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Our travelers next proceed to Aveiro and Oporto. The situation of the latter town, on the steep declivity of a hill, gives it a romantic appearance; and the account of its trade is not uninteresting.
The general appearance of the country round Oporto I have already described. There is a very pleasant walk up the river, which forms a principal object to the right; and to the left is a steep rocky declivity, part of which should be blown up by gunpowder and removed, to widen the path. On an eminence opposite to it is a monastery with its woody quinta. Several brooks rush down the side of the rock and lose themselves beneath moss, underwood, and other plants, that trickle with cool clear water; and, where the rocks permit, a garden or a quinta is stolen from their barren sides. The country at a greater distance is very beautiful, and forms chearful hills, where a short coppice of German oaks and hollies (ilex aquifolium) surprises by its novelty. Another pleasant walk of the same kind accompanies the river downward to the sea, which is but three-quarters of a league from Oporto.
'The mountains suddenly cease toward the coast, and the land is lower at the mouth of the river; but here and there rocks rise out of the sand, rendering the entrance into the harbour extremely narrow and very dangerous. The sea also is very boisterous on these coasts during the rainy season, and the river very rapid. The sand which the stream brings with it is retained by the rocks, and thus more and more chokes the passage; so that, unless great and powerful means are employed, the harbour will at length be rendered totally useless. Endeavours, however, are made to keep the stream in one place, so as to wash the sand away; and something has already been effected by labour. On the whole, however, little has been done, and much more can and must be performed, if this important harbour is to be preserved.' P. 324.
If the traveler mount the hills behind Oporto, the charm is lost. On the opposite (the southern) side of the Douro is Gaya-a town, in appearance, not greatly inferior to Oporto itself.
The province of Minho-entre-Douro-e-Minho'-one of the most delightful valleys of Portugal, is at no great distance from Oporto, and over granite mountains, heaths, and pine-woods, which do not promise such charming scenes. The province itself is a collection of granite-mountains, the valleys only being fertile. The whole is well watered, and the inhabitants are industrious. The valley of Braga, containing the city of the same name, is the next object; and our travelers hasten through it, to reach the Serra de Gerez-the frontier mountains which divide Portugal from Galicia. This is a spot almost untrodden by modern travelers; and the account of it is consequently interesting. The warm springs raise Réaumur's thermometer to 40°; and one of the springs is hepatic: the other is considered as
pure, since the author's chemical tests had no effect.-But we have already had an opportunity of appreciating M. Link's chemical knowledge. The mountain itself offers no appearance of consequence. The Caucasean goat-capra Egagrus of Pallas-is found on it.
Our author hence proceeded southward, to examine the second range of mountains in Portugal-the Serra de Marao -and delineates the town of Amarante. The spurs of the mountain are granite; but they are followed, in the higher pics, by black argillaceous slate, mingled with mica. M. Link here discovered a new fossil, which he calls moranite; but, as we have not since heard of it, we suppose him to have been mistaken in his imagined novelty.
The chapter on the culture of the vine contains much curious and interesting information, but does not admit of abridgement. M. Link next visits the Serra d'Estrella-the highest range of mountains in Portugal. This part of the kingdom seems to have been described very imperfectly. Viseu is a town on a high table land in the neighbourhood of the mountain, and has an annual fair of some importance, not mentioned in any book of geography or statistical work.' The tin mines of Viseu, often described, appear to have no existence: what seems to have been mistaken for the tin ore, is an arsenical pyrite. The whole table land is granitic. The only minerals dug in Portugal are plumbago at Medoura, a little quicksilver at Couna, and some coal at Figuera. The last is, however, inconsiderable, and apparently inapplicable to use. At Moz, in Traz-os-montes, iron seems to have been lately raised in large quantities.-The mode of life of a Portuguese nobleman in the country affords an interesting picture of ancient manners, and merits transcription.
Dom Luis Bernardo, notwithstanding his great riches, resides in the country, and seldom visits the town. Here he enjoys the pleasures of a country life in a fine situation and pleasant climate, passing his time in the midst of his family, and the economical care of his estate. His wife, Donna Maria, is a remarkable woman, and contradicts a common-place remark frequently made in the south of Europe, that as the beauty of women in those climates blossoms early, so it soon decays. She was at this time pregnant of her twenty-first child, and was still beautiful. Her make was Portugueze, small and strong, but elegant, her beautiful countenance enlivened with black speaking eyes and in her conversation and all her motions that fire and vivacity which distinguish and adorn the fair sex in this country prevail. At the house of this nobleman we passed a few very pleasant days, and observed the manners of an old Portugueze family, where even the grown-up daughters inhabited separate apartments in a detached wing, never eating with their parents, and none but female servants attending in the interior of the house. We were daily in company with the
principal people of this litttle town, where the young but half-speechless girls, and the young but cheerful married women, passed their time in a pleasant manner without play. General conversation prevailed, and they joined in a general chorus. We heard a number of soft plaintive Portugueze songs, generally on the pains of love, and frequently on some charming shepherdess (Linda pastora). Among these the Brasileros, or Brasil songs, were distinguished by their great variety, gaiety, and wit, like the nation from which they spring. In the fine evenings we walked, not forgetting to call at some picture of a saint or chapel to drop a hasty prayer, without, however, interrupting the general mirth and gaiety of the party.' P. 392.
