« AnteriorContinua »
of every month throughout the year; and the best kind usually sells for two guineas or more per pound. The property of this valuable mine is divided, as I understand, into two equal parts, one of which belongs to Henry Banks, Esq. representative in parliament for Corfe Castle in the county of Dorset; and the other moiety is divided into ten or twelve shares belonging to Sir Joseph Banks, Sir John Mitford, the Execntors of the late Mr. Gilbert, and others. In some years the net produce of the black-lead has amounted to thirty or forty thousand pounds. Some other particulars respecting this singular mine may be seen in Robinson's Natural' History of Westmoreland and Cumberland, octavo, London 1709, page 75; also in Colonel Thornton's Sporting Tour through the Northern parts of England, &c. quarto, Pure plumbago London 1804, page 282. Its consists of 90 carbon and 10 iron. specific gravity according to Boyle is 1,860, but Dr. Freind makes it to be only 1,714.
door into the house, and all the men leave the premises in a state of safety; for the mass of rubbish which is thus wheeled in at the larger door, dams up the small rill of water which usually flows through the mine, and this has the effect of flooding it completely. Thus, if an attempt were made to break th house and enter the mine by that road, the robbers would find that the water had arisen to such an height as would drown any individual who should attempt to search for the ore.
From an examination of the exterior of the mountain it appears, that, in former times, various small shafts have been sunk for getting the black-lead, and the mine which they are now working was one of those which had been closed for a century, but was again opened in the year 1769, in consequence of another mine w the immediate vicinity having failed. The expense of raising the black-lead varies very much in different years, according to the size of the masses which the workmen happen to meet with: for instance, that which they found in the year 1778 was four yards in diameter, and twelve yards high; that of 1808 was twenty-one yards
The Plates to this work are extremely useful they are very distinctly and neatly executed. Perhaps, in few in
and a half high, two yards and an half instances have the modern improvements in the art of engraving, been turned to a better account.
diameter, and perfectly round like a column; that which they found in 1812 was rather less than 20 yards in height, and only 2 feet in diameter; and what they are now getting is found only in a narrow string. The expenses in driving the level, building the house, and working the mine, from the 23d of April 1798 to the 4th of April 1814, have amounted to 66371. 9s. 4d.; and during this period there have been produced 796 casks of fine black-lead, and 1816 casks oft e coarse kind, amount ing together to 2552 casks of about 112lbs.
It might be a matter of difficulty to those who visit the mine, to conceive how these casks of black-lead can be conveyed with safety down the face of so steep a mountain. This is done by men who have been long accustomed to the task. The cask is fixed upon a light sledge with two wheels, and the man who is well used to this sort of precipitous path, walks coolly down before the sledge, taking care that it does not acquire too great a momentum, and thus overpower him. The empty sledge he then carries back upon his shoulders, and takes another cask. All the black-lead is sent to London, as I have already mentioned, where it is deposited in the warehouse of the proprietors and, afterwards disposed of by public auction held at Essex-street in the Strand, London. This happens on the first Monday
Naples, in the Campagna Felice, in
THE object of these Letters at their original appearance in Mr. Ackerman's Repository of Arts, was amusement; and amusing they certainly are; combining, however, a considerable portion of information. The lively author draws freely on the stores of his memory. But, if his sprightly effusions should induce any of our countrymen to place that entire confidence in the Neapolitan character, which his Hero's adventures appear to justify, they will be much more fortunate than many gentlemen we know, if they be not called on to expiate their folly by a prolonged repentance.
We are not in the habit of condemning entire Communities for the faults of a few individuals; but, to inhabit Naples though merely for a time, without witnessing scenes repulsive to British feeling, appears to us impossible. It is not, then, as a complete Picture of Naples,
feelings, and the sublimity of its nature, deservedly claims the first rank. But, surely, the shrill and unnatural strains of these unfortunate beings, can add nothing to the contrary, their employment debases that solemn harmony of divine song; on the heavenly science, their presence contaminates the hallowed temples of the Almighty, and their introduction into a place of worship, bespeaks a most blasphemous and preposterous refinement of modern taste. The truth of this observation was fully acknowledged by that worthy pontiff, Clement VIII. when he issued the most positive prohibition of so inhuman and impious a custom but such is the ingenuity of religious casuistry, that means were soon devised, and are still practised, to elude the injunction of his philanthropic decree, without infringing the letter of the law. To name them would only sully my pen, inject displeasing enough to every friend of which has already dwelt too long on a submankind, without any further addition of colouring.
that this volume presents itself; but as one that suited the purpose of a Work bound to maintain a regard to the decorum of our country. This being understood, the performance assumes its proper character. The Hero, under the name of Don Luigi, lands in this Southern metropolis of Italy, and suffers the petty plagues of the place, in the various forms of civilities, flatteries, and impositions; of Lazaronis, Ciceronis, and Physicians !
