Imágenes de páginas

are not equal to others; his sentiments appear to be what is generally termed orthodox, but he does not enter into controversy. The sacred font, the laver of regeneration, the viati. cum, the holiness of offices, fanctity of the priesthood, holy church, &c. are phrases, or notions, in favour of which he seems to have a great prejudice, while other persons, reading the New Testament with attention and care, apprehend, and as one may modestly conceive with greater justice, that there is nothing in its plain and simple narrations and instructions which should call for, or justify any such predilection. Allowing for some things of this kind, we consider these sermons as agreeably instructive and edifying, manifesting the pious and good heart of the writer, and calculated to advance the best interests of the reader.

[ocr errors]

Art. VI. Sketches of the natural, civil, and political State of Swif

serland; in a Series of Letters to William Melmoth, Esq; from William Coxe, M. A. Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Marlborough. 8vo.

6s, Boards. Dodíley. 1779. N this entertaining volume, we are gratified with a more

satisfactory account of Switzerland than we recollect to have met with fince the travels of Bishop Burnet; whose description of that romantic country is by no means so full and particular, as this of Mr. Coxe. "From the dedication of these Sketches to the Countess of Pembroke, we collect, that the letters before us are the result of an actual tour through the cantons, with Lord Herbert; a circumstance which gives credit to the following declaration :

• Our stay is so short in most of the places we pass through, that I cannot expect to gain an accurate knowledge of every circumttance I wish to be acquainted with : but, though I may omit many things that are worthy of your curiosity, yet I fall atteft nothing, of the truth of which I am not perfectly convinced. It is the faute of many travellers, to write from what they have read, and not from what they have seen, and to exaggerate the relations of others : but I promise you that I will describe nothing, of which I have not been an eye-witness. The remarks I shall transmit to you, will be the genuine result of my own feelings; and I had even rather be free quently wrong in my sentiments and reflections, than servilely follow the observations of others. On this you may therefore depend; that though the conclusions may perhaps be false, the facts will certainly be true: and I fatter myself you will readily pardon any error in judgment, when my intention is neither to exaggerate or to deceive.

The relation of this journey abounds, therefore, with natural incidents, and descriptions of beautiful scenes, far beyond the conception of the natives of less exalted regions. These particulars are detailed in a free and easy style; so that those who cannot travel


otherwise than by their fire-sides, may accompany the Author (in speculation) with much amusement; without his fatigues, and unembarrassed by his difficulties.

Quitting the towns, which are common objects, we shall join company with our travellers in one of the highest and wildest parts of their journey :

• We left the plain, and ascended the Grimsel : one of those alps which separate the Vallais from the canton of Berne. We were near four hours climbing up a steep and craggy road to the summit; and we should have considered the attempt to gain it as scarcely possible to succeed, had we not been encouraged by the experience of yesterday. We crossed the several shades of vegetation : in the valley, and the lower parts of the mountain, corn and rich meadows; then forests of larch and pine ; next, short grass, together with several species of herbs, that afford exquisite pasture to the cattle; to these succeeded the various tribe of mosses; and then bare rock and snow. It would be curious to con at, or at least to imagine, a scale of vegetation, according to the idea of a French writer, whose name I have forgotten. It would appear from thence, that excelfive cold and excessive heat are equally pernicious. The tops of these high mountains are barren, and produce no plants; and at certain heights nothing but mosses will vegetate: the same is obe served in climates where the heat is intolerable; as no other vegetable productions are seen in the burning sands of Africa. The mofes then, which support the cold better than other plants, would form the first degree of a scale adjusted to determine how far vegetation accords with the temperature of the atmosphere. The same family of plants, as it supports also the heat much better than any other, would occupy the last degree in the scale above men, tioned. Thus the two extremes touch one another surprisingly.

