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  • 1815
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number of mills of various kinds.

Having been much struck with the spirit of industry and activity which distinguishes the appearance of this little state, I felt anxious to inquire concerning the government, and a gentleman of this town, to whom I was introduced when at Geneva, was kind enough to give me ample information on the subject. As I say but little respecting the history of _large states_, perhaps I may be excused for the following details, which I think possess some interest.

The state of Neufchatel is an independent sovereignty, allied with Switzerland; which alliance secures its independence, and every prince, on succeeding to the sovereignty, is obliged to ratify it. The actual government is a mixture of aristocracy and democracy. The sovereignty, which is _almost a name_, is inalienable and indivisible, and cannot be sold or given to a younger branch of the reigning family, without the consent of the people–it is hereditary, and a female is capable of inheriting it. The revenues of the sovereign arise from quitrents, fines, tithes, and the exclusive right of trout fishing in the autumn; he can, on no pretext whatever, exact any thing additional from the state, and the total of his revenue does not exceed 45,000 francs. The prince has the disposal of all civil and military employments, not reserved particularly for popular election; he is represented by a governor, who presides at the general meetings of the estates of the principality, but has no vote unless the numbers are equally divided. In the event of a _contest_ relative to the succession to the principality, the _Estates General_ are alone competent to decide between the different claimants; and the Canton of Berne has always decided any differences that may have arisen between the prince and the people respecting their particular rights. The last time when the estates were called upon to decide between a number of claimants for the sovereignty, was in 1707, on the death of the Duchess of Nemours without issue. Most of the claimants came in person to Neufchatel, or sent ambassadors to support their pretensions. Amongst them were the King of Prussia, Margrave of Baden Dourlach, the Prince of Nassau, the Prince of Conde, the Marquis d’Algers, the Count of Montbeliard, &c. &c. In bestowing the sovereignty on the King of Prussia, care was taken that he should confirm all the doubtful privileges of the people; for it is a fundamental maxim of this little state, “_that the sovereignty resides not in the person of the prince, but in the state_”.

The Neufchatelois are permitted to serve in the armies of _any power, not at war with the Prince of Neufchatel, as such_, and accordingly it has happened that they have often fought against the Prussians in the wars of Frederic the Great. By the treaty of Tilsit, 1806, this state was severed from Prussia, and given by Buonaparte to Marshal Berthier; but the recent events have restored it to the King of Prussia, and the inhabitants seem to bear the greatest attachment to his Majesty. I saw, in two places, the triumphal arches under which he passed in his late visit to Neufchatel. It appears probable that this will be acknowledged as a canton by the Swiss Diet, but that the nominal sovereignty of the King of Prussia will be preserved. The chief advantage his Majesty derives from this country is the supply of a great number of recruits to his army. I saw a body of 1,400 soldiers, of excellent appearance, set out on their march for Prussia.

At the village of _St. Blaise_ we observed, under the sign of one of the inns, the sentiment, “_Honorez le Roi; soignez l’agriculture_” We next proceeded to visit the celebrated lake of Bienne, which is about nine English miles by four. The isle of St. Pierre, so much praised by Rousseau, is situated near the centre of the lake, about a league from Cerlier, where we embarked for it. It is about half a league in circumference. The ancient convent is inhabited by a farmer, and the bed of the philosophic Rousseau is now at the command of any of his admirers who may wish to repose in it.

There is also a large building, which is in summer the scene of much festivity, and which commands an extensive and interesting prospect.

One side of this island rises boldly from the lake to a great height; the other is on a level with its waters. It contains many vineyards, and several large chesnut trees. The town of Bienne, until its union to France in 1799, presented the singularity of a Protestant state being nominally subject to a Roman Catholic prelate (the Bishop of Basle). Its liberties were guaranteed by the Swiss Diet, where it sent a representative, a privilege the bishop did not possess. Its future government is not yet determined on. The country about Nydau more resembles Holland and Switzerland, being marshy, or drained by Canals. Many Swiss writers are of opinion, that formerly the lakes of Neufchatel, Morat and Bienne were united; and the appearance of the country renders the supposition not improbable.

The Pont de Thiel divides the territories of Rome and Neufchatel; and it is also the limit of the French language, none of the peasants beyond the bridge being able to answer any questions but in German. However, at all the chief inns, in both Switzerland and Germany, some of the waiters speak French. It is difficult to suppose a more sudden change than presents itself to the traveller on his passing this bridge. The houses, dress, and appearance of the inhabitants, all announce that he is arrived in a country differing entirely from France, Savoy, and the Pays de Vaud.

The enormous black crape head-dresses of the women have a most singular effect, as well as their long hair, which reaches halfway down their backs, plaited into several divisions. It is said, that in some districts, the females after marriage, roll it round their heads. The costume of the men much resembles that of our sailors. Cotton or woollen caps are more worn than hats, as was the custom in England until about the time of Henry the Eighth.

We sent our baggage by the coach to Berne, and walked three leagues to breakfast at Anet, in German _Eis_, a large village pleasantly situated. We observed that the direction posts had a translation into French of the German names, &c.; a precaution very useful on the frontiers of nations speaking two different languages. We found our inn extremely neat, as indeed the inns generally are throughout Switzerland; and that is one great advantage to the traveller which it possesses over France, where it is seldom that good accommodations can be procured at a country inn. If the inns are more expensive than in France, the comfort is greater also. The French talk much of the rapacity of the Swiss, and have a common saying-, “_Point d’argent point de Suisse_”; but it would be unreasonable to expect that the Swiss should give their services gratuitously to strangers; and, considering how much their country is frequented by strangers, the guides, servants, &c. &c. cannot be accused of any particularly great extortion. Still, those who expect to find Switzerland a cheap country will be disappointed, as many of their inns (particularly at Zurich) are more expensive than some in England. There can be, however, no country more agreeable to travel in than this, as the scene is continually varying, and presents a succession of lofty mountains, forests, cultivated grounds, lakes, rivers, and cascades, which will fully occupy the attention and excite the admiration of the tourist. The people are extremely civil. and those who understand German have assured me that they are also well informed.

Although Anet is at such a short distance from the frontiers of Neufchatel, we found there were but two persons there who could speak French. One of them was our landlord, who provided us with a guide to conduct us to Mount _Iulemont, or Suslemont_ (which was the object we wished to see particularly, from previous report) as he could speak only German, our intentions were explained to him by the Landlord, and we managed, by signs, to understand enough for our purpose. Many of the German and English words have a strong resemblance; and a stranger in Germany is more likely to be understood by trying English than French, where neither are spoken. We at length arrived on the mountain, and were much pleased with the extensive prospect from it, which resembles a vast chart or map; the country surrounding us for many leagues in all directions, being flat, although the view was terminated by distant mountains. From hence we saw, at the same time, the three lakes of Neufchatel, Bienne, and Morat, which had a beautiful effect. A traveller should not fail to visit this place. We continued our walk in the afternoon to Arberg, three and a half leagues further, through a plain which presented one of the most cheerful and interesting scenes I had seen. It was quite covered with peasants, engaged in ploughing out potatoes, and in gathering the leaves of the tobacco-plant, of which there was a vast quantity. We were constantly occupied in returning their salutations, as they seldom fail to speak to passengers. The country was mostly unenclosed. I here observed the first extensive _beech_ woods I had yet seen on the Continent, which are occasionally mixed with fir, the most common timber in Switzerland. We arrived, after sunset, at Arberg, where we found good accommodations after the fatigues of the day. It takes its name from the river Aar, by which it is surrounded. At each end of the town is a wooden bridge covered, to preserve the timber from the weather. The town is a great thoroughfare between Berne, Neufchatel, and the Pays de Vaud; and we observed, in the market-place, several waggons stationed until morning.

* * * * *

CHAP. XIII.

We proceeded next day to Morat. Its lake is about two leagues in length by three quarters of a league in breadth, and is said to be the only lake in Switzerland where that voracious fish, the _silurus_, is found. There are many vineyards in this vicinity, but the wine is very indifferent. It is, however said to produce the best _Kirschrvasser_, or Cherry brandy in Switzerland. Morat is celebrated in history for the memorable victory obtained under its walls, by the Swiss, over the formidable army of the last duke of Burgundy in 1476. The bones of the Burgundians were piled up by way of monument on the field of battle. The triumph of the Swiss over their invaders was recorded by many inscriptions, of which the following is admired for its simplicity.

D.O.M.
Caroli incliti et fortissimi Burgundiae ducis exercitus Muratum obsidiens, ab Helvetiis caesus, hoc sui Monumentum reliquit, 1476.

This trophy was destroyed by the French in 1798; as they, perhaps, feared that this memorial of the success of the Swiss, in contending for their liberty, should incite them again to rise against the descendants of those whom they had formerly defeated; and their vanity was probably hurt by the existence of a record, disadvantageous to their countrymen.

We dined at the neat little village of Seedorf, and proceeded in the evening in an open carriage to Berne. Part of the road is very hilly, and at one time we had an interesting prospect of the island of _St. Pierre_, and the end of the lake of Neufchatel, at about five or six leagues distance. About half a league from Berne we passed the _Aar_ (which is here a broad and rapid stream) by a long bridge of wood, covered according to the general custom in Switzerland.

The city of Berne presents a _beautiful coup-d’oeil_, and is one of the few places I have seen, where the interior does not greatly diminish the impression, occasioned by the distant prospect. The road was lined by lofty trees, and presented a very cheerful scene.

Berne is deservedly considered as _one of the handsomest cities in Europe_; it stands on a hill surrounded on two sides by the beautiful stream of the Aar; it is surrounded by higher grounds richly cultivated, and interspersed with woods, whilst the view is terminated by the snowy summits of the Alps.

The chief street is half a league in length. The houses, which are in general uniform, are built of free-stone upon piazzas, and have a stately appearance, and there are several towers which add to the general effect. In the middle of the street, runs a rapid stream, and there is sufficient space for two carriages to pass at each side of it. Fountains are also placed at regular distances. The piazzas are flagged and kept extremely neat; but, I should think, that in this climate they must make the houses cold in winter. This was the first place since my departure from London, where I found a flagged way for the convenience of pedestrians.

Berne is not a city of very remote antiquity, having been founded in the year 1191. It is 1650 feet above the level of the sea. The fortifications are kept in tolerable order, but from the height of most of the surrounding hills, above the city, cannot be considered as of much utility. In the trenches are kept several very large stags, and also several _bears_; there being an annual rent of 1200 livres for their support. This animal is thus favoured, as being the _armorial bearing_ of the city (to which it gives name) and these arms are every where to be seen, there being few barns without them. There are many handsome churches in Berne: the tower of the cathedral is very fine, and it contains many windows of stained glass. The public library is well worth visiting; as is also the _botanic_ garden, which is on a most extensive scale; in it is placed the tomb of the celebrated _Haller_. I was much struck by the great number of chemists’ shops in Berne. The bakers’ shops also are very numerous, and the bread is inferior to none in Europe.

A stranger is surprised to see the _convicts chained to the carts_ which are constantly in use to keep the streets clean. I confess the sight displeased me, and this system would not be tolerated in England, where I think there was an attempt to introduce it during the reign of Edward the Sixth. The objects that most pleased me, at Berne, were the _public walks_, which are unequalled by any I have _ever_ seen, in respect to their number, extent, and the neatness with which they are kept. The views from some of these walks are quite magnificent; one, in particular, on an eminence beyond the city, which follows the course of the Aar for a long distance, commands a view which can never be forgotten by these who have seen it. The city is a striking object at a distance from the number of its spires; but although, from the spaciousness of its streets, it covers a good deal of ground, yet it is by no means populous, the inhabitants being only 11,500, but there are no mendicants. The public roads, in the Canton of Berne, are kept in excellent order, and every thing indicates the activity of the administration. The government is an aristocracy, and I was informed the chief power of of the state is vested in about twentyfour of the principal families. There are, doubtless, in general, many strong objections against this form of government, but the comfort, opulence, and appearance of content, which is remarked in the Bernese is such, that it is impossible to suppose they are not well governed; the least observant traveller may soon perceive, by the appearance of a people, whether they are subject to a free or to a despotic government. I cannot, however, subscribe to Pope’s opinion,

“That which is best administered is best.”

