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THE CATHEDRAL OF RHEIMS. REIMS, or Rheims, is a large and ancient city, in the north-east of the kingdom of France, in the department of the Marne. It is situated on the right bank of the little river Vesle, in the midst of a large plain, which is bounded at a distance by a chain of low vine-covered hills.
The Cathedral, which is more particularly the subject of our present notice, is a noble Gothic edifice of the twelfth century, and one of the finest specimens of that kind of architecture in France. It is said to have been founded in 818 by the Archbishop Ébon, afterwards Pope Eugenius the Fourth, in the reign of Louis the First, surnamed Le Débonnaire. The accounts which are given of the edifice then erected, its paintings and sculptures, its marbles and mosaics, its tapestries, and splendid windows, seem to indicate that it was of great importance. But doubts have been expressed, whether the early structure thus spoken of was really one occupying the site of the present Cathedral, and not the church of St. Remi. However, this building was burnt down in 1210, together with a portion of the city itself. But this disaster was soon repaired; for the age was one in which the people felt strongly the influence of religion, and contributed largely to works which had for their object its support and diffusion. Accordingly, the piety of individuals, the liberality of princes, and the zeal of the clergy, soon caused a sum to be amassed, sufficient to replace the ancient Cathedral of Rheims by a nobler and more splendid edifice, and the year after the destruction of the old building, the first stone of the new one was laid. The work proceeded with great rapidity; the altar was dedicated on the 18th of October, 1213, and twenty-seven years afterwards, the body of the church was finished; the whole time occupied in the erection being only thirty years, and but one architect being engaged throughout that period. It is to this circumstance, probably, that we are to attribute that unity of style and design which in a great measure distinguish this Cathedral.
obtain a correct notion of the richness and magnificence of this front.
Above the porches, and a little thrown back, rises the remainder of this beautiful front. Above the central one, is the great rose window, the workmanship of which is remarkably rich, and very carefully executed. Over the right porch is a lofty opening for a window, but not filled with glass; and over the left door-way is a similar one. The space occupied by these windows is broken into three divisions, by four projecting piers, ornamented each with a statue, and terminating in small octagonal turrets. Higher still is the gallery of kings, an elegant colonnade, decorated with forty-two statues of the kings of France, from Clovis to Charles the Sixth; and this is surmounted by two towers, which complete this magnificent front.
The interior of this Cathedral corresponds with its exterior. It is vast and noble; and its appearance has much that is imposing. The obscurity of the nave, contrasted with the light of the aisles, has a very curious effect; in the former, the coloured glass has been preserved, while in the latter it has very little colour. The whole length of the building is 466 feet, and its breadth upwards of 90; the height of the nave is 121 feet, and that of the aisles about 54. The plan of the edifice is a Latin cross. The choir occupies nearly one half of its length.
The chancel, which is situated at the middle of the cross-aisle, raised upon several steps, is remarkable for its beautiful mosaic pavement, which formerly belonged to the church of the ancient Abbey of St. Nicaise, and was removed to the Cathedral in 1791, when that church was pulled down. The altar, which is of modern construction, is of variegated marble, and ornamented with gilt bronze. It is a beautiful piece of workmanship, and was the gift of a rich canon, who, by his economy, frugality, and above all, his peculiar skill in the cultivation of vines, was enabled to amass a considerable fortune, which he devoted entirely to the embellishment of this Cathedral, to the relief of the poor, and to the promotion of objects of a public nature. Unfortunately, the canon's liberality was scarcely equalled by his good taste and discernment; the old altar, which had existed from the earliest years of the church, was displaced in 1747, to make room for his new present, and the church was thus deprived of an extremely rare and valuable specimen of the kind of monuments used as altars in the twelfth,
“In the richness and magnificence of the external architecture," says Mr. Woods, "Rheims is superior to every other Cathedral I have seen, and probably to any which has ever been erected." The principal, or western front is the great object of attraction; it is frequently considered as the finest work of its kind in existence, and, according to a common saying in France, is one of the four parts, the union of which is necessary to the composition of a perfect Cathe-thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries.
