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The matrix is an ochraceous iron-ore, and the yellow oxyde covers the whole of the mine.-I conceived at first that the silver might be afforded by a decomposed galena, but could not find any appearance of lead upon examination of the lode. The course of the latter is almost perpendicular to the horizon, in a direction from north to south. It is about ten years since the mine was first worked, and the depth is now nearly twenty-four fathoms. I found it very dangerous to descend, on account of the ladders continuing quite strait to the bottom, and there being no resting-place except a niche cut on one side in the earth *. Should one unfortunately miss one's hold of the ladder in this shaft, there is nothing to prevent a fall to the very floor of the mine.'
Some inaccuracies, we apprehend, are discoverable in the descriptions of the fossils. P. 55, we are told of molds, or larvæ, of shells; an expression which does not convey a correct idea; nor is it indeed that usually adopted by extraneous fossilists, when speaking of organic substances more commonly found in Portland stone, which are of the turbinated kind, oysters and fossil-wood. In the next page, entrochi and vertebræ must have been mistaken for casts of the turbo and buccinum;'-p.253 'ochraceous iron-ore' and the yellow oxyde' almost amount to a pleonasm; ferrugineous for ferruginous occurs universally.
Of the Cornish language, now obsolete, Mr. M. gives a
Having now nearly completed the tour of this country, and vi sited its most secluded parts, without finding any traces of the old Cornish language, we ventured to conclude that it must be nearly, if not wholly, extinct, especially as Mr. Ray could not meet with more than one person who wrote it as long ago as the year 1662. Mr. Barrington was fortunate enough to find an old woman that could scold in it, when he visited this county in 1768.-It was spoken so generally, however, down to the reign of Henry VIII. that Dr. Moreman, Vicar of Mynhinet, is said to have been the first who taught his parishioners the Lord's prayer, the creed, and the commandments in English.-According to the best authorities I have been able to consult, the Cornish must have been merely a dialect of that language which prevailed over all Britain before the arrival of the Saxons, and which was common (though not down to so late a period) to Ireland and Gaul. The Britons being driven into countries remote from each other, their language would in process of time become differently written and pronounced, and mixed in different degrees with other languages, so as to constitute the Armorican, Welsh, and Cornish, which seem to have never been radically distinct, for those who are versed in any one of these can interpret
*Most of the ladder-shafts in Cornwall have what are called landing-places-that is, the ladders do not often extend more than five or six fathoms in depth before you can stand, or perhaps walk some way, safe on your legs, and then proceed to another course.'
the others with tolerable facility *. Many causes have operated to occasion the extinction of the last. In the first place, no more than three books are extant in the language: one of them (Gibson informs us) is written in an old court-hand on vellum, and contains the history of our Saviour's passion; the other two are in the Bodleian library, but I am ignorant of the subject of them.--Secondly, the cessation of all intercourse and correspondence with the people of Bretagne under Henry VII. before whose time there were interchanges of families and princes with them; and lastly,-the jealousies that have existed between the natives of this county and Wales, since the latter has become a mining country, were the means of confining the Cornishmen to a communication in their original language only with each other. The Welsh having much less intercourse with their neighbours than the people of Cornwall, we cannot be surprised that the language of the former has survived that of the latter, and we have no need perhaps to take other circumstances into consideration.'
Few of the principal towns of Devonshire are passed withour casual observation: but their topography is only incidentally mentioned. The antiquary will be sometimes disappointed, both with respect to historical information and criticisms on Gothic architecture: but enough will be found of either to satisfy the general reader.