The _form_ is still in my judgment the first requisite; nor can I agree that the goodness consists in the mere administration. I visited the agricultural establishment of M. de Fellenberg, at Hofwyl, two leagues from Berne, where may be learnt the principles of rural economy, and where annual fetes are given for the encouragement of farming; and I also made an excursion to Hindelbanck, three leagues distant, where is a much admired monument, erected from a design of M. Nahl; it represents his wife, who died in child-bed, breaking; from her tomb with her child in her arms. The Canton of Berne, before the separation from it of the Cantons of Vaud and Argovia, formed about a third of Switzerland; its population is now about 300,000. The country is fruitful, but like the rest of Switzerland does not afford a sufficient supply of corn for its inhabitants. Its fruit and vegetables are excellent. Its mountains feed vast herds of cattle, and there is abundance of game. Its exports are principally horses, cottons, watches, and kirschwasser, (or spirit extracted from the cherry) there are manufactories of silks, and woollen stuffs, and its gunpowder is in much estimation throughout Europe. The salt comes mostly from France, but does not cost above five sols the pound. Groceries are still dear, but are much reduced since the downfall of the continental system. This Canton first entered into the Swiss Confederation, in 1353. I made some enquiries respecting clergy, from a most respectable minister of my acquaintance, who informed me, that the senate appoint to all ecclesiastical benefices–that the clergy are divided into _synods_ which assemble separately every year under the presidency of a _Dean_, to examine into the conduct of each pastor, and to deliberate in the presence of the _Bailiff of the District_, concerning ecclesiastical affairs. The criminal code is well arranged, and justice is administered with a promptitude that merits the highest praise, since legal delay often proves worse than injustice.

I was doubtful in what direction I should next proceed, when I was induced, as the season was advanced, to give up the idea of visiting Oberland, and to accompany a gentleman going to Lucerne; if the country was less romantic than that which I lost the opportunity of seeing, I was with a companion who would have rendered an excursion in any country entertaining. We left Berne in an open carriage, and took the road to Worb, where we visited a _sawmill_, and were much pleased with that useful invention. There are near the village several of the most extensive bleach-greens in Switzerland. At Luzelflueh we passed the river Emmen, and soon after stopped some time whilst oar horses rested. I have never been in a country where horses are taken better care of; they are always in excellent condition, and after mounting any considerable hill, the driver does not fail to give them some slices of bread.

As we proceeded, we were struck with the profusion of autumnal crocuses, with which the fields were enlivened, and stopped to sleep at the inconsiderable village of Sumiswald, where the inn, like the rest of the houses, was entirely built of wood. We were shewn into an apartment where several peasants were at supper, and on the table lay a newspaper, which (although its date was not very recent) seemed to interest them extremely. Several more peasants having come in, we were, as strangers, conducted into a more private room, but it was so _small_, as to give us the idea that we were in a _box_. Our hostess was not long in preparing supper, and as it was _extremely frugal_, she produced for us a bottle of _Neufchatel wine_, of much better quality than one could have expected to meet with in so retired a situation. We set out at an early hour next morning, and, after passing through a vast forest of fir, arrived to breakfast at Zell, in the canton of Lucerne, where the number of chapels by the road-side announced that the Roman Catholic was the established religion. The valley beyond Zell is extensive and well watered. The peasants display much ingenuity in _irrigating_ their meadows. The orchards are numerous, and, as well as the meadows, are refreshed by _ductile streams_. In the centre of the valley rises a lofty eminence, on the summit of which are the remains of the castle of Hapstalla, which, half concealed by a mass of wood, forms a conspicuous object amidst the cultivation of the surrounding scenery. The small towns of Huttweil and Willisan present nothing worthy of remark; but Sursee is a neat town, and the lake of Sempacli adds greatly to the cheerful appearance of the country, which it waters to a considerable extent. The town of Sempach is noted in history for the defeat of Leopold, Duke of Austria, in 1386, by the forces of the Swiss confederation. The Duke, together with his chief nobility, perished in the engagement, which is further memorable by the heroism of _Arnold Winkdried_. The approach to Lucerne along the river Reuss is singularly beautiful, the banks are steep and well wooded, and the distant appearance of the city, front the number of its turrets and spires, is highly impressive. Its situation is certainly superior to that of any city in Switzerland (Berne perhaps excepted). The mountains which surround that part of the lake seen from the town, immediately reminded me of the magnificent scenery of Killarney. The beauty of its situation, and the imposing aspect which Lucerne presents at a distance, renders the gloominess of its interior the more striking; and I do not know, whether coming from Berne, where all is activity, gave me the impression, but I think I never was in a more melancholy and deserted town of the same magnitude. The population is only 4,000; but, to judge from its extent, it might contain at least three times that number. It is difficult to account exactly for the causes of this inactivity, but I should be inclined to think some blame attaches to its government, as here are no traces of that beneficial superintendence which is so perceptible at Berne, This city cannot even boast of a public library. There are at Lucerne several curious wooden bridges, to join the different parts of the town separated by the river and the lake. They are from 5 to 600 feet in length, and one of them contains a vast number of paintings from scriptural subjects, and also from the Swiss history.

There are several handsome buildings at Lucerne, but many towns that cannot boast of such a number, much exceed it in general appearance.

We observed a great quantity of fruit for sale, and good peaches for one sol each. The celebrated plan, or rather, model, of this and the three surrounding cantons, by General Pfiffer, is to be seen here on payment of thirty sols; it is well worthy of a visit, and the General is said to have refused _ten thousand pounds_ for it. Buonaparte is said to have wished to possess it.

The lake of Lucerne, called also the lake of the _Four Cantons_, or the _Waldstraller See_, is one of the most picturesque pieces of water in Switzerland, and by its numerous windings, as well as by the rivers which fall into it, affords facilities for commerce, which are astonishingly neglected.

Mont Pilate rises majestically from the lake. It is, perhaps, one of the highest mountains in Switzerland, if measured from its base, and not from the level of the sea. Its elevation from the level of the lake is, according to the measurement of General Pfiffer, not less than 6000 feet. Its name was, it is thought, given it by the Romans, from the accumulation of snow upon its summit.

Mount Rigi, so generally visited by travellers, presents another distinguished feature in this romantic country. The ascent to this mountain having been within a few days rendered extremely difficult by a fall of snow, we were advised not to attempt it, and I the more readily acquiesced, having found the ascent to Montanvert difficult, although unobstructed with snow. I therefore set out to visit two classic spots in the history of Switzerland, which distinguish the banks of this lake; first, the Gruetli (the Runnimede of Switzerland), a field now covered with fruit-trees, where the neighbouring cantons on the 12th of November, 1307, first took the engagement to found the liberty of their country. They carried their plan into execution on the 1st of January, 1308, by forcing their tyrannical governors to quit a country thenceforward destined to be free. The second place is about a league and a half distant, it is the Rock of Aschen-berg, 5240 feet above the level of the lake (which is here 600 feet deep), on a part of which, called Tell Platte, that patriot killed the tyrant _Gessler_ here is a small chapel. I also visited the little town of _Gersau_ (which was, by the French, united to the canton of Schweitz), remarkable as being the smallest republic existing in Europe, as it contains only _one hundred square toises_, and from 900 to 1000 inhabitants, who subsist chiefly by agriculture; there is besides, a small manufacture of cotton. Their _metropolis_ is a neat village, where only, perhaps; a pure democracy subsisted without anarchy and dissensions.

The canton of Schweitz, which, at present, gives name generally to the whole confederation of cantons, is said to have been first inhabited by some persons forced to _quit Sweden_ by religious differences. The union of this canton to those of Uri and Unterwald, first suggested that more extended confederacy, so essential to the existence of these diminutive states.

Here the Roman Catholic is the only religion tolerated, but intolerance in Switzerland is not peculiar to the Roman Catholic cantons, as in some, _Calvinism_ only is permitted. At Brunnen I met some persons going on a _pilgrimage_ to the shrine of Notre Dame des Ermites, at Einsiedlen, one of whom was a Frenchman, decorated with the _Lys_. It would be well for the Bourbons if all their subjects were possessed of but a small part of the loyalty which this gentleman expressed for them. Brunnen is a large and handsome town, situated on the lake; it was here that the cantons of Schweitz, Uri, and Unterwald, concluded their perpetual alliance. Altorf is the capital of the canton of _Uri_, it contains many handsome houses, and here is the statue of William Tell, in the place where he was condemned to shoot the arrow at his son. The cattle in this Canton, as well as in Schweitz, are large and handsome. I was told that many of their favourite cows had silver bells fastened round their necks. The horses are also provided with tails of a large size, the noise of which I thought extremely unpleasant, although often obliged to listen to it for many hours together. Stantz is the chief town of Unterwald, but is only remarkable for its being prettily situated. _In the three original_ cantons, every citizen on attaining the age of sixteen, has the right of suffrage in the General Assemblies. On my return to Lucerne from this excursion, it appeared more gloomy than ever, and I determined on quitting it next morning for Zug. The Pope’s nuncio resides in this town, as being the capital of the chief Roman Catholic canton, and I observed sentinels at his door, although there were none at the gates of the city. Lucerne was, under the French system, the seat of the general government of Switzerland, now removed to Zurich. The canton of Lucerne is, in general, well cultivated, and contains not less than 100,000 inhabitants. Between Lucerne and Zug, I observed a number of peasants practising with the ancient weapons of William Tell, which they appeared to use with great dexterity.

The badness of the road retarded considerably our arrival at Zug (Zoug, as it is pronounced and written in German); & small but neat town, and the capital and only town of its Canton, which is the least in Switzerland, containing only 30,000 inhabitants, of whom 2500 inhabit the capital. The lake, which washes the town, is about three leagues long by one broad; one side of it presents a few mountains, but the other (nearest the town) is flat, marshy, and uninteresting. Between Zug and Zurich, we passed over the field of battle, where Zuingle, the reformer, lost his life; the plain is, I think, called Cappel. The road, which is still indifferent, passes through a country which resembles a continued orchard. We passed the river _Sill_ by a long covered bridge, and stopped at a neat inn, where we found some honey not inferior to any in France, although here they do not think it necessary (as in Poitou) to carry the hives of bees about the country, that by _travelling_ they may collect every sort of perfume which it affords. Above the inn is a mountain of vast height, which commands an extensive prospect over the surrounding country. We soon after beheld one of the most magnificent scenes of which Switzerland can boast, the view of the lake of Zurich, from the hill above the village of Horgen. As it was evening when we arrived there, I could judge of the justness of Zimmerman’s beautiful description of it at that time, which I had often admired at a period when I had but faint expectation of ever seeing the scene itself.

Before visiting Switzerland, I had often felt surprise, on considering the great variety of states which subsist in a country of such comparatively limited extent; but I no longer felt that astonishment, when I saw how completely many of the Cantons are divided from each other, by chains of mountains, and how greatly their inhabitants differ in their dress, manners, and religion. In one day, in the cantons of Berne, Lucerne, and Zug, I saw three perfectly distinct modes of dress; and the enormous sleeves and crape head dresses of _Berne_, compared with the large flat hats, and short petticoats of Lucerne, are as totally different costumes as could be supposed to prevail in two of the most remote countries. The _political_ divisions of Switzerland are almost as numerous as its geographical; and there are few countries where more diversities of opinion prevail, respecting the means of securing that liberty which is the boast of its inhabitants.

