West Iudies. Some years back, while residing in the town of Port-of-Spain, the capital of the island of Trinidad, one fine morning at daylight, which begins there a little after two, I mounted my hardy Venezuelian pony, and started off at a brisk canter, for the purpose of spending a few days with my excellent and esteemed friend, the mayor-domo or manager of Reconocimiento cacao, or chocolate plantation, situate about twenty miles off, in the heights of the quarter or district of Aranca.

On coming thus suddenly upon it, it has the appearance of one vast forest-orchard, if I may make use of the term, planted in the space formed by a hollow between two mountains, which have receded a good deal more than they are wont to do at any other point. The mountains rise to, I should suppose, nearly 1,500 feet above the level of the culti. vation, which is itself nearly 1000 feet above the level of the sea. One's sensations on reaching this calm and lovely spot, after a rugged and toilsome, although exciting, journey of six miles, are pleasurable in the extreme.

There are three species of the Theobromathe Theobroma cacao, of which I am now treating; the Theobroma Guajanensis, and the Theobroma bicolor; this genus belongs 10 the class Polyadelphia, and to the order Pen. tagynia. The sort under consideration is produced by a tree seldom rising above the height of twenty-feet ; it is equal in size to an orange tree, and its leaves are large, oblong and pointed. The whole tree more resembles the cherry-tree than any other I can compare it with, the leaves, however, being much larger than those of that plant. The Howers, which are small, and of a pale red color, spring from the large branches, and also form the trunk; they are succeeded by oval-pointed pods, grooved like a melon, and, indeed, not unlike that fruit, although the cacao-pod be smaller in girth than the melon. They contain a white pithy substance, which is of a sweetish, but sickeningly mawkish and disagreeable taste, and surrounds numerous seeds: these are the cacao of commerce. These seeds are oval-formed, and about as large as a moderate sized almond-kernel, but not so slender; they are internally, of a dark brown color, approaching to dun, and are covered with a thin skin or husk, of a light reddish-brown color. The nuts are very numer. ous, but vary in this respect, some pods containing as many as fifiy, while others do not yield more than twenty seeds; they are, ass

is well known, of a very oily nature. The tree produces fruit twice a year, or rather its principal bearings are two, although it may be said to be never altogether without some pods on it. The trees are raised from seed, which is sown, in the first instance, in nur. series, shaded by the plaintain or banana-tree. They are then transplanted in straight lines, so as to make a cross, or quincunx, formed by the junction of the apices of two triangles, or are arranged in the form of squares. The distance of the trees from each other is about fourteen feet in good soil, and about twelve in that which is inferior. Much nicety and judgment are necessary in selecting a soil and situation appropriate to this kind of produce. The Spaniards, who are the principal growers of cacao at Trinidad, do not trust to the re-> sults of analysis, to the color, or to any character or quality, except that derived from the luxuriance of ihe trees growing on it. The exposure should not be to the north, and the situation should be on the banks of a river, } from which the benefits of irrigation may be derived when the seasons are too dry, and against any sudden overilow of which there are sufficient safeguards.

At this season, an extensive plain covered with cacao-plantations, is a magnificent object when viewed from a heighi. The farstretching forests of Erythrina present then the appearance of being clothed on the summit with flames, the fresh northeast tradewind adding to the illusion, as it sweeps over their tops in apparent fleecy clouds of smoke. I must not omit to mention that a plantation of cacao has many enemies; deer, a small kind of which are exceedingly plentiful at Trinidad, aud squirrels and birds, are often very destructive to both tree and fruit.

