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A Residence in France by J. Fenimore Cooper

Part 2 out of 6

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shall be named _honorary_ Commander-in-chief of the National Guards, for
life," said the King. "Sire, how would you like to be an honorary king?"
It is quite apparent that such a friendship could not last for ever.]

Troops of the line began to appear in large bodies as the evening
closed, and the reports now came so direct as to leave no doubt that
there was a sharp contest going on in the more narrow streets of the
Quartier Montmartre. All this time the feelings of the crowd on the
bridges and quays appeared to be singularly calm. There was little or no
interest manifested in favour of either side, and, indeed, it would not
be easy to say what the side opposed to the government was. The Carlists
looked distrustful, the republicans bold, and the _juste milieu_
alarmed.

I went back to the hotel to make my report, again, about nine, and then
proceeded by the quay and the Pont Louis XVI. to the Carrousel. By the
way, I believe I have forgotten to say, in any of my letters, that in
crossing the Place Louis XVI, with a French friend, a month or two
since, he informed me he had lately conversed with Count--, who had
witnessed the execution of Louis XVI, and that he was told there was a
general error prevalent as regarded the spot where the guillotine was
erected on that occasion. According to this account, which it is
difficult to believe is not correct, it was placed on the side of the
Place near the spot where the carriages for Versailles usually stand,
and just within the _borgnes_ that line the road that here diverges
towards the quay. While correcting popular errors of this sort, I will
add that M. Guillotine, the inventor of that instrument that bears his
name, is, I believe, still living; the story of his having been executed
on his own machine, being pure poetry.

Passing by the Rue de Rivoli, I went to see an English lady of our
acquaintance, who resided in this quarter of the town. I found her
alone, uneasy, and firmly persuaded that another revolution had
commenced. She was an aristocrat by position, and though reasonably
liberal, anxious to maintain the present order of things, like all the
liberal aristocrats, who believe it to be the last stand against popular
sway. She has also friends and connexions about the person of the King,
and probably considered their fortunes as, in some measure, involved in
those of the court. We condoled with each other, as a matter of course;
she, because there was a revolution, and I, because the want of faith,
and the stupendous frauds, practised under the present system, rendered
it necessary.

It was near eleven o'clock before I quitted this part of the town. The
streets were nearly deserted, a patrol occasionally passing; but the
strangers were few, scarcely any having yet returned after their flight
from the cholera. The gates of the garden were closed, and I found
sentinels at the _guichets_ of the Carrousel, who prevented my return by
the usual route. Unwilling to make the _detour_ by the way I had come, I
proceeded by the Rue de Rivoli. As I was walking quite near to the
palace, in order to avoid some mud, I came suddenly on a _Garde
National_ who was placed behind a sentry-box _en faction_. I cannot
describe to you the furious scream with which this man cried "_Allez au
large_." If he took me for a body of bloody-minded republicans, rushing
forward to disarm him, I certainly thought he was some wild beast. The
man was evidently frightened, and just in a condition to take every bush
for an enemy. It is true the other party was rather actively employed in
disarming the different guards, but this fellow was within a hundred
feet of the Etat Major, and in no sort of danger. Notwithstanding the
presented bayonet, I am not quite certain he would not have dropped his
arms had I lifted my walking-stick, though one runs more hazard from a
robber, or a sentinel, who is frightened, than from one who is cool.
There was, however, no blood shed.

Finding the Carrousel closed to me, I passed into the Rue St. Honore,
which was also pretty well garnished with troops. A few truculent youths
were shouting a short distance ahead of me, but, on the appearance of a
patrol, they ran off. At length I got as far as the Rue du Coq St.
Honore, and seeing no one in the street, I turned short round its
corner, thinking to get into the court of the Louvre, and to the other
side of the river by the Pont des Arts. Instead of effecting this clever
movement, I ran plump on a body of troops, who were drawn up directly
across the street, in a triple line. This was a good position, for the
men were quite protected from a fire, up or down the great thoroughfare,
while by wheeling on either flank they were ready to act, in a moment,
in either direction.

My reception was not flattering, but the officer in command was too
cool, to mistake a solitary individual for a band of rebels, and I was
suffered to continue up the Rue St. Honore. I got into the rear of this
guard by turning through the next opening. The court of the Louvre was
unguarded and empty, and passing through it, I got a glimpse of a
picturesque bivouac of troops in the Carrousel. Seeing no obstruction, I
went in that direction, and penetrated to the very rear of a squadron of
cuirassiers, who were dismounted, forming the outer line of the whole
body. There may have been three or four thousand men of all arms
assembled in this spot, chiefly, if not all, regular troops. I stayed
among them unobserved, or at least, unmolested, near half an hour,
watching the effect of the different groups, by the light of the camp
fires. Strong patrols, principally cavalry, went and came constantly,
and scarcely five minutes passed without the arrival and departure of
mounted expresses, the head-quarters of the National Guards being in the
palace.

It was drawing towards midnight, and I bethought me of the uneasiness of
those I had left in the Rue St. Dominique. I was retiring by the upper
_guichet_, the only one unguarded, and had nearly reached it, when a
loud shout was heard on the quay. This sounded like service, and it was
so considered by the troops, for the order "_aux armes_" was given in a
moment. The cuirassiers mounted, wheeled into platoons, and trotted
briskly towards the enemy with singular expedition. Unluckily, they
directed their advance to the very _guichet_ which I was also
approaching. The idea of being caught between two fires, and that in a
quarrel which did not concern me, was not agreeable. The state of things
called for decision, and knowing the condition of affairs in the
Carrousel, I preferred siding with _the juste milieu_, for once in my
life.

The cuirassiers were too much in a hurry to get through the _guichet_,
which was a defile, and too steady to cut me down in passing; and, first
giving them a few minutes to take the edge off the affair, if there was
to be any fighting, I followed them to the quay.

This alarm was real, I understood next day; but the revolters made their
retreat by the Pont des Arts, which is impracticable for cavalry,
attacking and carrying a _corps de garde_, in the Quartier St. Jacques.
The cuirassiers were trotting briskly towards the Pont Neuf, in order to
get at them, when I came out on the quay, and, profiting by the
occasion, I got across the river, by the Pont des Arts.

It was strange to find myself alone on this bridge at midnight, in the
heart of a great capital, at a moment when its streets were filled with
troops, while contending factions were struggling for the mastery, and
perhaps the fate of not only France, but of all Europe, was hanging on
the issue! Excited by these reflections, I paused to contemplate the
scene.

I have often told you how picturesque and beautiful Paris appears viewed
from her bridges. The finest position is that of the Pont Royal; but the
Pont des Arts, at night, perhaps affords even more striking glimpses of
those ancient, tall, angular buildings along the river, that, but for
their forms and windows, would resemble low rocky cliffs. In the centre
of this mass of dwellings, among its damp and narrow streets, into which
the sun rarely penetrates, lay bodies of men, sleeping on their arms, or
merely waiting for the dawn, to decide the fate of the country. It was
carrying one back to the time of the "League" and the "Fronde," and I
involuntarily cast my eyes to that balconied window in the Louvre, where
Charles IX. is said to have stood when he fired upon the flying
Protestants. The brooding calm that reigned around was both
characteristic and strange. Here was an empire in jeopardy, and yet the
population had quietly withdrawn into their own abodes, awaiting the
issue with as much apparent tranquillity, as if the morrow was to be
like another day. Use, and a want of sympathy between the governed and
their governors, had begotten this indifference.

When I reached the Quai Voltaire, not a man was visible, except a
picket on the Pont Royal. Not knowing but some follower of the House of
Orleans, more loyal than usual, might choose to detain me, because I
came from America, I passed down one of the first streets, entering the
Rue du Bac, at some distance from the bridge. I met but half a dozen
people between the quays and the Hotel de ----, and all the shops were
hermetically sealed. As soon as I entered, the porter shut and barred
the gate of our own hotel, and we retired, to rise and see what a "night
might bring forth."

"_Les canons grondent dans les rues, monsieur_" was the remark of the
porter, as I passed out into the street next morning. The population was
circulating freely in our part of the town; the shops, too, were
re-opened, and it appeared to be pretty generally understood that no
fighting was to take place in that vicinity. Passing up the Rue du Bac,
I met three _Gardes Nationaux_, who, by their conversation, were fresh
from the field, having passed the night in what may be called the
enemy's country. They were full of marvels, and, in their own opinion,
full of glory.

The streets were now alive with people, the quays and bridges being
still resorted to, on account of their affording an unobstructed avenue
to the sounds that came from the quarter where the conflict was going
on. Occasionally, a discharge of musketry reached these spots, and once
or twice I heard the report of a gun; but the firing was desultory, far
from heavy, and irregular.

In the Carrousel I met an English acquaintance, and we agreed to go
towards the scene of action together, in order to learn what was going
on. My companion was loud in his complaints against the revolters, who,
he said, would retard the progress of liberty half a century by their
rashness. The government would put them down, and profit by its victory
to use strong measures. I have learned to distrust the liberalism of
some of the English, who are too apt to consult their own national
interests, in regarding the rights of their neighbours. This, you will
say, is no more than human nature, which renders all men selfish. True;
but the concerns of few nations being as extensive, varied, and
artificial, as those of England, the people of other countries are not
liable to be influenced by so many appeals to divert them from a sound
and healthful state of feeling. England, as a nation, has never been a
friend of liberty in other nations, as witness her long and bitter
hostility to ourselves, to France and Holland, and her close alliance
with Turkey, Persia, etc., etc. Just at this moment, apprehension of
Russia causes her to dilate a little more than usual on the
encouragement of liberty; but it is a mystification that can deceive no
one of the least observation. Of whatever sins England is to be accused,
as a nation, she cannot be accused of that of political propagandism.
Even her own recent progress in liberty has been the result of foreign
and external example. I now speak of the state, which extends its
influence very far into society; but there are many individuals who
carry their principles as far as any men on earth. This latter class,
moreover, is largely and rapidly on the increase, has always effected,
and will still effect, far more than the slate itself in favour of
freedom.

We went by the Palais Royal, the Passages Vivienne, and du Panorama, to
the Boulevards. The streets were filled with people, as on a fete, and
there appeared still to be a good deal of anxiety as to the result.
There were plenty of troops, report saying that sixty thousand men were
under arms on the side of the government. Half that number would suffice
to assure its success unless there should prove to be disaffection. Had
a single regiment of the line declared against the King the previous
day, or even on the 6th of June, Louis-Philippe, in my opinion, would
have been dethroned. But, so far as I can learn, none of the principal
persons of the opposition appeared against him on this occasion, or
seemed to have any connexion with the affair.

My companion left me on the Boulevards, and I proceeded towards the
Porte St. Denis where there was evidently something like a contest.
There was a little firing, and I met one or two wounded men, who were
retiring to their _casernes._ One was shot through the body. But the
affair at the Porte St. Denis proved to be nothing serious, and was soon
over. The revolters had retired into the Rue St. Mery, where they were
closely encircled by large bodies of troops, and whither I did not deem
it prudent to follow them. The struggle, in that direction, was much
sharper, and we occasionally heard cannon.

You will probably be curious to know if one did not feel uneasy, in
walking about the streets of a town, while so many men were contending
in its streets. A moment's reflection will show you that there was
little or no danger. One could find a cover in a moment. The streets
were thronged, and it was little probable that either party would
wantonly fire on the mass. The contest was confined to a particular part
of the town, and then a man of ordinary discretion would hardly be so
silly as to expose himself unnecessarily, in a quarrel with which he had
no concern. Women and children were certainly killed on this occasion,
but it was probably under circumstances that did not, in the least,
affect the great body of the inhabitants.

The cafes were frequented as usual, and a little distance from the scene
of action, everything wore the air of an ordinary Sunday, on which the
troops were to be reviewed. The morning passed in this manner, when,
about four o'clock, I again found myself at the Pont Royal, after paying
a visit to the hotel. Here I met two American friends, and we walked by
the quay of the palace, towards the Pont Neuf. The people were in a
dense crowd, and it was even difficult to penetrate the mass. Just
before we reached the bridge, we heard shouts and cries of _Vive le
Roi_, and presently I saw M. de Chabot-Rohan, the first honorary
aide-de-camp, a gentleman whom I personally knew, and who usually led
the cortege of the King. It would seem that Louis-Philippe had arrived
from the country, and had passed by the Boulevards to the Place de la
Bastille, whence he was now returning to the Tuileries, by the quays.
His appearance in the streets, during such a scene, has been much
lauded, and the firmness necessary to the occasion, much dwelt on in the
papers. A very timid man might certainly have been afraid to expose his
person in this manner, but the risk was by no means as great as has been
supposed. The cortege was nowhere under fire, nor, but for, a few
minutes, near the scene of action; and it was not easy to assassinate a
man moving through streets that were filled with troops. _Au reste_,
there is no reason whatever to suppose the King would not have behaved
personally well, in far more critical circumstances.[10] The royal party
passed into the Carrousel by the court of the Louvre, while we turned
upon the bridge.

