Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

being fixed to the keel of the ship, and passing through all the dci;ki to a considerable height above them; an upper mast, much smaller, called the Top-mast, passes through a frame fixed to the top, or head of the lower mast, so that it is not in the same line with, but a little before it; this, rising to a still greater elevation, is succeeded by a third, called the Top-gallant-mast. The lower, or principal mast, is kept upright and firm by twelve, or more, strong ropes, proceeding from the top on each side, spread out at the bottom, and fixed to a broad stout plank, called the Channel, or Chain-wale, which stands out horizontally on each side of the ship. This is secured by long and powerful links, called the Chains, bolted to the sides, and passing through notches in the edge of the Channel; each of the ropes has a Dead-eye, or block of wood, resembling in form a true block*, or pulley, at the end, and the upper extremity of each chain has another; a rope passes many times through three holes in each dead-eye, by which the ropes are stretched as tight as possible, and the Laniard, as the mass of smaller rope is termed, is then secured. These twelve ropes on each side of the mast are termed Shrouds, and these are converted by means of lines, called ratlines, into rope-ladders, by which the sailors ascend to the top of the masts. A frame of timber, called the Top, stands out horizontally at the head of the mast, to serve the same purpose as the channels, for fixing the lower ends of the shrouds which steady the top-mast, but these top shrouds are not nearly so numerous as the principal ones. Besides these, single ropes, called Backstays, are brought from the heads of the top and top-gallant-masts, aft of the shrouds, to the sides, for the purpose of steadying further these upper masts; but as all these only tend to keep the mast from falling sideways either way, strong ropes, called Stays, are brought from the upper part of the masts to the lower part of the mast next before it.

The mast nearest the head or stem of the ship is called the Foremast; and its parts, and all the sails and rigging belonging to it, are named from the mast: thus, the Fore-chains, Fore-shrouds, Fore-top-mast, Fore-top-gallantmast, and so on, serve to distinguish these from the corresponding portions of the others. The middle mast is called the Main-mast, being the largest and loftiest of all; its upper masts, &c, are termed Main-top-mast, Mainchannels, Main-shrouds, and so on; and the aftermost mast is the Mizen, with its Shrouds, &c.

From the top of each of the three parts composing the three great masts is suspended, horizontally, a Yarq, or round bar, tapering to each end, to which the sails are attached. These yards are of very different lengths, the largest, the Main-yard, being, in a first-rate, more than one hundred feet long 1 and two feet three inches in diameter in the middle; the Main-top-gallant yard about fifty feet long, and ten inches in diameter.

According as the wind blows from different points, in regard to the course the ship is sailing, it is necessary that the direction of the yards should be changed, so as to form different angles with the central line, or with the keel. This is effected by ropes, brought from the ends of the yards to the mast behind that to which these belong, and then, passing through blocks, they come down to the deck; by pulling one of these, the other being slackened, the yard is brought round to the proper degree of inclination; this is termed bracing the yards, the ropes being called braces.

Besides the three upright masts above enumerated, there is ono projecting forward at the head of the vessel, inclined at an angle to the deck, called the Bowsprit; this is also prolonged by a thinner, called the Jib-boom, and occasionally by a third, the Flying-jib-boom, in an analogous manner as the masts are continued by the top-masts. There are two, sometimes three, yards hung perpendicular to the Bowsprit, and horizontally like the rest; the lower one, or that nearest the ship, is termed the Spritsail

• To facilitate the action and increase the power of the various ropes these pass over pulleys enclosed in oval blocks of wood, hence thus named; a strap of cord or iron passes round the frame, and carries a hook, by which the block can be hung or fixed wherever it is wanted; the running or moving rope passes through a slit in the block, in which the pulley or sheave is fixed, and by working in this, friction is diminished, and the force of the men pulling the rope is more advantageously applied. The immense number of blocks required in ships (there are nineteen on the main-yard alone) caused the invention, many years ago, by Mr. Brunei, the celebrated engineer, of a most beautiful set of machines for their construction, which are in Portsmouth Dockyard: these machines perfect a block from manual Tib" W00d witho(lt the nec»SBity of any, or very little,

yard, the next the Sprit-topsail-yard, and the furthest the Spritsail-top-gallant-yard.

