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The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, No. 574 - Vol. XX, No. 574. Saturday, November 3, 1832
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THE MIRROR OF LITERATURE, AMUSEMENT, AND INSTRUCTION.

VOLUME XX, NO. 574.] SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 1832. [PRICE 2d.

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LYDFORD BRIDGE.

This is an interesting scene from the wild and wonderful in Nature. Its romantic luxuriance must win the attention of the artist, and the admiration of the less wistful beholder; while the philosophic mind, unaccustomed to vulgar wonder, may seek in its formation the cause of some of the most important changes of the earth's surface. Our esteemed friend and correspondent Vyvyan, is probably familiar with the locality of Lydford: his fancy might people it with pixies, and group its scenery into a kind of topographical romance; probably not unaided by its proximity to Dartmoor.[1]

Lydford is situated about seven miles north of Tavistock. It is, in the words of its topographers,[2] a poor decayed village, consisting of rude cottages. It was formerly a place of importance: for in Domesday Book, it is rated in the same manner and at the same time with London. Some remains of its ancient importance may still be seen in a square tower, or keep of a castle, which was formerly used as a court and a prison, where those criminals were tried and confined, who offended against the Stannary Laws. This building is alluded to by William Browne[3]—

They have a castle on a hill; I took it for an old windmill, The vane's blown off by weather; To lie therein one night, its guest, 'Twere better to be ston'd and prest, Or hang'd—now choose you whether.

The scenery round the village is singularly picturesque: one of its most prominent objects, The Bridge is represented in the Engraving. It bears great analogy, in situation and character, to the celebrated Devil's Bridge in Wales. It consists of one rude arch, thrown across a narrow, rocky chasm, which sinks nearly eighty feet from the level of the road. At the bottom of this channel the small river Lyd is heard rattling through its contracted course. The singularity of this scene is not perceived in merely passing over the bridge: to appreciate its character, and comprehend its awfully impressive effects, it is necessary to see the bridge, the chasm, and the roaring water, from different projecting crags which impend over the river. At a little distance below the bridge, "the fissure gradually spreads its rocky jaws; the bottom opens; and, instead of the dark precipices which have hitherto overhung and obscured the struggling river, it now emerges into day, and rolls its murmuring current through a winding valley, confined within magnificent banks, darkened with woods, which swell into bold promontories, or fall back into sweeping recesses, till they are lost to the eye in distance. Thickly shaded by trees, which shoot out from the sides of the rent, the scene at Lydford Bridge is not so terrific as it would have been, had a little more light been let in upon the abyss, just sufficient to produce a darkness visible. As it is, however, the chasm cannot be regarded without shuddering; nor will the stoutest heart meditate unappalled upon the dreadful anecdotes connected with the spot."[4]

Scenes of this description frequently give rise to marvellous stories; and Lydford Bridge has furnished many themes for the gossip's tongue. It is related, that a London rider was benighted on this road, in a heavy storm, and, wishing to get to some place of shelter, spurred his horse forward with more than common speed. The tempest had been tremendous during the night; and in the morning the rider was informed that Lydford Bridge had been swept away with the current. He shuddered to reflect on his narrow escape; his horse having cleared the chasm by a great sudden leap in the middle of his course, though the occasion of his making it at the time was unknown.

Two or three persons have chosen this spot for self-destruction; and in a moment of desperation, have dashed themselves from the bridge into the murky chasm.

[1] Dartmoor appears the head-quarters of dreariness and desolation, forming a mountain tract of nearly 80,000 acres in extent, strewed with granite boulders and fragments of rocks, and appearing to set cultivation at defiance.—Brande's Outline of Geology.

[2] John Britton and E.W. Brayley: in the Beauties of England and Wales, vol. iv.

[3] A poet of considerable eminence in his day, born at Tavistock, in the year 1590. He was noticed by Selden, Drayton, Brooke, Glanville, and Ben Jonson.

[4] Warner's Walk through the Western Counties.

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Libels on Poets.—Cicero tells us, Democritus and Plato said that there could be no good poet without a tincture of madness; and Aristotle calls poets madmen.—P.T.W.

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THOU WERT THE RAINBOW OF MY DREAMS.

Thou wert the rainbow of my dreams, To whom the eyes of Hope might turn, And bid her sacred flame arise Like incense from the festal urn; But as the thunder clouds conspire To wreck the lovely summer sky, So Death destroyed the liquid fire Which shone so brightly in thine eye!

The cypress weeps upon thy tomb: But when the stars unfold their leaves Amid their bow'rs of purple gloom, More fervently my spirit grieves; And as the rainbow sheds its light In fairy hues upon the sea, So this cold world appears more bright When pensive Memory thinks of thee!

G.R.C.

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LORD BYRON.

Translation of a letter written by Lord Byron, in Greek and Italian, to the Pacha of Patras.[5]

Highness.—A vessel containing several of my friends and servants, having been captured and conducted by a Turkish frigate to your fortresses, was released by your highness' command. I return you thanks, not for releasing a vessel bearing a neutral flag, and which being under British protection, no one had a right to detain; but for having treated my friends with great courtesy while at your disposal. Hoping it may not be unacceptable to your highness, I have requested the Greek Governor of this place to grant me four Turkish prisoners; which has been readily conceded. I send them therefore, free, to your highness, in order to return your courtesy as far as is in my power. They are sent without conditions, but if the affair is worthy of your remembrance, I would merely beseech your highness to treat with humanity such Greeks as are in your power, or may chance to fall into the hands of the Musselmen, since the horrors of war are sufficient in themselves, without adding on either side cruelties in cold blood.

I have the honour to be, &c.

NOEL BYRON, Peer of England.

Missolonghi, Jan. 23, 1824.

[5] From a correspondent (E.), who believes that no English version of this letter has hitherto appeared in print.

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WHEN WILT THOU RETURN?

When wilt thou return? The silver clouds are closing Like billows o'er the fairy path Of sunset there reposing; The sapphire fields of heaven, With its golden splendour burn, And purple is the mountain peak,— But when wilt thou return?

When wilt thou return? The woods are bright with summer, And the violet's bower is grac'd With the rose—a queenly comer; The stars, that in the air Like ethereal spirits burn, Seem watching for thy steps,— Oh I when wilt thou return?

When wilt thou return? The sheathless sword is idle, And each warrior from his steed Has thrown aside the bridle. Hark!—'tis the trumpet's call! With hope our bosoms burn; Its echo wakes the distant hills, Announcing thy return!

G.R.C.

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ANECDOTE GALLERY.

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RECORDS OF MY LIFE.

BY THE AUTHOR OF "MONSIEUR TONSON."

Angelica Kauffman.

The person of this lady, by all accounts, was highly interesting, and her manners and accomplishments were peculiarly attractive. It is said that Sir Joshua Reynolds, who was thoroughly acquainted with human nature, and never likely to be deceived in his estimate of individuals, was so much attached to her that he solicited her hand. It appeared, however, that she refused him as she was attached to the late Sir Nathaniel Holland, then Mr. Dance, an eminent painter, whose portrait of Garrick in the character of Richard the Third is the best and most spirited representation of that unrivalled actor that ever appeared, though all the most distinguished artists of the time employed themselves on the same admirable subject. The correspondence that had taken place between Mrs. Kauffman and Mr. Dance became known, and was thought to be of a very interesting description, insomuch that his Majesty George the Third, who generally heard of anything worthy of attention, requested Mr. Dance would permit him to peruse the letters that had passed between them during their courtship. What put a period to an intercourse which, being founded upon mutual attachment, held forth so favourable a prospect of mutual happiness, has never been developed, and is only matter of conjecture. Mrs. Kauffman, after the termination of this promising courtship, went abroad, and was unfortunately deluded into a marriage with a common footman, in Germany, who had assumed a title and appeared to be a person of high rank and affluence. Mrs. Kauffman, it is said, by the intervention of friends had recourse to legal authorities, was enabled to separate from the impostor, but did not return to this country, and died a few years after, having never recovered her spirits after the shock of so degrading an alliance. It is not a little surprising that a lady so intelligent and accomplished should have been the victim of such a deception.

Highwaymen.—Jemmy Maclaine.

