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COLLECTION

OF

ANCIENT AND MODERN BRITISH AUTHORS

VOL. CXLIV.



A

RESIDENCE IN FRANCE;

WITH AN

EXCURSION UP THE RHINE,

AND A

SECOND VISIT TO SWITZERLAND.

BY J. FENIMORE COOPER ESQ.

AUTHOR OF "THE PILOT," "THE SPY," &c.


PARIS,
BAUDRY'S EUROPEAN LIBRARY,
RUE DU COQ. NEAR THE LOUVRE;
SOLD ALSO BY AMYOT, RUE DE LA PAIX; TRUCHY, BOULEVARD DES ITALIENS;
THEOPHILE BARROIS, JUN., RUE RICHELIEU; LIBRAIRIE DES ETRANGERS,
RUE NEUVE-SAINT-AUGUSTIN; AND HEIDELOFF AND CAMPE,
RUE VIVIENNE.
1836.


PREFACE.

The introduction to Part I. of the "Sketches of Switzerland," leaves very little for the author to say in addition. The reader will be prepared to meet with a long digression, that touches on the situation and interests of another country, and it is probable he will understand the author's motive for thus embracing matter that is not strictly connected with the principal subject of the work.

The first visit of the writer to Switzerland was paid in 1828; that which is related in these two volumes, in 1832. While four years had made no changes in the sublime nature of the region, they had seriously affected the political condition of all Europe. They had also produced a variance of feeling and taste in the author, that is the unavoidable consequences of time and experience. Four years in Europe are an age to the American, as are four years in America to the European. Jefferson has somewhere said, that no American ought to be more than five years, at a time, out of his own country, lest he get behind it. This may be true, as to its facts; but the author is convinced that there is more danger of his getting before it, as to opinion. It is not improbable that this book may furnish evidence of both these truths.

Some one, in criticising the First Part of Switzerland, has intimated that the writer has a purpose to serve with the "Trades' Unions," by the purport of some of his remarks. As this is a country in which the avowal of a tolerably sordid and base motive seems to be indispensable, even to safety, the writer desires to express his sense of the critic's liberality, as it may save him from a much graver imputation.

There is really a painful humiliation in the reflection, that a citizen of mature years, with as good natural and accidental means for preferment as have fallen to the share of most others, may pass his life without a fact of any sort to impeach his disinterestedness, and yet not be able to express a generous or just sentiment in behalf of his fellow-creatures, without laying himself open to suspicions that are as degrading to those who entertain them, as they are injurious to all independence of thought, and manliness of character.



CONTENTS.

LETTER I.

Influence of the late Revolution in France.—General Lafayette.—Sketch of his Private Life.—My visits to him.—His opinion of Louis XVI.—Mr. Morris and Mr. Crawford.—Duplicity of Louis XVIII.—Charles X.—Marie Antoinette.—Legitimacy of the Duc de Bordeaux.—Discovery of the Plot of 1822.—Lafayette's conduct on that occasion.—A negro Spy.—General Knyphausen.—Louis-Philippe and Lafayette.—My visit to Court.—The King, the Queen, Madame Adelaide, and the Princesses.—Marshal Jourdan.—The Duke of Orleans.—Interview with the King.—"Adieu l'Amérique!"—Conversation with Lafayette.—The Juste Milieu.—Monarchy not inconsistent with Republican Institutions.—Party in favour of the Duc de Bordeaux.

LETTER II.

The Cholera in Paris.—Its frightful ravages.—Desertion of the city—My determination to remain.—Deaths in the higher classes.—Unexpected arrival and retreat.—Praiseworthy conduct of the Authorities.—The Cholera caricatured!—Invitation from an English General.—Atmospherical appearance denoting the arrival of the Cholera.—Lord Robert Fitzgerald.—Dinner at the house of Madame de B——

LETTER III.

Insecurity of the Government—Louis-Philippe and the Pear.—Caricatures.—Ugliness of the Public Men of France.—The Duke de Valmy.—Care-worn aspect of Society under the New Regime.—Controversy in France respecting the Cost of Government in America.—Conduct of American Agents in Europe

LETTER IV.

Gradual disappearance of the Cholera.—Death of M. Casimir Perier.—His Funeral.—Funeral of General Lamarque.—Magnificent Military Escort.—The Duc de Fitzjames.—An Alarm.—First symptoms of popular Revolt.—Scene on the Pont Royal.—Charge on the people by a body of cavalry.—The Sommations.—General Lafayette and the Bonnet Rouge.—Popular Prejudices in France, England, and America.—Contest in the Quartier Montmartre.—The Place Louis XVI.—A frightened Sentinel.—Picturesque Bivouac of troops in the Carrousel.—Critical situation.—Night-view from the Pont des Arts.—Appearance of the Streets on the following morning.—England an enemy to Liberty.—Affair at the Porte St. Denis.—Procession of Louis-Philippe through the streets.—Contest in the Rue St. Méry.—Sudden Panic.—Terror of a national Guard and a young Conscript.—Dinner with a Courtier.—Suppression of the Revolt

LETTER V.

National Guards in the Court of the Palace.—Unclaimed Dead in the Morgue.—View of the Scene of Action.—A blundering Artillerist.—Singular Spectacle.—The Machinations of the Government.—Martial Law.—Violations of the Charter.—Laughable Scene in the Carrousel.—A refractory Private of the National Guard.

LETTER VI.

Aspect of Paris.—Visit to Lafayette.—His demeanour.—His account of the commencement of the Revolt.—Machinations of the Police.—Character of Lafayette.—His remarkable expression to General ——.—Conversation on the Revolution of July.—The Doctrinaires.—Popular Sympathy in England and on the Rhine.—Lafayette's dismissal from the command of the National Guards.—The Duke of Orleans and his Friends.—Military Tribunals in Paris.—The Citizen King in the Streets.—Obliteration of the Fleur-de-lis.—The Royal Equipage.—The Duke of Brunswick in Paris.—His forcible Removal from France.—His Reception in Switzerland.—A ludicrous Mistake.

LETTER VII.

Public Dinner.—Inconsiderate Impulses of Americans.—Rambles in Paris.—The Churches of Paris.—View from the leads of Notre Dame.—The Place Royale.—The Bridges.—Progress of the Public Works.—The Palaces of the Louvre and the Tuileries.—Royal Enclosures in the Gardens of the Tuileries.—Public Edifices.—Private Hotels and Gardens.—My Apartments in the house of the Montmorencies.—Our other Residences.—Noble Abodes in Paris.—Comparative Expense of Living in Paris and New York.—American Shopkeepers, and those of Europe.

LETTER VIII.

Preparations for leaving Paris.—Travelling arrangements.—Our Route.—The Chateau of Ecouen.—The Croisée.—Senlis.—Peronne.—Cambray.—Arrival at the Frontier.—Change in the National Character.—Mons.—Brussels.—A Fête.—The Picture Gallery.—Probable Partition of Belgium.

LETTER IX.

Malines.—Its Collection of Pictures.—Antwerp.—The Cathedral.—A Flemish Quack.—Flemish Names.—The Picture Gallery at Antwerp.—Mr. Wapper's Carvings in Wood.—Mr. Van Lankeren's Pictures.—The Boulevards at Brussels.—Royal Abodes.—Palace of the Prince of Orange.—Prince Auguste d'Ahremberg's Gallery of Pictures.—English Ridicule of America.

LETTER X.

School System in America.—American Maps.—Leave Brussels.—Louvain.—Quarantine.—Liége.—The Soleil d'Or.—King Leopold and Brother.—Royal Intermarriages.—Environs of Liége.—The Cathedral and the Church of St. Jacques.—Ceremonies of Catholic Worship.—Churches of Europe.—Taverns of America.—Prayer in the Fields.—Scott's error as regards the Language spoken in Liége.—Women of Liége.—Illumination in honour of the King

LETTER XI.

Leave Liége.—Banks of the Meuse.—Spa.—Beautiful Promenades.—Robinson Crusoe.—The Duke of Saxe-Cobourg.—Former magnificence of Spa.—Excursions in the vicinity.—Departure from Spa.—Aix-la-Chapelle.—The Cathedral.—The Postmaster's Compliments.—Berghem.—German Enthusiasm.—Arrival at Cologne.

LETTER XII.

The Cathedral of Cologne.—The eleven thousand Virgins.—The Skulls of the Magi—House in which Rubens was born.—Want of Cleanliness in Cologne.—Journey resumed.—The Drachenfels.—Romantic Legend.—A Convent converted into an Inn.—Its Solitude.—A Night in it.—A Storm.—A Nocturnal Adventure.—Grim Figures.—An Apparition.—The Mystery dissolved.—Palace of the Kings of Austrasia.—Banks of the Rhine.—Coblentz.—Floating Bridges.—Departure from Coblentz.—Castle of the Ritterstein.—Visit to it.—Its Furniture.—The Ritter Saal.—Tower of the Castle.—Anachronisms.

LETTER XIII.

Ferry across the Rhine.—Village of Rudesheim.—The Hinter-hausen Wine.—Drunkenness.—Neapolitan curiosity respecting America.—The Rhenish Wines enumerated.—Ingelheim.—Johannisberg.—Conventual Wine.—Unseasonable praise.—House and Grounds of Johannisberg.—State of Nassau.—Palace at Biberich.—The Gardens.—Wiesbaden.—Its public Promenade.—Frankfort on the Maine.

LETTER XIV.

Boulevards of Frankfort.—Political Disturbances in the town.—Le petit Savoyard.—Distant glimpse of Homberg.—Darmstadt.—The Bergestrasse.—Heidelberg.—Noisy Market-place.—The Ruins and Gardens.—An old Campaigner.—Valley of the Neckar.—Heilbronn.—Ludwigsberg.—Its Palace.—The late Queen of Wurtemberg.—The Birthplace of Schiller.—Comparative claims of Schiller and Goethe.—Stuttgart.—Its Royal Residences.—The Princess of Hechingen.—German Kingdoms.—The King and Queen of Wurtemberg.—Sir Walter Scott.—Tubingen.—Ruin of a Castle of the middle ages.—Hechingen.—Village of Bahlingen.—The Danube.—The Black Forest.—View from a mountain on the frontier of Baden.—Enter Switzerland.

LETTER XV.

A Swiss Inn.—Cataract of the Rhine.—Canton of Zurich.—Town of Zurich.—Singular Concurrence.—Formidable Ascent.—Exquisite View.—Einsiedeln.—The Convent.—"Par exemple."—Shores of the Lake of Zug.—The Chemin Creux.—Water Excursion to Alpnach.—Lake of Lungern.—Lovely Landscape.—Effects of Mists on the prospect.—Natural Barometer.—View from the Brunig.—Enter the great Canton of Berne.—An Englishman's Politics.—Our French Companion.—The Giesbach.—Mountain Music.—Lauterbrunnen.—Grindewald.—Rising of the Waters in 1830.—Anecdote.—Excursion on the Lake to Thoun.

LETTER XVI.

Conspiracy discovered.—The Austrian Government and the French Carlists.—Walk to La Lorraine.—Our old friend "Turc."—Conversation with M. W——.—View of the Upper Alps.—Jerome Bonaparte at La Lorraine.—The Bears of Berne.—Scene on the Plateforme.

LETTER XVII.

Our Voiturier and his Horses.—A Swiss Diligence.—Morat.—Inconstancy of feeling.—Our Route to Vévey.—Lake Leman.—Difficulty in hiring a House.—"Mon Repos" engaged for a month.—Vévey.—The great Square.—The Town-house.—Environs of Vévey.—Summer Church and Winter Church.—Clergy of the Canton.—Population of Vaud.—Elective qualifications of Vaud.

LETTER XVIII.

Neglect of the Vine in America.—Drunkenness in France.—Cholera especially fatal to Drunkards.—The Soldier's and the Sailor's Vice.—Sparkling Champagne and Still Champagne.—Excessive Price of these Wines in America.—Burgundy.—Proper soil for the Vine.—Anecdote.—Vines of Vévey.—The American Fox-grape.

LETTER XIX.

The Leman Lake.—Excursions on it.—The coast of Savoy.—Grandeur and beauty of the Rocks.—Sunset.—Evening Scene.—American Families residing on the banks of the Lake.—Conversation with a Vévaisan on the subject of America.—The Nullification Question.—America misrepresented in Europe—Rowland Stephenson in the United States.—Unworthy arts to bring America into disrepute.—Blunders of Europe in respect of America.—The Kentuckians.—Foreign Associations in the States.—Illiberal Opinions of many Americans.—Prejudices.

LETTER XX.

The Equinox.—Storm on the Lake.—Chase of a little Boat—Chateau of Blonay.—Drive to Lausanne.—Mont Benon.—Trip to Geneva in the Winkelried.—Improvements in Geneva.—Russian Travellers.—M. Pozzo di Borgo.—Table d'hôte.—Extravagant Affirmations of a Frenchman.—Conversation with a Scotchman.—American Duels.—Visit at a Swiss Country-house.—English Customs affected in America.—Social Intercourse in the United States.—Difference between a European and an American Foot and Hand.—Violent Gale.—Sheltered position of Vévey.—Promenade.—Picturesque View.—The great Square.—Invitation.—Mountain Excursion.—An American Lieutenant.—Anecdote.—Extensive Prospect.—Chateau of Glayrole.

LETTER XXI.

Embark in the Winkelried.—Discussion with an Englishman.—The Valais.—Free Trade.—The Drance.—Terrible Inundation.—Liddes.—Mountain Scenery.—A Mountain Basin.—Dead-houses.—Melancholy Spectacle.—Approach of Night.—Desolate Region.—Convent of the Great St. Bernard.—Our Reception there.—Unhealthiness of the Situation.—The Superior.—Conversation during Supper.—Coal-mine on the Mountain.—Night in the Convent.

LETTER XXII.

Sublime Desolation.—A Morning Walk.—The Col.—A Lake.—Site of a Roman Temple.—Enter Italy.—Dreary Monotony.—Return to the Convent.—Tasteless Character of the Building.—Its Origin and Purposes.—The Dead-house.—Dogs of St. Bernard.—The Chapel.—Desaix interred here.—Fare of St. Bernard, and Deportment of the Monks.—Leave the Convent.—Our Guide's Notion of the Americans.—Passage of Napoleon across the Great St. Bernard.—Similar Passages in former times.—Transport of Artillery up the Precipices.—Napoleon's perilous Accident.—Return to Vévey.

LETTER XXIII.

Democracy in America and in Switzerland.—European Prejudices.—Influence of Property.—Nationality of the Swiss.—Want of Local Attachments in Americans.—Swiss Republicanism.—Political Crusade against America.—Affinities between America and Russia.—Feeling of the European Powers towards Switzerland.

LETTER XXIV.

The Swiss Mountain Passes.—Excursion in the neighbourhood of Vévey.—Castle of Blonay.—View from the Terrace.—Memory and Hope.—Great Antiquity of Blonay.—The Knight's Hall.—Prospect from the Balcony.—Departure from Blonay.—A Modern Chateau.—Travelling on Horseback.—News from America.—Dissolution of the Union predicted.—The Prussian Polity.—Despotism in Prussia.

LETTER XXV.

Controversy respecting America.—Conduct of American Diplomatists.—Attachés to American Legations.—Unworthy State of Public Opinion in America.

LETTER XXVI.

Approach of Winter.—The Livret.—Regulations respecting Servants.—Servants in America.—Governments of the different Cantons of Switzerland.—Engagement of Mercenaries.—Population of Switzerland.—Physical Peculiarities of the Swiss.—Women of Switzerland.—Mrs. Trollope and the American Ladies.—Affected manner of speaking in American Women.—Patois in America.—Peculiar manner of Speaking at Vévey.—Swiss Cupidity.

LETTER XXVII.

Departure from Vévey.—Passage down the Lake.—Arrival at Geneva.—Purchase of Jewellery.—Leave Geneva.—Ascent of the Jura.—Alpine Views.—Rudeness at the Custom-house.—Smuggling.—A Smuggler detected.—The second Custom-house.—Final View of Mont Blanc.—Re-enter France.—Our luck at the Post-house in Dôle.—A Scotch Traveller.—Nationality of the Scotch.—Road towards Troyes.—Source of the Seine.

LETTER XXVIII.

Miserable Inn.—A French Bed.—Free Trade.—French Relics.—Cross Roads.—Arrival at Lagrange.—Reception by General Lafayette.—The Nullification Strife.—Conversation with Lafayette.—His Opinion as to a Separation of the Union in America.—The Slave Question.—Stability of the Union.—Style of living at La Grange.—Pap.—French Manners, and the French Cuisine.—Departure from La Grange.—Return to Paris.



RESIDENCE

IN FRANCE.


LETTER I.

Influence of the late Revolution in France.—General Lafayette—Sketch of his Private Life.—My visits to him.—His opinion of Louis XVI.—Mr. Morris and Mr. Crawford.—Duplicity of Louis XVIII.—Charles X.—Marie Antoinette.—Legitimacy of the Duc de Bordeaux.—Discovery of the Plot of 1822.—Lafayette's conduct on that occasion.—A negro Spy.—General Knyphausen.—Louis-Philippe and Lafayette.—My visit to Court.—The King, the Queen, Madame Adelaide, and the Princesses.—Marshal Jourdan.—The Duke of Orleans.—Interview with the King.—"Adieu l'Amérique!"—Conversation with Lafayette.—The Juste Milieu.—Monarchy not inconsistent with Republican Institutions.—Party in favour of the Duc de Bordeaux.


Paris, February, 1832.

Dear ——,

Your speculations concerning the influence of the late revolution, on the social habits of the French, are more ingenious than true. While the mass of this nation has obtained less than they had a right to expect by the severe political convulsions they have endured, during the last forty years, they have, notwithstanding, gained something in their rights; and, what is of far more importance, they have gained in a better appreciation of those rights, as well as in the knowledge of the means to turn them to a profitable and practical account. The end will show essential improvements in their condition, or rather the present time shows it already. The change in polite society has been less favourable, although even this is slowly gaining in morals, and in a healthier tone of thought. No error can be greater, than that of believing France has endured so much, without a beneficial return.

In making up my opinions of the old regime, I have had constant recourse to General Lafayette for information. The conversations and anecdotes already sent you, will have prepared you for the fine tone, and perfect candour, with which he speaks even of his bitterest enemies; nor can I remember, in the many confidential and frank communications with which I have been favoured, a single instance where, there has been the smallest reason to suspect he has viewed men through the medium of personal antipathies and prejudices. The candour and simplicity of his opinions form beautiful features in his character; and the bienséance of his mind (if one may use such an expression) throws a polish over his harshest strictures, that is singularly adapted to obtain credit for his judgment.

Your desire to know more of the private life of this extraordinary man, is quite natural; but he has been so long before the public, that it is not easy to say anything new. I may, however, give you a trait or two, to amuse you.

I have seen more of him this winter than the last, owing to the circumstance of a committee of Americans, that have been appointed to administer succour to the exiled Poles, meeting weekly at my house, and it is rare indeed that he is not present on these benevolent occasions. He has discontinued his own soirées, too; and, having fewer demands on his time, through official avocations, I gain admittance to him during his simple and quiet dinners, whenever it is asked.

These dinners, indeed, are our usual hours of meeting, for the occupations of the General, in the Chamber, usually keep him engaged in the morning; nor am I commonly at leisure, myself, until about this hour of the day. In Paris, every one dines, nominally, at six; but the deputies being often detained a little later, whenever I wish to see him, I hurry from my own table, and generally reach the Rue d'Anjou in sufficient season to find him still at his.

On quitting the Hôtel de l'Etat Major, after being dismissed so unceremoniously from the command of the National Guard, Lafayette returned to his own neat but simple lodgings in the Rue d'Anjou. The hotel, itself, is one of some pretensions, but his apartments, though quite sufficient for a single person, are not among the best it contains, lying on the street, which is rarely or never the case with the principal rooms. The passage to them communicates with the great staircase, and the door is one of those simple, retired entrances that, in Paris, so frequently open on the abodes of some of the most illustrious men of the age. Here have I seen princes, marshals, and dignitaries of all degrees, ringing for admission, no one appearing to think of aught but the great man within. These things are permitted here, where the mind gets accustomed to weigh in the balance all the different claims to distinction; but it would scarcely do in a country, in which the pursuit of money is the sole and engrossing concern of life; a show of expenditure becoming necessary to maintain it.

The apartments of Lafayette consist of a large ante-chamber, two salons, and an inner room, where he usually sits and writes, and in which, of late, he has had his bed. These rooms are en suite, and communicate, laterally, with one or two more, and the offices. His sole attendants in town, are the German valet, named Bastien, who accompanied him in his last visit to America, the footman who attends him with the carriage, and the coachman (there may be a cook, but I never saw a female in the apartments). Neither wears a livery, although all his appointments, carriages, horses, and furniture, are those of a gentleman. One thing has struck me as a little singular. Notwithstanding his strong attachment to America and to her usages, Lafayette, while the practice is getting to be common in Paris, has not adopted the use of carpets. I do not remember to have seen one, at La Grange, or in town.

When I show myself at the door, Bastien, who usually acts as porter, and who has become quite a diplomatist in these matters, makes a sign of assent, and intimates that the General is at dinner. Of late, he commonly dispenses with the ceremony of letting it be known who has come, but I am at once ushered into the bed-room. Here I find Lafayette seated at a table, just large enough to contain one cover and a single dish; or a table, in other words, so small as to be covered with a napkin. His little white lap-dog is his only companion. As it is always understood that I have dined, no ceremony is used, but I take a seat at the chimney corner, while he goes on with his dinner. His meals are quite frugal, though good; a poulet rôti invariably making one dish. There are two or three removes, a dish at a time, and the dinner usually concludes with some preserves or dried fruits, especially dates, of which he is extremely fond. I generally come in for one or two of the latter.

All this time, the conversation is on what has transpired in the Chambers during the day, the politics of Europe, nullification in America, or the gossip of the chateau, of which he is singularly well informed, though he has ceased to go there.

The last of these informal interviews with General Lafayette, was one of peculiar interest. I generally sit but half an hour, leaving him to go to his evening engagements, which, by the way, are not frequent; but, on this occasion, he told me to remain, and I passed nearly two hours with him.

We chatted a good deal of the state of society under the old regime. Curious to know his opinions of their private characters, I asked a good many questions concerning the royal family. Louis XVI. he described as a-well-meaning man, addicted a little too much to the pleasures of the table, but who would have done well enough had he not been surrounded by bad advisers. I was greatly surprised by one of his remarks. "Louis XVI," observed Lafayette, "owed his death as much to the bad advice of Gouverneur Morris, as to any one other thing." You may be certain I did not let this opinion go unquestioned; for, on all other occasions, in speaking of Mr. Morris, his language had been kind and even grateful. He explained himself, by adding, that Mr. Morris, coming from a country like America, was listened to with great respect, and that on all occasions he gave his opinions against democracy, advising resistance, when resistance was not only too late but dangerous. He did not call in question the motives of Mr. Morris, to which he did full justice, but merely affirmed that he was a bad adviser. He gave me to understand that the representatives of America had not always been faithful to the popular principle, and even went into details that it would be improper for me to repeat. I have mentioned this opinion of Mr. Morris, because his aristocratical sentiments were no secret, because they were mingled with no expressions of personal severity, and because I have heard them from other quarters. He pronounced a strong eulogium on the conduct of Mr. Crawford, which he said was uniformly such as became an American minister.

There is nothing, however, novel in these instances, of our representatives proving untrue to the prominent feeling of the country, on the subject of popular rights. It is the subject of very frequent comment in Europe, and sometimes of complaint on the part of those who are struggling for what they conceive to be their just privileges; many of them having told me, personally, that our agents frequently stand materially in their way.

Louis XVIII, Lafayette pronounced to be the falsest man he had ever met with; to use his own expression, "l'homme le plus faux." He gave him credit for a great deal of talent, but added that his duplicity was innate, and not the result of his position, for it was known to his young associates, in early youth, and that they used to say among themselves, as young men, and in their ordinary gaieties, that it would be unsafe to confide in the Comte de Provence.

Of Charles X he spoke kindly, giving him exactly a different character. He thought him the most honest of the three brothers, though quite unequal to the crisis in which he had been called to reign. He believed him sincere in his religious professions, and thought the charge of his being a professed Jesuit by no means improbable.

Marie Antoinette he thought an injured woman. On the subject of her reputed gallantries he spoke cautiously, premising that, as an American, I ought to make many allowances for a state of society, that was altogether unknown in our country. Treating this matter with the discrimination of a man of the world, and the delicacy of a gentleman, he added that he entirely exonerated her from all of the coarse charges that had proceeded from vulgar clamour, while he admitted that she had betrayed a partiality for a young Swede[1] that was, at least, indiscreet for one in her situation, though he had no reason to believe her attachment had led her to the length of criminality.

I asked his opinion concerning the legitimacy of the Duc de Bordeaux, but he treated the rumour to the contrary, as one of those miserable devices to which men resort to effect the ends of party, and as altogether unworthy of serious attention.

I was amused with the simplicity with which he spoke of his own efforts to produce a change of government, during the last reign. On this subject he had been equally frank even before the recent revolution, though there would have been a manifest impropriety in my repeating what had then passed between us. This objection is now removed in part, and I may recount one of his anecdotes, though I can never impart to it the cool and quiet humour with which it was related. We were speaking of the attempt of 1822, or the plot which existed in the army. In reply to a question of mine, he said—"Well, I was to have commanded in that revolution, and when the time came, I got into my carriage, without a passport, and drove across the country to ——, where I obtained post-horses, and proceeded as fast as possible towards ——. At ——, a courier met me, with the unhappy intelligence that our plot was discovered, and that several of our principal agents were arrested. I was advised to push for the frontier, as fast as I could. But we turned round in the road, and I went to Paris, and took my seat in the Chamber of Deputies. They looked very queer, and a good deal surprised when they saw me, and I believe they were in great hopes that I had run away. The party of the ministers were loud in their accusations against the opposition for encouraging treason, and Perier and Constant, and the rest of them, made indignant appeals against such unjust accusations. I took a different course. I went into the tribune, and invited the ministers to come and give a history of my political life; of my changes and treasons, as they called them; and said that when they had got through, I would give the character and history of theirs. This settled the matter, for I heard no more from them." I inquired if he had not felt afraid of being arrested and tried. "Not much," was his answer. "They knew I denied the right of foreigners to impose a government on France, and they also knew they had not kept faith with France under the charter. I made no secret of my principles, and frequently put letters unsealed into the post office, in which I had used the plainest language about the government. On the whole, I believe they were more afraid of me than I was of them."

It is impossible to give an idea, in writing, of the pleasant manner he has of relating these things—a manner that receives additional piquancy from his English, which, though good, is necessarily broken. He usually prefers the English in such conversations.

"By the way," he suddenly asked me, "where was the idea of Harvey Birch, in the Spy, found?" I told him that the thought had been obtained from an anecdote of the revolution, related to me by Governor Jay, some years before the book was written. He laughingly remarked that he could have supplied the hero of a romance, in the person of a negro named Harry (I believe, though the name has escaped me), who acted as a spy, both for him and Lord Cornwallis, during the time he commanded against that officer in Virginia. This negro he represented as being true to the American cause, and as properly belonging to his service, though permitted occasionally to act for Lord Cornwallis, for the sake of gaining intelligence. After the surrender of the latter, he called on General Lafayette, to return a visit. Harry was in an anteroom cleaning his master's boots, as Lord Cornwallis entered. "Ha! Master Harry," exclaimed the latter, "you are here, are you?" "Oh, yes, masser Cornwallis—muss try to do little for de country," was the answer. This negro, he said, was singularly clever and bold, and of sterling patriotism!

He made me laugh with a story, that he said the English officers had told him of General Knyphausen, who commanded the Hessian mercenaries, in 1776. This officer, a rigid martinet, knew nothing of the sea, and not much more of geography. On the voyage between England and America, he was in the ship of Lord Howe, where he passed several uncomfortable weeks, the fleet having an unusually long passage, on account of the bad sailing of some of the transports. At length Knyphausen could contain himself no longer, but marching stiffly up to the admiral one day, he commenced with—"My lord, I know it is the duty of a soldier to be submissive at sea, but, being entrusted with the care of the troops of His Serene Highness, my master, I feel it my duty just to inquire, if it be not possible, that during some of the dark nights, we have lately had, we may have sailed past America?"

I asked him if he had been at the chateau lately. His reply was very brief and expressive. "The king denies my account of the programme of the Hôtel de Ville, and we stand in the position of two gentlemen, who, in substance, have given each other the lie. Circumstances prevent our going to the Bois de Boulogne to exchange shots," he added, smiling, "but they also prevent our exchanging visits." I then ventured to say that I had long foreseen what would be the result of the friendship of Louis-Philippe, and, for the first time, in the course of our conversations, I adverted to my own visit to the palace in his company, an account of which I will extract, for your benefit, from my note-book.[2]


In the morning I received a note from General Lafayette, in which he informed me that Mr. M'Lane, who is here on a visit from London, was desirous of being presented; that there was a reception in the evening, at which he intended to introduce the minister to England, Mr. Rives not having yet received his new credentials, and, of course, not appearing in matters of ceremony. General Lafayette pressed me so strongly to be of the party, in compliment to Mr. M'Lane, that, though but an indifferent courtier, and though such a visit was contrary to my quiet habits, I could do nothing but comply.

At the proper hour, General Lafayette had the good nature to call and take me up, and we proceeded, at once, for Mr. M'Lane. With this gentleman we drove to the Palais Royal, my old brother officer, Mr. T——, who was included in the arrangement, following in his own carriage.

We found the inner court crowded, and a throng about the entrance to the great staircase; but the appearance of Lafayette cleared the way, and there was a movement in the crowd which denoted his great personal popularity. I heard the words "des Américains" passing from one to another, showing how completely he was identified with us and our principles, in the public mind. One or two of the younger officers of the court were at the foot of the stairs to receive him, though whether their presence was accidental or designed, I cannot say; but I suspect the latter. At all events the General was received with the profoundest respect, and the most smiling assiduity.

The ante-chamber was already crowded, but following our leader, his presence cleared the way for us, until he got up quite near to the doors, where some of the most distinguished men of France were collected. I saw many in the throng whom I knew, and the first minute or two were passed in nods of recognition. My attention was, however, soon attracted to a dialogue between Marshal Soult and Lafayette, that was carried on with the most perfect bonhomie and simplicity. I did not hear the commencement, but found they were speaking of their legs, which both seemed to think the worse for wear. "But you have been wounded in the leg, monsieur?" observed Lafayette. "This limb was a little mal traité at Genoa," returned the marshal, looking down at a leg that had a very game look: "but you, General, you too, were hurt in America?" "Oh! that was nothing; it happened more than fifty years ago, and then it was in a good cause—it was the fall and the fracture that made me limp." Just at this moment, the great doors flew open, and this quasi republican court standing arrayed before us, the two old soldiers limped forward.

The King stood near the door, dressed as a General of the National Guards, entirely without decorations, and pretty well tricoloured. The Queen, Madame Adelaide, the Princesses, and several of the children, were a little farther removed, the two former standing in front, and the latter being grouped behind them. But one or two ladies were present, nor did I see anything at the commencement of the evening of the Ducs d'Orléans and de Nemours.

Lafayette was one of the first that entered, and of course we kept near him. The King advanced to meet him with an expression of pleasure—I thought it studied—but they shook hands quite cordially. We were then presented by name, and each of us had the honour of shaking hands, if that can be considered an honour, which fell to the share of quite half of those who entered. The press was so great that there was no opportunity to say anything. I believe we all met with the usual expressions of welcome, and there the matter ended.

Soon after we approached the Queen, with whom our reception had a more measured manner. Most of those who entered did little more than make a distant bow to this group, but the Queen manifesting a desire to say something to our party, Mr. M'Lane and myself approached them. She first addressed my companion in French, a language he did not speak, and I was obliged to act as interpreter. But the Queen instantly said she understood English, though she spoke it badly, and begged he would address her in his own tongue. Madame Adelaide seemed more familiar with our language. But the conversation was necessarily short, and not worth repeating.

Queen Amélie is a woman of a kind, and, I think, intelligent countenance. She has the Bourbon rather than the Austrian outline of face. She seemed anxious to please, and in her general air and carriage has some resemblance to the Duchess of St. Leu.[3] She has the reputation of being an excellent wife and mother, and, really, not to fall too precipitately into the vice of a courtier, she appears as if she may well deserve it. She is thin, but graceful, and I can well imagine that she has been more than pretty in her youth.

I do not remember a more frank, intelligent, and winning countenance than that of Madame Adelaide, who is the King's sister. She has little beauty left, except that of expression; but this must have made her handsome once, as it renders her singularly attractive now. Her manner was less nervous than that of the Queen, and I should think her mind had more influence over her exterior.

The Princess Louise (the Queen of Belgium) and the Princess Marie are pretty, with the quiet subdued manner of well-bred young persons. The first is pale, has a strikingly Bourbon face, resembling the profiles on the French coins; while the latter has an Italian and classical outline of features, with a fine colour.

They were all dressed with great simplicity; scarcely in high dinner dress; the Queen and Madame Adelaide wearing evening hats. The Princesses, as is uniformly the case with unmarried French girls of rank, were without any ornaments, wearing their hair in the usual manner.

After the ceremonies of being presented were gone through, I amused myself with examining the company. This was a levee, not a drawing-room, and there were no women among the visitors. The men, who did not appear in uniform, were in common evening dress, which has degenerated of late into black stocks and trousers.

Accident brought me next to an old man, who had exactly that revolutionary air which has become so familiar to us by the engravings of Bonaparte and his generals that were made shortly after the Italian campaign. The face was nearly buried in neckcloth, the hair was long and wild, and the coat was glittering, but ill-fitting and stiff. It was, however, the coat of a maréchal; and, what rendered it still more singular, it was entirely without orders. I was curious to know who this relic of 1797 might be; for, apart from his rank, which was betrayed by his coat, he was so singularly ugly as scarcely to appear human. On inquiry it proved to be Marshal Jourdan.

There was some amusement in watching the different individuals who came to pay their court to the new dynasty. Many were personally and familiarly known to me as very loyal subjects of the last reign; soldiers who would not have hesitated to put Louis-Philippe au fil de l'épée, three months before, at the command of Charles X. But times were changed. They now came to show themselves to the new sovereign; most of them to manifest their disposition to be put in the way of preferment, some to reconnoitre, others to conceal their disaffection, and all to subserve their own interests. It was laughably easy to discern who were confident of their reception by being of the ruling party, who distrusted, and who were indifferent. The last class was small. A general officer, whom I personally knew, looked like one who had found his way into a wrong house by mistake. He was a Bonapartist by his antecedents, and in his true way of thinking; but accident had thrown him into the hands of the Bourbons, and he had now come to see what might be gleaned from the House of Orleans. His reception was not flattering, and I could only compare the indecision and wavering of his manner to that of a regiment that falters before an unexpected volley.

After amusing ourselves some time in the great throng, which was densest near the King, we went towards a secondary circle that had formed in another part of the room, where the Duke of Orleans had appeared. He was conversing with Lafayette, who immediately presented us all in succession. The Prince is a genteel, handsome young man, with a face much more Austrian than that of any of his family, so far as one can judge of what his younger brothers are likely to be hereafter. In form, stature, and movements, he singularly resembles W——, and there is also a good deal of likeness in the face, though in this particular the latter has the advantage. He was often taken for the Duc de Chartres during our former residence at Paris. Our reception was gracious, the heir to the throne appearing anxious to please every one.

The amusing part of the scene is to follow. Fatigued with standing, we had got chairs in a corner of the room, behind the throng, where the discourtesy of being seated might escape notice. The King soon after withdrew, and the company immediately began to go away. Three-fourths, perhaps, were gone, when an aide-de-camp came up to us and inquired if we were not the three Americans who had been presented by General Lafayette? Being answered in the affirmative, he begged us to accompany him. He led us near a door at the other end of the salle, a room of great dimensions, where we found General Lafayette in waiting. The aide, or officer of the court, whichever might be his station, passed through the door, out of which the King immediately came. It appeared to me as if the General was not satisfied with our first reception, and wished to have it done over again. The King looked grave, not to say discontented, and I saw, at a glance, that he could have dispensed with this extra attention. Mr. M'Lane standing next the door, he addressed a few words to him in English, which he speaks quite readily, and without much accent: indeed he said little to any one else, and the few words that he did utter were exceedingly general and unmeaning. Once he got as far as T——, whom he asked if he came from New York, and he looked hard at me, who stood farther from the door, mumbled something, bowed to us all, and withdrew. I was struck with his manner, which seemed vexed and unwilling, and the whole thing appeared to me to be awkward and uncomfortable. I thought it a bad omen for the influence of the General.

By this time the great salle was nearly empty, and we moved off together to find our carriages. General Lafayette preceded us, of course, and as he walked slowly, and occasionally stopped to converse, we were among the last in the ante-chamber. In passing into the last or outer ante-chamber, the General stopped nearly in the door to speak to some one. Mr. M'Lane and Mr. T—— being at his side, they so nearly stopped the way that I remained some distance in the rear, in order not to close it entirely. My position would give an ordinary observer reason to suppose that I did not belong to the party. A young officer of the court (I call them aides, though, I believe, they were merely substitutes for chamberlains, dignitaries to which this republican reign has not yet given birth), was waiting in the outer room to pass, but appeared unwilling to press too closely on a group of which General Lafayette formed the principal person. He fidgeted and chafed evidently, but still kept politely at a distance. After two or three minutes the party moved on, but I remained stationary, watching the result. Room was no sooner made than the officer brushed past, and gave vent to his feelings by saying, quite loudly and distinctly, "Adieu, l'Amérique!"

It is a pretty safe rule to believe that in the tone of courtiers is reflected the feeling of the monarch. The attention to General Lafayette had appeared to me as singularly affected and forced, and the manner of the King anything but natural; and several little occurrences during the evening had tended to produce the impression that the real influence of the former, at the palace, might be set down as next to nothing. I never had any faith in a republican king from the commencement, but this near view of the personal intercourse between the parties served to persuade me that General Lafayette had been the dupe of his own good faith and kind feelings.

In descending the great stairs I mentioned the occurrence just related to Mr. M'Lane, adding, that I thought the days of our friend were numbered, and that a few months would produce a schism between him and Louis-Philippe. Everything, at the moment, however, looked so smiling, and so much outward respect was lavished on General Lafayette, that this opinion did not find favour with my listener, though, I believe, he saw reason to think differently, after another visit to court. We all got invitations to dine at the palace in a day or two.


I did not, however, touch upon the "adieu l'Amérique," with General Lafayette, which I have always deemed a subject too delicate to be mentioned.

He startled me by suddenly putting the question, whether I thought an executive, in which there should be but one agent, as in the United States, or an executive, in which there should be three, or five, would best suit the condition of France? Though so well acquainted with the boldness and steadiness of his views, I was not prepared to find his mind dwelling on such a subject, at the present moment. The state of France, however, is certainly extremely critical, and we ought not to be surprised at the rising of the people at any moment.

I told General Lafayette, that, in my poor judgment, the question admitted of a good deal of controversy. Names did not signify much, but every administration should receive its main impulses, subject to the common wishes and interests, from a close conformity of views, whether there were one incumbent or a dozen. The English system certainly made a near approach to a divided executive, but the power was so distributed as to prevent much clashing; and when things went wrong, the ministers resigned; parliament, in effect, holding the control of the executive as well as of the legislative branches of the government. Now I did not think France was prepared for such a polity, the French being accustomed to see a real as well as a nominal monarch, and the disposition to intrigue would, for a long time to come, render their administrations fluctuating and insecure. A directory would either control the chambers, or be controlled by them. In the former case it would be apt to be divided in itself; in the latter, to agitate the chambers by factions that would not have the ordinary outlet of majorities to restore the equilibrium.

He was of opinion himself that the expedient of a directory had not suited the state of France. He asked me what I thought of universal suffrage for this country. I told him, I thought it altogether unsuited to the present condition of France. I did not attach much faith to the old theory of the necessary connexion between virtue and democracy, as a cause; though it might, with the necessary limitations, follow as an effect. A certain degree of knowledge of its uses, action, and objects, was indispensable to a due exercise of the suffrage; not that it was required every elector should be learned in the theory of governments, but that he should know enough to understand the general connexion between his vote and his interests, and especially his rights. This knowledge was not at all difficult of attainment, in ordinary cases, when one had the means of coming at facts. In cases that admit of argument, as in all the questions on political economy, I did not see that any reasonable degree of knowledge made the matter much better, the cleverest men usually ranging themselves on the two extremes of all mooted questions. Concerning the right of every man, who was qualified to use the power, to have his interests directly represented in a government, it was unnecessary to speak, the only question being who had and who had not the means to make a safe use of the right in practice. It followed from these views, that the great desiderata were to ascertain what these means were.

In the present state of the world, I thought it absolutely necessary that a man should be able to read, in order to exercise the right to vote with a prudent discretion. In countries where everybody reads, other qualifications might be trusted to, provided they were low and within reasonable reach of the mass; but, in a country like France, I would allow no man to vote until he knew how to read, if he were as rich as Croesus.

I felt convinced the present system could not continue long in France. It might do for a few years, as a reaction; but when things were restored to their natural course, it would be found that there is an unnatural union between facts that are peculiar to despotism, and facts that are peculiarly the adjuncts of liberty; as in the provisions of the Code Napoleon, and in the liberty of the press, without naming a multitude of other discrepancies. The juste milieu that he had so admirably described[4] could not last long, but the government would soon find itself driven into strong measures, or into liberal measures, in order to sustain itself. Men could no more serve "God and Mammon" in politics than in religion. I then related to him an anecdote that had occurred to myself the evening of the first anniversary of the present reign.

On the night in question, I was in the Tuileries, with a view to see the fireworks. Taking a station a little apart from the crowd, I found myself under a tree alone with a Frenchman of some sixty years of age. After a short parley, my companion, as usual, mistook me for an Englishman. On being told his error, he immediately opened a conversation on the state of things in France. He asked me if I thought they would continue. I told him, no; that I thought two or three years would suffice to bring the present system to a close. "Monsieur," said my companion, "you are mistaken. It will require ten years to dispossess those who have seized upon the government, since the last revolution. All the young men are growing up with the new notions, and in ten years they will be strong enough to overturn the present order of things. Remember that I prophesy the year 1840 will see a change of government in France."

Lafayette laughed at this prediction, which, he said, did not quite equal his impatience. He then alluded to the ridicule which had been thrown upon his own idea of "A monarchy with republican institutions," and asked me what I thought of the system. As my answer to this, as well as to his other questions, will serve to lay before you my own opinions, which you have a right to expect from me, as a traveller rendering an account of what he has seen, I shall give you its substance, at length.

So far from finding anything as absurd as is commonly pretended in the plan of a "throne surrounded by republican institutions," it appears to me to be exactly the system best suited to the actual condition of France. By a monarchy, however, a real monarchical government, or one in which the power of the sovereign is to predominate, is not to be understood, in this instance, but such a semblance of a monarchy as exists to-day, in England, and formerly existed in Venice and Genoa under their Doges. la England the aristocracy notoriously rules, through the king, and I see no reason why in France, a constituency with a base sufficiently broad to entitle it to assume the name of a republic, might not rule, in its turn, in the same manner. In both cases the sovereign would merely represent an abstraction; the sovereign power would be wielded in his name, but at the will of the constituency; he would be a parliamentary echo, to pronounce the sentiment of the legislative bodies, whenever a change of men or a change of measures became necessary It is very true that, under such a system, there would be no real separation, in principle, between the legislative and the executive branches of government; but such is to-day, and such has long been the actual condition of England, and her statesmen are fond of saving, the plan "works well." Now, although the plan does not work half as well in England as is pretended, except for those who more especially reap its benefits, simply because the legislature is not established on a sufficiently popular basis, still it works better, on the whole, for the public, than if the system were reversed, as was formerly the case, and the king ruled through the parliament, instead of the parliament ruling through the king. In France the facts are ripe for an extension of this principle, in its safest and most salutary manner. The French of the present generation are prepared to dispense with a hereditary and political aristocracy, in the first place, nothing being more odious to them than privileged orders, and no nation, not even America, having more healthful practices or wiser notions on this point than themselves. The experience of the last fifteen years has shown the difficulty of creating an independent peerage in France, notwithstanding the efforts of the government, sustained by the example and wishes of England, have been steadily directed to that object. Still they have the traditions and prestige of a monarchy. Under such circumstances, I see no difficulty in carrying out the idea of Lafayette. Indeed some such polity is indispensable, unless liberty is to be wholly sacrificed. All experience has shown that a king, who is a king in fact as well as name, is too strong for law, and the idea of restraining such a power by principles, is purely chimerical. He may be curtailed in his authority, by the force of opinion, and by extreme constructions of these principles; but if this be desirable, it would be better to avoid the struggle, and begin, at once, by laying the foundation of the system in such a way as will prevent the necessity of any change.

As respects France, a peerage, in my opinion, is neither desirable nor practicable. It is certainly possible for the king to maintain a chosen political corps, as long as he can maintain himself, which shall act in his interests and do his bidding; but it is folly to ascribe the attributes that belong to a peerage to such a body of mercenaries. They resemble the famous mandamus counsellors, who had so great an agency in precipitating our own revolution, and are more likely to achieve a similar disservice to their master than any thing else. Could they become really independent, to a point to render them a masculine feature in the state, they would soon, by their combinations, become too strong for the other branches of the government, as has been the case in England, and France would have a "throne surrounded by aristocratic institutions." The popular notion that an aristocracy is necessary to a monarchy, I take it, is a gross error. A titular aristocracy, in some shape or other, is always the consequence of monarchy, merely because it is the reflection of the sovereign's favour, policy, or caprice; but political aristocracies like the peerage, have, nine times in ten, proved too strong for the monarch. France would form no exception to the rule; but, as men are apt to run into the delusion of believing it liberty to strip one of power, although his mantle is to fall on the few, I think it more than probable the popular error would be quite likely to aid the aristocrats in effecting their object, after habit had a little accustomed the nation to the presence of such a body. This is said, however, under the supposition that the elements of an independent peerage could be found in France, a fact that I doubt, as has just been mentioned..

If England can have a throne, then, surrounded by aristocratical institutions, what is there to prevent France from having a throne "surrounded by republican institutions?" The word "Republic," though it does not exclude, does not necessarily include the idea of a democracy. It merely means a polity, in which the predominant idea is the "public things," or common weal, instead of the hereditary and inalienable rights of one. It would be quite practicable, therefore, to establish in France such an efficient constituency as would meet the latter conditions, and yet to maintain the throne, as the machinery necessary, in certain cases, to promulgate the will of this very constituency. This is all that the throne does in England, and why need it do more in France? By substituting then a more enlarged constituency, for the borough system of England, the idea of Lafayette would be completely fulfilled. The reform in England, itself, is quite likely to demonstrate that his scheme was not as monstrous as has been affirmed. The throne of France should be occupied as Corsica is occupied, not for the affirmative good it does the nation, so much as to prevent harm from its being occasionally vacant.

In the course of the conversation, I gave to General Lafayette the following outline of the form of government I could wish to give to France, were I a Frenchman, and had I a voice in the matter. I give it to you on the principle already avowed, or as a traveller furnishing his notions of the things he has seen, and because it may aid in giving you a better insight into my views of the state of this country.

I would establish a monarchy, and Henry V. should be the monarch. I would select him on account of his youth, which will admit of his being educated in the notions necessary to his duty; and on account of his birth, which would strengthen his nominal government, and, by necessary connexion, the actual government: for I believe, that, in their hearts, and notwithstanding the professions to the contrary, nearly half of France would greatly prefer the legitimate line of their ancient kings to the actual dynasty. This point settled, I would extend the suffrage as much as facts would justify; certainly so as to include a million or a million and a half of electors. All idea of the représentation of property should be relinquished, as the most corrupt, narrow, and vicious form of polity that has ever been devised, invariably tending to array one portion of the community against another, and endangering the very property it is supposed to protect. A moderate property qualification might be adopted, in connexion with that of intelligence. The present scheme in France unites, in my view of the case, precisely the two worst features of admission to the suffrage that could be devised. The qualification of an elector is a given amount of direct contribution. This qualification is so high as to amount to représentation, and France is already so taxed as to make a diminution of the burdens one of the first objects at which a good government would aim; it follows, that as the ends of liberty are attained, its foundations would be narrowed, and the représentation of property would be more and more assured. A simple property qualification would, therefore, I think, be a better scheme than the present.

Each department should send an allotted number of deputies, the polls being distributed on the American plan. Respecting the term of service, there might arise various considerations, but it should not exceed five years, and I would prefer three. The present house of peers should be converted into a senate, its members to sit as long as the deputies. I see no use in making the term of one body longer than the other, and I think it very easy to show that great injury has arisen from the practice among ourselves. Neither do I see the advantage of having a part go out periodically; but, on the contrary, a disadvantage, as it leaves a representation of old, and, perhaps, rejected opinions, to struggle with the opinions of the day. Such collisions have invariably impeded the action and disturbed the harmony of our own government. I would have every French elector vote for each senator; thus the local interests would be protected by the deputies, while the senate would strictly represent France. This united action would control all things, and the ministry would be an emanation of their will, of which the king should merely be the organ.

I have no doubt the action of our own system would be better, could we devise some plan by which a ministry should supersede the present executive. The project of Mr. Hillhouse, that of making the senators draw lots annually for the office of President, is, in my opinion, better than the elective system; but it would be, in a manner, liable to the old objection, of a want of harmony between the different branches of the government. France has all the machinery of royalty, in her palaces, her parks, and the other appliances of the condition; and she has, moreover, the necessary habits and opinions, while we have neither. There is, therefore, just as much reason why France should not reject this simple expedient for naming a ministry, as there is for our not adopting it. Here, then, would be, at once, a "throne surrounded by republican institutions," and, although it would not be a throne as powerful as that which France has at present, it would, I think, be more permanent than one surrounded by bayonets, and leave France, herself, more powerful, in the end.

The capital mistake made in 1830, was that of establishing the throne before establishing the republic; in trusting to men instead of trusting to institutions.

I do not tell you that Lafayette assented to all that I said. He had reason for the impracticability of getting aside the personal interests which would be active in defeating such a reform, that involved details and a knowledge of character to which I had nothing to say; and, as respects the Duc de Bordeaux, he affirmed that the reign of the Bourbons was over in France. The country was tired of them. It may appear presumptuous in a foreigner to give an opinion against such high authority; but, "what can we reason but from what we know?" and truth compels me to say, I cannot subscribe to this opinion. My own observation, imperfect though it be, has led to a different conclusion. I believe there are thousands, even among those who throng the Tuileries, who would hasten to throw off the mask at the first serious misfortune that should befall the present dynasty, and who would range themselves on the side of what is called legitimacy. In respect to parties, I think the republicans the boldest, in possession of the most talents compared to numbers, and the least numerous; the friends of the King (active and passive) the least decided, and the least connected by principle, though strongly connected by a desire to prosecute their temporal interests, and more numerous than the republicans; the Carlists or Henriquinquists the most numerous, and the most generally, but secretly, sustained by the rural population, particularly in the west and south.

Lafayette frankly admitted, what all now seem disposed to admit, that it was a fault not to have made sure of the institutions before the King was put upon the throne. He affirmed, however, it was much easier to assert the wisdom of taking this precaution, than to have adopted it in fact. The world, I believe, is in error about most of the political events that succeeded the three days.


LETTER II.

The Cholera in Paris.—Its frightful ravages.—Desertion of the city—My determination to remain.—Deaths in the higher classes.—Unexpected arrival and retreat.—Praiseworthy conduct of the Authorities.—The Cholera caricatured!—Invitation from an English General.—Atmospherical appearance denoting the arrival of the Cholera.—Lord Robert Fitzgerald.—Dinner at the house of Madame de B——.

Dear ——,

We have had little to occupy us since my last letter, but the cholera, which alighted in the heart of this great and crowded metropolis like a bomb. Since the excursion on the frontiers last year, and our success in escaping the quarantine, I had thought little of this scourge, until the subject was introduced at my own table by a medical man who was among the guests. He cautiously informed us that there were unpleasant conjectures among the faculty on the subject, and that he was fearful Paris was not to go unscathed. When apart, he privately added, that he had actually seen a case, which he could impute to no other disease but that of Asiatic cholera.

The next day a few dark hints were given in the journals, and, with frightful rapidity, reports followed that raised the daily deaths to near a thousand. The change in the appearance of the town was magical, for the strangers generally fled, while most of the habitués of the streets in our immediate vicinity were soon numbered with the dead. There was a succession of apple-women seated at the corners, between the Rue St. Dominique and the Pont Royal, with whose faces I had become intimate in the course of P——'s traffic, as we passed to and fro, between the hotel and the Tuileries. Every one of these disappeared; the last, I was told, dropping from her chair, and dying before those who came to her aid had reached the nearest hospital.

One case, among multitudes, will serve to give you a faint idea of the situation of Paris, at this moment of severe affliction. Returning from a walk through the deserted streets one morning, I saw a small collection of people around the porte-cochère of our hotel. A matchseller had been seized with the disease, at the gate, and was then sustained on one of the stone seats, which are commonly used by the servants. I had her carried info the court, and made such applications as had been recommended by the faculty. The patient was a robust woman of middle age, accompanied by her mother, both having come in from a distant village, to raise a few sous by selling matches. In making the applications, I had occasion to observe the means by which these poor people sustain life. Their food consisted of fragments of hard dried bread, that had been begged, or bought, in the course of their progress.

While two or three of us were busied about the daughter, the mother knelt on the pavement, and, with streaming eyes, prayed for her child, for us, and for herself. There was something indescribably touching in this display of strong natural ties, between those who were plunged so deep in misery. A piece of five francs was put into the hands of the old woman, but, though she blessed the donor, her look was not averted an instant from the agony depicted in her daughter's face, nor did she appear conscious of what she possessed, a moment after. The carriers from the hospital bore the sick woman away, and the mother promised to return, in a day or two, to let me know the result. Not appearing, an inquiry was made at the hospital, and the answer was, that they were both dead!

In this manner some ten or fifteen thousand were swept away in a few weeks. Not only hotels, but, in some instances, nearly whole streets were depopulated. As every one fled, who could with convenience or propriety quit the town, you may feel surprised that we chose to remain. When the deaths increased to eight or nine hundred a day, and our own quarter began to be visited, I felt it to be a duty to those under my charge, to retire to some of the places without the limits of the disease. The trunks were packed, the carriage was in the court, and my passports were signed, when A—— was suddenly taken ill. Although the disease was not the cholera, I began to calculate the chances of any one of us being seized, myself for instance, in one of the villages of the environs, and the helpless condition of a family of females in a foreign country, under such circumstances. The result was a determination to remain, and to trust to Providence. We have consequently staid in our apartments through it all, although two slight cases have occurred in the hotel, and hundreds around it.

The manner in which individuals known to us have vanished, as it were, from before our eyes, has been shockingly sudden. To-day the report may be that the milkman is gone; yesterday it was the butcher's boy; the day before the poulterer, and presently a new servant appears with a message from a friend, and on inquiring for his predecessor, we learn that he is dead. Ten or fifteen cases of this sort have occurred among those with whom we are in constant and immediate connexion.

The deaths in the higher classes, at first, were comparatively few, but of late several of the most distinguished men of France have been seized. Among them are M. Perier, the prime minister, and the General Lamarque. Prince Castelcicala, too, the Neapolitan Ambassador, is dead, in our neighbourhood; as, indeed, are very many others. There is one short street quite near us, out of which, it is said, between seventy and eighty dead have been carried. The situation of all this faubourg is low, and that of the street particularly so.

Dr. S——, of North Carolina, who, with several other young physicians, has done credit to himself by his self-devotion and application, brought in the report of the appearance of things, once or twice a week, judging of the state of the disease more from the aspect of the hospitals, than from the published returns, which are necessarily and, perhaps, designedly, imperfect. He thinks of the first hundred that were admitted at the Hotel Dieu, all but one died, and that one he does not think was a case of Asiatic cholera at all.

All this time, the more frequented streets of Paris presented, in the height of the usual season too, the most deserted aspect. I have frequently walked on the terrace of the Tuileries when there were not a dozen others in the whole garden, and driven from my own hotel in the Rue St. Dominique to the Place Vendôme without meeting half a dozen vehicles, including fiacres and cabriolets de place.

I was returning one day from the Rue de la Paix, on foot, during the height of the disease, at the time when this gay and magnificent part of the town looked peculiarly deserted. There was scarcely a soul in the street but the laquais de place, the garçons, and the chambermaids of the public hotels, that abound in this quarter. These were at the gateways, with folded arms, a picture in themselves of the altered condition of the town. Two travelling carriages drove in from the Rue de Rivoli, and there was at once a stir among those who are so completely dependent on travellers for their bread. "On part" was, at first, the common and mournful call from one group to another, until the mud on the carriage-wheels caught the attention of some one, who cried out "On arrive!" The appearance of the strangers under such circumstances, seemed to act like a charm. I felt no little surprise at seeing them, and more, when a hand beckoned to me from a carriage window. It was Mr. H——, of New York, an old schoolfellow, and a friend of whom we had seen a good deal during our travels in Europe. He had just come from England, with his family, and appeared astonished to find Paris so deserted. He told me that Mr. Van Buren was in the other carriage. He had chosen an unfortunate moment for his visit. I went to see the H——s next morning, and it was arranged that they should come and pass the succeeding day in the Rue St. Dominique; but they disappointed us. The day following I got a letter from H——, dated Amiens, written on his way to England! They had been imprudent in coming, and wise in hurrying away from the frightful scene. I believe that Mr. Van Buren remained but a day or two.

Although most of our acquaintances quitted the town, a few thought it safer to remain in their own comfortable apartments, than to run the hazards of travelling; for, in a short time, most of the north of France was suffering under the same grievous affliction. The authorities conducted themselves well, and there have been very many instances of noble self-devotion, on the part of private individuals, the French character never appearing to better advantage. In this respect, notwithstanding the general impression to the contrary, I am inclined to believe, after a good deal of inquiry, that Paris has acquitted itself better than London. The French, certainly, are less disposed, as a rule, to "hide their light under a bushel," than most other people; but, on the spot and a looker-on, my respect for their feelings and philanthropy has been greatly raised by their conduct during this terrible calamity.

Notwithstanding the horror of the disease, some of the more prominent traits of national character have shown themselves lately. Among other things, the artists have taken to caricaturing the cholera! One gets to be so hardened by exposure, as to be able to laugh at even these proofs of moral obtuseness. Odd enough traits of character are developed by seeing men under such trying circumstances. During one of the worst periods of the disease, I met a countryman in the street, who, though otherwise a clever man, has the weakness to think the democracy of America its greatest blot. I asked him why he remained in Paris, having no family, nor any sufficient inducement? "Oh," said he, "it is a disease that only kills the rabble: I feel no concern—do you?" I told him that, under my peculiar circumstances, I felt a great deal of uneasiness, though not enough to make an unreflecting flight. A few days afterwards I missed him, and, on inquiry, learned that he had fled. Some nobleman had died in our faubourg, when he and one of a fellow feeling, finding a taint "between the wind and their nobility," forthwith beat a retreat!

During the height of the malady, an old English general officer, who had served in India, and who was now residing near us, sent me an invitation to dinner. Tired of seeing no one, I went. Here everything was as tranquil as if we were living in the purest atmosphere in Europe. Sir ----, my host, observed that he had got seasoned in India, and that he believed good living one of the best preventives against the disease. The Count de —— came in just before dinner was announced, and whispered to me that some twelve or fifteen hundred had been buried the previous day, although less than a thousand had been reported. This gentleman told a queer anecdote, which he said came from very respectable authority, and which he gave as he had heard it. About ten days before the cholera appeared, a friend of his had accompanied one of the Polish generals, who are now in Paris, a short distance into the country to dine. On quitting the house, the Pole stopped to gaze intently at the horizon. His companion inquired what he saw, when, pointing to a hazy appearance in the atmosphere, of rather an unusual kind, the other said, "You will have the cholera here in less than ten days; such appearances always preceded it in the North." As M. de —— observed, "I tell it as I heard it."

Sir —— did me the favour, on that occasion, to introduce me to a mild gentleman-like old man, who greatly resembled one of the quiet old school of our own, which is so fast disappearing before the bustling, fussy, money-getting race of the day. It was Lord Robert Fitzgerald, a brother of the unfortunate Lord Edward, and the brother of whom he so pleasantly speaks in his natural and amiable letters, as "Plenipo Bob." This gentleman is since dead, having, as I hear, fallen a victim to the cholera.

I went to one other dinner, during this scene of destruction, given by Madame de B——, a woman who has so much vogue, as to assemble, in her house, people of the most conflicting opinions and opposite characters. On this occasion, I was surprised to hear from Marshal ——, one of the guests, that many believe the cholera to be contagious. That such an opinion should prevail among the mass, was natural enough, but I was not prepared to hear it from so high a quarter.

A gentleman mentioned, at this dinner, that the destruction among the porters had been fearful. A friend of his was the proprietor of five hotels, and the porters of all are dead!


LETTER III.

Insecurity of the Government.—Louis-Philippe and the Pear.—Caricatures.—Ugliness of the Public Men of France.—The Duke de Valmy.—Care-worn aspect of Society under the New Regime.—Controversy in France respecting the Cost of Government in America.—Conduct of American Agents in Europe.