Cacao is prepared for market in the follow. ing manper: The pod having been gaihered from the tree by the hand, or by means of a hooked pole, where that mode is impractica. ble, from the branches being too high, it is collected into large heaps on the ground, and allowed to soften, or sweat, as it is termed by the planters, for three or four days. The pods are then opened, by means of a longilu. dinal cut, with a strong knife or bill, called a cacao-knife, or bi!l, and the seeds and pulp extracted with the fingers, and thrown into another heap, where the mass is allowed to sweat for two or three weeks more. At the end of this period, fermentation has losened the seeds from their pulpy bed, when they are easily separated from it, and taken to the drying-house in baskets. The nuts are now daily spread in the sun upon a large cemented, or sometimes only carefully swept, esplanade, in front of ihe drying-house, where they are turned frequently and care. fully, during the day; at nighi, they are again housed. The drying house is again furnished with large irays, in which the cacao is received during the process of drying, and which can be run out at poris in the side of the building, when the uncertainty of the

weather may render that plan advisable. S The operation of drying is continued for > about three weeks, more or less, according to the favorable or unfavorable state of the weather, when the nuts become sufficiently dry, and are packed for sale and shipment. Coarse bags, made of Oznaburgs sacking, having been prepared, each large enough to contain a fanega in weight, they are filled with the produce, which is now ready to be convey ed to market, in Port-of-Spain, on

mules' backs, or in carts, as the nature of the s roads will admit, where it is usually imme.

diately sold, and shipped for Europe, as it is an article which deteriorates by keeping.

then placed between the boards, where it is well trodden down with the feet for half an hour. The boards are then taken away, and removed a step forward; thus progressing until the wall is finished. In a few days, from the heat of the sun, it becomes hard and dry, and very strong. The top is then covered with prickly bushes, which make it a perfect defence against any cattle whatsoever. Bell told us that the whole cost him about thirty leptas a foot, or three-pence English. In the garden, vines were trained in various ways, making bowers and alcoves; so thal, in the heat of a mid-day solstice, one might walk well sheltered and protected, with clus. ters of grapes hanging down from the roof. Bell, with ihe frank hospitality of a British soldier, pressed us to stop and breakfast with him, and we wanted but little entreaty. So, in half an hour, under shade of the vine grove, the table was laid for our repast. Tea, cof. fee, and a pigeon pie, with toast and butter, made from sheep's milk, which is very deli. cate, were placed before us; and to crown the whole, some little honey from the hives of one of his tenants.

[ocr errors]

Selected for the American Penny Magazine.

[From Cochrane's Wanderings in Greece) AN ENGLISH COUNTRY SEAT NEAR

ATHENS. Our walk had now brought us near our friend, Mr. Bell's country seat, and we paid s him a visit. This gentleman is a British offi.

cer, who, “tir'd of war's alarms," has taken to tilling his land, the greater part of which adjoins Mount Pentelico. His house is spacious, and built with all the comforts of an English dwelling. The second story is surrounded by a balcony, from which, even in the hottest weather, one finds a breeze. Above this, he had constructed a staircase ascending to the roof, the view from which is magnificent. Mr. Bell has laid out a great deal of money

upon this spot. Around the house, he has ) cultivated a garden of about an acre and a

half, which is considered the best in Athens. Leading from the gate to his house, (a distance of one hundred yards,) he has made two thick plantations of rose trees, with beds of anemonies, and various other kinds of How. ers, which he brought from Malta. These were, at the present moment, nearly all in full bloom; and this, in addition to the odoriferous fragrance of clusters of orange and lemon trees, rendered the spot a most delightful and enchanting one. Though it was early in April, the pease (of the English kind,) were in the pod; and the potatoes were in a flourishing state. Of these latter, he always (he said,) had two crops in the year. His garden is watered by ihe Cephissus-a stream being laid on artificially from the river. There appeared to me to be only one thing wanting to complete this pleasant residence, and that was, a bath; for, in a hot climate, nothing can exceed the luxury of a cold bath, in a garden, in the morning before sunrise.

