Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Paris As It Was and As It Is by Francis W. Blagdon

Part 13 out of 14

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

name of man. The thunderbolts, which strike the pride and insolence
of arbitrary power, issue from your happy island. Human reason has
found among you an asylum whence she may instruct the world. Your
books are not subject to an inquisition; and it would require a long
comment to explain to you in what manner permission is at length
obtained for a flimsy pamphlet, which no one will read, to be exposed
for sale, and remain unsold, on the _Quai de Gevres_.

"We are so absurd and so little in comparison to you," adds MERCIER,
"that you would be at a loss to conceive the excess of our weakness
and humiliation."


_Paris, March 9, 1802._

Among the national establishments in this metropolis, I know of none
that have experienced so great an amelioration, since the revolution,
as the


The civil hospitals in Paris now form two distinct classes. The one
comprehends the hospitals for the sick: the other, those for the
indigent. The former are devoted to the relief of suffering human
nature; the latter serve as an asylum to children, to the infirm, and
to the aged indigent. All persons who are not ill enough to be
admitted of necessity into the hospital the nearest to their
residence, are obliged to present themselves to the _Bureau Central
d'Admissions_. Here they are examined, and if there be occasion, they
receive a ticket of admission for the hospital where their particular
disorder is treated. At the head of the hospitals for the sick stands
that so long known by the appellation of the


Formerly, nothing more horrid could be conceived than the spectacle
presented in this asylum for the afflicted. It was rather a
charnel-house than an hospital; and the name of the Creator, over
the gate, which recalled to mind the principle of all existence,
served only to decorate the entrance of the tomb of the living.

The _Hotel-Dieu_, which is situated in the _Parvis Notre-Dame_, _Ile
du Palais_, was founded as far back as the year 660 by St. Landry,
for the reception of the sick and maimed of both sexes, without any
exception of persons. Jews, Turks, infidels, pagans, protestants, and
catholics were alike admitted, without form or recommendation. Yet,
though it contained but 1200 beds, and the number of patients very
often exceeded 5000, and, on an average, was never less than 2500,
till the year 1786, no steps were taken for enlarging the hospital,
or providing elsewhere for those who could not be conveniently
accommodated in it. The dead were removed from the wards only on
visits made at a fixed time; so that it happened not unfrequently
that a poor helpless patient was compelled to remain for hours wedged
in between two corpses. The air or the neighbourhood was contaminated
by the noisome exhalations continually arising from this abode of
pestilence, and that which was breathed within the walls of the
hospital was so contagious, as to turn a trifling complaint into a
dangerous disorder, and a simple wound into a mortification.

In 1785, the attention of the government being called to this serious
evil by various memoirs, the _Academy of Sciences_ was directed to
investigate the truth of the bold assertions made in these
publications. A commission was appointed; but as the revenues of the
_Hotel-Dieu_ were immense, for a long time it was impossible to
obtain from the Governors any account of their application. However,
the Commissioners, directing their attention to the principal object,
reported as follows: "We first compared the _Hotel-Dieu_ and the
_Hopital de la Charite_ relative to their mortality. In 52 years, the
_Hotel-Dieu_, out of 1,108,741 patients lost 244,720, which is one
out of four and a half. _La Charite_, where but one dies out of seven
and a half, would have lost only 168,700, whence results the
frightful picture that the _Hotel-Dieu_, in 52 years, has snatched
from France 99,044 persons, whose lives would have been saved, had
the _Hotel-Dieu_ been as spacious, in proportion, as _La Charite_.
The loss in these 52 years answers to 1906 deaths per year, and that
is nearly the tenth part of the total and annual loss of Paris. The
preservation of this hospital in the site it now occupies, and on its
present plan, therefore produces the same effect as a sort of plague
which constantly desolates the capital."

In consequence of this report, the hospital was enlarged so as to
contain about 2000 beds. Since the revolution, the improvements
introduced into the interior government of the _Hotel-Dieu_ have been
great and rapid. Each patient now has a bed to himself. Those
attacked by contagious disorders are transferred to the _Hospice St.
Louis_. Insane persons are no longer admitted; men, thus afflicted,
are sent to a special hospital established at _Charenton_; and women,
to the _Salpetriere_. Nor are any females longer received into the
_Hotel-Dieu_ to lie-in; an hospital having been established for the
reception of pregnant women. At the _Hotel-Dieu_, every method has
been put in practice to promote the circulation of air, and expel the
insalubrious miasmata. One of these, I think, well deserves to be
adopted in England.

In the French hospitals, one ward at least is now always kept empty.
The moment it becomes so by the removal of the patients into another,
the walls are whitewashed, and the air is purified by the fumigation
with muriatic acid, according to the plan first proposed by
GUYTON-MORVEAU. This operation is alternately performed in each
ward in succession; that which has been the longest occupied being
purified the first, and left empty till it is again wanted.

The number of hospitals in Paris has been considerably augmented.
They are all supported by the government, and not, like those in
England, by private benefactions. Sick children of both sexes, from
the time of suckling to the age of sixteen, are no longer admitted
into the different hospitals; but are received into a special
hospital, extremely well arranged, and in a fine, airy situation,
beyond the _Barriere de Sevres_. Two institutions have been formed
for the aged, infirm and indigent, who pay, on entrance, a moderate
sum. One of these charities is without the _Barriere d'Enfer_; the
other, in the _Faubourg St. Martin_. In the same _faubourg_, a
_Maison de Sante_ is established, where the sick are treated on
paying thirty _sous_ a day.

An hospital for gratuitous vaccination, founded by the Prefect of the
department of La Seine, is now open for the continual treatment of
the cow-pox, and the distribution of the matter to all parts of

In general, the charitable institutions in Paris have also undergone
very considerable improvements since the revolution; for instance,
the male orphans, admitted, to the number of two thousand, into the
asylum formerly called _La Pitie_, in the _Faubourg St. Victor_, used
to remain idle. They were employed only to follow funeral
processions. At present, they are kept at work, and instructed in
some useful trade.

A new institution for female orphans has been established in the
_Faubourg St. Antoine_; for, here, the two sexes are not at present
received into the same house, whether hospital or other charitable
institution. In consequence of which, Paris now contains two
receptacles for _Incurables_, in lieu of the one which formerly

The place of the _Hopital des Enfans-Trouves_ is also supplied by an
establishment, on a large scale, called the


It is divided into two branches, each of which occupies a separate
house. The one for foundlings, in the _Rue de la Bourbe_, is intended
for the reception of children abandoned by their parents. Here they
are reared, if not sent into the country to be suckled. The other, in
the _Rue d'Enfer_, which may be considered as the General Lying-in
Hospital of Paris, is destined for the reception of pregnant women.
Upwards of 1500 are here delivered every year.

As formerly, no formality is now required for the admission of
new-born infants. In the old Foundling-Hospital, the number annually
received exceeded 8000. It is not near so great at present. To those
who reflect on the ravages made among the human race by war, during
which disease sweeps off many more than are killed in battle, it is a
most interesting sight to behold fifty or sixty little foundlings
assembled in one ward, where they are carefully fed till they are
provided with wet nurses.

I must here correct a mistake into which I have been betrayed, in my
letter of the 26th of December, respecting the present destination of


It is no longer used as a house of correction for dissolute women.
Prostitutes, taken up by the police, are now carried to St. Lazare,
in the _Rue St. Denis_. Those in want of medical aid, for disorders
incident to their course of life, are not sent to _Bicetre, but to
the _ci-devant_ monastery of the Capucins, in the _Rue Caumartin_.

At present, the _Salpetriere forms an _hospice_ for the reception of
indigent or infirm old women, and young girls, brought up in the
Foundling-Hospital, are placed here to be instructed in needle-work
and making lace. Female idiots and mad women are also taken care of
in a particular part of this very extensive building.

The Salpetriere was erected by Lewis XIII, and founded as an
hospital, by Lewis XIV, in 1656. The facade has a majestic
appearance. Before the revolution, this edifice was said to lodge
6000 souls, and even now, it cannot contain less than 4000. By the
_Plan of Paris_, you will see its situation, to the south-east of the
_Jardin des Plantes_.

I shall also avail myself of the opportunity of correcting another
mistake concerning


This place has now the same destination for men that the Salpetriere
has for women. There is a particular hospital, lately established,
for male venereal patients, in the _Rue du Faubourg St. Jacques_.

* * * * *

_March 9, in continuation._

Previously to the decree of the 19th of August 1792, which suppressed
the universities and other scientific institutions, there existed in
France Faculties and Colleges of Physicians, as well as Colleges and
Commonalities of Surgeons. From one of those unaccountable
contradictions of which the revolution affords so many instances,
these were also suppressed at a time when they were becoming most
necessary for supplying the French armies with medical men. But as
soon as the fury of the revolutionary storm began to abate, the
re-establishment of Schools of Medicine was one of the first objects
that engaged attention.

Till these latter times, Medicine and Surgery, separated from each
other, mutually contended for pre-eminence. Each had its forms and
particular schools. They seemed to have divided between them
suffering human nature, instead of uniting for its relief. On both
sides, men of merit despised such useless distinctions; they felt
that the curative art ought to comprehend all the knowledge and all
the means that can conduce to its success; but these elevated ideas
were combated by narrow minds, which, not being capable of embracing
general considerations, always attach to details a great importance.
The revolution terminated these disputes, by involving both parties
in the same misfortunes.

At the time of the re-establishment of Public Instruction, the

_Schools of Health_, founded at Paris, Montpelier, and Strasburg, on
plans digested by men the most enlightened, presented a complete body
of instruction relative to every branch of the curative art. Physics
and chemistry, which form the basis of that art, were naturally
included, and nothing that could contribute to its perfection, in the
present state of the sciences, was forgotten. The plan of instruction
is fundamentally the same in all these schools; but is more extensive
in the principal one, that is, in the


This very striking monument of modern architecture, situated in the
_Faubourg St. Germain_, owes its erection to the partiality which
Lewis XV entertained for the art of surgery. That monarch preferred
it to every science; he was fond of conversing on it, and took such
an interest in it, that, in order to promote its improvement, he
built this handsome edifice for the _ci-devant Academie et Ecoles de
Chirurgie_. The architect was GONDOUIN.

The facade, extending nearly two hundred feet, presents a peristyle
of the Ionic order. The interior distribution of this building
corresponds with the elegance of its exterior. It contains a valuable
library, a cabinet of anatomical preparations (among which is a
skeleton that presents a rare instance of a general _anchilosis_) and
imitations in wax, a chemical laboratory, a vast collection of
chirurgical and philosophical instruments, and a magnificent
amphitheatre, the first stone of which was laid by Lewis XVI in
December 1774. This lecture-room will conveniently hold twelve
hundred persons, and its form and arrangement are such, that a pupil
seated the farthest from the subject under dissection, can see all
the demonstrations of the Professor as well as if placed near the
marble table.

