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The dedication to Mr. Johnes, at whose suggestion the work was undertaken, is concise and pleasing. We are induced to insert the Preface, as it occupies but a few lines, which however contain a snfficient account of the author's object in presenting an account of his Tour to the public.
• The Drawings, from which the following plates are exactly copied by Mr. Stadler, were taken, many years ago, by Mr. John Smith, an artist of well-deserved celebrity. They have afforded an opportunity of recording a few observations made in a visit to Hafod in the summer of 1795, and at several other times. The public are not entirely strangers to the charms of this romantic abode, which several travellers have noticed, and Mr. Cumberland has particularly described in a small octavo volume published a few years since, but no views of its scenery have yet appeared. How Well this fine place merits such an illustration, the present work, whatever it's execution may be, will sufficiently evince.'
The first chapter is occupied by a description of the Journey to Hafod, and notices of various objects of curiosity on the way the road from London to Bath Bristol-Clifton -King's Weston-Chepstow-Tintern-Radnor-Approachi to Hafod.' On arriving at the neighbourhood of this latter place, cascades are heard roaring or murmuring at a distance, and at length a path, tempting by it's neatness, strikes into a deep wood on the left, while another climbs a rock on the right. • But we are little aware of the widely different fairy scenes, to which each of them leads. Nothing of the house can all this while be perceived, till a sudden turn to the right brings it in full view, at the distance of about a quarter of a mile, and the remainder of the road is a direct approach to the gothic colonnade on one hand, or the grand entrance on the other.'
We come, in the next chapter, to an account of Hafod House, which Dr. Smith says • 'is situated on a rising ground in a rich and beautiful valley, watered by the river Ystwith, and encompassed with bold hills, richly wooded, of a great variety of forms. These woods abound with magnificent water-falls, formed chiefly by three mountain streams that empty theinselves into the Ystwith in different parts of the vailey, and are never dry:' Hafod, or as it was formerly called in Welsh, the Harod, signifies an alcove or summer house, because the situation of the place, before tolerable roads were made in it's neighbourhood, was so deficient in producing the necessaries of life, as well as so devoid of the comforts of society, that it was regarded as uninhabitable except at particular seasons. The domain at present is about eight miles in circuit, and for the most part enclosed in a rough stone wall, entered by two principal lodges, one towards each extremity of the valley. —Next follows a cursory history of this part of the country, from the time of Queen Elizabeth, when, under the sanction of Lord Bacon, several intelligent miners settled in South Wales. About ihis time a branch of the noble family of Herbert came to reside at Hafod; and Mr. Johnes of Llanvair afterwards marrying the heiress, this estate came into the family of its present possessor. In the year 1620, one of the Herbert's erected upon his own land, and at his own expence, the chapel called Eglwys-Newydd which appears to have materially civilized and improved the neighbourhood, though the people after his death relapsed into their former profligacy. It is gratifying however to learn that
• The present inhabitant of Hafod, has not confined his exertions to rebuilding the church in a decent and elegant style, and labouring, oot without much difficulty, to have the stated duties of religion regularly and properly performed. He very early established a school, where the children of the poor are instructed gratis in reading and writing, as well as in all kinds of rural and domestic service work. This school is assiduously superintended by his excellent lady and daughter. Care is also taken to provide a medical attendant, who regularly visits the parish on stated days; and a store of medicines on one hand, with a stock of Bibles and useful books on the other, are always kept ready to administer to the bodily or mental ills of those unable to help themselves.'
The plates, which, as already observed, form the most considerable part of the work, are fifteen in number, of the size of the original drawings, and so coloured as to imitate them as nearly as possible. The first exhibits the House with its surrounding scenery, which is of the boldest and richest kind. The distant parts seem to us admirably tinted ; but in some of the middle distances there is a hardness, and too strong a contrast of colour in some of the trees. The foreground is admirable. The architecture of the house is not precisely expressed, nor are we able to form a very distinct conception of its character. The second, third, and fourth plates, display beautiful views, extremely various in character, from different parts of the grounds, in which wood and water are happily blended. In the fifth is represented the Cavern Cascade, á fall, to obtain a commanding view of which Mr. Johnes has excavated an artificial grotto. Nos. 6 and 7 are different views of a very favourite water-fall, which terminates an umbrageous glen in a most advantageous manner, opening upon the spectator by degrees till the whole is seen in per fection,' as in the seventh plate. A natural cold bath is
formed in the middle of this Cascade, Plate the 8th, is the last of those views which may be regarded within the compass of Mr. Johnes's pleasure grounds : 'it exhibits one of those simple stone bridges which the owner has constructed for the purposes of convenience only, without any attempt at such decorations as would doubtless have interfered with the character of the whole place, and destroyed its sima plicily
In the third chapter, the author seems to have indulged in the description of a highly romantic spot, and that with the more freedom as he was not furnished with any views of the circumjacent scenery. The principal feature in this description is the majestic Maen Arthur, or Arthur's stone.
• This is a vast perpendicular rock, white with lichens, its chasms occupied with overhanging shrubs, and its base completely concealed by woods descending to the brink of the river, at a great depth below. Such is the noble foreground of the landscape I would now attempt to describe. But words are totally insufficient to express all the varied effect of the river broken by projecting cliffs, the craggy valley, the overshadowing trees, the rich amphitheatre of woody hills in the the more distant prospect, and the towering mountains that bound the whole. This is a complete composition, a picture which surely no critic would presume to correct. No object obtrudes itself that is not strictly in harmony with the whole, not even a cottage nor shepherd's hut, for these scenes are sacred to perfect solitude. Here the spirit of the mountain only can be supposed to reside. How sweetly must “the moonlight sleep upon this bank," and what shadows must it throw across the woody vale !
