Abbildungen der Seite

1768. September.

from town, we left the thermometer at 74, and when we arrived at his house, we found it at 66, The hills produce, almost spontaneously, wal. nuts, chesnuts, and apples in great abundance ; and in the town there are many plants which are the natives both of the East and West Indies, particularly the banana, the guava, the pine. apple or anana, and the mango, which flourish almost without culture. The corn of this country is of a most excellent quality, large grained and very fine, and the island would produce it in great plenty; yet most of what is consumed by the inhabitants is imported. The mutton, pork, and beef are also very good; the beef in particular, which we took on board here, was universally allowed to be scarcely inferior to our own; the lean part was very like it, both in colour and grain, though the beasts are much smaller, but the fat is as white as the fat of mutton.

The town of Funchiale derives its name from Funcho, the Portuguese name for fennel, which grows in great plenty upon the neighbouring rocks, and by the observation of Dr. Heberden, lies in the latitude of 32° 33' 33' N. and longi. tude 16° 49' W. It is situated in the bottom of a bay, and though larger than the extent of the island seems to deserve, is very ill built; the houses of the principal inhabitants are large, those of the common people are small, the Atreets




are narrow, and worse paved than any I ever 1767 saw. The churches are loaded with ornaments, in among which are many pictures, and images of favourite faints, but the pictures are in general wretchedly painted, and the saints are dressed in laced clothes. Some of the convents are in a better taste, especially that of the Franciscans, which is plain, simple, and neat in the highest degree. The infirmary in particular drew our a:tention as a model which might be adopted in other countries with great advantage. It confifts of a long room, on one side of which are the windows, and an altar for the convenience of administering the sacrament to the fick: the other side is divided into wards, each of which is just big enough to contain a bed, and neatly lined with gally-tiles; behind these wards, and parallel to the room in which they stand, there runs a long gallery, with which each ward communicates by a door, so that the sick may be feparately supplied with whatever they want without disturbing their neighbours. In this convent there is also a singular curiosity of another kind; a small chapel, the whole lining of which, both sides and cieling, is composed of human sculls and thigh-bones; the thigh-bones are laid across each ocher, and a scull is placed in each of the four angles. Among the sculls onę is very remarkable; the upper and the lower jaw, on one side, perfectly and firmly cohere; R 2


1768. how the offification which unites them was September.

formed, it is not perhaps very easy to conceive,
but it is certain that the patient must have lived.
fonie time without opening his mouth: what
nourishment he received was conveyed through
a hole which we discovered to have been made
on the other side, by forcing out some of the
teeth, in doing which the jaw also seems to have
been injured.

We visited the good Fathers of this convent
on a Thursday evening, just before suppertime,
and they received us with great politeness: “ We
“ will not ask you, said they, to sup with us,
“ because we are not prepared, but if you will
" come to-morrow, though it is a fast with us, we
“ will have a turkey roasted for you.” This invi.
tation, which shewed a liberality of sentiment
not to have been expected in a convent of Por-
tuguese friars at this place, gratified us much,
though it was not in our power to accept it. ..

We visited also a convent of nuns, dedicated to Santa Clara, and the ladies did us the honour to express a particular pleasure in leeing us there : they had heard that there were great phi: lofophers among us, and not at all knowing what were the objects of philosophical knowledge, they asked us feveral questions that were absurd and extravagant in the highest degree; one 'was, when it would thunder; and another, whether a spring of fresh water was to be found


[blocks in formation]

any where within the walls of their convent, of
which it seems they were in great want. It will
naturally be supposed that our answers to such
questions were neither satisfactory to the ladies,
nor in their estimation, honourable to us; yet
their disappointment did not in the least lessen
their civility, and they talked, without ceafing,
during the whole of our visit, which lasted about
half an hour. .
• The hills of this country are very high; the
highest, Pico Ruivo, rises 5,068 feet, near an
English mile, perpendicularly from its base,
which is much higher than any land that has
been measured in Great Britain. The sides of
these hills are covered with vines to a certain
height, above which there are woods of chef-
nut and pine of immense extent, and above
them forests of wild timber of various kinds
not known in Europe; particularly two, call-
ed by the Portuguese Mirmulano and Pada
branco, the leaves of both which, particularly
the Paobranco, are so beautiful, that these trees
would be a great ornament to the gardens of
Europe, . . . .
- The number of inhabitants in this island is
supposed to be about 80,000, and the custom-
house duties produce a revenue to the King of
Portugal of 20,000 pounds a-year, clear of all
expences, which might easily be doubled by the
product of the inand, exclusive of the vines, if

Q3 , advantage

1768. September.

advantage was taken of the excellence of the climate, and the amazing fertility of the soil; but this object is utterly neglected by the Portuguese. In the trade of the inhabitants of Madeira with Lisbon the balance is against them, so that all the Portuguese money naturally going thither, the currency of the island is Spanish; there are indeed a few Portuguese pieces of copper, but they are so scarce that we did not see one of them: the Spanish coin is of three denominations; Piftereens, worth about a shilling; Bitts, worth about fix pence; and Half-bites, three pence.

The tides at this place flow at the full and change of the moon, north and south; the Spring tides rise seven feet perpendicular, and the neap tides four. By Dr. Heberden's observation, the variation of the compass here is now 15° 30' West, and decreasing; but I have fome doubt whether he is not mistaken with respect to its decrease: we found that the North point of the dipping needle belonging to the Royal Society dipped 790 18".

The refreshments to be had here, are water, wine, fruit of several sorts, onions in plenty, and some sweetmeats; fresh meat and poul. try are not to be had without leave from the governor, and the payment of a very high price.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« ZurückWeiter »