At a distance, Zurich seems surrounded by beautiful hills, descending gradually to the river Limmat, which, issuing from the lake, divides the city into two unequal parts. These bills are rich in pastures and vineyards, interspersed with neat cottages; the horizon is bounded by the mountains of Utliberg, which are connected with the Alps; forming, altogether, a very striking and interesting picture.

* * * * *

CHAP. XIV.

On entering Zurich, it is impossible not to feel a sensation of disappointment, as its internal appearance by no means corresponds with the beauty of the distant scene. Its streets are narrow and winding, and the houses are mostly of mean architecture, but there are few places where I observed more of the activity of commerce. Many of its churches and public buildings are handsome. It boasts a population of 14,000, a number exceeding that of any town in Switzerland, Geneva excepted. The Canton is next in importance to Berne, and contains 180,000 inhabitants.

The reformation was introduced here in 1523, by Ulric Zuingle, whose death was noticed in the last chapter; he, like _Pope Julius_, exchanged for a time the mitre for the helmet. The inns at Zurich are more expensive than the hotels of Paris; they say it is owing to this being the seat of the Swiss Diet. I had the honour of dining in company with several of the Deputies (at the public table at the Sword Tavern) and they seemed very inquisitive as to the state of affairs in England. Our company exceeded thirty, and the dinner was unusually tedious: this seems to have been _expected_, as there were pans of _charcoal_ or _ashes_, placed under the principal dishes, which had a very unpleasant effect. A _band of music_, stationed in an adjoining room, only served to add to the confused noise of the servants, without allowing us to judge of the beauty of the music, or of the merits of the musicians; and I felt no regret when the master of the band at length thought fit that we should purchase an interval of quiet. Before I quitted Zurich, I was desirous of making an excursion on its lake, and accordingly joined a party in visiting Rapperschwill, which is situated in a charming country, but is chiefly remarkable for its bridge, constructed of wood, over that part of the lake which is by a promontory reduced to the width of 1800 feet, forming, perhaps, the longest bridge in Europe, except that of St. Esprit, near Nismes, which is 3000 feet. The bridge of Prague is 1700 feet, and that of Westminster 1200.

Soon after my return from this excursion, I set out for Schaffhausen; but after we had lost sight of the lake and city of Zurich, the country had nothing to interest the traveller. About a league from Zurich is the Greinfensee, but that piece of water is not interesting, either in point of scenery or extent. The river Glatt flows through the plain; it has none of the characteristics of a Swiss stream, “_but choked with sedges, works its weary way_.”

About two leagues further, we passed the river Joss, which, by the beauty of its windings amongst wooded hills (on one of which stands an ancient castle) convinced us that we had not yet altogether bid farewell to the romantic scenery of Switzerland.

The woods here are very extensive, and almost entirely composed of fir; they produce annually a succession of plants which form an underwood, and greatly contribute to the beauty of the scene, by concealing the naked stems of the older trees.

The houses in the villages in the canton of Zurich much resemble those in England, being mostly built of plaster, and roofed with tiles. I was pleased with this change, after the heavy wooden houses, and projecting roofs (of nearly three times the height of the building) usually seen in the canton of Berne. They do not tend to enliven the country like those of Zurich, where the eye notices the contrast between the whitened cottages and green meadows. We spent a day at Winterthur, which is a considerable municipal town, rendered lively by trade. The manufactory of oil of vitriol is on a large scale, and is worthy of attention. There are several bleach-greens in the neighbourhood, as well as many vineyards, but of no great celebrity. The public library is extensive, and there is also a considerable collection of medals.

We left Winterthur on foot, as the bridge over the river Thur was under repair, and not passable for a carriage, and as we wished to approach the _fall of the Rhine_ by this road. We breakfasted at _Adelfaigen_, three leagues distant, and near the town were ferried over the Thar. About two hours afterwards, we heard the distant roar of the Cataract, and although I had heard so much previously of the grandeur of the scene, yet I was not disappointed with the sight. There are many falls much greater in point of height, and I had seen two previously which exceed the present one in that particular, but then the force of Water was there inconsiderable and uncertain: here one of the greatest rivers in Europe falls with inconceivable force down a perpendicular height of from sixty to eighty feet. The colour of the Rhine is greenish, and the mixture of the water with the foam, has a curious effect. The castle of Lauffen hangs over the river, and appears to tremble from the force of the Cataract.

The surrounding scenery is bold and picturesque, and when viewed from a boat on the river, the effect is very striking. There is a _camera obscura_ placed in an ancient castle, which projects into the fiver, and which we admired extremely. It is supposed that the height of this celebrated cascade is much diminished from what it was formerly, and if we consider the vast force of the torrent which the rock has sustained for ages, it seems but reasonable to conclude, that it must have yielded to such powerful and long continued assaults. We remained a considerable time contemplating this magnificent scene, and then returned through the village of Lauffen, and observed that the spire of its _church_ was covered with _painted tiles_, which in this district seem a common species of decoration.

We observed the peasants in many places employed in making _cyder_, which they but seldom think of doing except the season has proved unfavourable for the _vines_. I was told that here, as in Burgundy, the _last favourable vintage was that of_ 1811, and that consequently the proprietors of the vineyards (of which the cultivation is so expensive) were much distressed.

The red stockings of the peasants in this Canton have a remarkable appearance, and reminded me of the dress of the theatre.

Schaffhausen is the capital of the Canton of that name, and is built on the right bank of the Rhine. Its bridge is but lately completed, in the place of the ancient one, constructed by _Grubenman_, which was considered as a great architectural curiosity, but was destroyed during one of the campaigns in this country. The town of Schaffhausen is well built, and has a handsome appearance. Its population is calculated at 7000, and that of the Canton at 23,000.

The reformed religion was introduced here in 1529. The clergy are paid by the state, but their allowance is far from liberal. _Many sumptuary laws_ exist here, and dancing is prohibited by them, except under particular circumstances. I am, however, inclined to question whether these laws are still enforced.

In the vicinity of the town are some manufactories of linens, cottons, and silks. The country is well cultivated, and the road between Oerlingen and Bancken affords an extensive prospect of the Swiss mountains, which seem ranged in array to bid a last farewell to the departing traveller, who cannot but feel regret on leaving a country not less distinguished for the magnificence of its scenery, than for the simplicity and good nature of its inhabitants.

At Schaffhausen I made many inquiries respecting the celebrated _Schabecyge_ or _Chapsigre_ cheese (made in the canton of Glarus) and found that the principal ingredient which gives it so strong a perfume is the _trifolium odoratum_, or _meliot odorant_. The aromatic qualities of this cheese render it very wholesome. The _Swiss tea_, composed of _mountain herbs_, is said to be so likewise; it is not, however, very palatable as a beverage, nor should I think it very effectual as a remedy. If it meets in general with no greater approbation than it did in a party where I saw it tried, Switzerland cannot expect to carry on any trade in this article, sufficient to prejudice the exclusive commerce which the East India Company enjoy with China.

There being nothing to detain, me at Schaffhausen, I was induced, at the request of a Doctor of the University of Leipsic, with whom I became acquainted at Zurich, to join him in proceeding in the diligence into Germany. I found this conveyance, although tedious, yet little if at all inferior to those in France (although I had understood the contrary in that country). The Doctor would have been a most agreeable companion, but for his unfortunate love of tobacco; _his pipe_ was hardly well _extinguished_, before he was busy in striking his flint to _rekindle_ it. He seemed much surprised that I did not smoke, and still more so when I told him it was not usual in England to smoke in _company_; for in Germany, after dinner and in the evening, when ladies are present, it is usual to smoke a segar. The Doctor seemed to meditate a journey into England, but I doubt whether he will find any thing there sufficient to afford him an equivalent for the abandonment of the _six pipes_ which he told me he used alternately at Leipsic.

The others who composed our party had also their pipes, but were moderate in using them.

The Germans are an extremely civil people compared with the French; a traveller is better treated among them, without the perpetual _affectation of superiority_; and, in the parts where I have been, he will have no reason to regret the change from a French to a German inn.

The general civility I met with in _Germany_, and the pains the people often took to make themselves understood, as well as to understand, and supply whatever might be requisite, claims my best acknowledgments. I had occasion to observe the truth of the remark, that there are many words, and expressions, very similar in the English and German languages; they further agree in being the two languages in Europe, the most difficult to be learnt by a stranger.

The Sunday dress of the peasants resembles that worn a century ago in England. Woollen caps are little used in Germany; and, in Suabia, I observed cocked hats were very general.

It was late in the day when we left _Schaffhausen_. Our road lay through a country, where the succession of woods, shewed us, that the _Black Forest_, although reduced, was not destroyed, and occasionally we had extensive views towards Switzerland. We had fallen into that sort of _reverie_ which most travellers experience towards the close of the day, and which generally suspends conversation, the mind finding entertainment in its own illusions, when we were roused by finding ourselves in Deutlingen. We here passed the _Danube_, which is inconsiderable, when compared with the vast size it afterwards acquires, by the junction of other considerable rivers, in the various countries which it fertilizes by its waters. We reposed here for some hours, and to my astonishment the Doctor, laying aside his pipe, entertained us with his performance on a piano forte, which was in the room, and when his tea arrived his place was occupied by another performer.

The passion of the Germans for _music_ is very strong, and certainly this was a more agreeable mode of passing the evening, than the tiresome recurrence of political discussions, so general in France, and which seldom fail to end in unpleasant altercations. At Deutlingen we entered the kingdom of Wurtemberg; and our passports, which had been signed previously to our leaving Schaffhausen, were here re-examined: at Stutgard they were again demanded, and although the Royal Arms were affixed by the police there, yet at Ludwigsburg, we were detained half an hour for further scrutiny, although it is only one stage from Stutgard. The Grand Dukes of Baden, and of Hesse Darmstadt, whose dominions we next entered, were less suspicious and were satisfied at our writing down our names and destination. There are few countries more sub-divided than Germany. Its ancient constitution was described as, “_Confusio divinitus conservata_,” and a _confusion_ it certainly was, for the circle of Suabia alone, contained _four ecclesiastical, and thirteen secular principalities: nineteen independent abbies and prelacies, and thirty-one free cities_. This list was, however, greatly reduced during Buonaparte’s supremacy in Germany; he increased the dominions of Baden, Bavaria, and Wurtemberg with the spoils of the ecclesiastical possessions, and of the free cities. He nearly doubled the territory of Wurtemberg, and its population was increased from 700,000 to 1,300,000. The territory of Baden is of great length, but narrow; its population is now increased to 940,000. The Germans are, in general, extremely anxious for the re-establishment of the _ancient system_; as, notwithstanding its defects, it afforded them an appeal from the tyranny of their numerous sovereigns to the _Diet and the Emperor_, besides that it _united the Germans as one people_. On the dissolution of the old system, the several princes of the “_Confederation of the Rhine_” became _absolute_ over their own subjects, but _military vassals to Buonaparte, who, like Cade, was content they should reign, but took care to be Viceroy over them_.

The _game laws_ are much and justly complained of in Germany. In Wurtemberg they are particularly oppressive. The farmers, however, seem more opulent than in France. The possessions of many of the nobility are much neglected, as they reside almost entirely at one of the great capitals. Suabia is generally unenclosed, and is not often enlivened by country houses, the inhabitants residing together in villages. Its trade consists in the sale of its cattle, which are in vast numbers, together with that of its _corn_, wood, and wines, which are occasionally of tolerably good quality. The kingdom of Wurtemberg is extremely fruitful, and is well watered by the Necker, as well as by several smaller streams. After supplying its own population, which is as numerous as can be found in most parts of Europe of the same extent, it exports vast quantities of grain to Switzerland. Almost the whole kingdom consists of well-wooded mountains, and of cultivated plains; and farming seems to be well understood.

The posts are conducted in a much better manner than I had expected. The drivers are all provided with a French horn, and wear the royal livery, yellow and black, with which colours also the direction-posts are painted. The roads are in excellent order, and mile-stones are regularly placed; these roads are vastly superior to those in the states of Baden and Darmstadt, where there are a number of turnpikes. The traveller cannot fail to perceive that the activity of the government of Wurtemberg, much exceeds that of many of the surrounding states. We breakfasted at Bahlingen, a handsome and regularly built town. Here we witnessed a dreadful accident: the conductor of the diligence, a large and heavy man, whilst arranging some packages, fell from the top of the carriage into the street, and laid open one side of his head, and had he fallen on a pavement it would probably have proved fatal. A surgeon was immediately sent for, who informed us that the wound was not very deep, and that he hoped it would have no serious effects. Our next stage was Heckingen, in the little state of Hohenzollern. The ancient castle of that name is situated on an eminence, and is visible, for many leagues, in all directions. The territories of this state are about fifteen miles by ten, and contain about 30,000 inhabitants: but I believe there are two reigning families; those of _Hohenzollem Heckingen_ and _Hohenzollern Sigmaringen_. This house is of considerable eminence; the royal family of Prussia are descended from a junior branch, which became possessed by purchase of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, and thus founded a power, which being aggrandized by the policy of succeeding sovereigns, now holds so distinguished a place in the political scale of Europe. We soon quitted the territories of the princes of Hohenzollern, and again entered Wurtemberg, and after passing for several leagues over a highly improved country arrived at Tubingen.

* * * * *

CHAP. XV.

Tubingen is a large and ancient town, containing about 5000 inhabitants: its situation is low, and it is chiefly worthy of notice, as being one of the most celebrated _universities_ of the south of Germany. I was informed by one of its members who travelled in the Diligence, that the number of students did not then exceed 250, but that he had no doubt it would increase as public affairs assumed a more settled appearance. Here is little of that academic discipline, which distinguishes our universities. There are no colleges, and the students live in private houses, according to their respective inclinations. There are eight professors, and an attendance on the lectures of such of them as the student may prefer seems to constitute the sum of his academic duty. There is a large botanic garden, which is kept in good order, and contains a long range of green-houses and stoves.

I here agreed to accompany a gentleman of my acquaintance, who wished to _travel post_ to Frankfort: and had no reason to regret having left the Diligence, with the tediousness of which I was heartily tired. We set out accordingly in a sort of cabriolet, resembling a covered curricle, for Stutgard. We found much less delay at each post than we were led to expect; and part of the time was employed in greasing and examining the wheels of the carriage before starting: this custom prevents many accidents, for that operation for which no time is specified, is commonly neglected.

The price of each station is regulated by government; and the postmasters and drivers are very civil and obliging; but the celerity with which every thing is procured at an English inn, is not to be expected here, as the Germans are habitually slow in all their movements.

A German dinner is still more tedious than a French one, and it is perhaps yet more foreign to our taste. The custom of sleeping between _feather beds_, as it may be altered by the traveller, if unpleasant to him, cannot be considered as a _grievance_; but all who have been accustomed to the _social and companionable cheerfulness of a fire_, must regret that custom, which here substitutes for it, the _dull and unenlivening heat of a stove_.

That fire-place, which is so essential to the comfort of our apartments, is by German taste placed in the passage and shut up, whilst heat is conveyed into their rooms by flues.

We arrived at Stutgard without the occurrence of any thing worthy of mention, and were much pleased with its general appearance; its streets are spacious, and the houses mostly well built. The city has increased considerably in size, since it has become the constant residence of its sovereign. Its population is estimated at 24,000. It is an open place, but although there are no fortifications there are gates, the only use of which are to detain the traveller whilst his passport is under examination. The reformed religion is here established, but the churches have nothing to boast of in appearance. The palace is a handsome building of Italian architecture, surrounding three sides of a square. It is built of hewn stone, and over the centre entrance is placed a large _gilt crown_. Not far from the modern palace is the ancient _Chateau_, surrounded by a deep ditch, and flanked by gloomy bastions, formerly the requisites to a prince’s residence, but incompatible with the luxury sought for in a modern palace.

Wishing to judge of the taste of a German palace, we procured a _Valet de Place_ to conduct us over this; we found it fitted up in a manner which corresponded in many points to that usual in great houses in England. The suites of rooms are very numerous, but they are mostly of small dimensions. Every apartment is provided with a musical clock. The marbles, carpets, china, and glass lustres, are generally the production of Wurtemberg. Many of these productions display much taste, and seem to deserve the encouragement they receive.

A few of the rooms had fire-places, and almost all of them had to boast of some specimens of the industry and ingenuity of the _Queen_, either in painting or embroidery. There is a museum of considerable extent, which opens into the _King’s Private Library_, where the books are all concealed behind large _mirrors_, so that we could not judge of either the value or taste of the selection. In a building near the palace, is the King’s Public Library, but we were told there was nothing in it particularly worthy of notice. There are but very few paintings by the great masters in this palace; but we were particularly struck by a portrait of _Frederick_ the Great, by a German artist. I have forgotten his name; but this portrait proves his skill.

The Council Chamber is a handsome apartment, and contains two marble figures of _Silence_ and _Meditation_. The Council Table is _long and narrow_, which would not meet with _Lord Bacon’s_ approbation, as, if I recollect right, he gives the preference to a _round table_, where all may take a part, instead of a long one, where those at the top chiefly decide. We next visited the royal stables, which contain a vast number of fine horses, the King being very fond of the chase.

I was informed, that in his _Private Stables_ here and at Ludwigsburg, there were from 700 to 800 horses, a number which exceeds that of most princes in Europe. The garrison of Stutgard consists of about 3000 men. We saw some of the troops go through their evolutions; and I have seldom seen a finer body of men. The band was remarkably fine. On the parade were two little boys, sons of Prince Paul, who were decorated with stars. Having sufficiently satisfied our curiosity at Stutgard, we proceeded to Ludwigsburg, one stage distant, where there is a handsome royal palace adorned with extensive gardens, and many enclosures for game, of great extent. The town is not large, but is regularly built; and the houses, as at Stutgard and many other places in Germany, are remarkable for having a vast number of windows. After some delay about _passports_, we were suffered to proceed, as they sometimes will not give post horses without examining the passports. Beyond the town we met several waggons, one of them I remarked was drawn by fourteen horses. There is much more traffic on this road than on any I had yet travelled.

We passed through but one great town, Heilbron, formerly an imperial free city, but which, together with Ulm and many others, was _given_ by Buonaparte to the King of Wurtemberg. It is a tolerably well built place; and from the number of vessels in the river, I conclude it has a share of trade. The country round it is unenclosed, and for a great distance we saw no pastures, to that they must support their cattle on artificial crops. At Furfeld we could procure no accommodation, it being full of company; we were therefore, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour, obliged to go on to Sinzheim. We parried the rain tolerably well (the carriages are but partly covered) with our umbrellas; and escaped narrowly a more serious disaster, having been nearly overturned by a waggon, which broke one side of our carriage.

We found the inn small, but the people particularly obliging. I perceived that they expected some personage of great importance, as the landlady questioned our driver repeatedly whether _Der Cossack_ had arrived at the last stage. It was not, however, until we had retired to rest, that the expected guest arrived; and if importance is to be measured by noise, his must have been great indeed.

Our road to Heidelberg lay for several miles along the banks of the Necker, which are well-wooded, and adorned with several villages, and a large convent. The gate by which we entered Heidelberg, is a remarkably fine piece of Grecian architecture. The city is large and well built; but there is little appearance of trade or activity amongst its inhabitants. The _Castle_ is situated on a steep hill above the town, and its terrace commands a vast prospect over a plain, enlivened by the windings of the river, as well as by the spires of the city. This palace was the residence of the electors palatine, and must have been a fine piece of Gothic architecture. It was laid waste, together with the _whole palatinate_, in consequence of those orders which will for ever disgrace the memory of Lewis the Fourteenth.

It is, however, still striking; and although the scene is _silent and desolate_, it is _unquestionably grand_.

In a building adjoining the castle, is the famed _Tun of Heidelberg_, constructed by one of the electors at the suggestion of his buffoon, whose statue is placed near this enormous tun, which can contain 326,000 bottles. We were told that _the jester_ (some will not allow him to be called _the fool_) assisted his master in drinking eighteen bottles of the best Rhenish wine daily. The table where they sat, near the tun, is still shewn. The country about Heidelberg and Manheim is from its fertility called the _Garden of Germany_; but I have seen in Germany much finer districts. It is a well cultivated plain, and abounds with vineyards: beyond Manheim is a greater extent of ground under potatoes, than I have ever met with before out of Ireland. There is but little wood, and the roads run between rows of walnut and cherry trees. Manheim is considered as one of the handsomest cities in Germany, being built on a regular plan. It consists of twelve streets, intersected at right angles by eight others; but there is in this regularity a _sameness_ which soon tires the eye.

The Rhine passes close on one side of the city, and the Necker washing the other side, soon after falls into the Rhine, over which there is a bridge of boats. The palace is in a fine situation, and _next to Versailles_, is the largest structure for the residence of a sovereign that I have seen. This city became the residence of the electors palatine, after the destruction of the Castle of Heidelberg, and the palace was erected in consequence. On the accession of the reigning family to Bavaria, Munich became their capital, and this palace was neglected. Subsequent changes have transferred this country to the Grand Duke of Baden, who continues to reside at Carlsruhe.

It would now require vast sums to restore this edifice; which will probably be soon as desolate as the Castle of Heidelberg, with which, however, it could never stand a comparison, either in point of situation or architecture. There are some handsome walks near the palace, which extend along the Rhine, where the fortifications have been demolished. There are some spacious squares in the city; that before the town-house is adorned by a handsome _bronze fountain_. The population of the city has been estimated at 24,000; but it has probably rather diminished of late. Several of the tradespeople exhibit the arms of Baden over their shops, and boast of supplying their sovereign’s family with various articles; but trade has every appearance of being here at a very low ebb. The road for some leagues beyond Manheim was by far the worst we had yet passed in Germany; but then we had made a _detour_ in visiting Manheim, which does not lie on the direct road to Frankfort.

The next place of any note was Darmstadt, the residence of the grand duke of Hesse Darmstadt: it seems a place of recent origin, where much has been attempted and but little completed. There are several spacious streets marked out, and a few good houses dispersed over a considerable extent of ground, which give it a melancholy appearance.

Its situation is not well chosen, as it is in a sandy plain, without any river in the vicinity.

We visited the old castle or palace, situated in the centre of the town, which seems now used as a barrack. The number of troops seemed very considerable, and they are not inferior to the Wurtembergers in appearance. Near the old palace are handsome gardens laid out in the English taste, which were much frequented on Sunday. The present grand duke inhabits a palace in the suburbs, which has little to boast of.

A few hours drive brought us to Frankfort. The country for the most part is flat, and abounds with woods, but, except near Frankfort, has little to interest the traveller. We found that great commercial city fully answerable to our expectations. Every thing announces the opulence of its inhabitants. The streets are spacious, and adorned with houses far surpassing any that either Paris or London can boast of. Some of the great merchants maybe literally said to inhabit palaces. There are a vast number of inns; some of them are on a great scale, and worthy to be ranked among the best in Europe. I observed in the streets here a greater number of _handsome private carriages_ than I had seen in Paris. Although the _situation_ of Frankfort is not remarkable, in a picturesque point of view, when compared with some other cities, yet it is extremely advantageous for its inhabitants, being placed in the centre of the richest country in Germany, whilst the Mein and Rhine afford every facility for commerce. The roads are also in excellent order. That between Frankfort and Mayence is paved, and is perhaps the most frequented in Germany. There are various well-known manufactures, and the shops are supplied with the productions of all countries. I first noticed here the custom of having small mirrors projecting into the streets, that the inhabitants may see, by reflection, what passes in them.

