are not equal to others; his fentiments appear to be what is generally termed orthodox, but he does not enter into controverly. The facred font, the laver of regeneration, the viaticum, the holiness of offices, fanctity of the priesthood, holy church, &c. are phrafes, or notions, in favour of which he feems to have a great prejudice, while other perfons, reading the New Teftament with attention and care, apprehend, and as one may modeftly conceive with greater juftice, that there is nothing in its plain and fimple narrations and inftructions which fhould call for, or juftify any fuch predilection. Allowing for fome things of this kind, we confider these sermons as agreeably inftructive and edifying, manifefting the pious and good heart of the writer, and calculated to advance the beft interests of the reader.

ART. VI. Sketches of the natural, civil, and political State of Swif ferland; in a Series of Letters to William Melmoth, Efq; from William Coxe, M. A. Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Marlborough. 8vo. 6s. Boards. DodЛley. 1779.

N this entertaining volume, we are gratified with a more fatisfactory account of Switzerland than we recollect to have met with fince the travels of Bifhop Burnet; whofe defcription of that romantic country is by no means fo full and particular, as this of Mr. Coxe. From the dedication of thefe Sketches to the Countess of Pembroke, we collect, that the letters before us are the refult of an actual tour through the cantons, with Lord Herbert; a circumftance which gives credit to the following declaration:

Our stay is fo fhort in most of the places we pafs through, that I cannot expect to gain an accurate knowledge of every circumitance I wish to be acquainted with: but, though I may omit many things that are worthy of your curiofity, yet I fhall atteft nothing, of the truth of which I am not perfectly convinced. It is the fault of many travellers, to write from what they have read, and not from what they have feen, and to exaggerate the relations of others: but I promise you that I will defcribe nothing, of which I have not been an eye-witnefs. The remarks I fhall tranfmit to you, will be the genuine refult of my own feelings; and I had even rather be fre quently wrong in my fentiments and reflections, than fervilely follow the obfervations of others. On this you may therefore depend; that though the conclufions may perhaps be falfe, the facts will certainly be true and I flatter myself you will readily pardon any error in judgment, when my intention is neither to exaggerate or to deceive.'

The relation of this journey abounds, therefore, with natural incidents, and descriptions of beautiful scenes, far beyond the conception of the natives of lefs exalted regions. Thefe particulars are detailed in a free and easy style; so that those who cannot travel otherwife

otherwife than by their fire-fides, may accompany the Author (in fpeculation) with much amufement; without his fatigues, and unembarraffed by his difficulties.

Quitting the towns, which are common objects, we shall join company with our travellers in one of the highest and wildeft parts of their journey:

We left the plain, and afcended the Grimfel: one of those alps which feparate the Vallais from the canton of Berne. We were near four hours climbing up a steep and craggy road to the fummit; and we should have confidered the attempt to gain it as fcarcely poffible to fucceed, had we not been encouraged by the experience of yefterday. We croffed the feveral fhades of vegetation: in the valley, and the lower parts of the mountain, corn and rich meadows; then forefts of larch and pine; next, fhort grafs, together with feveral fpecies of herbs, that afford exquifite pafture to the cattle; to thefe fucceeded the various tribe of moffes; and then bare rock and fnow. It would be curious to conftruct, or at least to imagine, a fcale of vegetation, according to the idea of a French writer, whofe name I have forgotten. It would appear from thence, that excelfive cold and exceffive heat are equally pernicious. The tops of thefe high mountains are barren, and produce no plants; and at certain heights nothing but moffes will vegetate: the fame is obferved in climates where the heat is intolerable; as no other vegetable productions are feen in the burning fands of Africa. The moes then, which fupport the cold better than other plants, would form the first degree of a scale adjusted to determine how far vegetation accords with the temperature of the atmosphere. The fame family of plants, as it fupports alfo the heat much better than any other, would occupy the last degree in the fcale above mentioned. Thus the two extremes touch one another furprisingly.

From the top of the Grimfel we defcended about two miles, and arrived at a small plain or hollow in the midst of the mountains; containing one folitary hovel: and from this hovel I am now writing to you. It made fo bad an appearance at firft fight, that we concluded we fhould get nothing to eat; we were, however, very agreeably difappointed; as we have found in this defart spot all the accommodations we could wish for. The landlord is ftationed in this forlorn region by the canton of Berne, and he refides in it about four months; the roads being almost impaffable the remaining eight his business is to receive all travellers; but upon condition, however, that they pay for their accommodations. When he quits the place, he leaves a certain quantity of cheefe, hard bread, falted provision, and fuel, in cafe any unfortunate wanderer fhould come this way, when the winter has fet in.


