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A tour through some parts of France, Switzerland, Savoy, Germany and Belgium by Richard Boyle Bernard

Part 2 out of 4

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with the most alacrity, were treated only with contempt.

He was hardly seated on his throne, before he spoke of making France a
camp, and all the French soldiers. A long series of success made him
despise those precautions so necessary to insure it, and rendered his
catastrophe the more striking.

The character given by Seneca of the Corsicans, has been quoted as
applicable to the most famous character that island has ever produced:
he says, "the leading characteristics of these islanders are revenge,
theft, lying, and impiety." Over the downfall of such a man, the
civilized world must rejoice; but the contemplation of his character
affords a salutary lesson to ambition, which, carried to excess, ruins
that greatness it would so madly increase.

The last years of his reign were distinguished by the number of plots
which were pretended to be discovered, and proved the truth of a remark
of Mary de Medicis, "That a false report believed during three days,
tended to secure the crown on the head of an usurper."

But neither his guards, nor his police, could insure him a moment of
repose.

"Volvilur Ixion, et se sequiturque fugitque."

Modern history has fully demonstrated a truth, which might have been
collected from more ancient records, and of which England affords an
illustrious example, that the attachment of a free and enlightened
people is the only basis on which thrones can rest with security.

Having now sufficiently satisfied my curiosity at Fontainbleau, I
determined on continuing my journey (which I fear my reader may regret I
did not do sooner), and I accordingly arrived at noon at Montereau,
which is an inconsiderable town, but beautifully situated in a fertile
plain, at the junction of the rivers Seine and Yonne. The bridges over
those rivers had been partly broken down, to impede the progress of the
allied troops in the late memorable campaign. They have been repaired
with timber in a temporary manner, but cannot be considered as at all
sufficiently secure for the passage of heavy carriages. Many of the
houses in this town still exhibit abundant marks of bullets, but the
country around appears in such a luxuriant state of cultivation, that
had I not myself seen the spot where a battle had been fought in the
last spring, I could hardly hare persuaded myself it had so lately been
the theatre of war.

I next reached Sens, a large and ancient city, but thinly inhabited, and
with little marks of activity, although situated in a country abounding
with all the conveniences of life, and possessing a situation on the
rivers Vanne and Yonne, which seems to shame its inhabitants for their
neglect of the commercial advantages they afford.

The Cathedral is a venerable structure, and contains the tomb of the
Dauphin, father of the present King, who died in 1765.--About sixteen
English miles distant is Joigny, beautifully situated on the Yonne, and
surrounded on all skies by vineyards; we now were approaching one of the
parts of France most famous for its wines.

The road, which is in excellent repair, follows the windings of the
river to Auxerre, which, although much less than Sens, has a more lively
appearance, and the inhabitants seem to make more use of the facilities
which the river affords of communicating with Paris and the rest of the
country. The churches here are handsome, the tower of one of them is
said to have been built by the _English_.

The Vineyards in this neighbourhood are numerous, and the wine is much
esteemed.

I waited here for the arrival of the Paris Diligence, in which I
proposed to proceed to Dijon, wishing not to leave France without having
made trial of one of their public carriages.

The appearance of that which I saw at Calais was much against it; the
one I met with here proved a very tedious conveyance, not going in
general above three or four English miles an hour; which, however is as
much as could be expected from a carriage which is scarcely less laden
than many of our waggons. It was drawn by five horses, all managed by
_one_ postilion, mounted on one of the wheel horses, and furnished with
a vast and _unwieldy_ pair of _boots_, cased with iron, and a long whip,
which he is perpetually employed in cracking. Another important
personage is Monsieur le _Conducteur_, who has the care of the luggage,
&c. The French in general adhere to old customs, as well as the
postilions to their antiquated boots; their hour of dinner in general
being from eleven to twelve o'clock, and seldom so late as one. This in
England would be considered only as a _Dejeuner a la Fourchette_. The
hour of supper is from seven to nine, according as the length of the
stages may determine.

If the _hour_ of a French dinner is singular to an Englishman, the
order in which it is served up is not less so. The soup (that great
essential to a Frenchman) is always followed by bouilli, which having
contributed to make the soup, is itself very tasteless.--Fricassees and
poultry succeed; then follow fish and vegetables, and last of all comes
the roti, which, as I before had occasion to observe, is so much done as
not to be very palatable. The pastry and desert conclude their dinners,
which certainly deserve the praise of being both cheap and abundant. The
fruit is astonishingly cheap; I. have seen excellent peaches sell for a
sous apiece. A traveller is not, however, in general disposed to
criticise these singularities, either in the hour or order of the repast
with too much severity, as the remark attributed to Alexander the Great,
has probably been made by many of less celebrity, "that night travelling
serves to give a better appetite than all the skill of confectioners."

The general price of the Table d'Hote in France, including the _vin
ordinaire_, is about three francs, which are at the present rate of
exchange equal to about a shilling each.--Those who call for better
wine pay of course extra.

The vin ordinaire, or common wine of Burgundy, is a pleasant beverage,
little stronger than cider, but in many parts of France it is by no
means palatable. The cider and beer in France are, with few exceptions,
extremely indifferent, and consequently little used.

* * * * *

CHAP. VI.

My first day's journey in the Diligence was short and uninteresting. We
arrived to sleep at Avalon, a small town partaking, in common with most
others in France, of a degree of gloom occasioned by the want of those
shops which enliven most of our country towns. Here a few articles are
placed in a window, to indicate that there is a larger supply to be had
within. There are few towns in France which have not a _public place_ or
walk, which is generally planted with trees, and kept in good order.
Whilst supper was preparing, we took a few turns on the promenade of
Avalon, and found a considerable number of persons assembled there; but
were much shocked at the number and miserable appearance of the beggars,
who thronged around us. They are much too numerous in all parts of
France, and particularly here.

At an early hour next morning, we were summoned to resume our places in
the Diligence; these places are in general numbered, and each person
takes his seat in the order in which he has paid his fare, a regulation
which prevents any delay, and precludes disputes or ceremony.

We continued our journey through the small towns of Rouvray and Viteaux;
the country is diversified with hills, which are not of sufficient
magnitude to present any great obstacle to the progress of the
traveller.

There are vast numbers of vineyards, but there are few trees. In this,
as in all other wine countries, villages and country houses are more
numerous than in the districts producing only corn, either because the
lands which produce vines are more valuable, and consequently are
divided amongst a greater number of owners, or that the culture of the
vine requires more people than other species of tillage.

In one district, where corn was the chief crop, I enquired respecting
the usual mode of farming, and found that the land, which was this year
under corn, was intended to be sown next year with maize (of which
there is a vast quantity) and the year following to lie fallow, after
which it will be considered as again fit to produce corn.

I found also, that the direct land-tax through France was not less than
20 per cent, exclusive of the other taxes which fall incidentally on
landed property. There are also in many provinces _customs_ which
regulate the descent of land (often in a manner very different from the
disposition which the owner would wish) amongst the relations of the
last owner. These customs and the heavy taxes on land may account for
the seemingly small price which it in general sells for throughout
France.

The approach to Dijon is striking, and the Diligence arrived there
sufficiently early to afford us time to survey the city, which is one of
the best built and most considerable in France. It was formerly the
capital of the province, and the residence of the ancient sovereigns of
Burgundy, whose tombs are still to be seen at the Chartreuse, near the
city. It is now the chief place in the department of the Cote d'or, and
contains a population of about 22,000 inhabitants. It is situated
between the small rivers Ouche and Suzon, in a valley, which is one of
the most highly cultivated districts in France, and which is worthy of
its name of _Cote d'or_. The churches here are handsome structures, as
is also the palace of the Prince of Conde, where the Parliament used to
assemble. The square before it is spacious and well-built, and the corn
market is worthy of remark. The University of Dijon was formerly one of
the most considerable in Prance, but my stay was not sufficient, to
enable me to enquire with accuracy into its present state. Our company
next day was augmented by two French officers, who were going to
Besancon, and who intended proceeding in this carriage as far as Dole,
where smaller conveyances were to be had for those going to Geneva, &c.
as the Great Voiture went on to Lyons. These officers did not long
continue silent, and politics seemed the subject which occupied the
first place in their thoughts. They said that Belgium and the Rhine
were _indispensable_ to France, and were particularly violent against
Austria, for the part she had taken in the late contest. 'One of them
did not affect to conceal his attachment to the ex-emperor; but the
other, although he agreed with his companion in wishing, for a renewal
of the war, did not seem at all pleased with Buouaparte for having said
the French nation _wanted character_. They had both been at Moscow, and
acknowledged that the Emperor had committed a capital error in not
retreating in time from what he himself acknowledged to be such a
frightful climate.

If a public carriage has not all the comfort and expedition of a private
one, it certainly has this advantage, that one often meets companions
from whom may be derived amusement or information; and I think those who
travel with a view to either of those objects, would do well
occasionally to go in one of those conveyances. In a foreign country,
the attention of the traveller is continually attracted by a variety of
objects of a novel nature, which can be best explained to him by the
inhabitants of the country: besides, it is impossible to have any
correct idea of the manners and customs of foreigners, without
constantly associating with them, which, in general, English travellers
do not much desire. Whilst abroad, I would wish to accommodate myself as
much as possible, to the habits of the country in which I were to
reside, but if I found them irksome, I would certainly hasten my
departure.

We reached Dole about the French hour of dinner: here our company
separated, and, accompanied by a friend, I continued my journey to
Geneva. The road which we took is only practicable during four or five
months in the year, on account of the snow which is drifted from the
mountains of Jura. Near Auxonne we passed a plain, where a battle had
been fought between the French and the Allied forces. Many houses had
been destroyed, but the agriculture of the country did not seem to have
suffered by the contest. We passed through the village of Genlis, and
within sight of the Chateau, the property of the lady of that name,
well known by her numerous writings and compilations.

We arrived late at Poligny, a small town, surrounded by lofty mountains.
On leaving the place, one hill occupies three hours in ascending; but
the road is as good as the uneven surface of the country will permit.
The people here begin to have quite a different appearance from the
French: wooden shoes are generally worn; and the projecting roofs of the
houses shew that the climate is more rainy and severe than in the
countries we had passed. In this vicinity are some of the finest forests
I had yet seen in France, and the views from the road are occasionally
interesting. About two leagues from Poligny is _Arbois_, famous for its
white wine. We had a bottle by way of experiment, and thought it not
undeserving of the reputation it had acquired. A Frenchman observed,
"_Le vin nest pas mauvais_," which phrase may be taken for a
commendation, as they seldom carry their praise so far as to say a thing
is positively good. The country between Poligny and Moray exhibits a
continued succession of fir-trees, unmixed with any thing to give
variety to the scene. The woods, however, seemed to afford shelter to
but few birds; and in most parts of the continent, even the
singing-birds are not spared, but included in the general proscription
to gratify the palate of the epicure.

We arrived to an _English breakfast_ at Moray; they told us its honey
was in great repute throughout France, and we thought it deserved more
than the ordinary commendation of a Frenchman. Every thing here was neat
and clean, and both the town and appearance of its inhabitants brought
_North Wales_ strongly to my recollection. This being a frontier place,
the French custom-house officers put _seals_ on our portmanteaus, for
which favour we paid two francs for each seal; these were cut off with
great formality on our arrival at Geneva. After having travelled for
many hours amongst a succession of gloomy mountains, which afford
nothing that can either interest or enliven, I never recollect feeling a
greater sensation of delight and astonishment, than when, from the
summit of one of the mountains of Jura, I first beheld the lake and city
of Geneva, backed by the mountains of Savoy, and by the Alps, which,
even at this vast distance, made all the other mountains we had passed
appear but trivial.

