Abbildungen der Seite

come to feek employment in the itland of Zeland, where they receive greater wages than at home. There they live foberly and economically, and return at the approach of winter with the fruit of their labours. In this manner great numbers of 'men arrive, but ftill more women, efpecially when there are accounts of any new enterprife being fet on foot on the oppofite coaft.

That this active and laborious race make good foldiers, cannot be doubted. Without mentioning the various wars which the Swedes have fupported in their own, or in the neighbouring countries in the laft ages, thofe under their kings Charles IX. Guftavus Adolphus, Charles XI. and Charles XII. prove that they are brave, and always ready to expofe themselves for the glory and protection of the ftate. Happy are they, when governed by kings who are able to direct their activity and their public fpirit to agriculture, to commerce, and manufactures, and who employ the natural courage of their fubjects, only in the defence of the ftate, by making them confider it as a common poffeffion, without dreaming of foreign wars, and far lefs of conquefts.

The lofes which the kingdom fuftained, both of men and money, even in its moft glorious wars, fhould teach the fucceffors of thofe heroes, who have acquired an immortal name in the annals of Mars and Bellona, but who are enrolled in characters of blood in thofe of Sweden, that those loffes can only be repaired by encouraging population and commerce, by means of ftrict economy and a pacific adminiflration. A celebra-.nary, favage men that their ancel ted Swedish author, as an evidence tors were, who thought themselves of the injury done to the population of his country by war, cites the folJowing fact: During the last war, < the of Infantry raised in company the parih Skellefta in Weft Bothnia, confifting of 128 men, was

As to the warlike character of the Danes, the following are the words of one of their own hiftorians.

The Danes are not the fangui



difgraced when they died in their bede. The nation, however, has not loft its ancient valour; it has given proofs of the contrary in the moft calamitous wars. The defeats it has met with on land have • been

[ocr errors]

twice entirely renewed in on

Guftavus Adolphus, the greatest captain of his age, celebrated for the glory which he had acquired to the Swedish arms, notwithstanding the victories which immortalized him, confidered a conqueror as the fcourge of his country.

One day as a perfon was flattering him on the progrefs he had made in Germany, and maintaining that his valour, his great defigns and exploits, were miraculous interpofitions of providence; that without him the houfe of Auftria would ufurp univerfal monarchy, and that then the proteftant religion would be extirpated; that it was evident, from the wonderful incidents of his life, that God had created him for the good of mankind; that his incomparable courage was a vifible ef fect of the divine goodness, &c. :



Rather fay, replied the king, that it is a mark of his anger. If the war I am carrying on be a remedy, it is worfe than the difeafe. It is a mark of the favour of God, when he beftows on kings only ordinary capacities. The ambition of a fovereign, and his exceffive paffion for glory, making him defpife peace, obliges him to deny it to his fubjects; he is like a torrent that defolates the places through which it paffes, and as he carries his arms as far as his wifhes, he fills the world with terror, with mifery, and confufion."


[ocr errors]

been repaired by its victories at 'fea.'

The language of Sweden is radically the fame with that of Denmark and Norway. The difference confifts only in dialect and pronunciation, for the inhabitants of the three kingdoms understand one another, except in a few words. It is derived from the ancient language of Scandinavia, and many Scotch, Dutch, and German words are to be found in it. It is faid, that the languages of these countries, by their copioufnefs and energy, eafily run into poetry, which the Danes in ticular are very fond of.


In the times of Paganism, the Swedes made ufe of particular characters, which they called Runor, or Runer. They engraved these characters on runic ftones, which were raised above the graves of the ancient Pagan heroes, and upon boards which ferved as calenders, and which are still used in the northern provinces. Some authors maintain, that thefe characters were introduced into the north by Odin himself; but it is the common opinion, that they were taken from the coins and monuments of the ancient Anglo-Saxons and Franks. The greatest part of those I have feen, confift only in rude lines, oblique, perpendicular, and horizontal. I have met, too, in my travels, with many of thofe monuments, which confift of a mass of ftones placed circularly around a central one, fuperior to the others in fize.

Though the higher ranks in Sweden are enlightened and intelligent, the common people, efpecially in the country, are exceedingly fuperftitious, and attached to a number of abfurd cuftoms, which are relicts of Roman catholic, or, perhaps, of Pagan fuperftition. They believe much in forcery; fevers and other difeafes are treated with conjurations and magical words; fome peafants imagine, when a difeafe attacks their VOL. X. No. 58. M m

cattle, that, by burying a portion of the dead beaft in the field of their neighbours, they tranfmit the disease to his farm, and relieve their own herd. Many are perfuaded, that the fuccefs or failure of their crops, depend on the performance or omiffion of a particular ceremony. Marriages are accompanied with a thousand myfterious practices, as well as lyings-in, baptifms, and burials. In the highland parts they believe in a genius who is benevolent or wicked according to circumftances, who lives under ground, and whom they are afraid of offending, by the omiffion of certain ceremonies practifed in honour of him.

