We were not more obliged to Mr Dent for the very friendly readiness he shewed in procuring us this and every other thing we wanted, than for the very liberal and hospitable entertainment we met with at his house, which was open to accommodate us both night and day.
During our stay, the ship’s company was served with fresh beef; and we took on board about fifteen tons of water, which we brought off in the country boats, at the rate of about three shillings per ton. Ships are allowed to water with their own boats; but the many inconveniencies attending it, more than overbalance the expence of hiring shore-boats, which is the most general custom.
Fresh provisions for present use may be got, such as beef, vegetables, and fruit; and hogs, sheep, and poultry for sea stock, all at a pretty reasonable price; but I do not know that any sea-provisions are to be had, except wine. The bullocks and hogs are very good, but the sheep are small and wretchedly poor.
The principal produce of Fayal is wheat and Indian corn, with which they supply Pico and some of the other isles. The chief town is called Villa de Horta. It is situated in the bottom of the bay, close to the edge of the sea, and is defended by two castles, one at each end of the town, and a wall of stone-work, extending along the sea-shore from the one to the other. But these works are suffered to go to decay, and serve more for shew than strength. They heighten the prospect of the city, which makes a fine appearance from the road; but, if we except the Jesuits’ college, the monasteries and churches, there is not another building that has any thing to recommend it, either outside or in. There is not a glass window in the place, except what are in the churches, and in a country-house which lately belonged to the English consul; all the others being latticed, which, to an Englishman, makes them look like prisons.
This little city, like all others belonging to the Portuguese, is crowded with religious buildings, there being no less than three convents of men and two of women, and eight churches, including those belonging to the convents, and the one in the Jesuits’ college. This college is a fine structure, and is situated on an elevation in the pleasantest part of the city. Since the expulsion of that order, it has been suffered to go to decay, and will probably, in a few years, be no better than a heap of ruins.
Fayal, although the most noted for wines, does not raise sufficient for its own consumption. This article is raised on Pico, where there is no road for shipping; but being brought to De Horta, and from thence shipped abroad, chiefly to America, it has acquired the name of Fayal Wine.