Mr. Donaldson told me that once having betted twenty pounds on a horse at Newmarket, he won, but at the end of the race could not find the person who had lost. Returning to London the next day, his post-chaise was stopped by a highwayman, whom he immediately recognised as the loser of the day before. He addressed the highwayman as follows: "Sir, I will give you all I have about me if you will pay me the twenty pounds which I won of you yesterday at Newmarket." The man instantly spurred his horse, and was off in a moment. It is somewhat strange that, soon after Mr. Donaldson landed in Jamaica, he saw the same man in a coffee-house. He approached him, and in a whisper reminded him of his loss at Newmarket; the man rushed out of the room, and, according to report went to the Blue Mountains, and was never heard of again.

Mr. Donaldson was in real danger from another highwayman, who was celebrated in his day, and known as a fashionable man by the name of Maclaine. This man came from Ireland, and made a splendid figure for some time, but as his means of support were not known, he was generally considered as a doubtful character. He was by all accounts a tall, showy, good-looking man, and a frequent visitor at Button's Coffee-house, founded, as is well known, by Addison, in favour of an old servant of the Warwick family, but never visited by him, when driven from his home by the ill-humour of his wife; he then resorted to Will's, on the opposite side of the same street, that he might not be reminded of domestic anxieties. Button's was on the south side of Russell-street, Covent-garden; and Will's in the same street, at the corner of Bow-street. Button's became a private house, and Mrs. Inchbald lodged there. Mr. Donaldson, observing that Maclaine paid particular attention to the bar-maid, the daughter of the landlord, gave a hint to the father of Maclaine's dubious character. The father cautioned his daughter against the addresses of Maclaine, and imprudently told her by whose advice he put her on her guard; she as imprudently told Maclaine. The next time Donaldson visited the coffee-room, and was sitting in one of the boxes, Maclaine entered, and in a loud tone said, "Mr. Donaldson, I wish to spake to you in a private room." Mr. Donaldson being unarmed, and naturally afraid of being alone with such a man, said in answer, that as nothing could pass between them that he did not wish the whole world to know, he begged leave to decline the invitation. "Very well," said Maclaine, as he left the room, "we shall mate again." A day or two after, as Mr. Donaldson was walking near Richmond in the evening, he saw Maclaine on horseback, who on perceiving him spurred the animal and was rapidly approaching him; fortunately, at that moment a gentleman's carriage appeared in view, when Maclaine immediately turned his horse towards the carriage, and Donaldson hurried into the protection of Richmond as fast as possible. But for the appearance of the carriage, which presented better prey, it is probable that Maclaine would have shot Mr. Donaldson immediately. Maclaine a short time after committed a highway robbery, was tried, found guilty, and hanged at Tyburn.

Extraordinary Story.

What the religious principles of Mr. Donaldson were, I never knew, but I am sure he had too manly a mind to give way to superstition. The following circumstance, however, he told me as a fact in which he placed full confidence, on account of the character of the gentleman who related it. The latter was a particular friend of his, and a member of Parliament. In order to attend the House of Commons, he had taken apartments in St. Anne's Churchyard, Westminster. On the evening when he took possession, he was struck with something that appeared to him mysterious in the manner of the maid-servant, who looked like a man disguised; and he felt a very unpleasant emotion. This feeling was strengthened by a similar deportment in the mistress of the house, who soon after entered his room, and asked him if he wanted anything before he retired to rest: disliking her manner, he soon dismissed her, and went to bed, but the disagreeable impression made on his mind by the maid and mistress, kept him long awake; at length, however, he fell asleep. During his sleep he dreamed that the corpse of a gentleman, who had been murdered, was deposited in the cellar of the house. This dream co-operating with the unfavourable, or rather repulsive countenances and demeanour of the two women, precluded all hopes of renewed sleep, and it being the summer season, he arose about five o'clock in the morning, took his hat, and resolved to quit a house of such alarm and terror. To his surprise, as he was leaving it, he met the mistress in the entry, dressed, as if she had never gone to bed. She seemed to be much agitated, and inquired his reason for wishing to go out so early in the morning. He hesitated a moment with increased alarm, and then told her that he expected a friend, who was to arrive by a stage in Bishopsgate-street, and that he was going to meet him. He was suffered to go out of the house, and when revived by the open air, he felt, as he afterwards declared, as if relieved from impending destruction. He stated that in a few hours after, he returned with a friend to whom he had told his dream, and the impression made on him by the maid and the mistress; he, however, only laughed at him for his superstitious terrors, but on entering the house, they found that it was deserted, and calling in a gentleman who was accidentally passing, they all descended to the cellar, and actually found a corpse in the state which the gentleman's dream had represented.

Drawing an Inference.

Dr. Monsey, with two or three old members of the university, in the course of an evening walk, differed about a proper definition of man. While they were severally offering their notions on the subject, they came to a wall where an itinerant artist had drawn various representations of animals, ships, &c. After complimenting him on his skill, one of the gentlemen asked him if he could draw an inference. "No," said the artist, "I never saw one." Logic then gave way to jocularity, and a man coming by with a fine team of horses, they stopped him, spoke highly of the condition of his horses, particularly admiring the first. "That horse, carter," said another of the gentlemen, "seems to be a very strong one, I suppose he could draw a butt," The man assented. "Do you think he could draw an inference?"—"Why," said the man, "he can draw anything in reason." "There," said Monsey, "what becomes of your definition, when you met a man that could not draw an inference and a horse that could?"

Disposal of the body for Dissection.

Dr. Monsey had the utmost contempt for funeral ceremonies, and exacted a promise from his daughter, that she would not interfere with the arrangement which he had made with Mr. Thompson Forster, the surgeon, for the disposal of his body, conceiving that whenever it was dissected by that gentleman, something might occur for the illustration and advancement of anatomy. "What can it signify to me," said he, "whether my carcass is cut up by the knife of a surgeon, or the tooth of a worm?" He had a large box in his chambers at Chelsea, full of air-holes, for the purpose of carrying his body to Mr. Forster, in case he should be in a trance when supposed to be dead. It was provided with poles, like a sedan-chair.

Voltaire.

Mentioning Voltaire, I may as well relate in this place a circumstance communicated to me by Monsey, upon what he deemed good authority, that Voltaire being invited to dine with a lady of quality while he was in London, to meet some persons of distinction, waited upon the lady an hour or two earlier than the time appointed. The lady apologized for the necessity of leaving him, as she had visits to pay, but begged he would amuse himself with the books in the room, promising to return very soon. After the party broke up, having occasion to refer to her escrutoire, she evidently found that it had been opened in her absence, and though nothing had been taken away, her papers were obviously not in the same order as when she left them. She inquired anxiously who had been in the room, and was assured nobody but Voltaire, who had remained there till she returned home. As Voltaire was destitute of all religious principles it is not wonderful that he was equally devoid of all moral delicacy. A severe account of his conduct towards the great King of Prussia, while he was at the court of that monarch, is given in "The Reverie," a work before referred to.

Voltaire once dined in company with Pope, Lord Bolingkroke, and several of the most distinguished characters in London, and said it was "the proudest day he had ever enjoyed."

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THE PUBLIC JOURNALS.

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THE CINQUE PORTS—THEIR PAST AND PRESENT STATE.

(Abridged from the United Service Journal.)

The precise time when the Cinque Ports were first incorporated by charter is unknown, but it was at a very early period of our history; the institution being formed on that adopted by the Romans, while masters of Britain, for the defence of the coasts against the northern pirates. The difference between them consists in the number of the stations incorporated, the Roman being nine, under the governance of an officer whose title was, Comes littoris Saxonici; and the Saxon consisting of five, under the superintendence of a chief, whose title is, Lord Warden and Admiral of the Cinque Ports. There is no charter extant of the ports prior to Edward I.; and as they are not mentioned collectively in Domesday, many persons have been led to conclude, I think erroneously, that they did not exist as a corporation at the time when that ancient record was taken. Dover, Sandwich, and Romney are named as privileged ports, from which it may be inferred, that the corporation flourished at that time,—and for this reason,—Hastings has always been considered the first port in precedency, which would not probably have been the case, if it had been one of the latest privileged. The charter of Edward I. mentions immunities granted to the Cinque Ports by William the Conqueror; and, what is still more to the purpose, because it carries back their origin to the Saxon times, is, that King John, in his charter, says, that the Barons of the Cinque Ports had in their possession, charters of most of the preceding kings, back to Edward the Confessor, which he had seen. So, having traced them up to a Saxon origin, I must leave to some future antiquary the task of settling the precise date of their first incorporation.

