« PoprzedniaDalej »
ness of his troops to have been praiseworthy; but assuring the French soldiers that their disasters were owing merely to the errors of their leaders, and speaking very confidently about chasing the allies across the Ebro, and celebrating Napoleon's approaching birth-day in Vittoria.
In the mean while, the difficulties of the British general were not slight. "The situation of Lord Wellington," says the author of Annals of the Peninsular Campaigns, "to whom the progress of the campaign had hitherto been little else than one continued march of triumph, was become one of considerable hazard. Having to cover the siege of two fortresses, with a wide interval between, he was under the necessity of extending his line in a dangerous degree. The positions occupied by his divisions were indeed strong; yet, by the impassable nature of the country, they were cut off from all direct communication with each other, and the enemy enjoyed the advantage of being able to direct the whole volume of his force against a single corps, while the other divisions, separated by almost impenetrable barriers, could lend no assistance.
The distribution of the allied army was made in the manner best calculated to effect the various objects of guarding the passes of the Pyrenees, covering the siege of St. Sebastian's, and the blockade of Pamplona, and opposing the efforts which the enemy might make for the relief of these fortresses.
The first object of Marshal Soult was to relieve the fortress of Pamplona, which possessed fewer means of resistance than St. Sebastian's. With this view he collected a large body of troops at St. Jean de Pied-de-Port, and on the morning of the 25th of July, marched, with 35,000 men, against General Byng's post at Roncesvalles. Sir Lowry Cole moved up to his support, and these officers maintained their post throughout the day; but the enemy turned it in the afternoon, and Sir Lowry deemed it necessary to withdraw. General Drouet led 13,000 men against the right of Sir Rowland Hill's position in the passes of Maya. Two videttes had been stationed in advance, to give notice of the enemy's approach; but the heat of the day had overcome them, and they had fallen asleep. The French were thus enabled to advance unseen, and were down upon the piquet almost before an alarm could be given. The attack was sustained by the British with their usual steadiness; but the disparity of numbers was too great for the contest to last long, and they were compelled slowly to retire. Reinforcements were brought up, but the necessity of guarding the other passes prevented the moving up of a sufficient number of troops at once to repulse the enemy; the fight was unequal, and the British were gradually forced back, till about six in the evening, when they were joined by the brigade of Sir Edward Barnes; the lost ground was then regained, and by nine o'clock, the French were driven from the pass.
that fortress; and, on the morning of the 28th, he commenced strenuous efforts to dislodge the allies. He first attacked their left; but his troops were soon driven back with immense loss. The next attempt was made against the centre. A strong column marched up the hill on which it was posted, and dislodging a Portuguese battalion, obtained a momentary success; but, General Ross advancing with the Fusileers, the enemy were speedily driven down again.
When Soult began these attacks on the right and centre of the British line, the Marquess of Wellington was at its opposite extremity, near St. Sebastian's. The news reached him, that the enemy were in motion on the night of the 25th, and he adopted immediate measures for concentrating the army towards the threatened quarter, still providing for the siege of St. Sebastian's and the blockade of Pamplona. The right wing was already in full retreat, when they received an order from the Marquess to halt; and as they were taking up their ground, he himself arrived, and in person directed the occupation of an advantageous position, completely covering Pamplona. Soult had now penetrated to within a few miles of
The battle then became general along the whole front of the heights occupied by the fourth division under Sir Lowry Cole, and Soult made repeated attempts to establish himself on the line of the allies; but all his efforts were unavailing. The contest was severe, and the bravery of our troops was never more conspicuously shown; and "the gallant fourth division," said Lord Wellington in his despatch, "which has so frequently been distinguished in the army, surpassed their former conduct." Every regiment in it charged with the bayonet; and some no less than four several times. Convinced at length of the hopelessness of his exertions, Soult drew off his troops.
On the following day both armies remained quiet. But Lord Wellington's arrangements were, in the mean while, fully completed; Sir Rowland Hill had fallen back, and a communication was firmly established between his corps and the main body to his right, by the intervention of the Earl of Dalhousie's division. "This," says Colonel Jones, “was a deathblow to Marshal Soult's system of manoeuvres, and even placed him in an awkward dilemma, should he attempt to retire without a further effort;" but the Marshal was not a man to be easily daunted, and he set to work to accomplish his object by a different system. The position which he occupied was one by nature extremely strong, and little liable to be assaulted if moderately guarded; he resolved, therefore, to march the bulk of his troops to join General Drouet, and thus endeavour to turn the British left.
