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Title: A Residence in France - With an Excursion Up the Rhine, and a Second Visit to Switzerland
Author: Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
Language: English
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made available by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF/Gallica)
at http://gallica.bnf.fr



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.

[Footnote 1: A Count Koningsmarke.]

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]

[Footnote 2: The period referred to was in 1830.]

       *       *       *       *       *

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.

[Footnote 3: Hortense.]

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.

[Footnote 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_.]

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]

[Footnote 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.]

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]

[Footnote 6: He is since dead.]

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]

[Footnote 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.]

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]

[Footnote 8: See my _Letter to General Lafayette_, published by Baudry,
Paris.]



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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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."]

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.

[Footnote 11: Was Mr. Jefferson himself free from a similar charge?]

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]

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 13: "We are now separated by a rivulet of blood."]

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_."

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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).

[Footnote 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.]

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!

[Footnote 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_!]

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.

[Footnote 21: This excludes Lichtenstein, Monaco, and Greece.]

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.

[Footnote 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?_"]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 24: _Aachen_, in German. In French it is pronounced
Ais-la-Chapelle.]

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!

[Footnote 25: Duke.]

[Footnote 26: Arch-Duke.]

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]

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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_.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]



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.

[Footnote 30: _Behind the houses_; so termed, from the vines standing on
lower land than the hill, behind the village.]

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.

[Footnote 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_.]

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!

[Footnote 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."]

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]

[Footnote 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_.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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]

[Footnote 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.]


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_.

[Footnote 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_.]

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.

[Footnote 38: The southern parts of Europe form an exception.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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]

[Footnote 41: The American government, soon after the date of this
letter, appointed Mr. Harris to be _chargé d'affaires_ at Paris.]

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]

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 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.]

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.

[Footnote 46: Recent facts have confirmed this opinion.]

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]

[Footnote 47: This was written before the recent events in Texas, which
give a new aspect to the question.]

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.





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