In one wing of the building is an _Hospice de Perfectionnement_,
formerly instituted for the reception of rare chirurgical cases only;
but into which other patients, labouring under internal disorders of
an extraordinary nature, are now likewise admitted.

To this school are attached from twenty to thirty Professors, who
lecture on anatomy and physiology; medical chemistry and pharmacy;
medical physics; pathology, internal and external; natural history,
as connected with medicine, and botany; operative medicine; external
and internal clinical cases, and the modern improvements in treating
them; midwifery, and all disorders incident to women; the physical
education of children; the history of medicine, and its legitimate
practice; the doctrine of Hippocrates, and history of rare cases;
medical bibliography, and the demonstration of the use of drugs and
chirurgical instruments. There are also a chief anatomist, a painter,
and a modeller in wax. The lectures are open to the public as well as
to the students, who are said to exceed a thousand. Besides this part
of instruction, the pupils practise anatomical, chirurgical, and
chemical operations. To the number of one hundred and twenty, they
form a practical school, divided into three classes, and are
successively distributed into three of the clinical hospitals in
Paris. At an annual competition, prizes are awarded to the greatest

Although this school is so numerously attended, and has produced
several skilful professors, celebrated anatomists, and a multitude of
distinguished pupils, yet it appears that, since there has been no
regular admission for physicians and surgeons, the most complete
anarchy has prevailed in the medical line. The towns and villages in
France are overrun by quacks, who deal out poison and death with an
audacity which the existing laws are unable to check. Under the title
of _Officiers de Sante_, they impose on the credulity of the public,
in the most dangerous manner, by the distribution of nostrums for
every disorder. To put a stop to this alarming evil, it is in
contemplation to promulgate a law, enacting that no one shall in
future practise in France as a physician or surgeon, without having
been examined and received into one of the six Special Schools of
Medicine, or as an officer of health, without having studied a
certain number of years, walked the hospitals, and also passed a
regular examination.[1]

At the medical school of Paris are held the meetings of the


It was instituted for the purpose of continuing the labours of the
_ci-devant_ Royal Society of Medicine and the old Academy of Surgery.
With this view, it is charged to keep up a correspondence, not only
with the medical men resident within the limits of the Republic, but
also with those of foreign countries, respecting every object that
can tend to the progress of the art of healing.

* * * * *

As far back as the year 1777, there existed in Paris a college of
Pharmacy. The apothecaries, composing this college, had formed, at
their own expense, an establishment for instruction relative to the
curative art, in their laboratory and garden in the _Rue de
l'Arbaletre_. Since the revolution, the acknowledged utility of this
institution has caused it to be maintained under the title of the


Here are delivered _gratis_, by two professors in each department,
public lectures on pharmaceutic chemistry, pharmaceutic natural
history, and botany. When the courses are finished, prizes are
annually distributed to the pupils who distinguish themselves most by
their talents and knowledge.

In the year 1796, the apothecaries of Paris, animated by a desire to
render this establishment still more useful, formed themselves into a
society, by the name of the


Its object is to contribute to the progress of the arts and sciences,
particularly pharmacy, chemistry, botany, and natural history. This
society admits, as free and corresponding associates, _savans_ of all
the other departments of France and of foreign countries, who
cultivate those sciences and others analogous to them. Some of the
most enlightened men in France are to be found among its members.

The advantageous changes made in the teaching of medicine, since the
revolution, appear to consist chiefly in the establishment of
clinical lectures. The teaching of the sciences, accessory to
medicine, partakes more or less advantageously of the great progress
made in that of chemistry. It seems that, in general, the students in
medicine grant but a very limited confidence to accredited opinions,
and that they recur to observation and experience much more than they
did formerly. As for the changes which have occurred in the practice
of medicine, I think it would be no easy matter to appreciate them
with any degree of exactness. Besides, sufficient time has not yet
elapsed since the establishment of the new mode of teaching, for them
to assume a marked complexion. It is, however, to be observed that,
by the death of the celebrated DESAULT, Surgery has sustained a loss
which is not yet repaired, nor will be perhaps for ages.

[Footnote 1: A law to this effect is now made.]


_Paris, March 12, 1802._

From the account I have given you of the Public Schools here, you
will have perceived that, since the revolution, nothing has been
neglected which could contribute to the mental improvement of the
male part of the rising generation. But as some parents are averse to
sending their children to these National Schools, there are now
established in Paris a great number of


Several of these are far superior to any that previously existed in
France, and are really of a nature to excite admiration, when we
consider the cruel divisions which have distracted this country. But
it seems that if, for a time, instruction, both public and private,
was suspended, no sooner were the French permitted to breathe than a
sudden and salutary emulation arose among those who devoted
themselves to the important task of conducting these private schools.
The great advantage which they appear to me to have over
establishments of a similar description in England, is that the
scholars are perfectly grounded in whatever they are taught; the want
of which, among us, occasions many a youth to forget the greater part
of what he has learned long before he has attained the years of

If several of the schools for boys here are extremely well conducted,
some of those for girls appear to be governed with no less care and
judgment. In order to be enabled to form an opinion on the present
mode of bringing up young girls in France, I have made a point of
investigating the subject. I shall, in consequence, endeavour to shew
you the contrast which strikes me to have occurred here in


In France, convents had, at all times, prior to the revolution,
enjoyed the exclusive privilege of bringing up young women; and some
families had, for a century past, preserved the habit of sending all
their daughters to be St. Ursulas, in order to enter afterwards into
the world as virtuous wives and tender mothers. The natural result
was, that, if the principles of excessive piety which had been
communicated to them remained deeply engraved in their heart, they
employed the whole day in the duties required by the catholic
religion; and the confessor who dictated all these habitual
practices, not unfrequently became the director of the temporal
concerns of the family, as well as the spiritual. If the young girls,
in emerging from the cells of a convent, were disposed to lay aside
their religious practices, in order to adopt the customs and
pleasures of the world, this sudden transition, from one extreme to
the other, made them at once abandon, not only the puerile minutiae,
but also the sacred principles of religion. There was no medium. They
either became outrageous devotees, and, neglecting the respectable
duties of housewives and mistresses of a family, wrapped themselves
up in a great hood, and were incessantly on their knees before the
altars of the churches, or, on the other hand, rushed into
extravagance and dissipation, and, likewise, deserting a family which
claimed their care, dishonoured themselves by the licentiousness of
their manners.

At the present time, many women of good abilities and character,
deprived of their property by the vicissitudes of the revolution,
have established, in Paris and its environs, seminaries, where young
girls receive such advice as is most useful to females who are
destined to live in the world, and acquirements, which, by employing
them agreeably several hours in the day, contribute to the interior
happiness of their family, and make them find charms in a domestic
life. In short, the superiority of female education in France is
decidedly in favour of the present system, whether considered in
regard to mental improvement, health, or beauty. With respect to the
morals inculcated in these modern French boarding schools, the best
answer to all the prejudices might be entertained against them, is
that the men, who have married women there educated, find that they
prove excellent wives, and that their accomplishments serve only to
embellish their virtues.


_Paris, March 14, 1802_.

I plead guilty to your censure in not having yet furnished you with
any remarks on the origin of this capital; but you will recollect
that I engaged only to give you a mere sketch; indeed, it would
require more time and talent than I can command to present you with a
finished picture. I speak of things just as they happen to occur to
my mind; and provided my letters bring you acquainted with such
objects here as are most deserving of attention, my purpose will be
fully accomplished. However, in compliance with your pressing
request, I shall now briefly retrace the


Without hazarding any vague conjectures, I may, I think, safely
affirm that Caesar is the first historian who makes mention of this
city. In the seventh book of his Commentaries, that conqueror relates
that he sent his lieutenant Labienus towards Lutetia; this was the
name given by the Gauls to the capital of the Parisii. It was then
entirely contained within that island on the Seine, which, at the
present day, is called _l'Ile du Palais_.

In comparison to the capitals of the other provinces of Gaul,
_Lutetia_ was but a sorry village; its houses were small, of a round
form, built of wood and earth, and covered with straw and reeds.

After having conquered _Lutetia_, the Romans embellished it with a
palace, surrounded it by walls, and erected, at the head of each of
the two bridges leading to it, a fortress, one of which stood on the
site of the prison called _Le Grand Chatelet_; and the other, on that
of _Le Petit Chatelet_. The Yonne, the Marne, and the Oise, being
rivers which join the Seine, suggested the idea of establishing a
trading company by water, in order to facilitate, by those channels,
the circulation of warlike stores and provisions. These merchants
were called _Nautae Parisiaci_. The Romans also erected, near the left
bank of the Seine, a magnificent palace and an aqueduct. This palace
was called _Thermae_, on account of its tepid baths.

Julian, being charged to defend Gaul against the irruptions of the
barbarians, took up his residence in these _Thermae_ in 360, two years
before he was proclaimed emperor, in the square which was in front of
this palace. "I was in winter-quarters in my dear _Lutetia_," says he
in his _Misopogon_. "Thus is named, in Gaul, the little capital of
the Parisii."--"It occupies," observes Abbon, "an inconsiderable
island, surrounded by walls, the foot of which is bathed by the
river. The entrance to it, on each side, is by a wooden bridge."

Towards the middle of the fifth century, this city passed from the
dominion of the Romans to that of the Francs. It was besieged by
Childeric I. In 508, Clovis declared it the capital of his kingdom.
The long stay which that prince made in it, contributed to its
embellishment. Charlemagne founded in it a celebrated school. A
little time after, another was established in the abbey of _St.
Germain-des-Pres_. In the course of the ninth century, it was
besieged and pillaged three times by the Normans.

Philip Augustus surrounded Paris with walls, and comprised in that
inclosure a great number of small towns and hamlets in its vicinity.
This undertaking occupied twenty years, having been begun in 1190,
and finished in 1211. The same king was also the first who caused the
streets of this city to be paved. The wars of the English required
new fortifications; and, under king John, ditches were dug round the
city; and the _Bastille_, erected. These works were continued during
the reigns of Charles V and Charles VI.

Francis I, the restorer of literature and of the arts, neglected
nothing that might conduce to the farther embellishment of this
capital. He caused several new streets to be made, many Gothic
edifices to be pulled down, and was, in France, the first who revived
Greek architecture, the remains of which, buried by the hand of time,
or mutilated by that of barbarians, being collected and compared at
Rome, began to improve the genius of celebrated artists, and, in the
sequel, led to the production of masterpieces.

The kings, his successors, executed a part of the projects of that
prince, and this extensive city imperceptibly lost its irregular and
Gothic aspect. The removal of the houses, which, not long since,
encumbered the bridges, and intercepted the current of air, has
diffused cheerfulness and salubrity.

You will pardon me, I trust, if I here make a retrograde movement,
not to recapitulate the aggrandisement of Paris, but to retrace
rapidly the progressive amelioration of the manners of its
inhabitants. The latter paved the way to the former.

