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“But Avon marched in more stately path,
Proud of his adamants* with which he shines,
And glistens wide; as als of wondrous Bath
And Bristow faire, which on his waves he buildeth hath.” – Spenser

THE city of Bristol has enjoyed a celebrity of many centuries, and is
continually adding to her power and affluence by that spirit of enterprise which
has drawn tribute from the remotest shores and peopled her harbour with the
ships of all nations. The commercial Importance which she acquired at so early
a period of our history, and which gave her for a time so preponderating an
influence over the other ports and harbours of the kingdom, has been sustained
by her spirited citizens with a skill and industry rarely equaled and never
surpassed. To the great facilities formerly enjoyed by the merchants of Bristol
another advantage has been added by the construction of the Great Western
Railway, which has opened a rapid channel of intercourse between the Thames
and the Severn, — the London docks and the harbour of Bristol. This event has
been still further advantageous in having given origin to various ramifications of
the same means of conveyance, so that the products of our native manufactures
can be thrown into this channel, and an interchange effected, with a cheapness
and facility quite unprecedented in the history of our inland commerce. That
Bristol has recently extended her commercial interests by her connexion with
the West Indies, Russia, France, and Germany, is abundantly indicated by
the numerous traders from those countries which are to be seen Jading and
unlading in her port.

Bristol possesses no less than nineteen parish churches, with a population
not including the suburbs—considerably under sixty thousand. The cathedral,
an ancient and most venerable pile, was founded about the middle of the twelfth
century by the mayor of Bristol, and, till the reign of Henry the Second, it served
as a priory of Black

• In allusion to the crystal-brilliants, long known as “Bristol diamonds.”

Canons. It was then converted into an abbey, and subsequently, on the
dissolution of monastic establishments, under Henry the Eighth, it underwent the
further change into a cathedral, dedicated to the Holy Trinity. A bishop, dean, six
secular canons or prebendaries, one archdeacon, six minor canons or priests’-
vicars, a deacon and subdeacon, six lay clerks, six choristers, two grammar
schoolmasters, four almsmen, and others, were endowed with the site, church,
and greatest part of the lands of the old monastery. The various changes it has
undergone exhibit the finest specimens of English architecture peculiar to the
several periods at which they took place. All the ornamental work is of the purest
design, and elaborately executed, but on which our limited space will not permit
us to enlarge. Several of the lateral chapels are in fine taste and preservation,
containing monuments of the founder, of several abbots, and bishops ; also
those erected to the memory of Mrs. Draper — the “Eliza” of Sterne, Mrs. Mason,
and Lady Hesketh, which awaken feelings of deep interest in every mind imbued
with the literary history of the last century.

On the east bank of the Avon is Redcliff Parade, affording a beautiful
prospect of the city, shipping, and surrounding country. The quay, which extends
from St. Giles’s to Bristol Bridge, exceeds a mile in length, and is known by the
quaint names of the Back, the Grove, and the Gib. On the banks of the river
below the city are numerous dockyards, as well as the merchants’ floating dock.
The several squares in Bristol are handsome: Queen’s-square has a spacious
walk, shaded with trees, and an equestrian statue of William III., by Rysbrach, in
the centre ; King’s-square is well built on an agreeable slope ; on the north west
side of the city is Brandon-hill, where the laundresses dry their linen, as they
profess, in virtue of a charter from Queen Elizabeth.

Clifton, two miles west of Bristol, is charmingly situated on the summit of
the northern cliffs above the river Avon ; many of the houses are occupied by
invalids, who seek the aid of Bristol Hot Wells, situated at the western extremity
of Clifton, near the stupendous rock of St. Vincent. From its summit above the
banks of the Avon there is a fine prospect of the river and its environs, embracing
some of the most fertile land in Somersetshire, as well as the western part of
Bristol .

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