Page images
PDF
EPUB

and exact some feudal obfervances from their tenantry. All the 'reft of the country is divided into small farms, which belong to the cultivator. It is true, fome few, appertaining to the church, are let; but always on a leafe for life generally renewed in favour of the eldest fon, who has this advantage, as well as a right to a double portion of the property. But the value of the farm is estimated; and after his portion is affigned to him, he must be answerable for the refidue to the remaining part of the family..

[ocr errors]

Every farmer, for ten years, is obliged to attend annually about twelve days, to learn the military exercife; but it is always at a small diftance from his dwelling, and does not lead him into any new habits of life,

There are about fix thousand regulars alfo, garrifoned at Chriftiana and Fredericfhall, which are equally referved, with the militia, 'for the defence of their own country. So that when the prince royal paffed into Sweden, in 1788, he was obliged to request, not command, them to accompany him on this expedition.

Thefe corps are moftly compofed, of the fons of the cottagers, who being labourers on the farms are allowed a few acres to cultivate for themselves. These men voluntarily enlift; but it is only for a limited period (fix years), at the expiration of which they have the liberty of retiring. The pay is only two pence a day, and bread; fill, considering the cheapnefs of the country, it is more than fixpence in England.

The diftribution of landed property into fmall farms, produces a

degree of equality which I have feldom feen elsewhere; and the rich being all merchants, who are obliged to divide their perfonal fortune amongst their children, the boys always receiving twice as much as the girls, property has not a chance of accumulating till overgrown wealth destroys the balance of liberty.

You will be furprised to hear me talk of liberty: yet the Norwegians appear to me to be the moft free community I have ever observed.

The mayor of each town or diftrict, and the judges in the country, exercife an authority almoft patriarchal. They can do much good but little harm, as every individual can appeal from their judgment; and as they may always be forced to give a reason for their conduct, it is generally regulated by prudence. They have not. time to learn to be tyrants,' faid a gentlemen to me, with whom I difcuffed the fubject.

[ocr errors]

The farmers not fearing to be turned out of their farms, fhould they displease a man in power, and having no vote to be commanded at an election for a mock reprefentative, are a manly race; for not being obliged to fubmit to any debafing tenure, in order to live, or advance themselves in the world, they act with an independent fpirit. I never yet have heard of any thing like domineering, or oppreffion, excepting fuch as has arifen from natural caufes. The freedom the people enjoy may, perhaps, render them a little litigious, and fubject them to the impofitions of cunning practitioners of the law; but the authority of office is bounded, and the emolu

ments

ments of it do not deftroy its utility.

Laft year a man, who had abufed his power, was cafhiered, on the reprefentation of the people to the bailiff of the diftrict.

There are four in Norway, who might with propriety be termed fheriffs; and, from their sentence, an appeal, by either party, may be made to Copenhagen.

Near most of the towns are commons, on which the cows of all the inhabitants, indifcriminately are allowed to graze. The poor, to whom a cow is neceffary, are almoft fupported by it. Befides, to render living more eafy they all go out to fifh in their own boats; and fish is their principal food.

The lower clafs of people in the towns are in general failors; and the induftrious have ufually little ventures of their own that ferve to render the winter confortable.

Account of the Hoozuanas, a wandering tribe of Savages. From le Vaillant's fecond Fourney into the Interior of Africa.

cer

THE Hoozuana is of a very small ftature, and he is a tall man among them who reaches five feet (five feet four inches English); but these small bodies, perfectly proportioned, unite with wonderful ftrength and agility a tain air of affurance, boldness, and pride, which awes the fpectator, and pleafed me infinitely. Of all the tribes of favages which I have known, none has appeared to me endowed with fo active a foul and fo indefatigable a conftitution. Their head, though it has the principal characters of that of the Hottentot, is yet more rounded at

the chin. They are alfo much less black; and have that leaden hue of the Malays which, at the Cape, is diftinguifhed by the name boogained. Their hair, more frizzled, is fo fhort, that at first I thought them fhaved. Their nofe is ftill flatter than that of the Hottentot; or rather they have no nose, and the organ in them confifts of two flattened noftrils, projecting, at most, five or fix lines. From this nullity of nofe it refults that the Hoozuana, viewed in profile, is ugly, and very like a monkey. Viewed in front there appears at the first glance fomething very extraordinary,the forehead feeming to occupy more than half of the face. Yet he has fo much expreffion, and such large and lively eyes, that notwithftanding this fingular appearance, he is agreeable enough to the view.