On the morning of the 30th his troops were observed moving in great numbers towards Drouet's position. Lord Wellington instantly perceived the intent of this manoeuvre, and determined on attacking the formidable position in his front, that his right wing might not be detained inactive by an inferior force. His arrangements were completely successful, and the enemy was compelled to abandon a position which the British general declared to be "one of the strongest, and most difficult of access, that he had yet seen occupied by troops."
In the mean while, reinforcements had been sent to Sir Rowland Hill, who was vigorously attacked in front, while a large body of troops were manoeuvring upon his flank, and endeavouring to turn his left. Sir Rowland repulsed every attack, and maintained his position till Drouet was absolutely round his flank, when he leisurely retired to a more favourable range of heights close in rear, and bade defiance to the enemy's utmost efforts to dislodge him.
In the night the French withdrew from their position, and on the morrow were discovered to be in full retreat. A pursuit was instantly commenced; several smart engagements took place, and many prisoners were captured. On the 1st of August, the enemy had withdrawn into France; and the allies were again masters of the passes through the mountains, occupying nearly the same positions as before the attack of the 25th of July. Such was the termination of the great conflicts which are called the Battles of the Pyrenees; and highly creditable it was to the British general and his army.
THE NORTH WIND, THE SUN, AND THE TRAVELLER. A FABLE.
'Tis said a warm dispute begun
"Boast not ;" replied the Orb of Day, "But show your strength some other way; I would not willingly contend
With one I wish to think my friend;
But if the trial must begin,
Decide on terms, and try to win."
"Well," said the North Wind, "look beneath,
A Traveller plods along the heath, A cloak about his body cast;
Now ere that weary waste be passed,
The North Wind raved both long and loud,
In vain! around each active limb
With swelling cheeks and heated brain,
Peeping from his pavilion blue,
Our Traveller, among the rest,
THE YAK OF THIBET.
The following account of a valuable animal, very little known in Europe, is taken from a new volume of the Oriental Annual, ably edited by the Rev. HOBART CAUNTER. The engraving is from one of the beautiful plates, after Mr. Daniell's drawings, with which the volume is illustrated.
BEFORE We quitted Serinagur, we visited the Rajah's stable, in which was a beautiful animal of the bovine species, called a yak. It is the domestic bull of Thibet. I do not believe that a single specimen of this creature now exists in Europe. In Thibet it is found both in the wild and tame state, though chiefly in the latter. As the wealth of the Tartar hordes consists principally in their cattle, they have large herds. These are their most valuable property, for they live almost entirely upon the milk. They sell the hair of the yak to great advantage, as it is in much request.
This animal is about five feet high, and has much The the form and bulk of a common English bull. chief point of dissimilarity between the yak and every other animal of this genus, consists in its sides being covered with long glossy hair which extends over the whole body, except the head and legs, and hangs from the flanks quite down to the hocks. The head is not so long as that of the English bull, and the ears are smaller. The horns are of greater length, tapering from the skull to the extremities, and forming a horizontal arch; they gradually incline towards each other until near the end, when they make a sudden curve upwards. The forehead seems to protrude considerably, but this is probably owing to a thick tuft of curly hair which traverses it, partly shading the eyes, and giving rather a heavy expression to the animal's features. The eyes are large, though not bright, and project boldly from the sockets, without, however, conveying the disagreeable impression which a projecting eye-ball is apt to create; as the hair of the forehead neutralizes the effect.
THE art of spreading rumours may be compared to the art of pin-making. There is usually some truth, which I call the wire; as this passes from hand to hand, one gives it a polish, another a point, others make and put on the head, and at last the pin is completed REV. J. NEWTON. |
The yak has all the genuine marks of high breeding and unmixed blood. The nostrils are small but open, the nose is also small and delicately shaped, presenting likewise that roundness and smoothness of surface so common to animals of a pure breed. The neck is short but arched; and, as in the Brahminee bull, peculiar to Hindostan, there is a high hump between the shoulders: this is coated with a profusion of short curly hair, extremely soft, and of a texture very different from that which covers the other parts of the body. This soft fur, for such it really is, overspreads the shoulders, and continues, though in less profusion, along the back, extending to the root of the tail, which is composed of an immense tuft of long bright hair, that almost sweeps the ground, and adds greatly to the elegance of this singularly beautiful animal. It is far more copious than the tail of the largest English cart-horse; not so long, indeed, but much thicker, while the hair is finer and more glossy, entirely enveloping the tail, and is as great an ornament to this fine creature, as a luxuriant head of hair to a handsome woman. In some of these bulls it is perfectly white, every other part of the animal being quite black, except the soft fur which covers the shoulders, hump, and spine. This order is frequently reversed, though occasionally, the colours vary considerably; but black with white, as seen in the accompanying engraving, is the most prevailing order, and I think the most striking.