In the walk round the garden, Mr. Bell called my attention to the new wall he had built, after the style of the country, and spoke of the very small cost of it. It was of clay, about six feet high, and a foot and a half thick: and he described the way of constructing it as follows--boards are placed about a foot from each other, and a yard in length, and closed up at the two ends ; ihe soil is then dug

out of the ditch, mixed up with a little water Ş to make it of the consistence of soft clay, and om

[ocr errors]

HYDRO ELECTRICITY.-" The fact that electricity could be evolved by the act of steam was accidentally discovered about two years ago in England. An engineer was examining a boiler which was in action and which leaked a little, allowing a small jet of steam to escape through a crevice in the boiler and the binding which was around it. It happened that while one hand rested on the boiler he brought the other into this jet of steam, and was surprised at receiving a very sensible shock, accompanied with a slight cracking sound. This occurred as often as he placed his hands in the situation spoken of.” Electricity was the cause.

The steam, under high pressure, is allowed to escape through many small orifices, opposite to which are placed the points of the prime conductor, which, of course, receives the positive electricity; the negative may be collected from any part of the boiler; and it is this which is used in the experiments, the prime conductor being enveloped in a cloud of steam. The usual position of thirgs is therefore reversed, and ihe boiler is isolated by being supported upon glass legs.

The phenomena exhibited by this machine are most startling and wonderful. The spark is nearly two feet in length, and instead of being siraight as is the case with the usual apparatus, it darts in a zigzag direction like lightning, and with apparent spite and viru. lence which is almost fearful. By this machine Aurora Borealis is shewn to be undoubiedly electric in its origin. The fluid is generated with such rapidity that a ballery of Leyden jars, exposing one hundred and 3 fifty square feet of surface, can be charged with it. A bolt from this battery would kill an ox or shiver a rock a foot ani a half in die ameter.-Evening Gazette.

[ocr errors]

THE NEW YORK EXCHANGE. This is the great place of resor for com- s jacent parts of several of the streets which 3 mercial men in the city of New York; and cross it, were occupied by the houses of many

within it, (in fine weather, on the street of the principal inhabitants. Most of them, pavements around it,) a large and busy con however, have been long since rernoved, to course of men of business is to be seen every give place for larger buildings, pow crowded day in the year except the Sabbath and the with banks, insurance offices, exchange and few festival days on which there is a general brokers' offices, those of attornies, counsellors, suspension of mercantile transactions.

The New York Exchange is built entirely of The first bank ever formed in this city, the Quincy Sienite, three stories high, and a base “ Bank of New York,” stands at the corner of ment, covering a block, between four streets, and is 197 feet 7 inches on Wall-strent, 144

William street, just above the Exchange. It on one side, and 170 on the other, with a large began business, as a private company, soon dome above, 100 teet high. This covers the after the return of peace, and in 1791 was incircular exchange room, 95 feet high, and 80 coporated by the Legislature of the State, with in diameter. In front is a row of 12 Ionic columns, with 6 more at the door. The shafts

a capital stock of $950,000. are single stones, 32 feet 8 inches long, and The first insurance company of this city from 4 feet to 4 feet 4 inches in diameter at the base, those on the wings weighing about

was incorporated in 1798, under the title of 33 tons, and the others 35. Each cost about

the “ United Insuranee Company in the City $5,000. The building, among other things, of New York." contains Mr. Gilpin's News Room and Packet Office, several insurance and other offices.

The Chamber of Commerce hold their meet. The Telegraph is kept on the top to commu

ings in their rooms in the Exchange. This nicate with that on Staten Island. The great company was formed in 1768, by twenty mer. fire, in 1835, destroyed the former Exchange, chants, voluntarily associating, who patriotibut did not cross Wall-treet. It swept down to Old Slip.

cally combined to prevent the importation of

goods from Great Britian, during the restric. The late great fire also threatened the de

tions at that time laid on the colonies by the struction of the Exchange from the other side,

mother country. The House of Assembly but was happily arrested before it had ex

passed a vote of thanks to them for this protended beyond the eastern side of Broad-street.

ceeding, on the second of May of that year.Wall-street, on which the Exchange fronts, In 1770 a charter was granted to them by the owes its name to its having been the northern colonial Legislature, which was confirmed limit of the city for some time after its first April 13th, 1784, by the Legislature of the settlement. A wooden barrier was built State. along this line, for protection against the In The Board of Brokers hold a daily meeting diang. As the population increased, streets a noon, in the Exchange. A reading-room, were gradually opened beyond. After the

refectory, and numerous offices are found in revolutionary war, Wall.street, and the ad. s different parts of this building.

