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of which I should scarcely credit, had I not the best authority for the fact. The people assemble on a hill in this park, and then roll down the side of it, in hundreds at once, with all the promiscuous confusion which can be supposed to attend so rapid and unceremonious a descent, by the power of gravity alone. As the king has been in ill health, and in a state of mind which needed exhilaration, they contrived to have him, as if accidentally, (and certainly without his own knowledge) present at the last merry making, when he saw this grand rolling down of human bodies, and it is said that the extremely ludicrous nature of the exhibition affected his risibles very powerfully.
The park is ornamented with avenues of lofty and venerable trees, among which several herds of fallow-deer, very fat and sleek, presented themselves in different parts of the grounds. From constant familiarity with man, they are quite tame, and do not avoid ones approach more than a flock of sheep would do.
On an eminence, in the centre of the park, stands the Royal Observatory of Greenwich. I had the pleasure of being at this celebrated spot, and of setting my foot on the line, where (if all the world will so agree) longitude com
As I had not any introduction to Dr. Maskelyne, the astronomer royal, I did not go into the observatory, but I intend to visit Greenwich again, for this purpose, as an English friend has promised to give me every facility on this subject.*
We now went out of the park into the extensive common of Blackheath, which, with Shooter's Hill, a neighbouring eminence, has long been infamous for highway
* It was never in my power to execute this wish.
robberies. On Blackheath are a number of handsome country seats.
In Greenwich park, and looking into the common, is the house where the Princess of Wales now resides, in a state of separation from her husband, who, it is said, still patronizes the lady that has so many years been his favourite. On such an instance of the violation of the most sacred laws by one whose private life ought to correspond with his high destination, perhaps it is better not to make any remarks, than to indulge the indignant spirit of censure which it naturally excites. He must possess very little firmness of mind, or sense of decency, who, as heir to the throne of a great empire, will not restrain those excesses which are disgraceful and ruinous to a private individual, and, as examples in a prince or king, noxious to the morals of his people, to a degree which he cannot duly estimate. The residence of the Princess, who is represented as blameless in her life, and amiable in her deportment, is very neat, but not at all magnificent. The young Princess is still under the care of her mother, but is, I believe, at this time, residing on Shooter's bill.
Very near the residence of the Princess of Wales is the seat of the late Lord Chesterfield. It is not remarkably elegant, but has an air of grandeur. We stopped a few minutes to view this house, in which Lord Chesterfield is reported to have written many of those celebrated letters that present such a strange mixture of frivolity and gravity, wisdom and folly, morality and licentiousness.
We concluded our walk by taking a fine view of London and its environs, from an eminence adjoining Blackheath. The river, with its green banks, and its long forest of masts, was directly before us, and a little farther off, the
vast British metropolis, so remote as to hide all its deformities, and still so near as to exhibit a spectacle of great beauty and magnificence.
By this time we had acquired a good appetite for our dinner, which we took at Greenwich, and then returned, in the afternoon, to London.
Second visit to the British Museum-Platypus of New-Holland,
Roman stamps--Rings-Vases—Lares and penates-Roman eagle—Horse furniture of Hyder Ally-Crocodile-Royal correspondence-Townley's collection of busts and statues—William Hunter's Museum-Singular example of professional sang froid.
A SECOND VISIT TO THE BRITISH MUSEUM.
July 31.- I was so much dissatisfied with the hurried manner in which I saw the British Museum before, that I was very desirous to see it again under circumstances more favourable. Mr. Peck, of Harvard University, and myself, had been repeatedly disappointed in our attempts to see the museum, but this morning we succeeded in gaining admission, and were conducted, with some degree of deliberation, through its various apartments. But, it is much to be regretted, that more distinction cannot be made between those who go merely to be amused, and those who seek instruction also; for it is really distressing to be surrounded by a host of things which are full of information, and then to be hurried away from them just as one is be
ginning to single out particular objects. It is however useless to complain of that which we cannot alter.
A number of things which I did not mention when here before, struck my attention to-day. Among the natural curiosities, we saw the duck-billed platypus from NewHolland. It was the first specimen bronght to Europe. This most singular animal seems to form a part of the connecting chain between quadrupeds and birds. He has a body, like that of the beaver, covered with thick hair, with feet webbed for swimming, but so short as to resem-. ble fins, and, what is the most surprising circumstance, he has a bill like that of a duck. It is no deception ; the bill adheres to the jaws, by a natural and firm connection, and has the serrated edges, and the exact form of that belonging to the class of ducks called shovelers. There is nothing in nature analogous to this animal. New-Holland has furnished a number of rarities in natural history, and will probably still farther enlarge our knowledge of the Creator's works.
I was again highly gratified to-day in viewing the numerous Roman and Grecian antiquities, collected principally by the late Sir William Hamilton. I have not time to mention many of them; they will form a pleasing subject when we meet.
Among other things there were many Roman stamps, that is, pieces of metal on which names are designed, so as to make them resemble very much our marking irons, and they were used for the same purpose. How singular that they should have come so nigh to the art of printing, without discovering it.
There is a fine collection of the instruments which they used in sacrifices, and of their domestic utensils and house
hold gods. Some of their rings are of exquisite workmanship, and rich with precious stones and gold. The Roman vases were extremely beautiful; modern arts have produced nothing superior in workmanship. I must not omit to mention that I saw the Roman Eagle which was carried aloft in their battles.
All these things serve to carry one back to the Roman ages, to identify the past with the present, and to produce a very pleasing impression when you reflect that a Roman hand once held the article which is now in yours.
There are also several specimens of Raphael's China, that is, of China which was painted by that celebrated artist. These things were formerly in the cabinet of Lorenzo de Medici at Florence.
One large room is devoted to the curiosities collected by Captain Cook in his voyages. They consist principally of the domestic and warlike utensils, and of the gods and sacred implements of the people of Otaheite and other islanders of the Pacific and Southern oceans. They are highly illustrative of their state of society and manners, and recall powerfully to one's recollection, the memory of that meritorious but unfortunate man by whom they were collected.
The dress and horse furniture of Hyder Ally, that formidable foe of the English power in India, is advantageously displayed in a large glass case.
I observed particularly his boots and spurs, and his saddle and bridle. These things were obtained through Lord Clive, the successful antagonist of Hyder. They justify every thing whic we have heard of Asiatic magnificence. The stirrups and bits are of gold, and every part of the furniture is ornamented with a profusion of that precious metal,