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that it should need the powerful interference of ambassadors and ministers of state, pour aplanir tous les obstacles,' before two men of science, of the most respectable characters, could set foot on the soil of half a continent. This reproach, however, rests not with the Spanish government alone. M. de Humboldt, at a later period, as we have been informed, has been refused permission in Downing street, Westminster, to explore certain little provinces inhabited by eighty or a hundred millions of men, between cape Comorin and the mountains of Thibet. Had he, on his way thither, entered the sacred precincts of Mecca, he would have given great offence, at a distance of three or four thousand miles, to the Grand Turk ; and if he had approached, in pursuance of his original project of circumnavigating the world, within a hundred miles of the 51st degree of N. latitude, on the American coast, he would have heard of it to his cost, the next year, at St Petersburg. We ought to be much obliged to Capt. Symmes for providing us an escape into the interior; the outside of the earth has really gotten to be a small enclosure, which two or three prosperous gentlemen are fencing in, more to their own advantage than that of the human race, who before enjoyed a right of common in it. Unus Pellæo juveni non sufficit orbis is no reproach now to a legitimate sovereign. The Romans were somewhat delicate in their taste, and thought a circus for their races was not complete, till they had transported an obelisk from Thebes or Heliopolis, to set up in its centre. A modern

European state is not perfectly appointed, without the appendage of a colony; and a colony means from ten to a hundred millions of men, the other side of the world, whom you relieve from the troublesome task of making their own laws, digging their own mines, and enjoying the fruits of their own labors. We are ourselves sorely pent up between the mouth of the Penobscot and that of the Columbia.

Corunna was the port from which at this period the packets sailed every month for the Havana, and our travellers took passage on board the Pizarro. In the moment of departing, M. de H. among the letters which he wrote to his friends in Germany and France, despatched one, which had great influence on his future motions. He still remained faithful to his original project of attaching himself to the expedition of circumnavigation and discovery, under Baudin, to which we have al

ready alluded. At the moment of embarking at Corunna, he wrote to M. Baudin, that should the government persist that his expedition take the route by Cape Horn, he would find the means of joining him at Monte Video, Chili, or Lima, or wherever else in the Spanish colonies he might make a port. Consistently with this engagement, M. de Humboldt changed entirely the plan of his voyage when in 1801 it was announced in the American papers, that the French expedition had sailed from Havre, to circumnavigate the world from east to The travellers, on receiving this intelligence, passed from Cuba to the Main, and thence to the coasts of the South Sea-a journey of more than two thousand miles, which they would not otherwise have made, but for this error of the newspaper; nor was it till their arrival at Quito, that they learned, by a letter from M. Delambre, that Baudin's squadron had taken the route of the Cape of Good Hope.* The account


of this expedition was written by M. Peron, who bore so distinguished a part in it, and whose premature death, at the age of thirty-five, is justly lamented by M. de Humboldt. The 5th of June 1799, the Pizarro sailed and had the good fortune to escape the English frigates, which were blockading the port of Corunna, and which would have made of none effect the permission, which M. de Urquijo had given to Messrs de Humboldt and Bonpland, to climb the top of Chimborazo. In the first chapter of his Relation Historique, M. de Humboldt has given a list of the instruments he took with him-a part only of those, which he had prepared for the expedition, but of which a portion had remained at Marseilles :-and when the number, variety, and excellence of these are taken into consideration, with the personal qualities and the political advantages, which M. de Humboldt enjoyed, it is hazarding little to say, that never was a voyage of discovery undertaken with beter auspices. Never, we undertake to add, was one pursued with greater zeal and intelligence or richer fruits.

Thus far our account is derived principally from M. de Humboldt's own statement, in the introduction and first chapter of his voyage. We shall henceforward give a more condensed view of his progress, availing ourselves of that which is contained in a work of no sure authority, but which appears, in this article, to have availed itself of authentic materials.†

* Voyage i. 56.

+ Biographie des Hommes Vivants.

They arrived at Cumana in the month of July 1799. The rest of this year was employed in exploring the province of New Andalusia or Spanish Guiana. Having returned to Cumana, by the mission of the Caraïbes, they repaired to Cuba, where they passed three months, during which time M. de Humboldt made many important astronomical observations. In 1801, the travellers misled by the false account of the expedition of Baudin, departed for the coast of South America, on the Pacific, after having despatched a portion of their collections and manuscripts for Europe.