The heat of the climate freeing him from all neceffity of cloathing, he is quite naked during the whole year, except a very fmall jackalikin tied over his loins by two straps, the ends of which fall on his hams. Hardened by this conftant habit of nudity, he becomes fe infenfible to the variations of the atmosphere, that, when he tranfports himfelf from the burning fands of the plain to the fnows and frofts of the mountains, he seems not to feel the cold. His hut does not refemble that of the Hottentot. It is cut vertically in the middle, fo that one of the Hottentot huts would make two of these. In their emigrations they fuffer the kraal (or encampment) to remain ; in order that, if any horde of their nation fhould pals that way, they might make use of it. On the march, the emigrants have no other

fhelter

fhelter for repofe than a mat fufpended and inclined on two fticks; and they frequently fleep on the bare ground, when the projection of a rock ferves them for thelter. If, however, they ftop any where to fojourn for fome time, and find materials for the conftruction of their huts, they then build a kraal: but at their departure, they leave it like all the reft. This cuftom of working for their comrades announces a fociable character, and benevolent difpofitions. In fact, they are not only good hufbands and fathers, but excellent affociates. In the fame kraal, no one appropriates any thing to himself, but all belongs to all. When they meet with other bands of the fame nation, they give them a kind reception and protection; in fhort, they treat them as brothers, though perhaps they have never before feen them.

Naturally active and nimble, the Hoozuana makes it his fport to climb the highest mountains and peaks; and this difpofition was of great fervice to me. The ftream on which I was encamped had a coppery tafte, and a naufeous odour, which rendered the water unfit to drink. My cattle, accustomed to the bad waters of the country, were contented with it; but I was afraid that my people would be injured by it, and would not fuffer them to make use of it. My Hoozuanas had no milk for me, fince they only poffeffed fome poor ftolen cows. I asked them if they knew of any good fpring in the neighbourhood of their kraal to which I could fend my people for water; inftantly, without making any anfwer, they ran to their mountains,

and in less than two hours brought all my fkins and veffels full of excellent water. During all the time of my ftay on the ftream, they rendered me the fame fervice. One of thefe journies would have coft a Hottentot a whole day.

When they are on an expedition, the want of water does not difquiet them, even in the midft of the deferts. By a particular art, they know how to discover that which is concealed in the bowels of the the earth; and their kill in this point is even fuperior to that of the other Africans. Animals in a like cafe, perceive the water, but it is only by the fcent; and the emanations must be brought by a current of air; confequently the water muft be to windward. During my abode in the defert in my firft journey, my favages had more than once fhewed the fame faculty; and, inftructed by them, I had alfo acquired it. The Hoozuana, more fkilful, has need only of a fight. He lies on his belly, looks to a distance, and, if the intermediate fpace contains any fubterraneous fource, he arifes and points out the place with his finger. That etherial and fubtle exhalation, which afcends from every current of water when not buried too deeply in the earth, fuffices him for the difcovery.

As to lakes and other exterior depofits formed by the rains, they have a fenfible evaporation, which points them out to him even when matked by a mound or hillock. If there be running waters, fuch as brooks and rivers, their abundant vapours enable him to trace all the finuofities of the ftream,

The Hoozuana has no other

arms

arms than a bow and arrow; the latter are very short, and are carried on the fhoulder in a quiver about 18 inches long and four in diamater, made of the bark of aloe's wood, and covered with the skin of a great lizard found in all the rivers, efpecially on the banks of the Orange and the Fish river. Obliged to maintain a numerous company, and defirous of making the horde partake of my plenty of game, I went daily to hunt, and was always attended by a large number of Hoozuanas. If I hunted in the mountains, I climbed the rocks with them; in the plain, I used one of my horfes;-but whether it was their office to follow me, or to drive towards me the zebras and gazelles, they were always indefatigable; and at whatever pace I put my horfe I faw them till at my fide. During all the long journey which they performed with me, never did they belie their character. In many refpects they feemed to refemble the Arabs, who, equally wanderers, equally brave and predatory, are unchangeably faithful in their engagements, and would defend to the laft drop of blood the traveller who purchases their fervices, and puts himself under their protection.

