Page images


But all this was too agreeable to last long. Frederick found occasion to suspect the poet's honesty. There was a scandalous lawsuit about imposing on a Jew merchant with false jewels, and the king had to use his influence to get the matter hushed up in Voltaire's favour.

At length Frederick's patience was exhausted by the imprudent intercourse which Voltaire chose to carry on with foreign ambassadors. "I shall only want him another year; we squeeze the orange, and then throw away the peel!" exclaimed the king. The king's physician heard these words, and was delighted to carry them to Voltaire, whom he cordially hated. The enraged poet declared the remark was worthy of Dionysius of Syracuse. Voltaire took care from this time forward to look after the orange-peel. But matters were kept smooth for a time, until a biting sarcasm of Voltaire's with reference to his royal patron brought matters to a crisis. It seems that one of the generals had written a poem, and desirous of having the benefit of Voltaire's critical judgment, had brought it to the philosopher to revise. But, as it happened, just at the same moment one of the royal effusions was sent by the hands of a servant, for Voltaire to treat in a similar way. Voltaire turned to the general with the words, "My dear friend, come some other time; your master has sent me some of his dirty linen to wash, I will attend to yours afterwards." This was the climax; it was not long before the philosopher was en route for the frontier. At Berlin he saw one of his works ignominiously burnt by the hangman in the public square. Then came the long retirement at Ferney, one brief triumph in his eighty-fourth year at Paris, and death.

Not far from the Palace stands the famous windmill of Sans Souci, now royal property, but till very lately in possession of the descendants of the miller who refused to yield it to Frederick when he wanted to pull it down and extend his own gardens, which on that side are rather confined.

It was a very small mill in those days, but after the miller gained the lawsuit instituted against him by the king, another on a much larger scale was built. During the reign of Frederick William IV., the owner of the mill, being in straitened circumstances, offered to sell it to the king, who, however, refused to avail himself of this opportunity, and generously enabled the miller to get through his difficulties and yet retain his property-declaring that the mill was a national monument, and as such belonged to Prussian history. It has, however, since come into possession of the Crown. In the neighbourhood of the mill are the Ruinenberg, with artificial ruins, hiding the reservoir which supplies the fountains; the Sicilian garden; the Pinetum; the Chinese tower; and a lofty belvedere, from which is obtained a glorious panorama of the surrounding country. The new orangery, nearly a thousand feet in length, dates from 1956. Numerous statues adorn the terrace and long façade, and in the saloons are copies of Raphael's paintings and abundance of sculptures. Frederick the Great tried to grow orangetrees and vines under glass along his terraces, but they did not flourish. He once grumbled about this to the Prince of Ligne, who replied in worthy style, "Sire, it appears that with you nothing thrives but your laurels."

The New Palace stands at the extremity of the broad avenue running across the Park of Sans Souci. It is a huge, ungainly brick edifice, built by Frederick in a spirit

of bravado at the close of the Seven Years' War, to prove to his adversaries that his financial resources were by no means exhausted. It was six years in building, being completed, after a vast outlay, in 1769, and contains seventy-two apartments, characterised by gaudy magnificence. One large saloon is adorned from floor to ceiling with shells of every hue wrought into the most elegant devices, and intermingled here and there with rich specimens of amber and emeralds, cornelians and rubies. From the ceiling hang four immense chandeliers of rock crystal, which when lighted produce a magnificent effect, as the polished shells and gleaming minerals around reflect the blaze of the numerous lights.

The Charlottenhof, a short distance from the New Palace, is a Pompeian villa, built. by Frederick William IV. when Crown Prince. Humboldt occupied two of the rooms. In one apartment is a chair of steel and silver, made by Peter the Great.

Babelsberg, the modern castle of the German Emperor, with its beautiful grounds. and fountains, is two miles from Potsdam.

