Page images
PDF
EPUB

Boston, and 75 east of Philadelphia. Its length is about 580 miles, and its bredth from 100 to 370. It is divided into England and Scotland. The ocean that surrounds this island, is called, on the east, the German Sea ; on the south, the English Channel; on the west, St. George's Channel. On the south-east, the Channel is narrow; Dover in England not being more than twenty-five miles from Calaisin France:

44. The extent of England. The part of Great Britain called England, extends from the south end of the island to the Cheviot Hills and the Tweed, near the 56th degree of latitude ; and is about 380 miles in length. In this division of the island lies Wales, a mountainous region on the west, where dwell the descendants of the aboriginals. The contents of England and Wales are computed at 49,450 square miles, nearly 32 millions of akers, and the population at 8 millions and a half.

45. Mountains. The northern and western parts of England contain many mountains ; but they are not of very great altitude. Wharnside, in Yorkshire, and Snowden, in Wales, are the highest peaks ; the former rises a little more than 4000 feet, and the latter to 3500. On the north, the Cheviot hills form a continued ridge, and a central chain runs west of Durham and Yorkshire. Wales is a mountainous country.

46. Rivers. The Severn proceeds from the Plen: limmon, a mountain in Wales, and after a winding course to Shrewsbury, runs southerly and westerly to the Bristol Channel, a distance of 150 miles, and forms a road for ships that cannot get to Bristol. It receives the two Avons, the Teme and the Wye.

47. The Thames:* The Thames has its source in the Cotswold hills, on the borders of Gloucestershire; and passing Oxford, Windsor and London, it mingles with the Ocean at the Nore. In its course which is easterly, and about 140 miles in length, it receives the Cherwell, the Teme, the Kenneth, the Mole, and the Lee. Near the ocean, it spreads into a broad bay or estuary, which

* This orthography is wrong; the true name is Tames, or Tamis, and it was never spelt with h for twelve hundred years after the invasion of Cesar.

receives at Sheerness the Medway, a considerable stream, from the south west. The Thames is navigable for large ships to London bridge.

48. The Humber. The Humber is an estuary or bay, formed by the confluence of several streams. Of these, the Trent is the most considerable. This river rises at Newpool, in Staffordshire, runs a north easterly course of 100 miles to the Humber, and is navigable to Burton. The Ouse from the north west, on which stands the ancient city of York, is another branch of the Humber. To these may be added the Dun, the Aire, the Calder, the Warf, the Derwent and the Hull.

49. Small Rivers, The Mersey, which springs from the west Riding of Yorkshire, is a short river of about 50 miles in length, but it forms an estuary on which stands the commercial city of Liverpool. On the Irwell, one of its tributary streams, stands the manufacturing town of Manchester; the Tyne, on which stands New. Castle, famous for its coal mines; the Tweed, forming the boundary between England and Scotland ; the Tees, dividing Durham from Yorkshire; the Eden, which wa. ters Carlisle ; the Avon in the south, on which stands Salisbury, and the Dee, in Wales, with several others, are small but valuable rivers.

50. Face of the country and soil. The eastern couna ties of England are mostly level, with a shore of sand or clay, or cliffs of lime stone. The northern and western counties are diversified with mountains of lime stone, free stone, and slate ; many of them containing vast beds of coal. The south and east parts, from Dorches, ter to Norfolk, abound with chalk, which composes the prominent cliffs of Dover The soil is of all varieties,

51. Climate. England, being surrounded by the ocean, has a temperate climate ; the summers being cooler, and the winters less cold, than regions on the continent in the same latitude. The air however is moist, and moderate rains, with a cloudy sky, occur more frequently than on the continent. The air however is very salubrious, there being no extensive marshes, except in one or two of the eastern counties, and the inhabitants are remarkable for health and longevity.

52. Minerals. The tin mines in Cornwall have been known from the earliest ages, the Phenicians having resorted to them for this article. The mines are inexhaustible, employing 100,000 workmen, and affording large quantities of tin for exportation. In Derbyshireare lead mines, which afford also calamin and manganese. Iron is found in several places, but not in sufficient abundance for the manufactures. Zink, copper and plumbago, or black lead, are also found in England, with some ninerals of less value.

53. Salt. Fossil salt is found in abundance at Cheshire and Northwich. The mines in the latter place already extend under some akers of land ; and the crystal Toof, supported by immense pillars of salt, exhibits a beautiful spectacle.