The Sails.

There are few things relating to naval affairs which more astonish a person, not conversant with them, than the number and size of the sails which a ship, or, indeed, any vessel, can carry; that is to say, can sail with, without danger of being upset. This is not so striking in a threedecker as in smaller vessels, because the hull of the former stands very high out of the water, for the sake of its triple rank of guns, and, therefore, bears a greater proportion to its canvas than that of a frigate or a smaller vessel. Perhaps this circumstance is most surprising in the smallest vessels, as cutters; of those kept for pleasure, and therefore built for the purpose of sailing as fast as possible, without reference to freight or load, there are many the hull of which might be entirely wrapt up in the main-ssil.

It is, of course, very rarely, if ever, that a vessel carries at one time all the sail she is capable of; the reason of such a multiplicity is, that different sails may be employed, according to the circumstances of direction, of wind, and course. The sails of a ship, when complete, comprise the following. The lowermost sail of the mast, called from this the mainsail, or fore sail; the topsail, carried by the topsail-yard; the top-gallant-sail, and above this there is also set a royal sail, and again above this, but only on emergencies, a sail significantly called a sky-scraper. Besides all this, the three lowermost of these are capable of having their surface, to be exposed to the wind, increased by means of studding sails, which are narrow sails, set on each side beyond the regular one, by means of small booms or yards, which can be slid out so as to extend the lower yards and top-sail yards: the upper parts of these additional sails hang from small yards suspended from the principal ones, and the boom of the lower studding-sails is hooked on to the chains. Thus each of the two principal masts, the fore and main, are capable of bearing no less than thirteen distinct sails. If a ship could be imagined as cut through by a plane, at right angles to the keel, close to the mainmast, the area, or surface, of all the sails on this would be five or six times as great as that of the section or profile of the hull!

In our cut of the frigate, the starboard studding-sails are easily recognised on the fore-mast, and on both sides of the main-top gallant and main-royal; but as she is shown going nearly before a wind, there would be no advantage derived from the stay-sails, which, accordingly, are not set The flying-jib is, apparently, set to assist in steadying the motion; but we rather think the first-lieutenant is just ordering some more "light duck" to be spread, to catch every breath of the favourable gale.

The mizen mast, instead of a lower square sail like the two others, has a sail like that of a cutter, lying in the plane of the keel, its bottom stretched on a boom, which extends far over the Taffarel, and the upper edge carried by a Gaff or yard sloping upwards, supported by ropes from the top of the mizen-mast.

All these sails, the skyscrapers excepted, have four sides, as have also the sprit sails on the bowsprit, jib-boom, &c, and all except the sail last mentioned on the mizen, usually lie across the ship, or in planes forming considerable angles with the axis or central line of the ship. There are a number of sails which lie in the same plane with the keel, being attached to the various stays of the masts; these are triangular sails, and those are called stay sails, which are between the masts; those before the foremast, and connected with the bowsprit, are the fore stay-sail, the fbre-top-mast-stay-sail, the jib, sometimes a flying jib, and another called a middle rib, and there are two or three others used occasionally. Thus it appears that there are no less than fifty-three different sails, which arc used at times, though, we believe, seldom more than twenty are set at one time, for it is obviously Useless to extend or set a sail, if the wind is prevented from filling it by another which intercepts the current of air.

The higher the wind, the fewer the sails which a ship can carry ; but as a certain number or rather quantity, of canvas is necessary in different parts of the ship to allow of the vessel being steered, the principal sails, that is, the courses or lower sails, and the top-sails, admit of being reduced in extent by what is termed reefing; this is done by tying up the upper part of the sail to the yard by means of rows of strings called reef-points passing through the canvas; this reduces the depth of the sail, while its width is unaltered on the yard, which is therefore obliged to be lowered on the mast accordingly.

