« AnteriorContinuar »
On subsequent inquiries, through a circuitous channel, unnecessary to be detailed here at length, on the part of the manufacturer of the cheese, it was found, that as the supplies of anotto had been defective and of inferior quality, recourse had been had to the expedient of colouring the commodity with vermilion. Even this admixture could not be consi. dered deleterious. But on further application being made to the druggist who sold the article, the answer was, that the vermilion had been mixed with a portion of red lead; and the deception was held to be perfectly innocent, as frequently practised on the supposition, that the vermilion would be used only as a pigment for house-painting. Thus the druggist sold his vermilion in the regular way of trade, adulterated with red lead to increase his profit, without any suspicion of the use to which it would be applied; and the purchaser who adulterated the anotto, presuming that the vermilion was genuine, had no hesitation in heightening the colour of his spurious anotto with so harmless an adjunct. Thus, through the circuitous and diversified operations of commerce, a portion of deadly poison may find admission into the necessaries of life, in a way which can attach no criminality to the parties through whose hands it has suç. cessively passed.''
We must now draw our extracts to a close; but we can assure our readers, that we have not yet introduced them to one tythe of the poisonous articles in common use, detected by Mr. Accum. We shall give the titles of a few to satisfy the curious:-Poisonous confectionary, poisonous pickles, poisonous cayenne pepper, poisonous custards, poisonous anchovy sauce, poisonous lozenges, poisonous lemon acid, poisonous mushrooms, poisonous kethup, and poisonous soda water! Read this, and wonder how you live!'
Art. III.-Remarks on Kotzebue's Journey into Persia.
[The following extract from the Gentleman's Magazine is given to show the estimation in which this work is held. Messrs M. Carey and Son, have announced an American edition.]
'This interesting volume is the only account which has hitherto appeared in England respecting the embassy of General Jermoloff to the court of Persia. It has a twofold cliam to attention, arising from the nature of its subject, and the peculiar circumstances of its author. In all the states of Europe, and especially in Great Britain, the political relations of Russia with her Asiatic neighbour are regarded as tending to results materially affecting that balance of power, the equilibrium of which now requires to be maintained with no less solicitude in the eastern than in the Western Hemisphere. On the nature and present state of those relations a multitude of conjectures are entertained, and they are rendered the more problematical by the scanty and confused information which transpires respecting them, from the countries themselves. A despotism, however leniently administered, must be more or less inimical to public discussion, the only effective means by which the truth, or any matter of public interest, can be elicited, Persia has no national liter. ature; and with respect to Russia, it should appear that the epoch is not yet arrived when the inhabitants of that vast empire can possess themselves of the advantages of a representative government and a free press. It is only by Imperial suffrance, we may presume, that a work, referring even in a remote degree to any measures instituted by the cabinet of St. Petersburgh, can be published by a subject of the Czar. Viewed in this light, the Narrative of Capt. Kotzebue is a curious novelty. He was born and educated in Russia; yet has not scrupled to give to the world a minute detail of the progress of the mission to which he was attach
ed, as well as of its reception at the court of Persia. It is true that on affairs of state he practises a reserve which is perfectly diplomatic; but at the same time he makes, perhaps unconsciously, some important disclosures, and his very silence on certain subjects is significantly eloquent.
Topographical illustrations of the country, interspersed with anecdotes characteristic of its inhabitants, occupy the principal portion of the work, and it is only incidentally that subjects of a political matter are touched upon. Many of these digressions, however, have a deeper interest than the narrative itself; they are important, not only from the information which they convey, but from the inferences which they suggest; and they afford abundant matter for speculation on the present and future state of Persia. The following passage, for instance, relating to a personage who may be denominated the elective heir-apparent to the throne, claims the most serious attention, particularly when we consider the quarter from whence it proceeds, and the sanction under which it is promulgated.
"“ I should take this opportunity of stating, that the introduction of regular discipline into the Persian army, and the formation of its artillery, within these few years, are entirely due to Abbas-Mirza; and it must be allowed that he has, for so short a period, with the assistance indeed of able English officers, achieved a great deal. Only those who are thoroughly acquainted with the pertinacious obstinacy of the Persians, and their dread of every innovation, can form any conception of the obstacles, which the prince had to surmount in accomplishing his views. Nothing less than the appearance of so enlightened a prince, I may say, such a phenomena amidst the Persian people, could have produced such a reform in the army. His principal attention has been directed to the organization of the infantry and cavalry; and in this he has also afforded a proof of his acuteness, as the Persian horse is already sufficiently good, although it cannot
be compared with regular cavalry. But the Persian cavalry is an object of national pride, and on that ground alone the prince could not interfere with its actual condition. He is powerfully supported in the attainment of his views by the king, who has appointed him 'heir to his throne, on account of his judgment and the mildness of his character; but still more, because his mother was of the family of Kadjor, from which the Shah himself has issued. The eldest brother, who governs several of the Southern provinces of the kingdom, is not much pleased with this selection. He is a coarse and cruel man, who delights in witnessing the barbarous punishments of putting out eyes, tearing out hearts, &c. He has succeeded in undermining his brother's reputation among the principal families of Persia, whose sons all run into his service; and he has artfully led them to consider the introduction of a regular system of discipline into the army, not only as a ridiculous, but a culpable innovation, inasmuch as it entails an intercourse with Europeans, which is not strictly compatible with the religion of the Persians. He tells them that his brother's measures are injurious to the national honour, that his foreign predilections may perhaps induce him to adopt the customs, the dress, and even the religion of Europe; and by such idle tales as these, this man courts the fa
of many Persians, who find an indolent life in his service more consonant to their inclinations, than it would be to go through the daily military exercise, and submit to the discipline of Abbas Mirza."
'From this and other passages of a similar kind, it is manifest that the work, though not avowedly political, contains statements highly deserving the attention of those who view with anxious vigilance the intercourse of Russia with Persia in reference to the future fate of our Indian possessions. As a book of travels, also, it contains a variety of amusing information, and claims to be considered as the most recent account of the country to which it relates. It includes many
court-anecdotes equally novel and singular. We select one relating to a mode of raising supplies for the royal treasury, which few would suppose to be among the ways and means of his Persian majesty.
«« The last days of our stay at Sultanie were spent in reciprocal visits among the ministers, who all assured the ambassador that the king, as well as they themselves, had been so much captivated by his excellency, that they were truly grieved to part from him. The prime minister is even said to have found a tear to guarantee the expression of his sorrow, notwithstanding that, according to report, the expensive honour of maintaining the Russian embassy, during the whole of its stay at Sultanie, had been committed by the king to his charge. But he is said to be the most opulent of the ministers.
• « When the king observes any of his subjects becoming too rich, in opposition to his royal will and pleasure, he has recourse to a very amiable expedient, in order to reduce the offender to poverty and beggary. In consists in sending him daily a dish from his kitchen; an honour, in return for which the high treasurer would not be satisfied with a less fee than one thousand ducats, Should this proceeding be continued several weeks, it is natural that it must entail poverty upon the wealthiest individual. But if the king be decidedly bent upon the absolute ruin of the person, he fixes on a day on which he dines with him; an honourable distinction, which reduces absolutely to beggary the person on whom it is bestowed.")
FURTHER EXTRACTS. 1. First view of Asia. On the 2d of October our arrangements were completed, and we assembled at the ferry of the Terek, where breakfast had been prepared for us. After the pack-horses and carriages had been sent over, we entered the boat, and bid a sorrowful farewell to Europe! On the opposite bank, a company of light infantry, together with a