[Footnote 10: I once asked General Lafayette his opinion of the nerve of
the Duc d'Orleans (_Egalite_). He laughed, and said the King had made an
appeal to him quite lately, on the same subject. "And the answer?" "I
told his Majesty that I believed his father was a _brave_ man; but, you
may be sure, I was glad be did not ask me if I thought he was an
_honest_ one, too."]

The Pont Neuf was crowded with troops, who occupied the _trottoirs_, and
with men, women, and children. There had been some skirmishing at the
Place de Greve, and the scene of the principal contest, the Rue St.
Mery, was near by. We were slowly threading the crowd with our faces
towards the island, when a discharge of musketry (four or five pieces at
most), directly behind us, and quite near, set everybody in motion. A
flock of sheep would not have scattered in greater confusion, at the
sudden appearance of a strange dog among them, than the throng on the
bridge began to scamper. Fear is the most contagious of all diseases,
and, for a moment, we found ourselves running with the rest. A jump or
two sufficed, however, and we stopped. Two soldiers, one a National
Guard, and the other a young conscript, belonging to the line, caught my
eye, and knowing there was no danger, we had time to stop and laugh at
them. The National Guard was a little Mayeux-looking fellow, with an
abdomen like a pumpkin, and he had caught hold of his throat, as if it
were actually to prevent his heart from jumping out of his mouth. A
caricature of fright could scarcely be more absurd. The young conscript,
a fair red-haired youth, was as white as a sheet, and he stood with his
eyes and mouth open, like one who thought he saw a ghost, immoveable as
a statue. He was sadly frightened, too. The boy would probably have come
to, and proved a good soldier in the end; but as for Mr. Mayeux,
although scarcely five feet high, he appeared as if he could never make
himself short enough. He had evidently fancied the whole affair a good
joke, up to that precise moment, when, for the first time, the realities
of a campaign burst upon his disordered faculties. The troops in
general, while they pricked up their ears, disdained even to shoulder
their arms. For those on the bridge, there was, in truth, no danger,
although the nearness of the volley, and the suddenness of the alarm,
were well adapted to set a crowd in motion. The papers next day, said
one or two had been slain by this discharge, which actually came from
the revolters.

You will probably be surprised, when I tell you that I had an engagement
to dine to-day, with a gentleman who fills a high situation near the
person of the King. He had sent me no notice of a postponement, and as I
had seen him pass in the cortege, I was reminded that the hour to dress
was near. Accordingly, I returned home, in order to prove to him that I
was as indifferent as any Frenchman could be, to the events we had all
just witnessed. I found a dozen people assembled in the drawing-room of
Madame ----, at six o'clock precisely, the same as if Paris were quite
tranquil. The General had not yet returned, but I was enabled to report
that he had entered the palace in safety. A moment before the dinner
was announced, he returned, and brought the information that the revolt
was virtually suppressed, a few desperate individuals, who had thrown
themselves into a church, alone holding out. He was in high spirits, and
evidently considered the affair a triumph to Louis-Philippe.

LETTER V.

National Guards in the Court of the Palace.--Unclaimed Dead in the
Morgue.--View of the Scene of Action.--A blundering
Artillerist.--Singular Spectacle.--The Machinations of the
Government--Martial Law.--Violations of the Charter.--Laughable Scene in
the Carrousel.--A refractory Private of the National Guard.

Dear ----,

The day after the contest was closed, I went to the Louvre, where I
usually met Mr. M----, who was busy copying. He was almost alone, in the
long and gorgeous galleries, as in the days of the cholera; but we got a
view of the National Guards that had been concerned in the affair of the
previous day, who were drawn up in the court of the palace to receive
the thanks of the King. There could not have been five thousand of them,
but all might not have been present.

From the Louvre I went to took at the principal scene of action. A
collection of some of the unclaimed dead was in the Morgue, and every
one was allowed to enter. There were fifty or sixty bodies in this
place, and among them were a few women and children, who had probably
been killed by accident. Nearly all had fallen by gun-shot wounds,
principally musket-balls; but a few had been killed by grape. As the
disaffected had fought under cover most of the time, I fancy the cavalry
did little in this affair. It was whispered that agents of the police
were present to watch the countenances and actions of the spectators,
with a view to detect the disaffected.

As we had several of Napoleon's soldiers at dinner yesterday, and they
had united to praise the military character of the position taken by the
revellers, I was curious to examine it. The Rue St. Mery is narrow, and
the houses are high. The tower of the church is a little advanced, so as
to enfilade it, in a manner, and the paving-stones had been used to make
barricades, as in 1830. These stones are much larger than our own, are
angular, and of a size that works very well into a wall; and the
materials being plenty, a breastwork, that is proof against everything
but artillery, is soon formed by a crowd. Two streets entered the Rue
St. Mery near each other, but not in a right line, so that the approach
along each is commanded by the house that stands across its end. One of
these houses appears to have been a citadel of the disaffected, and most
of the fighting was at and near this spot. Artillery had been brought up
against the house in question, which was completely riddled, though less
injured by round-shot than one could have thought possible. The windows
were broken, and the ceilings of the upper rooms were absolutely torn to
pieces by musket-balls, that had entered on the rise. Some twenty or
thirty dead were found in this dwelling.

I had met Col.--, in the course of the morning, and we visited this spot
together. He told me that curiosity had led him to penetrate as far as
this street, which faces the citadel of the revolters, the previous day,
and he showed me a _porte-cochere_, under which he had taken shelter,
during a part of the attack. The troops engaged were a little in advance
of him, and he described them as repeatedly recoiling from the fire of
the house, which, at times, was rather sharp. The troops, however, were
completely exposed, and fought to great disadvantage. Several hundreds
must have been killed and wounded at and near this spot.

There existed plain proof of the importance of nerve in battle, in a
shot that just appeared sticking in the wall of one of the lateral
buildings, nearly opposite the _porte-cochere_, where Col.--had taken
shelter. The artillerist who pointed the gun from which it had been
discharged, had the two sides of the street to assist his range, and yet
his shot had hit one of the lateral buildings, at no great distance from
the gun, and at a height that would have sent it far above the chimneys
of the house at which it was fired! But any one in the least acquainted
with life, knows that great allowances must be made for the poetry, when
he reads of "charges," "free use of the bayonet," and "braving murderous
discharges of grape." Old and steady troops do sometimes display
extraordinary fortitude, but I am inclined to think that the most
brilliant things are performed by those who have been drilled just long
enough to obey orders and act together, but who are still so young as
not to know exactly the amount of the risk they run. Extraordinary acts
of intrepidity are related of the revolters on this occasion, which are
most probably true, as this desperate self-devotion, under a state of
high excitement, enters fully into the composition of the character of
the French, who are more distinguished for their dashing than for their
enduring qualities.

The Rue St. Mery exhibited proofs of the late contest, for some
distance, but nowhere had the struggle been so fierce as at the house
just mentioned. The church had been yielded the last, but it did not
strike me that there had been as sharp fighting near it, as at the other
place.

It was a strange spectacle to witness the population of a large town
crowding through its streets, curious to witness the scene of a combat
that so nearly touched their own interests, and yet apparently regarding
the whole with entire indifference to everything but the physical
results. I thought the sympathies of the throng were with the conquered
rather than with their conquerors, and this more from admiration of
their prowess, than from any feeling of a political character, for no
one appeared to know who the revolters were.

In the course of the morning I met--in the street. He is one of the
justest-minded men of my acquaintance, and I have never known him
attempt to exaggerate the ill conduct of his political opponents, or to
extenuate the errors of those to whom he belongs. Speaking of this
affair, he was of opinion that the government had endeavoured to bring
it on, with the certainly that success would strengthen them, but, at
the same time, he thought it useless to deny that there was a plot to
overturn the present dynasty. According to his impressions, the
spontaneous movements of the disaffected were so blended with those that
proceeded from the machinations of the government to provoke a premature
explosion, that it was not easy to say which predominated, or where the
line of separation was to be drawn. I presume this is the true state of
the case, for it is too much to say that France is ever free from
political plots.

The public had been alarmed this morning, by rumours of an intention on
the part of government to declare Paris in a state of siege, which is
tantamount to bringing us all under martial law. This savours more of
the regime Napoleon, than of the promised liberty that was to emanate
from the three days. The opposition are beginning to examine the
charter, in order to ascertain what their rights are on paper: but what
avails a written compact, or indeed any other compact, against the wants
and wishes of those who have the power? The Cour de Cassation, however,
is said to be composed of a majority of Carlists, and, by way of
commentary on the wants of the last two years, the friends of liberty
have some hopes yet from these nominees of the Bourbons! We live in a
droll world, dear ----, and one scarcely knows on which side he is to
look for protection, among the political weathercocks of the period. In
order to comprehend the point, you will understand that a clause of the
charter expressly stipulates that no one shall be condemned by any "but
his natural judges," which clearly means that no extraordinary or
unusual courts shall be established for the punishment of ordinary
crimes. Now, while it is admitted that martial law brings with it
military tribunals and military punishments, it is contended that there
is no pretext for declaring martial law in the capital, at a moment when
the power of the present government is better assured than it has been
at any time since its organization. But the charter solemnly stipulates
that the conscription shall be abolished, while conscripts are and have
been regularly drafted yearly, ever since the signature of Louis XVIII.
was affixed to the instrument.

The shops were all open to-day, and business and pleasure are resuming
their regular rounds. The National Guards of the _banlieue_, who were
actively engaged yesterday, are befeted and be-praised, while the
lookers-on affirm that some of them believe they have just been fighting
against the Carlists, and that some think they have crushed the
Jacobins. All believe they have done a good turn to liberty.

I was returning through the Carrousel, when chance made me the spectator
of a laughable scene. A body of these troops, honest, well-intentioned
countrymen, with very equivocal equipments, were still in the court of
the palace. It would seem that one warrior had strayed outside the
railing, where he was enjoying a famous gossip with some neighbours,
whom he was paying, for their cheer, by a narrative of the late
campaign. A sergeant was summoning him back to his colours, but the love
of good wine and a good gossip were too strong for discipline. The more
dignified the sergeant became, the more refractory was his neighbour,
until, at last, the affair ended in a summons as formal as that which
would be made to a place besieged. The answer was truly heroic, being
rendered into the vernacular, "I won't." An old woman advanced from the
crowd to reason with the sergeant, but she could get no farther than
"_Ecoutez, Mons. le Sergeant_"--for, like all in authority, he was
unreasonable and impatient when his power was called in question. He
returned to the battalion, and tried to get a party to arrest the
delinquent, but this was easier said than done. The troops evidently had
no mind to disturb a neighbour who had just done the state good service,
and who was now merely enjoying himself. The officer returned alone, and
once more summoned the truant, if possible, more solemnly than ever. By
this time the mouth of the delinquent was too full to answer, and he
just turned his back on the dignitary, by way of letting him see that,
his mind was made up. In the end, the soldier got the best of it,
compelling the other to abandon the point.

The country people, of whom there were a good many present, looked on
the matter seriously, but the Parisians laughed outright. I mention this
little incident, for it shows that men are the same everywhere, and
because this was an instance of military insubordination directly under
the windows of the palace of the King of France, at the precise moment
when his friends were boasting that the royal authority was triumphant,
which, had it occurred in the interior of America, would have been
quoted as proof of the lawlessness of democracy! I apprehend that
militia, taken from their daily occupations, and embodied, and this,
too, under the orders of their friends and neighbours, are pretty much
alike, in their leading characteristics, all over the world.

LETTER VI.