In the second volume, after having described Torrington, Taunton, and Bridgewater, Mr. M. offers the following remarks on the cliffs of Chedder, which have long engaged the attention of the lovers of nature in her most romantic forms:
Being desirous of bestowing particular observation on the productions of the Mendip hills, we established our head-quarters for a while at the romantic village of CHEDDER. The cliffs here had been too often described to us in terms of wonder not to attract our earliest attention. They certainly constitute one of the finest mountain scenes in the west of England; I do not recollect having ever seen any of an equal effect. The village is situated under the south-west side of Mendip, and yet much elevated above the level of the moors, so that the contrast between the lofty brows of the hills on one side and the fertile flats on the other is singularly striking. The chasm by which the cliffs are formed does not disclose itself until we come near a mill, turned by a rapid brook that gushes out near the entrance, and soon afterwards loses itself in the Ax. Proceeding by the side of this brook, we are suddenly struck by a gap in the side of the mountain, of the extent of which we no sooner form an idea than we find it erroneous, for the rocks project one behind another so as often to appear to prevent further progress. We are constantly deceived, and at length discover that this stupendous chasm extends quite through the south-west ridge of Mendip, from top to bottom, the length being at least two miles, at the end of which it
* See Gough's Camden, vol. 1, p. 11.'
divides into two branches, so as to allow an easy ascent to the top of hills. The direction is winding, but on the whole nearly from southwest to north-east. In many points the cliffs rise to the height of full three hundred feet quite perpendicularly, some terminating in bold pinnacles, others in irregular fragments like shattered battlements of vast castles, and others inclining as if about to crush the spectator as he passes under. Yews project out of several of the fissures, forming lofty canopies of a solemn shade; many rocks wear long mantles of ivy, which have the most picturesque and beautiful appearance, compared with the craggy nakedness of the others. The scenery varies continually, and to catch all its sublime effects it is necessary to traverse the gap backward and forward for some time. The width decreases gradually towards the termination, the bottom appearing more and more overspread with fragments of rock, which render it in some places with difficulty passable. On the right hand, the cliffs are much steeper than on the left, and for the most part inaccessible, but it may be remarked that, in general, the salient angles on one side correspond with the recipient ones on the other. Indeed every circumstance contributes to impress a belief that the mountain must have been here violently rent asunder, either in consequence of some remote part suddenly losing its support, and subsiding, or of some subterraneous force operating immediately below this part, and elevating it above the level of the rest. The inclination of the strata, which are from one foot to three feet in thickness, is to the southwest nearly, the general direction of them being from north-west to south-east; this is the course of the hills, the height of which seems to increase northward, and particularly near the village of Loxton, where is a prodigious eminence called Crook's peak. Though the cliffs are not so wide apart as those of Dovedale, yet (excepting that the latter are more profusely adorned with wood) there is a great resemblance between these two grotesque spots. The rocks of Chedder are certainly on the grandest and boldest scale; on the other hand, they have not the advantage of a beautiful stream, like the Dove, dividing them. Stupendous as they are, there is a contiguous part of Mendip some hundred feet higher, sloping from their tops with a gradual ascent, and commanding, particularly to the west and south, a most extensive prospect.
Mendip may be called the Alps of Somersetshire, as the Peak may of Derbyshire, and both these immense, remarkable chains of moun tains are extremely alike with regard to the materials that compose them. The rocks of the Peak abound with veins of lead and calamine, as do those of Mendip : both contain vast caverns and subterraneous vaults: and both consist of a similar species of stone. The limestone of Mendip contains various coralloid relics (like that of Derbyshire) to a certain depth, when the miners find it more compact and quite free from fossils.
The Chedder cliffs produce several of the rarer plants. I must not omit mentioning Dianthus casius * (Chedder Pink) D. arenarius,
* The trivial name of cesius, which is extremely appropriate, first occurs in Sowerby's English Botany, vol. 1, p. 62.'
and Thalictrum minus. The history of the first of these plants has been more perplexed than that of any other British species perhaps, and it has been difficult to say which was the true Chedder Pink, and which was not. It is to be distinguished, however, by the stems being mostly single-flowered: the scales of the calyx roundish and short; the petals notched and bearded; and the leaves rough in the margin. This elegant plant has never yet been found but on the cliffs of Chedder, where it was gathered first by Mr. Brewer, in Ray's time. The flowers make their appearance in July, decorating the rocks most luxuriantly.'