The five incorporated ports are, Hastings, Sandwich, Dover, Romney, and Hythe. Attached to each port are several limbs or members, the inhabitants of which participate in their privileges, and bear a share of their expenses. Rye and Winchelsea were united to Hastings about the first year of the reign of King John, under the denomination of the two ancient towns, and they appear to have obtained the superiority which they now hold over the other limbs, at a very early period, a charter of the year 1247 styling them, by way of eminence,nobiliora membra Quinque Portuum. The limbs are first mentioned in the Red-Book of the Exchequer, a miscellaneous collection of treatises, written before and after the Conquest, and collected together by Alexander de Swereford, Archdeacon of Shrewsbury, an officer of the Exchequer, who died in 1246: and also in the Domesday of the Ports, an ancient manuscript, formerly kept in Dover castle, but now unfortunately lost; but they do not occur in any charter till that of Edward IV. By what means or for what purpose these limbs became united to the five head ports, is now matter of speculation.

The duties which the Ports were bound to perform were incessant and of the most arduous character, particularly during the early years of the institution, when the narrow seas were constantly infested by numerous hordes of fierce, adventurous, and reckless pirates. Exonerated from all other services, they were bound to exert their own naval force for the protection of the realm, for the maintenance of the free navigation of the Channel, for the prevention of piracies, and all impediments and interruptions whatsoever. Effectually to perform these services, dangerous and difficult it must be allowed, they were obliged to furnish among them fifty-seven ships, each manned with twenty men and one boy, at their own cost, for fifteen days, and for as long a period afterwards as the king pleased to appoint; but they were then entitled to receive pay for their services. The sums granted to them by the crown were by no means a remuneration for the expenses attendant on the large naval force they wore obliged to keep up at all times for the service of the kingdom, and often did not cover a third part of the necessary expenditure. The ships of the Cinque Ports, therefore, were the navy of the realm, and in almost every reign the pages of history show with how great honour and reputation the Ports discharged the sacred trust reposed in their valour, skill and bravery, by their confiding country. We sometimes find them fitting out double the number of ships specified in their charters; and when larger ones were thought necessary, they have equipped a smaller number, at an expense equivalent to that which their service by tenure demanded. In the reign of Elizabeth they had five ships, of one hundred and sixty tons each, at sea for five months, entirely at their own charge; and in the reign of Charles the First, they fitted out two large ships, which served for two months, and cost them more than eighteen hundred pounds.

The honours and privileges granted to the Cinque Ports, in consideration of these services, were great and numerous. They were each to send two barons to represent them in parliament; they were, by their deputies, to hear the canopy over the king's head at his coronation, and to dine at the uppermost table, on his right hand, in the great hall; they were exempted from subsidies and other aids; their heirs were free from personal wardship, notwithstanding any tenure; they were to be impleaded in their own towns, and nowhere else; they were to hold pleas and actions real and personal; to have conusance of fines; and the power of enfranchising villeins; they were exempt from tolls, and had full liberty of buying and selling, with many other privileges of less importance.

To direct the energies, to enforce the due performance of the important services, and to protect the extraordinary privileges of the Ports, an officer was created, and styled Lord Warden, Chancellor, and Admiral of the Cinque Ports, an officer of such high dignity and honour, that it has been sometimes executed by the heirs-apparent to the crown, often by princes of the blood royal, and always by persons of the first rank in the kingdom.

History affords abundant proof of the early grandeur and importance of the Cinque Ports, situated in a district which, from the earliest periods of authentic record, has been allowed to be the most fertile, and the best cultivated in the kingdom, as well as the principal seat of foreign commerce. Here the Roman power in Britain shone in its greatest splendour; many good ports were constructed and fortified, large remains of which exist to the present time, melancholy indications of the instability of all mundane things. The prosperity and importance of this district, the chief, or indeed the only, seat of maritime power, at that period, cannot be better illustrated than by the fact of Carausius and Allectus holding the title of emperors for ten years from the power afforded them by the naval force of Britain. But the grandeur of the Romans has faded into dimness, and of their magnificence nothing remains but mouldering ruins. Their celebrated haven, situated between Kent and the Isle of Thanet, which for position, extent, and safety, exceeded any which we have remaining, is now lost; and of their other ports, some are completely annihilated, others have become very inconsiderable, and all very greatly impaired.

Under our Saxon ancestors, by whom the Cinque Ports were first chartered, all the havens were open and in good condition, in which state they were found by the Normans, who confirmed to the Ports their ancient privileges. Through several centuries their prosperity continued to increase; the towns were well built, fully inhabited, and in possession of a lucrative and extensive commerce; they had many fine ships constantly employed, and abounded with hardy and intrepid seamen; opulence was visible in their streets, and happiness in their dwellings. But times have sadly changed with them. Let us inquire into the causes which led to their decay. The first cause is the failing of their several havens, some by the desertion of the sea, and others from being choked up by the impetuosity of that boisterous and uncertain element. The second is the change that has taken place in the method of raising and supporting a national marine, now no longer entrusted to the Cinque Ports; and the third was from the invasion of their privileges with respect to trade.

It is evident from their history that the Cinque Ports were once safe and commodious harbours, the decay of which is attributable chiefly to the practice of inning or gaining land from the sea; the first attempts at which were made upon the estuary into which the river Rother discharges itself, between Lydd and Romney. As there were marshes here in the time of the Saxons, and as almost all the property in the neighbourhood belonged to the church, it is most probable that this mischievous practice was first introduced by their clergy. By various operations the river was forced into a new channel, and a very strong fence, called a ree, was built to ensure its perpetual exclusion. The success which attended this operation roused the cupidity of the Archbishops of Canterbury, who considering it as an excellent method for increasing their property, continued to make large and successful inroads on the sea, till the tract of land so gained may be computed at between fifty and sixty thousand acres, now become rich and fertile pastures, producing good rents, and extremely valuable.

Before these encroachments were effected upon the sea, no contention existed between that turbulent element and the shore; but as soon as cupidity made inroads upon its ancient boundary, and declared war against the order of nature, the effects of its impetuous resentment were speedily felt. Whoever supposes he can control old Ocean, or make war upon his ancient border with impunity, will find himself mistaken, and soon discover that he knew little of the perseverance, the genius, or the power of his opponent. It retired from some towns and places where they intended it should remain, and overflowed or washed away others grown rich by its bounty; here it fretted and undermined the shore till it fell, and there it cast up beach and sand, covering a good soil with that which is both disagreeable and useless; and instead of being the source of industry and wealth, it became the engine of destruction and terror. Hastings, Romney, Hythe, Rye, and Winchelsea, with their dependencies, are now totally gone as ports, and greatly diminished in wealth and consequence. Winchelsea was once so large and handsome, that Elizabeth, during one of her progresses, bestowed upon it the appellation of Little London. Hythe formerly contained seven parish churches, now reduced to one. Rye and Romney look as if the plague had been raging through their dull and gloomy streets, and had carried off nearly all the population. Hastings, though still flourishing as a town, owes its prosperity to its having become a fashionable sea-bathing-place; for as to a port or haven, there is not a vestige of one remaining. Thus it will be seen that private individuals, for their own benefit, have been suffered to gain from the sea fifty thousand acres of pasture land, at a cost to the nation of five safe and commodious harbours, and the ruin of their several towns; thus reversing the political maxim, that private interest ought to give way to public benefit.

Similar in state to the five towns just named, is the once-celebrated and commodious port and town of Sandwich, now distant a mile and a half from the sea. This circumstance, also, is not attributable to any natural decline or desertion of the water, but to the long-continued exertions of individuals, for the purpose of gaining land from that estuary which formerly divided Kent from the Isle of Thanet. The estuary is no more, and deplorable are the consequences which have followed its loss; for towns have dwindled into villages, and villages into solitary farm-houses, throughout the entire district through which it flowed; trade and commerce have declined, and population has suffered a most extensive and frightful reduction.

