the purpose of gaining land from that estuary which formerly divided Kent from the Isle of Thanet. The estuary is no more, and deplorable are the consequences which have followed its loss; for towns have dwindled into villages, and villages into solitary farm-houses, throughout the entire district through which it flowed; trade and commerce have declined, and population has suffered a most extensive and frightful reduction.
In exchange for the ancient prosperity of this neighbourhood, we have large fens or salt marshes, rich in fertility and malaria; but in this, as in the former contest, the sea has had the best of it; for Bede has clearly expressed in his writings that "the Isle of Thanet was of considerable bigness, containing, according to the English way of reckoning, 600 families." Supposing, therefore, a family or a hide of land to contain only 64 acres, the smallest quantity taken by any author of credit, the quantity of land, at the time he wrote, will amount to 38,400 acres; which, exclusive of the salt marshes, is double the quantity contained in the island at the present time; we have, therefore, lost more land than we have gained, and, most unfortunately, the safe and eligible port of Sandwich into the bargain.
The port of the town of Sandwich, was for centuries one of the best and most frequented in the realm, producing to the revenue of the customs between sixteen and seventeen thousand pounds. But with the decay of her haven, commerce declined, and the revenue became so small, "that it was scarcely sufficent to satisfy the customer of his fee:" a dull and melancholy gloom is now spread through all her streets, and around her walls, where, during the times that her haven was good and her woollen manufactures were prosperous, naught was visible but activity, industry, and opulence. Her sun has been long and darkly eclipsed; but with a little well-directed exertion on the part of her inhabitants, and a moderate expenditure, it might be made to shine again, though not, perhaps, in all the brilliancy of its former splendour.6
Dover, the other port remaining to be noticed, is certainly a flourishing town at present; but to what does it owe its prosperity? Not to any of its advantages as one of the Cinque Ports, but to the circumstances of its being the port of communication with out Gallic neighbours, and to its having become frequented for the purpose of sea-bathing, which latter is a recent event. As a sea-bathing place it is likely it may appear cheerful and gay, even when the Continent is closed against us; but before it became a candidate for the favour of the migratory hordes of the summer months, it was, during the period of a war with France, one of the dullest towns in the kingdom.
The last calamity which I shall notice, is the attack which was made upon their home trade. They were, by their charter, to have full liberty of buying and selling, which privilege was opposed by the citizens of London, who disputed their right to buy and sell freely their woollens in Blackwell Hall. The charter of the ports is one hundred years older than that of London, but, notwithstanding this priority of right, the citizens of London prevailed. The result was indeed calamitous, for after the decay of the haven, the chief source of prosperity to the town of Sandwich consisted in the woollen manufactures, and as the freedom of buying and selling was now denied, the manufacturers immediately removed, and were soon followed by the owners of the trading vessels, and the merchants; and thus basely deprived of those advantages from which arose their ancient opulence and splendour, they sank with rapidity into that insignificance and poverty which have unfortunately remained their inseparable companions up to the present hour. Among the princes who have executed the high and honourable office of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, we find the names of the brave and unfortunate Harold, in the time of the Confessor, and Edward, Prince of Wales, in the time of Henry III. Henry V., when Prince of Wales, held this office, which was afterwards filled by Humphry, Duke of Gloucester. James II., when Duke of York, was Lord Warden, as was also Prince George of Denmark, with many other princes of the royal blood. In celebrated names among the nobility, the catalogue of Lords Warden is eminently rich. The family of Fiennes occurs frequently, as does also that of Montfort. Hugh Bigod; several of the family of Cobham, as well as the names of Burghersh, De Grey, Beauchamp, Basset, and De Burgh, are studded over the calendar, in the early reigns. Edward, Lord Zouch, and George, Duke of Buckingham, were Lords Warden in the reign of James I.; since that period the office has been filled by the Duke of Ormond; the Earl of Holdernesse, whose attention to the advantages of the ports was great; Lord North, the late Mr. Pitt, whose affability and condescension, added to a real regard for the prosperity of the Cinque Ports, and an unremitted attention to the duties of the Wardenship, gained him universal esteem; and lastly, by that honest and respected stateman, the late Earl of Liverpool. The mantle of the ports has now fallen on his Grace the Duke of Wellington, than whose name there does not exist a greater in the catalogue of Lords Warden. The public spirit displayed by the Duke, since his wardenship, cannot be too widely known, nor too highly applauded,—his grace having paid into the Treasury, for the public service, the whole amount of the proceeds of his office, as Lord Warden, thus furnishing a noble example of magnanimity and disinterestedness.
[The clever stanzas transferred from a late number of the Literary Gazette to No. 572 of the Mirror, are from the spirited pen of Mr. Charles Swain: they are the most poetical and appropriate of the tributes yet inscribed to the memory of Sir Walter Scott, although this is but mean praise compared with their merit. In the Gazette of Saturday last, the following additions are suggested by two different correspondents, "though," as the editor observes, "they are offered with great modesty by their authors."]
And after these, with hand in hand, the Sisters Troil appear;
Poor "Mina's" cheek was deadly pale, in "Brenda's" eye a tear;
And "Norna," in a sable vest, sang wild a funeral cry,
And waved aloft a bough of yew, in solemn mystery.
"George Heriot" crap'd, and "Jenkin Vin" with prentice-cap in hand—
Ev'en "Lady Palla" left her shrine to join that funeral band;
But hood and veil conceal'd her form—yet, hark! in whisper's tone
She breathes a Christian's holy prayer for the mighty spirit flown.
A wail!—a hollow, churchyard wail!—a wild weird-sister's cry!—
Ah! "Annie Winnie," thou too here?—and "Alice?"—vanish—fly!
"Not so," they shrieked, "we'll see the corse—the bonny corse; 'twas meet—
And pity 'twas we were not there to bind his winding sheet."
Old "Owen" passed with tottering step, and lost and wandering looks;
"He's balanced his account," he cried, "and closed his earthly books;"
Bold "Loxley," with his bow unbent—unhelm'd "Le Belafré,"
Together pass'd—the archer wiped one silent tear away.
Stern "Bridgenorth," with his daughter's arm hung on his own, stalk'd by;
The blushing "Alice" veils her face from "Julian Peveril's" eye:
"Alack-a-day," 'Daft Davie' cries—"come, follow, follow me,
We'll strew his grave with cowslip buds and blooming rosemary."
In distance from the mournful throng, like stars of other spheres,