The advantages of Frankfort for commerce have attracted a vast number of Jews, and reconcile them to many regulations, imposed by the magistrates, which otherwise they would not submit to. Their numbers are said to exceed 6,000 in a total population of nearly 50,000. The fame of Frankfort is not, however, merely of a commercial nature. It can boast of having produced many of the most eminent _literary_ characters of Germany.

All religions are here tolerated; but, under its old constitution, the members of government were Lutherans, and Calvinists were excluded from any share in the management of affairs. The present magistrates are only provisionally appointed since the late change in its situation. The cathedral is a venerable Gothic edifice, as is also the town-house; but Frankfort is more remarkable for a general air of magnificence than for the exclusive elegance of any particular buildings. There are seven or eight gates to the city, some of which are handsome, and adorned with statues of many worthies, whose names I could not learn. The busts of Alexander and Roxana were however too conspicuous to escape notice; but their connexion with Frankfort I am not antiquary enough to trace. Frankfort cannot be considered as a fortified place. Its bastions are planted with shrubs, and form a pleasant walk for the citizens. _Hamburg_ has recently afforded a melancholy example of the evil which walls may bring upon a commercial city; and the people of Frankfort cannot regret the use to which their bastions are applied. I was, by the favour of a merchant, to whom I had an introduction, admitted as a temporary member of the _Casino_, or _Public Institution_. It is one of the best conducted establishments I have seen. There are not less than 110 _newspapers_, besides other periodical publications; and, after an interval of two months, I was glad again to peruse an English newspaper. The reading-room, like the council-chamber at Stutgard, is adorned by a figure of Silence, and I think the hint seems well observed. There are, however, several very spacious and elegantly decorated apartments, for conversation, cards, billiards, &c. These rooms are frequented by ladies in the evenings, and then bear some resemblance to a London rout. The _concerts_ at Frankfort are remarkably good. There is only one theatre; and, as the performance was in German, I only went once out of curiosity. The number of villas around Frankfort are numerous and handsome, and the villages are large, and have every appearance of opulence. Here are many fine orchards, and the _cider of Afschaffenburg_ can be only distinguished from wine by a connoisseur.

At Hochst, six miles from Frankfort, stands the large edifice noticed by Dr. Moore, as having been built by a great tobacconist of Frankfort, out of spite to the magistrates of that city, with whom he had quarrelled; and he endeavoured to induce merchants to settle here. His plan, however, failed, and this great building is almost uninhabited. This village is at present chiefly remarkable for a manufacture of porcelain of excellent quality.

Great preparations were making at Frankfort to celebrate the anniversary of the glorious battle of Leipsig; and I was present at the inspection of about 6,000 men, preparatory to the great review on the eighteenth. There were many ladies present, and, although the weather was far from being warm, yet few of them wore bonnets. In general their hair was rolled round their heads.

Not being able to delay any longer in Frankfort, I took the road to _Mayence_, and passed through the large village of _Hochheim_, which contains 300 families. It was formerly the property of the chapter of Mayence, but its future destiny is at present undecided. From this place is derived the English name of _Hock_, which is applied to all the wine of the _Rhingau_. There are vast numbers of vineyards and fruit-trees around the village; and, from a hill above it, is seen the junction of the Mayn with the Rhine, in the midst of this rich country. The waters of the Mayn are of a dark hue, but do not, however, succeed in obscuring altogether the colour which the Rhine brings from Switzerland, and which I had so much admired at Schaffhausen. From the bridge of boats, which is 1,400 feet in length, and which forms the communication between Mayence and Cassel, one sees the Rhine forced by mountains to change its northerly direction, and, after forming some small islands it runs for some distance to the eastward. The mountains, which change the course of this vast river, form the _Rhingau_ so celebrated for its wines. That of the village of _Rudesheim_ is particularly noted for producing the best wine of the Rhingau, and consequently of Germany. The French had expended vast sums on the fortifications of _Cassel_ and _Mayence_, and rendered the latter one of the keys of Germany, as well from its strength as from its situation. They had always a great depot here, which considerably benefited the city; the loss of that advantage is much regretted.

When seen from the bridge (which is longer than that of Westminster) Mayence presents a striking appearance on account of its spires, and the vessels that line its quay, which presents a scene of considerable activity. On the customhouse were displayed the flags of Austria, Prussia, and Bavaria; but to which of those powers the city is to be subject is still undetermined. On the river are a great number of corn-mills, necessary where there is so great a garrison. The barracks are handsome, and on a large scale. The general appearance of the interior of Mayence is bad. The streets are in general narrow, dirty, and intricate. Near the castle are some good houses.

The cathedral is one of the largest buildings in _Germany_, It has suffered considerably in the late wars, and is now covered with wood. Its appearance is not, however, very striking, and it is surrounded with mean houses. I observed that a statue, “_a l’Empereur_” is still standing in front of one of the houses in this city. Its population is said to be 26,000. The inhabitants, for a considerable distance round Mayence, subsist principally by agriculture. They export their grain on the Rhine to Switzerland. They have abundance of vegetables, and the lower orders live a good deal on cabbage, which is here of a large size.

* * * * *

CHAP. XVI.

At Mayence I embarked on the Rhine for Cologne (above 100 English miles distant), to see the banks of a river so highly celebrated. Our company in the boat was not numerous, and would have been sufficiently agreeable, but for the continual _political rhapsodies_ of two Frenchmen, one of whom was an officer, and spoke with confidence of recovering all the conquests of France. These Frenchmen, in spite of the remonstrances of the Germans present, insisted, like the physicians in Moliere, _that they best knew what was for their good_, and that they (the Germans) mast be again united to France. One of these politicians asked me, if I did not think that Talleyrand would demand the left bank of the Rhine, as _essential_ to France, at the congress of Vienna. I answered, I did not think it was probable he would ask for countries which France had so recently relinquished, nor was it to be expected that the Allies would, to oblige him, depart from their principle of restraining France within those boundaries, which had, for centuries, been found as extensive as were consistent with the tranquillity of the rest of Europe; and that, for my own part, I could not conceive the acquisition of those provinces to be _essential_ to France, which had never been more prosperous than at a period when she formed no pretensions to so great an aggrandizement.

Waving any further discussions on a subject which the _vanity_ of these gentlemen would have extended _ad infinitum_, or, at least, longer than I wished, I left them to their own lucubrations, and went on deck to contemplate the grandeur of the scenery which surrounded us, and which was reflected in the transparent waters of the Rhine. The river here resembles a succession of lakes, and is surrounded in many places by such lofty mountains, that I was often at a loss to guess on which side we should find an opening to continue our course. The country along the Rhine is considered as one of the richest districts in Europe; it abounds with considerable towns, and with villages which, in other countries, would be considered as towns. Almost every eminence is crowned with an ancient castle, and there is scarcely a reach of the river which does not exhibit some ruin in the boldest situation that can be imagined. The houses too being mostly white, and covered with blue slates, add considerably to the beauty of the scene.

The _Tour de Souris_ is situated on an island near the _Gulph of Bingerlock_, where the river presents a curious appearance, being extremely agitated by hidden rocks, and the different currents are very violent. We dined at Bingen, where the Noh falls into the Rhine. The mountains of Niederwald cast a considerable shade around, and the mixture of woods and vineyards is highly picturesque, but the vines being mostly blighted, had this year the same autumnal tint as the trees. In this country, the vine is _almost the only product_ of the soil, and the inhabitants, who subsist chiefly by it, now behold with regret its withered state, and are melancholy and inactive, instead of being engaged in the pleasing cares of the vintage.

This is the _third year_ here, as well as in Burgundy and other districts, since there has been a favourable vintage; and it is only by mixing some of the vintage of 1811, with that of the subsequent years, that the inhabitants can dispose of a small portion of this inferior produce.

Boppart was the former residence of the electors of Treves, but the Palace is now falling to decay. Whilst contemplating this mouldering pile, I was struck with the well-known sounds of our national air, ‘_God save the King_,’ which some of the company below sang in chorus (being probably tired of the politics of the Frenchmen, as much as I was), this air being originally German. The evening was fine for the season, and about sun-set, several of the distant hills presented a fine appearance, having bonfires ou their tops, this being the 18th of October, which will be long celebrated in commemoration of the decisive battle of Leipzig. Most of the company came on deck to witness the effect of the bonfires. The Germans seemed delighted at the sight which the Frenchmen surveyed in silence. One of them, however, soon recovering his loquacity, asked me if I had been at _Paris_, which he said was the greatest city in the world, and _larger than London_.

This I could not assent to, being contrary to fact. Yet it would he difficult for _French ingenuity_ to prove what _benefits_ result to a country from an overgrown capital. _Superiority_ is, however, all they contend for. We soon saw the singular building (in an island) called the _Palatinate_; it is now used as a public granary, and was _illuminated_ in honour of the day, as was also the neat village of St. Goar, where we passed the night. _All_ seemed to partake of the festivity, and _I_ could net discern in the inhabitants any symptoms of regret that they were no longer subject to France.

Having set out at an early hour, we reached Coblentz to breakfast. It is a large town, containing 12,000 inhabitants, and is advantageously situated at the confluence of the Moselle and Rhine. It was garrisoned chiefly by the _Royal Guards of Saxony_, who exceeded in appearance any troops I had seen on the Continent. Some of them are stationed in the ci-devant palace, which is situated close to the river.

The lofty mountain opposite the town is covered with the _ruins of Ehrenbreitstein_, which was at one time considered as the strongest fortress on the Rhine. Opposite the town was a bridge of boats, but it was destroyed in the last war, and a flying bridge is substituted pro tempore. The Rhine is so rapid near Andernach, as never to freeze in the severest winter, and it here proceeds longer in a straight course, than I had yet seen in any part. Neuwied, although subject to inundations, is a large well built and commercial town. Lower down, on the left bank of the river, I observed an obelisk, which I found, on inquiry, was erected to the French General Marsan, who fell during the period of the first invasion of Germany by the French republicans. Still farther, and close to the river, stands an ancient building, called _The Devil’s House_, but, from what circumstance, I could not exactly discover. Some attribute it to the vast number of windows which it contains.

The situation of Lowdersdorf is highly picturesque, and the surrounding hills are shaded with woods of great antiquity. We here saw several rafts of timber of large dimensions, proceeding slowly down the stream. At Linz, the landsturm were mustered to fire a volley, as the victory of Leipzig was celebrated for two or three days in most parts of Germany. At Bonn, I witnessed further rejoicings, and the illuminations presented a highly pleasing effect when beheld from the river. I was at this place invited to a _ball and supper_, where I remained until a late hour, enjoying the general festivity.

Bonn is a well built city, containing about 14,000 inhabitants, and was formerly the general residence of the electors of Cologne. About a league above the city are the seven mountains, and near them is a beautiful island of considerable extent, in which is a large convent.

Here ends the picturesque scenery of the Rhine, which pursues the rest of its course through a flat country, until its waters are dispersed amongst the canals of Holland. The river is here of great width, but not so deep as it is higher up.

Before Bonn we saw the remains of two merchant vessels which had been wrecked there a few days before. Those who embark on the Rhine for pleasure, should here leave their boats, and pursue the rest of their journey by land, as the country ceases to be interesting, and the navigation is often difficult.