Aspect of Paris.--Visit to Lafayette.--His demeanour.--His account of
the commencement of the Revolt.--Machinations of the Police.--Character
of Lafayette.--His remarkable expression to General--.--Conversation on
the Revolution of July.--The _Doctrinaires_.--Popular Sympathy in
England and on the Rhine.--Lafayette's dismissal from the command of the
National Guards.--The Duke of Orleans and his Friends.--Military
Tribunals in Paris.--The Citizen King in the Streets.--Obliteration of
the _Fleur-de-lis_.--The Royal Equipage.--The Duke of Brunswick in
Paris.--His forcible Removal from France.--His Reception in
Switzerland.--A ludicrous Mistake.

Dear ----,

During the excitement of the last three days, I had not bethought me of
paying a visit to the Rue d'Anjou: indeed I was under the impression
that General Lafayette was at La Grange, for I had understood that he
only remained at Paris to attend the funeral of Lamarque. There were
rumours of his having been arrested, but these I set down to the
marvel-mongers, who are always busy when extraordinary events occur.
Just at dusk, I heard, by accident, there was still a chance of finding
him in his apartment, and I walked across the river, in order to
ascertain the fact for myself.

What a difference between the appearance of the streets this evening,
and that which they had made on the night of the 5th! Now the bridges
were deserted, the garden was empty, and the part of the population that
was visible, seemed uneasy and suspicious. The rumour that the
government intended to declare Paris in a state of siege, and to
substitute military for the ordinary civil tribunals, was confirmed,
though the measure was not yet officially announced. This act was in
direct opposition to a clause in the charter, as I have told you, and
the pretence, in a town in which fifty thousand troops had just quelled
a rising of a few hundred men, was as frivolous as the measure itself is
illegal. It has, however, the merit of throwing aside the mask, and of
showing the world in what manner the present authorities understand a
government of the people.

A dead calm reigned in the Rue d'Anjou. Apart from the line of
_cabriolets de place_, of which there were but three, not a carriage nor
a human being was visible in the street. Nothing stood before the
_porte-cochere_ of No. 6, a thing so unusual, more especially in
critical moments, that I suspected I had been misled, and that I should
have a bootless walk. The gate was open, and entering without knocking,
I was just turning off the great staircase, to ascend the humbler flight
that leads to the well-known door, that door through which I had so
lately seen so many dignitaries pressing to enter, when the porter
called to me to give an account of myself. He recognised me, however, by
the light of the lamp, and nodded an assent.

I waited a minute or more, after ringing, before the door was opened by
Bastien. The honest fellow let me in on the instant, and, without
proceeding to announce me, led the way through the salons to the
bed-room of his master. The General was alone with the husband of his
grand-daughter, Francois de Corcelles. The former was seated with his
back to the door as I entered; the latter was leaning against the
mantel-piece. The "_bonsoir, mon ami_," of the first was frank and kind
as usual, but I was immediately struck with a change in his manner. He
was calm, and he held out his hand, as Bastien mentioned my name; but,
although not seated at his table, he did not rise. Glancing my eyes at
him, as I passed on to salute Monsieur de Corcelles, I thought I had
never before seen Lafayette wearing so fine an air of majesty. His
large, noble form was erect and swelling, and that eye, whose fire age
had not quenched, was serenely proud. He seemed prepared to meet
important events with the dignity and sternness that marked his
principles.

A perfect knowledge of these principles, and the intimacy that he had so
kindly encouraged, emboldened me to speak frankly. After a few minutes'
conversation, I laughingly inquired what he had done with the _bonnet
rouge_. The question was perfectly understood, and I was surprised to
learn that, in the present instance, there was more foundation for the
report than is usually the case with vulgar rumour. He gave the
following account of what occurred at la Place de la Bastille.

When the procession halted, and the funeral discourses were being
delivered, the tumult commenced; in what manner, he was unable to say.
In the midst of the commotion, a man appeared on horseback wearing the
dreaded _bonnet rouge_. Some one approached him, and invited him to
repair to the Hotel de Ville, in short, to put himself again at the head
of the revolt, and offered him a _bonnet rouge_. He took the cap, and
threw it into the mud. After this, he entered his carriage to return
home, when a portion of the populace took out the horses and drew him to
the Rue d'Anjou. On reaching the hotel, the people peaceably withdrew.

You will readily suppose I was curious to learn the opinion of General
Lafayette concerning the events of the week. The journals of the
opposition had not hesitated to ascribe the affair to the machinations
of the police, which, justly or not, is openly accused of having
recourse to expedients of this nature, with a view to alarm the timid,
and to drive them to depend for the security of their persons, and the
maintenance of order, on the arm of a strong government. In the recent
case it had also been said, that aware of the existence of plots, the
ministry had thought it a favourable occasion to precipitate their
explosion, taking the precaution to be in readiness with a force
sufficient to secure the victory.

I have often alluded to that beautiful and gentleman-like feature in
the character of Lafayette, which appears to render him incapable of
entertaining a low prejudice against those to whom he is opposed in
politics. This is a trait that I conceive to be inseparable from the
lofty feelings which are the attendant of high moral qualities, and it
is one that I have, a hundred times, had occasion to admire in
Lafayette. I do not, now, allude to that perfect _bon ton_, which so
admirably regulates all his words and deportment, but to a
discriminating judgment that does not allow interest or passion to
disarm his sense of right. It certainly is a weakness in him not to
distinguish sufficiently between the virtuous and the vicious,--those
who are actuated like himself by philanthropy and a desire to do good,
and those who seek their own personal ends; but this is a sacrifice,
perhaps, that all must make who aim at influencing men by the weight of
personal popularity. Jefferson has accused Lafayette of a too great
desire to live in the esteem of others,[11] and perhaps the accusation
is not altogether false; but the peculiar situation in which this
extraordinary man has been placed, must be kept in view, while we decide
on the merits of his system. His principles forbid his having recourse
to the agencies usually employed by those who loose sight of the means
in the object, and his opponents are the great of the earth. A man who
is merely sustained by truth and the purity of his motives, whatever
visionaries may say, would be certain to fail. Popularity is
indispensable to the success of Lafayette, for thousands now support
him, who, in despite of his principles, would become his enemies, were
he to fall back sternly on the truth, and turn his back on all whose
acts and motives would not, perhaps, stand the test of investigation.
The very beings he wished to serve would desert him, were he to let them
see he drew a stern but just distinction between the meritorious and the
unworthy. Then the power of his adversaries must be remembered. There
is nothing generous or noble in the hostility of modern aristocrats, who
are mere graspers after gain, the most debasing of all worldly objects,
and he who would resist them successfully must win golden opinions of
his fellows, or they will prove too much for him.

[Footnote 11: Was Mr. Jefferson himself free from a similar charge?]

But I am speculating on principles, when you most probably wish for
facts, or, if you must have opinions, for those of Lafayette in
preference to my own. When I ventured to ask him if he thought the
government had had any agency in producing the late struggle, his answer
was given with the integrity and fearlessness that so eminently
characterize the man.

He was of opinion that there was a plot, but he also thought it probable
that the agents of the government were, more or less, mixed up with it.
He suspected at the moment, that the man who offered him the _bonnet
rouge_ was one of these agents, though he freely admitted that the
suspicion was founded more on past experience than on any knowledge of
present facts. The individual himself was an utter stranger to him. It
had been his intention to quit town immediately after the funeral
obsequies were completed, but, added the old man, proudly, "they had
spread a rumour of an intention to cause me to be arrested, and I wish
to save them the trouble of going to La Grange to seek me."

He then went on to tell me what he and his political friends had
expected from the demonstration of public opinion, that they had
prepared for this important occasion. "Things were approaching a crisis,
and we wished to show the government that it must change its system, and
that France had not made a revolution to continue the principles of the
Holy Alliance. The attempt to obtain signs of popular support at the
funeral of Casimir Perier was a failure, while, so great was our success
at this procession in honour of Lamarque, that there must have been a
new ministry and new measures, had not this unfortunate event occurred.
As it is, the government will profit by events. I do not wish to wake
any unjust accusations, but, with my knowledge of men and things, it is
impossible not to feel distrust."[12]

[Footnote 12: It appeared subsequently, by means of a public
prosecution, that Vidocq, with a party of his followers, were among the
revolters, disguised as countrymen. A government that has an intimation
of the existence of a plot to effect its own overthrow, has an
unquestionable right to employ spies to counteract the scheme; but if it
proceed so far as to use incentives to revolt, it exceeds its legitimate
powers.]

While we were conversing, General ----, whom I had not seen since the
dinner of the previous day, was announced and admitted. He stayed but a
few minutes, for, though his reception was kind, the events of the last
week had evidently cast a restraint about the manners of both parties.
The visit appeared to me, to be one of respect and delicacy on the part
of the guest, but recent occurrences, and his close connexion with the
King, rendered it constrained; and, though there appeared no evident
want of good feeling on either side, little was said, during this visit,
touching the "two days," as the 5th and 6th of June are now termed, but
that little served to draw from Lafayette a stronger expression of
political hostility, than I had ever yet heard from his lips. In
allusion to the possibility of the liberal party connecting itself with
the government of Louis-Philippe, he said--"_a present, un ruisseau de
sang nous separe_."[13] I thought General--considered this speech as a
strong and a decisive one, for he soon after rose and took his leave.

[Footnote 13: "We are now separated by a rivulet of blood."]

Lafayette spoke favourably of the personal qualities and probity of his
visitor, when he had withdrawn, but said that he was too closely
incorporated with the _juste milieu_ to be any longer classed among his
political friends. I asked him if he had ever known a true liberal in
politics, who had been educated in the school of Napoleon? The General
laughingly admitted that he was certainly a bad master to study under,
and then added it had been intended to offer General ---- a portfolio,
that of the public works I understood him to say, had they succeeded in
overturning the ministry.

This conversation insensibly led to one on the subject of the revolution
of July, and on his own connexion with the events of that important
moment. I despair of doing justice to the language of General Lafayette
on this occasion, and still less so to his manner, which, though cool
and dignified, had a Roman sternness about it that commanded the deepest
respect. Indeed, I do not remember ever to have seen him with so much of
the externals of a great man as on this evening, for no one, in common,
is less an actor with his friends, or of simpler demeanour. But he now
felt strongly, and his expressions were forcible, while his countenance
indicated a portion of that which was evidently working within. You must
be satisfied, however, with receiving a mere outline of what fell from
his lips in an uninterrupted explanation that lasted fully half an hour.

He accused his opponents, in general terms, of distorting his words, and
of misrepresenting his acts. The celebrated saying of "_voici la
meilleure des republiques_" in particular, had been falsely rendered,
while the circumstances under which he spoke and acted at all, had been
studiously kept out of view. It was apropos of this saying, that he
entered into the explanations of the causes of the change of dynasty.

The crisis which drove the cabinet of Charles X. to the extreme measures
that overturned the throne, had been produced by a legislative
combination. To effect their end, nearly every opinion, and all the
shades of opposition, had united; many, even of those who were
personally attached to the Bourbons, resisting their project of
re-establishing the _ancien regime_. Most of the capitalists, in
particular, and more especially those who were engaged in pursuits that
were likely to be deranged by political convulsions, were secretly
disposed to support the dynasty, while they were the most zealously
endeavouring to reduce its power. The object of these men was to
maintain peace, to protect commerce and industry, more especially their
own, and, at the same time, to secure to property the control, of
affairs. In short, England and her liberty were their models, though
some among them had too much good sense to wish to retrograde, as is the
case with a party in America, in order to make the imitation more
perfect. Those who were for swallowing the English system whole, were
called the _doctrinaires_, from their faith in a theory, while the
different shades of dissenting opinions were distributed among all those
who looked more to facts, and less to reasoning, than their credulous
coadjutors. But all were zealous in opposing government under its
present system, and with its palpable views.

You know that the result was the celebrated ordinances, and a rising of
the people. So little was either of these events foreseen, that the
first probably astonished and alarmed the friends of the Bourbons, quite
as much as it did their enemies. The second was owing chiefly to the
courage and zeal of the young men connected with the press, sustained by
the pride and daring of the working classes of Paris. The emergency was
exactly suited to the _elan_ of the French character, which produced the
sympathy necessary to the occasion among the different degrees of
actors. With the movements that followed, those who had brought about
the state of things which existed, by their parliamentary opposition,
had little or nothing to do. Lafayette, himself, was at La Grange, nor
did he reach Paris until the morning of the second day. So far from
participating in the course of events, most of the deputies were
seriously alarmed, and their first efforts were directed to an
accommodation. But events were stronger than calculations, and the
Bourbons were virtually dethroned, before any event or plan could be
brought to bear upon the issue, in either the offensive or defensive.