The legs of the yak are very short, while the body appears disproportionably large, from the profusion of hair with which it is overpread. On some of these animals, this is so long as to trail upon the ground which gives an ungainly appearance to the creature's movements, as, when walking slowly, it exhibits the
creeping motion of a large reptile. The soft fur upon the hump and shoulders is manufactured by the natives of Thibet, into a fine but strong cloth, and if submitted to the test of European skill, might no doubt be made to produce a very superior fabric. This animal is not generally fierce, but if intruded upon by strangers, it sometimes manifests very formidable symptoms of impatience. It has generally a sullen appearance, though that, I think, is greatly caused by the projecting forehead, which tends to give a stern aspect to the countenance. It, however, certainly expresses no signs of gratification when approached by those with whom it is most familiar, discovering none of those indications of pleasure so generally evinced by other animals under similar circumstances. When excited it is not easily appeased, and is exceedingly tenacious of injury, always showing great fierceness whenever any one approaches who has chanced to provoke it. The cow is called dhe, of which the wandering Tartars have large numbers. These Tartars, like the modern Bedouins, and those nomadic races of more primitive times which nearly overspread the East, dwell chiefly under tents in the hills or in the deserts, wander from place to place, and have no means of subsistence but those supplied by their flocks and herds.
The yak, which they pasture upon the tops of the mountains and in the deep glens of Thibet, affords them at once warm clothing and wholesome food. They use it also as a beast of burden, and it answers the purpose of the horse in transporting them over those bleak and rugged mountains among which they dwell, as it is very strong and sure-footed. It scarcely ever falls, and when this does happen on steep declivities, where it is so generally employed, the accident is almost invariably fatal. Instances of such casualties, however, are rare.
The herdsmen commonly convert the hides into a loose outer garment that covers the whole of their bodies, hanging down to the knees, and it proves a sufficient protection against the lowest temperature of the cold and desolate region which they inhabit. It
furnishes at once a cloak by day and a bed by night. The long hair, when carefully taken from the skin, is skilfully manufactured into a sort of tent-cloth, which is remarkably strong, and quite impervious to the wet. They convert the same material into ropes, which are much stronger than those composed of hemp, and resist more successfully the influence of climate and of friction. The yak's tail is an indispensable appendage to the costume of an eastern court; it is used throughout India, and when not to be obtained in sufficient quantities to answer the demand, is very successfully imitated by those cunning artificers, who are equalled only by the Chinese in these and similar deceptions. The tails are converted into chowries, a sort of whisk employed to keep off the flies and musquitoes from the heads of those who can afford such a luxury. The dhe, or cow of the yak, yields a large quantity of milk, and this is so rich as to produce better butter than that of any other of the bovine species in Asia.
We were much gratified at having the opportunity of beholding so fine a creature of its kind, as this animal is seldom seen below the mountains of Thibet; no one, I believe, having yet thought it worth while to introduce the breed into Bengal, and most probably the experiment would fail if attempted.
Serinagur, situated in the snowy regions of Thibet, where this animal was seen, is described as a place looking like a white drapery hanging from the skies over the blue tops of the distant mountains. It seemed perfectly detached from the hills, above which it rose to an elevation that appeared to blend it with the heavens, whilst its surface of unsullied whiteness, catching the rays of the sun, reached the eye through the distance, softened into a purity of effect that carried the imagination to a world unknown to man, of which it seemed to form a part.
The inhabitants appear to be a mixed race, exhibiting in their features, the blended lineaments of highlander, lowlander, Patan, Tartar, Chinese, and Hindoo; and often showing the especial peculiarities of those several races. They are a mild and inoffensive people,
LONDON: Published by JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND; and sold by all Booksellers.
UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.
PRICE ONE PENNY.
ON account of its great use to mankind, the family of the Palms stands in the first rank among the productions of the vegetable kingdom, and ought, more than most others, to excite the interest of naturalists; but, unfortunately, it is one of those which have been least noticed by travellers. Whether the difficulty of finding the different species at the same time in blossom, and bearing fruit, is the cause of this want of information, or whether it arises from the great height of the Palms preventing their easy examination, still the result is, that, in most collections, the fruit is preserved without a knowledge of the blossom, or the flowers without the fruit.
