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  • 1815
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extent on the approach of an enemy. The market-place is spacious, but overgrown with weeds. I observed that it still bears the name of the _Place de la Liberte_, and a street which communicates with it is designated _Rue de l’Egalite_.

The title of the market-place is more applicable to the present than to the former state of France; that of the street cannot long exist in any country, for the maxim tells us, “_that all men are by nature unequal_,” and the attempt to render them equal has been often compared, in point of absurdity, to the labours of _Procrustes_. _An equal right to justice_ is all the _equality_ that can subsist in civilized society, consistent with the _liberty_, _property_, and _personal security_, of individuals, which would be perpetually violated by a system, to preserve which, it would be requisite continually to take from the acquisitions of the industrious, to give to the idle and the profligate. It is possible that the experience of the last twenty years may not have produced as full a conviction as might have been expected on the minds of the French; but it cannot be supposed to have been altogether unheeded by them.

I found at Gravelines a diligence, which I think the cheapest land conveyance I ever met with. It runs from Dunkirk to Calais (about twenty-five English miles) for three francs. It carries six passengers, and performs the journey in about five or six hours. It is the _spirit of opposition_ which has so advantageously for the public reduced the price, which used to be double, and which will probably, in a little time, rise one franc more.

The country between Gravelines and Calais is as uninteresting as can be conceived. The ground is shewn where Edward III. of England had his camp during the memorable siege of Calais. This town continued to be possessed by England until the reign of Queen Mary, (being the last place in France _proper_ which remained of the numerous territories once possessed by England), and its loss is said to have greatly afflicted her Majesty. The fortifications of Calais are kept in tolerably good repair. I found that for three days previous to my arrival no vessel had been able to sail, owing to the contrary winds and the violent agitation of the sea. Two vessels had been wrecked by these storms, but nearly all the crews were saved. In the evening I visited the theatre, and was sorry to observe, that a sentiment introduced into the performance expressive of satisfaction at the peace between France and England, excited much disapprobation from the officers present. The _jealousy which prevails against the English in France is very striking_, after the cordiality with which they are received in Germany. It seems to be the Englishman’s _purse alone_ that commands a certain interested assiduity, which they take care shall be _amply_ remunerated.

The port of Calais presented no appearance of activity, the transports which filled it on my first arrival having long disappeared. After being detained one day, I was glad to hear a bustle in the hotel at an early hour next morning, and perceiving that the wind had become more favourable for England, I hastened on board the packet, in which my landlord had engaged me a place; the price I found was now reduced to half a guinea. I had procured the day before a _sufferance_ for the embarkation of myself and baggage. Our captain and crew were French, and the vessel was not in the neatest order.

Two other packets sailed at the same time, but arrived in Dover before us. All were full of passengers, owing to the weather having been long unfavourable for sailing. We had on board forty-six passengers, amongst whom were several _Frenchmen_, who again gave me occasion to remark the loquacity of their nation; and they only agreed with La Fontaine in the former part of the line, where he says, “_Il est bon de parler, et meilleur de se taire_;” _’Tis good to speak, but better to be silent._ Our passage was extremely rough; but after twelve hours sailing, we entered the port of Dover, and I felt great pleasure in finding myself again in a country, which had only risen still higher in my estimation, from the comparison I had been enabled to form between it and the other countries I had visited.