You are now to imagine the throne vacant, the actors in the late events
passive spectators of what was to follow, and opportunity for a
recurrence to parliamentary tactics. Men had leisure to weigh
consequences. Another political crusade menaced France, and it is
probable that nothing prevented its taking place, but the manifestations
of popular sympathy in England, and on the Rhine. Then there was danger,
too, that the bankers and manufacturers, and great landed proprietors,
would lose the stake for which they had been playing, by permitting a
real ascendancy of the majority. Up to that moment, the mass had looked
to the opposition in the deputies as to their friends. In order to
entice all parties, or, at least, as many as possible, the cry had been
"_la charte_;" and the opposition had become identified with its
preservation. The new Chambers had been convened, and, after the
struggle was over, the population naturally turned to those who had
hitherto appeared in their ranks as leaders. This fragment of the
representation became of necessity the repository of all power.

Lafayette had, thus far, been supported by the different sections of the
opposition; for his influence with the mass to suppress violence, was
looked to as of the last importance, by even his enemies. The very men
who accused him of Jacobinical principles, and a desire to unsettle
society, felt a security under his protection, that they would not have
felt without him. Louis-Philippe, you will remember, made use of him,
until the trial of the ministers was ended, when he was unceremoniously
dismissed from the command of the National Guards, by the suppression of
the office.[14] "It would have been in my power to declare a republic,"
he continued, in the course of his explanations, "and sustained by the
populace of Paris, backed by the National Guards, I might have placed
myself at its head. But six weeks would have closed my career, and that
of the republic. The governments of Europe would have united to put us
down, and the Bourbons had, to a great degree, disarmed France. We were
not in a state to resist. The two successful invasions had diminished
the confidence of the nation, which, moreover, would have been nearly
equally divided in itself. But, allowing that we might have overcome our
foreign enemies, a result I admit to have been possible, by the aid of
the propaganda and the general disaffection, there would have been a foe
at home, that certainly would have prevailed against us. Those gentlemen
of the Chambers to whom a large portion of the people looked up with
confidence, would have thwarted every important measure I attempted, and
were there no other means to prevent a republic, _they would have thrown
me into the river_."

[Footnote 14: The writer has had a hundred occasions to learn, since his
return to America, how much truth is perverted in crossing the Atlantic,
and how little is really known of even prominent European facts, on this
side of the water. It has suited some one to say, that Lafayette
_resigned_ the office of commander-in-chief of the National Guards, and
the fact is thus stated in most of our publications. The office was
suppressed without consulting him, and, it was his impression, at the
instigation of the Allied Powers. Something like an awkward explanation
and a permission to resign was subsequently attempted.]

This last expression is literal, and was twice uttered in the course of
the evening. He then went on to add, that seeing the impossibility of
doing as he could wish, he had been compelled to acquiesce in the
proposal that came nearest to his own views. The friends of the Duke of
Orleans were active, particularly M. Lafitte, who enjoyed a great deal
of his own confidence, and the Duke himself was free in the expression
of the most liberal sentiments. Under these circumstances, he thought it
possible to establish a government that should be monarchical in form,
and republican in fact. Such, or nearly such, is the case in England,
and he did not see why such might not be the case in France. It is true
the English republic is aristocratical, but this is a feature that
depends entirely on the breadth and independence of the constituency.
There was no sufficient reason why France should imitate England in that
essential point, and by erecting a different constituency, she would
virtually create another polity in fact, adhering always to the same
general form.

As respects the expression so often cited, he said his words were
"_voici la meilleure des republics pour nous_;" distinctly alluding to
the difficulties and embarrassments under which he acted. All this time
he made no pretension to not having been deceived in the King, who had
led him to think he entertained very different principles from those
which events have shown to be his real sentiments.

Something was then said of the _etat de siege_, and of the intentions of
the government. "I shall go to La Grange in a few days," observed the
General, smiling, "unless they arrest me; there to remain until the 4th
of July, when we shall have our usual dinner, I hope." I told him that
the long fever under which A---- had suffered rendered a change of air
necessary, and that I was making my preparations to quit France
temporarily, on another tour. He pressed me to remain until the 4th, and
when I told him that we might all be shot for sedition under the present
state of things, if we drunk liberal toasts, he laughed and answered,
that "their bark was worse than their bite."

It was near tea when I took my leave, and returned to the Rue St.
Dominique. The streets were gloomy and deserted, and I scarcely met a
single individual, in walking the mile between the two hotels.

There was a wild pleasure in viewing a town in such an extraordinary
state, and I could not help comparing its present moody silence, to the
scenes we had witnessed when the government was still so young and
dependent as to feel the necessity of courting the people. I have
already mentioned to you many of the events of that period, but some of
them have been omitted, and some, too, which quite naturally suggest
themselves, at this moment, when the King has established military
tribunals in his very capital.

On one occasion, in particular, I was walking in the Tuileries, when a
noise attracted me towards a crowd. It was Louis-Philippe taking a walk!
This you will understand was intended for effect--republican
effect--and to show the lieges that he had the outward conformation of
another man. He wore a white hat, carried an umbrella (I am not sure
that it was red), and walked in as negligent a manner as a man could
walk, who was working as hard as possible to get through with an
unpleasant task. In short, he was condescending with all his might. A
gentleman or two, in attendance, could barely keep up with him; and as
for the rabble, it was fairly obliged to trot to gratify its curiosity.
This was about the time the King of England electrified London, after a
reign of exclusion, by suddenly appearing in its streets, walking about
like another man. Whether there was any concert in this coincidence or
not I do not know.

On another occasion, A---- and myself drove out at night to view a
bivouac in the Carrousel. We got ourselves entangled in a dense crowd in
the Rue St. Honore, and were obliged to come to a stand. While
stationary, the crowd set up a tremendous cry of _Vive le roi!_ and a
body of dismounted cavalry of the National Guard passed the carriage
windows, flourishing their sabres, and yelling like madmen. Looking out,
I saw the King in their midst, patrolling the streets of his good city
of Paris, on foot! Now he has declared us all under martial law, and is
about to shoot those he dislikes.

The _fleur-de-lis_, as you know, is the distinctive symbol of the family
of France. So much stress is laid on trifles of this nature here, that
Napoleon, with his grinding military despotism, never presumed to adopt
one for himself. During the whole of his reign, the coins of the country
were decorated on one side with no more than an inscription and a simple
wreath, though the gradual progress of his power, and the slow degress
by which he brought forward the public, on these points, may yet be
traced on these very coins. The first that were struck bore his head, as
First Consul, with "_Republique Francaise_" on the reverse. After a time
it was "_Empereur_," with "_Republique Francaise_." At length he was
emboldened to put "_Empire Francais_" on the reverse, feeling a true
royal antipathy to the word republic.

During the existing events that first succeeded the last revolution, no
one thought of the _fleur-de-lis_ with which the Bourbons had sprinkled
everything in and about the capital, not to say France. This omission
attracted the attention of some demagogue, and there was a little
_emeute_, before the arch of the Carrousel, with threats of destroying
these ornaments. Soon after, workmen were employed to deface everything
like a _fleur-de-lis_ in Paris. The hotel of the Treasury had many
hundreds of them in large stone rosettes, every one of which disappeared
before the chisel! The King actually laid down his family arms, causing
the brush to be put to all his carriages. Speaking to Lafayette on this
subject, he remarked, pithily--"Well, I told his Majesty I would have
done this before there was a mob, and I would not have done it
afterwards."

The Bourbons usually drove with eight horses, but this king rarely
appears with even six; though that number is not offensive, the other
being the regal style. Some time since, before the approach of the late
crisis, I saw the coachman of the palace, quite early, or before the
public was stirring, exercising with eight. It is to be presumed that
the aspect of things, the pears, and the Duchess of Berri, compelled the
leaders to be taken off.

A day or two after this event, I dined in company with a deputy, who is
also a distinguished advocate, who made me laugh with an account of a
recent freak of another sovereign, that has caused some mirth here. This
advocate was employed in the affair, professionally, and his account may
be depended on.

You know that shortly after the revolution of 1830, the people of
Brunswick rose and deposed their Duke, bestowing the throne, or
arm-chair, for I know not the official term, on his brother. This Duke
of Brunswick is the grandson of him who figured in the wars of the
_old_ revolution, and the son of him who was killed at Quatre Bras. His
grandmother was a sister of George III, and his aunt was the wife of
George IV; the latter being his cousin, his uncle, and his guardian.

The deposed prince retired to Paris, if it can be called retirement to
come from Brunswick here. After some time, the police was informed that
he was busy in enrolling men to make a counter-revolution in his own
states. He was warned of the consequences, and commanded to desist. The
admonition was disregarded, and after exhausting its patience, the
government proceeded so far as to order him to quit Paris. It was not
obeyed.

I must now tell you, that a few years previously the Duke of Brunswick
had visited Paris, and apprehending assassination, for some cause that
was not explained, he had obtained from the police one of its agents to
look out for the care of his person. The man had been several weeks in
this employment, and knowing the person of the contumacious prince, when
it was determined to resort to force, he was sent with the gendarmes,
expressly that he might be identified.

A party, accordingly, presented themselves, one fine morning, at the
hotel which had the honour to contain his Serene Highness, demanding
access to his person, in the name of the police. No one was hardy enough
to deny such an application, and the officers were introduced. They
found the indomitable prince, in his morning gown and slippers, as
composed as if he were still reigning in Brunswick, or even more so. He
was made acquainted with their errand, which was, neither more nor less
than to accompany him to the frontier.

The great-nephew of George III, the cousin and nephew of George IV, the
cousin of William IV, and the Ex-duke of Brunswick, received this
intelligence with a calm entirely worthy of his descent and his
collaterals, treating the commissary of police, _de haut en bas_. In
plain English, he gave them to understand he should not budge. Reverence
for royal blood was at last overcome by discipline, and seeing no
alternative, the gendarmes laid their sacrilegious hands on the person
of the prince, and fairly carried him down stairs, and put him,
dressing-gown, slippers, and all, into a _fiacre_.

It was a piteous sight to see a youth of such high expectations, of a
lineage so ancient, of a duchy so remote, treated in this rude and
inhospitable manner! Like Caesar, who bore up against his enemies until
he felt the dagger of Brutus, he veiled his face with his handkerchief,
and submitted with dignity, when he ascertained how far it was the
intention of the Minister of the Interior to push matters. M. ---- did
not tell us whether or not he exclaimed, "_Et tu, Montalivet!_" The
people of the hotel manifested a proper sympathy at the cruel scene, the
_filles de chambre_ weeping in the corridors, as _filles de chambre_,
who witnessed such an indecent outrage, naturally would do.

The Duke was no sooner in the _fiacre_ than he was carried out of town,
to a post-house on the road to Switzerland. Here he was put in a
caleche, and transported forthwith to the nearest frontier.

On reaching the end of the journey, the Duke of Brunswick was abandoned
to his fate, with the indifference that marked the whole outrage; or, as
might have been expected from the servants of a prince, who had so
lately shown his respect for rank by sending his own relatives out of
his kingdom, very much in the same fashion. Happily, the unfortunate
Duke fell into the hands of republicans, who, as a matter of course,
hastened to pay their homage to him. The mayor of the commune appeared
and offered his civilities; all the functionaries went forth with
alacrity; and the better to show their sympathy, a young German
traveller was produced, that he might console the injured prince by
enabling him to pour out his griefs in the vernacular of his country.
This bit of delicate attention, however, was defeated by an officious
valet, who declared that ever since his dethronement, his master had
taken such an aversion to the German language, that it threw him into
fits even to hear it! Of course the traveller had the politeness to
withdraw.

While these things were in progress, the Duke suddenly disappeared, no
one knew whither. The public journals soon announced the fact, and the
common conjecture was, that he had returned to Paris.

After several weeks, M. ---- was employed to negotiate an amnesty,
promising, on the part of his principal, that no further movements
against the duchy should be attempted in France. The minister was so far
prevailed on as to say, he could forgive all, had not the Duke
re-entered the kingdom, after having been transported to Switzerland, by
the order of the government, in the manner you have heard. M. ----
assured the minister, _parole d'honneur_, that this was altogether a
mistake. "Well, then, convince me of this, and his Serene Highness shall
have permission to remain here as long as he pleases." "His Serene
Highness, _having never left France, cannot have re-entered it_." "Not
left France!--Was he not carried into Switzerland?" "Not at all: liking
Paris better, he chose to remain here. The person you deported, was a
young associate, of the same stature of the Duke, a Frenchman, who
cannot speak a word of German!"