Dear ——,

The government is becoming every day less secure, and while it holds language directly to the contrary, it very well knows it cannot depend on the attachment of the nation. It has kept faith with no one, and the mass looks coldly on, at the political agitation that is excited, in all quarters, by the Carlists and the republicans. The bold movement of the Duchess of Berri, although it has been unwise and unreflecting, has occasioned a good deal of alarm, and causes great uneasiness in this cabinet.[5]

In a country where the cholera could not escape being caricatured, you will readily imagine that the King has fared no better. The lower part of the face of Louis-Philippe is massive, while his forehead, without being mean, narrows in a way to give the outline a shape not unlike that of a pear. An editor of one of the publications of caricatures being on trial for a libel, in his defence, produced a large pear, in order to illustrate his argument, which ran as follows:—People fancied they saw a resemblance in some one feature of a caricature to a particular thing; this thing, again, might resemble another thing; that thing a third; and thus from one to another, until the face of some distinguished individual might be reached. He put it to the jury whether such forced constructions were safe. "This, gentlemen," he continued, "is a common pear, a fruit well known to all of you. By culling here, and here," using his knife as he spoke, "something like a resemblance to a human face is obtained: by clipping here, again, and shaping there, one gets a face that some may fancy they know; and should I, hereafter, publish an engraving of a pear, why everybody will call it a caricature of a man!" You will understand that, by a dexterous use of the knife, such a general resemblance to the countenance of the King was obtained, that it was instantly recognised. The man was rewarded for his cleverness by an acquittal, and, since that time, by an implied convention, a rude sketch of a pear is understood to allude to the King. The fruit abounds in a manner altogether unusual for the season, and, at this moment, I make little doubt, that some thousands of pears are drawn in chalk, coal, or other substances, on the walls of the capital. During the carnival, masquers appeared as pears, with pears for caps, and carrying pears, and all this with a boldness and point that must go far to convince the King that the extreme license he has affected hitherto to allow, cannot very well accord with his secret intentions to bring France back to a government of coercion. The discrepancies that necessarily exist in the present system will, sooner or later, destroy it.

Little can be said in favour of caricatures. They address themselves to a faculty of the mind that is the farthest removed from reason, and, by consequence, from the right; and it is a prostitution of the term to suppose that they are either cause or effect, as connected with liberty. Such things may certainly have their effect, as means, but every good cause is so much the purer for abstaining from the use of questionable agencies. Au reste, there is really a fatality of feature and expression common to the public men of this country that is a strong provocative to caricature. The revolution and empire appear to have given rise to a state of feeling that has broken out with marked sympathy, in the countenance. The French, as a nation, are far from handsome, though brilliant exceptions exist; and it strikes me that they who appear in public life are just among the ugliest of the whole people.

Not long since I dined at the table of Mr. de ——, in company with Mr. B. of New York. The company consisted of some twenty men, all of whom had played conspicuous parts in the course of the last thirty years. I pointed out the peculiarity just mentioned to my companion, and asked him if there was a single face at table which had the placid, dignified, and contented look which denotes the consciousness of right motives, a frank independence, and a mind at peace with itself. We could not discover one! I have little doubt that national physiognomy is affected by national character.

You may form some idea, on the other hand, of the perfect simplicity and good taste that prevails in French society, by a little occurrence on the day just mentioned. A gentleman, of singularly forbidding countenance, sat next us; and, in the course of the conversation, he mentioned the fact that he had once passed a year in New York, of which place he conversed with interest and vivacity. B—— was anxious to know who this gentleman might be. I could only say that he was a man of great acuteness and knowledge, whom I had often met in society, but, as to his name, I did not remember ever to have heard it. He had always conducted himself in the simple manner that he witnessed, and it was my impression that he was the private secretary of the master of the house, who was a dignitary of the state, for I had often met him at the same table. Here the matter rested for a few days.

The following week we removed into the Rue St. Dominique. Directly opposite to the porte-cochère of our hotel was the porte-cochère of an hotel that had once belonged to the Princes of Conti. A day or two after the removal, I saw the unknown gentleman coming out of the gateway opposite, as I was about to enter our own. He bowed, saluted me by name, and passed on. Believing this a good occasion to ascertain who he was, I crossed the street, and asked the porter for the name of the gentleman who had just gone out. "Mais, c'est Monsieur le Duc!" "Duke!—what Duke?" "Why, Monsieur le Duc de Valmy, the proprietor of this hotel!" It was the younger Kellerman, the hero of Marengo![6]

But I could fill volumes with anecdotes of a similar nature; for, in these countries, in which men of illustrious deeds abound, one is never disturbed in society by the fussy pretension and swagger that is apt to mark the presence of a lucky speculator in the stocks. Battles, unlike bargains, are rarely discussed in society. I have already told you how little sensation is produced in Paris by the presence of a celebrity, though in no part of the world is more delicate respect paid to those who have earned renown, whether in letters, arts, or arms. Like causes, however, notoriously produce like effects; and, I think, under the new regime, which is purely a money-power system, directed by a mind whose ambition is wealth, that one really meets here more of that swagger of stocks and lucky speculations, in the world, than was formerly the case. Society is decidedly less graceful, more care-worn, and of a worse tone to-day, than it was previously to the revolution of 1830. I presume the elements are unchanged, but the ebullition of the times is throwing the scum to the surface; a natural but temporary consequence of the present state of things.

While writing to you in this desultory manner, I shall seize the occasion to give the outline of a little occurrence of quite recent date, and which is, in some measure, of personal interest to myself. A controversy concerning the cost of government, was commenced some time in November last, under the following circumstances, and has but just been concluded. As early as the July preceding, a writer in the employment of the French government produced a laboured article, in which he attempted to show that, head for head, the Americans paid more for the benefits of government than the French. Having the field all to himself, both as to premises and conclusions, this gentleman did not fail to make out a strong case against us; and, as a corollary to this proposition, which was held to be proved, he, and others of his party, even went so far as to affirm that a republic, in the nature of things, must be a more expensive polity than a monarchy.

This extravagant assertion had been considered as established, by a great many perfectly well-meaning people, for some months, before I even knew that it had ever been made. A very intelligent and a perfectly candid Frenchman mentioned it one day, in my presence, admitting that he had been staggered by the boldness of the proposition, as well as by the plausibility of the arguments by which it had been maintained. It was so contrary to all previous accounts of the matter, and was, especially, so much opposed to all I had told him, in our frequent disquisitions on America, that he wished me to read the statements, and to refute them, should it seem desirable. About the same time, General Lafayette made a similar request, sending me the number of the periodical that contained the communication, and suggesting the expediency of answering it. I never, for an instant, doubted the perfect right of an American, or any one else, to expose the errors that abounded in this pretended statistical account, but I had little disposition for the task. Having, however, good reason to think it was aimed covertly at General Lafayette, with the intention to prove his ignorance of the America he so much applauded, I yielded to his repeated requests, and wrote a hasty letter to him, dissecting, as well as my knowledge and limited access to authorities permitted, the mistakes of the other side. This letter produced replies, and the controversy was conducted through different channels, and by divers agents, up to a time when the varying and conflicting facts of our opponents appeared to be pretty well exhausted. It was then announced that instructions had been sent to America to obtain more authentic information; and we were promised a farther exposure of the weakness of the American system, when the other side should receive this re-enforcement to their logic.[7]

I have no intention of going over this profitless controversy with you, and have adverted to it here, solely with a view to make you acquainted with a state of feeling in a portion of our people, that it may be useful not only to expose, but correct.[8]


LETTER IV.

Gradual disappearance of the Cholera.—Death of M. Casimir Perier.—His Funeral.—Funeral of General Lamarque.—Magnificent Military Escort.—The Duc de Fitzjames.—An Alarm.—First symptoms of popular Revolt.—Scene on the Pont Royal.—Charge on the people by a body of cavalry.—The Sommations.—General Lafayette and the Bonnet Rouge.—Popular Prejudices in France. England, and America.—Contest in the Quartier Montmartre.—The Place Louis XVI.—A frightened Sentinel.—Picturesque Bivouac of troops in the Carousel.—Critical situation.—Night-view from the Pont des Arts.—Appearance of the Streets on the following morning.—England an enemy to Liberty.—Affair at the Porte St. Denis.—Procession of Louis-Philippe through the streets.—Contest in the St. Mary.—Sudden Panic.—Terror of a national Guard and a young Conscript.—Dinner with a Courtier.—Suppression of the Revolt.


Dear ——,

Events have thickened since my last letter. The cholera gradually disappeared, until it ceased to be the subject of conversation. As soon as the deaths diminished to two or three hundred a day, most people became easy; and when they got below a hundred, the disease might be said to be forgotten. But though the malady virtually disappeared, the public was constantly reminded of its passage by the deaths of those who, by force of extraordinary care, had been lingering under its fatal influence. M. Casimir Perier was of the number, and his death has been seized on as a good occasion to pass a public judgment on the measures of the government of the juste milieu, of which he has been popularly supposed to be the inventor, as well as the chief promoter. This opinion, I believe, however, to be erroneous. The system of the juste milieu means little more than to profess one thing and to do another; it is a stupendous fraud, and sooner or later will be so viewed and appropriately rewarded. It is a profession of liberty, with a secret intention to return to a government of force, availing itself of such means as offer, of which the most obvious, at present, are the stagnation of trade and the pressing necessities of all who depend on industry, in a country that is taxed nearly beyond endurance. Neither M. Perier, nor any other man, is the prime mover of such a system; for it depends on the Father of Lies, who usually employs the most willing agents he can discover. The inventor of the policy, sub Diabolo, is now in London. M. Perier had the merits of decision, courage, and business talents; and, so far from being the founder of the present system, he had a natural frankness, the usual concomitant of courage, that, under other circumstances, I think, would have indisposed him to its deceptions. But he was a manufacturer, and his spinning-jennies were very closely connected with his political faith. Another state of the market would, most probably, have brought him again into the liberal ranks.

The funeral obsequies of M. Perier having been loudly announced as a test of public opinion, I walked out, the morning they took place, to view the pomp. It amounted to little more than the effect which the patronage of the ministry can at any time produce. There was a display of troops and of the employés of the government, but little apparent sympathy on the part of the mass of the population. As the deceased was a man of many good qualities, this indifference was rather studied, proceeding from the discipline and collision of party politics. As an attempt to prove that the juste milieu met with popular approbations I think the experiment was a failure.

Very different was the result, in a similar attempt made by the opposition, at the funeral of General Lamarque. This distinguished officer fell also a victim to the cholera, and his interment took place on the 4th of June. The journals of the opposition had called upon its adherents to appear on this occasion, in order to convince the King and his ministers that they were pursuing a dangerous course, and one in which they were not sustained by the sentiment of the nation. The preparations wore a very different appearance from those made on the previous occasion. Then everything clearly emanated from authority; now, the government was visible in little besides its arrangements to maintain its own ascendency. The military rank of the deceased entitled him to a military escort, and this was freely accorded to his friends; perhaps the more freely, from the fact that it sanctioned the presence of so many more bayonets than were believed to be at the command of the ministers. It was said there were twenty thousand of the National Guards present in uniform, wearing, however, only their side-arms. This number may have been exaggerated, but there certainly were a great many. The whole procession, including the troops, has been estimated at a hundred thousand men. The route was by the Boulevards to the Jardin des Plantes, where the body was to be delivered to the family of the deceased, in order to be transported to the South of France for interment. Having other engagements, I merely viewed the preparations, and the commencement of the ceremonies, when I returned to our own quiet quarter of the town to pursue my own quiet occupations.

The day passed quietly enough with us, for the Faubourg St. Germain has so many large hotels, and so few shops, that crowds are never common; and, on this occasion, all the floating population appeared to have completely deserted us, to follow the procession of poor Lamarque. I do not remember to have alluded to the change produced in this particular, by the cholera, in the streets of Paris. It is supposed that at least ten thousand of those who have no other abodes, except the holes into which they crept at night, were swept out of them by this fell disease.

About five o'clock, I had occasion to go to the Rue de Rivoli, and I found the streets and the garden with much fewer people in them than was usual at that hour. There I heard a rumour that a slight disturbance had taken place on the Boulevard des Italiens, in consequence of a refusal of the Duc de Fitzjames, a leading Carlist, to take off his hat to the body of Lamarque, as he stood at a balcony. I had often met M. de Fitzjames in society, and, although a decided friend of the old regime, I knew his tone of feeling and manners to be too good, to credit a tale so idle. By a singular coincidence, the only time I had met with General Lamarque in private was at a little dinner given by Madame de M——, at which Monsieur de Fitzjames was also a guest. We were but five or six at table, and nothing could be more amicable, or in better taste, than the spirit of conciliation and moderation that prevailed between men so widely separated by opinion. This was not long before Gen. Lamarque was attacked by his final disease, and as there appeared to me to be improbability in the rumour of the affair of the Boulevards, I quite rightly set it down as one of the exaggerations that daily besiege our ears. It being near six, I consequently returned home to dinner, supposing that the day would end as so many had ended before.

We were at table, or it was about half-past six o'clock, when the drum beat the rappel. At one period, scarcely a day passed that we did not hear this summons; indeed, so frequent did it become, that I make little doubt the government resorted to it as an expedient to strengthen itself, by disgusting the National Guards with the frequency of the calls; but of late, the regular weekly parades excepted, we had heard nothing of it. A few minutes later, François, who had been sent to the porte-cochère, returned with the intelligence that a soldier of the National Guard had just passed it, bleeding at a wound in the head. On receiving this information, I left the hotel and proceeded towards the river. In the Rue du Bac, the great thoroughfare of the faubourg, I found a few men, and most of the women, at their shop-doors, and portes-cochères, but no one could say what was going on in the more distant quarters of the town. There were a few people on the quays and bridges, and, here and there, a solitary National Guard was going to his place of rendezvous. I walked rapidly through the garden, which, at that hour, was nearly empty, as a matter of course, and passing under the arch of the palace, crossed the court and the Carrousel to la Rue de Richelieu. A profound calm reigned in and about the chateau; the sentinels and loungers of the Guards seeming as tranquil as usual. There was no appearance of any coming and going with intelligence, and I inferred that the royal family was either at St. Cloud, or at Neuilly. Very few people were in the Place, or in the streets; but those who were, paused occasionally, looking about them with curiosity, and almost uniformly in a bewildered and inquiring manner.

I had reached the colonnade of the Théâtre Français, when a strong party of gendarmes à cheval went scouring up the street, at a full gallop. Their passage was so swift and sudden, that I cannot say in which direction they came, or whither they went, with the exception that they took the road to the Boulevards. A gendarme à pied was the only person near me, and I asked him, if he could explain the reason of the movement. "Je n'en sais rien," in the brusque manner that the French soldiers are a little apt to assume, when it suits their humours, was all the reply I got.

I walked leisurely into the galleries of the Palais Royal, which I had never before seen so empty. There was but a single individual in the garden, and he was crossing it swiftly, in the direction of the theatre. A head was, now and then, thrust out of a shop-door, but I never before witnessed such a calm in this place, which is usually alive with people. Passing part of the way through one of the glazed galleries, I was started by a general clatter that sprung up all around me in every direction, and which extended itself entirely around the whole of the long galleries. The interruption to the previous profound quiet, was as sudden as the report of a gun, and it became general, as it were, in an instant. I can liken the effect, after allowing for the difference in the noises, to that of letting fly sheets, tacks, and halyards, on board a vessel of war, in a squall, and to a sudden call to shorten sail. The place was immediately filled with men, women, and children, and the clatter proceeded from the window-shutters that were going up all over the vast edifice, at the same moment. In less than five minutes there was not a shop-window exposed.

Still there was no apparent approach of danger. The drums had almost ceased beating, and as I reached the Carrousel, on my way back to the Rue St. Dominique, I saw nothing in the streets to justify all this alarm, which was either the result of a panic, or was calculated for political effect; artifice acting on apprehension. A few people were beginning to collect on the bridges and quays, and there was evidently a greater movement towards the Pont Neuf, than in the lower parts of the town. As I crossed the Pont Royal, a brigade of light artillery came up the quays from the Ecole Militaire, the horses on the jump, and the men seated on the carriages, or mounted, as belongs to this arm. The noise and hurry of their passage was very exciting, and it gave an impulse to the shopkeepers of the Rue du Bac, most of whom now began to close their windows. The guns whirled across the bridge, and dashed into the Carrousel, on a gallop, by the guichet of the Louvre.

Continuing down the Rue du Bac, the street was full of people, chiefly females, who were anxiously looking towards the bridge. One garçon, as he aided his master in closing the shop-window, was edifying him with anathemas against "ces messieurs les républicains," who were believed to be at the bottom of the disturbance, and for whom he evidently thought that the artillery augured badly. The next day he would be ready to shout vive la république under a new impulse; but, at present, it is "vive le commerce!"

On reaching the hotel, I gave my account of what was going on, pacified the apprehensions that had naturally been awakened, and sallied forth a second time, to watch the course of events.

By this time some forty or fifty National Guards were collected on the quay, by the Pont Royal, a point where there ought to have been several hundreds. This was a sinister omen for the government, nor was the appearance of the crowd much more favourable. Tens of thousands now lined the quays, and loaded the bridges; nor were these people rabble, or sans culottes, but decent citizens, most of whom observed a grave, and, as I thought, a portentous silence. I make no manner of doubt that had a thousand determined men appeared among them at that moment, headed by a few leaders of known character, the government of Louis-Philippe would have dissolved like melting snow. Neither the National Guard, the army, nor the people were with it. Every one evidently waited the issue of events, without manifesting much concern for the fate of the present regime. Indeed it is not easy to imagine greater apathy, or indifference to the result, than was nearly everywhere visible. A few shopkeepers alone seemed troubled.

On the Pont Royal a little crowd was collected around one or two men of the labouring classes, who were discussing the causes of the disturbance. First questioning a respectable-looking by-stander as to the rumours, I mingled with the throng, in order to get an idea of the manner in which the people regarded the matter. It would seem that a collision had taken place between the troops and a portion of the citizens, and that a charge had been made by a body of cavalry on some of the latter, without having observed the formalities required by the law. Some of the people had raised the cry "aux arms;" several corps de garde had been disarmed, and many thousands were rallying in defence of their liberties. In short everything wore the appearance of the commencement of another revolution. The point discussed by the crowd, was the right of the dragoons to charge a body of citizens without reading the riot act, or making what the French call, the "sommations." I was struck with the plain common sense of one or two of the speakers, who were of the class of artisans, and who uttered more good reason, and displayed more right feeling, in the five minutes I listened, than one is apt to meet with, on the same subjects, in a year, in the salons of Paris. I was the more struck by this circumstance, in consequence of the manner in which the same topic had been broached, quite lately, in the Chamber of Deputies.

In one of the recent affairs in the east of France, the troops had fired on a crowd, without the previous sommations, in consequence, as was alleged, of some stones being hurled from the crowd against themselves. Every one, who has the smallest knowledge of a government of laws, understands its action in an affair of this sort. Ten thousand people are in a street, in their own right, and half a dozen of them commit an outrage. Military force becomes necessary, but before it is applied certain forms are required, to notify the citizen that his ordinary rights are suspended, in the interests of public order, and to warn him to go away. This is a provision that the commonest intellect can understand; and yet some of the leading administration men, lawyers too, maintained that soldiers had the rights of other men, and if stones were hurled at them from a crowd, they were perfectly justifiable in using their arms against that crowd! It is only necessary, you will perceive, to employ an agent, or two, to cast a few stones from a crowd, to place every collection of citizens at the mercy of an armed force, on this doctrine. A soldier has the right of a citizen to defend himself beyond dispute, against the man who assails him; but a citizen who is assailed from a crowd has no right to discharge a pistol into that crowd, by way of defending himself. But this is of a piece with most of the logic of the friends of exclusion. Their cause is bad, and their reasoning is necessarily bad also.

From the Pont Royal I proceeded to the Pont Neuf, where the collection of people was still more numerous, every eye being fastened on the quays in the direction of the Place de la Bastille, near which the disturbance had commenced. Nothing, however, was visible, though, once or twice, we heard a scattering fire of musketry. I waited here an hour, but nothing farther was heard, and, according to promise, I returned to the hotel, to repeat the little I had seen and gathered. In passing, I observed that the number of National Guards at the Pont Royal had increased to about a hundred.

After quieting the apprehensions of my family, I proceeded to quiet those of a lady of my acquaintance, who was nearly alone in her lodgings. I found her filled with apprehensions, and firmly believing that the present government was to be overturned. Among other things, she told me that the populace had drawn General Lafayette, in triumph, to his own house, and that, previously to the commencement of the conflict, he had been presented with a bonnet rouge, which he had put upon his head. The bonnet rouge, you will understand, with all Frenchmen is a symbol of extreme Jacobinism, and of the reign of terror. I laughed at her fears, and endeavoured to convince her that the idle tale about General Lafayette could not be true. So far from wishing to rule by terror, it was his misfortune not to resort to the measures of caution that were absolutely necessary to maintain his own legal ascendancy, whenever he got into power. He was an enthusiast for liberty, and acted on the principle that others were as well disposed and as honest as himself. But to all this she turned a deaf ear, for, though an amiable and a sensible woman, she had been educated in the prejudices of a caste, being the daughter and sister of peers of France.

I found the tale about General Lafayette quite rife, on going again into the streets. The disposition to give credit to vulgar reports of this nature, is not confined to those whose condition in life naturally dispose them to believe the worst of all above them, for the vulgar-minded form a class more numerous than one might be induced to think, on glancing a look around him. Liberality and generosity of feeling is the surest test of a gentleman; but, in addition to those of training and of a favourable association, except in very peculiar cases, they are apt to require some strong natural advantages, to help out the tendencies of breeding and education. Every one who has seen much of the world, must have remarked the disposition, on the part of those who have not had the same opportunities, to cavil at opinions and usages that they cannot understand, merely because they do not come within the circle of their own every-day and familiar usages. Our own country abounds with these rustic critics; and I can remember the time when there was a species of moral impropriety attached to practices that did not enter into every man's habits. It was almost deemed immoral to breakfast or dine at an hour later than one's neighbour. Now, just this sort of feeling, one quite as vulgar, and much more malignant, prevails in Europe against those who may see fit to entertain more liberal notions in politics than others of their class. In England, I have already told you, the system is so factitious, and has been so artfully constructed, by blending church and state, that it must be an uncommonly clever man who, in politics, can act vigorously on the golden rule of Christ, that of doing "unto others, as you would have others do unto you," and escape the imputation of infidelity! A desire to advance the interests of his fellow-creatures, by raising them in the social scale, is almost certain to cause a man to be set down as destitute of morals and honesty. By imputations of this nature, the efforts and influence of some of the best men England has ever produced, have been nearly neutralized, and there is scarcely a distinguished liberal in the kingdom, at this moment, whom even the well-meaning of the church-and-state party do not regard with a secret distrust of his intentions and character. In the practice of imitation this feeling has even extended (though in a mitigated form) to America, a country in which, were the truth felt and understood, a man could not possibly fulfil all the obligations of education and superior training, without being of the party of the people. Many gentlemen in America, beyond dispute, are not of the popular side, but I am of opinion that they make a fundamental mistake as gentlemen. They have permitted the vulgar feelings generated by contracted associations and the insignificant evils of a neighbourhood, to still within them the high feelings and generous tendencies that only truly belong to the caste.

In France, the English feeling, modified by circumstances, is very apparent, although it is not quite so much the fashion to lay stress on mere morality. The struggle of selfishness and interests is less veiled and mystified in France than on the other side of the Channel. But the selfish principle, if anything, is more active; and few struggle hard for others, without being suspected of base motives.

By looking back at the publications of the time, you will learn the manner in which Washington was vituperated by his enemies, at the commencement of the revolution. Graydon, in his "Memoirs of a Life spent in Pennsylvania," mentions a discourse he held with a young English officer, who evidently was well disposed, and wished to know the truth. This gentleman had been taught to believe Washington an adventurer, who had squandered the property of a young widow whom he had married, by gambling and dissipation, and who was now ready to embark in any desperate enterprise to redeem his fortune! This, then, was probably the honest opinion the British army, in 1776, entertained of the man, whom subsequent events have shown to have been uniformly actuated by the noblest sentiments, and who, instead of being the adventurer represented, is known to have put in jeopardy a large estate, through disinterested devotion to the country, and the prevailing predominant trait of whose character was an inflexible integrity of purpose. Now, Lafayette is obnoxious to a great deal of similar vulgar feeling, without being permitted, by circumstances, to render the purity of his motives as manifest, as was the better fortune of his great model, Washington. The unhandsome and abrupt manner in which he was dismissed from the command of the National Guards, though probably a peace-offering to the allies, was also intended to rob him of the credit of a voluntary resignation.[9]—But, all this time, we are losing sight of what is passing in the streets of Paris.

Troops of the line began to appear in large bodies as the evening closed, and the reports now came so direct as to leave no doubt that there was a sharp contest going on in the more narrow streets of the Quartier Montmartre. All this time the feelings of the crowd on the bridges and quays appeared to be singularly calm. There was little or no interest manifested in favour of either side, and, indeed, it would not be easy to say what the side opposed to the government was. The Carlists looked distrustful, the republicans bold, and the juste milieu alarmed.

I went back to the hotel to make my report, again, about nine, and then proceeded by the quay and the Pont Louis XVI. to the Carrousel. By the way, I believe I have forgotten to say, in any of my letters, that in crossing the Place Louis XVI, with a French friend, a month or two since, he informed me he had lately conversed with Count—, who had witnessed the execution of Louis XVI, and that he was told there was a general error prevalent as regarded the spot where the guillotine was erected on that occasion. According to this account, which it is difficult to believe is not correct, it was placed on the side of the Place near the spot where the carriages for Versailles usually stand, and just within the borgnes that line the road that here diverges towards the quay. While correcting popular errors of this sort, I will add that M. Guillotine, the inventor of that instrument that bears his name, is, I believe, still living; the story of his having been executed on his own machine, being pure poetry.

Passing by the Rue de Rivoli, I went to see an English lady of our acquaintance, who resided in this quarter of the town. I found her alone, uneasy, and firmly persuaded that another revolution had commenced. She was an aristocrat by position, and though reasonably liberal, anxious to maintain the present order of things, like all the liberal aristocrats, who believe it to be the last stand against popular sway. She has also friends and connexions about the person of the King, and probably considered their fortunes as, in some measure, involved in those of the court. We condoled with each other, as a matter of course; she, because there was a revolution, and I, because the want of faith, and the stupendous frauds, practised under the present system, rendered it necessary.

It was near eleven o'clock before I quitted this part of the town. The streets were nearly deserted, a patrol occasionally passing; but the strangers were few, scarcely any having yet returned after their flight from the cholera. The gates of the garden were closed, and I found sentinels at the guichets of the Carrousel, who prevented my return by the usual route. Unwilling to make the détour by the way I had come, I proceeded by the Rue de Rivoli. As I was walking quite near to the palace, in order to avoid some mud, I came suddenly on a Garde National who was placed behind a sentry-box en faction. I cannot describe to you the furious scream with which this man cried "Allez au large." If he took me for a body of bloody-minded republicans, rushing forward to disarm him, I certainly thought he was some wild beast. The man was evidently frightened, and just in a condition to take every bush for an enemy. It is true the other party was rather actively employed in disarming the different guards, but this fellow was within a hundred feet of the Etat Major, and in no sort of danger. Notwithstanding the presented bayonet, I am not quite certain he would not have dropped his arms had I lifted my walking-stick, though one runs more hazard from a robber, or a sentinel, who is frightened, than from one who is cool. There was, however, no blood shed.

Finding the Carrousel closed to me, I passed into the Rue St. Honoré, which was also pretty well garnished with troops. A few truculent youths were shouting a short distance ahead of me, but, on the appearance of a patrol, they ran off. At length I got as far as the Rue du Coq St. Honoré, and seeing no one in the street, I turned short round its corner, thinking to get into the court of the Louvre, and to the other side of the river by the Pont des Arts. Instead of effecting this clever movement, I ran plump on a body of troops, who were drawn up directly across the street, in a triple line. This was a good position, for the men were quite protected from a fire, up or down the great thoroughfare, while by wheeling on either flank they were ready to act, in a moment, in either direction.

My reception was not flattering, but the officer in command was too cool, to mistake a solitary individual for a band of rebels, and I was suffered to continue up the Rue St. Honoré. I got into the rear of this guard by turning through the next opening. The court of the Louvre was unguarded and empty, and passing through it, I got a glimpse of a picturesque bivouac of troops in the Carrousel. Seeing no obstruction, I went in that direction, and penetrated to the very rear of a squadron of cuirassiers, who were dismounted, forming the outer line of the whole body. There may have been three or four thousand men of all arms assembled in this spot, chiefly, if not all, regular troops. I stayed among them unobserved, or at least, unmolested, near half an hour, watching the effect of the different groups, by the light of the camp fires. Strong patrols, principally cavalry, went and came constantly, and scarcely five minutes passed without the arrival and departure of mounted expresses, the head-quarters of the National Guards being in the palace.

It was drawing towards midnight, and I bethought me of the uneasiness of those I had left in the Rue St. Dominique. I was retiring by the upper guichet, the only one unguarded, and had nearly reached it, when a loud shout was heard on the quay. This sounded like service, and it was so considered by the troops, for the order "aux armes" was given in a moment. The cuirassiers mounted, wheeled into platoons, and trotted briskly towards the enemy with singular expedition. Unluckily, they directed their advance to the very guichet which I was also approaching. The idea of being caught between two fires, and that in a quarrel which did not concern me, was not agreeable. The state of things called for decision, and knowing the condition of affairs in the Carrousel, I preferred siding with the juste milieu, for once in my life.

The cuirassiers were too much in a hurry to get through the guichet, which was a defile, and too steady to cut me down in passing; and, first giving them a few minutes to take the edge off the affair, if there was to be any fighting, I followed them to the quay.

This alarm was real, I understood next day; but the revolters made their retreat by the Pont des Arts, which is impracticable for cavalry, attacking and carrying a corps de garde, in the Quartier St. Jacques. The cuirassiers were trotting briskly towards the Pont Neuf, in order to get at them, when I came out on the quay, and, profiting by the occasion, I got across the river, by the Pont des Arts.

It was strange to find myself alone on this bridge at midnight, in the heart of a great capital, at a moment when its streets were filled with troops, while contending factions were struggling for the mastery, and perhaps the fate of not only France, but of all Europe, was hanging on the issue! Excited by these reflections, I paused to contemplate the scene.

I have often told you how picturesque and beautiful Paris appears viewed from her bridges. The finest position is that of the Pont Royal; but the Pont des Arts, at night, perhaps affords even more striking glimpses of those ancient, tall, angular buildings along the river, that, but for their forms and windows, would resemble low rocky cliffs. In the centre of this mass of dwellings, among its damp and narrow streets, into which the sun rarely penetrates, lay bodies of men, sleeping on their arms, or merely waiting for the dawn, to decide the fate of the country. It was carrying one back to the time of the "League" and the "Fronde," and I involuntarily cast my eyes to that balconied window in the Louvre, where Charles IX. is said to have stood when he fired upon the flying Protestants. The brooding calm that reigned around was both characteristic and strange. Here was an empire in jeopardy, and yet the population had quietly withdrawn into their own abodes, awaiting the issue with as much apparent tranquillity, as if the morrow was to be like another day. Use, and a want of sympathy between the governed and their governors, had begotten this indifference.

When I reached the Quai Voltaire, not a man was visible, except a picket on the Pont Royal. Not knowing but some follower of the House of Orleans, more loyal than usual, might choose to detain me, because I came from America, I passed down one of the first streets, entering the Rue du Bac, at some distance from the bridge. I met but half a dozen people between the quays and the Hotel de ——, and all the shops were hermetically sealed. As soon as I entered, the porter shut and barred the gate of our own hotel, and we retired, to rise and see what a "night might bring forth."

"Les canons grondent dans les rues, monsieur" was the remark of the porter, as I passed out into the street next morning. The population was circulating freely in our part of the town; the shops, too, were re-opened, and it appeared to be pretty generally understood that no fighting was to take place in that vicinity. Passing up the Rue du Bac, I met three Gardes Nationaux, who, by their conversation, were fresh from the field, having passed the night in what may be called the enemy's country. They were full of marvels, and, in their own opinion, full of glory.

The streets were now alive with people, the quays and bridges being still resorted to, on account of their affording an unobstructed avenue to the sounds that came from the quarter where the conflict was going on. Occasionally, a discharge of musketry reached these spots, and once or twice I heard the report of a gun; but the firing was desultory, far from heavy, and irregular.

In the Carrousel I met an English acquaintance, and we agreed to go towards the scene of action together, in order to learn what was going on. My companion was loud in his complaints against the revolters, who, he said, would retard the progress of liberty half a century by their rashness. The government would put them down, and profit by its victory to use strong measures. I have learned to distrust the liberalism of some of the English, who are too apt to consult their own national interests, in regarding the rights of their neighbours. This, you will say, is no more than human nature, which renders all men selfish. True; but the concerns of few nations being as extensive, varied, and artificial, as those of England, the people of other countries are not liable to be influenced by so many appeals to divert them from a sound and healthful state of feeling. England, as a nation, has never been a friend of liberty in other nations, as witness her long and bitter hostility to ourselves, to France and Holland, and her close alliance with Turkey, Persia, etc., etc. Just at this moment, apprehension of Russia causes her to dilate a little more than usual on the encouragement of liberty; but it is a mystification that can deceive no one of the least observation. Of whatever sins England is to be accused, as a nation, she cannot be accused of that of political propagandism. Even her own recent progress in liberty has been the result of foreign and external example. I now speak of the state, which extends its influence very far into society; but there are many individuals who carry their principles as far as any men on earth. This latter class, moreover, is largely and rapidly on the increase, has always effected, and will still effect, far more than the slate itself in favour of freedom.

We went by the Palais Royal, the Passages Vivienne, and du Panorama, to the Boulevards. The streets were filled with people, as on a fête, and there appeared still to be a good deal of anxiety as to the result. There were plenty of troops, report saying that sixty thousand men were under arms on the side of the government. Half that number would suffice to assure its success unless there should prove to be disaffection. Had a single regiment of the line declared against the King the previous day, or even on the 6th of June, Louis-Philippe, in my opinion, would have been dethroned. But, so far as I can learn, none of the principal persons of the opposition appeared against him on this occasion, or seemed to have any connexion with the affair.

My companion left me on the Boulevards, and I proceeded towards the Porte St. Denis where there was evidently something like a contest. There was a little firing, and I met one or two wounded men, who were retiring to their casernes. One was shot through the body. But the affair at the Porte St. Denis proved to be nothing serious, and was soon over. The revolters had retired into the Rue St. Méry, where they were closely encircled by large bodies of troops, and whither I did not deem it prudent to follow them. The struggle, in that direction, was much sharper, and we occasionally heard cannon.

You will probably be curious to know if one did not feel uneasy, in walking about the streets of a town, while so many men were contending in its streets. A moment's reflection will show you that there was little or no danger. One could find a cover in a moment. The streets were thronged, and it was little probable that either party would wantonly fire on the mass. The contest was confined to a particular part of the town, and then a man of ordinary discretion would hardly be so silly as to expose himself unnecessarily, in a quarrel with which he had no concern. Women and children were certainly killed on this occasion, but it was probably under circumstances that did not, in the least, affect the great body of the inhabitants.

The cafés were frequented as usual, and a little distance from the scene of action, everything wore the air of an ordinary Sunday, on which the troops were to be reviewed. The morning passed in this manner, when, about four o'clock, I again found myself at the Pont Royal, after paying a visit to the hotel. Here I met two American friends, and we walked by the quay of the palace, towards the Pont Neuf. The people were in a dense crowd, and it was even difficult to penetrate the mass. Just before we reached the bridge, we heard shouts and cries of Vive le Roi, and presently I saw M. de Chabot-Rohan, the first honorary aide-de-camp, a gentleman whom I personally knew, and who usually led the cortege of the King. It would seem that Louis-Philippe had arrived from the country, and had passed by the Boulevards to the Place de la Bastille, whence he was now returning to the Tuileries, by the quays. His appearance in the streets, during such a scene, has been much lauded, and the firmness necessary to the occasion, much dwelt on in the papers. A very timid man might certainly have been afraid to expose his person in this manner, but the risk was by no means as great as has been supposed. The cortege was nowhere under fire, nor, but for, a few minutes, near the scene of action; and it was not easy to assassinate a man moving through streets that were filled with troops. Au reste, there is no reason whatever to suppose the King would not have behaved personally well, in far more critical circumstances.[10] The royal party passed into the Carrousel by the court of the Louvre, while we turned upon the bridge.

The Pont Neuf was crowded with troops, who occupied the trottoirs, and with men, women, and children. There had been some skirmishing at the Place de Grève, and the scene of the principal contest, the Rue St. Méry, was near by. We were slowly threading the crowd with our faces towards the island, when a discharge of musketry (four or five pieces at most), directly behind us, and quite near, set everybody in motion. A flock of sheep would not have scattered in greater confusion, at the sudden appearance of a strange dog among them, than the throng on the bridge began to scamper. Fear is the most contagious of all diseases, and, for a moment, we found ourselves running with the rest. A jump or two sufficed, however, and we stopped. Two soldiers, one a National Guard, and the other a young conscript, belonging to the line, caught my eye, and knowing there was no danger, we had time to stop and laugh at them. The National Guard was a little Mayeux-looking fellow, with an abdomen like a pumpkin, and he had caught hold of his throat, as if it were actually to prevent his heart from jumping out of his mouth. A caricature of fright could scarcely be more absurd. The young conscript, a fair red-haired youth, was as white as a sheet, and he stood with his eyes and mouth open, like one who thought he saw a ghost, immoveable as a statue. He was sadly frightened, too. The boy would probably have come to, and proved a good soldier in the end; but as for Mr. Mayeux, although scarcely five feet high, he appeared as if he could never make himself short enough. He had evidently fancied the whole affair a good joke, up to that precise moment, when, for the first time, the realities of a campaign burst upon his disordered faculties. The troops in general, while they pricked up their ears, disdained even to shoulder their arms. For those on the bridge, there was, in truth, no danger, although the nearness of the volley, and the suddenness of the alarm, were well adapted to set a crowd in motion. The papers next day, said one or two had been slain by this discharge, which actually came from the revolters.

You will probably be surprised, when I tell you that I had an engagement to dine to-day, with a gentleman who fills a high situation near the person of the King. He had sent me no notice of a postponement, and as I had seen him pass in the cortège, I was reminded that the hour to dress was near. Accordingly, I returned home, in order to prove to him that I was as indifferent as any Frenchman could be, to the events we had all just witnessed. I found a dozen people assembled in the drawing-room of Madame ——, at six o'clock precisely, the same as if Paris were quite tranquil. The General had not yet returned, but I was enabled to report that he had entered the palace in safety. A moment before the dinner was announced, he returned, and brought the information that the revolt was virtually suppressed, a few desperate individuals, who had thrown themselves into a church, alone holding out. He was in high spirits, and evidently considered the affair a triumph to Louis-Philippe.


LETTER V.

National Guards in the Court of the Palace.—Unclaimed Dead in the Morgue.—View of the Scene of Action.—A blundering Artillerist.—Singular Spectacle.—The Machinations of the Government—Martial Law.—Violations of the Charter.—Laughable Scene in the Carrousel.—A refractory Private of the National Guard.

Dear ——,

The day after the contest was closed, I went to the Louvre, where I usually met Mr. M——, who was busy copying. He was almost alone, in the long and gorgeous galleries, as in the days of the cholera; but we got a view of the National Guards that had been concerned in the affair of the previous day, who were drawn up in the court of the palace to receive the thanks of the King. There could not have been five thousand of them, but all might not have been present.

From the Louvre I went to took at the principal scene of action. A collection of some of the unclaimed dead was in the Morgue, and every one was allowed to enter. There were fifty or sixty bodies in this place, and among them were a few women and children, who had probably been killed by accident. Nearly all had fallen by gun-shot wounds, principally musket-balls; but a few had been killed by grape. As the disaffected had fought under cover most of the time, I fancy the cavalry did little in this affair. It was whispered that agents of the police were present to watch the countenances and actions of the spectators, with a view to detect the disaffected.

As we had several of Napoleon's soldiers at dinner yesterday, and they had united to praise the military character of the position taken by the revellers, I was curious to examine it. The Rue St. Méry is narrow, and the houses are high. The tower of the church is a little advanced, so as to enfilade it, in a manner, and the paving-stones had been used to make barricades, as in 1830. These stones are much larger than our own, are angular, and of a size that works very well into a wall; and the materials being plenty, a breastwork, that is proof against everything but artillery, is soon formed by a crowd. Two streets entered the Rue St. Méry near each other, but not in a right line, so that the approach along each is commanded by the house that stands across its end. One of these houses appears to have been a citadel of the disaffected, and most of the fighting was at and near this spot. Artillery had been brought up against the house in question, which was completely riddled, though less injured by round-shot than one could have thought possible. The windows were broken, and the ceilings of the upper rooms were absolutely torn to pieces by musket-balls, that had entered on the rise. Some twenty or thirty dead were found in this dwelling.

I had met Col.—, in the course of the morning, and we visited this spot together. He told me that curiosity had led him to penetrate as far as this street, which faces the citadel of the revolters, the previous day, and he showed me a porte-cochère, under which he had taken shelter, during a part of the attack. The troops engaged were a little in advance of him, and he described them as repeatedly recoiling from the fire of the house, which, at times, was rather sharp. The troops, however, were completely exposed, and fought to great disadvantage. Several hundreds must have been killed and wounded at and near this spot.

There existed plain proof of the importance of nerve in battle, in a shot that just appeared sticking in the wall of one of the lateral buildings, nearly opposite the porte-cochère, where Col.—had taken shelter. The artillerist who pointed the gun from which it had been discharged, had the two sides of the street to assist his range, and yet his shot had hit one of the lateral buildings, at no great distance from the gun, and at a height that would have sent it far above the chimneys of the house at which it was fired! But any one in the least acquainted with life, knows that great allowances must be made for the poetry, when he reads of "charges," "free use of the bayonet," and "braving murderous discharges of grape." Old and steady troops do sometimes display extraordinary fortitude, but I am inclined to think that the most brilliant things are performed by those who have been drilled just long enough to obey orders and act together, but who are still so young as not to know exactly the amount of the risk they run. Extraordinary acts of intrepidity are related of the revolters on this occasion, which are most probably true, as this desperate self-devotion, under a state of high excitement, enters fully into the composition of the character of the French, who are more distinguished for their dashing than for their enduring qualities.

The Rue St. Méry exhibited proofs of the late contest, for some distance, but nowhere had the struggle been so fierce as at the house just mentioned. The church had been yielded the last, but it did not strike me that there had been as sharp fighting near it, as at the other place.

It was a strange spectacle to witness the population of a large town crowding through its streets, curious to witness the scene of a combat that so nearly touched their own interests, and yet apparently regarding the whole with entire indifference to everything but the physical results. I thought the sympathies of the throng were with the conquered rather than with their conquerors, and this more from admiration of their prowess, than from any feeling of a political character, for no one appeared to know who the revolters were.

In the course of the morning I met—in the street. He is one of the justest-minded men of my acquaintance, and I have never known him attempt to exaggerate the ill conduct of his political opponents, or to extenuate the errors of those to whom he belongs. Speaking of this affair, he was of opinion that the government had endeavoured to bring it on, with the certainly that success would strengthen them, but, at the same time, he thought it useless to deny that there was a plot to overturn the present dynasty. According to his impressions, the spontaneous movements of the disaffected were so blended with those that proceeded from the machinations of the government to provoke a premature explosion, that it was not easy to say which predominated, or where the line of separation was to be drawn. I presume this is the true state of the case, for it is too much to say that France is ever free from political plots.

The public had been alarmed this morning, by rumours of an intention on the part of government to declare Paris in a state of siege, which is tantamount to bringing us all under martial law. This savours more of the regime Napoleon, than of the promised liberty that was to emanate from the three days. The opposition are beginning to examine the charter, in order to ascertain what their rights are on paper: but what avails a written compact, or indeed any other compact, against the wants and wishes of those who have the power? The Cour de Cassation, however, is said to be composed of a majority of Carlists, and, by way of commentary on the wants of the last two years, the friends of liberty have some hopes yet from these nominees of the Bourbons! We live in a droll world, dear ——, and one scarcely knows on which side he is to look for protection, among the political weathercocks of the period. In order to comprehend the point, you will understand that a clause of the charter expressly stipulates that no one shall be condemned by any "but his natural judges," which clearly means that no extraordinary or unusual courts shall be established for the punishment of ordinary crimes. Now, while it is admitted that martial law brings with it military tribunals and military punishments, it is contended that there is no pretext for declaring martial law in the capital, at a moment when the power of the present government is better assured than it has been at any time since its organization. But the charter solemnly stipulates that the conscription shall be abolished, while conscripts are and have been regularly drafted yearly, ever since the signature of Louis XVIII. was affixed to the instrument.

The shops were all open to-day, and business and pleasure are resuming their regular rounds. The National Guards of the banlieue, who were actively engaged yesterday, are befêted and be-praised, while the lookers-on affirm that some of them believe they have just been fighting against the Carlists, and that some think they have crushed the Jacobins. All believe they have done a good turn to liberty.

I was returning through the Carrousel, when chance made me the spectator of a laughable scene. A body of these troops, honest, well-intentioned countrymen, with very equivocal equipments, were still in the court of the palace. It would seem that one warrior had strayed outside the railing, where he was enjoying a famous gossip with some neighbours, whom he was paying, for their cheer, by a narrative of the late campaign. A sergeant was summoning him back to his colours, but the love of good wine and a good gossip were too strong for discipline. The more dignified the sergeant became, the more refractory was his neighbour, until, at last, the affair ended in a summons as formal as that which would be made to a place besieged. The answer was truly heroic, being rendered into the vernacular, "I won't." An old woman advanced from the crowd to reason with the sergeant, but she could get no farther than "Ecoutez, Mons. le Sergeant"—for, like all in authority, he was unreasonable and impatient when his power was called in question. He returned to the battalion, and tried to get a party to arrest the delinquent, but this was easier said than done. The troops evidently had no mind to disturb a neighbour who had just done the state good service, and who was now merely enjoying himself. The officer returned alone, and once more summoned the truant, if possible, more solemnly than ever. By this time the mouth of the delinquent was too full to answer, and he just turned his back on the dignitary, by way of letting him see that, his mind was made up. In the end, the soldier got the best of it, compelling the other to abandon the point.

The country people, of whom there were a good many present, looked on the matter seriously, but the Parisians laughed outright. I mention this little incident, for it shows that men are the same everywhere, and because this was an instance of military insubordination directly under the windows of the palace of the King of France, at the precise moment when his friends were boasting that the royal authority was triumphant, which, had it occurred in the interior of America, would have been quoted as proof of the lawlessness of democracy! I apprehend that militia, taken from their daily occupations, and embodied, and this, too, under the orders of their friends and neighbours, are pretty much alike, in their leading characteristics, all over the world.


LETTER VI.

Aspect of Paris.—Visit to Lafayette.—His demeanour.—His account of the commencement of the Revolt.—Machinations of the Police.—Character of Lafayette.—His remarkable expression to General—.—Conversation on the Revolution of July.—The Doctrinaires.—Popular Sympathy in England and on the Rhine.—Lafayette's dismissal from the command of the National Guards.—The Duke of Orleans and his Friends.—Military Tribunals in Paris.—The Citizen King in the Streets.—Obliteration of the Fleur-de-lis.—The Royal Equipage.—The Duke of Brunswick in Paris.—His forcible Removal from France.—His Reception in Switzerland.—A ludicrous Mistake.

Dear ——,

During the excitement of the last three days, I had not bethought me of paying a visit to the Rue d'Anjou: indeed I was under the impression that General Lafayette was at La Grange, for I had understood that he only remained at Paris to attend the funeral of Lamarque. There were rumours of his having been arrested, but these I set down to the marvel-mongers, who are always busy when extraordinary events occur. Just at dusk, I heard, by accident, there was still a chance of finding him in his apartment, and I walked across the river, in order to ascertain the fact for myself.

What a difference between the appearance of the streets this evening, and that which they had made on the night of the 5th! Now the bridges were deserted, the garden was empty, and the part of the population that was visible, seemed uneasy and suspicious. The rumour that the government intended to declare Paris in a state of siege, and to substitute military for the ordinary civil tribunals, was confirmed, though the measure was not yet officially announced. This act was in direct opposition to a clause in the charter, as I have told you, and the pretence, in a town in which fifty thousand troops had just quelled a rising of a few hundred men, was as frivolous as the measure itself is illegal. It has, however, the merit of throwing aside the mask, and of showing the world in what manner the present authorities understand a government of the people.

A dead calm reigned in the Rue d'Anjou. Apart from the line of cabriolets de place, of which there were but three, not a carriage nor a human being was visible in the street. Nothing stood before the porte-cochère of No. 6, a thing so unusual, more especially in critical moments, that I suspected I had been misled, and that I should have a bootless walk. The gate was open, and entering without knocking, I was just turning off the great staircase, to ascend the humbler flight that leads to the well-known door, that door through which I had so lately seen so many dignitaries pressing to enter, when the porter called to me to give an account of myself. He recognised me, however, by the light of the lamp, and nodded an assent.

I waited a minute or more, after ringing, before the door was opened by Bastien. The honest fellow let me in on the instant, and, without proceeding to announce me, led the way through the salons to the bed-room of his master. The General was alone with the husband of his grand-daughter, François de Corcelles. The former was seated with his back to the door as I entered; the latter was leaning against the mantel-piece. The "bonsoir, mon ami," of the first was frank and kind as usual, but I was immediately struck with a change in his manner. He was calm, and he held out his hand, as Bastien mentioned my name; but, although not seated at his table, he did not rise. Glancing my eyes at him, as I passed on to salute Monsieur de Corcelles, I thought I had never before seen Lafayette wearing so fine an air of majesty. His large, noble form was erect and swelling, and that eye, whose fire age had not quenched, was serenely proud. He seemed prepared to meet important events with the dignity and sternness that marked his principles.

A perfect knowledge of these principles, and the intimacy that he had so kindly encouraged, emboldened me to speak frankly. After a few minutes' conversation, I laughingly inquired what he had done with the bonnet rouge. The question was perfectly understood, and I was surprised to learn that, in the present instance, there was more foundation for the report than is usually the case with vulgar rumour. He gave the following account of what occurred at la Place de la Bastille.

When the procession halted, and the funeral discourses were being delivered, the tumult commenced; in what manner, he was unable to say. In the midst of the commotion, a man appeared on horseback wearing the dreaded bonnet rouge. Some one approached him, and invited him to repair to the Hôtel de Ville, in short, to put himself again at the head of the revolt, and offered him a bonnet rouge. He took the cap, and threw it into the mud. After this, he entered his carriage to return home, when a portion of the populace took out the horses and drew him to the Rue d'Anjou. On reaching the hotel, the people peaceably withdrew.

You will readily suppose I was curious to learn the opinion of General Lafayette concerning the events of the week. The journals of the opposition had not hesitated to ascribe the affair to the machinations of the police, which, justly or not, is openly accused of having recourse to expedients of this nature, with a view to alarm the timid, and to drive them to depend for the security of their persons, and the maintenance of order, on the arm of a strong government. In the recent case it had also been said, that aware of the existence of plots, the ministry had thought it a favourable occasion to precipitate their explosion, taking the precaution to be in readiness with a force sufficient to secure the victory.

I have often alluded to that beautiful and gentleman-like feature in the character of Lafayette, which appears to render him incapable of entertaining a low prejudice against those to whom he is opposed in politics. This is a trait that I conceive to be inseparable from the lofty feelings which are the attendant of high moral qualities, and it is one that I have, a hundred times, had occasion to admire in Lafayette. I do not, now, allude to that perfect bon ton, which so admirably regulates all his words and deportment, but to a discriminating judgment that does not allow interest or passion to disarm his sense of right. It certainly is a weakness in him not to distinguish sufficiently between the virtuous and the vicious,—those who are actuated like himself by philanthropy and a desire to do good, and those who seek their own personal ends; but this is a sacrifice, perhaps, that all must make who aim at influencing men by the weight of personal popularity. Jefferson has accused Lafayette of a too great desire to live in the esteem of others,[11] and perhaps the accusation is not altogether false; but the peculiar situation in which this extraordinary man has been placed, must be kept in view, while we decide on the merits of his system. His principles forbid his having recourse to the agencies usually employed by those who loose sight of the means in the object, and his opponents are the great of the earth. A man who is merely sustained by truth and the purity of his motives, whatever visionaries may say, would be certain to fail. Popularity is indispensable to the success of Lafayette, for thousands now support him, who, in despite of his principles, would become his enemies, were he to fall back sternly on the truth, and turn his back on all whose acts and motives would not, perhaps, stand the test of investigation. The very beings he wished to serve would desert him, were he to let them see he drew a stern but just distinction between the meritorious and the unworthy. Then the power of his adversaries must be remembered. There is nothing generous or noble in the hostility of modern aristocrats, who are mere graspers after gain, the most debasing of all worldly objects, and he who would resist them successfully must win golden opinions of his fellows, or they will prove too much for him.

But I am speculating on principles, when you most probably wish for facts, or, if you must have opinions, for those of Lafayette in preference to my own. When I ventured to ask him if he thought the government had had any agency in producing the late struggle, his answer was given with the integrity and fearlessness that so eminently characterize the man.

He was of opinion that there was a plot, but he also thought it probable that the agents of the government were, more or less, mixed up with it. He suspected at the moment, that the man who offered him the bonnet rouge was one of these agents, though he freely admitted that the suspicion was founded more on past experience than on any knowledge of present facts. The individual himself was an utter stranger to him. It had been his intention to quit town immediately after the funeral obsequies were completed, but, added the old man, proudly, "they had spread a rumour of an intention to cause me to be arrested, and I wish to save them the trouble of going to La Grange to seek me."

He then went on to tell me what he and his political friends had expected from the demonstration of public opinion, that they had prepared for this important occasion. "Things were approaching a crisis, and we wished to show the government that it must change its system, and that France had not made a revolution to continue the principles of the Holy Alliance. The attempt to obtain signs of popular support at the funeral of Casimir Perier was a failure, while, so great was our success at this procession in honour of Lamarque, that there must have been a new ministry and new measures, had not this unfortunate event occurred. As it is, the government will profit by events. I do not wish to wake any unjust accusations, but, with my knowledge of men and things, it is impossible not to feel distrust."[12]

While we were conversing, General ——, whom I had not seen since the dinner of the previous day, was announced and admitted. He stayed but a few minutes, for, though his reception was kind, the events of the last week had evidently cast a restraint about the manners of both parties. The visit appeared to me, to be one of respect and delicacy on the part of the guest, but recent occurrences, and his close connexion with the King, rendered it constrained; and, though there appeared no evident want of good feeling on either side, little was said, during this visit, touching the "two days," as the 5th and 6th of June are now termed, but that little served to draw from Lafayette a stronger expression of political hostility, than I had ever yet heard from his lips. In allusion to the possibility of the liberal party connecting itself with the government of Louis-Philippe, he said—"à présent, un ruisseau de sang nous sépare."[13] I thought General—considered this speech as a strong and a decisive one, for he soon after rose and took his leave.

Lafayette spoke favourably of the personal qualities and probity of his visitor, when he had withdrawn, but said that he was too closely incorporated with the juste milieu to be any longer classed among his political friends. I asked him if he had ever known a true liberal in politics, who had been educated in the school of Napoleon? The General laughingly admitted that he was certainly a bad master to study under, and then added it had been intended to offer General —— a portfolio, that of the public works I understood him to say, had they succeeded in overturning the ministry.

This conversation insensibly led to one on the subject of the revolution of July, and on his own connexion with the events of that important moment. I despair of doing justice to the language of General Lafayette on this occasion, and still less so to his manner, which, though cool and dignified, had a Roman sternness about it that commanded the deepest respect. Indeed, I do not remember ever to have seen him with so much of the externals of a great man as on this evening, for no one, in common, is less an actor with his friends, or of simpler demeanour. But he now felt strongly, and his expressions were forcible, while his countenance indicated a portion of that which was evidently working within. You must be satisfied, however, with receiving a mere outline of what fell from his lips in an uninterrupted explanation that lasted fully half an hour.

He accused his opponents, in general terms, of distorting his words, and of misrepresenting his acts. The celebrated saying of "voici la meilleure des républiques" in particular, had been falsely rendered, while the circumstances under which he spoke and acted at all, had been studiously kept out of view. It was apropos of this saying, that he entered into the explanations of the causes of the change of dynasty.

The crisis which drove the cabinet of Charles X. to the extreme measures that overturned the throne, had been produced by a legislative combination. To effect their end, nearly every opinion, and all the shades of opposition, had united; many, even of those who were personally attached to the Bourbons, resisting their project of re-establishing the ancien régime. Most of the capitalists, in particular, and more especially those who were engaged in pursuits that were likely to be deranged by political convulsions, were secretly disposed to support the dynasty, while they were the most zealously endeavouring to reduce its power. The object of these men was to maintain peace, to protect commerce and industry, more especially their own, and, at the same time, to secure to property the control, of affairs. In short, England and her liberty were their models, though some among them had too much good sense to wish to retrograde, as is the case with a party in America, in order to make the imitation more perfect. Those who were for swallowing the English system whole, were called the doctrinaires, from their faith in a theory, while the different shades of dissenting opinions were distributed among all those who looked more to facts, and less to reasoning, than their credulous coadjutors. But all were zealous in opposing government under its present system, and with its palpable views.

You know that the result was the celebrated ordinances, and a rising of the people. So little was either of these events foreseen, that the first probably astonished and alarmed the friends of the Bourbons, quite as much as it did their enemies. The second was owing chiefly to the courage and zeal of the young men connected with the press, sustained by the pride and daring of the working classes of Paris. The emergency was exactly suited to the élan of the French character, which produced the sympathy necessary to the occasion among the different degrees of actors. With the movements that followed, those who had brought about the state of things which existed, by their parliamentary opposition, had little or nothing to do. Lafayette, himself, was at La Grange, nor did he reach Paris until the morning of the second day. So far from participating in the course of events, most of the deputies were seriously alarmed, and their first efforts were directed to an accommodation. But events were stronger than calculations, and the Bourbons were virtually dethroned, before any event or plan could be brought to bear upon the issue, in either the offensive or defensive.

You are now to imagine the throne vacant, the actors in the late events passive spectators of what was to follow, and opportunity for a recurrence to parliamentary tactics. Men had leisure to weigh consequences. Another political crusade menaced France, and it is probable that nothing prevented its taking place, but the manifestations of popular sympathy in England, and on the Rhine. Then there was danger, too, that the bankers and manufacturers, and great landed proprietors, would lose the stake for which they had been playing, by permitting a real ascendancy of the majority. Up to that moment, the mass had looked to the opposition in the deputies as to their friends. In order to entice all parties, or, at least, as many as possible, the cry had been "la charte;" and the opposition had become identified with its preservation. The new Chambers had been convened, and, after the struggle was over, the population naturally turned to those who had hitherto appeared in their ranks as leaders. This fragment of the representation became of necessity the repository of all power.

Lafayette had, thus far, been supported by the different sections of the opposition; for his influence with the mass to suppress violence, was looked to as of the last importance, by even his enemies. The very men who accused him of Jacobinical principles, and a desire to unsettle society, felt a security under his protection, that they would not have felt without him. Louis-Philippe, you will remember, made use of him, until the trial of the ministers was ended, when he was unceremoniously dismissed from the command of the National Guards, by the suppression of the office.[14] "It would have been in my power to declare a republic," he continued, in the course of his explanations, "and sustained by the populace of Paris, backed by the National Guards, I might have placed myself at its head. But six weeks would have closed my career, and that of the republic. The governments of Europe would have united to put us down, and the Bourbons had, to a great degree, disarmed France. We were not in a state to resist. The two successful invasions had diminished the confidence of the nation, which, moreover, would have been nearly equally divided in itself. But, allowing that we might have overcome our foreign enemies, a result I admit to have been possible, by the aid of the propaganda and the general disaffection, there would have been a foe at home, that certainly would have prevailed against us. Those gentlemen of the Chambers to whom a large portion of the people looked up with confidence, would have thwarted every important measure I attempted, and were there no other means to prevent a republic, they would have thrown me into the river."

This last expression is literal, and was twice uttered in the course of the evening. He then went on to add, that seeing the impossibility of doing as he could wish, he had been compelled to acquiesce in the proposal that came nearest to his own views. The friends of the Duke of Orleans were active, particularly M. Lafitte, who enjoyed a great deal of his own confidence, and the Duke himself was free in the expression of the most liberal sentiments. Under these circumstances, he thought it possible to establish a government that should be monarchical in form, and republican in fact. Such, or nearly such, is the case in England, and he did not see why such might not be the case in France. It is true the English republic is aristocratical, but this is a feature that depends entirely on the breadth and independence of the constituency. There was no sufficient reason why France should imitate England in that essential point, and by erecting a different constituency, she would virtually create another polity in fact, adhering always to the same general form.

As respects the expression so often cited, he said his words were "voici la meilleure des républics pour nous;" distinctly alluding to the difficulties and embarrassments under which he acted. All this time he made no pretension to not having been deceived in the King, who had led him to think he entertained very different principles from those which events have shown to be his real sentiments.

Something was then said of the état de siége, and of the intentions of the government. "I shall go to La Grange in a few days," observed the General, smiling, "unless they arrest me; there to remain until the 4th of July, when we shall have our usual dinner, I hope." I told him that the long fever under which A—— had suffered rendered a change of air necessary, and that I was making my preparations to quit France temporarily, on another tour. He pressed me to remain until the 4th, and when I told him that we might all be shot for sedition under the present state of things, if we drunk liberal toasts, he laughed and answered, that "their bark was worse than their bite."

It was near tea when I took my leave, and returned to the Rue St. Dominique. The streets were gloomy and deserted, and I scarcely met a single individual, in walking the mile between the two hotels.

There was a wild pleasure in viewing a town in such an extraordinary state, and I could not help comparing its present moody silence, to the scenes we had witnessed when the government was still so young and dependent as to feel the necessity of courting the people. I have already mentioned to you many of the events of that period, but some of them have been omitted, and some, too, which quite naturally suggest themselves, at this moment, when the King has established military tribunals in his very capital.

