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Travels Through France And Italy

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divinity on the face of Christ; but also in the surprising
lightness of the figure, that hovers like a beautiful exhalation
in the air. In the church of St. Luke, I was not at all struck by
the picture of that saint, drawing the portrait of the Virgin
Mary, although it is admired as one of the best pieces of
Raphael. Indeed it made so little impression upon me, that I do
not even remember the disposition of the figures. The altar-piece,
by Andrea Sacchi, in the church of St. Romauldus, would
have more merit, if the figure of the saint himself had more
consequence, and was represented in a stronger light. In the
Palazzo Borghese, I chiefly admired the following pieces: a Venus
with two nymphs; and another with Cupid, both by Titian: an
excellent Roman Piety, by Leonardo da Vinci; and the celebrated
Muse, by Dominechino, which is a fine, jolly, buxom figure. At
the palace of Colorina Connestabile, I was charmed with the
Herodias, by Guido Rheni; a young Christ; and a Madonna, by
Raphael; and four landscapes, two by Claude Lorraine, and the
other two, by Salvator Rosa. In the palazetto, or summerhouse
belonging to the Palazzo Rospigliosi, I had the satisfaction of
contemplating the Aurora of Guido, the colours of which still
remain in high perfection, notwithstanding the common report that
the piece is spoiled by the dampness of the apartment. The print
of this picture, by Freij, with all its merit, conveys but an
imperfect idea of the beauty of the original. In the Palazzo
Barberini, there is a great collection of marbles and pictures:
among the first, I was attracted by a beautiful statue of Venus;
a sleeping faun, of curious workmanship; a charming Bacchus,
lying on an antient sculpture, and the famous Narcissus. Of the
pictures, what gave me most pleasure was the Magdalen of Guido,
infinitely superior to that by Le Brun in the church of the
Carmelites at Paris; the Virgin, by Titian; a Madonna, by
Raphael, but not comparable to that which is in the Palazzo de
Pitti, at Florence; and the death of Germanicus, by Poussin,
which I take to be one of the best pieces in this great
collection. In the Palazzo Falconeri there is a beautiful St.
Cecilia, by Guercino; a holy family, by Raphael; and a fine
expressive figure of St. Peter weeping, by Dominechino. In the
Palazzo Altieri, I admired a picture, by Carlo Maratti,
representing a saint calling down lightning from heaven to
destroy blasphemers. It was the figure of the saint I admired,
merely as a portrait. The execution of the other parts was tame
enough: perhaps they were purposely kept down, in order to
preserve the importance of the principal figure. I imagine
Salvator Rosa would have made a different disposition on the same
subject: that amidst the darkness of a tempest, he would have
illuminated the blasphemer with the flash of lightning by which
he was destroyed: this would have thrown a dismal gleam upon his
countenance, distorted by the horror of his situation as well as
by the effects of the fire; and rendered the whole scene
dreadfully picturesque. In the same palace, I saw the famous holy
family, by Corregio, which he left unfinished, and no other
artist would undertake to supply; for what reason I know not.
Here too is a judgment of Paris, by Titian, which is reckoned a
very valuable piece. In the Palazzo Odescalchi, there is a holy
family, by Buonaroti, and another by Raphael, both counted
excellent, though in very different stiles, extremely
characteristic of those two great rival artists.

If I was silly enough to make a parade, I might mention some
hundreds more of marbles and pictures, which I really saw at
Rome; and even eke out that number with a huge list of those I
did not see: but whatever vanity I may have, it has not taken
this turn; and I assure you, upon my word and honour, I have
described nothing but what actually fell under my own
observation. As for my critical remarks, I am afraid you will
think them too superficial and capricious to belong to any other
person but--Your humble servant.


NICE, April 2, 1765.

DEAR SIR,--I have nothing to communicate touching the library of
the Vatican, which, with respect to the apartments and their
ornaments, is undoubtedly magnificent. The number of books it
contains does not exceed forty thousand volumes, which are all
concealed from the view, and locked up in presses: as for the
manuscripts, I saw none but such as are commonly presented to
strangers of our nation; some very old copies of Virgil and
Terence; two or three Missals, curiously illuminated; the book De
Septem Sacramentis, written in Latin by Henry VIII. against
Luther; and some of that prince's love letters to Anne Boleyn. I
likewise visited the Libreria Casanatense, belonging to the
convent of the church called S. Maria Sopra Minerva. I had a
recommendation to the principal librarian, a Dominican friar, who
received me very politely, and regaled me with a sight of several
curious MSS. of the classics.

Having satisfied my curiosity at Rome, I prepared for my
departure, and as the road between Radicofani and Montefiascone
is very stony and disagreeable, I asked the banker Barazzi, if
there was not a better way of returning to Florence, expressing a
desire at the same time to see the cascade of Terni. He assured
me that the road by Terni was forty miles shorter than the other,
much more safe and easy, and accommodated with exceeding good
auberges. Had I taken the trouble to cast my eyes upon the map, I
must have seen, that the road by Terni, instead of being forty
miles shorter, was much longer than the other: but this was not
the only mistake of Signiore Barazzi. Great part of this way lies
over steep mountains, or along the side of precipices, which
render travelling in a carriage exceeding tedious, dreadful, and
dangerous; and as for the public houses, they are in all respects
the most execrable that ever I entered. I will venture to say
that a common prisoner in the Marshalsea or King's-Bench is more
cleanly and commodiously lodged than we were in many places on
this road. The houses are abominably nasty, and generally
destitute of provision: when eatables were found, we were almost
poisoned by their cookery: their beds were without curtains or
bedstead, and their windows without glass; and for this sort of
entertainment we payed as much as if we had been genteelly
lodged, and sumptuously treated. I repeat it again; of all the
people I ever knew, the Italians are the most villainously
rapacious. The first day, having passed Civita Castellana, a
small town standing on the top of a hill, we put up at what was
called an excellent inn, where cardinals, prelates, and princes,
often lodged. Being meagre day, there was nothing but bread,
eggs, and anchovies, in the house. I went to bed without supper,
and lay in a pallet, where I was half devoured by vermin. Next
day, our road, in some places, lay along precipices, which over-hang
the Nera or Nar, celebrated in antiquity for its white foam,
and the sulphureous quality of its waters.

Sulfurea nar albus aqua, fontesque velini.

Sulphureous nar, and the Velinian streams.