Under the first kings of France of the third race, justice was
administered in a summary way; the king, the count, and the viscount
heard the parties, and gave a prompt sentence, or else left the
controversy to be decided by a pitched battle, if it was of too
intricate a nature. No colleges then existed here; the clergy only
keeping schools near the Cathedral of _Notre-Dame_ for those who were
intended for holy orders. The nobles piqued themselves on extreme
ignorance, and as many of them could not even sign their own name,
they dipped their glove in ink, and stamped it on the parchment as
their signature. They lived on their estates, and if they were
obliged to pass three or four days in town, they affected to appear
always in boots, in order that they might not be taken for _vassals_.
Ten men were sufficient for the collection of all the taxes. There
were no more than two gates to the city; and under Lewis surnamed _le
Gros_, from his corpulency, the duties at the north gate produced no
more than twelve francs a year.

Philip Augustus, being fond of literature, welcomed and protected men
of learning. It had appeared to revive under Charlemagne; but the
ravages of the Normans occasioned it to sink again into oblivion till
the reign of Lewis the Young, father of Philip Augustus. Under the
latter, the schools of Paris became celebrated; they were resorted
to, not only from the distant provinces, but from foreign countries.
The quarter, till lately called _l'Universite_, became peopled; and,
in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, was covered by colleges
and monasteries. Philip the Fair rendered the Parliament sedentary.
He prohibited duelling in civil contentions; and a person might have
recourse to a court of justice, without being under the necessity of
fighting. Anne de Bretagne, great and majestic in every thing, was
desirous of having a court. Ladies who, till then, were born in one
castle only to marry and die in another, came to Paris. They were
unwilling to leave it, and men followed them thither. All these
circumstances increased its inhabitants to a thirtieth part beyond
their former number.

The wars of religion under Charles IX and Henry III rendered gold and
silver a little more common, by the profanations of the Calvinists,
who pillaged the churches, and converted into specie the sacred
vases, as well as the shrines and statues of saints. The vast sums of
money which the court of Spain lavished in Paris, to support the
League, had also diffused a certain degree of affluence among no
inconsiderable number of citizens; and it is to be remarked that,
under Henry IV, several handsome streets were finished in less than a

Henry IV was the first of the kings of France who embellished Paris
with regular squares, or open spaces, decorated with the different
orders of architecture. After having nearly finished the _Pont Neuf_,
he built the _Place Royale_, now called _Place des Federes_, and also
the _Place Dauphine_.

Towards the end of the administration of Cardinal Richelieu, there no
longer existed in France more than one master; and the petty tyrants
in the provinces, who had fortified themselves so long in their
castles against the royal authority, were seen to come to court, to
solicit the most paltry lodging with all the servility of courtiers,
and at the same time erect mansions in town with all the splendour of
men inflated by pride and power. At last came the reign of Lewis XIV,
and presently Paris knew no limits. Its gates were converted into
arcs of triumph, and its ditches, being filled up and planted with
trees, became public walks. When one considers the character of that
monarch, it should seem that Paris ought to have been more
embellished under his reign. In fact, had Lewis XIV expended on Paris
one-fourth part of the money which he lavished on Versailles,[1] it
would have become the most astonishing city in Europe.

However, its great extent and population, magnificent edifices,
celebrated national establishments of learning and science, rich
libraries, curious cabinets, where lessons of knowledge and genius
present themselves to those who have a taste for them, together with
its theatres and other places of public entertainment, have long
rendered Paris deserving of the admiration of enlightened nations.

Before the revolution, Paris contained 46 parish churches, and 20
others answering the same purpose, 11 abbeys, and 133 monasteries or
convents of men and women, 13 colleges, 15 public seminaries, and 26
hospitals. To these must be added the three royal habitations, the
_Louvre_, the _Tuileries_, and the _Luxembourg_, also the _Hotel des
Invalides_, the _Palais Royal_, the _Palais Bourbon_, and a great
number of magnificent hotels, inhabited by titled or wealthy persons.

Since the revolution, several of these buildings have been destroyed;
almost all the monasteries and convents, together with the churches
belonging to them, have been sold as national property, and either
demolished for the sake of the materials, or converted to different
uses. Fifteen principal churches, besides the _Pantheon_, the
_Invalides_, _Val-de-Grace_, the _Sorbonne_, and a few others, were
preserved as national temples, intended for the celebration of
_decadary fetes_, and for a time rendered common to every sort of
worship. Most of the old churches were of Gothic architecture, and
not much to be commended with respect to art; but several of them
were models of boldness, from the lightness of their construction.

The colleges, as I have before observed, are replaced by public
schools and private seminaries of every description. The number of
the houses in Paris, many of which are from five to eight stories in
height, has been estimated at upwards of 80,000. The number of its
inhabitants appears to have been over-rated. By an official
statement, in which foreigners are not included, it contains no more
than 630,000 souls.

During the last year of the republican era, the number of males born
in Paris was 9296; and that of females, 9177; making the general
total of births 18,473, of which the males, born out of wedlock,
amounted to 1792; and the females, to 1852. The number of persons
deceased, within the same period, was 10,446 males, and 10,301
females; making together 20,747. The annual decrease in population
was consequently 2274 souls. The number of marriages was 3826; and
that of divorces, 720; which is nearly 2 out of 11.

The ancient division of Paris consisted of three parts; namely, _La
Cite_, _l'Universite_, and _La Ville_. _La Cite_ comprised all the
_Ile du Palais_. This is the parent-stock of the capital, whence have
extended, like so many branches, the numerous quarters by which it is
surrounded. _L'Universite_ was bordered by the Seine, the _Faubourg
St. Bernard_, _St. Victor_, _St. Marcel_, _St. Jacques_, and the
_Faubourg St. Germain_. The number of colleges in this quarter, had
obtained it the name of _Le Pays Latin_. _La Ville_ comprehended all
the rest of the capital, not included in the suburbs.

At present, Paris is divided into twelve mayoralties (as you will see
by the _Plan_), each of which is presided by a central office of
municipal police. The _Faubourgs_ retain their ancient names; but
those of many of the streets have been changed in the course of the
revolution. The _Chaussee d'Antin_, which comprises the new streets
north of the _Boulevard Italien_, is now the most fashionable part of
the town. The houses here are chiefly inhabited by bankers and
persons living in affluence; and apartments in this neighbourhood are
considerably dearer than in the _Faubourg St. Germain_, which,
comparatively speaking, is deserted.

I have already described the _Porte St. Denis_ and the _Porte St.
Martin_, which are nothing more than arcs of triumph. In proportion
as the limits of the capital became extended, the real gates were
removed, but reappeared under the name of _barrieres_. These costly
edifices were constructed during the ministry of CALONNE, under the
direction of LEDOUX, the architect, who has taken a pleasure in
varying their form and character. One represents an observatory;
another, a chapel; some have the appearance of rusticated buildings;
others, that of temples. Under the old _regime_ too, the
farmers-general had inclosed Paris with a high wall, the extent of
which has been estimated at upwards of 10,000 toises. This wall
displeased the eye of the Parisians, and, when they were out of
humour, induced them to murmur loudly. Whence the following
_jeu de mots_:

_"Le mur, murant Paris, rend Paris murmurout."_

During the revolution, it was by no means uncommon to shut the
_barrieres_, in order to serve the purposes of party, and favour the
arrest of particular persons. To the number of sixty, they are placed
at the principal outlets of the suburbs, and occupied by custom-house
officers, whose business is to collect duties, and watch that no
contraband goods find their way into the city. Formerly, when every
carriage entering Paris was stopped and examined (which is not the
case at present), the self-importance of these _commis des barrieres_
could be equalled only by their ignorance.

A traveller arriving from Egypt brought with him a mummy. The case
being long, he chose not to fasten it on to his post-chaise, but sent
it to Paris by water. When it was landed at the _barriere_, the
custom-house officers opened it, and, finding it to contain a
black-looking body, decided that this was a man who had been baked
in an oven. They took the linen bandages for his burnt shirt, and,
after drawing up a _proces-verbal_ in due form, sent the mummy to
the _Morne_, where dead bodies are exposed in order to be owned.
When the proprietor reached Paris, he went to the _barriere_ to
claim his mummy. The _commis_ listened to him and stared at him with
astonishment. He grew angry, and at length broke out into a violent
passion; when one of the searchers, in a whisper, advised him to
decamp, if he wished to avoid the gallows. The traveller, stupified,
was obliged to apply to the Minister of the Police, and, with some
difficulty, recovered from the _Morne_ his Egyptian prince or
princess, who, after having been preserved 2000 years, was on the
point of being buried in a catholic cemetery, instead of figuring in
a cabinet of curiosities.

[Footnote 1: The article of lead alone for the water-pipes cost
thirty-two millions of livres or L1,333,333 sterling; but

"Rich in her weeping country's spoils, Versailles!
May boast a thousand fountains, that can cast
The tortur'd waters to the distant heav'ns"--]


_Paris, March 17, 1802._

An object which must infallibly strike the eye of the attentive
observer, who has not visited this capital within the last ten years,g
is the change in the style of


This remark may, at first sight, appear trivial; but a second view of
the subject will produce reflections on the frivolity of this people,
even amidst their intestine commotions, and at the same time shew
that they are, in no small degree, indebted to the influence of those
events for the taste which is to be distinguished in the new
productions of their industry, and, in general, for the progress they
have made, not only in the mechanical arts, but also in the sciences
of every description. This will appear the more extraordinary, as it
should seem natural to presume that the persecution which the
protectors of the arts and sciences experienced, in the course of the
revolution, was likely to produce quite a contrary effect. But the
man of science and the artist, each abandoned to himself, acquired,
in that forlorn situation, a knowledge and a taste which very
frequently are the result of long study only, seconded by
encouragement from the wealthy.

The apartments of the fine ladies, of the rich, of the bankers, and
merchants in Paris, and generally speaking, of all those who, from
their business and connexions, have most intercourse with the public
and with foreigners, are furnished in the modern mode, that is, in
the antique taste. Many of the French artists, being destitute of
employment, were compelled through necessity to seek it; some entered
into the warehouse of the upholsterer to direct the shape and
disposition of his hangings; some, into the manufactory of the
paper-maker to furnish him with new patterns; and others, into the
shop of the cabinet-maker to sell him sketches of antique forms. Had
the easels of these artists been occupied by pictures no sooner
finished than paid for, the Grecian bed would not have expelled the
_lit a la Polonaise_, in vogue here before the revolution; the
Etruscan designs would not have succeeded to the Chinese paper; nor
would the curtains with Persian borders have been replaced by that
elegant drapery which retraces the pure and simple taste of the
people of Attica.

