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Which passages I have laid together in this place, that I might follow his Majesty's affairs elsewhere, with less interruption.
The Prince having gone for Bristol, as before is said, his Majesty resolved, on the approach of summer, to relieve such of his northern garrisons, as had been left untaken the year before, and thence to bestow a visit on the associated counties. But being on his march, and having stormed the town of Leicester in his
way, he returned as far as Daventry, upon the news that Sir Thomas Fairfax, newly made general in the place of Essex, was sate down before Oxford.
(To be continued.
FOREIGNERS' CHARACTER OF THE ENGLISH.
It is truly observed, that persons cannot see themselves so well as they are seen by others. No nation has a higher opinion of itself (and I will not say without reason) than the English. Foreigners, however, maugre all our self-gratulations and praises, take the liberty to speak of us as we do of them as they find us; and though it may not in all cases be gratifying (even where they speak truth) to hear what they say of us, it is amusing. On this principle, you will not perhaps think it obstrusive to insert a few specimens of their opinions. I shall chiefly quote those of foreign writers, who visited England many years since :
Stephen Perlin, a French ecclesiastic, who was over here in the reign of King Edward VI. and who wrote with all the prejudices (and then ignorance as to England) of his countrymen, is extremely scurrilous. “ One may observe of the English,” says he,“ that they are neither valiant in war, nor faithful in peace, which is apparent by experience ; for, although they are placed in a good soil, and a good country, they are wicked, and so extremely fickle, that at one moment they will adore a Prince, and the next moment they would kill or crucify him.” He continues (and this seems the great ground of his dislike)—" They have a mortal enmity to the French, whom they conceive to be their ancient enemies, and in common call us French dogs, as well as whoreson, that is, sons of whores ; but they hate all sorts of strangers. It displeases me that these villains, in their own country, spit in our faces, although, when they are in France, we treat them like little divinities. But herein the French demonstrate themselves to be of a noble and generous spirit.” He afterwards tempers his abuse with some compliments, particularly to (what all foreigners have admired) our females. " The men are
large, handsome, and ruddy, with flaxen hair, being in a northern latitude ; the women, of any estimation, are the greatest beauties in the world, and as fair as alabaster (without offence to those of Italy, Flanders, and Germany, be it spoken); they are also cheerful and courteous, and of good address." Of the country, he says—" In this kingdom are so many beautiful ships, so handsome are hardly to be seen elsewhere in the whole world. Here are also many fine islands and plenty of pasture, with such quantities of game, that in these islands (which are all surrounded with woods and thick hedges) it is not uncustomary to see, at one time, more than one hundred rabbits running about in one meadow.” He speaks, perhaps, in just terms, of what was a great fault in our national character then, and is too much
now-our fondness for drink. “ The English are great drunkards. In drinking or eating they will say to you a hundred times, ' I drink to you, and you should answer them in their language, ' I pledge you.' When they are drunk, they will swear blood and death that you shall drink all that is in your cup. But it is to be noted, as I have before said, that in this excellent kingdom there is no kind of order, for the people are reprobates, and thorough enemies to good manners and letters, and know not whether they belong to God or the Devil.”
Hentzner, the German traveller (in the reign of Queen Elizabeth), is far more candid, and rather laughs at than censures us. He
says -“ The English are serious, like the Germans, and lovers of show; they excel in dancing and music, for they are active and lively, though of a thicker make than the French. They cut their hair close on the middle of the head, letting it grow on either side ; they are good sailors and better pirates, cunning, treacherous, and thievish ; about three hundred are said to be hanged annually, at London; they give the wall as the place of honour; hawking is the general sport of the gentry; they are more polite in eating than the French, devouring less bread, but more meat, which they roast in perfection ; they put a deal of sugar in their drink; their beds are covered with tapestry, even those of the farmers ; they are often molested with scurvy, said to have first crept into England with the Norman Conquest. In the field they are powerful, successful against their enemies, impatient of any thing like slavery ; vastly fond of great noises that fill the ear, such as the firing of cannon, drums, and the ringing of bells ; so that it is common for a number of them, that have got a glass in their heads, to go up into some belfry and ring the bells for hours together for the sake of exercise. If they see a foreigner very well madę or particularly handsome, they will say it is a pity he is not an ENGLISHMAN."
Le Serre, who attended Mary de Medicis to England, when she visited her daughter, Henrietta Maria, the Queen of Charles I. and who partook of all the hospitalities of the English court (whatever he might think), speaks of us in the most enthusiastic terms. Our ladies he describes as positive divinities, and the country and inhabitants, generally, as worthy the highest admiration. To be sure, he was writing the description of a most splendid spectacle, of which he was the witness, where the people were all dressed in their holiday clothes, and as the same kind of ceremony attended the Queen's mother all the
way from her landing at Dover, he may be said to have only seen the best side of us.
Jorevin de Rochford, another French traveller, in the time of Charles II. says" This nation is tolerably polite, in which they, in a great measure, resemble the French, whose modes and fashions they study and imitate. They are in general large, fair, pretty well made, and have good faces. They are good warriors on the land, but more particularly so on the sea : they are dexterous and courageous, proper to engage in a field of battle, where they are not afraid of blows. The honour of understanding the art of ship-building, beyond all the other nations of Europe, must be allowed to the English. Strangers in general are not liked in London, even the Irish and Scots, who are the subjects of the same King. They have a great respect for their women, whom they court
with all imaginable civility. They always sit at the head of the table, and dispose of what is placed on it by helping every one, entertaining the company with some pleasant conceit, or agreeable story. In fine, they are respected as mistresses, whom every one is desirous of obeying, so that, to speak with truth, England is the paradise of women, as Spain and Italy is their purgatory."