In exchange for the ancient prosperity of this neighbourhood, we have large fens or salt marshes, rich in fertility and malaria; but in this, as in the former contest, the sea has had the best of it; for Bede has clearly expressed in his writings that "the Isle of Thanet was of considerable bigness, containing, according to the English way of reckoning, 600 families." Supposing, therefore, a family or a hide of land to contain only 64 acres, the smallest quantity taken by any author of credit, the quantity of land, at the time he wrote, will amount to 38,400 acres; which, exclusive of the salt marshes, is double the quantity contained in the island at the present time; we have, therefore, lost more land than we have gained, and, most unfortunately, the safe and eligible port of Sandwich into the bargain.

The port of the town of Sandwich, was for centuries one of the best and most frequented in the realm, producing to the revenue of the customs between sixteen and seventeen thousand pounds. But with the decay of her haven, commerce declined, and the revenue became so small, "that it was scarcely sufficent to satisfy the customer of his fee:" a dull and melancholy gloom is now spread through all her streets, and around her walls, where, during the times that her haven was good and her woollen manufactures were prosperous, naught was visible but activity, industry, and opulence. Her sun has been long and darkly eclipsed; but with a little well-directed exertion on the part of her inhabitants, and a moderate expenditure, it might be made to shine again, though not, perhaps, in all the brilliancy of its former splendour.[6]

Dover, the other port remaining to be noticed, is certainly a flourishing town at present; but to what does it owe its prosperity? Not to any of its advantages as one of the Cinque Ports, but to the circumstances of its being the port of communication with out Gallic neighbours, and to its having become frequented for the purpose of sea-bathing, which latter is a recent event. As a sea-bathing place it is likely it may appear cheerful and gay, even when the Continent is closed against us; but before it became a candidate for the favour of the migratory hordes of the summer months, it was, during the period of a war with France, one of the dullest towns in the kingdom.

The last calamity which I shall notice, is the attack which was made upon their home trade. They were, by their charter, to have full liberty of buying and selling, which privilege was opposed by the citizens of London, who disputed their right to buy and sell freely their woollens in Blackwell Hall. The charter of the ports is one hundred years older than that of London, but, notwithstanding this priority of right, the citizens of London prevailed. The result was indeed calamitous, for after the decay of the haven, the chief source of prosperity to the town of Sandwich consisted in the woollen manufactures, and as the freedom of buying and selling was now denied, the manufacturers immediately removed, and were soon followed by the owners of the trading vessels, and the merchants; and thus basely deprived of those advantages from which arose their ancient opulence and splendour, they sank with rapidity into that insignificance and poverty which have unfortunately remained their inseparable companions up to the present hour. Among the princes who have executed the high and honourable office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, we find the names of the brave and unfortunate Harold, in the time of the Confessor, and Edward, Prince of Wales, in the time of Henry III. Henry V., when Prince of Wales, held this office, which was afterwards filled by Humphry, Duke of Gloucester. James II., when Duke of York, was Lord Warden, as was also Prince George of Denmark, with many other princes of the royal blood. In celebrated names among the nobility, the catalogue of Lords Warden is eminently rich. The family of Fiennes occurs frequently, as does also that of Montfort. Hugh Bigod; several of the family of Cobham, as well as the names of Burghersh, De Grey, Beauchamp, Basset, and De Burgh, are studded over the calendar, in the early reigns. Edward, Lord Zouch, and George, Duke of Buckingham, were Lords Warden in the reign of James I.; since that period the office has been filled by the Duke of Ormond; the Earl of Holdernesse, whose attention to the advantages of the ports was great; Lord North, the late Mr. Pitt, whose affability and condescension, added to a real regard for the prosperity of the Cinque Ports, and an unremitted attention to the duties of the Wardenship, gained him universal esteem; and lastly, by that honest and respected stateman, the late Earl of Liverpool. The mantle of the ports has now fallen on his Grace the Duke of Wellington, than whose name there does not exist a greater in the catalogue of Lords Warden. The public spirit displayed by the Duke, since his wardenship, cannot be too widely known, nor too highly applauded,—his grace having paid into the Treasury, for the public service, the whole amount of the proceeds of his office, as Lord Warden, thus furnishing a noble example of magnanimity and disinterestedness.

[6] We believe that measures are in progress for re-establishing the commercial importance of Sandwich, by the restoration of the once celebrated haven. The town, we may add, is noble in its decay; for, among the jurats and burgesses are several worthy and opulent retired merchants, who would doubtless rejoice in the revival of Sandwich, for the welfare of their more aspiring townsmen,—Ed. M.

* * * * *

DRYBURGH ABBEY.

[The clever stanzas transferred from a late number of the Literary Gazette to No. 572 of the Mirror, are from the spirited pen of Mr. Charles Swain: they are the most poetical and appropriate of the tributes yet inscribed to the memory of Sir Walter Scott, although this is but mean praise compared with their merit. In the Gazette of Saturday last, the following additions are suggested by two different correspondents, "though," as the editor observes, "they are offered with great modesty by their authors."]

And after these, with hand in hand, the Sisters Troil appear; Poor "Mina's" cheek was deadly pale, in "Brenda's" eye a tear; And "Norna," in a sable vest, sang wild a funeral cry, And waved aloft a bough of yew, in solemn mystery.

"George Heriot" crap'd, and "Jenkin Vin" with prentice-cap in hand— Ev'en "Lady Palla" left her shrine to join that funeral band; But hood and veil conceal'd her form—yet, hark! in whisper's tone She breathes a Christian's holy prayer for the mighty spirit flown.

A wail!—a hollow, churchyard wail!—a wild weird-sister's cry!— Ah! "Annie Winnie," thou too here?—and "Alice?"—vanish—fly! "Not so," they shrieked, "we'll see the corse—the bonny corse; 'twas meet— And pity 'twas we were not there to bind his winding sheet."

Old "Owen" passed with tottering step, and lost and wandering looks; "He's balanced his account," he cried, "and closed his earthly books;" Bold "Loxley," with his bow unbent—unhelm'd "Le Belafre," Together pass'd—the archer wiped one silent tear away.

Stern "Bridgenorth," with his daughter's arm hung on his own, stalk'd by; The blushing "Alice" veils her face from "Julian Peveril's" eye: "Alack-a-day," 'Daft Davie' cries—"come, follow, follow me, We'll strew his grave with cowslip buds and blooming rosemary."

In distance from the mournful throng, like stars of other spheres, The lovely "Mary Stuart" pays the homage of her tears, With "Cath'rine Seymore" at the shrine of Scotia's dearest name, And with her bends the "Douglas'" knees, with bold young "Roland Graeme."

But hark! what fairy melody comes wafted on the gale— Oh! 'tis "Fenella's" sighing lute, in notes of woe and wail: "Claud Halero" catches at the strain, and mourns the minstrel gone, "His spirit rest in peace where sleeps the shade of glorious John!"

With spattered cloak, the ladies' knight, the gallant "Rawleigh" see, "Sir Creveceux's" plume waves by his side, and "Durward's" fleur-de-lis; There "Janet" leans on "Foster's" arm—e'en "Varney's" treacherous eye Is moistened with a tear that speaks remorse's agony.

Next, muffled in his sable cloak, "Tressilian" wends his way, His slouching hat denies his brow the cheering light of day; See how he dogs the proud earl's steps, as "Leicester" bears along The lovely "Amy" on his arm through that sad mournful throng.

There "Lillias" pass'd with fairy step, in hood and mantle green, Her sire, "Redgauntlet's" eagle eye is fixed on her, I ween; And "Wandering Willie" doffs his cap, to raise his sightless eye To Heaven, and cried, "God rest his soul in yonder sunny sky!"

Here "Donald Lean," with fillibeg and tartan-skirted knee; There pale was "Cleveland," as he slept by Stromness' howling sea; With faltering step crept "Trapbois" by, with drooping palsied head, More like a charnel truant stray'd from regions of the dead.