It is by contrast that all pleasures are heightened, and even the tour
which I afterwards made amongst the Alps, did not lessen the force of
that impression which the sudden appearance of this magnificent
spectacle had left upon my mind. The road down the mountain is an
astonishing work, and is part of the grand line of road made by
Buonaparte, to facilitate the passage of troops into Italy over the
Grand Simplon. A fountain near the road has an inscription to Napoleon
the Great; in one part the road winds through an excavation in the rock.
One cannot but here exclaim with the poet,

What cannot Art and Industry perform,
When Science plans the progress of their toil!

At Fernay we visited the Chateau, so long celebrated as the residence
of Voltaire. It is now the property and residence of M. de Boudet, who,
as we were informed, has made great improvements in the place since it
has come into his possession.

The saloon and bed-chamber of Voltaire are, however, preserved in
exactly the same state as when he occupied them. There are a few
portraits of his friends, and under his bust is this inscription:

"Son esprit est partout et son coeur est ici."

"His genius is every where, but his heart is here."

His _Cenotaph_, as it is called, has a miserably mean appearance, and
bears this inscription:

"Mes manes sont consoles puisque mon coeur
"Est au milieu de vous."

"My manes are consoled, since my heart is with
you."

The formal taste in which the garden is laid out, but ill accords with
the stupendous scenery which is seen on all sides. The approach to the
Chateau from the road is through a double avenue of trees. Near the
house stands the parish-church, and also a Heliconian fountain in the
disguise of a pump, of excellent water, which we tasted, but without
experiencing any unusual effects. We had not leisure to prolong our
researches, as it was necessary for us to reach Geneva before the
closing of the gates. If the first and distant appearance of the city of
Geneva, of its beautiful lake, and of the lofty mountains by which it is
surrounded, produces the strongest sensations of delight in the
beholder, a nearer approach is not (as is too frequently the case)
calculated to do away, or, at least, greatly to diminish the impression
made by the distant view.

Having, after a long descent, at length reached the Plain, the traveller
cannot fail of being delighted with the richly cultivated scene which
surrounds him, with the neatness of the villages, and with the apparent
ease of the inhabitants of a country where property seems pretty
equally divided, and where he is not shocked (as he is unhappily too
generally throughout Europe) by the melancholy contrast between the
splendour of the opulent, and the extreme misery of the peasantry. Here
the peasant, as Goldsmith observes,

Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
Cheerful at morn, he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes.

The situation of Geneva is as striking as can be well imagined. It seems
to rise out of the transparent waters of its lake. Some tourists tell
us, that, Naples and Constantinople excepted, no city in Europe can be
compared to Geneva in point of situation, and those who have ascended
the towers of its cathedral, will feel disposed to admit, that the
prospect of the lake, the junction of the river Rhone with the Arve, the
number of villas dispersed on all sides, the scene of cultivation which
the nearer mountains present, almost to their summits, and the imposing
effect produced by the more distant Alps, whose bases rest in Italy,
and whose tops, covered with perpetual snow, seem to unite with the
clouds, present a spectacle which it would be indeed difficult to
surpass.

----"While admiration, feeding at the eye
"And still unsated, dwells upon the scene."

Cowper.

The lake of Geneva (which, according to M. de Luc, is 187 toises, or
1203 English feet above the level of the Mediterranean Sea) is one of
the most considerable in Europe, being about eighteen leagues in length,
by about three and a half at its greatest width. Its waters are at this
season about six feet higher than in winter, and are of a beautiful blue
colour, derived from the nature of the soil beneath. Its depth, near
Meillerie, is 190 fathoms, that of the Baltic, according to Dr.
Goldsmith, being only 115 fathoms. This lake abounds with fish of
various kinds. I myself saw a _trout of twenty-three pounds_, and there
have occasionally been taken of nearly double that weight. These
extraordinarily large fish are often presented by the republic to its
allies, and are frequently sent as far as Paris or Berlin. The Rhone
issuing, with vast rapidity, from the lake forms an island which is
covered with houses, and constitutes the lower part of the city, which
rises to the summit of a hill, where stand the cathedral and many
elegant private houses. The city is, in general, tolerably well built;
but many of the streets have domes, or arcades of wood, which are
frequently fifty or sixty feet in height, and which have an inelegant
appearance, but are useful in the winter, and under some of them are
rows of shops, Containing every article of luxury or utility, in equal
perfection with those that are to be met with in some of the greatest
cities.

Here is every appearance of the activity produced by the revival of
commerce, after the long prohibition it suffered during the period
whilst Geneva remained united to France.

The chief manufacture of Geneva is that of clocks and watches; in the
period of the prosperity of Geneva, this trade was calculated to afford
employment to five or six thousand persons, but at present it is much
reduced. There are a considerable number of goldsmiths, and the
ingenuity of the Genevese, produces very curious musical-watches,
snuff-boxes, and seals, many of which are sent to Paris and London,
where they find a ready sale; they are sent likewise to Persia and to
America, there are considerable manufactures also of calico, muslin,
&c. and a good deal of banking business is transacted. Perhaps there is
no example of a city so _destitute of territory_, which has obtained
such commercial celebrity, and the persevering industry of its
inhabitants, enabled them to place large sums of money in the funds of
other nations, particularly of England. The revenues of the state are
much exceeded by those of many individuals; but, during the oppressive
government of France, the taxes of Geneva were nearly quadrupled.

The population of Geneva and its territory, having been so differently
stated as to leave the truth involved in ranch uncertainty, M. Naville,
a senator, who possessed every facility for making the necessary
enquiries, published a calculation, which assigns to the republic a
population of 35,000, of which number 26,000 resided in the city. This
is a very large number if we consider that the territory of this little
state is so limited as, according to M. Bourritt's Itinerary, to contain
only 3 7/100 square leagues; being about 11,400 inhabitants to each
square league. But, contracted as their territory certainly is, those
citizens of Geneva, with whom I have conversed, do not seem to wish its
extension. They fear the introduction of religious dissensions, as the
_Savoyards_, (on which side it could be most easily extended) are Roman
Catholics and by no means cordial with their neighbours, the _Hugonots_
of Geneva, as they call them. Nor would the nobility of Savoy wish to be
the subjects of so popular a government as that of Geneva. Religious
differences have, at all times, been productive of the worst species of
civil discord, and the Genevese (although they tolerate most fully all
religious sects) are undoubtedly stronger at present, with their limited
possessions, than they possibly could be with any increase of territory,
accompanied by the chance of such unfortunate dissensions.

All they seem desirous of, at present, is to see their little state
_consolidated_; it being at present intersected by the possessions of
France, the Canton of Vaud, &c. in such a manner as to oblige the
Genevese to pass over some portion of the territories of those states,
in visiting many of their own villages. But more of Geneva hereafter, as
although I had so recently arrived there, I was soon to quit it for a
short time.

I found at my hotel a party, consisting of two of my countrymen and a
French gentleman, who were waiting for a fourth person to join them, in
making an excursion to the celebrated scenes of Chamouny and Moutanvert.

This was an opportunity not to be neglected, particularly as my former
companion had determined on going into Italy, notwithstanding the very
alarming accounts of its disturbed state, given us by some travellers,
lately arrived from thence, who had themselves been robbed, and who
reported that the banditti, in many of the mountains, amounted to from
500 to 1500 men. The unsettled political state of Italy too, rendered
the present, in my opinion, by no means an auspicious moment, for an
excursion of curiosity into that country. To see Italy well would occupy
a longer portion of time than I had at my disposal, and if once across
the Alps it would be almost impossible to return without visiting Rome.
Under these circumstances, I resolved to content myself with seeing
Chamouny, and Mt. Blanc, and I had every reason to be pleased with my
determination, as the party were extremely agreeable, and we had the
good fortune of having fine weather for our excursion, an occurrence
which is rare amongst such lofty mountains nor were we disposed to
complain of the inconvenience of occasional showers, in a country where
it is not unusual for the rains to continue without intermission for
many days.

* * * * *

CHAP. VII.

Having made the necessary arrangements in the evening, our carriage was
in readiness at an early hour next morning. It was something like an
English _sociable_, but had a leather cover which could occasionally be
drawn over our heads, and of which we more than once experienced the
utility, in protecting us from the very sudden and violent showers which
we sometimes met with. As soon as the rain was over we drew back the
cover, and enjoyed the romantic prospects which surrounded us. From
Geneva we ascended continually through a wild but not uninteresting
country to Bonnevilie, a distance of about five leagues; here we
breakfasted, and remained two or three hours to allow our horses to
repose from the fatigues of the road. This little town has nothing
particularly worthy of remark, and its appearance is dull, although it
is the chief place of one of the three divisions which are formed of
Savoy. Here is a bridge of stone (which is not usual in this country,
where timber abounds, and where many of the rivers are so rapid, as to
oblige the inhabitants to remove the bridges, at the commencement of
autumn) over the river Arve, the course of which we followed for several
leagues through the valley of Cluse, so called from the little town of
that name. This long and narrow district is surrounded by lofty
mountains, and the traveller is often at a loss to guess which way he
can proceed, until some sudden turning discovers an outlet, barely
sufficient to admit the passage of a carriage, and by various windings
he arrives in the valley of Magi an, which presents a still more
interesting variety of objects, amongst others the cascade of Nant
d'Arpennas and many other inferior ones, which tumble from the
mountains, and increase the rapidity of the Arve. About a league beyond
the fall d'Arpennas is an excellent view of _Mont Blanc_, which crowned
with all the horrors of a perpetual winter, presents one of the most
sublime, and majestic spectacles, which it is possible to conceive. To
describe the contrast between its snowy summit, and the cultivated
valley beneath, so as to convey any just idea of the scene, to those who
have not themselves seen it, would require all the descriptive powers of
a _Radcliffe_. We arrived to a late dinner at the hotel de Mont Blanc,
at St Martin, which is a large single house situated about a quarter of
a league from the little town of Salenche, of which I do not recollect
having heard any thing remarkable, except that the right of burgership
may be purchased for forty-five livres. The windows of our hotel
commanded a most astonishing extent of mountain scenery diversified by
the windings of the Arve through a well cultivated valley. The hotel was
sufficiently comfortable, but the bill was extravagant beyond any
precedent in the annals of extortion. We had occasion to remonstrate
with our host on the subject, and our French companion exerted himself
so much on the occasion, that at last we succeeded in persuading the
landlord to make a considerable reduction in his charges, which were out
of all reason, making every allowance that his house was so situated, as
not to be accessible during the whole year. We were afterwards told that
he would have considered himself amply paid by receiving the half of his
first demand, and I found it is often the practice to ask of the English
at least double of what is charged to travellers of any other nation.
Appearances were so much against our landlord, that one might say to him
in the words of the epigram, _"If thou art honest thou'rt a wondrous
cheat."_

The carriage road ends at Salenche; and we, therefore, made the
necessary arrangements to proceed on mules, and sent back our carriage
to Geneva. It was the first time I had travelled in a country only
_accessible on foot or by mules_, and I cannot but add my testimony to
that of all those who have ever made excursions into these mountains,
respecting the very extraordinary and almost incredible safety with
which the mule conveys his rider over tracks, which were any one to see
suddenly, coming out of a civilized country, he would think it the
height of folly to attempt to pass even on foot. There are, however,
places where it is expedient to climb for one's self, but as long as one
remains on the back of the mule, it is advisable not to attempt to
direct his course, but to submit one's reason for the time to the
instinct of the animal. Our guides assured me that they had never known
a single instance of any one's having had reason to regret having placed
this confidence in them; and, indeed, it is by having the command of his
head that the mule is enabled to carry his rider in safety over passes,
which one is often afraid to recall to one's memory. Several of the
mules in Savoy are handsome, but one of our party, who had crossed the
Fyrenean mountains, thought the Spanish mules were much more so; the
ordinary price of a mule here, is from fourteen to twenty Louis d'Ors.

