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From London to Land's End Daniel Defoe

Appendix To Land's End

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Then there are a vast number of sunk rocks (so the seamen call them), besides such as are visible and above water, which gradually lessen the quantity of water that would otherwise lie with an infinite weight and force upon the land. It is observed that these rocks lie under water for a great way off into the sea on every side the said two horns or points of land, so breaking the force of the water, and, as above, lessening the weight of it.

But besides this the whole TERRA FIRMA, or body of the land which makes this part of the isle of Britain, seems to be one solid rock, as if it was formed by Nature to resist the otherwise irresistible power of the ocean. And, indeed, if one was to observe with what fury the sea comes on sometimes against the shore here, especially at the Lizard Point, where there are but few, if any, out-works, as I call them, to resist it; how high the waves come rolling forward, storming on the neck of one another (particularly when the wind blows off sea), one would wonder that even the strongest rocks themselves should be able to resist and repel them. But, as I said, the country seems to be, as it were, one great body of stone, and prepared so on purpose.

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And yet, as if all this was not enough, Nature has provided another strong fence, and that is, that these vast rocks are, as it were, cemented together by the solid and weighty ore of tin and copper, especially the last, which is plentifully found upon the very outmost edge of the land, and with which the stones may be said to be soldered together, lest the force of the sea should separate and disjoint them, and so break in upon these fortifications of the island to destroy its chief security.

This is certain--that there is a more than ordinary quantity of tin, copper, and lead also placed by the Great Director of Nature in these very remote angles (and, as I have said above, the ore is found upon the very surface of the rocks a good way into the sea); and that it does not only lie, as it were, upon or between the stones among the earth (which in that case might be washed from it by the sea), but that it is even blended or mixed in with the stones themselves, that the stones must be split into pieces to come at it. By this mixture the rocks are made infinitely weighty and solid, and thereby still the more qualified to repel the force of the sea.

Upon this remote part of the island we saw great numbers of that famous kind of crows which is known by the name of the Cornish cough or chough (so the country people call them). They are the same kind which are found in Switzerland among the Alps, and which Pliny pretended were peculiar to those mountains, and calls the PYRRHOCORAX. The body is black; the legs, feet, and bill of a deep yellow, almost to a red. I could not find that it was affected for any good quality it had, nor is the flesh good to eat, for it feeds much on fish and carrion; it is counted little better than a kite, for it is of ravenous quality, and is very mischievous. It will steal and carry away anything it finds about the house that is not too heavy, though not fit for its food--as knives, forks, spoons, and linen cloths, or whatever it can fly away with; sometimes they say it has stolen bits of firebrands, or lighted candles, and lodged them in the stacks of corn and the thatch of barns and houses, and set them on fire; but this I only had by oral tradition.

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From London to Land's End
Daniel Defoe

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