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The province of Mexico is comprehended in a valley, about ninety leagues in circumference, surrounded by steep and lofty mountains. This valley is almost entirely occupied by two lakes or lagoons, the largest of salt, the other of fresh water. These are separated by a range of hillocks situated in the middle of the valley, and as the salt lake rises and falls like the sea, its waters at the flood are poured into the fresh water lake, while the latter at ebb, discharges itself into the former.
Temixtitlan, or Mexico,* is situated on the salt lake, and communicates on each of its sides with the main land by means of four causeways, two lances in breadth, and not less than two leagues in length. This city is as large as Seville and Cordova; and the principal streets are very broad and strait.
Some of these streets, and most of the others are made partly on the land and partly on the canals which have a communication with each other, by means of bridges of sufficient breadth to admit ten horses abreast formed of long and large beams very strong, and well joined. On observing the situation of this city, and the facility it would give the Mexicans of shutting us up and destroying us by famine, without our being able to quit it, I had four brigantines built, each sufficiently large to carry three hundred men, and some horses, if necessary. Mexico contains
wbich serve for market places. One of these is much larger than the great square of Salamanca, and is surrounded by porticos. More than sixty thousand persons are daily employed here in selling and buying all kinds of merchandise, such as provisions, garments, gold and silver ornaments, lead, brass, copper, tin, precious stones, shells, feathers, stones both rough and hewn, timber unwrought and squared, bricks, clods of earth, &c. It likewise contains a house where all sorts of game, and birds of every description, are sold, as domestic fowls, partridges, quails, wild ducks, moor-hens, turtle-doves, pigeons, various kinds of small birds, parrots, eagles, falcons, sparrow-hawks, hares, rabbits, deer, and a species of small dog, which are eaten.
There is in Mexico a street wholly appropriated to botanists, where medicinal herbs, and every kind of plant that is known, are sold. There are also apothecaries, who sell ointments, plaisters, and medicines, ready prepared; barbers who cut the hair, or shave
* Bernal Diaz says, that Mexico is a city larger than Venice; and Humboldt, vol. 1. p. 11, that the name Mexico is of Indian origin, signifying in the Aztec language, the habitation of the God of War, called Mexitli, or Huitzilopochtli; but that before the year 1530, it was more commonly called Tenochtitlan than Mexico. Adorned with numerous teocallis, (pyramidal temples) says M. de Humboldt, surrounded with water and dikes, founded on islands covered with verdure, and receiving hourly in its streets, thousands of boats which vivified the lake; the ancient Tenochtitlan must have resembled some of the cities of Holland, China, or the Delta. Humboldt, vol. 2. VOL. IV.
the beard; cook-shops, where any thing to eat or drink may be had; and porters, who sell wood, coal, and clay, and various kinds of matting for beds, chairs, and carpets. Here may likewise be had, pulse, and fruit of all sorts, onions, leeks, garlick, cresses, artichokes, cherries, prunes, precisely like those of Spain; wax, honey, confectionary, a kind of wine made from plants and sugar, cotton thread of all hues, in skeins, which is sold in a place resembling that where sewing silk is sold in Grenada. Paints, as well ground, and of as fine colours as those of Spain, may likewise be bought here; dyed deer skins, with or without the hair; earthenware of every shape, varnished and painted: Turkey wheat in the grain, or bread made from it, which is preferable to that of the islands, or any that I have hitherto found on the continent; pastry made of birds, or fish, or a mixture of both, fresh and salt. ed fish, raw or cooked; eggs of all kinds of birds, and omelets ready prepared. In one word, all sorts of provisions and merchandise are sold here in great quantities. Every thing is conducted with the utmost regularity, a particular street being allotted to each description of merchandise, which is sold altogether by number
In the principal square is a building, where twelve judges, forming a kind of consular court, are continually employ. ed in settling the disputes that occur in the markets, and in punishing the delinquents, which is done on the spot. There are also commissioners who examine the measures, and break those that are false.
(To be continued.)
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
THE PICTURES AND STATUES IN THE LOUVRE.