The distance between St. Martin and Chamouny, is little more than six
leagues, but from the extreme inequality of the ground and the
intricacy of the paths, occupied a very long space of time in passing.
We still continued to follow the course of the Arve, which, according to
the opinions of some writers, is believed to have, at one period, formed
a lake between the mountains which encompass this valley; a conjecture
which the marshy appearance of the ground seems to render probable.

These mountains abound with an animal which is mostly an inhabitant of
the Alps, the marmot, and there are a vast abundance of wild
strawberries. The river is most considerable at this season of the year,
being supplied with the meltings of the snow and ice. About two hours
after our departure from St. Martin we passed over the `_Pont des
Chevres_, which, from the extreme slightness of its construction, seems
hardly secure enough to permit the passage of a goat; and it is rendered
more formidable to the nervous traveller by its vast height from the bed
of the rocky torrent over which it passes.

We went a little way out of the regular track to see the beautiful
cascade of Chede, which is by M. Bourritt ascertained to be sixty-seven
feet in height. A number of peasants attended us from a cottage, where
we left our mules, and one of them carried a plank to serve as a bridge
over a neighbouring stream, and levied toll on us for permission to pass
over it. We returned in about a quarter of an hour to the cottage, and
paid, as we thought, very liberally for the trouble the peasants had in
holding the mules during that short time; but where expectations are
unreasonable it is impossible to satisfy them; and that was the case
here. One old woman, in particular, exclaimed against us. She said, "_We
were English, and ought to give gold._" Such is the idea entertained,
even in these secluded mountains, of the riches of the English, that a
sum, which would be received with thanks from the travellers of almost
any other country, would be considered as an object of complaint if
given by an Englishman; and the thoughtless profusion of some English
travellers is a subject of regret to many persons, who, although less
opulent, are still desirous of visiting foreign countries, as the
inhabitants of the Continent, in general, receive from some of our
fellow-subjects such an idea of the opulence of their country, that they
think it impossible to charge all who come from thence too
extravagantly. We next proceeded to the lake of Chede, which is not far
distant. It was first discovered by M. Bourritt, when hunting a wolf
amongst these mountains, as he mentions in his Itinerary, which contains
much useful information, and is a necessary appendage to the traveller
in these wild districts. This lake, considering its limited extent, is a
handsome object. Here is a curious species of moss which gives the banks
a singular appearance. We stopped to breakfast, as well as to refresh
our mules, at a little cottage-inn near the village of Servoy, in the
neighbourhood of which are mines of lead and copper, together with many
large buildings and furnaces for the preparation of the ore. We here met
another party also going to Chamouny. They had preferred travelling in
little carriages drawn by mules, which they were obliged to quit
continually, by the uneven nature of the road; and they did not arrive
till some time after us. We here found that one of our party was mounted
on the mule which had lately had the honor of carrying the Ex-Empress
Maria Louisa, who passed this way on her tour to Chamouny. She is said
to have appeared very thoughtful; but the guides praised both her
courage and her beauty.

We breakfasted with the other travellers, under the shade of an orchard,
near the inn; and the repast was much more luxurious than we could have
supposed from the rustic appearance of the place. As soon as the guides
informed us that they were ready to attend us, we continued our journey
to Chamouny, making another little detour to visit the _glacier des
Bossons_. Here we were astonished at the singular appearance which was
exhibited by a vast number of _pyramids and towers of ice_, many of them
upwards of 100 feet in height, and which remained at this season almost
in the centre of a valley richly cultivated and well inhabited.

The definition of the word _glacier_ has given rise to several
arguments. I shall therefore insert that given by the celebrated M. de
Saussure, in his Tour amongst the Alps, of which he was one of the first
and most able explorers. He says, "The word _glacier_ designates any one
of those cavities, natural or artificial, which preserve the ice, or
guard it from the rays of the sun." This glacier is only three quarters
of a league from Chamouny, or the priory, where we soon arrived. The
valley of Chamouny is about eighteen English miles long, and hardly one
in breadth. It is as varied a scene as can possibly be imagined; and no
where can the contrast between nature in its wild and in its cultivated
state, make a more forcible impression on the mind.

Many of the farms here are very neat. They sow the grain in May, and
reap in August.

We remarked several small chapels and crosses where promises of
_indulgence for thirty days_ are held out to those persons who shall
repeat there a certain number of prayers. One of these chapels, more
spacious than the rest, was constructed by a bishop of Sion. The village
of Chamouny is not large, but contains several extremely good inns,
which, since the opening of the Continent, have had their full share of
English travellers, whose names, in the books of the hotel where we
lodged, more than doubled those of all other nations who had visited the
various grand scenes with which this country abounds; and the most
lucrative employment here is that of a guide. Strangers are often much
imposed on by them, and should therefore be careful to get recommended
to such as will conduct them safely to all that is curious. We met a
party who had been deceived by either the ignorance or laziness of their
guides; and who, we found, after spending two or three days in exploring
this neighbourhood, had seen but a small portion of what is worthy of
attention. The air here is of a very wintry temperature. This, however,
is not astonishing, when we consider that this place is situated 500
toises, or 2,040 feet above the lake of Geneva, and 3,168 feet above
the level of the sea, but 11,532 feet below the summit of Mont Blanc.

Chamouny is the chief place in the commune to which it gives name, and
which is inhabited by a remarkably hardy and intelligent peasantry. I
was informed that the Austrians obliged this district to furnish 100
cows, a vast quantity of cheese, butter, &c. &c.; but the inhabitants
were so much rejoiced at being released from the French yoke, that they
did not complain of these exactions. As far as I could judge, the wish
of the young men here seems to be, that Savoy should form a canton of
Switzerland; but the old men, who formerly lived under the government of
the King of Sardinia, wish for the restoration of the order of things to
which they were long accustomed; and it seems most probable that the
King of Sardinia will be restored to that part of this ancient patrimony
of his family which has not been ceded to France. The Savoyards complain
of this division of their country. The part assigned to France is the
most valuable district, and forms above a third of the duchy: in it is
situated its ancient capital, _Chambery_. It is, however, not probable
that the wishes of the Savoyards will be consulted as to these points,
which will be determined by the Allied Powers on the grounds of
_political expediency_.

I also made inquiries concerning the state of taxation in Savoy, and
found, that under France the inhabitants were obliged to pay more than
three times the sum which they had paid to Sardinia. The imposts were
here the same as in the rest of France, no distinction having been made
between this mountainous country and the other more productive
departments. Doors and windows are amongst the articles taxed, and the
stamp duties are very heavy.

Having refreshed ourselves sufficiently to encounter fresh difficulties,
we determined to visit _Montanvert_, and the _Mer de Glace_, two of the
most distinguished objects of curiosity which this place boasts of.
Having provided ourselves with guides and mules, we set out accordingly;
and, after quickly passing the narrow valley, began to ascend mountains
which abound with chamois, and which, by their height and irregularity,
seemed to render our arrival on their summit an event not speedily to be
expected. We had more reason than ever to be astonished at the
extraordinary security with which our mules carried us up such abrupt
ascents, which in many places more resembled a flight of steps, hewn
roughly in a rock, than a practicable road, and there were in many
places hardly any marks to shew which was the preferable way.

After a continual ascent of between two and three hours, we were advised
to send back our mules to wait our return in the valley, and to continue
our way on foot, which we did accordingly, being provided with long
sticks, pointed with iron, to assist us in climbing the remainder of the
ascent. Our arrival on the summit amply repaid us for the toil which it
had cost us: the view is not to be described;--before us lay the _Mer de
Glace_ (sea of ice) extending to the length of four leagues, and being
about three quarters of a league in width; which is one of the most
sublime spectacles in nature.--Around us were mountains much more
elevated than those which cost us so much trouble in ascending, which
consisting of granite, dispersed in the most majestic forms, and being
the perpetual abode of frosts, storms, and tempests, leave a most awful
impression on the mind. It is impossible to behold these stupendous
scenes without, in the language of the Psalmist, 'ascribing unto the
Lord worship and power.'

Although we had ascended not less than 3000 feet, yet, to our
astonishment, Mont Blanc appeared _nearly as elevated_ as when we viewed
it from the Galley. It is unquestionably the highest mountain in the
three old quarters of the world (being exceeded in height only by the
Andes); and I shall insert here the calculations of its elevation, and
of that of some other mountains:

English feet.

Chimboraco, the highest of the
Cordilleras 20,608

Mont Blanc, above the level of
the Mediterranean, according
to Sir G. Shuckburgh 15,662

Ditto, according to M. de Luc 15,302 1/3

Mount Caucasus 15,000

Etna, according to M, de Saussure 10,700

Teneriffe 10,954

The highest mountain in Scotland is Ben-Nevis, 4,337 feet. In Wales,
Snowdon, 3,555. In England, Ingleborough, 3,200 feet. In Ireland, Croagh
Patrick, 2,666.

Mont Blanc is easily distinguished from amongst the other mountains (of
which _Mont Buet_; of 9984 feet in height, approaches the nearest to it)
when Steen on this side, by the astonishing altitude to which it rises,
and by the vast body of snow with which its top and sides are covered to
the perpendicular height of above 4000 feet, without the intervention of
any rock, to take off from that extreme whiteness that gives name to
this mountain, uniting in the circular form of its summit all the
majesty that can possibly be imagined. We partook of some refreshment in
an apartment on the summit of Montanvert, which the extreme cold of the
atmosphere rendered very acceptable. Having enrolled our names in a
book kept here for that purpose, which abounds with the praises of all
travellers who have viewed these scenes, we descended to the _Mer de
Glace_, which is appropriately so named, from the striking resemblance
which its broken masses of ice bear to the waves of the ocean, and the
resemblance is still further heightened by the blue appearance which the
numerous cavities present to the eye.--We walked a little way on this
frozen ocean, the better to contemplate its vast extent, as well as to
have it in our power to boast of _having walked on a mass of ice in the
month of August_. The depth of the ice is calculated to be from three to
_four hundred_ feet, and the solemnity of this scene of desolation is
increased by the sound of several torrents tumbling from the surrounding
rocks. We again returned to the summit of Montanvert, and were again
lost in astonishment at the scene; which did not fail to recall to my
recollection the beautiful lines of _Pope_, in his Essay on Criticism:

So pleas'd at first the tow'ring Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' eternal snows appear already past,
And the first clouds and mountains seem the last.
But, those attain'd, we tremble to survey
The growing labours of the lengthen'd way,
Th' increasing prospect tires our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise.

Having sufficiently contemplated the view, we began to think of
returning to the valley, which presented a most enlivening appearance
after the _chaos_ we had left. The descent was much easier than the
ascent, and we were not long before we met our mules, and returned to
our inn in great prosperity, although we had, most of us, occasional
falls during so difficult a progress.

We had great reason to be pleased with our expedition, and were most
fortunate in the clearness of the day, without which our labour would
have been lost. The valley is, of course, much more mild in its
atmosphere than the mountain, but the weather was autumnal, and a fire
was quite indispensable to our comfort. There are no less than _five
glaciers_ in this valley, they are separated from each other by forests
and by cultivated lands, and this intermixture presents an appearance
which, from its singularity, cannot fail to astonish the beholder. These
glaciers all lie at the foot of that vast chain of mountains, which
supply the sources of many of the greatest rivers in Europe. I observed
that the mountains in this vicinity were the first I had seen enlivened
by the mixture of the larch with the fir, which produces a very pleasing
effect, and continues afterwards to be often seen. The vast quantities
of Alpine _strawberries_ that every-where abound on these mountains,
have a most excellent flavor, and numbers of children employed in
gathering them find ready sale among the numerous strangers, attracted
by the wonders of the neighbourhood. These Alps possess great
attractions for the _botanist_, who is surrounded by saxifrage,
rhododendrons, and a variety of other plants, which he must highly
value, but which I have not sufficient knowledge of the science to
distinguish particularly. Nor would the _mineralogist_ find fewer
attractions in the rocks themselves, than the botanist in the plants
which they produce. We did not witness any of those _avalanches_ which
are said to fall so frequently from the mountains, and of the dreadful
effects of which such interesting statements have been published. The
whole of this valley, however, appears to be continually threatened, by
the enormous masses which hang over it, and seem to need the application
of but a trifling force, to move them from situations, to which they are
to all appearance so slightly attached.