It is a small, but rapid stream, which runs not far from hence,
into the Tyber. Passing Utricoli, near the ruins of the ancient
Ocriculum, and the romantic town of Narni, situated on the top of
a mountain, in the neighbourhood of which is still seen standing
one arch of the stupendous bridge built by Augustus Caesar, we
arrived at Terni, and hiring a couple of chaises before dinner,
went to see the famous Cascata delle Marmore, which is at the
distance of three miles. We ascended a steep mountain by a narrow
road formed for a considerable way along the brink of a
precipice, at the bottom of which brawls the furious river Nera,
after having received the Velino. This last is the stream which,
running from the Lago delle Marmore, forms the cascade by falling
over a precipice about one hundred and sixty feet high. Such a
body of water rushing down the mountain; the smoak, vapour, and
thick white mist which it raises; the double rainbow which these
particles continually exhibit while the sun shines; the deafening
sound of the cataract; the vicinity of a great number of other
stupendous rocks and precipices, with the dashing, boiling, and
foaming of the two rivers below, produce altogether an object of
tremendous sublimity: yet great part of its effect is lost, for
want of a proper point of view, from which it might be
contemplated. The cascade would appear much more astonishing,
were it not in some measure eclipsed by the superior height of
the neighbouring mountains. You have not a front perspective; but
are obliged to view it obliquely on one side, standing upon the
brink of a precipice, which cannot be approached without horror.
This station might be rendered much more accessible, and
altogether secure, for the expence of four or five zequines; and
a small tax might be levied for the purpose from travellers by
the aubergiste at Terni, who lets his calasses for half a zequine
a piece to those that are curious to see this phaenomenon.
Besides the two postilions whom I payed for this excursion, at
the rate of one stage in posting, there was a fellow who posted
himself behind one of the chaises, by way of going to point out
the different views of the cascade; and his demand amounted to
four or five pauls. To give you an idea of the extortion of those
villainous publicans, I must tell you that for a dinner and
supper, which even hunger could not tempt us to eat, and a
night's lodging in three truckle beds, I paid eighty pauls,
amounting to forty shillings sterling. You ask me why I submitted
to such imposition? I will tell you--I have more than once in my
travels made a formal complaint of the exorbitancy of a publican,
to the magistrate of the place; but I never received any
satisfaction, and have lost abundance of time. Had I proceeded to
manual correction, I should have alarmed and terrified the women:
had I peremptorily refused to pay the sum total, the landlord,
who was the post-master, would not have supplied me with horses
to proceed on my journey. I tried the experiment at Muy in
France, where I put myself into a violent passion, had abundance
of trouble, was detained till it was almost night, and after all
found myself obliged to submit, furnishing at the same time
matter of infinite triumph to the mob, which had surrounded the
coach, and interested themselves warmly in favour of their
townsman. If some young patriot, in good health and spirits,
would take the trouble as often as he is imposed upon by the road
in travelling, to have recourse to the fountain-head, and prefer
a regular complaint to the comptroller of the posts, either in
France or Italy, he would have ample satisfaction, and do great
service to the community. Terni is an agreeable town, pretty well
built, and situated in a pleasant valley, between two branches of
the river Nera, whence it was called by the antients, Interamna.
Here is an agreeable piazza, where stands a church that was of
old a heathen temple. There are some valuable paintings in the
church. The people are said to be very civil, and provisions to
be extremely cheap. It was the birthplace of the emperor Tacitus,
as well as of the historian of the same name. In our journey from
hence to Spoleto, we passed over a high mountain, (called, from
its height, Somma) where it was necessary to have two additional
horses to the carriage, and the road winds along a precipice.
which is equally dangerous and dreadful. We passed through part
of Spoleto, the capital of Umbria, which is a pretty large city.
Of this, however, I give no other account from my own
observation, but that I saw at a distance the famous Gothic
aqueduct of brick: this is mentioned by Addison as a structure,
which, for the height of its arches, is not equalled by any thing
in Europe. The road from hence to Foligno, where we lay, is kept
in good order, and lies through a delightful plain, laid out into
beautiful inclosures, abounding with wine, oil, corn, and cattle,
and watered by the pastoral streams of the famous river
Clitumnus, which takes its rise in three or four separate
rivulets issuing from a rock near the highway. On the right-hand,
we saw several towns situated on rising grounds, and among the
rest, that of Assissio, famous for the birth of St. Francis,
whose body, being here deposited, occasions a concourse of
pilgrims. We met a Roman princess going thither with a grand
retinue, in consequence of a vow she had made for the re-establishment
of her health. Foligno, the Fulginium of the
antients, is a small town, not unpleasant, lying in the midst of
mulberry plantations, vineyards, and corn-fields, and built on
both sides of the little river Topino. In choosing our beds at
the inn, I perceived one chamber locked, and desired it might be
opened; upon which the cameriere declared with some reluctance,
"Besogna dire a su' eccellenza; poco fa, che una bestia e morta
in questa camera, e non e ancora lustrata," "Your Excellency must
know that a filthy Beast died lately in that Chamber, and it is
not yet purified and put in order." When I enquired what beast it
was, he replied, "Un'eretico Inglese," "An English heretic." I
suppose he would not have made so free with our country and
religion, if he had not taken us for German catholics, as we
afterwards learned from Mr. R--i. Next day, we crossed the Tyber,
over a handsome bridge, and in mounting the steep hill upon which
the city of Perugia stands, our horses being exhausted, were
dragged backwards by the weight of the carriage to the very edge
of a precipice, where, happily for us, a man passing that way,
placed a large stone behind one of the wheels, which stopped
their motion, otherwise we should have been all dashed in pieces.
We had another ugly hill to ascend within the city, which was
more difficult and dangerous than the other: but the postilions,
and the other beasts made such efforts, that we mounted without
the least stop, to the summit, where we found ourselves in a
large piazza, where the horses are always changed. There being no
relays at the post, we were obliged to stay the whole day and
night at Perugia, which is a considerable city, built upon the
acclivity of a hill, adorned with some elegant fountains, and
several handsome churches, containing some valuable pictures by
Guido, Raphael, and his master Pietro Perugino, who was a native
of this place. The next stage is on the banks of the lake, which
was the Thrasimene of the antients, a beautiful piece of water,
above thirty miles in circumference, having three islands,
abounding with excellent fish: upon a peninsula of it, there is a
town and castle. It was in this neighbourhood where the consul
Flaminius was totally defeated with great slaughter by Hannibal.
From Perugia to Florence, the posts are all double, and the road
is so bad that we never could travel above eight and twenty miles
a day. We were often obliged to quit the carriage, and walk up
steep mountains; and the way in general was so unequal and stony,
that we were jolted even to the danger of our lives. I never felt
any sort of exercise or fatigue so intolerable; and I did not
fail to bestow an hundred benedictions per diem upon the banker
Barazzi, by whose advice we had taken this road; yet there was no
remedy but patience. If the coach had not been incredibly strong,
it must have been shattered to pieces. The fifth night we passed
at a place called Camoccia, a miserable cabaret, where we were
fain to cook our own supper, and lay in a musty chamber, which
had never known a fire, and indeed had no fire-place, and where
we ran the risque of being devoured by rats. Next day one of the
irons of the coach gave way at Arezzo, where we were detained two
hours before it could be accommodated. I might have taken this
opportunity to view the remains of the antient Etruscan
amphitheatre. and the temple of Hercules, described by the
cavalier Lorenzo Guazzesi, as standing in the neighbourhood of
this place: but the blacksmith assured me his work would be
finished in a few minutes; and as I had nothing so much at heart
as the speedy accomplishment of this disagreeable journey, I
chose to suppress my curiosity, rather than be the occasion of a
moment's delay. But all the nights we had hitherto passed were
comfortable in comparison to this, which we suffered at a small
village, the name of which I do not remember. The house was
dismal and dirty beyond all description; the bed-cloaths filthy
enough to turn the stomach of a muleteer; and the victuals cooked
in such a manner, that even a Hottentot could not have beheld
them without loathing. We had sheets of our own, which were
spread upon a mattrass, and here I took my repose wrapped in a
greatcoat, if that could be called repose which was interrupted
by the innumerable stings of vermin. In the morning, I was seized
with a dangerous fit of hooping-cough, which terrified my wife,
alarmed my people, and brought the whole community into the
house. I had undergone just such another at Paris, about a year
before. This forenoon, one of our coach wheels flew off in the
neighbourhood of Ancisa, a small town, where we were detained
above two hours by this accident; a delay which was productive of
much disappointment, danger, vexation, and fatigue. There being
no horses at the last post, we were obliged to wait until those
which brought us thither were sufficiently refreshed to proceed.
Understanding that all the gates of Florence are shut at six,
except two that are kept open for the accommodation of
travellers; and that to reach the nearest of these gates, it was
necessary to pass the river Arno in a ferry-boat, which could not
transport the carriage; I determined to send my servant before
with a light chaise to enter the nearest gate before it was
shut, and provide a coach to come and take us up at the side of
the river, where we should be obliged to pass in the boat: for I
could not bear the thoughts of lying another night in a common
cabaret. Here, however, another difficulty occurred. There was
but one chaise, and a dragoon officer, in the imperial troops,
insisted upon his having bespoke it for himself and his servant.
A long dispute ensued, which had like to have produced a quarrel:
but at length I accommodated matters, by telling the officer that
he should have a place in it gratis, and his servant might ride
a-horse-back. He accepted the offer without hesitation; but, in the mean
time, we set out in the coach before them, and having proceeded
about a couple of miles, the road was so deep from a heavy rain,
and the beasts were so fatigued, that they could not proceed. The
postilions scourging the poor animals with great barbarity, they
made an effort, and pulled the coach to the brink of a precipice,
or rather a kind of hollow-way, which might be about seven or
eight feet lower than the road. Here my wife and I leaped out,
and stood under the rain up to the ancles in mud; while the
postilions still exercising their whips, one of the fore-horses
fairly tumbled down the descent, arid hung by the neck, so that
he was almost strangled before he could be disengaged from the
traces, by the assistance of some foot travellers that happened
to pass. While we remained in this dilemma, the chaise, with the
officer and my servant, coming up, we exchanged places; my wife
and I proceeded in the chaise, and left them with Miss C-- and Mr.
R--, to follow in the coach. The road from hence to Florence is
nothing but a succession of steep mountains, paved and conducted
in such a manner, that one would imagine the design had been to
render it impracticable by any sort of wheel-carriage.
Notwithstanding all our endeavours, I found it would be
impossible to enter Florence before the gates were shut. I
flattered and threatened the driver by turns: but the fellow, who
had been remarkably civil at first, grew sullen and impertinent.
He told me I must not think of reaching Florence: that the boat
would not take the carriage on board; and that from the other
side, I must walk five miles before I should reach the gate that
was open: but he would carry me to an excellent osteria, where I
should be entertained and lodged like a prince. I was now
convinced that he had lingered on purpose to serve this inn-keeper;
and I took it for granted that what he told me of the
distance between the ferry and the gate was a lie. It was eight
o'clock when we arrived at his inn. I alighted with my wife to
view the chambers, desiring he would not put up his horses.
Finding it was a villainous house, we came forth, and, by this
time, the horses were put up. I asked the fellow how he durst
presume to contradict my orders, and commanded him to put them to
the chaise. He asked in his turn if I was mad? If I thought I and
the lady had strength and courage enough to walk five miles in
the dark, through a road which we did not know, and which was
broke up by a continued rain of two days? I told him he was an
impertinent rascal, and as he still hesitated, I collared him
with one hand, and shook my cane over his head with the other. It
was the only weapon I had, either offensive or defensive; for I
had left my sword, and musquetoon in the coach. At length the
fellow obeyed, though with great reluctance, cracking many severe
jokes upon us in the mean time, and being joined in his raillery
by the inn-keeper, who had all the external marks of a ruffian.
The house stood in a solitary situation, and not a soul appeared
but these two miscreants, so that they might have murdered us
without fear of detection. "You do not like the apartments? (said
one) to be sure they were not fitted up for persons of your rank
and quality!" "You will be glad of a worse chamber, (continued
the other) before you get to bed." "If you walk to Florence
tonight, you will sleep so sound, that the fleas will not disturb
you." "Take care you do not take up your night's lodging in the
middle of the road, or in the ditch of the city-wall." I fired
inwardly at these sarcasms, to which, however, I made no reply;
and my wife was almost dead with fear. In the road from hence to
the boat, we met with an ill-looking fellow, who offered his
service to conduct us into the city, and such was our situation,
that I was fain to accept his proposal, especially as we had two
small boxes in the chaise by accident, containing some caps and
laces belonging to my wife, I still hoped the postilion had
exaggerated in the distance between the boat and the city gate,
and was confirmed in this opinion by the ferryman, who said we
had not above half a league to walk. Behold us then in this
expedition; myself wrapped up in a very heavy greatcoat, and my
cane in my hand. I did not imagine I could have walked a couple
of miles in this equipage, had my life been depending; my wife a
delicate creature, who had scarce ever walked a mile in her life;
and the ragamuffin before us with our boxes under his arm. The
night was dark and wet; the road slippery and dirty; not a soul
was seen, nor a sound was heard: all was silent, dreary, and
horrible. I laid my account with a violent fit of illness from
the cold I should infallibly catch, if I escaped assassination,
the fears of which were the more troublesome as I had no weapon
to defend our lives. While I laboured under the weight of my
greatcoat which made the streams of sweat flow down my face and
shoulders, I was plunging in the mud, up to the mid-leg at every
step; and at the same time obliged to support my wife, who wept
in silence, half dead with terror and fatigue. To crown our
vexation, our conductor walked so fast, that he was often out of
sight, and I imagined he had run away with the boxes. All I could
do on these occasions, was to hollow as loud as I could, and
swear horribly that I would blow his brains out. I did not know
but these oaths and menaces might keep other rogues in awe. In
this manner did we travel three long miles, making almost an
intire circuit of the city-wall, without seeing the face of a
human creature, and at length reached the gate, where we were
examined by the guard, and allowed to pass, after they had told
us it was a long mile from thence to the house of Vanini, where
we proposed to lodge. No matter, being now fairly within the
city, I plucked up my spirits, and performed the rest of the
journey with such ease, that I am persuaded, I could have walked
at the same pace all night long, without being very much
fatigued. It was near ten at night, when we entered the auberge
in such a draggled and miserable condition, that Mrs. Vanini
almost fainted at sight of us, on the supposition that we had met
with some terrible disaster, and that the rest of the company
were killed. My wife and I were immediately accommodated with dry
stockings and shoes, a warm apartment, and a good supper, which I
ate with great satisfaction, arising not only from our having
happily survived the adventure, but also from a conviction that
my strength and constitution were wonderfully repaired: not but
that I still expected a severe cold, attended with a terrible fit
of the asthma: but in this I was luckily disappointed. I now for
the first time drank to the health of my physician Barazzi, fully
persuaded that the hardships and violent exercise I underwent by
following his advice, had greatly contributed to the re-establishment
of my health. In this particular, I imitate the
gratitude of Tavernier, who was radically cured of the gout by a
Turkish aga in Aegypt, who gave him the bastinado, because he
would not look at the head of the bashaw of Cairo, which the aga
had in a bag, to be presented to the grand signior at

I did not expect to see the rest of our company that night, as I
never doubted but they would stay with the coach at the inn on
the other side of the Arno: but at mid-night we were joined by
Miss C-- and Mr. R--, who had left the carriage at the inn, under
the auspices of the captain and my servant, and followed our
foot-steps by walking from the ferry-boat to Florence, conducted
by one of the boatmen. Mr. R-- seemed to be much ruffled and
chagrined; but, as he did not think proper to explain the cause,
he had no right to expect that I should give him satisfaction
for some insult he had received from my servant. They had been
exposed to a variety of disagreeable adventures from the
impracticability of the road. The coach had been several times in
the most imminent hazard of being lost with all our baggage; and
at one place, it was necessary to hire a dozen of oxen, and as
many men, to disengage it from the holes into which it had run.
It was in the confusion of these adventures, that the captain and
his valet, Mr. R-- and my servant, had like to have gone all by
the ears together. The peace was with difficulty preserved by the
interposition of Miss C--, who suffered incredibly from cold and
wet, terror, vexation, and fatigue: yet happily no bad
consequence ensued. The coach and baggage were brought safely
into Florence next morning, when all of us found ourselves well
refreshed, and in good spirits. I am afraid this is not the case
with you, who must by this time be quite jaded with this long
epistle, which shall therefore be closed without further ceremony
by,--Yours always.


NICE, March 20, 1765.

