Images de page
PDF
ePub

in Italy; now, on the contrary, we have the commendatory rep of the Manchester Cottou-Supply Association, which says “ihat new government are by earnest and judicious means preparing revive the cotton cultivation on an extensive scale in many parts Italy, where they have proved that it can be grown profitably. 1 whole peninsula has been surveyed, and all the land suitable cotton culture marked and measured, the population available its cultivation counted, the railways and roads required for its a veyance marked out, the obstacles to its cultivation inquired ir and means devised for overcoming them, and Commissioners pointed to test its cultivation, and to make inquiries into this con try about the cottons we require, their qualities and quantiti This is a summary of the opinions of men well versed, and dee interested, in the necessities of the cotton trade.

Of the immediate importance of the development of this prod the Italians are well aware, and if we consider the enormous c sumption of the cotton manufacturers throughout Europe, rep senting an annual amount of about four millions of bales, each i containing four hundred pounds weight, at a total value of m than fifty millions of pounds sterling, we shall not be astonished their eagerness to enter into the arena of competition. Previous 1780, all the cottons spun in Europe came from the Mediterran and the West Indies, and it is supposed that the Genoese were first who brought raw cotton into England. America, China, the East Indies, have since supplied the great desideratum, but prefer returning to the subject of Italy, that our readers may the present condition and future capacity of that country for res ing a lost cultivation.

The growth of Cotton is of very ancient date in Italy, and e before the year 1,000 it already formed, both in Sicily and in South Provinces of the Mainland, one of the chief products agriculture. During the wars of Napoleon the cultivation creased greatly. The Italian Cottons were eagerly sought for the markets of Europe, but with the restoration of peace, the cu vation of the plant became restricted to very narrow limits, rat in consequence of the deplorable economical and political conditi of those provinces, than from external competition. During th Napoleonic wars, and the prevalence of the Continental syste attempts were made to produce Cotton in all directions, even the Northern Provinces. But the real zone, not of the m vegetation, but of that where regular and abundant barvests or be obtained, lies below the forty third degree of North latitu and co...prises almost all that part of Italy towards the South, cluding, principally, a part of the Tuscan "Maremma, Sardinia, & Sicily, the Roman Campagna, and all the provinces of Nap containing a population of ten million inhabitants. It is a great g fortune for Italy that the two species, viz., the Gossypium H

brceum of Linnæus, and the Gossypium Siamense, of Tenore, which for centuries have been cultivated in the Italian soil, are marked by a superior qualiiy, and have been well nurtured in their production. Their quality equals any grown in the United States, with the exception of the well known long-fibred “Sea Island Cotton.” In addition to this, the peasantry being of an industrious and frugal race, they are well contented with the moderate earnings of a franc per diem.

The existence of these two important facts suffices to secure for Italy an immense superiority, because they virtually imply the posability of undertaking at once a very extended cultivation. If about a tenth part of the land included in the zone were employed for the purpose, Italy would produce as much in quantity as the United States sent to Europe before the outbreak of the war. It is certain that no sinall amount of capital will be required to improve the soil, but under the better ordered system of Piedmontese Pinares, and the security arising from the firm Government of Vietor Emmanuel, it is not unreasonable to expect that capital will seek this new channel of investment. The Government have done wisely not to overlook the importance of preparing, cleansing, and picking the cotton, since, from the absence of this careful attention, much of the difficulty and prejudice has arisen amongst English artizans in the working of our own Indian productions. A series f experiments are being made on this point, and the results will e widely published for the use of the cultivators. No better beans can be devised than are already being adopted in the contraction of railways, especially along the Adriatic and Ionian Seas, od prompt attention is at the same time directed to the condition the present, and re-opening of ancient harbours. With all these olightened efforts which are now in progress, we may hope that Te long a new day will dawn for Italy; that to her freedom, loquired by the blood of her sons, so valiantly shed upon the hany battlefields, may be added wide and extended commercial llations with other countries, and that ultimate, if not immediate elief

, may be afforded to the downcast thousands of our own lear native land.

E. T. B.

228

THE BEAUTIFUL IN NATURE AND LIFE,

BY PETER BAYNE A.M.

ALL thinkers have recognized a correspondence between the mat rial universe and the human mind. Man, the microcosm and ti mirror of the world, the highest product among visible thing of the world's Maker, is associated, by his physical being, with th whole organic and inorganic creation, and illustrates and reflect in his spiritual being, those laws in accordance with which t Maker works. It results that the analogy of nature, accurate read, bas for him a significance not confined to the imaginati faculty or the play of poetic fancy, but recognisable by reason, al invested with authority. Trace any great fact, law, or princip in nature, and you may proceed, with vigilant calmness inde and caution, yet with scientific decision, to find its analogue a its application in the world of mind. We shall endeavour to sta one of those grand regulative facts or laws of nature and attem to discover its authoritative application in the world of humanity.

Nature, we see at a glance, works upon principles of utility a practicality, attaining her ends in the most direct way, and by means which lie readiest to her hand. She has ribbed the wo with rock, veined it with iron and coal, having regard to streng and use, and leaving the flowers upon the surface. The black drenched with rain, the clouds which often roof the landscape fri sunrise to sunset with dismal grey, the opaque, mud-coloured stre sweeping off copse and garden in its straight course to the s show that nature has other purposes besides that of producing pre pictures. In one word, there is a common aspect, and this prevailing aspect, of nature; and to say that all things are all times indifferently beautiful, is to betray an ignorance of wl beauty is.

