Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση


scenes of human industry, and appearing with CHAP. an aspect of greater cheerfulness, because garnished with many picturesque buildings, denoting a numerous and thriving population'. The people of Drammen are said to be richer than those of Christiania ; but they lead a more private and retired life. The principal resident foreigners are from Holland; and these Dutch families


be considered as holding a station at Drammen similar to that of the English in

Christiania. There are also some Italians settled here, who are in a flourishing way. The timber of Drammen does not find a market in England; the deal planks being short and bad : but it goes to Holland, and is there sold.

We changed horses at Bragernæs, and came Hogsund. to Hogsund; having pursued our course through a populous and delightful valley, along the banks of the Drammen. The situation of Hogsund, on the river and near to a cataract which turns some saw-mills, gives it considerable beauty. The clouds were now low, and hung in various fantastic shapes upon the mountains. Hence the distance to Kongsberg is two Norwegian

(1) “ So thickly peopled,” says Mr. Core, “that every fifty yards we observed a cottage, and for several miles together seemed to pass through a continued village."— Travels into Norway, vol. V. p. 232. Lond. 1791.


CHAP. miles, over a very hilly road. Leaving Hoge

sund, we were ferried over the river, and continued our route to Kongsberg, upon the Louven'. We passed a small but pleasing lake upon our left. Towards Kongsberg the mountains became higher, and more denuded towards their summits. We descended a long and steep hill into the town of Kongsberg, entering it by a wooden bridge over a roaring cataract of the river Louven, which made a most tremendous appearance at this season; perhaps owing to the late rains, which might have given a character of more terrific grandeur to this fall of water than

it usually possesses. Kungsberg A man must be indifferent indeed to natural

history, who does not feel some degree of curiosity respecting Kongsberg, in whose mines a mass of native silver was found, in one entire piece, weighing nearly six hundred pounds". But, independently of its mineral celebrity, Kongsberg, as a handsome town, is a place of

(1) See the Map.

(2) « Quid Norvegiæ in fodinis Kongsbergensibus, ubi jam per secuJum vix nisi argentum nativum et semel iterumque etiam aurum, tanquam auræ melioris progenies, in lucem et diem gelidissimum plenissimo sæpe cornu prodierat, cujus annuum proventum ab anno 1711, ad 1724, sistere volupe est, ut inde miranda naluræ phænomena in regno subterraneo existentia luculentius contemplari liceat."-Svedenborg in prafal. "Regni Subterranii.


considerable distinction in Norway. The streets CHAP. are wide, and many of the houses are neat and well-built. Its very existence, however, is owing to the excavations carried on here, in search of precious ore; for when this was first discovered, there was hardly a cottage near the spot. This event took place in the year 1623', Original by means of a boy, whose foot, in pursuing of the silver some cattle, was arrested and caught by a hook or thread of native silver projecting above the surface of the rock. Very different accounts are given respecting the profits which the Danish Government has derived from the Kongsberg mines: the general opinion, however, seems to be, that the undertaking is attended with loss. It was stated to us, upon authority which we were inclined to credit, because coming from those who had the principal management of the works, that the annual loss to Government amounted to 240,000 rix-dollars: and when we inquired, why, under such circum

(3) Pontoppidan is agreed as to the date of the discovery, but differs as to the manner of its being made. He relates a somewhat improbable story of the herdsmen pelting each other with the ore. (See Nat. Hist. of Norway, vol. I. p. 189. Lond. 1755.) And the story of the boy, whose foot was caught by a thread of native silver, is too much of a piece with the circumstance related as to the origin of the famous Peruvian mine, not to suppose that the two narratives had, at the least, a common origin. -The discovery of the rich mine of Potosi is said to have happened on the 24th of April, 1545.

CHAP. stances, the excavations were continued, we

were told that the employment given to a great number of inhabitants, who would otherwise be without the means of subsistence, induced the Danish Government to persevere. But that an endeavour is making to contract the works, is plain from this circumstance, that every miner is encouraged to leave Kongsberg by a premium offered to him of a year's pay after his departure. The very nature of the mine must have given rise to extraordinary vicissitudes of hope and disappointment; because, as the search is carried on in pursuit of imbedded masses of native metal, dispersed for the most part in capillary forms and unconnected laminæ, rather than in any regular veins, it must happen that the labour will frequently prove abortive for a considerable length of time, and, at intervals, be perhaps attended with sudden and unexpected success. Pontoppidan, whose account of the works here was written in 1751, calls it' “the present flourishing mine at Kongsberg.He says, that, to the best of his knowledge, it is “ the most considerable and of the greatest profit of any mine in Europe ; and in respect of pure massy silver veins, quite inexhaustible."

State of the Works.

(1) Nat. Hist. of Norway, Vol. I. p. 189. Lond. 1755.

First Set

In pro

The first inhabitants of the new-built town of CHAP.

VIII. Kongsberg, when the works commenced under the auspices of Christian the Fourth, were miners tlers. from Germany; and they were the ancestors of the many thousands now living there. In cess of time, the German settlers mixed with the other inhabitants; and now all of them are under the direction and government of the College of Miners. The silver, as it was before Remarkstated, occurs in lumps of native metal : but so cimens of unusual is this circumstance, that when the mine was first discovered, many refused to give credit to the fact of such masses being actually brought to light. We shall mention some of the most considerable. The first, is that preserved in the Royal Museum at Copenhagen"; its weight being five hundred and sixty Danish pounds, and its value five thousand rix-dollars. It is a

the Native Metal.

(2) See the account of Copenhagen, in the preceding Volume of these Travels, p. 95.

(3) Pontoppidan says it is the same of which the measure in Danish feet, &c, is thus given by Olig. Jacobeus, in his Museum Regium, p.31. Minera ingens argenti er fodinis Norvegia, pedum quinque et pollicum sex longitudinem æquat, crassitiem verò in circumferentia pedum quatuor." And the dimensions, as here stated, seem to coincide with our own measurement of the specimen now preserved in the Royal Cabinet. " Anno 1666, d. 24. Augusti ex fodina Norv. Regiomontana, que Nova Spei appellatur vulgò, extracta est 560 librarum pondere, et a præfecto fodinæ memoratæ, pretio 5000 imperialium estimata. Huic non dissimilis massa, anno 1630, regnante in Dania divo Christiano Quarto, ex fodina Norvegica quæ Benedictio Divina vulgò, eruta est, quæ 3272 Imperialium pretio estimata."

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »