Henry Colman.

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To-morrow I leave at seven for Cornwall, to visit my
excellent friends, the Pendarvescs, who have done every
thing for me that people could do. I go to see Lord
Ducie's pattern farm. I go into Gloucester to leam
something about cheese, the very thing you say Mr.
Bryant wishes to know. I have to visit a great agricul-
tural implement-maker ; and I have been honored with
an invitation to visit the Duke of Bedford, at Woburn
Abbey, where, of all places, I most wished to go. I
have had some invitations for Christmas holidays, but I
fear I cannot accept them. Mr. Pusey wishes me to
come there to meet the Chevalier Bunsen, one of the
first scholars in Europe, and a party.

I am sorry you did not like the Limerick gloves.
You must be very difficult, since they are deemed
the very finest that can grace the hands of royalty —
nothing of the kind is to be compared with them for
fineness. Adieu.


Pendarves, near Truro,
West Cornwall, IGth Novoiuber, ISll.
My Dear M :

As I go this afternoon to Penzance, near Land's End,
(see the map.) I am afraid if I do not write from here I
may miss the mail.

I write in a state of great excitement, and ran


scarcely hold my pen. First let me thank God that I
am well, certainly in body ; of the mind, I am not so
confident. This morning at ten o'clock I went down
into a copper mine, six hundred feet below the surface,
and have been for several hours travelling miles under
ground. The descent and ascent were by ladders, and
the fatigue excessive ; but I have never had such sights
and such sensations before. My head is full, my heart
is full. I was awake two or three nights, thinking
of the adventure — no small enterprise to a novice.
This morning I would have abandoned it, but that I was
ashamed to go back. I have seen the whole. You can
travel seven miles in a direct line, that is, in extent,
under ground. But I have no time to add any thing

now. Say to E I shall send him by the first good

chance, a piece of copper ore dug by myself, six
or seven hundred feet below the surface, that is,
four times the length of Park Street steeple below

Never were kinder people than where I have been stay-
ing — the Pendarveses. Two nights I have been at
Lady Bassett's. They wished me to stay until Christmas,
and urge me to promise them another visit, but I cannot
do it. I am tired of saying how elegantly, how mag-
nificently people live. It seems to me I am never to
reach the end. I go to Penzance, to Col. Scobell's,
to-night. Monday I visit the Land's End. Tuesday I
take the steamer, if the weather is favorable, for Bristol.
From Bristol I go to Lord Ducie's, the Hon. Rev. Mr.
Talbot's, Mr. Holland's, the Duke of Bedford's, and then
to London. This ends my English visits, for there must
be an end. I have fifty most desirable invitations that


I must refuse, because they would bring with liieiu fifty
more, I will write aiiain this eveninf^. Adieu.


Pendarves, Cornwall, 17th November, 1S44.
My Deab. a :

No church for me to-day. I have no joints, and my
muscles, after yesterday's adventures, seem to be made
of oak, and the skin is scraped off my feet, with the
wooden shoes they made me wear, without stockings,
in my descent into the mine, — so that I propose a little
talk with you, which, after all, may be quite as edifying,
and perhaps more agreeable, than a sermon.

I wrote you that I had seen , and his chamiing

family. What a sweet woman she is, and what lovely
girls are the daughters ! I left him in London a week
ago last Friday, and went on that morning to Corn-
wall, about three hundred miles. I reached Bristol
by rail the first night, Exeter the second day at twelve,
and then found, do my best, I could not reach Truro,
until two o'clock in the morning, nor Pendarves,
where my friends lived, to whom my visit was intended,
until Monday ; therefore, I concluded to alter my
route, and visit Lord Hatherton and family, then
staying at Torquay, near Torbay, (see map,) a cel-
ebrated watering place, on account of his daughter's
health. He knew I was going to Cornwall, and had
written to me to come there, without fail, either