* * * * *

CHAP. VIII.

We left Chamouny at an early hour to proceed on our way to Martigny,
from which it is nine leagues distant; but as there is nothing which
deserves the name of a road, we continued our journey on mules. The
morning was so very hazy, that we were prevented from enjoying the
prospect from the Col de Balme, and we travelled for several hours
amongst mountains, at one moment enveloped in the fog, which was
sometimes the next instant carried to a considerable distance from us,
by one of those sudden currents of air which are so common in these
elevated situations. As we approached Valorsine, the rain began to fall,
but fortunately it was not of long continuance, and afterwards the
weather became much clearer.

_Nothing can surpass_ the romantic situation of this little village, its
valley is one of the most secluded we had yet seen amongst the Alps.
The impression which this scene has left on my mind, can never be
effaced; every thing presented an appearance of tranquillity, and of
extreme simplicity. It was the feast of the patron saint of the village,
and the peasants were in their best dresses. The women were of a better
appearance than is usual in Savoy; their dress attracted the particular
attention of our French companion, who had never before quitted his own
country, and who had previously expressed a contempt for Savoy, which he
now seemed willing to retract; and certainly it would be difficult to
see a spot where primitive simplicity was more conspicuous. We
determined to refresh ourselves here, and afterwards went through the
village to the church, which was decorated with flowers for the
festival; and during our walk we were saluted with the utmost civility
by the peasants, who surveyed us with a curiosity which proved they had
but little intercourse with strangers. A monk saluted me, and said in
Latin he was rejoiced again to see Englishmen. In one of the groups, I
observed a fortune-teller, who seemed to have a good deal of custom,
but her dialect was one of the most singular I ever heard. The inn where
we breakfasted, like most of the houses here, was raised on beams, to
allow for the depth of the snow in winter. They are built of timber, and
covered with pieces of fir, cut to about the size of tiles. The rooms
were very small, and could with difficulty accommodate the unusual
number of guests then assembled. Civility was more abundant than
provisions, but there was more fruit than one could expect to see
amongst these mountains.

If the peasants of Meillerie, which is the part of Savoy Rousseau took
so much pleasure in describing, at all resemble those of Valorsine, he
cannot there at least be accused of having dealt in fiction. M. de
Saussure relates an anecdote which serves to give an idea of the
Savoyards in these situations, so remote from the corruption incident to
cities. He says, "I was one day prosecuting my researches amongst the
Alps, and being without provisions, was induced to take some fruit not
far distant from a cottage. I observed a woman coming towards me, as I
concluded, to ask payment for the fruit; and I assured her I had no
intention of going away without satisfying her. She answered, 'I came
out thinking you had lost your way, and that I might be able to set you
right. As for the fruit, I will take nothing for it. He who made it, did
not intend it for the use of one in particular.'"

We had not yet performed above half our journey, and as it was getting
late, we were obliged by the representation of our guides to continue on
our road, which lay through a romantic district, abounding with streams
and falls of water. Some of the fir trees on the Tete Noire opposite to
us, are said to be above 100 feet in height. We were after the first
league frequently obliged to dismount, having in some places literally
to ascend steps cut in the rock, which I think must have not a little
puzzled two gentlemen, who set out on _horseback_ about the same time we
did from Chamouny, but who did not reach Martigny for a long time after
us, and were greatly tired with the difficulties they had to encounter.

The village of Trient is in a romantic situation, but has not the same
attractions as Valorsine. The hill near it is astonishingly difficult of
ascent. The guides wished us to let the mules shift for themselves; and
we all at last arrived at the summit. An hour afterwards, we reached the
Mount Fourcle, from which is seen a vast extent of country. This view is
by some travellers considered as surpassing all others in Switzerland,
as it embraces the greatest part of the Canton of the Valais, watered by
the Rhone; and we could distinctly see its capital city Sion, although
above eight leagues distant. Martigny and St. Branchier seemed to lie at
our feet; but we had still a long way to descend before we reached them.
The city of Sion will be long remembered as the scene of one of the most
horrible of those outrages which cast such a just odium on the French
name. It was given up to the savage fury of an army irritated by the
brave but ineffectual resistance, which its inhabitants attempted to
oppose against the invaders of their property and liberty. But here, as
in too many other instances, numbers occasioned the worse to prevail
over the better cause. A person on whose authority I can confide,
assured me he was at Geneva, when a part of the French army arrived
there after this _glorious_ exploit, and that rather than return without
plunder, they carried away with them the miserable household furniture
of these unfortunate people, which sold at Geneva for a sum so trifling
as hardly to pay for the expense of conveying them thither. It may seem
_incredible_, but it is however _true_, that many of the inhabitants of
the Valois, _regret the recovery of their independence_, and would wish
again to see their country in the possession of the French. They prefer
the advantages which Buonaparte's military road, and the frequent
passage of his troops into Italy afforded them of making money, to their
present liberty under a government of their own selection.

The country, for about a league before the entrance into Martigny,
becomes much more civilized than that we had just passed. The fields
are well cultivated, and are divided by hedges from the road: here are
some of the largest walnut trees I have ever seen.

On the left we remarked the venerable and extensive remains of la
Bathia, an ancient castle, formerly inhabited by the Bishops of Sion. It
is boldly situated on a rock, which rises over that impetuous torrent
the Dreuse, which a little below falls into the Rhone.

The town of Martigny is situated on the Rhone, in that delightful plain
which we had so much admired from the Fourcle, and which did not
disappoint the expectations we had formed of it. It is well watered,
highly cultivated, and abounds with neat cottages, and seems almost to
realize some fancied descriptions of enchanted valleys, being shut out
from the surrounding countries by a formidable barrier of snow-clad
mountains, and possessing in itself so attractive an aspect. Martigny is
a well-built town; and some antiquarians insist, that it is the ancient
Octodurum of the Romans. I can give no opinion on a point which has
occasioned differences amongst the learned; but the present appearance
of the inhabitants was very favourable, it being a holiday here as well
as at Valorsine, and although their festivity was not altogether marked
by the same simplicity, yet it was sufficiently removed from that which
prevails in many other countries to interest us by its singularity. We
were here amused with an account of two English gentlemen, who attempted
to ascend Mont Blanc, notwithstanding the assurances they received of
the impracticability of the attempt under present circumstances, as a
chasm had lately been made by the thaw on one side of the mountain; but
they were not to be intimidated either by the advice of the inhabitants,
or by the accounts of the hardships suffered by M. de Saussure, and
judging with _Hannibal_,

"Nil actum reputans si quid superesset agendum."

"Think nothing gained while ought remains."

They set out on this difficult enterprise, attended by eighteen guides,
but were at length obliged to desist, after running many hazards, and
after having expended at least L50. If they failed in accomplishing
their undertaking, they had at least the satisfaction of exciting much
wonder amongst the surrounding peasants, at the curiosity and rashness
of the English. Our party were more easily satisfied; and having seen as
much as could be accomplished without very great difficulty, we were
contented to judge of the rest from the ample descriptions that have
been published respecting them.

I could have wished, however, that time and the consent of the majority
of the party, would have permitted my ascending to the convent on the
Great St. Bernard; but being left in the minority, I did not feel
disposed to make the excursion by myself, and I therefore prepared to
accompany my friends back to Geneva. At Martigny, we entered on a part
of the grand road of the Simplon, and bidding adieu to our mules, and to
the mountains over which they had carried us, we proceeded on our
journey in a _charaban_ (or light country cart, with seats across it) to
Bex. I did not observe that extreme indolence in the inhabitants of the
Lower Valais, with which they have been reproached by some travellers.
They are no doubt very poor, but their cottages are not devoid of
neatness and comfort. Our attention was soon attracted by the famous
cascade called the _Pisse Vache_, the beauty of which consists chiefly
in its seeming to issue immediately from a cavity in the rock, which is
surrounded by thorns and bushes. Its perpendicular height cannot be
estimated at less than 200 feet, although many make it double that, or
even more. The country of the Valais is remarkable for the vast numbers
of persons it contains, affected with the _goitres_ and also of
_idiots_. The neighbouring provinces are also more or less affected with
these maladies.

Many writers have exerted their ingenuity in endeavouring to account for
this singularity with greater or less success; but what at Geneva is
considered as the best treatise on the subject, is that by _Coxe_ in his
_Account of Switzerland_. A gentleman there lent me a French edition of
this valuable work, from which I extracted the following account of the
origin of the _Goitres_, (or extraordinary swellings about the glands
of the throat,) which in Switzerland is considered as very satisfactory.
Mr. Coxe says,

"The opinion that water derived from the melting of snow, occasions
these excrescences, is entirely destitute of foundation, which one
cannot doubt if it is considered how generally such water is used
in many parts of Switzerland, where the inhabitants are not at all
subject to this malady, which is, however, very prevalent in parts
where no such water abounds.

"These swellings are also frequently seen near Naples, in Sumatra,
&c. where there is little or no snow."

Mr. C. proceeds to shew that this malady is occasioned by a calcareous
matter called in Swiss _Tuf_; and adds, "This stone resembles very much
the incrustations at Mallock in Derbyshire, which dissolve so completely
in the water as not to lessen its transparency; and I think that the
particles of this substance so dissolved, resting in the glands of the
throat, occasion the Goitres, and during the course of my travels in
different parts of Europe, I have never failed to observe, that where
this _Tuf_, or calcareous deposit is common, _Goitres_ are equally so. I
have found an abundance of tuf, and also of goitrous persons in
Derbyshire, the Valois, the Valteline, at Lucerne, Berne, Fribourg, in
parts of Piedmont, in the valleys of Savoy, at Milan, and at Dresden. I
also observed that at Berne and Fribourg, the public fountains are
supplied from sources where there is a vast quantity of this calcareous
deposit. General Pfiffer has informed me, that there is but one spring
at Lucerne, which is free from tuf, and that those who reside in its
vicinity, are much less subject to the goitres than the rest of the
inhabitants. A surgeon also, whom I met at the baths of Louesch,
informed me that he had _frequently_ extracted from different goitres
_small pieces of tuf_, which is also found in the stomachs of cows, and
the dogs of this country are also subject to this malady. This gentleman
added, that, to complete the cure of young persons attacked by this
complaint, he either removed them from waters impregnated with tuf, or
recommended them to drink only of water that had been purified. The
children of goitrous parents are often born with these swellings; but
there are also instances of children born with goitres, whose parents
are free from them."

That celebrated naturalist, M. de Saussure, attributes Goitres not to
the water, but to the heat of the climate, and to the stagnation of the
air, and he informs us, he has never seen Goitres in any place elevated
5 or 6,000 toises above the level of the sea, and that they are most
common in valleys where there is not a free circulation of air. "But it
may be observed, that in these elevated situations, fountains are too
near their sources to dissolve as much calcareous sediment as by the
time they reach the plain. Some say, that strangers are never attacked
by the Goitres, but the truth is, they are only less subject to them
than natives of the country. In fine, we may observe, that if snow water
occasions the Goitres wherever they abound, there should also be snow
water, which experience proves not to be the fact. If the concentration
of heat and stagnation of the air are necessary to their formation, it
would follow that they should not abound in those places where the air
circulates freely, which is not less contrary to fact than the former
supposition. If waters impregnated with tuf, or certain calcareous
substances, produce the Goitres, it will follow, that in every place
where they abound, the inhabitants should drink of waters so
impregnated, which seems consonant to the truth of the fact." The same
causes which occasion the Goitres, have probably a considerable
operation in producing the number of idiots, as they are always in most
abundance where the Goitres prevail. Such is the intimate and
inexplicable sympathy between the body and the mind. When the Goitres
become large, they produce a difficulty of breathing, and render the
person so affected, extremely indolent and languid. These idiots are
treated with great regard by the rest of the inhabitants of the country,
who even consider them, in some degree, peculiarly favoured by
Providence--thinking that they are certain of eternal happiness, as not
being capable of forming any criminal intentions. Exaggeration is the
common fault of travellers, and, to judge from the accounts given by
some who have visited this country, a stranger would be led to suppose,
that all its population were either idiots, or afflicted with Goitres.
The fact, however, is, that the inhabitants of the Valais are in general
a strong and healthy race, but that these two unfortunate maladies are
here in greater frequency than in any other country.