DEAR SIR,--The season being far advanced, and the weather growing
boisterous, I made but a short stay at Florence, and set out for
Pisa, with full resolution to take the nearest road to Lerici,
where we proposed to hire a felucca for Genoa. I had a great
desire to see Leghorn and Lucca; but the dread of a winter's
voyage by sea in an open boat effectually restrained my
curiosity. To avoid the trouble of having our baggage shifted
every post, I hired two chaises to Pisa for a couple of zequines,
and there we arrived in safety about seven in the evening, though
not without fear of the consequence, as the calesses were quite
open, and it rained all the way. I must own I was so sick of the
wretched accommodation one meets with in every part of Italy,
except the great cities, so averse to the sea at this season, and
so fond of the city of Pisa, that I should certainly have stayed
here the winter, had not I been separated from my books and
papers, as well as from other conveniencies and connexions which
I had at Nice; and foreseen that the thoughts of performing the
same disagreeable voyage in the spring would imbitter my whole
winter's enjoyment. I again hired two calesses for Lerici,
proposing to lie at Sarzana, three miles short of that place,
where we were told we should find comfortable lodging, and to
embark next day without halting. When we departed in the morning,
it rained very hard, and the Cerchio, which the chaises had
formerly passed, almost without wetting the wheels, was now
swelled to a mighty river, broad and deep and rapid. It was with
great difficulty I could persuade my wife to enter the boat; for
it blew a storm, and she had seen it in coming over from the
other side hurried down a considerable way by the rapidity of the
current, notwithstanding all the efforts of the watermen. Near
two hours were spent in transporting us with our chaises. The
road between this and Pietra Santa was rendered almost
impassable. When we arrived at Massa, it began to grow dark, and
the post-master assured us that the road to Sarzana was
overflowed in such a manner as not to be passed even in the day-time,
without imminent danger. We therefore took up our lodging
for the night at this house, which was in all respects one of the
worst we had yet entered. Next day, we found the Magra as large
and violent as the Cerchio: however, we passed it without any
accident, and in the afternoon arrived at Lerici. There we were
immediately besieged by a number of patrons of feluccas, from
among whom I chose a Spaniard, partly because he looked like an
honest man, and produced an ample certificate, signed by an
English gentleman; and partly, because he was not an Italian;
for, by this time, I had imbibed a strong prejudice against the
common people of that country. We embarked in the morning before
day, with a gale that made us run the lee-gunwale in the water;
but, when we pretended to turn the point of Porto Venere, we
found the wind full in our teeth, and were obliged to return to
our quarters, where we had been shamefully fleeced by the
landlord, who, nevertheless, was not such an exorbitant knave as
the post-master, whose house I would advise all travellers to
avoid. Here, indeed, I had occasion to see an instance of
prudence and oeconomy, which I should certainly imitate, if ever
I had occasion to travel this way by
myself. An Englishman, who had hired a felucca from Antibes to
Leghorn, was put in here by stress of weather; but being aware of
the extortion of innkeepers, and the bad accommodation in their
houses, he slept on board on his own mattrasses; and there
likewise he had all his conveniencies for eating. He sent his
servant on shore occasionally to buy provision, and see it cooked
according to his direction in some public house; and had his
meals regularly in the felucca. This evening he came ashore to
stretch his legs, and took a solitary walk on the beach, avoiding
us with great care, although he knew we were English; his valet
who was abundantly communicative, told my servant, that in coming
through France, his master had travelled three days in company
with two other English gentlemen, whom he met upon the road, and
in all that time he never spoke a word to either, yet in other
respects, he was a good man, mild, charitable, and humane. This
is a character truly British. At five o'clock in the morning we
put to sea again, and though the wind was contrary, made shift to
reach the town of Sestri di Levante, where we were most
graciously received by the publican butcher and his family. The
house was in much better order than before; the people were much
more obliging; we passed a very tolerable night, and had a very
reasonable bill to pay in the morning. I cannot account for this
favourable change any other way, than by ascribing it to the
effects of a terrible storm, which had two days before torn up a
great number of their olive-trees by the roots, and done such
damage as terrified them into humility and submission. Next day,
the water being delightful, we arrived by one o'clock in the
afternoon at Genoa. Here I made another bargain with our patron
Antonio, to carry us to Nice. He had been hitherto remarkably
obliging, and seemingly modest. He spoke Latin fluently, and was
tinctured with the sciences. I began to imagine he was a person
of a good family, who had met with misfortunes in life, and
respected him accordingly: but I afterwards found him mercenary,
mean, and rapacious. The wind being still contrary, when we
departed from Genoa, we could get no further than Finale, where
we lodged in a very dismal habitation, which was recommended to
us as the best auberge in the place. What rendered it the more
uncomfortable, the night was cold, and there was not a fire-place
in the house, except in the kitchen. The beds (if they deserved
that name) were so shockingly nasty, that we could not have used
them, had not a friend of Mr. R-- supplied us with mattrasses,
sheets, and coverlets; for our own sheets were on board the
felucca, which was anchored at a distance from the shore. Our
fare was equally wretched: the master of the house was a surly
assassin, and his cameriere or waiter, stark-staring mad. Our
situation was at the same time shocking and ridiculous. Mr. R--
quarrelled over night with the master, who swore in broken French
to my man, that he had a good mind to poniard that impertinent
Piedmontese. In the morning, before day, Mr. R--, coming into my
chamber, gave me to understand that he had been insulted by the
landlord, who demanded six and thirty livres for our supper and
lodging. Incensed at the rascal's presumption, I assured him I
would make him take half the money, and a good beating into the
bargain. He replied, that he would have saved me the trouble of
beating him, had not the cameriere, who was a very sensible
fellow, assured him the padrone was out of his senses, and if
roughly handled, might commit some extravagance. Though I was
exceedingly ruffled, I could not help laughing at the mad
cameriere's palming himself upon R--y, as a sensible fellow, and
transferring the charge of madness upon his master, who seemed to
be much more knave than fool. While Mr. R-- went to mass, I
desired the cameriere to bid his master bring the bill, and to
tell him that if it was not reasonable, I would carry him before
the commandant. In the mean time I armed myself with my sword in
one hand and my cane in the other. The inn-keeper immediately
entered, pale and staring, and when I demanded his bill, he told
me, with a profound reverence that he should be satisfied with
whatever I myself thought proper to give. Surprised at this
moderation, I asked if he should be content with twelve livres,
and he answered, "Contentissimo," with another prostration. Then
he made an apology for the bad accommodation of his house, and
complained, that the reproaches of the other gentleman, whom he
was pleased to call my majorduomo, had almost turned his brain.
When he quitted the room, his cameriere, laying hold of his
master's last words, pointed to his own forehead, and said, he
had informed the gentleman over night that his patron was mad.
This day we were by a high wind in the afternoon, driven for
shelter into Porto Mauritio, where we found the post-house even
worse than that of Finale; and what rendered it more shocking was
a girl quite covered with the confluent smallpox, who lay in a
room through which it was necessary to pass to the other
chambers, and who smelled so strong as to perfume the whole
house. We were but fifteen miles from St. Remo, where I knew the
auberge was tolerable, and thither I resolved to travel by land.
I accordingly ordered five mules to travel post, and a very
ridiculous cavalcade we formed, the women being obliged to use
common saddles; for in this country even the ladies sit astride.
The road lay along one continued precipice, and was so difficult,
that the beasts never could exceed a walking pace. In some places
we were obliged to alight. Seven hours were spent in travelling
fifteen short miles: at length we arrived at our old lodgings in
St. Remo, which we found white-washed, and in great order. We
supped pretty comfortably; slept well; and had no reason to
complain of imposition in paying the bill. This was not the case
in the article of the mules, for which I was obliged to pay fifty
livres, according to the regulation of the posts. The postmaster,
who came along with us, had the effrontery to tell me, that if I
had hired the mules to carry me and my company to St. Remo, in
the way of common travelling, they would have cost me but fifteen
livres; but as I demanded post-horses, I must submit to the
regulations. This is a distinction the more absurd, as the road
is of such a nature as renders it impossible to travel faster in
one way than in another; nor indeed is there the least difference
either in the carriage or convenience, between travelling post
and journey riding. A publican might with the same reason charge
me three livres a pound for whiting, and if questioned about the
imposition, reply, that if I had asked for fish I should have had
the same whiting for the fifth part of the money: but that he
made a wide difference between selling it as fish, and selling it
as whiting. Our felucca came round from Porto Mauritio in the
night, and embarking next morning, we arrived at Nice about four
in the afternoon.

Thus have I given you a circumstantial detail of my Italian
expedition, during which I was exposed to a great number of
hardships, which I thought my weakened constitution could not
have bore; as well as to violent fits of passion, chequered,
however, with transports of a more agreeable nature; insomuch
that I may say I was for two months continually agitated either
in mind or body, and very often in both at the same time. As my
disorder at first arose from a sedentary life, producing a
relaxation of the fibres, which naturally brought on a
listlessness, indolence, and dejection of the spirits, I am
convinced that this hard exercise of mind and body, co-operated
with the change of air and objects, to brace up the relaxed
constitution, and promote a more vigorous circulation of the
juices, which had long languished even almost to stagnation. For
some years, I had been as subject to colds as a delicate woman
new delivered. If I ventured to go abroad when there was the
least moisture either in the air, or upon the ground, I was sure
to be laid up a fortnight with a cough and asthma. But, in this
journey, I suffered cold and rain, and stood, and walked in the
wet, heated myself with exercise, and sweated violently,
without feeling the least disorder; but, on the contrary, felt
myself growing stronger every day in the midst of these excesses.
Since my return to Nice, it has rained the best part of two
months, to the astonishment of all the people in the country; yet
during all that time I have enjoyed good health and spirits. On
Christmas-Eve, I went to the cathedral at midnight, to hear high
mass celebrated by the new bishop of Nice, in pontificalibus, and
stood near two hours uncovered in a cold gallery, without having
any cause in the sequel to repent of my curiosity. In a word, I
am now so well that I no longer despair of seeing you and the
rest of my friends in England; a pleasure which is eagerly
desired by,--Dear Sir, Your affectionate humble Servant.


NICE, March 23, 1766.

DEAR SIR,--You ask whether I think the French people are more
taxed than the English; but I apprehend, the question would be
more apropos if you asked whether the French taxes are more
insupportable than the English; for, in comparing burthens, we
ought always to consider the strength of the shoulders that bear
them. I know no better way of estimating the strength, than by
examining the face of the country, and observing the appearance
of the common people, who constitute the bulk of every nation.
When I, therefore, see the country of England smiling with
cultivation; the grounds exhibiting all the perfection of
agriculture, parcelled out into beautiful inclosures, cornfields,
hay and pasture, woodland and common, when I see her meadows well
stocked with black cattle, her downs covered with sheep; when I
view her teams of horses and oxen, large and strong, fat and
sleek; when I see her farm-houses the habitations of plenty,
cleanliness, and convenience; and her peasants well fed, well
lodged, well cloathed, tall and stout, and hale and jolly; I
cannot help concluding that the people are well able to bear
those impositions which the public necessities have rendered
necessary. On the other hand, when I perceive such signs of
poverty, misery and dirt, among the commonalty of France, their
unfenced fields dug up in despair, without the intervention of
meadow or fallow ground, without cattle to furnish manure,
without horses to execute the plans of agriculture; their farm-houses
mean, their furniture wretched, their apparel beggarly;
themselves and their beasts the images of famine; I cannot help
thinking they groan under oppression, either from their
landlords, or their government; probably from both.

The principal impositions of the French government are these:
first, the taille, payed by all the commons, except those that
are privileged: secondly, the capitation, from which no persons
(not even the nobles) are excepted: thirdly, the tenths and
twentieths, called Dixiemes and Vingtiemes, which every body
pays. This tax was originally levied as an occasional aid in
times of war, and other emergencies; but by degrees is become a
standing revenue even in time of peace. All the money arising
from these impositions goes directly to the king's treasury; and
must undoubtedly amount to a very great sum. Besides these, he
has the revenue of the farms, consisting of the droits d'aydes,
or excise on wine, brandy, &c. of the custom-house duties; of the
gabelle, comprehending that most oppressive obligation on
individuals to take a certain quantity of salt at the price which
the farmers shall please to fix; of the exclusive privilege to
sell tobacco; of the droits de controlle, insinuation, centieme
denier, franchiefs, aubeine, echange et contre-echange arising
from the acts of voluntary jurisdiction, as well as certain law-suits.
These farms are said to bring into the king's coffers
above one hundred and twenty millions of livres yearly, amounting
to near five millions sterling: but the poor people are said to
pay about a third more than this sum, which the farmers retain to
enrich themselves, and bribe the great for their protection;
which protection of the great is the true reason why this most
iniquitous, oppressive, and absurd method of levying money is not
laid aside. Over and above those articles I have mentioned, the
French king draws considerable sums from his clergy, under the
denomination of dons gratuits, or free-gifts; as well as from the
subsidies given by the pays d'etats such as Provence, Languedoc,
and Bretagne, which are exempted from the taille. The whole
revenue of the French king amounts to between twelve and thirteen
millions sterling. These are great resources for the king: but
they will always keep the people miserable, and effectually
prevent them from making such improvements as might turn their
lands to the best advantage. But besides being eased in the
article of taxes, there is something else required to make them
exert themselves for the benefit of their country. They must be
free in their persons, secure in their property, indulged with
reasonable leases, and effectually protected by law from the
insolence and oppression of their superiors.

