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DESCRIPTION OF MINORCA. Description of the Island of Minorca, and Port Mahon, the present
rendezvous of the United States' squadron in the Mediterranean. Compiled from the best authorities.
MINORCA, anciently called Insula Minor, with reference to its neighbour Majorca, the largest of the Balearic isles, is situated in the Mediterranean sea, in latitude 39° 59' north, and longitude 30° 45' east, and about fifty miles east of the river Ebro, in Spain. It forms part of a circle from southeast 10 north-west, and is about thirteen leagues in length and nearly thirty-eight leagues in circumference. The inhabitants were anciently celebrated as slingers, whence this group of islands acquired the name of Baleares. Minorca was successively possessed by the Carthaginians, the Romans, the Vandals, the Moors, the Arragonese and Castilians, the English, the French, and the Spaniards. It is surrounded by a number of small rocks and islets, and the whole of the south side, with very little exception, is level. The air is moist, but the soil is naturally dry. The island is divided into districts called terminos, the chief towns of which are, Ciudadella; Mahon, Alayor, Ferariąs, and Mercadal. Its principal ports are, Mahon on the east; Fomella on the north; and Ciudadella on the west. The latter, which is also known by the name of Samna, is the capital, and is a small distance inland, about ten or eleven leagues from Mahon. When the island was successively possessed by the Carthaginians and Romans, it was a place of considerable magnificence, but it has greatly declined since, and is now a place of little consequence, its port being greatly inferior to that of Mahon. It is merely a canal, bounded by rocks. The entrance is difficult, and is defended by two large cannon. The city is surrounded partly by an old wall of Moorish origin, and partly by one of modern construction, formed of bastions, with curtains of hewn stone. The streets, like those of most old cities, are narrow, and paved with unhewn stone. The most remarkable building is a cathedral, flanked with a fine tower, said to be built in the third century. The total population of the termino of
which Ciudadella is the capital, probably does not amount te eight hundred.
Port Mahon, where the American squadron has its depot, is the capital of the termino of the same name. It is the most considerable of the island, containing about sixty thousand acres, and is situated on the south-east extremity of Minorca. Nearly one half the inhabitants of the island reside in this termino. The town of Mahon derives its name from Mago, the Carthaginian general, who is universally acknowledged to have been its founder. It stands on a pretty steep eminence, at the west side of the harbour, and is a tolerably large town, with narrow, ill paved, and crooked streets. The fort of St. Philip is near the entrance of the harbour, which it entirely commands, being very extensive, of great strength, with subterraneous works bomb proof, large magazines, numerous and well appointed guns, and every thing else necessary to a complete fortification. Port Mahon is the finest harbour in the Mediterranean, about ninety fathoms wide at its entrance, but widening into a capacious bay within, and extending nearly a league into the island. Beneath the town there is a fine quay, one side of which is appropriated to ships of war, and furnished with every convenience for repairing or refitting; the other to merchantmen. The castle of St. Philip was esteemed to be impregnable, before the English took it. By them it was greatly improved and strengthened; but whatever may be the opinion of its present possessors, experience has pretty well demonstrated, that no place can be considered impregnable that is not defended by a brave and vigilant garrison.
Besides the ports of Ciudadella and Mahon, the most remarkable are, Fornella and Adaya. The former is about six miles from mount Toro, the highest land on the island, is of a circular form, with a narrow entrance towards the south, and is capable of containing the largest fleet. It is defended by a small square fort, with bastions and fosses, capable of containing about three hundred men. The entrance to the port of Adaya, is hid by high lands, and is only used by fish. ermen. Monte Toro, is within a short distance of Mercadal, and commands the whole island. Its form is that of the frustrum of a cone. Mount St. Agatha is situated N. W. of Mercadal, and is next in altitude to Monte Toro. On the summit is a chapel dedicated to the saint, and held in great veneration by the people of the island, who are exceedingly superstitious. The whole of this region is inhabited by shepherds, who feed their flocks principally on these mountains.
Minorca is exposed to the north winds, which are unfavourable to vegetation, but notwithstanding this, snow is seldom or ever seen there in winter, and the air of spring is delightfully serene and temperate. The summer is hot and dry, and in the autumn there falls a great deal of rain. The island is in many parts fertile in vegetation. Its products are wheat, barley, and maize—it produces red and white wines for exportation-plenty of olive trees are every where seen, and oranges, pomegranates, figs, lemons, water-melons, &c. together with garden vegetables, are in great plenty. By late accounts, the horses, mules, and asses, were estimated at 2000—the horned cattle at 7000-sheep, goats, and smaller animals, at 45,000—and hogs at 10,000. Little poultry is raised, but the fish all around the island are excellent, and in great abundance. Its natural curiosities are, a grotto called La Cava Pevalla, near Ciudadella, and a subterranean lake; and its antiquities are Phænician, Macedonian, Carthaginian, Grecian, Roman, and Spanish medals, in gold, silver, and bronze, that are sometimes dug up. There are likewise a number of sepulchres, vases, lamps, urns, &c. made of reddish earth, with illegible inscriptions. The inhabitants are a quiet, peaceable people, attached to their old customs, and very ceremonious in their devotions. Minorca exports cheese, salt, wax, boney and wine, to the amount perhaps of twenty thousand pounds sterling; and receives in return, corn, rice, sugar, coffee, brandy, spices, tobacco, linen, fine cloths, boards, naval stores, and some little furniture.
of his age,
MONUMENT OF LAWRENCE.
In Memory of
He distinguished himself on various occasions;
sloop of war Hornet,
By capturing and sinking
His bravery in action,
In private life,
generous and endearing qualities.
That the whole nation mourned his loss;
[ON THE REVERSE.]
With his expiring breath,
Neither the fury of battle;
His dying words were,
A SKETCH OF THE CHARACTER OF THE LATE CHIEF JUSTIGL
There is no department of knowledge, no pursuit of intellectual enterprize or industry, which offers in the United Staties such munificent rewards to those who deserve them, as the science and practice of the law. Wealth, reputation, and power, are the splendid prizes held out to incite the candidate for forensic eminence. We find, accordingly, that the profession of the law has furnished most of the very distinguished men of whom our country can boast. While we had no native poetry of extraordinary excellence, while the muse of history was almost silent, and our general literature confined to the ephemeral columns of gazettes, our jurisprudence and forensic eloquence might vie with those of the most celebrated nations. The person whose portrait is exhibited in our present number, stood high among the illustrious lawyers and judges of America. We present our readers with a brief sketch of his character. It is taken, on the contracted scale to which our limits restrict us, from an address delivered to the grand jury of the county of Suffolk, soon after his death, by his friend and associate, the honourable judge Parker.
Chief justice Theophilus Parsons was born in February, A. D. 1750, and received the rudiments of his education at Dummer academy, in his native parish of Byefield, within the ancient town of Newbury. His father was minister of that parish. His youth was so successfully devoted to study, that before he arrived at the age of twenty-one, he had acquired a critical knowledge of the Latinand Greek languages, and made considerable progress in logic, metaphysics, and the mathematical sciences. He received the ordinary honours of the university of Cambridge in 1769. He entered upon the study of the law under the late judge Bradbury in Falmouth, now Portland,