Imatges de pàgina

place in Great-Britain ; and this persuasion is so firmly established, that many of the Dutch who have property in the English funds account it of no more value than their French assignats.' P. 352.

From the extracts we have given, our readers will form a favorable judgement of the talents of the writer, whose description of the mode of traveling, the principal towns, and the peculiar manners of the inhabitants, affords a considerable fund of information and entertainment. The Dutch character is presented in a more amiable point of view than we have lately, from political prejudices, been accustomed to contemplate it; and as the return of peace promises to re-establish the accustomed intercourse between the two countries, the merchant and the traveler will equally find their interest concerned in consulting this publication. Reflecting upon the ancient virtues of the Batavian character, we were happy to find that the present generation is by no means lost to the world. The insinuations of many party writers are herein corrected by more authentic statements; and a more charitable opinion of our neighbours is very strenuously inculcated.

Whatever changes the revolution may have produced in the man. ners and habits of the Dutch, I am persuaded that there remains in the nation a rich fund of old Batavian virtue, integrity, and honour; that the genuine principles of liberty are no-where better understood, or more fervently admired, though, by the unhappy circumstances of the times, perverted or neglected ; that no-where are the domestic and social duties of life more sedulously cultivated.—May the exer. cise of these virtues specdily be encouraged by the restoration of peace !' 'P. 378.

Art. X.- An Historical Tour in Monmouthshire, &c. By William Coxe. Part II. (Continued from Vol. XXXIII. D. 251.)

W E left our interesting traveler in the north-west of this romantic and pleasing country, in that angle which looks on the right into Herefordshire, and on the left into Brecknockshire. He makes many excursions towards different objects on the east and we:t, before he returns to Abergavenny, whence he visits the iron works at Blacnavon, and proceeds to Pont-y-Pool. The whole of this tour is replete with objects which highly interest the reader. We shall point out only the more prominent fea. tures of the journey, or those which to us were most engaging. · Lanthony abbey has employed the pencil of sir Richard Hoare, who has given many different views of it. The situation is in the romantic vale of Lwias, a retreat wild and isolated, but tranquil and soothing. Among our author's other excursions around this neighbourhood, he proceeds to Oldcastle, the seat of the dissolute companion of our Henry V., and who was probably the prototype of Falstaff. Oldcastle died a martyr; so that Shakspeare was obliged to deny the identity of his fat knight with one whose catastrophe was so unsuitable to his profligacy and cowardice. The castle is pulled down, and the farm-house more profitably occupies its place. The general description of the country we shall copy from our author's account of the prospect from the Gaer. :

« The Gaer occupying nearly the centre of the great chain which stretches to the north and north-west from Abergavenny, beyond the confines of Herefordshire and Brecknockshire, the situations and forms of the circumjacent mountains are plainly distinguished from its summit. The first of this chain is the Derry, which I have als ready described as rising from Abergavenny, and which skirts the Hereford road for the space of two miles; the northern side ap. pears sprinkled with underwood, and the summit is crowned by the Sugar Loaf in all its beauty. To the north of the Derry succeeds a bare russet mountain of an oblong form, called the Brynaro, which turns at the scathed elm on the Hereford road, and terminates at the foot of the Gaer. Opposite to the Brynaro, on the eastern side of the Hereford road, rises the Great Skyrrid, in all its ruggedness, with its forked summit eminently conspicuous. To the north of the Brynaro, and to the north-east of the Skyrrid, extends the long line of the Black mountains, separated from the Gaer by the valley of the Honddy, a dark and gloomy mass, sweeping in a semicircular direction, and spreading in various ramifications. In their inmost recesses appears the deep vale of Ewias, and the singular curvature of the dingle, which takes the name of Cwmyoi from its shape, and communicates it to the village, whose romantic situation in the midst of broken crags is peculiarly striking. To the west of the Black mountains, and to the north-west of the Gaer, rises a succession of eminences, bristling with crags innumerable, stretching across Breck. nockshire, and lost in the distant counties of Wales. At the foot of the Gaer, I admired the beautiful vale of Langruny, watered by a lively torrent, and terminating at the north-western extremity of the Derry, from which point the Lanwenarth hills border the vale of the Usk, and join the Rolben. : Beyond this chain of mountains, which I have thus attempted to discriminate, the eye of the spectator glances over the fertile part's of Monmouthshire and Herefordshire, backed by the distant hills in the counties of Worcester, Glocester, and Somerset, and intersected by the æstuary of the Severn.' P. 224.