Concerning Mendip and its mines of calamine and lead, .much information is afforded, extremely creditable to Mr. M.'s industry of research and his acquaintance with mineralogy, in its improved state; and no science has made so great a progress in England in so short a space of time. We regret that our limits will not allow us to make an extract which would do justice to the subject.
The cathedral at Wells, and the architecture and monastic history of Glastonbury, are discussed at length; and we freely subscribe to the censure bestowed on the tasteless manner in which the inside of the former fine specimen of the Gothic style has been defaced by washes of lime and yellow ochre. To the Glastonbury thorn, so frequently the resort of the superstitious of old, our author attends only as a naturalist:
On the south-west side of Glastonbury may be seen Wearyall-bill (represented in the view of the ruins) the name of which originated from a belief prevalent among the vulgar, and instilled by the monks, that here St. Joseph and his companions sat down all weary with their journey! From the stick the former stuck into the ground, say they, sprung the famous Glastonbury thorn, concerning which so many marvellous stories have been spread, and for fancied cuttings from which, even in times when monkish superstition might be supposed to have ceased, people of the first rank gave an extravagant price. The Bristol merchants (Collinson informs us) actually made a traffic of the plants, and exported them to foreign parts; the people of Glastonbury, to this day, cultivate slips of hawthorn imagined to have sprung from the sacred trunk, and offer them to visitors as valuable articles, though many a sprig is cut in the neighbouring hedges. I have never seen the Glastonbury thorn in fructification, but all the botanists who have examined it in that state agree that it is no other than the common Cratagus monogyna. It is a fact, however, that the shrub here flowers two or three months before the ordinary time, and sometimes as early as Christmas day, O. S. whence I conjecture it must be at least a variety of the above species, which may have been introduced originally by some pilgrim or other from the east,
The various curiosities, together with the superstitious tradi tions, above enumerated, draw multitudes of visitors to Glastonbury, which has been benefited by pious impostures not a little. Before
the year 1751, the town was generally crowded for the sake solely of seeing the thorn in bloom.""
That a general idea of the several transitions of substances may be obtained at one view, and to sum up the mineralogical remarks scattered through these volumes, a delineation in the manner of a map is added in conclusion. Each district is marked by lines, the position of which is varied or undulated, and exhibiting by different combinations the mixture of minerals where more than one species prevails.
We consider this work as a respectable addition to the stock of popular literature; and we wish that similar investigations were to be pursued in other provinces with equal success. Sixteen views in acquatinta embellish the work, which are extremely neat, and, as far as we recollect, have the merit of faithful representation.
ART. XII. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: for the Year 1797. Part I. 4to. 8s. Elmsly. 1797.
HE papers here offered to the public are not very numerous: but some of them seem peculiarly to merit the attention of the scientific and curious reader. We shall notice them, (except those which belong to the Mathematical class,) according to the order of their insertion in the volume before us.
The Croonian Lecture; in which some of the morbid Actions of the straight Muscles and Cornea of the Eye are explained, and their Treatment considered. By Everard Home, Esq.
This paper is a continuation of two former lectures* on the subject of vision by the same ingenious writer. He begins with considering that affection of the eye which consists of inability to see near objects distinctly; and this he attributes to an overstraining of the straight muscles, in consequence of too great exertion in their usual action of adjusting the eye to view near objects. He illustrates this supposition by a case; and that case, by similar loss of power of other muscles from over
Double vision is the next subject of consideration. Mr. H. agrees with Dr. Reid in attributing this disease to the falling of the visual impressions on non-corresponding parts of the retina of the two eyes. This may happen either from a want of correspondence of the action in the muscles of the different eyes, or from some change in the refracting media in one of them. It is the former cause which particularly belongs to * See M. Rev. for April, p. 406.