The central porch is divided into two parts by a pilaster, (a disposition very common in France,) which is adorned by an image of the Virgin, to whom the Cathedral is consecrated. The sides of the three porches are decorated with a row of colossal statues, thirty-five in number, representing patriarchs, prophets, kings, bishops, virgins, and martyrs. The arches above and the pediments which surmount them, present an elaborate composition in sculpture, in which, according to a French writer, the artist has given full range to his genius. Our readers will
dral; the other three being the spire of Chartres, Behind the choir, so called, is what the French the nave of Amiens, and the choir of Beauvais. denominate the arrière-chœur. It occupies the space The lower part of this front is divided into three usually devoted to the chancel, and does not seem to porches or doorways. This arrangement, which is to be ever used for any definite purpose. In former be seen in some of our Cathedrals, is very generally times, it was the depositary of the treasure of the observable in the larger religious edifices of France; Cathedral, of all the many rich and valuable gifts, and we are told that these three entrances corre- which kings, prelates, and pious individuals of sponded to three internal divisions, each of which was various classes and conditions, had offered as an reserved for a special use; the middle one being for earnest of their zeal and devotion. The immense the clergy, that on the right for the men, and that wealth which was brought together in this treasury, on the left for the women. rendered it one of the richest in France. It con tained a vast number of works, executed in the precious metals, gold and silver vases, chalices, sets of all the various utensils employed in the service of the church, which were not less valuable for the richness of their materials than for the beauty and finish of the workmanship. Of nearly all these, however, the Cathedral was despoiled in 1791; they were confiscated by a decree of the National Assembly, and coined into money for the service of the State. The few that remained were destroyed during the revolutionary frenzy of 1793.
THE VOLCANIC REGIONS OF ITALY.
Or all the countries of Europe, Italy is that in which volcanoes have existed for the longest period, and have produced the most important effects. Traces of very ancient volcanoes are still visible in Tuscany, Latium, and the Venesian territory; the delightful coast of Posilippo, and the adjacent Phlegrean Fields, are volcanic productions, and Vesuvius still spreads desolation and horror over the smiling plains of the Campagna Felice. If we extend our observaions to the southern extremity of the Peninsula, we find he straits by which Italy is separated from Sicily studded with islands, almost all of volcanic origin; and in Sicily, Mount Etna rises, the most important of all volcanoes, venerable for its antiquity, and wonderful for the effects of tts eruptions, of which centuries have not been able to exnaust the fury. There is an opinion of some antiquity, that Sicily was once joined to the opposite Continent: the very narrow space which now separates them, the similarity of their soils, and the evident inclination of the extreme Apennines in Calabria towards Sicily, tend to strengthen this opinion.
Sicily, anciently called Triquetra, and Trinacria from its triangular form and its three Promontories, was for many ages a flourishing state, and rivalled Greece (the most polished and the greatest of nations,) whence Sicily derived civilization and the arts, and afterwards surpassed in magnificence and power. Syracuse was called the most powerful, and the most splendid, of the cities of Greece. The grandeur of this island has now passed away, and time, which changes all things, has crushed the pride and pomp of this empress of the seas. Some scanty but beautiful remains of its former prosperity, its delightful climate, and the stupendous spectacle of Mount Etna, are now its principal attractions to the traveller.
Mount Etna rises from the valley of Valdemone, not far from the Straits of Messina; it is not only the loftiest mountain in Sicily, but, with one or two exceptions, the most lofty in Europe. The name of the valley was derived from this volcano, which was, in ancient times, supposed to be the abode of demons, and the seat of eternal fire; absurd ideas which are not yet entirely eradicated from the minds of the people.