The iron works at Blaenavon are extensive and important. The mines were formerly worked while the neighbouring hills could afford wood for charcoal, but neglected when the forests were destroyed. After it was discovered that pig-iron might be manufactured with coak-charred pit-coal--the works were resumed, as lodes of iron are covered with those of coal.

The ore is sufficiently rich, yielding forty-four pounds of piga iron in one hundred weight, and the works are carried on with equal judgement and spirit. Fifteen years ago not more than sixty tons of pig-iron were annually manufactured in this county and the contiguous district of Glainorganshire, and no bar-iron attempted : at present the former scarcely falls short of six hundred, and the latter amounts to three hundred tons. The buildings and the rail-road are particularly described ; but for these we must refer to the volume, as the accounts would lead us too far,

Pont-y-Pool is a corruption of Pont-ap-Howell, Howell'sbridge ; and the place is well known from the manufacture of varnished iron plates bearing its name. This invention is attributed to an agent of Mr.Hanbury, Mr. Thomas Allgood; but the manufacture has decayed in consequence of other establishments, and somewhat from the fluctuations of fashion. Some of the neglect probably arises from the decay of the tinning on the inside, corroded by the iron, which after a little time gives an unpleasing as well as a dirty appearance. The family of Hanbury forms too conspicuous a feature in the picture to be overlooked, and a pretty full account is added of them, particularly of sir Charles Hanbury Williams, so memorable in the annals of gallantry-rather perhaps of libertinism—and politics. The history of this gentleman is resumed in the twenty-ninth chapter, and some important memoirs are added from the family papers. His private life is well known, from the annals of wit and gallantry of the day. His Ode to Mr. Fox, on the mare riage of Mr. Hussey with the duchess of Manchester, contained a severe and illiberal satire on the whole Irish nation; and several Irish gentlemen were said to have entered into a combination to affront or to challenge him. The advice of his friends (and a very friendly letter from Mr. Fox is added, from the Pont-y-Pool papers, on this subject) induced him to retire to Monmouthshire. He accepted the embassy to Dresden in 1746; so that the resentment excited by this indiscretion must have long passed away: and the reason which he assigns for accepting the office, viz. melancholy, in consequence of the death of his friend Mr. Winnington, is a more probable one than that commonly imputed to him, to wit, cowardice. - From Pont-y-Pool Mr. Coxe makes an excursion to the west, to the mountainous country watered by the Avon Lwyd, the Ebwy, the Sorwy, and the Rumney rivers, which, rising from the high grounds in the north-west of Monmouthshire, and the south of Brecknockshire, pass southward in an almost pa. rallel direction towards the Bristol Channel, but, slightly con. verging, empty themselves into the Usk, which falls into the sea at no great distance from the Rumney. This part of the country is very little known; and the excursion was undertaken at the persuasion of Mr. Evans, who informed our author that he would find some Swiss scenes in these wilds. He seems not to have been disappointed. We shall select a passage from these unfrequented regions.

" At the extremity of this moor we approached the descent lead. ing to Cwm Tilery, and I was surprised with the view of an extensive district well peopled, richly wooded, and highly cultivated, almost rivalling the fertile counties of England. Slowly descending from the dreary heath, we looked down with delight upon numerous valleys which abound with romantic scenery, and passed several rills bubbling from the sides of the hill, and swelling the Tilery ; beDeath us at a distance we distinguished the Little Ebuy, bursting through a deep, narrow, and woody glen, and only visible by its foam glistening through the thick foliage.

• At the bottom of the descent we crossed the Little Ebwy over a stone bridge, and rode along a narrow and rugged path, winding round the precipitous sides of the Beacon mountain, which are thickly clothed with underwood, and occasionally tufted with hanging groves of oak, beech, ash, and alder ; the wild raspberry twining in the thickets, and the ground overspread with the wood strawberry. The rapid torrent beneath was sometimes half obscured by the trees, and sometimes re-appeared to view, as it bounded over its rocky channel, illumined by the rays of a mid-day sun..