The elegant forms of the modern French _secretaires_, commodes,
chairs, &c. have also been copied from the Greeks and Romans. The
ornaments of these are either bronzed or gilt, and are uncommonly
well finished. In general, they represent heads of men, women, and
animals, designed after the antique. Caryatides are sometimes
introduced, as well as Egyptian attributes; the arms of the chairs
being frequently decorated with sphinxes. In short, on entering the
residence of a _parvenu_, you would fancy yourself suddenly
transported into the house of a wealthy Athenian; and these new
favourites of Fortune can, without crossing the threshold of their
own door, study chaste antiquity, and imbibe a taste for other
knowledge, connected with it, in which they are but little versed.

Mahogany is the wood employed for making these modern articles of
furniture, whose forms are no less varied than elegant; advantages
which cause them to be preferred to the ancient. But the latter,
though heavy in their construction, are, nevertheless, thought, by
some persons, superior to the former in point of solidity and
convenience. The old-fashioned bedsteads and chairs are generally of
oak, painted or gilt, and are covered with silk or tapestry of
different patterns. The _ci-devant_ nobles appear to be greatly
attached to them, and preserve them as monuments, which supply the
place of the titles and parchments they were forced to burn during
the sanguinary periods of the revolution. But this taste is not
exclusive; several of the Parisian _bourgeois_, either from economy,
or from a wish to appear to have belonged to that class, shew no less
eagerness to possess these spoils of the _noblesse_, as furniture for
their apartments.

While I am speaking of furniture, it naturally occurs to me that I
have not yet taken you to visit


This national manufactory, which is situated in the _Faubourg St.
Marcel_, takes its name from two famous Flemish dyers, who settled in
Paris under Francis I. In 1662, COLBERT purchased part of the old
premises where the _Gobelins_ had carried on their business, and
there opened an establishment under the direction of LE BRUN. It was
not confined to the manufacture of tapestry only, but was composed of
painters, sculptors, engravers, goldsmiths, watch-makers, lapidaries,
and other artists and workmen of almost every description, whose
pupils and apprentices here acquired their freedom.

Since the revolution, tapestry alone is manufactured here, on two
sorts of looms, distinguished by the denominations of _haute_ and
_basso lisse_, which are fully explained in an interesting _Notice_,
published by the intelligent director, GUILLAUMOT, who, it seems, has
introduced into each of these branches several recent improvements.

The art of making tapestry originated in England and Flanders, where
the cartoons of RAPHAEL and JULIO ROMANO were coarsely copied. It was
gradually improved in France, and is now brought here to the greatest
perfection. Indeed, a piece of _Gobelin_ tapestry may be called a
picture painted with wool and silk; but its admirable execution
produces an illusion so complete, that skilful painters have been
seen to lay their hands on this tapestry, to convince themselves that
it was not a real painting.

Tapestry is now entirely out of fashion; and, with the exception of a
few small fancy-pieces, the productions of this manufactory are
intended solely for the decoration of the national palaces and other
public buildings. In 1790 the blood-thirsty MARAT strove hard to
annihilate this establishment, by exaggerating the expenses of its
maintenance. In 1789, their real amount was 144,000 francs; 116
journeymen and 18 apprentices were then employed, and paid in
proportion to their merit and to the quantity of work they performed.
In 1791, they were divided into classes, and paid by the day. This
regulation produces less work, but its execution is more perfect,
since no motive of interest induces the workman to neglect his
performance. At present, its expenses cannot be so great, as the
number of persons employed is less than 100. Should the penury of the
finances not allow the means of re-establishing pupils, this
manufactory will be extinguished like a lamp for want of oil. Twenty
years are necessary to make a good manufacturer of tapestry; those of
the first abilities are now nearly 70 years of age, and therefore it
seems high time to prepare for them competent successors.

At _Chaillot_, we shall find another national manufactory, somewhat
analogous to the former, and which also claims the attention of the
curious observer. From having been fixed in a place originally
occupied by a soap-house, it is called


It was established, as far back as 1615, at the instigation of PIERRE
DUPONT, who, being forced to quit his native land by the civil
commotions arising from the League, went to the Levant. Having seen
carpets made without taste or design in that country, he conceived
the idea of introducing a manufactory of this kind into France, where
it would be susceptible of considerable improvement from the exercise
of the arts unknown in Turkey. The project was approved by Henry IV,
who first gave DUPONT an establishment in the _Louvre_, which was
afterwards transferred to its present situation.

Like the _Gobelins_, the national manufactory of the _Savonnerie_ is,
and has been, constantly supported by the government, and like it
too, contributes to the decoration of the national palaces, &c.
Nothing, in the shape of carpets, can answer this purpose better than
those manufactured here, the colours of which are extremely
brilliant. The close, velvety texture of the manufacture gives a
peculiar expression to objects which are copied from nature, such as
the hair of animals, the down of fruit, and the lustre of flowers.

From its foundation till the year 1789, this manufactory continued to
be under the direction of a contractor, who delivered the carpeting
to the government at the rate of 220 francs per square ell. At the
revolution, new regulations were established; the workmen were paid
by the day, and classed according to their merit. In consequence,
though less work is performed, it is executed with greater

The present government has lately ordered the old patterns, which
were overloaded with ornaments and flowers, to be suppressed, and
replaced by compositions more simple, more elegant, and infinitely
more tasteful. I understand that the workmen are to be put to
task-work, under the superintendance of the respectable administrator
DUVIVIER, who informs me that the present price of this carpeting
amounts to 300 francs per square _metre_ (_circa_ 3 ft. 3 inc.
English measure). In 1789, thirty persons were employed here, at from
30 to 50 _sous_ a day. At present, there are no more than twenty, who
daily earn, on an average, 3 francs, and are lodged in the buildings
of the manufactory.

Before I lay down my pen, I shall notice a national establishment,
equally connected with the subject of this letter; I mean the


Like all the other French manufactories, this has suffered from the
revolution and the war; but it has now nearly resumed its former
activity, owing to the effects of the peace and the laudable
exertions of the government to revive commerce. At this time, it
gives employment to about 600 persons.

Before COLBERT founded the present establishment, which is situated
in the _Rue de Reuilli_, _Faubourg St. Antoine_, the French drew
their plate-glass from Venice; but they have left their masters in
this branch very far behind them, and now make mirrors of dimensions
of which the Venetians had no idea. These plates are cast at St.
Gobin, near La Fere, in the department of L'Aisne, and sent to Paris
to be polished and silvered. Here you may witness the process
employed in each of these different operations.

A method of joining together two small plates of glass in such a
manner that no mark appears, has, I am informed, been lately
discovered in Paris. It is said, however, not to be applicable to
those of large dimensions. After the operation of this species of
soldering, the plates are silvered.


_Paris, March 19, 1802._

As the period of my stay here is drawing rapidly towards a
conclusion, I find much less leisure for writing; otherwise I should,
in my last letter, have made you acquainted with an establishment not
irrelevant to the leading subject of it, and which, when completed,
cannot fail to attract general notice and admiration.

Every one has heard of the PIRANESI. In the year 1800, PIETRO and
FRANCESCO, the surviving sons of the celebrated GIOVANNI-BATTISTA,
transported to France their immense collection of drawings, with all
their plates and engravings. They were welcomed, protected, and
encouraged by the French government. Anxious to give to these
ingenious artists every facility for the success of an undertaking
that they had conceived, it has granted to them the spacious and
handsome premises of the _ci-devant College de Navarre_, in the _Rue
de la Montagne St. Genevieve_, which the PIRANESI will shortly open
as an


That ancient college is extremely well calculated for such a
destination, from the extent of its buildings, its remoteness from
noise, and the airiness of its situation. By this liberal conduct to
the PIRANESI, the French government has shewn the warm interest it
takes in the progress of those arts. The establishment of these
Romans is to be divided into three branches. The first is placed in
the _College de Navarre_; the second is to be in the _Palais du
Tribunat_; and the third, at _Morfontaine_.

Three hundred artists of different nations, some of whom are known by
master-pieces, while others announce the genius necessary for
producing them, are to be distributed in the seven classes of this
academy, which include the fine arts of every description. Each
artist being at liberty to follow the branch to which he is most
partial, it may easily be conceived how noble an emulation will be
roused by such an assemblage of talents. Several are now employed
here in the workshops of Painting, Sculpture, Mosaic, and Engraving.
Let us see in what manner.

The ground-floor is devoted to Sculpture. Here are made, in plaster
and terra cotta, models of the finest monuments of Greece and Italy,
which are executed in stone of the richest species, such as porphyry,
granite, red antique, Parian and Carrara marble. From the hands of
the two CARDELLI, and other eminent artists, are seen to issue copies
of the most magnificent bas-reliefs of ancient Rome, and the most
beautiful friezes of RAPHAEL, MICHAEL ANGELO, JULIO ROMANO, and other
great masters of the Italian school; tripods, obelisks, antique
vases, articles of furniture in the Egyptian and Chinese taste,
together with objects taken from nature, such as the most curious
animals in the national _menagerie_, likewise occupy their talents.
All these subjects are executed in different sizes, and form,
together or separately, decorations for apartments or tables,
particularly pilasters, and plateaux, in which the richness of the
materials is surpassed by that of the workmanship.

On the same floor is the workshop of Mosaic. It is under the
direction of BELLONI, who has invented methods, by means of which he
has introduced Mosaic into articles of furniture, and for the
pavement of rich apartments, at prices far inferior to what might be
imagined. The principal articles here exhibited, as specimens, are:
--1. Superb marble tables and stands, in which are inserted ornaments
and pictures in Mosaic, or incrustated in the Florentine manner--2. A
large pavement, where the beauty and variety of the marbles are
relieved by embellished incrustations--3. Small pictures, in which
the painting, in very fine Mosaic, is raised on an even ground of one
piece of black marble--4. Large tables, composed of specimens of
fine-grained stones, such as jasper, agate, carnelion, lapis lazuli,
&c. and also of valuable marbles, distributed into compartments and
after a design imitated from the antique, and enriched with a few
incrustated pictures, representing animals and flowers. Besides
these, here are to be seen other essays of a kind entirely new. These
are marbles, intended for furniture, coloured in an indelible manner.
Sometimes the figures and ornaments in them are coloured in the
ground; sometimes they are in colour, but raised on a ground of white

On the first story is the workshop for Engraving. Here the artists
are employed in engraving the seven hills of Rome, ancient circuses
of that celebrated city, plans of the _forum_, obelisks of Rome and
Egypt, ruins of Pompeia, drawn on the spot by the late J. B.
PIRANESI, together with modern subjects, such as the splendid
edifices of Paris, the beautiful views of the environs, the national
fetes, and every thing that can deservedly interest artists and
persons of taste. On the same story are the plates of the PIRANESI
calcography, the place where they are printed, and the warehouse
where they are deposited. The engravings, now nearly executed, will
form upwards of twenty volumes; and those begun will equal that

The second story is occupied by painters in oil-colours; the third,
by those in water-colours; the fourth, by draughtsmen in Indian ink
and bistre; and the fifth serves for the lodging of the artists,
particularly the most skilful among them, who direct the different
branches of this establishment. The principal pile of building is
crowned by a _Belvedere_, which commands an extensive view of Paris,
and seems calculated for promoting the inspirations of genius. Here
are copied, in oil, water-colours, Indian ink and bistre, the fresco
paintings of RAPHAEL, MICHAEL ANGELO, and JULIO ROMANO; the Vatican,
the Farnesian palace, the Villa Altoviti, and the Villa Lante
alternately furnishing models no less happily chosen than carefully
executed. The antiquities of Herculaneum, so interesting from the
knowledge they afford us of the customs of the ancient Romans, and
from the elegant decorations of which they have procured us the
models, the ruins of Palmyra and Balbeck, those of Greece and Sicily,
together with views of Constantinople and of the country in which it
is situated, are here rendered with the most exact truth, joined to
the most harmonious colouring. Here too are represented; in the three
manners before-mentioned, views and sites of Egypt, Greece, Italy,
France, and all other countries; cascades, such as those of TERNI,
NARNI, and TIVOLI; sea-pieces; landscapes, parks; and gardens;
arabesques after RAPHAEL; new and picturesque plants; in a word,
decorations formed of an assemblage of every thing most perfect in
art and nature.

