Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

Page

[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

extrema per illos Justitia excedens terris vestigia fecit.” Vir. Georg. II.

CHAPTER I.

NORWAY INTERESTING FROM ITS PECULIAR LAW OF SUCCESSION,

STEAM-BOATS.GOTTENBURG, TROLLHÆTTA. - CHRISTIANIA. -MONEY.-FISH. SLAVES. - CARIOLE TRAVELLING.-MYOSEN LAKE. - FARMS. HOUSES. HAYMAKING,

LADIES

SIDESADDLES. LAURGAARD.-GOATS.LOG-HOUSES. - NORWEGIAN AND SCOTCH HIGHLANDERS. CONDITION, PROPERTY, FOOD, LODGING COMPARED. TIMBER DUTIES. SNOW. DOVRE FIELD.--MILL.-SNEEHÆTTE.--GAME. ---FISHING.-NORWEGIAN INNS.-SEKNESS.-SUNDSET.

Hull, July 7, 183 1. Norway is a country peculiarly interesting to the political economist

It is the only part of Europe in which property, from the earliest ages, has been transmitted upon the principle of partition among all the children. The feudal structure of society,

B

with its law of primogeniture, and its privileged class of hereditary nobles, never prevailed in Norway. In this remote corner of the civilised world we may, therefore, see the effects upon the condition of society of this peculiar distribution of property; it will exhibit, on a small scale, what America and France will be a thousand years bence. From a period coeval with the establishment of the feudal system, the land and the people of Norway have been under the influence of the mode of succession which those countries have only recently adopted.

. What effect has this produced on the state of society? on the condition of the lower and middle classes in this peculiar community ? what on the arrangement and distribution of its landed property after a thousand years of division and subdivision? A single fact, brought home from such a country, is worth a volume of speculation.

I had long entertained a wish to visit Norway, partly to investigate the social condition of a people living under institutions so ancient and peculiar, and which have recently been adopted by two of the greatest of modern nations, and partly from the historical interest which we attach to every thing Norwegian. Here we expect to see the original type of institutions, customs, and domestic usages which England received by the Norman conquest, and the long previous occupation of a large portion of her territory by invaders of Norwegian race. Few readers of the historical events of the middle ages rise from the perusal without a wish to visit the country from which issued, in the tenth century, the men who conquered the fairest portions of Europe. Such were the objects, to investigate which the writer was induced to spend nearly two years in this remote part of Europe ; and he will now, in the form of a journal, communicate the result of his inquiries.

Gottenburg, July, 1834.-Steam-boats interfere most particularly with the vocation of the traveller who sets out in quest of all sorts of adventures and perils by sea and land, and hopes to edify and astonish his friends at home by the narration of them. These mail coaches of the ocean deliver him and his portmanteau on the other side of the North Sea, within twenty minutes of the appointed time, without more adventure, and with considerably less trouble, than if he were journeying in the coach from Charing Cross to Greenwich; and he finds himself with his hands in his breeches pockets, whistling along the quay of Gottenburg, before he is well aware that he has left the favourite corner in his old accustomed coffee room, and has actually accomplished a voyage across the salt seas.

The fare by the steam-packet from Hull to Gottenburg is about seven pounds sterling; and we accomplished the

passage

in

seventy-two hours, with favourable weather and a smooth sea. There were only five passengers on board, and, I understand, seventeen are the greatest number the vessel ever conveyed to Gottenburg. This, of course, would be a ruinous trade for a steam-vessel; but the owners are secured from loss by a contract with the British and Swedish post-offices. They receive four thou

[ocr errors]

a

а

sand pounds for conveying the mails to and from Gottenburg once a week, during nine months of the year. This is a very limited intercourse between the two countries. Hamburgh, being the centre of exchanges and of mercantile affairs for the north of Europe, is the route which men of business prefer both for themselves and their letters. Our Norwegian steam-packet mails are very ill-regulated. The steam-packet from Copenhagen and Gottenburg to Norway was leaving the latter port while we were entering the river, so that our mails and passengers for Norway, although arriving at the proper hour, will be detained here a week.

It appears extraordinary that three millions of people, so near to our coast, requiring all the articles which we manufacture, and having commodities which we specially require, --wood and iron,-should have so little correspondence with Britain. At one of our country post towns there are probably received and delivered more letters in a day than are transmitted to or from Scandinavia in a week. This surely implies something wrong in the commercial relations between the two countries.

I have passed a pleasant week at Gottenburg. I became acquainted at the table-d’hôte with a Swedish gentleman from Sundsval, on the Bothnian Gulf, who spoke French and German; as he had also a few leisure days to get rid of, we resolved to visit together the Falls of Trollhætta. We set off at eight in the morning, in a little steamboat which plies up and down the river Gotha :

« AnteriorContinua »