Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to the society for'a mean subsistence, or perchance be obliged to end her days in a monastic confinement: and again, that should I happen to give them any provocation, or break their orders or rules, I might be unjesuited, expelled their society, and ex. cluded both from my inheritance, and all means of living. And then, she added, that if in after-life my inclinations continued, when youth was conquered, and the world could yield me no pleasure, I might then do as I pleased ; and it would yet be time enough to retire.

Thus advised, I no longer appeared at St. Anthony's, nor in my student's dress; yet my bookish inclination continued : But the course of my studies was changed, for instead of Aristotle's Philosophy, School Divinity, and Casuistry, I now relished nothing but Voyages, Travels, and Geography; and such other books as would lead me into a just notion of the world, and allist me in that state of life I then had just entered into.

As for languages, I had been very happy in taking them at school; so that I was at no loss in reading authors of diverse nations, except the English: for though the English factory at Lisbon is both the richest and the largest, and there is also an English college, an English nunnery, and two Irish colleges, and a nunnery of that nation also, who speak the English tongue; and I may add, though our greatest dealings in the mercantile way are with the subjects of Great Britain, none of the natives endeavour to teach or learn their language. Therefore my next step towards obtaining true ideas of a nation I, in all probability, was to deal with during my life, was to search not only for Portugueze and Spanish, but for French and Italian authors; yet I could find none in any of these languages, that are any other than mere superficial accounts, and, in my opinion, no way capable to convey just ideas of so deserving a people, nor sufficient to instruct a foreigner how to manage an advantageous commerce with them. For so long as we are kept ignorant of any country, and traffic with its natives only by factors of their own nation, fettled among us, we must take only what they please to import, and at their own times and price, to our own great loss : whereas a merchant, that is thoroughly acquainted with the product, manufacture, and genius of the nations he traffics with, has the advantage to supply himself with the best commodities, in the best seasons, and at the cheapest rates. Consequently,

I, resolving to merchandise with Great Britain, resolved also first to learn the language, and then to make a voyage to the isand itself. I soon made myfelf master of as much of the English tongue, as to enable me to attempt my intended voyage, without the incumbrance and the accidents that often befal gentlemen, who are ob. liged to trust all to an interpreter. Having gained my parents' consent, I embarked with their blessing, on board the packet, on the 23d of April, being St. George's day, · commonly called the patron of England; and, after a pleasant voyage of seven days, we arrived safe at Falmouth, the 30th of April 1730, N. S.

PTOR

Chapter II.—A Chorographical Description of England * BEING thus accompanied and instructed, it was to be my peculiar care to improve my journey to the uses I first intended, at my departure from Lisbon; and, in particular, to render it, for the future, subservient to my mercantile way of life: Therefore I began to take minutes of the soil, produce, and manufactures of every county through

: * In the original this is the ninth ehapter, seven chapters being filled with a hasty and imperfect history of England, which can nowise interest the reader.

· which

wbich we passed; and made my particular observations on the genius of the people, their different methods of dealing ; and distinguished the several cities, towns, and villages, which are most remarkable for trade and navigation; of all which, take the following true, though rude and unpolished account.--I begin with Cornwall, the county in which I landed.

Cornwall is the most western county of England, and is so washed by the sea on the north, south, and west, and the river Tamer on the east, that it is a perfect peninsula shaped like a horn. I presently found the people of this county valued themselves upon some pretensions above the other part of the nation, which I was informed was their ability in wrestling, and strength of body; their having most of the old British blood in their families; and their peculiar honour of giving title of Duke without crea. tion to the eldest son of the King of Great Britain.