Etna, according to some learned men, derives its name from a Greek word, signifying to burn. When the Saracens had possession of Sicily, this mountain was called Gebel el Nar, (Mountain of Fire,) and from this was derived the name of Mongibello, which Etna still retains. It rises about 12,000 feet above the level of the sea; it is isolated from every chain of mountains; it differs from all others in its form and nature, being entirely composed of volcanic rocks; and its shape is that of a large cone, placed upon an irregular base, about 180 miles in circumference. It is bounded by the sea on the East and the South, and on the West and North, by the rivers Simeto and Alcantara.
The great body of the mountain is divided into Three Regions, or Zones: the first, which commences at the foot of the mountain, is called the Cultivated Region; the second is called the Woody Region; and the third is the Naked, or Desert Region. These three regions differ so entirely from each other in climate and in productions, that they may be compared to the three great zones of the earth: thus, the first may be compared to the Torrid zone the second to the Temperate zone, and the third to the Arctic, or Frozen zone; so that this great father of mountains may be considered as a compendium of our globe.
The Cultivated Region, which occupies the whole of the base, and extends about fourteen miles towards the summit, is the most fruitful district in Sicily, and one of the most prolific and delightful spots in the world. Towns and villas, peopled by 300,000 inhabitants, are dispersed over it in every direction. The soil is entirely composed of volcanic products, covered by decomposition with a fertile earth, except where furrowed up by torrents of lava which still resist the action of time, and offer a striking and cruel contrast to the softness and smiling aspect of the adjacent cultivation. The productions of this region the most important of which is wine, are numerous and abundant. The olive thrives in this volcanic soil, and may be found with the vine at the height of 3000 feet above the level of the sea. Some kinds of grain are cultivated with success, as also almond, pistachio, and mulberry, trees; the silk procured from the mulberry, forms an important branch of the trade of Catania. This
favoured region is watered by the rivers Simeto and Alcantara, and by numerous streams which descend through hidden channels from the snowy summits of Etna.
The Simeto, now called the Giannetta, is the most important of the Sicilian rivers; after fertilizing a great part of the base of the mountain, it falls into the sea about eight miles from Catania. Catania, or the city of Etna, is the most important town in the Cultivated Region; it was founded by the ancient Sicani, and is situated on the banks of the river Amenano, which flows secretly through the recesses of Etna, and rises suddenly from the earth near the sea-shore. Thucydides, who records three very ancient eruptions of this volcano, speaking of the third, which took place in the eighty-eighth Olympiad, says, that it laid waste the lands of the Catanians; since that time, this city has been frequently destroyed by the fires of Etna, but, phoenix-like, has as often risen from its ashes. The present city, which contains about 40,000 inhabitants, was rebuilt in 1669, after having been nearly annihilated by an eruption which took place in that year.
An immense forest, like a large belt, forms the Second Region; its circumference is about seventy miles, and it extends more than half-way up the sides of Etna. These inexhaustible forests furnished materials for the numerous fleets which, in former times, ruled the seas, and proclaimed the proud grandeur of the Syracusan tyrants, Oaks and chesnuts grow in great abundance, and are often found of an extraordinary size; some kinds of fir, from which large quantities of resin are extracted, and beech, juniper, broom, and many other trees, also abound. The "chesnut of a hundred horses," so called, because a hundred men on horseback could be sheltered under its huge branches, has long been celebrated: nothing now remains of this ancient tree, except the immense hollow trunk, which time and the elements have at length opened in several places. Its circumference is 204 feet, and it will contain 300 sheep, and 27 men on horseback. Towards the extremity of this zone, the trees begin to decrease in size and in number, vegetation languishes, and the Third Region, called Naked, or Barren, commences. It is composed of lava and of ice, and from its extremity rises the great cone of the crater, formed by the accumulations of sand, ashes, and other volcanic scoria, propelled to this immense height by the internal power of the volcano. This cone is sometimes depressed, and sometimes even entirely disappears in the interior of the mountain, to be reproduced afterwards by the same means; when it is thus depressed and swallowed up, the mountain is no longer visible from certain points, to mariners, to whom the summit usually serves as a beacon. The present cone was reproduced about the middle of the seventeenth century. Its height is about 1800 feet, and the interior is like a funnel, about 600 feet in depth; the chief aperture is about nine miles in circumference, and there is also a smaller one. When the volcano is in a state of tranquillity, the descent to the bottom of the cone is practicable, but difficult; the sides are then seen covered with beautiful crystallizations of salt and sulphur, which temper in some degree the horrors of this abyss.
