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Supplied with fish; the former, though" of sufficient width in many instances to admit of navigation, are too much obstructed by rocks and shallows to be employed to this important object. The bays and harbors are both numerous and safe, though their entrances are but little known, except by those who are frequently in the habit of visiting the coasts.
The annals of the island describe the country, than which nothing Can possibly be now more bare, as having been once covered with impervious forests; and the'quaritity of bog-wood and surturbrand which is continually dug up affords the most decisive proof in favour of the truth of such assertion. Even now, too, the name remains, though the reality has long ceased to do so, and places are called forests that produce only a few miserable and stunted birches. All attempts of recent times to cultivate even the most hardy trees have proved ineffectual, so that for his necessary supply of wood the Icelander is obliged wholly to depend upon importation from Norway, excepting only what he gets from the northern
and eastern coasts of his own island, where much timber is frequently cast by the waves of the sea, conveyed, as it is supposed, by the winds and currents from North America.
The natural history of the island, its volcanoes, its sulphur-springs, and its boiling fountains, are spoken of so much at large in the Journal and Appendix that it is needless in this place to mention them. Those who may be desirous of more information on any of the points here glanced at, I beg to refer to the able works of Von Troil and Povelsen and Olafsen; for these pages, to use the words of the most popular poet of our days, "are but a tale of Iceland's Isle, and not a history,"
Halesworth, December 9, 1812.
Friday, Early this morning, the Margaret June 2' and Anne, Captain Liston, bound for Reikevig in Iceland, being ready for sea, and my luggage having been previously sent on board, Mr. Phelps, Mr. Jorgensen, and myself embarked from Gravesend. From the excellent accommodation which the vessel afforded, and the pleasant society of the two companions of my voyage, I flattered myself, and not in vain, with as agreeable an excursion as the nature of the circumstances would allow. Friday, however, being considered by all sailors as an unlucky day to commence a voyage, our people were so tardy in their preparations to get under way,
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