And thus they pass, a mournful train, the "squire," the "belted knight," The "hood and cowl," the ladies' page, and woman's image bright; In distance now the solemn notes their requiem's chant prolong, And now 'tis hush'd—to other ears they bear their funeral song.

* * * * *

"Two beauteous sisters, side by side, their wonted station kept; The dark-eyed 'Minna' look'd to Heaven, the gentle 'Brenda' wept; Wild 'Norna,' in her mantle wrapp'd, with noiseless step mov'd on, 'Claud Halcro' in his grief awhile forgot e'en glorious 'John.'

The princely 'Saladin' appear'd, aside his splendour laid, And only by his graceful mien and piercing glance betray'd; The lofty 'Edith,' followed by the silent 'Nubian slave,' Dropp'd lightly, as she pass'd, a wreath upon the poet's grave."

* * * * *



THE TOPOGRAPHER.



LESTINGHAM CHURCH.

(From a Correspondent.)

Lestingham, which is supposed to signify lasting-home, is a village near Kirkby Moorside, Yorkshire, the scene of Buckingham's death, so caricatured by Pope in his Dunciad. It is remarkable on account of its church, which is a most interesting edifice to the antiquary, exhibiting a true specimen of Saxon architecture. The east end terminates in a semicircular recess for the altar, resembling the tribune of the Roman basilica. It was here that Cedd, bishop of the East Saxons, or London, founded a monastery for Benedictines, about the year 648, or, some say, 655. The church of Lestingham was the first which was built in this district, or the first of which we have any account. It was originally constructed of wood, and it was not till many years after that a stone one was erected.

Cedd was a Saxon missionary, educated at the monastery of Lindisfarne, now Holy Island, not far from Bamburgh, the capital of Bernicia. Ethelwald, king of Deira, knowing Cedd to be a man of real piety, desired him to accept some land for the building of a monastery, at which the king might attend to pray. Cedd availed himself of the proposal, and chose Lestingham. Having fixed on the spot for the site of the sanctuary, he resolved to consecrate it by fasting and prayer all the Lent; eating nothing except on the Lord's day, until evening; and then only a little bread, an egg, and a small quantity of milk diluted with water; he then began the building. He established in it the same discipline observed at Lindisfarne. Cedd governed his diocese many years; and died of a plague, when on a visit to his favourite monastery at Lindisfarne, where he had been ordained bishop by Finan; he was interred here, 664, but his remains were taken up, and re-interred in the present church, on the right side of the altar.



The present Saxon church contains many relics of antiquity; as painted glass, ancient inscriptions, &c.; but the most remarkable feature of is interior is the celebrated crypt, or vault, formerly used as a depository for the venerated relics of canonized prelates. At the east end of this subterraneous retreat, from the window through which the light faintly gleams, the scene is interesting to astonishment. Here you perceive the massy arches ranged in perspective on huge cylindrical pillars, with variously sculptured capitals, each differing from the other, and all in the real Saxon style; to this add the groined roof, and the stairs at the west end, leading up into the church, enveloped in a luminous obscurity, from the scanty light admitted by the window at the east end. From the account given by Venerable Bede, that the body of Cedd was interred on the right of the altar, we may suppose that the crypt was built after the erection of the church, though the time cannot be ascertained.

About fifty years ago, the remaining part of the venerable monastery, founded by Cedd, was razed, and its walls, hallowed by the dust of the holy brotherhood, furnished materials for building. The Rev. W. Ellis, the then incumbent, whose indignation, at the circumstance, was unbounded, wrote some Latin verses on the subject; but they have been lost in the stream of time, and, like the ashes of the hand that wrote them, cannot be found.

The late Mr. Jackson, R.A., was a native of the village of Lestingham; and, with feelings of regard for the land of his childhood, he proposed to execute a painting, as an altar-piece for the church. His Grace the archbishop of York and the Rev. F. Wrangham, were consulted on the subject, and gave it their approval; but, we believe, the meritorious artist died before he had finished the painting.

* * * * *



NEW BOOKS.

* * * * *

WILD SPORTS OF THE WEST.

This book is a grievous failure—that is, if the merits of books are to be adjudged with their titles. The writer is the author of Stories of Waterloo, from whom better things might have been expected. He has taken for his model, Mr. Lloyd's really excellent Field Sports of the North of Europe; but he has woefully missed his mark. The title of the work before us is equivocal: a reader might as reasonably expect the Sports of the Western World, as adventures in Ireland, such as make up the present volumes. What we principally complain of is the paucity of Sports among their contents. It is true that the title also promises Legendary Tales and Local Sketches, but here they are the substance, and the Wild Sports mere shadow. We have too little of "the goodly rivers," "all sorts of fish," "the sweet islands and goodly lakes, like little inland seas," "of the most beautiful and sweet countrey," as Spenser phrases it in the author's title-page; and there is not so much as the author promises in his preface, of shooting the wild moors and fishing the waters, of days spent by "fell and flood," and light and joyous nights in mountain bivouacs and moorland huts. There is too much hearsay, and storytelling not to the purpose, and trifling gossip of "exquisite potatoes" and "rascally sherry"—details which would disgrace a half-crown guide book, and ought certainly not to be set forth with spaced large type in hotpressed octavos at a costly rate. Nevertheless, the work may suit club-room tables and circulating libraries, though it will not be allowed place for vivid display of Wild Sports. We quote two extracts—one, a narrative which the author knows to be substantially true; the other, relating to the attack of eagles, (though we omit the oft-told tale of the peasant attempting to rob an eagle's nest, and his hair turning white with fright):—

The Blind Seal.

About forty years ago a young seal was taken in Clew Bay, and domesticated in the kitchen of a gentleman whose house was situated on the sea-shore. It grew apace, became familiar with the servants, and attached to the house and family; its habits were innocent and gentle, it played with the children, came at its master's call, and, as the old man described him to me, was "fond as a dog, and playful as a kitten."

Daily the seal went out to fish, and after providing for his own wants, frequently brought in a salmon or turbot to his master. His delight in summer was to bask in the sun, and in winter to lie before the fire, or, if permitted, creep into the large oven, which at that time formed the regular appendage of an Irish kitchen.

For four years the seal had been thus domesticated, when, unfortunately, a disease, called in this country the crippawn—a kind of paralytic affection of the limbs which generally ends fatally—attacked some black cattle belonging to the master of the house; some died others became infected, and the customary cure produced by changing them to drier pasture failed. A wise woman was consulted, and the hag assured the credulous owner, that the mortality among his cows was occasioned by his retaining an unclean beast about his habitation—the harmless and amusing seal. It must be made away with directly, or the crippawn would continue, and her charms be unequal to avert the malady. The superstitious wretch consented to the hag's proposal; the seal was put on board a boat, carried out beyond Clare Island, and there committed to the deep, to manage for himself as he best could. The boat returned, the family retired to rest, and next morning a servant awakened her master to tell him that the seal was quietly sleeping in the oven. The poor animal over night came back to his beloved home, crept through an open window, and took possession of his favourite resting-place.

Next morning another cow was reported to be unwell. The seal must now be finally removed; a Galway fishing-boat was leaving Westport on her return home, and the master undertook to carry off the seal, and not put him overboard until he had gone leagues beyond Innis Boffin. It was done—a day and night passed; the second evening closed—the servant was raking the fire for the night—something scratched gently at the door—it was of course the house-dog—-she opened it, and in came the seal! Wearied with his long and unusual voyage, he testified by a peculiar cry, expressive of pleasure, his delight to find himself at home, then stretching himself before the glowing embers of the hearth he fell into a deep sleep.

The master of the house was immediately apprized of this unexpected and unwelcome visit. In the exigency, the beldame was awakened and consulted; she averred that it was always unlucky to kill a seal, but suggested that the animal should be deprived of sight, and a third time carried out to sea. To this hellish proposition the besotted wretch who owned the house consented, and the affectionate and confiding creature was cruelly robbed of sight, on that hearth for which he had resigned his native element! Next morning, writhing in agony, the mutilated seal was embarked, taken outside Clare Island, and for the last time committed to the waves.