From the middle of November to the end of May, the whole of the Desert Region and part of the Woody Region are covered with snow, and Etna is almost inaccessible. The average temperature of the summit, in July and August, is 37 degrees, whilst at Catania it is 84. From the south side of the island, Etna presents itself in majesty, rearing its proud front to the skies, and stretching on one side into the depths of the sea, and on the other beyond the centre of the island. It is from this side that the mountain is ascended, and the most favourable time for this undertaking is between the months of May and August.
Departing from Catania, at the foot of the mountain, the traveller usually arrives at the summit some hours before sunrise. The distance is about 28 or 30 miles, and the road, traversing the three zones, is nearly direct from the foot to the summit of the mountain. The tract of land, which is crossed in the cultivated region, bears on every side the appearance of a smiling and variegated garden. At Necastagne, a little village, nine miles from Catania, the traveller begins to enjoy a beautiful and extensive view of the surrounding country; he then proceeds to Niccolosi, another beautiful village, four miles further, and more than 3000 feet above the level of the sea. A little further, at a place called S. Niccolo l'Arena, the traveller enters the
Woody Region; less smiling, it is true but not less beautiful and variegated than the first.
In the depth of the night, he at last finds himself in the Desert Region, facing the great smoking cone of Etna, which he approaches with dread and wonder. In truth, the objects which present themselves to his view are wonderful: the stupendous mountain, upon which he finds himself, is so isolated, that his bewildered imagination knows not how to prepare for a descent to the regions of the earth; beneath him is an ocean of darkness, and above him the immense vault of heaven, covered with millions of twinkling stars; a solemn silence pervades the universe, unbroken except by hollow sounds from the mountain; and at his feet is a deep abyss, from which the eye and the mind alike recoil. At length he beholds the star of day, the first rays of which pierce the thick mantle of night, and gradually unfold the splendid view, as it were, of a new creation.
To the east, illuminated by the sun, rising from the opposite mountains of Calabria, he beholds the coast of Italy stretching out into the sea, and finally vanishing into the air; the Straits of Messina at his feet, resembling a broad and majestic river, gradually expanding; to the south, an immense expanse of ocean, with the island of Malta dimly seen through the misty horizon; and to the west the whole of Sicily spread out, like an immense map, obscured by the huge shadow of Etna, through which, however, every part is distinctly seen,-mountains, valleys, rivers with their long serpentine courses, and the houses and animals on their banks. To the north, the little group of the Eolian Islands, the abode of the fabulous Eolus; and amongst them the flaming Stromboli,-which, at the moment of sunrise, seems starting from the waves,-and the vast tract of sea which separates Sicily from the Bay of Naples. At length, the eye turns to the mountain itself, of which it beholds at once the three great zones; its enormous flanks, furrowed by deep valleys, and rendered harsh and rough by immense rivers of lava, and by more than eighty volcanic mounts or hillocks, the progeny of this great father of volcanoes.
According to some writers, the visible horizon of Etna embraces a circumference of more than 2000 miles; and some Sicilian authors affirm, that from its summit the African and the Neapolitan coasts have sometimes been discerned; but the sense of sight is too feeble to comprehend the extreme limits of so vast a circle.
Such are the wonders which Etna, in repose, offers to the contemplation of the traveller; but far more wonderful, though very different, is the spectacle of Etna in activity.