On one occasion, in particular, I was walking in the Tuileries, when a noise attracted me towards a crowd. It was Louis-Philippe taking a walk! This you will understand was intended for effect—republican effect—and to show the lieges that he had the outward conformation of another man. He wore a white hat, carried an umbrella (I am not sure that it was red), and walked in as negligent a manner as a man could walk, who was working as hard as possible to get through with an unpleasant task. In short, he was condescending with all his might. A gentleman or two, in attendance, could barely keep up with him; and as for the rabble, it was fairly obliged to trot to gratify its curiosity. This was about the time the King of England electrified London, after a reign of exclusion, by suddenly appearing in its streets, walking about like another man. Whether there was any concert in this coincidence or not I do not know.

On another occasion, A—— and myself drove out at night to view a bivouac in the Carrousel. We got ourselves entangled in a dense crowd in the Rue St. Honoré, and were obliged to come to a stand. While stationary, the crowd set up a tremendous cry of Vive le roi! and a body of dismounted cavalry of the National Guard passed the carriage windows, flourishing their sabres, and yelling like madmen. Looking out, I saw the King in their midst, patrolling the streets of his good city of Paris, on foot! Now he has declared us all under martial law, and is about to shoot those he dislikes.

The fleur-de-lis, as you know, is the distinctive symbol of the family of France. So much stress is laid on trifles of this nature here, that Napoleon, with his grinding military despotism, never presumed to adopt one for himself. During the whole of his reign, the coins of the country were decorated on one side with no more than an inscription and a simple wreath, though the gradual progress of his power, and the slow degress by which he brought forward the public, on these points, may yet be traced on these very coins. The first that were struck bore his head, as First Consul, with "République Française" on the reverse. After a time it was "Empereur," with "République Française." At length he was emboldened to put "Empire Français" on the reverse, feeling a true royal antipathy to the word republic.

During the existing events that first succeeded the last revolution, no one thought of the fleur-de-lis with which the Bourbons had sprinkled everything in and about the capital, not to say France. This omission attracted the attention of some demagogue, and there was a little émeute, before the arch of the Carrousel, with threats of destroying these ornaments. Soon after, workmen were employed to deface everything like a fleur-de-lis in Paris. The hotel of the Treasury had many hundreds of them in large stone rosettes, every one of which disappeared before the chisel! The King actually laid down his family arms, causing the brush to be put to all his carriages. Speaking to Lafayette on this subject, he remarked, pithily—"Well, I told his Majesty I would have done this before there was a mob, and I would not have done it afterwards."

The Bourbons usually drove with eight horses, but this king rarely appears with even six; though that number is not offensive, the other being the regal style. Some time since, before the approach of the late crisis, I saw the coachman of the palace, quite early, or before the public was stirring, exercising with eight. It is to be presumed that the aspect of things, the pears, and the Duchess of Berri, compelled the leaders to be taken off.

A day or two after this event, I dined in company with a deputy, who is also a distinguished advocate, who made me laugh with an account of a recent freak of another sovereign, that has caused some mirth here. This advocate was employed in the affair, professionally, and his account may be depended on.

You know that shortly after the revolution of 1830, the people of Brunswick rose and deposed their Duke, bestowing the throne, or arm-chair, for I know not the official term, on his brother. This Duke of Brunswick is the grandson of him who figured in the wars of the old revolution, and the son of him who was killed at Quatre Bras. His grandmother was a sister of George III, and his aunt was the wife of George IV; the latter being his cousin, his uncle, and his guardian.

The deposed prince retired to Paris, if it can be called retirement to come from Brunswick here. After some time, the police was informed that he was busy in enrolling men to make a counter-revolution in his own states. He was warned of the consequences, and commanded to desist. The admonition was disregarded, and after exhausting its patience, the government proceeded so far as to order him to quit Paris. It was not obeyed.

I must now tell you, that a few years previously the Duke of Brunswick had visited Paris, and apprehending assassination, for some cause that was not explained, he had obtained from the police one of its agents to look out for the care of his person. The man had been several weeks in this employment, and knowing the person of the contumacious prince, when it was determined to resort to force, he was sent with the gendarmes, expressly that he might be identified.

A party, accordingly, presented themselves, one fine morning, at the hotel which had the honour to contain his Serene Highness, demanding access to his person, in the name of the police. No one was hardy enough to deny such an application, and the officers were introduced. They found the indomitable prince, in his morning gown and slippers, as composed as if he were still reigning in Brunswick, or even more so. He was made acquainted with their errand, which was, neither more nor less than to accompany him to the frontier.

The great-nephew of George III, the cousin and nephew of George IV, the cousin of William IV, and the Ex-duke of Brunswick, received this intelligence with a calm entirely worthy of his descent and his collaterals, treating the commissary of police, de haut en bas. In plain English, he gave them to understand he should not budge. Reverence for royal blood was at last overcome by discipline, and seeing no alternative, the gendarmes laid their sacrilegious hands on the person of the prince, and fairly carried him down stairs, and put him, dressing-gown, slippers, and all, into a fiacre.

It was a piteous sight to see a youth of such high expectations, of a lineage so ancient, of a duchy so remote, treated in this rude and inhospitable manner! Like Cæsar, who bore up against his enemies until he felt the dagger of Brutus, he veiled his face with his handkerchief, and submitted with dignity, when he ascertained how far it was the intention of the Minister of the Interior to push matters. M. —— did not tell us whether or not he exclaimed, "Et tu, Montalivet!" The people of the hotel manifested a proper sympathy at the cruel scene, the filles de chambre weeping in the corridors, as filles de chambre, who witnessed such an indecent outrage, naturally would do.

The Duke was no sooner in the fiacre than he was carried out of town, to a post-house on the road to Switzerland. Here he was put in a caleche, and transported forthwith to the nearest frontier.

On reaching the end of the journey, the Duke of Brunswick was abandoned to his fate, with the indifference that marked the whole outrage; or, as might have been expected from the servants of a prince, who had so lately shown his respect for rank by sending his own relatives out of his kingdom, very much in the same fashion. Happily, the unfortunate Duke fell into the hands of republicans, who, as a matter of course, hastened to pay their homage to him. The mayor of the commune appeared and offered his civilities; all the functionaries went forth with alacrity; and the better to show their sympathy, a young German traveller was produced, that he might console the injured prince by enabling him to pour out his griefs in the vernacular of his country. This bit of delicate attention, however, was defeated by an officious valet, who declared that ever since his dethronement, his master had taken such an aversion to the German language, that it threw him into fits even to hear it! Of course the traveller had the politeness to withdraw.

While these things were in progress, the Duke suddenly disappeared, no one knew whither. The public journals soon announced the fact, and the common conjecture was, that he had returned to Paris.

After several weeks, M. —— was employed to negotiate an amnesty, promising, on the part of his principal, that no further movements against the duchy should be attempted in France. The minister was so far prevailed on as to say, he could forgive all, had not the Duke re-entered the kingdom, after having been transported to Switzerland, by the order of the government, in the manner you have heard. M. —— assured the minister, parole d'honneur, that this was altogether a mistake. "Well, then, convince me of this, and his Serene Highness shall have permission to remain here as long as he pleases." "His Serene Highness, having never left France, cannot have re-entered it." "Not left France!—Was he not carried into Switzerland?" "Not at all: liking Paris better, he chose to remain here. The person you deported, was a young associate, of the same stature of the Duke, a Frenchman, who cannot speak a word of German!"

A compromise was made on the spot, for this was a matter to be hushed up, ridicule being far more potent, in Paris, than reason. This is what you may have heard alluded to, in some of the journals of the day, as the escapade of the Duke of Brunswick.


LETTER VII.

Public Dinner.—Inconsiderate Impulses of Americans.—Rambles in Paris.—The Churches of Paris.—View from the leads or Notre Dame.—The Place Royale.—The Bridges.—Progress of the Public Works.—The Palaces of the Louvre and the Tuileries.—Royal Enclosures in the Gardens of the Tuileries.—Public Edifices.—Private Hotels and Gardens. My Apartments in the house of the Montmorencies.—Our other Residences.—Noble Abodes in Paris.—Comparative Expense of Living in Paris and New York.—American Shopkeepers, and those of Europe.

Dear ——

The time between the revolt of the two days, and the 17th July, passed in the usual manner. The court-martial had made considerable progress in condemning men to be shot, but appeals were made to the Carlist Court of Cassation, which finally adjudged the whole proceedings to be illegal. In the mean time we got up the dinner for the 4th, Lafayette coming from La Grange expressly to make one among us. As for this dinner, I have only to say that one of its incidents went to prove how completely a body of Americans are subject to common and inconsiderate impulses, let the motive be right or wrong,—of how low estimate character is getting to be among us, and to determine me never to be present at another. It is a painful confession, but truth compels me to say, that, I believe, for the want of a condensed class, that are accustomed to sustain each other in a high tone of feeling and thinking, and perhaps from ignorance of the world, no other people, above the illiterate and downright debased, are so easily practised on and cajoled, as the great mass of our own. I hope I have never been addicted to the vice of winning golden opinions by a sacrifice of sentiments or principles; but this dinner has given me a surfeit of what is called "popularity," among a people who, while affecting to reduce everything to a standard of their own creating, do not give themselves time or opportunity to ascertain facts, or weigh consequences.

The weather was pleasant and warm for several weeks, about the close of June and the commencement of July, and, although a slight shade has been cast over our enjoyments by the re-appearance of the cholera, in a greatly diminished degree however, I do not remember to have passed the same period of time in Paris with so much satisfaction to myself. The town has been empty, in the usual signification of the term, and the world has left us entirely to ourselves. After completing the morning's task, I have strolled in the gardens, visited the churches, loitered on the quays, rummaged the shops of the dealers in old furniture and other similar objects. The number of these shops is great, and their stores of curious things incredible. It appears to me that all France has poured her relics of the old system into the warehouses of the capital. The plunder of the chateaux and hotels has enriched them to a degree that must be witnessed to be understood, and to me it is matter of surprise that some of our wealthy travellers do not transfer many of these treasures to the other side of the Atlantic.

I usually spend an our or two with M——, in the gallery of the Louvre, from two to four: he returns home with me to dinner; and at seven, which, at this season in this latitude, is still broad day, we issue forth for a promenade. Paris, I have often told you, is a picturesque town, and offers endless sources of satisfaction, beyond its living throngs, its society, its theatres, and its boulevards. The public displays at the Academy, and its meetings of science, taste, and philanthropy are little to my taste, being too artificial and affected, and I have found most enjoyment in parts of this little world that I believe travellers usually overlook.

The churches of Paris want the odour, the genial and ecclesiastical atmosphere and the devout superstition that rendered those of Italy so strikingly soothing and pleasant; but they are huge piles, and can always be visited with pleasure. Notre Dame de Paris is a noble monument, and now that the place of the archbishop is destroyed, one is likely to get better views of it, than is apt to be the case with these venerable edifices. A few evenings since M——, and myself ascended the towers, and seating ourselves on the leads, looked down, for near an hour, on the extraordinary picture beneath. The maze of roofs, out-topped, here and there, by black lacquered-looking towers, domes, pavilions of palaces, and, as is the case with the Tuileries and Louvre, literally by a mile of continuous structures; the fissures of streets, resembling gaping crevices in rocks; the river meandering through the centre of all, and spanned by bridges thronged by mites of men and pigmy carriages; the crowds of images of the past; the historical eminences that surround the valley of the capital; the knowledge of its interior; our acquaintance with the past and the present, together with conjectures for the future, contributed to render this a most impressive evening. The distant landscape was lost, and even quarters of the town itself were getting to be obscure before we descended, helping singularly to increase the effect produced by our speculations on those ages in which Paris had been the scene of so many momentous events.

We have also wandered among the other relics of antiquity, for the present structure of Notre Dame is said to have already stood seven centuries. The Place Royale is one of the most singular quarters of the town, and although often visited before, we have again examined it, for we are beginning to regard objects with the interest that one is apt to feel on leaving a favourite spot, perhaps for ever. This square, unique in its kind, occupies the site of the ancient residences of the kings of France, who abandoned it in consequence of the death of Henri II, in a tournament. Henri IV caused the present area to be enclosed by hotels, which are all of brick, a novelty in Paris, and built in the style of his reign. Fashion has, however, been stronger than the royal will; and noble ranges of rooms are to be hired here at a fourth of the prices that are paid for small and crowded apartments near the Tuileries. The celebrated arsenal, where Sully so often received his royal master, is near this place, and the Bastile stood at no great distance. In short, the world has moved, within the last two centuries, directly across the town.

I can never tire of speaking of the bridges of Paris. By day and by night have I paused on them to gaze at their views; the word not being too comprehensive for the crowds and groupings of objects that are visible from their arches. They are less stupendous and magnificent, as public works, than the bridges of London, Florence, Dresden, Bordeaux, and many other European towns, the stream they have to span being inconsiderable; but their number, the variety of their models, even the very quaintness of some among them, render them, as a whole, I think, more interesting than any others that I know. The Pont de Jena is as near perfection in all respects, perhaps, as a bridge well can be. I greatly prefer it to the celebrated Ponte della Trinità, at Florence. Some enormous statues are about to be placed on the Pont Louis XVI, which, if they do not escape criticism, will, at least, I think, help the picturesque.

I have now known Paris a sufficient time to watch, with interest, the progress of the public works. The arch at the Barrière de Neuilly has, within my observation, risen several feet, and approaches its completion. The wing, a counterpart of the gallery, that is to enclose the Carrousel, and finally to convert the Louvre and the Tuileries into a single edifice, has advanced a long distance, and preparations are making to clear the area of the few buildings that still remain. When this design shall be executed, the Palace of the Kings of France will contain considerably more than a mile of continuous buildings, which will be erected around a large vacant area. The single room of the picture-gallery is of itself a quarter of a mile in length!

During the heat of the late finance discussion, all sorts of unpleasant things were said of America, for the money-power acts here as it does everywhere else, proving too strong even for French bon ton, and, failing of facts and logic, some of the government writers had recourse to the old weapon of the trader, abuse and vituperation. Among other bold assertions, one of them affirmed, with a view to disparage the vaunted enterprise of the Americans, that while they attempted so much in the way of public works, nothing was ever finished. He cited the Capitol, a building commenced in 1800, and which had been once destroyed by fire in the interval, as an example.

As one of the controversionalists, on this occasion, I certainly had no disposition to debase my mind, or to descend from the level of a gentleman who was compelled to bow before no political master, in order to retort in kind; but as is apt to be the case under provocations of this sort, the charge induced me to look about, in order to see what advantages the subjects of a monarchy possess over us in this particular. The result has made several of my French friends laugh, and acknowledge that they who "live in glass houses should not throw stones."

The new palace of the Louvre was erected more than two centuries since. It is a magnificent pile, surrounding a court of more than a quarter of a mile in circumference, possessing many good statues, fine bas-reliefs, and a noble colonnade. In some respects, it is one of the finest palaces in Europe. The interior is, however, unfinished, though in the course of slow embellishment. Now a principal and very conspicuous window, in the pavilion that caps the entrance to the Carrousel, is unglazed, the weather being actually excluded by the use of coarse unplaned boards, precisely in the manner in which one is apt to see a shingle palace embellished at home. One hundred francs would conceal this deformity.

The palace of the Tuileries was built by Catherine di Medici, who was dead before the present United States were first peopled. It is a lantern-like, tasteless edifice, composed of different pavilions, connected by corps de bâtimens of different sizes, but of pretty uniform ugliness. The stone of this vicinity is so easily wrought, that it is usual to set it up, in blocks, and to work out the capitals and other ornaments in the wall. On a principal portion of this palace, these unwrought blocks still remain, just enough being finished to tell the observer that the design has never been completed. I shall not go beyond the palaces to make out our case, though all Europe abounds with these discrepancies in taste, and with similar neglect. As a rule, I believe we more uniformly push through our public undertakings than any other people, though they are not always executed with the same taste, on the same scale, or as permanently, perhaps, as the public works that are undertaken here. When they yield profit, however, we need turn our backs on no nation.

It is a curious commentary on the change in the times, that Louis-Philippe has dared to do that which Napoleon, with all his power, did not deem it expedient to undertake, though it is known that he chafed under the inconvenience, which it was desirable to both to be rid of. Until quite lately, the public could approach as near the palace windows, as one usually gets to those of any considerable dwelling that stands on a common street. The Emperor complained that he could not look out of a window, into his own gardens, without attracting a crowd: under this evil, however, he reigned, as consul and emperor, fourteen years, for there was no obvious way of remedying it, but by taking possession of a part of that garden, which so long had been thrown open to the public, that it now considered it as its own. Sustained by the congregated wealth of France, and secretly by those nations with whom his predecessor had to contend, Louis-Philippe has boldly broken ground, by forming two little gardens beneath the palace windows, which he has separated from the public promenade by ditches and low railings, but which serves effectually to take possession, to keep the tiger at a distance, and to open the way for farther improvement. In the end there will probably be a wing of the palace thrown forward into the garden, unless, indeed, the whole of the present structure should be destroyed, to make place for one more convenient and of purer architecture.

Paris enjoys a high reputation for the style of its public edifices, and, while there is a very great deal to condemn, compared with other capitals, I think it is entitled to a distinguished place in this particular. The church of the Magdalen (Napoleon's Temple de la Gloire, on which the names of distinguished Frenchmen were to be embossed in letters of bronze), is one of the finest modern edifices of Europe. It is steadily advancing to completion, having been raised from beneath the cornices during my visit. It is now roofed, and they are chiseling the bas-reliefs on the pediment. The Gardes-Meubles, two buildings, which line one entire side of the Place Louis Seize, or de la Concorde, as it is now termed, and which are separated by the Rue Royale, are among the best structures of the town. Some of their ornaments are a little meretricious, but the prevalent French features of their architecture are more happy than common. Only one of these edifices belongs to the public, and is now the hotel of the Admiralty, the other having been erected for symmetry, though occupied as private dwellings, and actually private property. The Bourse, or Exchange, is another modern building that has an admirable general effect.

Of the private hotels and private gardens of Paris, a stranger can scarcely give a just account. Although it is now six years since I have been acquainted with the place, they occasion surprise daily, by their number, beauty, and magnificence. Relatively, Rome, and Florence, and Venice, and Genoa, may surpass it, in the richness and vastness of some of their private residences; but, Rome excepted, none of them enjoy such gardens, nor does Rome even, in absolute connection with the town abodes of her nobles. The Roman villas[15] are almost always detached from the palaces, and half of them are without the walls, as I have already described to you. The private gardens of Paris certainly cannot compare with these villas, nor, indeed, can those which belong to the public; but then there is a luxury, and a quiet, and a beauty, about the five or six acres that are so often enclosed and planted in the rear of the hotels here, that I do not think any other Christian city can show in equal affluence. The mode of living, which places the house between court and garden, as it is termed here, is justly esteemed the perfection of a town residence; for while it offers security, by means of the gate, and withdraws the building from the street—a desideratum with all above the vulgar—it gives space and room for exercise and beauty, by means of the verdure, shrubbery, trees, and walks. It is no unusual thing for the French to take their repasts, in summer, within the retirement of their gardens, and this in the heart of one of the most populous and crowded towns of Europe. The miserable and minute subdivisions of our own towns preclude the possibility of our ever enjoying a luxury as great, and yet as reasonable as this; and if, by chance, some lucky individual should find the means to embellish his own abode and his neighbourhood, in this way, some speculation, half a league off, would compel him to admit an avenue through his laurels and roses, in order to fill the pockets of a club of projectors. In America, everybody sympathises with him who makes money, for it is a common pursuit, and touches a chord that vibrates through the whole community; but few, indeed, are they who can enter into the pleasures of him who would spend it elegantly, rationally, and with good taste. If this were the result of simplicity, it would, at least, be respectable; but every one knows that the passion at home is for display—finery, at the expense of comfort and fitness, being a prevalent evil.

The private hotels are even more numerous than the private gardens, land not always having been attainable. Of course these buildings vary in size and magnificence, according to the rank and fortune of those who caused them to be constructed, but the very smallest are usually of greater dimensions than our largest town-houses, and infinitely better disposed; though we have a finish in many of the minor articles, such as the hinges, locks, and the wood-work in general, and latterly, in marbles, that is somewhat uncommon, even in the best houses of France; when the question, however, is of magnificence, we can lay no claim to it, for want of arrangement, magnitude, and space.

Many American travellers will render you a different account of these things, but few of our people stay long enough to get accurate notions of what they see, and fewer still have free access to the sort of dwellings of which I now speak.

These hotels bear the names of their several owners. In the instances of the high nobility, it was usual to build a smaller hotel, near the principal structure, which was inhabited by the inferior branches of the family, and sometimes by favoured dependants (for the French, unlike ourselves, are fond of maintaining the domestic relations to the last, several generations frequently dwelling under the same roof), and which it is the fashion to call the petit hôtel.

Our first apartments were in one of these petits hôtels, which had once belonged to the family of Montmorency.[16] The great hotel, which joined it, was inhabited, and I believe owned, by an American, who had reversed the usual order of things by coming to Europe to seek his fortune. Our next abode was the Hôtel Jumilliac, in a small garden of a remote part of the Faubourg St. Germain. This was a hotel of the smaller size, and our apartments were chiefly on the second floor, or in what is called the third story in America, where we had six rooms besides the offices. Our saloon, dining-room, &c. had formerly been the bed-chamber, dressing-room, and ante-chamber of Madame la Marquise, and gave one a very respectful opinion of the state of a woman of quality, of a secondary class, though I believe that this family too was highly allied. From the Rue St. Maur, we went into a small country-house on the bank of the Seine, about a league from the gates of Paris, which, a century since, was inhabited by a Prince de Soubise, as grand veneur of Louis XV, who used to go there occasionally, and eat his dinner, in a very good apartment, that served us for a drawing-room. Here we were well lodged, having some two or three-and-twenty well-furnished rooms, offices included. From this place we went into the Rue des Champs-Elysées, where we had a few rooms in a hotel of some size. Oddly enough, our predecessor in a portion of these rooms was the Prince Polignac, and our successor Marshal Marmont, two men who are now proscribed in France. We have been in one or two apartments in nameless edifices since our return from Germany, and we are now in a small hotel in the Rue St. Dominique, where in some respects we are better lodged than ever, though compelled to occupy three floors. Here the salon is near thirty feet in length, and seventeen high. It is panelled in wood, and above all the doors, of which, real and false, there are six, are allegories painted on canvass, and enclosed in wrought gilded frames. Four large mirrors are fixtures, and the windows are vast and descend to the floor. The dining-room, which opens on a garden, is of the same size, but even loftier. This hotel formerly had much interior gilding, but it has chiefly been painted over. It was built by the physician of the Duc d'Orléans, who married Madame de Montesson, and from this fact you may form some idea of the style maintained by the nobles of the period; a physician, at that time, being but a very inferior personage in Europe.

In describing these residences, which have necessarily been suited to very moderate means, I have thought you might form some idea of the greater habitations. First and last, I may have been in a hundred, and, while the Italian towns do certainly possess a few private dwellings of greater size and magnificence, I believe Paris contains, in proportion, more noble abodes than any other place in Europe. London, in this particular, will not compare with it. I have been in some of the best houses in the British capital, but very few of them rise to the level of these hotels in magnificence and state, though nearly all surpass them in comfort. I was at a ball given by the Count ——, when thirteen rooms en suite were opened. The Duke of Devonshire can hardly exceed this. Prince Borghese used, on great occasions, to open twenty, if I remember right, at Florence, one of which was as large as six or eight of our ordinary drawing-rooms. Although, as a whole, nothing can be more inconvenient or irrational than an ordinary town-house in New York, even we excel the inhabitants of these stately abodes, in many of the minor points of domestic economy, particularly in the offices, and in the sleeping-rooms of the second class.

Your question, as to the comparative expense of living at home and of living in Europe, is too comprehensive to be easily answered, for the prices vary so materially, that it is difficult to make intelligent comparisons. As between Paris and New York, so long as one keeps within the usual limits of American life, or is disposed to dispense with a multitude of little elegancies, the advantage is essentially with the latter. While no money will lodge a family in anything like style, or with suites of rooms, ante-chambers, &c. in New York, for the simple reason, that buildings which possess these elegancies, or indeed with fine apartments at all, have never yet been erected in the country; a family can be better lodged in a genteel part of the town for less money, than it can be lodged, with equal room and equal comforts, in a genteel quarter of Paris; always excepting the inferior distribution of the rooms, and other little advantages, such as the convenience of a porter, &c. all of which are in favour of the latter place.[17] Food of all kinds is much the cheapest with us, bread alone excepted. Wines can be had, as a whole, better and cheaper in New York, if obtained from the wine-merchant, than in any European town we have yet inhabited. Even French wines can be had as cheap as they can be bought here, for the entrance-duty into the country is actually much less than the charges at the gates of Paris. The transportation from Bordeaux or Champagne, or Burgundy, is not, as a whole, essentially less than that to New York, if indeed it be any less. All the minor articles of table luxuries, unless they happen to be of French growth, or French fabrications, are immeasurably cheaper in America than here. Clothes are nominally much cheaper here than with us; but neither the French nor the English use habitually as good clothes as we; nor are the clothes generally as well made. You are not, however, to suppose from this that the Americans are a well-dressed people; on the contrary, we are greatly behind the English in this particular, nor are our men, usually, as well attired as those of Paris. This is a consequence of a want of servants, negligent habits, greediness of gain, which monopolizes so much of our time as to leave little for relaxation, and the high prices of articles, which prevent our making as frequent calls on the tailor, as is the practice here. My clothes have cost me more in Europe, however, than they did at home, for I am compelled to have a greater variety, and to change them oftener.

Our women do not know what high dress is, and consequently they escape many demands on the purse, to which those of Paris are compelled to submit. It would not do, moreover, for a French belle to appear every other night for a whole season in the same robe, and that too looking bedraggled, and as jaded as its pretty wearer. Silks and the commoner articles of female attire are perhaps as cheap in our own shops, as in those of Paris: but when it comes to the multitude of little elegances that ornament the person, the salon, or the boudoir, in this country, they are either wholly unknown in America, or are only to be obtained by paying treble and quadruple the prices at which they may be had here. We absolutely want the caste of shopkeepers as it exists in Europe. By shopkeepers, I mean that humble class of traders who are content with moderate profits, looking forward to little more than a respectable livelihood, and the means of placing their children in situations as comfortable as their own. This is a consequence of the upward tendency of things in a young and vigorous community, in which society has no artificial restrictions, or as few as will at all comport with civilization, and the buoyancy of hope that is its concomitant. The want of the class, notwithstanding, deprives the Americans of many elegancies and some comforts, which would be offered to them at as low rates as they are sold in the countries in which they are made, were it not for the principle of speculative value, which enters into nearly all of our transactions. In Paris the man or woman who sells a duchess an elegant bauble, is half the time content to eat his humble dinner in a small room adjoining his shop, to sleep in an entresol over it, and to limit his profits by his wants. The pressure of society reduces him to this level. With us the thing is reversed, and the consumer is highly taxed, as a necessary result. As we become more familiar with the habits of European life, the demand will gradually reduce the value of these minor articles, and we shall obtain them at the same relative prices, as ordinary silks and shawls are now to be had. At present it must be confessed that our shops make but indifferent figures compared with those of London and Paris. I question if the best of them would pass for more than fourth-rate in London, or for more than third-rate here; though the silk-mercers at home might possibly be an exception to the rule.

The amount of all my experience, on this point, is to convince me, that so long as one is willing to be satisfied with the habits of American life, which include a great abundance, many comforts, and even some few elegancies, that are not known here, such as the general use of carpets, and that of many foreign articles which are excluded from the European markets by the different protective systems, but which, also, do not know a great many embellishments of living that are common all over Europe, he can get along with a good deal less money in New York, than in Paris; certainly, with less, if he mix much with the world.



EXCURSION UP THE RHINE, &c.


LETTER VIII.

Preparations for leaving-Paris.—Travelling arrangements.—Our Route.—The Chateau of Ecouen.—The Croisée.—Senlis.—Peronne.—Cambray.—Arrival at the Frontier.—Change in the National Character.—Mons.—Brussels.—A Fête.—The Picture Gallery.—Probable Partition of Belgium.


Dear ——,

We had been preparing for our summer excursion some time, but were unable to get away from Paris before the 18th of July. Our destination was undetermined, health and pleasure being the objects, though, a portion of our party having never seen Belgium, it was settled to visit that country in the commencement of the journey, let it end where it might The old caleche was repaired for the purpose, fitted with a new rumble to contain Francois and Jetty (the Saxon femme de chambre, hired in Germany), the vache was crammed, sacks stowed, passport signed, and orders were sent for horses. We are a little apt to boast of the facilities for travelling in America, and, certainly, so long as one can keep in the steam-boats or on the rail-roads, and be satisfied with mere velocity, no part of the world can probably compete with us, the distances considered; but we absolutely want the highest order of motion, which, I think, beyond all question, is the mode of travelling post. By this method, your privacy is sacred, you are master of your own hours, going where you please, and stopping when you please; and, as for speed, you can commonly get along at the rate of ten miles in the hour, by paying a trifle in addition, or you can go at half that rate should it better suit your humour. A good servant and a good carriage are indispensable, and both are to be had at very reasonable rates, in this part of the world.

I never felt the advantage of this mode of travelling, and I believe we have now tried nearly all the others, or the advantages of the Parisian plan of living, so strongly as on the present occasion. Up to the last moment, I was undecided by what route to travel. The furniture of the apartment was my own, and it was our intention to return to Paris, to pass the winter. The luggage had been stowed early in the morning, the carriage was in the court ready to hook on, and at ten we sat down quietly to breakfast, as usual, with scarcely a sign of movement about us. Like old campaigners, the baggage had been knowingly reduced to the very minimum admissible, no part of the furniture was deranged, but everything was in order, and you may form some idea of the facilities, when you remember that this was the condition of a family of strangers, that in half an hour was to start on a journey of several months' duration, to go—they knew not whither.

A few minutes before ten, click-clack, click-clack, gave notice of the approach of the post-horses. The porte-cochère opened, and two votaries of the old-fashioned boot enter, each riding one and leading another horse. All this is done quietly, and as a matter of course; the cattle are put before the carriage without a question being asked, and the two liveried roadsters place themselves by the sides of their respective beasts. In the mean time, we had entered the caleche, said adieu to the cook, who was left in charge of the apartment, a trust that might, however, equally well have been confided to the porter, kissed our hands to the family of M. de V——, and the other inmates of the hotel, who crowded the windows to see us off. Up to this moment, I had not decided even by what road to travel! The passport had been taken out for Brussels, and last year, you may recollect, we went to that place by Dieppe, Abbeville, Douay, and Arras. The "Par quelle route, monsieur?" of the postilion that rode the wheel-horse, who stood with a foot in the stirrup, ready to get up, brought me to a conclusion. "A St. Denis!" the question compelling a decision, and all my doubts terminating, as doubts are apt to terminate, by taking the most beaten path.

The day was cool and excessively windy, while the thermometer had stood the previous afternoon but one, at 93°, in the shade. We were compelled to travel with the carriage-windows closed, the weather being almost wintry. As we drove through the streets, the common women cried after us, "They are running away from the cholera;" an accusation that we felt we did not merit, after having stood our ground during the terrible months of April and May. But popular impulses are usually just as undiscriminating as the favouritism of the great: the mistake is in supposing that one is any better than the other.

When we had reached the city where the Kings of France are buried, it was determined to sleep at Senlis, which was only four posts further, the little town that we visited with so much satisfaction in 1827. This deviation from the more direct road led us by Gonesse, and through a district of grain country, that is less monotonous than most of the great roads that lead from Paris. We got a good view of the chateau of Ecouen, looking vast and stately, seated on the side of a distant hill. I do not know into whose hands this princely pile has fallen since the unhappy death of the last of the Condés, but it is to be hoped into those of the young Duc D'Aumale, for I believe he boasts the blood of the Montmorencies, through some intermarriage or other; and if not, he comes, at least, of a line accustomed to dwell in palaces. I do not like to see these historical edifices converted into manufactories, nor am I so much of a modern utilitarian as to believe the poetry of life is without its correcting and useful influences. Your cold, naked utilitarian, holds a sword that bruises as well as cuts; and your sneaking, trading aristocrat, like the pickpocket who runs against you in the crowd before he commits his theft, one that cuts as well as bruises.

We were at Ecouen not long before the death of its last possessor, and visited its wide but untenanted halls with strong interest. The house was first erected by some Montmorency, or other, at or near the time of the crusades, I believe; though it has been much altered since. Still it contains many curious vestiges of the taste of that remote age. The old domestic who showed us through the building was as quaint a relic as anything about the place. He had accompanied the family into exile, and passed many years with them in England. In courtesy, respect, and delicate attention, he would have done credit to the court of Louis XIV; nor was his intelligence unworthy of his breeding. This man, by the way, was the only Frenchman whom I ever knew address an Englishman (or, as in my case, one whom he mistook for an Englishman), by the old appelation of milord. The practice is gone out, so far as my experience extends.

I remember to have learned from this courteous old servant, the origin of the common term croisée, which is as often used in large houses as that of fenêtre. At the period when every man's heart and wishes were bound up in the excitement and enterprise of the crusades, and it was thought that heaven was to be entered sword in hand, the cross was a symbol used as a universal ornament. Thus the aperture for a window was left in the wall, and a stone cross erected in the centre. The several compartments in the casements came from the shape of the cross, and the term croisée from croix. All this is plain enough, and perhaps there are few who do not know it; but gazing at the ornaments of Ecouen, my eyes fell on the doors, where I detected crosses in the most familiar objects. There is scarcely a panelled door, twenty years old, in all America, that does not bear this evidence of the zeal, and, if you will, the superstition of those distant ages! The form of the door is made by the exterior stile; a cross is then built within it, and the open spaces are filled with panels, as, in the case of the window, it is filled with the sash. The exactitude of the form, the antiquity of the practice, its obvious connexion with the common feeling, and the inability to account for the usage in any other way, leave no doubt, in my mind, of its origin, though I do not remember to have ever met with such an account of it, in any author. If this conjecture be true, we Protestants, while fastidiously, not to say foolishly, abstaining from the use of a symbol that prejudice has led us to think peculiarly unsuited to our faith, have been unconsciously living with it constantly before our eyes. But the days of puritan folly and puritan vice (there is nothing more vicious than self-righteousness, and the want of charity it engenders) are numbered, and men are beginning to distinguish between the exaggerations of fanaticism and the meek toleration of pure Christianity. I can safely say that the lowest, the most degraded, and the most vulgar wickedness, both as to tone and deed, and the most disordered imaginations, that it has ever been my evil fortune to witness, or to associate with, was met with at school, among the sons of those pious forefathers, who fancied they were not only saints themselves, but that they also were to be the progenitors of long lines of saints. It is a melancholy truth, that a gentleman-like training does more for the suppression of those abominations than all the dogmas that the pilgrims have imported into the country.

We reached Senlis in time for dinner, and while the repast was getting ready, we strolled through the place, in order to revive the sensations with which we had visited it five years before. But, alas! these are joys, which, like those of youth are not renewable at pleasure. I could hardly persuade myself it was the same town. The walls, that I had then fancied lined with the men-at-arms of the Charleses of France, and the English Henries and Edwards, had now lost all their peculiarities, appearing mean and common-place; and as to the gate, from which we had almost heard the trumpets of the heralds, and the haughty answer to a bold summons of surrender, we absolutely had difficulty in persuading ourselves that we had found it at all. Half Europe had been roamed over since the time when, fresh from America, we made the former visit, predisposed to gaze with enthusiasm at every relic of a former age and a different state of society.

If we were disagreeably disappointed in the antiquities of the town, we were as agreeably disappointed in the inn. It was clean, gave us a good dinner, and, as almost invariably proves to be the case in France, also gave us good beds. I do not remember ever to have been more fatigued than by the five posts between Paris and this place. The uneven pavés, the random and careless driving of the postillions, with whom it is a point of honour to gallop over the broken streets of the villages, besides having a strong fellow-feeling for the smiths, always makes the eight or ten posts nearest to Paris, much the most disagreeable part of a journey to or from the French capital.

We dined at six, exhausted the curiosities of Senlis, and went to bed by daylight!

The next morning was fresh and bland, and I walked ahead of the carriage. A wood-cutter was going to the forests to make faggots, and we fell into discourse. This man assured me that he should get only ten sous for his day's work! The view of the principal church-tower of Senlis as beautiful, and, in a slight degree, it carried the mind back to the fifteenth century.

You have travelled to and from Paris with me so often, that I can only add we found the same fatiguing monotony, on this occasion, as on all the others. We reached Peronne early, and ordered beds. Before dinner we strolled around the ramparts, which are pleasant of themselves though the place stands in a marsh, which renders its position not only strong, but strongly disagreeable. We endeavoured in vain to find some features to revive the pictures of "Quentin Durward." There was no sign of a soldier in the place, though barracks were building. The French are evidently less jealous of this frontier, than of that on the east, or the one next the Austrians.

The next morning we breakfasted at Cambray. Here we found a garrison, and considerable activity. The citadel is well placed, and the esplanade is a pretty walk. We visited the cathedral, which contains a monument to Fenelon, by our friend David. We were much gratified by this work, which ranks among his best. Near Valenciennes we broke a tire, and were detained two hours. Here the garrison was still stronger, the place in better condition, and the troops mounted guard with their marching accoutrements about them; all of which, I presume, was owing to the fact, that this is the last fortified town on the road. We did not get to the frontier until seven, and the French postilions broke another bolt before we got fairly rid of them, compelling us to wait an hour to have it mended. We were now in a low wet country, or one perfectly congenial to cholera; it was just the hour when the little demons of miasma are said to be the most active, and to complete the matter, we learned that the disease was in the village. The carriage-windows were closed, while I walked about, from door to door, to pacify uneasiness by curiosity. Use, however, had made us all tolerably indifferent, and little P—— settled the matter by remarking it was nothing after all, for here only two or three died daily, while at Paris there had been a thousand! Older heads than his, often take material facts more in a lump than this.

The change in the national character is so evident, immediately on crossing into Belgium, as to occasion surprise. The region was, at no remote period, all Flanders. The same language is still spoken, the same religion professed in both countries, and yet a certain secret moral influence appears to have extended itself from the capital of each country, until they have met on the frontier, where both have been arrested within their proper geographical limits. We had come into this village on a gallop, driven with the lighthearted étourderie of French vanity, and we left it gravely, under the guidance of postilions who philosophically smoked, as their cattle trotted along like elephants.

It was quite late when we reached Mons, where we found a good house, of unexceptionable neatness: of course we were in no haste to quit it the next day. The distance to Brussels was so short that we took it leisurely, reaching the Hôtel de l'Europe at three. It was a fête, on account of the anniversary of the arrival of Leopold, who had now reigned just a twelvemonth. He passed our window, while we were still at table, on his way to the theatre. The royal cortege was not very brilliant, consisting of four carriages, each drawn by two horses, which, by the way, are quite enough for any coachman to manage, in descending the formidable hill that leads from the great square.

You have now been with me three times, in Brussels, and I shall not go over the old ground again. We revisited some of the more prominent places of interest, and went to a few others that were neglected on former occasions. Among the rest we took a look at the public picture-gallery, which greatly disappointed us. The Flemish school naturally awakened our expectations, but a fine Gerard Douw and a few other old paintings were all that struck us, and as a whole, we gave a preference to the paintings of the present day.

The King appears to be personally popular, even those who have no faith in the duration of the present order of things, and who politically are his opponents, speaking well of him. The town has but few strangers, though the presence of a court renders it a little more gay than it was last year. The aspect of everything is gloomy, for the country may be again engaged in a war of existence, in a week. Many still think the affair will end in a partition; France, Prussia, and Holland getting the principal shares. I make no doubt that everybody will profit more by the change than they who brought it about.


LETTER IX.

Malines.—Its Collection of Pictures.—Antwerp.—The Cathedral.—A Flemish Quack.—Flemish Names.—The Picture Gallery at Antwerp.—Mr. Wapper's Carvings in Wood.—Mr. Van Lankeren's Pictures.—The Boulevards at Brussels.—Royal Abodes.—Palace of the Prince of Orange.—Prince Auguste d'Ahremberg's Gallery of Pictures.—English Ridicule of America.


Dear ——,

After a consultation with François, I sent the carriage to get a set of entirely new wheels, Brussels being a coach-making town, and taking a voiture de remise, we drove down to Antwerp. While the horses rested, we looked at the pictures in Malines. The "Miraculous Draught of Fishes" is thought by many to be the chef-d'oeuvre of Rubens, but, after conceding it a hardy conception and magnificent colouring, I think one finds too much of the coarse mannerism of the artist, even for such a subject. The most curious part of the study of the different schools is to observe how much all have been influenced by external objects, and how completely conventional, after all, the beau idéal of an artist necessarily becomes. It would be impossible, for one who knew the several countries, to mistake the works of Murillo, Rubens, or Raphael, for the works of artists of different schools, and this without reference to their peculiar manners, but simply as Flemings, Spaniards, and Italians. Rubens, however, is, I think, a little apt to out-Dutch the Dutch. He appears to me to have delighted in the coarse, while Raphael revelled in the pretty. But Raphael could and often did step out of himself and rise to the grand; and then he was perfect, because his grandeur was chastened.

We reached Antwerp some time before dinner. The situation of the town was singular, the Dutch holding the citadel; the place, which was peopled by their enemies, as a matter of course, lying quite at their mercy. The road from Brussels is partly commanded by them, and we saw their flag rising out of the low mounds—for in Flanders the art of fortifying consists in burrowing as deep as possible—as we approached the town. Several Dutch gun-boats were in the river, off the town, and, in the reaches of the Scheldt below, we got glimpses of divers frigates and corvettes, riding at anchor. As an offset to the works of their enemies, the Belgians had made a sort of entrenched camp, by enclosing the docks with temporary ramparts, the defences of the town aiding them, in part, in effecting their object.

One of our first visits was to the cathedral. This beautiful edifice had escaped without material damage from the recent conflicts, though the garrison of the citadel have thrown a few shots at its tower, most probably with a view to drive curious eyes out of it, the great height enabling one to get a complete bird's-eye view of what is going on within their walls. The celebrated Rubenses were cased in massive timber to render them bomb-proof, and, of course, were invisible.

Processions of peasants were passing from church to church, the whole day, to implore succour against the cholera, which, by the way, and contrary to all rule for a low and moist country, is said to be very light here. The Flemings have the reputation of being among the most bigoted Catholics, and the most ignorant population of Europe. This accounts, in some measure, for the existence of the latter quality among the first inhabitants of New York, most of whom were from Flanders, rather than from Holland. I have found many of our names in Antwerp, but scarcely one in Holland. The language at home, too, is much nearer the Flemish than the Dutch; though it is to be presumed that there must have been some colonists from Holland, in a province belonging to that nation. I listened to-day to a fellow vending quack medicines and vilely printed legends, to a song which, tune and all, I am quite sure to have heard in Albany, when a schoolboy. The undeviating character and habits of the people, too, appear to be very much like those which existed among ourselves, before the influx of eastern emigration swallowed up everything even to the suppan. I remember to have heard this same quack singing this same song, in the very same place in June, 1828, when we first visited Antwerp. The effect was exceedingly ludicrous, for it seemed to me, that the fellow had been occupying the same spot, employed in the same pursuits, for the last five years, although the country had been revolutionized. This is also a little characteristic, for some of our own Communipaws are said to believe we are still the property of the United Provinces.

The Flemish language has many words that are French in the spelling, but which have entirely different meanings, representing totally different things or ideas. De is one. In French this word, pronounced der, without dwelling on the last letter, is a preposition generally meaning "of." Before a name, without being incorporated with it, it is an invariable sign of nobility, being even frequently affixed, like the German von, to the family name, on attaining that rank. In Flemish it is an article, and is pronounced precisely as a Dutchman is apt to pronounced the, meaning the same. Thus De Witt, means the White, or White; the Flemings using the article to express things or qualities in the abstract, like the French. Myn Heer De Witt is just the same as Monsieur le Blanc, or Monsieur Du Bois, in French; one of which means Monsieur White, and the other Monsieur Wood. So nearly does this language resemble the English, that I have repeatedly comprehended whole sentences, in passing through the streets. Now in New York, we used to think the Dutch had become corrupted by the English, but I fancy that the corruption has been just the other way.

We had made the acquaintance of a Flemish artist of extraordinary merit, at Paris; and this gentleman (Mr. Wappers) kindly called this morning to take us to see the gallery. The collection is not particularly large, nor is it rich in cabinet pictures, being chiefly composed of altar-pieces taken from churches. The works are principally those of Rubens, Vandyke, and a few of the older masters. The Vandykes, I think, are the best. On the whole, it struck me there were more curious than pleasing pictures in this gallery, although they are all valuable as belonging to a school. The study of the "Descent from the Cross" is among them, and it gave me more pleasure than anything else. Vandyke certainly rose in our estimation, after this close comparison with his great rival: he is altogether more human than Rubens, who is a sort of Dutch giant in the art; out of the natural proportions, and always a giant.

Mr. Wappers permitted us to see his own painting-room. He is of the school of the great Flemish masters, and, I think, quite at the head of his profession, in many of its leading points. It was curious to trace in the works of this young artist the effects of having Rubens and Vandyke constantly before him, corrected by the suggestions of his own genius. His style is something between the two; broader and bolder than Vandyke, and less robust than Rubens.

We went the round of the churches, for, if Italy be the land of marbles, Belgium is, or rather has been, the very paradise of those who carved in wood. I have seen more delicate and highly-finished works of this sort, in a small way, in other countries; as in the high reliefs of Santa Maria della Salute, at Venice; but nowhere else is so much attempted, or, indeed, so much achieved in this branch of art, as here. Many of the churches are quite surrounded by oak confessionals that are highly and allegorically ornamented; though, in general, the pulpits contain the most elaborate designs, and the greatest efforts of this curious work. One at Brussels has the Conversion of St. Paul, horse, rider and all, larger than life. The whole is well wrought, even to the expression. But the best specimens of carving in wood that I remember, were a few figures over the door of an hospital that we saw in 1828, though I now forget whether it was at Gorcum or at Breda. One often sees statuary of great pretension and a wide-spread reputation, that is wanting in the nature, simplicity, and repose of these figures.

We went to see a collection of pictures owned by Mr. Van Lankeren. It is a very fine gallery, but there are few paintings by very great artists. A Van der Heyden (an old New York name, by the way), surpassed anything I know, in its atmosphere. Poussin, and our own artist Cole, excel in this high merit, but this picture of Van der Heyden has a cold, gray transparency that seems actually to have transferred a Dutch atmosphere to the canvass.

We returned to Brussels in time to dine. At Malines I stood with admiration beneath the great tower, which possesses a rare majesty. Had it been completed according to the original plan, I believe it would have been the highest church-tower in Europe. In the evening we had a call from Mr. and Mrs. ——, and made an appointment to visit the palace of the Prince of Orange in the morning.

I was up betimes next day, and took a walk round the park, and on the upper boulevards. The injuries done in the fight have been, in some measure, repaired, but the place was deserted and melancholy. The houses line one side of the boulevards, the other being open to the fields, which are highly cultivated and unenclosed. This practice of cutting off a town like a cheese-paring is very common on the continent of Europe, and the effect is odd to those who are accustomed to straggling suburbs, as in America and England.

At ten we went to the palace, according to appointment. The royal abodes at Brussels are very plain edifices, being nothing more than long unbroken buildings, with very few external ornaments. This of the Prince of Orange stands in the park, near that of the King, and is a simple parallelogram with two gates. The principal apartments are in the same form, being an entire suite that are entered on one side and left on the other. There is great good taste and elegance in the disposition of the rooms. A few are rich, especially the salle de bal, which is really magnificent. The place was kept just as it had been left by its last occupants, Leopold, with good taste, not to say good feeling, religiously respecting their rights. A pair of gloves belonging to the princess were shown us, precisely on the spot where she had left them; and her shawls and toys were lying carelessly about, as if her return were momentarily expected. This is true royal courtesy, which takes thrones without remorse, while it respects the baubles.

This palace had many good pictures, and among others a Raphael. There was a Paul Potter or two, and a couple of pictures, in the same stile, as pendants, by a living artist of the name of Verboeckhoven, whose works sustained the comparison wonderfully well.

We were shown the window at which the robber entered who stole the jewels of the princess; an event that has given room to the enemies of the house of Nassau to torture into an accusation of low guilt against her husband.[18] I have never met a gentleman here, who appeared to think the accusation worthy of any credit, or who treated it as more than the gossip of underlings, exaggerated by the agents of the press.

From the palace of the Prince of Orange we went to the house of Prince Auguste d'Ahremberg, to see his collection. This is one of the best private galleries in Europe, though not particularly large. It is rich in the works of Teniers,[19] Woovermans, Both, Cuyp, Potter, Rembrandt, and the other masters of the country. Among others is a first-rate Gerard Douw (another New York name).

I passed the evening at the house of an English gentleman, where the master of the last-named gallery was one of the company. A guest, a Sir ----, amused me by the peculiarly British manner in which he conveyed a few remarks on America. Speaking of a countrywoman of ours, who had lately been at Brussels, he said that she called standing up to dance, "taking the floor," and he was curious to know if it were a usual form of expression with us. I had to tell him, we said a horse "took the track," in racing, and as this lady came from a racing region, she might have used it, con amore, especially in the gallopade. Capt. ——, of the navy, once called out to the ladies of a quadrille to "shove off," when he thought the music had got the start of them; and it is lucky that this Sir —— did not hear him, or he would have set it down at once as an Americanism. These people are constantly on the hunt for something peculiar and ridiculous in Americans, and make no allowance for difference in station, provincialisms, or traits of character. Heaven knows that we are not so very original as to be thus ruthlessly robbed of any little individuality we may happen to possess.


LETTER X.

School System in America.—American Maps.—Leave Brussels.—Louvain.—Quarantine.—Liége.—The Soleil d'Or.—King Leopold and Brother.—Royal Intermarriages.—Environs of Liége.—The Cathedral and the Church of St. Jacques.—Ceremonies of Catholic Worship.—Churches of Europe.—Taverns of America.—Prayer in the Fields.—Scott's error as regards the Language spoken in Liége.—Women of Liége.—Illumination in honour of the King.


Dear ——,

In the morning the Director-General of Public Instruction called to obtain some information on the subject of the common school system in America. I was a little surprised at this application, the Finance controversy having quite thrown me into the shade at the Tuileries, and this court being just now so dependent on that of France. You will smile at this opinion, but even facts are subject to such circumstances, and great men submit to very little influences occasionally.[20] The old ground of explaining the power of the States had to be gone over, and the affair was disposed of by agreeing that written querries should be sent to Paris. I had a similar application from a French functionary not long since. A digest of the facts, as they are connected with the State of New York, was accordingly prepared, and handed to the Minister of Public Instruction. This gentleman rose in debate with the document in his hand, and got on well enough until he came to the number of children in the schools (near half a million), which appeared to him to be so much out of proportion to whole numbers (a little exceeding two millions) that, without hesitation, he reduced them on his own responsibility one half! As a proof that no more was meant than to keep within reasonable bounds, he immediately added, "or all there are." Now this is a fair specimen of the manner in which America is judged, her system explained, and her facts curtailed. In Europe everything must be reduced to a European standard, to be even received. Had we been Calmucks or Kurds, any marvel might go down; but being deemed merely deteriorated Europeans, tanned to ebony, our facts are kept closely within the current notions. Such a disproportion between adults and minors being unknown in this hemisphere, it was at once set down as an American exaggeration, to pretend to have them in the other. What were our official returns to a European prejudice!

Not long since an artist of reputation came to me, in Paris, with a view to get a few hints for a map of the Hudson, that had been ordered as an illustration of one of our books. He was shown all the maps in my possession, some of which were recent and sufficiently minute. I observed some distrust in his manner, and in the end, he suggested that an old French map of the Canadas, that he had in his pocket, might possibly be more accurate than those which had just been received from America. The map was produced, and, as might have been expected, was utterly worthless; but an intimation to that effect was not well received, as the artist had not been accustomed to consider the Americans as map-makers. At length I was compelled to show him Poughkeepsie laid down on his map directly opposite to Albany, and to assure him gravely that I had myself travelled many a time in a north and south direction, from sunrise to sunset, in order to go from one of these places to the other, and that they were eighty miles asunder!

We left Brussels at noon, and reached Louvain at three. Though not taken so completely by surprise as we were last year, the town-house still gave us great pleasure. They were at work repairing it, and the fresh stones gave it a mottled look, but, on the whole, it is one of the most extraordinary edifices I know. It is a sort of condensation of quaintness, that is quite without a rival even in this land of laboured and curious architecture. The little pavilion of the Prince of Orange, that lies on the road, was still deserted and respected. I dare say his fishing-rods and fowling-pieces are intact, while his inheritance is shorn of half its glory.

There was a quarantine before entering the Prussian states on account of the cholera, and having understood that we should gain in time after quitting Brussels, beyond which the malady has not yet extended, we went no farther than Thirlemont, where we passed the night. The place is insignificant, and the great square was chiefly occupied by "awkward squads" of the new levies, who were drilling as fast as they could, in readiness for the Dutch. The Belgians have reached Protocol No. 67, and they begin to think it is most time now to have something more substantial. They will find King William of the true "hard-kopping" breed.

The next morning we posted down to Liége in time to take a late breakfast. The road from Brussels to this place has run through a fertile and well-cultivated country, but the scene changed like magic, as soon as we got a glimpse of the valley of the Meuse. Liége has beautiful environs, and the town is now the seat of industry. Coal-pits abound in the immediate vicinity, and iron is wrought in a hundred places. As we drove through the antique and striking court of the venerable episcopal palace, and emerged on the great square, we found the place alive with people, and our arrival at the Soleil d'Or produced a sensation that seemed inexplicable. Landlord, laquais, populace and all, ran to greet us, and people were hurrying to the spot in every direction. There was nothing to be done but to wait the result patiently, and I soon saw by the cold looks of the servants, and the shrug of François, who had jumped down to order rooms, that there was mutual disappointment. Everybody turned their backs upon us, and there we sat in the shadow of neglect, after having momentarily shone in the sunshine of universal observation. It had been merely ascertained that we were not the King of the Belgians and his brother the Grand Duke of Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha. The Soleil d'Or, which like other suns, is most apt to shine on the great, veiled its face from us, and we were compelled to quit the great square, and to seek more humble lodgings. These were soon obtained at the Black Eagle, a clean and good house.

I went to the police immediately with my passport, and found that one of our five days of quarantine had been comfortably gotten rid of at Thirlemont.

These quarantines are foolish things, and quite easily evaded. You have been told the manner in which, last year, instead of spending five times twenty-four hours in a hut, shut up with a Russian Princess, I drove into the court of our own hotel in Paris on the evening of the fifth day, and M——, you will remember, merely turned the flanks of a sentinel or two, by walking a mile in the fields. We were advised, on this occasion, to have our passport viséd at Brussels, the moment we arrived, and the intermediate time would have counted on the frontier, but being in no haste, we preferred proceeding regularly.

The next day the town filled rapidly, and about noon the cannon announced the entrance of the King. A worse salute was never fired; but his Majesty is greeted with smiling faces, which is, probably more to his liking. He is certainly a prudent and respectable man, if not a great one; and just now very popular. I met him and his brother in the streets, the day after their arrival: they were in an open carriage and pair, with two boys, the sons of the Duke, on the front seat. Leopold has a grave and thoughtful face, and is far from being as well-looking as his brother, who is a large comely man; not unlike the Duke Bernard of Saxe-Weimar, so well known in America. All the princes of the Saxon duchies that I have seen, are large, well-formed men, while those of Saxe Royal, as the kingdom is called, are the reverse. A diplomatic man, here, once remarked to me, that this rule held good as to most of the protestant and catholic princes, throughout Europe, the close intermarriages of the latter in his opinion, affecting the stock. The imagination has had something to do with this notion, for there are certainly many exceptions on both sides, if, indeed, it be a rule at all. I think, there is little doubt that the habits of the mind, mode of living, and climate, contribute essentially to vary the physiognomy; but I cannot subscribe fully to the influence of these intermarriages, which, by the way, are nearly, if not quite, as circumscribed among the Protestants as among the Catholics. The portion of Europe that is governed by princes, is divided among forty-four different states,[21] of whom twenty-eight are Protestant, one a Greek, one a Mahomedan, and the rest are Catholics. These forty-four sovereigns claim to be descended from nineteen different roots: thus, the direct male descendants of Hugh Capet occupy the thrones of France, Spain, Naples, Lucca, and Portugal; the latter being derived from an illegitimate son of a Duke of Burgundy, before the accession of the Bourbon branch. The houses of Austria, Baden, Tuscany, and Modena, are derived from a Duke of Alsace, who flourished in the seventh century. I was mistaken in a former letter, in saying that the family of Lorraine is different from that of Habsbourg, for it is said to be derived in the male line equally from this Prince of Alsace. The Hohenzollerns are on the throne of Prussia, and possess the two little principalities of that name; while the Emperor of Russia is merely a Prince of Holstein. These families have been intermarrying for a thousand years, and it is not possible that they should have entirely escaped some personal peculiarities; still, as a whole, they are quite as fine physical specimens of humanity, as the average of their subjects. The Princes of Russia are singularly fine men; the house of Denmark well-looking; the Saxons, the royal branch excepted, more than usually so; the house of Wurtemburg very like the English family; the Bourbons, as a family, are a fine race; the Austrians peculiar, and less comely, though the women are often quite handsome; Don Miguel is a little beauty, very mild and gentleman-like in his appearance, though Lady ——, who sat next him at dinner, on a certain occasion, assured me she saw nothing but blood and rapine in his countenance! Her father, Lord ——, one of the ablest men of his time, and one familiar with high political events, gravely assured me he gave implicit credence to the tales we have heard of the outrages committed by this prince, and which, if true, render him a fit subject for the gallows. But I have seen so much of the exaggeration of factions, that incredulity, perhaps, has got to be a fault with me. I longed to tell Lord —— what I had heard, in England, under his very nose, of himself! Among other absurdities, I had, shortly before this very conversation, heard a respectable Englishman affirm that such was the morgue aristocratique of this nobleman, that he compelled his wife and daughters to walk backwards, in quitting his presence, as is done at court! This was said of a man, whom I found to be of more simple, off-hand, unpretending, gentleman-like deportment, whose demeanour had more of the nice tact which neither offends by superciliousness, nor wounds by condescension, than that of any other man of rank in England. To return to our subject;—the Austrian face is, certainly, getting to be prevalent among the southern catholic families, for all of them are closely allied to the house of Habsbourg by blood, but I do not see any more in the physique of the Saxon Dukes than the good old Saxon stamina, nor aught in the peculiar appearance of the royal branch but an accident.

Three or four days of leisure have enabled us to look very thoroughly at the exterior of Liége, which is certainly an interesting town, with lovely environs. There are some very good old houses along the banks of the river, and a few of the churches are noble edifices. The cathedral and the church of St. Jaques, in particular, are venerable and interesting structures; and I stood beneath their lofty arches, listening to the chants of the choir, and inhaling the odours of the incense, with a satisfaction that never tires. I sometimes wish I had been educated a Catholic, in order to unite the poetry of religion with its higher principles. Are they necessarily inseparable? Is man really so much of a philosopher, that he can conceive of truth in its abstract purity, and divest life and the affections of all the aids of the imagination? If they who strip the worship of God of its factious grace, earnestly presented themselves in the garb of moral humility, rendering their familiar professions conformable to their general tenets, and stood before us as destitute of self-esteem as they are of ornament, one might not so much feel the nakedness of their rites; but, as a rule, the less graceful the forms and the more intense the spirituality of the minister of the altar become, the higher is his tone of denunciation and the more palpable his self-righteousness. In point of fact, when the proper spirit prevails, forms, of themselves, become of little account; and when men begin to deem them otherwise, it is proof rather of the want, than of the excess, of the humility and charity which are the inseparable companions of faith. I do not say that I would imitate all the unmeaning and irreverent practices of the Romish church; and least of all could one wish to see the devout and solemn manner of the Protestant ministering at the altar supplanted by the unintelligible mumblings of the Latin breviaries: but why have we denounced the holy symbol of the cross, the ornaments of the temple, the graceful attire, and the aid of music? It is impossible, I think, for the American, who has visited Europe, not to feel the want of edifices reared in honour of God, which everywhere exists in his own country. I do not mean churches, in which the comfort and convenience of the pew-holders have been mainly consulted, for these pious speculations abound; but temples to mark a sense of the superiority of the Deity, and which have been reared in his honour. It may be easy enough to account for the absence of such buildings, in a country so peopled and still so young, but this does not make the deficiency the less obvious.

In this hemisphere, scarcely a village is approached, that the high roof and towers of a church do not form its nucleus, the temple appearing to spread its protection over the humbler abodes of men. The domes, the pointed and lofty arches, and the Gothic tracery of cathedrals, soar above the walls of cities, and everywhere man is congregated, he appears to seek shelter under the wide-spreading wings of the church. It is no argument to say that true religion may exist without these edifices, for infidelity may also exist without them, and if it be right or useful to honour God at all, in this manner, it is a right and a usefulness to which we have not yet attained. The loftiest roofs of an American town are, invariably, its taverns; and, let metaphysics get over the matter as it may, I shall contend that such a thing is, at least, unseemly to the eye. With us it is not Gog and Magog, but grog or no grog; we are either a tame plane of roofs, or a pyramid in honour of brandy and mint-juleps. When it comes to the worship of God, each man appears to wish a nut-shell to contain himself and his own shades of opinion; but when there is question of eating and drinking, the tent of Pari Banou would not be large enough to hold us. I prefer large churches and small taverns.