On the first and second stories are also two exhibition-rooms, for
such pictures and works of sculpture as are finished, where the eye
wanders agreeably amidst a crowd of objects of an enlivening or
serious nature. Here it is that the amateur, after having seen the
artists at work in the classes of this academy, fixes his choice on
the kind of production which most takes his fancy. These two rooms
contain the different articles which are afterwards to be displayed
in the two porticos of the _Palais du Tribunat_.

Those elegant and spacious porticos, situated in the most centrical
part of Paris, facing the _Rue St. Honore_, have likewise been
granted to the PRIANESI through the special favour of the government.
Not only all the productions of their establishment, but also the
principal master-pieces in painting, sculpture, and architecture,
produced by artists of all nations, will there be exhibited; so that
those porticos will present, as it were, an Encyclopaedia of the Fine

[Footnote 1: The principal protector of the undertaking of the
PIRANESI is JOSEPH BONAPARTE, who has not confined himself to
assisting them in the capital. Being desirous to introduce the arts
into the country where he passes the finest season of the year, and
to promote the discovery of the PIRANESI, relative to the properties
of the argill found at _Morfontaine_, he has given to them for
several years the use of a large building and a very extensive piece
of ground, ornamented with bowers, where all the subjects modelled at
the _College de Navarre_, in _terra cotta_ or in porcelain of
_Morfontaine_, undergo the process of baking. In the last-mentioned
place, the PIRANESI purpose to establish a foundery for sculpture in
bronze and other metals. The government daily affords to them
encouragement and resources which insure the success of their
establishment. To its other advantages are added a library, and a


_Paris, March 22, 1802._

As to the mechanical arts, if you are desirous to view some of the
modern improvements and inventions in that line, you must accompany
me to the _Rue St. Martin_, where, in the _ci-devant_ priory, is an
establishment of recent date, entitled the


Here is a numerous collection of machines of every description
employed in the mechanical arts. Among these is the _belier
hydraulique_, newly invented by MONTGOLFIER, by means of which a
stream of water, having a few feet of declivity, can be raised to the
top of a house by a single valve or sucker, so disposed as to open,
to admit the water, and shut, when it is to be raised by compression.
By increasing the compression, it can be raised to 1000 feet, and may
be carried to a much greater elevation. The commissioners appointed
by the Institute to examine this machine, reported that it was new,
very simple, very ingenious, and might be extremely useful in turning
to account little streams of water for the purposes of agriculture,
manufactories, &c.

This reminds me of another singular hydraulic machine, of which I
have been informed by a person who attended a trial made of it not
long since in Paris.

A basin placed at the height of twenty feet, was filled with water,
the fall of which set in motion several wheels and pumps that raised
the water again into the basin. The machine was fixed in a place,
glazed on all sides, and locked by three different keys. It kept in
play for thirty-two days, without the smallest interruption; but the
air, the heat, and the wood of the machine, having undoubtedly
diminished the water, it no longer ascended into the basin. Till the
thirty-second day, many persons imagined that the perpetual motion
had been discovered. However, this machine was extremely light, well
combined, and very simple in its construction. I ought to observe
that it neither acted by springs nor counterpoise; all its powers
proceeding from the fall of the water.

The conservatory also contains several models of curious buildings,
too numerous to mention.

The mechanical arts in France appear to have experienced more or less
the impulse given to the sciences towards the close of the eighteenth
century. While calamities oppressed this country, and commerce was
suspended, the inventive and fertile genius of the French was not

The clothiers have introduced woollen articles manufactured on a new
plan; and their fine broad cloths and kerseymeres have attained great
perfection. The introduction of the Spanish merinos into France has
already produced in her wools a considerable amelioration.

Like a phoenix, Lyons is reviving from its ashes, and its silks now
surpass, if possible, their former magnificence. Brocaded silk is at
present made in a loom worked by one man only, in lieu of two, which
the manufacture of that article hitherto demanded. Another new
invention is a knitting-loom, by means of which 400 threads are
interwoven with the greatest exactness, by merely turning a winch.

The cotton manufactures are much improved, and the manufactories in
that line are daily increasing in number and perfection. A new
spinning-machine has produced here, I am told, 160,000 ells in length
out of a pound of cotton. The fly-shuttle is now introduced into most
of the manufactories in this country, and 25 pieces of narrow goods
are thus made at once by a single workman. In adopting ARKWRIGHT'S
system, the French have applied it to small machines, which occupy no
more room than a common spinning-wheel.

Among other branches in which the French mechanics have particularly
distinguished themselves, since the revolution, is the making of
astronomical and philosophical instruments.

All the machines used here in coining have also been modified and
improved. By one of these, the piece is struck at the same time on
the edge and on the flat side in so perfect a manner, that the money
thus coined cannot he counterfeited.

I have already mentioned the invention of a composition which
supplies the place of black lead for pencils, and the discovery of a
new and very expeditious method of tanning leather.

New species of earthen-ware have been invented, and those already
known have received considerable improvement.

Chemists have put the manufacturers in possession of new means of
decomposing and recomposing substances. Muriat of tin is now made
here with such economy, that it is reduced to one-eighth of its
former price. This salt is daily used in dying and in the manufacture
of printed calicoes. Carbonates of strontia and of baryt, obtained by
a new process, will shortly be sold in Paris at 3 francs the
_kilogramme_. This discovery is expected to have a great influence on
several important arts, such as the manufacture of glass, of soap,

Articles of furniture, jewellery, and every branch dependent on
design, are now remarkable for a purer taste than that which they
formerly exhibited.

Indeed, the characteristic difference of the present state of French
industry, and that in which it was before the revolution, is that
most of the proprietors of the manufactories have received a
scientific education. At that time, many of them were strangers to
the principles applicable to the processes of their art; and, in this
respect, they lay at the mercy of the routine, ignorance, and caprice
of their workmen. At present, the happy effects of instruction, more
widely-diffused, begin to be felt, and, in proportion as it is
extended, it excites a spirit of emulation which promises no small
advantage to French commerce.


_Paris, March 23, 1802._

In the richness of her territory, the abundance of her population,
the activity of her inhabitants, and the knowledge comprised in her
bosom, France possesses great natural advantages; but the effect
which they might have produced on her industry, has been counteracted
by the errors of her old government, and the calamities attendant on
the revolution. Some public-spirited men, thinking the moment
favourable for restoring to them all their influence, have lately
met; and from this union has sprung the


It is formed on a scale still more extensive than the _Society for
the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce_, instituted at
London. Its meetings are held in the _Louvre_; but, though fixed in
the metropolis, it embraces the whole extent of the Republic, and
every department will participate in the benefits which it proffers.

The chief objects of this society are: To collect, from all quarters,
discoveries and inventions useful to the progress of the arts; to
bestow annually premiums and gratuitous encouragements; to propagate
instruction, by disseminating manuals on different objects relative
to the arts, by combining the lights of theory with the results of
practice, and by constructing at its own expense, and disseminating
among the public in general, and particularly in the manufactories,
such machines, instruments, and apparatus as deserve to be more
generally known and brought into use; to make essays and experiments
for ascertaining the utility which may be expected from new
discoveries; to make advances to artists who may be in distress, or
deficient in the means to put in practice the processes of their
inventions; to unite by new ties all such persons as from their
situation in life, their taste, or their talents, feel an interest in
the progress of the arts; to become the centre of similar
institutions, which are called for in all the principal
manufacturing-towns of the Republic; in a word, to _excite emulation,
diffuse knowledge, and assist talents_.

To attain these objects, various committees, consisting of men the
most conversant in knowledge relative to the arts, are already
appointed, and divide among them _gratuitously_ the whole of the

This society, founded, on principles so purely patriotic, will, no
doubt, essentially second the strenuous efforts of the government to
reanimate the different branches of national industry. The free and
spontaneous concurrence of the men of whom it is composed, may unite
the power of opinion to that of other means; and public opinion
produces naturally that which power and authority obtain only by a
slow and difficult progress.

But, while those branches of industry, more immediately connected
with the arts, are stimulated by these simultaneous encouragements,
that science, on the practice of which depends the welfare of States,
is not neglected. Independently of the Council of Agriculture,
Commerce and Arts, established under the presidency of the Minister
of the Interior, here is a


Its object is to improve agriculture, not only in the department of
La Seine, but throughout France. For this purpose, it maintains a
regular correspondence with all the agricultural societies of the
other departments. It publishes memoirs, in which are inserted the
results of its labours, as well as the notices and observations read
at the meetings by any one of its members, and the decision which has

Every year it proposes prizes for the solution of some question
important to the amelioration of agriculture.

What, at first view, appears extraordinary, is not, on that account,
less founded on truth. Amidst the storms of the revolution,
agriculture has been improved in France. At a period of happiness and
tranquillity, the soil was not so well cultivated as in times of
terror and mourning; because, during the latter, the lands enjoyed
the franchises so long wanted. Hands never failed; for, when the men
marched to the armies, women supplied their place; and no one was
ashamed to handle the spade or the plough.

However, if, in 1789, agriculture in France was far from a state of
prosperity, it was beginning to receive new light from the labours of
the agricultural societies. That of Paris had given a great impulse
to the culture of artificial meadows, potatoes, hemp, flax, and
fruit-trees. Practical directions, spread with profusion in the
country, had diverted the inhabitants from the routine which they had
blindly followed from generation to generation.

Before the revolution, the French began to imitate us in gelding
their horses, and giving to their lackies, their coachmen, and their
equipages an English appearance; instead of copying us in the
cultivation of our land, and adopting the principles of our rural
economy. This want of foresight they are now anxious to repair, by
increasing their pastures, and enriching them by an extensive variety
of plants, augmenting the number of their cattle, whether intended
for subsistence or reproduction, and improving the breed by a mixture
of races well assorted, procuring a greater quantity of manure,
varying their culture so as not to impoverish the soil, and
separating their lands by inclosures, which obviate the necessity of
constantly employing herdsmen to tend their cattle.

