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DECEMBER 1, 1821.
[5 of Vol. 52.
CHESTERTON, THE BIRTH-PLACE OF DRYDEN, This Mansion, the seat of the Dryden family, and of the late Sir John Dryden, was the birth-place and occasional residence of the first poetical genius in our language. It was situated on the western side of the great North road, near Kate's Cabin, about four miles north of Stilton; but was burnt down a few years after the present drawing was made. Under the head “ Stepheusiana,” in a subsequent page, we have inserted an original letter of the last Lady Dryden, giving some curious and unpublished anecdotes of the member who conferred lustre on the family, and its interesting details supersede the necessity of our making further observations.
For the Monthly Magazine. parts. The Boshmans river was forCOMMUNICATION from one of the SET- merly the boundary of the Caffres ter
TLERS, relative to the New British ritory; they were afterwards driven Colony in SOUTHERN AFRICA. back to the Fish river, and during the Tuis
bounded to the southward by VHE district called the new colony war, which terminated a little before
our arrival here, they were driven bethe Boshmans river, on the eastward yond the Keiskaınma, which is now by the sea, on the north by the Great the boundary of their possessions. Fish river, and to the westward by the Graham's Town is at present the capidistrict of Graaf Reynet.
tal of this district; its situation is comThe tract of country on which the manding and beautiful, but it is insettlers are principally fixed, is between tended to remove the seat of governthe Kowie and Great Fish rivers. There ment to Bathurst; a spot is fixed upon, are some between the Kowie and the streets marked out, and a few mud Boshmans rivers, but they are few in houses built; the government house or comparison with those on the other Drosdy is began, and Bathurst may at MONTHLY MAG. No. 361.
some future time become a respectable chase that quantity for the use of their town, but not in this or the next gene- families. Tie consequence of this moration,
nopoly may be easily conceived. The The spot fixeil upon is the finest in restriction of passes feels very galling the whole colony; a gentle rising hill, to people brought up in habits of freethe surface diversified with easy swells dom, and accustomed to go to any part and falls, the land is very good, plenty of the country; here no person is alof wood, and though the water is ra- lowed to go out of the district without ther brackish, habit soon renders it
a pass from the magistrate: should his palatable; the prospects around are affairs lead him to Cape Town, he must grand and beautiful, not rising to sub- get a pass from the governor, which lime, but softened to interesting, The will generally occasion a delay of a district is at present an appendage to month or six weeks. That part of the that of Ritenbager. The head magis- country of which I have seen tlie most trate, who resides at Graham's Town, is the tract of country between the is deputy landdrost to the landdrost, or Kowie and Great Fish rivers. The geGovernor, at Ritenhager; a court of neral face of the country is mountainIbemraden consisting of the deputyland- ous, lofty, sterile, rugged hills interdrost and two provisional magistrates, sected with deep ravines and broken sit once a month at Graham's Town into tremendous precipices, with here for the determining of cases under 500 and there a fertile valley and some elerix dollars. An appeal lies to them vated, wild and unsheltered plains ; from the court of Bathurst, the appel- the vallies are of small extent, one of a lant must deposit 25 rix dollars in the mile wide is seldom met with, I have Bathurst court, which is returned to only seen one of that width since our him if he is successful. The courts arrival; in general they are very narare composed of military men. From row and the sides almost perpendicular, the habits acquired in a military life, I fitter for pasturage than tillage; the should think a soldier hardly a fit per- banks of all the streams are so steep son to will the destinies and domestic and high, that all the rivers appear to government of so many families, espe- run in ravines; nearly all the wood cially where the law is so undefined; grows in these dells, the banks of which there are a thousand families under his being so precipitous and deep, render controul, as far as fine, imprisonment, it very difficult to get the timber out. and even corporal punishment ; and The brow or side of a hill, is never cowhat makes it more disgusting, it is vered with wood as in England; someinflicted on the white inhabitants by times you meet with a track of bush, the hands of a Hottentot.