The above travellers, it will be recollected, are describing our forefathers, and drawing a picture which, in some respects, is as new to us as it was to them. The next is a traveller of comparatively modern days—a man of information, and apparently good nature. He speaks, as, indeed, almost all foreigners do, of the extreme rudeness of the lower orders of English, but bestows every praise on the higher ranks, as well as on the country generally. The
person alluded to, is M. Grossly, who wrote his Tour he year 1772. Our custom of shaking hands, he describes very ludicrously.-" To take a man by the arm," says he," and shake it until his shoulder is almost dislocated, is one of the grand testimonies of friendship which the English give each other, when they happen to meet. This they do very coolly; there is no expression of friendship in their countenances, yet the whole soul enters into the arm which gives the shake ; and this supplies the place of embraces and salutes of the French.” He endeavours to correct the notions of foreigners, as to the English jostling them about in crowded streets of the metropolis from motives of enmity. “The English," he tells them, " walk very
fast, their thoughts being entirely engrossed by business, and are very punctual to their appointments, so that those who happen to be in their way are sure to be sufferers by it: constantly darting forward, they jostle them with a force proportioned to their bulk, and the velocity of their motion. I have seen foreigners," he adds, “ not used to this exercise, let themselves be tossed and whirled about for a long time, in the midst of a crowd of passengers, who had nothing else in view but to get forward. Having soon, however, adopted the English custom, I made the best of my way through crowded streets, exerting my utmost efforts to shun persons who were equally careful to avoid me.” Of the polite way in which his inquiries after places were answered by the better sort of passengers, he speaks in very gratifying terms Whatever haste," says he,
be in the street, as soon as you speak to him he stops to answer, and often steps out of his way to direct you, in a manner that sufficiently indemnifies you
for the insolence of the moh." His greatest difficulty in these cases, he complains, was to make himself understood, and sometimes he was obliged to quit a good-natured guide, who had accompanied him part of his journey to show him, with only nods and grimaces. On these occasions, he informs us, he was accustomed to say to him, with a laugh and squeeze of the hand, “ Tower of Babylon ! He would laugh one side likewise,” says he, “ and so we used to part."
Perhaps you will not think the following account of “ An Agricultural Experiment,” by Dr. Adam Clarke--addressed to the Editor of the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, too uninteresting to obtain a place in the Gleaner.. I am, sir, your constant Reader,
« Dear Sir,
The following Agricultural Experiment, though not as perfect as I could have wished, may induce some of your readers to pursue the same method on a larger, and, I hope, a more successful scale.
“On June 10, 1816, I planted three grains of red wheat, in what might be called good, but not rich, ground, at Millbrook, in Eccleston, Lancashire; they sprouted well, and produced several side shoots, which I had intended to divide and transplant, early in August, but being from home the transplanting was delayed
till the 28th of the month : I then took up the three grains and divided the shoots, which amounted to one hundred and fifty; but in transplanting found I had room for only one hundred and twenty-six without going to a different soil. These hundred and twenty-six plants might be considered the produce of two and a half grains of wheat.
“ A few of the slips died ; the rest were healthy, and each put forth several side shoots. Owing to the excessive wetness and backwardness of the season, I did not transplant these as soon as I could have wished; but, on October, the 18th, I took up all the survivors of the one hundred and twenty-six sub-divided and re-planted them in a more open place, and found that the produce was six hundred and fifty-eight perfect wheat plants. I threw aside what might be called the produce of half a grain, and ascertained that, at this second sub-division and transplanting, two grains of wheat had yielded five hundred and seventy-four distinct plants, or two hundred and eighty-seven plants from one grain. I then committed the whole to Divine Providence, till the next spring, intending to sub-divide and transplant the produce of those five hundred and seventy-four plants twice in that season, should it be propitious.
“ On Monday and Tuesday, March 24, 25, 1817, I took up the above plants, which had in general stood the winter very well, a few plants only having died, and a few been killed with the frost, which had been keen for several morning's in the preceding week. As they had in the course of the preceding October (the time of the last transplanting), and in the beginning of this spring put forth several side shoots, I again divided them and found, that one of the grains, that is, two hundred and eighty-seven plants, had multiplied itself into nine hundred plants, and the second grain into nine hundred and sixteen! These I planted in rows, in a field along side of other wheat, sown in the common way; setting the plants four inches asunder, and about ten inches between the rows. I once more committed these two grains in their produce to the care of that astonishing Providence which had multiplied one into nine hundred, and intended to sub-divide once more, should the spring be forward and favourable.
“ The first week in April there came a severe frost for four or five nights; and not having taken any precaution to defend these tender plants, one-third, at least, of the whole was killed ! Finding that my experiments were thus necessarily rendered incomplete, I did not attempt any further sub-division and transplanting. The remaining plants thrived, and were very healthy, and, in general, greatly surpassed the other wheat in length, bulk, and weight of ear; many of the ears were five and six inches long, and the grains large and well fed. "As some of the more slender stalks did not ripen as soon as the rest, I left them growing after the field of wheat had been cut down ; and, to