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No. XLVIII.-EXCURSION TO REDRUTH.
Sterility of the surface-Richness of the bowels of Cornwall
Civility of the people--Redruth-—A singular letter of introduction-Carnbre-- A castle-Druidical monuments-An unexpected danger.
Sept. 4.-This morning I left Truro in a hired gig, and drove nine miles to Redruth. The country was every where hilly, or, as they term it here, mountainous. To Cornwall, which is nearly destitute of trees, and condemned to the privations of a thin and sterile soil, and the inclemency of a fickle and stormy climate, the Creator has given in the bowels of her territory, an ample compensation, for the deficiencies of the surface.
The indications of a mining country which appeared for many miles, on the other side of Truro, now became more frequent and striking. Vast heaps of earth, gravel, and stones, every where deformed the prospect, and pointed out the places, where, for a succession of ages, the Cornish men have bored into the ground in search of tin and copper. Among these heaps appeared, here and there, the mud cottages of the miners, and the machinery with which they draw up the ore and rubbish. I met many of the people of the country on the road, some driving before them large inules, laden with ore, and others conveying it in carts. Almost without exception, they pulled off their hats to me in a respectful manner, as the people of NewEngland do to a stranger. It appeared to be an evidence of the simplicity of their lives, and of their freedom from the archness and impudence of the lower orders in great cities. But, this decent respect for strangers appears not to be growing up with the rising generation, for, not one of the numerous children whom I met, paid me the least attention.
Redruth is in the centre of the mining country. It is a village of some consequence, built of granite, which is called Moor-stone, in Cornwall, and having a paved street. Cornwall has abundance of granite, in which the constituent parts of this stone are remarkably large and distinct. It is used here for monuments of every description. On the road from Launceston, 1 observed a number of crosses, which were erected in Roman Catholic times, and, having, some how or other, escaped the zeal of the reformation, are now used as mile-stones and land-marks.
A gentleman at Bristol to whom I was introduced, having learned from me my intended route, and the views by which I was actuated in travelling, gave me, of his own accord, a circular letter of introduction, a thing which was as new to me as it was kind in him. The letter was. addressed to Mr. Rowe,* at Redruth, and to twenty or thirty more, who lived in the different towns through which I intended to travel, and in other parts of the kingdom; their names were arranged in a column with the places of their respective residences annexed, and the author subjoined an introduction and recommendation which was to be considered as addressed to the whole number of the friends he had named; and, to give the thing the utmost latitude, there was a concluding clause recommending me to all other persons who had any knowledge of the author. The first use which I made of this ample instrument was to make myself known to Mr. Rowe of Redruth,
* A Baptist clergyman.
by whom I was received with the greatest kindness. With him I went to see a lofty hill near Redruth, called Carnbre. Its sides and top are covered with detached rocks of granite, some of which are of vast size, and on the summit of the hill is a small castle, the walls of which have braved the elements for many centuries, and will continue to stand after the present generation are in the dust.There is no account of the founder. It stands upon an almost inaccessible pinnacle, composed of huge rocks of granite.
Lord Dedunstanville, within whose domains it is, has erected a door, stopped the windows, and covered the top of the walls with sheet lead, in order to prevent the farther decay of this venerable structure.
On this hill, within a thick wood, which formerly existed here, it is believed that the British Druids had one of their mysterious retreats; and some monuments, consisting principally of circular heaps of stone, are attributed to them. There is one rock which is very remarkable ; it lies on the surface of the ground, and would fill a small room. On its top are scooped out a number of deep and regular cavities, generally circular, or elliptical, and appearing to have been evidently a work of art. One cavity, which in form is different from the others, is so shaped as just to receive a human body, laid out at length, with the arms extended, and the feet close together. I made the experimeut by lying down in the cavity, on my back, in the manner just now described, and found that it exactly received me. At the feet there is an outlet cut through the side of the rock. It is believed by many
that in this place the Druids put to death their human victims, laying them with awful solemnity in this sacred cavity; it is supposed that the other cavities in the rock were used to contain consecrated vessels or fluids, or, that they were, in some other manner, auxiliary to the immolation.*
From this hill we had an extensive view of the surrounding country and of Bristol channel; how different is this view from that seen from Richmoud-Hill; the one is all verdure, luxuriance, variety and beauty, the other almost universal dreariness and sterility.
As we descended from this hill, I bad well nigh fallen into the shaft of an ancient and long neglected mine, which was completely overgrown with bushes, and so hidden by them, that my feet failed me before I was aware of my danger; happily, I fell forward with so much force, as to catch hold of the shrubs, and to throw myself partly on to the side of the pit; otherwise I might have gone down, I know not what dreadful distance. It is astonishing that such places should be left exposed, but familiarity with danger appears almost always to produce negligence and indifference in those who are exposed to it.
In the afternoon I went with Mr. Rowe, to visit some objects of curiosity a few miles from Redruth, but a heavy rain arrested our progress, and as we were in a gig without a top, we were completely drenched before we arrived again at the village. I returned to the inn, and betook myself to the employments which are my usual solace in those numerous hours, when separated from my country and the objects of my early attachment, I long for the consolations of society, and the delightful influence of the face of a friend.
* I am aware that granite as well as other rocks, is occasionally found worn by time into fantastical forms, some of which have been with us in America, taken for objects of idolatrous worship among the Aborigines. Some scientific men suppose these appearances on Carnbre and other similar ones in different parts of Britain to have the same origin.
No. XLIX.--DESCENT INTO THE DOLGOATH MINE.
Productions of the mine-Rudeness of the surface-Profits of the
Dolgoath mine-Costume of the miners-Dangers and difficulty of the descent—The scene of labour-Cheerfulness and civility of the miners-Great steam engine--Dangers of mining -Singular instance of delicacy--A ticketing.
Sept. 5.- This has been a very busy day, and the consequent fatigue hardly leaves me spirits to record its occurrences.
I was introduced yesterday to Mr. Magor, a manager of the mines, who called upon me this morning, and conducted me to the Dolgoath mine, situated three miles west from Redruth. It is the greatest mine in Cornwall, and is wrought principally for copper, although it affords tin and several other metals. My companion was a man of information and intelligence, and I received from him uncommon civilities.
Our ride led us through a mining region; every thing here points towards this object; it is the great concern of the country, and in some department or other of this business, almost every man, woman, and child is employed. For it, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures are neglected, and that industry which, in more fortunate countries, is employed to fertilize and adorn the surface of the