going or returning. I arrived there Saturday afternoon,
and put up at the hotel, but that would not do, so they
sent immediately for my luggage, and told me I must
stay the week, and give up my visit to Cornwall, and
let them have the time. That, however, could not be
done, but I determined to stay until Tuesday, and then
they said it must be Thursday ; but I compromised the
matter, and decided to leave on Wednesday. It is
impossible persons should be kinder than they were, and
from the manner in which they treat me, you might
infer that I was one of the family. Sunday, after
church, as Lord Hatherton was indisposed. Lady Hath-
erton offered to be my cicerone, and walked with me
several miles, about these most beautiful and picturesque
shores. On Sunday night, the Bishop of Exeter, whose
country residence is here, and whom I had met at several
places in London, and who begged me to visit him
when I came this way, sent for Lord and Lady Hather-
ton and myself, to dine with him on Monday. On
Monday forenoon. Lord Hatherton, the Bishop, and
myself, took a walk of four hours, and on Tuesday, of
six hours, around these beautiful shores. The gen-
tlemen were full of anecdote and interesting reminis-
cences, making the time pass most agreeably. On
Wednesday morning, as I was to start very early, Lord
Hatherton sent for me into his dressing-room, to urge me
to come back that way, on my return from Cornwall,
and make them another visit, but that I cannot do. I
mention it to show their kindness.

On Wednesday, I rode to Plymouth, thirty-six miles,
through a most picturesque country, but could go no
farther, on account of the aiTangement of the coaches.


until the next day at ten. Plymouth, however, in its
docks, forts, and breakwater, he, he, was exceedingly
interesting. On Thursday, I proceeded to Truro, fifty
miles, through a pelting rain. I never knew it rain
harder. I was outside the coach, and supposed I was
tolerably well sheltered. When, however, I got off the
coach at Truro, I found myself wet entirely through
and dripping. A comfortable fire and supper, however,
presently restored me. It was a most rainy and tem-
pestuous night. On Friday, the weather was still
cloudy, but not wet, and I went on, by one conveyance
and another, fourteen miles, to Pendarves, the name of
the residence of my friends. They had sent their car-
riage two days to the station, for me, and had nearly
given me up. Nothing could be more hearty than the
welcome I received. The house was full of company,
— gentlemen and ladies invited to meet me. Never were
kinder people, and the house contained every provision
for comfort of the body and the recreation and gratifica-
tion of the mind. I told them they must give me a few
hours to myself in the morning, and I would be at their
service, after lunch, at two o'clock. The woman came
in every morning, at half-past six, to make my fire, and
the servant to bring my clothes, neatly bmshed, soon
after, so that I had some time for reading and writing
before breakfast at half-past nine. There was no want
of books, had I not been supplied, for Mr. Pendarves's
private library contains more than six thousand volumes,
all catalogued. I passed from Friday until Thursday
evening with them. They invited me to stay until
Christmas ; but that could not be. On Thursday eve-
ning, I went to dine at Lady Bassett's, (a peeress in her


own right,) living in the neighborhood, whose invitation
to visit I had received sometime before in London, and
who I found had waylaid me at Mr. Pendarves's. I wish
I could give you an account of my visit here, but I fear
my letters will tire you. I left them on Saturday
morning, with a promise that, if it should storm on
Tuesday, so that I could not take the boat for Bristol, I
would return there, they kindly expressing the hope that
it would certainly storm, so as to drive me back. Every
thing here was elegant. Many persons were staying
in the house, and, among others, a most accomplished
woman and her daughter, Mrs. Abel, formerly resident
at St. Helena. Bonaparte lodged at her house three
months, while his own residence was in preparation,
and she, a little gay girl, was his special favorite. She
has published an account of her intimacy with Napo-
leon, in a journal, which is interesting and well written.
She and her daughter played and sung together — I have
heard nothing of the kind superior. There were sev-
eral other persons present — among others, an agree-
able and intelligent Episcopal clergyman. I have already

recounted my visit to the mine, in my letter to Mr.

and your mother. In the afternoon, I came here, on a
visit to Col. Scobell, formerly in the army, but for several
years an extensive farmer in this vicinity — a man of
great urbanity and intelligence, and with a most kind
family. I found a party invited to meet me at dinner,
at seven o'clock last evening, but owing to some negli-
gence of the coaches, I did not reach here until eight.
Their carriage had been waiting an hour for me in the
town. To-moiTOw he carries me to Land's End, to see
all that is to be seen ; and in order to accomplish all that


can be done in a single day, he has arranged to have
three relays of post-horses on the route. Is not this
attention with a witness ? I cannot be grateful enough
for the kindness I have received everywhere. Nothing
seems possible to exceed it. As to the elegancies with
which this class of people here are surrounded, I need
say nothing farther. Lady Bassett, though a single
lady, provides a dinner for fifty people in the house
every day, or rather, including servants, has that number
to dine, upon an average, the whole year. She and
Mrs. Pendarves have, both of them, large waiting-rooms
fitted up for the poor, who come to them for charity,
which they dispense most liberally. Adieu.