Great as the French king's resources may appear, they are hardly
sufficient to defray the enormous expence of his government.
About two millions sterling per annum of his revenue are said to
be anticipated for paying the interest of the public debts; and
the rest is found inadequate to the charge of a prodigious
standing army, a double frontier of fortified towns and the
extravagant appointments of ambassadors, generals, governors,
intendants, commandants, and other officers of the crown, all of
whom affect a pomp, which is equally ridiculous and prodigal. A
French general in the field is always attended by thirty or forty
cooks; and thinks it is incumbent upon him, for the glory of
France, to give a hundred dishes every day at his table. When don
Philip, and the marechal duke de Belleisle, had their quarters at
Nice, there were fifty scullions constantly employed in the great
square in plucking poultry. This absurd luxury infects their
whole army. Even the commissaries keep open table; and nothing is
seen but prodigality and profusion. The king of Sardinia proceeds
upon another plan. His troops are better cloathed, better payed,
and better fed than those of France. The commandant of Nice has
about four hundred a year of appointments, which enable him to
live decently, and even to entertain strangers. On the other
hand, the commandant of Antibes, which is in all respects more
inconsiderable than Nice, has from the French king above five
times the sum to support the glory of his monarch, which all the
sensible part of mankind treat with ridicule and contempt. But
the finances of France are so ill managed, that many of their
commandants, and other officers, have not been able to draw their
appointments these two years. In vain they complain and
remonstrate. When they grow troublesome they are removed. How
then must they support the glory of France? How, but by
oppressing the poor people. The treasurer makes use of their
money for his own benefit. The king knows it; he knows his
officers, thus defrauded, fleece and oppress his people: but he
thinks proper to wink at these abuses. That government may be
said to be weak and tottering which finds itself obliged to
connive at such proceedings. The king of France, in order to give
strength and stability to his administration, ought to have sense
to adopt a sage plan of oeconomy, and vigour of mind sufficient
to execute it in all its parts, with the most rigorous exactness.
He ought to have courage enough to find fault, and even to punish
the delinquents, of what quality soever they may be: and the
first act of reformation ought to be a total abolition of all the
farms. There are, undoubtedly, many marks of relaxation in the
reins of the French government, and, in all probability, the
subjects of France will be the first to take advantage of it.
There is at present a violent fermentation of different
principles among them, which under the reign of a very weak
prince, or during a long minority, may produce a great change in
the constitution. In proportion to the progress of reason and
philosophy, which have made great advances in this kingdom,
superstition loses ground; antient prejudices give way; a spirit
of freedom takes the ascendant. All the learned laity of France
detest the hierarchy as a plan of despotism, founded on imposture
and usurpation. The protestants, who are very numerous in
southern parts, abhor it with all the rancour of religious
fanaticism. Many of the commons, enriched by commerce and
manufacture, grow impatient of those odious distinctions, which
exclude them from the honours and privileges due to their
importance in the commonwealth; and all the parliaments, or
tribunals of justice in the kingdom, seem bent upon asserting
their rights and independence in the face of the king's
prerogative, and even at the expence of his power and authority.
Should any prince therefore be seduced by evil counsellors, or
misled by his own bigotry, to take some arbitrary step, that may
be extremely disagreeable to all those communities, without
having spirit to exert the violence of his power for the support
of his measures, he will become equally detested and despised;
and the influence of the commons will insensibly encroach upon
the pretensions of the crown. But if in the time of a minority,
the power of the government should be divided among different
competitors for the regency, the parliaments and people will find
it still more easy to acquire and ascertain the liberty at which
they aspire, because they will have the balance of power in their
hands, and be able to make either scale preponderate. I could say
a great deal more upon this subject; and I have some remarks to
make relating to the methods which might be taken in the case of
a fresh rupture with France, for making a vigorous impression on
that kingdom. But these I in list defer till another occasion,
having neither room nor leisure at present to add any thing, but
that I am, with great truth,--Dear Sir, Your very humble Servant.


NICE, April 2, 1765.

DEAR DOCTOR,--As I have now passed a second winter at Nice I
think myself qualified to make some further remarks on this
climate. During the heats of last summer, I flattered myself with
the prospect of the fine weather I should enjoy in the winter;
but neither I, nor any person in this country, could foresee the
rainy weather that prevailed from the middle of November, till
the twentieth of March. In this short period of four months, we
have had fifty-six days of rain, which I take to be a greater
quantity than generally falls during the six worst months of the
year in the county of Middlesex, especially as it was, for the
most part, a heavy, continued rain. The south winds generally
predominate in the wet season at Nice: but this winter the rain
was accompanied with every wind that blows, except the south;
though the most frequent were those that came from the east and
north quarters. Notwithstanding these great rains, such as were
never known before at Nice in the memory of man, the intermediate
days of fair weather were delightful, and the ground seemed
perfectly dry. The air itself was perfectly free from moisture.
Though I live upon a ground floor, surrounded on three sides by a
garden, I could not perceive the least damp, either on the
floors, or the furniture; neither was I much incommoded by the
asthma, which used always to harass me most in wet weather. In a
word, I passed the winter here much more comfortably than I
expected. About the vernal equinox, however, I caught a violent
cold, which was attended with a difficulty of breathing, and as
the sun advances towards the tropic, I find myself still more
subject to rheums. As the heat increases, the humours of the body
are rarefied, and, of consequence, the pores of the skin are
opened; while the east wind sweeping over the Alps and Apennines,
covered with snow, continues surprisingly sharp and penetrating.
Even the people of the country, who enjoy good health, are afraid
of exposing themselves to the air at this season, the
intemperature of which may last till the middle of May, when all
the snow on the mountains will probably be melted: then the air
will become mild and balmy, till, in the progress of summer, it
grows disagreeably hot, and the strong evaporation from the sea
makes it so saline, as to be unhealthy for those who have a
scorbutical habit. When the sea-breeze is high, this evaporation
is so great as to cover the surface of the body with a kind of
volatile brine, as I plainly perceived last summer. I am more and
more convinced that this climate is unfavourable for the scurvy.
Were I obliged to pass my life in it, I would endeavour to find a
country retreat among the mountains, at some distance from the
sea, where I might enjoy a cool air, free from this impregnation,
unmolested by those flies, gnats, and other vermin which render
the lower parts almost uninhabitable. To this place I would
retire in the month of June, and there continue till the
beginning of October, when I would return to my habitation in
Nice, where the winter is remarkably mild and agreeable. In March
and April however, I would not advise a valetudinarian to go
forth, without taking precaution against the cold. An agreeable
summer retreat may be found on the other side of the Var, at, or
near the town of Grasse, which is pleasantly situated on the
ascent of a hill in Provence, about seven English miles from
Nice. This place is famous for its pomatum, gloves, wash-balls,
perfumes, and toilette-boxes, lined with bergamot. I am told it
affords good lodging, and is well supplied with provisions.

We are now preparing for our journey to England, from the
exercise of which I promise myself much benefit: a journey
extremely agreeable, not only on that account, but also because
it will restore me to the company of my friends, and remove me
from a place where I leave nothing but the air which I can
possibly regret.

The only friendships I have contracted at Nice are with
strangers, who, like myself, only sojourn here for a season. I
now find by experience, it is great folly to buy furniture,
unless one is resolved to settle here for some years. The
Nissards assured me, with great confidence, that I should always
be able to sell it for a very little loss; whereas I find myself
obliged to part with it for about one-third of what it cost. I
have sent for a coach to Aix, and as soon as it arrives, shall
take my departure; so that the next letter you receive from me
will be dated at some place on the road. I purpose to take
Antibes, Toulon, Marseilles, Aix, Avignon, and Orange, in my way:
places which I have not yet seen; and where, perhaps, I shall
find something for your amusement, which will always be a
consideration of some weight with,--Dear Sir, Yours.



TURIN, March 18, 1765.

DEAR SIR,--Turin is about thirty leagues from Nice, the greater
part of the way lying over frightful mountains covered with snow.
The difficulty of the road, however, reaches no farther than
Coni, from whence there is an open highway through a fine plain
country, as far as the capital of Piedmont, and the traveller is
accommodated with chaise and horses to proceed either post, or by
cambiatura, as in other parts of Italy. There are only two ways
of performing the journey over the mountains from Nice; one is to
ride a mule-back, and the other to be carried in a chair. The
former I chose, and set out with my servant on the seventh day of
February at two in the afternoon. I was hardly clear of Nice,
when it began to rain so hard that in less than an hour the mud
was half a foot deep in many parts of the road. This was the only
inconvenience we suffered, the way being in other respects
practicable enough; for there is but one small hill to cross on
this side of the village of L'Escarene, where we arrived about
six in the evening. The ground in this neighbourhood is tolerably
cultivated, and the mountains are planted to the tops with olive
trees. The accommodation here is so very bad, that I had no
inclination to be a-bed longer than was absolutely necessary for
refreshment; and therefore I proceeded on my journey at two in
the morning, conducted by a guide, whom I hired for this purpose
at the rate of three livres a day. Having ascended one side, and
descended the other, of the mountain called Braus, which took up
four hours, though the road is not bad, we at six reached the
village of Sospello, which is agreeably situated in a small
valley, surrounded by prodigious high and barren mountains. This
little plain is pretty fertile, and being watered by a pleasant
stream, forms a delightful contrast with the hideous rocks that
surround it. Having reposed myself and my mules two hours at this
place, we continued our journey over the second mountain, called
Brovis, which is rather more considerable than the first, and in
four hours arrived at La Giandola, a tolerable inn situated
betwixt the high road and a small river, about a gunshot from the
town of Brieglie, which we leave on the right. As we jogged along
in the grey of the morning, I was a little startled at two
figures which I saw before me, and began to put my pistols in
order. It must be observed that these mountains are infested with
contrabandiers, a set of smuggling peasants, very bold and
desperate, who make a traffic of selling tobacco, salt, and other
merchandize, which have not payed duty, and sometimes lay
travellers under contribution. I did not doubt but there was a
gang of these free-booters at hand; but as no more than two
persons appeared, I resolved to let them know we were prepared
for defence, and fired one of my pistols, in hope that the report
of it, echoed from the surrounding rocks, would produce a proper
effect: but, the mountains and roads being entirely covered with
snow to a considerable depth, there was little or no
reverberation, and the sound was not louder than that of a pop-gun,
although the piece contained a good charge of powder.
Nevertheless, it did not fail to engage the attention of the
strangers, one of whom immediately wheeled to the left about, and
being by this time very near me, gave me an opportunity of
contemplating his whole person. He was very tall, meagre, and
yellow, with a long hooked nose, and small twinkling eyes. His
head was eased in a woollen night-cap, over which he wore a
flapped hat; he had a silk handkerchief about his neck, and his
mouth was furnished with a short wooden pipe, from which he
discharged wreathing clouds of tobacco-smoke. He was wrapped in a
kind of capot of green bays, lined with wolf-skin, had a pair of
monstrous boots, quilted on the inside with cotton, was almost
covered with dirt, and rode a mule so low that his long legs hung
dangling within six inches of the ground. This grotesque figure
was so much more ludicrous than terrible, that I could not help
laughing; when, taking his pipe out of his mouth, he very
politely accosted me by name. You may easily guess I was
exceedingly surprised at such an address on the top of the
mountain Brovis: but he forthwith put an end to it too, by
discovering himself to be the marquis M--, whom I had the honour
to be acquainted with at Nice. After having rallied him upon his
equipage, he gave me to understand he had set out from Nice the
morning of the same day that I departed; that he was going to
Turin, and that he had sent one of his servants before him to
Coni with his baggage. Knowing him to be an agreeable companion,
I was glad of this encounter, and we resolved to travel the rest
of the way together. We dined at La Giandola, and in the
afternoon rode along the little river Roida, which runs in a
bottom between frightful precipices, and in several places forms
natural cascades, the noise of which had
well-nigh deprived us of the sense of hearing; after a winding
course among these mountains, it discharges itself into the
Mediterranean at Vintimiglia, in the territory of Genoa. As the
snow did not lie on these mountains, when we cracked our whips,
there was such a repercussion of the sound as is altogether
inconceivable. We passed by the village of Saorgio, situated on
an eminence, where there is a small fortress which commands the
whole pass, and in five hours arrived at our inn, on this side
the Col de Tende, where we took up our quarters, but had very
little reason to boast of our entertainment. Our greatest
difficulty, however, consisted in pulling off the marquis's
boots, which were of the kind called Seafarot, by this time so
loaded with dirt on the outside, and so swelled with the rain
within, that he could neither drag them after him as he walked,
nor disencumber his legs of them, without such violence as seemed
almost sufficient to tear him limb from limb. In a word, we were
obliged to tie a rope about his heel, and all the people in the
house assisting to pull, the poor marquis was drawn from one end
of the apartment to the other before the boot would give way: at
last his legs were happily disengaged, and the machines carefully
dried and stuffed for next day's journey.