• This valley is usually called, from the torrent, Ebwy vach, ot the vale of the Little Ebwy, but is denominated by the natives, the Valley of the Church : it is bounded on the east by a ridge called Milvre Hill, which 'separates it from the parishes of Lanfoist and Trevethin, and on the west by the Beacon mountain, which divides it from the valley of the Great Ebwy. At first it was extremely narrow, almost without a single habitation ; the foaming torrent filling the whole space between the mountains. As we proceeded the vale expanded, and numerous farm-houses, with small inclosures of corn and pasture, occupied the slopes of the eminences, and spread into the narrow plain on each side of the river ; the whitened walls and brown stone roofs of these detached dwellings gave an air of neatness and gaiety to the surrounding landscape.

- Towards the extremity of the vale, we crossed the Little Ebwy, over another stone bridge, to the church, which is beautifully situ. ated in the midst of fields, upon a gentle rise overhanging the forrent. In our way we passed the Istwyth, a lively rill, which dem scends from a wooded dingle, and in a few paces falls into the Little Ebwy: this stream gives the name of Aberystwith to the scattered village, which is likewise called Blaenau Gwent, or the extremity of Gweptland.' P. 246.

The simple construction of the churches, one very simple and beautiful epitaph, and the still remaining belief in goblins, elfs, and fiends, form very pleasing contrasts to some of the other parts of the work.

Crit. Rev. Vol. 34. March, 1802.


The next excursion was to the south-west, to Crumlin-bridge and Risca, where our author nearly falls in with his former journey in the vicinity of Machen. In this part of the tour, though it be in general pleasing, we find nothing so peculiarly striking as to induce us to dwell on it. The neatness and simplicity of the habitations, the comforts of the peasantry, their bacon, almost, as in other alpine regions in England, their only food, and their national liquor, the cwrw, thick unfermented beer, afford a pleasing picture of an early state of civilisation ; yet perhaps chiefly pleasing when viewed at a distance. The road to Abergavenny, though not without its attractions, offers however nothing sufficiently interesting to detain us.

We find nothing which requires our notice till the author's arrival at Monmouth, which he reached by the upper road, through Landeilo Cresseney. The capital of Monmouthshire contains about six hundred houses, and about two thousand six hundred souls. The average number of births is between seventy and eighty; of burials seventy-about one in thirtyseven. There is but little manufacture in this town, for the Monmouth caps are now disused ; but the situation on the Monnow and the Wye is delightful, and perhaps Monmouth is one of the most pleasing and romantic towns in the island. Its history is added, but without any particular subject which can long detain us. Its claim to the honor of a Roman station is not decided ; but it was certainly fortified at a very early period, perhaps by the Saxons.

In the neighbourhood of Monmouth various branches of the Herbert family are established; and before Mr. Coxe leaves this part of the country, he visits Perthîr, Troy-house, Treowen, and Wonastow. The following anecdote is highly characteristic and entertaining. • Mr. Lorimer pointed out to me a window remarkable for a cu. rious anecdote relating to the contest for precedence between the rival houses of Perthir and Werndee, which, though less bloody, was not less obstinate, than that between the houses of York and Lan. caster. Mr. Proger dining with a friend at Monmouth, proposed riding to Werndee in the evening, but his friend objecting, because it was late and likely to rain, Mr. Proger replied, “ With regard to the lateness of the hour, we shall have moonlight; and should it happen to rain, Perthîr is not far from the road, and my cousin Powell will, I am very sure, give us a night's lodging." They accordingly mounted their horses; but being soon overtaken by a við. lent shower, rode to Perthîr, and found all the family retired to rest! Mr. Proger, however, calling to his cousin, Mr. Powell opened the #vindow, and looking out, asked, “ In the name of wonder, what means all this noise ? Who is there :?” “ It is only I, your cousin Proger of Werndee, who am come to your hospitable door for shell ter from the inclemency of the weather, and hope you will be so

« AnteriorContinua »