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altogether unprecedented. At Dunchurch, a small village on the road to Birmingn:tm, through Coventry, and for a few miles round that place, in all directions, ihe drifts exceeded twenty-four feet, and no tracks of carriages or travellers could oe discovered, except on the great road, for many days.
The Cambridge mail coach coming to London, sunk into a hollow of the road, and remained with the snow drifting over it, from one o'clock to nine in the morning, when it was dragged out by fourteen waggon horses. 1 he passengers, who were in the coach the whole of the time, were nearly frozen to death.
On the 26th, the wind veered to the south-west, and a thaw was speedily discernible. The great fall of the Thames at London-bridge for some days presented a scene both novel and interesting. At the ebbing of the tide, huge fragments of ice were precipitated down the stream ■with great violence, accompanied by a noise, equal to the report of a small piece of artillery. On the return of the tide, they were forced back; but the obstacles opposed to their passage through the arches were so great, as to threaten a total stoppage to the navigation of the river. The thaw continued, and these appearances gradually ceased.
On the 27th, 28th, and 29th, the roads and streets were nearly impassable from floods, and the accumulation of snow. On Sunday the 30th a sharp frost set in, and continued till the following Saturday evening, the 5th of February.
The Falmouth mail coach started from thence for Exeter, after having proceeded a few miles was overturned, without material injury to the passengers. With the assistance of an additional pair of horses it reached the first stage; after which all endeavours to proceed were found perfectly useless, and the letters were sent to Bodmin by the guard on horseback. The Falmouth and Plymouth coach and its passengers were obliged to remain at St. Austell.
At Plymouth, the snow was nearly four feet high in several of the streets.
At Liverpool, on the 17th of January, Fahrenheit's thermometer, in the Athcnteum, stood at fifteen degrees; seven below the freezing point. From the ice accumulated in the Mersey, boats could
not pass over. Almost all labour without doors was at a stand.
At Gloucester, Jan. 17. The severity of the fro<t had not been exceeded by any that preceded it. The Severn was frozen over, and people went to Tewkesbury market across the ice on horseback. The cold was intense. The thermometer, exposed in a north-eastern aspect, stood at thirteen degrees, nine below the freezing point. On the eastern coast, it stood as low as nine and ten; a degree of cold unusual in this county.
Bristol, Jan. 18. The frost continued in ibis city with the like severity. The Floating Harbour from Cumberland basin to the Feeder, at the bottom of Avonstreet, was one continued sheet of ice; and for the first time in the memory of man, the skater made his appearance under Bristol-bridge. The Severn was frozen over at various points, so as to bear the weight of passengers.
At Whitehaven, Jan. 18, the frost had increased in severity. All the ponds and streams were frozen; and there was scarcely a pump in the town that gave out water. The market was very thinly attended', it having been found in many parts impossible to travel until the snow was cut.
At Dublin, Jan. 14, the snow lay in a
?uantity unparalleled for half a century, n the course of one day and night, it descended so inconceivably thick and rapid, as to block up all the roads, and preclude the possibility of the mail coaches being able to proceed, and it was even found impracticable to send the mails on horseback. Thus all intercourse with the interior was cut off, and it was not until the 18th, when an intense frost suddenly commenced, that the communication was opened, and several mail bags arrived from the country on horseback.
The snow in many of the narrow streets of Dublin, after the footways had been in some measure cleared, was more than six feet. It was nearly impossible for any carriage to force a passage, and few ventured on the hazardous attempt. Accidents, both distressing and fatal, occurred In several streets and lanes the poorer inhabitants were literally blocked up in their houses, and in the attempt to go abroad, experienced every kind of misery. The number of deaths from cold and distress were greater than at any other period, unless at the time of the plague. There were eighty funerals on the Sunday before tliii date. The coffin-makers in Cook-street could with difficulty complete their numerous orders: and not a few poor people lay dead in their wretched rooms for several days, from the impossibility of procuring assistance to convey them to the Hospital-fields, and the great difficulty and danger of attempting to open the ground, which was very uneven, and where the snow remained in some parts, twenty feet deep.
From Canterbury, January 25, the communication with the metropolis was not open from Monday until Saturday preceding this date, when the snow was cut through by the military at Chathamhill, and near Gravesend; and the stages proceeded with their passengers. The mail of the Thursday night arrived at Canterbury late on Friday evening, the bags having been conveyed part of the distance upon men's shoulders. The bags of Friday and Saturday night arrived together on Sunday morning about ten o'clock.