But, though the world is not built on beauty, it would be diffic to say from what part or from what phase of nature beauty is tota absent. The day, through all those hours when sweat is dropp from the brow of man, and the stern reality of toil has to be m may be drear and colourless : but in the morning there was sprinkling of rose-leaves on the clouds,-a glimpse of hope and p mise to begin with ; and at eve there is a fushing of the az as id pity, and a joy for eye and soul in the golden gates which h closed on the sun. Wherever nature has an opportunity to w leisurely, her finger-touch is beauty. In her most hidden reces you will find her at this, her favourite occupation, as if it were peculiar and secret delight. She decks her caverns with gem a crystal, she silvers the rock with lichen where bird never fle

1

the grave.

she puts marvels of hue and form into the mosses which carpet the Sea. She is subtler still. Even with her forces of destruction she associates the Beautiful. The lightning-flash scars the mountain side, opening a crude and unsightly gash ; but as it gleamed along the edges of the clouds, bringing out their jagged or streaming outline in silver flame, was it not beautiful ? Look now at the frag. ments which have been torn from the hill, and lie around like the relics of a rifled tomb. The winter frosts weave over them their delicate tracery, the rain of summer smooths their angles, the mimute lichens paint them with heath-brown and pearl-grey, harmonising them again with the hill-side, and if you look into the interstices, you will see the tuft of grass, or the sorel, or the blue bell, making the ruin of a few years ago a new vantage-ground for beauty

. Nature is always ready to cover up under a coverlet of beauty the traces of human sorrow or of sin." The

grass

is

greener for the red rain of battle, and the daisy and snowdrop spring above

The smoke of the battle-field and the volcano wreathes in beauty

, showing exquisite effects of light and shade, and tender passages of colour; the flames of a burning city, while oppressing the

spectator with their destructive power, impose irresistibly upon bis imagination by the wild beauty of their form, and the splendour of their colour. °It is a fact, to be asserted with all the confidence and all the definiteness of science, that nature rejoices in beauty. Think of the stars : we know not what is transacted in those distant porlds, nothing of the labour, the sorrow, the joy, not even whether in organic creation is there also the concomitant of inorganic existence; we have from them but one message, and it is a message of beauty. They reveal themselves in light. There is nothing but that. Out of immensity, through the shadow, pierce a thousand pleams of such beauty that men have deemed it melodious, and have

up

and listened for the music of the spheres. This

, then, is the counterpart to that practicality, that utilising faculty, which exists in nature. Beauty appears to be a finer ssence breathing, in and around the common forms of nature, a pirit which inspires and irradiates the world. This is the second ide of one great fact. Let us look into the matter somewhat more The seed is cast into the black earth. It lies there as in a tomb, piring no sign of beauty. But it dies into new life, and with the inst glimpse of green above the ground we have a commencement | beauty in form, in hue, or in both. It grows; leaf after leaf akes graceful station around the stem; and ever, as the plant waxes a size, as it nears its state of perfection, it becomes more beautibl . Its attainment of the highest perfection of which it is capaHe is signalized by the exhibition of its highest beauty. The lainan being is born. In early years it has traces of beauty, but in

Vucked

losely.

relation to the developed form,-in proportion and symmetry limbs,-the child is a monster. The maiden, if healthful ai virtuous, grows in beauty every year, until perfect symmetry form and blush-crimson mantling on the cheek, and mild, fi light, beaming from the eye, show that the woman has attain the prime of physical life and the summit of physical beaut Turn now again to the flower. We saw that its point of perfection w its moment of greatest beauty. But the rose has bloomed og the sun has filled it with his light, until“ beam appeared to bloo and flower to burn,” and, so far as this plant is concerned, -apa from its subservience to the production of other plants,-nature h reached her highest effect. The vigour of life, therefore, sted backwards from the rose-petals; and, mark, as the stream of li withdraws, the beauty, which was the lamp of life's perfection, follo it. The flower fades, the leaf crumples ; each petal loses its tend delicacy of form, its magical freshness of hue; it falls to the groun and, as death gains upon it, it more and more declines from ti beautiful. So with the man and the woman, although, in the case, the simplicity of the fact is not so easily traced, because of t| blending, or struggling, of moral and intellectual beauty or ugline with that which is purely physical. The bloom of perfect woma hood lasts but a few years : the maiden is transcendently love only leng enough to assure all poets and painters that the fema form, in its time of perfection, is nature's highest achievement the realm of physical beauty. As she passes her prime, as tl afternoon and ebø of life draw on, the subtle beauty of proportione limb and faultless complexion gives place to stooping gait af wrinkled forehead. It may be that a spiritual beauty dawns on the more deeply on the countenance as years increase ; it may that motion takes a finer modulation from gentleness of heart at sweetness of wisdom than it had derived from the graceful buo ancy of youth ; but it remains true that the moment when th creature attained physical perfection was the moment when pbysiq beauty was in consummate flower, and that every step graveward every diminution of physical life, every admonitory touch of cornir death, is, as such, a decay in beauty.

The reader will please to view these instances as merely sugges ing a law which he can follow into a thousand examples both in th organic and inorganic world. And the result of the inquiry, a resul possessing the strictest scientific validity, will be to ascertain tha through all the provinces of nature, beauty is the mark of perfet life, the sign of completion, the proof, in Platonic language, tha the thing has filled, so far as circumstances admit, its idea ; a that absence of beauty, ugliness, is ever the mark of destruction o of decay, the proof that nature is getting rid of the thing, and pre paring

to transmute it into new forms by the agency of death

[ocr errors]
« PrécédentContinuer »