« PreviousContinue »
are dressed, and bearing hundreds of happy beings to have a day's pleasure. Previous to Gravesend becoming the place of resort which it has done within the last few years, in consequence of the cheap and excellent accommodation afforded by the steam vessels, all these parts used to be weekly inundated by visitors; but now it is the quieter resort of many happy groups, who, with their provision in their boat and with a few chosen friends and the members of their families, thus rationally contrive to have a day of recreation and of happiness.
About the year 1831, a very large equestrian statue of the King on horseback (George the Third) has been erected on the highest part of this hill; it is at the end of the long road from the Castle, and is to be clearly seen all the way; it is placed upon stone work like a huge rock, of twenty-four feet high, and the horse and man are twenty-six feet high, thus being fifty feet above the road. We are told by those who knew George the Third, that it is very much like him; he is not, however, dressed as an Englishman, and we, as foreigners, should have taken him for some Roman figure, similar to those in the British Museum. We understand the sculptor, Mr. Westmacott, thought it would make a better figure than if in the uniform, cocked hat, and large boots, which King George the Third wore. It may look better, perhaps, to the eye; but the grand object, of handing down the name and memory, the likeness, and the costume of the age in which he lived, is thus quite lost.
We then proceeded to Egham, saw the house selected for us by our tutor, which we approved of; and having arranged about what we should require, we looked out at the quiet little unobtrusive village, which was to be our residence, until we should feel that we knew enough of mathematics and English beneficially to study the writers upon ship-building and the displacement of bodies, so that we might advantageously judge from theory, and combine with practice, all that we should see, hear, and read upon the noble science of constructing a ship. Our arrival in this quiet spot with our Eastern costume created quite a sensation; all the people were gazing from their doors and windows at us; and, for a short period, we were looked upon quite as curiosities. Our tutor, the Reverend Mr. Hopkins, gave us always whilst we were with him, valuable assistance and advice; we received much kindness from him, and we thus express our entire satisfaction of the treatment we always received, and the information we gained, from him. Having settled ourselves down at Egham on the 28th of September, 1838, where we studied very regularly for a twelvemonth, it is not our intention to treat of anything that we saw in the order in which we viewed it, but we shall endeavour to describe all and every thing that we have seen at different periods, when we gave ourselves a little recreation; and our readers must bear in mind that we did not go by chance to see this thing or that, but whenever we read a description of places worth seeing, or if any of our friends hinted that it was proper for us to visit certain places, we endeavoured so to do. We cannot for one moment imagine that our impressions, or description of what we saw and felt, will either instruct or amuse English people; but we do think many of our own countrymen, both Parsees and Hindoos, will be amused at hearing of what we saw in England ; we may as well state here that we have confined ourselves strictly to truth; and if we have put a wrong construction upon anything that we have described, it has been for want of knowing better. We hope, in our little journal, any remarks we may make, may not be of that nature to give pain to any one. We have endeavoured to avoid all personal remarks; and when we speak of any sect, we mean our observations to apply generally, and not to individuals. We have, in our long stay in England, had much to make us attached to it. We have received friendly kindness from many, and have formed some friendships that on our side will cease but with our lives; we have received courtesy from a still greater number, and we shall ever think of England with sentiments of esteem and admiration.
We paid a visit to the British Museum, in Montague House, Great Russell Street, near Russell Square, it was opened to the public in 1759. It appears that a celebrated physician, Sir Hans Sloane, had collected an immense quantity of books, manuscripts, and objects of curiosity, and in his will after his death, it was directed, that all these things should be offered to the British government for £20,000 to form a public Museum. This offer was acceded to, and thus was commenced this grand collection of books, specimens of minerals of all descriptions, of stuffed animals and curiosities from all parts of the world. There was soon added a large library, called the Cottonian manuscripts collected by Sir Robert Cotton, and then a library belonging to Major Edwards. George the Second presented a library of books, which the kings of England, from Henry the Seventh, had collected; and King George the Fourth, in 1823, gave all the books belonging to his late father George the Third, supposed to have cost £200,000. There are also the Lansdowne, and the Burney, and the Macintosh manuscripts, and by the law of publishing, a copy of every new book is obliged to be given; so, that, as a library, there never was in the world any place where so much information was collected together.
And any person may obtain admission, either to read or to copy out anything he may wish.
Any individual wishing to become a reader has to apply in writing to the chief librarian, and must have his application signed by some known person.
If the person recommending the party is known, immediate admission is granted, otherwise they have to wait a few days until enquiries are made, and this is done to prevent disreputable persons from getting in. When the person is admitted he receives a ticket for six months, and at the end of that time it must be renewed. General visitors to the Museum are not admitted to the library or reading rooms as they would merely see the outsides of an immense number of books, and would only disturb those persons who come to study or to copy out such matters as they may require..
In the Museum, there is every thing that is curious; there are several Mummies, specimens of Hindoo sculpture, Burmese Idols, several Arabic inscriptions on columns, there are large Egyptian statues brought home by Belzoni the,