A week passed over, and things became worse instead of better; the cattle of the truculent wretch died fast, and the infernal hag gave him the pleasurable tidings that her arts were useless, and that the destructive visitation upon his cattle exceeded her skill and cure.

On the eighth night after the seal had been devoted to the Atlantic, it blew tremendously. In the pauses of the storm a wailing noise at times was faintly heard at the door; the servants, who slept in the kitchen, concluded that the Banshee came to forewarn them of an approaching death, and buried their heads in the bed-coverings. When morning broke the door was opened—the seal was there lying dead upon the threshold!"

"Stop, Julius!" I exclaimed, "give me a moment's time to curse all concerned in this barbarism."

"Be patient, Frank," said my cousin, "the finale will probably save you that trouble. The skeleton of the once plump animal—for, poor beast, it perished from hunger, being incapacitated from blindness to procure its customary food—was buried in a sand-hill, and from that moment misfortunes followed the abettors and perpetrators of this inhuman deed. The detestable hag, who had denounced the inoffensive seal, was, within a twelvemonth, hanged for murdering the illegitimate offspring of her own daughter. Every thing about this devoted house melted away—sheep rotted, cattle died, 'and blighted was the corn.' Of several children none reached maturity, and the savage proprietor survived every thing he loved or cared for. He died blind and miserable.

"There is not a stone of that accursed building standing upon another. The property has passed to a family of a different name, and the series of incessant calamity which pursued all concerned in this cruel deed is as romantic as true."

Visit to the Eagle's Cliff, in Inniskea.

We ascended the hill (while the crew were clearing and baiting their spillets) in the vague hope of getting a shot at these predatory birds, of whose spoliations we had heard so much on the preceding evening.

On reaching the bottom of the rock, in whose face the aerie stands, we discovered that the old birds were absent, and as the nest was formed in a deep fissure, we could not ascertain its situation exactly. But that the eagles' dwelling was above us was evident, enough: the base of the cliff was strewn with bones and feathers, and the accumulation of both was extraordinary. The bones of rabbits, hares, and domestic fowls, were most numerous, but those of smaller game, and various sorts of fish, were visible among the heap.

Many attempts are annually made to destroy this predatory family. It is impossible to rob the nest. Situated two hundred feet above the base of the rock, it is of course unapproachable from below, and as the cliffs beetle over it frightfully, to assail it from above would be a hazardous essay. An enterprising peasant, some years since, was let down by a rope and basket,—but he was fiercely attacked by the old birds, and the basket nearly overturned. Fortunately the cord was strong and had sufficient length to allow his being lowered rapidly, or he would have undoubtedly sustained some bodily injury from the wings and talons of those enraged and savage birds.

The village of Dugurth suffers heavily from its unfortunate proximity to the aerie. When the wind blows from a favourable point, the eagle in the grey of morning sweeps through the cabins, and never fails in carrying off some prey.

To black fowls eagles appear particularly attached, and the villagers avoid as much as possible rearing birds of that colour.

A few days before, one of the coast-guard, alarmed by the cries of a boy, rushed from the watch-house; the eagle had taken up a black hen, and, as he passed within a few yards, the man flung his cap at him. The eagle dropped the bird; it was quite dead, however, the talons having shattered the back-bone. The villagers say (with what truth I know not) that turkeys are never taken.

That the eagle is extremely destructive to fish, and particularly so to salmon, many circumstances would prove. They are constantly discovered watching the fords in the spawning season, and are seen to seize and carry off the fish. One curious anecdote I heard from my friend the priest. Some years since a herdsman, on a very sultry day in July, while looking for a missing sheep, observed an eagle posted on a bank that overhung a pool. Presently the bird stooped and seized a salmon, and a violent struggle ensued; when the herd reached the spot, he found the eagle pulled under water by the strength of the fish, and the calmness of the day, joined to drenched plumage, rendered him unable to extricate himself. With a stone the peasant broke the eagle's pinion, and actually secured the spoiler and his victim, for he found the salmon dying in his grasp.

When shooting on Lord Sligo's mountains, near the Killeries, I heard many particulars of the eagle's habit and history from a grey-haired peasant who had passed a long life in these wilds. The scarcity of hares, which here were once abundant, he attributed to the rapacity of those birds; and he affirmed, that when in pursuit of these animals, the eagle evinced a degree of intelligence that appeared extraordinary. They coursed the hares, he said, with great judgment and certain success; one bird was the active follower, while the other remained in reserve, at the distance of forty or fifty yards. If the hare, by a sudden turn, freed himself from his most pressing enemy, the second bird instantly took up the chase, and thus prevented the victim from having a moment's respite.

He had remarked the eagles also while they were engaged in fishing. They chose a small ford upon the rivulet which connects Glencullen with Glandullagh, and posted on either side waited patiently for the salmon to pass over. Their watch was never fruitless,—and many a salmon, in its transit from the sea to the lake, was transferred from his native element to the wild aerie in the Alpine cliff; that beetles over the romantic waters of Glencullen.

[The volumes are handsomely printed, and embellished with aqua-tint plates and clever vignettes: some of the latter, by Bagg, are spirited performances on wood.]

* * * * *

PETER THE GREAT.

[What a mine of adventure and incident is the life of this extraordinary man. A modern French writer enumerates 95 authors who have treated of his actions, and concludes the list with et cetera threefold. What a field for the editors of the compilation libraries—wherein they may store their little garners or volumes to advantage. Such has the editor of the Family Library done in the volume before us; although he has only consulted one-fourth of the above number of authorities for his memoir of the life of the Tzar. He prefaces with the modest observation that he has done little more than bring together and arrange the scattered fragments of Histories, Lives, Anecdotes, and Notices, in manuscript and in print, "of one of the most extraordinary characters that ever appeared on the great theatre of the world, in any age or country;—a Being full of contradictions, yet consistent in all that he did; a promoter of literature, arts, and sciences, yet without education himself; the civilizer of his people, 'he gave a polish,' says Voltaire, 'to his nation, and was Himself a savage; he taught his people the art of war, of which he was himself ignorant; from the first glance of a small cock-boat, at the distance of five hundred miles of the nearest sea, he became an expert ship-builder, created a powerful fleet, partly constructed with his own hands, made himself an active and expert sailor, a skilful pilot, a great captain: in short, he changed the manners, the habits, the laws of the people, and very face of the country." How different is this course of activity to the usual luxurious lives of the sovereigns of civilized countries: how ill assort Peter's "savage" notions with the accomplished ease and personal elegance of a succeeding autocrat: how wide is the contrast between Peter's ship-building education, and the youth of a prince passed amidst court corruptionists—or pilotage over the boundless ocean, and launching gilded pleasure-boats upon an unruffled lake; personally watching the welfare of his subjects, or slinking into retirement, and leaving their interests to the intrigues of party. Yet, such are a few of the opposite characteristics—the every-day occupations—of the great Tzar of Russia, and of the kingships of the last and present centuries.

The events of the life of Peter may be well known in detail to the reader of the history of modern Europe. Yet they must be gathered from many volumes; while in the above little book we have them brought in amusing and sufficiently copious narrative, within 350 pages. We have here the Tzar's war with Sweden—Narva, Pultowa, and the Pruth; but the incidents that will prove most interesting to the Family readers are the domestic habits—the unkingly life of Peter; and above all, his visit to England—how he drank deeply of pepper and brandy, lodged in Buckingham-street, Strand; spoiled Mr. Evelyn's holly hedge at Sayes; and peeped from the roof of the House of Lords at the King upon his throne. We shall therefore endeavour to abridge a few of these entertaining anecdotic details from the chapter devoted to the Tzar's stay in England.]