Numerous herds of goats are kept, during the fummer months, upon thefe mountains: they are let out every morning to feed upon the rich paftures; and return every evening before fun-fet to be milked and houfed. It was a pleafing fight to obferve them all marching homeward in the fame herd; and following one another down the broken precipices, and along the rugged fides of the rocks: their milk is delicious.

• The

• The fources of the river Aar are in these mountains. Near our hovel are two lakes; and farther on a larger one: from each of thefe flow cafcades, that fall into the Aar, which rolls down in an impetuous torrent from the neighbouring glaciers. I walked by the fide of that river while dinner was getting ready, fearching for chrystals; which are very common in thefe parts: we picked up pieces of divers colours, white, black, yellow, and green. Not far from hence are feveral very curious mines of chryftal: I regretted much that I had not time to vifit them. Thefe mountains certainly abound alfo in rich veins of gold, and other metals; a confiderable quantity of gold-duft being found in the bed of the Aar, and in the various torrents. I can conceive nothing more fatal to the interests of Swifferland, nor more repugnant to the liberties of the people, than to have thefe mines of gold or filver traced and opened. A fudden overflow of riches would effectually change and corrupt their manners: and it is an incontestable truth, that the real power of a country, not ambitious of making conquefts, is derived lefs from the wealth than from the induftry of its fubjects; the happiness of a people, as well as of an individual, confifting in being contented.

What a chaos of mountains are here heaped upon one another! a dreary, defolate, but fublime appearance: it looks like the ruins and wreck of a world..

⚫ I found the cold upon the Grimfel more piercing than I had experienced upon the top of St. Gothard +; and laft night I fuffered fo much from it, as fcarcely to fleep one minute. But then circumftances were fomewhat different in the two lodgings: for at the Capuchin's I had a comfortable bed; whereas last night I lay in the hay-loft, and could not get any covering: I declare my blood has hardly yet recovered its circulation. Take notice, this is the 12th of Auguft.

We are now in the diftrict of Hafli, which makes a part of the canton of Berne: it is enclosed on all fides by the mountains Grimfel, Wetterhorn, Shereck horn, Brunig, &c. the highest alps of Swifferland; and of these the Shereckhorn is the most elevated. We passed thro' an uninterrupted chain of alps, following the courfe of the Aar: all around us, for fome way, was wild, and uninhabitable. The whole furface of what little vale there was between the ranges of mountains, was ftrewed thick with vaft fragments of rock; while thofe, which still hung on the fides of the mountains, feemed threat. ening to tumble upon our heads; the river, the whole way, thundering along in a continual fall. This valley exhibits the fame kind of fcenes we have been long accustomed to; except that the Aar rushes with more impetuous rage even than the Rhone or the Reufs; and is frequently fo fwelled with the torrents it receives in its course, as to ravage all the adjacent country: we faw many marks of thefe ter

*The glaciers are mountains and vallies of ice fee a curious defcription of these aftonishing and beautiful phænomena, in our account of BOURRITT's Journey to the Glaciers of Savoy, tranflated by Davy; Rev. vol. liii. p. 142.

+ A neighbouring mountain, of great height, which our Travellers had afcended a few days before.


rible devastations. We croffed it in feveral places; in one of which the landscape was very much of the fame dreary kind as that of the Devil's Bridge". Near the fmall village of Hundeck, about three leagues from Spital, we had a glimpfe, through the trees, of the Aar falling from a confiderable height. In order to gain a nearer view of it, we climbed along the fides of a rock, which happened very luckily to be well covered with mofs, otherwife, from its steepnefs, it would not have been practicable: I leaned against a tree that hung over the precipice, and faw the river rufhing all at once as if from a crevice of the rock, and then spreading into a kind of se micircular expansion in its descent. It fell with fury into a deep and narrow channel, and then loft itself in the midst of the foreft. The river was very full, and its perpendicular fall, as far as I could judge by the eye, might be about 150 feet. The scenery alfo was folemnly majeftic; the rocks on each fide rifing perpendicularly, and totally bare, except their tops, which were crowned with pines.

