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Tarifa, a pass between the mountains only 200 mètres (656 feet) above the level of the Pacific, and 160 mètres above the mouth of the Malatengo. There is an abundance of water, which may be applied with great facility to the service of the canal, being derived from the Chicapa or Chimalapa and its confluent the Monetza, and from a more considerable river, the Ostuta, which, like the former, flows into the lagoons not far from the town of Tehuantepec. The grand condition of a good harbour at either extremity of the line seems capable of being amply fulfilled in this case. The mouth of the Coatzacoalcos, 700 mètres wide, and with never less than twenty-one feet of water on its bar, quite enough to float a frigate, is, according to Balbi, the finest port formed by any one of the rivers that discharge themselves into the Gulf of Mexico, not even excepting the Mississippi.' Hitherto it had been very generally supposed that no harbour could be established on the Pacific side; but Signor Moro has cleared up this difficulty. The lagoons near Tehuantepec have a depth seldom less than five or six mètres, and this could easily be increased by dredging, the bottom being nothing but mud and shingle. The Boca Barra, by which they empty themselves into the ocean, is not obstructed by a true bar, but a little way within it there is an accumulation of sand which might be destroyed with extreme facility, whilst the cause of its deposit might be effectually removed. The isthmus is but scantily peopled, but it was once possessed by a dense and thriving population until the devastations of the buccaneers converted it into a wilderness. There is no reason why it might not again become as populous as ever. It possesses a fine climate, and in many places a most fruitful soil. Timbers for ship-building, dyewoods, superb mahogany, and other close-grained trees are to be found in profusion in its vast and dense forests, and the abundance of cattle and resources of all descriptions would enable vessels passing through the canal to renew their provisions at easy prices, in the isthmus, so that they might devote a greater portion of their holds to the stowage of merchandise. Lastly, among the advantages offered by the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, not the least considerable, is the mildness and salubrity of its climate, precisely in those localities where the assistance of European workmen would be required. This matter was sufficiently tested in 1830, when an abortive attempt was made to found a French colony in the isthmus. The unfortunate settlers, shamefully deluded by the projectors of the colony, found themselves from the moment of their arrival destitute of all resources, having neither food nor shelter provided for them; yet there occurred amongst them no case of yellow fever or other epidemic.
As to the probable cost of the undertaking, M. Moro speaks with becoming diffidence, not being in possession of all the data
Great American Isthmus.
requisite to enable him to make an exact estimate. Many circumstances he thinks would combine to reduce the rate of cost below the European average; nevertheless, he takes for his standard of comparison the cost of an analogous work, the Caledonian Canal, generally admitted to have been exceedingly expensive, from a combination of adverse circumstances; and in applying that standard to his own project, he purposely disregards many favourable circumstances, and exaggerates others of a contrary nature. The result is, that the maximum cost of the canal of Tehuantepec would probably not exceed 85,000,000 francs (say three millions and a half sterling;) and M. Moro thinks the work might possibly be completed for less than 2,500,000l. sterling
Assuming that it should even cost four millions, there can be little doubt that an ample return might be realised by a moderate toll, even should we found our calculations on the existing state of commerce and navigation, and leave wholly out of consideration the vast increase they would infallibly receive so soon as the barrier of the isthmus was broken down. The new route would then be taken by all vessels from Europe destined for those points which are now reached by doubling Cape Horn; that is to say, the whole western coast of North and South America, and the islands of the South Sea. It would be taken by all vessels from the United States to China, and probably by a large proportion of those leaving Europe for that destination. The latter would not indeed gain any thing as to mere length of way; they would even lose something in this respect; but this disadvantage would be more than compensated by the assistance of the trade winds and the gulf stream, and by the total absence of danger during the greater part of the year. The opportunity of making port half way in a country that seems likely, from its natural wealth, to arrive at a high degree of prosperity, would be a strong attraction; and steam-vessels, proceeding by this course to China, would be able to estimate very closely beforehand the probable duration of the voyage.
Having laid before our readers this mere outline of a subject so vast and important, we must refer them for further details to M. de Garay's publication. There is a class of politicians in England, at this moment unhappily an influential one, to whom the idea of any canal through the American isthmus is distasteful. These men may prevent the execution of the work under English auspices, but their power can extend no further. Executed it certainly will be by others, if not by us. The French government has given unequivocal proofs of its desire to promote this great undertaking, and the shrewd people of the United States too well know their own interests to refuse their aid, should it be solicited. That nation will certainly be placed in a position of peculiar ad
vantage, whose wealth shall realize the grandest of all engineering schemes, and whose children shall colonize the superb wilderness which will then pour its teeming riches into the lap of industry. We scorn to waste arguments on those who deem that the proud and fairly won supremacy of the English flag is to be maintained by imitating the pettyfogging policy of France in the affair of the Cairo and Suez railway; men like these would put out the sun, if they could, in order to protect their own trade in coals and tallow candles. A most rare opportunity is offered us of achieving honour, profit, and influence, by means perfectly legitimate; if the prize be suffered to pass into other hands, England will have had one more cause to rue the effects of Tory ascendancy. The cold and narrow conservatism of our Henry VII. stood between his people and the gift of a new world, which Columbus would have conferred on them: we may owe a more grievous loss to the sinister influence of the Peel cabinet.
ART. VIII.—1. Neue Zeitschrift für Musik (New Musical Journal). Leipsic. 1844.
2. Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung (Universal Musical Magazine). Leipsic. 1844.