A compromise was made on the spot, for this was a matter to be hushed
up, ridicule being far more potent, in Paris, than reason. This is what
you may have heard alluded to, in some of the journals of the day, as
the _escapade_ of the Duke of Brunswick.

LETTER VII.

Public Dinner.--Inconsiderate Impulses of Americans.--Rambles in
Paris.--The Churches of Paris.--View from the leads or Notre Dame.--The
Place Royale.--The Bridges.--Progress of the Public Works.--The Palaces
of the Louvre and the Tuileries.--Royal Enclosures in the Gardens of the
Tuileries.--Public Edifices.--Private Hotels and Gardens. My Apartments
in the house of the Montmorencies.--Our other Residences.--Noble Abodes
in Paris.--Comparative Expense of Living in Paris and New
York.--American Shopkeepers, and those of Europe.

Dear ----

The time between the revolt of the two days, and the 17th July, passed
in the usual manner. The court-martial had made considerable progress in
condemning men to be shot, but appeals were made to the Carlist Court of
Cassation, which finally adjudged the whole proceedings to be illegal.
In the mean time we got up the dinner for the 4th, Lafayette coming from
La Grange expressly to make one among us. As for this dinner, I have
only to say that one of its incidents went to prove how completely a
body of Americans are subject to common and inconsiderate impulses, let
the motive be right or wrong,--of how low estimate character is getting
to be among us, and to determine me never to be present at another. It
is a painful confession, but truth compels me to say, that, I believe,
for the want of a condensed class, that are accustomed to sustain each
other in a high tone of feeling and thinking, and perhaps from ignorance
of the world, no other people, above the illiterate and downright
debased, are so easily practised on and cajoled, as the great mass of
our own. I hope I have never been addicted to the vice of winning golden
opinions by a sacrifice of sentiments or principles; but this dinner has
given me a surfeit of what is called "popularity," among a people who,
while affecting to reduce everything to a standard of their own
creating, do not give themselves time or opportunity to ascertain facts,
or weigh consequences.

The weather was pleasant and warm for several weeks, about the close of
June and the commencement of July, and, although a slight shade has been
cast over our enjoyments by the re-appearance of the cholera, in a
greatly diminished degree however, I do not remember to have passed the
same period of time in Paris with so much satisfaction to myself. The
town has been empty, in the usual signification of the term, and the
world has left us entirely to ourselves. After completing the morning's
task, I have strolled in the gardens, visited the churches, loitered on
the quays, rummaged the shops of the dealers in old furniture and other
similar objects. The number of these shops is great, and their stores of
curious things incredible. It appears to me that all France has poured
her relics of the old system into the warehouses of the capital. The
plunder of the chateaux and hotels has enriched them to a degree that
must be witnessed to be understood, and to me it is matter of surprise
that some of our wealthy travellers do not transfer many of these
treasures to the other side of the Atlantic.

I usually spend an our or two with M----, in the gallery of the Louvre,
from two to four: he returns home with me to dinner; and at seven,
which, at this season in this latitude, is still broad day, we issue
forth for a promenade. Paris, I have often told you, is a picturesque
town, and offers endless sources of satisfaction, beyond its living
throngs, its society, its theatres, and its boulevards. The public
displays at the Academy, and its meetings of science, taste, and
philanthropy are little to my taste, being too artificial and affected,
and I have found most enjoyment in parts of this little world that I
believe travellers usually overlook.

The churches of Paris want the odour, the genial and ecclesiastical
atmosphere and the devout superstition that rendered those of Italy so
strikingly soothing and pleasant; but they are huge piles, and can
always be visited with pleasure. Notre Dame de Paris is a noble
monument, and now that the place of the archbishop is destroyed, one is
likely to get better views of it, than is apt to be the case with these
venerable edifices. A few evenings since M----, and myself ascended the
towers, and seating ourselves on the leads, looked down, for near an
hour, on the extraordinary picture beneath. The maze of roofs,
out-topped, here and there, by black lacquered-looking towers, domes,
pavilions of palaces, and, as is the case with the Tuileries and Louvre,
literally by a mile of continuous structures; the fissures of streets,
resembling gaping crevices in rocks; the river meandering through the
centre of all, and spanned by bridges thronged by mites of men and pigmy
carriages; the crowds of images of the past; the historical eminences
that surround the valley of the capital; the knowledge of its interior;
our acquaintance with the past and the present, together with
conjectures for the future, contributed to render this a most impressive
evening. The distant landscape was lost, and even quarters of the town
itself were getting to be obscure before we descended, helping
singularly to increase the effect produced by our speculations on those
ages in which Paris had been the scene of so many momentous events.

We have also wandered among the other relics of antiquity, for the
present structure of Notre Dame is said to have already stood seven
centuries. The Place Royale is one of the most singular quarters of the
town, and although often visited before, we have again examined it, for
we are beginning to regard objects with the interest that one is apt to
feel on leaving a favourite spot, perhaps for ever. This square, unique
in its kind, occupies the site of the ancient residences of the kings of
France, who abandoned it in consequence of the death of Henri II, in a
tournament. Henri IV caused the present area to be enclosed by hotels,
which are all of brick, a novelty in Paris, and built in the style of
his reign. Fashion has, however, been stronger than the royal will; and
noble ranges of rooms are to be hired here at a fourth of the prices
that are paid for small and crowded apartments near the Tuileries. The
celebrated arsenal, where Sully so often received his royal master, is
near this place, and the Bastile stood at no great distance. In short,
the world has moved, within the last two centuries, directly across the
town.

I can never tire of speaking of the bridges of Paris. By day and by
night have I paused on them to gaze at their views; the word not being
too comprehensive for the crowds and groupings of objects that are
visible from their arches. They are less stupendous and magnificent, as
public works, than the bridges of London, Florence, Dresden, Bordeaux,
and many other European towns, the stream they have to span being
inconsiderable; but their number, the variety of their models, even the
very quaintness of some among them, render them, as a whole, I think,
more interesting than any others that I know. The Pont de Jena is as
near perfection in all respects, perhaps, as a bridge well can be. I
greatly prefer it to the celebrated Ponte della Trinita, at Florence.
Some enormous statues are about to be placed on the Pont Louis XVI,
which, if they do not escape criticism, will, at least, I think, help
the picturesque.

I have now known Paris a sufficient time to watch, with interest, the
progress of the public works. The arch at the Barriere de Neuilly has,
within my observation, risen several feet, and approaches its
completion. The wing, a counterpart of the gallery, that is to enclose
the Carrousel, and finally to convert the Louvre and the Tuileries into
a single edifice, has advanced a long distance, and preparations are
making to clear the area of the few buildings that still remain. When
this design shall be executed, the Palace of the Kings of France will
contain considerably more than a mile of continuous buildings, which
will be erected around a large vacant area. The single room of the
picture-gallery is of itself a quarter of a mile in length!

During the heat of the late finance discussion, all sorts of unpleasant
things were said of America, for the money-power acts here as it does
everywhere else, proving too strong even for French _bon ton_, and,
failing of facts and logic, some of the government writers had recourse
to the old weapon of the trader, abuse and vituperation. Among other
bold assertions, one of them affirmed, with a view to disparage the
vaunted enterprise of the Americans, that while they attempted so much
in the way of public works, nothing was ever finished. He cited the
Capitol, a building commenced in 1800, and which had been once destroyed
by fire in the interval, as an example.

As one of the controversionalists, on this occasion, I certainly had no
disposition to debase my mind, or to descend from the level of a
gentleman who was compelled to bow before no political master, in order
to retort in kind; but as is apt to be the case under provocations of
this sort, the charge induced me to look about, in order to see what
advantages the subjects of a monarchy possess over us in this
particular. The result has made several of my French friends laugh, and
acknowledge that they who "live in glass houses should not throw
stones."

The new palace of the Louvre was erected more than two centuries since.
It is a magnificent pile, surrounding a court of more than a quarter of
a mile in circumference, possessing many good statues, fine bas-reliefs,
and a noble colonnade. In some respects, it is one of the finest palaces
in Europe. The interior is, however, unfinished, though in the course of
slow embellishment. Now a principal and very conspicuous window, in the
pavilion that caps the entrance to the Carrousel, is unglazed, the
weather being actually excluded by the use of _coarse unplaned boards_,
precisely in the manner in which one is apt to see a shingle palace
embellished at home. One hundred francs would conceal this deformity.

The palace of the Tuileries was built by Catherine di Medici, who was
dead before the present United States were first peopled. It is a
lantern-like, tasteless edifice, composed of different pavilions,
connected by _corps de batimens_ of different sizes, but of pretty
uniform ugliness. The stone of this vicinity is so easily wrought, that
it is usual to set it up, in blocks, and to work out the capitals and
other ornaments in the wall. On a principal portion of this palace,
_these unwrought blocks still remain_, just enough being finished to
tell the observer that the design has never been completed. I shall not
go beyond the palaces to make out our case, though all Europe abounds
with these discrepancies in taste, and with similar neglect. As a rule,
I believe we more uniformly push through our public undertakings than
any other people, though they are not always executed with the same
taste, on the same scale, or as permanently, perhaps, as the public
works that are undertaken here. When they yield profit, however, we need
turn our backs on no nation.

It is a curious commentary on the change in the times, that
Louis-Philippe has dared to do that which Napoleon, with all his power,
did not deem it expedient to undertake, though it is known that he
chafed under the inconvenience, which it was desirable to both to be rid
of. Until quite lately, the public could approach as near the palace
windows, as one usually gets to those of any considerable dwelling that
stands on a common street. The Emperor complained that he could not look
out of a window, into his own gardens, without attracting a crowd: under
this evil, however, he reigned, as consul and emperor, fourteen years,
for there was no obvious way of remedying it, but by taking possession
of a part of that garden, which so long had been thrown open to the
public, that it now considered it as its own. Sustained by the
congregated wealth of France, and secretly by those nations with whom
his predecessor had to contend, Louis-Philippe has boldly broken ground,
by forming two little gardens beneath the palace windows, which he has
separated from the public promenade by ditches and low railings, but
which serves effectually to take possession, to keep the tiger at a
distance, and to open the way for farther improvement. In the end there
will probably be a wing of the palace thrown forward into the garden,
unless, indeed, the whole of the present structure should be destroyed,
to make place for one more convenient and of purer architecture.

Paris enjoys a high reputation for the style of its public edifices,
and, while there is a very great deal to condemn, compared with other
capitals, I think it is entitled to a distinguished place in this
particular. The church of the Magdalen (Napoleon's Temple de la Gloire,
on which the names of distinguished Frenchmen were to be embossed in
letters of bronze), is one of the finest modern edifices of Europe. It
is steadily advancing to completion, having been raised from beneath the
cornices during my visit. It is now roofed, and they are chiseling the
bas-reliefs on the pediment. The Gardes-Meubles, two buildings, which
line one entire side of the Place Louis Seize, or de la Concorde, as it
is now termed, and which are separated by the Rue Royale, are among the
best structures of the town. Some of their ornaments are a little
meretricious, but the prevalent French features of their architecture
are more happy than common. Only one of these edifices belongs to the
public, and is now the hotel of the Admiralty, the other having been
erected for symmetry, though occupied as private dwellings, and actually
private property. The Bourse, or Exchange, is another modern building
that has an admirable general effect.

