Зображення сторінки

that of a boat at sea, and is apt to create a disagreeable sickness. The

appearance of Elbing, from a distance, is by no means inviting. The high embankments of the river, and the extensive morasses, exclude all views of the town. On entering the town the traveller is pleased to find the regularity of the streets and neatness of the houses. The town is unfortified, but appears to have been once encompassed by a slight brick wall.

Elbing exhibits a convincing proof of the destruction which fortifications produce in a commercial town. Here were no means of defence or shelter for the French troops, and the inhabitants only suffered the temporary severities of the armies passing. Had Hamburg and Stettin been similarly exposed, they probably would not have undergone the hundredth part of their sufferings.

From Elbing to Dantzick there is a regular communication, by means of a canal, which joins the Nogatt to the town of Elbing. By the river Vistula an extensive commerce is carried on with the interior of Poland. Numerous barges of grain and earthen-ware are brought here from as far as Cra

From the number and extent of the granaries at Elbing it must be evident that the corn trade is

very considerable, though not nearly equal to that


of Dantzick. These granaries are built on a small island on the west side of the town. No fires are permitted to burn in them. Retail trade is conducted on a small scale, at extravagant prices. Every article of the mechanical arts is chiefly brought from Berlin.

The warehouses here, as in Dantzick, are guarded during the night by a number of ferocious dogs, and to prevent their prowling beyond a certain distance, keepers are stationed at certain places with whips.

Wood is here, as in the former towns, the common fuel. From the number of men and horses engaged in carrying it to the town, it appears to be a part of their summer employment, or home trade. The horses are small and slender, yet active. The wagons, to which four of these horses are generally yoked, consist of four small wooden wheels, with an extraordinarily narrow body, nearly twenty feet long, and not more than twenty inches wide. The sides are formed of two thin boards, which are taken off at pleasure. The driver, similar to the postillions, rides on the near wheel horse, and guides the others with a long whip, without any reins.

The local costumes here, among the lower orders, differ only in the head dress. They, not ungracefully, fold a black kerchief round the head, tied, in front, into a knot. Their

knot. Their appearance and

manners are rather pleasing; they show more delicacy and modesty, than the intrusive immorality of those at Dantzick, and less indelicacy than those at Stettin or Hamburg.

The surrounding country is extremely beautiful on the western side of the town. Nothing can be more agreeable than the gentle inequalities of its surface, the richness of its verdure, and straggling plantations. An excellent new road is forming from the town towards Frauensberg; about four miles of it is finished.

The nature of the soil immediately changes, at Dantzick, from what it had hitherto been. From that city to Frauensberg, it abruptly becomes, from loose sand, to a blackish loam, mixed with clay,— hard and cloddy. The crops are rye, barley, some wheat, and a small quantity of potatoes, which is the only green crop we have remarked. They are planted in narrow ridges, similar to the mode

prac. tised in Ireland. The tops do not grow to any height, or luxuriance, and the roots are generally small, but keep uncommonly well throughout the

The other crops vary in luxuriance according to the soil. We have hitherto remarked none equal to what is seen in England.

The mode of farming is extremely simple, and the implements of agriculture are rudely contrived. A plough, with two heavy wheels, and the forked'


coulter, fixed to the axletree, in a perpendicular manner, is used to cross-plough the fallow land. It has no stilts, and is drawn by four horses. The ploughman rides on the near wheel horse.

In July, grass fields are manured, ploughed down, and allowed to remain until the rye is sown in October; by this means the valuable advantages of grazing are lost. In consequence of this practice, but few black cattle are observed throughout this part of the country.

At the wretched village of Truntz, the first stage from Elbing, we left the territory of West Prussia, and entered that of East Prussia, in Prussia Proper. The second stage brought us to the beautiful town of Frauensberg, on the shores of Frische Haffe. The town is partly built under a sandy ridge, which stretches in a parallel line with the bay. On the summit of this rising ground is seen the Romish cathedral, a large, and not inelegant Gothic structure. This cathedral belongs to the diocese of the bishop, who presides over the monastery of Oliva. Besides two residing bishops, it contains fifteen canons. During our visit at Frauensberg we had the pleasure of forming an acquaintance with the bishop Marcellus de Szuyski. This reverend prelate gave us much valuable information as to the present state of the country; he also showed us the costly robes of the priests, and riches of the church.

Frauensberg is celebrated, as having been the birth-place and residence of Nicolaus Copernicus, the astronomer. He lived in the sixteenth century, and died, as one of the canons of the cathedral, in the seventy-third year of his age.

Nicolaus Copernicus flourished after the discoveries of the Pythagorean and Ptolemaic systems were produced.

The word system, as is well known, in astronomy, means an hypothesis of a certain arrangement of the different parts of the universe, in order to account for the appearances of the heavenly bodies, their motions, changes, etc.

Claudius Ptolemy, the Egyptian astronomer, supposed the earth immovably fixed in the centre of the universe, and that the sun and planets revolved round it. In this early age, it was believed that all the stars were fixed in one concave sphere, at an equal distance from the earth; and that the primum mobile, the imaginary sphere which gave motion to all the rest, was the celestial paradise.

Tycho Brahe, a noble Dane, flourished about the same time with Copernicus. He partly corrected the Ptolemaic hypothesis; he supposed the earth had no motion; that the sun and moon revolved around it in twenty-four hours, and that

« НазадПродовжити »