Page images
PDF
EPUB

tice, composed of an avenue of stones 7 feet high, closing in a circle of twelve stones, with one in the center 13 feet high. os. .Worth and South Vist. To the southward of Leuis is North Vist, 22 miles in length, and 17 in bredth. The face of this island resembles that of Leuis ; it is equally destitute of trees, and equally oppressed with rains. South Vist is 23 miles in length and 10 in bredth. A morassy chain of high land runs through the island, with dry hills on the east. The productions are the same as in the islands before described. 199. Smaller Islands. A great number of small isles are situated in the vicinity of those which have been described, but they present nothing worthy of notice. Twelve leagues west of these lies St. Kilda, or Hirta, two miles and a half in length, containing 30 or 40 families. . Thirty leagues west of the Orkneys, lie Rona and Bara, inhabited by a few families only. The whole population of the Hebudes may be calculated from 40 to 50,000. 200. The Orkneys. North of Scotland, and separated from it by the Pentland Frith, is a groop of islands denominated Orkneys. The largest, called Mainland, is 25 miles in length, and 13 in bredth. The chief town, Kirkwall, contains 300 houses, with a stately Cathedral of 226 in length, by 133 in bredth, and the bishop's palace, called Castle. The exports are beef, pork, butter, tallow, hides, skins of calves and rabbits, salted fish, oil, fethers, linen yarn, coarse linen cloth and kelp ; the whole valued at £25,000 sterling. This island contains nine parish churches. 201. General View of Orkneys. The inhabited islands of Orkney are twenty-six; and the people are estimated at 23,000. The horses are small, as are the cows, tho otherwise of a good quality. The sheep are computed at 50,000. The people speak the Norse, or language of Norway; the island having been subdued by the Norwegians in 1099 ; but this language is giving way to the English, People of good estates are introducing the elegant arts of living ; but the peasants live in mere hovels, and subsist on oatmeal, butter, cheese, fish and fowls, which abound on those islands. They are expert fishermen, and wonderfully adventurous in taking the eggs of birds from the fissures of rocks on the most frightful precipices.

202. Shetland. To the north east of the Orkneys, in the sixty-first degree of latitude, lies another cluster of islands, called Shetland, in the center of which is the principal, called Mainland, of 57 miles in length, but only 10 or 12 in bredth, and decply indented by arms of the sea. The next in size is Yell. Twenty-six of these are inhabited. These islands present a dreary view of rugged rocks, bleak and precipitous, interspersed with small portions of cultivated ground.

2O3. Climate and Peofile. The Shetland isles, tho in a high northern latitude, do not suffer with severe frost; snow seldom continues long on the earth ; but the climate is rendered uncomfortable by rains and fogs. The land produces some oats and potatoes; but the wretched inhabitants subsist chiefly on fish and sea fowl. To alleviate the gloom of long winter nights, the heavens constantly exhibit bright coruscations of northern light, which the people call merry dancers. Lerwick, the chief town of Mainland, standing on a rock, contains about 150 families, and the whole number of inhabitants on the Shetland isles is computed at 20,000.

204. Herrings. Nothing can exceed the stupendous schools of herrings which, in June, arrive from the North Sea, crowding the ocean, and covering it with ripples, to the extent of many miles. As they approach the Shetland isles, they divide and pass to the southward, on each side of Great Britain, furnishing a vast supply of provisions, and employment for a great number of fishermen. These fish, with cod, ling and tusk, are the principal exports from the Shetland islands.

-->4-toFRANCE.

205. Mame and History. France was originally peopled by the Celts, pronounced Kelts, or Gaels, which words are radically the same. From this name the country was called Gaul, and by the Romans, Gallia.” The

* The same word was pronounced by the British, Wael, or Romans under Julius Cesar subjected the country to their arms, 55 years before the Christian era. About the year 486, the Franks, a tribe of Germans, crossed the Rhine under Clovis, conquered the country, and impressed upon it their own name, Francia, France. At the close of the ninth century, the Normans, that is, north men, a people from Denmark, invaded the north of France, under Rollo, and finally settling in the country, called it Normandy. 206. Situation and boundaries. France is situated between the 42d and 52d degrees of north latitude, and the 6th degree of west, and the 8th of east longitude from London. It is bounded west by the Atlantic ; north by the British Channel and the States of Holland, east by the Rhine and the Alps; south by the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. 2O7. Eactent and floftulation. Before the late conquests, France was about 600 miles in length, and 560 in bredth. Since Belgica has been annexed to France, its length from north to south is more than 700 iniles. France, without Belgica, has been estimated to contain 130 millions of akers; to which the acquisition of the Netherlands, or Belgica, adds about 4 or 5 millions. Th: whole population may be estimated at 30 or 32 millions of inhabitants. 208. Mountains. France is, in general, a plain courtry. The principal mountains are the Pyrenees, on the south, which divide the country from Spain; the Cevennes, which are a continuation or branch of the Pyrenees, running almost parallel with the Rhone, on the west of that river; the Alps on the east, the mountains of Lorrain called Vosges, and mount Jura, on the east of the lake of Geneva. 209. Rivers. The Seine. The Seine, which is ennobled by the metropolis of France, has its sources in the mountains of Cote d'Or, the ancient Burgundy, and pursuing a north westerly course, enters the sea at IIavre de Grace. Its length is about 250 miles. Wales; the French, to this day, use g where the English use zo, As in gard for ward; garrant for go guerre for war,