These mountains afford excellent pasture for sheep; and the wool is little inferior to that of Spain: but the Portuguese cloth is thick and heavy. Though several rivers arise in this spot, the travelers did not find the numerous brooks which render the mountains of Gerez so charming. The rocks are bold, massy, and abrupt; and the lagoa escurathe lake darkened by the shade of the surrounding mountains is the gloomy scene of many a legendary tale. The account of its ebbing and flowing, with the turns of the tide, our author contradicts, from observation. The elevation is estimated at about 5 or 6000 feet; but it is not the region of perpetual snow, as some authors have reported. Snow is preserved indeed, but only by art, on its top. The direction of the mountain is from north-east to south-west. There are no traces of wild goats. Wolves, and other wild beasts, in consequence of the neighbouring towns and villages, are
The journey to Algarvia, the southern province of Portugal, to the north-east of cape St. Vincent, is not very interesting; and the road, through the province to Alemteio, to Sierra de Monchique, our travelers find dreary and uncom fortable, till they turn suddenly southward to Monchique, which is situated in a delightful valley. From the hill above, the whole province of Algarvia, with its bays and rivers, appears expanded, as in a map. Round Monchique, every thing is granitic; and in the neighbourhood are some warm baths, the heat of which does not exceed 24o of Réau
The description of the province we cannot follow; and shall only remark, that the promontory, called Cape St. Vincent, is a desert plain, consisting of a grey lime-stone, naked and rough to the point. Towards the sea, it is everywhere fractured, and from 50 to 80 feet high. At the utmost extremity is a monastery of capuchins, whence the inhabitants can, in fine weather, speak to the ships that pass. In this province, they make threads from the leaf of the aloe, which, in water, soon decay. In Algarvia, the process of
caprification is practised, as in Greece. This small kingdom, in 1780, contained 93,472 inhabitants. Figs constitute its principal produce, though oil is made in large quantities. The descriptions of Faro, Tavira, Ayamonte, and Villa Real, contain some interesting circumstances: but they would lead us too far. Our travelers' return by Mertola, Serpa, and Evora, is equally entertaining and curious. The dissertation on the literature of the Portuguese is highly interesting, but admits not an abridgement. Our author speaks with candour and judgement. A comparative view of the Spanish and Portuguese languages follows. This, too, is incapable of abridgement.
On the whole, the present work presents the most full, the most candid, and interesting account of Portugal that we have seen. We have selected many passages: but the reader will find few parts of the work without novelty and without entertainment. We feel greatly the want of a map, and indeed have been able to find little assistance in supplying the defect. The best maps of Portugal are extremely imperfect: Mr. Cary's late publication is the best.
The translator's notes should not pass wholly without observation: they are short, clear, and intelligent. The language of the translation is free and perspicuous: perhaps no other qualities were necessary.
ART. IV.-Claims of Literature: the Origin, Motives, Objects, and Transactions, of the Society for the Establishment of a Literary Fund. 8vo. 7s. 6d. Boards. Miller. 1802.
THERE is such a disposition among our countrymen to promote and patronise every charitable and benevolent institution, that it can only be attributed to the non-existence, till of late, of the foundation which is the subject of the volume before us, that its funds have not already surpassed those of almost every other eleemosynary establishment, and been adequate to every purpose it professes. For the young and the old, the lame and the blind, the deaf and the dumb-for the diseased and the disabled of almost every description, whether the affliction proceed from natural defect or personal criminality-we have asylums scattered throughout every quarter of the country, for the most part richly endowed, or supported by periodic and liberal contributions. Such is the happy effect produced by the propa gation of general learning and science among all ranks and conditions-of those intellectual irradiations, which, whereever they obtain an entrance, are sure to soften the most rugged heart, to open the most selfish and contracted bo
som, to diffuse a general love of man for man, and induce every one to take an interest in the welfare of his brother: and yet, strange to relate! the very class of persons who have principally contributed to this melioration of the public mind, this increase of general knowledge and general philanthropy, have, till within the last thirteen years, been the only order for whom no distinct and appropriate relief has been provided, notwithstanding that, from a frequent want of worldly experience and sagacity, there is no order of society so perpetually exposed to misfortune and distress as themselves.
Having premised thus much, we now hasten to observe, that the institution, of which the volume before us is professedly designed to give a history, is entitled the Society for the Establishment of a Literary Fund.' This title is not indeed logically correct, and we most heartily wish it something more substantial than the possession of a literary fund;— but, without dwelling any longer upon a venial inaccuracy of term, we remark that the history of this society is divided, in the volume before us, into two parts: of which the first, drawn up by Mr. David Williams at the desire of the society, presents to us a variety of observations upon literature, as a proper object of a charitable institution-upon its utilitythe evils and miseries to which it is exposed-the public and private patronage which at present applies to it-and upon the institution of the society for a literary fund. To which are added, by Mr. Boscawen, the constitutions of the society -cases in which it has already administered relief-and sums paid by its committee since its first establishment. The second part, written also by Mr. Boscawen, consists of an introduction to the anniversary poems which have been composed and recited in honour of the Literary Fund, and of the poems, or rather, as we apprehend, a selection of the poems, themselves. From the former division of the subject, we shall transcribe the following account of the origin, views, and present state, of the society.
Several fruitless attempts were made, before a small association could be formed, of which, if the author should think any future opinion of him sufficiently important, to be rectified by memoirs, the cu rious reader may find minute details, when he shall be no more.
Here, it can be necessary only to relate, that consulting an aged and experienced bookseller, on the means of removing the difficulties in his way, the old man exclaimed, "Good God! sir, no body will meddle with authors."
However, the conversation terminated in his engagement to be come a subscriber, provided his advice were taken, to associate literature with the arts, or with any class or description of objects, less ob poxious to general apprehension and terror.
CRIT. REV. Vol. 38. June, 1803.