There are one or two usages, especially, of the Romish church, that are not only beautiful, but which must be useful and salutary. One is the practice of leaving the church open at all hours, for the purposes of prayer. I have seldom entered one of these vaulted, vast, and appropriate Houses of God, without finding fewer or more devotees kneeling at the different altars. Another usage is that of periodical prayer, in the fields, or wherever the peasants may happen to be employed, as in the angelus, &c. I remember, with pleasure, the effect produced by the bell of the village church, as it sent its warning voice, on such occasions, across the plains, and over the hills, while we were dwellers in French or Italian hamlets. Of all these touching embellishments of life, America, and I had almost said, Protestantism, is naked; and in most cases, I think it will be found, on inquiry, naked without sufficient reason.

The population of Liége is still chiefly Catholic, I believe, although the reign of the ecclesiastics has ceased. They speak an impure French, which is the language of the whole region along this frontier. Scott, whose vivid pictures carried with them an impress of truth that misled his readers, being by no means a man of either general or accurate attainment, out of the immediate circle of his peculiar knowledge, which was Scottish traditions, has represented the people of Liége, in Quentin Durward, as speaking Flemish; an error of which they make loud complaints, it being a point on which they are a little sensitive. A poet may take great licences, and it is hypercriticism to lay stress on these minor points when truth is not the aim; but this is a blunder that might, as well as not, have been spared, and probably would have been, had the author given himself the trouble to inquire into the fact. But for the complaints of the Liégeois, the error would not have been very generally known, however; certainly, not by me, had I not visited the place.

The women of Liége appear to labour even more than usual for this part of Europe. They are employed in field-labour, everywhere; but in the towns, more attention is paid to the great distinctions between the employments of the sexes. Here, however, I saw them toiling in the coal-yards, and performing the offices of the common porters. They were much employed in unloading the market-boats, and yet they are far from being either coarse or ugly. The men are short, but sturdy. The average stature appears to be about five feet five and a half inches, but even this, I think, exceeds the average stature of the French.

The town has been illuminated two nights in succession, in honour of the King. Every one is occupied with his approaching marriage with the Princess Louisa of France, or as it is now the fashion to say, the Princess Louisa of Orleans—for since the revolution of 1830, there is no longer a King, nor any Children of France. It would have been better had more essential points been attended to and the old names retained. In England matters are differently managed, for there the government is always one of King, Lords, and Commons, though it is constantly fluctuating, and two of the parties are usually cyphers.


LETTER XI.

Leave Liége.—Banks of the Mense.—Spa.—Beautiful Promenades.—Robinson Crusoe.—The Duke of Saxe-Cobourg.—Former magnificence of Spa.—Excursions in the vicinity.—Departure from Spa.—Aix-la-Chapelle.—The Cathedral.—The Postmaster's Compliments.—Berghem.—German Enthusiasm.—Arrival at Cologne.


Dear ——,

On the fourth day of our quarantine, we left Liége, if not with clean bills of health, with passport bearing proof about it that would enable us to enter Prussia the next morning. The King and his brother having laid all the horses in requisition, we did not get away before two; but once on the road, our postilions drove like men who had reaped a double harvest.

The route lay for some distance along the banks of the Meuse, and the whole region was one of exquisite landscape beauties. An intensely dark verdure—a road that meandered through the valley, occasionally shifting from bank to bank—hill-sides covered with fruit-trees and fragrant with flowers—country-houses—hamlets—cottages—with every appearance of abundance and comfort, and back-grounds of swelling land, that promised equal beauty and equal affluence, were the principal features of the scene. The day was as fine as possible, and, everything bearing a leaf having just been refreshed with a recent shower, we glided through this fairy region with something like enthusiasm with which we had formerly journeyed in Switzerland and Italy.

The Meuse, however, was soon abandoned for a tributary, and, after proceeding a few leagues, the character of the country gradually changed, although it still continued peculiar and beautiful. The intensity of the verdure disappeared in a pale, but still a decided green—the forest thickened—the habitations no longer crowded the way-side, and we appeared to be entering a district, that was altogether less populous and affluent than the one we had left, but which was always neat, picturesque, and having an air of comfort. We were gradually, but almost imperceptibly ascending.

This lasted for four hours, when, reaching a country-house, the road turned suddenly at a right angle, and ran for near a mile through an avenue of trees, bounded by open meadows. At the termination of this avenue we dashed into the streets of a small, well-built, neat, and compact village, that contained about one hundred and fifty dwellings, besides three or four edifices of rather more than usual pretensions. This was the celebrated Spa, a watering-place whose reputation was once co-extensive with civilization.

We drove to an inn, where we dined, but finding it crowded and uncomfortable. I went out and hired a furnished house by the day, putting our own servants, with an assistant, in possession of the kitchen. Next morning, perceiving that I had been too hasty, and that our lodgings were too confined, I discharged them and took a better. We got a dining-room, two drawing-rooms, several bed-rooms, with offices, etc., all neat and well-furnished, for a Napoleon a day. I mention these things as they serve to show you the facilities a traveller enjoys in this part of the world. Nearly every house in Spa is to be had in this manner, fitted for the reception of guests, the proprietor occupying a small building adjoining, and usually keeping a shop, where wine and groceries may be had. Servants can be engaged at any moment, and one is thus enabled to set up his own ménage at an hour's notice. This mode is more economical for a large family, than living at an hotel, vastly more comfortable, and more respectable. Dinners can be had from the taverns, if desired. François being something of a cook, with the aid of the Spa assistant, we lived entirely within ourselves. You will remember that in hiring the house by the day, I reserved the right to quit it at any moment.

Spa, like most other places that possess chalybeate waters, stands in the centre of a country that can boast but little of its fertility. Still, time and cultivation have left it the character of pale verdure of which I have just spoken, and which serves for a time to please by its novelty. The hue looked neither withered nor sickly, but it was rather that of young grasses. It was a ghostly green. The eye wanders over a considerable extent of naked fields, when one is on the steep wooded hills, under whose very brows the village is built, and I scarcely can recall a spot where a stronger impression of interminable vastness is left, than I felt while gazing at the illimitable swells of land that stretch away towards France. The country is said to be in the mountains of the Ardennes, and once there was the forest through which the "Boar of Ardennes" was wont to roam; but of forest there is now none; and if there be a mountain, Spa must stand on its boundless summit. High and broken hills do certainly appear, but, as a whole, it is merely an upland region.

The glory of Spa has departed! Time was when the idle, the gay and the dissolute crowded to this retired village to intrigue and play, under the pretence of drinking the waters; when its halls were thronged with princes and nobles, and even monarchs frequented its fêtes and partook of its festivities. The industrious inhabitants even now spare no pains to render the abode pleasant, but the capricious taste of the age lures the traveller to other springs, where still pleasanter haunts invite their presence. Germany abounds with watering-places, which are usually rendered agreeable by a judicious disposition of walks, and by other similar temptations. In nothing are the money-grasping and shiftless habits of America rendered more apparent, than in the inferiority of her places of public resort. In all these particulars nature has done a good deal for some of them, but nowhere has man done anything worth naming.

A trifling expenditure has rendered the rude hill which, covered chiefly with evergreens, overlooks Spa, a succession of beautiful promenades. Serpentine walks are led through its thickets, agreeable surprises are prepared for the stranger, and all the better points of view are ornamented by seats and summer-houses. One of these places was covered by a permanent protection against the weather that had a name which amused us, though it was appropriate enough, so far as the shape went. It was called a "mushroom," it being, in fact, a sort of wooden umbrella, not unlike those which the French market-women spread over their heads in the streets of Paris, and which, more sentimental and imaginative, they term a "Robinson" in honour of Robinson Crusoe.[22] This mushroom was the scene of a remarkable occurrence, that it will scarcely do to relate, but which, taking all together, furnishes a ludicrous sample of national manners, to say nothing of miracles.

The waters and the air together proved to be so much a tonic, that we determined to pass a week at Spa, A——, who was so weak on leaving Paris, as scarcely to be able to enter the carriage, gaining strength in a way to delight us all. The cholera and the quarantine together induce a good many people to come this way, and though few remain as long as ourselves, the constant arrivals serve to keep attention alive. Among others, the Duke of Saxe-Cobourg passed a night here, on his way home. He appeared in the public room, for a few minutes; but so few were assembled, that he retired, it was said, disappointed. There is still some playing in public, and occasionally the inhabitants of Verviers, an affluent manufacturing town, near the Prussian frontier, come over in sufficient numbers to make a tolerably brilliant evening. These meetings take place in the Redoute, a building of moderate dimensions, erected in the heart of the place according to a very general German custom; Wauxhall, the ancient scene of revelry, standing aloof in the fields, deserted and desolate, as does a rival edifice of more recent existence. The dimensions and style of these structures give one an idea of the former gaiety and magnificence of Spa, though the only use that either is now put to, is to furnish a room for a protestant clergyman to preach in, Sundays.

As health, after all, is the greatest boon of life, we loitered at Spa a fortnight, endeavouring to while away the time in the best way we could. Short as was our stay, and transient as were the visits, we remained long enough to see that it was an epitome of life. Some intrigued, some played, and some passed the time at prayer. I witnessed trouble in one ménage, saw a parson drunk, and heard much pious discourse from a captain in the navy!

We got little Ardennes horses, which were constantly parading the streets, led by countrymen in blouses, to tempt us to mount, and took short excursions in the vicinity. Sometimes we made what is called the tour of the springs; of which there are several, each differing from the others in its medicinal properties, and only one of which is in the village itself, the rest being a mile or more distant. At other times, we lounged in the shops, admiring and purchasing the beautiful boxes and ornaments that are known as Spa work, and which are merely the wood of the hills, coloured by being deposited for a time in the spring, and then painted and varnished highly. Similar work is made in other places, but nowhere else as beautifully as here.

At length ennui got the better of the good air and the invigorating water, and I sent for my passport and the horses. François, by this time, was tired of cooking, and he carried the orders for both right joyfully, while my bourgeois received his Napoleons with many handsome expressions of regret, that I dare say were truer than common. In the mean time we hurried about with our cards of P.P.C.; bidding adieu to some, without the slightest expectation of ever meeting them again, and promising others to renew the acquaintance on the Rhine, or among the Alps, as events might decide. At half-past eleven all was ready, and shaking hands with two countrymen who came to see us off, we took our places, and dashed away from our ménage of a fortnight's duration, as unceremoniously as we had stepped into it.

The dog-star raged with all its fury, as we drove through the close and pent-up valleys that lie between Spa and Verviers. At the latter place we began to ascend, until finally we reached a broad and naked height, that overlooked a wide reach of country towards the east. This was the region that lies around the ancient capital of Charlemagne, and is now a part of what M. de Pradt has described "as a façade thrown before Europe," or the modern and disjointed kingdom of Prussia. We reached the frontier on the height of land, where, everything proving to be en règle, we met with no obstruction or delay.

While crossing the swell of land just mentioned, the wind changed with a suddenness that we are apt to think American, but which occurs more frequently in this hemisphere, or rather in this part of it, than in our own. The peculiarity of the American climate is its exaggeration rather than its fickleness; its passages from extreme heat to extreme cold, more than the frequency of its lesser transitions. One never thinks of an umbrella in America, with a cloudless sky; whereas, during the spring months in particular, there is no security against rain an hour at a time, near the western coast of Europe, more especially north of the Bay of Biscay. On the present occasion, we passed in a few minutes from the oven to the ice-house, and were travelling with cloaks about us, and closed windows, long before we reached Aix-la-Chapelle, at which ancient town we arrived about six. Unlike Spa, where we had the choice among a hundred furnished houses, Aix was so crowded that we got narrow lodgings, with great difficulty, in a second-rate hotel.

As a matter of course, although it was going over old ground with most of us, we could do no less than look at the sights. The environs of Aix, though exceedingly pretty, and well ornamented by country-houses, are less beautiful than those of Liege. Although Charlemagne has been buried near a thousand years, and there is no longer an Emperor of Germany, or a King of the Romans, Aix-la-Chapelle is still a town of more than 30,000 inhabitants. It is a crowded and not a particularly neat place, though material improvements are making, and we have been more pleased with it this year than we were last. The town-house is a very ancient structure, one of its towers being supposed to have been built by the Romans, and it is celebrated as having been the place of meeting of two European congresses; that of 1748, and that of our own times. It has a gallery of portraits of the different ambassadors, a big-wigged if a not big-witted set.

The cathedral, though imperfect, is a noble and a curious monument: the choir is modern, that is to say, of Gothic workmanship, and only five hundred years old, while the main body is an antique rotunda, that dates more than twice as far back, or as remotely as the reign of Charlemagne himself. There is a circular gallery in it, around which the thrones of the Emperor and Electors were formerly placed, at the ceremonies of coronations. Each of these thrones was flanked by small antique columns, brought from Rome, but which during the reign of Napoleon, in the spirit of monopoly and desecration[23] that marked the era, had been transferred to Paris, where some of them are still seen standing in the gallery of the Tuileries. A chair that was found in Charlemagne's tomb stands in this gallery, and was long used as a throne for the Emperors.

The cathedral is said to be rich in relics, and, among other things, it has some of the manna from the desert, and a bit of Aaron's rod! It has a window or two, in a retired chapel, which have a few panes of exquisitely painted glass that are much more precious than either.

At noon I sent my passport to the post-house for horses, and, in return, I had a visit from the postmaster in compliment to the republic of letters. We said a few flattering things to each other, much to the amusement of A——, when we took our departure.

The country, after quitting the valley of Aix,[24] became flat and monotonous, and it was in the midst of a vast level district that we found the town of Juliers, the capital of the ancient duchy, buried behind grassy ramparts, that were scarcely visible until we were actually passing them. It is a tame and insignificant place, at present. At Berghem, a post or two further, I had another visit from the postmaster and his clerk, who made no scruple in asking me if I was the man who wrote books! We talk a great deal of our national intelligence in America, and certainly with truth, when we compare ourselves with these people in many important particulars; but blocks are not colder, or can have less real reverence for letters, arts, or indeed cultivation of any kind, than the great bulk of the American people. There are a few among us who pretend to work themselves up into enthusiasm as respects the first, more especially if they can get a foreign name to idolize; but it is apparent, at a glance, that it is not enthusiasm of the pure water. For this, Germany is the land of sensations, whether music, poetry, arms, or the more material arts be their object. As for myself, I can boast of little in this way, beyond the homage of my two postmasters, which perhaps was more than properly fell to my share; but I shall never forget the feeling displayed by a young German, at Dresden, whom chance threw in my way. We had lodgings in a house directly opposite the one inhabited by Tieck, the celebrated novelist and dramatist. Having no proper means of introduction to this gentleman, and unwilling to obtrude myself anywhere, I never made his acquaintance, but it was impossible not to know, in so small a town, where so great a celebrity lived. Next door to us was a Swiss confectioner, with whom I occasionally took an ice. One day a young man entered for a similar purpose, and left the room with myself. At the door he inquired if I could tell him in which of the neighbouring hotels M. Tieck resided, I showed him the house and paused a moment to watch his manner, which was entirely free from pretension, but which preserved an indescribable expression of reverence. "Was it possible to get a glimpse of the person of M. Tieck?" "I feared not; some one had told me that he was gone to a watering-place." "Could I tell him which was the window of his room?" This I was able to do, as he had been pointed out to me at it a few days before. I left him gazing at the window, and it was near an hour before this quiet exhibition of heartfelt homage ceased by the departure of the young man. In my own case, I half suspect that my two postmasters expected to see a man of less European countenance than the one I happen to travel with.

It was near sunset when we reached the margin of the upper terrace, where we began to descend to the level of the borders of the Rhine. Here we had a view of the towers of Cologne, and of the broad plain that environs its walls. It was getting to be dark as we drove through the winding entrance, among bastions and half-moons, and across bridges, up to the gates of the place, which we reached just in season to be admitted without the extra formalities.


LETTER XII.


The Cathedral of Cologne.—The eleven thousand Virgins.—The Skulls Of the Magi—House in which Rubens was born.—Want of Cleanliness in Cologne.—Journey resumed.—The Drachenfels.—Romantic Legend.—A Convent converted into an Inn.—Its Solitude.—A Night in it.—A Storm.—A Nocturnal Adventure.—Grim Figures.—An Apparition.—The Mystery dissolved.—Palace of the Kings of Australia.—Banks of the Rhine.—Coblentz.—Floating Bridges.—Departure from Coblentz.—Castle of the Ritterstein.—Visit to it.—Its Furniture,—The Ritter Saal—Tower of the Castle.—Anachronisms.


Dear ——,

I do not know by what dignitary of the ancient electorate the hotel in which we lodged was erected, but it was a spacious building, with fine lofty rooms and a respectable garden. As the language of a country is influenced by its habits, and in America everything is so much reduced to the standard of the useful that little of the graceful has yet been produced, it may be well to remind you that this word "garden," signifies pleasure-grounds in Europe. It way even be questioned if the garden of Eden was merely a potager.

After breakfasting we began to deliberate as to our future movements. Here we were at Cologne, in Prussia, with the wide world before us, uncertain whither to proceed. It was soon decided, however, that a first duty was to look again at the unfinished cathedral, that wonder of Gothic architecture; to make a pilgrimage to the house in which Rubens was born; to pay a visit to the eleven thousand virgins, and to buy some Cologne water: after which it would be time enough to determine where we should sleep.

The first visit was to the bones. These relics are let into the walls of the church that contains them, and are visible through a sort of pigeon-holes which are glazed. There is one chapel in particular, that is altogether decorated with the bones arranged in this manner, the effect being very much like that of an apothecary's shop. Some of the virgins are honoured with hollow wooden or silver busts, lids in the tops of which being opened, the true skull is seen within. These relics are not as formidable, therefore, as one would be apt to infer the bones of eleven thousand virgins might be, the grinning portion of the skulls being uniformly veiled for propriety's sake. I thought it a miracle in itself to behold the bones of all these virgins, but, as if they were insufficient, the cicerone very coolly pointed out to us the jar that had held the water which was converted into wine by the Saviour at the marriage of Cana! It was Asiatic in form, and may have held both water and wine in its day.

The cathedral is an extraordinary structure. Five hundred years have gone by, and there it is less than half finished. One of the towers is not forty feet high, while the other may be two hundred. The crane, which is renewed from time to time, though a stone has not been raised in years, is on the latter. The choir, or rather the end chapel that usually stands in rear of the choir, is perfect, and a most beautiful thing it is. The long narrow windows, that are near a hundred feet in height, are exquisitely painted, creating the peculiar cathedral atmosphere, that ingenious invention of some poet to render solemn architecture imaginative and glorious. We could not dispense with looking at the skulls of the Magi, which are kept in an exceedingly rich reliquary or shrine. They are all three crowned, as well as being masked like the virgins. There is much jewellery, though the crowns had a strong glow of tinsel about them, instead of the mild lustre of the true things. Rubens, as you know, was of gentle birth, and the house in which he was born is just such a habitation as you would suppose might have been inhabited by a better sort of burgher. It is said that Mary of Medicis, the wife of Henry IV, died in this building, and tradition, which is usually a little ambitious of effect, has it that she died in the very room in which Rubens was born. The building is now a public-house.

I do not know that there is a necessary connection between foul smells and Cologne water, but this place is the dirtiest and most offensive we have yet seen, or rather smelt, in Europe. It would really seem that people wish to drive their visitors into the purchase of their great antidote. Disagreeable as it was, we continued to flaner through the streets until near noon, visiting, among other things, the floating bridge, where we once more enjoyed the sight of the blue waters of the Rhine glancing beneath our feet.

Like true flaneurs, we permitted chance to direct our steps, and at twelve, tired with foul smells and heat, we entered the carriage, threaded the half-moons, abbatis and grassy mounds again, and issued into the pure air of the unfenced fields, on the broad plain that stretches for miles towards the east, or in the direction of Bonn. The day was sultry, and we fully enjoyed the transition. In this part of Germany the postilions are no laggards, and we trotted merrily across the wide plain, reaching Bonn long before it was time to refresh ourselves. The horses were changed, and we proceeded immediately. As we left the town I thought the students, who were gasping at the windows of their lodgings, envied us the pleasure of motion Having so lately accompanied me over this road; I shall merely touch upon such points as were omitted before, and keep you acquainted with our movements.

The afternoon was lovely, when, passing the conical and castle-crowned steep of Godisberg, we approached the hills, where the road for the first time runs on the immediate borders of the stream. Opposite to us were the Seven mountains, topped by the ruins of the Drachenfels, crag and masonry wearing the appearance of having mouldered together under the slow action of centuries; and, a little in advance, the castle of Rolandseck peered above the wooded rocks on our own side of the river. Two low islands divided the stream, and on one of them stood the capacious buildings of a convent. Every one at all familiar with the traditions of the Rhine, has heard the story of the crusader, who, returning from the wars, found his betrothed a nun in this asylum. It would seem that lies were as rife before the art of printing had been pressed into their service, or newspapers known, as they are to-day, for she had been taught to think him dead or inconstant; it was much the same to her. The castle which overlooked the island was built for his abode, and here the legend is prudently silent. Although one is not bound to believe all he hears; we are all charmed with the images which such tales create, especially when, as in this case, they are aided by visible and tangible objects in the shape of good stone walls. As we trotted along under the brow of the mountain that upholds the ruins of the castle of Charlemagne's nephew, my eye rested musingly on the silent pile of the convent. "That convent," I called out to the postilion, "is still inhabited?" "Ja, mein Herr, es ist ein gasthaus." An inn!—the thing was soon explained. The convent, a community of Benedictines, had been suppressed some fifteen or twenty years, and the buildings had been converted into one of your sentimental taverns. With the closest scrutiny I could not detect a soul near the spot, for junketing in a ruin is my special aversion. A hamlet stood on the bank at no great distance above the island; the postilion grinned when I asked if it would be possible to get horses to this place in the morning, for it saved him a trot all the way to Oberwinter. He promised to send word in the course of the night to the relay above, and the whole affair was arranged in live minutes. The carriage was housed and left under the care of François on the main land, a night sack thrown into a skiff, and in ten minutes we were afloat on the Rhine. Our little bark whirled about in the eddies, and soon touched the upper point of the island.

We found convent, gasthaus, and sentiment, without any pre-occupants. There was not a soul on the island, but the innkeeper, his wife, a child, a cook, a crone who did all sorts of work, and three Prussian soldiers, who were billeted on the house, part of a detachment that we had seen scattered along the road, all the way from Bonn. I do not know which were the most gladdened by the meeting, ourselves or the good people of the place; we at finding anything like retirement in Europe, and they at seeing anything like guests. The man regretted that we had come so late, for a large party had just left him; and we felicitated ourselves that we had not come any sooner, for precisely the same reason. As soon as he comprehended our tastes, he very frankly admitted that every room in the convent was empty. "There is no one, but these, on the island. Not a living being, herr graf" for these people have made a count of me, whether or not. Here then were near two hundred acres, environed by the Rhine, prettily disposed in wood and meadow, absolutely at our mercy. You can readily imagine, with what avidity a party of young Parisiennes profited by their liberty, while I proceeded forthwith to inspect the ladder, and then to inspect the cloisters. Sooth to say, sentiment had a good deal to do with two of the courses of a dinner at Nonnenswerth, for so is the island called. The buildings were spacious, and far from mean; and it was a pleasant thing to promenade in cloisters that had so lately been trodden by holy nuns, and see your dinner preparing in a convent kitchen. I could do no less than open a bottle of "Liebfraumilch" in such a place, but it proved to be a near neighbour to bonny-clabber.

As the evening closed we took possession of our rooms. Our parlour had been that of the lady abbess, and A—— had her bed-chamber. These were spacious rooms and well furnished. The girls were put into the cells, where girls ought never to be put. Jetty had another near them, and, these dispositions made, I sallied forth alone, in quest of a sensation.

The intense heat of the day had engendered a gust. The thunder was muttering among the "seven mountains," and occasionally a flash of lightning illumined the pitchy darkness of the night. I walked out into the grounds, where the wind was fiercely howling through the trees. A new flash illumined the hills, and I distinctly saw the naked rock of the Drachenfels, with the broken tower tottering on the half-ruined crag, looked fearful and supernatural. By watching a minute, another flash exposed Rolandseck, looking down upon me with melancholy solicitude. Big drops began to patter on the leaves, and, still bent on sensations, I entered the buildings.

The cloisters were gloomy, but I looked into the vast, smoked, and cavern-like kitchen, where the household were consuming the fragments of our dinner. A light shone from the door of a low cell, in a remote corner of the cloisters, and I stole silently to it, secretly hoping it would prove to be a supernatural glimmering above some grave. The three Prussians were eating their cheese-parings and bread, by the light of a tallow candle, seated on a stone floor. It was short work to squeeze all the poetry out of this group.

The storm thickened, and I mounted to the gallery, or the corridor above the cloisters, which communicated with our own rooms. Here I paced back and forth, a moment, in obscurity, until, by means of a flash, I discovered a door, at one extremity of the passage. Bent on adventure, I pushed and it opened. As there were only moments when anything could be seen, I proceeded in utter darkness, using great caution not to fall through a trap. Had it been my happy fortune to be a foundling, who had got his reading and writing "by nature," I should have expected to return from the adventure a Herzog,[25] at least, if not an Erz-Herzog[26] Perhaps, by some inexplicable miracle of romance, I might have come forth the lawful issue of Roland and the nun!

As it was, I looked for no more than sensations, of which the hour promised to be fruitful. I had not been a minute in the unknown region, before I found that, if it were not the abode of troubled spirits, it at least was worthy to be so. You will remember that I am not now dealing in fiction, but truth, and that, unlike those who "read when they sing, and sing when they read," I endeavour to be imaginative in poetry and literal in my facts. I am now dealing strictly with the latter, which I expect will greatly enhance the interest of this adventure.

After taking half-a-dozen steps with extreme caution, I paused a moment, for the whole air appeared to be filled by a clatter, as if ten thousand bats' wings were striking against glass. This was evidently within the convent, while, without, the wind howled even louder than ever. My hand rested on something, I knew not what. At first I did not even know whether I was in the open air, or not, for I felt the wind, saw large spaces of dim light, and yet could distinguish that something like a vault impended over my head. Presently a vivid flash of lightning removed all doubt. It flickered, seemed extinguished, and flared up again, in a way to let me get some distinct ideas of the locus in quo. I had clearly blundered into the convent chapel; not upon its pavement, which was on a level with the cloisters below, but into an open gallery, that communicated with the apartments of the nuns, and my hand was on the chair of the lady abbess, the only one that remained. The dim light came from the high arched windows, and the bats' wings were small broken panes rattling in the gale. But I was not alone. By the transient light I saw several grim figures, some kneeling, others with outstretched arms, bloody and seared, and one appeared to be in the confessional. At the sight of these infernal spectres, for they came and went with the successive flashes of the lightning, by a droll chain of ideas, I caught myself shouting, rather than singing—"Ship ahoy! ship ahoy!—what cheer, what cheer?" in a voice loud as the winds. At last, here was a sensation! Half-a-dozen flashes rendered me familiar with the diabolical-looking forms, and as I now knew where to look for them, even their grim countenances were getting to be familiar. At this moment, when I was about to address them in prose, the door by which I had entered the gallery opened slowly, and the withered face of an old woman appeared in a flash. The thunder came next, and the face vanished—"Ship ahoy! ship ahoy!—what cheer, what cheer?" There was another pause—the door once more opened, and the face re-appeared. I gave a deep and loud groan; if you ask me why, I can only say, because it seemed to be wanting to the general effect of the scene and place. The door slammed, the face vanished, and I was alone again with the demons. By this time the gust was over I groped my way out of the gallery, stole through the corridor into my own room, and went to bed. I ought to have had exciting dreams, especially after the Liebfraumilch, but, contrary to all rule, I slept like a postilion in a cock-loft, or a midshipman in the middle watch.

The next morning at breakfast, A—— had a melancholy tale to relate; how the poor old crone, who has already been mentioned, had been frightened by the gust—how she stole to the chapel to mutter a prayer—how she opened the door of the gallery—how she heard strange sounds, and particularly certain groans—how she had dropped the candle—how the door had blown to, and she, miserable woman, had stolen to the bed of her (A——'s) maid, whom she had implored to give her shelter and protection for the night! We went in a body to look at the chapel, after breakfast, and it was admitted all round, that it was well suited to produce a sensation, in a thunder-storm, of a dark night, and that it was no wonder Jetty's bed-fellow had been frightened. But now everything was calm and peaceful. The glass hung in fragments about the leaden sashes; the chair and prière-dieu of the lady abbess had altogether an innocent and comfortable air, and the images, of which there were several, as horrible as a bungling workman and a bloody imagination could produce, though of a suffering appearance, were really insensible to pain. While we were making this reconnoissance a bugle sounded on the main, and looking out, we saw the Oberwinter postilion coming round the nearest bend in the river. On this hint, we took our leave of the island, not forgetting to apply a little of the universal salve to the bruised spirit of the old woman whose dread of thunder had caused her to pass so comfortless a night.

The day was before us, and we went leisurely up the stream, determined to profit by events. The old castles crowned every height, as you know, and as we had the carriage filled with maps and books, we enjoyed every foot of this remarkable road. At Andernach we stopped to examine the ruins of the palace of the Kings of Austrasia, of whom you have heard before. The remains are considerable, and some parts of the walls would still admit of being restored. The palace has outlasted not only the kingdom, but almost its history. This edifice was partly built of a reddish freestone, very like that which is so much used in New York, a material that abounds on the Rhine.

Between Andernach and Coblentz the road passes over a broad plain, at some little distance from the river, though the latter is usually in sight. It may give you some idea of its breadth, if I tell you that as we approached Neuwied, it became a disputed point in the carriage, whether the stream flowed between us and the town, or not. Still the Rhine is a mighty river, and even imposing, when one contemplates its steady flow, and remembers its great length. It is particularly low at present, and is less beautiful than last year, the colours of the water being more common-place than usual.

It was still early, though we had loitered a good deal by the way, to study views and examine ruins, when we drew near the fort-environed town of Coblentz. The bridge across the Moselle was soon passed, and we again found ourselves in this important station. The territory opposite the city belongs to the duchy of Nassau, but enough has been ceded to the King of Prussia to enable him to erect the celebrated Ehrenbreitstein, which is one of the strongest forts in the world, occupying the summit of a rocky height, whose base is washed by the Rhine, and whose outworks are pushed to all the neighbouring eminences. The position of Coblentz, at the junction of the Rhine and the Moselle, the latter of which penetrates into the ancient electorate of Treves, now belonging to Prussia, may render it an important station to that power, but it does not strike me as military. The enemy that can seize any one of its numerous outworks, or forts, must essentially command the place. As at Genoa, it seems to me that too much has been attempted to succeed.

Last night we had a convent that was a parallelogram of six hundred feet by three hundred, all to ourselves; while this night we were crowded into a small and uncomfortable inn that was overflowing with people. The house was noisy and echoish, and not inappropriately called the "Three Swiss."

We crossed the river by the bridge of boats, and ascended the opposite hill to enjoy the view. There was another island up the stream, with a ruined convent, but unhappily it was not an inn. The Rhine is a frontier for much of its course, washing the shores of France, Darmstadt, Bavaria, Baden, Nassau, Prussia, &c., &c., for a long distance, and permanent bridges are avoided in most places. The floating bridges, being constructed of platforms laid on boats, that are united by clamps, can be taken apart, and withdrawn, to either shore, in an hour or two.

We quitted Coblentz at ten, and now began in truth to enter the fine scenery of the Rhine. The mountains, or rather hills, for they scarcely deserve the former name, close upon the river, a short distance below the town, and from that moment, with very immaterial exceptions, the road follows the windings of the stream, keeping generally within a few yards of the water. The departures from this rule are not more than sufficient to break the monotony of a perfectly uniform scene. I have nothing new to tell you of the ruined castles—the villages and towns that crowd the narrow strand—the even and well-kept roads—the vine-covered hills—and the beautiful sinuosities of this great artery of Europe. To write any thing new or interesting of this well-beaten path, one must linger days among the ruins, explore the valleys, and dive into the local traditions. We enjoyed the passage, as a matter of course, but it was little varied, until we drew near the frontier of Prussia, when a castle, that stood beetling on a crag, immediately above the road, caught my eye. The building, unlike most of its sister edifices, appeared to be in good order; smoke actually arose from a beacon-grate that thrust itself out from an advanced tower, which was nearly in a perpendicular line above us, and the glazed windows and other appliances denoted a perfect and actual residence. As usual, the postilion was questioned. I understood him to say that the place was called the Ritterstein, but the name is of little moment. It was a castle of the middle ages, a real hold of the Rhine, which had been purchased by a brother of the King of Prussia, who is now the governor of the Rhenish provinces. This prince had caused the building to be restored, rigidly adhering to the ancient style of architecture, and to be furnished according to the usages of the middle ages, and baronial comfort; what was more, if the prince were not in his hold, as probably would prove not to be the case, strangers were permitted to visit it! Here was an unexpected pleasure, and we hastened to alight, admiring the governor of Rhenish provinces, his taste, and his liberality, with all our hearts.

If you remember the satisfaction with which we visited the little hunting-tower of the poor Prince de Condé in 1827, a building whose chief merit was its outward form and the fact that it had been built by the Queen Blanche, you can form some notion of the zeal with which we toiled up the steep ascent, on the present occasion. The path was good, tasteful, and sinuous; but the buildings stood on crags that were almost perpendicular on three of their sides, and at an elevation of near, or perhaps quite, two hundred feet above the road.

We were greeted, on reaching the gate, not by a warder, but by the growl and bark of a ferocious mastiff, who would have been more in keeping at his post near a henroost, than at the portal of a princely castle. One "half-groom, half-seneschal," and who was withal a little drunk, however, soon came forth to receive us, and, after an exhortation to the dog in a Dutch that was not quite as sonorous as the growl of the animal, he very civilly offered to do the honours of the place.

We entered by a small drawbridge, but the buildings stand so near the brow of an impending rock, as to induce me to think this bridge has been made for effect, rather than to renew the original design. A good deal of the old wall remains, especially in the towers, which are mostly round, and all that has been done with the exterior, has been to fill the gaps, and to re-attach the balconies and the external staircases, which are of iron. I can no more give you a clear idea of the irregular form of this edifice with the pen, than you would obtain of the intricate tracery of Gothic architecture, having never seen a Gothic edifice, or studied a treatise on the style, by the same means. You will understand the difficulty when you are told that this castle is built on crags, whose broken summits are its foundations, and give it its form. The court is narrow and inconvenient, carriages never approaching it, but several pretty little terraces in front answer most of the purposes of courts, and command lovely glimpses of the Rhine, in both directions. These terraces, like the towers and walls, were placed just where there was room, and the total absence of regularity forms one of the charms of the place.

In the interior, the ancient arrangement has been studiously respected. The furniture is more than imitation, for we were told that much of it had been taken from the royal collections of Berlin. By royal, you are not to suppose, however, that there are any attempts at royal state, but merely that the old castles of the barons and counts, whose diminutive territories have contributed to rear the modern state of Prussia, have been ransacked for this end.

The Ritter Saal, or Knight's Hall, though not large, is a curious room; indeed it is the only one in the entire edifice that can be called a good room, at all. The fire-place is huge,—so much so, that I walked into it with ease, and altogether in the ancient style. There is a good deal of curious armour hung up in this room, and it has many other quaint and rare objects. The chandelier was a circle formed by uniting buck's horns, which were fitted with lamps. There was almost too much good taste about this for feudal times, and I suspect it of being one of our modern embellishments; a material picture of the past, like a poem by Scott. There may have been some anachronisms in the furniture, but we all use furniture of different ages, when we are not reduced to the fidgety condition of mere gentility.

In one corner of the Bitter Saal there stood an ancient vessel to hold water, and beneath it was a porcelain trough to catch the drippings. The water was obtained by turning a cock. The chairs, tables, settees, &c. were all of oak. The coverings of the chairs, i. e. backs and bottoms, were richly embroidered in golden thread, the work of different royal personages. The designs were armorial bearings.

All the stairs were quaint and remarkable, and, in one instance, we encircled the exterior of a tower, by one of them, at a giddy elevation of near three hundred feet above the river, the tower itself being placed on the uttermost verge of the precipice. From this tower the grate of the beacon thrust itself forward, and as it still smoked, I inquired the reason. We were told that the wad of a small piece of artillery, that had been fired as a signal to the steam-boat, had lodged in the grate, where it was still burning. The signal had been given to enable the Prince and his family to embark, for they had not left the place an hour when we arrived. Tempora mutantur since the inhabitants of such a hold can go from Bingen to Coblentz to dine in a steamer.

We saw the bed-rooms. The Prince slept on an inner camp bedstead, but the ladies occupied bunks let into the walls, as in the olden time. The rooms were small, the Bitter Saal excepted, and low, though there were a good many of them. One or two were a little too much modernized, perhaps, though, on the whole, the keeping was surprisingly good. A severe critic might possibly have objected to a few anachronisms in this romaunt, but this in a fault that Prince Frederic shares in common with Shakspeare and Sir Walter Scott.

I cannot recall a more delightful hour than that we passed in examining this curiosity, which was like handling and feeding, and playing with a living cameleopard, after having seen a dozen that were stuffed.


In reference to the controversy touching the expenses of the American Government alluded to in page 37, of this volume, the following particulars may not be uninteresting.

Early in the day, the party who conducted the controversy for the other side began to make frequent allusions to certain Americans—"plusieurs honorables Américains" was the favourite expression—who, he alleged, had furnished him with information that went to corroborate the truth of his positions, and, as a matter of course, to invalidate the truth of ours. Secret information reached me, also, that a part, at least, of our own legation was busy for the other side. At one period, M. Perier, the Premier of France, publicly cited the name of the minister, himself, at the tribune, as having given an opinion against those who conducted the controversy on the side of the American system, and in favour of our opponents. I understand Mr. Rives declares that M. Perier had no authority either for using his name, or for attributing such sentiments to him; although the statement, as yet, stands uncontradicted before the world. You will probably be startled, when I tell you, that this is the third instance, within a few months, in which the public agents of America have been openly quoted as giving evidence against the action of the American system. The two other cases occurred in the British parliament, and, in one of them, as in this of Mr. Rives, the agent was quoted by name! It is not in my power to say whether these gentlemen have or have not been wrongfully quoted; but all cannot be right, when they are quoted at all. Figure to yourself, for a moment, what would be the effect of a member of congress quoting the minister of a foreign government, at Washington, as giving an opinion against a material feature of the polity he represented, and the disclaimers and discussions, not to say quarrels, that would succeed. How is it, that the representatives of exclusion are so much more faithful to the interests of their principals, than the representatives of liberal institutions?

Some will tell you that the condition of Europe is critical; that our own relations with certain countries are delicate, and that it is expedient to temporize. In the first place, judging from my own observations, I do not believe there is any of the much-talked-of temporizing spirit about all this compliance, but that in most of the cases in which the agents of the government disown the distinguishing principles of the institutions (and these cases have got to be so numerous as to attract general attention, and to become the subject of sneering newspaper comments) it is "out of the fulness of the heart that the mouth speaketh." But, allowing that the first position is true, and that these gentlemen actually acquiesce for the sake of quiet, and with a view to advance what they conceive to be the interests of America, I shall maintain that the course is to the last degree impolitic and unworthy. Our motto is to "ask nothing but what is right, and to submit to nothing that is wrong." Apart from the sound morality of this sentiment, the wisdom of Solomon could not better express the true policy of a nation situated like our own. It can hardly be pretended, that the "right" for which we ask ought to be purchased at the disgraceful price of abandoning the truth. This would be truly bargaining away a better right for another of less value. These gentlemen of expedients may beat their brains as much as they please, they will never invent any means so simple, and so sure of attaining the great ends included in the political maxim just quoted, as by adhering to the plain, direct dictates of common honesty. Each trifling temporary advantage they may gain, will certainly and speedily be met by some contingent disadvantage, that will render them losers by the exchange.[27]

To return to France and the controversy on finance, our opponents had at length the indiscretion to publish a document that they said had been furnished them by some of their "honorables Américains" and by which they attempted to prove some one of their various positions; for by this time they had taken a great many, scarcely any two of which agreed. I have no doubt that this document, in the present instance, did come from "Americans," though it originally came from Captain Basil Hall. This gentleman had appended to his travels, a table, which purported to contain an arranged statement of the cost of the state governments. You will form some idea of the value of this table, as a political and statistical document, by an exposure of one or two of its more prominent errors. Taking, for instance, our own state; the receipts from the property of the state, such as its canal, common school, literature, and other funds, necessarily passing through the treasury, the sum total is made to figure against us, as the annual charge of government; which, by these means, is swelled to five times the real amount. Every one knows that the receipts of the canals alone, the moment that the conditions of the loans effected to construct them shall admit of their application, will be more than sufficient to meet the entire charges of the state government twice over; but, by this mystified statement, we are made to appear the poorer for every dollar of properly we possess! And yet this is the nature of the evidence that some of our people furnished to the writers on the French side of this question; a side that, by their own showing, was the side of monarchy?

But this is not all. A citizen has been found willing, under his own name, to espouse the argument of the French writers. Of the validity of the statements presented by this gentleman (Mr. Leavitt Harris, of New Jersey), or of the force of his reasoning, I shall say nothing here, for his letter and our answers will sufficiently speak for themselves. The administration party, however, have thought the statements of Mr. Harris of sufficient importance to be published in a separate number of their literary organ, La Revue Britannique, and to dwell upon it in all their political organs, as the production of an American who has been intrusted by his government with high diplomatic missions, and who, consequently, is better authority than an unhonoured citizen like myself, who have no claims to attention beyond those I can assemble in my argument.[28] The odds, as you will perceive, are greatly against me; for, in these countries, the public know little of the details of government, and it gives a high sanction to testimony of this nature to be able to say it comes from one, who is, or has been, connected with an administration. Standing as I do, therefore, contradicted by the alleged opinion (true or false) of Mr. Rives, and by this statement of Mr. Harris, you will readily conceive that my situation here is not of the most pleasant nature. Unsalaried and untrusted by my own Government, opposed, in appearance at least, by its agents, I am thrown, for the vindication of truth, completely on my own resources, so far as any American succour has been furnished; and am reduced to the narrow consolation of making this simple record of the facts, which, possibly, at some future day, may answer the purpose of an humble protest in favour of the right.

This controversy has, at least, served to remove the mask from this Government, on the subject of its disposition towards America and her institutions. To that pretended feeling I have never been even momentarily a dupe; but, failing of arguments—for no talents or ingenuity, after all, can make the wrong the right—most of the writers on the other side of the question have endeavoured to enliven their logic with abuse. I do not remember anything, in the palmy days of the Quarterly Review, that more completely descended to low and childish vituperation than some of the recent attacks on America. Much of what has been written is unmitigated fraud, that has been meant to produce an impression on the public mind, careless of any other object than the end; but much also, I think, has really been imagined to be true, while it is, in fact, the offspring of the prejudices that studied misrepresentation has so deeply implanted in the opinions of Europe. As we are not immaculate, of course, a greater portion of their charges is true than one could wish. Some of the allegations are so absurd, that it may amuse you to hear them. The French consider the Sabbath as a day of recreation, and after going to mass (a duty, by the way, that few besides women discharge in Paris), the rest of the time is devoted to dancing and other amusements. With a view to act on the rooted opinions of the nation, on this subject, the American practice of running a chain across the street in front of the churches, to prevent the rattling of the carriages from disturbing the worship (a practice, by the way, that is quite as much European as it is American, and which has never even been very general among us), has been so represented as to induce the French to believe that our streets are in chains, and that even walking, or using a horse, or any vehicle of a Sunday, is a prohibited thing. In addition to a variety of similar absurdities, we are boldly charged with most of the grosser vices, and, in some instances, intimations have been given that our moral condition is the natural consequence of our descent from convicted felons!

To the American, who is a little prone to pride himself on being derived from a stock of peculiar moral purity, this imputation on his origin sounds extraordinary, and is apt to excite indignation. I dare say you are not prepared to learn, that it was a common, perhaps the prevalent opinion of Europe, that our states were settled by convicts. That this, until very lately, was the prevalent opinion of Europe, I entertain no doubt, though I think the few last years have produced some change in this respect; more of the popular attention most probably having been attracted to us, within this period, than during the two centuries that preceded it. You will smile to hear, that the common works of fiction have been the material agents in producing the change; information that has been introduced through the medium of amusement, making its way where the graver labours of the historian have never been able to penetrate. Courier, the cleverest political writer France has produced, perhaps in any age, and a staunch republican, says, it would be quite as unjust to reproach the modern Romans with being descended from ravishers and robbers, as it is to reproach the Americans with being descended from convicts. He wishes to remove the stigma from his political brethren, but the idea of denying the imputation does not appear to have entered his mind. Jefferson, also, alludes to the subject in some of his letters, apparently, in answer to a philosophical inquiry from one of his friends. He estimates the whole number of persons transported to the American colonies, under sentence from the courts, at about two thousand; and, taking into consideration their habits, he was of opinion, half a century ago, that their descendants did not probably exceed the original stock. I do not know where Mr. Jefferson obtained his data for this estimate, but he did not show his ordinary acuteness in ascribing the reason why the convicts left few or no issue. Women were by far too much in request in America, during the first century or two of its political existence, to admit of the probability of men so openly stamped with infamy from obtaining wives, and I think there existed a physical inability for the propagation of the stock, since very few women were transported at any time. Within the last few months, two instances have occurred in the Chamber of Deputies, of members quoting the example of America, in enforcing their arguments in favour of the possibility of forming respectable communities by the transportation of criminals!

I had no intention of quoting any part of the controversy on finance, but, on reflection, it may serve a good purpose to give one or two extracts from the letter of Mr. Harris. In order that this may be done fairly, both as it respects the point at issue and the parties concerned, it will be necessary to make a brief preliminary explanation. M. Sauliner, the principal writer of the other side, had made it a charge against our system, that nearly all the public money was derived from the customs, which he assumed was a bad mode of obtaining revenue. Let this be as it might, my answer, was, that, as between France and America, there was no essential variance of system, the only difference lying in the fact that the one got all the revenue it could in this manner, and that the other got all it wanted. I added, a tax on exports excepted, that all the usual means of raising revenue known to other nations were available, at need, to the government of the United-States. To this latter opinion Mr. Harris took exceptions, saying, in effect, that the administration of Mr. Adams, the father, had been broken down by resorting to excises, stamp-acts, and direct taxation; and that since his unfortunate experiment, no administration in America had dreamed, even in time of war, of resorting to a mode of obtaining revenue which was so offensive as to produce the revolution of 1776! Of course Mr. Harris was reminded, that the stamp-act, of which the colonists complained, was repealed many years before the epoch of 1776; that the revolution proceeded from a denial of the right in parliament to tax the colonies at all, and not from any particular imposition; and that excises and a stamp-act had all been resorted to, in the war of 1812, without overturning the administration of Mr. Madison, or weakening that of his successor. But of what avail was a statement of this kind, in opposition to the allegations of one who appeared before Europe in the character of an American diplomate? Mr. Harris enjoyed the double advantage of giving his testimony as one in the confidence of both the French and the American governments—an advantage that a quotation from the statute-books themselves could not overcome.

Mr. Harris disposed of one knotty point in this controversy with so much ingenuity, that it deserves to be more generally known. Our adversaries had brought the accusation of luxury against the American government, inasmuch as it was said to furnish both a town and a country palace for the President—a degree of magnificence little suspected in France. This point was not treated as a matter of any importance by us, though General Lafayette had slightly and playfully alluded to it, once or twice. The words of Mr. Harris shall speak for themselves: "Le Général Lafayette paraît surtout avoir été frappé de l'erreur dans laquelle est tombé l'auteur de la Revue, à l'égard de la belle maison de campagne dont il a doté la présidence; et c'est peut-être là ce qui l'a porté à faire appel à M. le Général Bernard et à M. Cooper."

"L'erreur de l'auteur de la Revue, au sujet de la maison de campagne du président, est de très peu d'importance. Personne ne sait mieux que le Général Lafayette que la résidence affectée par la nation à son president, dans le District de Columbia, est située de manière à jouir des avantages de la ville et de la campagne."

Here you perceive the intellectual finesse with which we have had to contend. We are charged with the undue luxury of supporting a town and country house for a public functionary; and, disproving the fact, our opponents turn upon us, with a pernicious subtlety, and show, to such a condensing point has the effeminate spirit reached among us, that we have compressed the essence of two such establishments into one! Mr. Harris might have carried out his argument, and shown also that to such a pass of self-indulgence have we reached, that Washington itself is so "situated as to enjoy the advantages of both town and country!"

I have reason to think Mr. Harris gained a great advantage over us by this tour de logique. I had, however, a little better luck with another paragraph of his letter. In pages 22 and 23 of this important document, is the following; the state alluded to being Pennsylvania, and the money mentioned the cost of the canals; which Mr. Harris includes in the cost of government, charging, by the way, not only the interest on the loans as an annual burden, but the loans themselves. I translate the text, the letter having appeared in French:—"The greater part of this sum, about twenty-two millions of dollars, has been expended during the last twelve years—that is to say, while the population was half or two-thirds less than it is to-day, offering an average of not more than 800,000 souls, (the present population of Pennsylvania being 1,350,161:) It follows, that each inhabitant has been taxed about two and a half dollars, annually, for internal improvements during this period."

I think, under ordinary circumstances, and as against a logician who did not appear supported by the confidence and favour of the government of the United States of America, I might have got along with this quotation, by showing, that 800,000 is neither the half of, nor two-thirds less than 1,350,161; that Pennsylvania, so far from trebling, or even doubling her population in twelve years, had not doubled it in twenty; that Pennsylvania, at the commencement of the twelve years named, had actually a population more than twenty-five per cent. greater than that which Mr. Harris gives as the average of a period, during which he affirms that this population has, at least, doubled; and by also showing that money borrowed and invested in public works, which are expected to return an ample revenue, cannot be presented as an annual charge against the citizen until he is called on to pay it.

Having said so much about the part that Mr. Harris has had in this controversy, I owe it to truth to add, that his course has, at least, the merit of frankness, and that he is just so much the more to be commended than that portion of our ex-agents and actual agents who have taken the same side of the question, covertly.

I have dwelt on this subject at some length, because I think it is connected, not only with the truth, but with the character, of America. I have already told you the startling manner in which I was addressed by one of the first men in England, on the subject of the tone of our foreign agents; and since that time, occasions have multiplied, to learn the mortifying extent to which this unfavourable opinion of their sincerity has spread. If the United States has neither sufficient force nor sufficient dignity to maintain its interests abroad, without making these sacrifices of opinion and principle, we are in a worse condition than I had believed; but you will require no logic from me, to understand the effect that must be, and is produced, by this contradiction between the language that is studiously used—used to nauseous affectation—at home, and so much of the language that is used by too many of the agents abroad.

I very well know that the government of the Union guarantees neither the civil nor religious liberty of the citizen, except as against its own action; that any state may create an establishment, or a close hereditary aristocracy, to-morrow, if it please, the general provision that its polity must be that of a republic, meaning no more than that there should not be an hereditary monarchy; and that is quite within the limits of constitutional possibilities, that the base of the national representation should be either purely aristocratical, purely democratical, or a mixture of both. But in leaving this option to the states, the constitution has, in no manner, impaired the force of facts. The states have made their election, and, apart from the anomaly of a slave population, the fundamental feature of the general government is democratic. Now, it is indisputably the privilege of the citizen to express the opinions of government that he may happen to entertain. The system supposes consultation and choice, and it would be mockery to maintain that either can exist without entire freedom of thought and speech. If any man prefer a monarchy to the present polity of the nation, it is his indefeasible right to declare his opinion, and to be exempt from persecution and reproach. He who meets such a declaration in any other manner than by a free admission of the right, does not feel the nature of the institutions under which he lives, for the constitution, in its spirit, everywhere recognises the principle. But One, greater than the constitution of America, in divine ordinances, everywhere denies the right of a man to profess one thing and to mean another. There is an implied pledge given by every public agent that he will not misrepresent what he knows to be the popular sentiment at home, and which popular sentiment, directly or indirectly, has clothed his language with the authority it carries in foreign countries; and there is every obligation of faith, fidelity, delicacy, and discretion, that he should do no discredit to that which he knows to be a distinguishing and vital principle with his constituents. As respects our agents in Europe, I believe little is hazarded in saying, that too many have done injury to the cause of liberty. I have heard this so often from various quarters of the highest respectability,[29] it has been so frequently affirmed in public here, and I have witnessed so much myself, that, perhaps, the subject presents itself with more force to me, on the spot, than it will to you, who can only look at it through the medium of distance and testimony. I make no objection to a rigid neutrality in the strife of opinions that is going on here, but I call for the self-denial of concealing all predilections in favour of the government of one or of the few; and should any minister of despotism, or political exclusion, presume to cite an American agent as being of his way of thinking, all motives of forbearance would seem to disappear, and, if really an American in more than pretension, it appears to me the time would be come to vindicate the truth with the frankness and energy of a freeman.


LETTER XIII.

Ferry across the Rhine.—Village of Rudesheim.—The Hinter-hausen Wine,—Drunkenness.—Neapolitan curiosity respecting America.—The Rhenish Wines enumerated.—Ingelheim.—Johannisberg.—Conventual Wine.—Unseasonable praise.—House and Grounds of Johannisberg.—State of Nassau.—Palace at Biberich.—The Gardens.—Wiesbaden.—Its public Promenade.—Frankfort on the Maine.

Dear ——,

Within an hour after we left the Ritterstein, we were crossing the bridge that leads into Bingen. Like true flaneurs, we had not decided where to sleep, and, unlike flaneurs, we now began to look wistfully towards the other side of the Rhine into the duchy of Nassau. There was no bridge, but then there might be a ferry. Beckoning to the postmaster, who came to the side of the carriage, I put the question. "Certainly, as good a ferry as there is in Germany."—"And can we cross with your horses?"—"Ja—ja—we do it often." The affair was arranged in a minute. The leaders were led back to the stable, and with two horses we drove down to the water-side. A skiff was in readiness, and spreading a sprit-sail, we were in the middle of the stream before there was time for thought. In ten minutes we landed in the celebrated Rheingau, and at the foot of a hill that was teeming with the vines of Rudesheim. "Charlemagne observing, from the window of his palace at Ingelheim," says an old legend, "that the snow disappeared from the bluff above Rudesheim earlier than from any of the neighbouring hills, caused the same to be planted with vines." What has become of Charlemagne and his descendants, no one knows; but here are the progeny of his vines to the present hour.

François followed us in a few minutes with the carriage and horses, and we were soon comfortably housed in an inn, in the village of Rudesheim. Here, then, we were in the heart of the richest wine region in Europe, perhaps in the world. I looked curiously at mine host, to see what effect this fact might have had on him, but he did nor appear to have abused the advantage. He told me there had just been a sale, at which I should have been most welcome; complained that much sour liquor was palmed off on the incredulous as being the pure beverage; and said that others might prefer Johannisberger, but for his part, good hinter-hausen[30] was good enough for him. "Would I try a bottle?" The proposition was not to be declined, and with my dinner I did try a bottle of his oldest and best; and henceforth I declare myself a convert to Rudesheimer hinter-hausen. One cannot drink a gallon of it with impunity, as is the case with some of the French wines; but I feel persuaded it is the very article for our market, to use the vernacular of a true Manhattanese. It has body to bear the voyage, without being the fiery compound that we drink under the names of Madeira and Sherry.

It is a singular fact, that in none but wine growing countries are the true uses of the precious gift understood. In them, wine is not a luxury, but a necessary; its use is not often abused, and its beneficial effect can scarcely be appreciated without being witnessed. I do not mean that there is no drunkenness in these countries, for there is probably as much of the vice in France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, as there is with us; but they who drink hard generally drink some of the vile compounds which exist everywhere under the names of brandy, agua diente, or something else. I was one day crossing the bay of Naples in my hired craft, La Divina Providenza, rowed by a crew of twenty-one men who cost me just the price of a carriage and horses for the same time, when the padrone, who had then been boating about with us several weeks, began to be inquisitive concerning America, and our manner of living, more especially among the labouring classes. The answers produced a strong sensation in the boat; and when they heard that labourers received a ducat a-day for their toil, half of the honest fellows declared themselves ready to emigrate. "Et, il vino, signore; quale è il prezzo del vino?" demanded the padrone. I told him wine was a luxury with us, and beyond the reach of the labourer, the general sneer that followed immediately satisfied me that no emigrants would go from La Divina Providenza.

It is scarcely necessary to tell one of your habits, that the wines we call Hock are Rhenish, and that each properly bears the name of its own vintage. This rule prevails everywhere, the names of Claret, Burgundy, and Sherry, being unknown in France and Spain. It is true the French have their Burgundy wines, and the Spaniards their Xeres wines; but vin de Bourgogne includes liquors of different colours and very different qualities. The same is true of other places. What we call Claret the French term Bordeaux wines; though Clairet is an old French word, still occasionally used, signifying a thin weak potation.

The Rheingau, or the part of the Nassau in which we now are, produces the best wines of the Rhine. The principal vineyards are those of Johannisberg, Hochheim, (whence the name of Hock,) Geissenheim, Steinberg, and Rudesheim Johannisberg is now the property of Prince Metternich; Geissenheim belongs to the Count of Ingelheim; and Hochheim and Rudesheim are villages, the vines having different proprietors. I do not know the situation of Steinberg. The best wine of Johannisberg has the highest reputation; that of Geissenheim is also delicious, and is fast growing in value; Hochheimer Dom, (or houses growing near the village,) is also in great request; and of the hinter-hausen of Rudesheim you have already heard. Dr. Somerville once told me he had analysed the pure Johannisberger, and that it contained less acidity than any other wine he knew. The Steinberger is coming into favour; it is the highest flavoured of all the German wines, its perfume or bouquet, being really too strong.

Rudesheim was a Roman station, and it is probable that its wines date from their government. There is still a considerable ruin, belonging, I believe to the Count of Ingelheim, that is supposed to have been built by the Romans, and which has been partially fitted up by its proprietor, as a place of retreat, during the vintage. This is truly a classical villagiatura. It was curious to examine these remains, which are extensive, so soon after going over the feudal castle, and it must be confessed that the sons of the South maintained their long established superiority here, as elsewhere. Ingelheim, where Charlemagne had a palace, and where some pretend he was born, is in plain view on the other side of the river, but no traces of the palace are visible from this spot. Such is the difference between the false and the true Roman. There is also a ruin, a small high circular tower, that is connected with our inn, forming even one of our own rooms, and which is very ancient, probably as ancient as the great Frank.

We left Rudesheim after breakfast, driving quite near to the hill of Geissenheim, and quitting the main road, for the purpose of visiting Johannisberg, which lies back a mile from the great route. We wound our way around the hill, which on three sides is shaped like a cone, and on the other is an irregular ridge, and approached the house by the rear. If you happen to have a bottle of the wine of this vineyard (real or reputed, for in this respect the false Simon Pure is quite as likely to be true as the real,) you will find a sufficiently good resemblance of this building on its label.

I can give you no other reason why this wine was formerly so little known, while that of Hochheim had so great a reputation, than the fact that the mountain, house, and vines were all the property of a religious community, previously to the French revolution, and that the monks probably chose to drink their own liquors. In this particular they were unlike the people of Brie; for walking one day with Lafayette, over his estate at La Grange, I expressed surprise at seeing some labourers making wine. "Oh, yes, my dear friend," returned the General, "we do make wine here, but then we take very good care not to drink it." The monks of Johannisberg most likely both made wine and drank it.

Johannisberg has changed owners several times. Shortly after our return from the journey on the Rhine of last year, chance placed me, at Paris, at table between the chargé d'affaires of Nassau and the Duc de Valmy. The former observed that I had lately been in Nassau, and asked how I liked the country. Under such circumstances one would wish to praise, and as I could honestly do so, I expressed my admiration of what I had seen. Among other things, I spoke of its rich vineyards, and, as a matter of course, began to extol that of Johannisberg. The more I praised, the graver the diplomate looked, until thinking I had not come up to his own feelings, I began to be warmer still in my expressions. A touch under the table silenced me. The chargé soon after gave me to understand that Johannisberg produced only sour grapes for my neighbour, as Napoleon had given the estate to the first Duke, and the allies had taken it away from his son. This was not the first time I have had occasion to see the necessity of being guarded how one speaks, lest he offend some political sensibility or other in this quarter of the world.

The present owner of Johannisberg has fitted up the house, which is quite spacious, very handsomely, though without gorgeousness, and there is really a suite of large and commodious rooms. I saw few or no signs of the monastery about the building. The vines grow all around the conical part of the hill quite up to the windows. The best wine is made from those near the house, on the south-eastern exposure. The view was beautiful and very extensive, and all that the place wants to make it a desirable residence is shade; an advantage, however, that cannot be enjoyed on the same spot in common with good wine. The nakedness of the ground impaired the effect of the dwelling. The owner is seldom here, as is apparent by the furniture, which, though fresh and suitable, does not extend to the thousand little elegancies that accumulate in a regular abode.

The books say that this celebrated vineyard contains sixty-three acres, and this is near the extent I should give it, from the eye. The produce is stated at twenty-five hogsheads, of thirteen hundred bottles each. Some of the wines of the best vintages sell as high as four and even five dollars a bottle. I observed that the soil was mixed with stone much decomposed, of a shelly appearance, and whitish colour. The land would be pronounced unsuited to ordinary agriculture, I suspect, by a majority of farmers.

I bought a bottle of wine from a servant who professed to have permission to sell it. The price was two florins and a half, or a dollar, and the quality greatly inferior to the bottle that, for the same money, issued from the cellar of the host at Rudesheim. It is probable the whole thing was a deception, though the inferior wines of Johannisberg are no better than a vast deal of the other common wine of the neighbourhood.