Of the private hotels and private gardens of Paris, a stranger can
scarcely give a just account. Although it is now six years since I have
been acquainted with the place, they occasion surprise daily, by their
number, beauty, and magnificence. Relatively, Rome, and Florence, and
Venice, and Genoa, may surpass it, in the richness and vastness of some
of their private residences; but, Rome excepted, none of them enjoy such
gardens, nor does Rome even, in absolute connection with the town abodes
of her nobles. The Roman villas[15] are almost always detached from the
palaces, and half of them are without the walls, as I have already
described to you. The private gardens of Paris certainly cannot compare
with these villas, nor, indeed, can those which belong to the public;
but then there is a luxury, and a quiet, and a beauty, about the five or
six acres that are so often enclosed and planted in the rear of the
hotels here, that I do not think any other Christian city can show in
equal affluence. The mode of living, which places the house between
court and garden, as it is termed here, is justly esteemed the
perfection of a town residence; for while it offers security, by means
of the gate, and withdraws the building from the street--a desideratum
with all above the vulgar--it gives space and room for exercise and
beauty, by means of the verdure, shrubbery, trees, and walks. It is no
unusual thing for the French to take their repasts, in summer, within
the retirement of their gardens, and this in the heart of one of the
most populous and crowded towns of Europe. The miserable and minute
subdivisions of our own towns preclude the possibility of our ever
enjoying a luxury as great, and yet as reasonable as this; and if, by
chance, some lucky individual should find the means to embellish his own
abode and his neighbourhood, in this way, some speculation, half a
league off, would compel him to admit an avenue through his laurels and
roses, in order to fill the pockets of a club of projectors. In America,
everybody sympathises with him who makes money, for it is a common
pursuit, and touches a chord that vibrates through the whole community;
but few, indeed, are they who can enter into the pleasures of him who
would spend it elegantly, rationally, and with good taste. If this were
the result of simplicity, it would, at least, be respectable; but every
one knows that the passion at home is for display--finery, at the
expense of comfort and fitness, being a prevalent evil.

[Footnote 15: This word has a very different signification in Italian,
from that which we have given it, in English. It means a _garden_ in the
country; the _house_ not being necessarily any part of it, although
there is usually a _casino_ or pavilion.]

The private hotels are even more numerous than the private gardens, land
not always having been attainable. Of course these buildings vary in
size and magnificence, according to the rank and fortune of those who
caused them to be constructed, but the very smallest are usually of
greater dimensions than our largest town-houses, and infinitely better
disposed; though we have a finish in many of the minor articles, such as
the hinges, locks, and the wood-work in general, and latterly, in
marbles, that is somewhat uncommon, even in the best houses of France;
when the question, however, is of magnificence, we can lay no claim to
it, for want of arrangement, magnitude, and space.

Many American travellers will render you a different account of these
things, but few of our people stay long enough to get accurate notions
of what they see, and fewer still have free access to the sort of
dwellings of which I now speak.

These hotels bear the names of their several owners. In the instances of
the high nobility, it was usual to build a smaller hotel, near the
principal structure, which was inhabited by the inferior branches of the
family, and sometimes by favoured dependants (for the French, unlike
ourselves, are fond of maintaining the domestic relations to the last,
several generations frequently dwelling under the same roof), and which
it is the fashion to call the _petit hotel_.

Our first apartments were in one of these _petits hotels_, which had
once belonged to the family of Montmorency.[16] The great hotel, which
joined it, was inhabited, and I believe owned, by an American, who had
reversed the usual order of things by coming to Europe to seek his
fortune. Our next abode was the Hotel Jumilliac, in a small garden of a
remote part of the Faubourg St. Germain. This was a hotel of the smaller
size, and our apartments were chiefly on the second floor, or in what is
called the third story in America, where we had six rooms besides the
offices. Our saloon, dining-room, &c. had formerly been the bed-chamber,
dressing-room, and ante-chamber of Madame la Marquise, and gave one a
very respectful opinion of the state of a woman of quality, of a
secondary class, though I believe that this family too was highly
allied. From the Rue St. Maur, we went into a small country-house on the
bank of the Seine, about a league from the gates of Paris, which, a
century since, was inhabited by a Prince de Soubise, as _grand veneur_
of Louis XV, who used to go there occasionally, and eat his dinner, in
a very good apartment, that served us for a drawing-room. Here we were
well lodged, having some two or three-and-twenty well-furnished rooms,
offices included. From this place we went into the Rue des
Champs-Elysees, where we had a few rooms in a hotel of some size. Oddly
enough, our predecessor in a portion of these rooms was the Prince
Polignac, and our successor Marshal Marmont, two men who are now
proscribed in France. We have been in one or two apartments in nameless
edifices since our return from Germany, and we are now in a small hotel
in the Rue St. Dominique, where in some respects we are better lodged
than ever, though compelled to occupy three floors. Here the salon is
near thirty feet in length, and seventeen high. It is panelled in wood,
and above all the doors, of which, real and false, there are six, are
allegories painted on canvass, and enclosed in wrought gilded frames.
Four large mirrors are fixtures, and the windows are vast and descend to
the floor. The dining-room, which opens on a garden, is of the same
size, but even loftier. This hotel formerly had much interior gilding,
but it has chiefly been painted over. It was built by the physician of
the Duc d'Orleans, who married Madame de Montesson, and from this fact
you may form some idea of the style maintained by the nobles of the
period; a physician, at that
time,
being but a very inferior personage in Europe.

[Footnote 16: This ancient family still exists, though much shorn of its
splendour, by the alienation of its estates, in consequence of the
marriage of Charlotte de Montmorency, heiress of the eldest line, with a
Prince of Conde, two centuries since. By this union, the estates and
chateaux of Chantilly, Ecouen, etc., ancient possessions of the house,
passed into a junior branch of the royal family. In this manner Enghien,
a _seigneurie_ of the Montmorencies, came to be the title of a prince of
the blood, in the person of the unfortunate descendant of Charlotte of
that name. At the present time, besides the Duc de Montmorency, the Duc
de Laval-Montmorency, the Duc de Luxembourg, the Prince de Bauffremont,
the Prince de Tancarville, and one or two more, are members of this
family, and most of them are, or were before the late revolution, peers
of France. The writer knew, at Paris, a Colonel de Montmorency, an
Irishman by birth, who claimed to be the head of this celebrated family,
as a descendant of a cadet who followed the Conqueror into England.
There are two Irish peers, who have also pretensions of the same sort,
though the French branches of the family look coolly on the claim. The
title of "First Christian Baron," is not derived from antiquity, ancient
as the house unquestionably is, but from the circumstance that the
barony of Montmorency, from its local position, in sight of Paris, aided
by the great power of the family, rendered the barons the first in
importance to their sovereign. The family of Talleyrand-Perigord is so
ancient, that, in the middle ages, when a King demanded of its head,
"Who made you Count de Perigord?" he was asked, by way of reply, "Who
made you King of France?"--God! I think I should have hesitated on the
score of taste about establishing myself in a house of the
Montmorencies, but Jonathan has usually no such scruples. Our own
residence was but temporary, the hotel being public.]

In describing these residences, which have necessarily been suited to
very moderate means, I have thought you might form some idea of the
greater habitations. First and last, I may have been in a hundred, and,
while the Italian towns do certainly possess a few private dwellings of
greater size and magnificence, I believe Paris contains, in proportion,
more noble abodes than any other place in Europe. London, in this
particular, will not compare with it. I have been in some of the best
houses in the British capital, but very few of them rise to the level of
these hotels in magnificence and state, though nearly all surpass them
in comfort. I was at a ball given by the Count ----, when thirteen rooms
_en suite_ were opened. The Duke of Devonshire can hardly exceed this.
Prince Borghese used, on great occasions, to open twenty, if I remember
right, at Florence, one of which was as large as six or eight of our
ordinary drawing-rooms. Although, as a whole, nothing can be more
inconvenient or irrational than an ordinary town-house in New York, even
we excel the inhabitants of these stately abodes, in many of the minor
points of domestic economy, particularly in the offices, and in the
sleeping-rooms of the second class.

Your question, as to the comparative expense of living at home and of
living in Europe, is too comprehensive to be easily answered, for the
prices vary so materially, that it is difficult to make intelligent
comparisons. As between Paris and New York, so long as one keeps within
the usual limits of American life, or is disposed to dispense with a
multitude of little elegancies, the advantage is essentially with the
latter. While no money will lodge a family in anything like style, or
with suites of rooms, ante-chambers, &c. in New York, for the simple
reason, that buildings which possess these elegancies, or indeed with
fine apartments at all, have never yet been erected in the country; a
family can be better lodged in a genteel part of the town for less
money, than it can be lodged, with equal room and equal comforts, in a
genteel quarter of Paris; always excepting the inferior distribution of
the rooms, and other little advantages, such as the convenience of a
porter, &c. all of which are in favour of the latter place.[17] Food of
all kinds is much the cheapest with us, bread alone excepted. Wines can
be had, as a whole, better and cheaper in New York, if obtained from the
wine-merchant, than in any European town we have yet inhabited. Even
French wines can be had as cheap as they can be bought here, for the
entrance-duty into the country is actually much less than the charges at
the gates of Paris. The transportation from Bordeaux or Champagne, or
Burgundy, is not, as a whole, essentially less than that to New York, if
indeed it be any less. All the minor articles of table luxuries, unless
they happen to be of French growth, or French fabrications, are
immeasurably cheaper in America than here. Clothes are nominally much
cheaper here than with us; but neither the French nor the English use
habitually as good clothes as we; nor are the clothes generally as well
made. You are not, however, to suppose from this that the Americans are
a well-dressed people; on the contrary, we are greatly behind the
English in this particular, nor are our men, usually, as well attired as
those of Paris. This is a consequence of a want of servants, negligent
habits, greediness of gain, which monopolizes so much of our time as to
leave little for relaxation, and the high prices of articles, which
prevent our making as frequent calls on the tailor, as is the practice
here. My clothes have cost me more in Europe, however, than they did at
home, for I am compelled to have a greater variety, and to change them
oftener.

[Footnote 17: In New York, the writer has a house with two
drawing-rooms, a dining-room, eight bed-rooms, dressing-rooms, four good
servants' rooms, with excellent cellars, cisterns, wells, baths,
water-closets, etc. for the same money that he had an apartment in
Paris, of one drawing-room, a cabinet, four small and inferior
bed-rooms, dining-room, and ante-chamber; the kitchens, offices,
cellars, etc. being altogether in favour of the New York residence. In
Paris, water was bought in addition, and a tax of forty dollars a year
was paid for inhabiting an apartment or a certain amount of rent; a tax
that was quite independent of the taxes on the house, doors, and
windows, which in both cases were paid by the landlord.]

Our women do not know what high dress is, and consequently they escape
many demands on the purse, to which those of Paris are compelled to
submit. It would not do, moreover, for a French belle to appear every
other night for a whole season in the same robe, and that too looking
bedraggled, and as jaded as its pretty wearer. Silks and the commoner
articles of female attire are perhaps as cheap in our own shops, as in
those of Paris: but when it comes to the multitude of little elegances
that ornament the person, the salon, or the boudoir, in this country,
they are either wholly unknown in America, or are only to be obtained by
paying treble and quadruple the prices at which they may be had here. We
absolutely want the caste of shopkeepers as it exists in Europe. By
shopkeepers, I mean that humble class of traders who are content with
moderate profits, looking forward to little more than a respectable
livelihood, and the means of placing their children in situations as
comfortable as their own. This is a consequence of the upward tendency
of things in a young and vigorous community, in which society has no
artificial restrictions, or as few as will at all comport with
civilization, and the buoyancy of hope that is its concomitant. The want
of the class, notwithstanding, deprives the Americans of many elegancies
and some comforts, which would be offered to them at as low rates as
they are sold in the countries in which they are made, were it not for
the principle of speculative value, which enters into nearly all of our
transactions. In Paris the man or woman who sells a duchess an elegant
bauble, is half the time content to eat his humble dinner in a small
room adjoining his shop, to sleep in an _entresol_ over it, and to limit
his profits by his wants. The pressure of society reduces him to this
level. With us the thing is reversed, and the consumer is highly taxed,
as a necessary result. As we become more familiar with the habits of
European life, the demand will gradually reduce the value of these minor
articles, and we shall obtain them at the same relative prices, as
ordinary silks and shawls are now to be had. At present it must be
confessed that our shops make but indifferent figures compared with
those of London and Paris. I question if the best of them would pass for
more than fourth-rate in London, or for more than third-rate here;
though the silk-mercers at home might possibly be an exception to the
rule.

The amount of all my experience, on this point, is to convince me, that
so long as one is willing to be satisfied with the habits of American
life, which include a great abundance, many comforts, and even some few
elegancies, that are not known here, such as the general use of carpets,
and that of many foreign articles which are excluded from the European
markets by the different protective systems, but which, also, do not
know a great many embellishments of living that are common all over
Europe, he can get along with a good deal less money in New York, than
in Paris; certainly, with less, if he mix much with the world.

