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Mr. Westall is preparing Illustrations to Mr. Scott's new poem, the Lady of the Lake. Speedily will be published, Practical Observations on Spasms of the Stomach, and other morbid Affections of that Organ; with Remarks on the Use of the Bile, in promoting Digestion. By George Rees, M. D. Member of the Royal College of Physicians, Physician to the London Dispensary, &c. . A new edition of Ben Johnson's Works, with additional notes and illustrations, by Mr. William Gifford, is in the press. Mr. Molineaux, author of an Introduction to Byrom's Shorthand, &c. is preparing for the press a select Orthographical Vo. cabulary; containing such words as have been frequently mis-spelt by various wri. ters: those words, of which the orthography is either uncertain or questionable; and such words as are not of very common application, and somewhat difficult to spell correctly: it will also include a numerous class of words not inserted in the latest editions of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary. Dr. Stock’s Life of Dr. Beddoes is in the press. It will comprise an analytical account of the doctor's numerous writings, both published and unpublished. At press, a chronological account of the commerce of Fngland from the restoration to 1810, distinguishing the years of war. By George Chalmers, esq. F. R. S. S. A. on a board to hang up, or in a case for the pocket 3s. 6d. John Turner, esq. of the Middle Tem. ple, is preparing a new work on Conveyancing; to consist of a collection of modern precedents, with notes and illustrations, and a practical introduction on the language and structure of conveyances. Shortly will be published in quarto, Philosophical Essays, by Dugald Stewart, F. R. S. E. D. Professor of Moral Philosopy in the university of Edinburgh. Dr. Nathan Drake has in the press, in four octavo volumes, the Gleaner; consisting of essays from scarce or neglected periodical papers, with an introduction and notes. Mr. Dallas is going to reprint Perceval, Aubrey, and the Morlands, in a compressed, uniform manner: in six volumes: to which he means to add another volume containing Poems, Dramas, and Moral Essays. Preparing for publication in two volumes 8vo. with a Portait of the Author: The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan (commonly called the Persian Prince) in Asia, Africa and Europe, during the years 1799, 1800, 1801 and 1802. Written by Himself in the Persian Language, and translated by Charles Stewart, Esq. . . "
FOR OCTOBER, 1810.
FROM THE EDINBURGH REVIEW,
Tableau Physique des Regions Equatoriales, &c. Par Alexandre de Humboldt 4to. Paris, 1807, et seqq.
NO name stands higher than that of Humboldt, among the lovers of geographical and physical science. In exploring the tropical regions of the new world, this accomplished traveller has displayed a resolution and perseverance that have never been surpassed by any former adventurer. Very few individuals, indeed, were better qualified than M. de Humboldt, for executing that arduous undertaking. Zealous, active, vigorous; imbued with liberal knowledge; skilled in general physicks, and particularly attached to chymistry, and its kindred branches; possessing ample means of indulging his taste, while thirsting after discoveries, and fired with emulation and the generous passion of fame—he has directed his inquiries into every department of nature and of society. The mass of curious information which he procured in those distant travels, and the superb collections which he was enabled to make relative to different objects of science, far exceed any thing that has heretofore been achieved by the exertions of an individual. Much interesting light is thus cast on the history of our
Vol. iv. 2 E
species; the limits of accurate geography are extended; and the stores of botany, zoology, and mineralogy are enriched with immense additions. These invaluable acquisitions, classed under distinct heads, are to be brought out successively, in a style of execution, unrivalled for elegance and splendour. But the impatience of the publick outruns the tardy pace of the printer and engraver. Some portions, indeed, of the composition have, at intervals, appeared; but they are still unfinished and disjointed; nor is the narrative of the voyage, which will occupy five quarto volumes, even yet begun. Three years have been already spent in publishing what is now before us; and perhaps as many more will elapse before the whole shall be completed. In this stage of its progress, therefore, we trust that we shall gratify the curiosity of our readers, by sketching out a picture of the general results. We shall afterwards have occasion to consider the details, and to subject the facts and observations to a critical examination. M. de Humboldt is a Prussian gentleman of good estate, who has devoted his time and his fortune to the pursuits of a liberal curiosity. Prompted by such motives, at the age of twenty-one, he began to travel over Europe; and in the space of six years he traversed Germany, and visited Poland, France, Switzerland, part of England, Italy, Hungary, and Spain. Returning to Paris in 1798, he was invited by the directors of the national museum, to accompany captain Baudin in a voyage round the world. M. Bonpland, of Rochelle, an excellent naturalist, and bred at the museum, was named his associate in the expedition. But, unfortunately, the whole scheme was abandoned, in consequence of the renewal of hostilities with Austria. Disappointed in this plan, Humboldt resumed the project which he had entertained for several years back, of visiting, as a philosopher, the countries of the east. In that view, he was anxious to join the celebrated expedition which had sailed to Egypt; whence he thought he could proceed into Arabia, and, crossing the Persian Gulph, land on the English settlements on the shores of India. But the situation of France, after the battle of the Nile, was becoming every day more critical. The Barbary powers now waged war against her, and the navigation of the Mediterranean was rendered extremely hazardous for any of her vessels. Humboldt waited two months at Marseilles, in the prospect of obtaining a passage on board a Swedish frigate, which was expected to convey the consul Skioldebrand to Algiers. His patience, however, was at length exhausted; and he proceeded to Spain, hoping to find there a safe and ready communication with the coast of Barbary. At the same time, he carried with him a considerable collection of philosophical and astronomical instruments, which he had purchased in England and brance. But a brighter prospect opened.
