The air is sharp, yet healthful, giving appetite both to labour and rest, drawing out
man's life longer than those which live in countries subject to fogs and vapours, if they
do not, as the common sort of man in this corrupt age, weaken themselves by excess.
[From Tristram Risdon's Survey of Devon completed in 1632, but not published in
full until 1811.]
A county which is all but the largest in the kingdom; which has afforded the earliest
traces of the existence of man in these islands; which has never from the dawn of
recorded history occupied a secondary place in the national life; which again and again
in the hour of England's need has found the man; whose worthies, century by century,
claim the first rank in every class - soldiers, sailors, lawyers, divines, inventors,
poets, artists, explorers, statesmen, men of science; which, by the staunchness of its
common folk no less than the courage and skill of their leaders, has more than once
proved the pivot whereon the destinies of the State have hung; the history of such a
county is the history of England,...
[Part of the Introductory Note to A History of Devonshire by R.N. Worth, London,