Dalrymple, North Britain, January 29.—Wednesday, the 26th, was an epoch ever to be remembered by the inhabitants of this village. The thaw of that and the preceding day had opened the Doon, formerly " bound like a rock," to a considerable distance above this; and the melting of the snow on the adjacent hills swelled the river beyond its usual height, and burst up vast fragments of ice and congealed snow. It forced them forward with irresistible impetuosity, bending trees like willows, carrying down Skelton-bridge, and sweeping all before it. The overwhelming torrent in its awful progress accumulated a prodigious mass of the frozen element, which, as if in wanton frolic, it heaved out into the fields on both sides, covering acres of ground many feet deep. Alternately loading and discharging in this manner, it came to a door or two in the village, as if to apprize the inhabitants of its powers. The river having deserted its wonted channel, endeavoured to make its grand entry by several courses successively in Saint Valley, and finding no one of them sufficient for its reception, took them altogether, and overrunning the whole holm at once, appeared here in terrific grandeur, between seven and eight o'clock in the evening, when the moon retreated behind a cloud, and the gloom of night added to the horrors of the tremendous tceDt. Like a sea, it overflowed all the
gardens on the east side, frorn the cross to the bridge, and invaded the houses behind by the doors and windows, extinguishing the fires in a moment, lifting and tumbling the furniture, and gushing out at the front doors with incredible rapidity. Its principal inroad was by the end of a bridge. Here, while the houses stood as a bank on either side, it came crashing and roaring up the street in full career, casting forth, within a few yards of the cross, floats of ice like millstones. The houses on the west side were in the same situation with those on the east. At one place the water was running on the house-eaves, at another it was near the door-head, and midway up the street, it stood three feet and a half above the door. Had it advanced five minutes longer in this direction, the whole villajre must have been inundated.
During this frost a great number of the fish called golden maids, were picked up on Brighton beach and sold at good prices. They floated ashore quite blind, having been reduced to that state by the snow.
Annexed are a few of the casualties consequent on this great frost. A womar was found frozen to death on the High, gate-road. She proved to have been a charwoman, returning from Highgate, where she had been at work, to Pancras.
A poor woman named Wood, whilt crossing Blackheath from Leigh to the village of Charlton, accompanied by her two children, was benighted, and missed her way. After various efforts to extricate herself, she fell into a hole, and was nearly buried in the snow. From this, however, she contrived to escape, and again proceeded; but at length, being completely exhausted, and her children benumbed with cold, she sat down on the trunk of a tree, where, wrapping her children in her cloak, she endeavoured by loud cries to attract the attention of some passengers. Her shrieks at length were heard by a waggoner, who humanely waded through the snow to her assistance, and taking her children, who seemed in a torpid state, in his arms, he conducted her to a public-house; one of the infants was frozen to death, and the other was recovered with extreme difficulty.
As some workmen were clearing away the snow, which was twelve feet deep, at Kipton, on the border of Northamptonshire, the body of a child about three years old was discovered, and immediately afterwards the body of its mother. She was the wife of a soldier of the 16th regiment, returning home with her infant after accompanying her husband to the place of embarkation. It was supposed they had been a week in the snow.
There was found lying in the road .eading from Longford to Upham, frozen to death, a Mr. Apthorne, a grazier, at Coltsworth. He had left Hounslow at dusk on Monday evening, after having drank rather freely, and proposed to go that night to Marlow.
On his return from Wakefield market, Mr. Husband, of Holroyd Hall, was frozen to death, within little more than a hundred yards of the house of his nephew, with whom he resided.
Mr. Chapman, organist, and master of the central school at Andover, Hants, was frozen to death near Wallop, in that county.
A young man named Monk, while driving a stage-coach near Ryegate, was thrown off the box on a lump of frozen snow, and killed on the spot.
The thermometer during this intense frost was as low as 7° and 8° of Fahrenheit, in the neighbourhood of London. There are instances of its having been lower in many seasons, but so long a continuance of very cold weather was never experienced in this climate within the memory of man.
On Sunday, the 30th of January, the immense masses of ice that floated from the upper parts of the river, in consequence of the thaw on the two preceding days, blocked up the Thames between Blackfriars and London Bridges; and affoided every probability of its being frozen over in a day or two. Some adventurous persons even now walked on different parts, and on the next day, Monday the 31st, the expectation was real,zed. During the whole of the afternoon, hundreds of people were assembled on Blackfriars and London Bridges, to see people cross and recross the Thames on the ice. At one time seventy per10ns were counted walking fiom Queenhithe to the opposite shore. The frost of Sunday night so united the vast
mass as to render it immovable by the tide.
