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ENGLAND, derives its name from the Angles, one of the most powerful of the Saxon nations by whom it was conquered. Its ancient names were Britannia and Albion. It is situated between 50° and 56° north latitude ; and extends in length, from south to north, about 400, and in breadth, from east to west, about 350 miles. Its area is computed at 49,450 square miles, and the population, being estimated at 8,400,000, gives the number of 169 inhabitants to a square mile.
. The face of the country is, in general, variegated and beautiful. In some parts verdant plains, extending as far as the eye can reach, covered with numerous flocks and herds, exhibit a scene of rural opulence ; in others, gently swelling hills and bending vales, fertile in corn or waving with wood, regale the eye with delightful landscapes.
There are several mountains in England, but none of them remarkable for their height. Wales is a mountainous country.
The rivers of England are numerous, but the principal are the Thames, the Severn, and the Humber; which contribute exceedingly to its inland navigation and commerce.
Canals, which serve as a substitute for rivers, are interest. ing, not only to the geographer and trader, but also to the philosopher and statesman : as they contribute in no small degree, to mark the genius of a nation, and its progress in science. The first canal made in England, expressly for the
purpose of inland navigation, is that of Sankey; cut, in order to convey coals from the pits at St. Helen's to Liverpool, for which the act of Parliament was procured A. D. 1753. So recent is the date of this great plan of national improvement.
The Duke of Bridgewater was the founder of inland navigation in Britain, His opulence and enterprising spirit, in conjunction with the consummate genius of Brindley, carried into successful execution, designs, which, although of the greatest national importance, had never before been attempted. His first canal, which was intended for the purpose of conveying coal from his pits to Manchester, commences near Worsley Mills, about seven miles from that town. This canal runs through a hill, by a subterraneous passage, (sufficiently large for the admission of long flat-bottomed boats) a distance of three quarters of a mile under ground. The whole length of the navigation is nine miles, before they reach Manchester. The canal is conveyed across the river Irwel by an aqueduct, which rises thirty-nine feet above its bed, and is upwards of six hundred feet in length. The whole expense of this stupendous work, in the comparative cheap state of labour and provisions about the middle of the 18th century, was only computed at a thousand guineas per mile.
The junction of the four principal ports of the kingdom, London, Bristol, Liverpool, and Hull, by an inland navigation, was the grand design of Brindley. A communication was accordingly opened between Liverpool and Hull, by a canal from the Trent to the Mersey. The canal, which connects these two rivers, is ninety-nine miles in length, and is styled the grand trunk; it was begun A. D. 1766, but was not completed until A. D. 1777. In some places it was attended with great difficulties ; being carried over the river Dove by an aqueduct of twenty-three arches, and through the hill of Hare-castle by a tunnel of 2880 yards in length, and more than seventy yards below the surface of the ground. This work was executed with great labour and expense; but its utility corresponds with the grandeur of the design. Many of the natural productions of those countries, through which the canal passes, had, by reason of the heavy expenses of land
carriage, lain useless for ages, but now find their value. The various commodities, both of export and import, find a cheap and easy conveyance, and the merchants and manufacturers of the interior enjoy the benefits of water carriage, almost from their own doors to the principal sea ports; for the Severn now communicates, not only with the Trent and the Mersey, by various courses of navigation, but also with the Thames, by a canal of near forty miles in length, which completes the quadruple intersection of the kingdom.
The minute divisions of inland navigation are so ramified, that scarcely any considerable town, in the whole kingdom, is without the convenience of either a navigable river or a canal. The several parts, considered as forming a grand whole, mark the prosperity and commerce of the country; and will serve to commemorate the grand and liberal views of the Duke of Bridgewater, as well as the self-taught genius of Brindley.
England cannot boast of gold or silver among the variety of her mineral productions, although a trifling quantity of the former has, in several places, been found; and the English lead ore contains a small mixture of the latter; but in the abundance and excellence of her coal and tin, she stands unrivalled. Since the English have discovered the method of manufacturing their tin, it has proved an article incalculably beneficial to the nation. The coal pits of Northumberland are of still greater value than the tin mines of Cornwall; and, ultimately, more beneficial to England, than those of Potosi to Spain. The veins were discovered only about the commencement of the fifteenth century, and from them Newcastle principally derives its opulence. The mines of Northumberland furnish London, annually, with about 600,000 chaldrons of coal; in consequence of which, 1500 vessels are employed in carrying so vast a supply to the metropolis, besides the number required for a very considerable exportation of this useful commodity to foreign countries. Mines of lead, iron, and copper, are found in England.
Stone, of various kinds, for building and other purposes, is plentiful in many districts. The slate of Westmoreland is unrivalled for elegance of colour and fineness of texture. Pottery-clays and fullers'-earth are among the valuable earths. Of fossil salt there is an inexhaustible store in the rock salt pits of Cheshire, and the brine springs of that county and Worcestershire.
Mineral waters occur in many parts. The warm springs of Bath and Buxton are of peculiar note: the waters of Tunbridge, Cheltenham, Harrowgate, and various others, are celelebrated for different medicinal properties, according to their several impregnations.
The inhabitants of Great Britain are compounded of a variety of races, indistinguishably blended. At the time of the Roman invasion, the natives were of Celtic blood. To these, a foreign acldition was made by the conquerors. The Saxon invaders poured in a great mass of German population, which took possession of the best parts of the island, and confined the remaining Celts to the mountains of Wales, and the Scotch highlands, where their posterity, to this day, retain their language and national characteristics. The Danes, in their frequent and destructive inroads, seized upon many dis- . tricts on the sea coast, especially on the eastern side of the island, and became permanent settlers. The Normans, next, gave a new set of great proprietors to the lands, and an infusion of their blood and language. Refugees from the continent, and an influx of natives of different countries, attracted by commerce and lucrative employments, have, in later times, been continually adding to the variety of sources. On the whole, however, the main stock may be regarded as similar to that of the Teutonic nations of Europe ; a dialect of whose language is the base of the English and Scotch tongue.
England, although it be in general as productive as most other countries, contains, like them, a visible mixture of fertility and barrenness. It owes as much of its abundance to the efforts of agriculture, as to its natural fertility.
No country perhaps on the globe has a more variable climate than England, or an atmosphere more frequently loaded with clouds. From the extreme changeableness of the temperature, proceeds the frequency of colds and catarrhs, which are often the source of other disorders, and particularly of con