55. Of Coal. Fossil coal constitutes no small part of the natural riches of England.

Vast bodies of this useful mineral in the north and west of England form inexhaustible sources of wealth. For two centuries past, since the wood of England has been nearly all consumed, coal has been almost the only fuel of that populous country. The transportation of coal from Newcastle to London employs 4 or 500 sail of shipping.

55. Natural curiosities. The cavern at Castleton, in Derbyshire, is mentioned as very remarkable for its vast extent; no bottom having been found by a line of more than 2000 feet in length. Many other caverns and chasms, worn by currents of water in limestone rocks, are found in the north and west of England ; and a small river at Wethercot runs two miles under ground. On the coast of Lincolnshire are found the remains of a forest beneath the waters of the ocean, which, at some former period, overwhelmed the land. The chalky cliffs of Dover present a curious spectacle to the approaching stranger, while they form an inaccessible rampart against an invading foe.

56. Civil division of England. England is distributed into 40 counties or shires; and Wales into twelve ; making 52 in the whole. These counties were, under the Saxons, governed by officers called Ealdermen, or Counts. Under the Danes, these officers were denominated Earls ;

tian era.

but in modern times, the chief county officer is the sheriff. There are also cities, boroughs and cinque ports, which enjoy charters, or particular privileges, by immemorial custom.

57. Ecclesiastical division. For the purpose of ecclesiastical government, England is divided into two provinces, or Archbishoprics, and 24 Bishoprics or dioceses. The province or Archbishopric of Canterbury contains 21 dioceses, and that of York, three, with the Isle of Man.

58. City of London. London, the greatest commercial city in the world, was founded soon after the Chris

It is situated in north latitude 51° 30, on the north banks of the Thames. It is about six miles in length, and from three to one in breadth ; its circumference is about sixteen miles; and its population from 6 to 800,000 souls. The eastern part is a port thronged with mariners; the center is the seat of trade and manufactures, and the west end is the residence of the court, nobility and gentry.

59. General description of London. London is about 60 miles from the sea, and tho the tide is felt in the Thames, at this place the water is fresh. The river is 440 yards wide, and below the London Bridge is covered with shipping, whose innumerable masts rise like a forest upon the water. The houses of the city are generally of brick, and the streets well paved. Since the great fire in 1666, the streets are made more wide and regular. London contains 7000 streets, lanes, courts and alleys, and 100,000 houses.

60. Churches. London contains about 200 churches and chapels of the established religion, and 100 churches of other denominations. The most capacious and magnificent church is St. Paul's, which is 500 feet in length, and the top of the cupola is 340 feet high. It is constructed of Portland stone, and the expense was estimated at a million sterling.

61. The monument. On the 2d of Sept. 1666, a fire broke out, which burnt with irresistible fury for three days, reducing to ashes 13,000 houses, 89 churches, and 400 streets. To commemorate this terrible conflagration, a monument was erected near London Bridge,

which rises 200 feet, with a stair case in the middle, by which it may be ascended.

62. Westminster Abbey. Westminster Abbey is a venerable pile of buildings, in the Gothic style, erected by Henry III. in which are deposited the bodies of the kings of England, and of the nobility and other distinguished persons.

Here are beheld the monuments of princes, nobles, heroes, philosophers and poets, which impress the mind of a spectator with an awful solemnity, as he views this sanctuary of illustrious mortals, entombed and mingled with common dust.

63. Westminster Hall. This edifice is by no means elegant, but venerable for Gothic architecture, and for the solemnity of the business to which it is consecrated. It is a vast room of 230 feet in length by 70 in bredth, with a curious roof, and a ceiling of Irish oak. Here are held the coronation feasts of the kings and queens, and in the adjacent apartments are held the high courts of law and chancery.

64. Other remarkable edifices. The Tower is venerable for ancient fame, and for its curiosities. The Bank is an edifice of the Ionic order, not remarkable for elegance. The Royal Exchange is a noble building, erected at the expense of £80,000 sterling. The terrace of the Adelphi is a fine piece of architecure, which presents an interesting view of the river. The royal palace of St. James is an irregular building of no great magnificence. The Queen's Palace is distinguished for its elea gant convenience, some valuable paintings, and an excellent library. The west end of the town presents some elegant mansion houses of noblemen.

65. The old London Bridge. Before the Norman conquest, London Bridge was built of timber; but was repeatedly burnt. The last time, in the year 1212, in king John's reign, a church in Southwark being on fire, the citizens of London passed over the bridge in crowds ; when suddenly the fire, driven by the wind, caught the north end of the bridge. The people, in their arm, rushed on to the bridge to return to London, but were stopped by the flames; and in this confusion, the south end of the bridge took fire, when a multitude were on

« PreviousContinue »