. From the top of the Grimsel we descended about two miles, and arrived at a small plain or hollow in the midst of the mountains; containing one folitary hovel: and from this hovel I am now writing to you. It made so bad an appearance at first sight, that we concluded we should get nothing to eat; we were, however, very agreeably disappointed ; as we have found in this desart spot all the accommodations we could with for. The landlord is stationed in this forlorn region by the canton of Berne, and he relides in it about four months ; the roads being almost impassable the remaining eight: his business is to receive all travellers; but upon condition, however, that they pay for their accommodations. When he quits the place, he leaves a certain quantity of cheese, hard bread, salted provision, and fuel, in case any unfortunate wanderer should come this way, when the winter has set in. Numerous herds of

goats are kept, during the summer months, upon these mountains : they are let out every morning to feed upon the rich pastures; and return every evening before sun-set to be milked and housed. It was a pleasing right to observe them all marching homeward in the same herd; and following one another down the broken precipices, and along the rugged fides of the rocks: their milk is delicious.

The "The sources of the river Aar are in these mountains. Near our hovel are two lakes ; and farther on a larger one: from each of these flow cascades, that fall into the Aar, which rolls down in an impetuous torrent from the neighbouring glaciers I walked by the fide of that river while dinner was getting ready, searching for chryftals; which are very common in these parts : we picked up pieces of divers colours, white, black, yellow, and green. Not far from hence are several very curious mines of chryftal: I regretted much that I had not time to visit them. These mountains certainly abound also in rich veins of gold, and other metals; a considerable quantity of gold-dult being found in the bed of the Aar, and in the various torrents. I can conceive nothing more fatal to the intereits of Swisserland, por more repugnant to the liberties of the people, than to have these mines of gold or filver traced and opened. A fudden overflow of riches would effectually change and corrupt their manners : and it is an incontestable truth, that the real power of a country, not ambitious of making conquefts, is derived less from the wealth than from the industry of its subjects ; the happiness of a people, as well as of an individual, confifting in being contented.

• What a chaos of mountains are here heaped upon one another ! a dreary, desolate, but sublime appearance : ic looks like the ruins and wreck of a world.

• I found the cold upon the Grimsel more piercing than I had experienced upon the top of St. Gothard t; and laft night I suffered so much from it, as scarcely to sleep one minute. But then circumftances were somewhat different in the two lodgings : for at the Ca. puchin's I had a comfortable bed; whereas last night I lay in the hay-loft, and could not get any covering : I declare my blood bas hardly yet recovered its circulation. Take notice, this is the 12th of August.

• We are now in the difrict of Hasli, which makes a part of the canton of Berne: it is enclosed on all sides by the mountains Grimfel, Werterhorn, Shereckhorn, Brunig, &c. the highest alps of Swifierland; and of these the Shereckhorn is the most elevated. We passed thro'an uninterrupted chain of alps, following the course of the Aar: all around us, for some way, was wild, and uninhabitable. The whole surface of what little vale there was between the ranges of mountains, was strewed thick with vast fragments of rock ; while those, which still hung on the sides of the mountains, seemed threat. ening to tumble upon our heads; the river, the whole way, thundering along in a continual fall. This valley exhibits the same kind of scenes we have been long accustomed to ; except that the Aar rushes with more impecuous rage even than the Rhone or the Reuss; and is frequently fo fwelled with the torrents it receives in its course, as to ravage all the adjacent country: we saw many marks of these ter

The glaciers are mountains and vallies of ice : see a curious defcription of these astonishing and beautiful phænomena, in oor account of BOURRITT's Journey to the Glaciers of Savoy, translated by Davy; Rev. vol. liii. p. 142.

+ A neighbouring mountain, of great height, which our Travel. lers had ascended a few days before,

sible devastations. We crossed it in several places; in one of which the landscape was very much of the same dreary kind as that of the Devil's Bridge *. Near the small village of Hundeck, about three leagues from Spital, we had a glimpse, through the trees, of the Aar falling from a considerable height. In order to gain a nearer view of it, we climbed along the fides of a rock, which happened very luckily to be well covered with moss, otherwise, from its steepDess, it would not have been practicable : I leaned against a tree that kung over the precipice, and saw the river rushing all at once as if from a crevice of the rock, and then spreading into a kind of semicircular expansion in its descent. It fell with fury into a deep and narrow channel, and then lost itself in the midst of the forest. The river was very full, and its perpendicular fall, as far as I could judge by the eye, might be about 150 feet. The scenery also was folemnly majestic; the rocks on each side rising perpendicularly, and totally bare, except their tops, which were crowned with pines,

• Great part of this land of Hafli is extremely fertile, and well wooded : we traversed in our way to Meyringen large forests of beech and pines, the Aar roaring along the vale ; and the road, which was as craggy and as rugged as usual, incessantly ascending and descending. We now passed through several small villages, which afforded us a pleasing light, after the desolated country we had so lately been accustomed to; and came into a beautiful little vale of a moft lively verdure, and delightfully planted. All here was calmness and repose: neither rapid river nor roaring torrent to interrupt the unusual tillness and tranquillity of the scene. This short interval of filence, made us the more fendbly affected by the turbulence of the Aar and the loud clamour of the cataracts.

