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contrast with that of the debasing schools which preceded him. No philosopher, perhaps, has ever produced so much public interest by his opinions as Cousin. He lectured before the University of Paris, extempore, to immense auditories, estimated at between five and six thousand persons, and the lectures were reported in the public prints with as much interest as the proceedings of the Chambers. His extraordinary eloquence attracted around him the youth of the schools, the flower of western Europe; and it cannot be doubted that his improved sentiments will introduce a better era into the speculations of the whole continent. He is still in the strength of his years, and devotes his commanding influence to the improvement of the institutions of education in his country, for which his office, as a peer, affords him peculiar facilities. The introduction and early triumph of the eclectic system of philosophy is one of those collateral circumstances of which we have spoken, which cannot but be propitious to the new influences of religion, that, during the same time, have been introducing themselves to the public mind. They are, indeed, strikingly coincident; and if the former attains an established influence, Christianity will inevitably obtain again a hearing from the learned men of the country.
While the system of Mon. Cousin has assumed the stand of a leading school, there are many minor systems which have their partisans, chiefly modifications of the old sensual school; but such modifications as show a tendency of the national mind to better sentiments. Various systems of Pantheism; the doctrines of the St. Simonians; the intellectualism of Hegel; Organism; the natural religion of Rousseau, as taught in his Emilius, and others, have had their day, and some yet agitate the public mind. These systems not only indicate a favorable change in the sentiments of the literary class, by the improved views they take of subjects vitally related to the Christian faith, but they all form an interesting symptom of that dissatisfaction with merely hypothetical doctrines, that longing after something substantial, on which the spirit can repose, which at this moment agonizes the whole national mind, and forms one of the most encouraging grounds of hope to the Christian traveler. A deep pervading conviction has spread over the community, that the systems of speculation, heretofore rife, tend only to moral wretchedness. They have filled the morgue and Hopital des Enfans trouvés and the insane hospitals. They have almost dissolved domestic order, and have allowed of no stability in the institutions of government. "France perishes for want of a religion," cried the distinguished writer and statesman we have already quoted, and it was but an expression of the national conviction. An able writer in Blackwood's Magazine, who was residing on the spot at our visit to Paris, declares that "the professed infidels of France are no longer what they were. They give no point blank denial to the truths of Christianity; if they believe nothing, they deny nothing. If they will not be trained by Catholicism, with which Christianity is identified in their minds, they equally reject the arid Voltarian philosophy which affords no aliment for their affections. Fluctuating between the two, they have fallen into the fantastic, the mystic, and are evidently seeking, in their wild intellectual excursions, to find some truth in which they can discover repose and certainty. A want, in brief, is universally felt-a want
of religion." An advocate, before the royal court at Versailles, declared, in a speech, that since the last revolution, "the warm disputes against Christianity have ceased, and the maxims of Voltaire have been abandoned to pamphleteers of the lowest class. Now, in books of mature thought which issue from the press, Christianity is expounded respectfully; its truths are announced as sacred and awful. A decided reaction has taken place; the age of hatred and infidelity has passed away. Religious doctrines spring up on all sides, and the connection is traced between the wants of the age and the fruitful principles of Christianity. The world believes, and turns to God." These are extraordinary testimonials. A few years ago they would have been hooted with scorn in France.
Thus we see that hope dawns on the darkness which we have described in the former part of this article. While popery is sinking in decline, infidelity is returning to the true light; and the cross, as it presented itself to the eye of the Roman emperor, is beginning dimly to reveal its glory in the clouds of the moral firmament of the country. Happy would it be for that lacerated and agonized land, if the Christian world would seize on the present favorable moment, and stand forth for its rescue. Of all lands, it would be the most important achievement for Christianity; and, at this crisis, it ought to be a point of concentration for the sympathies of the whole religious world. Let light from England and America go forth on its darkness, until it shall blend with that which streams over the Alps, and spread effulgence over all its hills and valleys.
For the Methodist Magazine and Quarterly Review.
ART. II.-SKETCHES OF SOUTH AMERICA.
BY REV. J. DEMPSTER, A. M., MISSIONARY AT BUENOS AYRES, SOUTH AMERICA.
[Continued from page 65.]
