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customed to it by degrees. This daily dose of poison costs the American labourer from one to two shillings sterling a-day, that is, at least a fourth part of his earnings, and equalizes things between him and the European. The excise on distilled liquors is a species of salutary censure on public morals ;-but we are too nice on the article of liberty in America to bear with this device of despotism.
The rains of the last fortnight have revived the hopes of farmers, and the crop of grain will not be so deficient as was expected. It is remarkable that this obstinate drought of the spring has been experienced, not only over a great part of Europe, but in North and South America. The apprehension of an extraordinary scarcity was the more serious, as England has very little surplus in its most fruitful years. From 1793 to 1804, the importations of foreign wheat have cost England thirtythree millions sterling,* and the government has paid in premiums on these importations the follow, ing enormous sums.
In 1800 L. 44,836. sterling
1803 43,977. Salmon is extremely plenty along this coast, which abounds in rapid streams falling into the sea. It is our daily food. The heat of summer is so temperate, that we have a fire every evening ;without necessity, but as a pleasure after the fatigue of a day's journey. Coal is cheap here.
The number of country banks is so astonishing, that, unable to judge if the paper circulating is
Jephson Oddy on inland navigation,
LLANGOLLEN-VALLE CRUCIS ABBEY.
234 good or bad, I take it without the least examination, and, as I have not received a bank note that was doubted afterwards, I presume there are few counterfeits. No gold at all to be seen, and silver as small change only, without any visible stamp, and worn to half its weight.
July 28.-We travelled to-day from Ruthven along the vale of Clwydd, and, ascending the rampart of hills which encloses it, we admired, for the last time, this magnificent extent of cultivation. The narrow ridge soon brought to our view another deep and rich valley. Llangollen, of still greater renown than its neighbour, although I do not think it deserves it so well; it appeared to us deeper than the vale of Clwydd, and the descent on this side of the ridge steeper than the ascent had been. We soon came to a sheltered spot, where the ruins of Valle Crucis Abbey are seen in fat fields, level, rich, and low, with a clear stream traversing them, and the ancient fish-pond still entire. On the brow of a neighbouring hill, and threatening the valley, which the Abbey seemed to enjoy, appeared the walls of Dinas Bran, or Crow Castle. The area of Valle Crucis Abbey now encloses a grove of lofty ash trees, which overtop the ruins, and have a fine and singular effect; so interwoven are the roots and the ruins, that stones appear to grow out of the trees, as well as trees out of the stones. Some peasants have taken up their abode among the remains of the cloisters; cows and hogs, chickens and children, climb, and perch on the trees and ruins, and you may see here a pair of horns, there a child's' head or a pig's peeping through the windows, among Gothic carvings and green boughs.
LLANGOLLEN-LADY E. B. AND MISS P.
Near Llangollen, where we dined, is the residence of two ladies, whose names are identified with the vale, Lady E. Butler and Miss Ponsonby; and after having informed ourselves of the etiquette of the place, we dispatched'a note requesting permission to see the grounds, announcing ourselves, in hopes of strengthening our claim, as American travellers. The ladies, however, were cruel, and answered, “ it was not convenient to permit the place to be seen that day." The landlady, who had over
. heard some words of French spoken among us, observed that the ladies were fond of the French language, and that, if we had petitioned in French, we should have been admitted. The hint came too late. Taking a guide, however, we were conducted round the hermitage. The house is on a road; it is high and narrow, and behindhand in point of taste to the present style of elegant cottages. The garden is very small
, and, from a height which overlooks it, we could see nothing to make us regret not having been admitted. A former tourist, (I believe Madame de Genlis), gives a charming description of it, but as to us, the grapes were sour. French readers may wish to learn something of these ladies. Their story is understood to be, that with birth, beauty, and fortune, they embraced, in the prime of their youths, half a century ago, the romantie idea of consecrating the remainder of their lives to pure friendship, far from the world, its vanities, its pleasures, and its pains; and, literally running away from their families in Ireland, with a faithful woman-servant, lately dead, they hid themselves in this then
profound solitude, where they have lived ever since. The following inscription, I am informed, is placed in the garden:
Consacrer dans l'obscurité
The obscurity has long been dissipated; but the friendship, it is to be hoped, has survived. Llangollen is, like all the little old towns of this and all countries, a hideous object.
July 29.–From Llangollen, by Wrexham and Chester, 46 miles. We visited this morning Chirk Castle. It is a quadrangular building, with battlements all around; a tower at each corner and one over the gateway. It stands on an ample knoll, carpetted to the very foot of the walls with the finest turf, but without a shrub or tree near it. Thus insulated, and the high walls pierced with a few diminutive windows, it looks great, but melancholy; and the court, inside surrounded with apartments on arches, does not diminish the first impression. You ascend, however, by a noble staircase to these apartments. They are found to be a suite of the finest rooms, lighted by windows, few in number, but very large, (the same which appear outside so small) looking over the finest view imaginable, and the cheerfullest. First, the velvety green all round; groves beyond, of large spreading trees, in a careless irregular line; beyond that again, and lower, a rich cultivated vale, and blue hills in the horizon,--the usual termination of Welsh landscapes. The castle has a gallery 100 feet long, with shining oak floors and wainscotting, state-beds and furniture of the 16th or 17th century, and a number of bad pictures. We walked in the groves, where roses and honeysuckles 66 wasted their sweetness on the desert air." The proprietors of this paradise, three sisters, are
at this moment enjoying the heat and dust of London, and are not expected for a long time to
At Chester we visited the court-house and prison of the county-a new building of classical appearance, the interior of which is on a plan of the celebrated philanthropist, (not of the sort of those who made the French revolution) Howard. This is its plan. The windows of the keeper's apartments overlook the rooms or cells of the prisoners, which are disposed in a semicircle, opening two and two on a small court or garden, to which they have access all day, and are only shut up at night. A list, placed on the balcony before the windows of the keeper, informs you of the name of each prisoner, his crime, &c. The court forms also a semicircle ;--the judge and jury in the centre, the spectators on the stone amphitheatre all around. The prisoner is brought by a subterraneous passage to his place before the judges. The court is lighted by a sky-light, with ventilators to renew the air. The front of the building is adorned by a Doric portico, the columns of which, three feet in diameter, and twenty high, are each formed of a single piece, and the whole building of the same stone, in large blocks, of a fine yellow colour, from a quarry near at hand. The funds have been drawn from the surplus produce of a canal in the neighbourhood beyond a certain per centage sti pulated in the charter. What pleased us most was, to find that this excellent house had so few inhabitants; and the jailor, who appeared to be a respectable man, informed us further, that there had been only three executions in the county of Chester in nine years.