Account of the Celebration of a Good Friday in Bruffells. From Owen's Travels.

Were my project of croffing Africa entirely from north to fouth practicable, it could only be with thefe Hoozuanas. I am convinced that fifty men of this fober, brave, and indefatigable nation would have fufficed me to effectuate it; and I fhall ever regret having known them too late, and under circumftances in which innumerable misfortunes had compelled me to renounce my defign,-at leaft for

[ocr errors]

the prefent.

A card-party was formed on Friday evening, being the Vendredi Saint, the fingular object of which induces me to mention it. It was held at the apartments of the comteffe de Choifeul, and attended by moft of the fashionable people. Agreeably to the law of the affembly, the gains of the evening were to be difpofed of, at the difcretion of the lady of the house, in purposes of charity. This is a cuftom of ancient establishment.

An affembly of this nature, where pleasure and religion are combined, muft give birth to many fingular impreffions. No day in the calen dar can wear a more gloomy face, or excite more devotional fentiments in the breaft of a catholic, than the day of the crucifixion. Every means are employed to excite fuperftitious horror, and recal to the mind the memory of that darkness which enveloped the face of the earth. All that breathes the air of diffipation must be entirely banished, and amusement fo qualified by motive, and so chaftiled by aufterity, as to receive the ferious caft of religious exercise. To-morrow is, I understand, the concluding day of this fevere penance: confolation will then be adminiftered to the confciences of the devotees, who will emerge, fully acquitted of all paft guilt, and at liberty to commence a fresh account. The ftreets, parade and promenades will refume their brilliancy: at prefent, they exhibit a ftriking picture of fpiritual indolence. Superftition has long fince confecrated this week to purposes

which are deemed incompatible with fecular occupation. The days being too facred for labour, and too long for devotion, a great part of the time is yawned away in liftlefs

ennui.

The confecration of days is a cuftom of barbarous origin; and the pious enthufiafm of the firft Chriftians gave it the fanction of their own obfervance. The church of England, which has had the merit of reftoring to fociety the day and weeks hallowed by bigotty, ftill retains fome few, which the refufes to fecularize, and which ferve, like the ancient hangings in a modernized manfion, to mark the date of the edifice, and perpetuate the taste of those who undertook its reform. It is plain, the contract between prieft and people in thofe regions of fuperftition, is very much in favour of the former, though equally to the fatisfaction of each. The latter furrender without reluctance the fruits of their labour to the ufe of the former, who only engage for an undefined retribution-a bright reverfion in the ky-at fome future and diftant period.

Account of the alteration produced by the French Revolution at Strafburgh. From the fame.

The general complaint at Strafburgh was want of money. Nothing is to be found in circulation but paper and copper. "Tout iroit bien," faid an old man, " fi on avoit de l'argent." At all the hops, the greateft apprehenfions are entertained of being paid for their merchandize in paper. This;

2

amongst each other, they are o bliged to admit; but in their intercourse with strangers, they ftruggle very hard for specie.

I turned into the fhop of a marchande de modes to purchase some articles. The bargain was ftruck, the feveral particulars wrapped up, and I was fearching in my pocket for the money; when observing me draw out fome paper by accident, fhe laid immediate hold upon the packet I had purchased, and demanded with hafte, "Allezvous me payer en papier, monfieur?" "Si fait," faid I. "Eh bien donc," replied the, "je garderai ma marchandise." I foon relieved her of the anxiety she felt, and brought a glow upon her cheek, by counting out upon the table the fum agreed. This is indeed the greatest-I had almost faid the only-grievance that I have difcovered among them; and they fcruple not to predict, that the very favourable fale of the national domains will raife the credit of their paper and give them as much money as they have liberty.

I must affure you, that I found the ftate of the people in this part of France very different from what it had been reprefented. At Manheim and Worms, reports prevailed of the moft ferious tumults now reigning in France; and we were more than once cautioned against trusting ourselves amongst a canaille, who would hang us up at the lamp-poft for a word or a look. This ftatement has fo little connection with truth, that every thing paffes with the utmoft order; and, fo far as I can judge from obfervation and report, freedom of remark encounters lefs danger here than at the court of Manheim.

Nothing

« PreviousContinue »