Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

at sea.

side, that I suffered more than I had done in our whole voyage; my bowels being almost twisted our of my belly. However, the day was very serene and bright, and the captain, who was in high spirits, affirmed he had never passed a pleasanter

The wind continued so brisk that we ran upward of six knots an hour the whole night.

Monday. In the morning our captain concluded that he was got into lat. 40°, and was very little slort of the Burlings, as they are called in the charts. We came up with them at five in the afternoon, being the first land we had distinctly seen since we left Devonshire. They consist of abundance of little rocky islands, a little distant from the shore, three of them only shewing themselves above the water.

Here the Portuguese maintain a kind of garrison, if we may allow it that name. It consists of malefactors, who are banished hither for a term, for divers small offences. A policy which they may have copicd from the Egyptians, as we may read in Diodorus Siculus. That wise people, to prevent the corruption of good manners by evil communication, built a town on the Red Sea, whither they transported a great number of their criminals, hav, ing first set an indelible mark on then, to prevent their returning and mixing with the sober part

of their citizens.

These rocks lię about fifteen leagues North-west of Cape Roxent; or, as it is commonly called, the Rock of Lisbon; which we passed early the next morning. The wind, indeed, would have carried us thither sooner ; but the captain was not in a hurry, as he was toʻlose nothing by his delay.

Tuesday. This is a very high mountain, situated on the northern side of the mouth of the river Tajo, which, rising about Madrid, in Spain, and soon becoming navigable for small craft, empties itself, after a long course, into the sea, about four leagues below Lisbon.

On the summit of the rock stands a hermitage, which is now in the possession of an Englishman, who was formerly master of a vessel, trading to Lisbon ; and, having changed his religion and his manners, the latter of which, at least, were none of the best, betook himself to this place, in order to do penance for his sins. He is now very old, and hath inhabited this hermitage for a great number of years, during which he hath received some countenance from the royal family, and particularly from the present queen dowager, whose piety refuses no trouble or expence by which she may make a proselyte; being used to say, that the saving one soul would repay all the endeavours of her life.

Here we waited for the tide, and had the pleasure of surveying the face of the country, the soil of which, at this season, exactly resembles an old brick-kiln, or a field where the green sward is pared up and set a burning, or rather a smoaking, in little heaps, to manure the land. The sight will, perhaps, of all others, make an Englishman proud of, and pleased with, his own country, which in verdure excels, I believe, every other country. Another deficiency here is the want of large trees, nothing above a shrub being here to be discovered in the circumference of many miles.

At this place we took a pilot on board, who, being the first Portuguese we spoke to, gave us an instance of that religious observance which is paid by all nations to their laws; for, whereas it is here a capital offence to assist any person in going on shore from a foreign vessel before it hath been examined, and every person in it viewed by thę magistrates of health, as they are called, this worthy pilot, for a very small reward, rowed the Portuguese priest to shore at this place, beyond which he did not dare to advance; and in venturing whither he had given sufficient testimony of love for his native country.

We did not enter the Tajo till noon, when, after passing several old castles, and other buildings, which

had greatly the aspect of ruins, we came to the castle of Bellisle, where we had a full prospect of Lisbon, and were, indeed, within three miles of it.

Here we were saluted with a gun, which was a signal to pass no farther, till we had complied with certain ceremonies, which the laws of this country require to be observed by all ships which arrive in this port. We were obliged then to cast anchor, and expect the arrival of the officers of the customs, without whose passport no ship must proceed farther than this place.

Here likewise we received a visit from one of those magistrates of health before mentioned. He refused to come on board the ship till every person in her had been drawn up on deck, and personally viewed by him. This occasioned some delay on my part, as it was not the work of a minute to lift me from the cabin to the deck. The captain thought my particular case might have been excused from this ceremony; and that it would be abundantly sufficient if the magistrate, who was obliged afterwards to visit the cabin, surveyed me there. But this did not satisfy the magistrate's strict regard to his duty. When he was told of my lameness, he called out, with a voice of authority, Let him be

brought up,' and his orders were presently complied with. He was, indeed, a person of great dignity, as well as of most exact fidelity in the discharge of his trust, Both which are the more admirable as his salary is less than thirty pounds English per annuni.

Before a ship hath been visited by one of those magistrates no person can lawfully go on board her; nor can any on board depart from her. This I saw exemplified in a remarkable instance. The young lad, whom I have mentioned as one of our passengers, was here met by his father, who, on the first news of the captain's arrival, came from Lisbon to Bellisle in a boat, being eager to embrace a son whom he had not seen for many years. · But when he came alongside our ship neither did the father dare ascend nor the son descend, as the magistrate of health had not been yet on board.

Sone of our readers will, perhaps, admire the great caution of this policy, so nicely calculated for the preservation of this country from all pestilential distempers. Others will as probably regard it as too exact and formal to be constantly persisted in, in seasons of the utmost safety, as well as in times of danger. I will not decide either way; but will content myself with observing, that I never yet saw or heard of a place where a traveller had so much trouble given him at his landing as here. The only use of which, as all such matters begin and end in form only, is to put it into the power of low and mean fellows to be either rudely officious or grossly corrupt, as they shall see occasion to prefer the gratification of their pride or of their avarice.

Of this kind, likewise, is that power which is lodged with other officers here, of taking away every grain of snuff, and every leaf of tobacco, brought hither from other countries, though only for the temporary use of the person, during his residence here. This is executed with great insolence, and as it is in the hands of the dregs of the people, very scandalously; for, under pretence of searching for tobacco and snuff, they are sure to steal whatever they can find, insomuch, that when they came on board our sailors addressed us in the

6

Covent-Garden language, Pray, gentlemen and • ladies, take care of your swords and watches.' Indeed, I never yet saw any thing equal to the contempt and hatred which our honest tars every moment expressed for these Portuguese officers.

At Beslisle lies buried Catharine of Arragon, widow of Prince Arthur, eldest son of our Henry VII. afterwards married to, and divorced from, Henry VIII. Close by the church where her remains are deposited is a large cunvent of Geronymites, one of the most beautitul piles of building in all Portugal.

In the evening, at twelve, our ship having received previous visits from all the necessary parties, took the advantage of the tide, and having sailed up to Lisbon, cast anchor there, in a calm, and a moon-shiny night, which made the passage incredibly pleasant to the women, who remained three hours enjoying it, whilst I was left to the cooler transports of enjoying their pleasures at secondhand; and yet, cooler as they may be, whoever is totally ignorant of such sensation is at the same time void of all ideas of friendship.

Wednesday. Lisbon, before which we now lay at anchor, is said to be built on the same number of hills with old Rome; but these do not all appear to the water; on the contrary, one sees from thence one vast high hill and rock, with buildings arising above one another, and that in so steep and almost perpendicular a manner, that they all seem to have but one foundation.

As the houses, convents, churches, &c. are large, and all build with white stone, they look very beautiful at a distance; but as you approach nearer, and find them to want every kind of ornament, all idea of beauty vanishes at once.

While I was surveying the prospect of this city, which bears so little resemblance to any other that I have ever seen, à reflection occurred to me, that if a man was sud

« НазадПродовжити »