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each other to the southward, till they were lost in the depths of the ocean. But though no trace of the port now remains, and even the remembrance of it is swept away by the tide of time, this is by no means the case with respect to the commerce and spirit of enterprise which once animated this place. Tradition tells us that the pilchard fishery, that immense source of national wealth, was once carried on to a great extent by the natives of Sidmouth: that its hardy fons, with every re. turning season, fought their finny stores, and pursued them along the coasts of Cornwall, round the Scilly Iles, and even up the northern shores of their native county. Unhappily two fucceeding unfavourable seafons overtook them, their boats were all cast away, their crews overwhelmed in the ocean returned no more.Where the bustle and gaiety of business had adorned every countenance with smiles, nothing was seen but fable weeds; nothing was heard but fighs and lamentations! The spirit which had animated this enterprising (pot was quenched at once, and of all its former celebrity, nought remained but the apparatus in which its merchandize had been prepared for the market; the memory of what it once was, and the ecclefiaftical records, which detail to future incumbents the plen. teous tythe which their forerunners had collected from the deep.
“ It ought not to be forgotten that this spirit of enterprise was not the consequence of their peculiar situation: it is said, that when no longer able to find refuge for their busy craft among their native rocks, the inhabitants of Sidmouth set on foot a liberal subscription, and with it erected the quay at Torquay, and hence their vessels, boats, and craft of every description, take Thelter from the tempeft there, in time of distress, without paying the customary port duties which are exacted of all others.
“ At present, Sidmouth is only known as a place of re. fort for the valetudinary and the dillipated ; and to each
of these it presents attractions peculiarly inviting. Seated on the base of the two lofty mountains which form its charming vale, and closed up on the north by the Honi. ton hills, it presents its bosom only to the southern ray, and to the southern zephyr, and fanned by the pure breeze of the ocean alone, muft, of course, be well calcu. lated to redress the injury which filthy cities, crowded rooms, and mephitic vapours, entail upon mankind. In this respect Sidmouth claims a decided superiority over all its competitors for public resort. Here no filthy lagoons impregnate the atmosphere with poisonous miaf. ma; no ftagnant pools here purrify in the solar ray ; wherever there is water, it flows, and constantly crossing the traveller's path, tempers the sultry gale, gives fresh verdure to the luxuriant herbage which fringes its tinkling course, cherishes the thousand plants and flowers with which every hedge-row is garnished, embalms the air
, and revives the fainting energies of nature. The charming diversity for which Devon is famed, seems here to be collected into one point. Does the fated mind turn from the monotony of the ocean? In the vale behind it, every thing is rich, luxuriant, and variegated, calculated to awaken the softest and most tranquillizing emotions in the bosom : the trees are here seen fourishing, even to the water's edge, with a verdure and luxuriance which is elsewhere unknown. Along the banks of the Sid, which, bursting at once from beneath a mighty rock, meanders its three-mile-course to the ocean, we meet with all that beautiful variety of scenery which Fenelon so richly describes in his Telémaque, meadows embroidered with flowers, fields waving with corn, orchards laden with fruit; while every turn in its fantastic windings, presents us with the delicacies of the landf. cape in some new point of view, adds some fresh tuft of trees, some little murmuring water-fall, fome stro thatch cottage to the picture. Upon the mount the half-suffocated victim of fashion and midnighrer: gies, breathes the pure ætherial atmosphere ; and.e an
his path is strewed with flowers,gazes upon nature in some of her most elegant attitudes, and catches at one glance an extent of prospect, a variety of scenery which is almost unrivaled. It has been debated to which of the adjacent summits the palm of excellence in this respect is due, but the point can alone be determined by the peculiar tafte of the beholder. From the eastern high lands the vale of Sidmouth is certainly seen to the most advantage, the perspective is undoubtedly confined, but it teems with luxury. The ravished eye looks down upon a landscape stretched out like a carpet beneath it, which centres within itself as much picturesque beauty as is collected within an equal boundary in any country upon the earth. Here every thing necessary to an enchanting picture seems to be concentrated. Lands, rich and well cultivated, hedge-rows amply furnished with forest trees; mountains tipped with copse, bespotted with sheep; here glowing with the gilded blossoms of the furze, and there