We set out with a favourable wind; but about a league from _Cologne_ our boat was driven on the right bank of the Rhine by a violent gale; and as there appeared no immediate prospect of proceeding by water, most of the party determined on walking to the city. We found the flying bridge had been damaged by the late storm, and were therefore obliged, to wait a long time for a boat of sufficient size to pass the river, which was greatly agitated, and which is here of great depth, although much narrower than at _Mayence_. Few cities present a more imposing appearance than Cologne; a vast extent of buildings, a profusion of steeples, and a forest of masts, raise the expectations of the traveller. The deception cannot be more justly or more emphatically described than in the words of Dr._Johnson:_ “Remotely we see nothing but spires of temples, and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendour, grandeur, and magnificence; but when we have passed the gates, we find it perplexed with narrow passages, disgraced with despicable cottages, embarrassed with obstructions, and clouded with smoke.”

Cologne is one of the largest and most ancient cities in Germany; it was founded by _Agrippa_, and is above three miles in length; but the population is only between 40 and 50,000, which is very inconsiderable for its great extent. From the number of its churches, which at one time amounted to 300, it has been called the Rome of Germany. One of them (the Dome), although still unfinished, is one of the grandest efforts of architecture, and excites the admiration of all judges of that art. The port owes its improvement to Buonaparte, and the quay is lined with ships of considerable size.

The city was anciently imperial, and the Elector of Cologne could not reside more than three days together in it without permission of the magistrates; but those who have ever seen this gloomy city, will not, I think, consider this restriction as a grievance.

I here left the Rhine; it is difficult sufficiently to praise the beauties of its banks, which afford also ample scope for the researches of the naturalist. They are not, however, adorned with that number of country-seats which enliven many of our rivers, and a few convents and palaces only are to be seen; although villages and towns are very numerous. I must not omit to mention, that I visited the house in which _Rubens_ was born; his name is given to the street, which, like most others at Cologne, has little beauty. He had furnished many of the churches of his native city with paintings, but several of them have been removed to Paris. He has been called _the Ajax of painters_, and his great excellence appears in the grandeur of his _compositions_; the art of colouring was by him carried to the highest pitch. Rubens, however great his skill, deserves the praise of _modesty_, as, although he is allowed to have been little inferior to Titian in _landscape_, he employed Widens and Van-uden when landscapes were introduced into his paintings, and Snyders for animals, who finished them from his designs.

The country around Cologne is well cultivated, but is unenclosed up to the walls of the city, and there are none of those elegant villas to be seen which distinguish the neighbourhood of Frankfort; but it is impossible for any two places to be more completely the reverse of each other in every respect.

My next stage was Juliers, the ancient capital of the duchy of the same name; it is a small city, but is well fortified, and its citadel is said to be of uncommon strength. As we approached Aix-la-Chapelle the roads became very indifferent, the soil being a deep sand; they are, however, in many places paved in the centre.

Aix-la-Chapelle is a large, and, in general, a well-built city. The windows, in most of the houses, are very large, and give it a peculiar appearance. It was called by the Romans _Aquisgranum_, or _Urbs Aquensis_. It has for ages been celebrated for its waters, which resemble extremely those of Bath; but some of the springs are still hotter. There are five springs which attract every year much company; but the season had ended before my arrival. This city was chosen by _Charlemagne_ as the place of his residence, on account of the pleasantness of its situation; and, until its incorporation with France, held the first rank amongst the imperial cities of Germany. According to the _Golden Bull_ the emperors were to be crowned here; but Charles V was the last who conformed to that regulation.

The ancient walls of Aix enclose a vast extent of ground, and afford a pleasant walk; but there is much of the space enclosed in fields and gardens, and the population is not proportioned to the remaining buildings, being no more than 30,000. The surrounding country is highly picturesque and varied, cultivation and woods being interspersed. The woods in this country have been, however, much diminished of late years. But there are, it may be observed, coal mines to supply sufficient fuel for the inhabitants.

The town or great village of Burscheid adjoins the gates of Aix; it is very flourishing. Near it is a fine abbey. I was also pleased with the ruins of the Castle of Frankenberg. Here is a manufactory of needles, and about Aix are several of cloth.

From the Tower of Sittard is a view of vast extent over the Netherlands. The cathedral of Aix is a large Gothic structure, but many of its decorations are trifling, and inconsistent with the solidity of its massy columns of marble and granite. Its doors are of bronze highly wrought, but full of fissures.

The streets here are crowded with beggars; and I think I never was in a place where so little respect is paid to the observance of Sunday. In most towns on the continent the theatres, &c. are open, but most of the shops are closed during some part of the day; here they were open during the whole day, and seemed equally busy as during the rest of the week.

The country between _Aix_ and _Liege_ produces great quantities of hops (the vine of the north of Europe), and the beer here is very good. Clermont is a neat village, with several good houses.

We passed over some mountains, which seem to be the limit of the German language; the inhabitants of them speak a dialect intelligible neither at Liege nor Aix.

The country near Liege is rich, and the city is situated in a beautiful valley on the Meuse; it is extremely large, but is ill built, and the streets are more intricate and dirty even than those of Cologne. There is a good deal of trade carried on here, and the population is estimated at not less than 50,000. There are a great number of churches, but I was not much struck with any of them; that of the Dominicans is said to be copied from St. Peter’s at Rome. There are a great number of booksellers here, and I was told it was a famous place to procure cheap books. The coal here seems of good quality, and the place is surrounded with collieries. The lower orders in this city speak a jargon called _Walloon_, which is completely unintelligible to the higher classes.

The French customs are generally prevalent here; and it is said, the inhabitants regret their separation from France. There were vast manufactories of cutlery here, but the French, before their departure, destroyed most of the machinery; this, together with the failure of other trades, is said to produce the distress which fills the streets with beggars.

The _general appearance_ of the inhabitants of Liege is not more prepossessing to a stranger than that of their city. There are said to be a great number of _thieves_, and I saw some surprised whilst cutting the trunks from behind a carriage at the inn-door. The money here is extremely adulterated, and is not taken one stage from the city, a circumstance which frequently is attended with great loss to the traveller, if he has occasion to receive much change.

In this neighbourhood are several vineyards, but the climate is too cold to admit of the wine having a good flavour. They here cultivate a species of cabbage, the seed of which produces a thick oil, which is used in dying stuffs, and forms part of the composition of the black soap of this country.

I found that the season had long ended at Spa; that the roads were bad, and that it was above thirty miles out of my way, and therefore determined on proceeding to Brussels in the diligence, to make trial of one of the public carriages of this country, having found the posting good from Cologne to Liege. I found it extremely spacious, when compared to those in England, and it was lined with faded yellow damask. I had but two companions, who, according to _Rousseau’s Axiom_, would not be entitled to the name of _men_, which, he says, belongs to none under _five feet six inches_.

They proved, however, sufficiently agreeable companions, and I found they resided at _Louvain_. We proceeded at the rate of rather more than four English miles an hour, which was quicker than I had before travelled in a public carriage on the continent. Our first stage presented nothing remarkable; but the next, _St. Tron_, was a remarkably neat little town. There is a spacious square, surrounded with good houses, and at one end is the _town-house_; the church is a large building, and its steeple contains a set of musical chimes, to which the people of this country are very partial.

We next reached _Tirlemont_, formerly one of the most considerable cities of Brabant, which is at present by no means of equal importance. The surrounding country is fruitful; many of its villages contain cottages of clay, which I did not expect to see in so opulent a province; they are indeed spacious, and the interior is kept very neat. The general appearance of the people here is much more in their favour than at Liege.

Tirlemont contains manufactures of flannels, stockings, and cloth. The _cotton trade_, formerly the great staple of the Netherlands, has of late years been greatly on the decline.

* * * * *

CHAP. XVII.

Although the present population of the Netherlands bears no proportion to that which it formerly maintained, yet it is still very considerable, and exceeds that of any country in Europe, Holland only excepted; being 202 persons to each square mile (see ch. xi. for the population of Switzerland, &c.) The decrease in the number of inhabitants in these provinces is chiefly to be attributed to the religious persecutions which compelled thousands of industrious families to emigrate.

This depopulation is very perceptible in many of the cities I passed through, which are capable of containing double their present number of inhabitants, and is nowhere more striking than at Louvain, where the present population does not exceed 25,000, and where formerly there were 4000 manufactories of cloth, which supported 15,000 labourers. This city is surrounded with an ancient wall of brick, which, as well as its numerous towers, presents a half mined appearance. Many of the public buildings of Louvain indicate its former opulence. The town-house is considered as a model of Gothic architecture, and the cathedral of St. Peter is a stately building. The portal of the _Collegium Falconis_ presents a specimen of Grecian architecture, which is much admired for the simplicity. The _University of Louvain_ was formerly of great celebrity, and no person could exercise any public authority in the Austrian Netherlands, without having graduated here. This regulation, however beneficially intended, only produced the effect of raising extremely the expence of the different diplomas, without being attended with any advantage, except to the funds of the university. In the present unsettled state of the _Netherlands_, it cannot be expected that the seats of learning should be as much frequented, as they probably will be when their new sovereign shall have had leisure to turn his attention to the important subject of _public education_; and the wisdom of the regulations he has promulgated, on other matters of general interest (particularly that which enforces the more solemn observation of Sunday) leaves little room to doubt that this point will, in its turn, be duly and successfully attended to. Those who have resided at Louvain have observed, that its inhabitants are in general _more polite_ than in most of the towns in these provinces; but my stay was not sufficiently long to enable me to form any opinion on the subject. The manners of the people do not seem to me very dissimilar from those of the French, but others think they most resemble the Dutch. In fact, the _Netherlanders_ have no _very peculiar characteristics_, but partake, in many respects, of those which distinguish the various nations from whom they are descended. They have been much and often abused by various writers, who have attributed to them the _faults_ of almost all the nations of Europe, without allowing that they possess any of the good qualities by which those faults are palliated in the other nations. Those, however, who are of a candid disposition will not feel inclined to assent to the truth of statements so evidently dictated by enmity or spleen. But whilst I would not have the Flemish considered as a compound of all that is exceptionable in the human character, I do not consider them as meriting any _particular praise_; nor can I vindicate them from the charge of dishonesty, which has been so often alleged against them. In general on the Continent, where _the English_ are the _subjects of extortion_, the fraud is considered as trivial, and the French often boast in conversation how _John Bull is pillaged at Paris_. But whatever may be the _Flemish character_, it is allowed by all that they follow the French customs in their domestic arrangement, but are in general more cleanly. Their _kitchens_ are kept very neat, and the cooking apparatus is ranged in order round the stove, which, in many of the kitchens that I saw in the small inns, projects considerably into the room.

Many of the inhabitants of these provinces (like my two companions in the Louvain Diligence) are below the middle size; they are extremely intelligent and active, and in general civil to strangers. Before I quit Louvain, I must not omit to notice that it is famous for its beer, which is certainly the best I have tasted on the Continent. The number of breweries is said to exceed twenty, and the consumption is astonishingly great in the neighbourhood, besides a considerable export trade.

I continued my journey to Brussels along an excellent road, the centre of which was paved, as from the nature of the soil, it would be otherwise impassable in winter. The roads in this country run for many miles together, in a straight line between rows of trees; and I must confess I thought it very uninteresting to travel through. The flatness of its surface, is but rarely interrupted by any eminence, which affords a prospect calculated to make any impression on the mind. There are many neat villages, and occasionally one sees _country seats_ decorated in that formal style of gardening, which was originally introduced from this country into England, but which has there long since yielded to a more natural taste. The farming seems very neatly managed; the numerous canals, although they add nothing to the beauty of the country, are of great utility to the farmer; and travelling is very cheap in the boats, which pass between the chief towns.