Our engravings of a Line-of-Battle Ship, showing the masts and yards, and of a Frigate under a press of sail, are copied from Mr. Cooke's work on Shipping, consisting of fifty beautiful plates, in which the various descriptions of vessels are accurately delineated.

The Anchors.

Another important part of a ship's stores must be noticed here, the Anchors, of which a Man-of-War and all large ships have several; the largest, the Sheet and Best Bower, weigh four and a half tons, or ninety hundred-weight. The immense importance of the anchor, the safety of the vessel often depending on it, requires that it should be very well made, and of the best materials; if the shank or main bar were cast of one piece of iron, it would be liable to have flaws or defects, which, however sound it might appear, would cause it to break when severely strained. To obviate this, the shank is formed of many different bars of the very best iron placed regularly, and so formed as to compose a cylinder; these are welded together by enormous hammers worked by machinery, and the shank thus produced is far more sound than if made in any other way.

Dimensions And Weight Of A Ship Of War.

The following are the principal dimensions of a firstrate line-of-battle ship, visited for the purposes of this account:—

Feet
Length of the lower gun-deck .... 205

keel, for tonnage . . . 17U

Width at the widest part 54

Depth of the hold 23

Height of figure at the head, from the keel . 56

in the midships SO

of the taffarel .64

Burden in tons . . 2700*.

This enormous ship was armed as follows:—

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors]

Discipline On Ship-board.

Not a step can be taken in the examination of a ship, without the necessity for the strictest discipline being ap

Earent. It must not be supposed that discipline means arshness and severity on the part of the captain and his officers towards the crew; it is well known that the commanders who are most strict in the proper exaction of the fulfilment of duty on the part of those under their command, arc often the greatest favourites with their men. Captain Basil Hall, in his excellent work, entitled Fragments of Voyages and Travels, has dwelt much on this topic, and has illustrated the mutual advantages of discipline, and the evils resulting from its abuse, in two admirablo stories, of which we will give a brief abstract, as conveying a beautiful moral lesson.

His majesty's ship Atalanta, commanded by Captain Hickey, in November, 1813, was standing in for Halifax

* The tonnage of a ship means the weight in merchandise, stores, ccc. &c, it can carry, and has no relation to the weight of the vessel itself, which is, probably, with ail its equipment and crew in it, three times that weight. In order to give some idea of the real weight of a ship, with its stores, &c, we 6ubjoin the following table of a 74-gun ship.

Tons. Cwt. His.

Hull 1390 6 20

Rigging 192 2 92

Artillery 211 12 83

Carpenter's, Gunner's, and Boatswain's Stores 21 5 0 Ballast, iron and shingle . . . . ; 300 0 0 (500 men and officers, and effects . . . 95 0 0 Six months' provisions 600 0 0

Total . . . 2810 6 83 And the quantity of water this weight will displace, when floating, is 97,800 cubic feet!

t A carronade is a particular species of cannon, with a larger bore, and much shorter and lighter than the ordinary guns, though they carry a heavier ball: they are more and more used in the navy. The name is derived from the Carron foundries, in Scoiland, where they were first cast.