From Johannisberg we descended to the plain and took the road to Biberich. This is a small town on the banks of the Rhine, and is the residence of the Duke. Nassau figures in the tables of the Germanic confederation as the fourteenth state, having three hundred and thirty-eight thousand inhabitants, and furnishing three thousand troops as its contingent. The population is probably a little greater. The reigning family is of the ancient line of Nassau, from a junior branch of which I believe the King of Holland is derived; the Duchess is a princess of Wurtemberg, and a sister of the Grand-duchess Helena, of whom I have already spoken so often. This little state is one of the fabricated sovereignties of 1814, being composed of divers fragments, besides the ancient possessions of the family. In short, it would seem to be intended for the government and better management of a few capital vineyards.

Nassau has been much agitated of late with liberal opinions, though the government is already what it is the fashion to term representative, on this side of the Atlantic. It is the old theory, that small states can better support a popular form of government than a large state. This is a theory in which I have no faith, and one, in my opinion, that has been fabricated to suit the accidental situation of Europe. The danger of popular governments are popular excesses, such as those truculent errors that men fall into by a misconception of truth, misstatements, ignorance of their interests, and the sort of village-like gossip which causes every man to think he is a judge of character, when he is not even a judge of facts. The abuses of absolutism are straightforward, dogged tyranny, in which the rights of the mass are sacrificed to the interests and policy of a prince and his favourites. Now, in a large country, popular excesses in one part are checked and repressed by the power and interests of the other parts. It is not an easy matter to make a popular error, that leads to popular excesses, extend simultaneously over a very extended surface; and they who are tranquil, control, and finally influence, those who are excited. In a small state, absolutism is held under the checks of neighbourhood and familiarity. Men disregard accidents and crime in a capital, while they reason on them and act on them in the country. Just so will the sovereign of a small state feel and submit to the authority of an active public opinion. If I must have liberty, let it come in large draughts like learning, and form an atmosphere of its own; and if I must be the subject of despotic power, Heaven send that my sovereign be a small prince. The latter is on the supposition that I am an honest man, for he who would rise by servility and a sacrifice of his principles, had better at once choose the greatest monarch he can find for a master. Small states are usually an evil in themselves, but I think they are least so when the authority is absolute. The people of Nassau had better be moderate in their progress, while they of France should press on to their purpose; and yet the people of Nassau will probably be the most urgent, simply because the power with which they have to contend is so feeble, for men rarely take the "just medium," though they are always talking about it.

We entered the palace at Biberich, which, without being larger than usual, is an edifice well worth viewing. We could not but compare this abode with the President's house, and certainly, so far as taste and elegance are concerned, the comparison is entirely to the disadvantage of us Americans. It is easy to write unmeaning anathemas against prodigal expenditures, and extorting the hard earnings of the poor, on such occasions, but I do not know that the castle of Biberich was erected by any means so foul. The general denunciation of everything that does not happen to enter into our own system, has no more connexion with true republicanism than cant has to do with religion. Abuses of this nature have existed beyond dispute, and the public money, even among ourselves, is not always honestly or prudently expended; but these are the errors inseparable from human nature, and it is silly to quarrel with all the blandishments of life until we can find faultless substitutes. The simple fact that a nation like our own has suffered an entire generation to go by with its chief magistrate living in a house surrounded by grounds almost as naked as a cornfield, while it proves nothing in favour of its economy, goes to show either that we want the taste and habits necessary to appreciate the privation, (as is probably the case), or the generosity to do a liberal act, since it is notorious that we possess the means.

The gardens of Biberich are extensive and beautiful. We are proofs ourselves that they are not reserved, in a niggardly spirit, for the exclusive uses of a few, nor in truth are those of any other prince in Europe where we have been. The interior of the house is much ornamented by a very peculiar marble that is found in the duchy, and which produces a good effect. A circular hall in the centre of the building, surmounted by a dome, is rather striking, from having a colonnade of this material.

The family was here, and the preparations were making for dinner in one of the rooms; the whole style of the domestic economy being that of a nobleman of liberal means. The house was very quiet, and we saw but few menials, though we met two of the children, accompanied by a governess, in the grounds.

Biberich and the castle, or palace, stand immediately on the banks of the river, which, between Bingen and Mayence, is straggling and well covered with islands, having an entire breadth of near half a mile. The effect, when seen from the neighbouring heights, is not unlike that of a lake.

From Biberich we diverged directly into the interior of the Rheingau, taking the road to Wiesbaden, which is a watering-place of some note, and the seat of government of the duchy. We reached it early, for it is no great matter to pass from the frontiers of one of these small states into its centre, ordered dinner, and went out to see the lions. Wiesbaden has little to recommend it by nature, its waters excepted. It stands in a funnel rather than a valley, and it is said to be excessively hot in summer, though a pleasant winter residence. I do not remember a place that so triumphantly proves how much may be made out of a little, as the public promenade of Wiesbaden. The springs are nearly, or perhaps quite a mile from the town, the intervening land being a gentle inclination. From the springs, a rivulet, scarce large enough to turn a village mill, winds its way down to the town. The banks of this little stream have been planted, artificial obstructions and cascades formed, paths cut, bridges thrown across the rivulet, rocks piled, etc., and by these simple means, one walks a mile in a belt of wood a few rods wide, and may fancy himself in a park of two thousand acres. Ten years would suffice to bring such a promenade to perfection, and yet nothing like it exists in all America! One can surely smoke cigars, drink Congress water, discuss party politics, and fancy himself a statesman, whittle, clean his nails in company and never out of it, swear things are good enough for him without having known any other state of society, squander dollars on discomfort, and refuse cents to elegance and convenience, because he knows no better, and call the obliquity of taste patriotism, without enjoying a walk in a wood by the side of a murmuring rill! He may, beyond dispute, if such be his sovereign pleasure, do all this, and so may an Esquimaux maintain that whale's blubber is preferable to beefsteaks. I wonder that these dogged and philosophical patriots do not go back to warlocks, scalps, and paint!

The town of Wiesbaden, like all German towns of any consequence I have ever been in, Cologne excepted, is neat and clean. It is also well-built, and evidently improving. You may have heard a good deal of the boulevards and similar places of resort, in the vicinity of French towns, but as a whole, they are tasteless and barren-looking spots. Even the Champs Elysées, at Paris, have little beauty of themselves, for landscape gardening is but just introduced into France; whereas, to me, it would seem that the Germans make more use of it, in and near their towns, than the English.

We left Wiesbaden next morning, after enjoying its baths, and went slowly up to Frankfort on the Maine, a distance of about twenty miles. Here we took up our old quarters at the White Swan, a house of a second-rate reputation, but of first-rate civility, into which chance first threw me; and, as usual, we got a capital dinner and good wine. The innkeeper, in honour of Germany, caused a dish, that he said was national and of great repute, to be served to us pilgrims. It was what the French call a jardinière, or a partridge garnished with cabbage, carrots, turnips, etc.

I seized the opportunity to put myself au courant of the affairs of the world, by going to one of the reading-rooms, that are to be found all over Germany, under the names of Redoutes, Casinos, or something of that sort. Pipes appear to be proscribed in the casino of Frankfort, which is altogether a genteel and respectable establishment. As usual, a stranger must be introduced.


LETTER XIV.

Boulevards of Frankfort.—Political Disturbances in the town.—Le petit Savoyard.—Distant glimpse of Homberg.—Darmstadt.—The Bergestrasse.—Heidelberg.—Noisy Market-place.—The Ruins and Gardens.—An old Campaigner.—Valley of the Neckar.—Heilbronn.—Ludwigsberg.—Its Palace.—The late Queen of Wurtemberg.—The Birthplace of Schiller.—Comparative claims of Schiller and Goethe.—Stuttgart.—Its Royal Residences.—The Princess of Hechingen.—German Kingdoms.—The King and Queen of Wurtemberg.—Sir Walter Scott.—Tubingen.—Ruin of a Castle of the middle ages.—Hechingen.—Village of Bahlingen.—The Danube.—The Black Forest.—View from a mountain on the frontier of Baden.—Enter Switzerland.


Dear ——,

I have little new to tell you of Frankfort. It appeared to be the same busy, clean, pretty, well-built town, on this visit, as it did at the two others. We examined the boulevards a little more closely than before, and were even more pleased with them than formerly. I have already explained to you that the secret of these tasteful and beautiful walks, so near, and sometimes in the very heart (as at Dresden) of the large German towns, is in the circumstance of the old fortifications being destroyed, and the space thus obtained having been wisely appropriated to health and air. Leipsig, in particular, enjoys a picturesque garden, where formerly there stood nothing but grim guns, and frowning ramparts.

Frankfort has been the subject of recent political disturbances, and, I heard this morning from a banker, that there existed serious discontents all along the Rhine. As far as I can learn, the movement proceeds from a desire in the trading, banking, and manufacturing classes, the nouveaux riches, in short, to reduce the power and influence of the old feudal and territorial nobility. The kingly authority, in our time, is not much of itself, and the principal question has become, how many or how few, or, in short, who are to share in its immunities. In this simple fact lies the germ of the revolution in France, and of reform in England. Money is changing hands, and power must go with it. This is, has been, and ever will be the case, except in those instances in which the great political trust is thrown confidingly into the hands of all; and even then, in half the practical results, money will cheat them out of the advantages. Where the pressure is so great as to produce a recoil, it is the poor against the rich; and where the poor have rights to stand on, the rich are hard at work to get the better of the poor. Such is the curse of Adam, and man himself must be changed before the disease can be cured. All we can do, under the best constructed system, is to mitigate the evil.

We left Frankfort at eleven, declining the services of a celebrated voiturier, called le petit Savoyard, whom François introduced, with a warm recommendation of fidelity and zeal. These men are extensively known, and carry their soubriquets, as ships do their names. The little Savoyard had just discharged a cargo of miladies, bound to England, after having had them on his charter-party eighteen months, and was now on the look-out for a return freight. As his whole equipments were four horses, the harness, and a long whip, he was very desirous of the honour of dragging my carriage a hundred leagues or so, towards any part of the earth whither it might suit my pleasure to proceed. But it is to be presumed that miladies were of full weight, for even François, who comes of a family of voituriers, and has a fellow-feeling for the craft, is obliged to admit that the cattle of le petit appear to have been overworked. This negotiation occupied an hour, and it ended by sending the passport to the post.

We were soon beyond the tower that marks the limits of the territory of Frankfort, on the road to Darmstadt. While mounting an ascent, we had a distant glimpse of the town of Homberg, the capital and almost the whole territory of the principality of Hesse Homberg; a state whose last sovereign had the honour of possessing an English princess for a wife. Truly there must be something in blood, after all; for this potentate has but twenty-three thousand subjects to recommend him!

Darmstadt is one of those towns which are laid out on so large a scale as to appear mean. This is a common fault, both in Germany and America; for the effect of throwing open wide avenues, that one can walk through in five minutes, is to bring the intention into ludicrous contrast with the result. Mannheim is another of these abortions. The disadvantage, however, ends with the appearance, for Darmstadt is spacious, airy, and neat; it is also well-built.

The ancient Landgraves of Hesse Darmstadt have become Grand Dukes, with a material accession of territory, the present sovereign ruling over some 700,000 subjects. The old castle is still standing in the heart of the place, if a town which is all artery can be said to have any heart, and we walked into its gloomy old courts, with the intention of examining it; but the keeper of the keys was not to be found. There is a modern palace of very good architecture near it, and, as usual, extensive gardens, laid out, so far as we could perceive from the outside, in the English taste.

A short distance from Darmstadt, the Bergestrasse (mountain road) commences. It is a perfect level, but got its name from skirting the foot of the mountain, at an elevation to overlook the vast plain of the Palatinate; for we were now on the verge of this ancient territory, which has been merged in the Grand Duchy of Baden by the events of the last half century. I may as well add, that Baden is a respectable state, having nearly 1,300,000 subjects.

The Bergestrasse has many ruins on the heights that overlook it, though the river is never within a league or two of the road. Here we found postilions worthy of their fine track, and, to say the truth, of great skill. In Germany you get but one postilion with four horses, and, as the leaders are always at a great distance from those on the pole, it is an exploit of some delicacy to drive eight miles an hour, riding the near wheel-horse, and governing the team very much by the use of the whip. The cattle are taught to travel without blinkers, and, like men to whom political power is trusted, they are the less dangerous for it. It is your well-trained animal, that is checked up and blinded, who runs away with the carriage of state, as well as the travelling carriage, and breaks the neck of him who rides.

It was quite dark when we crossed the bridge of the Neckar, and plunged into the crowded streets of Heidelberg. Notwithstanding the obscurity, we got a glimpse of the proud old ruin overhanging the place, looking grand and sombre in the gloom of night.

The view from the windows next morning was one of life in the extreme. The principal market-place was directly before the inn, and it appeared as if half the peasants of the grand duchy had assembled there to display their fruits and vegetables. A market is always a garrulous and noisy place; but when the advantage of speaking German is added to it, the perfection of confusion is obtained. In all good society, both men and women speak in subdued voices, and there is no need to allude to them; but when one descends a little below the élite, strength of lungs is rather a German failing.[31]

We went to the ruins while the fogs were still floating around the hill-tops. I was less pleased with this visit than with that of last year, for the surprise was gone, and there was leisure to be critical. On the whole, these ruins are vast rather than fine, though the parts of the edifice that were built in the Elizabethan taste have the charm of quaintness. There is also one picturesque tower; but the finest thing certainly is the view from the garden-terrace above. An American, who remembers the genial soil and climate of his country, must mourn over the want of taste that has left, and still leaves, a great nation (numerically great, at least) ignorant of the enjoyment of those delicious retreats! As Nelson once said, "want of frigates" would be found written on his heart were he to die, I think "want of gardens" would be found written on mine. Our cicerone, on this occasion, was a man who had served in America, during the last war, as one of the corps of De Watteville. He was born in Baden, and says that a large portion of the corps were Germans. He was in most of the battles of the Niagara, and shook his head gravely when I hinted at the attack on Fort Erie. According to his account, the corps suffered exceedingly in the campaign of 1814, losing the greater portion of its men. I asked him how he came to fight us, who had never done him any harm; and he answered that Napoleon had made all Europe soldiers or robbers, and that he had not stopped to examine the question of right.

We drove up the valley of the Neckar, after a late breakfast, by an excellent road, and through a beautiful country, for the first post or two. We then diverged from the stream, ascended into a higher portion of undulating country, that gradually became less and less interesting, until, in the end, we all pronounced it the tamest and least inviting region we had yet seen in Europe. I do not say that the country was particularly sterile, but it was common-place, and offered fewer objects of interest than any other we had yet visited. Until now, our destination was not settled, though I had almost decided to go to Nuremberg, and thence, by Ratisbonne and the Danube, to Vienna; but we all came to the opinion that the appearance of things towards the east was too dreary for endurance. We had already journeyed through Bavaria, from its southern to its northern end, and we wished to vary the scene. A member of its royal family had once told me that Wurtemberg offered but little for the traveller, at the same time saying a good word for its capital. When one gets information from so high authority it is not to be questioned, and towards Stuttgart it was determined to turn our faces. At Heilbronn, therefore, we changed direction from east to south. This Heilbronn was a quaint old German town, and it had a few of its houses painted on the exterior, like those already described to you in Switzerland. Weinsberg, so celebrated for its wives, who saved their husbands at a capitulation, by carrying them out of the place on their backs, is near this town. As there are no walled towns in America, and the example could do no good, we did not make a pilgrimage to the spot. That night we slept at a little town called Bessingheim, with the Neckar, which we had again met at Heilbronn, murmuring beneath our windows.

The next morning we were off betimes to avoid the heat, and reached Ludwigsberg to breakfast. Here the scene began to change. Troops were at drill in a meadow, as we approached the town, and the postilion pointed out to us a portly officer at the Duke of Wurtemberg, a cadet of the royal family, who was present with his staff. Drilling troops, from time immemorial, has been a royal occupation in Germany. It is, like a Manhattanese talking of dollars, a source of endless enjoyment.

Ludwigsberg is the Windsor, the St. Denis, of the Princes of Wurtemberg. There an extensive palace, the place of sepulture, and a town of five or six thousand inhabitants. We went through the former, which is large and imposing, with fine courts and some pretty views, but it is low and Teutonic—in plain English, squat—like some of the old statues in armour that one sees in the squares of the German towns. There is a gallery and a few good pictures, particularly a Rembrandt or two. One of the latter is in the same style as the "Tribute-money" that I possess, and greatly encourages me as to the authenticity of that picture. The late Queen of Wurtemberg was the Princess Royal of England, and she inhabited this palace. Being mistaken for English, we were shown her apartments, in which she died lately, and which were exactly in the condition in which she left them. She must have had strong family attachments, for her rooms were covered with portraits of her relatives. The King of England was omnipresent; and as for her own husband, of whom, by the way, one picture would have been quite sufficient for any reasonable woman, there were no less than six portraits of him in a single room!

As one goes north, the style of ornamenting rooms is less graceful, and the German and English palaces all have the same formal and antiquated air. Ludwigsberg does not change the rule, though there was an unusual appearance of comfort in the apartments of the late Queen, which had evidently been Anglicised.

While we were standing at a balcony, that overlooks a very pretty tract of wooded country and garden, the guide pointed to a hamlet, whose church tower was peering above a bit of forest, in a distant valley, or rather swell. "Does Mein Herr see it?" "I do—it is no more than a sequestered hamlet, that is prettily enough placed."—It was Marbach, the birth-place of Schiller! Few men can feel less of the interest that so commonly attaches to the habits, habitations, and personal appearance of celebrated men, than myself. The mere sight of a celebrity never creates any sensation. Yet I do not remember a stronger conviction of the superiority enjoyed by true over factitious greatness, than that which flashed on my mind, when I was told this fact. That sequestered hamlet rose in a moment to an importance that all the appliances and souvenirs of royalty could not give to the palace of Ludwigsberg. Poor Schiller! In my eyes he is the German genius of the age. Goethe has got around him one of those factitious reputations that depend as much on gossip and tea-drinking as on a high order of genius, and he is fortunate in possessing a coddled celebrity—for you must know there is a fashion in this thing, that is quite independent of merit—while Schiller's fame rests solely on its naked merits. My life for it, that it lasts the longest, and will burn brightest in the end. The schools, and a prevalent taste and the caprice of fashion, can make Goethes in dozens, at any time; but God only creates such men as Schiller. The Germans say, we cannot feel Goethe; but after all, a translation is perhaps one of the best tests of genius, for though bad translations abound, if there is stuff in the original, it will find its way even into one of these.

From Ludwigsberg to Stuttgart it is but a single post, and we arrived there at twelve. The appearance of this place was altogether different from what we had expected. Although it contains near 30,000 inhabitants, it has more the air of a thriving Swiss town, than that of a German capital, the abodes and gardens of the royal family excepted. By a Swiss town, I do not mean either such places as Geneva, and Berne, and Zurich, but such towns as Herisau and Lucerne, without including the walls of the latter. It stands at the termination of an irregular valley, at the base of some mountains, and, altogether, its aspect, rustic exterior, and position, took us by surprise. The town, however, is evidently becoming more European, as they say on this side the Atlantic, every day; or, in other words, it is becoming less peculiar.

At and around the palaces there is something already imposing. The old feudal castle, which I presume is the cradle of the House of Wurtemberg, stands as a nucleus for the rest of the town. It is a strong prison-like looking pile, composed of huge round towers and narrow courts, and still serves the purposes of the state, though not as a prison, I trust. Another hotel, or royal residence, is quite near it on one side, while the new palace is close at hand on another. The latter is a handsome edifice of Italian architecture, in some respects not unlike the Luxembourg at Paris, and I should think, out of all comparison the best royal residence to be found in the inferior states of Germany, if not in all Germany, those of Prussia and Austria excepted.

We took a carriage, and drove through the grounds to a new classical little palace, that crowns an eminence at their other extremity, a distance of a mile or two. We went through this building, which is a little in the style of the Trianons, at Versailles; smaller than Le Grand Trianon, and larger than Le Petit Trianon. This display of royal houses, after all, struck us as a little dis portioned to the diminutive size and poverty of the country. The last is nothing but a maison de plaisance, and is well enough if it did not bring taxation with it; nor do I know that it did. Most of the sovereigns have large private fortunes, which they are entitled to use the same as others, and which are well used in fostering elegant tastes in their subjects.

There is a watering-place near the latter house, and preparations were making for the King to dine there, with a party of his own choosing. This reminded us of our own dinner, which had been ordered at six, and we returned to eat it. While sitting at a window, waiting the service, a carriage that drove up attracted my attention. It was a large and rather elegant post chariot, as much ornamented as comported with the road, and having a rich blazonry. A single female was in it, with a maid and valet in the rumble. The lady was in a cap, and, as her equipage drove up, appeared to be netting. I have frequently met German families travelling along the highway in this sociable manner, apparently as much at home as when they were under the domestic roof. This lady, however, had so little luggage, that I was induced to enquire who it might be. She was a Princess of Hechingen, a neighbouring state, that had just trotted over probably to take tea with some of her cousins of Wurtemberg.

These quasi kingdoms are so diminutive that this sort of intercourse is very practicable, and (a pure conjecture) it may be that German etiquette, so notoriously stiff and absurd, has been invented to prevent the intercourse from becoming too familiar. The mediatising system, however, has greatly augmented the distances between the capitals, though, owing to some accidental influence, there is still here and there a prince, that might be spared, whose territories have been encircled, without having been absolutely absorbed, by those who have been gainers by the change. Bavaria has risen to be a kingdom of four millions of souls, in this manner; and the Dukes of Wurtemberg have become kings, though on a more humble scale, through the liberality or policy of Napoleon. The kingdom of the latter contains the two independent principalities of Hohenzollern (spared on account of some family alliances, I believe) in its bosom. One of the princes of the latter family is married to a Mademoiselle Murat, a niece of Joachim.

After dinner we went again to the garden, where we accidentally were witnesses of the return of the royal party from their pic-nic. The King drove the Queen in a pony phaeton, at the usual pace of monarchs, or just as fast as the little animals could put foot to the ground. He was a large and well-whiskered man, with a strong family likeness to the English princes. The attendants were two mounted grooms, in scarlet liveries. A cadet, a dark, Italian-looking personage, came soon after in full uniform, driving himself, also, in a sort of barouche. After a short time we were benefited by the appearance of the cooks and scullions, who passed in a fourgon, that contained the remnants and the utensils. Soon after we got a glimpse of the Queen and three or four of the daughters, at a balcony of the palace, the lady of the net-work being among them. They all appeared to be fine women.

At the inn I heard with regret that Sir Walter Scott, had passed but two days before. He was represented as being extremely ill; so much so, indeed, as to refuse to quit his carriage, where he kept himself as much as possible out of view.

We left Stuttgart early the following morning, and as the carriage wound up the mountain that overlooks the town, I thought the place one of singular incongruities. The hill-sides are in vineyards; the palace, in excellent keeping, was warm and sunny; while the old feudal-looking towers of the castle, rudely recalled the mind to ancient Germany, and the Swissish habitations summoned up the images of winter, snows, and shivering February. Still I question, if a place so sheltered ever endures much cold. The town appears to have been built in the nook it occupies, expressly to save fuel.

We met the Neckar again, after crossing a range of wooded mountain, and at Tubingen we once more found a city, a university, the remains of feodality, redoutes, pipes, and other German appliances. Here we breakfasted, and received a visit from a young countryman, whose parents, Germans, I believe, had sent him hither to be educated. He will, probably return with a good knowledge of Greek, perfect master of metaphysics and the pipe, extravagant in his political opinions, a sceptic in religion, and with some such ideas of the poetry of thought, as a New England dancing-master has of the poetry of motion, or a teacher of psalmody, of the art of music. After all, this is better than sending a boy to England, whence he would come back with the notions of Sir William Blackstone to help to overturn or pervert his own institutions, and his memory crammed with second-hand anecdotes of lords and ladies. We labour under great embarrassments on this point of education, for it is not easy to obtain it, suited equally to the right, and to our own peculiar circumstances, either at home or abroad. At home we want science, research, labour, tone, manners, and time; abroad we get the accumulated prejudices that have arisen from a factitious state of things; or, what is perhaps worse, their reaction, the servility of castes, or the truculence of revolution.

About a post beyond Tubingen, a noble ruin of a castle of the middle ages appeared in the distance, crowning the summit of a high conical eminence. These were the finest remains we had seen in a long time, and viewed from the road, they were a beautiful object, for half an hour. This was the castle of Hohenzollern, erected about the year 980, and the cradle of the House of Brandenburg. This family, some pretend, was derived from the ancient Dukes of Alsace, which, if true would give it the same origin as those of Austria and Baden; but it is usual, and probably much safer, to say that the Counts of Hohenzollern were its founders. We must all stop somewhere short of Adam.

I was musing on the chances that have raised a cadet, or a younger branch, of the old feudal counts who had once occupied this hold, to the fifth throne in Europe, when we entered an irregular and straggling village of some 3000 souls, that was not, by any means, as well built as one of our own towns of the same size. A sign over a door, such as would be occupied by a thriving trader with us, with "Department of War" on it, induced me to open my eyes, and look about me. We were in Hechingen, the capital of Hohenzollern-Hechingen, an independent state, with a prince of its own; who is the head of his family, in one sense, and its tail in another; there being, besides the King of Prussia, a Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen adjoining, who is his junior in rank, and his better in power; having some 40 or 50,000 subjects, while he of Hechingen has but 15,000. On ascending a hill in the place itself, we passed an unfinished house, all front, that stood on the street, with no grounds of any beauty near it, and which certainly was not as large, nor nearly as well constructed, as one of our own principal country-houses. This building, we were told, was intended for the town residence of the heir-apparent, who is married to a daughter of Eugene Beauharnois, and of course to a niece of the King of Bavaria.

All this was an epitome of royalty I had never before witnessed. The Saxon duchies, and Bayreuth and Anspach, now merged in Bavaria, had been the subjects of curious contemplation to us, but they were all the possessions of potentates compared to this principality. I inquired for the abode of the prince, which could not well be far off, without being out of his own dominions. It lay behind a wood a mile distant, and was not visible from the inn where we stopped. Here was a capital mistake; had the old castle, which was but half a mile from the village, been kept up, and it seemed to be in good condition for a ruin, with the title of Count of Hohenzollern and the war and state departments been put in one of the towers, no one could have laughed at the pretension, let him try as hard as he pleased; but—

We had a strong desire to visit the ruin, which puts that of Habsburg altogether in the shade, but were prevented by a thunder-shower which shook the principality to its centre. The Knight's Hall, the chapel and the clock-tower are said to have been restored, and to be now in good condition. We could do no more, however, than cast longing eyes upward as we drove under the hill, the ground being still too wet for female accoutrements to venture. We had a Hechingen postilion in a Hechingen livery, and, although the man was sensible of his dignity and moved with due deliberation, we were just one hour in crossing his master's dominions.

Re-entering Wurtemberg, we slept that night at the village of Bahlingen. The country next morning was particularly tame, though uneven, until near noon, when it gradually took more interesting forms and spread itself in pretty valleys and wooded hills. The day was pleasant; and, as we trotted merrily through one of the vales, A—— pointed to a little rivulet that meandered through the meadows on our right, and praised its beauty. "I dare say it has a name; inquire of the postilion." "Wie ist diesen fluschen?" "Mein Herr, der Donau." The Danube! There was something startling in so unexpectedly meeting this mighty stream, which we had seen rolling its dark flow through cities and kingdoms, a rivulet that I could almost leap across. It was to us like meeting one we had known a monarch, reduced to the condition of a private man. I was musing on the particles of water that were gliding past us on their way to the Black Sea, when we drove up to the door of the inn at Tuttlingen.

This was in the Black Forest, and what is more, there were some trees in it. The wood was chiefly larches, whence I presume the name. Our host discovered from the servants that we were Americans, and he immediately introduced the subject of emigration. He told us that many people went from Wurtemberg to America, and gave us to understand that we ought to be glad of it—they were all so well educated! This was a new idea, certainly, and yet I will not take it on myself to say that the fact is otherwise.

While we were at breakfast, the innkeeper, who was also the postmaster, inquired where we meant to sleep, and I told him at Schaffhausen, on the Rhine. He then gave me to understand that there was a long, but not a steep mountain to ascend, which separated the waters of the Danube from those of the Rhine, and that two extra horses would add greatly to the facility of getting along. Taking a look at the road, I assented, so that we left the inn with the honours of a coach and six. The effect was evident from the start, and after entering Wurtemberg and travelling through it complaining of the dullness of the teams, we left it with éclat, and at the rate of ten miles the hour. The frontier of Baden met us again on the summit of the mountain. Here we got a line and extensive view, that included the lake of Constance in its sweep. The water looked dark and wild, and the whole scene had a tint that strongly reminded me of the character of Germanic mysteriousness. We must have been at a great elevation, though the mountains were not prominent objects; on the contrary, the eye ranged until it found the horizon, as at sea, in the curvature of the earth. The rills near us flowed into the Rhine, and, traversing half Europe, emptied themselves into the North Sea; while the stream that wound its way through the valley below, took a south-easterly direction towards the confines of Asia. One gets grand and pleasing images in the associations that are connected with the contemplation of these objects.

From this point we began to descend, shorn of our honours in the way of quadrupeds, for it was with a good deal of difficulty we got three horses at the next relay. Thus is it with life, in which at one moment we are revelling in abundance, and at the next suffering with want. We got along, however, as in life, in the best manner we could, and after driving through a pretty and uneven country, that gradually descended, we suddenly plunged down to the banks of the Rhine, and found ourselves once more before an inn-door, in Switzerland!



SECOND VISIT

TO

SWITZERLAND.

LETTER XV.

A Swiss Inn.—Cataract of the Rhine.—Canton of Zurich.—Town of Zurich.—Singular Concurrence.—Formidable Ascent.—Exquisite View.—Einsiedeln—The Convent.—"Par exemple."—Shores of the Lake of Zug.—The Chemin Creux.—Water Excursion to Alpnach.—Lake of Lungern.—Lovely Landscape.—Effects of Mists on the prospect.—Natural Barometer.—View from the Brunig.—Enter the great Canton of Berne.—An Englishman's Politics.—Our French Companion.—The Giesbach.—Mountain Music.—Lauterbrunnen.—Grindewald.—Rising of the Waters in 1830.—Anecdote.—Excursion on the Lake to Thoun.


Dear ——,

We had sought refuge on the Rhine, from the tameness and monotony of Wurtemberg! I dare say the latter country has many beautiful districts, that it contains much to admire and much to awaken useful reflection, but to the mere passer-by it is not a land of interest. Like a boat that has unexpectedly got into a strong adverse current, we had put our helm down and steered out of it, to the nearest shore. Here we were then, and it became necessary to say where we should be next. My own eyes were turned wistfully towards the east, following the road by the Lake of Constance, Inspruck, and Saltzbourg, to Vienna; but several of our party were so young when we were in Switzerland, in 1828, that it seemed ungracious to refuse them this favourable opportunity to carry away lasting impressions of a region that has no parallel. It was, therefore, settled before we slept, again to penetrate the cantons next morning.

I heard the drum-like sound of the inn once more with great satisfaction; for although the house, judging from the coronets and armorial bearings about it, had once been the abode of a count, it was not free from the peculiar echoes of a true Swiss tenement, any more than it was free from its neatness. The drum, however, did not prevent us all from sleeping soundly, and after an early breakfast we went forth on this new pilgrimage to the mountains.

There was an end to posting, no relays existing in this part of Switzerland, and I had been compelled to confide in the honesty of an unknown voiturier; a class of men who are pre-eminently subject to the long-established frailty of all who deal in horses, wines, lamp-oil, and religion. Leaving this functionary to follow with the carriage, we walked along the banks of the river, by a common-place and dirty road, among forges and mills, to the cataract of the Rhine. What accessories to a cataract! How long will it be before the imagination of a people who are so fast getting to measure all greatness, whether in nature or art, by the yard-stick, will think of those embellishments for Niagara? Fortunately the powers of men are not equal to their wishes and a mill by the side of this wonder of the world will be a mill still; whereas these falls of the Rhine are nearly reduced to the level of a raceway, by the spirit of industry. We were less struck with them than ever, and left the place with the conviction that, aided by a few suitable embellishments, they would have been among the prettiest of the pretty cascades that we know, but that, as matters go, they are in danger of soon losing the best part of their charms. We saw no reason, in this instance, to change the impressions made at the former visit, but think, the volume of water excepted, that Switzerland has cascades that outdo this cataract.

After following the course of the river, for a few miles, we met the stream, buried low in the earth, at one of its sudden bends, and, descending a sharp declivity, crossed to its left bank, and into the Canton of Zurich. We were taken by surprise, by this sudden rencontre, and could hardly believe it was the mighty Rhine, whose dark waters were hurrying beneath us, as we passed a covered bridge of merely a hundred or two feet in length. One meets with a hundred streams equal to this in width, while travelling in America, though it is rare to find one anywhere with the same majesty of motion, and of its fine cerulean tint.

We had travelled an hour or two towards Zurich, before our eyes were greeted with the sight of peaks capped with snow. They looked like the faces of old acquaintances, and, distance depriving them of their severity, they now shone in a mild sublimity. We were all walking ahead, while the horses were eating, when these noble objects came into the view, and, preceding the rest a little, I involuntarily shouted with exultation, as, turning a knoll, they stood ranged along the horizon. The rest of the party hurried on, and it was like a meeting of dear friends, to see those godlike piles encircling the visible earth.

The country through which we travelled, was the low land of which I have so often spoken, nor was it particularly beautiful or well cultivated until we drew near the capital, when it assumed the polished look of the environs of a large town; and the approach to Zurich, on this side, though less romantic perhaps, wanting the lake and mountains, we thought, if anything, was more beautiful than that by which we had come in 1828.

We were much gratified with the appearance of Zurich; more even than in our former visit, and not the less so at finding it unusually empty. The agitated state of Europe, particularly of England, has kept the usual class of travellers at home, though the cantons are said to be pretty well sprinkled with Carlists, who are accused of assembling here lo plot. M. de Châteaubriand is in the same hotel as ourselves, but it has never been my fortune to see this distinguished writer to know him, even accidentally; although I afterwards learned that, on one occasion, I had sat for two hours on a bench immediately before him, at a meeting of the French Academy. My luck was no better now, for he went away unseen, an hour after we arrived. Some imagine themselves privileged to intrude on a celebrity, thinking that those men will pardon the inconvenience for the flattery, but I do not subscribe to this opinion: I believe that nothing palls sooner than notoriety, and that nothing is more grateful to those who have suffered under it, than retirement.

By a singular concurrence, we were at Zurich the second time on Sunday, and almost on the same day of the year. In 1828, we drove along the lake-shore, August 30th, and we now left Zurich, for the same purpose, August 28th, after an interval of four years. The same objects were assembled, under precisely the same circumstances: the lake was covered with boats, whose tall sails drooped in pure laziness; the solemn bells startled the melancholy echoes, and the population was abroad, now as then, in holiday guise, or crowding the churches. The only perceptible changes in the scene were produced by the change in our own direction. Then we looked towards the foot of the lake, and had its village-lined shores before us, and the country that melts away towards the Rhine for a back-ground; while now, after passing the objects in the near view, the sight rested on the confused and mysterious mountains of Glaris.

We took our goûter at the Paon, and, unwilling to cross the bridge in the carriage, we all preceded it through the crowded streets of Rapperschwyl, leaving the voiturier to follow at his leisure. We were just half an hour on this bridge, which appeared as ticklish as ever, though not so much as to stifle the desire of P—— to see how near its edge he could walk. When we entered Schweitz, the carriage overtook us, and we drove to the foot of the mountain which it is necessary to ascend to reach Einsiedeln. Here we took chevaux de renfort, and a reinforcement they proved indeed; for I do not remember two nobler animals than the voiturier obtained for the occasion. They appeared to be moulded on the same scale as the mountains. We were much amused by the fellow's management, for he contrived to check his own cattle in such a way as to throw all the work on the recruits. This was not effected without suspicion; but he contrived to allay it, by giving his own beasts sundry punches in the sides, so adroitly bestowed as to render them too restive to work. By way of triumph, each poke was accompanied by a knowing leer at François, all whose sympathies, a tribute to his extraction, I have had frequent opportunities of observing, to my cost, were invariably on the side of the voituriers. So evident, indeed, was this feeling in the gentleman, that had I been accustomed to travel much by this mode, I should not have kept him a month.

It was a mild evening as we travelled our way up this formidable ascent, which is one of the severest in Switzerland, and we had loitered so much along the shores of the lake, as to bring us materially behind our time. Still it was too late to return, and we made the best of things as they were. It is always more pleasant to ascend than to descend, for the purposes of scenery; and, as picture after picture broke upon us, the old touzy-mouzy was awakened, until we once more felt ourselves in a perfect fever of mountain excitement. In consequence of diverging by a foot-path, towards the east, in descending this mountain, in 1828, I had missed one of the finest reaches of its different views, but which we now enjoyed under the most favourable circumstances. The entire converging crescent of the north shore of the lake, studded with white churches, hamlets, and cottages, was visible, and as the evening sun cast its mild light athwart the crowded and affluent landscape, we involuntarily exclaimed, "that this even equalled the Neapolitan coast in the twilight." The manner in which the obscurity settled on this picture, slowly swallowing up tower after tower, hamlet, cottage, and field, until the blue expanse of the lake alone reflected the light from the clouds, was indescribably beautiful, and was one of those fine effects that can only be produced amid a nature as grand as that of the Alps.

It was dark when we reached the inn at the summit; but it was not possible to remain there, for it had room for little more than kirschwasser. The night came on dark and menacing, and for near two hours we crawled up and down the sharp ascents and descents, and, to make the matter worse, it began to rain. This was a suitable approach to the abodes of monastic votaries, and I had just made the remark, when the carriage stopped before the door of my old inn, the Ox, at Einsiedeln. It was near ten, and we ordered a cup of tea and beds immediately.

The next morning we visited the church and the convent. The first presented a tame picture, compared to that I had witnessed in the former visit, for there was not a pilgrim present; the past year it had been crowded. There were, however, a few groups of the villagers kneeling at the shrine, or at the different altars, to aid the picturesque. We ascended into the upper part of the edifice, and walked in those narrow galleries through which I had formerly seen the Benedictines stalking in stealthy watchfulness, looking down at the devotees beneath. I was admitted to the cloisters, cells, library, &c., but my companions were excluded as a matter of course. It is merely a spacious German convent, very neat, and a little barnish. A recent publication caused me to smile involuntarily once or twice, as the good father turned over the curiosities of the library, and expatiated on the history and objects of his community; but the book in question had evidently not yet, if indeed it will ever reach this remote spot.

We had a little difficulty here in getting along with the French; and our German (in which, by the way, some of the party are rather expert) had been acquired in Saxony, and was taken for base coin here. The innkeeper was an attentive host, and wished to express every thing that was kind and attentive; all of which he succeeded in doing wonderfully well, by a constant use of the two words, "par exemple." As a specimen of his skill, I asked him if an extra horse could be had at Einsiedeln, and his answer was, "Par exemple, monsieur; par exemple, oui; c'est-à-dire, par exemple." So we took the other horse, par exemple, and proceeded.

Our road carried us directly across the meadows that had been formed in the lake of Lowertz, by the fall of the Rossberg. When on them, they appeared even larger than when seen from the adjacent mountain; they are quite uneven, and bear a coarse wiry grass, though there are a few rocks on their surface. Crossing the ruin of Goldau, we passed on a trot from the desolation around it, into the beautiful scenery of Arth. Here we dined and witnessed another monastic flirtation.

After dinner we drove along the shores of the lake of Zug, winding directly round the base of the cone of the Righi, or immediately beneath the point where the traveller gets the sublime view of which you have already heard. This was one of the pleasantest bits of road we had then seen in Switzerland. The water was quite near us on the right, and we were absolutely shut in on the left by the precipitous mountain, until having doubled it, we came out upon an arm of the lake of Lucerne, at Küsnacht, to which place we descended by the chemin creux. Night overtook us again while crossing the beautiful ridge of land that separates the bay of Küsnacht from the foot of the lake, but the road being excellent, we trotted on in security until we alighted, at nine o'clock, in the city of Lucerne.

The weather appearing unusually fine the next day, François was ordered round to Berne with the carriage and luggage, and we engaged a guide and took a boat for Alpnach. At eleven we embarked and pulled up under lovely verdant banks, which are occupied by villas, till we reached the arm of the lake that stretches towards the south-west. Here a fair breeze struck us, and making sail, away we went, skimming before it, at the rate of eight miles an hour. Once or twice the wind came with a power that showed how necessary it is to be cautious on a water that is bounded by so many precipitous rocks. We passed the solitary tower of Stanztad on the wing, and reached Alpnach in less than two hours after embarking.

Here we took two of the little vehicles of the country and went on. The road carried us through Sarnen, where my companions, who had never before visited the Unterwaldens, stopped to see the lions. I shall not go over these details with you again, but press on towards our resting-place for the night. On reaching the foot of the rocks which form the natural dam that upholds the lake of Lungern, P—— and myself alighted and walked ahead. The ascent being short, we made so much progress as to reach the upper end of the little sheet, a distance of near a league, before we were overtaken by the others; and when we did meet, it was amid general exclamations of delight at the ravishing beauties of the place. I cannot recall sensations of purer pleasure produced by any scenery, than those I felt myself on this occasion, and in which all around me appeared to participate.

Our pleasures, tastes, and even our judgments are so much affected by the circumstances under which they are called into action, that one has need of diffidence on the subject of their infallibility, if it be only to protect himself from the imputation of inconsistency. I was pleased with the Lake of Lungern in 1828, but the term is not strong enough for the gratification it gave me on this return to it. Perhaps the day, the peculiar play of light and shade, a buoyancy of spirits, or some auxiliary causes, may have contributed to produce this state of mind; or it is possible that the views were really improved by changing the direction of the route; as all connoisseurs in scenery know that the Hudson is much finer when descending than when ascending its stream; but let the cause be what it might, had I then been asked what particular spot in Europe had given me most delight, by the perfection of its natural beauties, taken in connexion with its artificial accessories, I should have answered that it was the shores of the lake of Lungern. Nor, as I have told you, was I alone in this feeling, for one and all, big and little,—in short, the whole party joined in pronouncing the entire landscape absolutely exquisite. Any insignificant change, a trifle more or less of humidity in the atmosphere, the absence or the intervention of a few clouds, a different hour or a different frame of mind, may have diminished our pleasure, for these are enjoyments which, like the flavour of delicate wines, or the melody of sweet music, are deranged by the condition of the nerves, or a want of harmony, in the chords.

After this explanation you will feel how difficult it will be to describe the causes of our delight. The leading features of the landscape, however, were a road that ran along the shore beneath a forest, within ten feet of the water, winding, losing itself, and re-appearing with the sinuosities of the bank; water, limpid as air and blue as the void of the heavens, unruffled and even holy in its aspect, as if it reflected the pure space above; a mountain-side, on the opposite shore, that was high enough to require study to draw objects from its bosom, on the distant heights, and yet near enough below, to seem to be within an arrow's flight; meadows shorn like lawns, scattered over its broad breast; woods of larches, to cast their gloom athwart the glades and to deepen the shadows; brown chalets that seemed to rise out of the sward, at the bidding of the eye; and here and there a cottage poised on a giddy height, with a chapel or two to throw a religious calm over all! There was nothing ambitious in this view, which was rural in every feature, but it was the very bean idéal of rustic beauty, and without a single visible blemish to weaken its effect. It was some such picture of natural objects as is formed of love by a confiding and ingenuous youth of fifteen.

We passed the night in the drum of Lungern, and found it raining hard when we rose the following morning. The water soon ceased to fall in torrents, however, changing to a drizzle, at which time the valley, clouded in mists in constant motion, was even more beautiful than ever. So perfect, were the accessories, so minute was everything rendered by the mighty scale, so even was the grass and so pure the verdure that bits of the mountain pasturages, or Alps, coming into view through the openings in the vapour, appeared like highly-finished Flemish paintings; and this the more so, because all the grouping of objects, the chalets, cottages, &c. were exactly those that the artist would seize upon to embellish his own work. Indeed, we have daily, hourly, occasions to observe how largely the dealers in the picturesque have drawn upon the resources of this extraordinary country, whether the pallet, or poetry in some other form, has been the medium of conveying pleasure.

The garçon of the inn pointed to some mist that was rolling along a particular mountain, and said it was the infallible barometer of Lungern. We might be certain of getting fair weather within an hour. A real barometer corroborated the testimony of the mist, but the change was slower than had been predicted; and we began to tire of so glorious a picture, under an impatience to proceed, for one does not like to swallow pleasure even, perforce.

At ten we were able to quit the inn, one half of the party taking the bridle-path, attended by two horse-keepers, while the rest of us, choosing to use our own limbs, were led by the guide up the mountains by a shorter cut, on foot. The view from the Brunig was not as fine as I had round it in 1828, perhaps because I was then taken completely by surprise, and perhaps because ignorance of the distant objects had then thrown the charm of mystery over its back-ground. We now saw the scene in detail, too, while mounting; for, though it is better to ascend than descend, the finest effects are produced by obtaining the whole at once.

We joined the equestrians on the summit, where the horses were discharged, and we proceeded the remainder of the distance on foot. We soon met the Bear of Berne, and entered the great canton. The view of the valley of Meyringen, and of the cataracts, greeted us like an old friend; and the walk, by a path which wound its way through the bushes, and impended over this beautiful panorama, was of course delightful. At length we caught a glimpse of the lake of Brientz, and hurrying on, reached the village before two.

Here we ordered a goûter, and, while taking it, the first English party we had yet seen, entered the inn, as we were all seated at the same table. The company consisted of this English party, ourselves, and a solitary Frenchman, who eyed us keenly, but said nothing. It soon appeared that some great political crisis was at hand, for the Englishman began to cry out against the growing democracy of the cantons. I did not understand all his allusions, nor do I think he had very clear notions about them himself, for he wound up one of his denunciatory appeals, by the old cant, of "instead of one tyrant they will now have many;" which is a sort of reasoning that is not particularly applicable to the overturning of aristocracy anywhere. It is really melancholy to perceive how few men are capable of reasoning or feeling on political subjects, in any other way than that which is thought most to subserve their own particular interests and selfishness. Did we not know that the real object of human institutions is to restrain human tendencies, one would be almost disposed to give up the point in despair; for I do affirm, that in all my associations in different countries, I do not recollect more than a dozen men who have appeared to me to entertain right notions on this subject, or who have seemed capable of appreciating the importance of any changes that were not likely materially to affect their own pockets.

The Frenchman heard us speaking in his own language, which we did with a view of drawing John Bull out, and he asked a passage in the boat I had ordered, as far as Interlachen. Conditioning that he should make the détour to the Giesbach, his application was admitted, and we proceeded forthwith. This was the fourth time I had crossed the lake of Brientz, but the first in which I visited the justly celebrated falls, towards which we now steered on quitting the shore.

Our companion proved to be a merry fellow, and well disposed to work his passage by his wit. I have long been cured of the notion "that the name of an American is a passport all over Europe," and have learned to understand in its place, that, on the contrary, it is thought to be prima facie evidence of vulgarity, ignorance, and conceit; nor do I think that the French, as a nation, have any particular regard for us; but knowing the inherent dislike of a Frenchman for an Englishman, and that the new-fangled fraternity, arising out of the trading-principle government, only renders, to a disinterested looker on, the old antipathies more apparent, I made an occasion, indirectly, to let our new associate understand that we came from the other side of the Atlantic. This produced an instantaneous change in his manner, and it was now that he began to favour us with specimens of his humour. Notwithstanding all this facetiousness, I soon felt suspicion that the man was an employé of the Carlists, and that his business in Switzerland was connected with political plots. He betrayed himself, at the very moment when he was most anxious to make us think him a mere amateur of scenery: I cannot tell you how, but still so clearly, as to strike all of us, precisely in the same way.

The Giesbach is a succession of falls, whose water comes from a glacier, and which are produced by the sinuosities of the leaps and inclined planes of a mountain side, aided by rocks and precipices. It is very beautiful, and may well rank as the third or fourth cascade of Switzerland, for variety, volume of water, and general effect. A family has established itself among the rocks, to pick up a penny by making boxes of larch, and singing the different ranz des raches. Your mountain music does not do so well, when it has an air so seriously premeditated, and one soon gels to be a little blasé on the subject of entertainments of this sort, which can only succeed once, and then with the novice. Alas! I have actually stood before the entrance of the cathedral at Rouen, and the strongest feeling of the moment was that of surprise at the manner in which my nerves had thrilled, when it was first seen. I do not believe that childhood, with its unsophistication and freshness, affords the greatest pleasures, for every hour tells me how much reason and cultivation enhance our enjoyments; but there are certainly gratifications that can be felt but once; and if an opera of Rossini or Meyerbeer grows on us at each representation, or a fine poem improves on acquaintance, the singing of your Swiss nightingales is sweeter in its first notes than in its second.

After spending an hour at the Giesbach, we rowed along the eastern, or rather the southern, shore of the lake to Interlachen. The sight of the blue Aar revived old recollections, and we landed on its banks with infinite pleasure. Here a few civil speeches passed between the merry Frenchman and myself, when we separated, he disappearing altogether, and we taking the way to the great lodging-house, which, like most of the other places of resort in Switzerland, was then nearly empty. The Grand-duchess Anna, however, had come down from Ulfnau, her residence on the Aar, for a tour in the Oberland, and was among the guests. We got a glimpse of her coming in from a drive, and she appeared to resemble her brother the Duke, more than her brother the King.

In the morning we drove up to Lauterbrunnen, and I am compelled to say that so completely fickle had we become, that I believe all who had seen this valley before, pronounced it less beautiful than that of Lungern. By the way of proving to you how capricious a thing is taste, I liked the Staubbach better than in the former visit. We did not attempt the mountains this time, but drove round in our chars to Grindewald, where we dined and slept. Either a new approach, or improved tastes, or some other cause, wrought another change here; for we now preferred Grindewald to Lauterbrunnen, as a valley. The vulgar astonishment was gone, and our eyes sought details with critical nicety. We went to the lower glacier, whose form had not materially changed in four years, and we had fine views of both of them from the windows of the inn. There was a young moon, and I walked out to watch the effect on the high glaciers, which were rendered even more than usually unearthly in appearance, under its clear bland light. These changes of circumstances strangely increase the glories of the mountains!

We left Grindewald quite early next morning, and proceeded towards Neuhaus. The road led us through a scene of desolation that had been caused by a rising of the waters in 1830, and we examined the devastation with the more interest, as some of our acquaintances had nearly perished in the torrent.

The family in question were residing temporarily at Interlachen, when two of the ladies with a child, attended by a black servant, drove up the gorge of Lauterbrunnen for an airing. They were overtaken by a tempest of rain, and by the torrent, which rose so rapidly as to cut off all retreat, except by ascending the precipice, which to the eye is nearly perpendicular. There is, however, a hamlet on one of the terraces of the mountain, and thither the servant was despatched for succour. The honest peasants at first believed he was a demon, on account of his colour, and it was not without difficulty they were persuaded to follow him. The ladies eventually escaped up the rocks; but our coachman, who had acted as the coachman on that occasion, assured us it was with the utmost difficulty he saved his horse.

This accident, which was neither a sac d'eau nor an avalanche, gives one a good idea of the sudden dangers to which the traveller is liable, in the midst of a nature so stupendous. A large part of the beautiful meadows of Interlachen was laid desolate, and the calamity was so sudden that it overtook two young and delicate females in their morning drive!

We drove directly to the little port at Neuhaus, and took a boat for Thoun, pulling cut into the lake, with a fresh breeze directly in our teeth. The picturesque little chateau of Spietz stood on its green promontory, and all the various objects that we had formerly gazed at with so much pleasure, were there, fresh, peculiar, and attractive as ever. At length, after a heavy pull, we were swept within the current of the Aar, which soon bore us to the landing.

At Thoun we breakfasted, and, taking a return carriage, trotted up to Berne, by the valley of which you have already heard so much. François was in waiting for us, and we got comfortable rooms at the Crown.

Our tastes are certainly altering, whether there be any improvement or not. We are beginning to feel it is vulgar to be astonished, and even in scenery, I think we rather look for the features that fill up the keeping, and make the finish, than those which excite wonder. We have seen too much to be any longer taken in, by your natural clap-traps; a step in advance, that I attribute to a long residence in Italy, a country in which the sublime is so exquisitely blended with the soft, as to create a taste which tells us they ought to be inseparable.

In this little excursion to the Oberland, while many, perhaps most, of our old impressions are confirmed, its relative beauties have not appeared to be entitled to as high praises as we should have given them, had they not been seen a second time. We had fine weather, were all in good spirits and happy, and the impression being so general, I am inclined to think, it is no more than the natural effect which is produced by more experience and greater knowledge. I now speak of the valleys, however, for the high Alps are as superior to the caprices of taste, as their magnificent dimensions and faultless outline are beyond change.


LETTER XVI.

Conspiracy discovered.—The Austrian Government and the French Carlists.—Walk to La Lorraine.—Our old friend "Turc."—Conversation with M. W——.—View of the Upper Alps.—Jerome Bonaparte at La Lorraine.—The Bears of Berne.—Scene on the Plateforme.


Dear ——,

Soon after we reached Berne, François came to me in a mysterious manner, to inquire if I had heard any news of importance. I had heard nothing; and he then told me that many arrests had just taken place, and that a conspiracy of the old aristocracy had been discovered, which had a counter-revolution for its object. I say a counter-revolution, for you ought to have heard that great political changes have occurred in Switzerland since 1830, France always giving an impulse to the cantons. Democracy is in the ascendant, and divers old opinions, laws, and institutions have been the sacrifice. This, in the land of the Burgerschaft, has necessarily involved great changes, and the threatened plot is supposed to be an effort of the old privileged party to regain their power. As François, notwithstanding he has seen divers charges of cavalry against the people, and has witnessed two or three revolutions, is not very clear-headed in such matters, I walked out immediately to seek information from rather better authority.

The result of my inquiries was briefly as follows:—Neufchâtel, whose prince is the King of Prussia, has receded from the confederation, on account of the recent changes, and the leaders of the aristocratic party were accused of combining a plan, under the protection and with the knowledge of the authorities of this state, to produce a counter-revolution in Berne, well knowing the influence of this canton in the confederation. This very day is said to be the one selected for the effort, and rumour adds, that a large body of the peasants of the Oberland were to have crossed the Brunig yesterday, with a view to co-operate in other sections of the country. A merry company we should have been, had it been our luck to have fallen in with this escort! Now, rightfully or not, the Austrian government and the French Carlists are openly accused of being concerned in this conspiracy, and probably not without some cause. The suspicions excited concerning our fellow-traveller, through his own acts, recurred to me, and I now think it probable he was in waiting for the aforesaid peasants, most probably to give them a military direction, for he had the air and franchise of an old French soldier. The plot had been betrayed; some were already arrested, and some had taken refuge in flight. The town was tranquil, but the guards were strengthened, and the popular party was actively on the alert.

The next morning we went forth to look once more at picturesque, cloistered, verdant Berne. Nothing appeared to be changed, though the strangers were but few, and there was, perhaps, less movement than formerly. We crossed the Aar, and walked to La Lorraine. As we were going through the fields, several dogs rushed out against us; but when P—— called out "Turc" the noble animal appeared to know him, and we were permitted to proceed, escorted, rather than troubled, by the whole pack. This was a good omen, and it was grateful to be remembered, by even a dog, after an absence of four years.

We found the same family in possession of the farm, though on the point of removing to another place. Our reception in the house was still more cordial than that given by Turk, and our gratitude in proportion. The old abode was empty, and we walked over it with feelings in which pain and pleasure were mingled; for poor W——, who was with us, full of youth and spirits, when we resided here, is now a tenant of Père Lachaise. When we went away, all the dogs, with Turk at their head, escorted us to the ferry, where they stood looking wistfully at us from the bank, until we landed in Berne.

Soon after, I met M. W—— in the streets, and, as he had not been at home, I greeted him, inviting him to dine with us at the Crown. The present aspect of things was of course touched upon during the dinner, when the worthy member of the Burgerschaft lamented the changes, in a manner becoming his own opinions, while I rejoiced in them, in a manner becoming mine. He asked me if I really thought that men who were totally inexperienced in the affairs of government could conduct matters properly,—an old and favourite appeal with the disciples of political exclusion. I endeavoured to persuade him that the art of administering was no great art; that there was more danger of rulers knowing too much than of their knowing too little, old soldiers proverbially taking better care of themselves than young soldiers; that he must not expect too much, for they that know the practices of free governments, well know it is hopeless to think of keeping pure and disinterested men long in office, even as men go, there being a corrupting influence about the very exercise of power that forbids the hope; and that all which shrewd observers look for in popular institutions is a greater check than common on the selfishness of those to whom authority is confided. I told him the man who courts popular favour in a republic, would court a prince in a monarchy, the elements of a demagogue and a courtier being exactly the same; and that, under either system, except in extraordinary instances, it was useless to attempt excluding such men from authority, since their selfishness was more active than the feelings of the disinterested; that, in our own case, so long as the impetus of the revolution and the influence of great events lasted, we had great men in the ascendant, but, now that matters were jogging on regularly, and under their common-place aspects, we were obliged to take up with merely clever managers; that one of the wisest men that had ever lived (Bacon) had said, that "few men rise to power in a state, without a union of great and mean qualities," and that this was probably as true at Berne as it is at Washington, and as true at Paris as at either; that the old system in his country savoured too much of the policy of giving the milk of two cows to one calf, and that he must remember it was a system that made very bad as well as very good veal, whereas for ordinary purposes it was better to have the same quantity of merely good veal; and, in short, that he himself would soon be surprised at discovering how soon the new rulers would acquire all the useful habits of their predecessors, and I advised him to look out that they did not acquire some of their bad ones too.

I never flattered myself with producing a change of opinion in the captain, who always listened politely, but with just such an air of credulity as you might suppose one born to the benefits of the Burgerschaft, and who had got to be fifty, would listen to a dead attack on all his most cherished prejudices.

The next day was Sunday, and we still lingered in our comfortable quarters at the Crown. I walked on the Plateforme before breakfast, and got another of those admirable views of the Upper Alps, which, notwithstanding the great beauty of its position and immediate environs, form the principal attraction of Berne. The peaks were draped rather than veiled in clouds, and it was not easy to say which was the most brilliant, the snow-white vapour that adorned their sides, or the icy glaciers themselves. Still they were distinct from each other, forming some such contrast as that which exists between the raised and sunken parts on the faces of new coin.

We went to church and listened to some excellent German, after which we paid our last visit to La Lorraine. This house had been hired by King Jerome for a short time, after his exile in 1814, his brother Joseph occupying a neighbouring residence. The W——s told me that Jerome arrived, accompanied by his amiable wife, like a king, with horses, chamberlains, pages, and all the other appliances of royalty, and that it was curious, as well as painful, to witness how fast these followers dropped off, as the fate of the family appeared to be settled. Few besides the horses remained at the end of ten days!

On our return from this visit we went in a body to pay our respect to our old friends, the bears. I believe you have already been told that the city of Berne maintains four bears in certain deep pens, where it is the practice to feed them with nuts, cakes, apples, etc., according to the liberality and humour of the visitor. The usage is very ancient, and has some connexion with a tradition that has given its name to the canton. A bear is also the arms of the state. One of these animals is a model of grace, waddling about on his hind legs like an alderman in a ball-room. You may imagine that P—— was excessively delighted at the sight of these old friends. The Bernese have an engraving of the graceful bear in his upright attitude; and the stove of our salon at the Crown, which is of painted tile, among a goodly assemblage of gods and goddesses, includes Bruin as one of its ornaments.

François made his appearance after dinner, accompanied by his friend, le petit Savoyard, who had arrived from Frankfort, and came once more to offer his services to conduct us to Lapland, should it be our pleasure to travel in that direction. It would have been ungracious to refuse so constant a suitor, and he was ordered to be in attendance next morning, to proceed towards the lake of Geneva.

In the evening we went on the Plateforme to witness the sunset, but the mountains were concealed by clouds. The place was crowded, and refreshments were selling in little pavilions erected for the purpose. We are the only Protestants who are such rigid observers of the Sabbath, the Scotch perhaps excepted. In England there is much less restraint than in America, and on the Continent the Protestants, though less gay than the Catholics, very generally consider it a day of recreation, after the services of the church are ended. I have heard some of them maintain that we have misinterpreted the meaning of the word holy, which obtains its true signification in the term holiday. I have never heard any one go so far, however, as Hannah Moore says was the case with Horace Walpole, who contended that the ten commandments were not meant for people of quality. No one whose mind and habits have got extricated from the fogs of provincial prejudices, will deny that we have many odious moral deformities in America, that appear in the garb of religious discipline and even religious doctrine, but which are no more than the offspring of sectarian fanaticism, and which, in fact, by annihilating charity, are so many blows given to the essential feature of Christianity; but, apart from these, I still lean to the opinion that we are quite as near the great truths as any other people extant.

Mr. ——, the English chargé d'affaires, whom I had known slightly at Paris, and Mr. ——, who had once belonged to the English legation in Washington, were on the Plateforme. The latter told me that Carroll of Carrolton was dead; that he had been dead a year, and that he had written letters of condolence on the occasion. I assured him that the old gentleman was alive on the 4th July last, for I had seen one of his letters in the public journals. Here was a capital windfall for a regular diplomate, who now, clearly, had nothing to do but to hurry home and write letters of felicitation!

The late changes in England have produced more than the usual mutations in her diplomatic corps, which, under ordinary circumstances, important trusts excepted, has hitherto been considered at the disposal of any minister. In America we make it matter of reproach that men are dismissed from office on account of their political opinions, and it is usual to cite England as an example of greater liberality. All this is singularly unjust, because in its spirit, like nine-tenths of our popular notions of England, it is singularly untrue. The changes of ministry, which merely involve the changes incident on taking power from one clique of the aristocracy to give it to another, have not hitherto involved questions of sufficient importance to render it matter of moment to purge all the lists of the disaffected; but since the recent serious struggles we have seen changes that do not occur even in America. Every Tory, for instance, is ousted from the legations, if we except nameless subordinates. The same purification is going on elsewhere, though the English system does not so much insist on the changes of employés, as that the employés themselves should change their opinions. How long would an English tide-waiter, for instance, keep his place should he vote against the ministerial candidate? I apprehend these things depend on a common principle (i.e. self-interest) everywhere, and that it makes little difference, in substance, what the form of government may happen to be.