The first indication of an approaching eruption is a thick smoke, which issues impetuously for several days from the mouth of the crater, and ascends in a column to an immeasurable height, where it spreads and dilates itself in the air in the form of a tree; when the wind is high, the smoke sometimes extends over a tract of 100 miles. This column of smoke is succeeded by clouds of ashes and sand, which the wind disperses on all sides, and drives to a great distance, sometimes to Malta, to Sardinia, to Corfu, and to many parts of Italy and the coast, of Africa; then the air becomes dark, and these ashes and the showers of sand cover every object, weigh down the roofs of houses, prevent respiration, and fill the hearts of the inhabitants with terror. In the mean time, the interior of the volcano is agitated and convulsed; the mountain shakes from its very foundations; horrible bellowings are heard, with echoes, which, by degrees, are lost in the deep recesses of the earth; enormous masses of burning lava are shot upwards with terrific force, sometimes ascending to the height of 7000 feet. At length the sides of the mountain are split, and torrents of smoke issue, followed by streams of lava, which descend like rivers of red liquid iron, to inundate the adjacent country. Sometimes the burning streams flow towards the sea, into which they fall with a horrible sound, and prescribe new limits to the adverse element; sometimes over elevated tracts of ice, and then rivers of water rush down with tremendous noise. Deep valleys on the ridge of the mountain have been suddenly filled up these floods of lava; and, in this manner, in the eruption in 1381, the Port of Ulysses, mentioned by Virgil, now buried at a distance of three miles from the sea, was filled up. Some of these streams have extended to thirty miles in length, five or six miles in breadth, and 300 feet in depth, and retain their internal heat for many years The eruptions of Etna are often accompanied by singular
accidents. One of these burning rivers, descending the mountain, came in contact with a volcanic hill, covered with trees and verdure, and, having torn it from its foundations, transported it, like a floating island, to another part of the country, where it fell to pieces. The fate of Mal Passi, a delightful spot on the flank of Etna, not far from the ancient Hybla, is not less remarkable. An eruption overwhelmed it with lava, and entirely destroyed its beauty, and it was then called Mal Passi; soon afterwards it was again fertilized by a shower of cinders; it flourished for several years, and was called Bel Passi: at last, in the eruption of 1669, it was again inundated by lava, and then resumed the name of Mal Passi, which it still retains.
The hills which clothe the great body of Etna are produced during the eruptions, when the earth opens, and sends forth great quantities of cinders and of stones; these materials fall to the ground, accumulate, and gradually assume the form of cones.
The nature of the different kinds of lava is very various, according to the materials which compose them; but all kinds act upon the magnetic-needle, in consequence of the iron with which they are impregnated; they are almost all very hard, and decomposed with great difficulty. The soil with which they become covered by the process of decomposition is favourable, above all other soils, to vegetation; and it is, principally, on this account, that the lands of Etna are the most fertile in Sicily perhaps, in the whole world.
The operations of time are sometimes aided by sudden showers of ashes, which accelerate and favour the decomposition of the streams of lava; they become clothed, first, with a variety of lichens, then with other little plants, which, from their nature, adhere to the soil; and are thus soon covered with verdure.
Fifty-nine eruptions of this volcano are recorded in history; of these eleven took place before the birth of our Saviour. History records the name of Empedocles, who first fixed his abode on the most elevated part of this volcano, and afterwards precipitated himself into its jaws, in order to make others believe that he had been carried up to heaven; but an eruption of the mountain threw out one of the bronze sandals of the philosopher, and thus manifested at once his vanity and his death.
WHEN we contemplate the wonderful works of Nature, and walking about at leisure, gaze upon this ample theatre of the world, considering the stately beauty, constant order, and sumptuous furniture thereof; the glorious splendour, and uniform motion of the heavens; the pleasant fertility of the earth; the curious figure and fragrant sweetness of plants; the exquisite frame of animals; and all other amazing miracles of nature, wherein the glorious attributes of God, especially his transcendant goodness, are more conspicuously displayed: so that by them, not only large acknowledgments, but even gratulatory hymns, as it were, of praise have been extorted from the mouths of Aristotle, Pliny, Galen, and such like men, never suspected guilty of an excessive devotion: then should our hearts be affected with thankful sense, and our lips break forth in praise.— BARROW.