Harbour, in one of the thick fogs so frequent on that coast, when it unhappily mistook the signal guns of another vessel in the same situation for those which are fired during such weather from Sambo rock, as guides to ships entering the harbour; the consequence was, that the Atalanta struck on the rocks, and the first blow carried away the rudder, half the stern-post, together with great part of the false keel, and, it is believed, a portion of the bottom. The ship instantly filled with water, and was buoyed up merely by the empty casks, till the decks and sides were burst and riven asunder by the waves. The captain, who, throughout, continued as composed as if nothing remarkable had occurred, then ordered the guns to be thrown overboard; but before this could be even attempted, the ship fell over so much, that the men could not stand. In lowering the boats, for the crew to take to one, the jollyboat was lost. The ship was now fast falling over on her beam-ends, and directions were given to cut away the masts; but the crash caused the ship to part in two, and a few seconds afterwards she again broke right across, between the fore and main masts. A considerable crowd of men had got into the pinnace (a boat), in hopes that she might float as the ship sunk; but the captain, seeing that the boat was over-loaded, desired some twenty men to quit her; and his orders were as promptly obeyed as they were coolly given, so completely was discipline maintained by the character of the commander and consequent con ft dence of the crew. The pinnace then floated, but was im mediately upset by a sea; the people in her, however, imi tating the conduct of their captain, retained their self-pos session, and by great exertions righted the boat, and got her clear of the wreck, where, at a little distance off, they waited further orders from their captain, who, with forty men, still clung to the remains of the vessel. It was now, however, absolutely necessary to quit it, as the wreck was disappearing rapidly; and in order to enable the boats to contain them, the men, as removed to the pinnace, were laid flat in the bottom, like herrings in a cask, while the small boats returned to pick off the rest, which was at last accomplished with great difficulty; but except the despatches, which had been secured by the captain from the first, and a chronometer, every thing on board was lost. The pinnace now contained eighty persons, the cutter forty-two, and the gig eighteen, with which load they barely floated, the captain being the very last person to quit the wreck of the ship, and hardly had he got into the boat, than the last fragments disappeared, accompanied by three hearty cheers from the gallant crew. The fog continued as dense as ever, and they had no means of knowing in which direction to proceed, and if it had not been for a small compass which one man had appended to his watch, for a toy, it is most probable that they would not yet have been preserved; at last they were all landed in safety, about twenty miles from Halifax, nearly naked, wet through and shivering, and miserably cramped by the close crowding in the boats. The captain took tho worst provided, and the most fatigued, round to the harbour in the boats, and the rest, under the officers, marched across the country in three divisions, with as much regularity as if going well-appointed on some regular expedition, though very few had any shoes, and they had to traverse a country only partially cleared; and the same evening, the whole erew, without one missing, officers, men and boys, assembled at Halifax in as eaact order, as if their ship had met with no accident.

The second story is tragically different, and presents one of the most striking pictures of passive courage ever pre sented to the contemplation. A captain of a ship of war, whose sole object of ambition was to distinguish himself by capturing an enemy's vessel, conceived that his surest mode of obtaining the fulfilment of his wishes was bydisciplining his crew so strictly, that in the event of an engagement he would be sure of victory by his superiority in this respect; but in order to obtaiu this, he harassed bis crew by such strict regulations, such constant and unremitting exertions, and such excessive severity, as to alienate all affection, and to bring his crew to the verge of insubordination. The day at length arrived when his expectations seemed about to be realized: a strange sai1 appeared in sight, which was soon made out to be an enemy. He summoned his crew, and addressed them in an energetic speech; reminding them of their duty and of the glory which awaited them he gave orders to clear for action, and was instantly and scrupulously obeyed: but the hour of retribution was at hand; his crew knew of his 111111)111011, knew it to be the source of their suffering, and determined to be revenged in the fullest manner. Their Own spirit forbad them to do any thing cowardly or mean, but they stood to their guns, and when the enemy began the engagement, they kept their places, and refused to return a shot; in vain their commander and his officers reproached, exhorted, supplicated; with their arms folded they awaited their fate, nor flinched while broadside after broadside struck them down: the battle, or rather the attack, was soon over, the enemy, surprised at the non-resistance, boarded the English vessel, and found the officers and their crew nearly all destroyed. The captain lived long enough to feel the bitter anguish of disappointment, and to be conscious of having been the cause; but he fell at last, before the vessel was taken possession of.

Inspection Of A Ship, And Church Servick On Board.

We shall now give our readers some idea of the routine on board a man-of-war, for it may be easily supposed that the discipline so essential to the fulfilment of their arduous duties, and those habits, without which so large a body of men could not be kept in health, both of mind and body, are only attainable by the strictest regularity and order: and as it is the moral picture of a seaman's life which we wish to present, and not the technical enumeration of his professional duties, we shall describe a Sunday morning; avowing, that we are again entirely indebted to Captain Hall's Fragments of Voyages for our account.