Agriculture has, unquestionably, suffered much, and is still
suffering in the western departments. Notwithstanding the succour
afforded by the government to rebuild and repair the deserted
cottages and barns, to supply them with men and cattle, to set the
ploughs to work, and revive industry, it is still evident that the
want of confidence which maintains the value of money at an
exorbitant rate, the love of stock-jobbing, the impossibility of
opening small loans, the excessive price of manual labour,
contributions exacted in advance, and the distress of most of the
land-owners, who are not in a condition to shew favour to their
tenants, are scourges which still overwhelm the country. But I am
credibly informed that, in general, the rural inhabitants now lend a
more attentive ear to instruction, and that prejudices have less
empire over their reason. The great landed proprietors, whom terror
had induced to fly their country, have, on recovering possession of
their patrimony, converted their parks into arable land. Others, who
are not fond of living in town, are daily repairing to their estates,
in order to superintend the cultivation of them. No one disdains the
simple title of farmer. Old publications relative to agriculture are
reprinted in a form more within reach of the capacity of the people;
though treatises on domestic animals are still much wanted.

At Rambouillet, formerly the country-seat of the duke of Penthievre,
is an experimental national farm. Fine cattle are now held in high
estimation. Flocks of sheep of the Spanish breed are daily
increasing; and the number of those of a pure race, already imported,
or since bred in France, exceeds 8000.[1] Wide roads, which led to
one solitary castle only, have been ploughed, and sown. The rage for
ornamental gardens and pleasure-grounds is dying away. The breeding
of horses, a branch of industry which the war and the requisition had
caused to be abandoned, is on the point of being resumed with
increased activity. It is in contemplation to establish studs, on
plans better combined and much more favourable to the object than
those which formerly existed. In short, the ardent wish of the
thinking part of the nation seems to be, that the order which the
government is endeavouring to introduce into every branch of its
administration, may determine the labourer to proportion his hire to
the current price of corn; but all these truths assembled form not
such a sketch as you may, perhaps, expect. The state of French
agriculture has never yet been delineated on a comprehensive scale,
except by Arthur Young. You must persuade him to repeat his tour, if
you wish for a perfect picture.[2]

* * * * *

_March 22, in continuation._

Most persons are acquainted with DIDOT'S stereotypic editions of the
classics, &c. which are sold here for 15 _sous_ per copy. Nothing
more simple than the plan of this mode of printing. A page is first
set up in moveable types; a mould or impression is then taken of the
page with any suitable plastic substance, and a solid page is cast
from it. The expense of a solid page exceeds not that of resetting it
in moveable types; so that, by this invention, the price of books
will be considerably reduced, and standard works will never be out of
print. Nor are these the only advantages attending the use of
stereotype; I must mention another of still greater importance.

By the common method of printing, it is impossible ever to have
correct books. They are in the market before all their errors are
discovered; and the latest edition of a work, which ought to be the
most correct, is necessarily the most faulty; for it presents not
only the errors of that from which it was copied, but also those
peculiar to itself. Stereotypic books are printed only to answer the
extent of the demand; and errors, when discovered, being corrected in
the metal, they must, through time and attention, become immaculate;
a circumstance of infinite importance in astronomical and
mathematical tables of every description.[3]

For elegance of printing, DIDOT is the BENSLEY of Paris; but to see a
grand establishment in this line, you must go to the _Rue de la
Vrilliere_, near the _Place des Victoires_, and visit the


Under the title of _Imprimerie Royale_, this establishment vas
formerly placed in the galleries of the _Louvre_. Instituted by
Francis I in 1531, it was greatly enlarged and improved under Lewis
XIII and Lewis XIV. It has also been considerably augmented since its
removal, in 1791, to the hotel belonging to the late Duke of
Penthievre, which it now occupies.

In its present state, it may be considered as the most extensive and
most complete typographical establishment in being. Every branch
relating to typography, from the casting of the type to the article
of binding, is here united. The _depot_ of punches contains upwards
of 30,000 characters of all languages. Among others, here are to be
remarked, in all their primitive purity, the beautiful Greek ones of
Garamon, engraved by order of Francis I, and which served for the
editions of the Stephen, the Byzantine, &c, the oriental characters
of the Polyglot of Vitraeus, and the collection of exotic characters
from the printing-office of the Propaganda. The government business
alone constantly employs one hundred presses. A much greater number
can be set to work, if wanted.

Independently of the works concerning administration and the
sciences, which are executed here at the public cost, the government
allows authors to cause to be printed at this office, at their own
private expense, such works as, on account of their importance, the
difficulty of execution, and the particular types which they require,
are entitled to that favour.

On applying to the director, the amateurs of typography are instantly
admitted to view this establishment, and shewn every thing
interesting in it, with that spirit of liberality which is extended
to every public institution here, and which reflects the highest
honour on the French nation.

[Footnote 1: At the last annual sale at Rambouillet, the average
price of a good Spanish ram was no more than 412 francs or L17
sterling. The dearest sold for 620 francs.]

[Footnote 2: The statistical accounts of the different departments,
which are to be compiled by order of the Minister of the Interior,
will specify all the agricultural improvements. The few already
published, shew that if the population of France is somewhat
diminished in the large towns, it is considerably increased in the

[Footnote 3: It is, however, to be remarked that the merit of this
invaluable invention is not due to France, but to Britain. As far
back as the year 1725, a Mr. GED, of Edinburgh, turned his thoughts
to the formation of cast letter-press plates, and, in 1736, printed a
stereotype edition of Sallust. Being opposed by a combination of
printers and booksellers, whose ignorance and prejudices he was
unable to overcome, he relinquished the prosecution of his discovery;
and thus the stereotypic art was lost to the world, till
rediscovered, in 1780, by Mr. ALEXANDER TILLOCH. In the year 1783,
Mr. TILLOCH took out a patent for it, in conjunction with Mr. FOULIS,
then printer to the University of Glasgow. They printed several books
in this manner; but it seems that they also experienced an opposition
from the booksellers, and, owing to different circumstances, have not
since availed themselves of their patent. Notwithstanding this
evidence of priority, the French dispute the invention; and the
learned CAMUS, in his "_Historical Sketch of Polytypage and
Stereotypage_," affirms, on the authority of LOTTIN, that, towards
the end of the seventeenth century, the stereotypic process was put
in practice in France, for printing the calendars prefixed to the
missals. Hence it is seen that the claim of the English is supported
by positive proof; while that of the French rests on bare assertion.]


_Paris, March_ 26, 1802.

In visiting a foreign country, and more especially its capital, the
traveller, whose object is instruction, enters into the most minute
details, in order to obtain a complete knowledge of the various
classes of its inhabitants. As Seneca justly observes, in his
epistles, what benefit can a person reap from his travels, who spends
all his time in examining the beauty and magnificence of public
buildings? Will the contemplation of them render him more wise, more
temperate, more liberal in his ideas? Will it remove his prejudices
and errors? It may amuse him for a time, as a child, by the novelty
and variety of objects, which excite an unmeaning admiration. To act
thus, adds the learned stoic, is not to travel, it is to wander, and
lose both one's time and labour.

"_Non est hoc peregrinari, sed erraie_."

Wherefore Horace, in imitation of Homer, says, in praise of Ulysses,

"_Qui mores hominum multorum vidit, et urbes_."

I have, I hope, given you enough of sights and shows; let us then, my
good friend, follow the wise example of the ancients, and take a view
of men and manners.

Owing, in some measure, to the levity of French character, and the
freedom which now prevails generally enough in all society here, this
sort of study, sometimes so tedious, is greatly facilitated. In the
Parisian assemblies of the present day, by an almost continual
collision, self-love discovers the weak side of an individual whose
whole merit consists in a little small-talk, and a rotation of those
_jolis petits riens_, which, seconded by a well-favoured countenance
and an agreeable carriage, have given him in the world the reputation
of an amiable man; while, from another, we see a thousand essential
qualities, concealed under a coarse exterior, force themselves into
notice, and which his modesty, or more frequently his timidity,
prevented him from displaying.

From the preceding preamble, you will naturally conclude that I
purpose to appropriate this letter to a few remarks on the


In this city are three very distinct kinds of society. But the order
I shall adopt in the description of each of them must not, in any
way, lead you to prejudge my opinion respecting the rank which they
hold among the French themselves. In this respect, I shall abstain
from every sort of reflection, and, confining myself to the simple
character of a faithful narrator, shall leave to your sagacity to
decide the question.

I shall begin by the society, chiefly composed of the _ci-devant
noblesse_, several of whom, never having quitted France, have
preserved some of their property; and of emigrants, lately returned
to their own country, and who have enough remaining to allow them to
have a household establishment, but in a very modest style indeed,
compared to that which their rank and fortune enabled them to support
before the revolution.

You present yourself at the residence of _Madame la Marquise de
C----_. In the anti-room, you declare your name and quality to the
groom of the chambers. Then, the opening of one or two folding-doors
announces to the mistress of the house, and to the company, the
_quantum_ of the ceremonies which are to be paid to the newcomer.
Keep your eye constantly on the _Marquise_, her behaviour will
regulate yours in regard to the individuals who compose her party. In
the course of conversation, take special care not to omit the title
of the person to whom you address yourself. Such an instance of
forgetfulness savours of a man of the new _regime_. Never pronounce
the new denominations respecting the divisions of the French
territory, the months, the weights, measures, &c. Those words would
draw on you an unfavourable interpretation. If you are inclined to
hear a discussion on the arts and sciences, or on any new discovery
whatever, you seldom find, in these parties, persons who can gratify
your taste; though you may meet with many who, as Locke says, "know a
little, presume a great deal, and so jump to a conclusion."

From the plebeians, whose presence the _ci-devant_ nobles are so
condescending as to endure, much obsequiousness and servility are
required; and it is expected that the distance of rank should never
be forgotten. But the learned or scientific French revolutionist, who
admits no other distance than that between knowledge and ignorance,
not choosing to submit to such conditions, seldom presents himself at
the house of _Madame la Marquise de C----_. However, you will hear
her company speak of the court of France, of the interest which each
individual had there, and also a few anecdotes not uninteresting, and
which will furnish you with some ideas of the brilliant parties there
formed. After this discussion, one will talk to you of his regiment;
another, of his hunting establishment, of his _chateaux_, of his
estates, &c. _Chez Madame la Marquise de C----_, you will find no
inconsiderable prepossession against every thing that is not of the
old order of things, and even some exclusive pretensions to manners
which belong to those only who are real gentlemen. Yet, through all
these absurdities, you will always see good-breeding prevail in this
society, and the disposition which distinguishes a Frenchman from
other polished nations, will here break forth and present itself to
you in a striking manner.

