Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

p. 105.

ment action, increased as we crept along this level ; until at length, subduing every other sound, we could no longer hear each other speak, notwithstanding our utmost efforts. At this moment we were ushered into a prodigious cavern whence the sounds proceeded ; and here, amidst falling waters, tumbling rocks, steam, ice, and gunpowder, about fifty miners were in the very height of their employment. The magnitude of the cavern, over all parts of which their labours were going on, was alone sufficient to prove that the iron-ore is not deposited in veins, but in beds. Above, below, on every side,

, and in every nook of this fearful dungeon, glimmering taper's disclosed the grim and anxious countenances of the mirers. They were now driving bolts of iron into the rocks, to bore cavities for the gunpowder, for blasting. Scarcely had we recovered from the stupefaction occasioned by our first introduction into this Pandemonium, when we beheld, close to us, hags more horrible than perhaps it is possible for any other female figures to exhibit, holding their dim quivering tapers to our faces, and bellowing in our ears. One of the same sisterhood, snatching a lighted splinter of deal, darted to the spot where we stood, with eyes inflamed and distilling rheum, her, hair clotted with mud, dugs naked and pendulous ; and such a face, and such hideous yells, as it is impossible to describe :

Black it stood, as Night-fierce as ten Furies

Terrible as Hell's The importance of these subterraneous treasures to Sweden, in the employment they afford to the founderies, and in the constant demand for the aid of machinery, are well explained in the work before us.

In his journey through Dalecarlia, Dr Clarke observed the similarity between the ceremonies of a wedding celebrated by the inhabitants of that province, and the manners of the ancientGreeks. Some of the Swedish writers have noticed the resem-. blance, and have rashly inferred, that one nation owed its origin to the other. Dr C. more judiciously contends, that both were descendants of one common stock; he has not, however, stated what that common origin was, which was undoubtedly the East.

The different mining establishments of Sweden are such important features in the country, that no apology is required for the full account which Dr Clarke has given of them, though this part of the work cannot be expected to afford much interest to the general reader. There is no mine of equal celebrity, which, under all the circumstances of depth and magnitude, is. so easy of investigation, as that of Fahlun in Dalecarlia. Pro. fessor Gahn, presided over the works, and appointed his son as guide and companion to Dr Clarke. The different processes for excavating the copper ore, the manner in which it is found de

posited, the mode of dividing it, and the value of the lots, are fully described. In many of their works, the Swedes,' according to Dr C. are far behind the English, '--a sentiment in which he differs from Dr Thomson, who describes the Swedish process of smelting as simple and economical, and as having the advantage over the methods employed to reduce the same kind of ore in Anglesey. The atmosphere of the town of Fahlan is almost intolerable to a stranger; and, were it not for the convincing proof afforded by Professor Gahn, who obtained copper by analysis from the beams of the houses, a traveller might be suspected of exaggeration, who should affirm, that the timbers of the buildings here, in the course of thirty years, are worth working for the quantity of this metal which they contain. Þr C. mentions the punishment inflicted on miners who have been guilty of misconduct; they are placed on an enormous wooden image of an horse, elevated 12 or 15 feet from the ground; and Mr James states, that the same mode of punishment is adopted at Stockholm for common misdemeanours. We find, in the account of the life of Linnæus, that this distinguished man resided for some time at Fahlun, where he gave lectures in Mineralogy.

From Sala, our traveller reached Upsala, with an intention of examining, more fully than he could do in his first visit, the actual condition of this once celebrated seat of northern literature; but he was disappointed in the expectations he had formed, and found little to applaud or admire. The students seemed to be actuated by none of that zeal and ability which had once distinguished the members of this University. The botanic chair was filled by Afzelius, who had lately returned from his travels, in which he had been engaged for ten years. But the lecture was attended by only half a dozen slovenly boys standing round him, the eldest of whom could not be more than fourteen years of age. The subject of one of the lectures at which Dr C. was present, was the Superba Palmarum Samibia of Linnæus; and the whole interest displayed by the

pupils seemed to consist in watching for the moment when a palm branch was cast among them by the Professor, for which

they scrambled, being eager to cut these branches with their • knives, for the purpose of making them serve as walking

sticks. Nor is the account of the class of auditors who attended the lecturer in Chemistry of a more favourable kind. The Professor, John Afzelius, brother of the person already mentioned, was addressing about twenty or thirty students, but in a voice so low and inaudible, as to be scarcely intelligible to those who were his constant hearers. A few of the students

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

p. 204.

а

were taking notes; but the chief part of the audience seemed to be very inattentive, and to be sitting rather as a matter of form, than for any purpose of instruction. Their slovenly dress and manner gave them the appearance of so many labouring artificers. When Mr James was at Upsala, the quondam lecture-room of Linnæus was occupied by an itinerant exhibiter of Fantoccini, whose puppets were performing. Don Juan for the amusement of the Swedish rustics that focked to the annual fair. A student in the streets of Upsala • is not clad better than any working coach-maker or carpenter

in England. Every one studies what, and when he pleases. . After mid-day, a public cellar (La Cave) is the place of general 6 • resort. There is a total laxity of restraint, und neglect of all discipline, and want of energy and emulation; and every thing seems to indicate the gradual dissolution and decay of what • Stillingfleet called the great and hitherto unrivalled School of • Natural History.