Every captain in the navy takes care that the Sabbath shall be one to his crew, as far as is consistent with the management of the vessel; at all events, that no unnecessary labour shall interfere with the performance of divine service: this day also is chosen for a personal examination of all his men by the commander, to enable him to judge of their health and appearance, and to hear and redress any complaints they may have to make.

Few landsmen can form any idea of the fastidious cleanliness in which every part of a ship is kept; no floor of a palace is so white, no parlour of a lady is so neat, as the decks of a man-of-war on the Sunday morning. The planks, which are scoured and swept every day of the week, receive a double portion of washing on Saturday: at seven o'clock the "hammocks are piped up," when each man brings up his bed scrupulously folded, and packed in the neatest manner, and places it in the nettings before mentioned, as intended for this purpose. When these preliminary steps are gone through, and every rope is coiled up in its proper place, the sailors go to breakfast, during which the word is passed to " clean for muster," and the dress is specified according to the time of year and climate; thus, at different seasons, is heard." Do you hear there! fore and aft t clean for muster at five bells—duck frocks and white trousers!" or "blue jackets and trousers" or "d'ye hear there! clean shirt and a shave for muster at five bells."

At half-past eight, the first watch is called ; " between decks," the store rooms, and, in short every hole and comer of the vessel, is then swept and put in the nicest order; all which is accomplished by half-past ten. The mate of the decks, the mate of the hold, the boatswain, gunner, and carpenter, having previously received reports from their subordinates, that the different departments they superintend are ready; and, reports being then finally made to the first lieutenant by the mates and warrant officers, he himself goes round the ship, to see that all is ready for the grand inspection. The captain then desires the lieutenant to tell the officer immediately in command to give out the order of " beat to divisions," which is done by the drummer; and the ship's crew range themselves in a single line along both sides of the quarter-deck, the gangways, and all round the forecastle, and in line-of-battle ships, the number being too large to be disposed on this space, they also range themselves in the same way on each side of the main-deck. The marines, under arms and in full uniform, fall in at the after-part of the quarter-deck. In each division, the men are ranged according to their rank, and each has a lieutenant at the head, who, as well as his midshipmen under him, is in full uniform: each division is then inspected by the officer in charge of it with minute attention, and a spot of tar on the trousers, or ill-mended hole in a shirt, are noticed with reproof. The medical men also pass along the lines to judge by their appearanee whether the men are healthy, and to ascertain whether any signs of scurvy are beginning to show themselves. When all is ready, the captain accompanied by the lieutenant goes round, and the former looks at every man from head to foot. During this exami

nation a pin might be heard to fall: but for the sound of the wind among the cordage, the tippling of the water round the bows, and the creaking as the ship heels over under a press of sail, she might be supposed unmanned and dismantled in Portsmouth Dock.

After going these rounds, the captain arrives at the galley, or kitchen, where he is received by the cook and hu mate, who lift the lids off the coppers, that their cleanliness may be examined, and let some of the soup run out. that the captain may inspect it. In short, every part is looked into. Beyond the galley is the hospital, which is next inspected, and the captain kindly inquires into the state and wants of each patient.

The crew having taken all their clothes-bags on deck for inspection, nothing is left on the lower decks but the mess-tables, kids, and crockery of each mess. The tablet, kept as white as if they were painted, are fixed by hinges at one end, to the ship's side, and are supported at the other by cords from the ceiling; against these rest the soup and grog kids of the mess, and the double row along the deck is lighted up fore and aft by a candle at each berth, preparatory to the captain's visit.

Without dwelling on the minutiae of this inspection) which would hardly be intelligible to general readers, and not very interesting to any, it is sufficient to say, that not a corner escapes the examination of the commander, in order to see that every part is in proper trim; and whan this visitation is over, and the captain returns to the quarter-deck, he turns to the first lieutenant, who has gone the whole round with him, and says," Now, sir, if you please, we wfll rig the church."