We took our departure from hence at three in the morning, and at
four, began to mount the Col de Tende, which is by far the
highest mountain in the whole journey: it was now quite covered
with snow, which at the top of it was near twenty feet thick.
Half way up, there are quarters for a detachment of soldiers,
posted here to prevent smuggling, and an inn called La Ca, which
in the language of the country signifies the house. At this
place, we hired six men to assist us in ascending the mountain,
each of them provided with a kind of hough to break the ice, and
make a sort of steps for the mules. When we were near the top,
however, we were obliged to alight, and climb the mountain
supported each by two of those men, called Coulants who walk upon
the snow with great firmness and security. We were followed by
the mules, and though they are very sure-footed animals, and were
frost-shod for the occasion, they stumbled and fell very often;
the ice being so hard that the sharp-headed nails in their shoes
could not penetrate. Having reached the top of this mountain,
from whence there is no prospect but of other rocks and
mountains, we prepared for descending on the other side by the
Leze, which is an occasional sledge made of two pieces of wood,
carried up by the Coulants for this purpose. I did not much
relish this kind of carriage, especially as the mountain was very
steep, and covered with such a thick fog that we could hardly see
two or three yards before us. Nevertheless, our guides were so
confident, and my companion, who had passed the same way on other
occasions, was so secure, that I ventured to place myself on this
machine, one of the coulants standing behind me, and the other
sitting before, as the conductor, with his feet paddling among
the snow, in order to moderate the velocity of its descent. Thus
accommodated, we descended the mountain with such rapidity, that
in an hour we reached Limon, which is the native place of almost
all the muleteers who transport merchandize from Nice to Coni and
Turin. Here we waited full two hours for the mules, which
travelled with the servants by the common road. To each of the
coulants we paid forty sols, which are nearly equal to two
shillings sterling. Leaving Limon, we were in two hours quite
disengaged from the gorges of the mountains, which are partly
covered with wood and pasturage, though altogether inaccessible,
except in summer; but from the foot of the Col de Tende, the road
lies through a plain all the way to Turin. We took six hours to
travel from the inn where we had lodged over the mountain to
Limon, and five hours from thence to Coni. Here we found our
baggage, which we had sent off by the carriers one day before we
departed from Nice; and here we dismissed our guides, together
with the mules. In winter, you have a mule for this whole journey
at the rate of twenty livres; and the
guides are payed at the rate of two livres a day, reckoning six
days, three for the journey to Coni, and three for their return
to Nice. We set out so early in the morning in order to avoid the
inconveniencies and dangers that attend the passage of this
mountain. The first of these arises from your meeting with long
strings of loaded mules in a slippery road, the breadth of which
does not exceed a foot and an half. As it is altogether
impossible for two mules to pass each other in such a narrow
path, the muleteers have made doublings or elbows in different
parts, and when the troops of mules meet, the least numerous is
obliged to turn off into one of these doublings, and there halt
until the others are past. Travellers, in order to avoid this
disagreeable delay, which is the more vexatious, considering the
excessive cold, begin the ascent of the mountain early in the
morning before the mules quit their inns. But the great danger of
travelling here when the sun is up, proceeds from what they call
the Valanches. These are balls of snow detached from the
mountains which over-top the road, either by the heat of the sun,
or the humidity of the weather. A piece of snow thus loosened
from the rock, though perhaps not above three or four feet in
diameter, increases sometimes in its descent to such a degree, as
to become two hundred paces in length, and rolls down with such
rapidity, that the traveller is crushed to death before he can
make three steps on the road. These dreadful heaps drag every
thing along with them in their descent. They tear up huge trees
by the roots, and if they chance to fall upon a house, demolish
it to the foundation. Accidents of this nature seldom happen in
the winter while the weather is dry; and yet scarce a year passes
in which some mules and their drivers do not perish by the
valanches. At Coni we found the countess C-- from Nice, who had
made the same journey in a chair, carried by porters. This is no
other than a common elbow-chair of wood, with a straw bottom,
covered above with waxed cloth, to protect the traveller from the
rain or snow, and provided with a foot-board upon which the feet

It is carried like a sedan-chair; and for this purpose six or
eight porters are employed at the rate of three or four livres a
head per day, according to the season, allowing three days for
their return. Of these six men, two are between the poles
carrying like common chairmen, and each of these is supported by
the other two, one at each hand: but as those in the middle
sustain the greatest burthen, they are relieved by the others in
a regular rotation. In descending the mountain, they carry the
poles on their shoulders, and in that case, four men are
employed, one at each end.

At Coni, you may have a chaise to go with the same horses to
Turin, for which you pay fifteen livres, and are a day and a half
on the way. You may post it, however, in one day, and then the
price is seven livres ten sols per post, and ten sols to the
postilion. The method we took was that of cambiatura. This is a
chaise with horses shifted at the same stages that are used in
posting: but as it is supposed to move slower, we pay but five
livres per post, and ten sols to the postilion. In order to
quicken its pace, we gave ten sols extraordinary to each
postilion, and for this gratification, he drove us even faster
than the post. The chaises are like those of Italy, and will take
on near two hundred weight of baggage.

Coni is situated between two small streams, and though neither
very large nor populous, is considerable for the strength of its
fortifications. It is honoured with the title of the Maiden-Fortress,
because though several times besieged, it was never
taken. The prince of Conti invested it in the war of 1744; but he
was obliged to raise the siege, after having given battle to the
king of Sardinia. The place was gallantly defended by the baron
Leutrum, a German protestant, the best general in the Sardinian
service: but what contributed most to the miscarriage of the
enemy, was a long tract of heavy rains, which destroyed all their
works, and rendered their advances impracticable.

I need not tell you that Piedmont is one of the most fertile and
agreeable countries in Europe, and this the most agreeable part
of all Piedmont, though it now appeared to disadvantage from the
rigorous season of the year: I shall only observe that we passed
through Sabellian, which is a considerable town, and arrived in
the evening at Turin. We entered this fine city by the gate of
Nice, and passing through the elegant Piazza di San Carlo, took
up our quarters at the Bona Fama, which stands at one corner of
the great square, called La Piazza Castel.

Were I even disposed to give a description of Turin, I should be
obliged to postpone it till another opportunity, having no room
at present to say any thing more, but that I am always--Yours.


AIX EN PROVENCE, May 10, 1765.

DEAR SIR,--I am thus far on my way to England. I had resolved to
leave Nice, without having the least dispute with any one native
of the place; but I found it impossible to keep this resolution.
My landlord, Mr. C--, a man of fashion, with whose family we had
always lived in friendship, was so reasonable as to expect I
should give him up the house and garden, though they were to be
paid for till Michaelmas, and peremptorily declared I should not
be permitted to sub-let them to any other person. He had of his
own accord assured me more than once that he would take my
furniture off my hands, and trusting to this assurance, I had
lost the opportunity, of disposing it to advantage: but, when the
time of my departure drew near, he refused to take it, at the
same time insisting upon having the key of the house and garden,
as well as on being paid the whole rent directly, though it would
not be due till the middle of September. I was so exasperated at
this treatment from a man whom I had cultivated with particular
respect, that I determined to contest it at law: but the affair
was accommodated by the mediation of a father of the Minims, a
friend to both, and a merchant of Nice, who charged himself with
the care of the house and furniture. A stranger must conduct
himself with the utmost circumspection to be able to live among
these people without being the dupe of imposition.

I had sent to Aix for a coach and four horses, which I hired at
the rate of eighteen French livres a day, being equal to fifteen
shillings and nine-pence sterling. The river Var was so swelled
by the melting of the snow on the mountains, as to be impassable
by any wheel-carriage; and, therefore, the coach remained at
Antibes, to which we went by water, the distance being about nine
or ten miles. This is the Antipolis of the antients, said to have
been built like Nice, by a colony from Marseilles. In all
probability, however, it was later than the foundation of Nice,
and took its name from its being situated directly opposite to
that city. Pliny says it was famous for its tunny-fishery; and to
this circumstance Martial alludes in the following lines

Antipolitani, fateor, sum filia thynni.
Essem si Scombri non tibi missa forem.

I'm spawned from Tunny of Antibes, 'tis true.
Right Scomber had I been, I ne'er had come to you.

The famous pickle Garum was made from the Thynnus or Tunny as
well as from the Scomber, but that from the Scomber was counted
the most delicate. Commentators, however, are not agreed about
the Scomber or Scombrus. Some suppose it was the Herring or
Sprat; others believe it was the mackarel; after all, perhaps it
was the Anchovy, which I do not find distinguished by any other
Latin name: for the Encrasicolus is a Greek appellation
altogether generical. Those who would be further informed about
the Garum and the Scomber may consult Caelius Apicius de
recogninaria, cum notis, variorum.

At present, Antibes is the frontier of France towards Italy,
pretty strongly fortified, and garrisoned by a battalion of
soldiers. The town is small and inconsiderable: but the basin of
the harbour is surrounded to seaward by a curious bulwark founded
upon piles driven in the water, consisting of a wall, ramparts,
casemates, and quay. Vessels lie very safe in this harbour; but
there is not water at the entrance of it to admit of ships of any
burthen. The shallows run so far off from the coast, that a ship
of force cannot lie near enough to batter the town; but it was
bombarded in the late war. Its chief strength by land consists in
a small quadrangular fort detached from the body of the place,
which, in a particular manner, commands the entrance of the
harbour. The wall of the town built in the sea has embrasures and
salient angles, on which a great number of cannon may be mounted.

I think the adjacent country is much more pleasant than that on
the side of Nice; and there is certainly no essential difference
in the climate. The ground here is not so encumbered; it is laid
out in agreeable inclosures, with intervals of open fields, and
the mountains rise with an easy ascent at a much greater distance
from the sea, than on the other side of the bay. Besides, here
are charming rides along the beach, which is smooth and firm.
When we passed in the last week of April, the corn was in the
ear; the cherries were almost ripe; and the figs had begun to
blacken. I had embarked my heavy baggage on board a London ship,
which happened to be at Nice, ready to sail: as for our small
trunks or portmanteaus, which we carried along with us, they were
examined at Antibes; but the ceremony was performed very
superficially, in consequence of tipping the searcher with half-a-crown,
which is a wonderful conciliator at all the bureaus in
this country.