While speaking of the _ci-devant noblesse_, I cannot forbear to
mention the loss which those who had the happiness of her
acquaintance, have sustained by the recent death of Madame DE
CHOISEUL, the relict of the duke of that name, minister to Lewis XV.
Her virtues shed such a lustre round her, that it reached even the
monarch himself, who, when he banished her husband to Chanteloup,
wrote to him: "I should have sent you much further, but for the
particular esteem I have for Madame DE CHOISEUL, in whose health I
take no small interest." This uncommonly-respectable woman will long
be quoted and deservedly regretted, because she was modest in
greatness, beneficent in prosperity, courageous in misfortune, pure
in the vortex of corruption, solid in the midst of frivolity, as
simple in her language as she was brilliant in her understanding, and
as indulgent to others as she was superior to them in grace and

I shall next lead you to the house of a _parvenu_, that is, one of
those, who, from having made some successful speculations, and
possessing a conscience not overnice as to the means of fixing
Fortune, is enabled to live in the expensive style of the _ci-devant_
court-lords and farmers-general. A letter changed in the person's
name, not unfrequently a _de_ or a _St._ added, (sometimes both)
puzzles the curious, who endeavour to discover what was formerly M.
_de St. H------_, now in the enjoyment of an annual income of a
hundred thousand francs, or L4000 sterling.

At his house, more than any where else, etiquette is kept up with an
extraordinary minuteness; and evil tongues will tell you that it is
natural for M. _de St. H------_ to remember and avail himself of the
observations which he had it in his power to make in the place he
formerly occupied. Under his roof, you will find little of that ease
and amiableness which are to be remarked in the other societies of
Paris. Each individual is on his guard, and afraid of betraying
himself by certain expressions, which the force of habit has not yet
allowed him to forget. But if you are fond of good music, if you take
a pleasure in balls, and in the company of _femmes galantes_ or
demireps; and even if first-rate jugglers, ventriloquists, and mimics
amuse you by their skilful performances, frequent the house of M. _de
St. H------_, and every day, or at least every day that he is at
home, you will have a new entertainment.

Between the acts, the company make their remarks, each in his own
way, on what they have just seen or heard. Afterwards, the
conversation turns on the public funds. Little is said, however, on
affairs of State, the bankruptcies of the day, and the profit which
such or such a speculation might produce. The ladies, after having
exhausted the subject of the toilet, finish by giving, as an apology
for their own conduct, the charitable enumeration of the peccadilloes
which they fancy they have remarked in other women.

So little am I disposed for gaming, that I forgot to mention
_bouillotte_, _quinze_, and also whist and reversi, which are
introduced at all these parties. But the two last-mentioned games are
reserved for those only who seek in cards nothing more than a
recreation from the occupations of the day. At the others, gain is
the sole object of the player; and many persons sit at the
gaming-table the whole night, and, in the depth of winter even,
never leave it till the "garish sun" warns them that it is time
to withdraw.

I have now only to introduce you at M. _B------'s_, Counsellor of
State. Here you will find the completion of the other two societies,
and a very numerous party, which affords to every one a conversation
analogous to his taste or his means. Refrain, however, from touching
on politics; the French government, still in its infancy, resembles a
young plant exposed to the inclemency of the air, and whose growth is
directed by skilful hands. This government must remove, and even
sometimes destroy every obstacle it meets with, and which may be
prejudicial to the form and direction that it thinks proper to give
to its branches and various ramifications. Beware, above all, of
speaking of the revolution. That string is too delicate to be touched
in regard to certain individuals of M. _B------'s_ party, perhaps
also in regard to himself: for the periods of the calamities which
the French have undergone are still quite recent, and the parts that
many of these persons may have acted, call to mind recollections too
painful, which, for their tranquillity, ought ever to be buried in
oblivion. And, in fact, you will always perceive, in the meetings of
this class, a harmony, apparent indeed, but which, surprises a
stranger the more, as, of all the societies in Paris, it presents to
him the greatest medley in point of the persons who compose it.

In this society you will hear very instructive dissertations on the
sciences, sound literature, the fine arts, mechanics, and the means
of rendering useful the new discoveries, by applying them with
economy to the French manufactories, either public or private: for M.
_B------_ considers it as his duty to receive with distinction all
the _savans_, and generally all those called men of talent. In this
line of conduct, he follows the example set him by the government;
and every one is desirous to appear a Maecenas in the eyes of
Augustus. In other respects, the house of M. _B------_ will afford
you the agreeble pastimes which you have found at M. _de St.

In Paris, however, are several other societies which, to consider
them rightly, are no more than a diminutive of those you have just
left; but which, nevertheless, are of a character sufficiently
distinct in their composition to justify their pretensions to be
classed as well as the others. This difference proceeding chiefly
from that of political opinions alone, an acquaintance with the great
societies here will enable you to select those of the middle class
which you may think proper to frequent, according to your taste, or
your manner of seeing and judging of the events of the French
revolution. Yet, you must not hence conclude that the conversation
turns chiefly on that subject in this particular class of the
Parisian societies. They concern themselves less about it perhaps
than the others, whether from the little share they have had in it,
or because they have but very indirect connexions with the
government, or lastly, and this final reason is, I believe, the most
conclusive, because a Frenchman, from the nature of his character,
ends by forgetting his misfortunes and losses, cares little for the
future, and appears desirous to enjoy the present only; following, in
that respect, the precept of La Fontaine:

_"Jouis des aujourd'hui, tu n'as pas tant a vivre;
Je te rebats ce mot--car il vaut tout un livre."_

In truth, although, among this people, vexations and enjoyments are
almost always the result of imagination, they have preserved the
remembrance of their misfortunes only to turn to account the terrible
lessons which they have received from them, by adopting, in regard to
the present and to the future, that happy philosophy which knows how
to yield to the circumstances of the moment. This it is (you may rely
on the fact) that has contributed, more than any other cause, to
re-establish, in so short a period, the order and tranquillity which
France presents to the eyes of astonished foreigners. This it is too
that has, in a great measure, obviated the fatal consequences which
their past troubles must have made them fear for a long time to come,
and for which few remedies could be expected, especially when we
reflect on the divisions which the revolution has sown in almost
every family in this country.

P. S. The sound of cannon, which strikes my ear at this moment,
announces the signature of the definitve treaty. In the evening, a
grand illumination will take place to celebrate the return of the
most desirable of all blessings.

"------------O beauteous Peace!
Sweet union of a State! What else but thou
Giv'st safety, strength, and glory to a people?"


_Paris, March 28, 1802._

Whatever changes may have been introduced by the revolution, in one
respect at least, the Parisians still preserve towards foreigners
that urbanity for which they were remarkable half a century ago, when
Sterne paid them a visit. If you ask a shopkeeper here, of either
sex, the way to a place, perhaps at some distance, he or she neglects
the occupation of the moment to direct you, with as much solicitude
and attention as though a considerable advantage was to be the result
of the given information. It is the small sweet courtesies of life,
as that sentimental traveller remarks, which render the road of it
less rugged.

Sometimes, indeed, a foreigner pays dearly for the civility shewn him
in Paris; but, in laying out his money, he must ever bear in mind
that the shopkeepers make no scruple to overcharge their articles to
their own countrymen, and some will not blush to take, even from
them, a third less than the price demanded.

Soon after my arrival here, I think I mentioned to you the excessive
dearness of


Since the revolution, their price is nearly doubled, and is extremely
high in the most fashionable parts of the town, such as the _Chaussee
d'Antin_, the _Rue de la Loi_, the _Rue de la Concorde_, &c. For
strangers that know not in Paris any friend who will take the trouble
to seek for them suitable apartments, the only way to procure good
accommodation is to alight at a ready-furnished hotel, and there hire
rooms by the day till they can look about them, and please

For my own part, I prefer the quiet of a private lodging to the
bustle of a public hotel, and, as I have before mentioned, my
constant resource, on such occasions, has been the _Petites
Affiches_. If you go to the office where this Daily Advertiser is
published, and inspect the file, it is ten to one that you
immediately find apartments to your wishes.

A single man may now be comfortably lodged here, in a private house
with a _porte-cochere_, at from 5 to 8 louis per month; and a small
family may be well accommodated, in that respect, at from 12 to 16
louis. A larger party, requiring more room, may obtain excellent
apartments at from 20 louis a month upwards, according to the
situation, the conveniences, the taste and condition of the
furniture, and other contingencies. To prevent subsequent
misunderstanding, I would always recommend a written agreement.

The English have hitherto paid dearer than other foreigners for
whatever they want in Paris, because they generally trust to their
servants, and think it beneath them to look into those matters
connected with their own comfort. But the _Milords Anglais_ are now
entirely eclipsed by the Russian Counts, who give two louis where the
English offer one. A person's expenses here, as every where else,
materially depend on good management, without which a thoughtless man
squanders twice as much as a more considerate one; and while the
former obtains no more than the common comforts of life, the latter
enjoys all its indulgences.

With respect to the gratifications of the table, I have little to add
to what I have already said on that subject, in speaking of the
_restaurateurs_. If you choose to become a boarder, you may subscribe
at the _Hotel du Cirque_, _Rue de la Loi_, and sit down every day in
good company for about seven louis a month; and there are very
respectable private houses, where you may, when once introduced, dine
very well for five livres a time; but, at all these places, you are
sure to meet either English or Americans; and the consequence is,
that you are eternally speaking your mother-tongue, which is a
material objection with those who are anxious to improve themselves
in the French language. For a man who brings his family to Paris, and
resides in private apartments, it might, perhaps, be more advisable
to hire a cook, and live _a l'Anglaise_ or _a la Francaise_,
according to his fancy.

No conveniences have been so much improved in Paris, since the
revolution, as


Formerly, the _remises_ or job-carriages were far inferior to those
in use at the present day; and the old _fiacres_ or hackney-coaches
were infamous. The carriages themselves were filthy; the horses,
wretched; and the coachmen, in tatters, had more the look of beggars
than that of drivers.

Now, not only good hackney-coaches, but chariots and cabriolets
likewise, figure here on the stands; and many of them have an
appearance so creditable that they might even be taken for private
French equipages. The regular stipulated fare of all these vehicles
is at present 30 _sous_ a _course_, and the same for every hour after
the first, which is fixed at 40 _sous_.[1] In 1789, it used to be no
more than 24. For the 30 _sous_, you may drive from one extremity of
Paris to the other, provided you do not stop by the way; for every
voluntary stoppage is reckoned a _course_. However, if you have far
to go, it is better to agree to pay 40 _sous_ per hour, and then you
meet with no contradiction. From midnight to six o'clock in the
morning, the fare is double.

The present expense of a job-carriage, with a good pair of horses,
(including the coachman, who is always paid by the jobman) varies
from 22 to 24 louis a month, according to the price of forage. If you
use your own carriage, the hire of horses and coachman will cost you
from 12 to 15 louis, which, in 1789, was the price of a job-carriage,
all expenses included.

