Page images



GREENWICH HOSPITAL.-We paid a visit to this place, which is about five miles east southeast from London. It has a royal park; and from One Tree Hill, on a clear day, the view of London and the river Thames is most commanding. Here old worn-out sailors, called pensioners, are to be found with very good spying glasses, which they offer to visitors, who usually give them a few pence for their civility. Greenwich is the great resort of persons whose occupations will not allow them much time for recreation; for every half-hour steam boats leave London and carry passengers at sixpence per head, and the railroad carriages start every quarter of an hour, so that a very few minutes convey persons to a spot where pure air and a delightful park can be enjoyed. Adjoining Greenwich Park is Blackheath, from which very beautiful views are to be seen. Blackheath is nearly surrounded by very beautiful houses belonging to the nobility and merchants; and Queen Caroline, the wife of George the Fourth, had a house here. Morden College, which was founded by Sir John Morden, a Turkey merchant, more than a century ago, is for decayed merchants, who receive a sum of money sufficient to maintain them, and have handsome apartments allowed them. But the great object of attraction at Greenwich is the Royal Naval Hospital for old worn-out and crippled sailors, who are all dressed in old-fashioned-cut blue coats and blue knee breeches with worsted stockings, and three-cornered cocked hats. They are here well fed, have first-rate medical attendance, and in their cabins, or wards, have good sleeping berths. The pensioners mess, as it is called, together; that is, they take their meals at the same table. There are some hundreds of them; and it is most gratifying to see these men, who have been fighting the battles of their country, some of whom have lost their arms, some their legs, and others an eye, thus bountifully provided for by their countrymen. In addition to the inmates there are a great number of sailors, called out-pensioners, who receive quarterly a few pounds as a reward for their services at sea. On the site of the Royal Hospital was the residence of some of the British monarchsQueen Elizabeth lived here. It is a beautiful building; the front, by the side of the river, is eight hundred and sixty-five feet long, and has two superb domes, which may be seen for

several miles. It was founded by William the Third, in one thousand six hundred and ninetyfour. In the Painted Hall is a capital collection of pictures connected with naval subjects, many of which were presented by George the Fourth, and represent the sea fights of the Nile, Trafalgar, and others; and here are pictures of Nelson, Hardy, and of all the great admirals and captains connected with heroic actions. In Greenwich Park is the Royal Observatory, where astronomical observations are made, and where the calculations are made for publishing the nautical almanacks, which are prepared for the three forthcoming years, and show the hour of the sun's rising, the changes of the moon, and the position the stars will be in for the next three years; and this is done for the purpose of enabling persons in command of ships to tell by observations, and these tables, which latitude they are in. This is a grand institution, most worthy of England; and as correct time to an instant is of the utmost importance to these calculations, chronometers that keep most perfect time are kept here in great numbers, made by all persons who feel disposed to send them for competition, and the most correct receive rewards every year. By observation, and by the best of watches and clocks, they here obtain correct mean time; and, to enable all ships to have their chronometers exact in their time with Greenwich time, at one o'clock precisely

every day an immense black ball, which has previously been hoisted to the top of a building visible for a great distance is dropped, and all watches and clocks are thus proved in their rate of keeping time. To those who are unacquainted with navigation this appears to be a mere toy; but every man who is aware of the difficulties of working a ship in long nights, when they have nothing but stars to guide them and tell them where they are, the value and importance of this observatory will be appreciated. Yes, England is indeed a great nation; she publishes charts for every part of the known sea, where the shoals, the rocks, and the currents are pointed out, and the latitude and longitude are described; and this Nautical Almanack completes the good work.

Guy's HOSPITAL.-We had an opportunity, through the kindness of a friend, of paying a visit to Guy's Hospital, one of those grand public institutions for the reception of the sick and hurt poor; and where all persons who have served their apprenticeship to learn the healing art, are allowed to attend to see the operations performed, to see the sick prescribed for, and to see anatomical operations performed upon the dead, to teach them how to do such things to the living; and we also saw the anatomical museum in it. It is a splendid establishment. This noble charity has been conducted in such a manner as to restore health and freedom from pain to a

large number of persons. The average quantity of in and out-patients is from four to five thousand annually. The wards for the patients are very neat and in beautiful order; separate wards are of course provided for the males and females. All the inmates seemed, as far as they could be, happy and comfortable, the number of whom varies from five hundred to five hundred and fifty. In a vault in the hospital are deposited the remains of Mr. Thomas Guy, the founder, who built it in the year 1722, at an expense of £18,493 168., and about two years after he died, leaving for the purposes of this hospital the sum of £219,499. There was also the remains of a Mr. Hunt, who gave a large sum of money toward this institution. The building is in a quadrangular form, having a middle and two side wings and an excellent yard in the front, in the midst of which stands the monument of the benevolent founder. The hospital, the museum, and the buildings for the officers, &c., stand upon five and a half acres of ground. Oh, happy England ! possessing hospitals where the poorest persons receive as much, or more attention than even the rich can command when labouring under sickness, or meeting with accidents ; in London only there are several of these. There is St. Thomas's, which contains nineteen wards and four hundred and seventy-four beds for in-door patients; St.

« PreviousContinue »