EXCURSION UP THE RHINE, &c.

LETTER VIII.

Preparations for leaving-Paris.--Travelling arrangements.--Our
Route.--The Chateau of Ecouen.--The
_Croisee_.--Senlis.--Peronne.--Cambray.--Arrival at the
Frontier.--Change in the National Character.--Mons.--Brussels.--A
Fete.--The Picture Gallery.--Probable Partition of Belgium.

Dear ----,

We had been preparing for our summer excursion some time, but were
unable to get away from Paris before the 18th of July. Our destination
was undetermined, health and pleasure being the objects, though, a
portion of our party having never seen Belgium, it was settled to visit
that country in the commencement of the journey, let it end where it
might The old caleche was repaired for the purpose, fitted with a new
rumble to contain Francois and Jetty (the Saxon _femme de chambre_,
hired in Germany), the _vache_ was crammed, sacks stowed, passport
signed, and orders were sent for horses. We are a little apt to boast of
the facilities for travelling in America, and, certainly, so long as one
can keep in the steam-boats or on the rail-roads, and be satisfied with
mere velocity, no part of the world can probably compete with us, the
distances considered; but we absolutely want the highest order of
motion, which, I think, beyond all question, is the mode of travelling
post. By this method, your privacy is sacred, you are master of your
own hours, going where you please, and stopping when you please; and, as
for speed, you can commonly get along at the rate of ten miles in the
hour, by paying a trifle in addition, or you can go at half that rate
should it better suit your humour. A good servant and a good carriage
are indispensable, and both are to be had at very reasonable rates, in
this part of the world.

I never felt the advantage of this mode of travelling, and I believe we
have now tried nearly all the others, or the advantages of the Parisian
plan of living, so strongly as on the present occasion. Up to the last
moment, I was undecided by what route to travel. The furniture of the
apartment was my own, and it was our intention to return to Paris, to
pass the winter. The luggage had been stowed early in the morning, the
carriage was in the court ready to hook on, and at ten we sat down
quietly to breakfast, as usual, with scarcely a sign of movement about
us. Like old campaigners, the baggage had been knowingly reduced to the
very minimum admissible, no part of the furniture was deranged, but
everything was in order, and you may form some idea of the facilities,
when you remember that this was the condition of a family of strangers,
that in half an hour was to start on a journey of several months'
duration, to go--they knew not whither.

A few minutes before ten, click-clack, click-clack, gave notice of the
approach of the post-horses. The _porte-cochere_ opened, and two
votaries of the old-fashioned boot enter, each riding one and leading
another horse. All this is done quietly, and as a matter of course; the
cattle are put before the carriage without a question being asked, and
the two liveried roadsters place themselves by the sides of their
respective beasts. In the mean time, we had entered the caleche, said
adieu to the cook, who was left in charge of the apartment, a trust that
might, however, equally well have been confided to the porter, kissed
our hands to the family of M. de V----, and the other inmates of the
hotel, who crowded the windows to see us off. Up to this moment, I had
not decided even by what road to travel! The passport had been taken out
for Brussels, and last year, you may recollect, we went to that place by
Dieppe, Abbeville, Douay, and Arras. The "Par quelle route, monsieur?"
of the postilion that rode the wheel-horse, who stood with a foot in the
stirrup, ready to get up, brought me to a conclusion. "A St. Denis!" the
question compelling a decision, and all my doubts terminating, as doubts
are apt to terminate, by taking the most beaten path.

The day was cool and excessively windy, while the thermometer had stood
the previous afternoon but one, at 93 deg., in the shade. We were compelled
to travel with the carriage-windows closed, the weather being almost
wintry. As we drove through the streets, the common women cried after
us, "They are running away from the cholera;" an accusation that we felt
we did not merit, after having stood our ground during the terrible
months of April and May. But popular impulses are usually just as
undiscriminating as the favouritism of the great: the mistake is in
supposing that one is any better than the other.

When we had reached the city where the Kings of France are buried, it
was determined to sleep at Senlis, which was only four posts further,
the little town that we visited with so much satisfaction in 1827. This
deviation from the more direct road led us by Gonesse, and through a
district of grain country, that is less monotonous than most of the
great roads that lead from Paris. We got a good view of the chateau of
Ecouen, looking vast and stately, seated on the side of a distant hill.
I do not know into whose hands this princely pile has fallen since the
unhappy death of the last of the Condes, but it is to be hoped into
those of the young Duc D'Aumale, for I believe he boasts the blood of
the Montmorencies, through some intermarriage or other; and if not, he
comes, at least, of a line accustomed to dwell in palaces. I do not like
to see these historical edifices converted into manufactories, nor am I
so much of a modern utilitarian as to believe the poetry of life is
without its correcting and useful influences. Your cold, naked
utilitarian, holds a sword that bruises as well as cuts; and your
sneaking, trading aristocrat, like the pickpocket who runs against you
in the crowd before he commits his theft, one that cuts as well as
bruises.

We were at Ecouen not long before the death of its last possessor, and
visited its wide but untenanted halls with strong interest. The house
was first erected by some Montmorency, or other, at or near the time of
the crusades, I believe; though it has been much altered since. Still it
contains many curious vestiges of the taste of that remote age. The old
domestic who showed us through the building was as quaint a relic as
anything about the place. He had accompanied the family into exile, and
passed many years with them in England. In courtesy, respect, and
delicate attention, he would have done credit to the court of Louis XIV;
nor was his intelligence unworthy of his breeding. This man, by the way,
was the only Frenchman whom I ever knew address an Englishman (or, as in
my case, one whom he mistook for an Englishman), by the old appelation
of _milord_. The practice is gone out, so far as my experience extends.

I remember to have learned from this courteous old servant, the origin
of the common term _croisee_, which is as often used in large houses as
that of _fenetre_. At the period when every man's heart and wishes were
bound up in the excitement and enterprise of the crusades, and it was
thought that heaven was to be entered sword in hand, the cross was a
symbol used as a universal ornament. Thus the aperture for a window was
left in the wall, and a stone cross erected in the centre. The several
compartments in the casements came from the shape of the cross, and the
term _croisee_ from _croix_. All this is plain enough, and perhaps there
are few who do not know it; but gazing at the ornaments of Ecouen, my
eyes fell on the doors, where I detected crosses in the most familiar
objects. There is scarcely a panelled door, twenty years old, in all
America, that does not bear this evidence of the zeal, and, if you will,
the superstition of those distant ages! The form of the door is made by
the exterior stile; a cross is then built within it, and the open spaces
are filled with panels, as, in the case of the window, it is filled with
the sash. The exactitude of the form, the antiquity of the practice, its
obvious connexion with the common feeling, and the inability to account
for the usage in any other way, leave no doubt, in my mind, of its
origin, though I do not remember to have ever met with such an account
of it, in any author. If this conjecture be true, we Protestants, while
fastidiously, not to say foolishly, abstaining from the use of a symbol
that prejudice has led us to think peculiarly unsuited to our faith,
have been unconsciously living with it constantly before our eyes. But
the days of puritan folly and puritan vice (there is nothing more
vicious than self-righteousness, and the want of charity it engenders)
are numbered, and men are beginning to distinguish between the
exaggerations of fanaticism and the meek toleration of pure
Christianity. I can safely say that the lowest, the most degraded, and
the most vulgar wickedness, both as to tone and deed, and the most
disordered imaginations, that it has ever been my evil fortune to
witness, or to associate with, was met with at school, among the sons of
those pious forefathers, who fancied they were not only saints
themselves, but that they also were to be the progenitors of long lines
of saints. It is a melancholy truth, that a gentleman-like training does
more for the suppression of those abominations than all the dogmas that
the pilgrims have imported into the country.

We reached Senlis in time for dinner, and while the repast was getting
ready, we strolled through the place, in order to revive the sensations
with which we had visited it five years before. But, alas! these are
joys, which, like those of youth are not renewable at pleasure. I could
hardly persuade myself it was the same town. The walls, that I had then
fancied lined with the men-at-arms of the Charleses of France, and the
English Henries and Edwards, had now lost all their peculiarities,
appearing mean and common-place; and as to the gate, from which we had
almost heard the trumpets of the heralds, and the haughty answer to a
bold summons of surrender, we absolutely had difficulty in persuading
ourselves that we had found it at all. Half Europe had been roamed over
since the time when, fresh from America, we made the former visit,
predisposed to gaze with enthusiasm at every relic of a former age and a
different state of society.

If we were disagreeably disappointed in the antiquities of the town, we
were as agreeably disappointed in the inn. It was clean, gave us a good
dinner, and, as almost invariably proves to be the case in France, also
gave us good beds. I do not remember ever to have been more fatigued
than by the five posts between Paris and this place. The uneven _paves_,
the random and careless driving of the postillions, with whom it is a
point of honour to gallop over the broken streets of the villages,
besides having a strong fellow-feeling for the smiths, always makes the
eight or ten posts nearest to Paris, much the most disagreeable part of
a journey to or from the French capital.

We dined at six, exhausted the curiosities of Senlis, and went to bed by
daylight!

The next morning was fresh and bland, and I walked ahead of the
carriage. A wood-cutter was going to the forests to make faggots, and we
fell into discourse. This man assured me that he should get only ten
sous for his day's work! The view of the principal church-tower of
Senlis as beautiful, and, in a slight degree, it carried the mind back
to the fifteenth century.

You have travelled to and from Paris with me so often, that I can only
add we found the same fatiguing monotony, on this occasion, as on all
the others. We reached Peronne early, and ordered beds. Before dinner
we strolled around the ramparts, which are pleasant of themselves though
the place stands in a marsh, which renders its position not only strong,
but strongly disagreeable. We endeavoured in vain to find some features
to revive the pictures of "Quentin Durward." There was no sign of a
soldier in the place, though barracks were building. The French are
evidently less jealous of this frontier, than of that on the east, or
the one next the Austrians.

The next morning we breakfasted at Cambray. Here we found a garrison,
and considerable activity. The citadel is well placed, and the esplanade
is a pretty walk. We visited the cathedral, which contains a monument to
Fenelon, by our friend David. We were much gratified by this work, which
ranks among his best. Near Valenciennes we broke a tire, and were
detained two hours. Here the garrison was still stronger, the place in
better condition, and the troops mounted guard with their marching
accoutrements about them; all of which, I presume, was owing to the
fact, that this is the last fortified town on the road. We did not get
to the frontier until seven, and the French postilions broke another
bolt before we got fairly rid of them, compelling us to wait an hour to
have it mended. We were now in a low wet country, or one perfectly
congenial to cholera; it was just the hour when the little demons of
miasma are said to be the most active, and to complete the matter, we
learned that the disease was in the village. The carriage-windows were
closed, while I walked about, from door to door, to pacify uneasiness by
curiosity. Use, however, had made us all tolerably indifferent, and
little P---- settled the matter by remarking it was nothing after all,
for here only two or three died daily, while at Paris there had been a
thousand! Older heads than his, often take material facts more in a lump
than this.

The change in the national character is so evident, immediately on
crossing into Belgium, as to occasion surprise. The region was, at no
remote period, all Flanders. The same language is still spoken, the same
religion professed in both countries, and yet a certain secret moral
influence appears to have extended itself from the capital of each
country, until they have met on the frontier, where both have been
arrested within their proper geographical limits. We had come into this
village on a gallop, driven with the lighthearted _etourderie_ of French
vanity, and we left it gravely, under the guidance of postilions who
philosophically smoked, as their cattle trotted along like elephants.

It was quite late when we reached Mons, where we found a good house, of
unexceptionable neatness: of course we were in no haste to quit it the
next day. The distance to Brussels was so short that we took it
leisurely, reaching the Hotel de l'Europe at three. It was a fete, on
account of the anniversary of the arrival of Leopold, who had now
reigned just a twelvemonth. He passed our window, while we were still at
table, on his way to the theatre. The royal cortege was not very
brilliant, consisting of four carriages, each drawn by two horses,
which, by the way, are quite enough for any coachman to manage, in
descending the formidable hill that leads from the great square.

You have now been with me three times, in Brussels, and I shall not go
over the old ground again. We revisited some of the more prominent
places of interest, and went to a few others that were neglected on
former occasions. Among the rest we took a look at the public
picture-gallery, which greatly disappointed us. The Flemish school
naturally awakened our expectations, but a fine Gerard Douw and a few
other old paintings were all that struck us, and as a whole, we gave a
preference to the paintings of the present day.