RECREATION is intended to the mind as whetting is to the scythe, to sharpen the edge of it, which otherwise would grow dull and blunt. He, therefore, that spends his whole time in recreation, is ever whetting, never mowing; his grass may grow, and his steed starve: as contrarily, he that always toils and never recreates, is ever mowing, never whetting; labouring much to little purpose. As good no scythe as no edge. Then only doth the work go forward, when the scythe is so seasonably and moderately whetted, that it may cut, and so cuts, that it may have the help of sharpening.-BISHOP HALL.
THOSE who are themselves truly religious, who have felt the comfort, the happiness, which a just view of religion inspires; how much it heightens all our pleasures, and softens all our pains; cannot fail to inspire their children with a due love and reverence for those principles, of which they have themselves felt the value. The best instruction will, however, be of little use, if the example of the teacher is at variance with his precepts. Of all the lessons you can give your children, none will be of so great importance as your own example.
THE BATTLE OF SALAMANCA JUNE 22:1812
No. VII. THE VICTORY OF SALAMANCA. WHEN the British army captured Badajoz, Marshal Soult was moving up quickly to its support, and had already arrived within two marches, when he learnt that it had been taken only two days before. The Marshal was much chagrined at the news, but he contented himself, as report says, with breaking all the plates and dishes in his immediate reach, and lost no time in returning to Seville. Marmont too, who had invested Ciudad Rodrigo, in order to make a diversion in favour of Badajoz, retreated the day after its capture, and fell back to Salamanca.
Lord Wellington's first object was to interrupt the communication between the two French generals, by destroying their works and bridge of boats across the Tagus, at Almaraz, an operation gailantly and ably performed by Sir Rowland Hill, (at present Lord Hill, and Commander in Chief) He then advanced towards Salamanca in the middle of June, and the French withdrew beyond the river Tormes, on whose right bank it stands; the British entered the city, and having reduced several strong forts which the enemy had there constructed, pursued Marmont and his army to the Douro. But the marshal being strongly reinforced, soon advanced again, and caused the British general in his turn to retire. And now began a brilliant contest of skill, between the two commanders, in which each displayed all the resources of his art, and wielded them with consummate ability. Marmont's object, was evidently to cut off the allies from their commu nication with Salamanca and Ciudad Rodrigo, and not to fight a battle, unless at such advantage as might seem to render his success certain; to frustrate this design was of course the purpose of Lord Wellington. The manœuvres of the French marshal were met by corresponding movements on the part of the British general, and thus rendered of no avail; and for six days did this game of skill continue. "It was an awful sight," says Mr. Southey, "to behold two great armies in an open and level country,
moving in parallel lines in full march, and frequently within half cannon-shot of each other, each waiting for some favourable moment, in which the antagonist might be found at fault." Nor was it long before it came.
Early on the morning of the 22nd of July, the British army was posted, with its left resting on the river Tormes, and its right, near two remarkably bold rocky heights, called the Dos Arapiles; the enemy being immediately in front, and covered by a thick wood. About eight o'clock, a column of French soldiers issued from the wood, and advancing rapidly, seized the outer and most extensive of those strong points; the other was instantly occupied by the British. Marshal Marmont collected behind the Arapiles a large force, and having great reliance on his skill as a tactician, commenced manoeuvreing on a range of easy heights, about a thousand yards in front of his opponents. In this manner the early part of the day was spent; but about two o'clock in the afternoon, the marshal with much show, and amidst great noise caused by the firing of his artillery, and the muskets of a cloud of skirmishers thrown out from his front and flank, rapidly extended his left, and moved forward his troops, "apparently," said Lord Wellington in his despatch, "with an intention to embrace, by the position of his troops, and by his fire, our post on that of the two Arapiles which we possessed, and from thence to attack and break our line; or at all events, to render difficult any movement of ours to our right." This manœuvre of Marmont's, offered the British general an opportunity of attack, for which he had been anxiously looking. He was at dinner, when informed of it; but at once perceiving his advantage, he rose in such haste as to overturn the table, exclaiming "Marmont's good genius has forsaken him;" in an instant he was on horseback, issuing those orders which won the battle of Salamanca.
