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certainty, founded on fact, that at all events the battle was neither won by the English nor lost by the Danes. Nay it is certain that almost the whole of Nelson's fleet would have been destroyed, or taken, if the Crown Prince of Denmark—for fear of engaging in a lengthened war with England, and from other purely political reasons, as well as, it must also be observed, at Nelson's own request—had not put a stop to the battle. Curiously enough, in two of the finest poems which the English and Danish people can produce, Campbell's "Battle of the Baltic," and Hertz's "Slaget paa Rheden," the combat is represented in each as honourable to the respective nations.
Not long since, a Dane in England was led into a warm argument respecting the disputed result of this battle; when the master of the house suddenly recollected that an old invalid, who looked after the boats on the canals in the garden, had served under Nelson. He called out to him that "here was a Dane, and that he had certainly seen that sort of folks before." "Yes, master," answered the honest tar, "but on that day the Danes made it much hotter than we liked."
This terminated the dispute. The time, however, in the order of Nature, cannot be far distant when the Dane in England may look in vain for such support from men who were present at the battle. He must then be contented to state his opinion, without the least hope of its carrying any weight; though he can, at all events, console himself with the reflection that, when the conversation turns on the mutual relations between England and Denmark, the latter may point to conquests of a very different, as well as far more important and altogether undisputed kind.
In the long series of brilliant victories, won not only by the Danish sword, but by the Danish national character in England, and which, by the conquest of that country, essentially contributed to found there a greatness and a power before unknown, the Danish people possess memorials so proud and brilliant, that they may be reckoned among the most beautiful ornaments in that glorious wreath which from time immemorial encircles the Danish name. We may safely leave them by the side of the best and most imposing memorials of most other nations.
NORWEGIANS IN SCOTLAND.
Nature of Scotland.—The Highlands and Lowlands.—Population.— Original Inhabitants.
None of the seas of Europe are so rough and stormy as that which washes its northern and north-western coasts. Even in Jutland the effects of the cold north-west wind which sweeps down from the icy sea between Norway, Iceland, and Scotland, are severely felt. Along its west coast, for a distance of several miles inland, there are no woods, but only low stunted oak bushes, which in many places scarcely rise above the tall heather. Still farther eastward, and even in Funen and Zealand, which the northwest wind does not reach till it has passed over considerable tracts of land, it has such an influence on the woods, that in their western outskirts the trees are bent, and as it were scorched or blighted at the top. The North Sea, whose surges, breaking on the coast of Jutland, are heard even in calm weather far in the interior, rises to a fearful height during a storm. It would long since have washed over Jutland, and perhaps the whole of Denmark, if Nature had not placed sand-banks or shoals along the coast, as a sort of bulwark, against which the highest waves break harmlessly.
The North Sea is, however, an enclosed one, and little more than a bay of the Atlantic. Its swell is not so great, nor its storms so violent, as those of the open sea beyond, towards the north and west; where the Atlantic breaks on one side against Greenland and North America, and on the other against Norway, Scotland, and Ireland. The sandbanks and shoals which form a sufficient defence for Jutland against the North Sea, would there scarcely be able to resist the open and agitated ocean. On the extreme north-western coasts of Europe, the Atlantic has completely washed away the earth and sand; the bare cliffs, which often rise to a considerable height, alone remain, and still defy the fury of the waves. These rocky coasts, with their numerous towering and ragged crags, with their many and deeply-indented fiords, convey an idea of the power and greatness of the sea as striking as it is true. Everywhere outside lie rocky islands, which, like outposts, stop the advancing waves, and only allow them, if with increased speed, yet with diminished power, to approach the land through narrow channels, or sounds. During violent storms some of the islands are flooded by the sea, which, as it rolls forwards, strives to overtop the cliffs; whence it glides back, again to repeat the same vain attempt. The firm, rocky, isle-bound coasts of Norway, Scotland, and Ireland, are evidently for Europe what the sand banks and shoals of Jutland are for Denmark.
It is natural, therefore, that those countries which in the north-westernmost part of Europe lie farthest out towards the Atlantic Ocean—such as the Scandinavian Peninsula, Scotland, Ireland, and part of England—should have their highest and wildest mountains and cliffs towards the west, and in the neighbourhood of the sea. This is more clearly seen the farther we proceed northwards: namely, in the Scandinavian Peninsula and in Scotland.
In Norway the rocks often rise almost perpendicularly out of the sea. In the neighbourhood of the coast they reach a considerable height, and then sink gradually towards the east, until they lose themselves in the broad and comparatively low valleys of Sweden. Whole rows of islands lie scattered along the west coast of Norway, round which the sea often whirls in impetuous eddies. On the coast itself, where the land is most exposed to the bleak sea winds, such extensive forests are not to be seen as in the interior of the country; nor do any fertilizing streams wind their way through the short and narrow valleys. It is only here and there that the water from the rocky springs or melted snows, leaps, after a short course, over the edge of the cliff into the open sea, or into the deep fiords with which the coasts are everywhere indented. The greatest rivers in Norway take a more eastern course, and often make their way from the Norwegian highlands through the richly-wooded lowlands of Sweden to the Baltic. In Sweden the coasts are neither so steep nor so indented as in Norway. The waves of the enclosed and comparatively quiet Baltic do not require to be resisted like those of the Atlantic Ocean.
Very similar features are found in Scotland. The whole of the northern and western coast lying towards the Atlantic is wild and rocky, with numerous islands, deep firths, and steep shores; behind which, rock towers upon rock, as if to form an impenetrable barrier against the sea. The country is almost without forests, the streams and the valleys are of small extent, and fertility consequently very limited. But by degrees the rocks sink down towards the south-east and east, till they terminate in the broad, well-watered, and fertile coast districts along the North Sea; which, on account of their inconsiderable elevation, are called the Lowlands of Scotland. Thus the Highlands answer very nearly to Norway, and the Lowlands to Sweden. But as the Scandinavian Peninsula is larger than Scotland, so also are its natural features on the whole on a grander scale. The rocks of Norway are mountains of primitive granite, which in some places rise to a height of 8000 feet, and of which large ranges are covered wfth eternal snow and ice. Scotland, on the contrary, has transition rocks, whose highest