The Palms are peculiar to the warmer regions of the globe, and the name Palma has been given to these productions of the vegetable world, from the supposed resemblance of their broad leaves to the human hand, palma being the Latin word for a hand. On the same account, the Date, which is the fruit of a species of Palm, is called dactylus, a finger, not so much from its form, as from the mode in which it grows in clusters, spreading out like the fingers of the hand.
These trees are of the utmost importance to the inhabitants of the tropical regions; the fruit and sap providing them with food, the fibrous part of their structure with clothing, and the leaves forming the greatest part of their slightly-constructed huts. After enumerating some of the uses to which they are applied, a French naturalist says, "besides these principal advantages, they bestow many secondary benefits, which deserve notice; the leaves of some kinds are formed into fans, parasols, and hats; others again are written on, in the same manner as we write on paper, with a metal style; artificial flowers are formed out of the pith of some; the light and supple rattancane is the slender shoot of another species, and solid and useful goblets are made from the shell of the cocoa-nut, which the most refined luxury does not despise."
The Palm is a most graceful plant, and, in the figurative language of Scripture its name is frequently employed to express beauty and elegance. The growth of the Palm is extremely singular; for, although some species attain the height of the largest forest-trees, their structure differs materially from that of a tree, properly so called. The leaves of the young plant arise immediately from the surface of the ground, and it is not until after the lapse of several years, that there is any appearance of stem, and this stem, when once formed, never increases in size, the growth of the plant being always upward, so that the stem itself is formed by the former growth of the green portions of the Palm; and as we can judge the age of a tree by the circles visible in a section of its trunk, so the number of years a Palm has existed, is known by the scars left by the falling off of its annual circle of leaves,
The engraving represents a wild Palm-tree, near Mount Sinai, and is copied from Laborde's splendid work on Arabia Petræa: speaking of this interesting object, he says, "What appeared to me most worthy of notice was a Palm-tree in its natural state, which we found above Ouadi Seleh. The Palm-tree is always represented with its summit pointed, its leaves bent back and spreading over its head, from whence gracefully hang dates as bright as coral; and we never imagine that all this elegance is produced by art, and that nature, less refined, has only attended to its preservation. Before us we saw the Palm-tree as it had grown for many a year, forming a rampart of its perishing leaves, and again coming to life, as it were, in the midst of its wreck. Neglected by the Arab of the desert, who considers all attempts at cultivation beneath his dignity, the Palm-tree, at times, forms impenetrable forests; more frequently, however, it is found isolated near a fountain, as we see in the engraving. It presents itself to the thirsty him the spot where water is to be found to quench traveller like a friendly lighthouse, pointing out to his thirst, and a charitable shade in which to repose."
LION HUNT IN SOUTH AMERICA. AT Villavicencio I was highly entertained in hunting a Pagi, or Chilian Lion. On our arrival, the people were preparing to destroy this enemy to their cattle: several dogs were collected from the neighbouring farms, and some of the young men of the surrounding country were in hopes of taking him alive with their lassos, and of afterwards baiting him in the village for the diversion of the ladies; whilst others were desirous of signalizing the prowess of their favourite dogs. All of them were determined to kill this ravenous brute, which had caused much damage, particularly among their horses.
At four o'clock we left the village, more than twenty in number, each leading a dog, and having a chosen lasso on his arm, ready to throw at a moment's warning. About a mile from the village we separated, by different by-roads, into five or six parties, the men taking the dogs on their horses, to prevent the possibility of the scent being discovered by the lion. All noise was avoided; even the smoking of cigars was dispensed with, lest the smell should alarm their prey, and they should lose their sport. The party which I joined consisted of five individuals. After riding about four miles, we arrived at a small rivulet, where a young colt was tied to a tree, having been taken there for that purpose. We then retired about three hundred yards, and the colt being alone began to neigh, which had the desired effect; for before sunset, one of our party, placed in advance, let go his dog and whistled, at which signal three other dogs were loosed, and ran towards the place where the colt had been left. We immediately followed, and soon found the lion with his back against a tree, defending himself against his adversaries.
On our appearance he seemed inclined to make a start, and attempt an escape. The lassos were immediately in motion, when four more dogs came up, and shortly afterwards their masters, who, hearing the noise, had ridden to the spot as fast as the woods would permit them. The poor brute seemed now to fear the increase of his enemies. However, he maintained his post, and killed three or four dogs, at which the owner of one of them became so enraged, that he threw his lasso round the neck of the lion, when the dogs, supposing the onset more secure, sprang on him, and he was soon overpowered, but so dreadfully wounded and torn, that it became neces