It would require scenery like that of the Rhine, to induce me to adopt this conveyance; but many of these canals pass between banks which exclude all view of the surrounding country. I found the Netherlander generally impatient to be relieved from the great military expences, incident to their present situation. There is, I think, little reason to doubt, that when some of the existing taxes can be removed, the _Orange family_ will become popular. The stamp duties are very heavy; there are land and house taxes, and a personal tax. It is to be expected, that the people should wish for a diminution of their burdens, but _Liege_ is the only place I have visited in the countries lately relinquished by France, where the separation seems to be generally regretted. I found that the Prussian government, was by no means popular, on the left bank of the Rhine, and that an union with either Austria or Bavaria, was much wished for in those provinces, whose future destiny remains to be decided at the Congress of Vienna.

Having met with but few English travellers since I had quitted Switzerland, I was much struck on entering Brussels with the _vast numbers_ of my fellow subjects, moving in all directions. The garrison was almost entirely composed of English troops, so that I felt here quite at home. I found that there was an _English theatre_, as well as a French one, and that balls, and entertainments of all descriptions, _a l’Anglaise_, were in abundance. Indeed the upper part of the city differed little in appearance from an English watering place.

Brussels is a city of great extent, built partly on the river Senne (naturally a very inconsiderable stream, but which, being formed here into a canal, becomes of much advantage), and partly on a hill, commanding an extensive view of the rich and fertile plain by which it is surrounded; much of which resembles a vast kitchen garden. It is, like Louvain, surrounded by a ruined wall of brick, as formerly all the towns of Flanders were fortified. This was the capital of the Austrian Netherlands, and lately the chief place of the French department of the Dyle: it will, probably, now become, for a part of the year, the residence of its new sovereign, whose sons are at present amongst its inhabitants. The inhabitants of Brussels are calculated at 70,000, and its environs give the traveller an idea of its importance, as they have an appearance of much traffic and are decorated with many villas which announce the opulence, but not always the good taste of their owners. The city is, in general, irregularly built, and the lower part does not deserve commendation; but the _place royale_ is fine: the park is surrounded by many handsome public buildings, and by a number of private houses, which would ornament any capital in Europe. The park is of considerable extent, and forms an agreeable promenade. Its avenues are kept in excellent order; they abound with statues and other formal decorations, which are, however, more admissible in a city promenade than in the retirement of the country. A fountain here was celebrated by _Peter the Great’s_ having fallen into it, as that monarch, like Cato, was said,

“Saepe mero caluisse virtus.”

“His virtue oft with wine to warm.”

The circumstance was recorded by the following inscription:

“Petrus Alexowitz, Czar Moscoviae, magnus dux, margini hujus fontis insidiens, illius aquam nobilitavit libato vino hora post meridiam tertia, die 16 Aprilis, 1717.”

“That renowned General P.A., Czar of Moscovy, having poured forth ample libations of wine, whilst sitting on the brink of this fountain fell into, and ennobled its waters about three o’clock in the afternoon of the 16th of April, 1717.”

The town-house is one of the most conspicuous of the public buildings at Brussels, although it is situated in the lowest part of the town, its steeple rising to the height of 364 feet; it is a very fine piece of Gothic architecture. The equestrian statue, noticed by M. Dutens, as being placed on the _top of a house_ in the square before the town-house, has disappeared; the horse and his rider having been removed to a more suitable situation. The church of St. Gudule presents a venerable and interesting appearance; it contains several fine paintings, and windows of stained glass. There are many ancient tombs of the old Dukes of Brabant. The church of St. James is also worthy of notice, and its facade of the Corinthian order, is an elegant and uniform piece of architecture, which does honour to the taste of the builder.

Brussels contains many fine collections of paintings, which I have not time to enumerate; but I was much pleased with some pictures of _M. Danoots_, to whom I had a letter. They are not very numerous, but are undoubted originals of S. Rosa, Teniers, Rembrandt, Myiens, and of J. Bassano, who is remarkable for having attained a greater age (82) than most of the great painters, he has accordingly left behind him a greater number of pictures than almost any other master. He is said to have expressed great regret on his death-bed, that he should be obliged to quit the world at the moment when he had begun to make some little progress in his art. A shorter life than Bassano’s, is, however, sufficient to establish the reputation of an artist. _Raphael_ died in his 37th year, but public opinion has placed him at the head of his art for _general proficiency_.

There are several excellent hotels in Brussels which command a view of the park. I was at one of these, the _Hotel de Bellevue_, and found the hour of the _table d’hote_ had been changed to accommodate the English, to four o’clock, at least two hours later than the usual time; but as the company consisted always entirely of English it was but reasonable they should fix the hour. The dinner here more resembled an _English one_ than any I had hitherto seen on the Continent, and reminded me of the public tables at Cheltenham.

Brussels was some months since a very _cheap_ residence, but I have been assured, that the prices of most articles have more than doubled since our troops first arrived here. Living at an hotel here is nearly as expensive as in London; but no doubt there is a considerable saving in the expences of a family who are recommended to honest trades-people. There are still a number of good houses to be let, notwithstanding the great influx of English, many of whom have engaged houses for _four or five years_, on terms which seem _very reasonable_ to those accustomed to the _London prices_.

The country round Brussels presents several excursions which would probably have better answered my expectations had the weather been more favourable. The Abbey of _Jurourin_, was a country seat of the princes of the Austrian family, and was formerly famous for its menagerie. The forest of _Sogne_ is of great extent; and its numerous avenues, which now had a sombre appearance, are, no doubt, in summer, much frequented by the inhabitants of Brussels. This forest was the property of the Emperor of Germany, and is said to have produced an annual revenue of one million of florins.

The prison, or house of correction, at _Vilvorde_, is worthy of attention, from the excellent manner in which it is conducted. Those who wish for the introduction of some improvements into our workhouses, might surely derive many useful hints from the manner in which similar establishments are conducted abroad; and although I have never thought much on the subject, yet I did not fail to remark the cleanliness, regularity, and industry, which prevailed here and in another place of the same kind near Berne.

Brussels is seen to great advantage from the ancient ramparts which surround it. I went entirely round the city in about two hours, and afterwards attended divine service, which was performed in English, to a congregation which proved the great number of English now here. There are at present but _few very strongly fortified cities_ in Belgium, compared with the vast number which it formerly contained. The period is past, when, after the ablest engineers had exerted their utmost skill in the construction of fortifications around its cities, generals, not less distinguished, contended for the honour of reducing them. Amongst numberless other instances, the siege of _Ostend_ sufficiently attests how successful the engineers have been in rendering those places strong; and also bears ample testimony to the perseverance of the commanders who at last succeeded in taking them. Ambrose Spinola entered Ostend in 1604, after a siege of above three years, during which the besieged lost 50,000 and the besiegers 80,000 men. The siege and capture of _Valenciennes_ might also be adduced, if testimony were wanting of the zeal and bravery of British armies and commanders. But however justly these sieges are celebrated in _modern times_, the _antiquarian_ who contends for the _supremacy of past ages_ over the present, will not fail to instance the siege of _Troy_ and the exploits of Achilles and Agamemnon, as a more distinguished instance of perseverance than any to be met with in these _degenerate_ _days_, and if he should meet with some _sceptic_ who insists that the heroes of Homer owe their existence only to the imagination of the poet, although he can assent to no such hypothesis, yet he will also instance the siege of _Azotus_, on the frontiers of Egypt, which Psammeticus, meditating extensive conquests, and thinking it beneath him to leave so strong a fortress unsubdued, is related to have spent 29 years of his reign in reducing.

As I was desirous of visiting Antwerp and Ghent, and as the period allotted for my tour was drawing to a close (a circumstance which the advanced season of the year gave me but little reason to regret) I left Brussels, enveloped in a fog, which might remind the English fashionables of those so prevalent in London during the gloomy season of November, and proceeded to Malines, 14 miles distant, formerly one of the greatest cities of Belgium, but now like too many other once celebrated places in that country, affording a melancholy contrast to its former splendour, and proving that in the vicissitude of all sublunary affairs, cities, as well as their inhabitants, are subject to decay.

Non indignemur mortalia corpora solvi Cernimus exemplis oppida posse mori.

Here are several manufactories of excellent lace and many breweries, but the beer is considered as greatly inferior to that of Louvain. The houses are spacious, and exhibit singular specimens of ancient taste; the roofs rise to a great height and terminate in a sharp point. Their walls are generally of an excessive whiteness. The tower of the cathedral is highly finished, and rises to a vast height. There being little to detain me here, Malines being more remarkable for what it once was, than for what it now is, I continued my way to Antwerp along an excellent paved road, lined by avenues of trees, which are often so cut (the Dutch differing from the Minorquins, who never prune a tree, saying, that nature knows best how it should grow) as not to be at all ornamental, and in some places cannot be said to afford either “from storms a shelter, or from heat a shade.” In that state, however unnatural, they answer the intention of their planters, by marking the course of the road in the snowy season, without excluding the air from it in the wet weather, prevalent in autumn.

Antwerp is one of the most celebrated cities of Europe, and although its present situation is far from comparable with its former celebrity, yet it has revived greatly of late years; and the events which have restored to these provinces their independence, will, no doubt, fill with the vessels of all trading nations those docks, which were constructed by the French Government at such incredible expence, and with far different views than the encouragement of commercial speculations. The canals by which these docks communicate with Bruges and Ostend, that the navy of Napoleon might run no risks by passing on the _high seas_, are vast works, which must have cost enormous sums of money. The Scheld is here about half the width of the Thames at Westminster; but _Antwerp_ is above fifty miles from its mouth. Its depth is very considerable; and such was at one period the commerce of Antwerp, that not less than 2000 vessels annually entered its port. The present population of this city is stated at 60,000. There are manufactures of lace, silk, chocolate, and extensive establishments for refining sugar. The export of the productions of the fruitful district which surrounds the city is very considerable. Nothing proves more strongly the _riches of these provinces_, than the short period in which they recover the evils of a campaign; and it was their fertility in grain, which principally rendered them of such importance to the French government. During the late scarcity in France, the crops succeeded tolerably well here; and Buonaparte obliged the inhabitants of Belgium to supply France at a price which he fixed himself, and by which _they lost_ considerably.

There are many buildings at Antwerp, which are justly admired for their magnificence, particularly the cathedral, which, like many other churches here, was decorated by the pencil of Rubens. The tower of the cathedral is a rich specimen of Gothic. The general effect of this building is lessened by a number of mean houses which surround it. The church of St. Andre contains a monument to the memory of Mary Queen of Scotland. The town-house is a large building; its facade is 250 feet in length, and is composed of all the orders of architecture. Many of the streets at Antwerp are tolerably well built. I was informed that many individuals have good collections of paintings, by the chief painters which this country has produced. It is impossible to pass through Flanders without being struck with the exactness with which its painters have represented the face of their country, and the persons of its inhabitants. Antwerp, on the whole, has a tolerably cheerful appearance. The promenade of Penipiere is pleasant, and much frequented by the citizens.

The country between Antwerp and Gand, presents, like the rest of Flanders, a level surface, highly cultivated, traversed by excellent roads, running in straight lines from one town to another. I must, however, own that I have seldom traversed a more uninteresting country. But as the reign of a prince, which affords the fewest incidents for the commemoration of the historian, is thought to be often the most fortunate for the interests of his subjects, so a country, which is passed over in silence by the tourist, as devoid of those natural beauties, which fix his attention, often contains the most land susceptible of cultivation, which best repays the labours of the husbandman, and is the most valuable to the possessor. Many of the Flemish inns are very neat; but the traveller who has recently quitted Germany, is struck with their inferiority in point of decoration (although, perhaps, in no other respect) to those of that country, which abound with gilding, trophies, and armorial bearings, to invite the stranger, who here has a less shewy intimation of the entertainment he seeks for. The peasants here commonly wear wooden shoes; and they who do not consider how powerful is the force of custom, are surprised how they contrive to walk so well, in such awkward and clumsy machines.

* * * * *

CHAP. XVIII.

