« PreviousContinue »
C H A P. modern European nation; and that tộo at a time when
they were actuated by a spirit of enterprize which perhaps has never been exceeded in any people. Their power has, indeed, undergone a great, but gradual, declension, especially on the continent of the East of Africa. Yet such remains of it are still visible that a respectable modern writer scruples not to say, that they still possess more valuable territory in Africa, and have brought more of the natives to live in the European manner, than all Christendom
besides. · Hence he concludes, that other nations, and the British pro: British in particular, who can furnish Africa with manuca might ex- factures of their own, might make at least as great advances
in the inland trade of that continent, as the Portuguese, guese.
under the disadvantage of purchasing most of the goods they carry to it, from other nations. “ But this,” he observes, “ depends on quite other measures than what have ever yet been taken.”
S P A NIS H.
251. The Canary Islands, as well as those of Madeira and Cape Verd, were known to the ancients. But their accounts of them are indistinct and confused; for they appear to have confounded many islands together, under the gene, ral name of the fortunate islands. The Canaries were first known to the Europeans, in the middle ages, between the years 1326 and 1334, by means of a French ship driven among them by stress of weather.
In 1403, they were granted by Henry III. King of Castile, to John de Betancour, a Frenchman.—The subsequent conquest of them by
* This sketch is an abridgement from Glas's History of the Canary INands, London 1764.
the Spaniards, as well as their civil history since, are foreign C H A P. to our purpose. · 252. Of the Canary Islands, which are seven in number, Tenerife is the most considerable. It is about 36 leagues Tenerife. in circumference. The latitude of it's centre is 28° 30' N. longitude 16° 25' W. from London.
253. From the varieties of it's soil, climate and exposure, Productions. all the valuable vegetable productions, of temperate and tropical countries, thrive in it. It's animals are camels, horses, asses, mules, cows, sheep, goats, hogs, rabbets, fowls, geese, ducks, &c.—The island rises on all sides towards the Pike, in it's centre, like a hanging garden, till within a Pike. league of the clouds, which are not above mid-way up the Pike. But there are no houses any where above three leagues from the sea. The first league from the shore produces vines, the next corn, the third woods of chesnut trees, &c. interspersed with some corn. Beyond these woods, are the clouds which, in fine weather, come down in the evening, and rest on the woods till morning, when they retire about a league. Where the clouds rest in the day, there are many pine-trees, beyond which grows no grass or vegetable, except a shrub called retama. The Pike itself is, properly speaking, a voicanic mountain, of a conical form, situated on the summit of a very high Island. It is visible in approaching it 40 leagues, and in departing from it 50*.
254. Sainta Cruz, the chief town of Tenerife, may be Towns, reckoned the capital of all these Islands ; for, though the courts, &c. episcopal see and the supreme courts of judicature are at Palmas, in Gran Canaria, the Governor General of all the
* The height of the Pike above the sca, according to Dr. Ileberden, is 15,396 fect; according to M. Borda, 12,340 feet.
CHA P. Canaries, resides at Santa Cruz, which is the centre of the trade
of these Islands with Europe and America, and contains about 7000 inhabitants. Besides Santa Cruz, there are in Tenerife feveral other considerable towns and villages; for that small
part of the country which is inhabited at all, is extremely Population, populous, the island being computed to contain no less than
96,000 fouls. In the large village of Ico, there is a filk matures, wine, sugar. nufacture, especially of stockings, which are fent to the
Spanish West Indies.-From the whole Island, 15,000 pipes of wine and brandy are annually exported.-The Count of Gomera has about 1000 negro flaves employed in Tenerife, in making sugar; which, however, he does not find a profitable business. There are very few other negro flaves in
Tenerife, and still fewer in the rest of the islands. Gran Cana 255. This island is about fourteen leagues in length and
nine in breath; and, for the excellence of it's air, water and productions, weil deserves the name of the fortunate island. But this must be understood with an exception, for the S. E.
wind, which is hot and stifling, and comes fraught with Locufts.
clouds of locusts that destroy every thing green. This calamity, however, happens but seldom, and does not last long; for the earth foon recovers it's verdure. Gran Canaria
is well watered, and almost any thing planted in it will Proportion of thrive. Though it be fo mountainous, that not above one arable land. seventh of it's surface is fit for cultivation, it contains more
arable land than Tenerife, Palma, Gomera or Ferro.
