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LETTER I.

BEAUTIES OF A FINE MORNING ; HIGAGATE ; FINCHLEY-COMMON ; WHETSTONE; CHIPPING BARNET; SEAT OF GEORGE BYNG, ESQ.; ST. ALBAN'S; ITS ABBEY ; BATTLES FOUGHT NEAR IT ; MONUMENT AND ANECDOTES OF BACON ; ORIGIN OF ST. ALBAN'S AND ANTIQUITY; DR. YOUNG; DUNSTABLE ; WOOBURNABBEY, SEAT OF THE DUKE OF BEDFORD ; ANECDOTES OF THE FAMILY : NEWPORT PAGNEL; COWPER THE POET: AMPTHILL ! NORTHAMPTON ; ITS CHURCHES, INFIRMARY, AND TOWN-HALL 3 DODDRWGE AND HERVEY ; A TOKEN OF RESPECT TO THEIR MEMORY.

MY DEAR YOUNG FRIEND, THE entertainment which you were pleased to say you received from the perusal of my Excursion into the West of England, has induced me to send you the following narrative, which, it is hoped, may afford a similar gratification. It has been my aim, in the direction of your studies, to blend together amusement and instruction, thus rendering the ordinary incidents of life subservient to improvement.

Leaving LONDON in the month of June, the Northampton stage took me up at Islington, about five o'clock on a very fine morning. The dew, by which the vegetable creation had been moistened and refreshed during the night, the rays of the sun were now seen gradually exhaling—thus at once enlivening and invigorating the face of nature. My senses, indeed, were on every side regaled; the ear and the eye in particular, at this early time

152

HIGHGATE. of day, received a more than ordinary degree of "gratification:

For who the melodies of morn can tell ?
The wild brook babbling down the mountain's side,
The lowing herd, the shepherd's simple bell,
The pipe of early shepherd dim descried,
In the lone valley; echoing far and wide,
The clamorous horn, along the cliffs above,
The hollow murmur of the ocean tide,

The num of bees and linnet's lay of love, .
And the full choir that wakes the universal grove!

The cottage curs at early pilgrim bark,
Crown'd with her pail, the tripping inilk-maid sings,
The whistling ploughman stalks a-field, and bark!
Down the rough siope the ponderous waggon rings,
Through rustling corn the hare astonish'd springs ;
Slow tolls the village clock the drowsy hour,
The partridge bursts away on whirring wings,

Deep mourns the turtle in sequester'd bower,
Aud.. ... ---Inloor from her aerial tour!

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MINSTREL,

Having ascended Highgate-hill we seemed to breathe a more attenuated atmosphere, and began to view with pleasure the beauties of the surrounding country. From the brow of the hill we are presented with a view of the Metropolis, extending from Chelsea to Limehouse! The numerous steeples impart to the city a beautiful appearance, while St. Paul's cathedral and Westminster abbey, rearing their awful heads, confer grandeur and solemnity.

Highgate is a pleasant village, and the resort of genteel families during the summer season. At

FINCHLEY COMMON.

153 this place the absurd custom is almost obsolete of swearing the country people on their way to London ;-—a pair of large horns are produced, when they take an oath, not to eat brown bread provided · they can get white, &c. They are then taxed with a treat of liquor to the company. It was at the Earl of Arundel's house, Highgate, that the great Lord Bacon breathed his last, the 9th of April, 1626, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. He owed his death to an excessive prosecution of his experiments in philosophy. In the last letter he ever wrote, he compares himself to Pliny the elder, who lost his life by inquiring into the first tremendous eruption of Vesuvius, with a too dangerous curiosity.

From Highgate is a gradual descent into a delightful country. Having once had lodgings here, I recollected, with pleasure, the purity of its air, and the extent of the prospect which cheers the eye and gladdens the heart.

We soon rolled along over Finchley Common, once noted for the depredations of highwaymen, whose bodies suspended on the gibbet used here to meet the eye of the traveller in terrible succession ! It is now cleared of these unhappy men, who infest and disgrace civilized society. On this Common was encamped, in the year 1745, a large body of troops, whence they marched northward, for the suppression of the rebellion then raging in Scotland. The Guards proceeding to Finchley Common, on this memorable occasion, by Hogarth, is a picture, which we have all seen: it exhibits a

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