210. The Loire. The Loire springs from the Cevennes; its farthest source is on the Gerbier, a mountain of the Upper Loire, or ancient Languedoc. Running northerly to Orleans, it bends its course westward, and passing Tours and Nantz, it meets the ocean, after a winding course of near 500 miles. 211. The Garonne. The Garonne originates in the vale of Arau on the Pyrenees, and running a north westerly course, is swelled by the Tarn, the Lot and the Dordogne, from the east. After its junction with the latter, it takes the name of Gironde, and falls into the sea below Bordeaux. Its length is about 250 miles. 212. The Rhone. The Rhone has its farthest source in the glacier of Furca, a mountain in Swisserland; and running westward, opens into the beautiful lake of Geneva; then passing southward and westward, unites with the Soane, a river from the north ; and pursuing a southerly course, receives the Durance and Isere, and enters the Mediterranean by three channels below Avignon. The length of this river is about 400 miles. 213. Other Rivers. The Rhine is now the boundary of France on the east, but this is more properly a river of Swisserland and Germany. The Meuse and the Moselle are considerable streams, which proceed from the borders of the ancient Lorrain and Champain, and run northerly. The Moselle unites with the Rhine at Coblentz. The Meuse falls into the sea below Rotterdam. The Scheldt enters the ocean below Antwerp. 214. Lakes and Forests. France contains very few lakes; a few small ones east of the Rhone, in Provence, are scarcely worth description. But France abounds with forests; and wood is the common fuel of the country. The principal forests are those of Orleans, Fontainbleau and Ardennes; the latter extends from Rheims Tio fournay, 215. Minerals. In Alsace are mines of silver and copper : but it is said they will not defray the expense of working them. Mines of lead are found in Britanny, in the north west of France ; also in the Vosges and maritime Alps. Antimony, calamin, manganese, cobalt, mercury, tin, jasper, alabaster, gypsum, black marble, *

ocher, the hyacinth, chrysolite and sapphire, are also the produce of the French mines. Coal is in great abundance. In 1798, the coal mines were computed to be 400 in number. Jet is also found, and great quantities are manufactured into rosaries, crosses, buttons and the like. Iron abounds in France, chiefly in the northern parts, and in 1798 the furnaces and forges were estimated at two thousand. 216. Curiosities. The Cevennes furnish a picturesk scenery, worthy of notice. These mountains are an assemblage of rocks, of 120 miles in extent; in some places very precipitous, and broken. In 1727, a part of one of these precipices fell suddenly and overwhelmed a whole village; the inhabitants escaped destruction by being absent at the celebration of Midsummer Eve.— The fountain of Vaucluse is the source of a river which issues at once from a cavern at the foot of a rock. Near the mouth of the Rhone, a plain of 150,000 akers, covered with round gravel and pebbles, presents a singular aspect of barren nature. w 217. Caves and Bridges. Travellers have described some curious natural caves in France; one in particular near the village of Beaume, is remarkable for containtaining a glacier. The cave is at the bottom of a valley; the mouth, 45 feet wide, opens to a steep long passage, leading to a kind of hall of 100 feet high; from which a ladder of 40 feet leads to a vast body of ice, which never dissolves. In this cavern are stalactites of solid ice, and pillars of ice rising from the floor on pedestals.Near the village of Chames, the river Ardeche runs under a bridge of solid natural rock. 218. Divisions. Under the Romans, France was divided into three parts; Belgica, which lay north of the Seine; Celtica, which was between the Seine and Gatonne; and Acquitania, which was south of the Garonne. When the Romans were driven from France, the conquerors established new divisions, as Flanders, Burgundy and the like; and at the commencement of the late revolution, France was divided into about 30 provinces. In the revolution, a new division took place, and 83 departments were established for the purposes of govern

« PreviousContinue »