256. Much sugar was formerly made in Gran Canaria; but sugar-canes have been abandoned for vines, which are found to be more profitable. The Canary wine is good ; but not equal to that of Tenerife. The prohibition of exporting provisions from this island, and fixing a price on them, is a great check to it's industry, and tends to produce
scarcity, the very evil these restrictions are intended to pre.
снА Р. vent. Palmas, the capital of Canaria, is a well built town, containing about 6ooo inhabitants. The population of the island is estimated at 40,000, an uncommonly great propor- po
Population, tion of whom live to extreme old age.
257. Palma is about 8 leagues in length, and 6 in breadth. Palma. It is very mountainous, and, except the Pike, placed, as it were, on the top of Tenerife, there is higher land in Palma than in that INand. It's produce is much the same with that of the other islands; but it yields much more sugar Produce. than any one of them. Palma abounds so much with fruits, that the inhabitants, not being able to consume them, and having also plenty of sugar, preserve great quantities as sweetmeats which they export.—When corn is scarce, they make bread of the roots of a species of fern, which, Mr. Fern bread. Glas says, is not much inferior to wheat bread. Among the mountains of Palma are pines fit for masts; but the difficult conveyance of them to the shore, renders them too dear, though the labour itself be cheap.-The island contains about 30,000 inhabitants.
258. Lancerota is 5 leagues long and 3 broad. The lati- Lancerota and tude of it's centre 29° 8' N.-Fuerteventura is 27 leagues in ra. length, and 5 in breadth. The air of both these islands is excellent, as is proved by the longevity of their inhabitants. Both of them are almost destitute of trees, owing to the violence of the N. & N. E. winds. And, what is a more serious want, neither of them have almost any other than rain-water, which is preserved in tanks, or cisterns, as in the West Indian island of Antigua. But they have plentiful rains, and excellent herbage, especially in the spring and summer; but it is sometimes scorched by the autumnal heats, when the cattle, which had before been fat, lose their
c H A P. fleth. These islands produce wheat, barley and Indian X.
corn, not only sufficient for their own inhabitants, but to CANARIES. afford a very great supply to Tenerife and Palma. The Produce.
foil is light, and is ploughed by a camel and two asses, which form no despicable team; for the asses are uncommonly large, and formerly ran wild, in such numbers in Fuerteventura, and became so troublesome, that the inhabitants
were obliged, at one time, to destroy 1500 of them.-On Orchella. the shores of both islands, abundance of Orchella grows among the rocks *. This weed is well known to dyers, for
* Orchella—Lichen Roccella (Linn. Sp. plant. ed. 2. p. 1622, No. 71.) Muller says that the dye of Orchella, is prepared by the urine of men and soda, and that women's urine destroys it's effect; also that the colour is not durable in the air or the fun. (Linn. Nat. Syft, nach Houtiuynischen werk Vol. XIII. Part 2. p. 528.) M. Hellot fays, that 20,500 quintals of it are annually exported from the Cana. ries. (L'Art de la Teinture des Laines, Paris 1750.)- It was sold as high as 700 guineas per ton, during the American war, but is now about £ 170 per ton.—Dr. Gosselin has lately discovered it in the Inand of Guernsey. (Dickson's Fascic. 3. Plant. Cryptogam. Britann. 1793.)- Another species, the Lichen Tartareus (Linn. Sp. plant. ed. 2. p. 1608. No. 14.) has been long used in Sweden, and in Scotland, for dying red, in a domestic way, (See Linn. & Kalm's Weltgotha Resor) where the process is described ; also Sowerbys Engl. Bot. p. 156. where he says, that the Lich. Tart. is prepared with vol. alk. and allum, and communicates a purple colour to wool, but not to vegetables.- J. P. Weftring, M. D. has made experiments for dying different colours, with a variety of Swedish Lichens. The ability and industry of this learned gentleman promise many valuable discoveries. See his Memoirs in the A&ts of the Roy. Acad. of Sc. at Stockholm for 1791, p. 113, 293, where he says, that from 8 to 900 Skd. or about 128 tons of Lich. Tart. has been yearly exported from Sweden fince the year 1770; but this appears too much for the first 10 years. It's price has varied from 15 to £ 30 per Ton, and is now £ 24.
In 1785, an eminent merchant of Gothenburg, having smoothed his way, by means of his MERCANTILE influence, obtained an exclusive privilege for exporting this article. How far such privileges are consistent with the public good, see Ś 116 et seq. Qu. XXV Ø 142, and $ 165.—But praise to Heaven, a liberal and patriotic government has since taken place in Sweden. The instruments of cor