Page images
PDF
EPUB

hurried forward and forced into the abyss, where he is instantly dashed to pieces.

491. Climate and Productions. The climate of Denmark, which is every where near the sea, is more moderate than in countries in the same latitude remote from the ocean. Yet it may be considered as a temperate climate in summer, and cold in winter ; for not unfrequently the entrance into the Baltic, and sometimes the Baltic itself, is covered with ice. The southern parts of Denmark and the islands are well cultivated, and produce corn and grass in abundance. But many parts are marshy, and susceptible of great improvement. In Norway the crops are scanty, and the air so humid that great care is necessary to save them. .

492. Religion. The religion of Denmark and Norway is the Lutheran. There is no archbishopric, but the dioceses are twelve, six in Denmark, four in Norway, and two in Iceland. The chief diocese is that of Zealand, whose income is nearly 4500 dollars a year. The inferior clergy are archdeacons, parish priests, and chaplains, who are maintained by glebes, tythes and surplice fees, but some of their livings fall short of 100 dollars a year.

493. Government. Denmark had anciently a free constitution ; the king being elective, and the legislature consisting of representatives of the nobility, clergy and citizens. But the nobility claimed an entire exemption from taxes, while the citizens and peasants were extremely oppressed. At length the commons took the resolution to free themselves from the tyranny of the nobles, by making the king absolute ; which was effects ed in the year 1660, when the deputies of the clergy and people made a formal tender of their liberties and services to Frederick the third, who accepted the same, and promised them protection and relief. At this time the crown was made hereditary, and the king absolute ; but justice is administered according to a code of established laws.

494. Population, Revenues, Army and Navy. The population of Denmark is estimated at nearly two mil

lions and a half, of which Norway has 700,000, and Iceland 50,000. The revenue is about 7 millions of dollars, of which half a million is levied upon ships which pass the sound or strait at the entrace of the Baltic, between Zealand and Sweden. The army consists of about 70,000 men, and the navy of 33 ships of the line. But Denmark has not recently been engaged in war.

495. Education. There is a university at Copenhagen, and another at Kiel, with a royal academy of sciences founded in 1742. There is also the royal society of Icelandic literature, designed to cultivate the history of the north, and a society for cultivating science at Drontheim. In Denmark, schools are established in each parish for instructing common children in their own language, writing and arithmetic. There are also some Latin schools maintained at the king's expense, four of which are in Norway, and two in Iceland. Denmark has produced some writers of eminence, as Saxo Grammaticus, Sweno, Snorro, the historian of Iceland, Tycho Brahe, the astronomer, and Niebuhr, the traveller.

496. Language. The languages spoke in the Danish dominions are all dialects of the Gothic, except the La. ponic, or Laplandic, and that appears to have some af. finity to the same language, so that it may be considered as a more ancient branch of the same stock. The purest dialect of the primitive Gothic is that of Iceland, for the inhabitants of that island being separated from the continent of Europe at an early period, have suffered no changes by migration or conquest.

497. Condition of the People. The peasantry of Denmark proper are said to be kept in vassalage, and of consequence are humbled, dispirited and idle ; and having no motive but necessity to induce them to labor, they are in a mean condition. The peasants in Norway, who enjoy more freedom, are in a much better condition. The Laplanders live in a cold, barren, in hospitable region, and resemble the Samoids, and northern Tartars. They are from four to five feet high, with short black hair, narrow dark eyes, large heads, thick lips, high cheek bones, a wide mouth, and a swarthy complexion. 498. Condition of the Laplanders. The Laplanders, who live between the 65th and 70th degrees of north latitude, subsist chiefly on fish and the milk and flesh of the rane. They build huts, or tents, of a concial form, divided into two parts, each of which has four subdivisions marked on the floor, one for the master, mistress, and guests ; one for the children ; a third for the servants, and a fourth for the cattle, the chief of which is the rane. The men wear a sort of robe of cloth or skin, with a red conical cap, lined with fur. The women wear a robe or vest like that of the men, but with a head-dress which widens at the top like a basis. In the summer they have a day of seven weeks long, and in winter a night of equal length ; but the moon and stars, and a brilliant northern light, supply, in some measure, the loss of the solar rays,

499, Chief Towns. Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, stands in a delightful situation, on the eastern side of Zealand. The city is built of brick or freestone, the streets are narrow, but well paved, the fortifications are regular, and the inhabitants 90,000. The city has a spacious harbor, and considerable trade, the name itself signifying the haven of merchants. The city is not ancient, but was originally a castle to defend the country from pirates, who swarmed in the northern seas. It became the residence of the kings of Denmark in 1443. In 1728, a great part of the city was burnt, and rebuilt with more elegance. The houses of the nobility are splendid, but the royal palace was consumed a few years ago in a great fire.