It was on occasion of this journey that they had the opportunity of inspecting the splendid collections in botany, made in New Granada by Mutis, whom M. de Humboldt pronounces, in his Essay on New Spain, one of the first botanists of the age. It is much to the credit of the Spanish government, that it has done so much for the encouragement of this study. 'Since the close of the reign of Charles III,' says our author, ‘the study of natural history has made great progress, not only in Mexico, but in all the Spanish colonies. No European government has been at greater expense than the Spanish, in the promotion of the study of botany. The three botanical expeditions to Peru, New Granada, and New Spain, of Ruiz and Pavon, Don Jose and Celestino Mutis, and Sesse and Mociño, have cost the state near two millions of francs.'* In September 1801, M. de Humboldt began his excursion to Quito, where he arrived January 1802, and remained some time to refresh himself from the fatigues of the journey. While at Quito, he projected an expedition to the heights of the Andes, in company with the son of the Marquis de SelvaAlègre, who had attached himself to the travellers. In the middle of the summer they started for the volcano of Tungaragno and the snowy region of Chimborazo. They traversed the ruins of Riobamba, and other places destroyed by an earthquake on the 7th of February 1797, in which more than 40,000 persons were in a moment swallowed up. On the 23d of June, after incredible fatigues, they reached the eastern side of Chimborazo, and fixed their instruments on a mass of porphyry, which projected over an immense space covered with perpetual snow. A chasm of five hundred feet prevented their farther progress. The density of the air was reduced one half; * Essai polit. sur la Nouvelle Espagne, L.ii. c. 7.

they experienced a piercing cold, respiration was difficult, the blood started from their eyes, their lips, and their gums, and they were at that moment at the highest point, which had ever been reached by man on the earth's surface. This height,

exceeding by 3485 feet that to which M. de la Condamine attained in 1745, was 19,500 feet above the level of the sea. From this elevation, they ascertained by a trigonometrical observation, that the summit of Chimborazo was still 2040 feet above them. This was supposed to be the greatest height on the surface of the earth, till that of the Himala mountains, on the borders of India, was computed at 26,800.* This extraordinary elevation cannot be considered however as yet fully ascertained.

M. de Humboldt now descended to Lima, and passed two or three months at this modern capital of Peru. While in this quarter he had an opportunity of observing at Callao, the transit of Mercury. His next expedition was to New Spain, where he arrived in 1803, and passed a whole year. The results of his observations in this region are contained in a separate work, viz: the 'Political Essay on New Spain,' in which political must be taken in as extensive a sense, as in the phrase, 'political economy.' The work is a mass of information, of facts in the most accurate statement and speculations in the most judicious spirit, and so puts to shame the loose and often flippant compilations of Raynal, that one is astonished at the credit which the latter has enjoyed in the same department. Circumstances not permitting the travellers to prosecute their original design of embarking at Acapulco, visiting the Philippine islands and the Asiatic Archipelago, and returning to Europe by the Persian gulf and Bagdad, they made arrangements for the directer route. In the month of July, they sailed from the Havana to Philadelphia, and passed a short time in the United States. On occasion of his visit to Washington, M. de Humboldt deposited in the department of state a copy of his map of Mexico.

During the long course of these excursions, and to protect the fruit of their researches from the hazards to which they were exposed, these travellers formed three collections of specimens in the various kingdoms of nature. One of these was despatched by the way of Spain and France, one by that of the * Asiatic Researches, xii.

United States and England, and one remained with Messrs de Humboldt and Bonpland. This last was the largest, and toward the close of their sojourn in America, consisted of a hortus siccus, of near 6000 equinoctial plants; of grains, shells, and insects; and, what had not yet been brought to Europe, geological suites of Chimborazo, of New Granada, and of the banks of the Amazon. After their excursion on the Orinoco, a part of these treasures were deposited at Cuba, to be taken up on the return of the travellers from Peru and Mexico. The rest of the collection followed them for five years, across the Andes and over New Spain, from the coasts of the Pacific to those of the Atlantic. The transportation of these objects and the care, which, they required, were the cause of embarrassments, says M. de Humboldt, of which it is impossible to form an idea, even after having traversed the least cultivated parts of Europe. Their progress was retarded by the threefold necessity of taking with them, in excursions of five or six months, trains of twelve, fifteen, and sometimes more than twenty mules of burden; of exchanging these animals every eight or ten days; and overseeing the Indians employed to guide so numerous a retinue.

Notwithstanding the precautions taken to despatch duplicates of their collections to Europe, very few of these had the good fortune to arrive safely; so that there is every reason to rejoice that their largest and most valuable collections were kept near their own persons. The greater part of what was successively sent, as occasion offered, fell into the hands of persons, who had no knowledge of its value. When a vessel is condemned in a colonial prize court,' says M. de Humboldt, 'boxes of dry plants and stones, instead of being sent to the address they may bear, commonly remain forgotten. Some of our collections, however, taken in the South Sea had a more fortunate lot, and by the generous activity of sir Joseph Bankes, were preserved to us in safety."* This is an evil, which has beset the learned intercourse of America with Europe from the first. Our readers will immediately recal the adventurous fortunes of the hieroglyphical history of the Mexicans, as related by Purchas; and the more disastrous fate of the collections of Boturini, which is imperfectly hinted at by Robertson. The great amount and variety of materials brought by these * Introduction au Voyage, ii. 2

New Series, No. 13.

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