Obrazy na stronie

views on this subject are curiously contrasted by the credulity displayed in the elaborate work above mentioned, by which he is now principally known. He died in 1680.

About four miles north of Plymouth is the village of St. Budeaux, situated on an eminence near the Tamar, and commanding delightful prospects on all sides. This place has about 700 inhabitants, and an ancient Church, standing on a hill, and containing many monuments.

PLYMPTON EARL is pleasantly situated in a valley, about five miles east of Plymouth, and is still a Stannary and Market-town, returning two Members to Parliament, although the population, according to the last census, was no more than 762 persons. It had anciently a Castle, some ruins of which, standing on an artificial mount, near the town, yet remain. This edifice was the residence of the family of Rivers, one of whom granted considerable privileges to the town, which were confirmed by Edward III and other monarchs, by whom the Corporation was appointed to consist of a Mayor, Recorder, and eight Aldermen, who, with the freemen, elect the Parliamentary representatives. The Guildhall is an ancient building, supported on pillars, and contains a portrait of Sir J. Reynolds, presented by himself to his townsmen: the Church, or Chapel, is an ancient edifice, subordinate to that of Plympton St. Mary; and here is a Free Grammar School, well endowed, founded in 1664, in virtue of the will of E. Hele, Esq. who left a very large sum for this and other charitable purposes.

Sir Joshua Reynolds, one of the greatest painters of modern times, was born at Plympton in 1723, (his father being master of the Grammar School) and having, in his earliest childhood, evinced a strong propensity for drawing, was placed with Hudson, the most celebrated portrait painter of the day. He soon excelled his master, and repaired to Italy for further improvement: in that land of science he passed some years, and on his return was favourably introduced to the notice of the public by a portrait of Commodore Keppel, with whom he had travelled. From this period, during nearly 40 years, he enjoyed

that enviable pre-eminence in his profession, so justly due to his abilities. In 1768, on the institution of the Royal Academy, he was appointed President, which dignity he retained, by the unanimous vote of the Members, until his death, although he had, about two years previously, resigned it, in consequence of being opposed in his wish to procure a seat in the Academy for Bonomi, an Italian architect, whom he patronised. On the formation of this institution he received the honour of knighthood, and delivered his first Discourse at the opening of the Academy on Jan. 2, 1769; these Discourses he continued yearly, and they have been collectively published, and are much admired, being written in an agreeable style, and containing many just observations, much excellent criticism, and valuable advice to young artists. Sir Joshua was also a member of the Literary Club, founded in 1764, and is honourably distinguished by having enjoyed the friendship and esteem of Dr. Johnson, Goldsmith, Burke, and in short all the literary persons of his day; and never, perhaps, was a man of so much eminence so universally beloved *. The excellence of the few historical pictures he has left, occasions the liveliest regret that his talents were principally devoted to portrait painting, while the beauty of his productions in this department of art, almost reconciles us to their want of general interest. He died, after a lingering illness, on the 23d February, 1792, and was interred in St. Paul's Cathedral (where a monument to his memory has been erected), with the most distinguished honours, his funeral being attended by many of the nobility, the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs of London, the Royal Aca

In his poem of Retaliation, Goldsmith gives the following character of Sir Joshua, the justice of which is acknowledged by Boswell, and other writers:

"Here Reynolds is laid; and, to tell you my mind,

He has not left a wiser or better behind.

His pencil was striking, resistless, and grand;

His manners were gentle, complying, and bland:

Still born to improve us in every part;

His pencil, our faces; his manners, our heart:

To coxcombs averse, yet most civilly steering,

When they judg'd without skill, he was still hard of hearing;
When they talk'd of their Raphaels, Correggios, and stuff,

He shifted his trumpet, and only took snuff.'

To understand the last line it should be observed that Sir Joshua was so deaf, as to be obliged to use an ear-trumpet in company.

demicians, and almost every person of eminence in the literary world. Mr. Burke, in an eloquent eulogium, published shortly after his decease, says, "He was the first Englishman who added the praise of the elegant arts to the other glories of his country. In taste, in grace, in facility, in happy invention, and in the richness and harmony of colouring, he was equal to the great masters of the renowned ages: in portrait he went beyond them."

Plympton St. Mary, a village at a short distance from Plympton Earl, had formerly a College founded previously to the Conquest, afterwards transformed into a Priory, whose yearly revenues, at the Dissolution, amounted to upwards of £900. The Church is a venerable structure, and as already mentioned, that of Plympton Earl is a Chapel of Ease to it. In this parish is the fine mansion of Saltram House, the seat of the Earl of Morley, the largest residence in the county, elegantly fitted up, and containing many fine paintings. The house is by no means remarkable for architectural beauty, but the grounds are extensive, laid out with great taste, and command the most beautiful views.