Spandau, five miles from Berlin, is most celebrated as a fortress. By means of the river, the surrounding country can be inundated in case of a hostile attack. In the citadel, which stands on an island, the treasury of the German Empire is deposited, and can only be unlocked by two keys simultaneously, one of which is in the custody of the Chancellor, and the other in that of the President of the Committee for the debts of the Empire. Spandau has a large central prison (once a palace of the Electors of Brandenburg), new barracks, and a military hospital, an artillery school for infantry, a royal foundry of artillery, and various manufactories; and amidst all these warlike institutions we may fittingly take our leave of Berlin and its environs-so pervaded in every direction by the military spirit-so lavishly adorned with trophies of military prowess, and basing its greatness to so large an extent on military power. Let us hope that an era of commercial and educational and religious progress is now beginning, and that with the reign of law and order there may be a peaceful development of all that can render a nation truly great, happy, and prosperous.

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][merged small]

Amering the rest. The ties are: Auckland, population 4000; Dunedin, 43,0; Condenares, $1,019, Welling. 21,6; and Nelson, 10,00. We give the populations in rand nmbers and inducive of the suburbs. Of these, Wellington has been chosen as the wat of Government; bat, after all, as Mr. Trollipe points out, Auckland is the representative ory of New Zealand. "Dunedin," he says, "is a Scotch town, and Christchurch an English town here planted, and Wellington is a chosen site for a parliament; but Auckland is redolent of New Zealand. Her streets are still traversed by Maoris and half-castes, and the Pakeha Maon... wanders into town from his distant settlement in quest of tea, sugar, and brandy."


The residents of Auckland are fond of comparing their city to Corinth for its commerce, and to Naples for its beauty. It certainly stands like Corinth on an isthmus, having on one de the noble Waitemata harbour, opening into the Hauraki Gulf, whilst six miles off, on the western shore, is the spacious harbour of Onehunga or Manukau. Orchards and vineyards, interepered with villas, spread over the whole district between the two pieces of water. The largest steamers can float safely in the port, and even at low water any vessel can securely anchor or steam close up to the city wharves. Steam communication is regularly kept up with Sydney, 1,315 miles, and Melbourne, 1,650 miles distant. Queen Street Wharf, about a third of a mile in length, is the largest of several wharves and jetties with facilities and appliances for the loading and unloading of a large number of vessels simultaneously. The railway wharf, a thousand feet long, is connected with the railway terminus, and is so arranged that the trucks can go close alongside the vessels by the wharf.

The city is most picturesquely situated, and the undulating site affords an ample choice of pretty nooks for suburban retreats. There are several good streets, of which the principal is Queen Street, extending half a mile from the wharf to the Karangahape Road; it contains most of the principal buildings. The various edifices, imperial or municipal, legal or commercial, educational or philanthropic, do not call for individual description; they are for the most part substantial buildings suited to the requirements of a young colony. The Government House stands in the midst of grounds planted with English oak and other trees. Churches and chapels are numerous. Education is free and secular, and the 212 schools of the Province have an average attendance of 12,275 scholars. Auckland also boasts a University College. There are a free public library and a well-stocked museum in the city, which also possesses two daily newspapers and several weekly and monthly journals; amongst these is a Maori newspaper, Te Korimaka. The streets of Auckland are mostly flagged or asphalted and lighted with gas, and a railway connects the city with Onehunga on the other side of the isthmus. Another railway runs a hundred miles south to Awamatu, and a third to Helensville, viâ Riverhead, thus placing a large extent of rural district in direct communication with the capital. The manufacturing industries of Auckland are considerable: there are boot factories, boiler works, sash and door works, saw-mills, ship-building yards, &c.

The European population of Auckland in 1841, when it was proclaimed the capital and seat of Government for the whole of New Zealand, did not exceed 2,700. Very simple and primitive, indeed, was the social condition of the colonists. The best of the houses were small buildings of wood; some of them resembled Maori habitations. The streets were only partially laid out, and in many parts it was impossible for pedestrians to avoid sinking deep into mud and water. "On the occasion of a party at Government House," says Mr. A. Kennedy, "in the winter season, we got as far as the gate, but to get through the mud farther was impossible, without rendering us unpresentable at an evening party. We, therefore, hailed some Maoris who were passing to take pity on us, and carry us over the slough of mud, and we rode to the verandah of Government House on the backs of the Maoris." But forty years of successful progress have done wonders for Auckland, and transformed the thinly-inhabited settlement into a busy city, well supplied with all the requirements of modern culture.