[merged small][ocr errors]


Or American Elk. The head of this animal is so peculiar in appearance, crowned with its broad, flat and palmated horns, that it is easy to recognize it after having seen it once. It is one of the largest animals found on the American continent, and made an important figure among the field sports of the savage hunters, in extensive districts of our country. It is mentioned by our early writers, and has a conspicuous place on their pages, as it had in the forest, or rather in the vallies and plains, which it made its favorite haunts.

They have now long disappeared in the old states, even in the most wild and secluded parts of our northern regions. About twentyfive years ago, as we were informed, while on a visit to the White Mountains of NewHampshire, a moose-deer suddenly made its appearance one day in the litile meadow about four miles above “the Notch," and was seen for a few moments seeding on the new grass, which there sprouts with great rapidity at the disappearance of snow. Hearing some noise, and being alarmed, it sprung away for the mountains, and meeting with an old horse-shed in the way, dashed through it, head foremost, tearing off the boards, and forcing a passage for itself, wiihout suffering any apparent injury, or being detained for a moment.

We copy the following description of this animal from Wilson's Sketches of Natural History of North America.

The elk or moose-deer (Cervus alces) is a gigantic animal, of a heavy and rather disa

greeable aspect. It is easily recognised by the great height of its limbs, the shortness of its neck, its lengthened head, projecting muzzle, and short upright mane. When full grown it measures above six feet in height. The fur is long, thick, and very coarse, of a hoary-brown color, varying according to age and the season of the year. The antlers are very broad and solid, plain on the inner edge, but armed externally with numerous sharp points or shoots, which sometimes amount to twenty-eight. A single antler has been known to weigh fifty-six pounds.

The neck of the elk is much shorter than its head, which gives it almost a deformed appearance, though such a formation is in fact rendered necessary by the great weight ? of its antlers, which could not be so easily supported upon a neck of greater lengih. Notwithstanding the length of its muzzle, it collects its food with difficulty from the ground, being obliged either greatly to spread out or to bend its limbs. From this results its propensity to browse upon the tender twigs and leaves of trees,-a niode of feeding which the keepers of the French menagerie found it very difficult to alter in the individual under their charge. The upper part of the mouth is prolonged almost in form of a small trunk, and furnished with muscles, which give it great flexibility of movement, and enable it rapidly to collect its food. In summer, during the prevalence of the gadlies in the Scan. dinavian peninsula, it plunges into marshes, where it often lies day and night, with nothing above water but its head. It is even said to browse upon the aquatic plants beneath the surface, making at the same time a loud blowing sound through its nostrils.

The American elks live in small truops in swampy places. Their gait, according 10 Dr. Harlan, is generally a trot, and they are less active than most other deer. The old indi. viduals lose their horns in January and Feb. ruary, and the young in April and May. In regard to their geographical distribution, they appear to have been formerly found as far south as the Ohio. At present they occur only in the more northern parts of the United States, and beyond the Great Lakes. Captain Franklin met with several during his last expedizion, feeding on willows at the mouth of ihe Mackenzie, in lat. 69o. Although they are said to form small herds in Canada, yet in the more northern paris they are very solitary, more iban one being seldom seen. The sense of hearing is remarkably acuie in this species, and it is described as the shyest and most wary of the deer-iribe. It is an inoffensive animal, unless when irritated by a wound, when its great strength renders it formidable, or during rutting-time, when it will kill a dog or a wolf by a single blow of its fore-foot. It is much sought after by the American In. diaps. both on account of the flesh, which is palatable, and ihe bides, with which they in part mannfacture their canoes, and several ariicles of dress. The grain of the flesh is?