NEXT to the grand and lonely scenes of Chili we would advert to those of Bolivia and Peru. In this mountainous section of South America are found the climates of every country, the productions of every soil, and the mines of almost every mineral. For the wildness of its mountains, the purity of its air, and the everlasting brightness of its sky, no country on the globe, so large as that, will compare to it. Ancient Peru, under its tenth Inca, reached far beyond the present limits of both the Perus. That was the golden age of these children of the sun. They were then at the acme to which the ac. cumulating prosperity of five hundred years had raised them. During the past year, Bolivia and Peru, these two prominent parts of this ancient empire, have become united in one republic. Lower Peru extends, in the interior, from 3° 30′ to 14° 30' south latitude; on its western shores it reaches more than 200 to the south, extending along the sandy beach of the Pacific more than a thousand miles, and it measures more than half that distance from east to west. It is bounded on the north by the extensive republic of Colombia, on the east by the wild regions of Amazonia and Brazil, on the south by Bolivia, so named in honor of its patriotic liberator, and on the west by the Pa
cific Ocean, which washes more than a thousand miles of its shores. Much of this western coast of Peru consists of a vast line of sandy desert, varying from seven miles to more than fifty in width, as the different branches of the Andes approach the Pacific or recede from its shores. As the mariner from the Pacific main glances at this coast, his sensations are like those of a traveler in Africa when he first enters the boundless desert of sand. Indeed, nothing can exceed the arid, dreary aspect of these unpeopled wastes. They present great inequality of surface, and some appearances indicate that the waters of the ocean once reposed on these sandy solitudes. The numerous hills scattered over these untrodden tracts might appear to deserve the name of mountains, but for the stupendous background which gives to every other object a diminutive outline. This extensive desert is, at intervals, of from twenty to eighty miles, intersected with rivers and smaller streams, the largest of which roll their waters into the Pacific. These, at times, swell to an enormous height, and foam and dash like the angry billows of the deep, maddened into fury by a mighty storm. The streams are thus swelled into irresistible torrents by the dissolving snows on the mountains, and by copious rains in the interior. Most of the smaller streams are entirely used for irrigation; others are lost in the thirsty sands over which they roll, so that they never reach the ocean, toward which they run with so much rapidity near their source. In proportion to the supply of water in these streams is the amount of population inhabiting their banks, and the fertility of those narrow strips that skirt their shores. All beyond is a measureless mass of sand, unmingled by a single particle of loam. This is shaded by no vegetable, moistened by no rain, and trod by the foot of no animal-is one naked, solitary, cheerless waste. The only indication that any thing living has ever been here before, is, an occasional heap of bleached bones, the remains of animals which sunk beneath their burden, and remain monumental of his temerity who presumed to make the tour. On this arid region rise clouds of sand, which, borne on the wings of the eddying wind, form temporary hills, and then rise, and in the same manner journey through the air to spread themselves again over the plain, or seek a different location. Though these moving sandbanks are far from being so terrible as those in the Arabian deserts, which darken the sun, and bury whole caravans beneath the mountains they create, yet they endanger the eyes of the traveler, and leave not a trace of his footsteps behind him. The most experienced guides are liable to become bewildered, and in the event they do, so dreadful are their bodings that insanity often ensues, and the loss of the company becomes inevitable. In such instances the fate of those that perish is no less unknown than if they had foundered in the midst of the ocean. But any mere description utterly fails to depict the overwhelming horrors felt by a bewildered traveler in this pathless desert. One instance out of many of actual sufferings on those sands will furnish a more adequate idea of their intensity. Fourteen years since, three hundred of the patriot forces, returning from the northern part of Peru to Lima, were wrecked thirty-six miles south of Ptasco. All reached the shore, but became lost wanderers on these trackless sands. Overpowered by fatigue, and parched with thirst, the unfortunate sufferers would often drop on the burning surface, and tear up the sand in search of water with the
most agonizing fury. After long wanderings, a glimpse was caught of a few palm-trees at a distance, from whose roots a little water usually gurgles. A feeble cry of joy issued from the burning throats of the foremost. This faint and ghastly shout was not raised to cheer their more drooping companions in the rear, but it was the outcry of sinking nature involuntarily uttered at the sight of the palm-trees, which shed on their deep despair a gleam of hope. For a moment all quickened their pace, but fainting nature sank under the exertion, and numbers dropped lifeless to the ground before they could reach the object that had aroused them. Those having strength sufficient to reach the spot, finding there only a little muddy water, rushed around it with such violence, as for a season to prevent any from obtaining it. After the obstruction occasioned by the first rush of this panting throng was obviated, they partially slaked their thirst; and none having courage to proceed another step, all threw themselves on the ground in fixed and mute despair. And, as was afterward stated by the few who were saved, even those tender recollections of friends, and family, and home, which on a distant shore are the last to quit their hold on the mind in a dying hour, had expired in their bosoms. Indeed, no one thought any more of his fellow-sufferers than if he had been alone in that dismal solitude. At length, after every prospect had vanished but that of speedy death, the horsemen, sent in search, appeared at a distance. Hope once more was kindled; but then the horsemen seemed bending their course in another direction; and so perfectly was every energy prostrated, that no one had vigor sufficient to raise his hand in token of where they were. And, after the horsemen providentially found them, so totally had hope, and fear, and every passion of nature expired, that scarcely a preference remained whether to be carried from the desert, or expire on its sands.