Penzance, Cornwall, 17tli November, 1844.
My Deak Sir:

I WROTE to Mrs. C a hurried line yesterday. I

send this for the purpose of giving you some account
of my visit yesterday to one of the mines of Corn-
wall. This county is in the district of mines, and its
whole territory seems to be underlaid with copper and
tin, much of it of the richest kind, as you may infer
from the fact that a cubic fathom of the ore upon which
I saw the miners at work yesterday, would, it was
judged, yield £100 in value. For miles and miles
after you enter the country, the surface is broken,
presenting the appearance of immense piles of gravel
and sand ; it is studded all over with water-wheels


and immense steam-engines, which are constantly ele-
vating and depressing their gigantic arms in pumping
the mines ; and the streams of water pouring out in
different directions from the " adits " of the mines, are
colored with the ore, like blood.

I came here to visit my friends Mr. and Mrs. Pendarves.
Mr. P. is a large proprietor. One of his mines within
the last twenty years has yielded him £80,000. He has
been a member of Parliament for many years. They
were anxious that I should see the mining district ;
and since I have been in England they have treated me
with such extraordinary kindness, that I felt it would
be hardly right for me to quit England without visiting
them, and I had likewise a great desire to do it. I
came here about ten days since ; and have found
much to be seen interesting in an agricultural view, as
well as in other respects. After seeing the mining
country generally, it was proposed a week ago, that I
should explore one of the richest copper mines, and
rather incautiously I agreed to the project, which was to
be carried into execution on the coming Saturday. After
engaging to do it, I had a dozen minds to abandon the
project, and for two or three nights I got very little sleep,
from the apprehension of what I was to go through ; I
felt, indeed, very much like a condemned criminal, who
was looking forward to his execution. I dare say you
will smile at this ; and the idea that I should think so
much of what hundreds of men do every day of their
lives without thinking at all of it, may amuse you ; but
to a novice and a landsman, it was no small affair to
descend by a ladder in utter darkness, into the bowels of
the earth six or seven hundred feet below the surface.



The morning however came, and after having said my
prayers and eaten a very imperfect and hurried breakfast,
I left for the mine, and reached there at half-past nine
with my heart in my mouth, wishing that almost any
thing could happen, that I should not be obliged to go
down. But there was no alternative, and I proceeded
to prepare myself. First, every article of clothing was
to be taken off, and I must put on a flannel shirt, flannel
drawei-s, canvass trousers, canvass jacket, cow-hide
shoes without any stockings, a white, flat hat, which
seemed to me to be made of board, and resembled a
barber's washbasin inverted, and above all, a white
nightcap. The white nightcap, which came down to
my eyes, with the exception of the black bows, seemed to
me so much like the cap which was to be drawn over the
eyes before the poor fellows were swung off, that I really
felt very much like one being led to execution. A candle
was then put into my hands stuck in a piece of clay, which
we lighted at the mouth of the shaft, and with one man
with a candle before, and another after, we proceeded to
descend. " Hold on," was the cry ; " take care of your
candle ; " " mind your steps ; " " grasp the round of the
ladder; " " put your foot on the round before you let go
your hand," were the exhortations continually given, and
sufficiently startling, when you felt that a single mis-step
or the breaking of a single round, might send you down
into unfathomable darkness, from whence there would be
no ascent. There were occasional platforms on which
the different ladders rested, where we took breath, but
the greatest care was requisite in order to reach the
next ladder in safety ; and at repeated intervals, we saw
immense caverns or drifts, ofl^ at the sides, and penetrating