The environs of Auckland are exceedingly picturesque. The best view of the city and its surroundings is obtained from the lip of the crater of Mount Eden, an extinct volcano about a mile from Auckland. Amongst the most prominent features of the district are the isolated volcanic hills, which are very numerous. Some of these rise to a considerable height, some shape themselves into bold precipitous terraces, others sweep down to the level plain in long sloping spurs, so that graceful undulations and bold picturesque eminences are pleasingly combined in the landscape. Abundant flocks and herds roaming over the luxuriant pastures, and scattered villages and homesteads, give an appearance of life to the far-stretching plains and the verdant slopes of the mountains. On the other side of the harbour are seen the pleasant shores at the mouth of the Waitemata river, and, more to the east, the islands of Rangitoto, Tapu, and Waihiki, ranged in a semicircle, as if guarding the mouth of the estuary; and beyond these islands, rise in the far distance, the mountain ranges of Cape Colville, three thousand feet in height, a fitting margin to the lovely landscape that lies bathed in brightness beneath the clear blue southern sky.

The Province of Auckland which is about half the size of England) comprises three Latural divisions—the Northern Peninsula, which is "broken lands,” in parts densely timbered ; the East Coast, which is "one continuous range of Palæozoic rock," most of it auriferous; and the Waikato country, a fertile district named after and watered by the largest river in New Zealand, and rapidly becoming settled. The Waikato settlements are connected with Auckland by the railway to Awamatu, above mentioned. Several towns are springing up in this district, which was confiscatel from the natives after the last war, and which borders on the "King" settlements. Beneath the pastoral and arable land are large deposits of good coal. A steamboat journey of thirty miles from Auckland conducts to Grahamstown and its gold-mines at the mouth of the Thames.

The mineral treasures of Auckland Province will be a great source of wealth when developed. Timber is at present one of the chief exports. The celebrated Kauri Pine, the most famous of New Zealand trees, is found only in the northern forests. It often grows to a height of one hundred and fifty feet, with a diameter of fifteen feet, and is in much request for the British navy. The exports of timber and wool have steadily increased from year to year. The curious product known as kauri gum is an important item in Auckland trade; it proceeds from the kauri pine, but is of no use till long after the tree is dead and buried. When found it is as hard as amber, and is used as a varnish and for other purposes. An enormous supply is still beneath the soil, being found at great depths, even mingling with the tertiary strata of coal.

We have alluded to the volcanic origin of the district round Auckland. An active volcanic island still exists in the Hauraki Gulf, and in the eastern part of the Province there is a collection of some of the most remarkable warm-lake and geyser scenery in the world. Here are found the Puias, which are geysers continually or intermittently active; the Ngawhas, which emit steam, but do not throw up columns of hot water; and the Waiariki, which are cisterns of hot water suitable for bathing. In the same district are mud volcanoes, and also numerous creeks and streams, which are either hot or tepid on account of hot springs breaking out in them. Baths have been erected round Lake Taupo, where the chief springs abound, and it is thought that in time residents in Australasia, and probably India, will flock to this district as the great sanatorium of the southern hemisphere. Near the lakes, and especially near Lake Rotomahana, are marvellous natural terraces, formel of friable stone deposited by the waters streaming down from the hot pools above. Near Rotomahana are the famous White and Pink Terraces. The White Terraces, the finer of the two, are three hundred feet in height, and rise two hundred feet from the lake. “As you ascend from the bottom," says Mr. Trollope, "you step along a raised fretwork of stone as fine as chased silver. Among this the water is flowing, so that dry feet are out of the question; but the fretwork, if the feet be kept on it, assists the walker, as the water, though it runs over it, of course runs deeper through it. As you rise higher and higher the water becomes warmer and warmer. And then, on one terrace after another, there are large, shell-like, alabaster baths, holding water from three to four feet deep, of different temperatures, as the bather may desire them. Of course the basins are not alabaster, but are made of the deposits of the water, which is, I believe, silica; but they are as smooth as alabaster, only softer. And on the outside rims where water has run, dropping over, century after century, nature has

« PreviousContinue »