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JAPAN MANUFACTORY. this retired spot a kind of tumultuous animation. On the manufacture of iron hundreds depend for their livelihood and prosperity.
The Japan Manufactory in this place is deserving inspection. Its ware needs no description, being every where seen and every where admired. There are, indeed, many imitations of it at Birmingham, and at other places; but they are inferior to the productions of the original manufactory.
A canal has been made close to the town, at an immense expence, by which ore and coal are conveyed from their native beds down to Newport, ten miles off, on the Bristol Channel, whence they may be transferred to any part of the habitable world. The banks of the canal afford a pleasant walk to the inhabitants, presenting a prospect of the adjacent country.
Nor should I omit to mention the Folly, a summer-house of semi-circular form, built by the late Mr. Hanbury, (now in ruins), near the extremity of the chain of hills which stretch from from Pontypool park to the Blorenge, near Abergavenny. Hence the wild and beautiful parts of the country are seen to advantage. Few prospects can be said to exceed it, either in beauty or sublimity!
Before I quit my present subject, I shall just notice the apparitions and fairies with which Wales is said to abound. A venerable minister, Mr. Edmund Jones, now deceased, published some years ago a pamphlet, in which were detailed all the tales of the kind which he could muster up throughout the principality. I now sought for APPARITIONS AND FAIRIES. 285 this, but in vain; probably parents had wisely committed it to the flames. I read it when a boy, and under its influence have been fearful of my shadow. The tales consisted of dreadful noises and hideous appearances, all of which it is more than likely originated in the imagination of those who first detailed them. Superstition is ever conjuring up her airy phantoms, and pouring her marvellous tales into the ear of credulity! But the rays of science disperse these shades of darkness, and in the mean time, cherishing the favour of the Supreme Being, we ought to rely on his protection with cheerfulness and serenity.
As to fairies, many a droll story is told of them; and their being inclined to merriment made me wish for a sight of them. My wish, however, was never gratified. They are, in general, said to appear on the side of a mountain, in the dawn of the morning, for some time before the sun rises, which sends them to their abodes of invisibility. A gentleman assured me he had seen them at this time dancing in a circle beneath the foliage of an oak, with tokens of festivity! He said there were myriads of various colours, small in stature, and their music was of that nature that it wrought his soul into ecstasy: He was eager to approach and join them ; but alas ! before he could reach the spot the sun had made its appearance, and they vanished away. Such was the story to which I once listened with a bewitching pleasure. I am now convinced from inquiry, that my informer must have been mistaken; that the appearances 286
SURROUNDING SCENERY. were only exhalations from the ground, and the sounds only the effect of an imagination which had longed for such a gratification. As imaginary beings they form a part of poetic machinery, but ought never to have been admitted among the realities of the Principality. Dr. Beattie has thus delineated these diminutive gentry in his Minstrel :
With merriment and song, and timbrels clear,
Rapid along with many colour'd rays
It would be impossible to attempt a description of the walks, with which the little town of Pontypool is surrounded. Woods and rivulets meet you in every direction. Accustomed to them from early childhood (being only five years of age when my parents removed hither) I feel a pleasure in revisiting them, and even a stranger would acknowledge that their variety entitled them to admiration. Here you may perceive nature sporting herself in ten thousand different forms; here you may indulge that kind of meditation which is essential to improvement:
- Seat of my early years !
287 And calls to view each haunt of sportive youth, Each Jong-lost haunt I loy’d.
SOUTHEY. Having remainded at Pontypool for a few days only, I left it rather suddenly, and set out for London.
Caerlon was my first stage, at the distance of eight miles, a charming ride, where I breakfasted with a worthy family, (that of Mr. R- d's,) remarkable for its hospitality. In my way hither, to the right, on the brow of the hill, once resided the ingenious but eccentric Philip Thicknesse, whose Travels on the Continent are amusing and instructive. Many singular anecdotes are told of him during his continuance in this part of the country. He died in France, 1791. With his widow, an accomplished old Lady, I became acquainted recently at Paddington : with all his oddities he must have been a good husband, for she adored his memory!
In the time of the Romans, London, York, and Caerleon, are mentioned, as the three principal places in the kingdom. Caerleon was then an archbishopric, and thirty British kings are said to have been brought here for interment! A splendid court was kept here, and the famous Prince Arthur, together with the Knights of the Round Table, used here to perform feats of dexterity. Temples, colleges, and baths, once abounded in this place, possessing the grandeur and magnificence of a metropolitan city. But few vestiges are now to be found. The town is dull, and has nothing to recommend it to attention. Antiquities .
NEWPORT. indeed are occasionally dug up, which shew its former importance in the scale of society. A castle formerly commanded its entrance; but even its mouldering remains, some time ago visible, have now disappeared! Time has devoured the ruins.
Caerleon church is a venerable object, and of some extent. Here in June 1791, I heard the late Bishop Watson deliver a very impressive charge to his clergy. - Near the bridge, which used to be a wooden one, but which is now recently built of stone, is a neat place of worship, and the only one in the town, for dissenters. It belongs to the Baptists, and was built by the late Haman Davies, Esq.
A large boat, or vessel, goes from Caerleon to Bristol every week, carrying thither quantities of iron, and bringing back all kinds of goods for the use of the country. About two miles below the town, on the side of the river, may be seen the old mansion of St. Julian's, and two miles farther down, stands the town of Newport, which carries on a trade with places lying on the shores of the Bristol Channel. A handsome stone bridge has been erected here by the son of the architect who built the far-famed arch of Pont-y-pridd, near Caerphilly, in Glamorganshire. The church of Newport, called St. Woola's, rears its head on an eminence, whence there is a charming prospect towards every part of the horizon ! - As I was directing my course to Bristol, the New Passage was the object of my destination. Upon leaving Caerleon, you perceive on the sum