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me with illiberality, sir. I deny the charge. I hate innovation, but I love improvement. I am an enemy to the corruption of government, but I defend its influence. I dread reform, but I dread it only when it is intemperate. I consider the liberty of the press as the great palladium of the constitution; but at the same time, I hold the licentiousness of the press in the greatest abhorrence. Nobody is more conscious than I am of the splendid abilities of the honourable mover, but I tell him at once, his scheme is too good to be practicable. It savours of Utopia. It looks well in theory, but it won't do in practice. It will not do, I repeat, sir, in practice; and so the advocates of the measure will find, if, unfortunately, it should find its way through Parliament. (Cheers.) The source of that corruption to which the honourable member alludes is in the minds of the people; so rank and extensive is that corruption, that no political reform can have any effect in removing it. Instead of reforming others-instead of reforming the state, the constitution, and everything that is most excellent, let each man reform himself! let him look at home, he will find there enough to do, without looking abroad, and aiming at what is out of his power. (Loud cheers.) And now, sir, as it is frequently the custom in this house to end with a quotation, and as the gentleman who preceded me in the debate has anticipated me in my favourite quotation of the 'Strong pull and the long pull,' I shall end with the memorable words of the assembled Barons- Nolumus leges Angliæ mutari.”
MR. WATERTON AND HIS WANDERINGS.*
MR. WATERTON is a Roman Catholic gentleman of Yorkshire, of good fortune, who, instead of passing his life at balls and assemblies, has preferred living with Indians and monkeys in the forests of Guiana. He appears in early life to have been seized with an unconquerable aversion to Piccadilly, and to that train of meteorological questions and answers, which forms the great staple of po
*Wanderings in South America, the North-West of the United States, and the Antilles, in the years 1812, 1816, 1820, and 1824; with Original Instructions for the perfect Preservation of Birds, &c., for Cabinets of Natural History. By Charles Waterton, Esq. London. Mawman. 4to. 1825 Ed. Rev., Feb., 1826.
lite English conversation.
From a dislike to the regular form of
a journal, he throws his travels into detached pieces, which he, rather affectedly, calls Wanderings-and of which we shall proceed to give some account.
His first Wandering was in the year 1812, through the wilds of Demerara and Essequibo, a part of ci-devant Dutch Guiana, in South America. The sun exhausted him by day, the musquitoes bit him by night: but on went Mr. Charles Waterton!
The first thing which strikes us in this extraordinary chronicle, is the genuine zeal and inexhaustible delight with which all the barbarous countries he visits are described. He seems to love the forests, the tigers, and the apes;-to be rejoiced that he is the only man there; that he has left his species far away; and is at last in the midst of his blessed baboons! He writes with a considerable degree of force and vigour; and contrives to infuse into his reader that admiration of the great works, and undisturbed scenes of nature, which animates his style, and has influenced his life and practice. There is something, too, to be highly respected and praised in the conduct of a country-gentleman, who, instead of exhausting life in the chase, has dedicated a considerable portion of it to the pursuit of knowledge. There are so many temptations to complete idleness in the life of a country-gentleman, so many examples of it, and so much loss to the community from it, that every exception from the practice is deserving of great praise. Some country-gentlemen must remain to do the business of their counties; but, in general, there are many more than are wanted; and, generally speaking also, they are a class who should be stimulated to greater exertions. Sir Joseph Banks, a squire of large fortune in Lincolnshire, might have given up his existence to double-barrelled guns and persecutions of poachers—and all the benefits derived from his wealth, industry, and personal exertion in the cause of science, would have been lost to the community.
Mr. Waterton complains, that the trees of Guiana are not more than six yards in circumference—a magnitude in trees which it is not easy for a Scotch imagination to reach. Among these, preeminent in height rises the mora- upon whose top branches, when naked by age, or dried by accident, is perched the toucan, too hige for the gun of the fowler;-around this are the green heart, famous for hardness; the tough hackea; the ducalabali, surpassing
mahogany; the ebony and letter-wood, exceeding the most beautiful woods of the Old World; the locust-tree, yielding copal; and the hayawa and olou trees, furnishing sweet-smelling resin. Upon the top of the mora grows the fig-tree. The bush-rope joins tree and tree, so as to render the forest impervious, as, descending from on high, it takes root as soon as its extremity touches the ground, and appears like shrouds and stays supporting the mainmast of a line-of-battle ship.
Demerara yields to no country in the world in her birds. The mud is flaming with the scarlet curlew. At sunset, the pelicans return from the sea to the courada trees. Among the flowers are the humming-birds. The columbine, gallinaceous, and passerine tribes people the fruit-trees. At the close of day, the vampires, or winged bats, suck the blood of the traveller, and cool him by the flap of their wings. Nor has nature forgotten to amuse herself here in the composition of snakes:- the camoudi has been killed from thirty to forty feet long; he does not act by venom, but by size and convolution. The Spaniards affirm that he grows to the length of eighty feet, and that he will swallow a bull; but Spaniards love the superlative. There is a whipsnake of a beautiful green. The labarri snake of a dirty brown, who kills you in a few minutes. Every lovely colour under heaven is lavished upon the counachouchi, the most venomous of reptiles, and known by name of the bush-master. Man and beast, says Mr. Waterton, fly before him, and allow him to pursue an undisputed path. . . . .