The Swedes in general build their houses of wood, except at Stockholm and in Seania. Those of the peafants are made with beams of the fir tree, either fquared or left as nature formed them, laid. horizontally above each other, the ends of which are adjusted and fixed without nails by fimple pins of wood, and the interstices filled up with mofs; fome holes are contrived in them fo as to ferve for windows. The roof is made of thin planks of birch wood, with the bark on, covered over with turf. The ftove is generally circular, built with brick, about four feet high, and flat at top, fo as to allow one to lye upon it; beside the stove is the chimney, which rifes above the roof, and is opened or fhut at top by means of a crofs board, to which there is a cord attached. In the chimney an iron crow holds a long fplinter of firwood, which ferves as a candle. Thefe houfes are generally divided into a kind of vestibule, and a common room, in which the whole family fleep, in beds one above another, nearly as the custom is in Weftphalia. The barns and ftables are feparate from the house. In the posthoufes there is another room deftined for travellers, called the Stran


[ocr errors]

ger's chamber, which is kept neat and clean. When I was travelling in fummer, I always found the floor covered with branches of the firtrocat inte fmall pieces, a general etom over ail Sweden even in the b hot which contributes to give the room a degree of freshnefs, and ditafes a very agreeable balfamidour. The roof too, the flove, and the windows, are all garnished wit branches of the birch tree, in order to attract the flies, which in Sweden abound in aftonithing fwarms.


in Smoland, and in the mountains of Dalecariia, the inhabitants build their boufes ftill more rudely. They have but one window, or rather large hole, in that part of the roof which is expofed to the fouth. This window, or hole, ferves them for a clock. When the fun fhines upon a fmall prefs at the fide of the window, they take breakfalt, and when its rays fall upon the ftove, they go to dinIn these houfes there is but one bed, in which fleep the mafter of the house and his wife; all the reft lye on benches placed along the walls; these are covered with straw or fheep skins, and fometimes, but rarely, with a mattress.


The houses of fome individuals in the cities and in the country, are of wood, from two to four ftories high. Some of them have a very fine appearance; in the towns they are generally painted of a reddish brown, and covered with turf; the roof in fome is compofed of little pieces of wood, cut in the form of flates, and others are covered with tiles. At Gothenburg, at Carlfcroon, and Fahlun, the houses are very neatly painted in the file of thofe at Sardam;

and fome of them fo much refemblé hewn ftone, that at first fight they ap pear to be fuch. The houses look well, efpecially in the country; many of them have the appearance of castles, and within they are magnificently furnished. As the nobility choofe to refide on their eftates, and as fome of the gentry live in the country from one year's end to the other, they endeavour to make their habitations as commodious and agreeable as poffible. I have feen houses that could be taken down and transported at pleasure.

I fometimes amused myself at Copenhagen, in a place appropriated for the purpose, with obferving the conftruction of houses that were deftined for Norway or Iceland. An agreement is made with an undertaker for a house of such a height, length, and breadth, and with such a number of rooms, at a fipulated price. Immediately the wood is prepared of feafoned timber, the pieces are adjusted and the house conftructed; it is examined to fee if it correfponds with the agreement; it is then taken down, the different parts are marked and numbered, they are fhipped, and the houfe fails to the place of its deftination. I have feen many large houses fabricated in this way, without the affistance of the least portion of iron.

In Scania, where there are as few wooden houfes as in Denmark, Dutch bricks are preferred to those made in the country; the former being better burnt and lefs porous, they imbibe lefs humidity, and therefore the houses built with them are not fo liable to dampness.

Hiftoire du Naufrage, &c.-Hiftory of the Shipwreck of M. Briffon on the Coaft of Africa, &c.


HIS is a fimple but affecting tended with all its ufual horrors, and account of a fhipwreck, at of a molt diftrefsful captivity in con


We cannot follow the author thro' all the circumttances of his captivity, but we shall extract some of those parts which appeared to us to be most curious or useful. Having fallen into the hands of the Labdeffeba, thefe barbarians, after plundering the fhip, ftripped him and his companions, and then crowded them into a small hut, covered with mofs, which was above a league diftant from the fea. As M. de Briffon's matter was a talbe, for fo thefe favages name their priests, he thought he fhould procure fome alleviation of his mistor. tunes, by giving him whatever few jewels he had; two watches with their chains, a ring fet with diamonds, and two hundred livres in fpecie. The talbe indeed made him great promifes, but he turned out to be equally deceitful as barbarous. To avoid another tribe, ftill more favage, the Arabs made their prifoners proceed by forced marches, to the interior parts of the country; during which, they were fo much oppreffed by thirft, that they could fcarcely move their tongues. In this fituation, they obliged them to climb mountains of a prodigious height, and covered with sharp flints, by which their feet were dreadfully cut and mangled, Their mafters made a kind of paste of barley meal, which they mixed with water in the hollow of their hands, and swallowed without chewing it.