to unknown depths. At last, when we had descended
between six and seven hundred feet, the guide said here
we would quit the shaft, and commence our horizontal
explorations. We left the ladders and then took a side
cut by a passage which we traversed — so low that we
were obliged to keep our heads as low as our hips — dark,
damp, and dismal, sometimes crossing a pile of broken
stones; at others, crossing on planks over holes of
unknown depth, with many cautions to " look out,"
when there was nothing to look at but those deep pits
and caverns ; occasionally coming to open chambers,
where we could stand erect ; at other times, to crevices,
where only a man of moderate dimensions could wrig-
gle through plank-fashion ; at other times, to holes
where you could only pass upon your hands and knees,
sometimes stumbling among rubbish, sometimes going
over shoes in water. When at last, in a sort of lofty
chamber, we sat ourselves down to rest, we soon heard
at a distance, the rumbling of a carriage, like far off
thunder, and a loaded rail-car was driven by us by men
with torches in their hands, half clad, and so black,
with their eyes shining like cats' eyes in the dark, that
they looked like children who had never known any
other home than these infernal regions. So we pursued
our way through one crevice and another, one dark
chamber and another, over one frightful hole and another ;
sometimes ascending and descending wooden ladders ;
sometimes upon rope ladders which could not be held
still, and which left you swinging over these fright-
ful abysses, occasionally hearing at vast distances the
pecking of the miners, occasionally seeing far off in the
extended and dark galleries, sometimes fifty feet above


you and sometimes as far below you, parties of miners
with their candles stuck upon the walls, beatin<>; and
breaking and drilling the hard stones, and looking I can
hardly tell you like what ; and sometimes in our long
walks passing several parties of these inhabitants of the
lower regions ; sometimes meeting a single one, so black
and looking so different from any thing you see above,
that you start back from him with a sort of instinctive
shudder ; when, after awhile, we were ordered to stand
still. Then began a discharge of successive and temfic
explosions, (the charges for which, had been ordered to
be kept until I was near enough to hear them, and at the
same time secure from injury.) At first the cry ran
through the mines, " take care, take care," which, with-
out seeing any person, you heard repeated from one to
the other, until the sound seemed to die away at an
almost immeasurable distance, and you heard the miners
everywhere dropping their tools and preparing for the
blast ; then came a tremendous explosion, which seemed
directly under our feet ; then another and another in
quick succession ; then several at once, which you heard
echoed and re-echoed, as the reverberation passed along
through the deep and distant galleries ; and then the
whole seemed to be answered by a general discharge so
far off that the sound appeared scarcely audible. The
mine now became full of smoke ; the heat below was
very great, certainly as high as eighty degrees, and it
had grown hotter and hotter. My breathing now was
very difficult, and I felt quite faint, but did not dare
complain. After having traversed, for aught I know,
miles under ground in this way, and seen the whole
process of getting out the ore, it was determined to


return to the sliaft and coinmence the ascent. This we
reached after awhile — how found by the guides, heaven
only knows, for I myself had no more idea in what
direction we were going, than if I had been utterly blind.
The ascent was extremely laborious, and had it not
been for the successive rests, I believe I should have
given up in despair, and taken the fatal plunge. I
cannot tell you how grateful I was when it was
announced that day-light could nov/ be seen ; and still
more so when I stepped from the top round of the ladder
in broad day light, and felt myself once more upon the
surface of the earth. My first impulse was to thank
God for my safety ; never was any poor wretch who had
been reprieved at the foot of the scaffold, more thankful ;
my second was to look at myself, and admire my own
appearance ; my third was to enjoy the shouts of laugh-
ter of the workmen, men and women above ground, who
saw me emerge, looking like the very d — I himself, and
of Mr. Pendarves, who had been waiting until he had
almost given us up in despair, to see me come out. A
good warm bath, a thorough ablution in a warm room,
and some clean clothes, soon made " Richard himself
again." I would not have missed the enterprise upon
any account, had I known previously what it was ; but
I hardly know what would induce me to repeat it, and
thus ends my mining experience. There are seven
hundred people at work in this mine, and there is a
population of eighty thousand miners in the neighbor-
hood. The life which these poor fellows lead, is
certainly hard enough ; and yet they prefer it " to
going to grass," as they term working upon the land.
The time employed in actual mining, is about eight hours