finely tinted with the numerous varieties of the heaths, which flourish on their flopes ; the whole decorated, not with the frowning awe-commanding mansions of the great, but besprinkled with cottages, villages, and hamlets, with their white-washed spire peeping through the orchards that envelope and almott hide it from view. On the precipices which terminare cither hill, the picture is uncommonly sublime and striking; from the eastern summit the eye ranges over a vast extent of country, and is only bounded at the distance of forty miles, by the rugged tors upon the forest of Dartmoor. Beneath we see the Halidown Hills, the Start Point, the Berry Head, Torbay, with its evershifting fleets; and in the cliffs we have “ Pelion upon offa,” and “ Caucasus upon Pelion,” in tremendous masses heaped upon each other. From the Peak we gaze upon the white cliffs of Albion (and here take our leave of them) the south-western coast of Dorlet, the Porrland Ille, which, like a bully, projects itself into the channel, and leems to hurl Jefiance against the opposite
fhores. In Sidmouth itself we have nothing which is worth noticing, if we except the church tower, which is certainly a fine piece of malonry. The modern erections are many, among the rest there is an excellent inn, a large and convenient assembly room, billiard room and reading room. On the beach a gravel walk of about one third of a mile in length, has been constructed for the accummodation of the company ; the bathing is commodious, and, for the convenience of the infirm, warm falt water baths have also been erected. Here the naturalist may find an ample field of investigation. The bills abound with plants, many of which are rare. In the cliffs numerous spars of different kinds are to be collected : nor are the rocks deficient in materials for study and amusement. Beautiful specimens of the Pholen are found imbedded in the marly foundations of the hills; and blocks of free-stone, which have been broken from the summits of the cliffs, abound with Echinæ marinæ, petrified coral, and many other productions of a similar description. In the balons, worn by the action of the waves in the rocks, elegant corallines abound ; and not unfrequently that singular production of nature the ani. mal flower, vulgarly called the sea anemone.":
From this entertaining account of Sidmouth, by my friend, you will have it in your power to forin a satisfaca tory idea of the pleasing ipot at which we were now arrived.
As I am particularly partial to the contemplation of the sea, you will indulge me in a few reflections on iny favourite subject. The globe was originally distributed into land and
The measure was wisely designed, and is appropriated to many important purposes.
“ The waters themselves," says Derham, in his Phyfico-Theology, are an admirable work of God, and of infinite use to that part of the globe already surveyed; and the prodigious variety and multitudes of curious and wonder. ful things obfervable in its inhabitants of all forts, are an inexhaustible scene of the Creator's wisdom and power VOL. VIII
The vast bulk of fome, and prodigious minuteness of others, together with the incomparable contrivance and ftructure of the bodies of all; the provisions and supplies of food afforded to fuch an innumerable company of eaters, and that in an element unlikely, one would think, to afford any great store of supplies; the business of respiration performed in a way sodifferent from, but equivalent to what is in land animals; the adjustment of the organs of vision to that element in which the animal liveth ; the poise, the support, the motion of the body forwards with great swiftness, and upwards and downwards with great readiness and agility, and all without feet and hands, and, ten thousand things befides ; all these things lay before us a glorious and inexhaustible scene of the divine power, wisdom, and goodnefs."
What a number of curious articles are here brought together ; to what an extent of meditation might such topics be applied !
The faltness of the sea has often excited my notice, and to many causes has this its extraordinary quality, been ascribed by the learned. Their opinions are thus briefly stated by an ingenious writer.
“ Some think that rivers, imbibing fomewhat of faltness from bodies over which they flow, or which they carry to the sea, might in time, by learing sales in the fea, render it falt; while others maintain that the sea was formerly saiter than at present, the influx of fresh water gradually affecting the ocean, a contradiétory mode of reasoning from the former, but equally void of demonstration or plausibility. A third party hints at rocks of falt, fitly disposed to be dissolved by the waters (and such we know there are) while those who think the water was originally created salt, urge much in fupport of that sentiment. Probably its degree of faltness was never very different from what we now find it ; for it seems that though certain kind of filhes are adapted to freth water, yet their numbers beac, little proportion to those which constantly inhabit falt-water,