Our next stage, after leaving Martigny, was St. Maurice, which derives
its name from an abbey, founded by Sigismund, king of Burgundy, about
the commencement of the sixth century, in honour of a saint, who is said
to have here suffered martyrdom, having refused to abjure Christianity
at the command of the Emperor Maximin. Its more ancient name is said by
antiquarians to have been Agaunum. This place is very justly considered
as the key of the Lower Valais, of which it is the chief town. Its
bridge over the Rhone is of one arch, of 130 feet, which is thought to
be the work of the Romans, and by its boldness, does not seem unworthy
of a people whose edifices are so justly distinguished for their
elegance and durability. Here is also a curious Mosaic pavement, and the
antiquity of the place is proved incontestably by the many ancient
medals and inscriptions which have been found here at different periods.
It must, indeed, have been always remarkable as a military position, and
it is difficult to imagine one of greater natural strength, or more
easily defensible by a small force against superior numbers. The road,
which is extremely narrow, passes for a considerable length under a
mountain, which is absolutely inaccessible.

Having passed the bridge, we entered the territories of the ancient
canton of Berne, but now of Vaud (as I think there appears to be but
little doubt that it will be speedily acknowledged as such by the Swiss
diet). Here our passports were demanded, but more in compliance with old
regulations, than from any mistrust of us; and one of our party having
forgotten his passport, the officer was perfectly satisfied with his
leaving his name and address.

The Rhone is here of astonishing rapidity, and its waters have quite a
milky hue, from the vast quantities of melted snow with which they are
supplied. On quitting the lake at Geneva, the river is of a transparent
blue colour, which is attributed partly to its having deposited its
sediment in the lake, and partly to the nature of the soil over which it
there passes. The rest of our stage was through a picturesque country,
and the road was excellent.

* * * * *

CHAP. IX.

We found at Bex an excellent inn, which is not undeserving the
reputation it has acquired of being the best in Switzerland. This little
town is situated amongst lofty mountains, which the industry of the
peasants have cultivated wherever it was practicable, and they often
carry their cattle with great labour to little spots of pasture which
would otherwise have been lost, as without assistance, they could not
have arrived at them. The cottages on the side of the Valais are so
placed, as to contribute greatly to enliven the scenery; and they are
also remarkable for their singular construction, being mostly built on
wooden pillars, several feet above the surface of the ground.

Many of the inhabitants have two or three houses in different parts of
their possessions, which they inhabit according as the season of the
year requires their attention to the different places where they are
situated. These people are said to be descended from the northern
tribes, and certainly resemble them in their wanderings; I have seen a
whole hamlet deserted, the season not requiring the residence of the
people. In countries which boast a larger portion of civilization, the
fashion prevails over the division which the seasons seem to point out.
An inhabitant of the Valais would no doubt be surprised at the _summer
being the season_ in which our fashionables resort to London, from the
purer air of the country. The Valais abounds with vineyards, but the
_wines_ are by no means palatable to persons who have tasted those of
more favoured countries.

In the vicinity of Bex and Aigle are the only _salt-springs_ in
Switzerland. They are of vast extent, and the view of the subterranean
galleries, and of tin: reservoirs of brine, is very striking. The town
of Aigle is principally built of black marble, which is in great
abundance in its neighbourhood, and the polishing of which affords
employment to a number of persons.

I observed more corn in this district than I had before seen in
Switzerland, but was informed, that it did not grow a sufficient
quantity for the consumption of its inhabitants, who are said to exceed
10,000. The church of Bex is neat, and has been lately repaired. We next
arrived at Villeneuve, which is only remarkable as a place of
embarkation on the lake of Geneva. Our plan was to return to Geneva by
water, but the violence of the wind, which was against us, and which had
greatly ruffled the lake, obliged us to continue our journey along its
banks. The length of this lake is about 50 or 53 English miles, and its
breadth from 10 to 12. This vast body of water is sometimes so much
agitated by sudden storms from the surrounding mountains, as to be
covered with waves like the sea. We were highly pleased with the
extraordinary scene of cultivation which its banks presented; they are
sometimes extremely steep, but are formed by the unceasing industry of
the inhabitants into terraces supported by walls, and if their labour in
originally making these divisions is calculated to astonish, their
perseverance in repairing, and sometimes in rebuilding them, after the
torrents have carried them away, is not less worthy of praise. The
industry of the inhabitants seems continually threatened by the vast
masses of rock which hang over their possessions, and which sometimes
cover them with ruin. We saw an enormous mass which had fallen from one
of the mountains, and is now in the lake, having been removed thither by
the inhabitants after it had for some time completely obstructed the
road. We passed near the castle of Chillon, which is singularly
situated, being built on some rocks in the lake, by which it is
completely surrounded. It consists of a number of circular towers, and
was formerly used as a state prison. A more secure position, for such an
edifice, it is difficult to conceive. Before our arrival at Vevay, we
saw the village of Clarens, so much celebrated by Rousseau. Vevay is a
handsome town, with about 4,000 inhabitants; and is, after Lausanne,
the principal place in the Canton of Vaud. The principal church is
situated on an eminence above the town; from its tower I saw a most
magnificent prospect, embracing nearly the whole of the lake, (which is
here nearly at its greatest breadth) the entrance of the Rhone through a
romantic valley, and the stupendous scenery of the Alps, heightened by
the numerous villages on the Savoy side the lake. For the union of wild
and cultivated scenery this view stands unequalled. No description of
mine could do it justice:

"Car la parole est toujours reprimee
Quand le sujet surmonte le disant."

"When we most strongly would delight express,
Words often fail in which our thoughts to dress."

In this church is the tomb of the celebrated General Ludlow, who died
here in 1693, aged 63. His monument, according to custom, only speaks
his praise; and makes no mention of his having been a member of that
assembly which condemned the ill-fated Charles to death. Over the door
of the house he inhabited, is this motto, '_Omne Solum Forti Patria_.'
He had resided for some time at Lausanne, but fearing the fate of Lisle,
who was assassinated, he retired to this place.

Between Vevay and Lausanne is the vineyard of Vaux, which bears a great
reputation. We passed through the village of Cully and Lutri, both
situated on the lake, and after mounting a considerable hill arrived at
Lausanne, which is the capital of the Canton of Vaud. It stands on three
hills, and on the intervening valleys, which being very steep, render
its situation more picturesque than convenient. It is situated about 400
feet above the level of the lake, from which it is distant about half a
league; the village of Ouchy serves as its port, and carries on a good
deal of trade. Lausanne contains several remains which prove its
antiquity, and several Roman inscriptions are preserved in the
townhouse, which is a handsome building. Here are three churches, one on
each of the hills. Of these the cathedral is well worthy of attention.
It is said to have been founded by one of the ancient kings of
Burgundy, and is certainly superior to any church I had hitherto seen in
Switzerland. Its architecture exhibits various specimens of Gothic:
there are many windows of painted glass in good preservation, and also
several handsome monuments. The choir is handsome, and its pillars are
of black marble. Its spire rises to a great height, and from the
church-yard there is a fine prospect of the lake, and the surrounding
country, with which I should have been more delighted, had I not so
recently seen the still grander scene which Vevay commands. The
population of Lausanne is computed at 8,000, and they are very
industrious; there are manufactories of hats and cottons, and the
printing business is carried on to a greater extent than in any other
town in Switzerland. There are also several jewellers' shops and
watchmakers' warehouses.

Of all the Swiss towns this is considered as the most remarkable for the
adoption of French fashions, and there is much more dissipation here
than at Geneva, as it is the constant residence of many wealthy
families; but, with few exceptions, the houses are neither large nor
well built. Near the church is shewn the residence of Gibbon, the
historian, and his library is now the property of a gentleman of this
town, who purchased it in England.

Lausanne was formerly subject to its bishops, who were princes of the
German Empire. A council was held here in 1448, when Pope _Felix V._, to
restore peace to the Romish church, and extinguish the schisms to which
it was then a prey, resigned the tiara and retired to the Abbey of
Ripaille, in Savoy, a second time. This prince is distinguished by some
of the historians of his century by the title of the Solomon of the age.
He succeeded to the Dukedom of Savoy by the name of Amadeus VII., and
having abdicated that sovereignty, retired to the abbey of Ripaille,
which he had long admired as a secluded retreat, and to which he was a
great benefactor. His restless disposition having induced him to seek
the papal dignity, he, soon after obtaining it, became a second time a
recluse but did not subject himself to any great _mortification_.

This remarkable character died in 1451, aet. 69, at Geneva; he was buried
with a Bible under his head, with this inscription, the application of
which, I do not exactly understand:

"La ville de Geneva est situee au milieu des montagnes; son
territoire est sablonneux, tres-peu etendu, et les habitans sont
curieux de nouveautes." "The city of Geneva is situated amongst
mountains, its territory is sandy, and of small extent, and its
inhabitants are curious concerning novelty."

The reformation was established in the Pays de Vaud, in 1536, after a
public controversy had been held between the Protestant and Romish
ecclesiastics. The environs of Lausanne present as cheerful and animated
a sight as is to be seen in any part of Switzerland, and the view from
the public walk, in particular, is enlivened by the bays and
promontories, which diversify the sides of the lake.

Our first stage, after leaving Lausanne, was _Morges_, which is situated
on the lake; it consists chiefly of two well built streets, and carries
on a good deal of trade, having a secure port with two moles, which,
when seen from a distance, have a good effect, being ornamented with
turrets. The church is a handsome edifice of Grecian architecture, and
is calculated to accommodate a congregation much more numerous than the
town affords. But, in general, modern churches are not to be reproached
for being on too large a scale. The public walk is near the water; it is
shaded by lofty rows of glens, and presented, when we saw it, a very
lively appearance, as it was under its shade that the town of Morges
entertained at dinner, two companies of infantry, and their officers,
sent from Zurich to garrison Geneva. No place could be better adapted
for the purpose, during so hot a season. The conviviality and good
humour which prevailed were unbounded, and the patriotic tendency of the
toasts, given by those at the upper table, was proved by the cheers with
which they were received by all the others.

The road from Morges to Rolle does not continue along the banks of the
lake, which is, however, occasionally seen, and heightens the beauty of
the country, by the effect produced by its waters. We passed near the
town of Aubonne, which is chiefly distinguished by the venerable castle,
which formerly protected it from attack, and now adds to the beauty of
its appearance. Rolle is a charming village: having neither walls, nor
gates, it is denied the title of a town, which it certainly merits more
than many paltry places, which have no other pretensions to the name,
than the circumstance of their being so enclosed. It consists chiefly of
one wide and well built street; it is situated on the lake, which is
here very wide, and is surrounded by a country inferior to none we had
passed.