The letters composing the name of Napoleon Bonaparte, by a different arrangement, may express the words pone rapta bona leno, or you rascal, lay down the stolen goods.” For many years the Corsican was permitted to slay and pillage, but the day of retribution at length arrived. Wellington and Blucher led the forces of Europe into the city of Paris; not, however, before many of the followers of the great buccaneer had escaped with their booty. But some of the “ stolen goods” remained. The splendid collection of pictures and statues, in the contemplation of which the idle Parisians forgot their miseries, was among the first objects which attracted the attention of the allies: and the British
duke who had rescued this fickle people from the most ferocious despotism that ever was permitted to scourge a nation, became the object of impertinent sarcasm, and the burden of every
idle tale that malice could invent, and mischief put into circulation. This spirit was more particularly manifested on the removal of the pictures and statues from the Louvre: for the preservation of which, the commissioners who negociated the surrender of Paris had endeavoured, in vain, to procure a stipulation. In Scott's Paris Revisited in 1815, we have a very interesting account of the manner in which these stolen goods were restored, and the conduct of the receivers is exhibited with great effect. The author states that prince Blucher bluntly repelled every solicitation on the part of the commissioners before the capitula. tion was signed, and that “ from the first moment of his entrance into Paris, he proceeded spiritedly, and independently, in removing from the Louvre all that was in it of Prussian property; and the blanks on the walls showed the daily progress of the French loss in this respect. The whole amount of it, however, would have been as nothing to the remainder of the collection, if the other members of the alliance could have been induced to forbear, and it was thought, by those who were interested in their retention, that the best way would be to keep very quiet as to the proceedings of Prussia, to affect to take no notice of them whatever, hoping that silence might cause the affair to die away after the first removals were over, and that either the dull indifference or the singular good nature of the states of Europe, might yet leave to Paris the darling boast of being the capital of the world as to fine art.
“For some time there was reason to suspect that this manœuvre would be successful. Indeed no Frenchman permitted himself to entertain the slightest doubt of the consciousness of the allies, when first masters of the French capital, that they were far too weak to repossess themselves of what was held in it as trophies of their defeat. You knew well, that we should have arisen as one man to destroy you, if you had dared to lay hands on what every inhabitant of France feels to be his honour, his pride, his delight, his existence.'
“ It certainly seemed, however, as if the allies at least hesitated very much, to mortify this offensive vanity. Every day new arrivals of strangers poured into Paris, all anxiety to gain a view of the Louvre before its collection was broken up; it was the first point to which all the British directed their steps every morning, in eager curiosity to know whether the business of removal had commenced. The towns and principalities, that had been plundered, were making sedulous exertions to influence the councils of the allies to determine on a general restoration; and several of the great powers leaned decidedly towards such a decision.'
“Before actual force was employed, representations were repeated to the French government, but the ministers of the king of France would neither promise due satisfaction, nor uphold a strenuous opposition.
They showed a sulky disregard of every application. A depatation from the Netherlands formally claimed the Dutch and Flemish pictures taken during the revolutionary wars from these countries; and this demand was conveyed through the duke of Wellington, as commander-in-chief of the Dutch and Belgian armies. About the same time, also, Austria determined that her Italian and German towns, which had been despoiled, should have their property replaced, and Canova, the anxious representative of Rome, after many fruitless appeals to Talleyrand, received assurances that he, too, should be furnished with an arined force sufficient to protect him in taking back to that venerable city, what lost its highest value in its removal from thence.
“Contradicting reports continued to prevailamong the crowds of strangers and natives as to the intentions of the allies, but on Saturday, the 23d of September, all doubt was removed. On going up to the door of the Louvre, I found a guard of 150 British riflemen drawn up outside. I asked one of the soldiers what they were there for?“ Why, they tell me, sir, that they mean to take away the pictures, was his reply. I walked in amongst the statues below. In one of the halls, I found two brown-complexioned, stout, good-natured looking women, the wives of English soldiers, examining, very curiously, the large reclining figure of the Tiber; one of them exclaimed with a laugh, see how the young devils run over his body! On going to the great stair-case, I saw the English guard hastily tramping up its magnificent ascent: a crowd of astounded French followed in their rear, and, from above, many of the visitors to the gallery of pictures were attempting to force their way past the ascending soldiers, catching an alarm from their sudden entrance. The alarm, however, was unfounded; but the spectacle that presented itself was very impressive. A British officer dropped his men in files along this magnificent gallery, until they extended, two and two, at small distances, from its entrance to its extremity. All the spectators were breathless, in eagerness to know what was to be done, but the soldiers stopped as machines, having no care beyond obedience to their orders.
