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and, though not on the Sabbath, the day when it is most frequented, the theatre was well filled. Twice as many persons, I think there were, as I had seen in the church when it was fullest. Elevated in a dignified pew or gallery, railed in by itself, and projecting a little toward the area, to give the most perfect view of the combat, sat the Judge. This important officer of justice is regularly appointed by the Governor, or Alcaldi, or otherwise, and from his decision there is no appeal. The venerable judge was far advanced in years, to hold so important an office; from his white locks, and wrinkled countenance, and "bending frame, I should think him seventy-ten years older than Chancellor Kent, when he retired from the bench; but to do his honor justice, he did not, like Philip of Macedon, nor like some of his brethren on republican benches, sleep while the cause was trying. However, there was an omission of one thing; he took no notes. Yet I acknowledge he followed the cause through all its windings, and ups and downs, and not an argument on either side was disregarded ; nor was there, so long as I observed him, for I did not see the cause through, the least sign of favour or partiality in his countenance, nor the slightest relaxation of his gravity.
“In glancing an eye round, I should think there were present a dozen or twenty cocks. Tamer birds I never saw. They needed no confinement, but lay reclining on the hand of an owner or servant, and now and then crowing from that perch. The shears or tweezers had cleared away all needless excrescences--the comb, if they had one, the feathers about the neck and some about the tail, and the parts had been, probably for months, so rubbed and chafed with arguadente, a species of spirit, that they were of blood colour. . A pair was soon produced, one of them by a planter of two thousand boxes of sugar per annum; and I saw the doubloons, (ounces, they call them) chinking in their hands. The pit was cleared. Two men approached each other with the cocks, and one bird was permitted to peck the other, to provoke him to combat, and then, the provocation being returned with spirit, they were thrown down to deadly conbat. We soon left the ground, but before we went, both were covered with blood, and much spent, and one of them pierced in the breast, probably with a mortal wound by his adversary's dirk. I understand they were separated for a few moments, to inflame their wounds with alcohol, and to give them spirit internally, when the combat would be renewed to death or victory. We had no desire to see the end of the fray, and returned home with a thousand melancholy reflections.
" It is to me, matter of astonishment, that a check is not given to this barbarous diversion and open gambling by the government of a Christian country. But it is, in fact, encouraged by it. I will inquire, so as to be certain that I am not misinformed, but I believe the government regulates the sport, and appoints the judge of the pit; yes, the pit, rightly named, and a little emblem of the bottomless. And I frankly acknowledge, if this gambling sport is tolerated, and the most selfish and savage passions are allowed to be roused, some presiding influence of government may be necessary, at times, to prevent deadly strife among the gamblers as well as the cocks. You would suppose that sport and
gambling of this kind, must be confined to negroes and the populace. No such thing. The Alcaldi of this city keeps ninety trained cocks for the combat, and men of immense fortunes, and some in their volantes, probably, therefore, from the country on this important business, mingle in the pit, and on the seats and boxes with boys and negroes, in perfect liberty and equality: Bets from one to twelve ounces, (in EngÎish, from seventeen to two hundred dollars,) are made on the issue of a duel between two strutting coxcombs of the pit. As if the passion had infected every man, the most unfortunate are seen at this diversion ; a deaf and dumb man was there, conversing eagerly by signs, and a most helpless being, a man of forty, whom I have often seen in the street in the arms of a negro, incapable of walking, was carried to the cock-pit."
The causes of assassinations, so frequent in this land of the stiletto, may, in many cases, be traced to the cock-pit, the billiard table, and the bull-bait-scenes of that desperate spirit of gambling by which the Spaniards seem to be distinguished. The proper administration of justice, in cases of assassination, is prevented by a law which renders every witness to the murder, liable to imprisonment. The consequence, as might be expected is, that no opposition is offered to the murderer. All run away from the scene of violence to save themselves from the absurd severity of the law, and the criminal escapes for want of evidence to convict him.