This is not the most fruitful part of England, the soil being for the most part moun. tainous, thin, and rocky underneath: yet the vallies are fat with corn and good pasture; the hills are rich in tin and copper mines; and they every where abound in wild fowls, especially the dainty woodcock. Nor must I forget their produce of eringo, famphire, fine slate, and marble. But their chief metal and manufacture is tin. When the oré is brought above ground in the stone, it is broke with hammers, and then carried to the stamping mills, which make it ready for other mills, whereby it is ground to powder. After it is washed and cleared from earth, &c. it is melted at the blowing-houses into pigs of three or four hundred weight, marked with the owner's name, and the value is set upon it at the coining-house, where it is afsayed, to know what it is worth. The times for coining or making it, are Midsummer and Michaelmas; and for such as have not their tin then ready, there is a post-coinage at Lady-day and Chriltmas. The stamp is, the seal of the duchy of Cornwal. The tinners are regulated by Stannary laws, so called from stannum, the Latin word for tin; and the trials of their causes are by juries, returned by the mayors of the stannary towns; for which purpose, courts are held by the Lord Warden of the stannaries, who has also a deputy. When all the legal duties are satisfied, the tinner may fell his tin where he will; only, if the King, or the Duke of Cornwall, have a mind to be purchasers, they have a right of prc-' emption.

The coinage towns are Lelkard, Lestwithiel, Truro, Helston, and Pensance; and the tinners are reckoned at least 100,000.

The mundic, in which the tin lies as in its bed, yields such a quantity of lapis calaminaris, for making brass, that instead of importing copper and brass, which yearly heretofore did amount to 100,00ol. they now export as much, if not more.

In this county also is carried on a great trade for pilchards, which are caught be. tween July and November, of which the merchants export vast quantities to foreign markets, and for which they fit them by fuming, pressing, and pickling : These are salted but not gutted, the entrails being reckoned the best part; and, after having been piled in heaps in a cellar for ten days, and pressed, to drain off the superfluous moisture of the blood and salt, they are barrelled up with pickle, for France; but without it, for Spain, Italy, and other hotter countries.

We pass through this county into Devonshire, travelling eastward ; which being not so much incompassed with the sea, is of a more pure air ; and both the roads are better, and the soil more fruitful; though Devonshire has many both hills and woods.

Its commodities are corn, cattle, wool, &c. and its manufactures, kerses, serges, druggets, perpetuanas, long-ells, shalloons, narrow cloths, &c. as also bonelace. B 2

That

That part called the South-hams is famous for its noble rough cyder : In other parts of it mines of tin have been formerly discovered in such abundance, that in King John's time the coinage of Devonshire was set to farm for 1ool. a-year, when Corn. wall paid but 661. 185. 4d.; and it has four stannary towns, with as many stannary courts, and towns of coinage; which are Plympton, Tavistock, Ashburton, and Chag. ford ; but there is very little tin dug in this country now.

Veins of loadstone are found here, which I'was told, a learned naturalist says gene. rally run east and west, contrary to the received opinion, that the loadstone gave a a northerly direction ; because its natural position in the mine is supposed to be north and south. Here are quarries of good stone for building, and also of late for covering houses; and of the latter great quantities are exported. · Proceeding still eastward, we entered the pleasant and fruitful county of Dorset, or Dorsetshire, which not only produceth great plenty of corn, pasture, cattle, wild fowl and fish, but hemp and flax; and great quantities of cloth are made here, both woollen and linen. Nor can any fhire match its plenty of excellent stone in the quarries at Portland and Purbeck, in the last of which marble has been dug up sometimes); and from Blacknore Forest may be brought fufficient timber to serve the whole county: And what a conveniency this is to the inhabitants, 'appears, from the elegance of the buildings, not only of the gentlemen's seats, but in their towns. Many kinds of earth, that are useful, are dispersed up and down the county : particularly, the best tobacco pipe-clay, which, as I was told, would sell at London for 30s. a-ton.

From hence we travelled into Somersetshire, so called from its being the warmest county in the whole island of Britain. It is a very rich, plentiful, populous and pleafant county, famous among the graziers for its large sheep and oxen; and among merchant-adventurers, for its commodious havens. But the roads in winter are very foul and bad for travellers.