Naples as a city, with its adjacencies, the baths of Tritoli, the ancient fish ponds, or what pass for such, the superstition of St. Januarius's head and blood, the antiquities of Pompeii, of Herculaneum, of the Museum to which the principal of them are removed, the Papyri M.S.S. with the manners, part, of the present inhabitants of the territory around it, each in its turn furnishes an excursion, a letter, and observations. To these are added a voyage to Capri, and sundry adventures by land.
Naples has much to please the eye; but those familiar with its inconveniences, know that it is dearly purchased it has much to please the ear, also; but this, too, is purchased at an expense shocking to humanity, and in flagrant violation of the decrees of the church. Nor can improved solemnity be pleaded for this the writer expresses the feelings of all thinking persons, when he
In this place, a lover of harmony need be at no expense to hear excellent music very often. Scarcely a day passes but one church or other has to celebrate some festival, saint's aniversary, or other important holy rite, where music is an essential requisite; and fond as I am of sacred music in particular, I have hitherto missed few opportunities of that kind. In almost every instance the performers, both vocal and instrumental, were of the first-rate abilities, and the composition, whether ancient or modern, truly sublime; but frequently also the pleasure I experienced was alloyed, or rather destroyed, by sensations of disgust, felt at the sight of eunuchs employed in the execution of these sacred concerts. Among all the potent engines which the Catholic church has called in aid of the adoration of the Supreme Being, music, from its powerful and direct influence on our hearts and
After this, shall we be told that the modern Church of Rome needs no reformation ?-that it is still Apostolic, that it still maintains primitive devotion, in its all purity? Shockingly depraved indeed, is that devotion which demands the gratification of the sense at this expense of propriety; yet without music, and scientific music, too, no church in Naples would witness a worshipper: the performance draws the crowd, and the hearers pronounce upon it as they do at the theatre: una bellissima devotione! or the contrary; as it pleases or displeases them.
The most famous ecclesiastical funzione is the liquefaction of St. Januarius's blood. The following account
of it, is a fair description of the public feeling.
The sacred ceremony of liquefaction was this time to take place in the simply elegant church of St. Chiara, as the exhibibition is not confined to any particular spot. Frequently it is in the cathedral, but other churches are occasionally favoured with the honour of witnessing the miracle within their walls.-Don Michele had for more than a week past expressed the greatest anxiety about my attending. He considered my going, if not altogether as the means of a speedy conversion, yet as the surest way to impress me with the superiority of his faith to my persuasion. Yet, strange to tell, when I requested his com
owner. The experiment was continued for more than half an hour, and no favourable result ensued. Sighs and groans now
sion, or perhaps an unfounded mistrust in my discretion during the solemnity. Be that as it may, I went myself, with an opera-glass in my pocket, in case of need.
pany, he declined the favour, under the ing the phial occasionally to the head of its pretence of some urgent business in town. I greatly suspect the true reason of his refusal was, his unwillingness to be seen in the company of a heretic on such an occa-issued from various parts of the church, and these soon changed into loud and distressful lamentations. The scene soon became truly tragic. Misericordia-ah per l'amor di Dio — Disgracia del Ciclo, and As soon as I entered Spacca-Napoli", I other exclamations of despair, mingled with beheld, although long before the fixed the most fervent prayers, were heard on all hour, crowds hastening to Sa. Chiara, si- sides; some shed tears, others clasped or fuated in that street. A decent-looking wrung their hands above their heads, and a man, to whom I addressed myself for the woman just below me, beat her bosom, nay, purpose, took me under his protection and tore hair in the most shocking manner. procured me a place, where, standing on a Three quarters of an hour had now passed chair, I had a full view of the church and in vain attempts; the whole church was in the high altar, the theatre of operation. an uproar, moaning, crying, shrieking and The church filled apace and was soon every variety of sounds of grief and despair. thronged, except a passage from the door reverberated through the ancient edifice, to the altar left open for the procession. when on a sudden the waving of a white Some time after I had arrived, the chaunt-handkerchief from the high altar announced ing of sacred hymns announced the ap- the happy tidings. Almost at the same proach of the procession, which I am sure instant, a salute of heavy artillery from the consisted of the whole clerical état major of castle proclaimed, over all Naples, the joythe city of Naples. You may form some ful intelligence, which is deemed of such idea of the length of this pageant when I importance, that when the court resides at inform you, that the monks from all the Caserta, an express is dispatched mentre à convents of Naples walked two and two, terre to communicate it to the royal family. arranged according to their different orders, You may easily imagine what a change Dominicans, Franciscans, Augustines, Car- this fortunate catastrophe instantly wrought melites, Carthusians, Benedictines, Ber- in the minds and hearts of the congreganardines, Theatines &c. &c. &c. Innu- tion: all now was joy, exultation, and merable banners and images of silver of mutual congratulation. For my part, I regreat