On Tuesday, February 1, the liver presented a thoroughly solid surface over that part which extends from Blackfriars Bridge to some distance below Three Crane Stairs, at the bottom of Queenstreet, Cheapside. The watermen placed notices at the end of all the streets leading to the city side of the river, announcing a safe footway over, which attracted immense crowds, and in a short time thousands perambulated the rugged plain, where a variety of amusements were provided. Among the more curious of these was the ceremony of roasting a small sheep, or rather toasting or burning it over a coal fire, placed in a large iron pan. For a view of this extraordinary spectacle, sixpence was demanded, and willingly paid. The delicate meat, when done, was sold at a shilling a slice, and termed " Lapland mutton. There were a great number of booths ornamented with streamers, flags, and signs, and within them there was a plentiful store of favourite luxuries with most of the multitude, gin, beer, and gingerbread. The thoroughfare opposite Three Crane Stairs was complete and well frequented. It was strewed with ashes, and afforded a very safe, although a very rough path. Near Blackfriars Bridge, however, the way was not equally severe; a plumber, named Davis, having imprudently ventured to cross with some lead in his hands, sank between two masses of ice, and rose no more. Two young womer nearly shared a similar fate; they were rescued from their perilous situation by the prompt efforts of two watermen. Many a fair nymph indeed was embraced in the icy arm* of old Father Thames;—three young quakeresses had a sort of semi-bathing, near I.oudon Bridge, and when landed on teira-firma, made the best of their way through the Borough, amidst the shouts of an admiring populace. From the entile obstruction the tide did not appear to ebb for some days more than one half the usual mark.
On Wednesday, Feb. 2, the sports were repeated, and the Thames presented a complete "Frost Fair." The grand '" mall" or walk now extended from Blackfriars Bridge to London Bridge; this was named the " City-road," and was lined on each side by persons of all descriptions. Eight or ten printing presses were erected and numerous pieces commemorative of he "grent frost"' were printed on the ice. Some of these frosty typographers displayed considerable taste in their specimens. At one of the presses, an orangecoloured standard was hoisted, with the watch-word "Orange Boven," in large characters. This was in allusion to the recent restoration of the stadtholder to the government of Holland, whicli had been for several years under the dominion of the Trench. 1'ioin Otis press the following papers were issued.
"Frost Fa in. "Amidst the arts which on the Thames ap
To tell the wonders of this try year, PniNTiNo claims prior place, which at one
view Krects a monument of That and You."
"You that walk here, and do design to tell Your children's children what this year befell, Come, buy this print, and it will then be seen That such a year as this has seldom been."
Another of these stainer* of paper addressed the spectators in the following terms . " Friends, now is your time to support the freedom of the press. Can the.press have greater liberty? here you find it working in the middle of the Thames; and if you encourage us by buying our impressions, we will keep it going in the true spirit of liberty during the frost." One of the articles printed and sold contained the following lines:
"Behold, the river Thames is frozen o'er, Which lately ships of mighty burden bore; Now different arts and pastimes here you see, But printing claims the superiority."
The Lord's prayer and several other pieces were issued from these icy printing offices, and bought with the greatest avidity.
On Thursday, Feb. 3, the number of adventurers increased. Swings, bookstalls, dancing in a barge, suttling-booths, playing at skittles, and almost every appendage of a fair on land, appeared now on the Thames. Thousands flocked to this singular spectacle of sports and pastimes. The ice seemed to be a solid rock, and presented a truly picturesque appearance. The view of St. Paul's and of the city with the white foreground had a very singular effect;—in many parts, mountains of ice upheaved resembled the rude inicrioi cf a stone quarry.
Friday, Feb. 4. Each day brought a fresh accession of " pedlars to sell iheir wares;" and the greatest rubbisn of all sorts was raked up and sold at double and treble the original cost. Books and toys, labelled " bought on the Thames," were in profusion. The watermen profited: exceedingly, for each person paid a toll of twopence or threepence before he was admitted to " Frost Fair;" some douceur was expected on the return. Some of them were said to have taken six pounds each in the course of a day.
This afternoon, about five o'clock, three persons, an old man and two lads, were on a piece of ice above London-bridge, which suddenly detached itself from the main body, and was carried by the tide through one of the arches. They laid themselves down for safety, and the boatmen at Billingsgate, put off to their assistance, and rescued them from their impending danger. One of them was able to walk, but the other two were carried, in a state of insensibility, to a publichouse, where they received every attention their situation required.
Many persons were on the ice till late at night, and the effect by moonlight was singularly novel and beautiful. The bosom of the Thames seemed to rival the frozen climes of the north.