Two ships of war and a yacht, under the orders of Admiral Mitchell, were despatched to Helvoetsluys to bring over the Tzar, who, with his suite, consisting of Menzikoff and some others, whose names are not mentioned, embarked at that port on the 18th of January, 1698, and on the 21st reached London. Here no secret was attempted to be made of his rank, but he requested to be treated only as a private gentleman; and it is remarkable enough that, though he paid frequent visits to the King, and attended his court, his name never once appears in the only official paper which then, as indeed now, was and is in existence, the London Gazette. Lord Shrewsbury, at this time, was Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but as the Tzar came not in any public character, he appears to have been placed under the especial charge of the Marquess Carmarthen, who was made lord president of the Council in the following year. Between this nobleman and Peter a very considerable intimacy took place, which was uninterrupted during the Tzar's abode in England. A large house was hired for him and his suite at the bottom of York-buildings where, it is stated in a private letter, the Marquess and he used to spend their evenings together frequently in drinking "hot pepper and brandy." The great failing of Peter, indeed, was his love of strong liquors. We find in one of the papers of the day, that he took a particular fancy to the nectar ambrosia, "the new cordial so called, which the author, or compounder of it, presented him with, and that his Majesty sent for more of it."

Of the proceedings of the Tzar, during the four months he remained in England, very little is recorded in the few journals or other publications of that day; the former consisting chiefly of the Postmaster, the Postman, and the Postboy.

In the Postboy it is stated that, on the day after his arrival, the Tzar of Muscovy was at Kensington, to see his Majesty at dinner, as also the court; but he was all the while incognito. And on the Saturday following he was at the playhouse, to see the opera; that on the Friday night the revels ended at the Temple, the same being concluded by a fine masquerade, at which the Tzar of Muscovy was present; that on the following Sunday he went in a hackney-coach to Kensington, and returned at night to his lodgings in Norfolk-street,[7] where he was attended by several of the King's servants.

His movements, during the rest of the month, were a journey to Woolwich and Deptford, to see the docks and yards; then to the theatre, to see the Rival Queens, or Alexander the Great; to St. James's, to be present at a fine ball; and, it is further stated that he was about to remove from Norfolk-street (York buildings) to Redriff, where a ship was building for him; and that he was about to go to Chatham, to see a man-of-war launched, which he was to name; and that on the 15th of February, accompanied by the Marquess of Carmarthen, he went to Deptford, and having spent some time on board the "Royal Transport," they were afterwards splendidly treated by Admiral Mitchell. These are the principal notices concerning the Tzar Peter contained in the Postboy.

It is evident that London could not be very agreeable to him, on two accounts; first, because his great object in coming here was to see our dock-yard establishments, and to profit also by observing our mode of making draughts of ships, and laying them off in the mould-loft; and to acquire some knowledge in the theory of naval architecture and navigation, which he had heard, when in Holland, was superior to what he had seen or could obtain in that country, though it was assumed that the mechanical part of finishing and putting together a ship was there fully equal, if not superior, to ours.

In the next place, he was equally annoyed by the crowds he was continually meeting in the streets of London, as he had been in Amsterdam, and which he could not bear with becoming patience. It is said that, as he was one day walking along the Strand, with his friend the Marquess of Carmarthen, a porter, with a hod on his shoulder, rudely pushed against him and drove him into the kennel. He was extremely indignant, and ready to knock him down; but the Marquess interfering, asked the man what he meant, and if he knew whom he had so rudely run against, and "that it was the Tzar." The porter, turning round, replied, with a grin, "Tzar! we are all Tzars here." But that which annoyed him most of all, was the intrusion of our countrymen into his lodgings, and into the room even where he was eating, to which they gained access through the king's servants. Disgusted at their impertinent curiosity he would sometimes rise from table, and leave the room in a rage. To prevent this intrusion, he strictly charged his domestics not to admit any persons whatever let their rank be what it might. A kind of forced interview, however, was obtained by two Quakers, the account of which, as given by one of them, is singular and interesting.

One month's residence having satisfied Peter as to what was to be seen in London, and having expressed a strong desire to be near some of the King's dockyards, it was arranged that a suitable residence should be found near one of the river establishments; and the house of the celebrated Mr. Evelyn, close to Deptford Dock-yard, being about to become vacant, by the removal of Admiral Benbow, who was then its tenant, it was immediately taken for the residence of the Tzar and his suite; and a doorway was broken through the boundary wall of the dock-yard, to afford a direct communication between it and the dwelling-house. This place had then the name of Saye's Court. It was the delight of Evelyn, and the wonder and admiration of all men of taste at that time. The grounds are described, in the life of the Lord Keeper Guildford, "as most boscaresque, being, as it were, an exemplary of his (Evelyn's) book of forest trees." Admiral Benbow had given great dissatisfaction to the proprietor as a tenant, for he observes in his Diary—"I have the mortification of seeing, every day, much of my labour and expense there impairing from want of a more polite tenant." It appears, however, that the princely occupier was not a more "polite tenant" than the rough sailor had been, for Mr. Evelyn's servant thus writes to him,—"There is a house full of people right nasty. The Tzar lies next your library, and dines in the parlour next your study. He dines at ten o'clock and six at night; is very seldom at home a whole day; very often in the King's yard, or by water, dressed in several dresses. The King is expected there this day; the best parlour is pretty clean for him to be entertained in. The King pays for all he has."[8] But this was not all: Mr. Evelyn had a favourite holly-hedge, through which, it is said, the Tzar, by way of exercise, used to be in the habit, every morning, of trundling a wheel-barrow. Mr. Evelyn probably alludes to this in the following passage, wherein he asks, "Is there, under the heavens, a more glorious and refreshing object, of the kind, than an impregnable hedge, of about four hundred feet in length, nine feet high, and five in diameter, which I can still show in my ruined garden at Saye's Court (thanks to the Tzar of Muscovy), at any time of the year, glittering with its armed and variegated leaves; the taller standards, at orderly distances, blushing with their natural coral? It mocks the rudest assaults of the weather, beasts, or hedge-breakers,—et ilium nemo impune lacessit."[9]

Alas! for the glory of the glittering hollies, trimmed hedges, and long avenues of Saye's Court; Time, that great innovator, has demolished them all, and Evelyn's favourite haunts and enchanting grounds have been transformed into cabbage gardens; that portion of the Victualling-yard where oxen and hogs are slaughtered and salted for the use of the navy, now occupies the place of the shady walks and the trimmed hedges, which the good old Evelyn so much delighted in; and on the site of the ancient mansion now stands the common parish workhouse of Deptford Stroud.

We have little evidence that the Tzar, during his residence here, ever worked as a shipwright; it would seem he was employed rather in acquiring information on matters connected with naval architecture, from that intelligent commissioner of the navy and surveyor, Sir Anthony Deane, who, after the Marquess of Carmarthen, was his most intimate English acquaintance. His fondness for sailing and managing boats, however, was as eager here as in Holland; and these gentlemen were almost daily with him on the Thames, sometimes in a sailing yacht, and at others rowing in boats,—an exercise in which both the Tzar and the Marquess are said to have excelled. The Navy Board received directions from the Admiralty to hire two vessels, to be at the command of the Tzar, whenever he should think proper to sail on the Thames, to improve himself in seamanship. In addition to these, the King made him a present of the "Royal Transport," with orders to have such alterations and accommodations made in her, as his Tzarish Majesty might desire, and also to change her masts, rigging, sails, &c., in any such way as he might think proper for improving her sailing qualities. But his great delight was to get into a small decked boat, belonging to the Dock-yard, and taking only Menzikoff, and three or four others of his suite, to work the vessel with them, he being the helmsman; by this practice he said he should be able to teach them how to command ships when they got home. Having finished their day's work, they used to resort to a public-house in Great Tower-street, close to Tower Hill, to smoke their pipes and drink beer and brandy. The landlord had the Tzar of Muscovy's head painted and put up for his sign, which continued till the year 1808, when a person of the name of Waxel took a fancy to the old sign, and offered the then occupier of the house to paint him a new one for it. A copy was accordingly made from the original, which maintains its station to the present day, as the sign of the "Tzar of Muscovy," looking like a true Tartar.

(To be concluded in our next.)

[7] This is an oversight of the Editor, as the Tzar resided in the last house in Buckingham-street, towards the river on the east side. It is a handsome mansion, containing some very spacious apartments, with some few relics of its original decoration. Upon the site of this and the adjoining streets was formerly a palace of the archbishops of York, the only vestige of which is the water-gate, called York Stairs erected by Inigo Jones. Throughout the narrative it will be seen that the Editor has mistaken Norfolk-street for Buckingham-street.—Ed. M.

[8] Memoirs of J. Evelyn.

[9] Evelyn's Sylva.

* * * * *



THE NATURALIST.

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STOMACH OF THE OSTRICH.

(To the Editor.)

Allow me to add, as a further illustration of the various and uncommon substances sometimes found in the stomach of the Ostrich, mentioned at page 262 of The Mirror, a fact which came under my own observation a few months since, on the occasion of dissecting two full-grown birds intended for the Surrey Zoological Gardens; but, which died while performing quarantine in Stangate Creek. On opening the maw, the stomach appeared distended to its fullest extent, and contained not less than half a bushel of various substances, besides a large quantity of the usual food in an undigested state, as, maize, barley, potatoes, onions, &c. There was nearly a peck of stones, most of which were as smooth and as highly polished as if they had passed through the hands of the lapidary; a sample of which I enclose you. Among this mass I found portions of tobacco-pipe, pieces of china and glass, brass buttons, copper coins, nails, and what most likely caused the death of the bird, a large quantity apparently of the head of a woollen mop, with portions of oakum, which from its size and quantity had proved too much for the bird to digest. It would appear, however, that many substances remain for years in the folds of the stomach, without injury; as on opening an Ostrich that died at Exeter 'Change after being some years in the possession of Mr. Cross, there were found besides a large quantity of rubbish, a handful of buttons, nails, marbles, stones, several keys, the brass handle of a door, a copper extinguisher, a sailor's knife, a butcher's hook, an iron comb, with penny pieces and coins to the amount of 3s. 4-1/2d.; and besides these various articles, there were several cowries, glass beads, such as are used for the purposes of traffic by the natives of the Barbary Coast, whence the bird was brought; and it never having had the opportunity of getting at such articles while in a state of confinement, little doubt remains of their having been swallowed by the bird while in its native country.

Another instance may be added of a full grown Ostrich, that was for some time in the possession of the Consul of Tripoli: during the period of the bird remaining at his house, a silver snuff box, of considerable size and value, was missing, and many were the persons suspected of having stolen it. The bird was after the lapse of a few months shipped as a present on board a frigate, and died during the voyage. The captain had it opened to ascertain if possible the cause of its death, when, in the stomach were found nails, keys, pieces of iron and copper, part of a lantern, and the identical snuffbox, although the chasing and sharp edges were worn completely smooth by the action of the stomach.

J. WARWICK.

Surrey Zoological Gardens.

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THE CONDOR.

A pair of condors has lately been received from South America, for the Surrey Zoological Gardens. They are male and female, and are stated to be by far the largest specimens ever brought to this country, the male measuring nearly 14 feet across the wings, and in height upwards of three feet. They were brought from Chili, where they are sometimes met with at an elevation of 15,000 feet above the level of the sea. During the removal of the birds from the vessel, the male dropped one of his largest wing feathers, the quill of which measures an inch and a half in circumference.

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THE GATHERER.

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The King.—(From the Spectator.)—Touching the business habits of the King, we have been favoured with the following statement, by a gentleman on whose honesty we can place perfect reliance, and who has ample opportunities of correct knowledge:—The attention of our present excellent Sovereign to public business is truly exemplary; and whilst he exceeds in regularity and despatch the habits of his late father,—whose conduct in this respect has seldom been properly appreciated,—his diligence forms a striking contrast to the supineness exhibited in the late reign, when days and weeks sometimes elapsed before the Royal signature could be obtained.

"The public learn from the Court Newsman that the King regularly comes to town once a week, to receive his ministers, and for the transaction of whatever business may be required; and these journeys are occasionally repeated within a few days of each other without the slightest regard for his personal convenience. Stronger proofs, however, exist of the King's devotion to the duties of his station. Every document submitted for his consideration and signature, is executed and returned to the proper office within twenty-four hours after he receives it, and generally within twelve hours. If a letter be addressed to Sir Herbert Taylor or to Sir Henry Wheatley, no matter how trifling may be its subject, it is certain of receiving an immediate and polite answer, the contents of which show that his Majesty must undoubtedly have been consulted; and if the request be refused, regret is expressed, and a satisfactory reason is usually assigned. Those only who are aware of the masses of papers submitted to the King, or of the innumerable subjects on which his pleasure is taken, can appreciate the promptness, courtesy, and decision which he displays; whilst in giving audiences, the extent of his information, and his business-like habits, excite equal surprise and satisfaction. When it is remembered that the King is above sixty-seven years of age, the labour which he undergoes seems extraordinary; and the admirable manner in which he executes his duties, is consequently entitled to still higher applause. His office is indeed no sinecure; and it would be well for the country if every department of the State, and every public officer imitated the example set them by the Sovereign.

"Before concluding this subject, justice demands that the manner in which Sir Herbert Taylor and Sir Henry Wheatley conduct the Royal correspondence, should not pass unnoticed; for, doubtless, a share of the praise which has been here expressed of their Master's decision and promptness, is due to them, and more especially for the extreme courtesy with which their letters are written."

We had before heard the fact of the King's extraordinary punctuality in signing papers, with this addition, that when they are more than ordinarily numerous, the Queen sits at the table with her Royal husband, lays the papers before him, and when signed, removes and arranges them, like a secretary.

Learned "Ladies."—Mr. Murphy used to relate the following story of Foote's, the heroines of which were the ladies Cheere, Fielding, and Hill, the last the widow of the celebrated Dr. Hill. He represented them as playing at "I love my love with a letter;" Lady Cheere began, and said, "I love my love with an N because he is a Night;" Lady Fielding followed with "I love my love with a G, because he is a Gustis;" and "I love my love with an F," said Lady Hill, "because he is a Fizishun." Such was the imputed orthography of these learned ladies.—Taylor's Records.

Den.—The names of places ending in den, as Biddenden, are perhaps not generally known to signify the situation to be in a valley, or near woods.

J.E.J.

* * * * *

Mock-heroics.—Cowper, in one of his letters to Joseph Hill, reminds his friend of the following mock-heroic line, written at one of their convivial meetings, called the Nonsense Club—

"To whom replied the Devil, yard-long-tail'd;"

And adds, "there never was anything more truly Grecian than that triple epithet; and were it possible to introduce it either into the Iliad or Odyssey, I should certainly steal it." This of course was written in jest; and had the translator been disposed to exemplify his own pleasantry, he might have found an opportunity in the well-known line of the sixth book of the Iliad

[Greek: Aideomas Troas ai Troadas elkesipeplous.]

I dread the Trojan ladies, yard-long-tail'd;

Of which Pope makes this sweeping periphrasis—

"And Troy's proud dames, whose garments sweep the ground."

E.B.I.

* * * * *

Burton Ale.—Many of our readers may recollect the dispute, about three years since, between the Burton Ale brewers and the Useful Knowledge Society, when the excellence of the ale was proved to be the result of the hard water of which it was manufactured flowing over a limestone rock. A chemist was dispatched to Burton, and the settlement of the matter assumed the importance of a discovery; though in the last century this fact was ingeniously explained by Dr. Darwin, in a letter to Mr. Pilkington, upon the supposition that some of the saccharine matter in the malt combines with the calcareous earth of hard waters, and forms a sort of mineral sugar, which, like true sugar, is convertible into spirits.

Read-y Wit.—A young man, in a large company, descanting very flippantly on a subject, his knowledge of which was evidently very superficial, the Duchess of Devonshire asked his name. "'Tis Scarlet," replied a gentleman who stood by. "That may be," said her Grace, "and yet he is not deep read."

CANTON.

* * * * *

Anti-free Trade.—An odd instance of the restrictive system occurred in the embassy from the emperor Otho to Nicephorus Phocas. The Greeks making a display of their dress, he told them that in Lombardy the common people wore as good clothes as they.—"How," they said, "can you procure them?"—"Through the Venetians and Amalfitan dealers," he replied, "who gain their subsistence by selling them to us." The foolish Greeks were very angry, and declared that any dealer presuming to export their fine clothes should be flogged.

* * * * *

Printed and published by J. LIMBIRD, 143 STRAND, (near Somerset House,) London; sold by G.G. BENNIS, 55, Rue Neuve, St. Augustin, Paris; and by all Newsmen and Booksellers.

THE END

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