On the subject of religion, Dr. Abbot has said much-too much. We wish that he had confined himself to what he himself saw and heard, instead of indulging in speculative remarks. upon the probable effect of the Roman Catholic religion. It is doubtless very natural for a clergyman, accustomed to forms as far removed as possible, from the Romish ritual, to express himself strongly upon such a subject upon his first visit to a popish country. But there is something essentially vulgar in this disposition to be astonished at what every educated man who visits such a country ought to be prepared to see, and the language of unsparing reprobation, with regard to general institutions, is tolerable no where but in writings professedly controversial. Sure we are, at all events, that it adds nothing to the interest of the volume before us. On this account, we forbear quoting any of the numerous passages devoted to this subject. We, however, join with him in contemning the minister of the gospel who so far forgets the sacred character of his office as to delay mass, that he may see the termination of a cock-fight-who performs the church service in the morning, and is found at the billiard-table in the afternoon—or, worst of all, who, in defiance of the ecclesiastical authority he is bound
to obey, and in violation of the most sacred bienséances of civilized society-keeps a mistress in his own house with shameless effrontery. The latter practice they make no pretence to conceal, but openly defend it on the ground of nature and common sense, while they virtually laugh at the absurdity of the popish regulation, condemning them to perpetual celibacy.
The natural advantages of Cuba are numerous and important. Among them we may class a salubrious climate, a fertile soil, romantic scenery, freedom from venemous reptiles, renovating periodical breezes, a clear atmosphere, and productions of unlimited luxuriance and value. Although, however, nature has been thus bountiful in her gifts to this fortunate island, she has partially withheld the most important requisite of lifewater. This is not obtained in sufficient quantities, even for household purposes, without considerable expense. During the rainy season, it is collected in large quantities in cisterns and tanks. It is then that the “ water falls in a deluge, the brooks roar from the mountains, and the rivers are full.” In the dry seasons, when every thing is parched, they depend on the wells. These are from forty to three hundred and sixty feet deep, and, in general, sunk through solid rock the greater part of their depth. The tardy and troublesome operation of raising the water from them, is performed by horses, mules and oxen.
Some of the rivers of Cuba are said to disappear for a part of their course, and after pursuing a subterraneous route, to rise again to the surface. The total want of large, navigable streams is a serious obstruction to a ready, internal communication, and the heavy expense of land conveyance over its rocky and uneven surface, must ever operate as a formidable check upon its internal commerce, and the population of its more central and mountainous portions. The height and unevenness of the country must likewise present formidable barriers to the construction of rail-roads and canals, the only methods of obviating the inconveniences arising from the absence of natural channels. These observations readily suggest the local superiority of our Southern States, in affording every natural facility for cheap and rapid communication with the ocean. Having these facilities united with the artificial ones, derived from steam navigation, it is easy to perceive the corresponding advantages enjoyed by our sugar planters above those of Cuba.
Dr. Abbot gives the following picture of Spanish hospitality, and in another letter tells us, that it is quite beyond the warmth of a Carolina entertainment :
“ I was invited yesterday, to a new enterprize, by mny never weary and excellent friend, Mr. S. The object was, to visit Mr. J. and * VOL IV.NO. 7.
sugar estate. We had a delightful ride in the cool of the morning, of about ten miles. The birds sang among the branches ; and the noisy parrots, tamed into contentment among us with a perch on a chair, or in a cage, scaled the loftiest trees in pairs. Here, the coffee-field was whitening into a wide sheet of fragrant snow; there, we passed at the base of a shaggy cone, four or five hundred feet high. After some fortunate mistakes, which extended our ride, and increased the variety, we arrived and were welcomed most cordially. I have given, in another letter a minute account of this interesting day, and you will there find an exact history of clayed sugar in its progress from a tide of juice issuing from the mills, to its granulation, claying and boxing. This is a vast estate, yielding this year, sixty-five thousand dollars; wrought by a gang of one hundred and eighty negroes, great and small; kept in health, by plenty of food and clothing, plenty of labour and recreation, and the attendance of a physician every day, at a salary of four hundred dollars per annum.