But of all the charges that have been brought against us, the comparative instability of the public favour, supposed to be a consequence of fluctuations in the popular will, is the most audacious, for it is contradicted by the example of every royal government in Christendom. Since the formation of the present American constitution, there have been but two changes of administration, that have involved changes of principles, or changes in popular will;—that which placed Mr. Jefferson in the seat of Mr. Adams, senior, and that which placed Mr. Jackson in the seat of Mr. Adams, junior: whereas, during the short period of my visit to Europe, I have witnessed six or seven absolute changes of the English ministry, and more than twenty in France, besides one revolution. Liberty has been, hitherto, in the situation of the lion whose picture was drawn by a man, but which there was reason to think would receive more favourable touches, when the lion himself should take up the pallet.


LETTER XVII.

Our Voiturier and his Horses.—A Swiss Diligence.—Morat.—Inconstancy of feeling.—Our Route to Vévey.—Lake Leman.—Difficulty in hiring a House.—"Mon Repos" engaged for a mouth.—Vévey.—Tne great Square—The Town-house.—Environs of Vévey.—Summer Church and Winter Church.—Clergy of the Canton.—Population of Vaud.—Elective qualifications of Vaud.

Dear ——,

Le Petit Savoyard was punctual, and after breakfasting, away we rolled, along the even and beaten road towards Morat. This man and his team were epitomes of the voiturier caste and their fixtures. He himself was a firm, sun-burned, compact little fellow, just suited to ride a wheeler, while the horses were sinewy, and so lean, that there was no mistaking their vocation. Every bone in their bodies spoke of the weight of miladi, and her heavy English travelling chariot, and I really thought they seemed to be glad to get a whole American family in place of an Englishwoman and her maid. The morning was fine, and our last look at the Oberland peaks was sunny and pleasant. There they stood ranged along the horizon, like sentinels (not lighthouses) of the skies, severe, chiseled, brilliant, and grand.

Another travelling equipage of the gregarious kind, or in which the carriage as well as the horses was the property of the voiturier, and the passengers mere pic-nics, was before us in ascending a long hill, affording an excellent opportunity to dissect the whole party. As it is a specimen of the groups one constantly meets on the road, I will give you some idea of the component parts.

The voiturier was merely a larger brother of le petit Savoyard, and his horses, three in number, were walking bundles of chopped straw. The carriage was spacious, and I dare say convenient, though anything but beautiful. On the top there was a rail, within which effects were stowed beneath an apron, leaving an outline not unlike the ridges of the Alps. The merry rogues within had chosen to take room to themselves, and not a package of any sort encumbered their movements. And here I will remark, that America, free and independent, is the only country in which I have ever journeyed, where the comfort and convenience in the vehicle is the first thing considered, that of the baggage the next, and that of the passengers the last.[32] Fortunately for the horses, there were but four passengers, though the vehicle could have carried eight. One, by his little green cap, with a misshapen shade for the eyes; light, shaggy, uncombed hair; square high shoulders; a coat that appeared to be half-male half-female; pipe and pouch—was undeniably a German student, who was travelling south to finish his metaphysics with a few practical notions of men and things. A second was a Jew, who had trade in every lineament, and who belonged so much to the nation, that I could not give him to any other nation in particular. He was older, more wary, less joyous, and probably much more experienced, than either of his companions. When they laughed, he only smiled; when they sang, he hummed; and when they seemed thoughtful, he grew sad. I could make nothing out of him, except that he ran a thorough bass to the higher pitches of his companions' humours. The third was Italian "for a ducat." A thick, bushy, glossy, curling head of hair was covered by a little scarlet cap, tossed negligently on one side, as if lodged there by chance; his eye was large, mellow, black as jet, and full of fun and feeling; his teeth white as ivory; and the sun, the glorious sun, and the thoughts of Italy, towards which he was travelling, had set all his animal spirits in motion. I caught a few words in bad French, which satisfied me that he and the German were jeering each other on their respective national peculiarities. Such is man; his egotism and vanity first centre in himself, and he is ready to defend himself against the reproofs of even his own mother; then his wife, his child, his brother, his friend is admitted, in succession, within the pale of his self-love, according to their affinities with the great centre of the system; and finally he can so far expand his affections as to embrace his country, when that of another presents its pretensions in hostility. When the question arises, as between humanity and the beasts of the field, he gets to be a philanthropist!

Morat, with its walls of Jericho, soon received us, and we drove to an inn, where chopped straw was ordered for the horses, and a more substantial goûter for ourselves. Leaving the former to discuss their meal, after finishing our own, we walked ahead, and waited the appearance of the little Savoyard, on the scene of the great battle between the Swiss and the Burgundians. The country has undergone vast changes since the fifteenth century, and cultivation has long since caused the marsh, in which so many of the latter perished, to disappear, though it is easy to see where it must have formerly been. I have nothing new to say concerning Avenche, whose Roman ruins, after Rome itself, scarce caused us to cast a glance at them, and we drove up to the door of the Ours at Payerne, without alighting. When we are children, we fancy that sweets can never cloy, and indignantly repel the idea that tarts and sugar-plums will become matters of indifference to us; a little later we swear eternal constancy to a first love, and form everlasting friendships: as time slips away, we marry three or four wives, shoot a bosom-friend or two, and forget the looks of those whose images were to be graven on our hearts for ever. You will wonder at this digression, which has been excited by the simple fact that I actually caught myself gaping, when something was said about Queen Bertha and her saddle. The state of apathy to which one finally arrives is really frightful!

We left Payerne early, and breakfasted at the "inevitable inn" of Moudon. Here it was necessary to decide in what direction to steer, for I had left the charter-party with le petit Savoyard, open, on this essential point. The weather was so fine, the season of the year so nearly the same, and most of the other circumstances so very much like those under which we had made the enchanting passage along the head of the Leman four years before, that we yielded to the desire to renew the pleasures of such a transit, and turned our faces towards Vévey.

At the point where the roads separate, therefore, we diverged from the main route, which properly leads to Lausanne, inclining southward. We soon were rolling along the margin of the little blue lake that lies on the summit of the hills, so famous for its prawns. We knew that a few minutes would bring us to the brow of the great declivity, and all eyes were busy, and all heads eagerly in motion. As for myself, I took my station on the dickey, determined to let nothing escape me in a scene that I remembered with so much enduring delight.

Contrary to the standing rule in such cases, the reality surpassed expectation. Notwithstanding our long sojourn in Italy, and the great variety and magnificence of the scenery we had beheld, I believe there was not a feeling of disappointment among us all. There lay the Leman, broad, blue, and tranquil; with its surface dotted by sails, or shadowed by grand mountains; its shores varying from the impending precipice, to the sloping and verdant lawn; the solemn, mysterious, and glen-like valley of the Rhone; the castles, towns, villages, hamlets, and towers, with all the smiling acclivities loaded with vines, villas, and churches; the remoter pastures, out of which the brown chalets rose like subdued bas-reliefs, and the back-ground of dents, peaks, and glaciers. Taking it altogether, it is one of the most ravishing views of an earth that is only too lovely for its evil-minded tenants; a world that bears about it, in every lineament, the impression of its divine Creator!

One of our friends used to tell an anecdote of the black servant of a visitor at Niagara, who could express his delight, on seeing the falls, in no other way than by peals of laughter; and perhaps I ought to hesitate to confess it, but I actually imitated the Negro, as this glorious view broke suddenly upon me. Mine, however, was a laugh of triumph, for I instantly discovered that my feelings were not quite worn out, and that it was still possible to awaken enthusiasm within me, by the sight of an admirable nature.

Our first resolution was to pass a month in this beautiful region. Pointing to a building that stood a thousand feet below us, on a little grassy knoll that was washed by the lake, and which had the quaint appearance of a tiny chateau of the middle ages, we claimed it, at once, as the very spot suited for the temporary residence of your scenery-hunters. We all agreed that nothing could possibly suit us better, and we went down the descent, among vineyards and cottages, not building "castles in the air," but peopling one in a valley. It was determined to dwell in that house, if it could be had for love or money, or the thing was at all practicable.

It was still early when we reached the inn in Vévey, and I was scarcely on the ground, before I commenced the necessary inquiries about the little chateauish house. As is usual in some parts of Europe, I was immediately referred to a female commissionnaire, a sort of domestic broker of all-work. This woman supplies travelling families with linen, and, at need, with plate; and she could greatly facilitate matters, by knowing where and to whom to apply for all that was required; an improvement in the division of labour that may cause you to smile, but which is extremely useful, and, on the whole, like all division of labour, economical.

The commissionnaire informed us that there were an unusual number of furnished houses to be let, in the neighbourhood, the recent political movements having driven away their ordinary occupants, the English and Russians. Some of the proprietors, however, might object to the shortness of the time that we could propose for (a month), as it was customary to let the residences by the year. There was nothing like trying, however, and, ordering dinner to be ready against our return, we took a carriage and drove along the lake-shore as far as Clarens, so renowned in the pages of Rousseau. I ought, however, to premise that I would not budge a foot, until the woman assured me, over and over, that the little antiquated edifice, under the mountain, which had actually been a sort of chateau, was not at all habitable for a genteel family, but had degenerated to a mere coarse farm-house, which, in this country, like "love in a cottage," does better in idea than in the reality. We gave up our "castle under the hill" with reluctance, and proceeded to Clarens, where a spacious, unshaded building, without a spark of poetry about it, was first shown us. This was refused, incontinently. We then tried one or two more, until the shades of night overtook us. At one place the proprietor was chasing a cow through an orchard, and, probably a little heated with his exercise, he rudely repelled the application of the commissionnaire, by telling her, when he understood the house was wanted for only a month, that he did not keep a maison garnie. I could not affirm to the contrary, and we returned to the inn discomfited, for the night.

Early next morning the search was renewed with zeal. We climbed the mountain-side, in the rear of the town, among vines, orchards, hamlets, terraces castles, and villas, to see one of the latter, which was refused on account of its remoteness from the lake. We then went to see a spot that was the very beau idéal of an abode for people like ourselves, who were out in quest of the picturesque. It is called the Chateau of Piel, a small hamlet, immediately on the shore of the lake, and quite near Vévey, while it is perfectly retired. The house is spacious, reasonably comfortable, and had some fine old towers built into the modern parts, a detached ruin, and a long narrow terrace, under the windows, that overhung the blue Leman, and which faced the glorious rocks of Savoy. Our application for their residence was also refused, on account of the shortness of the time we intended to remain.[33]

We had in reserve, all this time, two or three regular maisons meublées in the town itself, and finally took refuge in one called "Mon repos," which stands quite near the lake, and in a retired corner of the place. A cook was engaged forthwith, and in less than twenty-four hours after entering Vévey, we had set up our household gods, and were to be reckoned among them who boiled our pot in the commune. This was not quite as prompt as the proceedings had been at Spa; but here we had been bothered by the picturesque, while at Spa we consulted nothing but comfort. Our house was sufficiently large, perfectly clean, and, though without carpets or mats, things but little used in Switzerland, quite as comfortable as was necessary for a travelling bivouac. The price was sixty dollars a month, including plate and linen. Of course it might have been got at a much lower rate, had we taken it by the year.

One of the first measures, after getting possession of Mon Repos, was to secure a boat. This was soon done, as there are several in constant attendance, at what is called the port. Harbour, strictly speaking, Vévey has none, though there is a commencement of a mole, which scarcely serves to afford shelter to a skiff. The crafts in use on the lake are large two-masted boats, having decks much broader than their true beam, and which carry most of their freight above board. The sails are strictly neither latine nor lug, but sufficiently like the former to be picturesque, especially in the distance. These vessels are not required to make good weather, as they invariably run for the land when it blows, unless the wind happen to be fair, and sometimes even then. Nothing can be more primitive than the outfit of one of these barks, and yet they appear to meet the wants of the lake. Luckily Switzerland has no custom-houses, and the King of Sardinia appears to be wise enough to let the Savoyards enjoy nearly as much commercial liberty as their neighbours. Three cantons, Geneva, which embraces its foot; Vaud, which bounds nearly the whole of the northern shore; Valais, which encircles the head; together with Savoy, which lies along the cavity of the crescent, are bounded by the lake. There are also many towns and villages on the lake, among which Geneva, Lausanne, and Vévey are the principal.

This place lies immediately at the foot of the Chardonne, a high retiring section of the mountains called the Jorat, and is completely sheltered from the north winds. This advantage it possesses in common with the whole district between Lausanne and Villeneuve, a distance of some fifteen miles, and, the mountains acting as great natural walls, the fruits of milder latitudes are successfully cultivated, notwithstanding the general elevation of the lake above the sea is near thirteen hundred feet. Although a good deal frequented by strangers, Vévey is less a place of fashionable resort than Lausanne, and is consequently much simpler in its habits, and I suppose cheaper, as a residence. It may have four or five thousand inhabitants, and possessing one or two considerable squares, it covers rather more ground than places of that population usually do, in Europe. It has no edifice of much pretension, and yet it is not badly built.

We passed the first three or four days in looking about us, and, on the whole, we have been rather pleased with the place. Our house is but a stone's throw from the water, at a point where there is what in the Manhattanese dialect would be called a battery.[34] This battery leads to the mole and the great square. At the first corner of the latter stands a small semi-castellated edifice, with the colours of the canton on the window-shutters, which is now in some way occupied for public purposes, and which formerly was the residence of the bailli, or the local governor that Berne formerly sent to rule them in the name of the Burgerschaft. The square is quite large, and usually contains certain piles of boards, &c. that are destined for the foot of the lake, lumber being a material article in the commerce of the place. On this square, also, is the ordinary market and several inns. The town-house is an ancient building in a more crowded quarter, and at the northern gate are the remains of another structure that has an air of antiquity, which I believe also belongs to the public. Beyond these and its glorious views, Vévey, in itself, has but little to attract attention. But its environs contain its sources of pride. Besides the lake-shore, which varies in its form and beauties, it is not easy to imagine a more charming acclivity than that which lies behind the town. The inclination is by no means as great, just at this spot, at it is both farther east and farther west, but it admits of cultivation, of sites for hamlets, and is much broken by inequalities and spacious natural terraces. I cannot speak with certainty of the extent of this acclivity, but, taking the eye for a guide, I should think there is quite a league of the inclined plane in view from the town. It is covered with hamlets, chateaux, country-houses, churches and cottages, and besides its vines, of which there are many near the town, it is highly beautiful from the verdure of its slopes, its orchards, and its groves of nut-trees.

Among other objects that crowd this back-ground, is a church which stands on a sharp acclivity, about a quarter of a mile on the rear of the town. It is a stone building of some size, and has a convenient artificial terrace that commands, as a matter of course, a most lovely view. We attended service in it the first Sunday after our arrival, and found the rites homely and naked, very much like those of our own Presbyterians. There was a luxury about this building that you would hardly expect to meet among a people so simple, which quite puts the coquetry of our own carpeted, cushioned, closet-like places of worship to shame. This is the summer church of Vévey, another being used for winter. This surpasses the refinement of the Roman ladies, who had their summer and their winter rings, but were satisfied to use the same temples all the year round. After all there is something reasonable in this indulgence: one may love to go up to a high place to worship, whence he can look abroad on the glories of a magnificent nature, which always disposes the mind to venerate Omnipotence, and, unable to enjoy the advantage the year round, there is good sense in seizing such occasions as offer for the indulgence. I have frequently met with churches in Switzerland perched on the most romantic sites, though this is the first whose distinctive uses I have ascertained. There is a monument to the memory of Ludlow, one of Charles' judges, in this church, and an inscription which attributes to him civic and moral merits of a high order.

The clergy in this canton, as in most, if not all the others, are supported by the state. There is religious toleration, much as it formerly existed in New England, each citizen being master of his religious professions, but being compelled to support religion itself. Here, however, the salaries are regulated by a common scale, without reference to particular congregations or parishes. The pastors at first receive rather less than three hundred dollars a year. This allowance is increased about fifty dollars at the end of six years, and by the same sum at each successive period of six years, until the whole amounts to two thousand Swiss, or three thousand French francs, which is something less than six hundred dollars. There is also a house and a garden, and pensions are bestowed on the widows and children. On the whole, the state has too much connexion with this great interest, but the system has the all-important advantage of preventing men from profaning the altar as a pecuniary speculation. The population of Vaud is about 155,000 souls, and there are one hundred and fifty-eight Protestant pastors, besides four Catholics, or about one clergyman to each thousand souls, which is just about the proportion that exists in New York.

In conversing with an intelligent Vaudois on returning from the church, I found that a great deal of interest is excited in this Canton by the late conspiracy in Berne. The Vaudois have got that attachment to liberty which is ever the result of a long political dependence, and which so naturally disposes the inferior to resist the superior. It is not pretended, however, that the domination of Berne was particularly oppressive, though as a matter of course, whenever the interests of Vaud happened to conflict with those of the great canton, the former had to succumb. Still the reaction of a political dependency, which lasted more than two centuries and a half, had brought about, even previously to the late changes, a much more popular form of government than was usual in Switzerland, and the people here really manifest some concern on the subject of this effort of aristocracy. As you may like to compare the elective qualifications of one of the more liberal cantons of the confederation with some of our own, I will give you an outline of those of Vaud, copied, in the substance, from Picot.

The voter must have had a legal domicile in the canton one year, be a citizen, twenty-five years old, and be of the number of the three-fourths of the citizens who pay the highest land-tax, or have three sons enrolled and serving in the militia. Domestics, persons receiving succour from the parishes, bankrupts, outlaws, and convicted criminals, are perpetually excluded from the elective franchise.

This system, though far better than that of France, which establishes a certain amount of direct taxation, is radically vicious, as it makes property, and that of a particular species, the test of power. It is, in truth, the old English plan a little modified; and the recent revolution that has lately taken place in England under the name of reform, goes to prove that it is a system which contains in itself the seeds of vital changes. As every political question is strictly one of practice, changes become necessary everywhere with the changes of circumstances, and these are truly reforms; but when they become so serious as to overturn principles, they produce the effects of revolutions, though possibly in a mitigated form. Every system, therefore, should be so framed as to allow of all the alterations which are necessary to convenience, with a strict regard to its own permanency as connected with its own governing principle. In America, in consequence of having attended to this necessity from the commencement, we have undergone no revolution in principle in half a century, though constantly admitting of minor changes, while nearly all Europe has, either in theory or in practice, or in both, been effectually revolutionized. Nor does the short period from which our independent existence dates furnish any argument against us, as it is not so much time, as the changes of which time is the parent, that tries political systems; and America has undergone the ordinary changes, such as growth, extension of interests, and the other governing circumstances of society, that properly belong to two centuries, within the last fifty years. America to-day, in all but government, is less like the America of 1776, than the France of to-day is like the France of 1600. While it is the fashion to scout our example as merely that of an untried experiment, ours is fast getting to be the oldest political system in Christendom, as applied to one and the same people. Nations are not easily destroyed,—they exist under a variety of mutations, and names last longer than things; but I now speak in reference to distinguishing and prominent facts, without regard to the various mystifications under which personal interests disguise themselves.


LETTER XVIII.

Neglect of the Vine in America.—Drunkenness in France.—Cholera especially fatal to Drunkards.—The Soldier's and the Sailor's Vice.—Sparkling Champagne and Still Champagne.—Excessive Price of these Wines in America.—Burgundy.—Proper soil for the Vine.—Anecdote.—Vines of Vévey.—The American Fox-grape.


Dear ——,

A little incident has lately impressed me with the great wealth of this quarter of the world in wines, as compared with our own poverty. By poverty, I do not mean ignorance of the beverage, or a want of good liquors; for I believe few nations have so many varieties, or varieties so excellent, as ourselves. Certainly it is not common to meet as good Bordeaux wines in Paris as in New York. The other good liquors of France are not so common; and yet the best Burgundy I ever drank was in America.[35] This is said without reference to the different qualities of the vineyards—but, by poverty, I mean the want of the vines.

Vineyards abound all over the American continent, within the proper latitudes, except in the portions of it peopled by the colonists who have an English origin. To this fact, then, it is fair to infer, that we owe the general neglect of this generous plant among ourselves. The Swiss, German, and French emigrants are already thinking of the vine, while we have been in possession of the country two centuries without making a cask of wine. If this be not literally true it is so nearly true, as to render it not less a leading fact. I do not attach exactly the same moral consequences to the want of the vine as is usually attributed to the circumstances by political economists; though I am of opinion that serious physical evils may be traced to this cause. Men will seek some stimulus or other, if it be attainable, place them in what situations you will, although wine is forbidden by the Koran, the Mahomedan is often intoxicated; and my own eyes have shown me how much drunkenness exists in the vine-growing countries of Europe. On this subject it may be well to say a word en passant.

I came to Europe under the impression that there was more drunkenness among us than in any other country, England, perhaps, excepted. A residence of six months in Paris changed my views entirely. You will judge of my surprise when first I saw a platoon of the Royal Guard,—literally a whole platoon, so far as numbers and the order of their promenade was concerned,—staggering drunk, within plain view of the palace of their master. From this time I became more observant, and not a day passed that I did not see men, and even women, in the same situation in the open streets. Usually, when the fact was mentioned to Americans, they expressed surprise, declaring they had never seen such a thing! They were too much amused with other sights to regard this; and then they had come abroad with different notions, and it is easier to float in the current of popular opinion than to stem it. In two or three instances I have taken the unbelievers with me into the streets, where I have never failed to convince them of their mistake in the course of an hour. These experiments, too, were usually made in the better quarters of the town, or near our own residence, where one is much less apt to meet with drunkenness than in the other quarters. On one occasion, a party of four of us went out with this object, and we passed thirteen drunken men, during a walk of an hour. Many of them were so far gone as to be totally unable to walk. I once saw, on the occasion of a festival, three men literally wallowing in the gutter before my window; a degree of beastly degradation I never witnessed in any other country.

The usual reply of a Frenchman, when the subject has been introduced, was that the army of occupation introduced the habit into the capital. But I have spoken to you of M——, a man whose candour is only equalled by his information. He laughed at this account of the matter, saying that he had now known France nearly sixty years; it is his native country; and he says that he cannot see any difference, in this particular, in his time. It is probable that, during the wars of Napoleon, when there was so great a demand for men of the lower classes, it was less usual to encounter this vice in the open streets, than now, for want of subjects; but, by all I can learn, there never was a time when drunkards did not abound in France. I do assure you that, in the course of passing between Paris and London, I have been more struck by drunkenness in the streets of the former, than in those of the latter.

Not long since, I asked a labourer if he ever got grisé, and he laughingly told me—"yes, whenever he could." He moreover added, that a good portion of his associates did the same thing. Now I take it, this word grisé contains the essence of the superiority of wine over whiskey. It means fuddled, a condition from which one recovers more readily, than from downright drunkenness, and of which the physical effects are not so injurious. I believe the consequences of even total inebriety from wine, are not as bad as those which follow inebriety from whiskey and rum. But your real amateur here is no more content with wine than he is with us; he drinks a white brandy that is pretty near the pure alcohol.

The cholera has laid bare the secrets of drunkenness, all over Europe. At first we were astonished when the disease got among the upper classes; but, with all my experience, I confess I was astonished at hearing it whispered of a gentleman, as I certainly did in a dozen instances—"mais il avait l'habitude de boire trop." Cholera, beyond a question, killed many a sober man, but it also laid bare the fault of many a devotee of the bottle.

Drunkenness, almost as a matter of course, abounds in nearly all, if not in all, the armies of Europe. It is peculiarly the soldier's and the sailor's vice, and some queer scenes have occurred directly under my own eyes here, which go to prove it. Take among others, the fact, that a whole guard, not long since, got drunk in the Faubourg St. Germain, and actually arrested people in the streets and confined them in the guard-house. The Invalids are notorious for staggering back to their quarters; and I presume I have seen a thousand of these worthies, first and last, as happy as if they had all their eyes, and arms, and legs about them. The official reports show ten thousand cases of females arrested for drunkenness, in Paris, during the last year.—But to return to our vineyards.

Although I am quite certain drunkenness is not prevented by the fact that wine is within the reach of the mass, it is easy to see that its use is less injurious, physically, than that of the stronger compounds and distillations, to which the people of the non-vine-growing regions have recourse as substitutes. Nature is a better brewer than man, and the pure juice of the grape is less injurious than the mixed and fiery beverages that are used in America. In reasonable quantities, it is not injurious at all. Five-and-twenty years since, when I first visited Europe, I was astonished to see wine drunk in tumblers. I did not at first understand that half of what I had up to that time been drinking was brandy, under the name of wine.

While our imported wines are, as a whole, so good, we do not always show the same discrimination in choosing. There is very little good champagne, for instance, drunk in America. A vast deal is consumed, and we are beginning to understand that it is properly a table-wine, or one that is to be taken with the meats; but sparkling champagne is, ex necessitate, a wine of inferior quality. No wine mousses, as the French term it, that has body enough to pass a certain period without fermentation. My friend de V—— is a proprietor of vines at Aï, and he tells me that the English take most of their good wines, which are the "still champagnes," and the Russians and the Americans the poor, or the sparkling. A great deal of the sparkling, however, is consumed in France, the price better suiting French economy. But the wine-growers of Champagne themselves speak of us as consumers of their second-class liquors.

I drunk at Paris, as good "sparkling champagne" as anybody I knew, de V—— having the good nature to let me have it, from his cellar, for the price at which it is sold to the dealer and exporter, or at three francs the bottle. The octroi and the transportation bring the price up to about three francs and a half. This then is the cost to the restaurateur and the innkeeper. These sell it again to their customers, at six francs the bottle. Now a bottle of wine ought not, and I presume does not, cost the American dealer any more; the difference in favour of the duty more than equalling the difference against them, in the transportation. This wine is sold in our eating-houses and taverns at two dollars, and even at two dollars and a half, the bottle! In other words, the consumer pays three times the amount of the first cost and charges. Now, it happens, that there is something very like free trade in this article, (to use the vernacular), and here are its fruits; You also see in this fact, the truth of what I have told you of our paying for the want of a class of men who wilt be content to be shopkeepers and innkeepers, and who do not look forward to becoming anything more. I do not say that we are the less respectable for this circumstance, but we are, certainly, as a people, less comfortable. Champagne, Rhenish, and Bordeaux wines ought to be sold in New York, quite as cheap as they are sold in the great towns of the countries in which they are made. They can be bought of the wine-merchants nearly as low, even as things are.

If the innkeepers and steam-boat stewards, of America, would buy and sell low-priced Burgundy wines, that, as the French call it, carry water well, as well as some other wines that might be named, the custom of drinking this innocent and useful beverage at table would become general, attention would then be paid to the vine, and in twenty years we should be consumers of the products of our own vineyards.

The idea that our winters are too severe can hardly be just. There may be mountainous districts where such is the fact, but, in a country that extends from the 27th to the 47th degrees of latitude, it is scarcely possible to suppose the vine cannot flourish. I have told you that wine is made on the Elbe, and it is made in more than half the Swiss cantons. Proper exposures and proper soil are necessary for good wines, anywhere, but nothing is easier than to have both. In America, I fear, we have hitherto sought land that was too rich; or rather, land that is wanting in the proper and peculiar richness that is congenial to the vine. All the great vineyards I have seen, and all of which I can obtain authentic accounts, are on thin gravelly soils; frequently, as is the case in the Rheingau, on decomposed granite, quartz, and sienite. Slate mixed with quartz on a clayish bottom, and with basalt, is esteemed a good soil, as is also marl and gravel. The Germans use rich manures, but I do not think this is the case in France.

The grape that makes good wine is rarely fit to eat. Much care is had to reject the defective fruit, when a delicate wine is expected, just as we cull apples to make fine cider. A really good vineyard is a fortune at once, and a tolerable one is as good a disposition as can be made of land. All the fine wines of Hockheim are said to be the produce of only eight or ten acres. There is certainly more land than this, in the vine, south of the village, but the rest is not esteemed to be Hockheimer.

Time is indispensable to fine wines, and time is a thing that an American lives too fast to spare. The grapes become better by time, although periodically renewed, and the wine improves in the same way. I have told you in these letters, that I passed a vineyard on the lake of Zurich of which there are records to show it has borne the vine five hundred years. Five centuries since, if historians are to be believed, the winters on this lake must have been as severe as they are usually on Champlain; they are almost as severe, even now.

Extraordinary characters are given to some of the vines here. Thus some of the Moselle wines, it is said, will not make good vinegar! If this be true, judging by my own experience, vinegar is converted into wines of the Moselle. I know no story of this sort, after all, that is more marvellous than one I have heard of the grandfather of A——, and which I believe to be perfectly true, as it is handed down on authority that can scarcely be called in question.

A pipe of Madeira was sent to him, about the year 1750, which proved to be so bad that, giving it up as a gone case, he ordered it to be put in the sun, with a bottle in its bung-hole, in order that it might, at least, make good vinegar. Bis official station compelled him to entertain a great deal, and his factotum, on these occasions, was a negro, whose name I have forgotten. This fellow, a capital servant when sober, occasionally did as he saw his betters do, and got drunk. Of course this greatly deranged the economy of the government dinners. On one occasion, particular care was taken to keep him in his right senses, and yet at the critical moment he appeared behind his master's chair, as happy as the best of them. This matter was seriously inquired into next day, when it was discovered that a miracle had been going on out of doors, and that the vinegar had been transformed into wine. The tradition is, that this wine was remarkable for its excellence, and that it was long known by the name of the negro, as the best wine of a colony, where more good wine of the sort was drunk, probably, than was ever known by the same number of people, in the same time, anywhere else. Now should one experimenting on a vineyard, in America, find vinegar come from his press, he would never have patience to let it ferment itself back into good liquor. Patience, I conceive, is the only obstacle to our becoming a great wine-growing and a great silk-growing country.

I have been led into these remarks by observing the vineyards here. The qualities of wines, of course, are affected by the positions of the vineyards, for all who can make wine do not make good wine, but the vines of Vévey, owing most probably to their exposure, are said to be the best of Switzerland. The best liquor comes from St. Saphorin, a hamlet that is quite near the town, which lies at the foot of the acclivity, described to you in our approach to this place. The little chateau-looking house that so much struck our fancies, on that occasion, is, in fact, in the immediate neighbourhood of the spot. All these circumstances show how much depends on minor circumstances in the cultivation of the vine, and how much may be expected from the plant, when care is had to respect them.

The heat may be too great for the vineyard as well as the cold. In Italy there is a practice of causing the vines to run on trees, in order to diminish the effect of the heat, by means of the shade they create. But the good wines are nearly everywhere, if not positively everywhere, produced from the short, clipped standards. This fact has induced me to think that we may succeed better with the vine in the middle, and even in the eastern, than in the southern and western states. I take it, the cold is of no importance, provided it be not so intense as to kill the plant, and the season is long enough to permit the fruit to ripen. It would be absurd in me, who have but a very superficial knowledge of the subject, to pretend to be very skillful in this matter, but I cannot help thinking that, if one had patience to try the experiment, it would be found the common the American fox-grape would in time bring a fine wine. It greatly resembles the grapes of some of the best vineyards here, and the fact of its not being a good eating grape is altogether in its favour.

In short, I throw it out as a conjecture more than as an ascertained fact, it is true, but from all I have seen in Europe, I am induced to think that, in making our experiments on the vine, we have been too ambitious to obtain a fat soil, and too warp of the higher latitudes of the country. A gravelly hill-side, in the interior, that has been well stirred, and which has the proper exposure, I cannot but thing would bring good wine, in all the low countries of the middle states.


LETTER XIX.

The Leman Lake.—Excursions on it.—The coast of Savoy.—Grandeur and beauty of the Rocks.—Sunset.—Evening Scene.—American Families residing on the banks of the Lake.—Conversation with a Vévaisan on the subject of America.—The Nullification Question.—America misrepresented in Europe.—Rowland Stephenson in the United States.—Unworthy arts to bring America into disrepute.—Blunders of Europe in respect of America.—The Kentuckians.—Foreign Associations in the States.—Illiberal Opinions of many Americans.—Prejudices.


Dear ——,

Our residence at Vévey, thus far, has been fruitful of pleasure. The lake, with its changeful aspects and movement, wears better even than the Oberland Alps, and we have now become thoroughly convinced of our mistake in establishing ourselves at Berne, beautiful as is that place, in 1828. The motive was a desire to be central, but Switzerland is so small that the distances are of no great moment, and I would advise all our friends who intend to pass a summer in the cantons, and who have need of a house, to choose their station somewhere on the shores of the Leman. Two steam-boats ply daily in different directions, and it is of little consequence at which end one may happen to be. Taking everything into consideration "mon lac est le premier" is true; though it may be questioned if M. de Voltaire ever saw, or had occasion to see, half of its advantages.

We never tire of the Leman, but spend two or three hours every day in the boat. Sometimes we row in front of the town, which literally stands in the water, in some places, musing on the quaint old walls, and listening to the lore of honest John, who moves two crooked oars as leisurely as a lady of the tropic utters, but who has seen great events in his time. Sometimes even this lazy action is too much for the humour of the moment, and we are satisfied with drifting along the shore, for there is generally current enough to carry us the whole length of Vévey in half an hour. Occasionally we are tossed about like an egg-shell, the winds at a distance soon throwing this part of the sheet into commotion. On the whole, however, we have, as yet, had little besides calms, and, what is unusual in Switzerland, not a drop of rain.

We have no reason to suspect the lake to be unhealthy, for we are often out until after sunset, without experiencing any ill effects. The shores are everywhere bold about Vévey, though the meadows and the waters meet near the entrance of the Rhone, some eight or ten miles from this place, in a way to raise the thoughts of rushes and lilies, and a suspicion of fevers. The pure air and excellent food of the mountains, however, have done us all good thus far, and we are looking eagerly forward to the season of grapes, which is drawing near, and which every body says make those who are perfectly well, infinitely better.

I have not yet spoken to you of the greatest charm in the scenery of Vévey, and the one which perhaps has given us the highest degree of satisfaction. The coast of Savoy, immediately opposite the town, is a range of magnificent rocks, that rises some four or five thousand feet above the surface of the water. In general these precipices are nearly perpendicular, though their surfaces are broken by huge ravines, that may well be termed valleys. This is the region that impends over Meillerie, St. Gingoulph, and Evian, towns or hamlets that cling to the bases of the mountains, and form, of themselves, beautiful objects, from this side of the lake. The distance from Vévey to the opposite shore, agreeably to the authority of old John, our boatman, is about five miles, though the great purity of the atmosphere and the height of the land make it appear less. The summit of the rocks of Savoy are broken into the most fantastical forms, so beautifully and evenly drawn, though they are quite irregular and without design, that I have termed them natural arabesques. No description can give you an accurate idea of their beauty, for I know nothing else in nature to compare them to. As they lie nearly south of us, I cannot account for the unusual glow of the atmosphere behind them, at every clear sunset, except from the reflection of the glaciers; Mont Blanc lying in that direction, at the distance of about fifty miles, though invisible. Now the effect of the outline of these rocks, at, or after sunset, relieved by a soft, golden sky, is not only one of the finest sights of Switzerland, but, in its way, is just the most perfect spectacle I have ever beheld. It is not so apt to extort sudden admiration, as the rosy tints and spectral hues of the high Alps, at the same hour; but it wins on you, in the way the lonely shadows of the Apennines grow on the affections, and, so far from tiring or becoming satisfied with their view, each successive evening brings greater delight than the last. You may get some idea of what I mean, by imagining vast arabesques, rounded and drawn in a way that no art can equal, standing out huge, and dark, and grand, in high relief, blending sublimity with a bewitching softness, against a sky. whose light is slowly passing from the glow of fiery gold, to the mildest tints of evening. I scarcely know when this scene is most to be admired; when the rocks appear distinct and brown, showing their material, and the sky is burnished; or when the first are nearly black masses, on whose surfaces nothing is visible, and the void beyond is just pregnant with sufficient light to expose their exquisite forms. Perhaps this is the perfection of the scene, for the gloom of the hour throws a noble mystery over all.

These are the sights that form the grandest features in Swiss scenery. That of the high peaks cut off from the earth by the clouds, is perhaps the most extraordinary of them all; but I think this of the rocks of Savoy the one that wins the most on the affections, although this opinion is formed from a knowledge of the general fact that objects which astonish so greatly at first, do not, as a rule, continue the longest to afford pleasure, for I never saw the former spectacle but twice and on one of those occasions, imperfectly. No dilettanti were ever more punctual at the opening of the orchestra, than we are at this evening exhibition, which, very much like a line and expressive harmony, grows upon us at each repetition. All this end of the lake, as we float lazily before the town, with the water like a mirror, the acclivity behind the town gradually darkening upward under the retiring light, the remote Alpine pastures just throwing out their chalets, the rocks of Savoy and the sublime glen of the Rhone, with the glacier of Mont Velan in its depths, raising its white peak into the broad day long after evening has shadowed everything below, forms the most perfect natural picture I have ever seen.

You can easily fancy how much we enjoy all this. John and his boat have been in requisition nearly every evening since our arrival; and the old fellow has dropped so readily into our humours, that his oars rise and fall in a way to produce a melancholy ripple, and little else. The sympathy between us is perfect, and I have almost fancied that his oars daily grow more crooked and picturesque.

We are not alone, however, in the possession of so much natural beauty. No less than seven American families, including ourselves, are either temporarily established on or quite near this lake, or are leisurely moving around its banks. The fame of the beauty of the women has already reached our ears, though, sooth to say, a reputation of that sort is not very difficult of attainment in this part of the world. With one of these families we were intimate in Italy, the tie of country being a little increased by the fact that some of their connexions were also ours. They hurried from Lausanne to meet us, the moment they were apprized of our arrival, and the old relations have been re-established between us. Since this meeting excursions have been planned, and it is probable that I may have something to communicate, in reference to them.

A day or two since I met a Vévaisan on the public promenade, with whom business had led to a slight acquaintance. We saluted, and pursued our walk together. The conversation soon turned on the news from America, where nullification is, just now, menacing disunion. The Swiss are the only people, in Europe, who appear to me to feel any concern in what has been generally considered to be a crisis in our affairs. I do not wish to be understood as saying that individuals of other nations do not feel the same friendly interest in our prosperity, for perhaps a million such might be enumerated in the different nations of Europe, the extreme liberals everywhere looking to our example as so much authority in favour of their doctrines; but, after excluding the mass, who have too much to do to live, to trouble themselves with concerns so remote, so far as my knowledge extends, the great majority on this side the Atlantic, without much distinction of country, Switzerland excepted, are waiting with confidence and impatience for the knell of the Union. I might repeat to you many mawkish and unmeaning declarations to the contrary of all this, but I deem them to be mere phrases of society to which no one, in the least acquainted with the world, can attach any importance; and which, as they have never deceived me, I cannot wish should be made the means of deceiving you. Men generally hesitate to avow in terms, the selfishness and illiberality that regulate all their acts and wishes, and he who is credulous enough to mistake words for deeds, or even thoughts, in this quarter of the world, will soon become the dupe of more than half of those he meets. I believe I never mentioned to you an anecdote of Sir James Mackintosh, which bears directly on this subject. It was at a dinner given by Sir ——, that some one inquired if he (Sir James Mackintosh) had ever discovered the author of a certain libellous attack on himself. "Not absolutely, though I have no doubt that —— was the person. I suspected him at once; but meeting him in Pall Mall, soon after the article appeared, he turned round and walked the whole length of the street with me, covering me with protestations of admiration and esteem, and then I felt quite sure of my man!"

My Vévaisan made many inquiries as to the probable result of the present struggle, and appeared greatly gratified when I told him that I apprehended no serious danger to the republic. I made him laugh by mentioning the opinion of the witty Abbé Correa, who said, "The Americans are great talkers on political subjects; you would think they were about to fly to their arms, and just as you expect a revolution, they go home and drink tea." My acquaintance was anxious to know if our government had sufficient strength to put down nullification by force, for he had learned there was but a single sloop of war, and less than a battalion of troops, in the disaffected part of the country. I told him we possessed all the means that are possessed in other countries to suppress rebellion, although we had not thought it necessary to resort to the same system of organization. Our government was mild in principle, and did not wish to oppress even minorities; but I made no doubt of the attachment of a vast majority to the Union, and, when matters really came to a crisis, if rational compromise could not effect the object, I thought nine men in ten would rally in its defence. I did not believe that even civil war was to produce results in America different from what it produced elsewhere. Men would fight in a republic as they fought in monarchies, until they were tired, and an arrangement would follow. It was not common for a people of the same origin, of similar habits, and contiguous territory, to dismember an empire by civil war, unless violence had been used in bringing them together, or conquest had first opened the way to disunion. I did not know that we were always to escape the evils of humanity any more than others, or why they were to fall heavier on us, when they proceeded from the same causes, than on our neighbours. As respects the small force in Carolina, I thought it argued our comparative strength, rather than our comparative weakness. Here were loud threats of resistance, organized and even legal means to effect it, and yet the laws were respected, when sustained by only a sloop of war and two companies of artillery. If France were to recall her battalions from La Vendée, Austria her divisions from Italy, Russia her armies from Poland, or England her troops from India or Ireland, we all know that those several countries would be lost, in six months, to their present possessors. As we had our force in reserve, it really appeared to me that either our disaffection was very different from the disaffection of Europe, or that our institutions contained some conservative principle that did not usually exist in this hemisphere. My Vévaisan was curious to know to which of these circumstances I ascribed the present quiet in Carolina. I told him to both. The opposition in that state, as a whole, were honest in their views; and, though some probably meant disunion, the greater part did not. It was a governing principle of our system to seek redress by appeals to the source of power, and the majority were probable looking still, to that quarter, of relief. Under other systems, rebellion, nine times in ten, having a different object, would not be checked by this expectation.

The Swiss listened to all this attentively, and remarked that America had been much misrepresented in Europe, and that the opinion was then getting to be general in his country, from improper motives. He told me that a great deal had been said about the proceedings in the case of Rowland Stephenson, and he frankly asked me to explain them; for, being a commercial man, he admitted that injurious impressions had been made even on himself in relation to that affair. This was the third Swiss who had alluded to this subject, the other two instances occurring at Rome. In the latter cases, I understood pretty distinctly that there were reports current that the Americans were so desirous of obtaining rich emigrants, that they had rescued a criminal in order to reap the benefit of his gold!

Of course I explained the matter, by simply stating the facts, adding, that the case was an admirable illustration of the treatment America had received from Europe, ever since 1776. An Englishman, a member of Parliament, by the way, had absconded from his own country, taking shelter in ours, by the mere accident of meeting at sea a Swedish brig bound thither. A reward was offered for his arrest, and certain individuals had taken on themselves, instigated by whom I know not, to arrest him on a retired road, in Georgia, and to bring him covertly within the jurisdiction of New York, with the intention to send him clandestinely on board a packet bound to Europe. Now a grosser abuse than an act like this could not well be committed. No form of law was observed, and the whole proceeding was a violation of justice, and of the sovereignty of the two states interested. It is true the man arrested was said to be guilty of gross fraud; but where such practices obtain, guilt will soon cease to be necessary in order to commit violence. The innocent may be arrested wrongfully, too. As soon as the circumstances became known, an application was made to the proper authorities for relief, which was granted on a principle that obtained in all civilized countries, where right is stronger than might. Had any one been transferred from Canada to England, under similar circumstances, he would have been entitled to the same relief, and there is not a jurist in England who does not know the fact; and yet this transaction, which, if it redound to the discredit of either nation at all, (an exaggerated opinion, I admit,) must redound to the discredit of that which produced the delinquent, and actually preferred him to one of its highest legislative stations, has been so tortured all over Europe, as to leave an impression unfavourable to America!

Now I tell you, dear ——, as I told my Vévaisan, that this case is a very fair example of the manner in which, for seven years, I have now been an attentive observer of the unworthy arts used to bring us into disrepute. The power to injure, in order to serve their own selfish views, which old-established and great nations possess over one like our own, is not fully appreciated in America, nor do we attach sufficient importance to the consequences. I am not conscious of a disposition to shut my eyes to our own peculiar national defects, more especially since the means of comparison have rendered me more sensible of their nature and existence; but nothing can be more apparent to any man of ordinary capacity, who has enjoyed the opportunities necessary to form a correct judgment, than the fact, that the defects usually imputed to us here, such as the want of morals, honesty, order, decency, liberality, and religion, are, in truth, as the world goes, the strong points of American character; while some of those on which we are a little too apt to pride ourselves,—intelligence, taste, manners, and education, for instance, as applied to all beyond the base of society,—are, in truth, those on which it would most become us to be silent. Others may tell you differently, especially those who are under the influence of the "trading humanities," a class that is singularly addicted to philanthropy or vituperation, as the balance-sheet happens to show variations of profit and loss.

I told my Swiss that one of the reasons why Europe made so many blunders in her predictions about America, was owing to the fact that she sought her information in sources ill qualified, and, perhaps, ill disposed to impart it. Most of the information of this nature that either entered or left America, came, like her goods, through two or three great channels, or sea-ports, and these were thronged with the natives of half the countries of Europe; commercial adventurers, of whom not one in five ever got to feel or think like Americans. These men, in some places, possess even a direct influence over a portion of the press, and by these means, as well as by their extended correspondence, they disseminate erroneous notions of the country abroad. The cities themselves, as a rule, or rather the prominent actors in the towns, do not represent the tone of the nation, as is proved on nearly every distinctive political question that arises, by the towns almost uniformly being found in the minority, simply because they are purely trading communities, follow the instinct of their varying interests, and are ready to shout in the rear of any leader who may espouse them. Now these foreign merchants, as a class, are always found on the side which is the most estranged from the regular action of the institutions of the country. In America, intelligence is not confined to the towns; but, as a rule, there is less of it there than among the rural population. As a proof of the errors which obtain on the subject of America in Europe, I instanced the opinion which betrayed itself in England, the nation which ought to know us best, during the war of 1812. Feeling a commercial jealousy itself, its government naturally supposed her enemies were among the merchants, and that her friends were to be found in the interior. The fact would have exactly reversed this opinion, an opinion whose existence is betrayed in a hundred ways, and especially in the publications of the day. It was under this notion that our invaders made an appeal to the Kentuckians for support! Now, there was not, probably, a portion of the earth where less sympathy was to be found for England than in Kentucky, or, in short, along the whole western frontier of America, where, right or wrong, the people attribute most of their Indian wars to the instigation of that power. Few foreigners took sufficient interest in the country to probe such a feeling; and England, being left to her crude conjectures, and to theories of her own, had probably been thus led into one of the most absurd of all the blunders of this nature that she could possibly have committed. I believe that a large proportion of the erroneous notions which exist in Europe, concerning American facts, proceed from the prejudices of this class of the inhabitants.[36]


In order to appreciate the influence of such a class of men, it is necessary to recollect their numbers, wealth, and union, it has often been a source of mortification to me to see the columns of the leading journals of the largest town of the republic, teeming with reports of the celebrations of English, Irish, German, French, and Scotch societies; and in which the sentiments promulgated, half of the time, are foreign rather than American. Charitable associations, as charities, may be well enough, but the institutions of the country, so generous and liberal in themselves, are outraged by every factitious attempt to overshadow them by these appeals to the prejudices and recollections of another state of society. At least, we might be spared the parade in the journals, and the offensive appearance of monopolizing the land, which these accounts assume. Intelligent travellers observe and comment on these things, and one of them quaintly asked me, not long since, "if really there were no Americans in America?" Can it be matter of surprise that when the stranger sees these men so prominent in print and in society, (in many instances quite deservedly), he should mistake their influence, and attach an importance to their opinions which they do not deserve? That Europe has been receiving false notions of America from some source, during the present century, is proved by the results so completely discrediting her open predictions; and, while I know that many Americans have innocently aided in the deception, I have little doubt that the foreign merchants established in the country have been one of the principal causes of the errors.

It is only necessary to look back within our own time, to note the progress of opinion, and to appreciate the value of those notions that some still cherish, as containing all that is sound and true in human policy. Thirty years ago, the opinion that it was unsafe to teach the inferior classes to read, "as it only enabled then to read bad books," was a common and favourite sentiment of the upper classes in England. To-day, it is a part of the established system of Austria to instruct her people! I confess that I now feel mortified and grieved when I meet with an American gentleman who professes anything but liberal opinions, as respects the rights of his fellow-creatures. Although never illiberal, I trust, I do not pretend that my own notions have not undergone changes, since, by being removed from the pressure of the society in which I was born, my position, perhaps, enables me to look around, less influenced by personal considerations than is usual; but one of the strongest feelings created by an absence of so many years from he me, is the conviction that no American can justly lay claim to be, what might be and ought to be the most exalted of human beings, the milder graces of the Christian character excepted, an American gentleman, without this liberality entering thoroughly into the whole composition of his mind. By liberal sentiments, however, I do not mean any of the fraudulent cant that is used, in order to delude the credulous; but the generous, manly determination to let all enjoy equal political rights, and to bring those to whom authority is necessarily confided, as far as practicable, under the control of the community they serve. Opinions like these have little in common with the miserable devices of demagogues, who teach the doctrine that the people are infallible; or that the aggregation of fallible parts, acting, too, with diminished responsibilities, form an infallible whole; which is a doctrine almost as absurd as that which teaches us to believe "the people are their own worst enemies;" a doctrine, which, if true, ought to induce those who profess it, to forbid any man from managing his own affairs, but compel him to confide them to the management of others; since the elementary principle is the same in communities and individuals, and, as regards interests, neither would go wrong unless deceived.

I shall not conceal from you the mortification and regret I have felt at discovering, from this distance, and it is more easily discovered from a distance than when near by, how far, how very far, the educated classes of America are, in opinion, (in my poor judgment, at least), behind the fortunes of the country. Notions are certainly still entertained at home, among this class, that are frankly abandoned here, by men of any capacity, let their political sect be what it may; and I have frequently seen assertions and arguments used, in Congress, that, I think, the dullest Tory would now hesitate about using in Parliament. I do not say that certain great prejudices are not yet prevalent in England, that are exploded with us; but my remark applies to some of the old and cherished theories of government, which have been kept alive as theories in England, long after they have ceased to be recognised in practice, and some of which, indeed, like that of the doctrine of a balance between different powers in the state, never had any other than a theoretical existence, at all. The absurd doctrine just mentioned has many devout believers, at this moment, in America, when a moment's examination must show its fallacy. The democracy of a country, in the nature of things, will possess its physical force. Now give to the physical force of a community an equal political power, and the moment it finds itself gravely interested in supporting or defeating any measure, it will fall back on its strength, set the other estates at defiance, and blow your boasted balance of power to the winds! There never has been an active democratical feature in the government of England; nor have the commons, since they have enjoyed anything like independence, been aught but an auxiliary to the aristocracy, in a modified form. While the king was strong, the two bodies united to put him down, and, as he got to be weak, they gradually became identified, to reap the advantages. What is to come remains to be seen.


LETTER XX.

The Equinox.—Storm on the Lake.—Chase of a little Boat.—Chateau of Blonay.—Drive to Lausanne.—Mont Benon.—Trip to Geneva in the Winkelried.—Improvements in Geneva.—Russian Travellers.—M. Pozzo di Borgo.—Table d'hôte.—Extravagant Affirmations of a Frenchman.—Conversation with a Scotchman.—American Duels.—Visit at a Swiss Country-house.—English Customs affected in America.—Social Intercourse in the United States.—Difference between a European and an American Foot and Hand.—Violent Gale.—Sheltered position of Vévey.—Promenade.—Picturesque View.—The great Square.—Invitation.—Mountain Excursion.—An American Lieutenant.—Anecdote.—Extensive Prospect.—Chateau of Glayrole.

Dear ——,

We have had a touch of the equinox, and the Leman has been in a foam, but its miniature anger, though terrible enough at times, to those who are embarked on its waters, can never rise to the dignity of a surf and a rolling sea. The rain kept me housed, and old John and I seized the occasion to convert a block of pine into a Leman bark, for P——. The next day proving fair, our vessel, fitted with two latine sails, and carrying a weather helm, was committed to the waves, and away she went, on a wind, toward the opposite shore. P——, of course, was delighted, and clapped his hands, until, perceiving that it was getting off the land, he compelled us to enter the boat and give chase. A chase it was, truly; for the little thing went skipping from wave, to wave, in such a business-like manner, that I once thought it would go all the way to Savoy. Luckily a flaw caused it to tack, when it soon became our prize. We were a long distance off when the boat was overtaken, and I thought the views behind the town finer, at that position, than when nearer in. I was particularly struck with the appearance of the little chateau of Blonay, which is still the residence of a family of the same name, that has been seated, for more than seven centuries, on the same rocky terrace. I was delighted to hear that its present owner is a liberal, as every ancient gentleman should be. Such a man ought to be cautious how he tarnishes his lineage with unjust or ungenerous sentiments.

The equinoctial blow returned the next day, and the lake became really fine, in a new point of view; for, aided by the mountains, it succeeded in getting up a very respectable appearance of fury. The sail-boats vanished, and even the steamers went through it with a good deal of struggling and reluctance.

As soon as the weather became better, we went to Lausanne, preferring the road, with a view to see the country. It is not easy to fancy anything prettier than this drive, which ran, nearly the whole distance, along the foot of hills, that would be mountains anywhere else, and quite near the water. The day was beautiful, and we had the lake, with its varying scenery and movement, the whole time in sight; while the road, an excellent solid wheel-track, wound between the walls of vineyards, and was so narrow as scarcely to admit the passage of two carriages at a time. At a short distance from Lausanne, we left the margin of the lake, and ascended to the level of the town, through a wooded and beautifully ornamented country.

We found our friends established in one of the numberless villas that dot the broken land around the place, with their windows commanding most of that glorious view that I have already described to you. Mont Benon, a beautiful promenade, was close at hand, and, in the near view, the eye ranged over fields, verdant and smooth lawns, irregular in their surfaces, and broken by woods and country-houses. A long attenuated reach of the lake stretched away towards Geneva, while the upper end terminated in its noble mountains, and the mysterious, glen-like gorge of Valais. We returned from this excursion in the evening, delighted with the exterior of Lausanne, and more and more convinced that, all things considered, the shores of this lake unite greater beauties, with better advantages as a residence, than any other part of Switzerland.

After remaining at Vévey a day or two longer, I went to Geneva, in the Winkelried, which had got a new commander; one as unaffected as his predecessor had been fantastical. Our progress was slow, and, although we reached the port early enough to prevent being locked out, with the exception of a passage across Lake George, in which the motion seemed expressly intended for the lovers of the picturesque, I think this the most deliberate run, or rather walk, I ever made by steam.

I found Geneva much changed, for the better, in the last four years. Most of the hideous sheds had been pulled down from the fronts of the houses, and a stone pier is building, that puts the mighty port of New York, with her commercial energies, to shame. In other respects, I saw no material alterations in the place. The town was crowded, more of the travellers being French, and fewer English, than common. As for the Russians, they appear to have vanished from the earth, to my regret; for in addition to being among the most polished people one meets, (I speak of those who travel), your Russian uniformly treats the American kindly. I have met with more personal civilities, conveyed in a delicate manner, from these people, and especially from the diplomatic agents of Russia, than from any others in Europe, and, on the whole, I have cause, personally, to complain of none; or, in other words, I do not think that personal feeling warps my judgment, in this matter. M. Pozzo di Borgo, when he gave large entertainments, sent a number of tickets to Mr. Brown to be distributed among his countrymen, and I have heard this gentleman say, no other foreign minister paid him this attention. All this may be the result of policy, but it is something to obtain civil treatment in this world, on any terms. You must be here, to understand how completely we are overlooked.

Late as we were, we were in time for dinner, which I took at a table d'hôte that was well crowded with French. I passed as an Englishman, as a matter of course, and had reason to be much amused with some of the conversation. One young Frenchman very coolly affirmed that two members had lately fought with pistols in the hall of Congress, during the session, and his intelligence was received with many very proper exclamations of horror. The young man referred to the rencontre which took place on the terrace of the Capitol, in which the party assailed was a member of Congress; but I have no doubt he believed all he said, for such is the desire to blacken the American name just now, that every unfavourable incident is seized upon and exaggerated, without shame or remorse. I had a strong desire to tell this young man that the affair to which he alluded, did not differ essentially from that of M. Calémard de Lafayette[37], with the exception that no one was slain at Washington; but I thought it wiser to preserve my incognito.

The next day our French party was replaced by another, and the master of the house promoted me to the upper end of his table, as an old boarder. Here I found myself, once more, in company with an Englishman, an Irishman, and a Scotchman. The two former sat opposite to me, and the last at my side. The civilities of the table passed between us, especially between the Scotchman and myself, with whom I fell into discourse. After a little while, my neighbour, a sensible shrewd fellow enough, by the way of illustrating his opinion, and to get the better of me, cited some English practice, in connexion with "you in England." I told him I was no Englishman. "No Englishman! you are not a Scotchman?" "Certainly not." "Still less an Irishman!" "No." My companion now looked at me as hard as a well-bred man might, and said earnestly, "Where did you learn to speak English so well?" "At home, as you did—I am an American." "Umph!" and a silence of a minute; followed by abruptly putting the question of—"What is the reason that your duels in America are so bloody?—I allude particularly to some fought in the Mediterranean by your naval officers. We get along, with less vindicative fighting." As this was rather a sharp and sudden shot, I thought it best to fire back, and I told him, "that as to the Mediterranean, our officers were of opinion they were ill-treated, till they began to shoot those who inflicted the injuries; since which time all had gone on more smoothly. According to their experience, their own mode of fighting was much the most efficacious, in that instance at least."

As he bore this good-naturedly, thinking perhaps his abrupt question merited a saucy answer, we soon became good friends. He made a remark or two, in better taste than the last, on the facts of America, and I assured him he was in error, showing him wherein his error lay. He then asked me why some of our own people did not correct the false impressions of Europe, on the subject of America, for the European could only judge by the information laid before him. He then mentioned two or three American writers, who he thought would do the world a service by giving it a book or two, on the subject. I told him that if they wrote honestly and frankly, Europe would not read their books, for prejudice was not easily overcome, and no favourable account of us would be acceptable. It would not be enough for us to confess our real faults, but we should be required to confess the precise faults that, according to the notions of this quarter of the world, we are morally, logically, and politically bound to possess. This he would not admit, for what man is ever willing to confess that his own opinions are prejudiced?

I mention this little incident, because its spirit, in my deliberate judgment, forms the rule, in the case of the feeling of all British subjects, and I am sorry to say the subjects of most other European countries; and the mawkish sentiment and honeyed words that sometimes appear in toasts, tavern dinners, and public speeches, the exception. I may be wrong, as well as another, but this, I repeat for the twentieth time, is the result of my own observations; you know under what opportunities these observations have been made, and how far they are likely to be influenced by personal considerations.

In the evening I accompanied a gentleman, whose acquaintance I had made at Rome, to the country-house of a family that I had also had the pleasure of meeting during their winter's residence in that town. We passed out by the gate of Savoy, and walked a mile or two, among country-houses and pleasant alleys of trees, to a dwelling not unlike one of our own, on the Island of Manhattan, though furnished with more taste and comfort than it is usual to meet in America. M. and Mad. N—— were engaged to pass the evening at the house of a connexion near by, and they frankly proposed that we should be of the party. Of course we assented, leaving them to be the judges of what was proper.

At this second dwelling, a stone's throw from the other, we found a small party of sensible and well-bred people, who received me as a stranger, with marked politeness, but with great simplicity. I was struck with the repast, which was exactly like what a country tea is, or perhaps I ought to say, used to be, in respectable families, at home, who have not, or had not, much of the habits of the world. We all sat round a large table, and, among other good things that were served, was an excellent fruit tart! I could almost fancy myself in New England, where I remember a judge of a supreme court once gave me custards, at a similar entertainment. The family we had gone to see, were perhaps a little too elegant for such a set-out, for I had seen them in Rome with mi-lordi and monsignori, at their six o'clock dinners; but the quiet good sense with which everybody dropped into their own distinctive habits at home, caused me to make a comparison between them and ourselves, much to the disadvantage of the latter. I do not mean that usages ought not to change, but that usages should be consistent with themselves, and based on their general fitness and convenience for the society for which they are intended. This is good sense, which is commonly not only good-breeding, but high-breeding.

The Genevois are French in their language, in their literature, and consequently in many of their notions. Still they have independence enough to have hours, habits, and rules of intercourse that they find suited to their own particular condition. The fashions of Paris, beyond the point of reason, would scarcely influence them; and the answer would probably be, were a discrepancy between the customs pointed out, "that the usage may suit Paris, but it does not suit Geneva." How is it with, us? Our women read in novels and magazines, that are usually written by those who have no access to the society they write about, and which they oftener caricature than describe, that people of quality in England go late to parties; and they go late to parties, too, to be like English people of quality. Let me make a short comparison, by way of illustration. The English woman of quality, in town, rises at an hour between nine and twelve. She is dressed by her maid, and if there are children, they are brought to her by a child's maid: nourishing them herself is almost out of the question. Her breakfast is eaten between eleven and one. At three or four she may lunch. At four she drives out; at half-past seven she dines. At ten she begins to think of the evening's amusement, and is ready for it, whatever it may be, unless it should happen to be the opera, or the theatre, (the latter being almost proscribed as vulgar), when she necessarily forces herself to hours a little earlier. She returns home, between one and four, is undressed by her maid, and sleeps until ten or even one, according to circumstances. These are late hours, certainly, and in some respects unwise; but they have their peculiar advantages, and, at all events, they are consistent with themselves.