The University Library contains a few typographical rarities, and some manuscripts in vellum; but they are all eclipsed in splendour and value, by the well known Codex Argenteus, a manuscript of the Gospels, written about the end of the fourth century in the Gothic language, used at that time in Mæsia. Dr Clarke has quoted a verse of the translation, in wbich the English child' is rendered . barn;' the orthography of this word (which is spelt in Junius and the Etymologicon of Skinner, bearn and bern), deserves to be noticed. The teachers of Upsala are divided into four classes, Professors, Assistants, Magistri docentes (or privileged teachers), and a set of persons who give instructions in modern languages, horsemanship, dancing, painting, and music; these last are styled, magistri artium, equestrium et cultiorum. And our readers may be desirous of seeing how a fencing-master advertises, in Latin, for pupils in that noble art. Johannes Meier, Palæstræ Athleticæ Præfectus, artem

arma dextre tractandi, et strenue vibrandi, eos docebit qui suam expetunt manuductionem.'

The Cathedral of Upsala, the finest ecclesiastical structure in all Sweden, though it contains many subjects and monuments of interest from their relation to the history of the country, has none which is more deserving of notice, than the tomb of Linnæus. A simple entablature of stone,' says Dr C., now !covers the mouldering reliques of this illustrious man. With what emotion of sacred enthusiasm will future generations approach the hallowed spot which has afforded a sepulchre to his remains! How powerful in its effect upon the heart will ever be the simple inscription, which marks the place where he lies,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SOSSA CAROLI A LINNÉ! Who will read these words unmoved,

or wish to read more? For of the title that has been added * (EQV. AVR.) every letter is superfluous.' In a small chapel, a monument has been erected to his memory. It is executed in porphyry, and bears the following inscription: Carolo a Linné, Botanicorum Principi, Amici et Discipuli. The letters are of bronze, gilded, and placed in full reliet upon the stone.

From Upsala, Dr Clarke proceeded to Stockholm, where he obtained some interesting information respecting the state of literature and science. The Royal Library is open to the public, and is the first establishment of the kind in Sweden. It possesses many valuable and curious manuscripts; and the identical copy of the Vulgate belonging to Luther with his own notes written in the margin, and in the vacant spaces. In forming their libraries, the kings of Sweden adopted a system, which was afterwards practised by Buonaparte, that of claiming, as their share of the spoils of war, the literary collections of the people whom they conquered; but the Swedish plunderers, more fortunate than the French, have retained the treasures, which the latter have been obliged to restore to their owners. Sweden owes much to her sovereigns. Gustavus Adolphus, in the beginning of the 17th century, was the patron and encourager of science. He was succeeded by Christina, who invited men of genius and talents to her court. Louisa Ulrica gathered round the throne those who were distinguished for eminence in different branches of learning; and her son Gustavus III., by his own accomplishments, by his zeal, and passion for letters, imparted an energy to his subjects, which raised their character among the nations of Europe. But the Augustan age was now passed. There is nothing eminent,' says Dr Clarke, in the

higher walks of literature; there are no names of superior 6 excellence in the departments of Law, History or Poetry. Che

mistry alone has made great progress.' The injudicious mode adopted by the Academy of Sciences in publishing their Memoirs in Swedish, is much to be regretted. How circumscribed might the fame even of Linnæus have been, had he preferred the use of his own language to that of Latin, in the composition of his works! Foreign literature and classical antiquities are the subjects to which the Academy of Belles Lettres chiefly direct their inquiries; but little attention has been bestowed by the northern nations of the Continent of Europe on the productions of Greek and Latin literature, while England, France, Germany, Italy and Holland, have sent forth numbers of eminent philologists, critics, and archæologists. We observe, that Dr Clarke's acçount of Gustavus III. is somewhat at variance with that giv, en by other writers. His memory,' says Acerbi, “is cherish

ed at this day by none but painters, musicians, and comedians. • The sciences were treated by him with neglect.' And it is well known, that he allowed the Linnæan Collection, which was valued at only 10001. to be purchased by an Englishman, and brought to this country.

On the 14th of December, our traveller and his companion quitted Stockholm. The winter bad set in with considerable severity; and on the day of their departure, the mercury in Fahrenheit's thermometer fell in the evening to 21° below freezing. The roads were smooth and hard, and seemed like one mass of stone. The lakes which they passed were covered with boys skaiting, or with peasants pushing before them sledges, laden with different articles. An idea of the intensity of the cold may be formed from learning, that some Madeira wine in bottles in the well of the carriage became solid; when they attempted to pour it out, it would not flow, but fell at last slowly in successive drops. Fur caps, bearskin pelisses, besides several flannel waistcoats, and gloves of sheepskin, covered by double gloves of for and wool, could not protect them from feeling the severity of the weather. They arrived at Grieslham, and set sail for Oland, where they arrived after a stormy passage. As the ice was not strong enough to bear their carriage, they proceeded across the Vargatta Sound in siedges. The atmosphere was clear and dry, In the day-time they had an unclouded sun; at night the glo• rious firmament displayed an uninterrupted flood of light, heightened by the aurora borealis.' The Olanders are a " strong and vigorous people, but short; they are dram-drinkers from their youth; and to this custom Dr Clarke ascribes both their small size and the frequency of dwarfs in the northern countries of Europe. An Oland hut, in which they stopped some time, gave them an opportunity of seeing a little of the interior economy of these humble dwellings.

• A more curious sight could hardly be imagined. At our entrance, nobody was up. The members of the family held a conver. sation with our boatmen, but we saw none of them. The floor of the only room they had, and of which we had taken possession, was covered with straw and sedge, according to the custom of the country at Christmas, and once a practice, even in Kings' houses, in England. Peeping from behind their hiding-places, as soon as they perceived that strangers had entered this apartment, they were all stirring ; and presently there fell out from every side of the room the naked figures of men, women, boys and girls, who had been piled in tiers one above another, as in a ship's cabin; being concealed from view by so many sheep-skins, which were suspended as curtains before their cots.

6

« AnteriorContinua »