value, belonging to the different joiced no less at the termination of the convents, were carried between each con performance; had it lasted ten minutes gregation, and the frankincense, issuing longer, I should have fainted from the exfrom some hundreds of censers soon filled cessive beat and the pestilential air caused the church with a dense cloud of smoke, by the living crowd above ground, and the which prevented me, at least, from seeing dead buried under the pavement. distinctly the proceedings at the high altar. I asked my civil cicerone if there was any impropriety in making use of my optic aparatus, as I was very short-sighted. "On the contrary, sir," replied he, "it is our wish, that every stranger should see as accurately as possible the miraculous func-intimate tion which distinguishes our city above every other place in Christendom; and to remove all scruples, sir, when you have done with it, I should be glad to have a spy myself." I might have saved the trouble of asking, for I found that the glass magnified the smoke and vapours of the church to such a degree, that I scarcely perceived the bust of the saint on the altar, and the bishop, with his assistants, who had just begun the ceremony of approach
Literally, Split- Naples; a street so called; because, crossing the city ina straight line from one end to the other, it divides it into two pretty equal parts.
The effect of this slow miracle, on people of a rank above the populace, is striking.
In one of my first letters I have mentioned the singular circumstance of my being an with a family consisting of four perfect generations, all living on one floor. viz. the great-grandfather, 90 years old, and his wife not much less; the celebrated Don Michele (his son), and his consort 'now in a family way); Don Michele's son-in-law, with his better half (likewise near her time), and their little boy, of four or five years. The whole of this truly patriarchal group we found assembled in the sitting-room, some plunged in silent grief, others gave vent to their feelings by copious lachrymal torrents. "It is but too true," exclaimed Don Michele, on entering the apartment, "the news our neighbour brought. Fifty-five minutes! aye, fiftyfive minutes!-What will become of us,
"You are wroug, my lad," (of fifty odd years, mind!) “in saying such a thing was never heard of; for I remember, in the year fifty-seven, no, sixty-seven, aye, in the year sixty-seven, the very year poor Gaetane died, this same holy function lasted for upwards of an hour. And surely you must recollect the terrible eruption of the mountain which followed soon after it.
Persuadere cupit. credat Judæus Appella,
this, any where else than at Naples To the ancients; from the moderns:would come under the logical predicament of a Hysteron proteron; or in plain English, putting the cart before the horse; but, in that city, it is a proper order cnough, for the consi
We mean now to introduce Don Luigi's
Let me see!—it was on the 22d of October when it first began, and lasted for three successive days. Why, don't you remember the sand which fell over the whole city? I am sure our roof was covered with it-But Signor Don Luigi," addressing himself to me, "the power and goodness of our holy protector are beyond belief: hederation of antiquities new revived.first gives us warning of our impending calamities, that we may, if we choose, avert them by fasting and prayer; and even when we neglect to do so, he is ready to extricate us from our misery. For at the very time I am now speaking of, when the rage of the mountain had continued for three days, and when for aught we know, it might bave lasted three weeks longer, and perhaps destroyed the whole city; the Cardinal Archbishop Sersale, together with the whole chapter of the cathedral, and innumerable ecclesiastics from the different convents, sallied forth in hum-rich crops of wine and grain. Not a trace ble and devout procession from the city of even a ruin was to be seen for many centowards the mountain, carrying the head turies, except a fragment of an old wall, of our St. Januarius before them. Now which had constantly been supposed to mark what I am going to tell yon, for I have been reared on the surface on which was an eye-witness of the fact. No sooner it was thought to stand, but which, in fact, had they got to the bridge of St. Magdalen, proved afterwards the most elevated part and within sight of the mountain, than a of the great theatre of Pompeji. Its supetremendous report was heard from it, rior height over all the other buildings bad louder than if a hundred thousand cannon caused it to project above the volcanic had been let off at the same time: the stratum. In this state of things, and subseshower of hot sand and the eruption in- quent to the discovery of Herculaneum stantly ceased; the sky, which had before (about forty years ago), the hce of a labeen utter darkness, became perfectly bourer was arrested by a hard substance. clear; and, in the evening, the stars, for On removing the surrounding earth, he the first time after three nights, appeared perceived that he had nearly decapitated with their usual brightness. Thus, sir, a small statue of, as he thought, massive did the infinite goodness of our illustrious gold. His eager efforts to pull up the fanprotector intercede for his people, and in cied treasure were fruitless; the idol was the hour of trial, obtain divine mercy for firmly rivetted into a stone pedestal, and 15. You are a young man. Signor Don the latter still more strongly cemented into Luigi, your troubles may have to come some hard substance underneath. yet. let this, therefore, be a lesson to you, peasant, however, had his wits about him. The not to despair in misfortunes, but to put After possessing himself of a small fragyour trust in the goodness and mercy of ment of the doubtful metal, he restored
THE DISCOVERY OF POMPEJI.