which is usually a shrub of the mimosa The government at Cape Town acts genus, a kind called rhinoceros wood, by certain known laws, but here a de- with a few other shrubs which serve cision is sometimes said to be shaped only for fuel. by the law of England, and sometimes The country suffers most from want by the Dutch colonial law. Among of water; there are very few springs in the erections already finished at Ba- the vales, and a few stagnant pools are thurst, the largest and most conspicu- found on the levels or plains, whiclı ous is a Canteen for the sale of spirits !. during the rainy season are well filled would any one believe, that in a place with pretty good water, but in the dry like this, wild, uncultivated, and scarce- months are totally destitute of this nelý ivhabited, a license for the exclusive nessary element. Any person seeking sale of spirituous liquors, was sold to a for a spot to settle on must turn his person keeping this Canteen, for vine- principal attention to water, and careteen thousandrix dollars, about eigh- fuly search for a perennial spring, as he teen hundred pounds sterling, for one is very liable to be deceived by the apyear? What enormous profits must this pearance of many of the brooks during man make to enable him to pay to the the wet season, when they flow with a government such an immense sum for plentiful streaml, but in summer are this privilege of retailing spirits. The quite dry. Having found good water, restrictions in his favour are very se- the next consideration is goodland; vere; no person is allowed to purchase which also is rather scarce, and con(under a severe penalty) less than half venience of situation for the purpose an aume, (about 19į gallons) either for of irrigation is scarcer still, but without his own consumption, or to sell; por are it, it is impossible to carry farmiog to two or tlrrec permitted to join and pur- any extent: it is necessary in every
stage of cultivation for the growth of the warmest hopes, such was the en. grain, and in gardening it is more im- thusiasın, that several houses were built portant still, to have the power of turn- in a short time and many more are in ing on the water, therefore a situation progress; the ground, notwithstanding which will admit this operation, is of the litle promise it gave of returns, was the utmost importance; the very neces- turned up in various places, and seeds sary objects of good water, good land of almost every kind were sown.
No and convenient situation for forming a toil, no exertions were spared, and farm with any prospect of success, be- every hardship, every privation was ing so scarce, it is impossible many good borne not only without a murmui, farms can be formed. I shall endea- but with cheerfulness and alacrity; vour to describe the spot upon which every one strove to fence in his lot and we are placed. It is a long lofty hill, get it into the best cultivation he was the summit a ridge of broken, scattered able; no one seemed to fear any thing rocks, about half
way down runs a vein but being behind his neighbour in inof rock, which is covered generally dustry and application; a scene of gewith so: about four inches deep, in neral activity was exhibited that promany places the rock is quite bare; be- mised every thing. What has been the tween the top and this vein the soil is a result? the corn came up scantily, but light sandy earth, such as I have heard the consoling idea that, next year with called in Suffolk a hungry sand; be- manure it will do better, still kept up low the stony girdle the same light sand our spirits. Ilarvest came, and a total is found, and though near the bottom blight crushed all our hopes, dilated the soil is more moist it is still sandy; our fears, depressed our spirits, and when dug up and exposed to the action shewed us nothing but dark and dreary of the atmosphere, it exhibits the ap- prospects of incessant labour with slenpearance of black sea sand. The sides der, uncertain, fickle and precarious reof the hill were covered with a very thin
Our method was to at. coat of grass, a variety of plants of tend to the cattle, the only hope, to the heath kind and several kinds of become graziers ; and indeed the counaloe, which is particularly fond of a try is far better suited to a pastural than strong barren soil and lofty situation. to an agricultural people. Our attenAt the foot of the hill runs a brook of tion was turned to the cattle, every one good water, and opposite rises another took all the means iu his power to aughill of equal length and altitude, hav- ment his herd or his flock, and hopes ing nearly the same characters; the were entertained that when the facility breadth of the valley at the bottom, of obtaining rations ceased, we might between the two hills, is only the width live by our cattle and sheep. We were of the brook, for as soon as you cease deceived: notwithstanding our misforto descend on one side and step over the tunes and disappointments from natubrook, you begin to ascend on the other. ral causes, our harvest blighted, and The hill from its rocky summit and our hopes destroyed, we were called barren aspect, has acquired the name on for a tax on every head of cattle and of Stoney Ridge; its aspect is north- upon our sheep, crowning the whole easterly-here we were pitched. A with a poll tax upon every