There is but little trade carried on here. Its mineral waters are,
however, an attraction to strangers, and the society is generally
pleasant. Many families of distinction reside in this neighbourhood, and
their villas are handsome. I was particularly struck with the situation
of one, which had been built by a Dutch gentleman; it was of an oval
form and crowned with a dome. We found its owner had lately returned to
Holland; his house was shut up, and we could not gratify our curiosity
in going over it. After dinner we took a turn on the promenade, which is
laid out with great taste. From thence we visited the castle, formerly
the residence of the Barons of Rolle, but now vested in the commune by
purchase, and applied to various purposes. One part is reserved for
public meetings, another as a poor house, and a third portion
accommodates the school of the district. We entered into conversation
with a person whom we met at the gate (who proved to be the master of
the school); and who, after having taken several pinches of snuff from
the box of one of our party, became extremely communicative, and shewed
us some of the apartments of the castle, as well as the garden, where is
a terrace washed by the lake, which as the sun had long set, and at its
waters presented an unruffled surface, was altogether one of the most
_tranquillizing_ scenes which I have ever witnessed, and which was
heightened by the venerable and mouldering appearance of this part of
the castle. We contemplated the scene for some time in silence, and it
was not without regret that we left it. We arrived at an early hour next
morning at Nyon, which is also built on the margin of the lake. It is
chiefly remarkable for its Porcelain manufactory, and for the handsome
appearance of its castle, situated above the town. Very near it is the
Chateau de Prangin, which has been purchased within the last few months
by _Joseph Buonaparte_, who proposes to console himself in this
retirement for the loss of regal power. His carriage passed us just
before we entered Nyon; and we were told he was on his way to another
house which he has in this neighbourhood, where he mostly resides, to
superintend the alteration he is now carrying on at Prangin. We went to
see the _chateau_, and found a considerable number of men employed about
it. It is a large building, with a tower at each angle, and surrounds a
paved court. The terrace commands a charming prospect, and no man could
desire a more agreeable residence. We entered into conversation with an
officer of his titular majesty's household, who said it was very natural
we should desire to see one of the members of a family which had of late
years acted so distinguished a part in Europe. He told us that King
Joseph was extremely fond of hunting, and intended to enclose a large
portion of the land he had purchased with a wall, in order to form a
_chasse pour les betes sauvages_. This will be a great novelty in this
highly improved country, and the wall must cost a vast sum of money.

We waited some time, but without success, in the hope of seeing his
Majesty. He will be probably much happier in this retirement than if the
armies of his brother had succeeded in placing him on a throne which he
wanted ability to fill with honour to himself, or with advantage to the
people over whom Buonaparte designed he should act as governor and
promulgator of his oppressive system. The Spaniards despised _Joseph_
extremely, and gave him the appellation of _El Rey Botelli_, from his
love of wine; drunkenness being a vice to which the Spaniards are not
addicted.

The hills which bound the lake near Nyon produce excellent wine, when
compared with the rest of the _Pays de Vaud_. The vin de la Cote is much
esteemed; I cannot, however, with all the partiality I feel for
Switzerland, contend for the general excellence of its wines; and
although it is said, "Bacchus amat colles," yet I think the hills of the
Pays de Vaud will hardly contend for this favour with those of the
Rhingau and of Burgundy. Between Nyon and Copet we saw some of the
artillery of this canton practising at a mark, and were informed that
they exercise here in turns, and that they are great proficients in the
art of taking a correct aim. It is doubtless well to be prepared to
resist any enemy who may wish to seize and oppress one's country; but I
hope Switzerland may not soon have to contend with the overwhelming
armies of France.

Copet is a pleasantly situated village. Fishing seems to be the chief
occupation of its inhabitants.

Near it is the chateau, formerly the property of M. Necker, and now the
residence of his daughter, Madame de Stael, who will probably be as
celebrated in future times for her writings, as her father for the
administration of the French finances. I was to have accompanied two
friends to a fete given here by Madame de Stael, but unfortunately we
did not return in time from our excursion to Chamouny; and shortly after
Madame de Stael went to Paris. This lady is said to have formerly
remarked, that she should probably find it very difficult to be suited
with a husband, _as her mother insisted she should marry a man of
quality; her father wished for a man of talents, and she to please
herself_. The Baron de Stael Holstein was finally accepted, as no doubt
uniting all the points required. We soon reached Versoi, which belongs
to France, and was, during the disturbances which prevailed at Geneva in
1765, much encouraged by the then minister, the Duke de Choiseul, who
expected that its advantageous situation, as well as its proximity to
Geneva, would attract many of its inhabitants to settle there; and that,
by their well-known industry, his newly founded town would speedily
flourish.

The duke was, however, disappointed in the expectations he had formed
(as the present situation of Versoi affords ample testimony); for it was
too much to suppose, that men born under a free government would, on
account of trifling internal dissensions, abandon their country, and
become the voluntary subjects of a despotic monarchy. _Confidence is a
plant of slow growth_, and an absolute government is not likely to
encourage it. An enlightened monarch may frame an edict equally liberal
as that of Nantes; but the tyranny or bigotry of a succeeding sovereign
may revoke what only proceeded from sentiments to which he is a
stranger. The Genevese have now nothing to apprehend from Versoi as a
rival, but are anxious that it should be united to Switzerland, the
French custom-house there being an obstacle to their trade by land, as
they are only separated from the rest of Switzerland by this narrow
point which projects from the country of Gex. Gex was at one time
subject to Savoy, and at another period to Geneva. It is six leagues in
length, and about three and a half in width. On the road from Versoi to
Geneva we had ourselves reason to perceive the inconveniences of the
French custom-house, as it is quite absurd to insist on opening packages
which are not destined to remain above ten minutes on the French
territory. The country here is finely varied, and the distant view of
Geneva again drew from us expressions of admiration, after an excursion
through a country where the traveller often sees more to delight and to
interest him in one day than he sometimes meets with in travelling for a
week through other Provinces.

* * * * *

CHAP. X.

Having left Geneva so soon after my arrival there, I had not of course
sufficient time to speak sufficiently of a city so peculiarly
interesting on many accounts. The journal of a traveller is not however
the place to look for long statements of the revolutions, wars, and
sieges of the cities which he visits; but still there are very few
tourists who have omitted to swell their pages with details more
properly the province of the historian, and, from the unconnected manner
in which they are generally introduced, not calculated to give any very
accurate idea of the history of the place. I shall not therefore attempt
to mention the various revolutions which have at different times
disturbed the city of Geneva; and shall only remark, that it was
formerly annexed to the German empire, and that its bishops, like those
of Lausanne, having taken advantage of the precarious authority of some
of the emperors, succeeded in uniting to the spiritual jurisdiction most
of the temporal authority of the state, and lost both together at the
introduction of the reformation in 1585. The citizens, to defend
themselves from the powerful pretensions of the Dukes of Savoy,
concluded, in 1584, a perpetual alliance with the cantons of Zurich and
Berne (the most powerful of the reformed cantons), by which alliance
this republic became a part of the Swiss confederacy, and continued so
to be until forced to unite itself to France, by the revolutionary
government of that country. It has again recovered its independence; and
the general wish is that Geneva may be declared a canton of Switzerland
(this has, since I left Geneva, actually taken place, and the event was
celebrated with the utmost enthusiasm by its inhabitants). Their present
government is not absolutely arranged, and seems but little varied from
that democratic form which anciently prevailed (the merits of which
have given rise to much discussion), and by which all power is finally
vested in the general or sovereign council, composed of all the citizens
of Geneva who have attained their majority, there being a few particular
exemptions. All citizens are equally eligible to the public employments
of the state, of which, however, the emoluments are so scanty, as only
to make them objects of honourable ambition.

By the laws of Geneva, a father can never dispose of more than half his
estate, according to his inclination; the other half must be divided
equally amongst his children. Those citizens who do not discharge the
debts of their father after his decease, are excluded from holding any
public situations; as also, if they omit to pay debts which they have
themselves contracted. There are still subsisting many _sumptuary laws_,
which appear useful, to exclude the introduction of too great a degree
of luxury, which is generally so fatal to the liberty of a people.

There is a theatre at Geneva, which I have heard was first projected by
M. d'Alembert, but the magistrates endeavour to prevent as much as
possible the frequency of theatrical entertainments; and, during my stay
at Geneva (between three and four weeks), I think the theatre was open
but twice for plays, and once for a concert.

The town-house is a large and ancient building, and devoid of
regularity. It is chiefly worthy of mention, from the ascent to the
upper apartments, being by an inclined plane, sufficiently spacious to
admit a carriage to drive up to them. Here are the apartments of the
senate, the councils of government, officers of justice, &c. Here I left
my passports and received, in return, a permission to reside in the
city, which must be renewed every fortnight. The passport is returned
upon the final departure of its owner.

I now found it easy to provide myself with a lodging (as, without the
authority of the state, no citizen can receive strangers into his house)
on reasonable terms, for three weeks. My apartment commanded a handsome
prospect of the lake from one of the windows. I, however, occasionally
dined at the hotel where I had first lodged (the Balances d'Or). I here
found sometimes pleasant society at the Table d'Hote. The hour of dinner
was about a quarter past one o'clock, and the table was plentifully
supplied, much in the order I before mentioned, in speaking of the
French dinners. I observed that excellent vegetable, the potatoe, was
here in great estimation, at the tables both of the higher and inferior
classes; and, except in Italy, I understand its value is duly
appreciated in the principal parts of Europe. I now proceed, according
to my promise, to speak more of Geneva, having been for some time
domesticated there.

The city is regularly fortified; but, according to the modern system of
warfare, it would not probably make any efficient resistance; yet
although its fortifications may not be sufficient to secure it during a
siege, they are not entirely devoid of utility: they would prevent the
city's being suddenly occupied by an enemy, and thus afford time for the
conclusion of a regular capitulation. Situated as the city is, between
France and Sardinia, and divided from the rest of Switzerland, it must
be granted, that the government acts wisely in preserving its
fortifications. Indeed, their utility was fully exemplified during the
eventful period of last spring, when the allied troops, after having for
some days occupied the city, were suddenly called away, and the
inhabitants were menaced by a force of 3,000 Frenchmen, who demanded
admission. This was refused them; and happily, the return of the allied
forces in a few days, saved Geneva from the melancholy effects which
must have ensued from the irruption of the French, who were greatly
exasperated that the city did not at first oppose the entrance of the
Allies. The ramparts form the principal promenade of the Genevese; and
from some of them (particularly from the Place St. Antoine, which
commands the lake, and is well planted) the views are very striking over
a highly cultivated valley, enclosed by some of the most lofty mountains
in Europe. Detachments of the allied forces remained a very considerable
time at Geneva, and at one period the Republic had to defray a daily
expence of not less 40,000 francs.

But what seems to be most regretted by the Genevese, is the destruction
by those troops, of several avenues of trees, which had for many years
lined one of the roads near the city, and formed one of their favourite
walks. The Austrians, in their impatience to obtain fuel, could not be
persuaded to spare them, and the inhabitants now avoid a walk which they
once delighted in.

I have not, however, heard many complaints at the sums expended for the
maintenance of the allied troops, as they have relieved Geneva from the
yoke of France, under which their trade (which alone had raised their
city to such celebrity) was nearly annihilated.

I obtained some information on this subject, from a person of whom I
inquired my way to the hamlet of the Petit Sacconnex, near Geneva, where
is the best view of Mont Blanc. Seeing I was a stranger, he was very
civil; but he was delighted when he discovered of what country I was,
and spoke of England with enthusiasm, as it was to her perseverance that
his country, in common with most of Europe, was indebted for the late
glorious change in the state of their affairs. He informed me, that
before the union of Geneva to France, he had been in good business as a
watchmaker (the great occupation of the Genevese) but, like numberless
others, was thrown out of employment. Many emigrated, some worked as day
labourers, others were forced into the army, and he, being very old,
maintained himself with difficulty by setting up a small school.