the different and less fatal manner in which I have already noticed this city was at once blotted from the face of the earth. The light volcanic mould abundantly spread over it, soon became capable of cultivation, and the unconscious husbandman reaped from the fertile soil which covered the roofs of the buildings,
matters in statum quo, and left the field in the evening. The verdict of a silversmith was obtained in course; and being satisfied of the impossibility of turning the brass, even in his possession, to any great account, the poor clown at once became loyal and honest, and imparted his secret to the proper officer of government, who immediately ordered the ground to be excavated on the spot pointed out. The image was soon found again; and, moreover, it was ascertained, that (like the Apollo on Drury-ground is usually white, the ornaments lane theatre) it constituted the ornament black, but other colours are often employof the roof of a small temple, which being ed with increased effect. Thus much for likewise laid open, was the signal for all the floors! The walls of the rooms are future Pompejian discoveries. The statue equally if not more deserving our attenproved to be a Minerva, perfect in all parts tion: they are painted, either in compartexcept the head, which was nearly cleft in ments, exhibiting some mythological or two by the sacrilegious hoe. historical event, or simply covered over with a light ground, adorned with a border, and perhaps an elegant little vignette, former (the historical paintings) no longer in the middle, or at equal distances. The
It is from a corn-field you descend into the excavated upper end of the High-street
held these sad remains of former opulence and comfort. In viewing the remnants of remote ages, we are generally capable of tracing the period of their duration from exterior marks left upon them by the hand of TIME. But here, I confess, my ideas of
of this town. An awful sensation of melancholy seized upon my mind when I be-exist in Pompeji; for wherever a wall was of some distinct subject, the Neapolitan found which contained a tolerable picture government took off the painting, together with the upper surface of the wall, and deposited it in the museum at Portici; so that of those apartments which had previ
time were so strangely assailed and be-ously been the most elegant, the bare walls thus spoliated, now only remain.
wildered, that, were I to repeat all the whimsical doubts which on this occasion
found their way into my brain, my possession of the latter might, I truly fear, be disputed.
The street, consists of a narrow road for carts, with foot-pavements on each side The middle road is paved with large blocks of lava, and the ruts of the wheels proclaim its antiquity, even at the time of its being overwhelmed the footpaths are more elevated than those of Loudon, generally a foot and a half from the level of the carriage road. The houses on each side, whether shops or private buildings, have no claim to external elegance; they consist but of a ground-floor, and have no opening towards the street, except the door. No window is to be seen, unless the open counter of the shops towards the street be deemed such. The windows of the private houses look into an inner square court; and even those are generally so high, that to look out of them, must have required a foot-stool. The apartments themselves, are, with the exception of one in each house which probably served as a drawing-room, extremely diminutive, and many very low.
You may well suppose, dear T. that the to peel off, by means of sawing, pieces of greatest care and ingenuity were required wall, twenty and more square feet in extent, without destroying the picture; aud I was astonished to find, from the numerous specimens in the museum, how successful this mode had proved: yet even this method was no modern invention; for, strange to tell, among the excavated remains of Stabiæ, the workmen discovered an apart separated, by the ancients themselves, from ment with some paintings, which had becn obvious intent of being inserted in another some wall (in Greece perhaps) with the place but the operation was prevented therefore, were found merely leaning with by the ruin of the city; and the paintings, one side against the wall of the apart ment.
The Pompejan rooms are neat, and, in many instances, superlatively elegant; the floors generally consist of figured pave
ments, either in larger stones of various colours, regularly cut aud symmetrically disposed, or composed of some beautiful mosaic, with a fanciful border, and some animal or figure in the middle. It is surprising into how many pleasing shapes the fertile imagination of the artists would convert an endless variety of geometrical lines and figures in the design of their borders: their tesselated pavements alone would evince their skill in geometry. The
However desirable it would have been to have left the rooms in the same state in which they were first discovered, yet as there is no roof to any of the houses, the paintings would soon have been destroyed by the dust and raiu; and, in this point of view, it appears judicious to have secured these valuable, and almost only remains of ancient painting, in a manner which insures their preservation for centuries to