We lay at Cannes, a neat village, charmingly situated on the
beach of the Mediterranean, exactly opposite to the isles
Marguerites, where state-prisoners are confined. As there are
some good houses in this place, I would rather live here for the
sake of the mild climate, than either at Antibes or Nice. Here
you are not cooped up within walls, nor crowded with soldiers and
people: but are already in the country, enjoy a fine air, and are
well supplied with all sorts of fish.

The mountains of Esterelles, which in one of my former letters I
described as a most romantic and noble plantation of ever-greens,
trees, shrubs, and aromatic plants, is at present quite desolate.
Last summer, some execrable villains set fire to the pines, when
the wind was high. It continued burning for several months, and
the conflagration extended above ten leagues, consuming an
incredible quantity of timber. The ground is now naked on each
side of the road, or occupied by the black trunks of the trees,
which have been scorched without falling. They stand as so many
monuments of the judgment of heaven, filling the mind with horror
and compassion. I could hardly refrain from shedding tears at
this dismal spectacle, when I recalled the idea of what it was
about eighteen months ago.

As we stayed all night at Frejus, I had an opportunity of viewing
the amphitheatre at leisure. As near as I can judge by the eye,
it is of the same dimensions with that of Nismes; but shockingly
dilapidated. The stone seats rising from the arena are still
extant, and the cells under them, where the wild beasts were
kept. There are likewise the remains of two galleries one over
another; and two vomitoria or great gateways at opposite sides of
the arena, which is now a fine green, with a road through the
middle of it: but all the external architecture and the ornaments
are demolished. The most intire part of the wall now constitutes
part of a monastery, the monks of which, I am told, have helped
to destroy the amphitheatre, by removing the stones for their own
purposes of building. In the neighbourhood of this amphitheatre,
which stands without the walls, are the vestiges of an old
edifice, said to have been the palace where the imperator or
president resided: for it was a Roman colony, much favoured by
Julius Caesar, who gave it the name of Forum Julii, and Civitas
Forojuliensis. In all probability, it was he who built the
amphitheatre, and brought hither the water ten leagues from the
river of Ciagne, by means of an aqueduct, some arcades of which
are still standing on the other side of the town. A great number
of statues were found in this place, together with antient
inscriptions, which have been published by different authors. I
need not tell you that Julius Agricola, the father-in-law of
Tacitus, the historian, was a native of Frejus, which is now a
very poor inconsiderable place. From hence the country opens to
the left, forming an extensive plain between the sea and the
mountains, which are a continuation of the Alps, that stretches
through Provence and Dauphine. This plain watered with pleasant
streams, and varied with vineyards, corn-fields, and meadow-ground,
afforded a most agreeable prospect to our eyes, which
were accustomed to the sight of scorching sands, rugged rocks,
and abrupt mountains in the neighbourhood of Nice. Although this
has much the appearance of a corn-country, I am told it does not
produce enough for the consumption of its inhabitants, who are
obliged to have annual supplies from abroad, imported at
Marseilles. A Frenchman, at an average, eats three times the
quantity of bread that satisfies a native of England, and indeed
it is undoubtedly the staff of his life. I am therefore surprised
that the Provencaux do not convert part of their vineyards into
corn-fields: for they may boast of their wine as they please; but
that which is drank by the common people, not only here, but also
in all the wine countries of France, is neither so strong,
nourishing, nor (in my opinion) so pleasant to the taste as the
small-beer of England. It must be owned that all the peasants who
have wine for their ordinary drink are of a diminutive size, in
comparison of those who use milk, beer, or even water; and it is
a constant observation, that when there is a scarcity of wine,
the common people are always more healthy, than in those seasons
when it abounds. The longer I live, the more I am convinced that
wine, and all fermented liquors, are pernicious to the human
constitution; and that for the preservation of health, and
exhilaration of the spirits, there is no beverage comparable to
simple water. Between Luc and Toulon, the country is delightfully
parcelled out into inclosures. Here is plenty of rich pasturage
for black cattle, and a greater number of pure streams and
rivulets than I have observed in any other parts of France.

Toulon is a considerable place, even exclusive of the basin,
docks, and arsenal, which indeed are such as justify the remark
made by a stranger when he viewed them. "The king of France (said
he) is greater at Toulon than at Versailles." The quay, the
jetties, the docks, and magazines, are contrived and executed
with precision, order, solidity, and magnificence. I counted
fourteen ships of the line lying unrigged in the basin, besides
the Tonant of eighty guns, which was in dock repairing, and a new
frigate on the stocks. I was credibly informed that in the last
war, the king of France was so ill-served with cannon for his
navy, that in every action there was scarce a ship which had not
several pieces burst. These accidents did great damage, and
discouraged the French mariners to such a degree, that they
became more afraid of their own guns than of those of the
English. There are now at Toulon above two thousand pieces of
iron cannon unfit for service. This is an undeniable proof of the
weakness and neglect of the French administration: but a more
suprizing proof of their imbecility, is the state of the
fortifications that defend the entrance of this very harbour. I
have some reason to think that they trusted for its security
entirely to our opinion that it must be inaccessible. Capt. E--,
of one of our frigates, lately entered the harbour with a
contrary wind, which by obliging him to tack, afforded an
opportunity of sounding the whole breadth and length of the
passage. He came in without a pilot, and made a pretence of
buying cordage, or some other stores; but the French officers
were much chagrined at the boldness of his enterprize. They
alleged that he came for no other reason but to sound the
channel; and that he had an engineer aboard, who made drawings of
the land and the forts, their bearings and distances. In all
probability, these suspicions were communicated to the ministry;
for an order immediately arrived, that no stranger should be
admitted into the docks and arsenal.

Part of the road from hence to Marseilles lies through a vast
mountain, which resembles that of Estrelles; but is not so well
covered with wood, though it has the advantage of an agreeable
stream running through the bottom.

I was much pleased with Marseilles, which is indeed a noble city,
large, populous, and flourishing. The streets of what is called
the new Town are open, airy and spacious; the houses well built,
and even magnificent. The harbour is an oval basin, surrounded on
every side either by the buildings or the land, so that the
shipping lies perfectly secure; and here is generally an
incredible number of vessels. On the city side, there is a semi-circular
quay of free-stone, which extends thirteen hundred
paces; and the space between this and the houses that front it,
is continually filled with a surprising crowd of people. The
gallies, to the number of eight or nine, are moored with their
sterns to one part of the wharf, and the slaves are permitted to
work for their own benefit at their respective occupations, in
little shops or booths, which they rent for a trifle. There you
see tradesmen of all kinds sitting at work, chained by one foot,
shoe-makers, taylors, silversmiths, watch and clock-makers,
barbers, stocking-weavers, jewellers, pattern-drawers,
scriveners, booksellers, cutlers, and all manner of shop-keepers.
They pay about two sols a day to the king for this indulgence;
live well and look jolly; and can afford to sell their goods and
labour much cheaper than other dealers and tradesmen. At night,
however, they are obliged to lie aboard. Notwithstanding the
great face of business at Marseilles, their trade is greatly on
the decline; and their merchants are failing every day. This
decay of commerce is in a great measure owing to the English,
who, at the peace, poured in such a quantity of European
merchandize into Martinique and Guadalupe, that when the
merchants of Marseilles sent over their cargoes, they found the
markets overstocked, and were obliged to sell for a considerable
loss. Besides, the French colonists had such a stock of sugars,
coffee, and other commodities lying by them during the war, that
upon the first notice of peace, they shipped them off in great
quantities for Marseilles. I am told that the produce of the
islands is at present cheaper here than where it grows; and on
the other hand the merchandize of this country sells for less
money at Martinique than in Provence.

A single person, who travels in this country, may live at a
reasonable rate in these towns, by eating at the public
ordinaries: but I would advise all families that come hither to
make any stay, to take furnished lodgings as soon as they can:
for the expence of living at an hotel is enormous. I was obliged
to pay at Marseilles four livres a head for every meal, and half
that price for my servant, and was charged six livres a day
besides for the apartment, so that our daily expence, including
breakfast and a valet de place, amounted to two loui'dores. The
same imposition prevails all over the south of France, though it
is generally supposed to be the cheapest and most plentiful part
of the kingdom. Without all doubt, it must be owing to the folly
and extravagance of English travellers, who have allowed
themselves to be fleeced without wincing, until this extortion is
become authorized by custom. It is very disagreeable riding in
the avenues of Marseilles, because you are confined in a dusty
high road, crouded with carriages and beasts of burden, between
two white walls, the reflection from which, while the sun shines,
is intolerable. But in this neighbourhood there is a vast number
of pleasant country-houses, called Bastides, said to amount to
twelve thousand, some of which may be rented ready furnished at a
very reasonable price. Marseilles is a gay city, and the
inhabitants indulge themselves in a variety of amusements.
They have assemblies, a concert spirituel, and a comedy.
Here is also a spacious cours, or walk shaded with trees, to
which in the evening there is a great resort of well-dressed

Marseilles being a free port, there is a bureau about half a
league from the city on the road to Aix, where all carriages
undergo examination; and if any thing contraband is found, the
vehicle, baggage, and even the horses are confiscated. We escaped
this disagreeable ceremony by the sagacity of our driver. Of his
own accord, he declared at the bureau, that we had bought a pound
of coffee and some sugar at Marseilles, and were ready to pay the
duty, which amounted to about ten sols. They took the money, gave
him a receipt, and let the carriage pass, without further

I proposed to stay one night only at Aix: but Mr. A--r, who is
here, had found such benefit from drinking the waters, that I was
persuaded to make trial of them for eight or ten days. I have
accordingly taken private lodgings, and drank them at the
fountain-head, not without finding considerable benefit. In my
next I shall say something further of these waters, though I am
afraid they will not prove a source of much entertainment. It
will be sufficient for me to find them contribute in any degree
to the health of--Dear Sir, Yours assuredly.


BOULOGNE, May 23, 1765.

DEAR DOCTOR,--I found three English families at Aix, with whom I
could have passed my time very agreeably
but the society is now dissolved. Mr. S--re and his lady left the
place in a few days after we arrived. Mr. A--r and lady Betty are
gone to Geneva; and Mr. G--r with his family remains at Aix. This
gentleman, who laboured under a most dreadful nervous asthma, has
obtained such relief from this climate, that he intends to stay
another year in the place: and Mr. A--r found surprizing benefit
from drinking the waters, for a scorbutical complaint. As I was
incommoded by both these disorders, I could not but in justice to
myself, try the united efforts of the air and the waters;
especially as this consideration was re-inforced by the kind and
pressing exhortations of Mr. A--r and lady Betty, which I could
not in gratitude resist.

Aix, the capital of Provence, is a large city, watered by the
small river Are. It was a Roman colony, said to be founded by
Caius Sextus Calvinus, above a century before the birth of
Christ. From the source of mineral water here found, added to the
consul's name, it was called Aquae Sextiae. It was here that
Marius, the conqueror of the Teutones, fixed his headquarters,
and embellished the place with temples, aqueducts, and thermae,
of which, however, nothing now remains. The city, as it now
stands, is well built, though the streets in general are narrow,
and kept in a very dirty condition. But it has a noble cours
planted with double rows of tall trees, and adorned with three or
four fine fountains, the middlemost of which discharges hot water
supplied from the source of the baths. On each side there is a
row of elegant houses, inhabited chiefly by the noblesse, of
which there is here a considerable number. The parliament, which
is held at Aix, brings hither a great resort of people; and as
many of the inhabitants are persons of fashion, they are well
bred, gay, and sociable. The duc de Villars, who is governor of
the province, resides on the spot, and keeps an open assembly,
where strangers are admitted without reserve, and made very
welcome, if they will engage in play, which is the sole
occupation of the whole company. Some of our English people
complain, that when they were presented to him, they met with a
very cold reception. The French, as well as other foreigners,
have no idea of a man of family and fashion, without the title of
duke, count, marquis, or lord, and where an English gentleman is
introduced by the simple expression of monsieur tel, Mr.
Suchathing, they think he is some plebeian, unworthy of any
particular attention.