inhabitant; space of about an acre and a half was thus wringing his hard earned pittance measured out and assigned to each per- from the poor settler, whose undertakson, on which to build his house and ing at the best is precarious, full of form his garden ; there is no wood on difficulty and danger, exposed to hardthe hill or in the valley, bu tthere are ships, privations and distresses, to the one or two ravines running into the op- attacks of savages, and more ferocious posite hill from which we are allowed human savages, whose territories border to cut wood for building; the ravines on ours, and, in addition to our other or bloofs as they are called, are narrow, misfortunes, to be ground by the hard rocky, precipitous and deep; the labour hand ofinsatiable taxation. Such is our of procuring timber from them is ex- present state without hope of alleviacessive,-yet, spite of the difficulty of tion. getting timber; spite of the naked, wild When first located upon our hill, we and comfortless appearance of the hills; were informed that each person should spite of the barren, bleak, and chilling have an hundred acres of land assigneil aspect of all nature around us, whose to him independent of his homestead dreary wildness was sufficient to damp or town lot; but the land in the vicinity being very poor and stoney, many and so small, that the grain was not were induced to go to greater distances one third the size of English wheat, to search out spots fitter for cultivation; and only fit for poultry. and many places were fixed upon where But to return to our location. The the appearance of the soil and situation valley runs south east, and north west, were much more favourable; soine of for about half a mile; it then turns to these were two, three, and four miles the southward and runs nearly north from the homestead. The loss of and south, still with the same general time was not regarded in the moment features, there is a little more wood to of enthusiasm : some thought of pitch- the southward; the country to the east ing a tent upon the land, others of and north is one of the elevated plains erecting a temporary habitation, and described by Barrow in his travels,where all hoped that 100 acres round these the blast howls over the long grass of the spots would be assigned them, that desert, and the eye wanders unsatisfied they might go on with their cultivation. without an object to rest upon, till it As every one wished to be certain of the catches the dark blue sea, where it minpossession of his land before he began gles with the horizon. On the south are to improve it, applications were made lofty, rugged hills, and between them to the provisional magistrate, to have and us runs a stream about five feet the spots measured and assigned to the wide, dignified with the name of river ; different people; the only answer re- near its mouth, where the sea flows into ceived, was, they might cultivate any it at high tides, it displays a greater spot which' was not before occupied, breadth, but the place of communicathat the crop should be guaranteed, tion between it and the sea, is dry exbut not the land! This bad a paralyzing cept at high water, and at spring tides. effect upon the exertions of most'; for At the mouth of the river there is a the first year's crop could not be ex. kind of bar of sand, 4 or 500 yards pected to be much, and the first year's wide, which is always dry, except at tillage must be the most expensive and high spring tides, and then it is difficult: the ground is harder to be the sea which flows over it, and it is broke up; enclosing, paring, burning and soon dry again. The river finds its all other improvements, are much more way through the fine sea sand which difficult on wild, uncultivated land; composes this bar, below its surface. add to which, nothing can be raised in Along the banks of this stream there this country without manure; the ope. are some very pretty spots, but the rations being once performed, the land valley is so narrow, the banks are so acquires a greater value, greater crops steep, and the bed of the stream so may be expected; but no man is wil- low, that with the slender means posling to bestow his time, his labour, and sessed by the settlers, it is not possible his money, in ameliorating the land to raise the water sufficiently to irrigate which in a year or two may be taken even the little cultivateable land that from him. We were assured from time lies along its banks. To the westward to time, that the land should be mea- of us, lies a tract of apparently good sured and allotted ; we waited patient- land, near to which Mr. Baillie has ly,-a twelvemontli has elapsed, and we fixed his farm; the land around it is are no nearer than at the day of our covered with thorny mimosa or camel landing. We have felt this the more, thorn. The size and quantity of this as many other parties have had their shrub, is said to be a certain criterion lands measured and divided to them by by which to judge the goodness of the authority: this, operating with other land, in this part of the world. causes, has occasioned many to apply The general view around, a little for permission to quit the district, and way from the hill, is a wild, unshelseek employment elsewhere; this party, tered plain, bounded inland by sterile, which on our arrival consisted of eighty, bleak and rugged hills, intersected by four heads of families, is now reduced deep and precipitous glens, and on the to about 30, and is constantly experien- other side by the boundless ocean, and cing more reductions. The blight was a complete iron-bound coast, without universal for more than 500 miles indent or winding, on which a tremenround. I had about three acres plough- dous surf is eternally beating. The ed up, and sown with wheat, it did ravines, or bloofs, which are the only not return the seed, the whole produced reservoirs of wood and water, are the three bushels, but so poor, so shrivelled, sheltered haunts of a variety of wild