The quarter-deck is the place of worship. The pulpit which is either one of the binacles, or sometimes a stand of arras, is placed in the middle and covered over with a flag, and a quantity of gun-wadding is placed on a canister of shot to make a hassock for the chaplain (or for the captain, if there be no divine on board,) to kneel on. Chairs from the captain's-cabin and ward-room are set for the officers, and the men sit on their mess-stools, or on the gun-carriages, or on capstan-bars, resting on tubs, but all in due order and subordination, and with the utmost decorum. The awnings are spread over-head, to keep off the sun, if the weather be fine; but in rainy or squally weather, the church is prepared on the main-deck, aft under the quarter-deck. A pendant is hoisted to indicate that prayers are going on. and tins signal is respected by every other ship during the continuance of service.

The dinner-hour is always at noon, but on Sunday the people are left undisturbed till four o'clock, to read or recreate themselves in any way they please; but that which especially characterizes Sunday afternoon on board, is the cessation of all that noise and stir caused by the various occupations of the artificers and crew. The men either gather in groups on the deck, talking and tehing stories, or fall asleep; or walk up and down the lee gangways and forecastle. This inactivity, contrasted with the usual animated bustle on board, is a distinguishing mark of the day of rest. At half-past four, the merry pipe to supper awakens the sleepers, and the men gather together again at the mess-tables. At sun-set, the drum beats to quarters, when the men's names are called over, and their sobriety ascertained. The guns are examined, a duty never omitted, for obvious reasons, even on a Sabbath evening. Then follow the orders, " Reef topsails," " Stand by the hammocks," "Pipe down," " Roll up the cloths," "Call the watch;" and thus concludes the Seaman's Sunday.

If however the most striking scenes are presented, and the most varied reflections occasioned, by a vessel of war, yet the painful part of these are too powerful, not materially to militate against the pleasure which would be otherwise derivable from the contemplation of such a triumph of the human mind. Not so when we visit a merchantman, some one of those splendid ships, belonging to "the traffickers of the earth," of that city whose "merchants are princes," here the associations suggested by her peaceful equipment, are of none but the pleasant order. In this case, we can enjoy the honourable triumph and pride in our exertions, and can fearlessly turn in humility and thanksgiving to Him, who equally gave us the objects to enjoy, and the means for attaining them.

LONDON:
JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND.

Pviliiked In Welkly Numbers.Trick One Pesky, And In Mohtbit Past*,

FBJOI SlEFENCE. AND

Sclii ty all Bookse-Wis Rod Nev-ivtEiltn iu tin Kingdom.

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

UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION. APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

[graphic]

St. NICHOLAS' CHURCH/NEWCASTLE.

The church of St. Nicholas, Newcastle upon Tyne, was founded in 1091, by Osmund Earl of Dorset, Bishop of Salisbury and Chancellor of England. It has been repaired at various times, and probably no part of the original structure now remains. In 1359 it is said to have been rebuilt, and this date accords with the style of much of its architecture. In 1783, the inside was fitted up in the manner of a cathedral, the expense being defrayed by private subscription. The steeple was originally a flat tower, upon which the very elegant lantern represented in our engraving has been since reared. The name of the architect is unknown, but there is reason to suppose that it was erected at the expense of Robert Rhodes, an opulent inhabitant, who flourished about 1450. There is a somewhat similar church-tower in Edinburgh, and another in London (St. Dunstan's in the East, near the Custom-house), but they have not all the elegance and richness for which this is so remarkable.

In October 1644, when the town of Newcastle was besieged by the Scotch forces, the general pointed his cannon at the tower of St. Nicholas, and threatened to blow it down, unless the town capitulated. It is said that the mayor, Sir John Marley, immediately caused the chief of the Scotch prisoners, of whom they had a great number, to be so disposed upon and around the steeple, that its destruction must have involved theirs: "Our enemies," said he, "shall either fall with us, or preserve us." This saved the tower.

Four years ago, considerable apprehensions were excited for the safety of this beautiful edifice, a sinking of several inches taking place on one side. Buttresses have, however, been erected, and it is now declared to be out of danger.