In New York, the house is open for morning visits at twelve, and with a large straggling town, bad attendance at the door, and a total want of convenience in public vehicles, unless one travels in a stage-coach, yclept an omnibus, it is closed at three, for dinner. Sending a card would be little short of social treason. We are too country-bred for such an impertinence. After dinner, there is an interval of three hours, when tea is served, and the mistress of the house is at a loss for employment until ten, when she goes into the world, in order to visit at the hour she has heard, or read, that fashion prescribes such visits ought to be made, in other countries, England in particular. Here she remains until one or two, returns home, undresses herself, passes a sleepless morning, perhaps, on account of a cross child, and rises at seven to make her husband's coffee at eight!

There is no exaggeration in this, for such is the dependence and imitation of a country that has not sufficient tone to think and act for itself, in still graver matters, that the case might even be made stronger, with great truth.—The men are no wiser. When invited, they dine at six; and at home, as a rule, they dine between three and four. A man who is much in society, dines out at least half his time, and consequently he is eating one day at four and the next at six, all winter!

The object of this digression is to tell you that, so far as my observation goes, we are the only people who do not think and act for ourselves, in these matters. French millinery may pass current throughout Christendom, for mere modes of dress are habits scarce worth resisting; but in Germany, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, or wherever we have resided, I have uniformly found that, in all essentials, the people have hours and usages of their own, founded on their own governing peculiarities of condition. In America, there is a constant struggle between the force of things and imitation, and the former often proving the strongest, it frequently renders the latter lame, and, of course, ungraceful. In consequence of this fact, social intercourse with us is attended with greater personal sacrifices, and returns less satisfaction, than in most other countries. There are other causes, beyond a doubt, to assist in producing such a result; more especially in a town like New York, that doubles its population in less than twenty years; but the want of independence, and the weakness of not adapting our usages to our peculiar condition, ought to be ranked among the first. In some cases, necessity compels us to be Americans, but whenever there is a tolerable chance, we endeavour to become "second chop English."

In a fit of gallantry, I entered a jeweller's shop, next day, and bought a dozen or fifteen rings, with a view to distribute them, on my return, among my young country women at Vévey, of whom there were now not less than eight or ten, three families having met at that place. It may serve to make the ladies of your family smile, when I add, that, though I was aware of the difference between a European and an American foot and hand,[38] every one of my rings, but three, had to be cut, in order to be worn! It will show you how little one part of mankind know the other, if I add, that I have often met with allusions in this quarter of the world to the females of America, in which the writers have evidently supposed them to be coarse and masculine! The country is deemed vulgar, and by a very obvious association, it has been assumed that the women of such a country must have the same physical peculiarities as the coarse and vulgar here. How false this notion is, let the rings of Geneva testify; for when I presented my offerings, I was almost laughed out of countenance.

A wind called the bise had been blowing for the last twenty-four hours, and when we left Vévey the gale was so strong, that the steam-boat had great difficulty in getting ahead. This is a north wind, and it forces the water, at times, into the narrow pass at the head of the lake, in a way to cause a rise of some two or three feet. We had taken a large empty bark in tow, but by the time we reached Nyon, where the lake widens suddenly, the boat pitched and struggled so hard, as to render it advisable to cast off the tow, after which we did much better. The poor fellow, as he fell off broadside to the sea, which made a fair breach over him, and set a shred of sail, reminded me of a man who had been fancying himself in luck, by tugging at the heels of a prosperous friend, but who is unexpectedly cut adrift, when he is found troublesome. I did not understand his philosophy, for, instead of hauling in for the nearest anchorage, he kept away before it, and ran down for Geneva, as straight as a bee that is humming towards its hive.

The lake gradually grew more tranquil as we proceeded north, and from Lausanne to Vévey we actually had smooth water. I saw vessels becalmed, or with baffling winds, under this shore, while the bise was blowing stiff, a few leagues farther down the lake. When I got home I was surprised to hear that the family had been boating the previous evening, and that there had scarcely been any wind during the day. This difference was owing to the sheltered position of Vévey, of which the fact may serve to give you a better notion than a more laboured description.

The following morning was market-day, and I walked upon the promenade early, to witness the arrival of the boats. There was not a breath of wind, even to leeward, for the bise had blown itself out of breath. The bay of Naples, in a calm, scarcely presents a more picturesque view, than the head of the lake did, on this occasion. I counted more than fifty boats in sight; all steering towards Vévey, stealing along the water, some crossing from Savoy, in converging lines, some coming down, and others up the sheet, from different points on the Swiss side. The great square was soon crowded, and I walked among the peasants to observe their costumes and listen to their language. Neither, however, was remarkable, all speaking French, and, at need, all I believe using a patois, which does not vary essentially from that of Vaud. There was a good deal of fruit, some of which was pretty good, though it did not appear in the abundance we had been taught to expect. The grapes were coming in, and they promised to be fine. Though it is still early for them, we have them served at breakfast, regularly, for they are said to be particularly healthful when eaten with the morning dew on them. We try to believe ourselves the better for a regimen that is too agreeable to be lightly dropped. Among other things in the market, I observed the inner husks of Indian corn, that had been dried in a kiln or oven, rubbed, and which were now offered for sale as the stuffing of beds. It struck me that this was a great improvement on straw.

I had received a visit the day before from a principal inhabitant of Vévey, with an invitation to breakfast, at his country-house, on the heights. This gratuitous civility was not to be declined, though it was our desire to be quiet, as we considered the residence at Vévey, a sort of villagiatura, after Paris. Accordingly, I got into a char, and climbed the mountain for a mile and a half, through beautiful pastures and orchards, by narrow winding lanes, that, towards the end, got to be of a very primitive character. Without this little excursion, I should have formed no just idea of the variety in the environs of the place, and should have lost a good deal of their beauty. I have told you that this acclivity rises behind the town, for a distance exceeding a mile, but I am now persuaded it would have been nearer the truth had I said a league. The majesty of Swiss nature constantly deceives the eye, and it requires great care and much experience to prevent falling into these mistakes. The house I sought, stood on a little natural terrace, a speck on the broad breast of the mountain, or what would be called a mountain, were it not for the granite piles in its neighbourhood, and was beautifully surrounded by woods, pastures, and orchards. We were above the vine.

A small party, chiefly females, of good manners and great good sense, were assembled, and our entertainment was very much what it ought to be, simple, good, and without fuss. After I had been formally presented to the rest of the company, a young man approached, and was introduced as a countryman. It was a lieutenant of the navy, who had found his way up from the Mediterranean squadron to this spot. It is so unusual to meet Americans under such circumstances, that his presence was an agreeable surprise. Our people abound in the taverns and public conveyances, but it is quite rare that they are met in European society at all.

One of the guests to-day recounted an anecdote of Cambacérè's, which was in keeping with a good banquet. He and the arch-chancelier were returning from a breakfast in the country, together, when he made a remark on the unusual silence of his companion. The answer was, "Je digère."

We walked through the grounds, which were prettily disposed, and had several good look-outs. From one of the latter we got a commanding view of all the adjacent district. This acclivity is neither a côte, as the French call them, nor a hill-side, nor yet a mountain, but a region. Its breadth is sufficiently great to contain hamlets, as you already know, and, seen from this point, the town of Vévey came into the view, as a mere particle. The head of the lake lay deep in the distance, and it was only when the eye rose to the pinnacles of rock, hoary with glaciers above, that one could at all conceive he was not already perched on a magnificent Alp. The different guests pointed out their several residences, which were visible at the distance of miles, perhaps, all seated on the same verdant acclivity.

I descended on foot, the road being too precipitous in places to render even a char pleasant. On rejoining the domestic circle, we took boat and pulled towards the little chateau-looking dwelling, on a narrow verdant peninsula, which, as you may remember, had first caught my eye on approaching Vévey, as the very spot that a hunter of the picturesque would like for a temporary residence. The distance was about a mile, and, the condition of the house excepted, a nearer view confirmed all our first impressions. It had been a small chateau, and was called Glayrole. It stands near the hamlet of St. Saphorin, which, both François and Jean maintain, produces the best wines of Vaud, and, though now reduced to the condition of a dilapidated farm-house, has still some remains of its ancient state. There is a ceiling, in the Ritter Saal, that can almost vie with that of the castle of Habsburg, though it is less smoked. The road, more resembling the wheel-track of a lawn than a highway, runs quite near the house on one side, while the blue and limpid lake washes the foot of the little promontory.


LETTER XXI.

Embark in the Winkelried.—Discussion with an Englishman.—The Valais.—Free Trade.—The Drance.—Terrible Inundation.—Liddes.—Mountain Scenery.—A Mountain Basin.—Dead-houses.—Melancholy Spectacle.—Approach of Night.—Desolate Region.—Convent of the Great St. Bernard.—Our Reception there.—Unhealthiness of the Situation.—The Superior.—Conversation during Supper.—Coal-mine on the Mountain.—Night in the Convent.

Dear ——,

After spending a few more days in the same delightful and listless enjoyments, my friend C—— came over from Lausanne, and we embarked in the Winkelried, on the afternoon of the 25th September, as she hove-to off our mole, on her way up the lake. We anchored off Villeneuve in less than an hour, there being neither port, nor wharf, nor mole at that place. In a few minutes we were in a three-horse conveyance, called a diligence, and were trotting across the broad meadows of the Rhone towards Bex, where we found one of our American families, the T——s, on their way to Italy.

C—— and myself ate some excellent quails for supper in the public room. An Englishman was taking the same repast, at another table, near us, and he inquired for news, wishing particularly to know the state of things about Antwerp. This led to a little conversation, when I observed that, had the interests of France been consulted at the revolution of 1830, Belgium would have been received into the kingdom. Our Englishman grunted at this, and asked me what Europe would have said to it. My answer was, that when both parties were agreed, I did not see what Europe had to do with the matter; and that, at all events, the right Europe could have to interfere was founded in might; and such was the state of south-western Germany, Italy, Savoy, Spain, and even England, that I was of opinion Europe would have been glad enough to take things quietly. At all events, a war would only have made the matter worse for the allied monarchs. The other stared at me in amazement, muttered an audible dissent, and, I make no doubt, set me down as a most disloyal subject; for, while extending her empire, and spreading her commercial system, (her Free Trade à l'Anglaise!) over every nook and corner of the earth where she can get footing, nothing sounds more treasonable to the ears of a loyal Englishman than to give the French possession of Antwerp, or the Russians possession of Constantinople. So inveterate become his national feelings on such subjects, that I am persuaded a portion of his antipathy to the Americans arises from a disgust at hearing notions that have been, as it were, bred in and in, through his own moral system, contemned in a language that he deems his own peculiar property. Men, in such circumstances, are rarely very philosophical or very just.

We were off in a char with the dawn. Of course you will understand that we entered the Valais by its famous bridge, and passed St. Maurice, and the water-fall à la Teniers; for you have already travelled along this road with me. I saw no reason to change my opinion of the Valais, which looked as chill and repulsive now as it did in 1828, though we were so early on the road as to escape the horrible sight of the basking crétins, most of whom were still housed. Nor can I tell you how far these people have been elevated in the scale of men by an increasing desire for riches.

At Martigny we breakfasted, while the innkeeper sent for a guide. The canton has put these men under a rigid police, the prices being regulated by law, and the certificate of the traveller becoming important to them. This your advocate of the absurdity called Free Trade will look upon as tyranny, it being more for the interest of human intercourse than the traveller who arrives in a strange country should be cheated by a hackney-coachman, or the driver of a cart, or stand higgling an hour in the streets, than to violate an abstraction that can do no one any good! If travelling will not take the minor points of free tradeism out of a man, I hold him to be incorrigible. But such is humanity! There cannot be even a general truth, that our infirmities do not lead us to push it into falsehood, in particular practice. Men are no more fitted to live under a system that should carry out the extreme doctrines of this theory, than they are fitted to live without law; and the legislator who should attempt the thing in practice, would soon find himself in the condition of Don Quixote, after he had liberated the galley-slaves from their fetters:—in other words, he would be cheated the first moment circumstances compelled him to make a hard bargain with a stranger. Were the canton of Valais to say, you shall be a guide, and such shall be your pay, the imputation of tyranny might lie; by saying, you may be a guide, and such must be your pay, it merely legislates for an interest that calls for particular protection in a particular way, to prevent abuses.

Our guide appeared with two mules harnessed to a char à banc, and we proceeded. The fragment of a village which the traveller passes for Martigny, on his way to Italy, is not the true hamlet of that name, but a small collection of houses that has sprung up since the construction of the Simplon road. The real place is a mile distant, and of a much more rural and Swiss character. Driving through this hamlet, we took our way along the winding bank of a torrent called the Drance, the direction, at first, being south. The road was not bad, but the valley had dwindled to a gorge, and, though broken and wild, was not sufficiently so to be grand. After travelling a few miles, we reached a point where our own route diverged from the course of the Drance, which came in from the east, while we journeyed south. This Drance is the stream that produced the terrible inundation a few years since. The calamity was produced by an accumulation of ice higher in the gorges, which formed a temporary lake. The canton made noble efforts to avert the evil, and men were employed as miners, to cut a passage for the water, through the ice, but their labour proved useless, although they had made a channel, and the danger was greatly lessened. Before half the water had escaped, however, the ice gave way, and let the remainder of the lake down in a flood. The descent was terrific, sweeping before it every thing that came in its way, and although so distant, and there was so much space, the village of Martigny was deluged, and several of its people lost their lives. The water rose to the height of several feet on the plain of the great valley, before it could disgorge itself into the Rhone.

The ascents now became more severe, though we occasionally made as sharp descents. The road lay through a broken valley, the mountains retiring from each other a little, and the wheel-track was very much like those we saw in our own hilly country, some thirty years since, though less obstructed by mud. At one o'clock we reached Liddes, a crowded, rude, and dirty hamlet, where we made a frugal repast. Here we were compelled to quit the char, and to saddle the mules. The guide also engaged another man to accompany us with a horse, that carried provender for himself, and for the two animals we had brought with us. We then mounted, and proceeded.

On quitting Liddes, the road, or rather path, for it had dwindled to that, led through a valley that had some low meadows; after which the ascents became more decided, though the course had always been upward. The vegetation gradually grew less and less, the tree diminishing to the bush, and finally disappearing altogether, while the grasses became coarse and wiry, or were entirely superseded by moss. We went through a hamlet or two, composed of stones stained apparently with iron ore, and, as the huts were covered with the same material, instead of lending the landscape a more humanized air, they rather added to its appearance of sterile dreariness. There were a few tolerably good bits of savage mountain scenes, especially in a wooded glen or two by the wayside; but, on the whole, I thought this the least striking of the Swiss mountains I had ascended.

We entered a sort of mountain basin, that was bounded on one side by the glacier of Mont Vélan; that which so beautifully bounds the view up the Valais, as seen from Vévey. I was disappointed in finding an object which, in the distance, was so white and shining, much disfigured and tarnished by fragments of broken rock. Still the summit shone, in cold and spotless lustre. There was herbage for a few goats here, and some one had commenced the walls of a rude building that was intended for an inn. No one was at work near it, a hut of stone, for the shelter of the goatherds, being all that looked like a finished human habitation.

Winding our way across and out of this valley, we came to a turn in the rocks, and beheld two more stone cabins, low and covered, so as to resemble what in America are called root-houses. They stood a little from the path, on the naked rock. Crossing to them, we dismounted and looked into the first. It was empty, had a little straw, and was intended for a refuge, in the event of storms. Thrusting my head into the other, after the eye had got a little accustomed to the light, I saw a grinning corpse seated against the remotest side. The body looked like a mummy, but the clothes were still on it, and various shreds of garments lay about the place. The remains of other bodies, that had gradually shrunk into shapeless masses, were also dimly visible. Human bones, too, were scattered around. It is scarcely necessary to add that this was one of the dead-houses, or places in which the bodies of those who perish on the mountain are deposited, to waste away, or to be claimed, as others may or may not feel an interest in their remains. Interment could only be effected by penetrating the rock, for there was no longer any soil, and such is the purity of the atmosphere that putrescence never occurs.

I asked the guide if he knew anything of the man, whose body still retained some of the semblance of humanity. He told me he remembered him well, having been at the convent in his company. It was a poor mason, who had crossed the col, from Piémont, in quest of work; failing of which, he had left Liddes, near nightfall, in order to enjoy the unremitting hospitality of the monks on his return, about a fortnight later. His body was found on the bare rock, quite near the refuge, on the following day. The poor fellow had probably perished in the dark, within a few yards of shelter, without knowing it. Hunger and cold, aided, perhaps, by that refuge of the miserable, brandy, had destroyed him. He had been dead now two years, and yet his remains preserved a hideous resemblance to the living man.

Turning away from this melancholy spectacle, I looked about me with renewed interest. The sun had set, and evening was casting its shadows over the valley below, which might still be seen through the gorges of our path. The air above, and the brown peaks that rose around us like gloomy giants, were still visible in a mellow saddened light, and I thought I had never witnessed a more poetical, or a more vivid picture of the approach of night. Following the direction of the upward path, a track that was visible only by the broken fragments of rock, and which now ascended suddenly, an opening was seen between two dark granite piles, through which the sky beyond still shone, lustrous and pearly. This opening appeared to be but a span. It was the col, or the summit of the path, and gazing at it, in that pure atmosphere, I supposed it might be half a mile beyond and above us. The guide shook his head at this conjecture, and told me it was still a weary league!

At this intelligence we hurried to bestride our mules, which by this time were fagged, and as melancholy as the mountains. When we left the refuge there were no traces of the sun on any of the peaks or glaciers. A more sombre ascent cannot be imagined. Vegetation had absolutely disappeared, and in its place lay scattered the fragments of the ferruginous looking rocks. The hue of every object was gloomy as desolation could make it, and the increasing obscurity served to deepen the intense interest we felt. Although constantly and industriously ascending towards the light, it receded faster than we could climb. After half an hour of toil, it finally deserted us to the night. At this moment the guide pointed to a mass that I had thought a fragment of the living rock, and said it was the roof a building. It still appeared so near, that I fancied we had arrived; but minute after minute went by, and this too was gradually swallowed up in the gloom. At the end of another quarter of an hour, we came to a place where the path, always steep since quitting the refuge, actually began to ascend by a flight of broad steps formed in the living rock, like that already mentioned on the Righi, though less precipitous. My weary mule seemed at times, to be tottering beneath my weight, or hanging in suspense, undecided, whether or not to yield to the downward pressure. It was quite dark, and I thought it best to trust to his instinct and his recollections. This unpleasant struggle between animal force and the attraction of gravitation, in which the part I played was merely to contribute to the latter, lasted nearly a quarter of an hour longer, when the mules appeared to be suddenly relieved. They moved more briskly for a minute, and then stopped before a pile of rock, that a second look in the dark enabled us to see was made of stone, thrown into the form of a large rude edifice. This was the celebrated convent of the Great St. Bernard!

I bethought me of the Romans, of the marauders of the middle ages, of the charity of a thousand years, and of Napoleon, as throwing a leg over the crupper, my foot first touched the rock. Our approach had been heard, for noises ascend far through such a medium, and we were met at the door by a monk in a black gown, a queer Asiatic-looking cap, and a movement that was as laical as that of a garçon de café. He hastily enquired if there were any ladies, and I thought he appeared disappointed when we told him no. He showed us very civilly, however, into a room, that was warmed by a stove, and which already contained two travellers, who had the air of decent tradesmen who were crossing the mountain on business. A table was set for supper, and a lamp or two threw a dim light around.

The little community soon assembled, the prior excepted, and the supper was served. I had brought a letter for the clavier, a sort of caterer, who is accustomed to wander through the vallies in quest of contributions; and this appeared to be a good time for presenting it, as our reception had an awkward coldness that was unpleasant. The letter was read, but it made no apparent difference in the warmth of our treatment then or afterwards. I presume the writer had unwittingly thrown the chill, which the American name almost invariably carries with it, over our reception.

By this time seven of the Augustines were in the room; four of whom were canons, and three novices. The entire community is composed of about thirty, who are professed, with a suitable number who are in their noviciate; but only eight in all are habitually kept on the mountain, the rest residing in a convent in the bourg, as the real village of Martigny is called. It is said that the keen air of the col affects the lungs after a time, and that few can resist its influence for a long continued period. You will remember that this building is the most elevated permanent abode in Europe, if not in the Old World, standing at a height of about 8,000 English feet above the sea.

As soon as the supper was served, the superior or prior entered. He had a better air than most of his brethren, and was distinguished by a gold chain and cross. The others saluted him by removing their caps; and proceeding to the head of the table, he immediately commenced the usual offices in Latin, the responses being audibly made by the monks and novices. We were then invited to take our places at table, the seats of honour being civilly left for the strangers. The meal was frugal, without tea or coffee, and the wine none of the best. But one ought to be too grateful for getting anything in such a place, to be too fastidious.

During supper there was a free general conversation, and we were asked for news, the movements in La Vendée being evidently a subject of great interest with them. Our French fellow-traveller on the lake of Brientz had been warm in his eulogiums on this community, and, coupling his conversation with the present question, the suspicion that they were connected by a tie of common feeling flashed upon me. A few remarks soon confirmed this conjecture, and I found, as indeed was natural for men in their situation, that these religious republicans[39] took a strong interest in the success of the Carlists. Men may call themselves what they will, live where they may, and assume what disguises artifice or necessity may impose, political instincts, like love, or any other strong passion, are sure to betray themselves to an experienced observer. How many of our own republicans, of the purest water, have I seen sighing for ribands and stars—ay, and men too who appear before the nation as devoted to the institutions and the rights of the mass. The Romish church is certain to be found in secret on the side of despotic power, let its pretensions to liberty be what it may, its own form of government possessing sympathies with that of political power too strong to be effectually concealed. I will not take on myself to say that the circumstance of our being Americans caused the fraternity to manifest for us less warmth than common, but I will say that our Carlist of the lake of Brientz eloquently described the warm welcome and earnest hospitality of les bons pères, as he called them, in a way that was entirely inapplicable to their manner towards us. In short, the only way we could excite any warmth in them, was by blowing the anthracite coal, of which we had heard they had discovered a mine on the mountain. This was a subject of great interest, for you should know that, water excepted, every necessary of life is to be transported, for leagues to this place, up the path we came, on the backs of mules; and that about 8,000 persons cross the mountain annually; all, or nearly all, of whom lodge, of necessity, at the convent. The elevation renders fires constantly necessary for comfort, to say nothing of cooking; and a mine of gold could scarcely be as valuable to such a community, as one of coal. Luckily, C——, like a true Pennsylvanian, knew something about anthracite, and by making a few suggestions, and promising further intelligence, he finally succeeded in throwing one or two of the community into a blaze.

A little before nine, we were shown into a plain but comfortable room, with two beds loaded with blankets, and were left to our slumbers. Before we fell asleep, C—— and myself agreed, that, taking the convent altogether, it was a rum place, and that it required more imagination than either of us possessed, to throw about it the poetry of monastic seclusion, and the beautiful and simple hospitality of the patriarchs.


LETTER XXII.

Sublime Desolation.—A Morning Walk.—The Col.—A Lake.—Site of a Roman Temple.—Enter Italy.—Dreary Monotony.—Return to the Convent—Tasteless Character of the Building.—Its Origin and Purposes.—The Dead-house.—Dogs of St. Bernard.—The Chapel.—Desaix interred here.—Fare of St. Bernard, and Deportment of the Monks.—Leave the Convent.—Our Guide's Notion of the Americans.—Passage of Napoleon across the Great St. Bernard.—Similar Passages in former times.—Transport of Artillery up the Precipices.—Napoleon's perilous Accident.—Return to Vévey.


Dear ——,

The next morning we arose betimes, and on thrusting my head out of a window, I thought, by the keen air, that we had been suddenly transferred to Siberia. There is no month without frost at this great elevation, and as we had now reached the 27th September, the season was essentially beginning to change. Hurrying our clothes on, and our beards off, we went into the air to look about us.

Monks, convent, and historical recollections were, at first, all forgotten, at the sight of the sublime desolation that reigned around. The col is a narrow ravine, between lofty peaks, which happens to extend entirely across this point of the Upper Alps, thus forming a passage several thousand feet lower than would otherwise be obtained. The convent stands within a few yards of the northern verge of the precipice, and precisely at the spot where the lowest cavity is formed, the rocks beginning to rise, in its front and in its rear, at very short distances from the buildings. A little south of it, the mountains recede sufficiently to admit the bed of a small, dark, wintry-looking sheet of water, which is oval in form, and may cover fifty or sixty acres. This lake nearly fills the whole of the level part of the col, being bounded north by the site of the convent, east by the mountain, west by the path, for which there is barely room between the water and the rising rocks, and south by the same path, which is sheltered on its other side by a sort of low wall of fragments, piled some twenty or thirty feet high. Beyond these fragments, or isolated rocks, was evidently a valley of large dimensions.

We walked in the direction of this valley, descending gradually from the door of the convent, some thirty feet to the level of the lake. This we skirted by the regular path, rock smoothed by the hoof of horse and foot of man, until we came near the last curve of the oval formation. Here was the site of a temple erected by the Romans in honour of Jupiter of the Snows, this passage of the Alps having been frequented from the most remote antiquity. We looked at the spot with blind reverence, for the remains might pass for these of a salad-bed of the monks, of which there was one enshrined among the rocks hard by, and which was about as large, and, I fancy, about as productive, as those that are sometimes seen on the quarter-galleries of ships. At this point we entered Italy!

Passing from the frontier, we still followed the margin of the lake, until we reached a spot where its waters trickled, by a low passage, southward. The path took the same direction, pierced the barrier of low rocks, and came out on the verge of the southern declivity, which was still more precipitous than that on the other side. For a short distance the path ran en corniche along the margin of the descent, until it reached the remotest point of what might be called the col, whose southern edge is irregular, and then it plunged, by the most practicable descent which could be found, towards its Italian destination. When at this precise point our distance from the convent may have been half a mile, which, of course, is the breadth of the col. We could see more than half a league down the brown gulf below, but no sign of vegetation was visible. Above, around, beneath, wherever the eye rested—the void of the heavens, the distant peaks of snow, the lake, the convent and its accessories excepted—was dark, frowning rock, of the colour of iron rust. As all the buildings, even to the roofs, were composed of this material, they produced little to relieve the dreary monotony.

The view from the col is in admirable keeping with its desolation. One is cut off completely from the lower world, and, beyond its own immediate scene, nothing is visible but the impending arch of heaven, and heaving mountain tops. The water did little to change this character of general and savage desolation, for it has the chill and wintry air of all the little mountain reservoirs that are so common in the Alps. If anything, it rather added to the intensity of the feeling to which the other parts of the scenery gave rise.

Returning from our walk, the convent and its long existence, the nature of the institution, its present situation, and all that poetical feeling could do for both, were permitted to resume their influence; but, alas! the monks were common-place, their movements and utterance wanted the calm dignity of age and chastened habits, the building had too much of the machinery, smell, and smoke of the kitchen; and, altogether, we thought that the celebrated convent of St. Bernard was more picturesque on paper than in fact. Even the buildings were utterly tasteless, resembling a barnish-looking manufactory, and would be quite abominable, but for the delightfully dreary appearance of their material.

It is a misfortune that vice so often has the best of it in outward appearance. Although a little disposed to question the particular instance of taste, in substance, I am of the opinion of that religionist who was for setting his hymns to popular airs, in order "that the devil might not monopolize all the good music," and, under this impression, I think it a thousand pities that a little better keeping between appearances and substance did not exist on the Great St. Bernard.

The convent is said to have been established by a certain Bernard de Menthon, an Augustine of Aoste, in 962, who was afterwards canonized for his holiness. In that remote age the institution must have been eminently useful, for posting and Macadamized roads across the Alps were not thought of. It even does much good now, as nine-tenths who stop here are peasants that pay nothing for their entertainment. At particular seasons, and on certain occasions, they cross in great numbers, my guide assuring me he had slept at the convent when there were eight hundred guests; a story, by the way, that one of the monks confirmed. Some fair or festival, however, led to this extraordinary migration. Formerly the convent was rich, and able to bear the charges of entertaining so many guests; but since the Revolution it has lost most of its property, and has but a small fixed income. It is authorized, however, to make periodical quêtes in the surrounding country, and obtains a good deal in that way. All who can pay, moreover, leave behind them donations of greater or less amount, and by that means the charity is still maintained.

As many perish annually on the mountain, and none are interred, another dead-house stands quite near the convent for the reception of the bodies. It is open to the air, and contained forty or fifty corpses in every stage of decay apart from putrescency, and was a most revolting spectacle. When the flesh disappears entirely, the bones are cast into a small enclosure near by, in which skulls, thigh-bones, and ribs were lying in a sort of waltz-like confusion.

Soon after our return from the walk into Italy, a novice opened a little door in the outer wall of the convent, and the famous dogs of St. Bernard rushed forth like so many rampant tigers, and most famous fellows they certainly were. Their play was like that of elephants, and one of them rushing past me, so near as to brush my clothes, gave me to understand that a blow from him might be serious. There were five of them in all, long-legged, powerful mastiffs, with short hair, long bushy tails, and of a yellowish hue. I have seen very similar animals in America. They are trained to keep the paths, can carry cordials and nourishment around their necks, and frequently find bodies in the snow by the scent. But their instinct and services have been greatly exaggerated, the latter principally consisting in showing the traveller the way, by following the paths themselves. Were one belated in winter on this pass, I can readily conceive that a dog of this force that knew him, and was attached to him, would be invaluable. Some pretend that the ancient stock is lost, and that their successors show the want of blood of all usurpers.

We were now shown into a room where there was a small collection of minerals, and of Roman remains found about the ruins of the temple. At seven we received a cup of coffee and some bread and butter, after which the prior entered, and invited us to look at the chapel, which is of moderate dimensions, and of plain ornaments. There is a box attached to a column, with tronc pour les pauvres, and as all the poor in this mountain are those who enjoy the hospitality of the convent, the hint was understood. We dropped a few francs into the hole, while the prior was looking earnestly the other way, and it then struck us we were at liberty to depart. The body of Desaix lies in this chapel, and there is a small tablet in it, erected to his memory.

It would be churlish and unreasonable to complain of the fare, in a spot where food is to be had with so much difficulty; and, on that head, I shall merely say, in order that you may understand the fact, that we found the table of St. Bernard very indifferent. As to the deportment of the monks, certainly, so far as we were concerned, it had none of that warmth and hospitality that travellers have celebrated; but, on the contrary, it struck us both as cold and constrained, strongly reminding me, in particular, of the frigidity of the ordinary American manner.[40] This might be discipline; it might be the consequence of habitual and incessant demands on their attentions and services; it might be accidental; or it might be prejudice against the country from which we came, that was all the stronger for the present excited state of Europe.

Our mules were ready, and we left the col immediately after breakfast. A ridge in the rock, just before the convent, is the dividing line for the flow of the waters. Here a little snow still lay; and there were patches of snow, also, on the northern face of the declivity, the remains of the past winter.

We chose to walk the first league, which brought us to the refuge. The previous day, the guide had given us a great deal of gossip; and, among other things, be mentioned having been up to the convent lately, with a family of Americans, whom he described as a people of peculiar appearance, and peculiar odour. By questioning him a little, we discovered that he had been up with a party of coloured people from St. Domingo. His head was a perfect Babel as it respected America, which was not a hemisphere, but one country, one government, and one people. To this we were accustomed, however; and, finding that we passed for English, we trotted the honest fellow a good deal on the subject of his nasal sufferings from travelling in such company. On the descent we knew that we should encounter the party left at Bex, and our companion was properly prepared for the interview. Soon after quitting the refuge, the meeting took place, to the astonishment of the guide, who gravely affirmed, after we had parted, that there must be two sorts of Americans, as these we had just left did not at all resemble those he had conducted to the convent. May this little incident prove an entering wedge to some new ideas in the Valais, on the subject of the "twelve millions!"

The population of this canton, more particularly the women, were much more good-looking on the mountain than in the valley. We saw no crétins after leaving Martigny; and soft lineaments, and clear complexions, were quite common in the other sex.

You will probably wish to know something of the celebrated passage of Napoleon, and of its difficulties. As far as the ascent was concerned, the latter has been greatly exaggerated. Armies have frequently passed the Great St. Bernard. Aulus Coecinna led his barbarians across in 69; the Lombards crossed in 547; several armies in the time of Charlemagne, or about the year 1000; and in the wars of Charles le Téméraire, as well as at other periods, armies made use of this pass. Near the year 900, a strong body of Turkish corsairs crossed from Italy, and seized the pass of St. Maurice. Thus history is full of events to suggest the idea of crossing.

Nor is this all. From the time the French entered Switzerland in 1796, troops occupied, manoeuvred, and even fought on this mountain. The Austrians having succeeded in turning the summit, contended an entire day with their enemies, who remained masters of the field, or rather rock. Ebel estimates the number of the hostile troops who were on this pass, between the years 1798 and 1801, 150,000, including the army of Napoleon, which was 30,000 strong.

These facts of themselves, and I presume they cannot be contested, give a totally different colouring, from that which is commonly entertained, to the conception of the enterprise of the First Consul, so far as the difficulties of the ascent were concerned. If the little community can transport stores for 8,000 souls to the convent, there could be no great difficulty in one, who had all France at his disposal, in throwing an army across the pass. When we quitted Martigny, I began to study the difficulties of the route, and though the road as far as Liddes has probably been improved a little within thirty years, taking its worst parts, I have often travelled, in my boyhood, during the early settlement of our country, in a heavy, high, old-fashioned coach over roads that were quite as bad, and, in some places, over roads that were actually more dangerous, than any part of this, as far as Liddes. Even a good deal of the road after quitting Liddes is not worse than that we formerly travelled, but wheels are nearly useless for the last league or two. As we rode along this path, C—— asked me in what manner I would transport artillery up such an ascent. Without the least reflection I answered, by making sledges of the larches, which is an expedient that I think would suggest instantly itself to nineteen men in twenty. I have since understood from the Duc de ——, who was an aide of Napoleon, on the occasion of the passage, that it was precisely the expedient adopted. Several thousand Swiss peasants were employed in drawing the logs, thus loaded, up the precipices. I do not think it absolutely impracticable to take up guns limbered, but the other plan would be much the easiest, as well as the safest. In short, I make no doubt, so far as mere toil and physical difficulties are concerned, that a hundred marches have been made through the swamps and forests of America, in every one of which, mile for mile, greater natural obstacles have been overcome than those on this celebrated passage. The French, it will be remembered, were unresisted, and had possession of the col, a garrison having occupied the convent for more than a year.

The great merit of the First Consul was in the surprise, the military manner in which the march was effected, and the brilliant success of his subsequent movements. Had he been defeated, I fancy few would have thought so much of the simple passage of the mountain, unless to reproach him for placing the rocks between himself and a retreat. As he was not defeated, the audace of the experiment, a great military quality sometimes, enters, also, quite properly into the estimate of his glory.

The guide pointed to a place where, according to his account of the matter, the horse of the First Consul stumbled and pitched him over a precipice, the attendants catching him by his great-coat, assisted by a few bushes. This may be true, for the man affirmed he had heard it from the guide who was near Napoleon at the time, and a mis-step of a horse might very well produce such a fall. The precipice was both steep and high, and had the First Consul gone down it, it is not probable he would ever have gone up the St. Bernard.

At Liddes we re-entered the char and trotted down to Martigny in good time. Here we got another conveyance, and pushed down the valley, through St. Maurice, across the bridge, and out of the gate of the canton, again, reaching Bex a little after dark.

The next morning we were off early for Villeneuve, in order to reach the boat. This was handsomely effected, and heaving-to abreast of Vévey, we succeeded in eating our breakfast at "Mon Repos."


LETTER XXIII.

Democracy in America and in Switzerland.—European Prejudices.—Influence of Property.—Nationality of the Swiss.—Want of Local Attachments in Americans.—Swiss Republicanism.—Political Crusade against America.—Affinities between America and Russia.—Feeling of the European Powers towards Switzerland.

Dear ——,

It is a besetting error with those who write of America, whether as travellers, political economists, or commentators on the moral features of ordinary society, to refer nearly all that is peculiar in the country to the nature of its institutions. It is scarcely exaggerated to say that even its physical phenomena are ascribed to its democracy. Reflecting on this subject, I have been struck by the fact that no such flights of the imagination are ever indulged in by those who speak of Switzerland. That which is termed the rudeness of liberty and equality, with us, becomes softened down here into the frankness of mountaineers, or the sturdy independence of republicans; what is vulgarity on the other side of the Atlantic, is unsophistication on this, and truculence in the States dwindles to be earnest remonstrances in the cantons!

There undeniably exist marked points of difference between the Swiss and the Americans. The dominion of a really popular sway is admitted nowhere here, except in a few unimportant mountain cantons, that are but little known, and which, if known, would not exercise a very serious influence on any but their own immediate inhabitants. With us, the case is different. New York and Pennsylvania and Ohio, for instance, with a united population of near five millions of souls, are as pure democracies as can exist under a representative form of government, and their trade, productions, and example so far connect them with the rest of Christendom, as to render them objects of deep interest to all who look beyond the present moment, in studying the history of man.

We have States, however, in which the franchise does not materially differ from those of many of the cantons, and yet we do not find that strangers make any material exceptions even in their favour. Few think of viewing the States in which there are property qualifications, in a light different from those just named; nor is a disturbance in Virginia deemed to be less the consequence of democratic effervescence, than it is in Pennsylvania.

There must be reasons for all this. I make no doubt they are to be found in the greater weight of the example of a large and growing community, of active commercial and political habits, than in one like this, which is satisfied with simply maintaining a quiet and secure existence; in our total rejection of the usual aristocratical distinctions which still exist, more or less, all over Switzerland; in the jealousy of commercial and maritime power, and in the recollections which are inseparable from the fact that the parties once stood to each other, in the relation of principals and dependants. This latter feeling, an unavoidable consequence of metropolitan sway, is more general than you may imagine, for, as nearly all Europe once had colonies, the feelings of superiority they uniformly excite, have as naturally led to jealousy of the rising importance of our hemisphere. You may smile at the suggestion, but I do not remember a single European in whom, under proper opportunities, I have not been able to trace some lingering feeling of the old notion of the moral and physical superiority of the man of Europe over the man of America. I do not say that all I have met have betrayed this prejudice, for in not one case in ten have I had the means to probe them; but such, I think, has uniformly been the case, though in very different degrees, whenever the opportunity has existed.

Though the mountain, or the purely rural population, here, possess more independence and frankness of manner than those who inhabit the towns and advanced valleys, neither has them in so great a degree, as to leave plausible grounds for believing that the institutions are very essentially connected with the traits. Institutions may depress men below what may be termed the natural level of feeling in this respect, as in the case of slavery; but, in a civilized society, where property has its influence, I much question if any political regulations can raise them above it. After allowing for the independence of manner and feeling that are coincident to easy circumstances, and which is the result of obvious causes, I know no part of America in which this is not also the fact. The employed is, and will be everywhere, to a certain point, dependent on his employer, and the relations between the two cannot fail to bring forth a degree of authority and submission, that will vary according to the character of individuals and the circumstances of the moment.

I infer from this that the general aspects of society, after men cease to be serfs and slaves, can never be expected to vary essentially from each other, merely on account of the political institutions, except, perhaps, as those institutions themselves may happen to affect their temporal condition. In other words, I believe that we are to look more to property and to the absence or presence of facilities of living, for effects of this nature, than to the breadth or narrowness of constituencies.

The Swiss, as is natural from their greater antiquity, richer recollections, and perhaps from their geographical position, are more national than the Americans. With us, national pride and national character exist chiefly in the classes that lie between the yeomen and the very bottom of the social scale; whereas, here, I think the higher one ascends, the stronger the feeling becomes. The Swiss moreover is pressed upon by his wants, and is often obliged to tear himself from his native soil, in order to find the means of subsistence; and yet very few of them absolutely expatriate themselves.

The emigrants that are called Swiss in America, either come from Germany, or are French Germans, from Alsace and Lorrain. I have never met with a migration of a body of true Swiss, though some few cases probably have existed. It would be curious to inquire how far the noble nature of the country has an influence in producing their strong national attachments. The Neapolitans love their climate, and would rather be Lazzaroni beneath their sun, than gentlemen in Holland, or England. This is simple enough, as it depends on physical indulgence. The charm that binds the Swiss to his native mountains, must be of a higher character, and is moral in its essence.

The American character suffers from the converse of the very feeling which has an effect so beneficial on that of the Swiss. The migratory habits of the country prevent the formation of the intensity of interest, to which the long residence of a family in a particular spot gives birth, and which comes, at last, to love a tree, or a hill, or a rock, because they are the same tree, and hill, and rock, that have been loved by our fathers before us. These are attachments that depend on sentiment rather than on interest, and which are as much purer and holier, as virtuous sentiment is purer and holier than worldly interestedness. In this moral feature, therefore, we are inferior to all old nations, and to the Swiss in particular, I think, as their local attachments are both quickened and heightened by the exciting and grand objects that surround them. The Italians have the same local affections, in a still stronger degree; for with a nature equally, or even more winning, they have still prouder and more-remote recollections.

I do not believe the Swiss, at heart, are a bit more attached to their institutions than we are ourselves; for, while I complain of the tone of so many of our people, I consider it, after all, as the tone of people who, the means of comparison having been denied them, neither know that which they denounce, nor that which they extol. Apart from the weakness of wishing for personal distinctions, however, I never met with a Swiss gentleman, who appeared to undervalue his institutions. They frequently, perhaps generally, lament the want of greater power in the confederation; but, as between a monarchy and a republic, so far as my observation goes, they are uniformly Swiss. I do not believe there is such a thing, in all the cantons, as a man, for instance, who pines for the Prussian despotism! They will take service under kings, be their soldiers, body-guards—real Dugald Dalgettys—but when the question comes to Switzerland, one and all appear to think that the descendants of the companions of Winkelried and Stauffer must be republicans. Now, all this may be because there are few in the condition of gentlemen, in the democratic cantons, and the gentlemen of the other parts of the confederation prefer that things should be as they are (or rather, so lately were, for the recent changes have hardly had time to make an impression), to putting a prince in the place of the aristocrats. Self is so prominent in everything of this nature, that I feel no great faith in the generosity of men. Still I do believe that time and history, and national pride, and Swiss morgue, have brought about a state of feeling that would indispose them to bow down to a Swiss sovereign.

A policy is observed by the other states of Europe towards this confederation, very different from that which is, or perhaps it would be better to say, has been observed toward us. As respects ourselves, I have already observed it was my opinion, there would have been a political crusade got up against us, had not the recent changes taken place in Europe, and had the secret efforts to divide the Union failed. Their chief dependence, certainly, is on our national dissensions; but as this would probably fail them, I think we should have seen some pretence for an invasion. The motive would be the strong necessity which existed for destroying the example of a republic, or rather of a democracy, that was getting to be too powerful. Strange as you may think it, I believe our chief protection in such a struggle would have been Russia.

We hear and read a great deal about the "Russian bear," but it will be our own fault if this bear does us any harm. Let the Edinburgh Review, the advocate of mystified liberalism, prattle as much as it choose, on this topic, it becomes us to look at the subject like Americans. There are more practical and available affinities between America and Russia, at this very moment, than there is between America and any other nation in Europe. They have high common political objects to obtain, and Russia has so little to apprehend from the example of America, that no jealousy of the latter need interrupt their harmony. You see the counterpart of this in the present condition of France and Russia. So far as their general policy is concerned, they need not conflict, but rather ought to unite, and yet the mutual jealousy on the subject of the institutions keeps them alienated, and almost enemies. Napoleon, it is true, said that these two nations, sooner or later, must fight for the possession of the east, but it was the ambition of the man, rather than the interests of his country, that dictated the sentiment. The France of Napoleon, and the France of Louis-Philippe, are two very different things.

Now, as I have told you, Switzerland is regarded by the powers who would crush America, with other eyes. I do not believe that a congress of Europe would convert this republic into a monarchy, if it could, to-morrow. Nothing essential would be gained by such a measure, while a great deal might be hazarded. A king must have family alliances, and these alliances would impair the neutrality it is so desirable to maintain. The cantons are equally good, as outworks, for France, Austria, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, Lombardy, Sardinia, and the Tyrol. All cannot have them, and all are satisfied to keep them as a defence against their neighbours. No one hears, in the war of opinion, that is going on here, the example of the Swiss quoted on the side of liberty! For this purpose, they appear to be as totally out of view, as if they had no existence.


LETTER XXIV.

The Swiss Mountain Passes.—Excursion in the neighbourhood of Vévey.—Castle of Blonay.—View from the Terrace.—Memory and Hope.—Great Antiquity of Blonay.—The Knight's Hall.—Prospect from the Balcony.—Departure from Blonay.—A Modern Chateau.—Travelling on Horseback.—News from America.—Dissolution of the Union predicted.—The Prussian Polity.—Despotism in Prussia.


Dear ——,

You may have gathered from my last letters that I do not rank the path of the Great St. Bernard among the finest of the Swiss mountain passes. You will remember, however, that we saw but little of the Italian side, where the noblest features and grandest scenes on these roads are usually found. The Simplon would not be so very extraordinary, were it confined to its Swiss horrors and Swiss magnificence, though, by the little I have seen of them, I suspect that both the St. Gothard and the Splugen do a little better on their northern faces. The pass by Nice is peculiar, being less wild and rocky than any other, while it possesses beauties entirely its own (and extraordinary beauties they are), in the constant presence of the Mediterranean, with its vast blue expanse, dotted with sails of every kind that the imagination can invent. It has always appeared to me that poets have been the riggers of that sea.

C—— and myself were too mountaineerish after this exploit to remain contented in a valley, however lovely it might be, and the next day we sallied forth on foot, to explore the hill-side behind Vévey. The road led at first through narrow lanes, lined by vineyards; but emerging from these, we soon came out into a new world, and one that I can compare to no other I have ever met with. I should never tire of expatiating on the beauties of this district, which really appear to be created expressly to render the foreground of one of the sublimest pictures on earth worthy of the rest of the piece.

It was always mountain, but a mountain so gradual of ascent, so vast, and yet so much like a broad reach of variegated low land, in its ornaments, cultivation, houses, villages, copses, meadows, and vines, that it seemed to be a huge plain canted into a particular inclination, in order to give the spectator a better opportunity to examine it in detail, and at his leisure, as one would hold a picture to the proper light. Some of the ascents, nevertheless, were sufficiently sharp, and more than once we were glad enough to stop to cool ourselves, and to take breath. At length, after crossing some lovely meadows, by the margin of beautiful woods, we came out at the spot which was the goal we had aimed at from the commencement of the excursion. This was the castle of Blonay, of whose picturesque site and pleasant appearance I have already spoken in my letters, as a venerable hold that stands about a league from the town, on one of the most striking positions of the mountain.

The family of Blonay has been in possession of this place for seven hundred years. One branch of it is in Sardinia; but I suppose its head is the occupant of the house, or castle. As the building was historical, and the De Blonays of unquestionable standing, I was curious to examine the edifice, since it might give me some further insight into the condition of the old Swiss nobility. Accordingly we applied for admission, and obtained it without difficulty.

The Swiss castles, with few exceptions, are built on the breasts, or spurs, of mountains. The immediate foundation is usually a rock, and the sites were generally selected on account of the difficulties of the approach. This latter peculiarity, however, does not apply so rigidly to Blonay as to most of the other holds of the country, for the rock which forms its base serves for little else than a solid foundation. I presume one of the requisites of such a site was the difficulty or impossibility of undermining the walls, a mode of attack that existed long before gunpowder was known.

The buildings of Blonay are neither extensive nor very elaborate. We entered by a modest gateway in a retired corner, and found ourselves at once in a long, narrow, irregular court. On the left was a corps de bâtiment, that contained most of the sleeping apartments, and a few of the others, with the offices; in front was a still older wing, in which was the knight's hall, and one or two other considerable rooms; and on the right was the keep, an old solid tower, that was originally the nucleus and parent of all the others, as well as a wing that is now degraded to the duties of a storehouse. These buildings form the circuit of the court, and complete the edifice; for the side next the mountain, or that by which we entered, had little besides the ends of the two lateral buildings and the gate. The latter was merely a sort of chivalrous back-door, for there was another between the old tower and the building of the knight's hall, of more pretension, and which was much larger. The great gate opens on a small elevated terrace, that is beautifully shaded by fine trees, and which commands a view, second, I feel persuaded, to but few on earth. I do not know that it is so perfectly exquisite as that we got from the house of Cardinal Rufo, at Naples, and yet it has many admirable features that were totally wanting to the Neapolitan villa. I esteem these two views as much the best that it has ever been my good fortune to gaze at from any dwelling, though the beauties of both are, as a matter of course, more or less shared by all the houses in their respective neighbourhoods. The great carriage-road, as great carriage-roads go on such a mountain-side, comes up to this gate, though it is possible to enter also by the other.

Blonay, originally, must have been a hold of no great importance, as neither the magnitude, strength, nor position of the older parts, is sufficient to render the place one to be seriously assailed or obstinately defended. Without knowing the fact, I infer that its present interest arises from its great antiquity, coupled with the circumstance of its having been possessed by the same family for so long a period. Admitting a new owner for each five-and-twenty years, the present must be somewhere about the twenty-fifth De Blonay who has lived on this spot!

A common housemaid showed us through the building, but, unfortunately, to her it was a house whose interest depended altogether on the number of floors there were to be scrubbed, and windows to be cleaned. This labour-saving sentiment destroys a great deal of excellent poetry and wholesome feeling, reducing all that is venerable and romantic to the level of soap and house-cloths. I dare say one could find many more comfortable residences than this, within a league of Vévey; perhaps "Mon Repos" has the advantage of it, in this respect: but there must be a constant, quiet, and enduring satisfaction, with one whose mind is properly trained, in reflecting that he is moving, daily and hourly, through halls that have been trodden by his fathers for near a thousand years! Hope is a livelier, and, on the whole, a more useful, because a more stimulating, feeling, than that connected with memory; but there is a solemn and pleasing interest clinging about the latter, that no buoyancy of the first can ever equal. Europe is fertile of recollections; America is pregnant with hope. I have tried hard, aided by the love which is quickened by distance, as well as by the observations that are naturally the offspring of comparison, to draw such pictures of the latter for the future, as may supplant the pictures of the past that so constantly rise before the mind in this quarter of the world; but, though reasonably ingenious in castle-building, I have never been able to make it out. I believe laziness lies at the bottom of the difficulty. In our moments of enjoyment we prefer being led, to racking the brain for invention. The past is a fact; while, at the best, the future is only conjecture. In this case the positive prevails over the assumed, and the imagination finds both and easier duty, and all it wants, in throwing around the stores of memory, the tints and embellishments that are wanting to complete the charm. I know little of the history of Blonay, beyond the fact of its great antiquity, nor is it a chateau of remarkable interest as a specimen of the architecture and usages of its time; and yet, I never visited a modern palace, with half the intense pleasure with which I went through this modest abode. Fancy had a text, in a few unquestionable facts, and it preached copiously on their authority. At Caserta, or St. Cloud, we admire the staircases, friezes, salons, and marbles, but I never could do anything with your kings, who are so much mixed up with history, as to leave little to the fancy; while here, one might imagine not only time, but all the various domestic and retired usages that time brings forth.

The Ritter Saal, or Knight's Hall, of Blonay has positive interest enough to excite the dullest mind. Neither the room nor its ornaments are very peculiar of themselves, the former being square, simple, and a good deal modernized, while the latter was such as properly belonged to a country gentleman of limited means. But the situation and view form its great features; for all that has just been said of the terrace, can be better said of this room. Owing to the formation of the mountain, the windows are very high above the ground, and at one of them is a balcony, which, I am inclined to think, is positively without a competitor in this beautiful world of ours. Cardinal Rufo has certainly no such balcony. It is le balcon des balcons.

I should despair of giving you a just idea of the mingled magnificence and softness of the scene that lies stretched before and beneath the balcony of Blonay. You know the elements of the view already,—for they are the same mysterious glen, or valley, the same blue lake, the same côtes, the same solemn and frowning rocks, the same groupings of towers, churches, hamlets, and castles, of which I have had such frequent occasion to speak in these letters. But the position of Blonay has about it that peculiar nicety, which raises every pleasure to perfection. It is neither too high, nor too low; too retired, nor too much advanced; too distant, nor too near. I know nothing of M. de Blonay beyond the favourable opinion of the observant Jean, the boatman, but he must be made of flint, if he can daily, hourly, gaze at the works of the Deity as they are seen from this window, without their producing a sensible and lasting effect on the character of his mind. I can imagine a man so far blasé, as to pass through the crowd of mites, who are his fellows, without receiving or imparting much; but I cannot conceive of a heart, whose owner can be the constant observer of such a scene, without bending in reverence to the hand that made it. It would be just as rational to suppose one might have the Communion of St. Jerome hanging in his drawing-room, without ever thinking of Domenichino, as to believe one can be the constant witness of these natural glories without thinking of God.

I could have liked, above all things, to have been in this balcony during one of the fine sunsets of this season of the year. I think the creeping of the shadows up the acclivities, the growing darkness below, and the lingering light above, with the exquisite arabesques of the rocks of Savoy, must render the scene even more perfect than we found it.

Blonay is surrounded by meadows of velvet, the verdure reaching its very walls, and the rocks that occasionally do thrust their heads above the grass, aid in relieving rather than in lessening their softness. There are just enough of them to make a foreground that is not unworthy of the rocky belt which encircles most of the picture, and to give a general idea of the grand geological formation of the whole region.

We left Blonay with regret, and not without lingering some time on its terrace, a spot in which retirement is better blended with a bird's eye view of men and their haunts, than any other I know. One is neither in nor out of this world at such a spot; near enough to enjoy its beauties, and yet so remote as to escape its blemishes. In quilting the castle, we met a young female of simple lady-like carriage and attire, whom I saluted as the Lady of Blonay, and glad enough we were to learn from an old dependant, whom we afterwards fell in with, that the conjecture was true. One bows with reverence to the possessor of such an abode.

From Blonay we crossed the meadows and orchards, until we hit a road that led us towards the broad terrace that lies more immediately behind Vévey. We passed several hamlets, which lie on narrow stripes of land more level than common, a sort of shelves on the broad breast of the mountain, and which were rural and pretty. At length we came to the object of our search, a tolerably spacious modern house, that is called a château, and whose roofs and chimneys had often attracted our eyes from the lake. The place was French in exterior, though the grounds were more like those of Germany than those of France. The terrace is irregular but broad, and walks wind prettily among woods and copses. Altogether, the place is quite modern and much more extensive than is usual in Switzerland. We did not presume to enter the house, but, avoiding a party that belonged to the place, we inclined to the left, and descended, through the vines, to the town.

The true mode to move about this region is on horseback. The female in particular, who has a good seat, possesses a great advantage over most of her sex, if she will only improve it; and all things considered, I believe a family could travel through the cantons in no other manner so pleasantly; always providing that the women can ride. By riding, however, I do not mean sticking on a horse, by dint of rein and clinging, but a seat in which the fair one feels secure and entirely at her ease. Otherwise she may prove to be the gazee instead of the gazer.

On my return home, I went to a reading-room that I have frequented during our residence here, where I found a good deal of feeling excited by the news from America. The Swiss, I have told you, with very few exceptions, wish us well, but I take it nothing would give greater satisfaction to a large majority of the upper classes in most of the other countries of Europe, than to hear that the American republic was broken up: if buttons and broadcloths could be sent after us, it is not too much to add, or sent to the nether world. This feeling does not proceed so much from inherent dislike to us, as to our institutions. As a people, I rather think we are regarded with great indifference by the mass; but they who so strongly detest our institutions and deprecate our example, cannot prevent a little personal hatred from mingling with their political antipathies. Unlike the woman who was for beginning her love "with a little aversion," they begin with a little philanthropy, and end with a strong dislike for all that comes from the land they hate. I have known this feeling carried so far as to refuse credit even to the productions of the earth! I saw strong evidences of this truth, among several of the temporary habitués of the reading-room in question, most of whom were French. A speedy dissolution of the American Union was proclaimed in all the journals, on account of some fresh intelligence from the other side of the Atlantic; and I dare say that, at this moment, nine-tenths of the Europeans, who think at all on the subject, firmly and honestly believe that our institutions are not worth two years' purchase. This opinion is very natural, because falsehood is so artfully blended with truth, in what is published, that it requires a more intimate knowledge of the country to separate them, than a stranger can possess. I spent an hour to-day in a fruitless attempt to demonstrate to a very sensible Frenchman that nothing serious was to be apprehended from the present dispute, but all my logic was thrown away, and nothing but time will convince him of that which he is so strongly predisposed not to believe. They rarely send proper diplomatic men among us, in the first place; for a novel situation like that in America requires a fertile and congenial mind,—and then your diplomatist is usually so much disposed to tell every one that which he wishes to hear! We mislead, too, ourselves, by the exaggerations of the opposition. Your partizan writes himself into a fever, and talks like any other man whose pulse is unnatural. This fact ought to be a matter of no surprise, since it is one of the commonest foibles of man to dislike most the evils that press on him most; although an escape from them to any other might even entail destruction. It is the old story of King Log and King Stork. As democracy is in the ascendant, they revile democracy, while we all feel persuaded we should be destroyed, or muzzled, under any other form of government. A few toad-eaters and court butterflies excepted, I do not believe there is a man in all America who could dwell five years in any country in Europe, without being made sensible of the vast superiority of his own free institutions over those of every other Christian nation.

I have been amused of late, by tracing, in the publications at home, a great and growing admiration for the Prussian polity! There is something so absurd in an American's extolling such a system, that it is scarcely possible to say where human vagaries are to end. The Prussian government is a despotism; a mode of ruling that one would think the world understood pretty well by this time. It is true that the government is mildly administered, and hence all the mystifying that we hear and read about it. Prussia is a kingdom compounded of heterogenous parts; the north is Protestant, the south Catholic; the nation has been overrun in our own times, and the empire dismembered. Ruled by a king of an amiable and paternal disposition, and one who has been chastened by severe misfortunes, circumstances have conspired to render his sway mild and useful. No one disputes, that the government which is controlled by a single will, when that will is pure, intelligent, and just, is the best possible. It is the government of the universe, which is perfect harmony. But men with pure intentions, and intelligent and just minds, are rare, and more rare among rulers, perhaps, than any other class of men. Even Frederic II, though intelligent enough, was a tyrant. He led his subjects to slaughter for his own aggrandizement. His father, Frederic William, used to compel tall men to marry tall women. The time for the latter description of tyranny may be past, but oppression has many outlets, and the next king may discover some of them. In such a case his subjects would probably take refuge in a revolution and a constitution, demanding guarantees against this admirable system, and blow the new model-government to the winds!

Many of our people are like children who, having bawled till they get a toy, begin to cry to have it taken away from them. Fortunately the heart and strength of the nation, its rural population, is sound and practical, else we might prove ourselves to be insane as well as ridiculous.


LETTER XXV.

Controversy respecting America.—Conduct of American Diplomatists.—Attachés to American Legations.—Unworthy State of Public Opinion in America.


Dear ——,

The recent arrivals from America have brought a document that has filled me with surprise and chagrin. You may remember what I have already written you on the subject of a controversy at Paris, concerning the cost of government, and the manner in which the agents of the United States, past and present, wrongfully or not, were made to figure in the affair. There is a species of instinct in matters of this sort, which soon enables a man of common sagacity, who enjoys the means of observation, to detect the secret bias of those with whom he is brought in contact. Now, I shall say, without reserve, that so far as I had any connexion with that controversy, or had the ability to detect the feelings and wishes of others, the agents of the American government were just the last persons in France to whom I would have applied for aid or information. The minister himself stood quoted by the Prime Minister of France in the tribune, as having assured him (M. Perier) that we were the wrong of the disputed question, and that the writers of the French government had truth on their side. This allegation remains before the world uncontradicted to the present hour. It was made six months since, leaving ample time for a knowledge of the circumstance to reach America, but no instructions have been sent to Mr. Rives to clear the matter up; or, if sent, they have not been obeyed. With these unquestionable facts before my eyes, you will figure to yourself my astonishment at finding in the papers, a circular addressed by the Department of State to the different governors of the Union, formally soliciting official reports that may enable us to prove to the world, that the position taken by our opponents is not true! This course is unusual, and, as the Federal government has no control over, or connexion with, the expenditures of the States, it may even be said to be extra-constitutional. It is formally requesting that which the Secretary of State had no official right to request. There was no harm in the proceeding, but it would be undignified, puerile, and unusual, for so grave a functionary to take it, without a commensurate object. Lest this construction should be put on his course, the Secretary has had the precaution to explain his own motives. He tells the different governors, in substance, that the extravagant pretension is set up flat freedom is more costly than despotism, and that what he requests may be done, will be done in the defence of liberal institutions. Here then we have the construction that has been put on this controversy by our own government, at home, through one of its highest and ablest agents. Still the course of its agents abroad remains unchanged! Here the American functionaries are understood to maintain opinions, which a distinguished functionary at home has openly declared to be injurious to free institutions.

It may be, it must be, that the state of things here is unknown at Washington. Of this fact I have no means of judging positively; but when I reflect on the character and intelligence of the cabinet, I can arrive at no other inference. It has long been known to me that there exists, not only at Washington, but all through the republic, great errors on the subject of our foreign relations; on the influence and estimation of the country abroad; and on what we are to expect from others, no less than what they expect from us. But these are subjects which, in general, give me little concern, while this matter of the finance controversy has become one of strong personal interest.