I found my conductor an extremely well informed man, as indeed are most
of the tradespeople of Geneva. The higher circles are remarkable for
that freedom, blended with politeness, which places society on its most
natural basis, as I had frequent occasion to remark during my stay at
Geneva. I must not omit to mention the pleasure I experienced from the
_fete de navigation_ (to which I was invited by the kindness of a
gentleman, to whom I had been introduced) which is one of the most
splendid at Geneva; and the scene of the lake, covered with boats of
various sizes, filled with elegant females (and I have seen few places
that can boast of a greater proportion,) prevented my reflections on the
_more distant scene_ which its shores presented, and which, under
different circumstances, would not have passed unnoticed. After having
spent some time on the water, the company repaired to the Hall of
Navigation, near the village of Secheron, where a handsome entertainment
was provided. The evening concluded with a brilliant display of
fire-works, and the Lake was again enlivened by the boats carrying back
the company to the city. I observed amongst the company an English
Admiral, who attended this fete in his uniform. The Genevese lamented
that so handsome a dress should be disfigured by the _small hat_ he
wore, and it was indeed small compared with those of their officers. The
peasants here wear larger hats than any I saw in France, probably to
shade them from the sun; but in any climate, I do not think an English
labourer would feel at his ease with such a vast _edifice_ on his head.
The bonnets worn by the inhabitants of parts of Savoy and Vaud, are not
very dissimilar in shape from some I have seen in Wales; they are of
straw, and are commonly ornamented with black ribbon.

I shall here insert an epigram composed in 1602, by a Prince of Hesse,
who, at his departure, presented the city with 10,000 crowns.

Quisquis amat vitam, sobriam, castamque tueri,
Perpetuo esto illi casta Geneva domus:
Quisquis amat vitani hanc bene vivere, virere et illam,
Illi iterum fuerit casta Geneva domus.
Illic iuvenies, quidquid, conducit utrique:
Relligio hic sana est, aura, ager, atque lucus.

Amongst the various objects which are pointed out as deserving the
attention of a stranger, is the house in which the celebrated J.J.
Rousseau was born, in the year 1712. The circumstance is recorded by an
inscription over the door. His father was a watchmaker, and his house
was small and obscurely situated.

Rousseau was perhaps the most eloquent and fascinating of all the
sceptical writers of the last century; and probably the only one amongst
them who established a _system of his own_, if indeed his eccentricities
can be so called. His character exhibited a strange mixture of _pride_,
which made him perpetually anxious to be of public notoriety, and of an
_unsociable temper_, which often made him retire in disgust with the
world, and treat (without any rational cause, that has been assigned)
those who were most his friends, as if he considered them to be his
bitterest enemies. He was far more jealous of the reputation obtained by
his contemporaries, than delighted with the approbation he personally
received. Considered as a _philosopher_, he was paradoxical; as a
_moralist_, dangerous and licentious; as a _parent_, unnaturally
abandoning his offspring; as a _friend_, suspicious and ungrateful. As
_pride_ was the ruling passion of Rousseau, so was _vanity_ beyond
dispute the grand characteristic of _Voltaire_, (the proximity of Fernay
may excuse my here comparing him with Rousseau,) and this passion
induced him to pervert transcendent talents to the most pernicious and
fatal purposes.

The hostility of Voltaire to the _Christian dispensation_ has been
compared to the enmity rather of a rival than of a philosopher. He is
thought to have wished its overthrow, not so much because he entertained
any solid objections to its sublime theories, or had real doubts as to
the miracles by which it is attested; as because his _vanity_ led him to
think, that if he once could persuade men to the abolition of
Christianity, he might himself become the founder of a new system of
_moral indulgence_. The Abbe Raynal, in 1791; _already repented_ of the
philosophic principles, which he had so sedulously inculcated, and
expressed his conviction, that the consequence of the theories then so
finely fancied, would be a general pillage, for that their authors
wanted experience, to reduce their speculations to a practical system.
The Abbe was right in _this last_ expectation, and from the French
Revolution, so destructive in most respects, there has at least resulted
this advantage; it has furnished the most satisfactory comment upon the
_grand experiment_ of the philosophers, and proved most folly that it is
_religion alone_ that possesses authority to silence the clamours of
interest, to control the passions, and to fetter the ambition of
mankind. The same year (1778) is memorable for the deaths both of
Voltaire and Rousseau; the first is represented as exhibiting on his
_death bed_ the most melancholy spectacle of horror and remorse that can
be possibly conceived; the latter is thought to have committed _suicide_
at Ermenonville, where he found an asylum, after having been banished
successively from many states. This opinion is founded chiefly on the
authority of Madame de Stael; it is related, that he rose in the morning
in perfect health, and returned after his usual walk; that soon after,
he desired his wife to open the window, that he might, as he expressed
it, _contemplate nature for the last time_ and that being presently
taken ill, he refused to receive any assistance, and died in a few
hours.

Those who have seen both those celebrated characters (who long attracted
persons from all parts of Europe to this country) have remarked, that
_Voltaire_ at first sight was acknowledged to be a man of genius; but
that _Rousseau_ was only suspected of possessing superior abilities.

I have perhaps said too much on this subject, into which I have been led
insensibly, by reflecting on what I had read of these philosophers, and
shall therefore conclude with inserting the remark of a Savoyard
peasant, who, according to M. Lantier, being asked his opinion of them,
answered, "_I think that Voltaire has done a great deal of mischief in
the age in which he lived; and that Rousseau will not do less to
posterity_."

The college of Geneva and its library are generally pointed out to
strangers as worthy of a visit; for the Genevese are no less celebrated
for their proficiency in literature, than for their commercial industry.
The college consists of nine classes, and owes its foundation to the
celebrated Calvin, who was born at Nyon, where his father was a cooper.
He first arrived at Geneva in 1536, was exiled in 1538, and recalled
finally in 1541; he became the legislator as well as the religious
reformer of the state. He is still the great hero of the Genevese, who
believe him to be innocent of the _death of Michael Servet_, which has
in the general opinion cast such disgrace on his memory. He did not
affect to deny the _great perversity of his temper_, which is indeed
exhibited by many of his actions, so forcibly as not to admit of
concealment. His writings, in 44 volumes, containing 2023 sermons, and
his portrait, are preserved in the college, library, which contains
about 50,000 volumes, besides 200 manuscripts, some of which are of
great value. This library was originally founded by Bonnival, prior of
St. Victor, and is open from one till three o'clock every Tuesday. Two
secretaries are then engaged, under the inspection of the librarian, in
taking lists of the books which are borrowed or returned. The hydraulic
machine on the Rhone, which supplies the city with water, although it is
less complicated than that at Marli, is not less ingenious, and is
certainly of greater utility. The wheel is twenty-four feet in diameter,
and raises about 500 pints a minute at all seasons (being preserved
from the effects of frost) to two reservoirs, one seventy, the other 126
feet above the level of the river. The first supplies the fountains and
houses in the lower part of the town, and the second those in the more
elevated situations. The water of the Rhone, although transparently
clear, is hard and unpleasant to drink.

In enumerating the public establishments of Geneva, I must not omit to
mention the Society for the Advancement of the Arts, which was
originally projected by M. Faizan, an eminent watch-maker; its first
meetings were held at M. de Saussure's house. This society is now so
considerable as to be under the direction of government, and its
meetings are held in the town-hall, where subjects connected with
agriculture and the useful arts are discussed, and prizes distributed,
as well to the school of drawing (which is on a most respectable
footing) as to all, who distinguish themselves, either by inventions of
utility, or by noble or _humane_ actions.

Another excellent establishment here, is the Chambre des Bles, or
magazine of corn; this is a large and handsome building, and always
contains an ample supply of good wheat. The direction of this
establishment is immediately in the government, and its managers are
selected from the different councils. The benefits arising from abundant
seasons, cover the expences occasioned by years of scarcity. The bakers
being obliged to buy here whatever quantity of corn they may require,
and at an uniform price it follows that the price of bread always
continues the same, and that price is fixed by the grand council. The
managers of this store, to prevent the bakers from making bread of an
inferior quality, have established a shop in each quarter of the city;
and the bakers, to ensure a ready sale, are obliged to make their bread
of equal quality with that which could be procured at the shops of the
managers of this establishment. The churches of Geneva are not
distinguished by any architectural beauties, if we except the portico of
the _cathedral_, which is constructed of rough marble, said to be
copied after that of the Rotunda at Rome; it is considered equal to that
of St. Genevieve at Paris, but I cannot subscribe to that opinion.

The Calvinistic tenets (which are those of the state) are most generally
adopted at Geneva; but the Lutherans, the Germans of the Confession of
Augsburg, and the Roman Catholics, have each a church. The ministers are
appointed by the Government, and care is taken that the Roman Catholic
minister be subject to a Swiss Bishoprick. In the Calvinistic churches,
the hours of divine service are nine in the morning and two in the
afternoon. The service consists in the reading the commandments, a few
prayers, a chapter in the Bible, and the sermon; and concludes with a
psalm or hymn, accompanied by the organ; the whole service generally
occupies an hour. The Sunday is principally distinguished by the sermon,
the rest of the week being allotted for reading the Scriptures.--A
stranger is much surprised at seeing _many persons wear their hats
during the sermon_, a custom which indicates a want of respect to the
place that cannot be excused, however inferior the compositions of a
preacher may be to the rest of the service. There is one thing to be
noticed here as worthy of imitation: no burials are allowed within the
city. At Paris also, most of the burial places near the churches have
been removed to the catacombs, a change which has tended greatly to
purify the air of the city. There is a box at each door of the churches
here, and as the congregation retire after divine service, a person is
stationed near it, to desire them to _remember the poor_. These
collections must be liberal, as few places are so free from beggars as
Geneva.

* * * * *

CHAP. XI.

The _Perte du Rhone_, or the spot where the Rhone suddenly sinks into
the ground, forms one of the objects usually visited from Geneva, and I
accepted a proposal to join a party in making an excursion thither. We
were careful in providing a carriage, which was so constructed, as to
allow us a view on _both sides_, as some only afford a prospect of _half
the country_, the passengers all sitting on one side, and the cover
being immoveable.

We set out at an early hour, and arrived at Vanchy about noon, from
whence we proceeded on foot to the spot where the vast waters of the
Rhone, in approaching a ridge of rocks, with inconceivable rapidity,
_sink into the earth_. The cavern is covered with foam, from the
agitation of so great a body of water being forced into so small an
aperture; and the sight is at once magnificent and solemn. The
_emersion_ of the Rhone is not far distant from the place of its
ingulphation, but presents a very different spectacle, as the river
ascends so gradually as to be completely smooth, which in attributed to
the depth of the caverns from which it issues. It seems probable that
these caverns have some undiscovered outlet, as the Rhone, after its
rise from them, is but inconsiderable, compared with what it is before
its disappearance.

Not far distant is the Pont de Bellegarde, over the little river
Valserine, which runs through a deep dell into the Rhone. The scene is
well deserving of attention. In the vicinity of Geneva are several hop
gardens, which seem very flourishing; but whether it is that the
inhabitants do not understand the art of brewing as well as in England,
or that there is any difference in the plant, I do not know; but no one,
who has been accustomed to good malt liquor, could be persuaded to
relish theirs.

The elevation of Geneva (187 toises above the Mediterranean) together
with the proximity of the Alps, and of the mountains of Jura, cause
winters to be long, and often severe. The summers are often extremely
hot, but the air is refreshed by the gales from the mountains, which
sometimes occasion very sudden changes in the atmosphere.

The thermometer of _Reaumur_ has been known to rise 26 degrees above
freezing, but I have never myself observed it above 18 or 20 during my
stay.

It is said, that very severe cold has brought it to 14 degrees below
freezing, and then the lake, and even the rapid current of the Rhone,
have been frozen.

Often, during the summer months, the lake is ruffled by the _Bise_, or
regular north-east wind; but the east and west winds occasion the most
destructive tempests. The climate of Switzerland is in general much
colder than in the countries by which it is surrounded. Its numerous
lakes, mostly very elevated, add greatly to the freshness of the air,
and the frequent rains from the Alps bring with them the temperature of
those mountains. But, although the climate is so variable, being often
changed in a few hours, from the great heat which the reflection of the
sun occasions in the valleys, to the cold rains which proceed from the
surrounding mountains, yet these sudden transitions do not appear to
have an ill effect on the health of the inhabitants. On the contrary,
the celebrated physician _Haller_ attributes the salubrity of the air of
Switzerland to the currents from the Alps, which preserve it continually
pure, and prevent its stagnation in the valleys.