It abounds with grain of all kinds, of which it supplies home and foreign markets with vast quantities. Its hills afford mines of coal, lead, and copper. Wood thrives here, as well as in any shire in the kingdom; and teazles (a sort of thistles used by the cloth-dressers) grow scarce any where else. Ocre is dug up, on and about Mendip hills; and of lapis calaminaris (without which, and copper, there is no making of brass) more is dug up here than in all the kingdom besides. As this county is rich in pasture, no wonder it yields such great quantities of cheese, of which the best and biggest in England are made at Chedder, and reckoned as good as Parmesan; and it is worthy both the obfervation and imitation of such as desire to excel in this branch of trade, that the whole milk of the parish is, by the agreement of the parishioners, preserved for the making of it. Its oxen are as large as those of Lancashire and Lincolnshire ; and the grain of the flesh is said to be finer. Its vales feed and fatten a prodi. gious number of sheep, and of the largest fize. Its mastiff dogs are the boldet of all others of the kind at baiting the bull, a sport in which the ruder fort of people among them, and some of the low-bred gentry, take perhaps too much delight, as well here, as in other parts of this nation.

All sorts of cloth is manufactured here; as broad and narrow kerseys, druggets, ferges, duroys and shalloons, together with stockings and buttons; and in the foutheast parts of the shire are made great quantities of linen. The value of the woollen manufacture alone here, in the first hands, has been rated at a million a-year; and if a calculation was made of its other manufactures : and its produce by mines, tillage, feeding, grazing, dairies, &c. it would undoubtedly exceed any county of the kingdom in riches, both natural and acquired, Yorkshire not excepted; due allowance being made

for for the difference in extent. As to foreign trade, surely no shire but Middlesex will compare with one that has the city of Bristol to boast of; not to mention the coasting trade in the little ports of Bridgewater and Minhead.

We then entered Wiltshire, the northern part of which is full of pleasant risings, and watered with clear streams. It was once overspread with woods, which are now in a manner quite destroyed. The soil of this part of the country being clay, is consequently troublesome sometimes to travellers ; but here is a great variety of delightful prospects, to make them amends. And my tutor told me, that a good author of their own made this remark of Wiltshire: “ That an ox, left to himself, would, of all « England, chuse to live in the north of this county, a sheep in the south part of it, " and a man in the middle between both; as partaking of the pleasure of the plain, 6 and the plenty of the deep country.” The soil of the vale is very fruitful, and affords great quantity of as good cheese as any in England; and though that of the hills is in some places chalky, and barren enough, yet its cheapness makes it bené. ficial to the neighbouring farmers. I have been told on the spot, that on the downs betwixt Sandy-lane and Marlborough, and between the Devizes and Salisbury, hundreds of acres have been rented at a groat an acre per annum. But the numerous flocks of sheep fed there turn much more to the profit of the proprietors. · The abun. dance of wool which these sheep produce, invited the inhabitants to fall very much into the clothing trade ; and the best broad cloths, both white and dyed, in England, are made in the west and north parts of this county, and indeed, in the south and east parts too, but not in such quantities.

Fuel is not very plenty in this county, which has no coal pits, nor indeed much wood: 'Tis productive, however, of all sorts of grain, especially wheat.

From Wiltshire we departed for Hampshire or Hantshire, by some called the county of Southampton. - This is the county where I saw, what my tutor had before told me, the tract of land, called New Forest, which was enlarged by William the Conqueror at the destruction of several towns and villages, and 36 parishes, being computed 50 miles in compass; and became remarkable for the death of two of his sons and a grandson, who lost their lives strangely in this forest.

The air of this county is nost pure and piercing, especially the downs, of which there is a ridge that runs almost athwart it, and affords plenty of game. The soil is various as to its fertility, the hilly parts being barren, like other downs, and fit only for sheep; but the lower grounds are fruitful in corn and herbage. It produces great quan. tities of all manner of grain, particularly wheat and barley, with which it supplies the flourishing markets of Farnham, Basingstoke, and Reading; and their teams of horses, many of which are fit for the best coach in the kingdom, shew the wealth of the farmer. The arable ground, though very stony, is fruitful; for the stones lie loose upon the soil : and those who are well skilled in agriculture affirm, that they keep it warm, and that therefore, the taking them away would do more hurt than good. This county is particularly famous for its honey, with which they make most excellent mead and metheglin. Hampshire bacon is allowed by all to be the best in England, the swine being supplied with acorns in plenty, from the New Forest, and other woods, in which they are suffered to run at large : And the delicacy of their flesh is attributed to their not being pent up in styes. Kersey and cloth are made here; and though not in so great plenty as in Wiltshire, Somersetshire, and Gloucestershire, yet there is enough made, not only for home consumption, but for a foreign trade. Its sea-coasts furnish oysiers, lobsters, and other falt water fish. And indeed, boih for profit and pleasure, there is not a more inviting county in Great Britain,

