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gives Mr. Squier one of Dr. Johnson's virtues, and proves him to be a good hater, the book is full of valuable information upon every point connected with Nicaragua. Its ancient and modern inhabitants, its strange antiquities, its present and possible state of natural produce, personal adventure, and wise and witty remarks, are all most happily blended. With regard to the interoceanic canal, Mr. Squier gives us one curious piece of information. Towards the end of the second volume, he names the various parties, companies, and individuals, who have at different times issued proposals for a similar project; and, among others, who should appear but Le neveu de mon oncle,' who, in April, 1846, being then a prisoner at Ham, made a contract with M. Marcoleta, Nicaraguan Chargé d'Affaires to Belgium. The canal was to be called Canal Napoleon de Nicaragua. L. N. Bonaparte published a pamphlet on the subject, with his initials on the title-page. The attempt proved abortive; why, we are not told. If, as some one says, there are books to buy, and books to borrow, then we should say to the readers of this article, who are really interested in the subject of Central America, and its probable occupation at no distant time by our cousins from the United States-borrow what books you will; but buy Mr. Squier's. It is really a magazine of information on the subject; and, unlike many magazines of information, it is pleasant, agreeable reading, and the work of a gentleman. Good feeling is shown on every occasion, except when the English are concerned; and then he is implacable. Yet his hatred is more theoretical than practical; he acts with kindness towards the family of one of our naval officers; he forgets their nation, and remembers only their need of the help which he affords them. As we turn over the pages of this book, in regret that our space will not allow us to dwell upon them, we catch glimpses of numerous strange adventures, amusing customs, and wonderful sights, and almost envy those to whom remains the pleasure of reading it for the first time.
The last work on our list is entitled Scenes and Adventures in Central America; fictions founded on facts; and very striking fictions they are; although in them the German taste of thirty or forty years ago so far predominates, that they are full of strange and startling horrors. We want the repose of an intermediate narrative between each hair-breadth escape and wondrous accident. But perhaps this is accounted for by their only being translated extracts from larger works. As far as the translation goes, it is very well done. No one could tell that they had not been written originally in English. Their author declares himself to be a certain Charles Sealsfield, now resident in Switzer
SCENES AND ADVENTURES IN CENTRAL AMERICA.
land, who for twenty-five years past has sent forth anonymous tales and fictions written in German, although there is some reason to suppose that the author is English. Öthers again deny this, and say that he is a North American; whichever country claims him as her son, it is, at any rate, curious that his mastery over a foreign language is so great as to enable him in his writings to pass for a native. His intimate knowledge of American manners, feelings, and customs, and excellent use of English words and phrases, have led some to think that the books were originally written in English, in which language he did once publish a part of a work. One thing is clear: he coincides with Mr. Squier in his opinion of us as a people; and considers the United States the finest country in the world. That his style is vivid and picturesque to the highest degree, rivetting us to his stories with a creeping horror, (we cannot choose but read) one short extract from Mr. Hardman's translation will suffice to prove. We take a passage from 'The Cypress Swamp,' the scene of which is laid in Louisiana.
'We had proceeded but a very short distance into the swamp before we found the use of our torches. The huge trunks of the cypresstrees, which stood four or five yards asunder, shot up to a height of fifty feet, entirely free from branches, which then, however, spread out at right angles to the stem, making the trees appear like gigantic umbrellas, and covering the whole morass with an impenetrable roof, through which not even a sunbeam could find a passage. On looking behind us, we saw the daylight at the entrance of the swamp as at the mouth of a vast cavern. The farther we went the thicker became the air; and at last the effluvia became so stifling and pestilential, that the torches burnt pale and dim, and more than once threatened to go Our guide went on conversing with himself, throwing his torch-light on each log or tree-trunk.
"Keep close to me,' said he....' Hollo, Nathan! what's come to you? said he to himself. 'Don't you know a sixteen foot alligator from a tree?' 'He had stretched out his foot, but fortunately, before setting it down, he poked what he took for a log with his gun. The supposed block of wood gave way a little, and the old man, throwing himself back, was within an ace of pushing me into the swamp.... He gave a spring, and alighted in safety on the stepping place.
Have a care, man,' cried I; 'there is water there. I see it glisten.'
"Pooh! water!' what you call water is snakes.'
'I hesitated, and a shudder came over me. The leap, as regarded distance, was a trifling one; but it was over an almost bottomless chasm, full of the foulest mud, on which the mocassin snakes, the deadliest of American reptiles, were swarming.'
'Come on.'-pp. 18, 19, 20.
ART. III.-Letters on the Laws of Man's Nature and Development. By HENRY GEORGE ATKINSON, F.G.S., and HARRIET MARTINEAU. London: Chapman.
THIS is a book written by two authors; but of the publication the lady assumes the entire responsibility. In the year 1849, Miss Martineau asked Mr. Atkinson to permit her to inquire of him, in some sort of sequence, about his researches into the nature and position of the Human Being: and when the replies were received, Miss Martineau deemed it a duty to give them publicity. The work, however, is merely expository: 'to establish by evidence and argument the facts and conclusions' exhibited, it makes no pretence. We propose therefore to produce an expository review; our aim being, to give the reader some account of this remarkable production, not to enter into the discussion of the theories it propounds.