This town, now chiefly known as a fashionable watering-place, is of considerable antiquity, and, so far back as the thirteenth century, was a borough governed by a Portreeve, and having a Market. It is situated near the mouth of the little river Sid, 159 miles from London, and occupies the margin of a small bay. It is sheltered by a range of hills, between which the Sid meanders through a narrow valley, at the mouth of which the town is placed. Here was formerly a good Harbour, but it is now so much obstructed by sand and pebbles, as to be inaccessible to any vessels larger than fishing smacks or pleasure boats. The shore is bold and open, and a natural rampart of pebbles protects it from the violence of the waves. A fine promenade has been formed at the head of this barrier, from which the prospects are extensive and beautiful; the low situation of the town, however, the glare of the "ruddy cliffs" by which it is backed, and the reflection of the sun's beams by this vast collection of pebbles, ren

ders Sidmouth intensely hot in the summer, and cousequently unpleasant, if not unhealthy, at that period. Notwithstanding this disadvantage, it has attained considerable eminence among the fashionable resorts on this coast; new houses have arisen in every direction; and the population, which in 1801 was no more than 1250 persons, in 1821 had increased to 2747, and is now much more numerous. The accommodations for visitors are proportionate with their increase: here are now two excellent Inns, two Hotels, Libraries, Assembly Rooms, Boarding-houses, &c. The Church is a small edifice of stone, with a handsome tower at the west end; it has been recently adapted to the increased population of the town, by an addition of nearly 300 seats: it has a monument, with an inscription, in memory of Dr. Currie, principally known as the editor of the works of Burns, who died here in 1805.

Many elegant villas and cottages have been erected in this neighbourhood; and the scenery along the coast between Sidmouth and Seaton, a village about eight miles distant, is perhaps unrivalled in picturesque beauty and grandeur.


A respectable and ancient town, 181 miles from London, and 12 from Barnstaple, stands on an eminence near the river Moule. It was represented in Parliament in 1302, but not since that period; and has a Corporation consisting of a Mayor, Recorder, capital Burgesses, and other officers. It is now a place of considerable trade; the population, in 1821, was 3314 persons, many of whom are employed in the manufacture of serges, felts, and shalloons.

The Church is a spacious and handsome edifice, with a fine organ; it contains many monuments, but not any which demand particular description. The Guildhall is a commodious structure; and the Market-place is well arranged and extensive; the Market, which is held on Saturday, is abundantly supplied. A good Free School, founded in 1614, affords education to the children of one class of the inhabitants, while the lower orders" receive instruction at a Charity School.

Samuel Badcock, an eminent divine, was born in

this town in 1747. He was educated as a Dissenter, and officiated during many years as a minister of several congregations. At length, in 1787, he conformed to the Church of England, and was ordained in Exeter Cathedral. He did not long survive this step, which exposed him to much obloquy, dying in May, 1788. Beside a number of erudite criticisms in the Monthly Review, of which the most valuable are those on Dr. Priestley's Works, he wrote some pamphlets, and had a considerable share in the composition of Dr. White's Bampton Lectures.


Derives its name from its situation on the river Tavy, over which it has two Bridges, and is 207 miles from London. It is a town of considerable importance, having, according to the last census, 5483 inhabitants, a great portion of whom are employed in the woollen manufacture, especially of serges for the East India Company. It has a weekly Market, held on Saturday, and is one of the Stannary towns.

Tavistock, in the tenth century, formed a part of the possessions of Orgar*, Duke of Devonshire, a potent nobleman, who" being admonished by a vi

* Orgar was the father of Elfrida, a lady, the report of whose beauty induced King Edgar to wish for a marriage with her. As, however, she was brought up in the strictest seclusion, he resolved to dispatch his favourite Ethelwold, previously to declaring his intentions, to learn if her charms had been exaggerated. When Ethelwold beheld Elfrida, he found her so surpassingly beautiful, that he was filled with the most violent desire of possessing her himself, and accordingly informed the King that it was to her rank and fortune alone she owed that flattery which was by no means due to her beauty. He afterwards solicited Edgar's permission to woo her for hiraself, observing that her riches would make amends for the homeliness of her person; to this the King consented, and even strongly recommended his treacherous favourite to the parents of Elfrida, who, unaware of the higher honour at first intended them, agreed to the proposal. Ethelwold now employed every means to detain his beautiful consort in the country, and to keep her from the sight of the King. Edgar was, however, soon informed of the truth; but, resolving to be personally convinced, told Ethelwold that he intended to visit his castle, and be introduced to his lady. The unhappy nobleman obtained leave to precede his royal guest by a few hours, and hastening to Elfrida, disclosed to her the artifice he had employed, and conjured her to save his life, by disguising, in every possible way, that fatal beauty which had overcome his duty to his sovereign and his friend. She promised compliance; but, actuated partly by vanity and partly by revenge, appeared before the King with all the advantages which the richest attire and the most engaging manners could confer, and excited in his bosom an immediate and violent passion; he soon found an opportunity, while hunting in a wood with Ethelwold, of stabbing that unhappy man with his own hand, and publicly espoused Elfrida shortly afterwards.

[blocks in formation]
« PoprzedniaDalej »