The subject of ecclesiastical architecture is one to which it is much to be regretted more attention is not generally paid. It is a study of both an elegant and instructive nature: it possesses, besides, this advantage, that throughout the country every one has at hand an example from which to illustrate some particular style. Many of our Parish Churches are objects of extreme beauty; and others present great interest in an architectural point of view. To those who are fond of drawing, an acquaintance with this subject would greatly enhance both the interest and value of their favourite pursuit. To professional architects it might be supposed an indispensable branch of study; and, in an historical light, familiarity with architectural details often proves of the greatest value.

RURAL LIFE IN ENGLAND.

The stranger who would form a correct opinion of the English character, must not confine his observations to the metropolis. He must go forth into the country; he must sojourn in villages and hamlets; he must visit castles, villas, farm-houses, cottages; he must wander through parks and gardens; along hedges and green lanes; he must loiter about country churches; attend wakes, and other rural festivals; and cope with the people in all their conditions, and all their habits and humours.

In some countries the large cities absorb the wealth and fashion of the nation; they are the only fixed abodes of elegant and intelligent society, and the country is inhabited almost entirely by an uncultivated peasantry. In England, on the contrary, the metropolis is a mere gathering-place of the polite classes, where they devote a small portion of the year to gaiety, and then return again to the apparently more

congenial habits of rural life The various orders of society are, therefore, diffused over the whole surface of the kingdom, and the most retired neighbourhoods afford specimens of the different ranks.

The English, in fact, are strongly gifted with the rural feeling. They possess a quick sensibility to the beauties of nature, and a keen relish for the pleasures and employments of the country. This passion seems inherent in them. Even the inhabitants of cities, born and brought up among brick walls and bustling streets, enter with facility into rural habits, and evince a turn for rural occupation. The merchant has his snug retreat in the vicinity of the metropolis, where he often displays as much pride and zeal in the cultivation of his flower-garden, and the maturing of his fruits, as he does in the conduct of his business, and the success of his commercial enterprises. Even those less-fortunate individuals, who are doomed to pass their lives in the midst of din and traffic, contrive to have something that shall remind them of the green aspect of nature. In the most dark and dingy quarters of the city, the drawing-room window resembles frequently a bank of flowers; and every square has its mimic park, laid out with picturesque taste, and gleaming with refreshing verdure.

Those who see the Englishman only in town, are apt to form an unfavourable opinion of his social character. He is either absorbed in business, or distracted by the thousand engagements that dissipate time, thought, and feeling, in this huge metropolis. Wherever he happens to be, he is on the point of going somewhere else j at the moment he is talking on one subject, his mind is wandering to another; and while paying a friendly visit, he is calculating how he shall economize time so as to pay the other visits allotted to the morning.

It is in the country that the Englishman gives scope to his natural feelings. He breaks loose gladly from the cold formalities and negative civilities of town j throws off his habits of reserve, and becomes joyous and free-hearted. He manages to collect round him all the conveniences and elegancies of polite life, and to banish its restraints. He puts no constraint either upon his guests or himself, but, in the true spirit of hospitality, provides the means of enjoyment, and leaves every one to partake according to his inclination.

The taste of the English in the cultivation of land, and what is called landscape-gardening, is unrivalled, They have studied nature intently, and discover an exquisite sense of her beautiful forms and harmonious combinations. Those charms, which in other countries she lavishes in wild solitudes, are here assembled round the haunts of domestic life.

Nothing can be more imposing than the magnificence of English park-scenery. Vast lawns that extend like sheets of vivid green, with here and there clumps of gigantic trees, heaping up rich piles of foliage. The solemn pomp of groves and woodland glades, with the deer trooping in silent herds across them j the hare, bounding away to the covert: oi the pheasant, suddenly bursting upon the wing. The brook, taught to wind in the most natural meanderings, or expand into a glassy lake—the sequestered pool, reflecting the quivering trees, with the yellow leaf sleeping on its bosom, and the trout roaming fearlessly about its limpid waters; while some rustic temple or sylvan statue, grown green and dank with age, gives an air of classic sanctity tc the seclusion.

These are but a few of the features of parkscenery; but what most delights me, is the creative

« AnteriorContinuar »