Adjoining Adioining to Hamphire is the inland county of Berks; whose air is generally healthy and sweet; the soil fertile enough, where 'tis cultivated; and the whole county, which is one of the most pleasant in England, is well stored with cattle and timber, particularly oak and beech, in the western parts, and in Windsor Forest; which also abounds with wild fowl, and other game; as its rivers Thames and Kennet, the one on the north, the other on the south side of it, do with fish, especially fine large trout and cray-fish. It has been observed, that land is dearer here, than in other parts the same distance from London. The chief manufactures of this county are woollen cloth, fail cloth, and malt; their being great crops of barley in the west part of the county, particularly the vale of White-horse, so named from the bare side of a chalky hill representing that animal, which the inhabitants once a year, about mid-summer, take some pains in trimming, to keep it to its shape and colour, and then conclude the day with mirth. 'Tis supposed by some, that the ground there was formed into this figure by the Saxons, who had the White-horse for their arms.

Having regaled ourselves four days with the fowl and delicious fish of Berkshire, we passed into Surrey, which I could not find to be remarkable for any particular trade or manufacture, excepting the corn market at Croydon, and the several branches of trade carried on in the borough of Southwark : but as that borough is contiguous to Lon. don, I shall remark their trade together. In general, I observe this to be a healthy, pleasant county; and therefore it boasts of several royal palaces, and many seats of the nobility and gentry. But the air, as well as the soil, of the middle and extreme parts is vastly different, the air being mild in the latter, which is very fruitful in corn and hay, with a fine mixture of woods and fields, especially on the south about Holms. dale, and on the north towards the Thames; but the air is bleak in the heart of the county, which, except a delightful spot indeed here and there, is all open sandy ground, and barren heath: for which reason, the county is not unaptly compared to a coarse cloth with a fine list or hem. In some places there are long ridges of hills or downs, with warrens for rabbits and hares, and parks for deer; and its rivers, the chief of which, besides the Thames, are the Mole, the Wey, and the Wandle, abound with fish. And the chief commodities of this county, besides its corn, are box-wood, walnuts, and fullers-earth, which last is sold at a groat a bushel at the pits near Ryegate, and is fent up to London for the use of the woollen manufactures all over England.

N.B.—This earth is prohibited exportation by the same laws, and under the same penalties as wool itself.

Our tour through Surrey was pretty agreeable in regard to the many fine seats which we met with, but I was more pleased to turn off into Sussex, a maritime county upon the English channel; whose downs near the coast are charming, and its vallies, or the Wild of Sussex, as it is commonly called, very plentiful, especially in oats. The downs are very high green hills, well known to travellers, especially such as deal in wool or feep; there being great numbers bred here, whose wool, which is very fine, is too often exported clandestinely to France by farmers and jobbers, who are called owlers. Many parts of the downs being a fat chalky soil, are, on that account, very fruitful, both in corn and grass. The middle part of the county is delightfully chequer'd with meadows, pastures, groves, and corn-fields, that produce wheat and barley. The north quarter is shaded with woods, from which they make abundance of charcoal; and they supply timber for the navy docks, and fuel for the iron works, there being not only plenty of ore on the east side towards Kent, but many great forges, furnaces, and watermills, for both cast and wrought iron, which, though it is said to be more brittle than the Spanish, yet cannon are cast with it; and the best gunpowder in the world is

made

« AnteriorContinuar »