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and that the pebbles are washed up from the bottom of the sea. It is equally evident that the shape of the western side of Portland has much to do with the formation of the ridge. So terrific is the force with which the sea occasionally dashes up against this pebbly ridge, that, during a storm on the 23rd of November, 1824, a vessel of 95 tons burden, laden with iron ordnance, was actually carried over the Bank by a tremendous sea, and safely lodged in the Swannery Fleet!

The inhabitants of the Isle of Portland present many points for our attention, different from those presented in the neighbouring district. They are, in truth, a remarkable race. Their money earnings being but small, they could scarcely keep their families from poverty, were there not other circumstances in their favour. It is a custom with them to rent an acre of land each, for which, and for seeds and collateral expenses, about £3 per annum is paid. Here the men spend their evenings and leisure hours, and cultivate a large portion of their food. Corn, potatoes and other vegetables, gooseberries and other fruits, are reared by them. By economy, too, many of the men have saved money enough to buy a cow and some fowls; and as pasturage costs nothing, there is a supply of milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and poultry, at very little cost. The island produces mushrooms, water-cresses, the cuckoo-pint, and other plants, which the Portland housewife contrives to cook up into various economical dishes. Fish is plentiful all round the coast; and of that which is captured, some is eaten by the Portlanders, while the rest is sold at Weymouth; so that a double benefit results. The quarrymen have to pay nothing for their fuel; their wives and daughters go out to harvest-work when opportunity offers; and the boys are employed as shepherds on the plains. By these various means, then, do the sturdy quarrymen contrive to eke out a living

About twelve years ago a very full account of the Portlanders was given in the Penny Magazine, by one who had mixed among them, and had studied their habits and character. Speaking of their personal appearance, this writer says:-" They are nobly formed, and come very nearly to the finest antique models of strength and beauty. In height they vary from five feet ten inches to six feet. Large bones, wellknit and strongly compacted muscles, confirmed in their united energies by the hardest labour, in a pure atmosphere, give them a power so Herculean, that 300 weight is lifted by men of ordinary strength with ease. Their features are regularly and boldly developed ; eyes black, but deprived of their due expression by the partial closure of the lids, caused by the glare of the stone; complexion, a bright ruddy orange; the hair dark and plentiful; and the general expression of the countenance mild and intelligent. Their usual summer costume on working-days is a slouched strawhat, covered with canvas and painted black, a shirt with narrow blue stripes, and white canvas trousers. On Sundays they add to these a sailor's short blue jacket, and look very like good-natured tars in their holiday trim." The females, in their Sunday attire, wear ample gowns; the hair, without curls, is simply parted over the forehead and tied up behind; and to protect the back of the neck from sun or rain, a large ornamented curtain' or lappet descends from the hinder part of the bonnet. The islanders are spoken of very favourably as to their moral characteristics. Sunday is strictly observed ; and though there is a sort of magistrate on the island, his office was, and we may hope still is, almost a sinecure. His account of their habitations is as follows

“The houses are built to endure the local vicissitudes of the climate, and to meet the peculiar wants of the inhabitants, and are well contrived for those purposes. The walls are built of large blocks of the rougher sorts of stone; the chimneys of brick and the roofs of broad, thin slabs of stone, but sometimes of slate or tile; in which cases, to protect the roof from being lifted by the wind, the edges are bound with a treble row of stone slabs. The form of the roof is usually that of a gable, with a considerable pitch; the doors have those comfortable appendages which, it is to be regretted, are now totally out of fashion in poor men's houses-deep and well-seated porches, with square and angular tops ; these, together with the window-bars and borders, are kept neatly whitewashed, and give favourable testimony to the cleanliness of the inhabitants."

PORTLAND BREAKWATER.—The want of a safe roadstead, or harbour of refuge, somewhere in the vicinity of Portland has long been felt; and the admirable form of the bay included between Portland, Weymouth, and Lulworth, early pointed it out as a fitting spot. As however, the bay is fully exposed to the east wind, without any protecting barrier to ward off its intensity, it required some kind of artificial protection. The Commissioners appointed in 1844, to investigate the subject of Harbour of Refuge, after examining various naval and commercial men, and having had a careful survey made of the bay and road, came to the resolution to recommend that Portland should be one of the first harbours formed, it being valuable alike as a refuge in stormy weather, and for defensive purposes. They observe that“A squadron stationed at Portland will have under its protection, jointly with Dartmouth, all the intervening coast; and these places, with Plymouth, will complete the chain of communication and co-operation between Dover and Falmouth, a distance of 300 miles. There is everything at Portland to render the construction of a breakwater easy, cheap, and expeditious, and the holding-ground in the road is particularly good. A large part of the island facing the bay is Crown property, and contains abundance of stones. It has numerous springs, and plenty of the best water may be led in any direction for the supply of ships. The roadstead also possesses the advantages of an inner harbour at Weymouth."

The plan proposed by the Commissioners was, " That a breakwater be constructed in Portland Bay, to extend a mile and a quarter in a north-east direction, from near the northern point of the island, in about seven fathoms water, having an opening of 150 feet at a quarter of a mile from the shore, and sheltering an area of nearly 1200 acres." The cost they estimated at about £500,000. This amount would be utterly inadequate for the purpose at any other part of the British coast; but Portland is most happily situated in this respect. The "cap-stone' from the quarries, which far exceeds the good building stone in quantity, has always been a burden and a trouble: no one has known where to throw it, or what to do with it. Now, this stone is found to be admirably calculated for the purposes of a breakwater; and thus the engineers have at hand an abundant supply of material, which at present has scarcely any commercial value at all.

In accordance with the recommendation of the Commissioners, an Act of Parliament was obtained in 1847, for the construction of the breakwater; and on the 25th of July, 1848, the first stone of the structure was laid by Prince Albert. In connexion with the formation of this breakwater a very important and interesting experiment is now being carried on-that, namely, of employing convict labour upon a great public work. For this purpose the Isle of Portland afforded many advantages. Its insulated and remote position, the facility of supervision, the laborious nature of the work, together with the general healthiness of the island, seemed to afford very favourable conditions for fairly trying the experiment. A building has been prepared which will accommodate 830 prisoners; but at present the number is under 600. They are convicts who have been sentenced to transportation, and have served out the first period of separate confinement,' at the Model Prison, Penton ville, or some similar establish

ment. When at Portland, the convicts are confined mostly in separate cells during the night, and silence is enforced then, and during the whole time they are in the building ; but when at their work in the open air during the day they are allowed to converse freely, so long as they do not thereby interfere with their labour. Various means are adopted to check idleness and to encourage industry, and a careful record is kept of each convict's general conduct. The convicts are divided into classes according to their conduct, and marks on their dress show the class in which they are placed. A small weekly allowance in money, varying from 4d. to 1s. a week, is placed to the credit of the convict, and ultimately forwarded to the governor of the colony to which he may be sent, in order to be expended as may seem most for his benefit. Of course, misconduct causes the forfeiture of this as well as every other privilege. A sufficient time has not yet elapsed to permit of a definite judgment being formed upon the plan, but the result is said to have been so far satisfactory.

The breakwater is beginning to show itself above the water. About 1050 feet of it have been carried out from the shore with a height of twelve feet above high-water mark. It has stood the heavy gales of the past winter very well; and its usefulness has already become fully apparent, by its keeping the water sheltered by it quite smooth during rather stiff east and south-easterly winds.

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KNIGHTS

HomeStord THE SOUTH COAST

NO. XIII.

EXETER,

AND
THE SOUTH COAST

OF DEVON

COMPANION.

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