Under the old _regime_, there were no stands of cabriolets.[2] These
carriages are very convenient to persons pressed for time; but it
must be confessed that they are no small annoyance to pedestrians. Of
this Lewis XV was so convinced, that he declared if he were Minister
of the Police, he would suffer no cabriolets in Paris. He thought
this prohibition beneath his own greatness. To obviate, in some
measure, the danger arising both from the want of foot-pavement, and
from the inconsiderate rapidity with which these carriages are not
unfrequently driven, it is now a law that the neck of every horse in
a cabriolet must be provided with bells, and the carriage with two
lamps, lighted after dark; yet, in spite of these precautions, and
the severity which the police exercises against those who transgress
the decree, serious accidents sometimes happen.

Before the revolution, "_gare! gare!_" was the only warning given
here to foot-passengers. The master, in his cabriolet, first drove
over a person, the servant behind then bawled out "_gare!_" and the
maimed pedestrian was left to get up again as he was able. Such
brutal negligence now meets with due chastisement.

At a trial which took place here the other day in a court of justice,
the driver of a cabriolet was condemned to three months imprisonment
in a house of correction, and to pay a fine of 100 francs for maiming
a carter. The horse had no bells, as prescribed by law; and the owner
of the cabriolet was, besides, condemned, in conjunction with the
driver, to pay an indemnification of 3000 francs to the wounded
carter, as being civilly responsible for the conduct of his servant.

Notwithstanding the danger of walking in the streets of Paris, such
French women as are accustomed to go on foot, traverse the most
frequented thoroughfares in the dirtiest weather, at the same time
displaying, to the astonished sight of bespattered foreigners, a
well-turned leg, a graceful step, and spotless stockings.

If you arrive in Paris without a servant, or (what amounts almost to
the same thing) should you bring with you a man ignorant of the
French language, you may be instantly accommodated with one or
several domestics, under the name of


Like every thing else here, the wages of these job-servants are
augmented. Formerly, their salary was 30 or 40 _sous_ a day: they now
ask 4 francs; but, if you purpose to spend a few weeks here, will be
glad to serve you for 3. Some are very intelligent; others, very
stupid. Most of them are spies of the police; but, as an Englishman
in Paris has nothing to conceal, of what consequence is it whether
his steps are watched by his own _valet-de-place_ or any other
_mouchard_? It is usual for them to lay under contribution all the
tradesmen you employ; and thus the traiteur, the jobman, &c.
contribute to augment their profits. However, if they pilfer you a
little themselves, they take care that you are not subjected to too
much imposition from others.--To proceed to a few


In visiting the French capital, many Englishmen are led into an
error. They imagine that a few letters of recommendation will be the
means of procuring them admission into other houses besides those of
the persons to whom these letters are addressed. But, on their
arrival in Paris, they will find themselves mistaken. The houses of
the _great_ are difficult of access, and those of the secondary class
scarcely open with more ease than they did before the revolution. If
proper attention be paid to all the letters which a stranger brings,
he may be satisfied; though the persons to whom he is recommended,
seldom think of taking him to the residence of any of their friends.
Therefore, an English traveller, who wishes to mix much in French
society, should provide himself with as many letters of
recommendation as he can possibly obtain; unless, indeed, he has a
celebrated name, which, in all countries, is the best introduction;
for curiosity prompts the higher classes to see and examine the man
who bears it. The doors of every house will be open to him, when they
are shut against other strangers, and he may soon establish an
intimacy in the first circles. To those who possess not that
advantage, a Frenchman may be induced to offer a dinner, or two,
perhaps, and return them a few formal visits. He will profess more
than he performs. In a word, he will be polite, but not familiar and

An Englishman, thus circumstanced, finding that he gains no ground,
and is treated with a sort of ceremony, will probably seek other
company, dine at the _restaurateurs'_, frequent the _spectacles_, and
visit the impures: for such was the life our countrymen, in general,
led in Paris before the revolution. Public amusements may, perhaps,
make him amends for the want of private society. As, from their
astonishing number, they may be varied without end, he may contrive
to pass away his evenings. His mornings will, at first, be employed,
no doubt, in visiting public curiosities; but, after he has
repeatedly surveyed these scenes of attraction, he will fail in what
ought to be the grand object of foreign travel, and return home
without having acquired a competent knowledge of the manners of the
country. He ought therefore to husband proper French acquaintances,
and keep up a constant intercourse with them, or he will run a risk
of finding himself insulated. Should indisposition confine him to the
house for a few days, every one to whom he has been recommended, will
suppose him gone, he will no longer be thought of; _ennui_ will take
possession of him, and, cursing France, he will wish himself safely
landed on the shore of Old England.

If this is the case with an Englishman who brings letters to Paris,
what must be the situation of one who visits this capital entirely
unprovided in that respect? The banker on whom he has a letter of
credit, may invite him to a dinner, at which are assembled twenty
persons, to all of whom he is a perfect stranger. Without friends,
without acquaintances, he will find himself like a man dropped from
the clouds, amidst six or seven hundred thousand persons, driving or
walking about in pursuit of their affairs or pleasures. For want of a
proper clue to direct him, he is continually in danger of falling
into the most detestable company; and the temptations to pleasure are
so numerous and so inviting in this gay city, that it requires more
fortitude than falls to the lot of many to resist them. Consequently,
an untravelled foreigner cannot be too much on his guard in Paris;
for it will require every exertion of his prudence and discrimination
to avoid being duped and cheated. Above all, he should shun those
insinuating and subtle characters who, dexterous in administering
that delicious essence which mixes so sweetly with the blood, are
ever ready to shew him the curiosities, and introduce him into
coteries, which they will represent as respectable, and in which the
mistress of the house and her daughters will, probably, conspire to
lighten his pocket, and afterwards laugh at his credulity.

As to the reception which the English are likely to meet with here
after the ratification of the definitive treaty, (if I may be
permitted to judge from personal experience and observation) I think
it will, in a great measure, depend on themselves. Therefore, should
any of our countrymen complain of being treated here with less
attention now than before the revolution, it will, on candid
investigation, prove to be their own fault. The essential difference
will be found to consist in the respect paid to the man, not, as
formerly, in proportion to his money, but to his social worth. The
French seem now to make a distinction between individuals only, not
between nations. Whence it results that, _caeteris paribus_, the
foreigner who possesses most the talent of making himself agreeable
in society, will here be the most welcome. Not but, in general, they
will shew greater indulgence to an Englishman, and be inclined to
overlook in him that which they would consider as highly unpardonable
in a stranger of any other country.

On such occasions, their most usual exclamation is "_Les Anglais sont
des gens bien extraordinaires! Ma foi! ils sont inconcevables!_" And,
indeed, many Englishmen appear to glory in justifying the idea, and
_astonishing the natives_ by the eccentricity of their behaviour. But
these _originals_ should recollect that what may be tolerated in a
man of superior talent, is ridiculous, if not contemptible, in one
undistinguished by such a pretension; and that, by thus _posting_
their absurdities to the eyes of a foreign nation, they leave behind
them an impression which operates as a real injury in regard to their
more rational countrymen. Another circumstance deserves no less

In their first essay of foreign travel, our British youths generally
carry with them too ample a share of national prepossession and
presumption. Accustomed at home to bear down all before them by the
weight of their purse, they are too apt to imagine that, by means of
a plentiful provision of gold, they may lord it over the continent,
from Naples to Petersburg; and that a profuse expenditure of money
supersedes the necessity of a compliance with established forms and
regulations. Instead of making their applications and inquiries in a
proper manner, so as to claim due attention, they more frequently
demand as a right what they should rather receive as a favour.
Finding themselves disappointed in their vain conclusions, their
temper is soured; and, being too proud to retract their error, or
even observe a prudent silence, they deal out their impertinence and
abuse in proportion to the number of guineas which they may be able
to squander. Of course, they cannot but view the peculiar habits and
customs of all foreign nations with a jaundiced eye, never reflecting
that in most countries are to be found, either in a moral or a
physical sense, advantages and disadvantages in which others are
deficient. _Le_ POUR _et le_ CONTRE, as a well-known traveller
observes, _se trouvent en chaque nation_. The grand desideratum is to
acquire by travel a knowledge of this POUR _et/i> CONTRE, which, by
emancipating us from our prejudices, teaches us mutual toleration
--for, of every species of tyranny, that which is exercised on things
indifferent in themselves, is the most intolerable. Hence it is less
difficult to deprive a nation of its laws than to change its habits.

[Footnote 1: When assignats were in circulation, a single _course en
fiacre_ sometimes cost 600 livres, which was at the rate of 10 livres
per minute. But this will not appear extraordinary, when it is known
that the depreciation of that paper-currency was such that, at one
time, 18,000 livres in assignats could be procured for a single
_louis d'or_.]

[Footnote 2: A cabriolet is a kind of one-horse chaise, with a
standing head, and inclosed in front by a wooden flap, in lieu of one
of leather. Behind, there is a place for a footman.]


_Paris, March 31, 1802._

If I mistake not, I have answered most of the questions contained in
your letters; I shall now reply to you on the subject of


The number of divorced women to be met with here, especially among
the more affluent classes, exceeds any moderate calculation. Nothing
can more clearly manifest the necessity of erecting some dike against
the torrent of immorality, which has almost inundated this capital,
and threatens to spread over all the departments.

Before the revolution, the indissolubility of marriage in France was
supposed to promote adultery in a very great degree: the vow was
broken because the knot could not be untied. At present, divorces are
so easily obtained, that a man or woman, tired of each other, have
only to plead _incompatibility of temper_, in order to slip their
necks out of the matrimonial noose. In short, some persons here
change their wedded partner with as much unconcern as they do their
linen. Thus, the two extremes touch each other; and either of them
has proved equally pernicious to morals.

Formerly, if a Frenchman kept a watchful eye on his wife, he was
reckoned jealous, and was blamed. If he adopted a contrary conduct,
and she was faithless, he was ridiculed. Not unfrequently, a young
miss, emerged from the cloisters of a convent, where she had,
perhaps, been sequestered, in order that her bloom might not eclipse
the declining charms of her mother, and who appeared timid, bashful,
and diffident, was no sooner married to a man in a certain rank in
life, than she shone as a meteor of extravagance and dissipation.
Such a wife thought of nothing but the gratification of her own
desires; because she considered it as a matter of course that all the
cares of the family ought to devolve by right on the husband.
Provided she could procure the means of satisfying her taste for
dress, and of making a figure in the _beau monde_, no other concerns
ever disturbed her imagination. If, at first, she had sufficient
resolution to resist the contagion of example, and not take a male
friend to her bosom, by way of lightening the weight of her connubial
chains, she seldom failed, in the end, to follow the fashion of the
day, and frequent the gaming-table, where her virtue was sacrificed
to discharge her debts of honour.

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest