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of the house, at the depth of about three feet, the workmen struck upon an antient focus, formed of tliin bricks, which had each of them a semicircular termination, and had evidently been framed in a similar mould. In digging at a small distance from the focus, five feet below the level of it, a pavement, laid with large, thin bricks, such as the Romans are known to have used, and as are commonly to be met with at Verulam and other Roman cities, was discovered. In levelling the ground near the house of Soddiugton, the labourers have dug up a vast number of curious tubes, which formed an antient aqueduct. The existence of this was previously unknown to the inhabitants of the place. The tubes are formed of the finest clay, and exceedingly well baked, being of a grey colour on the outside, and, when broken, of a dark colour in the interior. They appeared to be exactly of the same composition with several Roman urns which I have seen. Each tube is about two feet long, and four inches in the total diameter; the aperture for conveying'the water being about an inch and three quarters in diameter. They have hollow tenons at one end, and mortices at the other, so as to til together very exactly, and to appear air-tight without the use of mortar. They weie laid in the direction of a spring which flows at the distance of a mile and a half from Soddiugton, at the top of an eminence still higher than the site of the mansion, though the hitter is very high ground, and they have beeu traced a great part of the way to it.

But the most curious discovery of the whole occurred in a field within a quarter of a mile of the old house; where, iu levelling a hillock, ou which

an oak quite decayed with ape, besides other trees, stood, at the depth of about two feel from the soil, the workmen found a complete brickkiln, consisting, by computation, of 10,000 bricks, the greater part of which were well-burnt, the rest being only half-burnt. The kiln was not made as kilns are usually made at present; nor were the bricks of the same size with our bricks, being larger and thinner.

These beiug the facts, it remains for learned and ingenious antiquaries to determine to which race of the successive inhabitants of this island these articles originally belonged, and what is the date of them • It is plain they belonged to a people who were iu the habit of building witli brick, and of making their bricks larger and thinner than we do al the present day. It. is equally plain, that the people in question must have been a civilized and, iu some degree, a refined people, from the discovery of the aqueduct, and the peifection of the tubes of which it consisted. I think also it may be asserted that the brick-kiln was made just before some great change in the state of the country took place, as the workmen seem not to have had time to finish the burning of their bricks. It likewise appears to me that this change must have been attended with dreadful political consequences, and the desolation, if uol the destruction of the former inhabitants. This I gather from so large a number of bricks, the greater part of them fit for use, beiu; left unemployed in an open field, till, by degrees, a bed of earth was formed over them, upon which an oak tree, now rotten with age, actually grew.

My conjectures are, that Soddington was a Roman fort; the situation of it l>eing adapted to this purpose, and the ground on the sides of it still bearing certain vestiges of a Roman iiitrrnciiiuc.it; that the brick-kiln was built tor the use of the Romans, er for their civilized British subjects, about the year 418, in which year, according to the Saxon chronicle, the Romans left this island, carrying with them all their-treasures; that, in consequence of this event, and of the confusion which followed it, from the inroads of the Picts, Scotch, and Saxons, the Britons had no leisure nor inclination to raise new buildings; until, at length, they were driven out of the open country, and confined to the mountains of Wales and Cornwall; that the Saxons were too much employed, and too little civilized for almost a century after their arrival here, to think of new buildings; and that, when they did begin to build, they, as was the practice with their successors the Normans, used stnnes, or even flints, in preference to bricks; that, during all this time, the dust and earth accumulated, as 1 said before, upon the heap of bricks, till they completely covered it. With respect to the focus, floors, &c. at the house which I suppose belonged to the Roman fort, these being in situations where no cellars were dug, they must have escaped the mattocks of the workmen, when they were digging the foundations for the old house, aow demolished.

Origin of placing Holly in Churches at Christinas.

The great Newton, in his dissertations on prophecy, says, " Gregory Nyssen tells us, that after the persecution of the emperor Dtcius, Gre

gory, bishop of Neocesarea, in Pontns, instituted, that festival days should be celebrated to them who had contended for the faith, that is, to the martyrs." And Nyseu adds this reason for the institution, viz. "When he (Gregory) observed that the simple and unskilful multitudes, by reason of corporeal delights, remained in the error of idols, that the principal thing might be corrected among them, namely, that instead of this vain worship, they might turn their eyes upon God, he permitted, that, at the memories of the holy martyrs, they might make merry, delight themselves, and be dissolved into joy. The heathens were delighted with the festivals of their gods, and unwilling to part with those delights; and therefore Gregory, to facilitate their conversion, instituted annual festivals to saints and martyrs." Hence it came to pass, that for exploding the festivals of the heathens, the principal festivals of the christians succeeded in their room; as the keeping of Christmas with ivy, and feasting in the room of the Bacchanalia and Saturnalia: the celebrating of May-day with flowers, in the room of the Floralia; and the keeping of festivals to the Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and divers of the apostles, in the room of the solemnities used at the entrance of the sun into the signs of the zodiac in the old Juli.in calendar. "The church (says an ingenious writer) hath only christened these heathen festivals with the name of some saints; and as December was a dead time of the year, when the heathens had their Saturnalia, and gave loose to recreation, the christians honoured the season with lite name of their Saviour."

3 M 2 Her*

Here then we may discover the of " placing sprigs of ivy, holly, &c.

honourable origin of Christmas, and in our churches at Christmas;" *

by consulting Kennet or any other season of more dissolute pleasure ad

writer on Roman antiquities, we may criminal indulgence than any other it

also discover how the Bacchanalia the whole year, as if Christ was br

were observed, the gross licentious- come the minister of sin! ness of that festival, and the reason

MISCELLANEOUS

MISCELLANEOUS ESSAYS,

American Expedition of Discovery, under the Command of Captain Lewis.

THE following is a copy of a letter from captain Clarke, the second in command, to his brother, general Clark; which ascertains that this Expedition succeeded in penetrating through the continent between the rivers Missouri and Columbia, and in navigating the Columbia down to the Pacific.

"St. Louis, Sept 23,1805. "Dear brother, "We arrived at this place at twelve o'clock to-day, from the Pacific Ocean, where we remained during the last winter, near the entrance of the Columbia river. This station we left on the 27th of March last, and should have reached St. Louis early in August, had we not been detained by the snow, which barred our passage across the Rocky Mountains, until the 24th of June. In returning through those mountains, we divided ourselves into several parties, digressing from the route by which we went out, in

order the more effectually to explore the country, and discover the most practicable route which does exist across the continent by the way of the Missouri and Columbia rivers. In this we were completely successful, and have therefore no hesitation in declaring, that such as nature has permitted, we have discovered the best route which does exist across the continent of North America in that direction. Such is that by way of the Missouri to the loot of the Rapids below the great falls of that river, a distance of 2575 miles; thence by land passing by the Rocky Mountains, to a navigable part of the Kooskooske, 340; and with the Kooskooske 73 miles, Lewis's River 154 miles, and the Columbia 413 miles to the Pacific Ocean, making the total distance from the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi, to the discharge of the Columbia into the Pacific Ocean, 3554 miles. The navigation of the Missouri may be deemed good—its difficulties arise from its falling banks, timber embedded in the mud of its channels, its sand-bars and steady rapidity of its current, all which may be over3 M 3 come come with a great degree of certainty, by using the necessary precautions. The passage by land of 340 miles from the falls of the Missouri to the Kooskooske, is the most formidable part of the tract proposed across the continent. Of this distance, 200 miles is along a good road, and 140 miles over tremendous mountains, which for 60 miles are covered with eternal snows. A passage over these mountains, is, however, practicable from the latter part of June to the last of September; and the cheap rate at which horses are to be obtained from the Indians of the Rocky Mountains.and west of them, reduces the expences of transportation over tiiis portage to a mere trifle. The navigation of the Kooskooske, Lewis's river, and the Columbia, is safe and good, from the 1st of April to the middle of August; by making three portages on the latter river; the first of which, in descending, is 1200 paces at the falls of Columbia, 261 miles up that river: the second of two miles, at the long narrows six miles below the falls; and a third, also of two miles at the great rapids, 65 miles still lower down. The tide flows up the Columbia 183 miles, and within seveu miles of the great rapids. Large sloops may with safety ascend as high as t.de water, and vessels of 300 tons bur hen reach the entrance of the Mulluomab river, a large southern branch of the Columbia, which takes Us rise on the confines of New Mexico, with the Callerado and Apostles rivers, discharging itself into the Columbia, 125 miles from its entrance into the Pacific Ocean. I consider this tract across the continent of immense advantage to the fur trade, as all the furs collected

in nine tenths of the most valuable fur country in America, may be conveyed to the mouth of the Columbia, and shipped from thence to tbe East Indies, by the 1st of August in each year; and will of course reach Canton earlier than the furs which are annually exported from Montreal arrive in Great Britain..

"In our outward-bound voyage, we ascended to the foot of the rapids below the great falls of the Missouri, where we arrived on the 14lh of June, 1S05. Not bavin:; met with any of the natives of the Rocky Mountains, we were, of course, ignorant of the passes by laud which existed through these mountains to the Columbia river; and hail we even known the route, wc were destitute of horses, which would have been indispensably necessary to enable us to transport the requisite quantity of ammunition and other stores to ensure the remaining part of our voyage down the Columbia; we therefore determined to navigate the Missouri, as far as it was practicable, or unless we met with some of the natives from whom «e could obtain horses and information of the country. Accordingly we took a most laborious portage, at the fall of the Missouri, of 18 miles, which we effected with our canoes and baggage by the 8d of July. From thence, ascending the Missouri, we penetrated the Rocky Mountain at the distance of 71 miles above the upper part of the portage, and penetrated as far as the three forks of that river, a distance of 180 miles further. Here the Missouri divides into three nearly equal brandies it the same point: the two largest branches are so nearly of the same dignity that we did not conceive tliat cither of them could, with propriety,

retain

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