• We have now seen the three greatest rivers in Sivisserland (the Rhine excepted) issuing from their respective fourees ; and have · traced them in all their violence through a tract of country in which Nature has exhibited fome of the grandest and most august of her works. But how impoflible have I found it to convey to you an ado equate idea of these her majestic, variegated, and astonishing scenes ! They must all of them upon paper necessarily appear much the same: yes, in fact, every river and cataract, every rock, mountain, and precipice, are respectively distinguished from each other by an infinite diversity of modifications, and by all the poffible forms of beauty, or magnificence ; of fublimity, or horror. But thefe difcri. minating variations, though coo visibly masked to escape even the least observing eye, elude every kind of representation, and defy the trongest powers both of the pen and the pencil. In a word, you must not judge of the beauties of this romantie country, from the faini sketches I have attempted to delineate: for, upon the whole,

A bridge thrown across a very deep ehasm over the Reofs, in the valley of St. Gothard, which here forms a considerable cataract dową the ihagged Gides of the mountain, and over immense fragments of rock, which it has undermined in its coursé. These," says out Author, are sublime fcenes of horror, of which thofe who have not been spectators, can form no idea : neither,' adds he, powers of painting nor poetry give an adequate image of them.' Rev. May, 1779.




they can no more convey to you a complete and perfect idea of thele wonderful scenes, than if I were to aim ar giving you some notion of the pi&tures of Raphael and Corregio, by telling you, they are composed of paint and canvas.

• Meyringen is a large neat village, being the capital burgh of this Jard of 'Halli: a diftrict which enjoys confiderable privileges. In this diftri&t there are about 6000 men capable of bearing arms, and about 20,000 souls.

The inhabitants are a very fine race of people : the men in geperal remarkably strong, lufty, and well made ; the women call and handsome. The latter have an elegant manner of wearing their hair, which is commonly of a beautiful * colour: it is parted from the top of the forehead, from thence brought round and joined to the locks behind; which either hang down their back in long tresses, braided with ribband, or are woven round the head in a simple plair. But the other part of the dress does not in the leaft correfpond with This elegance; as their shapes, naturally fine, are spoiled by an abfurd fashion of wearing their petticoats fo high, that they all appear as if they were found houldered and big-bellied.

· Meyringen is situated near the Aar, in a very romantic valley;
furrounded by meadows of a molt luxuriant verdure, sprinkled with
cottages, which are occasionally feparated from each other by huge
intervening fones and deep channels, the remaining effects of forms
and torrents. Close to the village, the Alp-bach, a torrent fo called,
falls from the mountain Houfli, in two beautiful perpendicular cafe
cades, but with so much violence, and in fo large a body of water,
as to cause frequent inundations : indeed the burgh itself has been in
danger of being overwhelmed and defroyed by its repeated ravages;
againt which, however, it is now protected, by a wall of confider-
able height and folidity. Near this torrent is another fall of wa.
ter, that glides gently down the bare rock, which is there more lo-
ping; and, farther on, a third glistened as it descended through a
hanging grove of pines, that feather the fides of the mountain.
• The following is the ordinary price of provifions throughout the

mountainous parts of Swifferland: I have reduced the price to
the value of our money.

J. d.
Butcher's meat, per pound


Milk, per quart
Worst wine, per

Pays de Vaud wine

o 6 By this you will perceive, that, in proportion, bread is much dearer than the other articles; and the reason is obvious : for, all these mountainous parts confit almost entirely of palturages, and with submission to this ingenious Writer

, beautiful colour is not descrip:ion We are not cold whether black, red, or brown hair is benuared with Mr. Coxe's preference.


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ܘ ܘ ܘ ܘ ܘ ܘ ܪ


« AnteriorContinuar »