The King appears to be personally popular, even those who have no faith
in the duration of the present order of things, and who politically are
his opponents, speaking well of him. The town has but few strangers,
though the presence of a court renders it a little more gay than it was
last year. The aspect of everything is gloomy, for the country may be
again engaged in a war of existence, in a week. Many still think the
affair will end in a partition; France, Prussia, and Holland getting the
principal shares. I make no doubt that everybody will profit more by the
change than they who brought it about.

LETTER IX.

Malines.--Its Collection of Pictures.--Antwerp.--The Cathedral.--A
Flemish Quack.--Flemish Names.--The Picture Gallery at Antwerp.--Mr.
Wapper's Carvings in Wood.--Mr. Van Lankeren's Pictures.--The Boulevards
at Brussels.--Royal Abodes.--Palace of the Prince of Orange.--Prince
Auguste d'Ahremberg's Gallery of Pictures.--English Ridicule of America.

Dear ----,

After a consultation with Francois, I sent the carriage to get a set of
entirely new wheels, Brussels being a coach-making town, and taking a
_voiture de remise_, we drove down to Antwerp. While the horses rested,
we looked at the pictures in Malines. The "Miraculous Draught of Fishes"
is thought by many to be the chef-d'oeuvre of Rubens, but, after
conceding it a hardy conception and magnificent colouring, I think one
finds too much of the coarse mannerism of the artist, even for such a
subject. The most curious part of the study of the different schools is
to observe how much all have been influenced by external objects, and
how completely conventional, after all, the _beau ideal_ of an artist
necessarily becomes. It would be impossible, for one who knew the
several countries, to mistake the works of Murillo, Rubens, or Raphael,
for the works of artists of different schools, and this without
reference to their peculiar manners, but simply as Flemings, Spaniards,
and Italians. Rubens, however, is, I think, a little apt to out-Dutch
the Dutch. He appears to me to have delighted in the coarse, while
Raphael revelled in the pretty. But Raphael could and often did step out
of himself and rise to the grand; and then he was perfect, because his
grandeur was chastened.

We reached Antwerp some time before dinner. The situation of the town
was singular, the Dutch holding the citadel; the place, which was
peopled by their enemies, as a matter of course, lying quite at their
mercy. The road from Brussels is partly commanded by them, and we saw
their flag rising out of the low mounds--for in Flanders the art of
fortifying consists in burrowing as deep as possible--as we approached
the town. Several Dutch gun-boats were in the river, off the town, and,
in the reaches of the Scheldt below, we got glimpses of divers frigates
and corvettes, riding at anchor. As an offset to the works of their
enemies, the Belgians had made a sort of entrenched camp, by enclosing
the docks with temporary ramparts, the defences of the town aiding them,
in part, in effecting their object.

One of our first visits was to the cathedral. This beautiful edifice had
escaped without material damage from the recent conflicts, though the
garrison of the citadel have thrown a few shots at its tower, most
probably with a view to drive curious eyes out of it, the great height
enabling one to get a complete bird's-eye view of what is going on
within their walls. The celebrated Rubenses were cased in massive timber
to render them bomb-proof, and, of course, were invisible.

Processions of peasants were passing from church to church, the whole
day, to implore succour against the cholera, which, by the way, and
contrary to all rule for a low and moist country, is said to be very
light here. The Flemings have the reputation of being among the most
bigoted Catholics, and the most ignorant population of Europe. This
accounts, in some measure, for the existence of the latter quality
among the first inhabitants of New York, most of whom were from
Flanders, rather than from Holland. I have found many of our names in
Antwerp, but scarcely one in Holland. The language at home, too, is much
nearer the Flemish than the Dutch; though it is to be presumed that
there must have been some colonists from Holland, in a province
belonging to that nation. I listened to-day to a fellow vending quack
medicines and vilely printed legends, to a song which, tune and all, I
am quite sure to have heard in Albany, when a schoolboy. The undeviating
character and habits of the people, too, appear to be very much like
those which existed among ourselves, before the influx of eastern
emigration swallowed up everything even to the _suppan_. I remember to
have heard this same quack singing this same song, in the very same
place in June, 1828, when we first visited Antwerp. The effect was
exceedingly ludicrous, for it seemed to me, that the fellow had been
occupying the same spot, employed in the same pursuits, for the last
five years, although the country had been revolutionized. This is also a
little characteristic, for some of our own Communipaws are said to
believe we are still the property of the United Provinces.

The Flemish language has many words that are French in the spelling, but
which have entirely different meanings, representing totally different
things or ideas. _De_ is one. In French this word, pronounced _der_,
without dwelling on the last letter, is a preposition generally meaning
"of." Before a name, without being incorporated with it, it is an
invariable sign of nobility, being even frequently affixed, like the
German _von_, to the family name, on attaining that rank. In Flemish it
is an article, and is pronounced precisely as a Dutchman is apt to
pronounced _the_, meaning the same. Thus De Witt, means _the_ White, or
White; the Flemings using the article to express things or qualities in
the abstract, like the French. Myn Heer De Witt is just the same as
Monsieur le Blanc, or Monsieur Du Bois, in French; one of which means
Monsieur White, and the other Monsieur Wood. So nearly does this
language resemble the English, that I have repeatedly comprehended whole
sentences, in passing through the streets. Now in New York, we used to
think the Dutch had become corrupted by the English, but I fancy that
the corruption has been just the other way.

We had made the acquaintance of a Flemish artist of extraordinary merit,
at Paris; and this gentleman (Mr. Wappers) kindly called this morning to
take us to see the gallery. The collection is not particularly large,
nor is it rich in cabinet pictures, being chiefly composed of
altar-pieces taken from churches. The works are principally those of
Rubens, Vandyke, and a few of the older masters. The Vandykes, I think,
are the best. On the whole, it struck me there were more curious than
pleasing pictures in this gallery, although they are all valuable as
belonging to a school. The study of the "Descent from the Cross" is
among them, and it gave me more pleasure than anything else. Vandyke
certainly rose in our estimation, after this close comparison with his
great rival: he is altogether more human than Rubens, who is a sort of
Dutch giant in the art; out of the natural proportions, and always a
giant.

Mr. Wappers permitted us to see his own painting-room. He is of the
school of the great Flemish masters, and, I think, quite at the head of
his profession, in many of its leading points. It was curious to trace
in the works of this young artist the effects of having Rubens and
Vandyke constantly before him, corrected by the suggestions of his own
genius. His style is something between the two; broader and bolder than
Vandyke, and less robust than Rubens.

We went the round of the churches, for, if Italy be the land of marbles,
Belgium is, or rather has been, the very paradise of those who carved in
wood. I have seen more delicate and highly-finished works of this sort,
in a small way, in other countries; as in the high reliefs of Santa
Maria della Salute, at Venice; but nowhere else is so much attempted,
or, indeed, so much achieved in this branch of art, as here. Many of the
churches are quite surrounded by oak confessionals that are highly and
allegorically ornamented; though, in general, the pulpits contain the
most elaborate designs, and the greatest efforts of this curious work.
One at Brussels has the Conversion of St. Paul, horse, rider and all,
larger than life. The whole is well wrought, even to the expression. But
the best specimens of carving in wood that I remember, were a few
figures over the door of an hospital that we saw in 1828, though I now
forget whether it was at Gorcum or at Breda. One often sees statuary of
great pretension and a wide-spread reputation, that is wanting in the
nature, simplicity, and repose of these figures.

We went to see a collection of pictures owned by Mr. Van Lankeren. It is
a very fine gallery, but there are few paintings by very great artists.
A Van der Heyden (an old New York name, by the way), surpassed anything
I know, in its atmosphere. Poussin, and our own artist Cole, excel in
this high merit, but this picture of Van der Heyden has a cold, gray
transparency that seems actually to have transferred a Dutch atmosphere
to the canvass.

We returned to Brussels in time to dine. At Malines I stood with
admiration beneath the great tower, which possesses a rare majesty. Had
it been completed according to the original plan, I believe it would
have been the highest church-tower in Europe. In the evening we had a
call from Mr. and Mrs. ----, and made an appointment to visit the palace
of the Prince of Orange in the morning.

I was up betimes next day, and took a walk round the park, and on the
upper boulevards. The injuries done in the fight have been, in some
measure, repaired, but the place was deserted and melancholy. The houses
line one side of the boulevards, the other being open to the fields,
which are highly cultivated and unenclosed. This practice of cutting
off a town like a cheese-paring is very common on the continent of
Europe, and the effect is odd to those who are accustomed to straggling
suburbs, as in America and England.

At ten we went to the palace, according to appointment. The royal abodes
at Brussels are very plain edifices, being nothing more than long
unbroken buildings, with very few external ornaments. This of the Prince
of Orange stands in the park, near that of the King, and is a simple
parallelogram with two gates. The principal apartments are in the same
form, being an entire suite that are entered on one side and left on the
other. There is great good taste and elegance in the disposition of the
rooms. A few are rich, especially the _salle de bal_, which is really
magnificent. The place was kept just as it had been left by its last
occupants, Leopold, with good taste, not to say good feeling,
religiously respecting their rights. A pair of gloves belonging to the
princess were shown us, precisely on the spot where she had left them;
and her shawls and toys were lying carelessly about, as if her return
were momentarily expected. This is true royal courtesy, which takes
thrones without remorse, while it respects the baubles.

This palace had many good pictures, and among others a Raphael. There
was a Paul Potter or two, and a couple of pictures, in the same stile,
as pendants, by a living artist of the name of Verboeckhoven, whose
works sustained the comparison wonderfully well.

We were shown the window at which the robber entered who stole the
jewels of the princess; an event that has given room to the enemies of
the house of Nassau to torture into an accusation of low guilt against
her husband.[18] I have never met a gentleman here, who appeared to
think the accusation worthy of any credit, or who treated it as more
than the gossip of underlings, exaggerated by the agents of the press.

[Footnote 18: This affair of the jewels of the Princess of Orange is one
proof, among many others, of the influence of the vilest portion of
mankind over their fellow-creatures. It suited the convenience and views
of some miscreant who pandered for the press (and the world is full of
them), to throw out a hint that the Prince of Orange had been guilty of
purloining the jewels to pay his gambling debts, and the ignorant, the
credulous, and the wonder-mongers, believed a charge of this nature,
against a frank and generous soldier! It was a charge, that, in the
nature of things, could only be disproved by detecting the robber, and
one that a prince and a gentleman would scarcely stoop to deny. Accident
favoured the truth. The jewels have, oddly enough, been discovered in
New York, and the robber punished. Now, the wretch who first started
this groundless calumny against the Prince of Orange, belongs exactly to
that school whose members impart to America more than half her notions
of the distinguished men of Europe.]

From the palace of the Prince of Orange we went to the house of Prince
Auguste d'Ahremberg, to see his collection. This is one of the best
private galleries in Europe, though not particularly large. It is rich
in the works of Teniers,[19] Woovermans, Both, Cuyp, Potter, Rembrandt,
and the other masters of the country. Among others is a first-rate
Gerard Douw (another New York name).

[Footnote 19: One hears of occasionally discovering good pictures in the
streets, an event that actually once occurred to the writer. Shortly
after the revolution of 1830, in passing through the Carrousel, he
bought a female portrait, that was covered with dirt, but not materially
injured. Finding it beautifully painted, curiosity led him to question
the man who had sold it. This person affirmed that it was a portrait of
the wife of David Teniers painted by himself. He was not believed, of
course, and the thing was forgotten, until two picture-dealers, who
accidentally saw it, at different times, affirmed that it was by
Teniers, though neither knew the original of the likeness. On examining
the catalogues, the writer found that such a picture had existed in
Paris, before the revolution, and that it was now lost. But this picture
was square, while that was oval and much larger. The dealer was
questioned again, on the appearance of the picture, without giving him
any clue to the object, and he explained the matter at once, by saying
that it had once been oval, but the canvass getting an injury, he had
reduced it to its present form. Since then, an engraving has been
discovered that scarce leaves a doubt as to the originality of the
portrait.]

I passed the evening at the house of an English gentleman, where the
master of the last-named gallery was one of the company. A guest, a Sir
----, amused me by the peculiarly _British_ manner in which he conveyed
a few remarks on America. Speaking of a countrywoman of ours, who had

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