The author then proceeds to describe the more interesting scenes of this romantic walk, which abounds with numberless brooks overshadowed with trees,' and breaking into silvery cascades which empty themselves into the river Ystwith, and form
a fine contrast to the dark whirl-pools of the river.' The description is concluded in the following words.
• I have been more particular in the detail of this expedition, because it is certainly the most interesting walk about Hafod, and has hitherto been very little known. Transient visitors must leave it unexplored ; nor would those who are already fatigued with a long journey, find it easy to accomplish. If ever that judicious hand which has made the various beauties of Hafod itself so easily accessible, without encroaching on their native wildness, should extend its improvements down the river, the scenes of Maen Arthur may more frequently receive the homage they so justly merit. Mr. Cumberland alone has hitherto celebrated them, and he has rather expressed their general effect, than given a particular description of any part. I feel but too sensibly the insufficiency of my own descriptions, and the more deeply regret that I am possessed of no delineation of any part of this neighbourhood. It appears not to have been known when the drawings with which Mr. Johnes has so kindly enriched my work were made, nor bad I the means of supplying this defect.'
The fourth and concluding chapter exhibits an account of some remarkable and beautiful spots in the neighbour. hood of Hafod, many of them being the property of Mr. Johnes, though not strictly within his domain. These are ilJustrated by seven views of the striking and majestic sceneryTM about the Rhydol and the Fynnach, across which latter river is the Devil's Bridge, celebrated on account of a fine fall which the river makes below it, and which is one of the most considerable, as well as beautiful, in the whole principality. Of this, two finely executed views are given. Many curious particulars of Aberystwith and it's castle con. clude the work-of which we understand not more than a hundred copies have been printed. It is not likely therefore to be very generally known : but we have no hesitation in saying, that for typical elegance and correciness, as well as for the masterly and splendid execution of its plates, the Tour to Hafod will yield to no publication which this or any other country has produced.
Art. XI. Essays on Natural History and Rural Economy, by the late
ohn Walker, 1). D. Professor of Natural History in the University of Edinburgh. 8vo. Guthrie and Anderson, Edinburgh. Longman. and Co. 1812.
A FONDNESS for the works of nature, seems, in such as
really possess it, to be rather the offspring than the parent of observation ;-a faculty, which Dr. W. very justly remarks, resembles the faculty called common sense, in being much less common than is generally imagined. It is however a much more frequent endowment than the powers of comparison, combination and distinction, indispensable for the former of a system; there being, for instance, many good stone-hewers, and carpenters, for one good architeet. We should therefore expect, that, when Essays on Natural History are dictated by a love for the subject, they should also exbibit traces of acute and accurate observation. Treatises prompted by a propensity for writing, and founded on knowIedge which an author could not help acquiring, may indeed serve to make up volumes, but will never supply, either to the philosopher, or the friend of nature, that information which a want of przetical acquaintance with the branches they treat of, induces the inquirer to seek in them. We do not wish
to insinuate, that bookmaking is all that the Essays before us are fit for ; they are selected, for reasons best known to the editors, from the papers of a deceased professor, of whom we would wish to say nothing but good; and though several are such as the author, had he been alive, would we hope have suppressed or amended; though the aggregate of the whole is
not of sufficient merit to entitle them to a place along with the Amænitates Academice; we are very well satisfied that
others, containing valuable matter, though mixed with much unproductive rubbish, are thus rescued from oblivion. A principal fault of Dr. W., supposing that these Essays were intended for publication, and not merely put down as memorandums for his own use, is, a too great anxiety to say all that he knows upon a subject, without knowing all that
may be learnt. He has been egregiously negligent ii bringing To down the corrections in his system to the present state of
science, or even to the date when the essays were written; and had we not been expressly told that they belong to the productions of the latter part of the last century, we should, from internal evidence, have concluded them to be at least fifty or sixty years older:—but some books are born with the grey hair and wrinkles, though not with the wisdom of old age.
The Essays are fifteen in nuinber, and mostly relate to to. -pographical natural bistory.
The first gives a 'catalogue of the inost considerable trees - in Scotland,' a subject of more amusement than importance,
as these giants of the forest and orchard, are rather exceptions from the general inode of growth of the species to which they belong, than fair specimens of what it naturally may attain to. Wallace's oak, (probably the most ancient tree in the kingdom, having afforded an asylum to Sir William Wallace nearly 500 years ago, in gratitude for which it has been held sacred,) is 22 feet in circumference, four feet above ground. An old oak in Lochabar, exceeds it in size, being 2+1 feet in circumference; both are, however, far inferior to the Wetherby oak, in England, which is stated to be 40 feet 6 inches in girth. The Ashi, it seems, may attain to a far greater size in this Northern climate, as one in Dumbartonshire measured 34 feet at four feet from the ground, and the stump of the Kilmalie tree, which formerly stood near the parish church of the
Lochiels, was 21 feet in its greatest diameter, and 58 feet about. - The following will perhaps also be thought remarkable.