The situation of the private individual, who, in a foreign nation, stands, or is supposed to stand, contradicted in his facts, by the authorized agents of their common country, is anything but pleasant. It is doubly so in Europe, where men fancy those in high trusts are better authority, than those who are not. It is true that this supposition under institutions like ours, is absurd; but it is not an easy thing to change the settled convictions of an entire people. In point of truth, other things being equal, the American citizen who has been passing his time in foreign countries, employed in diplomacy, would know much less of the points mooted in his discussion, than the private citizen who had been living at home, in the discharge of his ordinary duties; but this is a fact not easily impressed on those who are accustomed to see not only the power, but all the machinery of government in the hands of a regular corps of employés. The name of Mr. Harris was introduced into the discussion, as one thus employed and trusted by our government. It is true he was falsely presented, for the diplomatic functions of this gentleman were purely accidental, and of very short continuance; but there would have been a littleness in conducting an argument that was so strong in its facts, by stooping to set this matter right, and it was suffered to go uncontradicted by me. He therefore possessed the advantage, the whole time, of appearing as one who enjoyed the confidence of his own government. We had this difficulty to overcome, as well as that of disproving his arguments, if, indeed, the latter could be deemed a difficulty at all.[41]

The private individual, like myself, who finds himself in collision with the agents of two governments, powerful as those of France and America, is pretty sure to get the worst of it. It is quite probable that such has been my fortune in this affair (I believe it to be so in public opinion, both in France and at home), but there is one power of which no political combination can deprive an honest man, short of muzzling him:—that of telling the truth. Of this power I have now availed myself, and the time will come when they who have taken any note of the matter may see reason to change their minds. Louis-Philippe sits on a throne, and wields a fearful force; but, thanks to him of Harlem (or of Cologne, I care not which), it is still within my reach to promulgate the facts. His reign will, at least, cease with his life, while that of truth will endure as long as means can be found to disseminate it. It is probable the purposes of the French ministers are answered, and that they care little now about the controversed points at all; but their indifference to facts can have no influence with me.

Before dismissing this subject entirely, I will add another word on that of the tone of some of our agents abroad. It is not necessary for me to say, for the tenth time, that it is often what it ought not to be; the fact has been openly asserted in the European journals, and there can, therefore, be no mistake as to the manner in which their conduct and opinions are viewed by others. Certainly every American has a right to his opinions, and, unless under very peculiar circumstances, a right to express them; but, as I have already said to you in these letters, one who holds a diplomatic appointment is under these peculiar circumstances. We are strangely, not to say disgracefully, situated, truly, if an American diplomate is to express his private opinions abroad on political matters only when they happen to be adverse to the system and action of his own government! I would promptly join in condemning the American agent who should volunteer to unite against, or freely to give his opinions, even in society, against the political system of the country to which he is accredited. Discretion and delicacy both tell him to use a proper reserve on a point that is of so much importance to others, while it is no affair of his, and by meddling with which he may possibly derange high interests that are entrusted to his especial keeping and care. All this is very apparent, and quite beyond discussion. Still circumstances may arise, provocations may be given, which will amply justify such a man in presenting the most unqualified statements in favour of the principles he is supposed to represent. Like every other accountable being, when called to speak at all, he is bound to speak the truth. But, admitting in the fullest extent the obligations and duties of the diplomatic man towards the country to which he is sent, is there nothing due to that from which he comes? Is he to be justified in discrediting the principles, denying the facts, or mystifying the results of his own system, in order to ingratiate himself with those with whom he treats? Are rights thus to be purchased by concessions so unworthy and base? I will not believe that we have yet reached the degraded state that renders a policy so questionable, or a course so mean, at all necessary. It really appears to me, that the conduct of an American minister on all these points ought to be governed by a very simple rule. He should in effect tell the other party, "Gentlemen, I wish to maintain a rigid neutrality, as is due to you; but I trust you will manifest towards me the same respect and delicacy, if not on my own account, at least on account of the country I represent. If you drag me into the affair in any way, I give you notice that you may expect great frankness on my part, and nothing but the truth." Such a man would not only get a treaty of indemnity, but he would be very apt to get the money into the bargain.

The practice of naming attachés to our legations leads to great abuses of this nature. In the first place the Constitution is violated; for, without a law of Congress to that effect (and I believe none exists), not even the President has a right to name one, without the approval of the Senate. In no case can a minister appoint one legally, for the Constitution gives him under no circumstances any such authority; and our system does not admit of the constructive authority that is used under other governments, unless it can be directly referred to an expressly delegated power. Now the power of appointment to office is expressly delegated; but it is to another, or rather to another through Congress, should Congress choose to interfere. This difficulty is got over by saying an attaché is not an officer. If not an officer of the government, he is nothing. He is, at all events, deemed to be an officer of the government in foreign countries, and enjoys immunities as such. Besides, it is a dangerous precedent to name to any situation under a pretence like this, as the practice may become gradually enlarged. But I care nothing as to the legality of the common appointments of this nature, the question being as to the tone of the nominees. You may be assured that I shall send you no idle gossip; but there is more importance connected with these things than you may be disposed at first to imagine. Here, these young men are believed to represent the state of feeling at home, and are listened to with more respect than they would be as simple travellers. It would be far better not to appoint them at all; but, if this is an indulgence that it would be ungracious to withhold, they should at least be made to enter into engagements not to deride the institutions they are thought to represent; for, to say nothing of principle, such a course can only re-act, by discrediting the national character.

In writing you these opinions, I wish not to do injustice to my own sagacity. I have not the smallest expectation, were they laid to-morrow before that portion of the American public which comprises the reading classes, that either these facts or these sentiments would produce the least effect on the indomitable selfishness, in which nine men in ten, or even a much larger proportion, are intrenched. I am fully aware that so much has the little national pride and national character created by the war of 1812 degenerated, that more of this class will forgive the treason to the institutions, on account of their hatred of the rights of the mass, than will feel that the republic is degraded by the course and practices of which I complain. I know no country that has retrograded in opinion so much as our own, within the last five years. It appears to me to go back, as others advance. Let me not, therefore, be understood as expecting any immediate results, were it in my power to bring these matters promptly and prominently before the nation. I fully know I should not be heard, were the attempt made; for nothing is more dull than the ear of him who believes himself already in possession of all the knowledge and virtue of his age, and peculiarly entitled, in right of his possessions, to the exclusive control of human affairs. The most that I should expect from them, were all the facts published to-morrow, would be the secret assent of the wise and good, the expressed censure of the vapid and ignorant (a pretty numerous clan, by the way), the surprise of the mercenary and the demagogue, and the secret satisfaction of the few who will come after me, and who may feel an interest in my conduct or my name. I have openly predicted bad consequences, in a political light, from the compliance of our agents here, and we shall yet see how far this prediction may prove true.[42]



LETTER XXVI.

Approach of Winter.—The Livret.—Regulations respecting Servants.—Servants in America.—Governments of the different Cantons of Switzerland.—Engagement of Mercenaries.—Population of Switzerland.—Physical Peculiarities of the Swiss.—Women of Switzerland.—Mrs. Trollope and the American Ladies.—Affected manner of Speaking in American Women.—Patois in America.—Peculiar manner of Speaking at Vévey.—Swiss Cupidity.

Dear ——,

The season is giving warning for all intruders to begin to think of quitting the cantons. We have not been driven to fires, as in 1828, for Vévey is not Berne; but the evenings are beginning to be cool, and a dash of rain, with a foaming lake, are taken to be symptoms, here, as strong as a frost would be there. Speaking of Berne, a little occurrence has just recalled the Burgerschaft, which, shorn of its glory as it is, had some most praiseworthy regulations. During our residence near that place, I hired a Bernois, as a footman, discharging the man, as a matter of course, on our departure for Italy. Yesterday I got a doleful letter from this poor fellow, informing me, among a series of other calamities, that he had had the misfortune to lose his livret, and begging I would send him such testimonials of character, as it might suit my sense of justice to bestow. It will be necessary to explain a little, in order that you may know what this livret is.

The commune, or district, issues to the domestics, a small certified blank book (livret), in which all the evidences of character are to be entered. The guides have the same, and in many instances, I believe, they are rendered necessary by law. The free-trade system, I very well know, would play the deuce with these regulations; but capital regulations they are, and I make no doubt, that the established fidelity of the Swiss, as domestics, is in some measure owing to this excellent arrangement. If men and women were born servants, it might a little infringe on their natural rights, to be sure; but as even a von Erlach or a de Bonestetten would have to respect the regulation, were they to don a livery, I see no harm in a livret. Now, by means of this little book, every moment of a domestic's time might be accounted for, he being obliged to explain what he was about in the interregnums. All this, to be sure, might be done by detached certificates, but neither so neatly nor so accurately; for a man would pretend a need, that he had lost a single certificate, oftener than he would pretend that he had lost those he really had, or in other words, his book. Besides, the commune gives some relief, I believe, when such a calamity can be proved, as proved it probably might be. In addition, the authorities will not issue a livret to any but those who are believed to be trust-worthy. Of course I sent the man a character, so far as I was concerned, for he had conducted himself perfectly well during the short time he was in my service.

A regulation like this could not exist in a very large town, without a good deal of trouble, certainly; and yet what is there of more moment to the comfort of a population, than severe police regulations on the subject of servants? America is almost—perhaps the only civilized country in which the free-trade system is fully carried out in this particular, and carried out it is with a vengeance. We have the let-alone policy, in puris naturalibus, and everything is truly let alone, but the property of the master. I do not wish, however, to ascribe effects to wrong causes. The dislike to being a servant in America, has arisen from the prejudice created by our having slaves. The negroes being of a degraded caste, by insensible means their idea is associated with service; and the whites shrink from the condition. This fact is sufficiently proved by the circumstance that he who will respectfully and honestly do your bidding in the field—be a farm-servant, in fact—will not be your domestic servant. There is no particular dislike in our people to obey, and to be respectful and attentive to their duties, as journeymen, farm-labourers, day-labourers, seamen, soldiers, or anything else, domestic servants excepted, which is just the duties they have been accustomed to see discharged by blacks and slaves. This prejudice is fast weakening, whites taking service more readily than formerly, and it is found that, with proper training, they make capital domestics, and are very faithful. In time the prejudice will disappear, and men will come to see it is more creditable to be trusted about the person and house, than to be turned into the fields.

It is just as difficult to give a minute account of the governments of the different cantons of Switzerland, as it is to give an account of the different state governments of America. Each differs, in some respect, from all the others; and there are so many of them in both cases, as to make it a subject proper only for regular treatises. I shall therefore confine the remarks I have to make on this subject to a few general facts.

Previously to the recent changes, there were twenty-two cantons; a number that the recent secession of Neufchâtel has reduced to twenty-one.[43] Until the French revolution, the number was not so great, many of the present cantons being then associated less intimately with the confederation, as allies, and some of them being held as political dependents, by those that were cantons. Thus Vaud and Argovie were both provinces, owned and ruled by Berne.

The system is that of a confederation, which leaves each of its members to do pretty much as it pleases, in regard to its internal affairs. The central government is conducted by a Diet, very much as our affairs were formerly managed by the old Congress. In this Diet, each canton has one vote. The executive power, such as it is, is wielded by a committee or council. Its duties do not extend much beyond being the organ of communication between the Diet and the Cantons, the care of the treasury (no great matter), and the reception of, and the treating with, foreign ministers. The latter duty, however, and indeed all other acts, are subject to a revision by the Diet.

Although the cantons themselves are only known to the confederation as they are enrolled on its list, many of them are subdivided into local governments that are perfectly independent of each other. Thus there are two Unterwaldens in fact, though only one in the Diet; two Appenzells, also; and I may add, half a dozen Grisons and Valais. In other words, the two Unterwaldens are absolutely independent of each other, except as they are connected through the confederation, though they unite to choose common delegates to the Diet, in which they are known as only one canton, and possess but one vote. The same is true of Appenzell, and will soon, most probably, be true of Schweitz and Basle; in both of which there are, at this moment, serious dissensions that are likely to lead to internal separations.[44] The Grisons is more of a consolidated canton than these examples, but it is subdivided into leagues, which have a good many strong features of independence. The same is true of Valais, where the subdivisions are termed dizains. The Diet does little beyond controlling the foreign relations of the republic. It makes peace and war, receives ambassadors, forms treaties, and enters into alliances. It can only raise armies, however, by calling on the cantons for their prescribed contingents. The same is true as respects taxes. This, you will perceive, is very much like our own rejected confederation, and has most of its evils; though external pressure, and a trifling commerce, render them less here than they were in America. I believe the confederation has some control over the public mails, though I think this is done, also, through the cantons. The Diet neither coins money, nor establishes any courts, beyond its own power to decide certain matters that may arise between the cantons themselves. In short, the government is a very loose one, and it could not hold together in a crisis, were it not for the jealousy of its neighbours.

I have already told you that there exists a strong desire among the intelligent to modify this system. Consolidation, as you know from my letters, is wished by no one, for the great difference between the town and the rural populations causes both to wish to remain independent. Three languages are spoken in Switzerland, without including the Rhetian, or any of the numerous patois. All the north is German. Geneva, Vaud, and Valais are French, as are parts of Berne; while Tessino, lying altogether south of the Alps, is Italian. I have been told, that the states which treat with Switzerland for mercenaries, condition that none of them shall be raised in Tessino. But the practice of treating for mercenaries is likely to be discontinued altogether, though the republic has lately done something in this way for the Pope. The objection is to the Italian character, which is thought to be less constant than that of the real Swiss.

Men, and especially men of narrow habits and secluded lives, part reluctantly with authority. Nothing can to be more evident than the fact, that a common currency, common post-offices, common custom-houses, if there are to be any at all, and various other similar changes, would be a great improvement on the present system of Switzerland. But a few who control opinion in the small cantons, and who would lose authority by the measure, oppose the change. The entire territory of the republic is not as great as that of Pennsylvania, nor is the entire population much greater than that of the same state. It is materially less than the population of New York. On the subject of their numbers, there exists a singular, and to me an inapplicable, sensitiveness. It is not possible to come at the precise population of Switzerland. That given in the tables of the contingents is thought to be exaggerated, though one does not very well understand the motive. I presume the entire population of the country is somewhere between 1,500,000, and 1,900,000. Some pretend, however, there are 2,000,000. Admitting the latter number, you will perceive that the single state of New York considerably surpasses it.[45] More than one-third of the entire population of Switzerland is probably in the single canton of Berne, as one-seventh of that of the United States is in New York. The proportion between surface and inhabitants is not very different between New England and Switzerland, if Maine be excluded. Parts of the cantons are crowded with people, as Zurich for instance, while a large part is uninhabitable rocks and ice.

The Swiss have most of the physical peculiarities of the different nations that surround them. The German part of the population, however, are, on the whole, both larger and better-looking than the true Germans. All the mountaineers are fresher and have clearer complexions than those in the lower portions of the country, but the difference in size is not very apparent. Nowhere is there such a population as in our south-western states; indeed, I question if large men are as common in any other country. Scotland, however, may possibly form an exception.

The women of Switzerland are better-looking than those of France or Germany, but beauty, or even extreme prettiness, is rare. Light, flexible, graceful forms are quite uncommon. Large hands and feet are met with everywhere, those of our women being miraculous in comparison. But the same thing is true nearly all over the north of Europe. Even our men—meaning the gentlemen—I think, might be remarked for the same peculiarities in this part of the world. The English have absurd notions on this subject, and I have often enjoyed a malicious pleasure in bringing my own democratic paws and hoofs (no prodigies at home) in contrast with their aristocratic members. Of course, the climate has great influence on all these things.

I scarcely think the Swiss women of the mountains entitled to their reputation for beauty. If strength, proportions on a scale that is scarcely feminine, symmetry that is more anatomically than poetically perfect, enter into the estimate, one certainly sees in some of the cantons, female peasants who may be called fine women. I remember, in 1828, to have met one of these in the Grisons, near the upper end of the valley of the Rhine. This woman had a form, carriage, and proportions that would have made a magnificent duchess in a coronation procession; but the face, though fresh and fair, did not correspond with the figure. The women of our own mountains excel them altogether, being a more true medium between strength and coarseness. Even Mrs. Trollope admits that the American women (perhaps she ought to have said the girls) are the most beautiful in the world, while they are the least interesting. Mrs. Trollope has written a vast deal of nonsense, putting cockneyisms into the mouths of Americans, and calling them Americanisms, but she has also written a good many truths. I will not go as far as to say she was right in the latter part of this charge; but if our girls would cultivate neater and more elegant forms of expression; equally avoiding vulgar oh's and ah's! and set phrases; be more careful not to drawl; and not to open the mouth, so as to call "hot," "haut;" giggle less; speak lower; have more calmness and more dignity of manner, and think instead of pulsating,—I would put them, for all in all, against any women in the world. They lose half of these defects when they marry, as it is; but the wisdom of Solomon would come to our ears with a diminished effect, were it communicated through the medium of any other than a neat enunciation. The great desideratum in female education, at home, is to impart a graceful, quiet, lady-like manner of speaking.

Were it not for precisely this place, Vévey, I should add, that the women of America speak their language worse than the women of any other country I ever was in. We all know, that a calm, even, unemphatic mode of speaking, is almost a test of high-breeding; that a clear enunciation is, in short, an indispensable requisite, for either a gentleman or a lady. One may be a fool, and utter nonsense gracefully; but aphorisms lose their force when conveyed in a vulgar intonation. As a nation, I repeat, there is more of this fault in America, perhaps, than among an equal portion of educated people anywhere else. Contrary to the general rule too, the men of America speak better than the women; though the men, as a class, speak badly. The peculiar dialect of New England, which prevails so much all over the country, is derived from a provincial mode of speaking in England which is just the meanest in the whole island; and though it is far more intelligible, and infinitely better grammar is used with us, than in the place whence the patois came, I think we have gained little on the score of elegance. I once met in England a distinguished man, who was one of the wealthiest commoners of his county, and he had hardly opened his mouth before I was struck with this peculiarity. On inquiry, I learned that he came from the West of England. It is by no means uncommon to meet with bad grammar, and an improper use of words as relates to their significations, among the highest classes in England, though I think not as often as in America, but it is rare, indeed, that a gentleman or a lady does not express himself or herself, so far as utterance, delivery, and intonation go, as a gentleman and lady should. The fault in America arises from the habits of drawling, and of opening the mouth too wide. Any one knows that, if he open the stop of an organ, and keep blowing the bellows, he will make anything but music. We have some extraordinary words, too: who, but a Philadelphian, for instance, would think of calling his mother a mare?

But I am digressing; the peculiar manner of speaking which prevails at Vévey having led me from the main subject. These people absolutely sing in their ordinary conversation, more especially the women. In the simple expression of "Bon jour, madame" each alternate syllable is uttered on an octave higher than the preceding. This is not a patois at all, but merely a vicious and ungraceful mode of utterance. It prevails more among the women than among the men; and, as a matter of course, more among the women of the inferior, than among those of the superior classes. Still it is more or less general. To ears that are accustomed to the even, unemphatic, graceful enunciation of Paris, it is impossible to describe to you, in words, the ludicrous effect it produces. We have frequently been compelled to turn away, in the shops, to avoid downright laughter.

There exists the same sensitiveness, on the subject of the modes of speech, between the French Swiss and their French neighbours, as is to be found between us and the English. Many intelligent men here have laboured to convince me that the Genevese, in particular, speak purer French than even the Parisians. I dare say a part of this pretension may be true, for a great people take great liberties with everything; but if America, with her fifteen millions, finds it difficult to maintain herself in such matters, even when in the right, against the influence of England, what can little Geneva look for, in such a dispute with France, but to be put down by sheer volubility. She will be out-talked as a matter of course, clever as her citizens are.

On the subject of the prevalent opinion of Swiss cupidity, I have very little to say: the practice of taking service as mercenaries in other countries, has probably given rise to the charge. As is usually the case in countries where the means of obtaining a livelihood are not easy, the Swiss strike me as being more influenced by money than most of their neighbours, though scarcely more so than the common classes of France. To a man who gains but twenty in a day, a sou is of more account than to him who gains forty. I presume this is the whole amount of the matter. I shall not deny, however, that the honorarium was usually more in view, in a transaction with a Swiss, than in a transaction with a Frenchman, though I think the first the most to be depended on. Notwithstanding one or two instances of roguery that I have encountered, I would as soon depend on a Swiss, a clear bargain having been made, as on any other man I know.


LETTER XXVII.

Departure from Vévey.—Passage down the Lake.—Arrival at Geneva.—Purchase of Jewellery.—Leave Geneva.—Ascent of the Jura.—Alpine Views.—Rudeness at the Custom-house.—Smuggling.—A Smuggler detected.—The second Custom-house.—Final View of Mont Blanc.—Re-enter France.—Our luck at the Post-house in Dôle.—A Scotch Traveller.—Nationality of the Scotch.—Road towards Troyes.—Source of the Seine.


Dear ——,

Notwithstanding all the poetry of our situation, we found some of the ills of life in it. A few light cases of fever had occurred among us, which gave reason to distrust the lake-shore at this late season, and preparations were accordingly made to depart. Watching an opportunity, the skiff of honest Jean was loaded with us and our effects to the water's edge, and we embarked in the Leman, as she lay-to, in one of her daily trips, bidding a final adieu to Vévey, after a residence of about five weeks.

The passage down the lake was pleasant, and our eyes rested on the different objects with melancholy interest, for we knew not that they would ever be again looked upon by any among us. It is an exquisite lake, and it grows on us in beauty each time that we look at it, the surest sign of perfection. We reached Geneva early, and took lodgings at l'Ecu, in season for the ladies to make some purchases. The jewellery of this town is usually too tempting to be resisted by female self-denial, and when we met at dinner, we had a course of ear-rings, chains and bracelets served up, by a succession of shopmen, who understand, as it were by instinct, the caprices of the daughters of Eve. One of the party had taken a fancy to a pair of unfinished bracelets, and had expressed her regrets that she could not carry them with her. "Madame goes to Paris?" "Yes." "If she will leave her address, they shall be sent to her in a month." As we were strangers in France, and the regulation which prevented travellers from buying articles of this sort for their personal use, however necessary, has always appeared to me inhospitable, I told the man that if delivered in Paris, they should be received, and paid for. The bargain was made, and the jewels have already reached us. Of course I have asked no questions, and am ignorant whether they came by a balloon, in the luggage of an ambassador, or by the means of a dog.

The next day it rained tremendously; but having ordered horses, we left Geneva in the afternoon, taking the road to Ferney. Not an individual of the whole party had any desire to visit the chateau, however, and we drove through the place on a gallop. We took French post-horses at the foot of the Jura, where we found the first post-house, and began to climb the mountains. Our party made a droll appearance just at that moment. The rain was falling in torrents, and the carriage was dragging slowly through the mud up the long winding ascent. Of course the windows were shut, and we were a sort of full-dress party within, looking ridiculously fine, and, from time to time, laughing at our silly appearance. Everybody was in travelling dresses, jewellery excepted. The late purchases, however, were all on our persons, for we had been told they would certainly be seized at the custom-houses, if left in their boxes in the trunks. The douaniers could tell a recent purchase by instinct. Accordingly, all our fingers were brilliant with rings, brows glittered with ferronières, ear-rings of the newest mode were shining beneath travelling caps and hats, and chains abounded. I could not persuade myself that this masquerade would succeed, but predicted a failure. It really appeared to me that so shallow a distinction could avail nothing against harpies who denied the right of strangers to pass through their country with a few purchases of this nature, that had been clearly made for their own use. But, while the sumptuary laws of the custom-houses are very rigid, and set limits to the wants of travellers without remorse, like quarantine regulations, they have some rules that seem framed expressly to defeat their own ordinances.

The road led up the mountain, where a view that is much praised exists. It is the counterpart of that which is seen everywhere, when one touches on the eastern verge of the Jura, and first gets sight of Switzerland proper. These views are divided into that which embraces the valley of the Aar and the Oberland range, and this which comprises the basin of the Leman, and the mountains that surround it. Mont Blanc, of course, is included in the other. On the whole, I prefer the first, although the last is singularly beautiful. We got clear weather near the summit, and stopped a few minutes to dissect the elements of this scene. The view is very lovely, beyond a question; but I think it much inferior to that which has been so often spoken of between us above Vévey, notwithstanding Mont Blanc enters into this as one of its most conspicuous objects. I have, as yet, nowhere seen this mountain to so much advantage. In size, as compared with the peaks around it, it is a hay-stack among hay-cocks, with the advantage of being a pile of shining ice, or frozen snow, while everything else near it is granite. By insulating this mountain, and studying it by itself, one feels its mild sublimity; but still, as a whole, I give the preference greatly to the other view. From this point the lake is too distant, the shores of Savoy dwindle in the presence of their mightier neighbour, and the mysterious-looking Valais, which in its peculiar beauty has scarcely a rival on earth, is entirely hid from sight. Then the lights and shades are nearly lost from the summit of the Jura; and, after all, it is these lights and shades, the natural chiaroscuro, that finishes the picture.

We reached the first custom-house a little before sunset; but, as there was a reasonably good inn opposite, I determined to pass the night there, in order to be able to defend my rights against the myrmidons of the law at leisure, should it be necessary. The carriage was driven to the door of the custom-house, and we were taken into separate rooms to be examined. As for myself, I have no reason to complain; but the ladies were indignant at being subjected to a personal examination by a female harpy, who was equally without politeness and propriety. Surely France—polished, refined, intellectual France—cannot actually need this violation of decorum, not to say of decency! This is the second time that similar rudeness has been encountered by us, on entering the country; and, to make the matter worse, females have been the sufferers. I made a pretty vigorous remonstrance, in very animated French, and it had the effect of preventing a repetition of the rudeness. The men pleaded their orders, and I pleaded the rights of hospitality and propriety, as well as a determination not to submit to the insults. I would have made a détour of a hundred leagues to enter at another point in preference.

In the course of the conversation that succeeded, the officers explained to me the difficulties they had to contend with, which certainly are not trifling. As to station, they said that made no great difference, your duchess being usually an inveterate smuggler. Travellers are not content to supply their own wants, but they purchase for all their friends. This I knew to be true, though not by experience, you will permit me to say, the ambassador's bags, half the time, containing more prohibited articles than despatches. But, notwithstanding this explanation, I did not deem the case of one who bought only for himself the less hard. It is so easy to conceal light articles, that, except in instances where is reason for distrust, it were better to confide in character. If anything could induce me to enter seriously into the contraband, it would be such treatment.

The officers explained to me the manner in which smuggling is conducted. The usual mode is to cross the fields in the night; for when two custom-houses are passed, the jewellery may be put in a common trunk, and sent forward by the diligence, unless there is some particular grounds of suspicion. They know perfectly well, that bargains are constantly made in Geneva, to deliver purchases in Paris; but, with all their care and vigilance, the smugglers commonly succeed.

On a recent occasion, however, the officers had been more successful. A cart loaded with split wood (larch) had boldly passed the door of the douane. The man who drove it was a peasant, and altogether he appeared to be one driving a very common burthen to his own home. The cart, however, was stopped and the wood unloaded; while reloading, for nothing but wood was found, one stick attracted attention. It was muddy, as if it had fallen into the road. The mud, however, had a suspicious malice prepense air about it; it seemed as if it were smeared on, and by examining it closely, two seams were discovered, which it had been hoped the mud would conceal. The billet had been split in two, hollowed, and reunited by means of pegs. The mud was to hide these pegs and the seams, as I have told you, and in the cavity were found seventy gold watches! I saw the billet of wood, and really felt less resentment at the old virago who had offended us. The officers caught relenting in my eyes and inquired what I thought of it, and I told them that we were not muddy logs of larch.

The next morning we were off betimes, intending to push through the mountains and the custom-houses that day. The country was wild and far from fruitful, though there were bits of naked mountain, through which the road wound in a way to recall, on a greatly diminished scale however, that peculiar charm of the Apennines. The villages were clean but dreary, and nowhere, for leagues, did we see a country that was genial, or likely to reward agriculture. This passage of the Jura is immeasurably inferior to that by Salins and Neufchâtel. At first I was afraid it was my worn-out feelings that produced the impression; but, by close comparisons, and by questioning my companions, some of whom scarcely recollected the other road, I feel certain that such is the fact. Indeed it would be like comparing a finished painting to an esquisse.

We had not much trouble at the second custom-house, though the officers eyed our ornaments with a confiscating rapacity. For my part I took my revenge, by showing off the only ornament I had to the utmost. A—— had made me a present of a sapphire-ring, and this I flourished in all sorts of ways, as it might be in open defiance. One fellow had an extreme longing for a pretty ferronière, and there was a private consultation about it, among them, I believe; but after some detention, and a pretty close examination of the passports, we were permitted to proceed. If François smuggled nothing, it must have been for want of funds, for speculation is his hobby, as well as his misfortune, entering into every bone of his body.

We were all day busy in those barren, sterile, and unattractive mountains—thrice unattractive after the God-like Alps—and were compelled to dip into the night, in order to get rid of them. Once or twice on looking back, we saw the cold, chiseled peak of Mont Blanc, peering over our own nearer ridges; and as the weather was not very clear, it looked dim and spectral, as if sorry to lose us. It was rather late when we reached a small town, at the foot of the Jura, and stopped for the night.

This was France again,—France in cookery, beds, tone, and thought. We lost the Swiss simplicity (for there is still relatively a good deal of it), and Swiss directness, in politeness, finesse, and manner. We got "monsieur sait—monsieur pense—monsieur fera"—for "que voulez-vous, monsieur?"

We had no more to do with mountains. Our road next morning was across a wide plain, and we plunged at once into the undeviating monotony of French agriculture. A village had been burned, it was thought to excite political commotion, and the postilions began to manoeuvre with us, to curtail us of horse-flesh, as the road was full of carriages. It now became a matter of some moment to push on, for "first come, first served," is the law of the road. By dint of bribes and threats, we reached the point where the two great routes unite a little east of Dôle, before a train of several carriages, which we could see pushing for the point of junction with the same object as ourselves, came up. No one could pass us, on the same road, unless we stopped, and abandoning all idea of eating, we drove up to the post-house in Dôle, and preferred our claim. At the next moment, four other carriages stopped also. But five horses were in the stable, and seventeen were needed! Even these five had just arrived, and were baiting. Four of them fell to my share, and we drove off with many handsome expressions of regret at being obliged to leave but one for the four other carriages. Your travelling is an epitome of life, in which the lucky look upon the unlucky with a supercilious compassion.

A league or two beyond Dôle, we met two carriages coming the other way, and exchanged horses; and really I had some such generous feelings on the occasion, as those of a rich man who hears that a poor friend has found a bank note. The carriage with which we exchanged was English, and it had an earl's coronet. The pair within were man and wife; and some fine children, with an attendant or two, were in the one that followed. They were Scotch at a glance: the master himself wearing, besides the stamp of his nation on his face, a bonnet with the colours of his clan. There is something highly respectable in this Scotch nationality, and I have no doubt it has greatly contributed towards making the people what they are. If the Irish were as true to themselves, English injustice would cease in a twelvemonth. But, as a whole, the Irish nobles are a band of mercenaries, of English origin, and they prefer looking to the flesh-pots of Egypt, to falling back sternly on their rights, and sustaining themselves by the proud recollections of their forefathers. Indeed half of them would find their forefathers among the English speculators, when they found them at all. I envied the Scotchman his cap and tartan, though I dare say both he and his pretty wife had all the fine feelings that such an emblem is apt to inspire. Your earldoms are getting to be paltry things; but it is really something to be the chief of a clan!

You have travelled the road between Dôle and Dijon with me once, already, and I shall say no more than that we slept at the latter town. The next morning, with a view to vary the route, and to get off the train of carriages, we took the road towards Troyes. Our two objects were effected, for we saw no more of our competitors for post-horses, and we found ourselves in an entirely new country; but, parts of Champagne and the Ardennes excepted, a country that proved to be the most dreary portion of France we had yet been in. While trotting along a good road, through this naked, stony region, we came to a little valley in which there was a village that was almost as wild in appearance, as one of those on the Great St. Bernard. A rivulet flowed through the village, and meandered by our side, among the half sterile meadows. It was positively the only agreeable object that we had seen for some hours. Recollecting the stream at Tuttlingen, A—— desired me to ask the postilion, if it had a name. "Monsieur, cette petite rivière s'appelle la Seine." We were, then, at the sources of the Seine! Looking back I perceived, by the formation of the land, that it must take its rise a short distance beyond the village, among some naked and dreary-looking hills. A little beyond these, again, the streams flow towards the tributaries of the Rhone, and we were consequently in the high region where the waters of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean divide. Still there were no other signs of our being at such an elevation, except in the air of sterility that reigned around. It really seemed as if the river, so notoriously affluent in mud, had taken down with it all the soil.


LETTER XXVIII.

Miserable Inn.—A French Bed.—Free-Trade.—French Relics.—Cross Roads.—Arrival at La Grange.—Reception by General Lafayette.—The Nullification Strife.—Conversation with Lafayette.—His Opinion as to a Separation of the Union in America.—The Slave Question.—Stability of the Union.—Style of living at La Grange.—Pap.—French Manners, and the French Cuisine.—Departure from La Grange.—Return to Paris.


Dear ——,

I have little to say of the next two days' drive, except that ignorance, and the poetical conceptions of a postilion, led us into the scrape of passing a night in just the lowest inn we had entered in Europe. We pushed on after dark to reach this spot, and it was too late to proceed, as all of the party were excessively fatigued. To be frank with you, it was an auberge aux charretiers. Eating was nearly out of the question; and yet I had faith to the last, in a French bed. The experience of this night, however, enables me to say all France does not repose on excellent wool mattresses, for we were obliged to put up with a good deal of straw. And yet the people were assiduous, anxious to please, and civil. The beds, moreover, were tidy; our straw being clean straw.

The next night we reached a small town, where we did much better. Still one can see the great improvements that travellers are introducing into France, by comparing the taverns on the better roads with those on the more retired routes. At this place we slept well, and à la Française. If Sancho blessed the man who invented sleep after a nap on Spanish earth, what would he have thought of it after one enjoyed on a French bed!

The drums beat through the streets after breakfast, and the population crowded their doors, listening, with manifest interest, to the proclamation of the crier. The price of bread was reduced; an annunciation of great interest at all times, in a country where bread is literally the staff of life. The advocates of free-trade prices ought to be told that France would often be convulsed, literally from want, if this important interest were left to the sole management of dealers. A theory will not feed a starving multitude, and hunger plays the deuce with argument. In short, free-trade, as its warmest votaries now carry out their doctrines, approaches suspiciously near a state of nature: a condition which might do well enough, if trade were a principal, instead of a mere incident of life. With some men, however, it is a principal—an all in all—and this is the reason we frequently find those who are notoriously the advocates of exclusion and privileges in government, maintaining the doctrine, as warmly as those who carry their liberalism, in other matters, to extremes.

There was a small picture, in the manner of Watteau, in this inn, which the landlady told me had been bought at a sale of the effects of a neighbouring chateau. It is curious to discover these relics, in the shape of furniture, pictures, porcelain, &c., scattered all over France, though most of it has found its way to Paris. I offered to purchase the picture, but the good woman held it to be above price.

We left this place immediately after breakfast, and soon quitted the great route to strike across the country. The chemins vicinaux, or cross-roads of France, are pretty much in a state of nature; the public, I believe, as little liking to work them, as it does at home. Previously to the revolution, all this was done by means of the corvée; a right which empowered the seigneur to oblige his tenants to perform a certain amount of labour, without distinction, on the highways of his estate. Thus, whenever M. le Marquis felt disposed to visit the chateau, there was a general muster, to enable him and his friends to reach the house in safety, and to amuse themselves during their residence; after which the whole again reverted to the control of nature and accident. To be frank, one sometimes meets with by-roads in this old country, which are positively as bad as the very worst of our own, in the newest settlements. Last year I actually travelled post for twenty miles on one of these trackless ways.

We were more fortunate, however, on the present occasion; the road we took being what is called a route départementale, and little, if any, inferior to the one we had left. Our drive was through a slightly undulating country that was prettily wooded, and in very good agriculture. In all but the wheel-track, the traveller gains by quitting the great routes in France, for nothing can be more fatiguing to the eye than their straight undeviating monotony. They are worse than any of our own air-line turnpikes; for in America the constant recurrence of small isolated bits of wood greatly relieves the scenery.

We drove through this country some three or four leagues, until we at length came to an estate of better arrangements than common. On our left was a wood, and on our right a broad reach of meadow. Passing the wood, we saw a wide, park-like lawn, that was beautifully shaded by copses, and in which there were touches of landscape-gardening, in a taste altogether better than was usual in France. Passing this, another wood met us, and turning it, we entered a private road—you will remember the country has neither fence nor hedge, nor yet scarcely a wall—which wound round its margin, describing an irregular semicircle. Then it ran in a straight line for a short distance, among a grove of young evergreens, towards two dark picturesque towers covered with ivy, crossed a permanent bridge that spanned a ditch, and dashing through a gateway, in which the grooves of the portcullis are yet visible, we alighted in the court of La Grange!

It was just nine, and the family was about assembling in the drawing-room. The "le Général sera charmé de vous voir, monsieur," of the faithful Bastien, told us we should find his master at home; and on the great stairs, most of the ladies met us. In short, the patriarch was under his own roof, surrounded by that family which has so long been the admiration of thousands—or, precisely as one would most wish to find him.

It is not necessary to speak of our reception, where all our country are welcome. We were soon in the drawing-room, which I found covered with American newspapers, and in a few minutes I was made acquainted with all that was passing on the other side of the Atlantic. Mr. Rives had sailed for home; and as M. Perier was dead, General Lafayette had not explained in the Chamber the error into which that minister had permitted himself to fall, agreeably to a tardy authority to that effect received from Mr. Rives. The ministry was on the point of dissolution in France; and it was said the doctrinaires were to come in—and the nullification strife ran high at home. On the latter subject, Lafayette spoke with a reserve that was unusual on subjects connected with America, though he strongly deprecated the existence of the controversy.

There is great weakness in an American's betraying undue susceptibility on the score of every little unpleasant occurrence that arises at home. No one of the smallest intelligence can believe that we are to be exempt from human faults, and we all ought to know that they will frequently lead to violence and wrongs. Still there is so much jealousy here on this subject, the votaries of monarchies regard all our acts with so much malevolence, and have so strong a desire to exaggerate our faults, that it is not an easy matter at all times to suppress these feelings. I have often told our opponents that they pay us the highest possible compliment, in their constant effort to compare the results of the system with what is purely right in the abstract, instead of comparing its results with those of their own. But the predominance of the hostile interests are so great here, that reason and justice go for nothing in the conflict of opinions. If a member of congress is flogged, it is no answer to say that a deputy or a member of parliament has been murdered. They do not affirm, but they always argue as if they thought we ought to be better than they! If we have an angry discussion and are told of it, one would think it would be a very good answer, so far as comparative results are concerned, to tell them that half-a-dozen of their provinces are in open revolt; but to this they will not listen. They expect us never to quarrel! We must be without spot in all things, or we are worse than they. All this Lafayette sees and feels; and although it is impossible not to detect the unfairness and absurdity of such a mode of forming estimates of men, it is almost equally impossible, in the present situation of Europe, for one who understands the influence of American example, not to suffer these unpleasant occurrences to derange his philosophy.

Before breakfast the General took me into his library, and we had a long and a much franker conversation on the state of South Carolina. He said that a separation of the Union would break his heart. "I hope they will at least let me die," he added, "before they commit this suicide on our institutions." He particularly deprecated the practice of talking about such an event, which he thought would accustom men's minds to it. I had not the same apprehensions. To me it appeared that the habit of menacing dissolution, was the result of every one's knowing, and intimately feeling, the importance of hanging together, which induced the dissatisfied to resort to the threat, as the shortest means of attaining their object. It would be found in the end, that the very consciousness which pointed out this mode as the gravest attack that could be made on those whom the discontented wish to influence, would awaken enough to consequences to prevent any consummation in acts. This menace was a natural argument of the politically weak in America, just as the physically weak lay hold of knives and clubs, where the strong rely on their hands. It must be remembered that the latter, at need, can resort to weapons, too. I do not believe there could be found in all America any great number of respectable men who wish the Union dissolved; and until that shall be the case, I see no great grounds of apprehension. Moreover, I told him that so long as the northern states were tranquil I had no fears, for I felt persuaded that no great political change would occur in America that did not come from that section of the Union. As this is a novel opinion, he inquired for its reasons, and, in brief, this was the answer:—

There is but one interest that would be likely to unite all the south against the north, and this was the interest connected with slavery. Now, it was notorious that neither the federal government nor the individual states have anything to do with this as a national question, and it was not easy to see in what manner anything could be done that would be likely to push matters as far as disunion on such a point There might be, and there probably would be, discussion and denunciations—nay, there often had been; but a compromise having been virtually made, by which all new states at the north are to be free states, and all at the south slave-holding, I saw nothing else that was likely to be serious.[46] As respects all other interests, it would be difficult to unite the whole south. Taking the present discussion as an example: those that were disaffected, to use the strongest term the case admits of, were so environed by those that were not, that a serious separation became impossible. The tier of states that lies behind the Carolinas, Virginia, and Georgia, for instance, are in no degree dependent on them for an outlet to the sea, while they are so near neighbours as to overshadow them in a measure. Then the south must always have a northern boundary of free states, if they separate en masse—a circumstance not very desirable, as they would infallibly lose most of their slaves.

On the other hand, the north is very differently situated. New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the tier of states west, are closely connected geographically, must and would go together, and they have one frontier that is nearly all water. They contain already a free population of eight millions, which is rapidly increasing, and are strong enough, and united enough, to act as they please. It is their interest to remain united with the south, and it is also a matter of feeling with them, and I apprehend little to the Union so long as these states continue of this mind.[47]

Lafayette wished to know if I did not think the Union was getting too large for its safety. I thought not, so long as the means of necessary intercommunication were preserved, but just the reverse, as the larger the Union, the less probability there would be of agitating its whole surface by any one interest; and the parties that were tranquil, as a matter of course, would influence those that were disturbed. Were the Union to-day, for instance, confined to the coast, as it was forty years since, there would be no south-western states to hold the southern in check, as we all know is the fact at present, and the danger from nullification would be doubled. These things act both ways; for even the state governments, while they offer positive organised and quasi legal means of resisting the federal government, also afford the same organized local means of counteracting them in their own neighbourhood. Thus, Carolina and Georgia do not pull together in this very affair, and, in a sense, one neutralizes the other. The long and short of the matter was, that the Union was a compromise that grew out of practical wants and facts, and this was the strongest possible foundation for any polity. Men would assail it in words, precisely as they believed it important and valued by the public, to attain their ends.—We were here summoned to the breakfast.

I was well laughed at the table for my ignorance. The family of La Grange live in the real old French style, with an occasional introduction of an American dish, in compliment to a guest. We had obtained hints concerning one or two capital things there, especially one for a very simple and excellent dish, called soupe au lait; and I fancied I had now made discovery the second. A dish was handed to me that I found so excellent, so very appropriate to breakfast, that I sent it to A——, with a request that she would get its history from Madame George Lafayette, who sat next her. The ladies put their heads together, and I soon saw that they were amused at the suggestion. A—— then informed me, that it was an American as well as a French dish, and that she knew great quantities of it had been consumed in the hall at C——, in particular. Of course I protested that I had no recollection of it. "All this is very likely, for it is a good while since you have eaten any. The dish is neither more nor less than pap!"

Two capital mistakes exist in America on the subject of France. One regards its manners, and the other its kitchen. We believe that French deportment is superficial, full of action, and exaggerated. This would truly be a wonder in a people who possess a better tone of manners, perhaps, than any other; for quiet and simplicity are indispensable to high breeding. The French of rank are perfect models of these excellences. As to the cuisine, we believe it is high-seasoned. Nothing can be farther from the truth; spices of all sorts being nearly proscribed. When I went to London with the Vicomte de V——, the first dinner was at a tavern. The moment he touched the soup, he sat with tears in his eyes, and with his mouth open, like a chicken with the pip! "Le diable!" he exclaimed, "celle-ci est infernale!" And infernal I found it too; for after seven years' residence on the Continent, it was no easy matter for even me to eat the food or to drink the wines of England; the one on account of the high seasoning, and the other on account of the brandy.

We left La Grange about noon, and struck into the great post-road as soon as possible. A succession of accidents, owing to the random driving of the postilions, detained us several hours, and it was dark before we reached the first barrière of Paris. We entered the town on our side of the river, and drove into our own gate about eight. The table was set for dinner; the beds were made, the gloves and toys lay scattered about, à la Princesse d'Orange, and we resumed our customary mode of life, precisely as if we had returned from an airing in the country, instead of a journey of three months!


THE END.



NOTES:

[1]

A Count Koningsmarke.

[2]

The period referred to was in 1830.

[3]

Hortense.

[4]

When the term juste milieu was first used by the King, and adopted by his followers, Lafayette said in the Chamber, that "he very well understood what a juste milieu meant, in any particular case; it meant neither more nor less than the truth, in that particular case: but as to a political party's always taking a middle course, under the pretence of being in a juste milieu, he should liken it to a discreet man's laying down the proposition that four and four make eight, and a fool's crying out, 'Sir, you are wrong, for four and four make ten;' whereupon the advocate for the juste milieu on system, would be obliged to say, 'Gentlemen, you are equally in extremes, four and four make nine.'" It is the fashion to say Lafayette wanted esprit. This was much the cleverest thing the writer ever heard in the French Chambers, and, generally, he knew few men who said more witty things in a neat and unpretending manner than General Lafayette. Indeed this was the bias of his mind, which was little given to profound reflections, though distinguished for a fort bon sens.

[5]

Louis-Philippe has been more singularly favoured by purely fortuitous events than, probably, ever fell to the fortune of one in his situation. The death of the Duke of Reichstadt, the arrest and peculiar position of the Duchess of Berri, the failure of the different attempts to assassinate and seize him, and the sudden death of the young Napoleon Bonaparte, in Italy (the son of Louis), are among the number.

[6]

He is since dead.

[7]

No such exposure has ever been made; and the writer understood, some time before he quitted France, that the information received from America proved to be so unsatisfactory, that the attempt was abandoned. The writer, in managing his part of the discussion, confined himself principally to the state of New York, being in possession of more documents in reference to his own state, than to any other. Official accounts, since published, have confirmed the accuracy of his calculations; the actual returns varying but a few sous a head from his own estimates, which were in so much too liberal, or against his own side of the question.

[8]

See my Letter to General Lafayette, published by Baudry, Paris.

[9]

General Lafayette took the republican professions of the King too literally, at first, and he did not always observe the ménagement, perhaps, that one seated on a throne, even though it be a popular one, is apt to expect. In 1830 he told the writer the King had, that morning, said, that some about him called the General a "maire du palais." On being asked if the King appeared to entertain the same notion, his answer was, "Well, he professes not to do so; but then I think he has tant soit peu of the same feeling." This was ticklish ground to stand on with a sovereign, and, perhaps, a case without a parallel in France, since the days of Hugues Capet. A few weeks later, General Lafayette related another conversation held with Louis-Philippe, on the subject of his own unceremonious dismissal from office. "You shall be named honorary Commander-in-chief of the National Guards, for life," said the King. "Sire, how would you like to be an honorary king?" It is quite apparent that such a friendship could not last for ever.

[10]

I once asked General Lafayette his opinion of the nerve of the Duc d'Orleans (Egalité). He laughed, and said the King had made an appeal to him quite lately, on the same subject. "And the answer?" "I told his Majesty that I believed his father was a brave man; but, you may be sure, I was glad be did not ask me if I thought he was an honest one, too."

[11]

Was Mr. Jefferson himself free from a similar charge?

[12]

It appeared subsequently, by means of a public prosecution, that Vidocq, with a party of his followers, were among the revolters, disguised as countrymen. A government that has an intimation of the existence of a plot to effect its own overthrow, has an unquestionable right to employ spies to counteract the scheme; but if it proceed so far as to use incentives to revolt, it exceeds its legitimate powers.

[13]

"We are now separated by a rivulet of blood."

[14]

The writer has had a hundred occasions to learn, since his return to America, how much truth is perverted in crossing the Atlantic, and how little is really known of even prominent European facts, on this side of the water. It has suited some one to say, that Lafayette resigned the office of commander-in-chief of the National Guards, and the fact is thus stated in most of our publications. The office was suppressed without consulting him, and, it was his impression, at the instigation of the Allied Powers. Something like an awkward explanation and a permission to resign was subsequently attempted.

[15]

This word has a very different signification in Italian, from that which we have given it, in English. It means a garden in the country; the house not being necessarily any part of it, although there is usually a casino or pavilion.

[16]

This ancient family still exists, though much shorn of its splendour, by the alienation of its estates, in consequence of the marriage of Charlotte de Montmorency, heiress of the eldest line, with a Prince of Condé, two centuries since. By this union, the estates and chateaux of Chantilly, Ecouen, etc., ancient possessions of the house, passed into a junior branch of the royal family. In this manner Enghien, a seigneurie of the Montmorencies, came to be the title of a prince of the blood, in the person of the unfortunate descendant of Charlotte of that name. At the present time, besides the Duc de Montmorency, the Duc de Laval-Montmorency, the Duc de Luxembourg, the Prince de Bauffremont, the Prince de Tancarville, and one or two more, are members of this family, and most of them are, or were before the late revolution, peers of France. The writer knew, at Paris, a Colonel de Montmorency, an Irishman by birth, who claimed to be the head of this celebrated family, as a descendant of a cadet who followed the Conqueror into England. There are two Irish peers, who have also pretensions of the same sort, though the French branches of the family look coolly on the claim. The title of "First Christian Baron," is not derived from antiquity, ancient as the house unquestionably is, but from the circumstance that the barony of Montmorency, from its local position, in sight of Paris, aided by the great power of the family, rendered the barons the first in importance to their sovereign. The family of Talleyrand-Perigord is so ancient, that, in the middle ages, when a King demanded of its head, "Who made you Count de Perigord?" he was asked, by way of reply, "Who made you King of France?"—God! I think I should have hesitated on the score of taste about establishing myself in a house of the Montmorencies, but Jonathan has usually no such scruples. Our own residence was but temporary, the hotel being public.

[17]

In New York, the writer has a house with two drawing-rooms, a dining-room, eight bed-rooms, dressing-rooms, four good servants' rooms, with excellent cellars, cisterns, wells, baths, water-closets, etc. for the same money that he had an apartment in Paris, of one drawing-room, a cabinet, four small and inferior bed-rooms, dining-room, and ante-chamber; the kitchens, offices, cellars, etc. being altogether in favour of the New York residence. In Paris, water was bought in addition, and a tax of forty dollars a year was paid for inhabiting an apartment or a certain amount of rent; a tax that was quite independent of the taxes on the house, doors, and windows, which in both cases were paid by the landlord.

[18]

This affair of the jewels of the Princess of Orange is one proof, among many others, of the influence of the vilest portion of mankind over their fellow-creatures. It suited the convenience and views of some miscreant who pandered for the press (and the world is full of them), to throw out a hint that the Prince of Orange had been guilty of purloining the jewels to pay his gambling debts, and the ignorant, the credulous, and the wonder-mongers, believed a charge of this nature, against a frank and generous soldier! It was a charge, that, in the nature of things, could only be disproved by detecting the robber, and one that a prince and a gentleman would scarcely stoop to deny. Accident favoured the truth. The jewels have, oddly enough, been discovered in New York, and the robber punished. Now, the wretch who first started this groundless calumny against the Prince of Orange, belongs exactly to that school whose members impart to America more than half her notions of the distinguished men of Europe.

[19]

One hears of occasionally discovering good pictures in the streets, an event that actually once occurred to the writer. Shortly after the revolution of 1830, in passing through the Carrousel, he bought a female portrait, that was covered with dirt, but not materially injured. Finding it beautifully painted, curiosity led him to question the man who had sold it. This person affirmed that it was a portrait of the wife of David Teniers painted by himself. He was not believed, of course, and the thing was forgotten, until two picture-dealers, who accidentally saw it, at different times, affirmed that it was by Teniers, though neither knew the original of the likeness. On examining the catalogues, the writer found that such a picture had existed in Paris, before the revolution, and that it was now lost. But this picture was square, while that was oval and much larger. The dealer was questioned again, on the appearance of the picture, without giving him any clue to the object, and he explained the matter at once, by saying that it had once been oval, but the canvass getting an injury, he had reduced it to its present form. Since then, an engraving has been discovered that scarce leaves a doubt as to the originality of the portrait.

[20]

A few months before this, a friend, not a Frenchman, called on the writer at Paris. He began to make inquiries on the subject of American Parliamentary Law, that were entirely out of the track of his usual conversations, and finally submitted a series of written questions to be answered. When the subject was disposed of, the writer asked his friend the object of these unusual investigations, and was told that they were for the use of a leading Deputy, who was thoroughly juste milieu. Surprised at the name, the writer expressed his wonder that the application had not been made to a certain agent of the American government, whose name had already figured before the public, as authority for statistical and political facts against him. The answer was, in substance, that those facts were intended for effect!

[21]

This excludes Lichtenstein, Monaco, and Greece.

[22]

Pronounced Ro-ban-sown. The writer once went to return the call of Mr. Robinson, at Paris. The porter denied that such a person lived in the hotel. "But here is his card; Mr. Robinson, N——, Rue ----." "Bah," looking at the card, "ceci est Monsieur Ro-ban-sown; c'est autre chose. Sans doute, Monsieur a entendu parler du célèbre Ro-ban-sown?"

[23]

Extract from the unpublished manuscript of these letters: "You have lately been at Richmond Hill," said Mr. ——; "did you admire the view, as much as is the fashion?" "To be frank with you, I did not. The Park struck me as being an indifferent specimen of your parks; and the view, though containing an exquisite bit in the fore-ground, I think, as a whole, is both tame and confused." "You are not alone in your opinion, though I think otherwise. Canova walked with me on the terrace, without seeming to be conscious there was anything unusual to be seen. He scarcely regarded the celebrated view a second time. Did you know him?" "He was dead before I came to Europe." "Poor Canova!—I met him in Paris, in 1815, in a ludicrous dilemma. It rained, and I was crossing the Carrousel in a fiacre, when I saw Canova stealing along near the walls, covered in a cloak, and apparently uncertain how to proceed. I drove near him, and offered him a seat. He was agitated, and appeared like a man who had stolen goods about him. The amount of it was, that they were distributing the pictures to their former owners, and having an order to receive "la Madonna della Seggiola," he had laid hands on the prize, and, in his eagerness to make sure of it, was carrying it off, under his cloak. He was afraid of being discovered and mobbed, and so I drove home with him to his hotel." I think Mr. —— named this particular picture, though I have somewhere heard it was never brought to Paris, having been sent to Sicily for security: it might, therefore, have been another painting.

[24]

Aachen, in German. In French it is pronounced Ais-la-Chapelle.

[25]

Duke.

[26]

Arch-Duke.

[27]

As respects France, the result has shown the impolicy of the temporizing system. The French Government, finding such a disposition to compliance in the agents that were placed near it, by America, has quite reasonably inferred that the mass at home acted on the same temporizing and selfish policy, and has treated a solemn compact, that contains a tardy and very insufficient reparation, for some of the greatest outrages that were ever committed by one civilized nation on the rights of another, as a matter quite within its own control. This consequence was foreseen by the writer, and foretold, in a letter that was written in 1832, and published as far back as the year 1833. It was only necessary to be on the spot, and to witness the contempt and indifference engendered by this miserable policy, to predict the events which have since occurred. The accidental situation of Europe has favoured us, and we owe the tardy reparation that has been received more to Russia than to ourselves.

[28]

The French writers, to make the most of their witness, exaggerated a little; for, at that time, Mr. Harris had never filled any higher diplomatic station than that of one left chargé des affaires of the legation at St. Petersburg, during the absence of Mr. Adams at Ghent. Shortly after the publication of this letter, however, he was appointed by the President and the Senate of the United States of America to represent it at the King of the French, as if expressly to give value to his testimony.

[29]

In 1833, the writer was in discourse with a person who had filled one of the highest political situations in Europe, and he was asked who represented the United States at the court of ——. On being told, this person paused, and then resumed, "I am surprised that your government should employ that man. He has always endeavoured to ingratiate himself in my favour, by depreciating everything in his own country." But why name a solitary instance? Deputies, members of parliament, peers of France and of England, and public men of half the nations of Europe, have substantially expressed to the writer the same opinion, under one circumstance or another, in, perhaps, fifty different instances.

[30]

Behind the houses; so termed, from the vines standing on lower land than the hill, behind the village.

[31]

Until the revolution of 1830, the writer never met but one noisy woman in Paris. Since that period, however, one hears a little more of the tintamarre of the comptoir.

[32]

The Americans are a singularly good-natured people, and probably submit to more impositions, that are presented as appeals to the spirit of accommodation, than any other people on earth. The writer has frequently ridden miles in torture to accommodate a trunk, and the steam-boats manage matters so to accommodate everybody, that everybody is put to inconvenience. All this is done, with the most indomitable kindness and good nature, on all sides, the people daily, nay hourly exhibiting, in all their public relations, the truth of the axiom, "that what is everybody's business, is nobody's business."

[33]

It is not easy for the writer to speak of many personal incidents, lest the motive might be mistaken, in a country where there are so many always disposed to attach a base one if they can; but, it is so creditable to the advanced state of European civilization and intelligence, that, at any hazard, he will here say, that even his small pretensions to literary reputation frequently were of great service to him, and, in no instance, even in those countries whose prejudices be had openly opposed, had he any reason to believe it was of any personal disadvantage. This feeling prevailed at the English custom-houses, at the bureaux all over the Continent, and frequently even at the inns. In one instance, in Italy, an apartment that had been denied, was subsequently offered to him on his own terms, on this account; and, on the present occasion, the proprietor of the Chateau de Piel, who resided at Geneva, sent a handsome expression of his regret that his agent should have thought it necessary to deny the application of a gentleman of his pursuits. Even the cow-chaser paid a similar homage to letters. In short, let the truth be said, the only country in which the writer has found his pursuits a disadvantage, is his own.

[34]

The manner in which the English language is becoming corrupted in America, as well as in England, is a matter of serious regret. Some accidental circumstance induced the Manhattanese to call a certain enclosure the Park. This name, probably, at first was appropriate enough, as there might have been an intention really to form a park, though the enclosure is now scarcely large enough to be termed a paddock. This name, however, has extended to the enclosures in other areas, and we have already, in vulgar parlance, St. John's Park, Washington Park, and least though not last, Duane-street Park, an enclosure of the shape of, and not much larger than, a cocked-hat. The site of an ancient fort on the water has been converted into a promenade, and has well enough been called the Battery. But other similar promenades are projected, and the name is extended to them! Thus in the Manhattanese dialect, any enclosure in a town, off the water, that is a park, and any similar enclosure, on the water, a battery! The worthy aldermen may call this English, but it will not be easy to persuade any but their constituents to believe them.

[35]

Since his return, the author can say the same of Rhenish wines; though the tavern wines of Germany are usually much better than the tavern wines of France.

[36]

This was the opinion of the writer, while in Europe. Since his return, he has seen much reason to confirm it. Last year, in a free conversation with a foreign diplomatic agent on the state of public feeling in regard to certain political measures, the diplomate affirmed that, according to his experience, the talent, property, and respectability of the country were all against the government. This is the worn-out cant of England; and yet, when reform has been brought to the touchstone, its greatest opponents have been found among the parvenus. On being requested to mention individuals, the diplomatic man in question named three New York merchants, all of whom are foreigners by birth, neither of whom can speak good English, neither of whom could influence a vote—neither of whom had, probably, ever read the constitution or could understand it if he had read it, and neither of whom was, in principle, any more than an every-day common-place reflection of the antiquated notions of the class to which he belonged in other nations, and in which he had been, educated, and under the influence of which he had arrived here.

[37]

This unfortunate gentleman was no relation of the family of Lafayette, his proper appellation being that of M. Calémard. Fayette, so far as I can discover, is an old French word, or perhaps a provincial word, that signifies a sort of hedge, and has been frequently used as a territorial appellation, like de la Haie.

[38]

The southern parts of Europe form an exception.

[39]

Your common-place logicians argue from these sentiments that distinctions are natural, and ought to be maintained. These philosophers forget that human laws are intended to restrain the natural propensities, and that this argument would be just as applicable to the right of a strong man to knock down a weak one, and to take the bread from his mouth, as it is to the institution of exclusive political privileges.

[40]

The peculiar coldness of our manners, which are too apt to pass suddenly from the repulsive to the familiar, has often been commented on, but can only be appreciated by those who have been accustomed to a different. Two or three days after the return of the writer from his journey in Europe (which had lasted nearly eight years), a public dinner was given, in New York, to a distinguished naval officer, and he was invited to attend it, as a guest. Here he met a crowd, one half of whom he knew personally. Without a single exception, those of his acquaintances who did speak to him (two-thirds did not), addressed him as if they had seen him the week before, and so cold and constrained did every man's manner seem, that he had great difficulty in persuading himself there was not something wrong. He could not believe, however, that he was especially invited to be neglected, and he tried to revive his old impressions; but the chill was so thorough, that he found it impossible to sit out the dinner.

[41]

The American government, soon after the date of this letter, appointed Mr. Harris to be chargé d'affaires at Paris.

[42]

Has it not? Have we not been treated by France, in the affair of the treaty, in a manner she would not have treated any second-rate power of Europe.

[43]

Berne, Soleure, Zurich, Lucerne, Schweitz, Unterwalden, Uri, Glarus, Tessino, Valais, Vaud, Geneva, Basle, Schaffhausen, Argovie, Thourgovie, Zug, Fribourg, St. Gall, Appenzell, and the Grisons. They are named here without reference to their rank or antiquity.

[44]

Basle is now divided into what are called "Basle town" and "Basle country;" or the city population and the rural. Before the late changes, the former ruled the latter.

[45]

The population of New York, to-day, is about 2,200,000, or not greatly inferior to that of Scotland; and superior to that of Hanover, or Wurtemberg, or Denmark, or Saxony, all of which are kingdoms. The increase of population in the United States, at present, the immigration included, is not far from 500,000 souls annually, which is equal to the addition of an average state each year! The western speculations find their solution in this fact.

[46]

Recent facts have confirmed this opinion.

[47]

This was written before the recent events in Texas, which give a new aspect to the question.

Produced by Robert Connal, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. This file was produced from images generously made available by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica) at http://gallica.bnf.fr