[merged small][ocr errors]

THE WONDERS OF THE English Press. -A French feuilletonniste, astounded at the marvellous exhibition of The Times expresses, writes at Bonn, in the following strain :-“I begin to think that the five quarters of the globe will be wearied with the hornage rendered to the memory of Beethoven. England alone has despaiched 30 stenographists (short-hand writers.) The Times has established from Cologne to Ostend an express of steamers, in order to de. spatch its communications with greater celerity. The Eastern question itself did not excite so much interest, or cause such a hustle. The reason is that Beethoven is adored in England, and the English journalists (especially The Times,) spare no expense in endeavoring to satisfy the curiosity of their readers. In France, facts and news are sacrificed to the literary portion of the paper. In England, quite the contrary; an English paper especially plumes itself and rests its reputation upon being well informed upon every subject of news. As soon as any event is announced in any quarter of the world, no matter how far distant, a correspondent is immediately despatched to the scene of action, well qualified for the duty and well paid for his services. At his dis. posal are placed steam-packets, pigeons, estafettes, post-horses, and steam-engines, and fortunate is the journal which can manage to be beforehand with its rivals in the receipt of intelligence. The French newspapers are books, the English journals are really journals. The number of journal. ists that I have noticed at Bonn is prodigious: there are English, German, Belgian, Russian, Swedish, and American reporters. I cannot think without alarm of the immense mass of matter that they are now compiling, and the transformations which the truths must undergo in passing through so many pens !"

which he ran down for, and found it was made by four persons, viz. Dr. Dyer Smith, his wife, sister, and son, who were clinging to the bottom of a sail-boat, which they had been hanging to in the water upwards of an hour. The signal made was a shawl tied to an oar. The boat was towed into the river and saved by Captain M. Mr. Smith? and his family belong to Pawtucket, and were on a pleasure excursion to Block Island. They had considerable clothing in the boat, which was lost, and the ladies bonnets were washed from their heads. Mr. S., just before leaving home, put some air-pipes into his boat, which buoyed her up, otherwise, having several bars of pigiron for ballast, she would have sunk.

The Hon. C. J. Ingersoll is publishing as History of the War of 1812.

At the very opening of the work, in which the justice of the appeal to arms in 1812 is earnestly vindicated, we find these very noteworthy facts set down, concerning the popularity of our two great struggles with Great Britain:

“ The common, perhaps salutary impres. sion, that the Revolution was more unani mously supported, is a mistake. The majorities in Congress on all the essential principles in 1774 were extremely small. The Declaration of Independence was car: ried with difficulty, if not by accident. Most of the great measures and men, from 1774 to 1778, were decided in Congress by the vote of a single State, and that often by the vote of one man. The nation was more divided in the war of the Revolution than in that of 1812. There was no overt treason in the latter.- Selected.

EXPLOSION.-The Montreal Courier says that on the 28th ultimo, the steam mill at Yamaska was nearly destroyed by the bursting of the boiler. Such was the explosion ihat a piece of iron of about a ton weight, was car. ried upwards of a hundred and fifty feel in the air, togeiher with several others of great weight, timber, brick, wood, &c., and the carding mill was literally crushed down; five of the workmen were severely injured, two of whom are so scalded as to render their recovery very doubtful; another had his spine and right arm much injured by pieces of iron and wood, and a poor woman who happened to be near the mill at the time of the explosion, received a severe wound on the head. A fine horse was killed by the egplosion, be. ing at the time near the furnace.

[merged small][ocr errors]

The farmer who is ashamed of his frock or the mechanic of his apron, is himself a shame to his profession.

« PreviousContinue »