Saturday, Feb. 5. This morning augured unfavourably for the continuance of "Frost Fair." The wind had veered to the south, and there was a light fall of snow. The visitors, however, were not to be deterred by trifles. Thousands again ventured, and there was still much life and bustle on the frozen element; the footpath in the centre of the river was hard and secure, and among the pedestrians were four donkies; they trotted a nimble pace, and produced considerable merriment. At every glance, there was a novelty of some kind or other. Gaming was carried on in all its branches. Many of the itinerant admirers of the profits gained by E O Tablet, Rouge et Noir, Te-totum, wheel of fortune, the garter, &c. were industrious in their avocations, and some of their customers left the lures without a penny to pay the passage over a plank to the shore. Skittles was played by several parties, and the drinking tents were filled by females and their companions, dancing reels to the sound of hddles, while otheis sat round large tiies, drinking rum, grog, and other spirits. Tea, coffee, and eatables, were provided in abundance, and passengers were invited lo eat by way of recording their visit. Several tradesmen, who at oilier times were deemed respectable, attended with their wares, and sold books, toys, and trinkets of almost every description.
Towards the evening, the concourse thinned; rain began to fall, and the ice to crack, and on a sudden it floated with the printing presses, booths, and merrymakers, to the no small dismay of publicans, typographers, shopkeepers, and sojourners.
A short time previous lo the general dissolution, a person near one of the printing presses, handed the following Jch it'esprit to its conductor; requesting that it might be printed on the Thames.
To Madam Tubitha Thate.
"Dear dissolving dame, "Father Frost and Sister Snow have Honeyed my borders, formed an idol of ire upon my bosom, and all the Lads Oi Los Ijon come to make merry : now as you love mischief, treat the multitude with a few Cracks by a sudden visit, and obtain the prayers of the poor upon both banks. Given at my own press, the 5th Feb. 1814. Thomas Thames."
The thaiv advanced more rapidly than indiscretion and heedlessness retreated. Two genteel-looking young men ventured on the ice above Westminster Bridge, notwithstanding the warnings of the watermen. A large mass on which they stood, and which had been loosened by the flood tide, gave way, and they floated down the stream. As they passed under Westminster Bridge they cried piteously for help. They had not gone far before they sat down, near the edge; this overbalanced the mass, they were precipitated into the flood, and overwhelmed for ever.
A publican named Lawrence, of the Featheis, in High Timber-street, Queenhithe, erected a booth on the Thames opposite Brook's-wharf, for the accommodation of the curious. At nine at night he left it in the care of two men, taking away all the liquors, except •orae gin, which he gave them for their own use.
Sunday, Feb. 6. At two o'clock this mo.ning, the tide began to flow with great rapidity at London Bridge; the thaw assisted the efforts of the tide, and the booth last mentioned was violently hurried towards Blackfriars Bridge. There
were nine men in it, hut in then alarm they neglected the fire and candles, which communicating with the covering, set it in a flame. They succeeded in getting into a lighter which had broken from its moorings. In this vessel they were wrecked, for it was dashed lo pieces against one of the piers of Blackfriars Bridge: seven of them got on the pier and were tnken off safely; the other two got into a barge while passing Puddledoje.
On this day, the Thames towards high tide(about 3 p. m.) presented a miniature idea of the Frozen Ocean ; the masses of ice floating along, added to the great height of the water, formed a striking scene for contemplation. Thousands of disappointed persons thronged the banks; and many a 'prentice, and servant maid, "sighed unutterable things," at the sudden and unlocked for destruction of "Frost Fair."
Monday, Feb. 7. Immense fragments of ice yet floated, and numerous lighters, broken from their moorings, drifted in different parts of the river; many of them were complete wrecks. The frozen element soon attained its wonted fluidity, and old Father Thames looked as cheerful and as busy as ever.
The severest English winter, however astonishing to ourselves, presents no views comparable to the winter scenery of more northern countries. A philosopher and poet of our own days, who has been also a traveller, beautifully describes a lake in Germany:—
Christmas out of doors at Hatzburg.
The whole lake is at this time one mass of thick transparent ice, a spotless mirror of nine miles in extent! The lowness of the hills, which rise from the shores of the lake, preclude the awful sublimity of Alpine scenery, yet compensate for the want of it, by beauties of which this very lowness is a necessary condition. Yesterday I saw the lesser lake completely hidden by mist; but the moment the sun peeped over the hill, the mist broke in the middle, and in a few seconds stood divided, leaving a broad road all across the lake; and between these two walls of mist the sunlight burnt upon the ice, forming a road of golden fire, intolerably, bright! and the mist walls themselves partock of