animals, animals, tygers, panthers, leopards, out to feed on the weeds and long grass hyænas, wolves, and wild dogs, all of on the banks of the river ; of all the which lie close during the day, and ugly monsters nature ever formed, this carry on their depredations at night. is surely the most ugly. There are They are in general timid and cautious, several kinds of smaller heasts, dreadful and will seldom, if ever, venture to enemies to the poultry, foxes, wild cats, attack men, unless driven to great ex. otters, and the mansehunt of which tremities of hunger, or in defence of there are great numbers; they resemble their own lives; then they are furious the pole cat of England, but larger, and determined. They seldom attack stronger, and more destructive. The the horned cattle, the smaller animals plains are peopled with a variety of anare principally their prey; among the telopes, but by no means in such numdomestic animals, goats and sheep are bers as described by Vaillant and Barthe greatest sufferers. The larger and row; you may travel many miles and more dangerous kinds of animals, as the often a whole day, without seeing one; lion, the elephant, and the rhinoceros, they are extremely wild, wonderfully are seldom seen in these parts, though swift and watchful, which makes it we are not quite without them, their very difficult to get within shot of them, tracks being sometimes seen.
There are bares, partridges and pheaThe banks of the larger streams are sants, the latter rather scarce; the wild covered with a great quantity of shrub- turkey and the Guinea fowl are also bery called bush, which is its most ap- very scarce; birds of prey are iv great propriate term : it does not deserve the abundance, from the rock cagle to the name of forest, not producing any kite, and several species of vulture. timber of growth or size; this bush On the plains too we have ostriches, affords shelter to a number of buffaloes, zebras, and the quacha, the latter more which are sometimes shot by the Hot- plentiful than the two former; they tentots: their skin being very tough, is appear more social, usually going in in great request for making draught herds; their motion and appearance is ropes, or track tows for the oxen to more like the mule than the horse, the draw by. The hippopotamus, here manner of carrying the head shews called the sea-cow, is the most extraor- abundance of spirit and fire. The osdinary of all the animals this country triches are seldom killed, their speed is produces ; although its body is equal so great, and their vigilance equal to it. in size to the largest ox, its legs are not more than 18 inches long, very To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. thick and strong, the foot is much larger SIR, than that of the ox, and of the same VHE'taste for music, which now shape, the skin is very thick, about an inch and a half, in some places two induced me to trouble you with the inches, it is not covered with hair, but subjoined account of the meeting at rough and uneven, like the skins of Chester, should you deem it worthy those fish that are without scales, there your acceptation. The celebration of is a little liair scattered over it, but not the grand musical festival of Chester, perceptible till you have the skin in commenced on Tuesday, Sept. 25th, in your hand: the skin is used to make a the Cathedral. This building has less kind of whip, called a shamboc, its to boast of, in point of architectural toughness and hardness is such that it beauty, than any episcopal edifice we fetches blood at every stripe. The have ever seen ; but upon this occasion head is immensely large, its length from the mode of fitting it up was admirably the top of the head to the nose, was calculated for the purpose intended, three feet, its breadth across the eyes and, with the exception of the fine and was two feet two inches, it does not ringing choir of Gloucester, displayed taper always towards the mouth, but the voices and instruments to as much continues nearly the same breadth down advantage as we ever heard. The orto the nose, its mouth is rounded some- chestra was erected at the western exthing like the representation of a dol- tremity of the broad aisle, usually called phin's head on country signs. The the nave, and the audience had forms tusks were four or five inches long, its placed for them between the rows of cars were very small. Just above the pillars, the gallery for the grandees mouth are two holes through which it being at the back of the screen. On spouts up the water. It generally keeps this occasion it was splendidly filled ; in the fresh water, but at night comes we observed, in particular, the Countess