Gand, or _Ghent_, is the capital of Flanders, and is one of the greatest cities in Europe as to extent; it is seven miles in circumference. It is situated on the Scheldt and Lys, which are here joined by two smaller rivers, which with numerous canals intersect the city, and form upwards of twenty islands, that are united by above 100 bridges. No position can be conceived more favourable for trade than this. But Gand is greatly fallen from the once splendid situation she held amongst the cities of Europe, and although superior to either Brussels or Antwerp in point of appearance, its population is now inferior to those cities, being reduced to 58,000: a very inconsiderable number for a city of such extent. Gand is celebrated as the birthplace of the Emperor Charles the Fifth. It exhibited at different periods proofs of his attachment to a place of which he boasted being a citizen, and of the severity with which he punished the revolt of its inhabitants. In more ancient times Gand produced another character of political importance, _d’Arteville_, a brewer, whose influence in this city (then one of the first in Europe) made King Edward the Third of England solicitous for his friendship; and history informs us, that one of his sons, at the head of 60,000 Gantois, carried on a war against his sovereign.

Here was concluded the celebrated treaty in 1516, called the Pacification of Gand; and it may in future times be famous for the conclusion of a treaty between England and America.

Charles the Fifth comparing the extent of Paris with that of this city, is said to have remarked, “_qu’il auroit mis tout Paris dans Gand_;” and, except Paris, and perhaps Cologne, it is the largest city I have seen on the Continent. Many of the canals have some appearance of trade. I observed many very extensive bleach-greens beyond the ancient ditches and works which surround the city. The walls along the canal of _la Coussure_ are the most frequented by the inhabitants.

The cathedral is a handsome structure, and contains some beautiful carving. The church of St. Michael is also a noble and venerable edifice. There are many other handsome churches amongst the number which the city contains, and I do not recollect ever to have been in a place where there are such a number and variety of _chimes_.

The town-house is an extremely large and handsome building, in the ancient taste, as indeed are most of those in the Netherlands. The city contains many elegant private houses. The streets are remarkably clean and spacious, but the want of an adequate population is very perceptible. Here is a good public library, and the Botanic Garden is considered as the best in the Netherlands. The prison built by the Empress Maria Teresa is well worthy of a visit; and the stranger cannot fail of being struck with the extreme activity and industry which prevails within its walls. Every thing seems conducted much in the same manner, of which I had occasion to notice the advantages at Vilvorde. There is a theatre; but those who have lately arrived from Brussels or Lisle will not be much struck with the merits of the performers. From Gand to Ostend and Dunkirk there are no public conveyances, except along the canals. This mode of travelling I was not inclined to adopt; and hearing that the road by Lisle, although thirty miles longer, passed through a finer country, I determined to proceed that way. I did not hear a favourable account of _Ostend_; and, notwithstanding the peace, above a third of the houses were said to be untenanted. Bruges has neither river nor fountain, but abundance of stagnant canals and reservoirs. The word _Bourse_, as designating the place where merchants assemble to transact business, had its first origin from a house at Bruges, then belonging to the family of _Van der Bourse_, opposite to which the merchants of the city used to meet daily. As the road between Ghent and Lisle did not claim any minute survey, and as I had been satisfied with the trial I had before made of a diligence in their country, I engaged a place for Lille for the next morning.

I was awakened, long before daybreak, by the noise of packing in the carriages in the yard, and by the vociferations of several Frenchmen in the house, who seemed to exert their lungs more than the occasion required. I was not sorry to see them set off in a different carriage from that in which I was to proceed, as their extreme noise would have been tiresome. I had not to complain that my companions made an unnecessary _depense de parole_. They were, I believe, all Flemish. One of them prided himself on being able to speak a little English, which he said he could read perfectly, and pulled from his pocket “The Vicar of Wakefield,” which, he assured me, he admired extremely. I have, on many occasions, in Germany, been in company with persons who were more desirous of beginning a conversation in English, than able afterwards to continue it; but in general I have found that the English make less allowance for the want of proficiency of foreigners in their language than foreigners do for our ignorance of theirs. On one occasion, at a _table d’hote_, a person who sat near me pointed out a gentleman at some distance, and observed that it would be impossible to please him more than by giving him an opportunity of speaking English, as he valued himself much on his knowledge of that language. He was not long without finding the opportunity he sought for, but not the approbation which he had probably expected.

But to return to the diligence. The rest of the passengers being lethargic after dinner, an elderly lady and I had the conversation to ourselves. She complained frequently of her _poor bonnet_, which, from its _extraordinary elevation_ (having to all appearance antiquity to boast of) was frequently forced in contact with the top of the carriage by the roughness of the pavement. I told her, I had heard that the bonnets at Paris had been much reduced in point of height, and that perhaps something between the French and English fashions would in time be generally worn. But although she had to complain of the inconvenience arising from the unnecessarily large dimensions of her headdress, she expressed a hope that no such reduction might take place, as the English bonnets were in her opinion so extremely unbecoming, that she should much regret any bias in the French ladies towards such an innovation.

The pavement on which we travelled was rendered very necessary by the weight of the carriages, which would soon make the road impassable. The country resembled the rest of Flanders. I observed a greater number of sportsmen than I had yet seen, well provided with dogs, ranging a country which is too thickly inhabited to abound in game; and I have seldom seen a district where there are fewer birds of any kind. Courtray is a large and handsome town. Here I observed some large dogs employed in drawing small carts, a custom very general in Holland. The town-house bears an inscription, indicating that it was erected _by the senate and people of Courtray_; a style lately used by all the cities of Germany which depended on the empire, however inconsiderable they had become in the course of years. There are many beggars here although the town and neighbourhood exhibits more industry than I had observed since I left Antwerp.

At Courtray and Menin the garrisons are English, and a little beyond the last named place we entered France. The _boundary stone_ was pointed out to me as curious, from having escaped unnoticed during the revolutionary times, as it bears the royal arms of France on one side and those of Austria on the other, and after a series of eventful years, it serves again to point out the ancient and legitimate limits of France. We were detained above an hour at the custom-house, as the diligence was heavily laden and all merchandise, as well as the baggage of the passengers, was examined with minute attention.

The tax was however only on the patience, the purse not being diminished by any claim from the officers, who were extremely civil in assisting to arrange what their search had convinced them not to be illegal. Our passports were not demanded until we reached the out-posts of Lille, and we were not long detained, as every thing was satisfactory. I was told that a few days before, two English travellers not being provided with sufficient passports, were taken out of the diligence and conveyed under an escort into Lille, where they were next day recommended to return to England, and provide themselves with proper passports.

Lille is the capital of French Flanders, and the chief place in the department _du Nord_; it is one of the handsomest and best built cities of France, as well as the strongest fortified. The _citadel_ especially, is considered as the _chef d’oeuvre_ of the celebrated _Vauban_, this place having been one of the most important fortresses on this side of France; it has again become so, although far removed from that line which an insatiable ambition would have established as the boundary of France; and which included nations not desirous of the union. The population of Lille is estimated at 61,500. It contains many manufactories, which a period of tranquillity will probably restore to their ancient prosperity. Many of the streets here reminded me of Paris. The cathedral is a handsome building, as are also the exchange, the theatre, and the porte royale. The barracks are large and spacious; and there being generally a large garrison, the _theatre_ is well attended and the performers superior to those in most provincial towns. I was told by a gentleman who has resided here for some time, that there are few towns in France which exceed this in point of agreeable society. He had two letters of introduction on his arrival and found no difficulty in enlarging the circle of his acquaintance. He added, that many English had settled here for the sake of economy; and it certainly is cheaper than most of the great towns of Belgium.

I had much reason to be satisfied that I took this road to Calais, instead of going by the canals, as the country was much diversified, and the _view from Cassel_ was one of the most striking and extensive that I had ever seen. Notwithstanding that the month of November is not calculated for seeing a country to advantage, some of the richest and best cultivated provinces of France and Flanders are discovered from this commanding situation. The scene is bounded on one side by the sea and on the other by the mountains of Hainault. Those who are acquainted with the country assert that from Cassel you can see thirty towns or considerable villages, of which seventeen are fortified. Cassel itself is by no means remarkable; it was at one time a place of great strength, but its fortifications have gone to decay, although its situation must always render it a strong position. After a considerable descent on leaving Cassel, we arrived in the plain, which extends to the coast, with but little variation. It is fertile in corn and produces hops. There are several rich pastures and a tolerable proportion of wood. This day we travelled entirely in the department _du Nord_, where the roads are much attended to. I observed a few country houses and a chateau of General _Vandamme_.

Berg is a considerable town, but badly situated; the country from thence to Dunkirk is a flat and marshy plain, resembling those extensive tracts which occupy a large proportion of the counties of Cambridge and Lincoln. It abounds with canals and drains, which in some places are higher than the fields, but this uninteresting district feeds large herds of cattle, and is in many parts well cultivated. One of the chief canals leading to Dunkirk runs parallel with the road for a great distance, its banks are planted with trees, which have a stunted appearance, owing probably to their proximity to the sea. I observed on the canal several boats laden with the produce of the country, as well as the stage boats. Dunkirk is well built, and the streets being spacious it makes a favourable impression on the mind of the traveller, who is perhaps more liable to the force of a first impression than most others. Some of the churches and public buildings are handsome and the number of inhabitants is estimated at 22,000. Its name is said to originate from a church built here by the Duns in 646, and in Flemish its name signifies the _church of the Duns_. There is much similarity between many words in the English and Flemish, but the latter cannot claim the praise of agreeableness.

It is endeavoured by a proclamation of the _Prince Sovereign_ to restore the _Flemish language_ in all public acts and pleadings at law, to the exclusion of the French, which during the union of Belgium with France, was alone allowed to be used, and pains were taken that in all schools the French language only should be taught. But it is a difficult task, to overcome the partiality of a people for their ancient dialect, and the Flemish language is still used by the lower classes even in those parts of Flanders which have been united for above a century to France. At this day the difference between the two nations is not altogether done away.

The scheme of again uniting Belgium and the left bank of the Rhine to France, is here perpetually introduced. The French talk of the oppressed state of the Belgians, and of the vast number of _ordinary_, _extraordinary_, and _indirect_ imposts to which they are subject, and conclude that they must wish to become again the subjects of France, as if they would by that means escape taxation. That they would rather be subject to the _mild government of Louis XVIII_. than to the _oppressive tyranny of Buonaparte_, I can easily conceive; but is it unnatural that they should be desirous of existing as an independent nation, under a government of their own? Yet were it ascertained beyond dispute, that the wishes of the Belgians are such as the French represent them, surely the general interests of Europe, and the preservation of that balance of power so essential to its permanent tranquillity, would forbid the further extension of France, which might again reassume that preponderance which it has cost the other powers so much to reduce. I am, however, inclined to think, that the wishes of the Belgians are not such as they are represented; but the French _knowing a little, presume a good deal, and so jump to a conclusion_.

The merchants here seem to expect that their city will obtain the privileges of a _free port_, which have been lately granted to Marseilles, but upon what grounds their hopes are founded, I did not distinctly understand.

Dunkirk was at one period subject to England; being taken in 1658, it continued an English garrison until sold by that needy monarch Charles the Second, to Louis the Fourteenth, in 1662. The odium of this transaction was one of the causes of the disgrace of that great statesman, Lord Clarendon, and a house which he was then building, obtained the popular appellation of _Dunkirk House_. In the possession of so enterprising and ambitious a sovereign as Louis, Dunkirk became so formidable by its fortifications, that the demolition of them was deemed essential to the interests of England, and was accordingly insisted on by the Treaty of Utrecht, 1713; but by the treaty of 1783, the article against its being fortified was annulled, and although several works have been constructed since that period, it has by no means re-assumed its former strength. From Dunkirk, I proceeded to Gravelines, which, although inconsiderable as a town, is strong as a fortress, since the flat country which surrounds it may be laid under water to a great