Nature has divided Peru into three distinct sections. Those, naturally, differ in surface, soil, productions, and climate. Next to the first section, of which truth has compelled us to give so gloomy a picture, is that formed of the elevated valleys of the Andes. The portion of this section which comprises the more moderate heights of that stupendous ridge enjoys a temperature favorable to health, and a soil abundant in vegetable productions. The remarkable salubrity of this climate imparts a charm to the face of nature much more bright and enduring than she usually wears. Those parts greatly elevated are cold and sterile, and the highest of them are never cheered by the least vegetation. On these the sunbeams fall but feebly, so that winter never relaxes its stern features; even under the blaze of noon its dominion is undisputed and eternal. But these bleak eminences, on the surface of which nature never lived, are rich in the mineral stores she has deposited in their bosom. The third district borders on the rivers which discharge their waters into the great Amazon. This section of Peru is characterized by half yearly alternations of dry and rainy seasons. It possesses all the natural resources for luxuriant vegetation common to a fertile soil under a tropical sun. Here vege table nature lives in her fullest bloom and vigor; never withered by a blast of winter, she is arrayed in perpetual verdure. Much of this region would sustain a population as dense as that of China, for it would vie in fertility with the most productive garden spots of Asia. Some of the head waters of the Amazon, by which it is washed, are navigable
to a point four thousand miles from the mouth of that noblest stream on the globe. What mind can calculate how vast a field will be opened here for commercial enterprise, when the hand of culture shall gather rich harvests from this exhaustless soil, and when this majestic river, which rolls over one-sixth of the circuit of the globe, shall become freely navigable!" Perhaps there is no section of the new world which furnishes scenery more mild and lovely than the rugged peaks and elevated table-lands of Peru. There are projecting points of the Cordilleras, from which is enjoyed a commanding view of the most striking objects of nature. From such a height the traveler sees the forest wave and the cataract rush beneath him; he sees the valley spreading itself out like a waveless ocean, and the snowcapped mountains break away in distant lines; the plain stretch to the Pacific waters, and that ocean rolling its waves till sea and sky appear blended together. Nowhere on the globe does the sun disap pear with more glory than on some of the table-lands on this section of the Cordilleras. Long after he has sunk below the horizon, his beams continue to gild the summits of this mountain range. These wild peaks glowing in the solar beams, and broken masses of clouds magnificently tinged, while every color in the valley is fading in night, impart to the scene an enchantment absolutely inconceivable but by an ocular view. At the anchorage near Pasco, the eye is arrested by objects that gather interest from both their proximity and contrast. There is the wide champaign stretching out over leagues, adorned with shrubbery, and shaded with olive groves. Through these are seen the white spires towering above the town in relief against the blue sides of the Cordilleras: then, like a mighty wall, rises the mountain ridge in the rear. This vast reservoir of gold and silver, while it presents its cloud-like sides to the view, has its summits arrayed in the white robe of winter, while its great outline appears painted on the sky. The soil, climate, and scenery at Lima, both poets and historians have conspired to celebrate. The city is sheltered at the north and east by the hills of Amanceas and San Christoval, mountain spurs of the Andes. Though the great chain of this mountain lies not less than sixty miles from the city, when the heavens are bright its snowy peaks are in full view; they are even seen through a clear sky from the Pacific Ocean. The situation of the city throws it open, on the west and south, to the breezes that delightfully fan it from the bosom of the deep. These cool the otherwise sultry air of summer, and banish the mists and fogs which often shade the place. To the north, the eye is lost amid the beautiful hills and valleys that extend themselves in that direction, till the wide scene is closed by mountain rising behind mountain, till on the most distant, as on a mighty column, the blue vault seems to rest. On the west, the calm Pacific expands away, till it appears to meet the arching sky. Such is the climate here, that the plain appears to be wrapped in the gayety of an eternal spring. Vegetation and fructification are in perpetual advance; some trees are loaded with mature fruit, while in the same inclosure others are blooming in the flower; thus the ripe fruit of autumn and the gay embellishment of spring stand side by side in this happy valley, and not unfrequently are flowers and fruit found on different branches of the same tree. But prolific as this soil is, a shower of rain has never descended upon it. A humid sky almost perpetually VOL. IX.-July, 1838.