Aix is situated in a bottom, almost surrounded by hills, which,
however, do not screen it from the Bize, or north wind, that
blows extremely sharp in the winter and spring, rendering the air
almost insupportably cold, and very dangerous to those who have
some kinds of pulmonary complaints, such as tubercules,
abscesses, or spitting of blood. Lord H--, who passed part of
last winter in this place, afflicted with some of these symptoms,
grew worse every day while he continued at Aix: but, he no sooner
removed to Marseilles, than all his complaints abated; such a
difference there is in the air of these two places, though the
distance between them does not exceed ten or twelve miles. But
the air of Marseilles, though much more mild than that of Aix in
the winter is not near so warm as the climate of Nice, where we
find in plenty such flowers, fruit, and vegetables, even in the
severest season, as will not grow and ripen, either at Marseilles
or Toulon.

If the air of Aix is disagreeably cold in the winter, it is
rendered quite insufferable in the summer, from excessive heat,
occasioned by the reflexion from the rocks and mountains, which
at the same time obstruct the circulation of air: for it must be
observed, that the same mountains which serve as funnels and
canals, to collect and discharge the keen blasts of winter, will
provide screens to intercept intirely the faint breezes of
summer. Aix, though pretty well provided with butcher's meat, is
very ill supplied with potherbs; and they have no poultry but
what comes at a vast distance from the Lionnois. They say their
want of roots, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. is owing to a scarcity
of water: but the truth is, they are very bad gardeners. Their
oil is good and cheap: their wine is indifferent: but their chief
care seems employed on the culture of silk, the staple of
Provence, which is every where shaded with plantations of
mulberry trees, for the nourishment of the worms. Notwithstanding
the boasted cheapness of every article of housekeeping, in the
south of France, I am persuaded a family may live for less money
at York, Durham, Hereford, and in many other cities of England
than at Aix in Provence; keep a more plentiful table; and be much
more comfortably situated in all respects. I found lodging and
provision at Aix fifty per cent dearer than at Montpellier, which
is counted the dearest place in Languedoc.

The baths of Aix, so famous in antiquity, were quite demolished
by the irruptions of the barbarians. The very source of the water
was lost, till the beginning of the present century (I think the
year 1704), when it was discovered by accident, in digging for
the foundation of a house, at the foot of a hill, just without
the city wall. Near the same place was found a small stone altar,
with the figure of a Priapus, and some letters in capitals, which
the antiquarians have differently interpreted. From this figure,
it was supposed that the waters were efficacious in cases of
barrenness. It was a long time, however, before any person would
venture to use them internally, as it did not appear that they
had ever been drank by the antients. On their re-appearance, they
were chiefly used for baths to horses, and other beasts which had
the mange, and other cutaneous eruptions. At length poor people
began to bathe in them for the same disorders, and received such
benefit from them, as attracted the attention of more curious
inquirers. A very superficial and imperfect analysis was made and
published, with a few remarkable histories of the cures they had
performed, by three different physicians of those days; and those
little treatises, I suppose, encouraged valetudinarians to drink
them without ceremony. They were found serviceable in the gout,
the gravel, scurvy, dropsy, palsy, indigestion, asthma, and
consumption; and their fame soon extended itself all over
Languedoc, Gascony, Dauphine, and Provence. The magistrates, with
a view to render them more useful and commodious, have raised a
plain building, in which there are a couple of private baths,
with a bedchamber adjoining to each, where individuals may use
them both internally and externally, for a moderate expence.
These baths are paved with marble, and supplied with water each
by a large brass cock, which you can turn at pleasure. At one end
of this edifice, there is an octagon, open at top, having a
bason, with a stone pillar in the middle, which discharges water
from the same source, all round, by eight small brass cocks; and
hither people of all ranks come of a morning, with their glasses,
to drink the water, or wash their sores, or subject their
contracted limbs to the stream. This last operation, called the
douche, however, is more effectually undergone in the private
bath, where the stream is much more powerful. The natural warmth
of this water, as nearly as I can judge from recollection, is
about the same degree of temperature with that in the Queen's
Bath, at Bath in Somersetshire. It is perfectly transparent,
sparkling in the glass, light and agreeable to the taste, and may
be drank without any preparation, to the quantity of three or
four pints at a time. There are many people at Aix who swallow
fourteen half pint glasses every morning, during the season,
which is in the month of May, though it may be taken with equal
benefit all the year round. It has no sensible operation but by
urine, an effect which pure water would produce, if drank in the
same quantity.

If we may believe those who have published their experiments,
this water produces neither agitation, cloud, or change of
colour, when mixed with acids, alkalies, tincture of galls, syrup
of violets, or solution of silver. The residue, after boiling,
evaporation, and filtration, affords a very small proportion of
purging salt, and calcarious earth, which last ferments with
strong acids. As I had neither hydrometer nor thermometer to
ascertain the weight and warmth of this water; nor time to
procure the proper utensils, to make the preparations, and repeat
the experiments necessary to exhibit a complete analysis, I did
not pretend to enter upon this process; but contented myself with
drinking, bathing, and using the douche, which perfectly answered
my expectation, having, in eight days, almost cured an ugly
scorbutic tetter, which had for some time deprived me of the use
of my right hand. I observed that the water, when used
externally, left always a kind of oily appearance on the skin:
that when, we boiled it at home, in an earthen pot, the steams
smelled like those of sulphur, and even affected my lungs in the
same manner: but the bath itself smelled strong of a lime-kiln.
The water, after standing all night in a bottle, yielded a
remarkably vinous taste and odour, something analogous to that of
dulcified spirit of nitre. Whether the active particles consist
of a volatile vitriol, or a very fine petroleum, or a mixture of
both, I shall not pretend to determine: but the best way I know
of discovering whether it is really impregnated with a vitriolic
principle, too subtil and fugitive for the usual operations of
chymistry, is to place bottles, filled with wine, in the bath, or
adjacent room, which wine, if there is really a volatile acid, in
any considerable quantity, will be pricked in eight and forty

Having ordered our coach to be refitted, and provided with fresh
horses, as well as with another postilion, in consequence of
which improvements, I payed at the rate of a loui'dore per diem
to Lyons and back again, we departed from Aix, and the second day
of our journey passing the Durance in a boat, lay at Avignon.
This river, the Druentia of the antients, is a considerable
stream, extremely rapid, which descends from the mountains, and
discharges itself in the Rhone. After violent rains it extends
its channel, so as to be impassable, and often overflows the
country to a great extent. In the middle of a plain, betwixt
Orgon and this river, we met the coach in which we had travelled
eighteen months before, from Lyons to Montpellier, conducted by
our old driver Joseph, who no sooner recognized my servant at a
distance, by his musquetoon, than he came running towards our
carriage, and seizing my hand, even shed tears of joy. Joseph had
been travelling through Spain, and was so imbrowned by the sun,
that he might have passed for an Iroquois. I was much pleased
with the marks of gratitude which the poor fellow expressed
towards his benefactors. He had some private conversation with
our voiturier, whose name was Claude, to whom he gave such a
favourable character of us, as in all probability induced him to
be wonderfully obliging during the whole journey.

You know Avignon is a large city belonging to the pope. It was
the Avenio Cavarum of the antients, and changed masters several
times, belonging successively to the Romans, Burgundians, Franks,
the kingdom of Arles, the counts of Provence, and the sovereigns
of Naples. It was sold in the fourteenth century, by queen Jane
I. of Naples, to Pope Clement VI. for the sum of eighty thousand
florins, and since that period has continued under the dominion
of the see of Rome. Not but that when the duc de Crequi, the
French ambassador, was insulted at Rome in the year 1662, the
parliament of Provence passed an arret, declaring the city of
Avignon, and the county Venaiss in part of the ancient domain of
Provence; and therefore reunited it to the crown of France, which
accordingly took possession; though it was afterwards restored to
the Roman see at the peace of Pisa. The pope, however, holds it
by a precarious title, at the mercy of the French king, who may
one day be induced to resume it, upon payment of the original
purchase-money. As a succession of popes resided here for the
space of seventy years, the city could not fail to be adorned
with a great number of magnificent churches and convents, which
are richly embellished with painting, sculpture, shrines,
reliques, and tombs. Among the last, is that of the celebrated
Laura, whom Petrarch has immortalized by his poetry, and for whom
Francis I. of France took the trouble to write an epitaph.
Avignon is governed by a vice-legate from the pope, and the
police of the city is regulated by the consuls.

It is a large place, situated in a fruitful plain, surrounded by
high walls built of hewn stone, which on the west side are washed
by the Rhone. Here was a noble bridge over the river, but it is
now in ruins. On the other side, a branch of the Sorgue runs
through part of the city. This is the river anciently called
Sulga, formed by the famous fountain of Vaucluse in this
neighbourhood, where the poet Petrarch resided. It is a charming
transparent stream, abounding with excellent trout and craw-fish.
We passed over it on a stone bridge, in our way to Orange, the
Arausio Cavarum of the Romans, still distinguished by some noble
monuments of antiquity. These consist of a circus, an aqueduct, a
temple, and a triumphal arch, which last was erected in honour of
Caius Marius, and Luctatius Catulus, after the great victory they
obtained in this country over the Cimbri and Teutones. It is a
very magnificent edifice, adorned on all sides with trophies and
battles in basso relievo. The ornaments of the architecture, and
the sculpture, are wonderfully elegant for the time in which it
was erected; and the whole is surprisingly well preserved,
considering its great antiquity. It seems to me to be as entire
and perfect as the arch of Septimius Severus at Rome. Next day we
passed two very impetuous streams, the Drome and the Isere. The
first, which very much resembles the Var, we forded: but the
Isere we crossed in a boat, which as well as that upon the
Durance, is managed by the traille, a moveable or running pulley,
on a rope stretched between two wooden machines erected on the
opposite sides of the river. The contrivance is simple and
effectual, and the passage equally safe and expeditious. The
boatman has nothing to do, but by means of a long massy rudder,
to keep the head obliquely to the stream, the force of which
pushes the boat along, the block to which it is fixed sliding
upon the rope from one side to the other. All these rivers take
their rise from the mountains, which are continued through
Provence and Dauphine, and fall into the Rhone: and all of them,
when swelled by sudden rains, overflow the flat country. Although
Dauphine affords little or no oil, it produces excellent wines,
particularly those of Hermitage and Cote-roti. The first of these
is sold on the spot for three livres the bottle, and the other
for two. The country likewise yields a considerable quantity of
corn, and a good deal of grass. It is well watered with streams,
and agreeably shaded with wood. The weather was pleasant, and we
had a continued song of nightingales from Aix to Fontainebleau.

I cannot pretend to specify the antiquities of Vienne, antiently
called Vienna Allobrogum. It was a Roman colony, and a
considerable city, which the antients spared no pains and expence
to embellish. It is still a large town, standing among several
hills on the banks of the Rhone, though all its former splendor
is eclipsed, its commerce decayed, and most of its antiquities
are buried in ruins. The church of Notre Dame de la Vie was
undoubtedly a temple. On the left of the road, as you enter it,
by the gate of Avignon, there is a handsome obelisk, or rather
pyramid, about thirty feet high, raised upon a vault supported by
four pillars of the Tuscan order. It is certainly a Roman work,
and Montfaucon supposes it to be a tomb, as he perceived an
oblong stone jetting out from the middle of the vault, in which
the ashes of the defunct were probably contained. The story of
Pontius Pilate, who is said to have ended his days in this place,
is a fable. On the seventh day of our journey from Aix, we
arrived at Lyons, where I shall take my leave of you for the
present, being with great truth--Yours, etc.