The soil of Switzerland is, in general, stony and unfertile, but the
peasants spare no pains to render it productive. I have had more than
once before occasion to express my astonishment at the sight of
mountains divided into terraces, and cultivated to their very summits. I
have been informed by a gentleman, who has devoted much of his attention
to agricultural pursuits, that the general return of grain in
Switzerland is about five times the quantity sown, and that Switzerland
does not produce much above a tenth part of the corn necessary for the
subsistence of its population, which he calculates at 130 to the square
mile, or nearly two millions; but if the parts which it is impossible
can ever be cultivated, were left out of the calculation, the average
population to the square mile would be of course greatly increased; as
the present scheme includes the whole superficies of the country.

The proportion which some other countries bear to Switzerland, in
respect to the population subsisting on each square mile, is as follows,
viz.

China, the most populous country
in the world, of the same extent 260

Holland, which has a greater population
than any country of its limited
extent 275

France, as in 1782 174

United kingdom of Great Britain and
Ireland 145

Russia in Europe 30

Iceland 1

I have been assured that in one part of the Canton of Appenzell, the
population amounts to 562 per square mile. It is one of the most
secluded parts of Switzerland, and is famous for the music called the
_Ranz des Suisses_. The Alps greatly increase the surface of Switzerland
when compared with less mountainous countries, and it therefore can
support vast flocks in situations where agriculture would be
impracticable. I have been frequently surprised to see cattle in places,
whither they must have been carried by the inhabitants. The number of
the cattle, in many of the Swiss Cantons, greatly exceeds that of the
inhabitants.

_Haller_ has observed that Switzerland presents, as it were, three
distinct regions; that on the tops of _the mountains_ are found the
plants indigenous in Lapland; _lower down_, are found those of the Cape
of Good Hope; and the _valleys_ abound with plants peculiar to
Switzerland, besides others which are found in the same latitude. I
observed in a former chapter, that the great occupation of the
inhabitants of Geneva consists in the manufacture of watches, clocks,
&c. and having a desire to see some specimens of their workmanship, I
accompanied a friend, who had purchased a _musical snuff-box_, to the
workshop of its fabricator, who although he was of the first celebrity
in Geneva, had no warehouse in a more accessible situation than his
workshop on the fifth story. I afterwards found that most of the
watchmakers had their workshops at the tops of the houses, which here,
as in Edinburgh, are mostly occupied by several families, who have a
common stair-case to their apartments. I was much pleased with the
display of ingenuity in this warehouse, and found that many of the
articles were intended to be sent to Paris, to Asia, &c. Geneva itself
could not, of course, supply purchasers for such a profusion of
expensive mechanism. The _taste_ of many of the articles, is by no means
such as would ensure them a ready sale in London.

There are at Geneva many pleasant _circles_ or _societies_, who have a
common apartment to meet in within the city, where the papers are taken
in; and often a garden in the neighbourhood for their recreation. I was
introduced to one of these circles, and went to their garden, which was
large and well-shaded with walnut trees. About the centre was a large
pleasure house, furnished with billiard, chess, and backgammon tables.
Some of the party were engaged at _bowls_; their game differs from ours
in many respects, as here they prefer a gravel walk or uneven surface,
and they throw the bowl a considerable height into the air, instead of
letting it glide gently along. I became acquainted with a French
gentleman, much advanced in years, who had resided here chiefly since
the French Revolution. He told me his head had been _twice laid on the
block for execution_, and that the _whole_ of his family had perished
during the troubles in France: he therefore did not wish to return into
his country, which would only recall melancholy recollections; but he
rejoiced much to see the royal family again seated on the throne. It is
to be feared, that there are, in many parts of Europe, several
individuals in equally unfortunate circumstances, after the dreadful
carnage occasioned by the continued succession of wars with which it has
been ravaged. I must not take my leave of Geneva without mentioning,
that there are few places which afford more of the requisites to a
pleasant residence. The walks and rides in its vicinity, are very
numerous, and abound with interesting prospects. The view of the city
from the village of Coligny, on the Savoy side of the lake, is highly
impressive. The junction of the rivers _Arve_ and _Rhone_ forms another
very fine scene. The waters of the Rhone are at least three times
greater than those of the Arve, and are of a transparent blue colour,
whilst those of the Arve are of a milky hue, something like the
appearance of the Rhone when it first enters the Lake of Geneva, where
it leaves the tint it acquired from the mountain snows and torrents. The
Rhone seems for a considerable distance to retire from any amalgamation
with the Arve, but at length assumes a less transparent aspect.

About half a league from Geneva is the town of Carrouge, which at one
period was in some degree its rival in trade, but is at present by no
means in a flourishing state. Its future destiny remains to be decided
along with those of more important states, at the approaching Congress
of Vienna. The general opinion seems to be that the Carrougians wish to
be reunited to France; but the King of Sardinia has invited them to
submit to his authority.

I walked one morning to St. Julian, about two leagues from Geneva; it is
pleasantly situated in that part of Savoy which is ceded to France, and
which is in fact the most essential part of the country, as it is said
this division materially interrupts the communication between those
parts which remain with the King of Sardinia. The object in visiting St.
Julian, was principally to see the plain, where after a sharp contest,
the Austrians were defeated by little more than half their number of
French troops, but having received reinforcements, renewed the action
and were victorious. It must be confessed, that the Austrian troops are
much inferior to the French; and the latter having so frequently
defeated them, feel quite indignant against the Austrians for the part
taken by their government in the invasion of France, and the
restoration of the Bourbons.

Most of the French officers I have met with indulge the hope, that some
differences at the Congress may occasion a fresh war with Austria. The
French in general join the officers in looking forward to the recovery
of what they contend are their natural limits--the Rhine and
Belgium;--and after so many years of war, are dissatisfied at having no
conquests to boast of.

It cannot be however expected that the great bias given to the French in
favour of war, by their late ruler, should speedily subside; but the
restless and impatient spirit which at present prevails in France, and
which would engage immediately in a fresh war, must be in some degree
restrained by the exhausted state of their finances; and as it is, many
of the taxes are much complained of.

* * * * *

CHAP. XII.

I remained at Geneva longer than I had at first intended, and at last
quitted it with regret. I shall ever recollect the time I spent there
with pleasure; but the period allotted for my tour would not permit me
to remain any longer stationary; and I therefore set off for the
mountains of Jura, celebrated for the extensive and varied prospects
which they afford of the Alps, &c. I was much pleased with the scenery
of the little lake and valley of _Joux_, shut out by mountains from the
rest of the Canton of Vaud. At Coponex I met two gentlemen, who were
indebted to their horse for having escaped being robbed the evening
before. They were travelling slowly in an open carriage, when suddenly
they were ordered to stop by several men of French appearance, who were
thought to be disbanded soldiers. This adventure made a great noise in a
neighbourhood, where highway robbery is extremely unusual. We
breakfasted at a neat inn in the village of Lassera, and afterwards went
to see the chief curiosity of the place, the separation of a rivulet
into two branches, one of which falls into the Lake of Neufchatel, and
eventually through the rivers Aar and Rhine into the German Ocean; the
other runs into the Lake of Geneva, and by means of the Rhone at length
reaches the Mediterranean. This singularity proves the facility with
which the Lakes of Neufchatel and Geneva might be made to communicate
with each other. Accordingly, a canal has long since been commenced; but
its projectors have made little progress in their undertaking. The
little town of Orbe, is nearly surrounded by a river of the same name;
it bears evident marks of antiquity, and from its position, must have
been in former times a place of considerable strength. The ancient kings
of Burgundy had a residence here.

This part of the country is highly varied, and presents a most
picturesque appearance.

Land in the Pays de Vaud, I found, generally sells for about
twenty-five years purchase; and 31/2 or 4 per cent, is thought sufficient
interest for money invested in it. Travelling and living are much dearer
in this country than in France, as although the inhabitants have few
superfluities, yet they have to fetch them from a distance, Switzerland
not affording a sufficient supply of food for the support of its
inhabitants.

Yverdun was our next stage; it is after Lausanne and Vevay the most
considerable town in the canton. It is situated close to the Lake of
Neufchatel, and is surrounded by water. It consists of three parallel
streets, terminating in a square, in which are the church and townhouse,
both neat structures. The population is about 5000. The castle is
flanked by numerous turrets, and has a venerable appearance. The
promenade presents a sort of _sea view_, as the extremity of the lake
(which is about nine leagues in length, by two in breadth) is hid from
the eye by the convexity of its waters, and the view is terminated by
the sky. At a little distance from the town, is a mineral spring, with
a large building containing baths and a pump-room.

I found the waters were strongly impregnated with sulphur. Here is a
celebrated school, containing about 250 boys; the annual expense for
each boarder is not less than fifty louis.

We proceeded in the diligence to Neufchatel, through the towns of
Granson, St. Aubin, and Boudri. The banks of the lake present a
continued succession of vineyards, which afford the best red wine in
Switzerland. The conductor of our voiture amused us a good deal by his
eccentricity. He seemed thoroughly happy and contented; and when an old
gentleman of the party wished for a bag of crowns that were put into the
carriage, to be conveyed to Berne, the conductor declared, _he was not
like Napoleon, and wished for nothing he had not_. We found that the
establishment of a game licence had occasioned some discontent in this
country. The quantity of game is said to have greatly diminished. One
gentleman told me, they sometimes hunted wild boars on the mountains
near France. The roads here have been much shortened by a new line of
communication which has been lately opened, and the bridge at Serrier of
a single arch over a deep valley, (which formerly obliged travellers to
make a considerable circuit) has a very handsome as well as useful
effect. The town of Neufchatel contains between 4 and 5,000 inhabitants;
it is partly built on a hill, where stand the church and castle, and
partly on a plain near the lake, on the borders of which are handsome
public walks and further improvements are carrying on. The elegant
appearance of many of the private houses proves the wealth of their
owners.

Neufchatel is without fortifications, but is in general well built; it
is said to present a perspective, resembling, in miniature, the distant
view of Naples. The lake is not deep, but seldom freezes, although it is
thirty-one toises more elevated than that of Geneva.

The principalities of Neufchatel and Vallingen are about twelve leagues
long, by eight at the broadest part; the soil is far from fertile, but
the industry of the inhabitants renders it astonishingly productive.
Any person having a certificate of his general good conduct may settle
here, and enjoy every essential privilege of the native subjects. This
is perhaps the only country in Europe _exempt from taxes_; for the
payment of a few sous annually from every householder cannot be
considered as a tax. This circumstance lessens our astonishment at the
commercial activity which prevails in this little state, the population
of which exceeds 40,000. The villages of Chaux de Fond and Locle, with
their districts, contain about 600 inhabitants, and furnish annually
10,000 watches in gold and silver, besides clocks. There are also
numerous engravers and enamellers. The country is celebrated for its
wild beauty; and our excursion, which occupied a day, was pleasant.

The Protestant is the established religion of the state, with the
exception of the little town of Landeron, where the Roman Catholic
religion is maintained. It is recorded, that the inhabitants, having
assembled to deliberate, which of the two forms of worship should be
acknowledged, the numbers were equally divided. It being however
discovered, that a shepherd was absent, he was sent for, and having
given his vote, that the Roman Catholic religion should be continued, it
was decided accordingly.

The town of Neufchatel is much indebted to one of its citizens, David
Riri, who expended three or four millions of livres in works of public
utility. Another individual built the town-house, which is a handsome
edifice of the Corinthian order.

The little brook called the Serrieres, which does not run above the
length of two gun-shots before it falls into the lake, turns a great

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