One of the strange and fanciful objects of Mr. Waterton's journey was, to obtain a better knowledge of the composition and nature of the Wourali poison, the ingredient with which the Indians poison their arrows. In the wilds of Essequibo, far away from any European settlements, there is a tribe of Indians known by the name of Macoushi. The Wourali poison is used by all the South American savages, betwixt the Amazon and the Oroonoque; but the Macoushi Indians manufacture it with the greatest skill, and of the greatest strength. A vine grows in the forest called Wourali; and from this vine, together with a good deal of nonsense and absurdity, the poison is prepared. When a native of Macoushia goes in quest of feathered game, he seldom carries his bow and arrows. It is the blow-pipe he then uses. The reed grows to an amazing length, as the part the Indians use is from 10 to 11
THE WOURALI POISON.
feet long, and no tapering can be perceived, one end being as thick as another; nor is there the slightest appearance of a knot or joint. The end which is applied to the mouth is tied round with a small silk grass cord. The arrow is from nine to ten inches long; it is made out of the leaf of a palm-tree, and pointed as sharp as a needle: about an inch of the pointed end is poisoned: the other end is burnt to make it still harder; and wild cotton is put round it for an inch and a half. The quiver holds from 500 to 600 arrows, is from 12 to 14 inches long, and in shape like a dice-box. With a quiver of these poisoned arrows over his shoulder, and his blow-pipe in his hand, the Indian stalks into the forest in quest of his feathered game.
Being a Wourali poison fancier, Mr. Waterton has recorded several instances of the power of his favourite drug. A sloth poisoned by it went gently to sleep, and died! a large ox, weighing one thousand pounds, was shot with three arrows; the poison took effect in four minutes, and in twenty-five minutes he was dead. The death seems to be very gentle; and resembles more a quiet apoplexy, brought on by hearing a long story, than and other kind of death. If an Indian happen to be wounded with one of these arrows, he considers it as certain death. We have reason to congratulate ourselves, that our method of terminating disputes is by sword and pistol, and not by these medicated pins; which, we presume, will become the weapons of gentlemen in the new republics of South America.
The second journey of Mr. Waterton, in the year 1816, was to Pernambuco, in the southern hemisphere, on the coast of Brazil, and from thence he proceeds to Cayenne. His plan was to have ascended the Amazon from Para, and got into the Rio Negro, and from thence to have returned toward the source of the Essequibo, in order to examine the Crystal Mountains, and to look once more for Lake Parima, or the White Sea; but on arriving at Cayenne, he found that to beat up the Amazon would be long and tedious; he left Cayenne, therefore in an American ship for Paramaribo, went through the interior to Coryntin, stopped a few days at New Amsterdam, and proceeded to Demerara.
"Leave behind you," he says to the traveller, "your high-seasoned dishes, your wines, and your delicacies; carry nothing but what is necessary for your own comfort, and the object in view, and depend upon the skill of an
Indian, or your own, for fish and game. A sheet, about twelve feet long, ten wide, painted, and with loop-holes on each side, will be of great service: in a few minutes you can suspend it betwixt two trees in the shape of a roof. Under this, in your hammock, you may defy the pelting shower, and sleep heedless of the dews of night. A hat, a shirt, and a light pair of trowsers, will be all the raiment you require. Custom will soon teach you to tread lightly and barefoot on the little inequalities of the ground and show you how to pass on, unwounded amid the mantling briars.”
Snakes are certainly an annoyance; but the snake, though highspirited, is not quarrelsome; he considers his fangs to be given for defence, and not for annoyance, and never inflicts a wound but to defend existence. If you tread upon him, he puts you to death for your clumsiness, merely because he does not understand what your clumsiness means; and certainly a snake, who feels fourteen or fifteen stone stamping upon his tail, has little time for reflection, and may be allowed to be poisonous and peevish. American tigers generally run away-from which several respectable gentlemen in Parliament inferred, in the American war, that American soldiers would run away also!
The description of the birds is very animated and interesting; but how far does the gentle reader imagine the campanero may be heard, whose size is that of a jay? Perhaps 300 yards. Poor innocent, ignorant reader! unconscious of what nature has done in the forests of Cayenne, and measuring the force of tropical intonation by the sounds of a Scotch duck! The campanero may be heard three miles!-this single little bird being more powerful than the belfry of a cathedral, ringing for a new dean-just appointed on account of shabby politics, small understanding, and good family!
"The fifth species is the celebrated campanero of the Spaniards, called dara by the Indians, and bell-bird by the English. He is about the size of the jay. His plumage is white as snow. On his forehead rises a spiral tube nearly three inches long. It is jet black, dotted all over with small white feathers. It has a communication with the palate, and when filled with air, looks like a spire; when empty, it becomes pendulous. His note is loud and clear, like the sound of a bell, and may be heard at the distance of three miles. In the midst of these extensive wilds, generally on the dried top of an aged mora, almost out of gun reach, you will see the campanero. No sound or song from any of the winged inhabitants of the forest, not even the clearly pronounced Whip-poor-Will,' from the goatsucker, causes such astonishment as the toll of the campanero.
"With many of the feathered race he pays the common tribute of a morn