MUSIC has within a few years so greatly extended the sphere of her influence, and enlarged the circle of her votaries, as to render her future operations and destiny a subject of the most interesting speculation. Who will give the art her next impulse ?—to whom is it reserved to take Music from its present state, and carry it forward to some remote point of improvement, as Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven severally did in their day? This is a natural inquiry; and though the supposition implied may seem incredible, in this age of artificial excitement and mechanical industry in music, yet we have no doubt but that nature, in her infinite and mysterious combinations, will one day solve the difficulty after her own manner, by bestowing on some favoured individual the powerful genius-the rare idiosyncrasy of the first-rate composer. ́ Instead of feeling oppressed, cramped, and confined, by the numerous examples of perfection that the classics of the art have now accumulated in every department, the invention of this man will be free, he will neither attempt to avoid nor imitate; he may erect new landmarks in symphony, dramatic and chamber music, but this only, when having tested and confirmed his powers, he has gained self-reliance in proportion, and can unreservedly follow the dictates of his fancy. This example of the faith which removes mountains' has been displayed in every epoch of the transformation of art by him who has accomplished it-it is the necessary accompa niment of the great composer, the warrant of his genius, the stamp
Its Progress, Present State, and Prospects.
of his fame. The difficulties which beset the ordinary artist are unknown to him, he hesitates not nor leans his head upon his hand for an idea; prompt in conception and rapid in execution-original without seeking to be so, his works follow one another in one constant stream of variety, nor cease but with his life. Such a composer was Mozart. Yet for all that is come and gone, he must be a great infidel who obstinately disbelieves that nature can ever repeat her own work; on the contrary, we would rather infer from the profound stillness that has prevailed through the latter part of the present century, as respects high composition, that she has some such operation in hand, and certain we are that the regenerator of music, appear when he may, will never be too early for our wants.
The prevailing musical characteristic of the present day is an immense activity in supplying the demand for novelty. Since the time when Gluck, Mozart, Haydn, Sarti, Sacchini, and Jomelli were contemporaries, what a change has taken place in the aspect of the musical world? Individual models of composition may have declined, but what a multitude of composers has arisen, what an increase of music shops, what an important branch of European commerce, a true index to the public which supports it, has music become! Formerly, the most precious composition was with difficulty disposed of; now, the new works of Spohr, Mendelssohn, &c., are marketable commodities, that command at once for the copyright the price affixed by their authors. This eagerness in the public for new forms of musical beauty may be traced to the gradual influence of the works of the great musicians of the eighteenth century, who, however, cultivated their art amidst many personal vicissitudes, which mingle regrets in the train of their triumphs. Not all the powers of Europe could produce a new Sinfonia Eroica,' or revive the melodious charm of a 'Le Nozze di Figaro,' and yet Beethoven lived in apprehension of want, and Mozart could only exist by occasional resort to ballroom composition. The misfortunes of artist-life, during a period of transition in taste, were not confined to these illustrious examples; the chronicle of them during the last century, when patronage was confined to a few princes and men of cultivated minds, is unfortunately frequent and full. Their successors, however, have profited; thanks to them music is now universally one of the necessities of polite life, moderate talents find an existence, great ones are amply rewarded. As for poor Mozart, who left this earth some two or three hundred pounds in debt, which his widow subsequently scraped together and duly repaid, what a source of riches fineless' have his works been-what a legacy to Europeto the world! Apart from what we owe him, as the minister to our most spiritual enjoyments, his works have been a constant
benefaction to a large tribe of the humbler artists, singers, music teachers, and orchestra players, who owe to him, and others like him, a large proportion of the means to their physical existence.
In instrumental music Germany retains the pre-eminence over other countries, which she gained through the completion of the modern style by Haydn, and the revolution in the orchestra by Mozart. There is an atmosphere of artist-life in Germany peculiarly favourable to that branch of composition, which requires fancy, learning, taste, and feeling; in short, a stretch of the poetical faculty to which it is impossible to rise without the excitement of continual comparison and friendly collision. Continental living is altogether better adapted to this object than that of England; the social footing of artists is easier and more unreserved, and a more exact pace with the progress of the day is maintained. Even some Englishmen of talent have become very successful instrumental composers abroad, of which Onslow and the fine harpist Parish Alvars are examples; and we notice these artists the more particularly as the preponderance of the merit of native composition has been for some years decidedly vocal. The advantages of the German Kapellmeister consist in a perpetual intercourse with his art, as exhibited in its finest varieties of music for the church, theatre, concert-room, or chamber; in the power to find recreation as well as study in his profession; in easy and assured circumstances, which leave his mind at liberty; and, above all, in freedom from the soul-blighting, mechanical routine of tuition. Admiration of something beautiful just performed is his inducement to compose, and affords him the necessary stimulus in composition: thus one work generates another. Without that natural pabulum to the mind of the composer, which is derived from an atmosphere of fine music, and social sympathies inspired by congenial taste, high composition cannot be carried on; the flame of genius burns feebly or totally expires. The tenure of the artist's position-constant production and constant excellence-is honourable in proportion to its difficulty, and it frequently happens in this strife that a man's most doughty antagonist is himself. We hardly know who would come unscathed out of the contest, did it not happen that music diverges into many styles, a man grown too famous in one may avoid comparison in another; habit comes to his assistance, he achieves a new success, and his fame in a particular style remains untarnished. And fortunate it is when ill-opinion is thus disarmed, for the more eminent the reputation and services of any master, the greater in general is the alacrity of the scientific world to discover the symptoms of his decay, and to obtain the first glimpse of the bottom of the bag.'
Of the living masters who have most honourably acquitted themselves in the career of the musician, we must hail as first