After residing some months at Ma
drid, Humboldt was, in the most li
beral and flattering terms, permit
ted by the court of Spain to visither
colonies in the New World. He im
mediately invited from Paris his
friend Bonpland, whose profound
skill in botany and zoology was e
qualled only by his indefatigable zeal;
and, without a moment’s delay, these
eager travellers, in June, 1799, embarked at Corunna in a Spanish ship;
and having touched at the Canary Isles, where they climbed up to view the crater of the peake Teydé, they pursued their prosperous voyage,and arrived in the month of July at the port of Cumana, in South America. The rest of the year was spentin visiting the coast of Paria, the Indian missions of Chaymas, and the provinces of New Andalusia, New Barcelona, Venezuela, and Spanish Guyana, Leaving the Caraccas in January, 1800, Humboldt and Bonpland visit. ed the charming vallies of Aragua, and the great lake of Valencia, or Tacarigua, which, in its general appearance, resembles that of Geneva, but has its banks clothed with all the luxuriant vegetation of a tropical climate. In Cura, one of its islets, he found, cultivated, a species of solanum, which yields wholesome and pleasant fruit. From Porto Cabello, our travellers, directing their course southwards, crossed on horseback the vast plains of Calaboza, Apure, and Orenocco. They next traversed the famous Llanos, an immense succession of deserts, stretchiug near two hundred miles on a dead level, absolutely destitute of springs or rivulets, and only covered with a tall rank herbage. Over this desolate and pathless expanse they journeyed for whole days, without meeting a single shrub, or a solitary cabin to refresh the eye; while they suffered, besides, extremely from the intense confined heat, which rose to 110 or 115 degrees of Fahrenheit's scale. At St. Fernando, on the river Apure, they began a most fa. tiguing navigation of more than three thousand miles, which they performed in canoes; and took the chart of the country through which they passed, by help of chronometers, and observations of Jupiter's satelites or lunar distances. Sailing down the Apure, they next entered the Orenocco, at the seventh degree of north latitude; and, remounting this noble stream, they passed the cataracts of Mapures and Atures, and reached the conflux of the Guaviari. Thence they ascended the small rivers Atabapo, Juamini and Temi. From the mission of Sarita, they passed over land to the sources of the famous Rio-Negro. About thirty Indians were employed to carry the canoes, through lofty forests, to the creek of Pemichin. Following the current, our travellers now shot into the RioNegro on which they descended to Fort St. Charles. From this point again, they remounted, by the Cassiquiari, to the river Orenocco, and thence to the volcano of Daida and the mission of Esmeralda. But the Guaica, an independent tribe of Indians, of a very fair complexion and most diminutive stature, yet extremely warlike, prevented Humboldt and his companion from reaching the sources of the Orenocco. From Esmeralda, our travellers descended on the swelling stream to its mouth. This navigation down the Orenocco was the most painful and oppressive. They suffered from want of provisions through the day, and were drenched with torrents of rain during the night. Forced to seek shelter, or a miserable subsistence among the woods, they were incessantly tormented by musquitoes and countless varieties of noxious and loathsome insects. Nor yet could they venture to procure relief, by bathing their parched bodies in the flood, since voracious crabs and crocodiles watched them on every side. After escaping such complicated evils, and the dangerous effects of the exhalations fomented under a burning sun,
Humboldt and Bonpland returned to Cumana, by the plains of Cari, and the mission of the Caraïbs, a race of men quite distinct from any other, and, perhaps, next to the Patagonians, the largest and stoutest in the known world. A few months’ repose was necessary to recruit their enfeebled strength. Our travellers next proceeded to the island of Cuba, and had nearly suffered shipwreck in their passage. There they remained three months; during which interval, Humboldt settled the longitude of Havannah, and assisted the planters in constructing stoves for the preparation of their sugars. It was his intention, at this time, to go to Vera Cruz, and thence by Mexico and Acapulco to the Philippine islands, in the view of returning, if possible, by Bombay and Aleppo, to Constantinople. But false reports with respect to the sailing of captain Baudin induced him again to change his route. To