As for us flaves, fays M. de Briffon, we had nothing to eat but the fame kind of paste. The Arabs threw it to us upon a kind of carpet, which our patron generally spread below his feet, when he repeated his prayers, and which he employed as a mattress during the night; after having kneaded this leaven a long time, he gave it to me, that I might divide it among my companions. One can hardly conceive how difagreeable this leaven was to the taste. The water with which it was mixed had M m 2 been

fequence of it, among the favage inhabitants of Africa. Those who have read the narrative of the late Admiral Byron, will find a great fimilarity between his fufferings and thofe of M. de Briffon. Indeed the hair-breadth escapes of the latter are fo numerous and fo extraordinary, that notwithstanding the evident truth of the account, we can hardly perfuade ourselves that we are not reading a tale of fictitious diftrefs.

His voyages to Africa, the author fays, had already been productive of many hardships and much lofs to him, when he received an order in the month of June 1785, to embark for the island of St Louis at Senegal. When he arrived at the Canaries, the veffel on which he was aboard paffed between thefe ifles and that of Palma; but the captain having refused to take M. de Briffon's advice, the fhip was foon after caft away. After this fhipwreck, horrid in its circumftances, he asked the captain at what distance they might be from Senegal? The anfwer he received not proving fatisfactory, he told his companions in misfortune, that he could not flatter himself with the hopes of conducting them to any village of the tribe of Trargea, where he might perhaps have been known by fome Arab, who had relations at the island of St Louis. In fuch a ' cafe,' said he, 'our captivity would have been forter, and lefs rigo'rous.' I am afraid,' added he, of meeting with fome hordes of the tribe of the Quadelims, and and the Labdeffeba; a ferocious 'people, who live like real favages, who always wander through the 'deferts, and who feed on the milk ' of their camels.' M. de Briffon's conjectures were too well founded, and it was not without much difficulty, and after fuffering every kind of diftrefs imaginable, among thofe barbarous Arabs, that he was at length restored to his country.


been procured upon the fea-fhore, and had been preferved afterwards in the fkin of a goat newly killed. To prevent it from corrupting, they had mixed a kind of pitch with it, which rendered the fmell of it doubly noxious. The fame water was given us to drink, and bad, as it was, our allowance of it was extremely small.

Next morning, after a most laboious march over a plain, upon which the rays of the fun fell in a perpendicular direction, the prisoners were employed in unloading the camels, and in pulling up roots; a labour which was exceedingly painful, as in that country the roots and herbs are mixed with briars and thorns. When the fand was well heated by the fire, the Arabs covered a goat with it, until it was compleatly baked; and immediately, without giving themfelves time to free it from the fand which adhered to it, devoured it with incredible voracity. After having thoroughly gnawed the bones, they made ufe of their nails to fcrape off the remaining flesh; after which they threw them to their miferable flaves, bidding them eat quickly, and make hafte to reload the camels, that their journey might not be retarded. At length, after a march of fixteen days, during which they were exposed to the greatest hardships and fatigue, they arrived in a most deplorable and extenuated condition, at the habitation of their mafters. The reception which they met with from the women was mortifying in the utmost degree. When they had fatisfied the firft emotions of their curiofity by looking at them for fome time, they bestowed the moft abufive languageupon them, fpit in their faces, and even pelted them with ftones. The children copying their example, amused themselves by pinching them, pulling their hair, and fcratching them with their nails The heat was fo exceffive, that the focks, half-ftarved, could find no

pafture, and the sheep and goats re turned with their dugs almost empty; and yet it was their milk and that of the camels, which was to fupply food for a numerous family.

One may judge after this,' fays M. de Briffon, how much our portion was diminished; as we were 'Christians the dogs even fared bet


ter, and it was in bafons destined for their use that we received our 'allowance!" Their fituation became every day more wretched. The end of October was approaching, and a fingle drop of rain had not fallen for three years. The plains and valleys were entirely burnt up, and nothing remained for the nourishment of the cattle. The desolation was univerfal, when an Arab from a diftant part of the country came to inform them, that refreshing showers had covered thofe parts where he refided with abundance of vegetation. Joy then fucceeded to fear and diftrefs. Every one ftruck his tent, and all fet out together. This was the thirtieth time they had changed their habitation, and that their fatigues had been renewed, for these hordes never remain above twelve or fifteen days in the fame encampment. At length they arrived at the wifhed-for fpot, where the fand was fo impregnated with moisture, that the leaft preffure of the body made the water spout up in great abundance. Here the prifoners would have thought themselves very happy, could they have procured a hurdle made of ofier twigs to repofe upon, and a coarfe napped carpet of wool to cover them; but amongst the Arabs, none but thofe who are rich ufe fuch pieces of furniture. To add to their misfortunes, their portion of food was encreased, but only with water, fo that in a little time they had nothing to eat but water whitened with meal, which weakened them to fuch a degree as can hardly be conceived. Wild plants and

« ZurückWeiter »