Great part of this land of Hafli is extremely fertile, and well wooded: we traversed in our way to Meyringen large forefts of beech and pines, the Aar roaring along the vale; and the road, which was as craggy and as rugged as ufual, inceffantly afcending and defcending. We now paffed through feveral fmall villages, which afforded us a pleafing fight, after the defolated country we had fo lately been accustomed to; and came into a beautiful little vale of a moft lively verdure, and delightfully planted. All here was calmness and repose: neither rapid river nor roaring torrent to interrupt the unufual ftillness and tranquillity of the fcene. This fhort interval of filence, made us the more fenfibly affected by the turbulence of the Aar and the loud clamour of the cataracts.

We have now feen the three greatest rivers in Swifferland (the Rhine excepted) iffuing from their refpective fourees; and have traced them in all their violence through a tract of country in which Nature has exhibited fome of the grandest and most auguft of her works. But how impoffible have I found it to convey to you an ade equate idea of thefe her majeftic, variegated, and aftonishing scenes! They must all of them upon paper neceffarily appear much the fame: yet, in fact, every river and cataract, every rock, mountain, and precipice, are refpectively diftinguished from each other by an infinite diverfity of modifications, and by all the poffible forms of beauty, or magnificence; of fublimity, or horror. But thefe difcriminating variations, though too vifibly marked to escape even the leaft obferving eye, elude every kind of reprefentation, and defy the ftrongest powers both of the pen and the pencil. In a word, you must not judge of the beauties of this romantie country, from the faint sketches I have attempted to delineate: for, upon the whole,


A bridge thrown across a very deep chafm over the Reufs, in the valley of St. Gothard, which here forms a confiderable cataract down the fhagged fides of the mountain, and over immenfe fragments of rock, which it has undermined in its course. Thefe," fays our Author, are fublime fcenes of horror, of which those who have not been fpectators, can form no idea: neither,' adds he, can the powers of painting nor poetry give an adequate image of them."



REV. May, 1779.

A a


they can no more convey to you a complete and perfect idea of thefe wonderful scenes, than if I were to aim at giving you some notion of the pictures of Raphael and Corregio, by telling you, they are compofed of paint and canvas.

• Meyringen is a large neat village, being the capital burgh of this land of Halli: a diftrict which enjoys confiderable privileges.—In this district there are about 6000 men capable of bearing arms, and about 20,00o fouls.

The inhabitants are a very fine race of people: the men in general remarkably ftrong, lufty, and well made; the women tall and handfome. The latter have an elegant manner of wearing their hair, which is commonly of a beautiful colour: it is parted from the top of the forehead, from thence brought round and joined to the locks behind; which either hang down their back in long treffes, braided with ribband, or are woven round the head in a fimple plait. But the other part of the dress does not in the leaft correfpond with this elegance; as their fhapes, naturally fine, are spoiled by an abfurd fashion of wearing their petticoats fo high, that they all appear as if they were round fhouldered and big-bellied.

Meyringen is fituated near the Aar, in a very romantic valley; furrounded by meadows of a most luxuriant verdure, fprinkled with cottages, which are occafionally feparated from each other by huge intervening flones and deep channels, the remaining effects of ftorms and torrents. Close to the village, the Alp-bach, a torrent so called, falls from the mountain Houfli, in two beautiful perpendicular cafcades, but with fo much violence, and in fo large a body of water, as to caufe frequent inundations: indeed the burgh itself has been in danger of being overwhelmed and destroyed by its repeated ravages; against which, however, it is now protected, by a wall of confiderable height and folidity. Near this torrent is another fall of water, that glides gently down the bare rock, which is there more foping; and, farther on, a third glistened as it defcended through a hanging grove of pines, that feather the fides of the mountain.

The following is the ordinary price of provifions throughout the mountainous parts of Swifferland: I have reduced the price to I the value of our money.

Butcher's meat, per pound







[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


Milk, per quart
Wort wine, per Do
Pays de Vaud wine

By this you will perceive, that, in proportion, bread is much dearer than the other articles; and the reason is obvious: for, all thefe mountainous parts confift almost entirely of palturages, and

O 6

With fubmiffion to this ingenious Writer, beautiful colour is not defcription We are not told whether black, red, or brown hair is honoured with Mr. Coxe's preference.


« VorigeDoorgaan »