The French had dangerously weakened their left by too greatly extending it. It rested originally, as
we have observed, upon one of two remarkable rocky
But the British soon experienced a check, in consequence of the failure of Pack's attack upon the Arapiles, enabling the enemy to throw some troops upon the left of the force which had attacked their front. Cole's division was obliged to give way, after a severe contest, in which their general was wounded. But the promptitude of Marshal Beresford, and the opportune aid afforded by a fresh division which had been kept in reserve, and which Lord Wellington now ordered up, soon restored the success of the British. The enemy's right, however, reinforced by the troops which had fled from his left, and by those which had now retired from the Arapiles, still continued to resist; they re-formed and took up their ground with great quickness and skill, almost at right angles to their original front, the infantry along the crest of the hill in line, supported by heavy close columns in reserve, the cavalry in masses on their flanks, and the artillery posted at the advanced knolls, so as to sweep the whole face of the height. But all their resistance was vain; they were driven back, and soon fled through the woods towards the Tormes, cavalry, infantry, and baggage, all mixed together. They were briskly pursued; but the darkness of the night was highly advantageous to them, and under its cover many escaped, who must otherwise have fallen into the hands of the victors.
The loss in this battle was severe on both sides, and particularly on that of the French. Besides the dead and wounded, they left 7000 prisoners on the field; and eleven pieces of cannon, with several ammunition-waggons, two eagles, and six colours, were taken from them. Of the allies, nearly 5000 were killed and wounded; among the latter were Generals Cole and Leith, and Marshal Beresford; and among the former was General Le Marchant, whose loss, the Earl of Wellington regretted as that of "a most noble officer." On the French side, Marmont himself was disabled early in the action; his second also was wounded, and three generals were killed.
The victory thus gained at Salamanca, was the most memorable and decisive which had hitherto
A VOYAGE TO ENGLAND,
BY AN AMERICAN.
To an American visiting Europe, the long voyage he has
I have said that at sea all is vacancy. I should correct
There was a delicious sensation of mingled security and awe, with which I looked down from my giddy height on of porpoises tumbling about the bow of the ship; the the monsters of the deep at their uncouth gambols. Shoals grampus slowly heaving his huge form above the surface, or the ravenous shark, darting like a spectre through the blue waters. My imagination would conjure up all that I had heard or read of the watery world beneath me, of the finny herds that roam its fathomless valleys; of the shapeless monsters that lurk among the very foundations of the earth; and those wild phantasms which swell the tales of
fishermen and sailors.
Sometimes a distant sail gliding along the edge of the ocean would be another theme for idle speculation. How interesting this fragment of a world hastening to rejoin the great mass of existence! What a glorious monument of human invention, that has thus triumphed over the communion, has established an interchange of blessings, wind and wave; has brought the ends of the earth to pouring into the steril regions of the north all the luxuries of the south; diffused the light of knowledge and the charities of cultivated life; and has thus bound together those scattered portions of the human race, between which nature seemed to have thrown an insurmountable barrier! distance. At sea every thing that breaks the monotony We one day descried some shapeless object drifting at a of the surrounding expanse attracts the attention. It proved to be the mast of a ship that must have been completely wrecked; for there were the remains of handker chiefs by which some of the crew had fastened themselves to this spar to prevent their being washed off by the waves. There was no trace by which the name of the ship could be ascertained. The wreck had evidently drifted about many months; clusters of shell-fish had fastened about it, and long sea-weeds flaunted at its sides. But where, thought I, is the crew? Their struggle has long been over;-they have gone down amidst the roar of the tempest-their bones lie whitening in the caverns of the deep. Silence-oblivion, like the waves have closed over. them, and no one can tell the story of their end.
What sighs have been wafted after that ship! what prayers offered up at the deserted fire-side of home! How often has the mother, the sister, and the wife, pored over