They have one hundred and ten yoke of oxen, estimated to be worth thirteen thousand dollars; two only of several large buildings contain fifty-six thousand, seven hundred feet of shingled roof. They have a pottery to make their pans and tiles, and one hundred and eighty thousand bricks have been made in the year. If you except the fields of luxuriant cane, and three or four volantes, there is nothing ornamental on the estate. All is business and great results. There are scattered palms, but no avenue; a river, river Nuevo, over which a cat might jump, and not disgust her paws. There is a beautiful spring impregnated with sulphur, roofed with palm leaves, banked and bottomed with plank, perfectly convenient for bathing, and the waters salubrious. Mr. J. came to the island at two years old, and is married to a Spanish lady, who has given him three pretty children. His mother is on a visit to her son from a coffee estate, lying betweep Matanzas and Havana; she is an accomplished and opulent American widow. Our hospitality was of the Spanish character. Everything was on a generous scale, and great courtesy and cordiality prevailed.
“We returned in the cool of the day, and to diminish my fatigue ; and in spite of my earnest remonstrances, I was sent home two or three miles, in Mr. S's volante, with my horse tied behind. My only difficulty, among these eagle-eyed friends, is to limit their kindness. I am like the sailor crossing the line, almost made to swear that I will not walk when I can ride, nor eat brown bread when I can get white, nor touch any secondary thing while there is a first which is better.” pp. 29, 30.
Cuba abounds in immense caverns, which extend to great distances, branching off in various directions. Our autbor, accompanied by a few friends, examined one, in which they walked, “according to the most deliberate judgment of the party, upwards of a mile.”
Carting in Matanzas is usually performed by “Cuba oxen." These are small but extremely docile, and well-trained animals. The cartilage of the nose is perforated, and the rein inserted through the orifice. Their nature, commonly fierce or sullen,
while under the process of training, yields easily to the application of this nasal discipline. In fact, they are without a metaphor, "Jed by the nose." Dr. Abbot witnessed the fact we are about to quote.
“The yoke, in the Spanish mode, is made fast to the horns, near the root behind, so that it does not play backward and forward, and gives to the oxen, a similar, but better chance of backing, (as in teamster's phrase, it is called.) I have been astonished at the power of these oxen in holding back. There is a short hill, in one of the streets of this city, at an angle, nearly of 45°. Standing at the foot of it, I saw a cart and oxen, approaching at the top, with three hogsheads of molasses, and the driver sitting on the forward cask. The driver did not so much as leave his perch; the oxen went straight and fearless over the pitch of the hill, and it seemed as if they must be crushed to death. The animals squatted like a dog, and rather slid, than walked to the bottom of the hill. Have we any animals that could have done it? And if they could, have we any docile enough to have done it with the driver in the cart? Thus superior is this mode of yoking in holding back the load in difficult places." p. 90.
Among the public buildings in Havana, dedicated to charitable purposes, the Casa de Beneficiencia, as described by Dr. Abbot, is similar in its objects to the orphan-house of Charleston, except, that in point of charity, it goes two steps beyond us: first, the girls remain until they are married ; and, secondly, are entitled to a marriage portion. This institution is highly honourable to the Spaniards, and exhibits their character in the captivating and shining light of a practical and systematic charity. We copy the description:
“Our next visit presented a delightful contrast to our walks in places devoted to the dead, the lunatic, and the leprous. It was in the magnificent institution called Casa de Beneficiencia, or the house of mercy. It is appropriated to the subsistence and education of orphans and friendless children. In the first instance, females only were admitted; but with a noble accession to its funds, boys also now share the benefit. It was commenced by the governor, La Casas, in 1795.
“A noble accession, to its funds, has been made by in the gift of lands in the partido of estimated at two hundred thousand dollars. The appearance of the buildings is very fine, extending several hundred feet on the main street, and as many on another street, the whole enclosing a spacious court, with a living brook, probably diverted from the city canal, ranging through the premises, and diffusing health and cleanliness among the numerous children and youths of the establishment. We entered through the chapel, a neat building, and more than sufficient for the accommodation of the house of mercy. We ranged through the lofty and spacious halls on the lower and upper story, under the conduct of the respectable gentleman, who presides over