500. Altona and Elsinore. On the Elbe, within a small distance from Hamburg, stands Altona, which became subject to Denmark in 1640. It was then a mere village, but its commerce being cherished by the kings of Denmark, it has increased until it contains 25,000 inhabitants. It was burnt by the Swedes in 1712, but has been rebuilt, and is now the market for the Asiatic goods imported by the Danish East India company. Elsinore is a city containing about 5000 inhabitants, situated on Zealand, at the strait or sound, where all vessels must lower their topsails, and pay toll. The castle of Cron,

berg, which guards this passage, is on a peninsula, and strongly fortified.

501. Bergen. The principal town in Norway is Bergen, which is situated on the sea shiore, in a valley, surrounded by almost inaccessible hills, forming a crescent round a small gulf. It was founded in 1170, is the see of a bishop, has a good port, and about 20,000 inhabitants. Being constructed chiefly of wood, it has suffered repeatedly by dreadful conflagrations. The country around it produces little corn, but the city carries on a large trade in skins, fish and timber.

502. Christiana and Drontheim. Christiana, founded in the south of Norway, by Christiern IV. in 1624, is a handsome town, with 10,000 inhabitants. Being near the mines of iron, silver and copper, its export of metals is considerable ; but the principal commodities sent abroad, are tar and lumber. Drontheim, 270 miles north of Bergen, and containing 3000 inhabitants, is one of the most northerly cities in Europe. It was formerly the residence of the kings of Norway, and still carries on considerable traile in wood, fish, tallow and cepper from the mines of Medal and Roras.

503. Manufactures and Commerce. In Denmark are some manufactures of lether, wool and iron. In the royal manufacture of woollens at Copenhagen, 400 looms are employed. The chief exports are native commodities; from Holstein, Sleswick and Jutland, corn is exported; and from Holstein great numbers of horses and cattle. From Norway are exported timber of various kinds, hides, silver, copper and iron. Denmark owns the islands of Santa Cruse and St. Thomas in the WestIndies, and carries on a trade to the East Indies. A large canal of 20 miles in length, which connects the German Sea with the Baltic by the river Eydar, facili. tates inland trade, and does honor to the enterprize of the Danes.

DANISH ISLANDS. 504. Zealand. Zealand, the seat of the Danish mon. archy, lies at the entrance of the Baltic, with a strait or sound about 4 miles wide, which separates it from Swe:

____

den on the east, and a strait called the Great Belt, which separates it from Funen on the west. It is about 100 miles in length and bredth, and 300 miles in circumference. This island contains the seat of government, and is among the best cultivated and most productive parts of Denmark.

505. Funen, Laland and other Baltic islande. Next to Zealand in magnitude is Funen, on the west, between Zealand and Jutland, from which it is separated by the Little Belt. To the south of Zealand are Laland and Falster, and between these and Funen, is Longland, a narrow long island. A still smaller island called Eroe, lies south of Funen, and northward are Hindsholm and Samsoe : these with numerous smaller islands belong to Denmark. On the west of Jutland are Nordstrand, Fora, Lylt, Rom and others, with Helgeland nearer to the mouths of the Elbe.

506. Islands on the Norway Coast. The western shore of Norway is lined with a continued series of islands, most of them small and uninhabited. At the entrance of the gulf of Dronthiem are Bommel, Karm, Sartar and Hitteren ; north of these the Vikten islands ; still further north are those of Loffodon, which are the most considerable in size and number, and remarkable for the terrible whirlpool of Malstrom. Still further north, on the Laplandic shore, are Soroe, Mageroe and Wardhus, on the latter of which is a garrison. These islands are mostly mountainous and craggy, with water from 100 to 300 fathoms deep at their bases. Some of them produce oats and barley ; others good pasturage, and many of them furnish excellent fisheries.

507. Feroe and Shetland. The Feroe islands lie in the nothern ocean between 61 and 63 degrees north latitude, and between 5 and 8 degrees west longitude. Seventeen of them are habitable; and the inhabitants of them amount to about 5000. They are lofty mountains rising from the ocean, and separated by deep channels and rapid currents. They are mostly faced with steep and tremendous precipices; but some deeply indented with safe harbours. The soil is thin, but produces good banley, and pasturage for sheep. The exports are, mutá

« PreviousContinue »