“ The work of removal now commenced in good earnest: porters with barrows, and ladders, and tackles of ropes made their appearance. The collection of the Louvre might from that moment be considered as broken up for ever. The sublimity of its orderly aspect vanished: it took now the melancholy, confused, dissolute air of a large auction room after a day's sale. Before this, the visitors had walked down its profound length with a sense of respect on their minds, influencing them to preserve silence and decorum, as they contemplated the majestic pictures: but decency and quiet were dispelled when the signal was given for the break-up of the establishment. It seemed as if a nation had become ruined through improvidence, and was selling off.
The guarding of the Louvre was committed by turns to the British and Austrians, while this process lasted. The Prussians said that they had done their own business for themselves, and would not now incur odium for others. The workmen being incommoded by the crowds that now rushed to the Louvre, as the news spread of the destruction of its great collection, a military order came that no visitors should be admitted without permission from the foreign commandant of Paris. This direction was pretty strictly adhered to by the centinels as far as the exclusion of the French, but the words Je suis Anglais, were always sufficient to gain leave to pass from the Austrians: our own countymen were rather more strict, but, in general, foreigners could, with but little difficulty, procure admission. The Parisians stood in crowds around the
door,ʻlooking wistfully within it, as it occasionally opened to admit Germans, English, Russians, &c. into a palace of their capital from which they were excluded. I was frequently asked by French gentlemen, standing with ladies on their arms, and kept back from the door by the guards, to take them into their own Louvre, under my protection as an unknown foreigner! It was impossible not to feel for them in these remarkable circumstances of mortification and humiliation; and the agitation of the French public was now evidently excessive. Every Frenchman looked a walking volcano, ready to spit forth fire. Groups of the common people collected in the space before the Louvre, and a spokesman was generally seen, exercising the most violent gesticulations, sufficiently indicative of rage, and listened to by the others, with lively signs of sympathy with his passion. As the packages came out, they crowded round them, giving vent to torrents of pestes, diables, sacres, and other worse interjections.”
“Wherever an Englishman went in Paris at this time whether into a shop or a company, he was assailed with the exclamation — Ah! vos compatriots!'-—and the ladies had always some wonderful story to tell him, of an embarrassment or a mortification that had happened to his duke; of the evil designs of the prince regent, or the dreadful revenge that was preparing against the injuries of France. The great gallery of the Louvre presented every fresh day a more and more forlorn aspect; but it combined a number of interesting points of view, and for reflection. The gallery now seemed to be the abode of all the foreigners in the French capital:--We collected there, as a matter of course, every morning—but it was easy to distinguish the last comers from the rest. They entered the Louvre with steps of eager haste, and looks of anxious inquiry: they seemed to have scarcely stopped by the way—and to have made directly for the pictures on the instant of their reaching Paris. The first view of the stripped walls made their countenances sink under the disappointment, as to the great object of their journey. Crowds collected round the Transfiguration that picture wbich, according to the French account, destiny had always intended for the French nation: it was every one's wish to see it taken down, for the fame which this great work of Raphael had acquired, and its notoriety in the general knowledge, caused its departure to be regarded as the consummation of the destruction of the picture gallery of the Louvre. It was taken away among the last.
“ Students of all nations fixed themselves round the principal pictures, anxious to complete their copies before the workmen came to remove the originals. Many young French girls were seen among these, perched up on small scaffolds, and calmly pursuing their labours in the midst of the throng and bustle. When the French gallery was thoroughly cleared of the property of other nations, I reckoned the number of pictures which then remained to it—and found that the total left to the French nation, of the fifteen hundred paintings which constituted their magnificent collectionwas two hundred and seventy-four! The Italian division comprehended about eighty-five specimens; these were now dwindled to twelve: in this small number, however, there are some very exquisite pictures by Raphael, and other great masters. Their Titians are much reduced—but they keep the Entombment, as belonging to the king of France's old collection, which is one of the finest by that artist. A melancholy air of utter ruin mantled over the walls of this superb gallery: the floor was covered with empty frames; a Fren in the midst of his sorrow, had his joke, in saying “Well, we should not have left to them even these!' In walking down this exhausted place, I observed a person, wearing the insignia of the