in twenty-four ; but including the time taken up in
ascending and descending, in dressing and washing, and
in taking care of their tools, they are occupied about
twelve hours. Their regular wages are about ten shil-
lings per week ; but as they often take jobs or work upon
tribute, as it is called, having a certain per centage upon
the sales of their ore, they sometimes make several
pounds per week, if they happen to get a good '' pitch,"
as they tenn it. This, ho\\'ever, is of course wholly
uncertain. Their lives are shortened by their labor, and
they seldom live beyond forty-five years. Many of them
are destroyed by various accidents. On coming out,
they have always a warm bath and clean clothes to put
on ; but as they have families to provide for, on their
small wages, they are compelled to live very meanly,
seldom getting meat, and no tea, or coffee, or butter.
Many of them are tee-totalers ; but the state of morals
here in some other respects, is said to be most deplorable.
England and Scotland in every part, among the lower
classes, (L-eland is an exception,) must be said, in respect
to dissoluteness, to be rotten to the core.

I thought you would feel an interest in my mining
adventures, but I am afraid I have made them tedious to
you. This is an interesting country, and from what I
have seen of the people, they seem from their dialect and
many of their customs to be clear Marbleheaders. Thus
they say born, for bam ; cort, for cart ; shaw, for show ;
and their grammar is a protracted murder of the King's
English by inches.

I came on here last evening, to visit by particular
invitation of Col. Scobell, some extraordinary agricultural
improvements. To-morrow I go to Land's End, and


as it will be economical both of time and money, I
shall, unless the weather is tempestuous on Tuesday,
take the steamer to Bristol, where I expect to arrive on
Wednesday morning. My expectation is to return to
London by the first of December, and not leave it for any
length of time until my Reports of English Agriculture
are completed. Yours truly.



Painswick, Gloucestershire, 2nd December, 1844.

I AM now on my way from Bristol and Clifton. The
fields in many places are as green as in summer, and the
flowers, the roses, the laurels, and many other shrubs are
in perfection. Last Friday week I picked ripe strawber-
ries from the vines in the open air, and we had ripe
currants and strawberries for dessert at dinner, and ripe
raspberries also, all gathered that day. I cannot say
they were very good, for at this advanced season they
become tasteless. One of the most beautiful shrubs
which I have seen is the arbutus, a long lane of which I
was shown the other day, covered with its crimson and
white fruit ; I never saw any thing of the kind hand-



Paiiiswiok, near Gloucester, 2iid December, 1S44.
My Dear M :

I HAVE not yet received my letters by the steamer,
but I must not let a boat go without writing ; though let
me forewarn you not to give yourself anxiety, should such
an event occur, as it might happen for twenty reasons
beyond my control.

My last was dated at Pendarves, just as I had emerged
from a deep mine. I look back upon the expedition
with great satisfaction, now that it is accomplished ; but
there must be very strong inducements to lead me to a
repetition of the adventure. I still in truth feel the
effects of it ; the skin is not yet mended on my feet ; my
muscles are somewhat stiffened, and I fancy that my
breathing is not quite so free as formerly ; but a short
time will put all things right. It was, however, no
small affair to go up and down ladders more than six hun-
dred feet in length, holding on by one hand and carrying
a torch in the other, and then to walk and clamber and
creep and crawl two miles or more under ground after
we got down. But what do the poor fellows do, to
whom much more than this is a daily task, and seven
hundred of whom belong to this single mine, some of
whom, it is said, have to descend daily more than twelve
hundred feet to their work, and I have heard it stated
in some cases eighteen hundred.

After leaving the mine I took the railroad for Pen-
zance, to visit Col. Scobell. His carriage was awaiting


my arrival, and I soon found myself in a most agreeable
and polite circle of friends. He himself is a large farmer
and improver, has seen much of the world, and is full of
information, and kinder people I never knew. They
did every thing for me in their power, and would have
done twice as much if they could.

I reached there on Saturday evening, and on Sunday
I was suffering too much from my mining expedition to
go to church. On Monday I rode to Land's End, and

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Online LibraryHenry ColmanEuropean life and manners; in familiar letters to friends (Volume 1) → online text (page 20 of 25)