BOULOGNE, June 13, 1765.

DEAR SIR,--I am at last in a situation to indulge my view with a
sight of Britain, after an absence of two years; and indeed you
cannot imagine what pleasure I feel while I survey the white
cliffs of Dover, at this distance. Not that I am at all affected
by the nescia qua dulcedine natalis soli, of Horace. That seems
to be a kind of fanaticism founded on the prejudices of
education, which induces a Laplander to place the terrestrial
paradise among the snows of Norway, and a Swiss to prefer the
barren mountains of Solleure to the fruitful plains of Lombardy.
I am attached to my country, because it is the land of liberty,
cleanliness, and convenience: but I love it still more tenderly,
as the scene of all my interesting connexions; as the habitation
of my friends, for whose conversation, correspondence, and
esteem, I wish alone to live.

Our journey hither from Lyons produced neither accident nor
adventure worth notice; but abundance of little vexations, which
may be termed the Plagues of Posting. At Lyons, where we stayed
only a few days, I found a return-coach, which I hired to Paris
for six loui'dores. It was a fine roomy carriage, elegantly
furnished, and made for travelling; so strong and solid in all
its parts, that there was no danger of its being shaken to
pieces by the roughness of the road: but its weight and solidity
occasioned so much friction between the wheels and the axle-tree,
that we ran the risque of being set on fire three or four times a
day. Upon a just comparison of all circumstances posting is much
more easy, convenient, and reasonable in England than in France.
The English carriages, horses, harness, and roads are much
better; and the postilions more obliging and alert. The reason is
plain and obvious. If I am ill-used at the post-house in England,
I can be accommodated elsewhere. The publicans on the road are
sensible of this, and therefore they vie with each other in
giving satisfaction to travellers. But in France, where the post
is monopolized, the post-masters and postilions, knowing that the
traveller depends intirely upon them, are the more negligent and
remiss in their duty, as well as the more encouraged to insolence
and imposition. Indeed the stranger seems to be left intirely at
the mercy of those fellows, except in large towns, where he may
have recourse to the magistrate or commanding officer. The post
stands very often by itself in a lone country situation, or in a
paultry village, where the post-master is the principal
inhabitant; and in such a case, if you should be ill-treated, by
being supplied with bad horses; if you should be delayed on
frivolous pretences, in order to extort money; if the postilions
should drive at a waggon pace, with a view to provoke your
impatience; or should you in any shape be insulted by them or
their masters; and I know not any redress you can have, except by
a formal complaint to the comptroller of the posts, who is
generally one of the ministers of state, and pays little or no
regard to any such representations. I know an English gentleman,
the brother of an earl, who wrote a letter of complaint to the
Duc de Villars, governor of Provence, against the post-master of
Antibes, who had insulted and imposed upon him. The duke answered
his letter, promising to take order that the grievance should be
redressed; and never thought of it after. Another great
inconvenience which attends posting in France, is that if you are
retarded by any accident, you cannot in many parts of the kingdom
find a lodging, without perhaps travelling two or three posts
farther than you would choose to go, to the prejudice of your
health, and even the hazard of your life; whereas on any part of
the post-road in England, you will meet with tolerable
accommodation at every stage. Through the whole south of France,
except in large cities, the inns are cold, damp, dark, dismal,
and dirty; the landlords equally disobliging and rapacious; the
servants aukward, sluttish, and slothful; and the postilions
lazy, lounging, greedy, and impertinent. If you chide them for
lingering, they will continue to delay you the longer: if you
chastise them with sword, cane, cudgel, or horse-whip, they will
either disappear entirely, and leave you without resource; or
they will find means to take vengeance by overturning your
carriage. The best method I know of travelling with any degree of
comfort, is to allow yourself to become the dupe of imposition,
and stimulate their endeavours by extraordinary gratifications. I
laid down a resolution (and kept it) to give no more than four
and twenty sols per post between the two postilions; but I am now
persuaded that for three-pence a post more, I should have been
much better served, and should have performed the journey with
much greater pleasure. We met with no adventures upon the road
worth reciting. The first day we were retarded about two hours by
the dutchess D--lle, and her son the duc de R--f--t, who by
virtue of an order from the minister, had anticipated all the
horses at the post. They accosted my servant, and asked if his
master was a lord? He thought proper to answer in the
affirmative, upon which the duke declared that he must certainly
be of French extraction, inasmuch as he observed the lilies of
France in his arms on the coach. This young nobleman spoke a
little English. He asked whence we had come; and understanding we
had been in Italy, desired to know whether the man liked France
or Italy best? Upon his giving France the preference, he clapped
him on the shoulder, and said he was a lad of good taste. The
dutchess asked if her son spoke English well, and seemed mightily
pleased when my man assured her he did. They were much more free
and condescending with my servant than with myself; for, though
we saluted them in passing, and were even supposed to be persons
of quality, they did not open their lips, while we stood close by
them at the inn-door, till their horses were changed. They were
going to Geneva; and their equipage consisted of three coaches
and six, with five domestics a-horseback. The dutchess was a
tall, thin, raw-boned woman, with her head close shaved. This
delay obliged us to lie two posts short of Macon, at a solitary
auberge called Maison Blanche, which had nothing white about it,
but the name. The Lionnois is one of the most agreeable and best-cultivated
countries I ever beheld, diversified with hill, dale,
wood, and water, laid out in extensive corn-fields and rich
meadows, well stocked with black cattle, and adorned with a
surprising number of towns, villages, villas, and convents,
generally situated on the brows of gently swelling hills, so that
they appear to the greatest advantage. What contributes in a
great measure to the beauty of this, and the Maconnois, is the
charming pastoral Soame, which from the city of Chalons winds its
silent course so smooth and gentle, that one can scarce discern
which way its current flows. It is this placid appearance that
tempts so many people to bathe in it at Lions, where a good
number of individuals are drowned every summer: whereas there is
no instance of any persons thus perishing in the Rhone, the
rapidity of it deterring every body from bathing in its stream.
Next night we passed at Beaune where we found nothing good but
the wine, for which we paid forty sols the bottle. At Chalons our
axle-tree took fire; an accident which detained us so long, that
it was ten before we arrived at Auxerre, where we lay. In all
probability we must have lodged in the coach, had not we been
content to take four horses, and pay for six, two posts
successively. The alternative was, either to proceed with four on
those terms, or stay till the other horses should come in and be
refreshed. In such an emergency, I would advise the traveller to
put up with the four, and he will find the postilions so much
upon their mettle, that those stages will be performed sooner
than the others in which you have the full complement.

There was an English gentleman laid up at Auxerre with a broken
arm, to whom I sent my compliments, with offers of service; but
his servant told my man that he did not choose to see any
company, and had no occasion for my service. This sort of reserve
seems peculiar to the English disposition. When two natives of
any other country chance to meet abroad, they run into each
other's embrace like old friends, even though they have never
heard of one another till that moment; whereas two Englishmen in
the same situation maintain a mutual reserve and diffidence, and
keep without the sphere of each other's attraction, like two
bodies endowed with a repulsive power. We only stopped to change
horses at Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, which is a venerable
old city; but we passed part of a day at Sens, and visited a
manufacture of that stuff we call Manchester velvet, which is
here made and dyed to great perfection, under the direction of
English workmen, who have been seduced from their own country. At
Fontainebleau. we went to see the palace, or as it is called, the
castle, which though an irregular pile of building, affords a
great deal of lodging, and contains some very noble apartments,
particularly the hall of audience, with the king's and queen's
chambers, upon which the ornaments of carving and gilding are
lavished with profusion rather than propriety. Here are some rich
parterres of flower-garden, and a noble orangerie, which,
however, we did not greatly admire, after having lived among the
natural orange groves of Italy. Hitherto we had enjoyed fine
summer weather, and I found myself so well, that I imagined my
health was intirely restored: but betwixt Fontainebleau and
Paris, we were overtaken by a black storm of rain, sleet, and
hail, which seemed to reinstate winter in all its rigour; for the
cold weather continues to this day. There was no resisting this
attack. I caught cold immediately; and this was reinforced at
Paris, where I stayed but three days. The same man, (Pascal
Sellier, rue Guenegaud, fauxbourg St. Germain) who owned the
coach that brought us from Lyons, supplied me with a returned
berline to Boulogne, for six loui'dores, and we came hither by
easy journeys. The first night we lodged at Breteuil, where we
found an elegant inn, and very good accommodation. But the next
we were forced to take up our quarters, at the house where we had
formerly passed a very disagreeable night at Abbeville. I am now
in tolerable lodging, where I shall remain a few weeks, merely
for the sake of a little repose; then I shall gladly tempt that
invidious straight which still divides you from--Yours, &c.


A Short List of Works, mainly on Travel in France and Italy
during the Eighteenth Century, referred to in connection with the

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ANCONE, ALESSANDRO D'. Saggio di una bibliografia ragionata dei
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ANDREWS, Dr. JOHN. Letters to a Young Gentleman in setting out
for France. London, 1784.

ARCHENHOLTZ, J. W. VON. Tableau de l'Angleterre et de l'Italie. 3
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BALLY, L. E. Souvenirs de Nice. 1860.

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vols. London, 1770.

BASTIDE, CHARLES. John Locke. Ses theories politiques en
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ville aux membres de l'Association Francaise. 2 vols. 1899.

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BURTON, JOHN HILL. The Scot Abroad. 2 vols. Edinburgh. 1864.

CASANOVA DE SEINGALT, JACQUES. Memoires ecrits par lui-meme. 6
vols. Bruxelles, 1879.

CLEMENT, PIERRE. L'Italie en 1671. Paris, 1867. 12mo.


CRAIG, G. DUNCAN. Mie jour; or Provencal Legend, Life, Language,
and Literature. London, 1877.

DAVIS, Dr. I. B. Ancient and Modern History of Nice. London,

DEJOB, C. Madame de Stael et l'Italie. Paris, 1890.

DEMPSTER, C. L. H. The Maritime Alps and their Sea-Board. London,

DORAN, DR. JOHN. Mann and Manners at the Court of Florence.
London, 1876.

DRAMARD, E. Bibliographie du Boulonnais, Calaisis, etc. Paris,

DUTENS, L. Itineraire des Routes. First edition, 1775.

EVELYN, JOHN. Diary, edited by H. B. Wheatley. 4 vols. London,

FERBER, G. G. Travels through Italy, translated by R. E. Raspe.
London, 1776.

FODERE, FRANCOIS EMILE. Voyage aux Alpes Maritimes. 2 vols.
Paris, 1821.

FORSYTH, JOSEPH. Remarks on Antiquities, Arts, and Letters,
during an Excursion in Italy in the year 1S02 and 1803. London,
1812; 4th Edition, I835.

GARDNER, EDMUND G. The Story of Florence. London, 1900.

GERMAIN, M. A. Histoire de la Commune de Montpellier. 3 vols.
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GIOFFREDO, PIETRO. Storia delle Alpi Marittime . . . libri xxvi.
Ed. Gazzera. 1836.

GOETHE. Autobiography, Tour in Italy, Miscellaneous Travels, and
Wilhelm Meister's Travels (Bohn).

GROSLEY, PIERRE JEAN. Nouveaux Memoires sur l'Italie. London,
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HARE, AUGUSTUS J. C. The Rivieras. 1897.

HILLARD, G. S. Six Months in Italy. Boston, 1853; 7th edition,

JEFFERYS, THOMAS. Description of the Maritime Parts of France.
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JOANNE, ADOLPHE. Provence, Alpes Maritimes. Paris, 1881
(Bibliog., p. xxvii).

JONES (of Nayland), WILLIAM. Observations in a Journey to Paris.
London, 1777.

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