guard against the risk of accidents, Humboldt now transmitted his collections and manuscripts directly to Europe. In March 1801, he hired a small vessel, with which he sailed from Batabano for Carthagena; but, owing to continued calms and adverse currents, the voyage proved uncommonly tedious, and he arrived too late in the season for crossing the isthmus of Panama, and reaching Guyaquil or Lima, where he had expected to meet with the French circumnavigator. This scheme was therefore abandoned; and Humboldt being very desirous of becoming acquainted with Mutis, a celebrated American naturalist, and of examining his superb collection, resolved to proceed to his residence in the interiour of the country. Our travellers plunged into the woods of Turbago, and tracing up the banks of the fine river Magdalena, reached the village of Honda; and, pursuing their journey through tall forests of oak, melastoma and cinchona, they arrived at Santa-Fé de Bogota, the capital of the viceroyalty of New Granada, situate on a beautiful plain atan elevation of 8,700 English feet above the level of the sea. Every thing here was calculated to gratify the taste, and transport the imagination. The mines of Mariquita, St. Ana and Tipaquira, lay in the neighbourhood; the natural bridge of Scononza, composed of three fragments of rock, disrupted by an earthquake, formed a striking object; and the tremendous cataract of the Tequendama, which falls from a height of 600 feet, presented one of the grandest spectacles in nature. In September 1801, though the rainy season was not yet over, Humboldt and Bonpland began their journey to Quito. They crossed the Andes of Quindiu, a chain of mountains partly covered with snow, yet bearing in profusion the storax, the waxpalm, the passion-flower, and the bamboo. For the space of thirteen days, they were obliged to travel on foot over dreary, trackless swamps, Arrived at Carthago, in the fine vale of Cauca, they ascended along the banks of the Choco, meeting in their progress with rounded masses of basalt, greenstone and fossil wood. From Buga, they passed to Popayan, the capital of the province and seat of a bishoprick, planted at the foot of a porphyritick hill, near the volcanos of Puracé and Sotara, in a most charming and picturesque situation, and enjoying a delightful temperature from 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit's scale. Thence they advanced through the dangerous defiles of Almaguer (avoiding, however, the pestilent vale of Patia) to the town of Pasto, built on a beautiful plain, beside a volcano whose summit is at times covered with snow. Crossing the Rio Guaitara, by a bridge thrown over a ravine which is more than half a mile in perpendicular height, and forms altogether one of the wildest and most magnificent sites in the Andes, they journeyed over the level, cultivated
country of Pastos, fertile in European grain, though elevated 9,300 feet above the sea, and reached the village of Tulcan, not far from a castle of the Incas, beside the rock of Rumichaca. From this point, they now descended; and having crossed the vale of Chota, which, though only two miles wide, is nearly a mile in depth, and again the vale of Cuallabamba, half a mile deep, and of a suffocating heat, our travellers arrived, in 1802, at the celebrated city of Quito. Humboldt could at length repose from his fatigues, and enjoy the pleasures of hospitality and refinement, surrounded by the grandest productions of nature. He remained about eight months in the kingdom of Quito, making different excursions to the neighbouring volcanos, and the loftiest summits of the Andes. After three several attempts, he twice succeeded, at imminent hazard of his life, in reaching the peak of the crater of Pichincha, carrying with him the requisite philosophical instruments to the height of 15,940 feet above the level of the sea. He next visited the porphyritick mountain Antisana, from which rises a crater, in the midst of perpetual snow, at an elevation of 19, 150 feet above the sea. The mouth of the volcano of Cotopaxi was found to be only 260 feet lowCit. It was now resolved to attempt a still more arduous journey. Humboldt, Bonpland, and Carlos Montutar, son of the Marquis of Salvaalegre, a youth, whose ardent love of science had led him to accompany them since their first arrival at Quito, set out, near midsummmer, for the volcano of Tunguragua, and the Nevado del Chimborazo. They traversed the frightful ruins of Riobomba and other villages, destroyed, on the 7th of February 1797, by an earthquake, which in a few moments swallowed up more than forty thousand persons. Passing a noble group