Both of our authors seem to have somewhat unusual idiosyncrasies, which it would be exceedingly impertinent to drag before the public eye, without their explicit warrant; but as Miss Martineau and her friend have described these peculiarities, we presume it will not wound their delicacy if we repeat the description; or if it do, that these earnest philanthropists wish to be thus exposed to the general gaze, for the sake of the very clear light which their idiosyncrasies throw on the important subject of 'man's nature and development.'
Mr. Atkinson is in the medical profession. As far as we remember, he does not inform us where he was educated; but his examination of the human frame, living and dead, has been singularly prolific of discoveries, leading him along pathways previously deemed inaccessible, and illuminating depths heretofore to man covered with impenetrable gloom: so much so, that he thoroughly understands the miracles and prophecies of our Lord, and indeed can imitate the former by his own skill, and the latter through his patients. Christ's case seems to me as clear as daylight.' It can excite no surprise that one so endowed should differ much from ordinary mortals. Accordingly, he informs Miss Martineau that after he has been mesmerizing in cold weather, the shaking of his flannel waistcoat will throw out sparks by which he can see the time by his watch. The effect of ether upon him is a complete sense of physical enjoyment, and this dissolving away till he has no idea but of mindexistence, and perfect content, for' he adds, 'I seemed or thought
NEW LIGHTS—ATKINSON DISCOVERIES.
(myself) to be all in all.' After this gentleman had been dining one day at his club, without taking wine, he seemed to lose all dependence on the body. My mind,' he says, 'seemed to be in the distance, and what I saw to fill space, and yet I to 'occupy no space.' He affirms that, like Newton, he is accustomed to let his mind rest on a subject, and wait for the ideas to come, and in this way he has often tried the effects of indirect association in the mind by speaking out his thoughts as they occurred and suggested each other wholly without guidance; and, he adds, I have been astonished at the happy sequences that would occur, and the excellence and originality of the matter.'
After this introduction, the reader will not be disinclined to accompany Mr. Atkinson in the detail of some of the surprising incidents he has met with. His observation has been as much out of the common way as his experience. He had once a very remarkable patient who could easily read any writing when her eyes were closed, reading it from the top of her head or from any part of her body; and on one occasion she remained in the sleep-waking state for three days and nights, (p. 102.) also a friend blind from birth, a lady of about forty years of age, who sees in her sleep (p. 104): and who, could she have her eyesight given her, could not only say that red was different from green, but which was red and which was green.' On one occasion this practitioner was demesmerizing a patient, and the influence seemed to pass into a lady standing close by: the patient woke, but the other ran screaming away like one possessed, and he thought of the devils cast into the herd of swine!
'I myself, while sitting up with a lady who, from extreme ill health, could be held alive only by being kept continually in a mesmeric state, on two occasions, in the quiet of the night, have known her recognise the death, at the moment of its occurring, of persons at a distance, whose immediate danger was unknown. On one occasion, it was a clear sight of the fact and circumstances, though occurring a hundred miles away. This was when the dying person was a relation. But in the other instance there was no relationship. The person was very ill, like herself, and it was a case with which she had great sympathy. The intimation of the death appeared in the form of a black cat coming over her bed, which to her was the associated form of evil and death.'-p. 198.
One mesmeric patient went into six distinct states of memory and consciousness, and she recognised Mr. Atkinson afresh and in a different manner in each (p. 144): another patient would always see Mr. Atkinson's face shining with light like phosphorus, and would notice how dark or bright he looked, according to the state of health or force he was in: and somnambules, he informs
ús, ' often see through into themselves as if they were all on fire, "and perceive light emanating from the top of the head, or from any faculty in action.' And even these marvels are outdone by the power which somnambules discover when they read a person's entire history from a touch, or a bit of hair, or even from such an object as a bit of leather touched by that person. (p. 266.)
Miss Martineau has long been held in honour by the public for many works of great interest and usefulness which have flowed from her pen. It seems to be her fate to become associated with metaphysical physicians. During her youth she was a devoted student of Hartley, who was not only of some celebrity for his philosophical works, but in his character of physician helped the female empiric, Mrs. Stephens, to obtain the grant of 5000l. from parliament; and long after the period of youth was passed, Miss Martineau's faith in Hartley continued. Her docility as a pupil of Mr. Atkinson is quite charming. And if the readiness with which she now discerns what the vulgar cannot perceive, be astonishingly great, it is scarcely more so than her former inability to see what common people could not help seeing. When about seven years of age the young lady was taken to Tynemouth in a passion of delight, because she was to see the sea; but when placed on the bank to the foot of which its waters were rolling up, she could not see it at all. Those of our readers who have been to the mouth of the Tyne, will remember the sea as being there ever restless and stretching out into boundless distance; nevertheless Harriet Martineau, while the other children were full of joy at the sight, was unable to perceive that there was a sea, nor did she succeed in seeing it till she had been led down the bank, that the rippling waters might flow to her very feet. Two years afterwards the comet of 1811 appeared. Night after night Miss Martineau was taken up to a long range of windows, with the other members of the family, to see it; but never could she see it. No effort was wanting on her part, and parents, brothers, and sisters, used to point and say, 'Why, there! why, it is as large as a saucer; you might as well say you cannot see the moon! I could not help it; I never saw it, and have not got over it yet. The only thing I can suppose is, that I must have been looking for something wholly different, and that no straining of the eyes avails if the mind be occupied with another image.'
The lady who has indulged us with these reminiscences of her early life, has long been troubled with deafness, and the infirmity has increased with the lapse of years. Once, strange to say, she has communicated this ailment by putting her ear-trumpet into